Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Give with a Happy Heart

"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9:7

When God pulls on my heartstrings to give, the notion to do so is usually accompanied by specific direction as to "what" or "how much" to give. If out of obedience I agree in my heart to give what God instructed me to, then I should immediately get busy about my giving assignment. I should do so with a smile on my face and a happy heart as one who wants to give out of love for her Lord, not grudgingly, reluctantly or with attitude, because "God loves a cheerful giver".

Thank You Father for blessing my family and showing us practical ways we can bless others with our time, talents and treasure. Make us a blessing to others as we enter int to this holiday season. In Jesus' Name I Pray, Amen.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sifting Through Life

"Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil." 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22

Two verses. Three words of instruction. These three represent a form of sifting I should do in my life on a day to day, moment to moment basis as a believer. Whether sifting through my own thoughts, situation, things spoken to me, about me, or life in general, I must sort through to determine what is of the Lord, and what is not. Just as I have learned to take my thoughts captive, this instruction is like a sieve. A gadget I can put things through to sort the good from the bad; the godly from the ungodly.

First, God's Word instructs me to "test everything". Test it for truth and accuracy against what God's Word says about such a thought, comment, circumstance, situation, Himself, or me. Once tested, I should "hold on to what is good". That is, I should hold on to, as Philippians 4:8 instructs, whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. Whatever falls through the sieve that is false, ungodly or even hinting at evil of any kind, should be discarded. I should let those things go and avoid or abstain from them. In using God's Word as a sieve in this way, I can more accurately navigate my thought life, my responses and spiritual warfare, and live a life pleasing to Him.

Thank You Lord for Your Word which guides and instructs my life. Help me Lord to sift out things that are not pleasing to You and only hold on to the good. Use the good I pray, to make me more like You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Just a Thought...

Just sharing a thought I've had after a really long season of sifting...

"Sometimes I believe we are sifted to prove where our loyalties lie."  ~ Pamela Mattox

To elaborate just a tad, sometimes I believe we are allowed to be sifted so that Jesus can prove to the enemy where our loyalties lie. He gives Satan permission to sift us as wheat. In Luke 22:31-32 Jesus says "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." My Bible is marked March 1, 2005 when the Lord gave me that verse and impressed upon my heart that I would begin a season of sifting. I'm still not sure if we're done yet, and I know I am not the only one in the world being sifted. Prayerfully, it will be proven that our loyalties, regardless of how difficult the circustances we endure, lie with Him.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Safe in His Arms

"Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever." Psalm 125:1

"Those who trust in the LORD" encompasses all believers. Everyone, Jesus says, who has been "born of water and the Spirit" (John 3:5). Those who have been "born again" with new life in Christ (John 3:7), who trust in, lean on and confidently put their hope in the LORD. These believers "are like Mount Zion". Mountains symbolize firmness and stability. Mount Zion's root meaning is "landmark", translated "fortress" or tower of strength. It is called in Isaiah "The City of Righteousness". A place representing those who know God and who are known by God. So everyone who trusts in the LORD is secure, like a fortress. Psalm 46:5 says, "God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day."

One this secure "cannot be shaken", moved or defeated by the power of any adversary. The secure endure forever - standing, abiding, lasting in Him. Those committed to God shall be safe from their enemies. Our troubles shall last no longer than the God-given strength we are given to bear them. The enemy may come against the righteous - the person, their family, their property, their health, their wealth, their freedom or name - anything that is a part of them, but he cannot touch their soul. The believer's soul is secure and sealed with Christ until the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30).

My Jesus, my trust is in You. I lean on and place my confidence in You and You alone. You are my Rock, my Fortress and in You I am secure and cannot be shaken. Though the enemy may come against me, Your Word promises that You will be my help and my Safe Place. My soul is secure in You. As Phil Wickham sings, I will be safe in Your arms, Lord. Thank You in Jesus' name.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The LORD is My Help

"I will lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD." Psalm 121:1-2

Where do I turn when I am in need but to the LORD. When I am helped it is always because the LORD chose to help me. As I plead for help in my struggles I must turn to the LORD. He is my ever-present help in times of trouble, trial and struggles. He is my "Need Meeter". His Word is meant to be my guide. Should help appear to come from any other source - comfort or encouragement from a friend, a much needed hug, a timely phone call, the right song at the right moment, a check in the mail, an eleventh-hour save, a way out - it is because He deemed it so. He often chooses to use the hands and feet of those who care about me to minister when I am desperate or distraught, with just the right touch at just the right time. The LORD is always faithful to meet my needs, how ever He chooses to help!

Father, forgive me for worrying. I know it adds nothing to my day. I turn my heart to You and leave my cares at Your feet. You are my help in times of trouble. You are my shelter in the storm. You are the Maker of heaven and earth - nothing is too difficult for Thee! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Praise the Lord

"Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD." Psalm 150:6

Praise God in the sanctuary.
Praise Him in the heavens.
Praise Him for His acts of power.
   ...for His surpassing greatness.
Praise Him through music.
Let everything that has breath, praise the LORD.

To praise literally means to admire, commend, exalt, bow down in order to lift up another, to honor, proclaim, rave over, sing the praises of, and to worship. Praise also includes expressions of gratitude. On this day set aside to give thanks, I have considered the ways giving thanks to Him includes all these things. I should give thanks to God in the sanctuary, and will give Him thanks one day in heaven. I am called to thank Him for the powerful ways He has worked in and through my life. I thank Him for who He is - the characteristics of Himself that I know Him by, and the ones I have yet to understand. Though my voice is not the most joyful sound to my ears, He says it is to His - so I should thank Him through song. As long as I have breath in me my attitude should be one of gratitude and I should be thanking the LORD!

Thank You Lord Jesus for the mighty ways You have moved and worked in my life. Thank You for being my Father, Healer, Deliverer, Redeemer, Restorer, Provider, Sustaining Power, and for being Able to do more than I could ever ask or imagine. Help me Father to be reminded all through the day of Your greatness, that I may praise You and give You thanks. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Boldly & Unashamedly

"...enable your servant to speak Your Word with great boldness... After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly." Acts 4:29, 31

Through the power of the Holy Spirit God's people are able to speak the Word of God boldly; He enables them. In difficult times, in threatening times, in uncertain times, in peaceful  times. Whatever the setting, God can give power to speak His Word with great boldness and unashamedly by the filling of the Holy Spirit. Pray and ask Him!

Father God, Please fill me to overflowing with the Holy Spirit and give me the power to speak the truth in love with great boldness in every situation...unashamedly. Help me to be outspoken in giving You praise, honor and glory. Please remove all fear to be bold, because when I am focused on fear, I am focused on the wrong person. Thank You Lord that through Your power I am able. In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Make My Heart Clean

"...the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man unclean." Matthew 15:18

My thought life is important to God, and it is directly connected to my mood, attitude and tone. Whatever comes out of my mouth is a reflection of the condition of my heart. God's Word says, "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." (Matthew 12:34) The actual words I speak however, convey only a small part of the message. My attitude, tone and body language communicate even more.

If I dwell on thoughts that are not pleasing to Lord, or thoughts that do not represent truth, my heart will eventually lead me to sin with my lips, or worse. Psalm 39:1-3 speaks volumes to me about how something affecting my heart can eventually make it through my lips and not only affect me, but others. It says...

     "I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin;
          I will put a muzzle over my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence.
      But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good, my anguish increased.
          My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned;
          then I spoke with my tongue."

It takes a conscious effort to keep the tongue from sinning. God's Word says it is as though I should put a muzzle over my mouth when I am in the presence of someone who is grumbling, complaining, gossiping, or the like, so that I do not give in to temptation and chime in. Even more than that, though I may keep my lips silent, I must stay in tune with my thought life. If my inward thoughts are agreeing by "not saying anything good" and I choose to meditate on them, they can lead to my own feelings of anger, anguish, depression or despair... and my heart will grow "hot within me".

As I choose to dwell on such thoughts, or play over and over in my mind the events that upset me, they will become like fire burning within me, and likely come out of my mouth. I might speak words of anger or frustration about the situation bothering me, or it might show up in my general mood and tone to the point I take it out on someone unsuspecting and underserving, pulling them down with me.

The remedy? I must continually take my thoughts captive. I must replace each lie or negative thought with a life-giving truth from God's Word. (f.ex. I may be treated this way or that by so-and-so, but God's Word says I am precious in His sight.) When my heart and mind are focused on God, the Mender, Fixer and Healer, vs. on the details of a tough situation, my mood should follow and my lips reflect a heart that is right with Him.

Create in me a clean heart, oh God. A pure heart whose thoughts are fixed on You. Keep my lips from sinning, I pray. May my attitude, tone and mood be a reflection of You. Thank You for constantly moving in my life, refining me and working to make me more like You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Immediate Obedience

"After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the Gospel to them." Acts 16:10 (emphasis mine)

Immediately after receiving a vision from the Lord about going to Macedonia to preach the Gospel, Paul and his companion got ready and went. God spoke. Paul listened. Paul believed what he heard God telling him and acted on it immediately. He acted with immediate obedience, without question or doubt, without hesitation, and without need for a second or third sign that this was what he was supposed to do. In faith, he just obeyed and left the details - the how, what, why - to God.

Father, help me to always be diligent in my obedience. When You speak or prompt, help me to walk in immediate obedience, knowing that any other kind is not obedience at all, and carry out whatever You ask me to do. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Faithful One

God is faithful to me.
God has always been faithful to me.
God will forever be faithful to me.

Because my God is Yahweh, The Faithful One, and He never changes.

Thank You Lord for Your faithfulness to me and to my family. You have always been faithful, therefore I know You will continue to be faithful in the future, for current needs and needs yet to come. Thank You Lord that I can always count on You!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Spiritually Prosperous

Matthew 5:3-12, The Beatitudes

God's Word says in the Beatitudes that I am blessed or spiritually prosperous (AMP) when certain attributes are experienced or displayed in my life. In her study A Beautiful Offering, Angela Thomas refers to the Beatitudes as the "When You Are's". I recalled that phrase as I read this passage again today. This is a paraphrase of how it impressed me...

I prosper spiritually when I am poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is mine.
I prosper spiritually when I mourn, for I will be comforted.
I prosper spiritually when I am meek (or humble), for I will inherit the earth.
I prosper spiritually when I hunger and thirst for righteousness, for my God promises I will
     be filled.
I prosper spiritually when I am merciful, for I will be shown mercy.
I prosper spiritually when I am pure in heart, for I will see God.
I prosper spiritually when I am a peacemaker, for I will be called [a daughter] of God.
I prosper spiritually when I am persecuted because of righteousness, for the kingdom of
     heaven is mine.

I prosper spiritually when I am insulted, persecuted or falsely accused. It is then that I am called to rejoice and be glad, because great will be my reward in heaven, for in the same way the prophets who went before me were also persecuted.

Father, when I am feeling poor in spirit, grieving or persecuted, I know from experience that it drives me to You in prayer. Spending more time in Your presence and in Your Word always prospers me spiritually, because I get to know more intimately who You are. For that reason, hard as it is to do in my flesh under these conditions, I choose to rejoice and be glad because I am growing in my relationship with You, and that helps me walk taller and stronger in my faith. Praise You Jesus!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Power in the Name

"Jesus said to him, 'Away from me , Satan!' For it is written, 'Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.'" Matthew 4:10
There is power in the name of Jesus. Power to cast away the enemy. Power to speak His words of life into my life. Power in proclaiming who He is - and what His Word says He can do. If I am not taking my every thought captive in obedience to Christ, but instead, buy into the lies the enemy plants in my head, I am showing regard for, or attention to, the enemy - knowingly or unknowingly. My God clearly says HE is the only one I should be worshiping and serving.

I must fix my mind on the truth about who God is and what His Word says. This requires devoted time in prayer and His Word. As I am learning to speak His Word - which are words of life - into my life, my family's life, my circumstances and so on, I sense the power of Christ within me. I have learned to speak it out loud so the enemy can hear me, because only God is omniscient, or all-knowing. Only God can know my thoughts, not Satan. Keeping my eyes fixed on God crowds out the enemy and leaves less and less room for attack. I do this through prayer, scripture, meditating on a passage or the names and characteristics of God, through writing about Him, filling my ears with Christian music, etc. When the enemy does rear his ugly head, as a believer, I have power and authority to speak to him in Jesus' name. I might say to him, "In Jesus' name you must get away from me Satan! God's Word says that He will make my enemies a footstool under my feet. You must flee. Your rightful place is under my feet!"

In this world we are promised trouble. We are also living in a spiritual battle. The enemy will come. He will attack. He will accuse. He will condemn. He will confuse. But I must take heart, knowing I can come against every attack with power in Jesus' name and speak life by exercising the sword of the Spirit, which is God's Word. It is "alive and full of power" and "sharper than any two-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12, AMP). This means it is active, energizing, operative and effective. It is one of my God-given weapons (Ephesians 6:10-18). The sooner I recognize the enemy's schemes and address them, the better off and the stronger I will be. And as a safeguard, I should daily and out loud be binding the enemy from my family, my home, my marriage and breathing words of life, not doom and gloom, so that my eyes remain fixed on my Jesus.

Father, the enemy has been relentless as of late. Thank You for the many ways You have been reminding me of the power that resides within me because You live in me. Thank You for giving me eyes to see and wisdom to recognize the lies. Please give me strength in You as I stand firm, sword of the Spirit in hand, rejecting the lies, praising You for who You are, and praying Your words of truth and life - the active, powerful Word of God - into my life. Praise You Father in Jesus' Name, Amen.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Purpose of the Thorn

"'My grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 
2 Corinthians 12:9

Paul, speaking of the "thorn" in his flesh, is told by Jesus, "My grace is sufficient for you..." A thorn in the flesh may represent a weakness, ongoing circumstance, infirmity, or even a disease that the Lord has divinely permitted in a believer's life. The reasons for the thorn seem to vary. In verse 7, it implies the cause is to keep the believer humble. Verse 8 shows how it can drive us into the presence of the Lord in prayer. And in verse 9, to show others the all-sufficient power of God's grace; that in Christ we are strong even through weakness.

Are my "thorns" keeping me humble - or making me angry and frustrated to the point I risk discrediting my witness?

Driving me to prayer - or a false source of comfort?

Showing others the sufficiency of Christ in my weakness - or do I have a complaining spirit?

Is it evident, that in spite of my circumstances, faults, weaknesses, infirmities, or disease, that Christ's power rests on me - or by my words and actions am I giving Christ a bad name?

Am I using that God-given power to bring Him glory - or bring Him shame?

Father, my heart's desire is to be gracious and humble, to be a woman of prayer, displaying Your  grace and sufficiency in my life in spite of my faults and weaknesses. I want my life to bring You honor and glory in all that I do and say. Empower me I pray. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Faith in God

My daughter and I have both been home sick this week. One of her make-up assignments from the teacher was to write on a topic of her choosing for a Public Speaking Program the school is participating in this week. As we put the finishing touches on her work last night I asked if I could have permission to upload her story - just as it was written - as a guest post on my blog for today. She excitedly said "yes!" Here is her story...may it encourage you!

~ by Emily Mattox, age 10

2008 was a begining of a tough 2 years for my family, but God was with us through all those difficult days.Thankfuly God was giving all of these songs to listen to and there were two special songs that he gave me.The songs that God gave me were "Walk on the Water" by Britt Nicole and "What Faith Can Do" by Kutless.

The trial began after my mom and me were getting sick constantly. We had an inspecter come in and he found toxic mold. You could not see the mold at all. He found it in the walls of our kichen and mostly in the walls of my bedroom.  Before we knew the mold existed I had reactive arthritus all over my body. For days I could barrly move or walk.

With toxic mold we could no longer live in our house. We moved in with my grandma thinking that we would only be there a few weeks, but we turned out living there 22 months! It took that long to get the house tested, cleared out of mold and our things taken to the dump. We lost about 95% of our belongings. My mom had to throw almost everything in my room away! Then we painted the rooms and the outside and got everything in the house done and put it on the market and sold it. Then we started looking for a new home.

My mom always wanted to live in Copper Ridge on a street called Amethyst. We were rejoysing to God when He answered her prayer and our realter found us a house on Amethyst!

The night that we closed on our house we invited some friends over that were praying for us and we wrote on the walls. You are probibly thinking that my family is crazy, but we wrote Bible verses on the walls and then painted over them. But we can always know it's there and think of the friends that wrote on our walls. Thirteen days later we got to move in after my mom and dad painted, bought new furniture and put it all together. Me and my brother had no idea what our rooms would look like. It was a surprise. When we got to move in and see it was like our own extreme home make-over!

It all ended up good but on tough days music and prayer really helped us. "Walk on the Water" by Britt nicole helped me the most. The lines that got me through were...

             Step out even when it's stormin',
             step out even when you're broken,
             step out even when your heart is telling you, telling you give up,
             step out so you can see where you're going,
             ...you don't have to be afraid.

The song means that even through tough times you still need to press on and foucus on what you are doing. The other song, "What Faith Can Do" is based on having to make a new begining and not to give up. I have learned when life is hard I will always have faith in God.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Treasuring God's Word

"I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread." Job 23:12

God's Word is to be treasured more than my daily bread...

How much do I treasure God's Word? Do I rank it of higher priority than food? Food sustains my life, but God's Word even more! I have learned through difficult and devastating trials that my "daily bread" can be so much less than what the world says it should be - and yet still be more than enough. What truly sustains my life each day is the life-giving sustenance of the Word of God. He has shown me that if I will come to the table hungry, He will feed me!

Father, help me come to the table of Your Word with a hunger for You; a hunger for a nugget of truth that I can cling to, bask in and marinate my life with each day. And help me to hide Your Word in my heart. Lord, I want to treasure Your Word more than my daily bread. Fill me up on You I pray. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Suffering & Deliverance

"We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many."  2 Corinthians 1:8-11

My God is my Comforter. He comforts me so that I can be a comfort to others. He came to comfort because He knew there would be discomfort in our lives. His Word tells us that His sufferings will overflow into our lives for the purpose of producing patient endurance. These sufferings will include hardships that come in all manner of degrees and descriptions. Sometimes the pressure will be great and seem beyond our human ability to endure. It can leave us feeling desperate or even under a sentence of death. So why does God allow such suffering? His Word says it is so that "we might not rely on ourselves", but on Him, for He alone has the power to raise up the dead. 

So what are we to do? We are to set our hope on Christ, who no doubt has delivered us before, and can do it again in response to our prayers and the prayers of others on our behalf. And when the answer does come, He asks us to give Him thanks. Thanks for the favor He granted us as a result of our petitions.

Thank You Lord that my prayers and the prayers of others for me are not in vain. You do hear our pleas and You will answer according to Your best for me. My hope is in You! In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bad Company

"Bad company corrupts good character." 1 Corinthians 15:33

I remind my children of this truth from God's Word often and encourage them to choose their friends wisely. Keeping company with the ungodly on a regular basis corrupts the character of the godly.

God's Word says in Galatians 6:7 that we will reap what we sow. When we sow extended amounts of time with ungodly friends in activities, conversations not led of the Lord, or in places not pleasing to God, we will eventually reap what we sow. Little by little we will lose our footing until we lose our way, give in to tempation...and sin. Repeated sin corrupts the once godly person's character. To corrupt means to tarnish, damage, defile, taint, hurt, mar, disgrace, dishonor, spoil or misuse the temple of the Holy Spirit - which is our body. We do this by subjecting the Holy Spirit to things displeasing to the Lord we view with our eyes, hear with our ears, speak with our mouths, think in our hearts, subject our bodies to, or activities we participate in, that are not God's best for our lives.

On another level, lack of knowledge about the spiritual world of warfare may cause us to unknowingly be keeping bad company with the enemy, Satan. He is deceptive and sneaky. He can corrupt good character by simply placing a negative or ungodly thought in the mind of a believer and trick them into thinking the thought is their own. If those thoughts are not taken captive and replaced with God's truths (2 Corinthians 10:5), we begin to believe his lies or nagging thoughts and act upon them. Sometimes they lead to sin which in turn, corrupts good character. Here is a classic example of the enemy's craftiness:

A husband and wife have a disagreement. Before long, Satan plants the thoughts in one of their minds, "They'll never change, my marriage is doomed, I can't keep living like this, I deserve better!" The enemy does it in such a way as to make them think these thoughts are thier own. Once they agree with the statements in their mind, their guard comes down, and it might not be long before the enemy dangles "the one" they think they deserve in front of their eyes. Because their guard is down, they might make an effort to talk to that person, linger to be around them, begin texting or talking to them via social networking, and so on...until they damage or even ruin their marriage, tarnish their once godly character, and find out the grass really wasn't greener on the other side. All because they kept company with thoughts planted by the enemy.

So how do we keep our character in tact? By keeping close company with like-minded believers who sharpen us, steer clear of things that tempt us (people, drugs, alcohol, gossip, pornography, and so on), and quicken our minds to recognize the lies and thoughts planted by the enemy, and replace them with God's truths.
Father God, help me to make good choices about the company I keep. Help me to steer clear of situations that tempt me. Help me to recognize immediately thoughts and lies from the enemy, and replace them with Your truths. Help me to stand firm in my faith, guarded with the sword of the Spirit (Your Word), and represent You well. I ask this in Jesus' name, Amen.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Just "Noise"

"If I could speak all the languages of the earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or clanging cymbal." 1 Corinthians 13:1 (NLT)

In order to be received well by others, God's Word says I must speak in love. I specifically think about this passage as it applies to my family - my husband and children in particular - those that would most often receive the brunt of a less than loving mood. If I do not speak to them in love, I am just "noise" to their ears. I don't want to be noise. I want my words to be spoken in love, reflecting the love of Christ within me, and received.

Father God, You deal with me so lovingly and no doubt, as a Father, speak words of love over me. Help me to speak that way to my husband and my children...words of love, words of life, that they might fall on a receptive heart and ears. I don't want my words to be noise because of the way they are spoken. I want my words to build them up, to be soothing, healing, encouraging, edifying, affirming, and most importantly, loving. Empower me to do Your will I pray. In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Be Careful Not to Fall

"So if you think you are stading firm, be careful that you do not fall." 1 Corinthians 10:12

When we think we are standing firm and strong enough to resist temptation in our own strength, we have become wise in our own eyes. Beware! This is a dangerous place to be. To think we would never do this or that - in other words, standing firm - we are most at risk for tempatation or falling. The enemy lies in wait, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Who better than a believer that declares, as with a self-vow, that they will always or never do something. Instead, we should say, "Lord willing, I will never..." The moment we make a blanket vow, knowingly or unknowingly, implying that in our own strength we can resist something, the enemy sneaks a toe in the door and looks for opportunity to test that vow and bring the believer down. We are to stand firm, but not on our own. We are to stand firm in the strength and power of the Lord.

Have you made any self-vows, knowingly or unknowingly? These are "I will always" and "I will never" statements. One of the most dangerous examples I can think of is "I would never have an affair." Be careful. If you think you can resist this in your own strength, on your own good morals, watch out. The enemy is crafty. He might first get you a little disgruntled in your marriage, then dangle really good relationships in front of you, causing you to desire more for yourself. Even convincing you that you deserve it. Then no doubt he'll send someone along to pay you the attention you "deserve". And whether you ever go there physically, you have sinned once you go there in your mind, envisioning yourself with that person. The enemy crept in, tested the one who thought they would "never" and proved that given the right circumstances, they "would". Unfortunately I have seen it happen on more than one occasion. So walk carefully and on guard.

Father God, help me to stand firm and strong in You, in the power of the Living Word, fully armed and dressed for battle. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Change My Heart Oh God

"[The LORD] who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water." Psalm 114:8

God can totally change things. He has the power to change people, circumstances, and even hearts. He turned a rock into springs of water. My God can change my heart that way. Where it is hard, He can soften it. He can turn it into springs of water, flowing with life in Him.

Lord Jesus, I've been praying and asking You to make my heart right in a certain situation. After reading this passage I am reminded that You can make the hard places soft again - even flowing like springs of water - springs that reflect You, point people to You and make others thirst for You. Would You do that in my heart I pray? Turn the hard places into a wellspring of life again... In Jesus' Name I Pray, Amen.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Saturate Me, Lord!

"And he said to man, 'the fear of the Lord - that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.'" Job 28:28

Fear of the Lord means to have a reverential trust in Him. It leads me to be humble, obedient and worshipful towards  Him. To shun evil is to hate what is not pleasing to God and turn away or steer clear from it. God's Word says that fearing God and trusting Him brings wisdom; turning from evil brings about understanding. As I trust the Lord and abstain from those things that do not please God, He makes clear the path that leads to life abundant in Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). Fools despise wisdom and discipline (Proverbs 1:7). Knowledge of the Holy One also brings understanding (Proverbs 9:10). The only way to gain this spiritual kind of wisdom is to spend time with God,  habitually walking and talking with Him, soaking up the Son by basking in His Word. When I know - truly know -  who God is, I can take Him at His Word, believing that He is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do. Regardless of my circumstances, I choose to believe God and speak the Living Word of God into my life. As I do, I'm trusting Him, worshiping Him, believing Him, understanding Him more fully, and gaining wisdom.

Oh Father, saturate me with Your Word. Fill me up with grace and power to speak Your Word with great confidence. Sharpen my mind with Your Word and make me an effective tool in Your hands I pray. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Begin with Me

"This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words." 1 Corinthians 2:13

True wisdom comes not from this world, but from God alone. When I write, I pen the things the Holy Spirit impresses on my heart after spending time with Him in prayer and His Word. To the unbeliever it may sound like foolishness because they are things spiritually discerned. But to the believer who reads my blog, may they be a source of encouragement, conviction and challenge. May these entries always begin with application to my own heart and life first.

Help me Father to have a discerning heart, yielded to the Holy Spirit, and write as You inspire - not for man - but for my own spiritual growth in You. I ask this in Your Holy Name, Amen.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Adequate in Christ

" Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? ...you yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You should know that you are a letter from Christ...written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God." 2 Corinthians 3:1-5 

Commending yourself is pride, and pride is sin. My life should be a testimony of what God has done, like a letter written on the tablet of my heart. My competence, my abilities, my sufficiency - anything that appears adequate within me - comes from God.

Thank You Lord that in You and You alone, I am competent, able and adequate to do everything You call me to do. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Not for Profit

"Unlike so many, we do not peddle the Word of God for a profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God." 2 Corinthians 2:17

As I pondered the thought of starting a blog, wondering if anyone would want to read what the Lord leads me to pen in my Life Journal, I believe He divinely pointed me to this scripture. I was supposed to be reading Galatians 3 that day, and thought I was, but glanced back and noticed an underlined verse in chapter 2. As I decided to write on that passage, I realized I was actually in 2 Corinthians - but right where God wanted me. It was as though He was speaking to and affirming my decision to blog and giving clear direction. This is what I penned that day...

My God breathes life into His Word so that I might understand the mystery of His Words and His ways. The wisdom I gain comes from a stirring in my heart and mind by the Lord after sitting at His feet, feasting at His table. So who am I to think I should make a profit from God's inspiration? All that I have, all that I am, all that I ever hope to be comes from the hand of God. I am simply called to speak and share with sincerity, as a woman called by God. May my pen be divinely inspired to write in a thought provoking way that encourages others with straightforwardness, honesty, transparency and goodwill, from the heart.

Father God, 

Thank You for Your Word; for clear direction as I put my toe in the water and venture out in obedience to share the things that You are teaching me.  I ask for Your blessings, Your favor and a boldness to share unashamedly. 

In Jesus' Name I Pray, Amen.