Are You Willing?

Pray for God’s will to be done in your life, and that you will know the path to walk in as He unfolds His will in your life. Then pray for the tenacity to stick to His plan. Pray for the dedication to spend time in relationship with Him. He has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us into truth.

John 16:12 “I have many things to say to you, but you can’t bear them all now.”

Joseph was called by God to raise His son Jesus. God fulfilled prophecy in both Mary and Joseph’s lineage. Their ancestry matches from Abraham through King David. In Matthew, Joseph’s lineage begins with Abraham. In the book of Luke, Mary’s lineage goes all the way back to Adam.

Joseph was called to stay with a woman who was not his wife who was pregnant with a baby not his own. He was most certainly looked at and judged. But he knew God’s voice and went ahead being certain that God had called Him to raise Jesus. He had to trust and believe in God, in the words of an angel, in Mary, and in a dream he was given.

God was trusting Joseph as well. He chose a simple carpenter for His son’s father, not a king or wealthy man. He entrusts His son to us as well.

Is there a willingness in your heart to invite His will to be done? Are we willing to be obedient, to follow His lead?

God calls you with confidence. There are so many voices around us telling us many things, including those saying, “You can’t do it.”

In those times, the father named the children, but Jesus’ name was given to Mary first, then Joseph was told the same in a dream. This was all very different from everything he knew, and it was humiliating.

How far can your faith be stretched? Are you willing to trust Him, to follow Him every single day? Are you willing to do His will, and just that much, vs. trying to do the part God reserves for Himself?

Joseph took a stand and believed God’s outrageous promise. Be careful about telling people they can’t do something they feel God is calling them to do.

New Beginning

Jesus had faith first, not us. Jesus had love first, not us.

When the Isrealites came out of Egypt, the Bible indicates that there were some Egyptians among them, perhaps some that got the message in the first 9 plagues.

Exodus 12:13 NLT

But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.

Exodus 12:38 NLT

A rabble of non-Israelites went with them, along with great flocks and herds of livestock.

Colossians 1:20 NLT

and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

Galatians 4:3-7 NLT

And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world. But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.  And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”  Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.

The blood provides a new beginning.

Exodus 12:1-3 NLT

While the Israelites were still in the land of Egypt, the L ord gave the following instructions to Moses and Aaron: “From now on, this month will be the first month of the year for you. Announce to the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice, one animal for each household.

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 NLT

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Titus 3:7 NLT

Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.”

Philippians 1:6 NLT

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Repentance is a daily process, not a one-time event. When you read God’s word each day and are being transformed by it, there is a change. You are willing to go in a different direction.

Give God the best part of your day. When are you the freshest? That is when you want to read His word.

The blood provides a witness! 1 Corinthians 11 tells of the witness that communion has. You can put stickers on your car and hang pictures of Jesus in your house, but what does the atmosphere of your home bear witness to? When people are around you, what do they experience in your presence?

There is no more need to prove yourself. Christ has completed what is required.

Life is in the Blood

Revelation 1:4-6 NLT

This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia. Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne; and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world. All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

Sin cannot stop grace from coming. Grace is greater than sin. Grace and truth comes through Jesus.

Ephesians 6:12 NLT

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

When a Jewish family acquired their sacrificial lamb, they had it for a few days. When you get to know your sacrifice, making the sacrifice costs you something.

When the Jewish people were to apply the lamb’s blood to their doorposts to be saved when the angel of death passed over, all they had to do was be obedient to do what God said – apply the blood. Nothing else was required for them to be saved.

John 1:29 NLT

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Moses and Israel won, not by force, but by sacrifice.

In the blood of Christ, there is healing, redemption, life, power.

Hebrews 10:3-4, 8-10 NLT

But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.

Hebrews 8:12 NLT

And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”

The church has a saying, “plead the blood of Christ,” but nowhere in scripture does it say we have to beg for the blood of Jesus. Begging is for false gods, as we can see in 1 Kings 18.

1 Kings 18:28 NLT

So they shouted louder, and following their normal custom, they cut themselves with knives and swords until the blood gushed out.

Only one Person’s blood is required, and that is Jesus’! He provides protection from death, a witness to God’s glory and reality, freedom from spiritual bondage and burden.

Facing the Future with God’s Peace

Today, we honor and encourage our high school graduates!

When someone is pregnant, what can they do to cause that baby to grow? Nothing, except take in food and water. The same is true in our spiritual life. All we can do is to pray and read God’s Word – it is God who does all the rest of the work.

This is what the Lord says:

The wise man must not boast in his wisdom;
the strong man must not boast in his strength;
the wealthy man must not boast in his wealth.
But the one who boasts should boast in this,
that he understands and knows Me—
that I am Yahweh, showing faithful love,
justice, and righteousness on the earth,
for I delight in these things.
This is the Lord’s declaration. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)

…how much more will the blood of the Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14)

God did not come and do what He did to simply patch us up. He came to make us entirely new.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Some translations call us to “submit to Him in all your ways.”

Hearing the Word of God is a daily act. Just as we need water every day, we need the Word of God every day. Don’t resist what He tells you.

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

When we manipulate circumstances and try to make it happen, it doesn’t. It’s as though He steps back and says, “Go ahead. I will wait until you allow Me to work.” If we stop struggling and rest in Him, in prayer and reading His Word, then He takes our burden and He does the work.

And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

The Lord wants us to experience His peace every day, not just a couple times a year. It is a peace that cannot even be explained. If you are fully dependent on God, you can fully have His peace.

Fear is the opposite of peace. There are over 300 scriptures that tell us not to fear. If Christ is in your life, you do not have to live in fear.

17 In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4)

“…we are as He is…” And where is Christ? He is seated at the right hand of God, in His presence. You don’t become more holy by fearing God’s punishment. “…fear involves punishment…” (Some translations say “torment” instead of punishment.)

Your character does not produce righteousness or blessing. Only resting in Christ does that.

I am in them and You are in Me.
May they be made completely one,
so the world may know You have sent Me
and have loved them as You have loved Me. (John 17)

I will be with you
when you pass through the waters,
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not overwhelm you.
You will not be scorched
when you walk through the fire,
and the flame will not burn you. (Isaiah 43:2)

Who can separate us from the love of Christ?
Can affliction or anguish or persecution
or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…
For I am persuaded that not even death or life,
angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers,
height or depth, or any other created thing
will have the power to separate us
from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord! (Romans 8:35, 38-39)

 

God Will Prepare You

God is prepared, and He is prepared to meet your needs. When He created the world, He was prepared to send Jesus to take away our sins. He is prepared to reveal Himself to you in a new way. Trust Him to do this.

As time goes by, God threads things together, weaving them into a whole that we begin to see.

“Oh, how great is Your goodness,
Which You have laid up for those who fear You,
Which You have prepared for those who trust in You
In the presence of the sons of men!” (Psalm 31:19)

76 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people
By the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Dayspring from on high has visited[e] us;
79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1)

Turning on the news is quite the lesson in being prepared nowadays. Violence, economic uncertainty, disease… A person could make themselves crazy trying to be prepared for all these things. Satan would like us to be bound up with fear over these things, rushing around, trying to prepare for any circumstance. But how would God have us prepare? Hear the words of David in Psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell[a] in the house of the Lord
Forever.

He does not want us to panic. He wants us to recognize that He has time in His hands. The Lord prepared all the events leading to Christ’s arrival on earth. He prepared Mary, Joseph, the wise men, John the Baptist, and all the prophecies leading to His birth over hundreds of years.

To be truly prepared, take in His Word daily. As Jesus was born in the world, He comes to be born in each of us. When He enters into our lives, He brings grace and mercy. “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (1 Chronicles 16:34)

Through Jesus Christ, coming into our hearts, we are made children of God, and are no longer servants.

“9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2)

Be Born In Me
(a song reflecting Mary’s heart)

Everything inside me cries for order
Everything inside me wants to hide
Is this shadow an angel or a warrior?
If God is pleased with me, why am I so terrified?
Someone tell me I am only dreaming
Somehow help me see with Heaven’s eyes
And before my head agrees, my heart is on its knees
Holy is He. Blessed am I.

All this time we’ve waited for the promise
All this time You’ve waited for my arms
Did You wrap yourself inside the unexpected
So we might know that Love would go that far?

Be born in me, be born in me
Trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me
I’ll hold you in the beginning, You will hold me in the end
Every moment in the middle, make my heart your Bethlehem
Be born in me

I am not brave
I’ll never be
The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy
I’m just a girl
Nothing more
But I am willing, I am Yours

Knowing God’s Will

Right believing produces right living.

Christ Jesus has a plan for each of our lives.  If you believe in Jesus, know that God has a perfect plan for your life.  He only has perfect plans. You already have the ability to hear from the Lord God and accomplish whatever He has called you to do.

Listen to these scriptures that support  this ability you have to hear and accomplish:

“For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].” (Ephesians 2:10)

“[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.” (Phil. 2 :13 NKJ)

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue…” (2 Peter 1:3)

These scriptures teach us that we can know God’s voice and follow His plan for each of our lives.

God speaks to me many different ways….

  1. When I read the Bible there is always a word from the reading that stands out and as I meditate on that word…God reveals something new to me, a fresh revelation!
  2. God will speak to me through various people.  God may use them for correction, teaching prophesying, counseling encouraging, confirming or advising me a word of wisdom or knowledge.
  3. God will send the Holy Spirit to me to comfort, encourage, wisdom, caution, knowledge, speak in tongues all to bring me His peace love and rest.

My faith is a very real and very personal relationship with The Lord Jesus.  He speaks to all of us, today and every day.

So to begin–knowing God’s will requires regular time spent together.  Try not to do all the talking, but listening as well!!

Have you ever been with someone who only talks and really does not ask or listen to you? How does that work for you? God will listen to us but we need to be listening to Him. The Bible is filled with situations where God is talking to people, leaders and nations.

Paul reminds us about the work of the HOLY Spirit.

“But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)” (Rom 8:9 NLT)

How to we keep from misspeaking, or misleading, or misinterpreting God’s voice?

So The Holy Spirit is telling me this…..

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Gal 5:25 NKJV)

So if we are walking in the Spirit, let’s stay in Him, and with Him, because what He has is important, and often it’s not only for you, but for others. The benefit is great because you will experience reward, you bear fruit, you will experience joy and peace knowing you did the right thing.

God will never lead you to cheat people, manipulate people, cause division in church, be dishonest, steal, gossip, murder, mislead or deceive.  God cannot lie and what He tells you lines up with His word.

God will also lead us on a path that goes with our giftings, our talents.  The Lord gave us those talents.  God will not lead you in a way that contradicts your gifts.

Is what you are currently doing preparing you for your future or is this what the Lord has called you to do for the rest of your life? Is what you are currently doing a distraction from satan or, do you have a complete peace about your work?

Paul was speaking to the Ephesian elders for the last time on the beach when he said, “And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead.” (Acts 20:21-24)

Paul would continue to use his gifts. He would continue to preach and encourage the new churches just as he had been doing. At the same time, Paul would be willing to give up his own safety to teach and bless others. How could he do this? The same way he is able to teach it–through God and His grace, given us through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

“So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” (Acts 20:32)

Paul goes on to say, “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” (Acts 20:35)

The Lord’s will may involve sacrifice or pain, but you will grow. As you follow the Lord’s leading, others will benefit, and you will bear fruit.

These might be warning signs that something is not God’s will:
If you have to make a huge life changing decision very quickly…
If you are required to go deeply into dept….
If you are required to put some one else in danger…
If you are required to put some one in a very uncomfortable position….
If you are required to compromise with some one against God’s word….
If it requires you to destroy family ties….
If it causes unrest between friends and other believers…

The Lord has given you specific gifts. The Lord has a will ….a plan …for your life. We all have a specific calling.
People here …on earth….have needs and we are part of the Lord’s plan to meet their needs. When you are operating in your giftedness, you will overcome obstacles. From each obstacle, overcomers will grow from the experience. There is joy and peace in what they do.

If you miss out on your calling, then you are missing out on what God called you to do. We must take our calling seriously.  We only have this one life to give.

If you are questioning or unsure, ask yourself:

What do you enjoy doing?
What do others say you do well at?
What gives you joy and satisfaction?
What gives you peace?
Is it the financial reward or something else?
Are you doing what you love to do or are you pleasing some one else….
Is it your dream or your parents’ dream you follow?

“I can do all things thru Christ who gives me strength.” Your calling and your giftedness is something God knows and gives.
God knows it…..you need to discover it.

Eph 5:15-16 NLT
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.

Ps 139:16

16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
NKJV

1 Peter 4:9-11 NLT

10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

The Lord has given you gifts to accomplish the assignment. I believe you are not here by chance today.  You are in a place where The Lord can speak to you.  We need to spend regular time in places where God can speak to us.