Oh, What A Friend – Part II

From the book: It’s Still Relative (The Word of God for Today’s World)

“You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15:14

In our earthly friendships there is a level of equality between friends. Not so in our friendship with God. It is through my relationship with Jesus that we have friendship with God but God is not our equal even through he’s our friend. Here’s why we not equal to God:

1. His standards are always right.

2. His word is always true.

3. His promises are always kept.

4. God has never, and won’t ever, make a mistake.

5. Gods’ will has and will always prevail.

6. Gods’ way has been and will always be perfect.

7. Gods’ decisions are based on the whole picture and not limited to a specific amount of knowledge.

No one is God except God. No matter how much we pray, how many times a week we fast or how much we give to the poor, we are not God. We are sinners, saved by Gods’ grace. We are given new mercies every day by the unmerited favor of God through Christ.

Our role model for living a life of friendship with God is Jesus. In order to have a true friendship with God, we must do what Jesus did. First, Jesus spent quality time with God (Luke 22:39 – 41). Second, Jesus counseled with God about decisions that needed to be made (Luke 6:12 – 13). Third, even though Jesus was the only begotten Son of God, he walked humbly before God. (John 5:30). The fourth thing Jesus did to strengthen his friendship with God was to think of other more than he thought of himself (John 22:42).

Jesus’ death was not about his friendship with God, it was about OUR friendship with God. Jesus knew unless he died and atoned for the sins of the world, we would never have the opportunity to reconcile with God. Jesus knew unless he died human kind would never have the opportunity to form a friendship with our Creator.

Jesus did the hard work regarding our relationship with God. He bought our salvation by his sacrifice. It is our responsibility to nurture our friendship with God and to cultivate our relations with him by following Jesus’ example of spending time with God, seeking God’s counsel before we make decisions, walking humbly before God and caring about others more than caring about ourselves.

It is a blessing to sing the old spiritual that says, “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grieves to bear. What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer.”

 

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Transition Through Discomfort

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18 – 19 (NIV)

I realized that the place of my greatest discomfort is the starting point for my new beginning. When true discomfort sets in, I look for a way out. A way to change my circumstances and outcomes. I look for a way to alleviate my discomfort. This is the starting point for relieve from the old to move me to a new place.

I realized that my discomfort comes after God has been trying to move me out of my old and familiar comfort zone into something new, but I have resisted the change. I don’t always like new. I figure if it’s working why change it. But I serve a God who is not stagnate nor stale. He wants to do new things in my life so I can experience the fullness of his love, peace and joy. He wants me to move unto the fullness of his plan for me.

God knows I can’t get to or move further into my Promised Land if I stay where I am. I have to move. I have to change if I want God’s best for me.

So, after I’ve done everything I know to do and can’t find a remedy to the problem or, provide a resolution to a difficult situation, I throw up both my hands and say, “God, do it.” Right then, I have entered into a new beginning.

God’s ways are not my ways. His thoughts are not my thoughts. He’s not going to do it my way. It’s going to be a new way that leads me to new things. It’s going to be his way. My transition to new happened because of my discomfort.

Can I get an “Amen” for transitioning through discomfort?Discomfort

Prayer for Today

January 30, 2015

Oh Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth! When I would have fallen and never rose again, you were there to keep me safe. When I could have lost everything and been left destitute, you sustained me.

When my enemies wanted my demise, you lifted up a standard against them. There is no God like you! There is no one on earth nor in heaven that loves me as much as you. In light of all your great works in my life I want to stop and say “thank you”.

When I couldn’t see my way, you were my guide. Thank you.

When my business or my job was threatened you worked it out for my good. Thank you.

When my children were given the opportunity to stray, you kept them on the right path. Thank you.

 

For these and so many other blessings that you have bestowed on my life, I give you praise. Amen.

 

Scripture references:

 

Psalm 8:9

Psalm 18:4 – 6

Psalm 34:7

Psalm 50: 14 – 15

Psalm 55:16, 22

 

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Prayer For Today

January 29, 2015

Father, in the midst of making and fulfilling my plans for 2015, please help me to achieve balance in every phase of my life. Help me to be content, but not complacent, with what you have blessed me with thus far in my journey to live a purposed filled life.

Help me to remain humble while I wait on you. Remind me to cast my cares, burdens, unbelief and lack of trust on you because you care for me.

The world wants me to believe that I have to operate full board every day, all the time. But Father even you rested when your work was complete. You have created me to have peace. Peace of mind, soul and spirit. Help me to find rest in the midst of what can be a maddening pace.

Help me remember I do not have to wear myself out trying to complete my plans. I need to rely on you to be my help. Help me to operate within a balanced lifestyle. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Scripture references:

Philippians 4:11

I Peter 5:6 – 7

John 16:33

Mark 6:31

Genesis 2:2 – 3

Isaiah 41:13

 

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Prayer for Today

January 28, 2015

Father, there are days I set back and watch evil, mean-spirited people prosper while good people struggle. These are the days I wonder what you’re doing. Don’t you see? Don’t you care?

It seem so unfair that people who are mean, hateful, under handed and liars get away with so much while the good people who deserve more don’t get what they need. I know the evil people get their pay back in eternity and the good people get their reward in eternity but we live in the here and now.

I know that your plans stand firm forever and the purpose of your heart is through all generations. I know that the righteous should not get angry, indignant or be envious of evil people but I see their plans prospering while the plans of the righteous languish on the vines of life. I just don’t understand! What about the good people plans? What about our hopes and dreams?

Even though I see all of these things, I will trust in you and I will do good. I will be thankful for what you’ve already given me. I will delight myself in you and I will wait while you complete your plan to give me the desires of my heart. I will wait on you. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Scripture references:

Psalm 33:11

Psalm 37:1 – 4Prayer

Prayer for Today

January 27, 2015

Father, I have so many plans for 2015. I have some plans that seem so easy I can carry them out on my own. I have some plans that cause me to stop and say, “Can I really do this?” With you Lord God, I can do all things, but only with you. I cannot leave you out of the plans I have whether they seem easy or difficult. You are the one who has the ultimate control over all human activity.

Father, no matter what my plans are, I want you to direct my paths. I want you to get the glory from the execution of the plans. I want other people to know that my victories are because of the grace and mercy you have shown me. I want other people to know that if you made me victorious you’ll do the same thing for them because you don’t play favorites.

I know you work everything to its proper end. Help me not to become discouraged or dismayed while I wait on you to work everything out for my good. Help me remember you didn’t promise to work everything out the way I want it. You promised to work everything out for my good.

Father God, I commit my plans to you today. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Scripture references:

Proverbs 16:1 – 4

Philippians 4:13

Psalm 27:14

Romans 8:28

Oh, What A Friend – Part I

From the book: It’s Still Relative (The Word of God for Today’s World)

“You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15:14

There is a song by Walter Hawkins that says, “If you ever need a friend that sticks closer than any brother I recommend Jesus, Jesus because he’s that kind of friend. He will never, never forsake you. Even though he every thing there is to know about you. I recommend Jesus, Jesus because he’s that kind of friend.”

Friends have things in common. Shared interest like shopping, cooking, sports or books. There is something that causes them to be drawn together – hence they get to know each other and begin to share. Out of that sharing a friendship emerges.

Over time a simple association turns into a friendship, which turns into a closer relationship until there forms a mutual level of knowledge about each others character traits, like and dislikes. You get to know each others concerns, strengths and weaknesses.

Jesus gave us the ability to have a friendship with God. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit so we can have a relationship with a Holy God. Jesus gave us righteousness so we have that trait in common with the Righteous God. Jesus gave us the mind of Christ so we can understand the secrets of God’s words and live in His truths. Jesus came to give us eternal life, so we can live with our friend, God, forever.

Jesus does not lessen God so He can be our friends. When we accept Jesus as our savior, he elevates us so we can become friends of God. Jesus gives us everything we need; holiness, righteousness, peace, love, joy, self-control, etc. so that we have the traits of God  and can take on his characteristics.

Jesus didn’t come to compromise God so that we can live anyway we want and still call ourselves Christians. Jesus did not come to lower God’s standards to the world’s standards. NO! Jesus came to elevate us to God’s will for our lives.

Are you living up to your friendship with God?

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Prayer for Today

January 23, 2015

Father God, today I refuse to walk in fear or doubt. I will not lean to my own understanding but I will trust in you. Father, you created me in your image and in your likeness. I am perfected in you. I am able to accomplish everything you’ve planned for me.

I have been made righteous in you. My former ways have passed away and in you I have become a new creation. You have made me an ambassador to the lost, the least and the less than; to bring them to reconciliation to you through Jesus Christ your son.

Lord, sometimes I think I’m not good enough to fulfill your plan for me, so as I embark on my tasks as your ambassador, remind me that I am a part of your royal priest hood.  A part of your holy nation and you are the only one greater than me.

Thank you God for thinking enough of me to call me your child and to make me more than a conquer through your son Jesus Christ. Help me be an obedient and mature child of the Most High God. Help me to walk out the path you’ve carved out for me. In Jesus name. Amen

Scripture references:

Proverbs 3:5 – 6

Genesis 1:26 – 27

Hebrews 10:13 – 14

II Corinthians 5:17 – 20

Ephesians 4:23 – 24

I Peter 2:9

Romans 8:37

I Peter 1:13 – 16Ambassador

 

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F.I.T (Frequency, Intensity and Time)

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16 – 18 (NIV)

When I hired a personal trainer one of the first things he told me was, “I believe in F.I.T., which stands for frequency, intensity and time. If you really want to better your health and fitness you need to work out frequently, be intense in your workout and give ample time to complete the workout.”

The philosophy of F.I.T has stuck with me through the years. I found it to be true in every facet of life, including my spiritual life. If I want to save money, I have to monitor my spending frequently, by intense about self-control and make routine assessments (time) about where I am with my financial goal. The same thing is true for my spiritual life.

In the King James Version of the I Thessalonians scripture mentioned above says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing”. In this scripture the Bible sums up our F.I.T for prayer. It speaks to how often we should pray, how intense our prayers should be and how much time we should spend in prayer.

Some people think that intensity means flat out all the time. That’s not the case. Intensity means the correct amount of effort to achieve your desired results. Everyday I workout I’m not a sweaty mess. Some days I’m  lifting weights which doesn’t require as much intensity from me as floor exercises or cardio. What I am trying to achieve determines the amount of intensity I use.

Sometimes you may be praying, crying and laying prostrate on the floor. Other times, you may be praying while you’re driving, while you’re working or during an event. Your intensity will be different because your amount of effort is different.

Daniel is a wonderful example of praying continually. He prayed three times a day whether he was under attack or not. David and Paul are also good examples of F.I.T. prayer. But the best example is Jesus. When he was about to be delivered into the hands of the Roman soldiers he prayed until he cried blood. But when he prayed to raise Jairus’ daughter from the dead, the prayer wasn’t nearly as intense as the one he prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

So, how F.I.T. is your prayer life? Plug into the power of prayer

Prayer for Today

January 21, 2015

Father waiting for you to answer our prayers can be so hard. Watching the ungodly succeed while your children struggle and sometimes suffer can be difficult to see. But I know you will answer your children’s cry and meet every one of their needs.

So today Lord, I ask that you strengthen those who are waiting for you to answer their prayers. I pray that you will remind them that their hope is in you. Remind them Lord that you will protect them from anything that rises up against them while they wait for you to meet them at their point of need.

Remind them Father that your plans for their lives can never be derailed. Just because things aren’t going the way they planned doesn’t mean things aren’t going the way you planned. Your plans for us stand forever while our plans are as fleeting as vapors.

God, remind them that you are dependable in your word and works. You are loyal in your love towards your children and your unfailing love surrounds us. Put in the forefront of their minds that your favor lasts a lifetime. Uphold them while they wait. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

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Scripture references:

Psalm 17:6

Psalm 27:14

Psalm 32:10

Psalm 33:11Silver-Clock1-wm

Psalm 38:15