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Wednesday, July 31, 2013


“Because you belong to me, God speaks to my heart, “I know you intimately. You are my instrument, and I long to make melodious music in your life. I long to play the music of my love through you. Your music is not my music. Your music rises from self, but my music rises from the love of my sacrifice. It is complete, and never fails. It is honest, and never fabricates. It is pure and never clouded with earthy judgment. I make harmony of which you make such discord. My music played in your life sounds hope in the ears of those you have no power to impact for me. 

“Through your life I have the power to reach those you have failed‒ones you have misjudged and ones of whom you have thought less. Your self judges, and because of that you have no power to impact lives. You have placed yourself in the way of what I am able to do through a yielded life. 

“Yield your life to me, and allow me to bring my harmony into your life. It will flow, rich and free, through your life and into lives of others. Don't allow the discordant failures of your life to hold you back. Because you desire all of me now, and because you know me as your Lord, your failures are mine. They are no longer yours. It is my purpose to bear them, and to make all things new.

“'My heart, O God, is steadfast,' my servant, David, proclaimed. 'I will sing and make music' (Psalm 57:7, NIV). Even during the darkest of days, David allowed His music to be my music. You, just like my servant, David, are also my instrument. Through your life, I will make music that speaks to the souls of men and bids them come.”

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Persevering from Trial to Greater Faith

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

Nothing has happened in your life that isn’t common to someone else. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. God will not test you beyond what you can bear, but will provide a way out” (I Corinthians 10:13, NKJV). Many Christians consider this passage in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians as Christ’s promise to always deliver them from difficult circumstances, and then conveniently forget the next phrase, which infers God will give strength to endure. Sometimes God does deliver us from the most frightful situation. Sometimes He doesn’t. Might God be instructing us that His grace is more than sufficient, and He will provide the strength to stand? Satan attempts to bring out our worst, but God always seeks our best.

            “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4). Suffering creates the ability to persevere. Perseverance reveals the moral fiber in good character. Character promises hope. Hope doesn’t disappoint, but fuels our faith. We rejoice in the fact that we grow in spiritual maturity. Faith is being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). Hope that needs to be seen says, “I kind of believe, but let me just see enough, so that I can really believe.” It is not the kind of hope that just trusts that the unseen will come. It is certainly not the hope that understands how to wait patiently.

Have you ever considered waiting as being equivalent to hoping? “But those who “hope in”(or “wait upon” in the KJV)) 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” (Isaiah 40:31, NIV). Here God is exemplified as one whose wisdom surpasses ours, and who is incapable of failure. He becomes not only the God of power revealed through His creation, but also the God of power given to His creation.

Our natural resources aren’t enough to generate hope, and the ability to wait hopefully. For this to happen you must exchange our strength for His. When you give the Lord your concerns with the assurance that He is in control, hope not only springs from suffering, but also produces a greater faith that waits for what the world considers impossible. Now waiting only makes you stronger. You have grown from suffering to hope, and from hope to greater faith. Perseverance has brought its reward.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Laying Up Treasures

Keith Drury in his book “Unveiled Faces” writes that “simplicity is intentionally paring down our lifestyles toward the essentials to free ourselves from the tyranny of things and focus more on the spiritual life.” When we practice simplicity we are saying “we believe our happiness is not found in the abundance of our possessions, but in the fewness of our wants.”

Sometimes we mistakenly think that materialism might be a problem for only those who have lots of money, but it applies to all of us. No matter how many things we might have, we can covet many things. We can covet not only possessions, but also relationships. Laying up treasures in heaven is all about what we treasure in our heart.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal,” Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount, “but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

In these verses Jesus perfectly describes the difference between treasures on earth and treasures in heaven. Worldly possessions are susceptible to worldly destruction.They do not last. Only what is not tangible lasts. Jim Elliot understood this paradox when he wrote, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” A wise man gives away in order to gain. 

What I am unable to give away is what I treasure most. What I am not able to let go indicates my heart's allegiance. It reveals the focus of my life. Nothing should come before God. As I let go of that which has defined my life, I let Him define who I am. It is simple, and simplicity at its greatest.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Safely Secured

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do” (James 1:5-8).

When you are plagued with trials, you know that you need wisdom. James writes that we should pray and ask God for it. He gives wisdom generously. You may ask why something happens. God wants you to know that you can trust Him, and that you might not need to know the answer. His ways and thoughts are higher than yours. If you trust Him and ask Him for the ability to handle your trial, He will give you spiritual wisdom to deal with it. He will direct you in every trial that you face.

In these verses James not only imparts that you should pray for wisdom, but he tells you that you should pray trusting and believing that God will provide. If you pray for wisdom and feel you don't receive any, it is not because your faith is lacking. Faith that is as small as a mustard seed is great enough to move mountains. James identifies the problem as being double-minded. A double-minded man grabs hold of “but what if”, and his faith depends on circumstance instead of placing what little faith he has in God's faithfulness. A double minded man is also one who sits on the fence and can't quite commit his mustard seed faith in God. His mind has not been brought under the control of Christ. James writes that this man is unstable in all his ways. Why should God grant him wisdom? However, a person who is surrendered to the Lord, and believes in God's faithfulness, doesn't ask “but what if?” He chooses to believe in God's unwavering promise. Instead of being double-minded, He is single-minded in faith. He is focused on God's faithfulness instead of his circumstance. He knows that without God's help, He will fail. When this single-minded person cries for out for wisdom, He receives generously from the Lord.

I don't know about you, but I pray to always be single-minded, and never doubt God to supply His wisdom to handle ever trial in my life. I don't want to be like a ship with no anchor to hold me securely. Are you tired of waves buffeting you and sending your mind in all directions? Bring your thoughts under the control of Christ, and decide to believe in His faithfulness. Fight “what if”, and learn to believe in “so what, I will trust Him”. He will reward you with His wisdom, and your life will be safely secured.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

There's a Purpose

“You know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:3-4).

Trials serve a purpose. They teach an important character trait‒perseverance. You can have commitment in your life, but commitment means nothing without the ability to stand strong no matter what comes against you. Perseverance does a work in your life. Persevering during trial shapes and molds you until you become more like Christ. You must not fight against the trial. You cannot change it anyway. Let it build this character trait in your life. When perseverance has finished its work, hopefully you will be spiritually mature, and able to stand against whatever life throws at you.

When have you grown the most? Certainly not during times that are easy and demand nothing of you. You grow when your faith is tested during times of hardship. These times of hardship are times that discipline you and produce a peace that only comes as a result of perseverance. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).

Joseph was one who was trained by trial and hardship. Sold into slavery by his brothers, he faced desertion by his family and loss of freedom to live his own life. When his master's devious wife attempted to seduce him, his faith was tested and ultimately strengthened when he refused her advances, and endured her lies. Persevering in prison, his faith still grew stronger. God was with him shaping and molding his character. Joseph was ultimately rescued from his life of slavery and prison, and given the position of second in command in Egypt. When handed the opportunity to take action against his his brothers for selling him into slavery, he had no revenge in his heart. He had learned God's lesson of forgiveness and greater purpose through all he had endured. “You intended to harm me,” he told his brothers, “but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20). Joseph saw a greater purpose in his trial, and realized that God had placed him in his position to provide sustenance for his own people at this time in their history.

Do you persevere and allow the trials of life to mold your character? Molding of your character produces hope. “We also rejoice in our sufferings,” Paul wrote, “because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3–4).

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Joyful Attitude

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2).
James was the brother of Jesus, but never believed in Him as the son of God until after His resurrection. He became a leader in the church in Jerusalem, and eventually become the head of the church there. In these two verses he speaks to the Christians who face persecution because of their beliefs, and he encourages them to “consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds.”

A trial tests strength. For the early Christians and for us, it tests our faith, our honesty, and our spiritual ability to withstand the world's onslaught. You don't know how strong or how weak your faith might be until it is tested by a trial. James declares that our lives are filled with trials. We may be plagued by illness, or a financial crisis. We may face the death of someone close to us, or great loss in other ways. Someone may take advantage of us, and perhaps we may be falsely accused of something we didn't do.

The phrase “whenever you face trials” reveals that trials are just unavoidable. You can’t escape them. The Lord does not insulate us from the trials of life. He allows them to shape us and, hopefully, make us stronger. Trials hit everyone‒believer and non-believer alike. Look at Job. He believed in God, and was a righteous man. God allowed Satan to test Job, and his whole life was a massive trial. Trials can make us bitter or they can make us better. Job would not turn against the Lord no matter what came against him. 

Job's attitude during his horrendous suffering was paramount for his faith in God to flourish. Your attitude in the midst of life's trials is paramount for you to spiritually become the person God intends you can be. You can just endure, or you can consider whatever you face as “pure joy”. That kind of attitude makes the best of whatever happens. It sees positive whenever faced with the negative. It believes no matter what it hears or sees. It believes in the potential that only God sees. That kind of attitude turns what Satan can use to destroy you into what God can use to prosper you. 

“Consider in pure joy,” James writes, “whenever you face trials.” God wants you to spiritually grow and realize that trials can actually produce joy of the purest kind. Perseverance is your reward, and faith is your strength. It is a joy nothing can destroy, and it is a joy that lacks nothing (James 1:4).

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Live Faith

There are few people in the world who have not heart about Jesus Christ. Hearing about Him, and knowing Him are as far apart as ice and fire. Just hearing about Him doesn't change a heart. Such a heart remains ice cold. But knowing Him brings the Holy Spirit to melt an ice cold heart, and remake it with His refining fire.
What the world needs is to know Him. We speak about Him, and share Him with others, but are surprised when our words have little impact. If we are not living what we speak, then they are only words about Him. They are not His words living through us.

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 my life. It needs to see His calm and trust, no matter what the circumstances. It doesn't need to hear about His joy, but it needs to see joy spring up from depths of faith in His faithfulness. It doesn't need to just hear of His love, but it needs to experience His love through me.

If I live my faith, the world will see Him in me. They may accept or reject Him, but they will have experienced His power and love. 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).

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Be Encouraged

Are you discouraged? It’s time to be encouraged! David, the writer of most of the book of Psalms, knew discouragement. “My strength is dried up like a potsherd,” he cried, “and sticks to the roof of my mouth” (Psalm 22:15a). But David also developed a valuable trait. When there was no one to build his strength, David encouraged himself in the Lord. “You hear, O Lord,” he declared, “the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry” (Psalm 10: 17). 
David had faith that God would encourage him, and give him the strength he needed for whatever he faced. But you, O Lord, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me” (Psalm 22:19). Do you seek to know that kind of faith?  It is the kind of faith that believes no matter what hardship surrounds you. It is the kind of faith that sustains when fear threatens. It is the kind of faith that trusts in His encouraging promise when all is dire and dark. It is the kind of faith that hears the Lord’s encouraging voice when there is no one else to encourage you.

I will declare your name to my brothers,” he promised. “In the congregation I will praise you” (Psalm 22:22). Praising God before others also increased David’s belief in God’s provision. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name” (Hebrews 13:15). Speaking of God’s faithfulness increases your faith. Praising God no matter what you face is a sacrifice. It is a sacrifice of praise that can only come through faith in His unfailing love. God honors your surrender by encouraging you.

If you feel overwhelmed and face great discouragement today, it is time to focus on His Word and learn of His faithfulness. It is time to take all the energy that you place in worry, and place it in Him. He rewards those who seek Him with their whole heart. You will be encouraged when you look for Him like a drowning man needing rescue. He is there just waiting to encourage your heart, your mind, your spirit, and your life.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Value of a Friend

What is the value of a friend? C.H. Spurgeon stated, “Friendship is one of the sweetest joys of life. Many might have failed beneath the bitterness of their trial had they not found a friend.” A friend carries the load when you are unable to take one step. 

Luke writes of a man who might have missed his healing without the determination of his friends to literally carry him. Four men bring their paralytic friend to a house where Jesus is, but can’t get through that mass of people. Determined, they climb to the roof of the house by an outside stairway. After removing roof tiles and prying up the mud and wattle, they lower the paralytic’s pallet through the opening. Jesus looks up, and observes the pallet being lowered. What does he see? He sees the faces of four men filled with stark hungering need for their friend’s healing. But He also sees great faith revealed in their faces. Jesus looks at the paralytic and announces, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” To show the Pharisees that He has the power to forgive sin, Jesus tells the man on the mat, “Rise up, and pick up your mat. Go home” (Luke 5:16-24)!

In Proverbs Solomon lists three strong values found in a good friend. He loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17); he is closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24); he never forsakes his friend (27:10). The example of the paralytic in Luke supports Solomon’s observations. He received constant love from his friends. He was closer than a brother, and his friends did not forsake him. They believed in his healing and did what they could to help him. Maybe the paralytic was embarrassed to be the center of attention. Perhaps he asked them not to cut a hole in the roof. Or maybe because he was unable to do anything for himself he was relying upon his friends. What can we deduce about friendship from this example of the four friends’ commitment? No matter what your friend’s belief or lack of belief, you believe in the very best for him. True friendship does whatever is necessary to bring about the promise but does not sacrifice the heart of his friend. 

I once discovered a simple statement that shows the value of a friend. “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”

Monday, July 22, 2013

My Impregnable Defense

“You are not alone. I am with you," He whispers to your troubled mind. "I have all the concerns of your life in my grasp. Don't worry about what is ahead in your life. Don't worry about what tomorrow holds. Today is enough for you. Don't dwell on what has not even happened. I keep your future from you on purpose.Your faith is precious, and it cost me my life. Don't sacrifice my love for you by not trusting in me. Trusting and having faith in me comes by hearing and knowing my Word. It comes through an intimacy with me that creates deep trust in my faithfulness to you. Learn of me. Know me, and your future is safe and secure in me. No weapon that forms against you will succeed. No problem will be too great or horrible for you to handle. You will soar above whatever might come because you have waited on me instead of trying to take matters into your own hand. You have sought me. You have learned of me. You have taken my Word, and it has become your very life. No matter what your future might hold, it is secure in me. I am your impregnable defense, and nothing shall break the faith you have in my plans for my 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).

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Discipline

Yesterday I wrote about a wall I felt existed between a friend and myself. I wrote about seeking God about what I might have done, and how hard it was not to know. I had one friend in mind never realizing that God was about to work a miracle in my heart. Oh, it was not about the friend I had in mind. It was about another friend from years ago.

I discovered that something I did not do years ago hurt my friend. I had assumed she understood something she did not understand. That assumption was my failure. I had wondered for awhile why she was gone from my life, but yesterday I finally realized the reason. As she finally told me, I knew that God was disciplining me. I knew my failure.

When faced with this sudden knowledge of my failure, I remembered these words from Hebrews 12. “Have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, 'My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child'” (Hebrews 12:5-7, NLT).

At the moment I knew I had failed, I felt His correcting hand upon my life. Realizing the devotional that I had just written, I was totally overwhelmed at His power and love. I asked His forgiveness. I told my friend how sorry I was, and she said she had already forgiven me years ago. I not only felt His loving forgiveness. I knew His forgiveness through her.

“As you endure this divine discipline,” the writer to the Hebrews continues, “remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” (Hebrews 12:7-11, NLT).

God is my father, and He loves me enough to discipline me. Without His discipline and guiding hand in my life, I will never grow spiritually. I have learned a great lesson. It is one that will mark my life. And my greatest reward is that my sweet friend is now back in my life.

I will not be discouraged and allow the enemy to batter me over this failure. I will move on in Jesus Christ. “So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees,” the writer to the Hebrews concludes. “Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong" (Hebrews 12:12-13, NLT). I will strengthen my weak knees, and share my story this morning. I will mark a straight path and pray that others will learn something from what I have shared. It is never the end like Satan would like me to believe. Discipline is always the beginning. It is always hope.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Create in Me

Have you ever felt like a wall has gone up between you and someone with whom you have shared your heart? Have you looked inside your own heart and asked the Lord to show you what you might have done? It breaks your heart to think you might have wounded another person, and broken their heart. Much worse is to know you have broken the Lord’s heart. There is an old song, “Evening Prayer”, that speaks the cry of a heart that longs to be forgiven.

If I have wounded any soul today,
If I have caused one foot to go astray,
If I have walked in my own willful way,
Dear Lord, forgive! 

If I have uttered idle words or vain,
If I have turned aside from want or pain,
Lest I myself shall suffer through the strain,
Dear Lord, forgive!

If I have been perverse or hard, or cold,
If I have longed for shelter in Thy fold,
When Thou hast given me some fort to hold,
Dear Lord, forgive!

Forgive the sins I have confessed to Thee;
Forgive the secret sins I do not see;
O guide me, love me and my keeper be,
Dear Lord, Amen.

If I have wounded and made another one stumble, then forgive me, Lord. If I have said words without thinking that have wounded, forgive me. If I have turned away from someone's painful cry because I might suffer too, then forgive me. If I have been cold and unfeeling to someone's need, forgive me. If I have run from my responsibility and longed to be hidden from its requirement, then, please, forgive me. Lord, I confess the sins that I know, and the ones that I do not know. Please forgive if I have wounded another, and release my spirit from bondage.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9). “Have mercy on me, O God,” David cried, “according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:1-2). If I confess, He is faithful to forgive, and cleanse my heart. His love is unfailing, and I will know and experience His forgiveness once again. My heart will be pliable in His hands. If I fail Him in anyway, my heart will horribly ache. I will feel and know His pain as if it is my own. 

“Create in me a pure heart, O God,” David cried, “and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). Renew your spirit within me, Lord. Everyday renew it. Keep me soft and pliable on your altar so your steadfast spirit is secured within me. Guide me. Love me, and keep me safe from my own ability to fail you. I place my life in your hands today, and trust you will do whatever is necessary to create a pure heart in me.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Greater Faith

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17, NIV).

Faith is found through “hearing” the Word of God spiritually. Faith grows in my life through studying the Word and applying it in every moment. The Word covers all situations that arise, and clarifies each decision that I need to make. Without His faith, filling and inspiring my life, I will fail.

I must pray daily for His faith. He is trustworthy, and I must be “faith-worthy”. 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 learn that I can truly trust Him in every moment and every struggle. I 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. "Faith without works is dead," James writes, 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. When He is my strength, I receive greater faith to believe. And my faith will grow!

Faith is His gift to me. My works is my gift to Him. I know that once I have done His will, I will receive His promise (Hebrews 10:35-36). Greater faith believes and the promise becomes real in my spirit and my heart. I believe because my faith is greatest when I remain in His Word.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dwell on HIm

Psalm 37:1-11 (NIV)
1 Do not fret because of those who are evil
    or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
    like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.
8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
    do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 For those who are evil will be destroyed,
    but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
    though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
    and enjoy peace and prosperity.

The meek will inherit the land. The meek will receive that which is meant to be theirs. Those who are humble in the Lord will receive their promise. No matter what evil I might see around me, it will one day be as nothing. What a promise! But I must have a humble spirit for it to be true. I must have a heart that seeks God instead of focuses on what I am unable to change. In these verses David outlines exactly what should be real in my life in order to inherit my promise.

David writes that I am not to fret. Don't worry. Trust in Him. Be assured of His faithfulness no matter what I see. Dwell in the land, and stop finding fault. Be content. Make commitments to Him. Put down roots and discover that He cares for His own. Delight in Him. Praise Him, and look for the good where He has planted my life. And He will give me the desires of my heart!

If I commit my life to Him completely, He will vindicate me. No matter what I face or might be said about me, He shall be my vindicator. I do not have to prove anything. He is my proof, and my promise.

In quietness I shall find my strength in Him. I shall be still and know that He is God. I shall wait for His promise instead of taking matters into my own hand. If I wait for Him my strength is renewed, and my patience is secured.

What I see will not anger me. What I hear will not send me into a rage. What suddenly arises to destroy my peace will find no entry in my life. I have committed my life to the Lord, and I trust only in Him. 

If I focus on Him instead of what is around me, then He becomes my reality instead of the temporal of this world. Those who are evil will be no more, and He will be my truth. He will be my strength, my purpose, my victory, and my heart. In peace and spiritual prosperity, I will know with every fiber of my being that he is God.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Liberated Heart

No one likes to face pain. When I have lived through suffering, my natural instinct is to move on and try to forget it. What may be my natural instinct is not His. He never wastes my hurt or what I have faced in my life, and He does not want me to just bury it. He wants me to use it for His glory.

How He longs to use the pain I've experienced—the things that I regret—the highs and the lows—the fears and the failures—the very things I want to hide from—to help others! He wants my life open and exposed so others might find freedom from their own pain, and I might discover healing for mine.

Open and exposed is a very hard place to be! I want to build a wall to protect myself from my own pain. But building a wall doesn't protect me. It imprisons my heart. It imprisons my spirit. It imprisons healing of not only my own wounds, but those of others. My wall turns my heart into a heart of stone because, in closing myself off, I have shut out the Holy Spirit.

However, when I allow that wall of false protection to tumble down, the Lord turns my pain into victory not only for myself, but for others. “I'll give you a new heart, “the Lord promises, “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).

            A heart that yields completely to the Holy Spirit is a heart of tender “spiritual flesh”. It is a heart that is malleable, vulnerable, and not afraid of the pain that often accompanies healing. It is heart that is ready to face the hurt of the past or the present head-on, and allow the Holy Spirit to do whatever is necessary. Willing to deal with whatever must be dealt with, this heart trusts that the Lord who has exposed the pain is capable of healing all that has caused it.

            "Now the Lord is the Spirit,” Paul imparts, “and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). The Holy Spirit is able to liberate me from any wall that I erect, but first I must allow Him to liberate my heart.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Promise in Waiting

“But those who hope in 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” (Isaiah 40:31, NIV).

What an incredible verse! And what a encouraging promise! If I wait on the Lord, He will renew my strength. Even if I am tired and weary, I can find hope in this promise. I get into all kinds of trouble when I attempt to hurry ahead of Him, and try to move mountains. Nothing lasting can be accomplished in my own strength. In fact I can make a real mess of a situation if I don't wait on Him. His timing is perfect. Mine isn't. His thoughts and ways are perfect. Mine aren't. Waiting on the Lord is necessary for my spiritual growth. Patience is a quality that only He can cultivate.

Anytime I run ahead of the Lord, I create a mess. Anytime I trust my own strength, I discover and even create problems that would have never happened if I had waited on God. But..... when I seek the Lord for His strength and His guidance, I receive His power to move or to wait or to receive. I become a instrument of ministry to be shaped by His Hand instead of trying to mold myself on the potter's wheel.

I need to spend time daily with the Lord praying, studying the Word, and listening for His voice to speak to my heart. No more will I run ahead of Him, or even walk behind Him. He walks by my side directing and steering my life. Whether I move ahead or wait on Him, it will be in His strength. What He directs I will do with all my heart, and where He leads I will follow.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Greatest Encourager

My mother passed away in February. Some days are harder than others, but the greatest thing I remember about her is that she always inspired me to be a better person. Even in her illness later in life, her presence kept my heart tender. I never want to lose her vision of something greater for my life. I never want to lose the tenderness she inspired in me.

Do you have someone who inspires you or encourages you? Perhaps you haven't known that kind of inspiration in a long time. Perhaps you wonder if days of failure and despair will ever end. If you know Christ, you have the greatest encourager of all. He looks beyond who we are, where we are, what we are, and sees us through the eyes of His loving sacrifice. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NKJV). He doesn't see our failure, and our sin. He died for you and for me. His sacrifice frees us to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:1-4). He sees our greatest potential, and He wants to inspire us to find it.

You are not a failure. You have the greatest encourager cheering for you. Don't hide from failure. Face it, and honestly evaluate why you failed. If it is from sin, repent, and let Christ forgive you. Move on in forgiveness. Learn from your failure, but don't allow that failure to define who you are. If the failure is the result of circumstances beyond your control, then it is not yours. Don't carry a burden you were never meant to carry. Whatever you face, Christ encourages you to learn from it, and grow closer to Him as a result of it.

Jesus Christ always convicts. Satan always condemns. There is hope in conviction. There is no hope in condemnation. There is encouragement in conviction, because there is the promise for something always better in your life. If you are willing to respond to that conviction with repentance, your promise is secured. Your encourager has encouraged you to become something greater than you ever imagined.

Always look to Jesus Christ, the author and the finisher of your faith. He will encourage you through all you face in life. He will never fail you. He will never desert you. He will lead you to be the greatest. Your potential will become His promise. “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6, NIV).

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Lord, I am thankful for the moment you came into my life. Everything changed in that instant. I was no longer alone. I was no longer bound in the dregs of my past. In that instant... in that moment, I knew I was loved no matter what I had done or been. Your love has set me free to be me. You always see my potential and lift me above the circumstances that try to destroy me. You walk with me everyday, but more incredibly and wonderfully you live inside me. It is your heart that lives in me, and it is your forgiveness that flows. I have none of my own. You make all the difference. You make my life complete, and for that I cannot give you enough thanks.

Today I give you all the praise and thanks I can. You are my life, and my God. I love you, Jesus, for loving me beyond measure... beyond anything my limited mind can imagine. You just are, and in your constant promise, I am fulfilled.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

His Peaceful Harmony

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9, NIV).

There is no closed door. He waits for me to seek Him, and the promise is that I will find Him. I will discover that intimacy which makes the struggles and hardships in my life simple. The spiritual struggle that I face in finding peace is caused by unrest within myself. 

Discord does not exist in His spiritual life. Spiritual harmony is His promise for my life. When there is a stronghold in my life that needs to be conquered, I lose that perfect peace. My spiritual life with Christ must be deeply intimate. When I seek Him, I discover all I face is nothing compared to the perfection of peace I find in my relationship with Him. He brings all that is perfection into my life. His promise is all I need‒perfect peace, perfect love, perfect harmony. He brings power to overcome all that I face. He makes my life perfect no matter what happens. He brings harmony to all that attempts to bring discord. No weapon that comes against me will survive. I will survive in His peace and promise because He is my life. 

So very often I lack the power and promise of His presence because I have lost that intimacy. I believe He has failed in His promise, but it is not Him. It is I who have failed because I have not sought that deep precious intimacy that gives brings all supply and all harmony and all peace into my life. I will seek Him, and I will ask. I will knock, and He will open the door to all His promises. I will more than survive in Him. Nothing that comes against me will prosper. I will be the one to prosper in faith because He has become the harmony of my life. 

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

Friday, July 12, 2013

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).

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 each pitfall. 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.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:36).

“But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-11)/

“The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10b).

When I feel weak, I know He is strong. He is my joy and my strength. Always.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


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

There is a peace that passes all human understanding. It is Christ's peace, and no other man has the power to take it from me. No person can wreck that calm. Only I destroy His peace in my life when I allow life's worries to plague my mind and spirit. I am the one who gives welcome to fear. I open the door to the enemy who steals and destroys. The enemy stirs my human worry, but I am the one who opens my mind to his lies and terror. 

Today I decide to allow nothing to disturb the calm I have in Jesus Christ. I must stop all distractions and seek Him until His peace once more settles my mind and spirit. Those that have the power to rob me of my peace and joy will not be allowed to disturb my peace of mind and calm of heart. 

Each problem I face will be an instruction in the way to discover and keep His peace. Each interruption...each struggle...each situation trains me in the way I should go. Every earthly problem I face has the power to teach me the enduring presence of His peace. And when it is mine, nothing shall disturb my peace in Him. Nothing shall break the peace I have found in His love. Nothing.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Defeating Depression-Cures of Hope

Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5b). “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:5). Perhaps you battle depression, and you see no hope. But there is hope! In the midst of his hardest time, David held on to that hope. He put his hope in God. “I will remember the deeds of the Lord,” the psalmist wrote. “Yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds” (Psalm 77:11-12).

When life overwhelms your spirit and robs your joy, you sink into depression. You might try to call it something else because a Christian is not suppose to be depressed. That is just a lie. Anyone can be depressed. But as a Christian you have great promise of recovery, and His name is Jesus Christ. Admit you are depressed, and confess it to God. The psalmist remembered the days when the Lord blessed him, and days were not so hard. He wrote “To this I will appeal; the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand” (Psalm 77:10). Seek God, and His help. Admit your struggle to someone you trust. Pray privately and then pray with others for His help. “Truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19).

“You are the God who performs miracles,” the psalmist wrote. “You display your power among the peoples” (Psalm 77:14). When hiding from Saul who wanted to kill him, David felt alone and depressed. But he learned that encouragement made all the difference. He learned to encourage himself. It is hard when you are so down to find hope, but try to concentrate on who God is instead of who you are. Seek someone with the gift of encouragement to help build your hope. Grasp their encouragement with the little strength you possess, and tell the Lord again and again that you need His strength.

“Loneliness breeds depression,” Brother Bill taught on Sunday. Depression isolates. Fight isolation. Make yourself do something for someone else. Give yourself away, and minister to another. “I don't feel like it,” you might say. “There is nothing left in me.” That is your depression. It is your feeling of isolation and depression that holds you in bondage. Feelings cannot be trusted. God can be trusted. His Word is truth. “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17). “By faith do what you need to do, and feelings will come,” Brother Bill said. Persevere and keep believing and acting on your belief. Little by little you will experience freedom from your heaviness and depression. “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).

Remember when life was better. You can learn to encourage yourself just as David encouraged himself to rediscover his joy. Joy is not a feeling based on your emotion. Joy is God's strength to raise you up, and carry you through the days of your life. Take care of any physical reason for your depression, and then address the emotional and the spiritual with His help. Place your trust and hope in God, and don't give up. With perseverance you will receive what He has promised.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Depression-Consquences and Causes

This past Sunday morning at Edgewood Church, our pastor, Bill Snow, began a summer teaching series called, “Managing Troublesome Emotions”. His first topic was “Defeating Depression.” He drew his points from Psalm 77:1-15. I'd like to explore this subject, and share some of his insights. I’d also like to encourage you to visit Edgewood during the next few weeks to hear this series.

At some time in your life you will face depression. The consequences of it can rob you of your joy. The psalmist wrote, “I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint” (Psalm 77:3). With depression you have an overwhelming and defeated spirit. “You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak” (Psalm 77:4). With depression you can't sleep or speak. You are too weary to lift yourself up, but from somewhere deep within you remember joy in your life. “I remembered my songs in the night” (Psalm 77:6). In Psalm 42:3-4 David also wrote, “My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, 'Where is your God?' These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.”

The causes of depression can be many things. It can be a great loss in your life, or bad news or work-related problems. Depression can arise from problems with other people, or problems that overwhelm your spirit. It can arise from a clinical imbalance. Perhaps you have a vitamin deficiency or chemical deficiency where you need a medication. Perhaps your health is not too good. Good health is necessary to defeat depression. A good diet is necessary. Exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins promote good feelings. See your physician, and address these concerns. “Great health is the enemy of depression,” Brother Bill said, “and bad health is the friend of depression.”

“Will the Lord reject forever?” the psalmist continued. “Will he never show his favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion” (Psalm 77:7-9)? When you are robbed of your joy, depression gives you a pessimistic outlook on life. Nothing offers hope or promise. You become introspective, and analyze too much. These verses also reveal something else. Depression happens when you leave God out of your life.

David also wrote in Psalm 42:5, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” You can learn to encourage yourself just as David encouraged himself to rediscover his joy. Joy is not a feeling based on emotions. It is God's strength in your life that carries you through hardship and difficulty. Don't despair. If you, just as David, place your trust and hope in God, you will praise Him again. There are cures for depression, and tomorrow we will look at God's promise in defeating depression.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Perfect Love

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18a).
It is impossible for love and fear to exist beside each other. It is one or the other. Evil may come against me, but love is the powerful force which defeats it.

There is a human love which can be tormented by fear, but there is a perfect love which conquers fear and trusts in God's faithfulness to overcome all the I face.

The only way to obtain this perfect Love that conquers fear is to have Christ in my heart. If His love is growing in me, I learn more of His perfect love and its ability to conquer my fears. I can only banish my fears with His presence.

I will pray to Him, and think of Him. I will share His love, and dwell on Him instead of my fears. His perfect love and power will rise in my heart until no fear can claim my mind. I will remain strong in His perfect love that casts out fear.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

I Surrender Me

I must always remember that I am just an instrument. It is not my place to make things happen. God is ultimately in control. What I must do now is work hard to do the work He has called me to do. The things that have hindered me from yielding completely to His will must not hinder me anymore.

Where does this complete surrender begin? It begins in me. I am the only one that I can make surrender. I am the only one that can allow Him to crucify me. I am the only one who can experience the victory of His resurrection through the selflessness of His cross. I must lay down all that I am.... my worries, my burdens, my struggles, my thoughts, my desires, and all of me. I must surrender all of me. It is ridiculous for me to bear my own burden when He has given me the perfect place to lay them down... at His Cross.

If I am to lay all this at His cross, what does it really mean for me to take up His cross and follow Him? The cross that is given to me is the way that I discover how to crucify my own desires. It is only my own self which hinders the flow of His life through me. I come to His cross to lay down my own cross and to find His. It is in this surrender that I discover His power lifting me from the selfishness of my life into His life of peace and joy.

"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7).

Saturday, July 6, 2013


“See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess” (Deuteronomy 30:15-16, NIV).

Living a life of good choices is a must. We can either choose life and prosperity or death and destruction. Moses reminds the Hebrews in verse 19 to choose life over death. Choose life or choose death? What sane person would not choose life over death? Many times, though, we don’t see erroneous choices eating away at the fabric of our lives and also of others in our realm of influence. God wishes for us to make good choices in order to receive His blessings and affect others positively. However, He also wishes us to know that bad choices not only harm us, but wreck havoc in the lives of others. 

“It is difficult to always know if I am making a good choice,” you state.

“Now what I am commanding you today,” Moses tells the Hebrews people at Moab, “is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach” (Deuteronomy 30:11). Guess what? It is not out or your reach either, or is it too hard.

“But how is it possible?” you ask.

Moses answer is also an answer for each one of us. It speaks of the best scenario for our lives. “The word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it” (Deuteronomy 30:14). Faith to believe you are capable of continually making good choices comes from hearing the message, and the message is only heard through the word of God (Romans 10:17). The Word can only be alive if you have allowed it to change your heart. It always comes down to a matter of the allegiance of your heart.

Proverbs 16:3 (KJV) reads, “Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Where your thoughts are, so is your heart. Sometimes when you are faced with the need to make a decision, you honestly don’t know what God’s will is. But you must make a decision. Commit your decision to the Lord. Ask Him to change it if you make a wrong decision. Believe in His ability to change your decision if it is wrong. If He realizes that the intention of your heart is love for Him, He faithfully honors your prayer. He will anoint your decision or change the circumstances so that His correct decision is made. He will not fail you.

He asks us what we are going to choose. We desire above all else to make Him Lord so that we are blessed and also are a blessing to others. But how? In Deuteronomy 30:16 we discover the means, and then read of His promise if we comply. We are to love the Lord our God with body, mind and spirit. Our hearts should hunger for His righteousness instead of our own desires. This means giving up what we might chose for what He considers best. It is the truth of God’s Word which sets us free and enables us to follow His commandments and walk in His will (John 8:32).

What has God promised you? Just as He wished for the Hebrews to possess the land He had promised them, He wishes you to realize your own promise. 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). Do you see what this verse reveals? Have confidence in God to direct your choices, and He will reward your confidence! If you know His choices you have discovered His will. When you have done His will, what happens? You receive what He has promised! You have chosen life and prosperity instead death and adversity!

Friday, July 5, 2013

His Love

The love of God clears away the fog of misunderstanding. It explains everything, and makes everything crystal clear. I can't understand God unless I love Him. I can't understand His will for my life unless I love Him. 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.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


“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).

Have you been hurt by someone close to you? Are you unable to forgive what they have done? Is your heart now as cold as stone? Jesus asks for you to forgive. He 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. Open your heart so that another might be healed, and you also may be healed. Allow forgiveness to set you free from the bondage of anger and pain. 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 the human heart.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Good Choice

There is something in your life you know is not a good choice. You know the Lord wishes you to make a good decision. You have felt His conviction. Some days His nudge has been more acute. Other days you have willingly shut out His voice.

At this moment you again face the choice. Do you believe that after the choice you will not have the strength to follow it? You are not to have the strength to follow it. He doesn’t expect you to have it. He alone has the strength for you to follow your good choice, and He has the way for you to receive His strength. But you must decide to make that good choice.

DAILY make the choice. DAILY ask for His strength. DAILY understand there is forgiveness if you slip, because He knows you wish to make the good choice (Proverbs 16:3). DAILY commit your choice, your life, your heart, and you shall DAILY receive.

The miracle of His strength is found in your surrender to His will for your life. The Lord who calls you to make good choices is faithful, and will provide ALL you need (I Thessalonians 5:24).

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Rest in God

“Rest and know that I am God,” He speaks softly (Isaiah 46:10). “Be at peace knowing that you are completely safe in my grasp.” If I can rest and be still, then I trust Him. Constantly scurrying around trying to take care of my problems is the opposite. It is a lack of trust in His faithfulness. 

“My Hand is not shortened that it cannot save” He reminds me again (Isaiah 59:1). My attempts to save myself are useless. In fact, they get in the way of His ability to help me. Without surrender to His saving Hand, I will sink into the depths of my own despair. My rescuer is with me so why do I fight His attempts to pull me safely to shore? My boat is sinking, and I will sink with it if I do not grasp His hand and step by faith into the tempestuous sea.

Often the struggles of life overwhelm my heart and I feel with the psalmist who wrote "all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.” (Psalm 42:7). But the same psalmist also wrote, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings."(Psalm 40:2).

Consider the wonder of that truth! He is my safety for He rescues me from the pit. He is my security because He sets my feet upon His rock‒solid foundation. He is my guide in all things because He directs the way that I go. This is a beautiful picture of what He wishes to do in me. Save me from that which destroys my heart. Give me security to trust in His faithfulness. Allowing Him to guide me is the proof that I have grown and trusted in Him. I will allow Him to direct my steps. I will not question. I will trust, and be still and rest‒knowing that He alone is my salvation.

I will take His hand, and trust in Him no matter what!

Monday, July 1, 2013

You Belong to Me

Be still and know I am God. I speak very softly. Listen to my voice only. Never allow the voices of the world to deter. Listen and you will never be disappointed. Listen, and anxious thoughts and tired nerves will become rested. I speak rest in tenderness to your turmoil and strife.

My tenderness and the restfulness will heal your scars and make you strong, but it is you who must let me be your strength and your power. You are the greatest concern of my heart. Never fear. I will keep you and guard you always..... if you will never shut me out. Allow me to love you and carry you. I know your pain, and I am the answer. You do not have the answer. Only I have the answer. But until you let it go, and surrender it, there is nothing I can do.

Give it all to me today, and rest in me. Seek me until you find my peace. Allow me to flow through your heart and mind, and heal all that which would tell you that you are unworthy. Never feel at the mercy of the world. You are not. You belong to me.

Grow in His Grace

And as He spoke, a certain Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. So He went in and sat down to eat. When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled tha...