Words Chosen From The Heart

God’s motivation for creation was His Father’s heart.

He desired a family to pour out all of His love and grace; so He created a perfect world as a home for Adam and Eve. He created and spoke what was in His heart.  Through His words, what was in His heart became physical reality.

We’ve seen in recent posts that our faith has the same potential as God’s faith. In fact, we’ve been given the exact same faith as our Heavenly Father.

We activate our faith with the words we speak.  They carry the power of life or death.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Proverbs 18:21 (NASB)

We have the ability to choose what we say, but the Bible teaches us that our words come from the overflow of what we’ve planted in our hearts. That means we choose our words before we ever even think to speak them out loud.

We choose our words through what we watch, the things we listen to and what we read.

Whether we want them to or not, these things build up in our heart creating a good or bad treasure.

“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” Luke 6:45 (NASB)

Our words are a product of our focus.

If we are constantly focusing on ourselves, our emotions and all of our negative circumstances, then all of that will build up in our hearts and yield negative words. However, if we turn our focus to the Word of God and all of His promises, our words will be filled with His life and power.

Our lives are shaped by the words we speak, and our words are shaped by the treasure in our hearts.  When we are filled with all of the negativity and doubt of the world, our lives will be a product of our situations.  When God’s Word is the treasure of our hearts, our lives will be a reflection of His promises.  

The Abundant Life: Faith To Live It

We receive everything from God by faith through grace.

Abundant-Life-Faith-To-Live-It-Faith-Does-Not-Waver-quote-photoOur salvation, the Holy Spirit and all of His blessings come to us when we believe and speak. When we push past our doubts, preconceived ideas, fears, and trust our Heavenly Father, we will see His will happen in and through us.

“Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see,” Hebrews 11:1 (GW)

Faith is assured. It’s convinced. It does not second guess itself. It does not waver.

Too many times we make a decision to live by faith then allow circumstances to make us second guess ourselves.

Whether the doubt comes from within our own minds, or the enemy tries to bring it to us, we should understand that our faith is going to be attacked.

If we doubt ourselves, it’s because we need to renew our minds to God’s Word.

Our minds are steeped in doubt and skepticism because of the world we live in. As we allow the Word to gain prominence in our minds, it will push out worldly thinking and doubt.

The enemy will attack our faith because he doesn’t want us to gain ground. A victory for us is a loss for him, so he will fight us every step of the way. Please remember that Jesus has already defeated Satan at Calvary’s Cross (Colossians 2:15). Take your stand of faith and don’t waver when the enemy is trying to deter you.

“Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore,” Ephesians 6:13-14a (NASB)

Seeing God’s will work in our lives is a matter of not turning back from our confession of faith.

When we decide that we’re going to trust God for a promotion, a healing, our bills to be paid, a better marriage or someone’s salvation we need to hold fast to that decision. We cannot allow anything to turn us away from what we know God has promised us. We have to trust that God is already working, even when things get worse before they get better.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful,” Hebrews 10:23 (NASB)

God’s Kingdom: A New Citizenship

Gods-Kingdom-A-New-Citizenship-no-longer-slaves-quote-photo-from-unsplashmenariaWhen we are born again, we we have a new citizenship.

There was a body of sin that was left behind after we were born again, but it is a dead body.  It was the part of us that was connected to the world. That body was a citizen of the world. It followed the will of the Enemy and conformed itself to the world. Now it is no longer master over us. It is not the lord of our lives. It does not have the authority to control what we do.

Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin,” Romans 6:6 (NASB)

Being part of God’s kingdom means that we are new creations.

We have no choice about living in the world, but we should not conform to its ways. We should not resemble its people. Our true citizenship is now in heaven and our lives should be a reflection of that citizenship. Gods-Kingdom-A-New-Citizenship-Citizenship-quote-photo-from-unsplashsethwillingham

“For our citizenship is in heaven,” Philippians 3:20 (NASB)

This doesn’t happen by accident, though.  We aren’t going to stumble into a life that is a reflection of heaven. It takes a conscious effort of leaving behind our old ways and living from our new nature.

“Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy,” Ephesians 4:22-24 (NLT)

It’s a choice we make every day.

We wake up in the morning and choose to be like Jesus until that choice becomes our first nature. It might be difficult at first. It will tempting to forego reading our Bible or praying so we can watch one more episode of our show or spend a few more minutes on social media. However, as we progress and mature we’ll start to desire the things of God more and more and lose our appetite for anything the world has to offer. This is what it means to work out our own salvation.

Gods-Kingdom-A-New-Citizenship-work-out-salvation-quote-photo-from-unsplashimpriscilla“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure,” Philippians 2:12(b)-13(NASB).

This doesn’t mean that we should be afraid that God will bring the hammer down on us if we step out of line. It means that we should work out our salvation with a deep desire to get it right. We should also be encouraged because it is not by our own power that this will be done. God says that He will work in us to bring about His good pleasure, and His pleasure is always for our greatest good.

God’s Kingdom – A New System

Because of Adam’s sin we were born into a place, or a system, of sin.

Gods-Kingdom-A-New-System-Colossians-1-Quote-photo-from-unsplashnaphtalimarshallWe aren’t sinners because we sin. We’re sinners because of the system we’re born under. When we are born again we are moved out of the system of sin and into God’s kingdom.

“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins,” Colossians 1:13-14 (NASB)

Jesus Christ removes us from the dominion of sin and places us under His dominion.  We aren’t just put under His authority, we are given His kingdom. It can live in us and work through us.

“Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you,’” Luke 17:20-21 (NKJV)

We now have the kingdom of God living in us.

However, we were still born into and lived under the authority of sin up until the moment we were born again. We also live in a world that is under the dominion of sin. We’ve spent our whole lives being influenced by sin and the world’s Gods-Kingdom-A-New-System-We-have-to-retrain-our-minds-quote-photo-from-unsplashclemonojeghuosystem. This means that we have to retrain our minds to think in line with God’s kingdom. Otherwise the kingdom of God will sit dormant within us and we won’t live up to our new potential.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect,” Romans 12:2 (NASB)

This renewing is what will bring the kingdom of God out of us.

It won’t sit idle in our hearts. When we start to recondition our minds to think God’s Word, we’ll begin to speak God’s Word, and speaking His Word will cause us to live by it. Our lives will be a reflection of the Lord’s Prayer.

‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” Matthew 6:9-10 (NASB)

Fear of Failure

Fear-of-Failure-Stops-us-from-living-quote-photo-from-unsplash-by-mitchellensinkOne of the greatest fears in the world is the fear of failure.

The fear of failure stops us from living life the way God intended. It causes us to settle for jobs that are below our potential.  This fear keeps us from becoming the husband or wife that we know we could be.  It causes us to place our real dreams on the shelf.  We are so certain that we’re going to fail that we never step out at all.

If we are controlled and manipulated by fear, then we are living below God’s standard. Jesus died and rose again to save us and give us an abundant life, a life that overflows.

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows),” John 10:10 (Amp)

The love of God unlocks this overflowing life.

Love-of-God-Unlocks-quote-photo-from-unsplash-by-gilibenitaWhen we accept the truth that God loves us perfectly and allow that truth to be the foundation of our life, then fear will have no say.

“There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror,” 1 John 4:18 (Amp)

Fear’s voice in our head tells us to be self-seeking, because everyone and everything else is against us.  It will say that we should get all that we can for ourselves and give nothing away, so we aren’t left empty-handed.  When we are controlled by fear we fail.  We are selfish in our jobs and our relationships.  We never give them the chance to be what God wants them to be. Living this way is no life at all and will lead to a lonely and spare existence that falls tragically short of God’s design.

Love will always lead to be self-sacrificing and generous with all that we have.

Love will remind us that what we think is “ours” is actually God’s and is meant to be a blessing to others, not hoarded for ourselves. This will lead to us to flourish at work and at home. We won’t have to worry about failing because we know that God loves us and is on our side.

“Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end],” 1 Corinthians 13:8a (AMP).

For Love or Hate?

When advocating change, taking a stand for a cause, is it done out of love or hate?

“It (Love) is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking,” (1 Corinthians 13:5 Amplified).

20170307-For-Love-Or-Hate-Movements-Based-In-Hate-Fizzle-Quote-photo-from-unsplash-by-Pawel-Janiak.Right now the people of the world love to make a show of themselves. It seems like there is a new movement or “social justice” group rising up and protesting. Nothing ever comes of these protests other than news segments and viral videos being shared on social media. In fact, it seems like more often than not these protests are more effective at creating counter-protests rather than the change they advocate.

These movements don’t achieve much because they are focused on themselves more than anything or anyone else. They promote themselves over their values. They are angry, hateful and selfish. This comes out in their rhetoric and the fact that they are better at communicating what they are against rather than what they are for.

These are movements based in hate, so they fizzle out.

For-Love-Or-Hate-Everything-Jesus-Did-Quote-photo-from-unsplash-by-Kayle-KaupangerOver 2,000 years ago Jesus started the greatest movement in the history of mankind. Its influence has only increased since it began and it has impacted the world more than any other political or social movement. He didn’t do it by promoting Himself, talking about what He hated or spewing anger and fear from a stage. He did it by living a life of serving others and then giving His life through death on a cross.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8 NASB).

Everything Jesus did was motivated by love.

He lived His life to glorify God and show God’s love to everyone around Him. He always turned the spotlight away from Himself and placed it on His Father. That is why His movement, Christianity, continues to grow and change the world.

There is a simple and powerful truth hidden in this contrast: What is done in selfishness and hate will die, but what is done in love will last.  For-Love-Or-Hate-Hate-dies-Love-lasts-Quote-photo-from-unsplash-by-Cristina-Gottardi

Perfect Relationship with Our Father

Jesus has a perfect relationship with His Father.

Jesus was assured of His Father’s love for Him. He knew that His Father loved and accepted Him. He knew that His Father heard Him when He prayed. We see the confidence He had in that relationship in the pages of the Gospels. 

perfect-relationship-with-our-father-photo-of-girl-on-mountainsideA terrible misconception among God’s children is that God loves us less than He loves Jesus. We view ourselves as unworthy and unlovable. We think that God will not open Himself up to us the way He did to Jesus when He was on earth. The truth is that God sees us exactly the same way He sees Jesus.  

By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He (Jesus) is, so also are we in this world,” (1 John 4:17).

We are not the stepchildren of our Heavenly Father.

When He adopted us into His family through the death, burial and resurrection of Christ He gave us equal standing with Jesus.

perfect-relationship-with-our-father-photo-of-man-on-mountainside“And raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:6-7).

Seeing ourselves the way God sees us, in Christ, is a key to being like Christ. We need to know that we have the same access to our Heavenly Father that Jesus had in His time on earth. The same Holy Spirit Jesus had lives within us. We can have the same confidence Jesus had. We can live the same kind of life Jesus did: a life that showed the world the love and power of God. It all hinges on how we think about ourselves.

God has raised us up and seated us with Jesus in heavenly places. He sees us as His beloved son and daughters. If our Heavenly Father sees us that way, why would we view ourselves as anything less?

Searching For…

searching-for-photo-of-magnifying-glass-on-bookEveryone is searching.

We are searching for love, acceptance and a myriad of other desires.  This is because everyone is born with a deep, inner longing for a relationship with God.  Sadly, many people don’t realize what the longing is for and try to satisfy it with other things.

We don’t realize that the desire of our heart is for our Father. Last week we learned that when we allow the pain we experienced from our earthly father to shape our view of God, we severely limit our relationship with Him.

Seeing our heavenly Father in the light of our negative experiences instead of the truth of His Word causes us to look for joy in the things of the world. We will never find joy apart from a relationship with our Father.

searching-for-photo-of-street-view-blurredWe are unable to find true, lasting satisfaction in the world because everything in it is only temporary.

Alcohol only numbs our pain for a short time. Drugs can make us forget for a night. The television shows we binge watch on Netflix will eventually come to an end. The distraction only lasts for a short time and we are left with our hearts still searching for something more. Until we find joy in our Father, we will take increasingly larger doses of the world in hopes of finding it there.

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever,” (1 John 2:15-17).

We should take note of these verses when they show us that if we love the world, then we do not have the love of the Father.

This does not mean that God does not love us.

searching-for-photo-of-hand-reaching-toward-blurred-windowIt means that we have not yet experienced the fullness and perfection of His love, because if we had, we would no longer need the fleeting pleasures of the world.

We should see this as a great encouragement, though. It’s a promise from God that His love will satisfy. It won’t just last for a moment, or a night, or a week. It will continue on forever. This will answer the cry of our heart. It will completely fill the void in us forever. He is the end to our desperate search for joy and satisfaction.

“Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth,” (Psalm 73:25).

If you’re one of the people who is searching for love and joy, God is waiting to be your Father. He’s not just the God who answers your prayers. He’s the God who is the answer to your prayers.

God Is A Father

God is a Father.

The fact that God is a Father is proven by His loving actions toward His children throughout history; first the Israelites, then the Israelites and the Church. We also see proof of His fatherhood in the way His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, referred to Him. Jesus almost exclusively called God “Father”. One of the only times Jesus called God “God” is when He was near death on the Cross and God was forced to forsake Him because Jesus had taken all of mankind’s sin into Himself (Mark 15:34).

It is God’s Fatherhood that answers the question, “Why did God create the earth and man?”

god-is-father-crowd-of-peopleHe created mankind so He could have a family.  There are people who take offense at this answer.  They say, “Is God so vain that He needed to create people so He could have something to praise Him?” Nothing could be further from the truth. God does not need our praise, but He takes great delight and we find our purpose in it.

God wanted a family so He could pour His love and blessing out on them. All throughout scripture we see God making promises to bless His children and faithfully fulfilling those promises.

He gave Adam and Eve dominion over the Earth to subdue and cause it to flourish (Genesis 1:26-28). This promise continues even today.

He brought Abraham out of his home country, greatly blessed him with livestock and servants, and told him that his children would be as numerous as the stars in the sky or the sand on the seashore.

God promised King David that his throne would continue on forever.  It does even now through the Lord Jesus Christ.

He promised to save all of mankind from their sins and sent Jesus to die on the Cross and rise again in order to fulfill that promise.

All of God’s works since before the beginning of time have been motivated by His loving Fatherly heart.

fear-of-god-photo-of-father-handHe created us to be His sons and daughters. He gave us His Holy Spirit in order to confirm this.

“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,” (Romans 8:15-17).

When we open our eyes to see this beautiful truth, confusion about who we are and why we’re here will fall away.  We will realize that God’s greatest desire is fulfilled by having a relationship with His sons and daughters and our greatest desire is fulfilled by having relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Fear of God – What Does That Mean?

fear-of-god-phot-of-stormWhen the Bible talks about the fear of God it does not mean to be terrified of His anger and punishment.

The “fear of God” means reverential awe. It means to be in awe of all that He’s done and all that He is.  However, many of us live our lives with an unfounded fear of God. We have been taught to be terrified of Him. We believe that He is angry, vengeful and driven by emotions. This causes us to live defeated and depressed lives, because we believe that God is waiting to bring the hammer down on us as soon as we make even the smallest mistake.

When we believe these things about Him, we think that His love and grace are dependent upon our actions.

We think that we’re going to cause God to love or hate us based on how good or bad we are. This is a low and legalistic view of Him. However, these mindsets come from a place of not knowing or believing that God is our Heavenly Father. fear-of-god-photo-of-clouds

When we’ve lived with the terrifying fear of God for so long, seeing Him as our Father can be difficult. It can also be a struggle to see Him as our Heavenly Father if we’ve had a difficult relationship with our earthly father. We have to realize that if God is a Father, then He must be a perfect Father. We can’t use our earthly experience to measure our heavenly Father.

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11).

We must know that God’s plan and desires for us are always good.

fear-of-god-photo-of-father-handHe is infinitely better than any of our earthly fathers, whether they were good or bad. He only has good things to give us and do through us.

First, we have to lay down our wrong beliefs about God. It doesn’t matter if they came from someone in the pulpit, or from our parents, or our friends. We must reject anything that contradicts the fact that He is a perfect, loving Heavenly Father. If we try to hold onto wrong beliefs about Him, we will never experience the fullness of His love.

When we realize that we are sons and daughters of God, then our relationship with Him will no longer be marked by condemnation and insecurity. We’ll walk confidently with our Heavenly Father knowing that He absolutely loves us and will only lead us to a good future.

“Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’”(Galatians 4:6).