Words of Inspiration 2017


With the Lord Character Comes First


by: Kendra Kay


You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?  Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  Matthew 7:16-17

What do you think is the number one, most important thing that God wants from us as His children? Some may say that what God wants is for us to be in His perfect will, to use our gifts for His glory, to share the message of salvation with the lost. It is true that He wants to see all of these things operating in and through His people. But there is one thing that God looks for in each of us that outweighs everything else. What our Heavenly Father desires most of all is for His children to be like Jesus! In other words, our character is what matters to the Lord, first and foremost.

Character is the fruit that is spoken of in Galatians 5:22-23. Attributes such as gentleness, love, self-control, and patience are God’s qualities and hallmarks of Christian practice. Our character is so crucial, in fact, that it is the only evidence that we truly belong to the Lord... 


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Nothing sets us apart as Jesus’ followers more than our ability to reveal His personality through us. Given its importance to God, shouldn’t we be especially mindful of our character? The fruit we bear is an integral part of our spiritual lives. Shouldn’t teachings and admonitions about character be as fundamental today as they were when Jesus taught them to His disciples? Why, then, does it sometimes seem like character doesn’t receive the level of attention that it once did? Have we taken our focus off of the purity and simplicity of our core Christian values? There was a time when, no matter how often we may have fallen short of the mark, we earnestly sought to be godly in our words, thoughts, and conduct. Now, there appears to be such a preoccupation with doing a work for the Lord or discovering what area of ministry we’re called to serve in. All the while, God is first looking to see His image reflected in our ways. Being busy for the Lord is not more important than being like Him.

After all, what are works, even those done in Christ’s name, if they don’t bear the imprint of His character?  What would it mean to have the gift of exhortation if the same mouth used to encourage your brethren in the faith is used to tell people off? What good is a praise and worship team full of world class singers if vanity, competition, and backbiting are running rampant among them?  How can we truly glorify the Lord with our many gifts and talents if there is a lack of God’s presence in our overall behavior?Yes, we all want to work for the Lord; but let’s remember that the work first happens on the inside of us, progressively conforming us to the image of Jesus Christ.  And the fruit of God’s character radiating from us is the product of that work. That is what our Lord delights in more than anything else. For, there is no greater demonstration of His glory and power in the earth than when we exemplify His nature.

Quiet Desperation


by: Wilfred Haynes


I am often amazed at the complexity of life—how I strive from one thing to the next, always looking for the thing that is most fulfilling. I once thought if I could just get a certain person to like or love me, I would be fulfilled; or if I can just get into this school or have this background, I will be satisfied. I have even purchased a car I wanted, but it still wasn't the one, seeking fulfillment. I felt good for a minute, but then I was not satisfied. I have even attained a prestigious job and made six figures, which made me feel overjoyed. But I eventually felt empty again. I often think of Thoreau's quote, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” 


We all have led this life he speaks of. We have all used something to fill the hole that we feel inside of us. I have filled that hole with entertainment at times in my life. We have even gone to the darker side of human life, looking and searching for something that could fill the hole in us. That desperation that is in each and every person never goes away; it is always gnawing at our souls.

You may ask, “what is it?” What is this feeling that is inside of me? Why do I feel like I was meant to be more and do more than just wake up, work to accumulate things, and do things that at the end of the day are not adding to me or the world around me? The feeling is that of a human spirit reaching out to its creator. It is yearning to be united with its maker. It is craving God.

We eliminate the desperation in us when we connect our spirit to God, who gave us His enabling power to lead and guide us (John 16:7-15). We have to continue to stay connected to God so that we don’t experience the quiet desperation that Thoreau spoke of.

The desperation has happened to Christians and non-Christians. This is why it is important that all come to know the Lord Jesus. We should first know him because he is returning, and secondly because there's a longing in us for him. That reminds us that deep down inside of us, we long to come home.

 I remember the first time I left home for college and how that first week I was so desperate to come home. I felt that something was missing inside of me—that I was not complete. I thought that making a phone call home or looking at pictures of my family would help, but it did not do the trick. I can recall the first home game my parents came to. I was so elated. My homesickness was gone. Our spirits are the same way. They are just longing to be with the one who made us.

That is why it is important to have a life with Jesus. He is the doorway to having that quiet desperation filled. He is the one we must go through to be with God. When we make Jesus our Savior, then Lord, we yield, allowing him to influence our lives. We then begin to see that we’ll not have the feeling of quiet desperation anymore.  Stay with him as you go through the process of being a Christian. If you allow space to get between you and the Lord, that feeling of desperation will creep back up again. So we have to stay in Jesus.


Words of Inspriation


Spiritual Check-Up

by: Ann Watson


The Born Again Christian life involves both freedom and discipline. When we turn away from sin’s appeal by the Holy Spirit’s power (regarding sin as dead to us), then we can ignore temptation when it comes (Romans 8:13). Those who belong to Jesus Christ have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there! In order to truly accept Christ, we must nail our sin nature daily to the cross (Galatians 5:24). We must remember that we have been set free from the power of sin over us and no longer have to give into it. We must surrender our sinful desires to God’s control, crucifying them daily and drawing on the Holy Spirit’s power to overcome them (Galatians 2:20; 6:14).

Every day we are confronted with the world’s enticements and pressures, but we must use the power of God to help us overcome these destructive influences. Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself how much the interests of this world matter to you (Romans 6:2, 6; 1 Cor. 2:12; Gal. 2:20). We must continually clothe ourselves with Jesus and not allow ourselves to think about ways to please our fleshly desires. We must accept our new position in Christ by being baptized (Galatian 3:27). It’s much like putting on new clothes.

 Our old life is dead and we must bury it as we move daily into our new life in Jesus. He gives us the power to resist the devil’s blows and submit to God (James 4:7). Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you double-minded.   (James 4:8). We do this by being totally immersed in Jesus as He kills the desires of our flesh. (Col. 3:5). We are to seek those things that are from above, where we have a new home—a place to look to. Heaven is our new home. This is where our affections should be. This is where Jesus sits on the throne in a place of honor at the right hand of God. Think about heaven, not our temporary home that’s attached to our old sin nature. Think about our new life that is hidden with Christ Jesus in God. When Jesus who is our new life shall appear to the whole world, you and I will share in His glory! (Col. 3:1-4). Jesus is the power for us to live for Him—the hope for now and our future. Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new (2 Cor. 5:17).            
 


Don't Feel Ashamed


by: Michelle Haynes


Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  John 4:10 (Read John 4:1-42)


We understand that each of us has a past. There are moments when we can recall the wonderful experiences and wise and thoughtful decisions we’ve made. We were consciously astute regarding the choices in our lives.  These decisions aided in our growth, maturity, and emotional stability and shaped who we are today. We thought about how these moments would affect us, our relationships, and our frame of mind.

Also, there were times when we made unhealthy decisions. They may have been based on harmful thoughts (rage, hurt, jealousy, hatred, and even love). These choices affected us in a profound way. They may still be troubling us today and we are not aware of it. In some instances, we may recognize it, but not know how to handle it. These damaging results have also had a part in shaping who we are.

Some of the circumstances in your life were out of your control, such as: growing up in a single family home, experiencing abuse, sexual assault, lack of stability, and heartbreaking relationships. The situations you faced formed your thoughts, emotions, and decision making. For example, you may have grown up in a home where you saw or experienced abuse. How did this reality mold who you are today? You may not trust others, avoid becoming emotionally involved, or have anger issues.  These are some of the outcomes that could happen in your life.

As a result of what has happened to you, whether self-inflicted or placed upon you, you may feel ashamed, hurt, or lost.  What or who have you turned to for help with the realities of what you're dealing with? Whether you are a believer or not, there can be many answers to this question.  You may look for solutions or ways of escape in your surroundings.

The only true answer is God, the Father. He doesn't look at what you have done or who you think you are. He sees you through the eyes of his son, Jesus Christ, who shed his blood that we may be clean (Hebrews 9:14). Let's consider the Samaritan woman, spoken of in John chapter four. She had an undesirable reputation in the city; no one wanted to deal with her. She had unhealthy thoughts about herself and didn't think she was worthy.  Jesus knew about her past—what she had done and was still doing. But he didn't reject her; the Lord provided a life-changing solution. It was the living water (John 4:13-14) which caused her to never inwardly thirst again. This water cleansed her and she saw herself as new. The woman was able to address the people in her city about Jesus and not be ashamed of who she once was.  Don't allow your past to hinder how the Lord sees you. Go to Him and He will heal what is broken and free you from being ashamed.

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts (Revelation 21:5-6).


God Works In and Through Us


by: Ann Watson


God works in us and through us to do His will in the earth. The moment we accept Jesus into our hearts, the work begins. Philippians 2:13 records that God is working in you and giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. It is in doing God’s will that we often gain the desire to do it. Do what He wants and trust Him to change your desires to His. The key to doing God’s will is to submit to Him.

The Holy Spirit of God is the very presence of God within us, the believers. He helps us live as God wants and to be Christ’s church on earth. He came to care for and guide all of His disciples; and He is a powerful person on our side—working for us, through us, and within us. The Holy Spirit reaches through a disciple to those God has already touched in order to help bring a person into a relationship and fellowship with Him. The discipleship of such a person is done through Jesus and the vessel being used. One plants, one waters, and God gives the increase into the changed life of this person.   

The Word of God says that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, so that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). All of us at some point were “whosoever”.

God’s love is not static or self-centered because He desires that no man should perish but have eternal life with Him. His love reaches out and draws all men unto Himself. God loves us so dearly that He freely gave His best as a living sacrifice so we may have an opportunity to be with Him. John 14:6 declares that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the only way to God and His Kingdom. When we share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others, our love must be like Jesus’. We must be willing to give up our comfort so that others may receive the love of God.