Search This Blog

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Joy in the Morning

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5b, KJV).

Whatever my sorrow or my pain, it does not last forever. The promise of peace is real. The sadness I feel anticipates the joy to come. His strongest children are those who, in the night of weeping, confidently believe in the promise of joy in the morning .

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


In the midst of crisis or change, Christ is with me. In the midst of the storm, He is my safe harbor. He keeps me from the breakers that would crush me. But He is more than just a secure sanctuary. He is my strength to not only endure, but to overcome. I can never fear change when He never changes. He is the one great constant in my life–the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). As I give Him my fearful heart, His peace calms my restless spirit (Philippians 4:6-7). Abiding in Him, He claims my thoughts and I discover that I, too, can be strong. I can be steadfast and unchanging. I can know His peace that carries me above the fray.

I must practice the presence of God, and seek Him daily in prayer, study, and devotion until His presence becomes like a habit–unconsciously rendered. I unconsciously learn to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). He is just “there” at the moment I need Him. He is just “there” in moments of sudden fear when, without Him, my world would cave. But practicing His presence has brought His immediate peace in that moment. My heart has prayed unconsciously and He has heard its cry.

I don’t know always know to give Him my suffering and fear, but the Holy Spirit intercedes for me (Romans 8:26b). He prays my heart’s cry when I am unable to mentally render a thought. It is in a moment like this that I understand His peace. I have practiced His presence until He is always with me–unconsciously and consciously. I may go through my busy day with no problem, and my conscious mind is busy with my job, my schedule, and my list. I learn something that rocks my world, and the Holy Spirit immediately arises from the depth of my unconscious spirit to calm my shattered mind. Practicing His presence has brought His presence. I will remain steadfast in Him, and unchanging in my trust in His faithfulness.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Draw Near

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me (Revelation 3:20,NIV).

Man knows little of God's yearning for his deep friendship and companionship. Christ came to draw all men to Him (John 12:32). What an amazing thought! He yearns to share all of Himself with me. He stands at the door of my life and yearns for me to open my heart to all of Him. Not just some of Him, but all. Nothing held back. Nothing withdrawn. Nothing hidden. He longs to feel me drawing near in love.... not just for His help, but for the loving closeness of a dearest friend.

Think about this. He is love. He created us to love. We may recognize the need of men, but how many of us really understand the need of Christ?

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I know what I’m doing.,” says the Lord, “I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you, and bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it” (Jeremiah 29:11-14, MSG).

I can count on it. He knows what He is doing. I don't have to know His plans, but I do need to trust and have faith in His faithfulness. When I seek Him with all my heart and desire Him more than anything else, I will discover more faith to believe in His promise of deliverance. As I persevere in living each day in His will, I shall receive His promise (Hebrews 10:35-36). He will bring me out of place where I have suffered and felt abandoned. He has great Joy for me. I can count on it.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Come Forth as Gold

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10, NIV).

Job faced uncertainty, hardship, and despair. Each one of will also face hardships that spring up to rock our world. We don't understand why He doesn't hear us and explain. Crying out in our despair, we yearn for a promise of peace from the pain of each moment. James tells us that we are to “consider it pure joy” when we go through trials because those trials have the potential to produce faith (James 1:2-4). The fact of the matter is that He is speaking, but we can’t hear Him because we are hurting too much. We long to hear something more than this trial will make our faith stronger. We need to believe that someday it will end-that one day there will be peace. Jesus said that we would have hardship in this world, but we can rest assured that He has overcome the world (John 16:33).

“'Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?' says the Lord. “'Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?' says your God” (Isaiah 66:9). No, He doesn't close up the womb. No! Release from the pain will come. The delivery is my lesson to be learned. The intense joy that comes at my delivery is the promise. He protects me from the pain that would be too much for me to handle-from the pain that would utterly destroy me. “Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son” (Isaiah 66:7). What I may consider the most devastating pain is not as harsh as it might be. God has protected me. He has made my labor easier than it might have been, and has brought me to the point of delivery from it all.

My trial holds the promise of peace. The tribulation which overwhelms my heart promises release. “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36). I shall be confident of His promise of peace. I will hang on and find His will. I shall believe that His promise is real, and that He will richly reward my diligence. During my time of labor I will discover His truths that will encourage my faith in Him, and trust that the delivery will come. I choose to believe that my weeping lasts for only a night, and that His joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5b). I choose to forget the former things, and believe in the promise He has for me (Isaiah 43:18-19). I choose to let go of the former things which have defined me, and believe with all my heart that He has something new.

God always knows the way that I take. He is always with me, and I will be delivered. He has not closed up the womb. I will come forth as gold. And in that birth, I am new in Him

Friday, January 25, 2013

Selfless Giving

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood” (Isaiah 58:6-7, NIV)?

These verses in Isaiah instruct me to “fast” my own desires and to do whatever I can for those in pain and in despair: to help those chained up in poverty―to help those struggling to break the yoke of sin―to share with those accused unjustly―to provide respite for those with no place of rest. I am called to give myself away, but for my giving to be pleasing to God, my motive must be right. Both fasting and giving involve personal sacrifice. Fasting imparts spiritual vision to recognize need. Giving blesses not only the person who receives, but the one who gives.

“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:3-4, NIV).

Have you ever known someone who makes a public announcement following an act of kindness or giving a gift? He appears to be altruistic, but he yearns for the recognition his act brings. In bringing attention to himself, he demonstrates selfish giving instead of selfless giving from a humble heart.

Why does a person need to declare he has given a gift? Why must he relate its value? He hungers for the recognition of man, and doesn’t consider that God wishes his hunger to be just for Him. Not only has this person missed the fact that giving in secret brings God’s reward, he misses another truth. When he quietly gives, he empties more than his pocketbook. He empties himself of the need for acceptance. Giving without recognition is not only an acquired trait. To be spiritually real and rewarded, it must always be spiritually fueled.

Do I give away my time and my money openly or secretly? Where does my acceptance lie? The Lord yearns for the lesson to take root in my heart. In selfless giving I spiritually receive a servant’s heart. Most importantly, I learn the greatest paradox of all―to die to self is to live unselfishly in Christ.

Now I can read the promise that follows in from Isaiah 58:8-9a. “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I” (Isaiah 58:6-8, NIV).

Don't ever give to receive recognition from others. Give always to receive from Him.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Facing Our Red Sea

At some point in our lives we will face our Red Sea. It will be something harder than we ever imagined. There will appear to be no way through or around it. But just as the Lord parted the Red Sea for His people then, He parts the Red Sea for His children now.

Moses never failed in trusting God. With the sea in front of him and the Egyptians advancing from behind, He stood at the very edge of what appeared to be sure destruction. There was no visible escape. There was nothing but faith in the Lord who had brought them to this place. Moses had done all he could do, and now it was for time for God to act. Moses waited for God to make a way, but he had to go to the very edge of the Red Sea.

When faced with our Red Sea, we sometimes pull back. We believe that there is no way to go further, and we give up. Perhaps we see our Red Sea rising in the distance, and we turn from its imposing presence. But the army of life presses us closer. We must go as far we can―right up to the very edge, and God will handle the Red Sea.

What will I do when I see my Red Sea ahead? I will go the the very edge and wait for God to part the water. If I do not go to the very edge, I will miss the power of God to save. But by faith I go to the very edge. It is not only the edge of my Red Sea; it is the edge of myself. I know that there is nothing that I can do. Believing, trusting, and knowing the waters will part, and I will go forward through what otherwise might have destroyed me. And I will find Him.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Staying the Course

“And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple”
(Luke 14:27).

There is a great distinction between being an admirer of Jesus Christ and being His disciple. An admirer wants to experience the glitter without making a lasting commitment. A disciple is a pupil who has counted the cost and placed himself completely under the guidance of the Master—whose love for Him is greater than for anyone or anything else, and who resolves to give and also give up whatever is necessary. This is radical discipleship.

Jesus’ words in Luke are not addressed to His disciples. Each disciple has already counted the cost, and made a decision to surrender. His question is directed to those who offer quickly to serve, and then fade away like a shooting star. It is to this marginal person Jesus says, “If you can’t do what it takes, you can’t be my disciple.”

To witness the enthusiasm of a new believer is exciting, but often such enthusiasm does not weigh the cost involved. “I will follow you anywhere,” someone quickly offers Jesus (Luke 9:57). This man is a new believer, and is fired up to go. He opens his mouth to speak without thinking of what his offer entails. In the very next verse Jesus carefully handles the man’s zeal without offending him by telling him that his future is uncertain. They are wanderers, and there is nowhere to rest at night. There are very few comforts following Him.

Jesus searches the group and His eyes rest on another man. “Follow me,” he says (Luke 9:59). The man asks Jesus to first let him first bury his father Jesus tells this man there is no hope for salvation for someone who is already dead, and that his obligations at home are nothing compared to the call upon his life (Luke 9:60). Jesus has looked upon this man’s heart and seen great potential. Time is of the essence, and he must be about the Father’s work.

The first man who offered to go with Jesus had a shallow faith that would not stand up under pressure. Jesus knew this, but the second man is different. Jesus sees his heart, and knows he can be used to bring life to those who are spiritually dead.

A third man quickly offers to go with Jesus, but asks the Lord to first let him go and tell his family farewell. “Any person who starts doing something and then keeps looking back is not fit for the kingdom of God,” Jesus warns (Luke 9:62).

God delivered Lot’s family before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and was warned for them not to look back. Longing for what she had left behind, Lot’s wife glanced back for one moment, and was turned into stone. When you follow Jesus old worldly friends are left behind, and will not understand what has happened in your life. When God calls, you should not ask others whether it is right or not. The call is not theirs. It is yours.

God cannot use people who allow personal desires to deter them, but he does use people with a commitment and a vision like Abraham. He stepped out in faith, followed God on a journey of a lifetime, and never looked back at Ur. He never built a permanent house again, but lived in tents, and moved when God told him. Abraham looked for the everlasting city of God.

The third man, just as the first one, is not fit for the journey. I find it interesting that the second man, unlike the first and third, did not offer to follow Jesus. He was asked. He had not spoken a desire to follow, but Jesus instinctively knew if he would make the sacrifice. He knew he could ask for a radical commitment, and knew that it would be given.

Jesus asks us, just as he did the second man, to leave self behind, take up His cross, and follow Him. These requirements don’t attract a large number of followers, but for those who follow and stay the course, the result of such a decision is guaranteed. “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Sacrifice of Praise

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name” (Hebrews 13:15, NIV).

My gift to Him is a thankful heart. When things are hard—when pain persists—when problems overwhelm, I will look for reasons to be thankful. I will seek to realize the blessings He gives that often slip by unobserved. The gift of thanksgiving in my heart—no matter what is going on in my life—is my sacrifice of praise. No matter what I face, it could be worse.

A friend's husband was in the hospital fighting cancer. The chemotherapy was tearing his body apart. The pain around her heart had turned it to stone. It hurt too much to feel. She could not bare to watch him fight for a healing that might never happen. Her pain imprisoned her, and she erected a wall to protect her broken heart. As she walked down the hospital corridor one morning, she saw a little old woman in the room next to her husband's, sitting up in bed shivering uncontrollably.

“Give her your favorite shawl,” the thought flew into her head. She ignored it, but it would not go away. Finally, in an attempt to get the voice out of her head, she brought her shawl to the hospital. With everything else going on in her shattered life, this was just something else that she saw as another chore. She was just going to leave the shawl on the woman's bed, but the little lady was still sitting up in her bed shivering. Moving closer to her, she placed the shawl around the woman's shoulder, and a pair of thankful blue eyes slowly looked up at her and melted her stony heart. With that one act of kindness, the wall that had held back her own pain was suddenly released, and the healing love of the Holy Spirit gave her freedom in the arms of that little woman in the next room.

The blessings of God are often missed because my mind is focused on my circumstance and not on His faithfulness to carry me through it. Each day I will open my eyes to His blessings around me. I will realize that others have a greater need, and I will give myself away. The wall which has imprisoned my own pain will come down, and praise and thankfulness will spring up. What had once been a sacrifice will be a sacrifice no longer, because my heart shall no longer focus on my pain, but on my passionate joy for His blessings.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Joyful Obedience

My obedience is better than my sacrifice. When I am obedient to God, my actions reveal that the cost of His sacrifice means everything to me. Now I can sacrifice anything for the wrong reason, but when I am obedient to His will in what I sacrifice, then I make His sacrifice the defining reason for my obedience. When His sacrifice TOTALLY defines who I am, humility is evident in every area of my life. A humble spirit inspires obedience. On the other hand, disobedience stems from pride. Longing for personal acceptance by others, it says “no” when the sacrifice involves humility. However, true obedience reveals respect for the cost of Jesus’ sacrifice, and goes where disobedience never will— into the very heart of God. This is where the joy of obedient sacrifice is discovered.

“Remember this,” Paul wrote, “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (II Corinthians 9:6-8.

God loves a cheerful giver who invests richly in His kingdom through obedience in every area of his life. What do I invest? How about you? Our compliance to God’s will speaks of joy in our own sacrifice. If we invest with joy, we shall receive the grace of His total supply for our work. His joy is discovered in giving as Christ gave to us.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Joy of Obedience: Part 3

Do I joyfully obey Christ in caring for others? My obedience should always arise out of my love for Christ. “‘For I was hungry’ Jesus said, ‘and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me'” (Matthew 25:35-36).

The bag lady on the corner, the poorly dressed man who came to church last week, the woman ahead of you in line who can’t pay for her groceries, the child who doesn’t seem to fit in—all have one thing in common. They need help. Each one may have a different problem, but each has a need to be met. We are to share compassion, because of the sacrificial compassion Jesus had for us.

The bottom line is the fact that real Christians care with the love of Jesus. In the story of the Good Samaritan the religious by-passers should have been sensitive to the man who had been injured, but they remained aloof. Jesus asked the crowd listening to this parable who was really the good neighbor to the Samaritan. He must have smiled at their correct and obvious answer. He told them to go and do the same (Luke 10:25-37). What does this say about a holier-than-thou attitude? It says that Jesus in the human heart is always greater than the letter of the law.

C.S. Lewis wrote in his sermon “Weight of Glory”:

“The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.” Is the weight of your neighbor’s glory resting on your back?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Joy of Obedience: Part 2

Obedience calls for commitment. It is my responsibility to make a commitment to live in a manner which reflects God's truth. In 1Thessalonians 5:4-11 Paul exhorts each Christian to live an exemplary life. 2 Peter 3:11 calls for holiness and godliness. Colossians 3 contains rules for holy living, and speaks of the Christian life in terms of what I put on and what I cast away. To understand the commands in this passage of Scripture I have to understand that the things listed are built upon attitudes which bring about these actions. Attitude is of the heart, and it is expressed outwardly in conduct toward others. An unholy heart will ultimately reveal itself in two ways—either by sin or by a hypocritical attitude that pretends holiness.

What obedient action can I render to the Lord which will help another see Christ in my life? What attitude of heart do I have which Jesus wishes to change? Jesus experiences great joy when He sees His child’s obedient change of heart, and action which follows. By this others will know I am His disciples, and can experience His love (John 13:35).

To be obedient to the call of Christ I am to witness what Christ has done for me. A witness is someone who tells someone else what he has experienced. So why is it difficult so many times for a Christian to witness his faith? There are many reasons. Pride is often an issue because we are afraid of not being accepted. Perhaps we don’t know Scripture so we are afraid to speak up. Maybe we don’t have an intimate relationship with God through prayer. We might be afraid that we will do more harm than good. Being human we are afraid of failure. There is a good chance we can’t answer their questions. Worse, we might apathetic and don't care. Often we are more concerned about a friendship than the state of our friend's soul. And maybe we have little power because we have never been completely overtaken and filled by the Holy Spirit. “ But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).

The cure for most of these excuses is “share anyway”. As we reach out to share we are forced to stretch ourselves. The very act of witnessing drives us to the the the Word and to prayer. Scripture and prayer burns away apathy. It drives away fear. It brings a desire for spiritual knowledge, and fills us with a hunger to experience God’s power. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 explains that God is faithful to do that which He has called to be done. We don’t have the power, because we have not asked (James 4:2).

People are searching for something greater than themselves—something that gives meaning to their existence. They long to understand what they don’t understand. If they are ever to realize that Jesus Christ is the answer, it will depend on the effectiveness of my personal witness, and a willingness to ask, “Won’t you come with me?”

Friday, January 18, 2013

Joy of Obedience: Part One

You know the story, because if you honestly admit it, it is your own. God instructs you, and you have a reason not to listen. If God is the greatest reason for your life, then obedience is not an option, and it does not just happen. It is born of deep commitment to God. It certainly calls for personal sacrifice. When it is born of sacrifice, obedience speaks your willingness to submit to God’s desires instead of your own. Often obedience contradicts the desires of your heart.

God calls us to live holy lives. Some instructions for holy living are clearly revealed in the Word. Others come from the nudging of the Holy Spirit through Scripture and prayer or perhaps through the voice of another Christian. There are many excuses a Christian uses for not following the Lord’s instruction.

“It is too hard for me to do that! I can’t give it up, Lord!”

“Lord, I don’t have time to study the Word and pray.”

“Lord, what would others think of me?”

“What if I fail you, Lord?”

“I’m afraid!”

“Lord, it is so hard to believe!”

“I can’t see how my doing this will help, Lord.”

“I don’t feel the need to do that, Lord.”

The excuses mount until God’s voice echoes like distant thunder. With your back firmly turned, and heart grown cold, you declare, “I refuse to do that, Lord.”

Refusing God is a dangerous game to play. King David, when confronted by Nathan for his sin with Bathsheba, immediately repented. “Do not cast me from your presence,” he cried out to God, “or take your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11). He understood the danger of being separated from God was the loss of God’s presence. His cry for forgiveness speaks of his loving respect for God and his commitment to God’s desires (Psalm 51).

On the other hand Solomon refused to listen to the Lord, and allowed his weakness for the things of the world to destroy his relationship with the Lord. Near the end of his life, he looks back on wasted years and declares in Ecclesiastes, “Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)! Solomon’s life is a sad account of how he blew the undeserved opportunities God had given him. Chuck Swindoll refers to this book as a “graphic portrayal of a life lived apart from God.”

Jonah ran from the Lord’s instruction to witness to the depraved city of Nineveh, and he ended up in the belly of a whale. It took disaster to bring Jonah to receive a repentant heart. Even following repentance, Jonah argued with the Lord and his obedience was less than perfect.

The Lord yearns for you to have an obedient heart—one that listens to the conviction and direction of the Holy Spirit as David listened—one which, unlike Jonah, follows God’s will without argument. You certainly do not wish your life referred to as Solomon’s—one lived apart from God. It is the responsibility of every Christian for holiness of heart and obedience to God to be the most important disciplines of his life. “I’m going to live like a believer,” should be the cry of your heart.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Daniel Fast: Day Ten

Day Ten:
“Consider it pure joy,” James writes, “Whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance! Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:3-4).

During these last ten days I have discovered that God does a complete work in me so that I may be strong in Him, and not lack in anything. My spiritual maturity is achieved through perseverance. It must be complete so that when the temptation strikes, I am strong. It must be complete in order to handle life’s unexpected circumstances. It must be complete to carry the daily load that I face. There is a work that began the moment I gave my life to Christ, and it can only be completed through a willingness to endure. Endurance that is born of faith in His ability instead of my own brings the promise of His strength and power. The joy of the valley is just as real as that on the mountain. I have peace because I realize that I have nothing within me that can meet the need, and I have given Him whatever life brings‒the good and the bad (Philippians 4:6-7). Perseverance brings the greatest reward of more and more of Him, and less of me.

Life brings times of great joy and times of great struggle. The struggles, whether temptation or hardship, should inspire spiritual growth. Peter imparts, “These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (I Peter 1:7). The trying of my faith during hardship should develop the ability to persevere. Christ reveals that I am to be perfect just as our heavenly Father is perfect. Perseverance is meant to spur each believer on toward this goal (Matthew 5:48).

James 1:3 is still in my mind. I should consider trials and suffering as “pure joy”. “We also rejoice in our sufferings,” Paul writes, “because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4). Suffering creates the ability to persevere. Perseverance reveals the moral fiber in good character. Character promises hope. Hope doesn’t disappoint, but fuels our faith. We rejoice in the fact that we grow in greater faith in spiritual maturity.

Faith is being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). Hope that needs to be seen says, “I kind of believe, but let me just see enough, so that I can really believe.” It is not the kind of hope that just trusts that the unseen will come. In Hebrews 11 there are examples of people who hoped, waited, and had faith in the Lord. They persevered, but died without receiving all God had promised. They did not become frustrated because their needs and expectations were not immediately realized. They did not become impatient and just give up because the final promise of heaven was so distant. Each lived and died without seeing the full profit of their faith while on earth. Yet, through it all, they believed.

God has given His promises so that you and I have the strength to stand against sin, to be part of His very nature, and to grow spiritually. To escape sin’s grasp, and to be more like Him, spiritual growth is not an option. Peter explains that we must add to faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, and brotherly kindness. We can’t add these alone (II Peter 1:3-7). Only the Lord supplies the strength for this accomplishment, but we make the decision to step out in faith.

This is the last morning of the Daniel fast. I step out in faith to grow spiritually. No matter what I face, I will remain in Him I will persevere no matter what comes. His perfect will is for greater and greater faith to spring up in the midst of pain, suffering, and life's unexpected moments. It is my decision if the lesson is learned.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Daniel Fast: Day Nine

Day Nine:

This morning I'm in John 11 reading about the death and resurrection of Lazarus, and two verses just jump off the page. Jesus had just heard that his dear friend, Lazarus, was very ill. “When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days” (John 11:4-6, NIV).

Whatever sickness or problem or situation or danger we face, it is to bring glory to God. Jesus loves us just as He did Lazarus. He lingered in rescuing Lazarus just as He lingers in our lives to rescue us in order that we might learn a lesson in the midst of hardship, or grow closer to Him through a prolonged illness. He knows of our troubles, and He comes when the time is right for deliverance and healing.

Jesus loves you just as much as His next child. He loves the ones He died for, but who have not accepted Him into their lives. But because you believe in Him, He rescues you. He does not linger to punish you, but to bring greater purpose to your life.

“Then Jesus said, 'Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, 'Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.' When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come out!' The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, 'Take off the grave clothes and let him go'” (John 11:40-44, NIV).

If you believe, you shall the glory of God. Believe it, and watch your stone roll away. Don't despair in the midst of your illness or your struggle or your problem or your heartache. Praise Him for His faithfulness to you even when He lingers for your benefit (Hebrews 13:15). He calls forth your healing, your deliverance, and your promise when His time is perfect. He rescues you from what would kill your faith and your life. And you walk forth out of the grave that has held you into His newness of life (Romans 6:1-4).

You are free indeed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Daniel Fast: Day Eight

Day Eight:

I have discovered a promise! Sin will not be master over me! “You have been set free from sin,” I read this morning, “and have become slaves to righteousness. No longer slaves to sin, but to slaves to his holiness” (Romans 6:18). It is true that where sin increases, grace increases more.

The only true freedom I can ever know will be found in Him. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36, KJV). I love the King James Version that says “free indeed”. Other versions say “through and through”. If He has freed me from sin, then I am FREED from sin. It is a complete work....not partial, but a finished work, but His work in me will always be one of obedience and perseverance. “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4, NASV). Continually growing in His grace, I will not lack. What has been true in the spiritual realm is now true in the physical. My deliverance has been appropriated by faith in Him who saved me from myself! I have discovered the depth, and every day shall continue to discover, the depth and power of His grace!

“Sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end” (Romans 5:20b-21 MSG),

My deliverance is found in the redemptive work of His grace, and that grace is discovered through obedience, His Word-studied and applied, prayer, and the power of His indwelling Spirit. These shall always prevail through ANY battle so I might stand strong in Him against any threat... in order that I may be a minister of His grace to others. “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6, NIV).

Lord, I can't impart your life, if I don't have your life. I shall desire your grace more than my own life. Make each day an obedient journey into your heart and into your Word. Help me, Lord, to make prayerful lifestyle choices that will always keep and help me stand strong in the miracle of your grace. Amen.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Daniel Fast: Day Seven

3 minutes ago near Anniston ·
  • Day Seven:

    Romans 6:11-14
    “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:11-14).

    I am under grace! What a journey this has become!

    A believer may supernaturally experience deliverance at the moment of salvation or even later as he grows in the Lord. It is also true that a believer might not miraculously experience deliverance, but he can mature spiritually enough to realize that deliverance has already happened in the spiritual realm, and that it can become real through faith. Deliverance at any time or in any way is appropriated by faith, but for it to continue, a believer must daily yield his old nature to the Lord.

    When Jesus looks at His child, He doesn’t recognize sin, but only sees potential. For me to remain on a straight path I must also see the potential that Christ sees in me. As I seek this potential, I make a daily decision not to succumb to temptation, and to trust in His Word and in His strength. I decide whether to sin or not, but it is Christ’s strength and His strength alone which breaks sin. I don’t have to cry and beg for His strength to be real. I apply His strength to my temptation by focusing on His Word instead of focusing on my weakness. I will not feel guilty when temptation hits. I decide not give in to its invitation. Sin is not my master. Since I know Jesus and I'm under His grace, I have the authority to rebuke it!

    The apostle Paul writes to the Romans. “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does” (Romans 7:14-20). Paul recognizes the battle that rages between his new and old nature, and understands that his human desire alone to be good is not enough.

    He continues in the next chapter of Romans. “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so” (Romans 8: 6-7). A sinful mind is incapable of submission because it is antagonistic towards God. A carnal mind focuses on sin, and even if it wished deliverance from sin, it cannot supply or apply the strength that is needed to fight.

    The conflict between good and evil is fought on the battlefield of the mind. A mind controlled by the Holy Spirit has the strength to win the battle. With each battle I win in my mind, peace is the result. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3). He will keep me, and He will keep you in His peace......when He is the focus of our mind.

    When Christ lives in us, we should be free from sin! God the father who raised Jesus from the dead, gives us the power over our mortal body’s desires. When the battle is won within your mind, self-control is attained. Because the Holy Spirit controls your mind, each member of your body is brought under the righteous control of the Holy Spirit. The body, which once controlled you, is now controlled by the living presence of a Holy God (Romans 8:10-11).

    This is my daily prayer. Controlled by His living presence, there is no battle I can't win. There is no test that I can't pass. There is nothing that comes against me from either within or without that I can't master, because He is my Master.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Daniel Fast: Day Six

Day Six:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 1:2).

This journey for greater grace in my life brings me to Romans 12:1-2. Grace would not be real for me if God's tender mercy had not loved me enough to die for me. But He did, and because of His sacrifice mercy has covered my sins with His grace. His mercy brought me forgiveness, and His grace brings the power to transform my life. In view of His tender mercy, I choose to offer myself today as a living sacrifice. I choose for my mind to be renewed, and I choose to live in righteousness (Ephesians 4:23-24). I must remember that obedience is greater than sacrifice. An obedient heart is one that chooses to sacrifice self out of love and commitment because of His sacrifice. No sacrifice of mine can ever be as great as His sacrifice.

Ephesians 4:23 (KJV) tells me I must “be renewed in the spirit of your mind”. Romans 12:2 (NIV) instructs “be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. Obedience is a decision that I make, and in return He brings His power to transform and renew my thoughts and my desires. It is my choice to “put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” Ephesians 4:24 NIV).

“So don’t lose a minute,” Peter encourages, “in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books” (1 Peter 1: 5-9, The Message).

Today I seek these qualities, Lord. I put of my new self, and you bring your power to renew and transform what I am never able to do. To change me. To mold me. To recreate me into what ever you desire.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Daniel Fast: Day Five

Day Five:

To spiritually know grace is be one with its power. To spiritually know grace faith must grow. For faith to grow I must trust in His power to stand strong IN me more than my lack of ability to stand strong. He has taken whatever battle rages to the grave, and has given me grace instead of the grave.

For strong faith to be real in a my life, the seed of His Word must first be planted, then nourished through study and prayer. Then as knowledge of His grace grows through greater faith, I am able to put down deep-seated roots that will anchor me. I must always remember that Christ didn't save in my perfection. He saved me in my brokenness. I must sacrifice my will and desires and seek His. As I grow in His grace, the power of that grace increases. When I yield my brokenness, my weakness, and myself to Him daily, I discover that in Him all things are possible.

We will always face temptation, but it is what we do with that temptation which reveals if we have died to self-will. It is what we do that reveals our allegiance. If we succumb to sin from which we have been saved, then we will not grow in grace and faith. Our growth will have become stagnant. We will have broken the allegiance that gives us power to stand strong.

Knowledge of the Word of God sets me free (John 8:32). Maybe we haven’t experienced that freedom, because mind-over-matter doesn’t work. Only spiritual knowledge and the grace of God has the ability to release us. Spiritual knowledge imparts wisdom. James says about wisdom, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do” (James 1:5-8). His wisdom is necessary for spiritual growth. As we seek to know the Word, we identify with the Word, and experience this wisdom. Faith increases, and temptation loses its grasp. But we must not doubt! We must believe that that His ability is greater than what we can't accomplish.

I want to be stable in all my ways. I want to be rock-solid and continually consistent. I want to be strong with something suddenly happens which makes me upset, angry, hurt, tempted, bitter, jealous, or unforgiving. I want to be controlled by His power, and not controlled by my lack of control.

Whether we are new or old believers with something that plagues our lives, there is promise of new life. Be open to the grace and faith of Jesus revealed in His Word. The power to set us free is there. It is real, and it waits.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Daniel Fast: Day Four

Day Four:

“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin” (Romans 6:1-7).

"Lord. I pray to discover depths that will help me on this journey to greater understand the power of your grace, and to grasp the miracle of your sacrifice."

To spiritually know grace is be one with its power. Christ has taken the sin that plagues to the grave, and buried its power to control! Just as Jesus was raised from the dead, now I am raised from spiritual death, and able to live my life (Romans 6:4). Sin’s ability to control my life has been brought under the power of Christ’s grace.

I have to face an area this morning. The Daniel Fast, which promotes a simple diet, hits right in my area of struggle. The Holy Spirit wants me to be honest with you in this struggle. No one wants to lay out their battles for others to see, but I know where His spirit is, there is freedom to be honest. I struggle with eating healthy. Overeating has been a battle far too long. But I remember this morning where sin increases, His grace increases all the more.

Now I have to face the reason. The Holy Spirit has shown me that a person who struggles with any addiction (for that is what sin is) hasn’t experienced the depths and the complete power of the grace of Jesus. I may understand in my mind that Jesus can set me free, but I must face the fact that I don’t understand in my heart that all things are possible with God.

I want to discover greater power of His resurrection… that power that raised Him from death into new life. I want to grow in His grace until I truly understand that this battle has been crucified with Him….until I know that I am no longer a slave to this struggle. I want to die to myself because I know that if I do, I shall be freed from this battle.

This will be my journey that I will share through the coming days of this fast, and I believe with every fiber of my being that, as I study His Word, I will learn the power of His grace to “choose life”. Do you have a battle? He gives you the ability to “choose life”. Just like it is for me, it is a choice, and the power of His grace can set us free.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Daniel Fast: Day Three

Day Three:

Is it really possible for me to have a heart of spiritual flesh which God can mold? It is His promise to me (Ezekiel 36:26). I am a new creature in Christ, and the old is buried (Romans 6:3-4). But sometimes there are areas that I battle, and must give to the Lord on a daily basis. Perhaps you also have an area where you need to be renewed in your heart and mind. “You were taught,” Paul writes, “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” (Ephesians 4;22-24).

Each time we lose a battle, the victory of the enemy becomes greater, and our ability to break free becomes less. How you we break out of this cycle that seems to have no end? How do we not only win the battle, but win the war? The answer is found in His Word, “It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). The Word is our weapon against the enemy! “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” II Corinthians 10:4). That area that I battle is sin and sin is a stronghold. The power to annihilate it is found in the Word of God.

There is a powerful promise in Romans 5:20b! “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” To be released from the bondage of my past, I have to know grace. Not just to have a mental conception of it. But KNOW it in my heart! What an incredible promise. No matter what I fight, He has overcome it by His grace. No matter what that area of my stony heart, His power breaks the hardness. In that moment His redemptive grace brings the power to heal, renew, and set me free.

Lord Jesus, in the next few days as I explore your amazing promise found in the power of grace, I ask for a heart that will not just know it in my mind, but have a heart completely renewed by it. I long to be renewed in the spirit of my mind, and transformed by the power in your Word. Your Word is life, and all I need so that your promise of a new heart will be real every day of my life. Lord Jesus, I pray for all others that seek your promises in your Word. Holy Spirit reveal the depths of your grace until we are forever changed. I give you myself.... again... today, Lord, trusting and believing that where sin increases, grace increases even more. In Jesus' name.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Daniel Fast: Day Two

Day Two:

“For here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land. I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You’ll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God” (Ezekiel 36:24-28, The Message)!

This morning I consider my stony heart. Oh, I hadn't thought it was stony and hard, but as I pray and seek the Lord, I discover there are areas that are hard and need to be broken. He strips away the layers to reveal what I need to face and allow the Holy Spirit to renew.

What is found in a stony heart? Have you ever had sudden emotions like anger or jealousy or bitterness rise up that darken you walk with the Lord? If we are honest, we all have. Feelings that I thought were buried with His sacrifice suddenly spring up. He wants me to have a new heart that is His and not mine. He wants to put His Spirit in me 100% of the time so that my self-willed heart is broken. He wants to give me a heart of spiritual flesh that He can mold.

It hurts to be molded, prodded, and changed. But I want to be what He desires. I want my heart to be tender for Him. I want the areas that are hard to be soft and yielding to His Spirit. I want to discover the freedom in Him that comes with the presence of His Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17). I am willing to face the pain so that I might be healed.

Today I make myself vulnerable to Him. He promises to bring me back from the exile of a hardened heart, and restore me completely in Him! My heart is renewed, and I rejoice in His victory over what would destroy my walk with Him. It is not the outward that destroys, but that of a hardened heart that has not allowed His Spirit to renew.

As always He gives me a great promise. It is the best He can give me. I will be His. And He will be mine. Completely.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Daniel Fast: Day One

Day One:

"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you" (Romans 12:1-2).

I place my life before God today as an offering, and I fix all my attention on Him. As this days unfolds, I embrace all He has for me. I face this day with the anticipation of His guidance, and also with the promise of His strength for what lies ahead. All I want is Him to mold me and change me from the inside out. I want to be renewed in my heart and mind, and open to all He wishes to pour into my life. Like a sponge I want to absorb all of Him so that I might grow in His mercy and grace, and for Him to complete the work He wishes to finish in me.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Forget the Old to Find the New

Have you ever longed to forget what has happened, and dwell on the promise of something greater? Have you ever wished your mind would think only of good things, and believe in what God promises? Have you ever yearned for a greater faith to trust in God’s purpose? Have you ever longed for a peace that is lasting?

“Yes!” our hearts hope, and “impossible” our minds declare. And here lies the battle. We want to believe. We yearn to believe. We hope to believe. We cry out to believe. Even though we are meant to be new in Christ, even though we know that all things in our lives are meant to be new, and even though we believe the old should be over, we struggle to move forward in faith. We cannot perceive what this new life, free from the bondage of old chains, really means.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past” (Isaiah 43:18). This Scripture tells us not to wrap our minds around what has happened, and not to continually think about the past that has defined us. It instructs us to make a decision to forget the past. Forget is a strong word, and it means “being unable to call to mind, unable to summon up, or unable to picture.” Now that sounds incredible! Not to remember or even have a picture in my mind of past fears or failures. Forget means that the past is gone. So we shouldn’t continually think about it or dwell on it. He will keep me, and He will keep you in perfect peace when our minds dwell on Him (Isaiah 26:3).

“See,” the Lord states, “I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it” (Isaiah 43:19)? When my mind does not dwell on what has been, hope is much easier. See is another strong word, and it means “to understand, realize, or perceive.” It doesn’t mean to just look. Look has no depth, and is concerned with appearance only. See takes look somewhere it has never gone before. See expectantly believes that God is doing a new thing. Faith is the “new” thing. Faith is not dormant. It is alive. It springs up. Can I not perceive it? Can you not perceive it?

We must forget the former things, bar them from our minds, and be renewed in the spirit of our minds (Ephesians 4:23). We choose to remain confident because we know God does a new thing. “Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36). We shall rest assured, because we know He is faithful. We will persevere until the new is perceived. In all things we will seek His will, and He will reward our diligence. We will give Him the past, the fear, the failures, all that has gone wrong, and His peace that passes human understanding, will guard our thoughts (Philippians 4:6-7). His promise of peace is real. His promise of faith is real. We choose to forget the former things, and believe in the promise He has for us (Isaiah 43:18-19). We choose to let go of the former things which have defined us, and believe that His promises of faith, of peace, of victory, of joy, of healing, of hope, of purpose, of freedom, of every good and perfect gift, are real.

“I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland,” He promises. “The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise” (Isaiah 43:20-21). Even though I may walk through the wasteland, it will not destroy me. It will not define me, BECAUSE He gives me everything I need to survive and flourish. I forget the old to find the new

Sunday, January 6, 2013

No Matter What I Have Him

No matter what I face, I am never alone.
No matter what my weakness, I have strength.
No matter what I feel, I have a spirit that rests.
No matter what my struggle, I have peace.
No matter what my defeat, I have victory.
No matter what my sadness, I have joy.
No matter what my lot, I have faith.
No matter what, it doesn't matter.
I have Him.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

His Word My Strength

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:10-11).

I remember the moment I found these verses in Isaiah, and realized that the Bible was directly from the heart of God. The words on the pages suddenly became full of promise for me. They were like a hidden treasure for me to discover, and I was hungry for the adventure. I wanted them to accomplish His best in my life. As the pain, loss, and troubles of life hit me fully in the face, God reassured me with the promises I had discovered in His Word. Through many years He has continually given me peace through His Word.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).

Whatever happens I can trust God to handle my pain. I can trust Him to carry all the worries and problems. But I must release all of it to Him, and allow His peace to work in my heart and mind. I have to learn to surrender everything to Him, and that process means letting go and allowing His strength to become mine. I must face my fears and problems head-on with His strength and believe He will carry me through each ordeal. I must exercise faith trusting that no matter what the outcome, He will provide for my every need.

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23). Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame" (Isaiah 50:7).

Unswervingly! With my face set like a flint! This is way I will believe. He will provide the strength to overcome my fears, and face my problems head-on. I decide to believe this, and allow Him to be my strength. It sounds good to read these Scriptures over and over, but I MUST internalize them until they become real in me.... until my every thought is taken captive by them. And only then I will realize His greatest healing peace.

"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised" (Hebrews 10:35-36). "The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it" (I Thessalonians 5:24).

I must never give up! I must believe that He is faithful to take care of whatever I have released to Him. I must believe that when I surrender by body, soul, spirit, mind, and heart to Him, I will receive what He has promised me. He will give me victory over fear, problems, struggles, and I will know peace that the world will never give. It will be His peace that passes all my human understanding. And I will know Him through His Word alive in my spirit, and His Spirit alive in me. He will truly be my strength, my victory, my Savior, my peace, my joy, and my love. He will be my All-in-All.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Let's Be Real

What is your life saying? What is my life saying? Is it about me or about others? I don't want to be a part of the ME generation. I want my heart to be broken for others. I want my life to make a difference. 
Years ago I saw a bumper sticker that read, "Is your life a message or a mess?" It asked me if I had an anchored purpose or if I was like flotsam- floating around with no anchor. I would like to challenge each one of us to examine our lives. To examine our moments. Our thoughts. Our actions. To really see if Jesus is our reason for existence. If He is our first love, we need to live it. James was explicit when he penned that "faith without works in dead". Likewise, he let us know that works without faith has little meaning. If we love Jesus, we should not be a ME generation. We should be living faith in action for others. We should be on the front lines for Jesus.
So where are you now? Where am I? Jesus knows where we are. Are we ready to be truthful with Him? Are we really ready to examine our hearts? Are we ready to be a message for Him instead of a mess with no purpose? Let's be real with Him so we can be real with others.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Reasonable Expectations

Many times we start a new year with a list of goals we want to achieve without considering that growth just doesn't happen. We need to consider the value of having reasonable expectations.

Are your expectations attainable? Or are they so high you get easily discouraged? Sometimes a goal is so high you need to take the steps to get there one by one. Just thinking of a high goal can be terribly discouraging, and makes it seem impossible. You might give up. But if you take a little step at a time, and just concentrate on that step, the next step becomes easier. Then the next, and the next. Suddenly you may discover you have met your high goal, and you can look back and see how God has strengthened you the whole way. Always consider that a high goal may only be found through the accomplishment of smaller reasonable goals.

Others are watching you. On the way to your goal you might slide back a step or two. “Now the Lord is the Spirit,” Paul writes, “and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (II Corinthians 3:17). Be humble enough to admit when you’re wrong or fail or don’t have an answer. Trying to be “perfect” only creates disappointment when you make mistakes...not only for you, but maybe for those who are learning from your journey. Let your mask down. A willingness to be vulnerable invites vulnerability in others. It inspires honesty, but, greater still, opens each person’s heart to the healing presence of the Holy Spirit. Be honest when you make a mistake. Ask for forgiveness and forgive yourself. Then try again.

Never hold on to your failure. Examine it. Realize the lesson; apply the lesson and then give it to God. Don’t dig it back up. It’s gone. Forgiveness for your own mistakes and for those of others is consciously rendered. We decide to move on, and trust the Lord for the strength with which to accomplish it.

All things are possible with God!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I Will Conquer

I will not fail if I trust in Him. I will not fail if I have His conquering heart and steadfast mind. My attitude must be that of a conqueror. I will stand, and having done everything, I will stand. I will conquer my foes, my fears, and my obstacles, because He is not just with me. He is in me, and He gives me the strength to rise to greater victories. I become more than a conqueror. I walk in newness of life and freedom from the past, from fears and circumstance. I walk above that which would destroy me. And in Him there is no failure. There is only victory.

Joshua 1:7
Romans 8:37-39

He is Your Source

          Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. —Psalm 136:1     The strength of your faith is the rev...