Leave Your Mark... Make an Impact

Have you ever began to compare yourself with others? Maybe you compared your performance at work with a another work associate. Or you may have compared your husband or wife to someone else.  Comparison can be a dangerous thing. It can cause you and me to miss what God wants to do in us and through us.  

We often compare ourselves to others with more influence.  We see them as making more money or making a bigger mark on the world.   But I want to challenge that thought. 

The greater the scope influence the lesser the impact. 

You may admire someone who has influence over a large company.  When in fact, it is the person who is leading the department of 5 to 10 people within that large company who has a greater impact on individuals.  The smaller the group the great the impact on those within the group. A  pastor may influence hundreds or thousands on a given Sunday, but  his influence may not compare to the impact of a small group leader that personally touches the lives of 8-10 people in the group.

Many are choosing to influence the lives of many by chasing after approval and promotion at work or by seeking to make a name for themselves.  Their focus is on bigger and better instead of realizing the powerful impact of a few close relationships.

In family relationships,  impact cannot be underestimated.  God ordained the family unit.  He desires to exhibit his unconditional love and grace within the family relationships.  But honoring God within our family units takes focus and purposeful impact.

Parents,  never underestimate the impact you are making on your children. A strong marriage is the best gift you can give to your
children . Purposefully choose to make your marriage a priority after your relationship with God.  It is vital for the security and emotional health of your children. 

Secondly,  prioritize your children.  How do you know you are prioritizing your God, your marriage and your children?  How can you objectively asses yourself?  Evaluate how you spend your time.  Does God get the leftovers of your day? Then he is not your priority.  Do you plan quality time each week with your spouse?  What about spending time with your children to eat, talk and play together?   Where we spend our time reflects our level of priority.  

You are called to influence many people in your lifetime.  But those few you walk closely with you in your family unit and your few closest friends are those who will be impacted forever by your life.

Leave your mark... make an impact.
 

Two-Halves Don't Make a Whole

Two-Halves Don't Make a Whole

Gwen Miller

In a marriage, two halves don't make a whole. 

In fact it takes two completely whole individuals to make the marriage a fulfilling union. 

Young girls picture this knight in shining armor bounding into their lives and sweeping them off their feet. This wonderful knight is handsome, brave, and equipped for all of life's challenges. He exudes such strength and confidence that his lady is in awe of his prowess. His very presence makes her feel secure, loved, and beautiful, like a true princess. Truthfully, what generally brings two opposite people together is the innate desire to be loved completely by another person. If I honestly look at what drew me to my husband, I know it was how wonderful I felt when we were together. I was so blinded by my own warm, fuzzy feelings that nothing mattered except being together. 

I heard a story about a young couple who were in a premarital counseling session. As they sat starry-eyed with blissful hearts, the counselor asked the young lady to write down a list of negative traits she had observed in her fiancé. She took pen in hand and after several minutes still had a blank sheet. With a smile on his face, the counselor assured her that this time next year she would have no trouble at all with her list and might in fact need a second sheet of paper. Such is the nature of young love. 

There are three different kinds of love: 

1. Erotic Love.It generally starts off as eros or romantic love founded on physical attraction. Before you discount this kind of love as young and immature, consider its value. Most of us would not be married today without having experienced erotic love. This type of love attracts young lovers to one another and is foundational in leading a couple to make a lifelong commitment. Erotic love shared between a man and woman causes them to physically act upon their words of love. 

2. Phileo love, which is the kind of love between close friends, may be present or even develop soon after marriage. Phileo love is born and grows out of time spent together. It brings a bond between two people that causes them to prefer each other's company more than anything else.Kindness can be a key element to feeding and nurturing phileo love. I heard a story of a young couple from India whose marriage was arranged by their parents. The groom was several years older than the bride. The young couple was married but it was evident to the husband that his wife was emotionally distant and was strictly performing her wifely duties because it was expected that she do so. The wise husband desperately wanted to win the love of his young bride so he decided he would just be kind to her and treat her like a queen. He refrained from approaching her for sexual relations. He merely became her friend. Before long his young bride grew to love, admire, and desire her husband. She blossomed into the wife of his dreams. It's amazing what kindness and friendship will produce in a love relationship. Eros and phileo are most evident because of the strong feelings of attachment and emotional fulfillment that they bring. But neither of these kinds of love will bring into the marriage relationship what each partner is searching for. If it did our lives would be totally complete once we found our life's mate. But the staggering divorce rate is proof enough that marriage is not the answer to our life's greatest need. 

3. The third type of love is agape love.It is the God kind of love. It is the kind of love we identify in 1 Corinthians 13. It is never rude or acts unbecomingly; it does not insist on its own rights. It is not touchy and doesn't even keep account of wrongs suffered. It bears up under all things and is ever ready to believe the best in others. Agape love never fails. If you're like me, just reading the definition of the God kind of love makes you very aware that you don't have the capacity for such a love. That's why it's called godly love. Without the love of God in our own lives all other kinds of love will fail. Yet by receiving God's love and filling our lives with Him we not only receive agape love, but we can demonstrate this godly love to our spouses. Our capacity to love grows to a whole new level. 

Knowing and understanding God's perfect love for me helps me to be fully whole. 

I no longer feel the need to search within my marriage for my husband to fulfill my needs. I can be complete in Christ Jesus lacking nothing. That takes all the pressure off my husband to make me happy. (I can hear him cheering now.) One way I seek to fill my love tank with God's love, is by reading and memorizing verses in the Bible on His love. I love Psalm 139. It tells of God's thoughts being on me constantly. If I continually find my fulfillment in my relationship with God, then whatever happiness that comes my way, through my marriage or other avenues, is just frosting on the cake. 

© 2010 Gwen Miller 

 

The Perfect Prayer

The Perfect Prayer

Have you ever felt you lacked the words needed to pray over your situation? You may think you're hampered because you don't see all the sides of the problem. How should you pray when you don't know what to pray? You want to pray according to God's will, and not according to your own bias, but you have such strong emotions about the situation you find it difficult to discern the proper stance to take in prayer.

Someone might say, "It doesn't really matter how I pray over the situation because God is sovereign and He will do what He pleases." While it is true that God is sovereign and He does what He pleases, He has chosen to give us what we ask if we ask in Jesus' name. "'Whatever you ask in my name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son'" (John 14:13, NKJV). Answered prayer is God's idea not ours. According to James 4:3, two things may hinder receiving our answer to prayer. Our motives or our methods may be wrong.

The Proper Method of Prayer

What is the proper method of prayer? Praying God's Word is one way to offer the perfect prayer. When a situation arises in our lives we should first go to God's Word. What is His will in this situation? His Word is the perfect basis for any prayer.

Let's say you are single and you meet someone new at work. You wonder if you should pursue a relationship with the person. Although the person doesn't know Jesus as his personal Savior, you're thinking of pursuing the relationship, hoping that the person will eventually become a believer. God's Word says not to be unequally yoked or connected with unbelievers, and someone who is walking in the light should not have fellowship with someone who is walking in darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14). Therefore, if you know God's Word, there's no need to pray about whether to date the unbeliever. The only prayer to pray in that situation is a prayer of salvation for your friend. You know you cannot continue a dating relationship with an unbeliever and still be in the perfect will of God for your life.

Do you see how God's Word and praying effectively go hand in hand? No matter your circumstance, whether you need healing, direction for your life, freedom from fear, or deliverance from a bad habit, God's Word has the answer. "So shall My word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11, Amplified Bible). Praying God's Word establishes His plans and purposes in our lives, and we know His plan for His children is always a good plan. Whatever plans you may have for your own life pale in comparison to the wonderful plan He has for you. (See Jeremiah 29:11-14.)

When you know what God's Word says about your situation it gives you confidence and assurance when you pray. James 1:6 says when we pray we must pray with faith and not waver (author's paraphrase). How do we get that kind of solid faith? "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17, NKJV). So the perfect method of praying is praying God's Word.

We know certain things are black and white in the Bible. God's Word clearly says do not murder, do not steal, and do not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor. But how do you get direction in other areas that are not so clearly taught in the Bible? If you have two job offers, how do you know which one is the right one?

You can still trust God's Word to give you direction. I have marked several passages in my Bible that I read and speak out loud when I need personal direction. I pray these verses back to the Lord, telling Him that I believe what they say and I fully expect to know what to do in my situation. I love Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (NKJV).

Once I have prayed God's Word, renewing my confidence in His ability to lead and guide me, I may ask Him to please close the door on the job that is not for me and to open wide the door for the job He wants me to have. When you ask the Lord to make His will clear to you, and You trust Him, He will guide You just as He has promised in His Word.

The Proper Motive in Prayer

According to James 4:3 we must have the proper motive in prayer. The best way to measure our motive is by reading 1 Corinthians 13, the "love chapter." How would that ensure a proper motive when we pray? If our prayer is based on love, then our motive will be pleasing to God. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39). If we maintain an attitude of love, our motive will be right.

If you've been offended or hurt by someone, you may not be walking in love and your prayers may be hindered. A few years ago I was deeply hurt by a friend. My friend said some things that I never would have expected her to say. At first I found it difficult to pray over that situation. Anger and pain would well up inside me and I knew it wasn't pleasing to God. So I began to daily read aloud 1 Corinthians 13:1-8. I was honest with God and said, "Lord, you know that my friend has betrayed me. I feel so angry and hurt. Please help me to love those who hurt me and say evil things against me. I want to walk in love as You commanded. Lord, I know You would not ask me to do something and not enable me to do it. Your Word says to love your enemies. So I forgive my friend and I commit to love her no matter what."

The pain did not go away immediately. I had to choose to love based on what God's Word said because I had no emotional feelings of love. But as I began praying for her family, her health, and her job, the pain decreased.

I read 1 Corinthians 13 often, reminding myself that love is not a response to how others treat me, it is a choice I make. Things did not change overnight. But over a period of a few months God turned the whole situation around. My friend came to me one day and apologized for the hurt she had caused me. As she began to share her feelings, I realized that she had said those things because of her own feelings of fear and rejection. Our relationship was restored and we are friends today.

Like me, you may wonder if your heart is right when you pray over relationships or circumstances. Is your motive pure? Let love be your standard. Seek to develop in the area of love by memorizing and meditating on Scripture passages such as 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 John 3.

We can pray the perfect prayer and believe God for the outcome. As our prayers are answered, He is glorified and our testimony grows. The more answers we receive in prayer, the more we want to pray. We begin to see God's will being done on earth as it is in heaven. We recognize the awesome fact that we are partners with God and He chooses to work through the prayers of His people.

Gwen Miller

Effective Prayer

Effective Prayer

Gwen Mille

Why do so many prayers go unanswered? Does God answer some prayers and not others? Can we ever be sure of receiving an answer to our prayers, and if so, how? Scripture is our guide to knowing God's ways and how He works. 

James 1:6-8 says, "But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." There have been many times I have prayed without strong purpose. I was not sure how to pray or what the outcome of my prayers should produce so I prayed indecisively. I might have said, "O Lord, please have Your will in this situation. Please work it all to the best possible outcome." 

Though this prayer sounds good, it is not scriptural. According to James chapter one, we cannot expect to receive anything from God if we are not decisive in our prayers. It is very popular to pray, "If it be Your will." But we only see one time in the Gospels that Jesus prayed this type of prayer. It was when He was facing the cross. He was committing himself to God's purpose. When we are praying a prayer of consecration or commitment to the Lord this prayer is appropriate. But in all other situations we need to be specific in what we want from God. 

Last week I took my car to our mechanic for some general maintenance. I needed my oil changed and a new fuel filter. I got exactly what I asked for. In much the same way God wants us to be specific with Him in order to get what we need. We often put all of the responsibility for answered prayer on God and become disappointed and hurt when He doesn't work on our behalf, when in reality He has already given us the solution for answered prayer in His Word.Thank God in advance

In Mark 11:24 Jesus said, "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." 

So we start by deciding what we need from God and then asking Him for it. Even though He knows our needs He wants us to ask Him for the things we want (see Matthew7:7,8). 

When lacking clarity on how to pray we only have to search the Scriptures to see what God's Word says about the situation. If we need healing we search for healing Scriptures to pray and build a foundation for faith and receiving our healing. If our need is financial we search God's Word for Scriptures on financial blessing. When we pray for things that are clearly promised in God's Word we can pray with complete confidence. This is often where we fall short. We don't know if what we are praying for is founded in Scripture. But with some effort that can be easily remedied. 

Have you ever prayed about a particular thing that was troubling you only to continue to worry and be anxious over it even after you've prayed? In order for our prayers to be pleasing to God we must not continue to worry and fret over if, when or how God will answer. Instead we are to thank God in advance for the answer. This raises our prayers to a new faith level beyond human reasoning. Our human reasoning says we are thankful upon seeing the answer to our prayers. Yet that may be why many people never see their prayers answered. If we are willing to approach prayer from God's viewpoint we will thank Him before the answer comes. Philippians 4:6 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." 

Andrew Murray said, "It is not in good taste to ask God for the same thing over and over again." So what are we to do when the answer to our prayers has not come yet? Remind God that you already asked for it. Remind Him of what His Word says about it and what you expect to see and then continue to thank Him for it. Every prayer should be one that is expecting and full of faith. If you are having feelings of doubt over your situation meditate on God's Word and feed your mind with faith thoughts. If God's Word is in our hearts and minds it will produce results. "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7, KJV). 

So, we must first be decisive when we pray. We must base our prayers on Scripture, knowing what God's Word says about our situation. Then we must thank Him in advance and praise Him for the answer. In doing so we will find prayer to be the most powerful, effective tool we possess. 

 

How Does Your Garden Grow?

How Does Your Garden Grow? 

Every spring I observe with wonder as new life sprouts all around. Trees shoot forth fresh green leaves. A variety of wildflowers bloom with many-colored splendor. The miracle that unfolds each spring is truly amazing. The same remarkable cycle has been in place for thousands of years. In Genesis 1:11 we find the origin of this cycle: "God said, 'Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth;' and it was so" (NKJV).

How does your garden grow? By producing what you plant in it.

God placed every plant in the earth and made it to produce after its own kind. Within the seed lies the potential for fruitfulness. An apple seed will produce an apple tree, which will produce a harvest of apples. A tomato seed will produce a tomato plant, which will produce a harvest of tomatoes. When you plant an orange seed, given the proper conditions, it will grow into an orange tree and produce oranges. The potential within a seed is fabulous. A single seed can produce a tree that will bring forth a harvest year after year.

In Mark 4:14-20 Jesus used the Parable of the Sower to explain the power of the Word of God. The sower sowed the Word on different kinds of soil, which represent people. Some of the seed fell on stony ground, and when trouble and persecution came because of the Word, the people stumbled and fell away. Seed that fell among the thorns did not grow up and produce fruit because the cares, anxieties, and distractions of the world suffocated the seed. Notice in each of these examples the problem does not lie with the seed. The problem lies with the soil. The seed is the Word of God and we are the soil.

In verse 20 Jesus talked about the good soil: "Those sown on the good (well-adapted) soil are the ones who hear the Word and receive and accept and welcome it and bear fruit--some thirty times as much as was sown, some sixty times as much, and some [even] a hundred times as much" (Amplified Bible).

We can observe three things about the good soil:

1. "Those sown on the good ... soil are the ones who hear the Word." The foundation to being fruitful believers is to read and obey God's Word daily. God's Word must occupy first place in our lives for us to walk in victory and be fruitful Christians.

Many years ago, after the birth of my fourth child, I determined to regain my pre-pregnancy shape again. I had several clothing items I had not been able to wear for many months. I hung those clothes at the front of my closet, so I would see them often and be reminded of my goal. I shopped for groceries and planned meals based on my weight-loss goal. I got up every day and walked three to five miles, even in the rain. Within three short weeks I could tell a big difference. Within six weeks I had reached my goal of losing seventeen pounds.

I could never have attained such quick success without a daily commitment to weight loss. I made it a priority each day to eat right and exercise. In much the same way, if we give God's Word first place, we will soon see a huge difference in our lives. You can begin by simply reading your Bible and asking the Holy Spirit to give you revelation as you read. Take a single verse, keep it on your desk at work, and refer to it often. Listen to anointed men and women preach on Christian radio and television, tapes, or CDs.

2. We must receive, accept, and welcome God's Word. A good host receives, welcomes, and accepts her guest. She plans for the specific time her guest will arrive. She makes ready her house and plans for the pleasure and comfort of her guest. We should receive God's Word as we would a valued companion. Just as we would prepare and make our home a special place for receiving a guest, we prepare to receive God's Word by planning and setting aside time daily to read the Bible. Try reading from a different version of the Bible; it will add new light to what you read.

3. Once the Word is heard and received it bears much fruit. Isaiah 55:11 says, "So shall My word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it" (Amplified Bible).God's Word never returns void; it is always fruitful. In fact, in Isaiah 61:11 The Amplified Bible refers to "the self-fulfilling power of His word." The Word of God placed in the believer's heart is a powerful force destined to bear fruit. We want our lives to be fruitful. We know Jesus wants our lives to be fruitful. John 15:8 tells us that God receives glory when we bear much fruit.

If we sow the seed of God's Word continually into our life's circumstances, we will find the once dry and barren places in our lives begin to blossom and be fruitful.

Begin firmly planting the Word in your heart by continually meditating on the promises that apply to your particular situation. You might pray a prayer such as the following:

"Father, I am so thankful that You love me. I believe that You want what is best for me in every circumstance of my life. I know that You will provide the health, strength, and provision that I need no matter what I face or how I feel. Your Word says that You will meet all my needs according to Your glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19). I thank You now for answering my prayer."

So, how does your garden grow? By producing after the seeds planted in it. Genesis 1:11 says that God created every seed to produce after its own kind. God's Word is light and life to all who receive it. It is the incorruptible seed that will always bear fruit.

Gwen Miller

Power of the Spoken Word

Power of the Spoken Word

    We know that God created the world by speaking it into existence. The world was framed by the Word of God. He created the visible world out of nothing (see Hebrews 11:3). What God speaks comes to pass. Over and over in Genesis 1, we see the words, "And God said." Whatever God said became reality. He said, let there be light, let there be plants, let there be living creatures, and finally let us make man in our own image. All of these things in the world are a reality today because God spoke them into existence thousands of years ago. All of creation is a result of God's word spoken in the beginning of time. 

    Genesis 1:26 says that God created man in His own image and after His likeness and gave him complete authority over all the earth. So humankind was created in the very likeness of God himself. Just as God had the power to speak and create things from His spoken words, we too have been given the power to speak and create by our words. Proverbs 18:21(Amplified Bible) says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]." 

    Jesus said, "Whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart and makes a man unclean and defiles [him]" (Matthew 15:18, Amplified Bible). What we say matters. People don't like to hear that because they know the words they speak are often negative and destructive. But the fact that we don't like it doesn't alter the power of the truth. By knowing the truth about the power of the words we speak we can change the course of our lives and impact the world. At salvation our eternal status is changed by our confessing or speaking with our mouths and believing in our hearts that Jesus was raised from the dead (see Romans 10:9). Yet many times we fail to continue to speak God's Word for anything beyond our salvation. 

        Once God spoke and thus created everything in the earth, He rested. Genesis 2:2 says God rested from His work. After the seventh day we don't see God creating anything else in the earth. Instead He put man over His creation and gave him the power of authority over it. God blessed Adam and gave him dominion over everything. And in Genesis 2:7 (Amplified) we see, "Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath or the spirit of life, and man became a living being." The original Hebrew words for living being are, "speaking spirit." So we were created to be like God in His ability to speak and create by our words. 

    Though Adam and Eve fell they were still in the image and likeness of God. They no longer had face-to-face fellowship with God but they were still in His image and likeness. Though they brought the curse of sin upon themselves they were still God's beloved and the prize of His creation. His plan for Adam and Eve and the whole earth did not change. God did not revoke their dominion in the earth. But having eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they had the power to do evil as well as good. When Jesus came His death and resurrection bought back for us what was stolen by the curse of sin. 

    "For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship) recreated in Christ Jesus [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us" (Ephesians 2:10, Amplified Bible). Through Christ Jesus we are recreated, made over and restored. What was stolen by way of Adam's sin is restored through Jesus Christ. 

        We use our God-given authority to its fullest potential when we speak the words of God. When we speak His Word over our lives and our circumstances things change and become aligned with His Word. I've had this happen many times in my life. Recently I was in conflict with a friend. I searched the Scriptures for words to speak and pray over my relationship with my friend. I found 1 Corinthians 1:10 and began to pray that we would be in unity and in agreement over the situation at hand. Two days later we met. We discussed our disagreement and within a few minutes we were in agreement and restored to relationship. When we speak God's Word and conform our minds and wills to what it says, our circumstances will change. For every problem we will face in this life the answer is in God's Word. 

    There is a supernatural power given to us to speak and proclaim God's Word over our lives. Speaking and proclaiming God's Word is not just for ministers (Thank goodness, because I'm not one.). It is for every believer. And in speaking God's Word there is supernatural power available to the believer. 

       As I have learned to speak God's Word I have embarked on the greatest adventure of my life. I have seen God change situations that looked impossible. I have also been made aware of the negative effect my words can have. I am more aware and cautious as I choose my words. If they are not in agreement with God's Word I repent and throw them out. As I select words that are positive, words that bless others, words that are of a good report, I am choosing life-giving words instead of words that bring destruction. Even in hopeless situations God's Word changes things. 

 

Key to Life

The Key to Life

If someone told you the key to your very life was right under your own roof, wouldn't you search high and low until you found it?

If they said the answer to success, blessing, and fulfillment was at your fingertips, wouldn't you listen with undivided attention? My answer is a definite yes! There is little joy in living life by trial and error, hoping things work out all right. Hit or miss, sink or swim, just plodding along through life is not my idea of the good life. 

The Creator himself has given us a foolproof, time-tested answer to life: the Bible. Many believers are unaware of its value. Though they say they believe the Bible, they don't realize it has the very power to save their souls. Though their spirit was made new at salvation and they have the assurance of eternal life, their soul--which consists of the mind, will, and emotions--remains virtually unchanged. They live no differently than the unbeliever next door. Why is that? It is because they are not applying God's Word to their life. 

Jesus explained, "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)" (John 10:10, Amplified Bible). He told us plainly that we have an enemy who is determined to destroy us. Then, Jesus made it clear that He came to provide life--not just any old existence, but a full, abundant life with more than enough, overflowing with blessings. 

Does that sound too good to be true?

In the world we live in, which is continually bombarded with bad news, the gospel or "good news" might seem too good to be true. Through reading God's Word we come to know the nature of God; we get a picture of a merciful, kind, loving God who desires to be in fellowship with His creation. He has done everything He could possibly do to bring us into relationship with Him. He even sent His only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to pay the price for our sin. Our Heavenly Father is the essence of everything good, and Satan is the essence of everything evil. 

Am I saying that once you are a believer you will no longer face problems or have any trials? No, and Jesus didn't say that either. But He did show us how to be victorious when those attacks come our way. Through Jesus Christ and the promises in His Word we can stand strong no matter what comes. 

Remember the time Jesus fasted for forty days? (See Luke 4.) He immediately encountered a time of testing and temptation. The devil approached him and said, "If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread." Jesus responded directly to the temptation by speaking the Word of God. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God" (Luke 4:4, NKJV; cf. Deut. 8:3). How did Jesus respond in His time of great temptation and trial? He spoke the Word of God. Jesus is saying our very life should depend on the words that proceed from the mouth of God. 

God's Word contains a specific word for whatever situation we may encounter. When we search His Word as if our very life depends on it, we will find the wisdom and power to live victoriously. Deuteronomy 32:46-47 says, "Set your [minds and] hearts on all the words which I command you this day . . . . For it is not an empty and worthless trifle for you; it is your [very] life." Many have mistaken God's Word as a supplement to life. They may see the Bible as a list of rules, or they may believe it is an ancient work of literature or a good book. But they do not believe it is the key to life, or they would read it daily. 

How are we to find direction from God's Word?

Is it possible to mistakenly interpret God's Word as we read it? First, we must begin by committing ourselves to read God's Word daily. If we allow Satan to intimidate us by telling us the Bible is too difficult to understand, then he has stopped us before we even begin. If you have made Jesus the Lord of your life and have been baptized in His Holy Spirit, then He will lead you into all truth. (See the "Prayer for Salvation and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit" below.) 

The Gospels, which are the first four books of the New Testament, are a great place to start reading. They record the life and teachings of Christ. The entire New Testament was written to the church and will help the believer grow. The Book of Proverbs is a practical guide for living wisely. Reading from it often and applying its principles will drastically change your life. 

"Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and is profitable" (2 Timothy 3:16, Amplified Bible). 

Making God's Word a priority in your life is the most important decision you will make after receiving salvation and being baptized in the Holy Spirit. God's Word is the key to life. 

Prayer for Salvation and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

"Heavenly Father, I come to You in the name of Jesus. Your Word says, 'Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved' [Acts 2:21, NKJV]. I am calling on You. I ask Jesus to come into my heart and be Lord over my life. I confess that Jesus is Lord, and I believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead [Romans 10:9-10]. I also ask You to fill me with the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, please rise up within me as I praise God. I fully expect to speak with other tongues as You give me the utterance [Acts 2:4]. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen." 

Begin to praise God for filling you with the Holy Spirit. Speak those words and syllables you receive--not in your own language, but in the language given to you by the Holy Spirit. God will not force you to speak. You have to use your own voice. Don't be concerned with how it sounds. You are speaking in a heavenly language! 

The Way of Wisdom

 God has a wonderful plan for your life.  He does not want you stuck at a dead end job or miserable in your family relationships.  He doesn’t want you frustrated with one fruitless season after another.  In fact, he has a destiny for you to fulfill and a divine race for you to run.  You were created to make a difference.  You were designed to make a lasting impact and to bring about positive changes in the world around you.

You may be thinking,  “I would like to live a life of significance but how can my life actually make an impact?”  Many people are looking for some big break in life to propel them in the right direction.  There are some practical things anyone anywhere can do to begin moving toward having an improved life that will multiply one’s personal happiness and their impact on the world.

Proverbs 4:5-7 NLT “Get wisdom; develop good judgment.  Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.  Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.  Love her, and she will guard you.  Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!  

This passage says twice, “Get wisdom.”  The understood subject is YOU.  It infers that wisdom is available.  We are the ones responsible to obtain it. Many people believe what they need is beyond them.  They tend to value the question above the answer.  There is a sense of forever chasing something that is unreachable.  It reminds me of an Ancient Greek myth about Tantalus.  He displeased the gods and was sentenced to stand in a pool of water beneath the fruit tree with low branches of fruit ever slipping from his grasp and the water below always receding before he could take a drink.  But, we are not sentenced to forever seek for something beyond our grasp.  Wisdom is available to you and me.  

James 1:5 tells us that getting wisdom is as simple as asking God.  This answer is often too simple for many.  They think, it can’t be that simple.  But many of the truths in God’s Word are just that simple.  But if we minimize or overcomplicate the answer we will be just like Tantalus, with the answer just beyond our grasp.  Just ask.

Proverbs 4:7a in the King James Version says, “Wisdom is the principle thing.”  Or we could say it is priority number one.  When a challenges come our way in life we must be careful not to focus on the problem.  The thinking that created the problem is not the same thinking that will bring an answer to that problem.  Often times looking away from the problem and backing away from the pressure of it is the last thing we want to do.  We somehow feel that it is irresponsible to slow down long enough to pray and ask for wisdom before taking action.  Whether the decision is major or minor make seeking wisdom from God the principle thing, and you will not be sorry.  If you are choosing a career path or making a major purchase, God is interested in helping you with those decisions.  He sees things you don’t see.   He can see far into the future.  He can alert you to unforeseen problems or give you the green light of peace. 

Asking for wisdom and then getting wisdom by reading His Word are two very proactive, preventative principles to success in life.   The best time to pray and seek for wisdom is at the front end of a situation.   Doing so is proactive rather than reactive.  Too many people are quick to offer up a prayer in the middle of dire straights.  But what if they had made getting wisdom the initial priority before acting?  God is so merciful he will hear an honest cry for help and begin to work when invited into a critical situation.  But once a decision is made or a word is spoken, power has been released in that direction.  It can take time for that decision or conversation to be turned around or redeemed.  The best choice is to seek wisdom first.  

You may be asking, what if I don’t have a clear answer?  Too many people have been motivated by pressure rather than wisdom.  Most of my good decisions were not the result of pressure.  I find it is difficult to think clearly or see all the options available to me if I am dogged by pressure.  In fact staying out of pressure situations results in great freedom.  Pray and look for scripture passages that give answers to your situation days and weeks before the decision must be made.

What realms of influence are you currently involved in?  Is it business, the medical field, education?  We all have realms we are called to operate in. You and I are called to influence our family members, and our work associates.  Furthermore, the future ahead of us is filled with people who will need answers to life’s questions.  Learning to find those answers for ourselves through prayer and in God’s Word, will benefit our lives and theirs.  Making wisdom the principle thing in life creates a well-spring of answers to life’s challenges.  Then when questions arise there is something to draw upon.  There is no greater way to live than Wisdom’s Way.

By Gwen Miller

 

New Life

NEW LIFE

It is so fitting that Easter comes in the spring.  The Earth is waking up from its winter slumber with new buds and blossoms.  What a perfect parallel to the new life we can have in Christ Jesus, all because of His death, burial and resurrection.  With Christ’s death on the cross we were granted a new start, a do-over.  Just as Jesus left behind his sorrows and pains associated with the crucifixion and was raised to a new life.   We have the same opportunity to leave behind the pain and defeat of the past and embrace a new beginning.  The amazing thing about this new start is the fact that it is a free gift.

 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. — Ephesians 2:8,9

For the Christian, Easter and the resurrection of Christ is what anchors our belief system.  When Jesus rose from the dead he exemplified power over every force of the devil.  We must remember that Jesus was not murdered on the cross.  He laid down his life willingly.  He set aside his power for in order to submit to pay the price for our sins.  Before Jesus went to the cross he said,  

No one can take my life from me.  I sacrifice it voluntarily.  For I have the authority to lay it down whenI want to and also to take it up again.  For this is what my Father has commanded.   – John 10:18

Through the resurrection Jesus defeated every enemy past, present and future.  Now we, by our own faith in what Jesus accomplished through his resurrection, can have victory over every enemy in our lives. New life belongs to you and me.  Happy Easter!

Written by Gwen Miller

Loving God Priority #1

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  Romans 8:28 NLT

This passage clearly states that loving God causes things to work for our good.  It is no mystery then why Jesus stated that the most important command was to love God.

“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. (Matthew 22:36-37 NLT)

However, many Christians and unbelievers alike have a deep sense that if God loved them more their lives would be better. They think things are not working out in their lives because God is not pleased with them. In addition, there is a feeling of self-condemnation that stalks their thinking.

In error, many think that God is withholding good from them because he doesn't like them as well as he does his other children.  The responsibility for the negative in the lives of many believers is placed on God. But God has demonstrated the totality of his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (See Romans 5:8.) He cannot love us any more than he does. His love for us cannot be improved upon.  But can we improve in our dedication and love for Him? 

Romans 8:28 teaches that our pursuit of God and loving him causes all things to work out for our good. 

Are you spending time daily praying and talking to God?  Do you start your week off by attending church on Sunday in order to put the things of God priority number one?  Are you asking Him what his desires are for your life?

By loving him with our heart and our lives showing corresponding actions can we certainly expect the results of the promise:

 “..ALL things work together for good for those who love God…”

By Gwen Mille

Seizing Opportunities

In 1967, experts predicted that by the turn of the century technology would have taken over so much of the work we do that the average American work week would be only 22 hours long, and that we would work only 27 weeks a year. As a result, one of our biggest problems would be in deciding what to do with all our leisure time.

I don't know about you but that prediction is not a reality in my life. 

Most people I know are busy with their families, work and trying to keep all areas of their life balanced.

Here we are at the start of a New Year. I wonder how we will do this year? Will we be as busy? Will we make any better use of our time and opportunities? When this year is over, will we be looking back with joy, or with regret? Or will we be looking forward to the future with anticipation, or with dread?

Ephesians5:15 & 17 says, "Be very careful, then, how you live not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is."

We can gain a few concepts from this scripture:

1. Time is precious - we must be careful not to squander the limited number of days we have, which is called a "lifetime."

2. Seize valuable opportunities

Ephesians 5 tells us that we must make "the most of every opportunity.  Why? "because the days are evil."

Jesus said thatSatan is a robber and a thief.  One of the things he tries to rob from us is our time. Because time is a very precious possession.

Is there something stealing your time?  Sinful behavior?  Worry and anxiety? Past regrets? Too much time wasted on social media and entertainment?  Or maybe your time is not being squandered away with negative practices.  It may be that you are overcommitted at work or you don't spend enough time growing yourself spiritually. 

Start your year off right. Make a commitment to guard against time stealers.   During the month of January evaluate yourself at the end of each day by jotting down how well you did on a scale from 1 to 5. 

Next,  decide if you have overcommitted yourself in the areas of your time and finances.  If you are overcommitted you will not be open to new opportunities.  Be sure you have at least one day a week for a change of focus.  It needs to be a day of rest, relaxation and reflection. Sunday is a perfect day for the "three Rs." 

This year can be a great year of we value our time and seize opportunities.

Are you Planted & Flourishing?

Are you aware that studies regarding the value of church attendance, confirm the benefits of connecting and doing life with a group of believers?

The following stastics resulted from studies by Duke University, Indiana University, Barna Research Group and the Institute for Healthcare Research

  • Married couples who attend church regularly are happier and more likely to succeed in their marriages.
  • Church can reduce the risk of your children abusing drugs and alcohol.
  • Church may dramatically reduce your children’s risk of suicide.
  • Church reinforces values of respect, love, service, forgiveness, discipline, and family.
  • Church provides a life-long moral compass.

So both secular and Christian based research shows how church attendance can add value to the quality of your life, your marriage and the lives of your children. Furthermore, God’s Word proves the value of church attendance. It says those who are planted in the house of the Lord will live flourishing, fruitful lives. 

“The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree.  They shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord they shall flourish in the courts of our God.”Psalm 92:12&13

 When you plant shrubbery, flowers or a tree, it is important for the plant to establish a root system in order to grow and flourish.   It is not a good idea to continually uproot and transplant a plant from one place to another.  It hinders the root system and will hinder the health of the plant.  Likewise, going from church to church or not being faithful in attending a Bible teaching church, will affect your spiritual health.

Read Psalm 92:13 again. Do you see the parallel of being planted in the house of the Lord and having a flourishing life?  We get a visual picture of someone that is stable and strong.  I believe faithful attendance to a Bible teaching church or being “planted” in a local church, is the first step to being a strong, stable Christian.  The constant attention to the principles taught in God’s Word has a supernatural affect on how we live our lives. 

For a plant to flourish it not only needs to be planted in order to establish a strong root system, but it must have the right environment. Environment is everything to a healthy plant.   It must have the right amount of sunlight and water to provide nutrients for the growth of the plant. 

Attending church, merely for the sake of attending church, is not what promotes healthy growth and development of the believer.  Only a Bible teaching church provides an atmosphere to aid in the growth and development of a believer. Just as environment causes a plant to flourish, the environment produced by a Bible teaching church is vital for a flourishing Christian life. It was God Himself who established the church.  It was His plan.  And everything He does is good.  See you at church on Sunday!

The Chapel e-letter is written by John and Gwen Miller, to strengthen and encourage believers to mature in their faith and connect with their God ordained destiny.

 

Joy: A Supernatural Force -

"The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Joy is more than just a warm, happy feeling you get when everything is going your way.  It is so much more than that.  Joy is one of the most powerful spiritual forces available to you as a Christian.  Nehemiah 8:10 actually says joy is strength.  The two are interchangeable according to this verse of scripture.  
That is what makes joy so important. You can’t live a life of faith without being strong in the Lord.  And God’s recipe for strength is spelled J-O-Y. Joy is not just a state of mind or a changing emotion. It is a very real force which the devil is powerless to defeat.  Just as fear has to yield to faith, discouragement has to yield to joy. 
Joy is listed in Galatians 5:22 as part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  So that means if you are a Christian you have joy inside you. The Holy Spirit comes to live in us when we are saved and He makes available to us a God-like nature. Ephesians 5:1 “Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example,] as well-beloved children [imitate their father.]  This passage tells us as children of God we are to imitate Him.  A godly nature is imparted to us at salvation.  By that we have the amazing opportunity to walk  supernaturally.
Though the character and nature of God is deposited in you at salvation, you must develop it in order to live by the power of it.  How do you develop the godly characteristic of joy? You do it by speaking God’s Word over your life and believing God above your circumstances. 
When everyone at work is getting laid off, you go to God’s Word and find promises for blessing and provision.  Speak them over your life and make God’s Word the final authority in your work situation.  Then, thank God for what He has promised in His Word regarding your life. Make a choice to think on what God says about your life. I guarantee you, the joy of the Lord will begin to roll around on the inside of you and you will have peace when others are experiencing discouragement and fear.
Joy can be present in your life in the midst of great trouble.  And there is no greater witness to the power of God in this earth than a person who has unshakable joy and peace. Even if you have tears streaming down your face and a lump in your throat, you can say “Lord I trust you and I’m thankful that you always provide for me. Whether I see it right now or not, I know you are faithful.” That kind of prayer will cause your situation to change. That kind of  trust  is most pleasing to God.  
Anyone can have joy when things are going well.  But only those who know their God and what He says in His Word can experience joy in the midst of turmoil.  

 
Scripture Meditation:  Psalm 18:28-50 

  The Chapel Newsletter is written by Pastor John and Gwen Miller and is provided to encourage believers and challenge them to mature in their faith.

Stay Connected

Did you know God desires for you to be divinely connected in your relationships with other Christians?  The church was not a man’s idea, it was God’s idea.  God instigated the church, not as a building, but as the family of God in the earth.  The Bible says in Hebrews 2:10, that Jesus is not ashamed to call us his family members.

“So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.”  New Living Translation 

God’s plan is for us to be divinely connected in the church which is the body of Christ.  We are to value one another greatly. We are to recognize and value one another’s strengths and encourage where there is weakness.

 I believe as Christians choose to value their connections within the local church, there will be a level of commitment and faithfulness that will attract outsiders like a magnet.  There are many counterfeit connections, which Satan offers, to replicate the connection we should have in the body of Christ.  We have seen it in gangs, fraternities and other closely knit organizations where connection is highly valued.  There is something within us which values commitment and faithfulness.  People are naturally attracted to it.

Hebrews 10:25 says the family of believers are not to forsake or neglect meeting together regularly.  Luke 4:16 says it was Jesus custom or habit to go to the synagogue or place of worship on the Sabbath day.  If it was Jesus habit it should be our habit. I challenge you to make a new commitment to attend church regularly.  The anointed preaching and teaching of God’s Word in a corporate setting can radically change your life.  The most important reason to attend church is to hear Bible based preaching and teaching.  In an anointed setting where God’s Word is being taught and the hearer is applying his faith to the message, God can speak a very personal Word. 

I try never to hear the title of a sermon and say “Oh I’ve heard a message on that before.”  If we approach the Word of God with open hearts, God can speak a new revelation to us through familiar scripture passages.  After all, the Word of God is more than mere words on a page, it a living active force. (Hebrews 4:12)

Regular church attendance at a Bible teaching church will yield supernatural results in your life.  It will strengthen divine connections with God and man.  See you at church on Sunday!

Scripture meditation:  Luke 4:15-20

The Chapel e-letter is written by John and Gwen Miller to challenge and encourage believers to grow and be fruitful in their Christian lives.  

A Day to Worship

The book of Revelation was written by John while he was on an island called Patmos.  God gave John an amazing vision regarding future events.  He also saw a vision of heaven.  One key thing I want you to see is what John said in Revelation 1:10

“ It was Sunday and I was in the Spirit, praying. I heard a loud voice behind me, trumpet-clear and piercing:  "Write what you see into a book.” The Message Bible

Notice that John was praying and spending time in God’s presence on Sunday.  God had a special message for John on this special Sunday and it came as he took time to focus on God. 

Sunday is not the only day of the week we can worship God.  In fact, it is wise to set aside a portion of each day to spend time with God and in His Word.  But Sunday is usually a day off for many.  It is a time when we break away from our weekly routine.  Setting aside a day of rest was God’s idea and can be traced back to the Old Testament.  God told the Israelites to have a holy day set aside each week.  He told them not to do any work on that day but to have a day of rest and worship. 

Let’s look at a few reasons why it is valuable to set aside time on Sunday to focus on God.  First, it is a good way to quite the clamor and noise in our lives due to a busy schedule.  Most Americans live very hectic lives.  There are daily and even hourly demands on our time.  We cannot live every day of our lives in the hustle and bustle of life and expect God to speak to us.  He will not barge into our lives and force us to loosen up our schedule in order to make time for Him.  It has to be our choice to set aside time to focus on God. He is ready and waiting to be in relationship with His children.

Secondly, Sunday worship service is a great time to ask God to speak through His Word, giving guidance and direction for the next step in our lives. God can speak to you and me anytime if our Spirits are open.  But there is a level of open-ness and awareness that is cultivated for an hour or more at church on Sundays.

For example, you might talk to your mate all week long as things come up.  But there is a different level of communication that takes place when you go on a date without the kids or anyone else to hinder your focus on one another. You might talk about a sensitive issue you’ve been meaning to discuss.   Or you might chat about plans and desires for your future. You might just enjoy a relaxing time over dinner. That is because you put the date on your schedule, made it a priority and planned around it.  Such action keeps you focused of the value placed on the marriage relationship.   Sunday church services are a bit like a date, with God. You set aside a specific time to further your relationship with Him.

I encourage you to make it your habit to attend church on Sunday.  Trust that in doing so, you will increase spiritually and come to a greater understanding of God’s plan for your life.  See you Sunday!

 

Scripture Meditation: Psalm 92: 1-5 

The Chapel e-letter is written by John and Gwen Miller to challenge and encourage believers to grow and be fruitful in their Christian lives.  

Living Strong

Did you know the Bible teaches that spiritual strength will enable you to overcome anything? 

Anything, includes financial challenges, marriage difficulties, job loss, trouble raising your children, or health issues.  If we believed that to be true, then, spiritual strength would be priority #1.

Your spirit is your core.  It is the inner you.  However, most people don't even know they are a spirit being. So, there is no awareness of their level of spiritual strength or weakness. Consequently, there is little or no effort or focus placed on developing and maintaining a strong spirit.

Most people know the minute their bodies feel weak. They know how to stay strong physically with the proper nourishment and rest. People are aware of their physical strength and well-being at a very young age. There are many, many resources available for developing a strong, healthy body.  The health industry is  multi-million dollar industry.

Likewise, people are keenly aware of the value of mental development. The expansion of the mind through knowledge and education is highly prized. Yet, few are aware that spiritual strength is far more important than the development of the mind or the body.

Proverbs 18:14 "The strong spirit of a man sustains him in bodily pain or trouble, but a weak and broken spirit who can raise up or bear?"

If we believed that a strong spirit, would empower and strengthen us to withstand any challenge in life then we would spend most of our energy, time, and money on developing our spiritual strength. 

How can one be spiritually strong? The spirit gains strength when it is fed.  Feeding your spirit occurs when you hear the Word of God preached at church, on the radio or by television.  You are feeding your spirit when you read the Bible and pray.  Your spirit is strengthened when you speak God's promises over your life.

Many have gotten confused because they did not "feel" the immediate results of feeding their spirit.  They attend church and hear an anointed message, but wonder if it did any good. That is like being disappointed when you don't feel the immediate effects of eating a nutritious meal.  When you feed your body, energy is stored.  Your body accesses that energy as you go about your normal activities, living your life. Because of proper nutrition, you have the energy you need to live successfully in the physical realm. The effects of feeding your spirit are the same.  You are building spiritual vitality that will enable you to be a strong believer.  Secondly, you will have the strength you need, to do whatever it is God has called you to do. 

Without that necessary spiritual strength, you will be weak.  Deuteronomy 32:47 AMP says "For it (God's Word) is not n empty worthless trifle to you; it is your very life." 

Neglecting your spiritual health is a serious thing.  It is an issue of life or death.  Oh, you may not die physically when you neglect your spiritual health, but the Bible teaches that neglecting to ingest God's Word is a life or death issue. When you are weak spiritually, you think and say things like, "I hope we can make it through this situation.  It doesn't look good."  Those words do not agree with God's promises, such as, "I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me."  Phil. 4:13

You may not even know you are weak until trouble comes and you find it hard to stand and believe God's Word.  It is not easy to look into the face of difficult circumstances and say "God is my refuge and my fortress."  That kind of strength comes from a strong spirit.  The time to gain spiritual strength is BEFORE, trouble comes.  You would not expect to be strong in your body if you neglected to eat properly.  The same principle is true for your spiritual health.  Don't wait until trouble comes, because it will come.  But you can overcome anything if your spirit is strong. Begin to feed your spirit today.

Fruitfulness... God's Idea - Part 4

In John 15:16 Jesus said “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing fruit.”
The above passage clearly states it is the plan of God for us to be fruitful.  Furthermore, it reveals that we are chosen by Jesus.  He has actually picked us to be a part of His great plan in the earth. You may think you initiated the decision to follow Jesus.  But actually He chose you first.  You just responded when you got saved. 

Knowing fruitfulness is God’s plan for us is a first step.  Knowing God’s way to fruitfulness is the next step.  Many people set out to be fruitful or successful in their lives with no thought to God’s ways and plans in the process.  You may attain a level of success on your own but it will never be to the level that God has planned for you. We cannot access God’s best for our lives without consulting His Word.  Our connection to Christ is directly related to our level of fruitfulness.

John 15:4-8 gives us the root to real fruitfulness.  It is abiding in Christ.  Jesus said “if you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask what you will and it will be done for you.” Now that sounds like a fruitful prayer life, to ask and receive what you desire. 

To know such results are available to us is great news!  Jesus said there is a way for you to receive whatever you ask for in prayer. I’m so glad that wasn’t my idea or yours but it was God’s.     

Abiding means to live, dwell, settle down.  I believe one of the greatest fulfillments in life comes from practicing God’s presence; learning to abide in Him.

Scripture meditation: “You have said, Seek My face.  My heart says to you, Your face your presence Lord will I seek.” Psalm 27:8

Fruitfulness… God’s Idea - Part 3

What did Jesus have to say about fruitful living?  Much of John 15 is printed in red indicating Jesus is speaking.  I made a decision some years ago to always agree with God’s Word and make it my final authority.  Someone once said “The red words win.” Meaning the words of Jesus should be elevated and seen as undeniable truth.

John 15:8 Jesus said, “When you bear much fruit my Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of mine.”

This verse clearly states that it brings God glory when our lives are fruitful.  So let’s assume that logically the opposite would also be true. If our lives are not fruitful God does not get glory from our lives.

Religious teachings, not the Bible, have taught us the more base we are the more exalted God is. In truth, the better we look in the earth, the better God looks.  John and I have endeavored to train our children in the ways of the Lord all of their lives.  If they make good choices and live successful lives when they become adults, it will make John and I appear to have been decent parents.  If they on the other hand, end up as the picture of failure, unable to provide for themselves, having no lasting relationships then their lives will not reflect well on us as their parents.  In the same way, it is clear that our fruitful lives bring God glory and show the world His goodness.

In John 15:16 Jesus said “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing fruit.”

Fruitfulness...God's Idea - Part 2

Success is like money it can be used for good or evil. It depends on who has it. Success in the hands of an evil man is merely power to abuse others.  An evil man has no business with power and success. His heart is not pure so his motives cannot be trusted. 

But fruitfulness in the life of a man who loves God and daily desires to please Him is a beautiful thing.  Such people leave their mark on the earth for the glory of God.  They not only have the welfare and wisdom to enjoy their lives and not waste them but they also have the integrity and goodness of heart to bless their families, friends, neighbors and business associates.

Yes, fruitfulness was God’s idea. You should not be living a less than average life when God has a fruitful plan for you.  As we continue this topic you will see God not only desires success for His children He gives clear guidelines on how to achieve Godly success.  He also gives clear instruction on how to keep your heart right when you are experiencing success. 

 

Scripture meditation:  “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing fruit.” John 15:16a

Fruitfulness… God’s Idea - Part 1

Did you know success was God’s idea?  Many church going people think success is a secular term.  They think a real Christian will live their lives not caring if they ever achieve any level of success. The problem with pursuing success, apart from God and His purpose, is that such a desire it is rooted in selfishness. Selfishness leads to many other sinful attitudes and behaviors such as dishonesty, greed and lust. But it isn’t success that corrupts the man.  He was already corrupt. Success is neither good nor evil. 

So what does success look like in the life of a man who loves God and lives by His Word? Psalm 112:3 tells us it is possible to be both righteous and successful.  In fact, the entire chapter gives us a visual picture of a righteous man.  In verse 3 it says “Prosperity and welfare are in his house and his righteousnessendures forever.”  Did you notice this man is both righteous and prosperous? If you read further in the chapter it talks about his generosity and justice.  It says he is uncompromising and confident. (verses 6&7)

The world has seen plenty of Christians who compromised their integrity when they thought no one was watching. The devil has a hey day with such tragedies.  The media  splatters the embarrassing details in vivid color for world to see.   Meanwhile, the enemy  laughs at the church while her reputation is discredited.   What was the problem, the circumstances or the man? The heart of the man was the problem not success.

Success is like money it can be used for good or evil. It depends on who has it. Success in the hands of an evil man is merely power to abuse others.  An evil man has no business with power and success.  His heart is not pure so his motives cannot be trusted. 

But fruitfulness in the life of a man who loves God and daily desires to please Him, is a beautiful thing.