Archive for February, 2017

Loving the World

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him (I John 2:15 KJV).

Throughout the month of February, we’ve learned about the good and bad of loving: what we should love and what we shouldn’t love. We are admonished in Scripture to love the people in the world, but not the world itself.

We serve a jealous God who will not share His glory or place in our lives with anyone or anything else (Exodus 34:14). But, if we worship Him, and love Him above everything else, we’ll have everlasting life (John 3:16).

The things in this world have a tendency to distract us. We get caught up loving other people and other things too much. Scripture tells us if we love the world and the things it in, the love of God is not in us (I John 2:15). We can’t love both—God and the world—we must choose.

The things of the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—are not of God (I John 2:16). We must seek the things God wants us to seek, things that are good, righteous, lovely, and holy; everything that God is Himself. We cannot seek the tangible. The world will eventually pass away and everything in it. When the Lord calls us home, we can’t take earthly things with us.

God is asking us today what we are going to choose: the world or Him? There are blessings that we cannot obtain unless we seek God. But, if we’re too concerned with seeking after earthly things, we’ll fill our lives up with too much of the natural and not enough of the supernatural.

When we pursue the opposite of God’s will and seek earthly things, we build up a wall between us and the Lord. The more we love the world and the things in it, the deeper and higher the wall will become between us and God.

Today, we need to ask God to help us break down the wall; to discard our love for the world and to secure a life-lasting love of our Creator. God can help instill a love in us for Him that will last us every day for the rest of our lives. We must repent for our incorrect focus in life, and get our eyes on Him. He will help us to be able to exist in the world, but keep our love in the right place.

The Faithful Steward

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

A steward is a manager of a household or affairs; someone who is entrusted with significant responsibility. In Scripture, we can read the parable of the unrighteous steward and the characteristics a good steward shouldn’t employ in Luke 16:1–13.

4 Focus Concepts of Being a Faithful Steward

Know Your Role

We have a tendency to identify ourselves by what we do every day—full-time caregiver, lawyer, grocery store clerk, etc. Our response should be that we’re a full-time servant of the Lord and a part-time worker here on earth. We lose sight of what our role truly is in God’s Kingdom: a steward.

We live a life that should be identified and aligned with a servant (Galatians 2:20). God’s entrusted us with things in this life to manage, maintain, and prosper. We must be careful with how we handle the responsibilities we’ve been given.

While we’re a “manager” (steward) of God’s resources, we can’t get puffed up in ourselves or our title. If we don’t, God will help remind us who we are and where we need improvement (Luke 16:3).

Be Wise

When we mess up in our management if God’s resources, we need to be smart enough to decide not to give up, but to try again and fix it! We can’t be foolish or we’ll be a grief to ourselves and those around us (Proverbs 17:25). We need to seek out those around us who have experience, wisdom, and knowledge. If someone else has learned lessons in life, go to them for advice!

Fix Your Problem

The steward in our parable decided to collect the debts from those who owed his master (Luke 16:5). While they may not have been able to pay all of their debt, he collected what he could. He didn’t just leave in the middle of his mess, the steward tried to fix the problem!

Zacchaeus was a tax collector who cheated everyone. But, after an encounter with Jesus, he decided to fix his situation. He gave half of his goods to the poor and restored what he had cheated people from fourfold (Luke 19:8) Salvation came to his house that day because he fixed the problem of his stewardship (Luke 19:9). When we make an effort to restore, fix, and repent for what we’ve done as an unfaithful steward, God will forgive us!

Be Faithful

Reward and promotion comes to those who are faithful (Psalms 75:6–7). God will put one down and lift up another—we cannot promote ourselves. In our work for God’s Kingdom, we need to go the extra mile and put forth the extra effort. Our reward for the work we do in this life may not been seen in earthly riches, but in heavenly ones.

We may be faithful over a few things, but God will make us ruler over many (Matthew 25:21). God will give power to those who are faithful (Nehemiah 7:2). More than anything, we should be good stewards over the souls of God’s Kingdom and ensure that we never stop being a good steward over His harvest.

Heavenly Riches

The most significant lesson we can learn from this parable is if we’re not faithful with someone else’s stuff, God knows we’re not going to be faithful and a good steward over things when their ours. If we can’t take care of what’s in this world, we won’t be able to take care of the heavenly riches—the Holy Ghost—God puts in our life.

God requires that stewards be faithful (I Corinthians 4:2). We must ask ourselves today, how are we handling the true riches that God has put in our life? Let’s be good stewards today so God can entrust us with the things that truly matter in this life and the next—His presence.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on February 22, 2017 with Guest Speaker, Brother Jonathan Pierce

Lover Behind the Lattice

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice (Song of Solomon 2:9, KJV).

Brother Jonathan Urshan preached a message entitled, “Lover Behind the Lattice” some years ago. I don’t necessarily remember the subject matter of the message, but was more taken with the fact that I’d never heard a message preached before with the focus Scripture coming from Song of Solomon…

But, as my mind drifted to this great man of God, and his message title, I started to think about what this message was trying to convey all these years later.

In Scripture, we’re given the imagery of a lover, standing behind a wall, or lattice, peering out. While his view encompasses all of what he’s trying to see, the lover himself is masked from total view. We can only catch glimpses of him from his hiding place.

In reality, this Scripture describes a relationship with God for those who want to know Him. If we look throughout history, God has shown Himself “through the lattice” to those who sought Him diligently.

Moses went up on Mount Sinai for 40 days to receive the law (Exodus 34:28). He had such a desire to be engulfed by God’s presence; to see God face-to-face. Because no man can see God’s glory and live (Exodus 33:20), Moses hid in the cleft of a rock and God allowed Him to see just a glimpse of His back parts (Exodus 33:23)—the lover behind the lattice.

When Elijah was fleeing the wrath of Jezebel and hid in a cave (I Kings 19:3), he cried out to God in a depressed state. God made Himself known to him in a variety of ways: God appeared unto Elijah in a wind, earthquake, and fire, but then spoke to Elijah in a still small voice (I Kings 19:11–12). Elijah didn’t see all of who God was, but just demonstrations of God’s power and then a small voice—the lover behind the lattice.

Peter, who chose to leave all and follow after Jesus (Matthew 4:20), when asked who Jesus was, responded with, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Jesus noted it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to Him—not everyone had this revelation! But, the Father in Heaven had shown Peter who Jesus was (Matthew 16:17)—the lover behind the lattice.

Today, God has provided a way for those who diligently seek Him to experience a part of Him (Acts 2:38). The Holy Ghost couldn’t be poured out until Jesus died on the cross (John 7:39). But, once it was made available to us, through the greatest act of love, we were given this gift as the earnest of our inheritance (Ephesians 1:14, II Corinthians 1:22)—just a glimpse of the lover behind the lattice.

God peers out at us through the onslaught of daily life, but only shows glimpses of Himself to those who seek to see Him. Our pursuit, while we’re on this earth, must be to see as much as our lover as we can. One day, when we get to glory, He’ll no longer be behind the lattice, but in full view. And, we’ll be able to know and experience all of Him.

Loving People

Sunday, February 19th, 2017

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these (Mark 12:28–31, KJV).

If there is ever a time to love people, it’s right now—where we live, where we work, where we go to school, and wherever we go. But, we must love others God’s way. It’s easy to say that we “love someone,” but our actions don’t show it. People can tell when we say one thing but our hearts and eyes show something else.

It’s critical we don’t judge people first before we choose to love them. God wants us to be kind to, love, and to prefer one another (Romans 12:10). God doesn’t qualify who we should be kind to, love, and to prefer. His love doesn’t come with conditions! God doesn’t want us to become the “moral police,” but just to extend love (His love) to others. We should do what God commands us—love others!

We are to put all others first in our lives and love them. We need to sacrifice for all other people—this is how we show them love. If we love others the way God wants us to love them, He will take care of everything in our life; we won’t have to worry about it. And, the love we show to others will continue to be reciprocated to others—it’s a continuous cycle. We cannot do the bare minimum in our love for others; go above and beyond.

It’s easy for us to love within the church, but we have difficulty when we get out into the world (Matthew 5:42–47). We must pray and love people outside of our “comfort zone:” those in the world, our enemies, and anyone that we come in contact with. Our purpose in life is to allow the light and love of Jesus emulate from us to everyone else. This is how the world will know that we’re His disciples—how we love one another (John 12:34–35). Today, let’s allow the love of Jesus be shed abroad in our hearts to everyone we come in contact with!

The Lasting Work of My Spiritual Life

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire (I Corinthians 3:9–15, KJV).

God wants His children to understand our responsibility in taking ownership of our spiritual life—to partner with God and build with Him. We need to be invested in our spiritual maturity! All throughout Scripture, we see this common theme. The writer of Hebrews mentions if we are to grow in Christ, we must exercise our ability to know the difference between good and evil (Hebrews 5:12–14). We need to complete the work of salvation in our life (Hebrews 6:1). Repentance, baptism, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost are vital in our walk with God, but are the foundational elements to our salvation. Afterward, we need to build our spiritual lives.

The Lasting Work that Happens

Lasting Work Comes from Building with a Sense of Excellence

We need to approach our spiritual maturity with a sense of excellence. God is going to hold us accountable for what we do in this life. As referenced in I Corinthians 3:12–13, some people build with precious stones and gold, but others build with wood, hay, and stubble. Fire will purify the stones and gold, but will consume the latter.

Those living a stubble spiritual life will do the bare minimum in their walk with God. Our effort for God needs to be strong and purposeful every day that we live. We should ask ourselves if our effort is the same every day or do we have an occasional stubble day?

Lasting Work Comes from Everyday Attention

We need to persevere in our walk with God—stay faithful in reading the Word, prayer life, fasting, church attendance, holiness, etc. Paul admonishes the church to “build a foundation” with God (I Corinthians 3:12). The act of building is not a once-and-done event, and doesn’t happen overnight. Building a foundation with God is going to take time and effort; it’s a process.

Most Christians struggle with discipleship in their spiritual maturity. It’s hard to stay involved, faithful, and engaged. Coming to church on Sunday and going to a mid-week Bible study are really just stubble in our walk with God. But, the gold and precious stone foundations come in our personal commitment to God in our daily prayer and fasting-life. This happens when we seek God for the deep things; when we ask Him what we don’t know about Him, and what we can change in our lives to be more like Him.

God is more concerned with our progress in the spiritual maturity process. We aren’t in a sprint with a quick finish-line, but in a daily marathon. We need to run this life-long race with patience (Hebrews 12:1).

Lasting Work Comes from a Thought-Life that’s Based on the Knowledge of God’s Truth

We cannot exercise what we don’t know; therefore, we need to submit our mind to Christ. Our goal in our spiritual maturity is to stop thinking about negative things and start thinking about truth. Our lives will move in the direction of our strongest thoughts—this is why knowing God’s truth is so imperative.

We should seek wisdom and understanding from God (Proverbs 4:7) and allow Him to order our steps (Psalms 119:133). God wants us to use our minds to learn and apply His word.

Our steps to change our thought-life begin with reflection of where we’re at in our spiritual walk, and then a study of God’s Word. We should craft daily declaration statements God can use to renew our minds that are found in His Word (Galatians 3:26). When we speak the promises of the Word to ourselves, we are taking His truth and turning it into a declaration in our own life! Then, we can start exercising and applying the Word of God in our life.

Lasting Work Comes from Experience and Training in Applying God’s Word

Knowledge is necessary in spiritual maturity, but it’s not enough—we need wisdom! Wisdom is the Godly, correct application of knowledge. We can know something, but not know how. Our daily walk should help us glean experience and training in how to apply the knowledge the Godly way.

We need to learn to make decisions with a Scripture-based future conscious. We should take the filter of God’s Word, look forward to our future decisions, and know according to the truth of His Word, what the outcome of our decisions will be. Above all, we must be careful we don’t just have a superficial walk with God; nothing deep and rooted within us. We must have a deep, firm foundation in God, and build it up the rest of our lives.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on February 15, 2017 with Pastor Nave

Agape Although A-Stinky

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

I’ve always had a fairly sensitive nose. Truth be told, the ‘ole schnoz has been more of an irritation than a help through the years as I’ve suffered through sneezing at the result of smelling, well anything. (Allergies are not all the fun and games they’re cracked up to be.)

But, my sensitive beak aside, as a child I was keenly aware of the way I smelled. I was huge advocate for taking baths and showers; one must keep squeaky clean! And, in being cognizant of the way I smelled, I had an intense awareness of the way others smelled as well.

Whether or not you’re in the same boat—having a well-honed snout on your face—you can’t judge me too much for not wanting to sit by the aromatic kids in school. I knew who the stinky ones were, and I could smell them a mile away.

Not wanting to sit near malodorous children obviously hampered my ability to befriend them. When you’re stationed across the room, it’s not easy to offer up a toy, pencil, or fruit cup to the fragrant individual. And, it was more difficult to talk with them, or even show them a little love in spite of their odor.

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another (John 13:35, KJV).

We’re commanded to love one another in Scripture. The word love, is agape in the Greek. This is not just a “like you a lot” love, or even a “friendship” love, but the kind of love our Savior showed when He sacrificed Himself on the cross.

In life, we’re going to come in contact with individuals who don’t make our list of pleasant bouquets for one reason or another—they may be attitudinal, rude, outlandish, frustrating, hateful, or even smell. Even as adults, we’d like to sit across the room from them and keep at least a 10-foot pole between us and them.

But, we can’t truly love, or agape, someone when we’re standing up against a wall, ducking through doorways, avoiding phone calls, wearing clothes pins on our nose, etc. We’re called to love people regardless of what they do to us (Matthew 5:44) and regardless of what they look or smell like.

Instead, let’s first think about the way we might smell. When we upturn our nose at others, and refuse to love them for one reason or another, we don’t don a glorious scent, but in fact just the opposite. We become the stinky ones, with a cold, dead heart, unwilling to love all people and be called a disciple.

So today, let’s remember to love others—agape others—no matter the reason. We need to agape although people may be a little stinky.

Loving God

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment (Mark 12:28–30, KJV).

In our relationship with God, we focus more about how He loves us, instead of how we should love Him. Jesus tells us n Scripture there is one thing we must understand: we must love God and there’s a specific way to do it.

Jesus shared the first commandment, quoting Deuteronomy 6:4–5, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (KJV). We must love God, and there are 4 different ways to do it.

Ways to Love God

With All Our Heart

The heart is the place of understanding, and contains the thoughts of the mind and the inward person. When we love God, we love Him with all the passions and emotions that are within us; it’s not just an intellectual love. God has given this innate ability to love, and it’s mostly apparent when it comes to loving earthly things—our children, spouses, sports teams, etc. But, while we express passion in loving other things, God expects the focus of our passion be Him. We must love Him with all of our heart.

With All Our Soul

The soul is our personal spirit; it’s the part of us that keeps us alive, is who we are, and the life-force that’s within us. God wants us to love Him with our entire life. The way we live our life will tell others a lot about what we love. Our lives are like an epistle to be read by all men. When others take a look at the pages of our life’s book, what are we telling others about the way we love God? We can say what we like, but we live what we love. So, let’s truly love God with all of our souls.

With All Our Mind

What we allow into our mind matters to God. When we have a relationship with Jesus, He helps us to think differently; He renews our mind and redirects our focus. Before Jesus, we didn’t have the ability to overcome the bad thoughts in our mind or the direction of our thinking. His power working within us helps us to purge the bag thoughts in our mind, and think on the good things (Philippians 4:8). We can command every thought to come unto the obedience of Christ (II Corinthians 10:4–5) and our minds can be renewed by the power of the Holy Ghost.

With All Our Strength

The New Testament tells us to love the Lord with all our strength, which is slightly different from the Old Testament. Deuteronomy tells us to love God with all of our might. The word might in Hebrew is meod. Meod means a display of strong feeling and passion that grows louder and stronger. Our love for God should be full of strong feeling, passion, and should grow louder and stronger over time. While the world around us continues to wax worse and worse, we are admonished to continue in the things that we know and have been assured of (II Timothy 3:14)—our love for God.

Loving God

God has blessed us tremendously today with the knowledge of how to love Him, but also so that we never forget how to do so (Deuteronomy 6:7). Today, let’s ask the Lord to show us how we aren’t following His instruction to love Him so that we can change and truly love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Loving Enough to Lay it Down

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

Do you remember the first time you fell in love? Since most of us have experienced this in our lives, I won’t take the time to explain it, as I don’t know if anyone really could. But, I will suffice to say that when we’re in love we’ll do anything for that person.

For some of us, after our revelatory love is mutually agreed to by another, we have the privilege of joining together through a marital union. After the “honeymoon stage,” couples realize loving is about compromise, hard work, patience, and sacrifice. We no longer live for ourselves, but live for the other person. And, I believe if the situation ever arose, people in love would gladly give their life so the other could live.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13, KJV).

True love in the physical realm is really not about laying down our lives unto death, but casting aside our needs, our wants, and our dreams for the person(s) whom we love. The “I” no longer matters—it’s all about them.

But, remember when I asked if you remember the first time you fell in love?

I thought I knew what love was before I encountered Jesus. When I was baptized in His lovely name and later filled with His precious Spirit (Acts 2:38), I realized that I was truly in love—and this was a love I’d never experienced before in my life. I knew that if Jesus laid down His life for me, I was going to do the same.

When we are truly in love with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we will lay our lives down. And, just like we sacrifice for those we love in the earthly realm, we do the same—and more—for God.

We give up ourselves and become a living sacrifice to Jesus (Romans 12:1); we allow God to move through us and use us in whatever capacity He sees fit. What we want no longer matters—it’s only about God’s will, His plan, His people, and His Kingdom.

So, I ask you again today, dear reader, if you remember the first time you fell in love. If you haven’t had an encounter with Jesus Christ, you can today. Jesus is our bridegroom, and we are the bride—and He’s already waiting for us to make ourselves ready to enter into a lasting covenant with Him.

If you know Jesus today, ask yourself if you truly are in love with Him. Are you willing to let go of the world, put your other relationships in second place, and give your life to Him?

At the end of today, maybe even now, I pray we all can say that we love Him enough to lay it all down. There’s no greater calling and privilege than just that.

The Good and Bad of Loving

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses (I Timothy 6:6–12, KJV).

What to Love in this Life

We are told to love in this world, but we need to learn to love the right things. Scripture admonishes us to be content with what we have although the culture around us tells us we don’t have enough. In all actuality, if we have clothes on our backs and food in our stomachs, we have all that we need in this life. But, our flesh has a desire for more—everyone can love money and almost everyone does.

A Dangerous Doorway

The love of money is a doorway to our life, allowing spirits of lust, pride, greed, comparison, and selfishness to attack us spiritually. When these spirits grab hold of us, they get into our relationships and affect our decision-making. The love of money is like a disease—it spreads to affect everything (Matthew 6:22–24).

How to Fall Out of Love with Money

Plan to Use It

Riches don’t belong to us, but to the Lord. Anything that is put in our hand is temporary; money is a tool to bring God glory in our life. We should be diligent with how we use money (Proverbs 27:23) and use it for God’s kingdom (Proverbs 21:5).

God’s plan for us is to follow a “pay-as-we-go” strategy. While we shouldn’t be compulsive with our spending (Proverbs 14:29), but we should allow God to tell us how to use it! If we spend money unwisely and go into debt, we’ll be subject to lenders (Proverbs 22:7) and locked down as to where we can give in the Kingdom of God.

Give it Away

We cannot teach ourselves to give, but we must allow God to give us a spirit of giving. We have convinced ourselves that we don’t have any money to give, and it’s because we’re giving our money in all the wrong places. Scripture tells us that if we give, it will be given back to us in a greater measure than what we gave (Luke 6:38). Certain blessings will not come into our lives until we let go of the blessing God’s already put into our life through our finances.

We must tithe unto the Lord to help the house of God operate (Malachi 3:10). And, we’re also called to give free-will offerings to those around us. We should give and support others when we have the ability to do it (Proverbs 3:27). We miss the will of God so many times in our life when God wants us to give and we refuse to do so.

Giving is not something only a few are called to do—all that have been blessed by God are called to give. In our giving, it’s not about how much we give, but about our sacrifice. We cannot always give out of our abundance.

Letting God be Lord

Money is very personal to all of us, but we must allow God to be the Lord over our finances and our expenses. We can never completely please the Lord in our walk with Him until our finances are in the right state and we’re completely submitted to Him.

Let’s look for a treasure in Heaven and not on this earth (Matthew 6:19–24). We cannot serve the Lord and money in our life. Instead, let’s decide to allow God to be the Lord in our life—in every area. When we do, our finances will reflect His direction and will be about His Kingdom,

This Giant is No Different

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

It’s All About Perspective

When David was confronted with the giant Goliath, he was about 18–20 years old (I Samuel 17:31–37). But, when he looked at the giant, he had a different perspective than Saul. People look at the same situation, but have 2 different perspectives. Our perspectives today are shaped by our experiences, upbringing, and they will ultimately influence our ability to believe God.

The core of our perspective is faith, and if we don’t have faith, we won’t grow in Christ. Paul admonished the church to “go on,” or to move forward in their faith (Hebrews 6:1). If we hear God speak to us through his Word, leadership, in prayer, etc., if we don’t do it, we have a faith issue.

Our perspective is driven by our frame of reference. Scripture tells us a person’s characteristics and behaviors will be a manifestation of what s/he has in their heart (Proverbs 23:7). Perspective can forego reality and the facts and get to the core of what we really desire (Proverbs 27:7).

God is God No Matter the Situation

Scripture describes Goliath as a 9-foot man, with 125-pound armor (I Samuel 17:4–7). He shouted taunts to the Israelites about them and about their God (I Samuel 17:8). To David, the giant’s physical attributes did not matter to him. David focused on the issue at hand. David knew who Goliath was, who he was, but he also knew who God was.

No matter what our physical eyes see, we must look into the realm of the spirit. The large in the natural isn’t all that large in the spirit. It all depends on one’s perspective of faith. David knew Goliath was a man, and God was God. The only possible outcome was victory.

Getting the Right View

When Joshua sent the 12 spies into the land of Canaan, 10 came back with a report based on their perspective. The men likened themselves as grasshoppers to the giants in the land, and assumed their enemy thought the same as well (Numbers 13:33). Every faith failure in our life will be surrounded by doubt—doubt in who we are and doubt in the God that we serve.

God tells us all throughout His Word that if we know Him we’ll be strong and do exploits (Daniel 11:32) and that we are a chosen generation (I Peter 2:9). We should remind ourselves of this truth every day!

Unlike the spies, David knew how God had previously delivered him from a lion and a bear (I Samuel 13:36) and he knew Goliath wasn’t any different. If God had helped him through the small things, God would surely help him defeat this enemy (I Samuel 14:6).

How to Gain a Perspective of Faith

Get an Honest Perspective of Our Own Faith

We need to be honest about where our faith is at. Going to church, listening to the right sermons, or doing the like doesn’t matter if we don’t have faith. Our faith needs to be built up, grown, and exercised. In Scripture, a man came to Jesus with a son who had been tormented his entire life. Jesus told the man that if he would just believe, all things would be possible to him (Mark 9:23). The man admitted that he had faith, but asked Jesus to help his unbelief (Mark 9:24). In order to get a new perspective, he identified his unbelief, owned his disbelief, and asked for help. We need to do the same!

Celebrate Every Victory

God doesn’t qualify some victories as major victories and others as minor ones. Every victory is a victory with God. When God does something in our life, when we celebrate, this helps to build faith in us and the people around us (Psalms 150:2). When we rejoice in what God has done, we’ll influence others to praise Him as well (Psalms 34:2).

Maintain a Constant Connection with God

Our faith will fail if we disconnect with God. If we don’t continue the course and maintain spiritual disciplines, we won’t keep our lifeline (our connection) with God. We need to stay in the Word of God, fellowship with the body of Christ, and maintain a prayer life. Our faith will come by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on February 01, 2017

A Quality Life

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

It was beautiful summer day as I was reading on the screened-in back porch—carefully protected from the various aspects of nature… Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a cat. In seconds, I made the decision to brave the outside, scooped up the cat in my arms, and—to make a long story short—the cat soon became a beloved member of our family for many years, for whom we couldn’t live without.

Toward the end of Leo’s life, he began to have health problems. In pain with system failure, my family was faced with a difficult decision: hold on for as long as we could, or put the cat to sleep. Discussions ensued, and it was determined our little Leo didn’t have a quality life. He would be in great discomfort if left in his current state. We said goodbye to our companion.

A quality life. We strive each day to live a quality life. Quality of life is impacted by the decisions we make, what we do, and what we say.

As humans, we have a tendency to allow the world to give us a perspective of how we can achieve a quality life by catering to our flesh. We seek relaxation, wealth, amenities, and the like, and don’t feel like we’re blessed or live a quality life without them.

Here’s the problem…

Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Luke 12:33–34, KJV).

We forget our quality of life isn’t defined by the world. And, in all actuality, the quality life we should be seeking isn’t the one we’re living now, but the one we’ll live next.

God sets the bar on a quality life on earth. He’s given us life and a life with Him! And, it is this life, dear reader, that makes this life a quality one. The world can’t offer us anything better no matter how hard it tries.

But, what God can do for us isn’t what living is about. Our lives need to be about God’s Kingdom and laying up treasures in heaven. We must remember we are sojourners in this land; we’re just passing through.

To live a quality life on earth is to be about our Father’s business: ministering to the sick, giving to the poor, and saving the lost. It’s when we seek the Kingdom, we’ll find we have a quality life every day we live on this earth, and we’ll guarantee an even better one in the next.

What does your life look like?