Sunday, May 13, 2012
Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
My mother had a couple of sayings when I was growing up that have always stuck with me: beauty is as beauty does and beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone. I don't think we realize how much our mother's have an effect on us! But this scripture puts it as clearly as I can imagine. The exterior of our beings is not the most important part; it is the beauty of a heart that reverences and respects the Lord that counts. We work so hard to get our bodies in shape by what we eat and the exercise we get, but how much time do we spend on doing the things that make for a tender, teachable, mold-able heart?
Romans 12:1, 2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Presenting our bodies to God as a living sacrifice places us in a position to be changed. It means that we are dedicating everything about us to Him as a living sacrifice. This is our reasonable service and spiritual worship. We yield ourselves to Him for Him to do His work in us. Then we are able to renew our minds to the truth of God's word so we can be changed. God has a good plan for our lives and we will understand it as we yield ourselves to Him, pray and study His word.
Romans 8:29 AMP For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren.
God's ultimate purpose for us in our lives is that we might be molded into the image of Jesus! That's the goal that God has for us! That's the ultimate beauty of a heart that reverences and respects the Lord!
Father, I thank You this morning for placing Your Spirit within me and making me Yours. I know that You have a perfect plan for my life and that You are working in me to change me and mold me into the image of Jesus. I present my body to You today as a living sacrifice that I might be pleasing to You and worship You in the manner that You desire. I pray that You will lead me in renewing my mind so I may know what is Your good, acceptable and perfect will. Father, I pray for my Spark Friends today that You will draw them to Yourself, giving them the desire to know You, to worship You and to be changed into the image of Your Son. Fill them to overflowing with Your love, Father, so they will shine like the stars in the darkest night. Change them, Lord, as You are changing me. Thank You for them, Father. I pray Your blessings on each of them today! In Jesus name. Amen.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Hebrews 12:1-4 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.
This morning as I was praying about what to say in my blog this portion of Scripture came to mind. It's placement in Hebrews chapter 12 comes after we see in chapter 11 all those who have gone before us that God has placed in His “hall of faith”. They are the ones who stood steadfastly in faith believing for all kinds of promises that God had made to them. Some of them received those promises in their lifetimes and some didn't, but the testimony is still the same; they stood in faith believing to the end!
The ultimate example of a life of faith is that of Jesus, who the Bible records, is the author and finisher of our faith. It is by looking at His faith-filled life that we can stand in faith believing even when we don't see the natural manifestation of that for which we are believing.
The Word says that in order for us to run this race of faith there are several things that we must do:
1) Lay aside every weight – what is it that is weighing you down today? What load are you carrying that is too heavy for you to bear? In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus commands us not to worry! Worry chokes the word of God from bearing fruit in our lives; it places what we are worrying about above God and the thing that we are actually worrying about becomes a god to us. It carries a higher place in our lives than the Lord because it becomes our focus. We need to lay those things on Jesus; He is our burden bearer.
2) And the sin which so easily ensnares us – sin breaks our fellowship with the Father. But it's very easy to get rid of. 1 John 1:9 says: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. To confess simply means “to agree with”, so when we confess our sins to God we are agreeing with Him that it is wrong and we understand that we are in the wrong by holding on to them. The promise is that when we confess He forgives and cleanses us. Why do we continue to hang onto those things that are sin in our lives when forgiveness and cleansing is so readily available? With the forgiveness and cleansing comes the help that we need to overcome. He is just waiting for us to agree with Him and turn from those things that are placing a wedge between us and Him. Release your sin to God today and experience the forgiveness and cleansing that you need to walk before Him unashamedly. All of us have made mistakes, wrong choices in life. We are all forgiven, but that forgiveness does not apply to our lives until we confess the sin and receive the forgiveness. It is our choice.
3) Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us - how many times have you felt like you weren't going to make it through whatever it is that you are experiencing? We have need of endurance in order to make it to the end. Hebrews 10:35-36 says: “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.” That word for endurance means constancy, perseverance, continuance, bearing up, steadfastness, holding out, patient endurance. It describes the capacity to continue to bear up under difficult circumstances, not with a passive complacency, but with a hopeful fortitude that actively resists weariness and defeat. Are you enduring by holding on to shoestring, or are you enduring the Biblical way by actively resisting weariness and defeat with a hopeful fortitude? I get the picture in my mind of the poster of the little kitten timidly holding on to the rope with a frightened look on its face and the caption that says, “If I can just hold on to the end”. That's not the way we are to run our race with endurance! We run actively resisting weariness and defeat with an attitude that says that we know we are going to make it because our God is with us, strengthening us and enabling us to win! He is bigger than our problems and the victory is in sight! The battle is already won! That's endurance!
Now, you may be saying, “but it's impossible to run the race of faith like that”! I can't do it! And you're right; it is impossible in and of ourselves to run the race of faith without falling or having thoughts of defeat and discouragement that cause us to stumble and at times, fall. But the key to running this race successfully is found in verse 2: looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith! He is the One who enables us to succeed! Our focus has to be on Him. When we take our focus off of Jesus we will sink, just as Peter when he walked on the water. But if we look unto Jesus our faith will be built up; we have the perfect example to follow. Here are the keys that Jesus used to win:
1) Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross – Jesus looked not at the shame or pain of going to the cross, but at the joy of winning; the joy of paying the price for all mankind to be forgiven of their sins. Jesus kept His focus on the goal; the prize; the joy of what laid beyond the pain and suffering of the cross. He set His face like flint! (Isaiah 50:7; Luke 9:51) In Matthew 26:41 He gives us a key to success: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Are you watching out for the temptations that could come your way? Are you praying before you get to the temptations so you will be prepared when they come? Are you looking at the victory? Are you focusing on the joy of winning? Does the victory carry more weight for you than the pleasures that only last for a season? Where is your focus?
2) For consider Him – lest you become weary and discouraged. We can always look at what Jesus endured for us and see that what we experience on a daily basis running our race doesn't compare in any way, shape or form to what He had to go through. Our difficulties in life are nothing compared to His suffering on our behalf. He endured to the death! We have all strength available to us to win! He resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. We are spoiled and pampered to the point of thinking we can't make it, but we can!
What is holding you back this morning from running your race and winning? Is it the temptation to eat to cover up your emotions; to comfort you when you are depressed? Do you need to resist the temptation to sit on the couch all day in front of the TV? Get up, folks, let's get motivated to do what is right for our lives; let's move; let's make healthy life choices! Let's see ourselves as the victors that Jesus has made us! He is the commander in chief of the army of God and we are in His army! Let's move out as bold, confident winners! Let's run our race with the victory in sight! In Hebrews 11:26 it is recorded that Moses won his race of faith by looking to the reward. Are you looking to the reward, or succumbing to the temptation?
Father, this morning I am thankful that You have made the way for me to win in my race of faith! Thank You, Lord, for securing the victory for me. I know that I can run my race with endurance by looking unto You, Lord Jesus, for You are the author and finisher of my faith. You are the One who put faith in me to begin with and You are finishing it as I yield to You and follow Your directions. Thank You for making me more than a conqueror in You. Father, I pray for my Spark Friends this morning, that You would encourage them to continue running their race with the goal in sight of winning. Father, I pray that You will build them up in faith and fill them with the vision of the goal at the end of the race. Give them the stamina to continue making the right choices that leads to the victory. Thank You, Father, for giving them strength to run! Please help them to lay aside the things that are holding them back, to confess their sins to You and receive Your forgiveness and cleansing. Thank You, Lord, for holding them in the palm of Your hand. Thank You for giving them the victory! In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Friday, May 11, 2012
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
This morning I am reminded of the importance of God's Word in my life. This scripture says that the word of God is a lamp showing me the steps that I take and lighting the road that I walk. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the book of Psalms and is all about the word of God. It speaks of the word as the law, precepts, testimonies, statutes, and commandments. God's word, when read and meditated on, gives light and understanding to the way we should live. I love God's Word!
One of my favorite verses in Psalm 119 is verse 165: Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble. I don't know about you, but I want “great peace” in my life. Peace that will carry me through the difficult times. Jesus said in John 14:27 that He gives us His peace also. So, if we have the peace that Jesus gives and the peace that comes from meditating on the word of God, we've got “great peace” and nothing will be able to cause us to stumble! Isn't that “good news”?
There are two primary words that define the “Word”.
Word – “logos” – A transmission of thought, communication, a word of explanation, an utterance, discourse, divine revelation, talk, statement, instruction, an oracle, divine promise, divine doctrine, divine declarations.
Word – “rhema” – That which is said or spoken, an utterance, in contrast to logos, which is the expression of a thought, a message, a discourse.
“Logos” is the Bible in it's entirety; “rhema” is a verse from the Bible. The “Logos” is God's message to us and the “rhema” is when the Holy Spirit speaks a certain verse to us that applies to our lives right then.
The Bible is the written “logos”, Jesus is the living, personification of the “logos” and the Holy Spirit utters the spoken “logos”.
Jesus said in Matthew 4:4: But He answered and said, “It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'”
It is imperative for our spirit man to feed on the word of God. We can't exist by eating food only; we must have the word of God to give our spirit nourishment and strength.
Have you ever been in the midst of a problem and had a verse of scripture drop into your mind that applied to what you were experiencing at that very time? That's the Holy Spirit bringing a “rhema” word to you that you can count on to come into manifestation in your life that is the answer to what you are experiencing. That's the “light” that gives you the understanding that you need for your life's problem at that moment. When you feed on the word and meditate on it, the word sinks down into your heart and is available for the Holy Spirit to bring back out of you as you need it. It's very important to meditate on the word of God. If you never put the word into your heart then you don't have anything for the Holy Spirit to bring back to your remembrance when you need it.
Faith grows in your heart by hearing the word of God according to Romans 10:17: So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Faith comes to us when we hear, or meditate, on the word of God. Without faith it's impossible to please God, (Hebrews 11:6) so the word makes it possible to be pleasing to the Father.
Do you want “great peace” and “faith” in your life today? Get into God's word and begin to meditate on it; allow it to sink down into your heart!
Father, I thank You for Your word this morning. It is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Thank You for giving me “great peace” when I meditate on Your word. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for speaking the word to me that applies to my life right now. Thank You, for causing Your faith to rise up within me as I meditate on Your word. Father, I pray for my Spark Friends today, that Your word would reign supreme in their hearts, that they might have “great peace” and “faith” to walk through the trials of life that they encounter. Thank You for establishing them in You and for causing them to have a hunger and thirst for Your word that is unquenchable. May they ever feast on Your word and enjoy the fellowship of Your Spirit through it. Thank You, Father, for bringing peace into their hearts! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Romans 1:16, 17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
The gospel – the good news! That's right; the word gospel in the Greek means “good news”. The good news of Christ. Jesus came to bring us “good news”. His death, burial and resurrection provide the good news of salvation, which is the power of God for everyone who believes!
That word for “power” is the Greek word “dunamis” and is the root word for our English word “dynamite”. It means energy, power, might, great force, great ability, and strength. The good news of Jesus Christ provides the dynamic power of salvation for everyone who believes.
What about the word “salvation”. Just what is salvation?
Salvation – soteria and soterion – two words define salvation in the Greek. Soteria is the root word and it means forgiveness, healing, prosperity, deliverance, safety, rescue, liberation, and restoration. Soterion is derived from soteria and it means rescue, deliverance, safety, liberation, release and preservation.
Christ's good news of salvation is total in scope for the total man: spirit, soul, and body! His dynamic power gives us total forgiveness, healing, prosperity, deliverance, safety, liberation and restoration. Jesus came to set man free; body, soul and spirit! Now that's good news!
Whatever you have need of salvation includes it. To the unsaved, forgiveness of sins is the best news possible to save them! To the sick, the good news is that Jesus heals! To the financially needy, the good news is that God's powerful salvation provides for their every need! To those who are bound by demonic oppression, the good news of Christ is that He died to secure their deliverance! You don't have to stay in your depression any longer; Jesus came to set you free.
Luke 4:18-19 The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD”
Jesus came to set the captives free! The good news is that whatever you have need of today, it is provided for you in the salvation that Jesus paid for on the cross of Calvary! You don't have to be defeated, broke, sick, and doomed to an eternity apart from God any longer! Look unto Jesus and He will save you!
So, how can we access this “great salvation”; this “power of God”? It is revealed to us as we live by faith and we access it through believing. We exercise our faith to receive what God has already provided for us. And as we receive we are moved from faith to faith; from one level of faith to the next. We are always growing closer to what God means for us to be as we experience His power for salvation. We are all different and each of us grows at a different rate because we all have different needs as we go through life. The primary need we have for salvation is for forgiveness of sins. No one can see God without obtaining forgiveness of their sins. We are all born as a sinner and must come to God through Jesus to receive that salvation. We do that by believing in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead and confessing Him as our Lord; by calling on the name of the Lord. (Romans 10:9-13) Then as we have need for other parts of salvation, we receive in the same way. If we have need for finances we believe that God provided it for us and we confess Him as our Provider. (Philippians 4:19) For healing we believe that God provided that for us and we confess Him as our Healer. (Matthew 8:17; 1 Peter 2:24) For every need that we have there is provision in the salvation that Jesus secured for us on the Cross!
The “good news” is that you can be free today! What is it that you need God's powerful salvation for today?
Father, I thank You for providing for all that we have need of body, soul, and spirit in your gift of salvation. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for laying down Your life for us that we might experience the fullness of all that You secured for us on the Cross of Calvary. To You be all the glory, honor and praise! Father, this morning I pray for my Spark Friends that have needs. Father, I ask that You would supply their every need just as You have promised. Bring into reality the healing, provision and deliverance that they need for their total man. Provide strength for them physically, emotionally and mentally. Bring Your salvation into their lives for every need that they are experiencing. Thank You, Father, for revealing Yourself to them as the Provision for their needs! In Jesus' name, I pray! Amen.
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
John 5:2-9 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.
Excuses, excuses! Many times we come before the Lord with our list of “whys”....why we can't receive what He has provided for us. In this portion of Scripture we see a man who had been sick for 38 years. He came to where the healing waters flowed, but couldn't receive his healing because of what he considered “valid reasons”. He couldn't get into the water quick enough; someone always got there first. He didn't have anyone to help him into the water so he couldn't receive his healing. He'd been sick for so long; maybe that was to be his “lot” in life. But when the Healer Himself came to Him He took away all the excuses. He ask him one vital question; one that all of us have to ask ourselves in order for our situations to change.....”Do you want to be made well?” Why would Jesus ask him that question? The man had lain at the pool of Bethesda for all those years just waiting to be touched by the healing waters. He showed that he wanted to be healed by just being there. But you know deep down in his heart he wasn't willing to do whatever was necessary to be healed. He had become comfortable with his life; with his affliction!
We often make our own excuses as to why we are the way we are. We are overweight because we have a metabolic problem that causes us to not be able to lose weight. We don't have the money to buy food that is healthier for us. We don't have the proper exercise equipment to work out and we can't afford a gym membership. We can't get outside and walk because of the weather. Excuses, excuses!
For a believer in Christ Jesus, all excuses are removed. We have the ultimate help at our disposal. God has promised us in His word that all things are possible to him who believes; (Mark 9:23) that when we come to the Lord in faith He will enable us to succeed. If we really want to have a different life, we can! He has provided all things that pertain to life and godliness! (2 Peter 1:3) We CAN DO all things through Christ who strengthens us. (Phil. 4:13) We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)
The excuses have to go and faith has to arise within us in order for us to win! Our focus must be on the ultimate goal of success instead of the temporary obstacles in our path. How bad do we want to be free? The one requisite for anyone who desires deliverance is that they truly must want to be free! The desire to be healed must be greater than the excuses that are holding us in bondage.
Where are you this morning? In what camp do you find yourself; Camp Poor, Sick, Depressed and Defeated or Camp Full of Faith and Power?
Luke 1:37 AMP For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.
Mark 9:23 AMP And Jesus said, [You say to Me], If You can do anything? [Why,] all things can be (are possible) to him who believes!
Time and time again we see people coming to Jesus for healing and He will ask them, “Do you believe and when they respond affirmatively He touches them and then says, “According to your faith let it be to you.” Jesus is no different today than He was then. He is still responding to the needs of His people! He is still the same healing Jesus today as He was when He walked on the shores of Galilee. He will touch you and make you whole; providing for your needs. He will do His part, but will you do yours? Will you believe that you can achieve your weight loss goals because of His provision and ability to work through you? Will you believe that all things are possible through Him? Or will you continue to stay in the condition that you are in? Will the excuses over-ride the desire for wholeness?
Father, I come before You this morning just to say “thank You, Lord” for all that You have provided for me on the cross of Calvary. Thank You for making it possible for me to succeed in the goals that I have set before me. Thank You for Your great power within me that makes all things possible when I believe! Father, I pray for my Spark Friends this morning that You will give them a new vision of the goals and dreams that they have held in their hearts for so long. Dreams that may have seemed like impossibilities that are no longer impossible because You have taken the excuses away. Renew their vision of success, Father. Restore what the devil may have stolen from them in telling them it's not possible to win and that they will always be this way. Take away the lies and excuses that the enemy has planted in their hearts and re-place them with the truth of Your Word! It is possible because You who lives within us is greater than he who's in the world. Thank You, Father, for renewing and restoring their dreams and visions. Now enable them, Father, to walk it out, to win the fight, to succeed in the battles! Thank You, Lord, for the victory! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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