ARE YOU A FRIEND OF GOD?

“What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him.”

‭‭James‬ ‭4:1-5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The scripture above tells us that friendship with the world and it’s systems is enmity with God,. The question before each of us then today is Are you a friend of God? Are you willing to do all that is needed to maintain friendship with God?

Are you allowing God to change your world – through you? Are you a city changer?

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REACH FOR YOUR DREAMS

“Too many people are not living their dreams because they are living their fears.”

From The Confident Woman Devotional by Joyce Meyers

This word hit my so strongly this morning. I realized that all I do is to please and make everyone around me happy and comfortable. I invest so much of myself to satisfy others and in the process lose sight on me. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with doing things for the benefit of others, in fact so much joy is derived from doing just that. Jesus our example tells us to bear each other’s burdens, to live at peace with All as much as lies within us. My point this morning is that in doing that we should not lose sight of who we are, we should not forget to be the men/women God created us to be, we should not please men and displease God!

In other words, instead of doing things out of our heart, we do them because we are afraid of what will happen if we don’t. “Someone will get angry! I will get left out! People will talk about me!” It is time that we started being the person we really want to be. The person God created us to be! The World Changers! The Overcomers! The Winners! It is time to reach for your dreams.

MORE OF JESUS LESS OF ME

Culled from 30 devotions for youth leaders

Two full tables of guests never looked at me.

I stood behind the lectern and addressed an audience in Frederick, Maryland – only to discover that a significant number of those in attendance paid no attention to me. Their eyes were locked on Jennifer.

Jennifer was a competent and enthusiastic interpreter. Her language? Sign language.

Youth for Christ in Central Maryland leads a vibrant, impactful ministry at the Maryland Deaf School, and many of our advocates, friends and supporters attended the annual fundraising banquet to show their support.

My words found a home in Jennifer’s hands, whose job it was to convert my verbalization into motion. Even as I referenced members of the deaf contingent, their eyes never looked my way—they remained fixed and focused—on Jennifer.

It unnerved me at first, but over the course of 30 minutes I found it to be beautiful and appropriate. My text was John 14:6: Jesus said to him (Thomas), “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The experience became a lesson, not for the audience, but for me. My message, rightly and humbly communicated, should push the gaze of those I lead, of those I serve, of those I communicate with, off of me.

Is it possible that even as I communicate the message of Jesus, I am “pleased” that the eyes of the crowd are on me? This reality convicts me, as it rightly should.

The words of John 14:6 reverberated through Jennifer’s hands. Her silent competence pounded the reality of my calling deep into my soul.

My effectiveness should be measured by where the eyes of those who follow me gaze. At me or at Jesus? Is it my compelling delivery that draws them or the unconstrained message of the Gospel? Would I be content if the people in the room never saw me?

I was in the classroom, even as I stood at the front of the room. Through the silence – I heard my Master. Only Jesus. Always Jesus. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus.

More of Jesus – and yes, less of me.

WITH RECKLESS ABANDON

From 30 devotions for youth leaders devotional

As Jesus peers across the Temple, He looks deeply into the souls of the congregants. He wasn’t auditing their actions. Instead, He was searching their hearts and assessing their motivations.

The way He commends the widow causes me to question my own patterns of living and giving. When Jesus affirms her for giving “out of her poverty,” it convicts me to the core. It reveals how little I understand the love of Christ, that I would underestimate His provision and care for me. Life has taught me:

To risk only from a place of safety.

To love only from a place of security.

To defend only from a place of certainty.

To explore only from a place of predictability.

To dream only from a place of realism.

To give only from a place of plenty.

This is not Jesus’ plan. He calls us to live with the abandon of souls set free. In spite of our desperation and brokenness, he asks us to live generously.

We love because He first loved us.

We give because He emptied the treasury of heaven for us.

We risk because our safety is found in Christ alone.

We forgive because He forgave.

We defend the defenseless because He wielded His sword for them.

We abandon bias and prejudice because His assessment of the soul exceeds our ability.

We reconcile because He alone is judge.

We live “out of our poverty” because it is there that we can plumb the depth of our worth in Him.

It is no sacrifice to give from a full account. But when Jesus looks across the temple, He sees beyond our actions to assess our motivation and sacrifice. Jesus, our model and master, knows the pain of our sacrifice, the depth of the well from which our gifts are given.

When we give out of our poverty we tap into the limitless love of Jesus. Live from a place of confidence in Christ, not from the “safety” of self­ reliance.

WORTHLESS WORSHIP

““Isn’t it true that a son honors his father and a worker his master? So if I’m your Father, where’s the honor? If I’m your Master, where’s the respect?” GOD -of-the-Angel-Armies is calling you on the carpet: “You priests despise me! “You say, ‘Not so! How do we despise you?’ “By your shoddy, sloppy, defiling worship. “You ask, ‘What do you mean, “defiling”? What’s defiling about it?’ “When you say, ‘The altar of GOD is not important anymore; worship of GOD is no longer a priority,’ that’s defiling. And when you offer worthless animals for sacrifices in worship, animals that you’re trying to get rid of—blind and sick and crippled animals—isn’t that defiling? Try a trick like that with your banker or your senator—how far do you think it will get you?” GOD -of-the-Angel-Armies asks you.

“Get on your knees and pray that I will be gracious to you. You priests have gotten everyone in trouble. With this kind of conduct, do you think I’ll pay attention to you?” GOD -of-the-Angel-Armies asks you. “Why doesn’t one of you just shut the Temple doors and lock them? Then none of you can get in and play at religion with this silly, empty-headed worship. I am not pleased. The GOD -of-the-Angel-Armies is not pleased. And I don’t want any more of this so-called worship! “I am honored all over the world. And there are people who know how to worship me all over the world, who honor me by bringing their best to me. They’re saying it everywhere: ‘God is greater, this GOD -of-the-Angel-Armies.’ “All except you. Instead of honoring me, you profane me. You profane me when you say, ‘Worship is not important, and what we bring to worship is of no account,’ and when you say, ‘I’m bored—this doesn’t do anything for me.’ You act so superior, sticking your noses in the air—act superior to me, GOD -of-the-Angel-Armies! And when you do offer something to me, it’s a hand-me-down, or broken, or useless. Do you think I’m going to accept it? This is GOD speaking to you!”

‭‭Malachi‬ ‭1:6-13‬ ‭MSG‬‬

May we never come to the place where the joy, wonder, and enthusiasm goes out of our worship. What we do for the Lord Jesus Christ should never be “a weariness.” OwPerhaps you’ve heard people complain, “Are we going to church again? Do we have to sit there and be bored?” No matter how large the crowd, it’s sad to see a full church with empty people trying to overflow. One of the worst insults to God is half-hearted worship

We need to ask ourselves daily, Have we become weary in our worship? Are we enthusiastic about our worship of God, about our daily walk with Him? The answer will help us gauge if our worship is worthless or not. We must never allow ourselves get to the point of offering worthless worship, it is both a waste of time and effort because it goes no where and achieves nothing.

ENGAGE YOUR HEART AND MIND IN THE WORSHIP OF GOD TODAY!!

VERSE OF THE DAY – DONT BE AFRAID

“But now, GOD ’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end— Because I am GOD, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:1-4‬ ‭MSG‬‬

LOVE, MY PERMANENT RESIDENCE

“God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.” 1 John‬ ‭4:17-18‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Can you imagine it? Can you just let your heart come into the space where we live in God and God lives in us? A place where God truly has the run of the house(our lives), where we allow Him make the day to day decisions of our lives, give Him full control? What a glorious, stress-free, liberated, joyful, joyous, bold,dynamic, and awesome life we would have. All our fears and worries taken away and dealt with by a God that cares about us unconditionally and loves out without measure.

Can we take a minute today and let Him into our lives completely and totally and give Him permission to enter every room of our life and heart, clear it out and take up residence.

GOD IS LOVE!!