Where your treasure is, your heart is

1 Timothy 6:7-10 (AMP) 7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so [it is clear that] we cannot take anything out of it, either. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who [are not financially ethical and] crave to get rich [with a compulsive, greedy longing for wealth] fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction [leading to personal misery]. 10 For the love of money [that is, the greedy desire for it and the willingness to gain it unethically] is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves [through and through] with many sorrows.

Money can cause a whole lot of things to happen. Good things and bad things. Money itself is not bad, but loving money can be a bad thing. In order to not become too greedy we need to evaluate what we need vs. what we want. Greed and the love of money can destroy lives. People lie, rob, and use dishonest means to get money. Greed is an evil spirit that comes against every single one of us. We can fight greed by being generous on purpose.

Psalm 37:4Amplified Bible (AMP) 4 Delight yourself in the Lord, And He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart.

What do you have that you purchased with money that you absolutely cannot do without? We can trust God to give us what is safe for us. Our flesh fights against doing what is good for our lives. God will give us what is right for us to have. Rather than ask God for what we want, we can ask Him for what we want and then go the next step of asking Him to provide it for us if it is in His will. It is a wonderful thing to not crave possessions.

We are addicted to stuff and things that money can buy. Debt causes a great deal of stress in our lives. Our own foolish living gets us into the debt we find ourselves in. If we want to be out of debt we need to stop spending money we don’t have, not pray for a miracle. We are responsible for our debt. If God gave us a miracle to get out of debt rather than us doing what we need to do, then we may just end right back where we are. We learn how to make changes in life by enduring the process of change.

The time can come when you do not need to be in debt for anything. Imagine the pressure that would take off our lives. It can be discouraging when we have to live paycheck to paycheck. We all get into that mode in life. We can ask for wisdom from God in this area of our lives. Not just wisdom, but also strength to resist the temptation to spend more money than we make.

Matthew 6:19-21 (AMP) 19 “Do not store up for yourselves [material] treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers] will be also.

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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Obedience releases God’s power in our lives

James 4:8-10 (AMP)8 Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; and purify your [unfaithful] hearts, you double-minded [people]. 9 Be miserable and grieve and weep [over your sin]. Let your [foolish] laughter be turned to mourning and your [reckless] joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose].

This doesn’t mean we cannot enjoy life, we just need to put God first in every decision we make. We don’t need to excessively grieve over our sin but we should take our sin seriously. The world has watered down sin. We have to follow what we know is right in our heart and follow God rather than people.

True confession and repentance is good for the soul. We many times live in denial of our own sin. Obedience releases God’s power in our lives.

James 4:11-12 (AMP) 11 Believers, do not speak against or slander one another. He who speaks [self-righteously] against a brother or [a]judges his brother [hypocritically], speaks against the Law and judges the Law. If you judge the Law, you are not a doer of the Law but a judge of it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy [the one God who has the absolute power of life and death]; but who are you to [hypocritically or self-righteously] pass judgment on your neighbor?

We are to love others and be careful how we talk about people. When judgement day comes, God is not going to ask us about anybody but ourselves. We need to leave other people alone, pray for them, let God help them and spend time with God to ask Him to help us with our own problems. We all tend to be judgmental and seem to find the one thing wrong with someone rather than all the things they do right. When we feel ourselves getting that way is when we need to resist the devil. We do not need to have an opinion where we do not have any responsibility.

Romans 14:14-16 (AMP) 14 I know and am convinced [as one] in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean [ritually defiled, and unholy] in itself; but [nonetheless] it is unclean to anyone who thinks it is unclean. 15 If your brother is being hurt or offended because of food [that you insist on eating], you are no longer walking in love [toward him]. Do not let what you eat destroy and spiritually harm one for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what is a good thing for you [because of your freedom to choose] be spoken of as evil [by someone else];

Instead of judging people let us determine that we will be a good example. Then others can learn from our good example. That is much more impactful than judgment and criticism.

Romans 14:10-13 (AMP) 10 But you, why do you criticize your brother? Or you again, why do you look down on your [believing] brother or regard him with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God [who alone is judge]. 11 For it is written [in Scripture], “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God.” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. 13 Then let us not criticize one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block or a source of temptation in another believer’s way.

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 will give us peace as He works His plan out for our lives

James 4:4A (AMP) 4 You adulteresses [disloyal sinners—flirting with the world and breaking your vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend [that is, loving the things of the world] is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

We can enjoy things in the world but we must remember to strive at keeping God a priority in our lives. There are so many things in the world that can crowd Him out of our lives where we focus on things more than we focus on our relationship with Christ. It takes effort to be committed to Christ.

It can be tough to keep God first in our lives. We sometimes get in the habit of going to God for emergencies only. God is just one call away. We can develop a habit of having a continual conversation with the Lord. Jesus did not die so we could go act silly in the world, go to church on Sunday and then call on Him only we are in need. God is there for us every single day of our lives and we can have fellowship with Him any time we want to. God loves us and wants us to love Him

James 4:5 (AMP) 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says to no purpose [a]that the [human] spirit which He has made to dwell in us lusts with envy?

The Holy Spirit lives inside of believers in Christ. Whatever we decide to do whether it is watch TV, go to church, go to a movie, or go to a bar – God is there with us. We are never anywhere where God is not with us. God is with us everywhere and all of the time. God wants us to spend time with Him and enjoy the things we do in life.

One of the most challenging time for all of us is to spend regular quality time with God on a regular basis. Spending time with God regularly can solve a lot of our problems. They may not be solved the way we would solve them but God has a much bigger plan for our lives than we can see. God will give us peace as He works His plan out for our lives.

James 4:6-10 (AMP) 6 But He gives us more and more grace [through the power of the Holy Spirit to defy sin and live an obedient life that reflects both our faith and our gratitude for our salvation]. Therefore, it says, “God is opposed to the proud and haughty, but [continually] gives [the gift of] grace to the humble [who turn away from self-righteousness].” 7 So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; and purify your [unfaithful] hearts, you double-minded [people]. 9 Be miserable and grieve and weep [over your sin]. Let your [foolish] laughter be turned to mourning and your [reckless] joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose].

If we want to keep God first in our lives – we need God’s grace to do so. We tend to try to do in our lives only what God can do. For example, we can strive to read 10 bible verses a day, but if we do not do that with God’s help to teach us how to apply that Word to our lives – then we are just reading words for approval. Try studying the Word in areas where you have a weakness and pray to God to help you in that area. God will give us the peace and power to do what we need to do in life.

We cannot expect to change overnight – that is what we would all like. We get so accustomed to modern-day conveniences – but changing our behavior is not something that happens overnight. It takes discipline and help from God to get to the point where we even begin to see our behavior change. I can tell you it may not happen overnight, but it does happen and it is critical we do not give up!

Many times we ask God for something great and He gives us the thing we desire. Then we can get to where we spend more time focusing on what we asked for than we do our developing and maintaining our relationship with Christ. Don’t let the thing you ask God for steal your relationship with God.

Matthew 6:33 (AMP) 33 But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.

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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Our heart attitude greatly impacts the words we speak

John 14:30 (AMP) 30 I will not speak with you much longer, for the ruler of the world (Satan) is coming. And he has no claim on Me [no power over Me nor anything that he can use against Me];

Jesus was very careful about what he said and the words he used. Jesus knew he was facing a difficult time and did not want to give power to the devil by speaking words he should not speak. Jesus spoke only 7 times when He was on the cross. When we are going through difficult times, that is when it is difficult to use our words wisely. Being able to control what we say, especially during difficult times is a sign of spiritual maturity. For me personally, this is one of my biggest challenges.

Isaiah 53:7 (AMP)7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,Yet He did not open His mouth [to complain or defend Himself];Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before her shearers, So He did not open His mouth

Do you find it difficult to not defend yourself with your words and convince people that we are a good person? I feel like we all do that. Jesus didn’t care about His reputation. We do not have to convince others that we are good. We can keep quiet, serve God, and let God take care of our reputation. We try to convict others to think we are good. Maybe we could keep quiet, pray about the situation, and let God work with the other people. While we wait on God we need to ensure we act proper. Acting proper while going working through something is just as tough as keeping our mouths closed.

James 1:19 (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];

In order to experience peace in life, we will need to control the emotions that are inside of us that tempt us to speak negatively about others. Changing the words we say can completely change our lives. We need to dig deeper than our words and figure out what is in our heart that makes us want to utter the words we utter each day. Our heart attitude greatly impacts the words we speak.

We can completely change an atmosphere by speaking positive words. Whether it is at work, with our kids, with our spouses, with our parents and pretty much everywhere we are. Our words are that powerful. We can change things just by how we speak out loud and how we speak to others. When we speak negatively in life we can expect a life filled with strife.

James 3:13-17 (AMP) Wisdom from Above 13 Who among you is wise and intelligent? Let him by his good conduct show his [good] deeds with the gentleness and humility of true wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be arrogant, and [as a result] be in defiance of the truth. 15 This [superficial] wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly (secular), natural (unspiritual), even demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder [unrest, rebellion] and every evil thing and morally degrading practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure [morally and spiritually undefiled], then peace-loving [courteous, considerate], gentle, reasonable [and willing to listen], full of compassion and good fruits. It is unwavering, without [self-righteous] hypocrisy [and self-serving guile].

Keeping our mouth closed is never easy, but we must think about what can happen later on as a result of the hurt or upheaval we cause by speaking the words we speak. It is up to us to be wise in the way we speak. Pride can make us say some pretty foolish things. We act and speak silliness when we begin to become envious and jealous of others. We don’t even realize we are jealous sometimes and it takes a lot of soul searching to truly understand why we speak some of the words we speak. Ask God to begin to show you the condition of your heart so you can begin to understand why you speak the words you do. Change will not be easy, but it is possible.

James 3:10 (AMP) 10 Out of the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. These things, my brothers, should not be this way [for we have a moral obligation to speak in a manner that reflects our fear of God and profound respect for His precepts].

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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One little spark can start a forest fire

Some of us don’t even realize we are in the rut we are in because of the words we speak. One of the worst things we can do is say negative things about ourselves. We need to learn to talk the way God talks and begin speaking in agreement with the Word.

Proverbs 18:21 (AMP) 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.

There is power in our tongue. The power of words is incredible. What we say out of our mouth makes a difference in our lives. Our words have power not only to change our attitude but to change the attitude of others.

James 3:2-5 (AMP) 2 For we all stumble and sin in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says [never saying the wrong thing], he is a perfect man [fully developed in character, without serious flaws], able to bridle his whole body and rein in his entire nature [taming his human faults and weaknesses]. 3 Now if we put bits into the horses’ mouths to make them obey us, we guide their whole body as well. 4 And look at the ships. Even though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the impulse of the helmsman determines. 5 In the same sense, the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
See [by comparison] how great a forest is set on fire by a small spark!

A horse is a huge animal and this tiny little thing in their mouth controls their direction – that is similar for us in a way that what comes out of our mouth can direct our path. If we can get to the point to where we control what comes out of our mouth we may change direction life takes us. We can turn our whole lives around by using the right words. Our tongue is very tiny but it can control our destiny more than we realize.

With words we can completely change someone’s day – be it good our bad. One sentence can destroy the spirit of someone. Make a decision whether you want God to use your mouth or if you want the devil to use it. One little spark can start a forest fire. Just like one little piece of gossip can destroy and individual’s reputation. We can’t even begin to understand the problems we cause by words we speak.

James 3:6-10 (AMP) 6 And the tongue is [in a sense] a fire, the very world of injustice and unrighteousness; the tongue is set among our members as that which contaminates the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life [the cycle of man’s existence], and is itself set on fire by [a]hell (Gehenna). 7 For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and sea creatures, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. 8 But no one can tame the human tongue; it is a restless evil [undisciplined, unstable], full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God. 10 Out of the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. These things, my brothers, should not be this way [for we have a moral obligation to speak in a manner that reflects our fear of God and profound respect for His precepts].

It is not enough to just stop saying wrong things, but we need to focus on replacing negative words with positive words. Golly gee, this is tough. I don’t know if any of us will really, truly, understand how powerful our words are over our lives. I ask God every single day and several times a day to help me speak words that will not hurt others and will not hurt me.

Psalm 19:14 (AMP) 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable and pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my [firm, immovable] rock and my Redeemer.

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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Love is simply, how we treat others

We may think we are not prejudiced but how do you react when you see someone filled with tattoos?  Or someone from another religion or country?  What about someone from another generation?  We don’t know anything about a person who looks different than us.  We need to take the time to get to know people’s heart.  It is time to get rid of the labels you’ve established in your mind.

James 2:8-10 (AMP) If, however, you are [really] fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, if you have an unselfish concern for others and do things for their benefit]” you are doing well. But if you show partiality [prejudice, favoritism], you are committing sin and are convicted by the Law as offenders. 10 For whoever keeps the whole Law but stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of [breaking] all of it. 

We all like to think that we do not judge others, but we do form opinions about others.  The opinions we have that are based on absolutely nothing, are incredibly sad.  We have a tendency to make judgements about people who are not like us.  Some people even try to twist the words in the bible as an excuse for their prejudice.  It is time to break down the walls of division.  Then we wonder why the world is turned off by Christianity.

For the sake of spiritual growth it is time to broaden your circle of inclusion.  The devil loves division.  Even Christians are divided on their beliefs.  The bottom line, is the bible is the bible, we are to carry out God’s Word in entirety, not in partiality.  It’s the partial beliefs that become a religion for some groups that can tend to make them judge the hearts of others.  God is the only one who truly knows the heart of someone. 

James 2:13 (AMP)13 For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; but [to the one who has shown mercy] mercy triumphs [victoriously] over judgment

We are no longer under the law of Moses, but the law of love.  Love is simply, how we treat others.  People will not remember what we say all of the time but people will remember how we make them feel.  How we treat people is incredibly important for our spiritual growth.  Some of us just need to fix our focus a little bit from following a bunch of church rules to simply treating others with kindness and love.

We have faith, but our faith doesn’t work without action.  Real faith takes doing something.  We are not justified by our actions alone, but by the actions we do because of our faith.  That is the actions we take in accordance to God’s Word.  We love others because we know it is right and we love God.

James 2:14 (AMP) 14 What is the benefit, my fellow believers, if someone claims to have faith but has no [good] works [as evidence]? Can that [kind of] faith save him? [No, a mere claim of faith is not sufficient genuine faith produces good works.] 

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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Not every storm is in the forecast

A lot of people have a very difficult time enjoying life.  We tend to wait for our circumstances to get better before we enjoy life.  We should not put off one more moment before enjoying our life.  Don’t wait for your circumstances to dictate whether you enjoy your life.  Enjoy your life now because circumstances are always going to change.  It may seem impossible to enjoy your life with what you have going on right now but we can do whatever it is we need to do through Christ who strengthens us.

Romans 8:37(AMPC) 37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors [a]and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.

What does it mean to be more than a conqueror?  It means we know we have the victory before we are even confronted with problems.  No life is going to be perfect and without trouble, trials, and tribulations.  Without trials we would never have faith.  Faith is not just believing bad things won’t happen but that we will have strength to endure bad things and to know that God works everything out for our good.

Not every storm is going to be in the forecast so we need to be ready for rainy days and ready to approach them with a good attitude.  It is a miracle when we can take every day and enjoy it no matter how boring or horrible it might be.  We can learn to enjoy our life and enjoy everything we do in life – even the things that are not so pleasant.  Our joy is not what is around us but what is in it.

There are so many things that God wants to do for us and we keep trying to earn and deserve what God is giving us freely.  We are supposed to do things in life but we are to avoid works to get what we want through manipulation and control.  We are to do God’s work (in the spirit) rather than our works of the flesh.  When we start to get into works of the flesh is when we start losing peace and joy.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (AMPC) For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved ([a]delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]

We start enjoying life when we stop trying to be God and control people and circumstances to please our ideals.  Just receive what God has given us and have peace that He knows what He is doing in our lives.  When we begin to get upset and uptight it might be that we are trying to control things that are out of our control.  When you feel frustrated in a situation, take a step back, spend some time in prayer and ask God to lead you to do what you should do in your situation.

Colossians 2:6 (AMPC) As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him.

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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