At Christmas time, many people look forward to decorating their tree. For some , it is a family gathering where decorative ornaments are placed by the hands of young and old. Some families have retained ornaments that have been passed down from generation to generation. Not only are they beautiful, but the memories that they carry are much more ornate than the item itself.
And delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy’s hand. (Psalms 78:61)
God has declared that we are his glory or as this word many times refers, his ornament. He places you and me in the midst of a troubled world. Our lives are intended to shimmer and shine of the love and reality of God, just as a ornament shimmers and shines on a tree.
Make it a point to understand your purpose in life and then shimmer and shine as a testimony for God. You can only accomplish this by getting close to God. As you walk closely to him, you will reflect him to all those around you.
Why did God allow David to face opposition? Why didn’t he, as trouble began to stir against David, stop it in its tracks. The answer provided may seem simple, but it’s understanding is anything but that. God allowed the difficulty to occur so that he could lift up David and subsequently be praised and glorified.
To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever. (Psalms 30:12)
God does not selfishly do this, for he is praised by angelic creations. He does not need our praise, he is already praised continually. However in order for us to understand God and his greatness, we must experience him and his mighty works. When we do, we “know him and the power of his resurrection” and comprehend the splendor of his greatness. Without the trial or the dark nights, we cannot come closer to fully knowing God.
Each trial is intended to open our understanding and draw us closer to God. It will only be in the resurrection when we can know him as we are known. Until then, trials are essential for our growth, faith and the ability to know God better.
God gives and calls. He gives us salvation’s promise and calls us to believe. He gives us commandments and calls us to obey. However, he also gives us ability and a calling.
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: (2 Peter 1:3)
God has given us the whole of what we need for life along with its problems and loyally living for God. He has called us to have a God glorifying testimony (glory) and an ability to face life and it’s challenges (virtue).
The divine power that we need comes from knowing God: not knowing facts about him, but a knowledge that comes from interacting with him. Your knowledge, which will be your enabling, comes form your experiences with God. The more you experience him, the more strength you have and the less you experience, the less strength you have.
Start each day looking for God’s hand and handiwork in your life. Make sure that you praise him for what you recognize and experience. Having this interaction is both pleasing to him and empowering for you.
Recently, I posted online a picture of a tomato plant from my garden. Hanging from that plant in mid-June were a few golf ball sized tomatoes. My caption, “Come on” were my words of anticipation for the delicious fruit to get here. In order to get to this point, it took a great deal of time. I first prepared the soil and planted the seeds in little cups. Throughout April and early May, I nurtured the plants with water and exposure to the sun. Around Mothers’ day, they were planted in the ground followed by pruning, watering and weeding. In all, it should take about 10 weeks before I will get the fruit that I desire. Fruit just takes time.
But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. (Luke 8:15)
It also takes time to produce the fruit of God. It is easy to make fruit that shows on the outside and you can do it in no time at all, but it might not really be fruit. Change your clothes, change your hair, you can even change your words and the places your feet may take you. However, true fruit takes time and first begins on the inside of the believer and like any fruit bearing plant, it will take time to grow. It begins with a seed of truth from God’s word. If we yield to it, it will begin to grow. Each day, we will need to keep or guard this truth in our hearts. As we do, the early signs of fruit will begin to show: much like my small green tomatoes. Over time, the truth will become a habit that we have put on. If you continue the process, you will grow and your fruit will yield 30, 60 and even 100 fold. (Mark 4:8)
When the centurion had his servant healed, he demonstrated by faith something that nobody in Israel had yet accomplished. He had believed in the sovereignty of the Lord Jesus Christ and his ability to speak a miracle into existence. He, being a heathen Roman officer, had great faith.
You must remember that your family history, like the centurion’s, does not determine or hinder your spirituality. Even your past–whether it be good or bad–does not determine your current spiritual state. Your spiritual condition is directly related to your faith. However, sin can cause you to walk in the flesh which reduces your ability to trust God, but your history does not determine your future.
As you venture forward in your walk with the Lord, live beyond your circumstances and believe in him.
Everybody is in some way pursuing the same goal: they want to be happy. Many mistakenly think that money will bring happiness. So they strive for as much wealth as possible and come up empty. Others seek happiness in positions of power or by acquiring desired possessions, but again the results are short lived and disappointing. Still others turn to the vices of sin such as alcohol, drugs, and the various forms of promiscuous sex resulting with the same disappointment. If these are not the way to happiness, how can a person be happy?
True happiness, the kind that swells up into your heart and brings the satisfaction in life that you are looking for, comes from two practices. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. (Psalms 119:1-2)
A person will experience happiness that comes from God when they do not allow themselves to be defiled by the world around them. As they engage in life, these individuals battle to keep their acts aligned with God’s law and resist following the wrong examples set by the world. The second practice, which produces happiness, is to keep God’s word in your heart and to seek him with it. The word keep carries the idea of guarding or watching over something. If we guard the testimonies of The Lord in our hearts, it will enable us to seek him with our whole heart. This keeping and seeking brings the happiness that each person desires. We were created by God and because of that our happiness is dependent upon that relationship with him.
If you drift from this relationship, you drift from happiness. If you depart from following God’s laws and become defiled by the world, you lose happiness. Happiness can be obtained by the rich, poor, all nationalities, all age groups and intellects. God wants everybody to have it and everyone can by following two steps: stay true to God’s laws while resisting being defiled by the philosophy of the world and guard God’s testimonies in your heart.
Christianity is not a code of beliefs, but a relationship with a person. The greatest experience that a person can have is this relationship with God. All other experiences will fade with time, but a relationship with God grows and never becomes old.
When we share our faith, we should not speak of the actions that we are to perform or the things from which we should abstain, but instead speak of the wonder of God and the person of his son, Jesus. We should not strive to conform people’s actions to line up to a standard of holiness, but instead strive to get them to desire a relationship with the person whose name is above all names.
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3)
Maybe the reason we fail at successfully sharing our faith is because we have failed in our relationship with God. We cannot speak of how wonderful God is unless we experience his wonder. If we draw nigh to God, we will again experience him and when we experience him we will have something for which to testify. The closer our relationship is with God, the greater our testimony will be.
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