IS YOUR LIFE BRINGING GLORY TO GOD

God never called us to do anything for Him. He does, however, call us to work with him.

James, the half-brother of Jesus, taught: “In the same way, faith also if it has no works, is dead.” James 2:17,

The simple truth about the difference between good works and bad or religious works, is that good works are works that God by His Holy Spirit calls us to do, through prayer and our ongoing relationship with God in Christ.

Dead religious works, in contrast, are things we try to do for God in order to earn His favour. Jesus died on a cross for our sins, and we receive His favour only by His grace. No amount of works will ever purchase that favour. However, because of that grace we now do good works for Him through the leading of His Holy Spirit.

In Matthew 25:23, Jesus said, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.”

It sounds to me like Jesus was building some form of “performance-based Christianity!” Our true calling is to be living so close to Him, and to be so biblically astute, that our whole lives bring glory to His name in the process. Moreover, what you do on earth for Him will determine your role in serving Him during His Millennial reign on this earth.

In fact, God, the Father sent the Holy Spirit to be our counsellor, teacher and comforter to make us like Jesus and to prepare us to rule and reign with Him during His Millennial reign on this earth.

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 “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.Revelation 5:9-10

They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4-6

GOD USES SUFFERING

God often uses suffering for His purposes, even Christians, to purge sin from our lives. The suffering causes us to stop and re-evaluate our lives. Holy Spirit conviction comes upon us and we realise we have grieved Him and quenched His work in our lives, This invariably leads to repentance and make us realise how dependent we are upon God’s grace. It will also lead to a lot of other good things in our lives, greater discernment, greater sensitivity to things of the Spirit, transformed minds, wisdom, expanded hope, increased desire to spend time in His Word and to know the truth, teach us to give thanks in all circumstances, increased faith, strengthened character. Hopefully, when we see God transforming our lives in these ways we will come to the conclusion that the suffering was worth it.

Quadriplegic painter Joni Eareckson Tada shares ‘life-changing’ words on anniversary of her diving accident

Not all of us have had to suffer like Joni Eareckson Tada but she wrote in he book When God Weeps: “Before my paralysis, my hands reached for a lot of wrong things, and my feet took me into a lot of bad places. After my paralysis, tempting choices were scaled down considerably. My particular affliction is divinely hand tailored expressly for me. Nobody has to suffer ‘transverse spinal lesion at the fourth-fifth cervical’ exactly as I did to be transformed to His image.”

How about Nick Vujicic born without arms and legs. He tried to take his own life at age eight in four inches of water. Thank God he was unsuccessful, hundreds of thousands maybe even more will be in God’s Kingdom because of the testimony of this man.

GROWING IN GOD

Ways to stay focused on God’s agenda for your life

1. Holy Spirit Journal: Once you decide to record all the moments the Holy Spirit cautions/blocks/directs/inspires events during your day you will discover the significance of these experiences/miracles. Take your H.S. journal with you so you can jot down the incidences whilst still fresh in your mind and you do not forget to thank God for them. He will love that you do. Too frequently, we miss those God-moments that, whether they seem large or small, are truly phenomenal. Also, take time to review them at the end of every day, the Holy Spirit may give you fresh revelation something you missed at the time.

2. Before every new challenge, every new day, pray. Pray and fast if necessary. Remind yourself of God’s faithfulness! Every prayer He has answered. Replay every victory He has given you before you make a critical decision. Make sure you have “put on the whole armour of God each day so that you can stand against the evil forces of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10  The devil and his minions will do their best to get you thinking negatively to produce the wrong outcome.

3. Keep a visual image of what you’re aiming for—the outcome the Bible promises. Do this and watch what happens.

What are some daily habits you employ to stay connected to the Holy Spirit and living eternal now?

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GETTING IN STEP WITH GOD

Teach Me Your Paths – Psalm of David (Psalm 25)

David understood the truth of God’s Word. “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.” Psalm 66:18-19

What about us? Do we know God has heard our prayers as David did? Read what David had to say in this Psalm and then let us consider what we now have in Jesus and how we pray.

Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.Psalm 25:4-5

Good and upright is the LORD; therefore He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble His way. All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.” Psalm 25: 8-10

For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great. Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will He instruct in the way that he should choose. His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land. The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear Him, and He makes known to them His covenant. My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for He will pluck my feet out of the net.Psalm 25:11-15

We know David was a sinner (Bathsheba and Uriah) but he understood repentance and God’s forgiveness. He was a man who feared the Lord. God even said He was a man after God’s own heart. What does this mean? I think it means David knew and trusted God and was doing His best to live that out. What we need is humility in relation to ourselves and confidence in relation to God.

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Consider now what Jesus has provided for all who believe in Him as Lord and Saviour. Through His sacrifice, Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to indwell our Spirit, to be our counsellor, teacher and comforter.

The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27

For us the Spirit is there revealing God’s will to us in the Scriptures and bringing God’s prayer concerns to life within us. He is searching our hearts and trying our ways so He can bring us to true repentance. He reveals the glory and goodness of God so that our prayers will be filled with praise and thanks.

We can be confident that God will hear when we come to Him. God answers every prayer that starts in heaven, every prayer born in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, every prayer based on a sure promise from His Word. As we pray to our Heavenly Father we need to acknowledge the Spirit and ask Him to help us to pray aright and to recognise His promptings that our prayers may be pleasing to our Heavenly Father and accomplish His purposes.

WHERE WILL YOU GO AND DO FOR GOD?

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.Acts 1:6-8

We know that it was probably only as a result of persecution that Christians eventually moved out of Jerusalem to spread the Gospel. Hence, we know that God will do whatever is necessary to accomplish His purposes. What was the eventual outcome? From what we know, Peter and his wife traveled into Asia Minor, over to Greece, and on to Rome, never to return home. John eventually made his way throughout Western Turkey and settled in Ephesus to oversee the work there. Notably, he ended up on the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea. Thomas headed in the opposite direction to India, Matthew to Ethiopia. Judas Thaddeus to Armenia.

But for most of us, God’s call is to go out into the community where He has placed us. The big question is, are we completing the great commission to make disciples in our community? Considering we are approaching the time of His return the answer to this question in the affirmative is mandatory.

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ENCOUNTERING MISGUIDED PROPHECIES

This story provides an important lesson in the what we do with prophetic messages, regardless of who gives them, particularly when they relate to God’s call on your life.

Twenty-three-year-old George Whitefield sat on a ship ready to sail for America from the port of Deal, located approximately 70 miles southeast of London. For some time, he had experienced a compelling call to preach the gospel to colonial America and now the day for his departure had finally arrived. His heart was filled with gratitude, excitement and expectation.

As he waited for the ship’s crew to hoist anchor and sail, a letter was delivered to him from John Wesley who had just returned from a failed mission to Georgia. He opened the letter and was stunned by what he read. Wesley wrote that when he saw that the same wind that brought him in was taking Whitefield out, he inquired of the Lord about Whitefield’s journey. Wesley emphatically stated that the word God gave him for Whitefield was, “Let him return to London.”

Whitefield was shocked and momentarily confused. Wesley was 10 years his senior and had been a mentor to him. He held the Wesley brothers, John and Charles, in very high esteem. However, this word from John contradicted everything he believed about his call to America.

Whitefield went to prayer, and as he prayed, there came to his mind a story from the Old Testament about a “man of God” who lost his life because he listened to the words of an “old prophet” instead of diligently adhering to what God had instructed him.

I Kings 13 tells this story of the unnamed “man of God” whom God instructed to go to Bethel and prophesy against the idolatrous altars that had been established there by King Jeroboam. God also instructed him not to stop to eat or drink but to return directly home to Judah when he had completed his assignment.

Based on this directive from the Lord, he went to Bethel. As he prophesied against the idolatrous altars, they miraculously split apart, and the ashes were poured out on the ground. As he departed Bethel according to the Lord’s instructions, an “old prophet,” who heard of what had happened, saddled his donkey, caught up with the “man of God” and invited him to his home to eat and drink.

When the “man of God” recounted to the “old prophet” what the Lord had instructed him, the “old prophet” said, “‘I am a prophet like you, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you into your house so that he may eat bread and drink water'” (1 Kings 13:18). The “old prophet,” however, was lying.

The “man of God” went back with the “old prophet” in contradiction to the instructions the Lord had given him; and as a result of his disobedience, he lost his life and was not buried in the burial ground of his ancestors.

With this story so vividly impressed on his mind, Whitefield knew what he must do. He sent back a reply to Wesley in which he said, “I cannot return to London.” Whitefield said no to Wesley’s “thus saith the Lord.”

History has demonstrated that Whitefield made the correct decision, for he became the major figure in the Great Awakening that rocked Colonial America and prepared her for statehood. Everywhere he went, great revival followed his preaching.

Because of God’s blessing on his labors, he became the most recognizable person in colonial America and Thomas S. Kidd, who teaches history at Baylor University, calls him “America’s Spiritual Founding Father.”

We can all be thankful that Whitefield said no to Wesley’s “thus saith the Lord.”

GOD HASN’T QUIT SPEAKING

God hasn’t quit speaking; He is opening our hearts and minds to hear His voice in new ways. He does this so that we will continue to grow progressively in our relationship with Him. He doesn’t want us to become locked in to the same patterns of hearing Him. God’s goal is a real, live relationship with us.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27

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Here are a few scriptural examples, which portray the multitude of ways the Spirit has used to speak to people:

  1. A dream or vision (see Job 33:14-18)
  2. A voice in a trance (see Acts 10:9-16)
  3. The voice of many angels (see Rev. 5:11)
  4. The voice of the archangel (see 1 Thess. 4:16)
  5. The “sound of many waters” (Rev. 1:15)
  6. The sound of the Lord walking in the garden (see Gen. 3:8)
  7. The sound of the army of God marching in the tops of the trees (see 2 Sam. 5:23-25)
  8. The audible voice of God (see Ex. 3:4)
  9. God “speaking peace” to His people (Ps. 85:8)
  10. God’s written Word (our primary source of His voice and our chief reference point) (see Ps.119:105)
  11. Wonders in the sky and on Earth (see Joel 2:30-31)
  12. Visions and parables to the prophets (see Hos. 12:10)
  13. Words and physical metaphors to the prophets (see Jer. 18:1-6)
  14. The Holy Spirit speaking to a group (see Acts 13:2)
  15. Men, moved by the Holy Spirit, declaring God’s voice (see 2 Pet. 1:21)
  16. Heavenly experiences in which one is brought up before the Lord (see 2 Cor. 12:1-4)
  17. The Holy Spirit bearing witness to our spirit (see Rom. 8:16)
  18. A dumb donkey speaking with the voice of a man (see 2 Pet. 2:16)
  19. One person speaking the revelatory counsel of the Lord to another (see James 5:19-20)
  20. God’s own Son (see Heb. 1:2)

This list is not exhaustive, but it gives a bird’s-eye view of some of the ways God has chosen to speak to (and through) His people. I have been surprised over the years at both how God speaks and what or whom He chooses to use, invariably the most unlikely person.

God is not limited in His attention-getting techniques. He wants to be heard, and He has plenty of approaches He can utilise.

Sadly for me, one of the ways God gets my attention is with an earache in my right ear. To me, it’s like Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”. I invariably have taken myself away from God’s best for me, doing my own thing, and I know it. As soon as I get back on track, and step out to do what God has for me to do that day, the earache is gone. I have to step out, expecting God to turn up and equip me for the task. On several occasions, the earache has gone before I reach the set of lights about 500 metres/yards from my home.

God wants us to hear His voice in all of its manifestations so that we can bear much fruit—fruit that will remain.

We must not forget that ultimately this is not about us. It is about our being transformed into the image of His glorious Son, Jesus. By the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us, you and I will be changed into the image of God’s Son. According to Psalm 29, we will shout praises together as we are changed from glory to glory: “Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” Psalm 29:2

Based on an article by James Goll: God has a Word for Us; No more Boxes! Charisma Magazine.

 

IS GOD’S PURPOSE FOR YOUR LIFE ALWAYS ON YOUR MIND?

Romans 8:28 informs us Christians, that in each and every part of our life, God is at work? These things work together or cooperate to produce a greater effect than they could individually. God works through all things in concert together.

God is always orchestrating everything in our lives to work together for our benefit. He sets His heart toward all of us who love Him intimately and pursue Him passionately. God’s intention and will is always good and always best for us. Everything that happens to you is not necessarily good, but God uses everything for your ultimate good.

Regardless of who you are, where you are or what you do in your life, if you are a Christian, God’s Holy Spirit is always moving you to His eternal high purpose: Making you more like Jesus Christ.

He created you to live your life with God’s purpose always on your mind, becoming like Jesus Christ.

The only way you will ever feel fulfilled is to know that God is always lovingly using everything in your life to make you more like Jesus Christ, for His glory.

We must believe nothing can hinder God’s purpose for our lives. Job trusted this because he knew God could do anything. Do you? While some people may experience a level of restoration as Job did, others may live to the end faithfully, yet lose their lives as mentioned in Hebrews 11. For both groups, the ultimate promise is that God’s eternal purposes will come to fruition.

This article was inspired by an article by Ronnie Floyd, Why Nothing Can Hinder God’s Purpose in Your Life. He  is the President of the National Day of Prayer.