Saturday, May 31, 2014

Step Away

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  Colossians 2:2-3

Are there things in your life that are keeping you from a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ?  What is hindering your hunger and thirst for God?  Maybe there are things in your life which need to be removed.  Prayerfully ask God to reveal to you what is keeping you from Him and to help you step away from what God reveals you need to step away from.  Some of the things God may ask you to step away from may not be considered “bad things,” but they are keeping you from a more intimate relationship with your Savior and LORD. 

Have you allowed the busyness of life to keep you from a more intimate relationship with Christ?  Many things that we do, that keep us busy, are without eternal rewards.  These temporal rewards will not last.  They only satisfy for a season.

 In Luke 10 we read about two sisters, Martha and Mary.  We notice that Martha was busy doing for Jesus, but she was neglecting spending time with Him.  Are you neglecting spending personal time with Jesus?  To be empowered and strengthened to carry out our unique calling, we must spend personal time with our Savior and LORD.  We need to prayerfully ask God how we need to align our priorities. 

You and I need to choose our intimate friendships carefully.  Do you have a friendship that is distracting or hindering your relationship with God?  Paul warns us in 2 Corinthians 6:14-15, we must be careful when forming binding friendships.  We need to step away from anything or anyone that causes a weakening in our Christian commitment, our integrity, and our standards.  Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.  For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?  Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?  What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?  Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?

Have you become complacent in your faith walk?  Are you satisfied with how things are and you do not want to change?  Until we reach our Heavenly home, we should continue to mature in our faith walk.  Are you satisfied with how things are or do you desire to change?  What is preventing your spiritual growth?  Prayerfully ask the LORD to reveal to you what is preventing you from maturing in your faith walk and ask God to empower you with strength to step away.  We must continue to press on to a life of faith and obedience to our LORD.  Philippians 3:14 – I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 

Prayerfully seek God’s will.  God is faithful and will reveal what you need to step away from.  God will provide the strength and the courage necessary for you to step away.  Seek God.  Jeremiah 29:13 – You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 

Dear Heavenly Father, place a hunger and a thirst in our hearts for You, LORD.  Search our hearts and reveal to us what we need to step away from in order to grow in our faith walk.  Provide us with wisdom, power, and strength to be obedient to You.  We acknowledge that stepping away might be difficult, but with Your strength, power, and guidance we will be able to be obedient to You.  In Jesus Name I Prayer…..Amen.



Friday, May 23, 2014

The Undertow of Hopelessness

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.  He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.  Hebrews 6:19-20

Hopelessness is defined as having no expectation of good or hope for success, nor any anticipation of a solution to life’s problem.  We enter into seasons of hopelessness for various reasons.  Sometimes consequences from our actions will cause us to feel the undertow of hopelessness.  At other times, it is through no action of our own doing that we plunge into the undertow of hopelessness.  What do we do when we are faced with a sense of hopelessness?  We must acknowledge our feelings and seek our Savior and LORD.  Jesus Christ is the only one who will truly be able to give us a sense of comfort and hope when we are experiencing this undertow of hopelessness.  God’s Word tells us in Titus 2:13 that Jesus Christ is our blessed hope – while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ…

When we are facing the undertow of hopelessness, we have many questions that often go unanswered.  We don’t know what to do or where to turn.  God desires for us to turn to him, to seek Him.  He is waiting to provide us with everlasting hope and comfort.  Matthew 6:33 – But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  God’s love for us is everlasting and unfailing.  When we feel the first tug of the undertow of hopeless, we need to turn to Him for His righteous support.  When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me.  When anxiety was great within me, your consolations brought me joy – Psalm 94:18-19.  

Looking back at God’s faithfulness will help us in our season of hopelessness.  Looking back over our lives at God’s faithfulness toward us provides a profound testimony of God’s love for us and gives us a glimpse of hopefulness.  Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him” – Lamentations 3:22-24. 

As we study Scripture, we see many who experienced the undertow of hopelessness.  In the Book of Ruth, we read about Naomi who has lost her husband and her sons.  We read of Naomi and Ruth’s return to the land of Judah and God’s faithfulness, even as they experienced difficulties.  We read in Luke 8 about a woman who had been ill for twelve years.  As Jesus was walking with a large crowd gathered around Him, this woman believed if she could just touch the hem of His garment she would find the hope of healing.  Because of her faith in Jesus, she was healed.  I encourage you today to turn to Jesus.  He is our hope.  We can find rest in our Savior and LORD.  Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.  Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken – Psalm 62:5-6.

Cry out to God today.  He hears you when you are in the undertow of hopelessness.  He is close to you and will walk you through this season of hopelessness.  The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their trouble.  The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all – Psalm 34:17-19.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit – Romans 15:22. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for your presence in each and every moment of our lives.  LORD, as we experience seasons of hopelessness, help us to turn to you.  Fill our inner spirit and soul with hope and comfort that only You can give.  Thank You for being our salvation, rock, and strength.  I pray that we will remember to take refuge in You and You only.  In Jesus Precious Name I Pray…..Amen.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Strong Winds of Life

But he (Jesus) said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.”  John 6:20

Life seems to be going along well and then wham….difficulties enter your life.  Some of the difficulties we face are consequences due to choices we have made.  At other times, the difficulties we face are quite possibly trials and testing filtered through the hands of our Sovereign God.  Whether we like it or not, we will encounter strong winds of life as we travel toward our Heavenly Home. 

We notice in John 6:16-21 that the disciples encountered strong winds as they were crossing the Sea of Galilee to get to Capernaum.  When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum.  By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them – John 6:16-17.   Scripture tells us it was evening time and darkness shrouded the men when the strong winds started to rock the boat.  A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough – John 6:18.  A sense of darkness seems to shroud our spirit when we encounter the strong winds of life.  What are the strong winds you are currently facing?  Are the strong winds you are facing relational issues, an illness, financial difficulties, job difficulties, etc.

John 6:19 reveals that the disciples were startled to see Jesus approaching them walking on water.  When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened.  We will face spiritual and emotional storms.  Invite Jesus into your storm.  Often we will turn to others or strive on our own to improve our situation.  Trust in Jesus.  He may not remove the storm from your life but He will walk with you through the storm.  God will use our storms to mold us into the person he intends for us to be, if we surrender to Him.  We will not stay in the storm; we will reach the other side – our destination.  John 6:21 – Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading. 

Hebrew 12:2 tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus.  Allow Him to increase your faith as the strong winds of life blow around you.  Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith….  Jesus provides us with much comfort and guidance when we are in a storm, if we seek Him.  Psalm 73:23-24 – Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.  We can place our confidence in God presence and guidance.  Cling to Jesus, He is our hope. 

When you encounter the strong winds of life, allow God’s Word to speak to you, to soothe your spirit.  God provides us with comfort, guidance, and hope through His Word.  Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path – Psalm 119:105.  We must never neglect spending time in God’s Word and spending time in prayer. 

Hold on to the promise in God’s Word that during the strong winds of life He is with us and will provide the strength that we need.  So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand – Isaiah 41:10.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the promises You give us in Your Word.  Help us to become more Christ-like as we travel through the strong winds of life.  Teach us spiritual truths and lessons which You desire us to learn.  Lead us, guide us, and comfort us, dear LORD.  In Jesus Precious Name I Pray…..Amen.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Holy Confidence

But blessed is the one who trust in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.  They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; it leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.  Jeremiah 17:7-8

Confidence can be defined as a firm belief or trust.  In whom or in what have you placed your confidence?  As we journey toward our heavenly home, we will face all types of situations and circumstances.  Prayerfully ask God to provide you with “holy confidence.”  Remembering God’s promises will help us to develop this “holy confidence.” 

Placing our confidence in places other than Christ will leave us spiritually weak.  Psalm 34:8  tells us - Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.  God is inviting us to place our confidence in Him.  He desires to be our refuge.  Are you at a place where you need rest?  Rest in the LORD.  Allow Him to provide you with the confidence you need to live your life in a godly way.  Throughout Scripture God reveals to us we will be blessed when we trust in Him, when we place our confidence in Him.  He in turn provides us with “holy confidence.”  Proverbs 16:20 – Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trust in the LORD.  Place your confidence in the LORD and allow Him to place “holy confidence” deep in your soul. 

We can have “holy confidence” in our LORD knowing that He is working in us.  He is molding us through life’s circumstances to be more like Jesus Christ.  We can trust in our LORD knowing that He will never give up on us.  God has blessed us with the indwelling Holy Spirit which enables us to be more like Christ each and every day.  Philippians 1:6 – being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ.  Be confident in knowing - all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purposes – Romans 8:28.  Place your trust in the LORD and hold His promises dear to your heart and see your life filled with “holy confidence.”

We can have “holy confidence” because God promises He will provide what we need.  He provides us with strength to carry out our calling.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength – Philippians 4:13.  Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, God provides us with power, love, boldness, and self-discipline.  For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but give us power, love and self-discipline – 2 Timothy 1:7.  Are you boldy serving your Savior and LORD today?  Does the way you live your life show others that you place your trust in the creator and sustainer of the universe? 

Because of God’s many promises in Scripture, there is no reason we should not have “holy confidence” as we journey through this world.  Remember, God is with you, will uphold you, and will strengthen you.  Place your trust in Almighty God and allow Him to fill your soul with “holy confidence.”  So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand – Isaiah 41:10.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your provision.  LORD strengthen us and place in us a boldness to live our lives in a godly way.  Help us to know the strength, power, and ability we have because of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  Place deep in our souls a “holy confidence” in You.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen. 


Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Web of Comparison

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.  Proverbs 14:30

Are you caught in the web of comparison?  The web of comparison leads us down the road towards dissatisfaction.  The web of comparison will leave us filled with envy, jealousy, and often bitterness.  When we become entangled in the web of comparison, we will often miss the wonderful work God has prepared for us to accomplish.  Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

We compare looks, talents, jobs, ministries, and opportunities.  The things which we compare are too numerous too name.  So why do we do this – compare?  Satan uses the web of comparison to keep us from fulfilling God’s calling upon our life.  God desires us to be satisfied with His provision.  Paul knew how to be content whether he had plenty or whether he had a need.  He did not compare himself to others.  He chose not to get caught in the web of comparison.  Paul understood his identity was found in Jesus Christ.  Philippians 4:12 – I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 

In 2 Corinthians 10:12, Paul states that entering into the web of comparison is not wise and could lead to pride.  We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves.  When they measure they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.  Paul was speaking of the false teachers who were attempting to prove their goodness by comparing themselves with others, rather than with God’s standards.  We should be measuring ourselves against God Holy standards and not anyone else’s standards.  Harboring pride in our hearts is sin and needs to be recognized as such. 

The web of comparison produces, not only pride, but envy.  Envy is defined as the sin of jealousy over the blessings and achievements of others.  Envy is a tool Satan uses to entrap us.  Scripture reveals to us that envy is unspiritual and an evil practice.  James 3:16 – For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.  Your spirit and soul will be in inner turmoil and you will not be able to appreciate the blessings which God has sovereignly blessed you with. 

When we come to the place in our faith walk where we understand that we are unique and God made us to fulfill a certain purpose in which He will receive all honor and glory, we tend to not fall into the web of comparison.  God created each one of us and His works are wonderful.  Psalm 139:13-14 – For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Psalm 139:16 – Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 

Just as the LORD revealed to Jeremiah that he was set apart before he was born to be a prophet to the nations, before you were born you were set apart to carry out God’s purpose and plan He has preordained for you.  Jeremiah 1:5 – Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.  If you are truly walking in your calling, stop becoming entangled in the web of comparison.  Seek fulfillment in your unique calling God has placed upon your life. 

Dear Heavenly Father, help us to live our lives to honor and glorify You.  I pray we will faithfully walk in the calling You have placed upon our lives.  Help us not to become entangled in the web of comparison.  I pray we will come to a place in our faith walk where we truly recognize we are unique and made in Your image, Heavenly Father.  I pray we will be content with where You have positioned us.  In Jesus Name I pray…..Amen.