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Hey friends!

Today I am starting my journey to Kenya! My brother, Jeremy, and I are going on a 2 1/2 week humanitarian/mission trip to Kenya!

We appreciate your prayers! Whatever you feel led to pray for! Their salvation, our humbling, their safety & our safety - whatever you feel led to pray for!

We will not be going over a Bible Study these next weeks as a result...so the next lesson will be posted on August 15th!

However, I HIGHLY recommend you read Ephesians 5! I read it today & it was GOOD! :) :)

Alright, see you in a few weeks, by God's grace :)

In Christ & Christ within!

Jared
 
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.”    
1 Corinthians 16:13NLT


Today I want to finish a series based on 1 Corinthians 16:13!

God, please speak to us through Your Word and open our hearts and minds for Your Spirit to work in us! Thank You! In Jesus name, amen!
 


Be strong.

            When people look at me, do they say, “Wow, he’s a strong guy.”

            I’m not talking physically, because I think it is pretty obvious I’m strong – I’m a mix between Jackie Chan and King Leonidas. I know, it’s pretty cool. (make sure you watch that Jackie Chan video I linked his name to!)

            What I’m really talking about is people saying, “Wow, he’s a strong guy” and meaning it about my presence. Who I am. My character; my demeanor; my faith. When people look at me, I don’t think they say that.

Jesus – people definitely thought he was a strong guy. You can tell by their reactions they had in the Bible. Even now days – Jesus still gets the same reactions – and it’s because He is still alive and still very strong.

            Jesus Christ is in me! Every believer is in Christ and Christ is in every believer (John 14:15-20). Did you hear that? If you are a believer, in the family of God, Jesus Christ is in you. The Holy Spirit of God is in us! I believe the problem is that I often hinder Christ’s powerful presence from shining through me. I sometimes don’t follow His leading and sometimes don’t spend quality quite time learning from him.

I want people, when they see me, to say, “Wow, he’s a strong person. Wow, I can tell by his presence that He’s often in God’s presence.”

So, I’m going to make some changes. And if you feel the same, I encourage you to make these changes with me.

1)    Increase the quality of my prayer time

      + don’t rush it; spend time just listening to God

2)    Increase the quality of my Bible reading time
      + don’t read for quantity, but quality


3)    Increase the quantity & quality of my serving time
      + I’m starting at home: helping my parents/family and friends


4)    Increase my faith

      + I’m going to allow myself to become uncomfortable for God (an example of this could be spending time with the homeless, putting smiles on their faces)

 

These will undoubtedly increase my love for and faith in God. Spending this time with God will undoubtedly make me a more and more powerful person. I’m genuinely doing it to grow closer to God, because I love Him and know that the more powerful my presence on earth, the more glory He receives – because I’ll give it to Him.

What additional changes do you think would be good ways to increase the power of your presence?


 
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.”   
 
1 Corinthians 16:13NLT


God, please speak to us through Your Word and open our hearts and minds for Your Spirit to work in us! Thank You! In Jesus name, amen!


Be courageous.


                When people look at me and my life, do they describe me as someone who is “courageous”? I really don’t think so; at least not as courageous as I’d like to be.

The Princeton online dictionary defines courageous:  brave: possessing or displaying courage; able to face and deal with danger or fear without flinching.”

Courage is stepping forward in spite of fear. It is seeing fear and yet not flinching at it.


I honestly tend to have a lot of fear. I sometimes fear not passing classes at school. I sometimes fear just walking up to somebody and talking to them. I sometimes fear leading a new ministry I started at the University of Oklahoma. I fear I won’t match up to expectations. I fear I won’t be able to do what is necessary. I fear what I do will fall apart.

Isn’t that ridiculous?

Yes it is. I’m saying “NO”, I’m going to start stepping up and not let fear hold me back from reaching my full potential. I’m going to step forward and passionately, courageously lead the ministry I started at my University. If I fail, I fail. I would rather be known for failing courageously than be known for making it fearfully.

This truly comes down to how I see myself. How we see ourselves. For some reason, I’ve always been empty of self-confidence.

But now I’m realizing more and more that God made me in His image and He wants me to be confident in who He made me to be.

God has recently made me more courageous and I’m going to pray He makes me even MORE courageous. That He makes me confident in who He made me to be and that I run like no otha’.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.  
2 Timothy 1:7


I will be courageous. I will be able to face and deal with danger and fear without flinching. I’m praying for God to make me courageous.

Everything I said above, personalize it.
Where have you exhibited flinching at fear?
Where are you going to step forward in spite of fear, being courageous? It can be HUGE things or little things.

 
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.”    
  
1 Corinthians 16:13NLT


Today I want to continue a series we started last week that is based on 1 Corinthians 16:13!

God, please speak to us through Your Word and open our hearts and minds for Your Spirit to work in us! Thank You! In Jesus name, amen!

 
Stand firm in the faith.

         My faith has definitely not always been firm. In fact, to be honest, I used to have periods where I even doubted if God is real.

         More recently I have actually had a very strong faith. Where as I used to doubt if God is real, I now simply look outside (at nature) and can be fully amazed & full of faith that God is real. That is one of my “standing” points – the Creation we live on.

        What about day-to-day trusting in God? Day-to-day faith? When I look at myself, I honestly can’t say I consistently stand firm in trusting God day-to-day. Recently, I felt Him asking me to step outside my comfort zone and walk up to a homeless man and pray for him. I didn’t…it felt really uncomfortable to me to even think about it. I missed a great opportunity to serve God and someone else because I felt uncomfortable – I didn’t trust God’s leadership enough. Isn’t that ridiculous?

What we must do is trust God. The Greek word for “faith” used in the phrase “stand firm in the faith” also means, “trust” and “belief”. Stand firm in the trust. Stand firm in the belief.

We must, even when we feel uncomfortable, stand firm in our belief that God is bigger than we are. His ways are higher than ours are. He has a plan that reaches far beyond our discomfort. We must trust Him and that truth.

Day-to-day, year-to-year; task-to-task, event-to-event; request from God – to – request from God, we need to stand firm in the faith. Trust. Belief. The belief that He is who He says He is. The belief that He really did send His One and only Son to die in our place, and that after he died, three days later he rose to life. We need to stand firm in the faith. Pray for it, I do!

Because “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”   Hebrews 11:6

This week, how are you going to make sure you stand firm in the faith? Consider making a wrist band or phone alarm or post-it-note that says, “Jesus died so I could be with God” and/or “God is who He says He is” and/or “God’s ways are higher than my ways” or “God has a plan that goes way beyond my discomfort.” Need prayer for this? Leave a comment below and I’d love to pray for you!

Take a step of faith this week as you listen for God’s voice & guidance. No matter how uncomfortable it may be – and understand that God has something in mind that trumps our 1) discomfort and 2) expectations!

 
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.”   
1 Corinthians 16:13NLT


Today I want to begin a new series of shorter posts based on 1 Corinthians 16:13 (above)! For this series, I will be posting each Sunday & Wednesday for the next two weeks! We will talk about what we need to do, or BE.

God, please speak to us through Your Word and open our hearts and minds for Your Spirit to work in us! Thank You! In Jesus’ name, amen!

Be on guard.

            When you guard something, you protect it. Hotel guards protect hotels. Wells Fargo & Brink guards protect money.

We are told to be on “guard”. Are we protecting ourselves and our faith?

The main Scripture that talks about protecting ourselves begins in Ephesians 6:11 which states, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” The Devil truly is our enemy – and we must be on guard, protect ourselves, against him.

We do that by putting on the full armor of God.

“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”   Ephesians 6:11-18

For more on the Devil’s schemes, and an explanation of the different pieces of the armor of God, I encourage you to watch this video blog I made just under a year ago.

What awesome results have you had using the armor of God?
Under what areas have you been attacked, lately?
What armor of God do you need to begin, or step up in, using?


We need to be on guard and use these awesome God-given tools to protect ourselves and what God has given us from the evil one. Always remember: GOD IS STRONGER.

 
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God’s Love

I keep feeling God compelling me to write about His Love.

You see, God’s Love is unlike any other. No love you or I know can compare, or even come close to comparing, to the love God has for us.

You.

God. Loves. you.

And He wants you to hear that. In fact, God wanted you to hear that He loves you so much that He sent His Son to die for you - so that if we believe in Christ and make Him Lord of our lives we’ll be saved.

Our sins naturally separate us from the perfect God. God can’t even look at sin, He is so pure. Naturally, we are on our way to hell because we all fall short of God’s perfect standard He set. But He loves us. So He was willing to do whatever it took to have us be with Him – sending His very own Son to die in our place.

Jesus Christ bore our sin and pain and anguish and the wrath of God that we deserve. All for love. His death pays the price for our sins, allowing us to be covered in His Perfect blood. He switched us places. However, He didn’t just die; He rose from the grave after 3 days, defeating death & signifying that we can truly have Life.

“…if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is LORD,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”   Romans 10:9-10

Will you believe and be saved? Will you confess Him as LORD and be saved?

As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. 2For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.   2 Corinthians 6:1-2

Realize that He loves you. GOD wants a relationship with you. That’s why He sent His Son to die for you. He died for you. & me.

Isn’t that crazy beautiful?