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I am Righteous
I am Righteous

 

“seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…all these things shall be added to you”. (Matthew 6:33)

Yesterday I was watching a show on TV that was talking about a gentleman who came to speak with a pastor was consumed by sin.  He loved God with all his heart, but he just couldn’t seem to quit smoking pot.  He said he tried and tried but he just loved to do it.

Well, he thought for sure that the pastor was going to condemn him or chastise him for his sinful behavior and tell him how horrible this was, but quite the opposite happened.  The pastor looked at him and told him that every time he thought of smoking pot and even did smoke pot that he wanted him to say ‘out loud’ that “I am the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ.”  He said, “really you want me to simply say that?”  The pastor told him yes, every time.

So, long story short, this is exactly what this man did.  He said he left there ready to go light up a joint just to see what would happen.  So, he did just that and each time he began to think about what does all of this mean?  And as he put his focus on God more and more, the desire to smoke pot became less and less until finally he realized he didn’t have any desire at all.  And to this day, he doesn’t touch pot.

Isn’t this amazing, we are the righteousness of God through Christ.  So what exactly does this mean to us?  Well, it means that Jesus is the answer.  Once we have received the Lord Jesus as our savior through faith and confession, we almost immediately try to maintain or establish ourselves as righteous in God’s sight by doing the right things and not doing the wrong things any longer. Now, it should be quite obvious that if we are genuinely saved and love the Lord Jesus Christ that we should do good things and stop doing the bad things we once did. But that is where most of us stop; never coming to understand that through Christ we have become righteous.

Besides this, even the best of the good things we do are considered filthy rags to God. Look at what Isaiah said, but we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are like filthy rags: we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You. (Isaiah 64:6,7) So we must receive Christ’s righteousness in order to be truly righteous. Our attempts at being right before God miserably fall short.

Don’t you see, when we try to establish our own righteousness we miserably come up short. When we try to maintain our salvation or the feeling of being saved by doing good things, we have failed to receive all that Christ has accomplished through the cross. We no longer have to rely on ourselves, but on Jesus.

Please hear this, if we won’t receive the fact that we are righteous in God’s sight, what’s more, that we have become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, then we destroy our faith. We remain spiritual babies that are not able to grow up in the things of God. And let’s face it, nobody wants to be around an adult who acts like a child. It eventually wears on and wears out the best of us.

We can’t afford to live another day in the deception that we are not righteous in Christ. Reject that nagging, relentless feeling that you’ll never be good enough, righteous enough, or holy enough. Where does that feeling of unrighteousness come from? The Bible says that there exist in the world an accuser, who lays the blame on us day and night (Zechariah 3:1-5 & Revelation 12:10).

Many precious brothers and sisters in the Lord just quit because the feeling of trying to measure up is too great. They just throw in the towel since they can’t escape the feeling of not ever getting it right but you can stop trying to measure up. You can cast off forever any attempt to gain God’s approval. Jesus took all of this for you.  You are righteous, now it is up to you to have the faith to believe it!

Blessings:  Heather Joyner

Yeah….I’m in Trouble
Yeah….I’m in Trouble

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember when you were a child and you would hear your brother or sister say, “Oh you are going to be in so much trouble.”  Well, isn’t life just like this?  We see trouble pressed around us in a multitude of situations in our lives.  Whether we are fighting with our loved ones, or dealing with financial troubles, or suffering the loss of a business or friend, we see trouble.  Uggh…we cry out to God and beg Him wondering…why God, why God won’t you answer me?

As I think about the times of trouble I have been through in my life, I stand and praise our Lord and Savior.  And let me tell you, I have seen my times of trouble!  But I stand firm today to tell you that God does hear and answer our prayers.  It may not be in our time or in the way that we think, but he is the great and mighty God and the answer to all of your troubles.

And let me just tell you, that when you take a leap and start to do something for God, trouble is coming. When you really start to do something for God, the devil will line up all of his cronies to come against you, but it is then that God will align His angels and stand firm to fight for you.  When you get in trouble you will discover the God that comes to your answer will and does answer you.  He is the anchor to your soul and when we are going through a time of trouble is when we will discover God.

The bible says, “call on me.”  So, what are you waiting for? Remember that God can only answer your prayers when you pray.  And I do believe it is time to open your mouth and speak power into your own life. Prayer is doing something about your situation; and when you pray Jesus is recording your each and every word. Once those words have been released, the supernatural comes into play and the storm clouds are gone.

We serve an all-powerful God.  The bible says, “call and I will answer.”  Yes, it is truly that simple.  When three Hebrew children were in the fiery flames, God himself showed up to rescue them, and he will show up for you too.  God says ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, no good thing shall the Lord withhold for those who seek His glory therefore nothing is impossible unto you.

God is right where you are, not in a building or a particular place.  God is right where you are! Noah called from the belly of a fish, Paul and Silas called from a roman prison as the angels shook the prison doors wide open.  God hears you no matter where you are!  God does not give up on us, so we should never give up on him.  So, release the power within you and prayer in your time of trouble.  Call out to God almighty.

Joel 2:32 says call upon the Lord.  He will heal you for he is the healer.  He will restore your marriage for He is the healer of the brokenhearted.  He will bring your lost loved one back, He will restore your business for He is the God of heaven and there is none like Him on heaven or the earth.  There is power in His name, the authority of the Word and the shed blood of His Son.  The God we serve is a God of power.  He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.

You do not have to wonder if God is here for you, instead look to your troubles and realize that God is aligning the heavens to answer your prayers.  Remember that God permits trouble to develop you.  Without the resistance of air, a bird cannot fly…without the resistance of gravity you would float, grapes cannot make wine until they are crushed, olives cannot make oil until they are ground.

1 Corinthians 10:13 says God, “will not allow us to be tested beyond what we can bear”.  Now this doesn’t say that we will not go through trouble, but that He will be with us and help us through our trouble.  So, do not despise your troubles, but know that your answer lies right around the corner.  God can use our trouble for our own good.

Psalm 119:7 says it is good for us to be afflicted.  So as hard as it seems sometimes, do not be sad for the Lord that we serve is holding your hand and aligning all of things for his glory.  So, call upon the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and have faith in receiving the answer to your trouble.  Our God is the great deliverer and He will not let you down.  God is not a human being and I repeat that HE WILL NOT LET YOU DOWN!

Blessings:  Heather Joyner

Coping with Loss
Coping with Loss

 

 

 

As I was sitting reading my morning Facebook posts this morning, I came upon a friend who is suffering greatly at the loss of a loved one and an extremely sick elderly grandmother.  I have walked through this families suffering and seen how hard it is to find closure to a situation which you do not have answers to give.  When we do not know or understand how or when or why a loved one has died, we can be left with a huge hole inside of us.

And that is exactly what has happened to this amazing family.  While still in the stages of grief and suffering, they are now confronted with another possible loss.  So how do you cope with all of this and remain a positive person filled with faith and love and comfort to others?  Well, this is a question many have asked and possibly are still asking.

The loss of a loved one can lead many people into fear, doubt and anger.  And this is a very normal response, so you don’t have to feel bad for this.  A situation of not knowing how or why a person’s life has ended puts Christianity to the ultimate test.  But, don’t imagine that you are the only one who has had these moments of spiritual blindness.  Even the saints had their dark days.  But they found God again and you can too.

As we look for the answers to our questions, there are several things we can do to help us along.

  1. Each morning kneel and thank God for all the joy He has brought through the years. Surrender your day to Him. Ask Christ to guide and direct you. Then all through the day think of Him as walking by your side.
  2. Read your Bible. There you will find words of wisdom and comfort, as “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (I Corinthians 13:12).
  3. Seek opportunities to help those in need. There is someone who needs your love and care. Ask God to show you who it is.
  4. Hold fast to your belief in Eternal Life. Death is not the end, but the doorway into Heaven.

This is a difficult hour for you. Remember that Jesus did not promise that His followers would escape suffering and heartache. No, He promised instead that they would have peace in the midst of pain, and be given a divine strength to support them in hours of weakness. The Bible says: “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (I John 5:4).

So, spend your days enjoying your friends and family and the company of those around you, spread the gospel of Christ to others and stand firm in your faith of eternity through Jesus.  As we sit and look at the hours and days flying by, look at what is important and stay focused.  Knowing our loved ones are waiting for us in heaven is a wonderful thing to look forward to, but when we are not sure if a loved one is saved our hearts ache.  So pour out to others how much you love them and want to spend forever with them.  And remember that even our God suffered and mourned as he watched his only Son being beaten, bruised and murdered.  But God loves us so very much that he sent Jesus to be the final offering for all of our sin.  Halleluiah, thank you Lord.

                                                Blessings:  Heather Joyner

Time Ticking Away
Time Ticking Away

Yesterday I stopped by the mall with my daughter and ran into a person I hadn’t seen in a little over a year.  It was great to see her and we started chatting away like old times.  She began telling me about how she found a friend from elementary school on Facebook last week and decided to message her.  It ended up that she only lived about an hour away from each other, even though they both grew up in a different state.  Boy is it a small world.  Anyways, she told me how they met up and spent hours laughing and remembering times and people and events from their childhood.

Well, isn’t it great to think about times past: the good, the bad and the ugly (not so much).  But one thing we do recognize is that time does tick away.  There is absolutely nothing anyone can do to change time from continuing on.  And that is why it is so important that we make sure to take every opportunity to utilize our time wisely.  We are given opportunities each day but do we really see them?

When we take the time to open our eyes, I mean really open our eyes, and look around at all of the times we have missed or could have made better.  Did you have a chance and let it pass by?  Do you have that if only I would of or wouldn’t have memory?  Well, now is the time, today is the chance to change that.  Just as the sun goes up and the sun goes down; we have a new chance each day to make a change.

Life ticks away so quickly and we do not have to live a life filled with regrets and sorrow.  God created us for so much more than that.  God created you with a defined purpose that is just your own.  So, what is your purpose in life?  Is it to just sit and watch time tick by?  I don’t think so!  Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are “God’s masterpiece, created anew in Jesus Christ to do the good things He planned for us long ago.”  Matthew 5:16 “So let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

So even when you feel like today is just a day, don’t let the time just tick away.  Make the most of your day and open your eyes.  We are surrounded with new opportunities each and every day for others to see God through us.  Today is the day and now is time.  Your chance to make a change is today, so don’t let the time just tick, tick away.

Blessings, Heather Joyner

Peace Like a River
Peace Like a River

Oh the river….so peaceful, calm and serene. As you sit upon her banks you hear the glorious flow of the water, the rustling of the leaves, and feel the soft breeze upon your face. There is a peace as you slowly watch each glistening moment flow by. Your mind goes blank and is clear of all the sorrows, anxiety and pressures of the day. I could spend my life by the river.

As I sit and contemplate on the river, I notice how life in an instant is just like the water. Each moment is captured in its own Nano-second of reality. Times come and times go; just as the rivers flow. We see a drop of water and then it is gone. There is no use trying to seek that drop again, for you cannot…it has passed and moved on.

Our lives are like that drop of water. We have moments that seem so consequential and some that seem so inconsequential. But, no matter what our moment in time consists of, it passes on. A moment can sometimes seem like an eternity, yet there it goes, never to be seen again. And just as we can never again retrieve that moment in time, many people spend all of their time doing just that. They are constantly searching for that drop of water, that moment in time….yet it has passed and is gone.

God created time and He created moments, but He did not create them to last forever. God in all of His glory gave us time. We are told in Ecclesiastes 3 that there is a time for everything, a season for everything under heaven. And yet so many spend all of their time in sorrow, grief, pain, longing and hurt. But you do not have to live your life this way. Yes, there are times that seem almost unbearable and you wonder when and how will this ever end, but there is always an end to that moment in time.

You do not have to spend your time focused on that one moment in time, that one drop of water. When we stay focused on trying to relive and retrieve that one drop of water, we miss out on so much more. There is beauty all around us and more drops of water and moments in time to enjoy.

As we place our trust in the living water of Jesus Christ, we find that we no longer have to spend eternity searching for that moment in history. We can now spend our time seeking after the source of the river, the source for each drop of water and each second of our lives.

You see, God has placed people and things and circumstances in our lives; but he does not want us to make them the center of our life. We must look to the author and creator of life, the river and moment. He is where our thoughts need to stay focused. When we take the time to place our hearts and minds to the source, we find that that one drop of water doesn’t mean so much. Why are you searching for that one drop of water when the creator of that water is searching for you?

God loves you so much that He sent His one and only Son to suffer for you. So, you don’t have to sit by the river and search for that drop of water, because Jesus has already taken it down stream. So, I want to encourage you today to keep your focus on the beauty and purity of life. God created moments in time. Some moments are happy, some are sad, some are good and some are bad, but they are all just that…..a moment and but a drop of water flowing down the stream. So quit searching for that drop of water and spend your time searching for the source so you can have peace like a river.

Word Active
Word Active

Many of us live our lives and truly believe that we are saved and that we will go to heaven one day, but so many people are not living the life that Jesus died for them to have.   Jesus died so that you may have and enjoy your life. He didn’t suffer on the cross for you to live a ho-hum, meager existence.  No, when He shed His blood on the cross for you, you were given a tremendous opportunity- an open door of blessing and favor.

God is so good and He blesses us richly.  So, why not take this authority He died for us to have?  The bible is an ever powerful teacher.  It is a book that you can never study too much.  Every time you open the Word, life seed is poured out upon you.

We are commanded to preach the Word.  2Corinithians 2:14 “Now wherever we go he uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Good News like a sweet perfume.  Our lives are a fragrance presented by Christ to God…We preach God’s message with sincerity and with Christ’s authority.  And we know that the God who sent us is watching us.”

You see, Jesus is the Word.  John 1:1-14 “In the beginning the Word already existed.  He was with God, and he was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  He created everything there is.  Nothing exists that he didn’t make.  Life itself was in him, and this life gives light to everyone.  So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us.  He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.  And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. 18 No one has ever seen God.  But his only Son, who is himself God is near to the Father’s heart; he has told us about him.”

So, if Jesus is the Word, and God and Jesus are as one, why are we not living our lives to the fullness He died for us to have?  God’s blessings are plentiful, and they are for each one of us.  The Bible, the Word is filled with scriptures of life and blessing.  Seek them out on a regular basis.  You will never know what you are missing if you don’t look inside.

Blessings:  Heather Joyner

 

JOY
JOY

Why do some find it so hard to get through the day with any joy and others seem so full of joy?  Hmm.  Don’t you just love it when you are having a full out yucky day and the person next to you is laughing and joking?  Well, I have learned this for sure….life is way too short to even let one minute go by in anguish, self-pity, regret, anger, envy, fear or if-onlys.   You see, when God created us, He saw the end.  He didn’t just look at one instance, one moment in time.  No, he saw the big picture and it is time we do too.  We, definitely talking to myself here too, need to get our minds off of ourselves.  When we take the time to look around and truly see what is going on around us, we can see what God sees.   We were created to love one another.  Jesus tells us that the greatest of all is love, and this love will last forever.  So, what exactly is love as Jesus dictates.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient and kind.  Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.  Love does not demand its own way.  Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.  Love will last forever….14 Let love be your highest goal.” Woe…that’s a big order.  So what we can see here is that God has given us a heck of a job.  And if we keep our focus where He wants us to keep it, none of the mundane every-day tasks will seem so draining.  That joy that is seen in others can be seen in us.  We can be that person that others look to and wonder, “Why on earth is he or she so happy all of the time?  I know she is a single mom with two kids just barely making it by, or I know he just lost a loved one, or I know she is up to her ears in work or just lost his job…..so where would there ever be a time to be so joyful?” Here is the answer…..dun dun dunnnnn…..get your mind off of yourself and onto ways to love others.  Yup, it really is that easy.  So, today when the pressures of life fold in around you, get your mind off of yourself.  Look up and look around.  There is a whole lot of something other than yourself going on around you.  What can you do to make someone’s day?  Dare to be that person that is always smiling, regardless of the circumstances; dare to be that happy go lucky person that others wonder about and dare to be love! I encourage you to live a life filled with love and be the person God created you to be.  Your job and your circumstances don’t define who you are.  The way you love is the answer!  “For God so loved the world that He gave  His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”   Trust me…you have serious reason for joy!  So, look up, pray often, and love others….because you were made to be JOY.

Blessings:  Heather Joyner

Living a Life Pleasing the Lord
Living a Life Pleasing the Lord

Wow, now that is a powerful title.  So many times we long to please the Lord; to live a life that is good and pleasing to Him.  We wake up in the morning with such high expectations.  We may even tell the Lord that we are going to live a day just for him.  We are gong to be nice and kind to everyone.  We are not going to lose our temper.  We are not going to think or talk bad about others.  We are not going to use bad words.

Now is time for a reality check.  Our world comes to a screeching halt!  Your son has just hit your daughter and she in turn bites him, the neighbor let their dog poop on your yard, someone cut you off while driving then slowed down to below the speed limit, an irate customer blames you for something that wasn’t even your fault, your boss belittles you in front of co-workers, and your loving husband once again forgets to put his dishes in the dishwasher or bother to thank you for the gourmet dinner you made.

Wow-sound pretty typical in your life—well, it sure does to me!  Just when I’m feeling oh so “spiritual” life happens.  And sometimes you just look around and feel like your life is in utter chaos.  You have so much on your mind, so many worries about the future, so many questions, doubts and concerns.  You are always wondering—when God when, why are you waiting so long to come through for me.  I feel like I’ve done what you have asked me to do.  I pray, I give, I study the bible, and I seek your will— but nothing.  I feel like I hear nothing.

There were so many times I cried out to the Lord, then I heard it, just one sentence—“I am proud of you.”   Huh, very interesting, the Lord is proud of me.  How can that be?  I do so many things that seem so very wrong.  I yelled at my kids.  I cursed at someone under my breath.  I let my husband’s habits annoy me.  I noticed every fault in myself.  Wait a minute.  Wait a minute.  The Lord is proud of me.  That’s right me.  He is proud of me.  Little ole me, messed up me—faults and all.  He is proud of me.  Oh thank you Lord for loving and being proud of me.  And the Lord is proud of you.  Yes, really he is!  He is proud of you.  You are his sons and daughters.  You have a promise of everlasting salvation through Christ our savior and He loves you.

No, we may not live even one single day of our lives doing everything right; but thank God for sending His wonderful son Jesus Christ.  (Romans 3:22) “We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins.  And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done.  For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard.  Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty…We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us…our acquittal is not based on our good deeds.  It is based on our faith.  So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.”  It is only through Jesus that we have this eternal hope.  We have favor and grace.  We can come boldly to the throne before God.  We are God’s partners.  So, don’t give up hope.  Even though it looks like our hopes and dreams may never be answered, God says in (2Corinthians 6:2) “At just the right time, I heard you.  On the day of salvation, I helped you.”  Indeed, God is ready to help you right now.  Today is the day of salvation.

Turn to God, cry out to God.  He will hear you and he will answer you.  Live a life to please God.  When life tries to bring you down—look up.  Look up to God and know that you know that there is so much more to living than just this life.  There is hope.  That hope lies in Jesus Christ.  As the apostle Paul wrote in (2Corinthians 13:11) “Rejoice.  Change your ways.  Encourage each other.  Live in harmony and peace.  Then the God of love and peace will be with you.”

The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7:14-25 “I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it… No matter which way I turn, I can’t make myself do right.  I want to, but I can’t.  When I want to do good, I don’t.  And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway… It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong…Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin?  Thank God!  The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”  You see, we are not all perfect, and we don’t always say and do the right thing.  But it’s okay.  God loves you and He is proud of you.  Yes, you, faults and all.  So trust Him.  Turn your heart and your life to him, and know that through Jesus you are living a life pleasing to Him.

Blessings:  Heather Joyner

Bubbles and Butterflies
Bubbles and Butterflies

We have a wonderful little saying we use for the children at school when walking through the hallways: bubbles and butterflies. This means put your hands together, put a bubble in your mouth and listen quietly. This reminds me of how we need to be in our lives. We should put our hands together in prayer, close our mouths and listen to the Holy Spirit. Sounds like this should be an easy task, right? Well, this is wrong, very wrong. This is probably one of the most difficult tasks for us as adults.

If you are anything like me, you have a difficult time keeping your opinions and your thoughts to yourself. Or perhaps you are one of those people who only think of good and wonderful thoughts and you are never challenged to speak your mind. As Jesus so lovingly put it in Matthew 7:3-5 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, ‘Friend let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”

Me, have a log in my eye, never! Please, everything I do is perfect—yeah, right. It is so easy to think we are always right and that everyone else is wrong. Well, did it ever occur to me or to you that we just might be wrong once in our life? Of course not, we are always right. Then the humble attitude kicks in. Perhaps, just maybe I might be wrong every once in a while. Uggh, it’s like a stab in the heart. Don’t you just love when the Holy Spirit steps in and tells you to catch your bubble? Then after catching your bubble, he tells you to catch your butterfly.

Listening to and following the Holy Spirit is exactly what we need to do. We need to spend our time turning to God, listening to His Word and turning to prayer. Instead of turning to God, so many times we turn to our friends instead. We love to gossip and make sure someone else knows what we know. Well, I challenge you today. Just as we expect our children to catch their bubbles and butterflies, you can make a conscience effort to choose to do the same. So, the next time you feel challenged to “express” yourself, remember that we should be (Romans 14:17-19) “living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God. And other people will approve of you, too. So then, let us aim for harmony and try to build each other up.” (Romans 15:7) “So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified.”

Blessings: Heather Joyner