Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rest In The Storm I can remember a time when I would be terrified of the storms. If there was a storm come up during the night, you could bet I would not sleep a wink that night. I would be up and listening to every crack of thunder and watching for every lightning strike with fear. Needless to say, I spent quite a few restless nights. Once I accepted the Lord as my savior and became a born again believer, the storms seem to bother me less and less. Then the more time I spent in His word and reading and learning of His peace and His rest, the less afraid I became. Faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God. My faith was built by staying in His word and spending one on one time with Jesus. When we spend quality time with the Lord, we will get to know Him on a more intimate level. We become best friends. Then when fear over something tries to creep up on us, we will quickly recall what our best Friend told us in His word. 2 Timothy 1 v 7....For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind..... We see here that not only did God not give us a spirit of fear, but He did give us power, the same power that works in Jesus Christ works in us. So when Jesus said "Peace be still" in the story of Him and the disciples in the boat in the storm, the winds ceased and the waves calmed. That same power works in us. He also says He gave us a sound mind. A sound mind has no fear, but instead has faith. Where faith is present, fear is absent. Mark 4 v 39...Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm..... While reading today in one of my daily devotionals there was the story of the passover. The writer made the comment that there were probably several who spent a sleepless night that night listening to the screams of the ones whom the angel of death did not passover, while on the other hand there were those whose faith in the blood sprinkled over their door posts slept very peaceful that night with no fear. We can put our faith in the blood of the Risen Lamb, Jesus Christ. When we place our faith in Him fear will not be present. The writer also made this comment, when we see Jesus in His grace, He sees us in our faith. So we need to take our eyes off of ourselves and look upon His grace and then He can see us in our faith. In other words we have to quit trying to work for our healing, work for our salvation, work for our prosperity, work to cast out our fear, and instead put our focus on Him and His grace, and then our faith will be built up and leave no place for fear. AMEN! Alot of times people miss out on their healing, not because they didn't believe the word of God, but because they were so busy looking at their faith instead of His grace. When storms rise up in our lives, in our health, our finances, our relationships, our faith may not be so strong as when we are feeling great and walking in prosperity. Why? Because we tend to get our eyes off of Jesus and on ourselves and then we tend to doubt whether or not our faith is great enough to get us through. Our circumstances, our pain, our heartbreak may be causing us to doubt whether or not we will be healed. Once we quit trying to work to accomplish what He says in His word He has already accomplished for us and focus on Him and His grace and His finished work on the cross, then and only then will we see our storms cease. There is no storm to big for God to handle. Jesus works in the power of God the Father, and He tells us that He left us with the same power here on earth. John 14 v 11-14..."Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it"...... As we go through our storms, instead of looking at our circumstances, we give the glory to God and praise the Lord Jesus for His finished work on the cross. It is not of our own power that we cast out our fear but the power of the Lord Jesus working through us. See yourself as the disciple Jesus loved. See yourself as God's beloved sons and daughters. See yourself as God Himself sees you, free of sin and full of His Son. See your storms defeated on the cross in Christ Jesus. See yourself resting peacefully in Him through the storm. How do we see ourself like God sees us? STAY IN HIS WORD!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Pressure Is Off

WOW, what a revelation of knowledge I received this morning while studying and reading my daily devotional. The pressure has been taken off of me and you. We no longer have to believe whether or not our faith is sufficient to be healed. Mark 9 v 23...Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes"....... This scripture is not telling us if we can have enough faith to believe that we are healed, but can we have enough faith to believe in Him who is doing the healing, that He can do all things. My devotional said it like this, Jesus' faith never wavers, His faith is always the same. The question is do we have faith in Him? Now doesn't that take the pressure off? What a relief. To me, it was like releasing the knob on a pressure cooker and taking off the pressure. What a revelation! We do not have to beat ourselves up any longer as to whether or not we can be healed in our bodies or our finances or our relationships, etc. We just have to believe that He is capable of healing us in every area of our lives. Not only capable but willing. Another beautiful scripture I read this morning while watching one of my favorite teachers was this. Jer. 32 v 40-41....And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and all My soul..... Another WOW moment for me. God is telling us in this scripture that He will not only promise to do us good forever, but that He will rejoice in doing so, and do it with all His heart and all His soul. Now, I don't know about you, but for God to say that He is going to make me a promise that can never be broken to do me good, and not just good, but with ALL OF HIS HEART AND SOUL! That makes me want to shout and praise His name. That is a promise we can stand on forever. So when you hear people say things like "oh it must be God's will for someone to perish, or that hurricane or earthquake that killed all those people was an act of God" then you know that they do not know the same God we know. His word tells us clearly that He not only wants to, but made a promise to us to do us good, not harm or evil. John 10 v 10...."the thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly"....... Does that sound like He wants you sick, or in poverty? No, He said, He came that you may have life, and that you may have it more abundantly. In other words you shall not lack in any area when He is living in you. AMEN! So let's recap on what we have learned here. God says He promises to always do us good, and that we do not have to lack in any area, (health, finances, etc). And the best part is this, that the pressure is taken off of us, as to whether or not we have enough faith for these things. The pressure was applied to the cross on Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior and when He conquered the cross, He finished the work for us. Now, here is our part, Do we believe that He is Who He says He is, and can He do all He says He can do? In other words, do we have enough faith to believe in Him? Where can we find more about this God who loves us unconditionally and without condemnation, and Who promises to always give us good? STAY IN HIS WORD!

Recession Is Not For Us

As Christians we learn from God in His word that He will supply all of our needs. One verse that everyone loves to memorize and quote is found in Philippians chapter 4. Phil. 4 v 19....and my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus...... However a lot of times these same Christians are talking about how bad the economy is and how they can't afford this or that. It is like when you quote that scripture and then say the latter you are talking out of both sides of your mouth. When we do this we are being what the word calls double minded. In other words it sounds as if we can't make up our mind if we are blessed or if we are headed for poverty. God says that as a child of His, all blessings are ours. The problem is not with God when we lack in any area, the problem usually falls back into our lap. What can we do to keep our blessings flowing? First question we need to ask ourself, are we sowing? You can't expect a corn field to grow if you never put the seed in the ground. You will never reap a harvest of corn if your seed is still in the packet sitting on the kitchen table. HELLO! When we read about one famine in the bible with the story of Isaac, we see how he prospered even in the year of famine. Gen. 26 v 1a...There was a famine in the land besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham...... v2-3.....Then the Lord appeared to him and said: "Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you, Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants, I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father...... v4....and I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed...... Now Isaac was headed for Egypt a better place but God sent him to Gerar a land that was in famine. Now here is the reasoning we would use. "Lord, I thought You said You were going to bless me and all that is mine, but yet You are sending me into a land of famine. A parched land where nothing is growing, how exactly is that a blessing?" Yet he still obeyed God and did what God told him to do, and he trusted God to bless him as he sowed into this land of famine. And now look what God did for him. Gen. 26 v 12-13....Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year, a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous.... When he obeyed God and sowed, he not only got back what he sowed, he got back a hundredfold and he not only prospered but continued to prosper and became very prosperous. He didn't just look at the circumstances at the famine that was going on, but he chose to obey God's word and do things God's way and he not only made it through the recession but came out of the recession a very prosperous man. AMEN! God is not asking us to give Him anything that doesn't already belong to Him. God blesses us so that we may be a blessing to others and so that we ourselves will continue to be blessed and prosper. Sometimes we cut our blessing off after the first reaping. We get so excited over what we reaped that we forget to sow back into His kingdom out of our abundance so that we too can be like Isaac and be very prosperous. 1 Chronicles 29 v 14...But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You..... Let us be careful lest we forget Who our blessings come from. Don't reap your harvest before it's time. Don't get impatient and take it out of the ground before it has had time to mature. And when we do harvest don't let us forget to sow the first fruits unto Him. Prov 3 v 9 and 10....Honor the Lord with your possessions, and the first fruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.... God is very clear in His word how He rejoices in doing us good and making our way prosperous. We just have to be obedient to His word, not out of law but out of cheerful giving hearts. Jer. 32 v 40a....And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good;...... v 41....Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul..... God tells us in Malachi chapter 3 how we are to bring all of the tithes into His storehouse and how He will open the windows of heaven and bless us with so much we can't contain it all. And then He goes on to tell us that He will even rebuke the devourer (whoever or whatever) that may try to come and steal our seed out of the ground before it has had time to mature. He says He will cause our vines to be fruitful and bear fruit. This is one of my favorite passages of scripture, be sure to read it for yourself. It will definitely bless you. 2 Cor. 9 v 7....So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.... 2 Cor 9 v 10....Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness..... So, let us change our way of thinking, so that we can change our way of speaking so that our actions will line up with our faith in His word; and we may be VERY PROSPEROUS even in times of famine. How do we make these changes? STAY IN HIS WORD!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Critters Critters Everywhere

Recently I was helping a friend, who so graciously asked me to work for her some helping out with tea parties. (You might have heard of the place, Carolina Lily in Salisbury off Kern Carlton Rd.) Her gardens are amazing. Everytime I visit there, I see new things that I missed the last time. There are always changes going on with her prolifera of flowers and plants. You just can not take it all in on one visit. This last time I was early and she had run an errand and wasn't back so I took the liberty of walking around her gardens. Everything was blooming and the air was heavy with sweet smells from hedges, rosemary, roses, and way too many others to name them all. This particular day what I noticed most though were critters at every turn. There were little frogs jumping from the path just as you begin to walk by, and lizards and salamanders scurrying past you. And then there was even a little squirrel who did not seem to be afraid of me at all. There was a Koi pond with Koi swimming around happily. And oh my, the songs from the birds were so delightful. I thought this has to be what heaven is like. As I walked around the grounds, I also for the first time really noticed the old trees around the property. There is a Magnolia that is huge and just beautiful, then there was an old Crepe Myrtle, (how do I know it is old you ask) looking at the beautiful bark on the tree and the size of the tree. Then there was another tree, I forgot to ask her what kind it was, but the roots, and the trunk was just magnificent. I thought wow, what stories that tree could tell. I have to confess, I wanted to go over and give that tree a big hug, but I contained myself and just stared and marveled at it. When she arrived we began getting ready for a garden tea party. The guests this day were ladies from a garden club in Lexington. They had never before been here and were just thrilled at the sight of everything. They toured the gardens and the gift shops before settling down for lunch and tea. As I was sweeping the pollen off the front porch of the cottage gift shop, I could hear the ladies laughing and talking and just really enjoying the outdoors and having lunch in such a beautiful garden setting. I thought more sounds of heaven. It made my heart happy and made me smile and almost giggle to myself listening to these ladies. What a nice group they were. I tell you all of this to remind us all that each day we need to find that which makes of smile and think of heaven. We need to have a avenue of release for our stress from our everyday tasks. We need to remember when Jesus said, I came so that you may have life and have it abundantly, He wasn't just speaking in monetary values but in the value of all that God Our Father has created. John 10 v 10b...."I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly"..... There is so much life that surrounds us everyday and goes unnoticed because we are so busy living that we forget to slow down and actually live the way Christ intended us to. To enjoy the things the Father placed here before us. To rest in His presence. When we take the time as I did this day to really notice the smells, the beauty of the colors, all of the little creatures scurrying about, and then the great magnificence of the old Oak tree, then we can really see all that God meant for us to see. All the good that He placed here on earth to delight us. Gen. 1 v 11....Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yeilds seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth".... Gen. 1 v 20...Then God said, " Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens."..... Gen. 1 v 25...And God made the beast of the earth, each according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good....... Gen. 1 v 26....Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth".... So you see God created all the birds, the fish, the frogs and the salamanders for us to enjoy. He created the grass and the flowers and the trees for us to see the love He has for us. Like receiving a bouquet of fresh flowers or a potted plant from a loved one. He gave us the biggest arrangement of all. He gave us the earth itself and all that it contains to enjoy daily. So I encourage you to find a place that you can get away, so that you can just relax and take the time to smell the roses and all the other flowers as well. As I was getting ready to leave that day, I finally met her husband who helps her with all the care that is given to these great gardens and what?... but more critters, there were three or was it four happy four legged friends following him. It made me smile even bigger to see even more of God's goodness in this man and woman as they have so shown in their work of His land, and the caring for of his creatures. It made me think of being in the garden of Eden before sin entered in. And how wonderful it would be to walk in the cool of the day with the Lord and enjoy all He has given us. How can we enjoy and rest in His goodness. We need to find a place like Carolina Lily, a place we can escape to, but most of all we just need to... STAY IN HIS WORD!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Don't Be A Victim

Recently my son made a comment to me, that at first made me laugh and then as days went by that comment would come back to me and I realized a very important truth in that statement. I was complaining about something and my son said, what is it? I immediately blamed my husband for whatever was irritating me, and my son said, "Mom, don't be a victim". I started laughing and as I told the story to my cousin she laughed as well. But then it hit me. If we are the victim we can never have the victory. God did not intend for us to be victims, He intended for us to have Victory. AMEN! 1 Cor. 15 v 56-57....The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ..... We are not the victim, we have the victory over our situations, we just need to find in the word of God what He says about our particular battles and He will show us our victory. 1 John 5 v 4-5.....For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?..... How do we keep from being the victim? We keep His word in our hearts and on our minds. We speak His word over our situations and not what the world is telling us. We do not let our circumstances dictate to us that we are victims. We meditate on His word and not on our troubles. The more we speak about our problems the closer we come to being a victim instead of taking the victory that has already been won for us on the cross. We need to tell ourselves everyday, I will not be a victim, I will have victory over every situation today in my life. I will finish my race strong. My victory has already been paid for by my Lord on the cross, and I will not just lie down and become a victim. I am who His word says I am, I have what He says I have, and I can do all that He says I can do. I will celebrate my victory today and everyday and give Him the praise and the glory. AMEN! When we whine and complain we are being a victim. Stop being a victim. Instead walk in Victory! STAY IN HIS WORD!

Put The Mind Of Christ Over It

While reading one of my favorite devotionals I was getting all excited about not losing my memory whenever I do get to be older. He was saying that everyone has said at some time in their older age that their memory is getting bad because they are getting older, because that is what the world has told them. But the word of God tells us that we as born again believers have the mind of Christ Jesus. And Jesus doesn't forget anything. He is not losing His memory, and I would say He has a few years on us, right? Well, I thought it doesn't stop with our minds. We do not just have the mind of Christ over our memory bank, we have the mind of Christ over our entire body. We just need to activate it. How do we do this, by renewing our mind with His word and meditating on what He says we have instead of letting the world tell us what is going to happen to us. His word tells us in Romans that we are to renew our mind and not to be conformed to this world. In other words don't let someone tell you that when you get older you will start to lose your memory, and you will not be able to recall things like you once did. Instead do what God's word tells us to do. Romans 12 v 2...Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God..... Don't let the world tell you that as you age you will start to hurt in all your joints and muscles and you will not be able to be as active as when you were younger. Instead see what He says in Psalms that our youth is renewed like the eagles. PS 103 v 5....Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagles..... How do we satisfy our mouth with good things? By meditating on those things that are good and pure, and staying away from those who want to be negative and speak against your strength. Prov 18 v 20-21....A man's stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; from the produce of his lips he shall be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit..... Let us start confessing that we have all that Christ has. Let us watch our tongues and not let it be our worst enemy as we age. Let us keep watch over our hearing, and keep our faith strong by hearing the word of God and not the world. His word tells us in Deuteronomy that Moses as he grew old did not diminish in his strength nor his eyesight. Deut. 34 v 7...Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished...... How much more so for us than for Moses. Moses did not have the mind of Christ, nor did he have the Holy Spirit living within him. How much more so for us then to be able to grow older without growing weaker. Who says we have to grow weak before we die. Why can't we still be strong like Moses in our old age and see with good vision like he did up to the day he died. And hello, he was one hundred twenty years old. So I choose to believe and meditate on what God's word says instead of what the world's opinion is of how we are to grow old. We have all heard the saying "to grow old gracefully". Now most hear this and think of women growing older and still looking pretty and young, but I don't believe that is what growing old gracefully is all about. What is the root word in gracefully? Grace. Who is Grace? Jesus. Whose mindset do we have? Jesus. I just got back from visiting my hometown, Shreveport, LA and I spent a day with my Mother and Stepfather, my Aunt and my Uncle. They all come from good stock. My aunt is 90 years young this year, and the day before I was there to have lunch with them, she had been hauling dirt around her yard leveling the yard to place concrete blocks that she put in place to make a walkway that was about 30 ft long, and the weeks prior she had been tearing down an old house next door and pulling up fencing and placing new fencing around her yard to make larger, and remember she is 90 years young. Doesn't sound like her vigor is diminishing, she sounds like she could have given Moses a run for his money. Now she in my opinion is growing old gracefully, still going strong. (She said she was having some problems with her eyesight, but I am saying in the name of Jesus her eyes are strong and healthy and will not grow dim according to His word. AMEN! Aunt Bertha you start confessing every morning how clear your vision is and watch as it grows clearer.) Now I ask you, are you going to let the world tell you how you have to feel as you age, or are you going to meditate and believe what God's word tells you? I choose to renew my mind daily and have the mind of Christ over my entire body and health. How will I do this? STAY IN HIS WORD!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Do We Really Know Our Father

How well do we know our Father in heaven? We say we know Him, but are we like the story with the prodigal son?

We remember the story of the prodigal son, where he wanted his inheritance so he could run off and live life the way he thought he wanted to. But then when he gets out in the world and spends all of his inheritance he ends up so poor, he is eating with the pigs. So he decides to return home and his father welcomes him with open arms, a loving heart, and without condemnation.

Luke 15 v 21-22...And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.'....

It goes on to say they killed a fatted calf and had a big party welcoming his son home. The father said, my son was lost but now he is found. Let's have a party.

Now another important part of this story is the other son. We sometimes concentrate so much on the prodigal son, that we miss the other point here. The older son who stayed at home, gets so upset when his father throws a party for his brother, because he is thinking, how can you throw a party for such an irresponsible person. He squandered all of your money and then runs out and wants to come home and you reward him. He is saying in the story, I have been here with you always and worked hard for you and yet you have never killed a calf for me so that I may have a party with my friends. I have stayed here and obeyed your every command.

Here is the important thing to get from this part of the story. The older brother was trying to live by law and not love. He was trying to do all that he could to make sure he kept his inheritance. He didn't really know his father's heart. He didn't realize that his father loved him no matter what, and all that he had was his to start with. It was his because of his father's love for him, not because he earned it in any way.

Luke 15 v 31....And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours."...

This is a story of Jesus' love for us. He is always with us, He loves us unconditionally, and we can not do anything to earn His grace and forgiveness. His forgiveness is there when we come to Him. His arms are opened wide waiting for us to return to Him. AMEN!

Romans 8 v 1...There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit....

Another example is the story of the talents. A man left his servants with his goods while he was gone. One he gave five talents, another two, and another one. The story tells us the one with five invested and made five more to give back to his master, the one with two did the same, but the one with one talent dug a hole and hid his talent.

This story is yet again showing us where the guy with the one talent did not have a good opinion of who his master was. This story is about knowing who the Lord is. This guy says, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown. So I hid your talent, look here is what is yours', and gives Him back one talent.

First of all, He didn't know the Lord at all. Never was Jesus a hard man. Once again the servant did not really know his Master.

We could even use the story of Mary and Martha. When Jesus came to visit, and Martha was running around like a chicken with her head cut off trying to fix and make everything look just right and taste just right, while Mary was sitting at Jesus feet resting in His teaching. When Martha complained and told Jesus to tell Mary to help her, He told her Mary had chosen the good part which would not be taken away from her.

You see while Martha was busy working trying to earn His favor, Mary was spending time getting to know her Lord on a more personal basis.

Luke 10 v 40-42...But Martha was distracted with much serving,and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."....

You see Martha did not really know her Lord. She thought that He would be more concerned with the way everything looked and how well the dinner went instead He is more concerned with our hearts. He would rather that we know Him and that we rest in Him and let Him carry our burdens.

Now I ask you again, How well do we know our Father? What opinion do we have of Him? Do we see Him for the loving, caring Father that He is?

He loves us so much and without condemnation. Rest in Him. Get to know Him on a personal basis. How?