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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Peace



“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 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 you are safe in His grace. 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 find out that you can't. Letting go of your struggle to control what you can't 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 what can't be seen—the constant and abiding truth that He will take care of you. 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 with 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 option. It is your only hope. You must let go and believe. When you open the door and let go of all you have tried to handle alone, His 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 know any 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 has brought the peace your heart has struggled so hard to find.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Be Still and Know


 
“Rest and know that I am God,” He speaks to my whirling mind. “Be still and at peace knowing that you are held completely safe in my hand” (Psalm 46:10).
 
If I will be still, and dwell upon Him instead of my problem or worry, I will be filled with His faithful presence instead of consumed with fear or with something I cannot handle (Isaiah 26:3). In my worrisome state, I am constantly filled with a fear that causes one of two things. That fear will either drive me to self-destructing despair where I retreat from life, or it will cause me to try to change circumstances or myself without letting God direct me or heal me. I try to fix circumstances within my own strength, and heal myself without completely surrendering to Him.  And that never works. The peace for which I desperately yearn is out of my grasp because I try to make happen what I perceive I need.
 
“My hand is not shortened that it cannot save” He reminds me again (Isaiah 59:1). My attempts to save myself are useless. In fact, they get in the way of His ability to help me. Without surrender to His saving hand, I will sink into the depths of my own despair. My rescuer is with me so why do I fight His attempts to pull me safely to shore? What I perceive to be my safety has become my own destruction.  This boat of my own making is sinking, and I will sink with it if I do not grasp His hand and allow Him to pull me out of it.
 
Often the struggles of life overwhelm my heart and I feel like the psalmist who wrote "all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.” (Psalm 42:7). But the same psalmist also wrote, “He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings."(Psalm 40:2). Consider the wonder of that truth! He is my safety for He rescues me from the pit. He is my security because He sets my feet upon His rock‒solid foundation. He is my guide in all things because He directs the way that I go.
 
This is a beautiful picture of what He wishes to do in me—to save me from that which destroys my heart and to impart trust in His faithfulness. Allowing Him to guide me is the proof that I have grown and trusted in Him. I will allow Him to direct my steps. I will not question. I will trust, and give all my worries and fears to Him. I will be still and rest in Him—knowing that He alone is my deliverer and my peace (Philippians 4:6-7).

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A New Attitude


The way you think determines how you feel. You can have a positive attitude that gives you an optimistic outlook 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 seek for something to be wrong, but if you are a positive person you find something positive in your circumstances. 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).
 
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. When your mind is focused on Him, and not where your runaway thoughts might lead you, you rest in His peace (Isaiah 26:3).
 
There is no way you can control or determine circumstances, but you can learn to control what happens in your mind as a result. When you work 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 get rid of that negative attitude. You learn to rethink who you are! When your mind is transformed by His Spirit, everything becomes new and possibilities are endless.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Hold On


 
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (James 1:2-4, NLT).   

            Do you struggle to hold on and just want to quit? Don’t give up! The testing of your faith produces great joy. It also develops perseverance. These verses say that if you allow perseverance to work in your life you will be “perfect and complete” and not lack anything you need to face hard times. That is a powerful thought. There is a work going on inside you, and it can only be completed through commitment and perseverance. Spiritual growth discovered through perseverance during times of hardship has the power to create a joy that nothing can shake. When you have fought to learn His lesson and have won, there is no joy like the joy of victory. Patient endurance is what you need, and if you press on to do His will, then you will receive what He has promised (Hebrews 10:36).
 
            The Lord’s will is for greater faith to spring up in the midst of suffering. It is your decision whether the lesson is learned.  The Lord uses trials and suffering to inspire spiritual growth. “These have come,” Peter imparts, “so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (I Peter 1:7, NIV). The testing of your faith is meant to give you the ability to persevere.  It is your decision whether you allow His refining fire to purify and strengthen your life.
 
            “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face,” Paul writes. “All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it” (1 Corinthians 10:13, MSG). God knows your limit and will never allow more than you can handle. His grace is more than sufficient, and He will provide the strength to stand. You can either stay adrift in fear, or you can allow God to anchor you in His truth. Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you can’t see (Hebrews 11:1). It comes by hearing and knowing and understanding the Word of God (Romans 10:17). With the Word anchored in your spirit, you press on through the hardship of life in order to believe in that which you can’t touch or see.
 
            “Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31, NLT). You can soar above the trials of life. You can run and not be weary. Hold on. Don’t quit. Allow perseverance to complete its work so that you will be mature and not lacking anything in your spiritual life (James 1:4). Joy then becomes something not built on circumstances, but on a faith that has been perfected through the fires of life, and forged to be strong and lasting.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Enough



When I am weak, He is strong. When I am exhausted, He is my power to carry on. When I am overwhelmed, He is peace to calm my mind. When a voice inside my head cries, “you must get it right and be perfect,” He sees my potential instead of my failure. When I grieve the one that is slowly fading from my sight, He carries me through the pain of loss. When I ache for one more chance to not make the same mistake, He grants my request. Each time that He says, “My grace is all you need,” I lean more on Him. Each time that He says, “My power works best in weakness”, I rejoice that in my weakness His power is revealed—changing and shaping my life (2 Corinthians 12:9). It is when I know that I can’t that I realize He is enough.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Not About Me



“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:2-4, NIV).

Is my life one of promise? Do I offer hope? Do I encourage others when they are unable to encourage themselves? Am I sensitive to someone's pain, or do I unconsciously throw fuel on the fire of their pain by casual words that have not been inspired by God? Do I put the needs of others before my own or do I find a way to “just do enough”? In my words or actions, I speak either encouragement or defeat to another person. I speak life or death to another heart.

As much as each one of us might like it to be, His life in us is not about what we want or how we might prosper. It is all about what He desires for us to sacrificially become for the sake of someone else. His desire is for me to love others as He loves me‒to tenderly and compassionately give my life away expecting nothing in return. Freely He gave. Freely I should give. He desires for me to encourage and speak life where there has been death, and to bless those who are down-trodden and hurting with the healing presence of Jesus Christ.

What is my life? I pray that He makes my life one that is not about me. I pray that I always see with His eyes, hear with His ears, and understand with His Spirit in order to help someone else realize their potential in Him. I pray that I put another life before my own. I pray that I always love and encourage with His grace and truth. I pray that I never let go of believing in His promise for someone else. I pray that my life becomes broken and spilled out as He was broken and spilled out for me. I want no masks that veil my heart. Revival of heart never holds back. It is always seen in loving action. May I bring Him joy by encouraging with the love and grace He has brought to me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Greater Faith



“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17, NIV).

Faith is found through “hearing” the Word of God spiritually. Faith grows in my life through studying the Word and applying it in every moment. The Word covers all situations that arise, and clarifies each decision that I need to make. Without faith arising from hearing and applying His Word, I will falter in my walk. Without it filling and empowering my life, I will ultimately fail.

I pray daily to spiritually “hear” and understand what He imparts through His Word. He is trustworthy, and I must be “faith-worthy” to read His book, and seek His purpose. Faith is the greatest requirement to see His hand move. To have greater faith I need to pray and have that close communion with Him. In that time with Him I learn that I can truly trust Him in every moment and every struggle. I learn that because I trust Him my faith brings forth His work in my life. I can step out in faith knowing that He will provide all that is needed.

Faith is my weapon to overcome all that might come against me in this life. It is power to accomplish His will, and in doing so, learn that He is constant and trustworthy. "Faith without works is dead," James writes. I must reach out in His name to fuel my faith. As I step out in faith, I realize my helplessness, and I turn to Him for power to accomplish what I cannot. When He is my strength, I receive greater faith to believe, and my faith will grow.

Faith is His gift to me. My work for Him is my gift to Him. I know that once I have done His will, I will receive His promise (Hebrews 10:35-36). Greater faith believes without question, and the promise becomes real in my mind and my heart. My faith is greatest when I remain in His Word.

-Lynn Hampton Lacher


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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

My Life for His Sake


If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it” (Mark 8:35, NLT).

More than half a century ago a young missionary was killed in Ecuador by Acua Indians. His wife, Elisabeth Elliot, wrote years later in “Discipline the Glad Surrender” about her husband’s passionate love for God. “Discipline is the wholehearted yes to the call of God. When I know myself called, summoned, addressed, taken possession of, known, acted upon, I have heard the Master. I put myself gladly, fully, and forever at His disposal, and to whatever He says my answer is yes.” When God’s incredible mercy and grace have brought new life, then giving myself away for His sake should be as natural as breathing. Jesus calls for me to know Him as He has always known me. He yearns for me to place myself completely into His hands, and trust Him with the unknown of what is to come.

“In a deeper sense that any other species of earthbound creature,” Elisabeth Elliot continued, “I am called. And in a deeper sense I am free; for I can ignore the call. I can say no call came. I can deny that God called or even that God exists. What a gift of amazing grace—that the One who made me allows me to deny His existence. ” When I say “yes” to God, then I am no longer my own. I have realized the cost of my obedience, and have agreed to give whatever is necessary. 

“Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it” (Mark 8:35, NIV). The news is filled with those who have lost their lives for refusing to deny Christ. Not only have some given their physical lives, but others have lost friends and family. “You will be hated” Jesus taught, “because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13). Do the examples of men and women who have given all for Jesus Christ inspire us to do the same?  Jesus calls each one of us to leave all our personal desires behind, to take up His cross and follow Him.  It is a call to absolute surrender of body, mind and spirit. It is a call to the deepest discipleship–to the greatest commitment. It is also the promise of the greatest reward for those who endure.

Have I counted the cost of surrender, and placed myself completely in His Hands? Is my love for Christ greater than my love for anything or anyone else?  This call to obedience does not attract many, but for the one who does surrender and follow Him, the result of such a decision is guaranteed. If I will lose my life for Him, I will discover the infinite spiritual depth in my own soul (Matthew 16:24-25). God gives us the freedom to choose—to choose either the shallowness of personal desires or the reality of His fulfillment. When you trade your life for His life, you discover your true identity. Having searched all your life for fulfillment, you find the pearl of greatest price, and you give your very life in order to possess it (Mathew 13: 45-46). “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me” (Psalm 42:7, NIV). The unfathomable depth of the Spirit of God calls out to that which we do not yet know ourselves to be. Do I hear?  Do you? Do we accept? Are we willing?

Monday, July 18, 2016

His Strength



“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31, NKJV).

What an incredible verse! What an encouraging promise! If I wait on the Lord, He will renew my strength. When I am tired and weary, I discover great hope in this promise. I get into all kinds of trouble when I attempt to hurry ahead of Him, and try to move mountains on my own. Nothing lasting can be accomplished in my own strength. In fact I can make a real mess of a situation if I don't wait on Him. His timing is perfect. Mine isn't. His thoughts and ways are perfect. Mine aren't. Waiting on the Lord is necessary for my spiritual growth. Patience is a quality that only He can cultivate when I surrender my will.

Anytime I run ahead of the Lord, I create a mess. Anytime I trust my own strength, I discover and even create problems that would have never happened if I had waited on God. However, when I seek the Lord for His strength and His guidance, I receive His power to either move or to wait or to receive. Instead of trying to mold my own life by not relinquishing control, I become an instrument of His purpose to be shaped by His Hand.

I need to spend time daily with the Lord praying, studying the Word, and listening for His voice to speak to my heart. No more do I wish to run ahead of Him. If I will continually seek Him and listen, I will know He walks by my side directing and steering my life. Whether I move or wait on Him, it will be in His strength. What He directs I will do with all my heart, and where He leads I will follow. There is peace in letting Him have control.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Give Compassion



“You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate” (Luke 6:36, NLT)

            I have only this one life. The moment will come when it is too late to do anything about what I have needed to do. Nothing will bring the opportunity again. It came only once. Now, while I have the chance, I will love with His love, and then all things are possible. Even the most difficult thing becomes easier when offered with His love. Nothing is impossible when I have experienced the compassion of Jesus Christ.

            Who do I have an opportunity to love with His love, and have hesitated? Is it someone who has hurt or offended me? I can't love with His love if I can't forgive.  Perhaps I don't even call it unforgiveness. Perhaps I call it hurt or rejection. If it eats me up, I haven't forgiven. The pain has become my obsession instead of God. It is only in Him that I experience perfect peace. I choose to let it go, and let God heal my heart.

            Nothing is too difficult in Him. If I want to be His hands and His feet, then I must seek His heart and His mind. And in truly seeking, and truly surrendering, the hardness of a hurting heart will dissolve into pliable flesh in His hands. An opportunity will come that will not come again. I will make the most of what I am offered. Life is short, but His Spirit is so willing. In surrender and in the giving myself away, I will receive more than I ever thought possible.

            “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” (Luke 6:38, NLT). Be compassionate as He has been compassionate to you. It will return to you in full with even greater opportunity to give again.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Unintentional Mistakes


 
“If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you” (Psalm 130:3-4, NIV).

In my own imperfect Christian life I have discovered that I make unintentional mistakes. To some an unintentional mistake might not appear large. However, I know the life of someone might be affected by what I have done. I ask for forgiveness and pray for whoever might be hurt as a result. If I allowed it, the enemy could tear me apart over something like that. He could throw a guilt trip that could keep me from serving the Lord. Once you ask for forgiveness, don't remain burdened by feelings of guilt. Allow the Lord to show what you need to do, and what you don't need to do. If you have truly turned it over to Him, He will guide you perfectly in how to handle your unintentional mistake.

I have made unintentional mistakes where the intention of my heart was actually to help or encourage someone else. I have stepped into situations where I have been unaware of other dynamics taking place. In my ignorance, I have fallen short of what God has intended. My failure has not been in lack of caring. It has been in not allowing the Holy Spirit to guide me. Now this is where I must really look at the state of my heart. Am I more concerned about how someone I might have unintentionally hurt feels about me or am I more concerned about how my mistake hurts them? The focus must never be on me. If I am concerned about the appearance of being “perfect” all the time, the focus is on me. That is wrong! But if I realize that in my own imperfection, He alone perfects me, then I am free to honestly admit my mistake. I don't want another person to suffer or hurt in their Christian walk because of it. I am willing to admit what I have done and ask for forgiveness. In receiving God's forgiveness, I discover freedom from condemnation the enemy brings to bear for a mistake that was never meant to happen.

Perhaps you have found yourself in such a situation. If you discover you have made an unintentional mistake, there is no condemnation in Jesus Christ. You are more than a conqueror in Him. Beth Moore puts it like this in “Praying God's Word”. “He who is unconvinced of God's love is unconvinced he is more than a conqueror.” In all that happens in your life, intentional or unintentional, you are more than a conqueror through Him who loved you and gave His life for you (Romans 8:37). There is forgiveness, and there is victory.

If we can repent and be forgiven for an intentional wrong, then we are also forgiven for our unintentional ones. With His forgiveness and in reverence, we can rise up and serve Himagain and again.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Heart Change is Life Changing



Jesus once told his disciples the reason he spoke in parables. “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand” (Matthew 13:13, NIV). Then Jesus compared his disciples to the multitude with deaf ears. “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it” (Matthew 13: 16-17, NIV)

Do you also want to hear this spoken to you?  The Holy Spirit seeks the whole earth for those whose heart totally belong to Him—for those who yearn to constantly grow spiritually. To such a person God gives His strength which empowers personal change. Those who constantly experience the renewing power of the Holy Spirit know the wonder of His grace over and over.  They seek for God to reveal where they need to change, and then easily repent. They see, hear, and understand the Holy Spirit's urging and direction. When David’s sin with Bathsheba was brought to his attention by Nathan, David hit the ground in repentance. David experienced God’s immediate forgiveness because of his repentant heart. If his heart had been calloused, he never would have realized at what point the Holy Spirit had left him. But David repented, turned from his sin, and put on a new life.

“You were taught,” Paul wrote,” with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4: 23-23, NIV). We are created to be holy as God is holy (I Peter 1:15), but we cannot be like Him until our attitudes and desires are what He wishes. When we constantly open ourselves to His conviction and direction, we put off the old and put on the new. This is spiritual growth. To be made new in the way we think and act, we need a heart change. When our hearts and minds are constantly renewed, we have the ability to put off the old and put on the new. God is holy, and He looks for holiness of heart in each one of us. Holiness of heart is one day discovered as the result of daily surrender to His grace and decisions to live righteously. This yielded walk with Him continually draws us closer and closer to His heart. If we submit to the renewing change and conviction of the Holy Spirit now on earth, one day we will no longer seek to lead a holy life. We shall see Him face to face and will know Him fully as He has always known us. (I Corinthians 13:12).

Holiness comes as a result of a repentant and rejuvenated heart. It is not the result of living up to a legalistic-type rule. True repentance which inspires heart change comes from experiencing the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. A holy life is not measured in personal outward change as the Pharisees instructed. It is revealed in the change of our heart. Spiritual growth calls for vulnerability to a Holy God and the transforming power of His Word. But His holiness does not “see, hear, and look” for the outward like Jesus' multitude with deaf ears. His holiness “sees, hears, and looks” with the spiritual heart of His life-altering presence.

Jesus makes this heart change personal! “I will give you a clean heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36: 26, NIV). Where once my heart was as hard and unyielding as stone now he promises it shall beat with the pulsating blood of His living sacrifice. Where once calloused inner pain held God’s change in my life at bay, I shall now be energized by His living presence. A new heart and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit fills me with the desire to keep His laws and commandments–not because they are rules to be followed, but because I love Him above all else. His law shall be my delight, and in every way He shall be my God and I shall belong only to Him (Ezekiel 26: 27-28). I shall put off the old and put on the new every day because my beats for Him.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Nothing



“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” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).

There is a peace that passes all human understanding. It is Christ's peace, and no other man has the power to take it from me. No person can wreck that spiritual calm I know in His presence. I can destroy His peace in my life when I allow life's worries to plague my mind. I am the one who gives welcome to fear. Often, with little thought of consequence, I open my mind and spirit to the terror of the enemy’s lies.

Today I decide to allow nothing to disturb the calm I have in Jesus Christ. I must stop all distractions and seek Him until His peace once more settles my mind and troubled spirit. I will not allow those whom I have previously given power to rob me of my peace now disturb my peace of mind and calm of heart. Each problem I face will be an instruction in the way to discover and keep His peace. Each interruption—each struggle—each situation trains me in the way I should go. Every earthly problem I encounter has the power to teach me the enduring promise of His peace. The promise awaits my letting go and letting God have control. When His peace is finally mine, nothing shall disturb my rest in Him. Nothing shall break the peace I have found in His love. Nothing.

Anchored Safely



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).

Just getting through 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 believewhen he cries out for wisdom, he receives generously from the Lord. Feelings of “but what if” are replaced by the determination of “no matter what I will trust Him”. His emotions have been brought under control of the Holy Spirit. In his cry for wisdom, he has surrendered his fears to Jesus Christ and has received greater faith to believe that God will guide him safely through troubled waters.

I want to always be single-minded, and never doubt God to supply His wisdom to handle every 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 you tired of waves buffeting you and sending your mind in all directions? He is your guide and your anchor through the storms of life. Begin the process of bringing your thoughts under the control of Christ by making a mental decision to believe in His faithfulness. Fight “but what if” thoughts, and reach to believe in “no matter what I will trust Him”. He will grant greater faith to anchor your faith, and His wisdom to continually guide you into safe harbor. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Cry Out To Him



The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles” (Psalm 34:15,17, (NIV).

Although I try to live a life that is worthy of Christ's sacrifice, sometimes I fail. It is in my failure that I realize how little I am without Him. Immediately I run to Him. and know His forgiveness the minute that I ask. I know His redeeming love the moment I cry out.

No one is perfect. But I am called to live a righteous life. It is forever a journey and a commitment. It is forever a sacrifice of my personal feelings to the Savior who sacrificed His life for me. Will I ever be completely righteous? In His eyes, I can be. In my own, I can never be. Whatever lies before me, I surrender all that I can never be for all I can be in Him.

His constant presence always waits for my prayer. He watches closely to see my need, and hear my cry for help. He rescues me from my trouble in the way He has chosen to rescue me‒not the way that I decide is best to be rescued. Sometimes I don't understand His choice of rescue, but I know it is for my best. When I cry out He either delivers me from trouble or He gives me the strength to overcome what I face. Although it might not seem true at the time, His powerful strength to overcome what I face is also a great deliverance. 

But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold” (Job 23:10, NLT). God knows my path. He listens and watches, but He more than listens and watches. He is involved in my life molding me. He tests me. He grows me. He refines me as gold. The Lord changes me until righteousness is my life's anchor, and His constant reward. I am delivered from all that comes against me, because He is greater in me than anything that might try to destroy me.


Risk to Believe



In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. 'Lord,' he said, 'if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.' Jesus reached out and touched him. 'I am willing,' he said. 'Be healed!' And instantly the leprosy disappeared” (Luke 5:12-13, NLT).



Disfigured, dressed in tattered rags, his face hidden by rags, a man watches Jesus. His body is covered with leprosy. Risking being stoned to death, the leper rushes to Jesus, and falls down with his face in the dirt at his feet. Without raising his head he entreats, “Lord, if you are willing you can heal me and make me clean.” This leper knows that to get within six feet of someone who is clean means that he risks death. Both His determination to come to Jesus and his statement “if you are willing” reveal remarkable faith.



There isn’t a question in the leper’s mind if Jesus can heal, but if he is willing. In the leper’s sudden approach, Jesus recognizes the man’s willingness to risk death in order to be healed. Jesus touches this man whom the law has decreed to be unclean. “I am willing,” Jesus proclaims, and heals him. Skin once ravaged by lesions, now suddenly appears clear and unblemished.




This man has risked death in order to receive healing, and his determination has overcome any fear that would keep him from his reward. Not only his determination has made him rush to Jesus, but His faith has also spoken, “if you are willing you can make me clean.” This leper has faith enough to believe, and faith enough to risk everything in order to receive. He is willing to risk stoning or death even if healing is not in Jesus' will.



Do you have this kind of faith? If you step out in faith, it is a risk that guarantees greater faith. It is a risk that rushes to the Savior knowing He has the power to heal–the power to supply your need, but knowing that the decision to heal or to grant your petition is not yours to make. Just as the leper you are willing to risk all for something that you might or might not receive. The leper risked everything; he persevered, and received. You also need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised (Hebrews 10:36). In your risk and determination, and in His will, your promise is received.



Are you willing to risk? To step out in faith? You will discover, just as the leper, that Jesus honors your risk. He knows the cost. You rush forward to Him, and He declares you clean. You move forward to ask, and He honors your faith. There's no more ugliness and scar of sin. There is nothing that keeps you from the Savior who gives you new life. You have risked death in order to receive life. He lifts you up to receive greater faith, and all the promise that your surrender has secured.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Thirst No More


Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14, NIV).

There was a time in my life when I didn't have joy. I felt unfulfilled and longed to know my life had a purpose. I had an emptiness that no amount of activity or worldly pleasure could satisfy. Oh, I would feel fulfilled for a while with an activity or a possession that would bring happiness. But the activity didn't bring fulfillment to a longing in my spirit that was meant to be filled with only God. The possession didn't last long, and the newness of it finally dulled. My unfulfilled purpose eventually lost my interest, and my joy faded. The pleasure of this world dulled. At the moment when nothing else brought satisfaction, Jesus Christ spoke to my thirsty soul that He had something that would give my life joy and purpose. He had something that would bring fulfillment to a life of constant searching and never finding. He offered me living water.

“If you drink of the water that I provide,” He spoke to my emptiness, “You will never be thirsty again. My water not only soothes your shattered spirit, but it heals you completely because it is living water.” He promised that if I took Him into my heart I would never feel empty or thirsty again. I would have a purpose that was always fulfilled. I would have a joy that would never fade. I would have a meaning to my life that nothing in this world could match. I would know Him, and He would be enough. "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness," He whispered, "they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6). My hunger and thirst would be filled if I thirsted for Him instead of the things that would never bring fulfillment.

"Oh Lord," I cried, "just as a deer pants for streams of water, my soul pants for you. My soul thirsts only for you” (Psalm 42:1). He came and satisfied my longing thirst. My life has purpose and meaning. My life has joy and a passion that is new and fresh each morning when I awake. My thirst has been satisfied with His living water. This is a thirst that shall always be filled. It shall always be satisfied. I will never let go of Christ who saved and rescued me from my own pursuits that had no meaning. He has brought not only fulfilling passion to my life. He brings His promise of never-ending unconditional love—His joy that the world can't give—His peace that is more than whatever the world can manufacture—His patience that is longer than any I might offer. He brings the promise of kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control into my life. If I daily live in Him, He will live in me. And I will be complete—thirsting no more for the things that only destroy who I was created to be.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Not My Own



"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you" (Romans 12:1-2, MSG).


I place my life before God today and surrender myself as His offering. I fix all my attention on Him. As this day unfolds, I embrace all He has for me. I face this day with the anticipation of His guidance, and also with the promise of His strength for what lies ahead. All I want is for Him to mold me and change me from the inside out. I want to be renewed in my heart and mind, and open to all He wishes to pour into my life. Like a sponge I want to absorb Him so that I might grow spiritually in my understanding of His grace.



Without spiritual maturity my life will have no emotional and mental stability. I will be like a ship on the sea with no anchor to hold it securely. Subject to every circumstance that arises, I will be tossed in the storms of life with no lasting peace. My mind will be so self-absorbed I will have no purpose but worry and fear. My ears will be attuned to the accuser's voice instead of the convicting and encouraging voice of God.  However, if I learn God's moral truth and apply it instead of allowing “self” to rule my life—if I focus on Him instead of any circumstance and seek to be stronger as a result—if I choose to allow Him to mold my attitudes and purpose, I will be changed from the inside out. He will rescue me from the drowning waters of my own making, and set me on His rock-solid foundation of truth. I will recognize the lesson He teaches, and respond to it without hesitation. His peace will anchor me safely through the storms that always come. His joy will spring up like a fountain always offering a fresh perspective. His strength and power will always be there to rise above any circumstance or temptation. I will not be pulled back down to a level of immaturity that will ultimately destroy the life I have found in Him.


He is the potter, and I am His clay to shape as He wishes. He is the searing heat in the kiln of life which fires me to His completion. If I allow Him to be Lord of my life, He will bring out the best in me. I place my life in His hands to be created and transformed to His desired vessel. I am not my own. I am His.

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...