Friday, July 29, 2016

How Great is Our God

John 3:30

"He must increase, but I must decrease."

What does it mean when John the Baptist said that He must increase ? To me it means that Jesus must become more prevelant in our lives. It means that everything that we do should glorify God. We should constantly be living testimonys and witnesses of Christ, and desire to become more Christ like everyday.

When I think of the characteristics of Christ, there is a neverending list of wonderful and amazing qualities that come to mind. A few of these are : compassionate, loving, caring, honest, prayerful, gracious, patient, kind, gentle, humble, forgiving .. the list goes on and on. Jesus is the perfect example of how we should all be. But on the contrary, in order for Him to increase, the second half of the verse says that then "I must decrease". How do I decrease and what does that mean ? I relate it to the lusts and characteristics of the flesh which are complete opposites of being Christ like. A few of these are : prideful, self centered, hateful, lying.. etc. I must stay diligent in my walk and pursuing God so that I may grow in Him, and allow God to soften my heart and mold me to be more Christ like.

I had an experience a couple days ago that really reignited that flame and desire to draw closer to Him. We went hiking in the mountains and when I reached the top, I was in such awe of the beauty of God's Creation. I was brought to my knees in prayer and just bowed down and worshipped God. I know that I get off track sometimes and get distracted by things but for some reason being on top of that mountain helped me see how magnificient and amazing that God really is. I started meditating on all the ways in which God has blessed me, all the times that I have seen His Hand in my life, and all the times He has saved me, and I couldnt help but to just praise Him for who He is and what He has done. I am so small, even smaller than an ant i imagine when Hes looking down from Heaven, yet He still has loved me and cared about me so deeply. Theres been a lot of hurt in my life, and I have had such low self esteem and hatred for myself, and used to not think I was anything special. The enemy still creeps in and reminds me of things that I have gone through, and memories of being hurt, and then some of those old feelings will come back. On that mountain though, God reminded me just how special I am to Him. Deuteronomy 7:6-8 says, "For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord you God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of the peoples; but because the Lord loves you." A special treasure. Isn't that beautiful ? I am a special treasure in His sight, and He loves me and cares about me.

As an application, I will memorize Deuteronomy 6:5, which says, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." I want to truly hide this Scripture in my heart, and to live each day truly loving God and worshipping Him with all my heart, all my soul and all my strength.

Thank you for loving me like you do, for saving me,for reminding me that I am special, and for showing me how magnificient and great that You are ! Lord, I want to be a light for You. Soften my heart God and help keep me diligent in my pursuit of You and to glorify Your name in all that I do.
In Jesus Name,

Monday, July 18, 2016

Self Control

Galations 5:25

"If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit"

What does it mean to walk in the Spirit ? When we give our lives to the Lord, He gives us the gift of His Holy Spirit, who guides us daily in our walk with God. In Galations 5:22-23, we are given a list of the fruit that come from walking and obeying the Holy Spirit in our lives. It says this, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." We are also given a list of the lusts of the flesh and are told in verses 16 and 17, "I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish."

Walking in the Spirit is a daily surrending to God's Will in our lives. It requires self discipline, humbling ourselves, admitting and confessing our sins daily, constant communication and prayer to the Lord, and reading His Word everyday. When I surrendered my life to the Lord, there was a complete turnaround and change in my life, and God is still molding and shaping me everyday.

As I read the list of fruit of the Spirit, I examined my own life and where I need the most growth. There are two that I struggle with the most which are patience and self control, but today Im just going to focus on self control. When I think of self control I am brought to Proverbs 25:28, which says, "Whoever has no rule over his own spirit, is like a city broken down without walls." In other words, I interpret it as, whoever lacks self control has no boundaries in thier life. I must have full control over my entire body, and if I am lacking self control in one area then I am allowing the enemy to gain a foothold and destroy me. The hardest part to control for me is my mind. I have to control where your mind goes, and what I allow to control my thought life. Proverbs 16:3 says, "Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established". I must die to self daily, and constantly put to the death what the flesh wants, and turn around and surrender it to God. A huge lesson I have learned recently is that when I open the door just a little bit, pretty soon afterwards it is thrown wide open and has gone completley out of control. When I allow the enemy to gain a foothold in one area, he will continue to play on that, break into it and break down any walls that I had. Thats why self control and self discipline is so important, so that I don't get off track and keep my mind and my thoughts pure and my focus on God. James 4:7 and 8 says, "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."

Application :

I haven't been as diligent as I should be in my walk with God. I have slowly been neglecting my prayer time alone with God, and not reading my devos everyday. These areas are so important in order for me to continue to grow and to be able to daily walk in the Spirit. I have asked my roomate, Tianna, to hold me accountable everyday and make sure that I don't go a day without doing both these things.

I know that I haven't been diligent in seeking You daily. Please forgive me for not pursuing You as I should everyday. Help me to have self control and self discipline in my life, humble myself and die to flesh daily so that You can continue to mold me and shape me .
In Jesus Name I pray,

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

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."

Feeling fear well up inside of me is one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced. I have experienced it many times before coming to Christ. When I look back and think about it, everytime I felt fearful, there was some kind of evil behind it.

I like this verse especially because it puts fear and love on opposite ends of the spectrum. There should absolutley be no fear in any kind of relationship . Fear is not of God. This is not an easy subject but it is something that has been on my heart latley. Im referring to different types of domestic abuse and abusive relationships. It is something that I have not only witnessed, but I have personally experienced as well. Before I came to Christ I had a completley different outlook on myself. I went through different forms of abuse , and ended up in a cycle of pain and instead of fighting back I just accepted thats how it would be. For some reason or another I thought I was destined to be treated unfairly, and that I deserved it. There were so many lies from the enemy, and the drugs that I did to cope with the pain only further encouraged those lies and abusive behaviours. Im not only talking about a relationship with a significant other, although thats where most of the abuse was for me, but Im talking about any relationship where there is fear involved. If you feel that heaviness in your chest, and are fearful of someone for one reason or another, it is not love. No matter how many times that person may say they are sorry and even cry, if the abuse continues then they are not truly sorry. All the sorrys and all the tears are often only a form of manipulation and control to get you stay with them. Unless there is a true heart change, which can only come through Jesus Christ, then this abuse can and will continue.

Now let me talk about love. In 1 Corinthins 13, God tells us what love truly is. He says, "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." Recently, I compared the love of God to the way my mother has loved me. She has loved me with a pure and true love. She has exhibited all of these qualities and went above and beyond for me. I could never thank her enough for loving me the way she has, and I could never thank God enough for her. That is true love. Someone who does not judge you, someone who forgives you and who is there to pick you back up when you fall; Someone who does not think they are above you, someone who doesn't only "love" you for what may be in it for them, someone who will do anything to mend that relationship...etc. This type of love comes from God, and I think about the way Christ loved us and even willingly went to the cross to die for us. It has become so important to me to become a Proverbs 31 Godly woman so that I can be the wife that God desires for me to be. It is also important to me for the man that I end up with to be a Godly man and have the same desire to put God first in his life. When both people are seeking the Lord first in thier lives, the pure and true love of God will be evident in thier relationship and in thier lives as a whole.

I have started to pray that God will bring me a Godly man when its His timing. I am also, in the meantime, preparing myself to be the Godly wife that I was meant to be and diligently and eagerly seeking God first in my life. I also will start to pray for oppurtunities to reach out to people who are in abusive relationships.