Praise and Thanksgiving . . . 12/31/09
Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord! - Psalm 150.
God desires our praise, so we must give it to Him—early in the morning, throughout the day and late at night. When we seek the Lord and find Him, then our praise will rise up and be a clear voice in all that we do. On the days when our personal domains seem troubled and dark, our praise to God will bring a shield of protection to all that is ours. And during these difficult times we can also please the Lord with our sacrifices of thanksgiving:
Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me . . . He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; and to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God - Psalm 50:14-15, 23.
God is not pleased with grumbling and complaining, so these negative traits don't bring a positive response from Him. But humility and thankfulness will always touch God's heart. These attributes are obtained from the Spirit of the Lord as we lean upon Him in the midst of our testing and trouble. By faith we trust Him, and by His indwelling presence we praise and thank Him.
Yes, let everything that has breath, praise the Lord! Let's fill the new year with sounds of joyful worship and thanksgiving. Let's watch for the glory of God to pierce the darkness of this world in new and beautiful ways.
Dear Lord, we love the refreshing beauty of Your holiness. We thank You for Your amazing grace, Your perfect love, and the boundless wonders of who You are. Please teach us how to praise You as well You deserve. As You astonish us with Your presence, please increase our ability to express how we feel about You. We thank You for yesterday, today and tomorrow. We thank You for working all things together for our good. Please make us aware of every blessing You send our way, no matter how subtle or seemingly small, and give us grateful hearts to receive Your gifts with joy.
The Gift of Life . . . 12/12/09
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men - John 1:4.
Over 2000 years ago our Heavenly Father sent the gift of Life to Earth. The gift was delivered to a stable in the form of a holy newborn child. As the angels first beheld the infant Jesus, I’m sure they were in complete awe of the holy Life before their eyes.
I once had the privilege of seeing a baby born. Immediately after its birth, the infant was placed on a table to be closely examined by nurses. I remember the amazing glow of purity coming from the baby's little pink body. I realized that it was still untouched by sin and would only be like this for a very short while.
Jesus also arrived untouched by sin, but He remained that way. His holiness made an impact, wherever He went. The world reacted to Jesus' lack of sin by mistreating Him, but He always responded with holiness, love, and His precious Word. Jesus stayed in close contact with the Father, so He never forgot why He was here. He was never distracted by this world or pulled off course.
As time goes by, Christians learn by revelation that our indwelling gift of Life overflows with endless love and power—all for us to use and share with others.
We can now love the unkind people around us because the Lord performs this difficult task for us and through us.
Forgiveness is now possible because the Mercy within us is new every day.
Once we're in this loving mode, we can progress to joyfully encouraging, healing, delivering, and much more. The Life within us is boundless.
Our prayers are born of the Spirit and filled with Life. They fly on holy wings of faith.
Both enlightened and empowered, we are now truly alive! Holding the hand of God Himself, we step into our destiny—walking in holiness, and making an impact.
Thank You, Father, for the gift of your Son. Please help us to understand and value this Gift above all else. Help us to fall completely and hopelessly in love with Jesus. Let us always abide in the beautiful light of His life.
Arise! Shine! . . . 11/25/09
I find myself angered by the sin in this world, and you should too. It hurts us and the ones we love. It robs us of blessings and causes much pain and sorrow. Even in its mildest forms, sin is an ugly perversion of the goodness of God. For years I felt frustration and fear when faced with strongholds of evil around me. But now I know better. By His blood, the Lord has made us overcomers of this world (Romans 12:20). By His life within, we grow in strength and power. In Him we are always triumphant!
God wants us living in His realm of truth where we are no longer intimidated by evil—where we see problems as opportunities to tear down satanic domains. If we will only believe, we can truly be the light of this world.
Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising - Isaiah 60:1-3.
Thank You, Lord, for giving us the privilege to exert Your power throughout this world. Please open our eyes to the opportunities for victory You set before us every day.
Life and Health . . . 11/15/09
My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh -
The Word is wisdom and understanding to all who will hear it. Pure and powerful, it is literally "life" and "health" to everyone who reads it and sincerely receives it. Through the Word we can actually partake of the life of God—the beating of His heart and the sustenance of His breath. We can love as He loves and live as He lives.
The living Word will always expand to meet our growing capacity for truth. Precept upon precept, the Word meets our needs and God's holy purpose. Every day, the Word extends grace and nourshment to each who will "give their attention" and "incline their ears."
Thank You, Lord, for giving Yourself to us through the Word. Thank You for revealing Your heart, Your mind and Your Spirit for all of us to feast upon.
Gateways . . . 10/14/09
When we go through personal trials, the Word comes alive with new revelation that fits our situation. The love and power and deliverance of God take on new significance. The bigger the trial, the greater is God's Word to meet it. Trials are uncomfortable and sometimes frightening, but they are always gateways leading deeper into God's presence. Because of this, we can embrace our difficulties and rejoice in them (1 Peter 1:6).
You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance - Psalm 32:7.
Being "surrounded" by God is the perfect place to be. A trial can't be too difficult with the arms of the Lord wrapped around us. With His sweetness and laughter in our ears, how could we possibly be afraid?
. . . let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield - Psalm 5:11,12.
The River of Life . . . 9/27/09
There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High - Psalm 46:4.
This living water of God brings life to all who drink it. "...everything will live wherever the river goes" (Ezekiel 47:9). What does this mean for us? It means that in God's presence we find everything Jesus procured for us—love, healing, provision and more. And the best part is, we don't have to look very far to find this amazing river. It freely flows from the life of God residing in every Christian. Yes, we are vessels of LIFE!
Many of us are unfamiliar with the treasure we carry around each day. We're too distracted by the world and deceived by satan's lies. But this can be quickly and easily changed by spending time in the Word, in worship and in prayer.
Lord, please help us to drink Your living water every day. We thank You for this refreshing, miraculous gift. We thank You for Your love, Your healing and all of Your provision. Most of all, we're thankful for YOU, Lord. You are amazing, and we never want to be apart from You.
Pull the Trigger of Faith . . . 9/17/09
We're required to walk through places in life that make us afraid. When this happens we may succumb to anxiety and depression. Being overwhelmed by these negative emotions, we're tempted to submit to enemy demands. . Excursions into battle are part of the Christian experience—part of our ongoing training. But on the darkest of days, wherever we find ourselves, God wants us to rise above the winds of fear and the weariness of depression.
Our spiritual muscles are strengthened most of all during difficult times. We get to know God and His truth in new and exciting ways. When we're under attack, the Holy Spirit helps us match the most pertinent truth to our current dilemma. Then we can pull the powerful trigger of faith and blast away! Like a frightful machine gun, the declaration of God's word will send the opposition running.
So Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, "Be removed and be cast into the sea," and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them - Mark 11:22-24.
Help and Encouragement . . . 8/18/09
Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? - Isaiah 58:6,7.
Our hearts should never become immune to the pain we see around us. We find people who are poor, hungry, dirty, lonely and totally without God. We must take time to help and encourage them—to share the grace that we've been given.
When God tells us to give to the poor and oppressed, He's speaking of more than money. We all have time to give, and most of us have talent to offer. If we know the Lord, then certainly we have wisdom to share. Some Christians are gifted with encouragement, and others are wonderful teachers. I know people who are great with children and others who have compassion for the elderly. Developing relationships and helping others to walk in victory with the Lord is worth every bit of the effort.
From Faith to Faith . . . 8/2/09
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" - Romans 1:16, 17.
Within the gospel of Christ, we find the power to be born again. When sufficiently embraced, the gospel continues on with its mighty work. It renews our minds and cleanses us from sin so we can enter God's purpose and blessing. The gospel is truly a gift that keeps on giving!
"For the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith..." How wonderful! God's character and purpose are given to us in small digestible bites. He starts us out with the sweetest types of easily digested food. Then He carefully introduces us to a wide variety of vegetables and meat, one at a time as we are ready. From faith to faith, we progress one meal at a time.
God wants to promote each one of us, but only when we're ready. It's up to us how fast we grow—or if we grow at all. We can choose to remain as "babes in Christ" who only eat pureed fruit. Or we can develop into strong adult leaders, having the faith to dine with God at His intimate candlelit table.
Great Expectation . . . 7/23/09
By faith we see the grace and glory of God unfold—carefully, richly and perfectly. His love blooms and multiplies in every corner of our domain when we rest in Him and trust Him with the costly seed we've sown.
Thank You, Lord, for the works of your heart and hands. Thank You for the joy of life as it flourishes in Your holy care. We praise You, Lord, for Your steadfast love that seeks and saves the lost—that sanctifies and empowers Your kingdom here on Earth.
Today the grace of God is gathering momentum like a mighty ocean wave, pushing steadily toward our shores. Now is the time to scan the horizon with great expectation, setting aside all trust in human schemes as we watch for increasing heavenly glory.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God - Romans 5:1, 2.
The Kingdom of God . . . 7/10/09
Then He said, "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches." And again He said, "To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened" - Luke 13:18-21.
The kingdom of God doesn't follow the rules of tradition set forth by the most prominent church in town. Instead, it is lead by the Spirit and is flanked by His wisdom, love and holiness. Ideally, the local church we choose to attend will clearly reflect and embody the kingdom. We should find quality teaching and inspired preaching within its doors. Mature members, operating in the fullness of God, will minister to the church and to the surrounding community. Many people will be saved, healed and delivered.
The kingdom develops uniquely in each of our lives, according to God's purpose. When we abide in the Lord, absolutely nothing can stop the growth of love, life and resurrection power.
We will bear much fruit, and inside every piece is a seed with new potential. Just like the mustard seed, our words, prayers and deeds will multiply. When aligned with Almighty God, our hearts and minds hold exponential power that cannot be restrained or subdued.
Focus on the Good . . . 6/29/09
If four things have gone wrong and one thing has blessed us, then we must keep our focus on the blessing. The fact is, God is in control, and those "four things gone wrong" probably aren't as bad as they seem. The enemy loves to exaggerate the size of our problems, hoping we won't notice the grace that comes our way. So instead of falling into this trap, we need to ask ourselves, "What does God say about this? What has He promised in His word? What good news has the Spirit been whispering?"
We need not waste our energy fretting about tomorrow or defending ourselves against dysfunctional, selfish people. God sees and hears all things. He knows exactly what's going on, and He's our strong defense in time of trouble. Because of this, we're free to focus on kingdom assignments. We should be moving ahead at a steady pace instead of getting mired in strife and fear. We must always focus on God and think of His goodness.
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 - Philippians 4:6-8.
The Integrity of God . . . 6/7/09
"Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord, "that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah . . . " - Jeremiah 33:14.
Have you received a personal promise from the Lord—one you've been waiting to see unfold for a very long time? Is the promise so big that at first you had trouble believing it? Are loved-ones' lives and eternities at stake? Is the promise so important that settling for anything less is unthinkable? To have such a promise is truly a blessing, but the waiting can be difficult. Once we see the glory ahead, it's hard to live in today.
As we wait on the Lord for the treasure He plants in our heart, we learn amazing new things. We find out much about ourselves, and we learn great things about our God. Today, the Spirit reminded me of His integrity. God never lies, and He doesn't tease. His holy word is above reproach—whether it's scripture from the Bible or truth whispered to us individually. Our God can always be trusted. Because of His integrity, He will always keep His word.
To have integrity means to be honest, true, honorable, admirable, reputable, reliable, authentic, legitimate, genuine, sincere, earnest, serious—and in God's case, I'm sure there's plenty more. With Him, we get the deluxe supernatural version.
Yes, I am definitely counting on God to keep His promises to me. How about you? Will you trust Him too?
Over Fifty . . . 5/28/09
Are you over fifty? Over sixty? Are you serious about the Kingdom of God? If so, I'm sure you've heard discouraging words from satan's camp: "Time has run out. Your life has been wasted. There's no use trying to be a victorious Christian at your age." The attack goes on and on: "You're a big disappointment to God. He had high hopes for you, but after all these years, He's finally given up."
But satan only tries to discourage us if we're a genuine threat. The enemy doesn't want us aware of how mature and wise we may have become. The worse we feel about ourselves, the better off is the kingdom of darkness. It's important to remember that our success is measured by God, and He values things that we might overlook. For example, the quality of not being offended by thoughtless remarks may not even be on our list, but it will probably be circled and highlighted on God's list. I imagine Him being excited every time we "get it right" and forgetting about every failure.
Now let's take a look at Moses. He spent more than fifty years in the little town of Midian, from early adulthood until he was about eighty. During this time, satan surely tormented him with endless "what ifs" as he quietly tended his sheep. "What if you hadn't killed that Egyptian?" "What if you had used your influence and patiently worked for change within the system?" Moses probably thought he had blown his chance to help God's people. But unknown to this man, God was training him for the important years ahead.
We don't know the details of Moses' training in Midian, but we do know the results. At eighty years old, he was physically strong and spiritually mature. We also know he was humble: On the day God spoke from a burning bush, Moses was personally tending flocks on the back side of the desert instead of resting while a younger man did the job.
. . . there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants, and in all his land, and by all that mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel - Deuteronomy 34:10-12.
So, to all who are over fifty and feeling insignificant in the kingdom; understand that you are still in training. You may be tending some of the stinkiest sheep in the world. Or maybe you feel lonely and forgotten on the back side of somewhere you dislike. But if you continue to humble yourself and submit to God, then He will surely exalt you according to His plan.
Dry Spells . . . 5/18/09
When I don't hear a personal word from God in the space of two weeks, then I consider myself to be in a dry spell. This happened to me a few weeks ago. I hadn't heard from God in awhile, and now some situations began "heating up." I wanted to hear from God, but this simply wasn't happening. As a result, I handled my problems according to principle. I relied on wisdom from the Bible and God's personal words to me in the past. I knew He was near, and I refused to overreact just because I didn't hear His voice. God doesn't pout, so there had to be a good reason for His silence.
In case the problem was with me, I did a personal inventory and confessed some wrong attitudes and behaviors. I confessed my nonchalance about a particular matter and asked God to give me a repentant heart. Now, with all this checked off my "Why isn't God talking to me?" list, I turned the situation completely over to Him. I wasn't very happy, but I stayed in the word, continued to pray, and trusted that "all is well." I didn't know what else to do.
Another day or so went by, when I found myself thinking of the words "dry spell." Then I was reminded of a personal prophecy I had received years ago in which God told me that I was like a tree, and He was causing my roots to grow very deep. After these thoughts came the revelation that during dry spells, the roots of a tree will reach more deeply for water. Ahhh! How good to hear His voice and His explanation.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit - Jeremiah 17:8.
How thirsty are you for the "Fountain of Living Waters"? When the droughts come and the River appears to dry up, will your roots reach deep in search of Him? How desperately will you seek those aquifers and bubbling springs that you cannot live without?
As to the Lord . . . 5/8/09
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ - Colossians 3:23-24.
Try to imagine turning every facet of your life over to the Lord—submitting all thoughts, words and actions to Him. Each of your talents and gifts would be used to bless the heart of God and to serve His holy purpose.
Working, playing and "doing all" for the Lord would eliminate many temptations that come with doing these things for men. Manipulation and control would quickly lose their allure. Self-serving competition would be totally out of place. Fear of losing the favor of man would vanish. All of your energy could now be spent on works of the kingdom.
And of course, none of what you do "as to the Lord" would ever be unappreciated. Because God sees, hears and knows all things, then He gives every prize and compensation with full knowledge, perfect love and plenty of His amazing grace.
All is Well . . . 4/30/09
Do you ever feel weak and alone and afraid? It's important to turn to God when this happens and hear what He has to say. When I talk to the Lord about my own weaknesses and fears, He tells me it doesn't matter because He is strong on my behalf. As long as I trust Him, I'll be safe and secure. He assures me that "all is well."
Because I'm single, I often feel alone. I don't have family nearby who accept me just as I am, warts and all. But the Holy Spirit reminds me that He is family. . . . we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love - Romans 5:5.
Sometimes fear will follow in my footsteps, either nagging me from close behind or jumping ahead to frighten me face to face. But God has shown me clearly that fear is only a "paper tiger." This emotion, however valid it may seem, is based on flimsy lies. It cannot hurt me unless I overreact, which of course is the enemy's goal. Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom - Luke 12:32.
Yes, the kingdom of God is ours. The battles are already won, and every giant has already been defeated. We may be weak, but we're never alone, so there's nothing at all to fear.
The Fellowship of His Suffering . . . 4/10/09
With the Christian life comes a certain amount of suffering. We are set apart, often aflicted but always comforted. If our hearts are submitted to God, then suffering brings us into closer fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ—into a place where we count it an honor to feel the sting of rejection or abuse because of our alignment with Him.
. . . that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings . . . - Philippians 3:10.
Thank You, Lord, for putting us in unpleasant places where the beauty of Your countenance is sorely needed. We are blessed to walk in Your shoes.
Thank You, Lord, for those frightening situations that teach us not to fear—for those dark paths and valleys where we learn first-hand that every "giant" has already been defeated by Your suffering on the cross.
Thank You, Lord, that when we're disdained by the world for being "foolish" and "weak," we are actually flying high on spiritual wings and conquering with Your wisdom.
Thank You, Lord, for making us a threat to the enemy—so much that we're under attack. Thank You for the victory that is always ours to take.
Thank You, Lord, for "the joy that is set before us" as we take up our own crosses daily (Hebrews 12:2). Your resurrection power carries us through every tribulation.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory . . . - 2 Corinthians 4:17.
What a Friend I Have in Jesus . . . 4/1/09
I love having Jesus for a best friend. Sometimes human friends fall short because, after all, they're human. But Jesus is always faithfully by my side. He's proven His love for me over and over again—first at the cross, then every day thereafter.
Jesus cares how I feel. When I'm upset about something, the Lord doesn't fuss at me for being emotional. Instead, He gently reminds me of the truth I need to hear, beginning with "I love you." And when I'm happy, Jesus shares in my joy.
Jesus wants the very best for me. He always teaches, encourages and guides me toward His blessings and His purpose.
Jesus loves the ones I love. When I pray for the special people in my life, I am assured that Jesus loves them more than I do, and He will do "whatever it takes" to bring them into His Kingdom.
Jesus is fun. The more I get to know Him, the more delighted I am with His personality. He has a great sense of humor, and I find myself laughing out loud at His jokes—the kind that are only shared by friends. He also surprises me with "little things" that are meaningful.
Jesus is awe-inspiring. All matters of life and love are wrapped up in Him. It's great to have such a wonderful, powerful friend to hang out with—one who always lifts me higher.
No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you - John 15:15.
Strip Off Every Weight . . . 3/16/09
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us - Hebrews 12:1, NLT.
While sin increases here on Earth, so does the silent cry for help from many anxious hearts. Enormous fields are becoming ripe for harvest. A hunger for God is growing in those who belong to the Lord—in those who the Father has given to His Son. Everyone who is already "born again" should be focused on this crop of souls. God has a role for each of us to play, and we must be in training.
Whether we have only a few hours or several decades left before the rapture comes, lets begin to "strip off every weight" that hinders us from running our race. The Holy Spirit will help us trim away all activities that rob us of His presence and His power. He will direct our hearts and minds to what is truly important and enable us to stay on this path. Deep joy and satisfaction will come with our new activities in the Kingdom.
Always Praise Him . . . 3/10/09
Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord! - Psalm 150:1-6.
Sometimes our praise to God is spontaneous and effortless. It bubbles up and overflows when we learn of something He's done. At other times, our praise for the Lord takes effort. We deliberately focus on aspects of His personality, His character and His glorious work, then we thank and praise Him for those things. We do this because God desires our praise, and He deserves it. He loves us, and He wants to be loved in return.
We are the bride of Christ, and our Husband longs for affection. We are the Father's children, and our Daddy needs to hear songs of love. The Spirit teaches,protects and anoints, so a "Thank You" is in order.
Praise is a key that opens the door of God's heart. Even if we praise Him with the motive of entering His presence to "get something," I think that's okay. The Lord is always pleased when we go to Him instead of to the world. And I'm pretty sure He can fine-tune our attitude with one glance of His eyes. We just need to draw near.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name - Psalm 100:4.
Yes, it's true. Thanksgiving gets us to God's front door, and praise will swing it wide open. With hearts all a-flutter, both ours and the Lord's, we'll have a glorious time. Words of love will be exchanged. Inspiration will flow. Secrets will be shared, and plans will be made. Joy will spring forth in continued praise.
Got Hope? . . . 2/27/09
While I was driving home from work one day, the Holy Spirit spoke to me about hope. I was feeling thankful that I have hope, and I was praising God for this. Then I noticed a bumper sticker in the traffic lane to my right. A spin-off of the cute "Got milk?" logo, this sticker said "Got hope?" I was driving 70 miles per hour, so noticing the bumper sticker wasn't a trivial thing. I'm sure the Spirit made me look. I know that God was emphasizing the value of hope, and this humorous interaction with Him brought laughter to my praise.
The Apostle Paul had plenty to say about hope:
To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory - Colossians 1:27.
If we have Jesus, then we have HOPE! This hope is for more than "just getting by." We have hope for glory—big, fat, miraculous glory that only God can deliver!
Real Power . . . 1/24/09
God wants to release His power through Christians, changing every situation that causes us harm. When darts of destruction are thrown at us by the enemy, they're used by God to arouse our cries for help—cries that He wants to answer with a glorious show of force.
Unfortunately, we often cry for help while continuing to battle in the flesh. I've been guilty of this for years. Somewhere in my heart has lurked a belief that "I can handle some of this." Mercifully, the Spirit uncovered this fatal flaw. Now I know that harboring the smallest bit of self-reliance places a wall between me and the power of God.
The Lord is gracious to let us fail in our efforts to fight His battles for Him. From small to very large, the battles are His and not ours.
Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied..... all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands" - 1 Samuel 17:45,47.
If your world is closing in on you, it's the perfect time to pray. Thank the Lord for His nearness and for His desire to help. Praise the Lord and bow down before Him. Humbly ask for a new revelation of your inadequacy—lest any self-sufficiency remains in your heart. Now, patiently wait for His comfort, wisdom and instruction. He may give you a task to complete, or He may tell you to "wait" and do nothing at all. But rest assured that by your faith and obedience, God's power will go forth.
We may stand on the front lines of combat, but our strength is God's presence within. We've been given dominion over this world, and our success comes with abiding in the Lord.
God is my strength and power, and He makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places. He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze - 2 Samuel 22:33-35.
Grace . . . 1/12/09
What exactly is grace? The most meaningful and helpful definition of grace that I've read is written by Francis Frangipane: "We've been taught that grace is God's unmerited favor, which of course, it is. Yet unmerited favor is only one aspect of grace. In reality, grace is God's promise to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves."
Oh, yes! I'll take a heaping helping of grace! My list of "highly unlikely" and "clearly impossible" needs is growing. And what about you? What do you need that only God can provide? What has the Lord been whispering to your heart? What will you have faith for?
I believe the entire body of Christ is moving into a period of increased and unprecedented grace. This grace will be quite visible to the unsaved world and will draw them into salvation.
To prepare for grace, both now and in the future, we must sanctify our bodies, minds and spirits (Joshua 3:5). Remember, we're God's representatives. He wants to show the world, through us, what He yearns to do for them. Change is certainly coming, but it won't be what is expected. The world is in for a big surprise and so are many Christians.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly - Psalm 84:11.