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! 

 

 

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 13

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“Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  –  John 14:27

As one that struggles with General Anxiety Disorder, I’m ever so grateful for the peace that Jesus left as an inheritance for me.

“The word bequeath in this verse is a term used in the execution of wills.  In preparation for death, people usually bequeath their possessions, especially those things of value, as a blessing to those they love who are left behind.

Jesus knew He was about to pass from this world and He wanted to leave us something.  He could have left any number of good things, like His power and His name, and He did.  But He also left us His peace.

You don’t leave junk for people you love – you leave them the best you have, Jesus had a special kind of peace that surpassed anything mankind had ever known.  He knew it was one of the most precious things He could give.

From: “Ending Your Day Right: Devotions for Every Evening of the Year”   –  Day 12/3  by Joyce Meyer

Knowing that peace is one of the greatest joys of being a Christian.

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The peace you have when you’ve prayed over a matter, listened to God or just waited for peace over a matter so that you know what your doing is in God’s will.

The time you thought about buying something and didn’t have peace and decided not to make the purchase and the peace that came with that decision.

Or the tug on your heart to visit a friend or call a friend and the peace you felt and possibly even joy after following your heart, when you learned that you were just what that friend needed at that time.

When praying over something that hasn’t come to pass but you receive a peace about it.  What a blessed gift from God.

All of these and I’m sure you can think of even more ways you’ve felt the peace that only Jesus can give.

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But may I venture to say that being in His will, obedient to Him is the only way you can receive it.  Outside of Him this kind of supernatural peace does not exist. So we must be rooted in the vine to attain it.

I’ve known anxiety most of my life but I’ve also experienced the peace that only comes from Jesus.  That peace is a blessing that I’m eternally grateful for.

All you have to do is ask Him for that peace but if He tells you to do something you better do it, because with obedience comes peace.

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

God Trusts You, Do You Trust God?

God trusts you, do you trust God?

I’ve been a Christian for a long time and there have been times that have felt like a dry spell, times of refreshment, desert times, and honeymoon times, but through it all God has taught me one constant, that no matter how it feels He is always there and all I need to do is trust Him through whatever time I’m going through.  Just as Mother Teresa has said there are times when, “I just wish He didn’t trust me so much!”  But none the less God is faithful and He knows what is best despite our lack of faith and trust.

He will pray to God, and God will delight in him.  That man will behold His face with a shout of joy.  –  Job 33:26

Now if ever there was a man who was familiar with difficulties it was Job but look at the promise God gives him for his faithfulness to God.  God delights in our prayers, there is an awesome thought.  That alone should get me on my knees more often.  And if that weren’t enough we will behold His face one day the later seems to me like a well duh moment, of course we’ll shout for joy!  What we’ve been imagining for all so long we will no longer have to imagine, we will actually be in the presence of our God. Hurrah! Hallelujah! And Amen!!

But on the way to getting to that place God calls us to grow in Christ.  To become more and more like Him each day.

My journey has me on the discovery of past to overcome and move on in the here and now.  I praise God that things that where once just suspicions are now actual memories and I no longer doubt myself but am doing the work I need to do to move on from here.  It isn’t always fun, work rarely is, but it is necessary and freeing.   For that I am so grateful to God.  I’m making progress that I’ve never been able to make before and a heavy weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

You have begun to live a new life, in which you are being made new ad are becoming like the One who made you.  –  Colossians 3:10

As you go through the journey that God has in store for you to bring you to the perfect place that He has in mind for you, may I give you some advise to surrender to the Masters hands?  He knows the pattern of the cloth that He is weaving you into.  While you see the underside with all it’s dark threads of depression or deep red threads of pain, there are other threads you are less aware of that when it is finished in the Master Weaver’s hands will make a cloth so beautiful as you could never imagine.  Trust the Master and allow Him entrance into all the areas of your life.

“For I know the plans that I have for you, ” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”  –  Jeremiah 29:11

You see God promises that His plans are for our good.  So you can trust Him.

I have been through the dry spells and the desert times when you feel like you are all alone in what you are going through.  I have cried out to God, “Where are You?” “Don’t You see me?” “Don’t You care?” You want to know a secret? I have even cried out, “I don’t want to die right now cause I don’t want to  see You!  I hate You!  How could you let them institutionalize me!  He won!  If You came down here in the form of a man I would beat You!”  I might have well cried it out it was what was on my heart at the time and God already knew it.  I’m sure the nurses in the psych ward thought I was in the right place.  I misunderstood and thought I’d been institutionalized when it was just another in many psych ward visits.  You see my ex had gotten an attorney to see if he and my mother-in-law could institutionalize me, thus the rant when I thought I was.  But God as always was faithful and saw me through. Another lesson in trust.

He will always be there for me, I know that now.  My moments of doubt still come but they last far shorter than they used to instead of weeks or months they may last days or moments on a good day.  Then I remember all my Father has brought me through and I laugh to myself that I even questioned for a second that He wouldn’t have this covered too.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Are We Living As Christ Would Have Us?

There have been a lot of things that have been done in the name of Christ, some good and some not so good.  There have been majestic Cathedrals built by artisans over ages to honor Him.  There have been celebrities giving all the glory to Jesus Christ for their success.  Yet there have also been horrific things done in His name as well.  The crusades is one of the darkest time in the history of Christendom.  War was waged all because those calling themselves Christians thought that those who were not Christians should die.  This is not what the love of Christ is all about.

I know that the crusades may seem like a rather harsh example of not doing or rather walking the walk that God would have us walk, but in God’s eyes sin is sin.  Whether we are killing people in Christ’s name or killing His image in their sight, it is all the same to God.

Let me explain what I mean by killing His image.  Every time we do something that is contrary to following Christ those watching us we are actually destroying His image, because we are representatives of Him.

I know that for me there have been times when I have not been a good representative of Christ.  Much to my dismay I have given cause for others not to have a desire to come to Christ, which is our commission.

I have learned to be more responsible about how I act and what I say and how I say it.  Sometimes silence is the best and just allow the world to see your walk.

Most importantly we need to love people.  These are not only the people in the church (because unity is important) but the people outside of the church.  Those who don’t know Christ as their Savior need to see His love and the only way they can do that is for them to see that through you and me.

This is how Christ wants us to live, loving Him with all our heart and soul and mind and then to others as you love yourself.  It seems simply enough but to put it into action on a daily basis is impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

The Gift of Gratitude – A Short Story Part 5

Gab appeared in the hallway and stayed in the shadows where he observed as, Jack went on to first tell her how he had managed to not only loose the house in the fire but because of his ill temper as he put it he had managed to loose the business as well. How he had met Gab that night the last night of the business and all that they had done together.

Janet’s response surprised Jack. She seemed pleased that they had shared the food and his encounter with the homeless rather than being furious about loosing their livelihood. He went on to tell of Esther how peculiar she seemed in the light of that place and how her story had got him thinking. “Do you think that this Christ could truly do what this Esther woman claims He did for her?” he asked Janet. “What do you think?” Jack replied, “Janet if you could just see how Esther truly had nothing, not even most of her teeth anymore but the joy that she had seemed genuine enough. I can hardly believe that I’m finding myself envying a woman that has nothing but this Savior she speaks so lovingly about. I also need to tell you that I realize that I’ve been perfectly awful to you and Julie. I don’t understand how you could stand living with me. It’s like my eyes have been opened up to the man I’ve been and I can’t say that I like him very much, to be honest I very ashamed of the husband and father that I’ve been to you and Julie. I wouldn’t blame either one of you if you wouldn’t want to have anything to do with me. I felt that way coming here. I was hoping you would be asleep and I could just be near you with my thoughts. I was too ashamed to hope that you would want any part of me. I was bad enough when our life was perfect but since the fire I’ve avoided you and Julie when you both needed me the most.” At this Jack stopped he heard something he wasn’t sure his ears were serving him well, it sounded like tears and laughter. This is definitely not the response that he was expecting. Jack questioned, “Are you crying or laughing at me?” Janet softly responded, “Oh, Jack, don’t you know that this is what Julie and I have been longing for, even before the fire? The tears are tears of joy and relief that our life together might be all that I’ve been hoping and praying for, please forgive the laughter but it just hits me as funny that now that you’re becoming the man I’ve always loved, you think that now I would turn my back on you. Heaven’s no! God is finally granting the desires of my heart.” Jack was shocked, “How could I be married to you for so many years and not know that you were one of them, a Christian? You weren’t when we met and married were you?”Janet lovingly responded, “No, Jack, I did not deceive you when we were dating and got married into thinking you were marrying something other than what I was.

Not long after our marriage I got lonely. You were so distant and busy with the business. It seemed the only time you needed or wanted me was to parade me around and use me as a show piece at various events other than that you were content to have me stay at home and be a dutiful wife. You gave me everything but what I longed for most, you. Then a neighbor invited me to some teas at her church and at one of them I finally realized the emptiness in my heart could never be filled by anyone but God. So I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. It wasn’t that I was trying to keep it from you; I desperately wanted to share it with you. The problem being we never really talked and you were always so busy that this has been our first real conversation since my conversion decades ago. I asked my Christian sisters how best to approach you with my faith. They suggested that I do as the Bible says for wives to be submissive to their husbands and to always be loving to you and that through my actions not my words an opportunity to speak might present itself. Since the restaurant kept you so busy it was easy to fellowship at church with you never even knowing I wasn’t home because you were always at work. Then when Julie was born my sisters in Christ helped me to train her up in the Lord. At every meal she prays that her daddy might love her like her Heavenly Father. She will be so pleased to know that your heart has changed.