To Be or Not To Be

I didn’t choose my circumstance, but I can choose my response!

Too many times, I think Christians are at one end of the pendulum or the other when it comes to responding to circumstances. We either take a passive route and sit back and just take it on the chin, or we go crazy trying to employ every scripture verse known to us in an attempt to reverse the tide.

But what we should do in every occasion is this: Don’t respond to your circumstances, respond to God’s Word. What does HE say about your circumstance?

OUR RESPONSE is always our choice; our circumstances, however, are not. We live in a world of sooooooo many choices. Here’s a few choices we have in life that may blow your mind.

Faith is a choice.
Fear is a choice.
Love is a choice.
Bitterness is a choice.
Forgiveness is a choice.
Worry is a choice.
Doubt is a choice.
My thoughts are a choice.
My actions are a choice.
My words are a choice.
My worship is a choice.

God has really been dealing with me lately about recognizing that there are choices that are within my power and control to make.  And in order to make the right choices, I need to consult His Word. “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

William Shakespeare said it like this, “To be, or not to be, that is the question.”

To have faith or fear…..that is the question. What will your choice be?
To have forgiveness or bitterness…..that is the question. What will your choice be?
To think positively or negatively…..that is the question. What will your choice be?

As with any choice we make it life, there are logical consequences or results. You already know what fear, worry, and negative thinking will get you. So why not just go ahead to the better option? The result of faith, love and trust have much better dividends.

Mathew 6: 10  “. . . Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

It is NOT God’s will for us to worry on this earth, or to fear, or to doubt, or to be bitter……and the list can go on and on. So respond to God’s Word……don’t respond to your circumstances. Live your life guided by the very Word of God, and you’ll always make the right choice.

Isaiah 30:21 “. . .Your Ears Will Hear a Voice Behind You, Saying, This Is the Way; Walk in It.”

 

 

 

 

 

Faith is a Choice!

“Feed your faith and starve your doubts” ~Kenneth Hagin

Fork in the road

 

NFL player for the Baltimore Ravens had 3 dogs. One of these was a Canary Mastiff that Terrence Cody paid $4000 to purchase, and an additional $4000 to import. Out of three dogs, only two dogs were allowed to live inside the home, while the other dog was housed in a crate in the garage. The garage dog ~the $8000 Canary Mastiff~ was ignored, neglected, abandoned, and literally starved to death! The dogs living inside the home, prospered and were in great health.

As I read this article, I was appalled and angry.  To make us all feel a little better, Cody did go to jail for his crime. But I had one burning question that I have not found the answer to: WHY starve one and not the others?????

As I read this, the Lord begin to relate this real life tragic account to the battle that rages in all of us between fear and faith. We will inevitably feed one, and starve the other.

Jesus Follower, singer and song writer Jason Upton once said, that we will put our faith in fear over and over, even though fear disappoints us time and time again.

I want us all to think about that. We WILL put faith in something, so why not put our faith in Jesus Christ? Here’s what fear says: you will fail; you won’t amount to anything; your new boss is going to hate you; you’re stuck in this dead end job; you’re a terrible parent; you’re forgotten, you’re in this all alone, and on and on and on. This doesn’t even cover all of the fearful unknowns and what if’s!! Ask yourself this question…….do you want to hear that everyday????

Here’s what our faith will tell us, “. . .For He – God ]Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down relax My hold on you! Assuredly not!” Hebrews 13:5 ampc

Ask yourself the same question…..do you want to hear THAT everyday from a loving Heavenly Father; your warrior and defender; your provider and healer; your deliverer and your Salvation! If you want to hear positive encouragement everyday, for the rest of your life, THEN FEED YOUR FAITH and starve your fear. Choose life!

Let faith live with you, and put your fear out of doors! Did you know that the most frequent command in the Bible is: do not be afraid; fear not; and do not fear! WOW! Let that sink in for a moment. Now apply that good old common sense God gives each of us……why do you think He tells us do not be afraid?

Many are the reasons, but one is this: fear will always undermine faith and stop us dead in our tracks. Fear is crippling, but Faith in Jesus Christ sets the captive free! We cannot travel down two roads. We can’t ride the fence. You must make a choice.

Faith is a choice!
Fear is a choice!

So choose life! The choice is yours.  Fear is always out to get you, and will leave you laying in the dust: crippled and wounded. But Faith in God is always out to prosper you. God’s plans for us are good and will prosper us (Jeremiah 29:11).  It is His desire that we prosper and remain in health (3 John 1:2). God said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down relax My hold on you! Assuredly not” (Hebrews 13:5 ampc)!

“Feed your faith and starve your doubts” ~Kenneth Hagin

 

 

 

 

 

Are you Tuned In? Are You Listening?

george carver use this one

I got in my car on the way to work, and turned on the radio to FM. Nothing. Okay?? My display clearly stated that I was receiving radio signals from the station, but no sound. Hmmmmm. Scratching my head, I discovered that my AM stations worked fine. Hmmmmmm. Scratching my head again, I tuned back to FM, and cut the volume up as high as it would go. Faintly, I could hear the whispers of the talk radio show. Oh boy! Long story short, the FM relay wire is damaged and needs replacing.

Point is, there was nothing wrong with the Radio station or it’s signal. There was something wrong with my reception. That’s how it is with us, God is speaking (sending out the signal), will we receive it!

God speaks to ALL of us, regardless of our “spiritual status” in life!

His speaking to us has absolutely nothing to do with whether I read my Bible once or a thousand times, and absolutely nothing to do with the faithfulness of my church attendance. It isn’t about  whether I’m deserving.

But it has everything to do with the fact that God loves us…..He loved us so much that HE paid our sin’s debt SO THAT we could live an abundant, joy-filled life (John 10:10), full of all the good plans that God has for us (Jeremiah 29:11).

Now that you know He’s speaking to you……..will you tune in?

He speaks to us because He loves us. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.

 

reference for George Washing Carver by asquotes

It May Be Time to Stir Things Up a Bit

AGITATION: Agitation is the act of stirring things up, like the agitation of a washing machine that moves the water, detergent, and clothes around and gets the dirt out.

In order to clean, there must be some agitation.  Take washing clothes for example. No matter how far you look back in history, some sort of agitation was necessary for the process of cleaning.

Washboard

When I clean my house, I may stir things up a bit, especially when I dust! Sometimes, my house looks worse before it looks better. For example, when I recently cleaned out, organized and purged items from my closet, my house was in disarray. I had stuff everywhere!!!! BUT, I knew it was just part of the cleaning process.

But why did my closet need cleaning? I could barely step inside my closet to reach my clothes. It had gotten cluttered with various storage items. No, it wasn’t always that way, but over time I would slowly put things in my closet that perhaps I wasn’t quite ready to get rid of. I also would hide boxes, bags, etc in there when people would come visit, and then I’d just leave it there thinking I’d get to it later. In time, this behavior crowded me right out of my own closet.

We often do this in our spiritual life…..hold on to things that we should really get rid of…or hide things we don’t want anyone to see. In time, our spirit man can’t fulfill the purpose God intended because of all the un-spiritual junk!

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart Oh God!

When God reveals areas in your life that need a bit of “cleaning up,” it may not feel good, and you may feel a bit of agitation. God may be stirring things up, but He is preparing you for something greater! Don’t begrudge the cleansing, because the reward is more than worth it.

(https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/agitation)

When I’m in the Valley, He Points To The Mountain Top

I went through one of the darkest most difficult times in my life over a decade ago. I was deep in the Valley, suffering grief, loss, and  financial hardships. I literally could not see my way out: no light at the end of the tunnel. My ship was sinking, and I was desperate!

What I learned was….I was desperate for God! Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I got on my face before my loving and compassionate Father. He held my hand through every challenge; through every pain; through every shed tear; through every fear; through every attack; through my grief, anger, resentment,un-forgiveness, and isolation. He held my hand while I experienced every hard emotion of my rock bottom.

He taught me how to pray; how to find contentment and joy in the smallest of things. He taught me how to read His Word, and the Holy Spirit gave me understanding. He would encourage me every day to not give up. His grace taught me how to brush myself off as I made mistake after mistake. He taught me how to forgive, how to love Him, others and myself.  NO, my situation did not change right away, but my outlook did. He turned my focus from the valley toward the mountain where He was taking me.

“But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3

God held my hand in the valley, all the while lifting my head toward the mountain top. I want to encourage you today.  If you are walking in the valley, you are not alone! Your Father is with you! I can assure you that this” valley season” will not last. Hold fast to hope! Hope fast to your faith! There is a mountain top waiting with your name on it!!!

“God Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not,  I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down relax My hold on you! Assuredly not!” Hebrews 13:5 ampc

“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.” Deuteronomy 31:6 msg

What Are We “Singing?”

I had punched out for my lunch break, and was walking across the parking lot when something caught my attention on the sidewalk. A lady had in her earbuds and singing loudly and proudly to the song she alone could hear.  Yet, the guy walking with her, who did not have any earbuds, was singing her song.

Each one of us influences those around us. Whatever we are listening to, we will “sing,” and those around us will be influenced by our song. There are many people in this world, in your families, and even in our churches who are not hearing directly from God Himself; but they ARE hearing His voice indirectly from others who are plugged in and tuned in to God’s channel.

What are we “singing?” What will others hear?

Think about that. I want to be a conduit for others to connect with what God is downloading into me, until they can learn to hear from God themselves.

Just like this man began singing a song that he was hearing second hand, he still sang it loud and proud right along side her even though SHE was the source of music for him. Sometimes, WE are the only God source that people will ever hear.

This is a great reminder to stay tuned into The Source of Life so that we are “singing” Godly influences over those around us.

In other words,  “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ” I Corinthians 11:1.

It’s Okay To Make a Sandwich

Eat God's Word Bible highlighted

Who ever said the only acceptable way to consume God’s Word is actually opening the hard copy of the printed Bible? No one did, that’s who. But God does want us to get a daily dose of His Word. Reading scripture is food to our soul! Our physical bodies need to consume food daily or we grow weak, and we could even starve to death. As important as food is to our physical existence, it’s equally important to our spiritual existence. I don’t always have time to sit at a gourmet restaurant; sometimes I make a sandwich. What’s important is that I get food regularly!!

Don’t misunderstand me. I love to sit down with the printed Bible and really take my time to read and study it. It’s my personal preference: always has been.  I feel so alive afterwards and uplifted. But guess what, I don’t always have time for that.  I am hesitant to admit that I went through a period of time when I actually felt guilty if I didn’t have the time….I actually felt like I was failing in my duty to read God’s Word…like I was a big  ‘let down’, a failure, a hypocrite.  But guess what? God never did feel that way about me.

No sir, God relieved me of that burden one day with this simple statement, “it doesn’t matter where you read The Word, as long as you read The Word.” In other words, it doesn’t have to be the published and printed hard copy. I can soak in God’s Word by listening to scripture readings on CD or the radio. I can read my daily scripture sent to my iPhone. I can read a few scriptures in an email devotion. I can even read my own handwritten scriptures on a chalk board in my home.

Printed, digital, audio or handwritten…..it doesn’t matter as long as we are consuming God’s Word!!!

In this age of advanced technology, we are without excuse. God’s Word is so easily and readily available to us at the touch of our fingertips or at the command of our voice.  So when you don’t have time to sit in a restaurant, it’s okay to make a sandwich.

P.S. Reading God’s Word is a great way to Worship Him