Archive for the ‘abiding in Christ’ Tag

DISCOVERING THE KING

I am not my own
I was bought with a price
Paid by Jesus on Calvary
He died not that we may sin
As our fallen natures incline us to
Asking for forgiveness
With the insincere hearts we’ve molded
Desiring cleansing
No.
He died that we might be with Him
Forever.
He bids us now draw near to Him
Turn from our sins after seeking His face
Learn humility taught at Calvary
To do the Father’s will
Learn dedication exhibited in His life
To follow, serving Him alone
Know His holiness
Become transformed in His likeness
Testify of Jesus
Drawing souls before His throne
There discovering a King
Who fulfills all our needs
Giving us certain hope of life everlasting
He who conquered sin and death
Through His perfect life and resurrection
Cling to Him
He who comes soon in the glory of a King
To take us home to be with Him forever
Amen.

LOOK TO THE AUTHOR OF LOVE

Who is boxed in, frozen, unloved
One not willing to connect in prayer
To the Author of love
Not willing to share
God’s endowment of love
An empty soul
For lack of trust in God’s ways
A self-sufficient being
Not willing to allow God
To transform a heart of stone
Into a living, loving heart
One prone to share a smile
A word of encouragement
Willing to share wisdom
Gained by knowing God
Sharing love expressed by forgiveness
Even of an enemy
An act of pity, of godliness
Love expressed by sacrificial giving
To help the poor and the needy
The homeless and the fatherless
These are not acts one originates
From oneself alone, but only
Through a heart connection with God
The Author of love

OVERCOMING THE DEVIL’S WILES

We’re all in this worldly mess together. Evil lurks everywhere. “Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

We all, at times, have thoughts critical of others enter our minds. Further, jealous feelings spring up in our hearts over others possessions or achievements. This is human nature. We easily find the thoughts and feelings too difficult to resist. We dwell on them and own them, thereby sinning. The devil tells us these are little sins; they don’t matter.

The word of God supplies a solution to resisting temptation: “Submit yourselves thereby to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” (James 4:7,8). Develop a relationship with Jesus and abide in Him daily. He will give you His strength, making it possible for you to obey God’s law, as Jesus, Himself, was able to do perfectly while on earth, being tempted in every manner as we are tempted. When we resist the devil through Christ’s power, the devil flees from us because he knows he has no chance of overwhelming us. Then we can turn those initially critical thoughts to an acceptance that none of us is perfect. Also, we’ll transform the germ of jealous feelings over someone’s possessions into happiness for them and we’ll turn jealous urges over someone’s achievements into admiration of them.

Jesus offers us a promise we can internalize: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil 4:13). Many of us underestimate our ability to do what we are called to do by the Lord. That’s because we don’t recognize that the Lord will empower us if we believe in His ability to make marvelous things happen through us. We have to remember that we are His instruments and He is the Provider of success.

To work with the Lord requires a strong prayer life. We need to develop trust in Him to show us the way. He does this one step at a time. This is how God works when He is going to do something great. He doesn’t lay it all out ahead and let us agree or disagree that his plan will work for us, giving us a chance to bail. We need to trust Him one step at a time, in earnest prayer.

To have a relationship with God is imperative if we want to do His will. Only God can enable us to resist temptation. Only He can orchestrate His successes. Also, He is our only Friend who, if we seek Him in earnest prayer, always understands and can comfort.

God loves you. He is longing for you to tap into His strength, wisdom, and unconditional love. He wants you to have a full life. And being so endowed, you’ll be better able to introduce your family, friends, and even enemies to the love of your Lord and Savior.

—Scripture quotations taken from KJV—

ARE YOU CONNECTED

Some days I consider my choice of daily activities as mine alone, to do as I please. What a lapse of judgement! Our lives are not ours alone, but God’s, who seeks to use us each day, as vessels carrying hope, mercy, love, and examples of faith in Him to those within our reach.

Our selfish carnal natures will prevent us from doing His work. When we fail to surrender our lives daily to Him, we are prone to wander off the narrow road leading to salvation. We stray within an arm’s length of the devil, Satan. On days we forget, neglect, or willfully turn away from abiding in Christ, we are susceptible to Satan’s seemingly innocuous schemes. Satan tricks us into thinking that acting on an idea in our head will free us from God’s constraints. At that point we’re blinded to the fact those constraints (God’s Law) were given to mankind to protect us from harm.

When we neglect our relationship with God we forget or are unaware we have no strength of ourselves to obey God’s Laws. We flounder. We sin. We may feel guilt. What we do at this point is crucial. Either we continue to fill our carnal desires, or we get down on our knees to God in sorrow for our sins that nailed our Savior to the Cross. We confess our transgressions to the Lord, sincerely repent of them, and humbly receive His forgiveness.

Again in favor with God, we offer Him praise and thanksgiving. Our next step is again crucial — abiding in Christ, for He is the true vine, sustaining us through hard times, giving us strength to obey His Law, and allowing us to bear much fruit. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Indeed, Christ requires us to be connected with Him. This is best done by prayer, first thing in the morning, and then throughout the day, allowing us to commune with Him as we carry out God-approved and God-inspired activities. Certainly, we don’t think about God constantly, but He is the first one we will turn to for comfort and guidance, and to offer praise and thanksgiving, when we are God focused.

He is a mighty God. Get to know Him. Abide in Him. Follow His ways. You will be blessed and bless others in ways only God can enable you to do.

— Scripture quotation taken from NKJV —

GOD’S BEAUTIFUL JEWEL

The gentle way of a woman
Is one of God’s wondrous creations.
Kind in words, she brings joy to others.
Calm in voice, she is a peacemaker.
Resolved in her faith,
She raises up the young,
Giving encouragement and praise,
Showing the way to God.
Thoughtful and loving,
She focuses on others needs,
Remembering also to spend time with God,
Refreshing herself.
She builds relationships
With wisdom and forgiveness.
Sacrifices she makes for her significant other
Flow from Love.
A fruitful woman,
She remains a branch
Proceeding from the Vine,
Abiding in Christ, waiting for His lead.
Her love for God is hewn in stone,
She sparkles as a jewel
In God’s loving eyes.
She shares the Gospel with the world,
Telling of the strength and salvation
To be found in Him.
She is acquainted with God’s work
For she knows God intimately;
She knows His Heart,
She is God’s beautiful jewel.

Copyright 2007 Betsy Borchardt
Based on Proverbs 31 Woman

OVERCOMING SATAN’S GRAND SCHEME

Why do we hurt? Is it because we have done something wrong and God wants to punish us? Or is it because we are weak, unable to overcome adversity? Perhaps we’ve drifted away from healthy living habits and incurred needless suffering upon ourselves.

After studying the Scriptures, I don’t believe God wants to punish us for erring. He does admonish and correct us through His Word or through a wise, caring person who points us in the right direction. God only wants the best for us because He loves us. He allows us to grow in character, that we may desire to maintain a love relationship with Him. We were created to commune with Him and were commissioned to help others obtain eternal life with Him. The people who will, on the final Day of Judgement, be punished by God are those who rejected Him and His everlasting love. Their destruction will be on their own heads.

Now, back to the present day. God has given us an invitation to join Him in this life. Jesus says: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Therefore, being weak and unable to overcome adversity will be our lot at times, if we refuse to join with, or abide in Him. The pain we suffer here can be alleviated by stretching out our arms and wrapping them around Jesus, our Good Shepherd, who protects His sheep from the harm Satan strives to inflict upon them.

Pain and suffering, to a large extent, have their root in the animosity Satan holds for Jesus and His creation. When Satan was in heaven, he was God’s honored covering angel, Lucifer. Still, Lucifer felt God was being unfair to him because God exalted Jesus above him. So God cast the long defiant, non-repentant Lucifer out of heaven. God warns us. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Satan would have all of us perish with him in the lake of fire after the Last Judgement.

But we have a savior, Jesus Christ who loves us. If we’ve drifted toward unhealthy habits causing us pain, Jesus is at hand to join with us in helping us overcome anything. We can claim Jesus’ promise for ourselves: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).

—Scripture quotations taken from the NKJV.—

OUR DESTINY

What has God ordained for our lives? Above all, He longs for each of us to find in Him our best friend. There is no one on this earth who He doesn’t woo daily to accept an intimate realationship with Him. He will, however, not force us. In the book of Revelation 3:20, Jesus says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Jesus is speaking to the church of Laodicea, who need His rebuke and His loving call for repentance. Historically, in prophecy, Jesus is also speaking to the church of the Last Days, you and me, the lukewarm church who doesn’t want to be inconvenienced or commit. He knows our dominant state of mind and heart. We think we have no need of a rebuke and are pretty much righteous in God’s eyes, when in fact He shocks us with knowledge of our true spiritual condition: “You are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17). So now what do we do?

Jesus has it covered. He says: “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you my be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and annoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see” (Rev. 3:18).

Jesus provides for us to be purified, sanctified, “refined,” through testing trials, that we may reflect His image. Our richness describes our character. Additionally, He offers to give us His “white garments” — His robe of righteousness if we would just claim it. For it is given by grace through faith in His atoning sacrifice. Only with His robe of righteousness can we appear blameless before God and enter heaven. Of equal importance is the eye salve He offers us. We need to be aware of or “see” our condition of wretchedness caused by sin, that we may repent.

God wants the best for us. He offers us an enriched life if we choose to enter into an intimate relatonship with Him. Only then can He transform us into the holy persons He has ordained for us to become.

–Scripture quotations taken from the NKJV–

What keeps you from having an intimate relationship with Jesus? Or, what keeps your heart connection with Him intact?

How has your relationship with Jesus changed your life? Please feel free to share. Your comments may enlighten another, aiding him or her in finding a closer walk with God.

GOD’S LAW — JUST RULES?

What is the greatest gift we can give to the Lord? Would it be going to church weekly on the Sabbath for worship service? This is certainly one of the duties of a Christian. God looks with great favor on those who worship Him. Our duty to Him to comply with the fourth commandment is partially fulfilled by this worship of Him. The other component is ceasing work on the Sabbath. I would advise you to read the fourth commandment in it’s entirety, found in Exodus 20:8-11. It is the longest of the Ten Commandments and bears careful consideration.

Another gift we give our Lord is loving our neighbor. Truly loving, reaching out to him in times of struggle or sorrow, involves sacrifice on on part. Spending time with friends in wholesome activities that glorify God, helps developmental growth and offers opportunites for exchange of spiritual experiences. We all need to witness our faith.

When Jesus was on earth He reached out in love to thousands of needy souls, curing their illnesses, as well as teaching and healing them spiritually. When we follow His example by loving our neighbor, we please Him. Although our human abilities are limited compared to Jesus’ capacities which were aided by His dual divine and human nature, He knows we are helping Him move His work forward when we show genuine love for one another. Jesus says: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

As followers of Christ we need to attend seriously to the Ten Commandments. God gave us His commandments because He loves us immensely. He wants us to avoid sin and its disastrous consequences. He wants us to be happy. Obedience to all of the Ten Commandments is the supreme gift of love we can offer the Lord. It reciprocates the love He has for us.

But how do I keep all the commandments of God, you may ask? I am prone to sin because of my human nature. Well, there is a solution: abide in Christ. Connect with Him in prayer each day. Stay close to Him and depend upon Him to guide you all day. If you slip up He is there to help. God’s Word says: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

If we obey the Ten Commandments, not as a set of rules we have to follow, but as a deep expression of our love for God, who sent His only Son to die for us, He accepts our obedience as the greatest gift we can give Him.

(All quoted Scripture from NKJV.)

WINTER READS

It’s the doldrums of an Arctic-like winter here in Wisconsin this week in January. Time for me to curl up with a good book. What do I like to read? Well, suspense holds my interest the best, science fiction is a new, attractive genre for me, and non-fiction of any kind feeds my mind’s thirst for knowledge.

The book I chose today is the Bible. I somehow neglect it at times but am always drawn back to it. Why? It contains knowledge, wisdom, and guidance far above human writers’ abilities to create on their own. The Bible is God-inspired and contains truth for all humanity throughout the ages. But the Bible is not entertaining, you may counter. Actually, the Bible is chalked full of heroes and heroines whose lives are recorded not only for our spiritual development, but to show their colorful lives, linking them to our own human tendencies, thereby showing relevance to us. Look at King David’s adultery with Bathsheba and the ensuing events. The whole story reads like a soap opera. Maybe we should turn off our TVs and open the Bible for something better than entertainment — enrichment. David’s life is recorded in 1 Samuel 16 through 1 Kings 2.

Many people I’ve spoken with see nothing relevant to our lives recorded in the Old Testament. They see only the Jews whose customs are distinctly different from our own. Since God does not change, His character recorded in His handling of the Israelites in the Old Testament is the same character He has today. Knowledge of God’s character displaying mercy, justice, love, compassion, abhorrence of sin, among other attributes, is integral to our being able to come to God without fear and to abide in Christ. That trusting, loving bond with Christ is our ticket to eternity with Him. There is no other way.

Do you have thoughts on a character in the Bible you’d like to share with others? Perhaps reading about that Biblical person has affected your life in some way. Feel free to comment.

I FORGOT GOD WAS THERE

I am faced with the challenge of finding a publisher for by debut book, THE CASTING OF CROWNS. It’s set in the Last Days, in other words, today’s world. The characters in my book would never have intended me to struggle like this to bring them on stage. Those characters I am endeared to have a developing relationship with Jesus and they never forget to pray to the Almighty, because they know they can’t do it themselves. They’ve been influenced by the mindset of a mature Christian they are getting to know. He realizes life is a joint venture with God. He has found he needs to acknowledge God, petition Him, and continue leaning on Him day after day.

Yet here I am, the main character in my own life’s story, and I forgot God was there. This week I forged ahead on my own, without consulting God, without asking for His direction.

I now refer to the characters in my book. Alex prays fervently at the drop of a hat. He recognizes the power and wisdom of God. He has learned he can’t succeed without God’s help and he prays earnestly for others. Carissa is headstrong and devoted to her own interests, yet she learns to turn more and more of her life over to God. Perhaps because of developmental difficulties, Sally has a problem trusting God fully. John refuses to turn to God. We see him lead a life without the richness only God can provide. Kate knows a good ensemble when she’s introduced to it. She quite easily allows herself to be surrounded by and to learn from her new friends who rely on the Lord. Even some minor characters display new strength after partnering with the Lord. Whereas, those not so wise try to go it alone.

And here I am this week, continuing my search for a publisher, relying solely on myself. As I acquiesce to God’s superiority, I am reassured by His ability to provide all I need to succeed. I bow to Him today, remembering He will always be there for me. All I need to do is ask.

Consequently, He has told me to enlist the help of my blog readers. If anyone out there has published with Moody Publishers, please let me know. I need an author who I can use as a reference with them.

I hope this post has helped you some in recognizing God’s helping hand is essential.

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