FAITH WORKS BY LOVE

LOVE by Stuart Miles

Happy Valentine’s Day to you! Since this is the day we express love to those most important to us, I thought this would be a great time to talk about love. Today I want to focus on love and how it’s connected to our faith. The Apostle Paul said in Galatians 5:6 that “faith works by love.” What does that mean? In other words, without love as a motive for all we do, our faith will not work for us. If love is not our “default mode,” our faith is hindered, and we will not operate effectively in the Kingdom. Therefore, to make sure our faith stays strong, we need to allow love to rule in reign in our lives in the following ways:

  1. Receive God’s love. If you believe that God loves you, when you pray, you will have more confidence to believe that your prayers will be answered. Furthermore, the Bible says perfect love casts out fear (I John 4:18). Since faith and fear cannot coexist, when fear is cast out by love, your faith will operate at a higher level so that you can believe God to accomplish His purpose and plan for your life.
  2. Love God. When you love God, you will keep his commandments (John 14:15). When you are keeping the commandments, your confidence that your prayers will be answered skyrockets. When we have not obeyed God, we have a tendency to believe that He won’t help us, and our faith fails. To avoid that feeling, we simply need to trust and obey.
  3. Love your neighbor. When you love those God puts in your path (Matthew 22:39), you want the best for them. You want to help others. Therefore, your burning desire to make a difference in people’s lives will motivate you to believe God for the miraculous and take risks that you need to take. Since faith and risk-taking go hand in hand, love will cause you to focus on the highest good of others and take the risk of forgetting yourself.
  4. Love yourself. Self-love is a byproduct of knowing that God loves you. When you love yourself (Matthew 22:39), the devil will not be able to deceive you with feelings of unworthiness and condemnation. When you know you are worthy only because of what Christ has done, you will trust that God will move on your behalf when you call on Him, and your faith will be enhanced.

As you can see beloved, faith truly does work by love, and I Corinthians 13:8 states that love never fails. We need love to be working in our lives in all four ways at all times if our faith is going to operate effectively. When our faith works at an optimal level, we will experience more peace and be more willing to take risks. And God loves it when we step out in faith and take the risks He wants us to take. Spirit-led risk-taking allows us to do great exploits for God and bring glory to Him. Therefore, let’s make sure that we speak God’s love language of obedience, receive His love, and walk in love so that we can please God with a faith that works (Hebrews 11:6).

What area above impacts your faith the most? Please leave a comment below.

I’d love your help in spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth. Click here to find out ways you can help.

 

 

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HOW TO HANDLE RUDE PEOPLE

polite-rudeswitchbystuartmiles

We all have encountered rude people along the way, right? However, God requires us to love them anyway. The other day, I went to a store and made a purchase. When I looked at my receipt, I had been overcharged by $7.50! I went to the store manager to complain. He saw that there apparently was a computer glitch, and said he would refund the money. We went to the register and after the transaction was made and I signed the required paperwork, he handed me my merchandise and said, “Have a nice night.” That was it. No apology. Nothing. I was hot. I thought to myself, “How Rude!”

The next week in Bible study we talked about I Corinthians 13, the part where it says, “Love thinketh no evil.” After that, the Lord brought back to my remembrance the incident at the store. I definitely had not walked in love internally, or in my thoughts. I calmly told the gentleman how I felt about the way he treated me, I didn’t yell, scream, curse, or called him names, However, I thought evil of him. Externally, I was OK, but internally I was not. I am a customer service person myself, and I have to admit that I judged him severely for his blunder. Wrong.

I asked the Lord, how could I have handled it better internally? These were the tips I gleaned from the Bible Study to apply to this situation:

  1. FOCUS ON THE “WHY?” When someone is rude, I need to shift the focus from the what, the behavior I see, to the why behind the behavior. I should have immediately thought, “He’s not a bad person, he just has not been taught good customer service skills. He can’t do better than his training allows.” Or, “He’s tired and not thinking properly. When I’m tired, I may not be at my best either.” Or, “He has no idea who he is in Christ and to admit his wrong and experience the condemnation that comes with it is probably too painful for him to handle.” If I can come up with a feasible explanation in my mind, then my tolerance level increases.
  2. RESPOND IN LOVE. Even when they are rude, we should always respond in love. A soft answer turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1), even if it’s just, “God bless you.” The Bible says we should love, bless, pray for and do good to them that treat us poorly (Matthew 5:44). We can respond by communicating and empathizing with them, then give a loving response of a non-judgmental attitude. Remember, if it weren’t for the help of Holy Spirit we’d probably be acting like them.
  3. PRAY. Actually, prayer should be done from beginning to end. Pray that God will show you a word of knowledge about why that person is acting the way they are. If you get an understanding, you will feel more compassionate, and your feelings and behavior will be in line with God’s will. Pray for the grace to respond correctly and act like the Christian you profess to be. Finally, pray for the person to grow and change the way the Lord desires.

This is a tall order, isn’t it? We can’t do this alone. We must depend on the Holy Spirit to help us make this transition. God is calling us to come up higher, Saints, He is calling us to maturity. So the next time someone is rude to you and your flesh rises up wanting to respond in kind, remember to shift your focus to the why behind the what. Walk in love, and pray fervently in your mind for the help of the Holy Spirit. Your thoughts must line up with the Word which says, “Love thinketh no evil.” When you take the focus off yourself, your feelings, your ego, and your self-interests and focus on the needs and best interest of those around you, then you will truly be loving your neighbor.
What have you learned in your travels about handling rude people? Please leave a comment below.

I’d love your help in spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth. Click here to find out ways you can help.

 

 

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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SPIRITUAL QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN WITNESSING

water-baptism-1431326 (1)

I pray you are having a good year so far. I hope you are full of anticipation and have high expectations about how God will use you in 2019. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus gave us the great commission saying, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Therefore we have a responsibility to witness to those around us who don’t know the Savior. In the past, this has been difficult for me. But recently, I have been seriously trying to focus on witnessing to others that I meet even if it’s in a small way, such as telling the cashier at the shoe store after I pay for my purchase, “Remember, Jesus loves you.”

I truly want to be a better witness for the Lord. I’m sure that’s a desire of your heart as well, so here are some good questions you can ask to help facilitate a discussion that may lead to a decision for Christ:

  • Do you have an interest in spiritual things? My Friend, Pastor Conley White, who is gifted in the area of evangelism taught me this one. If a person’s mind is closed to a discussion about spiritual matters, the timing may not be right.
  • What are your thoughts about Jesus Christ? Can I tell you what Jesus said about Himself? I gleaned these two questions from Rabbi K. Schneider who then gives them John 14:6 and John 8:24 as follow-up scriptures. These questions will reveal how much they know about Jesus and ask for permission to share information about Him.
  • Can I tell you what He’s done for me? This is an opportunity for you to give your testimony. It should be short and succinct, highlighting the struggles you have overcome in your life and how you are different because Christ is in your life. I Peter 3:15 says to always be ready to give the reason for your hope.
  • If you died tonight and God asked you, “Why should I let you into my Heaven?” what would you say? This diagnostic question comes from the curriculum developed by Evangelism Explosion International, founded by Dr. D. James Kennedy. This will allow you to determine if people are really saved or not. If they give any answer other than “Jesus died and paid the penalty for my sins,” then an opportunity has been revealed for you to give them the correct information and possibly lead them to Christ.
  • If you died in your sleep tonight, are you sure you would go to heaven? This question will force people to think about their eternal destiny.  If they cannot answer yes, then you can relay to them how according to I John 5:13, they can know that they have eternal life.
  • Would you like to receive Jesus as your personal Savior? The bible says in James 4:2, “You have not because you ask not.” Once you have shared the Gospel, it’s time to “close the deal” and invite people to receive Christ.

Beloved, The Great Commission is a command, not a suggestion. We all need to be out there taking territory for the Kingdom. In order to do that, we have to not only live right but overcome our fears, open up our mouths and share what Christ has done for us regularly. Only then will the captives be set free.

What are your thoughts about publicly sharing your faith? Please leave a comment below.

I’d love your help in spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth. Click here to find out ways you can help.

 

 

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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THE POWER OF SLEEP

Woman Sleeping in Bed

Today, I want to talk to you about something that is very important: Sleep. You may think that the topic of sleep is mundane and not very spiritual. However, sleep will definitely impact your spiritual life. In fact, Psalm 127:2 says, “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.” Therefore, sleep is a gift from God, and if you don’t get enough of it, sorrow will be the end result.

Maybe getting too little sleep is not your issue. Maybe you sleep too much. That too is a problem and is possibly a fruitful topic for another blog. But seriously, I am writing this to myself because I know that, very often, I don’t get enough sleep, and it’s my own fault! The Holy Spirit tells me to go to bed, and I continue to stay up anyway. I am confessing my fault so that I may be healed (James 5:16). Therefore, my friend, if you tend to “burn the candle at both ends” as well, please obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit to get more sleep for the following reasons:

  1. The anointing on your life is affected. Tiredness can affect the Holy Spirit’s ability to flow through you. Therefore, maximizing the anointing on your life could be as simple as getting a good night’s sleep.
  2. Your love walk is impacted. We are commanded to walk in love in Ephesians 5:2. However, we can get short-fused, more easily angered and irritated when we are sleep deprived. We are better able to walk in love when we have had enough sleep.
  3. The devil has greater access to your emotions. In I Kings 19:4, the prophet Elijah sat down under a broom tree and asked God to take his life. Why? Because he was tired. Improper sleep makes you more emotionally vulnerable to satanic attack.
  4. You’re putting your health in jeopardy. Lack of rest will also cause your immune system to be compromised. That sets you up to have sickness and disease manifest in your body.  Since your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19), sleep is one way to keep your temple in good repair.
  5. Your cognitive function is degraded. Have you ever noticed that your memory is impaired when you don’t get enough sleep? When your brain is not functioning optimally, it’s harder to understand and memorize scriptures.
  6. Your energy is sapped. When you are tired, you won’t be able to accomplish the goals, dreams and visions God put in your heart. You don’t want to get up early and pray and read God’s Word. Therefore, a lack of sleep could cause you to miss your destiny.
  7. Your creativity is impeded. Deuteronomy 8:18 says God gives you the power to get wealth. How? Through creative ideas. Sleep deprived people are less creative and are therefore less likely to receive good money-making ideas.

Given these negative consequences, it would behoove us all to GO TO BED ON TIME. When the Holy Spirit speaks, we need to listen. Recognize that this is indeed an important aspect of your spiritual life, and it does impact your ability to do what God has called you to do.

What changes do you need to make in the coming days with regards to your sleep habits? Please leave a comment below.

I’d love your help in spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth. Click here to find out ways you can help.

 

 

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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THE POWER OF FASTING

Plate Knife and Fork

I pray that you are walking in complete victory and domination over the enemy! Today, I want to talk to you about the power of fasting because Jesus Himself said some things only go out by prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21). I recently pondered about the stronghold of people pleasing and approval addiction that had plagued me all my life. I came to recognize that I had prayed about it, but I didn’t remember ever fasting about it. Therefore, I decided to try fasting for three days, and I want to share with you what I learned. I had an interesting encounter, a clash with the enemy, and when it was all said and done, I experienced three major benefits as a result of my fast.

The Power to Walk in Love

During the fast, I had a potentially volatile interaction with someone who told me point blank to my face, “I don’t like you.”  To my amazement, I didn’t say to the individual, “Truth be told, I don’t like you either!” Instead, I calmly said, “Oh, well God likes me, and I’m the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.”  I proceeded to meet the person’s need in spite of what was said to me. If it wasn’t for the fast, I’m sure I would have responded in a different way, and the whole situation would have escalated. I give God glory, for it’s only by His grace and mercy that I didn’t give that person a piece of my mind. Therefore, I learned firsthand that one of the benefits of fasting is the empowerment to walk in love.

Identity in Christ Rooted and Grounded

Before the fast, in times past, if somebody had said something so brazen to me as stated above, I would have been wounded emotionally. Their words would have gotten inside of me, and then I would have a forgiveness exercise to go through. However, when this situation occurred, I felt as if a shield was over me. I was “bullet-proofed” in the Spirit so to speak. I was able to hold on to my identity in Christ, praise the Lord! This time was different, and the only way I can explain that victory is the fact that I happen to be fasting. Therefore, if you want to solidify your identity in Christ, fasting is the order of the day.

Ability to Recognize the Enemy

Another uncanny thing that happened is when the individual expressed negative feelings towards me was my ability to immediately recognize that the enemy was talking through that person. Ephesians 6:12 (KJV) says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” For instance, just prior to this “situation,” I encountered someone who totally trounced all over my boundaries, and although I didn’t cause a scene, I was seething inside. Unfortunately, it took me two and a half hours to finally recognize the enemy had moved through that sister in Christ. Therefore, I have concluded fasting will sensitize us to be able to quickly recognize demonic activity.

Beloved, I did not tell you these things to glorify myself, or to tell you how great I am. My goal is to tell you how great God is and give Him the praise and glory due His name. I know that it was Him, and Him alone, Who gave me victory that day. If you fast regularly, I want to applaud you and encourage you to keep it up. But If you have a stronghold that you have been unsuccessfully trying to break, I wanted to remind you of what you already know and encourage you to fast and pray until it’s broken. Know that victory awaits you at the end of your fast.

What has been your experience with praying and fasting? How has it helped you? Please leave a comment below.

I’d love your help in spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth. Click here to find out ways you can help.

 

 

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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HOW TO PRAY FOR YOUR ENEMIES

Girls Staring each other down - Stuart Miles

Today I want to talk to you about praying for your enemies. What? Yes, praying for your enemies. Believe you me, I get it. I don’t want to pray for my enemies when I am hurting badly either. I understand. However, the Word says we must. So how can we pray a sincere prayer for someone who has offended us and not feel like a phony?

The Apostle Paul gives us excellent examples to follow regarding prayer that will do nicely as we struggle to pray for people who have hurt us. Therefore, let’s look at the prayers Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:17-21 that will enable you to pray with sincerity for those who have hurt you. Furthermore, these are definitely good prayers we can pray for ourselves on a daily basis as well.

Knowledge of God

The first prayer is from Ephesians 1:17 which says, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” This is a powerful prayer in that many times those the enemy uses against us do not have intimate knowledge of God, and that precisely is why they act the way they do. They may not even be saved at all. We all need daily intimate contact with the Master so that we can elevate our maturity level to the point where we are able to encourage and build others up instead of tearing them down.

Enlightenment

Ephesians 1:18 is also packed with prayers that will make a difference in the life of those by whom you have been offended.  One prayer reads as follows: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened.”  This impactful prayer asks God to open their eyes to what they are doing and how they are impacting others.

Fulfilment of Potential in Christ

As we read the rest of verse 18, we find another great prayer. Paul writes, “…In order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.” The apostle is praying for us to be able to get to the place where we are mature enough to fulfill the call of God on our lives and recognize the gifts and talents God has deposited in us to be used for building up the Kingdom. When we pray this prayer for our enemies, we cry out to God for them to ultimately be able to fulfill their potential in Christ and make a significant, positive impact in the world.

The Experience of God’s Power

Finally, Paul prays in Ephesians 1:19-20 that we who have faith in Christ will experience God’s “incomparably great power.” He further describes that power as being “the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead.” We all need that power to transform us once we get saved. It’s also the power those who don’t know the Lord need to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and be transformed as well.

So as you can see, Beloved, these are the kind of prayers we need to pray so that the power of God will be able to operate in the lives of difficult people we may encounter on a daily basis. Even if you are still hurting, can you sincerely pray any of these prayers for those you must forgive? To personalize the prayer, simply put the individual’s name in there as you read the prayer out loud. If you need transformation, you can even pray for yourself and put your own name in there if necessary. Just keep on praying daily until you get your breakthrough. You may be surprised how fast the healing comes when you pray for those who have hurt you.

Getting emotionally free is a process, but it starts with the decision to forgive and pray for your enemies.  Don’t allow the enemy of your soul to keep you in an emotional prison. Pray the prayers Paul prayed so that you can walk free of offense and stay peaceful.

What has been your experience with praying for your enemies? Please leave a comment below.

I’d love your help in spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth. Click here to find out ways you can help.

 

 

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

THE STRONGHOLD OF SHAME, FEAR AND CONTROL

 

Shame_Katherine_Evans

Today I want to talk to you about the negative emotion of Shame. I heard a statistic the other day that 80% of the population operates with a shame-based nature.  The first question is what is shame? How is it different from conviction, guilt and condemnation?

  • Conviction is the Holy Spirit simply making you aware that you have committed a sin without any negative judgment about you as a person.
  • Guilt is the emotion that results when you become aware that you have done something wrong via the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
  • Condemnation is the sense of being a bad person the devil puts upon you after you become aware that you have sinned and experience guilt.
  • Shame is a general feeling of being hopelessly defective or not good enough in your own eyes and/or in the eyes of others, including God.

The Shame, Fear, and Control Stronghold

Chester and Betsy Klystra, founders of Restoring the Foundations Ministry, introduced an interesting paradigm I think all of us should be aware of. They called it the Shame, Fear, Control Stronghold. Shame, fear, and control can each be a stronghold in and of themselves. However, the Klystras relay that when they are combined, they form a “super stronghold” that is very hard to break.

Chester and Betsy point out that the first time this pattern was introduced to mankind was in Genesis 4. In  the Garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve sinned by eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam basically told God, “I was naked, I was ashamed, I hid myself, so I covered myself.” We do the same thing today.  We are aware and ashamed of our flaws and imperfections. We fear that people will find out who we really are, and we behave in ways to keep our flaws and imperfections covered so we can control how people see us or perceive us.

Breaking the Super Stronghold

The Bible says the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds (I Corinthians 13:10). Therefore, how can you break the stronghold of shame, fear and control? With the help of the Holy Spirit you must:

  1. Become aware of the shame that binds you.
  2. Become aware of controlling behaviors that are based in fear.
  3. Ask God to heal you of soul wounds that caused the shame in the first place.
  4. Receive a deep revelation of who you are in Christ based on the Word of God.
  5. Make a deliberate choice to face fear and stop controlling behaviors.

Beloved, you must make it your goal to live free of shame if you are ever to fulfil the purpose and plan God has for you. Be willing to do whatever it takes to get the truth into your heart and allow God to heal you of every soul wound. With the help of the Lord, the stronghold of shame, fear, and control, can be broken, and you will be able to live your life under the sole control of the Holy Spirit.

Do you recognize the shame, fear, and control paradigm? How do you think it has affected your life? Please leave a comment below.

I’d love your help in spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth. Click here to find out ways you can help.

 

 

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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