Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Luke 1:38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the LORD! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Did you know that when God speaks a word into your life that you will never be the same again?
Mary had a visitation from the angel of the Lord that totally changed her life. She received what He told her by faith and humbly submitted herself to God's plan for her life without questioning every detail of how it would happen or what others would think of her. By understanding her position as a servant of the Most High God, Mary was willing to pay the price to be the vessel that God would flow through to impact the world for His Kingdom. She simply responded with her desire that His will be done in her life.
“Let it be to me according to your word.”
Can you imagine what could have been going through her mind at that moment? Here she was a young teenager engaged to Joseph, ready to being her married life, and an angel appears to her and tells her that she is going to be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and impregnated with the seed of Almighty God and will give birth to the Son of God! Her only question was, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” Mary knew what it took to get pregnant. She was a virtuous young lady, and yet she willingly submitted to God's will for her life. She knew the risks of becoming pregnant before marriage and how she could possibly lose her future husband and be stoned to death for unfaithfulness. She knew the possibility of her family rejecting her and all of society looking at her as an outcast. All of these things must have been going through her mind and yet.....”Let it be to me according to your word.”
The calling that God had on Mary's life was a very real calling; He wanted to do great and mighty things through her life. He has a calling on each one of our lives. Will you be willing to surrender to His calling regardless of the possible consequences on your life?
Mary's cousin, Elizabeth, later made this statement about her: “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Elizabeth called Mary “blessed” because she believed the message from the Lord that the angel had delivered to her. Mary was blessed to be a vessel that God could use to usher His salvation into the world. Each one of us is blessed to be a blessing to those around us, no matter how small or how great. We tend to view the ones that are more visible as being of greater use to the Lord, but He sees each one of us as His own special messenger, sent to do the work that He has called us to do. None is greater than another in God's eyes. But each calling is just as vitally important as the next one. The only requirement that God has of us is as we yield to His will for His life that we have faith to believe that, as Mary, it will be as He has said; that we will believe Him to fulfill His work through us.
Father, I thank You for choosing me to do whatever You desire to do through my life. I yield my will to Yours and receive the calling that You have on my life to effect change in my world. Father, I ask You to make it clear to me what You would have me to do and say as You direct me to share Your word and Your love with those around me. I ask You, Lord, to give me the courage that I need to stand up and be counted for Your righteous cause in this day and hour; that I might not give in to the ways of the world, but will continue to stand in faith believing that You will do in me and through me what You have planned for my life. I pray for my friends this morning that they might also seek Your will for their lives and then stand in faith believing that You will bring it to pass in Your time. Give them the vision that You want them to have of the calling that You have on each of their lives. Empower them by Your Spirit to do the work and give them courage to stand strong in the face of adversity. Thank You, Father, for making us world changers in these last days. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
My life is in You, Lord
My heart is in Your hand.
Each day Your Spirit guides me
And causes me to stand.
I listen for Your voice,
I love to hear You speak.
You brighten up my valleys,
Without You I am weak.
Thank You for Your love, Lord.
You are my life, my light.
You are my King, my Master,
My song in the night.
I pledge my love to You, Lord.
I give You all I am.
I'll walk this day with You,
My shepherd, like a lamb.
~Avanell ~ 1999
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Esther 4:14-16 “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”
Esther was birthed into the kingdom for such a time as this! She had a role to play in the grand scheme of things that God had planned for deliverance for her people. Mordecai realized that she was in the King's harem for a reason. She wasn't just brought there to please the king, but she was there to please the King of kings and Lord of lords. She was there to play a strategic role in the lives of her people, the nation of Israel. Esther fasted and prayed to gain the direction that she needed to be all that God had created her to be and then followed His directions to effect change in the lives of her family, her friends and her nation. Her passion to do all that God had called her to do caused her to abandon her will for His. Her life was risked to be the person that God wanted her to be in the day and hour that she lived. Had she not yielded to God's will for her life He would have risen up another to fulfill His plan, but she knew that God had His hand on her life and she willingly chose to follow His leading in standing in the gap for her people.
God has created and birthed each one of us into this day and hour for such a time as this! We all have been created and placed strategically where we are to effect change in the lives of those around us. Some of us have been called to leadership, some to support roles, some to teaching, prophesying exhortation, and some to quiet intercession. But each one of us has a strategic place in God's plan for mankind and our responsibility is to exercise the gifts that God has given us through faith that He will empower us to do what He has called us to do.
Romans 12:4-8 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
You are a unique creation with inherent talents and abilities that no one else has. God fashioned you according to His plan for your life. But sometimes we have difficulty seeing the value that we actually have to God and those around us. Sometimes we wish we were someone else. We can't see the good that we are doing and we wonder what is our purpose in life. For every time that you wish you were someone else or that you had someone else's talents and abilities there is someone looking at you and wishing they were like you. That's right! Someone sees in you the virtues that you don't see in yourself. Someone else is thinking “I wish I was like her or him”. “I would like to be able to communicate with others like she/he can”. You may be wondering why you were created a certain nationality and placed in a country where there is turmoil and unrest. But you are valuable to God right where you are. He didn't make a mistake when He created you the color or nationality that you are. He wasn't wrong in placing you in the country of your heritage. He needed you right where you are. When will you stop questioning God about “why” you are the way you are and start celebrating the unique values that He has placed within you, that when empowered by Him, will make a difference in the hearts and lives of those around you?
The Starfish Story
Original Story by: Loren Eisley
One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed
a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.
Approaching the boy, he asked, What are you doing?
The youth replied, Throwing starfish back into the ocean.
The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them back, they'll die.
Son, the man said, don't you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish?
You can't make a difference!
After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish,
and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said
I made a difference for that one.
This little boy was making a difference in the lives of those sea creatures one at a time. He might not been able to save them all, but he was doing what he could to save them one at a time. Our lives are like that. We may look at the enormity of what is going on around us and think that we have no ability to make a real change in the way things are because it's just too big for one person. And yet we touch other people's lives every day, one at a time. We can make a difference by allowing God to touch others through us; each one of us, through the anointing and empowering of the Holy Spirit, can reach one, or two, or a city, a nation or the world! We are exhorted to allow the power of the Holy Spirit to come upon us to reach our Jerusalem, which is our immediate surroundings, Judea and Sarmaria, our city and country and the end of the earth, the world. God wants to flow through us to make a difference!
We look into the Word of God and see the stories of so many who followed the leading of the Lord and made a difference in the lives of people, their nations and the world. We think of David as he went out to fight Goliath and how the people around him told him it couldn't be done. Why, he was just a lowly shepherd boy. A youth, never trained to fight in an army and how could he think he could kill a giant with just a slingshot and 5 smooth stones. And yet, when he went out empowered by the Lord he did just that! He slew the giant and saved his people, his whole nation! And what about Joshua who led the armies of Israel against the armies of the five Amorite kings at Gibeon and the Lord worked through them to kill all those armies. Joshua was fulfilling the plan of God for his life and he said in Joshua 10:12-14:
Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon; And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still, And the moon stopped, Til the people had revenge Upon their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the LORD heeded the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.
Your place in the strategy that God has for a change in your world might be the place of intercession. Here we see that God heeded the voice of the man, Joshua. He listened to him and did as Joshua asked. You can make a difference in the lives of those around you through prayer. You could be just that person that will pray them into heaven, or change the course of their lives through bringing them before the Lord in prayer. You are a valuable part of God's plan in the lives of those around you.
The greatest example we have of someone making a difference in the lives of mankind is that of the man, Jesus. He was born for such a time as this! His life was sacrificed for the salvation of the whole world. He, through laying down His life to pay for our sins, made a difference in my life and the lives of untold millions. We will never know until we get to heaven and all are there that have received Jesus as Savior and Lord, just how many His life touched. He made a difference in my life; how about you?
Will you be satisfied with who you are in your world or will you consider yourself of no value, not having the attributes and qualities that you think are necessary to effect change in the lives of those around you?
Father, I thank You for who You have created me to be. You formed me and fashioned me in Your likeness and image and placed me in my world for such a time as this! Thank You for choosing me to be who I am and not someone else. Thank You for empowering me to touch those that you have placed in my life for the time that I live in. Thank You for being God in me and through me for I know that I can do nothing in and of myself. It is through Your anointing upon my life that I can make a difference in the lives of others. I pray for my friends today who may be wondering why they were created as they are. Maybe they have disabilities that limit them in where they can go and what they can do. But God, You created them as unique individuals, with talents an abilities like no other and through You they can be everything that You created them to be. I pray that You will show them Your plan for their lives. I ask You to reveal Your will to them and empower them to walk it out. Give them the courage to face today with an assurance that You are leading them to effect change in their world. Thank You for them, Father! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Monday, October 22, 2012
II Timothy 1:12 AMP And this is why I am suffering as I do. Still I am not ashamed, for I know (perceive, have knowledge of, and am acquainted with) Him Whom I have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on), and I am [positively] persuaded that He is able to guard and keep that which has been entrusted to me and which I have committed [to Him] until that day.
Believed – Adhered to and trusted in and relied on.
Persuaded – To be convinced, be confident, have inward certainty and trust.
Able – Possible, strong, mighty and powerful; having the ability to act and the power to accomplish.
Committed – To deposit or trust.
In our lives, as with Paul's, there are times when we are unable to care for everything in our lives and simply have to turn things over to Jesus to keep them for us. We, as human beings, are limited in our ability to ensure that our lives and those of our loved ones will turn out all right. We cannot control circumstances, situations, and people. There is only one who is able to do that and He is God!
I love this verse because it shows that that someone as well-known and successful in the ministry as Paul learned that he could not control his own life, but he knew someone who could. He trusted his future to God and that is what we have to do as well. Paul said he was acquainted with the One who he knew could be trusted with the important happenings in his life. Do you know that One? His name is Jesus! He is the only One that we can know for sure that will take care of the ones that we love and care about the most.
Paul said that he believed in Him. He adhered to Him, trusted in Him and relied on Him. Belief is not a mindset; it is a way of life. It is trusting someone so much that you personally rely on him for your present and future needs. To believe in someone is to know within your heart that that person can be trusted to meet your every need, to fulfill your deepest longing and desires, and to watch over everything that concerns you. Believing does not happen in your head, but in your heart.
God is able; He alone is strong enough, mighty and powerful enough, to have the ability to take care of what we give Him; the things that we turn over to Him. He alone has the power to accomplish the things that we see as impossible situations. God is ABLE!
We don't find that out personally until we commit these things to Him and allow Him to take control. We have to commit them to Him. To commit means to deposit them with Him. When I make a deposit into my bank account I no longer have to watch over my money because I have placed it in the safety of a banking institution. I trust them to put it into my account and keep it there until I need to withdraw it for a purchase. I don't think about it every day and wonder if it is still there; I just trust that they are keeping it safe for me.
But placing your valuables, your family members, your present and future needs with God is much more certain and safe than putting your money in a bank. God cannot fail! He is all-powerful, all-present and all-knowing.
What is it that you need to commit to God today? Do you trust Him to watch over and care for those things; those loved ones? Sometimes we think we have committed them into His care and then we find ourselves pulling them back, taking back the control over them.
II Peter 5:7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
We are told in this scripture to “cast” our cares upon Him. My husband is a bass fisherman and when we got married he taught me how to “cast” my line out to catch a fish. There's a certain way to do it and you have to make sure that you get your line out far enough to be able to reel it back in past the fish so they see it and think it's a little fish swimming by. There is an art to casting your line out for fishing. You don't just haphazardly throw it out there. The same is true with casting your cares on the Lord. To cast is to throw with power. The underlining meaning of this word is to get them as far away from you as possible, where you are not able to reach them any longer. If they are cast away from you to someone else you can't get to them to take them back.
Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
Have you cast your burdens on Jesus? He will sustain you through the difficulties and challenges of life. He will never allow you to be moved off your trust in Him.
Father, I thank You that we can come to You and commit our lives, the lives of our loved ones, our needs and future to You and know that You will be faithful to watch over and protect those things that we deposit with You. Thank You for taking care of the things that concern us. We need You in our lives and can't successfully live life without You. Father, I pray for my friends this morning who may be struggling with the cares of life. I ask You, Lord, to reveal to them that You are willing and able to help them. That You love them and care about their lives and want to help them. Father, help them to cast their cares on You and trust You to keep those things that they commit unto You. Thank You, Father, for instilling within them the peace that passes all understanding so that they will know that You are taking care of their concerns. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
2 Corinthians 8:5 And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.
He gave His all for you; won't you do the same for Him?
2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
Father, I thank You for giving the very best that You had for me. You gave Your only begotten Son that I might have all that He had; that I might be a child of God. Thank You for loving me that much! Lord Jesus, you willingly went to the cross for me that I might be able to receive the payment that you made for my sins and come into the family of God. Thank You for saving me. And Father, I pray for my friends this morning who might not know that You made the way possible for them to live life eternally with You when their earthly life is over. I pray that You will open their blinded eyes to see the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ that they might come into salvation. May this be the day, Father, that they turn to You and receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for living within me. Thank You for being my Friend. And thank You, Father, for this day! May I bring glory and honor to Your name today! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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