Tag Archives: God

Same Love……..Same God………

Week 2 Disciples in Disguise Study

“Wake Up Oh Sleeper” What Does It Mean To Be A Christian?

After teaching this class last night at church it has occurred to me that perhaps Mondays would be the perfect day to post the lessons.  After all, this way I could determine what components are most helpful.

At this point you should have the self-analysis completed.  Remember to put it in a place where you can retrieve it again later in the weeks ahead.  So let us get started.

Christianity is defined by the Holman Bible Dictionary as: One who becomes an adherent of Christ, whose daily life and behavior facing adversity is like Christ.  Once a person becomes a Christian, the thought process of that person begins to change.  This change is a process and one that is easily visible through the works of the Holy Spirit in the person.  This is why the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 2:20 (NIV), “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  As you grow in your love and knowledge of Christ, you will become more like Him.  You will begin to think more like Him and your behavior will be more like Him.  This will not be an “act”–this will be a genuine change.  “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8 NKJV). 

You have heard of the “Fruits of the Spirit”?  There are 9 of these and over time this will be the evidence of your life in Christ Jesus.  I remember praying for these to be manifested in my life and was frustrated that I didn’t have them all at one time.  That showed a lack of patience perhaps? After 22 years of prayer, meditation, Bible study and desire for these, I begin to see changes in how I handled adversity.  Oh I had several of the fruits but I had a passionate desire to obtain them all.  I didn’t realize I possessed them until adversity came my way!!  This is a test for the Christian.

Over time a Christian will also begin to desire the things of Christ versus the carnal desires to satisfy the flesh.  Galatians 5:16-18 (NKJV) states, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  The flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do the things that you wish.”    Loved one, the LAW, binds you this but not grace….not grace!!!  Not grace by which you find in JESUS.  If you walk according to the Sprit, He will fulfill every longing and empty place within you that you have.  That feeling you get when you know you are about to do something you shouldn’t or you did do it and feel bad about it.  In both of these instances, the Holy Spirit is speaking directly to you.  He loves you and wants what is good for you.  That is why He tells us in Jeramiah 29:11(NIV),” For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord.  “Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”  Loved one, don’t settle for less than JESUS best for YOU.  Don’t settle for who “keeps you warm”, or what appears to be “light” when it is actually darkness in disguise.  The word of the Lord was written thousands of years ago, YES, and it is still the word of the same Lord with the same authority and with the very “same love”.  He IS STIII GOD AND HE IS STILL ALIVE!! He wants to bring this love to you.   If only you believe…….

The biggest proof of the gospel is the evidence of a changed life, as we were speaking about earlier.  A person’s testimony will prove the word of God. We are told that His word doesn’t come back void.  That is why you can see transformation.  What is spoken into a person’s life by His word is manifested in them by their Spirit.  Not overnight necessarily.  This is an excellent way of defending our faith.  “I was ——but now I ———.”

An excellent resource to read is Jude Chapter 4 and the entire book of James.  It is a quick read that gives a depth of information and confidence to the believer. 

Next week we will review Jehovah’s Witnesses.  I am a former Jehovah’s Witness who found love, truth and grace in the loving arms of my Savior Jesus Christ.  If you do not know Him, He is ready to receive you in those same arms.  Call upon Him, He will listen. 

 

In His Steps,

Michelle Hawkins

michelle.hawkins2003@gmail.com

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Humbling Myself….

“Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:10

Humility, as defined in the Holman Bible Dictionary is, “the personal quality of being free from arrogance and pride and having an accurate estimate of one’s worth.”  One’s worth. Humility will allow one to review themselves and their work.  This is true in the secular world as much as it is in the spiritual.  However, the spiritual is and should be the main and absolute most important area of examining our worth. 

The Psalmist David asked the Lord God to search him.  Search his heart and his ways and his thoughts.  David knew his worth to God and the love of His Father for him.  All the many mistakes David had made and the Lord loved him deeply.  David’s love was ridiculous for his God in return, so much so that he danced in the streets nearly naked before his Lord to honor and praise HIM.  He didn’t care what his wife or others thought about his act of worship.  He chose to worship.  Like a madman who was thought to be drunk! I desire that type of worship for my Lord. To be willing to worship with abandon and be ridiculous in the sight of others if my worship is pleasing to my Jesus.  That’s my hearts’ desire. 

Yesterday was a humbling experience for me.  It was placed on my heart to sing a song which demonstrated the power of Jesus name.  You see it is easier for me to sing without music.  If I forget words or miss a note then I can pause and resume without the music running ahead of me.  For years I had chose to not sing in public because fear and pride would strike me.  I allowed the yoke of the enemy to weigh me down with “what if” fear.  What if I sing off key?  What if I forget the words?  I made so many excuses to not sing for my Lord, other than in the privacy of my bathroom or in the car.  I would even stop singing in front of my husband for fear of ridicule.  Fear trapped my thoughts and works.  Fear is from pride.  Pride produces fear.  So when the Lord liberated me from so many things this past March, I chose to use my gift to sing in public again.  For HIM.  To worship HIM.  To encourage other believers in song.   I refuse to let the rocks cry out in worship ahead of me!!! 

So I had a couple of days to listen to the song on youtube and practice.  I couldn’t get through the song without tears flowing, snot running and falling on my face in worship to Jesus.  I wasn’t certain if I could get the song out at church without all three happening.  If it does then it does, I thought.  So yesterday I took my cell phone up to the podium and had my words pulled up as back-up.  Asked the Lord to accept my gift of praise through song to Him and began.  I forgot some of the words and sang off key at some points.  I had to stop and get back on track with a word to finish on the correct note.  Fear.  It hit. I was being tested.  “Try me and know my anxious ways.” Oh boy did He try me.  Was I going to continue in the song or quit because it wasn’t perfect….NO!  Am I going to allow fear to yoke me again from worshipping Him in public through song?   NO Way!!  Thankful my knees were not knocking this time while singing so I could walk–straight –back to my seat.  I sat down, patted my sweating forehead with a Kleenex and prayed.  Silently I prayed….”Lord, I pray that the imperfect attempt at this song will be perfected in your sight…..In Jesus name, Amen.”

I left as quickly as I could from the auditorium after an awesome message from the Pastor.  I didn’t want to be told, “Good Job”, or even worse, “Beautiful Song”, because I was humbled already in front of the congregation.  I tried not to think about it anymore, hoping they would forget I had messed it up.  It was meant for my Lord anyway……though I really wanted it to sound good.  Then something amazing happened.  A praise team member thanked me!! Then an honest gift from the heart of a lady in Sunday School class said it was a beautiful song. Then after I got in the car a text came from another dear sister in Christ that said, “amazing song.” What was happening? My Father’s hand telling me He allowed hearts to hear how majestic HE is through the message…..not the bloopers?  He took my act of worship and created praise for Him.  Elohim.  The yoke has been broken Satan…..the yoke has been broken. 

Dear brothers and sister in Christ.  If you have been given a talent or gift from the Creator, don’t hide it.  Even if it isn’t perfected….give it to the masterpiece maker. “For we are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10  Give your praise to Him Christians……He perfects the gifts of the heart.  Thank you Jesus for humbling me so that you could show me your strength through my many weaknesses.

 

The “Fitting”

“Put on the Full Armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11)

Good Morning!  Have you ever felt that the closer you get to the Lord the stronger the enemy comes against you?  Your perceptions are correct.  The devil does NOT want you to experience Jesus and live in the fullness of Christ Jesus your Lord.  So he attempts to stop you.  He is sly and cunning and he waits for you–ready–to pounce on you when you are distracted.  The word tells us in 1 Peter 5:8 that “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” BUT you have already been given the tools to resist the devil and if you use these tools he will flee from you. 

The Apostle Paul explains in Ephesians 6:10-18, what the Armor is and how it is to be used.  I ask that you go ahead and take a moment to read or re-read these verses and then, re-read it again.  Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you its full meaning. 

Lets take this one piece at a time.  Ephesians 6:14 says, “Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH…..”  (Sounds like we are about to prepare dinner using pork). This is actually a belt with metal or leather plates attached to form an apron.  This protected the soldiers abdomen at close combat.  In the same way, you are a soldier for Christ army.  In order to protect yourself from the blades of the enemy and daggers of spiritual attack, you must have the assurance that the bible is the unshakable living word of God.  The truth.  Every word is inspired by God Himself and this truth is impenetrable by the enemy.  He uses a lie like, these are changed translations of original manuscript and not really the work of the Lord.  Our Lord is the one who wrote the ten commandments and used Moses to bring them to the people as He also used His disciples and prophets to bring the word to all nations.  The word of God is true. Period.  Now that this has been established, be in prayer about any doubts you may have and ask Jesus to speak to you through the Holy Spirit to remove these doubts. 

I pray that today is the beginning of you coming to a deeper and stronger faith in your Lord.  Tomorrow we will discuss the breastplate of righteousness.  I also encourage you to read all of Ephesians 6:10-19. Until then.

In His Love,

Michelle Hawkins

While praising our Lord during worship service this morning at the Church of the Cove in the Smokies, my thoughts were drawn to an image of a glass container.  Not just any glass container, but one that had been freshly washed.  The outside of the glass was “spotless” but the inside had not been fully cleaned.  Sediment from dirt particles still lined the inside bottom of the container…the hardest place to get to while washing it.   Perhaps one of those tall drinking glasses you might use to serve a guest a glass of chilled lemonade or tea on a humid Kentucky day?  Some of those tall glasses wont let you dig down deep to clean them and my dishwasher, only a few years old, doesn’t get the glasses truly clean, sometimes leaving deposits of sediment inside.

Thinking about this vessel, I knew the Holy Spirit was telling me to use this as a message in the blog today.  Just as much of a message for the writer as for the reader.

Our lives are much like this container. Though useable just like it is, it still requires cleansing and preparation to make it effective for use.  Otherwise serving up lemonade or tea to a friend in dirty glass would not only give cause to be ashamed but give the one consuming it more than they asked for or needed.  If at first the sediment didn’t break loose and float to the surface, before long it would and one would then be chewing on it.  Not pleasing in thought.

Comparing our spiritual lives to the container, we must acknowledge that we require preparation as well.  How can one determine if a container is clean?  If we look only on the outside we may be fooled because the container could look clean after taking it out of the dishwasher.  Sparkling in fact.  So clean we use it before closely examining an important aspect of the container….deep down inside.  We unknowingly hand the dirty glass to our friend.  They drink because they are parched and want to be refreshed, desiring their thirst quenched.  Then they notice the sediment floating to the surface upon being used without proper preparation….hence the part about being ashamed by serving a drink in a unclean glass.   (Once I served molded cake to a dear friend and didn’t notice it was molded because it was a mint chocolate cake…yes I was ashamed by that).

In the same way we must study to make ourselves approved:  2 Timothy 2:15  tells us to “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.  (NASB)”

You see we are all unclean containers, or vessels when we come to our Jesus.  We can wash and rewash our outside and hide the dirt on the inside for a very long time.  So much so that we even can fool ourselves for awhile.  For when we first come to the master “washer” we become very very clean…..spotless in His sight, without blemish or fault.  But after a little while we begin to have dirt re-deposited within.  Though that doesn’t mean we become unusable, it does mean we will become ineffective in service for Him.  A dirty glass that doesn’t show its spots is still dirty.  We wont be thrown away but the glass ( if it were in my household)  would be put back on the shelf to be found by someone else or put back in the dishwasher.  The Savior however wants to wash us tenderly and lovingly by His hands.  He knows just how to dig into those hard-to-reach places that we can’t get to…sometimes because we want to forget they are there.  To keep from remembering we may refrain from seeking God through the daily reading of His word.  Or return to a mediocre prayer life. Because if we don’t listen for His voice we wont hear Him woo us into bringing those hard-to-reach places to Him for sanctification. Jesus loves our container so much that He desires to make us very clean and keep us clean to be deemed effective for His service.  We have to open the cupboard door of our heart first.  The process of His preparation may be painful but as the sediment comes to the surface He will free you from a lifetime of sitting in the cupboard waiting-collecting dust.

“Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.  Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart”. (2 Timothy 2:21-22 NASB)

Fire or Ice?

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish you were either cold or hot.” ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16 NASB)

Running.  The first mile or so is a warm up.  A stretching of the legs of sorts.  After a few miles the body begins to get into a rhythm.  You begin to know how far in miles you have gone without looking at the watch.  For me, I know because I am tired and I am ready for a walk break.  Ready for a big ol’ gulp of ice cold water.  The device I use keeps my water pretty cold for a little while but after several miles, once the sun mixes with the warmth of my hand, it becomes lukewarm.  I remember taking a swig and grimacing.  Because I wanted to have enough fluid to finish out the run I didn’t spit it out.  But the taste of lukewarm water was not satisfying to me.  It just wasn’t what I was looking for. Not effective in quenching my thirst.  Lukewarm Gatorade is even worse.  It gets foamy….yuck.

Just for the sake of this message I decided to look up the definition of lukewarm in the Holman Bible Dictionary.  This is what it said.

Lukewarm: Tepid: neither hot nor cold. 

Not much wordage but a massive amount of meaning.  Jesus used this to describe His church in Laodicea.  The group of believers there were complacent.  Did very little and mostly served themselves and their desires.  They just had lost their fire.  Isnt that what comomly happens to believers? Maybe not all but many, right?  It happened to me and I taught within the church I was attending.  I sang with the praise team, too.  Often we go through the motions of a church-going believer, but our actions seldom match what we say we believe.  Who we want to be.  So who are we? Chosen.  Loved.  Bought with the very precious blood of Christ.  Redeemed and atoned through His sacrificial death over 2000 years ago.  Rescued from what we deserve without Him.  Bought.  With blood.  Why does this not keep us excited once we ask Jesus to live in us?

This is a question we must ask ourselves and pray over.  Ask the one who loves you most what has stolen your joy.  Your fire.  He will reveal it to you.  For me it was a self-seeking desire to fulfill my needs.  That desire became stronger to me than the desire my Jesus wanted for me.  But He will call you to His side.  He will answer the heart’s cry for understanding when you choose to seek him.  He promises us this in the book of James.  “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”. (James 4:8 NKJV)

Laodicea wasn’t pleasing to the Master and He said He would spit them out of His mouth.  They were not effective for the Kingdom of God.  Desire to be hot.  Desire to show others your fire.  After all, we know what fire does…it heats things up.  Cleanses and purifies.  Makes ready to be used for something very good and tasty.  Ooooh…like a cup of hot pumpkin flavored coffee!!!