relationship

Living Single Part III

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The fear of being alone (again) is not a good reason to stay in a bad relationship.

Need Versus Want

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I never understood why this individual asked me to be in a relationship with him.

He only talked to me when he felt like talking to me.

I only saw him when he wanted to see me.

When I wanted to talk to him, I would call him, but he wouldn’t answer his phone.

How could he go days without talking to me?

How would he get to know me if he never spent time with me?

He told me a couple times that he needed me, but he never made me feel like he wanted me.

I soon realized that once he got what he needed, he wouldn’t need me anymore – until he needed something else again.

Unfortunately, this sounds like the type of relationship that a lot of Christians have with Christ.

We know that we need Him, but do we really want Him?

There’s a difference.

Examine Your Prayer Life

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When you read about the life of Jesus, He prayed for himself in John 17:1-5 and he prayed about his will in the garden, but you never read in the bible where he prayed for himself all the time. He prayed more for others than he did for himself.

And he never prayed for provision. He didn’t pray for wine at the wedding. He didn’t pray for money to pay the temple tax. When Jesus fed 5000 people (not including women and children), the disciples told him that they didn’t have enough food to feed all those people. But even though it wasn’t much, Jesus told them to give him what they had – five loaves of bread and two fish. There was no need for Jesus to pray for food. They already had food. He just thanked God for what he had and God multiplied it.

If we are worrying about things, it is either because we don’t know/understand what we have or we don’t know how to receive what He has already given.

As a small child, I never worried about what I was going to eat or what I was going to wear. I just knew that my father would take care of me. My prayer is that we will all trust our Heavenly Father the same way I trusted my earthly father. May we understand that even though we can’t see Him, He is not far from us. He is very near, but we must get closer to Him through prayer and reading His word.

This is a relationship.

Just as your Heavenly Father is responsible for you, you have a responsibility to Him as His sons and daughters. Your duty is to listen and to obey Him.

Get to know HIM. Seek Him and not just what you want from Him. Know that what you need has already been provided. Know that when you talk to God, He hears you.  Know that before you called, He answered. Don’t worry about when this is going to happen or how that is going to happen. Just believe that it will happen.

Examine your prayer life today. What do you pray about the most? If you really believe that God cares for you, then what you’ve been praying for or praying about should change.  If God is your Provider, you’re not lacking in resources. Maybe you’re just lacking in wisdom or understanding about what He has already provided.

Just as my earthly father cares about me, our Heavenly Father cares about us – and even more.

Real Love

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It is never a good idea to enter into a relationship based on how you feel because the moment the person says or does something that hurts or offends you, your feelings for that person may change. I’ve learned that you’re not going to always ‘feel’ like you love the person, but instead you must choose every day to love them.

Jesus asked Peter three times, Do you love me? Peter said, Lord, you know I love you. He also told the Lord that he was ready to go with him to prison and to death. Then, one day that love was tested. When three different people accused him of following Jesus, he denied it – three times.

Woman, I do not know him.

Man, I am not.

Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.

When you tell someone that you love them, do you really mean it?  

Well, God did. Not only did He say that He loved the world, but He proved it. While we were sinners, He gave us His son and Jesus proved and demonstrated his love to us. He didn’t wait until we stopped practicing sin or until we did everything right and then He loved us. He made a decision to love us even if we never loved Him back.

Now that’s real love.

How Far Are You Willing to Go?

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Now the Lord had said to Abram, Get out of your country from your family and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.

I will make you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great and you shall be a blessing (Genesis 12:1-2).

God is telling some of you what He told Abram because He wants you to go where you’ve never gone before and He wants you to do what you’ve never done before.

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he was going (Hebrews 11:8).

Abraham had faith and obeyed God. He was told to go to the land that God had said would be his, and he left for a country he had never seen (Contemporary English Version).

Faith motivated Abraham to obey God’s call and leave the familiar to discover the territory he was destined to inherit from God. So he left with only a promise and without even knowing ahead of time where he was going, Abraham stepped out in faith (The Passion Translation).

To go to a place that you don’t know sometimes will require you to leave a place that you do know. For Abram to become what God promised in Genesis 12:2, he had to first obey Genesis 12:1. Sometimes the hardest thing for us to do is to leave certain people. Abram couldn’t leave Lot. That was his nephew. But the thing Abram found hard to do finally had to be done. There had to be a separation.

Sometimes the person you refuse to let go of is the person who is keeping you from seeing what God promised. The moment Lot left Abraham to enter the land he had chosen, then Abraham could see what God had promised.

And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot was separated from him, Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are – northward, southward, eastward and westward. For all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever (Genesis 13:14).

You are different, but you keep fighting to remain the same. You are not like the others, but you try to be like them. Like Israel, you want what the other nations have when they be should desiring what you have. You should be like Peter, who chose to walk on water while others chose to stay in the ship.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7:13).

God is making you, but you’re fighting the way He is taking you because the way is not always easy. You fight it because you would rather walk with many than to walk with a few, but the way that many are taking leads to destruction.

When I talk about going to a place in God that you’ve never been before, I’m not talking about a physical location. I’m talking about a spiritual location. I’m talking about your relationship with Him. I’m talking about getting closer to Him than you’ve ever been before. I’m talking about you drawing so close to Him that He asks, Who touched me?

God wants us to come up higher and to come closer. Zaccheus climbed a tree to see Jesus. Moses climbed a mountain and God spoke to him face to face as a man speaks to his friend.

Terah took his grandson (Lot), his son (Abram) and his daughter-in-law (Sarai) and they left Ur to go to the land of Canaan, but when they reached Haran, they settled there. Abram’s father died never entering Canaan. Abram, on the other hand, refused to settle and he chose to go all the way.

Now…

Do you want to go to a place in God that you’ve never been before? And if so, how far are you willing to go?

You Are Loved

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Valentine’s Day is in nine days…

And I know some of you would like to be in a relationship.

And God may send you someone.

And he/she may love you, but no one will ever love you like HIM.

Do you know what it feels like to love a person who doesn’t love you back?

But God wanted you when you didn’t want Him.

He chose you before you chose Him.

And He loved you when no one else loved you.

He didn’t wait until you were easy to love, but He loved you when you were hard to love.

So, if you are single, separated or divorced, please know that you are not waiting to be loved, but you are already loved.

 

For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8, AMP)

But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him (Romans 5:8, MSG)

While we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display (Romans 5:8, VOICE).

Be Like a Tree That Is Planted

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When it was told to Jesus that his mother and brothers were outside looking for him, he told them, Whoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, sister and mother  (Matthew 12:46-50, Mark 3:31-35)First, Jesus defines what true relationship is with the Father.  Then, he tells a parable about four different soils to show us where we are in our relationship with the Father (sower).

As the sower sowed seed, some fell by the way side, some fell among thorns and some fell on good ground, but I want to talk about the seed that fell on stony places (Matthew 13:5).  Out of all the soils, this seed was the only one that sprouted quickly, but because it wasn’t rooted deep enough, it lacked water and had very little soil, it burned and withered away as soon as the sun arose.  Unfortunately, it never did what it was planted to do.  It never produced fruit. 

The seed is the word of God (Luke 8:11).  The seed that fell on stony places are like those who receive the word of God with joy.  They are excited about hearing the word. They believe at first, but as soon as things get hard or as soon as problems come, the excitement wears off, they give up and they stop believing.  Matthew and Mark tells us that affliction and persecution comes as a result of the word.  It comes the moment you decide you are going to live the word and not just hear the word.

Luke didn’t use the word, stony.  He tells us that some of the seed fell on a rock (Luke 8:6).  I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how much preaching, teaching or prophecies that I hear.  If I refuse to change my ways, to obey God or to resist temptation, I am always going to be a ‘rocky’ Christian – in today, out tomorrow.  Up today, down tomorrow.  Believe God today, doubt God tomorrow.

Everything starts in seed form, but God never intended for it to remain a seed.  God desires change.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper (Psalm 1:3).

You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain (John 15:16).

Did you know that something can grow quickly and yet still not be fully mature?  Every seed has the potential to grow, but it can’t fully  grow in certain conditions.  If you neglect a plant and it dies, then you can’t neglect the word and expect to grow.  You must hear the word again and again.  This is how faith comes.

God doesn’t want us to be like the fig tree mentioned in Luke 13.  After three years, there was still no figs on this tree.  One of the things I learned about a fig tree is that it cannot bear fruit until it first reaches maturity.  Think about how disappointed you would be if you planted a tree, but year after year you never saw any fruit. Now think about the people who are waiting for you to grow into what God has called you to be.  Think about the people who need you to be obedient in this season.  Think about those who are stumbling because you refuse to be a burning and shining light (John 5:35).

There are things we have missed because we uprooted ourselves too quickly.  Because we thought God was taking too long or because the truth offended us, we moved and planted ourselves somewhere else – but you will soon realize that you aren’t mature enough for the place you moved to.  I remember one year we had a bad storm.  As I was driving the following day, I noticed all the trees that didn’t make it – that weren’t able to endure the storm.  Because they weren’t ready or prepared for what was coming, some of them were bent over, some were broken while others were completely uprooted.  God doesn’t want this to happen to us.

If you run every time things get difficult or uncomfortable, you are only running from the things that can make you grow.  You are delaying the promise.  You are making the wait longer.  The purpose of planting is for growth.  Wherever God has planted you, stay there.  He placed you there so that you may grow in wisdom and in stature.  Let where you are develop godly character and the fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

I know some bad things have happened in your life.  You probably thought it was unfair and you can’t understand why it happened.  You were mad with people and with God, but don’t let ‘life’ keep you from growing.  God has given you grace to grow through it.  Stop getting mad and offended over things so easily and grow up.  The enemy wants you to be rooted in bitterness, which can contaminate and ruin the lives of others (Hebrews 12:15), but God wants us to be rooted and built up in him (Colossians 2:7) so we can help rebuild (not ruin) lives.

It amazes me how God knew from the very beginning who would bear fruit and who would not, yet He gave us seed anyway.  God loves you that much.  He wants you to prosper and He wants you to bring forth your fruit in your season, but this will never happen if you don’t remain planted.  God doesn’t want you moving from church to church or from relationship to relationship.  He is not confused.  He knows the plan He has for you.

This is why relationship with the Father is so important.  Going to church once or twice a week is not enough.  Spend time with Him and learn of Him.  Learn His voice.  Learn how to trust Him so that when things get rocky, you don’t get rocky and leave Him, but you remain in the Vine.

Jesus told those who believed on him that if they continued in his word, then they were his disciples indeed (John 8:31).  Some of us don’t have a problem starting a thing.  We have a problem continuing a thing.  You know – sticking it out and consistently obeying God.  Some believers want to be a tree, but they don’t want God to deal with their root – of pride, bitterness and all those things that keep us from bearing good fruit.  Remember, you are not just bearing fruit for yourself, but you are bearing fruit to plant seeds in others so that they may bear fruit, also.  Be fruitful and multiply.

Just don’t be like a tree, but be like a tree that is planted.