18 Things To Get Rid Of To Be Happy

Tulip

Photo by Peter Epler@creationswap

by Jeffrey Hagan
Introduction:
Everyone, believer or non-believer, wants to achieve happiness. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be happy as long as it is not our end all goal. Other than not having a relationship with Christ, the biggest thing that holds us back from accomplishing our dreams is, unfortunately, ourselves. We put limitations on ourselves every day, whether consciously or subconsciously. There are several practical things we can do to overcome these restraints.

“Life can either be something you embrace or something you hide from.” Stop making things more complicated than they actually are and just start living your life. It would be so much easier and more enjoyable if we would learn to just release certain unnecessary and unbiblical limitations.

Let’s look at some of the things you need to let go of on your journey to becoming a happier person. I am fully aware of the biblical difference between happiness and true joy, so please don’t criticize this work before you begin reading it. My purpose is to simply offer basic instructions for better living. So, with that in mind, things you need to let go of are:

1. The Approval of Others

When it really boils down to it, who cares what other people think? If you are happy with the decisions you have made, and you have sought God’s will along the way, then whose business is that but you and God’s? Imagine how much you could accomplish if you stopped letting other people’s opinions dictate the way you live your life. You do you, don’t let them do you. Pray, obey and study the Word, and from there take the actions you discover that might improve your life.

Galatians 1:10, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (ESV).

2. Anger, Bitterness and Resentment

Anger will eat away at you from the inside. Learn how to forgive those who may have wronged you. This isn’t about dismissing the other persons harmful actions; it is about easing the pain that it caused inside of you. Remember that whoever you let anger you controls you. Forgiveness and letting go can actually lead you down the road of healing and peace.

Colossians 3:13, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (NIV).

3. Negative Body Image

This is a big one in the culture we find ourselves living in. Only one person’s opinion should matter to you when it comes to your body and that is you. There is nobody out there who can determine what a “correct” body type is. If you are comfortable with yourself, and you are healthy, then that should be all that matters. Do not let others make you feel that you are less than beautiful because if you believe you are, then you are.

Ephesians 2:10a, “For we are his [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus…” (ESV).

Genesis 1:27, “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (NLT).

4. Finding a Perfect Partner

There is no such thing as a perfect partner, so go ahead and throw your checklist in the garbage. In life, often times what keeps us from moving forward is looking at the perfect image of a partner that we create in our minds. Find the right person for you: one that you can pour all of your heart into, one you feel comfortable being yourself with. The sooner you realize there is no one perfect person out there for you, the better of you will be. The following is not a bible verse as has been the pattern so far, but I believe the words are appropriate for our purposes on this point.

“He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you
will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at
least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits
to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him
and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote
poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but
he will give you a part of him that he knows you could
break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t ex-
pect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile
when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you
mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when
there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t ex-
ist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you
(emphasis mine).” – Bob Marley

5. A Perfect Life

Just like there is no perfect partner, there is also no perfect life to be had (this side of heaven). Life is what you put into it, so if you are not willing to do your part and put forth effort, you will probably find yourself unhappy or even miserable. The choices you make will directly influence the life you live. It is up to you to create the best possible world for yourself while here on this earth. However, make sure you keep your eyes focused on the eternal.

John 16:33b, “…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (NIV).

6. You are Going to be Rich

Too many people live their lives with the dangling hope that they will one day be rich. While this is achieved only by a minority of the population, it is not something that can happen without hard work and dedication. Stop letting money be your only, or main, motivator. Find a career you are passionate about and do your best. Be content with what it brings you. Turn off your thoughts of winning the lottery each week and you won’t be let down each week. Again, focus on the eternal.

Luke 16:13, “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (NIV, emphasis mine).

Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (NIV).

7. Thoughts of Your Ex

Your ex is your ex for a reason. If you are going to think of him or her at all, try and focus only on the lessons the experience taught you. Do not linger on any old feelings as they will only keep you from being happy with someone else in the future. This applies to ex spouses as well as ex boyfriends and girlfriends. Of course God “hates” divorce, but if reconciliation is impossible and the relationship has ended, then this advice is important to follow.

Philippians 3:13b, “…But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and striving forward to what lies ahead,” (ESV).

8. Stubbornness and Pride

I know it’s hard to admit, but sometimes you are wrong. Other people have just as much of a chance as you do in coming up with a correct answer, so stop being stubborn and just accept it. The less stubborn you are, the more open you will be to learning new things. Think of all that could be uncovered to you if you started listening to the opinions of others and stopped focusing only on your own. Stubbornness springs out from pride, and nobody wants to be around a prideful person.

Proverbs 11:2, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom” (ESV).

Jeremiah 7:24, “But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward not forward” (NIV).

9. Procrastination

Stop thinking you will finally get to whatever needs doing “tomorrow.” Live life in the present, and get your tasks done when they need to be done. Manage your time the best that you possibly can. This decreases, and can even eliminate, worry and stress by getting things out of the way as soon as possible. By doing so you give yourself more free time to enjoy the things you like doing.

Ecclesiastes 11:4, “If you wait for the perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done” (LB).

Proverbs 13:4, “Lazy people want much but get little while the diligent are prospering” (LB).

10. Baggage

All of us have been hurt by someone we loved. Bringing any of those negative feelings into future relationships will only prove to be destructive. No two people are the same, so it is unfair to hold a future friend accountable for how someone other than them has hurt you. Try to start each new relationship with a clean slate.

Hebrews 12:1, “…let us throw off everything that hinders…” (NIV).

11. Negativity

What you put out will come back to you, so change your negative thinking right away. Whether we realize it or not we have so much to be grateful for. Just take time to reflect on those things and appreciate them. Numerous possibilities exist in the mind of someone who is positive.

Philippians 4:8, “Finally brothers [and sisters], whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about those things” (NIV).

12. Being Judgmental

Why do people feel the need to continually worry about what is going on in other people’s lives? If we spent as much time worrying about our own actions as we do worrying about the actions of others, our lives would be much more meaningful. You have no idea what is going on in another person’s life, or in their mind or heart, so who are you to pass judgment on the way they act?

Matthew 7:1-2, “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging” (MSG).

Matthew 7:1-2, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (NIV).

13. Jealousy or Envy

Happiness is not having what you want; it is wanting what you have. Stop being jealous of others and start appreciating what you have. This is the heart of the Tenth Commandment, “Do not covet.” Everyone’s life is unique; you have certain things to offer that others do not. When we act in a jealous way, all we do is bring negative feelings into our lives. There is absolutely nothing positive to be gained from acting this way.

James 3:16, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice” (ESV).
Exodus 20:17a, “You shall not covet you neighbors house. You shall not covet your neighbors wife…[or anything else]” (NIV).

14. Insecurity

For the most part, happy people tend to have very high levels of self-esteem. They accept who they are and own it every day. They give off an heir of confidence and send out a positive vibe. There is really no reason to be insecure in life. If there are things you are self-conscious about, go out and do what you can to change them. Only you, with the help of the Holy Spirit, have the ability to create the best you possible.

Ephesians 6:10a, “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (ESV).

Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (ESV).

15. Depending on Others for Your Happiness

Ultimately, the only person (human) you can truly count on is yourself. Do not make the mistake a lot of people do and place your happiness in the hands of others. A relationship is not going to fulfill the void if you are unable to make yourself happy. You need to achieve happiness and contentment on your own before you can find others to share it with. This is absolutely necessary to becoming self-sufficient. There is, of course, One who you can lean on for help in finding happiness.

Proverbs 15:13, “A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrows of the heart the spirit is crushed” (ESV, emphasis mine).

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him [Christ] who strengthens me” (ESV).

16. The Past

Stop living in the past! There is nothing to be gained if you swim in the lake of mistakes you have made. Take past mistakes as lessons learned, and move on. You cannot completely move on to a better future if you keep looking behind you. Things happened, and that’s all there is to it. At times life can bite; move past it.

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has passed away; behold the new has come” (ESV).

Isaiah 43:18, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing;” (ESV).

17. Control

Sometimes you just need to let life flow along the way it was meant to. You cannot spend your life stressing out about things that are beyond your control. Try to relax and let things happen naturally. Embrace the unknown as this is where surprise, growth and learning reside. Let yourself be excited by unknown occurrences, and enjoy the excitement they bring. Life, and the world, are under the Lord’s providential care, not yours.

Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” (ESV).

1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, who you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price…” (ESV, emphasis mine).

18. Expectations

Managing your expectations is a major key to happiness. If you let go of expectations, then you cannot be disappointed. Do not expect any particular results from any given situation. Go into things with an open mind. This will allow you to give it your full attention without the pressure of living up to any preconceived ideas.

Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (ESV).

Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death” (NASB).

Summary

True and complete joy can be found only in the Lord, but there is nothing wrong with taking steps to try and make one’s life happier.

This list may seem simplistic, but as I am sure you know, trying to live out these steps is very difficult in this fallen world. Do what you can to be happy, but never lose your eternal focus and your absolute dependence on Christ.

Five Key Elements to Triumph Over Disappointments

 

block stacked trial 2

Artwork by Brendan Sceroler@creationswap

 

by Ann Stewart

Have you ever been disappointed about the outcome of something that you had anticipated with joy? That happened to me yesterday. Once you are expecting a sure thing that had been promised, and it falls far from the mark, disappointment can enter the heart.

Despite initial disappointment, I expressed gratitude. It was a total act of kindness on the part of the giver that had come from the heart.

In the wee hours of the morning, however, emotionally charged negative thoughts have a tendency to bombard the barely conscious mind. I was practically in tears by the time I got up. Then, suddenly, as soon as I meditated on the Word, I heard: Where is your focus? You can choose to put your eyes either on the Giver or on the giver! Wow! Instantly my focus shifted and thanked God.

You know that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and to be thankful for all things. But, when negative thoughts are allowed to rule your mind, they have the power to eventually lead to resentment, depression and unforgiveness.

Beware of the enemy of your soul! He comes to steal, kill and destroy. He aims to rob you of your joy, gratitude and peace. Be wise to his tactics! He will always focus on the negatives in your life and manipulate your feelings.

The Word, on the other hand, says that God looks at the hearts of both the giver and receiver. The giver has free will to recant on a promise. You may not know the emotional or financial turmoil that my have precipitated the change of heart. As well, the Lord may use a disappointment as a test of character for you. “For unto whom much is given, of him shall be much required.” (Luke 12: 48)

Therefore, do not put your focus on your needs or how others treat you. Instead, keep your heart filled with gratitude and thanksgiving toward Him, and He will supply all your needs, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4: 19)

The Lord rewards those who diligently seek him. and without faith it is impossible to please Him. Therefore, by looking down on your circumstances you are self-centred instead of trusting God to bless you beyond what you can ask or think.

Disappointments will always be part of life. How you react to them determines your faith to rely on God for all your needs.

The way to combat disappointment is to turn off negative, hurtful self-destructive thoughts. This is really not as hard as it seems. It takes practice and diligence to replace them with God thoughts.

The five key elements to turn your disappointments into triumphs are:

1. Recognize the author of the negative thoughts as the father of lies

2. Stop thinking and speaking hurtful thoughts over yourself. They have the power to rob you of your peace, health and … most of all, your close personal relationship with your Lord

3. Start praising the Lord. This is your most efficient weapon. It causes the devil to flee, your heart to sing, and your gaze to look upward. Praise Him for His goodness and just because of Who He is!

4. Give thanks with a grateful heart for all the benefits He has already given you, not the least of which is your salvation.

5. Quote God’s Promises out loud over your situation, write some of them down and post them everywhere you can see them.

Believe me, it works! Nothing is worth the loss of your joy and peace!

Ann Stewart is author of With Wings As Eagles, http://with-wings-as-eagles.com and writes articles to inspire and encourage you to fulfill the purpose God has for your life. http://www.lifealteringwords.com

Believe

Originally posted on The Devotion Cafe':

Hebrews 11:1 says’ Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

One of the hardest things for us is to believe in God. It’s not that we don’t know how to believe for we know all to well how to believe, and I am going to show you that you know how to.

freedomFor instance you believe in family, children, friends, love, humanity and so forth. We all believe in something right? Now let me ask you this, how much effort does it take you to believe in what you believe in? In all honesty it doesn’t take much effort to believe.

Then why do we struggle with believing in God? We lack the faith to trust him, sure we all have past and part of our past disappointments have hinder us and now we have trust issues. But when you believe in…

View original 100 more words

By blackeybaptistchurch Posted in Faith

PUT YOUR TRUST IN GOD

Leap of Faith

Photo Art by by Antonio Toney@creationswap

By Sue Darling
1 Peter 5: 6-7
Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.
As we grow more spiritually we find that God puts us in circumstances to learn to trust Him in new areas that we have never been before. Each time we may be terribly afraid. Bowing down to Him our wills and our circumstances to God is an act of faith. The problem with many of us is that we like to be in control. But God wants to teach us to trust Him entirely. His ways aren’t our ways. Only when we completely hand over our reigns and trust Him, will we be free of fear and peace will reign in us instead. God may be trying to teach us to let go of our dependence on the things of this world. He wants to bring you and I much closer to Himself. Where religion is no longer just theory, but something we practice in His Spirit. We all need practise in letting go and completely trust Him in all things. If He never allow trials to come to us, we will never grow and may become lukewarm instead, which God detest more than anything. We must yearn for His Kingdom with all our hearts. We are working for eternity. Our trials on earth may seem to last a long time but in truth it will pass. What is important to us now, will not be important in the future, especially when we arrive in heaven. And if we rely on God to help us through life He will give us the strength, the courage and all that we need to endure our trials, so that He will be glorified and our sacrifice will save many souls, and we will definitely become more and more Christ like in all we do, think or say.

I believe that Christian don’t often think just how powerful their prayers can be, so they pray for small things and only for people they know.  I believe in praying big because I know God wants to do great things through us.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

GO, STAND, AND SPEAK

Stand Up

Photo by: by Jared Rarick@creationswap

By Jeffrey Hagan

by Rev. Jeff Hagan, DCE, DMin

Acts 5:17-33, especially verse 20: “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”

Introduction:

This story is pretty basic, yet it is profound as well. It speaks of deliverance and revival, of true courage and high goals, of world-changers on fire for Jesus. In the early days of the church, revival fires were torching up all over Jerusalem. I’m talking real revival, not the cheap imitation we read and hear of today. Thousands of people were putting their faith in the Nazarene carpenter and the number of disciples was multiplying. No area of the city was immune. The streets, markets, schools, and homes were alive with the latest news. In Acts 4, the high priest called for an emergency meeting of the Sanhedrin (the Sanhedrin was Israel’s seventy highest ranking religious politicians). The Sanhedrin was like a combination of a Senate and a Supreme Court. They gathered together somewhere in the temple complex, set up in a semi-circle configuration with the high priest, Annas, acting as moderator. Annas despised the church. Peter and John were commanded not to preach. But, in chapter 5, we find them preaching anyway, and it was becoming clearer with each passing day that Christianity was not just some fad, but it was a permanent faith. In a flash of intense anger, Annas sent the temple police to arrest all twelve of the disciples and to lock them in the common prison. A jail like this, in a city such as Jerusalem, would have been disgustingly filthy. The clinking of chains and the cries of woa echoing in the dark, damp atmosphere. But, all of the sudden, the chains released from their wrists, the angel of the Lord opened the door, and the disciples escaped. The disciples were delivered from their cell because God is in the delivering business. He delivers from “sadness, sorrow, and sin.” He can deliver you from “addictions and afflictions.” And he can deliver you from your guilt and shame:

— “Because the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and to give up your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy, so that he may not see anything indecent among you and turn away from you” (Deuteronomy 23:14, ESV).

— “He will deliver you from six troubles; in seven no evil shall touch you” (Job 5:19, ESV).

— “The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him” (Psalm 37:40, ESV).

— “And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (Psalm 50:15, ESV).

— “And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one” (Luke 11:4b, NKJV).

Charles Wesley once said, “My chains fell off! My heart was free! I rose, went forth, and followed Thee!” So, what are we to do once we have been delivered? What are our instructions? The angels words in our main verse today are short and sweet: “Go stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”

1. GO. “Go” was one of Jesus’ favorite words. Just as a side note, it’s kind of interesting that Go are the first two letters of the world “gospel.” Anyway, Jesus told the missionaries in Matthew 10 to GO to the lost sheep of Israel. He told the disciples of John to GO tell him what they had seen and heard. He told the man delivered from a demon to GO home and tell all of what he (Christ) had done. He told the seventy in Luke to GO as lambs among wolves. He told the wedding servants to GO out an invite others to the banquet. He told those at the tomb to GO with the news of his resurrection. He tells us to GO into all the world. Where specifically might Jesus be calling you to go with the gospel?

2. STAND. Here is another popular New Testament word. “Stand” is used approximately 47 times in the New Testament. We are given instruction to stand firm in the faith, stand against the plans of the devil, stand fast in the liberty with which Christ has set us free, stand girded with truth, stand fast in one spirit. The angel was virtually saying, “Stand with your feet planted firm, your shoulders back, your head held high, and your chest out. Don’t be intimidated, but take a stand.”

3. SPEAK. We clearly live in a time of never before seen communications technology. It’s improving and modernizing almost daily. However, the most effective way to spread the gospel is face to face. It is most effective when we share God’s plan of redemption one colleague to another, one youth group member to another, one housewife to another, one bowler to another, etc. Have you witnessed to anyone recently? If you have, do you do so regularly?

Conclusion:

This group of rag tag misfits, these twelve escaped convicts, went along walking and leaping and praising God through the early morning streets of Jerusalem. As the sun came up, they were right back in the temple preaching Jesus Christ crucified and risen. They were arrested and beaten and whipped for doing so, but nothing was going to stop them. Do you have anything you need to be delivered from? Maybe addiction? Lust? Fear? Remeber that Jesus is the great Deliverer and he waits for you to come to him to be delivered. Once you are delivered then what? That’s when you “go, stand and speak” to the people the saving gospel message. Share with others that God is more than able to deliver them as well.

Rev. Jeff Hagan, DCE, DMin, (ThD)

Founder and President of True Grace Ministries and Theological Institute. http://www.truegraceinstitute.webs.com

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

Being Vigilant Is Not Easy

Our Sins

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By Dr. Henderson Ward

I know of situations when, because I was not as vigilant as I should have been, I endangered my life, and I managed to escape harm because of my good fortune.Most people would be able to recall similar situations in their lives, and would credit their escape to luck, destiny, God’s mercy or something of that sort.

To some people, just one lapse of vigilance has proven deadly.

The truth is that being vigilant can be quite difficult. Life has a way of providing so many distractions, challenges and disguises that to falter in our vigilance becomes ever more probable.

The Bible is aware that believers are prone to these lapses of spiritual vigilance, and the danger involved in doing so, and took time to give us timely warning.

Just twice is the word “vigilant” used in the Bible; once it is aimed at the leadership of the church and once it is directed at its membership.

Here is the first mention of the word “vigilant”, where the Apostle Paul is listing the qualifications of an elder or bishop:

“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, VIGILANT, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach.” (1 Timothy 3:2)

Without doubt, Paul was using the word “vigilant” here in the sense of a custodian, or a watchman, in similar manner to when he told the leaders in Asia Minor, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” (Acts 20:28-29)

The second and final time the word “vigilant” is used, is in connection to the ordinary church member, and Peter admonishes:

“Be sober, be VIGILANT; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

In truth, both Peter and Paul were alerting the church that grave dangers lay all around and only by the most astute diligence can we guard against them.

You see, it is more than likely that the average Christian will guard well against major sins, or those things that mightily offend people of God. Satan knows this, and because he is clever, his temptations are not to pester you just, or even chiefly, with these major sins.

No, he is more subtle and prefers to slay you by dragging you into the grey areas, the smoky situations, the realm of nuances and innuendo; where things are not so clear-cut, and you are not 100% sure what is wrong or right.

This is where you have to be very vigilant, and combative, for the good of your soul.

You are not going to be greatly tempted to rob a bank; for clearly that would be stealing. But what if the “fool” walking in front of you drops his wallet, and only this same morning you found out that you were penniless and asked God for help. Is that juicy wallet, now at your feet, an answer to prayer or plain theft? Does finders keepers apply here?

This is one of the reasons the devil is so dangerous. You can be doing evil, but because it lends itself to being rationalised and excused you feel no unease, and yet it can be just as evil as any major sin.

Believers who gamble are faced with this dilemma because they rationalise that they are spending only a few cents, so what is the harm? I have written an article published here on faithwriters.com (DON’T BE FOOLED BY GAMBLING; IT’S FRIGHTFULLY EVIL) and you can check it out for yourself and see the evils of gambling.

Being vigilant is not easy, because they are many little things, things that do not seem to be that important, but they have a damning effect on the soul and our spirituality.

I have known some believers who think nothing of:

1. Dating, and marrying, unsaved people
2. Tolerating obscene language
3. Telling “white” lies
4. Providing misinformation in order to get employment
5. Filling out misleading tax returns to save money
6. Watching horror films that degrades/dishonour/mocks God
7. Eating their food without saying grace because they don’t want to offend anyone
8. Laughing at dirty jokes; because others are laughing
9. Watching Hollywood films that they know are offensive

It is not that believers do not feel guilty doing some of the above, and other similar things, it is that they feel these things are so minor as to make no difference to their walk with God.

But in this they err, because spirituality, like daylight, can fade away gradually; until you wake up one morning and its gone. Your conscience has been so abused, for such a long time, that it fails to respond, and prick you, because you have drifted from being in Christ, to being in the world.

That is why believers have need of vigilance, daily, prayerfully and always under the umbrella of the Holy Spirit. And if a slip should occur, and as humans these slip-ups happen sometimes, then the immediate urge should be to honestly seek restoration and more grace. Micah puts it well, “I have fallen, but enemy, don’t laugh at me! I will get up again. I sit in darkness now, but the LORD will be a light for me.” (Micah 7:8 Easy-to-Read Version)

Being vigilant is not easy, but by God’s grace we can make sure that the little foxes do not spoil our tender vines. (Song of Solomon 2:15)

Enough said.

Books by this author (non-fiction except indicated otherwise)

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Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward’s career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2013
email drhendersonward@yahoo.com

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THE FRUIT

Fruit of the Spirit

Artwork by Will Williamson@creationswap

by Lee Frank

You will know them by their fruit … This we’ve been told
And it’s not silk suits … Standing out so bold
We’ve been given a list … Of what we should see
That we should insist … From all who believe

These fruits do not grow … From any works of mine
This you need to know … They come from the vine
We are but a branch … Without the vine we would die
Only given the chance … In the vine to reply

This is what it means … The work has been done
We need only to believe … In God’s only Son
It’s the Spirit that’s in us … That will accomplish all things
It’s in God that we trust … As we await the King

As a child of the King … Our desire is to please
The riches he will bring … Are things not seen
It’s our faith that he is pleased with … The rewards will be awesome
As we receive our gifts … And finally fully blossom

So when our fruits have finally ripened … Not upon this earth
It will be when finally likened … To a literal new birth

Adornments of Grace

- by Sheldon Bass

…That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” Titus 2:10b KJV

Nearing the Christmas season, my wife, Becca and I climbed to our attic and sorted through the seasonal decorations stored there. We then enjoyed reminiscing as we looked through pictures of Christmases past. Family faces shone with comfort and cheer. A warm glow was cast from the colorful lights of the Christmas tree, beautifully adorned with precisely placed ornaments and silver garland.

Opening another box in the attic, I found those same ornaments, a few of which were now broken. Apparently those few adornments hadn’t been put back into their protective packaging.

As we read through the book of Titus, where Paul shows us what a life surrendered to Christ should look like, I came to the above verse, where God’s word discloses that we are to adorn our doctrine by the lives we live. I hadn’t considered myself as an ornament of beauty before, yet it’s a good analogy for what our lives are to reflect. We display the truth of our doctrine by our gentle and godly character and behavior. Christians are to be gorgeous ornaments, reflecting the beauty of godliness.

We realized that as with those Christmas decorations, we could sometimes do a better job of protecting our Christ-like character. Sometimes an ornament gets broken, yet in Christ, when we make mistakes we can be restored to wholeness, and become even more gorgeous than before.
The book of Titus wonderfully reveals areas in our hearts which may be in need of maintenance, and better protection. I hope you’ll take a moment to prayerfully read those three short chapters today.

Sheldon K Bass, Author: Meet Him on the Mountain. Contact

 

Too Good To Be True?

Inspired by Rev 7:9-12

By Jayne Howard                                                  

John 3:16 (NIV) “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Most of us know that if something sounds too good to be true, then it is just that – too good to be true. Recently, I heard a preacher say that the Gospel, which is commonly referred to as the Good News, is more accurately defined as ”the nearly too good to be true, news.”

Well, the so-called, “nearly too good to be true, news”  is that for love God gave His Son to save humanity from eternal condemnation (hell); and, that Salvation is free; we cannot achieve,  work for, or purchase it.  And, that, this situation is called grace, which is defined as the unmerited, unearned, and undeserved favor of God.

Jesus died on the cross and He rose from the grave, demonstrating God’s power over sin and death (1 Corinthians 6:14).  And, because of His sacrifice, you and I are made right with God. Wow. This is news you can believe! “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8 NIV).

Jayne Howard has two children and one grandchild and serves as Pastor of Sowing for Souls Ministries, in Yonkers, NY. Contact

God’s Gentle Reminders

 by Antje Hill

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)

One afternoon I pulled out the hose to water our sunflowers.  As they became heavy with water, they drooped downward until they were only inches from the ground.  Gradually the water dropped from them and inch by inch, they slowly started to rise.   Later in the afternoon, they stood tall and proud.  It was at that point I realized I had something in common with this beautiful flower. I go happily along, doing my thing, enjoying the busyness of life.  Then suddenly I get a drenching of frustrations, heartaches, serious troubles, and I bow low.  The weight seems more than I can bear.  It’s then I sense God’s presence.  He reminds me He is not a condemning God when I grow weary.  He’s not angry with me.  In fact the bible tells me I am the apple of His eye.  That means He’s crazy about me.  He is concerned about my problems.  That thought makes me lift my head. I grow strong again.

The cold blast of water to our sunflowers on that hot late summer afternoon was shocking  and their sunny heads  bowed.  But because of the wet soaking, they grew even more beautiful and strong, much like my hurting times deepen my relationship and trust in the God who loves me.

I love the way God takes something as fragile as a flower and reminds me I’m never out of His mind or heart.

Today’s freelance writer lives with her husband, Richard, in Collins, MS, USA Contact

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