Characteristics about God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit
Characteristics about us in our rebellion
Characteristics about us after we are redeemed
Characteristics of God’s Word
Consequences of rebellion
Results and rewards of obedience
A promise from God
The words IF, THEN, THEREFORE, ALWAYS, BUT
Things God will do and things we are to do
Place your name where there are personal pronouns.
Diagramming Scripture is another way to interact with scripture to make it come alive for you personally. It’s a partner with Scripture Writing. Use your favorite pens and circle, underline, draw arrows, or squiggly lines in your scripture writing. Have fun highlighting truths, and enjoy the colorful results of finding all that you can in your scripture writing for that day. Then apply the scripture to you, making it personal, acknowledging how the truths impact your life. Pray the scripture back to God and thank Him for the power of His Word.
Sometimes, certain Christian music can land on my spirit in a way that shows me how close the Lord and His Spirit are to me. A song that focuses on the character of God and His love for me transcends past my self-protected shield and targets the softest places in my heart. Does this happen to you too?
Yesterday on social media, a national speaker recommended a song. It caused me to research it. Then watch it. The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sings, “I Love the Lord.” Their soulful style pierces the depths of me, cuts through my shame and guilt, and affirms my love for the Lord. Praise His Name.
The song was written in the 17th century by Isaac Watts. And when I wonder about that era of time, what was going on then, I conclude, as Solomon says, “nothing new is under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). That means nothing is new, nothing. The same human nature has existed all this time, and Isaac, for whatever reason, was making a claim that, in spite of this fact, he loved the Lord.
The test of the Christian life is loving the Lord through the hard and challenging times. Each challenge can purify our hearts and make us more like Jesus, or we can choose to allow bitterness to creep in and like a tarnished, silver spoon, be unusable and dull.
If we long to be faithful to God, we will learn through it all to love Him, not the outcome of our problems. We let Him mold us, and we learn how to keep fellowship with Him through spiritual disciplines, instead of keeping Him at a distance. We learn our need for Him is far greater than whatever our plea is at the time. It is His love, His character, and His faithfulness that help us in our weakness and temptation.
We learn as Habakkuk proclaimed in his suffering, “yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:18).
For me, as I continue through all the bumps and bruises of life, the unexpected disappointments, the spider webs in my face situations that I can’t get rid of, I realize I still love the Lord. I have learned that loving the Lord is no longer my challenge but is my solution to everything.
I LOVE THE LORD
I love you, Lord; you heard my cries, and pitied every groan; Long as I live, when troubles rise, I’ll hasten to your throne.
I love you, Lord; you bow your ear; you’re ever good and just. Then let my heart feel no despair! Your power has all my trust.
If you behold me sore distressed, you bid my pains remove; I’ll turn my soul to you, my rest, and witness to your love.
Isaac Watts 1719
I love the Lord because he hears my voice
and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen,
I will pray as long as I have breath! Psalm 116:1-2
I remember pedaling down our street and my daddy holding on to my bike seat. The training wheels had come off, and here we were, working together to take it to the next level. Now, I can’t tell you if I was hollering, “Daddy, let go!” or, “Daddy, don’t let go!” I just know my daddy was right there running and exerting all the encouragement he had to release me into the world of childhood biking. I worked with him while wondering if the bike would continue on wheels or if I and the bike would end up sprawled on the asphalt.
Later I would make more memories of me careening down hills without holding the handlebars embracing my play life on wheels. My daddy knew those days would come, but I didn’t. Perhaps he thought, ” I don’t want to let go of my sweet girl.” Who knows? But to this day, it is a vivid memory of growth and faith, and dependence on my dad.
Now while that’s a sweet memory of my dad holding on to me, his power was limited. He couldn’t hold me forever. He had to release me, and I had to have faith that I was going to stay up on those wheels. My faith was in my dad and my ability, both limited.
But when you become a child of God, that means you placed your faith in God. God. Omnipotent. Omnipresent. Omniscient. God.
He is not going to let you go, not one time. As a fact, He can’t. It is not in His nature to be faithless. (2 Timothy 2:13) . When you ask Jesus to save you, He saves you and keeps you. It is His responsibility to hold you forever. He will not let you go. You can rest in His powerful work in your life at the point of salvation. The triune God, the Maker of heaven and earth, is faithful and will never let you out of His hand(John 10:27-29). You can know He lives inside you forever if you’ve asked Him to.
It is not necessary that you continue to ask Him to. He is God, and He is able to keep you(Jude 24). Anything you think you might contribute to your salvation, you don’t. You received Him by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), and there’s no work you can do to keep Him. He is keeping you. He did the work on the cross, and if you are His child because you have decided to be, then He is keeping you now.
If in a season of doubt, take some time and write the verses listed below and repeat them, memorize them, and pray them back to God with confidence and thanksgiving. Peace and confidence will be restored in the person of Christ, the One who saved you.
One side issue: If you are in a season of disobedience, this can cause you to doubt your salvation. As you grow in your faith, your behavior won’t trigger you to question your salvation. You will learn to trust Him. You will remember your salvation does not depend on you. You will discover your faith is in the person of Christ, not your changing feelings. But you should confess your sin to Him if you feel distant. It is always we who move away from God, not Him from us. He wants to have full, restored fellowship with you, and sin gets in the way. Confess your sin immediately, and walk in obedience again(I John 1:9).
Be sure you have time with God every day, preferably in the morning. This gives you the time to confess your sin, reflect on who He is, get solutions to your problems, build the faith you need to let God do His work in your life, and give you the strength to obey Him.
So whether you are a new Christian or one in a season of doubt, or you’ve been a Christian for decades, here is a list of verses you can put your hope in, memorize, write down, pass on or hand them out to your Sunday school class, small group, or someone you are working with.
I John 5:11-13 – And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
John 1:12 – Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God –
John 10:27-29 – Jesus answered, ” My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
Jude 24 – To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without finding fault and with great joy.”
Romans 8:38&39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
*If your thoughts are not doubts but conviction and an invitation by the Holy Spirit to accept Jesus by faith, then read the link below for more information.*
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
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Do you remember a time when you thought you needed something and it didn’t come? Maybe it was a report from the doctor, a friend to show up, for a situation to end, for a situation to begin, or a hug. But it didn’t come. What did you do? Did you cry? Did you pray? Did you question God? Did you harden your heart? Did you praise God? Did you give thanks to God? Did you complain to others or to God? What did you do?
Sometimes God has you in a place. Sometimes that place has no door for exit and no window for hope. What do you do? What can you do?
There’s a sense of powerlessness. Whatever you desire is not in your control to fix or attain. You can’t push things along. You can’t escape.
God has you in a place, and you are forced to do things His way. You are forced to beg him for His intervention. You are forced to seek His perspective. You are forced to praise Him. You are forced to give Him thanks.
Not too long after you begin to be honest with God and you quit carrying the desire, burden, need, hope, or longing, then you realize there is a burden bearer. There is a caregiver for your soul. There is a tear wiper and a compassionate ear. Even though He may seem silent, He is not inattentive. He is present.
When was the last time you poured out your heart to God? When was the last time you gave up being strong? When was the last time you went to your knees in surrender?
For the follower of Christ, this is where Christianity is proven. These are the places where no human can fulfill. You may know that God doesn’t even want you to share this with another human. It’s just you talking to Him. You didn’t think He was enough. You thought you needed a friend. A human. He is teaching you that HE is enough. He is your best friend. He is the one who can fix, fulfill, and fan into flame whatever the plan is. No matter how long you have to wait. Even if you don’t see Him do anything. Even if what you thought you needed never happens.
I could tell you what the Bible says about how valuable giving thanks is, being content, how He gives perseverance, how He gives strength to the weary, and so on. If you are a follower of Christ, you are familiar with all these promises. It’s your choice to cling to them.
What you may not be familiar with is waiting the way He wants you to wait. We will do most anything other than wait well. It seems so counterintuitive. But that is where the presence of God is. It’s that still, silent place, sometimes full of peace, sometimes uncomfortable.
Let’s not rush the process and ruin His plans with our own plan. He is a God of love who longs to give His children good things. Wait.
This blog is about winning ways to follow Jesus. Work is indeed a biblical way to follow Jesus. We watched a sermon online yesterday from Tokyo Baptist Church. He did all the research on this topic, and I’m passing it on to you.
Pastor Takeshi Yozawa ·
He preached 2 Thessalonians 3:1-13. These are the notes I took. If you want to hear the sermon and take your own, then go here https://youtu.be/08DYW1UcC-A
Paul starts by saying to keep away from certain Christians because they don’t live according to tradition. Tradition means what is originally received from someone and passed on to someone else. This would mean a teaching from Jesus to the apostles, and the apostles pass it on to the churches. Paul says when we disobey the teaching of the Apostles, we disobey Jesus.
Paul says there is disorderly conduct and idleness. They are out of order. He commanded the church to work, but some disobeyed. What does our work have to do with the testimony of the church? Our attitudes toward work should change.
Paul says he was NOT idle – He labored. He did this for two reasons:
-He did not want to be a burden
-He wanted to be an example so that they would imitate him
In the modern, individualistic world, we tend to think vacation is great and work is a necessary evil.
But work is a God thing. Work is our first calling as humans. Starting in Genesis 2:15, the man was placed in the garden to work and watch over it –
Work is not a punishment. It is a gift – a blessing of God.
Sin has made work harder.
John 5:17 My Father is still working, and I am also working –
Work is in the Ten Commandments – You are to labor six days…
The rest of the command is the part we focus on about resting. Resting is good, but we are no longer under the Sabbath law because it’s been fulfilled in Jesus.
Work is the means for us to serve Jesus and bring glory to God.
I Corinthians 10:31b
Our workplace is the one place we will impact more non-Christians than anywhere else.
We can show Christ and bring glory to Him.
The calling of mankind:
To serve God
To show the character of God
To bring glory to God
2 Thessalonians 3:7-9
vs.9 – Paul was working as a gospel worker for the church. He believed he had the right to get support. But Paul didn’t receive support from a church he started. He would not make them pay. He was fine about outside churches supporting him.
Every pastor on staff at TBC was a church member before they were called to their current position – the supporting staff too. They were volunteer workers before they were ever paid by the church. Their hearts are about giving and serving others. Vs. 10-13
Those who were not willing to work – this was a particular group. He calls them busybodies, unwilling.
He is not talking about the sick, people who want to work but can’t find work, or the old and retired who can’t work, or homemakers teaming with their spouse to run the home and children, or students working hard on their training and education. This is not who Paul is talking about.
These are people unwilling, and he calls them busybodies.
We use our gifts to glorify God and serve others, especially for the salvation of others. We are a peculiar people. It’s entirely different from others’ lives. We don’t work for ourselves. We rejoice to serve at home, church, and work. This is the Christian life. We live and work and serve. It’s the life of Jesus.
Do you work in an office setting? Whether you have a corner office, share a cubicle, sit in an area with a few others, or just report occasionally to your supervisor’s office, integrity is necessary to live with a clean conscience and to enjoy favor with God and man. This is why the paper clip matters.
For the sake of this blog, the paperclip will represent anything at work supplied to you when you got the job to help you with your job. It can include everything from ink for the printer, copy paper, publications, sticky notes, calendars, pens, pencils, writing or drawing tools, receipt books, tape, and containers holding any of these items., cell phone, vehicle, expense report, office furniture, secretary or assistant, anything. Some of these items are small and easy to rationalize if you just borrow them. Have you ever “borrowed” any of these to help your child do their homework or to avoid a stop by the store on the way home? Most of these things fit easily into your work bag brought from home. It would be easy to take one or two items from work now and then and rationalize it. Rationalization is the struggle keeping you from integrity. Let’s consider some of the mindsets of rationalization:
The company won’t miss it. Hey, I’ll even replace it when I get a chance.
I need this so that I can help my child get a project done. My boss would want me to help my child.
I’m so busy, and I already work overtime. I don’t have time to go by the store to pick up my own supplies to use at home.
Every time you “borrow” these items from your workplace, you are setting a new precedent for your conscience to tolerate. It’s the small decisions we make every day, which define our destination.
So what does it matter if you take a paperclip every now and then? Who does it impact? Why can’t I take a paperclip?
Stealing is when you take something that isn’t yours without permission. It is #8 of the ten commandments.
Integrity is living a moral and ethical life in the sight of God and man.
Maybe you think taking a paperclip is not a test of your character. But if you are a follower of Jesus, then He sees you taking it. If you go back to the definition of stealing, then taking the paperclip matters. Being a person of integrity may be a quieter life, one marked by humility, but it is a rewarding life because it affords you sleep at night and a sense of well being during the day. Why negotiate with your conscience, or even with the Holy Spirit, when you can simply live your life in peace?
We’ve started a new year, another beginning. Do you want to be a person of integrity? Integrity doesn’t care who sees. Integrity doesn’t need an audience. Integrity is a decision to be who God created you to be, whether anyone is looking. Integrity is a core value for a Jesus follower. It’s a way to shine your light in the darkness. People will notice and appreciate a person of integrity. Even if you work in a Christian environment, the standard may not be as high as what is presented in this blog. You can be the one to change this environment in your workplace by being a person of integrity.
Integrity is what you do when no one is watching; it’s doing the right thing all the time, even when it may work to your disadvantage. Tony Dungy