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Are you asleep?

Mark 13:33-37

Be on guard! Be alert ! You do not know when that time will come.  It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.  What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ “

Christ warns us over and over to be on our guard.  He wants us to keep busy doing what God told us to do.  He gave the example of a master leaving his servants in charge while he went away.  The servants knew he would come back.  They just didn’t know when.

He assigned tasks to each servant.  Each servant had a specific assignment.  Let’s imagine the master put one in charge of dishes, one in charge of furniture, and another in charge of maintenance.  He also assigned a specific servant to stand at the door and watch.

How silly would it be for his servants to argue over who should do the dishes or maintenance.  If God gave you an assignment, it’s yours and yours alone. What would happen if the master returned and found 2 servants working maintenance.  Of course He’ll ask the servant assigned to dishes, “Why are you working maintenance?”  The dish servant would say, “I think I could serve you better doing Maintenance.  Plus, I didn’t like how the maintenance servant ran his services.” The master would then ask, “What about the dishes?”  The dish servant would reply, “Well I figured another servant would take care of the dishes.” Who do you think the Master will reward?  The Master would give the servants some insight.  The Maintenance servant was specifically assigned the task because of his skills.  He could service the home with ease and without disturbing others.  The dish servant was assigned the task of dishes because they were very fragile.  Only the dish servants hands were gentle enough to hold the dishes.  If another servant tried to accomplish the task the dishes would break.  The Master would then ask the dish servant, “How many dishes broke because you didn’t complete your assignment?” The amount of regret that will face the dish servant would be unbearable.

How many dishes broke because you didn’t complete your assignment?

Don’t be like the dish servant.  God has given each of us a specific task to complete.  The task was assigned to you because God designed you.  He knows you are the best person for the job.  It’s up to you to complete the task assigned to you.  So, what has God assigned to you?

  • Has He told you to sing to minister to the world?
  • Has He told you to preach?
  • Has He told you to pour love into children and introduce them to Christ?

God designed each of us with a unique gift.  That gift should be used to glorify Him.  That gift is what we will use to complete the task assigned to us.

The old folks used to say, “Don’t let Him catch you with your work undone”.  How many times will the Holy Spirit tell you to move?  God gives us so many instructions but we fail to do what He tells us because of fear of rejection, fear of exposure, and fear of failure.  We must get busy and stay busy completing our assigned task.

Christ warns us that He may come suddenly.  He doesn’t want us to be caught sleeping.  How do you know if you’re sleeping?

  • If God told you to preach the Gospel and you chose to pursue a different career…. you’re sleeping
  • If God told you to minister to His people in song and you chose not to because you don’t think your gift is strong enough….. you’re sleeping
  • If God told you and gave you a vision to bring souls to Him through your gift and you don’t…. you’re sleeping

Sleeping on Christ does not necessarily mean you are sitting around doing nothing.  Some of the busiest people in the world are sleep.  They are sleep because they are not completing their assigned tasks.

Christ exclaims to Be Alert!  Be on guard! He does not want us to fall asleep.  He wants us to stay busy and complete the work He gave us to do.  We each have a task.  Let’s not focus on the tasks He has given others.  Our tasks have been specifically designed and tailored for us.  If God gave you a vision absolutely no one can steal it from you.  It’s yours and He expects you to walk it out.

So get busy!  Stay woke!  Complete your tasks and don’t let Him catch you sleeping!

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I thought I was Free!

John 8:31 – 38

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.  A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message.  I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.”

There’s a famous quote that says “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” Some attribute this quote to Harriet Tubman. Regardless of who made this statement, it is very true. Christ talks about setting us free. Those who follow Him and remain faithful will know the truth and the truth will set them free!  

Do you ever see arguments in the comments section on social media about Christianity? As Christians, we are easily able to see the truth and recognize when we fall short. Our discernment is a blessing. But those who are still slaves have cataracts. They can’t see and have no idea of their bondage. They are just like the crowd Jesus was ministering to.  

The immediate response from the crowd listening to Christ was rejection. They refused to believe they needed Christ to set them free. Based on their limited understanding they were not slaves. 

I wonder how many people could have been set free that day if they only knew they were slaves to sin? How many people would have walked into heavens door if they only recognized their bondage? It’s hard in today’s world to get people to understand and recognize their sins. Everyone is so comfortable in their sin. Churches seem to preach against certain sins and forget others. We love to talk about fornication, adultery, and blasphemy. But we forget about un-forgiveness, lies, coveting, and other sins we commit on the regular.  

Christ lets us know in this scripture He has set us free! He made it very clear. He simply said “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.  A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” This statement is so HUGE! I almost missed it. Christ literally set us free because he is the Son of God. He, and only He, has the authority to set us free. 

Typically, as a slave, you are owned by a Master. Because you are a slave you are not a true member of the family. Paul lets us know we are either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:15-18) This message is so clear. But it’s easily missed if you refuse to believe you are a slave. In order to be set free we must first recognize and be truthful about who and whose we are.  

Sin is literally bondage. It ties and weighs us down. But, Christ sets us free. When we are slaves to sin we are following a different Master. In this passage Christ calls out the crowd and tells them they are illegitimate. He let them know they were being led by a different Master. Their father was not the same as His heavenly father. The crowd turned up against Jesus once they heard this. They grew more and more angry as He threw the truth in their faces. 

I see this every day and all day in life and Social Media. It’s hard to recognize the truth when you are tied down in sin. There’s a saying that reads “Truth sounds like hate, to those who hate the truth”. The enemy hates the truth. Christ told the crowd there was no room in their hearts for His message. There was so much hate in their hearts they did not have enough room to accept the truth.  

Hate is too heavy a burden for me to carry. Anytime I feel weighed down and feel negativity on the horizon, I know I need to do a heart check. What have I been filling my heart with. Have I been reading the Word of God? What am I watching on TV? Am I spending more time on social media then with God? Am I moving closer or farther away from my purpose? Is my heart filled with the love of Christ or have I filled it with everything else?

So many questions! It’s so easy to forget that Christ has set us free. Why continue to take orders from a master when we have an opportunity to leave the plantation and make our own journey? I thought we were free!  

God has given us the authority to Live Set Free! So do it! There are so many times I begin to fall off the trail. But then I begin to say to myself, “I thought I was free”. If I’m free, why in the world am I committing the same sins over and over again. Why am I not in the Word of God? Why is my mind straying away from the heart of Christ? It’s so easy to forget. The enemy loves to distract us and make us feel we are too busy. This is when he attacks. All of a sudden, we are too busy to read the Bible. But for some reason, we still find time to catch our shows and scroll through social media. We must never forget that Christ has set us free! Everyday we have to remind ourselves to live set free! We must make daily declarations that we are no longer slaves to sin. We will remain truthful to the teachings of Christ and walk out His Word every single day. 

So, who are you following? Have you been set free or are you still bound by the shackles on your feet? The chains can be broken once you open your eyes and see they are there. Can you see them or have you let sin give you cataracts?  

Christ has given each of us the ability to Live Set Free. Just do it!

Transparency Moment

Romans 8:28 – 30

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

Ok, I know walking into your calling is hard.

How do I know?  Well I struggle with walking into my calling every single day.  There are so many distractions.  They come in so many different forms, which makes them very difficult to recognize.   I typically don’t recognize them because they come in the form of something I love, like my gym time, my boyfriend, or my “me” time.

One of the main questions I’ve dealt with was how can I walk into my calling without being talked about or criticized?  Can this be done? What I’ve realized is …. well…. it can’t be done.  There is no way to walk into what Christ has called you to do without being talked about and criticized.  This is probably the scariest thing for me and hard to admit.  I mean how can a grown woman actually worry about being talked about.  Well let’s dig a little deeper.  Most adults are not afraid of “strangers” talking about them.  I honestly could care less about strangers feelings towards me.  The criticism that hurts the most comes from those who love us.  Those who are supposed to be on our side in support of our calling.  That criticism is the criticism most are afraid of.  Including myself.

How can you tell someone, I’ve been called into ministry.  Ministry is more than simply preaching.  What happens when you were raised under the notion “women can’t preach” or “women should not stand in a pulpit” or “women should sit down and let men run the church”? How do you stand up and say well I’ve been called to be active in ministry?

The Holy Spirit convicts me daily if I’m not walking into my calling.

The Holy Spirit convicts me daily if I’m not walking into my calling.  How do you tell the person you love the most that you know without a doubt God has called you for greater than this basic human vessel you were born into?  He has so much more.  Easy…… just do it!  It’s easy for someone to say you shouldn’t do this or that.  It’s harder for them to say it when they see it being done.

God has given me the ability to speak with impact.  He has given me the ability to communicate to those who are hard to reach.  He has given me discernment. He has given me understanding. He breaks down scripture in a way that should be shared with more than just myself.  What has He given you.  I know He has given you so much! The Holy Spirit expects us to not only learn from his teachings, but to spread that information to others who may not have the same understanding of His Word.

Yes, walking into your calling is hard.  Criticism hurts. But there’s another fear that we often forget about.  The fear of failure.

What happens if I go into this thing and I absolutely suck?  What happens if I stutter the first time I speak?  What happens if my message isn’t clear? What happens if it’s not received?  Others might ask, what happens if I write my book and no one reads it? What happens if I sing and I hit a wrong note?  What happens if I design my gown and they hate it? Anytime similar fears pop into your head I want you to quickly realize your design / your book / your song / your speech / your calling may not be for everybody.  I’ve come to the realization that I’m not everyones cup of tea….and that’s ok.

I’ve come to the realization that I’m not everyones cup of tea….and that’s ok.

If you are chosen to speak in front of 50 people and only one soul receives the message, then you have done your job. That one soul is the soul that was meant to be reached.  God can place you in a crowd of 1,000 people with the purpose of you reaching one who is closest to the edge. God loves us so much! Because at one point in our life we were each that “one”. Each time one of those fears pops into my head, I just have to remind myself I was once that “one”.  Reach one, teach one. But you can’t do any of that if you sit still.

There’s a reason why my motto says “walk into your calling” instead of “sit into your calling”.  There must be action behind our steps. Yes, the Holy Spirit will tell you what to do and when to move……….but you have to move!  You can’t sit still and expect to accomplish anything.  So I beg those who are just like me to GET UP!  WAKE UP! and WALK!  Better yet, RUN!  Run into what God has called you to do.  If you are still searching ask the Holy Spirit to direct your paths. Ask Him to tell you exactly what He wants you to do. And He will do just that. BUT the key is to believe Him when he says it.  Our faith must be strong, our character must be strong, and our vision must align with his.

My Prayer:

“Lord, please don’t let me distort your vision to match mine. Your vision is so much greater!  I want to walk into my calling. Please give me the strength I need to walk into your calling. You know exactly what I need to bring everything into fruition. I thank you for guiding me and I request that the Holy Spirit continues to fill me up daily and guide me into what is right and lead me into what you have called me to do.”

transparent

God’s Vision is More!

John 4:46 – 54

As he traveled through Galilee, he came to Cana, where he had turned the water into wine. There was a government official in nearby Capernaum whose son was very sick.  When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged Jesus to come to Capernaum to heal his son, who was about to die. Jesus asked, “Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?” The official pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my little boy dies.” Then Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son will live!” And the man believed what Jesus said and started home. While the man was on his way, some of his servants met him with the news that his son was alive and well.  He asked them when the boy had begun to get better, and they replied, “Yesterday afternoon at one o’clock his fever suddenly disappeared!”  Then the father realized that that was the very time Jesus had told him, “Your son will live.” And he and his entire household believed in Jesus. This was the second miraculous sign Jesus did in Galilee after coming from Judea.

 

I love this story of deliverance!  This story speaks on patience, deliverance, and obedience wrapped in a nice bow.  We live in a world that wants everything right now.  We lack patience.  We want everything delivered quicker, faster, and based on our timing.  We are pretty much……. spoiled.

In this story, there was a government official with a sick son.  He knew about Jesus and sought him out.  He pleaded with Jesus twice to heal his son. The first time he simply asked.  The second time he told Jesus when he needed to do it by saying “Lord, come now before my little boy dies.”  For some reason the official thought Jesus had to make his way immediately to his child in order to save him.  His faith was weak.

Jesus didn’t do exactly what the official wanted Him to do.  The official’s faith was small.  He underestimated the power of God.  He doesn’t have  to do things our way to get the job done.  He’s the Almighty and can do anything at anytime and anywhere.  The official got anxious and frustrated with Jesus after he asked the first time.  The second time he added “Now” to his request.  He gave a specific demand, as if God doesn’t control time!

Who are we to make demands? Better yet, who are we to give God instructions?

How many times do we give God a deadline? I’ve done this so many times!  We often cry out to the Lord for healing, deliverance, and break through.  We tell the Lord we need it right now!  We make our demands, aka “requests”, and attempt to rush God and give Him instructions on what He should do for us.  We even have the audacity to tell him when we need it done.  We say stuff like “Lord, I really need you to increase my finances by the end of this month.”  Our deadlines are laughable!  How are we going to give the Alpha & Omega a deadline?  He is the inventor of time…

After the official made his requests, Christ had mercy on him. He told him to go home and confirmed his son would live.  I find it interesting the official immediately went back home.  He didn’t continue begging Christ to come with Him.  He didn’t second guess what Jesus said. He took Christ at His Word and went home.  He was obedient.  Are we that obedient?  Gosh! Am I that obedient? When we pray for healing or deliverance do we follow His instructions.  If we are praying for the Lord to deliver us from eating unhealthy and the Lord instructs us to fast and remove all chocolate from our diet for a month, do we still buy snickers at the snack machine at work?  Do we follow God’s specific instructions that will lead to our deliverance?  Or are we impatient?   Do we continue to beg during prayer and take no action to bring forth His deliverance?  Faith without works is dead! We can learn a lot from this begging official.

On his way back his servants met up with him and let him know his son was healed.  Based on the timing, he was healed as soon as God said.  BUT, that is not the best part of the story.  The best part was the deliverance.  Because of his son’s healing, his entire household believed in Christ and was saved.  If the official’s son was never sick, he would’ve never sought after Jesus.  Sometimes our storms are put there not only for us to find Jesus, but so that others can find him through us.  Our storms prepare us to be His vessel!

So, I ask…….who’s not being set free because of your disobedience?  Because the official shared Jesus and His testimony, his entire household was saved.  The official initially came to seek healing for His son.   He knew Jesus could save.  He knew Jesus had the power to work miracles. But his faith was small.  His vision was small.  He couldn’t see pass the healing of his son.   God’s vision is so much more that we can imagine.  God’s vision not only included the healing of his son. God’s vision included obedience that brought about healing, healing that brought about a testimony, and a testimony that saved an entire household. The official was only thinking about his son. But God’s vision included his entire home.  His vision was so much bigger!

Christ wants to heal, deliver, and bring about your breakthrough.  But, please understand, He wants to do so much more.  Your healing is just a small part of this huge design God has for your life.  Increase your expectations because God’s vision for you is so much more.

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Do you know Him?….

Mark 14:66-72

Meanwhile, Peter was in the courtyard below. One of the servant girls who worked for the high priest came by and noticed Peter warming himself at the fire. She looked at him closely and said, “You were one of those with Jesus of Nazareth.” But Peter denied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and he went out into the entryway. Just then, a rooster crowed. When the servant girl saw him standing there, she began telling the others, “This man is definitely one of them!” But Peter denied it again. A little later some of the other bystanders confronted Peter and said, “You must be one of them, because you are a Galilean.” Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” And immediately the rooster crowed the second time.  Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he broke down and wept.

Standing up for Christ hasn’t gotten much easier since Peter denied Him thousands of years ago. Christians are still being persecuted in countries.  In the US, Christians are also being persecuted.  We might not be executed in the streets daily, but we are persecuted online and on social media for standing on the Word of God.  If we speak against a sin the world is comfortable with, the back lash we receive is tremendous.

In this scripture, Peter denied Jesus three times just as Jesus predicted.  We can understand why Peter denied Christ.  He was scared. He was being led strictly by his flesh and emotions. We can relate to him because we are also often led by our flesh.

The first time the girl asked Peter if he knew Jesus, Peter pretended as if he had no idea what she was talking about.  How many times have we done that? I know I’m guilty of pretending like I’m clueless.  A co-worker asks, “Do you think it’s ok for me to cheat on my husband because he’s cheating on me?” To avoid proclaiming Christ and having a conversation that will lead to them knowing who I represent. I would pretend to not really understand what they are talking about. I would say something like “I’m not sure”.  But in reality, I know the answer to her question, “No” and “No!” But sometimes we feel it’s easier to pretend we don’t know something instead of taking that opportunity to proclaim Christ and stand on what we know to be true.  These are missed opportunities to proclaim Christ. Are we failing tests because we’d rather pretend to be clueless?

The second time the girl asked, Peter denied Christ again.  Now we know, most people don’t let us get off that quick with our “I don’t know” answer.  If you are truly a follower of Christ, they know there is something about you that stands out.  They know you have an opinion. They can see Him in you and are curious.  Will you outright deny Him, when they confront you?  Your co-worker could say, “I’m gonna tag you in my FB post so you can read all about how he got caught up. I know you probably think I shouldn’t cheat on my husband.  I heard you go to church every Sunday. So I know what you think!”.  Do you take the opportunity to stand for Christ at that time?  Or do you concede to your flesh and say, “I don’t have an opinion”, which, in essence, is denying Christ a second time.

The third time the girl asked, Peter cursed to get his point across.  I can imagine by this time Peter was not only afraid, he was annoyed.  Who is this little girl asking all these questions trying to get him caught up?  He’s just trying to chill and not get killed.  Peter’s flesh lashed out at the girl.  Hoping, that if he cursed they would surely know he wasn’t with Jesus. Because Jesus would never speak in such a manner.

Now I can imagine if my co-worker kept bugging me, asking me for my opinion, I might go off. My flesh would want to say anything to shut her up and get her off my back.  This happens so often!  We deny Christ by not taking our stand for what is right. We shy away from the conversation that would let the world know who we represent and what we stand for.

How can we save the world without showing them there is something to be saved from?

The Word of God isn’t all daisies and roses. The Word speaks of love and grace, but it also talks about hell. How can we save the world without showing them there is something to be saved from?

How many times have you denied Christ today?  My prayer is to never deny Christ.  Denials in today’s world can appear minimal and you may think to yourself, “I’ve never denied Christ.”  But…

  • Do you call out your friends, when you know they’re wrong?  If you know your friend is stepping out on her husband.  Do you reach out to her in love and let her know what she is doing goes against the word of God?  Do you reach out to her and let her know the consequences of adultery? When she tells you about their romantic evening; do you use that opportunity to represent Christ or do you shy away from taking a stand?
  • Will you show your support for a Christian minister who is bashed because they preached about adultery, fornication or homosexuality?  Why not? When your friend tagged you in the post, did you like it?  Did you proclaim to be a child of God and support what the Word of God proclaims or would you shy away from taking a stand in love?

If you’ve done anything similar to these things, you have denied Christ. He gives us so many opportunities to take a stand. But we don’t because of fear.

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6 (ESV)

We  are scared we will lose our friends, our reputations, our followers, and sometimes even our family members.  Let’s not forget, this is a battlefield!  Every day we must be ready to take a stand in love on the Word of God. Holiness is still right and wrong is still wrong.  God will give you the power to overcome fear!

So many times we are afraid to take a stand because we ourselves are guilty of doing the same thing which is wrong.  I can testify to this. How can we be a witness when we are still tied down in our mess?  If this is you, stop denying Christ.  You’ve not only denied Him to the world, you’ve denied Him to yourself.  Do you know Him?  Sometimes we have to check ourselves.  Are we denying Him because we really don’t know Him or are we denying Him out of fear?

The amount of regret that hit Peter when he realized he denied Christ three times just as Jesus predicted was unbearable.  He shed tears thinking about what he had done and what he promised Jesus. He told Jesus, he would never deny Him! (Mark 14:31) But when the test came, Peter failed.

Peter’s denial makes me think of all the tests I failed because of my fear to take a stand on the Word of God.  When I became a Christian and turned my life over to Christ, I made a promise to follow Him and serve Him until death. But I have failed in so many ways. Thank God for His grace! Even though Peter failed this test he passed so many others.  Will you choose, as of today, to represent Christ 100%?  With each test, with each social media post, with each friend, I will represent Him. I will stand on His Word. The world will know who I am, who I represent and what the Lord has said!

I choose to do just that from this day forward. I may lose some friends. I may be talked about. They may even try to pull up my past.  But, that won’t stop me from standing on the truth!  I dare you to be like Peter. Accept the failure of denying Christ. Cry if you have to.  But use that failure as fuel to represent Him like you’ve never done before.

The Word says everyone who denies Christ on earth will be denied by Christ in Heaven (Matthew 10:33).  Don’t deny Christ.  Let the world know, without a doubt, you know Him through your words, actions, and daily stand on the Word of God.

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Check your vitals….

Mark 7:15 – 23

It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.” Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used. “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you?  Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.) And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you.  For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder,  adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”

“It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you. You are defiled by what comes from your heart.”

We focus so much on our outward appearance.  Before we go to church, work, or school we make sure our hair is laid and our outfit is on point.  Some of us even put forth an effort to workout and be physically fit.  But we fail to focus on cleaning our heart.

Christ tells us it’s more important to focus on what is going on within our hearts then what we actually eat.  God designed our bodies to remove what we eat naturally.  Christ described it by saying “food passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer”.  But the things that come out of your heart can have an everlasting and devastating effect on your life.

Our heart stores every thought.  You know, those “clap backs” we say in our head.  Christ tells us evil thoughts come directly from our hearts.  He describes things such as sexual immorality, theft, murder, greed, deceit, envy, slander, and the list goes on.  What are you hiding in your heart? Is it the word of God or does it consist of one of the subjects described by Christ?

The majority of us can relate to at least one of the “vile” things Christ described. But we know that Christ is a healer. He can cleanse our heart.  I love the song “give me a clean heart”.  The song asks Christ to give us a clean heart so that we can serve Him. If he fixes our heart we can be used.  But, how can he use us if our heart is hardened and unclean?

What goes on within our hearts can eventually come out of our mouths.  It can destroy our witness.  What has been on your mind lately?  Are you thinking good things?  Are you focused on the will of God?

Things in this life will not always go our way.  We may not get the promotion. Your friends may turn their backs on you.  When things don’t go your way do you focus on revenge?  Are you jealous?  Do you covet what others have?  When that friend turns out to be your worst enemy, do you focus on how to get them back?  Do you “clap back” at every person who speaks negatively towards you?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time for you to check your vitals and complete a heart check.

Christ urges us to focus on our heart.  He knows everything!  He knows how important it is for us to be healthy.  If we eat healthier we may live longer.  But He wants our main focus to be on our spiritual hearts.  What’s the point of eating healthy to live a long life if you die with a filthy heart?  Our hearts are vital!  They are vital to us physically and they are vital to us spiritually.

Where does your mind wander when you are alone? Where does it go when you are upset?  If you are struggling with your thoughts, lay your struggles at His feet.  Ask the Holy Spirit to clean your heart.  He wants to cleanse you from every “vile” thing stored in your heart. He wants to remove the build up of junk and fill it with love, joy, and peace.  Give Him the opportunity to make you new.

If your physical heart has build up the end result could be a heart attack and even death.  Christ wants you to know if your heart is filled with vile things a spiritual heart attack could be on the horizon.  Those things will eventually defile and destroy you.  So, check your vitals to detect your heart problems. If your heart has build up, clean it out! We don’t want to have a heart attack… Because, as we know, that can kill you.

check-your-vitals

If you suffer from a spiritual heart disease, ask the Holy Spirit to cleanse your heart and focus on this treatment plan provided by the Apostle Paul.

“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 4:8

Stop using God’s grace as an excuse to sin

Romans 6:15-18

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?  But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

God’s grace is everything!  His grace covers us during our “slip-ups” and his love redeems us when we confess.  The Lord tells us exactly what we need to do in order to see the Kingdom of God.  We must first confess with our mouth and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead.  Once we do that we are saved.

He commands us to look after each other.  He wants us to spread the gospel of His grace and strengthen one another so that no one will perish or fall into the enemy’s trap.  He reminds us of Esau.  Esau sold his inheritance for a meal.  Although, Esau came back and poured out his heart to his father he could not change what had been done.  His inheritance was gone and he was rejected.  It’s so easy to condemn Esau and wonder why in the world would he give up his inheritance for food?  Who would do that?  But Christ is looking at us and wondering the exact same thing.  After dying on the cross for us, suffering through beatings and verbal abuse why would we give up our inheritance for temporary moments of pleasure?

Hebrews 12:14-17

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.  See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.  Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.

Christ commands us to be holy.  He commands us to remain sexually pure. He commands us to be honest, righteous, and above reproach.  Christ understands our flesh. He knows how it feels to be tempted, beaten, and stressed out.  This is why He has given us grace.  BUT, how many times will you ask Christ to forgive you for the same thing?

  • Lord, please forgive me for cheating on my test….again.
  • Lord, please forgive me for having sex with my boyfriend……..again.
  • Lord, please forgive me for cursing out my co-worker…..again.
  • Lord, please forgive me for gossiping….again.

God’s grace is sufficient and He will forgive us.  But, how many times will we continue to commit the same sin?  Why are we selling our inheritance for temporary pleasures on this earth?

If we find ourselves continually committing the same sins over and over again, we may need to re-evaluate our commitment to Christ.  Have you truly accepted Christ into your heart?  Have you made Him Lord of your life?  Do you love Him?  Gosh, do you really love Him?  We all answer yes! Of course I love Him! But, He asks…….

  • “Do you love me more than your job?”
  • “Do you love me more than your boyfriend?”
  • “Do you love me more than your family?”
  • “Do you love me more than those red bottoms?”

Christ wants to be number one in your life.  He has this crazy love for us.  He is also a jealous God!  He does not want anything or anyone above Him.  God’s grace was given to us to protect and cover us.  But, we shouldn’t use His grace as an excuse to sin.  Gosh!  How would we feel if someone continually did this to us.

I once had a friend who I added to my cell phone plan.  We figured it would help him save money.  We agreed that he would pay me $50 per month when the bill was due.  My friend knew that I would automatically pay the bill even if he never paid me the money.  I would ask about payment and he would say, “well can you cover me this time?”. And, of course, I loved him so I said, “Yes, I’ll cover it.”  But this continued to happen month, after month, after month.  By the 4th of 5th time, I began to feel used.  Is he really my friend? Does he really care about me?  When I confronted him, he said he knew I had the funds so, “What was the problem?”  I can laugh about this now!  But, my friend knew the rules when we made the agreement to add him to my plan.  He was not following the rules.  I was nice enough to cover the first few times he missed a payment.  But his disregard for my feelings, bills, and time showed me exactly who he cared about.  He cared only about himself.

Do we do this to God?  Do we use Him for His benefits and when He follows up to see what we’ve done for the Kingdom we give an excuse?  Do we commit outright sins against God simply because we know He’ll forgive us.  Do we say “I’ll go ahead and sleep with him tonight and ask forgiveness in the morning, because you know God’s grace will cover me?”  Gosh!  How disrespectful.  How can we grow in Christ if we stay in the same place?

I have been soooooooo guilty of this!  Christ knows that we will fall and He knows we may commit the same sin more than once.  But, we shouldn’t use His grace as an excuse to sin.  The Apostle Paul reminds us of our original commitment to Christ.  We are His servants. We are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness!  My prayer is for the Holy Spirit to continually convict me of my sins.  My sleep should be disrupted if I’m not spending quality time with Him.  It is literally impossible to spend time with the Holy Spirit without receiving conviction of your sins.  I remember putting off my quiet time with Christ just so I would not be convicted.  Because I already knew what I was doing.

It is literally impossible to spend time with the Holy Spirit without receiving conviction of your sins

How can we walk into our calling when we are still tied down in our sins?  How can we grow? We must pray for the Holy Spirit to direct our path.  If you find yourself committing the same sins over and over again, hand those sins over to Christ. Pour out your heart to Him. Repent!  Examine your heart and pray that Christ removes those things that are not of Him.  The Holy Spirit will give you a clean heart and renew your mind.  He will convict you when you are wrong and set you on the right path.  And His grace is there to cover you.  But, it’s up to us to follow the Holy Spirit’s direction.  He will give you the choice. And, he longs for you to turn from your earthly ways & choose Him.

So, will you continue to abuse God’s grace because you know “He’s got you” or will you stop using His grace as an excuse to sin?  God’s grace is sufficient.  His love is unwavering.  He freed you when you were a slave to sin.  Now let Him use you as His servant for righteousness!

stop-using-gods-grace

My Prayer:

Lord, thank you for your grace given to me each and every day.  I am no longer a slave to sin.  I am your Child. I will no longer commit the same sins over and over again.  You have freed me from bondage.  Please forgive me for sinning against you and thank you for loving me in spite of.  Lord, from today forward I will make every effort to walk in righteousness. 

What’s your Weakness?

Luke 4: 1 – 13

Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry. Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’” Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,” the devil said, “because they are mine to give to anyone I please.  I will give it all to you if you will worship me.” Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off!  For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’” Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’” When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came.

The enemy’s job is to tempt and destroy.  We know that he roars around looking for someone to devour.  One thing the enemy can’t do is devour someone who is full of the Holy Spirit.  When Jesus was tempted the scripture first says he was full of the Holy Spirit.

The enemy tempts us in three ways:

  1. Weaknesses – The enemy knows our physical and fleshly weaknesses.  He uses this knowledge against us.
  2. Earthly Riches – The enemy knows how easier life could be with earthly riches.  He uses this desire against us.
  3. Scripture Manipulation – When all else fails, the enemy will distort the scripture in an attempt to make us fall.

There are steps we must take before we can pass these tricks of the enemy.  We must,

  1. Be filled with the Holy Spirit
  2. Recognize our weaknesses
  3. Know the Scriptures

The enemy studies us and knows each and every one of our weaknesses.  He knows exactly what to do, what to say, and what to expose you to, in order to make you fall.  So, what’s your weakness?

  • Is your weakness food?
  • Is your weakness 6’3 with a bald head?
  • Is your weakness alcohol?
  • Is your weakness drugs?
  • Is your weakness fear?

It’s important that we recognize our weaknesses because the enemy has memorized them.

“It’s important that we recognize our weaknesses because the enemy has memorized them”

When Jesus entered the wilderness the enemy knew he hadn’t ate.  This was his physical weakness.  Because the enemy knew of this weakness it became his first attack.  But, Jesus quickly says “No” to the enemy’s proposition of bread by quoting scripture “people do not live on bread alone”.

In order to pass the tricks of the enemy we must know the Word of God.  The Word of God is our sword to defeat Him.  But, the enemy won’t stop after the first attack.  He will try again.

The enemy then begin to tempt Jesus by offering him kingdoms of the world if He would only worship him. Jesus again replied with the Scripture, “you must worship the Lord your God and serve only Him”.

What has the enemy offered you?  Nowadays the enemy doesn’t show up and ask you outright to bow down and worship Satan.  He knows that every Christian would say “No” to that.  But, he may offer you a promotion that takes you away from your ministry.  He may send a relationship that pulls you away from your time with Christ.  He may offer you a new deal that makes you lower your standards.  The enemy will entice and tempt us by offering more money, exposure, and fame.  The cost of these things may be our morals, values, and Christianity.  Christ lets us know we cannot serve two masters.  Therefore, if we choose that promotion and that relationship instead of Christ, who do you think we are really serving?  Ouch!  But, it’s the truth.  Anything that takes us away from our Savior is taking the place of Him.

“Anything that takes us away from our Savior is taking the place of Him”

This is why it is so important to spend time with Him.  He will open our eyes to the tricks of the enemy.  During your time of study the Holy Spirit will let you know exactly who you are serving.  Use the word of God to defeat the enemy.

But, the enemy is not stupid by any means.  He also knows the scripture.  The third time he tempted Jesus he attempted to distort the scripture.  He quoted scripture and tempted Jesus at the same time. But Jesus quickly responded by saying “you must not test the Lord your God”.   The only thing I can say is study, study, study!  There are so many “new” teachings in the world of Christianity.  I always find “new” teachings a little weird because the word of God has remained the same.  It’s important that we seek God for ourselves.  The Holy Spirit will guide you and make you aware of what is true. The enemy can quickly distort the Word of God.  We can only pass this trick of the enemy if we also know the Word of God.

After trying three times, the enemy left.  BUT the scriptures said he left him until the next opportunity came.  The Word says that a man  born of a woman is of a few days and those days are filled with trouble.  Just because we pass one trick of the enemy does not mean he will leave us alone.  He will wait for his next opportunity to strike.  This is why we must always be ready for battle.  The war we fight is spiritual.  Be on guard and ready to battle just like Christ.

Would we be able to pass the tricks of the enemy like our Savior?  The way he tempted Jesus relates to us in so many ways.  He quickly recognizes our weaknesses and uses them against us.  He also knows the desires of our heart.  He knows how easier life would be with more 0’s in our bank accounts.  He loves to tempt us by showing how much money we could make by stepping away from the Word of God and into the world.  The enemy even knows how much we love the Word of God that he would distort it to use it against us.

We must stay on our guard and recognize the enemy when he appears.  Recognize your weaknesses.  Pray over them and give them to God.  If we recognize them it makes it that more difficult for the enemy to use them against us.   Don’t let the enemy expose and use your weakness to destroy you.

“Don’t let the enemy expose and use your weakness to destroy you”

The enemy knows many of us will falter after his very first attack because our flesh is so weak.  Will you allow the enemy to get through steps 1 – 3 and then retreat?  Or will you fall after his first strike?

So, What’s your weakness?  Have you given it to God or will you allow the enemy to use it against you as his first step in battle?

whats-your-weakness

My Prayer:

Lord, I give my weaknesses and struggles to you.  Thank you for loving me regardless of my weaknesses. I pray that I continue to recognize where I fall short.  I know you are there to complete me and make me whole. Please continue to cover me with your grace and provide me with the strength I need to withstand the tricks of the enemy.