Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Christian living’

Feeling Low? It’s Time to Take a Look in the Mirror.

mirror 13204669_sWe all have those times when we feel low. I’ve been there. I know how you feel. Sometimes we look around and conclude we are so inadequate. Poorly prepared. Not up for the challenges before us. It’s not a very good feeling. And frankly, unless we get a grip on those feelings, they can lead to a downward spiral taking us to a dark place!

If you can relate to these feelings, then keep reading. Because there is a sure remedy, and the benefits far exceed feeling happy or content. Actually, you can fully experience the joy, peace and rest that you long for in the innermost part of your soul.

What’s the remedy? The mirror! But not the mirror you may be imagining right now. Instead, there is a mirror that reflects back to you your real self – your greatness. Your unique treasure of gifts. Your awesome value.

What is this mirror? It’s God’s Word! And in it you will find a true reflection of who you are in Christ. Paul put it this way, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

In “Susan’s Translation” Paul is saying, “I now see myself according to who I am in Christ, but I don’t see the full picture. But when I am face to face with the Lord I will see my true identity – and even though I can’t see it all now, it truly is who I am.”

Our True Identity

So often, we take our identity from the world. We compare ourselves with other people. We take on the labels from parents, siblings, playmates, teachers, spouses and co-workers. We absorb the opinions of people – many of whom we may not even respect. We look at the perfectly coiffed movie stars or the chiseled muscles of athletes . . . and know there is a huge gap between their picture and our self-image. We even compare ourselves with fictional characters in movies and television shows! How will we ever measure up?

Here is the truth. That is the wrong mirror! If you are finding your identity from the world and from people, you are looking in the wrong place! And your reflection will never be the truth. Not only can you end up feeling bad about yourself. But you can also move into an unhealthy dependency for finding your worth and value from the opinions of other people (all you People Pleasers, wave and say, “That’s me!”).

Here is the truth of who you are:

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them. Psalm 139:13-16

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in [Christ]. 2 Corinthians 5:21

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. John 3:16

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:19

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. Deuteronomy 7:6

Reflect on Who You Are in Christ

When God created you, He used His perfection, His mastery, His artistry. Yes, because of Adam all humankind was stained with imperfection. But Jesus changed all that for you and me and for anyone who believes: “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:19

You are highly valued. You are God’s precious child. You are greatly esteemed and needed.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

The Choice is Ours

We have a choice to make. Which mirror will we use when we seek a reflection of who are? Will we rely on the distorted reflection coming from the world and from people? Or will we look into the perfect mirror of God’s Word and embrace our true identity?

The best answer is easy to see.

Be Love

Be Love

My morning started off heavy today. I read a note from a business friend who is really struggling with all the stress and sadness in the world. She’s been through some tough experiences in the recent past that contributed to her blues. But she mainly wrote about the heaviness and darkness she was feeling.

She didn’t end her message in sadness, but rather how she was able “get through” this experience with the help of her husband, family and friends. And so she’s doing better.

But her message caused me to reflect on the really tough times we are in these days. The atrocities going on in Iraq. Natural disasters all over the world. The sad loss of Robin Williams, who for many was a beacon of fun and laughter. And then there are the personal stresses so many are facing with financial pressures, broken relationships, illnesses and disappointments in life.

What Do We Do?

So my first response was to seek the Lord and ask, “What do we do, Father? What do I do?” And the answers were quick and clear.

First is that as children of the Most High God, you and I can put our trust in Him. Even if we don’t understand or if we have questions, our trust can be deeply rooted in knowing that our Father is solid and that He will care for us. We have a security that those who don’t yet know Christ don’t have. And so we can sink into the assurance that our Lord will always be with us. He will never forsake us. And we can count on Him. He says, “Fear not.” And that’s because we can rely on Him and His promises.

The second answer was, “Be love.”

You and are in “in the world, but not of it” (study John 15 and 17). And our hope is not from this world, or circumstances, or even other people, but in Christ. However, we are surrounded by men, women and children who need love. Who need light. Who need hope.

You and I have the love, light and hope of Jesus inside of us. And the world needs what we have! So I encourage you to “be love” to those you meet today and tomorrow and the next day. Whether it’s at the checkout stand at the grocery store or passing someone on the sidewalk. Be kind to your coworkers and your business associates and customers. Be especially loving and caring to your family members and your friends and your neighbors.

Being love to others is always the right thing to do. But today is a really good time to be especially vigilant and purposeful in being love to those we encounter. “Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12

We have the light of life inside of us, not to keep to ourselves. Instead, our light is to be shared. God is love. He is inside of us. And we can be His love today to those He leads across our paths.

Be blessed.

 

 

 

I asked, “Why won’t she accept my help?”

What could be the reason?A long-time woman friend of mine is going through a really rough time. I’ve prayed for her over the years, but she still hasn’t chosen to believe in Jesus. Instead, she says she has “her own way of praying and meditating to all the gods including Jesus.”

She’s an older woman who hasn’t been in the workforce for many, many years. And right now she is facing some serious financial pressures. She needs a sizable number of dollars within the next several weeks.

She came to visit me the other night to ask for my advice. She said, “I don’t know where else to turn.” She wanted to know if I could help her find a way to earn the funds she needed. I was happy to offer my help because God has gifted me in being able to find a variety of ways to earn an income!

So we started talking and I began sharing simple solutions so she could start earning the funds she needed now. Plus, in the long-run it would put her on a path to earn in an ongoing way if she desired.

I presented an idea and an easy plan, and she figured out a way it wouldn’t work for her. So I would show her another way. And again, she found a a way for it not to work for her. And this went on and on for about 90 minutes.

I kept saying to myself, “Why won’t she let me help her?” The solutions I presented are proven. They can work! I had used them myself over the years. And I’ve seen other people being successful with them. And I knew my friend had the ability to have them work for her!

But there was something inside of her that kept her from taking that first step and accepting the help. So finally we stopped talking about solutions and I just told her, “When you’re ready, let me know and I’ll do what I can to help you.”

So she left and still has the burden of needing to make the money. I continue to pray for her and sincerely hope she finds a way to get what she needs. And I’m really sorry she wouldn’t let me help her, because I can. I’ve helped so many others before. And I can help her, too.

So here is the point of this story . . . bear with me a bit longer:

A few months back, I encountered a serious problem with the last rental property I own (I used to have several, before God called me back to ministry). The renters stopped paying rent, wouldn’t communicate with me, and finally I had to evict them, which cost precious time and thousands of dollars in legal fees.

When I regained possession of the property (once a lovely three-bedroom home), I found it in deplorable conditions inside and out! It looked more like a dump and a slum dwelling. My insurance wouldn’t cover the $15,000 or more to rehab the home because they said it was “tenant vandalism” and it wasn’t covered on the policy.

So last night I received a call from a man I don’t even know. He said he lived near the property and realized I had been left with a disaster. We talked about it a bit, and then he offered to get a work party together to clean up the exterior.

I found myself resisting his “unmerited help.” I told the man I would call him back. When I hung up the phone I immediately prayed. And just as quickly the Lord said to me in my spirit, “You’ve been asking for My help with the problem for weeks. I am providing for you. Accept the offer. He is part of my solution for you!”

Then I realized, I had been resisting the help in the same way my friend was resisting help. That same “I can handle this on my own” attitude was in me! And the Lord was probably asking, “Why won’t she accept my help?”

So I experienced one of those “teachable moments” from the Lord. I realized that my resistance was really just pride showing up. And so I received the correction from my loving Father . . . and I made a plan to call the man today and accept his help to put together a work party to clean up the property.

The Bible says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18

I don’t know for sure why my friend wouldn’t accept my help. But it’s likely fear or pride based. Just the same way I resisted the offer for help. I thank the Lord for helping me see this remnant of pride that was still in me and I am grateful for His instructions. Because now I am on my way, with my hand in His hand, to solve this property issue and bring it closer to full restoration!

I hope this story helps you to look for ways that you too might be resisting help from the Lord. Do you have challenges that you really need solved, but for some reason you’re resisting?

Examine your heart. What’s going on inside of you. Seek God’s wisdom to show you. And then accept His correction so you can move toward the success He wants you to have!

Be blessed!

Joint Heir! Really?

You are an heir with Christ.

You are an heir with Christ.

Today in my Discovery Time (I call it that because I discover so much about myself, about God, about who I can be because of Jesus), the Lord pointed out to me that I often “settle for much less” than what Christ has already given me!

As I thought about that notion, I realized “feeling not good enough” was a belief that was deeply rooted in me since childhood. I won’t go into all the details of why that is, but I often felt like I was always striving to “keep up” with others who were better, stronger, smarter, more blessed and on and on. And here I am decades later . . . in many ways . . . still bound by those feelings.

So this morning the Lord challenged me to tackle that toxic way of thinking and deal with it! He’s calling me to replace the lies with His truth about who I am and who He is. So here is the truth about me . . . and about YOU!

“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” Romans 8:16-17

Yes, the truth of God says we are “children of God” and  “joint heirs with Christ.” That got me thinking . . . how does God regard Jesus? How much does He love Him? What would God do for Jesus? Is He pleased with Him? Does He take care of Him?

Without a doubt, God gives only the very best for His Son. And as a joint heir, our Father will also give only the very best for you and for me.

This truth is something we may have heard over and over again . . . yet we let the words evaporate from our thinking like water from dishes in the drying rack. But if we are willing to ponder this truth and renew our minds to it . . . it will change the toxic thinking to life-giving thinking. And that’s what I am working on for me. I want the truth of God flowing through every cell of my body and in every thought in my mind. I want the renewal, the transformation, to take place so I can be and have all my loving Father wants for me. God says in His Word:

My child, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.   Proverbs 4:20-23

Your Father wants only the best for you. He loves you. He cares for you. And just like Jesus, you are His special child. You and I are joint heirs with all the rights that, because God was willing to give His Son to us . . . we can live in abundance, health, security and peace.

Hold onto the truth of who you are and what you have until it’s deeply rooted in your soul. That is the way to transformation by the renewal of your mind.

Be blessed!

Be of Good Courage

courage 7565582_sWhen Joshua had a daunting task before him (to take over where Moses left off and lead the Israelites into the Promised Land) God gave him very clear instructions, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9

Those are instructions we can embrace as we make the choice to walk according to the Spirit.

We don’t hear about having courage for everyday life very often. And we don’t think much about it being a character quality that we want to foster. But courage, especially in today’s chaotic and challenging times, is a powerful tool we all can use.

Courage is “the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.” And when we mix courage with faith . . . the combination is unstoppable. Our courage is a product of our trust in God and His Word, just like the Lord revealed to Joshua.

So we want faith driven courage. And when we feel fear coming on, we can pause and remember these instructions . . . and make the choice to trust God and be of good courage.

There is a cousin to the word courage . . . and that it “encourage.” The etymology (study of words) of the word encourage excites me and challenges me to be an encourager. “En” means “to put in.” So when we encourage people, our words and actions serve as a channel to put courage into their lives.

God instructed Moses to encourage Joshua, “Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall go in there. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.” Deuteronomy 1:38

Moses encouraged Joshua over many years as they worked together for God’s purposes. And when Joshua was to take his leadership role, he was prepared in part because of all that Moses had “put into him.”

Another example of the power of encouragement is illustrated in David’s life, “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6  By focusing on God and His Word, David was able to muster courage so he could face the challenges that were before him. Again, faith-based courage gave him the strength he needed.

What do these examples call us to do today? First, we are to foster courage in our own hearts by choosing to trust God and believe He will work in our lives as we follow His teachings.

And then, we can also choose to encourage those around us . . . and encourage ourselves . . . all according to the ways of God. Encouragement doesn’t mean we sweep issues under the carpet or avoid challenges. Instead, we want to encourage others and ourselves to trust in God, to follow His teachings, and to move into the circumstances without fear.

Whatever you are facing today, I encourage you to “be of good courage and do not fear.” Trust in the Lord. Believe in His Word. And walk out in faith as a well-equipped child of the Most High!

Be blessed!

Seek the Lord with All Your Heart . . . really?

Whole HeartHow many times have you read or heard those words and immediately thought, “How can I ever do that? I have so much to do just to live. How can I seek Him with my whole heart?”

I’ve been there, also. But today I received some revelation about this command that I hope helps you. It surely is helping me.

First, our heart is the seat of our thoughts, emotions, intellect and personality. The Scriptures have a lot to say about your heart. You are to guard it. You are to search it. God searches your heart. The Bible says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” I could go on and on. Your heart is central to your being.

Second, the word “seek” means there is action. Not complacency or waiting for something to happen to you. Instead seeking is diligent and hungry action. The Bible says that the Lord rewards those who diligently seek Him.

Third, we are to seek the LORD. Not fame. Not money. Not position. No the approval of others. We are to seek the LORD . . . and we’re to seek Him with our whole heart.

When we look at the three elements of this command we can gain a very clear and understandable instruction. The Lord is saying, in every area of your life, check to see how I instruct you to do it first. Then act on those instructions. Simple. Clear. Doable.

If you want to know how to have a good marriage – seek the Lord and see what He has to say about it. ~ If you want know about how to raise children – seek the Lord and see what He as to say about it. ~ If you want to know how to be in good health – seek the Lord and see what He has to say about it. ~ If you want to have your financial needs met – seek the Lord and see what He has to say about it. ~ If you want to know how to deal with betrayal or hurt feelings – seek the Lord and see what He has to say about it.

Then, once we know for sure what He wants us to do . . . we are to follow His instructions. Faith without works is dead. God will give us all we need, but we need to do our part . . . and that is obey what He tells us to do.

No matter what is happening in your life – go to God and His Word and find out what He has to show you and teach you and instruct you to do. Not just on a few things, but in ALL areas of you life. That’s what your “whole heart” is all about it. It’s all of you and all that’s going on in your life.

The sure promises of God are yours. He has them waiting for you . . . and He’s giving you the formula for having the success that you want . . . and that He wants for you. He wants us to seek Him because He always know what’s best. And He wants us to put our trust in Him and in His instructions. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Go after God’s instructions for every area of your life . . . then do what He says! Simple formula with HUGE payoffs!

Be blessed!

Is it You or is it me, Lord?

Sower sows the WordWhen faced with challenging circumstances, many Christians cry out to God, “God, why are you doing this to me?” Or, “God, why don’t you answer my prayer?” But let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say to shed some light on matters such as these.

In Mark 4:13-20 Jesus teaches us about the Sower and the seed. I hope you’ll go read that passage because it is rich with revelation and truth. When you study the teaching, you’ll note that the Sower sows the word and as He casts it, the seeds fall on four types of ground.

The ground represents the heart of the hearer and its receptivity to the seed. First mentioned is the hard wayside . . . or a hard heart . . . and the seed doesn’t even make an impression.

The second is the stony ground. When the seed falls there, the soil is so shallow that the seed may sit for a short time, but it can’t get rooted into the soil. So it has no effect.

The third soil is covered with thorns. The seed lands on the soil, but the new shoots from the seed are in competition with the thorns (the cares of the world) that soon take over . . . so the word gets choked out.

And then there is the fourth type of soil – the good ground. It is the heart that is open to receive the seed. It has been plowed and is soft so the seed can take root and grow well. The roots of the seed can go deep into the prepared soil and the harvest will come . . . and even then there are grades of good ground with some producing thirtyfold, some sixty and some a hundred.

So here is the question we need to ask ourselves when we consider our situations and challenges. Did the Sower change the type of seed He tossed? Or was it the same seed, but on different soil? Are some people more blessed because God treats them differently? Or is it because their hearts are better prepared, more receptive and more open to what God’s Word says?

Jesus teaches that this is the most important parable of all. He says, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?”

For me, this teaching from the Master of the church is central to my faith development and my life. What kind of soil is most like my heart today? Do I need to do some hoeing to break up hard ground? Do I need to toss out some stones that keep the seed from penetrating the soil? Are there weeds that need to be uprooted and tossed away so the seedlings can take root and prosper with a good harvest.

Lord, is it You? No . . . You sow the same incorruptible seed. So that means, it’s me. It’s me that needs to change and grow and till the ground of my heart so I am more receptive to Your Word. Then I can grow and Your Word in my heart will result in an abundant harvest!

 

Thankful for the Lord’s Correction

Wrong WayYesterday I was feeling anxious and a little undone. My heart was unsettled. So after a while (I admit, I allowed this to all stir inside of me longer than I will next time), I quieted myself and called out to the Lord. “What’s going on inside of me, Father?”

Within seconds I received His answer. It came to me through a “notion” in my spirit. He showed me that I had wandered off the path of His way of living in faith. I was operating from an attitude that wasn’t consistent with His ways. I was being led by my flesh rather than by His Spirit.

I knew exactly what He was saying to me! It was like I was wearing an unbecoming robe of pride . . . rather than the lovely robe of righteousness that was from Him. Within seconds I was able to get things in the right order! I was able to shed the unbecoming robe and get my thoughts and attitudes corrected by the Lord’s truth.

As soon as I got up from my “meeting” with the Lord, I felt totally different. I had made a decision to make the correction and get back on the His path. I felt the burden I had been carrying lift . . . and the peace of the Lord returned to me.

The Bible says, “Do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction.” Proverbs 3:11

Oh, what a gift the chastening of the Lord can be in our lives when we take the time to ask for His wisdom and then act on His instruction. This is all part of making Jesus our Lord and opening ourselves up to Him so we can be transformed. I needed correction. I was wandering off the path of God’s perfect way. I was heading in the wrong direction. So when I stopped, asked for help, the One who always knows the right way gave me what I needed.

God so good. He is my Lord. And I praise Him for His love, care and gentle correction so I can walk according to His Spirit rather than my flesh! Amen!

Are You in Danger of Smothering God’s Word?

I’ve felt it. You’ve felt it. Those times when we feel overwhelmed by the problems of the world. We just can’t seem to connect with God. Our lives seem bombarded with troubles and while we aren’t “hopeless,” we feel very close. We pray. No results. We start begging. Still no results. It seems there are no answers coming our way.

Maybe you’ll see yourself (like I’ve seen myself) in this description from Jesus: “Now these are the [seeds] sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word,  and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” Mark 4:18-89

Ouch! Is the Word “unfruitful” because I am so caught up in the cares and troubles that God can’t work in my life? Are the thorns so many that the seeds of the Word can’t grow and can’t be fruitful?

If you are experiencing this dark time in your life, see it as a powerful opportunity to step back and take some corrective action . . . even if you don’t feel like you can!

Sometimes, we feel so overwhelmed, worn out and weak that our senses are dulled. Or we are so confused, we don’t know what to do or how to respond. This is where discipline and obedience come in and demonstrate their power. Open your heart to the Lord and pray anyway. Open the Bible, and study God’s ways anyway. Speak the truth from the Word over your situation anyway. And keep doing it, not because you “feel like it,” but because God has told us that this is what works.

Obey God. Meditate on His Word. Put your trust in Him. Look at God’s promises rather than the enemy’s lies. And bit by bit, you will notice the change. Maybe not all at once, but as you keep moving forward there will be a time when you look back and see the progress you’ve made and how the Lord has directed your steps.

Take time and “see yourself in the Scriptures.” Then take action through obedience and discipline. That’s the way of the Lord . . . and the way to peace and rest.

You Can’t Do It All . . . But What Can You Do?

dreams16096414_sMost of us have big dreams we would be delighted to realize. Yours may all seem like “high hopes” and so big that they seem out of reach. Consequently, they remain hollow imaginings that when you really think about them . . . you dismiss them because you believe you will never actually see them happen.

For example, some of our dreams have to do with our physical surroundings including wanting a beautiful home with lovely gardens. Or wanting a good-looking car and fashionable clothes.

We have hopes for our personal relationships, such as a loving and strong union with our spouse. Close connections with our children, siblings, parents and other family members. We want good, solid friendships and social interactions that bring joy and fun to our lives.

We have hopes about how to make a difference in our world for the cause of Christ. Perhaps you dream of a going on a mission trip . . . or leading a small group in your church . . . or helping the poor in your community, country and the world.

But when you compare your reality with your dreams, there is a deep cavern between the two. And so you go on and live your life in the same way day after day, month after month, and year after year. And soon the dreams evaporate . . . and you settle for the life that is left.

Closing the Gap

But let me challenge you today. Let me stir you a bit . . . so you can see that you can have a lot more than you realize. And perhaps those untouchable dreams will be fulfilled after all.

So I ask, “You may not be able to do it all right now . . . but what can you do?”

Perhaps your marriage isn’t the perfect one you have in your imagination. But what can YOU do today to add some love, life and joy into the relationship? Can you purpose to give your spouse a word of appreciation, encouragement or respect each day . . . with no strings attached?  Can you do the same with your children? Is there a simple way you can reach out to a friend or family member that would show them you care about them and that you value them in your life?

Maybe you don’t have the “dream car” or the “dream house” right now. But what can YOU do today to appreciate what you do have and make it better and more enjoyable? Can you give your car a good and thorough scrubbing inside and out? Can you chose a room in your home and give it an update with a coat of paint, new curtains . . . or even a special accessory?

That mission trip you “dream of taking” someday might not be on the near future. But what can YOU do today to make a difference in the world to share the love of Christ? Can you start giving monthly support toward the missions program in your church? Can you buy an extra bag of groceries each month and leave it at the local food bank or soup kitchen? Can you make a commitment to provide prayer and financial support to help relieve some of the pain and suffering of those who have experienced major tragedy in their lives?

There is so much that we CAN do . . . if we don’t stay stuck because we can’t have the big dream all at once. So many people live in quiet desperation as they watch their dreams evaporate. But you don’t have to be part of that crowd.

I hope you will take a few minutes and consider what YOU can do. I’m not talking about making such grandiose plans that they become so complex that they don’t get accomplished either. Instead, what are some simple things you can do? Even now, think of just one thing you can do to make a difference in your life and in the lives of others.

The Word gives us a proven instruction, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4. Your Father wants you to lead a great, powerful and very attractive life. He wants you to stand out so you can reveal the amazing life we can have when we put our trust in the Lord. So much awaits you. What will you do today to receive? What will you do today to start realizing your dreams and making in difference?

Entangled or Established?

“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 12:2, NLT).

What does that scripture mean? How is it possible to not “copy the behavior and customs” of the world when it surrounds us and everything we see and do is affected by the world in which we live?

A key to not being so attached to the world that we conform to it in every way is the next phrase: “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”

How can we let God accomplish this? How can our minds be renewed? Paul gives a hint: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5, KJV).

When we receive Jesus in our hearts, He doesn’t want to just be a doorway to heaven at the end of our lives. He wants to renew our minds and recreate us in His image. As we allow him to do so, our minds will be renewed and transformed, and our lives will be completely changed. As such, we will avoid copying the behavior of the world and becoming entangled with the things of the world.

This is what the Lord desires of us: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1, KJV). He wants us to experience the freedom that comes through knowing Him and patterning our lives after the example He gave us. When we become more like Him, our lives will be purposed to further the kingdom of God.

This means something different for each person. When Jesus was on earth, not every individual who believed in Him became a full-time disciple. Joseph of Arimathea believed in Him, but the part he played (providing the tomb for Jesus’ body) was very different from the part Mary Magdalene played, whose calling to follow Him was very different from that of the 12 disciples.

You have a unique calling from God, a purpose that only you can fill. How can you learn to know and understand that purpose, to know “God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect?” You know it by allowing your mind to be transformed through the power of Jesus. As you do so, you will come to know His will in your life, and you will have the strength to follow it.

This is how you keep free from being entangled with the things of the world, even though you are in the world. This is how you become established in the Kingdom and help others to do the same. This is how you fulfill your God-given purpose.

Question . . . how are you doing? Do you find yourself caught up in the trappings of the world? Do you feel like you have to fight off the easy outs that the world-system offers? Believe me, you are not alone. We are called to be very intentional as we open our hearts to the comfort, understanding and direction our Lord generously provides. And then we can be intentional about living our lives according to God’s ways . . . and discover and live in the peace and rest only He can provide.