Godly Decisions: A New Church Home


814

It takes a while to get settled in a new city. There are so many new places to discover and explore. New routines must be developed such as finding the neighborhood grocery store and post office. We’ve also had to make some difficult decisions like which doctor or dentist we should go to. Some exploring has been fun, like finding new restaurants, but the most challenging place to find has been a new church home. This was necessary for us to feel completely settled, and develop a sense of belonging and purpose. Of course we could have stayed members of our previous church and worshiped on-line, but there are Biblical reasons to belong to a local church.

  1. The Psalms guide us to God’s dwelling place. “How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty,” Psalm 84:1. Also, Psalm 26:8, “Lord, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.” We can’t fully enjoy the Lord if we don’t regularly attend a local church.

chuch

  1. Hebrews 10:24-25 commands believers to meet together to encourage one another, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
  1. Local church leaders help us grow spiritually. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 instructs us, “Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.” Hebrews 13:17 also tells us, “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”

We knew that we needed God’s help to find a new place to worship in. It had to be a place where we can grow and serve. We turned to God and Scripture to lead us. We prayed and asked God for wisdom and guidance as we “shopped” for a new church to attend. In Acts 16:6-10, Paul was led by the Spirit where to preach and where not to preach. It’s the same with us. The Holy Spirit will lead us where we should go, we just need to ask.

James 1:5

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

We did an exhaustive internet search then called several churches to ask questions. We wanted to review their doctorial statements, and to learn about what programs were available for our children. We asked about missions and volunteer needs. We even wanted to know how the church spent their money. We found several places to visit.

Part of getting guidance from God is to understand when He is telling you “No.” We visited several churches that preached the Word of God, and had places to serve, but they weren’t right for us. How did we know? When I perceive God telling me “No,” I don’t feel good about the situation. I may not know exactly what is wrong, but I know something is not right. It’s God’s way of warning me. In Acts 16:6-7 Paul was led, and stopped by God’s Holy Spirit. We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so we can discern what God wants us to do, and not do. More prayer was needed to ensure we were understanding God correctly.

Something interesting happened as we searched. God said “No” to the church we thought we would join. Part of correctly hearing God’s voice is not to go where you want to go, but where God wants you to go.

god leads

Yesterday, we visited a local church, again. All the elements are there, and it feels right. But there is one more step. We are waiting for confirmation from God. Scripture also commands us to be still. Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” By just waiting on God He will let us know, one way other the other, that we have discovered the place just right for our family.

Blessings to you as you make decisions and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

 

Scripture: http://www.biblegateway.com

Images: google images

Advertisements

The Power of Unbelief


Things are tough at my house too. I needed to read this blog post. I hope it blesses you!

Journey to the Hills

photo (49)You’ve heard the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” Well, it’s getting pretty tough around our house. The excitement of the new school year is worn off and the real work has begun…for all of us. There have been tears and hard talks coming from within our walls to help encourage and spur us to keep persevering, to give our very BEST and not to settle for anything else. The real battle that I see taking place is in the mind. The power of unbelief sneaks in and wreaks havoc on us before we even know what hit us.

Have you been there? Have you ever told yourself that you can’t do something because it just seemed too hard? Have you ever wanted to quit before you even started trying? Or maybe you have already determined in your mind that someone else is better than you…

View original post 507 more words

Oblivious to the Blessings


blessings

I was living an almost charmed life.

My adopted home town was a very safe and livable community where everything I wanted or needed was nearby. The schools my children attended were great. I had wonderful, close friends, and a good job. I was a member of a significant church that reached out to everyone and had programs for all types of people. I lived in that community for 20 years. I expected life to always be that way. I thought I had a grateful heart, but looking back, I was oblivious to how fortunate my circumstances were.

This past summer we moved to another state. My expectations were that we would live in a similar community and attend a church similar to the one we just left. I thought I would find a job quickly and make new friends easily. I expected life to be the same, I would just have a different address. The truth is, it’s been an adjustment.

Thinks are different here, not wrong, just different. It is more than the names of streets and where to shop, the local culture is different too. It’s a way of life that in some ways doesn’t value what I took for granted. This difference has made me appreciate all I had even more. I was truly blessed living in in that small community in Texas. At the time, I didn’t see, and certainly didn’t appreciate, how God was showering me with His Love all the time I lived in that other city. He was feeding me, nourishing my soul. He blessed me in so many ways, but most of all, He blessed me with Himself.

Now that I am not experiencing the same circumstances I feel like my spiritual life is parched. I’ve been thanking God for what I had, and have asked Him to relieve the drought I am experiencing now. But that request is wrong. There’s a passage in the Old Testament explaining that when there is drought do not lose confidence because God has blessed you with deep roots.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

This passage reminds us that God will keep us filled, despite difficult situations. But the passage goes on to instruct us to bear fruit in every season, even during a dry spell. I can’t (and shouldn’t try to) recreate the same situation I was in. Instead, I should use my experiences to be a blessing to others. I didn’t realize it at the time but our great God was preparing me to go out into the world to do just that. Luke 6:45 tells us, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”  God filled my heart. Now it’s time to share what I was given.

Someday I will experience abundance again, but this time, I pray to not be oblivious to the blessings God sends my way. James 1:17 reminds us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” It doesn’t matter what the situation is, God is all I need.

May the Lord richly bless your day as you share your blessings.

betheblessing

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Images: google images.

A Life Road Map


productivity-treasure-map

Genesis 12:1

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”

Deuteronomy 31: 8

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

 

God opened up a new opportunity for my family. It was a call to move to a new place, to leave everything that was familiar. Now we’re here. In an unfamiliar city. We’re in a rental house. My children aren’t happy, and I haven’t found my purpose either. I have too much time on my hands. So what do we do now that we’re here?

For the Christian, the predictable answer is to turn to the Lord, but that’s easy to say and hard to do. During my quiet time I have found my mind wandering. I think about not having a job yet, that my children are unhappy, and I am lonely. I think about my friends back home, and the things I would be doing if I was still there. I turn to Facebook. I think about everything but God.

It occurred to me that God just wants me for Himself for a little while. I need to spend more time just loving Him. I need to let Him feed and strengthen me in preparation for what He has planned next. That “next” may be tomorrow, or next month, or next year. Now is the time to prepare. To do that I need to separate myself from the distractions of this world and focus on God. But how?

I’ve been reading a series of books by James Bryan Smith. I finished reading The Good and Beautiful God (I highly recommend this book.) I’ve just started the second book in his series, The Good and Beautiful Life. In an early chapter, Smith suggests an exercise – to write a letter to God about what you want your life to look like. This takes some thought – it’s an exercise that requires you to think about God, and His plans for you, not just your own desires. Psalm 37:4 tells us, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.” So what are those heart’s desires?” I trust God will let me know.

As Smith suggested, I wanted to write a letter to God about what I want my life to look like, but it was an overwhelming thought. I avoided the exercise for several days. Finally, I realized I had to break it up into more manageable pieces. So I thought about all the aspects of my life and wrote to God about what I want in these areas: Spiritual, Family, Marriage, Friendships, Financial, Health, Work, Hobbies, and Relaxation. It was easier to focus on just one aspect of who I am, then move on to the next. As I finished my letter, a familiar verse came to mind.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

I trust that God does have a bright future in store for me, but I’m impatient. I want to know what it is. Now. Jeremiah 29:11 is a frequently quoted verse, but do we really think about it fully? The verses that follow verse 11 are perhaps more important to understanding verse the verse itself.

Jeremiah 29:11-14

11 For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you”—this is the Lord’s declaration.  (Emphasis mine).

So that’s the key. It’s time to search for God with my whole heart, and no preconceived ideas. It was time to rewrite my letter to God, this time praying for the Holy Spirit to guide my prayer. The end result is a more than a letter; it is a road map for my life, blessed by God. As you look at the life before you, consider talking to God about how he created you and what he created you for. You may find God has actually given you a treasure map. After all, He only wants the best for you.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Psalm 32:8

 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Blessings on your day.

Image: google images

Scripture:  www. openbible.info