Archive for January, 2012

AwAreness: Life

Posted in Gypsy Carns on January 31, 2012 by Gypsy Carns

Life is like an untraveled trail with complex twists and turns. Appealing activities can be detours that lead to the quicksand of sin. And engaging philosophies may form side paths that end up in a mire of muddled thinking. Even the best route isn’t all sun-dappled meadows and quiet riverside lanes. We may at times have to journey over hard terrain or shadowed valleys. The only way to be sure we’re walking right is to follow one who knows the way perfectly.

God is the perfect, full-service Guide. No one can go wrong by keeping to the pathways He selects. Consider that He lovingly and intentionally created you for this time and this place. The Lord watches over your steps because He desires to see your purpose fulfilled and His plan come to fruition through you. There’s a correlation between ignoring God’s guidance and ending up in trouble: the one who stumbles off course has trusted his own “sense of direction”—his emotions, desires, or personal version of morality. He’s been pursuing what feels good or looks right instead of seeking the Lord’s will.

God has mapped out the path before you. He is aware of every obstacle and miry pit, and He knows exactly which sidetracks will tempt you. What’s more, He has committed to walk beside you as a Guide and Comforter so that you never face the twists and turns of this life alone.

Psalm 25:12 – Who is the man that fears the LORD?  Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.

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AwAreness: Discipleship

Posted in Gypsy Carns on January 30, 2012 by Gypsy Carns

After Paul’s conversion, he disappeared into the desert for three years, during which time the Holy Spirit instructed him in the ways of God. He emerged, ready to communicate divine truth. The Lord speaks to believers so that they will comprehend the truth, conform to the truth, and communicate the truth. These same steps form a roadmap to discipleship. What happened during Paul’s desert years was only the beginning of a life-long process—God renewed his mind and transformed him into the image of Christ. For the apostle, that change began with connecting his rich biblical knowledge to the revelation that Jesus Christ was the Son of God.

The apostle’s spirit had to be shaped according to the Father’s will. And the Lord kept working on him long after Paul left the desert and began his ministry. Every person who reads his letters is a witness to the work of God in a submissive man.  The Lord’s discipleship roadmap looks similar for every believer. Like Paul, you are the Holy Spirit’s student, and the knowledge you reap from Scripture should be changing your life. Be like the apostle in this way to become a disciple maker by sharing what you learn with others.

Galatians 1: 11, 12 – But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.  For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

AwAreness: Father

Posted in Gypsy Carns on January 27, 2012 by Gypsy Carns

When Christ taught His disciples to pray, He told them to address God as “Our Father.” They had previously heard Jesus say, “My Father,” but now they, too, shared in that privileged family relationship. All of us who has been born again into the household of God have this same right. Since our concepts of God are shaped by our earthly fathers, we all have different perceptions of Him, but Jesus is the only one who has a completely accurate understanding of the heavenly Father. Consider some of the ways He cares for His children:

Loves: God’s love is unconditional, since it’s based on His nature rather than our performance (1 John 4:16).  Listens: When we pray, He gives us His full attention (Ps. 55:16-17).  Guides: He is the one who directs our path when we trust in Him (Prov. 3:5-6).Protects:  The Lord shields us spiritually, emotionally, and physically, sifting every experience through His sovereign fingers. (Ps. 121:1-8).  Disciplines: The Lord disciplines us for our good, so that we may share in His holiness (Heb. 12:5-11).

Though experiences with our earthly dads may have distorted our view of the heavenly Father, we can learn to see Him as He truly is. By viewing Him through the truth of Scripture instead of our preconceptions, we will see evidence of His loving care and discover a security we’ve never known before.

AwAreness: Hope

Posted in Gypsy Carns on January 25, 2012 by Gypsy Carns

Hope is a healthy attitude. Anticipating good brings comfort to the mind and heart. In contrast, a state of hopelessness is a terrible condition in which to find oneself. It’s overwhelming and depressing to think that what you’re facing cannot be changed or resolved. For the person who has lost all hope, life looks like a long dark tunnel going nowhere.

Believers have a hope that anchors their souls. Our relationship with Jesus Christ brings us close to the throne of heaven, where we can cast all our burdens before an omnipotent God. Moreover, we can cling to Him through whatever trials are facing us. Because of the Lord’s great love, He provides strength for weary bodies, peace for anxious minds, and comfort for grieving hearts. In short, He lights that darkened tunnel and tenderly guides us through trying situations.

Proverbs 13:12 – Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.

AwAreness: Attacks

Posted in Gypsy Carns on January 24, 2012 by Gypsy Carns

Every believer faces temptation. Take a moment to recall a particularly enticing situation involving something that would displease God. Did you realize you were involved in a satanic battle?  The Devil is real. Scripture reveals that he leads an army of fallen angels and is prideful enough to think he can gain victory over God. By definition, a satanic attack is a deliberate assault upon an individual, which is designed to cause spiritual, physical, material, or emotional harm. Satan desires to thwart the Lord’s purpose in believers’ lives, to rob them of joy and peace, and ultimately to deny God the worship He receives through yielded followers.

As in any war, knowing the enemy’s plan helps us prepare for the attack. First, be aware that the battlefield takes place in our minds. To walk in a godly manner with Christ, we must first be sure that our thoughts are in submission to His Spirit. This takes daily surrender and time in God’s Word. Second, Satan tempts us during vulnerable moments. Be cautious when you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (This is often known as the H.A.L.T.  warning). Third, he is deceptive; we won’t recognize the trap as an evil scheme. Instead, it will seem good, and we’ll likely wrestle with some sort of doubt.

As Christians, we should walk closely with Jesus. Satan desires to lure us into destructive actions that rob us of God’s plan for a good, full life. Stay connected to the Savior: read the Word, pray, and fellowship with other believers. These are weapons we use against the Devil in spiritual war.

Ephesians 6: 10 – 12: Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

AwAreness: Work

Posted in Gypsy Carns on January 19, 2012 by Gypsy Carns

One of the greatest hindrances to the gospel’s effectiveness is Christians who act one way at church and another way elsewhere. The way we live for God should permeate all areas of life. The workplace is no exception.  The way we act reflects our faith. So if we claim to be Christians, our coworkers, bosses, and employees will equate our attitudes and actions with Jesus. Do those around you at the office see a positive reflection of God in your work ethic?

Let’s look at a scriptural model for the believer to follow. For one thing, we should view ourselves as servants. Next, our true boss is Christ; therefore, we work diligently and with integrity, knowing that our reward is from Him. Then, since all authority on earth is God-given, we should obey our superiors gladly—unless, of course, our boss tells us to do something that goes against Scripture. And finally, all those we work with and for have worth from the Creator, and we should treat them with respect.

Even when jobs or coworkers are hard to like, we are to work as though God is our boss. That means doing tasks with joy, a servant attitude, respect for others, diligence, and obedience to those in authority. Imagine what the workplace could be if all believers approached their jobs this way.

John 6: 28, 29 – Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”  Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

 

AwAreness: Trust

Posted in Gypsy Carns on January 18, 2012 by Gypsy Carns

We often find it easy to trust the Lord when circumstances are pleasant. In difficult times, though, resting in Him can be challenging. Yet that is precisely what God told David to do – call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall deliver you.  Trusting the Lord is possible because of His love for us. In the Bible, we see this divine love clearly demonstrated through the Father’s character, the Savior’s atoning death, and the believer’s adoption as a child of God.

Another reason we can rely upon our heavenly Father is His infinite wisdom. He always knows what is best for us, and His judgments are perfect. We don’t understand all that goes into God’s plan—compared to the full, clear view He has of our lives, we see just a limited picture of reality. Therefore, what He chooses for us may not make sense at the time.  We understandably dislike adversity intensely and may feel tempted to ask, “Why, Lord?” Yet by recognizing that God acts in love, wisdom, and sovereignty, we can know that He’s allowed the situation and has our long-term best in mind. So we can replace “why?” with gratitude and trust.

Proverbs 3: 5,6 – Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.