God wants to be our Friend! Yes, He is our Abba (Father). He has many attributes that describe His character. We are HIs children. Many of us are His servants. Yet, God is saying, "Let's be FRIENDS!"
The Bible tells us that " A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." The Friend who sticks closer than a brother has a Name. His Name is Jesus! As we see in the Word, with Cain and Abel, sometimes blood is not thicker than water. However, the Blood of Jesus never fails! Jesus is our Friend.
Jesus laid down His life for us. There is no greater way to show love or devotion to a friend, than that! (John 15:13)
In the Word (John 15:14), Jesus assures us that if we obey Him, we are indeed His friends. We are all called to serve in some way. Many of us are already servants of God. Yet, Jesus says that He no longer calls us servants, but friends! He calls us friends because He is sharing with us, all that God (the Father) has shared with Him (John 15:15).
Abraham embraced the fact that He was God's friend. He was called a righteous man because of HIs belief in, and obedience to God. God called Abraham "Friend."
On today, child of God, recognize that you too, are a friend of God. You are His son/daughter. You are a servant of God. You are the beloved of God. Above all, YOU are a friend of God!
In the Bible (Psalm 30:5) God says "Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning." Many of us have been weeping. There are many people who have endured terrible storms. Some of these tests have lasted longer than we could have ever imagined!
I have good news for you on today. We made it over! I'm reminded of when Jesus told His disciples "Let us go to the other side." (Luke 8:22) You are on the other side of your storm, on the other side of your test, and on the other side of that trial. It's morning!
So, what does "morning" look like? For some morning looks like, "I got through that bad divorce, and I still have my sanity!" For someone else morning could be, "I've been homeless for awhile, now God has blessed me with my own place. There could be a person who lost their son/daughter. Morning for them could be, "I've been in mourning for months, now I finally got my joy back!" Our "morning" could be a plethora of things. Just know that God is saying, "It's morning!"
The greatest thing that could've come out of all of this, is the glory! God is going to get so much glory out of this. You and I are going to be able to help so many people through what we've endured! It says in the Bible (Revelation 12:11) that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of OUR testimony.
Our testimonies will heal so many people who are in the same or in similar situations. THIS gives God glory; Our witness of what we went through and how God brought us out victoriously. It was not in vain! NOW, it's morning.
The Bible tells us that "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." (Psalm 30:5) I've been hearing God say this to me personally, a whole lot lately. One day out of frustration with everything that is going on, I asked God a question. I said, "WHEN IS THE MORNING?!" Yes, I said it JUST like that. He did not answer the question though!
I wonder how many of you who will read this, feel or at some point have felt, just like me? It's not that you don't believe God. It's not that you haven't seen God work miracles for you before. Yet, everything is different this time. You've been in your storm for a long time. Maybe you don't have the resources you used to have. The people who were previously in your corner have moved on. Maybe there is no support system at all. You are in the deep water all alone....... swimming against the current........and you're asking God, "WHEN is the morning?"
Many religious people will give us all of the right scriptures, as our answer to this question. they will tell us "Walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)." They'll tell us that "The just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17)." We will be reminded that "Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6)." Yeah, yeah, I get that. Yet, can anyone tell me "When is the morning (Psalm 30:5)?"
So, I've come to my own conclusion. Since I cannot get a definitive answer from God, and no human being has been able to help me. Based on the Word of God (Bible) and my previous interactions with God (through tests and trials), I would say "Trust God!" The answer is simply "Trust God."
We don't know when the "morning" is. I don't know when my change is going to come. You don't know when your storm will end. We just need to stay in faith. We need to do what we know to do! Continue to pray, fast, spend time in the Word, and fellowship with other believers.
In the meantime, whatever God instructs us to do, we need to do. OBEDIENCE is the key! God says to "Be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that our labor is NOT in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58)."
"And let us not grow weary while doing good for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart (Galatians 6:9)."
When is the morning? We do not know! BUT, when it gets here, joy, EXCEEDING joy, is coming WITH it. THIS is what we must hold onto. What we DO know is to, "Trust," "Wait," and "See."
Grace is a person. His Name is Jesus. We have access to God through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus was the sacrificial lamb that gave us access to God. Because of His finished works we now have a chance at eternal life.
Grace is not our way in, but rather our way out. In other words, grace is not an excuse to sin but, the power not to.
Unfortunately, many Christians are under the impression that grace means that they can do whatever they want to do, and still call themselves Christians, and still make it to heaven. Not so!
It's not their fault though. Many "leaders" are teaching a one-sided grace message. Many times for one of two reasons: They themselves have already sold their souls to the devil and they're purposely leading the people astray. They are living a double lifestyle themselves: Preaching the word of God behind the podium, while living any way they want to, outside of church. They are actually hoping that the message they are preaching is true, while knowing deep down inside, that it is not. They know (at least I hope they know) that they are going to hell and you are too, if you do not repent!
When we receive Jesus as our Savior, we are given the Holy Spirit to live on the inside of us. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin. As a matter of fact, He is grieved with sin. There is no way a person can do the same thing over and over and still claim to have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of them. It's not even possible. He will depart from a person like that.
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) There is a difference in falling short and iniquity (continued ongoing sin after you know the truth). Repent means to turn completely away from something, not say "I'm sorry Lord," and continue doing that thing. No, grace does not cover that!
It tells us in the Bible "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer there in? (Romans 6:1-2).
Everything pertaining to God requires faith. Although we serve the true and living God, we have no image of Him. He is completely invisible to us . We have never seen Him
(John 1:18). As a matter of fact, we are commanded BY God, not to make any image of Him (Acts 17:29). So, in order for us to even believe in God, this requires faith.
Here we (Christians) are believing in a God we have never seen. We have access to the God we have never seen before, by faith in His Son Jesus. When we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are given the Holy Spirit to live in us. God in three persons; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All of what I just said is hard to wrap our human minds around, yet we do. If you claim to be a Christian, this is it. ALL of it.
We Christians are faith people! Why then do we struggle so much with our faith? Faith pleases God! The Bible tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Everything that God does concerning us, is based on faith (Matthew 9:29; Matthew 13:54-58).
So, how do we strengthen our faith?
In the Word (Romans 10:17) it tells us that faith comes by hearing the Word of GOD. In this same passage (Romans 10:15-16) we are directed to find a pastor. If you have received Jesus as your Savior, you should be under a church "covering." We all need to be under anointed (pastors) men and women of God. These people help explain the Bible more perfectly.
Also, we are commanded by God to assemble with other believers (Hebrews 10:25). We cannot be Christians by ourselves! There IS no "Just me and God" in Christianity. We are to be accountable to one another, bear one another's burdens, build one another up, and pray for one another. In order to do any of that, we have to meet one another! Church is the place for that; For so many great things. There are many Christians who feel like they don't need church for one reason or another. I would venture to ask you, how's your faith?
Spend time in the Word of God
(Bible). Study the Word
(2 Timothy 2:15). Meditate on the Word. Listen to the Word if you prefer to take a break from reading it. Remember faith comes by HEARING the Word of God. It's not supposed to be religious. You don't have to read a certain amount, and don't read the Bible like a book. Study the Bible a little at a time, and meditate on what you've learned.
Always remember to have faith in GOD
(Matthew 11:22)! After all, is ANYTHING too hard for God?!
God created us for HIMSELF. We were created for praise! Each and every one of us has something we are supposed to be doing on earth. We all have a "calling." Everyone is not called to be behind the pulpit, but we are all "ministers" of Christ. My ministry might be behind the pulpit. Your ministry might be at Wal-Mart or at the clothing store you own, etc,... We are ALL called to share the Gospel; the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Many people come to me and say, "I don't know my purpose. Why am I here?" The first thing I tell them is, "you are not an accident!"
I don't care what the circumstances surrounding your birth were, you made it here. You have a purpose. That purpose is to glorify our Abba Father (God)!
The only way we discover who we really are is to first receive Jesus Christ as our Saviour. When we do this, His Holy Spirit comes to live in us. The more time we spend talking to God (prayer), and the more time we spend studying God's Word (Bible), the more in tune we become to the Spirit. As you hear many Christians say "They felt led to do this or that." These are called unctions from the Holy Spirit. Even if you don't hear God audibly, He speaks to you through these leadings.
God speaks to you through His written Word (Bible). Also, the more time you spend in prayer, talking to God, He will answer your questions. Sometimes, God sends people with the answers to the questions you've asked Him, or with things you need. These people don't always have to be prophets. They may not even be Christians! God can use anyone He wants to.
God loves us so much. We glorify Him when we are doing what He created us to do, and being who He created us to be. You want to know who you are and why you are here. Spend time with God!
So, we know that (and if you didn't know) God (the Father) so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in HIM (Jesus) can have eternal life (John 3:16). This means that we have a choice! We do not have to die and go to hell. Jesus is the bridge between us and God. Through faith in HIM, we can go to heaven when we die and eternally be with God.
God's original design for us was that we be with Him forever. After all, He created us for Himself. However, due to the "fall" in the garden of Eden, we were damned (Genesis 3). As usual, God had a "ram in the bush!" His name is Jesus. He is our Savior. Jesus name actually means, "The Lord is salvation," or "The Lord saves."
Salvation is free. It is easy to receive. In the Bible it tells to simply confess and believe (Romans 10:9-10). Religion sometimes makes it far more complex than it is. The things of God are actually quite simple. God is complex, but He meets us where WE are.
Jesus is the English translation of Yeshua. Yeshua is a Hebrew name, and of course Jesus walked the earth as a Jew (Hebrew/Israelite). The name is actually Joshua, in English.
The point is that Jesus is STILL Jesus (Yeshua) regardless! Lately, I hear many people arguing about this. They say, it's not the same person. There is no "J" in the Hebrew language. Whether you say, "Yeshua Hamaschiach," or "Jesus Christ," it still means "Jesus the Messiah," or "Jesus the anointed One." It's just like how Yeshua's (Jesus') name is "Jesucristo," in Spanish. His name in Italian is "Gesù Cristo". It's a TRANSLATION. It is not a different person!
These are the "little foxes that spoil the vines (Song of Solomon 2:15)." Satan uses things such as this to confuse people (2 Corinthians 11:3). The devil gives you even more excuses not to receive Jesus as your Savior. He knows exactly what he is doing He's just counting on you not to! Be not ignorant of the devil's devices (2 Corinthians 2:11)!
It is very important to find a church. It is viral in the life of a believer to have a spiritual " covering." God Himself chooses men and women pastors to lead His "flock." (Jeremiah 3:15)
These anointed men and women of God help us to understand the Word (Bible) more perfectly. God confirms this (Romans 10:14-15) in His Word. It's a rebellious spirit that says, "I can have church at home by myself. I can read the Bible for myself." It's called rebellion when you think you know better than God. It is being rebellious (since you say you read the Bible), when you do the opposite of what GOD Is telling you to do in His
Word. The Bible says that rebellion is the same as witchcraft! (1 Samuel 15:23)
You cannot be a Christian by yourself! God designed us to need one another. We are connected.
The best place to make spiritual connections is in church. The Bible tells us not to neglect coming together and encouraging one another. (Hebrews 10:25) Church is an excellent place to find a prayer partner. Of course we must have our own prayer life with God. However, we are also to pray for one another. (James 5:16) Bear one ANOTHER'S burdens (Galatians 6:2).
IF you claim to be a Christian, there are absolutely no excuses for not attending church! The main reason many people don't attend church is church hurts! Their pastor(s) hurt or disappointed them in some way. They were serving and got betrayed by someone they were serving beside or friends with. Sometimes, it's simply they're church hopping because they keep encountering rude or unfriendly parishioners.
I must be the one to break this to you. So what?! Join the hurt club. Try and try again, UNTIL you find the RIGHT church. Pray. Ask for God's guidance to the right ministry. Trust me, He has the right church for you! We have all been through this same issue. What people need to understand is that church is a "hospital." We are all (sin) sick and being made well. Just like in a hospital, some people have more severe symptoms than others. Just like in a hospital, even though they went to "school," not all of the doctors (pastors) are perfect. Doctors (pastors) get sick too, just like the patients (parishioners). Again, some (sin) sicker than others. At this point, they really should step down. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen, and people get hurt.
Whatever the case may be, do not let anyone or anything deter you from going to church. God wants you to go! (John 14:15)
Okay. So now you're saved. Hopefully you've found a church home (covering). You're beginning to look more and more like Jesus (behavior). Now, it's time to serve.
In everything, Jesus is our example! Jesus was the ultimate servant. He tells Peter to follow his example of service, as He washes his
feet (John 13:5-14).
We are to serve humble. Only what we do for God will last. Our gifts are given by God, and we are to give them back to God (Colossians 3:23-24).
One thing God seriously dislikes is arrogance.
Also, we want to serve from a good "place." We should have the right motives. We shouldn't be made to serve. We should only serve if we genuinely enjoy what we're doing. God sees our hearts (Jeremiah 17:10). We may fool some of the people, some of the time, but we can't fool God ant of the time!
The main thing we want to be careful of, is that we're not doing what we're doing to be seen (Matthew 6:1-4). After all, we are here to please God not man. When we study the Bible, we read several instantly where Jesus served the people. Yet, in many of those instances, He asked them NOT to tell anyone else (Matthew 8:2-4). So, we see that Jesus was not arrogant. He wanted to be low key. Jesus was a humble servant. Again, Jesus is our example.
God wants serving to be enjoyable for us. Whether you're serving inside your local church or doing outreach, find your "lane" If you don't enjoy praise dancing, why do it? God can use your talent somewhere else. Maybe you would make a good usher. Instead of feeding the homeless, maybe you would better enjoy passing out tracks. God doesn't want us grumbling and complaining. If we're doing something we don't want to be doing in the first place, chances are we will eventually complain (Philippians 2:14).
So, get on our there and serve. Happy serving!
So, now you're saved. Now it's time for regeneration to begin. The definition of regenerate, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is: "formed or created again," "spiritually reborn or converted," or "restored to a better, higher, or more worthy state." There were more definitions. Yet, these particular ones explain the process of regeneration the best.
You see, we "come as we are," but we are not supposed to stay as we are. When you see people who've been in church all their lives, but they're still exhibiting the same behavior(s) they did before they got saved, regeneration never took place. They confessed Jesus, they may have even gotten baptized, but they never allowed regeneration to take place!
It tells us in (2 Corinthians 5:17) "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." God is asking on today, "Where is the new?" God is desiring true conversion.
Jesus already paid it all (John 19:30). However, it's up to us to receive all that He paid for. When He ascended, He left His Holy Spirit. When we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior, He comes to live in us. As we spend time with God we begin to grow stronger and stronger. wWe begin to " look" more like God. We become less flesh and more Spirit. This is what the scripture means that says to walk in the Spirit, and we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:13). The more time we spend starving our flesh, and feeding our spirit, the stronger we will be spiritually.
There will always be some areas(s) that we will have to bring before God (Romans 3:23). However, if we say we have received Jesus as our Savior, we should be pressing towards the mark (Philippians 3:14). We shouldn't be making Jesus look bad, but instead looking more and more like Him, daily!
We do this by, spending time in prayer, spending time in the Word (Bible), going to church, spending time with other believers, and fasting. Then we will be effective witnesses for Christ.