Focusing on seminary has kept me far from blogging but today, as it is my reflection day as I will call it, has got me continually thinking about Living the Kingdom life. One of my first classes in seminary almost 5 years ago, was Biblical Survey of the book of Matthew, which is all about the kingdom of God. If you read Matthew, you will see Jesus refer to the Kingdom time and time again.; “the kingdom is like, the kingdom is like, the kingdom is like…” He is trying to teach his disciples that living the Kingdom life is so extremely different from the way they think life works; same truth for us today! But unfortunately this doesn’t always get translated correctly in our churches. Sadly, many Christians live in bondage who don’t know how to overcome their past hurts, or may not know how to deal with new ones, and so they fail to thrive as Christians. I say this because I have been there. I think every Christian who has learned to truly walk in freedom and who has continually learned to desire and live a kingdom lifestyle has had to go through some darkness to get their. What continues to strike me is in my minuscule attempts to keep up with some of the talking heads in our Christian sub-culture is the continual mudslinging that we still partake in. Why am I drawn to a leadership article that shows up on my facebook feed to only see it’s another pushing down of our “inncorect” behaviors once again.? That was so helpful and encouraging, NOT! I know people need to vent at times and I know we all wrestle with our faith (I know I’ve done it on this blog) and I know we are all at different places on the journey, but as I continue to get older and see my daughter growing up fast before me, I wan’t to emulate a Jesus saturated life as much as possible. No I am not perfect, and no I have no great formula or set schedule to accomplish that. One of my biggest issues I constantly talk with God about is how to have more structure but not that it would bound me to a “right way” of doing something, but learning each day to surrender to God as I wake, asking him to help me to be patient, kind and loving as I get my 2nd grader ready for school; learning to live in the present moment each day. I really want to be a Holy Spirit led, Holy Spirit controlled person. I know that I can’t do things in my own strength, but as I continue to depend on God at every turn I learn to hear Him, I learn to sense Him guiding me in different things. So what are a few things that I learned about living the kingdom life? First one of my biggest and continual life-lessons has been to accept people where they are, period. Learning to love people where they are especially when they think differently than you, is I believe a huge way that God grows us. Going back to hurts, to be kingdom people we need to learn to forgive no matter what and let God deal with that other person. It’s often been said and is very true, that forgiveness is not so much about the person who hurt you but about you gaining freedom from the bondage of unforgiveness in learning to forgive. Just a quick note, that forgiveness truly is the 70×7 thing Jesus talks to us about. Even this morning I was having to re-forgive in something I have given over to God many times. Being able to see that God loves that person so much, and that He created them to walk in freedom and wholeness also is very helpful in our forgiveness and healing journeys. I recently learned that God has forgiven their lack of certain character qualities that I had expected and I too was now being asked to also forgive those deficiencies. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want restoration, because I do, but my job is to learn to forgive on deeper levels and leave the rest up to God. God forgave us and so we must learn to ask God to teach us to forgive one another. Again, it’s not something we can do in our own strength, but only by the power of the Holy Spirit living in us. Another area that has helped me to live the kingdom life of freedom is to accept people where they are on the journey. This is hard for someone like me who has had a lifetime of learning in school, now studying to be a pastor and wanting to see people thrive in their Christian journey. Being able to learn to trust God with others and not feel a need or compulsion to fix them or “help” them can be challenging. But again as I surrender my control and my life over to God he helps me live out my own life in preace and the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5) and as I learn to cultivate and manage my own life I learn to let go of my desire to manage others. Going back to our journey’s, we are all knit in our mother’s womb from our great creator God and we need to truly learn to honor one another by letting them walk the path God has laid before them, even if we don’t get it. Now obviously if they are in sin we may be able to assist them back on track, but only as God tells us to do so. Living the Kingdom life means that I am secure in who I am as a child of God. I deeply know that God is good, that He is for me and that His unconditional love is the only approval that I really need. I say deeply because many have a head knowledge of God but the life they live that come out of what’s inside of them is often sadly vastly different from who God is. Community is also important on our spiritual journey’s but only as God has taught us to keep our eyes focused on Him, and find our identity and security in Him alone, can we truly live to be life-giving kingdom agents to others. As we learn to live for the audience of One, and seek to depend on Him with our whole mind, body and strength in humility, weakness and child-like faith and trust He will transform us into His likeness Again, it’s not my job to change you, to get you to see my point of view or agree with me, but it is my divine privilege as a child of the King to live out my freedom in Christ in front of you, to testify of the works of God in my life, to share my struggles and that I don’t have it all figured out, but I am persevering still by the strength of Christ in me. When I fall, I get up and I remember who I am in Christ, I remember the promises spoken over my in the Word of God. I learn to model the kingdom life as God leads me. I do this by the passions he has placed in me; cultivating a lifestyle of worship where I sing with my voice which fills me up and compels me to move to love others, in genuine love, compassion and mercy. There is so much more I can say about the kingdom life, and I feel like I just scratched the surface and I hope to write more on it as God leads, but as I live dependent on God he continually teaches me how to live the kingdom life more and more, and it becomes something that I truly am desperate for. As with everything, it’s a journey that we walk, so be patient and live surrounded and watch God move in and through you to truly become someone who lives the kingdom life. So how bout’ you? How has God shown you how to live the kingdom life where you are? Blessings, Robin.
Today as I was preparing for the National Day of Prayer at my own church, God reminded me of a prayer sheet that I created years ago when I was on a church prayer team. I quickly tweaked it to my context and we spent today praying it. I then wanted to bless and encourage pastors I new on facebook, so I sent it to them. Then the Lord told me to post it here on my blog for others to use in their church contexts as well. So what followers is a prayer sheet for God’s Church. I truly believe that pray has to start with the local Church. As someone who desperately longs to see Spiritually strong Children of God walking in their divine calling and full effectiveness, I pray that this will bless you and help you grow in your own pray life and the life of your church.
Praise / Thanksgiving:
Psalm 50:23 “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!
v For allowing us to freely worship and pray.
v For our salvation and the salvation of others we are believing for
v For our church and all the work the Lord is having us do for the kingdom.
v For all our pastors, leaders, and volunteers who put in tireless hours for the sake of others.
v For what God is going to do through our continued growth, surrender and obedience as a church body.
James 5:15 “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned he will be forgiven.”
v We lift up those in our congregation who are sick or hospitalized. We pray for healing; rest and restoration. Draw them to you Lord as they wait.
v We pray for physical, emotional, spiritual, healing. Break any bonds that Satan has used, and bring forth testimonies of praise.
v We pray for anyone in our church who is dealing with a substance abuse or any other stronghold or addiction. We ask that those strongholds would be broken and that complete wholeness in Jesus would come to those individuals.
v Lord, send us out to care and comfort those in our church body. Help us to send a card or to make a call of encouragement or concern, so that they know they are loved and thought of by the body of Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things are past away, and behold all things are new.”
v We lift up all those who are in need of salvation at our church.
v We pray that they would surrender to a life lived for Christ alone. Whether this is a surrender either for the first time or on a deeper level, resulting in closer intimacy with God and a manifested change from the inside out.
v We pray that people would be convicted of the sins in their lives and turn to Jesus for repentance, forgiveness and the newness of life that he offers.
v May those in need of Salvation see the lights that we shine before them. May they ask us what the difference is, and may we share with joy, our lives in Jesus.
v Lord, for those who are struggling in their spiritual walk; bring others alongside them to build them up in your ways.
v Pray for our youth to come to know the Lord; ignite a passion for Jesus so deep within them.
v May God arise in this place; let the redeemed of the Lord rise up. May we truly live the lives that we have been called to.
v Pray for our church to become prayer filled and praise filled. God, shatter the darkness around us.
Marriages and Parenting/Family life
1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.”
v We lift up all the marriages in our church, that you would draw them to yourself Lord and to each other in Christ-likeness.
v That you Lord, would bring restoration and healing of every kind into their homes.
v Break down any walls of communication and let forgiveness and healing come forth.
v Help parents learn to love their children the way that you love us. Bond families together and bring balance to every area of their lives.
v Help families to only commit to things that will strengthen them in Christ-likeness; Let them all come to church together.
v Help parents to surrender to you Lord so that you can be the one who guides them.
1 Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert, your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
v We pray a spiritual covering over our church.
v We pray that you keep us out of the snares of Satan
v We pray that we are always focusing on your will for our church
v Lord keep our church safe in every way, so that we can reap a harvest for you alone.
Pastoral Staff/Church Ministires
Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.”
v Pray for our church to be dedicated to prayer. Lord that you would reign in this, that you would burn your heart of prayer on all of ours and allow us to be united in heart of prayer throughout every ministry that we do here.
v We pray for Pastor ______to have strength, wisdom and boldness in preaching the word of God and that the Holy Spirit is preached.
v We pray for our pastors and their families; our church board and Childcare administration and staff.
v Pray for revival. As the Holy Spirit is preached, Lord we ask that you would do a mighty work in the hearts of everyone who hears; that ears would be opened, that eyes would see the truth of your ways. Lord, come revive our hearts, change us from the inside out, put a new song in us O’God. Burn so deeply that we are changed.
v Pray for _________ Church of the Nazarene that we would be a light into our community . Lord we pray that people sense the love that we have in you and for each other and that it would lead them closer to you.
v Let people see that coming to church is to get strengthened and equipped so we can go out and love the world as Jesus came and love the world; but Lord may our church be a place that is grace-filled, full of love, compassion, and forgiveness.
Pray For Unity as a Church Body
1 Corinthians 1:10 “I appeal to your brothers in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
v That we would learn to love each other as Christ loves us. That we may live and conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of you. That we would be mindful of the words that come out of our mouths. That we would seek wisdom and discernment and your will. That we would hold each other accountable in Christ-like love. That we would be slow to anger and quick to forgiveness; settling our disputes quickly.
v That we would not hold anything against another; that there would be no division among us, and that we would be united in mind and thought.
v That we would look to the Word of God on how to live and love one another as Christ’s body. That we would be accepting of each other’s uniqueness and differences. We are one body with many parts. May we work together in all things to the Glory of God.
v That we would surrender to God and our church leadership in the steering of our church and its ministries. Keep us united; building up each other through your word.
v Help us to be patient with each other, bearing one another’s burdens. We pray for repentance and forgiveness as a body. Forgive us our sins and cleans us from all unrighteousness. We seek humility in our service to you O Lord.
v We seek to be taught and led by your Holy Spirit in every way. May your word dwell richly in us; that we are not murmurers, complainers, walking after our own lusts.
Already this morning I have read two articles and watched a video via 3 different facebook friend’s status on the church and what is wrong with Christians and how we need to fix the problem, as if it’s really that easy? Yes, actually it is, but we aren’t willing to really pay the price. We aren’t really willing to fully surrender to the will of God like Jesus did. We can talk about taking up your cross, making disciples, or just jump on the next leadership bandwagon that is rolling by our churches, but they will all be temporary fixes, like trying to put a band-aid on a gushing wound. It may last for a moment but then it loses its effect and purpose that it was created for.
The basics is this, and I’m gonna do this without quoting any scripture, because I’ll end up tripping over my own best efforts. If you really are hungry for getting this, than you will go start digging in the Word and let it speak to you by asking the Holy Spirit to give you revelation. Jesus taught on the Kingdom of God. It was radically different from what everyone was looking for. The same principle applies today. Jesus came humbled, riding on a donkey, and so must we. I believe that some of the greatest moves of God happen when no one is looking, and a person is totally willing to die to self and let God do whatever He wants to do. That is radical obedience and what I believe God wants and is desperately looking for in His people. Surrender All, means Surrender All. PERIOD. This is a lifelong process, and as we live surrendered, God will draw closer and begin to place His kingdom in our hearts.
Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. You may want to say, well, what was the Father doing? None of us have a bird’s eye view into heaven, but if God Is Love, then I think it is safe to say He was doing what He is; He was loving Jesus and pouring that into Jesus so that Jesus could then pour that out onto others on earth. Jesus’ relationship with the Father was based out of love and then in
humble obedience in fulfilling His will. He could not humble himself and fulfill the will of God on earth unless he fully trusted God out of experiencing God’s love. The same is true for us today.
Not only did He know who he belonged to, but that relationship was so deep and intimate that the only option that flowed out of his heart was to want to obey what his father told him and asked of him because he knew Him, he knew through experience with God that God’s love doesn’t fail, He knew by experience that God doesn’t lie, He knew by experience, without any doubt that He was truly loved, and He knew by experience that anything the Father asked of him was going to all work out in the end somehow, (remember how he asked for the cup to be taken in the garden?). We are shown a very human Jesus here, but He pressed in with obedience because once again, He knew God’s love out of experiencing God’s love. He trusted God by experiencing that Trust. He was able to be obedient because he had confident assurance that God would always be with Him no matter what. That my friend is radical obedience, and what God is calling us to.
If we look at the first two commandments, which Jesus said are the greatest, we may begin to see why. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.” What did Jesus do? He loved God with all his heart. Without arguing the point, He was fully human, and the power and love that he displayed came out of his obedience to the Father. He was so filled with who He was, He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was not going to let him down, he trusted in God’s goodness because He experienced it fully. Because He had the right perception of God, and fully knew who He was, He was then able to allow that love to fill him and to then walk in obedience and pour it out, but it was poured out in love, in compassion, in humility.
I think I have been redundant in making this point of Jesus knowing who He was, but it cannot be underestimated. If we inside the church and even as individuals on a daily basis cannot come to God in full trust that stems out of an intimate love with Him than there lies our initial problem. Before we can walk out and be disciples, we must be filled by His great love. We must trust in the father the same way that Jesus trusted in the father. We must learn to abide and not strive.
For me recently, this has meant in learning to trust God’s timing, knowing that if I am walking in surrender, he is not going to allow me to miss something I may want to happen or experience. It sets me free to a new level of trusting him and his goodness, which then leads me to love him and want to share that same truth with others. Also, it is humbling in my obedience. An example of this is learning to be obedient in the small things. Even more, it is a dying to self. An example of this is putting my daughter’s needs before mine. If I see that I need to pour into her first, than I am going to do that not because I am a parent and it’s my job, (obligation), but I am going to do it because, a). I sense God or the Holy Spirit nudging me , and, b). I do it out of trust in the Father. I may have had to leave an event that I was enjoying early, but the bigger lesson is that God is calling me to die to self and to take care of my daughter. I stop and put my daughter’s needs above my own and expect the Lord to make it a teachable moment for me. This is humble obedience and daily cross bearing; being so tuned into the will of the father, because we have learned to love and trust him in complete abandonment, that we will humble our hearts to his, no matter what.
Unless we live out the love that Christ is filling us with, we are just going to do the same thing with the same results. We may find some new ways of spinning it, but it really will be the same thing in a different colored package. We cannot give away what we don’t have. If we aren’t abiding in His love, then we can’t expect to be filled by His love, and if we aren’t being filled by His love then we can’t learn to trust his heart for us, and allow Jesus to flow through us. So what’s the answer? We must return to our first love. Again,, the Bible is full of this theme of return to the Lord, I think it is probably its main theme. Jesus didn’t have to return, because God was His first love. He created us and calls us to that same relationship with the Father. This was the message of the Prophets; to turn and repent, and it was the same message of John the Baptist and Jesus, Turn and Repent. Over and over we hear the cry of the Father for relationship with His people.
So do you want to know how we change the World, our communities, or families, ourselves???? We turn from the things that have pulled us away from seeing the love of the Father, the great love that He wants to continually fill us with. We turn from the things that have fought for our attention, and had us believe that God’s love that He showed Jesus is unreachable. I know we all have different theologies; we all are wired for different church experiences, but as Christ’s Body we all have been told the same thing out of the mouth of Jesus. Commandment number 1 and Commandment number 2. Today, go spend some time with Jesus. Tell him you’re sorry for not trusting fully in Him, His love for you and His goodness and faithfulness. Surrender to His will and trust that He is changing you. He already knows, he’s just waiting for you to come to him. It’s OK to be vulnerable; He wants us to be like little children, coming to him in complete trust because we can rest in his goodness. He’s got our hearts, he formed them, and all He asks is that we give them back to him so that we can be forever changed by his great love. We must learn to be emptied of our own ways so that we can truly be filled by His great love and begin to have kingdom vision. So if today, you hear his voice, harden not your hearts, (Psalm 95:7-8, Hebrews 3:15). He is always speaking, are you listening? What does He want to talk to you about?
As Christian’s we are constantly growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). This is our calling from God as believers. 2 Peter is warming the people of the evils of this world, and stating that we must stand firm in what the Lord is teaching us. Peter lays this fact before his audience when he states the purpose of his letter in 2 Peter 3:2 “that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandments of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles. The Word also reminds us in Hebrews 12:1-3 to throw off anything that hinders us and run with perseverance! Jesus is the example we are to follow, looking at Him, his suffering, and realizing that our lives will never get to that degree of hostility or rejection. This alone gives us the assurance that we can and must set our minds to be diligent when it comes to the Word of God. Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith; He is with us every step of the way! We have a Bible full of stories of those who have gone before us, showing us that we can and must persevere in our faith. Our obedience to God comes from a heart that learns to long for and that wants to please him more and more. He has washed our sins away by his blood and now calls us to relationship with Him and the Father through the guidance of the Holy Spirit in His Word to come and meet with Him, to learn his ways, to experience his goodness, faithfulness and love. This is a life-long process. I used to mentally beat myself up because I wasn’t where I wanted to be with the Lord, or maybe where I thought I should be. I was seeking, but never seemed to grasp the wholeness of his truth at times. There were times when His Word would seem void, and other times it would illuminate and bring great revelation. I never liked the times of when He seemed silent, and I always thought I was doing something wrong. But it was the Lord trying to remind me that He will bring about the revelation he wants me to know in his perfect time; Hebrews 12:2 fits in here as well, as I am probably being somewhat redundant making my own point. Jesus continually reminds me of the journey, and that there are many life lessons that I am learning as I strive to seek to know Him more and that He is fitting all of this together like puzzle pieces to help me better understand what He wants to teach me. Maybe He is testing my perseverance? Checking to see if I am going to hold on even when He seems far away? How could I not? Even when I start looking around, He continually nudges me back to Him and His truth. It’s all just part of the journey again; doing my part and letting Him do His. This morning He brought it home to me with a simple illustration of being washed by the Word. The word-picture he gave is of one taking a shower and getting their physical bodies cleaned. It’s what we do because if we don’t we will smell really bad and people will not want to associate with us for very long. But we are more than just a fleshly body; we have a mind and a spirit that is actively working within us. , The Word of God truly is living water that never runs dry!! The More we call to Him, the closer He comes! Here are just a few scriptures that the Lord has been pointing out to me. Again, the Word of God is overflowing with so much truth we will never be able to know it all in its fullness. So as I am reminded of that fact today, May the Word of God encourage you to continually to seek the Lord right now at this very point of your own journey, even if He may seem far, remember, He is always with us; He will never leave us or forsake us!
Romans 12:2 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Phil.4:8 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
John 17:17 (NLT) 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.
Ephesians 5:26 (NLT) 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.
This morning as I started my day, I hear the Lord sing over me. He has said He is well pleased with me! What a joy it is to be in the Army of God! What a joy it is to rest in His goodness. I think so often the devil beats me down with lies, and I get all messed up. I start believing them, and I loose my focus, my hope and my identity in Christ. Has is ever happened to you? I think it happens to all of us at time. It kind of goes back to being in the valley and growing in the valleys. This morning He stopped me and said, “Robin, I know you want so much to please me, I know you feel so ill-prepared, I know you feel like you should be farther along than where you are, but I know your heart, I alone formed it. I set you on this path, and I will fulfill my will in your life in my time. Be patient with yourself and enjoy the journey. I know it seems like you have to keep re-learning this, but it’s OK; you are seeking, you are striving, you come to me with an open heart that confesses, repents, and praises me. I know you are devoted, I know you long to be loyal, I know this and so much more about you b/c I alone formed you in your mother’s womb. Thank you for sharing with others all that am doing in you, it is a testimony of your faith. I know you often feel insecure and insignificant, but that is not who you are to me. I am well pleased with you. You are mine and I love you. Press on and let me guide you. Be set free by the truth that is in you. I live in you and I move through you, that is all you need to know for now. I am with you always. Love Jesus. I hope that blesses you and I hope you hear Him tell you how well pleased he is with you too today.
Well, believe it or not, I have wanted to blog for some time now. I’ve been doing some of my own devotional journaling, but haven’t felt that complete nudge from the Lord to post. Well, tonight I really feel as though it is time to share some hope.
God has been teaching me to wait well and continually learn to enjoy the journey even with big dreams in my heart. I could say a lot on that alone, but what seems to trip me up spiritually the most is my hope being deferred. Part of it is sometimes not so much the waiting, but being used in the process or having others to share it with along the way. I know this is just a season, and I know it’s all for a bigger reason. The Lord is using this time to prepare me, to teach me and grow me. I know God is using me; it’s just in the small things. But here too, I am reminded that it is in the small things that God prepares us for the bigger things. So, OK, I am trying to go about the small things, and after awhile of praying and hoping, I am still doing the small things and still not feeling as though I am really where I want to be. God has to remind me that He is not limited by our limited conceptions of time. Ok, fine, but then add to that the fact of living in a microwave culture; where everything is sped up continually, and success is measured by how much you get done. So for a person who is in life’s waiting room, things can get a bit hard at times, and today was one of those days. No matter how much I prayed and tried to be obedient, and look past myself I was just spent. I tried to remind myself that God’s timing is perfect, that He has a plan, and that He is good. I read, I worshiped, but I just couldn’t shake this feeling of coming up short. .
Tonight was mid-week service at church and I knew I needed to go. So I packed up my daughter and we made our hour trek to the church where God has called us, (another huge part of the journey and lesson in waiting). I instantly got myself into worship mode, deciding that I was going to hear from the Lord tonight. I poured out my heart in desperation and He answered. When one of our pastors started to preach, he began with Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick”. I thought “yep, I know all too well about feeling that way”. He said the devil can’t take your hope away and The Lord can’t give it to you. I had to chew on that one for a minute, but then it made sense; we have to exercise our faith. Heb. 11:1 says “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen.” So now I am choosing to hope because the potential of hope lies within me. I know this right? But hope deferred can cause me to forget. I must renew my hope by looking past my circumstances and looking at Jesus, He Is My Hope! I know it’s easier said than done, we all have those times of testing and weariness, but The Lord continues to be faithful and renew and remind us, just as He did for me tonight at church.
James 2:14 says “What use is it brethren if someone says he has no faith but not works? Can that faith save Him?” This here is talking about the need for us to put our faith in action, to choose to have faith because we are reminded that back in Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” I know often my hearts cry is to please God with my life; to be a good and faithful steward and to one day have him say “well done” by fulfilling the call that He has placed on my life. Again, it goes back to His time and in His ways. Hope and faith can only happen when you are put in a situation where you are not able to obtain in your own strength; when God is your only hope. Hmm, sounds a lot like my life at the moment. We are reminded and given hope in 2 Corinthians 4:8 which states “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;” John 14:1 says “”Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me” Words from Jesus, who is comforting his disciples, that too, is you and me today. Bottom line is this. Hope deferred=Unbelief. Your heart is going to produce either hope or unbelief. Roman’s 5:5 reminds us that “Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
I feel like I just squeezed a whole lot into a little space and perhaps I did, but this is the word the Lord gave to me through our pastor tonight. I added my parts of my own journey into it, but it remains true that the Lord met me where I was at tonight on the journey, and I am blessed to share that with you. My prayer is that I not only refer to this when my hope is running low, but it will cause me to draw more hope from the Word of God so that my faith can grow and I be strong in the Lord. As I was finishing up this post, the song “You are my Hope” by Skillet came to mind, so I posted it below, and I hope it blesses you.
Today, God chose to teach me the very important lesson of how I need to
act when I am treated unfairly by others, especially other Christians. This Past winter, my neighbor, while trying
to help me get my car out of my parent’s driveway that I got stuck in, hit my car with his tractor. Knowing He was unemployed at the time, I had
asked how we should handle the situation.
Since I rent from his parents, he told me to contact them, who were on
vacation at the time, till this spring, in Florida. Long story short, I had gotten estimates and
come up with some “middle way” solutions
to help pay for the damages to my car; all the time waitig paitently and praying for the right time to address the situaion. Well, they came back and decided not to
take any responsibility for the incident, and their son, who hit my car, also has no money
to offer to remedy the situation either. To make matters worse, when she came and
handed me a lengthy letter with a not so neighborly tone to it on her position, and some incorrect things the son had said happened during the incidnet to make it sound like it was all my fault; she had also mentioned some other
non-related issue which I think was to place some type of guilt on me. I was very calm during this whole
conversation, but then after she left, became very upset about it and really
sought God, giving him my hurt, frustration and disappointment. I told him it wasn’t fair, and that I couldn’t
understand that my supposed “Christian” neighbors who I grew up next to all my
life and now renting from would act in such a way. After all, I’ve always paid my rent on time,
never gave them a bad check, only called on help when there was a major problem
at the house I didn’t know how to fix, ect.. But now here I was; me and God,
knowing that He wanted a Christ-like response from me, and not knowing what to
do. Of course I started googling things
to bring about a clearer understanding. Below is a sermon that has really
helped me to understand how I am to act, as well as how I am to put this whole
matter in God’s hands and remember that he is the one who carries out
justice. I know I have to pray for my
neighbors, and their son, who doesn’t know the Lord, I know that I have to walk
in love and forgiveness and that is what I am going to be praying that I will
do. I am reminded of Jesus and all the
injustice that he went through and how this really pales in comparison, yet He
is here, he understands and he is growing me closer to him through this whole experience. I pray that I will learn many of these
reminders below and be able to help others when they need answers in the times
of their lives when they are treated unfairly.
Thank you Jesus for helping me to see how I need to be. You are faithful
to the end, and I know that you are good, even when life throws us curve balls;
it’s just another example of how you are teaching me. Now to go play some worshsip music and relish in who you are.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
WHEN WE ARE UNFAIRLY TREATED
taken from : http://www.biblecenter.com/sermons.php
1. How do you react when someone treats you
unfairly? Let’s say someone double crosses you or cheats you. Maybe someone lies
about you and your reputation is damaged. Perhaps your boss chews you out for
something you know you didn’t do or singles you out because he doesn’t like what
you stand for. What is your typical response? Do you…
a. Retreat into a
b. Withdraw from human
c. Look for a way to get
d. Vow that you’ll never do anything nice
for anyone again?
e. Cheat the next guy down the line
because you conclude that it’s a dog-eat-dog world?
f. Become so cynical about the world that
you no longer enjoy life?
2. These responses are all too
3. As Christians, we are called by God to
be different from the world and this is one area where that difference can
IN TODAY’S MESSAGE, I WILL SHARE SIX
THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN YOU ARE UNFAIRLY TREATED.
THE FIRST THING TO
REMEMBER WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN TREATED UNFAIRLY IS THAT THIS LIFE ISN’T FAIR.
1. I suppose some of you might think it is
redundant for me to say that, but it never ceases to amaze me that so many
Christians get so upset when things don’t come out even.
2. Whoever said that this life was fair,
anyway? I’m not aware of any Bible verse that teaches such a thing. Of course,
God will ultimately even things out at the judgement – a point the Bible makes
often – but in the here-and-now there are no guarantees. In fact, in a fallen
world like ours, with mankind corrupted by a sinful nature and God allowing
freedom of choice, it only follows that things are not going to be fair all the
3. Yet, it bugs us, doesn’t it? It bugs me!
The bad guy sometimes wins. The criminal gets off Scot-free. The ladder climber
who steps on everyone in his path gets the penthouse. The politician lies and
gets away with it because the economy is good.
4. I’m not suggesting here that we
shouldn’t do whatever we can when we can to make things right. I’m simply saying
that sometimes making things even is beyond what we can do. At that point, so
that we don’t go insane at the unbalanced nature of it all, we need to remember
that we live in a fallen world and until God redeems this place from the curse
and removes sin, it’s not always going to be fair.
5. I’m not recommending defeatism or
fatalism here. I’m simply trying to be realistic. Don’t set your expectations
too high. In this life, no matter how you live or what you do, life isn’t always
going to be fair.
THE SECOND THING TO
REMEMBER WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN TREATED UNFAIRLY IS THAT WHAT HAPPENS IN YOU IS MORE
IMPORTANT THAN WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU.
1. Things are going to happen in this life
that we are powerless to change. We usually cannot rearrange someone else’s
behavior toward us, nor can we undo the moments in which someone has hurt us.
Maybe it can be prevented next time, but once it has happened, it has happened.
There is no backing up.
2. If we keep reliving the unhappy moment
and devote endless hours to appealing the verdict of a wrongdoing in our minds,
we will be left spent and miserable. Though it is sometimes hard to see, time
passed in the courtroom of our mind trying the case over and over is really time
wasted. Even though we’re sure the verdict is guilty, there is usually no way to
bring about justice in this life without becoming guilty ourselves. Our best
(and sometimes only) recourse is to ask the Lord to change our inner life – to
use this evil to bring about good in us.
3. We’ve seen that Joseph knew this truth.
For all that was done to him by his brothers, he could have died a bitter and
unhappy man. He didn’t do that though. At some point along the way he decided he
would concentrate his energies on being the best person that he could be for God
in whatever circumstance he found himself. Over the process of a lifetime,
because of this attitude, God could take him from a pit to a palace. One has to
wonder how different it might have been had Joseph chosen to spend endless hours
licking his wounds and rehearsing his hurts. After 23 years of living with this
choice of betterness rather than bitterness, as his brothers stood before him in
a position where revenge could have been a snap-of-the-fingers away, his verdict
was this: “…you meant evil
against me, but God meant it for good…”
4. Suppose you hold a glass of water as you
walk towards me. I carelessly (or deliberately) bump into you. Whatever you have
in the glass will probably spill out.
5. That is the way our lives are. When we
are bumped, whatever is inside comes out. For most of us, an injustice done to
us personally is a very jarring bump. Sadly, it is disgraceful sometimes the
things that spill out.
6. God wants the things inside the glass
cleaned up. From time to time He will allow us to be bumped, sometimes quite
forcefully and unjustly, to reveal what is there. A life where the work of the
Holy Spirit has been neglected will reveal a cup full of hatred, discord,
jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissention, faction, and envy. God
wants all of that to change. What happens in you is far more important than what
happens to you.
THE THIRD THING TO
REMEMBER WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN TREATED UNFAIRLY IS THAT GOD IS WATCHING TO SEE WHAT
YOU WILL DO.
1. My dear brothers and sisters, there is
more happening when an injustice is done to us than just the unpleasantness of
the moment. God is watching to see what we will do and He sees it all, from
beginning to end. As the Scripture clearly reveals, He is testing us. There are
so many verses on this subject that I hesitate to pick just one, however, there
is a passage that I have found quite helpful at such times. Maybe it can help
§ (1 Pet. 2:19-20) says, “For it is
commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is
conscious of God. But how is it to your
credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer
for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before
2. God is watching to see how we handle
unjust suffering. So what does God want
us to do when we suffer unjustly? These verses tell us that it finds favor with
God if we “bear up under the pain of
unjust suffering.” When we suffer, lets make God proud by enduring the pain
and handling it properly.
THE FOURTH THING TO
REMEMBER WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN TREATED UNFAIRLY IS THAT YOU MUST NOT BOW TO
1. All of us need to set some standards for
ourselves. We need to draw the line in the sand and say, “Beyond this point I
will not go – not for comfort – not for security – not for revenge – not for
§ Paul wrote to the Ephesians “Get rid of
all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of
malice” (Eph. 4:31).
a. You see there is no part of “all” that
allows for an exception. God wants all the bitterness out of you and
A doctor told a man that he had
rabies. Upon hearing the diagnosis, he took out a piece of paper and started
writing on it. The doctor thought, “Oh, he must be making up his will,” so he
asked, “What are you doing, making up your will?” The man said, “No, I’m just
writing down every person I’m going to bite.”
2. Sadly, that is how some folks handle
injustice. They are so bitter that they bite everyone else around
3. We must never bow to
THE FIFTH THING TO
REMEMBER WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN TREATED UNFAIRLY IS THAT WHAT YOU DO IS MORE
IMPORTANT THAN HOW YOU FEEL.
1. God has spelled out what our behavior is
to be in the kind of situation we’re discussing in many places in Scripture.
I’ll mention just a few:
§ Matthew 5:44 says, “But I say to you,
love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you…”
§ Luke 6:27-28 says, “But I say to you who
hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse
you, pray for those who mistreat you…”
§ Romans 12:20 says, “But if your enemy is
hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a
2. It isn’t particularly difficult to
figure out what these verses say we must do. The difficult part is our feelings,
isn’t it? Why is it so hard…
- To get on our knees and pray for that person whose
carelessness or neglect caused us so much pain?
- To go down to the store and buy a gift and send it to
that person whom we know must hate us?
- To say something that blesses them rather than
cursing them under our breath?
3. The answer is simple. Every feeling in
our bodies is screaming that it isn’t right!
4. Ah! We’ve come to an important crossroad
in this matter. We’ve come to the place where we learn whether we’re serious
about our faith or not. The true Christian will strive to do what is right even
if his/her feelings aren’t in favor of it.
5. Many of us have yet to learn this very
important part of our faith. Doing the right thing isn’t always the thing that
makes us feel good at the moment.
6. Many of the things God has called us to
do require us to go against our feelings for the moment. “Love your enemies?” Who feels like doing
7. But, you see the Christian knows that actions lead, feelings follow. Want to
see an example?
§ John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the
world that He gave his only begotten Son….”
8. God loved us so much that He gave His
Son. How do you suppose that made God feel? Was He jumping for joy when His Son
hung suffering on the cross? What do you think would have happened had God acted
on His feelings that day rather than His loving commitment to offer a way for
the world to be saved?
9. The right thing isn’t always the thing
that feels good at the moment. Actions lead, feelings follow. Where did the good
feelings come in then, when Jesus died on the cross? They came later, after the
sacrifice had been made and people were coming to God because of what Jesus
§ Hebrews 12:2 says exactly that: “fixing
our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before
Him endured the cross…”
10. The joy followed the cross. It didn’t
come prior or during. Likewise, the good feelings that result from our doing
right usually come after the act, not before. If we wait around in the
beginning, hoping to get our feelings to go along with our actions, we’ll seldom
do what is right.
11. How about it?
§ Are you returning good for
§ Are you turning the other cheek when it
is appropriate? Are you walking the second mile?
§ Are you praying for that person who has
hurt you so?
§ Are you, like God, allowing whatever
blessings you have in your life to fall on the just and the unjust, or are you
selective, based on the records you’ve kept of wrongs done against
§ Are you blessing rather than cursing?
(The word “bless” in this case means literally, “to speak well
12. “But I don’t feel like it!” Welcome to
the world of discipleship. It’s that way for all of us.
THE SIXTH THING TO
REMEMBER WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN TREATED UNFAIRLY IS THAT YOU ARE STILL THE BIGGER
1. In (Matthew 18), Jesus tells the story of a man who
owed a king ten million dollars. There was no way he could pay his debt and in
that day, there was no bankruptcy – only debtor’s prison or slavery. As he was
about to be thrown into prison, he begged the King to give him another chance
and more time to pay. The King listened to his pleading and felt mercy for him.
He didn’t just give him more time to pay. He completely forgave the debt. The
man walked away free.
2. You probably know the rest of the story.
As soon as he got home he found someone who owed him a few hundred dollars. The
man didn’t have the money, so this man who had just been forgiven a debt of
millions of dollars had his own debtor thrown into prison. After all, it’s only
just. “It’s what the man had coming for what he did to me. He should learn to
pay his debts on time! It’s his fault. Fair is fair,
3. Then the King got word of the whole
thing. He was angry and resummoned the man he had forgiven just a short time
before. To make the long story short, he called the unforgiving man “wicked” and
reinstated his millions of dollars of debt. The man went to prison until he
could pay it off – which, of course, was never. He went to prison for the rest
of his life.
§ Then Jesus said, “So shall My heavenly
Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your
4. My friends, no matter whom might wrong
us, we are still the bigger debtor. We always will be. God has forgiven a huge
debt that we could never pay on our own. Because of that, is it really that much
for God to ask us to overlook some of these hurts we experience here? I think
5. Are you one who feels you must even the
score here? Then expect God to even the score on you when you get to
1. I doubt that the following story is
true, but it does illustrate the truth I’ve been talking
A certain tenant farmer had worked
hard for many years to improve the production of the land he leased. Then
something happened that caused him to become very bitter. When it was time to
renew his lease, the owner told him he was going to sell the farm to his son who
was getting married. The tenant made several generous offers to buy it himself,
hoping the man’s decision would be reversed, but his pleading got nowhere. As
the day drew near for the farmer to vacate his home, his weeks of angry brooding
finally got the best of him. He gathered seeds from some of the most pesky and
noxious weeds he could find. Then he spent many hours scattering them on the
clean, fertile soil of the farm, along with a lot of trash and rocks he had
collected. To his dismay, the very next morning the owner informed him that
plans for his son’s wedding had fallen through, and therefore he would be happy
to renew the lease. He couldn’t understand why the farmer exclaimed in agonizing
tones, “Oh, Lord, what a fool I’ve been!”
2. Try as we might to even up the score
when we’re treated unfairly, the result for us will be the same as it was for
that tenant farmer. At the end, we’ll exclaim, “Oh, Lord, what a fool I’ve
I was reminded today how so often our faith is like that of Thomas, in John 20:24-27, who wouldn’t believe unless he saw and felt Jesus’ nail wound scars. I know in my own life, there are times when it seems as though I have great faith, faith to move mountains, faith that doesn’t doubt, faith that is not shaken by life’s challenges. Many times, God grows my faith by showing me something, by lighting my path and by affirming in different ways. I was reminded once again about the silence and what it takes to believe when we don’t see and hear God. There are many times in life where God doesn’t show us the next step, and we are trying to trust the best we know how, but often think it would be nice to have a back plan, a plan B. He reminded me today that He alone is plan A and in being that, we don’t need a plan B because we know that His plan A is perfect. It reminded me to not just go to the trophy room and remember all that God has done, but it also reminded me that I need to have a right view of my Abba Father, the one who dearly loves me and who has placed plans and dreams deep inside me. He is good, He is loving, and that Never Changes, no matter what comes my way. In verse 27 Jesus invites Thomas to reach in and touch his scars; he then says to him, “be believing, not unbelieving.” We all face that same choice when we don’t see the “proofs” of God working on our behalf. I often have to ask myself “am I willing to sit with the unanswered questions?”, “am I willing to trust even when I don’t see”. Do I remember that His character never changes, that He is good, that He is love, and that more than any other, he’s got my whole life in the palm of his hands? I think of Peter too in Matthew 14:29-31, getting out of the boat, he starts to sink; Jesus grabs him and says “Peter why did you doubt?” After all Jesus was right there, less than an arm’s length away; He’s even closer to us, dwelling within each of us. We all have our Peter moments in life when we wonder if God is going to come through. Is he going to catch us? Does he really know what He’s doing with my future? Looking back now at my own life, I can see where Jesus asks that question “why did you doubt Robin?”. Have I not always come through for you? Am I not God, the creator of the universe? Did I not form everything about you in your mother’s womb? Remember how far you have come and all that you have overcome; that was me helping you. Remember that my love does not change. Trust me when you don’t see because you know I am good and you are secure in my love. Do you really think I am going to let you drown? Believe when you do not see, believe when you are at the end of your rope. Fear is just gonna paralyze you, and Satan is just going to lie to you; you know better than that! Be strong and courageous, I know what I am doing. I have come to make all things new, even your bad choices that you think are too far for me to reach, I got those too. After me and God had this little discussion today, he spoke to me as He often does; He gave me a song on the radio. I’ve never heard it, but I know it was him speaking to me; he was reminding me that we all have these doubting moments, even great worship leaders like Chris Tomlin. Sure, who wants to admit that, but blessed are the humble I think. Do I wish I never doubted, yes, especially looking back at all the times God has come through. I’m Ok with doubt b/c I see Peter and I see Thomas, and I find I’m in pretty good company. Heck, if those who walked with him, watching him perform miracles had doubts, I guess my doubts are OK too. I know they build my faith, I know they draw me closer to my Abba Father, and my beloved Savior Jesus, I have peace, joy, and righteousness in the Holy Spirt, even in the middle of my silent times with God. It’s in those silent times, that I choose to trust that He is working on things. Results don’t always happens in an instant as we would like, but it takes faith to wait and trust in what we cannot see. So as I wrestled today with what I cannot see, God reminded me of his love and goodness. So Father today, as Chris Tomlin Sings, “I lift my hands to believe again…” I do believe, and I thank you for reminding me of your great and uneding and unfailing love for me today and forever. Forgive me for doubting you when I do not see, and grow me now I pray that my faith would arise, that I would be still and know that you are God in every part of my llife. I love you and pray all this in your beautiful name, Jesus. Amen.
The Holiness movement has come under fire at different times
in history for being misunderstood on many levels. We have been seen as overly pious, as being a
people who don’t sin, who claim perfection, and who are holier than thou. These are all extremes; they are all misinterpretations,
and exaggerations of who we are. Like every other Christian out there, we are imperfect people who are in need of the saving and sustaining Grace of God.
Theologies are mixed across the board, even in a single denomination
where you would hope to find some sense of unification on a theological or
doctrinal position. This semester as I have learned much of the history and
polity of the denomination that I am now a part of, it has been clear that the
differences and tensions remain, and it has become clear that if anything, we
can agree to disagree, and learning to differentiate between the ‘essentials”
and “non-essentials” of the Christian faith.
I for one, never expected to be a part of denomination, but God had done
works in me that lead me on that path. I
fell in love with a certain doctrine, and God used that to allow me to be
continually formed into the person He wants me to become for the plans and
purposes He has for my life. I’m saying
all this b/c I was reminded today how far as a Christian faith we have come,
and how far we have to go. Hopefully we
are becoming fuller of the Grace of God as we grow in our knowledge and
understanding. Hopefully that Grace is transforming us into Christlikeness, or
some would say holiness. It’s not the
wording, but the life lived out of what you claim. I don’t expect people to understand
everything I believe and the doctrines that I hold true, for many of them are “non-essential”
and/or denominational specific, but I do expect people to see me transformed, I
do expect them to see the light of Christ that hopefully is radiating out of
me. I do expect them to understand that I am not perfect, and have many shortcomings
that God is working out in my through my own growth. I am far from arriving, and so is everybody
else. Whether you call it holiness,
Christlikeness, Living Surrendered, or anything else, the truest resemblance of
it is answering the question “how is Christ made know through my life?” How does my life radiate Christ? Is it radiating Christ? Do I long to be made into His image? Do I surrender all, and say “Lord, I’ll go wherever
you send me?” Am I willing to come to
the cross, or go down to the altar and say yes, I am in great need of your help, I do fall short, and
I am not perfect?” , I am willing to be the vulnerable for Christ? Is that too, not what He prayed in the
garden, “not my will, but yours be done?”
That to me is true Holiness of Heart; when our lives show our weakness,
and in that weakness He is made strong.
It is living in the overflow of realization of what He did for us, on
the cross, at the empty tomb, and in our own lives. It is taking that and applying it to our
lives and the lives of others. It is
moving out of Love, for the sake of Love, becoming less so that He can become more. It loves others in the name of Jesus because
we realize that is all that we have to give.
It is out of a heart of such gratitude and love for Jesus that we can’t
help to not move his mission forward of sharing in The Good News. We can’t help but be moved by those who are hurting
and hungry, by those who are desperate for something more. This is the heart of Jesus, of true
Christlikeness; of Living Surrendered, and Yes, this is Holiness. So don’t hate me because I fell in love with
the doctrine of Holiness, I understand we may never see eye to eye on our
theologies, but the true test of a true
Christian is their changed, and sold out lives for the causes of Christ in our
broken world in desperate need for hope and healing. This is the call of Christ, the call of
holiness, to self-sacrifice and servant hood that is birthed out of a
transformed life and a realization of what God has done for you. Are you living it? Does it burn deep within
you to see not only yourself changed but to give the hope of Jesus to others in
your own lives? I pray that we all will
keep our eyes on Jesus and allow Him to do in us only what He can do. I pray that we will unite around the
essentials of our faith, allowing it to bring new growth to each of us and let
the non-essentials be. There will always
be room for debates and differences, but my hope is that when people see us,
they truly will know that we are Christians by our love, a love that Has
radically changed us, taken us higher with Christ, and launches us forward with
a burning desire to share and see others experiences that same transformational
power in their own lives. This is my prayer
and part of my own calling into
ministry, and I pray it would deeply burn in you as well. God bless.
Some time ago, I had written a journal post and even remember marking in my Bible the significance of John 5:5-9 in my own life. So I find it so humorous of God today of drawing me to Jentzen Franklins Blog post on this very thing. It goes back to the choices that we make that I was taking about yesterday in my post. You see, the story is very significant for me, because when God pointed it out earlier this year to me as well, I was and still am 38 years old. Not only that, but there are many life circumstance, many road blocks that I face that can be discouraging and could very easily get me side tracked if I wasn’t so aware of them. Remember how I mentioned yesterday in my post how The Word of God was difficult at times for me? That’s a great example of this passage in my life. God said “Robin Pick up the Bible and walk”, He tells me, stop making excuses, stop looking for other people to give you the answers, to meet your needs, ect.. Just like the man in the story who was waiting for someone to come and help him. God says” You take the action steps in faith, do the hard work of moving out of your own self-pity and circumstances and move into the greater things that I have for you.” That’s a wake-up call if I ever heard one! So I don’t know what it is for you today, I don’t know what your “mat” is in life, but I do know that Jesus gives us not only the choice to move forward in all that he has for us, but he also gives us the strength and the power to move forward. It’s a choice; do you want to be healed?