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Friday, July 17, 2015

No Matter What

Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b, NIV).

No matter what I face, I am never alone. He upholds me.

No matter what my weakness, I have His strength. He gives strength to the weary.

No matter what I feel, I have a spirit that rests in His Truth. Feelings will waver. His Truth stands firm.

No matter what my struggle, I have peace that He is in control. He takes care of what I was never meant to handle.

No matter what my failure, I have victory in His purpose. No weapon that tries to defeat me will prosper.

No matter what my sadness, I have joy in His unchanging promise. His timing is not mine.

No matter what my lot, I rest in His faithfulness. He will always take care of me.

No matter what, it doesn't matter. I have Him.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

In Whatever Season

In Whatever Season

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, KJV).

Life always presents a new season. One moment you are in pain, and the next you are rejoicing. One moment you are developing something new, and the next it is gone. Whatever season of your life you are in, there is a purpose in it. Sometimes when you are going through a time that is hard, it is difficult to see yourself in a better season of life. Try to seek His purpose in whatever season of life you experience rather than push hurriedly through to the next one. When you push and try to rush through that season too quickly, you miss what the Lord wishes to accomplish in your life. Each season the Lord imparts is given for His reason. The incredible value of the lessons learned can give greater faith to make it through all the difficult seasons of life. They can also give the greatest fulfillment in the seasons that bring abundant joy.

A friend of mine told me recently that she recognized a pattern in the way the Lord gives her Scripture. Every other day or so He gives her a harsh word–not to condemn her, but instead to warn her to be cautious and to understand that things she faces, like trials or hardships, are all for a purpose. She then smiled and said, “When He takes me to a Scripture like that, the next day He gives me a Scripture on praise or love. No matter what happens, He wants our praise, and He still loves us!” She has grown to understand that life's changing seasons will always present a new challenge, and God is faithful through each one. He loves. He teaches. He corrects. He empowers. He imparts wisdom. He guides, and He brings you into the next season with more faith than you experienced in the last.

Praise Him no matter what season you are in. Learn what He wishes to impart to you. Rejoice in the lesson to be learned. It is just what you need. Apply it to your life. Allow God to take you where He wishes, and allow Him to mold your heart. The pain you may feel now will definitely be part of your joy later. Also the joy you may feel now will carry you through any difficult season that lies ahead. Wherever you are, He is with you, guiding you from one season to the next. Give Him your hand, and trust the one who gave you this life to carry you safely and joyfully through it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Hold On!

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

The Lord promises He will never leave us. He will never forsake us. He loves us with an everlasting love. He supplies all our needs. His grace is sufficient for whatever we face. If we draw close to Him, He will draw close to us. There are hundreds of divine promises in His Word! These promise are not dependent upon who we are or what we are. They are true for all His children. Sometimes, however, when we realize the cost of His calling upon our lives, we pull away from Him. The cost of commitment seems too high. When we pull away we forsake Him, and forsake His promises. All He desires is for us to surrender, to accept His will, and to persevere in our efforts to follow Him. Though we may fail at times in striving to accomplish His will
if our heart’s desire is to serve HimHis promises will be fulfilled. He knows our strengths and weaknesses, and He knows the areas we need to mature spiritually. When we are stretched for His sake, we will receive what He has promised.

Do you think that when Jesus called Peter to follow Him that He did not know his strengths and his weaknesses? God knew Peter. He knew that despite human weakness, Peter would discover the strength that God had for Him. If you feel weak and lacking in power, remember the Lord chose Peter knowing His potential―knowing that one day He would be filled with the Holy Spirit and with power. God's choice of Peter is encouraging. Choosing a weak Peter to serve Him encourages us that, we too, can be used for God's service. Take heart. No matter what your struggle or your area of weakness, God knows your potential, too. He extends love and forgiveness along your lifetime of service so that you may achieve it. Peter, as a result of God's grace, forgiveness, and power, discovered spiritual maturity.

His divine power.” Peter writes, “ has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:3-4, NIV). He has called you to serve Himnot because of who you are, but because of who He is. His divine power is available so that through Him, and through His precious promises, you may become more like Him. You can reach a level of spiritual maturity where you are effective and productive in your Christian walk (2 Peter 1:9). But you must “let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4). Persevere! Hang on! Don't give up! Seek Him continually, and then apply His truth to your life! When you have done His will, you will receive what He has promised (Hebrews 10:36).

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Allow Me

Allow Me

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3, NLT).

Dear Child,

I experienced the pain of your hurt today. I experienced your battered soul over the thing in your life that separates you from my love. Why can't you just let it go? You are like a drowning man, who instead of reaching for the safety of my forgiveness, holds on to this sin in your life that will surely drown you. This thing holds you in bondage and keeps you from feeling my love and forgiveness. Do you love it more than you love me? There was a time you were so close to me, and needed me. Do you not need me in your life anymore? I have sent my servants into your life to draw you back to me. I have sent those who love you with my love and speak to you with its truth. They pray for you day and night and will never stop until I am able to reach you again. Please let this go before you become too calloused to my pleading. I love you with my everlasting love and draw you in unfailing kindness. Listen, my child, I'm reaching out to your heart. Come back to me. Allow me to love you again.  

Monday, July 13, 2015

Life is Change

'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

Life changes. Whether good or bad, change can still be frightening. Change means that what you have believed was real for you in this life is now different. When circumstances change for the worse, you may grieve the loss of what you believed would last. When they change for the better, you may have difficulty with the adjustment that the change requires. No matter what happens in life, God is your constant and sure foundation in this vacillating world. If your life is safely hidden in God–if He is your cornerstone of faith, you cannot fear change because He never changes. He is the same “yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). 

His perfect plan for your life always gives hope for your future. Trust Him when the seasons of your life change. Learn His lesson in wherever circumstance life places you, and apply that lesson to your life. It makes the next change, whether good or bad, easier to handle, because you have learned spiritual balance in a world that offers no solid foundation. The power of the Holy Spirit to handle change is always available. Claim it, and use it constantly. His power, His strength, His faithfulness, His consistency, His balance is all yours to exercise everyday. You can never ask too much of God. His provision is unending. Living by faith in Him provides abundance in all that life brings. 

See, I am doing a new thing!” the Lord proclaims. “Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness 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). Whatever new thing lies ahead in your life–whatever change, He has made a way to provide exactly what is needed for your journey. He offers all the resources you need. You are His child, and He will not forsake you or leave you. Praise Him and accept His spiritual peace. It is His perfect gift for your life–to know that in whatever change occurs, He has a plan and purpose for your life.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Ask with Confidence

"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).

What is the desire of your heart? If whatever you desire is in His will, He hears your request. He knows exactly what it is, and has your provision ready. You can rest assured that He has the best answer for whatever your need. Have confidence in approaching Him. Ask in faith believing that He will answer. Trust His love for you. Trust His faithfulness to you. Bring to Him your desire knowing that to lay it 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 intimate contact with Him. To know Him intimately means you understand His will for your life, and that it is more important than anything else. A heart that is sold out to God has the faith to believe that He can move mountains. Let Him own your heart, and “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).

Ask in faith confidently believing He will supply your heart's deepest need. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

No Fear in Perfect Love

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

There is no perfect earthly love. Earthly love changes with circumstance and changes with feeling. But there is a perfect spiritual love which conquers fear, and lives in faith that God will take care of anything that comes against it. This perfect love carries me safely through all of life's struggles and heartaches. It never deserts me, and it never changes. When this spiritual love is perfected in my life, it brings greater faith to believe in the impossible. What is this perfect love? It is the love of God who gave His son, Jesus Christ, for me. If that is beyond my human capacity to understand, it is suppose to be. I can't understand such a perfect love with my mind. It is useless to try to analyze it. My mind can't fathom this depth of sacrificial love, but my heart and soul can receive it. 

The only way to receive this perfect love that conquers fear is to allow Christ into my heart. He loved me enough to die for my sin so I might be set free from its control over me. He, who was perfect and knew so sin, became sin, so it might be crucified forever it my life and I might receive His perfect love. Fear can only be defeated with His perfect love living in me. When I let go of what is imperfect in me, I receive His love which washes away all that I have been so I may receive all that He is. With His perfect love in my life continually changing me, His love becomes stronger in me and perfects me. Only His perfected love in my life can drive out fear, and give me faith to believe. If I remain rooted in His love and growing in His grace, perseverance will finish its work so that I may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything (James 1:4). I will be strong enough to choose faith over fear.

If I am dealing with great fear, then His love has not been perfected in me. My mind has been focused on my struggles, and my feelings have pulled me away from His promised fullness of life. The Lord will keep me in His perfect peace only when my mind remains on Him instead of any circumstance (Isaiah 26:3). I cannot grow stronger on what I “feel”. I can only become stronger on what “I know”. Today I rejoice in the promise that His perfect love drives out all fear. It truly does drive it out as His love is continually perfected in me. That is my promise and that is my journey―to be perfected by the Lord who gave all of His life for me.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Commit to His Grace

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32, NLT).

To spiritually understand the depth and power of the grace of Jesus Christ, faith needs to grow in our life. For faith to grow, the seed of God's Word must first be planted, then nourished through study and prayer. As knowledge of His grace grows into greater faith, we are able to put down deep-seated roots that will anchor us. We can choose to believe that His grace is more powerful than all our insufficiency. Christ didn't save us in our perfection. He saved us in our brokenness. We choose to sacrifice our will and desires and seek His. As we grow in His grace, the power of that grace increases. When we yield our brokenness, our weakness, and ourselves to Him daily, we discover that in Him all things are possible. He takes whatever battle rages to the grave, and continually imparts His grace to stand strong.

We will always face temptation, but it is what we do with that temptation which reveals if we have died to self-will. It is what we do with temptation which reveals our allegiance. If we succumb to sin, we break our spiritual closeness with God which gives us the power to stand strong. With that intimacy severed, His grace will not empower us. This verse in John tells us that knowledge of the Word of God sets us free (John 8:32). if we continually seek to understand the truth of God's Word, we gain spiritual intimacy with God and experience His grace which gives us freedom from sin's control.

Perhaps we haven’t experienced freedom from sin's control because mind-over-matter doesn’t work. Only spiritual understanding of the grace of God and experiencing its power has the ability to release us. Spiritual knowledge of God's Word imparts wisdom. James says about wisdom, “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, NIV). His wisdom is necessary for spiritual growth. As we seek to know the Word, we identify with the Word, and we experience its wisdom. Faith increases, and temptation loses its grasp. But we must not doubt! We choose to believe that His ability is greater than our failure. Choosing to lead a life that is pleasing to God is our commitment. He honors that commitment to spiritually grow in His truth with the power of His grace.

Do you want to be stable, rock-solid, consistent, and anchored in His grace? Do you want to continually experience His grace when something happens which could cause anger, hurt, bitterness, jealousy, or unforgiveness? Do you want to be controlled by His power, and not by a lack of self-control? Do you want to be a conduit of His grace that continually is offered to others who face their own battles? There will always be temptation, but I want to live a life that is free from sin's ability to control my life. Each day I will open my mind and spirit to the grace Jesus reveals in His Word. The power to set me free lies within its pages. The Word always waits for me to discover the freedom it imparts. I choose the commitment.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Come, Feast, and Be Filled

God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied” (Luke 6:21a, NLT).

When you come to a feast you come hungry. You haven't eaten much that day in anticipation of what you are going to be offered. You have waited expectantly for that feast, and you can't wait to be filled with it riches. This is just an earthly feast. Its riches do not last. It is there at one moment filling you to overflowing and then gone the next. You have partaken of its earthly bounty, but it has offered no lasting sustenance. Its riches have left you deflated and without purpose. You are empty once more. Like Esau you have filled yourself with the immediate satisfaction of a rich blessing, but have lost the promise of a lasting one.

Jesus' feast is like no earthly one. He prepares a table of spiritual riches that satisfies the deepest spiritual void in your life. His feast isn't devoured in an instant and then gone the next. His feast is everlasting, and the richness of its offering is constant. When you come spiritually hungry to His table for the spiritual feast he has prepared for you, your emptiness is satisfied. Most often the first time you come in desperation. Feasting ravenously upon His Word, you discover sustenance and His help for your need. When you are filled in your desperate circumstance with His guidance and peace, you realize that without Him life will consume you. You hunger for His peace and joy and His presence above all else. You come because to be without Him means you are lost. You dig into His bounty with the determination to mature in faith and commitment. As you mature in Him, you come to His feast to just bask in the richness of His glory. But you continually come. You ingest the richness of His truth, and its nutrition fuels and nurtures your life. Each morsel He offers fills you with what earthly riches could never give. You feast on the unshakable Kingdom of God―the feast that never ends.

If you are hungry for spiritual peace and joy come to Him. Your hunger will be satisfied. Feast upon His bounty. Feast upon His Word. Feast upon His presence. Feast upon His promise. Feast upon His glory. Come hungry and partake of His spiritual bounty. Feast upon His love for you and be filled.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

His Grace Grows Me

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

The more my mind dwells on God―the more I seek His truth―the more I allow His love and truth to impact my life―the more I become like Him in character. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control start to claim my life. Something else happens as these virtues develop. 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―to live the very virtues that God is trying to grow in me. 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. Surrendered to Him, I experience His love for those I find it hard to love. I experience His patience when things don't work out the way I plan. I offer a kindness that I could never offer on my own. I experience His power that is held in check with a gentle spirit. I understand what it means to remain faithful whenever something attempts to shake my commitment. My heart seeks His goodness because I wish to be more like Him. I surrender what I am unable to control to His control, and in doing so I have self-control of my thoughts and actions. My surrender to His higher purpose imparts a joy which can never be destroyed by a less-than-perfect circumstance. His peace reigns because I have given Him all of my own struggles and failures and kept my mind and heart focused only on what is good and pure and uplifting.

Without God's standard to meet in my life, I will not have a sense of failure. I will not have conviction that changes 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 defeat 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 keep seeking more of Him. I learn that His grace is greater than any failure or sin. His grace changes my life, and His power overcomes my weakness. Instead of failure, I learn spiritual growth.

Has failure ever kept you from growth? 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).

Friday, July 3, 2015

Strength to Face the Giants

In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15, NIV).

It is time to end your frantic pace. Quit struggling and calm your impatient heart. Quit planning and analyzing. Don't rush my time with you. Give me your mind and your thoughts. Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10). Wait for me in your quiet time, and I will come. Wait until my power fills you.

“My greatest strength is given to my children who stop their hectic pace, focus their thoughts and energy on me, and listen to what I wish to impart. In my presence you are refreshed. You find confidence and strength to rise up to face your giants. When it is time for action this confidence and strength you discover carries you powerfully into the heat of battle, but only if you allow me to bear the weight of command. If I am in control of your battle, your peace remains. You know that I am God, and that I take care of every problem and struggle that arises. The moment you attempt to control what is not yours to control, you lose the battle and lose your peace.

You remember that thing you asked me to handle? Will you now finally quit trying to control it and trust me? Your attempt at control is destroying your peace. I promise peace. I give rest. Take time for me. Find rest and know that I am your God. Resting in me brings the strength to trust me, and also gives you the power to let go of the need to control. Allow me to take care of what you were never meant to handle. Trust that I will handle it, and that you are free to be my beloved child. Seek me in prayer and give me each problem that overwhelms your life (Philippians 4:6). In quietness and trust, you receive all of me to face all of your giants.”

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Delivered as Gold

He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10, NIV).

Job faced uncertainty, terrible hardship, and utter despair. Each one of us will also face hardships that shake our lives. Crying out in our despair, we yearn to hear from Him and for a promise of peace from the torment. The truth is that He does hear and speak, but our pain gets in the way. James writes that we are to “consider it pure joy” when we go through trials because those trials have the potential to produce faith (James 1:2-4). Most of the time, I look for the positive aspects in a hardship which will create greater faith. But sometimes an overwhelming hardship hangs on until the point where I believe I am going under. At that moment I long to know that one day my hardship will end―that one day I will have peace. Jesus said that I would have hardship in this world, but I can rest assured that He has overcome the world (John 16:33). In a time that is too hard for me to handle, I need Him to overcome my world.

“'Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?' says the Lord. “'Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?' says your God” (Isaiah 66:9, NIV). The Lord brings delivery from my overwhelming hardship―in His perfect time. My spiritual maturity grows as the development of my promise progresses. I will remember that the Lord doesn't close up the womb, but also with delivery comes His promise. “Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son” (Isaiah 66:7). God protects me from the intense pain of labor at the time of delivery. He knows what I can handle and what I can't. He allows just enough hardship during my pregnancy to make me reach a little higher trusting in Him. But He protects me from the hardship that would utterly destroy me. What I may consider the worst struggle in my pregnancy is not. God protects me. He makes my delivery easier than I anticipate or worry about, and brings forth His promise.

The tribulation which overwhelms my heart promises release. “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36, NIV). I shall be confident of His promise of peace. I will hang on and find His will. I shall believe that His promise is real, and that He richly rewards my diligence. During my time of spiritual pregnancy, I will discover His truths that will encourage my faith in Him, and trust that the delivery will come. I choose to believe that my weeping lasts for only a night, and that His joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5b). I choose to forget the former things, and believe in the promise He has for me (Isaiah 43:18-19). I choose to let go of the former things which have defined me, and believe with all my heart that He has something new for me.

God always knows the way that I take, and I will be delivered. He has not closed up the womb. In His refinement, I am remade in Him―molded as He wishes. Victorious over what might have otherwise destroyed me, I will know that He has overcome my world with His peace. Like Job I shall come forth as gold.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

His Word Still Lives

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John 1:1-5, NLT).

Before all else―before creation―before the first breath of life, the Word breathed. God was the Word. The Word was not only with the Creator, the Word was Him. God and the Word were one. He was its author and life―its Truth and its purpose. God's purpose brought forth His creation, and nothing came into being unless it came through His Truth and His Word. His life-giving Truth became substance, and His Creation came into existence. His Word brought life to all that He had created. Into man God breathed His own life and light (Genesis 2:7). His light now shines in the darkness, and darkness can never put it out.

Whatever the state of the world around you―whatever controls it―whatever you face in this life―whatever attempts to strike fear in your heart―His Word still breathes. His Truth still lives through His Word. His light still shines. It can never be extinguished. You are His creation, and Jesus Christ, the light that can never be extinguished, desires to live in you and to breathe life into your existence. If you take Him into your heart and live an humble and surrendered life to Him, He becomes your life. His light shines in you. If you continually seek Him, His Truth will light your path and direct your life. If you allow your heart to stay soft and pliable in His hands, His light will live in you forever―just as His Word will live forever.

His Truth and His Word continually shine in the darkness bringing His light and life to His Creation. No matter what His Creation becomes, His Word still lives and breathes and lights the world. It stands strong and continually reveals the hearts of men. His Word not only reveals the state of the world, but also the state of your own heart. Never allow darkness to put out the beautiful gift of His life that God has breathed into you. Let His light shine in you illuminating, revealing, and promising hope. Jesus Christ, through the gift of His own life, has overcome the world. Nothing can ever overcome He who created everything. His Word still breathes life and offers hope to the hearts of men. Let Him shine through you.

Get That Monkey Off Your Back

    An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. Sensible people...