God keeps books that have information about His people recorded in them! He keeps 'A Book of Remembrance', 'A Book of Tears', 'The Book of Life', and other books that are mentioned as, "And The Books Were Opened" [Rev. 20:12].
The Book of Remembrance
God appreciates spiritual conversations! Every time He hears one, He records it! Just think about this; God is so happy when He hears others mentioning Him. He keeps it in remembrance by having it recorded. "Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another And the Lord listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the Lord And who meditate on His name" [Malachi 3:16].
The Book of Tears
God beholds every tear you and I cry; especially the ones due to mistreatment and abuse! God knows and He cares about us. He keeps record of our tears. They do not go unnoticed. God knows everything about our situation, even the stuff we can't see or know about. He hears everything people are saying about us, behind our back. "You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book" [Psalm 56:8]?
The Book of Life
All who are saved have their names recorded in the Lamb's Book of Life! "And I saw the dead, small and great stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works" [Rev. 20:12].
If God records events and situations, shouldn't we do the same? In 1984 I started keeping a 'Spiritual' journal. I recorded my prayer requests and the date I made it as well as the date God answered. I recorded the opportunities the Lord gave me in which to serve Him. I also kept a list of all those I was praying for with their requests and the day God answered them. I continue to keep a spiritual journal to this day!
There are things we all remember throughout our lives, but there is so much we have forgotten. It is good to record our spiritual journey here, and that includes the good, the bad, and the ugly events God allows us to encounter.
The Benefits of Recording Your Spiritual Journey
It's been 33 years of recording my spiritual journey. I've gone through quite a few three subject notebooks. A couple of times a year, I randomly pick one, and read through it. I am amazed at how many answered prayers I had forgotten about. It's a good thing I wrote them down! When I looked at how the Lord answered my prayers and the span of time He took to do so, I got an interesting glimpse into how 'He handles me'. I saw a consistent pattern. That was something important for me to take note of!
Often, we become frustrated with God for taking so long to respond to our prayers. We feel ignored or perhaps put on the back burner. There were times I felt that God wasn't getting around to my situation. How wrong was I? I was able to understand a little of what God was doing with me all those days in between when He was silent. God was simply preparing me to receive the answer I so desperately wanted. He was making me spiritually and mentally ready.
One of the major benefits I received from keeping a 'Spiritual Journal', was to see how God was dealing with me. He handles each of us differently! He knows us intimately and He knows how much pressure is needed for us to become more like Christ. He also knows what type of 'Dross' needs to be removed from our lives. God uses all of our situations and circumstances to produce more and more godly character in us.
Keep A Spiritual Journal!
I am encouraged each time I open one of my journals and see how God had been incredibly faithful to me! There are some prayer requests that I recorded, in the 90's, that have recently been answered. Yes, sometimes we have to wait a while. It is confirmation and proof that God will answer prayer!
I encourage you to keep a record of your spiritual journey. You will literally be able to count your blessings by naming them one by one. It's a New Year! What better time to start than right now!
God tells us what type of people will cross our path. "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you" [Matthew 5:44].
Love your enemies (those who are totally against you). This love does not involve emotions. *Do the highest good toward them*. It's impossible to have warm feelings towards a person who hates you.
Bless those who curse you (those who wish evil and bad on you). Wish them well; wanting only good for them.
Do Good to them who hate you (those who have contempt for you or despise you). As soon as an opportunity arises where you can do a good deed for them, do it.
Pray for those who despitefully use you (those who are abusive towards you emotionally, and or physically, those who accuse you falsely, threaten you, insult you, slander you, defame your character or mistreat you). Pray for those who keep doing this to you. Depending on the severity of the situation, you may have to separate yourself from them.
Love is also shown by what you don't do and how you don't respond to them. Love is shown by what you say, as well as what you don't say against them to others. When the opportunity presents itself, show an act of love as oppose to retaliation. You don't have to like them.
God knows the antidote and medicine that will work for each of these types of persons. It doesn't sound as if it makes any sense, but God has chosen an exact response that will work for them and for you. You may even have to exercise a few of these antidotes on one individual.
Tough times are inescapable! Tough times led to Moses' greatness!
Tough times will either develop you or destroy you!
All tough times are conquerable! Learn the key to survival!
Trials not only help us to grow, but they are God's way of making us look just like His son, Jesus, (provided we endure them).
Painful experiences are sent into our lives, by God, that we might share in His sufferings.
Persecution...all who live godly will suffer something!
Discouragement is satan's all time favorite way to put out our lights. Satan feels threatened by each Christian who is faithful to God. He is determined to find some way to stop you!
Your mission daily is to shine brightly and brilliantly for God in whatever circumstances He has you in.
Your experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly can become someone's pot of Gold! don't be reluctant to share what God has done for you!
God is watching you! What does He see? What does He hear?
Time cannot be saved, so use it wisely. Make the most of each day!
The two most powerful words are: "Thank You"! Think of persons to thank for something valuable and rewarding that they have added to your life. Call them up and thank them!
"From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation." -Numbers 3:3
There is a cap on our age when it comes to certain areas of service for the Lord. God's intentions were that the youthful years of our lives be used for Him! That vigor, energy, and sharp mind, is valuable to God and His kingdom!
In today's society, those same things are given to the world and its interests. The world will certainly find good use for it, but as a Christian, God expects you to give it to Him!
God requires our best! When we are active, lively, energetic, and alert, we stand a better chance of fulfilling our purpose. Individuals who get saved much later in life, loose out on the opportunity to serve in this way. It is imperative that all ages come to know Christ, but as far as service goes, and fulfilling your God-given purpose, they are limited.
In Numbers chapter 3:3, it is clear that the work that needed to be done required those who fell within the age mentioned. When they got beyond 50, there would be other areas of service for them to do. God never puts His people out to pasture! We humans do, but God doesn't! There were things that needed to be carried and assembled where the Tabernacle was concerned, that required strength, energy, and vigor. The older ones were no longer able to fill the position.
God is faithful and wise! He will always show His people areas that are a better fit for them as they age. He has work to fill everyone's hands. The important thing is to know when you ought to step aside from a particular ministry area. I have seen people hold on to ministry areas, daring anyone to even look like they were going to suggest that they step down. This is pride in all of its glory! They fail to see that they are doing a dis-service to the people of God and unable to be as effective as they once were.
When we faithfully walk with God, He shows us the ministry areas that are will within our ability. He knows what is suitable for the amount of energy, strength, and mental focus that remains. If you are moving further down on the scale of middle-age, be encouraged! There is plenty for you to do and shoes for you to fill! As long as you wake up each day, and are still breathing, God has work for you to do!
One of the things that I wish there were more servants available for, is 'Mentoring'! This is a great ministry work for those who are spiritual minded and older! The older bring wisdom and experience to the table and knowledge of the word. They can guide younger believers along in the faith and help to equip them with the necessary tools and skills needed to serve the Lord. I speak to females and males in this regard.
There are many who need phone ministry because they are home bound or sick, while others have limited time due to their jobs. I have been greatly encouraged and helped by a simple phone call from, a sister, when I was raising my children. The fact that someone thought about me that day, and called to listen and to pray with me, made all the difference in my week!
I know that we are all the way deep in the technological age, but I still get notes in the mail! They are supportive and highly encouraging! I appreciate every one I get! That is a ministry all in itself. I know a sister who has a card ministry and she is faithful. I have received 36 years of cards from her!
We don't ever have to fight to serve, for there is 'Room At The Top' for all of God's children! Just remember, you won't be able to do what you do now in the same way, forever! Be open to new ministry areas and new ways in which to serve God!
Nehemiah met with great opposition when trying to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem, but he stayed up on that wall even when his own people started to loose faith!
Ezra was focused and obedient to God during the Babylonian captivity. He prepared (past tense) his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach it. We cannot teach what we do not know!
Jonah wasted time and good energy running from the will of God. His choices and decisions impacted innocent people on that ship, and he suffered the consequences.
Ruth had a 'Naomi' who was far from perfect. She was an older woman wearing her grief on her shirt sleeve, but Ruth saw something beyond the disappointments of an old woman. Ruth clung to her and got her blessing. So, who are you mentoring?
Gray hair has a spiritual meaning, but not every silver haired head is a crown of glory. Being a Christian who is obedient makes the difference!
Rising early each day with a purpose not only helps you to accomplish more, but it will make you a better manager of your time and energy.
Being in optimum health will allow you to serve the Lord better. Start by taking one thing that needs to change in your diet, and eliminate it.
Your enemy is aiming to set you up daily! Surprise him!
Everyone will not like you. It's okay because they're not suppose to.
God knows what you are capable of, and so does satan!
He purposely tries to block and stop your progress most of the time.
You have a protective device against enemy forces!
Put it on daily! Wear the Whole Armor of God! The principalities, and powers, and rulers of darkness, are hoping that you won't!
Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might!
Never opt for mediocrity! Do your best, not for man, but for God, as if He's the one who will be the recipient, because He is!
Endure trials because they will make for a banging resume!
Endurance qualifies you as an experienced representative for God!
God is your witness!
Don't feel the need to answer to accusations against you that aren't true. The Lord didn't. He never answered the chief priests when they accused Him of doing things He never did!
You were created to be a 'Woman' or 'Man' for a reason!
God is counting on you to succeed! You must make God look good!!!
Don't let your failures and weaknesses hold you back!
Work on them, but don't let them hinder you from moving forward!
Many are the afflictions of the righteous!
God will deliver you! Cast not away your confidence!
These two sisters had conflict with each other. They were in disagreement over something. They were told to be unified on the matter.
Often there are disagreement and disputes among Christians. The answer to the problem is for individuals to ask God for His mind on the situation. If there is some Scripture that directly addresses it, then go with what the word says. If if is something that needs prayer and seeking the face of the Lord, then both need to do that and let God’s word be the final word.
The problem often, is that we do neither of the above; which proves that we are not interested in what God’s thoughts are on the matter. We just want our own way.
Why can’t we solve issues among ourselves? Somewhere, someone has chosen to disobey God. Our pride, our flesh, our egos, and jealousies and envies rule.
Paul simply says to these two women to get on board with God’s mind and opinion. He uses God as the measure, he uses God as the focus, he uses God as the objective. Paul does not focus on what their issue was or who was right or wrong. He doesn’t try to mediate between them. He simply says, “What God thinks and says is the perspective you both need.”
That’s the answer to any conflict among saints in general! Once we make God our objective and give Him the place in our lives, the less conflict, or little to no conflict, we will have with others.
Unity depends on one's spirit and attitude. The absence of unity brings all sorts of problems that limit the Holy Spirit. The individuals involved in the dispute won’t receive direction from the Lord. They will function with diminished power and direction.
This same thing applies to:
3. Leaders in the church
We will have disagreements as humans, but we have to get on board with the Lord and His mind, if not, the situation between people will only grow into something worse, and take on legs and arms that will do great damage to each other, and it most definitely will spill over into the rest of the church. It could divide the church!
There are some things that we will never agree on, so do I take the low place, humbling myself for the sake of unity and peace, or do I fight tooth and nail for my position to not only be heard, but received? Do I force my point or, or do I let it go, and leave it to the Lord to handle without causing division, dis-unity or problems?
Although we have differing opinions, we can be of the same mind in the Lord. When you choose what is pleasing to the Lord, you can leave Him to either change the other person’s mind or help them to come to some sort of understanding with you. In the event neither happens, you have to agree to disagree, yet, keep the peace and unity between you both for Christ’s sake, and not take it personally where you stop speaking to each other or being kind. When you take the disagreement personally, you place the person in the position of enemy, or against you, and act out negatively against them because they don’t see things your way. This is bad. Imagine what would eventually happen to a marriage when that’s done, or a friendship, or within a committee who’s decision will impact the benefit of the local church, or if the leaders of the church exhibit such behavior.
We live in a society where everyone is comparing themselves with themselves. How senseless and futile is that? People are always imitating other people! Where is the uniqueness?
If God wanted you and I to be the same, He would have created us exactly alike, we would have been carbon copies of one another. God is a God of variety! No two persons are alike, and why would they want to be?
Often people get ticked if you don't think like they do, or you don't see things in the same way taking a totally different point of view. In essence, they want you to be like them.
You and I were created, by God, to be different. We won't be effective unless we own that! Anyone who can't accept you for who you are must be left at the curb, respectfully speaking.
God has given you skill/s and gift/s that are custom made just for you. There may be a million others on the planet who have the same abilities, but no one, and I mean no one, can execute them like you can. Everyone brings a different flavor and touch; adding a totally different ingredient. Not everyone is for everyone. For instance, two people can say the same thing, yet, it's appeal will be different depending on who's doing the listening. What works for one individual, will not necessarily work for another in the same way. God knew that when He gave you what He gave you. Part of your task in life is to reach certain people.
Never desire to be like others! You cannot fit shoes that were never made for you to wear! Own your uniqueness and love every aspect of who God made you to be! Don't aim to fit in! Always stand out!!
Develop every aspect of who you are. Tweak the things that could be better and change anything that could hinder you from being the best you. There is no need to change the way you express yourself, although, You may have to change 'HOW' you do it, but stay true to yourself in the process.
There will always be individuals who won't like you. It's been quoted that, "90% of the people don't like you, they just like what you've got" (Miles Munroe). He may be right! It doesn't matter what you do, everyone isn't gonna' like you for whatever reasons. You have to be okay with that. There will be others who will appreciate you because you will be just the thing God ordered for them.
Imagine the impact you could be making on your world (environment) simply being the 'You' you were made to be! God is counting on you to do just that. Embrace yourself with all of your flaws, cracks, and scars. Those elements are needed too! God uses everything!
Your spiritual gift is an unique one! It is something you have the natural lean for. Don't neglect it! Develop it, cherish it, and use it for God's approval, not mans. Never take it for granted!
God is able to guide you, and place you in the proper settings to use what He has given you. Don't worry about opportunities; they will come in due time. When your gift is developed enough, God will open the way for it to be noticed and used.
No one can do what you can do in the way you can do it, always remember that! If you don't use it, you will eventually loose it!
Do You and Only You!
When God provides the opportunity for you to be acknowledged, or chosen for something, it is His will!
God does not stand in every open door. Not every open door is for you to walk through!
God will use you at a time when He can get optimum results. Everyone associated with that open door will benefit from what God has given you to bring to the table.
There are times when you may feel as if you were the better person for the job, or the one who could bring what was necessary and needed to the situation, only to be overlooked, passed over, not considered, or left out. It can be disappointing and discouraging. We've all been there at some point in time, or another. Sometimes individuals are passed over simply because of personal feelings towards them. Whatever the reason, I have learned that God is always in the details and He allows what He allows for a reason.
When decisions are being made as to who gets what position, or who should be chosen to participate in a function or endeavor, there are people, humans, who have legitimate and non-legitimate reasons that influence the outcome. Everyone has an opinion. Some reasons may be valid while others are not. The Lord God is in the midst observing and listening to all that is said in those private meetings, be it job related, family related, or church related.
No one has the authority but God. At the end of the day, He decides, He sways the decision, and it all coincides with His will. That's what I love about God! As a Christian, I can sit back quietly, and wait for what is best. God opens the door that is best for me! It doesn't matter how it all came about or the persons involved, I can always count on Him to place me just where I need to be at any given time.
There are times when the Lord can use you and I, but He refrains from doing so, because there is strife and contention involved. God does not operate in the midst of strife! "Let nothing be done through strife and vain glory" [Philipians 2:3]. He can allow the situation to take place without you. Where there is strife, there is every evil work, the Scripture tells us.
God will always approve of activities where He can get the pleasure and the glory. He has an ultimate goal in mind when He chooses to use us, or when He wants to strategically place us somewhere. He knows under the right circumstances, and at the right time, when that skill or gift He has given us, will be needed the most.
Have you ever said this? "I blew that one" or "I should have been the one", "I'm the best person for that", "I have the experience they need." Say those things no more! If the Lord God does not open a particular door for you, there is a divine reason!
In the New Testament, there were times when the Lord didn't go to certain cities or into certain villages because there was no faith to be found in them. He went somewhere else! God is looking to accomplish something spiritual when it comes to service attached to His name or placing us in a certain position. When He knows that the end of a thing won't bring Him honor and glory, He removes us from the equation, hence the comment, "God wasn't in that!"
When you and I are in a right relationship with God, He leads us, and directs us to be involved in things that He can sign His name to with pleasure and satisfaction. So, the next time you are up for a position at work, see an opportunity right up your alley to serve at church, or are praying for a situation, and it passes you by, remember this; God was not in that! He may have been in it for someone else, but not for you! He has something else in mind that you are more excellently suited for. God knows when to use you!
God will never withhold anything good from an obedient child!
"A great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me."
1 Cor. 16:9
The Apostle Paul's Christian life was wrought with opposition, pain, and sufferings of all sorts, simply because he dedicated himself to preaching the gospel. He was converted and saved for that purpose. He planted churches in many regions, leaving responsible persons to guide these new believers in the faith. Paul caused quite a stir among religious groups and those in the political arena.
There will always be a price to pay for serving God! The spiritual gift He has imparted to you and I come with a price attached. Any service for the Lord meets with opposition. Each time I receive an opportunity to be a voice for God and His interests, I'm sure to experience opposition of some kind. How much more for those who are preaching the gospel and winning souls for Christ!
Philipians 1:29 says, "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake." We are to expect opposition and problems. The Scripture also tells us that all who live godly will suffer persecution. All, not some, and Will, not might. If you and I are living our lives in obedience to God, we can expect opposition, injustice, pain, and suffering. We can add to that, rejection, ostracizing, mocking, hatred, lies, and perhaps even bodily harm. God never keeps His children in the dark concerning the things they should know in advance.
I don't know about you, but I would rather get the heads up on what I could possible go through than to be left in the dark. Does knowing make it any easier? Absolutely not, but when you develop an attachment to God, and your bond with Him is growing stronger and deeper, the fear and trepidation becomes secondary. I think the Apostle Paul experienced that. He was ready to die at any point in time while in ministry work.
Opposition for a Christian comes in different ways and in different forms. Some may be ostracized on their jobs because of their Christianity while others are constantly targeted and plotted against. Any thing that resembles the face of Christ, will eventually bring problems. If you are ever a recipient of ill treatment on the job or anywhere, pray for your enemies and pray for yourself.
The Apostle Paul, in Philipians 1, mentions the wisdom of God. He saw the wisdom of God in his imprisonment. He stood before all sorts of men in the political arena, mentioning over and over again, the gospel of Jesus Christ. He got the opportunity, through being incarcerated, to share his testimony time and time again. It was God's wisdom that had him locked up on house arrest and detained for 2 years. God knew what He was after, and the souls of men He wanted to reach with the gospel.
There will be times when you and I will be placed in certain situations where we feel as if there's an injustice against us, but if we can halt that thought, even for a minute, we just might see it as a opportunity from God. There is something divine in the making, and whatever we're going through, is from the hand of God, with a precise purpose.
We pray for opportunities much of the time, but do we equate with that opportunity, opposition? We get excited when God answers our prayers for that chance to represent Him. We sometimes have grandiose ideas as to how we will go about speaking on God's behalf and the desired response we're expecting from those around us. God will always use you and I when we walk pleasing to Him, but He will also allow us to be the victims of opposition among other things.
Opposition also comes from the Christian community. Not every one will be supportive of the ministry God has given you. There will be times when those whom you least expect, fail to be in your corner, or they turned on you, while influencing others to do the same. Know this; God allowed, God ordained! Keep pressing on and forward with what God told you to do! Don't look to the left nor to the right! Persevere stronger and harder! There is one thing that opposition proves, and it is this; whatever opposes, threatens; and whatever threatens, has to be treated with strong opposition!
Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might! His grace will be sufficient and the outcome will be God glorifying!