Before I came to faith in Christ my life had no eternal purpose. I lived for pleasure and there were infinite forms for me to follow in order to reward myself. Whether the opportunities were worthy or not never seemed to matter. As long as my chances of getting in deep trouble were slim, I lived for self-gratification.
When I started following Jesus that all began to change. I progressively found myself living with a sense of confidence in the Lord and His ways. My choices were no longer determined by my pleasure but more and more by whether or not God would be pleased.
Now I have come to the place where my determined purpose is that I may know the Lord more deeply and intimately. I thank God for putting new desires in my heart that are consistent with Him and His character.
There are times when I compare myself to other people. No matter what my situation or condition is, I can always find someone who, in my carnal way of thinking, is less spiritual than I am.
I am grateful that, in those moments of delusional preoccupation with myself, God reminds me that there is only one person to whom He wants me to compare. Jesus Christ is the one, solitary role model God wants me to have. When I contrast my life with His, the light of His holiness exposes some area of darkness in me.
I never cease discovering new areas of my life for which I can repent and be transformed in my thinking. Left to myself, I am insignificant and incapable of doing anything that would overcome the corrupt and irrational way I think and reason.
It is my earnest prayer that God will help me to have the same attitude that Jesus had when He lived on the earth as a man.
One of the recurring problems I have to overcome is making judgments against others and events that are happening. I have opinions and thoughts about so many things of which I have very limited information. These conclusions happen so fast that there is no way they are coming from my rational thinking.
When I try to make sense of why this occurs, God is faithful to remind me that I am overstepping my responsibility and there are too many issues in my own life that I need to address before taking on the drama of others.
The faults I observe in others are only a small reflection of something that He is wanting to correct in me. Keeping my own life in order is my first priority and I know I can’t do that very well when my focus is on the faults of others.
I pray that God will continually help me to be an encourager instead of a fault-finder.
For many years I was never satisfied. If I saw an advertisement for something I wanted, I simply paid for it with one of my convenient credit cards. The pleasure I received was usually very short-lived.
Now I am satisfied with the Lord and commercials don’t have the same effect on me as they once did.
His peace and joy are natural benefits of abiding in fellowship with Him. They spring forth like a continual stream of fresh water, bubbling up from within.
Whenever I am experiencing any form of stress, anxiety or discontent, I realize quickly that I have been distracted from my conscious awareness of God’s presence. All I have to do, regardless of the noise and chatter around me, is to be still inwardly and refocus my attention towards Him and the river of life starts flowing again.
I thank God for removing the blindfold that hid the simplicity of His presence for so many, many years.
When I started following Jesus, I was not very well organized in my personal affairs. It became evident when God called me to become a pastor and teacher.
The strong sense of purpose He gave me led me to become orderly in the things I did. Without trying very hard, I prioritized the events in my life because I needed to study, support a family and spend time with them.
However, the more I got involved in ministry, I began to struggle with an excessive emphasis on serving others at the expense of ministering to my family.
Before I came to faith in Christ, I had found pleasure in activities that were harmful to my family. As I got involved with teaching, pastoring and other ministry activities, I discovered great pleasure in those things.
When I was forced to slow down after my first cancer surgery, I realized how little time I was spending alone with God and my family. Other forms of adversity compelled me to recognize my need to focus much more on my relationship with the Lord and those closest to me.
Now, because of His faithfulness and compassion, I am free to spend every conscious moment I can, enjoying intimate fellowship with the Lord and my family in a way I never did before. I thank God for drawing me back to my first love.
God blesses people with material and financial abundance for a purpose. He expects them to use what they have received to be a blessing to other people. The common word that is used to describe this is to “share.” In Hebrews 13:16 it says, “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
Many times people in need fail to get their prayer requests fulfilled. God gives a very simple answer in James 4:3, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” God is pleased when we share with others from our abundance, but He is displeased when we spend only on the things that bring us pleasure.
The person who learns to be a pipeline of blessing from God to others is abundantly blessed by the Lord. We do this through bringing our tithes to the church, giving offerings to mission endeavors, giving to the needy, helping orphans and widows, and supporting church building projects.
There are many ways to bestow blessings on others besides giving money. We can show random acts of kindness, serve others, cook meals for people who are convalescing at home, give rides to people who don’t have transportation, and the list goes on and on. We are only limited by our lack of imagination.
My family and I have been the recipients of numerous acts of kindness and grace in numerous ways and forms. Cypress Creek Church is one of the most generous churches I have observed, especially through the community groups as people care for one another. It’s a joy to be a part of this kind of ministry.
No matter where I go, God is present. When I close my eyes at night, He is in my thoughts. When I sit in stillness by a stream, the sound of the water reminds me that He is there. When a storm approaches and darkness engulfs the sky; when lightning flashes and the thunder rolls, I am reminded of His awesome power.
God created everything for His pleasure and when I am in union with Him, it is also created for me. I can welcome every experience I face with the calm assurance that it could not happen without the Lord being actively involved in its formation.
God is not just the giver of life; He is my life. I exist for His enjoyment and I will enjoy Him forever because He has made us one. His love for me was demonstrated when Jesus Christ died on the cross for me and I don’t need anything else to be assured that it is real.
And yet, every day, wherever I go, I feel it in the air I breathe, in the space I occupy, in every precious moment of time, in the faithfulness of friends and a loving wife.
No matter what happens or where I go, He never leaves me nor forsakes me. He is always present in my life.
I believe that God is the sovereign creator of everything. That is one of the basic foundations of my faith. I also believe that He works out everything in conformity with His purpose and will. True wealth and honor comes from Him. However, His power, strength, and riches are primarily spiritual in nature and produce righteousness, peace, and joy for those who chose to align their lives with His purpose.
One of the most important things that I have learned in almost sixty years of following Jesus is the trustworthiness of God and His Word. He brought stability to my life and He makes everything that happens work for good, even if it appears to be going badly. My life in Him is the one constant that never changes. On the other hand, my life situation is always going up and down like a roller coaster. My circumstances may appear to be going well one minute and a simple phone call can tell me that something bad is happening. Either way, God is still the same and abiding in Him always produces a positive outcome.
When I give out of my finances, time or material blessings, I do it as an act of obedience to the Lord. I leave the results in God’s hand and put all of my expectations in Him because I know He is the ruler of all things and that He has the power to accomplish what is pleasing to Him. I am so very grateful for the riches of the inheritance I have as one of His children.
For years I missed out on God’s blessings because I was relying on my own reasoning and remained attached to the temporal things of the world. I continued for many years clinging to what I could not keep.
Ever since I have started following Jesus I have been learning the simplicity of His ways. He gives His Kingdom to those who trust and rely on Him for everything.
When Jesus came to earth, He didn’t defend His Kingdom with violence and force, although He could have called on His Father for the assistance of twelve legions of angels. He came as our Heavenly Father’s sacrificial lamb to take away my sin and to establish His Kingdom in my heart.
It is His good pleasure to give me the Kingdom. He has put within me a hunger and thirst for righteousness along with a desire to follow Jesus and abide in Him. There is nothing this world has to offer that can compare with the benefits that come by doing that.
Every government on earth, no matter what its form may be, eventually comes to an end. But His Kingdom, in all of its power and glory, will last forever.
I thank God for the blessing I have of being one of its citizens.
I can remember hearing about a wealthy man when he died. Someone asked, “How much did he leave when he passed away?” Another person answered, “Everything!” It doesn’t matter how much we have accumulated during our lifetime, we all have the same amount of material possessions we leave behind, which is all we have.
Before God created anything, He had a plan. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit were, are and always will be in perfect unity and that is God’s will for all of us. That is why He wants our lives to come into agreement with Him. When we begin our walk with the Lord we are conditioned to living our lives man’s way instead of God’s way. We spend our whole life transitioning from the kingdom of darkness to become mature sons and daughters in the Kingdom of Light.
The phrase, “Let go and let God” is an expression that describes letting go of the ways of the world and letting God have His way in our hearts and minds. The more we do that we are able to walk in peace and harmony with Him. Let’s become rich towards God.