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Friday, October 30, 2015

Learning How to Pray Effectively

In review of Nehemiah 1:8-9 it says, 8 “Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations. 9 But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’”

Bottom Line:
When the people disobeyed, they were scattered and destroyed, but God had promised that if they returned and obeyed, he would bring them back together.

What this means to me:
God is faithful to his promises. Even after the people were unfaithful and scattered, If they would turn, obey and live by what God had previously commanded, that He would return them back to the place he chose to be worshiped at.

Even though Nehemiah was doing well in his life, he became distraught over what happened to his people. Nehemiah was moved to pray these words as recorded in Nehemiah 1:8-9, “Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations. But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’” (NLT)

What I’m learning is that there are four keys things that lead to Nehemiah’s answered prayer that I can learn from:

First, I should base my request on God’s character. Pray like I know God will answer me: “I’m expecting you to answer this prayer because of who you are. You are a faithful God. You are a great God. You are a loving God. You are a wonderful God. You can handle this problem, God!"

Next, confess the sins of which I’m aware of. After Nehemiah bases his prayer on who God is, he confesses his sins. He says, “I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us” (Nehemiah 1:6b-7 NLT). It wasn’t Nehemiah’s fault that Israel went into captivity. He wasn’t even born when it happened; he was most likely born in captivity. Yet he’s including himself in the national sins. He says, “I’ve been a part of the problem.”

Then claim the promises of God. Nehemiah prays to the Lord, saying, “Please remember what you told your servant Moses” (Nehemiah 1:8a). Nehemiah reminds God of a promise he made to the nation of Israel. In effect, he prays, “God, you warned through Moses that if we were unfaithful, we would lose the land of Israel. But you also promised that if we repent, you’d give it back to us.” But does God have to be reminded? No. Does he forget what he’s promised? No. I should say this because it helps me remember what God has promised.

Lastly I should be very specific in what I ask for. If I want specific answers to prayer, then make specific requests. If my prayers consist of general requests, how will I know if they’re answered?

In summary, Nehemiah made his request to God based on what God had said in the past. He admitted his and his people's wrongdoings. He then claimed the promises of God. Lastly he was specific in what he wanted next.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

God Is Always Present, Regardless of How I Feel

In review of Job 1:21 it says, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”
 
Bottom Line:
I was born with nothing and I will leave with nothing, the Lord has given and he may take it away, regardless, may the name of the Lord be praised.

What this means to me:
I came into this world with nothing, when I leave it I won’t be taking anything with me. The Lord gives and the Lord may take away, regardless, I will praise the name of the Lord at all times.

There was a time, early in my walk that God would confirm my emotions and even answer some of my immature and self-centered presence to reveal himself.  However as I have walked with him, he has and continues to wean me from these types of dependencies.

One other thing I have learned is the God is always present, even when I’m unaware of him. While he wants me to sense his presence, he’s probably more concerned that I learn to trust him more than I feel him.  It is my faith, not my feelings that please Him.

It seems that the situations that stretch my faith the most are those in which life seems to be falling apart and God does not seem to be readily available.  A situation such as this, is explained in the book of Job.  We learn that in one single day, Job lost everything, his family, his health and everything he owned.  For a majority of the book, God says nothing to Job.  

I can learn a lot from Job.  Job 1:20b-21 says, “Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised’” (NIV).  

In the midst of this issue and not understanding, Job still praised God. Later Job then poured out his heart and told God exactly how he felt. He essentially unloaded every emotion that he was feeling. Job 7:11 say, “I can’t be quiet! I am angry and bitter. I have to speak” (TEV). He cried out when God seemed distant: “Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house” (Job 29:4 NIV).

The good news is that God can handle my doubt, anger, fear, grief, confusion, and questions. God will use whatever happens to me to refine my character and build me. In plenty or in times of desperation, I need to keep my focus on him and praise him.  Everything comes from him, and I should allow him to take it away from me.  In the end, I will not be able to take anything with me, other than my character and my faith.  It will be my faith, not my feelings that will please Him.

I need to remember that when life gets tough, the best one to discuss this with is God.  I also need to remember that my faith in God is on display when I go through any crises. My example can help others who may be or will struggle in the future.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Being Right With God Is About A Relationship And A Lifestyle

In review of Romans 1:17 it says, The Good News shows how God makes people right with himself—that it begins and ends with faith. As the Scripture says, “But those who are right with God will live by faith.”

Bottom Line:
The Good News shows how God puts people right with himself, it begins and ends with faith. As the Scriptures say, those who are right with God will live by faith.

What this means to me:
The Good News shows me how God makes me right with him. It starts and ends with my faith. His word tells me that it is through faith that a righteous person has life.

What does it mean to be righteous? This term is used a lot in scripture. The Bible says that God loves righteousness and that God is righteous. It says that one day God is going to judge the world in righteousness. Psalm 23 says that God leads us in the paths of righteousness.

Rick Warren boils down the definition of righteousness to two words, a relationship and a lifestyle.

What I’m learning is that righteousness simply means being right with God. Romans 1:17a says, “The Good News shows how God makes people right with himself” (NCV). The Good News is that God made us right with himself through Jesus’ death as a payment for our sins. Because of Jesus’ death, I can now have a personal relationship with God.

Righteousness is also a lifestyle. It means living right as God intends. The Bible says in 1 John 2:29, “All who practice righteousness are God’s true children” (MSG).

What I’m learning is that life is not about the acquisition of things or the achievement of goals. Rather, life is about getting to know God, the one who loves and made me for a purpose. I’m not really living until I’m right with God and have a relationship with him.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Gentleness Can Calm Conflict

In review of Proverbs 15:1 it says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Bottom Line:
A gentle answer deflects anger, whereas harsh words will stir them up.

What this means to me:
A gentle answer on my part can help deflect anger or soothe angry feelings. Any harsh words on my part will likely stir up anger and cause quarrels.

I think our natural tendencies are to mimic the emotions of those we interact with. For instance, if somebody gets angry with me, I tend to get angry back. If somebody is really depressed and I end up hanging around them long enough, I end up getting depressed.

In the same way, when someone raises their voice against me, I usually raise my voice back. Then they raise their voice higher. Then I raise mine even higher. Before I know it, it’s escalated, and our emotions are out of control.

This verse reminds me that, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1 NIV).

What I need to learn is to do is instead of mirroring when someone raises their voice to me, I instead lower mine in response. That would be exercising meekness, or using strength under control.  Gentleness on my part will defuses conflict and de-escalates anger.

Also someone rips into you, I need to realize that it may have nothing to do with me. So instead of getting defensive, practice gentleness. Let my gentle answer disarm the other person and diffuse the situation.

In summary,  gentle answer on my part can help deflect anger or soothe angry feelings. Any harsh words or response on my part will likely stir up anger and cause quarrels. This morning I thank you God for the reminder to be gentle in my response to others. Harshness on my part only escalates conflict and does not reflect a spirit of love. I need to remember to respond with calmness and gentleness always. I should strive to be more of a peace maker than one who stirs up anger. I should think about and consider how I’m representing God with my life. I’m likely best Christian someone else knows and I want to represent him well to others. He deserves my best.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Learning To Communicate With Gentleness

In review of Proverbs 16:21 it says, “A wise, mature person is known for his understanding. The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is.” (Proverbs 16:21 TEV)

Bottom Line:
A wise person is known for their understanding, the more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is.

What this means to me:
A wise person is known by his understanding and common sense. The more pleasant his words are the better is his ability is to cause others to do or believe something.

Gentleness is persuasive. A hard sell no longer works. No one responds well to someone yelling that he’s got this amazing deal we can live without. Typically we may buy because someone recommended it. This approach was likely gentle with no agenda, which in turn was far more persuasive.

Proverbs 25:15 says, “Gentle speech breaks down rigid defenses” (MSG).  If I want to convince someone, being gentle will get their attention better, because gentleness will  break down rigid defenses.

Screaming never really works, even with the most stubborn child. If I have something to say or communicate, I should communicate it in love and with gentleness. The New Century Version translation of Proverbs 25:15 says, “A gentle word can get through to the hard-headed.

Gentleness is much more persuasive. The Bible says in Proverbs 16:21, “A wise, mature person is known for his understanding. The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is” (TEV).

This is the mark of maturity. Wise, mature people are pleasant. Fools and idiots are rude. I’ll never persuasive when I’m abrasive.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

God Is Ultimately The Source For My Provision

In review of Philippians 4:19 it says, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 ESV)

Bottom Line:
God will supply all your needs. They come from the wonderful blessings of Christ Jesus.

What this means to me:
God will supply every need I have. He does this with the wonderful blessings that come from Christ Jesus.

This verse reminds me that I should put my security in something that cannot be taken from me; God. God’s blessings will come from my dependence on him and not of anything I have or possess. Paul says this about God’s wealth: “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 ESV).

God is the source of my supply and if a channel gets blocked, God can turn on another channel just as easily. If God closes a door in my life, he can open another one. Jobs can come and go. Bank accounts can rise and fall. Economies can go up and down. Stock markets can go bull or bear. It doesn’t matter!  Like Paul, I can trust in God’s wealth for my security. God will use my current job to provide for me.

So, today I need to consider what I’m truly putting my security in. If I’m putting my security in a bank account, or my job alone, then I’m insecure. Insecure because these things can all be lost. So what does my feelings about my bank account and job really reveal about the priorities in my life. While I’m usually grateful each day for the provision God has given me, I may be taking them for granted a bit too much. I should never lose sight that that God is ultimately the source and if I look to him he will always provide what I need.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

When Attacked or Criticized, Trust God to Defend Me

In review of Psalm 62:5-7 it says, “I depend on God alone; I put my hope in him. He alone protects and saves me; he is my defender, and I shall never be defeated. My salvation and honor depend on God; he is my strong protector; he is my shelter.”

Bottom Line:
You can depend on God, he will protect and save you. He is a fortress where you can feel secure. All salvation and honor comes from him as he is your strong protector.

What this means to me:
I will wait quietly and depend on God alone. My hope is in him as he protects and saves. He is my defender where I can feel secure. My salvation and honor depends on Him. He is my refuge and rock where I can find safety.

One thing is for certain, there will always be people who will misunderstand not like me. Someone will always be there to criticize, judge, attack, and possibly even spread rumors about me.

My natural reaction when I’m misunderstood or attacked is to defend myself. When I’m criticized, I usually want to criticize back. When others insult me, I want to insult them back.

This verse reminds me to not do it! Instead, God be my defender. Every time I’m under attack, criticized, put down, or misunderstood, I have two choices. I can defend myself, or I can let God defend me. I should consider who can do a better job defending me, myself or God.

From what I understand in scripture, I’m most like Christ when I say nothing in the face of attack, lies, and unfair criticism. I’m most like Jesus when I remain silent and leave it in God’s hands.  

When Jesus was insulted, “he did not answer back with an insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but placed his hopes in God, the righteous Judge” (1 Peter 2:23 TEV).  Even Jesus did not fight back in the face of his unjust conviction and persecution. He trusted God to defend him when it mattered most and to have the ultimate justice.

From what I can see in psalms, King David was criticized and attacked his entire life. Seems most of his life others wanted to kill him because they were jealous.

David said this in Psalm 62:5-7: “I depend on God alone; I put my hope in him. He alone protects and saves me; he is my defender, and I shall never be defeated. My salvation and honor depend on God; he is my strong protector; he is my shelter.

There will likely be a lot of people who are going to be jealous of my success, and they’re going to want to attack me for many different reasons. But, like David, I need to let God be my protector, Savior, defender, victor, and shelter.

I suspect that this verse is warning me of an upcoming attack.  I pray that Holy Spirit will bring this verse to mind, So I can just let God handle it and let him be my defense.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

While I’m Waiting, God Is Working

In review of Micah 7:7 it says, “I trust the LORD God to save me, and I will wait for him to answer my prayer.” (Micah 7:7 CEV)

Bottom Line:
Trust in the Lord to help, wait confidently for him to answer he will hear and save you.

What this means to me:
I can trust and look to the Lord to save me, I can wait in confidence for he will hear me and answer my need.

There are many seasons in life and one of the most difficult things is the season in which I feel like I’m waiting.  

What I’m learning is that, in my waiting, God is really working and not just taking a break. He takes me through this season because he’s using the time to work the circumstances for my good.

I believe this verse is reminding me that I need to learn how to trust God during the waiting periods, otherwise I may spend a lot of time not trusting Him.

Unlike me, God is never in a hurry. He’s eternal! He is watching; he is working. During this time he is telling me to “trust him with this.”

Our culture is what I call a “microwave” society. We are used to getting things quickly and everything in our culture emphasise this. While this is way our culture is wired, it goes against God’s blessing in our lives. I’m learning that God’s blessing comes through these times of waiting. Ecclesiastes 3:11 reminds me that, “[God] has set the right time for everything” (TEV).

While I may be frustrated with how slowly things are progressing, there’s a promise in the Bible that tells me God is working in his timing. Isaiah 60:22 says, “I am the LORD, and when it is time, I will make these things happen quickly” (NCV). That’s how God worked when he sent Jesus into this world. The world waited thousands of years for Jesus to come the first time. And he came at just the right time. We’ve been waiting for Jesus to come again and he will come again at just the right time, God’s time.

Times of waiting and delay may not always be a denial, God would be saying, “Not yet. Will you keep trusting me through this?”  Micah 7:7 reminds me, “I trust the LORD God to save me, and I will wait for him to answer my prayer” (CEV). This is the kind of faith that God will bless.

Monday, October 19, 2015

My Strength May Be Limited, However God’s Is Unlimited

In review of Psalm 84:5 it says, “You bless all who depend on you for their strength.”

Bottom Line:
You bless those who depend on you for their strength.

What this means to me:
You will bless me when I depend on you alone for my strength.

While my strength is limited and finite (I run out of steam at the end of the day), God’s strength is unlimited and infinite. My strength is exhaustible, thus I get exhausted. God’s is not, and he never runs out of energy or gets tired.

Psalm 84:5a says, “You bless all who depend on you for their strength” (CEV). To obtain God’s blessing I need to learn to depend on him for my strength.

When I find myself so weak that I can’t really function, I can rest in the strength of the Lord, in his arms like a little child, and trust.

Weakness can actually be a good thing, as it will cause me to depend on God. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (NLT).

So it seems that the more I’m weak, the more I can depend on God. The more I depend on him, the stronger I can get.

In summary, God I know you will bless me when I depend on you alone for my strength. This morning I thank you God for being a source of unlimited strength for me. I need to just look to you for what I need and you will provide it. I think the biggest obstacle is for me to admit or show my weakness. I tend toward never wanting to appear that I need help. But just like Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians, I too have something in my life that limits my strength. While God has healed a serious illness in my life, this one thing still remains. It was here before his miraculous healing and remains afterwards. I know God has the power to heal everything, but this he has left in my life. With the right medical care it is more manageable, but still lingers on and likely will for the rest of my life. I am learning each day to just accept it and continue to do what I know is right. I should remember always that his grace is all I need and that His power works best in my weakness. I think I should spend more time just recognizing that God will provide the strength I need to continue on. I shouldn’t rely only on my own strength.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Learning To Depend On God’s Wisdom

In review of Proverbs 3:5-7 it says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5-7, NLT.)

Bottom Line:
Turn your trust to the Lord and not what you think. Seek his will, he promises to show you what to do. Never think you are wiser than you really are, rather fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

What this means to me:
I must remember to always trust the Lord with all my heart and never rely on my own understanding. In all my ways I should submit myself to him, then he will show me the path to take. I shouldn’t try to be wise in my own eyes but rather fear the Lord and shun evil.

Unfortunately, something that often feels right isn’t always the right thing to do. Feelings can feel right but not really be correct. This shows up after I make a quick decision that seemed harmless at the time, but now caused or is causing problems.

This scripture helps point out that to have fewer dead ends or failures in life, I need to hear and take heed on what it is saying, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil” (Proverbs 3:5-7 NLT).

To obtain God’s blessing, I need to depend on his wisdom and not on what my feelings or gut says at the time.

To get this wisdom requires that I pray. This is me talking to God, and then letting him talk to me by reading his Word, the Bible.

James also points this out, “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” (James 1:5, NIV).

I don’t think God wants me making dumb mistakes or to hit dead ends or to experience failure after failure in life. God is for me and wants me to succeed. He wants me to make wise decisions with my time, money and relationships.

Interestingly enough, it’s not as if I’m waiting on him for help, rather, God is just waiting on me. He is always available to give me wisdom and give it generously. I just need to ask.

I need God’s wisdom. Getting his wisdom comes from asking him, via prayer and reading his word. This morning I thank you God for willingly providing me wisdom whenever I need it. I just need to humble myself and ask for it, then take you seriously when you tell me what to do.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Learning That God Is For Me

In review of Luke 2:10 it says, “But the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.’”

Bottom Line:
The angel reassured them to not be afraid, He is bringing them good news that will bring great joy to everyone.

What this means to me:
I can also be reassured and not afraid, the good news is also for me. God is for me and not against me.

Knowing that God is for me helps to change my whole perspective regarding my life. God is never one who is looking down ready to strike at me or yell “I caught you” when I mess up. What I’m continuing to learn that God is for my success. He created me for a purpose and want me to succeed. I just need to keep in mind that it is God and God only who will measure my success in life.

This means that I don’t need to be afraid of God, because God is for me. God wants to train me and make more more like his Son Jesus. He won’t scold or lecture me, or even remind me of all the wrong things I’ve done. God sent his Son not to condemn it, but rather save it and me.  

So, if God is for me who can be against me?

Jesus came to save me, not to scare me. This is probably  why when the angel was telling the shepherds about the birth of Jesus, the first thing he said is, “Don’t be afraid!”  

Every day, I can read a message from God that says, in effect, “I don’t need to be afraid. I am for you; I am with you; I love you.”

In summary, I can be reassured and not afraid, the good news the angels spoke to the shepherds about is also for me. And that good news is that God is for me and not against me. I thank you this morning Father for the good news you have for me. I never need to be afraid because you are not against me or to cause me to fail. Rather you are very much for me, you have a purpose for my life and you want me to succeed. I need to remember that God is for me and not against me. I can do anything that he has asked me to do.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Learning To Serve And Give

In review of Matthew 20:28 it says, “Your attitude must be like my own, for I, the Messiah, did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for many.”

Bottom Line:
The Messiah did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.

What this means to me:
My attitude must be like his, for Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. He gave his life as a ransom to redeem many people.

I am commanded to serve God. Jesus made it clear in this verse: “Your attitude must be like my own, for I, the Messiah, did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 TLB).

What I’m learning is that service is not just something I tack onto my schedule if time permits. It is to be the heart of my Christian life. Jesus came “to serve” and “to give” and these two action words should define my life as well..

Just being spiritually mature is never just the goal, rather maturity is for my ministry. I am to grow so that I can give. Learning is not the only goal. What’s important is to act on and practice what I know and claim to believe in.

Serving is the opposite of my natural inclination. Most of the time I’m more interested in “serve us” than service. I should be serving and being a blessing to others and not vice versa. I can stop asking who will meet my needs and start asking whose needs can I meet.

In summary, my overall attitude must be like Jesus, for he did not come to be served, but rather to serve. In fact he gave his life as a ransom to redeem many people. Likewise my life should reflect an attitude of service and not being served. I should be looking to be a blessing to those around me. This morning I thank you God for providing your Son as an example and as the ransom for my wrong doing. It’s time for me to put into practice what I already know. I should be on the lookout for ways to serve and be a blessing to others.  I’m off to a good start, but I should rest on just serving occasionally. I should always be looking for ways to serve others.

Monday, October 12, 2015

God’s Tremendous Grace

In review of Ephesians 2:8-9 it says, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”

Bottom Line:
God saves us through his grace when we believe, it is a gift from Him and not for anything we’ve done or could possibly do.

What this means to me:
God is so rich in his mercy that he has saved me through his grace when I first believed. It is a gift from him, there is nothing I did or could ever do to earn it.

Grace is unmerited favor. It is what God gives me, that I need, but don’t really deserve on my own merits. He offered and gave to me when I first believed. In essence God took a huge problem of mine and made it his problem. I got God’s riches at Christ’s expense. God is truly so rich in mercy and loved me so much that even though I was dead because of my sins, he gave me life when he raised Christ from the dead.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT).

The second part of this verse reminds me that this grace or unmerited favor was not something I could earn or work my way in. It is simply just a gift.

Today, I thank you God for your tremendous grace that your pour upon me, not just when I first believed but every day thereafter. Your grace and mercy are new each day.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

God’s Goal Is My Character, Not My Comfort

In review of Ephesians 4:22-24 it says, “Take on an entirely new way of life — a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.”

Bottom Line:
Get rid of the old sinful self and take on a different way of life that is renewed from the inside and working its way out into your conduct. God is reproducing his character within you.

What this means to me:
I am to get rid of my old way of life which was corrupted by its deceitful and take on an entirely new way of life, one that is being renewed from the inside and working itself out into my everyday conduct. Through this process God is accurately reproducing his character within me.

I often try to control my own circumstances/future and even those around me. When I do this it’s like me trying to become God. What I’m learning is that God doesn’t want me to become a god but rather become godly in character (taking on his values, attitudes and character). This verse reminds me to “take on an entirely new way of life” one fashioned in God’s character, a life renewed inside and working itself into my conduct.

Also, I realize that God’s ultimate goal for my life here on Earth is not comfort but rather character development. He wants me to grow up spiritually and become like his Son Christ. Becoming like Christ doesn’t mean that I need to lose any of my personality. God did create me with uniqueness, so he certainly doesn’t want to destroy it.

Being a christian will never guarantee perfect health, comfortable lifestyles, constant happiness, and instant relief from problems through faith and prayer.  Earth will never be Heaven.  God is not a genie who exists to serve my selfish pursuits of personal fulfillment. He is not my servant. I must remember that this life is not about me, I exist for God’s purposes not vice versa.

In summary, I am to take on new and get rid of old. God initiates the new and starts inside and works its way out so that I can become like him. Ultimately God gives me time here on earth to build and strengthen my character for Heaven.

How to Bear Fruit That Lasts

In review of John 15:16 it says, “ You did not choose me , but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit — fruit t...