September 27, 2011

My Rock

"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer, my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—from violent men you save me. I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies. (2 Samuel 22:2-4)

"We, too, will have our battles, though they may not be as dramatic as David's. Like him, we can respond with humility and trust, defending ourselves without giving in to our desire to retaliate, confident that the God whom David called his Rock—the One who is true to every promise—is the same God who is with us." -Ann Spangler

September 24, 2011

Face the music

Exposing hypocrisy

"But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves."

Romans 1:18NLT

The Lord hates those who don't keep their word, but he delights in those who do. Proverbs 12:22 NLT

One day, we'll all "face the music"

"The expression "face the music" originated in Japan. One man in the imperial orchestra couldn't play a note, but as a person of great influence and wealth, he demanded to be given a seat; he wanted the emperor to see him "perform." The conductor agreed to let the man sit in the second row. He was handed a flute, and when a concert began, he'd raise his instrument, pucker his lips, and move his fingers. He went through all the motions of playing but never made a sound. His deception continued for two years.

Then a new conductor took over. He told the orchestra that he would audition each player personally. One by one the musicians performed in his presence. At last came this flutist's turn. Frantic with worry, he pretended to be sick — but his lies caught up with him. The doctor who examined him declared him perfectly fine. Finally the pretender had to admit he was fake. He couldn't face the music.

Ready or not, all of us will one day face the music. We will all appear before the Lord, without masks and without deception. Better that we show our true faces to the world now than have someone ask on that day, "Who was that unmasked man?"

from Breakfast with Jesus by Greg Laurie

September 22, 2011

Everything Together


He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.


Ephesians 1:8-10


Oh WOW!  Have you ever just had one of those days where you know God was there?  That was my day today!  It was filled with such good stuff and God revealed secrets that have been hidden and granted peace to what could possible be a desperate situation.


We live in a world of instant gratification.  We want everything right this second.  Waiting is bad and typically if we do not get what we want right away we pout and question God.  We then decide to make a move without Him and BAM, we lose!  We fail!


I've been there.  A lot!  But recently He has changed my perspective.  What I used to want now, I've learned is not always the best thing.  Instead I have learned that His timing is so much better and I must patiently wait on Him. 


He has a plan.  In order for all things to work out for good according to His plan, we have to wait on Him to put things in order.  Events have to align. Information has to be revealed.  Time has to pass. 


That is exactly what is happening.  True character will be exposed.  Secrets revealed. Good will overcome evil in the end.  You do not go up against the goodness of God and mess with His children.  He does not tolerate it nor will He allow it!  His word promises He will deliver and rescue but we must be still and allow Him to work.


God will ultimately have the victory.  He never loses.  Though the story may not end the way we would write it, it will end bringing Him and Him alone all the glory!!!
Prepare Your Mind

Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13)

Your mind is a wonderful thing! You can memorize life-changing passages of Scripture that can undergird you in your daily life; you can meditate upon God’s Word, discovering His magnificent truths; you can discern between truth and falsehood; you can recall God’s past blessings.

Some of God’s most effective servants were those who disciplined their minds for His service. Moses, educated in the best schools of Egypt, assembled the books of the Law for the Israelites. Isaiah used his scholarly mind to write an exalted prophetic book in Scripture. Paul learned under Gamaliel, the outstanding teacher of his day, and it was through Paul that God presented much of the theology found in the New Testament.

Sadly, many Christians today do not exercise their minds to be of service to God. They allow others to do their spiritual thinking for them. If they can find their theology from a book, they will not bother to study God’s Word themselves. If a speaker makes an authoritative statement, they readily accept it without verifying whether it is biblical.

Paul urged Christians to strive for maturity in their thinking (1 Cor. 14:20). He said there was a time when his spiritual thinking was immature, but he had prepared his mind to know and understand the great truths of God (1 Cor. 13:11). He had not allowed others to do his thinking for him. When you became a Christian, God renewed your mind (Rom. 12:2). Be certain to use your mind in a way that brings glory to God.

-Experiencing God-Blackaby

September 21, 2011

Wisdom for the Trials of Life
Charles Stanley

James 1:5-8

At first glance, today's passage on wisdom doesn't seem related to the subject of trials, but James is actually continuing His thoughts from the previous three verses. We need wisdom to know how to respond to suffering. This means we should see trials from the Lord's viewpoint and understand His purposes in allowing them in our lives.

If you want to profit from struggles, be sustained in them, and come through with joy and victory, you must be persuaded of the following truths:

1. God is in full control of the timing and intensity of your trial and will not allow it to go beyond His boundaries.

2. He has a specific purpose for your suffering which you may not understand until it is over.

3. This trial will prove to be profitable if you submit to God and trust Him through it.

4. Trying situations are opportunities for faith to prove genuine and grow stronger.

5. When you endure extreme pressure with unexplainable peace and joy, the Lord will demonstrate His sustaining power to a watching world.

6. Your difficulties are used by the Father to produce Christ-like character.

7. God will walk with you through all trials.

8. The Holy Spirit will enable you not only to survive but also to come out a conqueror.

If you believe all these principles, they will shape how you respond to difficulties in your life. This perspective eliminates the negative reactions normally elicited by trials and makes supernatural responses possible. Instead of feeling miserable and hopeless, you'll experience amazing peace and joy.

September 20, 2011

The Battle belongs to the Lord of Hosts!


David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel!
1 Samuel 17:45-46

Several years ago, I purchased the book Praying the Names of God by Ann Spangler.  I studied my way through the book and very much enjoyed what I was learning.  A few of the names meant something to me at the time because I had experienced those attributes but the rest became head knowledge that I tucked away.

Over the past couple of years, all of those names have become very relevant in my life.  I have now experienced many of the attributes of God in divine ways. It has been an amazing journey and my faith has grown. I am now coming upon my greatest test of faith and going up against my Goliath in a matter of days.  I am going to battle but my perspective has changed.  One year ago, six months ago and in fact two months ago, I was going into my battle ready to fight.  I was ready to slay and destroy.  I was scared to death. That has all changed.

Repeatedly over the past few weeks, God has revealed His name Yahweh Tsebaoth to me.  It means Lord Almighty, The Lord of Hosts. It reminds us that all of creation, every part of it is under God’s rule and reign.  Nothing happens that has not passed through His hands.  Nothing happens that He has not given the go ahead to.  Nothing is a surprise to Him.  Do you understand what that means? Really understand it?
The story of David and Goliath has become very significant for me and I have found something in that story that means a great deal more to me now.  As I have read and reread the amazing journey of David, I have discovered so much more to the story and it is changing my life.

When I was a kid, the story of David and Goliath meant a young boy killed a giant with a rock. It was impressive but there something that speaks to me even more now. Before heading into battle, Saul put David in his armor.  He placed a bronze helmet on his head and placed a coat of mail (An armored coat made of chain) over him.  David then strapped on the sword of Saul and tried to walk.  He found that he was unable because he was not used to walking in something that so heavily weighed him down. He then removed it all. From there David took his staff and five smooth stones as well as his sling and headed toward Goliath.

We know how the story ends but did you catch the other part? Logic/the world say that when going to battle, you suit up.  You wear your heaviest armor and grab your sword.  That is the thinking of the world.  David knew something greater.  He knew Someone stronger.  He knew there was Someone more faithful and stronger then metal.  He knew that he had the Lord Almighty on His side. 

As I sit, take a deep breath and acknowledge who my God is, I am reminded that He is the God that created the heavens and the earth. He parted the red sea.  He is the same God who used a shepherd to defeat a giant. He is the God who delivered Jonah from the belly of a whale.  He is the God who was with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace and with Daniel in the lion’s den.  He is the same God who raised Lazarus from the dead and cast out demons.  He is the God who died for my sins and rose to life again.  That is my God!

Step back and hold on tight because once you realize the strength you have when God is on your side, there is no stopping you.  Granted there will be those who question your judgment and thinking.  There will be those who mock you but in the end, God will have the glory and He will fight for you.

The world tells us that we need their kind of armor whatever that may mean for you but God tells us something different. Worldly armor will weigh us down leaving us unable to fight our battle. God tells us to be strong and to put on His armor.

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we[a] are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.[b] 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.[  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

Ephesians 6:10-18

We must remember that we are not fighting flesh and blood while walking on this earth. (Eph 10:12)  Instead, we are fighting evil, the mighty powers of darkness and things that are unseen.  We cannot combat that evil with worldly armor because it will not protect us. Instead, we are to clothe ourselves in the belt of truth and the armor of God’s righteousness. Our feet are to be fitted with the gospel of peace. We are given a shield of faith that allows us to deflect the arrows of the evil one.  In addition, we have the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God!

We call upon His name, Yahweh Tsebaoth giving us the ability to face challengers of all kinds without fear but with much confidence. God has a plan.  When we trust Him to carry it out instead of ourselves and suit up in His armor, there will be a great victory. Remember that the battle belongs to the Lord!

September 16, 2011

Light exposes evil

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

Ephesians 5:8-13

I have pretty smart kids. I'm not talking book smarts (although they have that too) but I'm talking about flat out common sense. Good old fashioned street smarts.

Last week my almost ten year old went to a bible study. Apparently they discussed hypocrisy because as she walked through the door she greeted me with "hey mom. I know what a hypocrite is." Intrigued I asked her to tell me. She informed me that a hypocrite is someone who "says one thing and does another."

From there she gave me a list of adults she knows that she would consider hypocrites. As I listened I was amazed. I stopped her several times to ask her why she named some that she had. What she recounted was truthful about their actions of hypocrisy. Some on her list were people I had respected at one time. To see through the eyes of a child was quite eye opening. She was right.

She began giving me examples of people who had said one thing but their actions spoke a totally different story. It was incredible to see her mind process current events with past statements.

Kid are much smarter than we give them credit. Last night I was shopping with my boys and came across two different families we used to go to church with. The actions from both families was complete hypocrisy. I didn't say a word but instead walked away. The two oldest boys began a conversation about how fake people who claim to be Christians can be. It made me so incredibly sad. We as adults don't always think about our actions and just what our children are witnessing by our behavior.

Once home I listened as the boys shared with their sister what had happened. She immediately piped up and said "that is being a hypocrite. That's what we talked about at church."

I know there are many out there who feel pity for my kids. Those who think their lives have been destroyed. This posting is for you. My God is stronger. My God is bigger. My God uses ALL things for His good. These kids are experiencing God in a mighty way! My kids are seeing people for what they truly are, sinners in need of God's grace. My kids are learning true forgiveness and love.

God has a plan. He has a way that is perfect. For the first time in my life I have the freedom to live the life God has for me. I now have the ability to be the mom and woman He called me to be and life is amazing! Instead of being sad, find joy that my children are now closer to walking in truth than ever before.
I read this as part of my quiet time this morning. My faith gets shaky at times but as long as I'm listening to His voice above the noise, His truth strengthens me. Such powerful truth this morning.

Day 16: Marriage and Family

If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel– 1 Timothy 5:8

We live in an age of self-justification. We can excuse or explain almost any personal behavior or habit or shortcoming, making a case for our own innocence. But Paul here cuts through all our layers of self-defense and plainly states our obligation.

If you, husbands and fathers, are not carefully laboring to provide the food, shelter, and clothing that are needed by your family—to the best of your ability—then you are not a Christian, no matter how much you may protest to the contrary.

In fact, Paul says, you have denied the faith of Christ by your actions; therefore, you are worse than an unbeliever, because you are bringing reproach on the name of Christ. You cannot claim an allegiance to Christ, on the one hand, and selfishly or carelessly deny the help to your family that Christ demands of you.

These words may sound strong or harsh, but in reality they are helpful and loving. We might be tempted to deceive ourselves on this issue, if it were not so plainly worded for us. Our families might suffer because of our thoughtless neglect, except that Paul has forced us to consider them.

If you have failed in this regard, do not give up; it is never too late to repeal your denial of the faith, to throw off your unbelief, and to show your commitment to Christ by laboring for the welfare of your family.

September 15, 2011

Mighty Warrior

I began a bible study last night. One out the first passages we read was Judges 6 and discussed the Midianites and the story of Gideon. This morning this was in my email from one of my devotionals I receive. I have no doubt now that God is going to do amazing things in my life and I will break free!!


The Lord is peace


The Name Shalom is a Hebrew word, so much richer in its range of meanings than the English word "peace," which usually refers to the absence of outward conflict or to a state of inner calm. The concept of shalom includes these ideas but goes beyond them, meaning "wholeness," "completeness," "finished word," "perfection," "safety," or "wellness." Shalom comes from living in harmony with God. The fruit of that harmony is harmony with others, prosperity, health, satisfaction, soundness, wholeness, and well-being. When you pray to Yahweh Shalom, you are praying to the source of all peace. No wonder his Son is called the Prince of Peace.

Key Scripture So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace. (Judges 6:24)

***

PRAYING THE NAME

When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, "Ah, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!"

But the LORD said to him, "Peace! Do not be afraid.You are not going to die."

So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace. (Judges 6:22-24)

Reflect On: Judges 6:1-24

Praise God: For his power to deliver us.

Offer Thanks: For punishments that bring us back to God.

Confess: Any patterns in your life that keep you from experiencing God's peace.

Ask God: To free you from spiritual oppression.

God's people were in a miserable bind. They were living in the Promised Land without enjoying the promised blessings—the milk and honey, the wheat and barley, the peace and prosperity. For seven years Midianite raiders swarmed over their land like locusts, stealing everything in sight. Freed from slavery in Egypt, their idolatry had made them vulnerable to a new oppressor. Finally the Israelites cried out for relief, and God supplied a deliverer in the shape of Gideon, who defeated an enormous army with a mere three hundred men.

Significantly, Gideon's story began with a divine encounter. The angel of the Lord greeted him, saying, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior," as though to say that God's mere presence would be enough to transform this fearful man into a mighty warrior capable of winning the peace for an entire nation.

Humbled by the encounter, Gideon built an altar, calling it "The LORD is Peace." What a statement! Israel had been bullied, fearful, and defeated. The land was ravaged. People were living in caves. Gideon himself, the "mighty warrior," had been hiding in a winepress when the angel of the Lord appeared to him. Yet the name of the altar was well considered. God was about to deliver his people and bring peace through a series of remarkable events. And he would use Gideon, the weakest man in the region, to bring about a peace that would last forty years—until Israel again fell away from God.

It's a great story, but what does it have to do with us? For one thing it reminds us that the peace we long for comes only from God. We need the reminder because we are so easily fooled into thinking that personal security lies elsewhere—in a fat retirement account, the perfect relationship, a good education, a prestigious job. And if we aren't careful, the blessings we crave may turn into desires that destroy our peace. Real peace comes only from practicing the presence of God.

If you have been feeling troubled and restless, harassed or oppressed, take a look inside. What's stealing your peace? What's making you anxious and frustrated? Have you slipped away from God? Have you become too busy to practice his presence and seek his face? Have you made compromises that have slowly eroded your faith? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, cry out to God as the people of Israel did in Gideon's day. Ask him to draw you more deeply into his presence, delivering you from the enemies of your soul intent on stealing your peace and robbing you of the good things he intends.

September 2, 2011

Insomnia

So I'm unable to sleep. Thoughts, ideas and plans are running through my head. It is safe to say my mind is on overdrive. Not a good thing when you're a single mom with five kiddos and a busy day ahead.

There is a reason for these moments. Reason for the unsettled feelings and thoughts. The reason for these moments is so that I have to be still. The reason for the thoughts; fear and uncertainty.

My days are crazy. I have my quiet moments with the Lord during my day but sometimes life is so loud that I know I miss what He's trying to tell me. Often during the day, life is so hectic that the thoughts of fear and uncertainty do not have time to stop me and instead play catch up, when I should be sleeping. That is what is happening now.

Instead of sleeping, I have spent that time talking to God. During our time together the following devotion came through on my phone. Enough said. Mind settled. Ready to sleep.

God is good!!!


Sept. 2, 2011-Charles Stanley

Seeing Obstacles through God's Eyes

Joshua 2:1-24

Jericho was the first city that the Israelites needed to conquer in their quest for the land of Canaan. When Joshua sent a pair of spies to check it out, he probably didn't realize that he would receive a glimpse of God's impressive behind-the-scenes activity.

God wants us to look at every obstacle through the lens of His unlimited strength and resources. Anything that appears to block His plans is an opportunity for Him to demonstrate His sovereign power. Just because we don't see anything happening, that doesn't mean He's inactive.

Always remember that God is at work on the other side of our obstacles, arrang-ing the details and bringing His plans to fruition. When the spies returned to Joshua, they reported that the people of Jericho were scared to death. Having heard about the Jews' deliverance from Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea, they were gripped by fear of the Lord.

The stage was set for the conquest, yet by that point, Joshua had done nothing. Sometimes we think we need to be involved in the solution to our problem, but God is not limited with regard to whom or what He can use to accomplish His will. In this case, He worked in the hearts of the enemy by instilling demoralizing fear.

For Christians, great obstacles need not be reasons for discouragement. Although much of the Lord's activity is silent and invisible, we can be sure He is dynamically working out His will for our lives. When the pieces of His plan are in place, He will move us on to victory.