Daily Walk With God

My Daily Journey With God in Athens Ga.

God’s Unfailing Love

Written By: Rev. Darryl Mathis - Jul• 26•14

Psalm 143:8-10 (NIV)

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Rescue me from my enemies, Lord, for I hide myself in you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

Do you awake most mornings already feeling anxious about what the day ahead holds? Do you try to plan out your day hoping that if everything will simply go the right way, you just might survive the day? If you begin most days like this, you are not alone. Many believers start their day out in this same fashion. We try to accomplish whatever it is that we want by our own power. As Christians, we must believe that we serve a God who can ordain our day according to His plans so that His “unfailing love” can guide us through the many difficulties and joys of the day ahead. “Trust”, as the psalmist writes, is the vital ingredient so often missing from our walk with God: “For I have put my trust in you.” Do you trust yourself more than you trust God?

If this is the way you begin your day, then I want you to try something different. Instead of coming up with your own plans for the day ahead, ask God to guide you in the way you should go. Let go of your desire to control everything and allow God to direct your plans for the day ahead. It’s not easy for us to give up control, because even though we tend to make an absolute mess of our lives, we continue to trust in ourselves more than we trust God.

We must admit to God that we don’t really know what we are doing, even though he has given us free will. Ask God to “teach” you to follow His will for your life. Whether you believe it or not, God does have a plan and a purpose for each one of us. And He is ready to help us realize His purposefulness for us. He is waiting on you to take that first step of faith and trust Him. Psalm 139:16: Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

The psalmist asks for God to lead him on “level ground” and I suppose that each one of us would pray that prayer as well. And while we all need to spend some time on “level ground” it is on those paths less traveled that we grow and develop into the Christian men and women that God created us to be. We learn how to more fully trust in God through the many trials and setbacks that we endure. No matter what we encounter in this world, we know that God can take a difficult and seemingly hopeless situation and turn it into something good so that His glorious power can be displayed.

Life In The Spirit

Written By: Rev. Darryl Mathis - Jul• 17•14

John 14:16-17: And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Counselor, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him or knows him. But you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

Romans 8:5-6: Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

I preached a sermon on the Holy Spirit this past week and for me it was a Spirit led sermon. Let me explain that further because it sounds like I am boasting. Having thought about this sermon for several weeks, I had an idea of just how I wanted the sermon to go. However, somewhere along the way, the Spirit moved me in another direction. The sermon that I wanted to preach was changed into a sermon that the Spirit led me to preach. And before I fully realized it, I was led to give more of a testimony about how the Holy Spirit of God has moved in my life since I gave my life to Christ at the age of twelve.

I gave three examples of my life when the Holy Spirit moved powerfully within me. The first was when I was twelve years old and struggling with the decision to give my life to Christ. The Holy Spirit was drawing me to God and guiding me to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior. I remember that powerful and irresistible feeling within me that was calling me to publically confess my belief in Christ. I compared this impression to the feeling that the two disciples had on the road to Emmaus when Jesus came up and walked alongside them on Resurrection Sunday. The two men were kept from recognizing Jesus at first but they both had this response after Jesus revealed himself to them: They said, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32).

The second example of the Spirit’s work in my life was during a time of deep personal distress. I felt the overwhelming peaceful presence of the Spirit come over me and engulf me, giving me assurance that God, through His Holy Spirit, would guide me through this difficult period in my life. It was a feeling of complete peace and calm that overcame me and it gave me an unquestionable belief that everything would work itself out in the way that God intended.

The third example of the Holy Spirit moving powerfully in my life was about eight years ago when God was calling me to ministry. I had been struggling with my calling into ministry, mainly because I was convinced that God could not – and would not – use someone like me to minister to others. I didn’t have great speaking skills, I felt as if I didn’t know the Bible as well as I should, and I looked at myself in terms of my sinful nature, instead of as someone being led by the Spirit. I came up with every excuse possible to deny my calling, but God would not let me go. Every time I tried to convince myself that God was not really calling me, God put someone in my path that steered me back to God’s will for my life.

One night as I went to sleep, I remember praying to God for guidance. I continued to put off this decision to answer God’s calling because it just didn’t make sense to me. Sometime during the night, I had a vivid dream in which I was “floating” above the clouds. It didn’t seem like a dream – I felt as if I was literally flying or floating above the clouds.

Then the clouds began to part and I saw what appeared to be a town below. It was not a modern town but it appeared to be a town that looked like it belonged in the early 1900’s. I saw many plain white buildings below and I remember seeing a white church with a large steeple. As I drew closer, I saw a group of men standing in front of the church and all of them wore dark pants, with a dark jacket and a white shirt without a tie.

At this point, I was getting close to the earth below and this group of men that were assembled in front of the church. I remember descending very quickly upon this group of men and I remember thinking that I was actually going to “collide” into them. Then very suddenly as I came upon the men, one of them turned around and was face to face with me, and he said, “You are going to be a pastor.”

And immediately, I realized that the man speaking to me was my grandfather, who passed away in 1981, when I was 17 years old. In that short time span of 17 years, he had a profound impact on my life of faith. He demonstrated for me a life that loved and honored God.

I woke up immediately and was so shaken that I could not go back to sleep. I remember getting up in that early morning hour and reading my Bible and praying to God for several hours. During that time, I decided that I was going to obey God and serve Him for the rest of my life. And I also knew that I had to tell my wife about my decision that we both had wrestled with for almost a year.

I didn’t say anything to her that morning because I was still in a state of shock. When I got home that afternoon, we sat down and I told her about my dream and my decision to dedicate my life to serving God. She agreed, we hugged, and I began to cry like I have never cried in my entire life.

For the third time in my life, I felt a sensation come over me that was so peaceful and comforting – that I cannot fully describe it. The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and my mind and told me that I had made the right decision. And God – through His Holy Spirit – has been with me every step of the way since. There have been many joys and disappointments in my calling – but God, through His Holy Spirit, has used all of these circumstances to mold and shape me into who I am today.

I cannot do what I do in ministry without the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit. I continue to rely and call upon The Holy Spirit to guide me in my calling and in my ministry.

Ephesians 1:13: And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.

Trusting in God Through Trials

Written By: Rev. Darryl Mathis - Jul• 13•14

 

Romans 15:13 (NIV): May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

There are many people today that are overcome with worry and doubt. Some of you may be worrying about the health of a friend or even your own health. There are those that are in doubt of how to handle conflict and tension at home, at work, or both. Many of you are worrying about how to make ends meet and you worry about bills that seem to be accumulating with little relief in sight. And there are some who feel that God has abandoned them as they live a life of torment.

Do you believe that God is there with you – present with you- in the midst of your struggles? Or do you sometimes wonder if God has forgotten you and left you alone as you try to find your way back to Him? Many people talk about silence from God or a kind of spiritual exile in which it seems that God has stopped communicating with them. They view this as a kind of punishment that God is inflicting upon them for some supposed disobedience in their lives. I believe that we serve a God of hope and a God of peace who longs to give His children “good and perfect gifts from above.” I believe that God never abandons his children. James 1:17 (NIV): “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights”.

The Apostle Paul, in our scripture reading today, reminds us that our God is a God of hope that stands ready to fill us with all joy and peace, if we will only place our trust in Him alone. And God can powerfully guarantee this because we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit to accomplish this promise from God.  This hope or trust in God can only come about and be realized through the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. God has not left us alone; He is with us and has given us His Holy Spirit to guide us into truth and out of worry and doubt.

Have you ever felt that God has somehow forgotten you because of difficult circumstances? Sometimes we must face and endure things that God can use to draw us closer to Him. I don’t believe that God necessarily sends trouble or suffering our way, but He can always use those circumstances to bring us closer to his unfailing love in which we can experience true joy and peace. It’s important to remember that God is always true to His word and He promises that He will never leave us or forsake us if we remain faithful to God and his word (Hebrews 13:5).

So if you are struggling with worry and doubt today, and you are wondering just where God is in the midst of your troubles, remember these words of the Apostle Paul from the book of Romans. Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.

Prayer: God, we acknowledge that we find it difficult to do life on our own. Life throws so many trials and heartache our way and we struggle in our many attempts to place our complete faith and trust in you and you alone. This world that we live in seems to take great delight to use these times of testing and trials to turn our focus away from you. We are told to trust in the things of this world instead of an invisible God that has stopped caring for His people. But we know that this is a lie that Satan wants us to believe, because we know that we serve you God, who not only created the universe but was also intimately involved in creating each of us as well. Help us God to place our faith and trust in you. Help us to remember your promise that you will be always be with us, that you are with us through all of our worries and doubts, especially the times when we fail to place our faith and trust in you. Amen.

 

Revival in America

Written By: Rev. Darryl Mathis - Jul• 05•14

The following is a blog post that was originally written last July. Some of you may have read it before but I felt the need to repost again.

Proverbs 14:34 (NIV): Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.

Proverbs 14:34 (NLT): Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.

The more I pray and read the Bible; I am absolutely convinced that the United States is in need of a revival. However in many congregations today, the mere mention of a revival makes those who belong to the body of Christ uneasy. Churches, like our society today, are afraid that they will offend someone whose beliefs or opinions don’t correspond with their own. We are sometimes very cautious to present our beliefs in a manner that won’t upset or insult anyone.

The Apostle Peter writes about how to be an effective witness to others in 1 Peter 3:15: But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. In other words we are to be respectful of others and should be careful not to degrade or humiliate them. We must not be afraid to speak the truth but we must do it in a way that brings ultimate glory to our Lord Jesus Christ. As followers of Christ we are to model our ministry after the ministry of Jesus. Jesus showed compassion and mercy to everyone he encountered but He was not afraid to speak the truth of God’s word, even if that truth could make someone uncomfortable.

We are a nation that is turning away from God in many different areas of our lives. God is being pushed aside or away from many public places. As our country becomes more secular, we become less dependent upon God and more dependent upon ourselves and our systems of government. We deny that God is active in our world today and we fail to recognize that God could ultimately punish us because of our disobedience.

 Many Christians today don’t like to talk about God and punishment. We all want God’s blessings instead of God’s discipline. While I prefer to focus on God’s love and mercy as well, we can’t expect God to continue to bless us if we continue to deny who He is to the fallen world that we live in. God loved the nation of Israel, who was His chosen people, but He had to get their attention when they turned away from Him and began to conform to the society that they lived in. They had to endure the loss of their homeland and many hardships until they were ready to confess once again, their belief and trust in God, who would then restore them.

The great British Particular Baptist preacher C.H Spurgeon said this about revival: “The word “revive” wears its meaning upon its forehead; it is from the Latin, and may be interpreted thus—to live again, to receive again a life which has almost expired; to rekindle into a flame the vital spark which was nearly extinguished.”[1]

Spurgeon in his December 1866 writing, Sword and Trowel says: “If an ungodly man steps into a congregation where all the saints are revived he does not go to sleep under the sermon. The minister will not let him do that, for the hearer perceives that the preacher feels what he is preaching, and has a right to be heard. This is a clear gain, for now the man listens with deep emotion; and above all, the Holy Spirit’s power, which the preacher has received in answer to prayer comes upon the hearer’s mind; he is convinced of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come, and Christians who are on the watch around him hasten to tell him of the Savior, and point him to the redeeming blood, so that though the revival, strictly speaking, is with the people of God, yet the result of it no man can limit. Brethren, let us seek a revival during the present month, that the year may close with showers of blessing and that the New Year may open with abundant benediction. Let us pledge ourselves to form a prayer-union, a sacred band of suppliants, and may God do unto us according to our faith.”[2]

The body of Christ must be rekindled today so that we can carry the word of God to a lost and faithless nation and to the world. As the Apostle John reminds us in 1 John 2:17: The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

 

 

[1] http://www.spurgeon.org/s_and_t/wir1866.htm

[2] http://www.spurgeon.org/s_and_t/wir1866.htm

 

Unity in the Church

Written By: Rev. Darryl Mathis - Jun• 30•14

1 Corinthians 1:10: I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

The Apostle Paul founded many churches in major cities from the Holy Land across the Mediterranean world. He would arrive in a town, preach the gospel message, encourage and develop the faith of those who accepted Christ, and then he would move on to the next town. Paul didn’t abandon the churches that he helped to start. Instead, he communicated to them by writing letters. These letters from Paul comprise a significant part of our New Testament. Sometimes the letters were positive and affirming. And there were instances, when Paul had to correct or rebuke a church in practical matters or teachings.

In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul is writing to the church because of a concern about potential divisions in their fellowship. Some of the people claim to only follow Paul; others say they follow only the teachings of Cephas (Peter), while several claim that Apollos is their leader. Apparently, Apollos is a gifted speaker and people are drawn to him. And there are some in the church who declare that they only follow Christ. 

Paul’s response is to the point: As followers of Christ, the church should be “united,” with “no divisions.” The church should be “perfectly united in mind and thought,” so that the gospel message can be truly proclaimed. Paul wants the church at Corinth to follow and obey Christ. As a believer and follower of Christ, your allegiance should be to Christ, not to earthly teachers or leaders. Paul wants the church at Corinth to understand that Christ should be the focal point of their devotion.

I have been in churches where disagreement and division were common. As I was growing up, I can remember many heated quarrels on matters that were simply not important to the mission of the church. So much time was wasted on these nonessential concerns that the work of being the body of Christ in the world suffered. The church failed to be a proper witness for Christ to those who didn’t know Christ.

The last fifteen years, I have been a member of a congregation that does not spend a lot of unnecessary time arguing over things that are not of eternal value. Sure, we get off track and waste time on matters that are trivial. However, at any committee or deacon meeting where there is disagreement, there is almost always unity or agreement when a contested issue is decided. Even the people who vote against the issue seem to leave the meeting “united” in the one purpose of the church – which is proclaiming the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Paul makes it clear that proclaiming this good news is his most important task. His desire is to bring people that are lost into a relationship with Jesus Christ. And even though Paul is a “preacher,” he is quick to say that the words he speaks should not be considered “eloquent wisdom” (1 Cor. 1: 17). Paul wants the focus and credit to belong solely to Christ, the head of the Church.

I often contemplate how more effective our churches would be today if, like Paul, we could check our egos and focus on doing the work that Christ has called us to do. When a church is united in its purpose it becomes a powerful witness to the outside world. Paul says, “Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord’” (1 Cor. 1: 31).

Leaning on God

Written By: Rev. Darryl Mathis - Jun• 25•14

 

Tonight as I write this blog, I find myself needing to draw close to God. I am aware of just how holy and powerful God is. As believers, we serve a God that created this world that we live in and also each one of us. “The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it” (Psalm 89:11). “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:13-14).

When I feel that I am alone in my struggles, I turn to this passage, which serves to remind me that God is watching over me. “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord” (Psalm 139: 1-4). It encourages and strengthens me to know that God is aware of me and watching over me.

When you feel overwhelmed with anxiety and worry, turn to God who can give you peace. This world that we live in cannot offer the peace that flows freely from our heavenly father. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). Allow the peace of Christ and the peace of God to wash away your worries and doubts.

Are you struggling with disappointment? Have things not worked out the way you have planned or hoped for? Sometimes God says no and we must understand that it is for our own good that it happened that way. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

We often think that our problems are impossible to solve and we allow this world that we live in to beat us down. Many times we attempt to solve our problems with our limited understanding and we end up making our situation even worse. Trust in God to solve your problems and to guide you in the direction that you should go. Proverbs 3: 5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Luke 18:27: Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

The Apostle Paul reminds us that nothing can separate us from God’s love. As I think about this passage from Romans, my strength and faith is continually renewed. Romans 8:38-39: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

May the peace of Christ be with you!

God of the Impossible

Written By: Rev. Darryl Mathis - Jun• 19•14

Mark 9: 17-24
A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

“You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!”

The Bible is filled with many accounts of God doing the impossible. Abraham and Sarah did not believe that it was possible for God to allow them to conceive a child in their old age. Moses could not imagine how God could use him, a man who was “slow of speech and tongue,” to become a leader and bring God’s people out of Egypt (Exodus 2:10). And when the angel Gabriel announced to the virgin Mary that she would give birth to Jesus, Mary asked, “How will this be?” The angel Gabriel replied, “For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:34-37).

I know that some of you who read this are struggling with a situation in your life that feels impossible to solve. Worry, doubt, and fear prevent you from looking beyond your circumstances and believing that with God, all things are possible. Instead of trying to face this problem on you own, have faith in God and pray. Ask God for more faith to overcome your doubts. Confess to God that you can’t face your difficulties on your own power. Pray that God will show you a way out, and for the peace and comfort of God to sustain you, until your burdens are lifted.

The disciples of Jesus could not heal a boy that was possessed by a demon. They came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” Jesus replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:19-21). Even the disciples, who saw Jesus perform many miracles, struggled with their faith. Be encouraged that you are not alone in your moments of doubt. Have faith and trust in God. Know that we serve a God who deals in possibilities not impossibilities. Nothing is impossible for God!

Ephesians 3:20: Now to him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

You Are What You Think

Written By: Rev. Darryl Mathis - Jun• 14•14

Romans 12: 1-2: Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

1 Peter 1:13-16: Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Ephesians 4:22-24: You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

I find myself wanting more and more to control what my children are exposed to through the internet and television. My youngest daughter loves the game of basketball so we have been watching the NBA Finals this past week on television. I have been dismayed at the commercials that have been aired throughout these telecasts. Beer commercials are prevalent of course, along with those ads that promote sex, violence, and the constant glorification of the modern day athlete. I lost count of how many times I changed the channel during most every commercial break so that my daughter would not be exposed to these types of ads. As a parent, I certainly can’t control everything that she is exposed to but I most definitely can teach her how to fill her mind with things that are good.

Even churches today feel the pressure and give in to what society deems acceptable. They allow worldly obsessions and ideas to infiltrate the life of the church. They figure that it’s just too difficult a task to constantly fight against the culture of our day and so they give up. When the church, created to be set apart from the world, gives in to the desires of popular culture, it becomes an ineffective witness to living a good and holy Christian life.

The church today must strive to better communicate to believers, the battle that is being waged over the thoughts of the mind. We must live, as Paul would say, as “citizens of heaven,” instead of lovers of this world.” Satan is the ruler of this world and he will stop at nothing to pollute the minds of believers and divert their thoughts away from God. “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” (Ephesians 2:1-2).

Paul, in writing to the church at Ephesus, plainly tells them, as a believer and follower of Christ, your mind has been transformed. The thoughts and the impure desires of the “old self” are to be abandoned for the “new self,” that is being constantly being transformed and created to think pure thoughts. “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people” (Ephesians 5:3).

I encourage you to actively work at changing the attitude of your mind, by keeping your thoughts and your mind fixed upon God, and those things which are pure. The Apostle Peter challenges us to “prepare our minds for action.” We must take responsibility for our impure thoughts and we must challenge ourselves to focus on the things of God which are good and worthwhile. Satan is waging a war for control of our minds. As followers of Christ, we must be aware of that and strive to overcome those forces of evil that desperately want to destroy both mind and body.

Colossians 3:1-4: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

“Yes” to Christ, “No” to the World

Written By: Rev. Darryl Mathis - Jun• 09•14

Titus 2:11-14(NIV): For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

As followers of Christ, we live in a world that is constantly striving to shift our focus away from God to worldly things. Advertisements try to get us to believe that we are not successful if we don’t drive the latest model car or wear the most fashionable designer clothes. The society that we live in tells us that our self- worth is directly related to the size of our house or the impressive list of people that we know and socialize with. Many unbelievers and believers try to fit into the mold or image that society deems important. As followers of the risen Christ, we are warned about craving worldly pleasures or possessions that keep us from a growing relationship with Christ.

Are there things in your life that are preventing you from cultivating a deeper relationship with Christ? I’m not suggesting that you can’t enjoy fun things in life because you certainly can and should. I enjoy sports, especially University of Georgia football and basketball, and also Atlanta Braves baseball. Most mornings, I will usually check the box score of the Braves game the night before to see how my favorite players performed. 

The morning is my time of day when I enjoy reading the Bible as I am drinking my coffee and trying to wake up. However, some mornings as I am looking at the sports or news websites, time slips away. Before I realize it, it’s time to get ready to leave for work and I haven’t read my Bible as much as I would have liked. I constantly have to work at resisting the temptation to not open my Bible and spend that significant time on something else. Fortunately for me, spending quiet time with God, as I pray and read my Bible, is what gets me through most days. I realize that I can’t “do life” without God’s presence and guidance.

Jesus promised those of us who believe in him, the Holy Spirit, who will enable us to resist the temptations of this world, and draw us into a closer relationship with Christ. If you believe in Christ, you have the gift of the Holy Spirit within you, to guide you as you seek to remain in Christ every moment of every day.

As followers of Christ we should strive to live good, upright lives that reflect our faith and belief in God. We have a hope that is not of this world, for we look forward to the “appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Say “no” to the world and “yes” to following Christ.

God is with you!

Written By: Rev. Darryl Mathis - Jun• 07•14

 

Haggai 2:4-5: But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’

The Jewish remnant returned to Judah from captivity in Babylon and they were attempting to rebuild the temple. Work on the temple had started but was delayed for sixteen years as the people failed to trust in God and struggled with disobedience. Finally the prophet Haggai spoke God’s word to the people and gave them a reassuring message from God. “Be strong, work, for I am with you, my Spirit remains among you, do not fear” (Haggai 2:4-5). God assured the people that He would provide for them and be with them as they worked to rebuild the temple. The people were afraid to take that first step of faith, and to trust that God would be with them, as they carried out His plan in the midst of those opposed to God.

Often, we allow fear to overcome us as we step into situations that attempt to control us or seem to overwhelm us. During times like these we must remember to call upon God – because He is with us in all circumstances. God is present with us as we come face to face with the trials and difficulties of life. Fear does not have a place in our life of faith if we trust that God is with us in all situations.

Whatever God is calling you to do in your walk of faith remember that God is with you. Be strong and rely on God’s Spirit to guide you in whatever God is prompting you to do. Trust in God’s presence and believe that He will give you whatever you lack so that you can follow His direction for your life. If God is calling you to do something for His kingdom, answer Him. Ask God to lead you and then follow Him. God is always with you, don’t doubt in His presence and glorious power.