How We Grow

God wants us to grow up. Our Heavenly Father’s goal is for us to mature and develop the characteristics of Jesus Christ. Sadly, millions of Christians grow older but never grow up. They are stuck in perpetual spiritual infancy, remaining in diapers and booties and on milk. The reason is that they never intended to grow. 

Spiritual growth is not automatic. It takes an intentional commitment. You must want to grow, decide to grow, make an effort to grow, and persist in growing. Discipleship- the process of becoming like Christ- always begins with a decision. Jesus calls us, and we respond: “Come, be my disciple, ” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed Him”. -Matthew 9:9  When the first disciples chose to follow Jesus, they didn’t understand all the implications of their decision. They simply responded to Jesus invitation. That’s all you need to get started: Decide to become a disciple.

Nothing shapes your life more than the commitments you choose to make. Your commitments can develop you or they can destroy you, but either way, they will define you. Tell me what you are committed to, and I’ll tell you what you will be in twenty years. We become whatever we are committed to. It is at this point of commitment that most people miss God’s purpose for their lives. Many are afraid to commit to anything and just drift through life. Others make half-hearted commitments to competing values, which leads to frustration and mediocrity. 

Others make a full commitment to worldly goals, such as becoming wealthy or famous, and end up disappointed and bitter. Every choice has eternal consequences, so you had better choose wisely. Peter warns, “Since everything around us is going to melt away, what holy, godly lives you should be living”. 2 Peter 3:11 God’s part and your part. Christlikeness is the result of making Christlike choices and depending on His Spirit to help you fulfill those choices. Once you decide to get serious about becoming like Christ, you must begin to act in new ways.

You will need to let go of some old routines, develop some new habits, and intentionally change the way you think. You can be certain that the Holy Spirit will help you with these changes. The Bible says, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His purpose.”-Philippians 2:12   This verse shows the two parts of spiritual growth: “work out” and “work in”. The “work out” is your responsibility and the “work in” is God’s role. Spiritual growth is a collaborative effort between you and the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit works with us, not just in us. 

To change your life, you must change the way you think. Behind everything you do is a thought. Every behavior is motivated by a belief, and every action is prompted by an attitude. God revealed this thousands of years before psychologists understood it. To be like Christ you must develop the mind of Christ. The New Testament calls this mental shift repentance, which in Greek literally means, “to change your mind”. You repent whenever you change the way you think by adopting how God thinks- about yourself, sin, God, other people, life, your future, and everything else. You take on Christ outlook and perspective. 

We are commanded to “think the same way that Christ Jesus thought”. We have to stop thinking immature thoughts, which are self-centered and self-seeking. The Bible says, “Stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.” – 1 Corinthians 14:20 Babies by nature are completely selfish. They think only of themselves and their own needs. They are incapable of giving; they can only receive. This is immature thinking. Unfortunately, many people never grow beyond that kind of thinking. The Bible says, “Those who live following their sinful selves think only about things that their sinful selves want”- Romans 8:5

Today many assume that spiritual maturity is measured by the amount of biblical information and doctrine you know. While knowledge is one measurement of maturity, it isn’t the whole story. The Christian life is far more than creeds, and our beliefs must be backed up with Christlike behavior. God Bless!!

http://www.lucretiacargill.com

imagesK5SI7N7S

Advertisements

Transformed by Trouble

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”- 2 Corinthians 4:17 

God has a purpose behind every problem. He uses circumstances to develop our character. In fact, He depends more on circumstances to make us like Jesus than He depends on our reading the Bible. The reason is obvious: You face circumstances 24 hrs. a day. Jesus warned us that we would have problems in the world. No one is immune to pain or insulated from suffering, and no one gets to skate through life problem free. 

Life is a series of problems. Every time you solve one, another is waiting to take its place. Not all of them are big, but all are significant in God’s growth process for you. Peter assures us that problems are normal saying, “Don’t be bewildered or surprised when you go through the fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing that is going to happen to you”.-1 Peter 4:12 God uses problems to draw you closer to himself. The Bible says, The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those who are crushed in spirit”-Psalms 34:18

Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in your darkest days-when your heart is broken, when you feel abandoned, when you’re out of options, when the pain is great- and you turn to God alone. It is during suffering that we learn to pray our most authentic, heartfelt, honest-to-God prayers. When we’re in pain, we don’t have the energy for superficial prayers. We learn things about God in suffering that we can’t learn any other way. 

God could have kept Joseph out of jail, kept Daniel out of the lion’s den, kept Jeremiah from being tossed into a slimy pit, kept Paul from being shipwrecked three times, and kept the three Hebrew young men from being thrown into the blazing furnace-but He didn’t. He let those problems happen, and every one of those persons was drawn closer to God as a result. Problems force us to look to God and depend on Him instead of ourselves. Paul testified to this benefit: ” We felt we were doomed to die and saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for then we put everything into the hands of God, who alone could save us”- 2 Corinthians 1:9 

God is all you need until God is all you’ve got. Regardless of the cause, none of your problems could happen without God’s permission. Everything happens to a child of God is Father-filtered, and He intends to use it for good even when Satan and others meant it for bad. Because God is sovereignly in control, accidents are just incidents in God’s good plan for you. Because every day of your life was written on God’s calendar before you were born, everything that happens to you as spiritual significance. Everything! Romans 8:28 explains why: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, wo have been called according to His purpose”

We live in a fallen world. Only in heaven is everything done perfectly the way God intends. That is why we are told to pray, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Our hope in difficult times is not based on positive thinking, wishful thinking, or natural optimism. It is certainty based on the truths that God is in complete control of our universe and that He loves us.

http://www.lucretiacargill.com

transformed

 

Defeating Temptation

“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart”- 2 Timothy 2:22

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it”1 Corinthians 10:13 

There is always a way out. You may sometimes feel that a temptation is too overpowering for you to bear, but that’s a lie from Satan. God has promised never to allow more on you than He puts within you to handle it. He will not permit any temptation that you could not overcome. However, you must do your part too by practicing four biblical keys to defeating temptation: 

  • Refocus your attention on something else. It may surprise you that nowhere in the Bible are we told to “resist temptation”. We are told to ” resist the devil”, but that is very different. Instead, we are advised to refocus our attention because resisting a thought doesn’t work. It only intensifies our focus on the wrong thing and strengthens its allure. Every time you try to block a thought out of your mind, you drive it deeper into your memory. By resisting it, you actually reinforce it. This is especially true with temptation. You don’t defeat temptation by fighting the feeling of it. The more you fight the feeling, the more it consumes and controls you. You strengthen it every time you think it. Since temptation always begins with a thought, the quickest way to neutralize its allure is to turn your attention to something else. Don’t fight the thought, just change the channel of your mind and get interested in another idea. This is the first step in defeating temptation. 

 

  • Reveal your struggle to a Godly friend or support group. You don’t have to broadcast it  to the whole world, but you need at least one person you can honestly share your struggles with. If you’re losing the battle against a persistent bad habit, an addiction, or a temptation, and you’re stuck in a repeating cycle of good intention- failure-guilt, you will not get better on your own! You need the help of other people. Some temptations are only overcome with the help of a partner who prays for you, encourages you, and holds you accountable. God’s plan for your growth and freedom includes other Christians. Satan wants you to think that your sin and temptation are unique so you must keep them a secret. The truth is, we’re all in the same boat. We all fight the same temptations, and “all of us have sinned”

 

  • Resist the Devil. After we have humbled ourselves and submitted to God, we are then told to defy the Devil. The rest of James 4:7 says, “Resist the Devil and he will flee from you”. We don’t passively resign ourselves to his attacks. We are to fight back. Remember this: If you are a believer, Satan cannot force you to do anything. We must use the Word of God as your weapon against Satan. Jesus modeled this when He was tempted in the wilderness. Don’t ever try to argue with the Devil. Christians are often compared to soldiers serving in the enemy’s territory. If you don’t have any Bible verses memorized, you’ve got no bullets in your gun!

 

  • Realize Vulnerability.  God warns us never to get cocky and overconfident; that is the recipe for disaster. Given the right circumstances, any of us are capable of any sin. We must never let down our guard and think we’re beyond temptation. Don’t carelessly place yourself in tempting situations. Avoid them. Remember that is easier to stay out of temptation than to get out of it. 

 

Spiritually, your mind is your most vulnerable organ. To reduce temptation, keep your mind occupied with God’s Word and other good thoughts.  You defeat bad thoughts by thinking something better. Satan can’t get your attention when your mind is preoccupied with something else.!!!! 

jealousy3

Accepting Your Assignment

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” Ephesians 2:10 

“I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” John 17:4 

You and I were put on earth to make a contribution. You weren’t created just to consume resources- to eat, breathe, and take up space. God designed each of you to make a difference with your life. You were created to add to life on earth, not just to take from it. God wants you to give something back. The Bible gives us the details:

You were created to serve God. The Bible says, God has created us for a life of good deeds, which He has already prepared for us to do. These “good deeds” are your service. Whenever you serve others in any way, you are actually serving God and fulfilling one of your purposes. What God told Jeremiah is also true for each of us: “Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work” (Jeremiah 1:5). You were placed on this planet for a special assignment. 

You were saved to serve God. The Bible says, “It is He who saved us and chose us for his holy work, not because we deserved it but because that was His plan”2 Timothy 1:9. God redeemed you and I so we could do His “holy work”. You’re not saved by service, but you are saved for service. In God’s kingdom, you have a place, a purpose, a role, and a function to fulfill. This gives your life great significance and value. It cost Jesus His own life to purchase our salvation. The Bible reminds us that, “God paid a great price for you. So use your body to honor God”-1 Corinthians 6:20 We don’t serve God out of guilt or fear or even duty, but out of joy, and deep gratitude for what He’s done for us. We owe Him our lives. Through salvation our past has been forgiven, our present is given meaning, and our future is secured. 

What are the good works God has prepared for me?

Many of us would be inclined to answer this question by pointing to specific things Christians tend to do as an expression of their faith. Good works would include: attending worship services, praying regularly, studying Scripture, giving generously from our financial resources, joining a small group, going on mission trips, caring for the poor, working for justice for the oppressed, loving our neighbors, and so forth. These are surely among the good works God has prepared for us. We rightly engage in these activities as people who have been transformed by God’s grace through Christ.

Prayer

Help me, Lord, to walk in the good works you have in store for me. Help me to be open to all that you would have me do. Teach me to see my whole life as you see it. By your Spirit, may I come to see every moment of every day as an occasion to do good works—including good work—for you.  In Jesus Name. Amen.

http://www.lucretiacargill.com

imagesIUBOLJXI

It All Starts with GOD

 For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels – everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him (Colossians 1:16 Msg). 

It’ not about you. The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this earth, you must begin with GOD. You were born by His purpose and for His purpose. The search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years. That’s because we typically begin at the wrong starting point- ourselves. We ask self-centered questions like What do I want to be? What should I do with my life? What are my goals, my ambitions, my dreams for my future? But focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose. 

Contrary to what many popular books, movies, and seminars tell you, you won’t discover your life’s meaning by looking within yourself. You’ve probably tried that already. You didn’t create yourself, so there is no way you can tell yourself what you were created for! If I handed you an invention you never seen before, you wouldn’t know it’s purpose, and the invention itself wouldn’t be able to tell you either. Only the creator or the owner’s manual could reveal its purpose. You cannot arrive at your life’s purpose by starting with a focus on yourself. You must begin with GOD, our Creator. We exist only because GOD wills that we exist. We were made by GOD and for GOD– and until you understand that, life will never make sense. It is only GOD that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end. 

Many people try to use God for their own self-actualization, but that is a reversal of nature and is doomed to failure. You were made for God, not vice versa, and life is about letting God use you for His purposes, not your using Him for your own purpose. God is just not the starting point of your life; He is the source of it. To discover your purpose in life you must turn to God’s Word, not the world’s wisdom. You must build your life on eternal truths, not pop psychology, success-motivation, or inspirational stories. You discover your identity and purpose through a relationship with Jesus Christ. His purpose for your life predates your conception. He planned it before you existed, without your input! 

The purpose of your life fits into a much larger, cosmic purpose that God has designed for eternity. If I could ask you what makes you angry, joyful, excited or passionate, what would you say? Take note of when your emotions are moved; these times can be a sign of your God-given purpose. I get FIRED up about the godless condition of the world. When I hear about little children being abused, I get angry. When someone tells me a story about loyal love, I am deeply moved. An exquisite arrangement of words on a page fills my heart with passion. A story of someone’s heartbreak grieves me. Talking about Christ stirs me up. When coupled with my talents, these passions point in the direction of my purpose of written and spoken communication about things that deeply impact people on a spiritual and emotional level. 

Pray. Ask God to show you things that move you and make a list. And remember, He wants you to discover His purpose for you more than you do. Lastly, consider that your purpose is not just about you; it’s about what God wants to do through you. Therefore, if you ignore or neglect your dissatisfaction, what others say about you, your gifts and your passions, you are not only betraying yourself, but betraying God because He has called you to a purpose and wants you to walk in it– for your own joy. Also consider that since God has called you, He is completely able to reveal your purpose to you, and He will as you diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). #DiscoverYourPurpose

http://www.lucretiacargill.com

Godisreal1

Faith VS. Trust

How can anyone not trust a God who loved His creation enough to redeem us from ourselves? To give us the ultimate gift of Christ, knowing that He would be rejected, but knowing His blood would save us? Only our God! Trust Him where you can’t trace Him. Let your faith speak for you. You are blessed. Be a blessing! If we have faith, we know that God can work miracles on our lives that He can protect us physically and heal us. He will provide for our needs and often He will even provide for our wants. 

Most importantly, by faith He will develop His holy righteous character in us in order that we can become members of His family. I am finding that you can’t have complete trust in God without having faith in Him too. You must work with what you got, pray for God to renew your faith and remember that we serve a BIG GOD that can do anything! It’s easy to give yourself over to God, but it’s a completely different story when you’re talking about your husband/wife or children. My faith as BIG as it is, is what allows me to trust God completely so that I can place the lives of my loved ones in His hands.

Even when our family is enduring circumstances that are far from desirable, I know God will take care of us, He always has. I guess faith and trust are lessons we will continue to learn the rest of our lives. The lessons may not always be fun, but I guarantee you they will be exactly what God ordered. God gives us an opportunity to build our faith by trusting Him. We need to learn to praise the Lord as much for a closed door as we do an open door.

The reason God closes doors is because He has not prepared anything over there for us. If He didn’t close the wrong door, we would never find the right door. Once a door close  it forces you to change your course. Another door closes, it forces you to change your course again. Finally, you find the open door and you walk right into your blessing. We can sometimes trap ourselves in doubt and discouragement through judging appearances. Be grateful for the many times our Father has closed doors to us just to open them in the most unexpected places. The Lord won’t always say in spoken words; “Go to the left, now to the right”. Sometimes He will just close the doors that are wrong for you.

We must realize a closed door can be a blessing. Didn’t He say that no good thing would He withhold from them that fear Him?( Psalm 84:11) For example, if you get terminated from your job, praise God and trust Him for the new opportunities that will manifest themselves. It might be another job, it might be school. If that man/woman won’t return your call, it might not be them, it might be the Lord setting up a road block (just let it go). The Lord directs our paths through the opening and closing of doors, but instead of praising Him for the closed door (which keeps us out of trouble): we tend to get upset because “we judge by the appearances”.  You have an ever-present  help in time of trouble that is always standing guard. 

Because He walks ahead of you, He can spot trouble down the road and set up a roadblock or detour accordingly. But through our lack of wisdom, faith, and trust in God, we try to tear down the roadblocks or push aside the detour sign. Then the minute we get in trouble, we start crying, “Lord, how could you have done this to me”? Here’s how it works….When a problem comes to you, no matter how serious or small, God already knows about it. He wants you to trust Him for this problem and the best way to do this is through prayer and reading His Word. You may pray to God and tell Him you trust Him for the problem, but when your prayer is done, you may still feel worried or scared about it. You may not be able to help how you feel but you can help your actions.

So, if after you pray, you still feel worried, pray again and tell God how you feel. You may as well be honest because God already knows how you feel. When you  pray about a problem, try telling  God you trust Him for it. Remember Faith is one thing but Trust is quite another!!! #THeFaithWalk

http://www.lucretiacargill.com/shop 

imagesK5SI7N7S

 

The Anointing Of God

Do you have the anointing of God over your life? God has anointed you so that you may be equipped for every good work: to resist evil, to know the truth, to preach the word, to teach the word, to be able to pray, to have fellowship with God. Have you considered yourself to be an anointed Christian? Maybe you thought that only certain people in ministry are anointed? No matter what you have or haven’t thought about if you are a Christian, then you have received an anointing? 

Do you know what this anointing is? Do you know what it means to be anointed? According to the Webster Dictionary, to anoint– is defined as ” to rub oil or ointment on,” to put oil on in a ceremony of consecration”. So, to anoint something or someone is to apply something, in tis case oil is the object. In Jesus baptism, He was anointed with the Holy Spirit that descended as a dove. Jesus was washed in baptism and He was anointed with the Spirit of God. If Jesus needed to be anointed, then so do us. Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit who would teach us all things. ” But counselor, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” -1John 14:26. 

1John 2:27 says, “As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit just as it has taught you, remain in Him”. The anointing you have received, then, is the Holy Spirit. What does this mean, then that you are anointed with the Holy Spirit? It means that you are anointed for Christian Ministry while you live in this world. It means you have been enabled, entrusted, and empowered to accomplish God’s will. 

God anoints people that love Him more than they love their own lives and that loves others as themselves. As we open our hearts to love others, God’s anointing flows through us. When we close our hearts to others and grieve the Holy Spirit, the flow stops. The anointing of the Holy Spirit is given through people to demonstrate God’s love and power. Christ means the “Anointed One”. Because Christ is in us, the same anointing that He had on earth we also have. The anointing can be stifled if the people refuse to receive it from the person that God is sending it through. 

Things such as pride, envy, bitterness, and unforgiveness against an anointed person can prevent the receiver from accepting it. The anointed person must go to people that can receive it. The anointing is given to heal and restore people, to proclaim freedom to the captives, to open the blind eyes to set people free. The anointing flows in God’s timing which also gives wisdom and is the river of life that flows from the throne through your heart and penetrates other people’s hearts. The free-flowing anointing of God’s love brings joy to God and that joy is felt by the person He flows through. #ThePowerofGOD

http://www.lucretiacargill.com

images8W5TU9GY