Christian · Faith

Eternal life is the Greatest Reward

In our life, it’s easy to see, that humans are more naturally motivated to do something when a reward or incentive is involved. In teaching, for example, some people motivate students by giving them rewards for completing work (this could be anything from stickers to money… yes I had a teacher give money for completing an assignment…) However, there are some teachers who are not happy with that model because it promotes learning for the wrong reasons – to receive a reward. It can send the wrong message. We tend as adults to be motivated by this same reward based system as well. Think about it, after a long day of work or completing a difficult task what’s the next thing we do?

We seek something pleasurable to help us relax and unwind from the day… These activities range from person to person, whether it’s binge watching Netflix, or going out to eat with friends, we all strive to fill our lives with things that make us happy. This is good self-care, however at the same time, I think we have to be careful that the reward and security we seek is not becoming an addiction, bad habit, false idol or controlling us because eternal life is the greatest reward. As a Christian we must do everything through the power of the Holy Spirit to protect and nurture this sacred gift.

The gift of “eternal life” is a confusing concept to most. It’s an enduring relationship with a holy God by acknowledging the truth of the Gospel presented in the Bible. The Bible presents the loving and true testimony of God sending his holy and perfect son Jesus to earth to live with us. However, God gave Jesus a special mission and that was to die a torturous death on a cross for a specific purpose: so that human sin is forever forgiven and we can get access through Jesus to an “eternal life” relationship with God in heaven. Christ’s blood atoned for human sin. Accepting Jesus is the key part to this relationship because it is only through accepting how Jesus laid down his life and took on the deep burden of sin, as well as believing in his witnessed resurrection after death, that we can have a redeemed relationship with God Almighty and promise that God will take us to heaven one day.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 4:16 NIV

I have to admit, as a new Christian I thought that eternal life started after we die, however, I have learned, according to Scripture, that once we accept Jesus we are adopted into God’s family here on earth and we can experience the greatest reward which is a relationship with Him, this is eternal life.

It is important to know about God’s character and why you would want a relationship with Him. God is a God who cherishes relationships because He initiated a relationship with us through Jesus, but He also reveals himself in different ways to different people throughout history.
The Bible relays some of God’s relationships with people. He created and planned our birth one-by-one and He encourages us to respect one another as all humans are made in the likeness of God.

..”‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Luke 10:27 NIV

Eternal life may not be as instantly gratifying as some of the things we tend to reach for in terms of reward in society – but as you get to know the true nature of God and Jesus in a personal relationship, through Scripture and other believers you will see that it is the only thing worth living for.

Knowing God and surrendering to his will is the greatest gift you can ever receive because He is the creator and maker of everything and He knows what happens today, tomorrow, and the next day. He can generously share his ways and wisdom with you during your lifetime and beyond. Yes, you heard me correctly, through accepting Jesus’ saving work on the cross and investing in your Bible, prayer, church and a personal faith life, you can have lifetime access to God!

Ready to accept Jesus? A website I recommend is http://peacewithgod.net/ to help you get started!

 

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Christian · Faith

Why You Should Pursue Godly Wisdom

When I found out the late Reverend Billy Graham had a habit of reading a proverb a day I thought this was a great Bible habit that I wanted to adopt.

Although my parents are not yet saved, they have their fair share of adages that I grew up with, ranging from all sorts of topics like airplane etiquette to being proactive.

I’m betting your parents also had a few phrases they repeated that have stuck with you or guided you in some way into adulthood….

I think it is safe to say that most advice is intended for our benefit, but even the most well-meaning advice could be the wrong advice for us.

Perhaps none of your family or friends have direct experience with the sin you struggle with or maybe you’re uncomfortable confessing your sin to them at first.

The Bible has answers to your questions and so does God who is living and active and informs the Christian believer through the Holy Spirit of wisdom when asked.

Because, like Solomon and all the other humans in the Bible, I am a sinner and acknowledge my brokenness has been redeemed by Jesus on the cross. Being saved is a pure gift and knowing that I tend to mess things up on my own frees me to follow God’s lead.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

As humans, we have many questions about life, because there are many things we don’t see in our lifetime. Such as: when we were born, when we expire, who our parents were before we knew them, and why people behave in certain ways.

But God’s wisdom, and that contained in the Bible, is comprehensive and expansive to guide humans in all areas of life and to help us understand the weightier matters.

Not only that but God’s wisdom leads us to spiritual maturity and the joy of eternal life by knowing God and what he likes and dislikes.

The best advice a counselor gave me was this: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

For she knew biblically my heart needed healing and protection from the Lord. I needed to care for it spiritually.

Before accepting Christ, I got lots of advice and because I was not yet saved, I overvalued the opinion man whether good or bad. Superficial or deep, I absorbed what people said like a sponge.

Outside voices said things like:

‘What have you contributed to society?’

‘You look crazy’

‘You should be happy to take care of your (relative)’

‘You should be getting all As in school…

I actually adopted other peoples’ advice, comments and thoughts as if they were my own because I was desperately looking for guidance.

A lot of the advice I got involved the word ‘should’, but ‘shoulds’ without real care and concern rarely motivate us to change (Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend).

Or if other peoples’ shoulds do motivate us, they can lead to resentment and an unhealthy preoccupation: (that John Piper writes about in his book Don’t Waste Your Life) to be liked above all else.

In contrast, when I was in rebellion and isolated from advice, I was relying on my ‘own understanding’ which God tells us NOT to do in Proverbs 3:5-6.

Why? It is spiritually dangerous to rely on either of these two positions: relying exclusively on others’ opinions or on one’s own.

Being unbalanced in either of these areas denies God the ability to work and move in your life. If God gave us each individual personalities, gifts and talents we owe it to ourselves and God to trust in the vastness of God’s grace (demonstrated through Jesus on the cross) to let the Holy Spirit be the helper and guide of our soul as God intends.

The Good News is that we have access to God’s wisdom through Jesus’ work on the cross and by asking God for what we need in prayer and conversation. The Bible is our guide to see what all-knowing God recommends.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

This verse shows us that God expects us to have a posture towards Him where we ask Him what’s on our minds and take proactive steps to follow what God has placed on our hearts.

God set the things he did in you for a reason and the world needs what you have.

God encourages each one of us to be discerning and prudent in our thoughts, actions and behaviors. Proverbs makes it clear that the wise embrace discipline and correction and have many counselors, only the ‘selfish‘ maintain isolation.

Proverbs indicates just how valuable wisdom is because it guards our life from unnecessary evil, sin and pain.

Since God’s wisdom is personal, proverbs makes it clear that we need to filter outside advice with a grain of salt – filtering in through our psyche and judging for ourselves what to do or where to go based on God’s will.

God wants to speak wisdom into your life regarding the dreams and questions you have, the path you take and the company you keep.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5 NIV

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Humble Pie

pie
Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

As a Christ follower I never stop learning more about how l can be more like Jesus.

Thankfully God gives us the Bible to help us uncover more about how He wants us to love Him and accept His Son. He also gives wisdom freely to those who seek and ask it of Him.

The expression “humble pie” means having to admit fault/becoming aware of doing something wrong usually involving a lesson/ learning curve. I am not in the least bit impervious to being humbled by God. After all, we are all sinners (Romans 3:23)

One of my pastors used to pray something like: “Lord use me as an example whether by me or in spite of me “… And I love that prayer because he is admitting that we don’t always display the best examples of what it means to follow Christ.

And I think that’s OK because of such a thing as grace that God gives us to admit that we are sinners and it is by Jesus’ saving grace only that we are fully forgiven, redeemed, loved and saved for eternity.

Now I am not for a moment saying that we should stay steeped in sin. But instead we should humbly confess and repent of our sins to our loving and just Father who has the power to forgive us.

Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace in time of need.

Last Sunday it was hard for me to rest and unwind and my attitude frankly sucked.

I realized I was experiencing burnout from letting my to-do list run me ragged and was missing out on the true rest and joy that comes from letting Jesus lead my life.

When I reflect on God’s Sovereignty, I find great reassurance that God existed before the creation of the world (before I ever came on the scene) and that He continues to work in and through all things today.

Also, Jesus died for us and rose from the grave giving us access to heaven knowing we are still sinners (Romans 5:8).

This reminds me of the parable of the builder in Matthew 7:24-27 where Jesus says that a wise man hears and builds his house on the solid rock foundation of Jesus and His teachings, yet the foolish man listens to Jesus’ teachings and does not apply them. The foolish builder is building his house on sand which easily collapses in on itself when trouble comes.

In other words we were built to have a relationship with God – we can’t get by without Him by whiteknuckling it. And if we try life that way we will surely hit a wall. “And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”” ‭‭James‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

If we are walking in selfish pride and think we know what’s best for ourselves we will be less likely to follow through in talking and drawing close to God asking and believing in faith for prayer and guidance and we will be less likely to receive from God what we need. Don’t let this be you but let us continue to encourage one another to keep the faith even when we are unsure of or impatient about what God may be doing.

Prayer: Lord help us to rest in you and your mercy today. Help us be a blessing to you, ourselves and others, and help us to put your teachings into practice with the help of the Holy Spirit and trust you so that we may live an abundant life as Jesus promises. I also give thanks for Jesus’ saving work on the cross in Jesus’ Name Amen.

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Christian · Faith

How God helped me Worship in Public

group of people raising hands silhouette photography
Photo by Chad Kirchoff on Pexels.com

I am a very candid and timid person.

However God has replaced my doubt with faith when I turn to Him.

Faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

One of the coolest moments of breakthrough for me was participating in worship services. I was terrified of dancing and singing in public. My friend can attest that no matter how hard we tried – even though we loved every moment of the concerts we went to -we just couldn’t dance in public. Our eyes would shift awkwardly from each other, starting to blush, secretly hoping the other one would start dancing first or that everyone else in the crowd would suddenly appear blind folded so we could privately dance and belt out a tune away from disapproving eyes. What held us back was a fear of criticism and for a while I couldn’t worship in church due to the same fear.

I was able to confide this to someone close to me. She was able to speak truth into my life that I was being, as an introvert, too self focused in this area. If I was really walking in faith, worship is about my relationship with God and that’s what really matters.

God changed this CAN’T into a CAN. He changed what seemed impossible for me to do into something that is possible and brings me great joy.

I am content to sing and sway for the sake of my soul, for the sake of worshiping my God, and not being afraid to do so because it is Him I serve and my heart longs to worship. He is irresistible as He draws me closer to Himself during worship.

Although the world may seem judgmental and scary at times Scripture says:

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

Where is God calling you to be vulnerable so He can meet you and exceed your expectations in that place?

Jesus died and rose from the grave to prove that He can conquer all things and loves us beyond measure. Since God is all powerful he can break any addiction, lie or hindrance  that stands in the way of being close to Him.

Put your faith in Him today.

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Christian · Faith

The Lord is Near

When I remind myself that the Lord is near everything changes.

I usually have worship songs reverberating in my mind — the one that comes to mind now is “Keeper of my heart” by Kari Jobe.

“Keeper of my heart” is such an amazing worship song meditating on God’s splendor in the universe and the fact that He is forever good and faithful to us personally.

I receive eternal hope when I meditate on the Lord and all He does for me. This includes waking me up every morning and putting me to bed at night among the many other blessings I enjoy like good relationships, learning, eating, drinking, coffee dates and good books.

However I also enjoy spending time with God just for the pure fact that He is God. He is available at all times, generous, loving and encouraging. His preemptive love and faithfulness through Jesus’ death and resurrection from the cross helps me be loving and faithful to Him in return.

God is the one receiving His children back when we wander. He wants us to return and humbly ask Him for the things we need or want.

God is so relevant. God is everything I’ve ever wanted and He can turn even the crummiest day around. We must constantly make the effort to …

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” James 4:8 NKJV.

Recently I asked the Lord to come near me and it quieted my soul in joy. If you are feeling far from Him ask Him to be with you. If you are close, keep enjoying the Good Lord. Praise Jesus.

If you need help with this, please feel free to reach out, much blessings!

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Uncategorized

New Year, Same Jesus

Happy 2018!

Welcome to those looking beyond themselves this year for something more. I hope you will choose to learn about putting your faith and hope in Jesus and His saving work on the cross!

And a big Hello to those walking with the Lord already!

This year, as I’ve been busy making my own plans and scrolling on my phone I realized I really need to “plug” into God.

Just like plugging a cellphone into a socket (we do it because we know it will power up our phones), we can come to God the same way needing to spiritually re-charge – trusting in His power, mercy and grace to restore us.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9 NIV

If God is not your source of strength, read about how God protects King David in 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel from many enemies. Additionally David’s psalms are strikingly beautiful as they show his dependence on God. He talks to God about everything, including when he is afraid and things look impossible which is why I imagine he is a man after God’s heart.  David seeks and prays and sings to God in the psalms even when he feels desperately defeated.

“My help and glory are in God —granite-strength and safe-harbor-God— So trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him. God is a safe place to be.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭62:7-8‬ ‭MSG‬‬

In order to be closer to God and His plans we have to seek Him. God is readily accessible and available to us in all seasons through faith and we can go to Him in prayer being confident that He hears us. If you need help with this or are unsure of how to seek God questions/comments are welcome!

This year let’s put His kingdom first and practice trusting Him with all our hearts.

God’s plan will look different for everyone. What is it God has asked for you to Trust Him in this year?

 

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Christian · Faith

You do not have to be perfect

“Perfect is the enemy of good” Voltaire

In a culture where people are championed for looking or being perfect (in physical fitness, outer appearance or by outperforming others in roles such as a student, mom, wife, friend or business professional) we have to fight the urge to fit in just because it’s easy.

For a long time I’ve struggled with the fear of making a mistake/saying or doing the wrong thing/displeasing people but especially God – believing the enemy’s lie that I have to be perfect.

In other words, I was afraid to stand out by being myself.

This perfection led me to procrastinate, not try, and bow out of challenges. It also led to a lot of shame and hiding from making decisions in my life.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Bible story that reminds me that God looks after all people even those who are in low social positions is God’s relationship with Hagar.

God spoke to Hagar in the Bible when she felt lonely and desperate in the forest. Hagar was a pregnant slave woman carrying Abraham’s illegitimate son. She was running away due to unfair treatment by her master’s jealous wife Sarai. When she had nowhere else to turn, alone and pregnant in the forest God showed up to meet her. “She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.””Genesis‬ ‭16:13‬ ‭NIV

This encounter with God through an angel was truly life transforming for Hagar. She names the place after meeting God. He tells her gently where to go, about the birth of her son, future children and acknowledges her situation.

The bitterness in Sarai’s heart towards Hagar was due to her failure to have faith that God could produce an heir in her in her old age but God is faithful to His promises so He knew Sarai’s joy would come when God gave her a child.

We can take courage in that God sees us too and that in His eyes we can gain confidence and accept Jesus’ love and compassion enough for ourselves to step out in faith.

Another scripture that stands out to me is  “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners Christ died for us” Romans 5:8.

We are flawed sinners yet wildly loved by Jesus.

In the spirit of new adventures: I say cheers to the blog starters and blog posters, the timid and creative, the entrepreneur and the artist and cheers to the ones who have the courage to be themselves: stumbling and bumbling forth into new waters for the glory of Jesus Christ.

How will you step out in faith?

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