following Jesus

Love God and do what you please _St. Augustine


Keep your relationship to Jesus right and God will fulfill His purposes in your life. Get out of touch with His Living Spirit, go in your own strength and you will walk in flesh. 

Oswald Chambers was the one who pounded this into my heart when I first became a Christian. I lost it countless times since those early years but it has echoed again in my heart when I realize I’ve been going it alone and trying to become right and be made whole by my own works instead of because and through Christ’s work in me. Namely, if I have taken of praying with desperation of myself. Praying with desperation for God to be at work in me. Also praying with faith that GOD IS. God is at work in me and that He has won the battle. 

FAITH.

Do I believe the promises for my life? Do I live in conscious dependence on Him? He’s the Source. 

Are we seeking to work for Jesus or to LOVE Jesus? Love Jesus and He’ll work through you His work. 

I’m not giving up

I’m choosing contentment with the messes of life. Yes, there will be plenty of things in my life I would prefer not to have but I’m not going to just give up on them and get discouraged when things don’t go as I’d like them too. Yes, the floors are almost always dirty. Our clothes are almost always out of the drawers and closets and the laundry is almost never caught up on completely but I’m choosing joy and contentment right now because it’s THE right thing. It’s the way to live with joy now instead of wanting the illusive moment of perfection. I’m going to have to wait a while for perfection. It’s coming but it’s an echo for a world in which righteousness dwells perfectly. For now though Jesus calls us to Himself to come and gain a quiet content heart.

If you expect perfection or nothing you will always end up with nothing.
-Edith Schaeffer

What are you telling yourself?

The words we speak over our lives are powerful. When we speak words of complaint, fear, bitterness and envy over our days we will reap and live in those dark and worldly, hopeless place. Satan will have reign to create chaos and we will believe what we say to ourselves.

 You see, when we say negative things Satan works to build strongholds in our minds. The enemy, Satan, wants us to concentrate on our problems until we get to the point that we realize the whole thing is hopeless and no one-not even God can help us out of our mess. Let me tell you that is just not true. When we are faced with setbacks, it is really important to make a decision not to focus on your problem~ as hard as that may be. Instead focus on God and begin speaking Gods word. When we focus on God, we realize that with God all things are possible. This is called casting down imaginations and holding captive the negative thoughts and words in our mind.(II Corinthians 10:5) Negative thoughts will continue to enter your mind but you can choose not to let those in to take root and grow into a stronghold. Be at peace, calm and relaxed. Remember God will fight our battles for us, so worrying doesn’t make it easier for God to work- actually it makes it harder. If you choose to stay in an attitude of faith and peace it makes it easier for God to work. It also makes it easier to start reciting and speaking God’s word over our problems. Remember what the enemy, Satan, intends for harm God can make it work out for good.(Genesis 50:20) -Beth Rimstidt

When our mouths want to proclaim that “we don’t have enough time” or “we’re overwelmed” or “too tired” or when your marriage feels dry. When we are tempted by waves of doubt, pain, loneliness or anxiety we must remind ourselves who our God is: proclaim to ourselves say it outloud find a song and sing it: God You are my Healer, You are my strength, You are my Shield, You are my Rock of Refuge. You are my Shepherd and I shall lack no good thing. You restore my soul. Your grace IS sufficient. You are always with me and You comfort me. You sing songs of joy over me and delight in me. You are pleased with me through Jesus Christ. His blood has washed me and made me a new creature. I am alive to You and You are my life. My life is hidden in You and the evil one cannot touch me. Proclaim the truths about who our God is to you and proclaim that you will not be held captive by words of death but only words of life. Words of Truth. Meditate on these things. For me often I’ll have Scripture and worship songs on during the day. Or I’ll have a journal open with a short sentence of Truth on it in the kitchen and glance at it while cooking or cleaning. I have a pen near by to write down new sentances of truth as God reminds me of Scripture or a word of encouragement.

When you are with your children, husband or a friend remind yourself to boldy proclaim words of life to your friends and don’t allow them to speak proclomations of death on themselves or yourself. Satan spoke through Peter and Jesus told Satan to get behind Him. Even Christians at times can speak words from the evil one and we must be bold and rebuke words of death and in stead proclaim words of life over ourselves, families and friends. Our inhertitance is great in Christ and we must live out of those riches, our riches in Christ–His goodness which is ours in Him. Our God is RICHLY generous and full of compassion to us. He has so much for us. Let’s dive deep into His goodness for us. “He who did not spare His own Son, won’t He freely give us all things?

No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.” Isaiah 54:17

When your mind wanders to the tasks ahead of you, whether it’s training and schooling your children or dealing with chronic illness or facing challenges in relationships and Satan whispers “how do you think you can do all this?” Let us agree that in and off ourselves yes we are not in our own strength able but then let us boldly proclaim that our new strength is found in Christ who is our LIFE. He is more than enough for us and He will give us all the stregnth we need. He will be our all. Lord, tell us again who we are to You! Revive us with Your Truth. May we meditate on it day and night. May we boldly speak it over our children, friends and ourselves.

all must be done by Him

God does not share His glory with us; therefore He is obliged to bring us from failure to failure – not however to end in discouragement, but that we may come to condemn and abhor ourselves. Then when we have found there is no more anything to hope for in ourselves, we learn to come in a new way – perhaps after a long career of Christian profession – as undone ones at His feet; ready now, on the ground of our dreadful experience, to be introduced into the Divine simplicity of a life like Christ by the Holy Spirit, who never ceases to work even when we are halting at the first steps of Christ’s redemption. He introduces us, through the Holy Scriptures, into the simplicity of Divine secrets when we are yielded up to Him in full despair about ourselves and in despair of bringing forth anything worthy of Christ and of God. Then we learn how all must be done by Him in us and that the Holy Ghost waits to show His power to transform us into the image of Christ, even through our very failures.”—Otto Stockmayer

This sums it up…God must bring us to see that there is “no good thing, residing in my flesh” and that I can not make myself grow the fruits of the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh. No, it’s by death that God comes and takes His place and lives in us. His fruit comes from His abiding in us. When flesh is ruling, He’s not abiding. 1 John and Romans talk about this. It’s a moment by moment thing. I can’t feed my flesh and expect to be living in Christ’s light or joy. Lord, give light and open our hearts to You.

An encouragement to all of us when we face trials of any shape or sort, remember, these are some of our Lord’s greatest mercies to us:

“The deepest death to self lies in the motives and intentions, hence this all-consuming motive to want to be nothing but a capacity for Christ to live in lies at the foundation of the death of self and the highest life of Christ. With this pure motive fixed in the heart, we are to habitually and willingly accept of every occasion for humiliation and self-abasement which God’s providence brings to us. While on the one hand we are neither to make or seek a cross, on the other hand we are to sweetly and willingly accept of every blow, or mortification, or inconvenience, or painful annoyance which comes to us in the order of God’s providential will. Humiliation is the very quintessence of the Christ-life, and we must appreciate every opportunity of sinking into humility. Hence when reproaches, unkind treatment, poverty, loneliness, persecution, mental distresses, seeming failure in our work, disappointments, deep perplexities, or any disagreeable thing comes to us, if we are in a state of divine recollection, we are to calmly face these things as appropriate occasions for losing our own will and letting the omnipotence of God take charge of them. We can thereby in these humiliations be more delicately and firmly knit to the will of God.”—G. D. Watson

power of godliness

“I used to be looking for a series of experiences … of dying with the Lord, hoping that I would have done with that lesson and pass on to the next, that I would be able to appreciate I had risen with Christ and then pass on to know what it is to reign with the Lord. These are true together, they are always true and they are only true as they are held together in one complete identification of the sinner with the Saviour. Only as we die daily do we reign. We are never more reigning on the throne than we are dying on the cross. Daily we, too, are invited to save ourselves and come down. Whenever we do, we cease to reign and we cease to bless. Some small trial of daily routine, a crossing of personal preference in a very little thing, an accumulation of duties, unexpected interruptions, unwelcome distractions. Yesterday these things merely fretted you, and internally at least, ‘upset’ you. Today on the contrary, you take them up, and stretch your hands out upon them, and let them be the occasion of new disgrace and deeper death for that old self-spirit. You take them up in loving, worshipping acceptance. You carry them to their Calvary in thankful submission. And tomorrow you will do the same. These things naturally fret us and upset us. Let them be a call to deeper death. The cross never grows easier, but is inseparably linked with spiritual power.”—Fred Mitchel, a former Director of the China Inland Mission

More excellent quotes on this subject here

Christian Hedonism: seek true happiness

Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. CS Lewis

I’m re reading John Piper’s book Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist (it’s free online) and it’s reminding me how our hearts need to be awakened to JOY. So much of the church is deadened by the world. It’s desperately looking for joy and fulfillment in people, places and things not in the Only One who gives joy and true happiness. God doesn’t tell us our desires for happiness are too big, He tells us they are too little. We think that this world can satisfy but it was never meant too. How can we follow Christ half heartedly? We can’t! We must have an undivided heart. We must decide to seek God as our happiness. His joy must be our highest pleasure and goal. We must give up our life to Him and be amazed at how much beauty He forms from the ashes of our sacrifice. We cringe at the words die to self and the world but when we have we can’t imagine ever going back to the misery of seeking this world or our own way. Oh Lord, that YOU might capture our hearts and never let us go. Captivate us. Lord, may You satisfy our hearts in the morning and fill us with Your goodness. Our joy doesn’t depend on any circumstance our joy depends on enjoying YOU. We were created to ENJOY you. To find our happiness in You. Open our eyes, may we taste and see You are good. Blessed are all who seek You!

 I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord.  The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord;  but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished.  George Muller

Cry out to the Lord Jesus to fill the dry beds of your rivers until they overflow, and then empty the channels that have until now been filled with your own self-sufficiency. Ask Him to fill these also with His superabundant grace. If your heavy trials cause you to sink deeper in the flood of His consolations, be glad of them.. CH Spurgeon

the mystery of faith

When self-doubt whispers, “I’ll never change.” Throw that lie away and hold onto this truth: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in [me] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6, –  A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

 

Faith allows us to see past our mistakes and see God’s hand and His power. We realize that God is the One who will complete the work He’s started in us. When I start doubting I’ll ever be good enough I have succumbed to the accuser of our souls and forgotten the gospel. It has been an incredible comfort the past while learning anew to rest and rejoice in the certainty of my heart growing in God’s way. With God on our side how can we not win? Satan can not mock God and tell Him that His redeemed will fall away. We cannot be snatched from Christ’s hands. We are redeemed. Let us give thanks and stand in awe. God’s love is unwavering. We waver, yes, but He holds us always.

A Confident Hope is an amazing book. It really addresses the core issues I think all women struggle with. She has a lot on motherhood and our core identity among other things.

power, love & sound mind

This article is excellent! There have been so many battles going on inside me the past while. When you deep clean a room the dust flies and things look worse than before. Before the dirt was all hidden now it comes out of the woodwork. In order for God to change us He must show us our sin and things get stirred up. Thank God there is a battle going on. I can rejoice in knowing victory is there in Christ. No battle means no victory. Yes, the battle’s hard but what do we expect?  I’ve realized is that instead of talking about my feelings and the battle with a person I first need to take it directly to God. Ask Him to strengthen my faith so that I can speak the truth over the situation and my heart and feelings. I need to remember the evil one wants me to despair impatiently over the situation.

“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began”

2 Timothy 1:6-9

We can see the Lord saving and calling every one of us with a holy calling, according to His own purpose and grace, even before the foundation of the world (verse 9). We can also see that He has placed gifts on the inside of us, which we must stir (verse 6). That’s God’s image for us. But obviously, there is an opposition; there are spirits of fear, shame, blockages, obstructions, afflictions, etc (verse 8).

God has given us in Christ’s Spirit within us a sound mind. Proclaim it to yourself and rest in it. Ask God to still the clamor and anxiety that wells up and let God’s Spirit fill you with His promises and life giving commands. Follow even when it doesn’t seem like things will work out..Trust. In quietness and rest is your salvation. Waiting for God to ask is a work of faith and impatience shows our unbelief.

All in all, the Spirit the Lord has given us is a Spirit that will lead us in victory in each and every area of our life with God. It will make us more than conquerors (Romans 8:37).

I also need to remember to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and not seek that which “seems good” and “sounds right” to me naturally. Those are the paths that lead us off course into the devil’s territory of defeat and darkness. What sounds good to the flesh is deadly. Watch out for that feeling of fleshly satisfaction. Remind yourselves that sin always leads to great regret and bears bitter fruit in our lives and hurts others. Not to mention grieves and leaves us out of close fellowship with our Savior. The one who fills our hearts with joy and light. When we are seeking God’s kingdom first we remember that yes we will have sorrow and hardship and have painful feelings but that if we give these feelings to God and ask for His truth to redeem and give light to us and that we might follow Him through the hurt and confusion (at times) He will add “all these other things” to us. Those things which our hearts desire (godly and true desires) and need He will provide beyond what we could ask or imagine! God’s in this for the long term may we also be waiting in faith for His work in us.

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”

Corinthians 10:3-5