How to Be Led by God | Video

Are you walking behind God or in front of Him? In order to be led by God in our lives, we must be willing to follow His direction and not our own.

In today’s YouTube video, we’re talking about how to be in position to follow God’s leading.

Click below to watch!


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Can Debt Have a Positive Impact on Your Life?

What’s your biggest money burden? For many, it’s the idea of not having enough money. With bills, loans, and expenses to keep track of, debt can be a stressor that is easy to fall into and hard to get rid of. And of course, there are reasons for it.

Over the last few years, the field of money lending has developed a poor reputation. Companies giving out too many loans, coupled with a new wave of services which are designed to cost a small fortune, can lead to unwanted financial commitments. Nevertheless a tool like this is only as a good as the way you put it to use. You can effectively use lending to your advantage by achieving current goals and actively paying it off on time. These benefits below will help change your mindset towards debt, help you see the better side of lending, and plan for your future.

Continue reading “Can Debt Have a Positive Impact on Your Life?”

These Trials Are Precious

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

(Philippians 1:6 NKJV)


I believe that there’s purpose in pain.

In God’s Word, we’re reminded that there will be tremendous difficulties on this earth. In John 16, Jesus warns us that this world will bring great trouble. But there is a reason that He tells us to be of great cheer.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NKJV).

As believers, if we’re to take up our cross and follow Christ’s example, we will be dying to something. The cross was an instrument used to put Jesus to death. However, Jesus’ death on the cross wasn’t a moment of defeat. He rose again in victory, conquering death. As we die to ourselves–that is, our old, sinful ways–we, too, are rising from death, becoming the people He called us to be.

Oftentimes, the trials meant to destroy us are the instruments God uses to perfect us.

Continue reading “These Trials Are Precious”

Day 13: I enjoy spending time with you | Love Letters

Re·la·tion·ship: The condition or fact of being related; a connection, association, or involvement.

[Source]

Relationship requires investment.

When you want to build new relationships with people, you make time for them. Conversations over texts and calls. Time spent together. You ask questions, you share details about your life. Eventually, you’ve gotten to know them well and have developed a closeness with them.

The same thing goes when you want to deepen an existing relationship with people you already know. You make the time, you show up, you involve yourself in their lives. You connect. You associate yourself with them.

Our relationship with God takes on a similar process. When you decide to follow the Lord, you are able to build a relationship with Him that can grow and get even better over time. You involve yourself with Him. You connect with Him. You associate yourself with Him.

Like a friendship, you must invest in your relationship with God if you want to develop it. When you care about someone, you sacrifice for that individual. If you want God in your life, you sacrifice to make time for Him and to get to know Him.

Did you know that God rejoices in spending time with you? He absolutely loves it!

As a loving father cares for his child, God sees you as His child whom He loves deeply. He wants to have a real relationship with you.

The Bible talks of a God who takes delight in His people. Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV) states, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

Psalm 147:11 (ESV) says, “But the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.” Fear in this passage does not mean to be afraid; we’re not meant to simply be afraid of God. Rather, it means to have reverence for or to respect. In other words, God notices those who have reverence for Him–those who acknowledge Him for who He is–and He honors those people!

Genesis 1:27 mentions that God created humankind in His image. This means that we were created to have an association with Him. We are meant be in relationship with our Creator. We are made to bear His image, or represent Him well–to show who He is and the attributes of His love. The only way we can reflect this image is if we know what it looks like. And so, in order to know our true identity, we must know God, the One who knows who we’re made to be!

Our hearts yearn for something greater that cannot be found on this earth. And God yearns for you, too. James 4:8 says if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. He is available, but He does not force. He is near, but He does not push Himself. He waits patiently. And when you come, He will come.

Do you ever feel neglected when a friend doesn’t show up for you? Or forgotten when someone doesn’t reach out to you? God gets it. He understands how you feel, and He has compassion towards you: “The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him” (Psalms 103:13 NLT). He also notices when you don’t reach out to Him, too.

Revelation 3:20 mentions that God is calling out for you. When you answer, He will “eat with,” or fellowship with, you.

A relationship with God cannot be built through someone else. For example, just because your parents have a relationship with Him, doesn’t mean you have it, too. God is acquainted with them already, and He wants to get to know you. Consider this: if your friend is friends with someone else, it doesn’t make you friends with that same person (even if you know a little or a lot about them). You must take the initiative to get to know that person for yourself.

It’s never too late to build or rebuild a relationship with God. Study His Word–get to know what He says and who He is. How He sees you, what He wants you to know. Talk to Him, reach out to Him. Even if you can’t find words, you can sit in silence and ask for the comfort of His presence.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20 ESV)

Love Letter 13

14 days of learning God’s love. Learn about the Love Letters here.

Read Day 12
Read Day 14

 

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Day 12: I will forgive | Love Letters

For·give·ness: The act of forgiving or the state of being forgiven; willingness to forgive.

[Source]

What is considered unforgivable to you?

Think about someone who has hurt you. Someone you could never dream of speaking to–let alone see–ever again. Imagine forgiving that person, as if what had been done in the past never happened.

Quite difficult.

Now think about a time when you have hurt someone. Maybe you didn’t apologize, but to this day, you know what happened. It might be something that appears in your mind now and then. Some days you forget what happened, other days the memory of what you did hits you.

Even harder to think about.

Considering the first scenario, we can easily say, People can be heartless. I could never forgive them. Considering the second scenario, we remember, I can be heartless. How could anyone forgive me? Putting both together, we can conclude that sin is a part of human nature.

Looking closer at the wrong that we’ve done and that others have done to us, forgiveness can seem like the last thing anyone deserves.

A man in the Bible who was deemed unforgivable by society was Zacchaeus.

We’re introduced to him in Luke 19:2; he is a chief tax collector. Tax collectors made a lot of money at this time, so for Zacchaeus to be in a role of leadership, we know he is very wealthy. Tax collectors were typically wealthy for a reason–they were known to be greedy and deceitful. They often cheated people of their money so they could gain more, and as a result, they were intensely hated by others. Pretty much completely unforgivable.

Zacchaeus, a man ostracized by others, is found near a synagogue–the last place he should be according to society, as he is considered “spiritually unclean.” He knows that Jesus is passing through the city of Jericho today, and he wants to see Him:

“And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way” (Luke 19:3-4 NKJV).

Zacchaeus’ determination to see Jesus is fascinating. He not only comes to a place where he is unwelcome, he runs and climbs a tree to make sure he sees Him. Although Zacchaeus has all the money he needs–and probably loves his wealth over anything–he is still empty. Something is missing in his life, and he is searching for it.

God never pushes away those who come seeking for Him–no matter who they are. Jesus displays this characteristic of God by His response to Zacchaeus, a hated man in the world’s eyes: “And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house’” (v. 5).

Jesus sees Zacchaeus and asks him to come. He wants to fellowship with him at his own home. This is unheard of.

Zacchaeus’ life changes the moment he makes contact with Jesus. In verse 6, he comes down from the tree quickly and joyfully. He is filled with utter joy that he is invited by Christ Himself with such amazing love–a love he has never seen before.

However, this interaction is met by criticism. Luke 19:7 states, “But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, ‘He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.’” The crowd thinks it’s wrong that Jesus is willing to accompany a sinner, but they don’t understand what true love is.

Nevertheless, Jesus doesn’t worry about what others think. Jesus offers forgiveness, and Zacchaeus takes it by making a decision to come down and fellowship with Him.

How do we know Zacchaeus is truly repentant? By his actions. In verse 8, he tells Jesus that he will give half his wealth to the poor and return anything he has taken from others, restoring it four times the amount he actually owes! Zacchaeus chooses to abandon his former life as a sinner, in love with money and his lifestyle, to love the God who loves him.

Jesus acknowledges Zacchaeus’ changed heart, saying, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 18:9-10 NKJV). He honors Zacchaeus, mentioning that he is displaying the same faith that Abraham showed in God. This was a huge recognition for someone who was seen as undeserving of any forgiveness. Jesus also confirms what He came to do: forgive.

Jesus came to save those who are lost–to save those who are unlovable, broken, undeserving, and have made mistakes. He came to forgive us.

God tells us, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32 NIV).

Zacchaeus’ story is one of many. The Bible is filled with people who have been forgiven by God, even though they were sinners:

  • King David – An adulterer and murderer, David is called a man after God’s own heart, because he sought God’s forgiveness and turned back to Him.
  • Peter – He denied Jesus three times as if he never knew Him before Jesus died on the cross. Jesus still died for Peter and forgave him when he came back to Him.
  • Paul – He was known as a persecutor of Christians, responsible for several deaths, yet he transformed because he chose God. Not only was Paul forgiven but he was used to establish the church and wrote over half of the New Testament.

Can you imagine that God offered his forgiveness to every single one of them? If God could save them, He can save you.

Just as Jesus called Zacchaeus to come down from the sycamore tree, He’s calling you to come down and come to Him–from wherever you currently stand. The “tree” you are currently staying in could be pain, pride, regret, addiction, prejudice, violence, selfishness, lack of forgiveness–whatever. The Lord saw Zacchaeus where he was–he couldn’t hide. And He sees you, too.

Zacchaeus not only came down from the tree and came to Jesus, he turned away from his sins. He abandoned his former life–where sin and shame lived–for a better one. This was true repentance. And there was joy there.

Are you ready to abandon the former things to let God in? Are you ready for real joy?

A relationship with God isn’t an elite club only open to the best, the brightest, and the most righteous. It’s open to everyone. I encourage you to take a hold of God’s forgiveness today. You are not out of His reach. You are not too far gone and unable to be restored. God’s love for you means He offers His forgiveness to you.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14 NIV)

Love Letter 12

[*Please note: Today’s post is based on a sermon I recently heard at my church.]

14 days of learning God’s love. Learn about the Love Letters here.

Read Day 11

Read Day 13

 

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Day 11: I created you with purpose | Love Letters

Pur·pose: The reason for which something is done or created; the reason for which something exists.

Here’s another lesson I learned while taking fine arts courses. Art supplies are expensive. Their quality affects the price, but they also get costly because you have to buy so many of them.

You don’t just need paper. You need the right kinds of paper. One drawing pad for charcoal drawings, another for ink. The list of materials for an average class is extensive, but it’s for a reason. From pencils to brushes, every item–although different–serves a unique purpose. What I can do with one tool, I cannot do with another. Working on one piece might require using several materials that have various effects.

When we accept Christ as our Savior, giving our heart to God, we can tap into our very own unique purpose.

We are freed from sin, forgiven by God, and reconciled to our Father, able to live fully in His love. Once dead in the weight of our sins, we are alive in Christ:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:1-5 NIV).

We are made new, given a new life and a new attitude. God has prepared assignments for you that only you can do: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV).

We discover our true purpose, or the reason we exist–to love God not just with our mouths but in all that we do. Good works don’t save us, but they prove whether or not we truly love God and belong to Him. James 2:17 states that “faith without works is dead.” You can talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?

When it came to buying art supplies for class, quality was essential. If I bought new paints that claimed to be of a certain quality, I expected them to be of that certain quality. If they didn’t do what they advertised, I couldn’t even use them!

As believers, we have a common responsibility to show others Christ. To show everyone His love and how He deeply cares for this world. Though we have a common goal, we can live it out in different ways. You might live out this responsibility through your career, a talent or skill you have, the words you say, the hospitality to show, etc.

It’s God’s will for everyone to have an opportunity to know Him, to have access to His freedom and eternal life in Him.

Can you imagine the major losses if we don’t live up to this responsibility?

There are consequences for not walking in your purpose. You have a story that nobody else can tell. Your life is a story that someone needs to hear. Others are counting on you to be served, to hear how God has changed your life, to be encouraged, to know Him for themselves.

God created you with intention. He knows the impact you can have on this world. He knows your personality, your patterns, your strengths, and your weaknesses. You’re not an accident. You are loved and made to be on this earth intentionally.

Don’t compare yourself to others. You’re not made to live out someone else’s purpose; you’re made to live out your own. So, be encouraged.

God has a job for you to do, and His love means He’ll help you accomplish this job. Whoever you are–a student, an employee, an entrepreneur, a friend, a sibling, a daughter–simply a living and breathing human being, you have opportunities to influence other people for good.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NKJV)

Love Letter 11

14 days of learning God’s love. Learn about the Love Letters here.

Read Day 10

Read Day 12

 

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Day 9: I will take you higher | Love Letters

Fa·vor: the state of being approved or held in regard.

[Source]

God’s love for you comes with favor. When you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are welcomed into the body of Christ. You are part of the family of God: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 ESV).

As part of this family, you have an inheritance. You are approved before God, and He holds you in high regard. You have access to Him–on earth and one day in heaven. You have access to His promises for you.

God makes a way when there is no way. When you commit your life to the Lord, you can expect Him to show up when you least expect it.

One of my favorite examples of favor in the Bible is Ruth’s story.

In the book of Ruth, we find that Ruth is living in a time of complete hopelessness–there is famine, corruption, and she experiences the death of her husband. However, Ruth decides to commit herself to God. She states to her mother-in-law, Naomi, “‘Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God’” (Ruth 1:16 NKJV).

When she loses everything, Ruth displays her loyalty to Naomi–but most importantly, she declares her loyalty to God. She wants God to be her God. She knows love for God means obedience. As she’s following Him, she receives favor from Him.

Boaz, a man of God who has great inheritance (wealth), recognizes Ruth because of her love for God, which is again displayed by her actions:

“And Boaz answered and said to her, ‘It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge’” (Ruth 2:11-12 NKJV).

Later on, Boaz blesses Ruth with a large supply of barley to take back to Naomi. Boaz and Ruth eventually get married. The theme in this book is obedience. Ruth is recognized for her obedience to God and rewarded by her obedience to God. She is given favor among men and even given a new life where she now has access to more than what she had before.

I’m sure Ruth didn’t know what was on the other side of her obedience, but she trusted in God anyway. We don’t know what’s on the other side, but if we trust in God and obey His commands, we can have confidence in His blessings.

God can take you higher than where you are now. He will not let your enemies triumph over you. He can promote you. He can give you favor in that job interview. He can provide financial blessings where you are lacking. He can restore broken relationships. He can deliver you from trouble. The key is to honor God–not because you want the rewards but because you want Him.

Remember: Ruth wanted God to be her God.

God sees your heart, and He is near those who draw near to Him. If you have a heart that truly wants to please and live for Him, it will be clear through your actions. You will see His promises for you unravel time and time again throughout your life.

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.” (Psalm 91:14-16 NKJV)

Love Letter 9

14 days of learning God’s love. Learn about the Love Letters here.

Read Day 8

Read Day 10

 

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Day 8: I have good gifts for you | Love Letters

Gift: Something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance.

I’m a huge fan of home makeover shows. I love watching skilled interior designers bring a space to life based on a pre-thought-out plan. They transform an old room into an incredible masterpiece–not only based on someone’s desires but his or her needs.

Then there’s the room reveal. Clients take in the fact that their old room has been made new. They might have had ideas of what they wanted their space to look like but didn’t know how to execute those ideas. This room is what they desired and better than what they imagined. Many times, there are personal details in the new space that make the room even more special–perfectly tailored for them. The final room is a special gift they never knew they needed.

Sometimes, we have an idea of how our lives should go, and we have a plan of action on how to carry it out. Other times, we might have thoughts of how things should be but no idea of how to make them happen.

We can get so caught up in a big dream that we forget the little details. God has a pre-thought-out plan for you. He knows the best way for you to get from Point A to Point B. And He knows whether or not Point B is actually what it’s cracked up to be!

Plans take time to execute. Designers must initially sketch out a space, find the right items, and consider the logistics of how to get everything done.

God’s love for you means He will provide good gifts in your life. He will give favor, honor, and assistance. Some of these blessings are for now, others are for later. Waiting for things to unravel might seem brutal, but the grand reveal is always better than what you expect. He knows you intimately, and He knows what you need at different points in your life.

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV) states, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” God’s ways are above your ways, and He has blessings for you that are better than your best plans.

In Psalms 68:19, God reveals that He loads us with daily benefits. In Lamentations 3:22-23, we learn that God’s mercies are new every morning. Every day has a purpose in your story.

As a designer knows that every step is vital in a major room renovation, God knows that every day is a vital part of your journey. While He works out daily blessings, He’s pushing you to transform into who He created you to be.

Blessings are often right in front of us.

Maybe you had an uplifting conversation with a coworker today or you have family members who deeply care for you. You were able to catch up with an old friend or someone offered to help you on a task out of the blue. Perhaps God’s given you a talent you enjoy or healing after you were sick for weeks. No matter how big or small, all these things can be wonderful blessings–let’s not forget that!

Instead of focusing on the uncertainty of the future, focus on the good gifts God has given you now. Work with Him daily to follow the right path for your life, and you will start seeing the ways He’s moving parts together for the bigger picture.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11 ESV)

Love Letter 8

14 days of learning God’s love. Learn about the Love Letters here.

Read Day 7

Read Day 9

 

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