Tag Archives: Christianity

Live Your New Life

Spring always reminds me of new life. With new life comes beautiful things. You and I have have been given new life as well. God has forgiven and forgotten your past. He’s separated it as far as the East is from the West. Don’t give space to the enemy who wants to condemn you for your past. You were given a fresh start. A new opportunity to live through the power of the Holy Spirit in you. Keep growing in this new life and bear the fruit of the Spirit. Let your new life be the catalyst for others to find their new life too.

Here are some Bible verses on your new life.

1. Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Because of his great mercy he gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death. This fills us with a living hope, and so we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for his people. He keeps them for you in heaven, where they cannot decay or spoil or fade away.

1 Peter 1:3-4 GNT

2. Arise [from spiritual depression to a new life], shine [be radiant with the glory and brilliance of the Lord]; for your light has come, And the glory and brilliance of the Lord has risen upon you.

Isaiah 60:1 AMP

3. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

2 Corinthians 5:15 NLT

4. For since we are permanently grafted into him to experience a death like his, then we are permanently grafted into him to experience a resurrection like his and the new life that it imparts.

Romans 6:5 TPT

5. Your life in Christ makes you strong, and his love comforts you. You have fellowship with the Spirit, and you have kindness and compassion for one another.

Philippians 2:1 GNT

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The Knowledge Trap

One of the most important lessons we’re trying to teach our son is to value wisdom over knowledge. We live in a time where knowledge is more accessible than ever. It has become more valuable in our society than wisdom. Because of the, gone are the days of apprenticeship. Gone are the days of seeking wisdom from the elderly. Gone are the days of working your way up a ladder. 1 Corinthians 8:1 warns that knowledge puffs us up. It makes us think we are better than we are.

King Solomon had a son named Rehoboam who acceded the throne after Solomon’s death. The people came to him in 1 Kings 12 to ask him to lighten the work load that Solomon had given them for years. He went to the elderly to seek their advice. In their wisdom , they let him know that the people would be loyal if he did that. However, he spoke to his friends who did not have wisdom. They advised him to prove he was greater than his father and increase their workload. He liked their advice. In turn, the people revolted and the kingdom split. Future generations refused to live under a king from that dynasty.

Proverbs 4:7 says, “Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment” (NLT). Wisdom is often what you get right after you need it. However, it can be gained through seeking advice from the wise, through researching history or by asking God (James 1:5). It’s good to have knowledge, but not if you don’t know how to use it wisely. In all areas of our lives we need to seek the wisdom from above rather than knowledge from the world. Don’t fall for the knowledge trap. As believers it’s critical that we gain wisdom and good judgment. If God puts a high value on wisdom, so should we since we are His representatives in this world.

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A Conditional Mindset

Have you ever told God, “I’ll go wherever you want me to go, except…”? Or you might have said, “I’ll do anything you want me to, except…” it’s crazy how we sometimes put conditions on our obedience. The truth is that we’ve got a mindset that we’ve adopted on earth that makes us think we can do that. For some reason we’ve bought the lie that we get to pick and choose what we want to obey. You can’t say, “God, I’ll honor you, but I’m not going to honor my spouse or my parents.” To dishonor them is to dishonor God and the commandment He’s given. The mindset that tells God what we are and are not going to do is wrong.

Take Jonah for example. God told him where to go and what to say. He didn’t say anything back to God. He went down to the shore, bought a ticket like he was going and boarded a ship in the opposite direction. His mindset was the kind that said, “I’ll go wherever you want except Nineveh.” God wasn’t pleased with Jonah, nor is He pleased with us when we adopt the same mindset. He might not send a great fish to swallow you so you’ll get an attitude adjustment and a mindset change, but He will try to get your attention so you’ll follow and say what the Spirit leads you to do and say. We can’t forget that He is the potter and we are the clay.

Romans 8:7 puts it plainly what’s happening when we do this to God. It says, “In fact, the mind-set focused on the flesh fights God’s plan and refuses to submit to his direction, because it cannot!” (TPT) When we refuse to submit to God’s direction for our lives, we’ve adopted a flesh driven mindset rather than a Spirit led one. It’s a visible sign of rebellion because of a lack of submission to God. To live by the Spirit is to live in obedience and without conditions to what God says on how to live, where to go and what to say. It’s the way God has asked you and I to live. The next time you find yourself putting conditions on obeying, stop the sentence, repent and say, “I’m your servant. I’ll do whatever you want.” It may not be easy, but that’s what a Spirit led life looks like.

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An Act Of Faith

Growing up, I loved watching the Indiana Jones movies. They were action packed, funny and took place all over the world. One of my favorite scenes came from “The Last Crusade”. Indiana Jones was standing at the edge of a cliff and needed to cross it. The instructions he had told him to do an act of faith and step off the cliff. You could see him contemplating what would happen if he just stepped off the cliff. I held my breath as he lifted one leg, lifted it over the edge and took the step. To his surprise, and the audience too, there was a hidden bridge there he couldn’t see from his perspective. His act of faith paid off.

In Joshua 3, it was time for Israel to cross the Jordan. After purifying themselves, they set out for the river. The priests who were carrying the Ark we’re out front leading the way. Their instructions were to walk into the river and then it would dry up for everyone to cross. Verse 15 tells us that when they crossed, it was the time of harvest and that the river was in flood stage and had overrun its banks. I can see the priests standing near the edge of the water as it flowed rapidly by. There might have been a moment of fear, but they took their step of faith and waded into the water. When they did, verse 16 says the waters stopped upstream and the people were able to cross on dry ground.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see” (GNT). God is calling you and I to step into greater acts of faith. He’s calling us to take steps into places we can’t see with our physical eyes. We’re going to have to trust His instructions even when they don’t make sense. You might get a little wet from the waters that look a little too deep, but that’s the life we’re called to. We can be sure of what He tells us because it is more certain than what’s physical in this world. There will always be that voice that wants you to question what God said, but you need to take the step anyway as am act of faith. God will do the rest.

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Jesus’ Gate Keepers

If you’ve ever done cold calling, you know how tough it can be. Whenever you call a business to try to get an appointment to pitch your product, the person who answers the phone is the gate keeper. They stand between you and the decision maker. Their job is to make sure only relevant people get through to the decision maker so that their time isn’t wasted. Some gate keepers are easy to bypass. You just need you to be nice to them in order to get through. Some are more difficult than others. No matter which method you use to try to get through them, they won’t let you pass.

In Matthew 19, Jesus’ ministry was in full swing. People knew who He was wherever He went. Little old ladies would try to press through the crowd to touch His garment. The sick would line up for hours in hopes that He would heal them. Religious leaders would come to see Him to try to discredit Him. In verse 13, a group of parents tried to bring their kids to Him, but the disciples denied them. They were His gate keepers and wanted to make sure only relevant people got close to Him. Kids, blind guys outside cities and other outcasts were not on their list. However, in this situation, and the others, Jesus would say, “I want little children to come to me, so never interfere with them when they want to come, for heaven’s kingdom realm is composed of beloved ones like these!” (TPT)

In today’s world, somehow you and I have taken on the responsibility of being His gate keepers. We’ve decided in our minds who’s worthy of His grace and who isn’t. We can be willing to let some people know about Jesus, but we don’t want to show His love to others because of how we feel about them. However, we need to remember 2 Peter 3:9 that reminds us, “This means that, contrary to man’s perspective, the Lord is not late with his promise to return, as some measure lateness. But rather, his “delay” simply reveals his loving patience toward you, because he does not want any to perish but all to come to repentance.” God doesn’t want anyone to perish. That means you and I need to open the gates and let everyone through to Him. Even the people you don’t think deserve forgiveness.

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Fighting Peer Pressure

I was in a meeting when a group of coworkers decided to go downtown for dinner and to check out the night life despite being told by our supervisors not to. They were asking one guy to go with them and he said, “I don’t like to be out late. I’m a bear when I don’t get my sleep.” They continued to pressure him until finally he agreed. They all cheered and he smiled sheepishly. The group then turned to me and said, “Let’s go! Are you in?” Matter of factly I said, “No.” The leader of the group said, “Well, that was definitive.” He turned to the group and asked what time everyone wanted to leave.

Peer pressure isn’t only something that kids face. We as adults are exposed to it almost daily. Most of it is harmless, but there are those moments when it’s trying to get you to sin. I’ve learned that disobedience likes company. It’s a way of justifying your desires that are counter productive to what God wants you to do. If more people are doing it, then it’s the popular opinion and we must be misinterpreting God. That kind of peer pressure is what got Adam and Eve to sin.

Proverbs 1:10 says, “When peer pressure compels you to go with the crowd and sinners invite you to join in, you must simply say, ‘No!’” (TPT) If you haven’t decided before a situation arises how you are going act or what you’re going to say, it becomes increasingly difficult to respond the right way. We need to purpose in our hearts to say, “No” when temptation comes. We must be firm and have a desire to please God more than man. Remember that peer pressure only works when they think you can be influenced to go along with the crowd. Ask God today to help you stand firm in the areas where you normally give in.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Feeding 5,000

If you haven’t watched “The Chosen” yet, let me encourage you to do so. To me, it is the best written, best acted and best directed Christian show I’ve ever seen. The director is Dallas Jenkins who had been in Hollywood, where you’re only as good as your last movie. He was paid to direct a film that would bring Christians to the box office in 2017, but it bombed at the theater. He was pretty much run out of Hollywood. However, one fan sent him a message that changed how he thought about the failure. The person said, “Remember, it’s not your job to feed the 5,000. It’s only to provide the loaves and fish.” All he, and we, have to do is make the best bread and be the best fisher of fish we can be. It’s up to God to do the heavy lifting.

If you remember, in Matthew 14, Jesus was mourning the loss of his cousin John the Baptist, but people found Him. Word got out and people lined up to bring anyone who needed healing. After healing them all day, the disciples asked Jesus to send the people away so they could eat. But Jesus replied that they didn’t need to leave and told the disciples to give them something to eat. They replied, “But all we have is five barley loaves and two fish” (TPT). In verse 18, Jesus simply said, “Let me have them.” When they did, He blessed what they gave Him, broke it and gave it back to them to hand out.

We often look at the giant task in front of us and go to God in a panic telling Him what to do the way the disciples did. However, His response to us is the same. What do you have that He can use? It might look insignificant up against the problem, but it’s not your job to solve it. You need to offer Him what’s in your ability and hands. Let Him bless it, break it if necessary and give it back to you to give. When we do our part, He does His. When we act in faith, He moves mountains. It’s not just about His ability. It’s about your willingness to give Him what you have as well. Our act of faith in our weakest moments can produce the greatest results. When we’re at the end of our ability, we find the beginning of His.

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Revealing God

Sometimes when I meet with church leaders, I’ll ask about problems they’re experiencing with staff. Because “ministry” can be very broad, often times staff members appear to be doing their own thing or nothing. I then get the staff together, have them stand up, close their eyes and point north. When I ask them to open their eyes, they see that nearly everyone is pointing in a different direction. I explain to the pastor or leader that when their is no clear direction, people tend to go in their own direction rather than in the same direction. This is true of any organization. The people need to know what direction to go in.

1 Samuel 3:1 says, “The word of the Lord was rare and precious in those days; visions [that is, new revelations of divine truth] were not widespread” (AMP). Because of that, people did their own thing. Even Eli, the priest, had sons who were supposed to be ministers doing despicable things. They would harass the women, take offerings to God from the people by force and disrupt people’s worship. When people don’t hear from the Lord or can’t see what God is doing, they tend to do their own thing like kids in a classroom when the teacher walks out.

Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained; But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God].” You and I have had a revelation of God’s Word, the world hasn’t. Our lives should reveal God to other people. We like to quote the first part of this verse, but the second part reminds us that it’s not enough to just hear God’s Word on Sunday, or to even know it. In order to give others revelation of who He is, we must keep it. Living like Eli’s sons, while carrying His name, doesn’t reveal who He is. We’re living in a time where people need to see genuine, authentic Christianity that points north to the Father.

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An Elijah Moment

As I stood on top of Mount Carmel looking across the valley, I remembered the story of Elijah where the land hadn’t seen rain in three years. The now fertile valley was dry and bare then. King Ahab was looking for grass to save his horses from dying of starvation. Elijah, whom the king wanted dead, told him to gather all the prophets of Baal and to meet him on top of Mount Carmel. The prophets of Baal made an altar and so did Elijah. They were to pray and ask for fire to ignite the altar. The god who answered would be the real god. After the prophets of Baal had prayed all day with no fire, Elijah poured water on his altar three times then called down fire from Heaven. It consumed the altar from top to bottom drying up all the water as well.

In 1 Kings 18:21 Elijah addressed them, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” (NLT) When I read that, I can’t help but internalize it. Our lives are a constant battle between our flesh and our spirit. We waver between wanting to give into the desires of the flesh and doing what God requires. As long as we go between them, we are miserable as Paul described in Romans 7. Also, according to James 1:8, it also makes us unstable in all our ways. That’s not the way that God wants us to live. In order to live His way, we need to have an Elijah moment in our lives where we force ourselves to choose the way God wants us to live.

Colossians 3:5 says, “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.” We need to put to death the things that we have put before God. Verse 10 tells us, “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” We all have this choice to make. Either we will continue to live unstable, idolatrous lives or we will put on the new nature that’s been given to us. It starts with calling down fire from Heaven into our lives consuming the things that are not of God. It’s a continuous process, but it starts with an Elijah moment.

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Awakening Your Gifts

If you’ve ever smoked meat, getting a fire going and maintaining it is critical. Because it’s been a colder than normal winter for us, dried out wood has become difficult to find. The wood I purchased was still somewhat green, which made it difficult to keep burning. I found myself blowing on it, stoking it and doing everything possible to keep it going. It reminded me of one of my pastor’s recent sermons using 2 Timothy 1:6. Paul told Timothy to fan into flames the gifts that were given to him. As I’ve been fanning my gifts into flame, God has been reawakening gifts and promises that I thought were dead.

In Ezekiel 37, God takes Ezekiel to a valley of dry bones of people who had been dead a long time. In verse 3 God asked, “Can these bones become living people again?” (NLT) I’m sure Ezekiel was bewildered by the question knowing the answer, but also wondering why God was asking. Wisely he responded, “You alone know the answer to that.” God then told him to prophesy to those bones of what God was going to do. Ezekiel did it and the bones, sinews, muscles and flesh came back together. God wasn’t asking Ezekiel to bring them to life though. He was simply asking him to have enough faith to speak to them to come alive.

Romans 11:29 says, “For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn.” That means that the gifts He’s given you are still yours. They may look dry and feel dead, but God has not taken them from you no matter what you’ve done. In an act of faith, you need to speak to them, stir them up and fan them into flame once again. God is wanting us to be prepared for the coming of His Son. He is looking for a Church that is ready. It’s time to revisit those promises and gifts. It’s time to start operating in them and using them. Don’t look at them with your human eyes. Look at them with the faith of Ezekiel and call them back to life. What looks dead and gone is ready to come alive.

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