Serving the Church

Criticising God Is Nothing But Self-serving

Glory to God

@creationswap/ Brandon Halliburton

By Dr. Henderson Ward

Now that I am older I do not hear it so much but when I was young I used to hear it a lot: “If I was God I would…” and often this emanated from someone who was so angered by some senseless act or terrible atrocity that the person wanted to be like God who can enact swift and horrible retribution. Truth be told I am guilty of using those words too, but as I matured I came to understand the near-blasphemy of those words. Those words were underpinned, consciously or otherwise, by a searing condemnation of Almighty God since they were saying; “God what is the matter with you, can’t you see what is happening here? Don’t you care that this monstrous evil is happening in your world and will continue unabated except you do something? You should reach for the big stick and show them who is boss. Why aren’t you taking action?” The problem here is that at times some of us become so conceited and arrogant and filled with ourselves that we believe we are qualified to give God advice. We speak without understanding, we pontificate without knowledge and yet we feel we are the very epitome of intellectual and spiritual enlightenment. This is our real problem; we think we know when every piece of available evidence screams to the contrary. Here I take refuge in a conversation that took place a long time ago when someone thought he knew more than Almighty God. Here are the relevant verses: “Then the LORD spoke to Job from a whirlwind and said, “Who is this ignorant person saying these foolish things? Prepare yourself for an attack! Get ready to answer the questions I will ask you. “Where were you when I made the earth? If you are so smart, answer me. And who decided how big the earth should be? Who measured it with a measuring line? What is the earth resting on? Who put the first stone in its place when the morning stars sang together and the angels shouted with joy? “Who closed the flood gates as the sea gushed from the womb? Who covered it with clouds and wrapped it in darkness? I set the limits for the sea and put it behind locked gates. I said to the sea, ‘You can come this far, but no farther. This is where your proud waves will stop.” (Job 38:1-11 ERV) Job was put on the spot, taken to task for what he said and implied and God was not letting up for he went on like this: “Then the LORD said to Job, “You wanted to argue with God All-Powerful. You wanted to correct me and prove that I was wrong. So give me your answer!” (Job 40:1-2 ERV) Job was a man of integrity and wisdom and was sufficiently prudent to acknowledge his foolishness: “Then Job answered the LORD: “I am not worthy to speak! What can I say to you. I cannot answer you! I will put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I will not speak again. I spoke twice, but I will not say anything more.” (Job 40:3-5 ERV) Here is a compelling and seminal lesson for all those who think they know better than Almighty God. Job acknowledged: I am not worthy…I will put my hand over my mouth…I will not speak again…I will not say anything more. When we become so puffed up with our own self-importance and self-worth then we really need to remember who we are dealing with, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) All of the above thoughts came rocketing through my mind when I read an article in a national newspaper with the headline, “Why I ditched God for good” and the lady went on to trot out such simplistic gibberish that I wonder what would be her thoughts when she becomes an adult, for surely this was juvenile mush. The lady claimed that the only thing that matter to her, now that she has ditched God and become an atheist, is kindness. This is what I mean by puerile mush. There are many vile accusations made against the church but few people alive, beyond the age of nine years would dare accuse the church, or people of faith, as being unkind and uncaring. There is no organization on earth that has a reputation for compassion like the church; absolutely none. The members of the church are called Christians because they are like Christ and Jesus Christ, whose life we imitate, is the most compassionate person ever to walk on this earth. Over and over the Bible tells us that Jesus was, “moved with compassion…” and this was with regards to widows, the poor, the main and the halt, to the hungry and everyone who was suffering and undergoing hardships of all sorts. Anyone with an elementary understanding of the Scriptures knows that for the first time in the history of humanity a class of people was created to cater for the needs of widows and the poor. This class of people is called “Deacons” and came into being in the first church under the directions of the Apostles. Here is how the Bible described its origins: “More and more people were becoming followers of Jesus. But during this same time, the Greek-speaking followers began to complain against the other Jewish followers. They said that their widows were not getting their share of what the followers received every day. The twelve apostles called the whole group of followers together. The apostles said to them, “It would not be right for us to give up our work of teaching God’s word in order to be in charge of getting food to people. So, brothers and sisters, choose seven of your men who have a good reputation. They must be full of wisdom and the Spirit. We will give them this work to do. Then we can use all our time to pray and to teach the word of God.” The whole group liked the idea. So they chose these seven men: Stephen (a man with great faith and full of the Holy Spirit), Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus (a man from Antioch who had become a Jew). Then they put these men before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.” (Acts 6:1-6 ERV) Today, nearly every church in Christendom has a policy of catering to the needs of people and many of them searching out people in the community who are impoverished and sick or neglected and assist them. The world knows of the humanitarian activities of Christian organisations like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army but wherever the cross is attached or associated with a building in the community there you will find caring, compassionate, self-effacing people. For anyone to suggest that he or she has to ditch God and go elsewhere to find kindness and compassion is in truth the state of a lost soul in a state of spiritual and intellectual darkness. People reneging on God is nothing new; since people backsliding from their faith is a common occurrence and many souls languish in a state of apostasy; and nearly all such persons were neither fully committed to God nor obedient to the sacred ordinances of conversion, baptism and consecration in accordance with God’s Holy Word. One of the most debilitating problems with people everywhere, especially some who call themselves believers, is that they approach God on the basis of an inverted relationship. Some people’s concept of God is so lopsided that they build error on top of the error until the erroneous edifice topples over. Some people think God is like a supermarket where one can go and access goodie after goodie on command and even walk away without paying. Others think that God has to do whatever they want, and if he does not then he is not my God. All of this constitutes an inverted relationship and one that will bring great unhappiness, lots of frustration and eventually disillusionment and spiritual death and all because we treat God as if HE is OUR servant. This is appalling by any measure and only the spiritually blind or wilfully disobedient will fail to acknowledge that this is so. Will God do things that displease us? Absolutely. Does God appear to be sympathetic to the wrong people? Yes. Does God seem detached and unconcerned at times? You better believe it. All of these things we will encounter from time to time but what we must never do is to criticise God; for to do so shows clearly that we are still clueless and spiritual juveniles. When we are disappointed, devastated, hurting and has a zillion complaints we will do well to remember, “The LORD is your Protector. The LORD stands by your side, shading and protecting you. The sun cannot harm you during the day, and the moon cannot harm you at night. The LORD will protect you from every danger. He will protect your soul. The LORD will protect you as you come and go, both now and forever!” (Psalm 121:5-8 ERV) Enough said. Books by this author (non-fiction except indicated otherwise) E-books Published by Amazon.com If you do not have a Kindle then when you access the site, click on How Buying Works and you will see the FREE apps for Computer, Cell phone, etc Then click as appropriate. (Please click on the appropriate book link or cut and paste in your URL) THINGS EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD KNOW (e-book) Volume 1 Five tough facts to be faced http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004YX5NSI STAND UP TO THE DEVIL (e-book) Volume 1 You must first identify him http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005BQVLSS BASTARD: A STORY OF REDEMPTION(e-book fiction) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006OF3SD6 ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT ON GOD’S CLOCK (Hard copy) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002X78D16 ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT ON GOD’S CLOCK (e-book) http://tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-60799-630-9 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 Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com CHRISTIAN WRITER

Changing the Conversation (Please read this!)

people of the presence

@creationswap/jeffbrown

By Norm Cannada

When I think of the First Century church, my mind immediately jumps to the story in Acts 2 where the church — about 120 men and women at the time — are gathered together in one place focused on the resurrection of Jesus and the call to tell others.  The Holy Spirit takes control of the meeting and God comes forth in a mighty way.  I imagine people from the city peering into the windows, trying to get a glimpse of what was happening.

No one is peering in the windows in the church today, and they haven’t for a long time.   Most people in my inner city community in Charleston, WV are not just unchurched —they don’t give the church any thought. They say they do not believe the church has anything relevant to say to them.
In many homes throughout America, the name “Jesus” is not heard in a typical week unless someone hits themselves with a hammer or stumps their toe.  We are raising a generation of children who have little or no knowledge of who Jesus is and how much He loves them.
It is my heart to see Christians work to “Change the Conversation” with the people we see in our communities.  There are many ways to share the love of Jesus in everyday life.  One of my favorite ministries is as simple as eating out in a restaurant.  I learned from conversations with waiters and waitresses that the one shift people do not like to work is the Sunday lunch shift.  They say the people are rude and do not tip well.  When I first heard that, it broke my heart.
I was especially sensitive to this because I had seen the effects of Christians who were rude to waiters and waitresses.  We had a team of volunteers come to West Virginia from North Carolina for a long weekend of ministry.  After a busy day, the team went out to a local restaurant.  The service was not very good and one woman on the mission team began complaining about the waitress to the management.  Her complaints eventually led to the waitress being fired.  Before the team left, the woman who had complained went to the waitress and continued to complain, saying the waitress did not do her job well.  She then pulled out one of my business cards and, instead of a tip, handed it to her and said, “you need to talk to this man.  You need to change.”
It turned out the waitress lived just blocks from my house and she came to see me the next day.  But, she didn’t want my help.  She was angry and hurt.  Nothing I said to her then, or in the years to come, could convince her that I, or anyone else, cared about her.  The damage was already done.
So, we began praying for waiters and waitresses to let them know God loves them, making sure that we act in a way that matched our words.  Anytime anyone went out to eat, they were to order their meal and then say to the waiter or waitress, “We are going to pray over our meal.  Is there anything we can pray for you about?  They were also to be friendly, tip well and not complain about anything.  I reminded people they were not there for the service.  They were there to serve the Lord.

This simple act has changed lives.  Yes, some said they didn’t have any prayer needs, but often the requests led to a good exchange about faith.  I have also seen wait staff sit down at the table, share needs and ask if we would pray right then in their presence.
On December 7, 2010, 10 churches participated in a “Change the Conversation” event.  People from the 10 churches were assigned to eat at one of six Mexican restaurants in the area.  They were asked to do three things — ask the waiter or waitress for prayer needs and pray for them by name, be friendly and tip well (at least 20 percent).  There was a tip given to the kitchen staff and another tip was given to the waiter or waitress.  Each group of people was given specially made Christmas Cards, written in Spanish, to give along with the tip.  The cards explained the reason for Christmas and offered the name and phone number of the man who led the Hispanic ministry.  By the end of the night, our Hispanic Ministry leader had received a call from a man who was overwhelmed by the love of the people who prayed for him.  They met the next day.

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About the Author:
Norm Cannada has worked as a newspaper editor and writer as well as an inner cty pastor and church planter.   He lives in Charleston, WV.

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

Jesus Died for You…What are you doing for Him?

JesusTribe

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By: Arlene Price

 

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (New International Version (NIV))

14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

If someone told you today that tomorrow they will die so that you might be saved what would you do for them, what would you say to them? Meditate on this and really imagine how you would respond.

Jesus did this very thing for you already; he died on the cross so that you may be saved. Are you waking up each morning and thanking him? Are you asking him each and every day “What can I do today Lord to serve you?” Is going to church your only sense of obligation for such a great sacrifice? Why would you not put God first in your life? Christians are Christians because they put Him first – that is what a Christian must do. Have a grateful heart, pray continuously – not just when there is a need or emergency – praise his name throughout the day for all you have, forgive quickly and often. Serve your church – it is the house of God.

Philippians 2:12-13 (New International Version (NIV))

Do Everything without Grumbling

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Everyday adopt the attitude that firmly says “I will do something spiritually meaningful today.” Do you think you have not talent, no skills, nothing to offer? God has given you all you need to give back to him.  Do you often ask yourself “How can I help my church?” You should be doing this each and every day; it’s you real “job” on earth once you are a Christian. If you ask your church if they need your help, what will they say? I can tell you it’s a resounding “Yes!” No matter what you think you can do or can’t do you can always do something. Whether it’s one large project or little things every day, you have what God needs and he is asking you to use your gifts. So close your eyes and ask the question: “God, what would you have me do for you today?” then LISTEN…the answer is sometimes instant and other times it will suddenly hit you during a conversation, a car ride, or numerous other activities you could be doing and you will “know” what you can do. Here are things God says you can do for Him and his church:

I can …

…write spiritual poems, essays, articles, stories.

…paint a picture for the enjoyment of the lonely or to raise money for charity.

…make house repairs for those unable to do for themselves.

…put together a gift basket or care package for the needy.

…give my testimony; someone needs to hear it today.

…help my neighbor, my friend, a family member, a co-worker with a problem.

…cook a meal, a desert, a casserole for someone in need.

…hold the hand of dying child or elder and let them know I care.

…read the bible to someone blind.

…invite a friend or neighbor to church.

…take someone outdoors who is unable to walk and let them enjoy beauty of the day.

…sing a song for the Lord. I can praise his name aloud.

…assist with church activities: take photos, make video of church events and sermons, submit items to our website and/or newsletter, help with an event, make phone calls, talk to the community, decorate, draw, play an instrument, join the choir, teach, volunteer my time wherever needed. The list is endless…

I can develop into a real Christian today by praying, studying my bible, asking questions of those who can help me grow.

I can do all things through Christ today.

I can serve…

I will serve…

I am serving the Lord.

EVERYONE CAN DO SOMETHING

Any of the things above or something you know will help. There are no excuses when it comes to serving the church and serving the Lord. There are no excuses to wait until tomorrow; there are no reasons not to do your part – no other obligation in you your life means more than your service. When you become a Christian you must let Christ live within you and guide you, if you try  to do it alone or are only on Sunday Christian, you will get off track and things will start going wrong in your life fast. Let Him show you the way. Believe in yourself because you are a child of Christ and through him you CAN NOT FAIL. Do not live life for your desires or for the world; it’s about HIM and his sacrifice for YOU. Do all these things in His name and you will receive so much joy and you will live in wonderment at your many blessings. You will go to bed satisfied — knowing that today you have served the Lord first.

Galatians 5:24  (New International Version (NIV))

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

How to know what you must do?

Step 1: Pray for guidance

Step 2: Meditate on those things you enjoy or are good at doing. LISTEN for the answer.

Step 3: Go forward and take action asking God to go before you and make your way smooth.

Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 every day.

Why wait another minute? Get busy with God’s work now. He made the ultimate sacrifice for you by giving his Son to die upon the cross for your sins. There is no sacrifice you could make of your time that could be greater than what has been done for you. As a Christian you put away worldly things and put Christ at the center. His will is now your will, not the other way around. Wake up! Take up the cross and do the work you were called to do.

Galatians 2:20 (New International Version (NIV))

20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Arlene Price©2013, All Rights Reserved

You Have a Voice

By Deborah Brunt
You are the ones chosen by God,” says 1 Peter 2:9 (MSG), “chosen to be  God’s instruments  and speak out for him.”

Reading these words, you may inwardly cry, “I want that! Pick me!” – or you may think you’d rather pass. If you’re clamoring for opportunities to speak, you probably have a strong dose of one of the speaking gifts. If the words, “speak out,” frighten you or just don’t seem to apply to you, your strongest giftings may lie somewhere else. Don’t run from Peter’s announcement because you assume it’s not for you.

Speaking gift or not, you have a voice. Be blessed to use it.

In a symphony, every instrument has a unique voice. The trumpet blasts. The drum beats. The silvery-sounding flute, the raucous saxophone, the mellow strings – all speak in a different way.

Elijah had a prophetic voice. He played trumpet. He played well because he put in the time to learn. He watched the conductor. He followed the score. When the instruments sang in chorus, Elijah blended. When the flutes were up, he waited and watched. When another trumpet had a solo, he didn’t try to steal the show. When his turn came, he didn’t hold back. With grace and clarity, he sounded each note.

When you joined God’s family through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, you joined the symphony. He himself is training us, individually and together, “until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son” (Eph. 4:13 MSG).

You have an instrument. You have a voice. Be blessed to stay before God as he teaches you. Be blessed to play your part.

If your voice is prophetic, be blessed with tempering to speak in love.

If you’re an exhorter, be blessed with backbone to speak the truth.

If you’re a teacher, be blessed not to settle for mechanical excellence but rather to play from your heart.

If your bent is mercy, God designed you for improv. So go ahead and let that sax sing. Play the unwritten notes – but stick to the God-breathed notes that beautifully interweave with all the other sounds.

If you’re a leader, remember: God is the conductor. You play percussion. You sound the beat, but always by following the conductor’s hands.

Servant, you may not produce a flashy sound, but it’s foundational, like the bass. Find your voice.

Giver, ah how well you play the strings – the violin strings, the purse strings. Use your voice, not to manipulate, but to release songs of life.

Tap, tap, tap. The conductor has stepped to the podium. Whatever your gifting, it’s time to stop looking around, thinking someone else will speak. Sit straight in your chair. Raise the instrument God has given you – and follow his lead. As one voice in a symphony he is creating, with skill and with gusto, contribute your part.

“But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you” (1 Peter 2:9 MSG).

Be blessed to speak boldly, in your unique voice.
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About the Author:
Adapted from “The Elijah Blessing: An Undivided Heart,” (c) 2012 Deborah P. Brunt. All rights reserved.

Deborah Brunt explores key truths for living life. The author of eight books and more than 1,500 published articles, she writes courageously, prophetically, redemptively. Visit her at http://www.keytruths.com and at http://keytruthsblog.wordpress.com.

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

God Has A Mission for You

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By Michael Okyere Asante

A shepherd boy once lived, and in him God was to accomplish his plans to deliver the world from famine. This was the boy Joseph. As early as seventeen, he was actively involved with his brothers in his father’s businessshepherding of flocks.

In dreams, God revealed His plans but these dreams seemed too true for his family to believe, and this earned him hatred, jealousy, rebuke, and a bad reputation. God had a mission for Him, and as He walked in obedience to His word, God brought Him to the peak of his mission. Joseph proclaimed, “And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.” (Gen. 45:5, 8a)

God has a mission for you, and as you walk in obedience to His word, He would continue to direct your paths and reveal to you His next line of action. Obedience is key to accomplishing God’s purpose for your life. Where He leads, follow. The songwriter said, “I’d rather walk with God in the dark than walk alone on a road with signposts.”

Many times, we fear what we do not know. This is a result of lack of trust. God does not need to show you everything. He decides what and when to show you. You need to trust Him to lead you through the dark. Do not let fear prevent you from accomplishing God’s purpose for your life; you have not been given a spirit of fear, but a spirit of boldness. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”(Prov. 3:5, 6)

As you walk with God in the light of His word, He reveals His plans concerning your life. Initially, His plans for your life may not be comprehensible, especially to your family, and to your friends. That’s why you need to be careful who you share your dreams and revelations with. You cannot afford to allow discouragement, jealousy, hatred, and rebuke to hinder your journey to achieving God’s purpose for your life. Joseph was naive in telling his dreams (Gen. 37:5-11, 20); nevertheless, God brought His plans to pass.

As you walk with God, He reveals His mind to you. Therefore, you need to maintain a consistent fellowship with Him. You should realise that the source of your strength is the Lord, and if you are cut off from this Source, you would not function nor accomplish His purpose for your life (Jn. 15:5).

Remember, God did not reveal to Joseph that through him (Joseph) He was going to save lives from famine. He only revealed to him that he would be one with authority. It was only when Joseph continued to walk faithfully with the Lord that he understood the full meaning of the dreams he had.

Just as God prepared Joseph for his mission, God has given you gifts, talents, and abilities to prepare you for your mission on earth. These are to be used to accomplish this mission. God would entrust into your care little things, and you need to be humble enough and diligent in giving good account of what He has entrusted into your care. When you are able to do that, He would lead you into the next big role of accomplishment.

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?” (Lk. 16:10-12, KJV)

Whatever role God has entrusted into your care, do it with love, diligence, and commitment. No matter how small your role is or how people look down upon your role, determine to do it with all your heart.

You may not be the one to preach or lead a prayer session, but you may be responsible for sweeping the place of worship: do it with joy. God is preparing you for something greater. You may be pastoring a very small congregation: do it with all your might; God is preparing you for something greater. Do not take lightly whatever role God has given you. Account will be required of whatever we do here on earth.

Here was Joseph, a slave in the house of Potiphar, and later a prisoner of false accusation. In these two places (Potiphar’s house and the prison), Joseph did not consider his status nor did he forget his God. He walked faithfully with God, and worked with all diligence (Gen. 39:4-5, 22-23).

He exercised his gifts of stewardship, wisdom, leadership, and dream interpretation, and this gained him favour in the sight of God and man. No role is too small to accomplish.

If you fail to accomplish that ‘little’ role God has given you, you would deny someone an opportunity to know Jesus Christ as Lord and personal Saviour. God has a mission for you; fulfil it!
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Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION(R).Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Copyright(c)2010 by Michael Okyere Asante

In reprinting, no part of this article should be altered in any form.
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Michael Asante is a young author and a youth leader, and has for the past eight years been involved in teaching, encouraging, and counselling the youth. Michael blogs at http://michaelasante.blog.com . Contact him at christianlifeblog@live.com

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

Prayers God Answers – The Prayer of Jabez

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In the midst of a long list of who beget whom is a short, two verse, story about an honorable man and his prayer. It was a prayer that God answered. This powerful Old Testament prayer can serve as a model for our own prayers. Bruce Wilkinson’s book, The Prayer of Jabez, became a huge success. It became so successful that many people felt that there must be something wrong with it. But this prayer from 1 Chronicles 4:10 is a great prayer for one simple reason: God answered it. And we need to take another look at this simple, but effective, little prayer.

“Oh, that You would bless me indeed,” 1 Chronicles 4:10b

Many people feel that it’s wrong for us to ask God to bless us, but they miss the point. The point is: God wants to bless us.

Psalm 67:1-2 says, “God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us, Selah. That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.”

When God blesses us He reveals to the entire earth just who He is. And God’s salvation, His power, love, and mercy, are proclaimed when He blesses His people.

“…and enlarge my territory,” 1 Chronicles 4:10c

Jesus’ disciples got into an argument about who was going to be the greatest among them. Jesus knew that they were having this discussion, so He confronted them about it. What’s interesting is that He did NOT say to them: “You shouldn’t want to be great.” Instead He gave them specific instructions about HOW to be great. In Luke 22:24-2 , Jesus tells the disciples that the Gentiles believe being great means ruling over people, but that is not how they are to understand greatness. He says, “he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.” To be great, we must become greater servants. Our greatness is not determined by who we look down on or who works for us, but by the kinds of people we serve, the number of people we serve, and the way in which we serve them.

” …that Your hand would be with me,” 1 Chronicles 4:10d

Most people spend their lives trying to figure out how little they can get by with. They want to get more for doing less. Jabez knew that by asking God to help him serve more, he was asking God to help him do more than he could possibly accomplish on his own. He purposely asked God to put him in a position where he had to depend on God. As Michelangelo once said, “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”

“…and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” 1 Chronicles 4:10e

Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one,” in Luke 11:4. Sin and evil are all around us and we need to be aware of our dependence on God to live a life that pleases Him in every area.

But a second aspect of this prayer becomes clear when we read that the name “Jabez” means pain. It was the name that his mother gave him because of the pain he caused her during birth. Jabez had spent his entire life, every time he was introduced to someone or whenever someone called his name, being reminded that he had brought pain into his mother’s life. We all have to pray for God to help us overcome the wrong beliefs that we have about ourselves. Whether it was our parents, teachers, or anyone else who said them, we all have beliefs about ourselves that simply aren’t true. They are nothing more than what others have projected onto us because of what they were experiencing or what they believed.

God wants to bless us and help us become greater servants. In order to do that He wants us to depend on Him completely in every area of our lives. And He wants us to believe the truth about who we are. We are His children, He loves us, and He is with us every moment of our lives. He wants to do great things in our lives. At the end of of this simple prayer in

1Chronicles 4:10 we read, “So God granted him what he requested.”

When we pray this prayer that God answers, just like Jabez , our lives will never be the same.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Rob Marshall is the author of “Taking On Goliath – How to Unleash the David in All of Us.” Learn how you can unleash your faith and overcome any “Goliath” that may stand between you and your dreams. http://www.TakingOnGoliath.com
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Dare To Be a Real Christian

Take the Dare!

Jeremiah 7:23 (NCV)

23 I also gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Do all that I command so that good things will happen to you.

Do you remember the day you were saved? How did you feel? What motivated you? Why did you decide that this was the path for you? Remember the lost feelings and how you finally found salvation. Remember your relief in knowing your sins was forgiven and you would never have to face life’s challenges alone. Remember the love you felt from those around you, the acceptance, and the power of the moment. Re-capture those feelings and those reasons again. If you haven’t been serving God – only going through the motions – then you need to realize God has a purpose for you and he’s waiting for you to call on Him to get started

Somewhere along the way, you may have gradually, unintentionally lost your focus. You became passive and uninterested, putting your energy into worldly interest and daily problems. Yes, you called on Him during times of real trouble, but not daily. And you occasionally go to church, to make an appearance. Your enthusiasm has become excuses. You devotion has become practically non-existent, but yet you call yourself a “Christian” when asked. You think you are bound for Heaven, so why do anything more.

Today dare to be the Christian you ask God to make you that day you were saved. Ask Him to renew in you your passion and to reveal to you your purpose. Look for ways to help the needy, the lost, and the poor in your community or in the world – think big even if you do small things at first, dream big knowing there is no limit what God can do through you, focus on God at all times. Remember to be a Christian is to be “Christ-like” not “Man-Like” or” Woman-Like”, it is to be so much more than what you thought you could ever be! You cannot be too busy for God, get busy helping God and He will get busy helping you!

He will take those problems that take up your time and solve them every one, meanwhile you must put your focus on doing his work and not those problems – release them to Him so you might be released. Why would you want to be the prisoner of the world around you when you have the opportunity to be so much more? You have talents, love, skills, knowledge that is needed by your church and your community. The more you give of yourself the more your receive from Him – more blessings, more time, more love, more money, more everything – you are provided for and taken care of when you stop holding back what He has given you to give to others.

If you are afraid you will not have time for fun or just cannot have fun while being a Christian – well, I’m here to tell you how wrong you are in that way of thinking. Some of the most precious, fun, memorable moments are those when I knew I was doing what God wanted me to do – not what I  wanted to do. If you think you have nothing to offer, you do – you have love, mercy and knowledge. Be creative and use whatever you have, even if it’s just a smile or a helping hand.

Here is your challenge:

Dare to give of yourself before you give to yourself.

Dare to look for the needy, poor, and lost around you. Pray you will be led to them, so you can help them.

Dare to let go of your problems and let God handle them, so you will be free to handle what He has planned for you.

Dare to spread His word, so all the people you encounter know the wonders he has bestowed upon you.

Dare to praise Him for all you have, for all you are able to do, for all you can do for Him.

Dare to stop complaining, making excuses and blaming – instead stand up and accept responsibility for what God has in store for you to do – ask Him for guidance and support, and go forward with confidence.

Dare to learn your bible by reading a chapter per day and studying its meaning. Don’t just read it – apply it and share with others.

Dare to pray for all those who need his healing, salvation and guidance. Watch in awe as those prayers are answered. It’s truly incredible!

Dare to put the “Christ” back into being a “Christian” and then the next time someone ask if you are a Christian you can say “yes” with confidence – you really are “Christ-Like”, because you are walking the walk and talking the talk.

It’s not always easy letting go and letting God take the lead, we want to be in control and we want our will to be done, but if God is telling you to do His work, it’s time for you to listen; and if you don’t know what His work is, then it’s time for you to pray about it – and I guarantee you will get the answer. Telling God you don’t have time, you don’t know how, you are afraid to do it wrong or worrying about what people will say will lead you away from everything you wanted so much for yourself the day you were saved – and once again you may find yourself lost.

Just pray and He will direct you. As I write this I know it’s His directive and His will that moves my hand. How can I be so sure you ask? it’s my lunch break, I went three places trying pick up a Wi-Fi connection on my iPad, but the connections didn’t show up on my iPad at all – yet they showed up on my phone – which was odd – no, there’s nothing wrong with the iPad. I wasn’t able to use my phone as a connection, since I’m low on data usage for the month – which rarely happens. So, a little frustrated – I sat in my van and ask “What do you want me to do Lord?” and the answer came immediately “Write!”…I had no idea what to write, so I jotted a few bible verses on paper, but suddenly I just turned to a new, blank page and wrote what you are reading here, no prior plan or topic, nothing related to the verses I jotted down – He took me in His direction to do His will. So if you have been directed to read what is written here, perhaps that too is His will and His direction for you. So move into action – you have received the message –  and dare to save yourself from yourself!

God Bless!

Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

A Living Sacrifice

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Author: Arlene Price (indirectly J)copyright©2013

Living our Purpose and Passion

 

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

As a Christian, God has chosen a purpose for each of us. He already knows the plan he has for us. Our job is to listen to the voice within and allow the plan to unfold. Everyone’s purpose will be different, since God made us all unique; our purposes fit who we are in Christ’s eye. If you take the time to assess your strengths and determine what makes you feel good about yourself, you will discover your purpose.

Create a list of things you feel you are good at or like to do. Ask yourself “How can I use this gift in a positive way to serve my God?” Some of us will have a long list and some of us will have one item on the list. If you have one item, then you know for sure what your purpose is in life, now start praying for direction on how to use the purpose. If your list is long, then you need to pray for guidance on which purpose is the true calling – there could be more than one. You could be a great cook and love it and also a very good writer. So you may be called to use your love of cooking combined with your Christian writings of devotions and sharing your recipes and tips. Also, you may cook for the needy or volunteer for church events. Combine your passions or concentrate on one, it doesn’t matter, what matters is your reasons for doing them.

Romans 8:28-29 (ESV)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Let’s assume you’ve determined your purpose(s) and you want to share that purpose with others. That purpose must now become your passion. You must always be thinking of what more you can do to grow in your purpose. Start out little and let your purpose grow each day. Learn more, do more and become more through Christ. Ask Him continuously for his guidance. Do not be afraid to do it wrong – He will teach you as you go and part of teaching is correcting you when your go the wrong direction. You will know when it’s wrong when you just don’t feel right about it or you get a negative vibe. Listen closely to your inner voice. You must always remember to not do anything for your own success, but to do it for Christ – to spread his word through your works and then success will come naturally.

Always be grateful for the talents you have, whether you can hammer the best nail this side of Memphis or you can bring people to tears with a speech. Your talent is from God and it needs to always be centered in Him.

I love creativity whether it’s painting, writing, computer graphics, decorating, crafts, love it all! My passion is just to be able to CREATE something inspiring. I never planned to be writer, but I’m writing out of necessity – the church needs a writer, I tried to recruit writers, with little response. By writing, it has helped me grow as a Christian – so maybe that was God’s plan all along. I only dreamed about being able to build a website and do graphic design – now I am doing it and am amazed at all it has taught me about faith, prayer and Christ.

Another example of living with purpose and passion is my brother – Pastor Eugene Whited. His road has been rocky and he has climbed to unimaginable heights due to his search for purpose his desire to teach God’s word with passion. He had his share of naysayers along the way, but once he was focused on Christ – there is so much power in God’s word that he overcome and no one would doubt his communication abilities now.. He’s my inspiration and I know that if Christ can work through him in such a miraculous way he can also work through me.

Thankfully, our church has a very dedicated, passionate member who can write wonderful stories and poetry and she is using her talents for God – I have posted some of those here on our blog. Although she doesn’t want her name printed, that is perfectly fine, as long as she’s sharing the gifts God has given her – that’s between Him and her.

 We have others in the churches that are blessed with similar talents, but no passion. They don’t seem to understand the necessity to share their talent. Perhaps it’s lack of confidence, fear of judgment by others, or just not wanting to put forth the effort. The excuses vary, but the fact remains the talent that God has given you is to be shared. I understand the feelings listed above, I never knew how to use my talents either, but that changed when I prayed for guidance. You can find your purpose and your passion by asking God “What would you have me do Lord? Guide me today to serve you with the talents that you blessed me with and I will work wonders for you through you.”

Live today with purpose and passion as Christ lived with purpose and passion and you will be content, happy and blessed. Pray about all things and you will find you path is lit and your way is much smoother.

God bless each of you who read this that you may find your purpose and live passionately starting today!

Ephesians 1:11 (ESV)

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

 Author: Arlene Price ©2013

Jesus died for you….what are you doing for him?

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (New International Version (NIV))

14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

If someone told you today that tomorrow they will die so that you might be saved what would you do for them, what would you say to them? Meditate on this and really imagine how you would respond.

Jesus did this very thing for you already; he died on the cross so that you may be saved. Are you waking up each morning and thanking him? Are you asking him each and every day “What can I do today Lord to serve you?” Is going to church your only sense of obligation for such a great sacrifice? Why would you not put God first in your life? Christians are Christians because they put Him first – that is what a Christian must do. Have a grateful heart, pray continuously – not just when there is a need or emergency, praise his name throughout the day for all you have, forgive quickly and often. Serve your church; it is the house of God.

Philippians 2:12-13 (New International Version (NIV))

Do Everything Without Grumbling

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Everyday adopt the attitude that firmly says “I will do something spiritually meaningful today.” Do you think you have not talent, no skills, nothing to offer? God has given you all you need to give back to him. Do you often ask yourself “How can I help my church?” You should be doing this each and every day; it’s you real “job” on earth once you are a Christian. If you ask your church if they need your help, what will they say? I can tell you it’s a resounding “Yes!” No matter what you think you can do or can’t do you can always do something. Whether it’s one large project or little things every day, you have what God needs and he is asking you to use your gifts. So close your eyes and ask the question: “God, what would you have me do for you today?” then LISTEN…the answer is sometimes instant and other times it will suddenly hit you during a conversation, a car ride, or numerous other activities you could be doing and you will “know” what you can do.

Here are suggestions of things you may do for His church daily –

I can write spiritual poems, essays, articles, stories.

I can paint a picture for the enjoyment of the lonely or to raise money for charity.

I can make house repairs for those unable to do for themselves.

I can put together a gift basket or care package for the needy.

I can give my testimony; someone needs to hear it today.

I can help my neighbor, my friend, a family member, a co-worker with a problem.

I can cook a meal, a desert, a casserole for someone.

I can hold the hand of dying child or elder and let them know I care.

I can read the bible to someone blind.

I can invite a friend or neighbor to church.

I can take someone outdoors who is unable to walk and let them enjoy beauty of the day.

I can sing a song for the Lord. I can praise his name aloud.

I can assist with church activities: take photos, make video of church events and sermons, submit items to our website and/or newsletter, help with an event, make phone calls, talk to the community, decorate, draw, play an instrument, join the choir, teach, volunteer my time wherever needed. The list is endless…

I can develop into a real Christian today by praying, studying my bible, asking questions of those who can help me grow.

I can do all things through Christ today.

I can serve…

I will serve…

I am serving the Lord.

Everyone can do something. Any of the things above or something you know will help. There are no excuses when it comes to serving the church and serving the Lord. There are no wait until tomorrows, there are no reasons not to, no other obligation in you your life means more than your service. When you become a Christian you must let Christ live within you and guide you, if you try do it alone or only on Sunday, you will get off track and things will start going wrong in your life fast. Let Him show you the way. Believe in yourself because you are a child of God and through Him you CAN NOT FAIL. Do not live life for your desires or for the world; it’s about HIM and his sacrifice for YOU. Do all these things in His name and you will receive so much Joy that you will live in wonderment at your many blessings. You will go to bed satisfied that this day you have served the Lord first and your day was better for it.

Galatians 5:24 (New International Version (NIV))

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
How to know what you must do?

Step 1: Pray for guidance

Step 2: Meditate on those things you enjoy or are good at doing. LISTEN for the answer.

Step 3: Go forward and take action asking God to go before you and make your way smooth.

Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 every day.

Why wait another minute? Get busy with God’s work now. He made the ultimate sacrifice for you by giving his son to die upon the cross for your sins. There is no sacrifice you could make of your time that that could be greater than what has been done for you. As a Christian you put away worldly things and put Christ at the center. His will is now your will, not the other way around. Wake up, take up the cross and do the work you were called to do.

Galatians 2:20 (New International Version (NIV))

20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Arlene Price ©2013