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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Great is His Faithfulness



“I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember that the faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him’” (Lamentations 3:20-24, NLT).

Loss. It is something that is inevitable. At some time in life you most likely will lose something precious to you—a friend—a job—a home—a loved one. Loss means something is over. It has ended. That loss can devastate you, and the grief that accompanies it can rob you of any hope. But God promises that His love is not a loss in your life. It is real and unending. His love flows freely and never recedes. Always constant—always strong—always complete—His love is your fortress in any crisis or loss. His unselfish loving sacrifice on Calvary is the greatest proof of His faithfulness to you. He held nothing back in that moment, and He holds nothing back now. His mercy forgives again and again. It never focuses on loss, but on the joyful expectation of His promise. He loves you, but for you to experience the healing of His presence, He waits to be invited. If you allow His love into your life, His promises become your inheritance. His Word offers a fresh perspective, and you experience the truth that His mercy is new each morning. Open your heart. Without hesitation place your hope in Him. “The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him” (Lamentations 3:25, NLT). He will not fail the trust you place in Him. Great is His faithfulness to you.

  Lynn Hampton Lacher

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I Belong to You


"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 want to be changed from the inside out, Lord. Not just some temporary fix! I want a renewed heart that beats with your love. No longer a heart of bitterness but a heart of possibilities—no longer a selfish heart but one that rejoices in the abundance of knowing you—these are the cries of my heart. I place my life before you today, Lord, and I choose to be an offering. I embrace all you have for me. I will face this day with the anticipation of your guidance, and also with the promise of your strength for what lies ahead. Make me open to all you wish to pour into my life so that I might grow spiritually in understanding the depths of your grace.

Without spiritual maturity I have no emotional and mental stability. I am like a ship on the sea with no anchor to hold it securely. Subject to every circumstance that arises I am tossed in the storms of life with no lasting peace. My mind is so self-absorbed I have no purpose but worry and fear. My ears are attuned to the accuser's voice instead of your voice which lovingly convicts and encourages me. But if I learn your truth and apply it instead of allowing “self” to rule my life—if I focus on you instead of any circumstance and seek to be stronger as a result—if I choose to allow you to mold my attitudes and purpose, I will be changed from the inside out. You will rescue me from the drowning waters of my own making, and will set me upon the solid rock of your truth. Your peace will anchor me safely through the storms that always come. Your joy will spring up like a fountain always offering a fresh perspective. Your strength and power will always be there to rise above any circumstance or temptation. Lord, I pray to always learn the lessons you wish to teach and respond to each without hesitation. I choose to grow and change. I choose to not remain on a level of spiritual immaturity that will ultimately destroy the life I have found in you.

You are the potter, Lord, and I am clay for you to shape as you desire. You are the searing heat in life which fires me to completion. If I surrender every part of my life, you will bring out the best in me. I place myself in your hands to be created and transformed to your desired purpose. I am not my own. I belong to you.

 Lynn Hampton Lacher


Monday, November 28, 2016

I Am Still Me



“Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God” (Psalm 71:18a, NLT).

What might my loved one say if he was still able to share his heart?  What might your loved one say to you?  

“I may be old. I may not remember as well, but I am still me. I still need love. I still need someone to sit with me and spend time with me. I may not act or speak or think the way I once did, but I still need someone to care. I still need a hand to touch mine. I still need a word of encouragement even though I may not understand it. When you are with me I find joy in your smile. I find acceptance in your presence. Please don’t feel uncomfortable with me. If I could hug you I would. If I could talk to you about life I would.  If I could understand the pain of loss in your voice I would. Sometimes I feel so alone in my world and so afraid. But then I feel your hand on my arm and I know you are with me and will take care of what I can’t. God doesn’t abandon me now that I am old and gray and lost to even myself. I feel Him in your love—in your words and your touch—in the moments that you give me. No matter how lost I may become, I am still me. Remind me of who I am when I have forgotten, and love me through times which may break your heart. As long as you love me, I know who I am through you. I am still me.”

💕💕💕

  Lynn Hampton Lacher

   

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Heart Ruled by Peace



“Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful’ (Colossians 3:15, NLT).

Be thankful today for those who are in your life. Let His peace rule your thoughts, tongue, and action. God calls us to live in peace. Thanksgiving is a day when many come together to celebrate family. Families can be very diverse—with different ideas and approaches and personalities and issues. These differences can be divisive if humility and grace are not extended. Love those in your family that don’t agree with you. Love them with the peace that rules in your heart. Life is short, and each day may be the last you spend with those you love. Make this day of Thanksgiving one to remember for the rest of your life—a day when you didn’t have to make a point, or prove something, or be better than someone else. Make this a day when you became less so someone else could be more. 

Happy a blessed Thanksgiving. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Utter Praise



“I sank beneath the waves, and the waters closed over me. Seaweed wrapped itself around my head. I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisoned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O Lord my God, snatched me from the jaws of death! As my life was slipping away, I remembered the Lord” (Jonah 2:5-7, NLT).

Have you ever felt this way?  Ever known such fear?  Jonah knew this fear in the belly of a whale. He knew he had run from God’s desire for his life. He knew life was ebbing away, but he also realized God was just waiting on him to remember the call upon his life—to cry out to Him. From the belly of the whale Jonah praised God from snatching him from the jaws of death. He thanked God for deliverance that was not yet his and promised to fulfill his calling. “I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the Lord alone. The Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach” (Jonah 2:9-10, NLT). God heard Jonah’s cry, and acted.

It took a great wind and a great whale to change Jonah’s course of action. What does it take to change mine? Perhaps not a wind or a fish, but often if takes calamity to get my attention. I, like Jonah, often run in the opposite direction from what I know God wishes me to do. Consider a circle.  It has no beginning, and it has no end.  If I run away from God, I might find myself on a circle running right back towards him. But for this to be true, I must, like Jonah, have a teachable attitude when confronted with the consequence of my actions. Jonah turned to God, not with complaint, but with praise. Even before deliverance, he thanked God for what he trusted would come. Jonah understood what was meant by giving God a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15).

What about you? Are you in a place of darkness because you have resisted His call?  Do you feel life drowning you? Pulling you under? Remember the Lord. Remember what He asks of you. Cry out to the only One who can save you. He waits for your thankful praise from the belly of your despair. He waits for your surrender to His call upon your life. With no complaint in your heart, turn to Him with praise. What He gives is priceless joy and utter fulfillment.

  Lynn Hampton Lacher

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Be Thankful



“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV). 

            A friend discovered the power in this verse at a time she desperately needed it. Having gone through the unexpected loss of her child, she faced sadness and utter desolation. Then God offered her a gift of hope. This verse revealed something that became a lifeline. She was told to give thanks in this terrible trial because it was God’s will for her to praise Him. Even though she didn’t feel like praising God at all she friend took God at His Word. Her praise became a sacrifice of her pain and heartache to Him. It became her offering of self. And God did a miracle. He lifted her from the terrible agony. Yes, she still felt the loss, but her focus changed from her pain to her promise. She would see her son again one day. Her life took on a new purpose. She had a message of hope to share.

 The hardships of our lives will always come. When we are on the top of the mountain, we praise Him easily. When we are in the valley, praise is difficult. God knows that when we praise Him in our hardest times we receive release from the pain which has claimed us. When we praise Him in the midst of loss or pain or discouragement or embarrassment or loneliness or sadness or illness, the heart and mind become stronger through its surrender. “Through Jesus,” the writer to the Hebrews declares, “therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name” (Hebrews 13:15, NIV). The day my friend heard of the death of her child the news was shocking, sudden, and overwhelming. When faced when such hard news, numbness is often our first defense. After the numbness lifts the pain can become too much to bear. God knows if it isn’t released it can destroy us. Often pain is released in anger, and we may strike out in its bitterness. The greatest way to release the pain is to God. In praise we find release. And, yes, it is a sacrifice to give praise when your life is fractured. It is a sacrifice to praise Him when what you face makes no sense to your heart. My friend found release in a sacrifice of praise to God. She discovered His strength in the midst of her loss. 

 “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NLT). Be thankful in your circumstance. You don’t have to like your circumstance, and you don’t have drown in its pain. Thankfulness is an attitude you choose. Do you give praise in all circumstances? If not—the truth in Hebrews 13:15 brings healing. It takes your acceptance of His love for you, and a willing heart to offer a sacrifice of praise. Through praise my friend has discovered God’s healing power. Greater faith has become her reward. She knows God will not forsake her at any time. The pain you feel now can become part of the joy you receive later. That joy is His gift to His child who praises Him no matter what happens. Be thankful and praise Him in whatever your circumstance; you too shall receive.

Lynn Hampton Lacher

Monday, November 21, 2016

Attitude

Attitude

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had” (Philippians 2:5, NLT).

In Philippians 2:1-11 we learn about the “selfless” attitude of Christ. Though he had every right to “think highly” of himself—though He could have placed His own life above our need, Jesus humbled himself. Following the will of His Father, He gave His life for you and me. He thought less of himself and more of us. He chose us. In verse 5 we are reminded that we are to have this same attitude. When we accept Him as Savior, we choose Him. In choosing Him as Savior we should also choose to have the same kind of selfless attitude—one that regards another person’s needs greater than our own. When we choose His humble attitude, we reveal that we are secure in our identity in Him—just as He was secure in who He was in His Father's purpose. When we choose His attitude we submit to His will. When we choose His attitude we give up any “right” to our own agenda and need to be recognized. We become less so He can become more. We learn to live for others unburdened by our own selfish desires.

Your attitude is a choice. You choose how you think. “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” (Proverbs 27:3a, NASB). How you think determines how you feel. You can have a positive attitude that gives you an optimistic look on life or you can have a negative attitude that continually keeps you buried under a pile of emotional rubble. If you want to live a joyful and abundant lifeone that spills over with spontaneous faith—one that sees the possibilities instead of the problems, you must work to have a positive attitude.

A negative attitude can be so deeply ingrained that it is hard to let it go. Whether it is generational or the result of where you are in life, that bad attitude can change when you choose again and again for it to change. If you are a new person in Christ, then you are new. The old has passed away. You choose for the old to not control you. You choose a positive attitude, and God empowers your choice. He breaks the negative which has ingrained your mind. He breaks generational darkness which has claimed your thoughts. He breaks the influence of experience and environment. You choose, and God transforms your mind and your attitude.

Choose to handle life's problems and circumstances with a positive attitude. Determine to think positively and react differently to what happens in life. Live in a mature way that exhibits the fruit of the Spiritlove, joy, peace, patience,kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When you make this selfless journey of surrender—when you accept responsibility for your life—when you realize that without Him you cannot experience the heart change that brings attitude change, you have chosen to seek the attitude of Christ. Choose to live a positive life. Be empowered by the Holy Spirit to act upon what you have determined will be true. He will not disappoint you.

   Lynn Lacher

   

Friday, November 18, 2016

Pure Gold



“The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles” (Psalm 34:15, 17, (NLT).

No one is perfect. But I am called to live a righteous life. It is a journey of obedience. It is a lifetime commitment, and forever a surrender of my personal desires to the Savior who sacrificed His life for me. Will I ever be completely righteous? In His eyes I am, because He sees me through the eyes of His redeeming grace. In my own eyes, I can never be. Whatever lies before me, I surrender all that I believe I can never be for all He believes that I am. I try to live a life that is worthy of His sacrifice, but so very often I fail. It is in my failure that I realize how little I am without Him. It is in my weakness that I realize His strength will carry me. I know His forgiveness the minute that I ask. I know His redeeming love the moment I cry out.

“In my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears” (Psalm 18:6, NLT). He attentively awaits my prayer, and constantly guards my life—always listening for 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. Sometimes I don't understand His choice, but I know it is for my best. “I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me” (Psalm 57:2, NLT). He knows the purpose He wishes to fulfill in me. When I cry out to Him in prayer, He either delivers me from my 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 a great deliverance. I learn the real meaning of “no weapon turned against you will succeed” (Isaiah 54:17). When I am totally surrendered, I learn grace is sufficient for whatever comes against me (2 Corinthians 12:9).

“He knows where I am going,” Job declared, “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 every aspect of my life. He tests me. He grows me. He refines me. The Lord changes me until His righteousness anchors my life. Because He is greater than anything that comes against me, I am delivered from all that tries to destroy me. I cry out because if I don’t, I drown. I remain lost in my own failure. So I cry out to Him who has the power to anchor me—to mold me—to change me. Only He knows where I am going. When He tests me, I want to be pure gold. 
_______________________
  Lynn Hampton Lacher
  

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Remain Faithful

“Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16, NLT).
In 1 Timothy, chapter 4, Paul advises Timothy with his responsibility as a teacher of the Gospel. It is a strong lesson for the young man, and filled with crucial advice. The Scripture today is the last verse, and it brings to a powerful conclusion the whole message of the chapter. “Timothy,” he imparts, “be careful how you live, but not only be careful in your living; be careful in your teaching. Those you teach watch you.” Paul also wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:3 (NIV), “We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.” Our life is ministry. Someone watches us. Someone listens to us. Everyone leads someone else. For the sake of own salvation, and the salvation of those who watch and listen to us, we must remain true to our faith with which God has entrusted us.
It is difficult to understand the manner in which some Christians interpret Scripture. When sharing a personal belief or a point of view or a sudden revelation, they fail to understand the power they have to influence others. If what they share is wrong, it leads others astray, and has the potential to cause spiritual damage. Just as Paul told Timothy we must remain true for not only the sake of others, but for ourselves. We are called to live and share His word with integrity. If we don’t want to become a stumbling block to others, we will share beliefs and thoughts accountably and also live a holy life that reflects what we say.
Have you ever considered the fact that what you teach, say, share, or live effects the one right next to you? We have the potential to speak life or death. We have the power to impart peace. When we surrender to His truth and allow it to transform our lives, we have His power and no man-made counterfeit. We are His children, who inspired by the Holy Spirit, interpret Scripture in light of our own personality—in light of reason, and personal experience. But we must always carefully consider the words that we offer as truth. Always remember how these words may tear down a life or build it up. Share His Word with integrity and live its message. That is when lives are changed. That is when hearts are renewed.
Lord, help us, in what we impart and how we live to always remain faithful.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Surrender to Peace


“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in” (Revelation 3:20, NLT).

He stands and knocks at the door to your heart. He invites you to a life which you can’t 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 constant need to analyze to a place of rest where no matter what happens in this life all is well. This invitation offers respite from the hectic pace of this world. “Be still and know that I am God” takes on a whole new meaning. When you get to the place that you don’t struggle anymore, you can find peace in just knowing He is God, and He is in control. "Come to me,” He whispers in your tempest, “and I will give you rest."

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

Do you hear Him? The harder you struggle the stronger His constant knock. The harder you resist the greater your pain. Suddenly the exhaustion of your battle is too much. Suddenly you can no longer bar that door. Suddenly surrender is your only hope. You must let go and believe. When you let go of all you have tried to handle and open the door, the peace which has evaded you is yours. No more war inside your heart. No more need to have answers. You are free in Him, and free of fear from what 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 (2 Timothy 1:7). Letting go and surrendering everything has brought the peace your heart has struggled so hard to find.  You have opened the door and now you know. That peace was never yours to find. It was always His to give.

   

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Words



“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18, NIV).

My child, be careful with your words. Reckless speech can pierce a heart. Don’t say the first thought that comes to mind. Consider cautiously whether those words shall injure or inspire—whether they shall inflame or calm. The tongue has the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21). Speak life. Always life. Ask for my wisdom. I give it to you without hesitation (James 1:5). Speak wisely. My wisdom imparted to a hurting soul has the power to heal a broken heart—the power to heal a broken spirit. My wisdom is pure. It gives peace. Genuine and sincere, it is willing to yield to others. Full of loving-kindness, it has no doubts and does not pretend to be something it is not (James 3:17). Words of wisdom and truth endure forever; words spoken without truthful and wise consideration last only for a moment (Proverbs 12:19). They have no power to heal or restore. Never lie to impress. A deceitful tongue speaks death. It crushes the spirit. But my wisdom, spoken in gentle truth, is a tree of life (Proverbs 15:4). It soothes and heals. It gives purpose and fulfillment to a life that yearns for meaning. Child, I long to speak through you. Seek my heart and my wisdom. Then choose your words prayerfully and carefully. I wish to heal a broken heart through you.

  Lynn Hampton Lacher

Monday, November 14, 2016

Into the Deep

Into the Deep

“Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp. I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me” (Psalm 131:1, NLT).

To find calm and to quiet your raging emotions is a gift from God. But it not a gift that is easily realized when you are still on what the writer to the Hebrews calls “milk”.  It is something that is attained through spiritual growth and the meat of His Word.  Like a weaned child who no longer cries for His mother’s milk, peace of soul is found when you anchor yourself deeply in the truth His Word proclaims. You can’t know His peace in times of distress if you don’t let Him anchor you.  Without the meat of His truth you will be adrift in a sea of circumstantial peace where that peace is lost the moment you are challenged. To find His spiritual peace you must let go of your place of circumstantial safety—when all must feel right in your world— and launch out into the depths of His truth which produces peace no matter what life hurls at you. In these depths of His Spirit and His love you are able to encourage yourself and discover healing of your heart’s greatest pain. Your greatest pain—your greatest fear—dissolve when He is the center of your universe.  When He is in control, you are anchored in His peace. Your soul surrenders to His truth, and you learn all will be well no matter what surrounds you. You have no need to prove anything. You have no need to make someone understand. When the weight of need for something circumstantial to happen removed, you can quiet and calm your heart and mind. It is a freedom that only God offers. And it is found in the meat of His Word. The knowledge of His Word will set you free from the need for your world to be perfect as you deem perfect. You will be perfected through life’s ups and downs by His Spirit. His peace will guard your heart and mind. Humility of heart will anchor you. You shall encourage and rest your soul with the power of His truth. The depth of His Spirit calls to you and bids you to launch out into the deep with Him. There you will discover what has alluded you for so long—His peace.

  Lynn Hampton Lacher

Saturday, November 12, 2016

His Peace

"I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give" (John 14:27a, NLT).

When I was a fourteen I attended a Quaker school in Ohio. It was at Olney that I learned about the freedom found in living a life of peace. That teaching on peace created a need in my heart to seek God and the peace that He offers. His peace has spoken rest in the midst of hardship and grief...just as it does now at this time in my life. It tells me to love and not inflame. It tells me there is freedom in not feeling the need to have the last word. It tells me not to be reactionary but to place another before myself. I am human and make mistakes...just like anyone else. But I pray to have the humility to realize that I don't always have the right answer. If forgiveness cannot flow in my life, then I miss out on the peace that anchors me safely in a world that makes no sense. We need courage to forgive, and love that looks beyond fault and recognizes need. "We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear...That old law about "an eye for an eye" leaves everyone blind...The time is always right to do the right thing...Peace is not necessarily a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal" (Martin Luther King, Jr.). If I choose to live His love, His forgiveness, and allow His peace to direct my life perhaps another person may know its freedom.

Friday, November 11, 2016

I Push On


“Each of us will give a personal account to God” (Romans 14:12, NLT).

Personal accountability is not an option. God has standards for our actions in this life. If we break those standards, there are consequences. It is time that we take responsibility for who we are, what we believe, what we say, and how we act. We are not responsible for circumstances over which we have no control, but we are responsible for what we do or say and how we respond to circumstances, our failures, our mistakes, and our problems in life. We are totally responsible for our actions and our reactions.

You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others,” the writer to the Hebrews declares. “Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food” (Hebrews 5:12, NLT). If I never make an effort to grow up, then I shall remain an infant in my actions and attitudes, and will not understand what God requires of me. Spiritual growth in Christ is a requirement, and it does not allow me to make excuses. It instructs that I must take responsibility for my bad attitude or any fly-off-the-handle reaction. It requires that I should learn from my failure, and if I am responsible for a problem, I should make every effort to not create that circumstance again. It also tells me that the next time I am faced with circumstances either of my own making or not of my own making, I should react in a way which honors God. Spiritual maturity instructs that I can speak humbly and not be consumed with worry over the reactions of others. To do these things I need to have matured spiritually until knowledge of His will pervades my life. “We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will,” Paul writes, “and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better” (Colossians 1:9b-10, NLT).


Without spiritual wisdom and understanding to control my attitude and my reactions, I cannot live a life that pleases God. As I grow to know Him better, it is easier to surrender to His will. My actions and reactions are more easily controlled by the Holy Spirit. A life controlled by the Spirit exhibits the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). The only way that I can have the fruit of the Spirit alive in my life is to allow all my selfishness and “me” attitude to be taken to be crucified so I can be raised in newness of life in Christ (Romans 6:4). I must surrender all that I believe I own or feel I deserve. When I am willing to be crucified with Him and make this selfless journey
when I am willing to accept my responsibility for all that I amwhen I am ready to realize that without Him I cannot become my true selfthen I have begun the journey to grow spiritually mature.

One day I pray that I will be able to say as Paul said, “Lord, all my selfishness has been crucified with you, and you have lived within me. I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection, but I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Philippians 3:12-14, NLT). No, just as Paul, I have not achieved it, but I want to grow up to become who God knows I can be. Spiritual growth is a process. Process means that I am headed somewhere. It means that I can never remain stagnant, stale, or negative. It means that I have been bought with the most precious gift of His life. I push on to have the attitude of my Savior who gave Himself unselfishly for me. I push on toward the goal to which God has called me. I push on.

  -Lynn Hampton Lacher


Defeating Fear



“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV).

Doubt and fear make it difficult to believe that God is faithful. You become double-minded—wanting to believe yet questioning whether you can. The Word says that a double minded person should not expect to receive anything from God (James 1:7). You don't have to be double minded. You don’t have to be fearful. You can learn to capture your thoughts and make them obedient to God's Word. God does not want you timid and fearful. He wants you bold in His power, filled with His love that casts our fear, and able to discipline your own life.

Your first weapon to defeat fear is His power. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:10-17, NIV).

His power—your armor—waits to be exercised. You have to put on each piece of armor to realize the full extent of God’s power. His truth will direct your life. His righteousness will purify your heart. Faith will increase your determination to believe Him. Sharing His love and the message of the Word will impart stronger faith to stand against the enemies’ lies. Each piece of the armor joined with all the other pieces increases God’s power in your life (Ephesians 6:14-17), and imparts the ability to persevere. Peter writes in 2 Peter 1 that you are to add good qualities for your faith to become effective and productive. “To your faith, add goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. If you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:6-8, NIV). When you allow perseverance to finish its work, you will be mature and complete, not lacking anything you need to defeat fear (James 1:4). With God’s love continually perfected from all the qualities that you have sought, you will be able to stand powerful and strong against any lie of the enemy.

What is the last quality that Peter mentions in 2 Peter 1:7?  It is love, but not just any love. It is His perfect love—the love of Calvary filling your heart, spirit, and soul. This is the second weapon that defeats fear. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18a, NIV). There is no room for fear in your life when His love has been perfected in you. When you lack nothing in your life (James 1:4)—when you are growing in your faith, you are in the process of being perfected (2 Peter 1:8). God's perfect love is your power to fight. Faith in God is what ultimately destroys fear and wipes it from your mind. “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17). Your faith grows from hearing the Word and knowing the love of Christ .The spirit of fear may try to rise, but your shield of faith can be strong enough to stand against it (Ephesians 6:16). His love perfected in you always drives out fear. The love of God always wins.

Your last weapon against fear is self-discipline or self-control. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, NIV). With the Holy Spirit empowering your life, you can take each thought captive. You choose to take your thoughts captive. You choose to believe in His faithfulness. Self-control is acquired and learned and practiced. The lies of the enemy can find no resting place in your mind when God's truth is known and applied.

Pray and study God's Word. As you realize your beliefs which are contrary to His Word, you can discern His truth and apply Peter’s good qualities to your faith. Faith grows and you have greater strength to defeat the spirit of fear that you have been unable to control. Fear is not meant to be master over you. You are not in bondage to it. You are under His grace.  Allow God to do what you can never do alone. With His power, His love, and a disciplined mind, you can walk free of fear. Seek Him. Place all of yourself upon His altar. Hold nothing back. Allow His Word to transform and renew your attitude—your thoughts—your mind (Romans 12:1-2, Ephesians 4:23). As you know Him more intimately, His perfect love will be more real than any fear. Faith will be your reality, and fear will be seen as the unrealistic lie of a defeated enemy.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Fear



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

Fear. What does it do to us? It convinces us that God is not going to take care of the concerns of our heart. Fear states that those we love are doomed. Fear informs us our circumstances will never change, and God will not come to our rescue. Fear convinces us that we can't hear God. Fear fills our heart with dread that financial loss will destroy us. Fear makes us believe that our broken family will never be restored. Fear insists that the ones we love are going to die. The lies of fear go on and on. What fear really does is weaken our faith in the faithfulness of God, and makes us unable to believe the promises found in His Word.

Fear in this verse in 2 Timothy is referred to as the “spirit of fear”.  The opposite to a “spirit of fear” would be the “spirit of faith”. Both faith and fear are rock-solid beliefs. Faith is the result of surrendering our will to God's will; it is the result of surrendering our spirit to His Spirit. Fear is the result of allowing the destructive evil spirit that fosters fear to control our thoughts. Faith says that God should be in control of our thoughts. But the enemy torments us with fear. He gains ground because of our lack of trust in God's faithfulness. When fear reigns our minds are filled with thoughts we can't control. Our thoughts are all over the place—not focused by faith on God (Isaiah 26:3). It is impossible for faith and fear to exist together. One will be prevalent over the other, and ultimately win. 


Fear springs from a doubting mind. “You must come to God,” James writes, “with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord. [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides]” (James 1:6-8, AMPC). If you doubt God, then you are double-minded. Fear wishes to destroy your faith by making you “unstable, unreliable, and uncertain” about everything. As the result of your double-mindedness, fear grabs you, and wrecks your life. However, if you exercise faith, you can discover peace. When faced with circumstances over which you have no control, you will have His power, love, and a sound mind. 

As Christians we know we ought to believe God is faithful to His children. So often we allow doubts and fears to make His faithfulness hard to believe.  The Word says that a double minded person should not expect to receive anything from Him.  Well, we don't have to be double minded. We don’t have to be fearful. We can learn to capture our thoughts and make them obedient to God's Word. This verse in 2 Timothy provides weapons to defeat doubt and fear. Tomorrow let's begin the journey to make fear a torment of the past and to discover powerful faith that sets us free. 

   Lynn Hampton Lacher
   
    

Friday, November 4, 2016

As Pure Gold



“But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.” (Job 23:10, NIV).

In the book of Job we read of a righteous man who faced uncertainty, terrible hardship, and utter despair. Each one of us shall also face a hardship that will shake us to the core. Crying out in our despair we ache to hear from God and to hear His promise of relief from the pain. The truth is that He does hear our cry and speak His promise, but so often our pain gets in the way. James writes that we are to “consider it pure joy” when we go through trials because those trials have the potential to produce faith (James 1:2-4). When faced with hardship do we look for the positive aspect which creates greater faith? Sometimes an overwhelming hardship hangs on until the point where we believe we are going under. At that moment we long to know that one day that hardship will end―one day we will have peace. Jesus told us we would have hardship in this world, but to hold on to the truth that He has overcome it (John 16:33). That is His promise.

“'Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?' says the Lord. “'Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?' says your God” (Isaiah 66:9, NIV). The Lord doesn't close up the womb, but with delivery comes His promise. The Lord brings delivery from our overwhelming hardship―in His perfect time. “Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son” (Isaiah 66:7). God protects us from the greatest pain we could experience at the time of delivery. He knows what we can handle and what we can't. He allows just enough hardship during our “pregnancy” to make us reach a little higher in trusting Him. But He protects from the hardship that would utterly destroy our growing faith. What we may consider the worst struggle in our “pregnancy” is not. He makes the delivery of our promise easier than we ever anticipate.  

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

God always knows where we are headed. He knows what is to come. He has not closed up the womb. We shall be delivered. He tests our faith to make it more resilient. In His refining process we are remade in Him―molded as He wishes. Victorious over what might have otherwise destroyed us, we will know that He has overcome our world with His peace. Like Job we shall come out as pure gold.

  Lynn Hampton Lacher


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Just You

Just You

“Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives” (Psalm 90:14, NLT).

I awake. As consciousness slowly replaces sleep your first morning touch grazes my cheek. I hear your gentle whisper drawing me. Your Word rises from within my heart encouraging and uplifting me. But without warning I remember the heartbreak I gave to you last night before sleeping. And the pain is there again—once more trying to claim my waking moments. But you are my strength and promise. You wait for me to give my heartache to you again. I plead for you to take it, Lord. My thoughts begin to settle as my mind focuses upon you. Instead of my heartbreak I remember your faithfulness through so many other days and nights. I remember your strength and power for all that has passed through the years. You are ready to lift this struggle from my heart. Suddenly you are upon me. Suddenly you are within me restoring joy. You overcome the ebb and flow of my uncertain mind with your quietening peace. I can breathe! There is only you. No thought that tears my heart. No worry of what might come. No circumstance to be fixed. No purpose to fulfill. Nothing but your heart beating from within mine. Nothing but you praying from within me. And in this moment with your heart pulsing within mine, all is right because you have overcome the uncertainty of my world. I know your unfailing love. You have become all I need not only for this moment, but for whatever lies ahead.

   Lynn Hampton Lacher

    

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Be Refreshed


 
"He grants sleep to those he loves” (Psalm 127:2b, NIV).


In the night time hours I watch you sleep. I am with you. Your mind is finally at peace from the struggle of your conscious moments. It has given up its fight to remember and process all the events of your day. There is no fear or worry or terror of the things you have finally allowed me to take from you. Some nights your sleep is troubled, and you can't release your worries to me. You toss and turn, and even have dreams that consume your heart and mind. But tonight you found peace in letting go of any attempt to analyze and control. You finally gave me your worries and concerns, and allowed me to handle what you were never created to handle. You finally released all the struggle to figure out the seasons of your life, and allowed my peace to claim your heart (Philippians 4:6-7).You no longer had to worry or be fearful. You received my perfect love which cast out all your fear (1 John 4:18). My presence guarded you and protected you. (Proverbs 2:8).


Waking or sleeping, I watch over you to guard you in all your ways (Psalm 91:11), but you do not know it or reap the peaceful reward of my control until you surrender. I grant sleep to those I love—not a fretful and anguished sleep, but sleep that refreshes and renews for the next day's struggles, events, and even joys (Psalm 127:2). In your conscious moments give me your fears. Give me your worries. Release all that consumes your mind and heart. I will take over. You may not realize it at first, but keep choosing to release all to me, and my peace will eventually claim all of your mind (Philippians 4:6-7). Let me be your last thought before sleeping. Keep your mind focused upon me as you close your eyes to rest (Isaiah 26:3). Give me your tired life. Give me your worries and your analyzing mind, and I will grant you the rest and peace that you need. Surrender control. I am your life, and I have designed your life for my best. Allow me to have all of you so you can receive all of me. When you fall asleep at night, your sleep will be one of release and refreshing in me.


Praise me. I am faithful. I will not leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:15). I am with you. Be not afraid. I have overcome your tumultuous world (John 16:33). When you lay down all your struggles of the day I am your renewing peace. You have me. Sleep in the loving rest of the gift of my life for yours, and awake tomorrow with my joy to live your day. When you are surrendered and at rest, I will impart my promises to you—just as I imparted promises to Jacob at Bethel. And you, like Jacob, will awake and proclaim, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn't even aware of it” (Genesis 28:16b, NLT). Renewing sleep is my gift, and in that rest you will receive something just as wonderful as Jacob received at Bethel. It is my never-ending promise that whispers through the memories of blessed rest, “I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go” (Genesis 28:15a, NLT). Awake refreshed to know that each day is the first day of the rest of your life, and you can do all things with the strength I bestow (Philippians 4:13).

   Lynn Hampton Lacher

    

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...