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Truth ~ Words Worth Remembering Week #9

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
                                                                                           John 8:32

Truth.

It can be defined:

  • sincerity in action, character, and utterance
  • the state of being the case : fact (2) : the body of real things, events, and facts
  • a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true <truths of thermodynamics>

And it can be debated.

In this passage Jesus says we will know the truth and it will set us free. So what is He talking about?

How do we know the truth?

Jesus was with His disciples and other Jewish leaders (who wanted to kill Him) as He was speaking. Just before the above statement Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” (vs. 31) But the Jewish leaders debated Jesus’ statement saying they had never been slaves to anyone. This is a sentiment we might share.

So how can we be set “free” if we have never been slaves?

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (v 34-36)

As followers of Christ our truth comes from God’s Word and is interpreted for us by His Holy Spirit. The Spirit convicts us of sin and compels us to confess and be forgiven. The more we know God’s Word the better we are able to listen and follow the truth.

truth next exit

The challenge comes when we choose to create our own truth because we don’t like what God’s Word tells us or we ‘adjust’ His truth to make it easier for us to accept and follow, perhaps to make it easier to get along with others who don’t believe God Word is the truth.

But watered down truth is no truth at all.

The consequences of watering down the truth are a less intimate walk with God and a slippery slope towards believing the lies of the evil one. It can happen slowly so that we don’t even realize what is happening. That’s part of the plan.

If you are a follower of Christ I encourage you to take some time today to consider whether you are consistently following the truth of the Bible or are watering it down so that you ‘fit in’ with those around you. It is difficult to be challenged and chastised by those who don’t think as you do. Jesus was killed for following God’s truth. But He did it so that we could be set free.

I’m so thankful for God’s truth. Even when it’s difficult!

blessings and peace to you today!
Paula

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Prayer Power

“Prayer does not equip us for greater works. Prayer is the greater work.”    
~ Oswald Chambers

This quote met me one morning as I sat down for my time with God. And it hit me square between the eyes.

I am a fixer by nature and like to figure things out. Often to my detriment I try and try to solve something until I’m out of ideas and frustrated then I ask someone to help me. Usually I find that if I had asked for help before I started things would’ve gone much more smoothly.

Sadly going to God is too often the same. I’m sorry to say that many times I  choose prayer as a last resort. If I can’t find a solution for something on my own I talk to God about it.

This is certainly a backwards way of thinking and something I work on daily.

God has given us an incredibly powerful tool in prayer. He promises that when we come to Him our prayers will be heard and answered. Our prayers can bring us close to God, encourage and inspire us, challenge us, and show us miracles.

I’m not an expert on prayer, but through reading and my own experiences I have found a few things I’d like to share with you.

prayer hands

1. While spending a concentrated block of time with God in prayer, thanking, seeking and listening to Him is important God doesn’t intend for us to pray only when we can get to our quiet place with a chunk of time.

Ephesians 6:18 charges us:
 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

There isn’t anywhere that you can’t pray. When someone comes to mind, breathe a prayer for them. When you see something beautiful, say “thanks” to God (yes, that’s a prayer if you’re talking to Him!) These prayers may give a friend just the encouragement they need at a difficult moment and keep you in constant contact with God, developing a closer relationship with Him.

2. Do you know how powerful your prayers are? If you are a child of God and the Holy Spirit lives in you the power of God also resides in you!

Mark 11:24 encourages us:
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Sometimes we hold other Christians in high regard because of their knowledge or gift of speaking and believe that God hears them better than us. We want someone ‘important’ to pray so that God will hear and answer.

Guess what? You are just as important in God’s eyes as any other person He created. Your prayers are POWERFUL! Believe that and you will see God bless your efforts.

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
James 5:16b

3. The habit of prayer is much more important than the words we say or how we say it.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12

I am learning to change my thinking about prayer. Instead of saying, “I can’t do anything to help, so I will pray” I am learning to pray first. Many times God will then show me if there is something more He wants me to do.

I’m still working on understanding the full power of prayer. I’m thinking it may take my lifetime — at least!

What have you learned about the power of prayer?

blessings and peace to you today!
Paula

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Content ~ Words Worth Remembering Week #8

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,
whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Philippians 4:12

 

The world around us does not encourage contentedness. We are encouraged to want more and more and to have what we want when we want it. Years ago a fast food chain used the slogan “have it your way”. Now there is a commercial that declares “breakfast just the way I say”.  My dad had a saying, “as a rule man’s a fool, when it’s hot he wants it cool. When it’s cool he wants it hot; always wanting what is not.”

This is so true. When it’s rainy we wish the sun was shining but too much sun makes us long for the cool rains to water our dry plants & flowers. Like watching fireworks in the rain, being content with what we are given is well outside the realm of our society. Honestly, it is difficult for me too.

Watching fireworks

This week’s verse was written by Paul from a prison cell. What an incredible relationship he must have had with the Lord to be able to be content even as a prisoner! Paul found a way to let the Lord work in and through him even when he was trapped in a prison where he had no control of his outside circumstances. But Paul did not allow his circumstances or the people around him to ‘get him down’ so to speak. There is no record that Paul campaigned to get out of prison (although I imagine he may have talked to God about this) but instead he did what he could and sought the Lord for how he could reach others in the midst of his circumstances.

I spent years feeling like a prisoner as a single adult without an earthly spouse with whom to share the fears, desires, joys and accomplishments of my life.   As I sought God in the midst of my unwanted circumstances He reminded me that being single is not a sentence. In fact, being married to a spouse apart from God’s will for our lives would be a life-long sentence brought on by our own selfishness and stubbornness. God has promised He will be enough, even in the darkness and fear. While I still desire an earthly mate I realize that marriage was never intended to take the place of God’s relationship with us and it isn’t something God owes us just because we think we want it.

Do you have times when you feel like a prisoner, trapped in your life and circumstances?

When we feel this way God wants us to remember what it means to be content.

Being content is to be satisfied, comfortable, even pleased with the circumstances we find ourselves in.

It is not pleasing to God when we whine about what we don’t have, or what we believe we need to make life complete.

It does not mean that God doesn’t want us to pray about getting out of unwanted circumstances, yet at the same time we should not dwell on a future desire but learn to live for Him where we are at.

After all, who are we to tell the God of all creation that we know better than He does what is best for our lives?

God is so gracious to be patient with us when we slip into those times of egotism and self-pity. Let us look with anticipation toward the day when we can stand with Paul and truly be content, knowing that we too can do all things through the strength of our incredible God.

Wishing you blessings and peace…and contentedness in your life today.
Paula