Friday, December 26, 2014

Excellance


Excellence, something we prefer from the products that we purchase or receive as well as expect from the people around us. When I think of excellence, I think of something that is far better than everything around it, something that surpasses all other standards. What my thoughts have been on is, that though we expect excellence from the products and people around us, then how much more does God want excellence from us?

Living a life of excellence means living at your best, giving your all. When the day comes to stand before God and answer for all you have done, He will not just ask what you have done, but how you have done it. He will be specifically looking for excellence. Did you give God only the leftovers or did you give Him the best you could, even in the smallest tasks in life? You see, God wants you to rise to a higher standard, He wants excellence in all you do!

God's excellence is to serve as your model -Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: (Isaiah 12:5). God wants excellence from us because we are a child, made in His image!

Paul wrote in Philippians about not yet attaining, nor being perfect but instead pressing toward the mark for a prize of the high calling.

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 3:12-14
I had to think, this is excellence. It isn't perfection, right here, right now, instead it is a calling to do all you can with what you all you have, right here, right now. Excellence is something that if you want to attain it, it requires constant pressing toward the mark and the calling to which God has called us! It requires effort from me, it doesn't just happen. But isn't that what the Christian walk is, effort and time. It requires me to be there and take action.
I have really thought a lot about this excellence this past week, then looking over my life and my walk with the Lord, I see that there are areas that I like to slide under the rug and think that God probably doesn't care about it to much if I don't do my best. But that is not the case. God wants me (and you) to do our best in everything and every part of our lives. No matter how small and unimportant it may seem, God cares and wants our best effort put forth.
So I challenge you to ask God, that He may show you as you look over your life, any areas that maybe you aren't putting forth the excellence that He would like to see in that particular area. It might not be easy or fun, but I promise, the reward is so worth it!
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not unto men. -Colossians 3:23

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Room for the Ultimate Gift


 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. -Luke 2:7

Its early Christmas morning and this has been on my mind a lot this season. Just on how busy we can be, getting together with family and friends, shopping, wrapping gifts, and giving gifts; all good things but at the same time have we made room for the Ultimate Gift, the Gift who is the reason we even celebrate the season. 

"There is no space for the Prince of peace but with the humble and contrite spirits which by grace he prepares to yield him shelter. Never mind what the past has been; he can forget and forgive. It mattereth not what even the present state may be if thou mournest it. If thou hast but room for Christ he will come and be thy guest. " -Charles Spurgeon

I am so very thankful that God saw fit to send His only Son to earth as a baby as the Ultimate Gift to one day grow up to become the Ultimate Sacrifice for my sins! That is why we celebrate Christmas. Its not just about Jesus being born in a manger, it is also about Him dying on the cross for my sins to rise again so that you and I may live freely and above sin and experience eternal life! 

So my question to you is, do you have room for Him? He so longs to dwell richly with in you!
Come Lord Jesus, dwell within us. May we always have room for thee!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Emptiness


Emptiness. Space that has nothing in it. Have there been times you have come to God, feeling self-sufficient and coming before Him with your own ideas and plans? And then other times come to Him, knowing what you are facing you cannot face on your own strength and you come before Him, empty, needing Him to fill you and strengthen you? Which time did you feel like you were the most effective when doing the work to which God has called you?


Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen. And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil. Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full. So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out. And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed. Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest. -2 Kings 4:1-7

After reading this passage, it got me thinking about emptiness and how important it is in our walk with the Lord. We can come before the Lord and think we can do things on our own strength but the Lord cannot use us to the capacity He could if we would come to Him empty and allow Him to fill us. There are so many times that God has brought things before me or placed me in situations that I needed to rely on Him. He brought me to those times to show me the emptiness that only He can fill and if I rely on Him, He will fill me with His strength and go with me through whatever He has allowed into my life or placed before me.

I am so thankful that God not only has a solution for my emptiness but that He can also use my emptiness. It is just another reminder that without God, I am nothing and only through Him and by Him, am I able to do the work which He has for me!

So my challenge to you is, are you coming before God, empty, and allowing Him to use you in the way He wants to use you or do you come before God with an agenda and your own plans? My prayer is that you may come before Him empty and allow Him to use you in the way which He sees best!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Refinement


What do you think of when you hear the word refinement? When I think of refinement, I think of something painful, especially in relation to my spiritual life. The dictionary's definition is: refinement: the process of removing impurities or unwanted elements from a substance. Looking at the dictionary's definition and then looking at what God has been doing in my life lately, I can see Him bringing those impurities and unwanted things in my life to the surface for me to see so I may work on those things. It is a painful and sometimes messy process but I know that God sees the whole picture and the end result will be beautiful!

Below are some verses that relate to what I see God doing in my life right now.

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
-1 Peter 1:7-9

Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.
-Isaiah 48:10-11

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
-1 Peter 5:10

Though this refinement process is neither easy or fun, I know that God's way is perfect and this refining is ultimately for His honor and glory and that I may better serve Him. I am so thankful that after a time of testing, God will use that to strengthen you and prepare you for the things that are to come!

My challenge to you is that when God takes you through a refinement in your own life, allow Him to work in your life and show you those impurities and unwanted things in your life so that you may better serve Him in His kingdom!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

God's Promise For Redemption


 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lordof hosts will perform this.
-Isaiah 9:6-7
I am reading along with She Reads Truth, O Come Let Us Adore Him plan, for the month of December and yesterday the devotion was about promises. It got me thinking about how the reason we have Christmas is because God promised to send His son to earth to die on the cross and rise again, so that we may have eternal life.
I am so thankful that when God makes a promise, He keeps the promise He made. We don't have to worry about Him going back on His promise. Each one of God's promises are made perfect in Christ (For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. -2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV)). He is the fulfillment of the law and He is the realization of our every need, hope, and desire.
And since I was thinking that the reason we have Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ, I was thinking how easy it can be to focus on the material things and not so much on the fact Jesus is the reason we are even have Christmas. So though I still plan to give gifts and spend time with family and friends, I want to take the time through out this season and thank God for sending His son to earth to die on the cross so I may experience a life free from sin. So let us through out this season, rejoice in a God who keeps His promises to us, even if it means sending His only Son to die on a cross to save sinners!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Blessings


I was thinking about how much I really enjoy the holidays. As I was thinking about that, it made me think about how easy it can be to get caught up in the busyness of the season instead of really being thankful for the blessings with which God has blessed me.

Does my life reflect that I am thankful for the many blessings with which God has blessed me or do I just go on living and not even give those blessings a second thought? I was really challenged this Thanksgiving to be thankful for even the smallest things, things I might not usually give a second thought to. God truly has blessed me with many blessings and it is wonderful seeing His work in my life and the lives of those around me.

-William Arthur Ward

The quote above definitely has truth behind it. If I am thankful for the blessings God has given me, do I thank Him for them? Living a life of thankfulness really can change your outlook. When you are thankful for the things that come into your life, good or bad, realizing that God only brings those things into your life which will help you, improve you, and draw you closer to Him, it brings you nearer to God and helps you see those things for which you might not normally be thankful.

So my challenge to you is, be thankful for all things and in all things. 

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
-1 Thessalonians 5:18