Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Genesis 16:1-6 Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. Then Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes. Then Sarai said to Abram, “My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The LORD judge between you and me.” So Abram said to Sarai, “Indeed your maid servant is in your hand; do to her as you please.” And when Sarai dealt harshly with her, she fled from her presence.
Is it an Ishmael? How many times have we thought we knew what we were doing and created a plan that turned out to be nothing but a fleshly endeavor to bring about a God idea? That's where Abram and Sarai found themselves in this story in Genesis. The knew God had given them a promise to have a child and they had waited so long for that to happen and when it didn't they decided maybe God needed a little help in getting it done. So they took things into their own hands.
As a result Hagar hated Sarai for what she had forced her to do. Here was a young Egyptian servant girl, unable to make her own choices in life, now forced into a position that someone else had chosen for her. And then mistreated for it. So she did what her emotions told her to do: run away. How many of us would have done the same thing? It's the flight or fight syndrome that kicks in when our adrenal glands recognize “danger ahead”.
The Angel of the LORD found Hagar sitting by a spring of water in the wilderness and asked her an important question: “Where have you come from, and where are you going?” That's an important question that He presents to all of us at one time or another. It's good to assess our past failures and future goals. Where have we come from? What is it that we have done in the past that is affecting our future endeavors? We can't really see what we've done wrong to get us to the place where we are until we face the past. Hagar needed to face the mistreatment and injustices that were done to her in the past in order to accept the blessing that God had for her in the future. Running away was not going to solve her problem. So what did the Lord tell her to do?
Genesis 16:9, 10 The Angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” Then the Angel of the LORD said to her, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.”
God told her to go back into that situation where she had been so mistreated, face the problem, and do what was right! Nothing gets better until we face our mistakes, our injustices, and do what is right in relation to them. There is a right way and there is a wrong way in dealing with hurts of the past. Running away is not the right way, but the wrong way.
You may be fearful of your past; maybe you've run away from some things. It's only human nature to want to run away from unpleasant experiences, but it doesn't solve the problem. Facing the problem, assessing it for what it is, learning from it, and then choosing to do the right thing is the only way the problem can be solved.
God had a blessing in store for Hagar, but she couldn't fully embrace it until she faced the mistakes of her past. As a result of that encounter with the Angel of the LORD, Hagar learned a valuable lesson about God. He revealed Himself to her as the God who sees; one of His covenant names: El Roi.
God still sees today. He sees the mistakes that we've made in the past. He sees the injustices that may have been done to us; the unfair treatment that we may have received through a broken relationship; a failed job; a lost loved one. He sees and He cares!
God sees and knows exactly where you are today. He has a plan to bless you. But until you face the fear of past hurts and disappointments, you will not be able to embrace the good plan that He has for your future.
What is it this morning that is holding you back from being all that God has created you to be? What is it that is tying you to food, emotional eating and low self-esteem? You may say, “but it's not my fault”. It wasn't Hagar's fault either, but she still suffered the consequences of the wrong choices made for her. It may seem like a giant in your land, but God has a plan for you to overcome!
Father, I thank You for seeing our lives from Your perspective and not ours. You see the whole picture, Father, not just our limited view of what has happened and what might happen in the future. Thank You, Lord, for making a way for us to overcome past hurts and failures. Thank You for preparing a blessing for us in our futures. Thank You, Lord, for being our deliverer! Father, I pray for my Spark Friends this morning that whatever they have encountered in the past may be washed away, no longer able to hurt and hold them in bondage. Father, I ask You to help them see past hurts as stepping stones to future victories. Lord, show them how You see them as blessed children of a loving heavenly Father. Help them to face the past, overcome it and move on into the good future that You have planned for them. Thank You, Father. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Isaiah 43:18, 19 AMP Do not [earnestly] remember the former things; neither consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
New things! God is doing new things in our lives. Today is May 1st, a new month, a new beginning; time to forget what happened in April and move on into May.
Likewise, there are times in our lives when God will say, “I'm doing a new thing; time to forget the past and move on into the future!”. He did that in my life after my husband passed away and it was time for me to move into the things that He had for me in the future. I was sitting in church one Sunday morning listening to my Pastor preach and in his message he said, “God has something good for you in your future. You may have lost a loved one in the past year, but you can't fully embrace what God has for you in the future if you don't turn loose of the past.” That was when the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “The best is yet to come”. I knew He was moving me into “new things”.
This scripture says that God doesn't want us to “earnestly” remember the former things. That doesn't mean that we are not to think about what has happened in the past, but we are not to let the past hold us back from what He wants to do in us, for us, and through us in the future. Many times we are so tied to past things that everything that we do in the present is based on what happened in the past. The Lord asks us in verse 19: “do you not perceive and know it”. We can feel the move of the Spirit in our lives. Sometimes we just sense that something is changing; that change is in the air. There may be a restlessness in us and we start thinking about moving forward into some other endeavor. God goes on to say, “will you not give heed to it?”. Here's where the rubber meets the road. Will we hear and obey His plan to move forward, or will we stubbornly hold on to what is over? Sometimes we can't see beyond what has happened in the past. We think things can never be as good as they were back then. But God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask and think according to the power that works within us! (Eph. 3:20) He is God. There is nothing too difficult for Him. He can move mountains; He makes a way through the sea and a path through the mighty waters! (Isaiah 43:16) The question then becomes, “will we go with Him; will we cooperate with what He is doing in our lives; will we embrace the change”?
Maybe April wasn't a very good month for you. Or maybe the past year has been the pits! Paul said in Philippians 3:12: 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”. Paul knew that there was more in the future than what he had in the past. He realized that he had not arrived yet! He continued to press on into what Christ Jesus had for him; what the Lord had died to give him!
Don't hold onto your past! Let it go! Let's move on without regrets into what God has for us in the future. You may not have lost the amount of weight that you wanted to lose last month. You might have experienced the loss of a relationship. Your job might have come to an end. But it's not the end of the world. It may seem to be, but God is still God and He has a good future planned for you.
Jeremiah 29:”For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
God's plan for you is so much better than anything man could come up with. He desires to bless you with good things; to give you peace instead of evil, a future filled with hope. The past may have been the pits for you, but the future ahead is bright and peace-filled. The turmoil of the past is over and the future lies ahead of you. Will you embrace it? Will you allow God to move you into the things that He has planned for you? Will you turn lose of that which has held you back for so long?
Questions....all at a crossroads in life. Which way will we go? When my husband passed away I would go to his grave and cry because I missed him so much. One day I went there and the Lord said to me, as He said to Mary and the other ladies that came to the tomb looking for Jesus that early Sunday morning, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” And then He said, “don't camp out at the tomb”. Are you camping out at the tomb of dead things in your life today? Why don't you give the disappointments to Jesus and embrace what He wants to do for you now?
Father, I thank You for the new things that You are bringing into our lives. Thank You, Lord, for healing the brokenhearted this morning. Thank You for healing the memories of failure and defeat in our lives and for giving us a new beginning. Thank You, Father, for doing what only You can do to make a way where there seems to be no way. Thank You for changing us and preparing us for the good things You have for us. I pray for my Spark Friends today, Father, that You will comfort those who hurt and restore hope in their hearts. Thank You, Lord, for wrapping them in Your arms of love and carrying them through to the new things You have planned for them. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, April 30, 2012
Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Hope—we can't live life without hope. But to many people hope is nothing but wishful thinking. Some hope they win the lottery or a raffle. To the believer in Christ Jesus, however, it is a different type of thinking. God has established a way that we can know that what He has provided to us in Christ Jesus can become a reality in our lives. It is the biblical term identified as “hope”.
According to Strong's concordance this is the meaning of the biblical word “hope”
Hope—elpis means hope, not in the sense of an optimistic outlook or wishful thinking without any foundation, but in the sense of confident expectation based on solid certainty. Biblical hope rests on God's promises. Hope is never inferior to faith, but is an extension of faith. Faith is the present possession of grace; hope is confidence in grace's future accomplishment.
Hope, then can be described as “confident expectation based on a solid certainty”. What might that “solid certainty” be? It is the Word of God. That's where we find His promises to us. We are confident that what He has promised us in the Word will come to pass. He is the God of hope! That means that He is the originator of our hope and we can have joy and peace while we are waiting on His promises to be manifested in our lives.
The amplified Bible gives Romans 15:13 as this:
May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.
Faith and hope go hand in hand. Hope believes in the promise and faith is the vehicle by which that promise comes to us. Grace provides; hope is confident that it will happen and faith sees it as done! Wow! What a way to live; so filled with confident expectation in God's promises that our lives are filled to overflowing with joy and peace while we wait and our faith embraces it as if it were already here!
So, how can we know for sure that God will do what He has said? First, we find in His word that He is faithful to do what He has said.
2 Corinthians 1:18-20 But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
God is faithful and the promises of God in Christ Jesus are Yes and Amen! God has given us His Word and stands behind it to perform it in our lives.
Second, God watches over His word to perform it. Jeremiah 1:12 AMP: “Then said the Lord to me, You have seen well, for I am alert and active, watching over My word to perform it.” God is serious about making sure His word comes to pass in our lives. What He has promised He will do.
So, God will be faithful to do in our lives what He has promised. But what part do we play in seeing these promises come to life in us? We must stand in faith believing until we see the manifestation of what He has promised.
Hebrews 10:35-39 Therefore, do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.
God says the reason we must keep hope alive within us is because it enables us to endure and we must have endurance to stand in faith until the promise comes. We must endure to the end so we will receive the promise. Walking by faith is being confidently expectant that what God has promised He will do until we see it happen in our lives. We must believe in order to please God.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Faith and hope go together! Hope is confident of what God has promised and faith brings it into manifestation. Without faith we cannot please God. We must first believe that He is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do and then we must believe that He rewards us when we diligently seek Him for something. God has set us up to win! Whatever we see in His word that He has promised to us as a believer we can be assured it is ours! The hope that He gives will carry us through to the end, spilling out of us onto those around us. Hope is contagious! When others see what God is doing in us they will want to have that same kind of hope within them. It is life-giving!
My friend, what is it that God has promised you that you have not yet seen manifested? Are you confident that what He has said will come to pass? That is the beginning. Have faith in God; He will do what He has promised.
Father, I am so thankful today that I have seen the manifestation of Your promises so many times in my life. You are faithful to keep Your word. Today, I pray that my Spark Friends will rely only on You, Father. That they will trust You, Lord, to do what You have said in their lives. I pray that You will help them continue to endure, standing in faith, believing while waiting for the promise to arrive. Thank You for filling them with joy and peace while they are waiting. Thank You, for Your goodness to us, Father. You are awesome, Lord God! I praise You for what You are doing in each of our lives. Thank You, Lord, for watching over Your word to perform it in each of us. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Thinking about changing back over the the Weight Watchers program from counting calories. Any suggestions on which is better? Does anyone know how to keep track of my points on SP? All I can come up with is SP's program to count my calories, but can't see any way to adjust that to the point value of WW. I've been on Weight Watchers before and had good success. Thanks, friends! I appreciate your support!
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.
Get An Email Alert Each Time AVANELL Posts