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Living in the Meaning

In sports training, there is a time when you hit a plateau. Your muscles get used to the routine and growth stalls. This is a time to change up the routine, introduce new techniques and bring variety to “surprise” the muscles through the plateau.

None of us like roadblocks or stalled routines. In our Christian life, we can also go through the motions and miss out on experiencing God. The common vernacular today is to “fake it ’till you make it.” This doesn’t always work; let’s talk about a better way.

Our actions reveal our heart. But when we do things without thinking and with no heart of passion, we need to put the brakes on and consider the “why” behind “what” we are doing.

Jesus made you with a free will. He wants us to follow Him because of love, not like robots. A personal walk with God precedes power with God. What is not personal to us we will one day forsake. We follow a personal redeemer.

Think about it: if we were the only ones on the earth, Christ would have still come for us! That is personal love!

In Song of Solomon 1:4-8, we see a picture of how a person can be drawn to God in a personal, real way and then drift away. It is easy to “take care of other vineyards and ‘people’s stuff’ but our own heart or vineyard we have not kept.”

This self-sacrificing mission isn’t God’s mission. When our output is more than our input, we are in danger of burning out. Intimacy happens when we are touched personally with God’s plan of redemption. We begin to understand His heart behind His action.

Going through the motions is when we do what we are “supposed to do,” but we do it without a personal touch from the Lord. On this platform, at best, we are people-pleasers. The question begs to be asked: How much is good enough and by whose standards? We will not always “feel God” but, as we “practice His presence,” we become more aware of His visitation. God wants us to walk with Him moment by moment more than doing great work for Him.

The great work will come as an overflow of fellowship with our great big God.

Need can only drive you so far; it can’t sustain you.

What touches God’s heart must touch our heart; this is the why behind the what that we do. How does this happen? Being honest and transparent with God is the beginning to going beyond mere knowledge and entering real fellowship. We draw near to Him by faith, and as we “hide His word in our heart,” we are changed into His likeness.

Live in the Meaning

In our secular age, the original meanings of many words have been lost. Preference and liberalism are the flavors of the day. Many of us want our faith on “our terms.” This can be very turbulent and deceptive. How we define the things we hear and see is paramount.

In our relationships, our intrinsic dictionaries define things based upon our understanding of the facts and our experience, rather than objective truth. Misunderstanding and confusion can reign in these environments. We have all accumulated knowledge through education, our upbringing and other life experiences. Though this knowledge is valuable, it is limited.

We must go deeper. This is where we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit, for “deeper” is not a place we can find on our own.

Jesus wants us to go beyond what we think and know and enter a mystery.

This may sound cryptic, but here is where God shows up! Life limited to definitions is not enough! It is easy to spout off words and give the appearance we know what we are talking about.

It is living in the meaning that causes the power of what I know to be governed by who I know.

God is always speaking in a still, small voice. As we quiet ourselves, we hear more clearly the personal word He has prepared for us, the Word beyond all the superfluous words.

Worship

I believe this is one of the greatest struggles in the Christian life–experiencing what we know.

The practice of worship and meditation prepares our hearts to hear and experience God. Worship moves us into the power of what we know. I Corinthians 8:2 reminds us, “If any man thinketh that he knoweth anything, he knoweth not yet as he ought to know;”

Worship is translating knowledge to power as we give authority to the presence of God in our lives.  To amplify this awareness, we must ask this question: “Where is Christ honored?” We see throughout the Bible, His presence rests where there is humility, purity, and faith. As we build on these foundations, the kingdom of God becomes tangible.

Worship brings our attention to our Savior and we learn to recognize His personal word for our lives; “rhema” replaces mere knowledge.

Rhema speaks of the moments when the veil comes off our eyes and we see a personal glimpse of the meaning of truth in 2 Corinthians 3:14. It is one thing to read something from an author and quite another when you know the Author and He addresses you by name. These personal words strengthen and inspire great motive, energy and drive to pursue God and His purpose. We discover His devotion to us, and it inspires us.

Revelation

In our deductive and inductive reasoning, we not only have our focus on what God said but also, what does He mean?  We can answer this question two ways:

  • General revelation is what we see and perceive. This information establishes logical and natural understanding.
  • Secondly, personal revelation is when what we hear and see touches our hearts through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Both are valuable but personal revelation is what transforms our hearts.

To illustrate this point: we could look at the ingredients of spaghetti sauce and know what is in the sauce. But when we taste it, we enter understanding of the sauce—delicious!

Understanding happens as we pass through knowledge and live in the meaning.

The more attention we give personal revelation, the more we catch a clear glimpse of what the Author is saying and the more we discover His heart. Often, we remember what is personal; it touches our hearts. When Jesus said Mary’s name at the tomb, that is when she knew it was Jesus and she called Him Lord! She was comforted and strengthened.

Meditation

Meditation brings resident knowledge of absolute truth or promises to the forefront of our minds. We begin to fellowship with the Promiser. Here comes the revelation of the building blocks of why we believe what we believe. We ponder and muse and enter the mood of what we know and possess. We become possessors rather than mere professors. It is easy to talk a good game, but when the rubber meets the road what we really possess will be made evident.

As meditation progresses, reflection is produced, and we begin to examine and learn personally what we have stored in our hearts. We begin to scrutinize and examine knowledge as though our life depended on it. This, in turn, creates rhema—a personal revelation from God for our lives. Doubt and questions are okay if it takes us on a pursuit to deeper living.

To the measure that we “unpack” and relearn truth, that will be the measure our recall will release power. Reflection brings us into the image of what we are meditating upon. God is faithful to show personal wisdom to the student who takes the time to seek Him.

The longevity of our ministry and our faith is caused by our state of wonder and amazement toward Christ. This personal revelation will be fresh in us and our life will not only be changed but exchanged into something brand new! We will leave simple conformity and enter transformation. What’s happening? Our inner life is being poured out and affecting our outer life with a personal word from God for those we connect with.

Living in Rest

Rest happens in what we are doing; not away from the action. Personal rest comes to us during our ministry. We are given inner strength. This strength upholds us; not in the absence of activity but through engaging us in what we are called to do. Often, when we think of rest, vacation comes to mind. A retreat is another way to look at it.

Resting in fellowship with our Absolute brings our renewal and refreshment. We are strengthened as we function. There is an exchange.

The work we do has a source outside us, where we are operating and being renewed at once. The completion of the task is not as important as the journey of getting to know God along the way.

This determines the way we interpret what is happening around us. A sound mind is not the absence of bad thoughts; it is holding on to the right ones. Right thoughts are those that produce life and capacity—they are building blocks. Even in the most trying situations, we can tower with right thinking rather than cower in fear.

If we are drinking from the right source, we will be sustained in hope and Christ will replace our guiding fictions.

The inner stability produced by right-thinking affects every aspect of our lives. Our decisions and conversations are transformed into spheres of expectation and confidence.

How we interpret information is important; to organize our knowledge into a proper inventory reduces clutter in our souls.

“What we know” is organized through meditation and becomes active as a guard at our heart’s door. We pass from knowledge to life. We live in the meaning rather than just the forms.

Trials are designed to bring us over this threshold. However, our flesh often fights God and the process takes longer. God’s plan is that we experience what we know. Even the simple words, “I love you,” heard deep in our heart, could chase fear and produce tremendous inner strength.

Worship + Meditation = Communion

Communion is the consequence of worship and meditation. As we break the bread and drink the wine, figuratively speaking, we enter His life (John 6:63). We believe and trust in the provision of Jesus and His broken body becomes our food and we are fulfilled and satisfied with new identity. The wine is significant, representing the blood which washed away our sins.

As we receive Christ’s new life as our sustenance, we are converted. We believe in the Absolute, despite what evidence we see; we begin to take on the identity of the Absolute, by faith, and live in the effects of a new life produced beyond ourselves.

Through communing with God, our communication is transformed and there is a radical change.

This change can be seen because we are thinking about and interpreting the things we see differently, rather than just by sight. There is now a new dimension, one that is objective. This exchange of life teaches how to delight in grace.

Make Communion Your Purpose and Priority

Often, we battle with stewarding our time. Our schedules are packed with demands, but the value of the treasure cannot be told as we invest in reflecting upon God’s personal word. Inner stability and navigation of life decisions are found here.

Time is precious; we can never really manage it, but we can recognize priorities. Priorities are like maps, enabling us to choose the best way to use this gift of time.

For instance, the archeologist carefully removes the dirt to unveil buried treasures. There is no hurry, lest they damage or disturb the relic. It takes finesse to preserve the mystery and lead us into true discovery and true meaning.

As meaning is discovered, we honor the knowledge we have received and we recognize it for what it truly is. In reflection, we learn to slow down and let the words sink deep into us rather than rushing through to complete a task.

Saturate yourself in the majesty of God and discover the truth of Who He is that defines what He does.

Set aside time for God on purpose, He wants to unfold to you His heart. Let go of the methodology and technique to find God and just sit and be loved by Him. He will make Himself known and inspire you with His passion.

He is closer to you than the air you breathe.


Passionate about reaching people from all walks of life, Jason Moore has been involved in worldwide mission work and discipleship since the age of sixteen. While living in Ukraine, he completed his internship in church planting, resulting in three new churches that continue to thrive today. As a graduate of Maryland Bible College and Seminary with a Bachelor’s in Biblical Studies, he leads the Pastoral Care team of Greater Grace Church in Baltimore, MD. He serves as a guest speaker in churches throughout the United States and overseas. With his wife, Leah, and son, Carson, he is dedicated to guiding people in discovering the riches of God’s grace. He may be reached through www.jasonfmoore.com.

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how to become a christian

How to Become a Christian (Next Steps)

Welcome! We pray you are reading this because you have taken an important step in accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. This means you are born again! (John 3:3)

If you have not yet taken this step, no worries. If you’re reading this, you’re seeking answers. This is way healthier than believing you already have all the answers!

Maybe you’re here because you were handed a Gospel tract from a street evangelist. Maybe you read one of our articles and followed a link to this page. Maybe you simply did a Google search.

Whatever channel brought you here, you’re obviously here for a reason.

What Must I Do to Be Saved?

repentance

If you recited a prayer you found at the end of a tract, it probably looked something like this:

“Jesus, I turn from my sin. I believe you died on the cross to set me free from sin. I believe you rose from the dead after three days. I claim you as my Savior and Lord. I now follow you and give you the rest of my days. In your mighty name, amen.”

While this confession is important, please understand it cannot save your soul any more than rubbing a rabbit’s foot can give you good luck.

Your heart-felt prayer must be directed to God or Jesus. You must be at the place where you are done with the brokenness in your life. You must recognize your best efforts have yielded poor results. You must recognize you are unable to save yourself.

When you direct your heart-cry to God and trust in what Jesus has done for you, you will be born anew. This is a supernatural, spiritual conversion. Millions of men and women around the world and over the centuries have taken the same step in trusting God and calling out to Him. Welcome to God’s family.

What to Expect Now

Some people have tender conversion experiences. They may not feel anything has changed at first, but swiftly, they’ll notice the desires of their heart are changing—for the better. Things that used to burden them won’t weigh as much. Joy and peace will begin to replace sorrow and worry.

Others may have dramatic conversion experiences. They may experience overwhelming waves of love or emotion, find themselves overflowing with praise for God or experience a sharp increase in their desire to read the Bible.

Either path is normal. Trust that God knows what He’s doing in you and what you need in the moment.

Regardless of your salvation experience, there will be an eternal change. You will have a desire to do what is right and a hunger for the truth.

Jesus is spiritually living inside of you now! Get ready for an amazing journey!


While you’re wondering, “Okay, so how do I become a Christian?” here are some important next steps on your Christian walk:

Step 1. Get Baptized

believers baptism

In the Bible, the first thing a new believer did was to get baptized. What does that mean?

Baptism is a public demonstration of your belief in Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. It is the outward symbol of what happened in your spirit when you accepted God into your life.

Your old life has died and gone down to the grave. You are placed under water as a symbol of that death and burial.

When you are lifted out of the water, you are raising up to new life as a follower of Jesus!

Baptism can be done by a pastor or someone who has led you into these truths. You are baptized into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Your new identity is in God! As Paul said, “My life is hidden in Christ and God.” (Colossians 3:3)

Scriptures on Baptism:

Romans 6:1-18 | 1 Corinthians 12:13 | Mark 16:16 | Luke 3:21-22 | Mark 1:4-5 | John 1:29-33 | Matthew 3:11-17 | Acts 8:36-38 | Matthew 28:19-20 | Colossians 2:12 | 1 Peter 3:21 | Acts 22:16 | Galatians 3:27 | Luke 3:16 | Ephesians 4:4-6 | Acts 16:31-33 | Acts 2:38-41


Step 2. Read God’s Word, the Bible

read the bible

As a New Testament believer, start your Christian journey by reading the books of the New Testament. The books of Matthew, John or Ephesians are great places to begin. Read and meditate on the words. You can pray the promises in the Bible back to God. God is faithful to His Word, so praying Scripture to Him is a powerful way to grow in prayer and intimacy with God.

Read your Bible and use it as the standard

“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11-12)

This clearly goes to show that we should be like the Berean Christians who would not just receive the teachings blindly. They went home regularly, searching the Scriptures to be sure the Apostles were teaching them things in alignment with God. They checked regularly to know if God had given such instructions as Paul and Silas gave them.

This is the most important tip. Whatever you are taught, ensure it reconciles with the Word of God. If what you are taught in any church (no matter the size or reputation) does not tally with the Bible, then leave that church and find a Bible-believing church.

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Ps 119:11)

The passage above shows us the importance of the Word of God. God is His Word. John 3:16 shows us just how important God’s Word is to Him. Psalm 119 shows us how important it should be to us.

Don’t have a Bible yet?

Start at https://biblegateway.com or https://biblehub.com. Need a Bible app for your smartphone or tablet? We recommend ‘Blue Letter Bible’.


Step 3. Attend a Bible-Believing Church

bible believing church

“When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.” (Acts 13:43)

It is always joyous when children of God make their way to Him. It is always a wonderful thing when people confess their sins, acknowledge Jesus as their Savior and dedicate their lives to God!

The Bible tells us there is much joy in heaven whenever a sinner repents; much more than over ninety-nine people who do not need repentance (Luke 15:7). The blessings of God are numerous and are without repentance. You have taken a wonderful step towards eternal life.

Now—to find a Bible-believing church to be your place of worship!

Why a Bible-believing church?

When a you enter a new, unfamiliar land, you may not know much the culture. You may not know directions to available resources or utilities. In this new land, you may want a guide who knows the culture, the geography and the people. This is where a Bible-believing church comes in.

A Holy Spirit-filled, Bible-believing church will be valuable for guiding you down the right path. The Bible tells us that, in the last days, there will be many false teachers and prophets misleading God’s people. Therefore, healthy Biblical teaching and fellowship is a must for all believers.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

“Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath’.” (Matthew 23:15-16)

These are harsh words from Jesus to the religious leaders of His day. Instead of going to a church that does not believe in the Bible (and there are many), your goal is to be like the new converts in Act 13:43.

“If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together.” (African proverb)

There is power in association. It is important to be gathering with people who share the same faith. When you spend time with others who share your goals and beliefs, you grow stronger together. The Bible teaches us, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)

How to pick a Bible-believing church

As a new convert who knows little or nothing about churches and the Christian faith, this may prove to be a challenging task! No matter what you see or hear, the most important criterion is that the church you select must believe in Jesus Christ and worship the Lord God Almighty.

In Hebrews 11:25, we are commanded to fellowship with other believers. You will look for a church that preaches from God’s Word (free of additions or man-made traditions.)

Here are some tips to help you pick a Bible-believing church:

Interview and Internet

Conduct Internet research to find local Christian churches. Some searches you may want to do might be “churches near me”, “nondenominational churches near me” or “evangelical churches [your city]” (without the brackets.) Many churches will have a page called “Beliefs” or “What We Believe”. Upon finding a handful of churches that seem to fit, it’s time to begin calling them. Interview church leaders and pastors. Here are some basic questions you might ask any church you are considering:

  1. Is the Bible the 100% true, accurate Word of God inspired by the Holy Spirit?
  2. Is Jesus the Son of God and the only way to eternal life with God? Is there any way to God or eternal life other than through Jesus?
  3. What does the Bible say the world will look like when Jesus returns? Do we need to gain dominion of the earth before that happens?
  4. Through our effort, can we alter biblical prophecy?
  5. Does a person have any responsibilities to God upon accepting salvation?
  6. How important is popular culture in structuring your services?
  7. How do you train and equip your people to carry out the Great Commission?
  8. What opportunities are there for me to join Bible-study groups or volunteer?
  9. Do you preach sermons that talk about exposing false teachers and false doctrines? Should Christians ever question anointed teachers?
  10. What curriculum do your youth ministries use?
  11. To whom are church leaders accountable? Has your leadership ever been questioned by members? How was it addressed?
  12. What growth is more important to your church? Growth in numbers or growth in spiritual commitment of members? (They may only select one!)
  13. What is the most crucial issue your church has faced? How was it resolved?
  14. How do you determine the spiritual growth of your members?
  15. What is meant by the word “Church,” and what is its purpose?
  16. What is the role of your church in social issues and politics?
  17. When do you believe life begins?
  18. What are your church’s views on marriage and sexuality? Please share scriptures that confirm your beliefs.
  19. How does your church handle divorce among your members?
  20. Do you believe Christians and Muslims pray to the same God; are Yahweh and Allah the same?

(Questions originally from https://standupforthetruth.com/2011/12/church-shopping-35-key-questions-to-ask-the-church/ )

Eventually, it will be time to visit your finalists. Before and after services, go out of your way to meet people. Meet the pastor. Meet the leaders. Ask more questions. Tour the church. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you (He will). Eventually, you will find a church home.


Pray for God’s Guidance

forgiven

God is your Father. When you accept him as your Lord, the Holy Spirit comes into your life. The Holy Spirit is our guide, our counselor, our friend and our comforter. Whenever you are not sure what to do, call upon God. Pray to Him and ask Him to guide you. He hears you and will order your steps.

Studying the Word of God and comparing it with the preaching at your local church is the ultimate way to discern whether your church is Bible-believing.

As you start upon your Christian journey, keep these tips close to heart. God will bless you and keep you on the right path! Praise God!

 

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cultivate wonder

Cultivate Wonder

The “Seven Wonders” of the world are God’s handiwork; the intrigue and complexity stretches our imagination. The potential of each moment can be realized through Wonder. In this spirit of amazement, there is such beauty; simple pleasures, fragrances and a “unique recognition” can trigger a fresh illumination.

One thing I appreciate about children is their capacity and expression of wonder. Total enjoyment by fascination, captivating them by a unique recognition of something they have never seen before.

I remember my son in the garden looking at flowers with me. We were looking at the different colors and he was wanting to touch everything. Then we saw a colorful butterfly land on one of the flowers. He watched it intently, it was as if he held his breath so he could concentrate on every detail not wanting to miss a second. His eyes were the size of saucers. The butterfly flew away, and the moment of amazement ended, and he was off to the next thing. We had captured a moment together and something inside me said, “Don’t lose your amazement! Life can get very busy and we can lose sight of the simple beauties of everyday life.”

Inner Fascination

This “inner fascination” can be cultivated by appreciating everything as a gift. Handling and looking at things as though we have never seen it before. We can glance at something familiar and think we have seen it all, but as we gaze and give attention to detail the beauty is unlocked. The gaze, instead of a glance, opens our mind and heart to a “unique recognition”. Be ready to be amazed!

God’s grace is designed to amaze us. Our earthly bodies would be consumed if we saw the Lord in all His glory. It is so far beyond what we can comprehend. It is a mystery. We see it only in a glimpse. Even in this age of grace, we see through a glass darkly.

In Heaven, we will be awe-struck with a full revelation of God’s goodness; we will be speechless with wonder. We will no longer need faith, for all will be visible.  As we seek His face, we are in humble amazement, eternal gratefulness revealed in a heart attitude of worship. His magnificence subdues our imaginations within, and all is in a holy silence before Him, no flesh can glory in His presence. We bow in adoration and we pray in His name, the name above all others. Our prayer is this: “Lord, may all see the display of your magnificence!”

In the Grand Weaver, Ravi Zacharias writes about wonder:

Wonder is that possession of the mind that enchants the emotions while never surrendering reason. It is a grasp on reality that does not need constant high points in order to be maintained, nor is it made vulnerable by the low points of life’s struggle. It sees in the ordinary the extraordinary, and it finds in the extraordinary the reaffirmation for what it already knows. Wonder clasps the soul (the spiritual) and is felt in the body (the material). Wonder interprets life through the eyes of eternity while enjoying the moment, but never lets the momentary vision exhaust the eternal. Wonder makes life’s enchantment real and knows when and where enchantment must lie. Wonder knows how to read the shadows because it knows the nature of light. Wonder knows that while you cannot look at the light you cannot look at anything else without it. It is not exhausted by childhood but finds its key there. It is a journey like a walk through the woods, over the usual obstacles, and around the common distractions while the voice of direction leads, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it’ (Isaiah 30:21).

Live life in the innocence of a child, leave all complications of trying to figure it all out or trying to control each component. Take the time and enjoy with an “inner fascination” and reverential worship the beauty of God. In the moment, let things penetrate you rather than skip over you. Discover your life through wonder.

His Presence

Being in awe over the right things is paramount. It is easy to give authority to the wrong things in our lives and get overwhelmed. Human reason seems so rational and pragmatic at times, but when we use it as a lens to understand God, we miss everything. Since when is God explainable for us to totally understand Him? Often, we are left to trust Him for the unexplained. Human reason shrinks God into our own image, our unbelief and fear dwarf him in our experience. But the true reality is that His fullness and power is realized by His presence, and not by evidence alone.

God is infinite yet knowable, our God is so personal because he has walked where we have walked, and he himself is our provision. In our crises we see Christ, and often in our messes, we discover a message from our Savior. He fully knows us and completely loves us.

The prophet Isaiah says “Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us,” in Isaiah 26:12. His perfect Peace that passes all understanding is promised to guard our hearts and minds in Philippians 4:6. Be aware and dwell on God’s greatness, and you will discover that He is mighty in your midst!

When Moses saw the burning bush in Exodus, he recognized this was not a normal sight. When fire consumes something it usually burns away to nothing; this bush didn’t.

Rather than walking by and dismissing it as an anomaly Moses stopped and “turned aside” to get a closer look. What Moses saw changed his direction and caught his attention. When God spoke from inside the bush it changed Moses life forever. The presence of God has unimaginable power. We enter His awesome presence and we are changed into His likeness. His presence can be manifested in a word, a place, a song, He can overtake you when you alone thinking on Him. As we are inclining our ears, we become more spiritually sensitive to what the Spirit is saying and doing. Brother Lawrence writes in his book “Practicing His Presence” about developing awareness and expectation of God and live as though He is real and present every moment of your days. In this divine discipline, we live a life of worship.

I love to walk on the beach. My feet hit the sand and the slimy plant life, and I can feel all kinds of sensations. The heat from the sun radiates to my feet and at first it is painful. The sensation is more than I can bear, because my feet have been safely protected and covered for a long time; they are not use to the sensation. As time goes on and callouses grow, we lose the acute awareness of the elements.

Does this describe your Christian life?

In time, we can have numbness and lose the sense of feeling and enjoyment. Insensitivity can creep in because we have forgotten the value of it. The beauty and the newness become familiar and predictable and the innocent connection is seemly lost.

God can bring back the newness to our tired souls. He can refresh us by showing how He thinks and feels about the things we are struggling with or thinking about.

Some ways to this newness are:

  • What does the bible say about what you are thinking about?
  • Will I submit to what the bible is saying?
  • Purpose to examine things in your life as though you have never seen them before.
  • Listen, as though you have never heard before.
  • Purpose to be thankful and appreciate people and things as though it was your last day with them.
  • Enjoy what you have in your life, rather than trying to change it.

Cultivating wonder is a spiritual secret. Prayerfully, God will bring us back to the way that He thinks about things.

When we are second, and God is first, we become as a child. Christ makes all things new and cultivates wonder and innocence, which brings back our sensitivity. Be ready to be amazed!


Passionate about reaching people from all walks of life, Jason Moore has been involved in worldwide mission work and discipleship since the age of sixteen. While living in Ukraine, he completed his internship in church planting, resulting in three new churches that continue to thrive today. As a graduate of Maryland Bible College and Seminary with a Bachelor’s in Biblical Studies, he leads the Pastoral Care team of Greater Grace Church in Baltimore, MD. He serves as a guest speaker in churches throughout the United States and overseas. With his wife, Leah, and son, Carson, he is dedicated to guiding people in discovering the riches of God’s grace. He may be reached through www.jasonfmoore.com.

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altar life

Altar Life

Elijah knew the importance of the altar. In 1 Kings 18, he repaired the altar after the prophets of Baal had destroyed it. An altar is a place of sacrifice, worship, and a memorial. It is a designated place to have an encounter with our Savior; a place of exchange. Gripping the edges of the altar in reverence, we see the true nature of sacrifice. Positioned with care, the sacrifice is put to death while the guilty are set free. Blood cleans the ugly stain of sin.

The altar is a place to meet God and offer that which pleases Him, at great cost to the giver. The sacrifice in the Old Testament was tied and ceremonially prepared to spill blood to atone for sin. One had to pay the ultimate price so the other could go free. The offering was surrendered as healthy, full of life. Fire came and consumed the offering in satisfaction. Standing in worship, discovery begins in the fear of the Lord, and the fire from above then burns within our hearts.

Personal Altar

Often, the Israelites built an altar after miracles, as a reminder of God’s faithfulness for those that followed. We must have a personal altar. We must have a place to meet God and to lay all things before Him so nothing is in competition with Him.

There are no shortcuts or gimmicks at the altar; Christ has preeminence. In worship, we offer all of ourselves and He gives us all of himself. As Abraham offered his most precious gift to the Lord, he discovered God’s answer and perfect provision.

The place where we meet God is such a sacred place! In Hebrews 13:10, an exchange of life takes place. At the altar, there is the spilling of blood, a death, a burning and an accepted blessing. In this place of absolute surrender, we enter true understanding. Rhetoric and superficiality is exchanged for experiential power.

Having an inner altar means we take time and surrender those things most precious to us before God. In so doing, we are saying “nothing is in competition with You; You have preeminence, Lord; I am yours and yours alone.” Our worship and prayers and the pouring out of our hearts is like sweet incense to God in Psalms 141:2.

This altar life releases fire and power from above. We learn to trust that His best is far greater than anything we could manufacture or preserve. This is radical but revolutionary! We are casting everything onto the Lord so that we are free to walk in providential liberty. We lay our whole heart and expectation upon the altar at His feet.

The result is a personal understanding of how we are loved by God. We then can love Him with our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Until we do this, we will be double-minded and having one hand on everything rather than being completely surrendered to Him.

Exchanged Life

Without an altar, our problems and difficulties will consume us. The lie of trying to manage our sin or guilt will wear out any saint. God’s provision is His altar where the guilty are made free and the ashes are removed, and beauty is seen. Burdens are released and we can walk in the liberty of the Spirit, as in Galatians 5:1.

In this place of true surrender, there is an unspeakable joy. At the altar, being conquered (or persuaded) is essential to the exchanged life. We let go of our own ways and we cling to the Almighty. We become a living sacrifice—an offering of praise, alive to God (Romans 6:11).

Living from the Altar

Humility, teachability, and willingness are all the results of a surrendered, submitted life that stands in awe of the greatness of God. Awe leads us to focus and come under the authority of truth and we are moved in the Spirit.

As worshipers, we are amazed at who God is.  As we move “out of the way,” His beauty begins to shine through our broken vessel. In brokenness, we reveal the true treasure and commune with His perfect life.

Life can be defined sometimes as controlled chaos. It is a myth to think we are in control. We will never understand the destiny of why things can enter our lives until we commit them back to God. We begin to learn to rest in knowing that the consequences are the Lord’s and He knows exactly what we need. With all our knowledge, we can do it our way, but one thing is lacking—the process of being conformed to the image of His dear Son. As we “let go and let God,” trust is born and we hold on to earthly things loosely.

There is pain at the altar. A divine perspective of pain is that it can show us a new destiny. A nailed scarred, pierced Christ, who endured all manner of troubles, wants to carry our pain—for the chastisement of our peace was upon Him (Isaiah 53:5). He is the Man of Sorrows, bearing all our grief so that we are made free. So many live in pain; Jesus comforts all who mourn and unfolds His purpose in the most difficult trials.

Bringing us to new depths with God is the destiny of the altar life.

In 2 Timothy 1:12, we see when something is committed to Him, He becomes the caretaker of it. We give back situations, people and our greatest fears, then we look unto Jesus in worship and He consumes our offering.

A ministry comes from the altar life. As we minister to God, the “fire” or “overflow” goes to others. The apostle Paul declares, “Death worketh in us but life in you.” (2 Corinthians 4:12)

“Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy….” (Psalms 43:3-4 KJV)

Let go of those precious things that detract from the fervent flame and put them into the hands of Jesus. Let Him be the divine caretaker and protector of your soul. We give Him our ashes and He gives us His beauty. Hold nothing back, lay it all down at the altar—true rest is waiting.

“The altar—the lonely place where I lay my burdens down. There, my foolish heart finds sanctuary. Stillness and calm capture my heart as I lay down myself and in death resurrected life begins.”


Passionate about reaching people from all walks of life, Jason Moore has been involved in worldwide mission work and discipleship since the age of sixteen. While living in Ukraine, he completed his internship in church planting, resulting in three new churches that continue to thrive today. As a graduate of Maryland Bible College and Seminary with a Bachelor’s in Biblical Studies, he leads the Pastoral Care team of Greater Grace Church in Baltimore, MD. He serves as a guest speaker in churches throughout the United States and overseas. With his wife, Leah, and son, Carson, he is dedicated to guiding people in discovering the riches of God’s grace. He may be reached through www.jasonfmoore.com.

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is faith in God possible

Faith in God – Is it Possible?

Does it make sense to have faith in God? Is it possible to release all our fears and failures into God’s hands? Each time those questions are asked, the answer is always, “Yes.” There are times in our lives when the road ahead seems uncertain; when the answers we desperately seek are elusive. As long as we depend upon our own understanding and reasoning, our faith will waiver.

We may not always agree with what happens to us, we may not understand why, but we can rest assured in knowing that our God knows what He’s doing. Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Just because we may not always see His hands at work in our lives, it doesn’t mean He’s not working! Just because we can’t see the light at the end of this trial, or the calm after this storm, it doesn’t mean that it never will come.

The enemy will constantly lie to us. His mission in life is to completely destroy our lives. He’ll whisper in our ears that things are hopeless and will never change, but these are all lies from the pit of hell! The Bible assures us in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

God’s ways are incomprehensible: “‘My thoughts are completely different from yours,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine…my ways [are] higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts'” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

We are so precious to God that His highest thoughts are about us; they can’t be counted (Psalm 139:17-18). Knowing that God is our loving Heavenly Father makes it easier to release control of our lives to Him. Peace comes when we place our faith in God, not man.

We go from victory to victory in our walk with the Lord because every battle we face truly does belong to Him. A war may be raging all around us, but as Christians, we have confidence in knowing the war of our souls has already been won.

The truth is that God will come through for us; we are never hopeless; and what the enemy intends for evil against us, God will turn around and use for our good! (See Genesis 50:20.) Our mission as Christians is to “know God and make God known,” not be bummed out and defeated due to stress, worry and anxiety.

As sons and daughters of the Most High King, we need to stand on the promise found in Romans 8:28. God is working everything we’re going through together for our good! So, when the trials and testing comes, we need not be moved by them. We can trust our unknown future, to our known God! We can be, steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. We can walk by faith, confident our Savior has never let us down and He never will.

Faith in God – Believing the Impossible

There will be times when our faith in God requires us to believe in the impossible. Sarah and Mary both experienced impossible circumstances. Though barren, at 90, Sarah became pregnant, fulfilling God’s promise as well as an oath (Hebrews 6:17-18). Abraham’s descendants would multiply into countless millions. God’s promises bring hope.

In fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14, the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary (Luke 1:31-32). Through an innocent girl, the Savior of mankind entered the world. In every case, faith in God requires us to anticipate answers that are infinite and eternal — believing all things are possible.

What About Those Who Don’t Know the Lord?

People in the world who don’t have Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are left for themselves. They might get the job they applied for, they might get through that stressful situation in their lives, they might make it safely through another day, but they also might not. As for believers, with the Alpha and the Omega, with the Beginning and the End leading our way, our provision, protection and salvation are all guaranteed. Isn’t it reassuring we have direct access to Jesus and that we can call upon Him for help every second of every day? Worrying doesn’t change anything we are worrying about. It only makes us stressed out, uptight and emotionally up and down.

Worrying makes us so bummed out that we get to the point where we no longer are reaching out to others because we are so consumed with ourselves. In Jeremiah 29:11, God said, “For I know the thoughts I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

“We need to turn our mirror into a window.” We need to start looking above the “rubbish” that we’re worrying about and look to God. When we do, we’re able to reach out and help those around us and begin to see the “good” and “bad” seasons in our lives through God’s eyes, not our own. If it’s the Lord’s will you get a job with over one hundred other applicants applying, you will be the one selected. If it’s the Lord’s will you get a kidney transplant now even though you’ve been on a three-year waiting list, your name will be moved to the top. If the doctors say you have terminal cancer and there is no cure, God can touch you and heal you instantly! Worrying only causes us to doubt God’s faithfulness, become paralyzed with discouragement and get depressed.

Faith in God – Making It Personal

Our faith in God intensifies when we invite Jesus into our lives. In accepting that God’s ways are far better than our own, we can release that we cannot manipulate or guarantee — our future. Choosing to release control to the only One who is the Way, Truth and Life give us peace and security. Remember Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not onto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.”

With faith in God, through His Son, we then can say, “I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in the earthly body by trusting the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

God has You in the Palm of His Hand

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.” (Psalm 55:22-23)

So whatever you’re stressing out about; stop. Whatever you’re worrying about; don’t.

We have a strong God, so let’s start giving Him everything that’s weighing us down. Let’s choose to lift up our eyes to our Lord and cast all these cares down at the foot of His cross. Let’s choose to let go and let God, believing that no matter what, our God’s love for us is unconditional, constant, eternal and will remain. Jesus Christ is our Good Shepherd and promises to sustain us, provide for us, protect us and never leave us. “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

And Psalm 138:8 assures us that “God will perfect all that concerns us,” so let’s stop worrying and trust Him to.

Our heavenly Father takes care of the birds of the air. He takes care of the lilies in the field. He knows what we have need of and will surely take care of you and me.

Wake-Up Call

We’re living in the last days and Satan knows his time here on earth is short. He may be relentless in his attacks against us, but our God will not relent in coming to our defense as well!

“BUT NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR US WHO BELIEVE BECAUSE NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR OUR GOD!”


Contribution by a talented author and sister in Christ who has asked to remain anonymous. (Her name might be Amelia.)

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pray

Prayers for the Unbelieving and Lost

These prayer points were originally offered by a woman dealing with her unbelieving spouse, however you can obviously pray God’s Word over any loved one, friend, coworker, etc., struggling with (against) their Kingdom identity. We are all called to intercede on behalf of others. Pray these Scriptures in love over the unbelievers in your life. Remember, these prayers are not techniques for manipulating God into correcting the struggling or lost, but an outpouring of faith in His goodness and promises of deliverance and freedom through Christ.

P.S. – You’ll be pleased to know the woman with the unbelieving husband saw her husband eventually turn to Jesus. God is faithful to respond to His Word. Hallelujah!

 

  1. “Lord, may Your wise and knowing Spirit rest on ________. Be his/her counselor, Father. May ________ delight in You and obey Your commands. Convict ________ of sin, the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and of the coming judgment.”

And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;

And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: (Isaiah 11:2-3)

  1. “God, You will fulfill the purpose in each of our lives. Your love endures forever—do not abandon the works of Your hands. Do not abandon ________. Draw him/her to You.”

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me: thy mercy, O Lord, endures forever: forsake not the works of thine own hands. (Psalm 138:8)

  1. “Bring ________ to the end of himself/herself and into a living, vital, intimate, overpowering relationship with Jesus Christ. Open his/her eyes that he/she may see wonderful things in Your law.”

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. (Psalm 119:18)

  1. “Your hands made ________ and formed him/her; give ________ understanding that he/she may learn Your commandments and will.”

Your hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn your commandments. (Psalm 119:73)

  1. “Bless ________. Your Word says that Your kindness leads to repentance. Don’t allow ________ to continue to store up wrath for himself/herself.”

Or despises thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

But after your hardness and impenitent heart treasures up unto yourself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: (Romans 2:4-6)

  1. “________’s heart is in Your hand; You direct it like a watercourse where You please. I can trust You.”

The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turns it wherever he will. (Proverbs 21:1)

  1. “Give ________ singleness of heart and action so that he/she will always fear You for his/her own good and the good of our children.”

And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: (Jeremiah 32:39)

  1. “Instruct ________ and teach him/her in the way he/she should go. Counsel ________ and watch over him/her. Your unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in You.”

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go: I will guide you with my eye. […] Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusts in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about. (Psalm 32:8, 10)

  1. “Help ________ to humble himself/herself under Your mighty hand, that You may lift him/her up in due time.”

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: (1 Peter 5:6)

  1. “I pray a hedge of thorns around ________, that those with wrong influence will lose interest and leave him/her alone. I pray this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the power of His blood.”

Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths. (Hosea 2:6)

 

Are we missing some Scriptures you’ve used to pray over those struggling with their spiritual identity? Let us know and we’ll add them to this list!


References

10 Ideas: Prayers for an Unbelieving Spouse. FamilyLife. Retrieved from https://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/marriage/marriage-challenges/spiritually-mismatched/10-ideas-prayers-for-an-unbelieving-spouse

 

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