Life after Death

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When we hear the words “life after death” it often triggers an image or thought of heaven. However, the life that I want to talk about today takes place before we go and live with our Savior.

Many of us convince ourselves that we are living life to its fullest. All is well. We have everything we need and a little more.  I like to call this, contentment. Eventually the excitement of life begins to settle, difficulties start to set in, and soon we are left confused. We begin to wonder if this is as good as life gets. Most of us carry on as long as we can until we are completely broken. In fact, until we die.

When we experience a spiritual death we end up in a place of major heartache and pain. The burdens we accumulate along the way can be almost unbearable.  Our striving has weakened us to a point in which we need to look outside ourselves for help. Life as it is, is no longer enjoyable when our spirits cease. God does not desire for this to happen to His children.  The sin we have allowed in our lives is what breaks our spirit. The very trials that we face are often consequences of our own self seeking.

If this is something you are going through today, I have good news. You are not alone. We all reach this point eventually.  In our utter despair we look beyond our own abilities that have failed us reaking havic on our lives. We begin to reflect, and ask ourselves “Where did I go wrong?”  We soon realize that the very moment we chose to go our way rather than Gods, is when it all started.  Sometimes its weeks, months, or years until our self-seeking lives come crashing down. But they always do.

When we allow our fleshly nature to die we all of a sudden have another option. This is the best option. We can yield our lives to Jesus and allow Him to be in charge.  This decision to have a relationship with Jesus allows Him to begin to heal and prepare us for His plan. When this revelation comes, we begin to experience true life in Him. Soon we are completely changed, a testimony of Jesus love to the world. We can no longer identify with the old self.  The habits of yesterday no longer hold our interest. Life at its best is now ours because we accepted Jesus and are living out the plan that we were created for. Death to self brings forth abundant life in Him.

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Serve only Me

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Today I would like to talk about the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20: 2). The reason this warning is so important, is because many of us become confused by it, misunderstanding its exact meaning.  What we serve other than God can be many things. God referenced idols when speaking to the Israelites, because they had the desire to serve carved images negating His authority. However, today our images have manifested into many different types of idols that take precedence in our lives.

Many of us do not struggle with serving a specific carved image, but may still struggle with putting God first. God desires for us to make Him our number one priority because He loves us and knows that this action leads to blessings in our lives. We were purposely made to serve God. It is when we fail to fulfill this request, that we miss out on the life that God intended for us. We were created to put God first, when we don’t we miss out on His joy and peace. Instead, we experience a void. This void we experience at some point in our journey is meant to be filled by Jesus.  Too often, we end up serving something that becomes our god, but is not the God in heaven. For example, some of us are slaves to alcohol, money, control, status, burdens, busyness, food, and much more. What is it in your life that you go to? How do you ease the pain or fill that emptiness you experience?  We must ask ourselves what action has become our God. Once we recognize it, we can then ask God to help us replace that action with Him. And He will do just that!

God desires that we go to Him through His Son Jesus for all things. He longs for us to seek Him when we are happy, sad, lonely, troubled, and empty. He wants to be number one in our lives above all else.  We are to do all things with Him in mind. He warns us not to put anything else before Him. “There sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god” (Psalm 16:4). He tells us this because He knows where this path leads, straight to a dead end road of much pain. Instead of heartache, He wants to lead us to everlasting joy and fulfillment found in Him only.

Whatever it is that has control over your life, surrender it to Jesus. Ask Him to work through you, to change you so that you can leave the old unfulfilling action behind. When we confess and ask for forgiveness, He sends His Helper to deliver us. Just as David said in Psalms, “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” When we ask He is faithful. He will do the work and help us live a life that makes him priority above all else.

 

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Perfect Love

Perfect Love

Too often, organized religion encourages us to live a life of works; it’s a heavy ball and chain around our feet that develops within us a feeling of never being good enough for God. In this world we cannot be completely free from sin. It is impossibility. We cannot work for God’s love. It is given to us freely.

The belief that we have to work for God’s approval separates us from Him.

Feelings of inadequacy cause us to turn away from God because we don’t feel accepted. This is a false representation of who Christ is and how He loves us. It is this belief that leads us down a destructive path, encouraging works oriented behavior. The ideology of gaining God’s love and approval by works is a skewed perception of God. God loves us because we are His. You see, His love for us does not change based on our behavior; rather, our behavior changes based on His perfect love.

His love for us is constant; He takes us just as we are with utter excitement.

You cannot be too ugly or beat up for God. Why? Because He is more concerned about having a relationship with us than how perfect we are. Who are we fooling? He is an all knowing God. He knows your next sinful action before you even do it.  Knowing this, He beckons us to acknowledge Him. No matter how small or great our interest is in Him; He uses that amount to grow the relationship. It does not matter who we are or what we have done, He just wants us to come to Him. He can work through us when we commune with Him. It’s the personal process that He wants to engage us in.

All we have to be, is willing; He will do the rest.

The only thing He refuses to do is exercise His power over our will.

He chose to give us the ability to think freely.

He will do and use anything He possibly can to get our attention, so that His Spirit can lead us to a decision of choosing to yield our will to Him.

When we focus on Jesus instead of our ability to be perfect, something great happens. We fall in love with our Savior. This is the greatest and most intimate relationship we will enter into this side of heaven. There is power, peace, and wisdom in knowing Jesus that satisfies our soul in such a way that we live in perfect contentment and gratitude regardless of what is happening around us. Jesus offers a joy everlasting that ignites the heart leaving us with a genuine desire to live out our lives in such a way that brings glory to Him.

The fears, anxieties, and pressures of life slowly fade. The desire of our hearts becomes His desires for us. The natural inclination to live independently of God no longer holds us captive. At last we are free. Our hearts long to soak up His love, yearning for more and more of Him in our lives.

There is nothing that compares to Jesus perfect love for us. He is the only and most high God. He desires to work in your life through a relationship with you.

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Teach me to love You

Teach me to love You.

As we get to know Jesus we often confuse His love for us with our perception of love based on our life experiences. Sometimes I find myself evaluating my day or week to see if I have been good enough for God. This is such an easy trap to fall prey to. Our finite minds and our ability to understand God’s love for us, fails us so easily. We begin to base God’s love for us, on the love that we are capable of or have received. Thankfully, God’s love cannot compare to love of marred men. His love is unconditional and everlasting.

His Love is unconditional and everlasting!

God’s love for us and our ability to be good are completely separate. Why? God is love. He doesn’t love us based on how we act. He loves us because we are His.  God’s love never changes, it is constant. We all fall short of the glory of God and will be sinners until His return. Even at our best, we are but filthy rags. This is exactly why Christ came and paid for our sins. We are not capable in and of ourselves to change. We need His helper, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit provides us the opportunity to tap into His love. This love forever changes the soul because it is perfect.  It is then and only then that our actions begin to reflect Christ’s character.

It's all about absolute surrender

When we spend time in God’s Word He changes us.

It is this time spent with Him that keeps our eyes fixed. In ourselves, we see our shortcomings and critique our walk with Jesus. When we do this we realize how much we fail. This action births a feeling of “not good enough.”

Instead of focusing on ourselves, Jesus says, “look to me. Keep your eyes on the cross. The minute you look at yourself and your efforts My power begins to diminish. When your eyes leave Me you begin to falter. Stay focused on Me and I will keep you safe in My care.” It is in the constant pursuit of Jesus and His Word that His power continually changes us. All you have to do is ask, and He will do the rest. He will reveal Himself to you. He teaches us how to love Him, by first loving us.

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Mornings with Jesus are the best!

Mornings with Jesus are the best!

Early mornings with Jesus are my favorite! I have come to find that no matter what seems to clamor for my time, (pretty much everything) it is crucial to start my day with Him. During Christ’s time on earth, He went away early in the morning to spend time with His Father to be renewed. It thrills my heart to know that we too, have the same opportunity.

Each morning we can set aside time to have a date with the King of the universe; the person that has created all that is around us; the one who has blessed us with all that we have; the person that loves us the most. He cares for each need of ours big and small. By meeting with Him, we can gain strength, healing, peace, love, and wisdom. We can bask in His presence and enjoy is amazing love for us.

Approach each day with a desire to find me.

Approaching God each day with the desire to find Him is a great opportunity. He longs to pour into your heart wisdom, guidance, and love. He desires more than anything this time with us. When we show up, He is faithful. He will show up too, in ways you cannot imagine!

Peace and joy are here for the taking; these two vital emotions, the genuinity of them, can not be manufactured or bottled by man. They are free only to be received by Christ. And the greatest part, is that the invitation is always there awaiting us. 

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