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Thursday, February 28, 2013

His Strength


When Paul wrote, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me," he did not mean that he was to do all things and then rely on the Lord to find strength. He meant that for all he was told to do he could rely on the Lord to supply the strength.

God's work in the world has been hindered by our self-strengthened work. Self-driven work finally wears us thin, and we burn out. Self has driven out the Spirit, and the strength that is offered. The Holy Spirit should not only be our direction, but our strength. We are to yield to Him, and wait for the strength He supplies. We are to rest in Him.

What does it mean to rest in Him? To be still and know that He is God? Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up as eagles. The Lord shall be the wind beneath their wings. That wind is constant, never wavering of faltering. It is as sure as He is the cornerstone, our foundation. It supports all that you are, and in every way supplies strength for His calling, for your need, for every moment, every concern. That strength is your heartbeat, and you cannot exist without it.

When you are tired or fear suddenly closes around your heart, rest in the Lord until you are joyful again─until His strength has become your own. Let your time of rest be one where His strength is renewed. Never seek to work for Him with your own strength. Work only with Him. You will discover that constant wind that carries you in the height of the Spirit. Live with Him, and in Him, and He will open doors of His own desire. My own self can do nothing, and it is in that moment of awareness that I find Him.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

FORGIVENESS


Have you been hurt or rejected by another person? Does your heart feel cold and hard when you remember what they have done? The inability to forgive is a terrible cancer. It eats at your spiritual health and ultimately destroys your relationship with God. Because God has given man a free will to choose or reject Him, you also have a free will to either forgive or not to forgive.

“Do not judge,” Jesus instructs, “and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). Isn’t the inability to forgive really judgment of that person? Your hurt and your pain does not give you a license to judge that person. It does not give you a license to be angry and hate.

When you are devastated by someone's action, you have a choice what to do with the hurt and the bitterness. If you allow that hurt to define who you are, that pain can immobilize you. You are in bondage to your pain. The Holy Spirit invites us to acknowledge our pain so we might forgive. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom,” Paul writes (2 Corinthians 3:17). God does not want you in bondage to your hurt. If you know the Lord, you have the freedom and the power to forgive.

Recently parents of a murdered girl spoke of forgiving her murderer. They talked freely about letting the anger go, and wanting to be free of the burden of being victims. They wanted to move forward and not “go to prison with him”. They knew they needed to let go of their pain, and surrender the burden of wanting to get even. They had the freedom to choose either bitterness or forgiveness. With Christ's power they were able to forgive.
Are you tired of your hurt, and your pain? Let it go, and He “will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you, and will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Free of Me


The Lord is my sanctuarya place of safe retreat. He is my refuge from my own self. I can retreat from others into myself, but I can never hide from myselffrom my own failures, my sins, my weaknesses, and my own limitations. I find that within myself there is no relief. But in the early morning hours I discover that He is my sanctuary. He hides me under His wings until I forget my limitations, and my failures....until my own sins are washed away and remembered no more. He hides me until relief from my own sense of failure and shortcomings begins to fill my spirit. He hides me from myself until the relief of His grace brings great joy. In that moment of joy, praise comes, and His strength to conquer inhabits all of me. And then I am free of me

Monday, February 25, 2013

His Abundant Life


“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
Do you see God as being generous? He is! He gives abundant life for earth, and abundant life for eternity. This is the reason He came. To give His life for souls! To give us life instead of death! To give us victory instead of defeat! To speak peace instead of turmoil! To bring rest in the midst of the storms of life!
Jesus Christ came so that we may know overflowing life in Him. He gave all for that purpose. He sacrificed all He was for all the ugliness that we are. In His gift to us He becomes the vine that empowers. We are the branches. When the life of the vine flows into ours, we bring forth new growth! We flourish in His presence. Our being becomes one with His.
Whatever you might face today, He has already given victory. He is Peace. Joy. Strength. Power. Healing. Patience. Forgiveness. He is everything you cannot be alone. But when you are one with Him, He is all you lack. His Life flowing through your veins is all you need. So look to Him, the Author of your faith, and take courage. It is only in Christ that you can have the greatest peace, strength, power, healing, patience, forgiveness. But you must live with Him, and in Him. Then and only then will His life accomplish the miraculous in your life.
This is abundant life! This is your purpose, and your promise. This is the reason He came. For you. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Allow Him


“In repentance and rest s your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it” (Isaiah 30:15).

In repentance and rest is His salvation. In quietness and trust is His strength. But we would have none of it? It is the last part of this verse that hits hard this morning. He offers us His strength in the midst of our struggle. He offers rest and salvation from its fear. Why then will we have none of it? Because we want to be in control. That's why. But it is when our control is lost, and He becomes Master, that we discover peace.

“In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength,” He speaks. “Trust me to lead you safely through your doubt, your pain, your struggle. Have you ever considered that what you face is really meant to answer what you have requested of me? I am in control, and to struggle against me is in vain. Give me your concerns, your questions, your doubts, your pain, your limitations. Give them all to me, and allow me to have them completely. The moment you allow me to have them, I began a work to bring healing, harmony, and health into your life. I will allow no more pain than is necessary to bring about an answer and a cure to whatever you face. I love you, and all I do will be done as gently as possible. Trust me. Allow me to solve what you were never meant to solve.”

“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).

Friday, February 22, 2013

Observed


Lord, it is an amazing thing to belong to you, to know you intimately, and to be known as one who seeks your heart. But with that incredible relationship comes a great responsibility from which I must never shrink. Each step I take is observed. Each word I speak is heard. Each moment of my life touches another. Things that I may do that are not guided by you, may not only hurt others, but hurt your ability to work in their lives. Help me to always walk very carefully, to seek your will, and always follow your desires instead of my own. I have been bought with the greatest price, and there are no times in my life that I am free from that great responsibility. Help me, Lord, to walk in your will and in your power so that each person I know, sees only you, and never me. I must always remember that it is not only in the large things that your grace is known. It is in the little everyday moments that your grace impacts others. Today I give you all my smaller and my greater moments. I give you my life so that you may turn my limitations and my failures into your greatest work.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

We are the Body


“Belief in each other is essential to have a successful organization” Colin Powell once said. What a powerful statement, and that is a statement that should effect every facet of our lives. Have faith in others. Even when their ideas are not exactly your own, recognize them for the individuality they bring to the whole family, organization, or church. See potential in each other. Listen to the concerns of their heart. In the church, we are each part of the body. The Apostle Paul mentions the importance that each part brings to the body. There is no least or great. When each part is not functioning to its capacity the whole body suffers.

Colin Powell also said that “trust among everyone holds us together”. Trust does not mean we all agree, but it does mean that we have an obligation to hear another person's point of view with respect. It means that we recognize the importance of each individual, and believe they have something valuable to offer. It means that we state concerns with love and not anger or rage. It means that what we bring to the table is spoken with regard to each one present. It means that we consider the one next to us or across the table more important than ourselves. It means that we recognize that we are human and fallible, and we do not have to make our point known. There is freedom in not having to have the last word.

What we are called to be is the body of Christ. That body suffered for you. That body took the nails for you. That body took within Himself all the sin and pain of the world. That body became less so you might know the joy of freedom from suffering and harsh attitudes. What does our body do for Him? Do our actions as individuals bring pain to the body of Christ? What do we give back for all He has given us? Is my individual need so great that I would wound another? Or do I see the whole body as a place I can lay my life down for others?

I will answer someday just like you will. I will stand before Him and explain my attitudes and actions, and I will be held accountable for what I have written. I pray it brings glory to Him, and healing in our lives. Each one of us will answer, and I know that we long to hear that we have been good and faithful. Let’s live it today, and make our body into the whole He so desires. We long to enter into His glory, and He longs for it even more.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dwell on That


“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” Isaiah 26:3 NIV).

Never dwell on your fear, your illness, your worry. Dwell on God's faithfulness. Think more of Him, and less of what you face in this life. He is the Great Physician, your healer. Dwell on that. He is your strength. Dwell on that. He is your rock no matter what comes against you. Dwell on that. He is your power to overcome adversity. Dwell on that. He is all you need at any moment. Dwell on that.

Even His most faithful children often do not claim healing for every part of their lives. Claim healing of your body, of your mind, and of your spirit. Love Him continually, and focus on Him always. Where you mind focuses, your heart follows. Allow Him to be what you can't be. Allow Him to handle what you can't handle. And then no weapon that comes against you will harm you.
You will know perfect peace no matter what. Dwell on that.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Love's Work Lasts


God is love, and only what is done in His love lasts. My life on earth is like a flower that grows and fades away. For a time it blooms, and then it is gone. But what I have done in His love will never fade away. The recognition of man will die with man, but God’s love given through my frailty will remain forever. If His love is not the reason for my action, then my action makes no difference in a hurting world. If His love is not the force behind all that I am, and all that I do, then nothing I do in His name lasts. He must be more than my reason. He must be the greatest love of my life.

Consider how an encouraging simple word of love can change a life, while the words of a powerful man may fall on fallow ground. Whatever I do in this life must be inspired and filled with His love or it is vain. It is nothing. So much of what we do in His name is done because of what we consider necessity and not born of His love.

Today I ask Him to fill me with His love for all that He desires of me, and I ask Him to turn me away from all that I do in His name that is not inspired by His love. The greatest force is His love in my life. If I do not love completely with His love, then “I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (I Corinthians 13:1). Making a lot of useless noise accomplishes nothing, but His symphony of love in my life always rings true.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

I AM HIS RESPONSIBILITY


Christ paid the ultimate price for my redemption. I cannot fathom His pain and His agony. I cannot fathom his loneliness and separation from His father. He gave all of himself so that I might be free from sin and death. I am not my own. I have been bought with the greatest price. I belong to Him. I am His to use, His to love, His to take care of. It is so hard to grasp that there is the deepest love that would die for me, but when I grasp it, I know that all I have been is gone, and I am new.

I have been taught that because He bought me with His life, I must serve Him, obey Him, and live for Him. This is true, but what I may fail to realize is that I am His responsibility. It is His responsibility to supply my every need. It is His responsibility to carry me through the hard times. When I belong to Him, He owns my heart and my life. My responsibility is to allow Him to live through me, and it His responsibility to do it.
As He died for me, I must die daily so that He lives in me. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

My Weakness His Power


Jesus never fails me. His promises are not dependent upon my ability, but only upon my accepting His will and walking in it. He gives me His assurance that though I may fail in what I attempt, ultimately His promise and purpose will prevail. When He chose Peter, He saw Peter's potential. He recognized not only someone who after denial and failure, would rise up to walk in His power and strength, but He chose Peter so that others who are frail and weak might realize that God's purpose is not limited by their weakness. My weakness given to God becomes His power in my life to achieve the potential He sees in me.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Walk with Me


Walk with me into the Upper Room. It is the night before Christ’s crucifixion. Jesus picks up a basin of water, a towel, and pitcher. Kneeling before a disciple he washes the dirt of travel from his feet. Peter watches apprehensively as Jesus moves closer. Finally Jesus kneels before him. Unable to handle the scene before his eyes Peter jerks away (John 13:1-7).

You shall never wash my feet!” he cries.

"Unless I wash you, Peter, you will have no part of me" (John 13:8).

What would elicit should a response in Peter? Peter is well aware that he is only a servant, and does not believe it is appropriate for Jesus to wash his feet. For Jesus to serve him in such a lowly way creates feelings of unworthiness in him. It is also hard for Peter to visualize Jesus as a servant, because he has only known Him as Master. Yielding to Jesus the servant is harder than yielding to Jesus the leader. Jesus, as leader, bears the weight of accountability. Jesus, as servant, asks, “Peter, I give my life for you, and now I wish you to give your life away for my sake.” The ball is now in Peter’s court, and Jesus asks him if he is willing to be accountable. It is time to see if Peter is ready or not to accept the responsibility of the call upon his life.

Just like Peter, we all deal with a sense of unworthiness, and a sense of pride. A lot of Christians try to get rid of pride without going the way of the cross. Without allowing Jesus to wash their feet and without a complete heart change of attitude, a Christian remains stuck in his own unworthiness. If he is a person who is concerned what others think of him, then his outward appearance is his greatest concern. The humility he might actually believe he has found in Jesus might be nothing more that pride. When faced with the true humility of the Master standing right before him asking to wash his feet, his own shallowness brings shame and he says, "oh, no, I am unworthy.”

Peter also can no longer control with his mind his love for the Master. This is the time that is must become a heart issue. When Jesus kneels before Peter, the humanness of Peter’s mind must yield to the calling of Jesus’ heart. If I am really a Christian who wishes to know the Lord intimately, I don’t want pride to be a part of my life. I really want to experience the humility of heart that Jesus expects. As humans we find it hard to absolutely surrender. We just don’t want to make the sacrifice. What we might not understand is that the sacrifice which is the hardest is the one that brings the greatest blessing.

Jesus kneels before you and before me. With basin and towel ready, he says, "Unless I wash your feet, you can have no part of me". Do we allow Him to have His way in our lives? I pray that we all discover the path of surrender. Because it is at that moment of surrender, we discover who we really are.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Press On With Praise


Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).


I will have courage and not fear. Today I start again, and put my old mistakes behind me. He gives me a fresh beginning. I will not worry or be frightened. If His forgiveness was only for the righteous, it wouldn't be needed. Not one of us is perfect. We all have fallen short. But His forgiveness is new every morning.

So why do I worry? He longs to give me that fresh beginning, but my life is dirtied with worry and anxiety. As long as I dwell on what is bad in my life, I cannot see His promise of new life. Why should He help me when my worry would crush His blessings? In spite of my past or circumstance, He blesses those with joyful hearts.

I press on toward my prize. I forget what has been, and I praise Him for transforming my life. I shall be joyful and realize that with this new beginning, I once more step out in faith to trust and believe in His promises that never fail. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Well Done on Earth


Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matthew 25:21).

Not only are these words spoken to Christ's children who have passed on to be with Him, but they are also spoken for those that serve Him in this world, but are not recognized for their service. They are spoken for those who quietly work for Him faithfully, who face trials and suffering without announcing their plight, and share His love wherever it is needed without needing recognition.

If I serve Him faithfully here on earth, then I do enter into a fuller spiritual life of His joy. It is one where earthly recognition of service means nothing, but His recognition means everything. This world may never recognize my service for Him, but He knows, and He rewards, not with earthly fame or riches, but with the incredible gift of His joy. It is His joy that brings peace when facing pain. It is His joy that no one can steal from me. There is nothing on earth that offers His kind of joy.

Whatever suffering I quietly facewhatever I do in His name without notice, I will serve Him without the need of earthly recognition. My suffering or circumstance will spur me to serve, and His joy will come, not as a reward of what I have done, but as a reward of my heart given away in spite of my own pain.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

He Lights My Path


Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105).

If His Word guides me, there is no problem or circumstance or difficulty that need shock me. He reveals what I must do with all things that arise, but the light of His presence must go with me. He is there to comfort and cheer, and not there to reveal future events that I am not meant to handle in my present moment. If I fully trust Him, then I have peace in the present, and no worries or fears beyond it.

As He accompanies me along my path, His light reveals only a few steps. The path, as it twists ahead, is darkened, My future path is dark because the light of His presence lights my way NOW, and when I reach another bend in the path, He will light the way THEN. As the future of today passes into the present of tomorrow, His presence will walk with me. The same light which guided me–the same power–the same peace will continue to guide my way along my path.

And I am never alone.

Monday, February 11, 2013

I KNOW


He is with me. I do not need to always “feel” His presence. I “know” He is with me. To ask for the sensory experience of His presence all the time is, in a way, to ask for proof or for a sign. I do not need a sign. I know His peace that passes understanding even when all around feels so dark. I know in whom I believe, and know He is able to keep me safe no matter what happens.

Anyway, does it matter what I feel? What matters is what He is, and that He shall ever be with me. He is my strength when I “feel” weak. He is my peace when I “feel” shaken. Feelings depend upon moods, circumstances, and outward pressures. His peace comes from within and never without. I may be influenced by circumstances, but He never is. His promise is always kept. He is with me, and He never forsakes me.

Today I rest in His presence. Today I feel it. Tomorrow I might not. But whatever I feel, I know, that my Redeemer is constant and unchanging. And that is all I need.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Crossing the Bar

Crossing the Bar by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Sunset and evening star, 
And one clear call for me! 
And may there be no moaning of the bar, 
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have cross’d the bar.

KNOWING JESUS

  Whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing...