Noticing the Change {{POTF}}

I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because he considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry— even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 1:12-14, CSB).

I needed this truth: our Lord Jesus is the One strengthening us!

While I am a person who struggles with sin, I am absolutely saved by His grace alone. God has shown me His mercy. He has purposely loved me, despite the person I used to be. When my sin nature is in charge, I have the ability to crave being unkind. Yet, the Lord, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, is showing me how I can live a brand new way of life! He continues to deliver me from my old self on a daily, even hourly, basis.

My sin shows me my desperate need for our Lord Jesus who rose from the grave! In Scripture we are given the opportunity to see the difference between drawing nearer to Christ and living for ourselves. Galatians 5 is the number one Scripture that comes to mind on this subject. It shows us the absolute different in our lives when we focus on this relationship with God through our Savior.

For myself, I know our Lord Jesus is the One making the difference! He is doing the work that only He can. Routines, diets, and other things cannot ever change the “inside me.” This is something only our Lord Jesus can do.

The grace of our Lord has been abundantly poured out on me, along with faith and love found in Jesus Christ. The change I need in my personal life is something only Jesus can do. I need the Lord to take my life fully. I need to keep my words and attitude in check, because honestly it is easy to slip up. When life happens, it is easy to fall into the hard place of old ways. Take a look at this encouragement.

take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth (Eph. 4:22-24).”

Friends, let us keep daily putting on Christ.
Let us choose the things of God over this world.
We are given the Holy Spirit to help us in our journey.

How are you making sure you don’t “sober up” from the Holy Spirit? (Just that statement alone, takes a bit to digest – Reading our Bible’s, prayer, and Christian fellowship are all ways to get “drunk on the Spirit”.) Friend, keep drinking in the Lord through coming nearer. We need our Living Water, and drawing nearer is the best way to govern our lives. The Holy Spirit is our tool for every day living, so let us allow Him to strengthen our lives!

Seeking Him,

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The Pruning Effect in Trials

Last Thursday, I entered a new phase of a struggle. I wasn’t prepared for the long lasting aspect of it. It is easier to see the struggle in front of me and wish it away, than for me to take the time, pray, and realize that God may want to use the struggle to build up something within me through His Holy Spirit.

In Scripture, we are reminded that we need to be ‘pruned’. From my understanding – in gardening, you prune the bad stuff away – so that the good stuff can grow. It would be my assumption that “the pruning effect” is what allows us to grow more freely and faster. It not only produces what we can call “fruit” (the good stuff), but allows the fruit to have the room to increase in abundance and speed. When we have a trial in our lives, we often don’t think of these things. I know that, my focus hasn’t been on the outcome of such a struggle. My focus has been on the struggle, itself. Maybe, you find yourself there with me today.

Through this struggle, I have been learning how much I need to trust my Savior Jesus. It is easy to say one thing, but trials are the evaluation of such words. Do we mean it when we say, “Lord, you are all I need” or “Lord, I trust and hold onto you as my source of strength”?

Though our struggles differ from each other, this truth remains: “God is loyal forever and ever. He made the earth, and it still stands (Psalm 119:90).” While we continue to work out our salvation and learn to trust in Jesus as our Savior and Lord over every aspect of our lives, we need to realize God is loyal and does hold us by the hand. Our perspective of trials can go two ways: (A) we drag our feet and complain along the way (B) humbly receive every profitable thing we can glean from our time of trial.

While trials are the last thing any one of us desire to be present in our lives, we need to choose how we respond. We need to choose to respond, by using it as an opportunity to saturate our lives with Jesus Christ.

As I shared this past week I have endured a struggle, it has been a time where I am limited in what I can physically do. One aspect of my life that instantly clicked was running to God. In some way, I have been seeking His face through my days. We need to become a people who intensely pursue the Living God, who first pursued us, despite the circumstances of our lives.

‘Though thus deeply afflicted, though without comfort or peace, yet I do, I will, maintain allegiance to thee and thy law. The doctrine is that distress, poverty, sorrow, penury, and rags – the most abject circumstances of life – will not turn away a true child of God from obeying and serving him. True religion will abide all these tests.’ – Albert Barnes