A Walk with God That Makes a Difference

Share:

If people look at us as followers of Jesus Christ, do they see something worthwhile? Do we have a walk with God that makes a difference?

Or, do our lives seem empty and without meaning? Do we fall apart when life gets tough? Do we live more in line with what’s comfortable or convenient to us than to the benefit of others? Do we fail to look like the One we claim to follow?

An Acrostic of Essential Characteristics Needed in a Walk with God That Makes a Difference

Walk with God That Makes a Difference
Here is the kind of walk that will tend to catch people’s attention and give them a reason to trust in our God. It’s a walk that lives out the fullness of the life Jesus came to give us, one that makes a difference.

Wisdom – a walk that makes life meaningful
Awareness – a walk that gives a mooring to hold onto
Love – a walk that provides motivation and purpose
Kenosis – a walk that is modeled

WISDOM: We can know all about God and His Word, but if we don’t see the practical implications or relevancy of that knowledge to our everyday living, we will struggle (Col. 1:9-10). We may still feel bound to the emptiness of life because we haven’t learned to walk in the freedom He provides. Contrary to what many people believe, His truth sets us free (Jn. 8:32). In Him we find wisdom for everyday life so we make the most of every opportunity (Eph. 5:15-17; Col. 4:5). — a walk that makes life meaningful

Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. (Ps. 86:11)

I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. (Ps. 119:45)

AWARENESS: What a difference it makes when we acknowledge the presence of an all-wise, all-powerful, totally righteous yet loving and gracious God in our lives. He promised to never leave or forsake us (Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5). Awareness of the presence of this kind of God leads to hope, comfort, peace, and confidence even in the most difficult circumstances. — a walk that gives a mooring to hold onto

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Ps. 23:4)

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord. (Ps. 89:15)

LOVE: Jesus identified love as the greatest commandment (Matt. 22:37-40). Without love, our best efforts mean nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-3). We can live a life of love and compassion for others because He first loved us (1 Jn. 4:19). His love compels us to go the extra mile, even when it’s not convenient or comfortable. — a walk that provides motivation and purpose

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. (Eph. 5:2, KJV)

KENOSIS: When we’re asked to serve one another in love rather than living an empty life of self-indulgence (Gal. 5:13), we’re not left on our own to figure out how. Jesus showed us the way to live. This theological word, kenosis, describes how Jesus temporarily laid aside His glory in heaven and humbled Himself to come to earth for us as a servant (Phil. 2:5-11). To walk in the footsteps of Jesus, we must realize that this process was as much an attitude as it was an action. — a walk that is modeled

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Phil. 2:5-7)

 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (1 Jn. 2:6)

Do these traits characterize your walk with God? If we’re being honest, we would have to admit a need to grow in our walk with Him. — “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Phil. 3:12)

Click links below for help growing in your walk with God:

Share:

Reasons We Don’t Pray

Share:

Reasons We Don't Pray When We're Exhorted to be Devoted to PrayerWe’re exhorted to be devoted to prayer (Col. 4:2), to pray on all occasions (Eph. 6:18), continually (1 Thess. 5:17), and to not give up (Lk. 18:1). Sometimes, however, we might struggle to remain consistent, wholehearted, and alert in prayer. As we already considered, we have good reasons to pray so it would seem reasons we don’t pray might be more symptomatic of something deeper.

Getting Below the Surface of Reasons We Don’t Pray

We might claim to be ignorant about what to pray and how to pray. Yet, God never made prayer complicated.

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (Ps. 62:8)

We might think we’re too busy, too tired, and hence too distracted to pray and get anything out of it. Yet, these the times we most need His help.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Heb. 4:16)

… those who hope in (wait on) the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isa. 40:31)

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16b)

Perhaps we’re angry or disappointed with God because of what He allowed into our lives even though we prayed. Yet, we humans don’t know better than a God who is holy and righteous, all-wise and sovereign, as well as gracious and loving.

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isa. 55:9)

Maybe we tried and tried and just couldn’t make ourselves pray consistently so gave up because it’s too hard. Yet, God never said it would be easy nor intended for us to “do” the Christian life through self-determination and self-striving.

Cease striving and know that I am God. (Ps. 46:10, NASB)

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (Eph. 6:18)

Share:

Reasons to Pray

Share:

We have many reasons to pray. — Why do you pray?

Is it because you need something? Jesus did say, “Ask and it will be given to you” (Matt. 7:7). Perhaps you pray because you find comfort in it. That makes sense since you’re praying to the “God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles” (2 Cor. 1:3-4). Maybe you pray because it’s what Christians do. Even back to the Early New Testament Church, Christ-followers devoted themselves to prayer (Acts 2:42).

While we find biblical support for these reasons, some are more self-centered than God-centered. It could be that praying is more learned behavior than from the heart. So, what are some other biblical reasons for praying? What will provide us with the motivation to make prayer a continued priority?

Two Good Biblical Reasons to Pray

Commands: Praying is a matter of obedience to God. (Lk. 18:1; Phil. 4:6; 1 Thess. 5:17)

Duty alone might not keep us praying. If we’re out of fellowship with God, we’ll find it easier to disobey this command. And, if we do pray out of obligation, that is not going to solve the problem of keeping focused when we pray.

Commitment & Cooperation: Praying is a matter of an undivided heart toward God seeking to come into alignment with God. (Ps. 16:1-2; Acts 2:42; Rom. 12:12; Col. 4:2)

Devotion alone might make us want to pray and might put us on the right track to a better prayer life but won’t necessary bring life and energy into it.

The Best Reason for Praying

Communion: Praying is a matter of relationship with God. (Matt. 22:37-38; Jn. 15:5-7)

Delight in the One to whom we pray provides a motivation and passion to pray, and continue praying, that supersedes all other reasons to pray. When we pray because we delight in the Lord, duty and devotion are there but aren’t our main focus. HE is. When praying is about relationship, we enjoy communion with God so much that we keep praying even if we don’t get the responses we hoped to receive.

Resources:
Prayer Bits Devotion to Help You Pray
The Prayer Bits: Small Bits But Big Truths on Prayer Devotional Guide can help you go deeper into truths about prayer without taking a lot of study time.

Prayer Ministry Manual
The Prayer Ministry Manual can help you make prayer more of a priority in your own life as well as in your church or ministry.

Share:

Holiday Reminders Needed

Share:

Holiday Reminders Needed So We Don't Forget

Highlighting, underlining, to-do and to-buy lists, calendars, sticky notes, catch phrases, digital notifications, and so many more tools help us not forget what’s important to know or do. The same should also be true spiritually. God has taught us wonderful truths that provide answers, help, and hope in Him. Yet, without constant reminders, we’re bound to forget.

This can be especially so during busy seasons of life, like the holidays. We can get so caught up in what we must do during this time that we skip spending time alone with the Lord. We plan to resume after getting through the busy patch. We always need help remembering Him but we especially need holiday reminders about what’s most important.

Some Holiday Reminders for Christmas

We can get so consumed with buying and wrapping presents, going to parties, and decorating. When we do, we tend to forget what’s most important. Click on links below to help you reflect on what you need to remember.

(These posts form the basis for the Christmas Reminders Curriculum.)

Reminders for New Years

We can get so consumed with ringing in the new year that we forget the new life we have in Christ Jesus. Click on the links below to take time to remember the newness of life in Him. His mercies are “new every morning” (Lam. 3:21-22).

Reminders for Other Holidays

For articles, books, and resources about other holidays, go to:

What have you done, or what will you do, to remind yourself to keep focused on the Lord during the holidays? Will you turn to Him as the source of help and hope to remain steadfast in your walk with Him?

Share:

Getting Everyone on the Same Page in Ministry

Share:

In churches and ministries it’s important for leaders, teachers, and other workers to be on the same page in ministry in terms of basic doctrine but also the Church’s purpose, design, and mission. When they are not, confusion and conflict can easily creep in and sometimes even destroy the work.

Getting Everyone on the Same Page in Ministry in Regard to the Essentials

We must distinguish between essentials (i.e., basic doctrine, God’s purposes, design, and mission for the Church as found in the Word) and non-essentials (methods, forms, structures, means). Then we must determine which is causing the problem.

If a non-essential, perhaps we need to extend a little grace to one another. It may not be our preference or style, but it isn’t worth destroying the work of God for a non-essential (Rom. 14:12-20).

If we differ on something essential, then we have a problem that we must work through. Together we must bring the issue before God in prayer. We must learn what He says about it from His Word. Fighting for our own preferences or opinions, rather than seeking to align with God and His Word, inevitably will lead to greater conflict and consternation.

We need to lean on the Spirit for discernment (1 Cor. 2:9-16) so we see the real issue. If we don’t, we probably won’t work through our differences. Then we won’t understand why something that seems like a non-essential causes so much trouble.

Teachers have complained and quit over not having freedom to do their own thing when the real issue was not wanting to support the church’s doctrinal position or perhaps they weren’t clear on the purpose for which they were teaching.

Churches have split seemingly because of building issues or methodology when the real issue was philosophy of ministry based on differing views of the how the Church is to function.

In-fighting has ensued in board meetings over continuance or discontinuance of programs, allocation of funds, etc. when the real issue was that they didn’t have the same view of the church’s overall purpose and mission.

A Plan to Get People on God’s Page

If you’re a leader, work toward building a culture more concerned with doing ministry God’s way rather than having everybody do what’s right in their own eyes. Part of that will involve Bible teaching but also being an example of someone who continually seeks to align with the character and ways of God. Obviously that will require making sure you are on page with God’s overall purposes, design, and mission as found in His Word. And, it will undoubtedly require putting safeguards in place to keep yourself and the church or ministry on track.

When recruiting people for ministry, communicate this intent and train them on what it means to align with God’s purposes, design, and mission in their respective ministries. Here are some resources from Ministry Tools Resource Center that could give you a start in your training.

Getting Leaders on the Same Page with Steering the Church Leadership Guides

The Steering the Church Leadership Guides can be used for you own personal alignment or with your leadership team to work through biblical teaching about God’s purposes, design, and mission for the Church. The objective is to use God as our point of reference, our north star, not merely what we think should be happening or what other churches might be doing.

Christian Education Leadership Training to Get Everyone on the Same PageThe Christian Education Leadership Team Training Session can help the Christian Education ministry of your church get on the same page in regard to its overall goal — that of seeing changed lives — and to understand what it will take to progressively move forward toward that goal. The session can be used with leadership who in turn can then train teachers in their sphere of influence using the Teaching for Changed Lives Workbook.

A one-time training event won’t be enough to build this kind of culture. Since we humans tend to be forgetful, we need continued reminders. And, we must keep open channels of communication with one another to prayerfully discuss issues in ways that keep bringing us back to God as the One with whom we must align.

Share:

In the Beginning GOD …

Share:

What a difference it makes in our view of life when we begin with a God who is great enough, in all aspects, to create the heavens and earth! Think about the kind of God it would take to do that. He would have to be very powerful, creative, purposeful, and very wise. It would take an eternal God who is not limited by time and matter (infinite) to see how it could all fit together. Certainly, the One who brought it all into existence would be supreme over all.
In the Beginning God

Biblical Claims About the God Who Created All Things

It only makes sense that we would need an all-powerful and all-wise God as the Creator. Here are some verses that support who this God is:

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. (Ps. 33:6)

The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it. (Ps. 89:11)

Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (Ps. 90:2)

In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. (Ps. 102:25)

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. (Isa. 40:28)

This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself, (Isa. 44:24)

It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts. (Isa. 45:12)

For this is what the LORD says – he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited— he says: “I am the LORD, and there is no other. (Isa. 45:18)

My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together. (Isa. 48:13)

But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding. (Jer. 10:12)

Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. (Jer. 32:17)

He made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding. (Jer. 51:15)

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Rom. 1:20)

You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being. (Rev. 4:11)

Why “In the Beginning God …” Needs to be Our Starting Point

The rest of the Bible isn’t going to make sense, or even seem possible (i.e., miracles), if we don’t start with the God who was in the beginning. We aren’t going to accept the claims this God makes, His authority, or rights to do that which He deems best based on the whole of who He is if we have an anemic god. Isaiah 45:9-12 illustrates this point:

Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, “What are you making?” Does your work say, “The potter has no hands”? Woe to the one who says to a father, “What have you begotten?” or to a mother, “What have you brought to birth?” This is what the LORD says – the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: “Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands? It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.”

When we grasp who the God of the Bible is, we will find ourselves …

  • worshiping Him (Ps. 95:6-7a)
  • living for Him (1 Cor. 8:6)
  • turning to Him for help (Ps. 121:1-2; 124:8; Isa. 40:28-31)

When we don’t, we will find ourselves …

  • basing our understanding of life on a flimsy and faulty foundation, leading to foolish and futile choices (Rom. 1:18-25)
  • worshiping what is created rather than the One who created it (Rom. 1:25)
  • scoffing Him and deliberately living contrary to His character and ways (2 Pet. 3:3-5)

To be sure, it is “by faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Heb. 11:3) but it isn’t a blind faith. The evidence is all around us. His invisible qualities are clearly seen in that which has been created. Doesn’t it seem more like blind faith to think it wouldn’t take an all-powerful, all-wise God in the beginning?

More About God: Theology Resources

Share: