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Monday, October 31, 2016

His Light in Me


You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:14-16, NLT).

Some days it is difficult to feel like I can be His light in this world. Jesus is the light in my heart, but at times life dulls His brilliance. Circumstances hit hard, but I am still called to shine for Him. Pain grips me, but I must allow Him to radiate through my life. When I allow Him to shine through my life in the midst of my own problems and pain, He speaks encouragement not only to someone else, but to me. As I allow Him to work in me and through me, He bestows peace. When I allow Him to shine instead of being consumed with issues over which I have no control, His promise of healing peace is not only for me to experience, but for those in my world to see and realize the difference He makes.

Just as a town built on a hill is there for all to see, so should the light of Jesus be in my life. It is important for me to constantly realize the responsibility of the calling to be His light. His light reveals all that is hidden. Nothing escapes it. His light causes me to face not only what needs to be changed in my own life, but in allowing Him to change me, it gives me a desire to share what He has done. I yearn to share my life so He might make a difference in the lives of those in my world. If His Spirit is alive in me, there will be freedom for His light to shine no matter what each day brings (2 Corinthians 3:17). 

I pray to always let His light change me and shine through me. I pray that in the midst of my struggles that I will never hide His light, but will allow Him to carry me through those struggles and direct me in the way I should handle them. My greatest desire is that others will see the Lord living through me, and that, in experiencing His light, they will glorify Him by passing it on. He is the life, the truth, and the way. He is the only Savior—the only Healer. He deserves all the praise and all the glory. Without His light in me, I would have no life.

   Lynn Hampton Lacher
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Friday, October 28, 2016

Choose to Win



“If you get tired racing against men, how can you race against horses? You stumble in a country that is safe. What will you do in the thick thorn bushes along the Jordan River?” (Jeremiah 12:5, ICB).

If what you face right now wearies you, how will you stand when something harder comes?  If you falter without strength today, how will you manage in tomorrow’s barrage?  Life always offers a harder issue—a harder trial. The testing of your faith has the ability to produce greater faith and strength. This comes through perseverance. 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 (James 1:2-4). That is a powerful thought. There is a work going on inside you, and it can only be completed through commitment and perseverance. 

The Lord’s will is for greater faith to spring up in the midst of your hardship. 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. Allow perseverance to complete its work so that you will be mature and not lacking anything in your spiritual life. 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 lasting and strong.

Spiritual growth discovered during times of hardship has the power to create His peace and joy that nothing can shake. Don’t allow what you face today to defeat you tomorrow. If you stumble now then how will you contend with the thorn bushes that are ahead? Hang on. Choose to win. When you have fought to learn His lesson and have won, there is no joy like the joy of victory. 

  Lynn Hampton Lacher

  

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Power from the Vine


“A branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me” (John 15: 4b, NLT).

What is power in my life? Power is simply God flowing through me. No matter how weak or how unaccomplished I might be, when I allow God to work through me, then what I do will be powerful. I need to remember this during days when I seem to slide back two steps after climbing one. No day is a failure when I have given it to God. His use of my surrendered day may not be apparent, but it is real. If I dwell in Him, and He dwells in me, then I will bear fruit. The fruit is not mine to bear. He is the vine. I am the branch which carries the life of the vine to the fruit. For the life of the vine to flow through me, I must surrender all that I am to Him. If I remain in Him, and desire only His will and His work, His Spirit will not fail to flow through my life into the lives of others.

Do I long for His power, or is it blocked? The only block that can hold His power from flowing through my life is “self”. If this is the case, then my longing for Him must not be enough. Do I hunger for His power enough to let go of all that I am, all that I want, all that I have decided?  Do I not realize that when I hold on to the least vestige of myself I have told the Lord that I am the vine? That is pride. Now think of Peter telling the Lord he was not worthy to have his feet washed. What appeared as humility in Peter was really pride. Peter was trying to hold onto the last vestige of himself by saying he was not worthy, and the Lord was asking for His surrender. Pride. Self. Unworthiness. All are excuses to my absolute surrender.

Do I yearn for others to be impacted by His love and power flowing through me? If I remain in Him and surrender all of myself to His calling, then the abundant life-power of the vine will flow through me—unleashed, unhindered, and free to change lives. I will be a channel of all that He is coursing through all that I am not. Others will receive that which I cannot impart and will experience His power which I cannot create. Holding on to the vine at all cost, I will know in my weakness what it means to be strong in His power. The vine will be my life.
   Lynn Hampton Lacher

   

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Unseen

Unseen

“We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV).

Things we have around us do not last. The car, the iPhone, the computer, the flat-screen television, that new appliance, the new thing we just had to have—they are all fleeting. They are for a moment in time, but sometimes we make them the most important elements of our lives. If God has allowed them in our lives, they are His gifts to either abuse or appreciate. We abuse them when we make them the most important aspect of our lives. They are appreciated as God wishes when we love Him more, and we realize that we can absolutely live without them if He that is what He wishes.

We get so wrapped up in what we believe is ours. But all things belong to Him—even our relationships. When something doesn't work right, we frantically try to fix it. The Holy Spirit doesn’t want us to be frantically controlled by anything—whether a possession or a relationship. We can’t fix either one. He wants us to be free to enjoy the gifts He has given us. If the possession doesn’t “control” us, He gives us the wisdom to fix the problem without frustration.  If we realize that a problem in a relationships is not ours to solve, then we see that friendship as the gift He has given. Whether a possession or a friend, each belongs to Him, and not to us. If either one controls us, we have frustration and unrest. If He controls us, we have His peace. 

As humans we have a tendency to focus on what we see, and not what can't be seen. However, the Word tells us that if we fix our minds on Him, we can have His perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). And He is the unseen. We can't see Him, but we know Him because He is in us. What we have on earth, either a possession or a relationship, is for a moment in time. I will appreciate each as God's gift realizing that He alone can fix what I can’t make right. I will do my best to take care of what He has entrusted to me, but I will do it with His guidance and power. He shall always be my greatest love, and the things he has given me to love on this earth will always be His gifts.

He has given me His greatest possession—an intimate relationship that transcends time. That greatest gift is His love, and it lives forever. It has brought me from spiritual death to eternal victory. I will treat His love with the tenderness and the greatest respect it so rightly deserves. I will hold fast to Him because He started His work in me, and, if I continually surrender my life to Him, He will complete it (Hebrews 12:2). Now I have the “unseen” of the Holy Spirit who brings purpose and peace to my life. I will always fix my vision on Him, and never allow the things of this earth to hold me back from His peace and the fulfillment His purpose brings. He owns my heart—not anyone or anything. The One I can’t see holds me securely in His loving grasp.
  Lynn Hampton Lacher
   

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I Give Thanks


“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:18, NIV).

Everything changed in the instant you came into my heart. I was no longer alone. I was no longer bound in the lies of my past, but redeemed with the truth of your grace. In that moment I knew your love. I was forgiven no matter what I had done or been. You looked past all that I had ever known and claimed me as your own. Now I am at peace no matter what happens. You carry me safely through circumstances that try to destroy me. Your Word tells me to give thanks in all circumstances because that is your will for me. Those hard circumstances attempt to tear at the faith you have imparted. They try to make me question your love for me. But you know that their real purpose is to give strength and teach praise. Your will for me is to always give thanks no matter what comes in my life. You desire praise to constantly claim my heart. You desire my praise to always rise no matter what happens. In the praise I find you. You walk with me each day, but more incredibly and wonderfully you live inside me. It is your heart that lives in me, and it is your forgiveness that flows. I have none of my own. You make all the difference. You make my life complete, and for that I cannot give you enough thanks. You are my life, and my Savior. I love you, Jesus, for loving me beyond measurebeyond anything my limited mind can imagine. You just are, and in your constant promise, I am fulfilled. I give thanks.

-Lynn Hampton Lacher


Monday, October 24, 2016

Give Once More


“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 perfect 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 the very best, God will do one of two things. He will bring it to completion with the support you have around you, or he will give you another means to achieve it. It is His promise for the work to be completed.

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. 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, October 20, 2016

Abide in Him



 “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (John 15:4, NIV).

 “Abide in me, and I in you,” the King James Version reads. Abide. Remain. Whichever word is used, we are instructed to stay in God's presence. It is in His presence where we are transformed and where we find the sustenance which brings an abundant harvest in our lives. David Wilkerson in his book “Secrets of the Vine” shares about abiding in God’s presence. “Abiding is an act of faith―a radical expression that you value God's unrestricted presence in your life more than any immediate sensation. If you think you must always have strong feelings to know that you have been with God, you will go away from your devoted times disappointed. Before long you will say that abiding did not work for me.'” 

Did you catch what David Wilkerson reveals in this quote, and the depths that revelation imparts? Abiding in Jesus Christ is an act of faith but also an act of will. If you want more of God in your life, you choose by faith to believe He will honor the time that you devote to Him. When you make Him your first priority, abiding in Him becomes an act of willing surrender. You might also notice that David Wilkerson uses the word “devoted” times instead of “devotional” times. He does this to emphasize the fact that your time with God is one that should be “set apart” just for Him—devoted only to Him. Your time with God is not just a time to be stirred emotionally by a devotional, but a time completely given to Him—a time that spiritually changes you.  Abiding in God's presence is not based on a feeling. It is a time of intimate sharing and not the tingling sensation of a feeling. Sometimes there will a feeling of joyful wonder in presence of the Holy Spirit, but sometimes not. In your “devoted times” abiding with the Holy Spirit transforms and prunes your life for spiritual growth and maturity. Eventually you will reach a place where abiding in Jesus becomes more than just being with Him during a “devoted time”. With an insatiable hunger you shall discover the truth of what the psalmist wrote. “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11, ESV).

Remain in Him, and He promises to remain in you. To live an abundant life for Him repent and turn from anything that stands in the way of your relationship with Him. If your life is filled with selfish things that keep you from discovering your potential in Him, you will be pruned and your priorities set straight so that He can bring forth abundance in your life. In times of disciplining and pruning, He acts. But in the time of abiding, you act. When you choose to abide in Him, He then abides in you and transform your life. Your relationship with Him has the promise of bringing the greatest joy and assurance that nothing can touch or destroy. Walking in His Spirit can be your way of life—when you abide in Him.

 -Lynn Hampton Lacher


No Greater Love



Read John 3:16 and 1 John 3:16 together, and see how the first Scripture flows naturally into the next. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NIV). “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16, NIV).

God loved us so much that He gave His only Son for our good. Jesus suffered, died, and sacrificed all of himself because of such a great and amazing love. This is how we know what love is. He showed us. Jesus died for everyone‒not just a few. This sacrificial love is available so that each might know the grace‒the mercy‒the forgiveness of Jesus. His love is given and revealed through me. It is my responsibility to give my life for others. The need of their life should be greater than my own. I choose to love with His love, because He loved me so much with His. I choose for the verse “we love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19, NASB) to become my life's story.

God calls for the love of Christ in my life to be agape love–sacrificial and unconditional. It is nonjudgmental and positive. It speaks the healing power of the Holy Spirit into each heart without regard to who that person is or what they have done. It speaks the love and life of Jesus into hearts filled with negativism and doubt because of life's pain. The love of Jesus speaks life without regard to what a person feels about me, says about me, thinks about me, or does to me. The love of Jesus in my life forgives freely and without reservation. The only way that this kind of love can live in me is for my personal feelings and desires to be surrendered to the Savior who gave His life for me. It is only when I surrender my own “self” and “needs” to His will that the love which flows through me has its origin in Him, and not in me. 

Agape love knows who and what God is, and realizes its cost. Because of its deliberate desire for the highest good of the one who is loved, it is shown in personal sacrifice for that person. That is what God did for us (John 3:16). That is what He wants us to do for others (1 John 3:16).  “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5. NIV). His love was offered without any condition, and He calls for us to give it freely without the weight of condition or expectation. The Holy Spirit pours this love into my heart when I am surrendered to His purpose and not to my own.

Paul writes of agape love as the most important Christian virtue. “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13, NASB).  When we love sacrificially and unconditionally with the love of Christ–no matter who someone might be or in spite of what they have done–we offer God's grace and forgiveness, so that someone else might also come to experience the healing love of Jesus. When love that is born of Jesus Christ is unmasked in my life, I am free to love. With no barriers or walls this love answers any question, accusation, or infliction with honesty, grace, and forgiveness. This love always sees the best in others. It rejoices in the truth, and hurts when another is wounded. The love of Christ in me has the power to help another person experience the Resurrection power that heals all facets of life. Jesus laid down His life for me. I am called to lay down my life for others. It is His calling, and it is my choice. There is no greater love.

  -Lynn Hampton Lacher
   

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

One Lash is Enough




"Those I love I rebuke and discipline"  (Revelation 3:19a, NIV).


I know you love me, Lord, when you correct me. No one enjoys correction, but if I allow it changes my life and brings out your best in me. (Hebrews 12:11). You teach me. You discipline me because you love me, and long to see me become the person you have destined me to be. I will not lose heart or make light of your discipline, but will accept it because you loved me enough to lay down your life for me (Hebrews 12:6). So often self gets in the way, and you allow circumstance—you allow life— to get my attention. Mold me into a person of understanding. If I don’t understand why you correct me then I don’t learn the lesson you wish to impart. I pray with all my heart that I learn your lesson and apply it to my life without you having to discipline me over and over again. “A single rebuke does more for a person of understanding than a hundred lashes on the back of a fool” (Proverbs 17:10, NLT). Lord, I want to understand what you are trying to show me the first time. To be a person of spiritual understanding and not remain foolish, I must die to what I want, and yearn for that which you want to produce in me.


You are the vine, Lord, and I am the branch. If I draw near to you, you are in me. You remain in me, and I learn that apart from you my life produces nothing good. If I do not make you the center of my life, I wither and die. I become of little worth. My life doesn’t blossom with your purpose. I am a dead branch to be picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. But when I remain in you and you are within me, I can pray my heart, and you will provide your promise. You long for me to bear great fruit in my life.  I long to be your disciple that is disciplined so that I can learn my greatest potential (John 15:5-8).


If I always seek you and yield my heart to yours, my life will overflow with your purpose and power. If I don't, I will fail. If I don't, there will be no direction. If I don't seek your heart, my existence is only that. Just existence.  But if you are the heartbeat of my life, you bring life-giving power and strength to accomplish what otherwise seems impossible. If I bring a heart surrendered to your purpose, then I reap your sufficiency instead my own. Sometimes, Lord, I hang on to a vestige of myself that keeps me from fully surrendering to you. I hang on to my own agenda and die a little more on your vine. I becoe impotent and purposeless. Instead of offering life, I offer that which has no worth—no power—no direction.

You cut off everything in my life that bears no fruit. The good things in my life that you have created are meant to be so much more abundant. So you prune my life so that it yields greater harvest. You want me to flourish beneath your shears (John 15:1-2). Lord, I don't want to be a branch that is cut off because it bears no fruit. I don’t want to be a fool who doesn’t understand the reason I am disciplined. I want to be a branch which bears fruit, and is willing to be pruned in order to bear more. It may hurt, but it is for your best and my best. When I bring a surrendered heart, I bring one that is easily corrected and disciplined. It is not hardened or self-sufficient. When I am willing to listen to your voice instead of my own, I invite you to come in and change me. One lash will then be enough. I will not need a hundred.

   -Lynn Hampton Lacher

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Lord, Forgive Me



“In humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3b, NIV).

Have you ever discovered that you have unintentionally wounded someone?  Have you ever tried so hard to help someone else that your way of helping becomes too strong—too determined—perhaps, even too controlling? Have you ever said something without thinking how your words might affect someone else? I have. Have you ever turned away from someone’s need because it would take too much of your time or effort? Have you ever ignored someone’s pain because you feel it might demand too much of you?  Have you ever held someone at arm’s length when you really long to be a part of their life?  If we are honest all of us at some time have found ourselves dealing with these kind of issues and the feelings that they bring.

Life is not just about me. I am called to value others above myself. Valuing someone means more than just caring about them. When I value another person I respect who they are. I respect their character and their opinion. I listen to their concerns without placing any judgment or expectation upon them. I become less concerned about my own needs and more attuned to theirs. In the perfectly lived Christian life I should live this way, but the truth is laying down your life for someone else is not easy. Jesus knows my ability to make it terribly complicated. He calls me to realize that when I surrender who I am for who He is, He makes it so much easier. In Him surrender is simple. Forgiveness makes it simple. Forgiveness frees me to love others. Forgiveness leads me to a place where I continually seek never to inflict pain again—to never speak or act without thinking how someone else is affected. I never want to erect walls, or by my words or actions force someone else to erect their own walls. Forgiveness leads me to what I need to change about myself, and it strips me of pride that threatens to consume my heart. An old hymn by C.M. Battersby shares this.

If I have wounded any soul today
If I have caused one foot to go astray
If I have walked in my own willful way
Dear Lord, forgive!

If I have uttered idle words or vain
If I have turned aside from want or pain
Lest I myself should suffer through the strain
Dear Lord, forgive!

If I have been perverse, or hard, or cold
If I have longed for shelter in the fold
When Thou hast given me some fort to hold
Dear Lord, forgive!

Forgive the sins I have confessed to Thee;
Forgive the secret sins I do not see;
O guide me, love me, and my keeper be.
Dear Lord, forgive!

Lord, help me to make myself less. Help me to carry the hearts of others with great care and reverence. Help me to extend grace as you continually extend it to me. Guide me. Love me. Teach me how to keep your love simple and uncomplicated and always unconditional.

 Lynn Hampton Lacher

Monday, October 17, 2016

Step Out of Your Boat


How many times have we heard that we need to move forward in Jesus Christ, and let go of the comfortable place where we have settled?  We need to get out of the safety of our boat, and launch out into the depths of His perfect will. “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me” (Psalm 42:7). The depth of the Holy Spirit calls to the depth of a man and bids him, “Come. Step out of the boat, and launch out into the deep with me!” Do I long for His waves and breakers to sweep over me carrying me to new heights? If I truly long for these unknown depths of complete surrender, I must let go of all that has defined who I am.

How many of us allow our failures, pains, attitudes, and even sins that were crucified with Christ to hold us back? Christ calls us to let go of all that has defined who we have been. I must let go of what I consider the “security” of the boat. There is no security in the boat I have constructed. There is no security in false hopes and dreams that offer nothing in the end. That boat is subject to the waves and storms of life. That boat can sink. But I will discover when I let go of my self-constructed identity, and step out into the depths of the unknown in Christ, I am at last standing strong upon faith in Him, and not sinking into the depths of my own despair. 

When I step out of that boat, I am so longer the child who failed at sports, or math. I am no longer the person who could not quite get things together, or a person who has been hurt because of teasing. I am no longer someone who lets feelings of rejection, whether imagined or real, define who I am. I am no longer one who needs the world to approve of me. I have found my worth in Christ. I am no longer a failure. I am no longer ruled by fear. I am no longer “not quite good enough”. In Jesus Christ I am a new creature—a new person—a new identity in Him! 

In the book, The Shack by William Young, Mack stands on the end of a dock with Jesus, and stares at the surface of the lake. Jesus asks Mack to take his hand, and step off the dock, but Mack can't let go of the security of the dock. “So, why do I have so much fear in my life?” he asks. Jesus' answer cuts to the core of the issue. “Because you don't believe. You don't know that I love you. The person who lives by his fear will not find freedom in my love.” We must not be afraid to move forward. Fear will hold us in our own self-constructed boat! There is freedom from all that has defined us when we step out into the unknown in faith.

Each day step out of the boat and discover your newness in Him again and again. The old will fail you. The new in Christ will never fail. Launch out into the depths of what has been your uncertainty. You will find it the most certain thing you have ever done.

  Lynn Hampton Lacher

Friday, October 14, 2016

Beside Still Water



“He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul (Psalm 23:2b-3a, NKJV).

When life rages I feel you beckoning me to quiet. You call me from that place which tears my heart to shreds. You call me gently, but firmly, away from my own self-destruction.  I have craved peace. I have longed for its escape, but I could never find it in the midst of my pain. I could never find it in the rush of endless emotion. Fear rises to threaten—to drown me in its swirling vortex—to starve my very soul. Yet the allure of your presence never lessens, but entices my body, mind, and spirit to come to you. I’m drawn to your stillness—to your place of rest. I allow you to lead me beside your still water. Your quietness encompasses me. I feel your presence pulling me away from my harried existence. Tentatively I reach for your promise. Your promise is great, but my faith is lacking. I still reach. I still believe. I hold on because you promise joy. You promise peace. In the stillness I find you. You breathe your own life into my dry bones. The things which have owned my life are no more. Even if I tried I couldn’t remember their worry—their fear—their despair. In this quiet moment where my spirit and your spirit are as one, I’m comforted—I’m filled—I’m lifted—I’m healed—I’m renewed. You restore my soul. Only you are here with me and in me. Nothing more. Nothing less. And I am free.

 Lynn Hampton Lacher

Thursday, October 13, 2016

In Faith



“So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10, NIV).

Do you ever feel fearful and alone? Downcast? Struggling with no sense of hope?  This verse in Isaiah encourages you that even though you may feel deserted and alone, you aren't! You can't trust your feelings. They will betray you. But you can trust what God says in His Word. He won't betray you. His truth is rock-solid, and unchanging. He is the same today, yesterday, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). You may feel afraid. God says, “Don't be afraid, because I am your God. I haven't given you this feeling of fear. I've given you power, love, and a sound mind!” (2 Timothy 1:7). You may feel evil battering you. God says, “No evil that comes against you will prevail” (Isaiah 54:17). Then He says something that will cost you, but if you pay the price you will discover greater faith. “Trust me,” He says, “and don't be afraid. If you feel weak don't give in to it! Move forward, and faith will meet you. I will carry you.”

Faith will cost you. It will cost you to trust in something that you can't see or feel (Hebrews 11:1). It will cost you to trust in God's truth over fearful feelings. Faith is a decision. When faith is chosen over and over again, and you have continually acted upon it, feelings will one day fall in line with God's truth. You will have trained your mind, your heart, and your very being to believe in God's Word over what human emotion dictates. It is a battle to be won, and you can win it with your decision to step out in faith, and God's promise to uphold and strengthen you. One day you will discover it is easier to believe God's Word rather than believe how you felt in a moment of time.

Don't ever forget God's promise to uphold you with His righteous and holy power! Don't ever allow fear to keep you from stepping out in faith. Look beyond how you feel at this moment. With one step forward you will discover His strength. Give God a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15). Praise Him for the promise that His truth is greater than how you feel. “Trust me,” He says. “Don't worry because I am your God. I will strengthen you, and uphold you. You're never alone.” You can trust Him over everything else. Don't just think about what might happen if you trust Him and step out in faith. Allow Him to show you.

  Lynn Hampton Lacher
    

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Potential




Have you ever felt you will never accomplish anything of worth? Have you ever believed that there is nothing you can say or do that will make a difference? Have you ever known the burden of expectation that seems out of reach? Have you ever experienced rejection, discouragement, despair, and pain? Have you ever felt that you were just not good enough? I have learned that I am what I think I am (Proverbs 27:3). If I believe I am worthless, I am worthless. Whether I realize it or not, I “do unto others” what has been done unto me. If I have been labeled as never quite being good enough, then I pass that negative judgment along in my expectations of those I love. If I see myself as being beyond hope then I see others in the same way.


Into this seemingly endless cycle of despair at never quite being good enough, God attempts to break into our negative and pessimistic minds. He waits to speak life to all that we have suffered in our past, life to our present, and life to our future. He wants who we are to be found in Him alone. He wishes for us to realize that unlike what expectations we may have felt from others, whether real or imagined, His expectation is thoroughly attainable. He sees our potential where another might not see it. If we truly listen to Him and obey His instruction, then we find release from our failure. We will discover who we really are. With His love we can break that bondage of despair and frustration. We can do more than just hope one day to be free of all that has defined who we are. We will be free.


“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child” (1 Corinthians 13:11a). We were once children. Those who loved us watched us struggle to crawl or learn to walk. They watched every move we made, expecting to see miraculous change. They rejoiced over us when we achieved a new accomplishment, and they were sad when we failed. We were only little children wanting to me loved for who we were right at that moment—not for any accomplishment. God does not love us because of anything we have done. He loves us because of what He has done for us. He hears our cry to be loved. When we accept His love, the power of what has been in our life is broken. When we live obedient lives that honor Him, we are molded by His power.  We become new. We are able to not only know freedom, but to extend freedom in our expectation of others.


Lord, please give each one of us your eyes to see potential not only in ourselves but in others—to speak life instead of death—to speak accomplishment instead of failure—to speak joy instead of despair—to speak peace and healing instead of fear and pain—to see promise where we have seen failure—to believe in what cannot be seen, and to know one day it will be true. Lord, your potential can be our reality.


  Lynn Hampton Lacher

  

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

As We Think We Are




         How we think determines how we feel. We can have a positive attitude that gives us an optimistic look on life or we can have a negative attitude that continually keeps us buried under a pile of emotional rubble. When something positive happens to a negative person, they find what is negative in it. When something negative happens to a positive person, they find something positive in it. If we want to live a joyful and abundant lifeone that spills over with spontaneous faith—we must work to have a positive attitude.

         Thinking right 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 we keep our minds focused on God's truthon whatever is godly, uplifting, and joyful, we will learn to have a positive attitude. To develop an optimistic spirit we must be changed in the attitude of our minds (Ephesians 4:23). This takes our determination and perseverance.

         We stand accountable for our own thinking. “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5b, NIV). It is impossible to stop the fiery darts that the enemy aims at our thought life, but we can learn to make those thoughts obedient to what the Word teaches. It is possible to have the power to bring them under the control of the Holy Spirit. This is achieved when we daily practice the presence of God. When our minds are focused on Him and not upon every possible scenario, He brings peace in the midst of our storms (Isaiah 26:3).

         There is no way we can control our circumstances, but we can learn to control what happens in our minds as a result. When we learn to take our negative thoughts captive we change the way that we think. Not only are we able to say, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13), but we believe without any doubt that He will give us His strength. Facing our circumstances with a mind that has been transformed by His power, we live with a positive and joyful attitude—fully able to determine God's good pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:1-2).

         If we will think right, talk right, and act right, then we will feel right. For instance, if we feel weak then we say we are strong (Joel 3:10). If we act on His truth and not act upon our feelings, the Holy Spirit will change our thought processes. Our feelings will fall into line with His Word, and we can rethink who we are. Determine that He is greater than any “mountain” of negative thinking. “Truly I tell you,” Jesus imparted, “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20, NIV). It is never impossible to be changed in the attitude of our mind. When we surrender control and allow the Holy Spirit to change us from the inside out, we become as God knows we can be. We think differently so we feel differently. We believe. We trust. With faith we can tell any mountain which has claimed our mind to just move.

Monday, October 10, 2016

What You Require



O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, NLT).


What do you desire from me, Lord? What can I offer you that is good? What can I give you that brings you joy? There is really nothing I can bring but myself. The gift of my life—surrendered to you without any right of ownership—is what you desire. You always call me to do what is right. For me to do what is right I must give up all my rights. I have none. You own my heart—my mind—my spirit. You have purchased my soul. In your Word you instruct me in the way I should go. I long to be as a tree planted along a riverbank which bears good fruit in season. Its leaves never wither; it prospers. It has deep roots. Lord, I want to blossom and never wither on the vine—to prosper in your purpose and stand strong when hardship comes. With an obedient heart I choose to do what you deem right in each circumstance—whether that circumstance is one of hardship or one of joy. You ask for mercy to reign in my heart. You ask me to love beyond the limits of my human ability. You call me to forgive so that I might be free. For my freedom you gave your life. Your mercy looked beyond my fault. Your mercy recognized my need. Thank you for your mercy and grace. Your love is forgiveness. How can I not extend mercy and forgiveness to others as you have extended each to me? My life for yours is what you ask of me. I am called to walk humbly in your love having no agenda—to be at rest in your will. When I am at rest I have your incredible peace that encompasses me. Only I can destroy your peace. When I believe that my control is better than yours, Lord, I destroy your peace with my pride. Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility I receive your wisdom. And in your wisdom I live in your freedom. I trust your heart because you created mine. You give me the freedom to choose life, Lord, and to do what is right. You bless me with your grace so that my life is filled with your love and purpose. You chose me, Lord. Now I choose to clothe myself with your tenderhearted mercy—with your kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. I have nothing to prove. You prove yourself. I am free to live your love.

  Lynn Hampton Lacher

Friday, October 7, 2016

Greater Than My Failure



“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans” (Proverbs 16:3, NIV).

  God knows that in everything I yearn to be in His will. He also knows that in any decision I make that I will seek His perfect will. He knows that I will surrender all of my body, soul, and spirit so that my decision will fall into the realm of His purpose. With a desire to be in His perfect will, I move forward. And then—without warning—I fail.

Often when I fail I forget that don't “own” that failure. It belongs to Him. Everything that I am belongs to Him, so my failure also belongs to Him. But I can’t own that failure. I can’t keep it festering and hurting inside my heart until all since of worth is destroyed. I make that failure an offering so that I can learn from my mistake and not dwell on it. The “what ifs” that I ask will only bind me to failure. He understands where my failure began, and He alone can make it right. Because I love Him and my heart longs to follow only His will, He takes my failure and reclaims me. He is my Lord, and I will rejoice in His promise of restoration. I can move forward from my failure trusting He will guide me. I will seek His will in every decision I make, and if my decision is not in His will, I know He will change it.

I rejoice because I don't own His plan, and I don't own my failure! His plan is greater than any failure that I might make. Today I step forward from doubt caused by failure, and move forward in faith in Him. I commit to Him whatever I do. I make my life and my plan an offering. He will make all right as He wishes. One step at a time, obediently rendered, brings His greatest fulfillment. 
Lynn Hampton Lacher

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The God of Peace

The God of Peace
             
              “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).
             
              These two verses are right to the point, and tell you just how to know peace. Don't worry. Pray earnestly and seek God’s help to handle the problem you face. Give Him praise no matter how big your issue seems. Trust Him to take care of it. Have faith that His love and faithfulness are greater than your problem, and ask Him to take your fear. You will discover His supernatural peace which your human mind can’t comprehend. Your spirit will rejoice in that peace because you know He is in control.

When worry or problems threaten to attack your faith, focus on God and His promises. Isaiah 26:3 says that He will keep you in perfect peace when your mind thinks on Him—when you focus your energy on His promises instead of your circumstance. Give Him every fear that is spinning out of control in your life over and over again until His peace is attained. There is a place of peace where nothing can destroy your faith in God's provision. When you see each circumstance as another opportunity to allow God to direct and strengthen your life, then you can reach that place where life's problems spur you on to greater faith. Recognize each hardship as training to reach His perfect peace, and you will reach it. Trust your Savior. He has already taken all your fears to the grave, and then risen so you might walk in freedom. In Him you are an overcomer.

“Finally, brothers and sisters,” Paul writes from the darkness and ugliness of his prison cell, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8, NIV). If Paul, in his dire circumstance, can keep his mind focused on whatever is praiseworthy and good and promising, then so can you. You too can choose to practice your faith no matter what life brings. Paul had a peace which no prison wall could steal. You also have the promise of peace that nothing can destroy.

Lynn Hampton Lacher



Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Invitation to His Banquet


There is a celebration taking place in heaven. It is the rejoicing of those believers who have passed from this life to the next. They feast with their Savior who saved them from destruction. They rejoice with those they once loved on earth. This is a never-ending celebration. In Luke 14:15-23 Jesus shares the parable of the great banquet. Just as those in this parable who are invited to a banquet, we are also invited to one. Our invitation is to His greatest banquet. Just as those who refused in the parable, there are those of us who will make excuses not to attend. The excuses in the parable sounded reasonable, but they were not sufficient enough to refuse so great an invitation. What are our excuses not to accept His invitation? Is it inconvenient to lay down our priorities? Does something else seem more important that what He offers? The celebration to which we’re invited calls for our complete surrender. It calls for obedience and for letting go of everything that hinders our total commitment.

God does not want any excuses. He wants me. He desires my love and my undivided heart which gives Him full allegiance. He longs for my loyalty. He loves me even when I have allowed excuses to hinder my spiritual growth. As a loving father He continually disciplines me. There is never an issue of His love for me. The issue is about my love for Him. How much do I love Him? Will I surrender to His will? “How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?” the writer to the Hebrews declares (Hebrews 2:3a, NIV). If I ignore His invitation to His great banquet in heaven, then I will miss the greatest opportunity of my lifetime. By ignoring His invitation, I reject what he offers. If I continually say “no” the day will come when my ears will no longer hear His invitation. There are others who will accept His invitation.

            Do you want to go to this great celebration in heaven one day? Are you willing to let go of all your excuses?  He yearns for everyone to accept His invitation, and He longs for His banquet to be full. “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full” (Luke 14:21,23b, NIV). “No eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived— the things God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9, NIV). He has prepared a never-ending celebration, and has invited each one of us. Will we lay down all that hinders? Will we surrender and accept?
   Lynn Hampton Lacher

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Contentment



No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content” (Ecclesiastes 1:8, NLT).

Self can be a dangerous thing. There is always something better or bigger. Our eyes see that there is more to be had.  Our ears hear others speak of their possessions or achievements. We strive to reach what is never enough, and become defeated because we are never satisfied. “I know what it is to be in need,” Paul wrote, “and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12, NIV).

Paul's contentment came from a surrendered heart. He had learned to surrender the things that his eyes saw and his ears heard. He had learned to surrender self and self’s never ending wish list. He didn’t need to be recognized by others for sacrificing himself for the sake of Christ. He knew where he stood in his relationship with Jesus. There was nothing to prove or show. He also trusted God in whatever circumstance he found himself. Of course he didn't want to be in prison, and he certainly didn't want to be dependent on others to provide for his needs. But, no matter what he faced, he was content. His eyes were not on what He was around him, but upon His Savior. God gave him peace, and a purpose to fulfill. Fulfilling His purpose only strengthened Paul's peace no matter what happened in his life. His incarceration could not stop him from trusting God to meet all his needs. His chains could not keep him from his purpose to write of God's great goodness. He had learned the secret of being content in every circumstance.


Our peace and contentment comes from a deep abiding trust in God. When our circumstances are good, we might “feel” good, and “feel” that everything is fine. Then life throws us a curve ball, and we can’t find contentment and peace. We look at our circumstance, and don’t focus on God’s promise to take care of us. God. Struggling against that circumstance doesn't help. Railing at God doesn't help. In fact this makes our discontent and unrest worse. But there is a peace that passes our human understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). God waits for surrender of our control. He waits for our trust. When we give Him all that rages and take refuge in Him, He lifts us from a place of self-centered worry and concern to His place of peace. We will know peace and contentment when we trust God. 


“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you,” Jesus said. “I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27, NIV). I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV). His peace is not dependent upon what the world or circumstances offer. We may have trouble in this life, but we do not need to fear. He has overcome whatever we face. When we seek Him and surrender all our desires for what He offers, we discover His peace no matter what life presents. We can boldly face whatever is to come with His peace and His purpose. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength,” Paul wrote (Philippians 4:19, NLT). Just as Paul, we can rise to our calling. All things are possible when we have His strength and His peace. 
   Lynn Hampton Lacher

Monday, October 3, 2016

Your Control My Peace

When the wind is stripped from my sails, Lord, I can’t move. I’m lost without your direction. I’m weak without your power. I don’t see the next step you wish, or even have the gumption to seek it. I can’t carry another weight or another load. I have come to the end of myself. And this is the place where your miracle happens. When I let go of all I have tried to do, to be, to say, or to manage, I am ready for you to be in control. I long for your freedom. I seek your lesson. I seek your will. In my weakness I find your strength. When I stop my hectic pace and focus my thoughts and energy on you—when I listen to what you wish to impart— I discover your power to sustain me. You carry me, Lord, powerfully and confidently into the heat of battle, but only when I allow you to bear the weight of command. When you are in control I trust that you are my God, and that you take care of each and every problem I face. I am refreshed. I have confidence and power to face my giants. My weakness has become your strength.


Do you remember that thing I asked you to handle, Lord, and then tried to handle myself? The moment I attempt to control what is not mine to control, I lose the battle and also your peace.  You promise peace. You give rest. Resting in you brings the strength to trust you, and also gives me the power to let you have control. Lord, I want to allow you to take care of what I was never meant to handle alone. I give up my rights. I give up what I deem necessary. When I allow you to carry my load, my burden is light. I am thankful that I can trust you to handle my life, Lord, and that I am free to be your beloved child. Forgive me for straining against your will. Forgive me for taking into my own hands what you alone can direct. In quietness, rest, and trust I receive all of your strength to face all that comes. I trust in you with all my heart, and I will not depend on my own understanding. You show me the way to take. And when I walk in your path I know your peace.


(2 Corinthians 12:9, Matthew 11:30, Philippians 4:6-7, Isaiah 26:3, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Isaiah 30:15, Proverbs 3:5)

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...