living to please God

How to Live in Order to Please God

Additionally then, brothers and sisters, we ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received instruction from us on how you should live and please God—as you are doing—do this even more. 

For you know what commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

For this is God’s will, your sanctification.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-3a

What does God’s Will; Your Sanctification Mean?

God’s desire, His will for us, is more than just forgiveness. It’s more than fire insurance saving you from Hell. He wants to restore us to His image. God created us in His image. And while that was ruined by the fall of man, God still instructed us to “be holy as He is holy“; God still wants to restore His image in each of us and He offers that to all who are saved. (Colossians 3:9-10

Colossians 3:9-10 Living to Please God
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Sanctification is a big, confusing word. It can also be translated as “holiness” or “set apart.” Thus, God’s will for us is to live holy lives to be set apart. When we live holy lives, we are becoming more and more like Him.  

His Holy Spirit Helps us

Upon salvation, His Holy Spirit enables us to “participate in the divine nature” of God. (2 Peter 1:3-4) Peter urges us in the following verses to do our part… “make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.” 2 Peter 1:5-9 NIV and again to “make every effort to confirm your calling and election…” (2 Peter 1:10-11)  If we are “to make every effort”, then certainly there is a part for us to play in becoming like Him.

Through salvation and out of thankfulness and humility toward God, we should want to live holy lives; doing our best to exemplify the character of Christ. His Holy Spirit directs us and gives us all we need to do this. When we participate in His work, we are then READY to enter His Kingdom. 

 “For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.” 

2 Peter 1:11

Defining the Big Words About Salvation

Defining big Christian Words; living to please God
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We receive many graces when we are saved. The first of these is justification – the forgiveness of sins. I like to explain it this way… It is “Just as if I’d never sinned“. Romans 5:9-18 

But grace does not stop there. The next thing God does is give us new life! We call this regeneration. Easton’s Bible Dictionary explains regeneration as a change of heart. (Titus 3:4-8); becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17); a renewal of the mind (Romans 12:1-2). This is nothing man does but rather it is the work of the Holy Spirit within us. 

Thirdly, God adopts us as His child!  (John 1:12-13We are His heirs

Finally, we are given the Holy Spirit, who teaches us to live more and more like Jesus. As we grow in Him, this holiness (sanctification) becomes the doing and living of our salvation. Dr. David Jeremiah, Turning Point, says “it is the proof of our faith… the example of our faith… and the action of our faith.” (Crosswalk) 

Surrendering everything to Him is the best way to live a pleasing life for God. Years ago, I learned that we must give the “Unkown Bundle” to God. That is, we give him our yesterdays and our today, but also our tomorrows. Like signing a contract without getting to read it. We sign an empty page and hand it to God to fill it with His will for us. We say to God, “Whatever You want, is what I want”. Like Jesus said in the garden, “Not my will, but yours”. Luke 22:42

Will you Give Him the Unknown Bundle of Your Life?

~Mandy

*This devotion is excerpted from a study of 1 Thessalonians, written by Mandy for Gracefully Truthful – a Women’s Online Bible study journey. You can read it in it’s entirety on the website.

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How Are Christians the Salt of the Earth?

Jesus said [with confidence] {my words}

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

Matthew 5:13-16
Salt of the Earth
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Salt

The shaker on our table is what we bring to mind, but in Jesus’ day, salt was a valuable commodity. It was sometimes even used to pay one’s salary. Jesus called the disciples salt because they were as important to the Gospel as salt was to the society. Have you ever eaten a French fry without salt? Just a little salt makes a world of difference!

Impact

Consider the impact the disciples made on the world once they were anointed with God’s power through His Holy Spirit. Just twelve men initiated worldwide change as a result of God’s power! (Acts 2)

Savor

As powerful as salt is, it can lose its savor if it is mixed with other additives. RealSalt.com says salt will never go bad, but common table salt has agents added which degrade over time causing the salt to lose its savor. Society in Jesus’ day was mixed with many sinful impurities. If Christ-followers were not careful, their lives would be overrun with the effects of sinful choices.

Preservation

This leads to a need for preservation! In ancient times, salt was added to prevent food from spoiling. When the disciples began spreading the Gospel, they were keeping the world from decaying without the Hope offered through Jesus’ offer of forgiveness. Salt can go both ways. If we allow society to rub off on us, we will lose our savor; but if we rub off on society, we hold out the life-giving freedom of Christ! 

How can you and I effectively be Salt of the Earth?

By choosing to engage those around us with the hope of Christ! If we have accepted Jesus as our Savior and allowed the Holy Spirit to guide and direct our lives, we HAVE Christ’s power in us to be salt to the world and we will WANT to season the world. 

Examine Your Heart

If you don’t have the deep desire to be a Salt of the Earth disciple, it would be wise to follow the apostle Paul’s teaching and examine your hearts “to see whether we are in the faith.” (2 Corinthians 13:5-6) 

Have you ever known a person who rubbed you the wrong way? Comparatively, have you known someone who always blesses a room when they enter? This is how we season the world. A preacher once asked, “If you record yourself, what would you see/hear?” This challenged me and still does, to take special care in what I do and I say, making sure I’m surrendering myself to the Spirit’s power alive in me. 

Showing love, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness is how believers share their Salt with the Earth. (Ephesians 4:29-32)

Let’s begin our days with King David’s prayer,

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, oh Lord. My Rock and my Redeemer.” 

*excerpted from my writings at Gracefully Truthful

click the image below to read about “Being a Light to the World”

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www.gracefullytruthful.com/blog

Sources

Enduring Word Commentary by David Guzik

humble king missing piece

How to Find the Missing Piece in Your Life

excerpted from Humble King – Gracefully Truthful Journey Study

There is a God-shaped hole in our hearts. 

Our family loves Kincaid paintings. Of course, we were never able to purchase a painting, so we did the next best thing; we bought, assembled, and framed puzzles. What an accomplishment to finish the gorgeous pictures by placing the last piece! 

However, my husband enjoyed hiding away a puzzle piece so he could place it into the last open spot. It became a fun routine at our house and the kids went straight to Daddy to find the last piece. 

One Christmas

One Christmas, however, he didn’t take a piece, and yet, one was missing. Initially, the kids didn’t believe him, but eventually, the truth sank in; oh, what a disappointment to have a hole in the middle of the picture, leaving it incomplete! We framed the picture anyway, taking a piece from the unseen edges to try to fill the empty space, but our eyes were immediately drawn to the patched-up place every time we looked at the picture.

The God-Shaped Hole

Just like the unfinished puzzle, there is a hole in our hearts in the shape of God. The piece was removed way back in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned against God, separating us all from His Presence. 

Oh, the ache we feel over lost fellowship with God! We know something is missing, but often, we are not sure what (or really, Who). So we might try to fill the emptiness with other pieces like family, love, success, drugs, alcohol. But nothing really fits. 

missing piece
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There is nothing like having the right puzzle piece.

The following Christmas, as we brought out the decorations, we found the missing puzzle piece! It had somehow fallen off the table into one of the boxes and was stored away. How appropriate to have found the missing piece at Christmas! Just like our family, if we keep searching for God (our hearts’ missing piece), we will find Him. (Jeremiah 29:13)

Jeremiah 29:13 missing piece
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All who accept Christ as their personal Savior have the Holy Spirit living within them, guiding and directing their lives. Indeed, God is with us now, but one day Christ will return to earth, righteous and victorious. He will set up His Kingdom, removing all evil. 

-Mandy

Read the complete devotion at

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https://www.gracefullytruthful.com/enough-day-11-humble-king/

The hope of God with us

The Hope of God With Us

The Hope of God With Us was originally published at Gracefully Truthful. It is not part of the Church of the Nazarene Advent Series; however, it certainly follows the theme of God With Us.

  1. On Our Way Back to God
  2. The Promise of Restoration
  3. God’s Promise to Comfort
  4. Prepare the Way of the Lord
  5. God Sings Over Us
  6. The Hope of God With us
  7. Trusting God’s Plans and Ways
  8. Get Ready for the Lord’s Coming


Read Ezekiel 37:15-28 First

70 Years in Captivity

Ezekiel lived during the 70-year captivity of Judah in Babylon. The prophets Jeremiah and Daniel were his contemporaries. The nation of Israel had forgotten God and become idolatrous by worshiping other gods. Through prophets, God repeatedly warned them about their sin and the coming destruction as a result.

Ezekiel lived during the 70-year captivity of Judah in Babylon. The prophets Jeremiah and Daniel were his contemporaries. The nation of Israel had forgotten God and become idolatrous by worshiping other gods. Through prophets, God repeatedly warned them about their sin and the coming destruction as a result.

Even after they were captured, they took on the pagan gods and beliefs rather than standing up for the One True God. They had a “form of godliness but denied the power within.” (2 Timothy 3:5, Titus 1:16) They ignored the prophets, so God “left them to their own devices”. They wandered so far from God they no longer had unity within the nation.

In just a few short generations after King David’s reign, the nation split into two nations. The Northern Kingdom (10 tribes led by the half-tribe of Ephraim) and the Southern Kingdom of Judah (The tribes of Judah and Benjamin). The Northern Kingdom had already been overtaken by Assyria during Ezekiel’s ministry and finally, God allowed Babylon to overtake the Southern Kingdom as well.

Valley of the Dry Bones

Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed, and the people were taken captive where they remained for 70 years. Ezekiel’s ministry was during these 70 years. In the first half of chapter 37, Ezekiel has a vision in the Valley of the Dry Bones. Ezekiel was amid piles of dry bones depicting the futility of the people’s lives without the Lord God.

The people did not care about God. Even if they were still worshiping Him, it was in a ritual only as they followed the cultural influences around them. They were dead in their sins and, for Ezekiel, it seemed there was no hope. But God showed Ezekiel He would raise His nation up and make them alive again.

The Promise of Hope

After 400 years of silence, God began to move again among His people and so, the dance began again. John the Baptist was conceived as a forerunner to Christ. He leaped in his mother’s womb just being near the mother of the Messiah. Doesn’t your heart leap at the joy of this news?

And who could forget the angelic announcement of the birth of Christ? Think of it! If I were a shepherd, I would not be able to keep still with excitement at the prospect of this joyous time. Hope was being fulfilled as Emmanuel (Jesus) came to humanity; God with us! A different age was about to begin, the Age of Grace under the Covenant of Redemption. Not only is God with us, but His Holy Spirit can live within us if we trust in Christ as our Savior!

The light of the world has come to chase away the darkness and the people began to dance in the light!

The Hope of Peace

God’s promise of restoration was depicted in the two visions of Ezekiel. First, the vision of the dry bones and then the two sticks coming together as one. Once they are joined, we will enter the Covenant of Peace. (Ezekiel 37:26)

This will happen when Christ returns to earth and sets up His Kingdom. When God initiated the Covenant of the Law with Moses, he created the physical nation of Israel. When Jesus instituted the New Covenant of Redemption, God created the spiritual nation we call “the Church.”

Soon it will be time for God to bring these two together. Both the spiritual and the natural must be in perfect balance, so God can create for Himself “one new man” from the two that will bring true peace in an Age of Peace. (Ephesians 1:9-13, Ephesians 2:14-17).

In the Age of His Kingdom, Jesus will be the Prince of Peace. All things will balance out with His government. His judgment will root out evil. Once evil is removed, His Truth and Grace will be in balance with His Government of Peace. Jesus will reign, and we will be in the presence of God forever.

God’s Peace will be revealed, and we will experience the “peace that passes all understanding” to the full! (Philippians 4:7) We have His peace within our hearts, but on that day, complete peace will be established. Finally, the prophecy of God’s Presence among us will be fulfilled and we can say as Isaiah prophesied,

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. A light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness. You have enlarged the nation and increased its joy. The people have rejoiced before you as they rejoice at harvest time.”

(Isaiah 9:2-3)

It will be the greatest Dance of Joy ever!

Mandy


One Day ~ Hymn Study

What a Difference a Day Makes

one Day Hymn Study
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This hymn, One Day was introduced to me in my teen years. We had moved from Ohio to Wisconsin and being in the middle school Sunday School class, I was required to take part in the Easter program. This hymn was the theme of the program.

At the time, I didn’t particularly like the song mainly because it was a bit slow for my tastes. But over the years the song stuck in my heart and mind because it tells the story of Jesus from beginning to end; from the virgin birth to the cross and resurrection and on to the day still coming… His return… Oh, Glorious Day!

Hymn Writer ~ J. Wilbur Chapman

Full Name: John Wilber Chapman, 1859-1918
Birth Year: 1859
Death Year: 1918

A Presbyterian evangelist. He served in several local churches before becoming an evangelist, preaching with the infamous D.L. Moody, as well as preaching many evangelistic events on his own. He had many preachers who were trained under him including Rev. Billy Sunday.

He wrote this hymn as well as two others

“Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners”  (another favorite of mine)
“‘Tis Jesus”


Hymn Studies at Gracefully Truthful

The writers at Gracefully Truthful are doing a series of hymn studies this month. Click on over to read my contribution to the study on One Day.

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Worship VII Day 13 One Day – Gracefully Truthful

Hymn of the Week ~ One Day

Source: Sing to the Lord, #210

1 One day when Heaven was filled with His praises,
One day when sin was As black as could be,
Jesus came forth To be born of a virgin,
Dwelt among men, my example is He!

Chorus:
Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me;
Buried, He carried My sins far away;
Rising He justified freely forever:
One day He’s coming– O glorious day!

2 One day they led Him Up Calvary’s mountain,
One day they nailed Him To die on the tree;
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected:
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He![Chorus]

3 One day they left Him Alone in the garden,
One day He rested, from suffering free;
Angels came down o’er His tomb to keep vigil;
Hope of the hopeless, my Savior is He![Chorus]

4 One day the grave Could conceal Him no longer,
One day the stone rolled away from the door;
Then He arose, over death He had conquered;
Now is ascended, my Lord evermore![Chorus]

5 One day the trumpet Will sound for His coming,
One day the skies With His glory will shine;
Wonderful day, my beloved One bringing;
Glorious Savior, this Jesus is mine![Chorus]

I was thrilled when I heard that Casting Crowns had placed the lyrics into a new contemporary song, Oh! Glorious Day. What a beautiful rendition.

Source: Hymnary.org

The Updated Version by Casting Crowns

 

Casting Crowns Story Behind the Song

 

Mandy Farmer

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Coming Next Week

on our way back
Next week begin my 7 week series for Advent … God With Us!

King of Kings ~ Hymn Study

This worship song is new to me but what a message. The Apostle John wrote about the King of Kings in his gospel. Read the prequel devotion at Gracefully Truthful about the prophecy and coming of the Messiah.

I had the privilege of writing the digging deeper portion of this study on John 1. Have you ever wondered why John chose to use “The Word” when speaking of Jesus? I wrote about it at Gracefully Truthful. Here’s a taste of the study.

John’s depiction of Jesus’ Second Coming.

Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse. Its rider is called Faithful and True, and with justice, he judges and makes war. His eyes were like a fiery flame, and many crowns were on his head. He had a name written that no one knows except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called the Word of God. The armies that were in heaven followed him on white horses, wearing pure white linen. A sharp sword came from his mouth so that he might strike the nations with it. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will also trample the winepress of the fierce anger of God, the Almighty. And he has a name written on his robe and on his thigh: King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (Revelation 19:11-20)

The True King of Kings

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David Guzik explains that in Bible times, most soldiers were foot soldiers. To own “a horse spoke of honor, of power, and of speed. The color of the horse depicted victory.” The title, “Faithful and True”, shows Jesus as the Keeper of Promises, including His promise to judge the nations. Jesus will arrive in glory and sit for the final judgment of man. The many crowns on his head indicate He is the ultimate in power and authority.

It is a visible manifestation of what we mean when we say Kings of Kings, an expression of unlimited authority. (Guzik) As King of Kings, he is not just leveling all world governments; but rather, He will totally displace all this world’s sovereigns and governments, taking all dominion and authority out of their hands and putting it in the hands of Christ, as the true and only King of the world.” (Seiss)

There’s so much more to unpack here, but in just these few sentences we can discern that when John spoke of “The Word”, he was speaking of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who will one day return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to set up His eternal Kingdom.

And every knee shall bow to worship Him as Lord.

(Philippians 2:10)

Every Knee Shall Bow to the King of Kings

This universal homage to The Kings of Kings does not indicate a universal salvation, but rather an enforced homage. Only those who have repented and claimed Jesus as Lord before His return will be saved. As Paul implores his readers,

See! Now is the day of salvation!”

(2 Corinthians 6:2)

One day, however, even those who have rejected Christ will be forced to kneel and confess that He is Lord. There will be no other option. The Apostle Paul continues to write to the Christians in Philippi…

“Therefore, my dear friends, (…) work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked world and perverted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, by holding firm to the Word of Life.(Philippians 2:12-16)

God and His Holy Spirit work within us to do good works that reflect His character, these works make us “shine as lights” as He created believers to do. As we live and serve our Lord here on Earth, we are in awe of God, wanting to bring glory to Him in everything we do. We strive to live our lives as a reflection of Christ to glorify Him. We thank Him continually for all He did for us and praise Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Prayer

My Jesus, You came in humility to redeem me. You did it all for me. I worship You as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Help me to shine as a light, reflecting Your image, and drawing others to You. I give You my highest praise and my heartfelt worship. Amen.

Click for more on this study of King of Kings at Gracefully Truthful.

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Worship VII Day 10 King Of Kings: Digging Deeper – Gracefully Truthful
This universal homage to The Kings of Kings does not indicate universal salvation, but rather an enforced homage. Only those who have claimed Jesus as Lord before His return will be saved. As Paul implores his readers, “See! Now is the day… Click To Tweet

What’s the Big Deal About Telling Lies?

Is it really that big of a deal when we tell a little white lie? What does it hurt? The answer to that is, “It hurts God”. He created us in His image and that image is about His character. When we lie, are we reflecting the image of God? NO! Because God is Truth.

I recently wrote a Bible study for Gracefully Truthful on why God includes Lying in the Ten Commandments. I’ll share an excerpt to that study in this post but you can continue the study at Gracefully Truthful.

What is Truth?” 

John 18: 28-38

Mankind has grappled with the definition of truth throughout the ages. Hours before His death, Pilate posed this question to Jesus. But Pilate’s query was rhetorical, meant to dismiss the subject. He was only interested in the truth of Rome, Caesar, and political power (Morris). 

Even today, the struggle to define and understand truth persists. Many people want to believe in a truth of their own, based on perspective or personal preference. But Scripture teaches God alone is our source of absolute, unchanging, timeless, big “T” Truth. 

God alone is our source of absolute, unchanging, timeless, big “T” Truth.  #tencommandments #falsewitness Click To Tweet

We read throughout Scripture that God cannot lie (Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:1-2). Furthermore, God declared His character to Moses on Mount Sinai: 

The Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth.” (emphasis mine)

Exodus 34:6

Brad Bright, son of the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, comments,

“He is present everywhere, knows all things, and totally understands what is real, right, and true. Therefore, whatever He says is absolutely true.”

https://discovergod.com/character/absolute-truth

God is the Source of all Truth

As our source of all truth, God is the basis for everything in our lives. 

God gave us the Bible to help us understand truth. 

He guides us into truth through the Holy Spirit. 

God revealed the truth to us in the person of Jesus who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life“. (John 14:6) Jesus, the Son of God, IS Truth. (Guzik, Enduring Word)

Satan is the Father of Lies

telling lies
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In stark opposition, Satan is the Father of Lies (John 8:44). Satan spewed out the very first lie in the Garden when he assured Eve she would not die if she disobeyed God. (Genesis 3)

He has been denying, resisting, twisting, stretching, and confusing the truth ever since. In her book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth encourages us

“to wake up to the deception that is so pervasive. So much of our lifestyle is rooted in ways of thinking that simply are not true. The result is a house built on sinking sand.”

Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
gracefully Truthful

The truth will only be found by those who diligently and honestly seek it.

Let’s commit ourselves daily to walk in the light of God’s truth.

Mandy Farmer

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suffering and persecution

Are Suffering and Persecution Spiritual Disciplines?

I recently wrote a devotional about “How we respond to Persecution” for the Online Bible study Gracefully Truthful. And it got me thinking about whether suffering is a spiritual discipline.

Typically, we think of the disciplines as something we choose. Suffering and persecution are not something we choose but something that is forced upon us. But then again, maybe it can indeed be a chosen way of life. Let’s dig further.

In my devotion, mentioned above, I spoke about Jim and Elizabeth Elliot, missionaries to Ecuador. They ministered to a head-hunting tribe deep in the Amazon region. They actually knew what might occur if they tried to contact the people. It seems to me that they chose to suffer for Christ. Jim Elliot said,

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.

Jim Elliot
gracefully Truthful

Choosing to Suffer?

suffering and persecution

There are people groups who certainly have not chosen to be persecuted. They just happen to live in a country or under a regime that persecutes them for their beliefs. Certainly, they are not choosing this.

However, what about the missionaries that go to these places with the Gospel? They are aware that they are going against the laws in these places. They are, in fact, choosing to suffer for the furtherance of the Gospel.

When Christians decide that they will take a stand, defy rules to share the gospel, or even just make a statement on social media, we are choosing to possibly face persecution. The apostles in the early church were doing just that. They knew that to take a stand for Jesus meant cruel punishment and even death. But they chose to do it regardless of the possibilities. They prayed that God would give them boldness to speak out and preach the Gospel.

And now, O Lord, hear their threats and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

Acts 4:29-30
suffering

Rejoicing in our Suffering

Several times in scriptures we are encouraged to consider it all joy when we suffer. Persecution in itself proves that we are doing the work of God. Satan does not like it when the Word of God is spread about. He will do everything to stop it, including persecution and instilling fear.

Even more, we can celebrate in our suffering because it causes spiritual growth. James said it clearly in his letter…

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

James 1:2-4

What Will You Choose?

So now, it is our choice. Do we choose to remain silent and forgo the suffering or do we speak out for Christ so that others may know? Remember the words of Jesus,

 “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.

Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.

Matthew 10:32-34

Praying for boldness for our time is short.

Mandy Farmer
Sources

Our Response to Persecution, Gracefully Truthful

Is Suffering a Spiritual Discipline, Peter Dehaan

true repentance

True Repentance What Does it Look Like?


True Repentance Makes us Ready to Meet the Lord.

We see the day coming but we are no more ready to face the King of Kings and the Lords of Lords than they were in Joel’s day. We sit in our padded pews and “mourn” the sinfulness of our nation but ignore the subtle sins in our own hearts. Our nation will not “turn and repent” until they see that living for God looks different than the rest of the world.

Our nation will not "turn and repent" until they see that living for God looks different Click To Tweet

When we look in the mirror of the Ten Commandments, what do we see? Is it righteousness or self-righteousness? Does reading this list cause us to fall on our knees in true repentance like the prophet Isaiah did when he saw the Lord in the temple?

Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

Isaiah 6:5

Challenge to Examine Your Heart

true repentance

I challenge you to read down the list of commandments. Ask God to show you where you have failed him. If you don’t see any failure, read it again. And then again. Slow down, read slowly, and consider the subtle things that Satan has blinded you from.

  • How much time do you spend with God? 5 minutes a day? Do you have a quiet time? study the Word?
  • What have you placed above God? Job, Success, family, sports?
  • Do you treat the Sabbath just like every other day of the week?
  • What ways do you honor your parents?
  • Have you stolen anything lately? Extra time at lunch? office supplies? Have you robbed from God, by withholding tithes and offerings?
  • Do you lie and cheat to climb the ladder of success? Do you gossip in the guise of a prayer request?
  • Are you jealous of those who have more than you?

Hmmm… I wonder why people want nothing to do with Christianity.

Yes. We are all sinners

It’s true. None of us are righteous. We are all worthless and separated from God. Even King David who was considered “a man after God’s own heart” sinned. And he sinned BIG!

CLick image to go the Study of Psalm 51
Click this image for the study on Psalm 51

The size of the sin is not what matters. What matters is our response when we see that we have sinned against God. This week I wrote at Gracefully Truthful about David’s response when he was confronted with his sin. Click the purple image to read.

What matters is our response when we are face to face with our sinfulness. #repentance Click To Tweet

So, What Does a Repentant Heart Look Like?

Let’s take a look at the words of the prophet, Joel. He said if we repent, maybe God in His Mercy will forgive us and visit us once more. Let’s check it out.

“Now, therefore,” says the LORD,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
So rend your heart and not your garments;
Return to the LORD your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.
Who knows if He will turn and relent,
And leave a blessing behind Him;

Joel 2:12-17
true repentance; Joel 2
all images created in canva.com by Mandy
if we #repent, maybe God in His Mercy will forgive us and visit us once more #confession Click To Tweet

3 Actions of a Truly Repentant Heart

Turn to God

True Repentance requires more than just “I’m sorry”. It produces change, a turning away from sin. Too often our apologies are not sincere. We are more sorry that we were caught than mournful of our sin. We say “I’m sorry” but we don’t turn from our wicked ways. There must be a change of heart and life. If it is real, the change will be noticeable.

Seek His Face

Many times God says in His Word if we seek Him, we will find Him. Right smack in the middle of the Bible is Psalm 119. It’s a poem using each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The entire chapter is all about seeking God and meditating on His Word. Start here in your search for God.

Don’t just read a quick devotion or a few verses and go on your way. Think about what it says and how it applies to you. Ask God to show you why that particular passage is there for you. What can you learn? If you need help with this, I would suggest the online study Gracefully Truthful or try the First Five phone app which studies a chapter a day. This and many others are free online. There are also some great Bible apps for your phone.

Also, invite His Holy Spirit to take full control of your life. Consider your heart as a house. When you ask the Lord into your heart when you are saved, He comes in. But do you only allow him to stay in your living room? Do you allow him into your kitchen? your bedroom? closet? attic or basement? God wants it all. He wants full control. And until we surrender it all to Him, we are still the one in the driver’s seat. We aren’t in full obedience to God.

Fast Weep Mourn

fast –  Abstinence from food and/or drink as an element of private or public religious devotion. Today, some will fast other things they “can’t” live without. The importance is that you use this time for prayer.

weep –To express sorrow, grief or anguish by outcry. 

mourn – The Greek word used for mourn is “pentheo,” which means to “wail or passionately lament, grief so all-encompassing it cannot be hidden.” The same word is used in Mark 16:10 to describe the emotions of Jesus’ followers after His crucifixion, a soul-deep sorrow.

2 Corinthians 7:10 tells us “godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation.” Thus, it is a necessary mourning, required for us to reach a place of complete repentance before God. 

Honestly consider, have you been truly repentant for your sins? For the sins of the nation? Regrettably, I doubt that most of us have. In Bible times, people would tear (rend) their clothing in remorse. But sometimes this became just a show. (like the Pharisees) Try Anne Graham Lotz’s prayer from the National Day of Prayer. You can find it on her website here.

What rituals are you doing by habit or just showing off your spirituality? I’m reminded of the Pharisees praying, “Thank you, that I am not like them.” We need humility and true sorrow as we pray. This is what Joel meant by “rend your hearts, and not your clothes”

Let’s come to God with a broken and contrite heart as David did in Psalm 51. He was a picture of true repentance.

With gentleness and sincerity,

Mandy Farmer
Mighty God

Mighty God, Please Stop the Madness


The Madness.

Earthquakes. Raging Fires. Hurricanes, Flooding, Food Shortages, Pandemic diseases. Riots in the Streets. When does it stop Lord?

If you love us wouldn’t you save us from these evil times?

You are mighty to save, we know you can do it. [Zephaniah 3:17]

Where is God when you need Him?

God IS a Mighty God

MIghty God El Gibbor

It is true. God is a mighty God. His mightiness is seen in the heavens. [Psalm 19:1] With a word, He created the heavens and the earth. [Genesis 1] While in space, Astronaut John Glenn said, “To look at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is impossible”.  

Throughout the Bible, we read about God using His might to save the people. He destroyed evil with a flood; He saved the Israelites from Egypt with His might by sending plagues and finally led the people through the Red Sea, drowning the Egyptian army. Then He walked in the fire with the Hebrew children saving their lives and showing His might.

Again and Again, He showed up with great power. So why not now?

He Sent Jesus to Save us

The prophet Isaiah pronounced that God would send a savior, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. [Isaiah 9:6-7]

Consequently, the Israelites expected the Messiah to come as Mighty God, a warrior to overthrow their enemies and to set up His Kingdom.  But God had something different in mind. The Messiah came humble, meek, and mild. The Israelites could not grasp this plan of God. 

God’s Ultimate Plan to Save

The Mighty God indeed had the power to set up His kingdom at that time. With just a Word, He calmed the seashealed the sick, and raised the dead; however, these miracles were only to show us that He was indeed Mighty God. This was not His ultimate purpose.

What man really needed was not a rescue from slavery and tyranny. It was not for better health or wealth or to even have “peace on earth”. What man really needed was redemption from sin.  

God showed up in all His might that Easter morning when He raised Jesus up from the grave, defeating the power of sin and death.

Mandy Farmer
what God wants is to remove our stony hearts and give us tender, responsive hearts. #mightGod #mightytosave Click To Tweet

Interested in More About Our Mighty God?

Join me at Gracefully Truthful, a women’s online Bible study, where I have written in more depth about

HE: El Gibhor, The Mighty God

My post for the above-mentioned study will publish at Gracefully Truthful on Friday, June 19. But this link is good today and tomorrow on the Name of God, El Olam: Everlasting God

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