On the outset, I just want to say no amount of steps or principles or creed will change your life until you have meet the Giver of life. We cannot live this life without God's love, mercy and grace. If you have never met the Giver of life, it's so simple a child can understand. God wanted a family. We do bad things God calls sin that separate us from Him. Only perfect people are allowed into heaven. So God sent His Son Jesus to live a perfect life and to sacrifice Himself for us. God placed on Jesus all the bad stuff (sin) everyone, you and I included, has and will ever do. God excepted the payment Jesus made for our sin and said, "There is now no condemnation (judgment or blame)for those who are in Christ Jesus." That means the perfect life Jesus lived is swapped for our life. How do you and I get "in Christ Jesus?" The process is different for everyone. There are no perfect words you need to say to get you in Christ Jesus. It could be a simple prayer like this--I'm sorry for the bad stuff I've done. Thank You Jesus for taking my place. I love You. Amen.
Step One: Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
The amount of time you spend in prayer is proportional to the change you will experience. Do you have a prayer journal? I've found if I rely on my memory for people and situations to pray for I'm sunk. Or I get sleepy because there's no focus. How will you remember to praise God for answered prayer without a journal? How will your faith grow without remembering God's faithfulness to you? No request is too small or great to bring to God. He keeps track of the hairs on your head! Nothing about you is insignificant to Him.
Step Two: Give continually and creatively and sacrificially. For God loved the world so much that He GAVE His only Son so that anyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
The measure you give toward increasing the Kingdom of God (missions, preaching, teaching, the poor, the widows and orphans) determines the outpouring of the Spirit and His fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) in your life. Jesus said, "Don't store up treasures here on earth where they can erode away or may be stolen. Store them in heaven where they will never lose their value, and are safe from thieves. If your profits are in heaven your heart will be there too." I actually like the King James version better--For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Mt. 6:19-21) Regardless of your income, everyone can give. God gave His Son sacrificially out of love for you and me. How do we respond to that love? Do you throw in the bucket a few bucks each Sunday as the offering is passed? How much is your car payment? How much is your house payment? You agreed to take on payments of whatever amount, and then have no money left over to give to God in thanks for His love and grace. Grace always gives more than the law. Ten percent is a nice starting point. If you are truly poor, giving is not just monetary. Time, talents, gifts, prayer, acts of kindness are all part of giving. Do you volunteer your time at church and in the community? Can you sing? Are you in the choir at church? Do you have a good business mind? Are you helping those struggling without a budget? Do you know of a need? Are you donating the extras around your house? Are you praying for others? Do you open the door for people? Do you put the darn cart at Walmart back? Do you park further away from the door and let someone else have a close spot at church or the gym or the mall? The possibilities are endless. You just have to be willing to think of others more than you think of yourself. Preaching to myself here.
Step Three: Worship changes attitudes and outlooks. Wisdom, understanding, knowledge and revelation come in direct proportion to your level of worship. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5: 18-20
I have changed my outlook and attitude in just four minutes of a worship song. So many times I leave work cranky and tired. In the thirty minutes drive home I am renewed while singing. I continually have the radio on the Christian station at home--even when I am gone. Some may think this silly, but I want the atmosphere in my home to be filled with songs of praise and worship. Worship fills us with thankfulness. Remembering God's love allows you to be the parent or spouse you need to be. You will have the energy to lead or attend a small group. You have the strength to volunteer at soccer or t-ball. You will act and respond with love when you want to lash out. What's your radio set at? What cd's do you buy? Let me encourage you to find the Christian radio station in your area, listen and support them. Today there are a wide range of Christian artists. I guarantee you will find some artists in your particular taste. Should you buy secular music? IDK. What's the message of the music? Is the artist a good role model? Would you let your kids listen to it? Let your conscience be your guide--ie let the Holy Spirit lead you. Worship sets your heart on God. The more you come into His presence the more you want to know Him. The more you know Him the more understanding He gives you. The more understanding you have the greater wisdom (understanding differences). The greater wisdom the more revelation.
I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can see something of the future He has called you to share. I want you to realize that God has been made rich because we who are Christ's have been give to Him! I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great His power is to help those who believe Him. It is that same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God's right hand in heaven. Ephesians 1:18-20
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