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Trusting God

Three Practices To Grow In Jesus Christ

Thee Practices To Grow In Jesus Christ

grow in christ 2

 

God’s will is that we grow in Jesus, become more like Him (Romans 8:29), and live a life that pleases Him. For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:9-10 )

This is an ongoing work of the Spirit of God in our lives; however, we co-labor with God and or not idle bystanders in the growth process. We have a responsibility as Christian to put into practice some things that help us grow in Jesus. God has given us instruction in His word what we are to practice to contribute to our growth in Him.

Three Practices God’s Word Instructs Us To Do To Grow In Jesus Christ

1. Pray and ask God for His help to grow in Jesus Christ

never stop praying

We are instructed to pray without ceasing (2 Thessalonians 5:17). Praying helps us not to faint but to keep doing good and that is a part of growing in Jesus Christ. Growing in Christ is work of the Holy Spirit working in us to will and do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). He began the good work in us and will complete it until Christ comes (Philippians 1:6). We cannot grow in Jesus in our own strength. Trying to do so with mere human strength and will is sure to cause discouragement and frustrate God’s grace within us. God can do far more in us by the working of His power in us in a minute than we can try doing ourselves in a lifetime. Praying to God for help, about our feelings, desires, and struggles is necessary. Life can be difficult at times. We experience ups and downs, along with temptations. We will always need guidance, stumble at times, feel confused sometimes, and go through things. This is a part of life. The devil is our enemy and will try to use whatever He can to trip us up in any way BUT GOD is greater and is always with us, lives within us, and is able and willing to help us. Going to God with all our needs, faults, struggle, pain, concerns, temptations, setbacks is the only way to avoid stumbling and staying down when we do stumble or to avoid stumbling in the same areas repeatedly. We can go to Him, repent, get instruction, get healing and help to get up when we mess up, keep going, and growing.  We can get better and do better. With God we do get better and do better. Praying helps us grow in Jesus.

 

2. Read the Bible

2-timothy-3-16

How else will we know the truth about God, His ways, and how He wants us to live, and His promises to us if we do not learn? We can’t rely on other’s beliefs and opinions about God. We must learn for ourselves with the Holy Spirit leading and guiding us into all truth. We don’t want to be misled and there is a lot of error out in the world that will stunt our growth in Christ. The word of God is able to instruct us in who God (Father/Jesus/The Holy Spirit) is, God’s ways, thoughts, how we are to live, and God’s promises to us – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We can read the bible to learn the truth and ask God to help us grow accordingly and apply His word in our daily lives.
 3. Fellowship/Assemble with other Believers In Christ.

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Who we hang out with on a constant basis will influence us whether for good or bad. No one is exempt. Healthy Christian fellowship and worshiping together is encouraged in scripture –  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25). Fellowship and times of worship with fellow believers in Christ contributes to our growth, encourages us, and helps with us being accountable. The devil likes when we are isolated, alone, and/or constantly around unbelievers alone so he can lie to us and get us caught up in worldly ways. When we are attending worship services with each other and have Christian friends to talk and fellowship with we are often refreshed and sharpen each other. We can also go to each other for prayer and get Godly counsel when we need it. This in turn helps us to grow in the Lord.

These three points are not exhaustive but general. Personally God may have you to do some other things regarding relationships, practices, and pursuits to contribute to your growth in Jesus. This means we all have to go to Him to learn what it is He is asking of us to grow in Him. I pray this information helps you.

 

Thanks for Reading, God Bless You,

Samantha

 

 

Trusting God With Not Trusting Him

Trusting God with Not Trusting Him:

It Seems Like an Oxymoron

trust Written By Samantha Ann Waring-Jolicoeur

     I’m learning from God that there are different levels of maturity in trusting Him. I admit I don’t always trust God the way that I think I do and hope that I will when situations occur. Some situations I do and then there are times I find that it can be difficult. It is not until I am faced with those extremely trying situations, that I see where my trusting God is wanting and needs to be developed. That is when I hear His Holy Spirit reminding me of the verse Lord I believe help thou my unbelief (Mark 9:24). This gives me some comfort and relief from the sadness I feel at the sight of my heart’s failure to trust Him like I should. Then comes my repentance “Sorry Lord, I don’t trust you with this (whatever the situation may be)”. Thank God that He knows, He already knew before I did that my heart would waver, and He readily forgives me. I am also reminded that He transforms us from glory to glory and that means there is always room for growth in the area of trusting Him. He is invested in developing trust in Him in various areas, thus the good work He began continues.

     I use to be so quick to feel ashamed and horrible when I didn’t trust God and take Him at His word when disappointment, hardship, and/or adverse situations transpired. To me it was a very grave offense because I know that God can do anything, is perfect, and with Him all things are possible. I’ve experience some ups and downs in the trusting God department and know I will in the future. I think it is all a part of growth and understanding that my heart and flesh will fail, but God is the strength of my heart and life. Now my perspective is quite different. I know I will mature in trusting Him and there is no need to feel hopeless or despair over falling short when it comes to trusting Him.  This leads me to these questions. What if I told you, that uttering Lord I believe help thou my unbelief demonstrates some level of trust? What if I told you that confessing to God that you don’t fully trust Him shows a measure of trust in Him? I say it seems like an oxymoron. I believe this confession shows trust and in and of itself is a part of pouring out one’s heart to Him. Psalm 62:8 states:

Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.

The Contemporary English Version reads:

Trust God, my friends, and always tell him each of your concerns. God is our place of safety.

     Here we read the psalmist admonishing the people to trust God at all times, to pour out their hearts to God (share the concerns of their heart) and encouraging them that God is a place of safety. This gives me great comfort knowing I can tell God anything, even my deep concern that I am failing Him at the aforementioned admonishment before pour out your heart before Him, which is to Trust in Him at All Times. In other words, my prayer may sound something like this “God I am sorry I am not trusting you right now. I have trust issues and I have trust issues with you. Please help me. Lord I believe. Remove from me unbelief.” Yes, it takes some measure of trust to admit such an offense to God. Why would I not trust Him? Is He not worthy of trusting? Yes, He is and therefore I should be trusting Him, but my heart has failed Him. Oh! but my friend, He indeed understands why. He knows the past trust issues, previous disappointments, pain, suffering, feelings of fear, and distress associated with the situation, that causes my heart to go awry and not trust Him in that moment. Still His loving hand keeps it, towards trusting Him, and heals the hidden wounds that causes mistrust to emerge in grievous moments.

trust God

     God is a safe place for us to pour out our confessions and concerns whatever they may be, even the ones of unbelief and mistrust and indeed, all trust is not lost. If you are experiencing trust issues with God, don’t despair. He understands and you can repent of the mistrust and talk with him about it. He does not despise your affliction of the heart. He is near to the broken hearted and save those contrite of spirit (Psalm 34:18). Deeper trust is being developed when feeling of mistrust is confessed. God and you can get to and deal with the underlying causes of mistrust. He is the one that teaches us to trust Him and births sustaining trust in Him deep within our hearts (part of growing in a relationship – learning to trust Him). Also keep it mind, this is a life long journey of growing and getting to know God. We never arrive on this side of glory. There will always be room for growth in the area of trusting God. God is not caught of God by your shortcomings and your inability to trust Him and in and of yourself. He is invested in teaching you and I how to always trust Him because He indeed is trust worthy.  

Be Encouraged In Christ,

Samantha Ann Waring-Jolicoeur

 

No More Performance Anxiety

    No More Performance Anxiety

Written by Samantha Ann Waring-Jolicoeur

performance anxiety

 

Racing thoughts, constant tossing and turning at night, lack of sleep, frustration, poor eating habits, agitation, fear, worry, panic, nervousness, rushing, stress, confusion, feeling scatter brain, feeling like a failure, etc., the list can go on and on regarding the effects of performance anxiety.

Many jobs have high demands, exhausting challenges, high unrealistic expectations, and burdensome demands. It is easy for many individuals that work within organizations that have these issues to experience performance anxiety.  Often time these same individuals care about their organization, the work that they do, and want to do an excellent job; however, they get distressed when things are not going well. This may be due to worrying about how things may appear to those looking in.

I read an article about how teachers cope with Sunday night anxiety see link https://www.weareteachers.com/sunday-night-anxiety/. This is where I learned about the term performance anxiety. When I read the term performance anxiety, it was a revelation for me.  The term are two words put to feelings I experienced for years but could never explain at the core using words. I thought to myself I know all too well this foe, performance anxiety.  For years I struggled with keeping up with high work demands, wanting with all my heart to do an excellent job, only to feel like the expectations were unrealistic and that I was doing a half behind job. I would constantly say to myself “I rather do three tasks well than ten tasks cutting corners.” At times with evaluations and sometimes unrealistic expectations due to deadlines hovering over me, I didn’t think I was doing an excellent job. This led to me worrying about how people viewed me, what they thought about my efforts, work, results, and overall ability. If it were not for the Lord giving me the strength to overcome these thoughts and feeling it would have hinder and debilitate me forever in more ways than it did. I will admit it has in the past caused me to stumble, give up, and throw in the towel more times than I would like to admit. If I knew then what I know now, I would probably have dealt with several things differently. Thank God it is never too late to learn and change.

There are several things I dislike about performance anxiety. I dislike that it robs an individual of the joy of the work that they do. Instead of just doing their best, enjoying the work they do, and simply being the blessing they are, performance anxiety causes people to think more about what others think to the point of people pleasing and doing things for eye service. Thoughts such as what are they saying, what will they say, what will they think, what will they do to me, will I look bad, how do I look, people will not understand, I will lose my job, etc., becomes consuming. Those thoughts can immobilize and cause a person to begin to do a substandard job. No longer are they doing work from the heart but it can become more about performance to live up to the opinions of others. Everything becomes one big show. This leads to fake, phony, fabricated work, and lies not to mention racing thoughts, constant tossing and turning at night, lack of sleep, frustration, poor eating habits, agitation, fear, worry, nervousness, rushing, stress, confusion, feeling scatter brain, feeling like a failure, etc. At this point performance anxiety is ruling the person’s output.

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Thank God there is a remedy for performance anxiety. God is a healer and deliverer. He can give one word to combat any attack against the mind, emotions, soul, spirit, body, etc. He spoke to my heart about what combats performance anxiety. He said, “The way to get rid of performance anxiety is to do all things as unto me.” Here is the scripture

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24 – KJV).

God speaking that scripture to my heart was a breath of fresh air. Just to think, understanding that we are to do what we do with all our heart as unto God can stop us from operating in performance anxiety. It doesn’t mean that we won’t feel anxious at times but we can by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit call on God to help us look to Him, trust Him, and do our work as unto Him. God is more appreciative, understanding, and merciful than any man or boss could ever be. He knows when we are working diligent and that is what matters most regardless of what anyone else see, thinks, or what they think they know. God is not an ill-mannered foolish task master that expects for us to do the impossible in human strength. God knows our work load, time available, resources available and all the other nuances we faced throughout the work day. God will reward us for what we do beyond our pay check and accolades from man.

working for the Lord

The Holy Spirit also brought to my remembrance the following scripture in Ephesians 6:6-8:

Don’t work only while being watched, in order to please men, but as slaves of Christ, do God’s will from your heart. Serve with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that whatever good each one does, slave or free, he will receive this back from the Lord (Ephesians 6:6-8 – HCSB).

Although slaves were addressed in these verses, we can take the lesson from it and apply it in our daily service in the market place or in any context we are working. On our jobs we are to obey our bosses and leadership as long as they are not asking us to sin against God and that they stay within the contractual terms we signed. Anything that trespasses against God should not be adhered to. In addition to this; if necessary, we can abstain from doing what we cannot live up to outside of the contract responsibilities stipulated. We are to work with due diligence not to please men, but because we are servants of Christ and we are doing God’s will to be excellent employees with all of our heart. God wants us to have a good attitude and when we don’t we can confess it to Him and He will help us. He knows it gets rough and totally understands. God is our rewarder. The paycheck we get is what we earned.

no anxiety

So, what are the implications of all this? Freedom from performance anxiety!! Thank you Lord! We can resolve to do the best we can do according to the power of God working in us with the ability, gifts, talents, time, and resources He has given us. We can yield to Jesus. Remember we work for God first! With this in heart and mind, by His grace, we do not have to worry or fear bosses, leaders, or what others are thinking about our work performance. We can ask God to help us to be teachable, open to change, constructive criticism, feedback, and new ways of doing things, but anxiety cannot be tolerated to persist. Each time it comes we can call on God to reject it. No stress no mess. God says be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication to make our request known unto Him and the peace that passes all understanding shall keep our heart and mind in Christ Jesus – Philippians 4:6,7. Let Us Pray!

Prayer – Father God it is inevitable that performance anxiety will come against me. I ask that I do not accept it and keep in mind that I am do things as heartily as unto you. I pray to do an excellent job, respect my bosses and leaders, serve who I serve with love and excellence, and operate in integrity in all that I do. I call on you for ability, understanding, empowerment, strength, and to be teachable. I ask that you work through me to your praise, honor, and glory. I am blessed to be a blessing and declare I bless others. You alone get all the praise, honor, and glory for the good that I do. No more living and performing with a heart full of anxiety and trepidation, but serving you with love, hope, peace, and joy. Thanks Father! In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Thanks for Reading, God Bless You

Samantha Ann Waring-Jolicoeur

Lord Help Me

 

Trials, hardships, troubles, storms are things we all experience in life. Some of us are presently in a trial.  The bible is clear that trials will be a part of our lives.  I do not know anyone who loves going through hardship.  No one is a glutton for punishment and God is not an abuser nor does He get pleasure out of our suffering.  God’s pleasure comes from what these storms, or trials produce.  Here is what God said about His beloved son Jesus in the book of Isaiah 53 verse 10, “But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.”    Wow!  God did not exempt His own Son from fruit bearing trials and He will not exempt us from the same fruit bearing trials either.

In James 1: 2-4, James was given a revelation from God of what our attitude, heart and mindset should be when we fall into trials.  It is summed up in one word, “Joy”.

James 1:2-4New King James Version (NKJV)

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

I like the way the Holman Christian standard bible translation starts off with “Consider it a great joy my brothers”.

Now, we know that when the storms of life come, naturally joy is the last thing on our minds.  Our natural response usually is “Lord, come quickly”. We do not like to endure trials, especially here in America.  Another response is to desire sympathy and attention.  There is something in our human nature that feeds off others feeling sorry for us.  I think it is about the attention.  Another response is depression which leads to self-medication with over eating, drugs, alcohol, sex, excessive television watching, or to lash out on the ones we love.  There are many other types of responses. We all have responded in one or in some of these ways.

We don’t get joy because we lost a relationship or a job. Nor do we get joy because of bad news of an illness or having to endure a boss that is mean.  Maybe for you it’s difficulty with your children.  There are many storms of life that we encounter.  The joy is in what these situations produce.  According to James 1: 3, 4 these trails produce patience.  Some translations say it produces endurance.  When an individual endures hardship, persecution, suffering with patience he/she becomes perfect lacking nothing.  Now, we know that we will not be perfect until we are with Jesus after death or in the second coming.  This perfection James is talking about is maturity.  Our trust in God in the mist of hardship denote maturity.  If we need some maturing in this area of trust, trials will let us know exactly where we are in the process.  Remember, trials are for the testing of our faith, and this testing produces patience and endurance.  When we allow this patience and endurance to work on our character we will see growth and more importantly God sees it.

So!, If you are presently experiencing a trial and it seems likes all hope is lost; Stop, take a moment and remember,  first, trials do not last forever.  Second, when the trial is over you will know God more and will be able to trust Him during the next trial. Lastly, this is one of the ways in which God mature His children.

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father I pray for those who are presently in a trial.  I pray that You will give them your perspective concerning this trial.  I pray that they will find comfort in Your Word and in Your presence.  You are always conforming us into your image, and pruning us to grow in our relationship with You.  Help us to have joy in the mist of our circumstances.  Help us to trust that You are in control.  We come against depression and hopelessness in the name of Jesus.  I pray for the Joy of the Lord to saturate their hearts and mind in the name of Jesus.  We give You glory and thank You for Your maturing process. In Jesus name amen.

 

Thanks for Reading, God Bless You,

Pastor Michael Jolicoeur

 

 

 

 

 

[MJ1]

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