Friday, May 31, 2019

Are you worried about your future? (part 5)

Submitted by Curtis Tucker
Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Are you worried about your future? (part 5)
Many of us are worried. We're concerned about our families; aging parents, a rebellious child, a troubled marriage. We're concerned about our finances; what if I lose my job, what about saving for retirement, what about all the debt I have. We can certainly get stuck worrying about the future. But, God has promised us a couple of things that give us assurance that the future does not have to cause us great worry.  He says that His will is good, pleasing and perfect. And, He will show us which path to take. This should give us confidence that as we step into the future God steps with us. 
Even if you are dealing with family situations, or financial struggles, or challenges to your faith, remember your present is not your future. This is not the end of your story! God has an awesome plan for your life! 
For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)
Here are some important “don’ts” as we contemplate the future:
Don't worry"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." (Philippians 4:6, NLT)
Don't assume“What you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.’" (James 4:15, NLT)
Don't plan without prayer- "We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer." (Proverbs 16:1, NLT)
Don't procrastinate– “Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35, NIV)

What will you do about your worries of the future? How can you put into practice these Scriptures? Pray that God gives you His peace over the concerns for the future.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Are you worried about your future? (part 4)

Submitted by Curtis Tucker
Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Are you worried about your future? (part 4)
This week we are discussing the fact that it is easy to worry about the future. We get caught up in the circumstances of life...our current situation...and we begin to believe it will always be this way. Or, there is so much uncertainty in our world that we feel no security about the future. It seems to be the custom of our world to worry about the future and we get caught up in it. But, as followers of Jesus Christ we have more than next week or next month, or even next year to look forward to. We have eternity! 
Scripture encourages us in several places to focus our attention on the eternal. Paul wrote to the Colossian church, 
"Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God's right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth." (Colossians 3:1-2, NLT)
Think about heaven! Though it may seem hard to imagine, for the Christ follower, heaven will someday be reality. The New Testament is filled with scriptures that encourage the believer with the assurance of heaven. As we ask God to transform us and change the way we think, one area we can ask for help with is to recognize that this world is not the end of the story. No matter how difficult the struggles of this life, we have heaven in our future. Here's a couple more scriptures to help you think about heaven.  
For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. (2 Corinthians 5:1, NLT)
Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12, NLT) 
What do you feel God is speaking to you about the future and about heaven? When you think about the future, does heaven enter into your thinking? Today, ask God to help you have a healthy focus on heaven, and the future He has planned for you in eternity. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Are you worried about your future? (part 3)

Submitted by Curtis Tucker
Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Are you worried about your future? (part 3)
This week we're talking about the future and how we often become worried about what the future may hold. When we look around and see the present troubles it adds more worry and makes it difficult to see the hope for the future. 
In Psalm 42, David wrote: "Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again-my Savior and my God!Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you-" (Psalm 42:5-6, NLT)
David looked around at his current circumstances and he became discouraged and sad, but then, he remembers.  He remembers God. Bible scholars believe that David may have written this Psalm when his son Absalom had stolen the kingdom and David had to flee for his life. Obviously, that would be a very traumatic experience and most likely create much doubt about the future. But, as David contemplates all that is going on, no doubt he remembers the times that God came through for him in the past...when God chose him to be king over Israel, when he killed Goliath, when God rescued him from crazy Saul. All these experiences from the past reassured David of the future!
What has God done for you in the past? Has he ever met a financial need? Has he ever restored a relationship that you thought was completely severed? Has He ever given you a sense of peace even when going through a very trying time? 
Here's the challenge...let God change the way you think about your present circumstances and how they may play out in your future. 
Are you discouraged or sad...worried about the future? Remember prayers God has answered in the past. Look at the rest of Psalm 42 and follow the example of King David as you pray.

But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my
hope in God!  I will praise him again-my Savior and my God! (Psalm 42:8, 11, NLT)

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Are you worried about your future? (part 2)

Submitted by Curtis Tucker
But tell the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. Psalms 78:4 
Are you worried about your future? (part 2)
Many of us are worried. So many things going on our world give us reason to be concerned. What will our future be like? What about the future of our children and grandchildren? Thinking like this world, it will depress us, maybe scare us, but let’s think for a moment about how God can transform us and change the way we think. Let's think about the promises Scripture gives us which will help us step into the future with confidence. Here's a list of some of those promises, let them encourage and increase your faith. 
* He's promised to always be with us."And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20, NLT)
* He says He will never leave us or forsake us."I will never fail you. I will never abandon you." (Hebrews 13:5, NLT)
* He's promised to meet our needs."And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19, NLT)
* He's promised to guide us."When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future." (John 16:13, NLT) 
* He's promised us life to the fullest, if we will follow Him."The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life." (John 10:10, NLT)
* He's promised us a home in heaven if we will make Him the leader of our lives."I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again." (John 14:27-28, NLT)
What could God be telling us about the future through these verses? Today, think about what God has said rather than what the news reporter says! Pray for God's peace and assurance of His presence in your future. 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Are you worried about your future? (part 1)

Submitted by Curtis Tucker 
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice-the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2, NLT)
Are you worried about your future? (part 1)
Let’s consider these verses written by the Apostle Paul to the believers at Rome. In essence, the Scripture says to begin by giving complete control to God, make your life a living sacrifice, and instead of chasing what the world says you need, let God transform the way you think. When I see the future through my eyes, I see all my past mistakes, but when I see the future through God's eyes, I see my progress and I see my potential.  When I see the future through my eyes, I see the here and now, but through God's eyes, I see the hope of Heaven.  When I see the future through my eyes, I see reasons to give up, and sometimes there are a lot of them.  But, when I see the future through God's eyes, I see all the reasons to keep pressing on.  As you allow God to transform your thinking, as you begin to realize how mighty and powerful God is and that He that wants a relationship with you, you will begin to realize that He has a lot more in store for you than you ever dreamed of.  
Consider what Paul wrote to another group of believers:
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." (Philippians 4:6-8, NLT) 
Take a moment to think about what God is saying to you through these passages of Scripture. What can you do to better focus your mind upon God and what he has for your life? Today, ask God to change the way you think, to allow His thoughts to be your thoughts, to see the world through His eyes. 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

He Meant To Pass By Them

Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

I. The Miracle of Jesus Walking on the Water is Confirmation of His Divinity.
· Greek ‘ego eimi’ = I Am.
· The real miracle is that the God of the universe could put on flesh and stand in the midst of human beings without them dropping dead. 
· It is possible to doubt God with the very evidence of His power already in your boat. 

II. The Miracle of Jesus Walking on the Water Exposes the Condition of the Heart.
· A hard heart is having knowledge without receptiveness.
· A hard heart is unable to understand the revelation of the
 presence of God. 
· A hard heart is unable to remember what God has done. 

III. The Miracle of Jesus Walking on the Water Offers Practical Insight for Living.
· It is possible for Jesus to show up in the midst of our storms and not be recognized.
· God often uses recurring issues to draw our attention to His presence
· When we acknowledge the presence of the Lord, deeper
understanding of I Am is revealed to us.
· Relying on our own sufficiency in times of trial, only reveals our insufficiency.
· Faith is not blind; faith chooses to see what doubt never will.
· Faith is developed through the storms we endure.



Friday, May 24, 2019

God Will Get You Through

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Knowledge and wisdom are two very different things. You may havelearneda great deal, but knowledge is not wisdom.  Sometimes young people are fooled into believing the lie that because they know more than someone else, they are wiser.  Most of life lessons are taught in the living.  Experience will teach you whether you listen or not.
I heard a speaker share with students about a bird and the nest and the little birds leaving the nest. She spoke of the struggle and then the final flight.  “Fly!” she said, “Soar!”  My thought was a bit different.  I saw a cat eat the bird because he didn’t know about the dangers of being out of the nest. Too many students leave the nest and get eaten alive by the world without the protection and wisdom of their parents and God.  
This second part of the verse above is a warning…and do not lean on your own understanding.  Let’s admit it – most of us think we can figure things out on our own. We can do just fine by ourselves – thank you. If we try to figure out life and handle every decision that comes our way, we will be in trouble, as this verse in Proverbs warns: If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.” Proverbs 28:26 (MSG)   That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use common sense or the wisdom that God gives us, but it does mean that we should not trust on our own understanding for total support.God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts.  Trust Him to work it out.  
Don’t think you can do it alone.  …in all your ways submit to him.  The arena of absolute trust is "all thy ways".This is a command to guard against only acknowledging God in times of trouble and acts of worship.  The area where God is screened out is generally the place of our greatest defeat.  To "acknowledge"God in a situation is to open the door for His intervention, support, and His direction. 
How many areas of your life does God's opinion have little or no effect?  Have you ever seen the bumper stickers that say, “God is my co-pilot”?That might be intended to be good, but God does not want to be your co-pilot; He wants to be your pilot. He may give you a seat in the first class, but He wants total control of your life. 
God Will Get You Through…and He will make your paths straight.
Myth: God’s greatest goal for my life is my HAPPINESS.  God is more concerned about your character than He is about your comfort.  Nothing on this earth grows without stress. Though the path may be straight it will still lead through valleys and deserts and over mountains and rivers. In order for our character to change, sometimes He allows us to go through some pretty tough times. It is tough times that build character.  God reveals His will as we trust and obey Him day by day.  God does not drop down a simple blueprint for our life from heaven.  As we walk with the Lord, He shows us the way. It is like walking in the dark with a powerful flashlight. As we walk forward, we see the way ahead, but only one step at a time.
From time to time God gives a flash of light that allows us to see miles ahead. But normally we walk in step by step obedience. God’s will is a way of adventure and abundant life. Doing God’s will does not mean living a hard and frustrating life. God is for us and not against us. He wants us to have a life of joy and fulfillment.  God can overcome even our greatest failures.  That’s what the Bible is all about.  So, don’t think it’s over when you fall down.  Get up and go on with what you learned!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Pass It On

But tell the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. Psalms 78:4 

Have you ever seen one of these domino effect contests where they set up thousands of dominos spaced just right so that when one falls it starts a chain reaction that goes from domino to domino? That is a good visual depiction of the impact of our choices.  Two thousand years ago by one righteous act Jesus set something in motion that continues to multiply today. It is multiplied through the millions of believers who respond to his love toward them by investing kindness into other people’s lives.  Why does God wait until the end of the age before the Judgment Seat of Christ? We really don’t have a biblical answer to that question but logically the full effect of your life will go on for generation after generation.  And the total effect has certainly not yet happened the day you die.  I am convinced that when we get to heaven, we are going to be amazed at the impact our lives had.  All we see is the immediate impact. We just see a few dominos out. But in reality, everything you do is to some degree affecting other people.  That is both good news and bad news.  If you have kids or grandkids, how is your life affecting them? How about friends, neighbors or co-workers?
The Lord reveals - We teachGod doesn’t constantly reveal Himself and His Word to each new generation. That’s not how He works.  The next generation learns from the previous. We have all heard parents say that they will not force religion on their kids - they will just remain neutral and let their kids decide for themselves when they get old enough. Of course, a child must decide for himself, but they need the previous generation to teach and guide them. Faith is not just about us. It is about keeping the torch lit and passing it on to the next generation.
We hide the things of God by not teaching them. To fail to positively, purposefully, and systematically teach the Word of God to our kids hides something they desperately need.  That’s why Sunday school, youth activities, children’s church, and all of the other kid’s ministries around here are so important. These supplement what kids from Christian families get at home and provide what a lot of kids get nowhere else.
We hide the works of God by not recalling them.(Testimonies) Our kids need to hear how the Lord has rescued us in the face of temptation. They need to hear about how He answered our prayers.  We need to tell them about His guidance and faithfulness to us in the defining moments of our lives. To hide the works of God from the next generation is to deprive them of something vital.
We hide things of God by our hypocrisy.Our teaching matters, and our example is critical. But so is our honesty. Our kids need to know that we struggle, that life is not always easy, and that sometimes we fail. They need to hear our testimony that, even in those hard times, God is good, faithful, and gracious. They need to learn about the compassion of God and not just His commandments and judgement. They need to know that our God is a God of second chances, even third and fourth chances. We would never want them to presume upon the forgiveness of God, but neither do we want them to forget it. 
What is your life saying to your kids, grandkids, or other people in your life about your faith?  About your God?  Be intentional with sharing what your faith means and what God has done in your life with those you have influence over.  Your life may be the only testimony of faith they have ever been exposed to.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Making the Right Decision

Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is.  Ephesians 5:15-17 NASB
 There are things that provoke us to make unhealthy (spiritually and  physically) decisions in life.  These may not be bad in themselves but the choice we make in regard to them damages our lives.  Inappropriate sexual behavior, impulse buying, binging on sweets to make yourself feel better, gambling, and many more reasons such as these can cause long term consequences, which can also affect others in our lives.   
So how do you get started working with God, so you can begin making right decisions and showing good judgment?  Here are four keys to point you in the right direction: 
Allow God to be in Control- You'll never make progress in this area as long as you refuse to give up control. It certainly isn't easy, and it certainly doesn't happen overnight.  When we realize God loves us and wants the best for us, it is easy to open your hands in surrender. We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer. Proverbs 16 (NLT) 
Read Your Bible-The only way you're going to get to know God and his character is to study his Word. It won't take long before you're able to judge situations and circumstances with a new view. Decisions are easier because you already know in advance the direction you want your life to take.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV) 
Learn From Others-There is no reason to learn every lesson yourself when you have perfectly good examples right in front of you. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we often counsel one another from what we've learned through our mistakes. Take advantage of this counsel and learn from the mistakes of others so your own learning curve is not so steep. You'll be very glad you don't have to go through every mistake as you learn from observing and listening to others. But trust me, you'll still make plenty of your own mistakes. You can take comfort in knowing that one day your mistakes may serve to help someone else.
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV)
God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NLT) 
Never Give UpBe glad about your progress. Let yourself off the hook. You didn't start showing poor judgment overnight and you won't always show good judgment now, just because you want to. Just be happy you're making progress and you're seeing your life improve. Little by little as you gain wisdom from God's Word, you'll begin to see the results reflected in your decisions.
And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. Hebrews 12:1-3 (NLT)
It takes time to develop good judgment, but once you make the commitment to move forward in this area, you're halfway there. Working with God is continuous, but it is worth the effort.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Relationship = Experience

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance – for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.  Proverbs 1:5-7
How can we truly attain this knowledge of God that Proverbs speaks of?  What does that look like in our daily lives?Relationship = Experience - We can’t fully attain knowledge of God without first experiencing God, and we cannot experience God without a relationship with Him. Knowledge is basically a relationship.  It does not matter how much we know about God; we must knowGod.  That knowledge is to be experienced.  An immature awareness of God affects my knowledge, my understanding, and my wisdom and insight.  Coming to Christ requires little understanding of God.  A child can comprehend that God is creator, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, holy and love. They can realize their own sin, heaven and hell and the sacrifice of Christ.  In giving our lives to Christ as a child, we surrender all that we know ourselves to be.  But we add so much more to our lives after that.  Money, sexual desires, vocation, family and lots more are added as we grow up. Knowing how God relates to these areas is critical to our success and peace. 
Our God awareness can be too small for our existence. - Our whole purpose of life is to come to know God and to come into a relationship with him. The fear (reverence or respect) of the Lord is the starting point of that relationship.  The beginning.  We normally think of a beginning as something that happened at one point in time and then was left behind as we went on to something else.  In this passage the word "beginning" has nothing to do with chronology. Instead it refers to a "starting point." It is the place where we begin, but it is more. It continues to be the controlling principle of our relationship with God. It is the very heart of life for us. We begin with the fear of God, and we never leave it behind. Wisdom never comes to the lazy, careless, or casual person. It is a pursuit that calls for diligent energy to be expended.
Total awe and submission is our beginning attitude, but it is also to be the continuing core of our relationship with God.  That awe, respect, and submission should not lessen but become deeper as we grow in our relationship with Him.  
Experiencing Knowledge - I cannot truly understand what I “know” until I encounter and experience it in my life.  I only have awareness and a concept of that knowledge until then.  There is no teacher like experience and that is what God uses to turn knowledge to wisdom if we will listen to His voice during the experience.
Knowledge does not produce virtue or wisdom. Experience and observation show that people who know what is right do not necessarily always act according to their knowledge.  If knowledge is not everything, it surely is something. Knowledge may not guarantee virtue, but ignorance has a smaller chance to produce a good life.  Wrong actions may sometimes be the result of inadequate knowledge, even though right action does not necessarily follow adequate knowledge. Knowledge can also cause a false sense of wisdom and power. 
Wrong Relationships - A large portion of the content of Proverbs is about wrong relationships because they are the enemy of wisdom.  Proverbs focuses on three kinds of people – the wise, the foolish, and the simple. The Wiseis the person who embraces God's direction and learns the skill of living out His plan in everyday situations.  The Foolis the person steadily opposed to God's direction.  These people have low moral restraint and are dangerous in their influence.  The Simpleis the person who is not firmly committed and is easily misled.  Many people today, including Christians, disregard the warnings of Proverbs.  But it is all good advice!  We could save ourselves and our loved ones a lot of pain to heed the powerful words in Proverbs.  

Monday, May 20, 2019

One Thing

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance – for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.  Proverbs 1:5-7
One Thing…
The Book of Proverbs is one of the most quoted, most read, and least followed books of the Bible. Proverbs seems to be speaking a warning to those who read it. Solomon actually wrote it for his son.  Did you ever hear your parent say, “Let me tell you just one thing…” and then go on for an hour? This is Solomon saying, “One thing I will tell you…” and then he expands upon the one thing.What is the “One Thing?”  Seek Wisdom above all things. The writer of Proverbs calls out to all who will hear to seek the beauty, prosperity and peace of wisdom.  
Because Proverbs is a biblical book, some people think wisdom is something “spiritual?” But Wisdom is not just spiritual in nature, it is practical. It is going to show itself in your life. There are a variety of words that are intermingled in Proverbs relating to wisdom. Knowledge, instruction, understanding, commandments, insight, learning, discernment, teaching...all carry insightful distinctions about wisdom. Information comes through the awareness of our senses as data which is retained as knowledge and used to develop understanding of our world, others and ourselves in relation to that world. Wisdom is the skill or ability to optimally apply understanding to produce right living and benefit ourselves, others and GodIn essence, wisdom has to do with choosing what is right and good as we live our daily lives. Wisdom demands control of our passions so that reason and knowledge prevail to determine our actions.
Wisdom Comes From Truth
Truth: That which is considered to be the supreme unchangeable reality and to have the ultimate meaning and value of existence.
There are physical laws in life that you cannot supersede without penalty.  Gravity is the most obvious.  There are also biological, social, relational and spiritual laws that cannot be violated without loss.  You cannot abuse your body, and have it function properly.  You cannot kill or steal and not pay a consequence.  You cannot abuse others and have fulfilling relationships.  You cannot doubt God and have peace.  These are truths.  You won’t break them as much as they will break you. Parents and others seek to lead young lives to recognize and cooperate with truth.  Fools believe they can ignore truth and succeed.
Truth Comes From God - "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." Proverbs 1:7
Reverence: “The fear” This fear (reverence) for God is pivotal in our lives. If we do not come to God in submission and reverence, we reject wisdom.  “Know that the Lord Himself is GOD!” Psalm 100:3a  When we bow our knees to the person and purposes of God, He will replace our ugliness and despair with beauty and strength.  He will teach us to live as victors.  He can give us a life that bears the indelible mark of his wisdom, a life of optimism, conquest, happiness, usefulness.  What God proposes to do with us only awaits our willingness to do it.  If we do not know God, we cannot know the truth. Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:6)
The essence of wisdom is full knowledge, not only knowledge of the facts, but a knowledge of God Himself.  You may have biblicalknowledge, but do you really have a knowledge of God?  Once we gain knowledge of God, we must live our lives in this knowledge, staying close to Him.  Then we can lean into that knowledge when making choices and important decisions in our lives.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Knowing, Believing, AND Experiencing the Truth of God

For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe. 1 Thessalonians 2:13

When God speaks in His Word, it is an invitation for us to experience the truth in our lives. The truths in God’s Word are NOT complicated. They’re not difficult to understand. They are difficult to put into your heart and into your life.   What you do after you read that scripture will reveal what you believe about God’s promise. Will you trust and walk in faith believing or will you look for an immediate answer and, if you do not see it, begin to doubt? Has there been a time in your life where you asked God for something, and you did not receive what you asked for when you asked for it? Did you close your relationship with Him and turn elsewhere to get what you wanted? In doing this you let what you’re experiencing determine what you believe. It should be completely the opposite.
A great tragedy in the lives of many Christians is that they bring the Scriptures down to the level of their experience rather than bringing their experience up to the level of the Scripture. Too often we claim A scripture against THE scripture and try to demand that God move as WE BELIEVE He promised. Why don’t we take our experience, and lift it up to the level of ALL of Scripture? Our single, individual experience is not the full measure of truth.  We must let the Scriptures do what they are intended to do — transform our lives in such a way that the promises become true in our experience. God invites us in His word to experience the truth. It waits to be true in you.
We read God’s Word and seldom realize that God is speaking to us every time we open His book. Isn’t it amazing what we hear with our head that never seems to enter our heartYet it’s out of our heart that our life comes, not out of our head. You may feel that God is pleased with you because you have acknowledged in your mind that God is who He says He is. Is that “believing in your heart?”Having truth in your head does not mean it’s going to change your life at all.  How do you know when a truth has gone from your head to your heart? Your life will change and will match the revealed truth!The promise of peace becomes peace in your life; faith leads to works.
What can we do to perform the works of God? they asked. Jesus replied, This is the work of God: that you believe in the One He has sent. (John 6:28-29)
Jesus was clearly stating that what we believe becomes the way we live.  When our heart matches our head, there will be change in our hands and feet. There will be a change in our choices, words, actions, and the way we spend our time.  When we put the truth of God to work and start living our lives like we truly believe, our lives will be transformed from the inside out.  It doesnt matter what our circumstances are.  We begin to believe that God is God no matter what and His truth never changes. 
When you read God’s, word remember that it isnt just a story that doesnt apply to you. It is not just a book of verses to memorize.  God wants you to know and experience that truth in your own life. He wants you to apply what you understand and believe it in your heart.  Believe that it is for you, that it applies to you and live every day like you believe! Until you believe, you wont fully experience Gods truths in your life.

Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

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