Lacking Nothing

As we begin a new year, we look back on what we accomplished in the previous year.  We go down our bucket list and realize that we did not accomplish everything that we hoped we would.  We beat ourselves up for what we lacked rather than what we accomplished.  The truth is, what we accomplish on earth will one day fade away.  It is not permanent.  Yes, we have desires and goals that were not met and will carry over into the new year, but it is not worth stressing over, because God already knows our needs and wants.  We lack nothing in Him.  Let me say that again: We lack nothing in Him.  God is our everything!

I recently heard a song called, My Everything, by Gateway Worship.  It is a beautiful song that captures who God is in our lives.  The lyrics are a love song to God.  When you hear this song sung over you, you cannot help but fall to your knees and praise God in full surrender.  The chorus says that,

You’re more than just a song
You’re more than just a whim
You’re more than just a passing fantasy
You’re My Every Way
You’re My Everything

Take a few minutes to read these lyrics slowly aloud.  God is more than just rescuing us from our troubles.  He is more than granting our every wish.  He wants a relationship with us, no matter what is happening in our lives.  As the song continues, it declares that,

I want to be with You
I need to be with You
I long to be with You, precious King
So with every day, Lord, in every way
You’re My Everything

This song cries out to God for an intimate relationship with Him.  The lyrics express the wants and needs to be with God.  We feel the yearning and passion as we read these words above.  In this song, we are saying, “You are My number one in my life.  God, You are important to me, and I want to experience You completely.”

In another song called, “So Will I (100 Billion X), written by Joel Houston Benjamin Hastings and Michael Fatkin, it declares everything God created by speaking it into existence.  The lyrics begin with,

God of creation
There at the start
Before the beginning of time
With no point of reference
You spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of light

And as You speak
A hundred billion galaxies are born
In the vapor of Your breath the planets form
If the stars were made to worship so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made
Every burning star
A signal fire of grace
If creation sings Your praise so will I

In this song, we proclaim who God is by His creation.  We are His creation, and because He created us, we lack nothing.  We may be waiting for a prayer to be answered, but, in Him, we lack nothing.  God provides our every need.  If He can speak anything into existence, then He is choosing to wait for His perfect timing to answer our prayer.  In Ecclesiastes 3:1, it states that “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”  Ecclesiastes 3:11 declares that, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”  BUT, “do not grow weary” while waiting, because “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31).

Year 2017 may not have brought you everything you wanted and desired, but, remember what you accomplished and praise God for your successes.  I encourage you to never get discouraged while waiting, because God is preparing you for what’s to come.  In Year 2018, continue to believe in miracles.  Never lose the desire to dream big!

 

Change Is Hard But Necessary

As we grow in Christ, God continues to remold us and reshape us into something new.  In life, change is necessary to pursue new opportunities.  It is not always easy nor is it always voluntary.  Change happens no matter we like it or not.

Currently, I have been put in a position to seek an involuntary change.  I did not realize what I was leaving behind until I took the first steps in a new direction.  But, at the same time, I cannot return to what was.  Change is a must.

I find that with change there is a moment when we grieve what was left behind as we gradually adjust to the newness of life.  There are exciting moments and sad moments blended together.  Even though a new adventure is exciting, it comes with the unknowns — the awkwardness.

The Bible tells us change is not to be feared. Deuteronomy 31:6 says for us to “be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.”  God is with us and guiding us on where we should go.  We need to put our trust in Him and take another step forward into the unknown.  Jeremiah 29:11 declares that “‘God’ know[s] what [he is] doing.  ‘He has’ it all planned out — plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”

When change occurs, we become anxious.  Our emotions are scattered.  Our old life seems to be fading away with every step we take.  What was familiar is not familiar anymore.  Philippians 4:6-7 tells us not to “fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”  The Bible instructs us to pray instead of worry.  It also tells us to praise God through the difficult times.  He will see us through every situation.  

God says to “forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history.  Be alert, be present.  I’m about to do something brand-new” (Isaiah 43:20)  As we embrace the new and leave behind the “old”, we will see God working in our lives like never before.  We will have a closer relationship with God during the journey.  We will become stronger as we walk into a new chapter of our lives.  Yes, it may be scary but, the end result is worth it.

(Scripture – The Message Version)

 

The Bride of Christ

Today, I will be talking to the single women who are longing for their soul mate.

Imagine setting the date for your wedding.  You are in anticipation as you make arrangements and plan for the perfect day.  The cake and food has to be prepared, several dress fittings, guest lists, and all the other details required to make your wedding day special.  This is the moment you have been waiting for all your life.  It has finally come!

Now, imagine it looking a little different.  Instead of man standing there, God is standing as your groom.  In Isaiah 54:5 it states God is your husband: “for your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!  He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.”  Close your eyes and visualize you walking down the aisle with your hair down and full of curls, make up is perfect, and wearing a beautiful white gown.  Your emotions are everywhere, because you are walking into the unknown, but, at the same time, you are filled with excitement.  You can barely hold back the tears with every step you take towards your Heavenly Father.  It is a magical moment as you walk closer to God and take His hand in marriage.  You give Him your all, and you allow Him to have control of every aspect of your life.

Just like any marriage, there are things that will be asked of you.  God is asking you today if He has made you single the rest of your life and just be with Him, can you accept His offer?  Do you trust Him enough to be His bride?  Is He enough in your life to feel complete?  Can you give up your own desires to be with Him, and Him alone?  Do you feel worthy enough to be His bride?

Since I am currently single, God has been asking me the same tough questions.  Is He enough in my life that I will give Him my all?  My desires, my heart, my love, and my worship!  Will I accept His offer no matter what my future holds?  Am I ready to walk down the aisle and take God’s hand in matrimony with these terms?  I am praying God’s will be done in my life no matter the outcome.  I am praying that He will always be my husband, my first love!

I am reminded of a song by King and Country called, “Priceless.”  The chorus is powerful.  God is saying to you today:

I see you dressed in white
Every wrong made right
I see a rose in bloom
At the sight of you
Oh, so priceless
Irreplaceable
Unmistakable,
Incomparible
Darling, it’s beautiful
I see it all in you!

God sees you whole!  He sees you dressed in purity and righteousness!   He sees you as PRICELESS!  He sees you “more than all the money or the diamonds and pearls [because] this is who you are” (“Priceless” lyrics).

As you walk down the aisle to become the Bride of Christ, remind yourself you have worth in Him, not in man.  Being single is not a curse but a blessing.  You are never alone when God is in your life.  He sees you, and He says you are beautiful in His sight!

How to Help Others and Yourself Through Hurtful Situations

HOW TO RESPOND TO SOMEONE WHO IS HURTING

When people are hurting we sometimes overuse Christian statements to make them feel better.  We tend to say, “God has your back”, “Keep your chin up”, “You are blessed”, and so forth.  At times, these statements are appropriate.  But, other times, these statements do not help those who are hurting.  They are just words with no emotion and meaning.

We need to remember to listen instead of trying to give advice all the time.  We need to listen to the person’s words, and why he or she feels that way.  We do not need to make others feel that their feelings do not matter.  Sometimes all they need is a hug, a prayer, and a friend to talk to in a time of need.

“IT’S OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY”

In a previous church I attended, the motto was, “it’s okay not to be okay.”  It’s okay to cry.  It’s okay to be upset.  It’s okay to ask why.  Sometimes it just does not make sense, and we want answers.  We want the chaos to stop.  We want to silence our thoughts.  We are overwhelmed and want to run the other direction.

THE IMPORTANCE OF FINDING HOPE THROUGH THE TEARS

The truth is, we cannot stay in that state for a long period of time.  We have to continue to lean on God for comfort and peace.  We have to continue believing in hope.  We have to constantly pray, through the tears, that God has a plan for our lives.  And then one day, you realize you do not hurt as much as you used to.  You are not thinking about the situation as much.  God is at work in your life to heal your pain and loss.

APPLICATION AND PRAYER

If you are going through a difficult time, I encourage you talk to someone about it.  Find someone who you trust and who will listen to you.  I pray that you find God’s peace in your circumstances.  I encourage you to cry in God’s arms and allow Him to carry you through this hardship.  And, always remember, “it’s okay not to be okay.”

Fruit of the Spirit – Self-Control

Today, we will be breaking down the fruit of the Spirit: SELF-CONTROL. The following definitions come from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The Scripture version are from the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible.

Self-Control

Self-control is described as having control over your feelings or actions or restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions or desires. Self-control can be described in a simpler way as not letting our emotions to get the best of us. There are many emotions that can override our faith such as fear, anger, and disappointment. Second Timothy 1:7 says “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” To manage our emotions and desires, we must have a strong prayer life. If we do not spend time with God every day, there will be no peace in our lives. Our emotions would be out of control, and we would remain in a state of confusion. Our thought process and emotions will become irrational and our actions will not dictate who Jesus is. Our flesh will take over on what we say and how we act. First Thessalonians 4:4 says “that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor.” God expects us to have self-control over our lives and be Christ-like in everything we do.

Application

Do you let your emotions to get the best of you?  Do you get angry or frustrated quickly?  Can you control your emotions?  I can honestly say, I sometimes cannot control my emotions, and I have to take a step back, after reacting in the wrong way, to correct my actions.  I am a very passionate person, and if someone criticizes or judges me for what I love to do, I defend it with harsh negative words.  You might can relate with a similar situation.

We all have areas in our lives that if pushed too far, we will say or do things that is not of God.  We are all human, and that’s why God gives us grace.  He gives us second chances to make it right.

When our emotions override our faith, we are not being Christ-like.  When we have self-control and allow God to work through our emotions, we are showing the world that we can stay calm through difficult situations.  Where are your emotions today?  Are they under control?  Is this an area that you need to work on and pray about?  Ask God to help you.

Fruit of the Spirit – Faithfulness

Today, we will be breaking down the fruit of the Spirit: FAITHFULNESS. The following definitions come from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The Scripture version are from the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible.

Faithfulness

Faithfulness is having or showing true and constant support or loyalty. It can also be described as deserving trust and keeping your promises or doing what you are supposed to do. God mentions faithfulness throughout the Bible. The faithfulness that God is referring to in Galatians 5:22-23 is to keep our promises with Him and with others. We need to stay loyal to our word and not disappoint those who are counting on us to come through for them. Luke 16:10-12 states that “one who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” When we live by our word, we are becoming more like God. Deuteronomy 7:9 says “that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations.” The world is filled with false promises and hopes, and we, as Christians, need to stay true to our word to show them who Christ is through our actions.

Application

Do you have a hard time keeping your promises?  Are you faithful to those around you and honor your word?  God’s word is always faithful and true.  To show who God is to the world, we must be loyal to what we say and do.  We need to encourage those around us by staying faithful to our commitments.

Fruit of the Spirit – Kindness, Goodness, and Gentleness

Today, we will be breaking down the fruits of the Spirit: KINDNESS, GOODNESS, and GENTLENESS. The following definitions come from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The Scripture version are from the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible.

Kindness, Goodness, and Gentleness

Kindness, goodness, and gentleness are all characteristics that work closely together. The definition of kindness is the quality or state of being kind or a kind act. The word goodness means the quality or state of being good. Gentleness means the quality or state of being gentle as well as mildness of manners or disposition. There is more to being a Christian than accomplishing good deeds. Our motives behind our good deeds matter to God. We need to have a kind and gentle heart while we complete God’s work. It is easy to be kind to others when they are kind to us, but what about those who are unfriendly and mistreat us. Are we holding a grudge against those people or are we showing them kindness. God says we are to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). He also says to “love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil” (Luke 6:35). Titus 3:2 tells us to “speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward[s] all people.” When we are showing kindness and gentleness, while doing good, God is working through us for others to see His ways and not the world’s. It is vital that we look like Jesus through our words and actions.

Application

Is there someone in your life that makes life difficult?  Do you struggle showing kindness towards him or her?  God has asked everyone, not just you, to be Jesus to the world.  That means we must show kindness to everyone, not be selective to who deserves it.

In everything we do, we must have good motive.  God looks at goodness as our heart.  When we do something for God, we must do it in the goodness of our heart, not expecting anything in return.  This is not always easy.  God may ask of something that stretches our faith or boundaries that we have set for ourselves.  God wants a cheerful heart in everything we do for Him!

Our words and actions can hurt people without even realizing what we are saying or doing.  Our words must be gentle so we do not let others feel worthless or judged.  Our actions must be synchronized with God so we know that they reflect Him and not the world.

All these things above: Kindness, Goodness, and Gentleness are all from God.  Jesus functioned in all of these so that He could bring light into a dark and weary world.  We are called to do the same.  If you feel like you lack in one or more areas, take the time to pray and read the Bible.  I encourage you to read about how Jesus lived here on earth.  It is the greatest example of walking out the fruits of the Spirit.

Fruit of the Spirit – Patience

Today, we will be breaking down the fruit of the Spirit: PATIENCE. The following definitions come from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The Scripture version are from the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible.

Patience

Patience is not a virtue that most people are born with but perfected through maturity. We live in a world that demands immediate results. This kind of thinking is called the “microwave mentality.” If we want something now, we purchase it and think about the consequences later. The word patient is defined as able to remain calm and not become annoyed when waiting for a long time or when dealing with problems or difficult people. Another definition of patience is waiting over a long period of time without hurrying. Romans 8:25 says, “if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

Psalm 37:7-9 comforts us by saying, “be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in His way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.” God rewards us as we patiently wait for Him to work in our lives.

Application

Do you get impatient easily when something is not going your way or just having to wait too long for answers.  In life, we all expected to wait on something — in line at a store, stopped traffic on the road, delayed answered prayers from God, and so forth.  How do you spend that time while waiting?  Do you grumble and get irritated the longer you wait?  Or do you try to find something positive in that situation?  I am guilty of being impatient and then regretting my negative thoughts afterwards.  If you wait with a good attitude, God honors you.  The next time you may feel anxious and impatient, remember what God said: “Be sill before the Lord and wait patiently for Him”

Fruit of the Spirit – Peace

Today, we will be breaking down the fruit of the Spirit: PEACE. The following definitions come from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The Scripture version are from the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible.

Peace

As we grow in our Christian walk, we will experience God’s peace. When we believe God will help us through difficult times, we exchange our worry for His peace. We do not allow our emotions to overwhelm us, but, instead, we put our trust in God. Peace is a state in which there is no war or fighting. John 16:33 God says “that in [Him] you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; [He has] overcome the world.” Colossians 3:15 says, “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” According to this Scripture, God is peace. It originates from Him.

In the Book of Colossians, chapter 3, verse 14, it states that love “binds everything together in perfect harmony.” We see in this Scripture that love and peace collide together with perfection. The perfect love that God has for us brings peace into our lives. May “the Lord lift up His countenance upon [us] and give [us] peace” (Numbers 6:26).

Application

Do you have peace in your life?  Do you feel anxious about something or someone?  When you completely trust God with your life, He overwhelms you with His peace.  The world may be full of chaos and confusion, but, with God, He is peace.  He is your peace maker in the midst of life’s storms.

Fruit of the Spirit – Introduction

The more we grow in Christ, the more we get to know who He is and who we are through Him. One way to grow in our Christian walk is to allow the Bible to transform our lives. It is a Book full of redemption, love, grace, hope, and forgiveness. The Bible shows us how to live a Godly life. Galatians 5:22-23 is a life-changing Scripture that not only speaks truth over our lives but challenges us to live a righteous life.

First, God warns us what is not Christ-like. “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

Then, God explains what is expected of us as Christians. He tells us how we need to live by the fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:22-24).

The words, “fruit of the Spirit” has great significance in the Scripture above. The word “Spirit” is referring to God Himself. The descriptive words, “love, joy, peace” etc. that follow are describing who God is: God is love, He is joy, and so forth. God is asking us to be just like Him. When we act more like Him, we are being fruitful. Metaphorically, we are much like a tree. God is the roots and the trunk. He is the Spirit that lives in us and helps us grow strong in our faith. We are the branches and the fruit. We determine how many branches we have on the tree, and how much fruit it produces by the way we live.

According to Galatians 5, there are nine fruits of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is a great way to evaluate our lives to see whether or not our actions and words reflect the way Jesus lived on earth. As Christians, the world needs to see us acting Christ-like and know that we are not hypocrites. Sometimes our actions do not reflect who Jesus is, and it distorts how the world sees Christians. That is why it is important to live our lives as it states in Galatians 5:22-23.

As we breakdown the fruits of the Spirit, I encourage you to not just to read the text but ask God for a deeper understanding of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Application:

FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT

LOVE

JOY

PEACE

PATIENCE

KINDNESS

GOODNESS

FAITHFULNESS

GENTLENESS

SELF-CONTROL

Before we break down the fruits of the Spirit, write down your weaknesses and strengths. I encourage you to be honest with yourself. This exercise is to guide you in prayer and to help you figure out which areas to focus on as you continue to grow in Christ.