Project Imitator Of Christ

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We all know and have seen the signs of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” but how many of us actually live as though we are His beloved? I know this has been a lifelong challenge both loving myself and truly loving others as Christ would, so often I have felt like a fraud. So I’m going to share with you a project that I’m taking on of self improvement. I will be looking for ways to show my love of God to God and others. I imagine that this will make a change in me.

I will be living out to the best of my ability the love of God and Ephesians 5:3-6, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person or – such a man is an idolater – has any inheritance ian the kingdom of God.”  These things of the world are accepted by the world but not by God. He is the only constant in life. Whatever He says today or yesterday remains because He is consistent. As I work on these goals, to love and be loving, and to rid myself of greed, impurity, obscenity, foolish talking and coarse joking  (for these things cannot remain in one who is loving God) I will be keeping you posted on my progress. 

Joy  – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

A Fellow Sojourner In Christ! 

 

 

Don’t Let the Enemy Rob You From Your Design!

God created each of us with a very specific design in mind. Part of my design is to encourage. When you are doing your God created design you will not only be walking in the path God has created for you but because of that your life will be fulfilled, at least that has been my experience.

We are all important in the body of Christ. Yes we are all to evangelize but the one with the gift of evangelism may do it differently than the one with the gift of service, yet all work together for the glory 0f God. (1 Cor. 12:4-11, 27-31) For that reason all are important. (1 Cor. 12:12-26)

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It is so easy to find ourselves comparing our gifts to one another. “She has such a beautiful voice. I’m sure God rejoices when He hears it.” “I wish I had a voice like so and so.””He’s so handy with his hands. I wish I was able to do that.” “He/she has such a gift for teaching I wish I could do that.” Or perhaps your voices speak more like; “I don’t know why they haven’t asked me to teach? I can do that.” “Why doesn’t anyone come to me when they need help? I can do that.” “Why does he/she always get the solos? I’d like one for a change.”

The first half of comparing comments are dangerous in the respect that it ignores the qualities that the person doing the comparing actually does have. Perhaps that person can’t sing but has the gift of hospitality or servitude or encouragement or wisdom or healing, aren’t those some special things to be happy about and to vocus on? More importantly aren’t they also very important to the body of Christ? How would the body survive if we were all sining? Or all teaching? Who would listen to us?

Perhaps the man wishing he was a handyman and could not do things with his hands, was made to help people with his mind. Suppose God made him to be a CPA, Lawyer, teacher, leader, CEO, or pastor. Giving him the gifts of knowledge, guidance, wisdom, leadership and making him a different kind of man of action than the one he envisioned.

This type of comparing voice can cause you to become ineffective in the areas of giftedness that God has given you to do. That is what happened to me. Let me take you back so maybe you can tell the worning signs in your own area.

I stopped reading other material that spured my thoughts and gave me inspiration to write about.  1. I stopped doing my regular rejumine, don’t underestimate this.  I began watching more and more TV to take up the time I wasn’t reading or writing.  2. Exchange the valuable for a cheap nock off.  I started disecting the shows I was watching their writing and thinking that I would never be as good a writer as these people are so why bother.  3. You start believing the lies of the enemy.  

That’s where I’ve been for over a year believing the lies of the enemy.

I now stand firm in faith believing that God has given me a voice and I’m going to use it and I’m not going to allow the enemy to silence it.

I encourage you that if God is touching your heart as you are reading this that there is something that He has called you to do no matter what it is, big or small – don’t let the enemy talk you out of it. Check the Bible to make sure it doesn’t go against it. Seek godly counsel, many if it is a major life change, God will confirm if it is truly from Him. Then if it is confirmed step out of the boat and live the life God designed you to live.

 

Joy A Fellow So Journer In Active Faith!

 

 

 

God Can’t Love You Any More Than He Does Right Now!

God can’t love you any more than He does right now! Isn’t that good news! There  is nothing you can do to earn His love. There is nothing you can do to destroy His love. God is love. It is that simple.

He gave the greatest gift of all and that was His one and only Son who died on the cross and rose from the dead for yours and mine sins. All we have to do is believe that or have faith in that and ask Christ to do for us what He has already done on the cross which is pay the price for our sins. We do that by asking His forgiveness for our sins. No one is perfect but Christ alone that’s why He could pay the price we could not pay. See the price for unrighteousness or imperfection is death and only someone perfect like the unblemished sacrifices of the Old Testament would do. So Christ the only perfect man because He was also the Son of God could pay the price.

When we accept that gift which came at so great a cost we become heirs with Christ. Sons and daughters of the King. The blood of Christ has made us righteous and there is nothing we can do short of turning our back on Christ and what He did on the cross for us that could ever cause God to turn away from us.

Nothing, zilch, zip, nada, zero. God loves you! He will continue to love you. There is nothing big enough you can do to earn it and other than grieving the Holy Spirit by deciding that what Jesus did on the cross and how he rose from the dead for you was nothing and means nothing to you, there is nothing standing in the way of that love. God wants that all should come to Him and experience His amazing love. But love isn’t love without a choice and that is what God gave mankind a choice to love Him back.

It’s our choice to accept His love. If He had it His way none would perish but we chose whether or not we want the gift of His love. To accept His gift of love will be the best choice you’ve ever made in your life.

But let me be honest and upfront with you there is an enemy who had a choice once too and he wants you to perish with him. You see Satan was an angel that wanted to be like God and for his sin he and a third of the angels that followed him were casted out of heaven. Because of this there is a spiritual battle going on for your soul and the battle doesn’t stop once you become a Christian if anything it becomes stronger because you see now you have become a threat to the enemy and he will do anything in his power to try and stop that. But greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. So although things will become difficult our God is greater and Satan knows that. Satan will never win because the battle goes to the Lord. So take heart when trials and temptations come they are merely tools with which to grow by. You have the Holy Spirit to guide you. Take heart!

2 Peter 1:5-7 Developing Christian Love

Adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence), and in [exercising} knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety), and in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love.

–  2 Peter 1:5-7  Amplified

If there is one thing that God has demonstrated in His creation is that He is a God of order.  The circle of life follows an orderly guideline.  You can count on the sun rising every day and setting every night.  You can count on the moon and it’s varying shapes throughout the year.  If you give your body the right amount and kind of nutrition and exercise for the most part you can count on it’s response, unless you have some disease counter acting your diligence.  And it would appear there is an order to the verses above.

Let’s take it step by step and see what the verses are actually saying to us.  First we are to be diligent (work hard) at delving into [the divine promises], to me that means digging into God’s Word.  Once we are faithful to that what are we to do?  Make every effort to take what we’ve learned stretch our faith (work it out – put it to the test, thus exercising it) thus developing virtue (excellence, resolution).  Faith that has been stretched and pulled put through the flames and come out the other side has resilience and is stronger than faith that hasn’t been tested.  We will never how solid our faith is without it being tested.  Testing brings growth.

The next step is as we grow in virtue (excellence, resolution) we gain knowledge.  This makes sense as we grow in the Word of God and our faith blossoms we grow in knowledge.

Now we are growing stronger in the Word of God and we have a faith with resolution backing it up and growing in the knowledge of God we have the tools to exercise self-control.  It’s through exercising knowledge that we develop self-control.  They build on one another.

When we take the time to work on self-control we will see as the fruits of our labor steadfastness.  We will be firm, unwavering, patient, and enduring in our affairs.

With that steadfastness being worked out in our lives we will see godliness add to the characteristics that we bare.  Which is a necessity to build on the other qualities we who love God want to very much to attain.

Once we have godliness we can exercise that to mature to brotherly affection.  This is an important step.  We must have affection (fondness, liking, devotion, endearment, caring, attachment, warmth, and friendship).  If we can not have these attributes for one another we have no hope of loving one another.

While exercising brotherly affection this is how we develop Christian love.  An unconditional love.  This is when our characteristics become most like Christ.  We love those around us as Christ did.  Life is a process and we are not God we are humans so there will be times when we will fail.  At that time we repent and move on.

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Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 28 God’s Unmerited Favor

Today I’m grateful for the unmerited favor the God has shown to me.  I’ve been living in a dark whole for many months and though I know that God was with me in that whole, today the light was visible.  It  was like I was lost in a dark forest, unable to find my way out and today finally the light shown thorough the branches of the trees.

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Where there was once despair there is now hope.  I’m back in God’s Word, after being away for more than four months, which has filled me with such joy, hope, inspiration, a kick in the butt (greatly needed), grace, and blessings beyond measure.   Today’s readings have not only reminded me of God’s grace, and hope but the truth that He is always there and so is His Word and the richness there of.

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During my times of depression when it was all I could do to get up watch TV, figure something out to eat and take care of my dog, there were times when I knew God was with me.  Most of the time I had to take that as a step of faith, that God was still there no matter how alone I felt, occasionally and these where rare but I’m oh so grateful for them, there were times when I could actually feel His embrace.  It was in those times that my faith was faltering that God was so kind as to shore up my faith and bless my wounded heart with the warmth of His embrace.  It is something I will never forget or take for granted.  Maybe it’s a sign of my own weakness that He came to me in such a physical way but weakness or not He knew what I needed at that very moment.  I was all alone and desperate and needed to feel loved.  I’m not saying that I’m anyone special because of that embrace, honestly more likely I’m someone less special.  I would love to say that my faith is so strong that I don’t doubt or cry out to God to show Himself, but sadly that is not the case.

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In this area and in many other areas God is molding me and making me into the Christian that He would have me be.  Some days I’m a more willing piece of clay than others and because of that I’m so grateful for His grace.  I would love to say that I meet my trials with courage, fortitude and a strong faith, but more often than not I fail, fall to the ground, stay there a while and then figure it out to call on God to help me out.

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This piece of clay is not only hard, so it needs a lot of water and pressure from the Potter, it also has far too dry parts that need to be removed completely in order to work the clay properly.  The more the Potter works with this clay the more evident the hard dried out pieces become and the painful process of removal must take place.  Thankfully even with these pieces the Potter has not given up on this piece of clay.

If you’re like me and have your off days as well as your on fire days.  Take hope in the fact that God’s grace (unmerited favor) is limitless.  His love is unconditional as long as you are His child.  So, if you haven’t accepted what Christ did for you on the cross, which was paying the penalty for all our sins and that penalty is death, ask forgiveness of your sins (anything short of perfection), accept what Christ did on the cross for you and ask Him to come into your life and help you life the kind of life He wants you to live.  It’s as easy as that to become a child of God.

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 24 Legalism & Grace

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Today I’m grateful for the grace that God shows me when it comes to my legalism.  This is something that God has been working on for many decades and I’m pleased to say that I’ve come quite a way, I’m also sad to say that I have a long way to go.

It saddens me when I read things like Galatians 5:2-4:

Mark my words!  I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.  3Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.  4You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Bare with me here, I see my legalism as a form of circumcision because it obligates me to the law and negates the grace of Christ and stand in the way of my relationship with Him.  For those reasons I take firm warning from Galatians 5:2-4.

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As much as I struggle with legalism it breaks my heart that I’ve allowed it to come between me and my Lord Jesus Christ.  I long for a relationship with Him and the last thing that I want to do is fall away from grace.  I want what Galatians 5:1 states:

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.

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I want the freedom that Christ offers and I don’t want to allow myself to be burdened again by the yoke of slavery, mainly my legalism.  So I ask God to continue working with me in this area of bondage.  That He make me keenly aware of when I’m struggling with it.  So that I might ask forgiveness and wisdom in how to get out of it.

I’m grateful that God is gracious with me in this area of sin.  I know He wants to see progress in this as much or more than I do.  He is so loving and patient with me when I come to a verse that seems one I can perch my legalistic hat on.  These days knowing His grace those verses cause me confusion, with questions like, “How can that be when God says?” or  “I don’t understand wouldn’t that mean?”  When I hear those questions I can usually assume I’m struggling with that ugly old friend legalism.  Being that I want to rid myself of that friend and things still get caught in my head, I seek wise counsel and that helps to quench the old demon.

When I’m in the midst of legalism my relationship with Christ suffers but if I ask the Holy Spirit to help me find the truth to find grace my relationship with Christ is restored.

God is gracious with us as long as we are earnestly seeking His will.  He is patient and long suffering for our sake.  What an awesome God we serve.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 22

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Today I’m grateful for my Valentines.  I was single for 22 years and during that time I only had one Valentine, my Lord and Savior.  I figured that since I was the bride of Christ I would conduct myself as such and think of myself as married to Him.  I even wear a ring on my wedding ring finger reminding me of this position.

So when Valentines Day would come around I would be content most of the time with my Holy Valentine.  The times that I felt lonely and wishing for a Valentine with flesh and blood I would pray that if it was God’s will that He would bring one into my life and if it was not that He would fulfill these feelings I was having.

Now I still have my Holy Valentine and God has seen fit to bless me with a flesh and blood Valentine as well.  I feel so blessed to have both.

My human Valentine was so good to me and I’m so grateful to have him.  He sent me a beautiful bouquet and wonderful card.  I was sick Valentines day but he was so patient and kind with me, especially since I brought the sickness on myself.  I’m diabetic and had consumed so much sugar the day before that I had sugar poisoning.  Not smart and not something this addict is going to do again I pray that I’ve learned my lesson once and for all.  Anyway that’s another story.

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The next day I was feeling better and we took a lovely trip down the Pacific Coast Highway from Huntington Beach to Dana Point and came back home through the Majestic and Silverado canyons.  This day trip was beautiful and fun just talking and watching the third love of our lives Tessa my dog looking and sniffing and all the new things she was experiencing.  She was exhausted once we got her home.

Should you have felt alone this past Valentines Day my heart goes out to you.  I know all too well how that feels.  But may I encourage you to think of yourself as having a Holy Valentine and falling in love with that Valentine until He sees fit to give you an earthly Valentine?  Trust me it’ll be the best love affair of your life.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart