Where Is Your Focus?

Where Is Your Focus?

Have you ever seen these shows that star a person who is over 600 pounds? You watch the journey they are on to lose weight. Inevitably, they are sent to a counselor to help them work through their feelings. Why? What happened in their lives that sent them to overeating all day, every day? It was what they focused on.

They have feelings and emotions that have such a powerful hold on them that they cannot get out from under this dark cloud Satan has hung over their heads. The cloud grows and grows because the world, Satan’s world, has lied to them over and over again. They’ve been told to focus on feelings. To listen to their emotions above everything else. They’ve been taught that there really is no truth and that they are basically on their own to establish what is truth based on whatever feeling they are having at the moment.

They grabbed hold of the feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, etc. And they spent hour after hour after hour zeroed in on those feelings. Then, they turned to food for comfort. Food became the thing that made them forget their feelings for a time. A very short time, it appears, since they resorted to food so much that they became morbidly obese to the point of searching for help to lose the weight.

I’m going to stop here and just say something so you don’t think I’m uncaring or cold-hearted. Many, probably most, of these people have been through terrible ordeals. I’m not making light of the circumstances they grew up under or the trauma they endured. I completely understand what happens to us when we endure extreme hardship. And, I understand why we sometimes simply cannot just turn off the hurt and pain. I’ve been there. I’ve endured a number of very hard circumstances. Some placed me in a world of hopelessness and depression. As I grew in the Lord and found the real Truth, I became better equipped to handle the hard stuff in a different way. A better way.

Here, I hope to help someone learn a different way to approach the torment of the circumstance they’ve found themselves in. Not to make light of it, but to learn a better way. A more Godly way so that they can live out what the Scripture says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thess. 5:16-18

Proverbs 4:20-23

Give Attention

Proverbs 4:20, “Give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.”

  • Make the Word of God, this great gift He gave to you, your focus. Don’t let the things of this world cloud over your vision of the Word. Stop allowing everything else to control where you’re looking. God’s Word is everything. His Word is the truth. It doesn’t matter what you see with your natural eyes – the circumstances of life you’re facing – if it’s not lining up with what God says, it’s false.

The remedy to the problem you’re facing is NOT to know the problem better, but to know the Problem Solver better.

Instead of staying up all night rehearsing the problem over and over, stay up rehearsing the Promise you found in the Scriptures over and over.

  • Money, it’s one of the most common struggles in the lives of Believers. Here’s what happens: let’s go with a big one here – the house payment is due in 3 days. Your bank account is at $7.93 and your paycheck, which comes in tomorrow, isn’t going to be enough for the house payment and food to feed your family, gas to put in the car, and the electric bill that’s already past due.
    • So, here’s what you do: while you are at work, you think about the problem. You go over and over how you’re going to get through this. Many ideas pop into your head, including robbing the liquor store down the street. This one you shake off after only a few seconds of imagining yourself attempting such a feat. But, you hold onto some of the others, because you MUST figure out what you’re going to do.
      • Borrow from your parents?
      • Ask a friend what they think?
      • Make the need known to people, hoping someone will help out?
      • Talk, talk, talk some more. Think, think, think some more.
    • What if you replaced that thinking with what God says in the Word? What if you started speaking Scripture and building your belief? What if, instead of trying to figure things out with your own brain, you got God’s brain in on it?
      • Psalm 35:27 says He takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servants.
      • Romans 8:31-32 says that God is for us and that He gave up His own Son, so how would He withhold anything from us?
      • Luke 12:31-32 says that it’s God’s good pleasure to give to us the Kingdom (what is the Kingdom? There’s a series to help you with that. And there will be more because I’m learning so much about it.)
      • 2 Corinthians 9:8 tells us that God wants us to always have everything we need so that we have an abundance for every good work.
        • It’s important to know that God isn’t a genie answering wishes, but He is a miracle worker. And if you need a miracle, speak and think the Word and promises of God, rather than that other nonsense that solves nothing.
        • After the immediate problem is solved, get into the Word and learn to live in the blessings of God; which is far better than always looking for a miracle.

Where is your focus?

Self or Others

Proverbs 4:20-23

Most of us are more self-centered than we think. Do you pay attention to how often you complain over your fellow co-workers? I know the Holy Spirit has been teaching me about this one, because I’m guilty.

  • If your go-to conversation is based on how no one really works at work, except you, of course, then your focus is on you.  “I’m doing it for God” doesn’t really mean anything if what you’re doing is going to work looking for a reason to judge and belittle other associates.
    • Can I just say, your job is a place to serve… if you go to serve, what other’s do will not affect you. Even if it means you have to do more work. If you’re angry about your work load, you’re concerned only for yourself. Do you realize that every time you are offended by someone, it’s you being selfish? Selah – stop and think about that.

I work in the bakery at Walmart. It is located beside the deli. I often have to jump in and help when they get busy, because they are often very short staffed. One day, I was walking by and I smiled at them. One of them said, “We need more Cindy’s.” What was the context? Why did they say that? Because, I set aside my dislike of deli and jumped in, with a smile and a willingness to serve where I was needed. We joked how “more Cindy’s” would ruin the deli’s negative reputation and all had a good laugh out of it, but I was touched by the exchange. I have a reputation at Walmart, as we all do in our workplaces.

My reputation is the happy, kind, giving associate who people want to be around. There’s a guy in another area known by everyone as, “The grumpy man in CAP.” I don’t know if anyone knows his actual name, because he is simply known by his behavior.

  • I say all this to put forth a thought – if your focus is on God, you’ll be a servant and not be offended by co-workers who don’t work the way you think they should AND you’ll be a light to the world. People ask why you’re so happy, kind, etc. and you get to say something like, “God in me” and perhaps have an opportunity to share the Gospel. Whoop!!

Where is your focus?

Responsibility

Proverbs 4:21, “Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart.”

If you will give attention to the Word, it will come alive in you. It is your responsibility. – Barry Bennett

  • I have 2 favorite apps on my phone that help me with my focus. One is Blue Letter Bible, and the other is Bible Verses, a Bible memory app. I don’t use it to necessarily memorize verses, but rather to easily locate the ones that help me get my mind where it should be. I’ve created categorized folders for when Satan – or just life circumstances – try to put my focus on them. These apps help me a lot in regards to keeping my eyes on Him and keeping the Word in my heart.
    • I want God’s best for my life and yours. Staying focused on Him and His Word to us is what gives us that.

Proverbs 4:22, “For they (God’s Words) are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.”

  • Most people really do not take this seriously, nor fully believe it. If they did, they’d be full of life and walking in health. Pure and simple.
    •  Pay attention to His Word. Listen to what He says. Keep it in front of you. Settle it in your heart and you’ll have life and health. (That means spending quality time with Him.)

“Life to those who find them.” FIND THEM.

  • Let’s just be honest here; one of my biggest pet peeves is hearing someone say they want to be more spiritual, or more like so and so (the person they see as soooo spiritual), but they’re unwilling to do what “so and so” did to get where they are.
    • You have to go FIND the Words of God. You are responsible to open it up and read it. Study it. Let God speak to you through His Word.
    • Luke 12:31-32 – It is His good pleasure to give to you the Kingdom. (Kingdom = wherever God is ruling/reigning.) The Word and what it gives you are part of the Kingdom of God.

Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

  • You are responsible for where your heart is. You determine which way you’ll go; where your focus is going to be.
    • The next few verses tell you how to guard your heart:
      • watch your words
      • keep your eyes forward – on Him
      • think about where you walk
      • don’t stray off the path of God
      • remove yourself from evil

So, Where is your focus?

 

Heaven and Earth, God’s Will Be Done

On Earth as it is in Heaven

Often, when I read through Scripture, I will find myself reading the same words over and over again. I get stuck on a passage when questions flood my mind. I must find the answers, and until I do, the verse or passage will keep coming back to me. Even if I go ahead and read on, I’ll find myself going back to the verse that had me pondering and continue seeking God for what He wants me to get from it. When I was reading through Matthew 6, I got stuck on verse 10. It says,  “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Questions

What is the significance?

This isn’t just Jesus saying those words, this is Jesus giving the disciples directions in how to pray. We cannot take lightly the things Jesus said.  Jesus is telling us that we must pray that God’s will is done here, on earth. This means that God’s will isn’t just automatically done, not in this fallen world. We have to pray for it.

Have you ever really considered the words, “Your kingdom come”? In my study Understanding the Kingdom, I talked about what the kingdom really is, and how it applies to everyday life. Included in that post, is the definition, “The kingdom of God is wherever God is ruling and reigning.” You see, if you allow Him to rule and reign over your life, surrendering all your personal kingdoms to Him, you’re living in the kingdom of God and therefore live in victory.

Why is this in “The Lord’s Prayer”?

Have you ever just taken a few minutes to think about some of the things Christians have said for years? Things that have become just habitual and not even thought about? For instance, we end our prayers with “Amen”, or “In Jesus’ name, Amen.” I have experienced someone getting angry with me for not closing a prayer in the traditional way.  I inquired as to why they ended every prayer the same way. The answer, “It’s just what we do, it’s in the Bible.” I hope my question got them to think about what they believe and why they believe it.

It’s not that I am against these things, but I do think people ought to consider the reasons they use certain phrases, and realize that such phrases often lose their meaning over time simply because it has become habit. Such as the words Jesus said we should pray. The whole passage should be carefully considered, but this is the part that I am stuck on right now,  “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

What is Heaven like?

We all have ideas and imaginations about what heaven is like. Most of us imagine a far off place where everything is perfect and wonderful. Where there is “no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. No more pain.” To be honest, when I consider heaven and what it may be like, I look more toward the beginning of creation here, on Earth. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” If you read on, you find out that everything was good, and perfect, and wonderful… until man turned the world over to Satan. Man was fooled into believing he was missing out on something and therefore ate of the forbidden fruit.

As you read in the first few chapters of Genesis, you find that Adam and Eve had an amazing life. They had all they needed in regards to food and water. Had complete peace with themselves and their surroundings, including all animals. They were healthy and strong.  And, they spent time just hanging out with the Creator of it all. Since God started creation in that way, isn’t it safe to say it is His will? In my imagination, heaven is pretty much like that.

God takes care of us. He meets all of our needs.  We are at peace with ourselves and our surroundings. And, we hang out with God, the Creator of it all in a world free from sin, darkness, and shame. In a world where no harm can come to us and beauty surrounds us everywhere we go.

What is His will?

With that in mind, I consider what Jesus tells us to pray, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” What is God’s will? Put simply, that we live as He first desired us to live. Our needs are met, we are healthy and strong, we are at peace with ourselves and our surroundings, and we meet with God regularly. Hanging out with Him and allowing Him to draw close to us, and guide our steps through this broken, dark, and sinful world so that we become all He intended us to be and help others do the same.

God is a giving God, but I have found, with every offer from Him, we have a part. We are partners with Him, He isn’t just a genie in a lamp or a man in a red suit waiting for that one day a year he can answer our letter.

What is our part in God’s will being done?

  • Pray for it, as we stated before. Jesus said to pray that His will would be done.

It is important to take the time to question and find the answers when you read the Bible. When you make God the main thing, He helps you learn. He guides you step by step, lesson by lesson.

Join with me in praying God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. If it couldn’t happen, Jesus would not have told us to pray that it would!

 

 

Experience or God, What Do You Believe?

Believe God Cross

Interpreting God’s will in light of Human Experience.

What we experience in life can and will influence what we believe. A child of God should not allow the experience that we’ve had to dictate what we believe God’s will to be.

In this series, I am asking you to take a close look at what you personally believe, and whether or not it lines up with the Word of God. In the first post, I let you know the topics I would be covering, giving you an idea of what I believe and showing you the reason behind that belief.

In the second post, I covered the sovereignty of God, the definition of sovereignty and the truth about what God can and cannot control because of the limits He placed on Himself and the spiritual laws He must abide by.

Is it possible you believe a lie?

Often times the enemy, Satan, puts thoughts in our heads, or in the heads of others and that thought will sway what the person believes. It even sways what churches believe, to the point of doctrines being made by man that God never intended to become part of His church.

One such influence is human experience. We have circumstances that come into our lives, and the enemy whispers into our ear, “See, you believed this way, and it happened this way. Is the Bible true? I don’t think so, just look at your circumstance.”

For example, several years ago I was having knee problems. It was fairly routine that I’d have to push my knee cap back into the groove because it had been pulled out again. It was very painful and I was using crutches pretty regularly as a result. One day, my friend asked me if I wanted to go to this revival service with her.

In the course of the evening, the minister asked for anyone with a knee injury to come up to be prayed for. So, I went up. He spoke over me and I found myself lying on the floor. When I came back from that place, the pain had left. Completely. It was a great experience with God and I walked out with the crutches in my hand.

Within two weeks, I was back to having severe knee pain and ended up at the doctor, again. This time I was sent to a specialist and then eventually had surgery to burn some tendons off, causing my knee cap to stay where it needed to be, as well as have the ligament tear sewn up.

How did I receive that healing and then go right back to the injury?

Some of you would say I was never healed, or it couldn’t have been God. I don’t believe that for a second. I know how bad it was when I went into that service, and I know how I came out. God healed me. I experienced His power in my life. Here is what I’ve learned.

I felt a twinge of, I wouldn’t say actual pain, but I felt something happen in my knee when I got up a couple days later. Then, a thought that I wasn’t healed and it was just a hoax came to me. I followed that thought to the point of receiving the problem and the pain back into my life. Why? Because I didn’t know any better. I let the enemy tell me the opposite of the Word of God. I was believing my experience over the Word of God.Jesus

In 1Peter 2:24 it says that by His stripes, I was healed. It was done. My leg was absolutely fine, but I let unbelief, in the form of doubt and fear, grab hold of me. I believed it was not God’s will for me to be healed in that way, but to instead be healed through the doctors.  I didn’t know the Truth about God’s will to heal, and so, I put my faith in the doctors and then had to have surgery. I was interpreting His will based on what I saw in my life at that time, not based on the Bible.

When we interpret God’s will based on our own experiences, we miss out on the power of God.

In John 17:17, Jesus says, God’s word is truth. We need to keep the Word in our minds and in our hearts so that when the enemy, or the world, or our circumstances try to tell us something that opposes it, we know the truth. It shouldn’t matter what we see, hear, smell, taste, or feel. God’s Word is true, period. Romans 3:4

The power of God cannot manifest in our lives when we are not believing in that power. If our experience is allowed to dictate what we see as God’s will, how can we believe?

Here’s the key:

  • Get the Word of God sown into your heart. You can’t really believe Him, if you don’t know Him and what He says.
    • Learn what God’s will is. Much of His will is given to us in the Bible, if we will look for it, we will find it.
  • Hold on to what you know, what you’ve sown, and do not be swayed. You will see His promises fulfilled if you have faith and do not doubt.

 

I have a printable document you may have. It is a declaration page, something you can look at often to be reminded who you are in Christ and what He has given you, because He loves you. Click here and download it to your computer and print it! No strings attached, but please, when someone else wants the same list, refer them to this page, or this blog. Thank you!

 

 

The Sovereignty of God, What Do You Believe

Belief in a LieBelief in a lie …. or What you believe is not the truth about God.

 

The Sovereignty of God

Upon reading the actual definition of sovereignty (supreme power or authority), I began to question where the doctrine I grew up with came from.

What did we believe? What do most of the people I know believe? God is in complete control and whatever He wants to happen will happen. “Everything happens for a reason.” — making God responsible for literally every single thing that happens in the world, good or bad. Making it appear as if we are all just puppets on a grand stage, performing for the master of it all.

The thing is, God isn’t able to do anything and everything. One thing? God is not able to lie. The Bible says in Hebrews 6:18, “It is impossible for God to lie…”  Another thing, He cannot break a covenant. Psalm 89:34, “My covenant I will not break.” Big one here, He cannot force anyone to follow Him, though He wants so badly to see all of mankind to be with Him. 2 Peter 3:9

God has limited Himself in regards to what He will control and not control on this Earth. In Genesis 1:28, God gave mankind dominion over the earth and everything in it. Then, Adam and Eve condemned mankind to the rule of Satan on this Earth. They turned the Earth over to him, through their sin,  and now he is ruler. If you believe God controlled all of that, then why would you believe God loves mankind?

Now, the enemy has dominion over the Earth, but not over those who receive Christ as their Savior. Jesus took care of that problem, but we still live in a broken world. That being said, God provided help for us. James 4:7, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” See Matthew 16:19

I think we put up with more than we have to because we do not truly believe what God tells us. When was the last time an attack came, that you recognized as the enemy, and you stood firmly rooted in the Word and fought him off as Jesus did? You know, when Satan came and tempted Jesus. Jesus simply stood on the Word of God until the Tears of Love Jesusenemy left. He resisted the devil. Matthew 4:1-11

There are a lot of things that happen in our lives. Hurtful, horrible things. There is not a single person in this world that can say they’ve never had to deal with really difficult circumstances, but I do not believe that God causes them or sends them our way. And, I do not believe in the stand-by, “God allowed it.” Unless, we are talking about God allowing us free-will. Free-will causes our problems, and yes, God gave us free-will. So, in that sense, you can say He allows it. But, I do not believe God allows each circumstance. God isn’t up there saying, “Yes, I will allow those teenagers to drink and drive and cause an accident that kills that wonderful family.” or “Yes, she can have cancer, that’s cool with Me.” “Of course it’s okay with Me that he becomes a sex offender and molests multiple young ladies over the course of 30 years.”

By saying that God is in control of everything, that He allows everything to happen, we are saying He is not good. Mark 10:18. That He is not love. 1John 4:8. I believe a lot of the responsibility for the continued falling of mankind is on the Christians. We are not taking up our spiritual authority and living as God wants us to live. We are not resisting the devil. Mostly, we just submit to him and to the ways of the world. And then we pass it off as “God’s will.”

The question I have is, will you take the time to consider what you believe? Will you check out the Word of God for yourself and let Him soften your heart to Him and to the knowledge of who He really is? If you will, it is more than worth your time and effort.

Do You Believe A Lie?

Cross Blue Skies

Unbelief = Belief in a lie, or what you believe is not the truth about God.

Over the years, as I’ve drawn closer to God and spent more time studying the Bible, I’ve had to take a close look at what I believe. All my life I’ve been involved in church, and each church I’ve been to has held to the belief that they teach from the Word of God. I believe they do, but I also believe that there are times we miss things. Times when we teach what we’ve grown up believing, without really considering if our teachers had it right or if they missed something.

I’m not saying I know what’s right, but I do see things I use to believe, and after doing my own studying, my thoughts have changed.

John 10:10, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

3 John 2-4, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”Feed Faith Starve Doubt

There’s a reason God provided the Word for us. So that we could be aware of the devil’s schemes and be able to stand on the truth He declared. The enemy is a liar above all things, and he knows how to twist things to make us believe his way instead of God’s. And it’s innocent. We don’t even recognize it a lot of the times.

This series will give you things to ponder. Some things you will have to decide what you believe. Study the Word of God. Let the Holy Spirit help you understand His Word. And He will, because He wants you to know Him better, to know the truth. It’s the truth you know that will set you free. John 8:32

This is the list of topics I will cover in separate posts, with a basic summary included. If you want to learn more about a given topic, stay tuned. Once they’re up, over the next few weeks, I will include a link here to each one.

  1. The Sovereignty of God.
    • In our world, today, we have changed the meaning of sovereign in regards to talking about God. In the dictionary, we see that sovereign is simply “a supreme ruler, especially a monarch, or possessing supreme or ultimate power.” Somehow, that has been construed to mean, “completely in control of everything that happens.”
      • God is all powerful. He is completely able to anything and everything He wants to do, but He limits Himself. When He created man, He made man as ruler of this world, the Earth. He gave man dominion and took a step back. He gave man the ability to choose, and man chose to turn this world over to Satan. So, yes, God is possessing supreme power. But, He loves us too much to rule over everything with an iron fist. He allows us to choose whom we will serve and the result is a lot of bad things going on that He did not cause to happen, nor desire to have happen to us, His children.
      • Look at Genesis 1:28, Genesis 3, 3 John 2-4
  2. Interpreting God’s will in light of our own experiences.
    • Our circumstances do not change God’s will. Much of His will is spelled out in the Bible and His Word doesn’t change.
  3. Old covenant vs. New covenant
    • God never changes, but He gave us redemption and is now not holding sin against us.
  4. Paul’s Thorn
  5. I need more faith
  6. Healing
    • There are several parts under this topic that we will discuss, things like God heals some, but now all, If God wants me healed, He will just do it, and other very intriguing things.

I hope you’ll join me as we dive deep into the Word and make decisions on what we believe about God, about Satan, and about our lives as we are here, in this world.

Back to Basics, Sow the Word of God

Three CrossesBack to Basics, Sow the Word of God

This Bible study, sow the Word of God,  is going to take us back to the fundamentals, the basics. Because, without the basics, the big picture, our ability to learn, understand, and grow, will be lost.

When I was in high school, I participated in marching band. Every upper class man had a certain amount of dread for the first month of the season, because we always had to start the season off relearning the basics.

In June, we began Tuesday and Thursday evening rehearsals and every single practice was the same, “Mark time, mark!” Came the call and we would all count out loud, “1-2-3-4” and then proceed to take eight steps forward, counting aloud the entire time. We would stop for another march in place on the next yard line, and then, “Halt.” The band directors and drum majors would inspect the lines. Who had made it to the yard line correctly? How many people were not in line? How was their “at attention” form?

They would explain how to do it better and off we would go again. Eventually, we’d be able to do two or three sets of eight  before stopping. Then there were the other commands, “Right face!”, “Left face!” and on and on. These were the basic abilities a band had to be able to perform correctly before moving on to the fun stuff.

For those who had done this for two or three years already, it was an annoying exercise, but we knew that without the fundamentals, the big picture is lost.

So, this study is taking us back to the fundamentals. Jesus told parables – stories meant to teach a powerful lesson to help us as we grow in faith and understanding.

A story with a lesson.

Mark 4:26-29, “And He said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

When seeds are planted, crops grow. This is the natural law that God established in Creation. Jesus used this topic because we can relate to it. Feed Faith Starve Doubts Cross

  1.  Notice, the man has to plant the seed.
    • Mark 4:14, it says, “The sower sows the word.” In order for us to grow in our walks with Christ, we must sow the Word of God into our hearts. And do it regularly. If we aren’t putting it in, we won’t get anything from it.
    • God has a lot of promises written in the Bible. If He didn’t want us to have the things He promised, He wouldn’t have included them in the writing of the Bible, would He? Planting the Word in our hearts is the answer to receiving all that God has and desires for us to receive.
    • Remember this: a farmer doesn’t plant a seed just randomly here and there. He plants thousands of seeds in his well cared for field.
      • Allow the Holy Spirit to care for your heart.
      • Sow the Word into your heart constantly.
  2. The man waits and simply knows the seeds will sprout and grow. He knows the natural law and rests in the knowledge that in due time, it will do what it is supposed to do.
    • It takes time for the Word of God to spring up and start working in your life, but it’s the nature of the Word to produce change. Your labor will be rewarded!
  3. You don’t have to understand the process, you don’t have to “get it”, you just simply have to believe it.
    • The man didn’t wonder or worry about it, neither did he go out and pluck it out every day to see how it was doing. He simply did what he knew to do …. plant seeds, take care of them by watering them and maybe fertilizing the area, and wait.
    • I catch myself trying to pull out what I’ve planted by speaking words that don’t line up with what I say I believe.
      • Example: I’m really good about complaining about my weight and how difficult it has been for me to lose it. And it really has. I eat very well and  exercise regularly. I don’t say this to brag, but to explain my struggle. The thing is, I don’t help myself because I use my words in a detrimental way. I say things like, “I’m never going to lose any weight, I don’t even know why I try so hard.” The Bible says words are very important (that’s for another study), and I use the wrong ones.
    • When you increase your doubt and unbelief, you are essentially plucking the seeds you’ve planted. Wrong thinking, negative words, actions you know are sin, etc. are all things that will de-root the faith you have sown.
  4.  You cannot by-pass the growth cycle. There is a lot that happens before a farmer sends out the harvester to bring in the fruit of his labor.
    • Preparation time is never wasted time. You cannot get the full ear of corn before the first blade has come up. To put this in terms you can better understand:
      • believing God for $1,000 is a lot harder if you’ve never believed Him for $10.
      • believing God for healing cancer is a lot harder if you’ve never believed you could be healed of a cold
    • Don’t get upset because you don’t have what you see in someone else, if you’re not willing to put in the work necessary to obtain it.

The Challenge

For those who have never really made reading the Bible part of every day life, start out small, just a few verses. Don’t stress yourself out thinking you should be reading the Bible all day every day. Find a few minutes and open the Bible, or Bible app, and just read a couple verses, and really think about what you read, trying to apply it to your personal life.  Continue in this way until you’ve read an entire book … I recommend the Book of John as a good starting place.

I found out several years ago, if you will make reading the Bible a discipline, it will grow into a desire. You’ll get to where you miss it if you skit it. (Well, would you look at that? Another example of sowing and reaping.)

No matter if you’re new to this thing or have been walking it for years, it’s easy to get in a rut. To forget to read the Word or spend time with the King. That’s normal. Just dive in. And do your best not to condemn yourself for where you are at this moment of time. Just get at it!

You cannot expect yourself to go from milk to meat in five minutes, but if you will get back to the basics: sow the word of God into your heart, you will reap the reward – a closer, more intimate relationship with God. What could be better than that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soften, or Harden, Your Heart

Heart and Cross Love

Soften, or Harden, Your Heart

I believe you are able to soften, or harden, your heart in regards to God. He has a plan for your life, has blessed you by His Word, and promised you a lot of amazing and wonderful things. Have you softened your heart to receive those things?

My yard is pretty rough, it is so hardened by the gravel in it, I find it difficult to get the bare spots filled in with grass. I think I would have to bring a dump truck full of good soil in if I ever wanted to have a soft, lush yard. But, I dug through all that gravely, nasty ground in order to plant  bushes in my front yard. I covered their roots with good healthy soil to give them a fighting chance.

As I stood there allowing a gentle mist to give them the drink they need to keep flourishing, I thought about my heart. As long as I keep a gentle flow of good thoughts going in there, I feel close to God. I hear Him whispering His love deep in my soul and I know that when I need something, He is there meeting my needs.

When I water my heart with negative hurtful thoughts, I feel like God is nowhere near me. The loving whispers are drowned out by the hailstorm of doubt and unbelief.

I was driving down the road one day and my mind’s eye formed a car coming through an intersection and slamming into the side of the van I was carrying instruments in for church. I started imagining what that would be like and then the Holy Spirit let me know that was crazy. Why would I carry the thought into a whole vision? I laughed out loud and said, “Ha ha devil, I’m safe in the arms of God.” The trip went on without a hitch and I was able to see how far I’ve come and how much growth I still need in the area of my thinking.

I control my own thoughts. I know that is true. I realize that thoughts often come out of nowhere, like the auto accident I imagined, but I also know that those thoughts that come out of nowhere can be thrown out just as quickly. It’s a choice to discard negative, detrimental thoughts … or to just follow them along until they become a living fear within you.

Thoughts, pondering, meditation … all of these bring a hardening or a softening to the heart. Either way you look at it, hard or soft, whichever word you choose can be negative or positive. It just depends on your point of view.

Jesus spoke of the disciples and their hardened hearts twice fairly close together in Mark. The first one we see is Mark 6:52, “For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.” The second 8:17, “But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, ‘Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened?'”

In both instances, bread enters the picture .. why? I don’t have a direct answer to this question, but I have a thought: maybe because a little leaven leavens the whole loaf? (Galatians 5:9) If you allow the enemy a crack in your life, it quickly takes over. A little thought of fear soon creates an anxiety you cannot control.

In the first passage, Jesus has fed the 5,000. After completing the miracle of ministering to the entire crowd, He wants to get some alone time with the Father. So, He tells the disciples to get in the boat and go before Him to the other side. Notice, He didn’t say, “Start crossing and get stuck in the middle somewhere.” He tells them to go ahead of Him to the other side. Then He sends the multitude away and heads for His prayer time.

The disciple head out. It says Jesus made them go … in the King James Version,  it uses the word constrained for this same story. Constrain means to compel or force someone toward a particular course of action. Now, why would He have to force them? I wonder if they were looking at the sky and resisting getting into that boat. After all, they were mostly fisherman and knew the signs of bad weather.

After His time in prayer, Jesus decides to join the disciples … by walking across the sea to the other side. He sees them out there straining to row the boat because of all that wind fighting against them. How often are we straining to get to the other side?

This interests me, why does it say, “He would have passed them by”? If they had not called out to Him, He would’ve just kept on going, but why would He do that?

Skip forward to verse 52 … they had not understood about the loaves because their hearts were hardened. I believe Jesus wanted them to remember the miracles they had seen and put their trust in Him, since He told them to cross all the way over. They shouldn’t have feared the wind, because He had given them directions and if He gave them directions, He would give them what they needed to complete the task. (This story is found in Mark 6:45-52)

Often, when we’re straining to get to the other side, when we feel like we’re being beat down or sent backwards by the winds, we simple need to remember Who is with us and what power He has already provided for us. He has given us the tools to overcome, we just have to know deep down that we have those tools and that He is ever-present to get us where we need to be.

Let’s head over to Mark 8:17-18, again we find Jesus commenting on their hardened hearts. And then He follows it with, “Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?”

So, what is a hardened heart? I think it’s being insensitive to what God has for us. Or it could also be described as being closed minded to what God wants us to learn. It’s not seeing the truth in the Word, but instead being controlled by the things of the world. The disciples weren’t able to look past saving their own lives to see and know that God had a way for them. They were controlled by the wind, instead of by the Word … “Go to the other side” was a word from the Lord.

A hard heart is simply a heart that is more sensitive to other things than to God.

It is caused by what we focus our attention on, and it dictates the level of unbelief in our lives.

Interesting that they had seen Jesus save them from a storm already and so quickly forgot His power. So, He commands the wind and waves with “Peace by still,” and it happens. Let’s just look what is between Mark 4:35 and Mark 6:52 … the two storms.

Storm number 1, “Peace be still.” Then, a demon possessed man is healed, a woman  touches His garment and receives healing, Jairus’ daughter is raised from the dead, and other people who were sick receive healing. The disciples themselves hav been given the power to cast out demons and heal the sick! They actually do miraculous things of their own. Then there is the feeding of the 5,000. And then … storm number 2, “I think I’ll just walk on over and meet my disciples across the sea.”

It’s amazing to me how much the disciples had seen and experienced and yet they got freaked out so easily. It was only a storm … they’d been through storms before and survived them. They’d seen and done miracles. And yet, they had a crack of unbelief … they had their minds focused on fear, rather than on God.

This just lets me know how easily we all forget how amazing, big, and powerful our God is – and that He lives inside of us who believe.

What happens when our hearts are hardened:

  1. Hard hearts keep us from receiving spiritual truths.
    • After a church service, some people are able to talk for a long time about what God did in them during that service. Other people walk away the same as they walked in, and they’ll often comment about how they get nothing out of church. Why? The condition of the heart.
  2. Hard hearts stop us from understanding spiritual truths.
    • 1 Corinthians 2:14, “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
  3. When we don’t understand God’s Word, Satan finds no resistance when he comes to steal it away.
    • Matthew 13:19, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.”
  1. Hard hearts keep us from remembering, or relating what we learned to our own everyday lives.
    • The disciples remembered the facts about feeding the people, but they had forgotten any spiritual lessons they may have learned. They didn’t relate it to their own lives and so they got stuck.

A hardened (or softened) heart is based on sensitivity.

One reason people who know what the Word says, still don’t see it work for them, is their sensitivity. They are more sensitive to fear and doubt than they are to the truths of God’s Word … because they have thought more about things that minister fear and doubt than they have meditated on God’s Word.

I believe we can harden our hearts to doubt and fear by considering only God’s Word. We can become just as sensitive to God and faith as we have been to Satan and doubt.

Stated from the softened heart perspective, I believe we are quite able to soften our hearts to doubt and fear, by following those negative thoughts. Or we can soften our hearts to love and peace, by being focused on the Word of God and building ourselves up in the most holy faith.

I have created a list of amazing thoughts, with verses to go with them. This list will lift you up. It will soften your heart to receive from God all that He wants you to have. You can have that list by simply clicking here.

I recommend reading it regularly aloud. And, may I tell you something that sounds a little bit crazy? If you stand in an authoritative pose and say it like I imagine David did as he headed out with that stone in his sling, it will have a more powerful affect on you and your belief.

 

 

Amazing Grace Cross Heart Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God Rocks

Understanding the Kingdom #3

Kingdom of God

Understanding the Kingdom #3

Today, we’re going to continue our study about the Kingdom of God. Remember, the Kingdom of God is wherever He rules and reigns. We are to seek first the Kingdom of God … let Him rule and reign in our lives .. and when we do, He promises everything we nee,d to live a good, full life, will be provided for us. We don’t have to even ask for it, it just happens as we allow Him that highest place in our lives. (Matthew 6:33)

We are going to look at what happens when we ask for another king. That doesn’t mean we verbally say, “Hey God, I want another king, I’m not happy with the One I have.” Rather, it means we allow something else to work it’s way up higher and higher, until it takes it’s place as ruler in our lives. This is usually a result of believing something contrary to the Word in some area.

We’re going to head on over to 1 Samuel 8. The Israelites have decided they want a king to rule over them. They want to be like the nations around them.

Picking up in verse 9 – 22: God is speaking to Samuel in verse 9,”Now, therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.”

After verse 9, Samuel delivers a message to the Israelites, telling them just what they would give up by having a king.

  • Family (children): verse 11-13 – to serve him
  • Food/drink (fields, vineyards, olive groves): verse 14-15
  • Livelihood (donkeys, sheep): verse 16-17
  • Freedom: verses 11-22

When we open ourselves up to allowing something or someone else to take lordship of our livGod's Masterpiecees, we are giving up all of those things. We give something lordship when we consider it more than we consider Him. This often happens when we believe our circumstance over the Word.

For example: Just last week, I caught myself believing I’m pretty much of no value to anyone or anything. That I screwed up my life, my kids, and generally just have no worth in the world. Had I continued down that line of thinking, it would have taken over and I would have found myself defeated, depressed, and falling down into a pit I couldn’t crawl out of. Negative thoughts and self-deprecation would have quickly become lord of my life. It would have ruled everything I did. Every decision I made would have been influenced by this way of thinking. Thankfully, I knew the right thing to do when those thoughts invaded my mind: I pulled out my list and began reading it out loud. Making those negative thoughts disappear, and filling my head with what the Bible says about who I am – opening my heart and mind and placing God right back in that top place.

How much are we willing to give up when we give something or someone else rule and reign in our lives? Family? Job? Prosperity? Health?

Having a king, other than The King, is a sin. 1 Samuel 12:12, Samuel is speaking to the Israelites, “And when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammorites came against you, you said to me, ‘ No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when the Lord your God was your king.”

The Lord was already their king. They didn’t need a human king. In the next few verses, we find out that God allowed it, provided them with their king, but gave them a warning. 1 Samuel 12:14-15, “If you fear the Lord and serve Him and ovey His voice, and do not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then both you and the king who reigns over you will continue following the Lord your God. However, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers.”

The good and the bad was dependent on their choices. We get to choose to receive God’s blessing and favor into our lives, or not. It’s completely our choice.

Does that mean we will always have perfect lives with no difficulty in them? no. We live in a world surrendered to Satan at it’s infancy, but it does mean that God will see us through all things. It does mean that we will know how to defeat the enemy and stand strong in Him. It means when we are attacked, be it by just normal, living in a broken world attacking, or by the devil’s schemes, we are well equipped to handle it. When cancer strikes, we are able to stand on the Word of the Lord and receive the healing He wants us to have. When the mortgage is due, both vehicles break down, and the washing machine quits, we are able to stand on the Word of the Lord and see Him provide each and every one of those needs.

One time, in a church small group, a young lady described how she imagines heaven. I’ve never forgotten it, “There is a warehouse with my name on the front, when I walk up to it, an angel opens the door and reveals to me all the gifts God had prepared for me. All the things I could have received and didn’t because of my lack of faith, my unbelief.”

I want my warehouse to be empty. I want to know that I served Him with my everything. That I sought Him as rule and reign over my entire life and in that seeking, received everything He yearned to give to me. How about you? Will you surrender to Him? Will you let Him take His place as King over your life?

To wrap up this part of our Kingdom series, let’s look at 1 Samuel 12:20-25. Through these verses, we can learn some valuable lessons.

Then Samuel said to the people, ‘Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing. For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you His people. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”

  • Don’t fear, God loves you. He’s still the Lord, so even when you mess up, just get back at it. Serve Him with all your heart.
  • Don’t turn aside. Those things you’re putting higher than the Lord are just empty, useless things.
  • Remember daily (more like hourly, even minute by minute), the great things He has done, is doing, and will continue to do for and in you.
  • Don’t get swept away, both you and your king. If you allow something or someone else to take a higher place in your life than the Lord, it will begin pulling you away from Him. It will continue to pull you further and further away, the more you follow it. God never will pull away from you, He never leaves or forsakes His kids, but we pull away from Him by choosing to take the reign from Him.

 

 

God Rocks

Understanding the Kingdom #2

Kingdom of God

Understanding the Kingdom #2

There are two things I think are very important to know about the Kingdom of God: It is progressive, and it brings opposition.

  • John taught the Kingdom of God is at hand …. he lost his head.
  • Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God … he caused a bit of a stir.
  • The disciples taught the Kingdom … 10/12 were martyred.
  • Paul taught it … he was stoned.

Let’s take a look at Acts 14:19-22 (If you haven’t read “The Kingdom #1” yet, you should read it first.)

“Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there, and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.'”

In the first part of this study, we talked about what the kingdom of God is, and defined it as, “Where God is ruling and reigning,” and to make it more personal, “His rule and reign in our hearts.”

  • You enter the Kingdom of God, submitting to His reign, and resist the many kingdoms of this world.
  • As soon as you give more of your heart over to God’s reign, you’ve taken it from the devil and he will oppose!

How often does your flesh rise up and take the reign from the Lord? I know mine does a lot. The Lord whipsers to your heart, “Give $50 to that ministry.” Your flesh says, “Now way, man. I need that $50 to pay this bill. It’s already behind, I can’t be foolish with the money God has given me.”

Another area the flesh will rise up and try to take over is the mouth. We open our mouths and spew seLove Wins Jesus Crosseds of anger and bitterness. That’s not what God would have us sowing in the fields of our own hearts and the hearts of others. Every time I think about this, I see an image in my head of words flowing from my mouth. Each word is a seed and each seed gets thrown out into a field. Which ones are going to bear fruit?

When you get determined, saying, “I am going to obey God. I am going to allow Him to rule over every kingdom I have within me,” you will be hitting resistance at nearly every turn and you must be ready for it.

Have you ever picked up you Bible and read a verse you’ve read a hundred times, but this time it penetrates your very being? Like, suddenly you know without any doubt what God wants you to get from that particular verse? At that moment, it comes at you like a tidal wave, and you absolutely know it’s true and powerful.

Five minutes later, yoWalk By Faithu’ve set your Bible down, still thinking about how awesome God is to show you something so amazing, and suddenly a thought pops into your head. “Wait, was that really God? Was I just imagining it? Did I make it up?” These types of things hit you and, because you know opposition will come, and you’ve prepared yourself for it, you’re able to stand firm against:

  • Your own doubt and unbelief
  • Your friends/family’s doubt and unbelief

That doesn’t mean you get up there on your little soap box and start preaching to everybody, but it means, deep within you … in your heart and in your life … you stand on the revelation from the Word of God. Speaking the Truth when it is necessary, but out of love, not in a hurtful or condemning way.

Our world is falling apart because not enough Christians are willing to stand firm – allowing God to truly be Lord of their lives. We’re manipulated, controlled, and owned by someone/something else taking over as lord.

Matthew 11:11-12 says, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”

Let me encourage you. Jesus said, in the verse above, that we are greater than John the Baptist. We have so much value as God’s sons and daughters, and you need to remember that. Here is a great list of things God has declared about you: I call it, “The List.”

If you’ll yield, you have the power to overcome anything of this world that comes at you.

When oppostion does come, do not back down! So many times, Christians have missed out on the power God wants them to walk in for one simple reason, they don’t want to pay the price. There’s a price to be paid … why read the Bible, learn what God is saying, get the revelation from the Holy Spirit, and then back down because someone else doesn’t agree? Or allow doubt and unbelief to rule when life smacks us in the face? Get up and declare the Word! It is the truth, whether we see it with our natural eyes or not.

Matthew 12:22-28

  • The Kingdom is near when the devil is cast out. His kingdom will beat anything that comes against them, when His people will believe and pray for it. And when the Kingdom is near, the devil leaves.
  • Another way to see it, when Jesus is lifted up and glorified, everything else starts sliding down.

Luke 10:8-11

  • Healing becomes available as we pray the Kingdom come. Healing is always available when the Kingdom is near … whether there is belief or not. But when there’s not, results will not be seen.

Isaiah 9:6-7

  • When you’re born again, the Kingdom of God pops into your heart and life in seed form. You’re not going to be fully committed or persuaded to give him absolute reign right away. It increases and increases as it is watered. You have to take care of your seeds. And it will not end … there is no end to where He wants to take you in His kingdom.

Matthew 13:31-33

  • Don’t ever give up! Keep on praying, seeking, and receiving. Keep pressing in, believing the Word. The Kingdom is progressive and it is growing. And as you yield more and more to His rule and reign, you’ll see those things you’ve dreamed of becoming reality in your life.

God rules. God reigns .. with our participation, our willingness to yield.

Other lessons in this series: #1, #3.

Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,

and all these things shall be added to you.

 

 

 

God Rocks

Understanding the Kingdom #1

Kingdom of God

Understanding the Kingdom #1

Have you ever opened up your Bible, read a verse, and went, “Huh?” Yeah, me too. But, you know, God is faithful to give us understanding if we search for it. So, let’s dive into this series and find out what we can learn about the Kingdom of God.

Matthew 6:25-33:

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

I had read this section of verses many times. I had even quoted the last verse to others quite often, and had been trying to live it. Then it occurred to my that I didn’t really have an understanding of what I was supposed to be seeking.

I have been taught and led to “trust God” or “seek God” many times over the years. What job should I have? “Seek God.” How am I going to get through this month’s bills with all this extra stuff going on? “Trust God.” Christians are really good at throwing out those little pieces of advice, and while that is what we should do, most of us don’t really know what that means. Most of us feel like we’ve sought God and that we are trusting Him, but then our words of worrying come out and we pretty much prove our lack of trust.

Here’s the thing, we don’t really know what it means to see the kingdom of God. We just take the “seek God” part and decide, “Okay, I’ll read my Bible, maybe a little more than usual … if I have time … and I’ll pray, asking Him what He wants.” And then we just go about our day.

So let’s dive into this and try to break it down into something we can grasp. Something we can pursue as a reality in our lives, and then get to where we see “all these things” just added to our lives as a by product of our surrender.

What is the Kingdom of God? In Daniel 4:1-3, 34-35 and in 6:26-27 (please read them before moving on) we can see that God’s kingdom was recognized and reigning in the Old Testament. In verse 3, “His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.”

This is King Nebuchadnezzar, a king that believed mostly in himself, and that’s it.  He was very aware of what it meant to rule a kingdom and rise in power. In verses 34-35, we find the same great king speaking of God, “He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth.”

In chapter 6, we are reading about King Darius, and because of Daniel and his stand, as a servant of God, the king recognizes God’s reign, “His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall endure to the end.”

In all of these passages, we find out that men of the world recognize that God has a kingdom. That He is the ruler of the Earth, and that He has and will always reign. Just remember, His reign doesn’t mean everything that happens here is a result of His hand or His will. While He does reign overall, He doesn’t control every detail in our lives. After all, He gave that job to us … when He told Adam to take dominion … and then Adam turned it over to Satan.

Turn over to Matthew 3:1-3, 4:17 & 23. “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Do we understand what this is saying? It means the kingdom of heaven isn’t some far off future event. Nor does it mean the kingdom is way out there somewhere in the sky. It means it is here and it is now and, it is good news! The word Gospel means “good news.” It really means, “too good to be true news.” The kind of news we tend to not believe. And Jesus, according to Matthew 4:23 went about teaching the good news of the kingdom of heaven, and as a result, people were healed and delivered.

Luke 17:20-21, “The kingdom of God is within you.”

So, Matthew 6:33 … Here is the definition of the kingdom of God that made it all make sense to me.

The Kingdom of God is wherever God is ruling and reigning.

You see, God owns the world and everything in it, but He doesn’t just beat us into subjection. He loves us too much for that. So, we have to allow Him to rule and reign. To fully learn about the Kingdom of God, you’re going to need to read the other blogs in this series. But, more important than reading my blog posts, you are going to need to ask the Holy Spirit to quicken your mind and give you revelation knowledge. Because, without His help, you’ll just never truly walk Matthew 6:33.

Here are a few things that will help you, though:

  1. Pray the kingdom come. In Matthew 6:9-10, we find Jesus teaching the disciples how to pray. And He includes telling them to pray that the kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven. Listen, if we didn’t need to ask for it, Jesus wouldn’t have said to pray for it. God’s will is not just automatically done. Now, I know that goes against a lot of beliefs about the sovereignty of God, and I don’t have space here to get into that, but just look at this one verse and give it a ponder: 2 Peter 3:9 … if God always automatically got His will, no one would ever perish.
    1. Taking this to a personal level, when you pray His kingdom to come, it’s asking Him to rule and reign over the many areas in your life. Your relationships, finances, health, decisions, attitudes, mouth, thouights, etc. It’s relinquishing your control and allowing Him to rule.
      1. I think one of the hardest places for me to let go and let God is in my thoughts. The Bible tells us to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (2Cor. 10:5). That means, not allowing negative, hurtful thoughts to fill your brain. It means countering thoughts that are contrary to what God says in His word and not allowing the enemy and the world to control what you’re thinking about, because believe me, if the enemy can get you to focus on some past mistake and get you to allow that to rule your life, he will. And your past will then be guiding your future, instead of God.
  2. Prefer God’s will over your own. His agenda over yours.
    1. Don’t pursue stuff … pursue His rule over your life. He wants you to have the stuff, He really does, but He doesn’t want you chasing the stuff.
    2. Be careful that you’re not getting into religious rule, instead of God rule. Religious rule is like, “tattoos aren’t Godly,” or “the clothes you’re wearing are too showy,” that type of thing. You see, religious rule, those things you may have heard growing up, that aren’t offering grace to those around you, often causes you to become just judgmental and dogmatic, and that is not how God is or how He wants us to be.
  3. Heed the voice of the Lord.
    1. Hebrews 12:27 (start in 21 and read to get the whole thing), God wants to shake us up. He wants to be able to teach us and shake the bad out and fill us up with goodness. His goodness. And the great thing is, He is patient and full of grace.
      1. Let Him teach you and guide you little by little. One “yes, Lord” at a time. Progressively changing you as you learn to hear and follow His voice.

Consider, really ponder and think about, what the Kingdom of God really is. Let Him take the rule and reign, and see the power released in your life. It’s going to be an amazing ride!

 

Other lessons in this series: #2, #3.

For your free copy of “The List“, click here.