Search This Blog

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Abundantly Generous

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b).

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 you 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!  He is abundantly generous beyond whatever you may imagine. He came to bring you this promise and purpose.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Practice His Presence


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.
Lynn Lacher



Monday, May 27, 2013

Embrace Discipline

Embrace Discipline!

Have you ever focused on a runner’s face as he crosses the finish line? In one moment the sacrifice of hard training is surpassed by incredible joy. He has reached his goal. Does he stop at this point? No. Not only must he remain in shape for the next race, but he must train for different hardships the next race presents. To finish the next race he is ready to embrace discipline once more. The joy of accomplishment surpasses the cost of any sacrifice.

Our spiritual lives are the same. Without spiritual training in righteousness we will not know the joy of crossing the finish line. Spiritual training involves throwing off everything that deters us from the goal. We run the race with perseverance when we determine to be pushed to the limit (Hebrews 12:1).

The only way to run the race with endurance is to focus every spiritual muscle upon Jesus Christ. The race began the moment he breathed spiritual life into us, and continues until the finish life of eternal life is reached. The little joys of sacrifice along the way are what carry us to the joy crossing the final finish line brings.

We realize the joy of personal sacrifice when we understand the great cost of His sacrifice. He endured the cross because of the joy that was to come. He endured the pain for the joy of resurrection. Yet in the moment of personal trial we forget He paid the ultimate price, and in the struggle we forget He is there to help us carry the load. We miss the opportunity to grow because our eyes are not fixed upon Him but upon our problem (Hebrews 12:2).

When you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you are adopted by God as His child. Because He loves you as a heavenly father, God disciplines you and tells you not to lose heart or become discouraged (Hebrews 12:5). When we understand who we are in Christ, we know Him as a loving father who only has our welfare at heart. We know the hardships we face are meant to create a stronger bond with Him, so we look for the lesson in them. (Roman 8:28). God pushes us to the limit for our own welfare, and for no other reason.

This Truth is only discovered when we embrace disciple.

We embrace that which we love. We hold it close to our heart. Such love has the power to hurt terribly or bring incredible joy. If we love Jesus we embrace His training during good and bad times. It means that we understand its eternal value in our lives. We discover incredible spiritual joy when we allow the Lord to reveal the good that comes from a hardship.

Jesus Christ urges us to finish our race, and to finish it well. Often we don’t hear His voice because we are not willing to embrace His discipline. If we really loved Him we would embrace the hardship that comes and hold on to it until the lesson has spurred us to greater faith in Him.

You are running a spiritual marathon. Life is the race. The problems of life pull the breath out of you, but you are seeking the second wind of His Spirit. The Lord runs beside you coaching you on to greater heights. Each pounding step helps you understand a little more of the cost of His sacrifice.

Embrace the discipline that comes through hardship. Love it for the lesson and training in righteousness that it brings. Look to Him who is the author and the finisher of your faith (Hebrews 12:2). He is the one who carries you through the race of life, and who will complete the good work in you (Philippians 1:6).


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Living My Faith: The Cost

Never forget that living your faith is all about Him. You may begin your Christian life called out of love for your Savior. Your heart initially burns with the wonder of what God has started only to find along the way that your inability to surrender control to the Lord chokes out spiritual life. Never forget that you have no ministry without Him. Never forget that the least is greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. Jesus came to serve. You are called to have a servant’s heart, and are no better than those who look up to you. If a person feels the need to declare his humility, then humility is not really a part of his life. True humility is a powerful tool. It reveals that spiritual power in a believer’s life has been placed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.


The cost of living the Christian life should only be counted spiritually. Danger exists in humanly counting the cost of commitment. Taking too much stock in what is required personally causes you to retreat from the depth of inward commitment necessary. Too little human commitment and your desire to live for Him fades away. However, there is safety is spiritually calculating the cost. When the price com is spiritually counted and the cost is absolute surrender to Jesus Christ, then biblical paradoxes take on new spiritual depth! Servitude brings greatness. Weakness brings strength. To live is to die, and to die is to live.

Your life in Christ requires a personal willingness to grow. God doesn’t want you “burned out and used up” because of His call upon your life. He wishes you fresh, alive, and able to pour His life through you. Give whatever is necessary spiritually. You will receive the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, and what is so important, you will inspire commitment. Spiritual growth within you and within those who God has brought into your life will be a reality.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Living My Faith: Knowing Possibilities

Living My Faith: Knowing Possibilities

In living your faith you face possible discouragement and even burnout. We have looked at managing our priorities, bible study and prayer. One of the greatest prerequisites for commitment is to have a teachable spirit. You can’t grow spiritually if you have all the answers. You must be open to new experiences in Christ or you become stale. Not only does your ability to inspire others vanish, but if you are not willing to learn, decay in your relationship with God is unavoidable. A leader is someone who others follow you. If you are a Christian someone is following you. A leader is first of all a student, and must be teachable.

Develop a positive attitude. Don’t dwell on past failures. “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,” Paul advises, “ who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Allow the promise in these words to positively affect your attitude. If you have a bad attitude, others sense it. Your ability to remain encouraging and optimistic toward ministry diminishes. Not only do you burn out, those who look to you for guidance fall by the wayside.

Have reasonable expectations on yourself and on others. If those you disciple do not grow immediately, don't be discouraged. A new Christian, for instance, does not jump from new faith in Jesus to an immediate ability to apply the Word of God. Patience is required as people grow in holiness. Any unreasonable expectation places an unjust burden on both a you and a the person you are discipling. Expectation becomes an obstacle to growth and both experience frustration and undue stress. Don’t expect too much too quickly. Realize that not only are you both human, but that a high goal may only be found through the accomplishment of smaller reasonable goals.

Be honest when you make a mistake. Forgive yourself and others. “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 don’t have an answer. Trying to be a “perfect” Christian in the eyes of others only creates disappointment when you make mistakes. 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.

If you fail, forgive yourself. If someone else fails, forgive him also. Don’t 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.

When you allow the Lord to deal with your heart and mind, you have a teachable spirit. The renewing of your mind creates the ability to see have reasonable expectations. It creates a forgiving heart that believes in God's faithfulness. With these kind of qualities stress, discouragement, and burnout are things that will no longer have the ability to render you spiritually helpless. Living your faith will be as natural as breathing.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Living My Faith: Giving Him TIme

    Have you stretched yourself to the point that meeting one of your many goals becomes impossible? Are you so busy that the daily time you need for Bible study and prayer is placed on a back burner? Take stock of your daily activities. List and classify each one as necessary or unnecessary. In each category prioritize every activity and determine how much time is necessary to complete it. This includes commitments at church. Too obsessed with your commitment, you may become frustrated when a goal is unattainable. Too little, and your faith is not applied. Trim the excess, and prayerfully decide what you can do and what you can’t do. You will discover more time for prayer and Bible Study. Sacrifice those nonessential activities for the Lord who died for you. He greatly honors your time when you seek His face. In Him and Him alone, you realize that His joy is the strength you need, and burnout will be an something that becomes less and less.

Evaluate your Bible Study and prayer time. Studying a Scripture inspires, but before it can do more than inspire you have to understand it from within its context. Everyone needs a structured Bible study. A systematized study supplies the basis for the Holy Spirit to speak to you and for you to understand the message in the Word. If you haven’t learned something new from your study, look again. Expect to be surprised by the Word, and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you. Expectation rewards with spiritual surprise!

Prayer is your one-on-one time with the Lord. Without it, you have no strength, no guidance, no purpose, no peace, and no victory. Stress and burnout are inevitable. The Holy Spirit must pour Himself into you for you to spiritually impart Him to others, and as you are emptied, you must continually be refilled. Don’t become discouraged in prayer. Paul writes, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will” (Romans 8:26a-27). Just allow Him to search your heart, and He will pray for you.

God doesn’t want you “burned out and used up” because of His call upon your life. He wishes you fresh, alive, and able to pour His life through you. Find time and give Him your best.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Perception

Life is difficult. It is especially hard when I allow the enemy to distort what is true. His distortion might certainly appear to be truth, but it never is. I must pray and look beneath His lies to see God’s truth in each matter. Appearance does not always reveal what is true. My perception is where his lies can take root. Prayer and Bible study are essential to understand the enemy’s distortions. Just as he used Scripture to tempt Christ, he will certainly use it to tempt me to believe his lie.

I must seek God’s truth in all matters. I must realize that the parables Jesus’ spoke teach that appearances are not always true. There is always more beneath the surface. He explained this to his disciples in Matthew 13: 13-15. This is why I speak to them in parables: ‘Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’”

I do not want to have a calloused heart and mind that listens to the enemy’s lies, and never perceives what Christ really imparts. I want to perceive with an open heart, ears, eyes, and mind. How I long for Him to see in me the quality He saw in His disciples! “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it” (Matthew 13:16-17).

Help, me, Lord, to be one of these who hear, see, and understand your truth with my heart and mind and spirit. I don't want to live through another person's faith. I want to live my own faith. I want to hear from you. I will give you my time to seek and understand your Word so I can perceive what you have for me. If I see, hear , and understand what you are speaking to me, then I will be healed of everything that hinders me from my potential in you. I will be changed.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Perfect or Permissive?

A friend asked me yesterday what I believed was the difference between the permissive and perfect will of God. This morning I thought of Habakkuk (chapter 2), and his need for an answer from God. Habakkuk waited for God’s answer. He stood firm, and believed He would hear. God didn't immediately give the answer Habakkuk desired, but what He told Habakkuk, speaks of the faithfulness of a God who is never late. “Though the answer may linger,” God said, “wait for it! It will certainly come, and will not delay.”
When I have a question I believe I need answered right away, how do I respond when I find I must wait for it? Habakkuk stood firm, and declared he would not move until He had heard from God. He did not stand in an attitude of his right to have an answer, but one of humility in the awareness of God’s faithfulness. Having brought his question to God, he believed He would hear. He stood, and he waited. He did not struggle for an answer. He waited, and knew God's promise that an answer would come in God's Time.
What is God's perfect will and His answer for my life? I believe I have an answer when I am completely submitted to Him. I hold nothing back. I wait in anticipation of His faithfulness. I wait for my answer. I may be frustrated like Habakkuk, but I know God is faithful, and I take my frustration to Him just as Habakkuk did. I let God have it, and I take no action until I hear from God. In humble honestly, I boldly come before Him and seek my answer. When I am broken and spilled out in my heart for Him, I know His will, because I yearn with all my heart to be in His will. When I am renewed in the spirit of my mind, and I am transformed and looking for His perfect and pleasing will, I discover it without struggling. If I yearn for His desires to be my desires, I am absolutely willing to surrender my personal desires for His. I am willing to wait as long as necessary for His will or His promise to come into being. I am willing to believe in that promise even if that promise doesn't come into my sight (Hebrews 11:6). Don't I sometimes get so focused on what God's will is for my life, I forget that this very moment when I am seeking His will, the spiritual growth I'm discovering, is His will? I find His will, and I am in His will when I trust Him perfectly. He knows that He is the focus of all my desire, and not His will. I just want Him completely transforming my life.

I also believe that God has a permissive will for my life. You might not agree with all of this, but I ask you to hear me out, and then draw you own conclusion. I believe that when I am lost in a struggle to discover His will, and I believe with all my heart that I have absolutely surrendered, there may be a part of my will that has not absolutely surrendered to His will. It may be a lack of trust in His faithfulness. It may be questioning Him as to why I haven't seen His hand move when I believe with all my heart that He has told me His will, and I haven't seen it. I may “feel” time closing in... whether it is nor not. Proverbs 16:3 says, "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” This says to me, that if I commit to the Lord my decision to act, and He knows I want to serve Him from a humble heart, He will allow my plans to be successful. This I believe is His permissive will. He knows I love Him and I want to be His always. Because of my love for Him, (and if that direction does not compromise Him), He may allow me to move in a direction He might not have initially called. I believe He allows His permissive will when He knows that I love Him completely, and perfect trust is something He knows that I desire with all my heart, and for whatever reason, I have not just found it. Perhaps I stumble into it because my greatest desire is to serve Him, and He knows that I long to serve Him with all my being. He knows my humble impatience, but He also recognizes my love. He knows that, even though I may struggle, He is still the focus of my desire.

There is a great danger, when in struggling to know God's will, that I might actually move out of God's will. When I take matters into my own hand–when my heart is so frustrated that my impatience has become a tool in Satan's hands–when my personal desire to be in His will has become greater than His actual will for my life, I will totally fail Him. Because of my need to "feel" His approval and have His answer, I completely miss His perfect will. I even miss His permissive will. My impatient heart has become so hardened by what “I” feel I need, that I have lost completely a heart for what “God needs”. I move forward and make my plans from the desire of what I believe I need. I have become so obsessed with the desire to be in His will, that I miss it altogether. I have forgotten my life is about Him, and not just about His will. The plans that I make may be mine alone, because they have not come from a surrendered heart. They have come from my need to "feel" and just "know", and there is the downfall. I find myself totally out of His will and lost in a feeling and need for approval that knows no bounds.

Habakkuk felt He has been pushed to His limit. His heart broke for a world disintegrating around him. He longed to understand why evil existed, and always appeared to win. Habakkuk boldly brought his complaint to God, and then waited for God’s answer. He waited with a heart that knew God would answer. He humbly refused to give up, but he didn't struggle. God’s answer and the promise it offers is timeless. Though the answer may linger,” God said, “wait for it! It will certainly come, and will not delay.”

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Believer's Repentant Heart

A Believer’s Repentant Heart
Once more the pastor had shared the message of God’s sanctifying grace. Once more he had reminded his congregation that heart change was an on-going process. Once more he had bared his soul. You might have thought his own “me too” as only one couple knelt at the altar would have revealed his own repentant heart to the congregation. He had prayed that God's people would have a teachable spirit just as David had when faced with his own failure. Had the sermon fallen on deaf ears?

Jesus once told his disciples why he spoke to others in parable. “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them’” (Matthew 13: 13-15).

With closed eyes and ears, many people that morning had never entertained the idea that their pastor’s convicting message was for them. Others had heard the message and were literally unwilling. Afraid of what others might think - disinclined to submit to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, they stood with hands gripping the pew in front of them, not even realizing that they had said “no” to the will of God. They were not even aware that the attitude of their hearts had been dictated by human will instead of a Holy Spirit altered heart and mind. 

As a believer I am to have an open spirit to what the Lord instructs. I do not have the option to ignore the transformation of the Spirit. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers,” the apostle Paul declared, “in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer 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 12:1-2).

My life should be an act of spiritual worship to the God who became a living sacrifice for me. Spirit and truth are inseparable. If I worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24), I offer a yielded heart to His replenishment. Spiritual transformation is discovered in the renewing of my mind. A willingness to be renewed means that I am ready to admit I am not perfect. It means I seek His perfect will, not just stumble into His permissive will.

“You were taught,” Paul also wrote,” 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: 23-23).
I am also created to be holy as God is holy (I Peter 1:15), but I cannot be like Him until my attitudes and desires are what He wishes. In repentance I discover God’s desire instead of my own. The reason that repentance is ongoing is because absolute holiness of heart is a goal. When my heart and mind is constantly renewed, repentance creates the ability to put off the old and put on the new. On earth holiness is a goal that is daily discovered. It is the culmination of daily surrenders which brings me closer to the ultimate target. In heaven when I stand in the presence of God, holiness shall be a goal completely realized. No longer will I see Him through a glass darkly, but then I shall see Him. face to face (I Corinthians 13:12).

God seeks the whole earth for those whose hearts totally belong to Him. To such a person God gives His strength which empowers personal change (I Chronicles 16: 9). Christians who constantly experience the renewing power of the Holy Spirit view God’s omnipotence with humble amazement at His love. When David’s sin with Bathsheba was brought to his attention by Nathan, David hit the ground in repentance. There was no hesitation in his humble heart. His example teaches that even those with a heart that loves the Lord, need to be spiritually open to the convicting presence of the Holy Spirit. David experienced God’s immediate forgiveness because of his repentant heart. If his heart had been calloused, David never would have realized at what point the Holy Spirit had left him.
Only the blood of Jesus brings new life to what would otherwise remain dead in transgression in a Christian’s life. When I repent God cleanses my heart, and washes away the impurities. He promises, “I will give you a clean heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36: 26). 

Where once my heart was as hard and unyielding as stone now he promises it shall beat with the pulsating blood of His living sacrifice. Where once calloused inner pain held God’s renewal at bay, now I shall be energized by His living presence. A new heart and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit fills me with the desire to keep His laws and commandments- not because they are rules to be followed, but because I love Him above all else. His law shall be my delight, and in every way He shall be my God and I shall belong only to Him (Ezekiel 26: 27-28). 

Sincere holiness comes as a result of a rejuvenated heart, and not as the result of a legalistic-type rule, and is the outward expression of inward renewal. Because the sacrifice of His blood has made me clean, holiness expects absolute surrender to the will of God. Christ’s blood flows easily and fully into a repentant heart.
Repentance is a life changing experience. It means that you have been halted in your tracks, and made a complete turn around. True repentance comes from knowing the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and changes your heart attitude. It is not measured in a personal outward change as the Pharisees instructed. It is measured in the change of your heart. It calls for a transformation that inspires vulnerability to a Holy God and the transforming power of His Word.

Jesus compared his yielded disciples to the multitude with deaf ears. “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it” (Matthew 13: 16-17).

Do I realize that a believer’s repentant heart is my only hope?  If I don’t, then I have missed His best. Realized, I know unparalleled intimacy.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Fruitful Vine

Today is Sunday, and I consider who I really am. If He my reason for living, or does He stand on the other side of the door waiting to be invited inside? Do I believe that I am just fine, when perhaps I am really dying on the vine? When I believe that I am just where I need to be in my relationship with Him, then I am dying on the vine.
“I am the vine; you are the branches,” Jesus speaks. “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John: 15:5-8).
He is the vine, and I am the branch. If I seek Him and daily yield my heart to Him, my life will overflow with His purpose and His power. If I don't, I will fail. If I don't, there will be no direction. I I don't seek His heart, my existence is only that. Just existence. But if He is the heartbeat of my life, His Spirit brings life-giving power and strength to accomplish what otherwise seems impossible.
If I bring a heart surrendered to God’s purpose, then I reap His sufficiency instead my own. However, a heart that believes it has surrendered to Christ, but has not, is a heart that doesn’t realize it has its own agenda. If I bring such selfishness to ministry, I am impotent and purposeless. Instead of bringing life, I bring death. I become a branch that is picked up and thrown into the fire.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener,” Jesus teaches. “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:1-2). Lord, I don't want to be a branch that is cut off because it bears no fruit. I want to be a branch which bears fruit, and is willing to be pruned in order to bear more. It may hurt, but it is for His best and my best. “Those whom I love,” Jesus implores, “I rebuke and discipline” (Revelations 3:19a). When I bring a surrendered heart, I bring one that is easily rebuked and disciplined. It is not hardened or self-sufficient. When I am willing to listen to His voice instead of my own, I have invited Him to come in and change me. I have become a fruitful vine.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Pray without Ceasing?

I have a coffee mug that reminds me every morning that “life is fragile. Handle it with prayer.” At the bottom it reminds me to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, KJV). 

How can I possibly pray without stopping throughout the day when I have other things that I need to do–like a job or to take care of others? Is it possible? Yes, it is. Because it is a state of mind and a state of spirit. The state of my mind determines the state of my spirit. If I am yielded to Him, then my mind is also yielded, and my spirit is willing. 

“Praying without ceasing” is not going throughout my day just praying and praying and not taking care of the responsibilities God has given me. It happens when my will (my mind) has been yielded to His will. My mind has surrendered and has determined to be in a state of anticipated prayer. My spirit is surrendered to His Spirit, and it is ready at the moment His spirit within me calls to prayer. When He wishes me to pray, I am at His immediate call. My spirit rests in a state of anticipated prayer because I have surrendered my mind and my will. 

Life is fragile. I am constantly reminded of this fact. Friends and family pass away. Accidents happen. Sickness comes. Suffering comes. Heartbreak comes. But He tells me to “rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV). He wants me to knows that in the fragility of this life, He is the only constant. No matter what is faced, I will rejoice, and I will pray continually, and give thanks no matter what comes, because it is His will. But to me it is more than just His will. It is His promise of peace. Whatever I face, if I have surrendered it all to Him, through a yielded praying heart, then His peace will rule. (Philippians 4:6-7). And the desire to be on call for prayer will also rule in my heart. Because I shall have experienced the miracle of His spirit praying through me (Romans 8:26).

Friday, May 17, 2013

Less of Me More of Him

Less of Me More of Him
The more I think of Him–the more I consider His heart–the more I seek His truth, the less I am like me. Without even realizing it, I grow to be more like Him. The closer I grow to Him, the more I become aware of my own lack of growth. His perfection makes my effort seem a sense of failure. However, the sense of failure that I believe reveals my own inadequacy is proof that I yearn to be more like Him. It is in the yearning and seeking that I sometimes, unwittingly, reach a higher step.
If I am lazy, then I do not struggle over any command in my life. In fact, I am often unaware of the command because I have made no effort to understand what God requires of me. Laziness brings no sense of failure because I have learned no standard. With no standard, there can be no failure. BUT.... with the an effort to seek Him, I learn His standard, I try to live it, and I feel my own weakness instead of His strength. Instead of wallowing in my sense of failure, I keep seeking and trying. His grace grows, and living in His strength becomes easier as time passes. And this, instead of failure, is spiritual growth.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Perfect Love, Perfect Peace, Sound Mind

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7, KJV).
 
I will not fear. I will not allow it in my heart. It is evil, and destroys all hope. Fear can’t live where His love and faith abound. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18, NIV).

Guilt produces fear. Sin produces fear. Fear is the blight of this imperfect world. There is fear of illness, of poverty, of loneliness, and of devastation. Fear runs rampant. But His perfect love drives out fear. His perfect love forgives and drives out the blame of sin. Faith springs up because the one who has forgiven has the power to make all things new within my heart.

This world lives in fear. I am perfected in His love, and I do not need to live in fear. I shall fight it, and refuse to allow it into my heart. God has not given me a spirit of fear. He has given me power, and with His perfect love, a sound mind that can banish fear. His perfect love alive in me casts out all fear. And without fear I find His perfect peace. My mind is at rest, and my mind is sound because it is focused on Him. 

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

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Suffering? Consider it Joy? (Part 2)

SUFFERING? CONSIDER IT JOY?
“Do you not know? Have you not heard?” I read in Isaiah 40:28-31. “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in (wait upon) the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” If I hope and wait upon the Lord, I will become stronger. In this passage, God is exemplified as one who is incapable of failure. His wisdom surpasses mine in every way. God becomes not only the God of power revealed through His creation (you and me), but also the God of power given to His creation. Through faith He becomes my Savior.

How do I wait upon Him? By actually exchanging His strength for my strength. I am to soar on wings like eagles. I am to run and not get tired. It is evident that my natural resources will not work. Only through hope and steady growth in Christ can His will for my life be realized. I must always come full circle-from suffering to hope to faith.

In 1976 we moved from Georgia to Nebraska. It was cold and miserable. Wind whistled endlessly across prairie hills, and I longed to go back to Georgia. What I discovered in Nebraska, like my friend realized years later, that my own road was hard. In 1979 we attempted to move back South. We explored every option, and the problems that sprang up that year appeared insurmountable. Cancer, bleeding ulcers, surgeries, selling our home, moving everything into storage, living in a motel, looking for work in the South, and the family separated. The list grinds on. The door that was forced open was finally shut in our face, and I sadly readied myself for another Nebraska winter.

This was a hard time. I couldn’t see the reason for that shut door, until six months after it had closed, a new door swung open. A job for my husband in Mississippi! But not just any job! It was one for which he had previously been passed over! Within two months, we had moved! I discovered that God’s ways are not mine, His timing is His own, but His faithfulness is eternal! I also learned that God sometimes just requires our willingness to trust in His provision. 

In Hebrews there are examples of people who hoped, waited, and had faith in the Lord. They persevered, and they had promises. These people of faith died without receiving all God had promised them. Their eyes were fixed upon His real promise–life forever with Him. 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 was so distant. Each lived and each died without seeing the full profit of their faith while on earth. Yet, through it all, they believed.

Look at Abraham. He was willing to give up his own son, just as God was willing to give up His son. In Isaac, the promise that Abraham’s descendants would be as “numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore”, would be realized. The command to sacrifice Isaac was the ultimate test of Abraham’s faith. If I’m afraid to trust God with my most cherished dream, then I should consider this example. Because Abraham was willing to let God have everything, he received more than he ever thought possible.

And then there is Moses. Moses was not born in wealth and prestige, but found himself raised by the Pharaoh’s own daughter. When he was grown, he had to have faith to give up his place in a royal family. He recognized the passing importance of material wealth, and he chose his own people. I might be deceived by the lure of earthly prosperity. Moses’ faith encourages me to look beyond what the world has to offer, and recognize the eternal benefit that God has extended to His children.

God has given me His promises to have strength to stand against sin, to be part of His nature, and to mature spiritually. To escape the grasp of sin, and to be more like Him, I must grow spiritually. II Peter 1: 3-7 explains that I must add to my faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, and brotherly kindness. I can’t add these by myself. Only the Lord supplies the strength for this accomplishment, but I make the decision to step out in faith.

Do you remember the friend I mentioned yesterday, the one who had the stroke? She could have allowed her stroke to spiritually deplete her, but she made her decision to find her strength in Him “When things are going well,” she said, “we feel we are on top of the world. No mountains to climb. No rivers to forge. We can go forward with little or no effort. But what happens when our world begins to crumble away? One day I had everything, a good job, and a nice place to live. The next day I was laying in a hospital unable to move the right side of my body. I needed strength to face the days ahead. God flooded my mind with His promises. His might began to fill my heart with strength to face the unknown and the darkness of tomorrow. In a few days I started the long process of recovery. God is so good. My strength comes from Him.”

Paul writes in Ephesians 6:10 (Amplified Bible), “In conclusion, be strong in the Lord (be empowered through your union with Him); draw your strength from Him (that strength which His boundless might provides).” Do I want to be effective for God? Do I want to be productive and an available tool in His hands? Then I must be willing to grow, to positively face life’s struggles, and to be available for His purposes.

My faith in Jesus Christ is more precious than this world’s most precious metal, so it should be my most valued possession! When Jesus calls me home to test the value of its worth what will He discover? I shall either have failed and remained a child, or endured and matured. What I have within must be tested to see if it is any good. If untried, it becomes stagnant. Tried, it is refined by the fire of the Holy Spirit. “Consider it pure joy,” James writes. To face trials with joy? Do I really believe that the testing of my faith produces the ability to persevere? God wishes me to understand that it is the joy of the purest kind.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Suffering? Consider it Joy? (Part 1)

Everywhere I turn I discover those who are suffering and need encouragement to keep going. Don’t let this title fool you, because joy is the result. There is a verse in James 1 that I wish to explore, and it has ended up to be at least a two-day devotional. If you need greater faith and joy, then I ask you to stay with me these next two days, and I pray that somewhere in these words you will find hope to believe.
SUFFERING? CONSIDER IT JOY?

Following a friend's stroke, she shared a dream with me. In her vision she was a small child walking down a long road. The school bus had just dropped her off. Home waited. In fact, she could see it in the distance, but the road offered many obstacles, and made it difficult to maneuver. Her tiny legs barely jumped over the large ruts, and her arms, weighed down with books, barely carried their load.

The long road home, I thought as she shared her dream with me. This was a phrase that had bounced around in my mind for years, and one that I had never explored. However as my friend's story unfolded, it suddenly came to life. Life is a long road home. Some appear to have an easier road to travel. Others are faced with incredible odds and pitfalls, and in the severity of their journey, they hopefully discover the perseverance that will carry them to the end.

“Consider it pure joy,” James 1:3-4 imparts, “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.”

Why am I tested? Why do I suffer? These are questions each believer asks. Spiritual maturity can only be achieved through perseverance. It is a goal, a promise, and constantly a journey. This work must be finished in order for us to handle life’s unexpected circumstances. What a riveting image! There is a work going on in each believer, and it can only be completed through a willingness to endure! The Lord’s perfect will is for faith to spring up in the midst of heartache. It is my decision whether I learn the lesson or not. I should reach for spiritual awareness that is ripe and full of the grace of Christ to meet each insufficiency in my life.

The end result of hardship should be patience. We are to consider suffering as beneficial, because trials can inspire spiritual growth. I Peter 1:7 reads, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Christ.” The trying of your faith, of what you believe, should develop the ability to persevere. 

Paul states in I Corinthians 10:13 that nothing has happened to us that isn’t common to anyone, but we should remember God is faithful. He will not let us be tempted and tested beyond what we can bear. With each test, he will also provide a way to stand up under it. Many Christians consider I Corinthians 10:13 as Christ’s promise to always take them out of difficult circumstances when they have become too much to handle. Sometimes God does reach down and miraculously deliver us from the most frightful situation. But sometimes He doesn’t. Might God be telling us that His grace is more than sufficient to handle the pressure, and He will provide the means to stand strong? Perhaps he is telling us that our ability to handle hard times will grow as a result? 

A great principle is offered in Romans 5:2-4. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

I endure well in order to achieve peace and joy. I rejoice in my problems and suffering because endurance is produced. And that endurance produces character and hope within me. Hope does not bring disappointment, but brings anticipation. I hope because in faith I was saved through Christ. Faith is being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I cannot see. Hope that needs to be seen is not hope at all. That is the “show me, Lord” frame of mind that says, “I kind of believe, Lord, 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. It is certainly not the hope that understands how to wait patiently.
+++++++++++++++++++
Do we all want the kind of hope that waits patiently? Yes! Tomorrow I want to explore how waiting patiently is the same as hoping, and the promise of joy is the greatest result.

Monday, May 13, 2013

His Joy Now

HIS JOY NOW
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant ... enter into the joy of thy Lord."  Matthew 25:21

The quiet one who serves and seeks no reward–the one who humbly washes feet–the one who unobtrusively loves and helps others–these are ones who are often passed by and go unnoticed. These words in Matthew 25:21 are whispered to you, my quiet ones. They are spoken to you who carry your cross faithfully with little recognition. They are spoken to you who no matter what you quietly face, you have His joyful assurance.

These words are not only for the end of our human existence when you face Him face to face. No. They speak of entering into His presence now. You enter a life of deeper spiritual existence in Him. Serving Him with no need for anything else than just to serve Him brings you into a fuller life in His Spirit. Others may not see your humble commitment, your patient heart, and your quiet service, but He sees it. Your reward might not be recognition or wealth, but it is so much greater, and it is yours. It is His joy.

It is His joy complete with its abundant peace. It is His joy that brings a deeply spiritual exhilaration of confidence when faced with pain and suffering. It is His joy that no one can take away from you. His joy is the result of a deeper spiritual existence that comes through a quietly sacrificed and obedient life. It comes as a result of pain and suffering that has been courageously faced. If He is your strength and courage through times of suffering, then, in time, His joy becomes your greatest reward. Entering into the joy of the Lord now is entering into His life here, which later brings the greatest joy forever.
Lynn Lacher

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Healing of Heart


HEALING OF HEART

Days pass since she has gone
And pain does not depart.
There seems to be no answer
To the longing in my heart.
Lord, my ache is great each night
As it is with each new dawn.
And on it stretches until I’ve found
Another day half gone.

But somewhere from deep within
I hear your tender knock.
I know you stand at my door
And yearn to be my Rock.
Lord, I believe that you now reach
To heal pain which loss has brought.
You bring memories of past to mind
And heal that which I’ve lost.

Lord, with all the faith I can find
I release my pain to you.
Body, Mind, Spirit, Soul-
I claim all that you have new.
Please fill my days with faith
That rises sure and strong.
Give eyes to see that which you see
And your hope to still hang on.

Lord, I invite your presence strong
Where once I only coped.
Now flow, O Faith, into my life
Breathe life where once I hoped!
Today I look to you again
Once more I release anguish
Into your able healing hands
In faith just as you wish.

Fill my days with joyful praise
And nights with your sweet peace.
Heal every broken part of me
That has longed for your release.
O, Lord, of heaven, sky and earth
Of my heart which once cried
Now I praise you King of Kings.
I understand just why you died.

Praise to the Lord of Lords I sing!
Praise to the King of Kings!
In days of painful loss I trust
In that which His faith brings.
In peace I shall rest my eyes this night
And praise Him only from
The joy with which I trust His heart
For days that are to come.

--Lynn Lacher

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Different Yet One


Differing approaches and insights to ministry, which sometimes bring division in a church, can actually bring healing to the whole body–when each considers the other as valid as his own. This is a statement that I believe with all my heart. If my goal is His truth and it is the same goal as another’s, then any differences are nothing in comparison to the ultimate purpose of His Good News.

One of the greatest examples of this is found in the lives of Paul and Barnabas. Paul was a leader. His mind was on the overall mission ministry. His focus and his purpose was to spread the Good News. Even though he was part of this mission ministry, Barnabas' focus was not just on that aspect of ministry. His mind was focused on the potential of John Mark who needed guidance and encouragement. What was Barnabas' goal? It was to help John Mark mature enough to be a viable witness. The approach was different, but the ultimate goal was the same.

Let's look at Acts 15:36-41. “Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, 'Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.' Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches” (NIV).

They disagreed and they parted company. It was necessary for Paul to keep the overall ministry going. Paul did not have time to be weighed down with John Mark, who had once before deserted them. He could not use him and saw no potential in him. Paul was ready to move on. However, Barnabas saw something in John Mark that Paul could not see. He realized John Mark's potential. He believed if he invested his time in John Mark's life, then John Mark would mature into a viable witness for Christ.

Both views of ministry are absolutely necessary and each is as important as the other. Without the leaders whose minds and hearts are focused on the corporate ministry, there would be no ministry. Without ones like Barnabas, who realize potential and focus on individual growth, there would be no individuals to participate in ministry. The beauty is that after Barnabas took time with John Mark, he grew so much, that Paul invited him back into ministry. If Barnabas had not believed in John Mark, he would have never found his way back. If Paul hadn't believed in the overall ministry, and had allowed John Mark to go with them, then the overall ministry would have suffered. The two approaches ultimately came together for God's purpose.

That is what makes ministry beautiful to me. God has called each one of us in specific areas. When we see things differently, instead of thinking they are so far apart, we need to realize that they really aren't. That is how the body works when approach to ministry is different. You see the promise in each perspective, whether it is corporate, like Paul's, or individual, like Barnabas'. The end result is a beautiful tapestry of God's making. It is the different parts of the body, working together in unity to weave His best.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My Place of VIctory

My Place of Victory
It’s another valley, and it’s life. Suffering, fear of the unknown, and hardship are all trials. Without the grace of Jesus I could not sustain the trials of life. The valley reveals how much of His strength I have allowed in my life, and it reveals whether I shall fail or make it. It is in the valley where I discover who I really am and who He really is.

In the valley—in the midst of the trial, I can become weary and anxious when I don’t know what is next. “Do not be anxious about anything,” Paul wrote, “but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6:7). I pray with thanksgiving in my heart knowing that God is in control. No matter what my human mind perceives I believe in His omnipotence. I don't worry about anything because I petition and give that problem to God. Is He not also able to handle any problem? Thanking the Lord for His provision reveals faith, and brings His peace. The promise is clear. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7)

I sometimes make the valley more difficult by not applying my mustard seed of faith in the midst of the struggle. I miss the peace of God because I try to humanly analyze “why”. I miss His infinite grace which is meant to lift me above the trial. My mind can only be guarded from fear of the unknown when I thank God for His faithfulness, and when my mind dwells upon His infinite ability instead of my trial (Isaiah 26:3).

Dear Lord, I am willing to face the unknown with hope in your faithfulness to me. You may lift this, Lord, or it may remain for awhile. I will learn the spiritual lesson you wish to impart. I will seek you everyday and discover your burden is much lighter when I focus on you instead of what I fear. When I give you my trial, my fear, my pain, my struggle‒by letting it go in prayer and faith‒supernatural peace will claim my mind and heart. It is a peace that nothing in this world can offer, and it can only be found through the struggles of life. It is a gift from you to lighten my load. Lord, I don't believe that I am just meant to survive in the valley. I flourish because you have poured living water into what might have otherwise been a desert. You rule in my heart, Lord, and my valley becomes my place of victory.
Amen.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

IF YOU LOVE ME

IF YOU LOVE ME.....

“I'm sorry, Lord. What should I do?” I ask God this morning. I feel that I have failed Him.

A voice answers, quietly, and softly. I am surprised by His candor. 

“Do you love me?”

I might have been Peter by the lake, leaning over a bed of hot coals, rubbing, warming my hands, and remembering another time, another place. 

“Yes, Lord, you know I love you,” I whisper, abruptly aware of my own failure.

“Do you love me?” He asks again.

“Lord, you know I love you.” I repeat, my voice ringing hollow even to my own ears.

“Do you love me?” He repeats gently in my heart, I am reminded of my failure.

“Yes, Lord, I love you.” Weeping now, I wait for release.

“If you love me....” The words pause.

I feel His touch, lifting my chin to peer into eyes that also once burned into Peter’s. It is at this moment the failure is gone, and I, lost in His gaze, overwhelmed by His love, know I have been forgiven.

“Then feed my sheep,” He whispers.

It is a soft command, not demanding, not pleading, but just a statement of fact.

Feed His sheep? I know what He wants, but I am always aware of how I feel that I fail in that area. I never feel that I give Him enough of myself. But I pickup my laptop, and wait for words to form in my heart and in my mind. I pray that they will be His words and not my own.

This is what He has always intended for me. As He has loved, so must I love through each word I write. I am to inspire others also to love—His child with little hope, the one who offends, the woman lost, and the man deep in sin. We are just as Peter. The redeeming love that looked beyond Peter’s failure, and called for His best, also calls for ours. In tenderness He brings us to our place of failure, reminds, and forgives. 

Gently He then calls, “Feed my sheep.” The compassionate heart of Jesus which loves you shall love another at his own coal fire. 

“If you love me…” he whispers.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

ONCE MORE.....CHANGE

Change is inevitable. It can be frightening, but, if my life is safely hidden in God, I cannot fear change. He never changes, and remains the same “yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is my constant foundation in this vacillating world. I will trust Him when what happens seems frightening. I will learn His lesson, and apply it to my life. It makes the next change, whether good or bad, easier to handle, because I have learned spiritual balance and poise in a world that offers no solid foundation.
His power to handle change is available at all times. I will claim it, and use it constantly in life’s changing moments. His power, His strength, His faithfulness, His consistency, His balance-it is all mine to exercise everyday. I can never ask too much of God. His provision is unending. He is unending. Living in Jesus Christ is abundance beyond any measure.
See, I am doing a new thing!” the Lord proclaims. “Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. 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 43:19-21).
 
Whatever change lies ahead, He has made a way to provide exactly what is needed for my journey. I am His child, and He will not forsake or leave me. I will praise Him and accept His joy. It is His gift to me.

Dear Lord,
Today I come to you faced with changed. It appeared suddenly with no warning. You are my only constant. Everything else in my life will change. Loved ones will come and go. Feelings will come and go. But you are my constant anchor in this rocky life, and I will always be safe and secure in you. Where you are, Lord, there is freedom from bondage to fear or pain or hurt or disillusionment. Where you are is love and joy.  Help me to count all my days, and live wisely and sacrificially. The days and moments of this life are what I give you. I want it to be more than enough in your eyes. I stand with my eyes only on you, and my heart secure in your hands, knowing I am being molded into what you wish. And in this I find your perfect peace.
Amen.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Forgive

Part of this devotional comes from one I wrote a few weeks ago. My heart hurts for someone this morning that is struggling to forgive. Whoever you are, I’m praying for you.

FORGIVE
Have you ever been hurt by someone you love or trust?  At sometime in your life, someone will hurt you or disillusion you. What you do with that hurt is paramount. Give it to God, and its power to control you ends. But kept inside your heart it festers and grows. Unforgiveness is a terrible cancer. It eats at your spiritual health and ultimately destroys your relationship with God. God has given man a free will to choose or reject Him, and you also have a free will to 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 do not give you a license to judge that person. It does not give you a license to be angry.

            When you are devastated by someone's action, you have a choice what to do with the disillusionment and hurt. If you allow that hurt to define who you are, bitterness will be your banner. It will immobilize you. You are then in bondage to your pain. The Holy Spirit invites you to acknowledge your pain so you 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 or your disillusionment over someone else’s failure. That hurt can become your own failure. If you know the Lord, you have the freedom and the power to forgive.

            Are you tired of the hurt you feel when another person doesn’t live up to Christ’s sacrificial love? Have you ever considered that your hurt also keeps you from living up to it? Let the pain go. Let the disillusionment and hurt go. Look to Christ as your perfect sacrifice because no one else can be that. Realize that no one is perfect. The Lord “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).
           You shall no longer be in bondage to your pain. Your heart will be free, and who the Lord sets free, is free indeed.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

What is my life?

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:2-4).

Is my life one of hope? Do I encourage others when they are unable to encourage themselves? Am I sensitive to someone's pain, or do I unconsciously throw fuel on the fire of their pain by casual words that have not been inspired by God? Do I put the needs of others before my own or do I find a way to “just do enough”? In my words or actions, I speak life or death to another person. I want to speak life where there has been death, and I want to bless those who feel cursed with the healing presence of Christ.

So what is my life? I pray it is one that always sees with His eyes, hears with His eyes, and understands with His spirit in order to help someone else realize their potential in Him. I pray it is one that puts another before myself. I pray that it is one that always loves and encourages with His truth. I pray that it is one that never lets go of believing in His promise for someone else. I pray that it is one that is broken and spilled out as He was broken and spilled out for me.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

It's Simple

“More is better” is the cry of this fast-paced world. Everywhere we turn we are told that we need something else to complete our lives. But what we desire and ultimately possess, does not complete anything. It creates a lust for more. We feel stressed, exhausted, and always lacking. The hurried pace to have more overwhelms us, and we are lost in its control. Christ teaches us that we can be free from this horrendous struggle. It will not be our master, because we are under grace (Romans 6:14). We can learn how to live simply in Him.

The simplicity that Christ offers frees us from the rat race of life and brings peace to our harried existence. This grace teaches that we are more important than what we own. Possessions are not meant to possess us. They are meant to enrich our lives. When we learn to live simply, we discover that people are more important than what they have. The complexity of life becomes one of peaceful simplicity. 

“This is not possible,” you say. “How can I live a simple life in this world that demands me to achieve… to be better… to have more… to climb to the top?” It is not possible when your heart has not reached a place of surrender. It is not possible when you are the one in control of the desires of your heart and not Him. It is not possible when your flesh is more powerful than His Spirit. But it is possible when your heart lets go of its own desires and seeks His will. Because His will is simple. His message is simple. His heart is simple. Love as He has loved you. Not things, but others. 

Christian simplicity is a discipline of mind that comes from a heart that has been broken from its own selfishness, and given the grace to live selflessly. It is a grace bestowed by God. We cannot will ourselves to live selflessly and simply. It is a gift that we must receive from Him. It is a gift that must be consciously surrendered in His service again and again.

Simplicity in Him frees us from what encumbers. It liberates us from the bondage of things. It focuses our mind and heart on what is important. His love. His forgiveness. His purpose. His heart. It frees us to give ourselves away because He has become more because we have become less. We can find His simplicity that liberates. We can discover a haven that inspires. We can have peace when faced with an overwhelming world. We can be content in the midst of unrest. It begins in our heart, and frees us from the tyranny of emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental havoc. Whoever He sets free is free indeed (John 8:36).

Friday, May 3, 2013

My Friend



 “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me,” David rejoiced in Psalm 42:7. The unfathomable depth of the Spirit of God calls to the depth of the Holy Spirit within a man, and bids that man come. When the Holy Spirit is the caller, then it is the man surrendered to the Holy Spirit, who accepts
.
My friend, you heard the Lord calling, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for me?” And you answered, “Here I am. Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)

You, dear friend, have heard His call, and you have answered.  You have not guarded your heart. Your spirit knows that “whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Him and for the gospel will save it. (Matthew 8:35)

Go and find your life, dear friend. Stand strong in His Word and His promise. Hold on to His call no matter what you face, and always realize that He is your Reason. No matter what lies ahead, He is your Reason.  And you shall realize that He has delivered you from death, your eyes from tears, and your feet from stumbling so that you may stand true and strong in Him.  What shall you give back to Him for all His blessings to you? In the presence of all, you will raise His Word of salvation, and fulfill His call on your life. (Psalm 116:12-14). 

There shall be no words to express your heart’s fulfillment. You will be fully known and found in Him.

The Faith of Christ

       I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I liv...