Discipline Disappointments: Complete Your Calling

Posted by izonprize

FOR MY GRANDSON JACOB, I'm so proud of your decision to answer God's calling to be God's prophet, as a youth pastor.  You are following the path created for you, and spoken over you, before you were even born.  I've been in ministry for close to 40 years and I can say, without a doubt, it is the highest and most fulfilling calling you could ever accept.  Like Luke Skywalker and the military officers you have studied, you will find that your assignment is a constant fight for the highest good.  It won't often be easy, but it will always be exciting.  I wrote this for you.

What do you do when rejected? How do you handle disappointments? What circumstances throw you off course? What troubles cause you to give up and quit?  Who are what are you most afraid of? Sickness, rejection, or loss of a loved one?

Do you know your assignment on this earth?  Do you know the work God created you to accomplish here?  For you are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God ordained in advance of your birth, that you should walk in.  He even set a path for you and made this assignment ready for you. (Eph 2:10).   What causes you to abandon your post or question your calling?  My friend Alita Allen said, "Discipline your disappointments".  Stick with your troubles longer!  Stop quitting or losing heart over various trials that certainly will come.  Pray for more faith and do something that will move you back toward your goals and dreams GOD placed within your heart.  NEVER entertain the thought to doubt in the dark what God gave you in the light.  He hasn't changed his mind about the dream he put there--but your fears might one day try to.

Yeshua, at the end of only 3 short years of an incredible ministry assignment, was able to confidently say to His Father, "I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do".  More than any other living soul, Christ felt rejection!  More than once he was sought after to be stoned or killed because His assignment was to speak Truth and reveal Himself as God in the flesh and to show what the Father was truly like. Our LORD stood for the truth and they didn't love the truth but preferred to embrace the lies instead.  If you go back and read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and take note of every time Christ stood for truth and was rejected for it, you might be amazed.

Being a minister of the Gospel is not fun or easy or even comfortable. In fact, if your goal is to feel accepted and comfortable and for life to be easy and fun, you just might not be on the right path.  Nothing worth eternal value comes without a measure of struggle and pain.   But the joy to come far exceeds the temporary afflictions we endure here.  One day, the accuser of the brethren will be cast down and we will triumph over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony, as we do not love our lives so much as to shrink from death.

The Lord saved a man named Saul on the road to Damascus, and said, "This man is My chosen instrument to proclaim My name to the gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel and I am going to show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake" (Acts 9:15-16).  Saul became Paul and indeed he suffered for the name of the LORD.  This is the truth.  Ministry was never intended to be easy or fun.  It is an assignment and it is unto death.  Paul was imprisoned for his assignment of truth, he was flogged severely, exposed to death again and again.  He received 40 lashes minus one FIVE TIMES, he was beaten with rods 3 times, once he was pelted with stones, 3 times he was shipwrecked and a day and a night in the open sea.  He traveled on many long journeys.  He was in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from his fellow Jews, in danger from the Gentiles, in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea, and in danger from false believers.  He labored more than any other minister and toiled and went often without sleep.  He knew hunger and thirst and often went without food.  He experienced cold and being naked and besides all of this, he faced the daily pressure of his concern for all the churches.  Paul knew what it meant to suffer for Christ and yet, at the very end of his life on earth, he was able to say: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith".  What is easy or fun about a fight or race like that?  But the JOY Paul experienced in all his hardships was worth more than any life of ease or luxury he could have attained as a worldly man.  Just read Philippians to see where true joy comes from!

Here's the challenge: 1) Know your assignment(s), 2) Stay the course, fight the good fight like a good soldier, 3) Discipline your disappointments, 4) Stick with your troubles longer; don't quit, 5) Pray for more faith, 6) Set your face like flint and keep your eyes on the prize, 7) Be about your Father's business, pleasing Him, not men.
8) Build your hope on the firm foundation of Christ, 9) Remember only treasure in heaven remains, the rest will turn to dust and decay, 10) Make it your life's goal to KNOW THE LORD, truly.

Anticipating Resurrection Power

Posted by izonprize

Good morning sweet friend. I’ve had you on my heart and in my prayers for 3 days.  I’m not sure what this day holds for you but I know Who holds you.  Reading again about Lazarus today and how Jesus waited 4 days to come. If he had been there Lazarus wouldn’t have died.  But God wanted to take this family to the next spiritual level.  Instead of just healing him, and some saying “Oh well, he wasn’t THAT sick”, God showed much more of His power and glory by raising him from the dead.  And not just any dead, but FOUR DAYS dead.  That’s how I know we feel in so many ways.  We’ve prayed and sought the Lord so many times for the same issues—dear family, beloved friends, and even personally.  Our four days have turned into years, decades even.  But somehow I still believe we will see the resurrection power of God in all these things, in the land of the living.  I’m thankful to have been a part of your journey through all of these trials.  A Mary and a Martha knowing He will come and His coming may appear to be too late, but in fact, it will be right on time, to shine His glory and to make our testimony in this earth that much more spectacular!  Believing with you this beautiful morning for the miraculous days ahead.  My dear Sister, I love you and appreciate you more than words.   ❤️🌈🌹

Faith works - For right reason & right timing

Posted by izonprize

Reading in Luke this morning about how Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit while he was in the  water baptism process, and then immediately led into the wilderness by Father to be tempted of the devil, which He passed with flying colors! How many times have we all been tempted to do the right thing for the wrong reason?  John 5:19 says that Jesus only did what the Father led him to do.  He did the right thing for the right reason in God’s perfect timing.  He worshiped and served only the Lord our God.  This is a great reminder that temptation can come from any direction and when we are filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the devil is especially fond of tempting us to do evil by doing something good for the wrong reason.  

Now there is another side to this equation, doing NOTHING for fear of doing something wrong.  Don’t settle for just having faith!  LIVE YOUR FAITH - make it active - DO something with it.  It’s why you have it - not to keep but to give.   Faith is an action word.  James says if we have faith, we should practice it.  

Here’s the bottom line:  
God gives you faith that is activated by God’s Holy Spirit and inspired by Him to put it into practice in His perfect timing and for the right reason.  

Just words to ponder.  


Have a blessed day!

CLEAR THE STAGE & CRUSH THE IDOLS

Posted by izonprize

I have been doing a new Bible study in my quiet time with God.  It is called NO OTHER GODS by Kelly Minter.  I highly recommend it. I came across the study during the week Jimmy Needham's song CLEAR THE STAGE had my attention (and it still does).  I've pondering this scripture for about a week or more now:
They (God's chosen people) worshipped the LORD, but they ALSO served their own gods (idols).  Even while these people were worshipping the LORD, they were serving their idols.  To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their fathers did. They secretly did these things against the LORD their God that were not right" 2 (Kings 17:32-33, 40-41, 8-9).
I remember the first time I read about Israel and idols, I thought how can they bow down to a manmade statue?
But looking all around me all I can see is manmade stuff.
Anything can become an idol.
Even ministry, when man made and sustained, is an idol. Even my children. Even my grandchildren.  When I think about them too much, even good things can become an idol.  I love Jimmy Needham's lyrics that remind me that anything I can't stop thinking of, or worrying over, is an idol.  I've been asking God to show me my idols because I believe all of God's chosen are capable of having them. Today I crushed one of them: Candy Crush.  Deleted from my phone.  The way I knew it had to be an idol was because I had been justifying why it was ok to enjoy it for 15 minutes a day.  Last night on my knees I asked God show me my idols.  This morning I woke up to the candy crush song and seeing candies crushing.  It was pretty clear, so I crushed it from my phone.  The Word says to confess our sins to one another and be healed.
I'm going to continue praying this prayer.  The world we do life in is worse than Sodom and Gomorrah.  May God have all our hearts.  Every single last part of them.  I love you friends.

Listen to the Voice of the LORD

Posted by izonprize

Read 1 Samuel 1-3 this morning.
I was greatly encouraged
1.  That Hannah dedicated her son to the Lord to live in His house forever as God’s servant and she made this decision before he was even conceived.  She “lent him to the Lord” for as long as he should live.  It was a sacrifice pleasing to the LORD.
2.  That Samuel was raised in the House of the Lord by Eli, who was Aaron’s grandson, and yet, was not brought up to truly know the Lord! 1 Sam 3:7.  A person can be in the house of the Lord daily and under the care of God’s priest and still not know God.  Eli’s two sons were themselves blasphemous men who did not know God even though they served in the House of the Lord.  Being in God’s house and serving Him does not equal knowing God!
3.  It takes a revelation and a calling from God to truly know Him.  God is the one who raises us, and our children up, to know Him.  It is God who calls our name and anoints us to follow Him.  God told Eli: “I will raise up for Myself, a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in MY heart and in My mind, and I will build him a sure house and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever.”
4. 1 Sam 3:19 “and Samuel grew and the LORD was with him, and let none of his words fall to the ground”.  For when the LORD spoke to Samuel in Shiloh, “Samuel, Samuel!”, Samuel’s response was, “Speak, for Thy servant hears”! (1 Sam 3:10).

My application: I, who have the privilege of the Holy Spirit within me (The temple of the LORD), should be as Samuel, ever alert to the voice of the LORD who is speaking.  I am His servant and also His friend, if I do all he commands me to do. Every morning, every evening and during the night watches, LORD train my ears to be attentive to your voice.  Make me keenly aware of your instructions.  Cause me to run to obey You and may the fear of man not hinder me from carrying out Your will. LORD, thank you for the great privilege of carrying Your Presence within me.  May I be a priest who keeps your fire burning without going out.  May I be a Wise Virgin whose lamp is constantly full of oil - at all times - and my intercession never cease.  I pray that the doors to Your temple are free of participating with any “prostitutes” (1 Sam 2:22) and any vile thing that would love to lead me astray from my First Love and corrupt your name I bear.  By Your grace, I take every thought captive to do Your will.  May my thoughts be Your thoughts and my will be Your will in Jesus name.

Choices

Posted by izonprize


I have been thinking a lot about choices, lately.  Everyday, I have the opportunity to make many, if not hundreds, of choices.  Every choice has a consequence- good or bad.  Most choices are subconsciously made, and take no extra thought or prayer.  But now that I've become aware of choices, I see them literally almost every minute.  They begin with the alarm clock - do I snooze or stop the alarm? Do I read a devotional or FB first? Do I wear the dress or the jeans? Do I answer that phone call now or call them back tomorrow? Do I attend the luncheon or take a walk instead? Those may seem insignificant, but what if they are life-changing for someone instead?   How do my choices of action or inaction change the course of my life or another's life? And does God care?  Suddenly, I think he does care.  If Galatians 2:20 is TRUE, then my choices DO matter.  My attitudes matter. Whether I engage or don't engage matters.  Everything matters.
And every choice that doesn't reflect God's love, is not an option for this child of His.  I pray God continues to make me aware of the things that truly matter to His heart and that I have the courage and the strength to choose wisely instead of selfishly today.

HOW TO MAKE WISE CHOICES

SCRIPTURAL TEST 2 Timothy 3:16
Has God already spoken about it in His Word?
SECRECY TEST Proverbs 11:3
Would it bother me if everyone knew about my choice?
SURVEY TEST 1 Timothy 4:12
What if everyone followed my example?
SPIRITUAL TEST Galatians 1:10
Am I being people-pressured or spirit-led?
STUMBLING TEST Romans 14:21
Could this choice cause another to stumble?
SERENITY TEST Philippians 4:6-7
Have I prayed and received peace about this decision?
SANCTIFICATION TEST 2 Corinthians 3:18
Will this keep me from growing in the character of Christ?
SUPREME TEST 1 Corinthians 10:31
Does this choice glorify God?
Walk as children of light... and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord
Ephesians 5:8, 10


Golgotha Thoughts

Posted by izonprize

Do you recall the location where Jesus was crucified?  It was called "Golgotha", which meant: "Place of the Skull".  If we are to be fully effective, in any area of our lives, the first field of conflict, where we must do battle, is the territory of the mind.  For the battlefield of the uncrucified thought-life is the precursor to vile and unwanted behaviors.  Do you know the areas where you are most vulnerable to sin?  To humble ourselves, is to refuse to defend the flesh, and acknowledge the rebellion as against God alone, and choose to abandon that pathway of destruction.  Sin habits rob us of power and joy and peace and they become strongholds and playgrounds for the enemy to do his best work in us. Secret sins are the perfect building materials for strongholds in the "house" of the mind.  The enemy of our soul is counting on us to build a nest, in our mind, of corrupt thinking, opinions, attitudes and judgments that are in agreement with the plots, plans and schemes of the Adversary, impregnating us to birth sin, unforgiveness and bitterness.  Death to all our hopes and dreams for a good future is the end result of a corrupt mind.  To live a full and victorious life, we must crucify the flesh, in the place of the skull.  We must be renewed in the spirit of our minds!