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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Faith in Waiting

How do you discover assurance that God is in control of all circumstances? This kind of spiritual assurance comes when you live totally by faith. Is it possible to get to this higher plane where trials of life lie far beneath your feet? Yes it is. The Word says that perfect peace can be found when we focus completely upon the strength of His character (Isaiah 26:3), and not upon our weakness. Living by faith means that we understand that waiting patiently on God is our best choice, because He has chosen the “what, when, where, and how”.
The minor prophet, Habakkuk, offers an example of human understanding which learns to wait for the spiritual. Habakkuk was highly frustrated with the Lord for not punishing sinners in a way he thought was best. He brought his complaints to God, and then stood still and waited for the Lord’s answer (Habakkuk 2:1).
The Lord’s answer to Habakkuk is timeless, and reveals the patience of a faithful Savior who speaks to the impatient heart of his complaining child. “Habakkuk,” the Lord explained, “I have heard your complaint. What I tell you now can be carved in stone, and heralded as truth. I will move when I know the time is right. It might appear to take forever, but it is for my appointed time, and it will not fail. Though my promise lingers, have faith that it will come and will not delay. You, as my righteous child, are to live by faith no matter what happens.”
Living by faith and focusing on the Lord’s strength and not upon what He may have promised teaches us to persevere against all odds. However, when we are consumed with what God has promised instead of being consumed with God we lose the ability to persevere.
Faith which is born from a promise will absolutely fail. When faith is born from our love of God, it will prosper. What is important is discovering His will for will for our lives because of our love for Him, and not what we shall receive. There is also a danger in focusing upon the way in which we think God will provide our promise. We might miss the “what, when, where and how” God supplies the need.
God tells us in His Word that we are not to shrink from the hard times of life. We are to face them head-on with faith (Hebrews 10:38b-39). When we faithfully seek God in the storm, He rewards up with greater faith to believe in His unchanging character (Hebrews 11:6, Hebrews 13:8). Our time of waiting upon the Lord then becomes our greatest time of spiritual fulfillment.
“Even though I can’t see your provision, Lord, I will be joyful in you,” Habakkuk decided, “for you have lifted me far above my concerns, and made me sure-footed as the deer. I will not slip in faith, Lord. I choose to believe because you are my strength” (Habakkuk 3:17-19).
No matter what the circumstances of life, God is faithful to perform that which He has promised. Perhaps one day we will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You waited well.” Are we faithful to push expectantly ahead..believing and trusting in His chosen time?

Friday, June 28, 2013

HE IS AND I'M NOT

His love must direct all my actions. I choose to fear nothing, and stand strong through the storms of life. I find complete joy in following His will instead of my own. I surrender all of myself to Him....my time, my work, my priorities, my thoughts, my ideas, my preconceptions, my life, my all upon His altar. I choose to believe Him only and not my thoughts. He is Truth. I am not. He is Life. I am not. He is Peace. I have none. He is Joy. I can't manufacture it. He is All, and I am just me. Each day I will lay myself upon His altar, and make an offering of me. It is in the giving away that I shall receive. I shall receive His All instead of the little that I am.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

HIS PROMISE OF DELIVERANCE


“To know Him and the power of His Resurrection” (Philippians 3:10) takes on whole new meaning when you battle a stronghold in your life. If you study His Word and continually seek Him in prayer, you will enter a deeper intimate relationship with the Lord. You will discover His power that sets you free. He longs for you to experience healing, and to be free from that which binds your heart, mind, and spirit. 

You do not have to be bound in fear that your stronghold is everlasting. It isn't. He is everlasting, and His promise of deliverance is true. He love is incredibly powerful, and He promises that you will have a sound mind and spirit (2 Timothy 1:7). Persevere in seeking Him, and knowing His Word, and you will receive deliverance. “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36). Don't ever give up. You will receive His promise. He is faithful.

Daily admit sin’s control. Ask for Christ’s forgiveness. Study the Word and grow in knowledge of His truth. Apply faith to what you have learned from the Word in order to overcome your stronghold. Maintain an intimate and vital relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer. Share with others what Christ has done for you. This reinforces your faith, and reminds you daily of God's power.

            Your path to freedom from your stronghold resembles a fingerprint. It is not exactly like mine or that of anyone else. Yet the truth found in God’s Word is the same for each Christian. It accomplishes exactly what God sends it to achieve (Isaiah 55:11). Complete deliverance waits when you are ready to begin your own personal journey. You shall experience the love that sets you free, when you seek the heart that died for you.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

His Grace Abounds More

The life-changing power of the Holy Spirit is the only way to experience release from any stronghold that plagues your life. God desires your obedience to seek Him and His Word. Paul writes, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (II Corinthians 10:4). Sin is a stronghold, but the power to annihilate it is found in the Word.

Admit that you struggle with your strongholdthat it is really sin, and you are powerless to defeat it on your own. “I know that nothing good lives in me,” Paul exhorts, “that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:18-19). Paul later in the same chapter praises God for the gift of Jesus Christ, and for the promise of His deliverance. Until you accept the fact you have no control over that stronghold, there is no hope. When you finally admit you are powerless to change on your own, then you are ready for His help.

There is the promise of deliverance. As sin’s hold tightens, Christ’s grace abounds even more (Romans 5:20b). To experience freedom one must understand the power found in Jesus Christ. To understand the power found in Christ, you must have spiritual knowledge of the Word. Knowledge of the Word of God liberates (John 8:32). As you grow in the Word, you experience faith, and sin’s control lessens. As the power of grace increases, spiritual wisdom renders the ability to deny that stronghold's power in your life.

Here is a Scriptural truth! Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16). Not only should you confess your sin to God, you should confess to a mature Christian that you trust implicitly: perhaps your pastor or Bible teacher. This is a hard task, and calls for your willingness to be vulnerable not only to the Lord, but to another. This kind of openness reveals the level of your faith in the Lord. With confession and repentance of your sin, you can experience a new spiritual cleansing depth of God's forgiveness, and healing can begin.

Now the Lord is the Spirit,” Paul declares, “and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (II Corinthians 3:17). The Holy Spirit liberates and creates an atmosphere of healing. He doesn’t heal through condemnation. He restores through the healing power of conviction. As you seek Him and seek His truth you will discover that His grace abounds more.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Journey toward Freedom

Do you have an overwhelming struggle in your life? A stronghold which you cannot shake? The life-changing power of the Holy Spirit is the only way to experience release. God desires your obedience to seek Him and His Word. As you seek repentance and receive His grace, you will grow to understand that Biblical truth can change your life. 

The Word flows from the life-giving heart of God, and accomplishes the very purpose for which He sent it (Isaiah 55:11). Paul writes, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (II Corinthians 10:4). Any stronghold in your life binds you in an ironclad grip. The spiritual weapons God provides for its destruction are found in the Bible. Sharper than any two-edged sword, His Word spiritually separates soul and spirit. Dividing joint from marrow, it judges the attitudes of the human heart (Hebrews 4:12). 

Determine the allegiance of your heart. Reconsider what it meant to you to give your heart and life to Christ. Evaluate what it means to you now. It should be just as alive as when you first accepted Him into your life. If not, seek His forgiveness. Seek Him. The promises in His Word are powerful, but they are only true for those who know Him as Savior and Lord.

Jesus Christ has removed the power of sin to control our actions (Roman 6:3-4). Peter explains how this is accomplished in II Peter 1:3-8. As a Christian you have the potential to live a godly life. Jesus Christ has provided everything you need to achieve this high goal. You make a decision to grow in the virtues of faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. The Holy Spirit provides divine strength for you to add these virtues, but He can’t strengthen what you have not resolved to accomplish.

Instead of your carnal nature gaining control of your life, your knowledge of Jesus Christ will grow to the point where He controls your mind and actions. You will lack nothing to overcome your stronghold because a mature faith results from spiritual growth in Biblical principles. When you decide to live a virtuous life instead of one of defeat, faith in God’s deliverance increases.

I would like to offer a journey toward freedom. Some people don't care for longer devotionals, because it means more study. If you want to take this journey, I shall share life-changing Scriptures over the next several days that have the power to change your life. There is victory over whatever your struggle. Where His Spirit is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17). You can walk above the fear of anything that tries to control your life. He offers His love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). And His power that accomplishes freedom.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Still My Senses

I have to still my heart and mind in order to hear His voice. I must still my senses before I can ready myself for His presence. My senses of hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting, smelling are how I communicate with the world around me. They are necessary to understand my physical life here on earth, but when I communicate with the Spirit of my Lord, they are a hindrance.

If I do not still my senses, then what Jesus said about some people having to learn through parables will be true in my life. “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving” (Matthew 13:14b). My earthly senses cannot perceive the spiritual. Jesus then said to His disciples, “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear” (Matthew 13:16). He did not speak of their physical eyes and ears. He spoke of their spiritual ability to perceive what physical senses could never grasp‒to hear His voice, to see what physical eyes were incapable of seeing, and ultimately to understand with the heart.

“Be still and know that I am God” takes on a whole new meaning this morning.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Accountability Liberates

“Who left the wet towels on the bathroom floor?” I once asked my nine year old son.

“She did,” he said pointing at his indignant little sister.

“What!” she exclaimed. “I didn't!”

I never really found out who left the towels on the floor, but I did discover something with my children. As children of God we often act the same way. We refuse to be accountable for our actions.
If accountability is necessary for society to operate in a civilized manner, consider how much more essential it is necessary for Christians. No one escapes accountability. In one way or another, we are accountable. A good example is the fact that laws exist in our country that we must obey, and if we break them, we face the consequences. As Christians we have standards that God sets for our actions, and if we break those, there are consequences. Accountability is accepting responsibility for your actions. 

The Bible says that God holds us accountable. "So then each of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). Personal accountability for my actions is not an option. Knowing the Word is necessary to live a good Christian life. How I live it is something for which I will answer. Christians are also accountable to one another. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul writes that as Christians we are all part of the same body. We all belong to the body of Christ. Each one of us needs or belongs to each other. This Scripture reveals the importance of accountability between fellow Christians. It is important to have at least one other person in which to confide. Someone to pray with, and listen to you are necessary in the Christian walk.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). Confession to another is good for the soul. This is accountability that opens your spirit to His liberating healing of all that binds you. It is accountability to God that sets you free.
Lynn Lacher

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Never Forget

Are you in ministry? If you are a Christian, then your life is ministry. Always realize that your life and your ministry belongs to Jesus Christ. Each little act or encouraging word is ministry. A Christian begins his life in Christ called out of love for his Savior. His hearts initially burns with the wonder of what God has started perhaps to find along the way that his inability to surrender control to the Lord chokes out spiritual life. Never forget that you have no life in Christ without surrender. Never forget any ministry you share is not yours. It is His. 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 anyone else. 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. 

Each day is ministry in your life. Each opportunity is ministry. Never forget that you belong to Him, and it is only by His mercy and grace that you have found new life. Never forget to always be less so that He can be more. Never forget His power in your life is His gift to you, and is only at its greatest when His humility controls your life.
Philippians 2:1-11.

Friday, June 21, 2013

A Lesson in Discipleship (Luke 14:25-33)

A Lesson in Discipleship (Luke 14:25-33)

In The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Cheap grace is grace without discipleship… Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again… It is costly because it cost a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.”

Today's Scripture passage in Luke 14 is about the true cost of discipleship. In this passage Jesus moves toward Jerusalem with His disciples. Many people trail after them. Just on the sidelines wanting to be a part of the excitement without making any personal sacrifice, is Bonhoeffer’s “cheap grace” crowd. Jesus addresses their motives for being there. Three times between verses 25-33, Jesus reveals who cannot be His disciple: those who love their family and their own desires more than Him; those who do not carry their cross and follow Him, and those who do not give up everything.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a disciple as “one who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another”. In these verses Jesus defines a disciple as one who must believe that loyalty and love to His calling is greater than any other attachment or even his deepest relationship. The phrase “carry your cross” requires a commitment to sacrificially follow Him, believe the truth of the gospel, and make a daily decision to deny self. When Jesus says “give up everything”, it doesn’t mean literally reject everything in my life. But it does mean that I should determine, as do the examples of the builder and king in Luke 14, exactly how much is needed to complete His work, and be completely willing to pay the price.

A disciple is a pupil who has counted the cost and placed himself completely under the guidance of the Master‒whose love for Him is greater than for anyone or anything else, and who resolves to give and also give up whatever is necessary. Jesus’ question to count the cost is not addressed to His disciples. Each disciple has already counted the cost, and made a decision to daily surrender. His question is directed to those who offer quickly to serve, and then fade away like a shooting star. It is to this marginal person Jesus says, “If you can’t do what it takes, you can’t be my disciple.”

Many believers make the claim to be His disciple and never even realize that they are part of the “cheap grace” crowd”. Each Christian has a cross made just exactly for the amount of maturity he possesses. His cross has to be more than he can bear, or he will not be spiritually stretched. I must be willing to honestly evaluate myself. Am I one who needs to count the cost? Am I on the sidelines or a disciple? Do I love other things more than Him? Have I sacrificially committed to follow Him?

Lord, help me to be spiritually stretched until I become all you see in me, and all that I haven’t realized myself. You know my potential, and you know my calling. I don’t want to be a part of those who just watch on the sidelines. I want to be a disciple that has counted the cost, and is willing to pay the price. Whatever that cost, I am yours.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Come Near

“Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8a, NIV).

This is an incredible promise! But it is more than that. It is a requirement to live a spiritual life in Him. I must seek Him before I am even aware of His presence. In every moment or problem or trial or circumstance I must immediately and unconsciously turn to Him. It can be praise or it can the silent cry of a tired heart. He hears all.

Nothing is needed but that silent cry. There is no need for me to say anything. There is no need for me to plead desperately. There is no need to make vain promises for Him to hear. It is wonderful to know that He is there always listening to the silent cry of my heart. If I draw close to Him, He always comes near to me. Help comes in answer to my heart's need.

But it is not only help that comes, but the sweet joy of His presence and friendship! It is a sweet closeness of His spirit with mine which always brings peace no matter what might come. If I draw close to Him, I shall never fear. He is constantly with me, and His presence always brings His joy, His peace, and His love.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Beloved

There is a saying that confession is good for the soul. Surely that comes from James 5:16. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” Confession is good for the soul because it releases the spiritual burden of sin to Christ. It also releases the emotional and mental burden of sin to the person to whom you confess. Paul wrote, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17). When such a hard burden of guilt is released, then there is spiritual openness, and freedom makes healing possible. Righteousness is the gift of the Lord, and prayer does accomplish much. It accomplishes miracles in the name of God.

III John 2 reads, Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” I am special to Jesus Christ. He calls me, “Beloved!” He died for me so I might discover wholeness for my body, mind, and spirit. He wishes me to prosper and to be in good health. He does not wish me to suffer, and have illness. His loved me enough to give His life for so that I might be healed. He sacrificed his life so that I might receive continually through faith. There is no greater love––that someone who had no sin in His life would willingly take mine, and give His life unselfishly for me.

What does such a great love wish for me to receive? His love and truth, and its reality alive and well in my life. To receive continually through faith, I must grow spiritually. “Faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17). As I prosper spiritually, studying His Word and applying the lesson, might faith for the healing of body, mind, and spirit be easier? Might the truth of the message be more real because I have put down a foundation in Him?

My mind, body, and spirit all answer “YES”! My heart rejoices because I realize that I have learned another lesson in this walk with the Lord. He trains me in the way that I should go so that when I am finished on that last day, I will be refined as gold (Job 23:10). His sanctifying refinement liberates me to believe in what human eyes say is not true. His report is always good. I will always seek Him and find the lesson, realizing that God can turn a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15) into a time of spiritual, physical, and emotional victory. Even though the battle might still rage, it still has been won through faith. I am more than an over-comer in Christ. I am His “Beloved”.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Each Step

“The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places” (Habakkuk 3:19, KJV).

It's Monday. You now face the work week, or other duties that beckon. Your day may sing with promise, but most likely little problems and irritations will arise. It's life. It's inevitable. Don't dwell on the little problems that come up each day. Recognize each struggle for what it is: a lesson to carry you further to the goal. When you climb a mountain and concentrate on the hardship of each step, you never see the beautiful reward waiting for you at the summit.

Regard each problem and step up your mountain as a springboard toward the top, and don't dwell on emotional pain. Keep your eyes on your goal, and then as you climb, each step will become another solid foundation of growth. If you consider each step as a means to carry you to the promise at the peak, your climb will not bring despair, but great hope.

And what is the promise at the peak? The fruit of the Spirit, active and living in your life. You will discover love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Each problem you have overcome and each step up the mountain has brought your reward.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I Shall Find

If I seek Him I shall find Him. He rewards my journey with the grace of His presence. He is my God, and He will never fail me. His strength and joy will conquer all that comes against me.

He is my guide through the pitfalls. No weapon can rise against me. No discipline can tire me. No problem can terrorize. I shall persevere, and hold on. I will make it through this difficulty because I have sought Him in all moments. He is my strength because I have none within myself, and in my lacking, I have discovered His.

"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. - Jeremiah 29:13

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Faith is His Gift

I must pray daily for His faith. He is trustworthy, and I must be “faithworthy”. Faith is the greatest requirement to see His hand move. To have greater faith, I must pray and have that close communion with Him. In that time with Him, I not only learn that I can truly trust Him in every moment and every struggle. I also learn that because I trust Him, my faith brings forth His work in my life. I can step out in faith knowing that He will provide all that is needed.

Faith is my weapon to overcome all that might come against me in this life. It is my power to accomplish His will, and in doing so, learn that He is constant and trustworthy in every moment of my life.

Not only prayer is needed. "Faith without works is dead." I must reach out in His name to fuel my faith. As I step out in faith, I realize my helplessness, and I turn to Him for power to accomplish what I cannot. And then my faith will grow!

Faith is His gift to me. My work is my gift to Him. I will not grow tired in serving Him. I know that once I have done His will, I will receive His promise (Hebrews 10:35).

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Wall Will Fall


Have you ever come up against a wall that seems impenetrable? You can find no weakness in its structure to make a way through it. Each time you think you have found a way to break through, the wall just reinforces itself. No matter what you try, you fail. You are about to give up, and then it hits you. You have tried to bring down that wall by yourself. You haven't asked for God's help and guidance. You haven't wisely studied that wall in order to spot the weakness that can bring down the entire wall. 

Perhaps this wall is in your own life. Perhaps it is something in your life that keeps you from freedom in Christ–a stronghold that holds you fast. Perhaps it is even something in your life where you have unwisely and maybe even unwittingly placed your trust. You need God's wisdom to not only identify it and address it, but to conquer it. 

“If any of you lacks wisdom,” James writes, “you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5, NIV). If I ask God for His wisdom He bestows it. “One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty, and pull down the stronghold in which they trust” (Proverbs 21:22, NIV). With His wisdom, I can identify my stronghold–the very thing where I have placed my trust–the thing that has held me in bondage. With His wisdom and power, I can conquer its hold on my life.

Now I have sought God's wisdom and guidance. Now I have wisely studied that wall's strength, and found the weakness in its structure. The wall no longer seems impenetrable. That stronghold no longer has a greater strength than my God who strengthens me. His wisdom has found the crack in its structure, and it will fall.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

How Do I Perceive?

Have you ever been told a lie? It hurts to find out that someone has lied to you. It especially hurts when I allow Satan to lie to me. His lie might certainly appear to be truth, but it never is. Appearance does not always reveal what is true. I must pray and look beneath the surface to see God’s truth in each matter. My perception is where Satan's lies can take root. My emotions effect what I believe or do not believe. That is why prayer and Bible study are absolutely essential to discern what is truth and what is a lie.
Jesus taught that appearances are not always true. 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.’” Jesus spoke of those who live by their physical senses. They have to physically see and hear in order to believe.
 
Emotional pain can create a calloused heart–one which erects walls in order to protect itself. However that protection is no protection at all. It keeps out the healing presence of the Holy Spirit. I do not want to have a calloused heart and mind that listens to the enemy’s lies, keeps out the Holy Spirit, 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). Jesus now speaks of those who live by their spiritual senses. They did not have to physically see and hear in order to believe.
 
Help, me, Lord. Help me to strip away the callouses that hide my heart from your healing presence. Help me to spiritually hear, see, and understand your truth with my heart and mind. I lay aside all my physical emotions and feelings and seek your truth. Help me to walk by faith, and not by sight. Then I will understand with my heart, and will be healed.
 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Psalm 139:13-18

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you” (Psalm 139:13-18).

I am not just a mass of tissue. I did not just “happen”. My days were planned before they even existed. You not only created me from within my mother's womb, you created a hunger in the depths of my soul for only you. My hunger has been filled with love for you, Lord. I praise you because you have made me your own. You heard the cry of my soul, and you came to your creation, and brought the greatest fulfillment that only the blending of creator and creation can bring. Lord, I yearn for your thoughts to be my thoughts, and your ways my ways. There are no words to describe the joy of your spirit living inside of me—sharing hope, giving direction, offering promise, and worshiping you. Lord, I pray that the closeness I feel with you is everlasting. I need you like I need my next breath. I lay down at night, and you are with me. I rise in the morning, and there you are. You are my constant rock and strength. Nothing can separate me from your love. Nothing. You gave me life, and you are my life. I am wonderfully made from inside out, and that is my miracle. 

Whatever you may face today, remember that you are His miracle. You did not just happen. He has a plan for your life. 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Psalm 139:7-12

Psalm 139:7-12
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (Psalm 139:7-12, NIV).

There is nowhere to run–nowhere to hide. You are everywhere I turn. You are everywhere I try to find relief that is not from you. Why do I look where I already know there will be no lasting answer? Why do I try to flee from what I know is the best for me? Why do I insist on my own way? How could I have forgotten that you you will always find me, and hold me fast? 

If I think the darkness will hide my pain from you, I am so wrong. If I believe the darkness will conceal the struggles of my sinful heart, then I am wrong. I may hold myself captive with bitterness, hurt, anger, and resentment in a darkened place of no hope, but you are with me no matter where I might try to hide. You are with me in that place. You are with me in my brightness moments and my darkest days.

Lord, forgive me. Strengthen me. Raise me. Guide me. I am so tired of holding this mask in place. You will carry me through the fire, and give peace that my mind cannot comprehend. I am so thankful that nothing is hidden from you. It is in the light that all is revealed, and I let go the struggle to hide what you already know, I am finally free. In my moment, I know as I have been known. I have peace, and my joy is complete.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Psalm 139:1-6

“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain” (Psalms 139:1-6, NIV).



To realize that I am known so greatly and so deeply goes beyond my limited human understanding! I open up my heart to you, God, and my soul yearns for you to continually search me. I thirst for you, my living God, with an unquenchable thirst. You are the living God! I cannot move without you knowing it! Every step that I plan may be formed in my mind, but your Spirit directs my steps. My thoughts are not as high as your thoughts, but you know and understand them because you became human for me. You understand me, your creation, because you became one with me in your suffering for my sake. You know when I am at ease and when I am distraught. You know when I have the faith to move mountains, and when I need rest to be revived. You are familiar with every part of me. Before I even speak, you know what I am going to say. Because you know my heart, you know if it is pained or if is rejoices. You know if I will speak life because of great joy or if I might possibly speak death because of great despair.



Why do I ever become downcast? I can again hope in you. Because you know me and created me, I am yours, and you are mine. Lord, today, I pray for my words to only speak your Life. I pray right now before a word is ever spoken, that my words are directed by you, Holy Spirit. I long to have a joyful heart that speaks life. You discipline me, Lord, and guide me in the right direction. You chastise me when I fail, and you encourage me when I succeed. You have placed your hand upon my life, and I always aware of your steady pressure. Your love and call is too much at times for me to even fathom. It is too incredible to even understand why you have loved and chosen me.



There just are no words...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Heart Choice Attitude

           
            What is a heart choice? It is whatever your attitude happens to be about a circumstance, another person, yourself, God, or anything in your life. It is whatever motivates your action. It is whether you approach each day with dread or with anticipation. John Wesley believed that sin resides in the attitude of the heart. It is your heart choice—your motivation or your attitude—which speaks of life or of death. Heart choices speak of who is really in charge of your life—of who is in control.
            Just before his death Moses spoke to the Israelites and instructed them to choose prosperity and life instead of destruction and death. They were poised on the brink of the Promised Land. “Love the Lord your God! Walk in His ways,” Moses pleaded. “Keep His command” (Deuteronomy 30:15)! Moses spoke from his own failure to obey God. He would not see that land flowing with milk and honey.
The Lord sets before His children the same command today. Our promised land waits. In fact we can smell its fragrance and its promise, but it is just beyond our reach. “Choose life,” the Lord pleads, “the land is waiting for you to enter and possess it!” The ability to choose life rests within your heart.
“What I command you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach,” Moses instructed. “The Word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it! Choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:11-14)! The Word of God is meant to be alive and active. It is meant to reside within our hearts so that we might obey its instruction. Is it real in your heart? Do you know it?
“If your heart turns away and you are not obedient, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not receive what I have promised you” (Deuteronomy 30:18)! The Lord wishes His children to keep their hearts and minds upon Him. He yearns for us to reach our promised land! Often we don’t consider the fact that the motivations and attitudes of our hearts keep us from what God has promised us.
“Now choose life,” Moses pleads, “so that you and your children may live, and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life” (Deuteronomy 30:19b-20a). Don't every forget that if the Lord is your life, He has promised you great and wonderful things (Jeremiah 33:3). But you can't enter your promised land without choosing a good attitude toward others, yourself, and life.
“Believe in me instead of what you have always thought yourself to be!” the Lord proclaims. “Trade the positive for the negative and see blessing! You will have surrendered your life for mine. You will have given up curse for my blessing, death for my abundant life!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

If He Lives in Me

The world has heard about God. What it needs is to know Him. Many Christians speak about Him and try to share Him with others, but are surprised when their words have little impact. They are only words spoken about Him. They are not His words living through them.

The world needs to see Him in my life. It doesn't need to hear about His power, but it needs to experience it through me. It doesn't need to hear about His peace, but it needs to see it alive in me. It needs to see His calming faith no matter what the circumstances. It doesn't need to hear about His joy, but it needs to see His joy spring up from depths of sure trust in His faithfulness. It doesn't need to just hear of His love, but it needs to experience His love through me.

If I allow Him to live in me, those in my sphere will discover they must choose. They may accept Him reject Him, but, if I have allowed Him to live and love through me, they will have experienced His power. It is not my place to save. It is my place to live what He has done in my life. If I am His vessel, He will do the work.

"The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it" (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

Friday, June 7, 2013

No Stony Heart

There are two special people that I know read my devotions on Facebook, and I write this in honor of them today. God's power of forgiveness has done a work in both their hearts in miraculous ways, and restored a friendship that bore the worse, only to discover His best. This promise is now true in their lives—“I will give you a new 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).

At some point in this life, someone will hurt you. They will say or do something that tears your heart into shreds. Your heart then lies in broken pieces, and you believe it will never be the same again. One of two things happen with those shreds. If your heart does not heal in the right way then those shreds form scar tissue. The result is hardness, and a stony heart which blocks not only forgiveness from you, but the healing love and freedom of the Holy Spirit in you. And the other thing? Now that choice has great promise, and brings healing. It is forgiveness. It brings joy and peace and power because you allow the Holy Spirit to flow in and mold your life! The heart that might have been stony is now soft and pliable in the hands of the Potter.

The inability to forgive is a terrible cancer. It eats at your spiritual health and ultimately destroys your relationship with God. It hardens your heart to conviction and to Christ’s promise of healing. The Holy Spirit invites you to open your heart so you might forgive. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom,” Paul writes (2 Corinthians 3:17). To receive forgiveness you must forgive—freely as Jesus forgave. To receive healing, you choose forgiveness instead of a hard and unyielding heart.
Jesus waits for your response. He offers hope through conviction. Satan wants you to remain wrapped up in anger and bitterness. He wants your hardened heart to grow even harder. Christ forgave you. Are you willing to offer what He has freely given? Will you actually do as He asks? Make something good come out of what is bad. Turn it around for God’s glory. Let your wall of pain down today, and allow Him to wash out the hurt, bitterness, anger, and resentment. Allow forgiveness to set you free from a stony heart.
The Lord will remove that heart of stone, and give you a heart that forgives. Once opened your heart will rejoice in its freedom. Out of your life will flow rivers or living water. You will discover that forgiveness is a mighty work of God which springs eternal in your heart.

 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Let Him

A friend once told me a dream she had about her son. His life was one of poor decisions with bad consequences. She had made every effort to force him to change, but nothing made a difference. She had prayed for God to move in his life and nothing happened. In her dream she lay on the top of a cliff, and held on to her son who hung over the edge. He dangled in the air, and was in danger of falling. The bottom of the cliff couldn't be seen, and she did not know what waited for him if he fell. She tried so hard to pull him back up onto the cliff, but she didn't have the strength. She held on to him as tight as she could trying to save his life. As she lay there crying for the Lord to give her strength to pull her son back from sure destruction, she heard God's voice tell her to let her son fall. “You pray for him,” God said, “don't you trust me to catch him before he hits the bottom? You can't rescue him. Only I can, but I can't catch him if you don't let him go.”

How many things has God waited for me to let him handle my fears? How many times have I stood in His way trying to figure something out that was beyond my ability? When will I learn that as long as the answer I need is consuming my heart, then I will not hear that answer when it is given? I might even question that answer, and decide that I can't trust the way in which it was given to me. In other words, I will always have a question. I will always wonder if I have missed part of the answer, and that there is something more. Faith has been replaced by fear, and nothing that is presented to me will make a difference.

When will I let go and let God answer the hard questions? When will I decide that it is time to let go of the fear that is consuming my heart? At times we all fight letting go. We would love to be in control of outcomes. But life means that I can't. If I struggle to be in control of outcomes, then I bang my head against a wall that will shatter any hope I might have. Philippians 4:6-7 instructs that when we let Him have our problems we can have peace. There is peace is not needing to have the last word. There is peace is not having to have an answer. There is peace in just letting go of that fear or issue or problem that hangs over the cliff. At the moment I release my hold of that fear I can breathe again, and worry about what waits at the bottom of my cliff is lifted. Because I know in that precious release that if I let go and fall into His loving grasp, I will never hit the bottom. God is the only thing that waits for me.

Whatever you face and whatever I face, He waits for us to let go of our fear and trust in His answer. Hanging on to that cliff and that fear will not ever bring peace. Hanging on to that cliff (my attempt at control and my human reasoning) will never bring peace. No matter what we face or battle, He tells us that He will catch us. But He can't do anything if we don't allow Him. We have to let go and let Him take over. We have to surrender. We will never know the depth of God's best, God's peace, God's promise, God's provision, God's strength, God's power, God's love, and God's heart until we let go trusting God will catch us before we hit the bottom.

My friend, I pray that today you can let go of your cliff. That cliff means death, and there is life when you let go and trust Him to catch you. There are those who love you and will help you learn how to let go of your cliff. Whatever you face, you are not alone. And the wonder is you will never hit bottom. But you will never know that if you don’t let go. He holds you safely and always in His grasp. Let Him.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

God's Love in Me

“Love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7b-8, NIV).

There is no way I can understand God's love unless I seek Him. I can't understand His love until I know Him intimately. His love for me more than fulfilled the law. It changes my heart so I can understand the reason for it. His sacrifice offers the greatest love so that His word becomes the height and breath my soul can reach. The one who loves is born of God, because he is born into a new life in Christ who is the greatest love. It is my choice to live in that love. And as I live in His love, He prepares my heart and mind to receive the truth of His message. That message softens the hardest of hearts, causes indifference to flee, and opens my heart to desire all of His best in my life. The love of God makes everything crystal clear. If I live in His love, God lives in me.

“We know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them” (1 John 4:16, NIV).


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

His Power to Conquer


Have you heard some bad newsnews that turns your world upside down? Perhaps you have heard that you face a horrifying illness that has the possibility to take your life? Or maybe someone you love faces forces beyond their human control. I have been in your shoes. I know the fear that rises when you hear news like that. It claims your heart and mind. As fear consumed my life, I was convinced it was going to destroy me before any cancer.

The Word became my life. I needed help and answers, and I believed with all my heart I could find them in the Word. I discovered 2 Timothy 1:7. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” God had not given me this “spirit” of fear, but one of power, one of love, and one of a sound mind. This fear, of course, was not from him, and greater still, He had given me power to overcome it. The promise was that it was possible to know His love, and have a mind free from torment. How could I discover that power and peace?

It was at this time I discovered Philippians 4:6-7. I had read these verses before, but now I clung to them like a drowning woman. “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”. The fear had to be addressed before I could even consider what was next. There two verses helped me address this fear on a daily basis. I believed what they told me, and I wanted to know His peace through what was coming in my life. Every day they helped me give my fear to God for what that day had to offer. His peace soon started to overcome the fear.

I wanted to believe Him for the greatest promise. I wanted to have greater faith to believe that this illness would be conquered. And then I found a verse that revealed to me my responsibility in this journey. ''Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 John 2). Paul might have been speaking to Gaius, but in these words, God was speaking straight to my heart. Above all things, God wished me to prosper and have health. “Even as my soul prospered” or “even as I grew spiritually” told me that with spiritual growth I would realize the faith to believe in His promise.

His power to handle your battle against your fear is available at all times. Seek Him, and His truth for your life in His Word. Claim it, and use it daily. His power, His strength, His faithfulness, His consistency, His balance-it is all yours to exercise everyday. You can never ask too much of God. His provision is unending for each moment you face. He has made a way to provide exactly what is needed for your journey. You are His child, and He will not forsake you or leave you. Seek Him, and you are never alone.

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36).
Lynn Lacher

Monday, June 3, 2013

I KNOW YOUR DEEDS BUT

To the angel[ of the church in Sardis write: “These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.'” (Revelation 3:1, NIV).

I know your deeds” reveals two things about the church at Sardis. The thirst thing that it shows is that Sardis was an active church, and a church with an outstanding reputation. It helped those in the community, and was known as a church that got things done.  The second thing that the statement, “I know your deeds,” reveals is the fact that God was watching Sardis–just as God watches what I do today. He doesn't only know what I do, He knows exactly the reason that I do it. He knows the motive in my heart. God knows me better than I know myself. He knows my true motive for ministry–whether it is really in His name or for my own recognition. The church at Sardis had a lot of things it provided that made a difference in the physical lives of those that they helped. The community recognized the church's efforts and spoke of it as a church of great character. However the church at Sardis had a very great problem.

The angel said to the church, “I know your deeds, but you are dead.” The church had a worldly recognition of being alive, but their name and reputation did not come from God. The church was so busy doing things and trying to please the community instead of God, they forgot that ministry was meant to be in God's name–not their own. In all their “doing and helping” they missed that the church had died. They had convinced each other that their work was totally “spiritual”, and in the process they had failed to realize that they had died on the vine. Yes, Sardis helped those with physical needs, but they couldn't help those with spiritual needs because they needed spiritual help themselves. They had no spiritual intimacy with God, and thus their motives had found a place in their own vanity.

What about your life? What about mine? Have we reached the point where God considers us a Sardis? That what we do for Him is really spiritually dead? Are the deeds we do for Him really coming from a repentant heart that knows without God nothing is possible? Or are we doing them to get ourselves a good name and reputation? Perhaps we don't even realize that is where we are, and that is a dangerous place to bejust as it was for Sardis. Colossians 3:17 says “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” God sees though all my many layers of reasoning, and straight into to my heart. He knows my motives.


Lord, help me to look at my heart today, and examine each motive for each deed. Do my deeds spring from faith or they from myself? I don't want to be known for just being “active”. I want to be known as being used to help others draw closer to you spiritually. The minute that ministry becomes about me is the minute I need to lose it. More than anything, I want what I give you to come from a heart that offers your love. Make me examine my heart until I know the real reason that I do things for you. May the works of my hands always come from a broken and spilled out heart.

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...