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Friday, June 30, 2017

Worth the Risk

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

Are you ever consumed by fear? Struggling with little hope? This verse in Isaiah promises you that even though you may feel afraid and deserted, you aren’t. You can’t trust your feelings. They will often betray you. But you can trust what God says in His Word. He won’t betray you. His truth is unchanging. He is the same today, yesterday, and forever.

You may feel afraid. “Don’t be afraid,” God declares, “because I am your God. I haven’t given you this feeling of fear. I’ve given you my power and love so you can have a sound mind.” You may feel evil battering you. “Nothing that rises to defeat you will prevail!” God says something that will cost you, but if you pay the price, you will discover greater faith. “Trust me—and don’t be afraid. If you feel weak, don’t give in to it! Move forward, and faith will meet you. You will discover my strength to carry you.”

Faith asks you to take a risk. It asks you to trust in something beyond your own understanding. It will cost you to trust in what you can’t see or feel. It will cost you to trust in God’s truth over fearful feelings. Faith is a decision. When faith is chosen over and over again—and you have continually acted upon it—feelings will fall in line with God’s truth. You will have trained your mind, your heart, and your very being to believe in God’s Word over what human emotion dictates. It is a battle to be won, and you can win it with your decision to trust Him and step out in faith. God promises to uphold and strengthen you.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5–6 NLT)

Never allow fear to keep you from stepping out in faith. With one step forward, you will discover His strength. Give God a sacrifice of praise. Praise Him for the promise that His truth is greater than how you feel. “Trust me,” He says. “Don’t worry because I am your God. I will strengthen you and uphold you. You’re never alone.”

If you move forward in faith and persevere to do His will, you will receive what He has promised. Don’t just think about what might happen if you walk in faith. Allow Him to show you He is worth the risk.

©2017 Lynn Lacher

Thursday, June 29, 2017

My Life for His Sake

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

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

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

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

Have I counted the cost of surrender, and placed myself completely in His Hands? Is my love for Christ greater than my love for anything or anyone else?  This call to obedience does not attract many, but for the one who does surrender and follow Him, the result of such a decision is guaranteed. If I will lose my life for Him, I will discover the infinite spiritual depth in my own soul (Matthew 16:24-25). God gives us the freedom to choose—to choose either the shallowness of personal desires or the reality of His fulfillment.

When you trade your life for His life, you discover your true identity. Having searched all your life for fulfillment, you find the pearl of greatest price, and you give your very life in order to possess it (Mathew 13: 45-46). “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me” (Psalm 42:7, NIV). The unfathomable depth of the Spirit of God calls out to that which we do not yet know ourselves to be. Do I hear?  Do you? Do we accept? Are we willing?

©2017 Lynn Lacher

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wake Up!

You don’t have to make a point for others to understand. He 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 slavery from your neck! Rise from the dust, and clothe yourself in His love. Wake up! Forgive, and be free!

©2017 Lynn Lacher

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Heart Choice

What is a heart choice? It is whatever your attitude happens to be about a circumstance, another person, yourself, God, or anything in your life. It is whatever motivates your action. It is whether you approach each day with dread or with anticipation. John Wesley believed that sin resides in the attitude of the heart. It is your heart choice—your motivation or your attitude—which speaks of life or of death. Heart choices speak of who is really in charge of your life—of who is in control.

            Just before his death Moses spoke to the Israelites and instructed them to choose prosperity and life instead of destruction and death. They were poised on the brink of the Promised Land. “Love the Lord your God! Walk in His ways,” Moses pleaded. “Keep His command” (Deuteronomy 30:15)!  Moses spoke from his own failure to obey God. He would not see that land flowing with milk and honey. 

The Lord sets before His children the same command today.  Our promised land waits. In fact we can smell its fragrance and its promise, but it is just beyond our reach. “Choose life,” the Lord pleads, “the land is waiting for you to enter and possess it!” The ability to choose life rests within your heart.

“What I command you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach,” Moses instructed. “The Word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it!  Choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:11-14)!   The Word of God is alive and active. It is meant to reside within our hearts so that we might obey its instruction. Is it real in your heart?  Do you know it?

 “If your heart turns away and you are not obedient, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not receive what I have promised you” (Deuteronomy 30:18)!  The Lord wishes His children to keep their hearts and minds upon Him.  He yearns for us to reach our promised land!  Often we don’t consider the fact that the motivations and attitudes of our heart keep us from what God has promised us.

“Now choose life,” Moses pleads, “so that you and your children may live, and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life” (Deuteronomy 30:19b-20a).  Don't ever forget that if the Lord is your life, He has promised you great and wonderful things (Jeremiah 33:3). Many times our attitude keeps us from His promise. We not only miss the promise but His amazing peace (Philippians 4:6-7). “Believe in me instead of what you have always thought yourself to be!” the Lord proclaims. “Trade the positive for the negative and see blessing! You will have surrendered your life for mine. You will have given up curse for my blessing, death for my abundant life!

© 2017 Lynn Lacher

Holiness in the Fruit of Your Relationship with Jesus

  But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us ...