Have you even been invited to a party but couldn’t go? Maybe you had something else scheduled only to find out through social media or from friends how much fun the party actually was. How did that make you feel? For me, usually the first emotion is regret. Then I try and justify in my mind why it’s ok that I missed out on all that fun. And finally, I’m just sorry that I didn’t make the right decision by accepting the invite. All those emotions because I simply missed an invitation do something fun.
In Romans 1 verse 6, the apostle Paul is writing his opening remarks to the churches in Rome and he tells them that GOD has called each one of them to belong to Jesus Christ. If you look up the word “called” in the original Greek it’s the word kletos which means “to be called or invited.” What I love about this word kletos that Paul uses is that we are not forced into a relationship with Jesus, but we are invited. Invitations are normally not sent out to unwanted guests, but to people we love, cherish, and want to celebrate with. That is the same motivation that Jesus has when He invited us to have a relationship with Him. Jesus is wanting to spend time with people He loves and cares for. If you are a Christian today, then that’s the love you are sharing in with Jesus. A love that invited you even when you didn’t deserve an invitation. A love that the apostle John describes like this:
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. -1 John 3:16 NLT
Invited to experience real love. And that invitation is still being sent out today. Maybe you find yourself reading this and you want to experience that love. Maybe you’ve seen the invitation, but haven’t RSVP’d to the party. Let me help you with that. Today is your day to come in and celebrate with the King. Let’s pray a simple prayer together:
Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for me. I realize that I have sinned and I need a savior. Thank you for inviting me to come into your love. I accept your invitation today.
We have all been invited. Nobody is left out and since we’ve been invited let’s go out and tell others about this great invitation. The love of Jesus is for everyone. Your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, classmates, everyone is invited. Let’s not keep this invitation to ourselves, but let’s share it with the community around us. It’s time to party!
Maybe it’s the lack lately of collective worship, political upheaval, social injustices, or just the ups and downs of this ever wavering life that have made me feel helpless at times. As much as I may want to fix things, I have to listen, pray and take (what seems like tiny) steps to do what I can to improve situations.
Stability is what most of us want. To know that everything is going to be ok & that if we see it through it will eventually work out. We hope we eventually will see a victory, feel complete, be accomplished or find some sense of comfort in our situations.
Sometimes our faith walk feels uncertain because the situations surrounding us seem out of our control but that doesn’t mean God isn’t working on our behalf. Recently, @philwickham song “Battle Belongs” has shook me! Take a listen if you haven’t.
The visual of fighting on my knees in prayer, with arms held high, leaving my fears at His feet instead of carrying ALL them on my own- amazing!
“When we see the cross he sees the empty tomb”. Wow! Sometimes it’s like you’re staring at the “cross”, but little did we know 3-days later would be the victory of the empty tomb! Stand firm in your faith, leave your fears with Him, and keep pushing forward. ❤️ The battle belongs to the Lord. You already have the Victory!
I love living in Florida near the water. One of my favorite things to do is to walk along the marina’s and listen to all the boats tied to their docks. If you get there early in the morning you can hear the waves splashing against the hull of the boats, the seagulls chirping for breakfast, and the rubbing of the ropes and clanging of anchors as they hit against each other in the wind. For me, that is the perfect start to the day. I love how GOD’s word is ripe with illustrations of water, oceans, fishing, and boats. Jesus even began his ministry on the lakeshore in the boat of Simon Peter. If you’ve ever been on a boat you understand the importance of moving in the direction of your destination. If you drift too far off course, you’ll end up somewhere totally unexpected. Hebrews 2:1 illustrates this for us:
So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard or we may drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1 NLT
The writer of Hebrews is contrasting the direction of our lives with what we are listening to. What struck me about this verse is that what we hear or listen to is what actually determines the direction of our lives. You would think that making decisions or working in a certain career would determine our path in life, but it’s actually the words that we hear. Who would have thought that what goes in your ears directs the destiny of your life? Well, Jesus actually. In Mark 4 Jesus is teaching in a boat (my kinda day) when he shares one of the secrets to the Kingdom of GOD:
“And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept GOD’s Word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted.” Mark 4:20 NLT
What you hear is the seed to your future. Your ears and heart are the dirt in which your seed gets planted. What you put in the ground of your life, will grow and bear fruit. That is why it is so important to make sure that what we are listening to is feeding our faith, not fear. Whether that’s the things we watch on TV, or the music we listen to in the car, or even the people we follow on social media—it is so important to guard the seeds that are planted in your soil. How can we make sure the seeds we are planting are leading to a good harvest? Take some time today to evaluate everything that you hear and read. Does it bring you encouragement or build your faith? If not, it’s time to trash that seed. It’s much easier to throw away small seeds than to try and dig up weeds that have been rooted and embedded for years.
Our prayer for you today is that you will continue to listen to the truth found in GOD’s word. His seed will bring a harvest of joy, peace, and blessings not only throughout your day, but throughout your life. Make a commitment each week to watch online or attend a faith building church service. If you want to carry around the seed of GOD’s word in your pocket, download the Bible app for your phone. Whatever you do, make sure that the seed going in is bringing a harvest that will push you towards your GOD designed destiny.
If you want to connect with us or would like for us to pray for you please click here.
What now, GOD?? How did I get here? What do I do next? What now?
Too often in life we find ourselves in these “what now” moments. In 2020, it was COVID-19. In my life it was a job loss. In your life it might be a diagnosis. Whatever the case, “what now” is sure to come and how we handle these moments could determine the direction of our lives.
This is the third blog of a three part miniseries within the Back to Basics series on How to Know the Will of GOD. We believe that this topic is too encompassing to limit to one blog post within the Back to Basics series. Click here to read part 1 & 2 of this miniseries.
The sport of baseball has always held a close place in my heart. My closest grandfather played professionally and then coached high school baseball, so around our house, baseball was king. I was blessed to be able to play growing up and all through college and learned a lot of life lessons from just being on the diamond. One of those life lessons was practice. In my twenty plus years of playing baseball, I practiced more than I actually played in a game. Whether that was with the team or individually, practice is what dominated 90% of my athletic career. I specifically remember my senior year of high school and how important this concept of practice was. I had just come off a terrible season the year before and my batting average was somewhere in the low 100’s (That’s not very good for you non baseball readers). My dream of playing in college looked like a nightmare and even the coaches didn’t have much faith in me. I only had one option: get better or ride the bench my last season of high school ball. That winter I dedicated myself to getting better. I set up a batting cage in my families garage and banged ball after ball until my hands were filled with callouses and the walls filled with holes. What happened that following season was remarkable to the coaches, but to me it was expected. My average went up by 200 points, I won the starting job back, and towards the end of my senior year, I received an offer from a college to play baseball. How did this happen? Was it good luck or an accident? No. It was practice. Practice, practice, and more practice. Finding the will of GOD for your life works the same way. With scripture, prayer, and practice, we are constantly moving towards GOD’s purpose, plan, and destiny for our life. Paul writing to the Romans put it this way:
“Instead, passionately answer God’s call to keep yielding your body to him as one who has now experienced resurrection life! You live now for his pleasure, ready to be used for his noble purpose.” Romans 6:13 TPT
Yield in this verse is what sticks out to me. In agricultural terms yield means what the land or crop can produce. For example: The land yields corn. How does the land produce the crops? Does it magically appear? No, the farmer has to sow the seed in order for the crops to be yielded. When the farmer puts the seed into the ground, he doesn’t see anything for quite some time, but does that mean the seed isn’t producing anything. If we could go beneath the surface and see the seed in action, we would watch how the seed slowly opens and finally pokes through the ground. How long does it take? Sometimes weeks or months. Practice finding the will of GOD works just like the seed that is planted into the ground. Sometimes we don’t always see the fruit of what we are doing, but beneath the surface (or in the spiritual realm) our seeds are beginning to take root. 1 John 3:7 describes this process as practice:
“Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.” I John 3:7 NKJV
How do we become just like Jesus? Practice righteousness. How do we know the will of GOD for our life? Practice righteousness. What is righteousness? Just doing what the word of GOD says. Jesus made a distinction between practicing good and bad in Matthew 7:21-23:
“But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’” Matthew 7:23 NLT
The New King James Version uses the phrase, “you who practice.” So, if we can practice breaking GOD’s laws, surely we can practice walking in the will of GOD. I know practice isn’t very fun sometimes, but the Bible is clear that knowing the will of GOD is not some instantaneous action, but it is a walk of practice. And we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Just like the farmer who plants a seed or me banging baseballs in the garage, knowing the will of GOD for our life is a walk in faith. Our prayer for you is that you will allow GOD to direct your steps as you practice knowing Him more and learn to walk in His ways. Remember, your walk starts with scriptures, it’s solidified in prayer, and then it’s walked out in practice.