Christian Living

In Times Like These

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
2 Timothy 3:1

The Apostle Paul in his second letter to the young Pastor Timothy, defined the kind of things that would be clearly visible to God’s people as the last days approached before Jesus returns to claim His bride; the Church. Paul went on to say in 2 Timothy 3:2-5; For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

It is sad that you do not have to look very hard to see these characteristics portrayed in the lives of many people around us. A few minutes on Facebook or CNN and we could check these items off of the list one by one. Some people who possess such sinful characteristics reside in our own neighborhood or even our homes. Seeing these kinds of things happening around us more and more everyday tends to discourage many of God’s children. But we as Christians must never forget that this sinful, cursed world will continue to get worse until Jesus returns. So what are followers of Jesus Christ to do and how are we to live in such an environment as the one Paul mentioned would be evident in these last days?

First, it is important that we keep a Godly perspective. Jesus said in John16:33; “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Followers of Jesus Christ should be daily portraits of “Good Cheer” because of what Christ has completed for us. However, many of God’s children spend countless hours each day continually complaining about the things we see and hear in the world around us. We have allowed such disgust to be our primary conversation starter with people that we converse with daily or even someone with whom we have just met. It is easy to talk about such dreadful things, because we know that most everyone around us will be in agreement with us, therefore, the need to defend our Christian viewpoint and values becomes non-existent. It is sad to think that some Christians have become one of satan’s greatest tools because they help to spread his negative message and deliver discontent by the words that they often speak. One of the ways that Christians can improve the world around them and to snuff out satan’s dreadful tactics is to stop complaining about the things going on in a world that is not ours and spend that time praising God for a Heavenly Kingdom that is. We need to continually let the world know that we have a Deliverer, a Hope, and an ever present Help in our time of need and that His name is JESUS!! Let’s spend more time talking about Him, rather than the negative things that He warned us would come.

Second, we need to heed Paul’s advice that we should turn away from such people. Paul is not saying that we should despise them or even ridicule them, after all Jesus encouraged us to: love our enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Matthew 5:44). But rather what Paul is instructing us to do, is not to fellowship with such people so that our actions and our character do not become like theirs. If we are not careful, we will become so disgusted and discouraged by the actions of the world around us that we will begin to lose heart and allow tolerance of these wicked things to infiltrate our lives and homes thereby infecting the next generation with the same negative principles that we so openly despise now. For instance, how often do your children or coworkers hear you complain about gas prices rather than thanking God for the vehicle He gave you and that your need will always be supplied? How often do we criticize the leaders of our country rather than encouraging everyone to pray for them as instructed to in 1 Timothy 2:1-2? What motivates the lost around us to seek a relationship with Jesus if we as God’s children are just as disgusted and hopeless as the rest of the world around us?

Remember; satan is a manipulator. Every time a Christian complains about the world around them, what it really says to others around us is that we’re afraid and we have no hope. Keep your eyes, thoughts and words on Jesus and lets show the world that we are not shaken, sidetracked, or scared but rather we are thankful that this world is not our home and that we are excited about what’s to come.  – God Bless

-Darren McClerren

 

A Prayer of Repentance

God, I come to you in Jesus’ name. I confess that I have sinned against You and have come short of Your standards. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus to pay the price for my sins. Jesus thank You for dying on the cross for me. I repent of my sins and ask You to be the Lord of my life. I give you my life today and I receive God’s free gift of eternal life. Thank You Lord for saving me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Christmas All Year

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

It is no secret that Christmas time brings tends to bring the best out of many people. It appears that people seem to be more courteous and generous, as well as, more joyful and well….merry. Often times this burst of excitement and kindness is believed to be brought about by what many label as “The Christmas Spirit.” However, the Spirit of this holiday season was born in Bethlehem and laid in a manger many years ago and His desire was and still is that His magnificent Holy Spirit be seen by people everywhere, any time, and in any situation whether good or bad.

For many people, Christmas is the time of year that in spite of the stress and anxiety of making preparations, fighting crowds to purchase gifts, and hanging extravagant decorations, they do find time to put into practice the fruit of the Holy Spirit within them during this special time of year. However, the generosity and kindness that seems to surface at Christmas time in the lives of so many, is to be seen and enjoyed by everyone around us all year long.  What is it about Christmas time that enables us to act in a manner that some may never see in us throughout the year? The answer is; we can’t deny that Jesus is the reason for the season and that focus on Him stirs our convictions to live out what we have been taught in the scriptures about who Jesus is and how He desires for us to live and walk as He does!! This is why satan works tirelessly throughout the year to keep our focus off of Christ so that the fruit of the Holy Spirit will not be produced in us and through us like it tends to be at Christmas time.

You see, it is because of the focus being on Jesus this time of year that tends to bring out the best in people, which is why satan has a difficult time with this holiday season and therefore, is constantly trying to work through the lives of his followers to get it removed and abolished from existence. But the great news is that no matter how hard the enemy and his children work to remove Christ from Christmas, IT CAN”T BE DONE!!! Furthermore, the enemy has no power to keep us from living out the generosity, compassion, and kindness all year long, because the Holy Spirit is forever within those who have been born-again and He gives us the ability to be “CHRISTmas” like, all year round. So may we all be encouraged to make the necessary preparations in our lives, that will allow the fruit of the Holy Spirit to be a open gift to everyone we encounter all year long, rather than it being just a gift to be opened and enjoyed at Christmas time!!!

Remember; as magnificent as the birth of Jesus Christ was, it would have meant nothing without the cross and what He accomplished there!! Because of what Jesus accomplished at the cross, we all have the ability to give God the Father the greatest gift of all, and that is; by receiving the greatest Gift that He could give; His Son and ALL that He is. Christians should not seem “different” at Christmas time in their words and actions, but rather just more excited and thankful as we gather to attend the greatest birthday party of all!!!  – God Bless

-Darren McClerren

 

A Prayer of Repentance

God, I come to you in Jesus’ name. I confess that I have sinned against You and have come short of Your standards. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus to pay the price for my sins. Jesus thank You for dying on the cross for me. I repent of my sins and ask You to be the Lord of my life. I give you my life today and I receive God’s free gift of eternal life. Thank You Lord for saving me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

A Good Spring Cleaning

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
-Psalm 139:23-24-

Well, praise God, spring is upon us once again and many people have already began their, once a year, spring cleaning ritual. When this happens around our house, it is a long tedious event where everything is getting moved, hauled out, wiped down, and made to shine like new!! But as the talk of the 2015 Spring Cleaning Event was being thoroughly planned, it got me thinking about another spring cleaning event that may need to take place, and that is a thorough cleaning in our heart.

This passage of scripture as spoken by King David to God is a passage that is often quoted by many seeking to gain a deeper relationship with Christ; however, it is often spoken with very little emphasis or meditation on the primary request that is being made to God; and that is to be corrected and cleansed by God so that we can be certain that every aspect of our life is in accordance to His will.

Correction can be one of the hardest things that we endure during this walk of life here on earth. All of us can recall times in our past, especially during our childhood, where correction was given to guide us and protect us from circumstances that could have caused us great pain. When we invite God to search us and reveal to us any items out of order or anything in need of a good cleaning, it can often be a very uncomfortable experience. However, we must never forget that the basis of God’s correction is; love. God loves us to much to allow the filthy things of this world to pollute our words, thoughts, and actions, because when it does, it pulls us farther away from Him and that troubles the heart of the one who loves us most.

So, when you ask God to search you and reveal anything that may be out of order, you must prepare yourself for two more steps that will be required to complete this request. First, you must be willing to acknowledge those things God allows to be revealed in you that is in need of correction. Second, you must be willing to correct it!!

Notice that David invited God to “Try Me”. What David asked; was for God to allow circumstances to come into his life that would cause any anxieties or worries to surface so that they could be dealt with and corrected. David also asks for God to “See” if there was any wickedness in him and also to “Lead” him in the way everlasting. David wanted nothing more than for God to “Know” his heart and to be thoroughly cleaned from the inside out, so that he was in a position to receive God’s best and also so that he had no unchecked areas of sin that could give the enemy an open door to come in and steal, kill, and destroy.

So if you’re going through a hardship or unforeseen circumstance right now, take a moment to praise God that not only will He bring you through it, but that through it He can show you areas of your life, whether it be your words, actions, thoughts or emotions that need to be cleaned up so that you please Him and receive His fullness in EVERY area of your life. Don’t let this be a once a year event with the Father, but rather a daily event. Stay close to God so that the filth of this world can be easily wiped away when it seeks to settle on you. Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ that we are celebrating this Easter weekend, we know that Jesus is ready with all the resources needed to come in and clean you up. So invite Him into your situation and let the righteous cleaning begin!! God Bless and Happy Easter.

A Prayer for Cleansing

Father, I invite You today to truly know my heart and help me to deal with the areas of my life that need correction. I desire to be free from any and all bondage in my life that is holding me back from receiving Your best!! I thank you for providing the blood of Jesus to wash me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I pray this In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

How Many Can You Feed?

But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” -Matthew 14:16

The feeding of the five thousand (which was probably closer to fifteen or twenty thousand if you include women and children), is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. This was only one of many occasions that Jesus took a small portion of something, blessed it, and multiplied it for the fulfillment of those around Him. While this passage was actually physical food that nourished bodies and soothed hunger, it also speaks to the ability of God to take a small portion of faith and our willingness to be obedient and manifest it into such Spiritual increase that it will uplift spirits and calm the troubled soul of those around us.

You may be wondering if Jesus could still take five loaves and two fish and feed thousands with twelve baskets left over right here in 2015. The answer is undoubtedly; YES!!! We know this because Hebrews 13:8 tells us that; “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Therefore, we can be certain that the character and compassion of Jesus has not changed, therefore, His willingness to feed the hungry is still very present today and His ability to do so is still very much available to us. Then you might ask; well, why are there so many starving people, physically and spiritually, all over the world? The Bible answers that as well in Matthew 13:58. It says: “(Jesus) did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” We must never forget that little can be made much when we present it to the Lord and His work. If you truly believe that, then you will be willing to give whatever the Holy Spirit asks of you whether it is a large or small amount in your eyes.

This principle of letting God make our little contribution into a great blessing for others, does not only apply to physical things such as food or money, but to spiritual things as well. One of Satan’s greatest ways of hindering God’s plans and desires around the world is by manipulating us into believing that we must be able to fully comprehend how what we are ask to contribute could possibly meet a need so large. The problem with this kind of thinking is that it removes God and all His abilities from the equation, thereby giving way to doubt that will then emphatically steal our desire to give anything.

Whether you realize it or not, after Jesus blessed the five loaves and two fish, the miracle was administered by the hands of the disciples!! You see, when the Holy Spirit leads you to give something to someone or some ministry, even though you may think it is not much, what is happening is that God is desiring to take what little you have; bless it, multiply it and use it to meet a great need in someone else’s’ life, however, God intends for it to be distributed through YOU!! Therefore, if you refuse to distribute the blessing because you think it is insignificant, then others will starve around you because, while God can get His blessing to you, He can’t seem to get His blessing through you.

So the next time you feel that you need to send someone a text that simply says; “Thinking of you”; send it!! The next time you feel that you need to send a ministry five dollars; send it!!! The next time you feel the desire to stop and send up prayers for someone; send it!!! Don’t’ worry about trying to understand how God will take such a small contribution and multiply it into great things!! Just believe that He can, He will, and He is, and it shall be done!! So how many can you feed today from your hand? Answer; as many as God wants you to. All you have to do is be obedient, faithful, and willing to give. God Bless.

A Prayer to Multiply
Father, forgive me for the times that I have refused to give because I felt that it was to insignificant to make any kind of impact. Holy Spirit I ask you to help me remember that God can only multiply what I am willing to give Him. So Father, today I choose to stop questioning and trying to understand what you ask me to give and why. But rather I choose to give it immediately so that it can be blessed and multiplied to meet the need of another, whether physical or spiritual. I pray this In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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