You have upheld me, Lord and kept my steps from slipping. You have tried me and strengthened me. You have restored my soul.
This day, Papa, put Your perfect will in my heart. Give me eyes to see Your face. To see your path.
"Lead me in the right path, O lord...make Your way plain for me to follow."
Psalm 5:8 NLT
Lord, if only I could grasp Your joy which is my strength. I want to run and hide, to leave everything behind. You alone give life and strength and the will to press on.
Come, Holy Spirit of Jesus and pour into me the blessing You have promised. Deliver me from the evil one that oppresses, and bring deliverance.
Please, bring clarity and hope. You have a path laid out for me that is called success if I follow. Show me again, Lord. Give me the will and the power to do of Your good pleasure.
This morning I asked You to put a prayer in my heart. You greeted me with this glorious sunrise and gave me Psalm 103:1-5. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits..."
My youth is renewed! I am satisfied with good things. You have poured lovingkindness and compassion on me and placed Your joy into my soul.
You said, "Be healthy. Create beauty. Be the joy. Sing praise." Papa, my mouth is filled with praise.
What is our goal as a Christian? Various answers lead to various journeys.
If we say it is to learn and train and work to become righteous, we may end up like the Pharisees. Martin Luther basically said a Christian who's purpose is to become righteous is missing the whole point of the Gospel. It's like a woman marrying a man for his money.
For those who can achieve a level of outward righteousness, it tends to lead toward pride. For those who can't, this Christian culture leads to despair.
Jesus took it further: Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven."
So what is God's will? Jesus reveals it plainly: Matthew 22:37: "You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." Vs 39 "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Love God fervently. Love your neighbor. Love yourself. If these are what we aim at, Jesus said we will fulfill all the other commandments.
This concept is so important that Jesus went on to give us a solemn warning:
Matthew 7:22-21 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!"
These people spent all their lives learning, working, training to become righteous, and they were - as far as man's righteousness can go. But that is not what Jesus asked of them. In another passage, He said to come and learn of Him, his burden is easy and his yoke is light.
Instead, years of well-intended messages have instructed me on what else to add to my yoke. I've come to believe this is a false gospel, a distraction from the true gospel. It is insidious in the Church and in my mind. It beats me up rather than producing love.
True gospel: Christ is the subject of the gospel. We are the object. Christ lives in me. Christ works in me and through me. Christ promised that He began a new work. He is completing the work through His transforming presence. Having been made perfect, we are being made holy - by Christ. The work is done by Christ's Spirit.
Trusting His power to leaves me peaceful, fills me with the urge to praise Him, to know him. I can look up and thank Him when I know I've failed, knowing His promises are true and will be faithfully completed until the day I die. The joy this gives makes me want to share this gospel. The true gospel removes my anxiety toward God.
False gospel: I do good works for Christ. I try. I struggle. I exhaust myself. I'm a good Christian on the days I can check off a mental list of righteous things. I'm a bad Christian on the days I fail to meet my requirements. Religious people have been trying this as long as man has been on the earth.
Watching my failed efforts makes me despair. Why would I ever want to bring someone I love into this false gospel? There is no good news in this false gospel.
The true gospel is good news. The good news is that Jesus writes His laws on our hearts. He transforms us. How?
When we hear His words, we LET them settle in our souls, take root and grow. For instance, we read "Blessed are the pure in heart." We talk with Jesus and ask Him to give us a pure heart. We thank him for transforming us, for loving us. In other words, through this transforming work, we are getting to know Him as a friend, without fear.
Our love grows and so does our righteousness - by Him.
"Let not the floodwater overflow me, nor let the deep swallow me up." Psalm 69.15 NKJV
Papa, You sing to me in the night hours when I am alone. In the day, it is your hand that holds back the floodwaters. At all times I am secure in Your loving watchfulness.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tshombye Kentrell Ware was raised in Albany, Ga. In his earlier years, signs of the gift emerged through various arts. As the years progressed, so did his creativity, whereas he moved to the city of Macon, Ga. A few years later, following graduation of high school, everything changed when Christ entered his life. As if the lock to a rare treasure was opened, Kentrell launched forward in the spiral of inspiration, fueled by a burning passion of the gospel. This leading to the creation of a Christian CD entitled "L.O.C" The Love of Christ. As the door to inspiration continued to open, Kentrell became drawn toward writing; which led to his inspired creations.
T.K. Ware’s style of writing brings a fresh perspective of faith-based books, in which he calls, Suspense with Soul. His inspired writings weave together reality with the supernatural, in hope to plant a seed of the gospel.
“Move over, Frank Peretti. Meet Anita Estes, an upstate New York author, who appears to have a winner with her latest book The Dividing Stone. The book has all the elements Peretti's fans crave: intrigue, action, suspense and most importantly, spiritual warfare and the ultimate power of prayer. This is a real page-turner for those who like an engaging read where good overcomes evil." Paula Ann Mitchell — Hudson Valley Journalist
You can find Anita Estes at:
Book 1 in the Princesses of Chadwick Castle Adventure series for girls 7-11
Each book features artwork from art masters whose works have entered the public domain and are no longer restricted by copyright.