Have you ever talked to people who say they do not believe there is a God? Or people who say they believe there is a higher power, but don’t know what it is or if it is God. Maybe even people who say, oh if there is a God, he is such a loving God that he is ok with the things I do, wrong or right. Then there's the ones who say, well if there is a God, tell me why he allows me to be hurt or to have to live like I do in all the pain and sorrow.
The fact is: We Are Not To Question God, Period. We were created by God, for God, and to Serve God, and no matter what happens to us or as hard as it may be, we are to praise him in the good and the bad. 1Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Have you ever had something so bad happen to you, you just could not for the life of you understand why. But later on you found it to be a blessing instead. See our flesh thinks it knows everything, and what it does not know, it will argue it does.
There will even be people reading this who are sitting there thinking, right, I am the only one who knows what is best for me and no one can tell or teach me any different. But the fact is….There is a GOD and only God knows what is best for us…We are (Allowed) to make Choices for our lives. My choice is to believe for I know there is a God! He lives in my life and shows me every day just how much he loves and takes care of me. He talks to me, he walks with me and helps me whenever I am in need.
I am not perfect and I have trials same as everyone does, but God is always there for me. God is first in my life and always will be. He has shown himself to me time and time again. I am at peace with my flesh because it belongs to God, for I am not my own. You can have that peace also. That is what happens to a person when they believe God lives, and ask him to live in them. God is alive!!
I cannot make you believe , but I ask that you will not wait till something goes wrong in your life to call on God and give your life to him. Give your life to God because you want to before it's too late, let him show you how much he loves you too….And, Believe…
John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
God Bless you all today in all you do!!!!
(from Spirit Food for Thought)
No matter how big of a "mess" you've made so far, it's OK. God loves you unconditionally. This weekend is all about His plan to clean up "YOUR" mess. Will you let Him help?
Pancakes: Author Unknown
Six-year-old Dan decided one Saturday morning to fix his parents pancakes. He found a big bowl and spoon, pulled a chair to the counter, opened the cupboard and pulled out the heavy flour canister, spilling it on the floor.
He scooped some of the flour into the bowl with his hands, mixed in most of a cup of milk and added some sugar, leaving a floury trail on the floor which by now had a few tracks left by his kitten.
Dan was covered with flour and getting frustrated. He wanted this to be something very good for Mom and Dad, but it was getting very bad.
He didn't know what to do next, whether to put it all into the oven or on the stove, and he didn't know how the stove worked! Suddenly, he saw his kitten licking from the bowl of mix and reached to push her away, knocking the egg carton to the floor. Frantically, he tried to clean up this monumental mess but slipped on the eggs, getting his pajamas white and sticky.
Just then he saw Dad standing at the door. Big crocodile tears welled up in Dan's eyes. All he'd wanted to do was something good, but he'd made a terrible mess. He was sure a scolding was coming, maybe even a spanking. But his father just watched him.
Then, walking through the mess, he picked up his crying son, hugged him and loved him, getting his own pajamas white and sticky in the process. That's how God deals with us. We try to do something good in life, but it turns into a mess. Our marriage gets all sticky, we insult a friend, we can't stand our job, or our health goes sour.
Sometimes, we just stand there in tears because we can't think of anything else to do. That's when God picks us up and loves us and forgives us if we ask.
But just because we might mess up, we can't stop trying for God or for others. Sooner or later, we'll get it right, and then we will be glad we tried.
Recently, I've heard that some churches are saying that there are "numerous" ways someone can enter heaven. What a dangerous, and I believe utterly false, teaching. The Bible is VERY clear, there is only "ONE" way to heaven and that's through Jesus. Acts 4:12, "There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved." and John 14:6, Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."
I also recently read that a leader of a large church group is saying there is no hell, or if there is one, it'll be empty. Wow. Here again, what a dangerous, and I believe utterly false, teaching. Revelation 21:8, "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”, Matthew 13:42, "They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." and, 2 Thessalonians 1:9, "They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might."
Believing there will be no hell, and there are other ways to heaven other than through Jesus, is believing you can do whatever you want in this life (in spite of what the Bible says), DENY that Jesus came and sacrificed himself for your sins and for your salvation, and then God will just say, "well, that's ok, you can still come into My perfect presence and live with Me for all eternity." Does that really make sense to you? Would you want to take a chance like that even if it did "somehow" make sense to you? I sure didn't want to! And, I pray you won't want to either.
As I stated above, these are a couple examples of extremely dangerous ideas, which I believe is also "false" doctrine as it strays from Biblical scripture. Why are some churches doing this? I think it's because they want to be liked by everyone, so they "conform" to the current societal ideas versus standing firm in scripture. These types of ideas might "feel" good because in the, everyone gets a trophy world, who wants to think that ANYONE will perish and end up in hell anymore? Why, "that just wouldn't be fair!", today's society would argue. Well, here's the truth. We are not living in some new "enlightened times" that's all of a sudden different than the last 2,000 years of Biblical teaching. Jesus is still the ONLY way to heaven and there's a hell waiting for non-believers as the Bible promises.
You may "feel" like that sounds harsh, but it's the truth my friends, and I don't want you to be led astray or to perish. If you've already accept Jesus, be careful of these and other false teachings. If you haven't accepted Jesus yet, it's not too late. Remember, God wants NO ONE to perish, 2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." So, wherever you are, get on your knees and earnestly pray to Jesus to come into your life. Romans 10:9-10, "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."
The ultimate right to choose: "yourself" or "God". Worldly pursuits and selfishness (which will end with damnation) or to live the life He intended you to (and join Him in heaven one day).
God loves you so much that He's given you "free will" to make this choice for yourself, rather than FORCING you into an eternity with Him. Think about it, if someone wanted nothing to do with God here on earth, then why would that person want to spend all eternity with Him in heaven? God loves you, but if you chose to ignore Him your entire life, then God will respect your decision in the end.
Faith is a journey. PLEASE "start" if you haven't and continue to "seek" and "grow" in your relationship with Him if you have. The alternative is not anything God wants for you (as He said in 2 Peter 3:9). ♥🕆♥
Humility is one of the most essential characteristics of being a “Christian”, as pride is a HUGE problem in our world. Whether it’s exalting ourselves over our accomplishments or thinking we are superior to those around us, God looks very unfavorably on pride…VERY! And to the contrary, God takes great pleasure when we humble ourselves, and loves to bless those who exhibit this trait. Walking humbly with your God is your heart’s attitude towards Him. This means giving God the glory when you experience a “success” or something you’ve been hoping for (or praying for) comes to fruition. We are all God’s children. He gave each of us unique abilities, resources and advantages which are meant to promote “His” glory, NOT ours.
Walking humbly with our God also means how we view, treat and even serve His fellow children. “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud but be willing to associate with people of low position.” (Romans 12:16). In simple terms, don’t be conceited. And, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4). Doesn’t sound particularly easy in application does it? That’s why God LOVES to exalt those that practice humility in their lives. As we begin to stop being preoccupied with our own interests, but instead seek to love and put others ahead of us, we’ll move our focus from “self” centeredness to “other” centeredness.
Does all this sound like someone we know? How about Jesus. The name above all names was also the example of all examples when it comes to humility. In fact, Jesus said himself that he came “not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus even took the form of a servant as he washed the disciples' dirty feet the very night before he was to be crucified (John 13: 1-11). Why did he do this? He did this as an example of how they should serve one another, and how today we should be serving others (John 13: 12-17). Jesus literally humbled himself to the point of death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-8)! How did God view Jesus’ humility? “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11).
Humility is what we should be striving for. A new attitude of viewing, treating and serving our fellow man as we walk humbly with our God. It won’t happen overnight, but as we earnestly and regularly pray for our hearts to be changed, and we begin to make “deliberate” choices benefiting others over ourselves, humility will grow in our souls. If we take care of humbling ourselves, we can certainly trust God to take care of the rest.
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)
In this world we have a choice. To worship at the altar of money, possessions, and self-indulgent behavior or the altar of God which is of selflessness and a love of Jesus and our fellow man. As Matthew states, we “can’t” serve both. Sure, we may have money if God has blessed us with it, and we subsequently honor Him for that blessing, but if we are pursuing money and success more so than Jesus, then that’s where the problem comes in. Our focus in this life should be on God first. Our time in this world may seem long (maybe 80-90 years for most of us) but what is that compared to all of ETERNITY?
In addition to money, we will also at times focus our efforts on worries, troubles and disagreements with others. When we are trying to do everything on our own in life, these are the “tools” satan will use to steer us from a relationship with God. When we are trying to “solve” our worries, our troubles, or fighting about politics or money with other people, it takes our attention off where it should be, and that’s the cross where Jesus died so we WOULDN’T have to solve all these problems on our own. Having a relationship with God doesn’t mean all these concerns magical disappear but He promises to shoulder the burden for us. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7) and “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
As we move away from serving worldly things and focus on serving God, our views will change. Worldly possessions and money may provide us with some “immediate” joy, but ultimately that joy will be fleeting. As we instead work to promote God’s glory, there may not be that same immediate satisfaction. In fact, we may even be chastised by non-believers at times, but rest assured our reward, while unseen at this moment, IS assured. “So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18) and “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24).
So, we are saved by God’s grace, we then steer away from the sins of this world but what are we to do with our newfound salvation? “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 5:13) and “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ And: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31). The bottom line is to live a life for God’s glory and let all who cross your path hear about His abundant and never ceasing love for them. As “you” were saved through Jesus, you are also commanded to bring His word to all those with ears to hear. Love your neighbor as yourself. Don’t quarrel and bicker about the nonsense of this world where our time is short, but instead show so much love and joy that those around you that they will want to know “why” you are so happy and at peace. A peace and joy that can only be achieved through a promise of an everlasting life with, and because of, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Please listen to the short video above. Focus on the “long” end of the rope where God is our master, now and forever, and NOT on the “short” end where satan rules and can rob us of that eternity with our Heavenly Father.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
We have two choices when making decisions in our lives. We can try to do it ourselves OR we can rely on God to help guide our path. If we chose to do it on our own, we are most likely basing our decisions on the limited knowledge we have at our disposal. We may base a decision on our past experiences, someone else’s guidance or what we “perceive” is a future benefit versus our current situation. That’s all well and good, but honestly by making a decision that way, we are basically “guessing”. Why is it a guess? Because unless our Magic 8 ball knows the future that’s what we’re doing. We are naturally weighing the pros and cons of the current situation and then we go with the weight of the evidence (or maybe our “gut”). Doesn’t sound like a bad way of making a decision I guess, but I’d argue there’s a better one.
What’s the “better” way of making a decision? How about consulting someone who already knows the outcome. For you see God is omnipresent, meaning He knows not only the past and the present but, most importantly, the future! If we believe in Jeremiah 29:11, then we know God has a plan for us, so why not ask him for direction when we encounter a decision. It’s pretty simple, pray. Just pray. By asking God for guidance, we are showing Him that we need Him, and “aren’t” trying to do it all on our own. Proverbs 3: 5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” The BEST part about this Bible verse is that even if we end up making an incorrect decision, God “promises” to straighten our path because He was included from the start. So, why don’t we all do this? Mostly because we are hardwired to try to solve our “own” problems. Anything other than that requires FAITH. Faith is trusting God that He knows what is best for us and will guide our path accordingly. What can get even more scary is when we are looking down a path that looks AWEFULLY uncertain. I recently encountered just such a situation back in December.
In December, I was asked by my employer to move from an area I really enjoyed living to an area about two hours away that I had no desire to move to. Not only was it an area I didn’t care to live in, but it would also put me almost five hours away from my parents (from the current three). At first, I declined their request. Quite honestly, I’m not sure how much praying I did on that first go around because “I” really didn’t want to move. However, a couple of weeks later they came back and asked me yet again as they really needed me there. This time, I did pray about it and asked for God’s guidance. Within the week, I felt that God did indeed want me in the new location so I agreed to move down. Over the next month of preparations, everything seemed to fall into place. From getting out of my current lease, finding a new place on an accidental “drive by”, to many other smaller “encouragements”, I felt this was the right decision. And most importantly, was the one God wanted.
Now, fast forward to three weeks ago. I moved into the new place and was feeling good about life and being led to be in the new locale. Then that first Monday there I find out I had moved into a zip code where I had to change health insurance which subsequently messed up my kids’ coverage. Then, over the next couple of days, came multiple client issues. All of this had me second guessing the move. Not only was I second guessing the move, but I started thinking that maybe I had “chosen” incorrectly and God was in the process of straightening my path. However, upon a long discussion with my father (a pastor for 34 years), I came to the conclusion that these incidents had more to do with satan trying to throw me off my path, than God trying to straighten it. This was now Wednesday night. I ended up scheduling some appointments back in my old stomping grounds that Friday and was debating about going up the rest of the way to see my folks. I decided that if I could set another appointment for Monday (on the return trip) then I’d head up, if I couldn’t then I wouldn’t. In the end, I was able to set that appointment Monday so up I went.
At this point you may be asking, “exactly what does this have to do with faith or following God’s will?”. Well, that very Sunday my dad started feeling sick. He didn’t think it was anything serious so was just going to stick it out until Monday morning. That was until an early evening text exchange with him, when I ended up telling him to get ready because I was taking him to the ER (I was about 5 minutes away at the time). I got back to his house and he was still in bed. He was once again thinking he’d just tough it out overnight and see his doctor in the morning. I insisted that he get up and go to the ER so he relented. To make a long story short, dad ended up being diagnosed with “sepsis” and was admitted to the hospital. If you know anything about sepsis, you know that one’s survival depends on how quickly you get treatment. With sepsis, "hours" matter! Dad is now at home recovering but had I not been there to coax him into the ER, and he had waited even a FEW more hours, that outcome may have been much different.
Here’s the bottom line. I trusted in God’s path for me “months” earlier. I agreed to move someplace I didn’t want to go, but one that I felt “He” wanted me to go. Had I not moved, I NEVER would’ve been at my parents that weekend and my dad may no longer be with us. How’s that for God knowing His plans for us and what can happen if you just have FAITH in Him. Who could’ve known, huh? Well lol, there was obviously ONE who did! And I praise Him for guiding my path these last few months as it probably saved my dad's life.
All for His glory folks. God is good.
Pastor Episcopo has been a HUGE inspiration to me in my faith journey, so I feel led to share last week's message with you (there are many more messages from him under the "Lots of Time" category if you enjoy this one).
“Destroy this temple and, in three days, I will raise it up.” (John 2:19)
Jesus said this after driving out sheep, cattle, turning over tables of money changers and scolding all those selling doves inside the temple in Jerusalem saying, “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” Rarely did his disciples see this kind of anger from Jesus. What they didn’t know at the time (as well as all those who challenged Jesus about his authority in doing these things) was their understanding of the word “temple”. For you see, the temple in Jerusalem had been under construction for forty-six years, so how could Jesus possibly raise it back up in only THREE days??? Well, Jesus wasn’t talking about the ACTUAL building itself, but rather was referring to the temple being his own body.
What sheep, cattle, doves, money tables, etc., are you carrying around in “your” temple? How about past mistakes, broken relationships, worry, anger, lust and other “junk” we clutter our temples with. We carry around so much SIN sometimes that we can’t even function. Depression, addiction, greed, fear can all find a seat at the table in our temples at times. With all this “junk” packed away in our temples, it’s no wonder we have a hard time seeing God through all that clutter. But what’s the answer? Burn your temple down? Would you burn down a house just because it’s filled with “clutter”? Of course not. Here’s an idea. How about pulling up a big ‘ole dumpster in front of your temple and CLEAN HOUSE. Sound hard? It’s easier than you may think.
What’s separating you RIGHT NOW from being 100% committed to God or is hindering your relationship with Him? Drugs? Alcohol? Online porn? Selfishness? Only you know, but this list could go on and on as satan is good at taking our eyes off of where they need to be. Whatever it is, THROW IT IN THE DUMPSTER! And, here’s why. God used to dwell in “physical” buildings in the Old Testament, but when Jesus died on the cross for us, He now dwells in our very bodies via the Holy Spirit. When we accept Jesus into our heart, the Holy Spirit enters our body. At that moment our body (temple) is NO LONGER ours but belongs to God. What about all that clutter (past, present and future sins) that are in our temple? All gone. Jesus took ALL of your “junk” with him when he went to the cross and died so that you may be saved. How’s that for “Good News”!
So, if you haven’t taken this crucial step yet in your life, let’s do it now.
Romans 9: 9-10 says, “9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
Congratulations on your salvation newfound child of God!
And with that, I will close by saying, “Now, look inside of your dumpster. Remember all that "junk" that you had thrown in there and piled high towards the sky? See anything interesting in there now? Of course not, because your dumpster has been completely emptied.”
I know it isn't easy but we need to "NOT" worry. If we believe that God has a path for us (Jeremiah 29:11) then we must trust Him in ALL circumstances. Why? Because all things are either caused by Him or ordained by Him ("allowed" to happen). Even if we are currently in a difficult situation (health, money, relationships, etc.,), don't "worry", but instead rest in the peace that God WILL use this very situation for your good AND His glory.
I thought the below piece was excellent on this very topic.
What Is Worry Costing You?
Proverbs 31 Ministry
MARCH 1, 2018
“But the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” Mark 4:19 (NIV)
The moment went from ordinary to dangerous in mere seconds.
It’s been almost 30 years since I sat with friends around the lunch table, but I remember the events of that day so clearly. I don’t remember the boy’s name, but his silhouette still forms in my mind. I don’t remember the look on his face, but I can still hear the scratch of the chair legs on the floor as he shot backward from the table.
One day during our school lunch, my grade-school friends and I ate our food as we enjoyed the familiar, secure space of our lunchroom. A boy in my class must have eaten too quickly or laughed too hard, but whatever the cause, a piece of food lodged in his throat, blocked his airways and threatened to take his life.
Our key verse today points out a different kind of choking, but one just as dangerous: “But the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). We find this verse tucked within a parable Jesus tells in Mark 4 as a farmer plants seeds and they fall in different places — some along the path, some on rocky ground, some among thorns and some in good soil. The seeds represent God’s Word, and the ones in our key verse were seeds sown among the thorns. Jesus says these seeds are like people who hear the Word, but because of worries, wealth or desires for other things, they never bear the fruit of the Word of God.
I’ve read this parable in Mark 4 many times, and I tend to skip the first thorn and focus on the last two — the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things. Somehow those seem more important to address or more likely to cause trouble.
But Jesus does not distinguish worry from the rest of the thorns. He deems worry just as dangerous.
What are you worried about today?
We’re usually not short on answers to this question. In fact, we could probably write pages and pages of worries plaguing our hearts. As long as we carry worries around with us, we risk becoming consumed by them — choked, suffocated and ultimately destroyed. With our key verse, we can find three ways to identify our worries, and once we identify them, we can pull those thorns up by the roots.
First, let’s define worry. The Amplified Bible says, “[the distractions of this age with its worldly pleasures]” (Mark 4:19a).These are the thoughts that pull your mind away from the matter at hand. They are the ones that cause you to be nervous or uneasy. Second, the Amplified Bible says the thorns, “creep in and choke out the word”(Mark 4:19b). This implies a kind of sneakiness to our worries. They don’t always announce themselves. Sometimes they show up suddenly or slip into our hearts over time. Finally, our worries render us fruitless. Worry robs us of the sweet blooms of love and peace and gentleness, leaving us with a withered heart. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). When we produce actions and emotions that are the opposite of these fruits, worry could be the root of the problem.
In the lunchroom that day, a prepared teacher rescued the choking boy. She’d been trained for such a moment, and she responded with confidence. As fast as the panic had consumed the room, it fled. But we all noted the importance of taking the time to chew before we swallow. The cares of the world will come, but we don’t have to swallow them whole. God urges us to cast our cares on Him and let Him care for us. When we do, we make room in our hearts for God’s Word to grow and produce more fruit than we can imagine.
Dear God, I’m tired of carrying these worries. They rob me of the life You came to secure for me and distract me from walking in the fullness of Christ. I want my heart to be free from the thorns of worry. Today, I cast them upon Your capable shoulders. Open the airways of my soul! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (NIV)
About Proverbs 31Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ, with Proverbs 31:10-31 as a guide.
Copyright 2017 Proverbs 31 Ministries.
Proverbs 31 Ministeries
Satan wants us to be afraid.
I’m not talking about the healthy kind of fear that keeps us safe. No, I’m referring to that horrible kind of fear that whispers worst-case scenarios.
While we’re distracted with fear, the enemy pickpockets our purpose, cripples our courage, dismantles our dreams and blinds us to the beauty of the Lord’s great plans.
Are you struggling with fear in any area of your life right now? Maybe there’s a relationship causing anxiety. Or a problem you’re facing where there seems to be no solution.
Stop right now and speak the name of Jesus. Proclaiming His name brings power, protection and perspective that crushes fear. It is the name above every other.
- Lysa TerKeurst
Excellent and sooo true! Satan is a crafty one. He knows where your "sore spots" are. The devil especially enjoys creating situations that will remind you those past mistakes you still have a hard time letting go of. He will continually "pick" at them to get you off center, remorseful, and afraid. When you feel him doing that, stop, be still, and recognize what Satan is up to. Then "center" yourself back onto the cross by praying in Jesus' powerful name that he be gone and reclaim God's promised peace. ♥🕆♥