Childlike Simplicity

“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3, KJV)

God sees us as His children and therefore wants Believers to have childlike trust, faith, and dependence on Him.  By coming to Him with the simplicity of a child we allow ourselves to throw off the complication of adulthood in a world ruled by Satan.  By developing the faith of a child and total trust, we look at the world without the depravity and mistrust that develops as we get hurt and disillusioned.  As adults we become callous and put up walls to protect ourselves from all those who would hurt us.  It is even harder when those we love and trust hurt us.  For those of us who long ago or who never experienced the joy of an innocent childhood, but were pushed into maturing early and missed the fun and wide-eyed innocence of childhood, the walls are thicker and harder to remove.

But how to throw off the cloak of adulthood and return to the simplicity of childhood in our relationship with the Father? To me childlike simplicity means to come to Jesus not with mistrust, worldly-hunt for a way to get a step-up on the competition, but to come to Him with the wide-eyed amazement, trust and expectation of a child at Christmas time.  The expectation that something good is going to happen.  I remember going into the living room and being amazed at the beautiful tree and gifts under it.  Trusting totally that there was something for me in at least one of those boxes or bags.  As I got older the amazement of Christmas fell away and was replaced with insuring that my children had a good Christmas.  I was taught as a child that it was not all about the gifts, but that it was about the birth of Jesus and tried to instill that remembrance into my own children.  But I cannot deny I always loved seeing the amazement in their eyes when they looked at the gifts under the tree.

Children do not look for underlying motives, they tell the truth without hesitation, take life at face value, are open and free-spirited, trusting, and ready to believe.  They are teachable–like sponges ready to absorb everything put before them.

Recovering the childlike amazement is harder than it sounds.  Especially as overtime we continuously try to force ourselves into the square hole of conformity to the world.  It just amounts to making ourselves fit-in. As we mature and find out more about who we are in Christ, we can no longer feel comfortable continuously trying to fit-in.

Developing the simple life of a child does not mean that you become passive or gullible.  I personally believe that the still quiet voice will guide us on the right path if we listen intently, but I do believe we must be willing to heed the guidance not letting our own feelings, ambition, and ego get into the way.

I know that I will never accomplish change without the Holy Spirit.  I pray everyday that the Holy Spirit will guide me in pulling down the walls that have taken me many years to build and help me to learn and enjoy a childlike trust in Jesus and embrace the gift of Grace.

Grow in Grace

II Peter 3:18, “…but grow [spiritually mature] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory (honor, majesty, splendor), both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (AMP)

Grace defined is the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

As we pray for God’s saving Grace in times of trouble, He may give us Grace to be delivered out of the trouble or He may give us Grace to go through.  Only God can make the choice.

A loving parent may tell his or her teenager not to hang around a certain group or individual because they are always in trouble at school.  The parent is sure that no good can come out of associating with this person or group.  The teenager ignores the parent (because parents never know what they are talking about) and continues the association.  The association leads to a problem with the police.  Not necessarily because the teenager committed a crime, but because they were on the scene.  The parent may immediately come in response to “The Call” or wait until the next day.  The parent is not being mean or uncaring.  It is just as difficult for them to wait at home as it is for the teenager.  But spending the time in a holding cell will allow the kid to remember the parent’s warning and regret their decision to ignore it.

God is a loving parent to all His children.  He wants only the best for us.  If he decides to remove us from the trouble, He will.  If He decided to strengthen you to go through it, He will.  His knowledge of the future and the benefit derived from the lesson learned is for our good.  My personal experience has been that some lessons are learned and retained when you have to go through until the end.  The good news is that He never leaves you, has strengthened you to overcome, and that although we do not believe so at the time, we take a step towards greater maturity.

Regardless, if God removes you from the trial which seems to be constantly on the arisen or strengthens you to go through it, His love and grace are surrounding you and are your protective armor.

Isaiah 41:10 says, Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Save

Let Go

I surrender every area of my life to you Jesus. Show me how to “Let Go”. I am controlling and need to “Let Go” and let you rule my life.  I am not good at it.  Yes, I have long since acknowledged Jesus as my Savior, but letting the Spirit take over my life is a constant struggle.   let go

Several weeks ago while sitting at church listening to a sermon regarding Joshua’s sending spies into Jericho and their encounter with Rahab.  I let my mind wonder and began envisioning that I was floating on water being carried along on the surface.  What is interesting is that floating is as close to swimming as I was able to come during my swimming lessons several years ago.  My arms and legs are truly uncoordinated,but I did learn to release control of my body to the point that I could float quite comfortably.  I felt I was floating along being carried to only God knows where on what seems to have been a river. There  was such a feeling of peace that came over me as I listened to Rahab’s story.  

I did not understand what was happening or why I felt the floating sensation during a sermon at the time, but today it became apparent to me.  For one of the few times in my life I had actually unconsciously surrendered myself completely to Jesus and “Let Him Take the Wheel.” The sensation lasted just a few moments, but it was totally refreshing to my spirit.

Today I realized how impossible it is to be a controller when I am totally incapable of controlling my own life and was never equipped to.  How many times have I heard and read this, but today it became apparent to me.  Creating the habit of following the Spirit is not easy, but necessary I will be working on it.

As I start each day, I thank the Father for allowing me to see it, acknowledging His love for me, asking Him to bless my family, and asking the Holy Spirit to take the wheel and direct me through the day.  As I continue my activities, I am focusing on “Letting Go” and floating in the rest of God.

In case you thought surrendering to the Lord and letting the Holy Spirit guide you meant that you become inactive and passive, it does not.  Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”  What I am surrendering is the anxious worry and struggling.

I am not there yet, but continuing to work toward it.

 

Life Trials Make Diamonds

What has diamonds to do with Romans 5:3-4?

And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance;  and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation] (Romans 5:3-4, AMP)

A diamond, the hardest naturally occurring substance on Earth, formed under high pressure and temperature over billions of years.  It is one of the most precious of all the gemstones.  During the development of the diamond, it is changed slowly from one substance to another.  The results are a brilliant, hard multi-faceted stone that is treasured throughout the world.

The Life’s Grinding Stone

The trials and tribulations that we go through as part of living  can either turn you into a person of integrity and a warrior for God or, if you let troubles weaken you, you will break under the pressure and never emerge as the precious stone that God has purposed you to be.   As I look back on my life and the difficulties that I have encountered, I truly thank God for preserving me and continuing to work with me during my trials.  He gave me the strength to go through and not buckle.  The trials have smooth many of the rough edges and strengthen me.  When I face problems I remember the Holy Spirit has moved me through other problems.  Although I pray for a miraculous deliverance from the trouble, sometimes you just need to go through it so the lesson can be taught and another chunk of worthless material can be removed.  The trouble usually comes because I did not do what the Holy Spirit prompted me to do or I stubbornly followed my own path instead of asking for guidance and awaiting His response.  I have also been known to place my trust in a person instead of trusting God.  I have learned about what a mistake misplaced trust is the hard way.

Personally, I still struggle with praying for deliverance when trouble comes, but I at least now know that God will work in his own time and according to His own plan.  So my prayers include a request for deliverance, but also if it is not according to His will that He will strengthen and guide me through it.  grinding stone

Just as gemstones are smoothed to make them more brilliant, we are smoothed on the grinding stone of life, smoothed so that the rough edges are worn away and the true warrior for God shines through.

Have you felt the smoothing process as the Holy Spirit guides you through life’s trials?

Can you hid from God?

The answer is “No”.

Job 34:21 “For God’s eyes are on the ways of a man, And He sees all his steps.” (AMP)

Have you ever felt as though someone was watching you.  You looked around and see no one particularly paying you any attention.  So you turn around again and continue your activity.  But the feeling continues and although you look around again, you do not discover the watcher.  I have had that feeling, it can really make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.  The feeling usually comes when I am doing something that is not right or I am engaged in an active that my conscience is telling me to back away from.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of conscience is — “An inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.” Because I am a firm believer that what the dictionary defines as conscience is really the Holy Spirit and not just a part of the human psyche,  I have learned to pay heed to the small, quiet voice that has become louder and clearer over time.  Not that I always follow it’s lead because I can be very stubborn at times, but I am more aware of it, and respond to it more often.  One reason for this change in my behavior is that when I do not respond to the Holy Spirit’s prompts, I always regret it sooner or later.

We think that God does not see or is not concerned with the little indiscretions as well as large ones.  As I stop and think about some of the events of my life that I have hidden deep down, away from my current thoughts, and would rather no one found out about, I ask God for forgiveness in the name of Jesus because I know now that I can do nothing that is not seen.  In my younger years, I did not have an understanding of the of the Holy Spirit.  Not that I am an expert now, but I know a prompting when I get it.

Where can I go to hide from the eyes , “… of the Lord which roam throughout the earth.” (Zechariah 4:10, AMP)  Where can I flee?  Psalm 139:7 says, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

We cannot hide the bad habits, bitterness, hatred, jealousy, lack of integrity from God and the Holy Spirit reminds us that nothing goes unseen.

I used all the above Scripture to reinforce my belief that God sees everything I do big and small.  There is no hiding, just as he can rescue or give us the ability to make it through  any trouble, he sees what we are doing.

All changes take time and effort on our part fortunately the Lord is patient. I am nowhere near where I should be, but I am closer than I have been.  It is my prayer that all Believers are working their way toward a better understanding and relationship with their heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.

Treasure to the Believer’s Soul

Deciding to get baptized as an adult is a big decision, and as I stood waiting to be led up the steps to the baptismal pool, so many thoughts ran through my mind.  Did I really want to do this? I knew I wanted to get closer to God and build a better relationship with him. Since I was in my forties, just getting baptized, I wondered if it would make a big difference in my life, would I feel differently? I knew that there was more to God’s Word than I was aware of and although I had been reading the Bible and going to church off and on for many years, I did not have an understanding of exactly who I was and my inheritance as a child of God.  I wanted to feel more and understand what I was missing of God’s promise to his people.  In other words, I was still looking for my God-given purpose.

Stress and Worry

I knew that I suffered from too much stress. I was always nervous and tense. Worry was my constant companion. As a single mother of two kids trying to support and raise my kids properly, at least better than I felt that I was raised, hard work and a strong work ethic sums up what I felt I inherited from my parents. I had controlling issues.  As the oldest of four kids and the only girl, I was used to being in control and acted with authority in most situations.  Tired and stressed most of the time was a normal part of my life, but I knew that there was more to life than this.  I understood enough about the Bible to realize that I needed to remedy my situation before I worried myself into an illness.  I watched several members of my family, suffer through illnesses that could not only be linked to food, but also to stress and worry. I decided at an early age, that I was not going out like that. Deep within I knew that the answer to many of my problems was centered around lack of faith in God and a total ignorance of His Promise.  I think that is what started me going to church to try to find the treasure I knew God had made available to me since I was not having much luck finding it myself.  So I felt it was time to get serious about building my relationship with God and my first step would be to get baptized.

Sharing Abraham’s Promise

As I mentioned before I read the Bible, but did not have an in-depth understanding of how to relate God’s words to what I was encountering in my daily life.  I was having difficulty just understanding where I as a Gentile (anyone who is not a Jew) even fit into God’s plan.  I Corinthians 8:6 says, “There is one God, the Father, by whom all things were created, and for whom we live. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created, and through whom we live.” (NLT)  cleared my understanding of my entitlement in God’s promise. I was overjoyed to be a joint inheritor of the kingdom Jesus Christ died to make available for us.  And then I read Romans 4:16 which confirms my inheriting the treasure chest filled with the bounty of God’s grace and mercy. Because I share the faith of Abraham, I can become a daughter of Abraham and, therefore, share in God’s promise to him.

So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. (NLT)

When my turn arrived, I pictured the treasure chest waiting for me filled with the treasures that Jesus mentioned during His time on earth–Grace, Salvation, Love–precious gifts that are treasures that cannot be brought with gold or silver.  Although this was many years ago, I remember the event like it was yesterday.  I really expected things to change in a big way in my life.  But they did not.  And interestingly enough I did not feel much different than I did before I went into the pool.  No strange light, no revelation, no feeling of newness.  As a new creature in Christ, I did not feel any different.  I turned this over and over in my brain as I changed and got dressed.

My Change

As I look back my changes came gradually over a long period of time.  My changes have so gradual that I did not realize they were happening. Over the years that I have changed in many areas of my life, and I am more conscience of the urging of the Holy Spirit telling me what to do and what not to do.  The wonderful thing about the Holy Spirit is that He is always working with me and shaping me.  I still have a long way to go, but progress has been made, and I will continue to work on it with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Don’t let your treasure chest lay unopened.

Under Construction

“… for ye are the temple of the living God; as God has said,  I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16 (KJV)

When we become truly believers and accept Jesus as our personal Savior, the Holy Spirit will come to live in us as John 14:23 says,

“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (KJV)

Spiritual Construction

As we grow in spiritual maturity, we as God’s temple become sturdier as a house being built.  The area is surveyed and marked off.  The next step is the construction of the foundation:  first it is framed in wood and then cement is poured into the frame to make it strong.

Several years ago I found a new development that no houses, not even the model, had been built on yet.  It was a beautiful location and my family had already decided to move.  We contracted to have a house build.  We had to travel to another location of the developer to see a model because they only had pictures of the models at the site we were visiting.  As the months proceeded, I traveled to the site almost every weekend to watch the construction.  I had never seen a house built from scratch before.  As the house took shape from the foundation to the finished structure.  We selected every aspect of the interior from the kitchen cabinets to the tile, flooring, bathroom fixtures, and exterior trim brick coloring and window sidings everything that gave our house an individuality.

I was not aware of it then, but as I look back it reminds me of the way the Holy Spirit comes into us when we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, whether we feel it or not, and starts to look around, survey what needs to be done and then begin work at constructing, cleaning up, and in some cases reconstructing areas that are in decay according to the Father’s plan for our lives.  It took 90 days to complete the major construction of our house.  The Holy Spirit is constantly working  on this never ending evolving process.

The Spirit Constantly at Work

As it states in 2 Corinthians, we are God’s temple and the Spirit abides in us. Will he leave us partially constructed, and incomplete or work with us to make us perfect?

The Spirit helps us make the right choices if we listen to the still, quiet voice.  I know from my own experience that growth is slow, but constant.  Since I have grown in my journey enough to understand at least a little bit of the wonderful gift I have been given and the sacrifice Jesus made to give it to me, I value it all the more.

Although once the house was completed it look similar to the other houses of that same model, the inside was completely different and made to order.  The important thing to remember about the Holy Spirit and His work, it never ends.  As temples, although formed according to the prototypes, (Adam and Eve) there are settle difference both inside and out that make each of us unique.

Let the Spirit Work

Those of us who believe and have accepted Jesus as our Savior are constantly under construction and should accept the guidance of the Holy Spirit at work.

 

 

 

Why “Shaped by the Potter’s Hands”


Why is the blog called Shaped by the Potter’s Hands.  In Jeremiah 18:6 the Lord tells Jeremiah to go to the potter’s house and then says, “… Behold as the clay is in the potter’s hands, so are ye in mine hand ….”  and in Isaiah 64:8, “… O Lord, thou are our father; we are the clay and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hands.”  I feel that God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit in His benevolent mercy is the potter who is shaping us and changing us everyday.  As Christians we believe we are changed from the time that we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior that we also accept the shaping and molding of the Holy Spirit (as we continue to grow) we allow Him to shape us.
In Isaiah Jesus says can I not shape my people as the potter’s hands shapes the clay.  Just as man was created from the dust of the earth, we are clay to be molded into beautiful useful pottery.  As Believer’s we are constantly in a state of flux and should be aware that we are changing and hopefully improving in our relationship with God and His other creations. 

 When we accept Christ we climb onto the potter’s wheel and wait on the potter to begin the work.  As the wheel turns, you feel yourself changing shape into the useful vessel that you are meant to be.  Be thankful for the blessing and the and the work involved in shaping and molding you into a solid, beautiful  vessel that He can use in Jesus’ name.

What are you thinking about? Lies of Satan or the Truth of God’s Word?

1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

When rising from what I though was a relaxing night, the first thing I think of is a problem that I must address today and a cloud instantly comes over my head.  As I proceed to get dressed for the day, the cloud continued to linger over me.  As I was preparing to leave the house to run my morning errands, I realized that I had left myself open to Satan’s lies and was paying for it with the cloud of depression and bad attitude about my day although it really had not started yet.  As a result of the mood I had fallen into, I was more of an introvert that I usually am and there was no smiling at any one.
Starting the Day Right

Part of my morning ritual involves watching my morning inspirational program as I am getting dressed and this morning, I listened to the news and music from the radio. The cable was out again.  I never realized before how my routine usually insulates me from the usual bad news and noise that bombards us each day.  Please do not get me wrong, I enjoy music all kinds for most of the day.  But, I must say that some of what is being played today is garbage and that is the best way to describe it.

After taking my grandson to school, I sat down to read the Scriptures, pray, and peacefully drink my first cup of coffee.  It is truly the best time of the day for me.  As I read Hebrews, my spirits gradually began to rise as I received the Word of God into my spirit.  It wrapped around me like a warm blanket protecting me from continued attacks at least for that morning.  My depressed mood dissipated, and I proceeded to continue my day in a much better mood.

Be Ready

This transformation from a bad to a positive attitude about my day was directly related to how I allowed myself to let Satan bring lies to my attention before my feet hit the floor in the morning.  We are most vulnerable and open to attack when we are still drowsy with sleep.

You Can

I know it is impossible stop Satan’s attacks especially if you are trying to stay on the right path, but I do know that you can start your day with God Word, prayer, inspirational music, and positive thoughts so that the devil will not have an opportunity to defeat you before the day starts.  I am careful to start my day on a positive note regardless of what the devil puts in my head.  I have control of my thoughts, and I refuse to let Satan win.

Do not be a victim, Be a Warrior!

PROCRASTINATION

It is has been several months since I wrote a post to my site. I apologize for not adding to my posts.  The delay was not caused because  I was no longer receiving subjects from the still, quiet voice because I was.  I realized recently it was simply a matter of procrastination.  I actually got distracted and off-track by life. It really amounts to procrastination.

What is Procrastination?

The Oxford Dictionary defines Procrastination as the act of delaying or postponing something.

Self-Defeating

I have had bouts with procrastination many times in my life.  Most of the time, I am not aware of it until it is brought to my attention by the Holy Spirit. In this case, during my daily Scripture reading, I came upon Ecclesiastes 11:4, “He who observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.”  The meaning I received from this Scripture was not to wait until all conditions are favorable to do what I am suppose or want to do. Procrastination is soooo self-defeating.  It stops or delays you from taking action and accomplishing goals.

Missed Opportunities

How many opportunities has God made available that I missed because of fear or hesitation?– (Procrastination)  All conditions will never be favorable nor will all the ducks just line up in a row, but I must continue to advance and do what the Spirit has put on my heart to accomplish.  I know that God does not give us an assignment without giving us everything we need to accomplish the task.  Self-talk is a weapon I use to defeat procrastination and get myself going into the right direction toward my goal.  So I had to have a long talk with myself about my writing.  Eliminating my excuses for not posting one by one, helped me to get started.

That being said my posts will appear weekly, and I pray that they will be helpful to anyone who takes the time to read them.  My purpose is to relate my struggles and successes on the path to become more as God would have me be. For I know that I am being Shaped and Molded each and every day.  Although I have come a long way, there is such a long way to go.  I hope that relating my struggles will make it easier for others and help them not go around the mountain as many times as I have to find the Truth that has been there all the time.

Finding the Path

Matthews 7:13-14 says, Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way; which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”  Only by staying on the narrow path will we find the peace in our Spirit and the treasures that has been laid up for us as Believers.

What are you procrastinating about?

 

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