Where are you in your relationship with God? Here's some questions to ask yourself. (StockFreeImages | Jose Reyes)
In Genesis 3 Adam and Eve sin against God and run and hide behind the bush. The Lord comes down to the garden to fellowship with them, but they are not where they should be. God asks Adam a very important question. He calls out, "Adam, where are you?"
The Lord knows all things. He is not asking Adam for his physical location, but for him to identify where he is spiritually. As the time of Christ's return draws near, the Spirit of God is asking the same question, "Where are you spiritually?"
It's time to look to His Word and take spiritual inventory. This self-examination can be found in Revelation 2-4, in the letters to the 7 churches.
1. The first question addresses the church in Ephesus and the condition of their spiritual hearts. God recognizes their deeds, their labor, their perseverance, their intolerance for evil people, and their discernment to judge false apostles.
It appears with these qualities they will pass, but they don't. In fact, they fail and receive a warning to repent or they will lose their position to shine their light. Why do they fail? Because they lose their love for Christ.
Ask yourself, "Do I still love Jesus like I once did before?
2. The second part of this examination applies to the church in Smyrna. They do not hear a rebuke but only words of encouragement. Who are they? They are the persecuted Church. He encourages them to not fear their imminent sufferings, but to be faithful to the end.
Therefore, the question to ask is, "Do I have the level of faithfulness it takes to endure persecution?"
3. The third part of this self-examination exposes twice in Revelation 2:13 the spiritual location of the church in Pergamum. Their dwelling is with satan. They are a cult. Their sins are idol worship, false gods, false teachings and acts of immorality. They are spiritually lost and receive the warning to repent or He will make war against them.
Ask yourself, "Does my place of worship lift up Jesus as the one true God?"
4. The fourth section of this spiritual test is written to the church in Thyatira. She is the portion of God's people who refuse to repent of their worldly ways. And they are so deceived that they even allow a spirit of Jezebel to lead them. And because they tolerate Jezebel they suffer with sickness, great tribulations (difficulties), and even their children are affected with pestilence.
As a healing minister, I have never seen God's people as sick as I do now. I believe this is a direct consequence of allowing the evils of Jezebel to reign within the body of Christ.
Ask yourself, "Am I struggling to repent from ungodliness?"
5. The fifth part of this all important test is written to the church in Sardis. She is religious, but spiritually dead. She receives the warning to wake up, repent, and get right with God. If she does not He will come to her like a thief in the night.
Ask yourself, "Have I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and to be my Savior and Lord, or am I just going through the religious motions?
6. The sixth part of this examination addresses the church in Philadelphia. She is the second of the 7 churches that does not receive a rebuke, only an admonishment with a promise. Because of her faithfulness to God and His Word she will be kept from the hour of testing that will come upon the whole world.
Ask yourself, "Am I faithful to God and His Word?"
7. The seventh and final part of this exam is written to the church in Laodicea. She is the lukewarm church. She has no passion for the things of God. She has succumb to the riches of this world and does not see how poor and wretched she really is. God sends His message to be zealous and repent, and to obtain the true riches that money cannot buy, redemption in Jesus Christ.
Ask yourself, "Am I passionate or passive for Jesus?"
Are you able to identify where you are spiritually? If you don't like your spiritual location then ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to make the necessary changes to move forward.
Becky Dvorak is a healing ministry and Destiny Image Author of DARE to Believe andGreater Than Magic.
“‘I know your works.
Behold, I have set before you an open door,
which no one is able to shut.
I know that you have but little power, and yet
you have kept my word and have not denied my name."
Be watchful...He has opened a door before you that no man can shut. Stay close to Him, listen, obey. Great is your reward!
Today I am waking up to the realization that the world in front of me has gone insane. People are like little robots, programmed to speak whatever is repeated again and again ad nauseum. Already, from taking in my first sentences, some will yell, “judging!” No, or maybe yes. Judging what I see from my own viewpoint is between God and me. If I share it with you, so be it. How about thinking about what I’m saying instead of (haha) “judging” me? Frankly, I’m weary of the tired old accusation that anytime someone speaks out for what they believe, they’re labeled as “judging,” a “hater,” or “intolerant.” Give me a break.
I log onto facebook and see a dozen posts by Christians who are awed by a beautiful picture with a saying on it. The ‘saying’ is a complete distortion of scripture but it sure sounds nice. So four or five people comment “Amen” or “love this.” Interesting. Then I read a brief devotional which again sounds flowery and feel good, and the same responses follow. Just disregard the fact that it once again does not follow biblical truth, but rather, is man’s transformation of it. Then it gets “shared” a dozen times because it sounds so good. Popularity makes it become truth?
The next thing I see online, whether it’s one social networking site or another, is political statements that are ridiculous. Do people really believe that one political party or another is the savior of this country? It sure sounds like they do. They even love to bring Jesus’ name into it. I’m doubtful He’s grateful for that inclusion.
After years of seeing the hype and the distortions and how many sheeple blindly swallow deception, I feel deeply grieved. The Bible is a hard document. Do I have the perfect, 100% correct interpretation of every scripture? Of course not. But people, really, much of the Word is plain, simple and direct. It is being twisted to salve the consciences of those who simply don’t want to follow it. It’s being rewritten to feel better to those who choose sin, and who worship tolerance of sin. The new way is just more comfortable, it feels better, and it assures one can keep more friends. Why not be happy?
“I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” Rev. 22:18-19
If we are allowed to rewrite God’s Word to make it more palatable, to make it easier, what point is there to even having it in the first place? God did not give us that option. He’s serious about how we study it, live it and defend it. We are the ones who are playing with fire, when we decide to do it our way. We have lost our awe and our fear of Almighty God.
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Isaiah 5:20
Woe defined: grievous distress, affliction, or trouble. We don’t need “woe” of this kind. We must stop playing with God’s Word and start living it as He inspired it, before it’s too late. If you blindly share some post online because it sounds good, you’d better be ready to answer to God, because you are influencing others. If your god is one that wants you to be comfortable, conflict-free, and buddies with evil, your god is not the God of the Bible...no matter how nice it sounded on facebook.
"You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. Mark 13:13 (Spoken by Jesus Christ)
“Do not fear what you are about to suffer. …Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Rev. 2:10
Always love hearing from my precious friend Karin! Today's blog is a word she sent that God had been speaking to my heart already. I love it when that happens!! I know it will tug at your heartstrings as well.
Psalm 139: 23-24 - Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Wow...how hard is it to give someone permission to speak into your life. How hard is it to hear those things that may pierce our souls. It's easy to hear the good things that people say to you, but much more difficult to hear the things that are not so good. Jesus came in the flesh to speak truth into our spirits. The very things we know are hard to hear but necessary in order to change, grow and walk in harmony with our God.
As I sat and pondered these thoughts, I had come to the conclusion that I would much rather give God permission to reveal the good, bad and ugly to me, before He brought someone else in to show me all those secret things that were difficult to hear. Take some time to reflect on Psalm 19, which is the "Perfect Revelation of the Lord." David, not only allowed, but WANTED God to show him his "secret faults." Why? So he could be blameless and innocent of great transgression. God knows everything anyway. You cannot keep anything from our wonderful Heavenly Father, however being willing to give The Almighty permission to show you and heal you of these secret sins, is about converting the soul.
How can we continue our walk with Christ Jesus in such bondage? We are only fooling ourselves to think this is true freedom. True freedom is allowing our Lord to cleanse and purge us from the holds that Satan keeps on us. It is about healing and growth as we continue our journey to everlasting life with the One who gave up His.
Pray about really giving God permission to reveal those hard truths to you. And remember as you are doing this He is our God of Love and only wants what's best for His children. He is not there to criticize and find fault; to gossip or blame. He is there to cleanse and free us from bondages, hurts and self hatred.
Find a quiet spot. Make a cup of coffee or tea. Greet the Lord with a welcoming smile, praise and thank Him for the amazing work He is about to do in your spirit....and be transformed.
Blessings to you all,
God is compelling you to write your story! Don’t wait for your own motivation to activate your writing. Tell God today is the day you’re going to sit down and start typing. Ask Him to give you a fresh perspective, and a fresh filling of His Holy Spirit. He will do it!! There are people out there who need to hear your story. Our testimonies encourage others to keep going no matter how tough things get. Let Him use you to heal, restore and inspire others. Today!
What has the Lord revealed to you about all the tornadoes, flooding, earthquakes and shaking? Nothing? You say you never even asked Him? Hmm. That’s interesting. It’s the first thing I did when I watched all the news coverage in Texas and Oklahoma. I have family scattered all over Texas and my prayers are constantly going up. Yes, every spring Texas and Oklahoma (and other states as well) have tornadoes, hailstorms and so on. But, ask anyone who lives there if this is a typical spring deluge and you will hear them lament that it is definitely not the norm.
Seismologists are reporting an incredibly high instance of earthquakes all across the USA. Some are very light and they range all the way to pretty stout. Even volcanoes are waking from their dormant state. And, in the midst of all this chaos, what are people doing? Are they getting on their knees before God to ask for His mercy? Are they repenting of their sins and asking Him to draw near and instruct them for the day’s safety and provision? Unfortunately, I haven’t seen that. I feel sure that there are those who are doing just that, but most of what I see on facebook, twitter, etc., is people pretending nothing is changing and going on about their shopping, vacation planning and recreation without a thought for tomorrow. Or...mocking those who are hearing from God and preparing for more to come.
Dear people, please stop mocking, ignoring and pretending that everything will always be status quo. It will not. God’s judgments on our world are now beginning to fall. He has removed some of His protections where people have spit in His face and there will be consequences. You can ignore or even try to fight with God all day, but after all is said and done, He is God. He is in control. He loves us so much that He doesn’t want any to perish, but if some choose to perish, He will allow them that right. It is heartbreaking to watch people who have no understanding of who the real God is, or how He operates, make fools of themselves with their misguided opinions. There will be a price to pay.
Don’t call me a hater. I love you and that’s why I long to see you turn your eyes upon Jesus. When the tornado hits your home or you lose your loved one in a flood or earthquake, where will you turn? You can get angry at God, but when did you surrender your life to Him and follow His leading? No matter what the storm brings, we can rest in the arms of our God. He brings peace, encouragement and comfort that no human flesh can do. It’s a divine, supernatural work of the Lord that no mortal can replicate. Please stop and talk to Him now. He is ready and willing to minister to you in disasters, but if you don’t know how to hear His voice or if you don’t know how to turn to Him, you will be lost and broken.
My prayers continue. Our Father is waiting patiently for hearts to turn to Him. His mercy and grace are amazing. But...as the Bible teaches us, there will be a time of judgment for ignoring Him, and it is upon us now. Please stop and pray and think and be wise. Your entire eternity depends on it.
I want to share with you today a really good piece about forgiveness. It's a little long for my blog spot, so I am giving you the link to the full article. I know you'll be blessed by it! -Nancy
Unforgiveness: 5 Ways to Reverse it Today
by Wyatt Fisher, Psy.D. and Michelle Graham
Wyatt Fisher, Psy.D. is a believer, psychologist, and owner of ChristianCrush. He's passionate about creating the most authentic platform on the web for Christian singles to connect and develop God-honoring relationships. - See more at: http://www.christiancrush.com/relationships/unforgiveness-5-ways-to-reverse-it-today.html#sthash.e9ArGIgU.dpuf
I was blessed this past week to attend the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference in Estes Park, Colorado. What a gloriously scenic place to spend four days! It was cold and we even experienced some light snow and icy rain off and on but it was all too lovely to complain. We had large, tame elk wandering around the buildings snacking on the grass, and they seemed to enjoy all the attention and photo shoots they were starring in. For me, a gathering of like- minded believers sharing God’s Word and worshipping together was beyond inspiring. The fact that we all are following His call to write brought us close---visiting as though we had known each other forever. The theme of the conference was “Write His Answer” from Habakkuk 2:2 "Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.” So many ideas and prayers developed out of that verse--even a song! How amazing that our God imparts words to write so that not only we, but others, can carry His message to the world.
I never take my writing nonchalantly. I consider it a big responsibility. You who follow my blogs and read my books need to know that I pray over every single piece I write and I am always aware that the Lord can use those words to reach hearts, which is extremely fulfilling to me. If I ever publish something that is not true or accurate, it is definitely an accident or oversight, and I invite you to hold me accountable. I take very seriously God’s call to share His Word and His leading in ministering to others.
Please lift my family in prayer when you think of it as I write and minister, and as my husband continues to endure chemotherapy. It is not an easy time for us, but then, most of you are also walking through difficult trials as well. Always know that you can send me your prayer requests and I will be honored to petition the Lord on your behalf. He sees our pain and hears every prayer….and He answers!
Lastly today, I’ve had some issues with your comments disappearing off my website. We’re working on that, but if you posted something and I didn’t respond, that is the reason. Please post again! I love hearing from you. And...please listen to our radio show on the HIA website (Hope is Alive). Pastor Ray Thomann and Jennifer are on Mon-Thurs and Ray and I on Fridays, but you can listen to any of the broadcasts through the website. www.hiaradio.com.
Have a blessed week!
Welcome Guest Blogger, Author Kathryn Bain!! Wishing all moms a Happy Mother's Day this week!
I used to enjoy movies, but any more they’re filled with so many curse words or a lot of nudity that I’ve stopped watching them. As Christians, we need to be careful what we spend our time on. There’s a saying, garbage in, garbage out. The more you watch these types of movies or television shows, the more you’ll be prone to use the language or act out the situations.
Philippians 4:8-9 states, Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. If we spend time watching or reading unclean movies or books, we give the devil more of a chance to sneak in.
Our minds are too important to spend on sinful things.
That’s why it’s so important to spend time with God. The more you read the Bible, the more you’ll become acquainted with God’s word, and the less you’ll want the garbage the world has to offer.
With Mother’s Day coming up quick, I thought I’d give you a list of movies that you can enjoy with your family without any embarrassing moments.
1. For those who want romance, how about Sandra Bullock in While You Were Sleeping. This mixes humor with romance. And you can’t beat Sandra Bullock for great acting.
2. Want something you and the kids can enjoy? I suggest you watch Happy Feet. Cute penguins, good music, and funny.
3. Get a bunch of your girlfriends over for a night of watching Mom’s Night Out. I loved this movie. It had great humor, and trust me, you’ll relate to the mother in this story.
4. Want a dash of suspense, The Watcher in the Woods starring Bette Davis will keep you awake at night. And no naked or half-naked girls being chased with chain saws.
5. Want something you and your daughters can enjoy together? Download a copy of Little Women. It’s got romance, suspense, laughter, and those moments when you’ll need the tissues near.
6. Into sci-fi, how about the original Star Wars. It’ll help you get ready for the upcoming release in December.
Too many times I hear Christians say they can’t find anything good to watch that doesn’t have a lot of garbage in it. If you try hard enough, there are a lot of good movies out there. You just have to be persistent.
Also encourage your children to be more discerning about what they watch and read. Show them how the “f” word is used more for shock than substance. By teaching them to tell the difference, you’ll help them grow to want only substance in their lives.
And isn’t that being a good mother is all about?
A note from Kathryn:
I have lived in Jacksonville for over 26 years where I am a Florida Certified Registered Paralegal. I have worked in the legal field for over twenty years specializing in guardianship, probate and estate planning. I am also the mother of two grown daughters. You can find me:
My first book Breathless was released January 13, 2012. My second, a humorous novella titled Game of Hearts came out March 1, 2012. My next romantic suspense Catch your Breath came out in 2012.
For Mother's Day, my book One Last Breath will be on sale for $0.99!
I'm so happy to introduce you to my dear friend and sister in Christ, Karin Taylor. I know you will be encouraged by her blog today! Nancy
In this life that God so graciously gave you there will be trials......don't you just hate hearing that? So why did He put you on this earth...to be miserable? "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience" (James 1:2-3). Trials are of outward circumstances, which are conflicts, sufferings, and troubles that all believers encounter. They are unpleasant and may be extremely grievous, but as believers we should take those opportunities to rejoice as God uses them as a tool to refine and purify our faith, which in turn produces patience and endurance. Having said this I admit patience is not one of my virtues and often comes in as a very bothersome inconvenience. But God, in His infamous way, uses this testing to refine us and mature us in our Christian walk. And as Christians our ultimate goal is to grow and mature and not be stuck at a certain point in our walk with the living God, as if to only survive, but to do what Our Lord has called us to and that is thrive.
Living Life is all in your attitude. Having just gone through my most recent of trials, breast cancer, my Lord has taught me this very valuable lesson on thriving. My goal in this life and as a pilgrim on this earth; let people see the face of Jesus on me. Let the Glory of our Lord shine through me and let me give the ever deserved praise to my Jesus. Ahh, Jesus, the amazing Savior who did walk this earth, and suffered severely for those who hated Him. I couldn't do that, but I can suffer this short trial to give that glory to Christ who took this sickness and nailed it to the cross. Don't you want to be able to look back on a season in your life and see the strength you had in God? He's so proud of you.
We don't always understand why we have so many seemingly endless trials, but what we need to be able to learn to grasp in our hearts and in our spirits is that we are not alone or forgotten. We are the very workmanship of Christ; His beloved; a chosen race, a holy nation, a royal priesthood; a people for His own possession; a friend (1Peter 2:9). Grasp on to His Love and don't allow the enemy to make you feel like you are only surviving, but hear God telling you to thrive and claim the victory.
Karin is a native of the Southwest and is known for her contagious laughter, encouragement to those in need, and a strong faith in her Lord. We pray her recent trial with cancer is almost done, and we know she will have much to share with those fighting the battle. Let's keep her lifted in prayer.
Welcome to my website!
"Living in God's Rest...At Peace in a Chaotic World" "Masked in Deceit," and Faith's Illusions are all available now. Living in God's Rest can be purchased from any of your favorite booksellers online or in stores. Masked in Deceit and Faith's Illusions, Christian novels, are available from Amazon. All books are offered in ebook versions as well. I always appreciate reviews on the seller's sites. Just click the books below and you will find links to purchase.
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Have a blessed day!