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Saturday, August 30, 2014

He Owns My Heart

“Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between himself and us” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18a, CEV).

I no longer own who I am. I have been purchased by my Lord's sacrificial love for me. His sacrifice for my sins has been accomplished, but that sacrifice only becomes real for me when I accept His gift into my heart. Then His forgiveness is absolutely real. The old “me” that has lived in sin, or dealt with fear, or been hurt, or been told that I will never be good enough... is gone. He has set me free with His love. I am forgiven. I am a new person because of His love for me. 

It is in my daily surrender to Him that I discover again and again the amazing wonder of my loving God. When I allow Him to be Lord of my life, I discover an intimacy so deep that nothing compares. It is in my letting go of all that I am, I discover who He is in me.

In “The Practice of the Presence of God”, Brother Lawrence, a 17th century Carmelite monk, wrote, “I regard myself as the most wretched of all men, stinking and covered with sores, and as one who has committed all sorts of crimes against his King. Overcome by remorse, I confess all my wickedness to Him, ask His pardon and abandon myself entirely to Him to do with as He will. But this King, filled with goodness and mercy, far from chastising me, lovingly embraces me, makes me eat at His table, serves me with His own hands, gives me the keys of His treasures and treats me as His favorite. He talks with me and is delighted with me in a thousand and one ways; He forgives me and relieves me of my principle bad habits without talking about them; I beg Him to make me according to His heart and always the more weak and despicable I see myself to be, the more beloved I am of God.” 

I will “practice” His presence everyday of my life. He is my loving Master, who gave all so that I might be free from all the sin and pain that has defined my life. He sees me, as Brother Lawrence, writes, through the eyes of grace. He is my “Adonai”, the Lord who owns my heart.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Ask Believing

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6, NIV).

You don't have to beg God. Ask Him believing He will supply all that is needed. Trust His love for you. Trust His faithfulness to you. Bring to Him your needs knowing that to lay them on the altar means immediate help in your time of need (Hebrews 4:16). His desire is to supply what you need, but you must ask, believing that He will supply what is best for you. Faith is the key that unlocks the door, but faith is only found in daily intimate contact with Him.

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him" (1 John 5:14-15, NIV). Seek God daily. Draw near to Him, and He draws near to you. He hears your heart. Your confidence in His abiding love and faithfulness will blossom. As you grow closer to Him the desires of your heart will become His desires. What you ask will be heard, and He will answer with His best. And then “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, NIV).


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Nothing is Impossible



"Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”(Matthew 17:20).

Do you sometimes feel limited in what you can do in your Christian life? There are times I feel limited, but this is just a lie. There is no limit to what I can accomplish. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). If God has called me to do something, He will supply the strength that I need. He faithfully empowers those He calls (1 Thessalonians 5:24). I will never give up because something seems beyond my power to accomplish. In my weakness, I shall realize His strength and power that moves mountains.

What has the Holy Spirit called you to do that seems beyond your capability? In your mind, it may be. But the Lord always sees your potential. There is power in what you consider weakness in your life. Your weakness is just an area that calls to be surrendered to Him so that His power and glory may be exemplified in you. Consider the weakness of what you might think is your small faith. When that small seed of faith is surrendered to the Lord, you can tell your mountain to move. Nothing is impossible.

Pansies bring color and beauty to the coldness of a winter morning. Sometimes, when it is freezing, they are shriveled and withdrawn, and their beauty is hidden by the cold air pressing upon them. As warm water is poured upon them, they open to the winter morning and stand strong and beautiful in the frigid air. I, like a pansy may be weary and shriveled from circumstances which surround me. But if I surrender to the warm power of His Spirit, and not to my pressing circumstances, He pours himself into my life. There is no task that He has called me to do that I can't accomplish.

I know then that in Him all things are possible.
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Perfect Peace-Not a Myth

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you” Isaiah 26:3, NLT)!


Perfect peace is not a myth. It is not a dream or something that is just beyond reach. It is an absolute truth, and thoroughly attainable in the midst of any situation. Instead of drowning in fear, I can rest in His peace. Peace is born of trust in God, and is discovered when my mind is trained to focus only on the truth of His Word─His faithfulness, His power, His promise, and His will. He carries me through and often above the worst circumstance or pain. I don't have to be anxious about anything when I give all my fear to God (Philippians 4:6). If I dwell only on my circumstance, I don't allow God to handle what I can't handle. I try to control what I am unable to control, and fear consumes me. Instead of dwelling on my circumstance or my pain, I can train my mind to think on His truth that I can do all things with His strength (Philippians 4:13). If I trust the Lord and give Him all the fear that consumes my mind, I can receive His peace. My human mind can't comprehend this supernatural peace. I can't reason His peace. It just comes when my mind dwells on His Word, and His absolute unchanging faithfulness to me (Philippians 4:7-8). Trust blossoms as I lay more and more on His altar in my times of need (Hebrews 4:16). As I train my mind to dwell on Him, I capture thoughts that destroy trust, and pull down strongholds which fear has wrought. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). I reach a place of trust where nothing can destroy the peace that He has brought. My faith rests on the firm foundation of His Word, and my mind remains constantly and completely fixed upon Him. 


His perfect peace is absolutely real. It is that place where the thoughts of my mind are made new by His Spirit (Ephesians 4:23), and where I receive His perfectly sufficient grace over and over again.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Completed by Perseverance

“Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance! Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:3-4, NIV).


Do we realize that the testing of our faith develops perseverance....that if we allow perseverance to work in our life we will be complete in our faith and not lack anything in hard times? This is a riveting image. There is a work going on inside each believer, and it can only be completed through commitment and determination and perseverance. Spiritual growth discovered through perseverance has the power to create a joy that nothing can shake. When we have fought to learn His lesson and we have won, there is no joy like the joy of victory.


The Lord’s perfect will is for faith to spring up in the midst of suffering. It is our decision whether the lesson is learned. Trials and suffering should inspire spiritual growth. “These have come,” Peters imparts, “so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (I Peter 1:7, NIV). The testing of our faith during hardship is meant to create the ability to persevere. It is our decision whether we allow His refining fire to purify and strengthen our life.


“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face,” Paul writes. “All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it” (1 Corinthians 10:13, MSG). God knows our limit and will never give us more than we can handle. His grace is more than sufficient, and He will provide the strength to stand. Satan attempts to bring out our worst in the storm, but God always seeks to bring out our best. We can either be adrift in fear, or we can allow God to anchor us in faith. 


“We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4). The purpose of hardship in life is to create the ability to persevere. Perseverance reveals the moral fiber in good character. Character promises hope. Hope doesn’t disappoint, but fuels our faith. We rejoice in the fact that we grow in faith and spiritual maturity. Faith is being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). We press on through the hardship of life in order to believe in that we can’t touch or see. 


“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in (or wait upon in KJV)) the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31, NIV). In these verses God is shown as one whose wisdom is greater than ours, and who is incapable of failure. He becomes not only the God of power revealed through His creation, but also the God of power given to His creation. The Creator imparts to us His strength to stand, be strong, and wait upon Him. We can soar above the trials of life. We can run and not be weary. All that we must do is allow perseverance to complete its work so that we will be completely mature. With His power alive in us because we have endured, we will not lack anything (James 1:4).

Monday, August 25, 2014

Rejoicing in the Rain



“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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 . Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you ” (Philippians 4:4-9, NIV). 


Life is not about waiting for the storms of life to end. There will always be storms. Life is about learning to rejoice in the rain. It is about bringing the Lord a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15) no matter what storm rages in your life. You can't wait the storms of life out. You must launch into the fury in faith trusting the Lord to help you handle each one with grace. Jesus Christ is the very best truth for your life! He is a solid and strong foundation on which to stand. His truth is not lessened by trials and suffering. If you practice what is right, continually dwell on what is good, and trust the Lord, you will discover God's promise of peace and joy in the midst of any storm.


Do you rejoice in His faithfulness or does worry anchor your mind in fear? If God is with you, why should you be afraid? This Scripture from Philippians imparts the truth that if you give Him your storm to handle, you can have His peace of mind and heart. You can't live in peace and be consumed with worry at the same time. Anxiety and worry will destroy peace of heart and mind. God, however, assures those who have made Him Lord, that He is constantly with them as they face the raging storms of life. If you know Him, and serve Him, and live for Him, you have His constant care, and faithful promise to carry you through to the end, or either intervene when the way is too rough (1 Corinthians 10:13).


Always rejoice in Him. Let His forbearing and gentle spirit be evident in your life. This is His power revealed in your commitment of heart. Give Him your fear with thankfulness that He will handle what you are unable to handle. Dwell on what is good and worthy and noble, and put these into practice. The Lord God of peace will continually be with you. You will face any storm rejoicing in the rain.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Life-Giving Perfume

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


People don't just need to hear about who Christ is in my life. They need to see Him alive in me. They don't need to just hear about His forgiveness, but they need to realize it in me. They don't just need to hear about His power, but they need to experience it through me. They don't just need to hear about His peace, but they need to see my calm reassuring faith in Him, no matter what the circumstances. They don't just need to hear about His joy, but they need to see His joy spring up from depths of faith in my life. They don't just need to hear of His love, but they need to feel His love in me.


If I love Him and live a surrendered life, people will see Him in me. They may accept or reject Him, but they will have experienced His love and witnessed His power. “Our lives,” Paul declares, “are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16a, NIV). If I am His vessel, He does the work and brings all His power to bear to bring each life to Him. All I must do is be faithful to Jesus Christ who has called me to live His love. I pray to be a life-giving perfume, but it is not my place to save. It is my place to live the change He has wrought in my life.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Masterpiece


“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1b-2a, NIV).

Always fulfill the calling that you are given, my child, and leave the results to me. The work that I have given you has been designed for you. When you carry it out faithfully and obediently, the result will be what I planned. Listen to my voice, and follow my guidance. Even those who are wise do not completely understand the purpose that I have designed for you. Often they have enough trouble understanding and following their own. The masterpiece that I have designed for your life is made for you alone, and you are the artist to complete it.

I know who you are, my child. I know you intimately–your heart–your character–your capability–your greatest potential. When I direct you to do something, it is done with full knowledge of just who you are. Do not allow hardship and circumstance to pull you from your course. They only have the ability to refine you for greater purpose. When you follow me and give me your best, the result is glorious and rewarding beyond anything you can imagine.

Move forward in faith and follow my path. Be strengthened by my power. Keep your eyes on me. Run your race with perseverance. I started this faith and this work in you. If you continually surrender your heart and your will to me, I shall perfect my will in you. You are my artist, and I have birthed my masterpiece in you. Open up your heart; listen to me, and obey me. Allow me to complete my masterpiece.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stay the Course

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 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 10:23;35-36. NIV). 
 
Has the Lord made you a promise in your heart? Hold on to it without wavering, but never let that promise become the object of all your energy and love. Love your Savior above all else, and always desire Him more than any promise. Confidently believe in the Savior who loved you enough to lay down his life for you. He who has promised gave all for you. He is faithful to you. Don't give up. Believe. Stay the course. Persevere and keep doing the will of God. Live your life for Him, and keep loving Him no matter what the battle in your mind tries to impart to your heart. Once you have loved Him above all else and obeyed His willonce you have held unswervingly to His courseonce you have lived a righteous life trusting in your faithful Godyou will receive His promise at the perfect time. He will never fail you, and He will certainly never forsake you (Hebrews 13:8). 
 
“Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame” (Isaiah 50:7, NLT). “God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful” (1 Thessalonians 5:24, NLT).

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My Essence at Rest in Him

I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24b

“Lord, I believe, but help me overcome my inability to believe!” This the cry of the heart of His child who longs for more faith. These words reveal areas where I lack faith, but they also reveal how my faith has grown. Sounds like a paradox, doesn't it? "I do believe, Lord, yet I need more faith to believe." As I grow closer to Him, I know Him more, and experience His power in my life. But at the same time I am more conscious of the times when I fall short of complete trust in Him. This is the soul's growth. There is increased ability to believe, and then comes a plea for greater faith. It is a cry to overcome all my unbelief. It is a cry for complete and perfect trust in Him. My heart's cry is heard, and He answers my prayer with more faith. He also reveals where I still lack in faith, and imparts the power to walk the path that leads, step by step, upwards and closer to Him.

Trusting Him completely is my gift to Jesus for all He has done for me. I have a friend who says trust is that perfect place of rest that comes from knowing He takes care of all the concerns of her heart. He has all things covered because that is what He promises in His Word. Another friend says that perfect trust comes when the “essence” of all He is rests in Jesus. Christ's perfect love casts out all fear, and then perfect trust rises from the heart. Our human minds cannot analyze the depth of such love, but our hearts can receive it. The Lord speaks to our hearts and minds to be still and know He is God (Psalm 46:10)–to focus on Him (Isaiah 26:3). When I allow all the “essence”of who I am to rest in Jesus Christ, perfect trust will blossom.

If you are struggling to trust Him more today, decide to trust Him more. Make “help my unbelief” the cry of your heart. Make a conscious decision, and bring your thoughts captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). You can never reason trust. Your mind can never grasp it. It will never happen. Perfect love is birthed by faith in Jesus Christ, and that is where perfect trust will take root. Allow the essence of all you are to be at rest in the essence of all He is. You will be renewed in the spirit of your mind (Ephesians 4:23), and perfect trust will flourish.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Wise Heart


 “The wisdom from above,” James writes, “is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere” (James 3:17, NLT). The wisdom that God imparts is gentle, pure, and peaceable. It yields to others and does not insist on its own way. His wisdom is full of mercy because He is forgiving and merciful. His wisdom brings forth a wealth of good fruit in my life. His wisdom is honest and sincere.

In reading in the book of Proverbs this morning I came across a proverb that really grabbed my attention–Proverbs 10:8. I looked it up in several translations. “The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin” (NIV). “A wise heart takes orders; an empty head will come unglued” (MSG). “The wise are glad to be instructed, but babbling fools fall flat on their faces” (NLT). I certainly don't want to be a “chattering or babbling fool” or have an “empty head” or “come to ruin” or be “unglued” or “fall flat on my face.” But this is what I will be and this is what I will do without God's wisdom in my life. If I chatter incessantly with no purpose, I have no peace. If I babble to hear myself talk, I do not yield to hear what someone else has to say. My interest is in me and not in someone else. My words have no power to impart hope and faith to another, because they are full of what I consider “my” wisdom instead of God's wisdom. I chatter on unaware of my own emptiness and shallowness. My words fall flat and so do I.

I want to be “wise in heart”! I want what I say and how I live to make a difference in the life of someone else. To receive God's wisdom, I must yield to His instruction, and accept it gladly. His instruction brings out the best in my life. It results in the wealth of His fruit living in me–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Unlike a chattering tongue with no depth, His wisdom gives the ability to speak truth that makes a difference.... that brings hope..... that instills peace.... that offers greater faith...... that gives a new perspective.

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11, NKJV). This kind of wise word makes a difference. One friend was speaking of an opportunity that God had extended her, and how she believed God was opening doors. Then she suddenly began to speak of her fear of failure. Another friend said to her, “Do you really believe that God would set you up for failure?” Those simple words were born in a heart that seeks God's wisdom, and they made a difference in another person's life. Let's seek His wisdom, and receive His instruction. Let's pray for our words to be filled with His wisdom, and never our babbling own.



Saturday, August 16, 2014

With His Wisdom


“One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty and pull down the stronghold in which they trust” (Proverbs 21:22, NIV). With wisdom I face someone with great power, and take down the stronghold, the false belief, or the lie in which he has placed his trust.

“The wise conquer the city of the strong and level the fortress in which they trust” (Proverbs 21:22, NLT). Wisdom reveals the weakness in the fortress (stronghold), and destroys any trust that has been placed in it.

“One sage (wise person) entered a whole city of armed soldiers—their trusted defenses fell to pieces” (Proverbs 21:22, MSG). Wisdom reveals the false belief, stronghold,or lie on which someone has built his life. It reveals the weakness of that trusted defense and brings down the lie.

“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, NIV). With God's wisdom you know the weakness in an enemy that comes against you. With His wisdom you understand just how to use that weakness to defeat your enemy. With His wisdom you have the ability to understand the reason for a trial or problem that has come into your life. With His wisdom you understand what you can do to change some of the circumstances and trust Him to take care of the rest. With His wisdom you know what you need to change about yourself. With His wisdom you have the potential to recognize lies in which you or others have placed trust. With His wisdom you can carefully address those lies and impart hope. With God's wisdom the control of what has defeated me is broken, and I am free.

“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold” (Proverbs 3:13-14, NIV).

Lord, help me to seek your wisdom to defeat lies in my own life and to help bring down the lies in which someone else has placed their trust. Help me to see potential when someone cannot see it in their own life. Help me to impart new vision. Help me to face whatever enemy comes against me wisely and carefully. Help me to know the one weakness that can change everything....and bring your strength to conquer.
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Friday, August 15, 2014

Free to Give

“All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord” (Proverbs 16:2, NIV).
Have you ever had your motive for something you have done “weighed by the Lord”? Have there been times he has revealed to you that something done “in love” was actually not done “in love”? Perhaps the appearance of an act was loving, but the motive behind it was for less than an altruistic reason. Something I do to help another person may appear to be inspired by pure motive, but God looks on my heart. The Holy Spirit asks me to evaluate the motives behind my actions.

Guilt or shame can be the motive for an action. I may try to help someone for what I believe is a good reason, but what I do actually becomes an attempt to lessen a shame or assuage a guilt. God wishes my act to come from a heart that has been cleansed of guilt and shame. I might also feel forced by circumstances or others to do something that appears wonderfully giving. However, my motive behind the act does not come from a heart that has been broken of selfishness. God wishes me to have a cleansed heart with pure motive behind all that I give. “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give,” Paul wrote, “not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7, NIV). If I give away myself freely without hesitation, my giving comes from a heart that understands the cost of what Christ gave for me. He laid down His life for me. His motive was pure and unrestrained love. Mine should be the same.

The Pharisees were quick to judge by appearance. It is the same today–many judge by what they see. What appears to be true is not always true. John Wesley believed that sin is discovered in the motive of the heart. I want my heart to be pure in God's sight. Today I ask once more for the Holy Spirit to reveal the motives of my heart–if my actions are inspired by His love or by my guilt or selfishness. If guilt or selfishness is involved, I ask Him to expose my sin and continually cleanse my heart. “Create in me a pure heart, O God,” I pray, “and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10, NIV). Oh, but if His love is my motive, I praise Him for cleansing the thoughts and attitudes of my heart! I am free to love and cheerfully give myself away.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Warning or A Hundred Lashes?


“A wise person will learn more from a warning than a fool will learn from a hundred lashings” (Proverbs 17:10, NCV).

The book of Proverbs is an incredible book that instructs the reader to seek wisdom. With simple truths that bring amazing clarity, it it has the potential to develop godly character. There are many comparisons between a wise person and a fool, but in Proverbs 17:10 there is a one that makes me stop and take deeper notice.

“A wise person will learn more from a warning than a fool will learn from a hundred lashings” (Proverbs 17:10, NCV). I would rather be someone who can be instructed with one warning that be someone who is so foolish a hundred beatings will make no difference. A fool can't be taught. Wisdom imparts a teachable spirit, and one that responds well to instruction. When God disciplines my life, I want to realize it quickly without punishment needing to be repeated. If I have wisdom, I can discern when I am being disciplined, and then apply it quickly in my life.

“If any of you needs wisdom,” James writes, “you should ask God for it. He is generous to everyone and will give you wisdom without criticizing you” (James 1:5, NCV). When I seek wisdom, God gives it generously, and will not criticize me. The fool with a hundred lashes regards his punishment as criticism because he has no wisdom. He sees it as undeserved. The wise person receives instruction with one warning. He sees his warning as training in character. Criticism or instruction? Foolishness or wisdom? It is my choice.
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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I FIND HIM

"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13, NIV).
If I seek Him with all of heart, I shall find Him. If I really desire all of Him, I must come to Him starving and poor in my spirit. If I am starving, I will be filled (Matthew 5:6). If I am poor in spirit, I have the promise of the kingdom of heaven within my grasp (Matthew 5:3). I must be so hungry for His freedom that I am willing to totally surrender all that I am. I must come to Him laying down all preconceptions of who He is. This verse is a promise that drives me to His Word to absorb what each truth imparts. It drives me to meet Him at His altar, lay down all that I am, and receive all that He is. He rewards my journey with the grace of His presence. I am changed again and againtransformed by the power of His love and mercy.
In this time with Him, I know that He is my God, and He will never fail me. His strength and joy will conquer all that comes against me. He is my guide through the pitfalls. No weapon can rise and come against me. No discipline can drag me down and tire me. No problem can terrorize my heart. I shall persevere and hold on for His best. I will make it through each difficulty of life because I have sought Him in all moments. He is my strength because I have none within myself, and in my lacking, I have discovered His.



 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Have Not Because We Ask Not

        "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6).

        I need not worry about anything I face. If I have a need, I will present my request to God believing and trusting that no matter what I lay before Him, He will answer. The phrase “with thanksgiving” in this verse means that I have assurance that He will take care of my plea. When I give my plea to Him in prayer, I feel thanksgiving in my heart when its weight is lifted from me.
        Are there times you hesitate to ask because you believe He doesn't take notice? Are there times you feel defeated and alone? When the circumstances of this life overwhelm, you can feel abandoned if you do not continually lay your heart on His altar. He has never abandoned you. He has waited patiently for you to come to Him in prayer
        The Lord has an answer for what burdens your heart. He can miraculously lift it, or instead guide you through it with His powerful hand. All you need to do is ask with whatever faith you can supply, and He will supply beyond anything your limited human mind can imagine. His supply takes your little mustard seed of faith, and brings a great harvest.

        If you lay your heart's burden on His altar and take your hands off of it, He can move mountains. When you allow Him to have the cry of your hearttruly have itthe burden lifts and you are filled with thanksgiving that He will answer your prayer with His best answer. You have finally realized that His answer is the only one. The cry of your heart has become the will of your Father in heaven.
        If He can move mountains, He can move me, and He can move you to prayer. We have not because we ask not.
        "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him" (1 John 5:14, 15).
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Monday, August 11, 2014

I WIll Believe Him

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18 NIV).

        Why is it so hard to get rid of negative feelings? Why do we have trouble trusting God? If we are new creatures in Christ, why don’t we sometimes feel new? Why do things from the past still control our feelings? Why are things from the past still affecting our lives? Why do we allow them to define who we are? Why can’t we just grasp His hand and believe without a struggle?

        Because we have accepted Him as Savior, we are new. The old is done. Negative thoughts of what we have been are no longer true. I am not a failure. You are not a failure. We have what it takes. We have Jesus Christ, and He is the way, the truth, and the life which brings new promise to our lives.

        To truly forget the former things, and not dwell on the past, we can't just believe IN Him, we must believe Him. To be free from worries that control my life and your life, we must believe He is who He says He is. We must believe that He will do what He says. We must believe that we can forget the former things, and they will not control our lives. I am free in Him. You are free in Him, but we must believe Him, not just believe in Him.

        When we believe Him, newness springs up, the old is no more, and we can perceive His truth instead of the lies of our past or circumstance of which the enemy is so quick to remind us. Believing Him brings the greatest promise! It is a promise that no matter what we face He is our strength, and He brings life-giving streams of hope and promise to the barren deserts of our lives.
        Perceive what He promises! “I am making a way in the wilderness,” He proclaims, “and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls,because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise” (Isaiah 43:19-21, NIV).
        He has made a way for me! I choose to forget the former things, and believe Him

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I Come Unveiled


For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).


Do I really feel that there is no separation from the love of God? The veil which once kept me from His presence is gone. Christ's sacrifice on Calvary ripped it open, and made a way for me to experience the saving grace of God. If I have accepted Christ as my Savior, nothing separates me from the love of God. But sometimes I don't feel the closeness of His presence and His peace. When I lose that peace, I feel separated. Perhaps I am the one who has separated myself from Him. Perhaps I have been as Moses and tried to hide what is fading–my heart connection with Him (2 Corinthians 3:13). He never moves. If I feel separated, I have hidden myself from Him, and veiled His presence in my life.

Jesus Christ has made God totally accessible. Moses experienced the actual terrifying presence of God on Mount Sinai. Thankfully, I “have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded” (Hebrews 12:18-20, NIV). No! I need no longer come as Moses into God's presence in fear. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, “I have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. I have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. I have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant” (Hebrews 12:22-24, NIV). Why would I veil or hide myself from a loving God who gave His son for me so I might come into His all-powerful yet sacrificing presence? Jesus made a way for me to enter the holy presence of God. I need not fear Him, but find joy in His loving embrace.

If I seek Him I shall enter His presence. He will keep me in perfect peace when I dwell on Him, and place my trust in Him (Isaiah 26:3). I don't need to stand in fear and hide because of a just God who demands righteousness. With joy I come into His presence because I have been made righteous by His son, Jesus, who gave His life for me. Now that I am no longer veiled from Him, I can be changed by His grace. Then I “who with an unveiled face contemplate the Lord’s glory am transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NIV).

I come to Mount Zion, unveiled and at peace.
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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Discover Faith to Believe


Faith goes for a walk in a forest named Doubt. Faith becomes lost, and meets a person named Despair. Despair assures Faith that he can lead her out of the forest of Doubt. Despair leads Faith to a river called Suicide and tells her to jump in. Just as Faith is about to jump into the river, Hope comes along, takes Faith by the hand, and leads her away from Despair and out of Doubt (example taken from Edmund Spenser's allegorical poem, “The Faerie Queen”).

Do you ever wander through your own forest of doubt, and grab hold of despair instead of seeking hope? The enemy's mission is for despair to destroy any hope in your life, and bring spiritual death to your faith. When wandering through your forest of doubt, your stage of life is actually set for either despair or hope's entrance. You can choose either one. Despair is a choice which takes the path of least resistance. You just give in, and it overwhelms you. Your other choice is hope. You may long for hope to gallop into your life as a knight on a white horse to rescue you, but most often hope enters as a tiny spark. Hope asks you to trust that there will be something better. When you make that choice, that tiny spark of hope has the potential to flame into faith.

Doubt is a state of mind and spirit, but disbelief is a state of your soul. Doubt hears Jesus knocking at the door, and wants to believe enough to open it. Disbelief doesn't even hear His knock (Revelation 3:21). When despair pulls you down to the point of spiritual death, and disbelief has overwhelmed your soul, you have no hope. But Jesus Christ died so that you might have hope! Consider Jesus Christ as Hope in Spenser's poem. He is the Savior that comes as a still small voice and encourages you not to sink into the despair of disbelief. If you allow it, Christ guides you away from spiritual death into a life of faith in Him.

“Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" Jesus asked Martha after raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:40). Do you also want to believe and see God's miracle in your life? Jesus waits for you to place your hand into His wounded one and trust Him. Don’t follow despair around in your forest of doubt. Despair will lead you to the river and tell you end it all. Hope will build a bridge to your promise. Reach up and grasp Jesus' wounded hand, and trust Him. Discover faith and believe.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Power in Humility


“For the Lord delights in his people; he crowns the humble with victory” (Psalm 149:4, NLT).

Do you realize that God “delights” in you? If you are someone who feels abandoned at times by God, then you need to consider the fact that He delights in you. He takes joy in you. He is constant–the same way yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). There is no change in His love for you. There is no change in Him (James 1:17). If you feel abandoned, something might have happened in your life that has made you lose confidence in Him or perhaps there is something in your life that is sinful, and pulls you from His presence. God never abandons His children. He delights in you because you are His creation, and He died for you. That is the greatest love. That kind of love does not abandon. But we sometimes abandon that love by our thoughts, our actions, and our deeds.

You cannot feel the delight of the Lord if you have something in your life that is blocking it. If there is something you know is wrong, ask forgiveness for it, and let it go. If you do not know of anything, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you, and only listen to His convicting voice, and not the one of the enemy who will condemn you. There is always hope in Christ's conviction, and no hope in the lying condemnation of the enemy. Allow Christ's conviction to change your heart, and humble yourself in His presence. He will lift you in His time (1 Peter 5:6).

You cannot feel the delight of the Lord if some event or problem in your life is so powerful that it keeps you from knowing God's love and peace. You don't feel loved if you feel God has abandoned you. That very feeling of abandonment can bring anger and bitterness toward God, and then anger toward yourself for being angry at Him. Forgive God for your anger for something that happened, and forgive yourself for your anger at you. Life happens. Events happen. Problems come. Trials are inevitable. God has not abandoned you. He takes delight in you especially when these struggles have the ability to bring greater spiritual growth in you.

When you humble yourself before the Lord and give up anything in your life that blocks His presence, you invite His power into your life. When you allow the trials of life to spiritually grow you into His beautiful creation, you invite His victory. Instead of defeating you, those trials inspire you to trust Him more. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:6, NIV). He crowns the humble with victory. There is power in humility.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

His Restoring Rest


Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28, NIV).
 
When I am exhausted and depleted, I go to Him for rest. When I feel drained emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, I go to Him for rest. But I don't just go. I stay. I wait. I abide in Him (John 15:5). I let go of all that pulls me down and drains my heart and spirit (Philippians 4:6). And I stay with Him. I stop all that rushes my mind and disturbs my spirit. I go to Him because I know He alone is my help and my restorer. He is my help in my time of need. His presence is constant and sure, and I wait until He fills every crevice of my tired and hurting heart. I rest until my racing mind has calmed. He is my Sabbath rest, my complete rest of body, mind, heart, and spirit from all that I endure. I will make every effort to enter that promise of rest in His presence (Hebrews 4:9, 10).

His rest has no fear. It has no burden. His rest is the gift of His peace that passes all human understanding (Philippians 4:7). His rest keeps me in perfect peace when I dwell on Him (Isaiah 26:3). His rest is a time that I apply all my mental, emotional, and spiritual needs to prayer and to His Word. His rest is a time of spiritual growth. His rest supplies all that I lack. I rest in Him until He shows me it is time to rise againuntil my spirit resounds with His strength and purposeuntil my mind is at peaceuntil all is well again.

Whatever your struggle or pain or heartache or need, make every effort to enter His peaceful rest, and remain until you, too, are strong again. Remain until His presence pours strength, joy, and purpose into your heart. The moment will come when it is time to rise again to your purpose. When that time comes, move out in His strength and power. That purpose might have at one time drained you to the point of despair, but after rest and restoration in Him, that purpose is now your life once more (Romans 11:29). Step out in faith and purpose and strength and victory and grace that only such rest in His presence imparts. Look up, and take His hand. Move forward into His purpose for your life.
 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Right to the Edge

He gave a command to the Red Sea, and it dried up; he led his people across on dry land” (Psalm 106:9, GNT).

At some point in our lives we will face our Red Sea. It will be something harder than we ever imagined. There will appear to be no way through or around it. But just as the Lord parted the Red Sea for His people then–just as He dried it up so they could move forward–He parts the Red Sea and make a path for His children now.

Moses never failed in trusting God. With the sea in front of him and the Egyptians advancing from behind, He stood at the very edge of what appeared to be sure destruction. There was no visible escape. There was nothing but faith in the Lord who had brought them to this place. Moses had done all he could do, and now it was for time for God to act. Moses waited for God to make a way, but he had to go to the very edge of the Red Sea.

When faced with our Red Sea, we sometimes pull back. We believe that there is no way to go further, and we give up. Perhaps we see our Red Sea rising in the distance, and we turn from its imposing presence. But the army of life presses us closer. We must go as far we can―right up to the very edge for God to part the waters and make a way through it.

What will I do when I see my Red Sea ahead? I will go the the very edge and wait for God to part the water. If I do not go to the very edge, I will miss the power of God to strengthen and deliver me. But by faith I go to the very edge. It is not only the edge of my Red Sea; it is the edge of myself. I know that there is nothing that I can do. Believing, trusting, and knowing the waters will part, I will go forward through what otherwise might have destroyed me. And there I will find Him and His peace.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Even the Simple Understand


Do you sometimes feel that the Word of God is too difficult for you to understand? “The teaching of your word gives light,” the Psalmist wrote,”so even the simple can understand” (Psalm 119:130, NLT). The Word is too difficult to understand when you over analyze it with your mind instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to use it to change your heart. When you over analyze the Word, your attempt to understand it is done with your strength. You are seeking your own revelation. You miss the light it brings. However, when you read it and pray for Him to reveal Himself in it, He shines His light on His Word. Then it has the power to change your heart and life.

Even the simple heart of faith can understand the Word of God. Open the Word with a seeking spirit. Yes, study it with your mind, but pray to have the mind of Christ to gain understanding so you don't over analyze and struggle with it. Pray for Him to reveal His truth to you. Read His Word slowly over and over. It may be only one verse, and that one verse prayed over and sought after can impart a wealth of teaching that changes your heart. Persevere and don't become discouraged. Jesus Christ is the Word (John 1:1). So when you seek and pray to know the Word, you seek a deeper relationship with Him. Your perseverance in the Word opens your spirit to understand His Truth. When you persevere in prayer to know Jesus better, the Holy Spirit comes and helps you understand Christ through His Word. He sheds His light on what you have read, and its Truth becomes an anchor to your soul.

The Word “is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, 'Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?' Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, 'Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?' No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it” (Deuteronomy 30:11-14, NIV).
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Monday, August 4, 2014

Investing in Your Friend's Life



Do you have a friend who is struggling with something that is tearing him apart? Perhaps it is something that consumes himlike an addiction. Perhaps it is fear or generational bondage. Perhaps it is the lie of an enemy to destroy. Maybe you don’t believe you can help him experience freedom, but you can. Pray for him and with him. Intercession not only gives you spiritual insight, but builds faith. Pray regarding what you share, and be sure the Holy Spirit is guiding you. Before you offer yourself to help your friend, realize that the offer you are about to make is a commitment to not only your friend, but to God. It is your investment in his life.
 
Listen to your friend. Take time to understand what he is saying. Many times we don’t hear because we are planning what we are going to say next. Do not judge. If someone confesses to you, do not criticize him. Realize that he reaches out to you because the Holy Spirit trusts you. Keep his confession confidential. Whatever he reveals, don’t tell others. Treat his confidence as a sacred trust. Pray with him for deliverance and healing in Christ. Encourage him that there will be a day when he will be free from that bondage.  Persevere. Don’t give up. Believe in him when he is at his lowest. Don’t allow him to isolate himself from other believers. Share the Word. Assist him in Bible study, and help him discover God’s promises. Keep your own relationship with the Lord pure. If you are not open to the Lord’s correction, you cannot help your friend.
 
When you make your life an offering, the Holy Spirit does the miraculous. Not only will the Lord deliver your friend from his bondage, but you will experience an anchor of deeper faith and trust in God. Remember that the grace of Christ is more than sufficient to meet this need (2 Corinthians 12:9). If you surrender yourself to the Holy Spirit, He does the work (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
 
Friendship is one of the sweetest joys of life,” C.H. Spurgeon wrote. “ Many might have failed beneath the bitterness of their trial had they not found a friend." Be the friend that invests and inspires, and believes. You are not alone. He is with you.
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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Looking at the Heart


“When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, 'Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.' But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart'” (I Samuel 16:6-7, NIV).

In this Scripture God has sent Samuel to Jesse of Bethlehem with the instruction that He, the Lord, has chosen one of Jesse's sons to be the new king. Samuel looks on the outer appearance of Eliab, and immediately believes him to be God's chosen. But God lets Samuel know that Eliab is rejected. He is not the one. God has chosen David, a simple shepherd boy, to be His anointed.

How many times do we look on someone's outer appearance, whether in looks or clothing or size or manner, and judge who they are? How many times have we done as Samuel, and expected God to choose someone for a purpose only to discover that our choice was not God's choice? How many times do we believe we know what is going on in someone's life only for God to show us that we know nothing at all? We really do not know the depth of that person's heart. Man always perceives with what his eyes see. But God wants us to look on others with the openness of His heart and His Spirit. He wants us to be able to see past any perceived fault and recognize the potential that God knows is there.

God saw promise in a shepherd boy. He saw David's heart, and knew His potential. Not only does God see the potential in other people and does not want us to judge them, God sees potential in our lives, too. What we do to others, is often returned to us. To recognize what God sees in us, we must seek to see what He sees in others. It is then that God's instruction to “to not judge lest ye also be judged” is closer to being understood.

I am thankful that God always sees the potential in my heart. I pray to always have His eyes to see the potential in the hearts of those He brings into my life.
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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Prayer's Privilege

Prayer is your closely personal time with the Lord. It is a privilege that imparts a close relationship, and brings you into the very presence of a faithful God. (Hebrews 4:16).  Prayer is God's gift to your struggling spirit. Without it, you have no strength, no guidance, no purpose, no peace, and no victory. With it all things are possible.


We often pray for God to change circumstances. Sometimes there is a change in circumstance, but often there isn't. C.S. Lewis discovered a precious truth with the impending death of his wife. When an agnostic colleague asked him why he bothered to pray when it was obvious that God was not changing the circumstance of his wife's cancer, C.S. Lewis said, “I don't pray in order to change God. I pray because God changes me.” And that is the beauty and gift of prayer. As we draw closer to God in prayer, we find ourselves changing into a person who is able to hold on to the incredible peace of God in all circumstances. Prayer changes who we are. It changes our heart, our attitudes, our desires, our choices, and every aspect of our lives.

Don’t become discouraged in prayer. Paul writes, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will” (Romans 8:26a-27). Allow Him to search your heart, and He will pray for you.

Friday, August 1, 2014

HIS WORD IS MY HOPE


“You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope” (Psalm 119:114, NLT).

“Lord, when the struggles of this life overwhelm you are my sanctuary. When I am strong enough to stand, you are my shield that protects. Your Word is my only source of hope in this world. When the world speaks defeat, you speak victory. When the world speaks death, you speak life. When the world turns its back, you are constant and unchanging. When the world accepts the latest belief, your Word is solid and pure. It inspires all the hope I need to reach for you. I can't place hope in a word that changes because then my hope would have no meaning. But your Word is rock-solid and unchanging. What it promises it promises. I can believe in what you impart to my spirit through your abiding Word. I can believe in your faithfulness above all the world's fickleness. Your Word is truth above all else.”

“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2, NLT). The Word existed in the very beginning of this world! Not only did it exist, it was the very heart and being of the Creator. The New Living Translation speaks of the Word as “he”. The Word was God in the beginning. The Word is God now. If I want to know God, I will know His Word. If I want to know His hope, I will make His Word my most intimate resource.

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Roman 5:3-4, NIV). How do I glory (rejoice) in that which is my refuge and shield? I rejoice when I grow in perseverance and character and hope. I rejoice when God's Word inspires me to discover His promise for my life. Hope does not disappoint–it does not discourage–it does not shame when it is placed in God's Word. His love has been poured into my heart through the gift of the Holy Spirit, and that love anchors me to believe in that which a fickle world cannot believe–His Word.
Do you believe?

The Faith of Christ

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