Tag : jesus-2

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

Happy and Sappy by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

The Texas 100-plus heat has really zapped some of my plants. If I don’t water them every day, then their life expectancy is not good. But sometimes I get busy and forget about them. 48 hours without water can be deadly.

We all know what a dead plant looks like. If you take one of its branches and break it in half, there is no life in it. It’s brittle, without sap, and the plant has to be uprooted and thrown away. I’ve discarded more plants than I’d like to admit.

Sometimes as we age, we might think we are like an old dead plant and that people want to discard us. Life can also be hard and we may feel like we can’t take the heat anymore. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Psalm 92:15 says, “They will still yield fruit in old age. They will be full of sap and freshness” (TLV). Who are they? Psalm 92 says it is the righteous—those of us who follow God and who are doing our best to live a godly life.

I am going to be honest. There are times when I don’t feel I can handle all that is on my plate. I am getting older and not quite as energetic as I used to be. I often crash early at night, This has been an especially busy week with company, television tapings and a conference. I need a break. But when I feel like I’m my driest, I realize I have most likely lost connection with the Living Water, Jesus, who refreshes me in His presence and in His Word. It takes an intentionally slower stretch, a good night’s sleep and an extra-long quiet time. It’s then that I start to feel the sap running through my limbs and I make a difference for Jesus again.

Most of the speakers at the conference I attended this week were probably in their early 40’s. They were younger, thinner and at the top of their game. There were moments where I felt like my season was over. I had to dismiss that thought. It’s straight from the enemy. He wants us to retire. One less to worry about!

For those of you who might feel like their best days are behind them, I want you to know that you have a lifelong assignment to glorify God and are never too old to be used by Him. There are no retirement incentives in the Bible. All you have to do is spend some time in His Word. Pray that he refreshes you and gives you His supernatural energy. Then tell Him you want to be used in a powerful way. The wilting plant will thrive again, you will bear fruit in the Kingdom, and you’ll be both happy and sappy.

Categories: Blog

Be Kind, Not Nice by Mayada Naami

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.(Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

Are you a people pleaser? Have you struggled with setting boundaries and wondered what the Bible says about being “nice” to others? Raised Catholic, I was often told to turn the other cheek when anyone hurt me, and so I did. I often turned my cheek from side-to-side and allowed many “hurts” in my life without setting any healthy and clear boundaries. In Mathew 5:38-39, Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” I often wondered how Jesus, Lover of truth, and justice, is telling us to sit back and accept lies and injustice. As I grew in my relationship with Him, I had a clearer understanding of what this Scripture means to me as it relates to my relationships.

As a child, I was being taught this verse in the context of being “nice” to avoid conflict. In essence, I was being trained to be passive—accepting any injustices or unfair treatment that I was experiencing. This carried over into my adult relationships, which resulted in two failed marriages and conflicts in other areas of my life; work related and in personal friendships. When Jesus says do not resist an evil person, I believe He is telling us not to avoid or fear an evil person. I also believe He is telling us to stand tall and confront this evil person by not backing down from the conflict that may arise. Turn the other cheek, like a boxer during a fight. He clearly tells us not to seek revenge or hold a grudge, but to stand firmly with both feet planted in the Word.

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord(Romans 12:19, NIV).

So, what is the difference between being “nice” and being “kind” according to the Word? I have searched for the word “nice” in the Bible and have not found it, therefore, I can confidently state it is not a biblical term. However, the Bible mentions “kindness” in over two-hundred instances and the word “kind” over four-hundred times. Kindness is being merciful, gracious, and tender-hearted while being just and righteous before God. We are to focus on pleasing God—not people. Jesus says to exercise kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth, for in these He delights. Strive to be kind, not nice!

This is what the Lord says:

“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
    or the strong boast of their strength
    or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
    that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
    justice and righteousness on earth,
    for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.

(Jeremiah 9:23-24, NIV)

Categories: Blog

Are Demon’s Real? by Mayada Naami

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms(Ephesians 6:12, NIV)

Have you ever asked this question or wondered if Satan exists? For many, this question is something we avoid for fear that if we speak of his existence, we may conjure him up. The expression “Speak of the devil, and he will appear” was meant to warn people not to talk of the devil. As believers we must not fear the power of evil. Jesus gave us, through His precious name and blood, the authority over the enemy; the father of lies.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world(1 John 4:4, NIV).

If you are in Christ, He dwells in you and empowers you. He is greater than the enemy who wants to rule the world. As Christians, we praise Jesus for His authority over all evil and all things hurtful to His creatures. Through His Word we declare the devil and his demons powerless. The best weapon we have in consistently defeating Satan is Scripture. God freely provides us with the spiritual armor we need to stand against the fiery darts of the enemy. Truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the Bible, and prayer are all powerful ways to fight and win every spiritual battle. Satan, through temptation, may sometimes hinder you, but he cannot possess a Christ follower. When we are living in the Word, the Apostle John says we have a “sealing.” Through declaring faith in our Lord and His present rule and reign, demons flee.

And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues(Mark 16:17, NIV)

Jesus spoke to a demon seven times and cast out a demon twelve times in the Gospels. In Matthew 4:10 Jesus says, “Be Gone, Satan! For it is written, “’You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”’ The Word tells us Satan and demonic spirits are real. Still today, demons are roaming the earth looking for someone who has a crack in their armor. Pray for the Word to strengthen your faith and to shield you so you can stand and fight the spiritual battles in your life. To defeat every adversary, guard your heart and focus your mind on Truth. In Jesus’ powerful name every knee, including Satan’s, shall bow.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things(Philippians 4:8, NIV)

Categories: Blog

Are You Saved? By Mayada Naami

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NIV).

What does it mean to be saved? I never understood that term until I experienced the power of the Holy Spirit for the first time at 42 years old. For the first time, in my brokenness, I surrendered control and submitted my will to His. It was then He spoke to me, not audibly, yet I distinctly heard His voice. In John 10:27, Jesus says His sheep will know His voice and follow Him. That day I started following Him.

It was the beginning of my relationship with Jesus, and because of Him, I was set free from condemnation. When He spoke, He created my new life, a life where I am freed from the penalty of sin and in death, free from the presence of sin. As Christians, contrary to what some people believe, being “saved” does not give us permission to sin. For me it means I am committed to staying near my Shepherd, and when I wander away, I will listen for His voice and find my way back. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Whoever is committed to sin, commits sin. Whoever makes allowances for sin is a slave to sin and is in bondage. The good news is that Jesus came to set us free. We don’t need to be enslaved by guilt or shame; we can repent—change our mind—about our commitment to sin and rejoice in our salvation.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

(John 10:27-30, NIV)

Soon after Peter was empowered, he preached his first gospel message saying “repent” (which means to change your mind), be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit. It is that simple. As believers, the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each of us for some benefit. We are all parts of one body, the body of Christ. We are all baptized into one body and made to drink of one Spirit. This faith preserves the life of God in our souls. In Acts 1:8, Jesus says you will receive power when (not if) the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be His witnesses to all the ends of the earth, We are called to witness and rejoice in the power of the Holy Spirit, and to bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When a person repents of their sin and believes in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit enters their heart, and the believer is spiritually united with God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They become part of the body of Christ and Christ lives in them. What a beautiful gift available to us all!

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.

(1 Corinthians 12:12-18, NIV)

Categories: Blog