Tag : jesus-2

Still Thankful For This… By Lisa Burkhardt Worley

I always wonder what would have happened if I had not been introduced to Jesus?

Would I have made different choices? Probably.

Would the hole in my heart due to fatherlessness have remained? Yes.

Would I be involved in ministry today? No.

If you are a Christian, have you ever thought what might have happened to you had you not been introduced to Jesus? I don’t know about you, but the thought scares me.

However, one thing I’ve learned, post-salvation, is that we need to be thankful for the journey and avoid longing for the past. The Israelites yearned to return to Egypt where they were enslaved before God mercifully led them out. They weren’t appreciative for what their Maker had done for them ten plagues later and after a miraculous parting of the Red Sea, so he got angry about their lack of appreciation. In Ezekiel 23, the Lord referred to this lust for Egypt as adultery. Strong words.

So what is your Egypt? What aspect of your past life do you occasionally long for?

A former job?

An old beau?

The town where you used to live?

We need to stop looking back and be thankful for where God has us right now. He has brought us to where we are today with a purpose in mind. We have to trust Him in the midst of it, whether we think life is good or we are certain it is bad. Yes, I am still thankful for salvation but I am also thankful for how God is at work in me today, many decades later.

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

Categories: Blog

Attitude of Gratitude by Mayada Naami

 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
        Worship the Lord with gladness;
        come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

(Psalm 100, 1-5, NIV)

How many of us focus on our day-to-day problems and forget to be grateful for the things that most people around the world consider a blessing? This week Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday and as a nation, we have so much to be thankful for. The United States of America has been the most materially blessed nation in modern history. I believe the nation’s rise to superpower status was birthed, some 4,000 years ago, with one man’s faithfulness to God. God called Abram to leave his country and go where He would lead him. In Genesis 17:1-6, God promised Abram that He would cause many nations and kings to come from his lineage. When Abraham, in obedience, was willing to sacrifice his only beloved son, Isaac, God made an unconditional promise to Abraham. In Genesis 22, The angel of the Lord said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

Because they have not followed me wholeheartedly, not one of those who were twenty years old or more when they came up out of Egypt will see the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob— not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the Lord wholeheartedly.’ The Lord’s anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone.

(Numbers 32:11-13, NIV)

In the above-mentioned verse, we see that the Lord’s anger burned against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness for forty years, a journey that could have taken eleven days. God wants to bless the descendants of Israel. He wants to give ancient Israel national greatness, and as Christians we believe the promise of salvation was fulfilled through Abraham’s seed in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:16). Our great nation was founded on Christian principles, and I believe we are blessed by God. Let us celebrate Thanksgiving this year with gratitude for our freedom. Freedom of our county and as believers.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

(Romans 8:1-4, NIV)

Categories: Blog

A Call to Extravagant Worship (Mark 14:1-11) by Morgan Underwood

Morgan Underwood is a Masters Student at Dallas Theological Seminary and is currently interning with Pearls of Promise Ministries. Morgan is a writer with a heart for worship as you will see in today’s blog.

I walked down my street, exhausted from classes and overwhelmed by unknowns. I wondered, “Is this worth it? Is Jesus worth it?” I knew the answer. Yes. But I wondered. As I walked and wrestled, a scent caught me. Wisteria. As a kid, I’d sit on my grandpa’s shoulders and press my nose into those blossoms. And, again, Jesus reminded me He’s worthy. In Mark 14 when Jesus sits at His friend’s table, the unexpected happens. A woman walks into the room, and she isn’t serving food. An alabaster flask preserving pure nard rests in her hands. Voices fade as she draws closer to Jesus. The silence breaks. Her hands shatter the flask— an irrevocable surrender of extravagant worship. In a scene reminiscent of the anointing of Old Testament prophets, priests, and kings, perfume trickles down the head of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The word describing the nard reveals that the perfume is faithful or genuine—an appropriate sacrifice for a faithful and genuine disciple. Rather than allowing this extravagant sacrifice to seep through their senses and into their hearts, the onlookers censure this woman’s worship. They label her sacrifice a waste—too much for Jesus, too much for Beauty Incarnate. But Jesus intercedes. “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her?” Jesus doesn’t allow any response time because there’s no good answer. “She’s done a beautiful thing to me.” Can you imagine Jesus affirming your sacrificial worship as a good and beautiful thing? He does. He sees and declares it beautiful. The onlookers said, “She’s done a wasteful thing.” Jesus said, “No. No, she’s done a good and beautiful thing.”

Jesus affirms this woman’s worship in three ways. Firstly, Jesus recognizes the scope of her insight into His sacrifice. She has a limited window of opportunity to worship the Incarnate Son who took on a poverty we’ll never grasp. He became poor for us and our salvation. Secondly, Jesus reveals the extent of her sacrifice. Somehow, this woman recognizes that Jesus will pour Himself out to the very end, and she’s compelled to pour her everything out onto Jesus. She knows He’s worthy of extravagant worship. Thirdly, Jesus promises the perpetual remembrance of this woman’s sacrifice. This unnamed woman shattered the seal of her perfume bottle, and Jesus forever seals her extravagant worship in His Word. The extravagance of Jesus compels disciples to lives of extravagant worship.

When you gaze on the extravagance of Jesus, do you pull away? Or does the extravagance of Jesus compel you towards a life of sacrificial worship? Do you ever question, “Is Jesus worthy?” In Mark 14, the unnamed woman answers, “He is.” What’s your answer? One day, my grandpa took me to the Dallas Arboretum. He led me beneath their arbor weighed down with thousands of pale, flowering cords. Beauty washed over me. Let the beauty of Jesus and the depths of His sacrifice wash over you. Allow the extravagance of Jesus and His sacrifice to compel you to extravagant worship.

“A life of self-sacrificing unselfishness is the most divinely beautiful life that man can lead…It means not that we should live one life, but a thousand lives—binding ourselves to a thousand souls by the filaments of so loving a sympathy that their lives become ours.” B.B. Warfield 

Categories: Blog

Test for Truth by Mayada Naami

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

(Romans 8:9-11, ESV)

They say the eyes are the window of the soul. Look in someone’s eyes and you will see the Spirit of Truth (if it dwells in them). In Matthew 6:22-23 Jesus says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” When you see the world through God’s eyes, your whole body will be full of light, and darkness will flee. 

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

(1 John 4:1, NIV)

I have been testing the spirits since I was a child. I remember wondering why certain people wouldn’t look into my eyes or turned away from me when I smiled at them. The more I read Scripture and spend time in the Word I realize “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). “Heavenly places” is used several times in the book of Ephesians and is translated from the Greek word epouranios, meaning “the sphere of spiritual activities.”

I believe we are spiritual beings at war; those walking with Christ are shining His Light, and those who are not are full of darkness. In Corinthians 6:14, the Bible says, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” Jesus is the Light of the world, what fellowship has Jesus with Satan? Absolutely none. Even when Jesus was tested in the wilderness for forty days by the devil, He answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Jesus was tested by Satan and passed the test, the good news is that by His Grace, we can take the test over and over again until we pass.

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” 

(2 Corinthians 13:5, NIV)

Categories: Blog

What Do You Expect by Mayada Naami

The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish

(Proverbs 10:28, ESV)

Expectations lead to disappointment which many times leads to judgment. When someone can’t accept you as you are and how you behave—if they expect you to change—they may become judgmental or controlling. We cannot control the behavior of others. We can, however, choose who to invest in and walk away from those not investing in our well-being or in the relationship. We are not responsible for someone’s actions—only for our reaction. When you do not expect anything, chances are you won’t be disappointed. Giving to others without expecting anything in return is agape love, brotherly love, or charity. It is the “love of God for man and man for God.”

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked(Luke 6:35, NIV).

As a child, I was often judged for my actions. As a result I grew up thinking that judging others was acceptable behavior. I was always concerned about how others perceived me and was in constant fear of disappointing someone or being disappointed. After surrendering my life to Christ, I now live to please my Lord and Savior. I am learning to be more compassionate and kinder to others, to ease my expectations so I do not judge people when they do not act or behave in the way I expect. I see others through the eyes of the Lord, and love on them regardless of their actions; the way the Lord loves me. I have learned to enjoy the person or relationship more when I do not have expectations. If you are not equally yoked, it’s biblical not to associate with a person lest they take you away from Peace. Love and pray for them but walk away if you are convicted in your spirit.

Life is not perfect. Removing expectations will let you appreciate life as is. Judgement only adds frustration and negativity to all your relationships. Perfectionists are never happy. When you let go of expectations, you create space to enjoy the present—the here and now. Removing expectations does not mean lowering your standards, it means letting go of unnecessary pressure you put on others as well as yourself. Expectations are an illusion that leads to disappointment. The joy of living is when you don’t have the pressure of pleasing others and you do not impose your will on others. Living without expectations requires accepting others as they are and loving them as God loves us, with grace and mercy.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

(1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NIV)

Categories: Blog