Quality over Quantity

I was reading Mark chapter 12 this morning during my bible time and as I got to the end of the chapter verses 41-44 stood out to me.  I went back and reread these verses a few times until I could picture this in my head.

Mark 12:41-44 NKJV – Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money in the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them. Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury.  For they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.

I can just picture Jesus sitting there watching as the rich, with pride and arrogance, put large amounts of money in for everyone around them to see.  Each one trying to out do the other for bragging rights on how much they gave, when Jesus spots this woman in line.  I see her as being almost ashamed of how little she had .  I see her almost dreading getting to the front of the line to put in what she had.  It says she threw in two mites.  She didn’t lay it out for all to see but I believe she hurriedly through it in out of embarrassment of how little it was.  She had no idea in that moment she had gotten Jesus’s attention.  Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, focused in on this one poor widow not for what she had, but for what she was willing to give.

Jesus even called His disciples over to Him because He wanted to make sure they understood the importance of her giving.  Jesus knew they were looking with their human eyes and would miss the one true giver there.  The person who gave their all, the widow. I wonder how many times we have missed the truest giver among us because we placed no value on their giving.  Only in the human eye did the scribes give big because we often place value on quantity. Jesus places value on our quality of giving.

We as Christians often give easily and in large amounts the things that we have in abundance but what about the things we have little of?   This does not apply to just money it can be anything up to and including our time. Are we willing to give our all?  Sometimes we look at others and wish we could give like them never realizing that when we are giving all we have that we are getting Jesus’s attention.

Jesus just wants our all.  He wants us to give all we have knowing that He is true to His Word and He will take care of us.  There are areas in my own life that I give freely to God but He is pointing out areas in my life that I don’t give my all.  Areas that I hold back out of fear or doubt because I have little in those things.  I pray today for the courage, strength, and faith to give Him my all in all areas of my life not just the things I have in abundance.

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Spiritual Core part 2

We all know the importance of eating healthy.  Our physical body requires food and water for nourishment to survive.  We as adults have a choice as to what type of food we put into our bodies and that choice typically shows on our bodies.  The healthier we eat the healthier we look and feel on the outside. The same is true with your spiritual body.  What you eat and drink spiritually is more important than what you eat and drink physically.

John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life.  He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

There are a lot of Christians who are starving to death spiritually.  They get so busy that instead of feeding on the Word of God they begin to eat the junk food of the world.  We have become a society of convenience and the world is ready and willing to force feed you the junk food of the world.  Just like our physical bodies what you put in shows on the outside.  If you wonder why you can’t speak the Word of God then maybe you need to look at how much of the Word are you putting into your body.  Are you truly feeding on the Word of God?

How many times do we read the Word because it is what we are supposed to do? We pat ourselves on the back because we read a verse or two or did a quick devotional and an hour later we can’t tell you what we read.  Why? Because we didn’t truly eat or absorb anything we simply did it as part of our daily routine. I have been guilty of reading the Word and my mind is full of other things that I’ve got to do.  I have had to ask for forgiveness for this many times because I wasn’t truly feeding on the Word I was merely reading it.  There is a big difference between reading the Word and feeding on the Word.  When you feed on it you absorb everything in that Word.  You meditate on it, you ponder it, and you pray on it to get everything out of it that God has for you.  We sometimes get so preoccupied with everything else going on in our lives that we forget the most important thing in our lives, God.  I hear people all the time saying they are addicted to sugar or caffeine but I never hear anyone say they are addicted to the Word. We should crave the Word of God like we do sugar or caffeine.

You can’t speak the Word if you don’t know the Word and you can’t know the Word if you don’t spend time digesting the Word.  The Bible tells us to seek Him and the only way to seek Him is in His Word.  You want to know what Jesus would do His Word tells you what He would do.

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

We all know people that are spiritually solid and these are typically the people we go to when we are in trouble, scared, or need advice.  Sometimes just being around these people you feel a calmness and a sense of security.   That is because they have the true peace of God.  They have not only read that He is the God of peace but they have digested it and when you digest something it becomes a part of you.

We have all heard the saying ”  You are What you eat.”  So what are you eating today?

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Appointed and Chosen

I had no intention of writing today but during my own bible time this morning this came up in my spirit and I had to share.   Sitting at my kitchen table I became so filled that I couldn’t hold it in today, so here goes.

I am studying in John and as I read chapter 15 and verse 16 I had to stop and go back and read it again.  I have read this verse many times but there were 2 words that jumped out at me this morning that I had never really noticed before.

John 15:16 You did not choose Me, but I chose and appointed you that you should go bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

The first word was chose.  It says I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit. The definition of chose is to pick or select someone or something as being the best or most appropriate of two or more alternatives.  Whatever your purpose or calling is the objective of that is to bear fruit for God.  Sometimes we down play our purpose or calling because it doesn’t look like someone else’s.  We think our purpose is not as important because we view it that way. When you stop and think that God selected you out of every Christian on this earth for your purpose and way of bearing fruit.  Just that thought took my breath a way for a moment.  Honestly, I had to stop right there and ask God to forgive me.  I am so guilty of thinking my purpose or calling is not as important as someone else’s. I have down played my purpose or let the opinions of others make me think my purpose was not as important.  Then this morning to read this and think that God almighty chose me to do what I am doing.  It may be small to others but He chose me to do what I am doing.

The second word that jumped out at my was appointed. The word appointed means predetermined or arranged; set. Wow! not only did He chose me but it was predetermined and arranged for me to bear fruit by my purpose or calling. This made me think of the scripture in Jeremiah chapter 1 and verse 5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you: I ordained you a prophet to the nations. NKJV. The NIV version says I appointed you a prophet to the nations. God was speaking to Jeremiah here about his purpose and calling. Jeremiah, just like us, was making excuses in the beginning saying I am young no one is going to listen to me and I don’t know what to say.

Think about it our purpose and calling was predetermined or set in the womb and we want to down play our purpose?  The Creator and the Great I am thought  your purpose was important enough to create a human being, you, to get it done.  So who are we to think our purpose is not important to God when he created you and I to do that very thing to glorify the kingdom of God.  Sometimes we say we can’t find our purpose because we think it has to be preaching, teaching, or missionary work and if it doesn’t fall into one of these categories then we put our blinders on and miss our purpose.

Your purpose may be to just love others and be kind.  Your purpose may be to serve by helping those in need.  Don’t limit yourself.  Your purpose can be anything that let’s others see God in you and that gives you the opportunity to tell others about Jesus Christ.

Start feeding your purpose with the Word daily.  Pray over your purpose and what God is leading you to do.  Take that step in faith that you are terrified to take if God is telling you to do it.  As Christians we have to stop holding back out of fear and doubt.  We are mighty warriors of Christ and His Word says no one can’t stop Him or defeat Him.  His Word says no one can pluck us out of His hand.  We serve a powerful God that deserves more than we could ever give Him and yet all He wants is all of you.  He just wants the very thing He created, you and I, to love and serve Him fearlessly. He wants us to know our power and strength not by our hands but by His.

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Spiritual Core part 1

Have you ever notice how any exercise program you do spends a lot of time focused on your core and strengthening your core?  In the human body the core makes up the center portion of our body and all other parts are attached and move due to what’s in our core. We have muscles around our core to allow us to move and for stability.  These same muscles also protect our  internal organs, lower back and spine.  I began to think how the heart is right above our core in the chest along with our lungs.  These are both protected by the rib cage where your external oblique muscles starts and goes down to your core.

I began to think what is the core of our spiritual body?  I had to look the definition of core up, and in the Webster’s dictionary it means The central or most important part of something.  I believe our spiritual core differs some from our human bodies but there are similarities.    Our heart is the main organ in our spiritual core.  This is why in Proverbs 4:23 He tells us Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it and in Matthew 5:8 He says Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  Your passions and desires come from your heart.  Those things that drive you day to day in this world come from the heart.  We all know love is from the heart.  The universal sign for love is the heart in our society today. So if Jesus is number one in our hearts then our hearts have to be full of love.    The bible tells us in I John 4:8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. Our desires and passions should be based on our love for God and loving others as he loves them.  You will never look at one single person on this earth that God doesn’t love.  We should spend our days on this earth sharing God’s love with others, not beating them up.  I have never read in the bible where Jesus stoned anyone or beat anyone up.  He always showed love even when correcting them.  We have become a society of “I am holier than you” and we wonder why we can’t get people in church and saved.  We select who we witness to based on what they can do for us or our church and we ignore people that we feel have nothing to offer.  This is not love.  In Luke 14:23 it says Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.  How do we compel people, by showing love.  Every human being wants to be loved.  We are born with a desire to be loved because God knew the only way we could reach others was by giving love. People are starving for love and acceptance and as Christians we should be there with open arms, not judgmental stares.

We can all recite the most famous scripture of all John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.    Jesus Christ knew when he came to this earth that he was going to be hated, tortured, and crucified yet he still loved each of us enough to do it.  He knew some would never love him back and that 2000 years after His crucifixion that some would still deny Him as Lord, but He still loved them enough to die for them.

We don’t have to agree with people to show them love.  The Bible even tells us to love our enemies.  In order for us to strengthen and grow spiritually, we have to have a strong core.  I am going to continue writing on the spiritual core over the next few weeks but the heart is the main organ in the spiritual core.  The heart pumps life into you spiritually and if the heart is damaged with hate, envy, or jealousy then you need to pray for God to replace those things with love.

Let’s start flowing in love and start winning souls for Jesus.  I heard a preacher last week preach on the crop is ready for harvest but the workers are few.  Let’s start working for Jesus and reaching the crop of lost souls by loving them and showing them God’s love for them.

Thank you and please share.

Keep Walking

During my prayer time this morning, I could hear the rain falling outside my window and as the sun was coming up I can see how wet the ground was.  There are puddles of water everywhere and in Alabama this leads to mud puddles.  We have this red clay that when wet turns into mud.  This mud will stain your clothes, your shoes, your floors and can be a real pain to get rid of.  Our children love to play in it because they don’t see the damage it causes only the joy it brings them for that moment.  As their parents we end up having to clean them up.  First, we remove the majority of the mud by removing their shoes and clothes but they still aren’t clean.  We then have to give them a bath and wash them from head to toe.  Sometimes you may have to scrub them to remove all remnants of the mud.

I began to think about this mud in a spiritual way.  When we first get saved we are filthy with the sinful mud of the world.  When the Holy Spirit enters our heart it cleans us from the inside out.  It peels away the layers of mud and muck that have built up on us over the years of playing and living a sinful life.  This is part of our transformation.  Those sins that we all know to be sin are easy to see and we willingly give those up but it’s those remnants that are the hardest to get rid of.  When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we are washed white as snow but we continue to hang on to the remnants.  If we are not careful these small remnants can turn into big stains in our lives.

As we walk through this world we see the mud all around us and sometimes we try to walk on the edge of that mud puddle and are shocked when we fall in.  The world will sling plenty of mud at us as we walk through this world but we just have to keep walking.  We often get in trouble because instead of just walking on we stop and just stand in the mud.  If you stand in the mud long enough the mud will begin to seep up around your feet and you can become stuck as this mud dries on you.  When you finally break free you leave a trail of muddy footprints of shame, guilt, and regret.

We as God’s children spend a lot of time playing in the mud of the world. The mud of the world can be enjoyable to play in but the entire time you are playin in it, it is sticking to you and staining you from the outside in.  I encourage each of us today to let go of those remnants of sin in our lives.  To allow the Holy Spirit to not only wash us from head to toe but to scrub those areas in our hearts and minds that keep leading us back to that mud.

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Accepting Your Calling

I believe each of us have a calling from God.  We have a calling to spread the gospel to others in some form or fashion.  Our calling may be different than anyone else we know or our calling may be like someone else we know.    The problem is as human being we try to fit our calling into a box.  We try to mold it and make it into what we think God wants instead of just letting God have total control.  We have all these references we make about thinking inside the box or thinking outside the box, when in reality we need to be thinking inside the Word.  Don’t let the world or others define your calling.  In Isaiah chapter 55 God says our thoughts are not his thoughts and our ways are not his ways.  in verse 9 it says “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.  If God didn’t create humans exactly alike then why would He create our ministries exactly alike?

We limit God’s calling or purpose in our own minds sometimes to preaching, teaching, and missionary work.  If our calling or someone else’s calling doesn’t fit into one of those three areas, then we discredit their calling or our own calling.  I definitely believe God calls people into these areas and if that is your calling then you should go for it with all your might, praying, and seeking guidance from God daily so you can fulfill your calling.  However, if your calling is not one of these and it doesn’t fit inside the box, that society has created, you need to go after your calling with all your might, praying and seeking guidance from God daily so you can fulfill your calling.

I believe there is no limit to what God can call you to do on this earth.  It may not always be easy but if you know that is your calling then stick it out when times are tough.  God may only be pruning you and shaping you into your true calling or purpose. He may start you small in your purpose to only hone your skills, toughen you up, and grow you spiritually into who He wants you to be.  He knows your task ahead and what is going to be required of you to complete it.  He knows the battles you will face and He knows what you will need to win.  If you are struggling in your calling right now and you feel that no matter what you do doors are shutting in your face and you aren’t getting anywhere, know there is a reason.  The Word says for everything there is a time and season maybe it’s not your time or season, because He is still training you for the battle to come.  Maybe it has nothing to do with you and you are ready, but the people that are going to support you and help grow your ministry aren’t ready.  God may still be growing them physically and spiritually for their battles to come.  God is working on and molding all the pieces so they will come together to complete His purpose perfectly.

My message today is just don’t give up or underestimate your calling.  You have dreams and goals of where you want to take your ministry but God may be saying “Wait” because He knows you are not ready for the battle ahead that you can’t even see.  Maybe he knows the support system you will need is not ready or prepared to back you at this time.  We all get impatient because we want what we want and we want it now.  God may know that you don’t really want what you think you want.   How many times have you waited and dreamed of something only to get it and be disappointed?  You find out that you really didn’t want it as bad as you thought.

I know it is hard and it can be frustrating when we feel we are doing everything we can and we aren’t going anywhere, but just remember He is the driver of your calling and you are only kicking up dust by running in place if He has His foot on the brakes.  God is preparing for such a time as this! Be patient and enjoy the journey.

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Defeated Christians

This phrase came up in my spirit this morning as I was praying “Defeated Christians”.  We know whole heartedly that God cannot be defeated.  He is the Alpha and Omega the first and the last so if He is in us, how can we be defeated? The answer is you and me.

You probably thought I was going to say Satan but he can only defeat you, if you allow it.  I am not saying you won’t have hard times or be knocked down, but you choose defeat.  If you read the story of Job, he suffered great loss, financial devastation, and sickness but Job was never defeated. Job kept God first and he continued to praise God during his time of sorrow and in his time of need.

When we get saved we tend to think everything is going to be perfect in our lives from here on out. We think we won’t have anymore difficulties or pain in our lives because we now live for Jesus Christ.   The enemy uses our ignorance here to attack us with the following 3 things.  The enemy is made up of Satan, the world, and your flesh.  We give Satan way too much credit, he is not responsible for every wrong thing that happens in your life.  The 3 things I want to talk about are three things we choose to allow to defeat us.

  1. Doubt and Fear – The minute something doesn’t go the way we think it should or it is not as easy as we think it should be.  We let doubt move in like storm clouds rolling in before the storm.  These clouds cause everything to look dark and gloomy and we can no longer see the sun.  We know the sun is still there but we cannot see it because the clouds have blocked our view.  Fear makes a lot of noise like thunder when doubt rolls in.  Fear, like thunder, is meant only to be a warning of something to come.  In a storm, thunder, is a warning that lightning is near.  Fear is not always our enemy sometimes it can be just a warning that something worse is out there.  Fear is our enemy only when we let it stop us dead in our tracks.  If you are outside and you hear thunder and you don’t take cover, you may get struck by lightning. In the bible God tells us not to fear because he is with us.   He is our cover and when doubt and fear move in, we need to take cover in God.  We need to draw near to him and cling to him during the storm.  Just as the sun is high above the storm clouds and thunder that roll in, our God is high above our storm still watching over us.
  2. Comparison – Comparison is like the wind in a storm you can’t see it but it can destroy and disturb everything in it’s path.  Once doubt and fear have rolled in then we begin to compare ourselves to others.  We view someone else’s success in their life or their ministry as our failure.  We say things like why can’t my ministry be as big as theirs?  Why don’t I get as many likes and followers as they do? Why are things so much easier for them than me? Why do they get to have the nice house, cars, money in the bank, and I don’t?  Once the winds of comparison start blowing through your life the clouds of doubt grow larger and darker and the thunder rolls even louder because the fear is now even greater than before.
  3. Acceptance – Acceptance is the lightning strike in the storm because once you accept defeat from doubt and fear, comparison then acceptance will strike and burn your ministry and faith to the ground.

We as Christians sometimes spend our entire lives on this earth rebuilding our ministries over and over because we let the same storms destroy them.  We let doubt and fear move in and obscure our view of God and our ministry.  Then the winds of comparison begin to loosen everything we have built in our lives until it falls apart and we have no covering left, because we lost sight of our ministry.  Once we have no covering the lightning of acceptance burns our ministry to the ground.  We say things like well it wasn’t meant to be, I guess.  That is a lie straight from Satan’s mouth.  If God told you to do then it is meant to be.  Everyone who is saved has a ministry for God.  Your ministry is your way of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and it is not always from a pulpit.  Don’t let doubt, fear, or comparison tear your ministry apart until all that is left is for the lightning of acceptance to burn it to the ground.  If your ministry reaches one person then it is a success in the eyes of God.

Let’s pray today when the clouds of doubt and fear roll in that we cling to God in those storms.  You may feel alone and you may not see God in that moment, but remember it is only the storm clouds that have obscured your view of Him.  He is still high above that storm watching over you.  I believe he rejoices when we make it through each storm just as he did with Job.

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Attention!

I was reading in Deuteronomy chapter 28 this morning and I read a verse that I have heard quoted many times, which is verse 13.  This is a verse that I have quoted many times to encourage myself or others.  It says And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them. NKJV.  

This morning as I was reading this verse it hit me, that most of us quote this verse and put a period after and not be beneath.   This verse goes on to say if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them.  There is a condition or requirement for each of us in order for the first part of this verse to happen.   In the Webster’s the word heed means to pay attention to or take notice of.  So God is telling us to pay attention to His commandments.  The next part of that verse say and are careful to observe them.  In the Webster’s the word careful means done with or showing thought and attention.  The word observe means to fulfill or abide by, conform to, pay attention to.  What stood out to me in the definitions of these words was all 3 words had to do with our attention.   In this verse God isn’t asking us to do us to heed His Commandments and carefully observe them but the scripture says, which I command you today.  

Sometimes we just want the reward without the work or commitment to God.  We want to be the head and not the tail, above and not beneath without doing our part as commanded by God in this verse.  We often wonder why our ministry is not growing like we want or why we feel unfulfilled in our purpose, and it’s because we have taken our attention off God and His Commandments.  We live in a society that is not only condoning what God calls sin but encouraging it, and since we don’t want to offend anyone we let things slide.  If we are not careful we will begin to let things slide in our own lives, because of our need to please others,  and we take our attention off God.  The world we live in today needs Christians that have their attention on God.  We need Christians who can stand up and be the head and not the tail, above and not beneath because they are so focused on God, that He will fulfill this verse.  God is always going to keep His Word to us, but we have to do what is required of us.  We keep our attention on God by staying in His Word and in prayer.  When we allow these two things to slip in our lives we are taking our attention off God.

Thank you for reading and please share!

 

 

Spiritual Backsliding

Walking By Faith With Tressie

I was reading in 1 Timothy chapter 4: 1-2 this morning which reads, Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron. I began to think how do we depart from the faith?  Is this a conscious choice or does this happen little by little?  I started praying and asking for insight on this because I know people who were once on fire for God and are now so cold in their spirit.  They flee at the mention of God’s name in a conversation.

While for some the decision to walk away from God was a conscious choice, but for the majority I believe it subtle changes in their day to day life that cause this.  I have often read that if…

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