Four Life Lessons from Billy Graham

This deserves to be reblogged. Billy Graham was and is an example of who we should be in Christ. Enjoy the Post. What are your take aways?

Coffee with Randy

As we all know, last week, Billy Graham passed away at the age of 99. He had almost seven decades of faithful and fruitful ministry. What Paul said about his own life aptly applies to Billy Graham: “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:6 (NIV)

LET’S TALK…

He influenced so many lives, including my own. My claim to fame is I had the privilege of personally talking with him (very briefly) in Urbana, Illinois, at a Missionary Conference.

Billy’s life was focused and consistent. Because of that he was able to accomplish a great deal. Here are four values that impacted his ministry and can shape ours today.

Simplicity.

He focused on one thing – preach the Gospel. None…

View original post 548 more words

LOVE – Truth in Action

 

 

This month the central theme has been obedience and dependence, and today we add a third, love. I consider these three actions as defining elements in our lives.

 __

Two require submission and one action.

Love is one of the three things God gave us: Faith, Hope, and Love. We abide in Love through Faith and Hope. Obedience and Dependence are the vehicles in which Faith, Hope, and Love operate.

“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 NLT

Obedience and dependence do not require outward interaction, they are a state of being. Love, on the other hand, requires a second party and is an action taken.

God’s love is eternal and our wellspring. It never dries up, we never have to search for the living water. He loves us and it is our place as Christians to love others.

The first step in loving others is loving yourself. The question is, if you are commanded to love your neighbor as you love yourself, how can you love others if you do not love yourself? To love others, you have to first forgive yourself for all your actual and perceived sins that haunt you. Once you have accomplished this and believe you have been forgiven, then and only then can you show God’s truth, which is love, through your actions. 

It is important to note that, we are not saved through our works, we do not live in the Old Testament dispensation. Through the New Testament, we are new creatures in Christ and live through GRACE. We cannot be saved through this action, we are saved by grace and only grace. The action is only a demonstration of our faith.

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT

Further, we should not misinterpret this act as a deed, it manifests itself as action. It is not a work that we do to receive Gods love, it is a gift. God loved us first, and because He loves us, we love others and act to meet their needs. We love others sharing Gods love for us through our actions.We are a branch of His tree. Our actions are demonstrations of God’s love for us.Love4

Fruit of the Spirit3Love is the most important Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22. Without agape love, Christ-centered love, we cannot show the other Fruit listed. It is through the action of Love that all other Fruit of the Spirit is given life.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

Christian love

As Christian Warriors we must all strive to love others as an action. This simply means we step out of our comfort zone to assist others in need of help; others can be a co-worker, friend, family member or stranger.

I find that when I am nudged by the quiet voice of God, I need to step out of my comfort zone. Take a moment to discover when God nudged you and caused you to pay greater attention to others. We should all become more aware and present in the moment. It is important that during these moments we take immediate action. If we do not take action, i.e. the failure to take action, you will find these moments tend to haunt you.

Practice displaying God’s love through your actions. As we do so, we become more Christ-like and mature in the Word as Christian Warriors. You’ll become the person others speak about saying, “I don’t know what it is about Sam, there’s a warmth and caring I sense when I am around him.” This means others are beginning to sense the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. It also is a sign that you are doing God’s work.

Love is truth in action!

 

From Verse-by-Verse Commentary, 1 John 3:18, by Grant Richison, June 17, 2001, BibleStudyTools.com.

Scriptures – BibleGateway.com; BibleHub.com; Bible.com

More on Fruit of the Spirit from Lisa Blair:
lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com/Posts – Change Your Filter, Hear His Voice, Feb 22, 2018; Valentine’s Day, Temporal Love, Feb 21, 2018

YoungchristianWarriors.com/From Punishment to Correction and Healing, Feb 21, 2018; Core Values Early In Life, Sept 23, 2017; Children-Fruit of the Spirit, Sept 22, 2017; Activating the Fruit of the Spirit in Children, Sept 19, 2017
Images – /bible.com/111/1jn.3.18.niv; Google Image

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox.

Blessing + Instructions = Fulfillment of Gods Promise

 

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

Galatians 5:13 NIV

I know without question, God unconditionally loves us. Remember Summer Bible Camp singing, ‘Jesus Loves Me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…’, what I didn’t know as a child was, God always blesses us, but wants it to be an interactive experience, hence the blessing is accompanied by ‘instructions for proper use’.

Most of the time, we receive the blessing, forge ahead and later ask, why is the blessing less than I expected? We see the blessing in its fullest. We acknowledge the blessing. We do not follow the instructions associated with the blessing.

If we unpack the scripture, we read:

  1. We are called to be free.
  2. We should not indulge our freedom in the flesh.
  3. We should humble ourselves.
  4. We should serve one another in love.

 

The Instructions Mean:

1. We know we are called to be free and received Jesus as our Lord and Savior on our own recognizance, we were not forced to ‘saved’, it was our own passion to desire more of God,  we chose to be saved. We think this gives us a license that emboldens us. Spiritually we are emboldened and equate it to its root, to encourage. In the flesh we are not emboldened, we translate the term as, empowered, generated by self-endowed, blazon, and self-righteous attitudes.

2. We know we should not indulge in our freedom through self-indulgence, yet becoming emboldened we forget it is not our own doing, but a gift from God, and is intended to be used to serve others, not ourselves.

3. We know we should be humble, but instead, we insert ourselves as the subject of the equation. This means we omit our Lord as the subject, rather giving ourselves the credit. Being humble takes practice and requires honesty to give credit where it is due.

4. We know we should serve one another in Love. Loving our neighbor and treating them as we treat ourselves in the Great Commandment, Jesus said, “this I leave you…”

These four steps will maximize our blessing. Yet being human, we get caught up in our own aggrandizement and forge ahead without using the instructions. How many of us have bought something and when it arrived we unpacked it, separate the parts and began putting the item together only to find that we should have read the instructions? Prayer is much the same, we can receive the prayer without applying the instructions and receive part of what God intended, or we can gratefully receive the blessing, thank God for answering our prayer, and follow his instructions to fulfill the blessing as intended.

Our problem is that we are not selfless people as God desires, we are self-absorbed people. We tend to follow the instructions but seldom through to the end. As we mature in the Word through our actions and deeds the instructions become involuntary and becomes one with us. We are free, but should not indulge the flesh, and should always be humble and loving.

Big order, but one we should work to strengthen and apply throughout the day because we will never meet perfection on earth, but we can continue to strive to be ‘on the way’.

F69B0C5F-5D4D-476B-A9C5-D0E3E36FA89F

One practice in learning to pray is to strengthen our understanding and application by memorizing scripture.

I’ve included a few, but do not stop here, search the Bible for other scriptures to help you mature in the Word. I view this process as a lifelong commitment.

Scriptures

“We love because [God] first loved us.” John 4:1

“Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”  John 4:11-12

“Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we are dead in our transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4

 

 

 

Images-Google Images
Scriptures-Bible.com; BibleStudyTools.com

If you like what you are reading, follow me and receive the daily inspiration in your inbox

Ugliness In The Midst Of Beauty

Grace Over Pain

It’s one thing for life to be difficult for everyone around you. But it’s a more difficult pill to swallow when it seems as though everyone else’s life is in order except for yours.  Everyone thinks your city is one of the best places to live in because of the opportunities there. But this isn’t the same story for you. You are getting discouraged because you don’t know what you’re doing wrong. You coach people for interviews and they get jobs easily. However when you go, you get rejected. You have the degrees, and qualifications to do better but it’s as though your life is ugly in the midst of beauty.  Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this?

Each time i study Acts 3:1-9, i try to imagine what the life of the lame man was like. I find the story very interesting because of the name…

View original post 854 more words

Change Your Filter, Hear His Voice

332ACB09-8067-499A-8BDD-5B4CACE92AD1

My refrigerator has a water filter symbol that changes color to let me know it’s time to change the water filter. Its purpose is to remove toxins and purify our drinking water. As I ventured to the garage to get the replacement filter, God quipped, ‘filters work, write about how you can filter out the voice of the evil one and change in your life’6B8123ED-07EF-4863-A450-AD942066208C

This could be a figurative process, but my recommendation is to take out your calendars and place a weekly or monthly reminder to evaluate what happened throughout the week or month and how you approached it. It is easier to jot down the day’s events, highlights, good and bad, so at the end of the month, you have a plus/minus chart or checklist. A plus referring to Gods voice and minus to the evil ones’ voice. 1EFF2914-4406-4CC8-AA4D-F1ED7AFB8488

What are we looking for when evaluating the chart or checklist? 784A3D0E-B85D-493A-AB76-5CDA5C051C23We are looking for our level of dependency on the Lord and whether we heard his voice and instructions and acted accordingly. This is a process, but first, we must ask ourselves, do we know how to identify Gods voice because if we cannot, we cannot be obedient.

Filters have agents in them to filter our specific toxins. The Word are the agents. Our filter is the same, filtering out sin. We need to learn how to identify Gods voice and then filter out the activities of the evil ones’ impact on our lives. We must learn to avoid the wiles of evil one, known as sin. Sin is not just listed in the 10 Commandments but every one of the components of the Fruit of the Spirit. It’s our behavior and how we approach life’s situations. The toxins are the grunts of the evil one and our folly. To eradicate the toxins, we must learn to identify and listen to Gods voice.B25734C6-BAAE-4776-B03B-AB1DD6E8BAEB Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
D370A99F-77A5-4217-A915-C7E609F5546F
John 10:27 NIV

I read something that explains how sheep learn to recognize the shepherd’s voice. Lambs, baby sheep, are not born knowing the shepherd’s voice. They are conditioned to hear his voice. Initially, the lambs simply follow the flock wherever they go. Over time they become conditioned to move towards the sheepherder’s voice, they learn that his voice equates to feeding time. When sheep hear a new voice,  their conditioning begins again. “Even sheep that are introduced to a new flock will follow the other sheep until they too recognize the shepherd.” *

We must learn to differentiate between

43ECEA6A-B9D8-48CD-9168-B6B157670B3E

God’s voice, the evil one’s voice, and our own foolish folly. We must become familiar with the Word of God by reading the Bible, and studying the scriptures. Samuel, could not identify the Lords voice the first three times he called him, and Eli told him it was the Lord that had been calling him. He began to recognize the Lords voice over time. The same is true today, we must learn the Lords’s voice through trial and error until it becomes a norm.

In 1 Samuel 10:3,1-10, we see Samuel, a young bondservant of Eli’s, learning to identify God’s voice. The chapter is about Samuel’s conditioning. One night everyone was asleep, and Samuel thought he heard Eli calling. He went to him, and Eli was asleep. Samuel asked Eli, did you call master? Eli said, no. This happened two more times, each time Eli said, go back to sleep, I did not call you. The Lord called Samuel’s name a third time, again Eli told him to go back to bed, but before he left, Eli said, if He calls again, answer ‘Speak Lord, for Your servant hears.’

“Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”
1 Samuel 3:8-10, NIV

When God first spoke to Samuel he did not know His voice, he learned to recognize his voice just as the sheep learn to recognize the sheepherders’ voice. Samuel learned to recognize Gods’ voice, and we must learn to do the same.

Both the Old and New Testament informs us that our Lord wants to have a relationship with us and to do so, we must learn to hear His voice. This is not as easy as it sounds, it is a process. 31500D9A-5D1C-449C-85C2-C20490C1FACDAt times we hear the evil one mimicking the Lord’s voice nudging us to do or say something that is not consistent with the Word of God, and sometimes we follow the flock that does not belong to the Lord.

0662D500-4C0E-40E9-8559-160F2F0C3EF0

 

 

 

So, the question becomes, how do we know it is Gods’ voice? We know his voice because God will never tell or suggest anything that is not consistent with His Word. This means that when you hear the quiet voice if it is not the Word of God, it is not His voice. If the voice says, call in sick and go with your friends (lying); take the change off the counter, no one will see you (stealing); look at your friends test and copy their answers (cheating); refusing to help a co-worker (lack of gentleness); lying (dishonesty); and gossiping (lack of self-control).* it is the evil one’s voice you are hearing. His commands or suggestions never impart the Fruit of the spirit 2Fruit of the Spirit or Gods’ laws. We have to learn to identify which voice we are hearing. It is not exactly black or white, there is a third voice, our own, which sends us down a pathway fit for fools.  You may ask, how do we avoid the pitfalls? The answer is, we learn His voice by reading the Bible, studying scriptures, researching commentaries, going to Bible Study and discussing the Word with others more mature in how to apply the Word of God in their lives. This is a lifelong process, but like Olympians, we may fall, stumble or fail, but we get back up and correct our weaknesses.

Changing our Filter

07579BE1-ACE8-4ED8-8686-730F7E87CF6AEach week or month, recap your experiences that you have written down. How often did you identify the quiet voice as the evil one, how often was it the folly of your own making, and how often was it the quiet voice of God. Applying this process provides you the tools to manage your behavior while eliminating negative behavior. This process is similar to the steps Harm Reduction uses  where you identify the attributes you want to maintain as those you want to eliminate.

As you are assessing whose voice you are hearing and following, you will begin to quickly acknowledge whose voice it is. If it’s the Lord, you will follow him, if it is another voice you will reject it and move on. And, as you read scriptures in the Bible, you will more readily begin to understand how the Word applies to our daily activities and become stronger Christian Warriors.

Changing the filter gives you the power to eliminate the toxins that make you ill, weak and subject to the wiles of the evil one. We learn to say and do what is right, not because people are watching, but because we are Gods’ children. We learn to be obedient and not act in a way that is comfortable to the flesh; as the Bible says, ‘not as men-pleasers but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from our heart’. (Eph 6:5,6)

The voice we follow directs our path. Our goal is to become active in the Word, act obediently, and ultimately become wholly dependent on the Word of God. As we regularly change our filter, we will find fewer toxins existing in our lives. God’s voice will be acknowledged earlier and we will become more dependent upon his love for us. Our relationship blossoms and we become radical Christian Warriors.

######

Note, I mentioned in yesterdays Post that God often speaks to us three times to get our attention, this is another case of speaking three times before Samuel identifies his Voice and acknowledges the Lord.

Images-Google Images
Scriptures-Bible.com; Bible Studytools.com

* Learning to Recognize the Shepherd’s Voice. Carol Pipes. ww.christianitytoday.com. 2/21/2018

See my Post, From Punishment to Correction and Healing for more about the Fruit of the Spirit.

If you like what you are reading, follow me and receive the daily inspiration in your inbox