Sunday, October 28, 2012
Psalm 34;17-19 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.
I'm so thankful this morning that I belong to a God who hears my cries for help and runs to my rescue. Trouble comes to all of us at one time or another, but those who don't know Jesus don't have the help that they need when they encounter difficulties. They are limited to their own abilities to deliver themselves out of their crisis. But, the ones who know Jesus have the help that they need; the One who knows all, sees all and is all-powerful. He is our God; He will deliver us from all our troubles.
Jeremiah 32:17, 26 'Ah, LORD GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for you.' “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for me?”
There is nothing too difficult for our God. He holds the answers to all our problems. He understands our limitations, and He longs to give us the understanding that we need to know what to do in each problem that we encounter.
Jeremiah 33:3 'Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.'
God promised Jeremiah that if he would call out to Him, not only would He answer him, but He would show him great and mighty things that he did not know. The word “mighty” is also translated as “unsearchable” or “fortified”. These are things that cannot be known by man's intelligence, but can only be revealed by the Lord as we call upon Him. The idea in this verse is that if Jeremiah will call upon God, He will reveal insight that only He knows; that He would give Jeremiah the keys to the wisdom of God, revealing to Him things that otherwise would be inaccessible or isolated. This type of “revelational insight” is necessary to know how to pray effectively, how to have clear understanding into a situation and how to fight spiritually when you're in a spiritual battle.
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
James promises that if we will ask God when we need direction or wisdom that He will give it to us liberally, or freely, without mocking or ridiculing us for asking. He is not withholding the help that we need; we simply have to seek Him for it.
James 1:6-8 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
The only requirement that we have in asking God for the help that we need is that we must ask in faith, believing that He will hear and answer our request. When we don't have faith we become like a person tossed back and forth between hope and fear. One minute we believe that God will do what He has promised in answering us and giving us the wisdom that we need and the next minute we fear that He will not do it. To doubt means to have a conflict with oneself in the sense of hesitating, having misgivings, being divided in decision making, or wavering between hope and fear. This person, the Bible records, is unstable in all his ways and will not receive from the Lord because of his wavering instability.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Without faith we can't please God. Faith is what it takes to receive from God. When we come to Him we must believe that He is our God, ready and willing to give us the help that we need. We also must believe that He rewards us when we diligently seek Him.
God is not withholding anything from us. His grace is all-sufficient, holding everything that we need, ready to be released to us as we exercise our faith to receive it. I like to think of it this way: grace is like a big bag holding what we need and the cord that releases the opening to the bag is our faith. When the faith cord is pulled the contents of what we need is opened, releasing it to us.
What do you need wisdom, direction, or understanding about today? Have you asked the Lord for it? He is ready to release it to you if you will come to Him in faith and receive.
Father, I thank You that when I call unto You, You are right there to help me. Thank You for Your grace that supplies my every need. Thank You for Your wisdom that gives me the direction to take when I am wandering around trying to find my way. Thank You for Your understanding and willingness to deliver me from all my afflictions. Father, I pray for those who may be struggling today, trying to find their way out of some type of dilemma. I ask You to direct them by Your Spirit within; that You would help them and deliver them from their problems. Thank You for giving us the help that we need. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
1 Thessalonians 5:4-11 MESSAGE Bible But friends, you're not in the dark, so how could you be taken off guard by any of this? You're sons of Light, daughters of Day. We live under wide open skies and know where we stand. So let's not sleepwalk through life like those others. Let's keep our eyes open and be smart. People sleep at night and get drunk at night. But not us! Since we're creatures of Day, let's act like it. Walk out into the daylight sober, dressed up in faith, love, and the hope of salvation. God didn't set us up for an angry rejection but for salvation by our Master, Jesus Christ. He died for us, a death that triggered life. Whether we're awake with the living or asleep with the dead, we're alive with him! So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you'll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you're already doing this; just keep on doing it.
The times that we live in, if not approached in light of the Word of God, will have an opportunity to bring in a spirit of fear that we must guard our hearts against. We live in uncertain times, but for the believer in Christ Jesus they are exciting times. Every day that we live moves us one more day towards the coming of the Lord Jesus! How exciting is that! But our attitude towards world events and the era in which we live will determine how we walk and talk in these last days. It is important that we look forward to the coming of the Lord with faith and expectancy. He promised to return for us and He will keep His word. THE MESSAGE Bible's introduction to the books of 1 & 2 Thessalonians says this:
“The Christian faith had always been characterized by a strong and focused sense of future, with belief in the Second Coming of Jesus as the most distinctive detail. From the day Jesus ascended into heaven, his followers lived in expectancy of his return. He told them he was coming back. They believed he was coming back. They continue to believe it. For Christians, it is the most important thing to know and believe about the future.
“The practical effect of this belief is to charge each moment of the present with hope. For if the future is dominated by the coming again of Jesus, there is little room left on the screen for projecting our anxieties and fantasies. It takes the clutter out of our lives. We're far more free to respond spontaneously to the freedom of God.
“All the same, the belief can be misconceived so that it results in paralyzing fear for some, shiftless indolence in others. Paul's two letters to the Christians in Thessalonica, among much else, correct such debilitating misconceptions, prodding us to continue to live forward in taut and joyful expectancy for what God will do next in Jesus.”
Do you have a strong and focused sense of future, charged by faith, love and an expectancy of His return? Or do you fear what might take place tomorrow or in the future that lies ahead of you?
1 Thessalonians 5:24 MESSAGE The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he'll do it!
God is not slack concerning His promises, what He has said He will do! But our walk through life is to be a walk of faith. That means that we might see the larger picture of what is going to happen, but the everyday happenings are hidden from our view so that we must trust Him to lead us through them. Our walk of faith is not a walk of always seeing and knowing what lies ahead; it is a walk that trusts God to reveal our path as we walk it out. We are to focus our eyes on Jesus and walk as He directs us through every day, encouraging one another, loving both the unsaved and the saved and sharing the expectancy of His arrival with all around us.
2 Peter 3:13-15 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, with out spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,
We are supposed to be looking forward to the promise of the new heavens and new earth that await us at His return. We have the joy of His salvation within us! He has gone ahead of us to prepare a place for us! What joy it will be when we see Him again, knowing that the life that we have lived here on earth will no longer have a hold on us. We will be totally free to experience our eternity with Him. For believers, we have a hope and a future that is good, but for unbelievers there is no hope and no future. Ephesians 2:12 says that they are “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and with God in the world.” The thing that we are to do as we await the return of our Lord and Savior is to tell the lost about the future that awaits both us us; ours with promise of eternal life with Jesus, theirs without hope of a future with Him. We are to be about our Father's business!
Friends, which camp are you living in today? Are you in the fellowship of the saved, the redeemed, those who look forward to the coming of the Lord with great expectation of good? Or do you live in the land of darkness, the place where there is no hope and no future expectation of good? The decision to change camps is yours. All you have to do is call upon the name of the Lord and you will be saved. You can change residences by simply praying and asking Jesus into your heart, believing that He is the Christ, the Messiah and that He died for you personally, so that you might have eternal life with Him in the Presence of the Father. Won't you pray that prayer today so you can know for sure that your salvation is secure in Christ Jesus?
Father, I thank You for so great a salvation that reaches down to the lost and dying and pulls them out of the muck and mire of darkness and sets their feet on the solid rock of Your love. Father, I pray today that those who read this blog will be encouraged to place their faith and trust in you, both those who already know you and those who don't. Father, today is the day of salvation! Today it is not too late for them to come to You to receive eternal life. But tomorrow might be too late. I pray that they will not enter into eternity without You. I thank You for delaying Your coming to give as many as possible the opportunity to come into the fold; into Your family. I ask that You would prepare hearts to receive You today, Lord Jesus. Knock on their heart's doors and soften them to receive you. Father, I ask You to cause those who do know You to look at the future with great expectancy of the good things that await them. Drive fear far from them and cause faith to arise with in them. Thank You, Father, for Your word and how You direct us by Your Spirit to those scriptures that will fill our hearts with hope. Thank You, Lord, for Your precious Spirit that fills us within with faith, love, and hope. To You be the glory for what You are doing in our hears and lives. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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.
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