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Friday, December 29, 2017

His Success in Me


I want to be successful in living the life He has called me to live, but there are things that are necessary for me—things I need to strengthen in my life and things I need to cast out. I need to be disciplined and pruned for His purpose.

“Strip down, start running, and never quit!” the writer to the Hebrews declared. “No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins! Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls” (Hebrews 12:2–3, MSG)!

My success comes from how God is able to succeed in me and what He is able to accomplish in and through me. I discover His success through surrendering my will to His will for my life. I discover His power when I realize that my power is not really able to achieve anything. If I want to make a difference in the lives of other people—to discover how the love of Christ will change their lives—I must first allow Him to be successful in my life.

Just think about it! Power to conquer my failures! Power to conquer my demons! His power changes what I perceive as a failure to understand how He can use it for His purpose. His power silences the voices of my personal demons that speak defeat. He gives me the ability to rise above my doubts and fears. But I must surrender and “strip down, start running, and never quit.” He promises to be successful in me when I live very closely to Him, and He abides daily in me because I abide in Him. If I persevere to do His will, I will receive His promise of success. My success will then be His success.

Success may come in lives that are changed by His love, but it also comes in ways the world does not consider success and very rarely even recognizes. Success is at its greatest in sacrifice and obedience. It is in the moment when I sacrifice my desires for His that His sacrifice on the cross becomes alive in me. I hunger for His purpose. Obedience to Him becomes more important than anything else. And with that surrender, His success is achieved in my life. His purpose becomes mine.

The world does not see success in surrender. The world judges according to its own desires, but God judges with a heart that gave His Son for me. The Lord understands the power of surrender. It is a daily labor of setting my own desires aside and allowing Him to work in me. He plants himself in my life and daily prunes me until I bear fruit. As I surrender to His lesson, I bear the fruit of His success in what I accomplish.

The secret to my success is surrendering my own plans, desires, purpose, ideas, and needs. Surrendering to Him is a promise of success that is better than any I might imagine. Success is Christ alive in me! I will keep my eyes of Jesus and learn how He finished His own race. I will persevere in spite of all odds. When I find myself wavering, I will remember how Jesus faced obstacles that I will never have to face. I will remember how He laid down His life to set me free from sin and failure. I will remember how He held on for His ultimate reward. Am I ready to surrender to succeed? Time will tell.

(Devotion from Form Me, Fire Me, Fill Me)

Copyright 2017 Lynn Lacher


www.lynnlacher.com

Thursday, December 28, 2017

In Quietness and Trust


Have you ever faced something evil that has been said about you—something that is not true—something another person has misunderstood and not even asked you about?  Perhaps you have been the recipient of misunderstanding trying to help another person, and the enemy has twisted your motives. Your relationships with others is where you express the love of God in your life. It is also where misunderstanding and sometimes blatant evil put those relationships at risk. In Psalm 37:1-11, the Lord steers you safely through troubled waters, and offers direction to handle whatever comes against you.

“Do not fret because of those who are evil
    or be envious of those who do wrong;
 for like the grass they will soon wither,
    like green plants they will soon die away.
“Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.
“Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.
“Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.
“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
    do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
    but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
“A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
    though you look for them, they will not be found.
But the meek will inherit the land
    and enjoy peace and prosperity” (Psalm 137:1-11 NIV).

The meek will inherit the land. The meek will receive what is meant to be theirs. Those who are humble in the Lord will receive their promise. No matter what evil they might see around them, it will one day be as nothing. What a promise. But you must have a humble spirit for it to be true. You must have a heart that seeks God instead of focuses on what you are unable to change. In these verses David outlines exactly what should be true in your life to inherit this promise.

David writes that you are not to fret. Don't worry. Trust in Him. Be assured of His faithfulness no matter what you see. Dwell in the land, and stop finding fault. Be content. Make commitments to Him. Put down roots and discover that He cares for His own. Delight in Him. Praise Him, and look for the good that He has planted in your life. And He will give you the desires of your heart.

If you commit your life to Him completely, He will vindicate you. No matter what you face or what might be said about you, He shall be your defender. You do not have to prove anything. He is your proof, and your promise. In quietness and trust you shall find your strength in Him (Isaiah 30:15). Be still and know that He your God. Wait for His promise instead of taking matters into your own hand. If you wait for Him your strength is renewed, and your peace is secured. What you see will not injure your heart. What you hear will not destroy you. What suddenly arises to destroy your peace will gain no entry, because you have committed your life to the Lord. You trust only in Him.

Commit each decision and action to Him. Trust Him, and He will take care of what you cannot. When you focus on Him, He becomes your reality instead of the deceptiveness of this world. Those who have misunderstood your heart will not steal your peace. Those who might believe the enemy’s accusations will not steal your joy. When the Lord is your truth and your purpose and your heart’s desire, nothing will prosper against you. In peace and spiritual prosperity, you will know with every fiber of your being that He is your God, and He is in control.

© Copyright 2017 Lynn Lacher

www.lynnlacher.com



         
         
         




Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Torrents of Blessings


Anyone who believes in me may come and drink!  For the Scriptures declare, “Rivers of Living water will flow from his heart.” —John 7:38 (NLT)

Who God is and what He has accomplished at Calvary, makes my life not about me. Jesus died so I might live for others. He loves me so I can love others unconditionally. He forgives me so I can forgive those who have hurt me. His loving grace is offered to everyone. Not just me. And now that I have received His love, I choose to allow it to flow freely through me so He can change the hearts of others. He calls me daily to be His unstoppable river of love.

“The river of the Spirit of God overcomes all obstacles,” Oswald Chambers shares in Diffusiveness of Life from My Utmost for His Highest. “Never get your eyes on the obstacle or on the difficulty. The obstacle is a matter of indifference to the river which will flow steadily through you if you remember to keep right at the Source. Never allow anything to come between yourself and Jesus Christ, no emotion, or experience; nothing must keep you from the one great sovereign Source.”

“Anyone who believes in me,” Jesus implores, “may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart’” (John 7:38, NLT). If I believe in Jesus, I have unhindered access to His living water. If I drink from His Source, I shall flow with His love. No obstacle or difficulty will hinder me.

“Think of the healing and far-flung rivers nursing themselves in our souls!” Oswald Chambers continues in Diffusiveness of Life. “God has been opening up marvelous truths to our minds, and every point He has opened up is an indication of the wider power of the river He will flow through us. If you believe in Jesus, you will find that God has nourished in you mighty torrents of blessing for others.”

I am called to live and flow with His love. When I am nourished and filled at the Source, I receive His unstoppable grace which overcomes any obstacle in its path. When God flows freely in my life, He flows from me into areas that I cannot even see. As I give myself away, I receive more and more from Him, and those who draw His living water shall receive the freedom of His grace with which He has blessed my life.

Is it possible for me to be such a torrent of blessing?  If He remains my source, out of my life streams of living water shall flow. It is His promise.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com




Tuesday, December 26, 2017

His Word Lasts


How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. —James 4:14 (NLT)

We are here only for a moment in time. Unable to understand what life will be like tomorrow, we become trapped in a fog either of our own making or circumstances beyond our control. “Fog”, in this verse, is a metaphor revealing the shortness of earthly life. But it does more than that. It also represents our inability to trust God. Often, when we can’t see clearly enough to take the next step, we become frozen in fear. We forget that whatever happens is like the morning fog. It is here awhile, and then it is gone. We don’t need to vacillate in a sea of doubt and despair. Encumbered by emotions which rage, we should remember that “the grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8, NLT).

 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth,” Isaiah penned great truth inspired by God. “They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.  It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it” (Isaiah 55:10-11, NLT).

Whatever your fog, He gives clarity in His Word. He is your guide. No matter what emotional distraught you battle, His Word accomplishes His peace when its truth becomes the foundation of your life (Philippians 4:6-7). You don’t know what tomorrow holds, so why worry about it? (Matthew 6:34)  Why be consumed with what “might be”? Instead, be consumed with His Word—His truth. It is your strength and sure foundation through the ebb and flow of earthly life. The Word of God anchors, and steers you home. Trust Him, and remember fog—whether physical or spiritual—always dissipates.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher

www.lynnlacher.com

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Anticipation of Your Promise


Luke 1:5-25

Like Zechariah don't miss the anticipation of your promise. The angel Gabriel told him he would be a father, and he didn't believe it. Everything in the natural realm told him that for him and Elizabeth to have a child would be a total impossibility. Zechariah paid for that lack of faith. The promise would still come true, but he lost something valuable—the joy of the anticipation of His promise—the expectation of something that was coming that needed to be shared and spoken. He lost the ability to speak. He lost the anticipation of the promise to come.

Elizabeth and Mary were both expectant with their promises! Be expectant with yours. Have faith to believe in the impossible. Enjoy your time of waiting for your promise knowing that God is doing a miraculous thing in you. Persevere and do His will, and believe the promise will come (Hebrews 10:35-36). All things are possible with God, and it is always in His timing.

Elizabeth and Mary felt the promises within them growing and maturing. They knew the joy of expectation. Enjoy your time of waiting. It can be almost as joyful as the arrival of the promise itself. God's promise to you is just as real. But don't focus on just the time that it will come. You will lose the joy of expectation in the waiting.

Copyright 2017 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com


Friday, December 22, 2017

Give Him You


“Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart. Make me walk along the path of your commands for that is where my happiness is found” (Psalm 119:34-35, NLT).

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was called to a great work. The angel, Gabriel, came to her and said, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Mary trembled at the news, but she replied, “I am the Lord's servant.” (Luke 1:36-38). Do you realize, like Mary, you are also called to fulfill a purpose?

Mary had a heart to obey. She never walked away from God's calling. Don't walk away from what God has called you to do for the sake of time or personal need or even fear. The desire of His heart is for you to know Him completely, to be fulfilled in your calling, to have a pliable heart, to know the power of His presence, and to receive what He has promised. The promise is realized when you allow Him to work in your life, and give Him the gift of a surrendered and obedient heart.

Have you let go of the precious gift of His calling for the sake of your own personal need or because of fear? Long ago I did. There was no joy in placing my desire before His calling. At the time my decision seemed so right, because my need seemed so great, but I learned later I had lost so much of what He had promised. And my greatest loss was in failing Him. I lost so much believing I was making the best decision, when all He wanted was for me to allow Him to be in control. He just wanted my obedient heart. He longed for me to trust Him to bring about what He had promised. And what it cost was the loss of His purpose and presence. Never again will I turn from His will for my life.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV). Mary realized the omnipotence of a great God, and the importance of what He asked. She realized that He was higher in every way than she could ever be, that His purpose and vision in every way surpassed her own. If He has promised you something allow Him to bring it to pass in His time. His vision is sometimes beyond your human understanding and comprehension, but trust Him for His promise. He will give you a heart of understanding. If you will obey His instructions–following the path He has created just for you, you will discover a happiness you never thought possible.

Jesus is the reason for this wonderful season. Christ was born for you and me, and He died for us. His gift came at the greatest cost—His pure life for our sinful one─His unconditional love for our rejection─His pain for our stubbornness. And what will it cost us? A repentant, and obedient heart. His will instead of our own. Give Him the gift of a surrendered and obedient heart this Christmas. Give Him all of you.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher

www.lynnlacher.com

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Once Lost Now Found


For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.
—Luke 15:24a (NIV)

Where am I?  Who are you? What are you doing to me? I’m scared of you—of what you want from me. Why are you talking so loud to me? I can hear you. You are upset with me. What have I done? I can’t see anything around me very well. I reach for things my hands can’t find. I don’t know what is real and what isn’t. I’m lost, and can’t find my way home.

I sit beside you, Daddy, and wonder if these are some of the thoughts in your mind. I don’t know where you are right now, but I know that, even if we can’t go with you, you are not alone. Your Lord is with you in this disease that robs you of who you have always been. Last night, Daddy, you fought those trying to help you. You didn’t know who was touching you—moving you—trying to care for you. You only knew you were terribly afraid of what you could not understand. You, my gentle father, struggles to live in a world beyond your understanding.

You always sang your faith, Daddy. So many times I remember sitting at your computer and listening to the worship songs you had put into it so you could practice your part. Your face would light up as you sang about His love and grace. Sometimes I would sing with you, and you would turn to me and say, “I don’t understand how people can’t believe He is Lord.” And we would sing, and that little grin would unexpectedly light up your face and tug at my heart.

I may feel you are lost to us, but you are not lost to Him. In God’s reality, what was dead is now alive again. As you die to us and all that is in our world, you are held more closely by Him. You are His son, and He has found you in this place where we cannot go. I want to remind you He is with you, so I sing “He is Lord”.  Your limp hand stirs in mine. Your eyes are closed, but your lips quietly move. You know—you know that He is with you.

“Oh Lord,” Mama used to sing, “I can't even walk without you holding my hand. The mountains too high and the valleys too wide. Down on my knees that's where I learned to stand. Oh Lord, I can't even walk without you holding my hand.” It is on my knees where I learn how to stand. He is not only holding your hand, Daddy. He also holds mine and walks with me. Our worlds are not the same right now, and will never be again, but He is with us in both—loving, guiding, and carrying us safely toward home. Once lost. Now found.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

He Became Personal


But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. —Isaiah 53:5-6 (NIV)

Many know the sadness of a lonely Christmas. For others Christmas is a time of joyous celebration. But how often, when we celebrate His birth, do we dwell on the reason He was born? If we did, perhaps the gift of His life would change our hearts. God became personal when Jesus came into the world. God, who was not human, became human for us. He, who was born an innocent child, knew no sin. He came into the world to take our sin upon himself so that we might have abundant life now, and eternal life forever.

The gift of His life at Calvary is what offers us a personal God, but it is our “yes” in absolute surrender, that gives us a personal relationship with Him. It is the only thing which really makes God personal. He, who knew no sin, became sin in order that each person could be set free from sin's control. God laid on Jesus Christ all of our sins, and He took them to the cross for you and for me. You can't get much more personal than that. He gave his life and bore our sins so we might be healed and made whole. Such love calls for a response from you and me. We can't ignore such a sacrifice. We either accept it or reject it. If we accept it and surrender to Him, we discover the incredible depth of His love that surrendered everything for us. If we reject it, we lose the greatest love ever offered.

What is your response? What is mine? Do we allow Him just a little of ourselves, and reserve our total commitment? We want to approach Him. We want to come boldly before Him in our time of need, but we don’t want to give our own absolute surrender. Perhaps we want to hold on to a gift or even a calling, but He asks us to lay everything down for His sake—just as He laid all down for ours. Sometimes we must lose the gift or the calling or whatever is important to understand that those things are not what really matter. He is what really matters. He is what is important.

If we say “no” to the gift of His life, we lose everything. But if we lay down all that we have been and all that we are, and place Him above everything else, we discover a personal God beyond human imagination. No one has a greater love than that he gives his life for someone else. When we know in our hearts that this innocent child was born to love—to forgive—and to save us, Christmas becomes real. None of us need ever be lonely again. This was the greatest and will always be the greatest love story ever told.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Ask


This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 
1 John 5:14-15 (NIV)

What is the desire of your heart this Christmas? If whatever you desire is in His will, He hears your request. He knows exactly what it is, and has your provision ready. You can rest assured that He has the best answer for whatever your need. Have confidence in approaching Him. Ask in faith believing that He will answer. Trust His love for you. Trust His faithfulness to you. Bring to Him your desire knowing that to lay it on the altar means His help in your time of need (Hebrews 4:16). His desire is to supply what you need, but you must ask, believing that He will supply what is best for you. Faith is the key that unlocks the door, but faith only grows stronger in intimate contact with Him. To know Him intimately means you understand His will for your life, and that it is more important than anything else. A heart that is sold out to God has the faith to believe that He can move mountains. Let Him own your heart, and “do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6, NIV).

Ask in faith confidently believing He will supply your request. He will never forsake or fail you.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher

www.lynnlacher.com

Monday, December 18, 2017

Feast and Be Filled


Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled.
—Luke 6:21a (NKJV)

On Christmas Day you are usually too excited opening presents to eat very much in the morning. You also may not have eaten much in anticipation of what you are going to be offered for your holiday meal. You have waited expectantly for that feast, and you can't wait to be filled with it riches. This is just an earthly feast. Its riches do not last. It is there at one moment filling you to overflowing, and then leaving you hungry the next. You have partaken of its earthly bounty, but it has offered no lasting sustenance. Its riches have left you deflated and without purpose. You are empty once more. Like Esau you have filled yourself with the immediate satisfaction of a rich blessing, but unlike Esau, you do not have to miss the promise of a lasting one.

Jesus' feast is like no earthly one. He prepares a table of spiritual riches that satisfies the deepest spiritual void in your life. His feast isn't devoured in an instant and then gone the next. His feast is everlasting, and the richness of its offering is constant. When you come spiritually hunger to His table for the spiritual feast he has prepared for you, your emptiness is satisfied. Sometimes you come in desperation. Feasting hungrily on His riches, you discover sustenance and help for your time of need. Other times you come with a deep hunger for the life-changing richness that offers joy and peace no matter what you earthly circumstance. Other times you come to just bask in the richness of His glory. But you come. You ingest the richness of His truth, and its nutrition fuels and nurtures your life. Each morsel of His love fills you with what earthly riches could never give. You feast on the unshakeable Kingdom of God―His feast that never ends.

This Christmas come hungry to His table. Feast upon His bounty and grace. Feast upon His purpose and promise in His Word. Feast upon His presence. Feast upon His forgiveness. Feast upon the One who created you and delights in you. Feast upon the amazing gift of His life given in unconditional love so that you might partake of all He has for you. Feast upon the Father who calls you His child. If you are in Christ, God looks at you and says “You are my beloved son. You are my beloved daughter. Come and be filled. Feast and never hunger again.”

It is His promise.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher

www.lynnlacher.com

Friday, December 15, 2017

Greater Than


When you believe that you can’t handle any more of life’s pressure, you discover something beyond your aching heart. With His strength, you find that nothing is impossible with God. With His grace, you can handle what otherwise would destroy you. You can face heart-wrenching pain, and still calmly and carefully move forward in His purpose. Does it feel good? Of course, it doesn’t feel good. But life is not about how you feel. It is about His truth for your life, and discovering His potential. Allowing Him to develop good character traits, you will lack nothing. What might have been a struggle shall become a springboard to greater spiritual maturity. What might have destroyed, shall only draw you closer to His Word and His promise that He will never leave or forsake you.

          “Make every effort,” Peter wrote, “to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For 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 1:5-8, NIV).

 Peter experienced failure and then Christ’s forgiveness. He experienced the lowest heartbreak that denial brings, and then the highest joy the Holy Spirit imparts.  But as he walked through the difficult years of sharing his faith, he learned God’s purpose in every trial. Feelings were fleeting, but the truth of God was unwavering and constant. Commitment to his calling was steadfast because the trials of life taught him. If goodness always increased—if knowledge continually grew—if self-control was consistently applied— if perseverance constantly anchored him, Peter would be effective and productive in his faith. The work of his hands, born of faith and not of self, would flourish in God’s purpose.

What does God which to bring forth in you?  What right now in your life is trying to defeat you?  Look at what you face in a different light. It is not meant to defeat, but to inspire victory.  You are made virtuous and righteous by His loving grace. Make every effort to allow Him to develop you, and you will discover something you might otherwise have missed. Greater is God in you than anything else in this world.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com

               

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Wake Up!


You don’t have to make a point for others to understand. God knows the truth. You don’t need to have the answer in all circumstances. You can’t. Only He can. You don’t have to struggle any more against those feelings of hurt and despair. He has already struggled and won. You don’t have to harbor bitterness and rejection. He faced the greatest rejection and bitterness was defeated. You don’t need to analyze again and again why you can’t forgive. You know why. It has become your comfort. Your purpose. The reason you exist. You are held captive.

Wake up, wake up, O Zion!
Clothe yourself with strength.
Put on your beautiful clothes, O holy city of Jerusalem,
for unclean and godless people will enter your gates no longer.
Rise from the dust, O Jerusalem.
Sit in a place of honor.
Remove the chains of slavery from your neck,
O captive daughter of Zion.  —Isaiah 52:1-2 (NLT)

Oh, captive son and daughter, remove the chains of bitterness—of anger—of rejection! Yes, remove the chains of slavery from your neck! Rise from the dust, and clothe yourself in His love. Wake up! Forgive, and be free!

©2017 Lynn Lacher

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Joyful Praise

The joy of the Lord is your strength. —Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV)

“I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart!” Do you remember the words to the song? Joy was exquisite when you first gave your heart to Jesus, and praise just flowed from your heart!  Is your joy just as real now?  Do you still praise the Lord in personal worship or have the trials of life tarnished its luster?  The Lord desires your praise.  King David understood this when he wrote, “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music. Make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram's horn–shout for joy before the Lord, the King” (Psalm 98:4-6, NIV)!

No matter what His circumstance David realized his strength came from trust in the Lord’s provision. David knew how to release his attempt at any control. The very thought of the Lord’s faithfulness erupted from him in joyful praise!  “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song” (Psalm 28:7. NLT). David understood that strength and joy were reciprocal. “Through Jesus, therefore,” the writer to the Hebrews imparted, “let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name” (Hebrew 13:15, NIV). David understood that he needed to relinquish more than control of his own heart. He understood that in praising God no matter what his circumstance he would be strengthened with the joy of the Lord's power and provision. “I will declare your name to my people,” David declared. “In the assembly I will praise you. From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you, I will fulfill my vows” (Psalm 22:22,25, NIV). David knew that praise was his vow.

Centuries following David’s reign, Ezra, the priest, stood before what had once been an exiled and abandoned nation, but now a people who had been restored. He read the sacred law. “Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, ‘Amen! Amen!’ Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground” (Nehemiah 8:6, NIV).  Each Hebrew then wept because of God’s redeeming love in spite of their sin! They had been saved from Babylon and destruction. “Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, ‘this day is sacred to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep. Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord’” (Nehemiah 8:9a, 10a, NIV).

When we are forgiven, we are not meant to mourn over past sins. We are not meant to mourn over circumstances or troubles in life. He has restored us! “Consider it pure joy, my brothers,” James wrote, “whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2-3, NIV).  Trials are meant to produce the purest spiritual joy. Not diminish it. Strength grows from perseverance. Spiritual joy carries you through times of deepest despair and brings God’s strength to a troubled heart. Each day is a new day in Christ. Get up from your weeping and praise Jesus for saving you and taking care of you. Nehemiah reiterated what David had known to be true—that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10b)! Without joy we have no strength, and without God’s strength we have no joy.

“O for a thousand tongues to sing my great redeemer’s praise!” Charles Wesley wrote in one of his best known hymns. “The glories of my God and King! The triumphs of His grace!” Give thanks to God for handling your problems, and never take back the burden you have given Him. Spiritual joy will blossom through faith, and His strength shall sustain you. The fire of the Holy Spirit will draw your praise! When you have deeply experienced your great redeemer’s love—have known the glories of your God and King—have savored His victories, praise will be more than just a result. It will be your highest act of worship.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher

www.lynnlacher.com

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

BE AN OYSTER—NOT A PIG BY ANDREA HIGGINS



“You must not give holy things to dogs, nor must you throw your pearls before pigs—or they may trample them underfoot and turn and attack you” (Matthew 7:6, Phillips).

The Holy Spirit of God calls believers to act like oysters, not pigs. Pigs are creatures who have the ability to destroy holy, beautiful things. The oyster has the ability to take an annoyance—an agitation that he certainly could live without—and turn it into something beautiful.

"A person's wisdom yields patience; it is to one's glory to overlook an offense" (Proverbs 19:11, NIV).

When the offenses and agitations of regular everyday life come hurling at us, we have a choice! We can choose to be an oyster and turn them into something beautiful (we can do all things through Christ), or we can choose to be a pig and destroy what God calls holy and beautiful.

Which will you choose?

Copyright 2017 ANDREA HIGGINS

Monday, December 11, 2017

You Touched Me


Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
—Matthew 9:2021 (NIV)

Earlier, I almost touched your garment. You were as close as my next breath. Suddenly, the moment was gone. Why did I retreat? Lord, I need the closeness of your presence—that moment when you claim all of me. I have seen your glory in the sanctuary. I have known it in suffering and joy, and I know that is through pain that I discover your strength to stand strong.

In this moment, I need you to heal me. I realize pain can spur greater spiritual growth, but this pain has overwhelmed me. I need to sense that miraculous moment when you lift if from me. My soul stretches beyond my brokenness to reach for you. Finding the lifeline of your garment, I hold on tightly. And in that one act of faith, your life becomes my life. Flowing, healing, redeeming—your glory is within me. You are within me, praying my need. The pain that consumed my heart—my life—is no more! Pain, which had only promised death, has yielded to your life! I am free! No words can share the wonder of this gift. I touched the hem of your garment, and you touched me.

Form Me, Fire Me, Fill Me 
© 2017 Lynn Lacher



Friday, December 8, 2017

Trust


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. Instead, 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 131:1-2, NLT

Peace is where I find you, Lord. It is that place where I have a heart at rest—one that doesn’t seek recognition or approval. In you, Lord, I don’t have a front to maintain or a point to prove. I can be honest with myself and with others when I don’t have all the answers. Only you have. I can’t fix anything. Only you can. Like a weaned child, who has matured to the place where it no longer needs its mother’s milk, I allow you to be in control. I trust you to handle and take care of each problem. You sometimes direct me into places of hardship to take care of what you deem necessary, but it is through those times that I learn to lean more on the truth of your Word and less on the milk of what I feel. Your altar is always with me—a place of surrender that quietens my soul. And in my surrender, you carry me through or above any pain to victory. I make my life your choice, Lord, and whatever comes, I place my hope in you.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher

www.lynnlacher.com

Thursday, December 7, 2017

YOU MAKE ME RIGHT


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

As much as I want to be perfect in what I do, Lord, I can’t. Sometimes it seems the more I try, the more I fail. When I believe I have discovered all my mistakes, then I find more. I keep striving—trying to live up to a perfection that I can’t obtain. And then after trying to get it right, I find I have failed in my attempt again.

I don’t own any failure. It belongs to you. Everything I am belongs to you so my failure also belongs to you. I can’t keep that failure festering and hurting inside my heart until every sense of worth is destroyed. The “what ifs” I ask myself will only bind me to that failure. Being consumed with that failure only places my failure on a pedestal instead of placing it on your altar. It is my choice to make that failure an offering so that I can learn from it and not dwell on it. You understand where my failure began, and you alone can make it right. You always teach a lesson that will keep me from another failure. Seeking your will in every decision I make—committing that decision to you— Lord, you will establish the work of my hands. You will teach me a lesson that grows your purpose in my life and empowers that lesson with your anointing.


I will move forward trusting you. I rejoice in your promise of renewal. Praising you that I don’t own my failure, I discover that your plan is greater than any failure that I might make. Stepping forward from doubt caused by failure, and moving forward in faith, I shall find your peace. I commit to you all of me—the good and the less than perfect—the things that haven’t come together right, and I make my life an offering. You will make all right as you wish. 

Copyright 2017 Lynn Lacher

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Released


My heart is stretched, Lord. I did not think it could stretch any further, but it continues to stretch beyond what I believe is my limit. It is more resilient than I realize, and, if I had not faced this time of loss, stronger than I would have ever known. I could have stubbornly retreated and isolated myself from your love and the love of others you send to encourage me. But the mask would have been too hard to hold in place. The effort to hide from your love would have drowned me.

“I will give you a new heart,” you whisper each morning I awake to circumstances beyond my control. “I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart” (Ezekiel 36:26, NLT). There is no way I can hide from you, Holy Spirit. You find my breaking heart through walls of false protection. The fa├žade cracks—my stony heart melts into flesh. And this pain, which has isolated my heart, brings me to this place of surrender where I find you. I meet you—again and again, and in that deep place where your heart releases mine, I find freedom from all that wounds my heart.  Your joy becomes my strength. And life, instead of destroying me, becomes the catalyst that daily fires my soul.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Love Beyond Your Need

“He will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6b, NIV).

Christmas can be a lonely time for those who have lost a loved one. It can be a sad time for those who do not have a loving family. It can be a lonesome time for those who have no one in their lives to encourage them and offer hope. Even if you are in a loving church that brings joy to your life, Christmas can still be a sad time when those church friends gather with their own families. The season brings joy to so many, but it is also the time of year when so many feel alone.

If you are one who has a loving family and friends, then share your Christmas with others who don't. Open your heart to others who have no one this season. Love with the love He has given you. There is someone in your life who feels deserted. There is someone who needs a touch from a loving hand. There is someone who needs to not only hear the words “he will never leave you or forsake you,” but to experience them. If you are one who feels alone, remember the greatest promise that offers hope. You are never really alone. The Lord will never leave you. He will never forsake you or abandon you. When it seems the rest of the world is too busy for you, He is not. When your own family does not love like it should, He does. When you feel rejected, you are not. If you have asked Him into your heart, He is your Savior, and you are not alone.

Love beyond your need. Give because you, too, are needy. Whether you are alone or not, Jesus calls you to reach beyond yourself—to love others with His love that knew no boundaries. If you have any encouragement from knowing Jesus Christ—if you have any comfort from His love— reach out with tenderness and compassion. Do nothing out of selfishness. With humility place others above yourself, and love with the passion with which He loves you (Philippians 2:1-4). Give yourself away expecting nothing in return. Share your heart and experience the joy found in dying to self. Experience the promise of abundance in a heart that He alone fills. Never forsaken—never forgotten—never alone, you are fulfilled.

Copyright 2017 Lynn Hampton Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com
 Thank you for allowing me to share my heart with you, and for you sharing your heart with others. You are never alone.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Not About Me


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

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

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

I pray that He molds my life into one that is not about me. I pray that I always see with His eyes, hear with His ears, and understand with His Spirit in order to help others realize their potential in Him. I pray that I put another life before my own. I pray that I always love and encourage with His grace and truth. I pray that I never let go of believing in His promise for someone else. I pray that my life becomes broken and spilled out as He was broken and spilled out for me.

I want no masks that veil my heart. Revival of the heart never holds back. It is always seen in loving action. May I bring Him joy by encouraging with the love and grace He has brought to me.

—Form Me, Fire Me, Fill Me, page 151

© 2017 Lynn Lacher

Friday, December 1, 2017

He is Your Gift


          If you are someone who is alone this Christmas, I will tell you that I don’t know exactly what you are going through. I don’t understand what it means to be without a husband or family at Christmas. But I do understand loss. Mother is gone. Daddy is slowly fading away. I do understand how your heart breaks when those you love are gone from your life.

          Companies, like Hallmark, remind us again and again that Christmas is a time for love and for families—a time for sharing presents and home. Warm and cozy feelings are their goals—along with a hot cup of cocoa to soothe and renew our visions of sugar plum sweetness. Over and over again, we are reminded that what the retail world tells us is true. And loneliness is magnified. Loss becomes greater. Despair draws us in, and we feel abandoned—without hope in a world that has left us behind.

          Jesus was not born into a world of sugar plum sweetness. He was born in a lowly manger, with little comfort, because there was no room for him in the inn. He came alone, without fanfare, to offer himself to be our greatest love. He was born to give himself away with no expectation of a gift in return. His love was born to be freely given—never to be earned. He knew loneliness as we will never know loneliness. And His loneliness was offered at Calvary as His greatest gift so that we might know God’s fullness and joy no matter our circumstance or our pain. He is our answer for loneliness. He is the answer for our pain of loss.

          If you are alone, do not feel abandoned. You have not been left behind. Your Comforter has come so you can rest in His unselfish grace. His heart knows your loneliness. He knew it at Calvary, and for your pain—your loss—for your life, He gave all He had to give. His gift for you is His life. There is no greater love than that which came from innocence to love you through this season right into the next.

          Yes, loss is real, but He understands it in ways I never will—in ways you never will.  Do not strain to understand his grace. Your mind cannot receive what is meant to heal your heart. He is your gift.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher

www.lynnlacher.com

Thursday, November 30, 2017

For Just a Moment


You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. — Jeremiah 29:13 ( NIV)

Christmas is without you again, Daddy. You live another Christmas far away from us in your mind. You don’t realize where you are or what is happening to you. You don’t realize that you had only one year with your new bride. You don’t realize that Peggy, your youngest, has moved to Massachusetts from England. You don’t know the years are passing, and that you have not had a chance to help Peggy fix her new home, or a chance to enjoy the gift of a new marriage. You don’t know these things, but we do. We know what you have lost, and your loss breaks our hearts.

What can never be lost are the memories we hold close. The joy-filled scenes that we will never forget. We don’t know what you remember and what you don’t, but we know who you are. We know the example of commitment and unfailing love you always lived. You always taught that if we sought an answer, we would find it.

Daddy, I have taken that lesson and so many others with me all the days of my life. I never got the math you tried to teach me, but I got something else. You taught that once I have given my word that I’m committed, but also with that commitment must come wisdom to know how to deal with the inevitable struggles and pain of life. You always nourished my independent spirit, but also showed me how to submit it, when required, without losing myself. You taught me God’s love in each moment of pain, and in each moment that called for my surrender.

I sit beside you while you are sleeping. You will not wake up, and no one has been able to keep you awake all day. Your mind, no longer understanding simple directions, has retreated once more. It hurts terribly, and I suddenly yearn for God’s love to hold me. Then I remember your life lesson that if I seek an answer, I will find it.  If I seek God in this painful moment, I will find Him. So in the silence, I ask, and I hold your hand. And the peace of God, which passes my mind’s ability to understand, settles in my heart. Your hand stirs just a little within mine, and then is still again. For just a moment, you have known. For just a moment, you have remembered.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Reach for Him


For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. —Luke 2:11(KJV)

Unto us a child is born—but not just any child! He is a child born to save the world. He is a child born to save you and me. He is a child born to change our hearts. This child speaks hope where the world speaks discouragement. This child gives joy where the world offers despair. ”He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair” (Isaiah 61:3a, NLT).This child gives what the world can never give—peace in the heart of mankind.

Sin separates us from peace that our hearts long to know. Jesus Christ came into the world to lay down his life so we could experience the peace of His loving forgiveness and grace. His purpose was you, and it was me. He was not forced to give up His life, but He gave it freely without restraint. Because of His obedient and sacrificial love, sin was crucified at Calvary. Now we can go into the presence of an almighty God and find help in our times of need (Hebrews 4:16). There is hope in the midst of discouragement and despair. There is the promise of eternal life to come—and joy and peace now. Jesus’ name is the name above all other names. He is the one who is your answer.

Are you struggling with despair and hopelessness? This Christmas ask Him into your heart, and invite his presence to take what you were never created to handle. His peace which exceeds anything your mind can fathom will guard your heart and mind (Philippians 4:6-7). His joy will claim you. His purpose will guide you. His power will sustain you. His promise will fill you. He offers a beautiful life for the ashes of a burned-out one. He offers a life of joyous blessing and praise instead of a heart of despair. He offers hope and an abundant life. Just ask Him. Surrender what has separated you from His love. Surrender all that has burdened you. Give it all up. This Christmas reach for Him.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher

www.lynnlacher.com

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Daddy's Music

I look at you, Daddy, and remember you as you once were. You had such a brilliant mind, and such a committed heart. I still see the man in this article that was published in the fall of 1999, when the computer world was concerned that computers would crash at midnight on December 31st.  I still see your dedication and your loving commitment—perhaps not the same way as seen in this article, but I catch glimpses of Bud Hampton that remind me that all is not lost.
+++++++
DADDY’S MUSIC

Bud Hampton leans back in his office chair, arms crossed, staring at the computer monitor, nodding as each highlighted note advances across the screen, carefully listening for any mistakes in the bass section of  “Walk Along Beside Me, O My Lord.” His mouse suddenly clicks, adding the tenor to hear the effect. Satisfied, he introduces both the alto and soprano. The blend is more than harmony. It is perfect.

He brings a strong desire for excellence to this computer project.  It is the same desire he has exhibited his whole life—first as a farmer, later as a computer systems analyst.  The end result has always been something carefully completed. It is no different now that he is retired, and he has no way of knowing I find his dedication inspirational.  I’m allowed. He’s my father.

Thirty years ago, Daddy gave up farming to pursue computer programming.  Before Apple had ever stirred a Windows dream in Bill Gate’s mind, Daddy constructed a DOS BASIC program to help him learn his part for his church choir music.  One note at a time for his then tenor voice, the part played faintly through the small internal speaker of his IBM 286.  Vacation in Georgia always included his latest anthem entry. Throughout a technology-driven Microsoft revolution, he pursued his DOS BASIC entries.

Several years ago, my parents moved to Alabama to live near me. They joined St. Mark United Methodist Church in Anniston, and Daddy dutifully entered his singing part in his old computer. When I acquired a new Pentium in 1996, I offered my old Gateway 486 to my parents. With it came a Midisoft program, I’d never used. Daddy loved it. As new music was introduced to the choir, he entered it into the program. Hours every day were devoted to developing the soprano, alto, tenor, and bass parts for the church’s choir music.

Desiring Windows 98, he purchased a new Gateway system. Suffice it to say that it was loaded and ready to spring into action. The old Midisoft program had to be upgraded for the new operating system. Daddy donated his old 486 to the church—and continued to put each choir selection into the computer with instructions on how to use the system. Now any choir member could learn his or her part, add another part to try out that combination, or listen to himself or herself singing with accompaniment.

Even if Bud Hampton wasn’t my father, I’d find this daily contribution to a church choir encouraging. He is one of the sought-after COBOL programmers. He could have given his choir music up to debug legacy programs to make them Y2K compliant—and to make lots of money for himself—but that would have taken away from his project.

Here’s something to think about. Maybe you’re retired with time on your hands. Maybe you’re an at-home computer whiz and member of a church choir. Consider what a computer and a few hours a day in ministry might do. Bud Hampton finds it is just right.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher                        October/November 1999  Scroll Magazine
www.lynnlacher.com



Monday, November 27, 2017

With Great Joy


Christmas 2017. It is almost impossible to believe, but here we are. It is just around the corner. I remember the Christmas in 1968 Pat gave me my engagement ring. It seems like it just happened, but the years tell a different story. Grady was born in 1970. Tricia joined our family in 1972. And on we advanced through the decades with our two children now married, and grandchildren and a great-grandchild to bring joy. There have been so many life lessons to be learned throughout my 69 years. There have been joys, and there have been heart-wrenching times. Mama passed in 2013. Daddy is in memory care at Autumn Cove, and the sweet bride he married in 2015 suffers through the pain of loss with us.

Life has happened, and it continues to happen until the moment when I will be called home to be with the Lord. This Christmas I celebrate the gift of Christ’s life for mine. I celebrate His grace that fills me with love beyond what I can offer. I celebrate my family. Life is a beautiful gift we often squander or waste. Each moment is a chance to love with all our heart. That moment to love will never come again. Love those who are in your life. This Christmas celebrate life with your family because you never know how long you may have. Celebrate the gift you have been so graciously given. It came at the greatest cost.

Now I pray “to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy”—I pray you will allow Him to fill your heart and make this Christmas one you will remember with great joy. His joy will carry you through life’s heartaches, and, one day, straight into eternity with Him.
(Scripture—Jude 1:24, NLT)

© 2017 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com


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...