Tuesday, July 25, 2017

You Are Chosen

"You didn't choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name." Jesus in John 14:16

Did you know you'd been chosen? A long time ago in school, we used to have to choose our team players during P.E. Most of the time, the person with the least athletic ability, was chosen last. 
I know a lot of single people who feel like they haven't been "chosen" just yet. We all want to be picked, don't we? We all want to be chosen, because that in turn, means we are valuable, right?
Well, you are valuable and you are ALREADY chosen. Jesus chose you. Yes, you. The one who thinks they aren't good enough. The one who feels lonely day in and day out.
You are never alone if you have Jesus. And, my friend, HE CHOSE YOU!
Jesus could have decided to not go to the cross. He was in the garden praying and He was so stressed out about it that His was sweating blood. However, He yielded to God's will. He knew what God had planned was best.
So, He took a brutal beating, took on all our sickness', and it killed Him. He went to that length for us. 
The Good News is, death couldn't keep Him! He rose on the third day! 
My Pastor said something recently that really stuck out in my mind. "Christianity is based on history. On facts." We have proof that Jesus died and rose again. He was seen by many people who wrote about Him. These other religions aren't like that. 
I want to encourage you today. If you are struggling with loneliness, thinking that no one cares and you are all alone, hear me out.. you are NOT alone. God has chosen you. He wants to have a personal relationship with you. 
In John 14, verse 23 it says, "Jesus replied, "All who love Me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them."
It's an individual, personal, relationship. 
He chose you. Now will you choose Him?
God bless you today and always!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

It's Not Because of Our "DO"

"God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God." Ephesians 2:8 NLT

On Sunday evenings for a few weeks now, I've been attending a Bible study with my two best friends and one of my cousins. 
Anyway.... over these last few weeks, I have written down tons of nuggets of wisdom from my cousin. Something he said this past Sunday really touched my heart and I want to share it.
"Rest in what Jesus did and that you are hidden in Him. You are whole and pure, not because of your DO but because of His DONE."
I will admit, I used to be very performanced based. I longed for approval from my parents growing up. I tried to please and longed for approval from my ex husband. Heck, I tried to please everyone and I was very co-dependent for a long time.
Then, even without trying, I thought that some of the things I was doing made God love me more. Not more than YOU, but just more for me. 
It's not in our DO. Nothing we can DO will make God love us more or save souls.
God loves us. Period. We don't have to jump through hoops, bend over backwards and do front flips.
I can hear you ask, "If He loves me so much, then why do I keep having hard times?" 
I'm glad you asked. There are a few possible explanations:
  1. You have walked out from under His protective umbrella.
  2. You are doing something right and the enemy can't stand it.
  3. God has allowed something so He could grow you.
PLEASE hear my heart. God does NOT cause bad things to happen to us. But some things He will allow so we can learn and grow.
We give the enemy TOO much credit. He's not all powerful, all knowing, and everywhere like God is. However, he is around and when you are trying to live for God, you have a target on your back.
All God wants is a relationship with us. One where we pray, read His Word, listen, attend church, and worship Him. He has blessings He wants to pour out on us from Heaven. 
Salvation is the first one. If you died today, do you know without a doubt that you'd be in Heaven with Him?
I hope so. If not, please get in touch with me and let's talk. Because the fact of the matter is, your DOING will not get you there.
Jesus has already DONE it on the cross. He was killed, buried, and resurrected. He took our place. He bore our sins on the cross. It is done.
He only had to do it once.
You are forgiven, all you have to do is accept the gift. Stop trying to earn it.
God bless you today and always!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Living In The Light

"Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children." Ephesians 5:1

Yesterday morning, my Scripture writing was Ephesians 5:1-6. I'm sure I've read this before, but I love how God shows me things right when I need it. Does He do that for you too?
Paul wrote this letter to the new Christians in Ephesus. Ephesus was an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia, three kilometres southwest of present-day Selçuk in İzmir Province, Turkey.
Bibleplaces.com says, "In the ancient world, Ephesus was a center of travel and commerce.  Situated on the Aegean Sea at the mouth of the Cayster River, the city was one of the greatest seaports of the ancient world."
Ephesus was an important part of spreading the Gospel to the world. So, Paul was reminding the Ephesians how God wanted them to live, so they could be examples to teach others.
Ephesians 5:2 says, "Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God."
Hate and telling people how wrong they are will not lead them to the Lord. LOVE will. LOVE does.
Jesus got upset with the Pharisees because they were living by religion. He tried to show them the right way. He always loved. He spoke the truth to them in love, not hate.
I don't know about you, but my mouth has a tendency to get me in trouble. I say things sometimes without thinking. But I am working on it. The last thing I want to do is hurt people with my words.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:3 & 4, "Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God's people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes - these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God."
You see, when we live in the light, doing and saying what is pleasing to God, we help people see HIM.
God doesn't sin. He doesn't deal with the things listed in verses 3 and 4.
I hear you thinking, "But Jill, that's no fun. God is just a party pooper and doesn't want us to have fun."
That's not true at all. We can have fun without all that. I have had tons of fun, laughing and having a great time with no alcohol, no bad jokes or obscene stories.
We are NOT perfect. That's the truth. I know I'm not perfect by any means. But we are called to a higher standard. We should be showing people what living for God is really like.
We know these as the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. When we are living through these, people see Jesus. This way, maybe, just maybe, they will decided to give their lives to Him one day too.
Are you living in the light? Or are you still hiding in darkness?
Step into the light of His love! You'll be glad you did!
God bless you today and always!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Emotions & Feelings

"As the Scriptures tell us, "Anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced." Romans 10:11

Last night's Bible study with Mr. Earnest was really good. He started off asking had we ever questioned if we were saved or not. I was thinking, "Maybe a long time ago. How does this apply to me?"
Then, he started talking about how people say they don't "FEEL saved." Have you ever had a time like that in your life?
Maybe things in your life aren't going the way you thought they would. That happens to all of us. I'm a prime example! LOL
Mr. Earnest said, "Salvation is not about emotions or feelings. A lot of times we go on feelings. Salvation is given by God and no one can take it away. It doesn't matter what you do or don't do, Jesus suffered and died ONCE."
We are human and want to "FEEL & SEE" things. But that's the opposite of faith.
Faith is believing without seeing. Faith is trusting and knowing God's got your back, even when you don't feel like He does.
God is the same, yesterday, today and forever. He doesn't lie. He loves us steadfastly, unconditionally, and whole heartedly. That can be trusted. It's written all throughout Scripture.
Here is another great point Mr. Earnest said, "Feelings are unreliable. Emotions are untrustworthy. Emotions ruin our lives. We ask God to take things away but it doesn't go, so then we get upset with Him. We need to put our feelings and emotions under the subjection of the Holy Spirit."
We need to put our feelings and emotions under the subjection of the Holy Spirit.
Asking the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and direct us each day with all truth, is the way we should be living. Not by our emotions and feelings.
Now here is another point that stepped on my toes: "Stop thinking about ourselves and think about the truth of God and His Word. Use God's Word to pull you out of stuff."
I am GUILTY of doing that, even just this week. When Mr. Earnest started teaching, I was thinking, "We are saved, we don't question our salvation." But when he got to all of this, I knew this message was for me.
I LOVE how God works! 
I needed this reminder to stop listening to the enemies lies, stop basing things on how I FEEL, and start saying the truth over myself.
God's Word is truth. It's life! It's alive!
There is something in the Bible for every situation in your life. Anything you are going through, He's got a Word that will help you through it. One big emotion is fear. Did you know that God tells us not to fear 365 times in the Bible? That's one time for every day of the year. I think He's made His point. LOL
Don't be like me, and allow your emotions and feelings to get you off course. Don't listen to the enemy's lies. All he wants to do is get you away from God. 
If you need prayer, please contact me. I would love to pray for you.
God bless you today and always!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Guaranteed Blessing

"If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully keep all His commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world." Deuteronomy 28:1

Before you get worried, please know that this is not a "name it and claim it" post.
I simply wrote this Scripture today and wanted to share it with you. 
You see, throughout the Scripture, God clearly says, "If you ____", "Then, I will_____."
However, people don't believe what His Word says.
Now, this is Old Testament, but a lot of what is there still stands true today and can be used as a reference.
I live my life by treating people the way I want to be treated, loving everyone, and doing whatever God asks because my ultimate goal in life is to please Him.
I'm not the type to do something for someone just so they will do something back for me. It's just not how I'm wired.
So, honestly, this type of Scripture can be a struggle for me. BUT GOD. I know in my heart that He reveals things to me so that I will live it out and share it. This is one of those times.
Let me show you verses 2-6.
2 "You will experience all these blessings if you obey the LORD your God:
3 Your towns and fields will be blessed.
4 Your children and your crops will be blessed. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be blessed.
5 Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be blessed.
6 Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed."
In a nutshell, God says, "If you obey Me and keep My commandments, I will bless you."
Here is the kicker: We don't live under the law anymore. We live under grace. So does this even apply to us?
YEP! We should still uphold the 10 commandments, and any other commandments we read in the Word.
We should be living the way God has called us to live, and doing the things God has called us to do. 
I don't know about you, but I'd like my work, my children, and my pantry to be blessed. 
Life is hard. Things happen that can cause us heartache and hardships. 
God is saying here, "If you'd just live my way, I'll bless you."
This isn't a MAYBE He will bless us. Or, "He might bless us." This is "I WILL BLESS YOU."
I think we have times when we forget what God says. For example, the Scripture Philippians 4:13 which says, "I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength." NLT
We tend to think EVERYTHING or ALL in some translations isn't real. It doesn't apply to us. Or that maybe God has limits and He only does certain things for certain people.
That's a lie from the enemy my friend. The truth is, God loves you with a constant steadfast love. He WANTS to bless you. He just wants you to live for Him so He can.
Why don't we take God at His Word? What causes us to think these negative things? 
I pray that you will apply this to your life today. It's my hope that you will have a breakthrough to see the truth and that the truth will set you free.
God bless you today and always!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Daily Sacrifice & Renewing Your Mind

"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." Romans 12: 1-2 NLT

In the book of Romans, Paul was writing to the new church there. He was trying to show them this new way of living.
They were used to making sacrifices to God. There were several in the Old Testament that they were custom to.  It was the way God forgave them on their sins.
After Jesus offered Himself as the living sacrifice, those other sacrifices were no longer needed.
Then, Paul took it a step further.
Offer YOURSELF as a living sacrifice daily. That sounds kind of odd, doesn't it?
Was he expecting them to kill themselves every day? Or something weird?
He was asking them to fully surrender to God, each day. Dying to themselves, each day.
This is about living for God and allowing Him to have every part of our heart and mind, each day.
In verse 2, Paul talks about them transforming their mind by thinking on Godly things, not worldly things.
Now, back almost 2,000 years ago, they didn't have the internet, with all of the social media you can imagine and the news in the palm of their hands. But Paul knew, even then, that the world's way wasn't God's way.
This isn't about control on God's part. This is about us letting Him be a part of every area in our lives. 
God is a gentleman. He will not force Himself on anyone. How do I know that? Because He gave us a free will to chose whether or not to follow Him. 
Those that choose to follow Him, He would like for us to live fully for Him by allowing ourselves surrender to His ways.
Are you living like this for God? Does He has your whole heart? 
Are you renewing your mind with His Word daily? 
Because, see, we have an enemy. He wants to keep you out of heaven. If he can't do that, he wants to keep you out of relationship with God and other believers.
He is here to kill, steal, and destroy. That's all he does.
When you stay in God's Word, daily, and see the truth of what God has for you, and how He wants you to live, you combat those lies from the enemy.
I pray that you will decide to daily give up yourself for God and that you will commit to renewing your mind with His Word.
If I can pray for you, please contact me.
God bless you today and always!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Knowing God vs Knowing OF God

"The LORD passed in front of Moses, calling out, "Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness." Exodus 34:6 NLT

Lately, I have been involved in several different Bible studies. I love how God works, because honestly, they have all been working together.
You can't tell me that God isn't in it when a DVD based study recorded years ago, my 70 something year old Spiritual father, and my 50 something year old cousin are all teaching similar things to me! It amazes me how God works like that!
We tend to know OF God. We don't know HIM. Mr. Earnest always says, "You can't trust someone you don't know." Isn't that true?
When you first meet someone, you don't immediately trust them. I think the most trust we put in people has to be while we are driving. Other than that, giving someone your heart is scary. You need to know them first. 
Priscilla Shirer wrote in my Discerning the Voice of God study, "When God instructs us to do something based on our knowledge of Him, He moves our relationship from mental to experiential. This is why He is so passionately desires to reveal Himself to us through His Word."
God's Word shows us what He is like. He tells us in there, point blank, about His character.
The Old Testament is written so we can see Jesus through it, learn some lessons, AND so we can see God's character.
The New Testament is written to show that Jesus fulfilled the law,  He also reveals God's character.
We can not base what we know about God on what we hear from other people. Let me say that again...
We can not base what we know  about God on what we hear from other people.
Would you start dating someone based only on what someone else's told you about the person? No! You'd get to know that person BEFORE you decided to date them.
So, why do we let other people tell us who God is?
While the truth is, God is God. Our relationship with Him is intimate. It's personal. How I know God, and what He's done in my life is different from your's. Ya know?
Also, we can not base who God is only on the Old Testament. Jesus was God in the flesh, so you HAVE to see His character as He walked on this earth in order to know Him correctly.
I do not claim to know everything there is to know about God. I am not a Bible Scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know that He loves me with an unfailing, ever lasting love. It is a love endures, never fails, and never stops.
Nothing we can do will make God love us any less, just like nothing we can do will make God love us any more.
He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
My question for you today is... do you KNOW God? Or do you just know OF Him?
God bless you today and always!