The Greatest Commandment

Matthew 22:36-40NIV

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.

Your heart, soul and mind represent the whole you as being. Your mind is the gateway to understanding, and your heart creates the will as your soul expresses the love God wants from you. This is why it’s the greatest commandment because it involves all of who you are from the inside and out.alex-woods-30834-unsplash

 

Your Calling

I want to start this post with this verse in mind…

Philippians 2:13NIV “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose”

I am sure you have asked yourself and people have asked you; “what is your purpose in life?” or “what do you think your calling is?” I know I have asked these questions to myself numerous times throughout my life. When I read this verse from Philippians it hit me. The question on calling and purpose have halfway been answered through this verse. It is God who works in us to will and act. This tells me that God does the work in our life to fulfill His purpose in our life. But, there is one important thing we must do for God to work in us. We must allow Christ into our life through a relationship with Him, so He can work in us to fulfill His good purpose.raise-3338589_1920

If we invite the Lord into our life and establish that close relationship with Him, He will show us the way to our calling and purpose. This is where most people get stuck as they try and figure their life out by trying different things to discover what their calling is. For some people this could come naturally, but for most out there it can be a long drawn out discovery process. Your calling can be multiple things throughout your lifetime. It can be a calling to serve somewhere, it can be a calling to lead somewhere, or it can be a calling to play in a worship band at the age of 65, you never can tell what God has in store for you if you don’t communicate with Him and get close to Him. So, first thing is first, seek the Lord, then seek your calling.

Seeking a relationship with Christ and understanding His word can help you recognize His will and His purpose. You must strengthen your spiritual life through prayer and worship, and be spiritually cognizant of how He works through you daily. Through understanding you will realize that He is providing you with direction and all you must do is follow it. You are the one driving, but God is giving you the directions.

If you are at that point where you think you will never be called to do anything, then it’s time to strengthen your relationship with God. If you feel you have a strong relationship with Him but are still having a difficult time finding your calling, then maybe it’s time for you to start putting in more effort. God will pave the way in this relationship with Him, but He is not going to hand you a future on a silver platter. He wants you to pursue it and work for it.

God’s calling for you is a gift that you need to discover. When you do, you need to own it with all your heart and soul by putting in every ounce of effort to make it possible.

Actions not Words!

Who would’ve thought that the phrase “actions speak louder than words” was actually biblical? 😁

God’s Word is truth….now get out there and start making it happen!

Focusing on Purpose

“The Framework to Life is about reaching success with a purpose in life alongside a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. It is living a life of passion with an eternal purpose.”

Above is the opening statement on the “About Framework to Life” page. I am going to break this down so I can describe how important it is to know what your purpose in life is. Your purpose is also known as your calling. It can be your occupation, hobby, raising a family, building a ministry, or whatever you feel you are called by God to do.

“Reaching success with a purpose” is how I start explaining the framework. Success can be anything someone wants to achieve, whether it’s a short goal in life or a lifelong journey. But I add the kicker, which is the key word, “purpose“. Your purpose is the intention behind what you want to accomplish, it’s the why, the intent, and the reason. As we continue on with the same sentence, here is the most important part, “alongside a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ”. Adding this statement now changes the outlook of your purpose. Why? Read the next sentence from that same statement “It is living a life of passion with an eternal purpose”. Living a life that is bonded to a relationship with Christ means you live for Him and as He lives in you. If He lives in you, then you live a life according to God’s Spirit. If God’s Spirit dwells in you, then you can understand that your purpose in life is now eternal, meaning the purpose we are living for today on this earth may continue on to eternity. Think of it this way, if you live for eternity and every righteous thing you do becomes noticed by those who live in the flesh, there is potential there for them to be changed by God through you. You become a beacon of light for the Lord’s kingdom. This is how God intervenes in people’s lives by using others for His purpose. If this is the case and you eventually see these people living in God’s kingdom, don’t you think this is an eternal impact? I would think so. If you leave a legacy behind you of changing lives after the Father has taken you home to Heaven, wouldn’t your legacy continue to impact eternity?

I am not here to tell you how to find out what your purpose in life is, that is up to you and the Lord. Having a relationship with Him by reading His word and communicating with Him through prayer along with wise council will give you those answers. This framework is simply a way to help guide and protect what your purpose is as you embark on a journey to achieve the dreams that come with it.

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Heart Condition

 

We all have a heart condition! Our goal to a healthy heart is to be righteous in the eyes of God by emulating Christ in everything we do. This means being the most righteous human beings we can be. This means being sinless in our actions and our thoughts. Right now you are thinking “that’s impossible!” and you’re right! It is impossible, especially when it involves the deepest thoughts in our minds. Not to worry though, God loves us so much that He would never leave us hanging!

John 3:16NIV  For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

If we were all perfect and sinless then we would not be free thinking humans with a conscious mind and an indwelling spirit. God wouldn’t have a need to send His one and only son to save us from sin. If God made us in this robotic way then how would He gain the true love of His people? There would be no need for love! God created us with minds and hearts that make up the fervent spirit inside of us. Our spirit is the inner being that dwells within our bodies which God wants to connect with individually if we accept Him in our lives.

Our hearts make up who we are as beings. Why would God only examine the outward actions of human beings when every action comes from the heart? He wants to see and connect with what and who is inside. He wants to examine the source of our human nature which is our heart. When you give your life to the Lord, you are giving Him your body, mind, and heart, which together make up the temple for His Holy Spirit to reside inside of you.

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John 3:16 NIV

 

Passion and Purpose

We all have a desire to achieve something big that will bring purpose in our life. If it’s something that burns inside of your heart like a fervent fire, then that is passion. If you feel your passion to do something is a gift from God then you should pursue it. Some people set their hearts on something that is financially driven and they might call it their passion and their purpose but in actuality they could be struggling spiritually. This kind of passion is of this world and comes with an expiration date. Prosperity is not about being rich in your pockets. It’s about being rich spiritually by serving and honoring the One who created us. The One who has provided us with eternal salvation through His son. This is the kind of prosperity that has an eternal purpose.

Honoring God and glorifying Him through your passion is what I believe is a calling. It can be anything! It can be a passion to serve, a passion to lead, a passion for art, or a passion to minister. Anything can be used for God’s glory as long as it is aligned with His values. When you live for God it can sometimes be the most challenging thing you may have ever experienced in your life. Your faith will be tested by many kinds of persecutions. As long as you hold on to God’s truth and you continue to strive for righteousness, peace, faith, and maintain wisdom of salvation through God’s word, then nothing can stop you! Passion with an everlasting purpose is what I call living.

 

Continue reading “Passion and Purpose”

A message that needs to be heard!

This past weekend I had an awesome time of praise and worship at Heavenfest in Morrison, Colorado. It was 2 days of watching Christian musicians from a variety of genres. The crowd was people of all ages praising and worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ all day and all night. The weather was hot but it was worth it. There was one Christian rapper that stood out to me because of the messages that he shared upon the stage. They were messages that needed to be heard by all that were there, especially the younger generation. The rapper goes by the name Propaganda. I found this one particular message that everyone must hear and share.

Shield of Faith – Whole Armor of God

I just came back from a long much needed vacation. Which is the reason I have been off the weekly rhythm. It gave me time to think about this next post because this one is about my favorite topic, faith! To me, this is the most important piece of armor out of all of them. Without faith everything else becomes vulnerable. What good is righteousness without faith? What good is salvation without faith? What good is truth and peace without faith? Faith in general means to have trust and to believe in a reality that is unseen through the human eye. God wants us to have faith within our hearts because that is where He wants us to feel His presence. Feeling the presence of God working through our hearts is much greater than any of the five senses that He has given us to fully function on this earth. If we have Christ in our hearts it will be in our nature to trust in God as He works through us. This is what faith is! Faith is initially gained by accepting the Lord into our life as a young believer and then as we gain wisdom through God’s Word our faith becomes a shield that protects us so the relationship between us and the Lord becomes inseparable.

A soldier in battle holds their shield out in front of them to take any blow that comes from the enemy. Paul mentions that it protects us from the fiery arrows that come from the enemy. He doesn’t mention just arrows but fiery arrows. Fiery arrows are intended to do widespread damage so it can affect multiple soldiers at once. They can also cause enough damage so that the armor on the soldier will be ineffective if it becomes engulfed in flames. From a spiritual perspective the enemy wants to hit us personally and everyone around us. They will shoot whatever they have to disrupt our relationships between family, friends, and most importantly our relationship with Jesus Christ. However, if we hold our shield out in front and stand strong in faith, everything behind our shield is protected. The fiery arrows from the enemy can be great enough to burn through our breastplate, our helmet, and deliver enough damage that will inhibit us from reaching our sword to fight back if we are burned bad enough. Our shield is described as our faith because behind faith lies our righteous hearts, our minds on salvation, our focus on God’s truth and peace.

There are a lot of believers that tend to lose faith during times of trials. They may think the struggle is impossible to overcome. If these believers can just read God’s Word, and understand that these times of trials and tribulations are when God wants us to communicate with Him the most. These trials are the ultimate test to faith but there are a lot of us that give up or forget that He is there waiting to hear our voice call His name.

Nothing Impossible

Pillars of Sin

I am stepping away from the pieces of God’s armor this week to write about something else that has been tugging at me. I will continue with the other pieces of armor next week but this message I will keep in this series to give you an idea of why we need to put on the whole armor of God. I feel the Lord wants me to write about how sin can be like pillars in our life. Pillars are usually large, they stand tall and are hard to move. If we look at pillars as sin in our life they will always stand between us and the Lord. I did some research on pillars and realized that pillars have so many symbolic meanings. Today we normally see them used for structural purposes by supporting buildings and homes but back in the Old Testament, I read that they had more of an idolatrous purpose to them. They were stood up and idolized by pagans and were considered sacred. Pillars are mentioned throughout all of scripture so not all references to pillars represented something to be worshiped. As a matter fact Moses actually stood up twelve pillars to represent the twelve tribes of Israel and Solomon’s temple had two bronze pillars at the entrance of the Lord’s temple so you will see many mentions of pillars throughout the bible. The pillars I am referring to are the ones that are considered to be sacred and worshipped by people that either have no idea of the One True God or through plain denial of His existence. If you read through the NKJV translation of the bible and search the terms “sacred pillars”, you will notice that the context of these two terms together referencing objects that need to be broken and torn down. Anything that is sacred other than God Himself is an idol that stands between us and His love. Our God is a jealous God and does not want anything to stand between us and Him.

Exodus 20:5(NKJV)

You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God… 

Looking at modern times now with all the changes that have occurred in the world from the birth of the industrial age to the present time, it has become easier to stand up these pillars of sin that can easily stand between us and our relationship with Jesus Christ. We all have something in our lives that can easily get in the way of that relationship. Sins that consistently stand between us and God are like sacred pillars that stand strong and are hard to bring down. The longer these pillars stand upright in our lives, the harder and stronger they become. These pillars can be in the form of an addiction, or an unrighteous lifestyle. Whatever it may be, these pillars get in the way and need to be torn down with whatever it takes.

Leviticus 26:1(NKJV)

You shall not make idols for yourselves; neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves; nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it; for I am the Lord your God.

If you have a pillar in your life and it has diminished your relationship with Jesus Christ, then this pillar has become sacred in a way and becomes a replacement for God. It becomes an idol and something you have devoted your life to. Idols can be the form of anything especially during this current time where our faith is constantly being attacked by influences from the world today. Look at what separates you from your relationship with the Lord and ask yourself if what you’re doing is defying the first commandment.

Mark 12:30 (NKJV)

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment.

There are people out there that say they live for Christ but somehow justify and have peace with what holds them captive in their sin. This is a sin in itself because they say they live for the Lord on the outside but they know that their sin is hurtful to the Father. How can you live for Christ if you don’t repent of your sin?

Mark 7:6 (NIV)

He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.”

It doesn’t matter who can see the outside, what matters is what’s in the heart where the Lord examines. If you confess and own up to your sin with the Lord and feel guilt and regret, then this is repentance. If there is no struggle, if there is no guilt and regret of the sin that stands strong as a sacred pillar, then the sin has taken over your life. For those of us that fight and try to take down these pillars, God sees this in us and wants us to persevere and be strong in faith. This is where God’s armor has to be taken up fully so we can resist and stand strong enough to tear down the pillars of sin in our lives.