Tag Archives: Christian life

Living A Full Life

If you Google, “How to have a better life,” you’ll find several articles with 10 things to do or 3 steps to a better life. There’s no shortage of ideas on how you can improve your life. There are also countless pages of Life Coaches out there who want to help you as well. All of that tells me that people aren’t happy with their lives and they’re looking for ways to get a more fulfilling life. You get one shot at this life, so why not make the most of it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to improve your life or situation, but I think we must be careful where we look for it.

In John 10, jesus is explaining that He is our shepherd and that He leads us. He says we follow a His voice and not a stranger’s because we know Him. Then in verse 9 He says, “I am the Gateway. To enter through me is to experience life, freedom, and satisfaction” (TPT). Not only is He our shepherd, but He’s also the gateway to the life we’re looking for. Who knows more about life than the creator of life? The freedom and satisfaction so many of us are looking for is found only in Him.

In verse 10 He goes on to say, “I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect —life in its fullness until you overflow!” Being a Christian doesn’t mean you’re to live a boring life. It means you’ll live life to its fullest. We’ve got to stop going to Google for how to get a better life and go to God who wants to give it to you. Nothing is more satisfying than living the life you were created to live. The only way you find that is through Jesus. We must submit to Him and His will as a sheep submits to a shepherd, and then ask Him to lead us to an abundant life that’s more than we could ever expect. That’s how we have a full, satisfying life.

Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Shortcuts To God


I was in junior high when we got the classic Nintendo. My brothers and I would spend hours playing “Super Mario Bros.” To win, you had to conquer eights worlds with four levels each. I remember when my dad would play, he would try to go through all four levels of each eight worlds. We would get so upset at him for taking the long way. We’d say, “But, Dad! If you go down that tunnel, you can skip to the fourth world.” He refused to do it, and thought any other way was an illegitimate way to beat the game.

We couldn’t understand why he did it the hard way when clearly there were shortcuts to win. The problem became that I, like many others, took that same philosophy in my approach to God. Why do it the hard way if there were shortcuts? Why not find the easiest path to walk as a Christian? I can attest that taking shortcuts to God only pushes you further away and back to the beginning. There is no shortcut to Him or to living the life He’s called us to live.

In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus said, “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention” (MSG). He was warning us to stay away from those shortcuts like the tunnels that skipped levels in the game. Just because they’re there, and other people are taking them, it doesn’t mean we should take them.

A life of faith, and trusting God, is not an easy path. We walk by faith and not sight, remember? There’s no shortcut through a life like that. God’s desire for each of us is to mature in our faith through the process of walking it out daily. It is often vigorous and difficult at times. It can be hard to trust His path when we can only see what’s right in front of us. However, if we remain faithful, take each step as He gives it, and trust Him, we will have a faith that is strong and unshakable. We will find true life. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Holy Spirit


If you’re a Christian, the Holy Spirit plays an important role in your life. He was a gift provided to us from Jesus to help us live the life we are called to live. Because the Holy Spirit is the least understood part of the God-head, many Christians tend to be afraid of it. My pastor says, “The Holy Spirit isn’t weird. People are weird.” Because of how the Holy Spirit has been represented by so many through the years, we tend to shy away from talking about it or incorporating His gifts into our lives.

Because of that, I believe so many of us are missing out on the fullness of the life that God has for us. Today, I want to bring scriptures in the Bible that describe the Holy Spirit and His role in our lives. The New Testament is full of verses to help us understand and incorporate this integral part of our Christian walk. My hope is that each of us will live our lives to the fullest through the Holy Spirit as we know Him and His role in our lives.

1. But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth.
Acts 1:8 AMPC

2. The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you.
John 14:26 GNT

3. But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!
Jude 1:20-21 MSG

4. And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
Romans 8:26 NLT

5. We have not received this world’s spirit; instead, we have received the Spirit sent by God, so that we may know all that God has given us. So then, we do not speak in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, as we explain spiritual truths to those who have the Spirit. Whoever does not have the Spirit cannot receive the gifts that come from God’s Spirit. Such a person really does not understand them, and they seem to be nonsense, because their value can be judged only on a spiritual basis.
1 Corinthians 2:12-14 GNT

6. “For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice]. So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit].
Romans 8:3-4 AMPC

7. So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.
Galatians 5:16 NLT

8. But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.
1 John 2:27 NLT

9. But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].
Galatians 5:22-23 AMPC

10. The Spirit is the guarantee that we shall receive what God has promised his people, and this assures us that God will give complete freedom to those who are his. Let us praise his glory!
Ephesians 1:14 GNT

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Going Fishing


For three years the dis piles followed Jesus. They witnessed people receive their sight having been born blind. They watched leprous skin clear up right before them. They were standing there when Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb four days after he died. They handed out the five loaves and two fish to the 5,000. They not only saw Jesus walk on water, they saw Him calm the wind and waves. They had countless fireside discussions that you and I will never know about. That’s why I’ve always been baffled by this one thing that happened after the resurrection.

John 21:3 says, “Simon Peter said to the others, ‘I am going fishing.’ ‘We will come with you,’ they told him” (GNT). After all they had seen and done, they went back to their old life. It’s hard for me to comprehend how they could experience everything they did, and then just simply go back to their old life. Had they forgotten that Jesus had told them that from now on they would be fishers of men? How could they go back to being regular fishermen? No matter how perplexing it is, I have to wonder if we are any different.

We may not have seen those miracles as they did, but if we accepted Jesus as our savior, we experienced the power of God in our own life. We felt that initially cleansing feeling and the peace that passes understanding. Yet somehow, many times we go right back to our old way of living. We know we are supposed to be a new creation, but that old life that’s supposed to be dead and buried, calls out to us and tempts us to go back. Even though we experienced the power of the resurrection, we sometimes live as though it had no affect on our life.

That life is as fruitless as that night of fishing for the disciples. The great news for us is that Jesus is on the shore calling out to us, “Have you caught anything?” Then He reminds us to cast our nets on the other side. He reminds us to return to Him and to live our life in the power of the resurrection. When we live that way, our nets will be full. Jesus’ words to them that morning were simple: Follow me. That call goes out to us too. You can’t follow Him and go back to your old life at the same time. Each of us have to make that choice. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Prove it


I think we can all agree that there is a difference between saying something and proving something. When we were kids, we all had that friend that told tall tales. He was related to famous people. He was going to be on TV. He had a hundred dollars. You name it, he either did it or had it. After a while, we found the phrase, “Prove it!” It turns out, he could tell you just about anything, but he couldn’t prove any of it. Without proof, we had no reason to believe the things he said.

When I was younger, I heard someone ask, “If you were to be accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to prove it?” That’s a tough question we should all think about. A court can’t convict anyone unless there is some form of evidence against them. In some cases, that evidence comes from first hand witnesses. Other times it comes from physical evidence left behind. What evidence are you leaving behind for others to know you are a Christian? Can others eye witnesses tell by how you live that you’re a Christian?

In Matthew 3:8, John the Baptist was out at the river baptizing people when the religious leaders came to take a look. One of the things he said to them was, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God” (NLT). He knew they were manufacturing false evidence to try to prove they were righteous, but their lives contradicted that evidence. Jesus later said they were whitewashed tombs. They looked good on the outside, but were full of death on the inside.

Today’s devotion is not to say that you earn salvation by your works – that’s what the religious leaders were trying to do. It’s saying when you truly experience the power of God in your life, it changes you. Your life changes inside and out. You find that going to church isn’t evidence that you’re a Christian – living for God is. When you experience the power of salvation, you begin to leave evidence everywhere that you have repented and followed Christ. My challenge to you today is to take an honest look at the evidence in your life. What does it point to? Is it manufactured or is it natural from a changed heart and life?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Stubborn Pride

  

I’m about as stubborn of a person as they come. In some cases, I’ve spent a lifetime trying to figure out when it is advantageous to be stubborn and when it is detrimental. I don’t always pick the right one. Sometimes I’m stubborn and it pays off, while other times it gets me into trouble. I’ve learned it usually works against me when I’m so set on how I want to do something, that I refuse to listen to wisdom. In those cases, it doesn’t matter how sound or logical the opposing argument is, my stubbornness refuses to allow me to listen.

In I Samuel 8, Israel was at that same place. They knew that Samuel was a person who spoke with God and that his judgements were good. They had watched God use him since he was a boy. When he grew old, he appointed his sons as judges, but they didn’t listen to God like Samuel did. They took bribes and perverted judgement, so the leaders decided to confront Samuel about it. Instead of just asking for their removal and for new judges, they asked for a king.

Samuel was heartbroken. He felt rejected and disappointed in his sons, I’m sure. He went to the Lord about it. In verse 7, the Lord said to Samuel, “Do everything they say to you, for they are rejecting me, not you” (NLT). Then a few verses later, He finished by giving Samuel instructions, “Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will rule over them.” He wanted Samuel to give them wisdom before they made their final decision.

Samuel listed out the things a king would do to their kids, take from their homes, and tax. 1 Samuel 8:19-20 gives us their response. “But the people wouldn’t listen to Samuel. ‘No!’ they said. ‘We will have a king to rule us! Then we’ll be just like all the other nations. Our king will rule us and lead us and fight our battles’” (MSG). Samuel took what they said to God, and He gave them a king. He gave them what they wanted, even though it was not His will because they wouldn’t listen to wisdom. God may grant your request, but it doesn’t mean it was the wisest choice.

Reading this story reminds me that God has placed people in my life to give me wisdom. It’s my choice to listen to them or to be stubborn in my ways. Proverbs 28:26 gives us insight to this kind of thinking. It says, “It is foolish to follow your own opinions. Be safe, and follow the teachings of wiser people” (GNB). Stubbornness leads us down the path of foolishness while wisdom takes us down safe paths. If you’re facing a difficult situation, ask God to put people in your life who can give you godly wisdom, then follow it. 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Verses On Knowing God’s Will For Your Life

  
Most of us confuse God’s will for our lives with God’s direction for our lives. We wonder what His will is when really we’re asking for His direction for our individual life. If you’re wondering what God’s will is for your life, here are some verses to help you know it.

1. God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 NLT

2. For such praying is good and right, and it is pleasing and acceptable to God our Savior, Who wishes all men to be saved and increasingly to perceive and recognize and discern and know precisely and correctly the divine Truth.

1 Timothy 2:3-4 AMP

3. Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD ’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to GOD! Run from evil!

Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG

4. So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:15-20 NLT

5. But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what GOD is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously— take God seriously.

Micah 6:8 MSG

6. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [or be] fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs, but be transformed (changed) by the entire renewal of your mind by its new ideals and its new attitude, so that you may prove for yourselves what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect in His sight for you.

Romans 12:2 AMP

7. Be happy in your faith and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always); Be unceasing in prayer, praying perseveringly; Thank God in everything no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks, for this is the will of God for you who are in Christ Jesus the Revealer and Mediator of that will.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 AMP

8. So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

Colossians 1:9-10 NLT

9. Do not forget or neglect to do kindness and good, to be generous and distribute and contribute to the needy of the church as embodiment and proof of fellowship, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Hebrews 13:16 AMP

10. What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.

Philippians 2:12-16 MSG

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized