You Were Chosen

Picked out

 

Matthew 22:14

For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

When I chose a rose for my garden, I don’t pick it based on one characteristics of the rose; I pick it based on the totality of the rose. So not only do I pick a rose based on its color, I chose it on how the blooms are going to look. Will the blooms have lots and lots of petals or just a few?  I chose it based on the fragrance; is it lightly fragranced or is it heavily fragranced?  Does it smell like honey or does it smell like a traditional rose?

I also look at the type of leaves the rose is going to have. Will the leaves be bright green and shiny or will they be a matted green? I also look at the stem of the roses; will they be long-stemmed so I can use the rose in a single rose vase or will they be short stemmed so I can use them in an arrangement?

So you see, everything that the rose is goes into my decision-making process of whether or not I’m going to plant the rose in my garden. Yes, each facet of the rose is important, but one piece without the others doesn’t make the rose what it really is. It is the totality of the rose plant that makes the rose what I want in my garden.

God does the same thing with us. When God chooses us to do a particular assignment He chooses us based on the totality of who we are; our temperament, the things that we’ve gone through in order to bring us to the place where we are now, our looks, our background and upbringing. All these things make us who we are and are the reasons God chooses us for our assignments.

Unfortunately, all too often we look at ourselves through the eyes of the world system and only see what we think the world sees when it looks at us. The world system says over and over again, we have to be super model thin in order to be considered worthy of being called attractive. The world system says we have to be rich or famous in order to be counted amount those whom others should listen to. The world system says we have to be educated with the right type of degrees and from the right schools or we’ll be outsiders and not allowed to join them at the popular table. But, no matter what the world tells us, it does not stop God from doing what He’s going to do and it shouldn’t stop us from doing what God has assigned us to do.

If God has given you an assignment, and He has given us all an assignment, what the world system says about you doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. When God gave each of us our assignments, He has already measured the totality of who we are and He knows we can successfully complete the assignment.

The world system only knows the labels it has placed on us. God knows who He created us to be.

 

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” I Corinthians 1:27

 

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The Same but Different

cropped-julians-pix-6691.jpg

James 1:13 – 15

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

I have a dozen roses in my front yard. I basically care for each of them the same way; I feed and water them at the same time, clip them when they need it and make sure the soil nutrient levels are correct. I care for them equally.

My Double Delight rose, which is pictured above, is right at my front door because it’s beautiful and has a strong honey sweet aroma. When you walk up to my door and Double Delight is in bloom, the last thing you smell before you come into my house is the sweet fragrance of the rose. YUMMY!

The problem with the Double Delight is it is susceptible to black spots and yellow leaves. It is so susceptible to the disease that I have to pay special attention to the rose all summer because if I allow the disease a little room it will destroy every leaf on the Double Delight and defoliate the rose completely.

Right next to the Double Delight I have the John F. Kennedy rose; which is beautiful too but in a very different way than the Double Delight. The John F. Kennedy rose is not susceptible to black spots or yellow leaves but, Japanese Beatles LOVE the John F. Kennedy but they don’t really care for the Double Delight. So, even though the two roses are sitting right next to each other in the garden, they have too different challenges that I have to content with in order to keep them alive and healthy.

It is the same way for us in the Body of Christ. We have been engrafted into the Body of Christ by His redemptive blood and His finished work on the cross. We have been made spiritual siblings and yet, we are all tempted and drawn away from God by our own temptations.

What tempts you to turn away from your relationship with Christ may not bother me at all and what tempts me may not cause you to think about it twice. You see, just like my roses, we are individuals with different challenges, needs and desires. Coming to Christ doesn’t make us clones, it makes us saved. We are still the people we were before our salvation.

Our struggles are the same, our issues are the same, our aptitudes are the same, and the things we are susceptible to are the same. The difference is how we handle the struggles and the issues. The difference is how we handle the temptations. We are all the same; we all have struggles, issues and temptations but we are all different in how we handle them. None of us have any room to throw stones at someone else.

This is why we can’t judge someone else’s walk in Christ. We can’t judge how God is using them, or not, when or how. We don’t know all the particulars in that person life. Only God knows that and He is the one that directs the steps of us all.

One reason I love gardening is because flowers don’t have the ability to look over at another flower and try to compare themselves, whether for better or for worse. They don’t have the ability to see what I’m doing to one plant that I may not be doing to or for them. There is no envy or jealousy between plants like there often is between people.

While we are all the same in Christ because God is not a respecter of person, we are all very different and He treats us different according to His call on our lives.

 

“But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.” Galatians 6:4

 

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Prayer for Today

 

Ask believe receive

July 17, 2015

Father God, I trust You and my faith in You does not waiver. My issue is waiting for You to manifest what I need after I’ve prayer, waited, prayed and waited some more. I know You will do “it”, but when? This is the sticking point of my faith.

Forgive me for worrying and fretting when things don’t go the way I think they should. Forgive me for grumbling and complaining when Your timing doesn’t coincide with my timetable.

I trust You Lord. I have faith that You will so everything You said You’d do. I’ve allowed the reality of our microwave society to creep into my relationship with You and distort my perception of time.

I trust You and have faith in You, but too often I allow bad judgement or bad decisions that I’ve made to put me in a bind and then I expect You to run to my rescue. Over time, I’ve put myself in bad situations but, I want you to get me out of the mess I’ve made in an instant. Forgive me!

The truth is, You don’t operate on the world’s timetable and, for my own good; hopefully to teach me a lesson, You allow me to be uncomfortable so I can learn to be content with what I have, be content with where I am and involve You in my decisions.

Father, it is not my intent to operate with a lack of faith. Please help me to wait. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Scripture References:

Psalm 27:14       Psalm 130:5        II Corinthians 5:7

Psalm 37:1 – 8   Isaiah 30:18        Philippians 2:14

Psalm 40:1          Romans 10:17

 

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Real Faith – Is Not for Wimps

 

faith possible not easy

Habakkuk 2:2 – 3

“Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” 

If we follow God’s commands and decrees and are obedient to all God has instructed us to do and carry out our duties in excellence and expectation; we are operating by faith. Can I say that this is much easier said than done!

We often feel if we do everything we’re supposed to do then God should do what WE want Him to do, the way WE want Him to do it and when WE think it should be done. NOPE! That’s not how this works!

In the aforementioned passage of scripture, Habakkuk was asking God questions because, while he trusted God, he was confused about God’s methods. Habakkuk states, “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts…” (Hab. 2:1a NIV) In other words, Habakkuk says he’s not going to stop doing what he’s supposed to do while he awaits God’s answers. He’s going to continue to fulfill his purpose and wait with expectation to get the answer he needs from God. Habakkuk knows he maybe rebuked by God, but he still seeks an answer and is waiting for God to give it to him.

To truly say we are operating in faith, we must wait for God’s timing AND still do what He told us to do WITHOUT complaining. Asking God questions, trying to get clarification is okay, but complaining is not okay. Remember when the Israelites started to complain in the wilderness after God had delivered them from slavery in Egypt? A trip that should have taken days ended up taking 40 years!

True faith; waiting on God to do it faith, can be nerve wracking! Faith can cause you to loose friends and gain haters. True faith can be a dividing line; do you really trust God enough to work while you wait on the answer? Do you really trust God enough to know that the answer is coming in God’s perfect time which will probably not coincide with your time? Are you willing to never give up on your purpose no matter what other people may say or do?

True faith is not neat and pretty. True faith is often not easy nor convenient. It doesn’t come in a cute little package all wrapped up and delivered to us just when we need it. TRUE FAITH IS WORK!

Noah operated in true faith.  He built an ark, according to God specifications without a basis for building it. People talked about him, ridiculed him but still, because he had true faith, he worked on the project God gave him until it was complete. Jesus operated in true faith. He allowed himself to die on the cross because He had enough faith to believe He would be raised on the third day.

So now, ask yourself, do you operate in true faith or wimp faith?

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” I Corinthians 15:58

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Hold On – Part II (Revised)

Ice age squirrel holding on

Joshua 1:5

“No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

God has told us that He will never leave us; He will always be with us. This is why we don’t have to seek after the things of the world system. We don’t have to love money, fortune or fame. We don’t have to give up our morals nor ethics in order to fit in with the world. We don’t have to go along to get along with everyone else because God, the Father of all things, has made us a promise; ‘I will never leave your; never will I forsake you.’

This means as children of God we can stand and fight just like the Israelites fought at Jericho; in an unorthodox non-world system method. The children of Israel marched around a fortified wall, singing and playing trumpets in order to bring down the wall of Jericho. Who does that? Those who trust in the Lord our God.

Our methods of warfare will be unorthodox by the world’s standards. Who shows love, kindness and compassion to people who are trying to take their jobs, their home or their car? Who still smiles and speaks to people who are rejecting you, mistreating you and saying all manner of evil against you? Those who trust in God because we know, God is with us!

Trusting in God will lead us to unorthodox methods of warfare because we know God has already promised us victory. “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you…” These words weren’t just for Joshua, they are for us too!

We can hold on when it looks like all is lost because we have confidence that our God is not only with us, but He’s for us! We can be strong and courageous, unswerving and stout hearted because we know that no matter what happens God is standing beside us to care for us.

Even in the most desperate or difficult times we can keep our lives free from the love of worldly things  and be content with what God has given us because we know that God will provide for all our needs according to His riches in glory through His son, Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:19).

Proverbs 19:23 says it like this: “The fear (respect) of the Lord leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” If we respect this truth and promise of God; that He is with us at all times, then we can rest untouched by trouble!

DO NOT GIVE UP NOW! God has been and will continue to be with you.  He sees what you’re going through and He’s right beside you to help you through it. This is not the time or place to give up!  Just keep your eyes fixed on Jesus because He is walking right in front of you; The Holy Spirit is leading, guiding and directing you down the correct path for you. Remember Gods’ hook, “Hold on, I’m here!”

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said, ‘Never will I leave your; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”’ Hebrews13:5 – 6

 

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Hold On – Part I (Revised)

 

waiting on God under tree

Psalm 27:1 – 2

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.”

 

There is an old Sam and Dave song that has a hook that says, “Hold on, I’m comin!’” Thankfully, we did not enter into our Promised Lands with Sam and Dave. If we had, when we were in trouble, we would have had to wait until they got to us before they could help.

We entered our Promised Lands with God the Father, who is always with us. In fact, Deuteronomy 31:8 states God goes before us, therefore, we do not have to be afraid nor discouraged because God is always with us. If God had a song like Sam and Dave’s His hook would be, “Hold on, I’m here!”

We don’t have to worry if God is going to rescue us from our enemies. We don’t have to fret about God’s showing up on time. God is with us even when it feels like our enemies are overwhelming us and He never needs to be rescued. He’s always the mighty one. There is nothing and no one greater than God and He will never leave us!

All of us had to fight to get into our Promised Land. We had to fight our pasts, our disappointments, our worries and our anxieties.  We had to fight our low self-esteem, our heartbreak and our intimidators. Through all of these things, God was with us. By God’s grace and His mercy we made! Through hard-fought battles, most won but some lost, we made it.

Here we stand on the soil of our Promised Land, and guess what? We still have to fight! Just like the Israelites had to fight when they marched into their Promised Land; they had to battle at Jericho, Ai and other enemies, so do we. The good news is, just like God was with the Israelites, He is with us! He is our very present help in the time of trouble.

DO NOT GIVE UP NOW! God has been and will continue to be with you. He sees what you’re going through and He’s right beside you helping you get through it. This is not the time or the place to give up! Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. God is with you. Remember His hook, “Hold on, I’m here!”

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

 

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Prayer for Today

 

C S Lewis Quote

June 30, 2015

Father, at the beginning of the year, we made plans, set time lines and set goals for what we wanted to achieve this year. As we look at our plans we see some plans are behind the schedule we had set or some things we wanted to do have not been done at all. These realizations can cause us to feel like failures or to feel like we’ve not obtained everything we’ve been pursuing and, if we’re not careful; these feelings will cause us to give up. Remind us that our plans must take a backseat to the plans You have for us. Nothing we’ve planned is better than what You have already ordained.

Everything is not going to go the way we’ve planned, but we’re sure that everything will go the way You’ve ordained. Help us mature to a point that, when what You’ve ordained overrides our plans; we do not fret, complain or grumble. Instead, we rejoice knowing that You have our best interest at heart.

You planned our perfect path long ago and You know what’s best for us. You will perfect us until we fit into Your perfect plan. Thank You Lord for caring so much about us that You planned for our greatness. Therefore; we press towards the higher calling, which is in Christ Jesus!

In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Scripture References:

Proverbs 19:21

Psalms 65:9

Isaiah 25:1

Philippians 3:14

 

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They’re Baaack!!!

 

Ephesians 6 12

Romans 6:6 – 7

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”

It’s easy for me to get discouraged when I’m doing something new and old problems, issues and even some old people seem to pop up in the midst of my new stuff. It’s just like weeds popping up in my yard in the same places that I’ve evicted them no too long ago. The truth is I evicted them but I couldn’t eradicate them.

I worked hard to get rid of the weeds and grass from my new rose bed. I dug, pulled and trenched around the new bed so I could remove the unwanted stuff and keep it out. Unfortunately, after a heavy rain, the weeds are back and the grass is trying to return to where it used to live.

I looked out the window of my home office and saw weeds and grass growing and all I could think was, “they’re baaack!!!”

I was feeling sad, frustrated, let down and discouraged. All my heard work down the drain, then, I resigned myself to the truth; this is going to be an ongoing battle, not a one time effort. So, I went out, grabbed my garden tools and headed to the yard. This means war!!!

The same scenario is true when we start obeying God and begin to live our lives according to His will. We dig up doubt, fear, concerns about money, unforgiveness, past pains and disappointments. We dig up the pain of hurt feelings, envy and jealousy, guilt and shame. We pull them out, remove and evict them from the soil of our hearts with fasting, prayer, reading and studying God’s Word. We think we’re good, and then one day something or someone sends rain on our lives. Before we know it, we are battling the same weeds we removed from our lives because we evicted them but did not eradicate them.

We must resign ourselves to this truth: This is a never-ending battle! We will continue to contend with fear, doubt, guilt, shame, etc. as long as we live in these bodies. The good news is we have already won the war through our relationship with Jesus Christ.

So grab your spiritual gardening tools; your Bible, your favorite Christian authors’ books and Bible studies. Turn down your plate or, turn off the television or your computer and get to work clearing out those weeds. This means war!!!

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

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Worry, Waste, Want

 

Faith plus patience

 

Matthew 6:25

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes?”

After a farmer or a gardener plants their crops they have to wait to see what, if anything is going to grow or bloom.  I planted six new roses in the backyard. They all came from the same reparable rose seller that I’ve used for years. I have several roses from this same place that are over 15 years old so I know the roses are of good quality.

I planted them at the same time, in the same area and at the right time of the season but, only two out of the six am showing signs of life. I don’t know what could have gone wrong! What if the four die? I will have wasted my time, great effort and energy plus the money I paid for them. Plus, I’ll want four more roses to replace them.  I am worry about the possible loss of the four roses.

Yesterday, I was on my way back to look at the four roses again to see if there was ANY sign of life when a thought struck me; with all my worrying I couldn’t make the roses live! I could worry and fret over the four dead looking roses but I don’t have the power to make them live; only God has the power of life and death. So, why am I worrying and wasting my time and emotions on something I had no control over? Because I wanted the roses to live!

My want for something I had no control over drove me into worry and waste while I tried to figure out how I could get what I want. Have you ever been there?

Maybe you’re there right now. Maybe you want something so bad that you have forgotten who is the Source and Giver of all things. Maybe you are so concerned about finances, a wayward child, or the loss of a job or the closing of a family business. It doesn’t matter what you’re worried about; this is just a reminder to never forget God, who has controls everything and everyone. It is easy for lose focus on the Giver when you are only looking at the gift.

Patience combats worry. God knows what we need even before we need it and puts everything in order to meet us at our point of need. We must stay focused on Him and be patient, not worry or fret ourselves over things that we want but may not need and not waste our time trying to get things God hasn’t ordained for us.

With patience there is no worry. With trust there is no waste. With obedience there is no want. Therefore; combat worry, waste and want by patiently trusting God while you obey His commands for your life.

“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” James 5:7 – 8

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Prayer for Today

 

faith possible not easy

May 26, 2015

Lord, I thank You for my history with You.  You have been with me from the beginning. You appointed everything in my life; my birth, all the circumstances surrounding my birth and every day of my life have been appointed and approved by You.

Father as I face hardships, difficulties and heartaches, help me to remember my life was set apart by Your appointment, Your will, and everything that You ordained for me shall come to pass.

Lord, help me not to view my hardships, trials or tribulations as permanent; thereby causing me to deal with problems as a permanent fixtures in my life.  Help me to view the difficulty with a Christ-like understanding and Godly wisdom, knowing that the problem is temporary and it is working for my good because I love You and have been called according Your purpose.

Lord for help me to see I do not have to worry about life or body because You have already prepared a plan to take care of my every need.  A plan to prosper me not to hurt me – You are my hope and my future.  I pray in Jesus name.  Amen.

Scripture references:

 Psalms 139:13 – 16                           II Corinthians 4:17

Zephaniah 3:17                               Proverbs 2:6

I Peter 2:9                                          Romans 8:28

Matthew 6:25 – 34                       Jeremiah 29:11

 

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