Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Narrow Road Leads to Blessings

Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.  Matthew 7:13-14. 

Have you walked through the narrow gate?  Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Savior and LORD?  Jesus is the only entrance into eternity.  John 14:6 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the father except through me.”  There is no other way to salvation.  Every other way leads to destruction and an eternity in hell. 

The narrow gate is Jesus Himself.  After we come to know Jesus as our Savior and LORD, we begin to walk down the narrow path.  The narrow road is not a list of rules we must keep.  It is not the opposite of everything good and fun.  The narrow road is obedience to our Savior and LORD.  It is the characteristic of a child of Almighty God.  It is a characteristic of someone who loves their Savior and LORD.  John 14:23-24 – Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.  My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.  Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching.  These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the father who sent me. 

Blessings come from obedience.  Psalm 119:1-2 – Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD.  Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.  Prayerfully ask the LORD to place in your heart a desire to be obedient. 

Angela Thomas says in her Bible Study, Living Your Life as a Beautiful Offering, “Obedience is the road you walk when you decide to live out the teaching of Jesus.  The road is narrow because there aren’t too many people on it.  On the narrow road, you are walking underneath the anointing of God.  It is powerful there.  You stay right in the middle of His big dreams for you.  You are kept on the path by the guardrails of His protection.  And on this road, you are free.” 

Immerse yourself in God’s Word.  To obey His Word, we must know His Word.  Prayerfully ask the LORD to place a hunger and thirst for His Word in your heart.  We have no excuse for not being an avid student of the Word of God.  Jesus has set an example for us.  Read His Word and follow the example He set before you.  John 13:15 – I have set before you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  John 13:17 – Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. 

I encourage you to humble your heart before your Savior and LORD today and commit to the narrow road of obedience.  Before you commit to the narrow road of obedience, you must first enter through the narrow gate.  If Jesus is not your Savior and LORD, I pray that you will accept the free gift of salvation today.

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray if any one reading this devotion does not know you as Savior and LORD, that today will be the day that they will accept the free gift of salvation.  I pray that we will walk the narrow road of obedience.  Help us to be an example to the world.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Quiet Giving

But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  Matthew 6:3-4

Do you consider yourself to be a generous person?  God instructs us throughout Scripture to be a giver.  As we journey towards our Heavenly Home, we will encounter many people who will have needs.  Have you ever thought that God has placed certain people in your life for you to meet their needs in the name of Jesus Christ?  God has preordained appointments for us.  Prayerfully consider that God is placing certain people in your path for you to meet their need.  We can be a giver of many things – money, time, encouraging words, a helping hand, food, etc.  Choose today to be a quiet giver. 

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:1 – Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.  If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.  When pride creeps into our heart, we become people who desire to be seen and acknowledged for what we do and what we give.  We like the praise, the acknowledgement.  When we give quietly in the name of Jesus; honor, glory, and praise goes to our LORD.  We desire not one ounce of praise.  It all belongs to our Savior and LORD, Jesus Christ.  Prayerfully ask the LORD to remove all pride in your heart in relation to giving to others.  Jesus knows our heart.  He knows our motives.  We might be able to hide our motives from others, but we will never be able to hide our true motive from our creator and LORD.  Jeremiah 17:10 – “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” 

We must have a proper perspective and realize and accept that what we have belongs to the LORD.  He has placed us as steward over our possessions and even our time.  Psalm 24:1 – The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.  God is instructing us to use what He has given us to meet the needs of others.  Deuteronomy 15:10 – Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 

Prayerfully ask God to open your eyes to those He has placed in your path that He desires for you to help.  God is calling us to give in secret, but our eyes must be open to see those who have a need.  Ask God for spiritual discernment on how He desires for you to meet the needs of another. 

 Ask God to transform your heart into a generous heart.  As children of Almighty God, we are called to take action.  We miss many blessings from our Heavenly Father because we refuse to be generous.  1 John 3:17-18 – If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 

Our Savior and LORD desires for us to be generous, to be a quiet giver.  Choose today to give in the name of Jesus Christ and give God all the honor, glory, and praise.
Dear Heavenly Father, transform our hearts.  Help us to see the needs of others, who you place in our path.  Reveal to us what You desire us to give.  In Jesus Name I Pray

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Your Prayer Closet

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.  Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  Matthew 6:5-6

Do you have a prayer closet?  A prayer closet is a quiet, secret place where you meet with Jesus.  It doesn’t have to be an actual closet, but a place where you can meet, uninterrupted, with your Savior and LORD.  Jesus desires for us to have intimate moments with Him where we pray prayers of thanksgiving and praise and where we present our concerns and request to Him.  Throughout Scripture, we see Jesus meeting privately with God in prayer.  Jesus set an example for us.  We need to follow the example Jesus set before us and make time to commune with our Savior and LORD in prayer.  James 5:16 tells us that the prayers of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  Whatever your concern, your need, take it to the LORD in prayer.  He desires to hear our voice offering praise and honor to Him.  He desires for us to ask Him to meet our needs.  Taking the time to enter into our prayer closet is crucial to our faith walk.  Make it a priority in your life.  Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful – Colossians 4:2.

When you enter your prayer closet, ask Jesus to settle your heart so you will be able to reflect totally on Almighty God.  Our world is full of so much busyness and chaos; we often need this time of settling.  Surrender all your distractions to God.  He knows and will help you.  We must be willing.  Corrie Ten Boom said, “Don’t pray when you feel like it.  Have an appointment with the LORD and keep it.  A man is powerful on his knees.” 

Begin your time in your pray closet praising God and giving Him thanks.  In the Book of Psalms, you will find many Scripture passages you can pray, praising God.  Thank God for what He has done and what He will do.  Have faith knowing God is working in your circumstances even though you can’t see evidence of His hand.  God knows all, reveal your heart to him.  Pray for your loved ones, the sick, the lost, etc.  Continue to lift your concerns to God.  Do not lose heart.  Commit to continual praying until you see evidence of God answering your prayer.  Wait and hope in the LORD.  Psalm 33:20-22 – We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.  In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.  May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you. 

When we meet with our Savior and LORD, we must ask God for forgiveness of our transgressions, our sins.  Often we are committing sins and not labeling them as sins.  We may be labeling our sins as habits.  We may be excusing our sin.  Ask God to reveal to you the sin in your life.  Allow the Holy Spirit to bring to mind your sin.  Confess your sin and ask God for forgiveness.  Receive God’s forgiveness and give Him thanks.  Prayerfully ask God for cleansing and purity and to strengthen you from falling into the trap of future temptation. 

You and I have access to God because of the work of Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 3:11-12 – according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.  In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.  Pray in the name of Jesus. 

I encourage you to take the time to meet with Jesus in your prayer closet.  You will never regret the time of communion you have with your Savior and LORD. 

Dear Heavenly Father…..Place in our hearts a desire to meet with You in our prayer closet.  Father, you are the source of our peace, comfort, power, strength, and so much more.  Help us to set aside the busyness of our lives and realize what is truly important - a time of intimate communion with our Savior and LORD.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Laying Down Your Judgment

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Matthew 7:1-2

Would you consider yourself a judgmental person?  Where has this self-righteousness we harbor come from?  Jesus instructs us to examine our own motives and behavior instead of judging others.  Often we magnify others’ faults while we excuse our own.  Prayerfully ask God to reveal to you if you are a judgmental person, if you harbor self-righteous pride.  God desires to transform us to be women who offer grace and mercy and who lead others to Jesus. 

Someone exhibiting a hypocritical, judgmental attitude tears others down in order to build themselves up.  That is not a very lovely character trait, is it?  We must guard ourselves.  This judgmental attitude will creep into our hearts before we realize what it taking place.  Why do you look at the speck of saw dust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye – Matthew 7:3-5.  Why are we more inclined to judge the sins of others while we overlook our own sin? 

Who desires to do things differently?  Let’s ask God to help us put away our judgmental attitudes and love others the way Jesus loved.  Author Angela Thomas said, “I have never seen one heart mended in judgment.  It encourages no one.  Receiving sustained criticism, condemnation, or painful words doesn’t motivate change.”  God desires for us to lay down our judgment, our critical spirit, our negatively.  These have no purpose in the Kingdom of Heaven. 

Nowhere in God’s Word are we given permission to condemn others.  Brothers and sisters do not slander one another.  Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it.  When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.  There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy.  But you – who are you to judge you neighbor? – James 4:11-12 

Those with a judgmental spirit seem to harbor anger and contempt in their hearts.  A judgmental spirit goes hand-in-hand with anger, contempt, and self-righteousness.  Today can be the day we choose to lay down our judgment of others.  We will not be able to do this on our own but with a repentant heart and a true desire, God will help.  Prayerfully ask God to take away your tendency toward judgment and allow Him to transform your heart. 

Professor and author, Dallas Willard, once stated, “We must beware of believing that it is okay for us to condemn as long as we are condemning the right things.  It is not so simple as all that.  I can trust Jesus to go into the temple and drive out those who were profiting from religion, beating them with a rope.  I cannot trust myself to do so.”

Dear Heavenly Father, help us to lay down our judgmental attitude.  Transform us into women who reflect your mercy, grace, and passion.  Help us to come alongside people and usher them into the presence of God.  Reveal to us what is truly in our hearts.  Transform us LORD.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen.