Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Psalm 19:1-3 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.
It's a beautiful morning here in SE Tennessee. Gerald got up early to go turkey hunting so my morning routine started with taking Abby, our poodle, out. As we rounded the front of the house this morning three deer jumped up from the little woody area in front of our home. It was such a beautiful sight! They raised their tails up in the air and bounded off to the heavier wooded area across the highway. I am forever amazed at God's creation. When I look out the back off the mountain I can see halfway across Tennessee on a clear day. And the view at night is one of the lights of the valley below. When the fog sets in it is like everyone has turned off their lights and there's no one home down there. The serene setting has such a calming effect on me. I am constantly reminded of where I came from, the hustle and bustle of city life to such a lovely, quiet place. Gerald and I were married in the backyard with the backdrop of the valley below. It took place at a time in my life when I had experienced so much heartache and disappointment and God met me here to reveal His love to me!
God reveals His love to us in so many different ways. Have you ever had a time when you were especially troubled about something and suddenly God showed up with His love and assurance that everything was going to be okay? His timing is perfect and if we will listen He will speak words of reassurance and peace to us. I am getting ready to teach a Bible Study to our Women's Ministry entitled “Love Revealed”. It is to help us learn how to watch for God's love as He reveals it to us so we can then be sensitive to the Holy Spirit when He wants to reveal His love THROUGH us to someone else in need. I had a Sunday School teacher years ago tell me to look at the experiences of my life with spiritual eyes so I could see God's hand at work even in the difficult times. I am so thankful that the Lord speaks to my heart and reveals His love to me.
Today as I reflect on my weight loss journey I am aware that God is revealing His love to me as He teaches me how to choose healthy foods over those that are not as beneficial to the nourishment of my body. I am becoming more aware of how I feel when I eat something that is “not so good”. He is so patient with me and ready to help when I ask Him.
Psalm 119:130 The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.
When God speaks His words to me I am suddenly ushered into the light and understanding enters the arena of my life's experiences. Just one word from God can change my whole life. I have seen it happen time and time again. He gives wisdom without reproach, without condemnation and with hope!
If you are discouraged this morning, take a minute to look around you at all God has created and sit quietly before Him and wait for Him to speak calming words to you. He will come into your situation and give you peace and hope, just as He's done for me so many times before.
Father, thank You, for Your love, Your mercy and Your grace this morning. Thank You for giving me the wisdom that I need to make the right choices for my health today. Thank You for speaking calming words of reassurance when I am anxious and for revealing Your love to me in so many different ways. I pray that I may be a channel of blessing to those around me today, Lord. Let Your love flow through me to touch their hearts in ways that will reveal Your love to them. Thank You, Lord, for such a beautiful day! In Jesus' name, Amen.
Monday, April 02, 2012
On the way to church yesterday morning we passed a “dude ranch” that is close to our home and there were some riders on their horses getting ready to hit the trails for a day of horseback riding. It was at that time that the Lord began speaking to me about living life not for myself, but for someone else. He said to me “You have chosen to take the high road, the road less traveled. That is the road that you take when you choose to live for someone else instead of living to fulfill the desires of your flesh. You have chosen to live for Me, to do those things that please Me and to care about the things that I care about. They have chosen to live their lives for themselves!”
It was then that I began to see the correlation between Jesus' life and mine. Not that my life in any way comes near to His, but I am His and called to carry on His work. I began to understand more clearly how Jesus had chosen to walk that road when He chose to go to Calvary to pay for my sins. He chose to take the high road, the road less traveled, the one that would open the door for people to receive God's great gift of salvation even when it meant sacrificing His own flesh and dying a sinner's death. Jesus said in John 10:17, 18:“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” He made the choice to live for someone else!
The Lord went on to give me another analogy of what it means to walk the road less traveled. He reminded me of when I was praying for a godly mate and He was teaching me about what it meant to be married. He spoke one time to me to say that marriage is not about what you can get from another person, but it is all about what you can give to that other person; what you can deposit into their lives to help them be all that He has created them to be. So many times people marry to find completion for themselves or to feel significant or thinking that the other person will meet their needs, and then are disappointed and fail because they don't find the satisfaction and contentment that they are searching for! It's because it's only in Jesus that you can be made whole. No other person can bring that inner contentment!
So we went on to church to experience an awesome prayer meeting! Our service was not a traditional Palm Sunday service, although we waived palm leaves to the Lord during our Praise and Worship of Him, but our service was a participation service where we prayed for the sick, those challenged by the cares of life and for our upcoming Easter outreach to our community next Saturday. We had a wonderful service! The presence of the Lord was heavily upon us as we worshiped, prayed and partook of Communion.
After church, Gerald and I made a hospital visit, a home visit to pray for a lady who recently was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, a visit to encourage a teen who had just come home from two months in a state-run substance abuse facility and a visit to a dear elderly relative! Oh, and we even worked in time to eat lunch out....although it wasn't the best meal for my diet (but I did stay within my calorie limits)! We made it home at 3:30, and thanks to DVR, Gerald got to watch the NASCAR race.
So, I learned yesterday what it means to take the road less traveled..... and, once again, I was not disappointed. What inner rewards I find in doing the work of ministry!
Thank You, Lord, for choosing me! You loved me that I might love You and those that you love. Thank You, for giving me the opportunity to take the high road, to be Your disciple, to carry Your love to the world around me. Thank You for the awesome privilege of walking the road less traveled!
Sunday, April 01, 2012
Have you ever gotten up and just felt like you didn't have much to say? I am more of a thinker than a talker and many days I spend just in quiet reflection of life, the wonders of My God, and the life that I am privileged to live. This morning I have been reflecting on this time of the year, the week of the crucifixion and all that Jesus purchased for me on the cross. Had it not been for His sacrifice on my behalf I would not have the life that I live today!
One thing that Jesus said when He was talking with His disciples about what would take place was this: "Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour." (John 12:27) Jesus, in His humanity, didn't look forward to the suffering and shame of the cross. His flesh would have rather not had to go through that suffering, but as an obedient Son He chose to do the Father's will even to the point of dying a criminal's death on the cross.
I think about what He went through for me and I am in awe of the magnitude of His determination and desire to do the Father's will at all costs. Hebrews 12:2 says that He endured the cross, despising the shame because He looked at the joy that was set before Him. He looked at a bigger picture than what was facing Him at the time of the crucifixion. He looked further out to see the joy of many people being born into the Kingdom of God because of His act of obedience. Hebrews 12:3, 4 says "For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin."
From these scriptures in Hebrews I can gain the strength to go on through whatever life throws at me because I can look at how Jesus endured what the world did to Him. If He resisted sin to the point of bloodshed for me, how can I not resist the temptations that come into my life when they are not to the point of bloodshed? The obstacles that I encounter are so much less traumatic and life-altering than what He went through!
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for choosing to go to the cross for me! Thank You, for making my life with You possible. If You had not gone to the cross to pay the price for my sin I would be forever doomed to an eternity apart from the Father, spent in misery and torment. Thank You, Lord, for so great a price paid for my salvation! You, Lord Jesus, alone are worthy to be praised! I give You my life, Lord, to do with as you please. Mold me and make me into the person that You want me to be. Thank You, Lord, for filling my life with Your very presence. You are my Lord and Savior! Amen.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
John 4:1-4 Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through Samaria,
Jesus was headed to Galilee, but He needed to go by way of Samaria. Why did He need to go through Samaria? Well, He had a divine encounter, a special appointment that He had to keep. He knew that this lady needed Him and she would be at Jacob's well at Sychar at noon and He didn't want to miss her. She was thirsty and the only thing that would satisfy was the living water that He could give her.
Are you dry spiritually this morning? Has the flame of your fire for Jesus lost it's intensity? You can have that same encounter with Jesus that the woman at the well had if you will just come to Him and drink of the living water that He offers. She came to that well at noon because all the “respectable” ladies went early in the morning and she was an outcast in the community because she had been married five times and was now living with a man.
Do you feel like an outcast, rejected by those around you, unable to live up to people's expectations? Jesus understands your feelings. He will not turn you away or reject you for the mistakes you may have made in your past. He loves you! He wants to have a personal relationship with you. He said in John 7:37, 38 “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” He has that same living water today to give to whomever will come to Him as He did the day the woman at the well met her Master.
Jesus told that woman everything she had ever done. He didn't condemn her, but He let her know that He knew her and she could find healing and wholeness in Him. He offers that same healing to you today, only for the asking. This woman needed satisfaction and contentment in her life. She had searched from one relationship to another to fill the void in her life. But only Jesus can take the deepest longings of a person's heart and bring into it the satisfaction that is needed. That woman became a great evangelist that day. She went back and told all the “men” about Jesus. She was most comfortable with the men so she started there. They, in turn, told the others and a great revival was started in that city. You see, when you are filled with Living Water, it spills out onto everyone around you. You can't hold it in! Just as that woman couldn't resist telling others about Jesus, so you will, too, when you are filled with the very Spirit of the Living God! His love will fill you to overflowing and you will have a desire to spread that love to all those around you.
Come to Jesus today! Come and receive that which you can't buy; that manna from above, the living water that satisfies.
Thank You, Lord, for Your living water; Your Spirit that fills me to overflowing. I receive today, anew and afresh, the life that only You can give. Thank You, for filling my heart with contentment and satisfaction. Thank You for living within me and flowing through me to touch those around me with Your life. I pray for those who might have lost that fire within this morning, Father, and ask You to renew their love for You. Fill them, once again, Father, with a hunger and thirst for You and You alone that cannot be quenched. Give them the fire of Your Spirit to burn within them and make them into people that You can flow through to touch humanity for Your kingdom. Thank You, Lord, for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Friday, March 30, 2012
1 Timothy 1:19 Cling tightly to your faith in Christ, and always keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.
Disappointments in life, if not submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, can shipwreck a person's faith.
As I was praying this morning about what to say in this blog, I was reminded of the message the Lord gave me to speak to a Singles Group at the church of my late husband.
Larry was a very outgoing person, full of laughter and fun to be around. He not only loved the Lord with all his heart, but he wasn't afraid to share that love with all that he met. He never met a stranger. We had been married only 7 ½ weeks when he suffered a massive stroke and went home to be with the Lord. I was devastated! I had prayed and sought the Lord's will in this marriage and was looking forward to spending the rest of my life with this one special gentleman. And I had no more than finished sending out thank you notes for wedding gifts when I found myself making funeral arrangements. My faith was being sorely tested! I struggled with the loss of my husband, not just in losing the man I loved, but also in the death of a dream; a dream for a godly marriage which I hadn't had. Much prayer had gone into the making of this marriage even to the point of selling my house, moving from the area that I had lived in for 18 years to a city 90 miles away and leaving a job with over 10 years tenure to take a new job in the City. So many changes had been made that were irreversible. And here I was a widow in unfamiliar surroundings with a new job of only 3 months. All of a sudden everything in my life had changed and I found myself totally dependent upon the Lord to make it through each day. I often questioned “why, Lord”, when I prayed about all these changes and felt so clearly that it was Your will to make them, was I suddenly placed in such a devastating loss. It was then that I came to understand that my faith was being tested and I was in a battle for my life. Suddenly I had no desire to get up and go to work, to go to church or do the things that I had for so many years done. I wanted to curl up in a ball, pull the covers over my head and stay in bed. But I knew that if I did that I would slowly die, both inside and out. I had to force myself to pray, to continue going to work and church and to do the things that would help me keep my sanity.
And so, as life went on, I had to make the decision to either let this devastation destroy me or make me better. It was then that the Lord began to give me the message, “Don't Allow The Disappointments of Life To Shipwreck Your Faith.” He showed me from His word how others had suffered disappointments and those setbacks were actually the springboards that He used to catapult them into the miracles of life that He wanted them to have. Think about Mary and Martha at the death of Lazarus. That was a major disappointment to them and yet Jesus said to them, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”. Then He raised Lazarus from the dead. Their disappointment turned into the manifestation of the glory of God! And then there was Mary and the disciples devastated over the loss of Jesus, their beloved leader, who they thought had come to set up His Kingdom's reign in their day and time. How devastated they were when He was crucified. And then three days later their disappointment turned into joy at His resurrection! Now the way had been paved for Him to be King Jesus in not just their immediate day and time but Savior and Lord to every person who would be born from that time forward who would receive Him into their hearts. God had a bigger plan than what they could see with their natural eyes. The Israelites in the wilderness couldn't see past their disappointments to get a glimpse of the Promised Land that God had prepared for them. They couldn't see the bigger picture. They had no vision of His promises to them. Their disappointments shipwrecked their faith and caused them to die in the wilderness! As God revealed all this to me I realized that He still had a good plan for my life and even though I had suffered a major disappointment, I could go on and look forward to better days ahead.
It wasn't but about a year later that God once again blessed me with a godly mate. He does answer the desires of our hearts when our delight is in Him. So, in October of 2008 I was married to Gerald, a very special gentleman, whom I love with all my heart and who cherishes and loves me as a godly husband should, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her! God turned my disappointment into a major miracle! And I thank Him for not allowing me to wallow in self-pity and remorse for what I lost, but to be able to cherish the good memories and look forward to the future He had for me.
God truly did in my life “exceedingly abundantly more than I could ever ask or hope” just as Ephesians 3:20 proclaims!
So, today I choose to cling tightly to my faith in Christ, because I don't know what the future holds but I know Who holds my future in His hands! He sees the total picture of my life and I know I can trust Him with it.
Thank You, Lord, for Your blessings today. I cling to You, Lord Jesus, for You are the author and finisher of my faith. Thank You for loving me and providing for my every need! You are My God and it's in You that I trust!
Get An Email Alert Each Time AVANELL Posts