3 Things God Likes

The following post is an excerpt from my new book: The S.P.E.A.R. Paradigm: Encountering God

 

According to Wishpond, there are over 4.5 billion likes generated on Facebook each day.  That’s billion with a “B” folks.  The advent of social media has drastically changed the tapestry of how we interact with each other; specifically how we gather and share information about our preferences and interests.  Needless to say, the dating game has been influenced significantly over the years as a result of this cultural shift.  As a divorcee, I curl up in the fetal position and cry myself to sleep whenever I think about entering the dating “pond” again.

I remember a time, long ago in antiquity, when one of the requirements for meeting people was to go out and actually—well…be around people.  Today, “likes” are the new currency of social acceptance.  Oh, the things we do for “likes.”  This paradigm shift made me think…hmmm, what if God had a “like” button to signal to us his approval (or disapproval) of all our daily actions and words?  I wonder how many “likes” we would have from him throughout the course of a single day.

Well, it just so happens that the Bible gives us clues as to what God actually likes.  Here are a few of my favs:

God Likes to be Close to Us 

James 4:8, (NLT) says, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.”  No explanation needed here.  He likes to be intimately involved in our lives.  God is a very personal God.  He just loves us like that.

 

God Likes to Give to Us

God loves sending gifts our way.  Without a doubt the greatest gift ever given was the gift of his son, Jesus Christ.  John 3:16 lets us know that God so loved the world that he was compelled to give.  That’s what true love does.

God Likes to be Discovered by Us

God likes to play hide and seek with us.  He loves when we chase him, because he loves to be found.  He loves it so much, he left us breadcrumbs in his word showing us how to find him.  Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV) states, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and PRAY to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart'” (emphasis added).

Now is the time to give God what he really likes…YOU!

To purchase my new book, The S.P.E.A.R. Paradigm: Encountering God, click any of the links below:

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Barnes and Noble


BE

I am Brian Evans, and as always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

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We Are Royalty

As an African-American male, learning how to be vulnerable is like learning a foreign language.  Growing up in the Deep South taught me how dangerous it could be to show weakness.  Sandwiched between the regular occurrences of both racism and gang violence, I learned that my survival depended on my ability to quickly access and raise my emotional shields.  In fact, one of the most infamous statistics that loomed over my generation was the high percentage of African-American males that were killed before the age of 21.  I vividly recall arriving to class one morning in high school only to learn that one of my close friends had been murdered the previous day because he was wearing the “wrong” colors in the wrong neighborhood.  He was one of many victims of gang violence.

For me, showing any signs of weakness could mean becoming easy prey, and would possibly be the difference between life and death.  In essence, I had to appear to be someone I wasn’t in order to survive.  I developed the habit of projecting a tough, callous exterior, while suppressing fear, anxiety, and dread.  The interesting part of it all was the notion that learning could take place in this type of environment.  I was expected to solve for “X” while simultaneously trying to figure out how I was going to avoid getting shot…but I digress.

Needless to say, that mentality got me through high school, but did not serve me very well in adulthood.  Today, as I am drawn deeper into the fulfillment God’s design for my life, I am discovering the power and necessity of authentic transparency.  There are territories that God has called us to reign over in our own lives.  However, before we can take the throne, we must deal with the enemies that stand between us and our destiny.  Our most formidable foe is the person we have always been.  The one who loves the way things currently are, and does not want to change.  We have allowed the enemy of “Ease” to take the throne that is rightfully ours.

Enter my own personal epiphany.  In an effort to simply survive another day, I found myself burying and suppressing experiences and traumas that were much to painful to deal with.  I buried the pain of two divorces, a layoff, “church hurt,” and grief from the death of loved ones just to name a few.  I now realize that I have sacrificed my emotional health on the altar of hypocrisy, attempting to appear stronger that I really was.  I donned a glass mask that eventually shattered under the weight of real pain.  I was an actor on the stage of my own life.  Little did I know I was doing a great disservice to the people who loved and needed me the most.

Since starting this journey of self-discovery and self-awareness, I have learned that healing is contained in sharing my story.  Though vulnerability is daunting, the victory is worth the struggle.  Seeing people liberated as I take the throne of my own story has initiated a deeper level of healing for me.  I have realized that my story is not just for me, but for every king and queen that may be searching for their throne.  As I take ownership of all the parts of my story, I now understand that we humans are one, and our mission is simple…to reign as kings and queens of our own stories and to proudly showcase the scars that validate our journeys to the throne.  We are royalty!!!

Please like or comment below if you were inspired by this post.  For more inspirational content, feel free to visit my YouTube channel, Brian Evans Unleashed

Also, to purchase copies of my new book, The S.P.E.A.R. Paradigm: Encountering God, click any of the links below:

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Barnes and Noble

 


BE

I am Brian Evans, and as always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

What Lies Within

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within us out into the world, miracles happen.”

Some have attributed the above quote to Ralph Waldo Emerson and some to Henry David Thoreau.  However, there are many who believe the quote was originally crafted by a Wall Street Trader named, Henry Stanley Haskins.

Regardless, it remains one of my favorite quotes because of the fire it ignites inside of me.  It reminds me that my Father and Creator has placed within me every single thing I need to birth greatness into this world, and this is exactly what I intend to do.  Nothing that has happened or will happen in my life can destroy the greatness inside of me.  It’s time to release what is within!!!

Stay encouraged!!!  Keep pushing!!!  Miracles await!

For more inspirational content, feel free to visit my YouTube channel, Brian Evans Unleashed

Also, to purchase copies of my new book, The S.P.E.A.R. Paradigm: Encountering God, click any of the links below:

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Barnes and Noble


BE

I am Brian Evans, and as always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

God’s Recycling Plan

There is no waste in God’s kingdom.  He knows how to turn every event in our lives into something he can use for his glory.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  It matters not how dirty, stinky, and mangled our lives appear, God’s recycling plan is designed to make us beautiful in HIS time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).  Inevitably, life will bring pain to our doorsteps.  How we manage our pain will determine the level of future glory we experience.  God’s presence is the healing ointment that helps us recover from the deepest wounds.  Only in His presence can we find “fulness of joy” and “pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11).

We have been given a divine invitation to come to Him and drop everything that is too heavy for us to carry on our own.  “Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you” (1 Peter 5: 7, TPT).  Allow God to recycle you in His presence.  He wants to take your mangled trash and turn it into the sparkling treasure that will ultimately glorify Him.  “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Our scars may cause us to feel worthless and ashamed, as if God will never again have anything to do with us.  Don’t believe this lie.  God loves turning trash into treasure for his glory.  He never discards us or anything that we have gone through.  Today, allow God’s presence to recycle your pain and release His power deep within you.  Keep living!  YES…glory will come even from this.

For more inspirational content, visit my channel…BE Unleashed


BE

I am Brian Evans, and as always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

Unbottled Water

Have you ever noticed the nutritional contents of a bottle of water?  If so, you may have wondered why something that contains 0g sodium, 0g fat, 0g protein, 0g carbs, and 0 calories is essential to sustain life.  Furthermore, why does Jesus compare himself to such a drab drink?  In the Gospel of John, Jesus states:

“If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”~John 7:37-38, KJV

To gain a better understanding of this comparison, let us examine some common characteristics of water, and how they compare to the nature of God’s spirit that lives within us.

Water Sustains

Plain ‘ole water has no color, smell, or taste, and many people will reluctantly admit they do not drink the recommended daily amount (8 glasses) according to experts.  Though this may be true, I think we all can agree that the consequences of not drinking water is definitely undesirable, and can contribute to some pretty nasty health issues.

According to Curiosity.com, our bodies are roughly 60-70% water.  Of course, this percentage can change based on factors such as age, sex, and body composition.  Most of our bodily functions depend on the presence of water.  Without it, we would overheat, lose brain and digestive functions, and eventually die of dehydration.  When God created us, he made us in his image and after his likeness, which means he literally placed himself inside of us via his spirit.  Apart from God, we lose the capacity to be the best versions of ourselves.  We become dried-up raisins instead of fresh, juicy grapes.  God’s spirit animates us and gives us life.  Paul states in the Book of Acts:

“For in him we live, and move, and have our being…”~Acts 17:28, KJV

Water Fills

Water is known to take the shape of its container.  If it is allowed access, it fills all spaces and voids regardless of shape.  When God created us, he intended to fill us with himself.  For that reason, he created us with a void that was designed to be filled by him and him alone.  This is why it is futile for us to fill ourselves with things that will eventually evaporate and leave us dehydrated and empty.  Only God can truly satisfy us throughout the entirety of our lives, and perfectly fill the void.

Water Cleans

Whenever we prepare to clean anything, water is usually one of the first things we need access to due to its unique ability to dissolve and dilute particles.  Similarly, God’s spirit cleanses us from the stains of sin and dissolves the particles of iniquity.  David knew this quite well as he penned,

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.”~ Psalm 51:10-11, KJV

Notice the reference in this verse to the holy spirit of God, and how he cleans us through and through.  Like water, God’s spirit is the cleaning agent that daily washes us as we enter into his presence in worship.

Water Flows

Though water is essential to life, it can also be extremely destructive.  For example, a small leak over time can wreak havoc in our houses.  A tsunami after an earthquake can instantly level an entire city.  When water is allowed access into a particular space, it seeks to fill that space completely due to its forceful flowing properties.  This is what Jesus meant when he said from our bellies shall flow “rivers of living water.”  In John 7:39, the Bible expressly states that Jesus was referring to the Holy Ghost.  As God’s spirit fills us, eventually he seeks to fill the other voids around us, because he cannot be contained.  If there are voids in our relationships, or our finances, or our ministries, he desires to address those issues, and to bring his healing hydration to everything that is connected to us.

In summary, Jesus could have chosen to compare himself to anything, but now we see why he chose water.  He is simply the essential ingredient to life.  No flashy colors or sweeteners.  He simply is, and he wants to fill us and flow from us to others.  Beloved, be filled with the spirit of God today.  We were designed to hydrate the world with God’s love and his spirit.  Every wound that life has inflicted upon us releases the flow of God’s spirit and affects the lives of others.  The deeper the wound, the greater the flow.  So, today, allow God to take off your cap of pride, pour you out, and hydrate the world!


BE

I am Brian Evans, and as always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

 

 

Scar Stories: Revised

How many scars do you have? Have you ever taken the time to count them? Maybe you have one on your knee from the time you fell learning how to ride your bike. Maybe you have one on your hand from the time you were burned cooking dinner for that very special occasion. I find it interesting that every scar has a story attached to it. I’ve never talked to a person that had a scar magically appear out of nowhere without them knowing exactly when and how it came to be. In most cases, the stories behind our scars carry a shameful connotation, with a certain level of trauma associated with them. That’s why we can always recant our scar stories as if the event had just happened, although years may have since gone by.

Flesh wounds usually tend to heal pretty quickly, and in some cases, once the wound heals, it barely leaves a scar. On the other hand, emotional wounds tend to cut deeper, hurt longer, and bleed heavier than the wounds that mar our flesh. Some people even reach an emotional impasse when it comes to the traumatic events that caused the wound in the first place. Growth and progression can even be halted as a result of emotional pain, fear, and anger (among other issues). Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a “scar” as a mark left (as in the skin) by the healing of injured tissue. I’m willing to say that this is how we most commonly think of scars. However, there is another definition:

“A lasting moral or emotional injury”

Our hearts are designed to be the seat of our emotions. From our hearts, come our life “issues” and how we perceive our world; this, in turn, determines the truth that we live in. In essence, our emotions tend to color our perceptions about life, about others, and about ourselves. Part of maturing in Christ involves knowing how to separate our emotions from the vital decisions that we must make on a daily basis. Whether it’s responding to a family crisis, or responding to a co-worker, we must constantly work to keep the emotional skies of our hearts pristine and clear. That’s why the Bible states in Proverbs 4:23:

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life”

Even in this, however, things can sometimes blindside us emotionally. Unlike our physical bodies, that begin the healing/immune response immediately upon injury (i.e.-clotting), sometimes our hearts don’t even realize when we’ve been injured emotionally. Often, it’s not until we’ve had time to process a particular series of events do we begin to feel “some kinda way.”

Beloved, I feel an urgency to encourage you right here…right now. Lift your head up. You are NOT what happened to you…you are who you choose to become. As you’re reading these words, I speak healing into your life today. As people of faith, we believe and receive by speaking…so what are you saying?
Yes…your wounds will heal. Yes, they may leave a scar, but not all scars are bad.

A few weeks ago, as I was checking in at the front desk of my gym for a workout session, a conversation ensued between myself and one of the trainers on staff. She was a tall, athletic woman with a jovial personality. After our initial introduction, she told me that she would probably ask for my name a few more times because she didn’t have any short-term memory. Initially, I thought she was being mildly facetious, so I chuckled at her remark. That’s when she repeated what she had said initially, and proceeded to inform me that she was a brain cancer survivor. “Some years ago,” she said, “I underwent surgery to remove a tumor from my brain, which obliterated my short-term memory.”

As she was telling me her story, she proudly turned her back to me, and parted her hair to reveal a scar that traveled from the top of her head down to the base of her neck. That’s when she told me that her scar is a reminder that she survived what should have killed her.

I was taken aback a little bit, because I wasn’t expecting that to be her story. Just looking at her, I would have never imagined that she had experienced that. This set off all kinds of bells and whistles in my mind, and gave me a whole new perspective on the things that we suffer. So, I say to you, your scars are a sign of healing. What once was a gaping, gushing wound, is now proof positive that you’re a survivor. Our scars tell a story of past pain and trauma, but they also testify to the fact that the pain no longer has power over us. Never allow the shame of what happened to you offset the glory that shall be. Your story innately contains a healing salve for others.

It may be true that some scars carry a shameful story, but some scars are salvific, because they bring salvation and healing to others. Where would we be if Jesus had never been scarred? Think about the scars in His hands and His feet….the wound in His side.  Not every scar is a mark of shame; some are considered a badge of honor. They tell a story of survival, salvation, and grace…of what could have happened, but didn’t. It matters not the story behind your scars, just be encouraged and know that you survived what tried to kill you, and now you have a story to tell…

So, what will your story be?


 

BE

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill. See you soon.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

Scar Stories

How many scars do you have? Have you ever taken the time to count them? Maybe you have one on your knee from the time you fell learning how to ride your bike. Maybe you have one on your hand from the time you were burned cooking dinner for that very special occasion. I find it interesting that every scar has a story attached to it. I’ve never talked to a person that had a scar magically appear out of nowhere without them knowing exactly when and how it came to be. In most cases, the stories behind our scars carry a shameful connotation, with a certain level of trauma associated with them. That’s why we can always recant our scar stories as if the event had just happened, although years may have since gone by.

Flesh wounds usually tend to heal pretty quickly, and in some cases, once the wound heals, it barely leaves a scar. On the other hand, emotional wounds tend to cut deeper, hurt longer, and bleed heavier than the wounds that mar our flesh. Some people even reach an emotional impasse when it comes to the traumatic events that caused the wound in the first place. Growth and progression can even be halted as a result of emotional pain, fear, and anger (among other issues). Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a “scar” as a mark left (as in the skin) by the healing of injured tissue. I’m willing to say that this is how we most commonly think of scars. However, there is another definition:

“A lasting moral or emotional injury”

Our hearts are designed to be the seat of our emotions. From our hearts, come our life “issues” and how we perceive our world; this, in turn, determines the truth that we live in. In essence, our emotions tend to color our perceptions about life, about others, and about ourselves. Part of maturing in Christ involves knowing how to separate our emotions from the vital decisions that we must make on a daily basis. Whether it’s responding to a family crisis, or responding to a co-worker, we must constantly work to keep the emotional skies of our hearts pristine and clear. That’s why the Bible states in Proverbs 4:23:

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life”

Even in this, however, things can sometimes blindside us emotionally. Unlike our physical bodies, that begin the healing/immune response immediately upon injury (i.e.-clotting), sometimes our hearts don’t even realize when we’ve been injured emotionally. Often, it’s not until we’ve had time to process a particular series of events do we begin to feel “some kinda way.”

Beloved, I feel an urgency to encourage you right here…right now. Lift your head up. You are NOT what happened to you…you are who you choose to become. As you’re reading these words, I speak healing into your life today. As people of faith, we believe and receive by speaking…so what are you saying?
Yes…your wounds will heal. Yes, they may leave a scar, but not all scars are bad.

A few weeks ago, as I was checking in at the front desk of my gym for a workout session, a conversation ensued between myself and one of the trainers on staff. She was a tall, athletic woman with a jovial personality. After our initial introduction, she told me that she would probably ask for my name a few more times because she didn’t have any short-term memory. Initially, I thought she was being mildly facetious, so I chuckled at her remark. That’s when she repeated what she had said initially, and proceeded to inform me that she was a brain cancer survivor. “Some years ago,” she said, “I underwent surgery to remove a tumor from my brain, which obliterated my short-term memory.”

As she was telling me her story, she proudly turned her back to me, and parted her hair to reveal a scar that traveled from the top of her head down to the base of her neck. That’s when she told me that her scar is a reminder that she survived what should have killed her.

I was taken aback a little bit, because I wasn’t expecting that to be her story. Just looking at her, I would have never imagined that she had experienced that. This set off all kinds of bells and whistles in my mind, and gave me a whole new perspective on the things that we suffer. So, I say to you, your scars are a sign of healing. What once was a gaping, gushing wound, is now proof positive that you’re a survivor. Our scars tell a story of past pain and trauma, but they also testify to the fact that the pain no longer has power over us. Never allow the shame of what happened to you offset the glory that shall be. Your story innately contains a healing salve for others.

It may be true that some scars carry a shameful story, but some scars are salvific, because they bring salvation and healing to others. Where would we be if Jesus had never been scarred? Think about the scars in His hands and His feet….the wound in His side. Not every scar is a mark of shame; some are considered a badge of honor. They tell a story of survival, salvation, and grace…of what could have happened, but didn’t. It matters not the story behind your scars, just be encouraged and know that you survived what tried to kill you, and now you have a story to tell…

So, what will your story be?


 

BE

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill. See you soon.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

New Year’s Revolution

I’M SICK OF RESOLUTIONS!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously-I really am.

For quite some time now, I’ve forsaken the common practice of declaring a New Year’s Resolution for each burgeoning year.  Remember how your last resolution to improve your diet (and lose a few), was overtaken and brutally beaten to death by that apple pie craving?  How about that iron-clad resolve to improve your time management skills that gave up the ghost on the battlefield of procrastination?

Trust me; I have experienced my share of “resolution regret” over my lifetime.  I do, however, love to entertain the notion of intentional contemplation.  Goals are great, and I have nothing against them; but goals without achievable, corresponding tasks are like cars without engines.

So for me, this year marks the death of “resolution regret.”  I lay to rest the corpse of empty excitement, devoid of life-changing action.

As we straddle the threshold between 2014 and 2015, let’s start a New Year’s REVOLUTION!!!!

A revolution demands inward change, before outward change is manifested.  It’s not just a hypocritical, temporary feeling of “I’m going to…”  In my experience, as long as we remain in the “I’m going to…” mindset, nothing ever gets done.  A revolution starts deep within an individual, and like wildfire, it spreads to the hearts of other individuals.

That’s right…revolutions are contagious.

Resolutions affect only the person, revolutions affect the public.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of thinking too small.  Let’s not limit our potential to the little boxes of our New Year’s Resolutions.  Instead, let us look out over the landscape of our lives and our communities to assess the possibilities that exist, by touching the lives of other people.  We are so much bigger than the commitments that we make to ourselves.  We were meant to deposit something great in this earth; a contribution that speaks to the fact that we were here, and we lived our lives intentionally and in High-Def.

Change is only the beginning.  It begins with us, but it should never end in us.  In the words of French Poet, Alphonse de Lamartine:

 “Private passions tire and exhaust themselves, public ones never do.” (Alphonse de Lamartine~~1790-1869)

Happy New Year…and let the revolution begin!


As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill. See you soon.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

Editor: Jaime Evans

BE

The Power of Giving Thanks

Here we are once again, at the precipice of the Holiday season, with our tables garnished with turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce.  As we prepare to step across the threshold of a rapidly approaching new year, our feet often traverse the well-beaten path of reflection and self-evaluation.

This year, my wife and I were blessed to visit my home in Birmingham, AL, to spend the Thanksgiving Holidays with my immediate family and friends.  I grew more excited, as the departure time approached, at the thought of seeing all those that I love and cherish.  Gratitude filled my heart as my wife and I packed the car to head south for the Holidays.  In that moment, I discovered the true power and purpose of giving thanks to God in every season of our lives.  Thanksgiving is more than just a day on our calendars reserved for filling our stomachs; rather, it is a lifestyle that releases the power of God in our lives in three profound ways.

 

Thanksgiving Escorts Us into God’s Presence

Psalm 100 is one of many passages illustrating God as our shepherd.  Within God’s sheepfold we have abundant supply and pasture.  We have boldness to enter into the door of the sheepfold (Jesus Christ-John 10:9) to access unlimited supplies of everything we need in God’s holy presence.  No necessity is withheld from us when we approach the Father with thanksgiving and praise.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. (Psalm 100:4, KJV)

The Message Bible further expounds on this idea of entering through the door of the sheepfold via intimate relationship with Christ:

Enter with the password: “Thank you!”  Make yourselves at home, talking praise.  Thank him.  Worship him. (Psalm 100:4, The Message Bible)

When we approach the gates of God’s holy court with gratitude in our hearts wielding the password of “thank you” upon our lips, we unlock the very resources of God’s endless supply.

 

Thanksgiving Releases God’s Peace

This may be contrary to everything you’ve ever heard, but when things seem to be falling apart around you, giving thanks releases the peace of God right in the middle of it all.  When we pray we are instructed to arm ourselves with thanksgiving.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6, KJV)

Thanksgiving is a powerful resource when coupled with the confident knowledge that the Father loves us and wants to care for us.  As we articulate our requests to the Father, they should always be bathed in thanksgiving, knowing that it pleases God to give us our hearts desires when they align with God’s will.  The end result will be the overwhelming peace of God that protects our vital faculties of heart and mind.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7, KJV)

 

 Thanksgiving Magnifies God

I am a firm believer in the effects of perspective.  Life can sometimes deliver some serious blows that disorient us causing us to see things that aren’t really there.  Skirmishes with illness, lack, and turmoil leave us with the perception that there is nothing to be grateful for.  These temporary “lights out” experiences can run deep through the core of our being as we struggle to regain some semblance of consciousness.  Things that are normally clear to us turn hazy and blurry, making it difficult to reach our goals.

Enter thanksgiving!!!

Expressing gratefulness to God shifts our perspective, and clears our vision so that we can stay in the fight.  Giving thanks magnifies God and brings into focus the “bigness” of our Father.  God is bigger, stronger and wiser than any enemy we fight, including the most formidable enemy of all…ourselves.  David says it better than I ever could, so I’ll employ a Psalm of his:

I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.  This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.  The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God. (Psalm 69:30-32, KJV)

Whenever we take our eyes off of what is good in our lives, and focus on the bad and the ugly, our victory hangs in the balance.  Use the power of thanksgiving to shrink your problems and bring them down to size.  You will find without a doubt that they are no match for the matchless King of Glory.

 

During this holiday season, let us resolve to carry the torch of thanksgiving into daily living, thereby bringing light into even the most obscure places of our lives.  May the incense of gratitude unfurl within our hearts each morning, and burn well into the night; yielding the sweet-smelling aroma of peace, power, and proper perspective: thus glorifying God.

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!!!


As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

Editor: Jaime Evans

BE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WARNING: The Withering Process

Recently, I decided to surprise my beautiful wife with a bouquet of flowers, being the romantic husband that I am (smile).  As I walked into the store, I was met with a spectacular array of colored petals of all shapes and sizes.  It took a degree of deliberation to decide which bouquet to choose, and after inquiring about the differences between the blooms, I proudly made my decision.  Of course, when I walked through the door of our home with the bouquet in my grasp, I was rewarded with tears of joy from my Lady. 

A few weeks have gone by and the bouquet I purchased is still on our kitchen table, but it has undergone some serious changes; it’s not the same robust nosegay that provoked tears of joy from my wifey that fine day. Instead, it bears the effects of disconnection.  Jesus warns against choosing to live a life that is separated from Him:

“If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned”  (John 15:6, KJV)

 

Since Jesus is our life source, one of the consequences of being disconnected from Him is spiritual withering.  On multiple occasions in scripture, children of God are compared to trees.  Trees must have certain necessities like water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide in order to survive.  When it comes to our spiritual health we are no different.  We are people of power because we are people of prayer.  Apart from Him, we can do nothing…we simply cannot function.  Jesus gives us the formula for abiding in Him in John 15:10

   “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kepy my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love” (KJV)

 

 A Slow Death

The process of withering is deceptive.  When I brought the bouquet of flowers home for my wife, they were vibrant, fragrant, and bursting with color.  As time passed, the reality of the bouquet’s plight became apparent.  Weeks later as I passed by the bouquet, I noticed that all of the petals were falling off onto the table, and the leaves were now dry and lifeless.  The effects of withering are never immediate, and herein lies the great deception.  There is a dichotomy, here, that I would like to explore.  Although we are drawn to the sheer aestetic beauty of the flowers that we see on display, they have already begun to die a slow death.  If we don’t remain vigilant in prayer, we become suseptible to the following deception:

 Since everything around me looks pretty, that must mean there is still life flowing within me. 

We start trying to manipulate the outward appearance in an effort to maintain the pretty colors of our ministries, marriages, and reputations; because these are the things that people can see.  Many times we are shocked when the spiritual leaders of our day tragically fall.  It may seem like  it happens all at once, but if we were to pull back the covers of their private prayer lives, we may be surprised to find that the withering process began long before the actual fall took place.  There is a sobering quote by J. C. Ryle that sums it up nicely:

“Backsliding generally first begins with neglect of private prayer.”

Lack of prayer and Bible study cuts us off from our source, the True Vine, thus initiating the death process.  Although the process may be slow, it is sure, and in time the signs of our disconnection will begin to show.   

Things are not always what they seem, and if we’re not careful, our lives will wither due to disconnection from God.  The petals may be full of color, and the stems may appear to be strong and vigorous for now, but eventually the flowers die; the life sap that is only supplied by the vine is no longer accessible.  Jesus stated:

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing”  (John 15:5, KJV) 

       

Residual vs. Actual 

One day I asked my wife why did she like to keep flowers around for so long.  Even after they were completely lifeless and shrivelled up, she found pleasure in them somehow.  She told me that it wasn’t the flowers themselves that she only loved, rather it was the memory she had of the day I brought them to her.  This made me think about something pretty interesting.  Many times, we are so in love with the residual memory of what once was, we don’t pay attention to the reality of what actually is.  There may have been a time when you were on fire for God; you prayed and read the Bible everyday.  Now, you may not pray at all, and the Bible is just a nice book of stories that has found a cozy place on your bedroom end table.  In spite of this, there is a part of you that may still feel as if you’re “on fire” for God.  You see yourself in the light of what used to be instead of what actually is.  Don’t be deceived by the residual image of your former prayer life.  Ignite the flames again and reconnect with the Father now. 

When was the last time you and the Father had quality time together? 

Are you producing the robust fruit of the Spirit that only comes from a vital connection to God according to Galatians chapter 5?

Only you can answer yes or no to these questions honestly, and I encourage you to do so. 

Private prayer and Bible study ensures that we stay connected with our life-source who is Jesus Christ.  We must be cognizant of the importance of connecting with Christ daily by reading the Word and private prayer.  The fact is, we are all like sheep prone to straying away from our sheepfold if we don’t guard our hearts as we traverse through this life. 

Here at Wisdom’s Quill, there is never any condemnation or judgement concerning your walk with God.  I am always committed to fostering change, and presenting perspectives that may not have previously entertained.  It’s never too late to reconnect with the Father.  I admonish you to talk to Him now.  He’s always waiting to hear from us, even if it has been awhile, God promised to never turn any of  His children away when we approach Him.  Boldly go to the Father to obtain the grace that He promised. 

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”   (John 6:37, KJV)  

 


 

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

Editor: Jaime Evans

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