Handling Change

How often are you thrown by a change in your life? Good or bad? How well do you handle it? Nobody likes change when it happens, especially negative change. Anxiety rises, and some handle that better than others.

When working towards a pilot’s license years ago, I quickly learned that most of what I studied and practiced was for emergency situations. If this unexpected event happened, then this. If this, then that. One circumstance would be studied after another. This training was in place to be able handle that unexpected change in the normal routine of flight. The more prepared I was, the better I could handle whatever circumstance arose, without the anxiety and indecision that would be there otherwise. I would have faith in my training and skills to handle the problem and realize everything would work out the best it could because of that.

How well you know God and have faith in Him is the same way. Trusting in Him, resting in your faith and knowing He never changes are things that can change your life. Believing down to the roots of your soul He is always there and keeps His promises allows you to let your anxieties go and put your complete trust in Him.

The Bible tells us he never changes in Hebrews 13:8 (ESV):

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

and in James 1:17 (ESV):

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

and in Malachi 3:6 (NKJV)

For I am the Lord, I do not change

We can trust this because it says in Psalm 18:30 (NIV):

As for God, his way is perfect: 
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.

Some people will argue He does change because there are examples in the Old Testament of Him changing His mind. Because He is a loving and compassionate and loving God, He has shown He CAN change His MIND, if people change their behavior:

This is shown in Jeremiah 26:3 (NKJV)

Perhaps everyone will listen and turn from his evil way, that I may relent concerning the calamity which I purpose to bring on them because of the evil of their doings.

But just because he can change his mind, doesn’t mean he has to, as he proves with Balak in

Numbers 23:18-20 (NKJV)

Then he took up his oracle and said:

“Rise up, Balak, and hear! 
Listen to me, son of Zippor!  
“God is not a man, that He should lie, 
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do? 
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? 
Behold, I have received a command to bless;
He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.
As well as with King Saul in 1 Samuel 15:28, 29
At this Samuel said to him: “Jehovah has ripped away the royal rule of Israel from you today, and he will give it to one of your fellow men who is better than you. Moreover, the Excellency of Israel will not prove false or change his mind, for He is not a mere man that he should change his mind.”

We must remember God can change his mind, but HE never changes.

Deuteronomy 32:4

The Rock, perfect is his activity, For all his ways are justice.A God of faithfulness who is never unjust;Righteous and upright is he.

1 John 4:8

Whoever does not love has not come to know God, because God is love.

The Holy Bible contains 7,487 PROMISES made by God to man according to Professor Dr. Herbert Lockyer (1886-1984)  In his 1962 book titled “All The Promises Of God,”

Deuteronomy 31:6

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Ezekiel 12:28 NIV

“Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”

Knowing the Lord never changes, but He is a compassionate and loving God who keeps His promises, it should be simple thing for us to give up all of worldly concerns, needs, problems, anxieties, etc. to Him. We believe He will handle everything according to His divine purpose. We trust in Him much more than we trust in our emergency flight training. Our faith in Him grows as we give Him more and more of our lives. We need to give him all of it!

The secret to this?

A close relationship with God.

How do we get this?

Begin with 1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  Wow! There are two promises right there! He will forgive our sins! He will purify us from all unrighteousness! And we already know he will keep those promises! These will work immediately to make us closer to Him. Evidence of that will be increased joy, happiness and peace, although not all problems will disappear. we are still physical residents of this earth. But I often remember one of my favorite quotes, which I’ve used countless times, by C.S. Lewis. He said, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”

Add this to another favorite quote, this one by A.W. Tozer said, “We are saved to worship God. All that Christ has done in the past and all that He is doing now leads to this one end.”

By worshiping, praying and seeking a closer relationship with God, you will find your faith growing, joy and peace more present in your life, and seeing evidence of God around you in life more than you ever had. Your eyes, ears and heart will be opened to new levels of wisdom bestowed upon you as the Holy Spirit leads. Things you’ve been told for years now will make sense.

Grow your faith and seek God more every day and find Him you will!

© 2017 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved


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Two Greatest Commandments is Really Three

This is a little different look at the two great commandments we covered back in March.

In Mark 12:28-31, we read,

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

The key word at the center of both commandments is LOVE. That is because God is love. Everything that is of God, that is a part of Him, is based in love.

We see this in 1 John 4, beginning in verse 7.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

So how are those two commandments Jesus gave us three? Let’s look at 1 John 4:20-21.

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

So the first commandment Jesus gave us, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,” depends on the second, which is “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” How can you love God if you hate your neighbor?

But read closer. “You shall love your neighbor… as yourself.”

How can you love your neighbor, and God, if you have issues with yourself? You must love yourself first. Do you have skeletons in your closet, or something in your life, you haven’t forgiven yourself? Do you believe He has forgiven you, but you are still carrying the burden of guilt of them on yourself? Or maybe you haven’t given them up to Him yet. Either way, you are not loving yourself and are keeping yourself from loving your neighbor and God.

1 John 1:9 says

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Once you have done that, and He has forgiven you, and He has cleansed you of that unrighteousness, shouldn’t you let go of your guilt? He has made you new, as 2 Corinthians 5:17 says,

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Forgive yourself. Let your guilt go. Love yourself so you can love your neighbor and love the Lord your God with ALL your soul and with ALL your mind and with ALL your strength!

© 2017 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved


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Visualizing Jesus

Meditating and visualizing Jesus physically right beside you

Jesus walking up and hearing the grass and sticks crack beneath his feet as He approaches

Having conversation with Him as you would your better than you and your best friend have ever talked

Feeling love like you’ve never felt it before

© 2017 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved


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Hearing God

Devotional on why we hear God sometimes and sometimes we don’t.

“the teacher is silent during the test”

Bruce Almighty “God just give me sign” – truck full of signs passes

listening for what we want to hear

© 2018 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved


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Faith

In the old classic Christmas movie “Miracle on 34th Street,” we hear the quote “Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to.” Dictionary.com has as one of its seven definitions of faith as “belief that is not based on proof.”

When it comes to having faith in God, many of us who call ourselves Christians are very often found wanting in this area. Jesus Christ pointed out in Matthew 17:20

“… Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

It is easy to say “I have faith.” It is harder to truly have faith and to then see Him work as a result !

Faith in the Lord is built first by seeking a closer relationship with Him in every part of your life. Then, as your faith grows, you see him working according to His plan. You see this because you had the faith that He would handle things. When you see Him do this, your faith grows even more.

As a kid growing up, I noticed how the older generations seemed to have a trust and faith I didn’t have. I am now am reaching those ages, and I am learning to trust in Him more. I also find He’s even more a part of my life.

Maturing in our Christian faith, we can see His work more and more often. We can now trust that when He calls us to something that He will handle the details. Once you have seen this first hand, it works to strengthen your faith and trust in Him.

C.S. Lewis said “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

How can you see God working if you don’t have the faith?

2 Corinthians 5:7
For we live by faith, not by sight.

No matter the sacrifice, have faith in God. When He moves, trust and have faith that He will keep His promises. Then open your eyes and watch Him work! Continuous faith, coupled with prayer and study in the Word, increases the closeness of your relationship with Christ. The closer you draw to Him, the more you see Him work and then your faith strengthens. It is a cyclical pattern that can only work to get you closer to that place where you have the faith of a mustard seed!

© 2017 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved


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Reflecting Christ

Mirrors are reflectors. They reflect the light that hits them. What we see in the mirror reflects the light that is illuminating us as we stand in front of the mirror. That light shines off of us at the mirror and reflects into our eyes where our brains interpret the image how we appear at that moment in that light.

Gazing into the mirror is how we can see ourselves as others see us. We cannot step outside our bodies to look ourselves, so, up until recent technological advances, mirrors have been the only way we have had to check out how we look and learn how others view our outward appearance.

When we read the creation story, we find that Genesis 1:26 (ESV) says,

“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,”

so we think God patterned our physical appearance very specifically. However, since God no has bodily form, he is referring to his image as his spiritual form. So man was given spirit, a living soul, created to live in harmony and communion with him.

So, with this image in mind, how do you view yourself when you look in the mirror? It is possible to view beyond the physical appearance and into the spirit.

In the 1970’s a Christian artist, Sharalee Lucas, recorded a song by the name “Jesus in Your Eyes.” This was very popular song back then for weddings given the love song nature of the lyrics. But it spoke about being able to discern Christ in another person.

I see Jesus in your eyes, and it makes me love Him

I feel Jesus in your touch, and I know He cares

I hear Jesus in your voice, and it makes me listen

And I trust you with my love, because you’re His.

I see Him… [1]

Have you ever had someone you’ve just met say, “You’re a Christian, aren’t you?” If someone can ask that before you say a word that’s even better.

We can never be fully like Christ, but we strive to always be. And as we become more like Him, the more others will see Christ in us. Do others see Him you? When you stand in front of the mirror, do YOU see Him in you?


[1] I See Jesus In Your Eyes—Words & Music – Sharalee Lucas—Copyright © 1986 Songs Of Rambo McGuire—Catalog info-Songs Of Rambo McGuire—Administrator Info-Songs Of Rambo McGuire

© 2017 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved


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A Path to Peace and Joy

From the book of Joshua, I think we have all heard in some form or fashion the story of the Battle of Jericho. Israel surrounds the town of Jericho, marches around it for days, and on the seventh day, the trumpets blasted, the voices shouted and the walls came down. All spoils except the silver, gold and bronze and iron were to be destroyed. However, a man by the name of Achan kept some spoils for himself and hid them by burying them under his tent.
Not knowing this, Joshua then proceeded to next the town of Ai. It was a small town, so Joshua sent only a small army to battle them. The Israelites lost and had to retreat. God told Joshua, who was distraught over the loss, that someone had hidden the spoils and until their sin was exposed, He would not be with them. Joshua lined the entire nation up and they all passed in front of him tribe by tribe. When Achan passed in front of Joshua he admitted his sin. Joshua had the spoils along with Achan, his family, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, stoned then burnt, ridding the nation of the sin that had so angered the Lord. Having seen the cleansing, the Lord turned from His anger and blessed Israel yet again.
What is the lesson to be learned here today? You may hide your sin from man, but not from God. When praying specific prayers, God knows what you want before you ask it. He wants you to ask specifically so that YOU know what you need. If He knows your need better than you know yourself, isn’t it logical to conclude that He knows your sin even before you confess it? He knows we need to confess our sin to have a true penitent heart and to restore our relationship with Him.

How grateful we should be that Christ came to earth? We do not need to fear the wrath of judgment that Achan experienced because Christ did that for us.
When we gave our lives to Christ, we were forgiven our sins. The Father’s love is unending. But when we still sin, which we do because we are still human, our relationship with Him is strained. He doesn’t love us any less. As a parent doesn’t love their child any less when they err, so is God with us when we sin. Our relationship is strengthened through confession. This is the basis of 1 John 1:9 which says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
This begins a cause and affect sequence which is the real topic of this lesson. To be cleansed from all unrighteousness means a close relationship with God. A close relationship with God is the only place where true peace can be found.  C.S. Lewis said, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”
And by finding true peace you can find joy. If you are having a hard time finding peace, then I would suspect you are having a difficult time with joy as well. Not all sources of tension limiting peace and joy are a result of sin. A family member suffering from cancer or some other disease is a good example of this. But if your lack of peace and joy can be traced to your guilt, your sin, then begin the road of restoration with confession and with working to be closer to and worship Him.  When we confess our sins, we grow closer to Him. Being closer to Him overwhelms us with peace, overflows in joy and manifests itself in glorious praise of God.

© 2017 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved


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Reflecting the Greatest Commandments

Do you ever wonder what it would be like if Christ was actually walking earth today and you ran into him? When we look back to evidence in the New Testament, it appears he must have had an appeal  beaming out from him that captivated those around him. How do you think it went in recruiting the disciples? It almost gives the impression he walked up, said drop your nets and follow me. Except for maybe Peter and Matthew to a degree, there is no implication there were huge debates, followed by PowerPoint presentations by Jesus showing returns on investment, and so forth working to convince each of the future disciples why they should do just that. It seems they sensed his special anointing, and felt strongly that was something they had to do. I doubt they knew at the time the scope of the decision they were making. They were making a decision that would etch them into the history of all mankind and would alsolead to their persecution. Had Jesus told them up front, “Hey follow me, but know you will ultimately be killed for it,” The number of  recruits would have been sizably less. But once they understood the significance of the Spirit in the man, and that spirit was made alive in them, they realized physical, earthly death was not the end or even that big of deal. Living for Him, reflecting Him… that is!

 

Jesus would be doing the same if He were walking the earth today. His charisma, being so magnetic, would draw people to him. He would be where Christians today fear to trod. I believe he would be in bars and strip clubs, the casinos, the gang-infested neighborhoods, the sex-trafficking houses where young girls are sold. And I believe in each of those, within minutes of entering, all activities would cease, and there would be a number of people at his feet listening, intently and remorsefully. As always, there would be those whose hearts are hard and resist. Jesus had those even 2000 years ago, such as when the Pharisees even tried to trick Him. In Matthew 22:36-40:

 

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

 

They failed but Jesus’ response brings three topics to light, two of them are obvious.

  1. Love God.
    This commandment is first because it is the most important.
  2. Love your neighbor.
    The second obvious statement.
  3. As YOURSELF!
    Not so obvious! Do not forget to love yourself!

So many people have guilt, remorse, low self-esteem, etc. which gives them anxiety, depression and much more. All of this impacts their ability to love themselves. These can impact to the point of serious health issues and even suicide.

 

You can love God, and you can love neighbor, but not love yourself. But how much can you truly love them? Work on forgiving yourself, letting the things go that God has already forgiven you for. Pray for peace. Meditate on it daily. Hourly if needed. Truly, truly give it. Your CAN let it go. Once you do, you WILL find that peace and you will find yourself loving yourself. Then you will love your neighbor and God even more after that. Your faith in God goes up, your peace and joy will skyrocket. You will want to grow closer to Him everyday!

 

If your life is in order already, then praise the Lord! Keep working to become a fully developing follower of Christ.

 

While we can never be fully like Him, we strive to always be more like Him. And as we become more like Christ, the more others will see Him in us. Do others see Him you? When you stand in front of the mirror, do YOU see Him in you?

© 2017 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved


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When Times Are Rough

No matter how hard we try, there will be days where we wish we could just stay in bed, or take that extended vacation to the Caribbean. Many times, the reasons for these feelings are caused by outside sources or people. Maybe it’s a boss who belittles and only sees what is not right without seeing all the good things you do. Or perhaps it is an unexpected bill, valid or not. It could even be a friend or family member who lets their negative emotions get taken out on those around them, including you.
 
Max Lucado tells the following story. “How can a person deal with anxiety? You might try what one fellow did. He worried so much that he decided to hire someone to do his worrying for him. He found a man who agreed to be his hired worrier  for a salary of $200,000 per year. After the man accepted the job, his first question to his boss was, “Where are you going to get $200,000 per year?” To which the man responded, “That’s your worry.”
 
You really can adopt the philosophy that by giving everything up to the Lord with confidence and faith, you can change the things you can actually change. The things you cannot change, you give them up to the Lord with faith He will handle things in His timing according to His plan. Giving something up to the Lord means you do not give in to stress or worry, but you trust and further strengthen your faith in Christ by doing so. Your faith strengthens ten-fold when you’ve given up to Him and then you see how He handles it. 
 
Through faith, we give EVERYTHING up to the Lord, not just the ones we stress about. Worry and stress are actually a demonstration of a lack of faith in that God will handle all things according to his plan.
 
Rick Warren says, “The more you pray, the less you’ll panic. The more you worship, the less you worry. You’ll feel more patient and less pressured.”
 
James 1:2-4 says it best:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,
 whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
 
He continues in James 1:12
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
 
Trust in the Lord with all your heartand lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him,

and he will make your paths straight.

 

© 2017 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved


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