Tag Archives: spiritual life

Spiritual Heart Transplant (Video)

 Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.

Ephesians 4:23-24

If the video does not play, click here.

 

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Free To Pay

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It’s Free Friday! Today is the day you let go of the things in your life that keep you down or hold you back. To celebrate, I’m giving away “Experiencing God Day By Day: The Devotional Journal” by Henry and Richard Blackaby. Keep reading to find out how to enter.

I’ve thought a lot about the law of sowing and reaping lately. Growing up, it was applied to school work. If you want good grades, you have to sow the seeds of studying. In sports, if you want to get better at basketball, you have to sow seeds in practice. In life, if you want to have good kids one day, you better sow seeds of being a good kid today. What you sow now, you will reap when you’re older. I’ve heard it applied to just about everything because it’s as much of a law as gravity.

We all believe in gravity which is why many of us stay away from ledges and refuse to walk under heavy, dangling objects. What if we applied that same belief into the law of sowing and reaping when it came to our relationship with God? What if we really thought that if we sowed time alone with God, we would reap immeasurable spiritual benefits? I’m afraid that most of us live unproductive Christian lives simply because we refuse to make time for God each day. We’re satisfied with the bare minimum.

Each day when I go to work, I drive past a toll lane. As I get closer to it, I begin to reason with myself about the cost of driving in it. This particular toll lane has a fluctuating price that depends on traffic. I’ve seen it as low as $1 and as high as $7. Each day I choose whether I’m going to pay the cost to get to my destination faster or to sit in traffic inching along. I have to determine whether the price is worth it. Most people sit in traffic every day and never consider the toll lane because they don’t want to pay the price.

In the same way, most Christians don’t want to pay the price of getting up early, staying up late or skipping lunch with co-workers in order to spend time with God. As a result, their lives inch along and they get frustrated. They wonder why it takes so long to get to their destination in life. It goes back to that law of sowing and reaping. If you don’t plant the seeds and pay the cost, you will live life in a slow moving traffic jam getting frustrated. You’ll see other speed past you and make excuses that it’s just easy for them or that they are somehow more blessed than you. The truth is that those who excel in their walk with God pay the high cost in secret and God rewards them openly.

Where are you today? Is your life inching along in traffic? Are you frustrated that you haven’t gotten to that next level with God more quickly? Have you bypassed the toll lanes because you weren’t willing to pay the cost then? The great news today is that God won’t keep you in traffic if you start paying the cost today. God will begin to bless you and reward you once you plant the seeds of spending time alone with Him. He will move your life along if you will free yourself of the things that keep you from paying the cost. He will be free to bless you with a productive, vibrant, healthy spiritual life when you start planting the seeds of alone time with Him. I can tell you the cost is always worth the benefit when it comes to God.

If you would like to win the “Experiencing God” devotional and journal by Henry and Richard Blackaby, all you have to do is go to my Facebook page here and “like” it. I will randomly pick one person tomorrow (March 1, 2014) who has liked my page. If you have already liked my page and enjoy reading these daily devotionals, you are already entered. Please invite your friends to like my page so they can receive encouragement from God’s Word too.

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A More Powerful Spiritual Life

If spending quality time with God is the way to having a quality spiritual life, then fasting is the way to having a more powerful spiritual life. Giving up our time shows God we are making Him a priority. Giving up food shows Him that we are willing to sacrifice our physical comfort for spiritual gain. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that I’m afraid too few Christians engage in. Either we don’t see the purpose or we don’t see the value, so we don’t do it. When we skip fasting as a spiritual discipline, we miss out on strength needed to overcome certain things in our lives.

In Mark 9, there is a story of a man who asked Jesus to heal his son who was possessed by an evil spirit. In verse 18 he said, “I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.” They had spent quality time with Jesus, but hadn’t been fasting and praying so they lacked the power to heal him. Jesus told them in verse 29, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer and fasting.” He inferred that there is more power in fasting.

When you are in need of more power to overcome a temptation, to find the right direction or to get through a situation, I encourage you to fast and to pray. Your fast should be between you and God. Don’t make an outward show of it or tell people you are doing it so they will feel sorry for you. Jesus said that if you did that, you have your reward. I’d rather have the power of God than the approval of man. It’s our choice when we fast.

In Matthew 6:16, Jesus said, “When (not if) you fast, don’t make it obvious.” He knew that our human nature likes to receive sympathy from others. We like to play to the crowd and to get others to feel sorry for us. Fasting is not about that at all. It’s about showing God you have brought your body under discipline and are denying it what it needs in order to gain what your spirit needs. It shows Him we are willing to feed our spirit instead of our stomach.

The Bible talks of many different types of fasts and lengths of fasts. How long, what you fast and why you fast are between you and God. I always feel like the more challenging the fast, the greater reward. If my fast costs me nothing, that about what I’ll get in return. The greater the need in my life, the greater the fast I do. Some are mentally challenging, but all are physically challenging. I usually seek God on what He wants me to fast and for how long. Once decided, I pray for the need every time I have a desire for what I’m fasting. I’ve learned that giving up what I want for what He wants changes me for the better every time.

What are different fasts that have challenged you physically, mentally and spiritually? How often do you think that Christians should fast? Should it be just when we need something from God or should it be something we do on a regular basis? I’m curious to hear how God has called you to fast and what He’s done through your fasting.

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The Check Engine Light

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The check engine light has been on in my car for a while. Like most people, I’ve ignored it. The car has run well and has not given me any issues, so I’ve continued to drive it. This month, it’s time to get the annual inspection done and you can’t get it inspected with the check engine light on. I’ve spent a lot of time this weekend trying to figure out what the problem is. I’ve been able to clear all the problems except one. I’m continuing to try to solve that one so my car will be in perfect working order.

I started thinking how many of us have our spiritual check engine light on. We ignore warnings that there is something not right in our lives. We see the light, but we keep going because we either think we’re fine or that it’ll be too costly to fix. I know because I’ve done it. The Holy Spirit would let me know that there was an issue, but I’d counter Him by saying, “It’s all right. This is a one time thing. I’m not going to make a habit of this.”

After we continue to ignore His warnings, it becomes like that light in my car, we hardly even notice anymore. We continue on in our lives, knowing what is right and continuing to do something else. What we said was a “one time thing” becomes a root for something even bigger. Sin rarely starts off big. It starts as a small step and leads to another small step. We justify each step until something happens and we realize we’re a long way away from where we should be.

We should each perform inspections like we do for our cars. In I Corinthians 11:28, Paul tells us to examine (inspect) ourselves before we take communion. For some churches, that’s every week. For others, once a month. However long it is between for you, that’s a perfect time to see if your spiritual check engine light is on. It’s also the time you need to figure out why it’s on and to do what’s necessary to get it turned off. The good news is that the price has been paid, we just need to do our part to replace the things in our lives that are causing it to be on.

What I’ve found is that the longer I continue to go without examining or inspecting myself, the more I have to repair in my life. Typically, it’s relationships that I have to repair, and my relationship with God is the first one that needs to be repaired. After that, I go to others whom I’ve ignored or offended and seek forgiveness. It’s not easy and it requires time and effort. I have to put things in place that keep me from going back and doing the things that caused my spiritual check engine light to come on in the first place.

What about you? Is there something in your life that you’ve ignored that God has given you a warning over? Have you continued on in your life so much that you hardly even notice anymore? How long has it been since you’ve done an inspection of your life? Let me encourage you to do it today. Don’t go another day without fixing the issues in your life that are causing God to warn you that something is wrong. It starts with repentance and ends with a life running full throttle for God.

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