Pause, Pray, React

James 1:19-21 (AMP) 19 Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving]; 20 for the [resentful, deep-seated] anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God [that standard of behavior which He requires from us]. 21 So get rid of all uncleanness and [a]all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls.

We all have areas to improve.  For me it is speaking before I think, for someone else it may be lack of patience or not listening to someone.  It can help us if we take the time once and a while to evaluate where we are spiritually in certain areas in life.  For example, I know I struggle with being slow to speak.  I frequently stop and pray about that and evaluate how I have been doing.  I thank God for helping me and I ask for His continued help in this area on a regular basis.

We live in the world and that can make becoming spiritually mature kind of difficult.  When we are faced with difficult situations the best thing we can do is to take a little more time to react to situations that are challenging for us.  We need to count to 10 before reacting.  When we count to 10 we can ask God to guide us with our reaction and words.  Whether it is reacting verbally or reacting with anger or whatever it is.  We may have days where we count to 10 all day long, but at least we are counting.  It’s better to pause and ask for God’s guidance then react rather than just react. Pause, pray, then react.

The Word of God contains the power to tear down the spirit of anger or whatever it is that takes over us.  The Word of God gives us the power to react the way we should in any given situation.  If you have an area where you need help, go to the bible and study in the area where you struggle.  Do what you can to study and understand the bible in areas where you need guidance and help from God.  You can use that word the next time you are tempted to do something you should not and when you pause to reflect, you now have something to reflect on.  You may not be able to remember the Bible verse and number but the Words are what are important to remember. 

James 1:22-27 (AMP)22 But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth]. 23 For if anyone only listens to the word [a]without obeying it, he is like a man who looks very carefully at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he immediately forgets [b]what he looked like. 25 But he who looks carefully into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and faithfully abides by it, not having become a [careless] listener who forgets but [c]an active doer [who obeys], he will be blessed and favored by God in what he does [in his life of obedience]. 26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious [scrupulously observant of the rituals of his faith], and does not control his tongue but deludes his own heart, this person’s religion is worthless (futile, barren). 27 Pure and unblemished religion [as it is expressed in outward acts] in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit and look after the fatherless and the widows in their distress, and to keep oneself uncontaminated by the [secular] world. 

I can read the bible all day long, but if I do not do what the bible says to do, then it doesn’t do me any good at all.  We are blessed in our doing not in our hearing.  We are in the world, we cannot change that so we need to ensure we do what we can to protect ourselves spiritually and continue to do what is good and right.  That is not, nor will it ever be super easy.  But, it is possible and we can do whatever it is we need to do through Christ Jesus who gives us strength.

Philippians 4:13 (AMP) 13 I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose ”I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]

If you would like to accept Jesus as your savior, and you are not quite sure how, it is as simple as saying a prayer to God to let Him know you are ready to accept Him into your life. Say this prayer if you would like to invite Jesus to live in your heart:

Father God, I love you and believe in you. I need you Lord and I am sorry for my sins and the way that I live. Lord, I want you in my life. I receive Jesus as my savior and Lord. I believe that Jesus died for me and rose from the dead. Lord take me as I am and make me the way you want me to be. God, thank you for saving me and being with me on my journey. I am looking forward to my journey with you Lord. I know you will equip me for my journey and I am glad I have you by my side as I walk this walk of Life. Thank you Lord, I love you. Amen

 

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Trials bring out a lot of stuff in us

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.

Isaiah 41:10 (AMP) 10  Do not fear [anything], for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you; I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].

Trials bring out a lot of stuff in us.  Most of that stuff is not good stuff.  Bad words, anger, frustration and bitterness can be brought out of us in a trial.  Eventually God will strengthen us and harden us for difficulties so we get to the point where things that seem difficult at the time do not phase us as much when we face something similar in the future.

We will all have trials in life and trials change us.  It is up to us to decide how we will let those trials impact us.  We can become and stay bitter and angry or we can use the trial to grow spiritually and become a vessel fit for God’s use. Trials can help us.  They help us by training us and helping us to learn how to live life with faith.

2 Corinthians 12:7 (AMP) Because of the surpassing greatness and extraordinary nature of the revelations [which I received from God], for this reason, to keep me from thinking of myself as important, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan, to torment and harass meânt to keep me from exalting myself! 

Trials teach us how to be humble because we realize that not everything is in our control.  When things don’t go our way and things are out of our control it will keep us from being puffed up in our own abilities.  God can do great things through us but sometimes we don’t allow it because we start to take control of what God is trying to do through us and the next thing we know we are operating out of God’s will for our lives.

Trials are not evidence of God’s displeasure and anger.  When having a trial don’t condemn yourself and think you deserve the trial you are in.  The devil loves to make us feel guilty about the things we do wrong but God loves us.  No matter how bad our behavior God is there for us and will help us.  God wants us to have peace and joy and wants us to be happy no matter what is going on in our circumstances.  The way to do that is to learn to be content no matter what is going on in your life.

Romans 5:1-5 (AMP) 5 Therefore, since we have been justified [that is, acquitted of sin, declared blameless before God] by faith, [let us grasp the fact that] we have peace with God [and the joy of reconciliation with Him] through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed). Through Him we also have access by faith into this [remarkable state of] grace in which we [firmly and safely and securely] stand. Let us rejoice in our [a]hope and the confident assurance of [experiencing and enjoying] the glory of [our great] God [the manifestation of His excellence and power]. And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation]. Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

If you would like to accept Jesus as your savior, and you are not quite sure how, it is as simple as saying a prayer to God to let Him know you are ready to accept Him into your life. Say this prayer if you would like to invite Jesus to live in your heart:

Father God, I love you and believe in you. I need you Lord and I am sorry for my sins and the way that I live. Lord, I want you in my life. I receive Jesus as my savior and Lord. I believe that Jesus died for me and rose from the dead. Lord take me as I am and make me the way you want me to be. God, thank you for saving me and being with me on my journey. I am looking forward to my journey with you Lord. I know you will equip me for my journey and I am glad I have you by my side as I walk this walk of Life. Thank you Lord, I love you. Amen

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God doesn’t bless us beyond where we are spiritually

Matthew 13:7-9 (AMP) Other seed fell among thorns, and thorns came up and choked them out. Other seed fell on good soil and yielded grain, some a hundred times as much [as was sown], some sixty [times as much], and some thirty. He who has ears [to hear], let him hear and heed My words.

God’s word is seed.  Seed has power to produce a great harvest if it is planted in fertile ground and is fed daily.  Part of us harvesting in life is how we receive the Word and how we tend to it.  A lot of times we read the bible and we think it is a great word for someone else.  We need to receive that Word for ourselves and do what we need to do to grow in spiritual maturity.  If we all received the Word for ourselves and did not use it to condemn others, we just might begin to see change in this world.  We need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

James 1:2-3 (AMP) Consider it nothing but joy, my [a]brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. 

When we begin to focus on our own personal growth things may be uncomfortable and we might go through some trials to help us mature spiritually.  Trials we are faced with help us to develop our character.  Trials teach us how well we are able to apply the Word of God in our lives.  Trials prove and test our faith, and teach us how to endure things in life with patience and peace rather than with the turmoil we feel when trying to control everyone and everything in life. 

We pray and ask God for a lot.  God doesn’t bless us beyond where we are spiritually.  We have to be mature enough to handle the blessings He has in store for us.  To become mature and for our seed to produce a harvest we have to learn how to not just read the Word, but apply the Word.  Applying the Word can be painful to our flesh.  We can change our mindset about trials.  At the time, trials are hurtful and bring bad stuff out of us.  But if we endure, the trials will develop us into the Christian character we desire to be.

Matthew 13:22-23 (AMP) 22 And the one on whom seed was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the worries and distractions of the world and the deceitfulness [the superficial pleasures and delight] of riches choke the word, and it yields no fruit. 23 And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands and grasps it; he indeed bears fruit and yields, some a hundred times [as much as was sown], some sixty [times as much], and some thirty.

If you would like to accept Jesus as your savior, and you are not quite sure how, it is as simple as saying a prayer to God to let Him know you are ready to accept Him into your life. Say this prayer if you would like to invite Jesus to live in your heart:

Father God, I love you and believe in you. I need you Lord and I am sorry for my sins and the way that I live. Lord, I want you in my life. I receive Jesus as my savior and Lord. I believe that Jesus died for me and rose from the dead. Lord take me as I am and make me the way you want me to be. God, thank you for saving me and being with me on my journey. I am looking forward to my journey with you Lord. I know you will equip me for my journey and I am glad I have you by my side as I walk this walk of Life. Thank you Lord, I love you. Amen

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We are loved by God – mistakes, rotten behavior, and all

 

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (AMP) 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom]. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit 

 

The greatest transformation in God changes us into who He wants us to be.  Transformation is a process and does not take place overnight.  Don’t be discouraged about not being where you think you should be but be excited about the growth that you’ve had in your life.  I know that I’m nowhere near where I need to be but I also know that I’ve come a long way.   

 

Romans 3:23-24 (AMP) 23 since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are being justified [declared free of the guilt of sin, made acceptable to God, and granted eternal life] as a gift by His [precious, undeserved] [a]grace, through the redemption [the payment for our sin] which is [provided] in Christ Jesus, 

 

Our goal is to walk in love and to put away selfishness and living a self-centered life.  Not being selfish does not mean not loving ourselves – God loves us and we need to love ourselves and accept that we will make mistakes.  We all fall short of the glory of God.  We cannot let the mistakes be a stumbling block in our goal to live more God-centered life.  We will never experience transformation if we do not learn who we are in Christ and begin to walk in that.  God’s grace gives us the ability to continue on in life even though we do stupid things throughout the day. 

 

No offense, but we will never perform perfectly every day.  This flesh wants to do what it wants to do and it is tough to resist every single temptation that comes our way each day.  That doesn’t mean go out to aim to sin every day but it does mean don’t wallow in self-pity when you mess up.   

 

We are loved by God – mistakes, rotten behavior, and all.  God loves us no matter how good or bad we are.  We don’t earn God’s love with good behavior.  God doesn’t love us because of what we do but because of who He is.  So when we make a mistake we have a God who will accept our repentance and help us to move forward and try again to do better the next time we are faced with the same situation. Do your best each day, and let God do the rest.   

 

Ephesians 3:17-18 (AMP)17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love, 18 be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love]; 

 

If you would like to accept Jesus as your savior, and you are not quite sure how, it is as simple as saying a prayer to God to let Him know you are ready to accept Him into your life. Say this prayer if you would like to invite Jesus to live in your heart: 

 

Father God, I love you and believe in you. I need you Lord and I am sorry for my sins and the way that I live. Lord, I want you in my life. I receive Jesus as my savior and Lord. I believe that Jesus died for me and rose from the dead. Lord take me as I am and make me the way you want me to be. God, thank you for saving me and being with me on my journey. I am looking forward to my journey with you Lord. I know you will equip me for my journey and I am glad I have you by my side as I walk this walk of Life. Thank you Lord, I love you. Amen

 

 

 

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When we are changing we are continuing to grow in Christ

 

We all likely want to experience change in an area of our life and sometimes change in ourselves.  Many times before circumstances change, we need to change ourselves.  We may need to go through some experiences in order for our inside person to change.  We all want to be changed but we do not always want to go through what we need to in order to see change in our lives.  To change means to transform.

1 John 3:8-9 (AMP) The one who practices sin [separating himself from God, and offending Him by acts of disobedience, indifference, or rebellion] is of the devil [and takes his inner character and moral values from him, not God]; for the devil has sinned and violated God’s law from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin, because [a]God’s seed [His principle of life, the essence of His righteous character] remains [permanently] in him [who is born again—who is reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose]; and he [who is born again] cannot habitually [live a life characterized by] sin, because he is born of God and longs to please Him.

You are awesome and capable of anything because God’s seed lives in you.  You are the home of God.  God planted his seed in us.  As that seed grows is when we begin to desire change in our lives.  It may seem impossible to change in our current situation.  We have to stop looking at how far we have to go and look at how far we have come.  God will rescue us and help us to become the Christian we want to be – it may take time, because the change is constant – but thank God He is having His way in your life.  We will always be in the process of changing.  We will never not be changing.  When we are changing we are continuing to grow in Christ.  

1 John 3:9 (AMP) No one who is born of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin, because [a]God’s seed [His principle of life, the essence of His righteous character] remains [permanently] in him [who is born again—who is reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose]; and he [who is born again] cannot habitually [live a life characterized by] sin, because he is born of God and longs to please Him. 

When we change as a person we do not look any different, but our actions and behaviors change.  We may think that we can never change and it is too difficult to change, but we can.  We can and God is there to help us change to become the person we want to be and the person He wants us to be. What God does in us by His grace and mercy is a complete gift of faith.  God is our source for making change happen and be successful. God gives us grace and faith to make change happen.

God lives in you and all change is possible no matter how impossible it may seem.  You can change and you will change if you do not give up!

If you would like to accept Jesus as your savior, and you are not quite sure how, it is as simple as saying a prayer to God to let Him know you are ready to accept Him into your life. Say this prayer if you would like to invite Jesus to live in your heart:

Father God, I love you and believe in you. I need you Lord and I am sorry for my sins and the way that I live. Lord, I want you in my life. I receive Jesus as my savior and Lord. I believe that Jesus died for me and rose from the dead. Lord take me as I am and make me the way you want me to be. God, thank you for saving me and being with me on my journey. I am looking forward to my journey with you Lord. I know you will equip me for my journey and I am glad I have you by my side as I walk this walk of Life. Thank you Lord, I love you. Amen

 

 

 

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Doing what is right is always going to be painful to our flesh

 

1 Peter 3:17Amplified Bible (AMP) 17 For it is better that you suffer [unjustly] for doing what is right, if that should be God’s will, than [to suffer justly] for doing wrong. 

 

We don’t always see an immediate reward when we do what is right.  Doing what is right may mean treating someone right who is not treating us right.  We belong to God and we do what is right for Him.  It is not up to the person wronging us to make things right.  God will reward us better than any person can.  We do what is right just for the love of God! 

 

1 Peter 4:1-2 (AMP)  4 Therefore, since [a]Christ suffered in the flesh [and died for us], arm yourselves [like warriors] with the same purpose [being willing to suffer for doing what is right and pleasing God], because whoever has suffered in the flesh [being like-minded with Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [having stopped pleasing the world], so that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living for human appetites and desires, but [lives] for the will and purpose of God. 

 

At some point in developing our relationship with God we choose to do what is right because it is right, not because we feel like doing it.  So many little things we don’t do when we know we should be doing it can pick away at our conscious a little bit at a time.  Doing what is right is always going to be painful to our flesh.  

 

Doing what is right even when we don’t feel like doing it is helping us to stretch and grow spiritually.  We all can go listen and be motivated by an awesome sermon.  Listening to that sermon is not painful, it is actually taking action with what we learn that is painful. 

 

1 Peter 4:19 (AMP) 19 Therefore, those who are ill-treated and suffer in accordance with the will of God must [continue to] do right and commit their souls [for safe-keeping] to the faithful Creator. 

 

Grace is not an excuse to continue to sin but rather the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives to enable us to do what is right.  When we seek God with our whole heart to do what is right, God will give us the strength we need to do it no matter what our situation is.  God can and will help us to become the person we want to be. 

 

1 Peter 2:15 (AMP) 15 For it is the will of God that by doing right you may silence (muzzle, gag) the [culpable] ignorance and irresponsible criticisms of foolish people. 

 

If you would like to accept Jesus as your savior, and you are not quite sure how, it is as simple as saying a prayer to God to let Him know you are ready to accept Him into your life. Say this prayer if you would like to invite Jesus to live in your heart: 

 

Father God, I love you and believe in you. I need you Lord and I am sorry for my sins and the way that I live. Lord, I want you in my life. I receive Jesus as my savior and Lord. I believe that Jesus died for me and rose from the dead. Lord take me as I am and make me the way you want me to be. God, thank you for saving me and being with me on my journey. I am looking forward to my journey with you Lord. I know you will equip me for my journey and I am glad I have you by my side as I walk this walk of Life. Thank you Lord, I love you. Amen.

 

 

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God has our back

John 16:7 (AMP) But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the [a]Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor ”Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you]. 

The Holy Spirit is our helper.  We all need help.  Sometimes our pride makes us think that we don’t need help from others and we don’t need help from God.  Asking God for help shows humility and that we need Him.  God may not fix all of our problems, but He will give us the grace to do whatever it is we need to do in the midst of a problem. One of the greatest prayers we can pray is God help me!  We may need to change our prayer from God help me get this in my life, to God help me do the right thing in this life.

Being in close fellowship with God means we can count on Him to be there for us and we can go to him for anything and everything.  We can go to God with big requests and little requests.  No request is too big or too small.  God wants to help us and likes it when we go to Him with our requests.  God has our back!

Psalm 10:14 (AMP)14 You have seen it, for You have noted mischief and vexation (irritation) to take it into Your hand. The unfortunate commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless.

We have one of the greatest fathers of all helping us!  With God on our side there is no real reason to feel sorry for ourselves.  Imagine going through some of the things you go through without that faith and trust in the Father.  God will give us the grace to do what we need to do but we must not give up when things get tough.  When things get tough, continue to go to God in prayer and do what you think is good and right and what God is leading you to do.  God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Galatians 6:9 (AMP) Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in.

If you would like to accept Jesus as your savior, and you are not quite sure how, it is as simple as saying a prayer to God to let Him know you are ready to accept Him into your life. Say this prayer if you would like to invite Jesus to live in your heart:

Father God, I love you and believe in you. I need you Lord and I am sorry for my sins and the way that I live. Lord, I want you in my life. I receive Jesus as my savior and Lord. I believe that Jesus died for me and rose from the dead. Lord take me as I am and make me the way you want me to be. God, thank you for saving me and being with me on my journey. I am looking forward to my journey with you Lord. I know you will equip me for my journey and I am glad I have you by my side as I walk this walk of Life. Thank you Lord, I love you. Amen

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