"Call to me and I will answer you, and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. " Jeremiah 33:3

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"For the time has arrived for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the end of those who do not respect or believe or obey the good news, the Gospel of God?" 1 Peter 4:17 AMP

I love to write according to themes, or in links or repetition as it pertains to the Scripture or to the body of Christ and today is an example of that. Three types of Christians, three "C's".

Billy Graham said of this Christian that they have little or no influence for good upon others.  The dictionary defines casual; without definite or serious intention, tending to be indifferent to what is happening, unconcerned.  This person is not surrendered to Christ, they believe in Him, they go to church regularly but there is no real personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, they do not truly know Him because they are indifferent to the Scripture and that is where we learn about Jesus. "Not everyone who calls out to me, 'Lord! Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter." Matthew 7:21 NLT.  The life that Christ calls us to is the opposite of casual it is intentional a complete surrender of your life with no turning back. O what an abundant life it is!

This Christian is in love with world and the things of the world.  They confess the name of Jesus and deep inside of them they do desire a relationship with Him but the riches and pleasures of life in the world, keep them from bearing any mature fruit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 8:14) Their attempts to love God and love the world makes them double minded unstable in both pursuits; "You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."  James 4:4.  There is hope, turn from the world with all of its smoke and mirrors and surrender completely your life to Christ. Call upon Him today, and He will hear and answer you.

Charisma; from the Greek meaning a gift of grace, favor, spiritual gift. This Christian is full of the grace and the favor of God and their focus is centered on Jesus Christ, and pleasing Him is the desire of their heart! They have completely, without reservation surrendered their lives to Christ to do with as He wills.  They are not sinless perfection, yet they do not practice sin.  They know God's Word and deliberately seek to be obedient to it.  They are full of love for God, filled and led by the Holy Spirit of God. They love the body of Christ and it shows in the way they relate to others. They know full well that all of this is made possible only through God! They know the truth of 2 Corinthians 3:4-5; "Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God."

The lost in our world don't need Casual Christians, for they have nothing to give. The lost don't need Carnal Christians they look and sound just like them.  The lost need an encounter with a Christian that can and will share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A surrendered, spiritually gifted charismatic, full of and led by the Holy Spirit.  Humble, because they know it is not them but Christ in them and they are free to live a life that will make a difference.
Charles Spurgeon a Victorian preacher who was against Liberal Theology said; "stir the fire in your heart, and get your own soul all aflame with love to Christ, or else you will not be likely to be greatly used in the winning of the souls of others."

 Today is the day. Now is the time for you to decide which type of Christian do you desire to be?  The choice is yours.

Friday, May 25, 2012

I will be back starting May 28th

Hi everyone, once again I had a problem with the router. At least I did until I prayed and asked the Lord to show me what to do to fix it, and He heard me and He helped me and I am now back up and running!  God has shown me how to program the overhead garage door, my new heating/cooling system, and numerous technical things on the computer.  I will praise Him and give Him the glory for as long as I live!!  

The purpose behind this blog is to introduce people to Jesus Christ, to share the wonder of God's Word and encourage everyone who just happens to open this and read it.  I love Him with all of my heart, mind and soul and I can't help but tell others about the wonders and the majesty of my Lord. 

This is for Emily, you are a great encourager and I want to thank you for the sweet way the Lord uses you to encourage others, I know you do for I am one that you have encouraged more than once! Thank you so much!  I don't want to post my email here but if you care to leave yours I will contact you. If you don't want to I understand. Keep using your gift of encouragement it is so needed in this day and time especially.

Thank God for all of our soldiers all over the world that are laying down their lives for us, and for their family members who are left behind waiting for their return. Father God minister to our soldiers, hold them close, protect them from evil Lord, encourage their hearts with Your love, grace and comfort and bring them home to their families. Watch over the families Lord, encourage the single Moms and Dads and help them bear their loads, put your angels with the children Lord and keep them safe until their family is all together once again.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end. Because I am your God." Isaiah 43:2-3 MSG

Today's Scripture title is the same one that was in the devotional journal that I am doing.  The theme was when we find ourselves in situations where we are way in over our head we are not to despair because God has promised to always be with us.  Yet today in my journaling it was greatly enhanced because of something that the Lord had shown me two days ago...

In the women's weekly Bible study that I am in we are currently doing Thirty Discipleship Exercises, The pathway to Christian maturity put out by the Billy Graham Evangelistic association. The exercises are designed to get each participant deeply into the Scripture based on thirty topics that every believer needs to know if we are going to share our faith effectively and then disciple those who become believers.  Each topic has at least six scriptures some more.  It is all the Word of God, and I am loving it!

I journaled the following today; I thank You Lord for the over-my-head situations that I find myself in and consider each one a gift from you, because when I am weak, I am dependent on You!  And when I am weak, You give me Your strength! 

Two days ago I was reviewing the homework assignment that we would be discussing in Bible study that night.  I had circled the key words or phrases in a very familiar verse Romans 8:26; "In the same way, the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness, we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express."  I circled  Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness, and as I circled weakness the Spirit within me prompted me to go back and read that portion again.  

Right here I want to say that I have never heard the audible voice of God, but having said that, I know His voice, I have been studying Scripture for years and I hear Him speak all the time in Scripture.  Jesus said His sheep hear His voice, and I know that to be true.  I didn't have to read very far before the word jumped off the page, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses, never in our perceived STRENGTHS.  

I say perceived strengths because those are the times that we serve the Lord and we don't discuss it with Him, we aren't depending on Him, in other words we don't need Him (we think) after all we have done it so many times before!  When we do things in our own prideful strength and leave God out of it we will yield filthy rags.  Flesh cannot do kingdom work.  Maybe it isn't even service maybe its those days that we go about our business without giving God a thought, how arrogant we don't even know what a day holds and the One who does we don't even consult. 

God's plan for our lives, His agenda for our day, yes He does have one, will be way beyond anything that we would even dream of, it will be out of our comfort zone, He will never call us to do the things that we can accomplish without Him!  He wants to break us forever from leaning on the arm of flesh.  God will give us things to do that only He can do...when we  humble ourselves before Him and surrender to Him all of our lives to do with what He has planned, He will do it through us!! That truth gets me very excited!!

Now I know what the Apostle Paul was talking about when he wrote; "Each time He said,  "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness."  So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me."  2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT.  

I used to despair when I would try and fail, all my attempts at good works seemed to fall flat, now I know that God's plan for all believer's is to fill them with Holy Spirit and He is the one who is at work in and through us to do the over the top things that He calls us to do!! And God gets all the glory!!!  And we are as amazed as anyone when He begins to do it in our lives!

"My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20 NLT.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers hands? Luke 10:36 NASB

Many Christians today live their lives as the priest and the levite did in story of the good Samaritan. (Luke 10:30-37).  We are loving and kind to those that are just like us, meaning they attend the same church we do, are in the same bible studies etc. But too often we cross to the other side of the road to keep from being put out or soiled by people in the world. We limit our giving to a check rather than hands on involvement.
It isn't just the lost that we treat that way it can be other believers that attend a different denomination, or who worship differently, live differently, look differently, dress differently so we feel uncomfortable with what we don't understand and we end up avoiding them completely.  
That is not what the bible teaches, we are to love one another period! We are not to hold our faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism.   James 2:8-9 says; "If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors."
Jesus ate and associated with tax collectors and sinners because they knew they were sinners in need of a Savior.  Self righteousness will blind us to our need for help, and our sins! That attitude prevents us from reaching out to others that don't look or think like us.  The Samaritans were despised by the Jews for their mixed gentile blood and different worship practices, yet the unlikely hero of the account in Luke 10 is a Samaritan.
The Samaritan saw the man who was robbed and beaten and rather than crossing the road and ignoring him, he had compassion on the man and responded to his need. He did as Jesus did, Jesus had compassion on the sick, the demon possessed, sinners, the poor and everywhere He went He healed, He cast out demons, He forgave sinners and fed the poor.  He viewed every person, young and old, as someone who needed ministry, and He fulfilled their need. 
What needs do we pass by everyday, who do we interact with that needs ministry? Are we willing to be Jesus eyes, ears, hands and feet towards the neighbors we have? Lord Jesus open our eyes and ears to respond with the same love and mercy that You show to us every day.  As we get beyond ourselves and our needs we begin to be aware of others and then life really gets exciting, it is amazing how meaningful our lives become when we reach out to the world in the love and name of Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded." 1 Thessalonians 5:6 NLT

In the physical sense, when a person is sleeping he is not aware that he sleeps.  Is that true in the spiritual sense as well? Could I be asleep spiritually as I type this, could you be sleeping spiritually as you read this? I believe the answers to both questions are yes. Physical sleep is good, God gave us sleep for rest and renewal.  On the other hand spiritual sleep is most assuredly not good!  Today's title Scripture contains a powerful admonition not to sleep like others do that do not know the Lord.  The world knows nothing about the return of Christ but believers do and we are to be alert and awake, and about our Father's business.
How do we check to determine if we are slumbering when we need to be watchful?  Holy Spirit guide us into all truth and warn us about those areas within us where we need to be more alert, reveal to us if we are comatose and quicken our spirits to awaken us before it is too late. For our Lord is coming soon!!
1.       Do I have a daily quiet time with the Lord?
2.       Am I just going thru the motions or am I expecting to hear from Him?
3.       Do I humble myself daily and pray to be filled and led by the Holy Spirit?
4.       Do I still view my life as my own?
5.       Am I depending on the Lord to direct my steps according to His Word?
6.       Do I love Jesus more today than at any other time in my life?
7.       Do I obey His commands because that is how I show my love for Him?
8.       Is Jesus my favorite part of me?
9.       Does my life reflect Jesus heart for the lost of the world?
10.     When was the last time I shared the gospel with a nonbeliever?
11.      Is my faith growing?
12.     Do my prayers honor the Lord by the enormity of my requests?
13.     Do I tithe, do I give joyfully?
14.     Do I have unforgiveness in my heart towards anyone?
15.     Do I put the needs of others before my own needs?
16.     Am I growing in the wisdom and knowledge of Jesus Christ?
17.     Are my eyes open to the needs of others and do I give in response?
18.     Do I love the unlovely as Christ loved me in my unloveliness?
19.     Do I confess my sins daily so I can maintain fellowship with the Lord?
20.    Do others see Jesus in me, and give the glory to God?
Please don't feel condemned because God does not condemn you (Romans 8:1) we  can thank the Lord for showing us those areas of our life that He desires to remove from us because they hinder our relationship with Him. He is giving us a wake up call, let us heed His voice and wake up, let us follow where He leads, let us nudge one another lovingly to wake up and follow Him.       

Monday, May 14, 2012

"Why are you afraid? Mark 4:40

What is it that causes fear in our lives? Is it lack of faith? Maybe our fear is grounded in what we fill our minds with? Are you a news junkie? If you are then odds are you know fear.  Madison Ave is expert in using fear as a motivation for buying everything from home security to pest control!
If we are ignorant of God's Word we will always be trapped by fear, because the truth of Scripture sets us free from the lies that entrap us.  One such lie is, if I am to be a good parent then I have to worry! Does that sound familiar?  The alternative to living a life of fear, of anxiety attacks, is to know Scripture and apply it to our lives. This isn't mind over matter this is applying truth to our lives in this world that is blinded by lies.
A Scripture that I know that has personally set people free from a life of worry and fear including me, is "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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7.  We must understand the truth before we can dispel the lie we have been living.  
Christ expects us to be obedient to His commands. He also knows full well that we are prone to fear, and 'fear not' is found over and over everywhere in Scripture! Because we belong to Jesus Christ who is Sovereign over all is the one who loves us, He knows everything about us,  He has promised to never ever fail us, He is with us when we go through scarey things and He alone fills us with peace when nothing makes sense in our lives. His grace and comfort is sufficient and He will work everything together for good in His time for His purposes.  He has our back, He is for us and He will move heaven and earth on behalf of one of His children!
How do we surrender it all by bowing our knees and crying out to our God, our ever present help in times of trouble, we lay everything that keeps us awake at night at His feet, turning it over to the only one that really has control over everything! Our children, our spouse, our jobs, our homes, our health, our money, everything is entrusted to Him.  And now we go on about our lives, trusting Him to direct our steps and take care of all the things that concern us.  
Fear Not! For God has redeemed you, He has called you by name and you are His.  Fear Not! He will never fail you or forsake you and He will never leave you. Fear Not! Worry, fear and anxiety sap our strength and don't add one minute to our lives, they do great harm, trusting and turning over our lives to the One who created us, and He loves us with an everlasting love, trust in God changes everything!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

"How can you think of saying to your friend, "Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye," when you can't see past the log in your own eye." Matthew 7:4 NLT

The Lord Jesus often used hyperbole in His teachings. Exaggeration gives greater understanding to the point that is being made and the question that is today's Title Scripture is arguably one of the most well known examples. We all in hearing and reading that Scripture immediately get a picture in our mind's eye and are convicted.
If I am spending my time looking for specks in the life of another believer that is a sure and truthful indicator that I have logs in my own life! Why is it that we put others down falsely believing that it makes our own lives look better? Because that is one of Satan's arsenal of lies, if he can make us continually look for faults in others, we are rendered useless in the kingdom of God.

I love to inject the truth of Gods Word after exposing a dart of the father of lies!
"Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand for the Lord is able to make him stand."  Romans 14:4 NASB. 
 "Therefore you have no excuse everyone of you who passes judgement, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things."  Romans 2:1 NASB.
I am so very thankful that I have only one Judge and His name is Jesus!  He is the only Judge that any believer should concern themselves with.  The times in my life when I have judged another believer, without fail the Lord has revealed to me the same sin in my own life! Sometimes we are blind to our own sins but God in His faithfulness to us reveals them to us so we can repent and be forgiven. Beware the sin of pride, it is the root of all other sin and it will put blinders on our eyes!
The truth is I have my hands full and am kept quite busy monitoring my own walk with the Lord to have time left over to examine others for the specks in their lives!  Don't kid yourself judging others is serious business to God, we know that by the sheer number of verses in Scripture that address the subject! 
Remember Miriam, Moses sister? She was judging Moses for who he married and complained that the Lord spoke through her too, not just Moses, she also had a huge problem with jealousy. And in the account these words leap off the page; "And the LORD heard it."  Next thing you know Miriam was a leper and Moses prayed for her, how ironic and after seven days outside the camp, God healed her of the leprosy because of Moses prayer! You can read all about it in Numbers 12:1-16.  God hears every word we say, don't think He doesn't just because we aren't turned into lepers. 
Miriam was put away from God's presence for her sin, and today in 2012 we too when we sin and don't confess it and repent from it we too are separated from God! Jesus blood shed on the cross paid our sin debt in full, praise God!!! But we are to confess our sins to the Lord and receive His forgiveness to maintain our relationship with Him!!  (See 1 John 1:9.)  "Behold, the LORD's hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear."  Isaiah 59:1-2 NASB.

"How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered!  How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity and in whose spirit there is no deceit!"  Psalm 32:1-2 NASB.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"Which of the two did the will of his father?" Matthew 21:31 NASB

Today's title Scripture is from a parable that Jesus told about two sons and their father.  And because all Scripture is alive and all Scripture is written for our instruction no matter which generation we are in, we have much to learn about ourselves and the way we relate to God.  It is never enough to just study the Scripture we must allow it to go to work within us and the way we do that is by applying it to our lives! So Scripture that was penned over two thousand years ago has as much application and relevance in 2012 as it did when Jesus first spoke it to the crowds so long ago in Israel! So today hear Jesus voice asking the question, Which of the two did the will of his Father?

The Father approaches the first son and orders him to go work today in the vineyard. The son answered, I will not; but afterward he regretted his response and went to the vineyard. His first response was open rebellion against his father, he refused to obey him face to face. We don't really know how much time passed before he regretted his rebellion and turn in obedience to his father's command.  The time is not as important as the disobedience itself.

Many of us mimic this son's actions, we too rebel against the orders from our heavenly Father. Interestingly enough, often our rebellion is refusal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ which is what is depicted by the vineyard or harvest field. We live our lives in open rebellion to the command to go be My witnesses. Why?  The reasons are many; fear, inconvenience, ignorance of Scripture, deception, or pride, and rebellion, I'm just not going to do it!  

The Holy Spirit's work in the life of a believer will cause us to recognize our actions as sin and we have godly sorrow which leads us to repentance and confession of our sin.  Our Father hears our prayer and forgives us. And we turn and obey the command.  The time involved in this depends on the believer but if they are truly a child of God they will at some point repent of their actions. We must heed the Spirit's voice within us or risk our hearts being hardened.  For; "It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." Philippians 2:13.

The second son responded immediately, "I will, sir"; but he did not go to work in the vineyard. How many times do we respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to do this or do that  with "I will" only to never follow thru.  Or we start something but we don't finish it.  Jesus quotes the Old Testament; "This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me." Matthew 15:8.
When King David confessed his sins to his heavenly Father, he didn't make excuses, he said against You and You only have I sinned and done evil in Your sight. He also asked of the Father, create in me a clean heart and take not your Holy Spirit from me. (Psalm 51) We too need to pray for forgiveness and a clean heart. Not a patched up heart, a new, clean created heart, only God can do that!

What about our commitments to fellow believers, does our word mean anything? Do people know if we say yes we will, that they can count on us? How important is our word of commitment to non believers? It is of utmost importance because if we are to represent our God well, as He is, so we should be to the world because that brings glory to the Father! 

Sometimes we get in trouble because we commit too easily, we say yes to a need before we ask the Lord to reveal to us if this is His will for us.  Particularly in response to a need that is going to require a great deal of time and effort, if it is God's will He will provide everything you will need to fulfill that promise including giving you a real peace about saying yes.  Many believers have said yes and find themselves trying to do things in their own power because God was not consulted and they realize too late that God is not in it.

"When you make a promise to God, don't delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to Him." Ecclesiastes 5:4 NLT.  "...Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice...rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols..."              1 Samuel 15:22-23 NLT.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8

The Lord has been speaking to me for over a year on the importance of obedience.   Jesus defines love as obedience! "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." John 14:15. And again, "He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me..." John 14:21.  And again, "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love." John 15:10.  Jesus defines love as obedience!

Obedience brings revelation! I read this sentence in a devotional; If we strive to be completely obedient in the basics, the more complex assignments will become clear.  Why would God reveal more of His Word when we are not walking in obedience to what He has already shown us?  Why indeed. He who is faithful over a little will be entrusted with more.  One of the most glorious promises in Scripture hinges on obedience. "Those who accept My commandments and obey them are the ones who love Me. And because they love Me, My Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them." John 14:21.  Do you want to know Jesus more? Obey His commandments.  Obedience brings revelation!

Obedience requires humility! Our Lord Jesus modeled the way for all believers in regards to both, humility and obedience.  "He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on a cross." Philippians 2:7-8.  Jesus humble obedience is what made it possible for all who believe in Him to have their sins forgiven and have peace with God.  Obedience requires humility!

God desires that we walk with Him, imagine that, and it requires humility and obedience, what a small price to pay for something that is priceless.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Return to Me," declares the LORD of hosts, "that I may return to you," says the LORD of hosts." Zechariah 1:3 NASB

We each one are as close to God as we choose to be.  Have you ever read a book that is just beautiful, they talk about the Lord like He was a friend? Or have you ever sat and listened to a message being preached and wondered how did they get that out of that? The ones that touch our hearts and our souls are the ones who have first spent hours, days and weeks in the presence of the Lord!
The reluctance or hesitation is always on our part, never on the Lord. His will is for close intimate fellowship with those who believe in Him.  God came to the garden in the cool of the day to walk and fellowship with Adam, think of that!
We who are born again are so because God chose us, we did not choose Him. He pursued us with His love and His kindness, He gave us a measure of faith to believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we believed. He did it all we had very little to do with our salvation. We do however have everything to do with the relationship that God desires. 
For some their  choice is to be complacent, content with salvation and church on Sunday.  For others daily their priority is to meet with God in His Word and in prayer.  They are not willing to settle, they want to love God and know Him as much as it is possible for the creature to love their Creator. They hunger and thirst for that relationship.  The choice is ours.
God is always the one who initiates contact with us! He poured out His life's blood on our behalf, He loves us with a love that is over the top outrageous, He hears our prayers and answers them, He protects us, directs us, forgives us and disciplines us. He does abundantly more than what we can even comprehend, what more can He do to draw us to Him?  He laid down His life for us and He desires that we totally surrender our lives to Him, so He can show us how to live life abundantly! So we can know His purpose for our lives!
We each one are as close to God as we choose to be.  One day we will behold our Savior face to face will we be gazing into the eyes of our closest, most cherished friend or will His face be someone we barely know?  The choice is ours. 

Can you hear His voice, He is calling you to come, come away with Him and fellowship with Him.  When you hear His voice, don't look back, don't look around, nothing and no one can compare to Him!

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Word Retire Does Not Appear In Heaven's Lexicon!

If you are reading this post then this applies to you. If you are a believer and still breathing that only means one thing the Lord's purpose for your life is not yet fulfilled.  The word retire does not appear in Heaven's lexicon.

This is for all you women that are no longer teenagers, perhaps your children are now in college or working and you are wondering what you are going to do with your life now? What does it all mean when we find ourselves with more free time that we have ever had, what are we to do?

Listen to the the beautiful promise given to all believers no matter their age. "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you."  John 14:26. Did you catch that part about bring to your remembrance all the words of Christ?  Wow!  We have no excuse for sitting on the sidelines regarding kingdom work anymore. Now is our time, we are to show up, and speak up for the gospel of Jesus Christ!

"The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the LORD, They will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and very green. To declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him."  Psalm 92: 12-15.

PLANTED denotes a very deliberate action, everything about you God deliberately planned and gifted you to enable you to accomplish all that He has for you to do, to fulfill His purpose for your life.

FLOURISH  to grow vigorously, succeed, to be at the peak of development, activity, influence, production, to be in one's prime. 

YIELDING FRUIT  Hallelujah! God's plan is always for His children to bear fruit for His glory and so prove that we are always and forever disciples of Christ.

FULL OF SAP, VERY GREEN  sap provides life and nutrients to the branches, we must be full of the Holy Spirit, full of God's Word, full of life to produce fruit for God.  Very green, flexible, we are to be flexible to the leading of the Spirit, not rigid and set in our ways or the  traditions of man.

DECLARE THE LORD  Open your mouth to speak life, encouragement, that which is good, praise worthy, speak praise, speak the gospel and win souls, speak truth, speak in agreement with God's Word, speak always with thanksgiving, speak prayers of true intercession on behalf of others.''

Ladies our outward beauty may be fading, we may have a few wrinkles here and there, or perhaps we ache in a few places but that has nothing whatsoever to do with your worth to Jesus Christ!  Our tongues can minister life to others, our hands are to bless others in service, prayer or other ministry.  We are to mentor the younger women. 

Our beauty comes thru when others experience Jesus love for them...thru us.

Our eyes shine not from eye shadow or eye liner but rather from the reflected light of Christs' glory and grace.

Our lips are full not due to Botox, but because of  the constant praises to our God.

Our fashion statement is not off the rack where anyone can purchase the same thing. We are not of this world, We are to desire only our Divine Designer's originals, no knock offs are available because try as he might Satan can never duplicate them!  These Divine Designer's originals are white as snow  because we are clothed in righteousness and covered with the fruit of the Spirit that brings glory to God.

And our glow does not come from a tanning bed, and our glow does not fade for it comes from spending time alone with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Ladies that is a true glow!! Ladies, lets strive to be aglow with the Spirit!

Ladies remind one another that we are deliberately planted, we are still alive, we need to be about our Father's business while it is still day. Let us encourage one another to flourish and bear fruit.  Ladies let us pray for one another that we might grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our LORD, let us pray that He will set our hearts on fire with love for Him! Ladies, let's pray!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Staying Faithful and Fruitful in the Dark, Quiet Times

In the life of every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ there are trials, testings, disciplines and yes even persecution.  "Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." 2 Timothy 3:12  I know what you're thinking, but please don't stop reading, when we are in Christ and He is in us everything works for our good!
"For You are my lamp O LORD, and the LORD illumines my darkness." 2 Samuel 22:29 NASB.
"If I say, 'Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night, even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day, darkness and light are alike to You." Psalm 139:11-12 NASB.

Don't allow the enemy, Satan to lie to you, he wants to separate you from God and his lies will include if God loved you, you wouldn't be going through this.
Don't assume that you are out of God's will and this is some kind of punishment. Just look at the Bible and you will see that those who were closest to God, walking in obedience to His revealed will for their lives suffered in many ways.
Joseph experienced trials daily for over 15 years waiting for the promise of God that was revealed to him twice in dreams.  Read Genesis 37: 5-11.

God was at work in Joseph in those 15 years, Scripture tells us over and over that God was with him.  God was taking a young, arguably, spoiled teenager and preparing him for the purpose He had for Joseph, namely to be second in line after Pharaoh over all the land of Egypt. God who is all knowing knew that a famine was coming that could destroy the Egyptians, to say nothing of God's own people. Joseph was the instrument that God used to salvage His people, to keep them alive during this famine!  Big works, require big preparation!
Joseph learned total dependence on God in his trials.
He learned that when God is with us no matter what we are going through He will use it for good.

He learned obedience to God will ultimately bring God's favor.
He learned forgiveness towards his brothers because he knew that what they intended for evil, God had orchestrated it all to do good.
He knew the Sovereignty of God in his life because of what he experienced.
Joseph kept his focus on God; in the well, in slavery, in Potiphar's house, in prison, in the courts of Pharaoh, in his reunion with his brothers that wanted him dead, and even when he had great power, wealth and fame! 

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6 NASB.
"What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops."  Matthew 10:27 NASB.

"In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, And my cry for help before Him came into His ears. He bowed the heavens also, and came down with thick darkness under His feet. He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him, Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies. He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me."  Psalm 18: 6,9,11, 16-17 NASB.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

All Scripture Is Both Milk And Meat, What You Get Out Of It Depends On How Hungry You Are!

Today's title came to me at the end of a small group, verse by verse Bible study that I belong to. We meet every week and today the question came up, are there times that the Bible just seems dry? The group consensus was that yes there are. What do we do in those times?  Do we just quit for awhile or do we faithfully continue on in prayer and reading the Word? 
I shared that one time I was struggling in the Word, it just wasn't speaking to me and I didn't feel the presence of the Lord.  I couldn't think of any sin that was causing this sense of separation so I called my pastor.  He reassured me that there are times in our lives when the Lord takes away the sense of His presence, He is still with us but He is testing us to see if we will remain faithful even in the dry seasons.  There is an example of this in scripture regarding King Hezekiah, it says that God left him alone only to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart.  2 Chronicles 32:31 NASB.
We know from Scripture that God never leaves His children, so if we feel alone we can rest in the truth that God is working within us, He orchestrated this dry time and most important of all He has a purpose for everything He does with a believer in Christ, not the least of which is He is testing us, revealing our hearts to Him.  
Waiting on the Lord is perhaps one of the most difficult things a believer does, but waiting is not that we are fruitless, mindless and motionless. God forbid! We are trusting in our Father, we are continuing to do what we know we are supposed to do, namely daily quiet time with Him. But even more it is that soulful, quiet, earnest expectation that when God has finished the particular work within us we will be changed and we will be stronger and most important of all we will know Jesus in a way that we never have before, for He will reveal Himself to us.  "Wait and hope for and expect the LORD; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the LORD."  Psalm 27:14 AMP.
The Psalms are so beautiful, so comforting, the psalmist many times gives words to the hurts that are deep within us, a psalm will give us a voice when we don't know what to say.  The Psalms encourage and facilitate our worship of the Lord, the Psalms provide the pathway to repentance for the prodigal sinner, the Psalms provide the strong refuge we need when we feel alone or afraid, The Psalms introduce us to our Lord the Shepherd, to our Mighty Fortress, and to our Almighty dwelling place!  When you feel you have lost the song within you, sing the Psalms!  "I set Your instructions to music and sing them as I walk this pilgrim way." Psalm 119:54 MSG.

The greatest gift you will ever give yourself is to become a student of the Word of God. The Bible has been described as God's love letter to a lost and dying world!  The Word is everything to me, it is my insight into my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, it is my rock, my compass, my guiding star, it is my light, and the delight of my life!  The more  God reveals to me in His Word, the more I realize that I have yet to learn, what other book can ever cause you to say that? None! For there never has been nor will there ever be another book like the Bible.

"God means what He says. What He says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon's scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God's Word. We can't get away from it, no matter what." Hebrews 4:12-13 MSG

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"God said to Solomon, Because your greatest desire is to help your people, and you did not ask for wealth, riches, fame, or even the death of your enemies or a long life, but rather you asked for wisdom and knowledge to properly govern My people. I will certainly give you the wisdom and knowledge you requested. But I will also give you wealth, riches, and fame..." 2 Chronicles 1:11-12 NLT

When I read the account from today's Title Scripture it makes me wonder what I would ask for if God appeared to me and said, "What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!" Over the years of my life that answer would change frequently.  What would you ask for from God? 
In my quiet time over the past seven years I have added a devotional journal to time spent in the Word and in prayer. I have journaled; My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers, three times,  Streams in the Desert, Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby, Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, Knowing God by Packer, and The Daily Light by Anne Graham Lotz. And over all these years a very dear friend of mine is journaling the same studies and we share with one another what we have written as a way of holding ourselves accountable. 
I  highly recommend journaling, there is something about writing down what you see that the Lord has shown you in His Word or in the devotionals that gets the words down deep inside of you.  I am a strong proponent of rephrasing  a scripture to gain insight into the meaning. And journaling  does that for me .
This year we are using the devotional journal,  Alone in God's Presence.  Today's devotional was all about prayer. I journaled about the Bible study group that I have been involved with nine and a half years. Prayer is a big part of our group, it is who we are. When you join it is with the understanding that you will lift up the group everyday in prayer.  Each week we write down our prayer requests and every person gets their own copy before they leave. I have noticed many changes in myself and others over the years as a direct result of the prayers and the praises. We open each week with giving praises to God for the answers to prayers we have received.

We have noticed four major things as a direct result of prayer and praises. 
(1) Our faith is increasing and how could it not, when week after week, month after month, and year after year you pray and see and hear and talk about all the great answers to pray we have experienced! We are praying with expectation now and that changes everything!  Psalm 5:3 "In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch." 
 (2) In the beginning there were requests that were not so much prayers as they were demands, at least that is what some of them sounded like, ask God for this and then dictate to Him how you want it done!  I'm happy to say that didn't last long.
(3) The prayers were less and less about me and mine and more and more they have evolved into intercessory prayers. At times we will agree to pray scripture over the group for a set period of time. One of the sections of Scripture that we have used over and over is Colossians 1:9-11; "We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. So that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience." Once you begin to incorporate Scripture into your prayers, you pray with all boldness!

(4) The number one change in the prayer requests is the number one request that is written, namely prayer for salvation with a first name. I only wish that I had kept track of how many times God took names off of our lists for salvation by saving their souls! 
It's funny the closer that you get to Him the things that you once thought you wanted don't even interest you any more.  If God appeared to me and said He would do whatever I asked, I wouldn't hesitate, I would ask for the souls of my children, their spouses, my grandchildren, my great grandchildren, my brother, his wife and all their extended family. I would ask that they each would know Jesus Christ personally, that they would walk in sweet fellowship with Him and  they would fulfill God's purpose for their lives, bearing much fruit for His glory and have eternal life with Christ. That is my prayer and it will not change.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of His divine being. So nobody has a good excuse." Romans 1: 19-20 MSG

Here are the next three verses that follow today's title verse; "What happened was this: people knew God perfectly well, but when they didn't treat Him like God, refusing to worship Him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in His hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand." Romans 1:21-23 MSG.
Wow! When we choose to neglect God even though He is clearly seen thru His creation, we not only are confused about God but about ourselves as His fearfully and wonderfully made people.  No wonder life is so cheap in so many nations around the world.  They have exchanged worship of the Living God for cheap, worthless idols.  And all will stand condemned at the judgement seat of Christ because He has made Himself clearly seen in creation and yet many have exchanged the truth of God for hellish lies.

Why do you think people lay on the ground in the mountains, eyes transfixed on millions of glittering stars?  Genesis 1:16-17.

Beachfront property is out of reach for all but the wealthy, the reason being they want to behold the beauty of the ocean and its waves at high tide. They want to listen to the waves breaking on the shore, to smell the salty air and to see the marine layer in the morning.  God made it all He even commanded the proud waves, read all about it in Job 38:8-11.  
Oswald Chambers wrote; The call of God is like the call of the sea, no one hears it except the person who has the nature of the sea in him. 
Since the beginning of time people all over the world climb to great heights literally  just to behold the dawn.  People pull over on a freeway just to gaze at a red sunset.  Why? Why do people go to museums, to stand for hours looking at brushstrokes in a painting by their favorite artist? They are well aware they are gazing at a work of man.  How much more can we behold nature and not admit even to yourself, this is NOT the work of man! 

I think of the dawn as God's opening act on another day that He has given to us to live and enjoy.  And the sunset? Well in my spirit it is God's curtain call that signals the people of the earth to sing His praises and clap our hands in worship!  Job 38:12-13.

I love thunderstorms particularly in the mountains, the rolling thunder is like the sound of God's voice.  Job 40:9.  Man's firework displays are beautiful but they are no match for  God's electrical storms that split the darkness of the clouds with a light brighter than any we will ever see on earth.  Did you know that God sends forth the lightning and it says back to Him, "here we are?"  Job 38:35.

What part of nature takes your breath away?  What in all creation makes you feel very small indeed?  What draws you to try and describe it through painting, or sculpting or writing or song?  Whatever it is, don't fall into the lie of worshiping the creation!  
Many peoples have and still are making gods for themselves out of the wonders of creation.  They are exchanging the truth of God the Creator of all things for a lie, a deception, a very dark black hole from which they is no escape but One.  Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, confess Him alone as Lord, believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead and you will be saved!! Romans 10:9-10.

Now go enjoy your day that God has given you and don't forget to show your appreciation by praise and applause at His curtain call of a sunset tonight!