Thirsty For Christ Thursday

Thirsty Thursday with Craig: Mighty Last Words

Holy_Thursday_Jesus_washing_feet

When my  wife approached me, asking if I were willing to write a blog entry for the day, my first initial thought, as always, is more along the lines of ‘ARGH!’, instead of what it should be – which is,”YAY!”  I am not a writer at all! It takes a lot of time and effort to write out what I feel others could write out better in a mere 5 minutes. In situations like this, I turn to God and really try to see what He places on my heart to share – After all, it is Him who I want everyone to see through our blog.

What I could clearly hear Him telling me to write about was something that has been on my heart the past 3-4 weeks, in a stronger than usual way – the yearning to share Him and His word with others. This is not an exactly easy thing for me, though, as I am someone who does not always like to go against the crowd or cause feathers to be ruffled.  But God has said, reassuringly, that not only are you going to share My Word, but you are going to do it in writing. Well, then, let’s take a look at what the Bible has to offer on the subject of sharing God’s word!

distraction_993187599

When reading through the different passages relating to this, one thing I found very interesting was the timing of when Jesus gave ‘The Great Commission’ to His Apostles. In Matthew 28:19 He states:

     “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father,   and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19

At the time He was saying this, He was just about to be taken up into Heaven to be seated at God’s right hand. Do you recall a time a loved one spoke their last words to you before they went to be with our Lord? Chances are, you can remember very clearly how these words were said, the emotion that they were said with, how you felt at the time… These words quoted from the book of Matthew are Jesus’ last words to us before He leaves this earth to be with our Father in Heaven.When someone we love leaves a last word of instruction, it seems to really strike a chord with us! We want to carry out their last desire with a different kind of motivation.

How many times has someone given an instruction and you really found no motivation in doing it? I am sure many times. In the movie ‘Risen‘, it plays out this last moment before Jesus leaves and in the end, we see the apostles filled with motivation to carry out Jesus’ last instruction on earth!

Nowadays, people have wills to see that their instructions are carried out. They divide up their earthly belongings, which are useless in heaven, to whom they desire. Some might say that Jesus was talking to only the 11 that were there or think to themselves, “He is not talking to me because I don’t know how to speak in public.” But I don’t think that’s the case at all. In Luke 10:1-2, it says:

            The Lord now chose seventy- two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit. These were his instructions to them – “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into his fields.”  Luke 10:1-2

Jesus instructed many more than just the 11! Here, He instructs 72 and is still asking them to pray for more! When He says the harvest is great He means that everyone has the ability to believe but He needs the workers (us) to share Him with the world so that the harvest can be taken in before it withers.

You have many skills that can help to share Jesus. It does not have to be only speaking or writing. Maybe it is that you enjoy cooking. You could simply cook for someone and when you share the meal with them you simply thank God for the food before sharing it with them.  Maybe you’re more of the ‘work with your hands’ type. You can build something for someone and upon completion, ask the Lord for a blessing on the contents or thank Him for the material to construct it.

Just with these simple act it places God at the center and acknowledges the fact He provided the food or the materials being used or given. Thanking Him recognizes the fact that without Him, it would not be possible. You would be amazed at how this simple act could open people’s searching hearts to Jesus! He tells us plainly that we are to plant His seed…The Holy Spirit does the rest!! No one has to wrestle another to follow Jesus. They only need to set a spark…

Jesus says in Luke 12:8-9:

            “I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, The Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels. But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels.” Luke 12:8-9

That is such a reaffirming statement from the mouth of Jesus Christ himself! Just as a living will is in effect until it is carried out in full, Jesus’ living will is in effect until it is carried out in full by His followers! He instructs us to use our God-Given skills to make disciples of all nations everywhere in any way that we can.  As believers, saved by His sacrificial death on the cross, we must remember that we are the ones to bring Jesus to others who are searching. Just seeking is not enough. People must find Him. If no believer is to show an unbeliever, how will they find Him?

“…but how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent?” Romans 10:14-15

I challenge you today to share the Good News with someone is some way – no matter how small. It could be a simple act of kindness to a complete stranger in passing. The Scriptures say ‘how beautiful on the mountains are the feet of messengers who bring good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the good news that the God of Israel reigns.’ (Isaiah 52:7)

Think about that for a moment… The Lord of all creation, who gave the meaning to the word “beautiful”, says Himself that beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring His good news! Let’s share God’s word with a different kind of motivation – The kind a Man’s last words on earth bring – through our thoughts, actions and words!

signature heart

Thirsty For Christ Thursday

Prayer Changes…?

Thursday

Prayer. If I don’t begin my morning with it, the rest of my day goes quickly downhill.  And the question is: Why?

Does my prayer change what’s happening around me? Does prayer persuade God to do things differently? And what is it that we should be praying for, anyway?

I believe much of the answer to all of these questions is found in the book of 1 Kings, Chapter 3 – to be specific:

Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”

It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked,both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” 1 Kings 3:3-14 ESV

Solomon could have asked God for anything, and yet, he chose to ask for wisdom… and God responds by not only giving him wisdom in abundance, but by giving him all the more on top of this – things above and beyond, that Solomon didn’t even ask for.

So, what does this have to do with our prayer lives?

It should tell you two things:

  • We should be praying for wisdom to discern God’s Will in our lives above all else.
  • When we are following the Lord, not only will He answer, abundantly, our prayers for wisdom and guidance, He also will provide the things we unselfishly don’t ask for.

We are all familiar with The Lord’s Prayer – right?

It’s found in Matthew 6:9-13:

Pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,
    may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
    as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
    and forgive us our sins,
    as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
    but rescue us from the evil one.

Lord, let us honor YOU above all and anyone else. Please come quickly and take us with you to your Kingdom. Please give us wisdom to discern your will on earth. Provide our basic necessities, and forgive us like we have forgiven others. Give us the strength to follow you at all costs and overcome temptation. Save us from death and satan’s tricks.

I think it’s pretty obvious from only those two (of thousands) passages from the Bible what we should pray for and how. I also think reading these prayerfully, it becomes quite clear that prayer changes us – the way we think, how we go about our day, our interactions with others…

If I am praying for the Lord to guide me and give me wisdom, the same troubles and difficulties may come my way…but how I approach them will be different.

If I am praying for God to give me strength to resist the devil, when temptation comes, I am prepared to stand firm.

Recently, God put something on my heart. Something big. Something I didn’t even want to think about talking to Craig about. But the Lord was persistent. The more I sat in prayer with Him…the more I was convinced I just had to talk to Craig…

…Craig reacted in just the way I thought he would. He was totally opposed to what I told him God had put on my heart. I told him I was too…but that the Lord was very strongly speaking to me. We prayed about it more…We studied Scripture and we prayed again.

About two weeks later, Craig came to me and said, “The Lord changed my heart. He is telling me exactly the same thing as He’s been telling you.”

Still, this calling was/is not what neither Craig nor I would have chosen for ourselves, but prayer gave us peace with God’s plan. It provided understanding about how this would be possible. It allowed us the wisdom we needed to hear Him.

pray

Until Tomorrow,

signature heart

 

Food For Thought Friday

Food For Thought: Are you a Light or a Flicker?

Friday2

Wanna know something funny?

This Facebook post:

Blog.2

…received 40 likes.

This one: Blog.3

…received 35 likes and 5 comments.

But this one, on the other hand:

Blog.4

…received one ‘like’.

And this one…Blog.1

…only got “one”, as well.

So why am I mentioning this? Do I really care about how many “likes”, comments, shares, or re-blogs we have?

Not in the least.

But I do find it ‘funny’ – and not in an “LOL” way – that we are so quick to “like” a ‘pretty’ picture, “share” bad news, or comment on a post about fashion or friendship…and yet, we stray away from sharing, posting, liking or remarking about our faith on social media.

Craig and I certainly don’t author this blog for the income it provides (read: zero). We don’t share our faith because we desire fame, or tons of “likes” or “followers”. This blog is up and running today not because I have a wealth of time to write it, but because Jesus calls us to stand up for him!

In a world where violence is rampant; evil is portrayed as ‘good’ and normal, and the name of Jesus is a dirty word… We are called by him to shine like a light on a hill:

 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 5: 14-16

How are you interpreting that scripture? Do you think being a LIGHT for all the world to see means fading into society so that no one out there knows your beliefs? Do you think it means hiding your faith? If that is how you’re living, you aren’t truly being a Christ-follower…

Now, listen. I am not here to judge, nor am I judging. But I love you people. I pour my heart and soul out to you weekly, and have (on and off) for almost three years. I write to you because Jesus has called me to do so, and because I love Him and long to follow Him more closely, I must obey.

Trust me. I am not perfect, nor am I claiming to be. I am a sinner. I mess up every single day, but that doesn’t stop me from striving to be the daughter of the Risen King I know I am.

Don’t shy away from sharing your faith – from letting others know what you believe and WHO you follow, and WHY. If you truly love Him, then don’t you want others to know the indescribable joy with which He fills you, in spite of all circumstances?

Be different. Shine like a light in the darkness. Do you know how many people have said to my face, behind my back, or behind the mask of a computer screen that I am a Jesus Freak? That I am “taking things too far”? That we take this “church thing too seriously”?

So. What.

It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, but Him.

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23

So, therein lies your ‘food for thought’…Are you shining the light of Christ for all to see? I don’t care if you “like” my posts or share them or comment on them. But I do hope that you will never be ashamed of or afraid to reveal your faith.

signature heart

Thirsty For Christ Thursday

A Spirit-Filled Atmosphere

Thursday

Good Morning Friends & Welcome to Thirsty For Christ Thursday!

If you have been reading our blog for long, you know we love the devotionals written by Sarah Young – most especially “Jesus Calling” and “Jesus Today”. So this morning we want to bless you with a recent devotion from “Jesus Today”, in a format you can even print and hang by your desk as a reminder:

thirstythursday81815I just love the imagery that is derived from those last few sentences: ‘When Christlike goodness collides with worldly vileness, be on the lookout for miracles! The collision of spiritual opposites creates atmospheric conditions that are conducive to My powerful interventions.

Those words give me a visual of storm clouds erupting into miraculous lightening strikes.

 

You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations. Psalm 77:14 NLT

One thing to take from Ms. Young’s devotion is this: “Be on the lookout for miracles.” If you are told to be ‘on the lookout’ for an approaching train, you would be expecting that train to come around the corner at any moment! So the same we should be in being on the ‘lookout’ for God’s Mighty Hand at work!

As the psalm above says, He is the God of great wonders, and our faith in Him should reflect our belief that nothing is impossible with Him.

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Matthew 19:26 NLT

Be expectant of the miraculous in your circumstances!

signature heart

 

 

 

 

 

Thirsty For Christ Thursday

What Does A Christ-Follower Look Like?

ThursdayHave you ever thought about the answer to that question: “What does a Christian look like?” 

Josh and Julia

IMG_1196

Best Man & MY Best Man <3

 

20121016-205340.jpg

Do any of the people above look the same? Not in the least on the outside. But they all follow Christ. So our hearts should ALL LOOK THE SAME.

The point is that, as Christians, we are all called to be ‘ambassadors’ or ‘representatives’ of Christ here on Earth. This not only means we CANNOT judge someone by how they appear to us; it also means that we need to keep in mind that when we present ourselves as Christians, we are now in our peers’ minds as representatives of Christ in ALL THAT WE DO.

That can be VERY powerful – in either a good or a bad way, depending on how we handle ourselves!

Read through Phillipians 2:1-18 below:

Philippians 2:1-18

Thinking Like Christ

Are you cheerful because you belong to Christ? Does his love comfort you? Is the Holy Spirit your companion? Has Christ been gentle and loving toward you? Then make my joy complete by agreeing with each other. Have the same love. Be one in spirit and purpose.

Don’t do anything only to get ahead. Don’t do it because you are proud. Instead, be free of pride. Think of others as better than yourselves.

None of you should look out just for your own good. You should also look out for the good of others.

You should think in the same way Christ Jesus does.

In his very nature he was God.
    But he did not think that being equal with God was something he should hold on to.
Instead, he made himself nothing.
    He took on the very nature of a servant.
    He was made in human form.
He appeared as a man.
    He came down to the lowest level.
    He obeyed God completely, even though it led to his death.
        In fact, he died on a cross.
So God lifted him up to the highest place.
    He gave him the name that is above every name.
10 When the name of Jesus is spoken, everyone’s knee will bow to worship him.
    Every knee in heaven and on earth and under the earth will bow to worship him.
11 Everyone’s mouth will say that Jesus Christ is Lord.
    And God the Father will receive the glory.

Living Like Christ

12 My dear friends, you have always obeyed God. You obeyed while I was with you. And you have obeyed even more while I am not with you. So continue to work out your own salvation. Do it with fear and trembling. 13 God is working in you. He wants your plans and your acts to be in keeping with his good purpose.

14 Do everything without finding fault or arguing. 15 Then you will be pure and without blame. You will be children of God without fault in a sinful and evil world. Among the people of the world you shine like stars in the heavens. 16 You shine as you hold out to them the word of life. So I can brag about you on the day Christ returns. I can be happy that I didn’t run or work for nothing.

17 But my life might even be poured out like a drink offering on your sacrifices. I’m talking about the way you serve because you believe. Even so, I am glad. I am joyful with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and joyful with me.

We are the gateway to His Amazing Love for so many out there. Christians should look like Christ – inside and out. 

The more we allow Him to lead us, the more He transforms us.

We are His light to the world!!! SHINE BRIGHTLY!!!!!!!!

signature heart

Thirsty For Christ Thursday

His Way Or The Highway

Thursday

{Note: Please view this post within a browser to see the included video.}

Ah, choices. The famous Robert Frost poem “The Road Not Taken” was written about our difficulty in making decisions:

The Road Not Taken

BY ROBERT FROST

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Choices and our reactions to them are discussed in the Bible, as well.

Mark 8:27-33 says,

“Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.

Rebuke. Interesting word. I was pretty confident I knew what it meant, but I looked it up to be sure…because I really wanted to understand what was being said here.

re·buke

verb

to express sharp disapproval or criticism of (someone) because of their behavior or actions.

So Peter criticized Jesus for what He said…Wow. Can you imagine making that choice?!?!

WAIT A SECOND…

Peter may have criticized the Lord in His physical presence, but don’t we often do the same thing exactly the same thing? And with the Holy Spirit living right in our souls…

How many times have you read or heard something Jesus asks of us as Christians to do and rolled your eyes or talked your way around obeying Him? How often do we doubt His Word and His promises? If you’re human (and I’m guessing most of us are), you are guilty of it every single day. I know I am.

But let’s look at Jesus’ reply:

‘Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.

S. Michael Houdmann head of Got Questions Ministries says,

” …we must also see how easily we can become an unwitting spokesperson for Satan. This is especially true when we lose sight of God’s plan for us. This comes about when our focus is on our careers, our possessions, our security, the things of the world rather than upon sacrifice and service and the proclaiming of God’s message. When Peter’s focus shifted to his own desires and plans, Jesus rebuked him in order to get him back on track. May our focus always be on God and His plans, that we may never experience a similar rebuke from our Lord.”

I think our loss of focus on GOD’s will for our lives can sometimes stem from prayer we feel has been unanswered. I know I am guilty of losing grasp of any understanding of His purpose for my life when things take an unexpected turn.

1891116_10152242170951718_1295794341_n

But the more I pray, the more I force myself out of my comfort zone and into my Jesus zone, the more I push myself into scripture reading and singing…the more I fall back into God’s grace.

Isaiah 55:8

 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
 neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
 

Let’s make a steadfast effort to make the choice for HIS WAY… because I don’t even want to fathom what awaits us heading the other way…

Last night on my way home this song was on and it brought me to tears and my newly found up-raised arm…How powerful.

Make the choice and the change for Christ.

dontforgetPS – Here are the lyrics for the song above. I just have a feeling you’ll want to know them, and pray them.

“Keep Making Me”

Make me broken
So I can be healed
‘Cause I’m so calloused
And now I can’t feel
I want to run to You
With heart wide open
Make me broken
Make empty
So I can be filled
‘Cause I’m still holding
Onto my will
And I’m completed
When you are with me
Make me empty
[Chorus:]
‘Til You are my one desire
‘Til You are my one true love
‘Til You are my breath, my everything
Lord, please keep making meMake me lonely
So I can be Yours
‘Til I want no one
More than You, Lord
‘Cause in the darkness
I know You will hold me
Make me lonely[Chorus]