Soul-Care Articles: Christ-centered, Spirit-led, Biblically-based, Clinically-sound, Truth-oriented

Posts tagged ‘relationship with God’

The Basics for Living a Meaningful, Balanced, and Godly Life

SOURCE:  Dr. Bill Bellican

(1) The most important decision in life is the one made by you concerning Jesus Christ.

God has said that everyone who sins must pay the penalty for his/her sins, and there is no one, including you, who is righteous and free from sin. There is no payment you can possibly make, nor nothing that you could do that would satisfy a Holy and Just God. The penalty or payment due for your sin is eternal death and separation from God – forever.

The only hope you have is to recognize you are a lost, helpless sinner before God, be genuinely sorrowful, and ask God for forgiveness. Then you must realize that God loves you so much that He planned and provided for you a once-for-all-time opportunity to accept His forgiveness, His free gift of eternal life, and adoption into His family.

You do this by believing in and accepting the Son of God, Jesus Christ, as your personal Savior and Lord of your life. Jesus, being the sinless and perfect God-Man, willingly took upon Himself your penalty for sin (as your substitute) thereby completely satisfying God’s righteous-holy wrath against you. Jesus died acually to pay for your every personal sin – past, present, future. Jesus was resurrected from the dead which showed God’s approval and acceptance for what He did for you.

After you have accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord and, as a result, are eternally saved and now are in a “forever relationship” with God, there are some important next steps to begin growth and maturity in Christ:  (a) be water-baptized – an outward sign of the inward cleansing you have received; (b) become active in worshipping God in a Christ-centered church; (c) daily, call upon Jesus for the filling of the Holy Spirit, strength, guidance, and empowerment to live as He requires in the following key areas, which will lead to a Meaningful, Balanced, and Godly life:

(2) Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your (spouse/others) as you love yourself.

(3) Seek to know God, His Ways, and His Word before anything else – even more than desiring solutions to your problems. Trust that the Lord knows you and your needs better than you do.

(4) Seek knowledge, wisdom, and understanding from the Holy Spirit.

(5) Invite the Holy Spirit to totally empower and control you moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day.

(6) Pray continually. Meditate and fast. Seek to be joyful/content always, giving thanks for God’s loving control in sending or allowing all circumstances in your life. Choose to believe in God’s goodness no matter what the circumstances.

(7) Choose to forgive others as Christ has forgiven you. Continually ask Christ for forgiveness of your daily sins He makes you aware of. By faith, receive and give thanks for His forgiveness.

(8) Think of others as better than yourself. Do nothing out of selfish ambition/pride. Hate what is evil. Cling to what is good.

(9) Excel in the grace of giving – time, money, and devotion/worship to God. Allow yourself to be a living sacrifice to God.

(10) Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Think about whatever is pure, lovely, admirable, good. Avoid anger, rage, filthy language, sexual immorality, evil desires, greed.

(11) Mutually submit to each other. Husband-love your wife as yourself and even sacrificially as Christ loved you enough to suffer and die for you. Wife-respect and submit to the position your husband has been placed in just as Christ submits to the Father. Parent-be reasonable in your love and discipline toward your child(ren) – avoid extremes. You must honor and respect all those in authority over you as well as those who are under you.

(12) Bless and pray for any that mistreat you. Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Allow love to cover many shortcomings of others. Do not repay evil for evil. Let God repay as He determines.

(13) Trust in the Lord always; Do not depend on your own understanding; acknowledge Him in everything and all circumstances. Realize your powerlessness to face any issue, and look only to God for guidance, help, and hope.

(14) Choose Life over Death (right over wrong) in every life situation. Trust God to bring your choice about and make it happen. Realize the Lord is your life.

(15) Seek to live and act holy just as God is holy. Seek to fear/honor/respect God and keep His commandments. Don’t grow weary in doing good.

Reference Notes

1) Joel 2:32. Mt. 16:16. Lk. 1:77-78. Jn. 3:16-18, 36; 5:24; 6:29, 40; 8:24; 14:6; 20:31. Acts 2:21, 38; 4:12; 10:43; 13:39; 15:11; 16:31; 22:16; 26:18. Rom. 3:10-12, 20, 22-26; 4:22- 25; 5:1, 6, 8; 6:9-10; 8:1-2, 24a; 10:9-10, 13. 2 Cor. 5:21; 7:10. Gal. 2:15-16; 3:13-14. Eph. 1:3-8; 2:8-9. Col. 1:21-22; 2:13-14. 2 Thess. 1:8-9. 1 Tim. 2:3-6. 2 Tim. 1:9-10; 3:15. Tit. 3:5-8. Heb. 5:8; 9:12, 22; 7:25-27; 10:10, 25. 1 Pet. 3:18. 1 Jn.3:1a; 4:9-10; 5:1, 11-12, 17.

2) Deut. 6:5; 10:12-13. Mt. 10:37-39; 22:36-40. Mk. 12:30-31. Rom. 13:8-10; 1 Cor. 13:4-8.

3) Job 28:24. Ps. 119:11, 168. Mt. 6:8, 25-33; Lk. 12:31. Rom. 8:26-27. Eph. 3:16-19; 5:10, 17. 2 Pet. 3:3-8.

4) Prov. 2:6, 13-15; 8:10; 16:16. Col. 1:9-12; 2:2-3. Jas. 1:5.

5) Jn. 16:13. Rom. 8:26-27. Eph. 5:18.

6) Job 42:1-2. Ps. 119:68; 136:1. Eccles. 12:14. Mt. 6:17-18; 7:7-8; 17:21. Rom. 8:28; 12:12. Eph. 3:12. Phil. 4:4-7, 11-13, 19. Col. 4:2. 1 Thess. 5:16-18. 1 Tim. 6:6-10. Jas. 5:11. Heb. 13:5. I Pet. 5:6-7. Ps. 119:48, 78, 97.

7) Ps. 103:1-5. Mic. 7:18-19. Mt. 6:9-14. Lk. 11:4a. Eph. 4:30, 32. Col. 3:13-14. Heb. 12:15. 1 Jn. 1:9-10.

8) Rom. 12:3, 9. Gal. 6:3-5. Eph. 4:31. Phil. 2:3. Col. 3:1-10. 1 Thess. 5:21-22. 2 Tim. 2:22. Jas. 4:7-8a.

9) Rom. 12:1. 2 Cor. 7: 16b; 8:7; 9:6-15.

10) Gal. 5:22-23. Eph. 4:2. Phil. 4:8. Col. 3:2, 5, 8, 12.

11) Eph. 5:21-6:9. Col. 3:18-4:1. Heb. 13:17. 1 Pet. 1:13, 18; 3:1-8.

12) Mt. 5:44. Rom. 12:14, 17-21. 2 Thess. 1:6-7a. 2 Tim. 4:14. Jas. 1:19. 1 Pet. 3:9; 4:8.

13) 2 Chron. 20:12, 15. Job 41:11b. Prov. 3:5-6. Ezek. 37:1-14. Dan. 3:16-18. Hab. 3:17-19. Jn. 5:16-18. Rom. 15:13. 2 Cor. 12:9, 10b. Gal. 2:20; 3:3; 5:16-18. Heb. 4:7-8.

14) Deut. 6:18; 30:11-20. Eph. 1:11b. Phil. 2:12-13. Heb. 13:20-21.

15) Lev. 19:2. Eccles. 12:13. Is. 40:28-31. Mt. 5:48. 2 Cor. 13:11a. Gal. 6:9. Eph. 5:1-2. Phil. 1:9-11. 2 Thess. 3:13. Heb. 12:14. 1 Pet. 1:15.

Advertisements

“DOG or CAT” Relationship With God?

SOURCE:  Jan Johnson

Dog & Cat Theology

“Dog and cat theology” sounds like this:

The master feeds his dog and pets her, and the dog gazes up into the master’s eyes and wags her tail and thinks, He must be God! 

But when the master feeds his cat and pets her, the cat gazes up into the master’s eyes, arches her back and thinks, I must be God.

Dog theology: gratefulness to God whom we know exists, on whom we depend on all day long, in whose companionship we thrive.

Cat theology: self-absorption and forgetfulness of God who longs to be with us, provide for us and even partner with us in showing love to others. (That forgetfulness has been called “practical atheism,” meaning that in the practicalities of the day, God doesn’t really exist for that person.)

Dog theology is living in reality; cat theology is living in an unrealistic bubble of me, myself, and I, which is not reality, only an imagined one. Reality, you wonder? Gratefulness puts us in touch with reality, meaning that everything we have, we have received, beginning with oxygen to breathe. After that, it’s all gravy. The good things that occur all day long come from an attentive God who delights in loving us. The consequences throughout our day come from our own mistakes or others’ mistakes, and we have to “bear with” them.

I confess I live in cat theology part of my day. My thoughts center around me–getting my work done, making sure I have all the things I need to do it, being glad I am recognized for accomplishments and resentful when I’m not. Yes, I manage to be kind and caring but everything comes back to me and how I feel about things. This automatic tendency to focus on self is normal for humans. In blunt terms, it’s self-absorption.

I want to move to living more in dog theology—content under the watching eye of the Master. As I live out of the different reality of the Kingdom of God, I can focus my attention on how God might be using me in this moment and find joy in partnering with God, even if no one notices what I’m doing. In fact, I forget to notice that I haven’t been noticed.

As I recognize that God is God (as my daughter’s dog Max knows she is god), I can be constantly thankful for all kinds of things: that I figured out how to make my phone do that tricky thing I hoped it could do; that my husband and I figured out a way to make our favorite oddball sheets fit our bed; that God uses people in our Celebrate Recovery group to say exactly what I need to hear; that even though a fire raged in our hills last week, it was quickly extinguished and now creates an oddly beautiful blackened hillside contrasting with the verdant shrubs and sandstone of this valley.

In dog theology, I get that God is really God, and that all of life is a gift from God. As for the parts I find difficult, God walks with me and so I still have reasons to be grateful, to be mindful of God’s companionship. In dog theology, I set aside by pathological self-obsession because I realize I really do count! I am healed because I have an experience of being adequately loved by the Creator of the universe.

“When we submit what and where we are to God, our rule or dominion increases” (The Divine Conspiracy). Today I submit each thing I’m going to do—how I enter into my writing project and my Jazzercise class, my treatment of my husband, kids, friends, co-workers as well as strangers who email me. That means I ask God for help with these things and I look to God for opportunities to bless people.

Jesus is my Master, and I’m glad to be along for the ride.

How Can I Truly Know God — Now and Forever?

SOURCE:   Blue Letter Bible

Did you know that you were created to have a loving relationship with God?

He is patiently and lovingly waiting for you to respond to His invitation to salvation.

Yes, you can receive forgiveness for your sins and assurance of eternal life through faith in His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). “Now this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).

You may be asking yourself: “How can I know God?” Man is able to know the true and living God through His Word (that is, the Bible). The Bible reveals God’s character and His plan for mankind. It is through reading His Word that we come to a knowledge of the righteousness of God and that which He requires of us.

What is it that prevents us from personally knowing God? Our sin has separated us from God — our corruption is to such a degree that we cannot know Him personally and cannot experience His love. God’s Word says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Man was created to have fellowship with God, but because of his sin (i.e., anything that is against the righteousness revealed in God’s Law) he is prevented from that fellowship. This includes anything less than perfect obedience to God’s commands.

“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). The ultimate result of this death is an eternity in Hell. This spiritual death forces a separation from God. Man is sinful and God is holy. This creates a gulf unbridgeable by man making that intended fellowship impossible. The only solution is a divine bridge — that bridge is Christ.

God created a way by sending His Son to pay the price for our sin. “God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He died in our place; He who knew no sin became sin for us. This removed our burden of sin and allows us to enter into that desired fellowship if we follow His way.

He is the only way. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

It is not just enough that you know these truths. We must individually place our trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. It is by repenting of our sins and believing on Christ that we can know God personally and experience His love.

“But as many as receive Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

You can receive Jesus Christ right now by faith. “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).

If you now believe on God and place your faith in His Son, congratulations — and welcome to His family. We, all being His children, share in a heavenly inheritance! We are heirs to heaven and are promised the eternal pleasure of glorifying God. As our life here on earth progresses, God will continue to work in our hearts. We are daily being conformed to the image of Christ, Himself. We will begin to live lives of righteousness. Obedience to God will not be a burden to us, but rather a joy.

You may wonder, now that you are a Christian, “What now?”

Our greatest recommendation for believers, new and old, is fourfold:

1) find a church so you might hear the preaching of the Word and rejoice in the fellowship of other Christians,

2) study the Bible for that is where we learn of God and His plans,

3) pray to Him to strengthen your faith and increase your love toward Him, and

4) enjoy the blessings given by God in the heavenly ordained sacraments: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

All of these will work to encourage and build upon your faith.

It’s Your Decision – Choose Well!

SOURCE: Adapted from  Stepping Stones

We trust in a lot of things to save us. The strength of a chair to save us from falling. The power of a bridge to support our weight so we don’t plummet to the river below. The ability of a driver in oncoming traffic to stay on his side of the yellow line to prevent us from crashing.

Webster defines trust as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something.” When we trust in Jesus, we believe that He is God’s Son and that His sacrifice pays the price for our sin. We are relying on and trusting God’s character … and His ability to do what He has promised. Ultimately, we are trusting His character and integrity to be who He promised, and in His power and strength, and ultimately, in the truth of His love.

Trusting in Christ is the foundation, the first step, to a relationship with God. Faith that Christ paid the penalty that was due for all our sins. Realizing nothing else could erase the barrier of sin that stands between God’s holiness and us. Saving trust is the greatest coping mechanism we can ever use, as it restores our relationship with God forever, and assures our eternal place in Heaven with Him.

Satan is working hard to get us to believe one of two things. 1 – We really aren’t that bad, don’t need a God (even if He does exist), and can earn His favor by doing lots of good deeds. 2 – We are so wretched that God doesn’t love us or can’t save us from our sins, or we have to work to re-earn His favor instead of trusting in Jesus’ death for our payment. Then, if we do trust Jesus for salvation, we get complacent and start trusting other worldly elements for our daily safety.

Today’s scripture is one of many that explain the gospel message. We all fall short of God’s standard … we all have sinned … and so none of us can have a relationship with God on our own merit or power. The good news is that God loved us enough to send his Son Jesus to make a way for us. Jesus died on the cross and paid the price for every sin committed by man … past, present and future. That is the incomparable power of the Cross. Our responsibility is to trust Jesus as our Lord and Savior. When we do this, we are made right with God and can enjoy a personal relationship with him. We cannot, nor do we need to add to the Cross. And thankfully, nothing we do can undo the power of the Cross once we have trusted.

Today, ask yourself these questions: Have I trusted in Jesus? Have I received His love and His sacrifice for my sin? If I have, do I express that in my attitudes, perceptions, and actions each day? What is the evidence I trust in God and not in my intellect, bank account, friends, looks, health, etc? If I lost any or all of these things would I still trust in God? He loves you with a love you can’t even begin to comprehend. And He is trustworthy. He will never leave you. He will never disappoint you. He will always love you. In this world of uncertainty, there is no hope. But in Jesus there is every hope. That, you can trust in.

Your decision; choose well.

Prayer

Dear Father God, I realize that I am not worthy to be in Your presence. But I believe that Jesus paid the price for my sin and that through Him I can come to You. I receive Him now as my savior. Don’t let that be the last step, but just the first step of my growing trust in You … for all my daily matters in this world, not just for my life in Heaven. Please forgive my sins. I want to follow and trust in Jesus. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One you sent to set me free, Jesus Christ.

The Truth

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

Romans 3:22-23

Tag Cloud