A Choice To Serve


Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Choices
Choices (Photo credit: Sky Noir)

Every day you realize you are awake and able to live another day, you have a choice to make.  In addition to the choices about what you will wear, what you will eat and what you will do first as you survey your list of options, you are responsible for an even greater choice. If you are not willing to make this choice, your decision is made for you. You can thank Adam for that. Whether you are God‘s child, or not, the life you live will always present opportunities for you to become willing to make a choice to serve the God who created the Heavens and the Earth or the gods of this world.

The choice is found in who you will serve –  who you will work for through the service of your life.  We all are destined to be used by God – goodness and evil are all manifested by God’s Sovereignty. Many of you seperate good from evil and designate good as being of God and evil exclusively being from Satan.  We need to consider Psalm 24:1 A Psalm of David and I Corinthians 10:26 An Epistle of Paul’s – “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein”EVERYTHING THAT IS HERE AND EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS HERE IS BECAUSE OF THE LORD’S SOVEREIGNTY. If you fail to accept this truth then your choice will always be manipulated by your own ideas.  Even the evil that manifests through you is under the authority of Christ today. 

Joshua was nearly at the end of his life when he delivered this sermon in Joshua 24. It gives attention to doctrine and application.  The doctrine is represented by all of the deeds in which the Lord God Almighty provided for His people. From the calling of Abraham, the birth of Isaac, the deliverance out of Egypt and through the Red Sea and their warring victories into the Promised Land, God proved His determined will and put it on display for the world to know. The Hebrews were recipients of the consistent manifestation of God’s Sovereign Power.  They had proof to know that no other god is comparable to the God of the Heavens and the Earth.  But it is the application of the sermon where we find the purpose of the choice to serve.

Your acquaintance with good and evil notwithstanding, it is a fundamental Biblical truth that when your flesh is controlled by sin you can not please God. You sow seeds of sin through all types of lifestyle choices.  Every decision you make is based on your pursuit to manifest and fulfill the desires of the flesh.  Joshua was reminded of Moses who declared the importance to choose life with a heart that loves the Lord, His Word all with a willingness to serve Him daily. Read Deuteronomy 30:11-20.  You can offset any affinity towards sin when you make a choice to serve God by praying for the knowledge of His will and the power to be all that He has created you to be. You can be of maximum service to God, realize the Conqueror Lifestyle  and serve Him and others effectively, when His power is working in you and through you conforming you to the image of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But you can make this choice to serve God only because of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ which gives you access into His grace.

Others realize your choice by every word that comes out of your mouth, every deed of your hands and every direction that your feet move towards. The heart decides which choice is to be made.  A heart that is willing to freely surrender to God’s Sovereignty is a direct result of a quickened spirit connected to the power of the resurrection at work in you. It’s not hard at all to make Jesus your choice when you accept all that He has freely done for you.  You willingly desire to serve Him because of how effectively He serves you.  Stop trying to be your best you independent of God’s spiritual blessings at work in you. You will know true service as He manifests His good works in your life when you make the choice to depend on and serve Him in all that you say and do. Agree with me and Joshua and make your choice THE LORD.

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The Problem vs. The Promise


Words
Words (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

I heard a sermon that climaxed with a message of perseverance. Life happens and we attempt to “do our best” to “help God out.” Our faith in God becomes superimposed by our human goals to handle circumstances with human interventions rather than relying on God’s Word.

It all starts out with a God-given blessing by way of a message of promise, Divinely ordained just for you to experience, whereby  lives will forever be affected in a Godly manner and God’s glory is magnified. The problem arises when you have to contend with facts that obstruct a human understanding of how the particulars will happen. You become inundated with doubts, uncertainty and pessimism all because you can’t understand how the promise from God will become a reality. It is completely natural to rely on human intervention that can aid your heart felt desire to realize this dream that you now have. But if human intervention supersedes God’s power then you have mistakenly focused on the problem. The God-given dream you so desperately want to realize will not be fulfilled without FAITH. When you focus on the fact that God’s Word is ABSOLUTE, then you have unmistakably focused on the promise – by faith in HIM the dream becomes a reality.

SOVEREIGN FACTS:GOD NEVER FAILS!   GOD MAKES THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE!    GOD MAKES WAYS OUT OF NO WAY!       GOD CAN DO ANYTHING BUT FAIL!                                                                GOD IS OUR ALL AND ALL!

The character in the Bible that personifies this life issue is Sarah.  In Genesis 15 God promised Abram a son. He was old and she was old and barren. Fact! In Genesis 16 Sarah has assessed the facts and comes up with a plan that is devoid of faith in God’s promise but instead based in the prospect of human intervention. “An old man can still produce sperm.  If I give my husband my hand maiden and they have sex then she will conceive the baby that God promised. THIS MUST BE WHAT GOD MEANT!”  The message of how our minds take over what our spirits discern is truly telling for our personal spiritual maturity. This is why Paul writes in Romans 12 “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…..”  Sarah was an enterprising, beautiful woman as she utilized surrogacy way before it was politically correct. 🙂  But all of these efforts were contrived in her mind because she was focused on the FACT that she was old and barren.  Her faith in God became superimposed by her human goals to problem solve with human interventions rather than relying on God’s Word.

All the while God said what He said and the act was done. Ishmael was born. By Genesis 18 God specifically promises that Sarah will have a son. Sarah was eavesdropping and, motivated by her knowledge of the FACTS, she doubted God’s Word inwardly and laughed to herself. Be mindful of the elements of sarcasm today. God knows the intents of the heart along with His Divine plan. Sarah is confronted with the reality of this when she must consider the question, “is there anything too difficult for the LORD?” Her conclusion must have been NO because Hebrews 11:11 declares ” Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” In Genesis 18 we see her move her focus from the problem (the facts). Her attempts to use her intellect and human intervention were designed to get her to accept in her heart and mind that if God said it He CAN do it! She focused on Him as the all powerful, all knowing Creator of the Heaven, the Earth and mankind. Her faith in the promise changed her life and is still changing lives today.

We contend with our human nature on so many levels. Consider this in response to the contention: God created you and ALL that is around you. He can not and WILL not be overtaken by a problem. He is the Creator who created something out of nothing – you were formed from the dirt of the earth. If you realize there is destiny for your life but the facts are overwhelming your belief in His promises, tell yourself, “self, there is NOTHING TOO HARD FOR THE LORD!

 

Breaking the Silence


Man with sledge hammer, Gerhard Janensch 1920 ...
Man with sledge hammer

It’s difficult to open up and express your heart when you feel the need to protect yourself. My innate coping skills to protect myself from experiencing heartache are grounded in silence. Often times I have used this skill in such a way that it backfires and causes me to have regret. “If only I had spoken up/out!” “I should have told ………. the truth, now it’s too late!” These 2 statements, internalized on many levels, can be haunting. For the past 2 weeks, God has been working on me, preparing me, instructing me on  “Breaking the Silence.”

Why the silence? Well it seems pretty obvious to me that this coping skill is a direct result of fear – fear of negative consequences i.e. I won’t be heard, believed, appreciated and loved -which is based in my realities from childhood. How many times in my adulthood have I had the opportunity to stand for the truth only to keep silent instead because of this fear? More than I can know, I am sure.

The idea that I must keep silent so that you will not become uncomfortable in my presence is the other dilemma that continues to fuel my silence. The fear that you will not accept me as a person worthy of your friendship, company and companionship remains as a staple characteristic of my silence. Once again I am compelled to abhor fear. It is crippling, damaging, and destructive.

I can do many things to combat against silence- pray, study the Bible, fellowship with others, therapy, practice honesty on a daily basis (all of which help considerably even to the point of publishing this today).  A recent post “The Good Comes Through AS U COME THROUGH” was the “shot” I needed today to invigorate my spirit to expose the willingness God is giving me in “Breaking the Silence.”

Hebrews 12:1-3 says 1. Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2. fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne ofGod. 3. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

The first time I studied this passage of scripture I was a pre-teen. By then I had already developed these crippling, damaging and self-destructive tendencies towards internalizing everything. People could say or do anything to me – harmful physical, mental and emotional acts by family, friends, and church members – and I would say NOTHING!

My cousin Peaches was instrumental in introducing me to the passage of scripture that I am referencing today. I thank God that He used her to challenge me then to study and discover the nuggets of truth contained herein. I stated earlier how difficult it is to overcome destructiveness and all that I can do to combat this dilemma. These statements accurately define the problem. Obviously the problem is still active. So then the solution – FAITH – is necessary.

What would Abraham‘s story have been if he did not have hope & faith in what God spoke to him about his inheritance and Sara in her unborn son through her aged womb? Moses would not have lived if his mother did not have FAITH in God’s ability to preserve him despite an edict of death. We would not have an example of perseverance through FAITH IN GOD without Moses’ wilderness experiences. The hall of faith gives us direct insight into Moses’ ability to trust in God rather than in man in ANY circumstance.

Breaking the silence today means to trust in God enough to lay aside this weight daily. I am amazed at how God has led me to this wonderful forum of blogging. It is the one way that I am aware of my willingness to break this destructive pattern. Even when I don’t know how to express my thoughts and feelings, He makes my pathway straight in this forum. ConquerorShots served me over the past few days as I clicked on a “shot” that I needed to get some courage to stay in the race.

There are times when reading/studying my Bible just seems mundane. I do it anyway but I keep silent because I feel that no one will appreciate my honesty. However, I DO NOT KEEP SILENT WITH GOD ANY LONGER! I may not be inclined to tell another person what I am dealing with personally because of the dynamics of my character I exposed earlier. They became damaging, crippling and destructive because I would NOT allow God to BE MY CONFIDANT.

The one thing that Conqueror Ministries advocates is consistency with prayer and reading God’s Word – NO MATTER WHAT! It does not matter how uncomfortable it may become -PRAYER CHANGES THINGS! How else can I lay aside every weight and the sin that does so easily harass me? How can I endure hardship like a good soldier? How can I keep my eyes focused on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith? HOW ELSE CAN I POSSIBLY STAY IN THE RACE?

Romans 8:37 reminds me “Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” Outwardly it may appear that I am overwhelmed by life today, and often times that is true.

I thank God daily for His continued presence in my life, power over my life and the purpose for it all which He manifests through my life. Inwardly He keeps on getting better! It is an inside job………….  When I am willing to “have a little talk with Jesus” and tell Him all about my struggles……. breaking the silence is achieved every time. Telling Him gives me the courage to tell you too – in His time, not in mine – that is wonderful,blessed difference today.