Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"Expectations And Suffering"

"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death."  Philippians 3:10

I have to admit that for the last several days I have been fighting to keep a Christ-like attitude and my emotions in check.  I deal with lots of people from all walks of life-- family, friends, acquaintances, strangers.  And especially because I am in the ministry and help people in various ways.  The reason I have been battling my emotions is because I have been bombarded with other peoples expectations of me. 

They expect me to make sacrifices for them but are unwilling to make any sacrifices for themselves.  They want me to do what they want me to do and if for some reason I can't, they get upset and angry with me.  They don't mind giving you a piece of their mind whether it hurts or not.  They act like they are the only ones who have feelings, you don't.  Their feelings are the only ones that matter.  They don't have anything to do with you until they need something from you.  Then once you give it to them, they forget you-- until they need you again.  They expect you to drop everything you are doing for them.  Yet, they don't want to take the time for you when you need something.

Does it sound familiar?  I am sure most of you can relate to dealing with people who have these same expectations of you.  I wanted to throw myself a pity party but then the Lord reminded me that I was in good company because they did, and still do, Him the same way. 

People get angry at Him when He doesn't do what they think He should do.  They neglect and forget about Him until they need something.  Once He gives them their request they forget about Him until the next time.  They expect Him to do His part but are unwilling to do their part.  He makes all the sacrifices.  He knows what it is like to be rejected, used, abused, taken for granted, accused, betrayed and lied upon even by those closest to Him, as well as the strangers.  He experienced it on earth and is still experiencing it today. 

So, if you are going through something concerning other's attitude and expectations toward you.  Throw yourself a party-- not a pity party, but a party to celebrate the fact that you are fellowshipping with Jesus' sufferings. 

Have a great day.  Other people will always expect more from you than from themselves.  But rejoice because they did, and still do, the same thing to Jesus. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"Judged By The Original"

"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."  Revelation 20:12

The Word of God does not change.  It is the same yesterday, today and forever.  It is forever settled in heaven.  It means the same thing today as it meant when the writers pinned it thousands of years ago. 

You can try to change and rewrite it to make it mean what you want.  You can rewrite it by adding to it or taking away from it.  You can twist it, compromise it, water it down, misinterpret it, write your own rules, but it has not changed.  You may change. Society may change and rewrite it to fit in.  Culture may change and try to rewrite it to fit in.  The times may change and try to make it relevant to the day. 

Regardless of how you, society, public opinion or culture tries to change it, the fact remains that you will be judged by the Word when you stand before God one day-- the same Word that you have tried to change.  But He will not judge you by your version.  He will say to you that although you tried to change the Word, I haven't changed it and that is what you will be judged by-- the unchanged Word. 

He is going to use the Word that He gave to judge you by, not the word that you have twisted and rewritten.  Twist it to fit your lifestyle if you want.  Rewrite it to condone popular opinion.  Rewrite it to fit with the times.  But when you stand before Him, He will judge you from the original Word-- the Word that He gave, which never changes-- even on the Day of Judgment.   

Have a great day.  God's Word hasn't changed.  You can try to change it, but He won't judge you on your version but on the original version-- the one He wrote.

Monday, August 14, 2017

"Reshaped Thinking"

"For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ."  1 Corinthians 2:16

When Daniel and the other Hebrews were taken captive by Babylon, they were placed in the king's palace.  There they were to be trained in the Babylonian language, ways and customs.  Their minds were to be "reshaped" to forget their Hebrew roots and conform to the Babylonian way. 

The enemy is still trying to do the same thing with us today.  He is trying to "reshape" our minds.  He wants us to have a worldly mindset.  He wants us to conform to this world's way of thinking. 

I wonder if he isn't succeeding to a decree.  I have observed that there is very little Christ-like thinking in the church.  We are embracing the world's way of thinking.  We no longer call sin, sin.  We have become accepting of the things that the Lord rejects and condemns.  We have removed the "absolutes" of the gospel and watered them down to mere individual preference.  We are condoning immorality.  We call evil, good.  We use humanistic reasoning to decide what is right and what is wrong-- instead of God's Word.  We are compromising the gospel and replacing it with worldly philosophies.  We don't stand for truth, because we don't know the truth, because we are accepting the world's mindset.  We think more like the world than like Christ.    

This is why we are weak and powerless.  This is why our churches have been reduced to mere "clubs".  This is why we are lukewarm.  This is why we stay in a state of constant confusion.  This is why we can't discern right from wrong.  The only remedy is to first repent.  Then secondly, begin to renew our minds with the Word of God.  If you are a Christian, you are suppose to have Christ's mind in you.  That means you think like He thinks.  Do you?

Have a great day.  Has your mind been reshaped to think like the world? 
 

Friday, August 11, 2017

"Praying Or Pressing?"

"And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.  And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?  And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me."  Luke 8:43-46

This woman did not pray for her healing.  She did not petition Jesus like many others had.  Instead she pressed through the crowd and came behind Him and touched Him.  There is a difference in praying and pressing.  We tend to confuse prayer for pressing.

When we pray, we make our petitions, our requests, our needs, desires and wants known to the Lord.  But pressing involves getting to a different level with the Lord.  Prayers are answered-- ask and ye shall receive.  But when we press, we receive more than an answer, we receive virtue from the Lord-- not just an answer but an "impartation".

Many people are content to only have an answer.  As long as they got what they wanted, as long as the Lord met the need, that was fine-- that was all they were after.

But we need to be people who will not only ask but press.  We need more than just answers, we need His virtue to flow into us.  This virtue that flows from the Lord is defined as power, strength, miraculous power, ability.  When His virtue flows into us, we are changed.  We are empowered physically, spiritually, emotionally, etc.  We receive miracles.  We gain added strength.  We are made whole.  We are enabled to do what we could not do, go where we could not go, be what we could not be otherwise, endure what we could not once endure, overcome what we could not previously overcome, be bolder than we ever have, be more productive, be more loving, gracious, kind, compassionate, tender-hearted, faithful, bear more fruit, resist temptations, and be strengthened in faith. 

When His virtue flows into us, it is His very nature, character, power and ability that flows into us.  We are no longer weak from our "infirmities".  We are no longer bound by those things that held us captive for years.  His virtue healed this woman, and of more than just a physical disease.  It still does the same today, and will if we will do more than just pray, but press.

Have a great day.  Are you praying or pressing? 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

"Expectations"

"Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth."  Luke 8:22

Last night at Bible study we talked about expectations.  We looked at Luke chapter 8 and discussed in each account the expectations of Jesus toward the people and their expectations toward Him.  As I was pondering the account of the disciples in the storm and Jesus in the back of the boat asleep, I drew a conclusion as to Jesus' expectations of His disciples--- us present day disciples included.

First, He expects us to believe His Word.  He told them that they were going to the other side of the lake.  He didn't tell them they were going to drown.

Second, He expects us to take Him at His Word.  Again, He told them they were going to make it to the other side.

Thirdly, He expects us to act upon His Word.  When the storm came up, they tried to control the situation in the natural-- they bailed water.  They tried to handle the effects of the storm, instead of dealing directly with the storm like Jesus did.  They had authority to speak His Word to the storm and command it to stop just like Jesus did, because they had His Word on the situation-- we are going to the other side. 

Lastly, He expects us to have faith.  Faith in His Word.  Faith in what He says.  Without faith we can't please Him.  We live by faith.  Faith carries us to the other side.  Faith makes a way through the storm.  Faith speaks peace to situations.  Faith isn't moved by sight.  Faith hopes, trust and believes what He says-- we are going to the other side.

Are we meeting, or living up to, His expectations for us?  Probably not.  At least not all the time.  I know I don't.  But we should desire to.  We should strive to.  And if we are having trouble, we should do like Jarius did at the end of this same chapter-- pray.  "Lord, I believe, help Thou my unbelief."

Have a great day.  Are you living up to the Lord's expectations? 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

"Destroyed Life - Part 2"

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."  Romans 8:37

Yesterday we talked about how life doesn't always bring us good things, along with life comes the bad.  This morning I feel impressed to continue this subject because the Lord wants to bring a word of hope to someone who is feeling hopeless because of the "bad" in life.

There are bad things that happen to us.  We will have "tribulation".  This is not a negative statement.  I am repeating the words of Jesus.  Many things that happen to us are a result of bad choices and decisions we have made.  But most of what happens to us in life is beyond our control.  We didn't cause it.  We didn't do anything to warrant it.  It just happened. 

When bad things in life happen, we do, however, have a choice as to whether we will let them destroy us or not.  That is one thing we have control over.  The word of hope this morning is-- if you are a Christian, a born-again child of God, it does not have to destroy you. 

You can live in victory over it and in spite of it.  The Lord has equipped you with everything you need to be victorious.  He has given you His Word, His power, His authority, His Holy Spirit, His Presence, His mind, His strength, His grace, His righteousness, His fruit, His armor and His promises.  In all things you are more than a conqueror through Him.  Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.  No weapon formed against you shall prosper.  Your weapons are mighty and powerful to even pull down strongholds.  You have been given the keys of the Kingdom.  Use them!  Don't sit back, sit down or sit still while grief overcomes you, while fear captures you, while bitterness consumes you, while depression controls you.  Jesus has given you abundant life.  Draw from that life, take hold of it, cleave to it, believe it and act upon it.  Exercise your faith and walk in the power and victory that is part of this abundant life that He has given you. 

The "bad" of life does not have to destroy you.  The Lord has provided everything you need to destroy its hold on you.  Through Him you can run through a troop of troubles, problems, tribulations, and leap over a wall of anger, bitterness, resentment, self-pity, and hurt, because He has given you victory over it.

Have a great day.   The "bad" that comes your way in life does not have to destroy you.... so don't let it. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

"Destroyed Life"

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."  John 16:33

Life doesn't always bring good things with it.  More often than not it brings the bad.  It brings sickness, disease, heartache, disappointment, trouble, problems, brokenness, death and tribulation.  We can't get away from bad things happening in our lives.  We can't have all "sunshine" and no "rain". But when life happens-- namely when it brings the bad and unwanted-- don't let life destroy you.

Often, we let life destroy us when it brings that which we don't want or when it brings the bad and the things we have already mentioned.  We let it destroy us by us giving into our emotions and feelings.  Our emotions will trigger wrong attitudes.  These attitudes will destroy us when we give into them.  These attitudes are bitterness, anger, resentment, depression, hate, unforgiveness, anxiety, fear, condemnation, shame, guilt, a hard heart, etc. 

The attitude Jesus told us to have was one of "good cheer".  The word cheer means:  comfort, cheer, courage, bold.  In those times- when bad comes our way- we need to take courage and not give up and lose heart.  We need to stand boldly against the temptation to yield to our emotions.  We need to receive the comfort that the Lord has for us.  When we do, the circumstances may not change, things may remain bad, it may not get better, but in the midst of it you won't be destroyed.  You will have the peace of God that passes understanding that Jesus spoke of and promised to give us. 

You can't always choose what happens in life, but you can choose whether or not you will let it destroy you.  So which will you choose? 

Have a great day.  Don't let life destroy you.       

Monday, August 7, 2017

"Who You Are"

"But ye are ..."  1 Peter 2:9a

I wear many "hats" and "roles" in life.  I am a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a sister, an aunt, a daughter, a friend, a business woman, etc.  Spiritually I have many roles as well.  I am a Christian, a minister, light, salt, an ambassador for Christ, a prayer warrior, a worshipper, a teacher, a witness, an encourager, etc.

My roles in the natural are not "compartmentalized" I am all those things.  It is who I am as well as what I do.  There is no separation, although there are times when one is more predominant than another.  This is true of my spirit life also.  Each one rises to the occasion when it is most needed. 

For some reason we think we are only one role instead of all.  We are not.  We are whatever is needed at the time-- naturally and spiritually.  This is seen more in our spiritual lives.  When a need arises in a particular area, we think we can't do it-- it is not our gift or calling.  Many Christians don't share their faith because they say-- I am not a preacher, or a minister.  Many won't pray for someone who has a need for the same reason.  They will call someone who they know is a "prayer warrior" and get them to pray. 

Let me encourage you this morning in this--- if you find yourself in the situation, then God put you there.  And whether you need to be a prayer warrior, a witness, an encourager, a teacher, or anything else, He has not only equipped you to do what is needed, but He has made you into what is needed.  You are that which is needed for the moment.  You are that to meet the need.  So stop putting it off on someone else because you "can't" do it.  It isn't a matter of "doing".  It is a matter of "being".  And He has made you into what you need to be to meet the need. It is Him in you that does it anyway. 

Have a great day.  It is who you are, therefore, you can do it.     

Friday, August 4, 2017

"Unworthy Praise"

"Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God."  Psalm 50:23

Don't withhold your praise from the Lord!  Too often we will withhold it when we have messed up, made a mistake or sinned.  We allow our shortcomings, our faults, our failures to cause us to withhold our praise.  We allow guilt and condemnation from the enemy and self to cause us to hold back our praise.  We allow our emotions and our feelings to cause us to withhold praise. 

Praise is not about us.  It is about the Lord.  We should never withhold it.  When we are feeling all the things that I have listed above, that is not the time to withhold praise from Him.  It is a time to praise Him even more. 

We should praise Him even in our mistakes, faults, sins and failures.  If for no other reason than because He is worthy of the praise.  You may say, "but the praise isn't coming from my heart, just my mouth".  That's all right.  That is why the Bible also calls it a "sacrifice of praise"-- so don't withhold it.  If you make a step of faith to praise Him, your heart will soon catch up. 

Don't withhold your praise because God is worthy of it.  You may not feel you are worthy to give it, but give it anyway.  One day multitudes who are "unworthy" - actually they are on their way to hell and the devil is with them, but before they are cast out into the lake of fire, they will give the Lord one last praise and confess that He is Lord. 

Lastly, don't withhold your praise because it is a powerful weapon.  And though it is directed to the Lord, as you are praising Him and giving Him the glory-- in spite of your mistakes and unworthiness-- a change will begin to take place in you.  The guilt, condemnation, the chains of sin, will begin to fall off and repentance will come, your heart will be refreshed and your mind will be set at peace. 

Have a great day.  Don't withhold your praise from the Lord because you feel unworthy of being able to give it. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

"Mercy"

"It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness."  Lamentations 3:22,23

For the last several days the song, "Mercy Came Running", has been on my mind and heart.  Mercy is an attribute of God.  It is like grace, it isn't earned or deserved.  Most people never give a thought to mercy.  They never think about it being because of God's mercy that they woke up this morning, have a job to go to, had food to eat, clothes to wear, have a sound mind, or any other good thing that is in their lives.  You have heard the expression, "Living on borrowed time"?  Well, we are living on Mercy. 

Mercy is defined as- mercy, charity, clemency, grace, leniency, a disposition to show kindness or compassion;  mercy implies compassion that forbears punishing even when justice demands it.

It was because of mercy that Adam wasn't killed in the garden when he disobeyed God.  It is because of the mercy of God that we aren't consumed when we commit a sin.  Many have this idea, when they are living in sin, that God is "all right" with it, or that He approves of it.  They reason in their own minds that if He wasn't "condoning" it they would have already faced His wrath or punishment.  Not true!  Mercy comes to all just like the rain does-- it rains on the just and the unjust, the good and the evil. (Matthew 5:45)

Never think that He is condoning your sin, especially because He has not judged or punished you, or because it appears that you are being blessed.  He loves you, but He hates the sin you are living in.  The only reason you haven't already been consumed is because the Lord God is a merciful God who does not want any to perish.  His mercy is at work in your life withholding punishment so that you will have time to repent.  It is not because it is His "stamp of approval".  

But, there will come a time when His mercy will end.  It ends once you leave this earth in death.  Then you will face the punishment.  Or it will end before that day when He determines you have had plenty of chances to repent and He is not going to overlook it any longer.  Mercy is part of who God is.  Therefore, He can decide to give it or withhold it.  The choice of whether He will extend mercy or not is solely up to Him.  If you are living under His mercy, while living in your sin, you don't need to take it for granted.  You should not think that He approves.  You need to repent and turn to Him and turn from your sin before mercy runs out.  

Have a great day.  God does not condone your sin.  He is only showing you mercy. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

"Trust And Obey"

"If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land".  Joshua 1:19

When it comes to receiving the answers to our prayers and petitions, there are times when we just have to trust and there are times when we have to trust and obey.

When Jarius came to Jesus about his sick daughter, Jesus told him to believe--  just trust.  But there are other times when our trust has to have some obedience behind it.  Here are some examples of what I am talking about.  We are told to give and it shall be given unto us.  We are told to bring our tithes and offerings into the storehouse and He would pour out a blessing on us.  We are also told to "cast our bread upon the water and it shall come back to us in abundance".  The Bible tells us to be doers of the Word and not hearers only.  There are times the obedience may simply be to ask-- you have not because you ask not.  Naaman was told to dip seven times in the Jordan River.  Today we are told to call for the elders of the church and be anointed and prayed for to be healed.  And so on.

There is an old hymn that says to trust and obey.  It always takes trust-- belief, faith.  But it may also at times require obedience.  We have to be willing to do both.  If you are wondering why you aren't seeing more answers and blessings, you should seek the Lord to find out if there is an act of obedience that you need to fulfill.

Have a great day.  It takes trust in order to receive from the Lord, but it may take obedience as well.   

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

"The Active Word"

"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."  James 1:22

When the rich young ruler asked Jesus what he needed to do to have eternal life.  Jesus answered him.  The young man responded by telling Jesus he had done all that He said.  Then he asked another question--- what do I still lack?

Many of you are wondering-- what do I lack?  What do I still need in my life?  What is missing?  Where's my peace, my joy, my victory?  The thing that you lack is the Word of God active in your life.  When I say this, I am not talking about just reading the Word in a devotion each day, or following along with the verses in the sermon on Sunday.  I mean having it "active" in your life. I mean you have it in your hand like a sword, in your mind renewing it and in your mouth speaking it.  I mean it governs, and dictates, your thoughts, actions and deeds.  I mean that it transforms your character and changes your attitude.

The Word of God is life.  It is health-- health to our spirit, soul and bodyIt is truth -- truth sets us free.  It is deliverance.  It is wisdom.  It is grace.  It is powerful-- more powerful than a two-edged sword.  It is hope.  It is faith.  It is enlightenment.  It is strength.  It is victory.  It is joy and peace.  We overcome every, any and all obstacles, plans, schemes and devices of the devil that he tries to use to steal, kill and destroy us.    

If you know without a doubt that you are a Christian but you feel like you are lacking something in your life, check your relationship with the Word.  Is it active in your life?

Have a great day.  What you feel like you are lacking in your life is most likely is the Word of God.