Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Messy House"

"...Set thine house in order..." Isaiah 38:1

When I know that someone is coming to see me, I try to make sure that my house is "in order". I make sure that the furniture isn't dusty and the floors are clean. I won't have clothes all over the couch, dishes piled up in the sink and clutter lying around. Sometimes when I have been busy and on the go, I let things get a little messy around the house. If it is like that when unexpected company drops in, it is a little embarrassing.

We have another "house"- it's our lives. One day, perhaps soon, we will have a "visit" from someone very special- the Lord. When He returns, how will He find our lives? Will they be in order? Will we be giving Him the place in them that He rightfully deserves? Will He find our lives filled with "flesh"- living according to the dictates of our own selfish desires and lusts? Will He find gossip, backbiting, unforgiveness, anger, adultery, fornication, lies, hate and so on? Will they be cluttered by the cares of this life? Will He find faith or fear, doubt or trust, unbelief or assurance? Will he find obedience to His word or rebellion? Will He find His word having free course in it or will other things occupy it? Will He find it "swept and cleaned"?

When He returns, in what condition will He find your "house" (life)? Will you rejoice with great joy at His arrival or will you be embarrassed to have Him see its condition? As I said earlier, my house will get messy and out of order when I get busy with other tasks and neglect it. Jesus warned us not to become too busy with the "cares of this life". Why? For several reasons, but it is also one of the main reasons why we let our lives get out of order. We are too busy taking care of the things of this life that we don't have, take or make the time to tend to our "houses", and our spiritual well being. When we don't take care of them, that is when they get out order. After all, you can't do both at the same time- one will suffer. Are we allowing the one that is most important to suffer and lack? If so, we need to rearrange some things in our lives and place the importance back on making sure our houses STAY in order because we don't know when the Lord will return and we don't want to be caught with a "messy house".

Have a great day. Is your life in order should the Lord come today?

For further reading:
Luke 12:40-46; 21:34
Matthew 13:22; 25:13

Monday, August 30, 2010

"I Am"

"And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." Exodus 3:14

When God told Moses to go and deliver His people, Moses asked God,"When I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?". (Ex. 3:13) God told him to tell them that His name was "I Am".

Today God wants to remind you that He is still I Am.
I Am the same yesterday, today and forever. I do not change.
I Am your Healer.
I Am your Savior.
I Am your Deliverer.
I Am your strong tower that you can run into for safety.
I Am your strength in weakness, peace in confusion, guide in decisions.
I Am the glory and lifter of your head.
I Am with you always. I won't leave you nor forsake you.
I Am the way, the truth and the life.
I Am your light in darkness.
I Am the one who fights your battles for you.
I Am your guide even unto death.
I Am your righteousness.
I Am your shelter in the time of storm.
I Am able to do exceeding, abundantly above all you can ask or think.
I Am the one who answers your prayers when you ask, seek and knock.
I Am the one who meets and supplies all your needs.
I Am the one who makes a way even when there seems to be none.
I Am all sufficient and more than enough for all you need.
I Am the one who loves you with an everlasting love.
I Am the one who is able to keep you.
And... I Am still so much more.

Have a great day. God is still "I Am".

For further reading:
Exodus 15:26; 6:2
John 14:6; 8:12
Proverbs 18:10
Ephesians 3:20
Hebrews 13:8

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lost Battles

"Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God." 1 Samuel 17:36

Our scripture this morning is taken from the conversation that David had with King Saul trying to assure him that he was able to go out and fight against the giant Goliath. David told Saul about the times when a lion and a bear had tried to take some of the sheep that he was watching over and how he slew them both.

As I thought about the lion and even the giant that David was facing, a thought came to me that I want to share this morning. A lion roars even before it begins to chase its prey to destroy it. The roar is intimidating and meant to cause fear in the heart of its prey. Often when the prey hears the roar it becomes fearful and easier for the lion to catch and kill because it is paralyzed by the fear.

The giant that David was going up against also "roared" his intimidations- threatening to destroy David and the whole Israelite army. Intimidation is meant to make you afraid. The devil makes threats against us hoping to paralyze us with fear. The thought I want to share with you is this: if you listen to the enemy's intimidation and allow it to strike fear in your heart, then you have already begun to lose the battle even before you fight it.

The Israelite army believed Goliath's intimidating words and drew back in fear. They were already defeated before they even faced the actual battle. David didn't believe the threats; he didn't allow them to put fear in his heart. Therefore, he was able to go to the battle and defeat him.

If the enemy can get you to believe his lies and threats and make you fearful, then he is already defeating you before you even get to the real battle. If you don't make it to the battlefield to defeat him he will continue to attack you and overcome you. This is why even though the battle was set in array between the Israelites and the Philistines, the Israelites weren't making it to the battlefield to fight and win the victory.

If the enemy is coming against you, don't listen to his threats, don't allow them to paralyze you with fear, go on out to the "real" battle and defeat him and get the victory over him that Jesus already won for you.

Have a great day. If you listen to the enemy's words of intimidation and allow them to strike fear in your heart, then you have already begun to lose the battle even before you fight it.

For further reading:
1 Samuel 17
1 Peter 5:8
2 Corinthians 2:14

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Clarity In The Closet"

"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." Matthew 6:6

I am so thankful that the Lord has placed truly wonderful, godly people in my life. And when I talk to them about certain issues and matters they always refer me to the scriptures. God has blessed us by giving us people that will counsel us, encourage us, pray with/for us, admonish us in God's word, teach us, bear our burdens, pastor us, stand with us and mentor us. It is nice to have someone to talk to when you are going through a problem or trial. But, people should never take the place of God.

There are some things- some answers, clarity, revelation, insight, understanding of the situation- that you aren't going to get any where except in your prayer closet talking to God. This is why a prayer closet is so important. We all need that secluded, quiet place to pray. We all need a place where we can "shut the door" to distractions and other things that would try to grab our attention away from seeking God for an answer. We all need a place where we can get alone with God and not be interrupted.

There are so many questions, so many needs, so many answers that we desire and we would gain clarity of many of them if we would get alone with Him in a place of prayer. We can't expect to get all we need "on the go'- praying while in the middle of doing ten other things. We have to learn to separate ourselves and come aside to seek the Lord. Moses would go to his closet- a mountain- and get alone with God and receive God's commandments and instructions. Jesus did this. And it seems to me that if Jesus needed to do it, how much more do we.

We are to pray without ceasing- that means that we should keep a prayer on our hearts, and it means that there will be times that we have to pray on the spot and can't get to the prayer closet. But it doesn't mean we are to neglect prayer in our closets alone with God. I am concerned that the "prayer closet" has become obsolete. I think they are becoming a rarity. Not too many people have one. It is no wonder we stay confused, frustrated, unsure of what we are to do, always seeking out someone to "give us a word" and talk to us for God. God would give it to us if we would spend some time alone with Him in quiet and shut out the rest of the world.

Have a great day. We would have a lot more clarity concerning God's will for our lives in every area if we would spend some time with Him in the prayer closet.

For further reading:
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Mark 1:35
Genesis 32:24-29
Matthew 14:23

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Recorded Tears"

"Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?" Psalm 56:8

I have read this verse hundreds of times, but somehow I missed the part about God writing about our tears in a book. What a loving God who takes note of every tear we cry, so much so, that He bottles them up and records them. After reading that how can you possibly think that God doesn't care or isn't concerned about you.

The Father's heart is "touched by the feelings of your infirmities". He sees you in times of grief and pain as well as in times of peace and joy. His eyes are always on you. Watching you, as well as watching over you. He knows when you lose even one hair from the top of your head. He knows how many tears it took to "soak" your pillow. He not only sees and knows about your tears and the pain behind them that caused them, but He is with you in those times as well as in the good times. He is with you at all times. He is with you when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death. He is with you when the night seems to linger on for days. He is with you when darkness hides the sun and you begin to wonder if it will ever shine again. He is with you when the trials are so strong, the pain so deep, the sorrow unbearable, the situation is overwhelming and all hope seems lost.

Regardless of what you may be going through- good times or bad- you have the promise that the Heavenly Father will never leave you nor forsake you in your time of need or distress. You have the promise that He is with you always, watching over you and even keeping a record of your tears. Receive comfort from that. Hold on to His promise and trust His faithful word.

Have a great day. The Lord bottles up your tears and records them.

For further reading:
Hebrews 4:15; 13:5
Psalm 23
Matthew 28:20

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Every Need'

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

"My God shall supply all my need." What I need isn't always financial, as some people think when they read this verse. My needs go far deeper than just material things. I not only have physical needs but I have spiritual needs too. I have needs in every area of my life.

I already have a list of things that I need today. This morning I need to hear a word from the Lord to share with you in the devotional. Later I will need a word to share with the precious people in the nursing home. I will also need to know how to minister to a lady that I will visit today who is facing cancer. I need wisdom to know how to be a good wife to my husband. I need to know how to be a friend to those the Lord has blessed my life with. I need to know when to speak and when to keep my mouth shut. I need to know how to battle the enemy in prayer for the souls of my loved ones. I need to know how to walk in the Spirit and how to stay attuned to the voice of my Good Shepherd. I need to know how to use the full armor that the Lord has equipped me with in order to stand against the enemy of my soul. I need His help to bear the Fruit of the Spirit. I need to know how to present my body as a living sacrifice, how not to lose my savor, how to keep from hiding my light, how to decrease so that He might increase. I need to know how I can best glorify Him through my life today. I need to know how to walk out the victory over besetting sins that Jesus gave me through His death. I need to know how to treat others the same way I want them to treat me. I need peace of mind. (And this is just the beginning of my list of needs.)

The disciples and others who came to Jesus with a multitude of various needs- some needed healing, some needed forgiveness, some needed deliverance, some needed answers to their questions. Like the disciples who needed Him to teach them to pray. The rich young ruler who needed to know how to have eternal life. Nicodemus came to Him with the need for understanding. There was no lack of needs- spiritual as well as physical. And as we read in the Bible, Jesus met them all. There was not one need of one person that He turned away. He either supplied what was needed, gave them the needed healing or miracle, answered their questions, gave clarity and understanding when asked, or told them what they needed to do.

Whatever you need today, He won't turn you away either. Voice your need to Him. Tell Him what it is. Bring Him into the area of your need. Ask for His help and ask Him to meet it. He desires to meet you at the point of your need- all your need and every need.

Have a great day. Our needs come in a wide variety, but He promised to supply them all.

For further reading:
Matthew 6:8-13
Luke 6:19

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Mind Games"

"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices." 2 Corinthians 2:11

When you look up the word devices in the concordance, it means: a mental perception, thought, the mind, an evil purpose. So when I read this verse I see a two-fold meaning. First, I see that it means we are not ignorant of what goes on in satan's thinking/mind- we aren't ignorant concerning his thoughts toward us. His thoughts are to "kill, steal and destroy" us. Secondly, I see it to mean that the devices he uses against us are attacks against our mind. His main weapon is to play "mind games" with us.

It has been said that the mind is the battlefield. It is against our minds where most of the attacks against us take place. Satan comes against us with accusations- "You are no good; you aren't going to make it, God doesn't care about you; who do you think you are?; etc.". He tries to plant seeds of doubt in our mind- "Did God really say that?; what if God doesn't show up on time?; etc". He brings confusion to our minds in order to make us "wishy-washy" (double minded) in our faith. He tries to make you think that your situation is hopeless and impossible, and too big for God.

Satan has his mind set on destroying you and he does that by coming against your mind/thoughts. But the Lord has provided everything we need to be victorious in the battle. We have been given the helmet of salvation to protect our minds. We have been instructed to capture wayward thoughts and cast them down. We have been told by the Lord what we should be thinking on in order to have victory and peace of mind. If we set our mind on the things that God says instead of what satan says then his devices, plans, purposes and thoughts against us won't prevail.

Have a great day. Satan's thoughts and plans are to destroy you, and he carries out his plans by attacking your thoughts.

For further reading:
John 10:10
Ephesians 6:11-8
James 1:8
Revelation 12:10
Philippians 4:8
2 Corinthians 10:4,5

Friday, August 20, 2010

"The Enemy Of Unbelief"

"Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." Mark 9:23,24

Belief isn't a hard thing to do, or have, that is if it wasn't for one "little" thing-- unbelief! It would be easy to believe if we weren't hit by unbelief. Unbelief comes to try to steal our faith. It comes to try to keep us from receiving the promises of God. It is an enemy to our faith, therefore, it has to be dealt with as such.

Unbelief can't be ignored. It can't be overlooked. You have to do something about it. The father in the story above recognized that he had unbelief and he confessed it to Jesus. He didn't try to cover up the fact that it was there. He didn't try to hide it from Jesus. He didn't try to defend the unbelief. He didn't try to pretend that it didn't exist. He didn't let pride get in the way, but readily admitted that it was there.

If there is unbelief in your heart concerning a matter, don't ignore it, don't try to justify it, don't try to act like it doesn't exist- recognize it for what it is, then confess it to the Lord. It is not a "negative confession" to admit it is there- it is the first step to getting rid of it. Once you have confessed it to God, ask Him to "help your unbelief". Then begin to renew your mind and heart with God's word- "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

Jesus didn't scold the man. He didn't turn His back on him. He heard the cry of an "honest heart" and He met him where he was. Jesus hears the cry of your heart as well when you are feeling weak in your faith. He won't turn away from you. He will help you to overcome the unbelief.

Have a great day. Unbelief is an enemy to our faith, and must be dealt with.

For further reading:
Mark 9:20-27; 11:22-24
Matthew 21:21,22; 14:27-31

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Point Of View"

"But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

I woke up again this morning, as I do most mornings, with a song on my heart- this one verse in particular. "Wonderful, merciful Savior. Precious Redeemer and Friend. Who would have thought that a Lamb could rescue the souls of men. Oh, you, rescue the souls of men."

"Who would have thought that a Lamb could rescue the souls of men." Jesus was called the "lamb" of God that takes away the sins of the world. He wasn't referred to as some other "majestic" animal that was used in the sacrificial process. He wasn't the "lion" (the king of the jungle), or a great "stallion", or even the big, strong "elephant" when He was placed upon the sacrificial altar- the cross. No, it was just a "lamb"- a small, seemingly insignificant animal who has to be led. This is just further proof that God picks and chooses what, and who, He will use to fulfill His purposes. And often what He chooses is that which is weak and foolish. "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are." (1 Cor. 1:26-28)

Just look throughout the Bible at the things and people that God chose to carry out His plans in the earth. They weren't always the biggest and the best. They weren't always the most educated, the most beautiful, the most talented, the most appealing, the most desirable, the smartest, the most fearless, the most pleasing, on the contrary, they were usually quiet the opposite- at least from the natural appearance.

In appearance Jesus was the "sacrificial lamb", but behind the appearance of the "lamb", the one fulfilling the plan of salvation for all mankind was actually the Son of God. Gideon was a coward in appearance, but behind that appearance was a "mighty man of valor". David appeared to be nothing more than a shepherd boy, but instead he was a "king". God chooses, from our point of view, the things that appear weak and foolish so that no flesh can glory in His presence. But from His point of view He has chosen that which will bring Him most glory.

Have a great day. What we see on the outside looks weak and foolish by our standards, but God takes that which appears weak and foolish and uses them for His glory because He sees not after the appearance.

For further reading:
1 Corinthians 1:29
Judges 6:11,12

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Prodigal Places"

"For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods." Matthew 25:14

Well, I learned something this morning that I didn't know. I always thought that a prodigal was a person who went astray. I arrived at this conclusion from the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15). But according to the dictionary the definition of prodigal is: wastefully or recklessly extravagant; waster; spendthrift.

I decided to look up the word and get a clearer understanding because I felt that the Lord had laid on my heart to talk about "prodigal places" in our lives. I thought He was talking about the places in our lives where we "like the prodigal son" have pulled away from Him in. But I see that He is addressing the areas of "waste" in our lives.

God has given us all "gifts" and "talents". What we have been given may seem small and insignificant. It may not be as visible as what He has given to others, but we all have been given something and we have been given it to use for His glory. Just as the servants that Jesus talked about who had received talents from their master when he went away. He gave the talents to them to use to gain more for him at his return.

Are you being a "prodigal" with the talents, gifts, monies, etc. that God has given to you? Are you wasting them on yourself by using them for selfish pleasure and personal gain? Are you using them to bring attention and admiration, fame, fortune and popularity to yourself? Are you using them at your convenience- only when you "feel like it"? Are you wasting them by keeping them hid and out of view? Just what are you doing with what God has blessed you with. Everything we have been given comes from God and is given to us to help build His Kingdom. The education you have God intends you to use for His glory. The good job you have been given, you have been given so that you will be able to give into God's work. The ability you have to communicate was so that you could communicate the gospel to the lost. It is all about the Kingdom of God- not about self. The men who Jesus talked about were given the talents in order to increase their lord's assets, not their own. We have been blessed with all we have been given for the purpose of glorifying the Lord and seeing others brought into His Kingdom. Is that what you are doing with what you have been given? Or are you being a "prodigal"?

Have a great day. Are you a prodigal- a waster of your time, money and talents? Or are you an investor- investing them into the Kingdom- using them wisely to receive eternal rewards?

For further reading:
Matthew 25:14-30
Luke 15:12,13; 12:42,43

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Applying The Sermon"

"For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass." James 1:23

What do you do when you hear a sermon preached, read a word in a devotional or writing, or hear a teaching? Do you take what you hear or read and pray about it? Yesterday morning we talked about hiding our lights under the "bushels" of intimidations, fear, rejection, etc. After having read it, did you take it in prayer before God or did you ignore it, forget what you read, think that it applied to someone else instead, or did you let it shine a light into your own heart and bring exposure, truth and repentance.

When we read or hear a word, that should not be the end of it. We should take that word and ask the Lord to show us how it applies to us. We should ask the Lord to forgive us if we have failed in the area that it addressed. We should ask the Lord to help us to do what that word taught.

If you read a message about hiding your light, for example, you should ask God to show you if you are doing that. If He shows you that you are doing it, you should ask Him to show you how you are doing it. Once He shows you, you should repent and ask for forgiveness. From there you should ask for the help and empowerment of Holy Spirit to make a change and stop hiding your light. This goes for every message/teaching you hear or read.

Jesus said that a wise man is one who not only hears, or reads, the word but then applies it-- does something with what He hears. James says that we aren't justified by the word until we do more with it than just hear it-- we become a doer of it.

The Lord didn't bring that word across our paths just so that we can talk about what a "good sermon" or "message" it was, but so that we can apply it to our lives-- not just its truths, but its convictions as well. We have to let that word bring repentance and transformation in our lives. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:16,17)

Have a great day. When you hear the word being preached, or read it, what do you do with it?

For further reading:
James 1:22-25
John 8:9
Matthew 7:24
Acts 17:11
Luke 24:32

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Is It Hid?"

"Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house." Matthew 5:15

Is your light shining brightly? Or is it being hid under a "bushel"? Are you hiding it under the "bushel" of intimidation, fear of others, or the opinion's of men? Do you let what others think about you cause you to keep quiet when you should speak up? Do you let their opinions cause you to draw back or cow down when you should be bold? Do you let what they say about you stop you from doing the right thing at the right time? Are you hiding it under the "bushel" of rejection? Are you letting your desire to be liked by others cause you to hide your light through compromise? Are you so willing to please someone else- a friend, a family member, a boss, a co-worker, one of your peers- that your light isn't seen at all.

This world is a "dark" place. People are in darkness and don't even realize it- at least not until they see the light, then they recognize the difference. Each time we hide the light of Jesus that is within us, their world gets a little darker. As long as they are in darkness, they will remain that way until someone comes and shines a light on the path out of the darkness.

We are called to be lights in this dark world and shine a light on the path out of darkness and to Jesus, the true Light. But if we hide it under some of the things we have talked about this morning, there won't be a light to shine the way.

Have a great day. If your light is hid today, bring it out from under the "bushel" that it is hid under and let it shine brightly to those around you so that they can find the path that leads out of darkness.

For further reading:
Isaiah 51:12
Matthew 5:14-16
John 1:1-9; 9:5; 12:46
Ephesians 5:8
1 Thessalonians 5:5

Friday, August 13, 2010

"Being Careless"

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1

Some of the synonyms for the word "careless" are: inattentive, negligent, forgetful. And one of the definitions given for the word is: unconcerned in attitude or action; heedless; indifferent. I bring up this word this morning because I want to talk about treating Jesus "carelessly". There are many ways we can treat Jesus in a "careless" manner, but there is one in particular that I want to discuss because we usually don't associate it with careless treatment of Him.

Did you realize that when you don't read your Bible, when you neglect to read it or study it, when you go for periods of time without even opening it up, you are treating Jesus in a careless manner? We just think that we are neglecting the Bible, but we are actually neglecting Him. How is that? Jesus is "THE WORD". He is the living Word that is brought to life for us through the pages of the written word.

When you are careless about your reading, you are being careless in your treatment of Jesus. You are being inattentive to Him. You are neglecting Him. You show your lack of concern about who He is and what He has to say to you. (You can't read the word of God without it speaking to your heart.) You are being forgetful of the place He should occupy in your life. You are saying that you have no time for Him. You are showing an indifference toward Him. Your action- or lack of it- is revealing your attitude toward Him.

Like I said earlier, we don't usually think that by neglecting our Bible and treating it in a careless manner we are treating Jesus the same way, but we are. Has that been you? Is that you? Are you neglecting Jesus by neglecting His word?

Have a great day. Our careless treatment of the word of God equals careless treatment of Jesus.

For further reading:
John 5:39; 1:1,14
1 John 5:7
Revelations 1:1
Hebrews 2:3

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Red Letters"

"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:63

It seems as though the Lord keeps speaking to me through songs for the devotional lately, because there is another song on my heart this morning and it is one I have not thought about or heard in a long time. The song is entitled, "Red Letters". The chorus says, "There is love in the red letters. There is truth in the red letters. There is hope for the hopeless, peace and forgiveness. There is life in the red letters, in the red letters."

Many Bibles have the words of Jesus written in red. The whole Bible, of course, is the word of God but this morning I want to talk about the "red letters"- the words of Jesus Himself. There are many counselors and advisors out there in the world. There is no lack in finding someone who is ready to give you some instruction. There are people who make a living at telling you what you should do and how you should do it- life coaches, financial advisors, therapist, etc. (Some people won't make a move without consulting them.)

While there are those who can give us help and instruction in certain areas of life, none but Jesus have the words of life. He is the Word and He is Life. Therefore, His words are life to us. This is where your true counsel lies. He, and His word, is where you should turn to first. His words are the words you should heed above anyone and everyone else. His words are the words you should obey even when they conflict with the words of men. His word takes precedence over every other word.

We often get in trouble because we don't seek His word or heed His word. He will never lead you astray. He will never lead you in the wrong way- He may lead you in the opposite way that you wanted to go, but His way is always best. He will never lead you on a path of death or destruction. His words bring life, health and peace.

How sad it is when we have to be reminded to go to Jesus and seek the counsel of His words when we are in need and need instruction. For the Christian, going to God's word and seeking His counsel should come naturally. It should be the first place we consider going- not the last.

If you are needing instruction, guidance, help, counsel, wisdom, etc. look at the "red letters" in your Bible- in other words, look to Jesus- you will find the answers you are looking for.

Have a great day. There is life in the red letters.

For further reading:
John 5:39; 1:1,14; 14:6; 17:17
Psalm 119:105, 130,160

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Times Of Life"

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." Psalm 23:4

This morning, again, there has been a song repeating over and over in my heart. The words are, "The God of the mountain, is still God in the valley. When things go wrong, He'll make them right. And the God of the good times, He's still God in the bad times. The God of the day, is still God in the night."

Life is made up of various "times" - we learn this from creation. We learn this through the changing of the seasons- there isn't just one season, there are four. We can look at the landscape and see that it isn't all the same- there are mountainous areas, wildernesses, forests, valleys, the desert, etc. They each are needful and they are all part of this physical life.

We go through spiritual seasons as well. There are times when everything in our lives is wonderful and the blessings are flowing. Then there are times when it looks "dead" with no sign of "life". There are also times when we feel like we are in a valley or on a mountain top.

But regardless of where the "times" of life take us- God doesn't change and He is with us in them all. He is with us on the mountain top. He is with us in the valley. He is with us in the wilderness. He is with us when it feels like the windows of heaven are open and when it feels like they are shut up. He is with us when we face "dry spells" and when the "river" is flooding our lives.

I don't know where you might be this morning. You might be in one of those times when everything is going good and it doesn't feel like it could get any better. Or you might be in one of those times when it feels like it can't get any worse. But wherever you are, you are not alone- God is with you.

Have a great day. God is still God even when things change in your life... and He is still with you.

For further reading:
Malachi 3:6
Matthew 28:20
Psalm 23
Daniel 3:25
Deuteronomy 1:33

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Broken And Spilled Out"

"And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it." Jeremiah 18:4

I woke up again this morning with yet another song on my heart and mind. "Broken and spilled out just for love of you Jesus. My most precious treasure lavished on Thee. Broken and spilled out and poured at Your feet. In sweet abandon let me be spilled out and used up for Thee."

Are you a broken vessel this morning? The Lord is looking for broken vessels. That is so contrary to what we look for when we are looking for a vessel to hold something- we look for the ones with no cracks or breaks. God doesn't, He wants the broken ones. When we are "broken", then that means that we can't "hold anything"- namely "self", and that's what He is looking for.

The Lord wants to take our brokenness and make us into new vessels fit for His use. He wants to make us into vessels that He can pour His Spirit into and vessels that He can fill with His love. In our vessels (our lives) there is no room for both our will and God's will; our plans and His plans; our life and His life. Just as you can't have sweet and bitter in the same vessel. You can't have clean water and dirty water in the same one. You can't have both morality and immorality, obedience and rebellion, love and hate, forgiveness and unforgiveness all occupying the same vessel. So we must be broken, and continually broken, so that our "self": self will, selfishness, self-centeredness, self desire, self ambition, etc. is unable to stay in our vessels/lives.

Again, are you a broken vessel? Broken to your own self so that He can make you into a new vessel and fill you with Himself?

Have a great day. If you are a broken vessel, that's a good thing because that is what God is looking for.

For further reading:
James 3:11
Luke 5:37,38; 16:13

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Using The Gift"

"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

I woke up again this morning with another song going over and over in my thoughts. I want to share one verse that keeps repeating itself. "And all my days are gifts from You I pray I'd use them as You want me to. Use them for You."

Each day we have is a gift we have been given by God-- none of us have been promised this day. How are you going to spend it? On self or on God and others? Are you going to spend it as a "living sacrifice" surrendered wholly and completely to God? Are you going to spend it letting your light shine or hiding it? Are you going to spend it in rebellion against the will of God or in submission to Him? Are you going to spend it in disobedience to His word by living immorally, seeking only your own pleasure and desires? Are you going to spend it showing love or living with hateful attitudes? Are you going to spend it in fear or in faith? Are you going to spend it being led by your emotions and feelings or by the word of God? Are you going to spend it gratifying your flesh or are you going to do those things that build up your spirit and deny your flesh? Are you going to spend it in bitterness, unforgiveness and nursing grudges, or are you going to walk in mercy, grace and forgiveness?

There are probably a hundred more questions like this that I could ask you this morning concerning how you will spend the day, but the answer to each one boils down to choice. We either choose to spend this day our way or God's way. We will choose to either serve Him or serve self. Your choices determine how you will spend it. They also reveal whether you are truly using the gift of this day for Him or not.

Have a great day. If you choose to spend the day on yourself, then you have chosen not to use this gift for Him.

For further reading:
(Song is Hillsong- "You Are My World")
Psalm 103:15
James 4:13-15
Romans 12:1; 8:14
Matthew 5:16

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Your Grace Is Enough"

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee." 2 Corinthians 12:9a

From the moment my eyes opened this morning a song has been playing in my head. The words that keep repeating themselves are- "Your grace is enough. Your grace is enough. Your grace is enough for me." It doesn't matter if there is a thorn in your flesh. It doesn't matter if you haven't had enough sleep and still have to put in a full day's work. It doesn't matter if your co-workers are lying about you and your boss is taking his problems out on you. It doesn't matter if the bill collectors are harassing you every day. It doesn't matter if your spouse is being inattentive. Whatever you are going through from a "major storm" to having to deal with a "little fox", God's grace is enough to see you through the situation. His grace is enough to strengthen you in the trouble. His grace is enough to help you respond and have an appropriate attitude in what you are facing.

Grace is not just God's unmerited favor- giving us something we don't deserve. It is also His divine influence upon the heart. One way we can say it is that it is the Fruit of the Spirit and its evidence in what we do, what we say, our attitude and how we react to situations and to others. When His nature influences us, we can turn the other cheek; we can bless our enemies; we can pray for those who use us; we can stop returning evil for evil; we can leave vengeance in the hands of the Lord; we can give a soft answer that turns away wrath-- we can do all the things that we are commanded to do in such a way where our "doing" it looks like the Lord Himself- instead of us.

Today you may be facing a mountain or perhaps a molehill, you may be facing difficult people, you may be facing unnerving situations, regardless of what you are facing, remember that His grace is enough to see you through and sustain you. Allow His grace to influence your actions, thoughts and attitudes and His nature will become your response and give you peace.

Have a great day. Your grace is enough.

For further reading:
Song of Solomon 2:15
Matthew 5:44
Proverbs 15:1
1 Peter 3:9
Galatians 5:22,23
Romans 12:19

Monday, August 2, 2010

"Prayer Places"

"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Yesterday I was praising the Lord for the privilege of being able to come before Him in prayer. I live on a dead-end road and the only other person on the road is my mother in law, so when I can, I like to walk up and down the road and pray. I said that because, although there are times when we do need to get on our knees and go into our prayer closet alone with God, I am thankful that He hears our prayers no matter where we are when we pray them. I am thankful that He didn't set certain conditions as to where we should pray-- such as the only prayers He hears would be those we pray in church.

Look with me for a moment at all the places where people prayed in the Bible. Hezekiah turned his face to a wall. Daniel prayed in a lion's den. The three Hebrews prayed in a fiery furnace. Jonah prayed in the belly of a big fish. David prayed laying on his bed. Jesus prayed in a garden. A thief prayed on a cross. Moses prayed on a mountaintop. Joshua prayed on a battlefield. Noah prayed in a boat. Esther prayed in the palace. Joseph prayed in a pit. Nathanael prayed under a fig tree. Paul prayed in prison. One hundred and twenty prayed in an upper room. And the list goes on.

Where we pray isn't as important to God as the fact that we pray. God loves to commune with us. He loves for us to pray to Him. He loves to hear from us. He wants us to bring our needs, petitions and cares to Him. He delights in answering us when we call. He proved that by making Himself available to us whether we are in a prayer closet or anyway else we choose to call upon Him.

Have a great day. Where you pray is not the issue, the issue is that you pray.

For further reading:
Matthew 6:6
Jeremiah 33:3
Mark 6:46
Luke 11:1
1 Timothy 2:8
Philippians 4:6