Speak Abundant Words

We’ve all had words or phrases “accidentally” slip out of our mouths at the wrong time in a conversation.

Abundant-Life-Speaking-Abundant-Words-words-planted-in-heart-quote-photo-from-unsplashnikmacmillanWe may have been thinking the words, but not had the intention of actually saying them out loud. They just seemed to come out of nowhere. The truth is that they didn’t come out of nowhere; they were planted in our heart at some point and were bound to come out.

What is in us will always find its way out.

For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil,” Matthew 12:34b-35 (NASB)

What’s in our hearts is made up of what we continually see and hear.

It’s the music we listen to and the television shows we watch. However, the greatest impact of words in our lives are those spoken about us and to us and those that we speak about ourselves.  If we aren’t living the abundant life, there’s a high probability that evil words have entered our hearts.  It’s also likely that we’ve allowed them to affect us by agreeing with them. “Evil” may seem like a strong word, but anything that stops us from being who we are in Christ and living in God’s will should be considered evil.

However, if our hearts are filled with evil things and our words are out of line with God’s Word, our Father has given us a simple solution. We just need to change what we allow into our hearts.

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God,” Colossians 3:16 (NASB) Abundant-Life-Speaking-Abundant-Words-Richly-in-us-quote-photo-from-unsplashtutrinh

Reading and studying the Bible will do more than help us memorize Bible verses and know Bible characters.

Allowing the word of Christ to richly live in our hearts leaves less and less space for evil. God’s Word will push out the painful, degrading words of others and replace them with words of His love and abundance.

As our hearts are filled with God’s abundance, words of abundance will come out of our mouths. Instead of something we don’t want “accidentally” slipping out during conversation, it will be God’s Word. Instead of speaking evil words of fear, doubt and limitation we will speak words of life.

What lives richly inside of us will richly come out of us.

Understanding The Abundant Life

Accepting Jesus as our savior is the first step to living the abundant life.

The-Abundant-Life-Gods-Grace-Flows-Quote-There’s no way to live the abundant God-kind of life if we don’t have God living in us. As soon as we ask Jesus to live in our heart, He gives us all of Himself. It’s not a process. He doesn’t move in piece by piece. He gives us everything all at once.

Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence,” 2 Peter 1:3 (NASB)

If we have all of God’s life in us and if we’re completely clean and new in Christ, then why don’t our lives change in an instant as well? Why don’t our lives become abundant immediately and overflow in every way?

It’s because we don’t have a full understanding of what happened when we invited to Jesus to be our Lord. His grace and life will flow in and through us more and more as we gain greater understanding and revelation.

However, we all have times when we’re reading our Bible, praying, or worshiping when we feel stuck, or that we don’t understand.

Our heavenly Father has given us a powerful tool to push past this lack of understanding. It’s the baptism with the Holy Spirit. God gives us the Holy Spirit to be our Helper in all things.

“But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you,” John 14:26 (Amp)

Being baptized with the Holy Spirit will give us boldness and an understanding that we’ve never had before.

Understanding-The-Abundant-Life-Holy-Spirit-QuoteThe “all things” that He will teach us are the “all things pertaining to life and godliness” that we read earlier. He will guide us into the full understanding of who we are in Christ. The Holy Spirit will teach us how to access and manifest the abundant life God has given us. He will keep us from getting stuck. He will cause us to continually move forward.

This baptism is free and open to all of God’s children. If you want to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit, all you need to do is pray this prayer in faith:

Heavenly Father, I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead.  I have received Him as my Lord and Savior.  I now ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit and to give me the ability to speak in other tongues as it is written in your Word.  Holy Spirit, I welcome you into my life and into my body.  I trust you to empower me to be a bold witness for Jesus Christ.  I receive you by faith, and by faith I will speak in other tongues.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

More than a Shallow Understanding

One of the simplest things we can do to follow the plan for our lives is to know and understand the One who created it.

If our relationship with our Heavenly Father is something we only think about on Sunday mornings, then we’re going to have a shallow understanding of His plan for us. However, the more time we spend getting to know Him, the more revelation we’ll have about His specific will for our lives.

More Than a Shallow Understanding - Photo of Stacked Rocks

Knowing, understanding and acting on God’s Word is the rock whereby we lay the foundation of our lives. If the foundation is small, we won’t step into the fullness of everything He has for us.

That’s why Jesus teaches us to build our lives on the rock of His word.

“Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built,” (Luke 6:47-48).  We need to be like the man in these verses.

We need to dig deep and lay the foundation of our lives on the solid rock of Jesus Christ.  We do this by renewing our minds to God’s word.

“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)

Before Jesus saved us, our minds were formed and influenced by the ways of the world. We lived by the world’s standard and desired what the world told us was valuable.

We have to change our standard and our desires through reading and meditating on God’s Word. It’s not going to just magically happen. No one becomes like Jesus on accident. It is a conscious decision we make every single day to leave behind the old way and live by the wisdom that is available to us in God’s Word.

As we do this, we will find ourselves being made into the image of Jesus more and more every day. Reading, understanding and meditating on God’s Word literally changes us from the inside out.

The devil will attempt to downplay this fact in our lives, though.

He will try to convince us that our daily Bible reading and the time we spend in prayer is inconsequential; it isn’t. He’ll try to lie to us and tell us that we aren’t understanding what we are reading, making it impossible to change, that we still make the same mistakes and we’re still the person we were before we got saved; we aren’t. Don’t give in to the lies. Keep pressing forward.

Look at the verse from Romans 12 one more time. Our lives are transformed by the renewing of our minds. When our minds are made new by God’s Word, our actions will follow. It’s a process; one that we must commit to if we’re going to walk in God’s plan for our lives.

So, I encourage you, dig deep to lay the foundation of your life upon the rock of Jesus Christ and He will reveal His specific plan for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a better understanding.  Be patient; God is more than capable to do what He has promised.

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Moving Beyond Yourself

starting block - Moving Beyond YourselfWhen we decide to follow God’s plan we need to know that it’s going to lead us to new places. We will no longer live or look like the world. The majority of people live in isolation. They are either alone or only concerned with their immediate family. God calls us to move beyond ourselves.

In order to move beyond ourselves, we have to realize that while our gifting and calling from God is ours, it is not for our benefit alone. He gives us talents and abilities, and opportunities to use them in order to bless others.

Read what the Bible has to say about moving beyond ourselves: “Just as each one of you has received a special gift [a spiritual talent, an ability graciously given by God], employ it in serving one another as [is appropriate for] good stewards of God’s multi-faceted grace [faithfully using the diverse, varied gifts and abilities granted to Christians by God’s unmerited favor],” (1 Peter 4:10 Amplified).

This should be one of the most encouraging verses for those of us who don’t believe we have anything to offer. God has given each one of us a special gift. We’ve been empowered by the grace of God to change the world in a way only we can.

Don’t think that God has given us a gift just to hide it from us. He wants us to discover our talent and purpose.

Don’t listen to the voices of the past. Many of us have been discouraged by parents, teachers and those close to us. They told us that we aren’t talented or smart. A high GPA or income are not requirements to be used powerfully by God. God does not conform to the standards of the world, and neither should we.

If we don’t know what our gift is, we simply need to ask God.

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking,” (James 1:5 NLT).

God is not going to be angry at us for wanting to know our gifting. He gave it to us. He doesn’t want us to spend our life frustrated and discontented because we never discovered our purpose.

It’s a beautiful thing to discover what God has called us to do. It opens up our world in a way that nothing else can. Once we know what it is we can start to work on it, develop it and allow it to stretch us as God takes us to new heights.

Our divine gift will put us in contact with new and different people; people that we never would have dreamed would be in our sphere of influence.

“Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men,” (Proverbs 22:29).

God will exalt us as we seek to glorify Him and bless others with the gift He’s given us.

I encourage all of you to stop listening to the lies of the world and the devil that say you have nothing to offer. You are called an anointed by God to powerfully impact the world for His kingdom. Pray and ask God to show you what your gifting is, then get to work and watch your life move to new heights.

Heart – Searching For God’s Heart

searching for Gods Heart

King David is known as “A Man After God’s Own Heart”.  He was a man searching for God’s heart.  He loved God and simply enjoyed being in His presence.

The first time King David is mentioned in the Bible he is a long way off from being king. He’s the youngest son of a man named Jesse. He is not the favorite. In fact, he’s out in the field taking care of the sheep and goats. It wasn’t a glamorous job. It definitely wasn’t the kind of work we would expect a future king to be doing. However, God makes a powerful statement to the prophet Samuel as to why He chose David to be king:

“Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Our heavenly Father looks at us the same way He looked at David. He isn’t concerned with our age, height, hair color, education, etc. He looks at the condition of our heart.

God did not choose David to be king because David had prepared his body and mind. He chose David to be king because David had prepared his heart.

In Acts 13:22 God said this about David: “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.”

David was a man after God’s heart before He was anointed to be king of Israel.

David did not love God for the things God could give him. His purpose in seeking God was not because he knew one day he would be king. He simply loved God for His goodness, mercy and love.

It is easy to fall into the trap of seeking God in order to obtain material blessings. We think that if we can memorize enough scripture, go to church twice a week and maybe even serve while we’re there, then God will give us a bigger house, a bigger paycheck and a nicer car.

While none of those things are bad in and of themselves, they should never be the goal of our relationship with Jesus. Jesus is the reward of our relationship with Him.

David did not desire to be close with God in order to gain social status and material wealth. He was a shepherd out in the fields alone; becoming king was probably one of the furthest things from his mind. He simply enjoyed the presence of God. He was content with the fellowship of his heavenly Father.

That is why David was the ideal choice for king, because the deepest desire of his heart was to seek and know God. God knew that when He promoted David, David would have the position and the position would not have him.

This is the danger of seeking after God in order to gain riches. Our heart never truly belongs to God, it belongs to the riches. So, when we receive the promotion, move into the house or deposit the bigger paycheck, we leave God and cling to the riches.

We should make this the goal of our relationship with Jesus: to be content and fulfilled with His presence and fellowship.

“But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment,” (1 Timothy 6:6).

When we stop seeking after God’s things and simply seek Him, we will begin to see and walk in His plan for our lives. It is only in His presence that we will receive everything we ever wanted.

 

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Unconditional Love: Relationship or Religion

We are created by God to be in relationship with Him and to know Him intimately.

Unconditional-Love-Relationship-or-Religion-Created-by-God-QuoteWe all have different talents and abilities, and a specific calling given to us by our heavenly Father. But the greatest thing we can ever do is to have relationship with Him.  That is to know and love Him, because He first loved us.

Jesus said it this way, “And Jesus replied to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment,’” Matthew 22:37-38 (NASB)

When He said to love God with all of our heart, soul and mind, Jesus is being repetitive to make a point. Our heart and our mind make up our soul. The reason He said it that way was to emphasize the importance of loving God with everything that we have.

This is the reason that a hardened heart is so crippling to our relationship with God.

It’s incapable of loving Him with everything, because it isn’t set on Him.

When our hearts are insensitive toward God we’ll look everywhere else for the peace and contentment that only He can give.

It will hinder us from knowing and loving God. Worse than that, it will hold us back from experiencing God’s love for us.

Our hearts become hardened because we believe that God’s love for us is conditional.

Unconditional-Love-Relationship-or-Religion-hearts-insensitive-QuoteWe think that it’s like man’s love and is based on our good or bad actions. This couldn’t be further from the truth. However, we accept it as truth because the idea of unconditional love is difficult for our minds to grasp.

But, if we’re ever going to love God with all of our hearts, we must first receive His love by faith.

“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins,” 1 John 4:10 (NLT)

Receiving His love will break down the walls we’ve built around our hearts. His unconditional love will show us that we don’t need to look anywhere else for peace or contentment.  Because we can always find peace and contentment in Him.

We’ll fulfill our purpose of loving Him with all of our hearts when we believe that He first loved us.

Keeping a Cheerful Heart

A cheerful heartWhen God’s vision for our lives seemingly is not coming to pass, we can become callous and condition ourselves to expect failure, making it very difficult to maintain a cheerful heart.

God did not create us to expect loss and disappointment.

So, when we find ourselves looking for the negative in every positive, and pointing out every reason why something won’t work out for us, we know that we’ve gotten off track. We aren’t tuned into our Father’s love for us. We’ve lost hope.

“A miserable heart means a miserable life; a cheerful heart fills the day with song,” (Proverbs 15:15 The Message).

The first half of this verse is a sad but accurate description of a heart that has lost faith. Faith is the ability to receive from God creating a cheerful heart and cheerful disposition. When we lose this we become miserable.

One of the saddest parts of living a life like this is that we lose our ability to enjoy the good things in life, our ability to be cheerful. We don’t fully experience joy because we’re always expecting the next storm to hit our lives.

We think that this makes us logical, and that we’re smart for readying ourselves for life’s inevitable disappointments. What we’re actually doing is hardening our hearts to the grace and joy of God. So, we’re weakening ourselves because we’re more sensitive and responsive to failures and setbacks than we are to the power and goodness of God.

To change this we have to make a choice. We have to decide that we’re tired of living a miserable life without faith.  We have to choose to be cheerful.  When we make this decision our Heavenly Father gives us the remedy in His Word.

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord, In the land of the living,” (Psalm 27:13 NASB).

The solution for despair is faith. Look at the verse again, “I would have despaired unless I had believed.” Despair only survives in the absence of faith. As soon as we decide to start believing God over our fears, our past and our circumstances, we’ll stop living hopeless lives of despair. Instead we’ll have faith that God’s

goodness, or His grace, is working for us and through us.

When we live by faith it doesn’t stop bad things from happening. It means that we no longer expect them to control our lives. All of our expectations are now in Christ.

If we lose our job, we have faith that God will provide a better one.

If we, or any of our family members get sick, we have faith that God will heal them.

If our marriage is in trouble, we have faith that God will show us how to repair it.

Living by faith means that we receive all the good things that God has for us. It means that when tests and trials come against us, we don’t believe that our world is falling apart. We see it as another opportunity for God to show Himself strong.

A life of faith is not miserable or filled with despair. It fills our heart with joy and expectation. It “…fills the day with song,” (Proverbs 15:15).

Looking Beyond Pain

We should never allow our pain to make us cold and insensitive to God.

Look Beyond The Pain -- Photo of Young Man Looking Out of a Window

How do we look beyond the pain though? By responding to hurt the way our Father tells us to.

We imitate Jesus. What did Jesus do in the middle of the most painful moment of His life?

He looked ahead to the promise of God.

Hebrews 12:2b, “…who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Let’s look at what the word “despise” really means.  It means to think lightly of, to not care for, to neglect. It is the opposite of caring about something or supporting something.

So, to despise the shame of our past means that we think lightly of it. We neglect it, and we stop supporting it.

Too many times we allow shame to define us.

We turn it into the biggest part of our identity. Instead of despising it, we exalt it. Instead of neglecting it, we focus on it. We continue supporting it.

When we choose to despise the shame, we strip it of its power over us. It is no longer our identity. It doesn’t hang over us like a black cloud.

That is what Jesus did on the cross; He despised the shame and focused on the joy set before Him.

That is why He isn’t just Jesus of Nazareth who died on a cross. He is Jesus Christ, the risen savior.

We have faith in God because He always has joy set before us.

Look Beyond The Pain - Photo of Man on wall looking at the sea and city scape

If we’re too focused on the circumstance we’ll get stuck in it and miss the joy.

Notice that joy was set before Jesus. It was out in front of Him. Jesus did not have a mindset that His best days were behind Him. He didn’t hang on the cross thinking about all the people that He raised from the dead. Jesus wasn’t reminiscing about the miracles or the times of prayer. He was looking forward to what would come after the Cross.

Jesus made a choice to look beyond the pain of His present situation to see what God had in store for Him.

It’s a conscious choice to look at Jesus in the middle of the pain. This is how we keep a sensitive heart toward our heavenly Father in the midst of adverse circumstances. We put our faith in the promises of God. We believe in the promise of joy.

This will cause us to stop identifying with the shame of our past and to know that we are complete in Christ. (Colossians 2:10). We won’t just be old sinners, saved by grace. We’ll be kings and priests, seated with Christ in heavenly places. (Revelation 5:10, Ephesians 2:6).

Recognizing a Hardened Heart

There are many people who read books and articles or hear sermons about a hardened heart and immediately start thinking about everyone else in their life, because there is no way they could be talking about them. However, that kind of thinking is a sign of a hardened heart. If we refuse to see the need for healing or growth, our hearts have become hardened by pride.

If we allow our hearts to continue this way, our lives will be unproductive and we’ll be frustrated. The first step in solving this problem is recognizing that there is a problem. We have to realize that we have a hardened heart towards God in one way or another.

We don’t need to condemn ourselves for this. We just need to know if it’s true about us and allow God to work in our lives to fix the problem.

How do we know if we have a hardened heart or not?

One of the best ways to find out is by asking God. He promises to give us wisdom for every area of our lives. He’ll show us where we have shut Him out and help us soften our hearts.

There are ways that we can see where our hearts are hardened in our day-to-day lives. One indicator of a hardened heart is if we need constant validation from everyone around us.

If we always need other people to tell us how good we are, what a great job we’re doing, etc., then we have placed our confidence in man and not in God. What we’re saying is, “God, I know the Bible says that you love me and that I’m righteous in Christ, but I don’t totally believe it, so I’m going to continue to seek love and approval elsewhere.”

This is a spirit of fear and insecurity. We are afraid of the idea that what God says about us isn’t actually true, and it makes us insecure around people. So we have to constantly make sure that we’re on good terms with them.

God created us to get everything we need from Him. If He says that we are loved and approved of, that should be more than enough. When we go around seeking

approval from everyone else, it means that we aren’t putting our faith in our heavenly Father; we’re putting it in man, and we have a hardened heart.

How do we fix this problem?

Through the power and word of God.

The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

The spirit of fear that makes us insecure and timid around people is not from God. That means we don’t have to accept it. We have to resist the need to seek out the approval of man.

The first step is how we talk to ourselves. We need to tell ourselves that we are the righteousness of God in Christ. We don’t just need to do this once a day. We need to do this every time we sense feelings of inadequacy creeping into our minds. Confessing the word of God will cause us to overcome the spirit of fear.

We also need to make a conscious effort to stop asking everyone what they think about every aspect of our lives. We don’t need everyone’s opinion about our

outfit, our hair, our choices, etc. We should seek the wisdom of God and the counsel of strong, godly people and let everyone else’s opinions fall where they may.

When we do these two things, we’ll see our hearts soften towards God. The voice of God will be clearer because it won’t be drowned out by everyone else’s voice. We’ll be more confident because our approval will come from our absolutely loving heavenly Father and
guard your heart
not the fickle opinions of man.

This is just one way to tell if our hearts are hardened. We’ll look at more signs of a hardened heart and how to move past them in the weeks to come.

Keeping a soft heart

The people we’re around the most have the easiest access to our hearts, whether we know it or not. Our coworkers, friends and, obviously, our spouses have the ability to speak directly to our hearts. Hopefully this is a good thing in all of our lives. We need people who can speak the Word and life into us when we lose sight of who we are in Christ.

There are people who do the opposite though. Some people speak negativity and doubt and, because they are close to us, or we respect them, we allow those words into our hearts.

This is so important because we will become like the people who have the most influential voices in our lives. If these people are angry, negative, self-absorbed and filled with doubt, then we shouldn’t be surprised when our behavior becomes a reflection of theirs.

One thing we must know about this truth is that even if we spend our time filling our hearts with the word of God and worshiping Him, we can still have a hard heart because of our relationships.

1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’”

We can spend time cultivating good spiritual disciplines and keeping a sensitive heart toward God just to guard your hearthave it undone by the worldly-minded people around us.

Sometimes we can fight against this by simply removing these people from our lives. This might sound harsh, but if certain people are constantly trying to move our focus away from our heavenly father to the negative circumstances around us, then we don’t need their voices in our lives.

However, sometimes we can’t just walk away from certain relationships. If your spouse is a negative person, then you obviously can’t remove him or her from your life. In these circumstances you have to learn to strengthen yourself in the Lord the way King David did in 1 Samuel 30:6.

Everyone around David was distressed and angry, and they decided to turn their anger to David. Instead of giving in to their anger and believing what everyone was saying about him, David encouraged himself with the words of God.

This is what we should do when the people that are closest to us only seem to speak death. Instead of allowing those words to penetrate our hearts and influence our lives, we simply need to speak the word of God to ourselves. This will keep our hearts from becoming hard towards our heavenly father. It will also help keep our hearts from becoming hard towards the people around us.