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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Unchanging and Faithful

Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful” (I Thessalonians 5:23-24, NLT).

Has your faith in Jesus Christ kept you strong? The disciples would have failed except for the power of the Holy Spirit who came to comfort, guide, and empower them. God's message of redeeming love has been alive and well through centuries because many have been willing to stand strong no matter what they faced. It has held strong because those who believed in Him were willing to suffer and some to even die for His truth.

Living for Jesus Christ is all about your soul. The life you live in Jesus is not about what is comfortable. It is not about how you feel, or even your circumstance. We often choose the easier way... the one less strenuous and risky. He calls us to walk in the way of truthto be willing to lay down our lives if necessary. It is a hard calling, but it is ours, and it is for our utter fulfillment in this life. It brings a joy that nothing else surpasses.

If you live your calling, you are molded by His faithful and unchanging hand. You blossom spiritually through all the struggles you face because He is your power. If you refuse His calling, His purpose in your life is thwarted and your spiritual growth is deferred. You discover a sadness that cannot be appeased, and spiritual sorrow that grieves your spirit.

Living for Him is not about how you feel. It is about truth and commitment. Stand strong in Him. Live what is best for your soul. Be willing to face each obstacle that commitment to Him brings. Your reward will be exceed anything your mind can imagine. Your soul will rejoice that you have not only grown closer to Him, but that in Him, you have discovered more of Him and less of yourself. You have discovered real life, because you have discovered who you were created to be.

You are called. I am called. We can say yes or no. May we continually surrender to the God of peace who creates His purity of heart in each of us! May we stand blameless and strong through the years knowing that the Lord who has called is faithful to supply all His strength for our journey! We can rely totally on Him because He is faithful, constant. and never changes. Just how willing are we to really know this God who gives us the freedom to say yes or no? Enough to let go of our attempt at control and allow Him to bring out our best? You and I are the only ones who can answer that question.

Monday, March 30, 2015

I Am Called

But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:8-10, NIV).

“God calls me. In a deeper sense than any other species of earthbound creature, I am called. And in a deeper sense, I am free, for I can ignore that call. I can turn a deaf ear. I can say that no call came. I can deny that God called or even that God exists. What a gift of amazing gracethat the One who made me allows me to deny His existence. God created me with the power to disobey, for the freedom to obey would mean nothing at all without the corresponding freedom to disobey. I can answer no, or I can answer yes. My fulfillment as a human being depends on my answer. It is a loving Lord who calls through the world's fog to His island of peace. If I trust Him, I will obey Him gladly” (Elisabeth Elliot, Discipline, the Glad Surrender).

I am called. I have been given the freedom to choose or reject that call. It is more than I can fathom. The Savior who gave His life so I might live does not demand my allegiance or my love in return. His love and forgiveness came at the greatest cost, yet He demands nothing of me. He allows me the power to choose. His willingness to carry all my fear, pain, failures, and ugliness to the cross was the greatest act of unselfish devotion and sacrifice. Still He waits for me to choose Himcalling through my fog of pain and fear–offering peace from the world's confusion and heartbreak.

Elisabeth Elliot's missionary husband was killed in South American by Acua Indians. Yet, out of her pain, she discovered the call of a loving God who offered peace in the midst of the painful circumstances that took her husband's life. There was no understanding why. There was only an awareness of the choice to be made in her own life. She could love God and serve Him or she could turn against Him and fester in the pain of her loss. In accepting His call to trust Him no matter what, she learned a great lesson through the years to come. The pain that she felt then became part of the joy she would discover later. In her surrender to the Lord's call to always trust His love, she learned that her greatest fulfillment would always be found in choosing Him. Her husband found his fulfillment in His call. Losing his life for what he believed came as a result of his choice. Although he did not know that death was imminent, it was her husband's choice to risk everything for his Savior.

We each have a choice. It is only when we choose Him that we discover the depth of our purpose. It is only when we choose Him that we discover who we were really created to be. It is a journey of a lifetime, and there is no greater joy that knowing you have said yes, and God has brought forth in your life exactly what He knew was your greatest potential. In Him is the the greatest fulfillment in life. The one who loved us enough to give His life for us has given us the freedom to choose or reject Him. How can we choose to say no?






Saturday, March 28, 2015

Your Journey



Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God” (Hebrews 12:2, MSG).

Look at me. Don't look at your circumstance or failure. Allow me to change the things in your life that are tearing you apart. Allow me to change you. You know your imperfections well. The enemy has reminded you of what you have been forgiven for again and again. You are troubled. I am your rest. You are impatient. I am your patience. You have no peace. I am your peace. I know your heart, and I know you love me. I know you yearn to be stronger in faith. Here I amthe author of your faith. I will also be the finisher of it. Allow me.

Be still and learn of me. Quit struggling. You will know that I am God. Focus your mind on me. I am your life and your purpose. I am your healer. I began this work in you. I will keep you in peace when your mind rests in me. You will grow stronger, and on your journey, you will grow more like me. If you stay focused on meif you rest in meif you grow in meif you seek me continuallyif you serve me obediently, I will give you powerful faith to believe for great things in my name.

Continually abide in me, and you are not limited by your own limitations. You have become more than your own limitations. You have become all that I have decided you to be. You have found in your weakness that I am your strength. You have discovered that in my strength, I am your joy. You have discovered my peace that your mind can't comprehend. And that is alright, because you don't have to understand. You are at rest in me. If you will keep your eyes on me, and allow me to direct the days of your life, you will be able to handle anything that comes your way. The prize at the end of your journey shall have been worth the cost of all your effort. You will know me as I have always known you.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Change Your Mind


Have you ever stopped to think that how you think determines how you feel? You can have a positive attitude that gives you an optimistic look on life or you can have a negative attitude that continually keeps you buried under a pile of emotional rubble. If you are a negative person you can always find something wrong with something positive. If you are a positive person you can find something positive in the negative. A positive attitude speaks hope and life. If you want to live a joyful and abundant life―one that spills over with spontaneous faith, you must work to have a positive attitude.

Thinking correctly is essential to living a joyful and victorious life in Christ. “Brothers and sisters,” Paul declared, “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” (Philippians 4:8, NIV). If you will keep your mind focused on God's truth―on whatever is godly, uplifting, and joyful, you will learn to have a positive attitude. To develop an optimistic spirit, you must be changed in the attitude of your mind (Ephesians 4:23). This takes determination and perseverance. ”Let perseverance finish its work,” James writes, “so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4, NIV).

Taking responsibility for your own thinking is the first essential step. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV). It is impossible to stop the fiery darts that the enemy throws at your mind, but you can learn to make those thoughts become obedient to what the Word teaches. It is possible to have the power to bring them under the control of the Holy Spirit. This is learned when you practice the presence of God. When your mind is focused on Him, and not where your runaway thoughts might lead you, you rest in His peace (Isaiah 26:3).

You can't determine what happens, but you can determine if your attitude changes or not. There is no way you can control circumstances, but you can learn to control what happens in your mind as a result. When you learn to take your negative thoughts captive, you change the way that you think. Not only are you able to say, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13), but you can believe without a doubt that He will give you His strength. When facing your circumstances with faith that comes from a mind that has been transformed, you can live life with a positive and joyful attitude―able to determine God's good pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:1-2).

If you will think right, you will feel right. Cultivate your mind! Plow it up and rethink the way you have always thought. Don't dwell on the negative anymore. Allow the Word to transform your way of thinking. Determine to believe that Jesus Christ is greater in you than any negativity that rises in your mind. It is never impossible to be changed in the attitude of your mind. When you surrender control and allow the Holy Spirit to change you from the inside out, you can get rid of that negative attitude. You are learn to rethink who you are! Be changed and renewed!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Take Control of Those Little Foxes


Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom” (Song of Solomon 2:15, NIV).

Do you struggle with self-control of your thoughts? I have been there! The lack of self-control of your mind is not the result of huge problems that come your way. It comes from letting the little doubts, worries, and small concerns add up. You become so burdened with these accumulated little “foxes” that the vineyard of your mind produces fear instead of faith.

If anything begins to trouble you in the least way, deal with before it grows and overwhelms your mind. Stop and pray. Don't speak your doubt. Bring it immediately to God before you do anything else. Rise up off your knees and leave that initial thought of worry with the Lord. Determine to bring your thoughts captive to the Holy Spirit. Nip those little worries in the bud before they grow out of control in your mind. Train your mind to focus on the Lord, and faith will replace fear with perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).

You are a branch in Lord's vineyard, and to produce good fruit, you must surrender your mind and allow Him to take care of those little foxes that destroy. Never allow any little worry or doubt to grow out of control. If you do, then your actions will not be determined by the Holy Spirit, but controlled by your run away thoughts of fear. His purpose is to bring forth the greatest potential in your life. Allow Him to prune your mind, your will, and your “self”. Only He can prune you for stronger growth and bring your life to full harvest. Catch all those little foxes!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Time for Encouragement


Are you discouraged? Now is the time to be encouraged! David, the writer of most of the book of Psalms, knew discouragement. He knew more than discouragement. He knew acute dread and fear. As Saul sought to kill him, David hid, scared and alone. “My strength is dried up like a potsherd,” he cried, “and sticks to the roof of my mouth” (Psalm 22:15a, NIV). Even though fear tried to consume him, David developed a valuable skill. When there was no one to build his strength, David encouraged himself in the Lord. “You hear, O Lord,” he declared, “the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry” (Psalm 10: 17, NIV).

David had faith that God would encourage him, and give him the strength he needed for whatever he faced. But you, O Lord, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me” (Psalm 22:19, NIV). Do you seek to know that kind of faith?  It is the kind of faith that believes no matter what hardship surrounds you. It is the kind of faith that sustains when fear threatens. It is the kind of faith that trusts in His encouraging promise when all is dire and dark. It is the kind of faith that hears the Lord’s encouraging voice when there is no one else to encourage you.

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

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

Monday, March 23, 2015

Made Strong



My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV).

The grace of Jesus Christ has the power to change every aspect of my life. The more I dwell on His love―the more I seek His truth―the more I allow His love and truth to impact my life―the less I am like me, and the more I become like Him. The closer I grow in my relationship with Him, the more I am aware of my lack of power to live a life that honors Him. The desire is there, but often His standard makes my own effort seem like a failure. The sense of my own inadequacy reveals that I need to surrender more of my life to His life-changing power. It is what I do with that sense of failure that makes the difference in my life. If I allow my failure to define who I am, then I will remain weak, defeated, and a failure. But if I yield that failure to His refining process, my weakness is taken over by His strength. His power changes and perfects my life. I grow stronger in my relationship with Him. The failure which has once defined and defeated my life, is surrendered to His power. He controls what I am unable to control.

Without God's standard–His Word–to meet in my life, there will be no sense of failure. I will not understand the conviction with which He can change me. However, it is when I am growing in my relationship with Christ and seeking Him, that His standard convicts my life. A sense of failure can inspire me instead of defeating me. When I realize my weakness, I know that I need His power. Instead of wallowing in my sense of failure and running from His grace, I run to the Savior who has not only revealed my failure, but who also is the only answer for it. I constantly seek more of Him. I learn that His grace is greater than any failure or sin. His grace changes my life. Living in His strength becomes easier as time passes. His power overcomes my weakness. Instead of failure, I persevere and receive greater spiritual maturity.

Are you also tired of failure defining who you are? Be committed and be diligent to seek Him and grow in His grace. “Let perseverance finish its work,” James writes, “so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4, NIV). If you allow the Holy Spirit to prune away those weak areas, you will know greater spiritual strength and abundance. You will be perfected by His grace and love. His holy shears, which prune and sometimes cut painfully, will one day bring forth the most joyful and abundant harvest. You will realize in the weakness that you have surrendered to His grace, He has made you strong.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Hope of Joy


Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5b, NLT).

Whatever I face, I am not alone. He is my warrior. Whatever my personal struggle, I know He is my rock. He stands strong for me. Whatever oppresses, I know that He is my deliverer. He lifts the heavy burden. He redeems all that I have been, and His payment takes care of all of my life.

This is my hope. Whatever sorrow or pain might come my way, it will not last forever. The promise of His peace is real. The sorrow I may feel now anticipates the joy to come. His strongest children are those who, in the night of weeping, confidently believe in the promise of joy in the morning.

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” Lamentations 3:21-23, NIV).


Friday, March 20, 2015

A Light To Guide


Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105, NKJV).

If His Word guides my life, there is no problem or circumstance or difficulty that can rob my joy and faith in Him. His Word gives direction to handle each life circumstance that arises, but for the light of His presence and power to guide and empower me, I must surrender all of my will to His. Not just some of it, but all of it. If I try to handle whatever I face alone without His guidance, I will ultimately fail in my attempt. If I allow Him to direct each decision that I make and each step that comes, I will follow His lead safely and securely into a future that He alone knows.

Circumstances may lie ahead that I would never be able to handle in my present moment. If I trust Him, then I have peace in the present, and peace in His promise to take care of my future. As He accompanies me along my path, His light reveals only a few steps. The path, as it twists ahead, is darkened, My future path is dark because the light of His presence lights my way now. When I reach another bend in the path, He will light my way then. As the present of today passes into the future of tomorrow, He will walk with me. The same light which guided me–the same power–the same peace will continue to guide my way along my path.

The path of today starts to dawn, and I believe I have an idea what the next hour offers. But life has a way of changing everything. Suddenly the path may bend, and I must bend with it. I will trust His unchanging hand. I have committed my life, and I will never turn back. He is all I need to have strength and power for whatever is to come

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Believing is Worth Each Obstacle


“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24b, NIV).

This is the cry of my heart. It reveals areas where I lack faith, but it also reveals how my faith has grown. "I do believe, Lord, yet I need more faith to believe." Just consider it. As I grow closer to Him, I know Him more, and understand what His power means in my life. But at the same time I am more conscious that I fall short of complete trust in Him. This is the soul's growth. There is increased ability to believe, and then comes an obstacle that brings a plea for greater faith. This plea is a cry to overcome my unbelief. It is a cry for me to let go of everything that hinders my ability to believe, and have complete trust in Him that the obstacle will be overcome.
When my spirit cries out for Him to help my unbelief, He hears my cry, and answers my prayer with more faith. He also reveals where I still fall short in trusting Him, and with that awareness imparts the power to walk the path that leads, step by step, upwards and closer to Him. It is a journey where one moment I believe His truth absolutely, and then in the next moment I am faced with another obstacle to my faith. That obstacle spurs me onward again with a cry for more faith, and He answers it once more.
My life moves upward one step at a timeover each obstacle and each barrier. When facing each obstacle I continually surrender each problem with faith that He will take care of it. Each day I press on to discover the His prize in the midst of each storm. His prize is the peace that passes all understanding. His prize is His power for each additional obstacle to come. His prize is His presence that never leaves or forsakes me. In this journey of life I find that my surrender of each obstacle to Him conquers my unbelief, and rewards me with greater faith to believe He will not fail me.
Lord, you meet me in each moment that I need to believe for your best. You always meet my moments of unbelief with more faith. I trust you to continue to give me the faith I need for my journey. In the end I will know without a doubt that the journey has been worth each obstacle along the way. I shall have overcome my unbelief.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Walk Humbly


“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, NIV).

I love this verse. What is the good God requires of me? To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. When I believe that I have completely met His requirements to act justly and love mercy, then I have failed in His requirement to walk humbly. So to walk humbly I must never believe that I have “arrived” in meeting the other two requirements. Acting justly and loving mercy become offerings of self and heart so that walking humbly with my God may be real.

The moment I feel I have achieved humility is the moment that I become intimate with pride. And that is the moment that acting justly and loving mercy are no longer offered from a selfless heart. They are given because of a selfish need for the offering to be recognized. Christ has shown me what “good” is required by laying aside His life for me. Walking humbly with God is becoming one with Jesus in His suffering. It is acting justly because the love of Jesus has changed me. It is loving the other person more than yourself. It is loving mercy instead of retribution. God requires that my heart be right. When my heart is right with Him....when it is fully surrendered....when it is devoid of self and any pretense, then it is a heart that is humble without realizing it. And that is what God requires. To walk a surrendered life with God without even considering it a surrendered life. I am to act justly and love mercy without “knowing it”. The moment that I “know it” is the moment I have lost a humble heart.

What does God require of me? To act justly. To love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God. He desires for all of these to flow out of a life that is fully surrendered to Him in selfless abandonment.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Self-Control Defeats Fear

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV).

Today we look at the last weapon that is listed in 2 Timothy 1:7 to defeat a spirit of fear. “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7, ESV). Self-control is really not self-control. It is Holy Spirit control, and only comes when you surrender your mind so that the Lord can train the way you think. Training your mind comes through making a choice to believe what God's Word teaches no matter if your feelings don't go along with that choice. You can choose faith over fear with this surrender. God is faithful to empower you to win the hardest battle in your mind, but you must allow Him to “own” your mind completely. Your greatest surrender comes in your heart and mind. The battle to control any thought or fear is easier when you surrender it to God's control. It is such a relief to let Him fight the battle!

Recognize the fearful thought for what it is‒a threat to destroy your peace and joy. Know God's Word and His promise that comes against that thought. This is what makes study and knowledge of the Word critical. Faith comes by hearing and applying the Word (Romans 10:17). Pray God's promise from his Word, and tell Him your fear. Give your fear to him with praise because you know He is faithful to take care of it. Now refuse to worry about it anymore. When your fear rises to hit you again, keep refusing it. Tell the enemy you have given it to God. Do it over and over again. When you keep bringing your thoughts under God's control, you will eventually defeat those fearful thoughts. Those attacks will become just weak attempts. The control of your thoughts will be in God's control. You will completely depend upon Him.

In The Prayer of Jabez, Bruce Wilkinson writes, “God’s power, under us, in us, surging through us, is exactly what turns dependence into unforgettable experiences of completeness.” What makes complete dependence upon the Lord an unforgettable experience? It becomes an unforgettable experience when, in submission to His will, you receive His power that brings completeness, healing, and renewal in the spirit of your mind (Ephesians 4:23)

Monday, March 16, 2015

God's Power Defeats Fear


God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out” (Ephesians 6:10-18, The Message).

Two days ago we looked at how God's love perfected in your life casts out fear. Another weapon found in 2 Timothy 1:7 to fight the spirit of fear is God's power. Fighting the lies of the enemy takes every weapon that God has at your disposal. You put all these weapons together, and you have His power active and strong in your life. You discover these weapons in God's Word which is your “indispensable weapon”. Without these weapons you will fail. Learn them, and apply them in your life.

God's truth is the foundation of your belief in Jesus Christ. Without it you have no structure to your life. Without God's truth, you live a life based on emotional response to situations. The Word reveals how to live a righteous life with His response to whatever you face. Without a life of righteousness and holiness you cannot experience the peace that comes through the knowledge of the Word. Living God's truth brings a righteous life, and that righteousness brings the peace of the Holy Spirit. His peace is the anchor which holds you secure when Satan attacks. His peace is alive because of the faith you exhibit in giving your problems to the Lord and trusting Him to handle them. That faith is your shield against the enemy. All these weapons of truth, righteousness, peace, and faith exist because of the salvation you have received. Your salvation is your greatest threat to the enemy. You have been won by God, and Satan has lost you. Hold on to that ultimate weapon, and allow God's truth to grow in your life. Stand firm, and apply God's weapons. Always remember that He is your power, and whatever you face has already been defeated.

Prayer is essential to overcome fear. Prayer is your communication with the Lord who saved you. It is the link that should never be broken. It is your open door to receive all He has for you to stand strong and fight. His power is yours in prayer. He is yours in prayer. With His strength on your side, nothing that comes against you will prevail. When you pray God does sometime intervene. But life will not stop just because you have prayed. Times of trials and hardship shall still come. Nothing will prevail against you means that you will be able to handle life. You will not react to life's problems with fear. You will have His peace because you believe that the One who gave His life for you will take care of everything.

Take all the weapons God has given, and stand firm and strong. No circumstance...no trial...no weapon of the enemy has the power to overcome who you are in Christ.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Weapon of Perfect Love to Conquer Fear


There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18a, NIV).


Perfect love drives out fear. It is a weapon God has given you to fight fear in your life. Perfect love can only be discovered in Jesus Christ. It is a love that loves you no matter what you have been. It is a love that always sees you beautiful and whole through the eyes of grace. It is a love that always seeks to heal and help you discover freedom. It is a love that desires nothing more than you to know who you are in Jesus Christ. It is a love that can only be found in an intimate relationship with the Lord. His love perfected in your life, offers you the life-changing experience of unmerited grace. When you do not have this relationship His love cannot be perfected. Lay all of yourself down on His altar. Hold nothing of self back. Study His Word until it transform you and renews you in the spirit (attitude) of your mind (Romans 12:1-2, Ephesians 4:23). As you know Him more intimately, His perfect love will be more real to you instead of your fear.


“Perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18b). God says that if you are tormented by fear, you have not experienced His perfect love. Fear is all about punishing you. Satan punishes you with condemnation. God loves you with conviction, and His conviction is meant to help change your attitude, and turn from that which destroys you. Fear punishes you. Faith builds a rock-solid belief in God's perfect love. When fear rises up, it is a reminder that you need to continue seeking God, and choose to believe in His faithfulness.

Your faith in the perfect and faithful love of God is what ultimately helps conquer fear. Your faith rises from hearing the Word and knowing the love of Christ (Romans 10:17). The spirit of fear will always try to rise up. But your shield of faith can become strong enough to stand against it (Ephesians 6:16). Against that shield of faith fear cannot prevail. Faith will be your reality, and fear will be the unrealistic lie of a defeated enemy.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Weapons to Destroy Fear



For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV).

In the summer of 2013 our pastor taught a great series entitled “How to Handled Troublesome Emotions”. He dealt with the difficult emotions that can wreck havoc in a Christian's life. If these troublesome emotions are not brought under the control of the Holy Spirit, they can render you helpless. One of the most difficult emotions to control is fear. It rares its ugly head when you least expect it.

Fear convinces you that God is not going to take care of the concerns of your heart. Fear informs you that your life is always going to be the same, and that God will not rescue you. Fear convinces you that you can't hear God. Fear fills your heart with dread that your financial loss will starve you. Fear makes you believe that your broken family will never be restored. Fear convinces you of problems that will come in the future, and lies to you about the results of what you are going through presently. The list can be endless, but it doesn't have to be. That list can be empty.

God has not given you a spirit of fear, but He has given you a spirit of power, love, and the self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). Both faith and fear are rock-solid beliefs about what is coming in the future. Faith and fear are not just emotional. They are beliefs controlled by totally opposite spiritual forces. Faith is controlled by God, and fear is controlled by the enemy. Faith believes that God will always do the best for His children. Fear believes He never will. But God has given you powerful weapons to fight the emotional battle that fear imposes. He has given you love, power, and self-control. Without these alive, exercised, and applied in your life, you cannot defeat fear. But with His perfect love, His power, and self-control alive and well in your life, you can walk in faith free from the bondage of fear.

Your weapon of love: There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18, NIV). If God's love is not perfected in your life, then you will have fear. Being perfected in His love means you must be molded and stretched. That means letting go and accepting His will. When God's love is perfected in your life, you know that He will do anything for you‒like give His life for you. You do not have to fear.

Your weapon of power: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10, NIV). His power is real for your life. The battle you fight is not your own, but when you try to fight it by yourself, you are defeated. Submit to the Lord, and allow Him to fight what you cannot win on your own. Allow Him to have control of what you have been struggling to handle. His power comes with your submission.

Your weapon of self-control: The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). You have God's divine power within you to defeat fear. Take captive the thoughts of fear when they rise up. Train your mind to think on what is good and on God's power instead of your weakness. Give each fearful thought to Him with trust that He will handle it.

His Love, His power, and self-control. Against these no weapon of fear can prosper.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

We Choose What We Believe

Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]” (Hebrews 11:1, Amplified Bible).
For the last few days we have looked at faith and fear. Verses in 2 Timothy 1:7 have revealed that fear is not from God. His desire is for us to have a sound mind and understand God's power. Verses in James 1:6-8 have shown us that a double-minded man should expect nothing from God, but with an unwavering mindset of faith, he shall receive. Today's verse (Hebrews 11:1) shows that faith is a conviction. Faith is the conviction in something that can't be seen. If faith has the power to bring proof of what we can't see, then fear is a conviction that does just the opposite. It destroys any possibility that faith can make a difference in our life. Faith believes that God will bring our hope into reality. Fear believes that He will never do it.
Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6, NIV). This verse says we must believe God exists. We have no problem with that part. It is the next part that presents a problem to so many. We must believe that God rewards those who earnestly seek Him. This is a necessary aspect of faith. If we can't believe that God rewards us when we seek Him with our whole heart, then our lack of faith displeases God. If we ever want to receive from Him, then we must believe Him.

If something rises up that causes fear, then we must ask ourselves an important question. Do we believe in God's faithfulness or so we believe in the enemy's lies? Hebrews 11:6 states that God rewards those who seek Him with their whole being. The enemy says that we are of no worth to God. He says God must punish us by allowing the very thing we fear to happen. When the enemy tells us the concerns of our lives are not important enough for the Lord‒when he tells us that we must take care of ourselves because God is not interested‒when He says that God will never reward our seeking Him‒when the lies keep on coming, they “feel” like they are true.
What we feel is very often what is not true. If anything, Hebrews 11:1 reveals that feelings don't reveal reality. This verse tells us that we must believe God's Word over whatever we feel. If we don't, then the enemy's lies of destruction will destroy our faith, and fear will gain control of our lives. Our choices strengthen whatever we believe. If we choose to believe God's truth, then we choose a life of faith. We have added something positive to define our lives. That choice is strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:5-7). If we choose to allow fear to run rampant, we choose a mind that is double-mined and unstable. We allow the enemy access to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8). A lot of Christians don't realize the power of choice. We choose what and whom we will believe. God has great and precious promises for us (2 Peter 1:4). To receive them, we must choose to believe Him.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Double-Minded


It is impossible for both faith and fear to exist together. One will be prevalent over the other, and ultimately win. If you are fearful, your mind is in turmoil. Fear controls you. One moment you may experience peace only to discover the next that it is gone. A thought invades your mind or a circumstance arises, and you discover you are on a roller coaster ride of faith and fear. You want to believe and trust God with all your heart. You want peace. You want to get off that roller coaster, but can find no exit.

God has made provision for you to overcome fear. If you exercise the mustard seed of faith which God has given, you can discover His peace when faced with circumstances over which you have no control. To have this peace you come to God “with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord. [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides]” (James 1:6-8, Amplified). If you don't come to God with an unwavering mindset to believe God no matter what happens, fear defeats you. A person who is double-minded should not expect to receive anything from Him. If you are double-minded, there is no peace.

The purpose of the spirit of fear is to destroy your mustard seed of faith by making you feel “unstable, unreliable, and uncertain” about everything. It wreaks havoc on your thoughts, and weakens your faith in the promises of God. As a Christian you know you should trust in God's promises in His Word, and you do to a certain extent. However, your fears and doubts reveal that deeply-rooted within you are beliefs that are totally opposite to the promises of God. This is where you start to attack fear....by honestly opening and examining what you believe, and then allowing the Word and the Holy Spirit to change what needs to be changed.

You can be free of fear, and have peace. This is God's truth, and promise. Study God's Word. As you start to face and realize the beliefs within you that are contrary to what it reveals, you can apply His Word to your life. Faith begins to grow, and gains greater strength to defeat the spirit of fear within you that you have been unable to control. You don't have to be double-minded, unstable and uncertain. You can have God's peace and learn how to overcome your fears and your doubts. God's Word has the power to pull down these strongholds in your life. Learn His Word. Apply it to those areas that must honestly be examined. Pray and ask for God's help to do what seems impossible. It is not. All things are possible with Him. He is always available. Don't ever give up. You can be free of the spirit of fear.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Defeating Fear

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of a calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7, AMP).

Do you have fear in your life? Does it weigh you down? Sometimes when you are having a good day does it rise up suddenly to claim your every thought? This verse states that it is not from God, but He can defeat it in your life. Fear is a emotion that is used by the enemy. God has not given you a “spirit of fawning fear”. When fear controls your life, you are being controlled by an evil spirit's torment. "We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies,” Paul writes, “but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 NLT). Satan's purpose is to “steal, kill, and destroy” you (John 10:10). Fear is a vicious attack from the enemy to destroy your faith. It is a spiritual attack entirely meant to rob you of your peace and joy, and ultimately destroy your promises in Jesus Christ.

The Word says that you are an over-comer, and you are victorious in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:37). He is the strength that defeats that spirit of fear which rises to destroy you. Christ has given you tools to defeat fear. Where Satan hits you with a spirit of fear, Christ fights Satan through you with His spirit of discipline and self-control. If your life is undisciplined in prayer and Bible study, you will not overcome and be victorious. If you lack self-control in your daily life, you will not be able to defeat the lies of the enemy. God has given you a spirit of power. He has given you His spirit of love. He promises a calm and well-balanced mind. His spirit is in you, but He must be exercised in your life! If what He has given you is not exercised, you will not be able to defeat your spirit of fear.

The opposite of a spirit of fear is His spirit of faith. Exercise it. Exercise what He has given you to exercise. Not used it will become weak and ineffective. Exercised daily through discipline and self-control it will grow in its ability to stand against the enemy. As you exercise your faith, and choose to believe God instead of Satan, you will discover you are an over-comer. You will be victorious. Instead of the enemy's lies defeating you, you shall only be made stronger in Christ. No more doubting God and feeling double-minded. You will focus on Him, and He will keep you in His perfect peace.

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Broken and Contrite Heart


Sometime in your lifetime you will discover that something you have done has offended someone you truly care for. You will be totally unaware of it, and suddenly it is before you. The news stops you in your tracks. Where you once felt the openness of the Holy Spirit, you suddenly face a wall that you hadn't even known existed. How do you handle that crippling information you haven't known? First you look inside your heart and ask the Lord to reveal to you your motive. John Wesley wrote that sin is found in the motive of the heart. If the motive behind your action comes from pride, anger, bitterness, resentment, jealousy or the like, the action is sin. If the motive for what you have done comes from a heart of love that desires the best for someone else, then the failure is not sin. It is the way that something was handled. What you have discovered is not discipline to correct sin, but pruning of self so that the harvest that is already in your life can bring forth more abundant fruit.

Even if your motive is right, it still breaks your heart to think you have wounded a friend. Much worse is to wonder if you have broken the Lord’s heart. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NIV). “Have mercy on me, O God,” David cried, “according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:1-2, NIV). If you confess, He is faithful to forgive, and cleanse your heart. If you ask for His unfailing love, you will know and experience His forgiveness once again. Your heart will be pliable in His hands. If you fail Him in anyway, your heart will horribly ache. You will feel and know His pain as if it is your own.

Lord, if I have wounded and made another one stumble, then forgive me. If I have said words without thinking that have wounded, forgive me. If I have turned away from someone's painful cry because I might suffer too, then forgive me. If I have been cold and unfeeling to someone's need, forgive me. If I have run from my responsibility and longed to be hidden from its requirement, then, please, forgive me. Lord, I confess the sins and failures that I know, and the ones that I do not know. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10). Everyday renew your spirit within me. Keep me soft and pliable on your altar so your steadfast spirit is secured within me. Guide me. Love me, and keep me safe from my own ability to fail you. I place my life in your hands today, and trust you will do whatever is necessary to mold me and renew my heart. It needs renewing, Lord, because it has never been so broken. Thank you, Jesus, that a broken and contrite heart you will not despise, but will love with all the grace of Calvary.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Move Forward with Him


“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).

Problems that arise in life are not meant to stop you in your tracks. They are not even meant to slow you down. They are meant to give you determination to move forward with new intention. How many times do you give up instead of facing an obstacle in your way? God's power is available, but sometimes you feel too weak to move forward trusting God to give you strength. His power is not just a strong force you summon to help in your time of need. His power is His love in action. No matter how weak you feel, when you allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through you, then you are powerful.

Life is a race with problems that must be overcome. Whatever problem you face, don't allow its hardship to stagnate you or conquer you. You conquer it. God's power is found in moving forward in faith. Move forward and He moves with you. Don't allow difficulty to defeat you. Make it work for you. With God's power, you discover success.

Run life's race with commitment. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Don't allow anything to deter you from your goal. Allow the Holy Spirit to carry you over hurdles, and give you strength to endure the race. Greater faith will be your reward. When trials comefor they willyou will have God's strength to overcome. You will have His confidence and to carry you forward to another victory.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Right Choice

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

Is there something in your life that you know is not good for you–something that is tearing your life into shreds? You know the Lord wishes you to make a decision to turn away from it. You know He wishes you to let it go. You have felt His conviction, but have ignored it. Some days His conviction has been stronger, but other days you have willingly shut out His voice. 

The Lord longs to have an intimate relationship with you, but this issue stands in the way. At this moment you again face the choice to let it go. Do you believe that after you make the right choice you will not have the strength to do it? God doesn’t expect you to have the strength to conquer this alone. He gives you the strength to follow through with the right choice for your life. He meets your decision with His power. Don't ever forget that where sin increases His grace increases more. His grace is stronger and more powerful than any struggle in your life.

Each day that you make the right choice–each day you surrender to God's will builds hope and confidence to overcome. Surrendering your will is a powerful choice. Once you have surrendered there is nothing standing between you and God. Allowing Him to have access to your life brings the greatest reward, and gives you the strength and power to stand against anything that would try to destroy it. If you make the right choice daily, you shall daily receive His grace that is sufficient to carry you. 

Are you tired of your struggle? Are you tired of the load? You can make the right choice. You can walk away from whatever has claimed and controlled you. There is freedom in letting go and trusting God. The miracle of His strength is found in your surrender to His will. The Lord who calls you to make the right choice for your life is faithful, and will provide all you need to overcome that which destroys you. Make the right choice, and just let it go.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Ezekiel 36:24-28

 
“For here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land. I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You’ll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God!" (Ezekiel 36:24-28, MSG).
This is our promise....a new clean heart and a new spirit. The old cold heart will be removed and replaced with one that is pliable as clay in His hands. Selfishness will be broken, and the needs that God places in our heart will be what is important. Daily surrendered to Him we will live by the power and strength He alone provides. In every way.... in every thought.... in every action, He will direct our lives. We shall live an abundantly fulfilled life by His gracious bounty and merciful love. Our hearts will be at rest and have complete peace knowing with every part of our being that He is our God. If this is our promise, how can we not surrender anything that stands in the way? 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Ask and Receive


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


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

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

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


Monday, March 2, 2015

Single-Minded


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

Life requires wisdom. When we are plagued with problems, we need God's wisdom to get through each hardship. When we have decisions that must be made, we need His wisdom to guide us. When emotions rage, we need His wisdom to keep us from actions which are based on our feelings alone. In these verses James explains we should pray and ask God for wisdom. Not only does He give it, but He is generous with it. We may ask why something happens, but God wants us to understand that His ways and thoughts are higher than ours–that we can trust His wisdom above our human feelings. If we trust Him and ask Him for the ability to handle our trials, He gives spiritual wisdom to deal with them. He directs us in every trial that we face.

In these verses James not only imparts that we should pray for wisdom, but tells us that we should pray trusting and believing that God will provide. If we pray for wisdom and feel we don't receive any, it is not because our faith is lacking. Feelings have nothing to do with faith.
Faith that is as small as a mustard seed is great enough to move mountains. James identifies the problem as being double-minded. A double-minded man grabs hold of “but what if”, and his faith depends on circumstance instead of placing what little faith he has in God's faithfulness. A double minded man is also one who sits on the fence and can't quite plant his mustard seed of faith in God. His mind has not been brought under the control of Christ. James writes that this man is unstable in all his ways. Why should God grant him wisdom? However, a person who is surrendered to the Lord, and believes in God's faithfulness, doesn't ask “but what if?” He chooses to believe in God's unwavering truth. Instead of being double-minded, He is single-minded in faith. He is focused on God's faithfulness instead of his circumstance. He knows that without God's help, He will fail. When this single-minded person cries for out for faith to believe–when he cries out for wisdom, he receives generously from the Lord. “No matter what I will trust Him” replaces “but what if”. In his cry for wisdom, he surrenders his fears to Jesus Christ and receives greater faith to believe that God will guide him safely through troubled waters.

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

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...