Wednesday, September 28, 2016

II Peter 1:5-9 - "At The Cross (Love Ran Red)"

"At the cross, at the cross, I surrender my life...I'm in awe of You..." I woke up with these words going through my mind and was immediately blessed with the knowledge Jesus loves me so much that He died for me. As I think about His sacrifice, I think of what He expects from me. Plain and simple, the only thing He expects of me is obedience. Growing up I had many times of disobedience. Sometimes there was consequences and sometimes there were not. My obedience to the Lord has great consequences. I get to spend eternity with Him as I live out a life of obedience. While on this earth the consequence of my obedience is having His peace. If I am not obedient to Him, the consequence is not to have such privileges. If I choose the road of disobedience, I am choosing a life of misery. If I am not obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, I am not doing the Lord's will. When I am not obedient to Him, it is as if I am slapping Jesus in the face and telling Him He died for nothing. I do not ever want to fall into this situation. My goal is to not only hear His direction but then to fulfill it. The way this can happen is for me to stay deep in my walk with Him. I must exercise faith and trust. I must exercise sharing His love with others. I must exercise allowing Him total control over every aspect of my life. Then, and only then, will I be in total obedience to Him.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for dying on the cross to not only save me from my sins but to lead me into a life of obedience. Father, many people treat the word obedience as if it were a dirty word. I am grateful for the way You have opened my eyes to a life of obedience. I am grateful with the knowledge of the consequences of my obedience as I walk in a life of holiness. Father, there is a new day in front of me. I pray for physical strength to get through this day. I pray You will not only just get me through it but enable me to be blessed through it in knowing You are seen and heard through my words, actions and attitude. Sometimes it is hard to stay focused when I am so fatigued. Lord, I pray You will enable me to stay focused on You. Father, I also pray for those who have accepted You into their heart yet have not accepted a life of obedience. Put someone before them that will make a difference in their life today. Thank You Jesus for being My Obedience! Amen.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

II Chronicles 20:15b - "Shoulders"

I was asked by a friend last night for words of encouragement as she goes through a very dark time in her life. I directed her to James 1 where we are told to have joy as we go through the ups and downs of life. It is not easy to follow this direction but when we do we will receive the Lord's peace. The important thing one must remember is before we can experience the blessing of His peace we must walk in His Spirit. That is hard to do when dealing with a husband who is living in sin and fallen away from his relationship with the Lord. It is hard to stay strong ourselves in such circumstances. But it is a must if we want the Lord to bless us. It is a must if we want the Lord to hear our prayers for our loved one. It is a must if we desire His will for our lives. His will is for unity in marriages. His will is for people to not only know Him but to live a sold-out life for Him. His will is for people to not blatantly sin. His will...that is what we must keep our eyes on. We, nor anyone else on this earth, can save whatever we are dealing with. Only the Lord can save it. His power can work through us to change people but we cannot change them. We must remember, no matter what we are dealing with, He is with us and with the situation.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for my friend who is seeking You through this storm in her life. Thank You for the way You will love on her husband as He has strayed. Thank You for those You will put in his path to bring him back to You. Father, may You empower her to live Your will for her life. Enable her to separate herself from the situation and embrace Your strength. I pray she seeks more of You so every aspect of her life is filled with You. I pray the same for myself...fill every aspect of my life with You so people will see and hear You through me. I pray her husband will see Your strength in her and desire the same once again in his life. I pray for his soul. Oh Father, how I pray for his soul. Lord, enable her to see this battle is not hers. She needs to be on the sideline being a supporter for his battle. In order to fulfill that role she needs to stay close to You and living in Your will. Thank You Jesus for being Our Shoulders. Amen.

Monday, September 26, 2016

I Peter 5:7 - "Cast My Cares"

When I was a little girl, I memorized I Peter 5:7. I thought it was just that we were to pray about things that troubled us. As I grew up, I realized I Peter 5 is direction for those doing God's work. That does not mean just pastors but it means everyone doing His work. That means all believers because we all need to be doing His work.

I read an illustration by Spurgeon of a man who went to move furniture for someone with a heavy backpack on. He complained about having problems moving the furniture. It reads, "Would you not suggest that he would find it easier if he laid his own burden aside so that he could carry yours? In the same way, we cannot do God's work when we are weighed down by our own burdens and worries. Cast them upon Him, and then take up the Lord's burden - which is light burden, and a yoke that fits us perfectly." Wow! What a great illustration! In the Message Bible the words "Live carefree" exemplify what it means when you "Cast all your anxiety..." It does not mean there won't be tough times but it means when the tough times come one will have peace in knowing God is in control. This only comes through humbling ourselves before God (vs 5). When we die to self and allow His Holy Spirit to leave in and through us, there will fewer things to 'cast' upon Him. When we are living in His will, we are enabled to take a break from our normal daily life. It is during these times we are refreshed and renewed in our spirit. When I have the opportunity to sit by the ocean for a few hours, I am blessed in hearing from Him. As I walk the beach and sing praises to Him in worship, I am refreshed. The things that were beginning to seem like mountains before me become little anthills. The crabbiness in my emotional body flows away as the water flows out from the beach. It has been too long since I have been to the beach and I need to be refreshed and renewed there soon.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the way You bring meaning to Your Word that is needed exactly when I need it. Thank You for the way You encourage me. Father, I do not pray for finances because I know You already have a plan to provide. I do not pray for the results from medical testing because I know You already know the outcome. But I do continue to pray for souls that need You in their life. I pray for people to go before them today and say or do something to make a difference in their heart. I pray You will fill me to overflowing with more of You and enable me to be Jesus to people today. Thank You Father for being My Provider! Amen.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

I Peter 4:7; 5:8 - "Tunnel"

Peter gives the same words in both chapter seven and eight of his first book. "Be alert and of sober mind." The more I thought about this, the more I wondered what message he was trying to get across. Paul had given the same direction for us to follow in Titus 2:6. The Greek word for sober minded is sophroneo which also means self-controlled or sensible. The word comes from sozo which means 'healthy or sound' and phren which means 'mind'. The desire of God's heart is for all to have a healthy mind. It is a must in order to live out a life of holiness where we will experience His grace and empowerment. I was reading an article that called it 'restrained living in an un-restrained world.' We need to not only set the example for others on how to live a holy life but we must proclaim holy living so they will have the same empowerment we receive in doing so. I like what Matthew Henry writes about sober minded: "The right ordering of the body is of great use to promote the good of the soul. When the appetites and inclinations of the body are restrained and governed by God's word and true reason, and the interests of the body are submitted to the interests and necessities of the soul, then it is not the soul's enemy, but its friend and helper." His Holy Spirit is our Helper. He enables us to do God's will as we live a life pleasing to the Lord. Sometimes we feel like we are missing something or not getting anywhere as we go through life. We must never give the enemy an open door but must instead stand firm in living a life of holiness. We must remember He is the One in charge. We must never manipulate circumstances but instead must allow His timing to happen. We are not to save people, we are to love with His love and He will save them. It is not sensible to get upset with ourselves when something bad happens. Instead we need to pray for His direction and follow what He tells us to do. 

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the reminders of Your Word this morning! Thank You for loving me so greatly! Thank You for Your grace and empowerment! Father, my heart is heavy this morning for the family of the one who died so tragically yesterday. I am saddened he did not have hope in You. I am saddened for the two little ones who are left behind without a parent. Father, thank You for the way You were with Doc last night as he ministered to this family. Lord, may more of them find You through this tragedy. I pray people will not get to the end of their life without knowing You. Thank You Jesus for being My Light. Amen.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

I Peter 4:1-2 - "You Raise Me Up"

The first couple verses of I Peter 4 are words from Peter on how one is to live. Matthew Henry writes about these verses: "Man is not a sincere creature, but partial, blind, and wicked, till he be renewed and sanctifies by the regenerating grace of God." Peter explains one is to be dead to sin both negatively and positively. Henry writes, "Negatively, a Christian ought no longer to live the rest of his time in the flesh, to the sinful lusts and corrupt desires of carnal wicked men; but, positively, he ought to conform himself to the revealed will of the holy God." Woo hoo! Dead to sin and living in His will gives such freedom! No longer is one worried over every decision of life but instead walks in knowing the Lord is in control. When the troublesome times come in life, there is a peace unknown to the common man. As disappointments come in life, there is acceptance in knowing it is all in His plan.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for yesterday and the time You gave Doc and I to celebrate our life together! Thank You for today and all of the opportunities You will give me to be You to others! Thank You for tomorrow when we will gather together as a body of believers to worship You! Father, fill me to overflowing so people will see and hear You through my words, my actions and my attitude. I pray healing for all my family members who are going through physical issues. Most of all I pray for those who have spiritual needs to find You in a personal way. Thank You for being My Completeness! Amen.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Psalm 128:1; Psalm 40:3 - "Household of Faith"

Twenty-seven! It is not as long as sixty-six years as my parents were married but it still is a long time. As I reflect back on September 23, 1989 my first thoughts go to the nasty weather. The wind and rain from the result of Hurricane Hugo along with temperatures in the forties sure were not what I expected for that day. I envisioned sunshine with crispness in the air and beautiful fall leaves swirling around us. That is how life is...not always what we envision. But when the Lord is the center of your life each and every day is "OK" whether it ends up being how you envisioned or not. If someone would have told me a year ago that today we would be living in South Carolina, in our own home, building a church, I would have responded "I don't think so but if that is where the Lord wants us then so be it." Last year at this time if someone would have told me I would be walking on my own my response would have been, "Praise the Lord!" No matter where the Lord takes us on our journey, no matter what physical ailments we endure, no matter how hard it is to be away from family...He is in control and for that I am thankful. I am blessed with a husband who follows His will. I am blessed with a Heavenly Father who knows what I need and provides. Plain and simple, I am blessed. I pray for this coming year of our marriage to not only be a blessing to me but also to my husband. I pray people will see how we not only survive having our world turned upside down but also how we grow deeper in our faith through the process. Pretty much everything in our life has changed over the last year except one thing. We continue to walk in His will each and every day. I pray this next year in our marriage will be one of great blessings...not to us but to the Lord. I pray He will be blessed because of our faithfulness to the call He has put upon our lives....the call to live a life of holiness.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for yesterday, today and tomorrow. Thank You for loving us so greatly. Thank You for the blessing You have given me through my husband. Thank You for enabling us to stay grounded in our faith through all of the adjustments that have occurred over this last year. Lord, You know the desires of our heart and You know how things will be accomplished. I pray a blessing over our entire marriage...our finances, our family, the influence we have over those around us. Father, I also pray a blessing over this day that we celebrate what You are doing in our life together. I pray a physical touch upon our bodies. I pray for a strengthening in our souls. I pray for an abundance of emotional strength in our spirits. Lord, thank You for the giving me the blessing of such a godly man to call my husband. Thank You for being My Blesser. Amen.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

I Peter 4:10-11 - "Forever"

This morning the Lord woke me with this song...

We sing hallelujah...we sing hallelujah...we sing hallelujah, the Lamb has overcome...

Amen! He overcame all sin when He died for us on the cross. Therefore, we do not have to live in sin. We can live a pure and holy life when we take on His will. These words of Peter in chapter four remind believers how to live. We are to use whatever gifts He gives us so He will be glorified in all we do. Sometimes it is hard to know what gifts He gives but when we earnestly seek His will then He will reveal them to us. It is so important to seek His will in all we do. It also is important to listen to Him so we will know His will. I was reading a missionary book yesterday that had a couple statements that hit home with me. It reads, "God will give us a vision when we forget who we think we are and become who He wants us to be. We must open our eyes, not only to see the harvest but be willing to do what it takes to bring it in." Wow! His will must be carried out throughout each and every day of our walk. We must be willing to do as He says even when it doesn't make sense. If we do not follow the way of His will, life will not be much fun! Or as Matthew Henry puts it we will be " miserable, unsettled...perplexed." Henry continues, "But he who has given up himself and his all to God, may say confidently that the Lord is his portion; and nothing but glory through Christ Jesus, is solid and lasting; that abideth for ever." Woo hoo! Yes! I want to be confident in the Lord. There is no better place to live! 

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for all of the ways You encourage me through 'tough' days! Thank You for the words and hugs of those You put into my path. Father, I pray for more of You to ooze out of me through my words, actions and attitude today. I pray Your will, will be fulfilled in and through me today. Lord, I also pray for those who are not walking in Your will to have someone go before them today to open their eyes. I also pray You will enable me to walk in Your will as I wait on Your direction with the new ministry You are opening up to me. Father, may You be glorified in all that I do! Thank You for being My Hallelujah! Amen.