Be Bold For Jesus

bold for jesus

I enjoy reading many of your posts as a subscriber. Your words continue to inspire me, teach me, and encourage me along the way to follow Jesus of Nazareth.

Today, I was challenged by a post by Don Merritt, and his website, The Life Project. His article called The Reaction of the Believers made me wonder if I am actually advancing the gospel message? Instead of praying for boldness to advance God’s kingdom, I find myself living comfortably, not persecuted for my faith, and being more interested in maintaining the status quo.

I have noticed through reading his articles that the Holy Spirit inspired believers with boldness for the advancement of God’s kingdom. These were the front line workers who left everything to follow Jesus. They took nothing with them and depended on Jesus for everything. They were severely persecuted for their faith in ways that would truly inspire any believer to step forward.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy being encouraged, and encouraging others. I think of myself as a believer who is called to support the body of Christ. However, at the same time, I wonder what I am doing for the sake of the Gospel message?

As I am writing this, God is reminding me that we are one body in Christ, but with many members. We have been saved by His grace through faith and empowered to live faith-filled lives. Our giftings are different, and that is the blessing of a supportive group of believers. Together, we encourage and build up one another for the glory of His name.

So, if you are struggling to find your place among believers, remember that you are very special, and uniquely gifted, as a follower of Jesus of Nazareth. No gift is too small for you to offer someone in need. For every glass of water given to a stranger will refresh their soul, and make them wonder about the life of Jesus within you.

So, be bold, and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. He will help you to remember everything that Jesus has taught you, and give you the boldness of a lion to step forward for the sake of His kingdom, and for the glory of His name. Amen.

Covering Your Debt

covering your debt

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. (Proverbs 22:7)

When you owe money, you become a slave to your lender. In other words, you are submitted to your lender, who has power over you, as long as you have something that belongs to them. They are entitled to have their say in your life, by charging you interest and dictating the terms of your repayment. You can only return to your state of freedom when your debt has been paid in full.

Several years ago, my wife and I owed over $8000 in consumer debt. During my 50th year, we decided to try to get rid of our debt and change our spending habits. So, I cashed out an RRSP from my work to cover our debt, and we started using cash to pay for all of our expenses. These changes began a new life for us, as we started to consider buying only what we needed, rather than spending money on whatever we wanted.

If we could do it all over again, we would have chosen to live differently straight from the start. We realize that we don’t always get what we want, and all for good reason. Yes, the money was available, but it wasn’t free, and someday we would have to pay it back. So, we just continued to ignore the voice of reason in addressing our debt in order to live the dream of using someone else’s cash.

Today, we are growing in our gift of stewardship, as we continue to learn how to live simply, give generously, and share our life lessons with others. Getting into debt was challenging for us, but getting out of debt was worth the reward. We can now breathe easier, rest better, and be free to focus our eyes on Jesus who supplies us with everything we need.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus,

As you have taught us how to get out of debt, may you teach others how to be free from their burden of debt. Help them to pay back what they owe, to live within their means, and to give generously. May they budget what they spend so that they can also save money. Open their eyes to see your leading, their ears to hear your voice, and their hearts to know your love. Thank you for hearing their prayers, for supplying all of their needs, and for giving them further opportunities to manage their money wisely. Amen.

Restful Sleep

sleep

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3)

When you find it difficult to sleep, then take a few moments to acknowledge your trust in God, so that He can direct your thoughts towards His perfect peace. His peace will surpass your understanding so that you can rest easier, and enjoy a better night’s sleep.

God cares for you, so whenever you feel troubled you can throw your anxiety on Him. Every time you do this you can appreciate a greater sense of relief because worry doesn’t add a single moment to your life. Worry actually robs you of life, but God restores your life so that you don’t have to worry.

This abundant life, as a new creation in Him, means that you can let go of your old mindset. The fear that disturbs your sleep, and seeks to trap you in its mold, can be cast out by God’s perfect love. God desires to complete His love in you so that you can rest well, and feel refreshed.

Some people find it difficult to get to sleep. Their minds are racing with the things that bother them, or the things they need to do. They may even be stressed out from the day, so going to sleep at night might seem impossible. How can they sleep when they are fully awake?  They might as well get up and do something until they feel tired enough to return to bed.

Other people have no problem getting to sleep, but staying asleep is their particular problem. They may wake up from a bad dream or hearing a strange noise. Even using the bathroom during the night can be disruptive to the body, and prevent a person from getting their minimum amount of sleep.

In either regard, its important to take time to relax before you go to bed. Take a few moments to breathe deeply, and thank God for what you have accomplished and appreciated about your day.

Then take the next few moments to share with Him your struggles. Let Him know how you are feeling, and tell Him that you trust Him to work things out for your good.

Finally, be still in His presence, and take time to enter into His rest. His yoke is always easy, and His burden is incredibly light. Give Him your anxious thoughts, and tell Him that you are thankful for His tender care. He will keep your heart and your mind safe. You can rely on Him to set your mind at ease and to give your body it’s much needed rest.

Be blessed to find a sound sleep that remains undisturbed. Enter into His rest, knowing that God loves you, and He watches over you. Welcome His presence to calm any fears. Seek His comfort when you are scared, and cherish His love, knowing that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Amen.

 

Remain In Jesus

remain in jesus

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15:4)

Sometimes life is a struggle. You may feel like you have to fight in order to stay alive, while at other times you may feel like you need to escape in order to stay safe. In either case, it’s easy to lose your focus on what is really important, and what you are called to do as a believer in Jesus of Nazareth.

The primary directive for you is to simply remain connected to Jesus. Staying connected with Him means pursuing Him with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. It means resting in Him when you feel weak, and leaning on Him when you have no strength. As a branch, you are called to be complete in Him, for you will learn that you can do nothing apart from Him, but rather with Him you can do all things.

The fruit that He bears in you is His fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  When you choose to separate yourself from Him, then His life dries up, and you feel depleted. However, when you return to Him and remain with Him, then you realize how dependent you are on Jesus, and you wonder why you ever thought you could live your life apart from Him.

Your Heavenly Father prunes your branch. He lifts you up and cleans you off when you go astray, and you return to Him in repentance. He bears the image of His Son in and through you, for you were called to be conformed to His image. He gently cares for you as His own child and nurtures you as the vinedresser. His love is always made known to you, and through you, as you obey His Son, and follow in His ways.

You must abide in Jesus if you are to bear fruit, for that is the purpose of every branch in Him. The fruit gives glory to the Father, as it bears witness of the life of the Son. For everyone can taste and see that God is good, and His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control is what remains in every believer who trusts, rests, and remains in the true vine.

So, return to Jesus, if your life feels depleted. Make Him your dwelling place. Learn to soak in His presence, remain in His care, and be strengthened by His life. As you feel nourished, spend time with Him in worship. As you share your burdens, leave room to listen for His voice. Your union with Him will strengthen your fellowship, for He sees your heart, and He longs to become intimately acquainted with you.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus,

I chose to remain in you. Forgive me for going astray, for apart from you I am nothing, and I can bear no fruit without you. May my life be tended by my Father in Heaven, as the vinedresser, so that He can lift me up, clean me off, and help me to experience the abundance of your life. Let my branch bear good fruit, as a witness of your mercy and grace. You have saved me by faith, and I trust you to present me whole and blameless before my Father in Heaven. May the fruit of your Spirit in my life bring glory to your name. Amen.