30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’[a]This is the first commandment.[b]31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[c] There is no other commandment greater than these.” Jesus in Mark 12:30-31
For the record, in case you didn't already know, I am a white female. I am 43 years old. I have been born and raised in Southwest, Georgia and never lived anywhere else in my life.
Racism has not left the south. I'm sure by now you are aware of that, given the events this weekend in North Carolina. This picture went viral and is worth a thousand words. "“Confederate flags, Nazi salutes, and Klansmen having their rights protected by a black police officer,” reads a tweet posted on Aug. 12 by Ubadah Sabbagh, a Ph.D. student at Virginia Tech."
Here in America, we are given the freedom to express ourselves. But let me tell you something. What is happening is wrong. This is not Godly. This is the enemy continuing to bring division. This is not the example Jesus gave us.
If any of these people think they are doing something in Jesus name, they are so so wrong.
Jesus hung out with the lowest of the low. The prostitutes, the tax collectors, the Gentiles. People that the Jewish culture considered "sinners" and "unclean."
Jesus taught us to love. Love doesn't see skin color. If you are a Christian saved by grace, you are my brother or sister in Christ. Period. You know what else? We are even supposed to love those who AREN'T Christians as well.
Love is a verb. It's an action.
When you fully live for God, you will NOT treat people badly. You will NOT think your race or gender is more important. God doesn't have favorites, (Romans 2:12), so neither should we!
In the Bible study I'm doing, this statement fully hit me the other day:
"Christianity is not trying harder; Christianity is trusting Jesus. Make no mistake; it's not a passive trust, sitting and waiting for God to act; it's a real trust, involving your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength." - Tom Holladay, The Relationship Principles of Jesus
If you are living THIS type of Christian life, then you are following Jesus fully and loving others.
If you are spending time alone with God, getting to know Him, and His Word, you will be able to love others better.
Jesus loved people as the opportunity arose. So should we.
The enemy wants to divide us because a house divided falls. We need to link arms together against his tactics and bring unity through every opportunity we can.
Did you notice that opportunity has UNITY in it? I don't think that's a coincidence.
Mark 12:28-31, NKJV, "28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving[a] that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”
29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.30 And you shall love the Lordyour God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’[b]This is the first commandment.[c]31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] There is no other commandment greater than these.”
My friend Barbara has been listening to Rick Warren's podcast on his 40 Days of Love study. It moved her so much that she decided to lead a small group on it.
The book that goes with the study is "The Relationship Principles of Jesus" by Tom Holladay.
I'm only half way through Day 4, but so far, I have learned a lot and I'm really enjoying it.
My blog post title is the question, "What do you value the most?" I ask that, because we see from the Scripture posted above, that Jesus valued relationships the most.
The "scribe" as it says here, is someone who was very versed in the law. They had the Old Testament, most of it, memorized. The problem with the law was that the men added to it.
God only wrote and gave 10 Commandments. The Jewish people were trying to uphold over 600 "laws". That is not how they were supposed to be living.
So, when this scribe asked the question, "What is the greatest commandment?" I bet he was pretty surprised to hear Jesus' answer.
Here are a few highlights from the book:
Jesus came to show you how to enjoy a new way of relation to God and to others.
Sometimes the answer to a problem comes through personal reflection alone - but this isn't one of those times. We're talking about relationships - and so it only makes sense that you have to get outside of yourself for your relationships to change. You'll never change your relational priorities by continually doing an internal examinations of your priorities. The only way to change your priorities is to being to make different choices in your relationships.
When you boil it all down, questions about priority are questions about faith. If I have a faith that God will care for me, it frees me to live with a certain set of priorities; if instead I feel that it's up to me to take care of myself, my priorities will go in a completely different direction.
In order to make your relationship with God and others the top priority, you're going to have to trust God like never before!
God does not demand of me that I accomplish great things. He does demand of me that I strive for excellence in my relationships.
We should be valuing our relationships the most. First with God, then with others. Do you love Him like that? With EVERYTHING in you? If not, why not?
I think the key to trusting God is first, getting to know Him, and second loving Him.
How can you trust someone you don't know or love?
It's my prayer that you will fall in love with God and learn how much He loves you. It will change your life. I know it has mine.
"God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are,29 so that no one may boast before Him." 1 Corinthians 1: 28-29 NIV
I want to share more from Charles Capp's books about God's Creative Power. Mr. Capps says we need to train ourselves to speak God's Word.
2 huge points Capp writes are, "Words are containers. They carry faith, or fear, and they produce after their kind." and "Mixing faith with God's Word by speaking it out of your mouth is a means of applying God's medicine."
Here is another great part of the book: "When you study the life of Jesus, you find several important facts that caused Him to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. I will list a few:
He spent much time in prayer, but He never prayed the problem:He prayed the answer - what God said is the answer.
He spoke accurate, never crooked speech. His conversation always consisted of what God said.
He always spoke the end results, not the problem. Never did He confess present circumstances. He spoke the desired results.
He used the written Word to defeat satan.
Scripture can be used to speak over anything in your life. Money, health, relationships, etc.
God's Word becomes en-grafted into your heart as you speak it. There is nothing more important to your faith than declaring what God has said about you with your own voice.
Capps wrote, "Giving voice to God's Word is a method of calling for things that God has given by promise and are not yet manifest. If you feed the spirit man God's Word, it will make demands on the flesh to line up with the Word of God."
For example: "Body, I speak the Word of Faith to you. I demand that every internal organ perform a perfect work, for you are the temple of the Holy Ghost; therefore, I charge you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the authority of His holy Word to be healed and made whole in Jesus name." (Proverbs 12:18)
Take a minute and read 1 Corinthians 1: 26-29. (part of it is typed at the top of this post) Capps says God uses spiritual forces which are not seen to nullify natural things that are seen based off that Scripture. This is the Biblical principle of calling things that are not as though they were.
Taking God's Word and praying it back to Him is so so powerful. I hope you will take time and do this for yourself.
Here is another WOW comment from this book: "The truth is, your body always responds to your words in some manner, either for better or worse. So choose your words carefully."
We can be our own worst enemy! We can cause our actual enemy to have rule over us because of our words. We can also tie up God's hands so He can't answer our prayers because we are giving too much power to our enemy. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of living that way.
Since my divorce, I have made many comments regarding my finances. Negative comments. "We are broke." "I don't have enough money." so on and so forth.
I am declaring and decreeing that God is providing for us because He owns the cattle on a thousand hills! Sending me gas money this week is nothing for Him. And I'm telling you right now, somehow He will provide gas money for me. I trust Him. I believe His Word. I claim His Word as right and true over myself, my kids, other family members and friends.
What do you have going on that you need Scripture prayer for? Email me. I will be glad to find stuff for you to pray over yourself.
Jesus said, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[a] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[b] loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19 NIV
First of all, let me say, I fully believe that God is Omni everything... Ominipotent and omnipresent, etc, so please do not take what I'm about to write wrong. This is a new thing I've learned and I think it's HUGE, but you've got to wrap your brain around it.
Secondly, I honestly do not think we human beings understand just how powerful our words are. Because, if we did, we'd watch what we say much more closely.
I received a small book from a friend a while back titled "God's Creative Power" by Charles Capps. I did not read all of it when it was given to me. The other day, I saw it, and I knew that I needed to read it right now.
Right off the bat, Mr. Capps writes, "Christianity is called "the great confession", but most Christians who are defeated in life are defeated because they believe and confess the wrong things. They have spoken the words of the enemy, and those words hold them in bondage."
Take a minute and let that sink in.
In Mark chapter 9, verse 23 says, “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
This statement in context was Jesus talking to a father who asked Jesus to heal his son. A demonic spirit had him, and would often throw his son in fires and such. The dad was like, "If you can heal him." So, Jesus was like "IF"? Of course I can.
Everything is possible for one who believes. Jesus did not say, "some things", "a few things", "a couple of things". He said EVERYTHING.
So, when you sit around speaking defeated words over your life, you are giving the enemy power, and you are binding God's hands.
Yes, God can do anything. Anything EXCEPT violate His own Word.
I am guilty of this. "We are broke." "We don't have enough money for this." On and on.
What I should have been declaring and decreeing is that I am blessed and highly favored.
That GOD is my Provider. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. I'm His daughter.
If you will sit down and take God's Word and declare it over your life, your life will change. There is a Scripture for just about everything we deal with, even now, in 2017.
I will give just a few examples:
Worry:"I am far from oppression, and fear does not come near me." (Isaiah 54:14)
Health: "Christ has redeemed me from the curse of the law. Therefore, I forbid any sickness or disease to come upon this body. Every disease, germ, and every virus that touches this body dies instantly in the name of Jesus. Every organ and every tissue of this body functions in the perfection to which God created it to function, and I forbid any malfunction in this body, in the name of Jesus." (Galatians 3:13; Romans 8:11; Genesis 1:31; Matthew 16:19)
Needs: "For poverty He has given me wealth; for sickness He has given me health; for death He has given me eternal life." (2 Corinthians 8:9; Isaiah 53:5,6; John 10:10; John 5:24)
Wisdom: "I am filled with the knowledge of the Lord's will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding." (Colossians 1:9)
There are many many more I could list, but this post is already long enough. There is a Scripture for everything you are dealing with in your life. You can declare and decree it because it's God's Word and it is good.
If you need prayer, please contact me. I'd love for pray for you. If you'd like any specific decrees over something, email too. If it's in this book, I will type it up for you.
"He will cover you with His feathers, He will shelter you with His wings, His faithful promises are your armor and protection." Psalm 91: 4
At my church, we are still in this message series called "At The Movies". This past Sunday, one of our Pastor's close friends, Chris Canning was there from Canada. He's cool, and we enjoyed hearing him say "about", because it sounded like "a boot". LOL
He used the movie Taken with Liam Neeson. Man, that's a cool movie. Chris' point was, "When Liam says he's going to do something in a movie, he does it."
God is the same way. He makes promises, and He keeps them.
Chris said God's promises are:
Unconditional: God's promises are unconditional. He doesn't say things He doesn't do. Some of His promises are "if you" then, "I will", but it's still unconditional, for example, Ephesians 6:2 says, 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
Unilateral: God's promises fall solely on Him. We just have to sit back and receive it.
Eternal: God's promises are eternal for us. They aren't for a season or just around for a little while.
The enemy wants us to forget out testimony and God's promises. So, we must cling to God's promises. We do that by:
1.Reconciliation: God wants to reconcile us to Him. He wants to have a relationship with us.
2. Redemption: God wants our lives to be redeemed by Jesus' death, burial and resurrection.
3. Restoration: God wants to restore us to Him...and restore the things in our lives that the enemy has taken.
God's promises have purposes and plans. Otherwise, they'd be empty promises. Ya know?
Let me share a few promises with you:
Genesis 28:15, "I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
2 Chronicles 7:14, "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
Jeremiah 30:17, "But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the Lord, ‘because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.’
Isaiah 41:10, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you;I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Chris said, "If God says He will do it, then it's all on Him. So how do we sit back and receive it?"
1.Posture: your attitude goes a long way! If you are negative and disbelieving, living a defeated life, how do you expect things to go?
2.Prayer: When we look to our Heavenly Father and say, "I know you have me in the palm of your hand." it helps. We need to pray and become intimate with Him. He says He will do it, even if we can't believe it.
Have faith today! God WILL DO whatever He said He would.
"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."
"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:
You have walked out from under His protective umbrella.
You are doing something right and the enemy can't stand it.
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.