Living By Emotions

FAITH-AND-FOCUS-Living-By-Emotion-Father-has-Emotions-quote-photo-from-unsplashnaianwang.jpgWe live in a world where most people are run by their physical senses and their emotions.

They make decisions based on what they see and feel. Their reactions to people and situations come from their emotions. We can all relate to this kind of life.  It’s how we lived before we put our faith in Jesus.

Our heavenly Father has emotions, but He is not controlled by them.

If He were, He never would have created the universe, earth and mankind. When God first looked at the earth, the Bible says that it was “formless and void” (Genesis 1:2), or that it was in chaos and darkness. Chaos, formless, darkness and void aren’t the words that any of us would use to describe potential. We definitely wouldn’t think that they would be the precursors to creation. However, our God is a faith God.  He has always been wholly unaffected by what can be seen in the physical world.

God saw the void and spoke what He desired to see.

He did not let the void determine His desires. He knew that what was in His heart was greater than what He saw with His eyes. So, He did not speak what His eyes saw, but what His heart desired.

Living-By-Emotion-Not-ruled-by-Emotions-quote-photo-from-unsplashatharvaleleThis is a perfect picture of how our faith should work.

As sons and daughters of God, our lives should not be ruled by anything we see or feel, but by our faith in God and His Word. The people and situations around us will constantly change for better or worse and if we allow them to control us, our lives will be weak and chaotic. We need to imitate our Father and speak what we desire in our hearts, not what we see with our eyes.  

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal,” 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NASB)

God’s Word has infinite ability to bring life to what’s dead, peace to our chaos and victory where we have only seen defeat. We only need to speak it in faith.

FAITH AND FOCUS: Totally Dependent On God

FAITH-AND-FOCUS-Totally-Dependent-Upon-God-Dependent-QuoteFaith is being totally dependent on God.

We often hear statements like that and mentally or verbally agree without letting it truly sink into our hearts. Being totally dependent on our heavenly Father would require laying aside all of our preconceived notions about life.  It requires us to put all our confidence in Him based on what He’s said in His Word.  We would have to lose all confidence in our own ability. This kind of living is obviously foreign to our human mind, but it’s the deepest desire of our born again spirit.

When we accept the love and forgiveness that Jesus bought on the Cross, our once dead spirit is made alive in Him.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” Ephesians 2:4-5 (NASB)

Our spirits are brought to life by Christ’s spirit.  He places all of His power, wisdom and desires into our spirits. The desire of our spirit is to be absolutely reliant on God. However, our flesh and mind initially fight against our spirit in this, because they are accustomed to relying on themselves.

“Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:38 (NASB)

FAITH-AND-FOCUS-Totally-Dependent-Upon-God-Walk-by-Faith-QuoteBefore we allow Christ into our lives we are forced to depend on our own strength and our own intelligence.

So, learning to depend on Him is a process. He doesn’t get frustrated with us in this process, but He also doesn’t want us to stand still. Our Father doesn’t demand perfection, but He greatly desires progress. He wants us to take steps of trust toward Him every day.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NASB)

FAITH AND FOCUS: The Potential of Faith

FAITH-AND-FOCUS-THE-PURPOSE-OF-FAITH-HEBREWS-QuoteBy faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Hebrews 11:3 (NKJV)

Our heavenly Father is a faith God.

What He sees does not affect Him.  Instead, God speaks into being what He desires.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said…” Genesis 1:1-3 (NKJV)

As soon as God started speaking the darkness dissipated and the world, and everything in it, came into being. He had no doubt that He would see what He spoke. We should notice that there’s no verse in the creation story that speaks of how surprised God was when His words actually worked. This is the kind of faith God has given us. FAITH-AND-FOCUS-THE-PURPOSE-OF-FAITH-Our-Faith-Potential-Quote

“…as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith,” Romans 12:3b (NKJV)

The faith we’ve been given isn’t  lesser, weaker or even faith of a different kind.  Our Father wants us to operate in the same power and assurance as He does. He never desires to see us strain and struggle in confusion just wishing our it would work.

However, it can seem this way when we don’t have a good understanding of what faith is, how to use it and how we can strengthen our faith.  It’s not God, or other people, or circumstances that frustrate us; we haven’t learned that our faith has the same potential as God’s faith.

When this revelation roots itself in our hearts, it will bear the fruit of victory.

Order Or Chaos: Finding our Purpose

God created every man and woman with a purpose.-ORDER-OR-CHAOS-Finding-Our-Purpose-Find-Purpose-Quote

This truth begs the question, “Why do so many people spend their lives looking for and never finding that purpose?”

The answer is simple: They do not go to their heavenly Father to find it.

All of our gifts, talents and abilities are given to us by God for the purpose of worshiping Him and serving others.

“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 (AMP)

Where can we most readily worship God and serve other people?

In the church.

God promised that His eyes and His heart would always be on His house.

“I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.” 1 Kings 9:3 (NASB)

ORDER-OR-CHAOS-Finding-Our-Purpose-Eyes-and-Heart-QuoteIf all of our natural skill is a gift of God’s grace, it makes sense that we would discover it and use it to its fullest extent in His house.  This isn’t to say that people don’t find and use their gifts and talents in other places.  It means that if we prioritize God’s church we are in the perfect position to discover our purpose.

God is a loving Father and does not desire that we, His children, go through life battling confusion and frustration.

He is ready to give us all the answers that we need.  We should stop searching for God where everyone else tells us that He is. We should look for Him where He promised us He’d always be: in His house.

Order or Chaos: Priority

ORDER-OR-CHAOS-Priority-True-Identity-QuoteThe world we live in rebels against order and authority. 

We think if we place ourselves under authority, then we are giving up our identity and our freedom.  However, the kingdom of God does not work this way.  We find our true identity and the greatest freedom when we willingly place ourselves under God’s authority.

The first step in seeing order prevail over chaos in our lives is making Jesus our main priority.

Putting anything else in front of Him is a sign of our trying to live by our own power. Anything we prioritize above Jesus is something we think we can do without Him. Giving Christ preeminence in our lives allows His grace to work.

When we get the first step wrong, everything after it follows suit. This is exactly what happened to Adam and Eve. They were given paradise to live in, the authority to rule it and a perfect, simple order to follow. Everything was working in perfect harmony and one seed of doubt planted in Eve’s mind put all of creation back into chaos.

ORDER-OR-CHAOS-Priority-Matthew-QuoteWe invite disorder when we abandon the order God has established.

Our heavenly Father is so loving, though, that He does not make His established order difficult to achieve. In the Old Testament mankind was required to keep God’s laws, and when they disobeyed war, famine and poverty ensued.  Now we live in a time when Jesus has fulfilled the law, so He tells us to do one thing.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33(NASB)

God will bring all the things we seek and desire to us when we have given the rule of our lives to Jesus.  This goes far beyond any physical thing.  What we’re really after is peace.  What we really need is power.  Both of these things, and others like them, can and will always be found inside God’s established order with Jesus at the forefront.  

Eternal Freedom or Temporary Relief?

The world has many different versions of “freedom” that only lead to slavery. 

Many versions of freedom are only temporary relief from pain.   Other versions of freedom are an escape from the prison of daily life.  People seek relief in vacations, drugs, shopping, alcohol, other people, etc.   We think if we can just get away for a moment, then everything will be fine once we return.   Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth.   This kind of freedom gives less and less with each experience. In order to get what we want out of it, we have to give more and more of ourselves while receivETERNAL-FREEDOM-OR-TEMPORARY-RELIEF-Dont-need-relief-quote-photo-from-unsplashdawidzawilaing less in return.

The freedom that we can have in Jesus is exactly the opposite.

We believe in Him with mustard seed faith and we get everything we’ll ever need in Him.   In Christ we have the ability to have a life we don’t need relief or escape from.  Jesus saves us and truly sets us free.

“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law,” Galatians 5:1 (NLT)

We only live this way when we know and believe the truth of God’s Word.

-ETERNAL-FREEDOM-OR-TEMPORARY-RELIEF-quote-photo-from-unsplashjamiestreetWe’re programmed to live like the world and the Word teaches us how to live freely. God sent Jesus not only to save us, but to be our perfect example of freedom.

Our Heavenly Father knows that if we follow Jesus’ example and allow our lives to be transformed by His Word, we’ll live as He intended. The truth of Jesus’ life and words are what set us free.  They are also what keep us free.

“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free,” John 8:31-32 (NASB)

Understanding Value

Have you ever thought about what you value?

All of us know somebody who has spent what seems like an outrageous amount of money on something ridiculous. People buy boats, guns, art, historical pieces, custom made instruments, etc. because those items are of great value to them.  We would never spend what they spend on those things.  But we also don’t cherish and understand those things the way they do.  The worth of the UNDERSTANDING-VALUE-Father-Gave-Quote-photoobject comes from the value placed on it, and its value increases with love and understanding.

Our salvation and freedom was worth so much to our heavenly Father that He gave what was most valuable to Him.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NASB)

God loves us perfectly and understands our value, so He was willing to pay the highest price to save us.

This makes our freedom in Christ worth more than anything we could ever possess.  If we don’t understand that, we won’t value it.

It’s possible to receive salvation by the grace of God and then live as if it isn’t worth much.

That’s why our Father gave us His Holy Spirit and spoke through Paul in Ephesians chapter one:

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” Ephesians 1:17-19a (NASB)

Look at the words in these verses: “the riches of the glory of the inheritance,” and “the surpassing greatness of His power.”  These phrases show that God places the highest of value on our salvation. He gave the greatest thing He could give, Jesus Christ, in order to pay for it.  Now that He’s given it to us as a free gift, He wants us to understand what it means.UNDERSTANDING-VALUE-Quote-photo

The only way we can fully know what it is to be free in Christ is through the revelation of His Word given to us by His Spirit.

Spending time reading, studying and adoring God’s Word is never a waste of time.  Listening to solid, biblical teaching will always take us to a new dimension of faith and relationship with Him.

Understanding will open our eyes to the riches of His glory and the surpassing greatness of His power. Learn to value your freedom and you’ll experience it like never before.

Live a Life of Freedom

Freedom was God’s original intent for mankind.

LIVE-A-LIFE-OF-FREEDOM-CREATED-TO-LIVE-IN-FREEDOMWe were created to live in freedom, experiencing His love and exercising our authority over the earth. God didn’t fashion us to live under the power of sin and condemnation. However, Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden put all of mankind under that power.

God sent Jesus to save us from the authority of sin and an eternity separated from our Father.

“For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 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; for he who has died is freed from sin.” Romans 6:5-7 (NASB)

Once we are united with Christ we are free from sin and now are carriers of Jesus’ power and dominion.

We can’t lose our salvation or our power, but we can choose to live as slaves of sin. All power, wisdom and love reside in our spirits but can go untouched through our decision to live as slaves.

How do we avoid living as slaves after we’ve been born again? -LIVE-A-LIFE-OF-FREEDOM-WORD-OF-GOD-QUOTE

“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)

One of the reasons people choose to live as slaves is they don’t know what to do with their freedom. The Word of God will teach us how to live a free life.

Our lives before salvation are conformed to the world we live in and we bring those mindsets to our new life.  It’s our spirits that are saved and sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13), but our minds are still conformed to the world. The Word of God will reform our minds to think like Jesus, so we can live like Him.

Patriotism and Hope for Our Nation

Patriotism seems to be on the decline in the United States today. 

PATRIOTISM-a-great-nation-quoteTearing down America has become something of a verbal sport, where the people who find clever and unique ways to insult our nation, its leaders and its people, are rewarded with attention and waves of agreement.  The 24 hour news cycle seems to be a highlight reel of tragedy and the impending doom of our country.  If we paid attention to these people, we would probably abandon all hope.

Even though we are still a great nation, we are not the shining light we once were. This isn’t because of the laws we’ve passed or the 20 trillion dollar debt we have. Things like this are just symptoms of the real problem. The root of the problem is the decreasing influence God has had in our nation over the years.

We were and are a great nation because God has greatly blessed us.

As members of the Body of Christ, we shouldn’t be influenced by the indifference and negativity we see around us.  In the face of apparent hopelessness, we should be beacons of hope, living our lives to glorify God.  We should be allowing His blessing to flow through us.

PATRIOTISM-beacons-of-hope-quote-photoThis truth should also apply to the way we live in our nation.  Many people have said that America will never be what it once was, and that God cannot save us.  Christians must passionately believe that God’s love and power can change the U.S.A.  We should return to the godly principles that helped to make this nation great.

Paul had this kind of passion for the people of his heritage:

“I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,” Romans 9:1-3 (NASB)

His desire for his countrymen to know the love of his Heavenly Father was so great that Paul was willing to lose his own salvation.  This is how we should love our nation: by having a deep desire for its people to know the love of God.

We don’t need to lament at legislation and movements with which we do not agree.  Let’s recognize that evil and immoral things come from hearts that don’t know Jesus.

We live in a blessed nation.  We should make it one of our goals to continually show people that this blessing comes from a loving God.

Our nation can return to and surpass its former greatness as we put our faith and hope in our Heavenly Father.

The Abundant Life: The Starting Place of Abundance

There’s no question that all of us want to live an abundant life.Abundant-Life-The-Starting-Place-Plant-a-Seed-Quote-photo

Nobody would say no to having a better marriage, a more fulfilling job, the ability to be more generous and feel satisfied with their life. Every person on the planet wants a life like that – an abundant life.

The most difficult step in living the abundant life is the first one. Some people don’t take the first step out of fear, some out of ignorance, but either way the beginning of the journey is what eludes people and leaves them in their current state.

The first step is planting seed.

If we’re going to reap a harvest, or live an abundant life, we have to plant something. No seed means no harvest.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we need to plant a large amount of seed to reap any kind of harvest. However, our Father is more concerned with the state of our hearts when we give, than the amount that we give. A greedy heart giving a lot of time or money will still reap a small harvest. A generous heart giving a small amount can reap a large harvest.

Abundant-Life-The-Starting-Place-Luke-16-10Quote-photo“And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on,” Mark 12:41 – 44 (NASB)

Even though the widow gave a smaller amount she actually gave more because of the state of her heart.

This is the attitude we have to have to start planting. We don’t need to look at the amount we’re giving, no matter how small it may be. We need to have faith that God will cause growth and bring us the harvest He’s promised us.

“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much.” Luke 16:10a (NKJV)