purpose

Your Baggage

By Steve Countryman

All of your cares, troubles, problems, addictions, worries, character traits, past sins, flaws, faults, failures, grudges, unforgiveness, offenses, health issues and financial woes are all part of your baggage.  Just like baggage you carry it with you everywhere you go.  Most people are known by their baggage.  Though we all try to conceal our baggage the best we can by putting on our best face, our baggage always cones to the surface sooner or later.

Your baggage is your burdens that you bare.  They are always before you and you cannot escape them.  Satan uses them against you to trap you and keep your attention on them.  Always reminding you of your past mistakes and failures.  He loves to wear you down with them. But you don’t have to bare them alone.  You don’t have to allow them to define who you are.  They are only part of your past and now are part of your testimony!  Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Even with all of your baggage it never scares God off.  God doesn’t ask you to take care of your baggage so He can love you.  He loves you with all of your baggage.  In fact God wants to take all of your baggage and help you fix them.

Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”  Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  1 John 3:1 “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”  Romans 6:13 “Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members [and faculties] to sin as instruments (tools) of wickedness. But offer and yield (surrendering) yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness.”

God’s love is so powerful that not only does He love you baggage and all and wants to be involved in your daily lives but wants to take care of your baggage too!  It is a matter of trust.  Do you trust God enough to surrender all of your baggage over to Him?  Do you think that the God of all creation knows something about fixing problems?  Can you submit and commit your baggage all over to Him?  Can you surrender, commit and submit your life over to your creator?  Surrender to God’s will, Word and ways.  Commit your baggage into His hands and trust God enough to leave them there.  Quit going back and picking them up again trying to fix them by yourself.  Leave them with the Master.  It amazes me that God wants my baggage and has plans to bless me besides.  Wow, I’m blown away!  Thank you Lord for loving me so!!

My name is Steve and I was born and raised in a good Christian home in Phoenix Arizona.  In 2004 God spoke to me to let me know that He would start sharing things with me that I would share with others. Little did I know how powerful and meaningful those things would be! Thank you Lord!!

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

The Valley of His Perfect Love

Honduras Mountain Side

@creationswap/carloslemma

I love the Lord, because He hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because He hath inclined His ear unto me, Therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live…(Psalm 116:1-2 KJV)

It’s natural for issues to crop up during one’s lifetime, to be fair; it wouldn’t be life without spending time in the valley. It’s all part of growing in the Lord and being a faithful follower of Christ. We can grow in adversity, and get closer to God in the process. It’s how we handle the cards in our hands that’s key to our optimal health and overall growth.

It’s how we purpose our lives in accordance to His will and not ours. It’s how we handle the stress that will ultimately define our faith and course of action. We must wait upon the Lord.

He’s watching and knows our situation. He’s waiting for our growth in Him. He wants us to learn before He brings about a solution. Sometimes, long delays are part of God’s overall plan…and part of His agenda on a larger scale. These delays don’t destroy us but fulfill God’s purpose, thereby making us stronger in Christ.

We need God. His timing is perfect, ours imperfect. His way is superior, ours inferior. We need to be patient and wait. We’ll gain insight and the fortitude in which to grow as we listen, and wait. We’ll reap the rewards of such diligence and loving obedience in due time. Above all, be still and know that He is God… (Psalm 46:10 KJV)

Lord, help us to be patient and to seek Your face for all things. In Jesus name, Amen.

Today’s writer is in love with God. She has been happily married to her best friend for over thirty years and they have one son. She has written over fourteen books. Contact

Am I a friend of God?

Friendship

@creationswap/ Valentin Dianov

By Charell Anderson

Scripture Reading

Matthew 26:50- But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.

In the Bible, Jesus knew He was going to be crucified. He knew of the plots and trickery the chief priests, the scribes, and Judas had planned against Him. Jesus was aware of everything, because He is God. He is the Creator, the Most High God, the only True God, and an Intelligent God. He carried a love for the people who had a scheduled day to betray and kill Him.

Even today, He (Jesus) loves us although we continue to not recognize the order He established for us to live by. The Creator reaches out His hand to each of us, every day. God is saying to us, “Friend, why are you rejecting me?” When Jesus recognized Judas as a friend, He was offering Judas His friendship and giving him a chance to turn away from his wicked ways. My husband and I would like for you to envision this in your mind. Jesus was facing Judas while Judas had a multitude of soldiers behind him to capture and kill Jesus. However, Jesus still called him friend. That’s powerful.

There are everlasting benefits of being a friend of the Most High God. Abraham experienced those rewards when God said, “Should I hide what I am doing from Abraham” (Genesis 18:17). In this verse, God allowed us to know his love for Abraham. When you are obedient to God and seek God, He will reveal things to you that you need to know. Through Abraham’s obedience he was able to save his nephew, Lot, from the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah. This is what God desires to do for us today.

If you’re feeling discouraged or maybe you don’t know of God or maybe you just need strength, we ask you to take that step of faith and allow God to be your friend. God already acknowledges you as a friend; He is just waiting on you to answer Him by saying yes on today. Allow God to show you how it feels to have peace of mind by casting your worries on Him. God cares for you. God forgives you as He did Judas. It doesn’t matter what sin you have committed, because God still has His hands reaching toward you, saying “friend”.

A Prayer for Today

Father in heaven, forgive me for all the days I have betrayed you. Teach me how to walk according to your word; I am willing to be your friend. I desire to have a close relationship with you by reading your word. In Jesus name, Amen.

I currently live in Mississippi. I have been writing since I was approximately fourteen years old. When God stepped into my life at the age of 23, God transformed my writings into devotions to Him. My husband also inspires me each day to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ through my devotionals.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITER

The Hunt for God’s Blessings

Blessed

@creationswap/chrismanfre

By: Pastor Whited

I received an e-mail the other day and made me think of how do I handle life’s difficult times?
So, right now we are in hunting season and everyone is excited to hopefully hunt the BIG BUCK or Turkey but I started to think of how much prep time we put into preparing for the hunt: Get the right equipment,clothes, scouting, tree stands, doe urine , and hotel rooms for those who really are wimps! But we put a lot of time and energy into preparing for the hunt.

But today I am going to talk about a different type of hunting. The hunt for God’s blessing!

The bible give us all kinds of examples but I love Paul’s stories: 2 Corinthians 11:16-31

New International Version (NIV)
Paul Boasts About His Sufferings
16 I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. 17 In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. 18 Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. 19 You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! 20 In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face. 21 To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!
Whatever anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying
We see all these things that Paul went through and yet we see him say: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain…having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better” (Philip. 1:21-23). In these words we see the entire substance of the apostle’s life and what he looked to beyond this life. Everything that Paul did revolved around his Lord whom he served. He knew that his Lord promises salvation that cannot be hindered by death, but is only brought closer by it. Thus, death was viewed as a valuable thing.
Are you hunting for all the blessing in your life or are you becoming bitter instead of better? The battles of this life are to be expected but it is how we deal with them that makes the difference. Are you digging deep to find the blessing in life’s difficult times?  Let’s look at one more example:

Matthew 14:22-33

New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Walks on the Water

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Cross references:

  1. Matthew 14:22 : 14:22-33pp — Mk 6:45-51; Jn 6:16-21
  2. Matthew 14:22 : 14:34-36pp — Mk 6:53-56
  3. Matthew 14:23 : S Lk 3:21
  4. Matthew 14:26 : Lk 24:37
  5. Matthew 14:27 : Mt 9:2; Ac 23:11
  6. Matthew 14:27 : Da 10:12; Mt 17:7; 28:10; Lk 1:13, 30; 2:10; Ac 18:9; 23:11; Rev 1:17
  7. Matthew 14:31 : S Mt 6:30
  8. Matthew 14:33 : Ps 2:7; S Mt 4:3

We see Christ walk on water to the disciples in the storm when their  world was being rocked and wondering what to do, then they LOOKED for Jesus and he came to them in the storm and as soon as Peter got his mind off the storm and fixed on Jesus then he was no longer worrying about the storm he wanted to walk out to meet Christ and was given the ability to do so by the faith in Christ Jesus, but as soon as Peter’s faith got weak and he lost the focus on Jesus then the storm became the focus again and he began to sink, but Christ still did not give up on him, Jesus then climbed in the boat with them and when Jesus entered into their presents then the storm completely calmed.

Today I challenge you the next time you find yourself in a storm, remember that there is a blessing to be found we just have to be willing to hunt for it. Are willing to go hunting for your blessing today during this Thanksgiving time? Look around at truly view what you have to be thankful for in your life right now.

I was going through a rough time at work and I got consumed by the situation, it was the main focus and I was just freaking out, wondering what I was going to do. So I called one of my friends and asked his advice and as I talked to him he started ask me some questions: How is your family? How is your finances? Do you have money in your pocket? Is your mom and Dad still alive? Do you have your health? Could you get another job if you had too? Do you have a car? Do you have friends? Do you have a house? Do you have a church family? Do you have salvation?

At first I did not want to discuss any of that; I had a problem and that is what I called him about, not to ask me a bunch of questions.
But then he stated; “ you got a lot to be THANKFUL for don’t you?” A lot of time in the big scheme of things these storms are not as big as we think they are.

Have you allowed your storm to get so big that you can’t see Jesus on the other side telling you that he can walk on top of every storm that life hands you but you have to willing to seek me first.

I hope each of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and allow yourself to be filled with Joy knowing Jesus is in control of every storm and give him the Thanks for the blessing he is going to give you during this difficult time .  Become a hunter of blessing !

Please feel free to pass this along to anyone who you believe needs to hear the message. God Bless!

Who You Are Not!

Worship

@creationswap/travissilva

By Steve Countryman

That is a statement that you must always keep in mind when Satan attacks your mind.  For he will always try to remind you who you were and what you used to do.  He wants to drag you back into your past and keep you there.  It is one of the many lies that he tells you as he tries to deceive you into believing it.  But God has delivered you and set you free from your past and from your past sins.  YOU ARE NO LONGER THAT PERSON!  It is easy to forget who you are now when you slip up and commit a stupid sin like one from your past.  You have to remember that you are not that person but are now the King’s child, adopted into God’s family, an heir to the thrown and a child of the Most High God.  You have been set apart, made Holy and righteous.  You are deserving, worthy and covered in His glory.  All the power and authority of heaven lives and resides in you daily and His name is Jesus!

Once you were lost living a life without purpose and meaning.  Having the hope of the world trusting in man and man’s wisdom.  But the very best man can do is to let you down.  For the truth and wisdom that man relies on is his own not God’s.  A truth that is always changing and wisdom that is based on situational circumstances.  Not on what is right but what is right for now.  As a child of God you have a hope and a future that the average person lacks.  You get to rely on God’s wisdom and never changing truth.  You are not who you used to be.  Who you used to be is now part of your testimony.

The Bible declares who you are.  You are more than a conquer.  You are more than an over-comer.  You are a believer.  You are above and not beneath.  You are the head and not the tail.  For you can do ALL things through Jesus Christ who strengthens you.  You are a Holy Spirit filled believer who walks by the leading of the Spirit and has all spiritual blessing and gifts made available to you.

You are not who friends say you are.  You are not who your parents say you are.   You are not who family says you are.  You are not who schoolmates say you are.  You are not who co-workers say you are.  You are not who teachers, professors, bosses or clergy say you are.  You are not who Satan says you are.  You are not who your past says you are.  You are not who doctors say you are.  You are not who the authorities say you are.  You are much, much more than all of that.  Though “who you are not” may be a big list it is not near as important or as meaningful as who you are in Christ and who Christ is in you!  That is who God says you are!  Who you used to be is not who you now are and is not why you are here!

______________________

About the Author:
My name is Steve and I was born and raised in a good Christian home in Phoenix Arizona.  In 2004 God spoke to me to let me know that He would start sharing things with me that I would share with others. Little did I know how powerful and meaningful those things would be! Thank you Lord!!

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

@creationswap/ryanharmon

 

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

Names Have Been Changed to Declare the Righteous

Background art:@creationswap/wagnerdanial Typesetting:Arlene Price

Background art:@creationswap/wagnerdanial Typesetting:Arlene Price

By Abby Kelly

“I love everything about her life!”

The barista’s comment startled me as I left Starbucks. I knew she was talking about me. We had just been giggling together, discussing our dogs and exchanging first names.

I almost turned around said, “No you don’t! You don’t know anything about my life!” But instead, I just smiled to myself and walked into the sunshine. I think I know what she loves about my life, it’s what she can see. I pray she can see that God has blessed me with joy and a peace beyond understanding.

It hasn’t always been this way. I used to spot a girl across the room and wish to trade her places. I used to pray each night that God would just kill me because I didn’t want to do my life anymore. In the midst of a 15 year battle with anorexia and a troubled marriage, it seemed as if my life couldn’t get any worse. I even feared that my loved ones had given up on me after pouring thousands of dollars into my treatment, only to still see a starving, depressed woman.

Looking into my heart, I hated what I saw. I perceived my identity as intrinsically linked to my long list of failures.

Maybe Jacob did, too. The Biblical character of Genesis lived up to his given name, “Deceiver”. In fact, when God asked him in chapter 32, “What is your name?” Jacob was forced to reply, “I am Deceiver.”

At that point in Jacob’s life, he believed the end was near. In mere hours, he would be face-to-face with a man who once wanted to kill him. Already, Jacob had a long list of mistakes to feel guilty for. I wonder if Jacob hated who he had become.

But God is in the business of changing identities. Over and over throughout the Bible, when God did a massive work in someone’s life, He also changed their name, giving them a new identity, a new way to refer to themselves, a new way to see themselves and a new way to present themselves to the world.

For Jacob, God told him, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have wrestled with God and with men, and you have won. That’s why your name will be Israel.”

Another definition of the name Israel is, “Prince of God”.

According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, our identity changes too, when we accept Jesus as our salvation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

Isaiah 62 tells us that God changes our name to reflect the new identity that we receive when we accept the sacrifice of Jesus for us and the gift of His righteousness to us.

“The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married.”

As I sank into a chair on the patio at Starbucks, the sun’s afternoon rays painted my feet a soft yellow, then shadows encroached and swept me into the early evening hours. I smiled again. I love who I am. I love the one who gave me His identity in Christ, and I dearly love the name, Jesus.

I am a Christian blogger and freelance writer living in Georgia. My husband is an Army officer, so our frequent moves pepper my writing with a wide variety of experiences and observations.

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

Soft Crosses

photo:@creationswap/mattgruber

photo:@creationswap/mattgruber

By louis gander

I’m under the leaves of tall coconut trees,
(on trunks that are warped in a curve).
They rustle up high in the oft windy sky.
Enjoying the shade, I observe…

…the Heavens above that are filled so with love
and grace only God can bestow –
from free virgin birth for the people on earth.
I ask, “Have I failed Him so?”

Am I like the leaves that everyone sees,
that wave to and fro in the wind,
drawing attention as if I’m important?
Could that, my dear friends, be a sin?

His sheep, under wool, must be fully faithful –
not warped as the coconut trees.
How is it fitting if I am still sitting –
not helping the poor “least of these”?

How disconcerted am I that Christ suffered?
I hold my small cross close to me.
Genteel, I’m living, but what am I giving?
Are soft crosses not meant to be?

Oh, should I be stunned if my cross isn’t cushioned?
I’m carefree- and comforts I seek!
Is love, au contraire, to this cross that I bear
as others are hungry and weak?

Our God sits above and He fills us with love.
We’re blessed with His soft, gentle breeze –
on tropical islands with soft, idle hands,
enjoying a lifetime of ease.

I’m under the leaves of tall coconut trees,
(on trunks that are warped in a curve).
They rustle up high in the oft windy sky.
Enjoying the shade, I observe…

——–

Matthew 6:24 (KJV)
“No man can serve two masters:
for either he will hate the one, and love the other;
or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.
Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

Copyright 2004-2013 louis gander ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
http://www.ganderpoems.org/
Written 9-27-13 by louis gander. FREE to print and use, but only with copyright information included – NOT for resale. Thank You!

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com CHRISTIAN WRITER

Living Under the Influence

Radical Living

artwork@creationswap/willwallace

By Steve Countryman

Driving under the influence means that your ability to operate and maneuver a motor vehicle is greatly impaired.  Those who try believe a lie and are deceiving themselves.  Trying to drive while under the influence will cause you trouble.  It will hurt you, those around you and those close to you.  It will bring destruction, destroying your life, your job, your finances, your family, your friends and perfect strangers who get in your way.

Living under the influence refers to those things that influence your daily life and decisions either good or bad.  The sinner lives under the influence of the ruler of this world, Satan.  All decisions the sinner makes are affected, one way or another, by the influence of sin and temptation.  Even when it seems to be a worthy cause or good intentions there always seems to be a hidden reason for the decision.  For example expecting something in return for doing a good deed if only recognition.  Or being deceived into thinking that by doing good deeds they will qualify to enter into heaven.  Driving drunk or high is an indicator that the person could have an addiction problem and is living under the influence of the kingdom of darkness.

Even Christians live under the influence of this world to some degree because we live here surrounded by sinful influences daily.  It is when you allow those influences into your thinking that trouble begins.  Romans 12:2  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Allowing the little things is where it starts.  Your friends start complaining about their job, their spouse, their sickness, their finances you name it and the next thing you know you are doing the same thing.  Seemed harmless enough just blowing off steam right?  Wrong!  Your words carry power and by confessing with your mouth your complaints you are pronouncing curses over yourself and your situation.  Take your concerns to the Lord not to your friends.

Fear, doubt and worry are all opposites of faith in your God which leads to complaining and murmuring that leads to poor decisions, more curses and more trouble!  It shows a lack of trust in God’s ability to provide for you and is contrary to being a child of the Most High God.  You must choose to put on the mind of Christ daily and ask God for wisdom.  James 1:5 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.  But you say you don’t have enough faith Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.   Being a Christian is not an honorary title but requires commitment and dedication to God and His Word.  You have to spend time with God daily and develop an intimate walk to know Him better.  Spending time with God and in His Word will build your faith.  Like anything else you only get out of it what you put into to it, like what is means to be a child of the Most High God as revealed in your daily walk.

You can’t have the victory in your life trying to survive on the prayers of others.  You can’t have the victory over your problems, troubles and fears by going to church every once in a while.  You can’t have the victory if you can’t forgive others who have sinned against you, your family or your friends.  You can’t have the victory by going on the words of a preacher and not read the Word of God yourself.  You can’t have the victory by listening to the advice of this world and ignoring what God’s Word says.  You can’t have the victory if you don’t know who you are in Christ and who Christ is in you.  You can’t have the victory in your life without faith in your God.  Faith is the bridge that joins the known of this world to the unknown of God’s kingdom.

Being a Christian is more than wearing a cross around your neck.  Being a Christian is more than being a Sunday pew sitter.  Being a Christian is more than carrying a Bible.  Being a Christian is more than having a Christian bumper sticker.  Being a Christian is more than being just a survivor, more than an over-comer, more than a warrior and more than a conquer.  Being a Christian means that your life brings glory to God.  Being a Christian means that you are a child of the Most High God and you represent His kingdom everywhere you go.  You proclaim His goodness in your life instead of complaining to others.  Your decisions, actions and words all reflect His influence in your life as you conduct yourself daily with the mind of Christ.  By doing this you bring glory to your God.

It is His will that is manifested in you, with you, to you, for you and through you.  It is His will that you are healed and in good health.  It is His will that you prosper as your soul prospers.  It is His will that you walk in ALL power and authority of heaven.  It is His will that all spiritual blessings and spiritual gifts are made available to you.  It is His will that you have abundant prosperity in every part of your life.  Think about it, how does it reflect on God for one of His children to be sickly, complaining, grumpy, sinful, hateful or destitute?  Where is the glory of God in that person’s life?  How do they bring God glory?  What kind of testimony is that?  We are God’s witnesses and He is our testimony.  “If I can only hang on until Jesus comes back” is a defeated shameless statement that too many Christians use.  Where is their victory and how do they bring glory to God?

The fullness of Christ lives and dwells in us at the time of salvation.  We Christians spend years grasping what that all entails.  We have what no other powerful men and women of God had in the Old Testament.  When God worked through them the Word said that the Spirit of the Lord came upon them.  Because of the finished work of the cross of Jesus we have the Spirit of the Lord in us always!  That is why His Word says that the latter house will be greater than the former house.  And why Jesus said that we would do greater things than He did.  We are the latter house!  Knowing who you are in Christ and who Christ is in you is found through faith.  The fullness of Christ is made known through your faith.  It is through faith that you are able to do all things through Christ who strengthens you.  It is through faith that you walk being led by the Holy Spirit.  It is through faith that your salvation is made possible.  It is because of your faith that God is pleased with you.  And it is by studying the Word of God that your faith is founded, perfected, put into action and grows strong.  By faith the influence of God’s kingdom is manifested in your life daily.  Living under the influence of God’s Word, commands and love will impact your surroundings and those around you everywhere you go!  The time is ripe!!

About the Author:
My name is Steve and I was born and raised in a good Christian home in Phoenix Arizona.  In 2004 God spoke to me to let me know that He would start sharing things with me that I would share with others. Little did I know how powerful and meaningful those things would be! Thank you Lord!!

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

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>