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Saturday, March 31, 2018

My Easter Promise



We died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. —Romans 6:4 (NLT)

I am free, Lord, because you cared more about me than you cared about yourself. You died for me—for my ugliness and my sin. I am new Lord, because you walked out of your tomb resurrected and restored. Freed from all the bondage of my failures, I can also can walk out of my own tomb, resurrected and restored from all that has claimed my life. No more hiding because of my failures and sins and weaknesses—I leave the old me in the tomb. That person is no more. She is gone. I rejoice in your freedom. I soar in your healing. I bask in your love that knew no limits. Once, your love was something I could never grasp, but now it pulses within each beat of my heart. You are now all which was once beyond me. Your Easter promise now lives within me.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com


Friday, March 30, 2018

The Same Power



The same power that rose Jesus from the grave
The same power that commands the dead to wake
Lives in us, lives in us. —Jeremy Camp

We sing this chorus in church, but do we really grasp its truth? We sing of the power of God that rose Jesus from the grave, but do we really understand its message? If He is Lord of our lives, the same power that lived in Jesus lives in us.

In the upper room the night before His crucifixion, Jesus comforts the disciples over His coming departure. He tells them that they should not be troubled. He is leaving to make a place for them in heaven. He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, but by accepting Him.

If you really know me,” Jesus declares, “you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:7, NIV). Philip, like many of us, can’t grasp what Jesus imparts, and demands, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us” (John 14:8, NIV).

Can you imagine Jesus’ sadness that Philip hasn’t realized what has been right before him? “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’” (John 14:9, NIV)?

“Believe me,” Jesus says, “when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:11-13, NIV).

We are so like Philip and just don’t get it. He is with us, but we don’t see. He is the evidence, but we don’t believe. Do we believe that He truly rose? Do we believe that by dying for us and taking our sins to the cross we are forgiven? Or do we live defeated lives not living in the same power that rose Jesus from the grave? Why do we not live the miracle of our faith? Why are we not on fire with His message of grace and forgiveness and love and power?

Today is Good Friday. In three days we celebrate His Resurrection. Do you grasp this? The same power that rose Jesus from the grave now gives you life. Rise up, Philip, and believe. “You may ask me for anything in my name,” Jesus imparts, “and I will do it” (John 14:4, NIV).

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV).

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Request



Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
I don’t have to beg God to hear the cry of my heart. I present my request to Him, believing and trusting that no matter what I lay before Him, He will answer. I know His answer is always best. But I know more than that. He will take care of anything that I release to Him. Just knowing that makes my heart thankful and peaceful. I don't have to be anxious because He is God. He loves me.
God already has provision for whatever need I lay on His altar. All I must do is ask with whatever faith I can supply, and He will supply beyond anything my limited mind can imagine. His supply takes my little mustard seed of faith, and brings a great harvest. He hears my prayer; He carries my burden, and He supplies my need. I’m assured of His never-changing love and provision for me.
"This is the confidence we have in approaching God,” John wrote. “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).
With this truth in mind “let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NIV).

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Need



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)

Life is like a mist. It is here at one moment and then gone the next. But while we are here on earth, we rush and plan and maneuver and control and try to fix everything until life exhausts us. Instead of enjoying the gift of life He has given, we clutter our lives with so many plans that we lose sight of a great truth that has the power to release us from our own expectations. “We can make our plans,” Proverbs states, “but the Lord determines our steps” (Proverbs 16:9, NLT). This explains our frustration. When we don’t allow Him to be in charge, we go astray. When life doesn’t go as we plan, frustration with all its baggage of envy and selfishness and impatience rules our hearts.

While I walked the dogs early this morning, I thought of all I needed to do within the next few weeks. I needed to do this, and I needed to do that. I needed to make lists. I needed to make progress. I needed.  I needed. Frustration quickly grew, and then I heard Him break through the stress of the moment. “I need you,” He whispered. “Don’t you need me? Look up.”

The eastern sky beckoned. Balanced on the edge of the horizon, the sun rose above the flaming clouds to calm my heart and settle my mind. “Allow me,” He whispered. “I will direct your steps.” His peace enveloped me. He was in control. There was nothing I had to fix—nothing I had to do.

Pippin strained on the leash wanting to forge ahead. Lacey lagged behind wanting to smell the grass. And I stood absolutely still. There was only the eastern sky. There was only His heart claiming me and setting me free to bask in His presence.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com



Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Smaller Purposes



Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.
—Romans 12:2 (NIV)

You love God with all your heart, mind, body, and soul. You live a surrendered and obedient life—one that seeks to please and honor the Lord. You seek Him every day through prayer and the Word. You seek His intimacy because, without Him, you are lost. You pray for others because if you don’t, you will fail Him. You are available when He needs you, and you reach out to those who need help. He gives you what to say when you need the words, and He is able to direct your steps. You constantly seek to be closer to Him and to be renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit. You belong to Him, yet in your mind, you are struggling to discover His great purpose for your life.

You have longed for a great purpose in your life that brings passion to your soul. You have cried out to God to know His perfect will. You know that if you are in His will, you shall be fulfilled. You have struggled to discover it. In your seeking, perhaps you have missed the fact that smaller purposes can make up a greater one. Perhaps smaller opportunities that God has sent your way have been overlooked in the search for that one great purpose. With that overlooked opportunity, you have missed the passion and fulfillment you have sought.

Being renewed in your mind means being changed in the way you think. Think differently about the little things that you do each day for Him. Don’t believe that you have failed Him because you haven’t perceived a great purpose. Live each day with expectancy that you shall be used by God. Ask Him for opportunities, and you shall receive. Discover the purpose of your day: to bring Him glory. Make yourself available with a joyful spirit. Discover your passion in what has been given for you to do now. With a yielded heart of surrender and a mind to receive the direction of His Spirit, you can test and approve each opportunity that a day presents. Set your hand to the plow for the day and plow your purpose. You can “commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans” (Proverbs 16:3 NIV). You shall be in His good, pleasing, and perfect will.

Remember that God does not consider any service small. If you seek and serve Him faithfully in what you consider the small things, you will one day learn just how big they really are. You shall know that you have found the great, passionate, and perfect will of God for your life.

Form Me, Fire Me, Fill Me
© 2017 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com


Monday, March 26, 2018

Aunt Leona



Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.
—Colossians 1:9 (NLT)

Aunt Leona, my grandfather’s sister was important in my life. Although I learned about God at home and in church, it was my great Aunt Leona that instilled in me a desire to really learn how to pray. It wasn't that my grandfather, Big Tom, or my grandmother, Gigi, didn’t talk to me about God. It wasn’t that my parents never shared Christ with me. They all did. Big Tom wrote songs and sang about it. Gigi had a spirit of giving. She probably gave me too many things. Daddy had a gentle spirit that with one look could reduce me to repentance. Mother read Bible stories and kept me in line by sending me to get my own stick when I needed to be punished. Each one was necessary. But Aunt Leona taught me something that has changed my life. She taught me about prayer.

 Aunt Leona kept me when I was two and three. Often each day would begin in the kitchen. She would place a huge pink crockery bowl in front of me on the table, fill it with hot water and Ivory Liquid. I'd stand in a chair. She'd hand me the egg beater, and I would turn and turn that handle until fluffy white froth poured over the edge of the bowl and streamed down on to the vinyl covered table. Laughing, she'd pick me up and hug me so tight. In the afternoon, just after lunch, she'd settle me down to rest, excuse herself to the front bedroom, and commence praying. How Aunt Leona prayed! I thought the ceiling might crash in! She cried; she sang; she rejoiced! When finished, she returned from her bedroom, face all aglow.

Her radiant face is what emerges in my mind. The joy in her eyes, although red and slightly swollen, revealed the fervency of her time in prayer. Hair tousled, apron askew, she'd smooth out the wrinkles, and I would crawl up on her lap for a Bible story. I heard about what she called "men of faith". At such as young age, I didn't really know what that meant or who they were, but her voice was soft and peaceful. It drew me into a safe cocoon. I began to desire the peace of that cocoon. I knew my Aunt Leona always brought it to me after her prayer times. As I got older I realized that I could bring it into my own life. 

Through the years I know that many have prayed for me. But I also know now that those times my Aunt Leona prayed, she was not only praying for things beyond my grasp. She was praying for me—a little girl— to one day be filled with the knowledge of God’s will through all the wisdom and understanding that He gives. She never stopped praying. Each time I hear the Holy Spirit and understand what He imparts, I know it is because my Aunt Leona cared enough to pray for me.

Who are you praying for? Don’t ever stop. God hears every prayer. They soar through the years, bringing about His purpose in the life of someone God has placed on your heart. They are never forgotten, but held by His love, to one day bring about His purpose in the life you have brought before Him. Perhaps, one day, I shall be an Aunt Leona, and others will find their purpose and their worth in the miracle of His grace. But that will never be realized if I don’t bring Him my prayers now.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com




Saturday, March 24, 2018

In Whatever Season



The friend I quote in this devotion is Andrea Higgins. Thursday she was married. Today is Thelma Copeland’s wedding day.  May the Lord rain His blessings on this new season of marriage in both their lives!

In Whatever Season

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
—Ecclesiastes 3:1–8 (KJV)

Life always presents a new season. One moment, you are in pain, and the next, you rejoice. One moment, you develop something new, and the next, it is gone. Whatever season of your life you are in, there is a purpose in it. Sometimes when you are going through a time that is hard, it is difficult to see yourself in a better season of life. Try to seek His purpose in whatever season of life you experience rather than pushing hurriedly through to the next. When you push and try to rush through that season too quickly, you miss what the Lord wishes to accomplish in your life. Each season the Lord imparts is given for His reason. The incredible value of the lessons learned can give greater faith to make it through all the difficult seasons of life. They can also give the greatest fulfillment in the seasons that bring abundant joy.

A friend of mine told me recently that she recognized a pattern in the way the Lord gives her scripture. Every other day or so, He gives her a harsh word—not to condemn her but to warn her to be cautious and to understand that things she faces, like trials or hardships, are all for a purpose. She smiled and said, “When He takes me to a scripture like that, the next day, He gives me a scripture on praise or love. No matter what happens, He wants our praise—and He still loves us!” She has grown to understand that life’s changing seasons will always present a new challenge. God is faithful through each one. He loves. He teaches. He corrects. He empowers. He imparts wisdom. He guides, and He brings you into the next season with more faith than you experienced in the last.

Praise Him no matter what season you are in. Learn what He wishes to impart. Rejoice in the lesson to be learned. It is just what you need. Apply it to your life. Allow God to take you where He wishes. Allow Him to mold your heart. The pain you may feel now will definitely be part of your joy later. Also, the joy you may feel now will carry you through any difficult season that lies ahead. Wherever you are, He is with you, guiding you from one season to the next. Give Him your hand. Trust the One who gave you this life to carry you safely and joyfully through it.

Form Me, Fire Me, Fill Me
© 2017 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com




Thursday, March 22, 2018

Goodbye Blessing



The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. 
—Numbers 6:24-26 (NKJV)

I remember your smile when I came in the door. It would start at the corner of your mouth and work its way up to your eyes lighting up your whole face. Your blue eyes would twinkle, and my heart would sing. Has it only been two months since you left?  It seems like forever since I’ve seen your smile. Now it spreads through my mind illuminating my thoughts. Unexpectedly I remember the benediction you would often sing when you were preparing to work on your choir music.

Your voice floods my mind. “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine upon you.” The New Living Translation reads, “May the Lord smile on you.” Just as you once smiled, your smile has now melded into His. My heart catches with the memory of your voice dropping to sing, “And give you peace.” This morning His peace is your benediction to me. Your goodbye blessing. But it will not always be goodbye. One day it will also be…hello.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

My Altar Waits



When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
—Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)


Through any distress and loss that you face, I am with you. The waters will not rise above the strength that only I bring forth in your life. Oppression will only strengthen and refine you. When you advance through the rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. I will be your haven—your safe harbor. Whatever your sorrow or pain, it will not last forever. Whatever your heartbreak or despair, it will be over one day. You will not be burned up. You will be refined as gold.


At my altar, you discover my peace. My peace comes when you repair the altar that has been waiting far too long. Oh child, it has been broken in stages! Have you believed you had more pressing needs than spending time with me?  Have you placed me last so often that now I seem too far beyond your reach? My altar is a place of sacrifice and obedience. It waits for you. It calls you. Oh, if only you had fallen upon my altar each day! It would not have taken this moment of crisis for you to realize your fragile state and that peace could be so elusive. But here you are, and in this moment, you realize you need me.


My altar always waits for you. It has never grown tired of your absence. The promise of my love and peace is still just as real. Fall upon your knees in absolute surrender. The anguish you know right now will soon anticipate my promise of peace. Come to me, and grasp my promise that “weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5b NLT).

© 2018 Lynn Lacher



Monday, March 19, 2018

Praise



Tucked within the folds of the last chapter of Hebrews is a thorny, but powerful verse. “Through Jesus,” the writer imparts, “let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise-—the fruit of lips that confess his name” (Hebrews 13:15, NIV).  It is thorny because it pricks us to surrender, and it is powerful because, when accomplished, greater faith is the product.

Praise comes easily when we have reached the top of the mountain. It is a different when the valley holds us captive. However, the command is still very clear. We are to praise God in the valley. How you respond in the valley speaks volumes about your relationship with the Lord. You don’t have to be a Christian giant in order to praise God when you’re in pain. Just your willingness to surrender speaks your heart’s condition. If you really read this verse you will discover that the actual way to achieve its instruction is revealed within the treasure of its wording.

Let’s look at what we are actually instructed to do. Offer God a sacrifice of praise. Your praise is to be an offering. An offering is a gift. It is not just offered as something that is expected, but as something that is given out of love.  If you truly have experienced the redeeming love of Jesus Christ, you love Him deeply, and long to return His love. A sacrifice of praise carries you forward from your initial salvation experience and teaches the sanctifying selfless love of Christ. “We also rejoice in our sufferings,” Paul writes in Romans, “because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4, NIV). We are instructed to offer a sacrifice of praise because we have the ability to grow spiritually from our suffering. From our growth, we learn hope. This is the kind of hope that fuels our faith.

We are also told in Hebrews that this sacrifice of praise shall be spoken. Praise cannot rest silently within our hearts. Unless it is spoken, it has no power to change us. When declared, praise shall truly be the fruit of our lips that confess His name. In Psalm 22, King David writes of his fear. “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me” (Psalm 22:14, NIV). Later in the same chapter, David writes of the power discovered in voicing praise to God. “I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. You, who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows” (Psalm 22:22-25, NIV).

Within Psalm 22:25 we are able to understand how David achieved his sacrifice of praise. His praise came from the Lord, and from a personal commitment to fulfill his vow. This statement reveals the way in which the command of Hebrews 13:15 may be attained. The Lord has His part, and we have ours. The Lord has faithfully rendered His part through the sacrifice of His son, Jesus Christ. Our ability to praise the Lord in times of suffering is the Lord’s gift to us. Our part is to render the gift back to Him, and that can only come from a personal commitment to fulfill our vow. It was only through God that David could offer praise, and it is only through Jesus that we are also able to speak of God’s faithfulness. When praise is spoken, greater faith becomes our reality. When we praise God continually in the midst of pain or discouragement or loneliness or failure or sadness, we are changed by the power He imparts through a sacrifice of praise.

Do you praise God in the valley?  If not, the direction in Hebrews 13:15 is obvious.  All it takes is your recognition of His gift to you, and a willing heart to offer a sacrifice of praise.  Faith is your reward, and your promise of things not seen.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com


Friday, March 16, 2018

I Choose You



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.
—Psalm 131:1 (NLT)


You call me to do things that seem beyond my strength and ability. I’m so thankful that, in times of weakness, you give me all that I need to accomplish your desire. Often what lies ahead overwhelms my heart, but your will is all that matters. Often others do not understand, and I feel stripped, alone, and vulnerable. It is in that moment that I realize that you are all I need. You were stripped of all support for me. Now you are my constant support and my constant strength. You carry me through fire with your joy still alive and strong. You carry me safely through deep waters that would drown me if you were not my anchor and shield. You are my strong and mighty tower that endures through every moment of life.

Lord, keep me from a prideful spirit. Keep me on your altar until my heart is so broken that it remains forever pliable in your hands. I don’t want to have my way, Lord. I want yours, and I seek it. I won’t be concerned over things that are too deeply complicated at this time for me to grasp. I know my life is only a small part of your greater plan. I trust you to take care of that which is beyond me. I let go of self that hinders and keeps me from greater reliance on you. I trust you over any perceived promise. I trust you over anything my human mind conceives. I love you, Lord, more than anything else. Thank you. You are God, and I am not. You are my Savior, and I am not. I never create or save. I pray to always be your available instrument, but, thankfully, I am free because I know that you are in control. Thank you for believing in me when I can’t believe in myself. I choose to believe who you are in me. Self is on the altar, and even though self wants to be picked up, I leave her there. And I choose you.

—Form Me, Fire Me, Fill Me
© 2017 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com



Thursday, March 15, 2018

Precious Faih



Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken. —Isaiah 28:16b (NLT)

He is a precious cornerstone—a prized and valuable foundation. There in Jerusalem, upon Mount Moriah where Abraham did not have to sacrifice his son, God sacrificed His. Upon Golgotha, Jesus accomplished His Father’s will. What He offered for me was priceless. It cost His life. And there, while God’s legions waited breathlessly for the moment, He finally died, splitting the veil of the temple and unleashing the power of God to change mankind.

Upon this rock, He builds my faith. Valued above all else, He is the reason for all I believe—all I am. He was tested and tried upon Calvary, and there He was victorious for me. He is the only sure foundation in which I trust—the only safe harbor in which I find refuge. The gift of His precious life calls for my response even though there is nothing He asks of me. His love was the purest love ever forged and resurrected. His love gave without regard. Without hesitation, He died to rescue me.

On that morning three days later, new life burst forth and claimed me! His grace set me free. Nothing else is truth, but Him. Nothing else is worthy to build upon, but Him. God placed this foundation stone in Jerusalem for me. I have precious faith and will never be shaken again. I believe.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

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. Speak life. Always life. Ask for my wisdom. I give it to you without hesitation. Speak wisely. My wisdom imparted to a hurting soul has the power to heal a broken heart and 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. Words of wisdom and truth endure forever. Words spoken without truthful and wise consideration last only for a moment. 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. 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.

—Form Me, Fire Me, Fill Me
© Lynn Lacher 2017
www.lynnlacher.com



Tuesday, March 13, 2018

My Shield and My Glory



But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain. I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me. I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side.   
—Psalm 3:3-6 NLT                     

You are my Savior, Lord, but there are times I have trouble laying “self” down. You long for me to know who I am in you. You know my potential. You yearn for me to stop striving, and allow you to develop me. Help me to lay myself down before you, Lord. Help me to surrender my needs—my thoughts—my desires—my preconceived notions—my expectations—my ideas—my beliefs—my likes—my dislikes—my heart—my mind—my whole being to your work in me.

I cannot shield myself. I cannot save myself. I cannot fix anything. I cannot be good enough. Striving to be good enough gets me nowhere. You have accomplished who I am on Calvary, but I need to allow it. Your purpose was accomplished. What has separated me from your glory has been ripped into shreds. Your altar waits. You wait for me to enter into your fullness of life. You wait to not only shield me from all dead attempts to change my life, but you wait for me to understand that you alone are my glory. You are the one who changes me—who molds me. You are the one who lifts me from destruction—who holds my head high above sin and self that wishes to destroy the potential waiting to be accomplished in me. I carry the capacity to be who you died for me to be. A new creature! I long to know this person! When I surrender to your work in me, you are the shield that protects me. You are my glory that holds my head high. You are the one who strengthens and empowers my life.

I cry out in surrender to you, and you answer me from your holy mountain. You are my glory and salvation—my Mount Zion. I give up the struggle to make myself new, and allow you make me new. And with that release comes your peace—your peace which my human mind cannot grasp on its own. You are in control. I lay down and sleep in your peace. I wake up in your safety, because you are my Savior. You have saved me by your grace, and not by my works. I am not afraid of anything that comes against me, because I have surrendered to your peace, your protection, and what you accomplish in me. I stand in your power. You are my shield. You are my glory.               

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com                                                                                                                                                                     

Monday, March 12, 2018

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, or 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, or do I find a way to just do enough? In my words or actions, I speak either encouragement or defeat to another person. I speak life or death to another heart.

As much as 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 His life where there has been death and to bless those who are downtrodden and hurting with the healing presence of Jesus Christ.

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

© 2017 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com

Friday, March 9, 2018

Costly Grace



Just what does it mean to follow Jesus?  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor, was only thirty-nine when he was executed as a member of an underground movement fighting to overthrow Hitler. “When Christ calls a man,” expressed Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship, “he bids him come and die.”

As a believer do you know that you are called?  Has God taken possession of you? Jesus calls each Christian to leave self behind, take up His cross, and follow Him (Luke 14:27). These requirements don’t attract a large number of followers, but for those who do follow, the result of such a decision is guaranteed.  “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:25, NIV).

“Cheap grace,” Bonhoeffer also wrote in The Cost of Discipleship, “is grace without discipleship; grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of using and spending it are infinite.”  If we refuse to follow Jesus, and allow His Truth to mold us, we make His grace on Calvary cheap. “Costly grace,” Bonhoeffer further wrote, “is the gospel which must be sought again and again. It is costly because it cost a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.”  Discipleship is Christ’s command, and it has a cost.

The 14th chapter of Luke tells the story of Jesus and His disciples walking to Jerusalem one day. Following behind them just on the sidelines and wanting to share in the excitement of Jesus’ ministry without making a commitment, is Bonhoeffer’s “cheap grace” crowd. Three times in Luke 14:25-33 Jesus addresses their motives. He reveals who cannot be His disciple—those who love family and their own desires more than Him, those who do not carry their cross and follow Him, and those who do not give up everything. In these verses, Jesus defines a disciple as one who believes that loyalty and love for Him is greater than any other relationship.

A disciple of Christ believes that carrying his own cross requires a commitment to obediently follow Jesus, to believe the truth of the Gospel, and to daily deny self. To give up everything doesn’t mean rejecting everything in your life. A disciple determines, as do the builder and king in Luke 14, exactly how much it will cost him to complete his work for Jesus, and whether or not he is willing to pay the price. So a true follower of Jesus counts the cost, and places himself completely under the guidance of the Master. His love for the Master outweighs all else in His life.  It is greater than His closest earthly relationship, and He is willing to give whatever it takes so others may know his Master. This is costly discipleship.

“Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me,” David rejoiced (Psalm 42:7, NIV). The unfathomable depth of the Spirit of God calls to the depth of the Holy Spirit within a man, and bids that man come. When the Holy Spirit is the caller, then it is the man surrendered to the Holy Spirit, who accepts. 

When my family lived in Nebraska many years ago, our young children followed behind me in heavy snowdrifts—each foot stepping into the footprint that I had just made. Jesus Christ calls through the snowdrifts of our lives, and offers a way to follow. Will we place our feet into His footprints? To walk as He walked and not be eternally lost in drifting desires and earthly loyalties? He has revealed His way, but each one of us must decide about the cost.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com
             




Thursday, March 8, 2018

Come Abandoned



Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
—Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

Come to Him stripped of pretense. Come abandoned. Come right where you are. Come with no preconceived notion. Come unmasked with nothing to prove, and find rest from the turmoil. Come with nothing but your brokenness. And when you place the mask you have tried to hold in place on His altar, you find Him waiting.

You thought you could do it alone, but He knows best. He accepts you and loves you right where you are. You can be real with Him. There is only you and Him. There is no image you have to keep. There is no mask you have to hold in place. There is no agenda that has to be met. There is no perfection that you need to maintain. Pride has kept you from being honest with Him and with yourself. He knew that there was nothing you could do—that His grace covers all—but He waited for you to realize it. You had to surrender so He could heal and restore.

At His altar—abandoned to Him—you are no longer in bondage to human expectation or acceptance. You are free in His grace to experience forgiveness without retribution—to receive peace without hesitation—to know joy without doubt. No longer burdened by self, you are surrendered to His purpose instead of your own. No longer rejected, you are accepted. What has overwhelmed is now seen from His perspective. He has taken your anxious thoughts from you, and now you are at rest. You are broken of self and restored in His power.

Hope is only discovered in His presence. Peace is only realized when you come abandoned to Him. Joy is only found when you daily let go what burdens your hesitant heart. Always come to His altar. Always surrender. Always lay yourself honestly before Him. Realize that His promise of power is only known when you come stripped of pretense and open to His purpose.  Once you experience the freedom in His grace, you shall come again and again. You shall never wish to be lost in your own weakness again.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

WHEN GLORY BREAKS THE MORNING



By Donna Shivers

When glory breaks the morning
Your sweetness fills the air
Such a sense of presence
Is prevalent everywhere.

My feeble mind can’t comprehend
The wonder of it all
Yet miracle of miracles
The sunset seems to call.

No mortal hand could every pen
No artist ever paint
The beauty that the dawning brings
A new day to awake.

How can there doubt in mind exists
Your existence dare to question
When everything in earth and heaven
Shouts your resurrection!

No poet can ever find the words
To tell of your true nature.
The nature that is yours
Oh, God, help us to perceive

To tell the world your message, Lord,
Oh help them to believe!


Copyright 2018 Donna Shivers

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Believe?



You want to believe, but have trouble? Remember doubting Thomas and what Jesus told him after he had placed his hand in Jesus’ wound?  “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me” (John 20:27-29, NLT).

Can you believe in Him without seeing? Can you believe His promises without seeing—can you believe without feeling—can you believe because you trust what His Word imparts? That is faith. “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1, NLT). Faith makes no sense to the mind that constantly seeks for earthly proof that is seen or felt. But to one who trusts in God’s truth and purpose, faith is its own perfect reality springing from constantly renewed hope. And faith is spiritual evidence. It is proof of what is real, but cannot be seen. It is proof of His reality that He has promised. It cannot be denied, because His grace has already accomplished spiritual proof.

“Then Jesus said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe’” (John 20:27b, NLT)! Look, Thomas, touch my wound, and believe. Don’t be without faith for one more minute. If you have to see and feel to believe, then touch my side, but blessed are those who believe without seeing or feeling.

“Don’t be without faith any longer,” the Lord beckons each one of us. “Believe in my grace—the gift of my life, and what it accomplished on Calvary. Believe, because I have risen.” Just as Thomas, if you have trouble believing, touch the wound in His side, and allow whatever “proof” you need to inspire you. Allow that wound to inspire your own journey of greater faith. Next time believe without touching, seeing, or feeling.  With all joy you will exclaim just as Thomas, “’my Lord and my God” (John 20:28, NLT)! And blessed you shall be for you shall have believed without seeing or feeling! You shall have believed because all the proof you needed was given when the debt of your sin was paid by a Savior who had none of His own.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com



Monday, March 5, 2018

Found



Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
—Proverbs 3:5 NLT

Long ago I struggled with things that tore my heart—thoughts that tormented and claimed my mind. I could get no clear direction. My faith was drowned in a turbulent sea of fear. Trust waited patiently to still my raging tide, and calm my soul. I heard faith calling to reach and believe—to believe beyond what I saw, heard, or felt. It offered peace and quiet, rest and restoration, but I held on to that fear which offered no solace. I declared I needed proof. I declared I needed to see, hear, and feel.

You beckoned me to step into the midst of that turbulence, and to choose faith—to declare that I trusted in your love for me. You who had given your life for me would not allow me to drown. You called, and I chose you. I stepped from the false security of my self-constructed identity into the sea that summoned. I reached for your hand instead of my own. And I saw you. I heard you. I understood you. I walked with you above the waves. It was not the sea that had been my fear. It had been the fear of letting go and losing me.

Instead of losing myself all those years ago, I found who I really was in you. And now there is still more to learn of who I am. There is more to see without seeing, hear without hearing, and to understand beyond my human constraint. There will always be a turbulence, but you will always be my safe harbor. There is nothing to fear—nothing—when you walk out of the tomb with me.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher



Saturday, March 3, 2018

In Me



There are no words to share the depth of what I experienced at Calvary and the tomb. There are just no words to convey my broken and then healed heart. He is pure love, unhindered with all the baggage we create. We make His grace so complicated. We project our own selfishness into His every purpose. Selfishness is the source of our grief of what we believe we have lost. But we have lost nothing. We are found.

That morning in the garden the tomb waited where they had laid His broken body. The gift of His life drew me without questioning the moment—without words—without any motive. His love drew me without regard to anyone’s opinion or verdict. He had offered His life demanding nothing in return. I stepped into His tomb, not realizing how the renewed gift of His love would rescue my besieged heart.

His grace met me there. Joy met me there. What I had known and believed in my mind, I now sensed and felt empowering my heart. I would have stayed in that empty tomb safe from the torment of human expectation and need, but that would have not been my purpose. I was called to take the freedom of this moment out of the tomb into a world hindered with sin, man’s expectation, and motive. The need to be free beyond the wall of this tomb was very great.

I stepped from the tomb into the light, and His Hand grasped mine. I was not alone. His message would live in me.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com


Friday, March 2, 2018

No More Tomb



The Place of the Skull lay right before me—your precious gift of sacrifice calling. “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they do.”  Your heart beat on that cross for me. Your love bled without price to melt the prison of my selfishness. I breathed your agony as you waited for release. Just before your heart ceased, I realized that the greatest promise was about to enfold this struggling world. With your last breath, it was finished. Love fulfilled its purpose. Grace met the rigid wall of my stubborn heart, and love called my name.

As I turned from the place you had died, new life beckoned. I knew this was not over. I couldn’t draw enough of you into my heart. You loved me with all you had to give, and now I yearned to love without reserve. You forgave, and now I longed to forgive without regard. The tomb waited where they laid your broken body. The gift of your life drew me without thought—without ulterior motive. It drew without regard to man’s opinion or his judgement. You had given pure love with nothing expected in return. And now I was drawn to your tomb to seek the unselfish love that gave life for my besieged heart.

My broken heart was called to come within the small opening. My shattered life was drawn into the tomb where yours had been placed. So I entered. You had escaped this tomb through the love you had given at the Place of the Skull. You were not here! You had risen! Your love had conquered the pain of my selfish heart, and your unrestrained grace had set me free to forgive as I had been forgiven. Grace had met the rigid wall of my selfishness, and melted my resistance. I could breathe.

I stepped from the tomb into the garden. Your hand lay upon my heart. There was no me. There was only release from the bounds of my own tomb. There was only your love so pure and flowing that only one word could explain. I could now forgive and love as I had been forgiven and loved. I was free.

© 2018 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...