Monday, February 11, 2013
Psalm 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.
As I began to awake this morning I realized that this scripture was running through my mind. Anytime the Lord begins to speak to me as I awaken I have learned to recognize that He is trying to get my attention to speak to me about something in particular. One of my children is going through a difficult time and I have been praying for a specific situation in that child's life that would bring a breakthrough and victory. My heart has always been tender towards my children to the point that when they hurt I hurt.
Heritage – Hebrew word nachalah which means something inherited, occupancy, or an heirloom; an estate, patrimony or portion; to inherit, inheritance, possession.
If you have children, they are a part of your inheritance from the Lord. Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary, which uses biblical definitions, says that one of the meanings of a “portion” is the part of an estate given to a child or heir, or descending to him by law, and distributed to him in the settlement of the estate. God's distribution to us as His heirs includes those children that He has given to us. Do we value them as our inheritance from the Lord? The scripture goes on to say that the children that come from our wombs, as mothers, is a reward. Within the covenant that Israel received from the Lord was the understanding that God's blessing of children was a special gift from Him. They were a reward!
For a woman to be barren and not able to bear children in the Israelite culture was felt to be a terrible curse from God. They remembered that when God created mankind one of the blessings He bestowed upon them was that they would be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. When a woman was unable to bear children she was considered to be cursed by God. The reward of the womb was taken very seriously. Children are a continuation of our own lineage and are to be viewed as a blessing. The future of our nation rests upon the children that we raise up to be godly members of society. Today if you don't have children it is not viewed as a curse from God, but simply may not be in His plan for your life. His plan might be that you adopt and provide a home for one who does not have a place in their natural parent's lives. Or His plan might be for you to bear “spiritual children”, those who would come into the family of God through your witness. He has a special plan for your life regardless of whether there are natural born children in your life.
Do you have children? If so, how do you feel about them? Do you see them as your inheritance from the Lord? If they are having difficulty are you praying for them according to the scriptures that they would be your reward and live out the life that God has planned for them? God sees the potential in us instead of our problems. He views us as a special and unique creation made in His likeness and image. He doesn't view us according to our difficulties or weaknesses but views us as the finished product of His lovingly shaping us into the image of His Son. God sees us complete and whole in Him, not from a stance of children who are flawed from living in a fallen and sinful world. He always sees the best in each of His children.
When Esau met Jacob after being apart from him for such a long time he asked Jacob who the women and children were that came along with him. In Genesis 33:5 we hear Jacob's answer to Esau:
And he lifted his eyes and saw the women and children, and said, “Who are these with you?” So he said, “the children whom God has graciously given your servant.”
Jacob viewed his children as gifts the Lord had graciously given him. They were his reward and he had lots of them!
When God made a covenant with Israel to be His own special people, of which we as New Testament believers are, He promised to bless them and multiply them so they would be blessed above all peoples.
Deuteronomy 7:13, 14 “And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you. “You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock.
God intended for all the nations that they would come into contact with to see the goodness of God through them. They were to be representatives of the Most High God and people were to see that they were a blessed people so that they would want to know this God of theirs. God wanted all the nations of the earth to see His goodness through His people so they would be drawn to Him. Children were one of those ways the nations were to see that God was good to His people.
Do you see your children as a blessing from the Lord or do the problems that they have and are experiencing constantly weigh upon your heart bringing a feeling of unrest, failure and disappointment? There are some ways to pray for our children that will help them deal with the difficulties of life and bring success and victory into their situations. Ask the Lord to direct you to the scriptures that pertain to whatever difficulty your children may be facing. I like to take those scriptures and put them into what I call a “covenant prayer” format. I also will make scriptural declarations over my children such as this one based on Isaiah 54:13:
All your children shall be taught by the LORD, And great shall be the peace of your children.
My prayerful declaration for my children based on this scripture is:
Father, I thank You that all my children are taught of the Lord and great is their peace, their undisturbed composure. Nothing causes them to stumble.
Jesus said in reference to this scripture in Isaiah that “they shall all be taught of God [have Him in person for their Teacher]. (John 6:45 Amplified Bible)
If my children are constantly taught of the Lord then they will turn out to be the people that God designed and created them to be. I do not have to worry that they will go astray because He is teaching them the right way to walk through life. Even when it looks like they are not living according to godly principles I can be assured that God is working in their lives and will do what He has promised. I will continue to stand on His word until I see the fulfillment of the scriptures that I am praying and declaring over them.
How about this one? It's a familiar one to lots of us.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
My prayerful declaration based on this scripture would be: Father, I thank You for my children whom I have raised according to Your principles. I declare that they will not depart from the teachings that I have instilled within them!
When my children were young adults I often prayed Psalm 91 over them for their protection. I find that even though my children are older adults now they still need their mother to pray for their protection and preservation. They are my heritage from the Lord and my reward from Him! I want to protect what He has given me through prayer and godly counsel when they ask. I may not always be able to direct them through what I say but I can always pray God's word over them to influence them in the way they should be going. A note of caution here: never pray anything for your children that you would not pray for yourself. A controlling prayer based on selfish desires to get them to act in a way that you want is not a godly prayer. Praying that God's will be done in their lives as it is in heaven is the way to pray. He has a perfect plan for their lives just like He has for yours. That is the outcome that we should desire to see in our children's lives.
Father, I thank You for the children that You have given as our inheritance from You. Thank You for placing them in our lives. Father, I pray that Your will might be done in each of their lives just as it is in heaven. I ask You to direct them in the way they should go. Show them the godly path they are to walk that will bring them into the good plan that You have for their lives. Father, I pray that all our children will be taught of the Lord and great shall be their peace, their undisturbed composure. I ask You to work in their lives as only You can do, calling them to Yourself and developing within them a hunger and a thirst for righteousness that they might be filled. I thank You for them and ask that You would direct each one of us in how we can pray for our children according to Your will and not the desires that we have for them that may be misdirected by our own unfulfilled dreams and aspirations. May we be willing to let You mold them into the people that You want them to be and not us taking that responsibility upon ourselves. Father, help us to release them into Your care and understand that You are the Potter and they are the clay and You can mold them and make them without our interference. May we offer them words of encouragement and not discouragement! May we be a part of the solution instead of the problem. Father, help us allow You the freedom to move in their lives as You desire. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
Proverbs 16:3 Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established.
Commit – Hebrew word galal means to roll, roll down, row away, remove. The analogy that is used in this word is that of a camel, burdened with a heavy load, when the load is to be removed, the camel kneels down, tilts far to one side, and the load rolls off.
These two scriptures give us two things in our lives that we are to “roll” over onto the Lord: our way and our works. What the Lord is saying is that if we roll over onto Him the care of where we are going and what we are doing He will take over for us and guide us and establish us in success. The thoughts of our future will be secure in Him because it is then His responsibility to guide us and cause us to succeed in wherever He takes us and whatever He gives us to do. The responsibility is no longer on our shoulders but on His.
The New Testament counterpart to both of these scriptures is found in 1 Peter 5:7: casting all of your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Along with the concern about where our lives are going and what we are doing comes the worry of how everything is going to turn out. The Lord does not want us to worry about anything, thus He tells us to cast or roll our cares about life over onto Him because He cares for us.
What are you carrying through life that doesn't belong on your shoulders? What part of your life needs to be rolled over onto the Lord? He loves you and doesn't want to see you weighed down with cares.
Philippians 4:6, 7 NKJV Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
When we substitute prayer for worry, peace envelops our hearts and minds. We know through that simple act of rolling our cares over onto the Lord that the result will be peace of mind and heart. It's just that simple; choosing to pray and trust over carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. There will always be an opportunity to worry about tomorrow or what might be happening in your life. But with the opportunity to worry comes the opportunity to roll it over onto God's shoulders and let Him take care of it. That is where trust comes in. Rolling and trusting are tied together. You can't do one without the other. So the choice then becomes to either carry it yourself or give it away!
Ephesians 3:20, 21 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
God can take those cares and do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think about them. He does it by His power through us, and that act of working in us brings glory to Him and success to us. It's a win-win situation when we choose to give our thoughts, cares, and future over to God and allow Him to direct us, care for us and work in us to His glory and honor. Won't you choose to give Him those things that are worrying you today?
Father, I thank You for Your ability to handle our cares and concerns about life in a manner that always works for our good. Father, thank You for caring so much for us! Father, I lift my friends up to You who are shouldering heavy weights this morning. I pray that they will roll those cares over onto You and allow You to handle the solutions to each one of them. Father, give them the courage to transfer their worries onto Your shoulders. Give them a glimpse of the good future that You have for each one of them. Father, I pray that they will release to You every care, every burden and every concern that is weighing heavily on their minds today and I ask that as they do that You would cover them with Your peace like a warm blanket. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Saturday, February 09, 2013
Psalm 138:8 NKJV The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.
Did you know that God is working to “perfect” your life? The word for “perfect” there is the Hebrew word gamar which means to end, finish, accomplish, perfect; to come to an end, cease; to perform, fulfill. This verb occurs five times in the Oold Testament. Three times it refers to something or someone being cut off or brought to an end. Twice it refers to the completing, finishing, and perfecting of God's work in one's life. That is what it means in this verse as well as in the following verse.
Psalm 57:2 NKJV I will cry out to God Most High, To God who performs all things for me.
In Psalm 57:2 gamar is translated as “performs”. The idea in both of these verses is that God is active in working in each of our lives to bring to pass His plans and purposes for us. He is intimately involved in the plan of our lives. The New Testament counterpart to these two verses is found in Philippians 1:6:
being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Good – Greek word agathos which means good, in a physical and moral sense, and which produces benefits. The word is used of persons, things, act, conditions, and so on.
The work that God is doing in each one of us is to produce physical and moral benefits through our personal actions, conditions and the things that we come into contact with. God begins at birth with a personal plan for each one of us that He is working in our lives. It is to benefit us with His goodness as He works through the conditions of our lives, our actions and the things that we encounter. He will keep working in each of our lives until He completes, perfects and performs all that He has planned for us. He is faithful to keep His word.
I am so thankful that I am not the one responsible for the plans of my life. If I didn't know the goodness of God and that He was working out a good plan for my life I would have a tendency to believe that the bad things that I have encountered were meant to hurt me, but that is quite the contrary. The bad things were meant to cause me to run to Him to wait on Him and to watch how He was going to turn that bad into something good.
Jeremiah 29:10-14 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. In this days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me. I will be found by you,” says the LORD. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and bring you home again to your own land.”
God's plan for us is a good one even though at times we go through battles resulting from difficult decisions and unfortunate experiences. His plan is to bring us through them and to restore what we have lost through them. His desire is that the difficult times would drive us closer to Him so we will find His place of refuge and safety. The Psalmist records that he would hide in the shadow of God's wings until the storm had passed by.
Psalm 57:1 NKJV BE merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by.
God's plan for us as His children is that we would walk in the steps that He has established for us to fulfill His good plan for our lives. We don't know where those steps will take us but we can be assured that He will be right there beside us holding our hand and helping us back up when we fall.
Psalm 37:23, 24 NKJV The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand.
Just like a little child does not know what the parent knows and has to depend on the parent's ability to pick him up when he falls down and to be there to lead him by the hand to avoid danger and harm, so we are dependent upon the knowledge of our Heavenly Father to help us through the days that He has established for us. When we don't understand we must trust that He has our best interest at heart and is working through His plan to bring us out into a better future; one that is filled with hope for His good to be done in our lives.
Are you struggling through a difficult time today? Does it look like the future ahead of you could not possibly be good? Take heart, my Friend, God knows where you are and has established your steps to complete the good plan that He has for you. Walk safely with Him, seeking Him for direction and take His hand for the assurance that He will not let you fall down and stay down. Thought the difficult times may come the God of eternity is there with you to lead you through it and bring you out to a better life.
Father, I thank You for ordering our steps and for fulfilling the good plan that You have for our lives. I know that when difficulties come You are right there beside me to hold my hand and lead me through them. Father, I pray for those who are going through difficulties right now that You would let Your presence with them be known in a special way so that they will know without a shadow of a doubt that it is You speaking to them, assuring them of Your presence. Father, guide them by Your Spirit into the better day that is ahead of them. Show them the way to take to walk in the goodness of Your plan for their lives. Assure them that there is a better day ahead and that whatever it is that is the difficulty in their life will come to an end just as it did for the Israelites who were in captivity when You told them about the good plan You had for their lives. Seasons come and go, Father, and I thank You for ushering them into a new season in their lives. Thank You for granting them safety under the shadow of Your wings until the storm passes by. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Friday, February 08, 2013
Romans 9:30-33 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense. And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
To God there are no race, creed, color or culture differences in people all over the world. There are only two classes of people: believers and unbelievers; the saved and the unsaved; those who have sought to attain His righteousness through faith, and those who have tried to attain righteousness through works. Which class of people are you in?
Israel in this portion of scripture represents those who try to attain right standing with God through their works. Everything to them is considered as a work of righteousness as they try to be good enough to gain God's approval. They go to church regularly; make sure they pray and read their Bibles every day and try to live according to the Ten Commandments. They are rule conscious. They never are quite sure they will be received into heaven when they die because they don't know for sure if they have been good enough to make it in. They live with a gnawing unrest within their hearts; never an assurance that they are a child of God and as such will be welcomed into His heaven with open arms!
The Gentiles are those who have received Jesus' work on the cross of Calvary as full payment for their sins. They have exercised their faith by believing in their heart that He is God's Son and was sent to the earth to redeem them from their sin and give them an opportunity, by faith, to step into all that God has made available to them through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. They know that once they believe in their heart that Jesus died for them and confess Him as their Lord that their sins have been forever forgiven and they are in right standing with God and have the full assurance of an eternity spent with Him in heaven. Peace overwhelms their hearts because they do not have to work to try to be good enough to gain God's approval. They simply rest in His assurance that they are children of God, with full rights of son-ship, able to walk in the promises of God for their lives. Faith has become the signpost around their necks that says, “I am God's child and I receive His promises fully as I walk out my salvation by faith.”
So I ask you this morning: “Which group of people are you in”? Do you belong to the camp of the Israelites or the Gentiles? Are you trying to attain right standing with God through the works of the Law or are you living out your salvation by faith?
Hebrews 4:15-19 while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
The Israelites could not enter into God's rest, or their Promised Land, the place of salvation, because they did not believe. There hearts were filled with unbelief. Faith was not a part of their lifestyle. They believed they had to live by a set of rules in order to be good enough to please God. It was impossible to live perfectly without sinning. So they forfeited the right to be pleasing to God because they did not believe Him.
How does that apply to our lives today? In 1 Corinthians 10 the Word of God says that the things that happened to the Israelites while they were in the wilderness were written as examples for us that we might not get caught up in the same things that they did. We are to learn from their example.
Hebrews 4:1-3 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith I those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest,'” although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
The Israelites didn't not mix God's word to them with faith, so it was unprofitable in their lives. They couldn't receive from Him all that He had planned for them because of unbelief in their hearts. God's promises must be received by faith for them to be appropriated in our lives.
My Friend, are you trying to gain God's approval through good works? Do you feel that you are not good enough for Him to love and accept you into His kingdom? That's a lie from the devil! God's promises are yes and amen to those who will receive them by faith! God loves you so much that He proved it by giving His very own Son to die for your sin so that when you exercise faith to receive that promise of salvation it will be yours. Won't you open your heart to Him today and make this day your day of salvation?
Maybe you have been going to church for years and trying to live as good as you can to earn your way into heaven. Friends, that will never work. You can't pray enough or read your Bible enough or do enough good works to pay the price for your sin. Salvation is not passed down from parents to children and baptism, in and of itself, is not going to pay the price for your sin. The only way it can be paid is by realizing that Jesus paid it all for you and accept His free gift of salvation into your heart by 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.
Father, I pray for those this morning who my be trying to reach you through good works. I pray for those who are lost and without any hope in this world of ever being able to spend eternity with you. Your word says they are separated for eternity from you and are without hope in this world because they have not accepted Your free gift of salvation. I pray that the scales will fall off their eyes this morning and they will see that their works can never make them good enough to be acceptable to you. I pray that no matter how religious they are they will see that it is only by faith that they can know You and receive Your salvation. Father, break into their hearts and shine the light of Your glorious gospel of Jesus Christ into their hearts and cause them to see that the only way to heaven is to come to You in faith receiving His shed blood as the payment for their sin. I bind every work of the enemy that has stopped them from receiving you in the past. I cancel the assignment that he has on their lives and ask that You, Father, would break through the hardness of their hearts to show them the way to salvation. Father, You said that You are not willing that any should perish but that all might come to salvation. I ask You to do that work in the hearts of the lost today. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
This is your call to salvation my friend. You are not assured of tomorrow. Today may be your last chance to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. Please pray this prayer of response to His call on your heart:
Father, I come to You this morning to say that I have tried to live my life in such a way as to please You. I realize today that my works of righteousness will never be good enough to earn my salvation. I ask You to forgive me of my sin, to come into my heart and save me. I receive Your salvation by faith knowing that Jesus paid the price for my sin and it is only through receiving His finished work on the cross personally, for myself, that I can receive son-ship and a inheritance of all that You have provided for me. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for saving me. I will live for you from this day forward and I will rest in Your salvation. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Thursday, February 07, 2013
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those wo are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.
Paul never saw a person, regardless of their stature in life, as someone undeserving or as not needing the gospel of Jesus Christ and the salvation that comes through receiving Him as their personal Savior and Lord. He went to all people groups and became as one of them, identifying with where they were in life so he could share the gospel with them to see them come to salvation.
Romans 1:16, 17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
The gospel of Christ is for all people regardless of race, creed or color. It does not discriminate between one people group or another. It's power is the same for all who come to in faith to receive it's saving grace.
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.
Have you received God's free gift of salvation? If not, you may receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior and enter into the family of God through prayer and all that He offers will be yours. Simply pray this prayer and mean it in your heart:
Father, I come before You recognizing that I am a sinner. I have not followed Your principles but have lived my life selfishly for myself. I believe that You gave Jesus, Your Son, to die for my sin as the payment that was necessary to cleanse me from sin and make me able to be Your child. I receive Your free gift of salvation by asking You to forgive me, save me and come to live in my heart by Your Spirit. Lord Jesus, I thank You for saving me. I promise to live each day from this day forward for You. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Father, I thank You for those who have come into your kingdom today through receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord. I pray that You will make Yourself real to them in their everyday life that they might come to know You and understand all that You have provided for them through the gift of salvation that they have received. Open the eyes of the blind so they may see, set the captives free from oppression and heal the sick and hurting. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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