The Covenant Blog

The Journey is Worth It

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Jas 1:12 - Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

I know I've heard this before and thought it was great, wonderful how God loves us and trusts us to endure in such a way ... but it's another thing when you read this during your time of trial and temptation.  It's not only that He trusts us to endure, but He KNOWS we can endure and He made us to endure.

It IS worth it, this journey and life as a Christian IS worth it.  The Word says that "blessed is the man who endures temptation ..." this is a great deal of what is supposed to set us apart from the world.  Discipline to endure, resist, and rise above as a better person during our temptations.  How we endure is through a constant renewing of our mind through the reading of the Word, praying (talking) with the Lord, fellowship with other believers, and seeking ways to live out His love in every aspect of our lives.  Endurance in itself suggests a constant state of conditioning and discipline.  It's not something that comes in an instant or overnight ... it's hard work, it's earned!  You prepare yourself before the temptation or trial so you can kick butt during the temptation.  

"... for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." 

Our treasures and "rewards" are not found here on earth, this scripture refers to a crown of life (eternal life) in heaven and treasures that are awaiting us there.  Great things here on Earth are nice but they're just that, nice things that are only temporal – they are not eternal.  Whether you're indulging in things of this world, (we're human, this is everyone in some form) or going through a rough time and questioning life, sometimes we just need to remind ourselves that this world is not supposed to satisfy us – it will never fulfill us truly.  Yes, we should be wise stewards with what we're given, as God continues to take care of and provide for all of our earthly needs, but we must realize that our treasures, blessings, and complete satisfaction await for us in our eternal home.

 

 

Posted by Trista Stepp with 0 Comments

Breathe

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Wikipedia says “The lungs are not capable of inflating themselves and will expand only when there is an increase in the volume of the thoracic cavity.”  Have you ever thought about what it takes to breathe? There is a two-part process to breathing: inhaling and exhaling. I think that we take it for granted but for the most part, we understand that we live because God has given us breath/life. (Genesis 2:7). Different breathing patterns can alternate our moods and emotions. Breathing too fast and hard can agitate and accelerate our blood flow which affects our heart, while slow and deep breathing can calm us down and relax us.

We don’t think about breathing until we can’t. Breathing difficulties can occur from the weather, cold, stress, anxiety, allergies, sickness or disease.  These difficulties affect our lives and our well-being. Not breathing properly is usually a problem that we aim to fix quickly because we want to live. We cannot live unless both actions are performed – and performed the way they were designed to perform. The oxygen that we breathe in energizes our body and allows our brain to function properly, it circulates through our blood system and affects our entire body.

 The same holds true in our spiritual life. In order to have a spirit that is “alive” and energized we must spiritually breathe and that involves reading (inhaling) His Word daily and praying (exhaling) to Him daily. Think about it…can you physically breathe and live if you only inhaled or only exhaled alone. How much more do you need your spirit to breathe correctly? Jentezen Franklin talks about this process of spiritually breathing in a book he wrote and it really has hit home with me because if we leave God out of our lives we are in big trouble. How will the sheep know His voice unless they are attentively listening and have an intimate relationship with The Great Shepherd? We can't read His Word and not pray and we cannot pray all of the time and not read His Word. We simply can't live that way because there is a two-part process to breathing.

We are simply incapable of filling our spiritual lungs alone. His Word are His Words from His breath…we have to take the Word in – depositing it into our mind, allowing it to penetrate and be hidden in our hearts as we meditate on it all day long, and circulating those life-giving words through our entire body.  We have to pray to Him about everything, pray out His Word, His promises and blessings over our life - out loud - all of the time.  If we have erratic spiritually breathing patterns it affects our mood and emotions and it will negatively affect our lives from functioning properly. Not reading and praying on a daily basis allows us to just coast through life unaware of God, not including Him in our lives, not seeking Him for His will in our lives, not experiencing His abundant life, and we definitely will not possess the spiritual stamina or power needed to overcome spiritual warfare. We will not have His power, His understanding, His knowledge, His wisdom….and without those, what makes us different and set apart? How will our children learn if they don’t see us doing just that?

We have to be so saturated in His Word and have a powerful prayer life so that we will know what to do and how to do it. What does that look like for you? Do you have to wake up earlier, not watch TV at night or go to bed later, perhaps it’s taking your lunch time to pray and read…. Here’s your challenge: look at your daily calendar and make an appointment with yourself and God to spend at least 15 minutes a day reading His Word and 15 minutes a day praying. Andrew Harris is always reminding the staff to challenge people in our ministries to do just that.  It really makes an impact on your life because then you are committed to truly putting God first and the effects on your life will be incredible.  

Genesis 2:7 (NIV) Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Isaiah 42:5 (NKJV) Thus says God the Lord, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk on it:

Job 33:4 (NKJV) The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Job 32:8 (NKJV) But there is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.

Ephesians 6:17-19 (NKJV) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,

Philippians 4:6 (NKJV) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God…

Posted by Leesa Boone with 0 Comments

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