Welcome to God's Lemonade Stand

It is my hope that by reading this daily you will grow in your walk with Christ and be set free from any struggles in your life that are weighing you down. Be blessed to be a blessing.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

FRIENDS ARE SPECIAL

(Devotion for Thursday 31 March 2011 sent early)

Two days ago I was alone in an Asian restaurant for lunch and in my fortune cookie was the following "Soon someone new coming into your life will be a best friend." Wow. Well I do not believe fortunes but this made me think of the value of friendship. For anyone who has ever been hurt by a friend you know how important friends are. Friendship is one of God's biggest blessings! The person who has a close trusted friend is very blessed indeed.

I have been blessed to move about 12 times in my 33 years of married life thanks to the US Army. It has been a joy because my friends across the US in my military family and some civilians in towns we lived in without a base or post were like my regular family. We had holiday meals with them just as you would your relatives. Military folks develop a special sort of camaraderie with the friends they make. In 28 years of military service we never got assigned overseas but I understand the US Forces overseas even have a closer bond. I have a picture up on my wall at home in the hallway that says "Home is anywhere the Army sends us." How true!

The saying goes, 'If you want to be a friend you have to show yourself friendly.' Do not be friends with someone only if they can help you get ahead. But be a true friend that is there through thick or thin, in good times and no so good. If you have been hurt or betrayed the Bible says in Luke 6:28 to "Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you." It is hard to not like someone when you pray for them. Even if they do not like you or want to hang out with you nothing says you can not still pray. God does not want us to harbor resentment and grudges. Even if the other person is ugly to you keep on praying. Do not stoop to their level. Be Christlike and ask God for the ability to love them with God's love.

I always say to try to be nice when someone is being mean. An appropriate Bible verse for that would be Romans 12:21 which says "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

You may be in a strained relationship with a friend now over something you said or did. Proverbs 15:1 says "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Sometimes you may try and try and try to make someone like you and it just isn't happening. You give it to the Lord and trust him to work it out. You blew it maybe and want this person to like you or maybe you did nothing and they just do not want to be your friend anymore. It hurts. Begging someone to like you will not work and may work the opposite effect.

An offended friend is hard to win back. Proverbs 18:19 says "An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars." So you say why wouldn't a believer just forgive someone and move on? I do not have the answer to that. But through struggles of all sorts in this life down here we learn to face up to things and grow as a result. We learn from experiences good or bad.

The good news here is that God loves you and he is your ultimate friend. He does not want you having pity parties but he wants you to think about all the wonderful things you have in your life and the friends  you do have who do love and appreciate you. We can not make everyone like us. Getting angry does no good either.

God is your best friend. Run to him and let him comfort you. The enemy will want you to have self pity and anger towards the person who hurt you but Gods' word says to pray for those who have hurt you. That is certainly not the worlds' way. The world would say, 'just call them up and tell them off '. That would not be a good idea nor a Christian thing to do.

Be thankful for the friends you do have who love you and thank the Lord too for the problems you have in your life with former friends who no longer want to hang around with you because it is through the bad and the good that we learn and grow closer to the Lord.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus I thank you so much for my friends. I thank you when friends want to do things and when they send notes of encouragement. Help me always try to be the best kind of friend to those you have placed in my life. If I have unknowingly ever hurt anyone I ask you Lord to forgive me and heal that broken relationship now in Jesus name. Amen.

HOPE IN GOD

There is much uncertainty about life in general and also in our world today. Seemingly some of our own leaders want to walk us into socialism or even communism. But we know what the Bible says about who is really in control anyway. There is much human fear if we focus on the news. Just keep praying and pray for Christians in America to take heed to signs of loss of freedoms.

Traditional marriage is under attack as is life in the womb. Seemingly a panda bear is safer in America than a human baby. The family breakdown has contributed to many of our problems and taking the Bible out of everything has also been a major player in the slide away from morality, truth and freedom. We can not keep burying our head in the sand. Freedom and the Christian way of life are under attack.

We further are protecting a religious sect who is out to destroy 'the infidel'. Crazy times, utter nonsense. Who would have seen it coming?  Many are still deceived just like God's word talks about and are believing a lie. But thankfully Jesus is still Lord and God is still on the throne. Satan is the 'great deceiver' and has put blinders on many who can not see the dangers.

Joshua 1:9 tells us "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
This is a great promise and a great hope. Our hope is not in a man or a government institution but in the Lord God almighty maker of heaven and earth.

Zechariah 14:9 says , " The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name." The Lord will ultimately deal with the liars, cheaters and those who are hurting his people.

Keep praying!!

PRAYER: Lord we thank you for the freedoms we enjoy in these wonderful United States. Evil forces never like freedom and do not like the word of God. Help us stand strong and stand up for the truth under all circumstances. Protect us from evil forces that try to take us captive. We do not take freedom for granted. In Jesus name.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

NO MORE MANIPULATION OF GOD

How many of us may say a prayer such as 'if you do such and such I will do this." God is not a 'Deal or No Deal' God. And he has a big plan and you should not be working behind the scenes against that plan. Sometimes earthly situations do not seem to make sense and we may want to try to work behind the scenes to help move God along. Do not scheme as it will do no good. It will only cause you stress. Our good intentions oft times backfire.
 
Instead of orchestrating and trying to manipulate things or being 'holy spirit junior' as Bible teacher Joyce Meyer calls it ,try praying. Manipulating, prying and the like only bring pain but if you have issues and want to see changes sincerely cry out to God.  James 5:16 has the formula to use and it says "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results."  

In the book of Jonah we find Jonah running and hiding from God because he did not want to do what he said. We all know what happens there. Feel like being swallowed by a giant fish today?Sometimes we just do not want to listen to God. Psalm 81:11 says "But no, my people wouldn't listen. Israel did not want me around."  In Psalm 106:25 it says "They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the Lord."  Humans sometimes think we know more than God. 1 Peter 2:25 says "Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls." The Shepherd will take care of you if only you trust him and follow him.

Patience is required. We humans do not like to wait. In the Bible a disastrous story of not waiting was Abraham his wife Sarah and their handmaid Hagar. God told them they would have a son and being past child bearing age Sarah did not trust God to fulfill this promise and took matters into her own hands. The ultimate soap opera unfolded right here in the Bible. Their impatience had disastrous results for mankind.The custom then was to use handmaids  to speed things up. Sarah told Abraham to take her handmaid, Hagar and sire a son by her, since she could not wait on God to fulfill his promise, which  Abraham did. The son born was named Ishmael but he was not the promised Son. Sarah eventually did conceive and have a son, Issac, which was the promised son. Sarah became jealous of Hagar. Issac went on to father Jacob and Jacob was to father twelve sons, some of these to were by handmaids. These twelve sons were the twelve patriarchs, siring the twelve tribes of Israel or the nation of Israel. Ishmael also sired twelve sons that became large tribes but these were always the enemy of Israel and gave Israel much trouble over time. We can see the trouble going on today in the Middle East as a direct result of this and not waiting on God for the promise he had in store.

We are here on this earth to serve God and to be molded in his image. Earthly situations sometimes frustrate us but we need to 'let go and let God' and not try to do things our own way. Pray and trust God for the outcome. Philippians 4:19 is one of my favorite verses and it says "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." Be patient and allow him to work things out in your life.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus help us to learn to wait on you and trust you have our best interests at heart. You alone are the almighty God and you know the 'big picture'. Help me not mess up your plan by trying to do my own thing. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Monday, March 28, 2011

LAUGH ON

A church sign I passed by recently said ' Laughing, God's Best Gift'. That statement is more true than we realize. Scripture even says " a merry heart does good like medicine" (Proverbs 17:22). When you smile you feel better and you bring joy to people around you. Try this experiment. While shopping and passing many frowning faces, which is pretty typical, make it your goal to make people smile. Just walk around and smile and maybe even say hi. Some people will wonder what you are up to. 

I just can never understand why there are so many gloomy looks out there. Your smile may change someones whole entire day. You can even smile with your eyes. Just have a good attitude and the smile should follow.

When I was a reservations agent for a major airline no customers could see me because they called our toll free number and got customer service. We were taught to 'smile' with our voice. I loved doing that. You can tell when you get an agent at a call center who is not happy to be there because their voice and attitude giveaway their gloomy heart. There may be real issues promoting sadness but if not then it is time for a smile makeover.

Go one step further and brighten someones day with a funny greeting card for no reason. A friend of mine recovering from cancer was appreciative of the humorous line of cards Hallmark has for cancer patients because she said it made her smile. Laughter is the best medicine.Flowery somber cards are fine but sometimes we need a real belly laugh.

Following God's word is the road to true happiness.John 13:17 says 'if we know these things' meaning the things in the Bible "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them". In the Bible it even talks about being a 'hilarious' giver when referring to tithing.(See 2 Corinthians 9:7) How many of us are truly happy when giving our money away? We need to be able to smile when we are able to bless others and smile because of being thankful for the bounty of God we have to share with others.1 Timothy 6:6 says "Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment."

Here is a good clean church joke to get your day started. "One Sunday in a Midwest City, a young child was "acting up" during the morning worship hour. The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew but were losing the battle.   
      Finally, the father picked the little fellow up and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out.     
      Just before reaching the safety of the foyer, the little one called loudly to the congregation, "Pray for me! Pray for me!"

There you have it. Hope that made you chuckle. Laughing is good. Doctors will tell you it is good for healing. There are even laughter classes in some hospitals.I actually googled that subject and came up with all sorts of stuff.

You can choose to be happy and if someone in your day is trying to steal your joy do not respond ugly but pray for them and keep smiling. God loves you and he loves a merry heart.

PRAYER: This is the day you have made Lord and I will rejoice and be glad in it. The joy of the Lord is my strength. I want to be joyful. Help me spread your joy and laughter to those I come in contact with today. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

START PRAYING AND STAY REAL

Want to walk victoriously and see change in the life of yourself and those you pray for then start being sincere in your prayers. Not just the kind where you say "now I lay me down to sleep" or 'bless the little children in Africa' and 'take care of Grandma and Grandpa' but get real with the Lord and take time to pray. Sure there are times for what I call 'popcorn prayers' where you send a quick prayer to the Lord when it comes to mind but it is awesome to go to a quiet place and get on your knees if you can and cry out to God for all sorts of stuff.

There is something introduced through Moms in Touch called a DAWG day or 'day alone with God'. If you are able to schedule this it is a wonderful get away from distractions of your home and where your sole purpose is devoted to prayer and studying the Bible. When you pray, be authentic. Prayer is simply talking to God. So many have said to me in past, "will you pray for me as you seem to have a  hotline to God." News flash. I am honored and humbled but I have no hotline more than the next person. Each of us is capable of praying. Matthew 6:7 says, "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words." Just simply talk. That is all that is required. You do not need to say a bunch of 'thee's and thou's' either. 

Be patient and allow God to work. And keep a clean heart. Psalm 66:18 says "If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened." So you see you can not be harboring resentment and ill will in your heart and expect God to answer your prayers. Let's say you just get out of church and then about one half hour later you are gossiping about someone or talking about someone being an 'idiot'. Did you really learn the lesson of God's love or was your heart closed and you were just occupying a seat for church? It does no good to simply go into a church building if your heart is not changed when you depart. If you are around people like this in your life it somehow does no good to point it out but the Holy Spirit has to convict them of their wrong attitude. Ask God to help you keep a watch over your lips and allow the conviction of wrong to come from the Lord not you.

If you say 'Lord I love you' and then claim to not like someone or do not choose to forgive anyone then I doubt your prayers will get very far. 1 John 4:20 tells us "If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen." John 13:35 says"By this they will know you are my disciples if you have love one for another." How many people are out there in churches today who will walk out and be no different? You have to desire to be more like Jesus and not just be a Sunday Christian. Sunday is important but you have to live out what you learned all week.

Have you called anyone an ugly name? Do you find it hard to love some people? Do you resent anyone? Is there bitterness in your heart toward a friend or co worker? Do you find it hard to forgive an offense? All these things are blocking the answers to prayer in your life because they do not please God. Ask God to help you love the unlovable. He can do it. Say "Lord I want to love people like you love them. Help me to do this."

Philippians 4:6 says "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." God wants to hear from you. You should pray and never lose heart. (See Luke 18:1).Finally Colossians 4:2 says "Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving." Always have a thankful heart for what the Lord has done in your life. "Never stop praying." (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Be a part of the 'US Prayer Force' and cry out to God for your family, your country, and anything that crosses your mind. Big fancy words are not necessary. God just wants you to come to him and humble yourselves and pray.


PRAYER: Thank you father for the privilege of coming to you in prayer. What a tremendous gift to talk to you each day. I thank you for hearing my prayer and answering according to your will. Cleanse any area in my life that does not please you and help me be convicted of when I do something that displeases you so my prayers are not hindered. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

TURN ON THE POWER

You can enter a dark room but will be in total darkness unless you know to flip the switch to illuminate the room and be able to see. Many so called Christians are sort of powerless. They do all the 'right' things by going to church on Sunday, not being bad, paying taxes, being kind and putting offering in the plate but they lack the spiritual zeal and fire and sometimes it may be hard to tell they really love the Lord. I have heard the term 'frozen chosen' referring to some denominations who maybe are timid about raising their hands in the air to praise Jesus. Some people may say, 'now don't you go overboard with that religious stuff' or you act like a 'Jesus freak' and I say to them, "What is wrong with being a Jesus freak?"  We are here on earth to serve him not just occupy space.

If you want to shine for Jesus your spiritual fire has to be lit. Just going to church on Sunday then having no desire for prayer or other Christian growth such as Bible reading or listening to praise and worship music all week keeps you sort of only a flicker of a candle. If you do not feed your spirit it will die out.Satan loves complacency in Christians. He wants you to just be 'churched' and that is all. For when you start to hunger and thirst for growing in Christ and getting into the Bible Satan is scared. It is then you start to have power to defeat the enemy and win victories in your life.

Many Christians are what we call 'carnal' where they do nice things but Christ is sort of outside their life. They do not include him or think of him. It is not about going to a church building but it is about accepting Christ and dusting off your Bible and knowing him through his word. Many of us have more desire to watch secular TV than we do to open the Bible. Many will pay good money to go see a rock band but no money for a Christian movie or concert. I guess those folks are undercover Christians right? Wrong.

Satan loves this type of people. The ones who are not excited about loving the Lord and barely know how to find the books in the Bible. We can not be effective for  him unless we know the word for it is there we find the things we need to help ourselves and other people. Or Satan's lie is "You are so heavenly minded you are no earthly good."

The desire has to be there and that is part of problem. Many have no desire at all to pick up the word except when told to in church on Sunday. This to me then sounds like a heart transformation is needed. You can not just go to church one day a week and say you love Jesus. It takes getting to know him. Sometimes 'religion' has turned people off and what they need is a church where Jesus is alive and their is a non judgmental attitude and where you can come as you are and feel accepted, warts and all. No special clothing is needed to get in the door only a desire to praise and worship the Lord. A 'relationship' is needed where Jesus is Lord of your life and you want to talk about him and want to please him in your actions. Don't fit Jesus into your day, fit your day around Jesus.

Matthew 6:33 says to "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you." Is Jesus really first in your life? Are you ashamed to identify yourself as a Christian in some settings? The Bible says "If you are ashamed of me I will be ashamed of you"(see Mark 8:38). Matthew 5:6 says "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled."

I will close with Psalm 63:1-8. Meditate on what it says and pray if you do not feel excited to be a Christian ask God to change that. Prayer changes things. " You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.  I have seen you in the sanctuary  and beheld your power and your glory.  Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.  I will praise you as long as I live,  and in your name I will lift up my hands.  I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;  with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.  Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.  I cling to you; your right hand upholds me."


PRAYER: Father there may be those reading this today who fit the category of a carnal Christian. One who says he is a Christian simply because of baptism or that he goes to church or is a 'member'  but has no desire for you in his life except on Sunday. A Christian life is to be a 24/7 life for the Lord. Lord you are to be in every aspect of our life. Help anyone who struggles to ask themselves if they really have asked you to be Lord of their life and if not to do it now. In Jesus Name, Amen!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qQm8283qsg

Friday, March 25, 2011

THINGS ARE NOT WHAT THEY ALWAYS SEEM

It is easy to look at a situation and think we know why something is happening the way it is or why someone is acting the way they are but we do not know 'the rest of the story' as the late radio announcer Paul Harvey used to say. For instance, you see an American flag torn and shredded like it was shot out of a cannon and assume the people who own it do not care about America when in fact maybe they do not notice it because of other pressing things going on in their lives. A phone rings in church or a movie theater and you angrily glare at the person who was so rude to bring their phone to the theater, and then have the audacity to leave it on, when in fact it may be a total accident that they had it with them in first place.You are driving home from Sunday church and see children playing in a front yard and may think to yourself, 'can you believe the parents of those small children do not care enough about them to get them into church?' when in fact maybe they were there Saturday night or went to an early service because not every church is on an 11 a.m. time table these days. Driving down the highway you observe a bunch of litter in one place and think to yourself that some disrespectful young people or drunks the night before threw it out their car windows, but maybe it was garbage that fell out of the bed of a pickup trick or even out of a garbage truck. There is a pretty young looking girl who is on heavy set side and you may be thinking, why can't she get out and take care of herself and the 'temple' God gave her when in fact maybe a medical condition is preventing her from even moving without pain.

 These are just a few scenarios where we can get in a complaint or judging mode  when in fact some of these situations may have truly been an accident or not the fault of the person. True, there are those on the opposite spectrum of these examples such as the litterbugs and things like that but why not for our own sakes give the people the benefit of the doubt? The point is we need to keep our mind not thinking bad unmerciful thoughts or it will be hard to develop a spirit of compassion for those around us.

It is much better to look on situations with compassion and grace to be able to have a good attitude instead of always trying to find fault with something. What do we gain by nitpicking something apart anyway? As a believer it makes us look really bad. Try to operate in a spirit of compassion and not judgment. It does take some work especially if you grew up around a flurry of judgmental comments.

In the volunteer counseling I do for a pro life center I can not be looking with judgment and condemnation on the young unmarried ladies who come to see us. I have to share Christ's love with them. You do not win people by judging them. John 8:10-11 says when speaking to the woman caught in adultery, "Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”  Jesus told her to go and sin no more. He did not say, "you stupid idiot, didn't you know better?"

It seems it is easier to be negative than positive sometimes. How many of us have hung around negative people who drag us down or try to gossip and fault find? It is very tiring on our spirits to constantly hear griping and negativity. Let us instead not get caught up doing this but instead think of good things. Purposely go through your day looking for the good and not the bad. Sure the bad is still there but let us try to find good things around us.Try to maintain a positive outlook and attitude. We are not here to 'fix' everyone anyway. If you have a problem with this area then pray about it and ask for God to help deliver you from a condemning spirit.

Philippians 2:5 tells us "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus."  This is good to start practicing on a regular basis in daily life. Reach out to others with the love of Christ. Further on in Philippians chapter 4 verse 8 it says " Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." The more we practice thinking positive the easier it will get. Do not let negative people drag you down in their pit. Jesus wants you to be his 'hands and feet'. It is hard to do this when condemning others.

PRAYER: Lord we know none of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. Thank you for your mercy and forgiveness and thank you for being patient with us in our imperfect condition. Lord we want to be like you. Take out that part of us that is not Christlike and replace it with the love and compassion of Christ. Help our hearts break with the things that break your heart. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD

Romans 8:28 is an oft quoted scripture particularly when something seemingly here on earth has not gone the way we wanted it to. Something may go wrong and you hear " well everything will work out you know, God is in control." And in fact he is. So why do bad things happen to good people?

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."(Romans 8:28). Even though things seem awful at times or that there is no way out if you are a follower of the Lord and living for him you can have faith that God will take the bad stuff and turn it into good. Our ultimate goal is heaven anyway. None of us know how long we will live. No one is promised to live to be 80 or 90. For those who have lost young family members to accidents or disease or have had a stillborn or SIDS death in their family it may be a little difficult to say , 'well it's going to be OK and it will work out in the end." For the child who has lost a parent to an accident ,cancer or war this verse may not comfort either. But this verse has a promise with it in that time does take care of things and although a person can not be replaced and the death of someone we love is painful ,especially when unexpected, still we have to know the hope that God is going to take this situation and use it for good somehow in his heavenly kingdom plan.

For those who have suffered this kind of loss my heart goes out to you. We have close friends who have lost children early and it is one of the worst things and probably the most awful kind of pain. Somehow things can be redeemed and life will go on. For the person who gets stuck and can not move on their life will be miserable. Perhaps this is a time the people can reach out to help others who have suffered loss as well and help restore their life. We are not  here to serve ourselves anyway.

 At times uncaring or unthinking people have spewed this verse out of their mouth after someone dies. This is not what a person needs to hear. Often times people are angry at God because they blame him for the death of their beloved. God does not cause death. But there is the reasoning, 'well he could have stopped it', "why did he let them die as their life was so promising?!". I can not answer that and I am not sure a minister can either. Just know that we all are going to die someday. Some before others. I know of several deaths in past 10 years that were unexplainable but God will bring glory somehow even if it is helping someone else to know the Lord through that pain. 

Things happen sometimes that do not seem so good at the time but God knows the 'big picture'. There may be a job loss or a move that we are not pleased with but in the end God had a plan for those things to happen so he could get you to another place in life to grow and learn. Romans 8:31 tells us"If God be for us who can be against us?" Keep praying and keep believing. Isaiah 43:2 tells us "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you." Run to God and he will comfort you.

The key is to keep loving and trusting God and through your pain see if there is some way you can be used in the kingdom of God to reach out to others maybe even with a worse situation. I have heard it said 'God can turn your mess into a message'.

PRAYER: Father my heart grieves for those who have lost loved ones when they were young and wonder why? Please Lord help them see your plan in this even though it was not caused by you. We know you can restore and redeem and heal. We pray for wounded hearts to be healed and for grace to much abound. Forgive those reading this who may still be mad at you Lord for thinking something was your fault. Father open their hearts to know you love and care for them in a mighty way.There are those who have lost jobs who do not know why. We know you open windows when doors shut. Help us trust in you. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

ARE YOU UNARMED?

We had a friend once who if you forgot your Bible when you went to church would tell us we were unarmed. Many churches today put the scripture verses upon the big screen for all to see and I have looked around and noticed probably because of this many may become lazy and not bring their own Bible. I feel it is important to still have you own Bible with you so you can take notes in the margins and look up other verses the minister may not mention.

It is good to get into the word. You are not going to know how to fight your daily battles and have peace unless you look in the book.It is our instruction manual of sorts. We should delight ourselves in God's word. The enemy has tried to get rid of the word for in it he, Satan, knows we have victory and the key to eternal life. The Bible is the best selling book of all time but many of us do not even bother to get to know what is within its' pages. If you claim to be a follower of Christ it is necessary to get into the word and learn what it says for it is truth and will teach you how to lead your life day to day. From it we have the standard of right and wrong .Without it there is chaos and confusion. You can not have victory if you do not open it.
 
A soldier in battle would not go out on the battlefield and leave his rifle or grenades behind. It would be dangerous and foolish. A police officer would not leave home without his handcuffs on his belt, his pepper spray and his gun. A postman who walks door to door would not start his route without his mace to spray dogs on his route who chase him. These are his tools to protect  him from the enemy he may face each day. Likewise our enemy is Satan and he is waging a war for our souls. Through God's word we have the power to defeat the enemy.

Jeremiah 15:16 says "When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God of Heaven's Armies." Psalm 19:7 says" The law of the LORD is perfect,refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple." In Psalm 37:31 it says "The teachings of his God are in his heart. His feet do not slip." Psalm 119:11 says" Your word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you." Your assignment today is to find your Bible and read John chapter 15 and pray God would give you a hunger and thirst for his word.

Be ready and 'armed' and dangerous against the attacks of the enemy.



PRAYER: Dear Lord I love the Bible and am so thankful I live in a nation where currently I am free to carry it places and read it openly. Help me never take it for granted as I know many countries you can be jailed or killed for reading Gods' word. Thank you for the fact I own several Bibles. Help me remember to open the word of God daily in order to win victory in my daily life. In Jesus Name. Amen.

NOTE: Today while writing this today I experienced a strange vision problem and could not hardly see to type the words on the page .It is scary and made me appreciate the fact I can see and write and drive my car. Even now as I finish I am struggling to see words on the page as some are blurred. Pray for me as I feel the enemy is attacking me as he does not like what I am doing on a daily basis. If he could incapacitate me by making me not see then I could not write.He is crafty but God is greater. Hallelujah.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

ARE YOU USING YOUR ARMOR?

The armor of God is very important but it will do us no good if we do not actively 'dress' in it everyday. We are in a battle against evil forces so we have to have our spiritual armor on to defeat the enemy. No soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan would think to get up and go out without his protective vest and headgear on. Evil enemy forces who are not friendly are lurking and each warrior must be prepared daily to go out into the world and protect themselves from the bullets of the enemy.

Ephesians 6:10-17 says "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

The enemy of this world, Satan, is attacking our great land right now. It is evident in the way our own government is not even acknowledging the sanctity of marriage, human life or National Day of Prayer. We are not to necessarily be angry at mere men who are the enemies pawns but be angry at Satan and pray for the hearts of evil men and women to change and be transformed.

Each day you leave your  home  you are going onto a battlefield. Visualize the enemy waiting and hiding ready to attack you. 2 Chronicles 20:15 reminds us "and he said, "Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the LORD to you, 'Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God's."

We are not to hide in holy huddles or not go out of our  house but we are to go into the world and fight the battle and win the lost to Christ. Just remember each day to 'clothe' yourself with the armor God has provided you. The word of God, especially, is the most important piece of this armor. We will not know how to defeat the enemy or have victory unless we pick it up and read it.

Just remember, "Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world"( See 1 John 4:4).   

PRAYER: Father today I will put the armor of God on and go into the world and be prepared to fight the enemy who is at war with our very souls. Satan wants to kill and destroy but by the power of God living in me I will defeat all the darts thrown at me this day. I ask for protection from the enemies darts for my family too Lord. If any of them do not know you  or are not walking with you  or are not following you I ask that you make yourself known to them. Thanks for your protection each day Lord. I will resist the devil and he will flee from me. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Monday, March 21, 2011

SPIRITUALLY FLABBY

Are you a spiritual 'girly man' and by this I mean do you just give lip service to the word and walking with Christ or are you serious about getting closer to God and knowing him better? People can say that they want to get in shape and lose weight but talking about it will not make it happen. They have to get serious and get committed to making it part of their daily life in order to tone their muscles and lose flab. Thinking about it will not make them in shape. 2 Peter 3:18 says "But grow in spiritual strength and become better acquainted with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be all the glory and splendid honor both now and forever more." To grow in Christ we do not just lay the Bible down on a table and let it gather dust or maybe put it on our pillow at night and sleep on it as maybe some of it will soak into our brain. It takes desire, discipline and commitment just like when you work your physical body to get it in better shape.

Where do you spend your time? Those who need to lose weight and tone up should make it a daily point to spend time on a treadmill or sidewalk outside or at a gym. For those wanting to be closer to God they need to spend time in prayer and reading the Bible. Do you spend time ever reading the Bible or if you have a choice between a Christian book or a secular book do you always lean towards the secular book? Does 'People' magazine excite you more than reading the Bible and learning how to be more like Jesus? Why does it matter what actor Charlie Sheen is doing this week? Or teen idol Justin Bieber, I am sure he is  nice, but do you think more of him every day than you do things of the spirit?You get the point. 'Oprah' may be your thing or 'soap operas' and for sure neither of these will help you grow closer to the Lord and more than likely will pull you the opposite direction and become major time wasters in your day. Maybe turn off the morning shows which have just wasted two hours of your day and have added nothing of value to your life.

Just like we have muscles in our body that if we neglect them over time they become weak, unattractive and flabby so to we need to exercise our 'spiritual muscle' to we do not become weak ineffective Christians. 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to "Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth."

You have to develop good habits to get physically in shape and it has to be a priority if you expect to tone up. If it is not important then you stay flabby. If you are serious about having a closer walk with the Lord then you will do what it takes to get closer. Get up earlier to read a devotion. Tune in a Christian station on your radio to get some uplifting praise music instead of always listening to pop music or talk radio or find some good Christian teaching. The things of the world are not bad  in and of themselves, but your life as a Christian has to be different and set apart and you have to discipline yourself to doing things that give you a desire for the Lord and less desire for the world. This world is not our home. We are temporarily here.1 Peter 2:11 tells us "Dear friends, I warn you as temporary residents and foreigners to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls." This does not mean you can never go to a regular movie like 'Toy Story III' or '127 Hours' or go do something like enjoy a play or an 'open mike night' at a local coffee house. It simply means to 'order' your day to make you think of the 'things of the spirit' more. If you are trying to lose weight and get in shape you need to discipline yourself to stay away from pasta houses, fried chicken joints, donut shops, ice cream stores,  and yes places with whipped iced coffee drinks.

So in order to not be spiritually flabby you need to make it a daily priority to spend time in his word. Start today and each morning to get started since there are 31 days in a normal month, whatever day this is pick the corresponding chapter in say the book of Proverbs since it has 31 chapters and before reading stop and pray and say "Lord open my eyes to the truth you would have me to learn today from your word." The enemy, Satan , does not want you to grow closer to Christ so he will throw distractions at you. You need to resist him. James 4:7 says "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

PRAYER: I want to strengthen my 'spiritaul muscles' each day Lord. Forgive me for when I put you last in my day and sometimes forget you all together. Give me the ability to say no to things in my day that take me away from you and help me find a quiet place each day I can go be with you and hear your voice. In Jesus Name. Amen.


(NOTE: I include an appropriate praise and worship song with some of my devotions. Some of you have not realized this and have not been blessed by this music. I urge you to go where you can turn up speakers and perhaps for some you have to wait til you are home from work and do it on your own computer but do not miss the blessing of the attached song of praise which will lift your spirit.)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUXGxtYxjyg

Sunday, March 20, 2011

THE GREAT SHEPHERD

What exactly is a shepherd and what are his duties? Back in 1984-85 the first time I lived in the Phoenix, Arizona area we lived at Williams AFB which at that time was in the country a few miles drive from the city down a long road. There was the season of the year when you would see actual shepherds out herding sheep up into the mountains getting them out of the oppressive heat of the desert summer which would be  coming soon. It was neat in this modern age to see actually sheep herders, also known  as shepherds, tending to their flocks in  America. When I moved back to Phoenix in 1996 this area had been developed, Williams AFB was no longer open due to base closures and I did not see any more shepherds. Perhaps the development of the city had squeezed out the livelihood of the sheep farmers and shepherds.

A shepherd  is defined as somebody tending sheep or somebody who is responsible for caring for and guiding a group of people, especially a Christian minister. Psalm 23 is a familiar passage often associated with funeral services that speaks of the Lord being your shepherd. In this passage it says that 'he makes us lie down in green pastures'. When a shepherd gathers up his sheep he counts them and makes sure they are all there and probably has them lying in the pasture as well. The Lord cares for us like we are his sheep. Each of us is valuable to him. He tends to us and wants what is best for us. 

Matthew 18:12-14 tells us "If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost?  And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away!  In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish." The meaning of this is two fold in that he looks after all of us and secondly it is not his desire that any of us not go to heaven. But we have free will. We can choose to follow Jesus or reject him. In Isaiah 53:6 it says "All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all."

Sheep need a shepherd to guide them. The shepherd loves his sheep and cares for them. He does not lord over them but is gentle and loving. John 10:11 refers to Jesus as the 'good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep." In the Bible we humans are referred to or compared to sheep because we can not do things on our own either. We may think we can but then we get caught in the 'briarpatches' of life and need the shepherd to cut us out and rescue us.

We humans serve as shepherds to those the Lord has entrusted to us as well. Parents guide and 'shepherd' their children into adulthood til they are released to lead a life on their own without mom and dad. The parent 'shepherds' them through the thorny areas of life and through valleys and over mountains to help them grow to be strong in the Lord and a great member of society. 1 Peter 5:2-4 says in relation to this "Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away." I often think of this when leading a Bible study or prayer group that I am like a shepherd leading and guiding but not lording over them.

So are you letting the great shepherd lead and guide you? Are you following him or fighting him. He, the Lord, the great shepherd is here to tend to you and help you if only you will let him.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for leading us and guiding us and keeping us from falling over the 'clifts' of life. It is awesome to think about how much you love us and care for us. Forgive  me when I have tried to do it my own way and not seek your guidance. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

SHHHH! ! WATCH WHAT YOU SAY!!

It is no surprise that words can bless, build up, motivate and encourage or they can aggravate, hurt people, and start fights and wars. We need to be careful the choice of our words and when to speak. It is not necessary to always be talking. When you  open your mouth at the wrong time and say something stupid and it is too late to take it back. Sometimes just talking for the sake of talking can backfire on us. Speaking out of nervousness or because there is too much silence is another problem where meaningless words can get you into trouble or make you look silly. Sometimes is it OK to just be quiet and be still. Psalm 46:10 says,"Be still, and know that I am God." It is OK to just sit quietly sometimes.  It is OK not to talk.

In Christian circles it is widely known that James Chapter 3 is about the dangers of the tongue but there is so much more in God's word about the way we talk and the words we use. Proverbs 10:8 says, "The wise in heart accept commandments, but a chattering fool will fall." Wow a chattering fool!! I do not want that to be me. No one wants to be called a 'chattering fool". Proverbs 15:28 says "The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things." It is wise to think before you speak and requires discipline in order to do that. Proverbs 18:21 says, "Words kill, words give life;  they're either poison or fruit—you choose." This really hits the nail on the head when it comes to a word picture. Sometimes  in trying to make a good impression on people we may worry about what we are going to say. It is better to relax and ask God to 'order' the conversation and let you say and do the right things. Luke 12:12 tells us that "for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said."  If your mouth causes you to stumble then pray and ask God to help you to say the right things and to let your mouth be a source of joy and blessing to others.

One of the fruits of the spirit is 'self control' and that would be controlling your tongue and what you say as well. Proverbs 13:17 tells us "An unreliable messenger stumbles into trouble, but a reliable messenger brings healing." Once again you see the value of a good word or a bad word. Our conversation can make us or break us." A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." (Proverbs 25:11).In Proverbs 18:4 it says ,"The words of a man's mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook."

Proverbs 10:19 is one of the best word pictures yet and it says "Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.". Wow there you have it. Just keep quiet! Simple as that. It is easy to talk too much and say things we do not mean and then have to spend lots of time apologizing and asking forgiveness. The "Life is Good' company has a motto which says "Do what you like and like what you do". Well I say that we should 'say what  you mean, mean what you say.' Be careful with that mouth. It can be a weapon and really hurt or it can be an instrument of blessing. Lets' choose to be wise and practice using it for blessing.

Ephesians 4:29 tells us "Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." Start this weekend off by trying to make and effort to be aware of what you are saying and whether it is necessary or not. God can help you. Choose your words wisely. Go out and bless someone today by what you say.


PRAYER: Dear Lord give me the ability to choose my words wisely. Help me never hurt anyone by what I say. Help me be kind and loving with my words and cause pain by what I say. Help me not be a 'chattering fool." In Jesus Name. Amen.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I'M SCARED

If you dwell on the news too long you can become entirely indwelt with a spirit of fear for everything that is going on in the world. It seems there is never any good news. A television network needs to be created that will only report happy things. Why do people get excited hearing about awful stuff and then dwell on it and get scared and paralyzed with fear? Take the latest thing with the disastrous earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant disaster in Japan.

The news is making people scared in the United States that maybe we should be worried about radiation. First it was the fear that California was going to be washed away by huge ocean waves. But if it is not that news story it is something else. Daily we are bombarded by fear. If a plane crash occurs then perhaps we should not fly. If a building falls down perhaps we should never go in the top floor of a skyscraper or ride on an elevator. A roller coaster jumps the track at an amusement park so I guess maybe my love of coasters needs to stop since that could happen to me.

Now some fears may be normal when you are talking about wanting to jump from an airplane, which in fact I am pondering and have pondered since 1978. I mean you jump from a plane at thousands of feet, what if your parachute does not open? But the point is you can not live your life paralyzed and incapacitated by the fear of the unknown or what ifs.  Your life would be lived in a bubble if you worried that something bad was going to happen all the time. You may as well get in a secluded sound proof room and just sit in there for the rest of your life. Keep the TV off as if  you watch it then more fear will be put out over the nightly news.

I am copying the entire Psalm 91 for you to read and meditate upon in your quiet time. Do not sit around and worry and fret and think the sky is always falling. God is in control and he will take care of you. This is not to say nothing bad ever will  happen cause it will and it does. But God does not want us fixated on the horrible tragedies of life. He wants you to live your life free from fear. Perhaps a good thing to do would be to not watch the news and take a 'fear break'.

Psalm 91:1-16 reads as follows " Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”  Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.  If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling,no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra;  you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him  and show him my salvation.”

PRAYER: Lord calm my heart. Day after day we are bombarded by terror in our world. It is enough to make us crazy if we dwell on it. Help me Lord know you are watching over me  and help me to lean on you and trust you. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

PLANS, PLANS, AND MORE PLANS

 
Most people have goals, purposes and dreams in life. As a Christian we know that God has a plan for  us and wherever we go it is ultimately because that is where he wants us to serve him. If we forget that, we can become discouraged and depressed over the outcome of a job, move or any thing to do with or career. The Lord has a plan and purpose for his followers to do his kingdom work and he will use you where he places you. You only need to trust him. Let him be in the drivers seat.
 
Today my younger son will find out where he will be spending the next four years of his life in medical residency in an ER program so it is a nerve racking day waiting for 'the envelope please' at the 'Match Day'  ceremony at the Medical School he attends. Medical schools throughout the country today have the same ceremony and it is a big deal. This is the time he finds out if he made a 'match' with one of his top choices of schools somewhere in the United States he has interviewed with the past 5 months. Hopefully and prayerfully it will be one of his top four choices, but if not, then there must a reason. It is sometimes hard to not see that at first. As his parents of course, my husband and I want him to get his favorite place so we pray for him to get one of his top four also but also pray for Gods' will and for the Lord to prepare a place for him and use him where he sends him.
 
Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Proverbs 16:33 says "We toss the dice, but it is the Lord who controls its decision." We know that he is working out all things for our good ultimately as it says in Romans 8:28.
 
There may be a few desert experiences but if so then he is training you and preparing you for something greater and eventually you will be back on the 'mountaintop." Know too that he will take care of your needs. (See Philippians 4:19). Thank him for good and thank him for the other not so good stuff too.
 
When I was a single 2nd Lieutenant in the Army living in Pacific Grove, California I had a poster on my apartment wall that had Ephesians 3:20 on it. It reads, "Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of- infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes." What that says to me is that God is in control and he knows what he is doing. Sometimes you may not understand why things happen the way they do but you look back and see the reason and at times may refer to these detours,setbacks or disappointments as 'God things" because he knew best. Philippians 1:6 says that "I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns."
 
We are not here on earth simply to take up space and buy and sell and exist but we are here to be a representative for the Lord and work to help others know him too. Once you have asked Christ to be Lord of your life your desires change and you want to serve him. Disappointments may come but God can get you through them. Commit your life to the Lord and just say "Lord Jesus you place me where I can best be used to serve you' and then trust him with the outcome.
 
Exodus 23:20 says "See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared."
 
Proverbs 3:5-6 are two of my favorite Bible verses which say "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths." In Psalm 37:4 it reads "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart". Do you delight in the Lord?  Do you say 'here I am Lord send me?"(See Isaiah 6:8). God can perform a miracle and he can put you in some great places in life. Just know he holds the future in his hand.
 
PRAYER: Lord help me to trust you each and every day. There may be times I do not understand why something is the way it is so help me Lord to not gripe and complain when things seemingly do not turn out a certain way. Lord I want to yield to you and your purposes in my life. In Jesus Name. Amen.
 
(NOTE: Song below sort of goes hand in hand with my devotion. Be blessed as you listen to it. )
 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

LET IT GO ALREADY,OK?

Is there something or someone troubling you to the point you are almost fixated on it and can not move on? Constant thoughts swirl in your head almost making you feel obsessed and out of control. Maybe you do not understand the 'whys' and just keep tossing stuff over and over in your brain trying to figure it out.

Jesus wants you to be set free from this. You can not have victory in your life if you are tormented by 'what if' type thoughts and wondering why someone has reacted to  you in a certain way or is rejecting you. You must get out of that tormented rut and live for the Lord and throw off any weight that holds you back. Bad thoughts can eat away at us making us reason things through and dwell on them. This does nothing but cause mental anguish and torment and keeps you from being peaceful or having a victorious Christian life. In Hebrews 12:1 is says "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." I am a runner and it certainly would be difficult to run for training or in a race with a sack of flour or rocks on my back. That is what we do in our Christian walk when we hang on to things we can do nothing about. The enemy knows our weak points and will keep us in torment by wanting us to figure things out on our own and not trust in Jesus.

You will be disabled spiritually if you keep dragging around a load of worry, hurt, confusion, pain and constantly mull and fret over things in your past. Release these past things to the Lord. They are gone and over. Learn from them. It is time to pick up and move on. Forget the past and its' troubles and look forward to the joys of tomorrow. In Philippians 3:13-14 it tells us "Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Do what it says, forget it and 'strain' or move forward to tomorrow with it hopes and dreams. You can not change the past but can learn from it. God has many good things in store for you! Release that burden to the Lord and bury it if it is holding you back.

Perhaps a friend offended you and hurt you and you do not understand why. Maybe you are the one who messed up. Whatever it was, thinking about it only makes the wound fester and not heal. It is like picking a scab over and over. Put the 'band aid of forgiveness' on it and let it heal. Reasoning about it over and over is Satans' plan, not Gods' so give it to the Lord and bury it in his sea of forgetfulness and put up a 'no fishing' sign. End of story.

You have to choose to move on to have victory. The thoughts may come back but you take them captive. Isaiah 43:2 says "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,  they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;  the flames will not set you ablaze." Do not allow wrong thoughts and wrong thinking to come into your head. It takes discipline to do this. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 tells us "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." So  you see the battle in your mind is caused by the enemy who wants to keep you defeated and pitifully powerless. Break this stronghold in your life with the power from the Holy Spirit. Satan will be the one to continually want you to 'stew' over things and obsess. This is a stronghold over you and you can defeat it with Jesus help and thinking on the right things. Philippians 4:8 tells us to 'think on good things". Read the entire verse in your quiet time today.

Healing in this area will not come overnight. It takes practice to defeat the enemy who is causing you to continually not be able to let things go. Ask God to help you discipline your mind and thoughts. Stay in the word of God and pray. You are powerless without Jesus healing power to get you through this. Just audibly tell Satan to get his lousy stinking hands off of you because you are a child of the living king and are victorious in him!

There is victory in Jesus!

PRAYER: This is the day the Lord has made. I thank you for all the blessings in my life Lord. Help me Lord as I seek to let go of hurts and wounds and focus on you. I know my redeemer lives and I know I can defeat this stronghold in my life. In Jesus Mighty Name, Amen!

Monday, March 14, 2011

THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT

We all know about the Ten Commandments found in Exodus Chapter 20 but do you know what the greatest commandment is? In Matthew 22:36-40 it says "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  So that about puts it in a concise little nutshell.

Many verses dealing with love also say things like 'how can you say you love God and hate your brother?' 1 John 4:20 tells us "If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen." Oh my gosh when we are angry at someone then what? We have to ask God to change our hearts and try to love people like God loves them no matter how mean or evil they are. It is only through the 'love of Jesus' that some are even capable of being able to love. Hate is a pretty strong word but if you are treating someone poorly and not in a Christlike manner that may not exactly be hate but it is sure not love is it?

It is only with the power of the Holy Spirit that we can love certain people. Take rulers who are evil and hurting the people of their land for instance. It is hard when a tyrant tries to bully and control the people with a corrupt government. Another example is someone who has hurt you either emotionally or physically. Yes another situation would be someone trying to sue you over something. How are you possibly able to love these people? Proverbs 24:17 says "Do not rejoice when your enemy meets trouble. Let there be no gladness when he falls-for the Lord may be displeased with you and stop punishing him." Let God handle the judgment of others. Even many marriages could have been saved it God's love would have been practiced on a regular basis.

In the recent motion picture release of 'The Grace Card' the ultimate show of forgiveness and love was displayed when a man was able to forgive someone who years before had struck and killed his young son with a car during a police chase. How much better off we would be if we could truly forgive and love. We may put some trial lawyers out of business. Proverbs 25:21-22 tells us "if our enemy is hungry, give him food! If he is thirsty, give him something to drink! This will make him feel ashamed of himself, and God will reward you." http://www.thegracecardmovie.com/

John 13:35 says "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." Do you have the love of God in your heart? Is there anyone you hold a grudge against or harbor resentment or ill feelings? I know in taking communion you do not hear the scripture read very much but it tells us we are not to be taking communion if we have divisions among us. (See 1 Corinthian 11:17-33).I interpret this to mean by a division any ill will towards someone. How many take communion and do not even know these verses about the Lords' Supper even exist?

Love is opposite of what Satan wants. The enemy wants division, hatred, anger, bitterness, wrath, destruction and lies. Pretty much all people have heard of the 'love chapter' in the Bible that being 1 Corinthians 13. It is read at lots of weddings. But do we do what it says?An excerpt in verses 4-7 says "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

The challenge is to live like Christ lives and love like Christ loves. Sometimes you may not feel like loving but you have to choose to love. Some marriages break up because someone says they do not 'feel' in love. It is not all about feelings. It is about a decision to 'just do it", love that is.Sometimes when you do not feel like loving and do it anyway the true love feelings will happen. Why not give it a try?

Is there someone you need to practice loving and being kind too? Ask God to show you  who that is and pray for having an attitude like the Lord towards these people who humanly you may be having a hard time showing love to. If you do it long enough you may just find the love will be there when you least expect it.

PRAYER: Lord I thank you for your supernatural love. Help me to have love in my heart for the unlovable. I know you do not want us to harbor bad feelings in our heart. You are love and we are to be like you. Sometimes it is really hard so I need your help. In Jesus Name. Amen.


(NOTE:I sent 15 March devotion out early since I have an early flight in the morning and will not be on the computer. Blessings to all who read this. )

This devotion is also found on http://www.godslemonadestand.blogspot.com/

JESUS, OTHERS, MYSELF

Do you have the joy of Jesus in your heart? If not why not? JOY equals Jesus 1st, Others 2nd, Yourself last. That is not the worlds' plan. The world says 'take care of me first' and go for the gusto. It goes against the grain of a self saturated society to put yourself behind other people. When you do things for other people you just feel better. Taking care of number one leads to a selfish unfulfilled life.This is not to say you should never have fun but do not let your life be consumed with me, me, me.

In 1 Peter 1:8 it says, "You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy." Nehemiah 8:10 tells us "the joy of the Lord is my strength."

In telling of the Christmas story in Luke 2:10 it reads "But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people." Jesus was that great joy.

Are you joyful? How do you get that way? Definitions of joy are  feelings of great happiness or pleasure, especially of an elevated or spiritual kind ,something that brings happiness, or to enjoy and delight in something. What do you delight in?

Sometimes a person may need a 'heart transplant' in order to have the kind of joy mentioned in God's word and that is the joy unspeakable and full of glory. By this I mean simply asking Jesus to be Lord of your life and stop doing things your own way and ask God to be on the throne and in the drivers seat. Your heart will be changed and your life will be changed. Ezekiel 36:26 in the Old Testament says "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."

As you go about your day today try to find ways you can bring joy into someones life. "Be Jesus" to those he places in your path. Let your joy be overflowing. Some of you may not humanly feel you have much to be joyful about but remember it is the enemy who comes in and tries to get your down, depressed and defeated. Do not allow him to do this. Say 'Satan in the name of Jesus I will  not listen to your lies and I will walk victorious today with Jesus and follow him'. Thinking about others and helping others sometimes takes your mind off your own problems and eventually that despair will be replaced with joy.

PRAYER: Give us this day Lord a heart to want to serve you through serving those around us. Lift us from the pit of despair and hopelessness and help us place our trust and hope only in you. We thank you for the joy that comes only from you Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGyo8BZ8T0s

Sunday, March 13, 2011

MISCOMMUNICATION

There can never be enough written about the mouth, the pen, the email keyboard and communication. Sometimes we may mean for something to come out sounding one way when it is misunderstood or miscommunicated. This can happen lots these days of texting and emailing. The text may not have been 'spell checked' and thus comes up totally different than it's writers' intent. But these miscommunications can hurt or wound people depending on how they handle rejection.  We say things, often times without thinking, and wound others. We never meant to hurt anyone but it just happens.  It depends on how you were raised and how you handle being left out and things like that.
God understands. He is our security. We can run to him when we have messed up and say "lord help me, there I did it again. I wounded someone and did not mean to." If we have been hurt by someone who said the wrong thing we have to learn to forgive even if they did not seek forgiveness, blow it off, and move on.
Words,emails, and text messages can come out confusing, hurtful, braggy, sarcastic but on the positive side they can be encouraging, loving,helpful, kind, and motivating. We just need to be aware of what we are writing or saying and how it will be perceived by the hearers or receivers. Ephesians 4:29 tells us to " do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
Psalm 19:14 says 'May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight oh Lord my rock and my redeemer."
PRAYER: Help me this day and every day to be careful what I say and how I say it. Forgive me if I have unknowingly hurt anyone with my words and help me to forgive others who have  hurt me. in Jesus name, amen!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

GOD AND COUNTRY

The Bible has much to say about freedom and leaders.Yes my friend, 'politics' are in the Bible. God has particularly blessed these United States of America simply because of the way we were founded. Psalm 33:12 tells us that "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." Forces come in and try to manipulate minds and rewrite history to take out any reference to it being a "Christian nation' but in fact that was the founding fathers intent. There will always be evil trying to take away good and it will come in deceptive ways to trick us. That is why we need to be on our guard. Isaiah 5:20 tells us "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness,who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." Peoples' minds can be deceived and blinded and they can start believing lies. In Hitlers' day minds were manipulated through 'reeduation camps' among other things, and everything they heard was being controlled by the government. If you keep hearing something over and over you believe it and then the enemy creeps in and destruction begins. The devil is the 'father of lies". (See John 8:44). The enemy does not like truth or freedom.

If we do not follow God's ways he will judge us. Whether we want to believe it or not we are long overdue this judgment. Look at what is happening in our land today. Our own government says it is OK for two men or two women to marry each other. My Bible does not say that. Hebrews 13:4 says "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." There is no room in this verse for political correctness. If we do not follow God's laws then naturally we may think anything goes. It is sort of difficult for two men to be able to procreate as was intended by God. Genesis 1:27-28 clearly states what he wanted man and woman to do when it says "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

Deuteronomy 28:1-3 says "If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. " Read the entire chapter for some real enlightenment. It will only take you about 5 minutes. There are laws to follow and if they are not followed judgement will come. Proverbs 14:34 tells us "Godliness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people." Proverbs 11:11 says "The good influence of godly citizens causes a city to prosper, but the moral decay of the wicked drives it downhill." Further in Proverbs 29:18 says "Where there is ignorance of God, crime runs wild, but what a wonderful thing it is for a nation to know and keep his laws."

What are you doing to help save this land from destruction? We can not keep going like we are and expect God to keep blessing us. If we forget God and bow to other gods it will not be long before our nation will be destroyed. You can not keep trying to 'play god' and expect to survive as a nation. We are to pray for our leaders but be on guard for tyrants who try to manipulate us and control us for their own good. God allows leaders to be elected but that does not necessarily mean they are good. The Lord has his purposes and plans in all things he allows to happen. Proverbs 16:12 says "It is a horrible thing for a king to do evil. His right to rule depends upon his fairness." In Proverbs 28:15-16 it says "A wicked ruler is as dangerous to the poor as a lion or bear attacking them. Only a stupid prince will oppress his people, but a king will have a long reign if he hates dishonesty and bribes." And Proverbs 29:2 says "with good men in authority the people rejoice but with the wicked in power, they groan."

God is loving and patient but we can not keep ignoring his voice. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says' ...we are to humble ourselves and pray and seek his face and he will hear from heaven and heal our land." If we are going about our day and acting like nothing is wrong then beware. 2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us "Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God." He can even blind the mind of some believers too if they listen to deceiving spirits and wrong voices. That is why it is important to stay in God's word daily and find a Bible teaching church that does not pick and choose which parts of the Bible to believe and say the other parts are not 'with the times'.

Romans 1:24-32 tells us what happens when we fail to listen to God and go our own way.  "Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.  Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.  Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips,  slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;  they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them."

Keep your mind focused on God by staying in his word and pray for this land on a daily basis and its' leaders. God does hear and he does care.

(For help in praying for the leaders and this country go to http://www.presidentialprayerteam.org/.)


PRAYER: Dear Lord we need you. I pray for men and women who love you to wake up from slumber and see the path of destruction we are on in this nation if we do not speak up for the truth and get on our knees and pray. Wake us up and 'fire us up" to protect the freedoms we enjoy in America. Thank you for blessing us Lord. In Jesus Name. Amen.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLSKSlJ0-2s

Friday, March 11, 2011

GOD IS THERE WHEN THE WORLD RUNS OUT ON YOU

When we have upsets in life and we feel all hope is lost  God is still there. He has not gone anywhere. God does not care if you are moody or depressed or crying. When you feel hopeless, God can restore your hope. He has not abandoned us. Matthew 28:20 tells us "he is with us even to the end of the world." Psalm 146:3 says "Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save."  When you are overwhelmed he can give you peace. The world today has much to make us fret but we are to trust God has a plan and pray.

People can reject us, hurt us, ignore us and disappoint us but God is always there for us too. When we trust in man sometimes man can betray us or let us down. God would never let us down. He is our ultimate friend. Hebrews 13:5-6 tells us " Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. So we say with confidence,The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”"

When the world around us is crumbling, God is still there. We want to depend on people and even with all their best intentions people may not be there for us 100%. "When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you." (Deuteronomy 20:1).

Jesus friends ran out on him too and denied they knew him. He was despised and rejected. You may walk through a valley alone but God will eventually have you back on the mountaintop if you only trust him. Psalm 23:4 says "Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.".

"Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea". (Psalm 46:2). Job 13:15 says " Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face."

PRAYER: I am so thankful Lord that you are the almighty one, maker of heaven and earth and our ultimate friend. Thanks for being here for us 24-7 and never tiring of our companionship. With your help I can make it through tough times. In Jesus name, amen!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y83-vMeWc9E

Thursday, March 10, 2011

THANKFUL, YOU BETCHA!!

I have been to several weddings in the past three years and only about half the brides wrote me a thank you note after the wedding.  The ones I did get made me smile and they came pretty quickly after the wedding. Seems like to some this act of appreciation is not necessary or important. I mean months go by and no thank you notes arrive. It is sad to me apparently in some of these families courtesy and etiquette were not emphasized nor was a grateful spirit. I am not upset at these young couples for forgetting me but when a person goes out of their way to buy a costly gift you would hope that you would get an acknowledgment. You sort of feel used in a way. You may have to put this out of your mind or it can make you angry. Now granted you do not give gifts just to get thanked but it should be common courtesy for the recipient to show their gratitude by writing a hand written note and sticking it in the mail. You should never use the excuse of being too busy to write. And even with email, people should still use a stamp and snail mail for some things just as a matter of courtesy. It is still there in etiquette books as the right thing to do.
The  point in this devotion is not to guilt anyone but to make you think about what you do when you get a gift. Do you have a thankful heart  or an unthankful heart that could care less? Is your heart cold and hard or do you have a grateful spirit and show it? If you are not thankful ask yourself why not. Do you say thanks to people when they do acts of kindness to or for you? Perhaps the key is to think less of self and your wants and more of other people. Delight yourself in the Lord and look for ways to say thanks.

How do you think God feels when we do not say thanks to him for all the gifts and blessings he bestows on us? Do we act like bratty ungrateful children or do we stop and say "thank you Lord!" Do we just take his gifts for granted too?
Many today feel like we are living in the last days just because of things going on around us. In 2 Timothy 3:1-5 it says "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them." Maybe in this generation of busyness, twittering, texting, face booking, and constant motion there is not time for this vital skill. I urge parents of young children reading this to teach their children to be grateful by not only saying thanks with a grateful heart but by writing notes to people who have given them gifts. It should never go out of style,
In Moms in Touch we have the four steps of prayer and the 3rd step is called 'thanksgiving' time. It is during this time we specifically concentrate on thanking God to answers to our prayers from the previous weeks. It is a time to take the focus off self and put it on to the Lord and all his goodness to us. (http://www.momsintouch.org/). My mom taught me to be thankful and I taught my sons, but this ministry emphasizes it in our spiritual life.

What about you? Do you have a grateful heart and show it or are you lazy about sitting down and writing out a note of thanks for things people give to you? It makes the person feel appreciated in a huge way when you do this. It could even be a thank you for an act of kindness too. Get in the habit of being thankful.
I suggest sitting down and writing out things that you're thankful for to get your mind focused in that area. This is a good mental practice to recall just all the wonderful blessings we have. Never get to the point in life where you act ungrateful. Even job seekers need to get in a habit of writing thank you notes after an interview. You will stand out among the other candidates when you do this simple act.

Colossians 3:15 says " Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Colossians 4:2 tells us to "Devote ourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." Psalm 95:2 says to "come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song."
PRAYER: Thank you Jesus for my friends and family. Thanks for the times people give me nice gifts. Help me never to forget to write a note of thanks. Give me a grateful heart. In Jesus name amen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1WmzRxBGFY&tracker=False

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

EASTER IS UPON US

 Yesterday was considered 'Fat Tuesday' or the celebration of Mardi Gras. To most this is one big spring break drunken party but it is supposed to be the celebration before the Lenten season begins, 40 days prior to Easter Sunday. This 'Fat Tuesday' is not exactly what I would recommend followers of Christ do as it is a way to eat like a glutton, drink  alcohol and do all you want before having to give up stuff for lent. So a wild party atmosphere leads up to Ash Wednesday. Kind of bizarre where pagan and spiritual things are intermingled. Confusing to say the least.
The official definition of lent when I googled it was 'the period before Easter in Christian calendar: the period of 40 weekdays before Easter observed in some Christian churches as a period of prayer, penance, fasting, and self-denial."

In the Catholic church this is  a very important day as today is Ash Wednesday is observed. From Ash Wednesday to Easter, some put ashes on their foreheads and observe a period of  “fasting” ,abstaining from certain foods or physical pleasures, for 40 days. As I understand it this is done to imitate Jesus Christ’s 40-day fast in the wilderness (See Matthew 4:1-2). In addition to food some may give up smoking, eating chocolate, chewing gum, over eating, cussing or some other vice. People vow to give up anything, as long as it prepares them for Easter.  We need to be careful to not let ceremonies and religious activities take the place of a real relationship with our Lord and savior Jesus. In Amos 5:21 it says ""I hate all your show and pretense--the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies." I see this as saying, have your ceremonies and rituals but do not let them take the place of Christ in your heart.
My own opinion is it would be good to fast other times as well as it is commanded in the Bible and not just at Easter. We should pray, give and fast.(See Matthew Chapter 6). It seems you hear more of giving and praying than fasting. Fasting is harder especially if it involves food and letting your stomach growl for a while. We give up food to focus on God. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 in regards to praying for our nation it speaks of humbling yourself and in some translations this means to fast. It reads "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 
Lent  could be a time of looking at your life and changing things that are not pleasing to God. Taking a spiritual inventory of sorts. Perhaps fasting is part of that discipline. Matthew 17:21 says ""But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."We can choose to fast to accomplish certain purposes in life.

Now when it comes to Easter and getting all spiritual this time of year why not be spiritual all year long and not wait until Easter season?  God wants our obedience and love all year long. Don't just be a 'lily Christian' as an Air Force Chaplain I know calls the droves of people who come out of the woodwork at Easter. Give Jesus a prominent place in your life 365 days a year. It is great to celebrate his resurrection and it is one of my favorite Christian holidays but let Easter continue in your hearts all year long.

So remember Easter is about celebrating Jesus. Let's skip the bunnies and focus on God and everlasting life.

PRAYER: This is a special time of year Lord when we focus on your death and resurrection. We thank you for the everlasting life we have when we accept you as our Lord and savior. Show us Lord what in our lives we need to set aside in order to get closer to you.

NOTE: In conjunction with the Lenten season there is  pro life movement called "40 Days for Life". I have included a link for it below.

http://40daysforlife.com/blog/?p=1519

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

ROADBLOCK AHEAD

A roadblock sign is one we do not like to see on our daily journey out on the highway. It usually means long delays or driving out of our way thus wasting lots of time. There are roadblocks in life too but it is how we deal with them that matters. Some of life's roadblocks are illnesses, death, loss of job, end of a marriage, loss of property, financial problems, career changes, school problems, life threatening accidents and a myriad of other things. When things happen at the time they do not seem so good but later on down the road we can see what purpose there was in them.
 
God can work through all situations. Things will work out if we only have faith. What can appear bad now can have a purpose. Romans 8:28 says "all things work together for the good to those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose." Sometimes roadblocks occur so that  something else can happen in your life. There is a saying 'if God closes a door he opens a window." It often does not seem pleasant when we are in the middle of something but perseverance is what is needed. There have been stories about those who have been flat on their back after an accident then realized how precious their life was and when they were back on their feet vowed to serve the Lord. You sometimes do not realize how precious something or someone is til you nearly lose it. Often a bad thing turns into a ministry to serve others. Bible teacher Joyce Meyers' life is filled with a horrible past but God is using it to reach others and win many to Christ.
 
It is hard to talk about death as a roadblock, it is more of just a painful experience that the Lord can help you through. He does not cause the person to die but he can sustain you through the grief. It is more of a process to work through this but death is part of life and it will come to everyone. The saddest ones are when babies, children, or young people die. Although the Lord can work things through these situations too, that is not what you say to a grieving family member. Just give them a hug. No one can really explain these deaths so we only have to trust God will sustain them through the grief.
 
Sometimes a roadblock will cause you to take a different path in life that perhaps will be a better one. A career change to something more suited for the person perhaps.
 
John 11:4 is an interesting Bible verse. It reads "When he heard this, Jesus said, This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." I am not God so can not explain this verse but only to say, you must have faith God has a bigger plan. Jeremiah 29:11-12 says " For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."  Revelation 3:8 says "I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name" . So God will open some doors and shut others. The way to look at set backs is to consider them 'God things" for they most likely lead to a plan he has for your life if you can only hang on and trust him.
 
PRAYER: This is the day you have made Lord and we shall rejoice and be glad in it. When a roadblock comes my way teach me how to react so that I get through it smoothly without blaming you or complaining. Help me to trust that you know the big picture and we know that things will work out. We thank you for that. In Jesus Name. Amen!

Monday, March 7, 2011

ABIDE IN GOD

Going to church on Sunday is great and we should all desire to go and pray for an open mind to hear the message of God from the minister, priest or rabbi. It is a command to go to church on Sunday according to Exodus 20:8. It is not a matter of punching a ticket and saying "been there, done that, got my tee shirt" so to speak but it should be life changing and life impacting. The enemy will think of ways to get you distracted on Sunday so you miss that one hour of fellowship. It should be something you look forward to and want to do!

Learning about God and desiring God should not end at noon on Sunday. Being a Christian should be an 'abiding' lifestyle. You should want to learn more and you should want to grow. If you are not hungry for the things of God why aren't you? Perhaps you need to attend a church that gets you excited about Jesus. Jesus is not boring. He wants you to live fulfilled. Sometimes you might have to change churches if you feel you are not where you get excited to be a follower of Christ. For some that may be hard since they feel obligated to attend a certain denomination only because their family did. Newsflash! God is not a Presbyterian, a Methodist, a Catholic,an Episcopalian, a Church of Christ member, a Lutheran, member of the Assembly of God  or a Baptist to name a few. Let's all just name the name of Jesus and walk in unity as brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to get into the word on a daily basis and follow it. Jesus is the one to be liftted up, not a certain denomination.

John 15:4-7 says " Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."

Nehemiah 8:10 tells us "the joy of the Lord is your strength." Are you joyful? Do you have the joy of Jesus in your heart? Being a Christian should be a joyful thing. Are you dragged down by things that keep you from focusing on the good things God has for you? 1 Peter 5:7 says to " Cast all your care on him for he cares for you." Say 'here it is Lord according to your word I am giving this problem over to you and asking for your peace to enter my heart.' God can lift you up and restore you and then it will be easier for you to abide daily with him.

So today I challenge you to search your heart and see if there is any wicked way in it and if you have not already asked Jesus to be Lord of your life invite him in right now.

PRAYER: Lord I thank you that this is another day of life you have given me to be a light for you in the world around me. I need help sometimes getting into the word of God so I ask you help me get rid of distractions that are keeping me away from wanting to spend time and 'abide' with you. I want to get closer to you Lord and I know it is important in order to defeat the lies of the enemy. Forgive me of anything I have done that has separated me from you Lord. I want to walk with you with a clean and perfect heart. In Jesus Name. Amen!