Sunday, December 12, 2010


MAKE every effort to BE self-controlled. What stirs us to discipline our steps? We all agree that LOVE causes people to do CRAZY things! A humble widow gave all she had, a servant named Martha loved without shame. What is it that motivates us to make every effort to obtain the character traits of Whom we love and respect? What does self-control require of us? How do we practice self-control if we have none? A wild fisherman named Peter was known as a foot-in-mouth kinda guy. Peter did not always behave perfectly, yet over time, we note that in his daily walk, he began to practice self-control. It was his choice to supress his personal will and tongue in order to glorify God. Each ordinary person in scripture eagerly and willingly did what they did for God's glory AFTER reflecting the truth of who they were before they heard the word of God or met Jesus face to face. With hearts that overflow with deep appreciation for Who God is, and how His deposit of love changed them --- they persevered in + through trials and persecution with loving kindness BECAUSE they had been GIVEN FREELY what no ruler, president, teacher, parent could. Will our mental focus on what type of character we want to BECOME be enough for God's glory? Does not our faith compell us to make EVERY EFFORT, to do something to add to our faith, steps to show others His goodness, devoted time to get to know God? To control self will in order that we remain surrendered to His will and live without malice, envy or hate is OUR sacrifice. Jesus is worthy to be LOVED like crazy! Our faith is a gift from God. Ask God to increase my zeal, increase affection for You!To be Christ like is to be holy regardless of popular opinion, our loss or circumstance. Being kind to the unkind and loving the unlovable is to be like Jesus. In our daily walk, if we miss the mark, or if we miss a few turns, we have the choice to return to our first love and trust that God hears our confession as we listen to His gentle voice. Equipped with an internal GPS, God does not rebuke us, He simply and quietly "recalculates" our direction as He encourages His beloved "Walk this way". For what reason do we submit or depend on God? Why do we swerve to the left when we know what is right? "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall." (2 Peter 1:5) Day by day, little by little, as we emerge from our sleep in the cocoon, we add to our faith by what we read, what we watch, Who we listen to, and what steps we take to gain wisdom, to possess faith, to EMPLOY knowledge, goodness, and self-control. Perseverance suggests that action was taken. Godliness is not laziness. How do I love Thee, let me count the ways! What is it about Jesus that we love? Naming what He has done for us personally, what He provides daily for us, motivates us to worship Him above all else. Once we possess a heart that beats for Him, we listen to all that He said then, and especially what the Holy Spirit speaks to us today through His Word. Because God gave us all that we need, His love, and the omni-presence of the indwelt Holy Spirit --- we are partakers of the divine nature of God because He put His Holy Spirit into us so that we can communicate with Him. His spirit to our spirit. By His power we have escaped the desires of the flesh, and the rule of our deceitful hearts. FOR THIS VERY REASON we GET to pursue a deeper relationship with Almighty God. Do we choose God because we fear hell, or does our fear, our respect of Who God is bring us to our knees with such graditude that we WANT all that He desires for us? We get to walk away from temptations, from doubt, from lonliness, from hatred, from self-indulgence. We get to BE diligent in our every effort to supplement our faith. To seek to put on the virtues that please the same God who forgave us much, and Who gave us much. To Luke the doctor, God gave these words
"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?" (Luke 16:10) Once there was a time when I distanced myself from my sister who I love, because of a debt that I was unable to repay. She was the one who approached me and said "your debt is forgiven" The love, grace, compassion and forgiveness she extended caused me to WANT to change, to become a person of such benevolence. Her act of forgiveness compelled me to WANT to become a trustworthy, honest person. When we are forgiven, do we not desire to honor that person by diligently seeking to change ourselves? What God has forgiven us, and what God has given us --- is ALL the motivation that we should need to self-control our will, our choices, our desires! God warns us and He encourages us with wisdom. "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheiritance with me." Jesus replied
"Watch out! Be on guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Then Jesus told the story of the rich fool who decided to build a bigger place to store the over-flowing riches and goods that God had blessed him with. The rich man said to himself "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." But God said to him, 'You fool!' This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then WHO will get what you have prepared for yourself?" This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God." Have you ever seen a hearst pulling the boat, harley, or a trailer full of possessions to the grave site? Jesus continues to teach us "Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes." Jesus asks us to observe the birds and the flowers in the fields. We are to consider how richly God takes care of that which is here today and gone tomorrow, and that we are far more valuable to God than birds or flowers. "And do not set your HEART on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such THINGS, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Do NOT be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to GIVE you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be also." ---- We servants of God, the Creator and Owner of all things. We should WANT to work diligently to become more like Jesus, and love God with all the fruits of the Spirit that we have been given. "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Luke 12:49) Oh Lord Jesus open our eyes and ears that we may hear what the Spirit is saying. Show us the wisdom in loving Whom we have always had --- Open our eyes to SEE the foolishness of longing for THINGS we do not have, and be thankful for what is before us. AMEN


  1. You are a love! Beautiful prayer Barb...Thanks. I have been heading a Wed. night bible study and my message for tomorrow night is the fruit of the spirit. Love you!
    KRISTA and FLORENCE - Olympia, WA

    Lord Jesus - i ask You Abba Father to draw Krista and Florence ever closer to You --- cause them to hunger for truth and ONLY be satisfied by Your amazing promises. Let them not assume they are planted in good soil, but stir their souls to seek you desperately. We are all AMAZED by all that You have given and forgiven. Thank you Lord for listening to our prayers. I ask that You open our eyes and ears to see and hear - that we are not distracted by the disturbing health conditions --- but that we are most concerned about the condition of our souls. AMEN

  2. [The Armor of God] "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.” (Ephesians 6:10-11)

    “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
    (James 1:12)

    “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

    “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)