Saturday, April 14, 2012
Philippians 2:19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state.
Philippians 2:24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.
2 Thessalonians 3:4 And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you.
This morning as I was reading in God's word I was prompted to look at these three verses and note that Paul made the statement “I trust in the Lord” to do something for him in three different places. The third reference in 2 Thessalonians where it says “confidence” is the same Greek word as “trust” in the other two references. What does it mean to trust?
Trust – Greek word peitho – means to be convinced, be confident, have inward certainty, trust.
What was Paul trusting in the Lord to do?
1) He trusted in the Lord to send Timothy to the Philippians.
2) He trusted in the Lord to enable him to come to them.
3) He trusted in the Lord to make sure the Thessalonians continued in the things of the Lord as he had taught them.
By these three references I can see that Paul did not rely on his own efforts or abilities, but He placed confident assurance in the Lord that the things that he was concerned about God would bring into being. He was convinced that God would take care of the concerns that he had regarding himself and those that he loved.
Do you have confidence in the Lord this morning that He will take care of your concerns? What are you putting your trust in....yourself, someone else, or God? The only one who will never fail us is the Lord!
The thing that usually comes against trust is doubt. We waiver between the two. The question that we often have is not “is God able to do what I've asked of Him?”, but it is “Will God do what I've asked of Him?”. We know that God is all-powerful and can do anything, but the assurance that we need has to come down to a personal level; will He do it for me? James addressed that concern in James 1 where he said that if we needed wisdom we could ask God for it and he would give it liberally and without reproach. The only per-requisite to receiving that wisdom was that we would ask in faith, with no doubting. What does it really mean to doubt?
Doubt or doubting – Greek word diakrino – has two definitions: 1) To judge thoroughly; to decide between two or more choices; to make a distinction; to separate two components, elements or factors; to render a decision; to evaluate carefully. 2) The word also connotes a conflict with oneself, in the sense of hesitating, having misgivings, doubting, being divided in decision making, or wavering between hope and fear.
When we look at the definitions of doubt or doubting we see that we are either judging between two or more choices and making a decision based on what we know, or we are hesitating because of a conflict within ourselves, being divided in decision making, or wavering between hope and fear.
So every time we come before the Lord to trust Him for something there will be the opportunity to doubt whether or not He will do for us what w have asked of Him. That doubt causes us to waver in our trust, wondering if our request will be answered or not. James tells us in James 1:8 that when we doubt we are double-minded and doubt affects our receiving from the Lord because we are unstable in our ways, being tossed back and forth between faith and doubt.
This morning how is your faith level? Do you have that inward confidence that your prayers are being answered? Have you asked in faith believing and not doubting?
Father, this morning, I choose to trust You with the requests I have made of you regarding my children, my own health and physical needs and the needs of those that I love. I will stand firm in my faith without doubting that You will take care of the things that concern me. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayers. Please help me to stand firm and not allow the enemy to sway me off my confidence in You. I know that You are working all things together for my good because I love You and am called according to Your purpose for my life and the lives of those that I love. To You be the glory, Father. In Jesus name. Amen.
Have a blessed Saturday, Spark Friends!
Friday, April 13, 2012
I have for years started my day with the Lord. I began years ago by establishing a time at the beginning of my day when I could get away by myself for prayer and studying God's word. Through the years and especially since I've been working on my bachelor's degree in Christian Counseling my “quiet time” has expanded to encompass more and more of my total day. The initial time that I set aside has become a foundation for the rest of my daily activities and He envelops me in His presence throughout my day. Yesterday as I was walking on my treadmill I heard the Lord speak ever so gently to my heart: “I created my children to be winners, not losers!”
Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over all the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Then the Lord began to explain to me what His original plan was for mankind. It was that we would be victors, not victims, rulers, not ruled over, blessed, not cursed, and fruitful, not barren. Our words were to be creative, not destructive and He intended us to rule over His creation. In essence, we were designed and created as winners, not losers! Adam gave away that authority to the devil when he sinned in the garden of Eden by eating the fruit that God had told him to leave alone, but Jesus redeemed us from that sin; He purchased us back and restored unto us the dominion and authority that Adam had given away. Romans 5:17: For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
A couple of years ago my husband and I lead a course at church by Dave Ramsey called “Financial Peace University”. It was a course teaching people how to be successful in their finances; to be able to live free from debt. One of the statements Dave made was this: “Success is 20% knowledge and 80% application of that knowledge”. We can have all the knowledge in the world but if we do not apply what we know to our lives then of what benefit is it to us?
God has given us His word, His Spirit, His authority over sin and the devil, and the directions to apply all that we know to our lives, but if we don't take that Word and use it then we are just “hearers of the word only”. James 1: 22 says that we are to be doers of the word and not hearers only or we deceive ourselves. We think everything is okay as long as we are reading the word, but it takes the application of what we read and know to be true to bring success! Faith is an offensive action, not sitting back waiting for life to just happen. You will never win without work! God gives us a plan and then expects us to work the plan! All of the answers to life's questions reside in the Word of God and become ours as we seek His will and directions for our lives and receive and follow them by faith. When we follow His plan success is guaranteed. He created us to win, not lose!
I am thankful today that God has given me the ability through Him to win over life's challenges. My weight loss journey is a progressive journey to success as I apply what I know to my daily choices. I am a winner, not a loser! Thank You, Lord, for creating me in Your image and likeness and for giving me the ability to rule over situations that arise in my life. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me and by the power of Your Spirit within me I will win this battle! I thank You, Lord, that the joy of the Lord is my strength and today will be a joyous and victorious day! Amen!
Thursday, April 12, 2012
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
For the believer in Christ, or a Christian, even though we walk in a fleshly body we are not to receive every thought that comes into our minds. We fight battles in the mind first. So for us to win the battles we have to screen our thoughts. We are to fight not by natural means, but with spiritual weapons that are meant to stop the negative, harmful thoughts before they have a lasting effort on our lives. God gives us instructions on how to fight the battles of life in this portion of scripture. He says that we are to “cast down” arguments and things that try to exalt themselves over God and bring every thought into captivity to Christ. That tells me that there will be things that come into my mind that are not of God and I need to do something about them before they do something to me.
I am reminded of what comes into my mind first when I am dealing with a problem in my life. Usually the first thought that I have is of fear. Fear that the worst case scenario that could happen is what will happen. But the Word tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” God is not the author of fear. So if God is not the author then it has to have come from the enemy of our souls, better known as Satan. I do not have to receive something from Satan, so I must stand against fear. This scripture tells me that God gives me power, love and a SOUND MIND! The Greek word there for “sound mind” means “safe-thinking, good judgment, disciplined thought patterns, and the ability to understand and make right decisions. It includes the qualities of self-control and self-discipline. Wow, that says a whole lot! God has given me the ability to think clearly, to take control over my thoughts, and to win the battle that rages in my mind.
So, how do I counter the attack of fear when a negative report comes into my mind? Philippians 4:4-8 gives us the key to right thinking.
Rejoice in the Lord always, Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 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. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
God's prescription for defeating fear is:
1) Rejoice in the Lord – everything is going to be all right!
2) Don't let anxiety rule in your heart and mind. Instead give those worries to God!
3) Rest in God's peace and allow it to guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus.
4) Think on good things. Meditate on things that will lift you up instead of tearing you down.
Today I am thankful that God is taking care of my children. He loves them even more than I do. I will not allow the spirit of fear to control my thoughts! God in me is greater than he that is in the world! I trust God to handle their problems and to do what is best for each of them.
How about you? What do you fear....failure, sickness, temptations to sin, rejection? All these are names that God says is under the name of Jesus. He went to the cross to defeat all these things for us! He died that we might have life and have it more abundantly.
Today I choose to celebrate what Jesus died to give me! I love You, Lord Jesus, and I thank You for defeating the devil for me. Thank You for enabling me to be victorious in this life! I cast my cares on You for You care for me and I praise You because You are worthy to receive all praise, glory and honor! Thank You for granting me success! I will win because You live in me and it's in You that I have strength to fight the good fight of faith! In Jesus Name I pray! Amen.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Isaiah 43:1-3 But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel; “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned. Nor shall he flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I love the comfort that I receive from looking into the Word of God. He never fails to comfort and strengthen me when I am going through difficulties. This portion of scripture so aptly pictures the protection of the Lord around us when we go through difficult times. He says: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you”. This tells me first of all that we are not exempt from problems; we will have opportunities to stumble when we walk through life. The second thing that it tells me is that I won't have to deal with difficulties by myself; the Lord will be right beside me. The picture comes to mind of a mother seeing that her child has to cross a busy street to get to the school on the other side. She doesn't send that child out into the traffic by itself, but takes its hand and walks the child to the other side to made sure it gets there safely. We do have to face problems, but the Lord is right there with us to help us through them. Notice that He says that even though we walk through rivers they shall not overflow you. He gives us the assurance that we will make it through the rivers of difficulties that come our way. Water will not drown us and fires will not burn us. We will not be destroyed by the circumstances of life because He is our God; our Savior.
Isaiah 43:10, 11 “You are my witnesses,” says the LORD, “And my servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, And besides Me there is no savior.
We have been chosen to know and believe the Lord. To know Him through a living and vital relationship and to believe Him. We can trust the Lord to take us safely through life. The word “believe” in the Hebrew means “to be firm, stable, established; also, to be firmly persuaded; to believe solidly. From this root word in the Hebrew also comes the word for “faith”. The most famous derivative of the Hebrew word for “believe” is “amen”, which conveys the idea of being solidly, firmly, surely true and verified and established. That's what we have when we believe in the Lord. We are solidly established on the truth! Jesus said in John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” When we trust the Lord we are assured that we will be safe, firmly established and solid. There is no fire or flood that can take us out of the Savior's grasp.
I'm so thankful today that when the storm's of life come I have a refuge to go to; His name is Jesus! Last night I received some disturbing news. I don't know about you but when things bother my children that affects me, even though they are grown and married. I have two children and in the last week I have received news from both of them that storms have come into their lives. It is in these times that we are presented with the opportunity to trust in the Lord; to lean on Him; to rely on His faithfulness. I know that He will see us through these difficulties.
Thank You, Lord, for the safe place I have in You. Thank You for watching over my children; for delivering them from the fire and the flood and seeing that they come through the storms of life intact. You are our Refuge from the storm; our High Fortress; our Rock and our Salvation. It is in You that I trust. Lead us and guide us this day around the rocks and obstacles that would cause us to stumble and enable us to stand strong against the winds of life. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Mmmmm......temptation big time!
I've done so well today but the temptation to eat all kinds of unhealthy snacks has attacked me!
Emotions are a little heightened tonight and I find myself wanting to eat cookies, chips, whatever I can find that would soothe wounded feelings!
I feel like the psalmist in Psalm 55:6: So I said, "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, And remain in the wilderness. Selah I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest."
Okay....let's get a grip now.....this too shall pass!
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