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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Without Expectation of Return



            “You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35, NLT).
           
            “I love you,” God imparts, “even when you have decided you don't love me. I love you even when you have belittled my grace, and turned away from my love which died for you. I love you even though you cannot forgive. I love you in your sin. I died for that sin which separates you from my love. I died so you might be set free. I gave everything for you to know my love and to share it freelyI gave my life so that you would understand that your love is all about others.”

            “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” Paul writes. “Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10, NIV). Even though Jesus' love was all about me, my love is not! His love is the greatest example of giving my life away. He gave everything for me. My love should be completely about others. My love should honor His sacrifice, and the needs, hurts, and pain of others. His love is not about what I might want or think I need. If I honor His sacrifice and love for me, I give without expecting anything in return.

            Jesus Christ was the son of God, but He did not insist on any rights. He gave up all His rights on Calvary. He put me before Himself. As Bill Snow once said, “Jesus had a non-survivalist attitude.” He lived for others. He did not demand His own way. “Rights are where survivors go,” William Young writes, “so they don't have to work out relationships.” Life is about living out relationships, and Jesus revealed how to love others no matter how they respond in return. Christ's love is all about extending undeserved grace. He did not deserve to die for me, and extend me undeserved grace, but He chose to offer it! He knew that if I chose to honor the gift of His life by giving my own away, I would discover precious truths. In giving myself away, I would receive the joy of sacrifice. In dying to self, I would learn to live victoriously and completely in Him.

            Do I really believe that it is more blessed to give than to receive? Do I put another person first?  Are my desires second? Do I give to another person without expecting anything in return? Does my attitude depend on how another person responds to me? Or is my attitude that of Christ? Even though He had all the power to save Himself, He chose to become a sacrifice for me. One day I will stand before the Lord who gave everything for me. In that one moment the love I gave on earth will face the love of God in its revealing clarity. In that moment, I will know if it was enough.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Now I Will Stand



Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13, NIV).

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

With the armor of God fully in place, I stand strong. When I know His truthwhen I live His righteousnesswhen I am ready at any moment to share His message of sacrificial love and new life in Himwhen I live my faith and believe in Him without waveringwhen my salvation in Him claims and directs every aspect of my lifewhen the knowledge of His Word gives me the power to discern good and evil and to address right and wrong—then am prepared to stand strong. Putting on His armor is living my life completely surrendered to God. When I surrender and stop warring against what He wishes to accomplish in my life, I discover His armor to stand against the enemy who wants to convince me that God does not love me, and I will not make it.

I choose to surrender and put on His armor. I will hold unswervingly to the hope I profess, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23). Against all foes, large or small, I will say that nothing shall make me afraid. I will stand rock-solid with His armor in place. Having surrendered all that I am—having done all that I can—leaning and relying on Him—trusting and believing in Him, I will stand against any enemy in this life. No weapon—no word spoken—no evil plan—no divisive action that comes against me will prosper. It will not injure and it will not take ground. I stand secure in the armor He has wrought.

Today I choose once more to stand strong. Today I choose Him. Today I again overcome.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Choose Freedom from Your Fence


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

“If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you,” Joshua told the Israelites, “then choose for yourselves this day who you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15, NIV). Make a decision, Joshua declares. Choose who you are going to serve–one or the other. Don’t serve who is the most convenient at a certain time. Don’t remain on your fence. Make a choice, but remember with that you either choose life or death.

 “Now choose life,” Moses told the Israelites, “so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” (Deuteronomy 30:19b-20), NIV).

Do you sit on a fence believing one way one day, and another the next? Choose to make the Lord your life. Rid yourself of those other “idols” that pull you the other way. Don’t sit on your fence and serve who is most convenient at the moment? The Holy Spirit offers freedom to choose Him–to choose the life. Let go of the bondage of your fence and rejoice in freedom in Him. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17, NIV).


Thursday, May 26, 2016

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

He knows you intimately–your heart–your character–your capability–your greatest potential. When He directs 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 Him and give Him your best, the result is glorious and rewarding beyond anything you can imagine.

Move forward in faith and follow the path that He has designed. Be strengthened by His power. Keep your eyes on Him. Run your race with perseverance. He began this faith and this work in you. If you continually surrender your heart and your will to Him, He shall perfect His will in you. You are His artist, and He has birthed a masterpiece in you. Open up your heart; listen to Him, and obey Him. Allow Him to complete you
His beautiful and amazing masterpiece.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Promise of His Word


"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:10-11, NIV).


I remember the moment I found these verses in Isaiah. The words on the page suddenly became full of promise for me. They were like a hidden treasure for me to discover, and I was hungry to know more. I longed for them to accomplish His best in my life. As the pain, loss, and troubles of life have hit me fully in the face, God has always reassured me with the promises I have discovered in His Word. Through many years He has continually given me peace through the power they impart.


Two of my favorite verses are Philippians 4:6-7. "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” (NIV). Whatever happens I can trust God to handle my pain. I can trust Him to carry all the worries and problems. But I must release all of it to Him, and allow His peace to work in my heart and mind. I have to learn to surrender everything to Him, and that process means letting go and allowing His strength to become mine. I must face my fears and problems head-on with His strength and believe He will carry me through each ordeal. I must exercise faith trusting that no matter what the outcome, He will provide for my every need.


He is my hope and promise! "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23, NIV). I choose to believe in His promise! “Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame" (Isaiah 50:7, NIV). Unswervingly! With my face set like a flint! This is way I will believe. He will provide the strength to overcome my fears, and face my problems head-on. I decide to believe this, and allow Him to be my strength. It sounds good to read these Scriptures over and over, but I MUST allow them to transform me—until my mind is renewed and they become real in me–until my every thought is taken captive by them. Only then I will know His greatest healing peace.


"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). "The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it" (I Thessalonians 5:24, NIV). I will never give up! I shall believe that He is faithful to take care of whatever I have released to Him. I will believe that when I surrender by spirit, soul, and body to Him, I will receive what He has promised me. He will give me victory over fear, problems, struggles, and I will know peace that the world can never give. It will be His peace that passes all my human understanding. And I will know Him through His Word alive in my heart, and His Spirit alive in me. He will truly be my strength, my victory, my Savior, my peace, my joy, and my life.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Go for the Vision


“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ” (Joshua 1:9, NLT).

With the vision of God's Promised Land just within their grasp the Israelites couldn't muster enough faith to face the giants who lived there. For years they wandered in the desert knowing their promise was just within reach, but they also knew that they would have to overcome obstacles to receive it. It would not be handed to them on a silver platter. They lived in fear of what it would cost.

Does this sound like us? We see our vision and understand God's promise awaits our action, but we just can't make the commitment to reach for it because of the fear of what it will cost us. It might cost money or time or work. But that is not the most important cost. It will cost our complete surrender and it will cost faith. That is the payment that is required. We want the promise, but we don’t want to face the giant of our own fear of what may happen. We don’t want to face possible failure. Our promised land is within reach, but it requires obedience, commitment, and trust in God's faithfulness. Instead of reaching for His promise, we become settled and comfortable where we are.

God told His people then, and He tells us now, to be strong and courageous, to be obedient and committed. Know the Word. Fill your mind and heart with its promise and the strength that it brings to receive His promise. Do not be afraid, and never be discouraged. Reach out and make the commitment that is needed to receive His promise. Disillusionment and discouragement will retreat with commitment to Him. Fear will vanish with action. When we step out of the boat in faith, we will walk on water because He is our “paraclete”—the One who comes along side to keep us from drowning—the One who is with us wherever we go.

Are you sitting on the edge of your vision for your Promised Land? “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1, NLT). Faith gives you the assurance that those giants are nothing when faced with the power of God. Faith is your confidence to move forward in His will for your life believing He brings about His promise. “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).

What is your vision?  What has God promised you?  If you are wandering in a desert of dry bones, it is time to speak life to what God has promised. “God will make this happen,” Paul wrote, “for he who calls you is faithful” (I Thessalonians 5:24, NLT). It is time to move forward trusting that God will supply all that is needed to overcome the obstacles. It is time for your vision to live.

Friday, May 20, 2016

A New Day



"This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24, NLT).


“Another day another dollar” is an old saying which, if said in a discouraging way, speaks of the futile repetition of each day. Does life feel like futile repetition? Does the thought of a new day bring discouragement? Each new day is not meant to discourage, but to inspire and lift you above what has brought despair and clouded your mind. A new day is God's gift to you. He offers you a new perspective and hope. Christ gave His life so you might experience His peace in the midst of suffering and His hope in the midst of despair. Whatever you face His power carries you safely through it. Whatever the world tells you is only what the world tells you. It is not what God tries to impart to your mind and heart. You are not alone. He is with you through each day ahead.


Rise in each new day, and say “He is with me.” Give him a sacrifice of praise that you have been extended His opportunity of another day. Pray. Read His Word. Seek His presence. Lay your heart before Him completely exposed and with nothing held back. Be honest about your feelings and fear of what the day might bring. Give those feelings to Him. Trust Him. This day will be the best when you allow Him to carry you through it. Daily things accomplished in His strength impart greater faith.


Let “another day another hope” be your perspective on this new day. Expect His presence. Expect His help in His Word. Expect His peace which comes as you give Him your heart's struggle. Open your heart and mind. It is His new day, and whatever it brings, you will receive all that you need. Rejoice that He is with you. You have a new day, a new opportunity, and a new hope.



Thursday, May 19, 2016

FREE



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

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

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

    The harder you struggle the stronger His constant knock. The harder you resist the greater your pain. Suddenly the exhaustion of your battle is too much. Suddenly you can no longer bar that door. Suddenly surrender is your only hope. You must let go and believe. You must open the door to His knock. When you let go of all you have tried to handle and open the door, the peace which has waited patiently on the other side of that door is now yours. No more war inside your heart. No more need to have answers. You are free in Him, and free of fear from the hard issues that life has brought. There will always be issues, but you will be free from their ability to control your life. Fear which has defined your life has ended. You realize that God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind (1 Timothy 1:7). Letting go and opening to His knock has brought the peace your heart has struggled so hard to find.

    You are free at last.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

In Whatever Season



“To everything 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 rejoice. One moment you develop 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. 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.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Molded in His Hands


“I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. Then the Lord gave me this message: “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand'” (Jeremiah 18:3-6, NLT).

To be molded by God means I am changed by the Holy Spirit into a vessel that is usable in His hands. He divides my desire from His as a diamond is perfectly cut; He chisels my purpose carefully and repeatedly as a stone is chiseled; He does all of this until my life is pliable as clay. This is not only His work in my life. It is also mine. I yield to what He wishes. I submit to His Word and His will. I let go of what is not right in my heart and in my life. I recognize any selfishness in my motives, actions, or thoughts, and seek God’s help to remove them. So I come to Him, and place myself on His wheel to be shaped into His perfect will.

His divine power has given me everything I need to grow spiritually and have a godly life. I gain this through knowledge of Him in His Word, and through surrender to His will. He has provided precious promises so that I might have more of Him, and less of my sinful self. For this very reason I shall make every effort to add to my faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. I shall strive to add these qualities, and allow Him to continually change my heart's attitude until it is perfected by His grace. I surrender to whatever He wishes to create in me. In my surrender to His power He is able to change how I think, feel, understand, decipher, trust, and love. If faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, affection, and love are increasing in my life, nothing will keep me from being effective and productive in living for Him (2 Peter 1:3-8).

This is a work in my heart and life that needs both His power and my surrender. It is a work that at first can be disheartening. As I surrender to His power and my eyes are open, I see so much more that needs to be done in me. But I determine to persevere and not let what still lies ahead bring discouragement. I will remember that it is His power that brings change. As I grow I learn courage by surrendering my fear; I learn patience by surrendering my control, and I learn perseverance by surrendering my struggle. He is with me, and as this cooperative work in my life is done–through my surrender and His power—His qualities increase. I am molded into a useful tool in His hands. I am formed into whatever He deems best.

Does it hurt to be just clay in His hands–to let go of who I am for who is? Yes it does! When I allow Him to mold me, the pressure He brings to bear hurts. There is no other way to say it. It hurts to give up selfishness and what I want. It hurts to let go of the control that I have selfishly determined was mine. But it is in letting go and letting Him mold me that I discover His joy and His purpose. I discover that what I thought was joy in my own life is nothing compared to the joy I find in His.
 -Lynn Hampton Lacher
Thanks for allowing me to send devotionals to you when possible.  If you wish to be removed from the list, please let me know. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Lead Me

Lead Me

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT).

I trust in you with all my heart, Lord–not with just a little bit that I allow, but with all of it. I surrender all of my heart–all of the struggle to find my own way through life. I surrender the pain of all my own failure to you. I surrender the hurt that has tortured my heart and the thoughts that have claimed my mind. I'm tired of holding on to all that I can't control. I'm tired of insisting on my own way. I'm tired of trying to make happen what I desire. I have nothing left right now. I have nothing left, but you. And you are exactly what I need now that I have been emptied of me.

Come, Lord Jesus. You are my Savior. Reach down and lift me from all that consumes me. My heart submits to you. When I'm drained of all strength, I trust in you. When I am empty with no purpose, I trust in you. When I am lost in a valley of pain and suffering, I trust in you. When my heart feels like it can't take another blow, I trust in you. When I have lost that which I hold most dear, I trust in you. When I am so tired I can’t take another step, I trust in you. When I can't hear you or see you or feel you, I trust in you. When I don't understand why, I trust in you. I surrender all of me to know all of you.

Lead me, Lord. Lead me out of the valley. Whether it be of my own making or not, lead me out. I need you to make my path straight. I need you to show me the way to move forward. My hand is in yours. My heart rests in you. Your heart beats in me. You are my guide in all that lies ahead. You are my joy and my victory. Lead me, and I will follow. Lead me to the Rock that is stronger and so much higher than I.  You are my fortress, Lord God. You are my mighty tower. You are my deliverer.



Friday, May 13, 2016

Dear Lord


“I cry to you for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you” (Psalm 88:13, NIV).

Here I am again this morning—looking to you—praying to you—seeking your Word for my day—desiring my praise to honor you—longing to be yours in every way—hungering for your presence and purpose—longing to be yours spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically—longing to be healed and made whole completely—yearning to be bathed in your love, and wrapped in your protective embrace. In this morning stillness, I look to you for strength and for fulfillment of your promise.

Lord, create the need in me to seek you with intense passion. Empty out all the fear of losing control. Empty out the fear of unknown blessings. Empty out the fear of failure. Empty out the fear of rejection. Empty out the fear of your calling. Empty out the fear of releasing my will to you. I lay down all of myself this morning. Into the empty chambers of my heart, pour your Holy Spirit fire—your breath—your strength—your power. Rain from on high, O Holy Spirit and fill me with your loving baptism. Joy comes, O loving God, when I let go of all of me—when I completely let go of everything my humanness longs for and my fears destroy.   I await your presence. I await your manna. I await your purpose. I await your indwelling. 

Praise to you, Holy God! Praise—glorious praise as your Holy Spirit brings renewal and freedom!  Praise in the highest as your Spirit imparts clarity of vision and understanding.  Praise to the Lord as all the pieces of my calling and my joy fall into perfect place.

Today is my day, dear Lord, to receive. Today is your day to impart. 

In Jesus,

Amen

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Allow Your Heart



“For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17, NLT).

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

(This devotional is taken from the following Scriptures: Matthew 6:33, Proverbs 16:3, Luke 22:42, Luke 1:37, Hebrews 13:8, Zephaniah 3:17, Psalm 62:11, Philippians 4:6-7, Revelation 22:13, Isaiah 41:13, 1 Corinthians 13:9-12, Jeremiah 31:3, Philippians 1:6, 2 Corinthians 3:17.)

Monday, May 9, 2016

I Have Him


“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 have faith in His faithfulness. He will always take care of the concerns of my heart.

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

Friday, May 6, 2016

Try Again


“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. Here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means” (2 Corinthians 8:9-11, NIV).

Have you ever started something and never finished it? Maybe circumstances kept you from reaching your goal. Perhaps you were distracted by other things. Whatever the reason, life happened and you lost your drive to complete what you started. We have all been at that place where we have lost interest or heart to finish a project.

Now what if the work you once started came from a vision that God gave you? It was something that He called you to bring to life. In the beginning you believed in that vision with all your heart and soul. You poured your life into it. You gave your time and your financial support, but you never saw your efforts make a difference. Perhaps you became weary because of constant struggle to attain that vision. You just lost heart.

You were the one to whom God imparted the vision. You were the first to get it started. “Now finish the work” Paul writes, “according to your means.” You can only finish to the best of your ability according to what you have been given. God's will is for His vision to be completed, but you can't make a vision happen–even from all you have done to inspire others to catch it. If you have given the work your very best effort, God will bring it to completion with the support you have around you, or he will give you another means to achieve it. The vision may even take on new dimension. You can become so fixed on something being completed in such a concrete way that any deviation from the way you originally grasped it becomes difficult to believe. The vision God has given you is fluid in His timing and purpose, and ever becoming His will. It is His promise for the work to be completed. Trust His purpose and never box Him in with just one way for it to be accomplished.

You are rich because of the sacrifice of Jesus!  He has made you rich in His purpose. He is your reason for living, and He has called you. Allow God to stir the vision again. Allow yourself to believe in it once more. Trust Him, and allow Him to direct. Give what you can, and trust Him to complete what only He can finish. “God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful” (I Thessalonians 5:24, NLT).

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Pray and Live His Word



“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, NIV).

Do you have a stronghold in your life? A stronghold is a lie that comes against God's truth. It is an argument which may at first appear as truth, but when it holds you in its strangling grasp, you are bound to its lie. You are unable to make your mind focus on God's truth, and His promises for your life. You yearn to experience freedom from that stronghold's strangling grip, but your mind is bound up in what the enemy wants you to perceive and ultimately believe. Instead of experiencing God's love and what He wishes to impart to your mind and heart, you are held fast by your stronghold. You are held captive by its lie.

We are instructed in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 to take every thought captive. Your weapons to tear down your stronghold are found in God's Word. Your weapons have divine power. Their purpose is to take your thoughts captive by God's truth. If you don't want your mind to be held captive by your stronghold, then your mind needs to be captivated by the Word of God. You overcome a lie with truth. Whether your stronghold is an addiction or unforgiveness or feelings of rejection or fear or whatever stronghold binds you, freedom from its bondage is found in the God's truth.  His truth is His Word, and praying His Word—praying His truth—will destroy strongholds in your life.

If you don't know what to even call your stronghold and where to find Scripture to battle it, I suggest Beth Moore's book, “Praying God's Word.” It can help you identify what holds your mind and heart in bondage. But it is not her book that sets you free. It is just a tool that reveals the power in Scripture, and there are other tools like “The Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyer. My Sunday school class begins “Fervent” this week by Priscilla Shirer.  She offers a battle plan for strategic prayer to fight against the enemy’s lies. None of these books have the power to set you free from your bondage, but they offer tools to strategically use the power of His Word to its greatest advantage.

Take hold of the lies that rule your life and learn to pray His Word. Live His truth. Come against your stronghold. Be captivated by God's truth. Be captivated by its power. You are an over-comer because of it. Only God has the power to defeat the stronghold that has captivated you. Find freedom and experience His joy.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Catch 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!

-Lynn Hampton Lacher
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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...