Sunday, April 29, 2012
The Attitude Indicator is a very important gauge in an airplane, It shows the pilot exactly where the airplane is in relation to the earth's horizon. It helps the pilot to know whether the airplane is going up or down, to the left or right and at what angle. If the attitude is up the nose of the airplane pulls up; likewise, if it is down the airplane is heading down towards the earth and if not corrected, will crash.
Yesterday was one of those “attitude” days for me. It started out good with expectations of a fun day, but ended up in a “nose dive”. Several disappointments created a “negative attitude” with the potential for a crash! My attitude had a serious problem!
Most of the time I am able to correct my attitude without much effort. Just re-focus my eyes on Jesus, starting praising the Lord and my attitude changes. Yesterday I failed to make the necessary changes and by the end of the day was in a pickle.....not a sweet pickle, but a sour, dill pickle!
I like the attitude of the apostle Paul. He said, when speaking of all the bad things that happen to him, in Acts 20:24:
“But none of these things move me; or do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
Paul experienced great persecutions while serving the Lord. We're not talking about having a “bad hair” day here! He was beaten, persecuted, imprisoned and chained to a Roman soldier! And yet, his attitude was that “none of these things move me”. He didn't allow the negative occurrences of his life to drive him to a “negative attitude”. Instead he said in Philippians 3:8- 16:
Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ, and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.
Paul said he counted all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord! He saw the tribulations of his life as nothing compared to His relationship with the Lord. His attitude was to let it roll off because he had a higher calling. The things of this world had no hold on him; he learned the secret of being content in all situations because the most important aspect of his life was that of attaining what Christ Jesus had died to give him. The one thing that enabled him to move forward through all the “yuck” of life was that he learned to forget the things that happened yesterday and embrace today for the “prize” that the call of God on his life held. He said “goodbye” to the old and “hello” to the new!
We see Paul's attitude further described in Philippians 4:4-8:
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Paul rejoiced in the Lord always! He didn't moan and groan about the bad things, but took those things before the Lord and allowed God to take care of them for him. I did pray yesterday about the computer problems I was having and God directed me to call HP for assistance, and even though the warranty was out the technician said their system was down and they were offering free help to all who called yesterday. Praise the Lord, he was able to help me get the issue resolved without charging me for it!
Verse 8 is very important in determining our attitude and how we “feel”. What we think on, or meditate on will determine where our feelings go. I noticed on SP this morning that they had a blog entitled “Think Yourself Fit” and it is on how your thoughts affect your body. If we continually think on the negative happenings in our lives we will go downhill! But if we think, as Paul instructed, in Philippians about things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely and of good report; those things that are virtuous and praiseworthy, we will have peace and experience a “positive attitude”.
Today I choose to make it a better day! I choose to think on the good things and not allow the disappointments of yesterday to ruin my day today.
Father, first I ask You to forgive me for allowing the negative happenings of yesterday to affect my attitude. Please forgive me for not doing what I know is right in overcoming the wiles of the devil to throw me off course for my day. I thank You for allowing me to see the error of my ways and for giving me another opportunity to experience a good day today! Father, please help us to see beyond the negative aspects of life to what You have for our futures. The good that You have planned for us in knowing You is worth the minor trials that we experience on a day to day basis. Help us to keep our focus on You, Lord. Thank You for this “Lord's Day”! I will make it a good day, Father! In Jesus' name. Amen.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
2 Corinthians 2:14-17 NLT But thanks be to God, who made us His captives and leads us along in Christ's triumphal procession. Now wherever we go He uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Good News like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a fragrance presented by Christ to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those being saved and by those perishing. To those who are perishing we are a fearful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? You see, we are not like those hucksters—and there are many of them—who preach just to make money. We preach God's message with sincerity and with Christ's authority. And we know that the God who sent us is watching us.
Paul says in this portion of Scripture that those of us who belong to Christ are a fragrance to not only God, but to those around us. He says we are the fragrance of Christ, a sweet perfume to those who are being saved, but a fearful smell of death and doom to those who are perishing. I often think about that when I wonder what kind of testimony I am to those around me. Sometimes we seem to grate on people's nerves, so to speak. We are like sandpaper to sand off the rough edges. Jesus said in Matthew 10:34:
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. “For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law”, “and a man's enemies will be those of his own household.”
Jesus didn't sugarcoat His reason for being sent by God to save mankind. He made it very clear that there would be a distinction between those followers of His and the general population. He was a fragrance that made a difference in the hearts and lives of people. As His followers, we too, express a fragrance, that of death to some and life to others. To those who are perishing we are a constant reminder of their doom and to some who are running from the Lord and not ready to receive Him we will repel. But to those who are being saved, we send out the aroma of life and they identify with us and are drawn to the life of Christ Jesus within us.
Regardless of what our fragrance does to people we should not be disappointed when we are not received by everyone. There are times when I speak the Word of God to someone and find myself shunned and rejected by them. It is disappointing but Paul said in Galatians 1:10 that his desire in preaching the gospel was not to please people, but to please God. We can either choose to be people-pleasers or God-pleasers. I would rather say what God has instructed me to say that will set people free from the bondage that they are under than to sugar-coat the gospel and cause them to stay in their bondage. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't speak the truth in love, being considerate of their feelings, but that we should desire to see them set free more than we desire their friendship.
Paul records in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5: Dear brothers and sisters, when I came to you I didn't use lofty words and brilliant ideas to tell you God's message. For I decided to concentrate only on Jesus Christ and his death on the cross. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. I did not use wise and persuasive speeches, but the Holy Spirit was powerful among you. I did this so that you might trust the power of God rather than human wisdom.”
You see, the pre-eminent thought in our minds should and must be Jesus Christ, not another person's thoughts, feelings or actions. For us to come before others and share Jesus with them in a way that is effective we must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit and not our own human understanding. It is not my words that have an effect on people around me; it is Him speaking through me that brings the lost to salvation, that sets prisoners free and delivers people from bondage. It is His fragrance being expressed through me that brings results; not anything that I would do in my own limited abilities.
This morning, Father, I want to thank You, first and foremost, for making me a triumph of your conquest; a part of Your triumphal procession; a trophy of Your victory on the cross over death, hell, and the grave. I thank You for making me Yours! I pray that I may forever express Your fragrance to those around me. Father, help me to depend on You and You alone for the witness that You are in me and I am in You. Help me, Lord, to express You to those that I come into contact with in a way that will bring the lost to salvation and the saved to their destiny in You. May Your Spirit so flow through me that others experience the power of God in their lives and not simply my own human wisdom. Father, I pray for my Spark Friends this morning, that You would reign supreme in their hearts and lives. Father, for those who don't know You, I ask that You would draw them by Your Spirit to a saving knowledge of Jesus. For those who are Yours, Father, I pray that they will be that fragrance unto God and those around them of the life of Christ, that fragrance that draws the perishing to You and gives hope and life to those who are experiencing turmoil and tribulation in their lives. Help us together, Lord, to express the fragrance of Christ in our world. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Friday, April 27, 2012
You are awesome in this place, Mighty God. You are awesome in this place, Abba Father. You are worthy of all praise; to You our lives we raise. You are awesome in this place, Mighty God.
We often sing this chorus in our pre-service prayer time at church on Sunday mornings. It is an older worship song but has so much meaning to me. God is awesome! He is the One true God! There is none above Him!
As I think about my life as a new believer and how He led me to grow in Him, the scripture comes to mind in John 17:3 where Jesus is praying for Himself, His disciples and those who would follow after them:
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
Eternal Life – Life without end of existence or duration; everlasting; endless; immortal; perpetual; ceaseless; continued without intermission.
Jesus said the life without end; that life that is everlasting is knowing God and Himself. When you look at that word “know” in the Greek it is the word “ginosko” and according to Strong's concordance it means:
Ginosko – To perceive, understand, recognize, gain knowledge, realize, come to know. Ginosko is the knowledge that has an inception, a progress, and an attainment. It is the recognition of truth by personal experience.
I think many times when a person becomes “born again” or “saved” that they have a tendency to think that there is nothing more to do than say the prayer and you're in; safe, nothing more to it than this. But Jesus said that eternal life is more than just saying a prayer, it is a progression of knowing someone. That someone is the Father and the Son and it comes through personally experiencing them. That personal experience is ushered in through the presence of the Spirit of Christ or the Holy Spirit. We come to know people through spending time with them. Ginosko is knowledge obtained not by mere intellectual activity, but by operation of the Holy Spirit upon acceptance of Christ. When you receive Jesus as your own personal Savior His Spirit comes to live within you. It is at that time that eternal life begins; not when you die. Eternal life is an ongoing life lived as God's Spirit leads you into a deeper knowledge and understanding of Him.
This word “ginosko” is used in Matthew 1:25 where the Bible records the story of Joseph and Mary and is talking about Joseph not having intimate relations with Mary until after she had brought forth her firstborn Son. It is the word depicting marital intimacy, showing us that “ginosko” is that intimate relationship between a husband and wife. In the same way, Jesus is speaking to us about knowing Him as being an intimate, spiritual relationship. He uses this term for intimacy to tell us that our relationship with the Father, through Him and by His Spirit should be one of growing closer through out eternity. It is a growing time where we become closer and closer. When we cross over from this life to the next our spirit continues to live just as it has in our earthly body. We simply change residences. We move from earth to Heaven; from mortality to immortality. But as we go through this life on earth we should be growing spiritually in our relationship with the Lord.
Are you growing closer to God every day, or has your life become mundane, stagnant, without meaning or purpose? Jesus said in John 10:10 that He came to give us life and that more abundantly.
Abundantly – superabundance, excessive, overflowing, surplus, over and above, more than enough, profuse, extraordinary, above the ordinary, more than sufficient.
Wow, what a life! We are to live above the ordinary in Him. Our life in Jesus is to be excessive and overflowing. Do those around you see an overflowing believer in you? Or are you always living “under the circumstances”? Life in Christ, that eternal life, is an ever-living, abundant, profuse life. He died that we might know Him; really come to experience Him so that He can spill over out of us onto others around us. Our life in Jesus is to reflect Him; to flourish and show others that He is the One true God; that He is awesome in the place of home, work, church, community and relationships. He is life and life itself and we are in Him!
Father, I thank You this morning for being awesome to me! You are the One true God and there is none above You or beside You. I thank You for leading me into a living and vital relationship with You through Your Spirit Who lives within me. This morning I pray for my Spark Friends that may be stuck in a mundane relationship with You that You would fuel the fire within them for a deeper understanding of Who You are and want to be to them. Cause them to burn within with a hunger and thirst for You that is unquenchable; a desire to grow in their relationship with You. Place people around them who would encourage them to know You more, to experience that life in You in a deeper way. Thank You for growing them into the people that You want them to be. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
A song is running through my mind this morning and has prompted me to tell you of a miracle that happened in the life of my little grandson when he was born. The name of the song is “I Dare To Believe”. It is by Ray Boltz, copyrighted in 1998 by Shepherd Boy Music. Here is the chorus:
I dare to believe that miracles happen
That mountains still move
and demons must flee
For the God that we serve
He is much more than able
So don't be afraid, stand up and say,
“I dare to believe”
Here is the testimony of the healing miracle that God did in my grandson shortly after his birth:
The day that we had long awaited was finally here. It was the birth of my third grandson, Samuel Josiah. He was named after two Old Testament figures, the prophet Samuel and a godly king, Josiah, and I just knew God had a special plan for his life. My daughter-in-law had experienced difficulty carrying each of her babies to full term pregnancies so we were excited in knowing that one more baby had arrived at the proper time. But our jubilation over his birth was suddenly shattered when the doctor informed us that little Josiah’s lungs were not fully developed and his body was not getting the oxygen it needed to sustain his life. He would have to be transported immediately to the infant intensive care unit at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. It was then that we began our battle in prayer for his survival. An alert went out to everyone I knew that would agree with me in prayer for his recovery. I prayed and believed God for his healing but then I would hear the doctor’s report and when someone would ask me how he was doing I would relay to him or her what the doctors had said. One day as I was reading the Word and praying for Josiah the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said “you need to align the confession of your mouth with what you are believing in your heart”. He took me to Romans 10:8-10 which says:
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
It was at that point that God gave me the understanding that the same biblical principle that secured my salvation in receiving Jesus as my Savior, by believing in my heart and confessing that with my mouth, would apply to this situation with Josiah. That if I believed that God would heal him then my confession about the situation needed to be speaking the promise of God instead of the negative doctor’s report. So I began to proclaim that Josiah was healed by the stripes of Jesus and that he would not die, but live to declare the works of God. When people would ask me how he was doing I would focus more on the Word of God and what were believing for than the medical report. Then one morning my son called at 3:00 a.m. to say that Josiah had another complication; he was now jaundiced and required a bili light over him to rid his body of the jaundice. The doctor had given them another bad report and said he didn’t know when Josiah would be released from the hospital.
So as I got in my car to make the two-hour drive to the hospital I began praying in the Spirit in that heavenly language that I had received when I was baptized in the Holy Ghost. As I prayed a holy anger rose up within me towards the enemy in thinking that he was trying to steal my grandson’s life. I began to take authority over his plan to steal, kill and destroy Josiah’s life. Then I praised the Lord for the healing work that He was doing in Josiah’s body. I spent that two hours spiritually fighting for Josiah and when I got to the hospital I found that the situation had totally changed. The jaundice was completely gone; he was no longer on oxygen; he was fully dressed and sleeping contentedly in a regular crib! PRAISE THE LORD! Josiah was released from the hospital the following day. On August 28th Josiah will be eleven years old. He is healthy and active and has never experienced another lung problem! I praise God for His faithfulness in hearing and answering my prayers!
This morning maybe you are standing at a mountain that you know you can't climb. Maybe you feel cornered by the enemy in a situation that seems to be impossible. God knows exactly where you are and what you are going through. He has the key that will overcome the enemy; that will enable you to scale that mountain! He is always working. The Word tells us that He never sleeps; He never slumbers and His eyes roam to and fro throughout the whole earth looking for those who's hearts are loyal to Him so that He can show Himself strong on their behalf. He is our deliverer! He will bring you through the difficult times.
This song has great significance in my life because it was at a time when I was fighting a battle for a family member that it became popular and I learned that I, too, had to “dare to believe” God over what I was seeing and hearing in the natural. Jesus asked His disciples “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” when they encountered a storm on the sea and He was asleep in the boat and they cried out to Him to save them. That Greek phrase for “little faith” in that scripture means “under-developed faith”. Our faith, until it is tested and strengthened, is “under-developed”. It is through believing God's word over the situation that we are in that develops our faith so we can believe God instead of the negative reports that we receive in the natural.
Father, this morning I thank You for how You have taught me through the difficult times to believe You and what You have promised in Your word! I pray this morning for my Spark Friends who may be experiencing a faith challenge that You would give them the Rhema word, as You speak it to them, that will encourage them to stand in faith believing You over the difficulty they are experiencing. Thank You, Father, for caring for them, for encouraging them and for delivering them from the situations they are in. To You be the honor, glory and praise. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
John 14:16-18 “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper,” “The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”
These are the words that Jesus said to His disciples when He was preparing to go to the Cross. He had lived with them, among them, in their midst; had been right there with them and He wanted them to know that He would still be there, but in a different form. He was now going to live within them.
The Spirit of Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, indwells believers today. He is the third person of the Godhead, the Trinity, that is at work in the hearts and lives of people today. Jesus called Him the Helper.
I love the way the Amplified Bible describes the Holy Spirit: And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever—The Spirit of Truth...
Here we see the Holy Spirit in many different roles:
Comforter – He is the one who comes to our aid in the time of sorrow, to comfort us. He was very near to me when I lost my husband.
Counselor - He gives Godly counsel when we need direction and guidance.
Helper – He comes alongside us when we need help. I can particularly attest to His help when I am working on my college courses. He has given me supernatural abilities to complete them in record time and with excellent scores! Thank You, Holy Spirit!
Intercessor – He prays through us when we don't know how to pray. (Romans 8:26)
Advocate – He is our attorney, pleading our case.
Strengthener – He is the One within us who gives us strength to fight the battles of life.
Standby – He's more than a spectator in our lives; He is a vital part of everything that we do. He stands by us and walks with us through life.
Spirit of Truth – He works in and with believers to bring us into new levels of truth awareness. He guides us into all truth.
I'm so thankful that when Jesus went back to Heaven, He didn't leave us here alone to walk through life by ourselves. He said He would come back again; through His Spirit. He is here today. He is the One who convicts of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. He is the person of the Godhead that I fellowship with; talk to! I know that when I need a Helper, He is here with me.
In my early years of Christianity there wasn't much said about the Holy Spirit, so I was in my early 40's before I really understood Who He was and What part He was to play in my life. I knew He came to live within me when I received Jesus as my Savior and Lord, but that's about the only role I knew He played in my life. But God had more for me to experience in my walk with Him. He gently led me into a new awareness of the Spirit-filled life when He baptized me in the Holy Spirit in 1991. From that day forward my life was totally, dramatically changed. The Bible took on a new light; all of a sudden I understood its teachings and was more fully aware of God's presence within and around me. My sensitivity to the Holy Spirit was awakened and I spoke in that heavenly language that the book of Acts talks about. It was as if I “came to life”; I was a new person!
Acts 1:8 :”But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Father, I thank You for moving me to a new understanding of You in all Your fullness. I thank You for awakening me to the power of Your Spirit within me. Thank You for causing me to awaken to new life in my walk with You through the infilling of Your Spirit! I pray for my Spark Friends today that they might each one come to an awareness of You that they haven't experienced before. Make life in You real to them today, Lord! Move them into all that You have for them in their walk with You. Teach them Your ways that they may walk closely with You, Lord. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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