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Posts Tagged ‘abundance’

It’s not popular today to speak in terms of  “good and evil”.  Having grown up in a religious setting that tended to breed condemnation rather than confidence in the work of Christ in our hearts, I can understand it.

Nevertheless, we can’t ignore either word.  There is obviously both good and evil in the world.  Everywhere we look there is are hard things.  Poverty, sexual slavery, broken families, crime, bigotry, injustice, wars, and so on.   On the other hand, we see good in those work to make a difference or rise above their own negative circumstances or a raw hand that was dealt them.

What determines whether someone is good or evil?  Luke 6:43-45 makes it clear that it is the kind of fruit one bears.  It makes it clear the fruit we see comes from the condition of one’s heart.

Christ’s sacrificed life made it possible to live in goodness.  Salvation is for body, soul, and spirit.  Reunited or back in agreement with God, it is now up to us to plant and tend to the vineyard of our hearts, that we might produce GOOD FRUIT.

Andy Andrews, in his book The Traveler’s Gift, talks about one of the seven principles of success–I have a decided heart.  If we choose to follow Christ, then we must also decide to become like Him.

Luke 6:40 says “everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” A decided heart is one that refuses to let things unlike Christ remain in their heart.

One can’t have bitterness and say they are following Christ.  Nor can we dwell in unforgiveness, a vengeful spirit, self-centeredness, pride, apathy, rebellion, greed, etc.    Those attitudes will choke out the good fruit and fill our hearts with unhealthy habits and desires.

We also can’t live in the land of unbelief, a place that denies what God says about us or the priniciples and promises of God.   It is impossible to please God without faith!  Not just faith in his redemption, but walking it out by being who He has called us to be and producing good fruit.

Luke 6:45 says”For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”  Faith is a matter of confession and profession.  What you say matched by what you do  indicates the faith you have.    It is not enough to say “Lord, Lord”.   We must have faith that is rooted deep in our hearts vineyard.

That kind of faith, fills our heart with the qualities of God.  Love, forgiveness, peace, long-suffering, goodness, meekness, temperance.  It is other focused.  It is about blessing, not cursing.  It is about us rising up to our position in Christ’s kingdom and living from a decided heart!

It is work because faith without works is dead.  It’s not about performance for the sake of performance but it is about truly accepting the work of Christ and letting Him transform our hearts into a vineyard…the planting of the Lord.  It takes self-examination under the light of the Holy Spirit.  It takes a decision followed by committment, that we will continue to add the character of God to our lives, letting go of the things that hold us back or produce rotten fruit.

I am challenged today to inspect my fruit and pull out by God’s grace the things that produce bad fruit.  I am determined to put into my heart the seed that will create a bountiful harvest.

How about you?  What do you need to pull out or put into your heart to produce greater fruit?

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I’m hoping as I share God’s word for me this morning it will encourage you in your 2012 journey.

As I continued to pray about some scripture for the year, I read Jereimiah 1:6-12 I got excited.  Here’s what I found for my life.

1.  2012 is  a year for  no excuses.  (Verse 6,7)  We can do whatever God asks of us.  He is in charge!

2.  2012 is a year for no fear.  (verse 8) .  Whatever we come face to face with God is with us and will deliver us.   He has promised!

3.  2012 is a year of speaking His words.  (verse 9)  God Himself has spoken and all we have to do is open our mouths (and hearts) to let Him fill us with what He is sending His word to do.

4.  2012 is a year of appointment!   Verse 10 tells how.  Oversight of the nations and kingdoms.    You may not think you have that oversight but you do.  You have kingdoms and nations within your own life’s circle.  Your family, community, yourself, your church, your finances, etc.   It’s time to rise up and take note and exercise the authority you’ve been given.

Verse 10 g0es on to say….. we have been appointed to Root Out and Pull Down.  2012 is a year to dig deep and get rid of the roots that are entangling us and keeping us from our destinies.  It is a time to pull down the obstacles that are standing in our path.

2012 is a time to Destroy and Overthrow.  It’s time to recognize the enemy and go on the attack to remove his lies from our life.  We are in charge not him.  What we choose to believe is up to us.  What we choose to follow is up to us.  We do not have to succumb to his influence….emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually.   God is greater!   If  we want more of what God has for us then we must stand and declare NO MORE to the enemy!

2012 is a year to build and plant.  Having cleared out the old places,  we can start on level ground.  It’s a time to welcome the dreams and begin to put them into place.  God will establish the work of our hands.

Sounds like a full appointment to me!

5.  2012 is a the year of the almond tree branch.  (verse 11,12)  When asked what he saw, Jeremiah answered, “the branch or shoot of an almond tree.”  This branch was the emblem of alertness and activity, blossoming in late winter.    The Lord commended him for what He said, promising that, “I AM alert and active, watching over My word to perform it.”

For many of us, 2011 was difficult.  We’ve needed hope.  We’ve needed faith.  We’ve needed love.  And we’ve needed answers!  We’ve done all we could to hang on to God’s promises.

As we enter 2012, unsure about what the year holds, we have this assurance.  God is Alert (well aware of our lives and His plans).  God is Active (involved in every little itty-bitty detail).  God is Watching  (over every word He has spoken to see that it is performed). 

Regardless of what the year brings, 2012 is a year of Overcoming! How do I know?  Because He has appointed us to oversight of everything that is holding us back.   We have been granted authority based on His own words and have His promise to perform it!   Therefore…..

If God be for us, who can be against us? 

Be strong and courageous in the Lord!  Watch the walls fall down!   AMEN!  (So Be It!)

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This has been a week where I’ve been so conscious of pain.  Not so much my own, but that of those I love or the world in general.

So many stories.  Some involve injustice or hurt at the hand of others.  Some tell a tale of consequences for personal choices.  Most of them are really about both.

Regardless of the source of our pain or loss, it is clear that how we handle it will determine the power of it in our life.

I speak from experience.  I know the difference between the two.

I spent years playing the role of a victim.  I justified my own choices and the my reaction to the hurts inflicted by others by staying in that familiar space.  Poor me.  People are awful.  Why me?

When I learned to look at pain differently, my life had a seismic shift!  I am grateful for the lessons I learned.  Hopefully sharing it with you will help.

First of all, it’s God’s love that allows us to experience consequences for our own choices.  He always has our best interest at heart and His purpose is not to punish but to set us on the path that opens the door for the abundant life He promised.

II Corinthians 7:10 says, “For godly grief and the pain God is permitted to direct produce a repentance (change of mind) that leads and contributes to salvation and deliverance from evil and never brings regret…..”

When we let God direct the pain of the consequences of our choices, He will step in and change us from the inside out.  Sometimes we have to sit for awhile with the pain, contemplating our part in it before we can give it to God.

When we accept our responsibility for our choices, we can expect God’s forgiveness and His action on our behalf.  The consequences may not go away but we can look at the future with hope, knowing somehow, some time God will turn even this for good. We can walk toward that future without the shame and guilt, free to move closer to our destiny.

The same is true with the pain that is caused at the hands of others.  Betrayal of someone we love or trust is never easy.  Injustice  is a horrible thing.  Regardless of the circumstances or the story, our choice is the same.  Will we allow God to direct us and our pain for good or choose bitterness, victimhood, and unforgiveness?  Will we turn trouble into triumph, or let the pain rule our life?

This type of pain can wound and scar us so deeply.  There is no doubt that it can change the course of our outward life such as position, jobs, finances, etc.  It can also affect our emotional or physical well being.  Even the purposes and gifting that God has placed on our life can be delayed.

What we do with that pain will determine how much power we give it.  We can be forever stuck or forever free.

It’s not necessarily easy.  It takes thought, prayer, and processing.  But, the quicker we choose to ask God for help, asking Him to heal our souls and direct our footsteps, the sooner He can turn it to good. And the sooner we will experience a peace that passes understanding.

“and never brings regret: ”  The rest of that verse says, “but worldly grief (the hopeless sorrow that is characteristic of a pagan world) is deadly. (breeding and ending in death!)” (Amplified)

When we go through pain,  we have to options.  We can choose between a bitter, death producing life of victimhood or life, hope, freedom, repentance and a number of God’s wonderful gifts.

There is truly a gift in pain and grief.  It’s up to us to open it.

What can you do to open the gift today?

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Personal trainers are a very popular way to get in shape and move to a healthy lifestyle.

When I read this verse this morning, I couldn’t help but compare that to the spiritual training God has provided. I Timothy 1:4,5(Amplified) tells us the importance of accepting in faith God’s ‘administration and divine training.’

Two words stand out–in faith and love. 

I love the way the Amplified explains faith.   “leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence.”

In the gym……one has to trust that the personal trainer knows what they are talking about and asking us to do.  The understanding must be that they know how to get us in optimal shape and increase our well-being.  They are trained to work with our unique body type and style while implementing some consistent principles into our daily routine.

The same is true in our relationship with God.  He understands our unique human personality.   We can either choose to do our own thing  or put our strengths and weaknesses in the hand of God and listening to His divine instruction for our lives.  That is true faith.  Having confidence that when one of God’s principles or commands runs into conflict with our own desires or how we “feel”  we will choose to trust him and do what He asks.

The second part of this passage, talks about the purpose of our instruction.  Just as a personal trainer creates a program to bring us into health, God’s instruction and His charge to us has a purpose.  That purpose is love.

Pure love starts with loving God.  When we love God we can love ourselves and others.  So where does love begin?

Verse 5 makes it clear.   Love “springs from a pure heart and a good clean conscience and sincere unfeigned faith.”  If we are to truly love……we must be clean before Him.  That takes honesty.

A personal trainer will get no where with us if we are going home from our workout and “sneaking” food that is off the program.  Unlike the personal trainer, God knows every place we are being dishonest, every failure due to poor choice.

Yet we try to hide.  We either hide because we are ashamed of our weakness and don’t trust God’s love or because we are in direct rebellion against Him.  The results of that kind of life can lead to a lot of destruction rather than the abundant life God wants for us.

A sincere and pure heart is necessary to love and leaning on God in trust and confidence is the first step toward a sincere and pure heart.

What are the places in your life that you haven’t trusted or had confidence in God?  Where have you been insincere about following His ways?  What is clouding your conscience?

What steps can you take today to begin to get in shape spiritually, emotionally, and physically?

God and His word is the ultimate personal trainer.

 

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Repost

This repost of a 2010 blog seems appropriate today.  Sometimes I think we forget that we reap what we sow and that it is our choice to sow good seed.  What do you think?

Choose Your Seed

If you want tomatoes you don’t plant lemons.  If you want roses, you plant roses.

So what do you want in your life?

It’s been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.   If your life is not producing the fruit you want, you have to start with examination of the seed you are planting.

If you are planting discord, you can’t expect peace and harmony.  If you are planting debt and poor financial stewardship, you can’t expect financial blessing and abundance.  If you are dishonoring or disrespectful in a relationship, you can’t expect honor and respect from others.

On the flip side, if you follow God’s precepts, planting seed that is reflective of His character, you can expect a good harvest.  That kind of planting is mentioned in Galatians 6:8.  It is sowing to the Spirit instead of to the flesh.   That kind of harvest is not only good, but lasts forever.   It produces eternal results.

Take a minute and reflect on the kind of result you want in some situation in your life.  Maybe it’s a situation with your children, spouse, or friend.  Maybe it’s something you desire emotionally, physically, or  spiritually.

What kind of seed(ie.habit, attitude, action,belief) have you been planting?  What could you change in order to reap a good harvest? What step can you take today to begin that process?

If you want a different result, you have to choose good seed.  God has provided what you need and promised to bless it.  It’s up to you to plant it, nurture it, and gather in the harvest.

What seed are you choosing today?

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I love the power of testimony.  If you don’t understand that, it’s the power of being inspired and learning from someone’s story or experience.  The scripture is full of story and they have some very profound lessons for life.

Nehemiah 9:15 is a great example.  Talking about the experience of the children of Israel and Moses in the wilderness it tells us:  “You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst: and you told them to go in and possess the land You had sworn to given them.”

When I read a scripture, I always ask, How does that apply to my life now?   

Here’s what I see in this verse.

1.  God is a provider.   He understood that the Israelites needed food and water if they were going to complete the journey.  He knew their needs.

2.  When He provides, He goes above and beyond.   He will bring what we need straight from heaven or out of a rock if need be.  He is not limited by the natural.  He has the power to create and release the right provision at the right time for our need at that moment.

3.  He has a reason for provision.  God is not a genie in a bottle that operates to grant us our ever wish or desire.  When He provides He has a purpose in it.  It is so we can go and possess the land He has given us.

Love that last one for a couple reasons.  First, it’s a promise!  God has given each of His children a land to possess.  This promised land is a land of wholeness.   It represents our access to all that God has for us and sharing that access with others.  It’s a land of being and serving the purposes of heaven.

God gives us all we need but then tells us to go possess it.

Maybe your marriage needs to enter the land of wholeness.   Maybe you need better parenting skills or have a child who has a need.  Maybe your job or business is lacking in provision or fulfillment.   Maybe you are hurting from the past or  need healing in body or soul.

Whatever your need, God has provided.  God doesn’t want us to live in broken lives.  Reach out and take His provision and then go possess the promised place of wholeness.

What has God provided to you so you can move toward wholeness in your life?

What step can you take today to use that provision and possess the thing you want to see changed?

 

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Wasn’t much of a rock and roller back in the late 60’s but who wouldn’t recognize the Stones hit, I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.

Dads and moms, women and men alike, want to be satisfied.  We all want a full, abundant life.  Yet even though America is full of opportunity, freedom,  and blessing, we often find ourselves longing for more than we currently have.

When we find ourselves in a place where we are unsatisfied with any part of our life, perhaps we should take Proverbs 11:25 to heart.  “The liberal person shall be enriched, and he who waters shall himself be watered.”

With every promise comes a responsibility.  This one is clear.  You won’t have the promise of an enriched,  abundant, thirst quenching life if you aren’t living a life of liberality.

All to often we live asking or expecting things from others. What would happen if we stopped that pattern and began to ask ourselves what we can give in any situation?

What if in our marriages we stopped expecting our spouse to meet our need, and asked ourselves what we could do to bless them?  What could happen if instead of being tight-fisted with our finances, we looked for places or people we could bless?  What would life look like if we lived looking for a way to meet others hunger and thirst for a better life instead of worrying about our own?

An open heart results in an open hand.  An open hand has given away what it holds dear and has room to receive more of what God offers.

What can you do to today to open up your heart?  What is in your hand that you can offer to someone else with a generous attitude?

Live Liberally!

 

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