Tag Archives: control

Building the Marriage Relationship

Today’s message summary of October 2, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Marriage is the foundation of all relationships.  It started with Adam and Eve.

Marriage relationships can change over time.  They can be tough sometimes, and it requires perseverance…and God’s direction.

Every relationship has the possibility of failure with disappointment; however, a relationship with Jesus Christ will assure that He is faithful within the relationship.  He gives the human relationship the ability to remain intact and realize success.

In building your marriage relationship, God (the Godhead) desires that you use His method.  He wants you to follow His will; otherwise, there will be issues and problems within the relationship.

There are others outside the relationship:  friends of you and your spouse, your family and co-workers, who provide support and encouragement through their own relationship with Jesus Christ.  It matters who you allow to be in your life when it comes to your marriage relationship.

1 Corinthians 4:1-5

A person should consider us in this way: as servants of Christ and managers of God’s mysteries. In this regard, it is expected of managers that each one of them be found faithful. It is of little importance to me that I should be evaluated by you or by any human court. In fact, I don’t even evaluate myself. For I am not conscious of anything against myself, but I am not justified by this. The One who evaluates me is the Lord. Therefore don’t judge anything prematurely, before the Lord comes, who will both bring to light what is hidden in darkness and reveal the intentions of the hearts. And then praise will come to each one from God.

 

Philippians 2:5

Make you own attitude that of Christ Jesus.

 

Philippians 1:27-28

Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith that comes from the gospel, not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of destruction for them, but of your deliverance–and this is from God.

 

Colossians 3:18-25

Wives, be submissive to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and don’t be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so they won’t become discouraged. Slaves, obey your human masters in everything. Don’t work only while being watched, in order to please men, but work wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for whatever wrong he has done, and there is no favoritism.

 

Relationships are a test of your real character.  You learn to love your spouse to the degree that you allow that person to also hurt you.  In all of this, marriage is a place of growth where you are to trust God.

You learn how to give to others (self-giving and deny self).

Your learning is to achieve the ability to live in a Christlike manner.

A happy relationship involves a much greater challenge than finding a person with whom you live happily ever after because of some strange chemistry that draws and holds two people together.

Are you up for those challenges?  Just when you thought you knew someone–surprise!  You are still discovering more about your spouse.

Marriage is a relationship where two people are making many choices, both good and bad, adjustments in life, as free individuals who make a deliberate choice to work through problems and continually sacrifice personal freedom and self interest for its benefit.

1 Corinthians 6:12

“Everything is permissible for me,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible for me,” but I will not be brought under the control of anything.

 

1 Corinthians 10:23-24

“Everything is permissible,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything builds up. No one should seek his own good, but the good of the other person.

 

Married couples must not let problems rule their life.  It must be a constructive relationship (a relationship that builds one another up).

Matthew 22:37-40

He (Jesus) said to Him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

 

John 13:34-35

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

The marriage relationship is a declaration and demonstration of love for God.  Biblical guidance is to be at the forefront of the relationship.

There will be changes of circumstances and various events within the marriage relationship.  There may be a fluctuation of feelings experienced.  Things can become overwhelming and there may be feelings of helplessness that will challenge the relationship; however, keeping God as the focus will help the marriage move forward and overcome any issues.

Will you allow the bible to be your guide?

Marriage brings about the challenge of understanding the spouse before God.  It can be the most difficult and yet the most rewarding relationship that a person will ever experience.  You can also face challenges in relationships with other people, as well.  They can sometimes be stressful, but you can overcome all of these issues.

All relationships demand understanding.

No one person can satisfy all of another person’s needs.

All relationships exist with the possibilities of failures and disappointments.  Before entering a relationship, it is important to do the following:

  1. Learn the background of the person
  2. Find out what their primary needs are
  3. Determine what the person’s goals are
  4. Discover if the person is highly driven
  5. Watch the emotional response to various life events

Knowing these things may help you to understand more about that person before you make a commitment to a relationship.

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Is the Bible the True Word of God?

Original post May 31, 2009; Edited for re-post January 19, 2015

When one uses the phrase “God’s Word” or “The Word of God,” what is the meaning behind it? Man uses words to communicate with the idea of conveying a thought or a purpose. He can do it with sincerity, but at times it is done for our own selfish purposes or reasoning. God’s Word, on the other hand, is the revealing of God’s will for all people. He provides His Word for a purpose and it has the ability to “speak to us” and reach us in ways that normal communication cannot emulate. We have received His Word because it is inspired by God.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Scripture was given to us because it has a benefit for us, provided that we receive and respond to its teaching. While man’s words do not by themselves have power and authority, God’s Word ALWAYS operates in divine power (1 Thessalonians 1:5) and with divine authority (Luke 4:32, 36).

Many people will not read the Bible because the Word has the ability to convict those who read it of their sinful nature. It is the power and authority of God’s Word that challenge one’s mind and consciousness and that brings change in our lives. It will either bring one to Jesus Christ or it will condemn one to eternal separation. This is all in the choice that we make. God wants us to preach the Word and speak to others (2 Timothy 4:2). It is to be presented with encouragement and yet do so with the authority to correct those who are in sin with patience (2 Timothy 4:3).

It takes God’s time (and not our timing) for God’s Word to work in the lives of others. You need to allow God to work in His sovereignty and according to His purpose. Our call, as believers in Jesus Christ, is to be ready to share with others about our lives (1 Peter 3:15-16) and how God has changed us for the better.

It is God’s desire to impart His wisdom and knowledge to those interested in heeding His Word and to become more mature in their way of thinking about Christ (Colossians 1:28). The presence of the Holy Spirit is to guide men to God’s desires for our lives (Psalm 37:4; 2 Peter 1:21). The Spirit gives us the ability to understand God’s power and authority in His Word (Titus 3:5; Nahum 1:3; Philippians 2:13; Proverbs 21:1-3).

We should always be mindful that we derive our righteousness not in our own actions, but in His righteousness because of Jesus Christ making the eternal sacrifice for us all. The choice for us is to receive His Word in its entirety or reject it altogether. After all is said and done, God’s Word is the inspired authority and it operates with power and truth (2 Peter 1:21; Jeremiah 30:2). God is always in control…God’s Word is true…God’s will be done.


Change: Cooperating with God and His People

Today’s message summary of November 9, 2014  from Pastor Gus Brown:

Change may come in a negative form that is beyond your control; however, you will need to have the courage to face that change and be prepared to step into it. Are you willing to cooperate with God through these changes? Are you willing to cooperate with the people that God puts in your life?

To cooperate is to unite one’s efforts. It is to band together, to participate. In contrast, society has taught us to be independent and self-reliant. Society wants you to “stand on your own two feet.” To not cooperate or participate with others is to not allow yourself to be dependent upon others. Every now and then, you will need some help.

God didn’t mean for each of us to live this life on our own. He made us in a way that we need others in our life.

Look at examples of this through Moses:

Exodus 17:10-16

10 Joshua did as Moses had told him, and fought against Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 While Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, but whenever he put his hand down, Amalek prevailed. 12 When Moses’ hands grew heavy, they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat down on it. Then Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other so that his hands remained steady until the sun went down. 13 So Joshua defeated Amalek and his army with the sword.

14 The Lord then said to Moses, “Write this down on a scroll as a reminder and recite it to Joshua: I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek under heaven.”

15 And Moses built an altar and named it, “The Lord Is My Banner.” 16 He said, “Indeed, my hand is lifted up toward the Lord’s throne. The Lord will be at war with Amalek from generation to generation.”

 

Exodus 18:13-23

13 The next day Moses sat down to judge the people, and they stood around Moses from morning until evening. 14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw everything he was doing for them he asked, “What is this thing you’re doing for the people? Why are you alone sitting as judge, while all the people stand around you from morning until evening?”

15 Moses replied to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I make a decision between one man and another. I teach them God’s statutes and laws.”

17 “What you’re doing is not good,” Moses’ father-in-law said to him. 18 “You will certainly wear out both yourself and these people who are with you, because the task is too heavy for you. You can’t do it alone. 19 Now listen to me; I will give you some advice, and God be with you. You be the one to represent the people before God and bring their cases to Him. 20 Instruct them about the statutes and laws, and teach them the way to live and what they must do. 21 But you should select from all the people able men, God-fearing, trustworthy, and hating bribes. Place them over the people as commanders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. 22 They should judge the people at all times. Then they can bring you every important case but judge every minor case themselves. In this way you will lighten your load, and they will bear it with you. 23 If you do this, and God so directs you, you will be able to endure, and also all these people will be able to go home satisfied.”

 

Exodus 2:5-10

5 Pharaoh’s daughter went down to bathe at the Nile while her servant girls walked along the riverbank. Seeing the basket among the reeds, she sent her slave girl to get it. 6 When she opened it, she saw the child—a little boy, crying. She felt sorry for him and said, “This is one of the Hebrew boys.”

7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Should I go and call a woman from the Hebrews to nurse the boy for you?”

8 “Go,” Pharaoh’s daughter told her. So the girl went and called the boy’s mother. 9 Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse him for me, and I will pay your wages.” So the woman took the boy and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

 

Moses had help from others to execute these very important tasks. In the case of Moses’ mother, she cooperated with Pharaoh’s daughter, and the result is that Moses lived.

Don’t see the people that God sends before you to help you as your enemies. Allow God to work on your heart so that he can work on you and for others to help you.

Change that you may experience will sometimes require a personal sacrifice. He wants you to leave that matter that keeps you from following Him at the altar in order to allow for the change to be complete in your life.

To change in life, be willing to cooperate with others. God will send you all of the help that you will need to make the changes. Cooperate with Him in it, and surrender to Him.  Our goal is to always live according to God’s will.

  • God sent Paul to Ananias (Acts 9:11).
  • Peter was sent to Cornelius (Acts 10). God was at work in the lives of two people who had to cooperate with each other in order that God’s will and glory would be recognized.
  • Barnabas was a helper to Paul (Acts 11:25).
  • Paul ministered to Timothy (Acts 16).
  • Philip helped the Ethiopian (Acts 8:26).
  • Joseph helped others, but there were also people that he cooperated with (see Potiphar, Genesis 39).
  • Joseph was helped by the prison warden (Genesis 39:20-23) and a cupbearer (Genesis 41:9).
  • Paul learned from Gamaliel (Acts 5:34, 22:3).

If you are going to make changes in your life and work with God and with others. You need to be a team player and want to see change take place.

Amos 3:3

Can two walk together

without agreeing to meet?

 

Romans 14:7

For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.

 

1 Corinthians 12:12, 26

12 For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ.

26 So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.


You and Me – Missionary Conference 2014

A special thanks to Joseph and Maria Howard, Christian and Missionary Alliance international workers for their service and for being a part of this year’s Missionary Conference.  For more information on Joseph and Maria’s ministry in West Africa, select here.  

The following is a summary of a message from Joseph Howard, C&MA missionary from Mali and Burkina Faso, Sunday, November 2, 2014:  

Mali is a large country, about the same size of Texas, and Burkina Faso is about the size of Ohio. In those countries, there are about 35 million people. Men and women live there who are much like you and me, to do all that they can to provide for their families.

1 John 1:1-4

1 What was from the beginning,

what we have heard,

what we have seen with our eyes,

what we have observed

and have touched with our hands,

concerning the Word of life—

2 that life was revealed,

and we have seen it

and we testify and declare to you

the eternal life that was with the Father

and was revealed to us—

3 what we have seen and heard

we also declare to you,

so that you may have fellowship along with us;

and indeed our fellowship is with the Father

and with His Son Jesus Christ.

4 We are writing these things

so that our joy may be complete.

 

The church that we meet in is very small, but we meet together and praise the Lord Jesus Christ. There are some that are practicing as Muslims but they are reciting Arabic prayers that they do not understand themselves. My wife and I have shared with them who God really is. He is a God of the present and today. He is the great I AM!

Many of the people in Mali and Burkina Faso are fishermen, who are referred to as Bozos in the native language. In the communication with the natives of the area, the people understand God to be one who is angry because of our sin, and people are to understand that God is indeed in the present and that Jesus Christ is the One who is present. In 1 John, God is referred to as being in the present.

What have you seen about Jesus today in the present? It’s important for you to communicate God’s present goodness. God has given us the opportunity to speak about His goodness to others as you proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I love to talk about Jesus Christ freely to others, yet there was a time when I was very ill and I had to rest. God tells us, at times, to “be still and know that I am God.” We need to understand that God has to do a work in your own life in order for you to learn more about Him and be able to speak to others about Christ. One of the first verses I learned in Africa was John 14:6 (I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.)

There are three believers that shared with us about their experiences in Jesus Christ that are members of the church. They willingly share their love for Christ. It is important for you to be able to share about Jesus in order that others can see Jesus Christ in you. That is your goal.

The three believers I mentioned are now shunned by their families. They had shunned their traditions and the norms of society for His testimony in their lives. They have done great things where they are to have people ask the question about what is different about them. We are invited to have people “come and see” who Jesus Christ is through your life…to see Jesus through your words and actions.

That is the cry of our hearts…to let people see Jesus Christ through us. God is ever-present and in control. Let people see Him through you.


Change Comes from Acknowledging Truth

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Are you ultimately in control of change in your life? The answer is no. It is not in your control at all. You will find that change happens whether you are ready for it or not.

You will not experience change by laws or by observing rules. Change comes about only by truth. The issue is whether or not one will accept truth. If you are not changing, who is keeping you from it? Are you improving? Are you better off? This is where truth comes in. Truth can bring about real change.

Why do people change? Change is undertaken when one wants to adapt to something different.

Why don’t people change? They do not see a need to do so. The conflict here is to recognize where change is needed.

What does it take to change? It requires looking at truth and the facts about your life.

When God claims “all have sinned,” it requires a person to either agree with the statement or just deny them. This requires being truthful to self.

Did you know that 80% of all fitness equipment is sold between December 15th and January 1st? Someone decided that he would make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight and get fit; however, the equipment may wind up sitting idle after March of the next year.

There are 10 million procedures of cosmetic surgery each year.

There are no shortcuts when it comes to change.

Change is a lot of hard work. We need help from others. We must have the help and power of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Since you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, what has changed most in your life? What has not changed in your life that should have changed? What is keeping you from changing more in your life? Are you ready for change?

Are you willing to accept the changes that God wants to make in your life?

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.

 

Isaiah 45:9

“Woe to the one who argues with his Maker—

one clay pot among many.

Does clay say to the one forming it,

‘What are you making?’

Or does your work say,

‘He has no hands’?

 

God will speak to each one of us about what needs to change. Obedience to God and His Word is the key to effective change.

Isaiah 64:8

Yet Lord, You are our Father;

we are the clay, and You are our potter;

we all are the work of Your hands.

 

God is our Heavenly Father. We are the true works of His hands by His grace.

Philippians 1:6

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 

Psalm 119:99

I have more insight than all my teachers

because Your decrees are my meditation.

 

What is insight? It is the ability to see and understand clearly the inner nature of things. God will give you clear insight if you remain obedient to Him and stay in His Word.

What are decrees? They are statutes; a testimony that establishes a fact, affirmation or declaration. Decrees are unmovable. It establishes God’s testimony, and it will not change for you or for me.

John 8:32

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 

If you acknowledge truth, it will bring you out of difficult situations and circumstances. Failure to acknowledge truth will keep you where you are, and often that’s not a great place. Satan will keep a person in their sin to a point where he is “just trying to survive.” God wants you to do more than just survive. He wants you to exchange lies for the truth and be set free under His Word. When the truth is before you, which way will you choose to go?

Romans 1:25

They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.

 

2 Thessalonians 2:10-11

10 and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false.

 

A believer must choose to emulate Jesus Christ or to allow the flesh to prevail. Satan will attempt to deceive a person to cause you to deny God and the truth. If Satan is allowed to prevail, it will separate a person from a healthy relationship with God. The unbeliever who refuses to acknowledge God’s truth will eventually be given over to one’s own desires, for God will never tolerate sin.

John 8:44

You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.

 

Satan knew what truth was, but refused to acknowledge it. Change is all about accepting the truth.

Don’t make any excuses about not being able to change. If God reveals it you can do something about it. God is more than able and gracious. You need to believe it and hold onto it.

God must establish the change in one’s life. Knowing truth brings about this change. Truth is a reality that should no longer be denied or worked around. Running away from truth doesn’t change what it represents. Recognition of the need for change begins with being honest to yourself about needing it. God will graciously help you when you are ready to accept it and begin to follow His direction.

Ephesians 6:14

Stand, therefore,

with truth like a belt around your waist,

righteousness like armor on your chest.

 

Romans 3:4

Absolutely not! God must be true, even if everyone is a liar, as it is written:

That You may be justified in Your words

and triumph when You judge.

 

Paul had to be changed from being a self-righteous Pharisee to be conformed to a person who would serve Christ in a mighty way:

Romans 7:18, 24

18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it.

 

24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body?

 

Paul would never had said these words as a Pharisee unless God was dealing with Him personally. He had to humble himself and allow for God to work in his life. He knew the truth about himself and knew that he needed to change.

Change has to be substance–it has to be real, and you need to have the ability to endure it. Satan will challenge every change you want to make in your life.

John 10:10

A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

 

Ephesians 1:3, 14

3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens.

 

14 He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.

 

Ephesians 5:6-10

6 Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for God’s wrath is coming on the disobedient because of these things. 7 Therefore, do not become their partners. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light— 9 for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth— 10 discerning what is pleasing to the Lord.


Growing Through Adversity

No one wants or welcomes adversity in his or her life. There are some that would prefer to dictate how the events of life should occur and try to avoid adversity, but we all should conclude that we can’t control the “ups and downs” in life. When there is difficulty, this is a test as to what we believe as followers of Jesus Christ. It requires faith and trust in Him and the remembrance that God is in control.Adversity is not a bad thing; in fact, it is good thing, because it challenges our faith and provides opportunities for growth in our faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

Job 14:1

Man born of woman is short of days and full of trouble.

Adversity is what can be defined as “commotion,” or the condition of being physically agitated… restlessness, an uneasy or nervous state… a disastrous failure or defeat.

The worst thing that we can do is run away from life in response to moments of adversity. If believers are “more than conquerers,” then why run away…what are we running from? Adversity should, in fact, should be drawing us closer to God rather than away from Him. Depending upon where you are and what you are going through, it may require a consistent act of continually seeking Christ, in many ways, just to endure the hardship. It also requires compliance and agreement with God’s Word, which means humility and surrendering to Him as to whatever He wants to do in our live…whether we like it or not. It is a matter of obedience to God’s Word, and the joy realized with the peace of God that allows us to transcend beyond the adversity.

We are to have peace with God in order to have the peace of God.

Romans 5:1

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:5-8

5 For those whose lives are according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those whose lives are according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. 8 Those whose lives are in the flesh are unable to please God.

Philippians 2:5

Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus.

John 14:27

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.”

In our adversity, we should always be mindful that we are walking with the Lord in fellowship through our life and our actions. This will enable each of us to know that we have the peace of God in our lives.

John 16:33
“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”

Peace is the very thing that God provides for us in the midst of difficulty.

It is important to seek the Lord and live in God’s peace and avoid the things that can disrupt your peace. Those who will readily criticize you and make claims that you never do anything right should be avoided (constructive criticism with justification is much different from harsh, unreasonable criticism). Another stumbling block is to compare where you are a person against that of where you perceive someone else is. There is no real peace when you are taking the focus off of God. The disruption of one’s peace also comes from carnality of the flesh, which prevents seeking the Lord in all things. It implies operating on one’s own strength instead of relying upon God.

Matthew 20:24-27

24 When the 10 [disciples] heard this, they became indignant with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and the men of high position exercise power over them. 26 It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave.

1 Timothy 1:5
Now the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.

Ephesians 4:7
Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the Messiah’s gift. For it says: When He ascended on high, He took prisoners into captivity; He gave gifts to people.

Adversity reveals the real life that we are living in Christ (or without Him). Are we living according to God’s standards and expectations?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Do you not know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory.

Romans 2:21

…you then, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach, “You must not steal”—do you steal?

James 1:2-3

 2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

His glory is revealed in us by our commitment to living the life that glorifies Him.

His glory is revealed to us in these three areas of life:
1. Goodness
2. Faithfulness
3. Servanthood

Goodness reflects how well we treat others in spite of our adversity. Faithfulness has to do with your word being your word, because you are living according to God’s Word. Servanthood refers to how you serve others with the desire to serve Christ and glorify Him, and not because you are looking for special recognition.

Each of these becomes our agenda in life only when we believe that God is sovereign and totally in control. He has absolute authority over everything in His creation.

John 19:10-11
So Pilate said to Him, “You’re not talking to me? Don’t You know that I have the authority to release You and the authority to crucify You?” “You would have no authority over Me at all,” Jesus answered him, “if it hadn’t been given to you from above. This is why the one who handed Me over to you has the greater sin.”

John 3:27
John responded, “No one can receive a single thing unless it’s given to him from heaven.”

Matthew 10:29
“Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent.”

 


Decisions With (Or Without) God in the Process

Decisions take place throughout our entire lives. How we make our decisions can have a profound effect on our lives. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, it requires making a decision to live a life that honors Christ. Are there circumstances that get in the way of making decisions according to living as Christ would have you to live? Are you living as God’s Word would have you to live, or are you “going with the flow” or living life “off the top of your head”? Does fear, confusion or a lack of commitment affect your decision-making?

Real problems sometimes require difficult decisions. Christians, however, need to remember not to remove God from the process. Decisions should always be in consultation with God in prayer. It is also important to allow for Scriptural information and insight in the process. God’s Word helps us to remain in fellowship with Him and to provide guidance in our lives. We are also to make an honest assessment of who you are as you are making decisions. You should not expect to be making good and effective decisions if you are not living according to God’s Word and not in a right relationship with Him. Decision-making should also occur without the element of human emotion or human attraction. Emotions will always cloud the vision of the decision-maker and the process.

Life is full of problems and solutions (Job 5:7, 14:1). It is our process of coming up with solutions through the authority of God’s Word that is of greatest importance. The wrong decisions are a sign of carnality (Proverbs 14:12) and lead to disorder (1 Corinthians 14:40). Decisions should always lead to peace and order, and our God is not a god of confusion.

People who place themselves under the authority of God will make good decisions. Why?

1. To have authority from God means that you have the legal right to act. The decisions made in this authority will not just affect you but also have an impact upon others…they will have a ripple effect on the lives of others and even for the Kingdom of God.
2. To act is to make a decision and carry out an action.
3. Jesus has complete authority (Matthew 28:18); therefore, you can act on this authority with confidence.

It is fair to conclude that any decision made without Jesus is a decision made incorrectly and without His authority.

In 2 Chronicles, Solomon was in fellowship with God, and in that relationship God elevated Solomon to be a great king and leader (2 Chronicles 1:1). As long as Solomon followed the Lord, he was highly successful. When we see Solomon’s life change and begin to make poor decisions, it was because he moved away from God’s teaching and instruction (1 Kings 11:1-13). Solomon loved women outside of Israel–women of foreign lands who were worshiping other gods and idols. God had forbidden this in the beginning because He knew that the love and desire for them would cause Solomon to follow after them and their practices.

There are four steps towards poor decision-making:

1. Not taking God’s Word seriously (2 Corinthians 6:14)
2. The heart is captive to something other than God (1 Kings 11:4)
3. The devotion for God is lost (1 Kings 11:4)
4. The desire to commit evil (1 Kings 11:6).

Solomon’s poor decisions aroused God’s anger towards him, and led to God taking away his kingdom from him (1 Kings 11:9, 11), and the Lord raised up an adversary against him (1 Kings 11:28, 40).

Solomon’s decision-making was driven by his emotions and acted accordingly. His heart was turned away from God, which created in him a heart of double-mindedness (James 1:5-8). The decisions that were made were not good for him; in fact, they only brought about destruction to his doorstep. Solomon, who was once praised for his great wisdom, became foolish in his evil actions and poor decision-making, all because he decided not to follow and trust God.

When you make the commitment to desire God’s will over your own will and desires, you will be able to make the best decisions for your life and the lives of others around you (Psalm 1:6).

As He (Jesus Christ) was saying these things, many believed in Him. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, ‘If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free‘” (John 8:30-32).

Pray for the Lord’s guidance in all decisions that you make, and for His will to be prominent throughout the entire process.