Wednesday, August 12, 2020

"Fresh"

"Fresh"

"They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness." Lamentations 3:23

Is your experience and relationship with the Lord ancient history or current events? Are you living on yesterday's manna or receiving fresh "bread" from Him each day?  Are you hanging on to past revelations or receiving a fresh word from Him today? Are you being sustained by the "touch" of the Lord that you received years ago or is He "touching" your life afresh and anew each day? Are you trying to hold on to the peace that you received in a past situation to see you through a present one, or are you receiving fresh peace for the trials of today?

The only word that comes to mind this morning to describe what I am talking about is "fresh". The dictionary defines fresh as something newly made; recent; not old or stale. God is all about "freshness". He doesn't want us living on yesterday's experiences, revelations, victories or faith. We see the evidence of this through creation. Life is not made up of one long, continual day. It is made up of "days"- many of them. Each one begins in the morning and ends in the evening, then makes room for the next one. It is also made up of seasons. After spring comes summer, then fall and winter. Brand new (fresh) seasons occur periodically. We also saw the evidence of it in God's creation of the world as described in Genesis. God created the world in six days. Each one was distinguished from the other by the morning and evening. On each new day God created something different (something fresh and new)- He did not recreate the same thing over and over each day. One day He created the sun and moon, another day He created the earth, another day He created the animals, another day He created man, and so on.

The point this morning is that God wants you to have fresh experiences with Him daily. What we received in the past was not meant to be our only experience with the Lord. We should always be thankful for what He did for us in the past. We should allow those experiences to teach and train us. We should gain faith from them as well as wisdom, knowledge and understanding. But just like the Israelites in the wilderness, we can't live on yesterday's manna, we must "collect" fresh manna for each new day. The Lord has fresh manna, fresh assignments, fresh commands, fresh experiences, fresh anointing, fresh peace, fresh revelation, fresh truths available for you and He wants to give them to you today.

Have a great day. Would you say that you have a "fresh" or "stale" relationship with the Lord?

For further reading:
Genesis 1
Exodus 16:14-21
Philippians 3:13

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

"Worrier"

"Worrier"

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Philippians 4:6

Do you know someone who worries about everything or gets anxious about even the little things? Some people just don't seem to be happy unless they have something to worry about. Perhaps that describes you?

Being anxious opens the door to confusion and robs us of peace. Being anxious is a time and energy waster because all our worrying can't change anything. Worrying will affect your health and cause emotional problems. And most importantly, worrying about the situation shows a lack of trust and faith in God.

It is not God's plan for us to be worriers. It is not part of the abundant life that Jesus came to give us. There will always be situations that arise in our lives that will try to make us fret, be anxious and worry. We will all at some point in time face difficulties and things that are too big for us to handle. But it is not the facing them that is the issue, it's "HOW" we face them that is. Are we going to face them by worrying about them when there is nothing that we can do about them anyway? Or are we going to cast them upon the Lord? Are we going to give them to Him because He is well able to take care of them? Are we going to trust Him with them and believe that He will work the situation out for our good? Which will you choose to do?

Have a great day. Worrying never solved anything, but it does reveal whether your confidence lies in God or not.

For further reading:
Philippians 4:7
Matthew 6:25-30
Psalm 37:7
John 10:10
Romans 8:28
1 Peter 5:7

Monday, August 10, 2020

Bogged Down

"Bogged Down"

"Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh." Romans 8:12

Have you ever been "bogged down"? The term means to "be stuck"; "cause to slow down"; "grind to a halt.". Years ago we lived on a creek so we spent a lot of time enjoying the sand bar and water. At times you could be walking along on the sand and all of a sudden you would step onto a soft place and bog down- we called these soft spots "quick sand". Once you got in one you would sink to your knees. Getting out was very difficult, especially if it was a large area. You would have to try to pull your leg out and try to make a step with your other leg, and usually it would bog down too. You would have to keep trying to make steps, one after the other, until you could finally get back on solid ground.

There are several things that can bog you down physically- mud, quick sand, snow. People can also get "bogged down" in their thoughts and in their emotions. You can also get bogged down by pressures on your job- added work when you haven't finished the first assignment.

There is another area of being "bogged down" that I want to discuss this morning. It is something that will bog you down spiritually to keep you from advancing in victory, in knowing God's purpose for your life and in fulfilling your destiny. It's your own flesh. Your flesh is like a "boggy" place. It wants to suck you in and get you stuck so that you can't move or go anywhere in your walk and relationship with the Lord.

The more time you spend catering to your flesh, the more time you spend giving into its wants and desires, the more time you spend entertaining it, the more time you spend feeding its appetites, lusts and desires... the more "bogged down" you will become. It is like that quick sand that I described earlier. It will get a strong hold on you and won't let you go- you'll be stuck! And you will have to struggle and work hard to get yourself out. (And believe me, the flesh doesn't let go easily.) The only way that it will let go of its hold is through death. The flesh has to die.

Are you wondering why you feel like you aren't making any progress? Do you feel like you aren't going anywhere and wonder why you are at a stand still? Are you struggling but not advancing? Perhaps it is your flesh that is bogging you down? I described above what we would have to do to get free from the areas of quick sand. To get ourselves free from the flesh that has caused us to get stuck/bogged down is by denying it. The more we deny our flesh, the more freedom from it we have. The more freedom we have from it, the less power it has over us. The less power it has over us, the harder it is to get bogged down. The harder it becomes to get bogged down by the flesh, the easier it is to live in the spirit.

Have a great day. Is your flesh bogging you down? Then get unstuck by denying it, crucifying it and yielding to the Spirit.

For further reading:
Romans 8:13; 6:6,7
Galatians 2:20; 5:16,17,25

Friday, August 7, 2020

"Thy Will"

"Thy Will"

"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:10

"Thy will be done". How often we pray this simple pray. But praying it and saying it is one thing, while meaning and following it is another. It's easy to say, "Let Your will be done", but what happens when the will of God conflicts with our will. What happens when His will takes us in a direction that we would not choose? What happens when His will doesn't line up with our plans and agenda?

When we say, "Thy will be done", we usually mean as long as it takes us to the "palace" not the "pit"; an "oasis" not the "desert"; the "mountain top" not the "valley". But the will of God doesn't always take us into bright, sunny, pleasant places. Remember Jesus was lead into the wilderness by the Spirit. And what about the cross- it was the will of God.

The will of God will often take us into places that we would not choose for ourselves. The places where His will would take us are not always easy- often they are hard. So what do we do then? How easy is it to submit to His will then? Do we surrender to His will or do we totally ignore it and fulfill our own will?

The will of God may not be a pleasant place at the moment, but it is taking us somewhere. For Joseph the pit was the first stepping stone to the palace. For Jesus the wilderness was the place where He got victory over the temptations of the flesh and empowerment for the work He was sent to do. For Jesus the cross, though it looked like a place of death, actually was the place that provided an open door to eternal life.

We need not fear or draw back from the will of God when it takes us into unpleasant places. We just need to submissively follow His will and trust that through it He is working all things together for our good and that even the unpleasant places are stepping stones that take us from glory to glory.

Have a great day. God's will is not always in accordance with our will, but choose to follow His will because it is taking you to a greater plan than you have for yourself.

For further reading:
Matthew 4:1-11; 26:39
2 Corinthians 3:18
Romans 8:28

Thursday, August 6, 2020

"Fearful Times"

"Fearful Times"

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

For the last several months this verse has come up every time I turn around. We did a study on it at our church. My pastor has been preaching from it. I have heard it mentioned at prayer group. It has come up in conversation with others. Several of the preachers on television have mentioned it as well. It has come up through various emails I have received. When you keep hearing something repeated over and over again, you can be sure that the Lord is trying to say something to you.

We have been talking about what a "good" God our Heavenly Father is, so in His goodness toward us He keeps sending this verse to encourage and comfort us. We are living in fearful times. The economy looks bad. People are afraid of losing their jobs. They are afraid of losing their homes and everything they have worked hard to get. They are afraid because of the threat of war. Violence seems to be plaguing the nation- even once quiet, safe communities are experiencing violence. If you take a look around you the condition of the world is getting more fearful each day.  They are afraid of sickness and disease.  

People have experienced fearful times throughout history. But those whose trust and faith were in God had nothing to fear. The Israelites had nothing to fear when the plagues were falling around them in Egypt. Noah had nothing to fear when the flood waters came. Lot and his family had nothing to fear when destruction fell upon the city. Daniel had nothing to fear when facing the lion's den. The three Hebrew boys had nothing to fear when faced with the fiery furnace. The Israelites had nothing to fear though sure destruction was all around them when they were hemmed in between the Red Sea and Pharaoh's army. And you and I have nothing to fear "through the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof". (Psalm 46:2,3) We having nothing to fear because the Lord is our refuge, our present help in times of trouble, because we have the promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us, because He is our provider, because His grace is sufficient for whatever comes our way, and as we trust in Him He gives us a peace that will establish our hearts and minds. And when the "spirit of fear" tries to attack us, He has given us everything we need to defeat it- power, love and a sound mind.

We can't stop fearful situations from coming, but we can stop fear from taking us as its prisoner when they do come. We might be in fearful times, but fear doesn't have to be in us. Fear can be rendered powerless in our lives if we will keep our hearts and minds fixed and stayed upon the Lord and upon His wonderful promise to be with us.

Have a great day. Fearful times come, but we don't have to give into the fear. We can have victory over it through Jesus Christ because greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.

For further reading:
Psalm 91
Hebrews 13:5
Isaiah 26:3