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Friday, February 28, 2014

Desire Me

You long for peace and for blessing. Your heart must seek mine. Your decisions will be the right ones if you commit them to me and desire me before anything else. Place your will on my altar as your most precious offering. I gave up my will for you when I died for you. Now I long for yours to be given in love. Now I seek yours. Trust that what I shall do is best for you. Believe that I am powerful enough to do anything and everything. Believe that nothing is impossible in my hand. Then leave all with me with thanksgiving in your heart. Give me your tired heart, your struggles, your hard days, your thoughts, your whole being.....all in you that yearns to be free. Be confident of my safety and complete protection. When you give all to me, I am the Lord of your future. It is in my hand. You cannot see it, but you can trust me for it.  Right now, child, if you could see all of the future, it would either be too painful or too amazing for you to comprehend its importance in your life at this point. I will reveal it as I determine. But remember that nothing will ever be too much that I will not provide a way of escape or give you the strength to handle. I own your future. Have faith that I have loved you with my everlasting love and drawn you in my unfailing kindness. If you accept my heart and my will, you will know joy. You will know peace when I have all your life in my hands. Look to me the author and the finisher of your faith. Allow me to be all in you, and your heart will be free.

Matthew 6:33
Proverbs 16:3
Luke 22:42
Luke 1:37
Hebrews 13:8
Zephaniah 3:17
Psalm 62:11
Philippians 4:6-7
Revelation 22:13
Isaiah 41:13
I Corinthians 13:9-12
1 Corinthians 10:13
Jeremiah 31:3
Philippians 1:6
II Corinthians 3:17

Thursday, February 27, 2014

MY HOUSE

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures” (Proverbs 24:3-4).

Our spiritual lives are starved for the advice this proverb gives. We may not acknowledge it, but it is true. Without God's wisdom to build my life... without His understanding which grounds my life....without His knowledge which fills my life with His purpose..... my life is indeed empty. “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain” (Psalm 127:1). Unless I allow Him to spiritually grow in me, my efforts at life will have little meaning. I will fail. Unless I allow the Lord to guide and watch over my life, my efforts will be in vain. I don't want my life to be like a spiritually empty house. I can't build me. Only He can.

When I surrender all my efforts at running my life, and allow Him to build it, my spiritual life changes. I have a hunger for His direction instead of my own. I yearn for my life to be filled with knowledge from His Word. I seek His spiritual understanding of the Word so my life may be grounded. When I apply what I have learned through knowledge from the Word....when I apply what I have understood through His revelation of its meaning, then I act on what I know. I apply His wisdom. I have spiritually grown and gained a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12). My house is built.

Just as there are in so many verses in the Word, this scripture in Proverbs 24 gives a promise. If I do my part, He will do His. If I allow Him to own me completely, my spiritual life will be filled with His rare and beautiful treasures. He will impart to me things beyond my own understanding and knowledge. He will fill my life with joy in His purpose. I shall receive the rare and beautiful treasure of His Spirit empowering my life to heights in His purpose with a passion that is beyond anything I ever imagined. My rooms shall be filled to be emptied no more.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I FORGIVE


I pray, Lord God, that you would heal all relationships in our lives life that need healing. Teach us that the healing in a relationship starts within a person that can be molded by the Holy Spirit. That should be me, Lord!  I can’t change another person's heart, but I can forgive the one who is angry with me. I can pray for words to say that brings healing to a broken and hurting life. You can show me that one thing that will pull down the strongholds in a life–that one thing that can start your healing. Reveal to me my own strongholds so that I may not judge another for theirs.

Some are so hurt by those they love. They have been injured by painful actions or unnecessary words. Lord, Jesus, it is how I react to those injuries that will bring healing or more division. It is how I pray–it is how I listen to your direction–it is about my will being open to your precious leading–that speaks life instead of death. How I respond to injury and pain caused by others, speaks what I really have inside my heart.  

Lord Jesus, for all who suffer from pain caused by someone that they haven’t hurt, I ask for your eyes, ears, and understanding to see what they are meant to be. Give them your love. For those who have hurt others, and asked forgiveness, and have not been able to mend those relationships, I ask for your love to be greater that the pain of their rejection.  Lord, there is healing in you and you alone. 

Lord, I am on your altar this morning asking for us to be made over… giving you our pain caused by anyone who has injured…giving you bitterness that has taken root… giving you the rejection that pushes us away… giving you the walls we have erected trying to hold back the pain. Take those walls down so you can come in, Holy Spirit, and we can be free to walk in your forgiveness. We can be free to be all you have called us to be. Where you spirit is, there is freedom!

Now we can have healing. Then we will know and really understand the power of your sacrifice and in your resurrection. Only in you is life. May the power of your word and your love create light within our hearts. Today, we commit ours heart to loving those who have held our hearts in bondage. Today, we claim freedom for not only for ourselves, but also for those who have hurt us.

If I trust you to do a work in my heart, Lord, I can know the miracle of your forgiveness. But Lord, I must make the decision, and I must be the catalyst. Praise you, Lord, for your power and love that gives me life today. I step forward trusting believing, knowing, and trusting that the forgiveness I give will be rewarded with your peace and release from the pain that has claimed my life. I forgive.

In His name,
Amen

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

STAYING OUT OF THE WELL


In my weakness, He is strong. When I am weak in an area of my life and I surrender my weakness to His power, He comes and makes me strong where I have never known His strength. Often that surrender comes after I have exhausted everything I can do to make a change. It comes when I finally understand in my heart and mind and spirit, that the control is not meant to be mine. If my weakness is over something that I have no control, then the Holy Spirit brings me the power to have His control. But the key... the very key to this promise comes in surrender of my will to His will.

If I think I am a person who has completely surrendered my will to the Lord in every area, I need to look again. I need to understand that absolutely surrendering my control to His control comes when I am at the bottom.... when all my attempts have failed. I hear in my ear from the enemy, “you will never get on top of this” and “you are a failure.” I will never get on top of it in my own strength. I will fail without His power in my life. Those whispers of the enemy are true only if I don't surrender and allow God to make the changes that need to be made.

When I am at the bottom the only way is up. I can either keep trying to climb out of that well by myself, or I can give up and let God extend His hand to me. It is in the dying to my will that He comes and brings new life. It is absolutely possible for me to find a way out of that well in my own strength, but I will only end up at the bottom again. When I finally understand that nothing I attempt in my own strength will make a lasting difference....when I surrender (often struggling) every day to God.... when I decide that nothing has the power to change me but God.... when I let go of my own control, and allow Him to give me what I need for the daily battle, THEN, I WILL STAY OUT OF THAT WELL.

Each day when I have surrendered and He has brought me out of the well, I KNOW He is strong, and I KNOW that I am weak. I pray to know it the next day and the next. The well always beckons, but so does He. I would rather surrender to Him than surrender to the well.

Lord, help me to always realize that surrendering my will and life life daily to you is the only real life. Your life in me is the greatest paradox.... that in dying I live... in losing control, I discover control, and in letting go of my way, I find yours. In my weakness, I discover your strength. Those slippery walls that have always allowed me to slide right back to the bottom of the well are finally scaled with your power! In my weakness, I have found your strength. I look back upon my well from your heights, and declare today that only you will keep me out of it.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Only Work in His Love Remains

“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.... none of it remains. 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).

Sunday, February 23, 2014

LIVE ME

"The world has heard about me," He whispers to me. "What it needs is to know me. My children speak about me and try to share me with others, but they are surprised that their words have little impact. They are only words about me. They are not my words living through you.

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

"Live me, and the world will see me in you. They may accept or reject me, but they will have experienced my power in you. It is not your place to save. It is your place to live what I have done in your life. Be my vessel, and I will do the work."

Saturday, February 22, 2014

GOD IS

In the midst of your storm is exactly where God is. He is the fourth man in your fire, and the strength that holds your arm high above the battle that wages. He is the living water that quenches your thirst in your desert place. He is your constant anchor when all around in your life rages on. He is your greatest counselor and friend when others have turned away. He is your song when no one else is singing. He is your promise and victory!

 "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)

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Heart Healed and Changed by Mercy


William Cowper was an English poet, who along with John Newton (the author of Amazing Grace), wrote a work called the Olney Hymns between 1763 and 1775. In the summer of 2012, I discovered in Cowper's English garden a tiny buidling where he would escape to write. This tiny spot in this English setting inspires me. The picture of this small structure is shown as the cover picture for my devotional page. Within its small space, Cowper found inspiration. “The Heart Healed and Changed by Mercy” is one of his poems in the Olney Hymns.

Sin enslaved me many years,
And led me bound and blind;
Till at length a thousand fears
Came swarming o'er my mind.
"Where," said I, in deep distress,
"Will these sinful pleasures end?
How shall I secure my peace
And make the Lord my friend?"
Friends and ministers said much
The gospel to enforce;
But my blindness still was such,
I chose a legal course:
Much I fasted, watch'd, and strove,
Scarce would shew my face abroad,
Fear'd almost to speak or move,
A stranger still to God.
Thus afraid to trust His grace,
Long time did I rebel;
Till despairing of my case,
Down at His feet I fell:
Then my stubborn heart He broke,
And subdued me to His sway;
By a simple word He spoke,
"Thy sins are done away."

Thursday, February 20, 2014

HIS PLAN.....GREATER THAN MY FAILURE


Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans” (Proverbs 16:3). God knows my heart, and He knows that any decision I make I will give to Him. I yearn for my plan to be His plan, and if it is not, I pray that He changes it. I want to be grounded in Him. I can do all things through Him. He gives me the strength for this day and for the next. I move ahead in His will, and then without warning.... I fail.

I often forget that when I fail, I don't “own” that failure. It belongs to Him. Everything that I am belongs to Him, so my failure also belongs to Him. But I must give it to Him. He understands where my failure began, and I know that He alone can make it right. Because I love Him, and my heart longs to follow only His will, He takes my failure and reclaims me. He is my Lord, and I will rejoice in His promise of restoration.

 Thankfully, I don't own His plan, and I don't own my failure. Today I step forward from doubt caused by failure, and move forward in faith in Him.  I see His plan alive in my life. One step, and one day at a time brings His reward.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Prayer Intimacy


Why don't some Christians turn right away to God when their burdens grow overwhelming? One would think that God would be their first avenue for relief, but often He isn't. Perhaps He hasn't answered prayers in the past the way they wished. Perhaps it is because they don't feel His presence, and they are afraid to try again. Perhaps that time of prayer, which had once been like a close friend, now seems so old and distant. Whatever the reason, they feel alone and separated by a wall that has grown in its immensity.

God is still there, and however large the wall, it can come down. One chink in that forbidding structure, and it can tumble into pieces. One prayer from a heart-worn cry of the spirit, and the barrier is gone. We might not know what to pray, but the cry of the spirit does. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26). It is in surrender of myself to God.... it is in the surrender of my spirit to His spirit, when no words can express the pain in my heart, that I finally release my pain to God. In that spirit-to-spirit closeness, there comes a peace that passes earthly understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). I am protected, and loved completely. I am safe in His presence.

If it has been awhile since you have prayed from the heart, He is still there. If it has been awhile since you felt His presence in prayer, He is still there. If it has been awhile since your heart has known one-on-one, spirit-to-spirit release, He is still there. Prayer is like an old friend who has never tired of the delay, but has waited patiently for you to discover the joy of release in that friendship once more. That precious friendship returns when you once again open the pain in your heart to the Holy Spirit. In that moment of intimate release, you know Him as He has always known you.... completely and as one.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

This Soldier's Coming Home

On Valentine's Day Edgewood Church was blessed with a surprise. James Davis, who has been gone for months, came home for a visit. He has been in North Carolina, and is not quite through with his medical treatment. But in a few weeks, he will be released to come home to us. For those of you who are not a part of Edgewood, James Davis is a miracle. Having been turned down by UAB and Emory as a candidate for a lung transplant, James was finally accepted by Duke University for a chance at new life.

A few years ago I heard Janet Pascal sing “Another Soldier's Coming Home”. It is a tribute to a well-lived life for the Lord receiving his reward in heaven. Well, we have a solder who is coming home to us. It is not his time to go home to heaven. God has other plans for his life. We have missed him. We have prayed, and believed for him. And God has given him the miracle of life here on earth. But not just any life. God has literally breathed His life into James' new lungs.

“The hand of the Lord was on me,” Ezekiel imparts, “and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, 'Son of man, can these bones live?' I said, 'Sovereign Lord, you alone know.' Then he said to me, 'Prophesy to these bones and say to them, Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: 'I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.'  So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them” (Ezekiel 37:1-8, NIV). The Lord then told Ezekiel to “prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live’” (Ezekiel 37:9, NIV).

James Davis was once a life about to fade into the valley of dry bones. But God breathed into His slain life so He might life. James has been changed forever. The life that breathes in James is the very breath of God. He knows who God is, and what this new life means. Life is a precious gift of God to be treasured and lived for Him. When God's hand touches you and heals you there is nothing that can take away that amazing awareness that you have been saved for a purpose..... that God in all His greatness has something beautiful and necessary for your life.

James is not alone. Perhaps you are sick, or struggling emotionally, or dealing with problems that are beyond your ability to handle. You, too, have a promise of new life. God wants to breathe His very breath into you and bring newness of life into you. If you are in your own valley of dry bones, don't despair. God whispers to the wind, and calls forth the breath of His Spirit to change you. He speaks to your dryness, and brings life to your slain heart. You, also, will receive the miracle of a new perspective, the fulfilled heart of a new life, and the powerful breath of the spirit of God to raise you up.

Toward the end of the story of the dry bones, the Lord makes a promise. “I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord'” (Ezekiel 37:14, NIV). This is your promise. You, too, can live and know that the Lord has brought you out of that valley of dry bones. It is also James' promise. James will live and be settled in his own land. This soldier is coming home.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Face Your Giants

 
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:6-9).

The Israelites had wandered for many years knowing God's Promised Land waited. When it was just within their grasp, they just couldn't face the giants in order to get it. They sat for five years knowing their blessing was just within reach. But they also knew that they would have to fight for their promise. It would not just be handed to them on a silver platter. But they were afraid.

Does this sound like us? We can see our promise, but we just can't make the commitment to reach it or the fear of what it will cost holds us back. Something stands in the way that God wishes us to address, and the very thought of facing that giant in our life keeps us from the joy that lies ahead. Blessings require obedience and commitment. We want to be blessed, but many times we don't want to pay the cost.

God told His people then, and He tells His people now, to be strong and courageous, to be obedient and committed. Know the Word. Fill your mind and heart with its promise and the strength that it brings to receive His promise. Do not be afraid, and never be discouraged. Reach out and make the commitment that is needed to receive His promise. Disillusionment and discouragement will vanish with commitment to Him. And you will receive the promise.

“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).

Sunday, February 16, 2014

TRUST

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, NIV).

I lay all on His altar everyday. I come to Him expecting help in every Time of need. This next statement is hard, but I believe it. Nothing happens to me that is not in answer to my prayers. He hears every request and every yearning. I may not understand everything that happens, but He always has what is best for me in His hands. I will go forward today and everyday, unafraid knowing that He is not just with me, but in me. He is my strength and my peace.
 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Receive

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).
 
What He gives is not what the world gives. His peace is not the peace caused by calm circumstance. No! His peace is the perpetual calm in the midst of any storm. It is rich, complete, amazing, supernatural, and more than can be described by any pen. It is abundantly given.
 
What the world gives, demands something from you. The world gives only expecting something in return. Not God. He expects only for you to receive. His peace is His gift.
 
Let not your heart be troubled. Don’t let it be afraid. Receive the gift of His peace. Make room for Him by clearing out the clutter of the world. Empty yourself of its demands and expectations. Empty yourself of all of you so that you can receive all of Him.
 
And you shall receive.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Hope in God

 
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).
 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

His Love Banishes Fear

 
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7, KJV).
 
Do not fear. Don’t allow it in your heart. It is evil, and destroys all hope. Fear can’t live where His love and faith abound. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18, NIV).
 
“Fear has to do with punishment.” Guilt produces fear. Sin produces fear. Fear is the blight of this imperfect the world. There is fear of illness, of poverty, of loneliness, and of devastation. Fear runs rampant. But His perfect love drives out fear. His perfect love forgives and drives out the blame of sin. Faith springs up because the one who has forgiven has the power to make all things new within your heart.
 
This world lives in fear. You are perfected in His love, and do not need to live in fear. Fight it. Refuse to allow it into your heart. God has not given you a spirit of fear. He has given you power, and with His perfect love, a sound mind that can banish fear.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Enter into the Joy of the Lord

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

These are words that we yearn to hear one day. Not only are these words spoken to Christ's servants who are ready to leave this world to be with Him, but they are also spoken for those who still serve Him in this world. They are not spoken to those who have been recognized by men for their good needs, but for those who have been recognized by God for what their heart has given. These encouraging words are for those who serve others in His name selflessly. They are for those who share His love wherever it is needed without seeking recognition. He says that the least in His kingdom on earth is among the greatest in heaven (Luke 9:48).

These words spoken in Matthew are also for those who quietly stand strong in His strength no matter what comes their way. Whatever suffering I quietly face–whatever I do in His name without notice, I will serve Him without the need of earthly recognition. My suffering or circumstance will spur me to serve, and His joy will come, not as a reward of what I have done, but as a reward of my heart given away in spite of my own pain.

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

Sunday, February 9, 2014

3 John 2

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers” (NASV). “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers” (KJV)
.
In 1979 I was told I had cancer. I discovered this verse in 3 John 2. Paul may have been speaking to Gaius, but, at this moment, the words were spoken for me. When I read these words, God spoke directly to my fearful heart. The Lord placed my name after “beloved”. I was His beloved. He wished for me to thrive and be in health! My mind focused completely on these words, and I decided they were His promise for me! He wanted me well! I read the second half of the verse, “even as thy soul prospers”. When my soul thrives and prospers, His promise is for healing for whatever my need. When I seek His truth in His Word with all my being, my soul thrives out of love for Him, and in return I prosper and discover His health. With spiritual growth, I can believe in God’s healing even when I haven’t experienced it......because with a prospering soul, God bestows greater faith to believe. With greater faith I also realize that His ways are best, and the healing my mind envisions might not be the same as His. But His promise for me is always for my spiritual best. I can trust Him with all my heart, mind, and soul.

If you are struggling with illness, latch on to this verse and let it take root in your spirit. Study it. Get into the Word of God, and discover more treasure of its promise of your life. Seek. Pray. Grow. You will realize that with spiritual growth comes your own promise of healing. God is faithful.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

ALL IS WELL IN HIM

Guard 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 stolen 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.

All is well in Him.

ALLOW ME

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


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


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

Thursday, February 6, 2014

My Sanctuary


He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart” (Psalm 91:4, NIV).

The Lord is my sanctuary–a place of safe retreat. He is my refuge from my own self. I can retreat from others into myself, but I can never hide from myself–from my own failures, my sins, my weaknesses, my fears, and my own limitations. I find that within myself there is no relief. When I am suddenly overwhelmed with reminders of who I have been, He comes and reminds me of who He is. I discover that He is my constant and unchanging sanctuary. He hides me under His wings until I forget my limitations, and my failures and fear. Tenderly he covers me until release from my own sense of failure begins to fill my spirit. He keeps me safely hidden from myself until the freedom of His Spirit fills my heart, and the relief of His grace brings great joy. In that moment of joy, praise comes, and His strength to conquer inhabits all of me. His faithfulness has become my shield and my rampart. I am safe and free in His love.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Choose to Let the Pain Go

Have you been hurt or rejected by another person? Does your heart feel cold and hard when you remember what they have done? Or does your hurt fill your days incessantly with pain? Unforgiveness is a terrible cancer. It eats at your spiritual health and ultimately destroys your relationship with God. God has given us a free will to choose or reject Him. We also have a free will to either forgive or not to forgive. Forgiveness is a choice. It is a decision that does not always come in the beginning with the human emotion and feeling that you expect to accompany it.


“Do not judge,” Jesus instructs, “and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). Isn’t the inability to forgive really judgment of that person? They may have hurt you horribly, but that does not give you a license to judge. It does not give you a license to withhold forgiveness. “It's not fair,” you cry out, and what you might hear, if your heart is really listening, is Jesus' whisper of “it was not fair for me either.”


When you are devastated by someone, you have a choice what to do with the hurt and the bitterness. If you allow that hurt to define who you are, the emotional pain can imprison you. You are in bondage to your pain. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom,” Paul writes (2 Corinthians 3:17). God does not want you in bondage to your pain. His Spirit wants to free you from it. He loves you, and He knows that your pain will destroy you. He wants to take your pain, but when unforgiveness is involved, just pleading with Him to take your pain will not accomplish anything. You must make a conscious decision to forgive the source of your pain. Is it easy? No. But the results will one day liberate you. With that decision to daily forgive, one day you will know freedom from the torture. You will know freedom and healing.


A year ago parents of a murdered girl spoke of forgiving her murderer. They talked freely about letting the anger go, and wanting to be free of the burden of being victims. They wanted to move forward and not “go to prison with him”. They knew they needed to let go of their pain, and surrender the burden of wanting to get even. They had the freedom to choose either bitterness or forgiveness. With Christ's power they were able to choose forgiveness.


Are you tired of your hurt, and your pain? Choose to let it it go. Choose to forgive. The feelings will come, and He “will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you, and will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Help Me, Lord

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NLT).


Lord, it is a wonderful thing to belong to you, to know you intimately, and have the opportunity to always seek your heart. But with that amazing relationship comes a great responsibility from which I must never shrink. Each step I take is observed. Each word I speak is heard. Each moment of my life touches another. Things that I may do that are not guided by you, may not only hurt others, but hurt your ability to work in their lives. Help me to always walk very carefully, to seek your will, and always follow your desires instead of my own. I have been bought with the greatest price, and there is never any time in my life that I am free from that great responsibility. Help me, Lord. I want to receive your power to walk in your will so that each person I know sees only you, and never me. I must always remember that it is not only in the large things that your grace is known. It is in the little everyday moments that your grace impacts others. Today I give you all my smaller and my greater moments. I give you my life so that you may turn my limitations and my failures into your greatest work. Use me in the lives of other people, Lord, and may I always be a faithful witness of your love until my time on earth is done.

Monday, February 3, 2014

TAKE TIME

I seem to always discover a treasure about my Mama. She passed away a year ago today. Somehow, after she was gone, I ended up with her workbook from a discipleship class she was in many years ago. It has been incredible to read in her own handwriting about her faith and love for God. Just two weeks ago I looked at it again and discovered something I had never seen before....a remark she had made about my life. In fact, it was something I had never known she thought about me, and reading it in her own handwriting brought me such joy. It was if she was speaking right to me.

How many times do we hesitate sharing our feelings with those we care about? What makes us hesitate? Are we afraid we will be judged? Are we afraid that we will not live up to their expectations? Are we concerned our words will hurt them? Are we even afraid they will not care about out thoughts? Our human mind creates all kinds of scenarios, but in the very end, those scenarios mean very little. What matters is telling those we love how we feel, and just allowing God to take care of what must needs to be taken care of.

When Mama praised me, it was special. What I read that day in her workbook, I would have loved to have known while she was living. If I had known she felt about me in that way, we could have shared our hearts in ways that might have made us so much more closer. There are also many things I would love to tell her now, and I can't. Even though she was here for a lifetime, that lifetime became too short. She passed into eternity with the God she loved.

“People are like the grass,” Isaiah wrote. “Their beauty fades as quickly as the flowers in a field. The grass withers and the flowers fade beneath the breath of the Lord. And so it is with people. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:6b-8, NLT). Life is but a vapor in God's cosmos of time. Take every opportunity to tell those in your life how much you love them. The opportunities will not always be there. The only thing that lasts is God's incredible love, and His Word which endures until the end of time.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Now Dwell on That

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

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

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

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8, KJV). Now dwell on that.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

God's Love Lasts


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

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

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

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KNOWING JESUS

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