Tag: Spiritual

That You May Be Healed

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16).

Relationships are so important in the eyes of God. As His children, He desires that we live in unity and stay connected with one another. When we are transparent and pray for each other, something supernatural takes place. We open the door for God to pour out His abundant blessing and healing in our lives. When we walk in love and unity, our prayers become more effective and His power is released through us.

Living in peace and unity doesn’t mean you have to agree with everyone around you all the time. It means you look for common ground. It means you reach out to others; you pray for them and help meet their needs. When we put the needs of others first, God will make sure our own needs are abundantly supplied. When we live with a servant’s heart towards others, it opens the door for God’s complete healing, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

Prayer

Father in Heaven, thank You for revealing  Your truth to my heart. I choose Your ways above my own and ask that you open opportunities for me to pray for others and open the door for your healing power. In Jesus’ name,  Amen.

— Joel & Victoria Osteen

Healed

God Is On Your Side

Today’s Scripture

 “If God is for us, who can be against us” (Romans 8:31)?

 Today’s Word from Joel and Victoria

As a believer in Jesus and a child of His, God is on your side today! If you haven’t thought about it yet today, remember, you are created for greatness. You have the seed of Almighty God inside of you. There is no obstacle that can stop you. There is no disadvantage that can hold you back. You’re in the palm of God’s hand, and He has equipped and empowered you for everything. When God is on your side, He sets the right people in your path. In fact, He’s already released favor into your future. He’s planning for you to come in to new seasons of increase. Have you given up on a dream? God is on your side, and He wants to resurrect it. Have you given up on a family member? God is on your side, and He wants to restore that relationship. God is on your side, and He has a plan for victory in every area of your life. Let that sink down into your heart today. Begin to expect His favor. Expect Him to work in your life. Focus on the fact that God has equipped you. He has anointed you. Your best days are still out in front of you! If God is for you, no one can rise against you! As you meditate on this promise, it will become real to you. You will walk in the favor and victory God has in store for you!

A Prayer for Today

Heavenly Father, thank You for being on my side today. Thank You for equipping and empowering me to accomplish everything You’ve called me to. Give me a deeper revelation of Your love for me today so that I can live the abundant life You have prepared for me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

~Joel Osteen

Image

Different Types Of Love From The Bible

It is clear from even a cursory reading that the Bible stresses the importance of love.  The Bible even says that God is love (1 John 4:8, 16 ESV).  It would not be an overstatement to say that every action that is pleasing to God is motivated by love.  In the English language today, we use the word ‘love’ in a variety of applications.  We say that we love broccoli and we say we love our spouses.

Just as there are different meanings for the word ‘love’ in the English language, so there are different meanings in the language of the Bible, especially the New Testament.  To keep this article down to a manageable size, I will concentrate on the New Testament words for ‘love’.

The Greek words for ‘love’

It appears that, in New Testament times, there were at least four different Greek words that we translate as the English word ‘love’.  This variety actually helps us in the work of translation because each of the four different Greek words carries a slightly different definition from the other three.  This makes it a little clearer as to what the original means.  These words were:

  1. EROS: this Greek word was not used in the New Testament.  It refers to sexual love and probably derived its name from the mythical god of love.
  2. STORGE:  This is the type of love signifying the natural affection between kinfolk.  This word appears only occasionally in the New Testament and only in compound form.
  3. PHILEO:  This Greek word for love signifies, “…spontaneous natural affection, with more feeling than reason” (Elwell, p. 1357).  Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines phileo as, “to be a friend to…fond of an individual or object; having affection for (as denoting attachment); a matter of sentiment or feeling”.
  4. AGAPE: This Greek word for love is by far the one that appears most frequently in the New Testament.  It is, “…generally assumed to mean moral goodwill which proceeds from esteem, principle, or duty, rather than attraction or charm…  [it] means to love the undeserving, despite disappointment and rejection…Though agape has more to do with moral principle than with inclination or liking, it never means the cold religious kindness shown from duty alone, as scriptural examples abundantly prove” (Elwell, p. 1357).

Norman Geisler offers this description of the different nuances of these words:  “Erotic love is egoistic.  It says, “My first and last consideration is myself.”  Philic love is mutualistic.  It says, “I will give as long as I receive.”  Agapic love, on the other hand, is altruistic, saying, “I will give, requiring nothing in return.”  (Geisler, p. 49).

It is the agape kind of love which God has for us, and for which we are commanded to have for one another.  Even our expression of agape love is but a pale example of God’s agape love for us.  Let us look at how this agape love is portrayed in the New Testament.  Whenever the word ‘love’ appears in the following verses, unless otherwise noted, it is a translation of the Greek word ‘agape’.

Christ followers are commanded to love one another

Jesus said that loving one another is not an option for the believer; it is a commandment.  However, His commandment came with an example of how it is to be fulfilled, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34 ESV, cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:9).

Love is a sign that we are Christians

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments” (1 John 5:1-2 ESV).

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jesus speaking in John 13:35 ESV).  It has been, and continues to be, my experience that an almost tangible feeling of love exists wherever a group of Christians gathers. It can be no other way for a people who are filled with God’s love.

Love for Jesus inspires obedience to Him

Jesus said to His disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15 ESV).  This means that those who love Jesus will want to please Him.  We should want to please God, not as a means of trying to earn our salvation, but out of gratitude for what He has done in forgiving our sins.

Other places in the New Testament tell us that this desire to obey Jesus is a natural reaction from those who are His followers, “Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23 ESV; see also John 14:21; 2 John 1:6).  It follows therefore, that those who do not obey Jesus, do not love Him and are thus not saved.

The Greatest Commandment consists of love for God and love for our neighbors

In three of the four Gospels, Jesus tells us what He expects from us, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31 ESV; see also Matthew 22:37; Luke 10:27). It is obvious from this passage that love should be the motivation for everything we do; love for God first, then love for everyone else.  How different would our culture look if everyone lived in this manner?

We are to love (agape) our enemies

The love of God transcends our anger or hatred; it allows us to forgive those whom we otherwise would be unable to forgive (cf. Romans 12:19-20).  Jesus told His disciples, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44 ESV; cf. Luke 6:27-28).

Sometimes love may seem harsh

True love must sometimes act in forceful ways.  Agape love is a thinking, rational, kind of deliberate love that is motivated by what is holy and good.  There are times when this kind of love results in less than pleasant actions.  When speaking to the Corinthian church concerning a man engaged in unrepentant sin, the apostle Paul wrote these sobering words,“…you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 5:5 ESV).  Agape love says that this man’s eternal soul is more important than his temporal comfort, therefore actions should be taken to help him realize the depth of his sin.

Many more biblical examples could have been cited under each of the preceding headings.  The love of God is apparent on almost every page of the Bible.  However, His love is made clearest by His greatest gift to us.

Conclusion: the greatest example of agape love

In the New Testament, the Greek words that we translate ‘love’ have nuances that help us understand them a bit better.  However, God has not left us to wonder what He views as love.  He has given us the clearest example in His Son.  The greatest example of love is Jesus Christ coming to earth in human flesh to die on a cross for our sin.

“… but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8 ESV; cf. John 15:13).

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 ESV).

It is this love that we, as Christians, hope to share with a sinful, lost, and hurting world.

 Image

 *This article was originally published on CharismaMag.

Choose to Bless Your Future

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19, NKJ).

Did you know that with your words you can either bless your future or curse your future? Your words have creative power. If you want to know what your life is to going to be like five years from now, just listen to what you’re saying about yourself today. Too many people go around saying, “I´ll never get well. I´ll never get out of debt.” “It´s flu season. I´ll probably get it.” “This marriage is never going to last.” Then they wonder why they don´t see things turn around. It´s because they´re calling defeat into their future. They´re calling in mediocrity. Don´t let that be you!

When you get up in the morning, no matter how you feel, no matter what things look like, instead of using your words to describe your situation, use your words to change your situation. Make a declaration of faith by saying, “This is going to be a great day. I have God´s favor. He´s directing my steps.” When you do that, you are choosing to bless your future. You are calling in favor, increase, and opportunities. You are opening the door for God to move on your behalf so you can live the abundant life He has for you!

 Prayer

 Heavenly Father, I commit my words to You today. Help me to speak good things over my life so that I can choose blessing for my future. Keep me close to You so that everything I say and do is pleasing in Your sight. In Jesus´ Name. Amen.

~Joel Osteen

Image

God Is Not Through With You Yet

The story of Sampson is a very interesting one. Sampson was born to a woman who at one time wasn’t even able to bear children but an angel came to both her & her husband declaring that not only would they have a child, but that their son would be born with unparalleled strength.  Sampson was the strongest man in the land, taking down hundreds upon hundreds of men at a time. Sampson’s sheer strength was proven time & time again from the time he tore open the jaw of a lion bare handedly to when he lifted two city gates with ease & carried them over his head. He had many, many enemies and people were always looking to destroy him. Plainly said, Sampson had a lot going on!

But Sampson’s biggest problem was that he loved the ladies! Good looking women were his weakness. And not just any good looking women, the “enemy’s women” – women from the same race that was ruling Sampson’s people (Sampson was an Israelite & they were ruled by the Philistines at the time). The women that he dealt with were prostitutes and never had his best interest in mind. His parents even questioned his choice in women, but hey, Sampson liked what he liked.

One day Sampson fell in love with a beautiful prostitute named Delilah. Delilah was bribed by her tribe to find out the secret to Sampson’s great strength. She was promised a whole lot of money to deliver him at his weakest point. Over & over Delilah tried to find out what his secret was and over & over Sampson lied to her. As any attractive woman would do, Delilah pouted until she got her way and Sampson ended up telling her his big secret. And you know what happened next? Delilah ended up selling Sampson out! He was captured, his eyes were gouged out and he was imprisoned. Things ended horribly for Sampson.  

Now there is a difference between having an ‘interest in’ & a ‘weakness for’. The Devil knows what your weaknesses are & will use them against you. But it’s up to you NOT to let your weakness become a habit. In this case, Sampson’s weakness of women led to his ultimate demise.

You see when Sampson lost his strength he was weak & humiliated but God wasn’t through with him. Even though he was blinded when his eyes were gouged out and he lost his superhuman strength, he prayed that God renew his power so that he may use it for good. And God did just that. He granted Sampson’s request one last time & Sampson was able to take out more men in his final days than he had ever had. So you see, just because you may be down & out and think things are over for you, they may not be. God may not be through with you yet. He may have other plans for you & your future.  So don’t give up & put your future in God’s hands.

Wanna know what Sampson’s secret was? To read Sampson’s full story, go to the book of Judges.

Image

Fight The Good Fight

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12)

Many of us have heard it is hard to live the Christian life.  In a sense, this statement is true.  Each day we are confronted with the desires of our flesh waging war against the things of God.  At the same time, we are being bombarded by all of the attacks of the enemy working in those around us and the many things that are in our world.  In another sense, the Christian life is easy whenever we submit to the things of God and are walking and living in the Spirit.  We are in a fight for our spiritual lives.  This is a battle we can win, but it cannot be done without the aid of the Holy Spirit.  Let us utilize what we have been given and fight the good fight of faith. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, again st spiritual wickedness in high places.” (ref: Ephesians 6:12)

Prayer:  Father, as we face the battles from within and without, grant us victory through your Spirit that others may be drawn to you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

~Joel Osteen

Image

Bury The Past

“Walk in newness of life…” Romans 6:4 NJKV

Some people stay up until midnight to welcome the New Year. Others stay up to make sure the old year leaves! Seriously, as you enter this New Year you can’t afford to let your past infect your present, or sabotage your future. That’s why certain things that refuse to be healed, must be forsaken and forgotten!

There are people praising God in church every Sunday who lie awake in the privacy of their homes digging up bones, picking at scars and reliving old memories. You need to accept that some issues will never be resolved, and if you let them they’ll take up residence in your head.

Thank God Paul was honest enough to admit that he still struggled in certain areas. Unlike those with a pharisaical spirit who condemn others for doing the very things they do themselves, Paul says, “I know the law but…can’t keep it…sin…keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I…need help…I decide to do good, but…My decisions…don’t result in actions. Something…gets the better of me every time” (Ro 7:17-20 TM).

“Thank you Paul” from the rest of us who mistakenly thought that once we became Christians there’d be no more struggles!

In other words, stop pursuing dead issues; admit them, quit them and forget them! Instead of struggling to change what can’t be changed, let God’s transforming power sweep through your life and sever the ties between you and all those tormenting thoughts from your past. Let them go today in Jesus’ Name!

Prayer:

As I conclude this year and begin another, I pray that you will help me keep my eyes on Jesus, dear Father, and my heart focused on your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image

5 Things Christians Should Stop Saying

I came across this article written on Jason Johnson’s blog & thought it was interesting enough to share. Please read below –

5 Things Christians Should Stop Saying

We mean well, don’t we? But sometimes our attempts to say something spiritual actually come out unbiblical, or at a minimum, not very helpful. Here’s the 5 I hear the most…

1. “It was a God thing.”

We say this to give God credit for something He has done and to deflect any attention from ourselves. The problem, however, is that biblically no single event is ever a “God thing”. Rather, all things are by Him, through Him and for Him (Colossians 1:15-20). To say something was a “God thing” seems to draw lines of distinction between what God is and is not involved in that Scripture itself does not draw. I rarely hear anyone use this phrase when speaking of a particularly difficult or trying or devastating circumstance. We generally apply it only to the victories. The truth is, all of those are His things.

2. “God showed up in the end.”

We say this to put the power of God on display – to show that His will was accomplished and He came out victorious. The problem, however, is that it represents pretty narrow thinking on our part. The truth is that God doesn’t just show up for us in the end –  He walks with us from the very beginning. Faith doesn’t just celebrate the outcomes of God’s involvement in our issues, it learns to see and savor His presence in the midst of them. It demands we trust Him in the process, no matter the outcome, believing that whatever He may allow to unfold He has both orchestrated from the beginning and planned to be glorified through in the end.

3. “God will never give you more than you can handle.”

We say this to encourage people who are going through difficult circumstances and to ensure them they are strong enough to handle it. The problem, however, is that this passage (1 Corinthians 10:13) actually teaches there will be times we find ourselves in situations we can’t handle and that in those times the only way out is through Him. God’s intent in this is never to push us away from Him but always to pull us into greater depths of intimacy with Him, so that we might know on an entirely new level that His grace is sufficient for us and His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

4. “Where two or more are gathered…”

We say this to reassure ourselves that God hears our prayers or to justify why we don’t attend church. The misapplications are endless. Examples: Where two or more are gathered...there’s Church, or God will agree with us in prayer, or the Holy Spirit is among us. The context of this passage (Matthew 18:20) depicts the appropriate measures to be taken in administering church discipline – it s not a description of Sunday’s service or Wednesday night’s prayer meeting. It’s true that God is among us – always (see #2). It’s also true that Church is more than just a few people hanging out, and God can still be with you if you are all alone.

5. “The Bible says don’t judge.”

We say this for obvious reasons – we don’t want anyone to call us out. The problem, however, is that Jesus never says don’t hold each other in the Body of Christ accountable to truth and righteousness and holiness – He actually commands that we do, but with humility and integrity (Matthew 7:1-5). We tend to have it backwards (see 1 Corinthians 5:9-13) – we point fingers at “those sinners” outside the Church but excuse and brush under the rug the sins within. We have a responsibility to call the speck out of our brothers’ and sister’s eyes – this is love; but not to the detriment of recognizing the log in our own – this is integrity. Let’s not hide our sin behind the misapplication of this statement and miss out on the grace God wants to show us through it.

Image

I’m Tore Up, But I’m Here

I’ve been through a lot this year – mentally, emotionally, financially, even physically. This has probably been one of the worst years I’ve experienced as an adult but I’m still standing. I won’t go into all the details but suffice it to say I’ll be glad when this year is over & a new year begins.  There are times when I recall how bad things are for me but then I remember one thing – it’s not over yet.

Instead of focusing on how messed up my life seems to be, I can always concentrate on the fact that things are never as bad as they seem to be or never as bad as they could be. Do I have it relatively rough right now? Sure. But could it be worse? It sure could be. When I feel really bad about my life, I try to reflect on what the Word of God says. Think about the story of David & Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. The Israelites thought they were going to be defeated by the Philistines. They had sacrificed every fearless warrior they had but they didn’t give up; they didn’t walk into the hands of the enemy. For 40 days they were taunted by the giant Goliath and were extremely fearful of the future of their land & their people. Although they didn’t want to, they thought there was no other choice but to surrender & become servants of the Philistines. That is, until David came along killed & Goliath with one (sling) shot. This passage shows me that although I may be defeated physically, emotional drained or running low on resources, God will always send someone or something to get me out of that situation.

Another example of standing your ground no matter how bad things get can be found in Acts 16. Paul was thrown into jail on outlandish charges (Paul was often thrown into jail) and was freed only by a spontaneous earthquake. His shackles were loosed & even the guard that kept watch over him begged to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord & Savior because he saw the power of God in that 1 occurrence. I’ve never been to jail so I couldn’t possible imagine what Paul went through, but to be physically constrained on top of losing your freedom is enough to make anyone go crazy. BUT even while in prison, Paul continued to praise God (25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.). So even though Paul’s situation was tore up, he was still standing for Jesus.

No matter how hard things may get for you, just remember one thing: at least you are still standing. You still have another chance to turn things around. Things may not turn around tomorrow or even next year but nothing will stay the same as long as you are seeking the Lord.  Tell Him all your troubles and even when you feel like He’s not listening, know that He is. (I John 5:14-15 –  14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.)

So yes, you may be “tore up from the floor up”, but put your hand in God’s hand & He will guide you through the tough times. (Matthew 6: 33-3433 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.)

still here 1

If You Want To Be Blessed Don’t Reach For The Blessing, Reach For The One Who Blesses

There is a video going around that depicts Jesus giving tattoos to people who are ready to give up their inflictions and surrender them to Him. The Jesus ‘character’ absorbs all the pain & anguish from everyone else so that they can live life more freely.

This is a very important lesson for us. The video shows that we can cast all of our burdens on the Lord and He will make us whole (Psalms 68:19 – Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens). No matter how you feel about yourself, what labels others have given you or you’re just looking for God’s blessing, nothing is too big for God to handle.

So the next time you are looking to be blessed, seek God’s face 1st and He shall grant you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).

Read more about the Jesus-tattoo video below –

Tattooed Jesus On Billboards Sparks Controversy In Texas

(By Dominique Mosbergen)

Billboards emblazoned with images of a heavily tattooed Jesus Christ are causing quite a stir in a Texas city.

Part of an ad campaign by Christian outreach groupJesusTattoo.org, the billboards show a pictorial depiction of Jesus with words like “Outcast,” “Addicted,” “Hated” and “Faithless” stamped on his body. According to the Christian Post,more than 50 such billboards have been erected in Lubbock, Texas, thus far.

“The message is a simple one, Jesus’ love is transformative,” Ashleigh Sawyer, media relations coordinator for Jesus Tattoo, told the Post of the campaign. “He loves us unconditionally and no matter what you’ve been marked with, faith in Him and love for others will transform us.”

Though JesusTattoo.org, which is said to be unaffiliated with any religious organization, insists that the images are there to spread a positive message, some local residents have been rubbed the wrong way by the posters.

“I don’t like the picture. I think it’s very derogatory,” one disgruntled resident told CBS-affiliate KEYE-TV.

Another man told the news outlet that the image of Jesus is “blasphemous.”

JesusTattoo.org says that the controversy is not entirely unwelcome.

“We’re finding that those who visit the website and watch the video come to understand the message of the campaign,” Sawyer told the Post. “Certainly, like with all deeply personal relationships, not everyone approves of the image of Jesus with tattoos, but we welcome the controversy because we understand that a dialogue on the issue is the best way to spread the message.”

According to ABC News, some local Christian leaders are in full support of the group’s shock tactic.

“I thought that it was cleverly done because, basically, it’s a visual of Jesus taking the sins of people and covering them and taking them from an outcast or something and giving them a new start, which is what the gospel is about,” David Wilson, a senior pastor at Southcrest Baptist Church in Lubbock, told ABC News. “I looked it up, and I said, this is perfect because it just draws people in here.”

Jesus Tattoo has also released a six-minute YouTube video as part of their outreach campaign. In the clip, which has gone viral, a shaggy-haired man, ostensibly Jesus Christ, takes on the role of a magical tattoo artist who has the power to transform the negative labels stamped on people’s bodies into positive ones; but who, in turn, takes on those markings himself.