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Today I was having a discussion with a friend about being in need, reaching out to God’s family and doing our own part in the miracle that God provides. We spoke on how sometimes some people have a tragic need and instead of them reaching out to the family of God for comfort, rest and restoration; they choose to sit in the dark cave they find themselves in a never light a candle. In other words, wallow in the despair. Why? I was told today that people mistake a quote from Benjamin Franklin taking it as scripture, “God helps those who help themselves.” It may not be scripture, but I do believe that there is evidence of it in the Bible.
Heavenly Father, as we come to the 'highlight' of the time we celebrate your birth, the miracle and gift that is You, we give you all praise and glory. We thank you for coming to Earth and giving us hope of salvation everlasting. Let us remember that you look for us to take part in the miracles and blessings you provide. We know that You can do all things, bless who you want to bless, heal who you want to heal, but the miracle could be so easily lost if we, ourselves don't invest in You. Without You, Jesus we are nothing and with Your mercy and grace we are fulfilled! In Jesus' precious holy name, amen!
Have you ever been watching tv or listening to the radio and hear a comment that probably was never intended to be spiritual or make you think about God? Well, there was a comment during a show where a person said, "I've been so busy living out of my head, I forgot there was a body." Immediately, the thought came to me - I was doing the same thing, except I forgot to live out of my heart. If I'm doing it right, I should be living out of Christ's heart.
Trying to live everyday life almost seems to be an oxymoron when trying to live a spiriual life. You try to be a good Christian and turn the other cheek and keep good thoughts and be thoughtful to others and be there for others and live the golden rule and smile and... whew! Doing all that is one thing, doing it without cooperation from the world is another. How can you be a good righteous Christian when life makes it so hard sometimes. Strangers don't say thank you when you hold the door for them, friends interrupt your problems to discuss there problems, church family don't show up to church to see the work God has done since the last time they came to church and family who seem to use up every last bit of you that hasn't been beaten by all the above, without as much as a genuine smile! There is a unique technique to live the optimal life, live out of Christ's heart.
All those things mentioned before are things that take so much thought. It can and will drain you if you continually and constantanly think of what you have to do and who to do it for. Alas, if you think as Jesus Christ thinks, it become so divinely simple. Not that the tasks are not difficult, but deciding and doing by way of your heart is simple. That wonderful question comes to play, "What would Jesus do?" Would He help, yes. Would He give of Himself, yes. 2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, let him give, not grudgingly or of necessity for God loveth a cheerful giver. What does this have to do with living from God's heart? Have you ever seen a story about Jesus where He grudgingly healed someone? Did He ever respond with, "Do I have to?" No.
When you're thinking what you must do for God, family, friends and strangers from your mind's perspective, it's easy to get clouded and overwhelmed. The mind is made of flesh and since when does the flesh want to do anything but sin? Ah, but when you live from your heart, Christ's heart. It is no longer what the flesh wants. I'm speaking spiritual heart of course. Christ was born, lived, died and rose again because He lives from His heart. God's word has the word 'heart' in it 833 times! I believed God was trying to get a point across. When He says we should be Christ like, it especially means from the heart. He loves us so very much from His precious heart where grace and mercy reside. There is no darkness there, no weariness and no resentment.
Times will come when people won't say thank you, when people won't show up when you need them and times when people won't seem to see you or your efforts at all. Christ didn't go and shake everyone that came to Him for healing and demand glory. People gave glory to Him and praised Him. Jesus appreciated and loved them for it and blessed them all the more for it. Jesus sees the work we do on His behalf and in His hands is where our true rewards lie. Try working from your heart, love from your heart, live out of your heart!
I was thinking today about how to reach out to more people and for them to know that our church is here for them. We have wonderful events at our church, don’t get me wrong. We have picnics, yard sales, even National Night Out events for the last two years. So, I’m thinking how to reach out…reach out… reach…out… Then it hit me. We have great things happening at church, but if you don’t come to our church, how are you going to know? That’s when it dawned on me, Jesus wasn’t a homebody. Jesus travelled always. He didn’t stay in one place and expect his word to just make to everyone by just what others said on his behalf. Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
It may be a fault: a defect, or imperfection—one that feels embarrassing and humbling. You may have prayed about it a thousand times. You may have asked people to lay their hands on you and to pray that this imperfection would disappear. I myself have done this.
It may be a friend. Sometimes a dear friend can be a real thorn in the flesh. Perhaps he is difficult. You want to be with him, but afterward you feel frustrated or all the worse for being in his company. It may be a love-hate relationship. You feel you can’t be without this person, but the relationship is always edgy, prickly. You feel that even discussing it would be spontaneous combustion!
It may be an enemy. This person seems to live to make you look bad! But it may be that your enemy—who keeps you on your toes (not to mention your knees)—is raised up by God to keep you sharp and careful.
Could your thorn in the flesh be that you have known failure? It may have been financial failure, a failed marriage, or a job loss. Or, when facing temptation, you failed, and the whole scenario haunts you daily.
Perhaps someone has lied about you. You cannot defend yourself. People believe the lie. You long with all your being to be vindicated. But God withholds vindication. This could be your thorn in the flesh.
Don’t despise your thorn, whatever it is. Don’t resent it. It exists by God’s sovereign pleasure. It is for your good. It is the best thing that ever happened to you next to your conversion and anointing. It is only a matter of time before you will appreciate it.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. —Psalm 103:13–14
It is intrinsic to understanding God’s sovereignty that we realize what Paul meant when he said that Christians are God’s field. He is showing that God owns us. This simply means that God has total rights to our lives. We have no private life; our private life is His. We cannot go on a two-week vacation and say, “God, I want a good time, and You have been breathing down my neck for most of the year. I would like a couple of weeks away from You.” No, He’ll go with us on vacation; we have no time that we can call our own. It is His time. We have no secret thoughts about which we can say, “God, I just don’t want You to know about this.” We do not own ourselves.
Does this disturb and annoy you? Or does this thrill you to your fingertips to know that you are bought with a price? It is true whether you like it or not. You are His; He owns you. You are God’s field; it is not your field. For that reason God can do what He wants with you, and because you are His, you can’t get rid of Him even if you tried. You may have said to God, “Leave me alone.” But He didn’t; He would not.
Because He owns us, God has no obligation to us. God ultimately takes the responsibility not only for saving us but also for our development.
Every virtue we possess,
And every conquest won,
And every thought of holiness,
Are his alone.