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.
Friday, October 19, 2012
1 Chronicles 14:8-17 NLT When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they mobilized all their forces to capture him. But David was told they were coming, so he and his men marched out to meet them. The Philistines had arrived in the valley of Rephaim and raided it. So David asked God, “Should I go out to fight the Philistines? Will You hand them over to me?” The LORD replied, “Yes, go ahead. I will give you the victory.” So David and his troops went to Baal-erazim and defeated the Philistines there. “God has done it!” David exclaimed. “He used me to burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” So that place was named Baal-perazim (which means “the Lord who burst through”). The Philistines had abandoned their idols there, so David gave orders to burn them up. But after a while, the Philistines returned and raided the valley again. And once again David asked God what to do. "Do not attack them straight on,” God replied. “Instead, circle around behind them and attack them near the balsam trees. When you hear a sound like marking feet in the tops of the balsam trees, attack! That will be the signal that God is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistine army all the way from Gibeon to Gezer. So David's fame spread everywhere, and the LORD caused all the nations to fear David.
This is one of my favorite Old Testament stories about the life of David and how God used him to destroy his enemies. Have you been struggling with an enemy in your life that you just can't seem to overcome? There are several keys to victory in this story.
David shows us the importance of seeking God before attempting to fight any battle that comes at us. We must have a living and vital relationship with the Lord to defeat the enemy. God knows exactly what battleplan to use to bring the victory. The valley that David fought the Philistines in was the valley of Rephaim. Rephaim in the Hebrew means “giants”. Sometimes it seems like the giants in our lives are trying to destroy us and we are at a loss as to how to defeat them. David inquired of the Lord about whether or not he should go up against them. He sought God's will for his life at that very time. Was this a good time to fight the giants? Should he go into battle against them? Would God give him the victory? And, yes, God gave him the strategy to use against the enemy and he was victorious. In fact, when he won they changed the name of the valley to Baal Perazim, which means Master of Breakthroughs. God gave him the breakthrough to his victory and the New Living Translation records David as saying “God has done it!” David exclaimed. “He used me to burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” So that place was named Baal-perazim (which means “the Lord who burst through”). God will give us the victory over the enemy when we depend on Him. He wants to show us how to burst through our problems like a raging flood. This part of the story reminds me of the what Isaiah recorded in Isaiah 59:19 about the enemy coming at us like a flood and how God helps us.
Isaiah 59:19 So shall they fear The name of the LORD from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.
God cares about the problems that we experience. He wants to give us the victory, but we must seek Him for the battle-plan and then it is our responsibility to carry it out. We do have to fight the giants in our land.
The next thing we see in the story about David fighting the Philistines is that they come out against him again in the same place. Verse 13 starts another battle; same enemy; same place, but notice that he once again David goes to God for the battle-plan and this time he is given a different strategy. This time David asked God and the Lord said, “Do not attack them straight on,” God replied. “Instead, circle around behind them and attack them near the balsam trees. When you hear a sound like marking feet in the tops of the balsam trees, attack! That will be the signal that God is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistine army all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.” God knew that the Philistines would be expecting David to come against them in the same way as he had done previously and they would be ready for him this time. They expected him to use the same battle-plan as he had before, but God knew David was being set up and would need a different plan of attack to win this battle.
Friends, if the enemy of your soul has set up a stronghold in your life that you don't seem to be able to break through maybe you need to go to God for a different battle-plan. He is the Master of the Breakthrough! He has assured us of the victory, but we have to carry out the attack. We have to fight the giants in our lives through God's strength within us and according to His plan.
Romans 8:31-37 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For You sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
There are all kind of giants that will try to invade our lives. But if God is for us, then what enemy do we have that could possibly stand against us and win? There is no giant that can ultimately win in our lives because God has made us more than conquerors through Him who loved us. The only way the enemy can win is if we stop fighting and give up.
If you are struggling with something that you can't seem to get the victory over, go to God and ask Him for a different plan of attack. If something isn't working, then change what you're doing. God has a better plan for you to use that will bring the victory!
Father, I thank You for providing us with just the right plan to defeat the devil in our lives. Father, when the enemy comes at us seemingly like a flood You already have the answer for how to defeat him and if we will seek You for the battle-plan we can win. Father, I thank You for the victory over whatever it is that we are struggling with in our lives. I pray for my friends this morning that when they pray and ask You for the plan that You will clearly show them how to win in their battles. Please strengthen them by Your Spirit within them and give them the victory. I pray that they might not faint in well-doing but that in due season they will reap the harvest of victory. Father, thank You for making us more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. I thank You that the Greater One lives within us to give us the victory! I praise You for showing us how to fight and for giving us the strength to carry on when it seems that we are not winning. I know that it is the darkest just before the dawn and I ask You, Lord, to help us stand our course and fight when it seems to be the darkest hour. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer for I believe that I receive when I pray. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Psalm 23:1-6 AMP
1 THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me]. I shall not lack.
2 He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.
3 He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name's sake.
4 Yes, though I walk through the [deep sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; by [brimming] cut runs over.
6 Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.
This Psalm is one of my favorites because it speaks of God's never-ending love for His people using the illustration of how a Shepherd cares for his sheep. The Shepherd's job is to provide for every need of the sheep. Jesus, our Good Shepherd, when He died on the cross for us, provided for our every need. He feeds, guides and shields us so that we suffer no lack. The provision has been made through the blood of Jesus for us to have complete restoration to the way life was back in the Garden of Eden. The spiritual life that we live as children of God provides for our well-being spirit, soul and body. Jesus died for the whole person, not just for us spiritually.
As sheep, we often go through life being led by every circumstance and experience that comes along. We sometimes don't look to the Shepherd for protection, provision and preservation. We seem to be distanced from Him. That is not the life that our heavenly Father wants us to live. He wants us to be vitally connected to Him through a living relationship with Jesus, by the Holy Spirit. When we begin to look to the Lord for every need that we have we find His presence, His protection, His provision and His preservation.
Presence – His closeness is ever with us. The Shepherd stayed with the sheep. He lived in the pasture with them. Jesus came as a human being and dwelt among men. He lived with us; He died among us to pay the price for our freedom. Jesus lives within His children. His presence is ever with us.
John 1:14,-16 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.'” And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
His protection – “Yes, though I walk through the [deep sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.” I like the way Joyce Meyer explains this verse: “Remember, where there is a shadow, there must be light—and the Light of the world, Jesus, has promised to be with you always.”
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
His provision – “THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me]. I shall not lack.”
Lack – Hebrew word haser – means to lack; to have nothing; to go down, recede; to make lower; to deprive; to cause to lack, withhold.
Jesus, as our Shepherd has provided for us in such a way that we will suffer no lack; we will never be at a state of not having anything, or being deprived of what we need. He is not withholding from us, but instead, has made provision for us. Sometimes God gets blamed for our lack when the blame should be placed on the wolf who comes to try to steal the little ones from the sheepfold.
John chapter 10 speaks so lovingly of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Jesus describes Himself as the good shepherd who gives his life for the sheep in John 10:11. He goes on to say in John 10:14, 15:
“I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. “As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”
Jesus laid down His life for us so that we would suffer no lack. His provision is far-reaching from saving our souls, restoring our spirits, and providing for our needs. He is the GOOD Shepherd who provides for His own.
John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
The thief (the wolf) comes to steal, kill and destroy the sheep's life. But Jesus came to give life abundantly.
Abundantly – Greek word perissos – means superabundance, excessive, overflowing, surplus, over and above, more than enough, profuse, extraordinary, above the ordinary, more than sufficient.
Can you imagine that type of life; one of superabundance, excess and overflowing surplus? That's the life that Jesus died that you and I might experience. When we face opposition to that type of life we can know that it is because the thief is trying to steal from us. He comes to destroy us by whatever means he can. Sometimes He steals through our finances by blinding us to proper financial management. We sometimes cooperate with his tactics to steal from us by overspending, not tithing and giving offerings, and not properly managing the resources that God has provided for us. God gives us choices to either walk in His provision or try to do it on our own. In our desire to be in control we sometimes step out of God's perfect will for our lives by the choices that we make. The result is lack.
Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Preservation – “He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name's sake.” He leads us in uprightness and right standing with Him, not through our trying to earn it, but for His name's sake. That's powerful. When we come to the understanding that we are saved by HIS grace and not our works we can live a life of freedom! Jesus paid the price in full; there is nothing for us to do, but receive it! Our salvation, our preservation, was given by God's grace and received through our faith.
Ephesians 2:8, 9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
You can't earn your salvation, you can only receive it. When you receive it you are placed “in Him”, “in Christ Jesus”, safe in the Father's hands.
Friends, God loves you with an everlasting love. His provision is complete; His presence is never-ending; His protection is always around you and His preservation restores your soul. The work of the “Good Shepherd” has provided for every need of the sheep; we shall not lack.
Father, I thank You for providing for every need that Your children have. I thank You that we suffer no lack! You have thought of and covered everything! Thank You, Father, for the total provision that protects, provides and preserves us. Thank You for giving Jesus to die for our sins and to restore us back to You. Lord Jesus, thank You for laying down Your life for us. No one took Your life from You but You willingly laid it down that we might experience life abundantly. Thank You, Lord! And thank You for placing Your Spirit within us to lead and guide us; and to give us the fellowship that we need to have that living and vital relationship with You. You are our God; there is NONE above You or beside You. Thank You for being our Savior!
Father I pray this morning for those who might not know Jesus as their Savior. I pray that you will open the blinded eyes and pull down the veil that has been placed over their minds by the evil one so that they can see the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ and be drawn into the family through believing in their heart that He died for them and confessing Him as their Lord. Do a saving work in them, Father. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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