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.
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Isaiah 41:10 AMP Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.
Fear is the devil's primary motive of operation when he is trying to stop a believer in Christ from fulfilling their potential in the Lord. God has designed and created His children with the ability to perform to the best of His potential within them, but the devil is always watching to find a way to stop that person from doing all that God has called them to do. Our heavenly Father tells us over and over again to “fear not”. He is always with us. He never sleeps nor grows weary in coming to our rescue.
There have been many times that God has spoken this scripture to me before I knew a difficulty was coming my way. He would tell me that He was strengthening me and hardening me to difficulties. He always prepares us to walk victoriously through the difficult times. One of the ways that we are strengthened is when we keep our eyes on Jesus, focused on how big our God is and His ability to speak just one word and change our situations. Please notice that after He tells us in this scripture to “fear not”, He reminds us that He is with us, but then gives us the primary key to resisting fear; “do not look around you in terror”! Why should we not look at the fearful aspects of our situation? Because when we allow ourselves to be drawn away from the Lord through considering the seriousness of our difficulties, we take our eyes off of Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. When fear is present, faith is not present; but when we are gazing in faith at our God and His greatness, fear cannot stay; faith will rise up within us declaring the victory!
Let's look at the story of Peter walking on the water. It is a perfect example of the effects of fear on a person's faith-walk.
Matthew 14:27-31: Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer. It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Jesus knew that his disciples were caught in a storm so He walked on the water to get to them. God is always right there when we go through difficult times. He understands our weakness to fear. He knows that we are subject to looking around us at the waves in the storms of life. But He still tells us to not be afraid! Peter was excited to see Jesus walking on the water. He wanted the others to know that it was the Lord, not a ghost. Sometimes we can't see Jesus in the midst of our difficulty because the wind and the waves distort our ability to see beyond the natural into the spiritual realm. But God is always with us; He said in Hebrews 13:5 that He would never leave us nor forsake us. Peter knew that if Jesus would just speak the word to him to “Come” that he would be able to walk on the water just like Jesus. His faith was focused on the Lord when he stepped out of that boat. And he was successful; he walked on the water. But then he took his eyes off of Jesus and began to consider the seriousness of his situation. The waves and the wind became stronger than his faith and he began to sink. But wait!... he wasn't overcome by the storm because the Lord was right there to help him! And Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever! He is right there to pick you up when you fall; to strengthen you for the next time that you need to exercise your faith. He will never let you down!
What are you going through this morning that the Lord says “fear not”? When a little sapling is first planted in the ground it is weak and subject to the wind and storms. The wind often causes that little tree to bend clear over to the ground when the storm is raging. But as the little tree's roots grow deeper into the ground it becomes stronger and the wind doesn't have as much effect on it. So it is with us; as we experience hardships and difficulties God strengthens us and hardens us so the next storm that comes along does not have the same effect on us as the last one. He continues to strengthen us so we can live victoriously over the storms of life.
Father, I thank You this morning for strengthening us to the difficulties of life. I thank You for always being there to go through the storms with us. And I thank You for not allowing them to overtake us. You are bigger than any storm we might face, Father. I pray for my Spark Friends this morning that may be experiencing a storm in their lives. Father, uphold them by Your right hand of strength. Give them the ability to see past the natural into the spiritual to see You in the midst of the storm. Grant them the victory, Father! Thank You, Lord, for placing Your Spirit and power within us to give us the ability to win in the battles of life! To You be all the glory, Lord! In Jesus' name. Amen.
Saturday, May 05, 2012
Well, the trip so far has been a little difficult on my weight loss program. Today has been a washout, so to speak! Too many carbs, but didn't want to hurt the feelings of our host and hostess, so I indulged in everything they set before me! Tomorrow is another day, at another friend's house and I will probably choose to eat what she sets before me, also, in order to not hurt her feelings. I can start over when I get back home. Friendships are more important to me!
So, since we will be leaving here early in the morning, I will post this blog tonight for tomorrow. We've had a fun day exploring around Lancaster, Ohio, and will be heading further north tomorrow morning. My college professor/instructor lives in Fayette, Ohio, and I've never met her in person so that will be our next stop. She has worked diligently to help me achieve my goals in all my courses and I've communicated so much with her through emails that I feel like I already know her. It will be nice to put a face with a name!
Proverbs 21:2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.
Isn't that the truth? We all have our opinions and seem to think we are the ones who are always right! But look at what God thinks about our opinions; He doesn't really care what we think but He does care about our heart attitudes. Our opinions do not really matter; it is what we do according to His ways that count.
Galatians 5:16-18 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law.
You might say that this portion of scripture exhorts us to walk according to God's way and not our own. Because when we walk according to our own desires we can't be led by the Spirit. They are in opposition to each other. The flesh gratifies itself and the Spirit pleases the Lord.
Father, I pray that I might walk according to Your ways and not my own. I know that to walk in the flesh only satisfies my mind, will and emotions, and physical desires, but to walk according to the Spirit brings contentment and satisfaction, deep within my heart. Father, help me to choose Your ways above my own. I pray for my Spark Friends that they might desire Your ways over their own as well. Teach each one of us to follow Your Spirit so we may be pleasing to You. Help us to win over our fleshly desires, Father. In Jesus' name. Amen.
May all of you have a blessed Sunday!
This picture reminds me of our sweet little "Abby". She's staying with Gerald's sister while we're gone and I miss her!
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