To Purge

The phrase “To Purge” kept coming up in my spirit this morning during my prayer time.  The definition of purge means to physically remove or expel completely, rid (someone or something) of an unwanted quality, condition, or feeling.  I began to think about a spiritual purge and how when you first get saved the Holy Spirit purges a lot of sin out of your life.  Things you once enjoyed you no longer have a desire to do, because of this purge.   Your priorities get rearranged during this purge as well, because God moves into the number one spot in your life.  This purge causes you to hunger for the Word of God and thirst for the Holy Spirit.  Over time we allow things to build back up in our hearts that need to be purged.  Things that fill us and keep us from hungering for God the way we did in the beginning.  These may not blatant sins but things like doubt, fear, pain, hurt, and guilt.

When Christians are filled with doubt and fear they get stuck and are no longer following Jesus.  They can’t grow or move forward in Christ because they are stuck in the mud and muck of doubt which brings on fear.  Once fear moves in we begin to belittle ourselves and the word “can’t” becomes a huge part of our vocabulary.  II Samuel 22:30-31 says For by you I can run against a troop; By my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. As I read this I thought there was no fear or doubt in David when he wrote this.  David said the Word of the Lord is proven.  When something has been proven to us, we no longer doubt it.  David goes on to say He is a shield to all who trust in Him.   To trust and believe in God leaves no room for fear.

When Christians are filled with pain and hurt emotionally or physically it becomes like quicksand under their feet and they begin to sink.  They sink into depression and darkness and if they don’t let go of it, then it will overtake them.  Did you know that the first rule if you step in quicksand is to drop everything you are carrying?  That’s kind of ironic when you think about it because we carry around the pain and hurt that is causing us to sink, instead of given it Jesus.  In Psalms 147:3 it says He heals the brokenhearted and binds their wounds up. 

When Christians are filled with guilt over their past it becomes like cement around their feet.  Their walk slows to a crawl until it becomes so hard they can’t take another step forward.  We all have a past and we have all sinned.  Sometimes we are the ones that can’t let it go or maybe it others around us that continue to dredge up our past.  We need to avoid this like wet cement.  In I John 1:9 it says God is faithful and reliable.  If we confess our sins, He forgives them and cleanses us from everything we have done wrong, In Isaiah 43:25 He says I am the one who blots out your transgression for my own sake, and I’ll remember your sins no more.  This is the enemies favorite thing to use against us, guilt, but it can only have power over us if we allow it.  We cannot serve and give 100 percent to our purpose or calling if we are holding on to guilt.  Guilt keeps a lot of Christians permanently stuck where they are because they can’t forget their past.  Instead of holding on to your past sins use them as part of your testimony of where God brought you from.  Once you turn this around and use it to show God’s greatness and forgiveness, the enemy will stop using it against you.  Jesus knew every sin you were going to commit before He ever went to the cross and He still thought you were worth dying for.  Jesus saw something far greater in you than your sin and that was your purpose.  The purpose He created you for and the purpose he died for, so you could fulfill it.

Let’s pray today for the Holy Spirit to purge each and everyone of us today of the things that are keeping us from hungering for Him.  To purge us of the things that may be holding us back in fulfilling our purpose.

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The Eyes of the Lord

I was reading in 1 Peter chapter 3 this morning and verse 12 caught my attention.  It says For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.   I began to pray and meditate on this verse.  I have read this verse many times but this morning He spoke to me differently through this verse.

The first part of this verse says For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous.  We all know that God sees everything that we do and that He is watching over us.  However, I don’t think we realize how attentively he watches over us.  I see him watching us like a parent watching their child on the playground.  Some of us test the boundaries and wander to far while others of us may fall and get hurt, but we are never out of His sight.   He is right their to rescue us in our time of need.   The next part of that verse says And His ears are open to their prayers.  I don’t know about you, but I am so grateful for that part.  Just to know that all I have to do is cry out to Him in prayer and He is right there.  He will wipe away our tears and pull us up close to Him with loving arms.

Today it doesn’t matter what you are going through.  It doesn’t matter how great or how small, just know He is there and He is waiting on you to cry out to Him.  God never meant for us to go through this life on our on, but to take every step with Him.  As you grow up physically you need your mom and dad less and less for your daily needs, but as a Christian maturity begins when you realize how desperately you need Jesus for every step and every breathe you take.  Don’t go it alone, invite Jesus into every activity and every plan you have each day.

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Pure Heart

I was reading this morning in I Timothy chapter 1 when verse 5 caught my attention.  It says Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.  Love from a pure heart stuck out to me.  I began to think about the definition of pure and according to the dictionary it means not mixed or adulterated with any other substance, uncontaminated, sterile, and unpolluted.  As I thought about this definition I wondered are our hearts pure?  I then looked up the definition of the biblical word heart and it means the inner aspects of a man, made of three parts:

  1. Mental Process – which is the major part (where action and reaction take place), which is to lead a person in their life.
  2. Emotions – is as icing to enrich our lives
  3. Will -Where decisions are made between the rational and the emotive.

As I prayed I realized there is nothing pure about our hearts.  We would have to be innocent and blameless to have a pure heart. I thought about how our egos stem from our hearts along with our thoughts and motives.  The very sins we commit on a daily basis stem from the heart.  I searched for other scripture that referred to the pure of heart like Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.  My favorite was Psalm 51:10-11 Create in me a clean (pure) heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do take Your Holy Spirit from me. This verse reminded me that I may not have a pure heart on my own but through the Blood of Jesus Christ, I am being sanctified.  Jesus Christ is the only way we can have a pure heart.  A pure heart is not external behavior but it is an internal change.  As Christians we have a internal desire to serve our Lord and Savior. We may fail at times, but Jesus is there to pick us up and dust us off.  He died on the cross so you and I could have a pure heart.  The Holy Spirit is the only way our hearts can be pure and thank you Jesus for sending Him to us.

As Christians we are not perfect and you may even feel defeated at this moment, but know who holds your future.  Know that there are none greater than the One who died for you.  The One who shed his blood so you and I could have eternity with Him.    He is the pureness in our hearts.

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ADHD Christians

We are living in a day and time when we as Christians need to stay focused on God and his purpose for us.  We can easily become distracted with all the technology available at our finger tips today.  Social media can be great for sharing the Word of God but it can also be a hindrance  to us.  If we allow it to take time away from our prayer life or our time in the Word then it has become a hindrance to us.  Sometimes we can become so consumed with how many likes, shares, and followers we have that we forget the real purpose of our post, to spread the Word of God to others.

Due to this convenience we no longer have to wait or search diligently for any information.  All we have to do is ask Google or any other search engine and in a matter of seconds there is your answer.  Our minds have now become so accustom to this that our attention span has decreased.  If we can’t find something within a couple of seconds we forget about it and move on.  I believe this is starting to affect us spiritually as well.  Christians of today want what is easy to obtain.  We don’t want to search God’s Word or pray and fast for a breakthrough, we want the answer right now.  If we don’t get the answer we want in just a few seconds our minds move on to something else. Sometimes when we are trying to focus on God we have fifty other things running through our minds and we are not giving Him our undivided attention.  We have allowed ourselves to become ADHD Christians.  ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  You may be wondering how does this apply to Christians, so allow me to explain.

Attention Deficit –  We get so caught up in everything going on around us that we take our eyes off God.  Our minds become so consumed with other things that we can’t even concentrate on God when we pray.  While praying we begin to think about things like, what are we going to wear today, where we are going to eat lunch, what activities the kids have this afternoon, we need to clean the house, we need to cut the grass and suddenly our prayers become shorter and shorter.  Time in the Word becomes less and less because we are so preoccupied with our to do list.  We have allowed our minds to take our attention off God and our purpose on this earth.  We get anxious and frustrated because God is not answering our prayers fast enough so we decide to take matters into our own hands. We begin to search other places for the answer instead of waiting on God and His timing.

Hyperactivity Disorder – Once our attention is off God then our activities take us away from church, the Word, and prayer.  We enlist ourselves or our children in so many activities that there is no family time.  We run ourselves to death during the week trying to make it to the ball parks because the kids can’t be late, but can’t even set a clock to attend church on Sunday.  We have made activities a priority in our lives and the lives of our children and not God.  Families don’t sit around the table and have dinner together anymore much less have family bible study.  Why? Because we have become so consumed with activities and keeping ourselves and our children busy that we don’t have time to spend with our families or with God.  This teaches our children that God comes behind all of these activities and not first.  All the activities in the world are not as important as your child having time with you. In order for your child to feel loved and wanted they need to spend time with you.  The same is true for us as Christians.  Our time with God is important and in order for us to feel loved and wanted we have to spend time with Him.

Today, if you feel God is distant or you feel God is silent.  Check the amount of time you are spending with Him.  I have had to do this myself recently because I had allowed all the projects and things I want to do for Christ to take my time away from Christ.

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Spiritual Clutter

For the past couple of days the word clutter keeps coming up in my spirit.  This word means a collection of things lying about in an untidy mass.  We have all  been to someone’s home or business that was filled with clutter.  Clutter can be a collection of things we like that has gotten out of hand or maybe we don’t even notice the clutter because it has built up slowly one piece at a time.  It can also be junk that we let pile up because we are too busy or lazy to take the time to get rid of it.  Clutter in your home can make you feel overwhelmed and stressed, so you chose to ignore it rather than dealing with it.  I then began to think do we have spiritual clutter?

As I prayed over this topic this morning, my mind became flooded with things that could be spiritual clutter.  I started thinking of our hearts and minds like rooms in a home. I thought about when we get saved and the Holy Spirit starts living in us, do we allow him to get rid of the clutter?  I believe the answer is no.  While we let him get rid of the big things in our lives we tend to hang onto those little things and collect them until they become an untidy mass lying around.

Picture the Holy Spirit standing in the middle of your living room, this is your mind.  As He is standing there He starts to move to the right and you say no don’t bother that stuff, just leave it.  See those are your dreams and goals that don’t involve God, these are things you want and desire that you don’t pray about because they are part of the flesh and world. He starts to move to the left and you say no don’t bother that stuff, just leave it. See these are the things that you enjoy and do for entertainment that don’t involve God.  These are things maybe you watch or listen to that you know you shouldn’t but you don’t do it often so it’s okay.  He then starts moving forward and you say no don’t bother that stuff, just leave it.  These are our habits and addictions that no one else knows about.  We have these under control so we don’t need any help here.  He then moves to the back and we say don’t both that stuff, just leave it.  These are the things we say we have put behind us and worked through but we are still harboring the pain, resentment, anger, and insecurities these things brought in our lives.  We don’t want to talk about them or let the Holy Spirit work through them, because we rather just ignore it and pretend it doesn’t exist.  We do the exact same thing with our hearts.  We don’t allow Him to move too far to the right, left, forward or backwards due to the clutter we harbor.

We have boxed the Holy Spirit in and then we wonder why God is not moving in our lives. We have to be willing to get rid of the clutter.  There is nothing you have collected in your mind or heart that the Holy Spirit can’t get rid of, but you have to allow Him to do it.  You have to be willing to let it go and not return to it.  If we want God moving in our lives we have to give the Holy Spirit full access to our minds and our hearts.  We have to allow him to remove the clutter that shouldn’t be in our lives and that hinders us from growing in God.

I pray today that each of us allows the Holy Spirit to de-clutter our lives.  I pray for strength and courage for each of us to let go of those things that we collect that hinder us in God.

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To Serve

As I was reading in Galatians chapter 5 this morning, verse 13 caught my attention.  For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. The portion that stood out to me this morning was serve one another.  The word serve means to perform duties or services for another person or organization.  As Christians, we get so caught up in what our purpose is or what we are called to do that we forget this basic rule to serve.

We are to serve others and to love others as ourselves.  I hate to burst your bubble, but calling your Pastor and making him aware of someone’s need, for him to help that person, does not constitute serving someone if it is something you can do on your own.  There is nothing wrong with notifying your Pastor if the need is greater than you are able to do on your own, but so many times we dump it on our Pastor and leave feeling like we did a great thing.  We justify this by telling ourselves and others how busy we are and that we just don’t have the time to help others.  When in reality we have time to do what we want to do but we have forgotten the basic rule to serve.

What about serving your Pastor or church?  When was the last time you saw something that needed to be done at your church and just did it?  When was the last time you asked your Pastor if there was something you could help him with?  We all depend on our Pastors and expect them to be there to serve our needs, but in most churches the Pastor can only count on a handful to serve his needs.  I can name the ones at my church that are there to serve and unfortunately it is not many.  I, myself, have failed in this area.  If you stop and think about your church, I am sure it will not take you long to think of the people, who are there to serve.  I am not talking about the ones that just donate money but the ones that are there when the doors open and are involved in every aspect of the church.  These are the people your Pastor depends on.

We often relate serving to giving of money when it can be so much more than that.  Your time and the giving of yourself is so much more valuable than money.   Serving can be spending time just talking to someone who is lonely.  Serving can be doing housework or yard work for the elders who can’t complete these task on their own.  Serving can be speaking to or smiling at someone at the grocery store because you don’t know what kind of day they are having.  Let others see Christ in us by our actions not just our words.

The flesh side of us prefers to be served rather than to serve others.  We get so caught up in our wants and needs that we forget about others.  If you want to know your purpose, it is to serve.  The Bible says in Mark chapter 10 that Jesus Christ came to serve others, not to be served and to give his life as a ransom for many.  If we are to follow Jesus and be Christ like, where is our service?

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Fog of Doubt

Sometimes we, as Christians, become so focused on what God is not doing in our lives that we miss all the things he is doing for us.  We have all heard and probably said God works on his time not ours, but this can be hard to accept when it is your problem or project.  While we believe and know this is true we start letting doubt slip into our minds and in our thoughts.  We let this doubt start to seep in to all areas of our lives and we lose clarity on what we need to do.  This doubt sets in like fog around us and we can’t see where we are going or even the path we were on.  We have two options when this happens to us, stay in the fog or get out.

When we stay in the fog of doubt we can’t see anything else that God is doing for us.  God maybe performing miracles in other areas of our life that we can’t even see, because we have singled out this one thing God is not doing on our time.  Our prayers become just questions of why and not sincere admiration, thanksgiving, and praise that He deserves.  We have now let the fog of doubt not only take over our minds but our prayers.  The fog of doubt will take over our time in the Word. We begin to search out our own message, to make ourselves feel better, instead of receiving the message God has for us as your read his Word.  This fog of doubt will now steal our joy and we will become disheartened and discouraged.  This fog of doubt can overtake us if we are not careful. Depression, insecurities, anxiety, and fear feed on the fog of doubt.

The good news is we can get out.   We don’t have to stay in the fog of doubt.  All we have to do is call on the name of Jesus and that fog of doubt disappears.  We regain our focus and continue to move forward in our purpose.  We are reminded that God told us to trust in Him.  Our faith grows stronger as we know God is going to provide the way.  Our confidence is restored and our determination increases.  We may have been knocked down but God said it is not over.

I pray today that we all come out from the fog of doubt.  If you feel God is not moving on a certain issue or project don’t give up.  Don’t let the fog of doubt move in and cause you to give up.  During this time, God may be conditioning and preparing you for the victory that is coming.  If you are following His directions and staying the course, you will be triumphant.  His Word tells us to follow him and to seek him diligently. God didn’t put us here to fail but to glorify Him in all that we do.

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Hobo’s for Jesus

I was thinking this morning about friends, family, and acquaintances that say they are Christians, but there is no evidence of Jesus in their lives.  Some may attend church occasionally, but even that is a chore to them. The only time you hear them mention God is when they are in trouble or things are falling apart in their lives.  They jump on the Jesus train when they are in trouble but once things settle down in their lives they jump off the train again.  They have become Hobo’s for Jesus because they have jumped on and off the Jesus train so many times you don’t know where they are at any given time.

I spend a lot of time in prayer for these people because I believe they are going to die and go to Hell.  I believe they have been convinced by the world that they are saved and when they die they are going to be shocked that they end up in Hell.  People believe because they recited a prayer or felt a few chill bumps that they were saved, and this is a lie from Satan.  If you have been truly saved there WILL BE change in your life.  You can’t continue to live the way you always have if you have been saved.  The Holy Spirit and Satan’s demons cannot reside in the same place.  When the Holy Spirit comes into your heart there is a visible change in your life.  I am not saying that you are perfect because no one on earth is but there is a change.  Your thought process changes immediately.  Things that were important are no longer at the top of your list.  Your desire to serve God and to tell other about Jesus Christ becomes overwhelming in you.  You want to talk about and hear about Jesus, because you have a desire to learn more about Him. You look for ways to serve Him and to glorify Him.  God takes over that number one spot in your life and your priorities change.

Others have turned away from God, better known as backsliders, when things got hard.  Some think when they get saved that everything is going to be easy in their life and that bad things won’t happen in their life.  God tells us over and over in His Word do not fear.  If your life was going to be a piece of cake then He wouldn’t have to tell us this.  His Word says if we follow Him we will be persecuted.  Satan and his demon army will come against you.  This is where your faith and trust in God comes in, and you know that when it becomes more than you can handle, that God will step in and all you have to do in that moment is be still.

I believe that preachers and teachers of the Word are partly to blame for both of these scenarios.  We have become so worried about offending people or filling church pews that we only want to preach or teach the good stuff.  We don’t want to preach or teach about the sacrifices we will have to make to follow Jesus. We don’t want to preach or teach about the Wrath of God on sin and how much God hates sin.  We only want to preach or teach about the love of God because that makes everyone feel all warm and cozy.  Yes, the love of God is real and it is warm and cozy but the Wrath of God is also real.  The Bible says God is a just God and shows no partiality.  He is not going to turn a blind eye to sin in order to not offend you.  Sin in your life that you do not repent for, will send you to Hell.

I pray today that we stop sugarcoated the Word and start preaching and teaching ALL of the Word of God.  We are assisting in sending people to Hell by not doing this.  If we knew Jesus Christ in the physical was sitting in our church services or reading our material would we preach or write it the same way that we do now? I pray for the strength and courage to do this today,  because I had rather offend people with the truth than to send them to Hell with a lie.

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We sing a song in our church, that I love, called Different.  It says, I want to be different, I want to be changed until all of me is gone and all that remains is a fire so bright the whole world can see there’s something different, so come and be different in me. I was listening to this song on the way to work yesterday and a question came up in my Spirit, do we really want to be different? The word different means not the same as another, unlike in nature, form, or quality.  Most of us have comfort zones that we live in.  We may step to the edge of this zone but we rarely step outside of it and when we do we spend very little time there before returning to what is comfortable.

As Christians, we pray for God to change us and mold us into what he wants us to be but very few of us ever really allow him to do this.  We are okay with him changing us as long as we are comfortable with that change.  We are okay with his changes when he gives us a better paying job, a new car, or a better home but when it comes to internal changes we shut him out.  We say things like God knows that I can’t do that and we convince ourselves that we can’t do these things.  Everyone loves to quote Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, until it involves something we don’t want to do.  The Holy Spirit that lives in us cannot complete its work in us with a “can’t” mentality.  I believe our transformation as Christians is much more than just giving up the obvious sins in our lives.  It is about spiritual growth and giving the Holy Spirit full access to our hearts and minds.  We shut the Holy Spirit out of certain areas in our lives because we don’t want to deal with those things.  Maybe these things are past hurts in your life, things you have buried so deep and tried to forget. Maybe these are things that you don’t want to give up that you keep as your little secret and the Holy Spirit wants to get them out of your life.  By limiting the Holy Spirit you limit your growth in Christ.  You limit your ability to be different in him.

I pray today that each of us are willing to give the Holy Spirit full access to our hearts and minds.  I pray for courage to allow Him to break down those walls and barriers we have built in our hearts and minds, to keep those things hidden that prevent us from moving closer to God.  I pray today for strength for us to be different not only in the world but in the church.  I pray that we embrace the changes the Holy Spirit brings into our lives and that we get rid of the “can’t” mentality once and for all.  We can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens us, we just have to be willing to be different to do it.

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Don’t Give Up

I want to give you a  word of encouragement this morning.  God has not forgotten or abandoned you and he will not be defeated.  Whatever you are struggling with this morning, just know he is there.  If you are following him and your project or ministry is not going good, don’t give up.  This struggle is part of your journey.  I have had my own pity parties with God this week in prayer, asking why does everything have to be so difficult? This morning, while loading the dishwasher, a peace came over me that I cannot explain and it came up in my spirit, this is part of my journey.

I was reading in Acts chapter 5, where the council was trying to figure out what to do with the Apostles and Gamaliel said to let them be. He said because if they are of man they will eventually fail and go away but in verse 39, he says if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it, lest you even be found to fight against God. What you are going through right now may be part of your training from God or maybe it is Satan himself coming after you either way take shelter in this verse this morning. If it is of God, you cannot overthrow it and Satan cannot overthrow it!

I begin to think about the men and women in our military and how when they are training for a mission or during basic training it’s not easy on them.  They don’t enjoy this training but they know it is part of their journey.  They understand that without this training their lives and the lives of others could be in jeopardy.  The same is true in our journey with God.  We are being conditioned and trained as members of God’s army. Not only do our lives depend on our training but the lives of others.  What you are going through right now is to strengthen you and create endurance in you so that when someone else is at their breaking point, you will be strong.  You will be able to encourage them to continue in their walk with Jesus and to not give up.  Your strength from your training will come through in that moment.

God wants a mighty and powerful army of Christians that are not only willing but able to endure the task ahead. God is conditioning and training you for your purpose on this earth. Trust Him, follow Him but most of all don’t give up on Him.  He will not give up on you.

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