Hey guys. So today, I have the opportunity of being a part of Angela Watts of The Peculiar Messenger‘s blog tour for her new book entitled The Divided Nation; an apocalyptic novel that deals with several Christian themes and is the first book in a new series called the Infidel Books.
As a part of the blog tour, I am doing an interview with the author herself about her latest book and what inspired the series.
Does it mean that Christians can’t have certain things? That we have to live a particular lifestyle? Yes and No. As Christians, we are called to live according to God’s Word and what He has called us to do. We are also called to not conform to the ways of the world.However, in my opinion, we are allowed to have things and use them but how we use them does matter and that includes the gifts and abilities we’ve been given by our Heavenly Father.
Revelation 3:15-16 (NKJV): “15. I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
C.S. Lewis stated, “God gives His gifts where He finds the vessel empty enough to receive them.”
How are we utilizing the gifts we’ve been given? Are we using them for our own personal gain? To get recognized by the people around us? Or we are using our gifts to glorify God?
So, how should we as Christians go about giving our gifts to the Lord?
Well, throughout the Bible; we’ve been called to serve God with our spiritual gifts and one such instance is in the Book of Romans. In Romans 12:4-8, it says, “4. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,5. so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.6. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7. or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8. he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”
As shown within this passage of Scripture, the Apostle Paul, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit speaks on this topic and how we as Christians; despite our differences in how we interpret Biblical Scripture, we are all given gifts in order to bring glory to God and not ourselves. This is something that I continue to struggle with, seeing as how I want to use my gifts the way that I feel they should be used and that is seriously prideful of me.
“Despite our differences in how we interpret Biblical Scripture, we are all given gifts in order to bring glory to God and not ourselves.”
In a recent blog post by T.R. Noble of Inside Cup entitled “I Gave God What I Enjoyed & He Gave Me Something Better” she stated that “Every single one of us has been gifted with talents by God, but that does not mean everyone will use it for Him.” I agree with this quote by T.R. because we all have been given gifts by our Heavenly Father and not judging actors, actresses and famous singers but how we use our gifts can show others where our relationship with God really lies.
Our relationship with God in my opinion truly starts with our willingness to give God everything that we have and that includes the gifts/talents that God has given us.
Some of the other quotes within T.R. Noble’s blog post that I feel truly inspired me and prayerfully encourage you in your walk with God are just stepping stones to continue pursuing Christ.
“What are we pushing off that we don’t think is a big deal?”
“He taught me so much about what it meant to deny our flesh. It hurts at first, sometimes a lot. It doesn’t mean we’re a bad Christian for having this reaction.”
“It means we are saying no to our flesh and selfish desires. It means we are denying what is trying to get us to deny Christ.”
“… we sometimes see only the big temptations we want to get rid of.”
“Giving up what is not Christlike helps me be an example, it truly draws me closer to Christ and makes my life all about Him. It gives Him glory and He absolutely deserves it!”
“Is what I am exposing myself to through watching, listening, or even playing, is it truly Christlike, does it stand for what Christ stood for, could it tempt me with deception and sin?”
“… if anything you watch or listen to does go against Christ please consider how that affects your walk with Him. Even if it seems small… one day a seed becomes a tree. Everything adds up in our life.”
T.R. Noble says, “Is what I am exposing myself to through watching, listening, or even playing, is it truly Christlike, does it stand for what Christ stood for, could it tempt me with deception and sin?”
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (NKJV) says, “4. There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5.There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.”
These verses by the Apostle Paul to the people of Corinth should remind us as Christians today that we are given different gifts by our Heavenly Father and that how we utilize these gifts should bring others to Christ and not to satisfy our own egos.
What is truly interesting about this quote by Lizzie is that I feel that she is right in the sense that despite our desire to live against the culture of the world; we still take, earn and strive to better ourselves and not about the gift of giving to others and maybe receiving nothing but a “Thank You” in return.
In her article, Lizzie Milani has a couple of quotes that I feel we as Christians can relate to as we go about our own walk with Christ and learn what it means to give to the Lord.
“Giving and receiving is of one piece. It’s not either or. To do one well, you must learn to do the other.”
“You can’t give what you’re unwilling to receive.”
Lizzie Milani stated, “You can’t give what you’re unwilling to receive”
This actually reminds me of a song by William McDowell entitled “Withholding Nothing.”To me, this song is truly amazing because it captures what it means to surrender everything we have to God: Our gifts/talents, fears, insecurities, weaknesses, and strengths. So, what are we giving to the Lord? Are we giving Him only the things that we want to give Him?
“I surrender all to you
Everything I give to you
As the chorus of the song says, we surrender all that we have and give everything we have to the Lord God. But are we? In today’s culture it’s so easy for us; proclaiming ourselves be Christians to utilize our God-given gifts for monetary or temporary gain. However, this shouldn’t be our desire. What’s truly interesting about this quote is that as Christians; we must be willing to give up that thing that is keeping us from embracing the gifts God is trying to give us.
At the beginning of this post, I did a quote by C.S. Lewis and I do think that it’s important that we allow ourselves to be empty of those things that we don’t need so that our Heavenly Father can fill us up with better things.
“… we must be willing to give up that thing that is keeping us from embracing the gifts God is trying to give us.”
In the end, though what are we really doing in terms of our relationship with God? Are we willing to give God everything? For me, I think it’s about time that I do because I know that if I continue on the way I’m going; it’s not going to end well. Everything we do with the gifts we’ve been given should be done to bring honor and glory to the One who gave us these gifts in the first place.
So, what are you doing with the gifts you’ve been given?
Well, throughout the Bible, we oftentimes see this word “rest” through the lens of God resting after Creation but what I’m talking about is a different kind of rest. In my opinion, I define resting in God as a state of surrender to Him; being willing to listen to His voice when we are lost.
Psalms 46:10 (NKJV) says, “10. Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
As Psalms 46:10 says, we are to be still and recognize that He is God. But how can we do this when our own relationship with Him is struggling? Even if we are Christians, we are still human and as such, fall prey to our own devices but despite this, we are called to stand out from the world we are in; being called to renew our minds.
Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV) says, “1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
We are called to continue to renew our minds in Christ but how can we do this if our minds are constantly active; thinking about what to do next and what other projects or assignments we need to get done? Well, we rest. We take the time to calm our mind and focus on God.
“It’s when we begin to stop and focus on God and who He is in our lives that we can begin to build our relationship with Him.”
In a recent devotional I read entitled “Seeing With the Eyes of Jesus” I learned so much about just taking the time to interact with the people around us; just like Jesus did when He was on Earth. However, because we are humans, we are always on the move and as such, we don’t always see the needs of the people around us, but Jesus did. He took the time to get to know the hurting, sick and those that were deemed unworthy by the society of His day. Are we doing the same?
“The hustle and bustle of our daily lives can cause us to become so focused on our own needs, agendas, and to-do lists that we don’t have the capacity to see or step into the needs of others.”
I recently read a blog post by Lynn Abbotts of Through Ink and Image entitled Revue: In Stillness and it is amazing; particularly in regard to how it relates to us as Christians in our relationship with God. In the blog post, Lynn Abbotts states that “I don’t believe “being still” has ever been easy for the humanity. We know exactly what needs to be done, what needs to be said, or what needs require filling. And we restlessly plunge ahead without giving our direction much forethought.”
However, this wasn’t the only quote that really touched me as a Christian and I feel that there are others that can encourage us as Christians.
“He [Saul] turned the wrong way on a one way street. Destruction loomed. His compass needed realignment. And it took more watt-age than mere headlights to stop him.”
“During the three days that he waited in darkness, Saul probably did a lot of soul-searching. In the stillness, he listened for word from God.”
“Paul initially placed his confidence in human wisdom but a genuine encounter with Christ showed him the futility of racing down the wrong avenue.”
“God’s timing and path are frequently unexpected.”
“After all, God’s Word tells me again and again to wait on the Lord.”
“And so it is with you and me. When my pace slows, when I stop and listen, I hear my heavenly Father’s gentle whisper. His grace guides me.”
“I would first consult Abba’s Word, His road map. Abba’s truth helps me recognize those one way streets.”
“… even when you and I have gone our own way, Paul’s life demonstrates that our God will gently and graciously redirect us.”
“In fact, grace calls me to be still and know that Abba is God. When I slow down in His presence, I willingly allow Him to handle whatever my day entails.”
Lynn Abbotts said, “When I am hurried or impatient, I invariably take a wrong turn, and head in a disastrous direction.”
Psalms 37:7 (NKJV) says, “7. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of Him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.”
This also reminds me of a song by Johnny Diaz called Breathe. In this song, I feel it speaks a lot on us as Christians being patient and how because we are so busy in our everyday lives; we never stop to take a breathe and rest at Christ’s feet. What is truly interesting about this song is the fact that I regularly listen to this song when I feel that I am so busy that I never took the time to listen or read God’s Word.
“Building a relationship with God requires us to sometimes stop and take a moment to breathe. Like may keep going but our relationship with God can determine where we live eternally.”
It also reminds me of a blog post by Sue Love of Run With It entitled “Dependence on God”. In this blog post, Sue Love talks about what it means to be dependent on God when we are struggling in our lives and when we are weary. She stated that “So, if we are followers of Jesus Christ, we learn to take our burdens to the Lord and to lay them at his feet. And, we learn to rest in him and to not fret.”
Sue Love’s quote about laying our burdens at the feet of Jesus is something that I feel all Christians, new and those who grew up in the faith all have to come to grips with in our own lives and eventually our relationship with God.
Also, within the blog post, Sue Love has several quotes that I feel we as Christians can relate to when it comes to not just our relationship with God but also us as Christians resting in Him.
“Even if we feel fear, which we sometimes will, we give it over to the Lord, and we let him fill our hearts with his peace.”
“… we have to make this our regular practice to recognize when we are feeling fear, and then to immediately take our fears to the Lord in prayer and to hand them over to him, and to keep handing them over to him, and then to keep turning our hearts to him in prayer and in resting in him.”
“So, their [Satan and his fallen angels] lies may be very subtle and may be mixed in with the truth. So, what they say may sound like truth. It may sound good to our ears. So, we need to pray for much discernment so that we don’t get trapped by their lies.”
“… if we want to have discernment so that we do not fall into a web of deceit, and get tricked into believing lies, then we need to be grounded in the Word of God.”
“… We must not only know what the Word teaches us, but we must be ones who put the Word into practice.”
“Jesus has to be our Rock, our solid foundation. And, our trust has to be wholly in him, and our hearts yielded to him, if we are going to walk in victory over darkness and live in the light of truth.”
Sue Love said, “We can’t be giving the devil a foothold in our lives because we are dabbling in things we know are wrong for us, and then wonder why we don’t have victory. We have to put off the old in order to put on the new. The old has to die for the new, in Christ, to be able to thrive.”
As Christians, we have to continue to build our relationship with God with Him, but it has to start with us. We have to begin to rest aside that which we need God to get rid of and give it all to Him. This reminds me of a song by Shana Wilson entitled Press In Your Presence and this song is truly amazing; it focuses a lot on our relationship with God and how we are to press into Him and behold who He is.
If I can just press, press in your presence
behold the beauty of your face
If I can just press, press in your presence
and never leave this place again
If I can just press, press in your presence
and leave all my cares behind me
I will behold, I’ll still believe, I will just lay, Lay at your feet
For I will behold I’ll still believe, I
will just praise, Praise at your feet
I will behold, I’ll still believe, I will
just lay, Lay at your feet
For I will behold, I’ll still believe, I
will just praise, Praise at your feet
Right Here In Your Presence
In the end, though, how we learn to build our relationship with God depends on us as Christians. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) says, “5. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” We are called to trust in God with all of our hearts and as such, we need to let Him direct our paths; but how can we do this if we are still human beings?
This blog post will actually be a continuation from a previous post that I did focusing on this topic of following after Christ. So, here’s a question that I want to ask as I begin this blog post:
What Legacy Will We Leave Behind When We Die?
Luke 9:25-26 (NKJV) says, “25. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? 26.For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.”
What is our legacy as Christians? In a recent devotional that I read entitled “Funeral Finances”, it stated that “Whether you realize it or not, you have already begun to plan your funeral. The statement of your life – what will be remembered – is being written today in the choices you make…”Read More »
This is a question that I’ve been asking myself lately as I’ve been reading through this devotional I have. As a Christian, I know that I have been called to make disciples of many nations as Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19 but this also begs the question of how I have been treating those that have come into the Church. Have I become like the Pharisees; praising myself where I can be seen while the internal, spiritual side of me is dirty and unclean?
As a Christian, we are called to be the Church. We are called to humble ourselves, but this comes at denying what our flesh and our pride want; which is hard for us as human beings, especially as Christians. Jesus taught many times that we are to be IN the world but not OF the world, and in my opinion, that includes the Church.
Luke 16:13 (NKJV) says, “13. No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”Read More »
Well, in my opinion, I think that what it means for God is guide you; is to allow for Him to not only use you and your testimony to impact and inspire others, but also to mold us into the person He has called us to be. Guidance from the Lord doesn’t just mean asking Him, “Where should I go?” but also “Lord, How can you use me to impact the people and the world around me?”
By asking God where He wants us to go, in my opinion, causes us as Christians to recognize that we don’t always know where we are going and that sometimes we need a “guide” that can show us the way to go. When I read His Word, it feels so amazing to be able to use it as a sort of “compass” that continues to “show” me not only how to live as a Christian but also how to treat others.
Note: This topic was something I always planned on talking about this year and now I can. This blog post was inspired by Genesis 2:18-24; where God created Eve out of Adam’s rib after seeing that Adam was lonely and by himself.
Disclaimer:I will be discussing some mature content (i.e. sex), so if you are a young reader please ask your parents first before reading.
What does it mean to be joined with Christ?
Well, in my opinion, I believe that being joined with Christ doesn’t just mean a Father/Son/Daughter relationship but also a relationship built around trust, commitment, and love for one another.
God loved us so much that He sent Christ into the world to redeem us; likewise, we as Christians and as human beings should do the same. Like Gomer in the Book of Hosea; who was an adulterer, we as Christians today can “flirt” with the desires of our flesh and through it; can become “lost” in this fallen world.
“19. I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me. In righteousness and justice, In lovingkindness and mercy; 20. I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, And you shall know the Lord.”Read More »
Well, it’s here! The final part of our Galatian Bible Study series. In this week’s blog post, we will be discussing what it means to bear and share the burdens of a Christian Life. Throughout the Gospels, the Book of Acts and Paul’s Letters; we as Christians are constantly reminded that as Christians, our walk with God is never going to be easy and that we will face burdens in our lives.
In Psalms 55:22, the author reminds us as Christians today that we are to cast our burdens on the Lord because He sustains us.
Psalms 55:22 (NKJV)
“22.Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”Read More »
Well, it’s almost the end of our in-depth study on the Book of Galatians but it’s still amazing to see how God uses the Book of Galatians to speak to us as Christians today. As we talked about in being heirs to Christ through the promise of Abraham, we spoke about how; we are no longer bound by our past sins and are now adopted into the kingdom of God as joint heirs with Christ.
This is where we begin our discussion on how we as Christians are to live for Christ while walking with the Holy Spirit. So, what does it mean to live for Christ while walking in the Holy Spirit?
Well, according to the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 1:13-16, living for Christ means that we as Christians are to gird or protect the loins or the sides and back of our minds and be sober or vigilant and to rest our hope fully upon the grace brought to us by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:13-16 (NKJV)
“13. Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.14. as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15. but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16. because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (see Leviticus 11:44-45 NKJV).Read More »