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Monday, December 31, 2018

Believe!


         Amazed when Jesus had fed five-thousand men—let alone how many more women and children—the people exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!”  When Jesus realized that they wanted to declare Him as their king, He quietly slipped away. He knew it was the miraculous sign of multiplying the loaves and fishes that made the people want to proclaim allegiance to Him. For the wrong reason, they desired Him. 

         The next day the crowd, realizing that Jesus had gone, got into boats and went to Capernaum to look for Him. They found Him on the other side of the lake and wanted to know when He had arrived there.

         Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.” (John 6:26-27, NLT)

         The people had not really understood what He had done for them by multiplying the loaves and fishes. The outer man had been drawn by what they had seen—the inner man had been left unchanged by what they had experienced. He told them not to be concerned about things that perished like food. But to seek the eternal life that He alone could give them—to find the essential difference that He alone could make.

         They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?” (John 6:28, NLT)

         Still, they didn't understand what He had told them. Pride claimed their hearts

         Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:29, NLT)

         How often do we, like this crowd, make what Jesus explains difficult? How often do we focus on the outer miracle without considering the more important miracle of a changed heart? We work to perform God’s work. We hope we are good enough to please Him. We strive to be good enough to receive His approval and don’t understand that we have already received His approval at Calvary. What He did was finished there. All He desires is our heart’s allegiance. Not allegiance to what is here today and gone tomorrow, but loyalty to believe that He is the one God sent to change our hearts.

         What does He say to you? Exactly what He told the crowd that day. Just believe. Believe in His love, and allow it to melt and mold your heart. There is nothing you do to earn His approval. After all, He has the Father’s seal of approval. And by His love on Calvary, you now have His. 


© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com/2018/12/believe.html



Friday, December 28, 2018

Calmed


For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
–Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)


How does He calm your fears? With His love—the same love He revealed when He gave His life for you. His love is powerful—conquering sin and the grave. It is full of mercy—pardoning you from what you deserve. It is also abounding in grace—blessing you with what you don’t deserve. Jesus is bountiful with both mercy and grace. 

God is with you. Oh, it is even greater than that! Jesus lives in you—strengthening you for your battle. He is your mighty Savior, who joyfully takes delight in you. The enemy will tell you differently. Hold to what the Lord has shown you. His Word is truth. He has revealed it to you. Keep it safe in your heart, and allow it to transform your mind—allow it to change the way you think, feel, hear, and see. Be continually renewed by the Holy Spirit in the spirit of your mind.

When you step forward into the battle, you are not alone. The thing you now face is nothing in His power. He rejoices over you with singing. He delights in your faith. Your fear is calmed. You walk in His spirit. Nothing that tries to defeat you will succeed. Step forward into the battle. He has already won the war.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com/2018/12/calmed.html

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Handle with Care


You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
—Galatians 5:13 (NIV)

Dear Lord Jesus,

How can we praise you enough for your blessings?  Most of the time we focus on our own needs or what we haven’t seen accomplished.  You do a perfect work each day. Help us to understand it! Open our eyes so that we recognize not only your amazing work in our hearts but also in others. We pray for those who haven’t experienced your grace to be set free from illnesses which hang on—physical pain that weakens—emotional distress that wounds—despair that can lead to depression. Lord, we seek you to change us. We yearn for more of you—to surrender our rights—to become the potential that you see. All of these and more, we lay at your feet. Broken and spilled out, we come, Lord. You were broken and spilled out for us. Now healed by your love on Calvary, we lay down these needs upon your altar and rise to peace and victory in your presence. Fill us with your power, Holy Spirit, and with humility to handle each spiritual gift you impart with great wisdom. Guided by your care and discernment, your gifts heal a broken heart—encourage a struggling soul—raise a soul to walk in freedom. The potential is limitless. 

Keep us humble in your power, Lord Jesus. We can speak hope and life. We also can speak discouragement and despair. Our actions and reactions can either encourage healing or offer death. We are either a blessing or a curse to someone else. It is our choice to live a surrendered life—to honor another person’s heart more than our own. When we choose you, Lord, your Spirit is ours. You impart your life to us without reservation. But with the power you bestow, comes the responsibility to handle your spiritual gifts with respect and care—with grace and compassion.  When living your freedom, it can be so easy to indulge the flesh—suddenly to find that we are not surrendered to you but to our own desires. Keep up humble so we can be healed, filled, and empowered. Continually make our surrender your power. Never let us make it greater or less than your purpose. But always as you wish. 

Copyright © 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com/2018/12/handle-with-care.html

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A Gentle Spirit


Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. The Lord is near.                                                                                                                                           —Philippians 4:5 (AMP)


What makes up a gentle spirit? All that encompasses the grace of Jesus in your life! Unconditional love. Patience. Mercy. Compassion. Kindness. Calmness. Endurance. Humbleness. Forgiveness. Generosity. This list is endless when His grace has changed your life, and the Holy Spirit fills you with His power. Share these things, Paul writes. Live them. Breathe them. The Lord is close to you. Not just coming soon, but close to you now—living in you.

“The Holy Spirit,” Paul writes, “produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things” (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT).  Nothing can stand against the power of His grace guiding your life! When you have a gentle spirit, the power of the Holy Spirit controls you and gives you the strength to conquer self. All things are possible when the all-powerful God of grace is Lord of your life—when self has been denied and placed on the altar. 

Have you tried again and again to live these things and fallen flat? Self-reliance is often the issue—living on your own strength—putting yourself before the Lord—insisting on your own way. If you daily lay down your desires, you will learn the Lord honors your compliant spirit with not only the power of His gentleness but with His insight and wisdom. Never forget that He lives in you, but He can’t guide and direct your life if you don’t allow it. He may have shown you something that you know will change hearts, but it makes no difference when your own heart has become hardened by pride. Let your gentle spirit be known. He does the work when you let go and let Him bring forth His purpose. 

When His grace anchors your life, you have nothing to prove. You are free.


© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com/2018/12/a-gentle-spirit.html

Monday, December 24, 2018

Touch and Go


When Pat and I lived in Marietta, Georgia, we were not too far from McCollum Airport. We were also not far from my parents. A year before we moved to Nebraska, my father decided to fulfill a life-long dream at the age of 50. He wanted to learn how to fly. After leasing a plane for a while with two other men, they bought a small four-seater plane together. It was a Grumman American, and he loved it. 

         Vacations in Georgia included trips to McCollum Airport to see the plane, and also to fly above Cobb County spotting sights that we knew. For some reason, Daddy decided that I loved to “touch and go” with him—taking off, circling around, landing, speeding down the runway, taking off, over and over again. It was necessary for him to have this experience, and even though it was scary to me, I trusted him. Daddy was a very careful pilot. He never took off without conducting an extensive checklist of the plane and the equipment. Sometimes I would get slightly impatient with the extremely careful thoroughness of his life, but never with the inspection of the plane before take-off or with his spotting of places he might land the plane if there was an emergency.

         Through the years I’m sure he faced some experiences in the sky that were frightening. The two that I knew about were enough for me! One year he took off from St. George Island, Florida with Pat and our kids in the plane to fly the kids to visit Pat’s parents in Port Charlotte. The weather forecast had turned questionable on the day they left. Daddy was not one to take chances so I trusted his judgment. They made it, but Pat and the kids remember dodging storm clouds and surviving torrential rain. The next time I remember is in May of 1984. Pat had moved to Anniston, and I was still in Vicksburg, Mississippi, attempting to sell our house. Daddy flew to Vicksburg and picked up Grady, Patricia, and I and flew us to Marietta where Pat joined us for Mother’s Day. After a really good visit, Daddy loaded the three of us back in the plane to return to Vicksburg. When we got close to Jackson, Mississippi, he put on his headset to listen and communicate with the airport if necessary. The plane started making a rumbling noise. I got his attention and he took off his headset to listen. He couldn’t hear the sound. We were still about 50 miles from Vicksburg, and the sound was getting louder. I was surprised he couldn’t hear that roaring—even with his beginning hearing deficit. I pictured God’s hand under the plane carrying us on to Vicksburg. We landed safely, but the next day when Daddy was getting ready to take-off to return home, the engine in the plane blew. After this trip, he realized that hearing was becoming an issue, and the days of his flying began to dwindle.

         Why am I writing about Daddy’s flying?  Because I experienced something recently. It was like having a dream while being awake. Perhaps a vision. But it was something I could clearly see, and I don’t know if I can relate it in words. Before I try to share it, I would like you to know that when Daddy was in the air, flying became an almost spiritual experience for him. He became one with his plane—the sky—and God’s creation below him.


         Daddy sat in the cockpit and smiled at me in the passenger seat. He was young again with that dark hair and beautiful shining blue eyes. I had the impression that we had just landed, and that we had been doing “touch and go”.  I knew it was time for me to climb out of the plane, but I didn’t want to let him go. I knew the “touch and go” of his life was almost over. No more practicing to get it right. No more taking off and landing through life’s hard experiences. Suddenly he was alone in the plane. His hand raised to wave goodbye, and his smile took my breath away. He looked so free. That little plane raced down the runway and began to lift and lift through clouds toward heaven. But then I saw one thing that meant everything to me. God’s hand held that little plane safely—bringing Daddy home for his last outstanding flight.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com/2018/12/tough-and-go.html

         

Friday, December 21, 2018

God 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)

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 impact us more. 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” to His grace at work within us that gives a deep personal relationship with Him. His grace is the only thing that really makes God personal. He, who was blameless and without sin, took our sin so we could be free from sin's control. God placed upon Jesus Christ all of our sins, and Jesus took them to the cross for you and for me. You can't get much more personal than that. He unconditionally surrendered himself for mankind. He gave his life so we might be healed and made whole. Such love calls for a response. We can't ignore such an offering of unconditional love. We either accept it or reject it. If we allow it and surrender to Him, we discover the incredible depth of His grace. If we reject it, we turn from the greatest love ever offered.

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 have things we don’t want to 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 everything down for ours. Sometimes we must momentarily give up a gift or a calling or whatever is important to understand that those things are not necessary. He is what is essential. When He is first, then our gifts and calling are fired by His grace, and not by our pride. 

He was pierced and crushed for our sins. His punishment brings us peace. By His loving grace, we are healed. If we say “yes” to Him and place Him above everything else, we discover this personal God who loves unconditionally and without hesitation. We find a personal God beyond human imagination. When we know in our hearts that this innocent child was born just to save us, Christmas becomes more real than ever before. None of us need ever be lonely again. This was the greatest and will always be the greatest love story ever told.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com/2018/12/god-became-personal.html

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Self-Condemnation


So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.  And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
—Romans 8:1-2 (NLT)

Has His grace transformed your mind to the place where you realize that you are debt-free? If you have accepted Him into your heart, you have received His forgiveness. If you have repented and accepted His grace, you are forgiven. You can be honestly sorry without crippling feelings of guilt and self-condemnation. His power has freed you, and you can live in that freedom

Do you wear around a badge of guilt to prove you are forgiven? You do not have to show you are forgiven. Jesus knows what He has done for you. He died to set you free from condemnation. Don’t live in bondage to the sin for which you have repented and received His forgiveness. His grace paid the debt once and for all. You owe nothing because of His love. There is no greater love than His—that He would give His life for you. No other love sets you free from the law that was unable to save you.

“The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature,” Paul writes. “So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit” (Romans 8:3-4, NLT).

God did what the law could never accomplish! He sent His own son to deal with life in the flesh just as we have to deal with our own flesh. Through His sacrifice for us on Calvary, Jesus declared that sin no longer has control. He fully satisfied the requirement of the law because we were unable to meet it. Where we once were weak, He gives strength by the power of His Spirit to follow Him. We have been made righteous only by His loving grace. 

The grace of Jesus completed its work on Calvary. Sin and death were utterly defeated. The prerequisites of the law were completely fulfilled. You allow Him to complete the work in you so that you will understand what it means to be debt-free. If you are forgiven by Him, you are forgiven. There is joy in that truth! There is no guilt or condemnation you have to wear to prove it. If He sets you free, you are free. Stop wearing that badge. There is nothing to prove.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com/2018/12/self-condemnation.html

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Free to Be Yours


Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
—Psalm 103:1-3 (NIV)

Lord, you forgive all my sins, and you heal all my diseases. Your life given for me on Calvary was not a partial work. It was a complete work. When you cried out “it is finished”—in that one unselfish moment you took your last breath, sin was defeated. Illness was defeated. My human need to seek retribution—to be justified—was defeated. Human right was defeated. Your love on the cross was all about me. Yet your love on Calvary cries out for my love to not be about me. Your unselfish love has the power to set me free from my own selfishness.

You rose from death to life so that I also might rise to new life in you! If I am a part of your defeat of sin at Calvary, I am most certainly a part of your resurrected new life! Lord, there is no time in you. You see the full spectrum. I leave behind sin—past, present, and future—on the brazen altar of your sacrifice and enter the resurrected joy of your amazing grace! I praise you from the depths of my soul! I don’t need to have my own way. I don’t have a point to make. It is not about me. You are all that matters. I am forgiven! I can forgive! I am loved! I can love!

Holy Spirit, teach me what your finished work on Calvary means for my life. I leave my own thoughts, desires, and needs behind on that altar of sacrifice! You call me. I enter your presence, and you draw me close. Your heart beats with mine. You lavish the oil of your grace all over me. There is nothing else but your never-ending love. I am free to be yours.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com/2018/12/free-to-be-yours.html

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Receive and Believe


“Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the Lord. “Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?” says your God.
—Isaiah 66:9 (NIV)

God is faithful to deliver what He promises. He never assures you of something that He will not provide. Your pain might be greater right before the birth of your promise, but there is delivery from its grip. Don’t give up. He doesn’t bring you right up to the birth of your promise, and then says, “forget it.” No! Your promise has developed in you for a long time, and the time of its birth is upon you. No matter how hard the pain or difficult your journey, His promise of delivery gives great hope. Anticipate your promise just as Mary anticipated the birth of her son. God doesn’t bring to the point of delivery, and then close up the womb. He delivered Mary’s promise for you. Receive and believe!

©2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com/2018/12/receive-and-believe.html



Monday, December 17, 2018

Never Forsaken


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

Christmas can be a painful time for those who grieve a loss. It can be a sad time for those who are without a loving family. It can be a solitary time for those who have no one to encourage and offer them hope. Even if you are in a friendly 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 deserted and alone.

If you are someone who feels alone, you can experience acceptance and love that brings joy to your life. You have the promise of the very best family. You can have one who is closer than a brother or a sister. He is Jesus, your Savior. If you have asked Him into your heart, He is your family. 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, God isn't. When your own family doesn't love or accept you, He does. Your own father might have abandoned you, but Jesus never does. Your own father didn't choose you. You were born to be his child. God .chooses you to be His child. He wants to adopt you into His family, and give you all the benefits of His love. You are worthy of His love that died just for you. 

Perhaps you haven't really experienced this kind of love that loves you unconditionallythat looks beyond your hurt and pain and sees forgiveness changing your heart. The promise of this love is real and for the asking. Ask and reach out to Him. When you feel abandoned and rejected, you aren't. He accepts you. When you feel accused, you aren't. He declares you free of all charges. When you are depressed, He brings hope to your troubled mind. When you feel forsaken, He is your constant and abiding Savior. Give Him your broken heart, your troubled mind, and your lost life. When you cry out “heal me, Lord, and I will be healed—save me, and I will be saved," (Jeremiah 17:14, NIV), He pours healing of your soul and peace of spirit into your life. You will know you are not alone. 

If you are someone who has a loving family and friends, then share your Christmas with others who don't. Open your heart and share the love of Christ with others who have no one this season. Love with the love He has given you. There is someone in your life that feels alone. There is someone who needs a touch from a loving hand. There is someone who needs to experience the words “He will never leave you or forsake you.” Jesus extended mercy and grace to you. Extend His mercy and grace to those He brings into your life. Experience the joy of giving your life away for someone elseso that they might experience His love that sets them free.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com/2018/12/never-forsaken.html

Friday, December 14, 2018

No More Death


Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.
—1 Corinthians 1552-56 (NLT)


When the time for death approaches, passing from this life to the next can become a frightening thing to those who have not accepted Jesus’ forgiveness for their sins. But for those who have accepted His love and grace, death has no sting. It has no victory. Sin is the sting that brings death of the soul, but Jesus’ grace on Calvary gives eternal life. Death is swallowed up in His victory.

The law exposed sin, and with its exposure, sin gained power. The law gave sin control and the power to destroy. But Jesus, in just one act of unconditional love, destroyed guilt, sin and death for eternity. In one moment that changed the world, grace rendered the law helpless. To those who know His grace, the law’s requirements have no power. “Sin is no longer your master,” Paul wrote, “for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace” (Romans 6:14, NLT). True holiness of heart results from freedom in Jesus—not from the law which condemns and only offers death. Only Jesus gives abundant life here on earth, and eternal life in heaven.

This year my precious father passed peacefully from this life into the next. He made it very clear that he knew the joy in heaven that awaited him. Mary Thomas, a precious child of God, passed away on December 10th, my father’s birthday. She also knew the joy that awaited her. Do you know the joy that awaits you in Jesus? Not only in heaven, but here on earth?  You can never live up to impossible requirements that offer no hope. You can’t earn His love. And you really don’t deserve this kind of love that died for your freedom. But He gave His life for you anyway. He loved you. He chose you. He gives you the freedom to choose His love. He doesn’t demand it. He offers it unconditionally.

“I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,” Paul prayed, “the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (Ephesians 3:14-19, NLT).

Death, you have no sting. You have been swallowed up by His victory. Law, you have no power. Grace has fulfilled what only He could fulfill. 

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com/2018/12/no-more-death.html

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Giving

Giving

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
—Isaiah 58:6-7
         
Christmas is almost here. Many times we make Christmas about “us” when God wishes it to be about others. These verses in Isaiah instruct us to “fast” our own desires and to do whatever we can for those in pain and despair: to help those chained up in povertyto help those struggling to break the yoke of sinto share with those accused unjustlyto provide respite for those with no place of rest. We are called to give ourselves away, but for our giving to change us, our motives must be right. Both fasting and giving involve personal sacrifice. Fasting imparts spiritual vision to recognize a need. Giving not only makes a difference in the person who receives but the one who gives.  

“But when you give to the needy,” Jesus said, “do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:3-4, NIV).

Have you ever known someone who makes a public announcement following an act of kindness or giving a gift? He appears generous, but perhaps he yearns for the recognition his act brings. In bringing attention to himself, he demonstrates selfish giving instead of selfless giving from a humble heart. He hungers for the acceptance of man and doesn't consider that God wishes his hunger to be just for Him. Not only has this person missed the fact that giving in secret brings God’s reward; he misses another truth. When he quietly gives, he empties more than his pocketbook. He empties himself of the need for approval or acceptance. Giving without recognition is more than an acquired trait. In selfless giving, you spiritually receive a servant’s heart. Most importantly, you learn the greatest paradox of all―to die to self is to live unselfishly in Christ. If giving is to be life-changing to the giver, it is fueled by His grace.

Now read the promise in Isaiah 58:8-9a! “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: 'Here am I'” (Isaiah 58:6-8, NIV).

This is a season when needs are more evident. We have an opportunity to give ourselves away without the need for any recognition. Let's give quietly because He first loved us. Let's love with His love, and the promise of Isaiah 58:8-9 will break forth like the dawn. His love on Calvary was never about himself. It has always been and will always be unselfishly about us. His grace transforms and renews. Give unselfishly because that is what He did for you.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com/2018/12/giving.html

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

With Great Joy


Christmas 2018. It is almost impossible to believe, but here we are. It is just around the corner. I remember the Christmas in 1968 Pat placed an engagement ring on my finger. 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 married and grandchildren and a great-grandchild to bring joy. There have been many life lessons to be learned throughout my 70 years. There have been joys, and there have been heart-wrenching times. Mama passed away in 2013. Daddy passed away in January of this year. 

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 praise Him for 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 hearts. 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 His 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” (Jude 1:24, NIV). I pray you will allow His love to fill your heart and make this a Christmas you will remember with great joy. His grace will carry you through life’s heartaches, and, one day, straight into eternity with Him.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com/2018/12/with-great-joy.html

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

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 about 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 its 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 most profound 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 hungry 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—His creation. 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.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher


Monday, December 10, 2018

Just Believe


The angel said to her, “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. The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.  For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
—Luke 1:30, 31, 35-38 (NIV)


When Gabriel visited Mary he found a girl whose heart was full of faith and ready to believe God’s promise that she would conceive and give birth to the son of God. Elizabeth’s husband, Zacharias, the Priest, had also been visited by Gabriel and informed that his barren wife would have a baby. Zacharias was a man of the law, and supposedly attuned to God’s voice, but he had trouble believing God’s messenger (Luke 1:13-18). Compare Mary’s faith to that of Zacharias. When Gabriel explained how God would use her, Mary was humbled by God’s miraculous promise. She just believed. Mary, an ordinary village girl, had more faith to believe in the impossible than a priest who claimed to know God intimately. Zacharias’ faith had given way to pride.

Sometimes it is easier for a person fresh to the love of Jesus to exhibit greater faith to believe than a person with years of religious experience who has forgotten the miracle of his own changed heart. Mary’s innocent faith believed in the impossible. It was uncompromised by the religious attitudes of man or the human explanations of Pharisees. Her faith needed no explanation for Gabriel’s miraculous words. Mary did not analyze what she had heard. She did not ask Gabriel to give her time to consider what she had been told. She did not need to ask the opinion of someone else with more spiritual experience—like a Zacharias. 

Is your heart full of Mary’s kind of innocent faith or have years of a Zacharias’ kind of religious tradition dulled its luster? God desires your heart to be as Mary’s—easily moved by words of the Holy Spirit. God needs no explanation. He needs no human reasoning. He just needs you to believe when He speaks. Don’t be blinded like Zacharias. Just believe and cry out as Mary for His purpose to be fulfilled in you. No words from God will ever fail.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com/2018/12/just-believe.html
         

Friday, December 7, 2018

Trust His Heart


Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. 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. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. 
—Isaiah 43:1b-3 (NLT)

You know Him. Trust Him. Do not fear. You have been bought with the precious price of His life given without hesitation for you. You, who once faced the terrible result of your sin, no longer need to dwell in fear of it. Your ransom has been paid. You are no longer in debt. You are free in His love. Grace has claimed you. So when you go through turbulent times, you are never alone. He not only is with you. He carries you, and strengthens you. When life attempts to drown your hope, you will not drown. He rescues you from the whirlpools of strife that try to pull your under. When you are thrown into the fires of oppression, you will not be burned up, but made more resilient. You will be purified by the fire of what is beyond your control instead of consumed by its heat. Life’s hardships will not destroy what He has wrought in your life. 

This is what is true in your heart, but for it to be believed in your mind, you must internalize His Word—His Truth—until it claims your thoughts. His Word is not just something to be read again and again, and you just hope it claims your mind. You make a choice to dwell in His Word, and seek His Truth. You always appreciate what you dig out—not what is just dumped in your lap. For trust to blossom, you also choose to seek intimacy with Him—to decide to make the moments of each day His. When you surrender and choose to walk by faith, He empowers your choice. But, remember, when your resolve is tested, you do not give up. You hang on for the gold.

Don’t dwell on the negative of what you have believed. Dwell on what He says is true. Place all you have to give on that option. Hold nothing back. Keep nothing in reserve. You no longer go to an Old Testament God on Mount Sinai—one of fire and doom waiting to punish you for your sin. No! You have been redeemed by His love on Calvary. Your sin is forgiven, and you are covered by His love. It is accomplished, and what He has done for you on Calvary can never be taken from you. Grasp this! You now go to a New Covenant God of grace and love, who reaches to gather you to His heart. So go to Him. Because you are precious to Him, He honors you, and He loves you. Trust His heart. He places all His trust in you.

© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com/2018/12/trust-his-heart.html

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Lord, Forgive Me


In humility, value others above yourselves.
—Philippians 2:3 (NIV)


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

Life is not just about me. I am called to value others above myself. Valuing people means more than just caring about them. When I value other people, I respect who they are. I respect their character and their opinions. I listen to their concerns without placing any judgment or expectations upon them. I become less concerned about my own needs and more attuned to theirs. 

In the perfectly lived Christian life, I should live this way, but laying down your life for someone else is not easy. Jesus knows my ability to make it terribly complicated. He calls me to realize that He makes it so much easier when I surrender who I am for who He is. In Him, surrender is simple. Forgiveness makes it simple. Forgiveness frees me to love others. Forgiveness leads me to a place where I continually seek never to inflict pain again and never speak or act without thinking how someone else is affected. I never want to erect walls or allow my words or actions to force others to erect their own walls. Forgiveness leads me to what I need to change about myself, and it strips me of pride that threatens to consume my heart.

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

© 2017 Lynn Lacher
Form Me, Fire Me, Fill Me
www.lynnlacher.com/2018/12/lord-forgive-me.html

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

A Sound Mind


The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
—John 10:10 (NLT)


Living in fear is not God’s purpose. The enemy plans to destroy your faith. God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. His purpose gives you a spiritually rich and rewarding life. When you seek Him with your whole heart, you discover the abundant and satisfying life He has purposed for you. 

Are you exhausted from lies that run rampant because you believe fear owns your mind? Fear not only kills your faith, but it destroys you physically, mentally and emotionally. If Jesus owns your heart, you belong to Him. Every cell in your body belongs to Him. Every cell in your brain belongs to Him. He desires for you to know His purpose—what belonging to Him means, but you have to understand that He owns you spiritually. Jesus knows He owns you, but you have to recognize He owns you. You have to choose He owns your mind. When you surrender, you allow Him to be Lord. And then He can destroy fear that claims your mind.

If fear has been your master for a long time, don't miraculously and quickly expect to be delivered from its grasp. Continually choosing Jesus to be your Master will eventually defeat its control, but there will be battles. Don’t give up and allow the enemy to fill your mind with thoughts that steal, kill and destroy. You choose to stay the course. You choose every day that God is not the author of your fear. You choose to deny the lies. You choose to believe the promise of a rich and satisfying life.

One day you will know in your mind what He has placed in your heart. God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind! He has given you His very life!


© 2018 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com/2018/12/a-sound-mind.html

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Just Choose


Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
—John 13:34a-35b (NLT)


—Love as you have loved me? What about that person who has lied about me, Lord? What about that person who has hurt others I care about? You tell me to love anyway and to forgive anyway. But, Lord, where is the payment for the pain that has been caused? Where is the justice that I am due?

—Justice, you are due, child? Justice was satisfied when my Son made payment for your unforgiving heart. He loved you in spite of the pain you caused others. He looked beyond your fault and saw what you really needed. Forgiveness. His love forgave you.

—It is just too hard, Lord. I can’t forgive this. It is just too much.

—Too much to forgive as I have forgiven you, child? Too much to love as I have loved you? Was my life given in payment for your hardened heart, not enough? There is nothing more I could have done but give my life.

—I know, Lord. I’m trying.

—Choose to forgive, child.

—But I don’t feel…

—Child, you are exhausted holding on to this pain of anger and bitterness. You cry out for me to release you from your prison, but I have not jailed you. You have done it to yourself. You keep asking me to release you from this prison of pain, and all along you have had the key to open the door.

—Help me, Jesus. I can’t do this alone.

—You only need to ask. With my help, you can let this go. Choose my love. Choose to forgive as I have forgiven you. The same power that raised me from the dead will also raise you to experience the freedom of a forgiving heart.

—It is so hard to believe that I can be free…

—It is time to trust me. Choose to believe. Choose me. Just choose. 

© 2018 Lynn Lacher


Taste and See

  Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! —Psalms 34:8 (NKJV)     God is good all the time. You don’t...