See the created and the redeemed

Ephesians 4:16 (TPT) For his “body” has been formed in his image and is closely joined together and constantly connected as one. And every member has been given divine gifts to contribute to the growth of all; and as these gifts operate effectively throughout the whole body, we are built up and made perfect in love.

Without a relationship with the Holy Spirit you will not see the body that you are called to in His image. What do I mean by that? There is not a person in the Bible (except Jesus) that did not have an issue with what they saw in the people God called them to. When we start getting close to people we can fall into the trap of identifying them by the flaws that they have instead of the benefits to your life. We are so quick to cut people out of our life when they disappoint us, anger us, hurt our feelings, etc. Yes, the ones that do not want the best for you separate from, but a member that wants to help and their help might have hurt your feelings.

We are His Created and Redeemed. Isaiah 48:12-13,17 (AMP) “Listen to Me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called; I am He, I am the First, I am the Last. “My hand founded and established the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together [in obedience to carry out My decrees]. CREATED This is what the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says,“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit (benefit), Who leads you in the way that you should go. REDEEMED Start seeing each other as God’s created and redeemed!

1 Corinthians 12:21-26 (TPT)  It would be wrong for the eye to say to the hand, “I don’t need you,” and equally wrong if the head said to the foot, “I don’t need you.”  In fact, the weaker our parts, the more vital and essential they are. The body parts we think are less honorable we treat with greater respect. And the body parts that need to be covered in public we treat with propriety and clothe them. But some of our body parts don’t require as much attention. Instead, God has mingled the body parts together, giving greater honor to the “lesser” members who lacked it. He has done this intentionally so that every member would look after the others with mutual concern, and so that there will be no division in the body.  In that way, whatever happens to one member happens to all. If one suffers, everyone suffers. If one is honored, everyone rejoices.

We are connected. What profit is it not to see the value in others, because you do not think they know what you have been through? Receive the gift anyways. There are those who have knowledge and wisdom in areas. Why not tap into that? Are you afraid they are going to be like Job’s friends and say that everything you are going through is your fault or you deserve it? Well, you might have some people like that, but that does not mean you cut them out of your life. I have been that person and I have been on the receiving end of it as well. That will definitely make me want to go into hiding, but the benefit of the body outweighs the chances of trying to go at it alone.

2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (TPT) My friends at Corinth, our hearts are wide open to you and we speak freely, holding nothing back from you. If there is a block in our relationship, it is not with us, for we carry you in our hearts with great love, yet you still withhold your affections from us. So I speak to you as our children. Make room in your hearts for us as we have done for you. In the Message Translation it says, Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively! Blocking relationships withing the body that you are called to can make you feel small and insignificant. Start living your life in a bigger way!

Get back into the local church and get plugged in! Get into some relationships when they have fellowships and gatherings, make up your mind to not stay away any longer. Start seeing them as the created and the redeemed…a gift to Him and to you. Be blessed!

Patience is a muscle

James 1:2-7 (NKJV) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of you faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.

Patience is one of the fruits or attributes of the love walk. We find it mentioned in Galatians 5 and in 1 Corinthians 13. Why does it say we should rejoice with trials to get more of it?

I have the privilege of mentoring many young ladies in the church. When they are going through various trials it may be easier to allow the grumbling and the harsh self talk. We are to be empathetic right? It does take courage, and is sometimes rejection at first, but the perspective of “this is a growth opportunity!” always shows to be true.

Romans 12:12 (AMP) Constantly rejoicing in hope (because of our confidence in Christ), steadfast and patient in distress, devoted in prayer (continually seeking wisdom, guidance, and strength).

Did you know that you can limit the work that God can do in your life by your perspective? James 1:13 (NKJV) says, ‘Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.‘ Trials are not brought on by God. If we do not have trials how could “free will” be established. How as believers are we to be examples of the love of God on earth if we are always complaining of what we are going through?

One of my least favorite verses to hear people quote is Job 1:21 “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.” This is a verse that I hear when people give up hope. That nothing is going right for them because that is God’s will. That is so very untrue. God removes things out of our lives to make room for better things. It is all about perspective.

There are times that I have to correct my children. In doing so I want to get to the root of the reason they made the decision in the first place. Why is it when we are corrected the first reaction is “I can’t do anything right?” It takes a patient parent to not get frustrated. It takes a parent that cares to make them stay in the room until the conversation is resolved. It takes a loving parent to admit their own mistakes and not be on the defensive as well. Without wisdom, His wisdom, I cannot get things right. This is one of the trials that helps me grow in patience. It is all about perspective.

Our perspective and the words that come out of our mouth as result are so very important to the growth that can happen in our lives. Yes, you make be going through a hard season. It may look like your world is crashing down all around you.

Philippians 1:6 (AMP) I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will (continue to) perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus (the time of His return).

James 1:12 (AMP) Blessed (happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God) is the man who is steadfast under trial and perseveres when tempted; for when he has passed the test and been approved, he will receive the (victor’s) crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Like our physical stature, our spirit man has muscles that need to be worked as well. My spirit muscles will not grow stronger without resistance. Like I have said before, I want all that God has for me. I want as many crowns and rewards as I can get when I get to heaven. It will take me persevering. I will not lose hope. I will rejoice and choose to grow in trials. I will continue to praise His name and not complain. I will be led by the Holy Spirit, and step out of what is comfortable, so that I can fulfill the Great Commission that He has commanded that I do.

The enemy wants us to hide away when we are facing trials. Why? He wants to put you on pause as long as he can so that you stop running. Just like our physical muscles, when we stop moving, our muscles start to shrink. Your endurance lessens. You get comfortable in the sedentary lifestyle. Now your health is at risk. It is all about perspective. When my body hurts, I want to give it rest. If I let it rest too long, then when I try to get up to move my body will scream at me to stop and sit back down. Muscles need to be worked.

The enemy wants us to hide away when we are facing trials.

Hebrews 12:1-13 (TPT) As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. The we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and not sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God! So consider carefully how Jesus faced such intense opposition from sinners who opposed their own souls, so that you won’t become worn down and cave under life’s pressures. After all, you have not yet reached the point of sweating blood in your opposition to sin. And you have forgotten the encouraging words spoken to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t underestimate the value of the discipline and training of the Lord God, or get depressed when he has to correct you. For the Lord’s training of your life is the evidence of his faithful love. And when he draws himself, it proves you are his delightful child.” Fully embrace God’s correction as part of your training, for he is doing what any loving father does for his children. For who has ever heard of a child who never had to be corrected? We all should welcome God’s discipline as the validation of authentic sonship. For if we have never once endured his correction it only proves we are strangers and not sons. And isn’t it true that we respect our earthly fathers even though they corrected and disciplined us? Then we should demonstrate an even greater respect for God, our spiritual Father, as we submit to his life-giving discipline. Our parents corrected us for the short time of childhood as it seemed good to them. But God corrects us throughout our lives for our own good, giving us an invitation to share his holiness. Now all discipline seems to be more pain than pleasure at the time, yet later it will produce a transformation of character, bring a harvest of righteousness and peace to those who yield it. So be made strong even in your weakness by lifting up your tired hands in prayer and worship. And strengthen your weak knees, for as you keep walking forward on God’s path all your stumbling ways will be divinely healed!

This is one of my go to passages when we are tempted to give up. When I get disappointed with people and want to hide. When I so much see others potential and get frustrated when they refuse to move. I have to remember, that I am running a race myself and cannot get distracted. I have to work that patience muscle and not allow disappointments to become wounds. God will work things out in them and it is their choice to stop running, but that does not mean I need to stop.

You see I am talking out of the heart of a pastor. Patience is one of the faith muscles that we constantly have to grow in. There are those who are stubborn and will never get out of the mindset of a God that gives and takes away. We love them anyways. I have to rejoice and celebrate in the ones who take a hold of the Word of God and let it work in their life. When I see Hebrews 12 come alive to them. As a pastor our trials are not often lusts, to some they are. To me one of my trials is people. I see so much potential in the people that God has put in my life. I have to remind myself that God is their parent, Amanda. Just like I had to remind myself of the teens and some of the stuff they are allowed to do. I am not their parent. Pray and allow God to do the work in them. It is their choice. I have to run my race. Those that allow me to mentor, I mentor. Those that do not, pray that the door will open so that they can receive from someone who will point them to God. It is all about perspective!

Draining Days

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8 AMPC)

There are days where we allow our thoughts to get control of us. Then what becomes even more draining is when we allow others to tell us their thoughts.

It is so very important to surround yourself with people that will build you up. Job was a cheerleader to many, but those who he surrounded himself were not the same for him.

In Job 4 taken from the Message Translation, “You yourself have done this plenty of times, spoken words that clarify, encouraged those who were about to quit. Your words have put stumbling people on their feet, put fresh hope in people about to collapse. But now you’re the one in trouble – you’re hurting!”

Negative people drain me.

Job allowed himself to be surrounded with those that were speaking the problem. Those kind of people drain us. Find a way to get back to your Hiding Place. Negative people drain me. I have to get myself around some faith talkers. How can you spot a faith talker? When they are going through a hard time they have not stopped praising!

We have to do whatever it takes to get us to a place where we do not stop praising Him. My problems no longer are the biggest thing in my life. I no longer see those areas of lack. All I see is Jesus!

Job’s friends (and I have been guilty of this too) tried to explain God. There is no explaining God. There is no reason that we go through what we go through, other than the devil hates us. If he can get you off track, put you on pause, get you distracted, then he has done what he has set out to do.

Paul even says it himself, “But I need something more! For I know that law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in the delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?” (Romans 7:18-24 MSG)

For a moment he sounds a lot like Job. The thing we miss here, is that we want to stop reading. We are like, see, I cannot do this! Paul is not saying we should not surrender to living in constant defeat. What he is doing is expressing anger…he has not received the victory yet. This is a normal reaction.

He continues, “The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but I am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different” (Romans 7:25 MSG).

We are going to have those draining, I do not know if I can make it kind of days. Put your thoughts on Him. It is a choice and it is your choice!