We have a choice each morning we wake up to either live by faith or live in fear; the choice is ours. It does not matter what comes our way, we still have the choice to either approach it in faith or in fear. When we have God guiding us we should have no reason to fear at all as we dwell within the loving care of our loving Father.
Unfortunately too many Christians today live in fear because they tend to try and do everything themselves and soon forget the presence of the Almighty. Of course we have all done it and sometimes still do it to where we become so wrapped up in making money, paying bills and surviving that we forget that the Lord is with us each and every step of the way. He will never leave us nor forsake us, but our human tendencies is to let our anxieties get the best of us.
“Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22 NKJV).
It is easy for us to become weak and fearful during a storm that comes in suddenly and seems to be over taking the small ship we sail on through this life. But the more we focus on Jesus, the less we worry about problems, the more we spend time with God and in His Word, we then can be revived each morning and restored each evening. There are always going to be problems, there are always going to be storms in life, but it is up to us on how we view them which ultimately helps us handle them.
“And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’ But He said to them, ‘Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?’ Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea and there was a great calm.” (Matthew 8:24-26).
Let us not be of little faith, but rather of great faith. Not of ourselves, but faith in the Lord. No matter what storms you may be facing today, no matter where God is calling you to go, remember and know that all is well and that the Lord is with you always. Move forward only in faith, leaving fear far behind where it belongs. Are you going to live each day by faith?
For most people every morning is pretty much the same with the same routine, but in reality every morning is not the same as it provides a brand new day and an experience with the Lord. Every morning we should wake up and begin our day with prayer and meditation with God and then finish off with a couple of chapters of His Word. We should seek to still ourselves in the presence of the Almighty first thing in order to start our day off right.
“My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; In the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.” (Psalm 5:3 NKJV).
When we start our day off by praising His name and being filled with His Holy Spirit, we then are able to face the fiery attacks from the devil and surrounding world filth. We then put on our shield of faith first thing and are properly equipped to go into battle. Even Jesus went and commune with the Father first thing in order to be prepared properly for the new day ahead.
“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.” (Mark 1:35).
Let us grab our morning Joe and start our day right with greeting the Lord first thing and spending quality time with Him. For those that have kids (like us), then wake up before them and get your day started before they start their day. Do not neglect the new day and new beginning God grants us every morning we wake up, because it is a blessing and should be treated as such. Are you spending quality time with the Lord each morning?
To be seen, or not to be seen; that is the question. When we feel the Lord calling us to a certain type of giving, whether of ourselves or financially, we should be careful in how we go about it. Whenever we pursue the call of giving or of work for the Lord we must first analyze our hearts true motives. We must ask ourselves, “Am I doing this to please the Lord and bring Him glory, or am I doing it to please man and bring myself glory?”
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deed before me, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1 NKJV).
In a world full of selfies and self love, we must understand and realize that this motive is our fleshly nature and a scheme and trap of the devil. We want glory for ourselves naturally and the only way to let go of this lust is by nailing it to the cross. We must crucify the wants and desires of our own fleshly glory and seek only to please the Lord. Giving to others is wonderful, but if we only seek to do it so that the public eye will applaud us, then we are doing it wrong.
“Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from me. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let you left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.” (6:2-4)
No matter what type of giving it may be, going on a mission trip, giving money to the church, helping out the elderly, etc. We must steer clear of glorying in ourselves and seeking praise from others. How we pursue times of giving reveals the true nature of our hearts and whether or not we have put to death the old flesh and been filled with the Holy Spirit or not. What type of charity do you feel called to give? How do you feel the Lord wants you to give it in a humble type way?
One of the most important parts of growth and change is changing our surroundings. By changing our surroundings we are then open and acceptable to learn new things and be molded more so by the new surroundings. A person’s surroundings typically can tell a lot about that person before even meeting them. If someone is consistently around bad influences and behavior, then they too will develop the same character. But if we surround ourselves with Godly influences and behavior, we then develop a more Godly character.
“Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.'” (1 Corinthians 15:33 NKJV).
It is a difficult thing to get rid of bad company especially when you have known someone or a group of bad company for so long. Many new Christians believe that if they hang around the bad company that they will change them, but the truth is that they will more than likely change you and hinder your overall growth in God. We are called to be a separate people mostly intermingled within the body of Christ helping build one another up in the faith.
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.” (Jude 1:20).
Now this of course does not mean that we shun others, but it does not mean we should be friends with the world either. There is a fine balance in how we should approach those that are outside the faith that promote corrupt behavior. Jesus sat down and ate with sinners, but he did so to only teach them and not to just hangout with them. He did not condone their sin nor participate in it and thus we should follow. It only takes one person to corrupt another individual and therefore we need to be careful in separating ourselves from being friends and just being a Godly influence from time to time.
“Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” (1 Corinthians 5:6).
Let us surround ourselves with Godly influence and purge out the old corrupt things and people that influenced our old lives. Let us not be friends with the world, but rather a Godly influence from time to time to hopefully and eventually lead the previous bad influence to Christ. What bad influence and corrupt behavior surrounds you that you feel needs to be purged today?
There are times that we are called to escape the comforts of familiarities and venture off into the unknown with God. These times can seem daunting and quite frightening, but overall it is what is needed. God does not want us to become lackadaisical and therefore He calls us out of typical setting in which we dwell and sends us forth into unfamiliar territory and thus causing us to either fall back in fear or continue a great work for Him while trusting fully in Him.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NKJV).
Just like when the Lord called Abraham out of his homeland and into a new land, Abraham had to move by faith as he truly did not know where he was going, but only followed the guidance of the Lord with faith. The same goes for the children of Israel when they were led into the wilderness and to the mountain of Sinai, they too knew not where they were going other than they knew that they were being led to a land of promise by the Lord Himself. When we are called to the new land we must always move in faith and never look back.
“Now the Lord had said to Abram: Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1).
When we decide to look back is when trouble sparks as it went the same for the Israelite’s in the wilderness when they murmured against God and talked about returning to Egypt. The old land, the old life is not better than the new one that God leads us to and we must understand that it is His will to follow and obey in order to tap into the full blessings He has stored for us.
“So the Lord’s anger was aroused against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was gone.” (Numbers 32:13).
Everyday we are faced with new challenges with some being simple and others being somewhat daunting to say the least. Some people are stuck in Los Angeles rush hour traffic, others are being led to a new ministry and yet some are even fighting the tough fight against cancer. Any of these times of challenges that bring us out of the realm of comfort are to be looked at as a time of growth and transformation. We must look at these times and ask ourselves the question, “What is God trying to show me here?” No matter how crazy or uncomfortable you may be, when the good Lord calls you out, do not murmur, but rather move forward in faith and always rely on Him with every step taken.
No matter how bad we may get God never give up on us. He wishes for no one to perish and wants all of us to come to the Truth. He will continue to watch over us and try and guide us to Him, but ultimately it is our choice to regard Him and choose to return Him love. We all go through rough patches in life and fall off the correct path, but as a good Father, He is always there to set us back on track when we call upon Him.
“He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.” (Psalm 40:2 NKJV).
Although we sin and miss the mark, when we call upon the name of Jesus and confess our sins with a pure heart, we then are washed clean. No matter what you have been through today know that God is there for you and that He is ready to make you clean and set you back on His path.
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9).
Each day we are being transformed and along the way we will encounter bumps in the road, but it is up to us how we respond to the bumps. Either we can respond by giving up on our walk with God with a perfectionist mind set, or set our sights back on Him and allow the blood of Christ to cleanse us and lift us up. When we fall God looks at us as a good Father with a sense of compassion, knowing that we are fallen creatures. It is when we transgress deliberately that He shows us a little tough love in order to help us walk with Him with a clean heart.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10).
No matter what we have done in the past as long as we come to God in a humbled spirit, truly seeking forgiveness, He is there ready to forgive. God does not give up on us, but rather it is us who gives up on God. Living a life with God is tough in this fallen world we call home for the moment, but we must continue always moving forward. We must continue to reset our sights on the Lord regardless of how many times we may fall. We must strive to be the best that God has called us to be while being transformed each and everyday. Don’t give up because God never will.
Many times we feel a work pressed upon our hearts to pursue for the Lord and yet no doors have been opened. During these times it usually means that we are not ready for the work He has called us to pursue, but rather we are being made ready. These times are times of transformation and building up in order to perform the work He desires to be done in the manner He desires. We are His vessels and sometimes the vessel needs a little more work in order to be used for its desired purpose.
“But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8 NKJV).
Just like a clay pot is formed and made ready, so are we made ready for the higher calling of God for our lives. If the clay pot is finished prematurely and water or wine is poured into it, the chances are likely that the clay pot will not perform the task it was designed for as the water or wine will leak out. God knows when we are ready and sometimes the being made ready part is painful and tough, but the end results are great and rewarding.
“But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:4).
Once we are purged and formed into the necessary vessel needed for the work that has
been set before us, we then are able to move forward and produce fruit. The fruit in which we produce will be abundant as our vessel is complete and we then are able to be filled with the Holy Spirit and power of God to the utmost, granting us the power necessary to accomplish the desired work.
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2).
What have you felt the Lord calling you to pursue today? Do not rush the calling, but rather let God form you to the desired vessel that is complete and able to perform it. Let Him open the doors at His desired time, which is always perfect. May the peace of God continue with you throughout the day and God bless!