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Thursday, October 31, 2013

THE RACE


My life in Christ is a race. It is a race that grows me into the disciple He desires. The Message says, "Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls" (Hebrews 12:2-3, The Message).

Every day I need the spiritual adrenalin the Holy Spirit imparts. In these few verses in Hebrews, the Lord gives me the way to attain it. Keep my eyes on Jesus. Keep my eyes on the goal, the prize, the grand finish to come. When I find myself weary in faith then I have taken my eyes off of Him, and allowed the hardship of life to pull me away from His protecting and guiding hand. And look at all He put up with! I might feel rejected. I know nothing about being shamed and feeling rejected. I might be battered by the enemy. I really can't comprehend the depth he fought the enemy and then won! I've never endured the pain of what He did for me on the cross. But if He endured, then I can also. The writer to the Hebrews speaks God's truth when he imparts that going over and over what Christ did for me..... item by item.... will give me the spiritual adrenalin to rise up and run my face.

 
There is an end to this race. Christ attained that victory when He conquered sin and death. He now is with His father urging each one of us own to finish our own race. The Holy Spirit is our power to run the race bravely and rise above all the obstacles that hinder. Without His power, we will fail the course. If I focus on each obstacle, then my eyes are not on Him, but on the problem the obstacle presents. I will keep my eyes on Jesus Christ, the beginner of this faith in my heart, and allow Him to bring it to completion.

I will never let this race of life defeat, and rob me of the promise at the goal line. I will let it inspire me to greater heights. He is my victory, my promise, my joy, my peace, and my life.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

PERFECT PEACE

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

Have I had prayers that have never been answered because I did not hold fast? Why did I give up? Maybe I thought it was too late, and I must act for myself. Perhaps I thought God would never act, and I must try to make something happen instead of waiting for His best. I want to always hold on with courage, and faith in Him. Not one of my prayers or cries for help goes unheard. The Lord hears, and will aid me in every way possible. If I will listen and hold fast, and not try to humanly solve problems without Him, I will discover the treasure of a deeper faith.

Whatever problem comes my way, I will face it with His peace. I will remain assured that the Lord is with me, and He will carry me. I will not turn my back on what He has already accomplished, or forget what He has promised will come. No matter the challenge, I will meet it with faith in His faithfulness flowing through me. His love and strength will carry me to the end. It is the last few miles which reveal the depth of His claim on my life. I refuse to fail Him, because He will never fail me.

The Lord aids me in every possible way. If I face my problems, and hold fast to the promise of His answered prayer, I will discover His peace. If I follow in the way He directs me, I will find strength and success in my life. This morning I wait for His promise in His time. I will not give up. His presence is with me, and I will live with Him in control. There is peace in letting go and letting Him handle what I cannot handle. So I have let go, and in Him, I have joy and peace.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

STILL I WILL

Praise the Lord, my soul;
All my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
And forget not all his benefits—
Who forgives all your sins
And heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit
And crowns you with love and compassion,
Who satisfies your desires with good things
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s (Psalm 103:1-5).

The years have flown by. I've grown older, and my children are older. They have their own kids who have grown from little baby to young adult and even older in the blink of an eye. My mother passed on this year; my father is slowing down, and my time to pass on is definitely closer. Time has moved on, but I'm so thankful that my heart has been youthfully renewed each day by the love Jesus placed in it over fifty-seven years ago.

This psalm speaks my heart this morning. I praise Him no matter how much physical or emotional pain I may bear–no matter what happens around me, because He has never failed me in all the years that I have loved and served Him. All my being praises Him this morning... my heart is full...my soul is His, and I have nothing to fear. Remembering all that He has done inspires me to still believe in His perfect promises–those pearls He has given which I may or may not see in this life. I still believe. I still trust. I still honor His love which gave all for me.

He has forgiven all of my sinsnot just some, but all. Each one forgiven. He has redeemed my life from the greatest hell of despair and torment. Throughout my life there have been amazing years of healing of heartbreak, fear, worry, hurt, broken relationships, illnesses, and even cancer. He has been so faithful to me. There are still some relationships to be healed, emotions to be faced, and only He knows what is ahead. In all of these things, He is still faithful to me.

He has crowned my life with His love, and I pray each day for His love and compassion to live in me. He has filled my life with more than I could ever want. I am full each day of the wonder of His presence. In all the years I have have known Him, each day is new and full and joyful in Him. And in that joyas long as I am ableI will continue to write, continue to pray, continue to believe, continue to serve, continue to rejoice. I belong to Him, and that makes all things possible. I know I am never alone, He holds my hand as the years fly by, and one day, when He calls, I will walk with Him into eternity. Holding my hand, just as He always has, He will lead me into that for which my heart has always longed. And no longer will I only partially experience His glory. I will see Him face to face. And I will know Him fully as He has always known me.

Monday, October 28, 2013

My Daily Call

He calls me, and I will obey. Whatever comes against me will not succeed if I stay focused on His purpose. There will be hard times, but I must keep calm in His never-changing purpose and unlimited power. If I lose my peace for even a moment, I must give Him my unrest, and my struggle. I must regain His peace (Philippians 4:6-7). I can accomplish nothing when I am upset and stressed out. In giving Him all that I face, I get rid of my selfish needs, and concentrate on His purpose for me.

I will always believe that I can do what He has called me to do. He is faithful and will do the work (1 Thessalonians 5:24). But His work is only accomplished by His spirit working through me. I must surrender all my desires for His. I must surrender what I consider my inadequacies for His ability. I must surrender. In my surrender I discover His power.

Focusing on His call, I will concentrate on the daily things which need be done to work toward His vision. If I lose the focus, I will lose the purpose for my life. If I rush the work to attain His purpose, I will become discouraged by the immensity of it all. Daily I lay down my cross, and ask Him to come, and lead. I will remember each day that He never asks me to do something without providing the power to accomplish it. And that is enough for my journey.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

LET GO AND OPEN THE DOOR


Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (Revelation 3:20).

Consider His priceless words. He stands and knocks at the door to your heart. He invites you to a life which you cannot comprehend with the human mind. It is a life of utter peace and trust in His abundant faithfulness–a life of spiritual joy. His invitation promises to carry you beyond your avenue of analytical thought to one of rest that no matter what happens in this life all is well. This invitation offers respite from the hectic pace of this world. “Be still and know that I am God” takes on a whole new meaning. When you get to the place that you don’t struggle anymore, you can find peace in just knowing He is God, and He is in control. "Come to me,” He whispers in your tempest, “and I will give you rest."

Do you long to relinquish this struggle–this pain, but you resist that which promises release? You try to keep things in control, but find out that you can't. Letting go of your struggle to control what you can't control brings peace. Letting go admits you don't have the answer. Letting go means you put your trust in what can't be seen, but what must be trusted. Even when you shut the door of your heart to His knock, He never stops knocking.  Even when you turn from His promise of peace, He never turns away. Even when He finds your heart all closed and barred behind your fortress of pain, He continues on in His constant offer of peace. “Let go, and let me,” He whispers.

The harder you struggle the stronger His constant knock. The harder you resist the greater your pain. Suddenly the exhaustion of your battle is too much. Suddenly you can no longer bar that door. Suddenly, surrender is your only option. It is your only hope. You must let go and believe. You must open the door to His knock.

When you let go of all you have tried to handle and open the door, peace enters your heart. The peace which has waited patiently on the other side of that door is now yours. No more war inside your heart. No more need to know any answers. You are free in Him, and free of fear from the hard issues that life has brought. There will always be issues, but you will be free from their ability to control your life. Fear which has defined your life has ended. You realize that God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of peace, and love, and a sound mind (1 Timothy 1:7). Letting go and opening to His knock has brought the peace your heart has struggled so hard to find.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

GOD MY ROCK


I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
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 42:9,11).

If God is my rock, then in the depths of my soul I know He has not left me. He has not forsaken me. Even though I may cry out “why have you forgotten me”, deep inside my soul I know He is still my strength. Even thought I might not “feel” Him, I know He is my God, and my support, and my only hope.

Yet, sometimes I mourn what I perceive to be the loss of His presence, and feel so alone. But I am never alone no matter whether I feel His presence or not. My fears and my worries can keep me from feeling His presence. Then the lack of feeling His presence can even make my sense of desertion even worse. I am at a loss. Where can I turn?

Into what appears to be this endless cycle of despair, shines hope. My only hope. Hope urges me to grab His hand, and place my mustard seed of faith into what I cannot see. That ray of hope begins to spread and dispels the dark of my despair. And as it spreads throughout my soul, faith begins to rise. Why should I be so downcast or disturbed? I choose to place my hope in my God. I choose Him instead of the despair. I choose to praise Him for He is my Savior and my God. I know that in this choice I will find greater faith to believe.

I choose Him. I choose to believe. I choose praise. “God my Rock” will be more than just something I am “suppose” to believe. He will be my reality.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Freedom from the Lies


In the midst of all the pain, of all the questioning, of all the wandering of my mind, I will trust you, Lord. You don't want my mind to wander, and yet often it does. You want it anchored in faith in you. This morning it is bombarded with all kinds of thoughts that I know are not from you. You tell me that you take care of all the concerns of my mind and heart. You tell me to rest in you. Resting in you means that I must be captivated by you. It means that I must not be captivated by the enemy's lies. I must see them for what they intend to do to me, and that is destroy who I am in you, Lord. To rob me of my peace and joy and my faith....that is their purpose.

Would I allow someone to steal my child from me? Wouldn't I fight for that child with all that I have? With all my life? My faith is your precious gift to me. I will fight for it with all I have. I will pray for your strength. I will not let the enemy steal and destroy what you died to give me!

What do I do in this difficult moment? What do I do when sudden fear arises from somewhere I did not know even existed? How do I shut down my mind to the lies? I must protect my heart (my soul) from what lies are exploding in my mind. I tell myself over and over that I choose to believe in what your Word tells me …. that I can have perfect peace when my mind stays on you, Lord (Isaiah 26:3). I tell the enemy that he is defeated and he has no right to my life. And I praise you, Lord Jesus, vocally, again and again and again until the lies of the enemy are silenced. It is at that moment they are silenced, that my sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15) becomes one of my healing and release in you, Lord Jesus. It is in this moment I am free.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

MY LIVING WATER

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers” (Psalm 1:3, NIV).

Do you yearn to be deeply rooted in me?” He asks in a still small voice this morning. “Do you long for what you do for me to prosper? Do you wish to never be tired of serving me?

As the deer pants for water that satisfies, yearn for me in this way. I am the only thing that will satisfy your soul (Psalm 32:1). Remember that those who hunger and thirst for me will be filled (Matthew 5:6). Continually drink of my living water which brings fulfillment to your thirsty spirit, and you will never thirst again (John 4:13-14). Now quiet your heart. I will lead you beside waters that refresh your soul (Psalm 23:2). You have asked for me, and I give you a hunger that only I can satisfy. Your spirit is starved for what I only can give you. Ask and seek for my living water, and you will receive all I have for you (Luke 11:9).You will discover my living water which satisfies your soul freely and abundantly. I will bless you abundantly in all things you do for me (2 Corinthians 9:8). You will be filled with my spirit, and your joy will be complete. You will trust me perfectly.”


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

HIS CALLING, MY SURRENDER

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps” (Proverbs 16:9, NIV).

The Lord has planned every step in life for me. He alone judges my progress. Other people may question because they do not understand. I must never judge my own work for the Lord by what others accomplish or even by what they don't accomplish. My calling is to accomplish the work He has given me. I will move forward in His strength and with a great sense of freedom from what anyone else thinks. My way is His own. No one designs it but God, and He is the only one I must answer to. I am free in Him to accomplish more than I ever believed possible.

Never will I question a task He has set before me! It is not for me to decide, but for Him. An experienced teacher would never give a student a job that was beyond his capability. He is my teacher and He knows what I can master when I rely on Him. When I feel I have no strength for a work, then that work is just what I need to stretch me and move me out of my comfort zone. He gives me His strength when I surrender my own weakness( 2 Corinthians 12:10). If I wait to feel strong, then I am a coward. He does provide strength for my calling, but not in the moment I hesitate. His strength flows into me the moment I step forward believing He will provide all that I lack. I cannot say “no” to Him because I feel I have nothing to give. It is not humility to hesitate to do His work. It is a lack of faith in Him.

“God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty—never canceled, never rescinded” Romans 11:29, MSG). His calling is always before me. His gifts to accomplish my work for Him are always provided. What I do with His calling in my life is my decision. But I cannot reason an excuse. I cannot say that I know what is best, and that I am too weak. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength” (1 Corinthians 1:25, NIV).

Today I move forward in His will, and I know whatever I see or whatever I feel or whatever I hear doesn't matter. If I yield to His calling, He will accomplish all that He desires, and that is more than enough. That is everything.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

HE IS MY GOD

"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).
 
There is a peace that fills and calms the person who trusts in God. And that peace rises from a deep faith that knows and has experienced the constant and unfailing love of God. He is a God who provides all of my needs, not because of any obligation, but because He cannot deny His love. It is a love that died for me and gave all for me. And that enduring love longs to take care of me. I am His child, and there is nothing that I will ever face alone.
 
If I pray for Him to save me from difficulty and worry, then I must trust that He will. If I don't trust, then I become helpless and powerless. He is my rescuer and wants to rescue me. Instead of fighting His help when I am drowning, I will trust in His faithfulness to lift me out of my sea of despair. He calls me to launch out into the deep. I will not fight my rescuer because I fear drowning. God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of His power and His love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). I will not drown. I can depend on Him.
 
There is a place of peace that passes understanding. It is found in Him. He is the same forever, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is my God.
 

Monday, October 21, 2013

LIVE FREELY IN HIM


“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

Have you ever been so bound up in fear you could not move forward? You could not move at all? Your heartbeat pounded in your head, and you were consumed with fear, doubt, despair, worry, and turmoil? The Holy Spirit wants you to know that where He dwells....where He lives....where He has taken residence....where He has been allowed to reign...there is freedom from bondage. There is freedom from your stronghold. There is His peace.

“Live freely in me, and I will live freely in you,” He whispers. This is not just a promise. It can be your reality. But you must take the steps to allow Him to move freely in your life. Your salvation was a decision you made to have faith in God for all eternity. It didn't cost you a thing. He gave it freely. Your spiritual growth does cost you something. It costs self-denial to your own desires. It costs seeking a depth of prayer where He prays within your heart (Romans 8:26). It costs time in studying His Word until it anchors your life. Then it costs a decision to believe in the faithfulness of the God who saved you. For Him to live freely in you, you must decide to live freely in Him. This means trusting Him no matter what. This means giving Him your best when you don't feel like it or when you feel you have nothing to offer. This means giving your heart away, your will away, your desires away for love of the Savior who gave all to you. Living freely is giving freely.

When you come to this place of sacrifice, you discover something new and amazing. He moves freely in you. He loves freely through you. He accomplishes things freely through you that you never could have seen or believed. He freely gives spiritual eyes to see, spiritual ears to hear, and spiritual wisdom to understand what you need to know (Matthew 13:15-17). Where His spirit is, there is real freedom! He flows through you washing away the stronghold that has consumed your mind and your life. When He flows freely in you there is no room for anything else. Just Him alone.

Live freely in Him. You will discover deliverance, and that He lives freely in you.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

My Hope

My hope is in God. He made heaven and earth. Will He not provide for me?  I will set my mind and my hope on His faithfulness. If I hope more in Him, then I will have more of Him. The more I hope the more I trust. The more I trust the more faith I receive. My hope will be rewarded. “Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5, NASB). 

I do not need to know answers to everything I face. He knows the answers. As I learn more and more of Him, I will find the answers that I do need, and gain trust in Him to handle what I do not need to know. He is my answer to everything. As I grow in knowledge of Him, I will understand who He really is. I will know Him, and that will be enough. 

“Why are you in despair, O my soul, and disturbed within me? Hope in God, because I will again praise him, for the salvation of his presence” (Psalm 42:5, LEB).

Saturday, October 19, 2013

FIX MY VISION


“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV).

Things we have around us do not last. The car, the television, that new appliance, the new thing we just had to have..... they are fleeting. They are for a moment in time, but sometimes we make them the most important elements of our lives. If God has allowed them in our lives, they are His gifts to us to either abuse or cherish. We abuse them when we make them the most important aspect of our lives. They are cherished as God wishes when we cherish Him more, and realize that we can absolutely live without them if He calls us to it.

We get so wrapped up in what we believe is ours. All things belong to Him....even our relationships. When something doesn't work right, we frantically try to fix it. The Holy Spirit does not want us to be frantically controlled by anything in our lives..... whether a possession or a relationship. He wants us to be free to enjoy the gifts He has given us. He wants us to know we can't fix either one. If the possession does not control us, He gives us the wisdom to fix the problem without frustration. If we realize that problem in a relationships is not ours to solve, then we see that friendship as the gift He has given. Whether a possession or a friend, each belongs to Him, and not to us. If either one controls us, we have frustration and unrest. If He controls us, we can have His peace. It is His place to bring peace.

As humans we have a tendency to focus on what we see, and not what can't be seen. However, the Word tells us that if we fix our minds on Him, we can have His perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). And He is the unseen. We can't see Him, but we know Him because He is in us. What I have on earth, either possession or relationship, is for a moment in time. I will cherish each as God's gift, and He alone can fix what I cannot make right. I will do my best to take care of that which He has entrusted to me, but I will do it with His guidance and power. He will always be my greatest love, and the “loves” He gives me on this earth will be His gifts.

There is something I have here on earth that lasts into eternity. It is His love, and it will live forever. It will bring me from spiritual death to eternal victory. I will treat His love with the tenderness and great respect it deserves. I will hold fast to Him because He started His work in me, and, if I continually surrender my life to Him, He will complete it (Hebrews 12:2). What I see now is the unseen of His presence which brings purpose and peace to my life here on this earth. I pray that I always fix my vision on His promise, and never allow the things of this earth to hold me back from His peace and fulfillment.

Friday, October 18, 2013

IN FULL MEASURE

I needed this message this morning, so I thought I would share it with you.

I am beside you. A very human Jesus, who understands all your weaknesses, and sees too your struggles and conquests. Remember, I was the Companion of the Weak. Ready to supply their hunger. Teaching My followers their responsibility towards all, not only those near and dear to them, but to the multitude.

"Lord, send them away that they may go into the villages and buy themselves victuals," said My disciples, with no sympathy for the fainting, exhausted men, women, and children. But I taught that Divine Sympathy includes responsibility. "Give ye them to eat," was My reply.  I taught that pity, without a remedy for the evil, or the need, is worthless."Give ye them to eat." Wherever your sympathy goes, you must go too, if possible. Remember that in thinking of your own needs. Claim from Me the same attitude now.

The servant is not above his Master, certainly not in Spiritual attainments, and what I taught My disciples, I do. So fainting and needy, by the lakeside of life, know that I will supply your need, not grudgingly, but in full measure.

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6:9).
- from God Calling.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Don't Label Me, Love Me

Have you ever felt that there is nothing you can do to become all that you believe you should be? That you will never accomplish anything of worth? Have you ever believed that there is nothing you can say or do that will ever make a difference? Have you ever known the burden of expectation that seems out of reach? Join the club. If you are human, then at some point in your life you have experienced rejection, discouragement, despair, and pain. At some point you have felt that you were just not good enough. “As a man thinks in his heart so is he.” If I believe I am worthless, I feel worthless. Whether I realize it or not, I “do unto others” what has been done unto me. If I have been labeled as never quite being good enough, then I pass that negativism along in my expectations of those I love. If I see myself as being beyond hope, then I see others in the same light.

Into this seemingly endless cycle of human emotion, expectation, and despair at never quite being good enough, God attempts to break into our generational bondage. He waits to speak life to all that we have suffered in our past, life to our present, and life to our future. He wants who I am to be found in Him alone. He wishes for us to realize that unlike what expectations we may have felt from others, whether real or imagined, His expectation is thoroughly attainable. He sees the promise in my life where another might not see it, and, if I truly listen to Him and obey His instruction, then I will find release from my human failures. I will discover who I really am. In His love, I can break that bondage of despair and frustration. I can do more than just hope one day that I can become free of all that has defined who I am, I can choose to really be free. I will not be labeled anymore.

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child” (1 Corinthians 13:11a). Just like me, you, too, were once a child, and all those who loved you watched you struggle to crawl or learn to walk. They watched every move you made, expecting to see miraculous change. They rejoiced over you when you achieved a new accomplishment. They were sad when you failed. But you were just a little one wanting to me loved for who you were, and wanting to feel loving and accepting arms. You didn't want to be watched for what you might become. You wanted to loved for who you were at that moment. God loves you right in your moment, and He sees you crying out to be loved and not to be labeled. When you accept His love, the bondage is broken, and you are able to not only know freedom, but to extend freedom in your expectation of others.

“Don't label me! Just love me!” is the cry of the human heart. I pray that God gives each one of us His eyes to see the potential not only in ourselves, but in others. I pray we learn to speak life to each heart instead of death. To speak blessing instead of failure. To speak joy instead of despair. To speak life full of joy and healing. To see promise where we have seen failure. To believe in what cannot be seen, and to know that one day it will be true.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Heart Praises

Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved for you are the one I praise” (Jeremiah 17:14).

No matter what I face in this life, He is my Healer, and he is my Savior. He not only heals my heart, mind, and body. He heals every facet of my life. He is not just a Savior for a moment. He is my Savior for my lifetime.

When He heals, I am healed completely in the way He has chosen for me. His healing is for my best. Perhaps it is not what I might have chosen, but it is what He knows I need. Many regard His healing as just being for physical ailment, emotional turmoil, and spiritual rest. It is much more than that. It encompasses every cell of my physical being. It encompasses every mental thought and emotional struggle. Most importantly His healing is for my spiritual completeness. But His healing goes where my mind cannot even conceive.... into the depths of my being that I cannot understand with my meager mind. In this depth of healing I am one with Him. I love Him as my Savior from all I know have been, and as Savior from all I haven't even known I have been. He just is in me. All is well and at peace in Him.

In this secret place with Him, I am healed. I am saved. There is no question. There is no doubt. My heart praises the Savior who has come for me.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

STAND

It would be nice if life was easy. But it isn't. It is a hard-fought war. I will lose the many battles along the way unless I rely on the Lord's strength and power. With His strength I can stand against the storms. I can stand against the hardships. I can face the giants with His hand in mine. I'll be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might (Ephesians 6:10). No weapon formed against me will prosper if I stand in His power (Isaiah 54:17).If I stand in Him, all that tries to destroy me will be defeated.

I will hold unswervingly to the hope I profess, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23). Against all foes, large or small, I will say that nothing shall make me afraid. I will stand strong. I will stand rock-solid in His power. Having done all I can.... having given all that I am.... leaning on Him.... relying on Him.... I will stand powerfully and invincibly against any enemy in this life. For He is my refuge. For He is my strength. For He is all that I need.
 

Monday, October 14, 2013

PART OF THE REMNANT

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them’” (Genesis 6:5-7).

There have been times that I have wondered if God regretted making me–times when I knew that I had fallen short of who He had created me to be. Many times we don’t take responsibility for our own actions. In fact, we fault others without looking inside our own heart. When God looked at His creation He saw what was in their hearts. When He looks at me and when He looks at you, He sees our hearts.

I regret the times I have failed Him, but I am thankful, that just like He saved that remnant from the flood, He rescues me from the waters that would drown me. Just as He made a covenant with the remnant He saved then, He makes a covenant with those He saves now. “I now give you everything,” God said to Noah (Genesis 9:3). Now He says to us through the sacrifice of His son, “I have given who I am for you; I, who had no sin, became sin, so that you may be free.”

Today I look inside my own heart, and realize that He gave His life so that I might not have to battle the ugliness of my past–of its remembrances. Today I give Him any thought that is not of Him, and any feeling that would destroy the closeness of my walk throughout the day. I want to be part of the remnant that believes and is saved.

In the parable of the prodigal son, the father tells the son who has remained faithful, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours” (Luke 15:31). God tells His child who remains faithful the same thing. But how wonderful to know that He also says about the other son who had been lost that he must “celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:32).

I’m been lost and now I’m found. Have you been found? Are you part of the remnant who believes and knows that God has given everything so can be free of the battles in your own heart? There is peace in your storm, and it comes through Him. Just as a dove brought a sign to Noah that the promise of life was still real, His Holy Spirit comes to you, and brings promise of new life.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Let Go of Your Fence

Do you have an area of your life where you sit on a fence? I believe that we all have such an area. We regard it as a place of safety, but it is not. We yearn for it to keep fear at arm's length, but all it does is keep away any hope. We sit on the fence because not sitting on the fence means that we must make a decision one way or the other. If we get off the fence, we will be forced to commit to something. We will either believe or not believe. We will either have faith or not have faith. We will either accept or reject. We are afraid to commit because we might be wrong. On the other hand we are afraid to not commit, because we might be wrong. So we are imprisoned on our fence. The fence has not become a place of safe retreat, but it has become a jail. What we might not realize is that staying on the fence is really a choice. It is a choice to remain in bondage instead of discovering freedom.


"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 will liberate me from my fence, but I must be willing. I must choose to let go of its false protection, and make a commitment to believe in His faithfulness. The fence does not protect me. It is a place where non-commitment will destroy what little faith I have. 


Before his death Moses spoke to the Israelites and instructed them to choose prosperity and life instead of destruction and death (Deuteronomy 30:11-15). They had remained on their fence afraid to go into their promised land, but now was the time for them to choose. Not stepping out on faith to claim their promise was choosing death over life. Choosing to get off their fence and move into their promise was going to cost them something. They would have to overcome the barriers to their promise. Letting go of the fence means that we must face our own giants. But we do not face them alone. Just as the Israelites moved forward in faith with God's protection, so will you, and so will I. Getting off the fence does not mean that I will fail. It means that I have chosen to trust Him and His promises. It means that I have chosen life.


My promised land waits. Yours waits. It is a land where walking by faith in God's faithfulness is all that we need. It is a land where we face the unknown with the assurance that all is well in His protection and providence. “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, but it is only discovered in making a commitment to believe in God's faithfulness to you.


Let go of your fence. He will not fail you. He will carry you through pain, fear, and doubt to your own promised land because you have chosen to believe in Him. Sacrifice your fence, and trust in Jesus Christ who sacrificed all for you. “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).

Saturday, October 12, 2013

HIS CALL IS ENOUGH

He calls me, and I will obey. God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable" (Romans 11:29). Whatever comes against me will not succeed if I stay focused on His purpose.

There will be hard times, but I must keep calm in His never-changing purpose and unlimited power. If I lose my peace for even a moment, I must give Him my unrest, and my struggle. I must regain His peace (Philippians 4:6-7). I can accomplish nothing when I am upset and in a quandary. In giving Him all that I face, I get rid of my selfish needs, and concentrate on His purpose for me.

I will never believe that I cannot do something He has called me to do. The one who called me is faithful, and He will do the work (1 Thessalonians 5:24). His work is only accomplished by His spirit working through me.

Focusing on His call, I will concentrate on the daily things which must be done to work toward His vision. If I lose the focus, I will lose the purpose for my life. If I rush the work to attain His purpose, I will become discouraged by the immensity of it all. Daily I lay down my cross, and ask Him to come, and lead. In these moments I know that one day, I will understand it all. I don't have to know now. I will know then, and that is enough for my journey.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

His Love is Greatest (for Oct. 11)

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1).

God is love. What is done in His love remains. The recognition of man that demands attention–the honor given to the one who speaks with the tongues of men and of angels does not remain. It is worthless if it lacks God's love. Consider how a simple word of love or a loving gesture can inspire a heart, while words spoken without thought or regard can damage a heart. Is what I say or do inspired by love or by a selfish need?

Then there is the work that is done in His name. Is it inspired by His love? It is vain and useless if it isn't. If we could only see how wasted is much of what we do in His name, and not even recognized by Him. If we rid ourselves of our selfish need for recognition, and rid our hearts of all that is not born of His love, then who we are and what we do in His name will be lasting. It will remain.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

WE ARE THE BODY

We are the body of Christ. We are called to have faith in others in the body even when their ideas are not exactly our own. We need to recognize them for the individuality they bring to the whole church family. The Apostle Paul mentions the importance that each part brings to the body. There is no least or great. When each part is not functioning to its capacity the whole body suffers.


Trust holds the body together. Trust does not mean we all agree, but it does mean that we have an obligation to hear another person's point of view with respect. It means that we recognize the importance of each individual, and believe they have something valuable to offer. It means that we state concerns with love. It means that what we bring to the table is spoken with regard to each one present. It means that we consider the one next to us or across the table more important than ourselves. It means that we recognize that we are human and fallible, and we do not have to make our point known at the cost of another one's pain.


What we are called to be is the body of Christ. That body suffered for us. That body took the nails for us. That body took within Himself all the sin and pain of the world. That body became less so we might know the joy of freedom from suffering and harsh attitudes. What does our body do for Him? Do our actions as individuals bring pain to the body of Christ? What do we give back for all He has given us? Is our individual need so great that we would wound each other? Or do we see the whole body as a place we can lay my life down for others? There is freedom in not needing to have the last word. There is freedom in laying down our lives for each other. There is freedom in the body when we remain on our knees, and lay our hearts on His altar.


We have a special church body that strives to live His love. Our church family does have a special bond. However, there's a danger in believing we will always be a church filled with love for each other. Love takes work, and we must work at it. Let's never become complacent and give the enemy a foothold. Let's always see potential in each other, and listen to the concerns of each other with respect and love. Let’s always live His love, and continue to make our body into the whole He desires.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Waiting on the Lord

Wait on the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).

 Fall is my favorite season of the year. Hot summers of the south welcome cool breezes with the brilliant color of falling leaves. It seems like a prize that has long been anticipated.

We are always in some season of life. Sometimes a tough season can seem drawn out. Stresses of life, like the the loss of a loved one, health issues, or financial struggles, may fall on us and make a longer season. It takes every ounce of our strength to get through the day. Oh, the joy of the Lord has to be our strength!

Praise Him in the waiting room of life when the season is long and it is taking forever to get an answer! God heals the hurt and cleanses our hearts with tears! Find comfort in His promises and bow in His presence. His love will intercede in our season and give us the peace that we need.

Be strong and take heart in your waiting, God will never leave or forsake you..

Leisa Rayborn

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I CHOOSE FAITH

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV).

Do I have confidence in what I hope for? Do I have assurance about what I cannot see? If I have faith the size of a mustard seed, I must reach for confidence to believe in His promise. I must reach for His assurance for that which my physical eyes cannot see. I must plant my mustard-seed faith in order for it to take root and grow. I must make the effort to believe. He will not make me believe. He offers faith to believe. Just like He gives me a free will to choose Him or not, He also gives me a free will to believe or not. It is my choice.

I must pray daily for greater faith. The Word says that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is solid. He is constant. He is my anchor when all around heaves and rocks my life. 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.  Not only prayer is needed. Obedience is necessary. I must reach out in His name to fuel my faith. As I choose to believe and step out in faith, I realize my helplessness, and I turn to Him for power to accomplish what I cannot. In my weakness, I realize His strength, and then my faith grows.

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. Faith is His gift to me. My faith in Him, which requires His work to be alive and well in my life, is my gift to Him. I will not grow tired in choosing faith in Him. I will not grow tired in serving Him. I know that once I have done His will, I will receive His promise (Hebrews 10:35-36).

I choose faith.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Approach Him

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6).

Seek time alone with God. In your time of heart to spirit prayer, you shall find one-on-one spirit communion with the Lord who brings down walls, and changes the lives of those for whom you plead mercy. There on your knees you can discover the humble service of prayer that changes the world. You will see the hand of God touch lives, realize miracles happen, and know lives have been changed. Every time that you bow on your knees in prayer, heaven rejoices, and hell shakes. There is great power in the prayer of one who surrenders his heart to the Lord in prayer. 

What is wrong in the world, in your country, with its leadership, and with its people?  Make these concerns the cry of your heart. What is it you see in another person's life that is destroying him?  Make it the cry of your heart. Make all the matters that break your heart, the very things that drive you to your knees.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Sunday, October 6, 2013

THEN


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

If you are living a purpose-driven life for Jesus Christ, there will be times when others do not understand the work you do for Him. They will judge your motives or question if you are really doing what God has called you to do. Don't hinder His work by feeling you have to justify your calling. If you try, you will fail, and it will bring spiritual frustration. It is not your place to explain. It is His place. Any explanation or justification must come from Him. Just do your work in His name, and the result will be your reward.

Keep your heart humble and pliable in His hands. Realize those who question your calling have their own hurts, pains, and needs. Place yourself in their shoes to understand the reasons that they question your motives. Pray for these reasons to be resolved in their lives. Sometimes it is jealousy because they feel inadequate in their own Christian lives. Sometimes it is jealously that God has not brought forth their own promise. Sometimes it comes from spiritual legalism. Whatever the problem, don't try to take care of it within your own strength. In any difficulty with another put yourself in his place and pray that his problem with you will be resolved. Be humble enough to know that you are not perfect, and sometimes there must be a change in your own perspective.

The power to realize the needs of others can only come through a yielded and loving life. It can only come by continual contact with God in prayer and purpose. You can't do your work without deep spiritual contact with Him, and you can't put yourself in another person's place without His love alive and well in you.

When you understand your calling and live it..... when you know you don't have to justify it..... when you put yourself in someone's place to understand his judging spirit.... when you pray for God to work mightily in that person's life... when you pray for God to keep you humble ..... when you honestly assess what you do in His name.... when your will is totally yielded to God... THEN you are walking in His spirit. THEN you are an instrument to be used at God's will. THEN you will know the fulfillment of being in His will, and the flowing freedom of His spirit.

Your purpose is to live a life which reveals His power working through a yielded life. His purpose is to do the work.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

HOLD TO THE HOPE YOU PROFESS

Bar your mind against doubt and fear. Bar the windows and doors of your souls against them. The enemy is the thief who comes to steal and destroy your faith. Create a fortress in your mind that allows no access.

You have been given great gifts of peace, joy, and love. These gifts can be taken away by doubt and fear. Anchor peace, joy and love in your spirit, and face each day with praise for God's faithfulness. Laugh at the enemy's lies...for that is what they are. Lies. You will discover that God's anchor holds strong.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). Unswervingly profess your hope. Speak it until the healing balm of His presence protects you from the lies that bring fear. Repeat that “all is well” until the wound in your spirit is healed. He is faithful.

Friday, October 4, 2013

FAITH AND POWER


“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,” (James 1:5).

“Think about what you are thinking about,” Joyce Meyer teaches. Instead of dwelling on what is wrong in your life, or on the lies Satan throws at you, think about the strong omnipotent power that God brings into your life. Think about open heart-felt prayer between you and God. Seek greater faith to trust His faithfulness.

Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Pray for greater faith to believe. Think about having greater faith to believe. Dwell on that thought. Roll it around in your mind until it is what you think about continually. Get into the Word and learn that faith comes by hearing and understanding the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Ask for wisdom to discern the Word. He does not withhold it from you. He gives it generously. That wisdom helps you discern the author of your thoughts, and His power brings your thoughts under His control (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Faith enables you to test His power in your life. As you give Him the gift of your determined and mustard-seed faith, He gives His faith back to you with increasing power to believe. But that power must be exercised. Determine to overcome Satan's lies or your own fearful thoughts, and determine to believe in His truth. His power and your faith go hand-in-hand. His faith in you is completed by the power you exercise.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My All-Powerful God


“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

He is with me constantly. His presence blesses me. He helps me no matter what I face. I will not falter in my prayers. I will be determined, and believe He hears each one. He is all-powerful. I will say that again and again. Faith will rise. He gives ALL of His power to grant my petition.

If I dwell on the negative, I give permission to the enemy to claim my thoughts. If I face life with a hopeless attitude, I will not be able to rise in faith. I will dwell on the positive and His faithfulness until expectancy grows in my heart. I will focus all my thoughts upon His great love, and the fact He will never leave me. He will never forsake me. He speaks peace to my mind, and the enemy speaks turmoil, despondency and despair.

My God is all-powerful. He loves me, and He is with me. He desires my love, my obedience, and my trust in return. I will think about these truths over and over until they are ingrained in my mind. I will wake expectantly each morning, and dwell upon His faithfulness until there is no room for the enemy's lies.

I will praise Him until my heart rejoices with His love. I will praise Him until faith rises into great trust and I believe in His omnipotent power, and His overwhelming personal concern for my life. I will say “He is all-powerful” until it is ingrained in my very being and etched in my mind. I will say it over and over until victory is secured, and peace reigns

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

IF MY PEOPLE


“My people are fools; they do not know me.They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good” (Jeremiah 4:22).


Jeremiah weeps for his people, and the disaster he knows is coming because of their sin. He cries out to the Lord how long this must go on? How long must he see the death and coming destruction? And this is God's answer. His children don't really know Him. They have never grown up to be responsible spiritual adults. They are senseless, and have no understanding of what it means to live a righteous life. The selfishly live for themselves, and in doing so they epitomize what is evil. Life is all about what they want. His children have become fools because they have refused to live in integrity and honesty.


As I read this Scripture this morning, I prayed for our country. The correlation between Jerusalem and America is very strong. We live foolish lives as if nothing matters. We shake our fists in God's face and demand our own way. We, who claim to be Christian, don't lead responsible lives. Honesty and integrity are two virtues that have become foreign to us. We live as if there will be no accountability for our actions.


“The whole land will be ruined,” the Lord says, “though I will not destroy it completely. Therefore the earth will mourn and the heavens above grow dark, because I have spoken and will not relent, I have decided and will not turn back” (Jeremiah 4:27-28). Jeremiah speaks of the marching armies that will come against God's children, and how pretense of good will not save them. They can't make themselves look God for God. He looks for clean hearts. Jeremiah hears “a cry as of a woman in labor, a groan as of one bearing her first child—the cry of Daughter Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands and saying, 'Alas! I am fainting; my life is given over to murderers'” (Jeremiah 4:31).

Our country may also be ruined if we do not repent of our evil ways. We, too, shall one day be overrun, and we will be cornered.... just as the woman who cries out for deliverance in verse 31. If we are not careful, God will one day turn us over to our reprobate ways. One day he may not have anything more to do with us.

“Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem,” God declares to Jeremiah, “look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city” (Jeremiah 5:1). Just as God looked for that one person in Jerusalem, He looks today for people who are faithful to Him....who seek Him...who pray... who love Him above all else.

Pray to be a person of honesty and integrity. Pray for our nation to rise up and live in virtuous integrity. Pray for our leaders to live lives of integrity and honesty. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). God looks on the heart, and that is where He makes His assessment. How is yours? How is mine?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

JOYEFUL OBEDIENCE


Do you know this story? I know I do, and if I honestly admit it, at times, it is my own. God tells me to do something that I find terribly difficult, and I find a reason not to listen. If God is the greatest reason for my life, then my obedience is not an option, and it does not just happen. It is born of deep commitment to God. It certainly calls for my personal sacrifice. When it is born of sacrifice, obedience speaks my willingness to submit to God’s desires instead of my own. Often obedience contradicts the desires of my heart.


We all can find reasons not to obey. “It is too hard for me to do that! I can’t give it up, Lord! I don’t have time to study the Word and pray. Lord, what would others think of me? What if I fail you, Lord? I can’t see how my doing this will help, Lord. I don’t feel the need to do that, Lord.” The excuses mount until God’s voice echoes like distant thunder. With our backs firmly turned, and our hearts grown cold, we suddenly declare, “I refuse to do that, Lord.”



Refusing God means the loss of God's presence in our lives. David, when confronted by Nathan for his sin with Bathsheba, immediately repented. “Do not cast me from your presence,” he cried out to God, “or take your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11). He understood the danger of being separated from God was the loss of God’s presence. His cry for forgiveness speaks of his loving respect for God and his commitment to God’s desires (Psalm 51). Solomon refused to listen to the Lord, and allowed his weakness for the things of the world to destroy his relationship with the Lord. Near the end of his life, he looks back on wasted years and declares in Ecclesiastes, “Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)! The life of Solomon is a sad account of how he blew the undeserved opportunities God had given him. Chuck Swindle refers to Ecclesiastes as a “graphic portrayal of a life lived apart from God.” Jonah ran from the Lord’s instruction to witness to the depraved city of Nineveh, and he ended up in the belly of a whale. It took disaster to bring Jonah a repentant heart. Even following repentance, Jonah argued with the Lord and his obedience was less than perfect. Refusing the Lord’s call devastates our lives in Christ.


The Lord yearns for us to have an obedient heart—one that listens to the conviction and direction of the Holy Spirit as David listened—one which, unlike Jonah, follows God’s will without argument. I certainly do not wish my life to be likened to Solomon’s life—one lived apart from God. It is our responsibility for holiness of heart and obedience to God to be the most important disciplines of our lives. Disobedience stems from pride. Longing for personal acceptance by others, it says “no” when the sacrifice involves humility. However, true obedience reveals respect for the cost of Jesus’ sacrifice, and goes where disobedience never will— into the very heart of God. This is where the joy of obedient sacrifice is discovered.


God loves a obedience servant who invests richly in His kingdom through a surrendered life. “Remember this,” Paul wrote, “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (II Corinthians 9:6-8). My compliance to God’s will speaks of joy in my own sacrifice. If I invest with joy, I shall receive the grace of His total supply. I shall discover His joy in giving—the joy of giving as He gave His life for me.

A Revelation of His Love

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. —John 3...