Thursday, January 17, 2019

Psalm 100 - "Ever Be"

The Lord woke me with an urgency to read the one hundredth Psalm. I read it in different versions and liked both the way it read in The Message and NIV. Praises "will ever be on my lips" for our Heavenly Father when we live a life in His Presence. I was reading a book yesterday that shared how it is possible for God to be present in our everyday tasks just as much as He is present when we are in a church service. This is a hard thing for many to grasp. If you were raised with the thought that God could see and hear everything, why would you not believe you can live in His presence? As we live in His presence, we will have the desire to praise Him even during tough times. I can't imagine how wonderful it will be to praise Him face-to-face. Psalm 100 is a prophecy of when people will become believers. That is a time where people desire to praise God the most. I praise Him for His grace and love that pulled me back into His arms when I drifted away. I would not be where I am today had He not done so. I praise Him for the way He forgives us when we do wrong. I praise Him for His cleansing power that washes me so He can fill me to overflowing with more of Him. I praise Him for the way He gives peace in situations that it does not seem possible. I praise Him for providing in so many ways. I praise Him for answering my prayers. I could go on all day long with praises and I pray I will continue to speak praises throughout this day. People who live in this dark world need to hear our praises. Sometimes they get upset and feel like we are bragging about what God is doing in our lives and not in theirs. We need to brag about such things. Why? Because they need to see if they would surrender their life to God, it would be different. He would not take away the tough times because they are where are faith is stretched the farthest. But He will give peace in the midst of the storm. This morning I am using Psalm 100 as a prayer. I am praying for all to "shout for joy...worship the Lord with gladness...Know that the Lord is God...Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praises...give thanks to him and praise his name...his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations" (NIV). That last part is the icing on the cake! "his faithfulness continues through all generations" means my grand babies will know of His faithfulness. Woo hoo! That is another thing to praise Him for! I praise Him for the day that is ahead even though I have started with a cold. I praise Him for the way He will give us safety on our trip. I praise Him for the way He will be with my four-legged buddy while we are separated. I praise Him for friends who are going to love on him. I praise Him for a time of rest and relaxation that is ahead. I praise Him for the way he will give Doc wisdom and favor with a situation before him. I praise Him for the healing He is doing in my Momma and sister's body. I praise Him for the safe birth of a little guy yesterday. So, so many things to praise Him for. Woo hoo!

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for accepting me back into Your arms when I strayed. Thank You for Your love, mercy, and grace. Thank You for the way You go before us. Father, I pray for those who do not know You to find You. I pray for those who need to have Your peace to realize it is available. Lord, bless our time of retreat with not only rest in our physical bodies but enrichment in our spiritual bodies. Thank You Jesus for being The One I Praise! Amen.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Jeremiah 29:11-14 - "Hills and Valleys"

Yesterday was a day where God affirmed me in the morning and He put an 'opportunity' before me in the evening to chose to do just as I had wrote about earlier in the day. When I was doing my schoolwork, He prompted me to encourage my classmates with Jeremiah 29:11-12. A short time later a friend shared with how she felt like many things in her life were just not going the way she desired. I felt the need to share with her Jeremiah 29:11-12. Within a short time she sent me a message about a memory from when she shared this same scripture seven years ago had popped up on her Facebook. Wow, God! I love when He works in ways such as this. Later in the day, I had to think back on what I wrote yesterday morning about we, as believers, have a choice to wallow in misery when 'opportunities' come that stretch our faith. We can either allow the enemy an open door or we can stand in our faith and allow God to work in and through us as we work through situations. I became so mad and was so frustrated last night when I found something out. I didn't know how I was going to make it through the evening with the children. I prayed and asked a couple others to pray for me. The evening went fine. I was blessed with having Xavria and Chloie help me with the children since Ms Rhonda and Christina were out. I became calmer over the situation and was able to teach the children as planned. Afterwards, I began to get angry again and then the Lord brought back to me the words of Jeremiah 29:11-12 and Psalm 42. Because of Him I slept through the night without worrying. God was not surprised by the circumstances. I asked Him to forgive me for the way I acted when it was made known to me. I should not have become so angry but I was dealing in the flesh. I pray the enemy did not have any open door through my anger. God reminded me to not only trust Him but to allow Him to use this situation to take me deeper in my faith. The key to living in this manner is found by living in His presence. It is found by not giving into the flesh but instead allowing the Holy Spirit to cleanse us so He can fill us. As the scripture says, we must seek Him with our whole heart so we can find His will for our life. Today is a new day. My situation has not changed and I do not know how it will but I know Who does. God's got this. He already knows the outcome. He also knows how we will handle the situation. I praise God for that knowledge. I also praise Him for the way He will direct us throughout these next few months as the situation unfolds.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for yesterday's "Hills and Valleys" that You were with me on. Thank You for the reminders of Scripture that You presented to me. Thank You for forgiveness of my reaction to this situation. Thank You for cleansing me so You can fill me to walk where You so desire. Thank You for loving me so greatly that "I am not alone." Father, go before me today in all I say and do. May people see/hear You instead of me. May they see You in my words, actions, and attitude throughout this day in a new, different way. Thank You Jesus for being My Director! Amen.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Psalm 42 - "As The Deer"

Believers have a choice to make when times get tough. They can wallow in their misery or they can remember what God has done for them and will do for them in the days ahead. We can think about how He has given us strength or we can give into the weakness of flesh. Sometimes life becomes so overwhelming that we feel like we can't go on. Sometimes the circumstances we go through pull us so far down we start to believe there is no way life will ever be anything different. Those are lies from the devil. He wants to pull us away from God. He desires to make us believe God has left us. Psalm 42 is about how David began to feel like God had left him. He knew what life was like to have God but he also knew what it felt like when he pulled away from God. He lost his focus and he knew it. He also knew the way to get his focus back was to praise God (vs 5). He knew he had to think of the ways God had been with him in the past in order to get right again (vs 6). God takes our faith deeper through times such as what David was going through. "Deep calls to deep..." are some words that have great meaning to me. God called me to go deeper in my faith in 2015 when I went through nine months of not walking on my own. He called me to live in His presence in a whole new way. He gave me the desire of my heart to be "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God" (vs 1). He gave me a greater desire to be who He desired of me to be. He made me realize the key to living as He desires is found in verse 11...

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
    Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
    soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
    He’s my God.

Yes! He put a smile back on my face and in my heart. He didn't do this when He healed me but He did this before. It didn't take Him allowing me to walk on my own again to give me back my joy. That happened a few months before when my focus went back on Him. I was given 20/20 vision once again through prayer, study of His word, meditation, etc. That was when the smile came back fully in my life. I do not ever want to lose it again. Instead I desire to go deeper in my faith and grow continually in the life He so desires of me.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the way You love on me so much! Thank You for your mercy and grace that enables me to stay focused on You! Thank You for cleansing me so You can fill me so people will see and hear You instead of me! Thank You for putting a smile back in my heart! Lord, give me opportunities today for people to see You are my Focus. May You go before me and make the way for my faith to be taken deeper. I pray for all believers to get to the point in their relationship with You to have this same desire. Thank You Jesus for being My 20/20! Amen.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Psalm 89:11-18 - "O Lord"

The Lord woke me with a song and a scripture to read this morning. The song was "O, Lord" which touches my heart immensely. There is a part that goes...

Though times it seems
Like I'm coming undone
This walk can often feel lonely
No matter what until this race is won
I will stand my ground where hope can be found
I will stand my ground where hope can be found

Yes! His love gives me hope to continue on when I feel like I can't continue on. Sometimes circumstances in life seem to be overwhelming but then the Lord showers His love down on me and I know I am not alone. His love gives me hope when life seems hopeless. His love encourages me to continue on when I feel like I can't. His love gives me strength when mine is drained. Psalm 89 encourages me to walk in His love. When I do, I will have His joy in my heart. The only way to walk in His love to the fullest is by having a heart surrendered to His will. Yes, there are times when I feel lonely. There are times when I question why I do what I do. But it is those times when He wraps His arms around me a little bit tighter and tells me I am not alone and I need to stand in His love to be empowered to do life as He desires. "I will stand my ground where hope can be found" can only be done in His empowerment. I pray every day for Him to cleanse me so He can fill me. This is the only way to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Dear Jesus,
As I start a week that has some curve balls in it, I need more of You and less of me. I need Your empowerment in a mighty way. I pray for a cleansing in my spirit so You can fill me with more. I pray for Your strength as mine feels like it is dwindling. I pray for Your wisdom as I continue in my class and with time management. I pray for Your love to ooze out of me in a way that people will see and hear You and not me. May You be greater through me this week. Father, thank You for the way You provide exactly what we need. Thank You for giving me hope in what appear to be hopeless situations. Thank You Jesus for being My Empowerment! Amen.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Romans 12:1-2 - "From The Inside Out"

Marriage can be very challenging. There are some marriages that do not last the challenges. There are some that may last in the sense of time yet are not really marriages. It can be difficult when one in the marriage is a believer and the other isn't. It also can be difficult when communication lines break down. Many times when there is a death of a child, a marriage crumbles due to one or the other partner placing blame on the other or feeling guilty themselves. Being in ministry can be a joy in a marriage when both people accept what the Lord puts in their lives and support one another. It is very difficult to get through the demands of ministry in a marriage. Time demands can take a toll on a couple in ministry. There is little time for nurturing a marriage when one is pouring themselves into the lives of others. But there has to be time made or there will no longer be a marriage. Sometimes the demands from others on a pastor's time can be so great their spouse and children feel abandon. The same thing they try to work on in other's lives can be what they need worked on in their own lives yet when they do they feel guilty. It is so important for there to be family and couple time in a pastor's life. If there isn't, there will be no family or spouse there. This is what God had me praying about during the night for pastors. As I sat in a roomful of pastors and laity yesterday, I prayed for the marriages of pastors. I prayed for pastors with small children who were there instead of being with their families. I prayed for those who had missed out on their child's event to be at the meeting. I prayed for pastors to have openness to what the Lord was telling them about how to make time for their spouse and family. I prayed for those there who need healing in their marriages to seek God's direction. I prayed for those who need to not feel guilty about time spent with their spouse. During the night as I prayed for pastors I was prompted to pray for those who are so discouraged with the circumstances of their church to realize their attitude is spilling over into their home life. I prayed for them to realize the impact of that before anymore effect happened in their families. I prayed against stress in their homes due to the ministry. It is no wonder so many leave the pastorate. All we need to do is be completely surrendered to His will. When one lives such a life, it does not mean life is a bed of roses but it does mean God's strength is with them. It means His wisdom is their wisdom. It means there will be peace in the midst of the storms. As a pastor lives surrendered to His will, they will realize they must make time for their spouse and family to be surrendered to God. God does not call any of us to be alone but instead calls us to be strengthen by Him to do what He puts before us. If God gives us a spouse, He expects us to love that spouse just as He expects us to love Him. He expects us to respect that spouse just as He expects us to respect Him. This goes for not only pastors but everyone. 

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the opportunity to pray for pastors, their spouses, and their families. Thank You for brining some specific pastors to my mind to pray for. Lord, may all pastors be right with You as they go into the pulpit. May they accept Your will for their lives instead of trying to pastor in their own strength. May marriages be restored as they realize the need to make time for their spouse. May families be restored as they realize the gift given to them through their spouse and children. May hurt feelings be gone as they have open eyes to what their spouse and children need. May spouses and children feel love that has been missing in their relationship. Father, Your love needs accepted in many lives. Your love conquers all. Your love heals all hurts. I pray for Your love to be the soothing balm needed in the personal lives of pastors who are struggling with their marriage and family. Father, I pray for a cleansing in my spirit so You can fill me to overflowing with more of You. May all who hear me today, hear You. May all who see my actions and attitude, see You. I pray this especially for Doc and my family. Thank You Jesus for being The One to Bless Me! Amen.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Matthew 25:21 - "Well Done"

This morning I woke up thinking about those who have gone on to be with the Lord. I was thinking about how they no longer have to deal with the stresses of life on this earth. There are no longer relationship issues, financial concerns, etc. When they left this earth, they left all the 'junk' we must deal with every day. They also left the joy of sharing Jesus with someone but are now living in His joy 24/7. I am jealous of them. Sometimes life on this earth get tiring. It can be discouraging here, especially when you pour yourself into people and they don't respond. It can be discouraging listening to people lament over their life yet they won't allow the Lord to be their Lord and Savior. I heard someone say yesterday, "my life is hard" when in fact they have never seen such a life. Sometimes people just don't see it. They think they know what life is all about when in fact they have no clue. As I was thinking about those who have gone on I thought of Jeremy's life. He was such a godly man who was not afraid to share the Lord. He did so much good while on this earth. It just doesn't make sense why he would be taken so early in life. As I prayed for his family this morning, I thought about the memories they have of him but also the hopes and dreams they had for him with them if he would still be on this earth. Life changed drastically when he was killed. It not only changed drastically for him but for them. His testimony on this earth is one that I pray will continue through his family and friends. I pray all who knew him will get to the point in their own lives where they will hear...

The parable of the talents is about how God blessed people with great amounts of money to care for. In life, God gives us things to care for and sees how we will handle them. He wants to see if we will listen to Him and follow the direction He gives or if we will go our own way. His desire is for us to not do as we think is the way to do something but instead to do it His way even when it does not make sense. I truly believe the only way we will hear the words of being a faithful servant is to be living in His presence, sold-out to His will. I know there are many believers who do not believe this. They believe salvation is enough. I disagree with them. Being sanctified, set apart holy is the way to eternal life. I praise God for every day He leads me down the path of a holy life. I praise Him for being who He is to me. I praise Him for loving me enough to guide my words, actions, and attitude when I allow Him. I praise Him for giving me the desire of His heart as mine. I pray daily to be cleansed so He can fill me with more of Him. Why? Because I want to hear the words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant..."

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for Your love, mercy, and grace. Thank You for loving me so greatly. Thank You for giving me the desires of Your heart. Thank You for cleansing me so You can fill me. Thank You for being who You are in my life. Lord, I pray for a walk of holiness today. I pray You will be my words, actions, and attitude throughout this day. I pray for a change in my attitude when needed. Go before me and open doors of opportunity for me to be You. I also pray doors will be closed that need closed. I pray when the enemy comes knocking, You will empower me to knock Him down. Lord, be with Jeremy's family as they continue to grieve his loss from this earth. May they have the desire in their heart to live more like Jeremy did so they will hear these words too. Thank You Jesus for being My Master! Amen.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

I John 4:18 - "Stand In Your Love"

3:54AM...The Lord woke me to pray for many people to be encouraged. Some, like my Momma, I know why He would have me pray for them. She is going through tough days in her physical body which causes discouragement. I prayed for Him to put people in her path who would encourage her with His love. After I prayed for her I asked Him who else He wanted me to pray for. He promptly put Brooke and Chad on my heart to pray they will be encouraged by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the upcoming Encounter they will lead. From there He led me to pray for Dan Bohi and his team as they continue to be led by the Holy Spirit to touch many lives. I am so looking forward to seeing Dan and Craig when they come to Summerville in February. I prayed for them to feel the encouragement of prayers sent up by many who prayer for them. I prayed for Jim and Judy to walk in the Spirit and be encouraged as they begin the new year touching lives in Illinois Sunday and Monday. I prayed for Rob and Cindy as they are in Texas the rest of the month opening up the door for people to go into a deeper walk with the Holy Spirit. He had me pray for Ketchums as they prepare for the trip to Israel this spring. He also had me pray for pastors who are discouraged to have someone come along beside them to give them not only encouragement but also wisdom with their situation. I prayed the two Momma's Mike shared about yesterday having some major needs would be encouraged by His people.
I also prayed for those going through health issues that need encouraged. I slept another hour and the Lord woke me with a song Josh Baldwin sings going through my mind...

'Cause my fear doesn't stand a chance
When I stand in Your love
My fear doesn't stand a chance
When I stand in Your love
My fear doesn't stand a chance
When I stand in Your love!

Discouragement can lead to fear. Fear can lead to disbelief that God loves us or is with us. We are told in the scriptures over and over about how God never leaves us. We do not have to fear that He will. He is there to help us in trying times (Hebrews 13:6). He fights for us in a personal way through disappointing and difficult days (Deuteronomy 5:5). His Spirit will dwell in us when we allow Him to. This is a gift given to all who accept Him (Romans 8:15). When we live in Him, we have His peace through times of discouragement. When we give the enemy an open door, discouragement will not allow that peace (John 14:27). God did not make us to be fearful but He made us with power, love and self-control (II Timothy 1:7). I love the words of I John 4:18...

"Perfect love" is God's love. Woo hoo! We have nothing to fear when we have His love. Times of discouragement will come but He will provide during them. He will answer our prayers. He will use others to encourage us with their words and actions. He will love us through tough days and strengthen our faith as we allow Him. He will direct our path when we have no idea what to do ourselves. His "perfect love" is the key to living in the Spirit.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the opportunity to pray for many during the night. Thank You for the reminder that Your love is the key to life. Thank You for answering two major prayers yesterday. Thank You for continuing to encourage me with my path toward ordination. Lord, cleanse me so You can fill me to overflowing with more of You. I desire to be filled with more of Your Holy Spirit so people will see and hear You through me. Father, go before me today wherever You lead me. Thank You Jesus for being My Perfect Love. Amen.