Wednesday, June 06, 2012
This is how I feel this morning! A trip back home always creates havoc with my healthy living lifestyle! I have eaten all sorts of things that I shouldn't have and my exercise routine is basically non-existent! Now, to start over again!
Lamentations 3:21-24 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”
I'm so thankful that God gives me another chance when I mess up! He is so kind and gracious to me! The Word says that when we sin we can confess that sin to Him and ask Him to forgive us and He is faithful to forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The problem that we usually experience after having sinned is that when we confess it to the Lord He forgives us just as He says, but we usually have trouble forgiving ourselves so we carry the guilt of it around and try to work hard to make up for what we have done. There is no need to feel guilty or think that we have to compensate for the wrong that we have done.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Condemnation comes from the enemy, not from God. When we feel condemned after we have asked God to forgive us of a wrong that we have done, we can know that He has been faithful to do that and now we are experiencing condemnation from the devil to try to make us move out of God's grace into a works program to try to make up for what we have done. Jesus came to set us free; the devil is here to keep us in bondage! He does that through lies and deception.
1 John 2:1,2 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
When we sin and confess our sin to the Father, Jesus pleads our case with Him for us. He is our attorney! He paid for our sins and continues to intercede on our behalf.
Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
The phrase “make intercession” is the Greek word entunchano and it means to fall in with, meet with in order to converse. From this description of a casual encounter, the word progresses to the idea of pleading with a person on behalf of another.
Jesus pleads with the Father on behalf of those that are His! He is our High Priest!
Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Jesus was tempted to sin in all areas as us, but He didn't sin! That's what made Him acceptable to God to pay the price for our sin! He is the sinless Son of God who came to earth to purchase our redemption from the bondage of sin, sickness and disease and poverty! He paid the price that we couldn't pay that we might receive the salvation that we couldn't earn!
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We deserved death for our sin, but God gave us eternal life! Jesus took our sin upon His own body and nailed it to the cross as payment for our sin. He then gave us the life that He had in place of our sinful life. Oh Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Father, this morning I am so thankful that Jesus came to save me from my sin! Thank You, Lord Jesus for paying the price for my salvation. I thank You for setting me free from the bondage of sin, sickness and poverty! You purchased my total salvation and I'm so thankful that I am Yours. This morning I pray for my friends that You will reveal Yourself to them in a new and fresh way. Show them what You purchased on the cross for them, Father. Help them to see themselves as You see them; free and able to walk every day in the newness of life that You have given them. Father, open the eyes of those who don't know You that they might see the love that You have shown them in giving Your very own Son to die for their salvation. Please bring them to salvation, Father. Today as we go through our daily activities, Father, please help us to get back on track if we've strayed. Show us today what we need to do to cleanse our physical bodies of impurities that we might have taken in during times of weaknesses. And give us the strength to say “no” to our fleshly desires that want to continue eating those things that are unhealthy for us. Thank You, Lord, for strengthening us by Your Spirit that lives within us. May we glorify You in all we say and do today, Lord! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Friday, June 01, 2012
My mom had a couple of sayings that keep coming back to me as I go through life. They are: “if at once you don't succeed, try, try again” and “where there's a will there's a way”. Isn't it funny how statements that others have made stick with us throughout life?!
The Lord gives some instructions about tenacity, the ability to stick with a project to completion, in 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 come and 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 calls it endurance. He says we need to be able to endure in order to receive His promises! Sometimes you have to stand strong through a lot of “stuff” before you see the manifestation of the promise in your life. When I go fishing with my husband we'll fish in an area for a little while and if we don't catch anything he will do one of two things: he will either change his lure or bait, or he will change his location. I've learned from his patient endurance that if he doesn't succeed using one means of fishing that he will try something else and will stick with it until he finds the fish! He can fish all day long without growing weary by adjusting his efforts to meet the challenge.
So it is with our objectives in life. If something that you are doing right now isn't working to attain the goals that you have set for yourself, then change what you are doing and find what works.
The apostle Paul referred to our walk of faith as a fight! He said in 1 Timothy 6:12: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
He instructs Timothy to fight and lay hold on eternal life! We have to fight for what God has promised us. He promises us if we will not give up or cast away our confidence, our sure reliance on Him and His promises, that we will win. He says we are to “lay hold” on eternal life! My mother used to tell me to watch out for snapping turtles because if they bite you they will not turn loose until it thunders! They “lay hold” on you with “bulldog” tenacity! Do you get the picture here?
It was said of Jesus in Luke 9:51 that when it came time for Him to go to Jerusalem just before He was to be crucified that He “steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem”. He knew that He needed tenacity to fulfill the call that His Father had given Him to secure the salvation of mankind. It was not an easy task for Him to do, but He chose to endure to the end to win the fight for our freedom from sin.
Hebrews 6:11 tells us that it is through “faith and patience” that we inherit the promises of God. Thinking about faith takes us back to the first scripture reference in Hebrews 10:38 where it says that “the just shall live by faith” and patience is what is needed to couple with your faith so that after you've endured you will receive!
Can you see the principles in these scriptures that apply to what you are trying to achieve in your life's goals? The biblical principles will work not only in the spiritual but also the natural. There is a degree of success in the world's application of biblical principles even when they don't know or understand that they are operating according to the design of God for success! They may use “positive speaking” for what we know as “biblical confession”, but they achieve a degree of success in applying that to their lives. Many times the principles that God has laid out in His word for us to use in receiving His promises are being applied to worldly situations and people are succeeding without knowing it's a result of biblical application!
Are you succeeding today in receiving the promises of God in your life? Do you feel like you will never see some things change? Maybe you need to adjust something that you are doing? I couldn't understand why I wasn't losing weight at the desired rate that I wanted until my husband got me a Fitbit. It was then that I was able to see that I needed to not only cut back on my daily calories, but also increase my exercise. I was content with walking for a couple of miles a day and staying within the calorie range that SP had set for me, but for my metabolism it wasn't working like it should have. I needed to make some changes. Now that I've made those changes I have seen some consistent weight loss. If we will seek the Lord He will give us the keys to success! Then when we apply them with tenacity we will eventually inherit the promises! The word of God works in your life as you apply it to your situations.
Father, I thank You for Your word and Your direction for my life. Thank You for giving me the key to success! You are all-knowing, all-seeing and all-powerful and You are my God. It is in You that I trust to lead me in the way I should go. Thank You for leading me and guiding me into all truth! Father, I pray that You will lead my spark friends to victory. Show them what they need to adjust in their lives to attain the goals that they have set before them. Help them to stay strong through the fight so they can win the battle! May they endure through Your strength and not try to fight this battle on their own. Thank You, Father, for showing them the way to success! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Proverbs 3:5,6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Questions often surround my heart; questions about why this happened or why this person suffered and died at an early age. My heart grows heavy when I see the carnage the devil continues to ravage against God's people. I often cry out to the Lord for victory over the darkness that I see in people's lives and wonder why it has to continue the way it does. There are things I don't understand, but this one thing I know: God is good all the time and the devil is bad all the time! And if I seek Him with my whole heart He will reveal the answers to my questions in His timing.
As I look into these two verses in Proverbs I see some steps that I can take in knowing how to live my life successfully under God's direction. The first thing I must do is trust Him with my whole heart. Trust and faith go hand in hand. You can't exercise faith without trust and you can't trust without walking by faith. The Amplified Bible speaks of this verse as “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.” Trust is to lean on and be confident in the Lord in both your heart and your mind. Your heart is where the Spirit of God lives; it is your innermost being, that part of you that has been “born again” or “regenerated”, brought to new life in the Lord. It is that part of you that wants to lead you under the Spirit's direction. Your mind, as well as your will and your emotions, is a part of your soul. Once sin entered man's life the spirit, under the Holy Spirit's directions, no longer led man to walk in the ways of the Lord, but the soul took over and became man's primary driving force. The mind, will, and emotions became what man depended on to direct him in the way he should go. But this scripture says not to depend on your soul for direction, but to trust in the Lord with all your heart and mind. It is through total dependence on the Lord that we find the answers to life's questions. It begins with trusting in Him.
The second thing I see in these two verses that shows me the key to successful living is found in verse 6 and is the word “ways”. The word “ways” in the Hebrew language is “derek” and it means “a road, a course, or a mode of action.” It is as if this passage is suggesting that in all our “days”, or our road through life, we should acknowledge God, and in so doing He will direct our paths. Of equal importance is the word “acknowledge”, the Hebrew word “yada”, with one of the meanings being “direct, intimate contact”. “Yada” means to know by observation, investigation, reflection, or firsthand experience. It's highest meaning gives the connotation of having an intimate walk with the Lord that leads to becoming one with Him through direct, intimate contact. It is by having direct, intimate contact with the Lord in all our days that we attain the understanding of how to walk through our lives. It is then that we can know that our own insight and understanding is futile, and needs to be laid aside so God can take the driver's seat in our lives. He will show us the way to go when we lay our lives before Him and come to Him through a living and vital relationship. The questions that lie so deep within our hearts can be answered through direct, intimate contact with the Lord.
My paraphrase of Proverbs 3:5, 6 might be this:
Lean on and be confident in the Lord with all your heart, spirit and mind; In all your days or the road you take through life, have direct, intimate contact with the Lord and as you observe Him and experience that intimacy with Him, He will show you the way to take through life.
Isaiah 55:6;8,9 Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
God thinks differently than us. He operates on a different level than us. But He says that if we seek Him we can know His ways and thoughts. It is through “yada”, direct, intimate contact with Him on a daily basis that we can understand His ways and thoughts. It is as we yield ourselves to the movement of His Spirit within us that we have spiritual direction and our souls no longer are in the driver's seat of our lives.
James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you....
Are you drawing near to God this morning? Do you have direct, intimate contact with Him to where He is the one directing your life? We can have that kind of a relationship with Him if we will make it a priority in our lives. We can know the heart of God through direct, intimate contact.
Father, I thank You for opening the way for me to know You through the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ. I thank You that I now have access to the very throne room of God because Jesus gave His life that I might have life and a restored relationship with You. I pray that I might always have the direct, intimate contact with You that gives understanding to this life that I am living. Show me Your ways, O Lord that I might walk closely with You. Give me understanding, Father, to the mysteries of life. Grant me to know You in all Your fullness that I might show others the way to You and the life You have for them. I pray for my friends, this morning, Father, that You might draw them close to You. For those that are hurting, Father, wrap Your loving arms around them and carry them through the difficult days. Deliver them from the grasp of the evil one who is tormenting them. Give them peace in the midst of the storms, Father. I thank You, Lord, for hearing my prayer, this morning for I believe that I receive when I pray. In Jesus name. Amen.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Ezekiel 37:1-10 The hand of the LORD came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 'Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. “I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.” So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord God: “come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they many live”'” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.
Have you ever had a situation in your life that just seemed like it was dead, never to live again? Ezekiel found himself in this situation when God took him out to a valley full of dead, dry bones. The Lord wanted to show him how He could empower him to speak life into the dead places and see Him work in the lives of those around him. I love this portion of scripture because to me it pictures how God works with His people to bring life out of death to fulfill His kingdom's work in the lives of those that we love and care about. Jesus told His disciples in Mark 16:17-20 that there would be certain signs that would follow those who believe in Him and when they would preach His word of life to people He would work with them confirming His word with the accompanying signs.
Mark 16:17-20 “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; “they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
God told Ezekiel to speak His word to the dry bones and they would live. He said for Ezekiel to prophesy to them and He would bring breath back into their bodies to give them life. He was working with Ezekiel bringing life out of death, simply through the words that Ezekiel spoke. Wouldn't you say there were accompanying signs following Ezekiel's obedience just like Jesus said would follow believers?
Are there dry places in your life today that need God's breath of life to come into them? Speak the word of God into the dry places in your life and watch God move to change them!
Proverbs 18:21 says: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”
We can either speak death or life into our situations. Most of the time we talk about our problems when we should be talking TO our problems. Many times we talk about how big our problems are when we should be telling our problems how big our God is!
Mark 11:22-24 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
Do you believe that God is able and willing to change your life's situations? Do you believe that He will work with you to change your life? Ezekiel found out that when he did as God instructed things in his life changed. Jesus told His followers that if they had faith in God they could speak to the mountains in their lives and they would change. God said we carry the power of life and death in our tongues and when we speak life into dry places they come to life! Your life can be different if you will follow the principles in God's word and begin to speak differently about what is happening.
Jesus said that His followers could talk to their problems, or mountains, and they would move. When God saw darkness He didn't talk about how dark it was He spoke life into it by saying “Let there be light” or simply “Light be!” And light was. Hebrews 11:3 gives us an understanding of how that happened.
Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand the the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
God framed His world with His words. He didn't complain about how bad the situation was He just spoke to it and it changed. That word for framed means to arrange, set in order, equip, adjust, complete what is lacking, make fully ready, repair, prepare. God set His world in order through His spoken word!
Hebrews then goes on to tell us that the elders obtained a good report by doing the same things. By faith they lived their lives, speaking and doing as God instructed them. If we will follow the same style of living that they had we will have the same results! We will see God work with us to change our lives. We are not under our circumstances because God says He has made us to be above and not beneath, to be the head and not the tail! We have been made more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (see Deuteronomy 28:13 and Romans 8:37)
Father, I thank You for Your word and the power that is in it when we speak to our situations in life. Thank You for giving us the authority to use Your word to change our lives. You are God and there is none above You or beside You. Thank You for working with Your people to bring change into our world. Father, I pray for my friends this morning that You will help them to see the life that You want to bring into their situations. Cause them to see that speaking about our problems doesn't do anything to change them, but when we speak Your words to our problems then we can see a difference in them. Thank You for bringing light out of the darkness in our lives, Father. To You be all the glory! In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Psalm 42:4-6 NLT My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks—it was the sound of a great celebration! Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again—my Savior and my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember Your kindness—from Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar.
Do you ever wish things could be as they once were? Sometimes we get caught up in thinking like the Israelites when God brought them out of the land of bondage and as they were traveling to the Promised Land and encountered difficulties they would wish they could go back to Egypt. They became discouraged when obstacles entered their path. They would cry and grumble about their current circumstances and want to go back to the bondage of the past. The Psalmist here is talking about a similar situation in his life. Looking back sometimes looks good because we only think about the good things of the past, not the difficulties that we encountered there. But each season in life has it's own set of challenges and going back doesn't solve anything. Here the Psalmist recognized his depression and what he needed to do to free himself from the anguish that he was experiencing. He said “now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember Your kindness”. Even in the midst of difficulties we need to remember God's kindness and place our hope in Him! He knows exactly where we are at each stage of our lives and has something good planned for us in the future; but we must trust Him to see us through and bring us out to enjoy the good things of our future! Without faith and trust in Him we will never see the goodness He has in store for us!
Paul talked about his difficulties in this way in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT: We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don't give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.
Paul had a determination that the problems that he experienced in this life would not get the best of him. He would not succumb to the temptation to let depression overtake him. He was determined to get up and go again. We see why he felt this way in verse 13: "But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, and so I speak.” We know that the same God who raised our Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us to Himself along with you." Paul was saying the reason he could look at life and overcome the problems that he had was because of his faith in God. He believed in God and that changed his attitude and affected the way he spoke about his problems. He knew that the same God who raised Christ Jesus from the dead was going to raise him up also! He went on to say in 2 Corinthians 4:17: “For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.” He looked at his present troubles in view of eternal joys and realized that the things that were happening in his life right at that moment were subject to change—temporary, a light momentary affliction as the NKJV says.
That's the way it is for us. The things that may be discouraging you in life right now are temporary, subject to change! Nothing stays the same in this world for very long. It will not always be as it is today! Tomorrow is a new day and when we believe in God we can view our lives in light of His word knowing that in His word He promises that better times are yet to come! In Jeremiah 29 the Israelites had been in bondage and God sent word through Jeremiah that better days were coming for them.
Jeremiah 29:10-11 NLT “The truth is that you will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Today God is saying not to be discouraged by the things in your life that may be going wrong, but look to Him and trust Him for the good things that He has planned for your future. He has a good plan for your life full of hope and blessing. The things that you may be experiencing today are temporary, they will not last forever.
Father, I thank You for bringing us out of depression and despair into the good future that You have prepared for us. Thank You for giving us hope for a better tomorrow. I know, Father, that the difficulties that may be in our lives today will not last forever. Please help us to keep our focus on You, Lord, and the good that You have planned for our lives. Thank You for dispelling the darkness today so that Your light can shine brightly in our lives. Thank You for giving us hope, for You are good and Your mercy endures forever. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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