Tender Mercies

Tender Mercies

Mathew 20:29-34 (NIV)

As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

During the Daniel Fast, the Lord has really been speaking to my heart about my love for others. Our family has recently experienced a revival that has been too wonderful not to share. The Lord is doing many “new” things in us and around us. With exhilaration, there is a bit of anxiousness as I know change is often uncomfortable no matter how positive it may be. These new ideas and thoughts have been totally confirmed in my spirit, but as always my flesh is weak. There are certain aspects of His Calling that force me to abandon my feelings and emotions to step out on faith if obedience is my desire. I want to obey the Lord in all things. I want His Presence in my life completely and fully every day which requires that I follow Him.

I love people. I enjoy being around others and sharing life with them. On the other hand, I do not like drama. As a woman, this puts me in a precarious position most of the time. Over the years, I have shirked away from all television shows that are about conflict and drama. I hate soap operas. I have lived by the philosophy if you do not like the way your life is than change it. In the beginning of my life there was quite a bit of drama which creates insecurity and opposition. The truth remains that as there is human interaction there will be some drama. Christians are no different. I think churches get mixed up in it even more because it is one more social circle for it to churn in. So as you can see, I have a problem in this area. I do not keep up with the Kardashians. I don’t care about the housewives in all the other counties. In fact, I avoid it at all costs.

This has been a challenge in relating to other woman who often thrive on such things. Cultivating conflict is not the purpose but result. I think it is born of a need to connect and relate on a deeper level. Like the “breakup and makeup” syndrome of many couples today who cannot relate with the “monotony” of daily living so fight to create the opportunity for “honeymoon” phases. Love is commitment. Love is constant. To those who do not know any better, this is boring and unexciting. The world feeds these desires making a commitment to love like marriage a thing of the past. Even the concept of marriage has become convoluted in this age. One of my goals during the Daniel Fast is not to learn to tolerate drama, but to love others in spite of it. While I may still love the other person, once unnecessary highly emotional conflict comes into play – I am out. This is not what Jesus wants from me. I am to be His Light in a dark world. The very thing I despise is captivating the hearts of many people who I love. God gives me new mercy each day. Am I hoarding for myself? Am I only sharing with those I find deserving? Lord, help me to see beyond myself and personal comfort today to those who are hurting and need Your Love to permeate their life.

Do you struggle with dramatic and highly emotional relationships? The cry for mercy is a call for compassion rising up from inside the human heart. People do not intentionally stir up conflict. It is the need for love which stirs the atmosphere looking for change. Rather than offering it up freely, the church has kept it in for too long. Needy people are pushed aside and cast away. I am not talking about those who seek benevolence, handouts or money, but those who need unconditional love and constant attention to promote the Light making its way through the darkest part of their soul. In my journey to understand mercy and compassion, the Lord has brought me here to stand on the side of the road with the gathered crowd. Two men who are blind, which I believe represents spiritual darkness of a soul covered in sin, sit on the side of the road who have heard that Jesus is coming begin to shout for the Lord to have mercy on them. The crowd rebukes them telling them to be quiet stop making a scene. The two men shout louder and louder until Jesus asks what they would have from Him. “We want our sight.” What happens next is important. Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. What did they see? They saw Jesus. They saw His Lordship. They got up and followed Him. Isn’t this what our life as believers is all about? Helping the spiritually blind to see the Light of God’s Love and follow Jesus Christ?

Luke 1:76-79 (NIV)

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

You and I are called to be prophets to the nations. Maybe you are thinking, I am not a prophet. Well, I am pleased to inform you that you absolutely are a prophet of God if you believe in Jesus Christ, have called on His Name for salvation, made Him Lord of your life and are filled with His Spirit. You have a mission. A prophet is a person who speaks for God. If you hear the Voice of God, know His Word, and live His Way than you will have more than enough to share with others. God puts crazy, messed up, and overbearing people around you because you have light for their darkness. They are not trying to suck the life out of you but after the Light that lives in you.

 

Zechariah spoke these words over his son, John the Baptist. You will be a prophet. You will prepare the way of the Lord. You will give others knowledge of salvation through forgiveness of sins because of God’s Tender Mercy. This mercy is what those living in darkness are after. The mercy that we are provided day after day. God gives us new mercy each day. Do you live in the mercy of God? Do you graciously accept His Compassion and live in it?

Psalm 119:129-136 (NIV)

Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands. Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name. Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. Redeem me from human oppression, that I may obey your precepts. Make your face shine on your servant and teach me your decrees. Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed.

“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6) Jesus references this verse in the New Testament twice. Once in Matthew 9:13 when He was condemned by the Pharisees for eating with tax collectors and the second time in Matthew 12:7 when his hungry disciples began plucking heads of grain to eat them on the Sabbath and again the Pharisees pointed out they were doing something unlawful. As believers, mercy should be a mainstay in our life. When religion compromises our compassion for others, we have crossed the line back into sinful disobedience. God has shown us great mercy and compassion that is a gift to be shared with the world. Are we doing it? Do we pick and choose who we will show it to according to their worthiness? Do we withhold love and compassion from those who stir up drama, conflict or trouble in our life? See the only thing that Jesus requires of us is to love one another. In that one commandment alone the entire Law is fulfilled because if we choose to love others (ALL others) we will not conflict with any of the commandments. Love covers a multitude of sin. When we fail to love and it is an act of condemnation that completely conflicts with God’s Instruction.

Mercy is given to those who love His Name. (Period) You have the Mercy of God if you love His Name and the Name of His Son – Jesus. How do I know? Those who love the Lord will do the following: 1) Delight in God’s Word; 2) Desire spiritual understanding as a guide to life: 3) Hunger and thirst for right standing with God; 4) Direct each footstep according to God’s Commands alone; 5) Demand control of one’s flesh (self-control); and 6) Despair over sin…all sin and transgressions of any kind. (Proverbs 28:13) Mercy is given to those who call on the Name of Jesus to be saved and make Him the Lord of their life. Otherwise, one does not live in the Light of His Love. A constant need for affirmation, approval and acceptance of other people to maintain peace and happiness in life is a lack of faith and confident hope in the Righteousness of God. Continued sin with the intent of pulling the grace card will never achieve complete and total satisfaction in the Grace and Mercy of God that allows us to give freely and unconditionally to others. Sadly, the church of today has embraced compromise. It entertains sin. It shirks full obedience which makes it disobedience to God. It is time to erase the gray line because it simply does not exist. To follow Christ is an “all in” concept – you are or you are not. If you are all in, you have God’s Mercy as a gift given to you each day.

Lamentations 3:21-26 (NIV)

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 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.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (NKJV) As the Lord is reminding me today of His Tender Mercies given to me each day, it is with new understanding of what is required of me in our relationship. I love the Lord. I am committed to serving Him openly and unashamedly. This requires that I show new mercy for others each and that my compassion for the lost, hurting, annoying and even dramatic people around me continue without ceasing until the Light of His Amazing Love permeates the darkness that is driving them to reach out, call out, cry out and strain to find. We have it. It is with purpose. We are on a mission to share God’s Love with the world – all of it and everyone in it. Once our life is established on faith and confident hope, we must learn to give it away as freely as it is given. When the Lord is our portion, we have a limitless supply. Lord, teach me to love others as unconditionally as you do, give them mercy as freely as it has been given to me, and to extend the compassion I live in. Amen.

Matthew 5:6-8 (NIV) Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.

Advertisements

Changed – A Devotion

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NLT)

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

 

Our family is in a season of change. The oldest three children are all now adults. Two sons have moved out of our home to pursue life on their own. The great danger surrounding our son’s health has been adverted. Our oldest daughter will soon be married. We are left with just two kids in the house who prefer to be out and about as much as possible. I feel the Holy Spirit whispering “change is coming”. My hands and heart make a feeble attempt to embrace the days ahead but it is precarious to hold on the unknown. I am no longer satisfied with just getting by. The weakness that I have found in human strength compels me to be led, driven and empowered by the Holy Spirit more than ever. His Promise is that when I am weak – He becomes my strength. Now that I have experienced such an effort by my Lord, I want more of the sufficiency of His Grace. The change is coming from the inside of me and I must be sure to welcome it around me as well. The Lord is the Spirit. I know sometimes it is difficult to understand the Trinity of God and the three images as one. My freedom depends on my ability to live by the Spirit of God. I want my life to reflect the Glory of the Living God who is inside of my heart, mind and soul. I want His Goodness and Grace to permeate my life in such a way that others will want to know Him and be changed, too.

 

Hebrews 13:8 (NLT) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

 

It has become clear that life is unpredictable. Just when everything seems to be under control, chaos strikes in an instant. The only thing that is constant in my life is Jesus Christ. He lives in me. Therefore, I can live according to His Constancy. This is not an outward change but inward resolve. The storms of life will come. Change is imminent. The more that we attach ourselves to Christ and attempt to align our life with His Way – the more that this is true. If Christ does not change, then it must be our role in this relationship. Pride tells us don’t do it. Human nature refuses to submit. Calling on Jesus Christ as Savior includes making Him our Lord to complete the process of divine intervention in our life. Jesus is not just here to clear up yesterday, or even help us through today, but His Presence wants to change and improve our forever. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6) I cannot make it to God but through Him. I must change and make Him constant in my life.

 

Malachi 3:6 (NLT)

“I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.”

 

Lord, forgive me for all the times I half-heartedly study your Word. Thank you for Your Grace that presses me until I get the point. “I am the Lord (God) and I do not change.” I have read this passage a thousand times. It points to a rigid, unmoving personality until you read the rest of the scripture attached. “That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.” God’s Love for me never changes. It doesn’t matter what I have done. God created me with the express purpose that I would be His Child. He has made sure that I could be just that. He is a loving father filled with compassion and mercy even though I have rebelled so many times. No, God does not change. But this is not a harsh statement but rather a commitment of love. “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) When we are changed by the consistency of God’s Love for us which happens by faith that produces confidence in such a thing, our life will change because our hearts are aligned with God rather than being wary of Him. I am God. He does not change. Thank you Lord for loving me with such consistency that I know everything will work together for my good. (Romans 8:28) It is all about God’s Love for us. It is constant. It belongs to us.

 

Deuteronomy 30:6 (NLT)

“The Lord your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live!”

 

It’s funny to me that when I know change is coming that I strive to change things around me. It is preparation for something that I have no power to control yet I try to make it as comfortable as possible. God has promised to change my heart. He will teach me to love Him with all my heart and soul so that I can live. As I learn to embrace change, it does not become any easier but more of a resolve. When the sailors faced a storm of greater strength than their vessel or skill, they stopped trying to control it. “The sailors couldn’t turn the ship into the wind, so they gave up and let it run before the gale.” (Acts 27:13-15) In the tumultuous storm that has overshadowed the last three years of our life seems to have given way, I am amazed at the God who I serve. He will allow the storm to encircle my life but never overwhelm His Child. I am not a storm-battered vessel barely gimping into shore. I had not become shipwrecked on an island with no hope. But rather as I have surrendered my heart and soul to a power far greater than my own, I have been led to a safe harbor and refuge called His Love. “What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor!” (Psalm 107:30)  

 

Matthew 21:28-32 (NLT)

“But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go. “Which of the two obeyed his father?” They replied, “The first.” Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins.

 

Surrendering our life to Jesus Christ is only the beginning of the transformation process. We call Him Savior because He has saved us from our sin. We call Him Lord because we desire to live in His Kingdom forever. The two roles are partners and neither one can be forsaken. We cannot call Him Savior and forget that He is Lord. We cannot serve Him as Lord without accepting that He is our Savior first. To accept the Full Character of Christ allows His Spirit to come reside in us. I read recently a quote. “Obedience is not our obligation to obey God but rather our choice to love God!” A man told both of his sons to go work in his vineyard. The first one said, “No I won’t go” but later changed his mind and went anyway. The second son, to appease his father, lied and said, “I will go.” But never went as promised. Which one obeyed? The one who changed his mind. We must change our mind to align our thoughts with God. Why? He wants to do more than we could even think to ask for in our life. (Ephesians 3:20) This means most of the time we are not going to see or know what God is doing until the work is finished. We must change our mind to have faith in God first and wait in confident hope. This is what it means to be renewed by being transformed. (Romans 12:2) This life is not for everyone only those who want what God desires for their life enough to invest it wholeheartedly in the things of God and His Kingdom.

 

Jonah 4:1-3 (NLT)

This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”

 

Jonah was mad at God’s Mercy for the people of Nineveh. Jonah did not want to go there from the beginning. When he tried to go to Tarshish, he was swallowed by a whale. He repented and the whale vomited him on a beach. He did what the Lord instructed him to do and there was a revival in Nineveh so God spared the people there. Now the prophet was mad about God’s Mercy. Before pointing a finger at God’s man or even daring to condemn him for his lack of love for the brethren, take a good hard look at your own life for a moment. There are many times when God institutes change in our life in response to our deep desire to know Him more, have His Will and walk His Way that we end up mad just like Jonah. A change in our plans is bound to upset us because it puts in an unknown place. The only way that we will ever embrace the changes that the Lord is making in our life is to have faith and confident hope in Him alone. Change is an inevitable part of our life as we submit all that we are to God’s Plan and Purpose but we still get mad sometimes when it affects us in an uncomfortable way. Change is uncomfortable especially as God brings about more than we could “think” to ask for! Jonah said, “I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.” How many times have we been in the midst of God’s Mercy but because we were mad failed to see its great benefit to us? Change will do that to us. We must learn to fully trust and rely on God’s Plan enough to embrace the change that is all around us!

 

Romans 2:29 (NLT)

No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.

 

I am not a Jew. I am a Child of the Living God. My heart is being changed by His Spirit. Such a life begins on the inside of my heart working its way out. Obedience to God’s Word is not enough unless my heart is circumcised in covenant with the Lord. Circumcision is an Old Testament practice that has moved to an inward process in the New Testament. Baptism takes the place of this rite. But does not exempt our heart from the process. If a man were circumcised in the Old Testament without an inward change it meant nothing. Now we have been given the Holy Spirit to circumcise and change our heart cutting away the flesh to give way to God’s Spirit in us. This inward transformation will result in an outward change if it is truly undertaken. You cannot hide the Light of God’s Love once it takes you over. It is impossible not to talk about what the Lord is doing and seek to do His Will. Circumcision was an act of purification and sanctification before the Lord. God wants to change your heart today. Will you allow Him to do so at the risk of becoming someone else?

 

James 1:16-18 (NLT)

So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.  Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

 

To face and embrace the change that God is producing in our life requires love and obedience on our part. Surrendering our life to the Lord is a process. It is to cut the soul tie to our sinful nature and develop a love story with Jesus Christ. We must work at it continually and be conscious of it always as not to hinder the productivity of God in our life. Knowing that whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from the Father by faith and having confident hope that He who promised is faithful and will deliver makes all the difference in the world. On the elliptical machine, I work to keep my feet moving at a constant pace. I want to build endurance. But from time to time, I will change up my work out and try to change the direction of my feet moving in the pedals. Before I can do so, I must stop the momentum that I have built up and then slowly begin moving in the new direction. My legs ache from the endeavor of stopping and restarting. Sometimes my life in Christ feels the same way. I am going along pretty good. Things are rhythmically moving in step to my own drum. The Lord says, “Hey lets change directions. Go this way.” The process of change is difficult at this point of stopping, changing and restarting.” But the Lord is telling me today to do it because it is worth it. I want to be changed. I do not want to be mad when God throws a curve ball in my life. Holy Spirit rise up in me today so that my faith will become confident in the fact that God is good. He never changes and intends to love me. Keep my heart from failing or becoming fickle in its way! When I change direction on the gym equipment, I must first tell my mind that we are going to do it. I must become determined to make it happen. I must invest all my energy in changing the momentum of my feet. It is the same when it is the momentum of my life. The only difference is that when I am weak – He becomes my strength! If God’s Love does not change and if Christ does not change them change must be a good thing!  

 

Hebrews 6:17-19 (NLT)

God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

It’s a Brand New Day – A Devotion

It's a Brand New Day

 

Matthew 9:16-17 (NLT)

“Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”

 

Ever since I returned from caring for our son during his bone marrow transplant, I have tried to reestablish my old routine and schedule. Getting our home in order preparing to return to work, I have looked for the familiar and normal that I longed for but it is not here. Change has been stirring in my spirit but my flesh is not as welcoming. Oh, I want the blessing of the new season but there is always a process of planting to get there. It’s hard to accept change and welcome the impact of the unknown even when I know that God is good. Yet my attempts to return to my old life are all in vain as I am clearly not the same person who left the house several weeks ago. My roles of wife and mother I gladly hold onto in a tight embrace. It is in these two identities that I can feel the arms of God wrap tightly around me holding them in place as the winds of change swirl all around me. I want to bury my face deeper in His Presence as I do not feel as strong and confident like in the days before. Our life is not the same. I can accept that. In the brokenness, I have found that He is faithful and good in all things. In the victories, I also have discovered that His Love for us is unfailing as His Goodness overtakes us there as well. Today is a brand new day. As much as I want to drag all my “yesterdays” here for comfort, the Lord keeps telling me to let go. He has something different for me in mind. It is better than I could even think to ask for. I must also let go of my idea of the future to fully embrace His Plan. The only problem is that we have learned to survive in the midst of this journey. The Lord has padded our way comfortably through it all. He has been overly gracious to us in so many ways. But now, He wants to do something new. It’s crazy but Jesus want to make “everything” new in our life. (Revelation 21:5) I only want Him to fix the bad things or that which I am dissatisfied with rather than surrendering my “everything” to Him good and bad trusting that Jesus can always do better than I can do for myself. I am trying, Lord. Help me today in this brand new day to surrender my “everything” so you can give me new life.

 

“New wine in old wineskins” is what the Spirit is whispering to me today. I have to allow the Lord to change me in my skin so that He can do this new work in me. My comfort zone has been disrupted and I keep trying to put everything back in its proper place. But until my mind and heart agree where it all belongs, it will continue to resemble disrupted chaos. It is human nature to try to control the parameters of our life. Even free-spirited people in this world have their limitations. I can be completely open-minded yet still have certain ethics, morals and principles at work in my life. It is human nature to have some level of control over our surroundings and the atmosphere in which we exist. We try to sew a patch of the “robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10) over the filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) called our life and believe that is enough to experience the Glory of God in our life. Jesus invites us with each new day to have a brand new life impacting every single detail our existence. Will you accept?

 

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NLT)

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Lamentations 3:23-24 (NLT)

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”

 

There are two principles at work in my life as the Lord tries to make everything new despite my apprehension. Each day grace and mercy are poured out for me to take advantage of. I have been given a robe of righteousness to wear every day that is not dependent on how I act, what I do, anything that I say but simply a gift from the Father with love. Jesus gave it to me. I choose whether or not I put it on. When I step into the Righteousness of God, immediately the details of my life will begin to change. God begins working each detail for His Good. My flesh rebels against such intrusion because it knows ultimately it will lead to its demise. Now the inner battle ensues. The closer I move to Jesus Christ the greater my flesh will resist. In the past three years, the sufficiency of God’s Grace has become real in my life. I do not know how we made it other than to say that His Grace is sufficient for me. I know that God’s Power is real because when I could not walk another step with a heart too heavy – He carried me the rest of the way. In a season that to the world should be marked by tears, I have too many moments of laughter, joy and peace to remember those any more. His Great Faithfulness so evident. His Mercies new each morning for all the times I failed and allowed fear to worry me through the night or cause me to ever think that my God was not in full control of the situation. So why not now? I must expect the Lord to be my inheritance every day. He must become my hope in everything.

 

Ephesians 4:21-23 (NLT)

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.

In order to have all that Jesus Christ has promised me in our covenant requires that I “throw off” my sinful nature. Now in many ways, I have as I continually study the Word and the Holy Spirit convicts me of those things in my life offensive to God. That being said, the Law of God only shows me how much more I have to remove. But in addition to those things that offend the Lord, I must also be conscious of my “former way of life”. I am a person who loves routine, schedule and order. I am not comfortable in chaos and tend to try to organize anything that becomes out of control. Hence, my problem recently. I must let the Holy Spirit renew my thoughts and attitudes to align them with Jesus Christ. Yes, even the ordinary everyday things that prohibit me from accepting the new life that includes everything in my life. The Law of God leads to rebellion. It is all about mindfully keeping the rules which are contrary to our sinful nature that produces rebellion. But when Jesus died and rose again ascending to Heaven with God the Father, He released His Spirit to us. His Spirit restored our peace with God allowing us to experience righteousness. No we are free to uphold the Law of God not because we have to but because we want to. Freedom promotes respect as we can choose whether or not to obey. Our heart keeps us right when our mind wants to rebel. When we allow the Holy Spirit to live in our heart and take hold of our mind, will and emotions turning them back to God and developing a love affair, obedience is not as burdensome and we begin to win our struggle in the flesh. The spirit that you empower and endorse will prevail. We must be conscious to promote God’s Power in our life by feeding our mind God’s Word so the Spirit has something to work with. Not only should we read the Word but pray to God for His Will and Way. We are free to live our life as we choose. I want my life to be Glorious. God’s Way which is following Jesus Christ is the only way my life will ever become Glorious!

 

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (NLT)

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

 

Is my life glorious? Glorious means delightful, wonderful and completely enjoyable. It means to be brilliantly beautiful, splendid and magnificent. Do you believe that your life has such potential? Come on. You are probably alone reading this today so be honest with yourself. Is your life glorious? Is it what you expected when you gave your heart and life to Christ? Are you trying to make the Plan of God fit into your idea of the perfect life? The Spirit of God lives in you. He is all the freedom that you need to step out of mediocrity and into supernatural living but this will never ever be accomplished our way. God has a plan. It contains a future and hope. Our hope must be in the Lord driven by a willingness to go where He goes, do what He tells us to do, say what He tells us to say and be who He called us to be. This is accomplished by daily surrendering our life (and everything in it) to His Way even when it is not our way. This is not a forfeiture of freedom but acceptance of His Glory. We have been given the Holy Spirit and set free to have His Glory in our life. (2 Corinthians 3:7-11) Yes, I realize it is easy to change certain habits and stop doing unacceptable things. This is never enough. Until we full accept of His Grace, Mercy and Love freeing our heart and mind to pursue Christ and align our life with God we are wasting our potential. I have seen the Glory of God working in the life of our son. God has healed him of cancer five times in less than three years which defies statistics. What makes it so hard to accept that God wants to bless me with new life, too?

 

2 Corinthians 5:14-17 (NLT)

Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

 

Your new life is not necessarily marked by prosperity in a material way. It may not hold a powerful or influential place in society as we know it. What will God’s Glory bring with new life? Peace, joy and satisfaction. Faith will be secured by confident hope that has the strength to believe even when it means bringing the dead back to life. (Romans 4:16-18) The pressure you feel deep inside you is the Holy Spirit bringing about change in your life today. It is the new life that you were promised but have failed to achieve as of yet. It’s not too late to accept it. In fact, the Lord has been trying to give it to you throughout your entire life. Now is the time to accept it and make your life glorious. Trust the Lord. I am not telling you but reminding myself. It is much easier to trust the Lord with things when there is no other hope than when presented with options. I believe that His Glory is for everything in my life so now I must work to surrender everything in my life to Jesus Christ. Not everyone will understand this today, but I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the source of your pressure and to guide you in what to do next. The Glory must return to the House of God or what difference will we make in the world? God’s Glory is reflected in each and every person labeled Child of the Living God. If our lives are shambles what credibility does this lend to followers of Jesus Christ? The world wants relief. It is looking for an answer to all the mounting problems it is facing. Love has grown cold and people do not even know where to find it. I will never convince the world of God’s Love until I allow His Love to change my life and produce His Glory in it. There are too many one-hit wonders in the church and not enough pressing in boldly to His Throne surrendering freedom to obtain His Promises. It is clear that the Lord wants to do something new and fantastic in my life today. He wants to do the same for you. Are we standing in His Way? Have we allowed our sinful nature to cause rebellion in our heart and mind? Today I surrender my life and everything it. I choose to throw off my sinful nature because I want the Glory of God to manifest in everything in my life. I am confident that His Grace and Mercy will meet me tomorrow morning for all the areas that I tried today and failed so I can commit tomorrow to doing the same.

 

Colossians 2:6-9 (NLT)

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.

 

There is enough opposition in this world without me being my own worst enemy. I surrender everything in my life to Jesus Christ and pray that the Holy Spirit will root me and ground me deeper in His Love today than ever before. I want to build the rest of my life on faith in Christ alone. I want the Truth to be the structure that I live in. I pray that this pressure leads to constant thanksgiving and continual praise rather than complaining and griping about change. Lord, teach me to listen for your voice and block out human rationale and empty philosophies. I want my life to be so full of you – Jesus that it spills over into the life of every person who I come into contact with. I want the fullness of Christ to live in me. It’s a brand new day! I want a brand new life in preparation for the hope that will be a brand new Kingdom!

 

Revelation 21:5-7 (NLT)

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

It’s a Brand New Day – A Devotion

It's a Brand New Day

 

Matthew 9:16-17 (NLT)

“Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”

 

Ever since I returned from caring for our son during his bone marrow transplant, I have tried to reestablish my old routine and schedule. Getting our home in order preparing to return to work, I have looked for the familiar and normal that I longed for but it is not here. Change has been stirring in my spirit but my flesh is not as welcoming. Oh, I want the blessing of the new season but there is always a process of planting to get there. It’s hard to accept change and welcome the impact of the unknown even when I know that God is good. Yet my attempts to return to my old life are all in vain as I am clearly not the same person who left the house several weeks ago. My roles of wife and mother I gladly hold onto in a tight embrace. It is in these two identities that I can feel the arms of God wrap tightly around me holding them in place as the winds of change swirl all around me. I want to bury my face deeper in His Presence as I do not feel as strong and confident like in the days before. Our life is not the same. I can accept that. In the brokenness, I have found that He is faithful and good in all things. In the victories, I also have discovered that His Love for us is unfailing as His Goodness overtakes us there as well. Today is a brand new day. As much as I want to drag all my “yesterdays” here for comfort, the Lord keeps telling me to let go. He has something different for me in mind. It is better than I could even think to ask for. I must also let go of my idea of the future to fully embrace His Plan. The only problem is that we have learned to survive in the midst of this journey. The Lord has padded our way comfortably through it all. He has been overly gracious to us in so many ways. But now, He wants to do something new. It’s crazy but Jesus want to make “everything” new in our life. (Revelation 21:5) I only want Him to fix the bad things or that which I am dissatisfied with rather than surrendering my “everything” to Him good and bad trusting that Jesus can always do better than I can do for myself. I am trying, Lord. Help me today in this brand new day to surrender my “everything” so you can give me new life.

 

“New wine in old wineskins” is what the Spirit is whispering to me today. I have to allow the Lord to change me in my skin so that He can do this new work in me. My comfort zone has been disrupted and I keep trying to put everything back in its proper place. But until my mind and heart agree where it all belongs, it will continue to resemble disrupted chaos. It is human nature to try to control the parameters of our life. Even free-spirited people in this world have their limitations. I can be completely open-minded yet still have certain ethics, morals and principles at work in my life. It is human nature to have some level of control over our surroundings and the atmosphere in which we exist. We try to sew a patch of the “robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10) over the filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) called our life and believe that is enough to experience the Glory of God in our life. Jesus invites us with each new day to have a brand new life impacting every single detail our existence. Will you accept?

 

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NLT)

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Lamentations 3:23-24 (NLT)

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”

 

There are two principles at work in my life as the Lord tries to make everything new despite my apprehension. Each day grace and mercy are poured out for me to take advantage of. I have been given a robe of righteousness to wear every day that is not dependent on how I act, what I do, anything that I say but simply a gift from the Father with love. Jesus gave it to me. I choose whether or not I put it on. When I step into the Righteousness of God, immediately the details of my life will begin to change. God begins working each detail for His Good. My flesh rebels against such intrusion because it knows ultimately it will lead to its demise. Now the inner battle ensues. The closer I move to Jesus Christ the greater my flesh will resist. In the past three years, the sufficiency of God’s Grace has become real in my life. I do not know how we made it other than to say that His Grace is sufficient for me. I know that God’s Power is real because when I could not walk another step with a heart too heavy – He carried me the rest of the way. In a season that to the world should be marked by tears, I have too many moments of laughter, joy and peace to remember those any more. His Great Faithfulness so evident. His Mercies new each morning for all the times I failed and allowed fear to worry me through the night or cause me to ever think that my God was not in full control of the situation. So why not now? I must expect the Lord to be my inheritance every day. He must become my hope in everything.

 

Ephesians 4:21-23 (NLT)

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.

In order to have all that Jesus Christ has promised me in our covenant requires that I “throw off” my sinful nature. Now in many ways, I have as I continually study the Word and the Holy Spirit convicts me of those things in my life offensive to God. That being said, the Law of God only shows me how much more I have to remove. But in addition to those things that offend the Lord, I must also be conscious of my “former way of life”. I am a person who loves routine, schedule and order. I am not comfortable in chaos and tend to try to organize anything that becomes out of control. Hence, my problem recently. I must let the Holy Spirit renew my thoughts and attitudes to align them with Jesus Christ. Yes, even the ordinary everyday things that prohibit me from accepting the new life that includes everything in my life. The Law of God leads to rebellion. It is all about mindfully keeping the rules which are contrary to our sinful nature that produces rebellion. But when Jesus died and rose again ascending to Heaven with God the Father, He released His Spirit to us. His Spirit restored our peace with God allowing us to experience righteousness. No we are free to uphold the Law of God not because we have to but because we want to. Freedom promotes respect as we can choose whether or not to obey. Our heart keeps us right when our mind wants to rebel. When we allow the Holy Spirit to live in our heart and take hold of our mind, will and emotions turning them back to God and developing a love affair, obedience is not as burdensome and we begin to win our struggle in the flesh. The spirit that you empower and endorse will prevail. We must be conscious to promote God’s Power in our life by feeding our mind God’s Word so the Spirit has something to work with. Not only should we read the Word but pray to God for His Will and Way. We are free to live our life as we choose. I want my life to be Glorious. God’s Way which is following Jesus Christ is the only way my life will ever become Glorious!

 

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (NLT)

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

 

Is my life glorious? Glorious means delightful, wonderful and completely enjoyable. It means to be brilliantly beautiful, splendid and magnificent. Do you believe that your life has such potential? Come on. You are probably alone reading this today so be honest with yourself. Is your life glorious? Is it what you expected when you gave your heart and life to Christ? Are you trying to make the Plan of God fit into your idea of the perfect life? The Spirit of God lives in you. He is all the freedom that you need to step out of mediocrity and into supernatural living but this will never ever be accomplished our way. God has a plan. It contains a future and hope. Our hope must be in the Lord driven by a willingness to go where He goes, do what He tells us to do, say what He tells us to say and be who He called us to be. This is accomplished by daily surrendering our life (and everything in it) to His Way even when it is not our way. This is not a forfeiture of freedom but acceptance of His Glory. We have been given the Holy Spirit and set free to have His Glory in our life. (2 Corinthians 3:7-11) Yes, I realize it is easy to change certain habits and stop doing unacceptable things. This is never enough. Until we full accept of His Grace, Mercy and Love freeing our heart and mind to pursue Christ and align our life with God we are wasting our potential. I have seen the Glory of God working in the life of our son. God has healed him of cancer five times in less than three years which defies statistics. What makes it so hard to accept that God wants to bless me with new life, too?

 

2 Corinthians 5:14-17 (NLT)

Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

 

Your new life is not necessarily marked by prosperity in a material way. It may not hold a powerful or influential place in society as we know it. What will God’s Glory bring with new life? Peace, joy and satisfaction. Faith will be secured by confident hope that has the strength to believe even when it means bringing the dead back to life. (Romans 4:16-18) The pressure you feel deep inside you is the Holy Spirit bringing about change in your life today. It is the new life that you were promised but have failed to achieve as of yet. It’s not too late to accept it. In fact, the Lord has been trying to give it to you throughout your entire life. Now is the time to accept it and make your life glorious. Trust the Lord. I am not telling you but reminding myself. It is much easier to trust the Lord with things when there is no other hope than when presented with options. I believe that His Glory is for everything in my life so now I must work to surrender everything in my life to Jesus Christ. Not everyone will understand this today, but I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the source of your pressure and to guide you in what to do next. The Glory must return to the House of God or what difference will we make in the world? God’s Glory is reflected in each and every person labeled Child of the Living God. If our lives are shambles what credibility does this lend to followers of Jesus Christ? The world wants relief. It is looking for an answer to all the mounting problems it is facing. Love has grown cold and people do not even know where to find it. I will never convince the world of God’s Love until I allow His Love to change my life and produce His Glory in it. There are too many one-hit wonders in the church and not enough pressing in boldly to His Throne surrendering freedom to obtain His Promises. It is clear that the Lord wants to do something new and fantastic in my life today. He wants to do the same for you. Are we standing in His Way? Have we allowed our sinful nature to cause rebellion in our heart and mind? Today I surrender my life and everything it. I choose to throw off my sinful nature because I want the Glory of God to manifest in everything in my life. I am confident that His Grace and Mercy will meet me tomorrow morning for all the areas that I tried today and failed so I can commit tomorrow to doing the same.

 

Colossians 2:6-9 (NLT)

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.

 

There is enough opposition in this world without me being my own worst enemy. I surrender everything in my life to Jesus Christ and pray that the Holy Spirit will root me and ground me deeper in His Love today than ever before. I want to build the rest of my life on faith in Christ alone. I want the Truth to be the structure that I live in. I pray that this pressure leads to constant thanksgiving and continual praise rather than complaining and griping about change. Lord, teach me to listen for your voice and block out human rationale and empty philosophies. I want my life to be so full of you – Jesus that it spills over into the life of every person who I come into contact with. I want the fullness of Christ to live in me. It’s a brand new day! I want a brand new life in preparation for the hope that will be a brand new Kingdom!

 

Revelation 21:5-7 (NLT)

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

Finding Courage – A Devotion

2 Timothy 1:5-7 (NLT)

I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

 

Courage – the quality of mind and/or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger or pain without fear.

 

God’s Word tells us quite plainly that God does not give us a spirit of fear or timidity. When Adam and Eve hid from God after they had sinned, the couple hid from God in fear when He came to be with them in the garden. When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?” (Genesis 3:8-11) Fear became a part of our life when mankind chose to disobey the Lord. Our nature became hostile to God and His Ways in that moment. Ever since that time, God continues to call out the hearts and minds of His People who remain hidden in fear and darkness. It has always been God’s Plan for us to live in power, love and self-discipline which keeps us from accepting fearful qualities again. The only thing that separated us from God was sin. When we asked Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior, His Grace covered our indiscretions, rebellion and sinful nature completely reinstating us to right-standing with God the Father. We have nothing to fear. So why do we? I cannot really remember fearing anything in my life other than losing my children. God gave them to me. I take my responsibility as mother and caregiver to heart. It is the greatest privilege that I have been given here on earth other than serving Jesus Christ. They are my blessing. My greatest fear met me face-to-face on October 24, 2011. When all of a sudden, it was a life or death situation. It became crystal clear that too many times I had allowed fear to take over when there really was nothing to be afraid of but now I felt as though I had everything to lose. When the Lord spoke to me on the 11th floor of the hospital that night, my life changed for the better in an instant. It is still changing my life today even though He has not spoken to me like that since that night. The Words keep revolving in my head and manifesting in the life of our son. Yet sometimes I still fight fear. This honest admission does not seem in my mind to be what I should be telling other people, yet in my heart I feel that there are some believers fighting mega battles hiding behind a pretense of bravery and smokescreen of courage. Every believer fights fear from time to time. But very few will ever completely overcome their fears. You don’t have to be that person and neither do I! God has not given us the spirit of fear so it is up to us to secure His Power, Love and Self-Discipline.

 

Deuteronomy 31:4-6 (NLT)

“The Lord will destroy the nations living in the land, just as he destroyed Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites. The Lord will hand over to you the people who live there, and you must deal with them as I have commanded you. So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

 

Our life is designed by God for our blessing and benefit but we may still encounter giants in the land. Do you still go? Will you walk boldly though the valley to make it to the mountain? Abraham had to go the mountain by faith that when he got there that the Lord would supply an alternative sacrifice. But walking to the mountain, up the mountain, building an altar on the mountain, tying his son to the altar, and raising the knife was all by faith until the Lord stopped him and gave him a ram. (Genesis 22) I think of Abraham often in this journey. I wonder what he was thinking as he walked along with his precious boy. I do not have the faith of Abraham. I am only now learning to truly take the Lord at His Word. The Israelites were on the edge of the Promised Land. God promised to go ahead of them and conquer the armies dwelling on their property. But the people still had to go in and secure their land. Just because God told you that it belongs to you doesn’t mean that you won’t have to do something about it. God has a plan for your life. It is His Plan but still requires your participation. God promised to hand the people over to the Israelites, but they still had to go in. What does God consistently require of His People? Faith. It is the starting place of every journey this life takes you on. You decide the outcome when you decide who to trust. Faith eliminates emotions life distress, anxiety and concern. When our fears in life become greater than our faith in God, we lose our hope which leads to distress, anxiety and concern. We become immobilized by it and stop moving from the darkness to the light. Faith tells us we will possess God’s Promise. Fear causes us to lose our hope which promotes the possession of fear. (Psalm 143:4)

 

I John 4:16-18 (NLT)

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the Day of Judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.  Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.

 

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. We know how much God loves us… I don’t think we really do because when we do we will finally put our trust in His Love. God is love. To know God is to know love in its perfect form but our imperfect nature cannot grasp the concept. I think that there are a lot of people who profess to know the Love of God but don’t know Him at all. Afraid to get to know Him more, because what if they are right and He really doesn’t love us like that. When you trust God – there is always an out if what you desire does not happen. It is my firm belief that this is why so many people do not wait on God or try to “help Him” out along the way rather than trusting and believing until He comes. We must live in God to change our mind about His Consistency and Reliability. This will produce greater confidence in His Love. He is Constant. His Love does not change but we are afraid to put any time and energy into Him in case we are wrong. If you really knew how much God loves you, it would change your life forever. I am striving to know His Love in its purest and deepest form because I do not want to fear anything anymore. We must decide that nothing can separate us from His Love. (Romans 8:38) We can no longer allow our fears to somehow discredit our faith and begin thinking that any problem or situation is bigger or stronger than the Father’s Love. Courage comes from knowing the Father’s Intentions. (Isaiah 35:3-6) God is love. He love us. That is always is and always will be His Intention for us. We must get to His Love and have confidence in it and no longer fear His Faithfulness.

 

Joshua 1:7-9 (NLT)

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

To fully understand the potential of God’s Love and experience its power requires knowing the Word and doing what it says. God has a plan alright but it is His Plan. If you want to overcome fear in your life, it will require knowing God’s Love. To know God’s Love requires knowing His Word. To have its potential you have to do what it says. What is the potential? To prosper and succeed in all you do – that’ all. It feels as though our life has been on hold for the last three years. We live seemingly from Pet Scan to Pet Scan. But one thing that I have discovered, when the word “cancer” is spoken I no longer fear the diagnosis. I hate it don’t get me wrong, but God told me that our son would live and not die. I had to choose in that moment whether or not I would believe Him or not. I chose to trust Him. Now the things that I worry and fret about are not the cancer but all the other little insignificant details of life. I keep pressing against the parameters of God’s Love asking but what about this and what about that. He just keeps pulling me closer and closer. God is with us. He never leaves us or abandons us. We will never be confident of such a thing until we decide that this is absolutely true. He can handle the majors. He took care of the minors. It’s time to put our faith in Him completely.

 

Ephesians 3:17-19 (NLT)

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

 

Did you know that you can get lost in God’s Love for you? It is wider, longer, higher and deeper than anything that you will ever go through in this life. If we have the power to understand the capacity of God’s Love, we be those who will “not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.” (Psalm 112:6-7) We are made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God the Father when we dare to test the parameters of His Love and press in deeper. Confidence tells us that God has everything under control and we must only do what He says to be successful so we concentrate more on hearing from Him rather than escaping our circumstances. The Love of God now becomes our refuge. (Psalm 46:1-3) When we don’t understand we dive deeper rather than running for any other cover. We are His Children. God will do anything to take care of us just as we would our own babies. I have to be confident that God loves me to be courageous and live fearlessly. When I find myself facing fear, I must decide not to take it. It is not for me.

 

Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

 

What are you afraid of today? Are you ready to let it go? Get back in the Word – there is a promise for every situation. If you don’t know one, cannot find one or need help, contact me and I will help you. You have to get a sword in your hand and that sword is the Word of God for your life. Second, stir up the Spirit. Your faith has been bogged down by fear so it may need a quick talking to! The Holy Spirit is just waiting on you to get all riled up again. Call Him forth to assist you. Now it is time to step out on faith and do what His Word is telling you and His Spirit leading you to do. I guarantee you it will always be something that drives us from our comfort zone – do it anyway! Tie your faith to the future and let go of the past. Decide that what you hope for is possible and with faith it will be. Most importantly, you must accept that God’s Love is for you – it is always about you! His Love is the power and driving force of your life that will overcome evil! Dear friends, we must find courage to overcome fear and doubt that will inevitably rob us of power, love and victory!

 

I Corinthians 16:13 (NLT)

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.

Finding Courage

August 15, 2014

 

2 Timothy 1:5-7 (NLT)

I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

 

Courage – the quality of mind and/or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger or pain without fear.

 

God’s Word tells us quite plainly that God does not give us a spirit of fear or timidity. When Adam and Eve hid from God after they had sinned, the couple hid from God in fear when He came to be with them in the garden. When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?” (Genesis 3:8-11) Fear became a part of our life when mankind chose to disobey the Lord. Our nature became hostile to God and His Ways in that moment. Ever since that time, God continues to call out the hearts and minds of His People who remain hidden in fear and darkness. It has always been God’s Plan for us to live in power, love and self-discipline which keeps us from accepting fearful qualities again. The only thing that separated us from God was sin. When we asked Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior, His Grace covered our indiscretions, rebellion and sinful nature completely reinstating us to right-standing with God the Father. We have nothing to fear. So why do we? I cannot really remember fearing anything in my life other than losing my children. God gave them to me. I take my responsibility as mother and caregiver to heart. It is the greatest privilege that I have been given here on earth other than serving Jesus Christ. They are my blessing. My greatest fear met me face-to-face on October 24, 2011. When all of a sudden, it was a life or death situation. It became crystal clear that too many times I had allowed fear to take over when there really was nothing to be afraid of but now I felt as though I had everything to lose. When the Lord spoke to me on the 11th floor of the hospital that night, my life changed for the better in an instant. It is still changing my life today even though He has not spoken to me like that since that night. The Words keep revolving in my head and manifesting in the life of our son. Yet sometimes I still fight fear. This honest admission does not seem in my mind to be what I should be telling other people, yet in my heart I feel that there are some believers fighting mega battles hiding behind a pretense of bravery and smokescreen of courage. Every believer fights fear from time to time. But very few will ever completely overcome their fears. You don’t have to be that person and neither do I! God has not given us the spirit of fear so it is up to us to secure His Power, Love and Self-Discipline.

 

Deuteronomy 31:4-6 (NLT)

“The Lord will destroy the nations living in the land, just as he destroyed Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites. The Lord will hand over to you the people who live there, and you must deal with them as I have commanded you. So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

 

Our life is designed by God for our blessing and benefit but we may still encounter giants in the land. Do you still go? Will you walk boldly though the valley to make it to the mountain? Abraham had to go the mountain by faith that when he got there that the Lord would supply an alternative sacrifice. But walking to the mountain, up the mountain, building an altar on the mountain, tying his son to the altar, and raising the knife was all by faith until the Lord stopped him and gave him a ram. (Genesis 22) I think of Abraham often in this journey. I wonder what he was thinking as he walked along with his precious boy. I do not have the faith of Abraham. I am only now learning to truly take the Lord at His Word. The Israelites were on the edge of the Promised Land. God promised to go ahead of them and conquer the armies dwelling on their property. But the people still had to go in and secure their land. Just because God told you that it belongs to you doesn’t mean that you won’t have to do something about it. God has a plan for your life. It is His Plan but still requires your participation. God promised to hand the people over to the Israelites, but they still had to go in. What does God consistently require of His People? Faith. It is the starting place of every journey this life takes you on. You decide the outcome when you decide who to trust. Faith eliminates emotions life distress, anxiety and concern. When our fears in life become greater than our faith in God, we lose our hope which leads to distress, anxiety and concern. We become immobilized by it and stop moving from the darkness to the light. Faith tells us we will possess God’s Promise. Fear causes us to lose our hope which promotes the possession of fear. (Psalm 143:4)

 

I John 4:16-18 (NLT)

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the Day of Judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.  Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.

 

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. We know how much God loves us… I don’t think we really do because when we do we will finally put our trust in His Love. God is love. To know God is to know love in its perfect form but our imperfect nature cannot grasp the concept. I think that there are a lot of people who profess to know the Love of God but don’t know Him at all. Afraid to get to know Him more, because what if they are right and He really doesn’t love us like that. When you trust God – there is always an out if what you desire does not happen. It is my firm belief that this is why so many people do not wait on God or try to “help Him” out along the way rather than trusting and believing until He comes. We must live in God to change our mind about His Consistency and Reliability. This will produce greater confidence in His Love. He is Constant. His Love does not change but we are afraid to put any time and energy into Him in case we are wrong. If you really knew how much God loves you, it would change your life forever. I am striving to know His Love in its purest and deepest form because I do not want to fear anything anymore. We must decide that nothing can separate us from His Love. (Romans 8:38) We can no longer allow our fears to somehow discredit our faith and begin thinking that any problem or situation is bigger or stronger than the Father’s Love. Courage comes from knowing the Father’s Intentions. (Isaiah 35:3-6) God is love. He love us. That is always is and always will be His Intention for us. We must get to His Love and have confidence in it and no longer fear His Faithfulness.

 

Joshua 1:7-9 (NLT)

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

To fully understand the potential of God’s Love and experience its power requires knowing the Word and doing what it says. God has a plan alright but it is His Plan. If you want to overcome fear in your life, it will require knowing God’s Love. To know God’s Love requires knowing His Word. To have its potential you have to do what it says. What is the potential? To prosper and succeed in all you do – that’ all. It feels as though our life has been on hold for the last three years. We live seemingly from Pet Scan to Pet Scan. But one thing that I have discovered, when the word “cancer” is spoken I no longer fear the diagnosis. I hate it don’t get me wrong, but God told me that our son would live and not die. I had to choose in that moment whether or not I would believe Him or not. I chose to trust Him. Now the things that I worry and fret about are not the cancer but all the other little insignificant details of life. I keep pressing against the parameters of God’s Love asking but what about this and what about that. He just keeps pulling me closer and closer. God is with us. He never leaves us or abandons us. We will never be confident of such a thing until we decide that this is absolutely true. He can handle the majors. He took care of the minors. It’s time to put our faith in Him completely.

 

Ephesians 3:17-19 (NLT)

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

 

Did you know that you can get lost in God’s Love for you? It is wider, longer, higher and deeper than anything that you will ever go through in this life. If we have the power to understand the capacity of God’s Love, we be those who will “not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.” (Psalm 112:6-7) We are made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God the Father when we dare to test the parameters of His Love and press in deeper. Confidence tells us that God has everything under control and we must only do what He says to be successful so we concentrate more on hearing from Him rather than escaping our circumstances. The Love of God now becomes our refuge. (Psalm 46:1-3) When we don’t understand we dive deeper rather than running for any other cover. We are His Children. God will do anything to take care of us just as we would our own babies. I have to be confident that God loves me to be courageous and live fearlessly. When I find myself facing fear, I must decide not to take it. It is not for me.

 

Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

 

What are you afraid of today? Are you ready to let it go? Get back in the Word – there is a promise for every situation. If you don’t know one, cannot find one or need help, contact me and I will help you. You have to get a sword in your hand and that sword is the Word of God for your life. Second, stir up the Spirit. Your faith has been bogged down by fear so it may need a quick talking to! The Holy Spirit is just waiting on you to get all riled up again. Call Him forth to assist you. Now it is time to step out on faith and do what His Word is telling you and His Spirit leading you to do. I guarantee you it will always be something that drives us from our comfort zone – do it anyway! Tie your faith to the future and let go of the past. Decide that what you hope for is possible and with faith it will be. Most importantly, you must accept that God’s Love is for you – it is always about you! His Love is the power and driving force of your life that will overcome evil! Dear friends, we must find courage to overcome fear and doubt that will inevitably rob us of power, love and victory!

 

I Corinthians 16:13 (NLT)

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.

My Forgetfulness – A Devotion

My Forgetfulness

Psalm 103:1-5 (NLT)

Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

 

It seems as though I live in a land of my own forgetfulness. After five bouts of cancer treatment all with miraculous results, one would think that I do not have a care in the world since I have not lost a single battle. I would think that there would be peace in such a revelation. But the enemy does not want me to find peace for one moment or joy in the outcome because if he can just get me to forget what we have been through and how God delivered us from it all. If I will allow him to thrust upon me the burden of escaping death rather than the renewing of life. If I can accept the worries and cares of tomorrow in the wake of supernatural provision, rather than the optimism of faith that if God did it once He will do it again. See the enemy challenges my mind to wallow in the past to argue the details that brought us to this place rather than allowing us to enjoy the victory that we made it. God has every detail under strict orders to turn out for my own good – if only I could remember that through the darkness of night until His Mercy meets me in the morning. When people undergo chemotherapy, it is not uncommon in the process to experience some memory loss. It is a temporary side of effect of losing fast growing brain cells along with all the other rapidly dividing cells it kills that include cancer. It is considered mild collateral damage considering some of the other side effects. Misplaced items and words in the context of life that will all come together with the “fog” clears after treatment is over. Although it is my son who has received the chemo, I feel that all too often it is I who loses the brain function on his behalf until I become forgetful as well. Forgetful that despite all odds the Lord has done great things in our son’s life, provided all that we need and so much more, and still promises that he will live and not die. Instead, I allow worry to overtake me about insignificant things so I am tying a rope around my hope and digging in with more faith. I refuse to keep forgetting all that the Lord has done for me.

 

“Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise His Holy Name…” May I never forget the good things that He has done for me. I want to remember them but when life is so hard and the world a difficult place to survive, I must strive to remind myself that He has forgiven all my sins restoring the glorious standard of living that I had once forsaken. He heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death. It is not just the random rescue of a passing stranger but a God who was to wrap me tightly in His Love keeping me safe from all future danger. He has tender mercy because He knows that I will forget. In this place of undeserved privilege is from the place I choose to remember rather than forget. Faith takes me there. Hope keeps me there. If only I could remember so I could leave behind my forgetfulness.

 

Job 8:11-14 (NLT)

“Can papyrus reeds grow tall without a marsh? Can marsh grass flourish without water? While they are still flowering, not ready to be cut, they begin to wither more quickly than grass.  The same happens to all who forget God. The hopes of the godless evaporate. Their confidence hangs by a thread. They are leaning on a spider’s web.”

 

Without God, we have no hope. We cannot live separated from our Life Source no more than reeds can grow without the marsh. We require daily maintenance and sustenance from the Lord. Otherwise, we wither and die in the midst of worries, cares and burdens that He did not intend for us to bear. Rather than living when the tests come back that cancer is gone, we worry about the next test in a few months. Instead of rejoicing in what He has already provided, we act as though it could dry up. Confident hope hands on the threads of weak faith not fortified by a productive and prospering connection to the Father. We lean on a light understanding and fabricated notion of Who He is and what His intentions are rather than taking the time and energy to know Him more and worry less. We forget God when the crisis subsides maybe not so much His Person but definitely His Position, Provision and Proximity in our life. When things get better, we reveal in the moment and in the miracle forgetting that to God is what He promised to do along and not as rare as we make it. I keep forgetting that He keeps providing and working behind the scenes to perfect the details of my life and am taken by surprise when He does it again and again. I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to live in that place where miracles are surprising, manifestations are random, and supernatural seems weird. I want to live in expectancy which means that I never forget how Great His Love is for me and His Intention to overtake me with it along with all His Goodness can provide which is way more than I could ever think to ask for.

 

Isaiah 49:14-16 (NLT)

Yet Jerusalem says, “The Lord has deserted us; the Lord has forgotten us.”  “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins.

 

Our oldest daughter will soon be married. She came to me recently excited to find out that she could legally change her name and use our last name for her middle name. This may not seem like a big deal to you or anyone born with a certain name, but to her our name is very special. She desired to be adopted by her “dad” for many year. There was a great deal of opposition that finally subsided in high school. She isn’t ready to give it up. She is ready to take another man’s name as wife, but not ready to relinquish her title as “daughter” even if in name. Would it change how her dad feels about her if she did? Of course not! But to her it is significant and she wants to keep it. God has written our name on the palm of His Hands. For those believers who have achieved intimacy with Him, this is life changing. He will never forget you – He has called you His Child. Even in your wandering, your name remained there only intensifying His Urgency to hear your cry for help. He was waiting and watching. “What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7) How do I forget this? Time and time again when faced with opposition or challenges, how could I ever continue to wonder?

 

Lamentations 3:19-24 (NLT)

The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; His Mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”

 

The Lord has even provided for my forgetfulness! He brings me a fresh dose of new mercy each day for my insufficiency of faith. His Grace is always sufficient for me. You may never forget this awful time. You may grieve your loss for the rest of your life. But it doesn’t have to steal your hope or rob your faith! His Spirit helps us in our weakness. Even when I am unfaithful, Great is His Faithfulness. With His New Mercy each day, I can make the declaration that “the Lord is my inheritance! I will hope in Him.” Those who prophesy this over their life every day will soon not forget. Reinforcing such a declaration with the Word of God will fortify your faith and add confidence to hope. He promises to renew and restore our life with His Word. (Psalm 119:92-93) His Word gives us Truth to mediate on which will always discredit a lie and the enemy of your soul is full of them. The Word of God will grant us a long and satisfying life. (Proverbs 3:1-2) We must speak the Word over our life each day. “For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” (James 1:23-25) Finally to do the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome is called insanity. We must live what we believe so that we do not forget who and whose we are.

 

Genesis 41:50-52 (NLT)

During this time, before the first of the famine years, two sons were born to Joseph and his wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. Joseph named his older son Manasseh, for he said, “God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father’s family.”  Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.”

 

Joseph definitely faced heartbreak, challenges and trials in his life. This passage refers back to before the famine years (when he would be reconciled with his family) and after he had been finally promoted by Pharaoh. It seem that Joseph had decided to let go of the past and focus on the future. When the Lord blessed him with his first son, he named the boy “God has made me forget all my troubles AND everyone in my father’s house.” If you were ever wondering if this man was human, there is your proof. Though plagued by a problematic past and abandoned by his own brothers – Joseph was letting go of it and moving forward with the Lord. When Ephraim is born, we get a glimpse of Joseph’s process as well in this child’s name. “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.” Although he was moving forward, Joseph still in the grief process. God knows we are forgetful people when it comes to thinks like His Love, Mercy, and Goodness. But we tend to hold on to worthless baggage from our past that keep us from grabbing hold of our future. It is time to move forward in the process and let the past go. Even when we have fallen or failed, God was working on our behalf. Everything good from our past that God intends for our future will be found there. When famine did come, Joseph’s family was reunited. Anything worthwhile from your past will make it into your future and it is not your responsibility to drag it there but rather walk by faith and live in confident hope. “But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)  The Lord is WAY ahead of us, my friend. We just have stick close by our Father and we will have His Way. Let go of the past by focusing forgetfulness where needed the most, grab hold of your future for that is where the Lord is waiting.

 

Philippians 3:13-14 (NLT)

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

 

If you are like me, you woke up this morning with a dark cloud of worry sitting just over our head. It wanted desperately to rain on our parade. Run for cover and seek shelter in the Presence of the Lord today. Combat every lie the enemy is hurling at you with Truth. You will find it in His Word. If you don’t know what to pray, the Spirit will pray for you just bow your head and say His Name. Choose not to forget all that the Lord has done for you but let go of the past hurts and heartaches. The Lord is working on your behalf turning every detail of your life for good (Romans 8:28) and perfecting all that concerns you! (Psalm 138:8) Rejoice in the Lord today for all the great things that He has done and trust Him with what He is still doing! Press on for the end of your race. Faith is calling. Hope is reaching for your hand. Those who endure will be saved and you are well on your way!

 

Proverbs 3:1-2 (NLT)

My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart. If you do this, you will live many years and your life will be satisfying.

Resident Evil – A Devotion

Resident Evil

Romans 12:18-21 (NKJV)
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Another senseless tragedy so close to home, the list just keeps growing and growing while the victims seem more innocent all the time. A grandmother ruthlessly stabbing her grandson right through the heart. Who does that? What is this world coming to? Is anyone safe anymore when we cannot for see danger and protect innocence from destruction? When a gunman walked into a Connecticut school, he had one thing on his mind. His mother could not dissuade him who he coldly shot in the face. The administration dared get in his way but the blood of adults was not what he was after. No, he made his way into the midst of six and seven year olds in the middle of an ordinary day and looked them straight in the eye and began mercilessly taking them out at point blank range. Mothers and fathers “forgetting” their children in locked cars on hot, sweltering days. A Pediatric Oncology floor filled to capacity with children who rather than running and laughing are enduring large doses of chemotherapy with harrowing effects. The adult cancer center has a different attitude believing that they somehow deserve a terrible disease because of their choices. Yet, life goes on. No one really notices these things until they strike close to home or gain national media attention. Is there a cure to cancer? Yes. Will it ever be successfully discovered in a laboratory? Probably not. The world we live in is filled with evil. As the day of Christ’s return draws closer, the audacity of the adversary grows in intensity. He has nothing to lose in his attempt to “steal, kill and destroy.” There is a resident evil. It made its home here when humanity chose their own way rather than God’s Perfect Plan. We must learn to overcome evil with good, but first we must know what we are up against.

Ephesians 6:10-12 (NKJV)
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 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.

We have battled the evil called cancer for three years now with some success. As we continue to see the Lord working in our son’s body, there is great hope that the Lord is renewing and restoring his bone marrow with the resurrection power that rose Jesus from the dead. His counts are skyrocketing at unprecedented levels. We have seen the Hand of the Lord. However, there have been many dark days in this journey when I have cried to the Lord. The first diagnosis was bad enough but to have four more unthinkable. I wanted to be mad at someone for this and looked for the cause. When I found it there was no face to it not even my own, I did nothing to give him this disease just a faulty immune system that failed to mark a virus for destruction. What do I do with all this anger? Frustration? Hurt? Annoyance? Injustice? It is not fair that our son who has never done anything to cause a risk would still have to endure the consequences of such. But he does as we speak battle beside me. From the very beginning, I told God that I would trust Him. Some days it is easy and other times no so much. But that is why we have new mercy each morning to carry us through when faith seems too small and hope is almost lost. It is His Mercy and Grace that gives us the next breath when our “world” falls apart. It is His Spirit that moves us from one place to the next until the shock wears off and we can stand again. Where does your strength come from? The Lord. When is it manifested? In our weakness. Be strong in the Lord and His Mighty Power. You and I will never stand firm against the strategies of the devil until we learn to get mad at him when bad things happen to God’s People refusing to sink to the depths of vengeance, bitterness and unforgiveness. Instead we must fully embrace the Love of God, wrap ourselves tightly in it, and fight the real enemy – the one who wants our soul. No man or woman perpetrates such evil on their own. God made people. We were created in His Image. I do not believe that a human being can carry out such maniacal plans without being completely overcome by evil himself. If everything God makes is good that means people are, too. If people are good, then something or someone else is to blame. We must focus our attention on overcoming evil with good. The face of disaster, catastrophe, and devastation is the enemy, satan, or the devil – he is the one to be mad at and he is the one to blame.

Isaiah 5:20-21 (NLT)
What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.

How did evil become so powerful? The enemy knows human weakness. It is the very thing on which he preys. “What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil” is probably the most telling statement in God’s Word concerning the depravity of the world in which we live. It began with a lie that has continued to gain momentum throughout all time. You may or may not agree with what I am about to say and I understand that. I am not trying to change or condemn anyone or anything just simply pointing out what I have observed in my own life. As I have begun to spend more and more time in the Word of God over the last five years and seeking the Will of God for myself and our family – my values have changed. The line between good and evil has become more distinct and the gray areas of life ever shrinking. My son plays XBOX at night. Since we currently share a hospital room, I will from time to time glance up at the game. It is a popular game which a great deal of young people play. In the game, they kill people. Pretty much the summation of the game is to steal cars, but really they kill people. Stay with me. When in a tight situation before another player “wastes” your character, it is common practice to turn the gun on yourself. I hear you saying, “It is just a game.” You are probably right. I cannot remember the last time I was able to comfortably watch a movie without feeling ashamed that I was there in the theater other than the Dr. Seuss movie I saw a few years back. I rarely watch television as it is filled with drama. The media has now twisted plots so that we now side with the victimizer rather than the victim. We must choose the lesser of two evils. I will not even go into the whole demonic influence which now prevails. Evil is in this world. The Lord told us that sin would be rampant and love would grow cold. (Matthew 24:12) Do I think that if we eliminate all these influences from our life that we will change these occurrences? No. But we must become sensitive again to good versus evil in a world that mixes the two together and calls it life. Jesus Christ came and overcame evil depriving it of any and all power to harm you and enables us to overcome it in our life. (John 16:33) The less evil that we “entertain” in our life the more sensitive we become to its proximity to our life.

Romans 13:13-14 (NLT)
Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.

As believers, we are Children of the Light. The more we walk with Jesus the farther from those things associated with the dark, we must travel. Will this end the darkness, sin and evil of this world? No. But we protect our hearts and minds from being overcome with it. Have you ever done or said something and wondered “where did that come from”? There are many influences in this world but few are godly. God called the light good and separated it from the darkness. (Genesis 1:4) Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. He is the only thing that can overcome the evil of this day forever. (John 8:12) The closer we are to the Light the less the darkness is able to touch us in our soul where it counts. We can clearly identify the difference from good and evil. This is absolutely pivotal in forgiveness. A long time ago, our son got a severe concussion in a crowded high school gym with very limited supervision. No one saw him fall to the floor unconscious but a few close friends. He wandered home in a stupor and ended up in ICU. Thankfully it was only a couple days. My pastor called me and after inquiring about him and reminding us that he was indeed praying for us, he told me that I must forgive those people who were not doing their job that day. I could feel my heart shake and my pride bristle a bit. Yes, I was mad. Yes, I had every right to be. The people who I entrusted my son to had failed and it could have been much more serious than it actually was. I even got a little mad at my pastor for even reminding me of this. Now looking back, I get it. I can be overcome by evil by remaining in unforgiveness against another person. But what good will it do? It was a mistake. In the instance of outright evil such as a family member killing a child, is it different? No. It hurts to even say those words as much as my flesh would like to think that there is a special place in hell for those who would assault an innocent, but there is no difference. Evil overcame good in that person, but we don’t have to let it overcome us. We must focus on living decent lives for all to see even when it feels like darkness is winning because it never does and it never will thanks to Jesus Christ!

Galatians 6:16-17 (NLT)
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

Today a family fights to find more faith to face the unthinkable. They must muster up mercy and gather more grace to forgive the unforgivable. They are no different from you and I and the choices that we make on a daily basis. We must choose to walk by faith every day. We must demonstrate mercy and grace in every encounter. I wish practice made perfect in this situation but I don’t think so. So we cling to Jesus Christ and allow His Spirit to lead us through those dark days when evil has the upper hand to find a new place in the Light of His Amazing Love. It will not get any better. We live in those days of wars and rumors of war.

Matthew 24:5-14 (NLT)
For many will come in My Name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My Name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

My heart is broken today for a family that has been torn apart by evil. I am sad that evil has dared to come close to our own family as well. I am dismayed to think that there is more ahead and today someone will face devastation. The only hope we have is Jesus Christ. But oh the Hope we have. He overcame sin. He pushed away darkness. He is the Light of God’s Love for us that calls us this way out of the dark. Jesus will heal our broken hearts if we let Him. He will restore and renew us with His Resurrection Power. The resident evil is powerless against His Great Love for us. We must endure to the end. Endurance is supposed to build strength in our character but what a price to take one more step when we are so helpless. But that is when the Lord steps in and carries us through. His Grace is enough in our weakness. Embrace the Light today and choose to separate yourself from the darkness. Be sensitive to the evil in the things you watch, read and listen to. It is penetrating your mind and will change it and conform it if allowed. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Get in God’s Word so the dividing line is clear and choose to walk as close to Jesus as possible. Surround yourself with believers who walk in faith and trust in the Lord. There will be evil in this world. I don’t believe it’s the people given to such evil that is the problem but the one who is overtaking the hearts and minds of those who are susceptible. Don’t be that person! You have the same power in you that brought Jesus Christ back to life…live in it! Wrap yourself in the Love of God today. Stand firm against the devil on faith founded in the Word fortified by His Spirit. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Galatians 1:3-5 (NLT)
May God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.

I’m Not Mad – A Devotion

I'm Not Mad

Psalm 4:3-5 (NLT)
You can be sure of this: The LORD set apart the godly for himself. The LORD will answer when I call to him. Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. Offer sacrifices in the right spirit and trust the LORD.

I will admit it I was mad. Not once but many times in this journey, I have gotten mad. Angry at the situation, frustrated with the people involved and aggravated with the circumstances that we could not seem to shake. I am sick of watching our son suffer through treatment after treatment. I am weary of driving back and forth across the state. Interrupted schedules with no sense of routine, there is no order to our life anymore. Cancer created a chaos or at least that what it seemed like in the beginning. Just when I think that I have control of my emotions something happens and they come rushing to the surface. My husband and two youngest daughters came to visit. It was the first time seeing the girls in over a week. Brenan was sleeping compliments of nausea medicine and a falling blood count so we played games in the playroom nearby talking and visiting. Hours seemed like minutes and it was time for them to leave. My youngest daughter began to cry until it broke into uncontrollable sobs. Hot tears held just behind my eyes. She could not see me cry or it would be worse. I convinced daddy to stop for some milkshakes on the way back home assuring him that it would not ruin their dinner and if it did that would be okay. As I hugged each of them again before turning to back to our son’s room, I could not hold back the tears any longer. I was so angry that my daughter was hurting. She shouldn’t have to do without her mama over and over again. Our family should not have to be apart like this. The life carefully constructed now nothing as it once was just a shadow of the past. I was so angry. I wanted to complain. I wanted to gripe. I wanted to yell and scream. I wanted to be mad at someone for this injustice feeling that there would be release in designating responsibility. But in the end, I found myself biting my own lip. In my heart, the Holy Spirit whispered “be angry – sin not!”

You can be sure of this…it all begins right here. I used to be the type of person who was easily angered by any and all forms of injustice. This was tempered first by the revelation that life is not fair. If I got mad every single time something bad happened to good people, I would never know happiness. As I grew in Christ, I tried to offer at least some grace to others as Christ gave me. Not always successful, I tried to treat others as I wanted to be treated in return. Still I would get frustrated by setbacks and delays, I would press for perfection in myself and other equally getting overwrought with anyone who gave less than their very best. That is until something radical happened…my whole life fell apart. Yes, it was the day that the doctor told us that our boy had cancer. Like hurling a single rock at a glass house, my life shattered all around me. Nothing would ever be the same. Everything changed in a single instance. I lost control that day. I have not regained it since but I stopped trying a while ago. I can be sure of this – what am I sure of? God is good. His Word is true. His Love is for me. His Spirit is in me. Every detail of my life will turn out for good because I believe. Faith invested this way becomes something called confident hope. As we learn to trust the Lord with our whole life, our entire being, and everything in it – I can…You can…We can be sure of this!

The Lord set apart the godly for Himself. We are special. The outcomes in our life concern the Father and He is always working on our behalf whether we see the results or not. It doesn’t matter if His Presence is tangible or we just believe that He is there without really seeing or knowing or feeling Him. God made the decision to set my life apart and make it different. He decided that only the best for me would do. He sent His Son, His Only Son, to die for me that I might be saved and partake of all His Precious Promises. Faith tells me to trust Him. Confident hope tells me that He is there. His Plan for my life is more than I could even think to ask for so of course things aren’t always to go my way because He is doing it His Way. We are bound to get frustrated. We are even going to get mad. As anger rises within us, we have a choice to make of a pivotal nature.

Hebrews 12:14-15 (NLT)
Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.

How do we rightly divide anger and sin? How can I be sure that when I am mad that I do not sin? Anger is a strong feeling of displeasure. It is belligerence aroused by wrong. It is synonymous with resentment, exasperation, and sudden violent outbursts. Now none of these seem like reasonable responses given the following instructions – live at peace with everyone (who am I supposed to be mad at) and work at living a holy life (Note – it doesn’t say holier-than-thou life). Before coming to Jesus Christ, I expected my life to turn out a certain way. After coming to know the Lord and surrendering my life to Him, I began to construct the life that I thought He wanted me to have. Let’s face it – ain’t nobody flocking to the honest preacher saying, “Turn or burn!” They all want the one yelling, “Praise pays.” His Ways are definitely not my ways. His Thoughts are way above my thoughts. I am going to get mad when things don’t turn out the way I plan for now. There will be some level of frustration when I am required to wait on the Lord. I am only human. Well, part of me is anyway. “Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grow up to trouble you…” It will corrupt you. The New Living Translation of Psalm 4:4 reminds us not to let anger take hold of you. The root that it uses to lasso us is bitterness. Bitterness is caused by resentment. Resentment is our response to begin wronged. Forgiveness will kill just about every bitter root that arises in your life. Choosing to forgive whether the other party gets it or not is the key. It chops off bitterness at the root because you have released the injurious party from any expectation or obligation we are free to continue to walk in right standing with God. When we put our expectation in anyone or anything other than God – we take our faith away from Him. When we remove our faith from the Lord, we simultaneously release our hope which is the staying power we need to wait for His Outcome and the arrival of His Goodness. It literally enslaves us. So how do I get angry but sin not! When anger controls our attitude and actions, we essentially allow our sinful nature to regain control of our life taking it back from the Holy Spirit. This halts any progress in God’s Plan to wait for us to get back on board. Now that should really make you mad…

Romans 8:5-6 (NLT)
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

My sinful nature gets me nowhere but in trouble fast. When I gave my heart and life to Jesus it was with the understanding that I would live a Spirit-filled and Spirit-controlled life. It is my privileged commitment to follow Jesus Christ. He gave His Life freely, willingly without resentment. This is the example that we are to follow. I was praying about the high-strung emotions that I have had lately with all we have been going through with our son. I have battled anger, resentment and hostility focusing it on the cancer. There are many messengers along the way that were ripe for shooting if you know what I mean. I want the Holy Spirit to control my mind because it leads to life and peace. I must be the one to keep my emotions and feelings subjected to His Spirit at all times. When I allow any emotion to control me, my sinful nature steps right back in. How can we learn to anger and sin not? We have to go straight to our example. He is our only hope for success or we will remain subject to emotional sabotage that leads to bondage.

Hebrews 12:2-4 (NLT)
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

Jesus Christ is completely responsible for the life of every believer. If you have given Him your heart, your life belongs to Him. We have every right to expect a better life, everything that He promised including healing and prosperity. He will do it His Way according to His Word and His Will. He is our example how to live. He gave up His Life willingly without any animosity, anger or resentment to give us a brand new better life. We cannot grow weary and give up in the process but wait for Him to finish. Anger should always be reserved for sin and injustice not the poor victims of sin who we encounter each day. There is no need for bitterness because we have severed ties with this world. We will never be judged for our anger only if we allow ourselves to become bound in sin again forfeiting our faith. How could we ever? Why would we even consider?

I will be candid in this revelation. I was praying this morning about the brokenness I feel in this situation. I began to recite the promises back to the Lord that He has given me concerning my son. The ones that my faith stands on and hope is secured by. As I prayed, I heard my words and they fell off my lips like rocks. “You promised me Lord that he would live but…” See it right there. Shocked me back to reality. My anger had created bitterness – it was beginning to take root. “But” nullifies everything that came before it. I repented on the spot. I will not forfeit my faith for the right to be angry, mad, resentful or discontent with what the Lord is doing in my life. You may feel the same way if a life is on the line. Doctors and medicine have tried to save my son from cancer four times now we are on the fifth time. This has taken my boy to the footstep of death. Who is with me? God is with me and in an instant I almost forfeited my close proximity to the Lord to be filled with anger, hurt, resentment, fear and doubt. It is not worth it. But as I have told many people this has been a long, hard journey but the Lord promised it would be worth it – I believe Him so no friend, I am not mad!

Psalm 61:1-4 (NLT)
O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings!

When I am overwhelmed by emotions, I have a place to run to. He is the Towering Rock, Safe Refuge and Fortress where the enemy cannot reach me. I can take my cares, burdens, and worries straight to His Throne coming boldly (Hebrews 4:16) before His Throne and getting the answers I need to go on. He will remind me with His Word and by His Spirit as He confirms His Promises and lifts me above my circumstances so peace is established in my heart and mind again. As I learn to live in His Presence and wait on His Way, I will be at peace and satisfied with my life so there is no need to be angry or resentful because I know He prefects that which concerns me (Psalm 138:8) and He is making every detail work out for my good! (Romans 8:28) Why? Because He loves me. Yes, He gets angry too when the enemy messes with me or my family. But see God knows the end from the beginning, so His Primary Concern is that I make it to the finish line of faith to receive the prize. When I am overwhelmed with any emotion, the Lord promises to show us what to do with those feelings and which way to go. (Psalm 142:1-3) He’s a Good God! He is for us not against us. There is no need to be mad – He is working this out for our good! Are you mad today? Are you angry or frustrated? Get rid of it. Do away with it in your life. Be free to accept all that God has for you and let His Peace rule your heart and life now and forever more.

Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT)
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Fear Be Gone – A Devotion

Fear Be Gone

I John 4:18 (NLT)
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.

Love has no fear. How can that be possible? We all have fears and trepidations right? If you have never known true love, it is safe to say that you may not even truly understand what it is to be fearless. Love expels fear. What are you afraid of? There may be a list as long as your arm but they all equal one thing – everyone is afraid to die. Everyone prolongs life as long as they can because of the uncertainty of death and whether or not there is anything else to this thing called forever. I am not a fearless person. I am absolutely petrified of the dentist. I had a bad experience once about twenty years ago that kept me from the dentist for many years. With my last pregnancy, I lost a filling and over time the tooth became very sore. I had no choice. I had to go to a dentist. A friend who happened to be a hygienist encouraged me to use her dentist. She described him as kind and gentle. Yeah right I thought, he’s a dentist. But I finally went when the pain became unbearable. When I got to the office, they did not make me wait but ushered me right back. Once in the chair they immediately began the examination and cleaning that I so desperately needed. Throughout all of my visit, the dentist was very encouraging and sympathetic. He told me if it hurts let me know and I will try to eliminate your discomfort. If you need a minute, just let me know. Over the course of several visits, the new dentist began to relieve my anxiety and fear concerning dental care that was created by a lack of trust. When the first dentist did not listen to my concerns, access my need, or alleviate the pain, he lost my trust. I think we maintain fear in our life when we do not take the time to try to get to the true love and devotion that God has for us. He demonstrated in giving His Son – Jesus Christ to settle our sin debt. Once we accept the free gift of salvation, fear should be a thing of the past. We are not going to die. Knowing and believing this truth requires trust. It means that by faith we have to continually set out to live in His Presence, seek His Face, know His Blessings and become convinced that His Love is more than enough.

Perfect love “expels” fear. I looked up the word “expel”. It is a violent word that means to drive out or force away. It is not a passive but aggressive term. To expel means to discharge and cut off relations. Fear is nothing more than false evidence appearing real. The best way to end a lie is to discover the truth. If we are afraid it shows that we have more to learn about the unfailing love of God and more room to fit it in our life. Today is the day that you will expel fear from your life – if you learn to love Him more.

John 3:19-21 (NLT)
“And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

Sin is the one thing that will always separate us from God’s Love. His Justice does not allow it in His Presence. It keeps us bound to the darkness in fear of exposure by the Light. We have grace that is sufficient for those things that unknowingly and unwillingly trip us up, but until we discover the true potential of God’s Love for us and trust Him, we will always have some degree of fear in our life no matter what. It is unavoidable because we are close to death. As we strive to separate from sin and consecrate our life to the Lord, suddenly that barrier is lifted and His Grace flows back and forth like a wading pool that leads us into the secret place that is His Presence. You will never trust a god (or anyone else for that matter) who you do not know. There was a young lady on the campus of the school that I work for who had gotten tangled up in a scam of sorts. She had been misled by another young person that if she gave him her license and social security number that he would send in applications for different grants and such. She did it once and received a small check. Excited about her good fortune, at the urging of the con artist she began getting the same information from other students and providing it to the other party. When a man grew suspicious, he came to complain in the Student Services department which I am over. Now this man was older than myself at least his mid-fifties, one would assume that he was experienced enough to know about fraudulent activity and the importance of never sharing your personal information with someone you do not know. When I asked him why he would give in-depth personal information to a perfect stranger, he corrected me. He said, “I knew her. She hangs out in the parking lot with us after school.” Truth is he did not know this woman at all. The sad reality is that most people will spend more time involving near strangers with pertinent and relevant information about their life, then spend ten minutes praying to God and listening for His Voice. Living in constant stress and worry, we give our life to much lesser things rather than designating at least a portion to the God of the Universe. What keeps you from stepping into the Light of His Love today? What are you afraid of? Is there something that you are afraid to give up? Are you concerned that He may require you to change? Are you worried you won’t “like” the life that He planned for you? The Truth is you will love it. Problem is that you will never experience it until you decide to come a little closer to your God.

Romans 8:14-16 (NLT)
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.

God has given us His Spirit. It is what identifies us as His Children. The Spirit is our guarantee that everything that God has promised us will happened if we believe. God didn’t save you to enslave you. The things that He reminds to do and not do are all things that bring goodness into our life and prosper us from the inside out. Not one thing you “do” in God’s Word will be worthless. Servanthood will always produce good things in our life. You are His Adopted Child. He guides, instructs and disciplines us not to harm us but for our good. I want the very best for each one of my children. The Holy Spirit joins our human spirit to “affirm” that we are God’s Children. Not just to the world, other people or even the enemy – He affirms us! To affirm means to “to express agreement with or commitment to; uphold; and support.” This power partner takes the small measure of faith that we are born with and begins to work it through our being to make us into a new creation. This work is quite productive when we choose to bury our old man and all its selfish desires and sinful nature with Christ and allow His Spirit to resurrect the person God created us to be before time began. When we are weak, He is strong in us reminding us that we are a Child of God fortifying our stand for the rights of the Kingdom by faith in Jesus Christ. Now if we could only be convinced that fear is not a natural feeling for us anymore but power and victory in Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 1:6-8 (NLT)
This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News.

You have not been given the spirit of fear so stop accepting it in your life. You can overcome every situation by the Blood of the Lamb and Your Testimony. Does your testimony affirm that your dad is bigger than every other dad in this world because He is! There is none like Him. Jesus Christ paid the death penalty on your life. Forever belongs to you. Confident hope banishes fear from your life. You will never accept hope by faith to believe unless you decide that God’s Love is real and for you. It is unfailing and never ending. You must decide that His Grace is sufficient for you always and never give up. When you accept the power, love and self-discipline offered by the Holy Spirit as you walk with Jesus Christ, you will experience every single benefit offered as a Child of the Living God. You will have nothing to fear. As you develop a passion for Jesus Christ fanning the flame of His Spirit and feeding the fire with His Word, you will be fearless. Then you won’t be afraid to tell all your problems just how big your God is. You will elaborate on His Goodness on your worst day. You will praise through every kind of pain. Your worship will pour forth right along with your tears. Cares and burdens will not keep you from His Presence but you will run there to lighten the load. All this is possible when you believe. When you discover the Love of God designated for you as His Child accepting the Precious Gift of Life offered to you by Jesus Christ and decide to live by His Spirit – you will never fear anything again.

Hebrews 13:6 (NLT)
So we can say with confidence, “The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”

Super Power – A Devotion

Super Power

Romans 12:21 (NLT) Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Today our son will undergo a bone marrow transplant. It is touted to be his new birthday. After undergoing radical chemotherapy to eradicate as much of his bone marrow as possible to the point of death, today he will be given back his “life” in the form of four million stem cells taken previously from his body. Each day I meet the Lord in this place where I ask Him to tell me something new. I want to hear anything that will empower my faith and allow me to stand just one more day. Somewhere in the last three years, I have given up trying to stand on my own. This life just became too much to handle. There was not enough of me to go around so I asked the Lord to take over. I need Him more than breath to survive this adventure and thrive in its midst. So on this highly anticipated and long sought after morning, I was quite expectant. What would the Lord tell me today? How would He encourage me? How would Jesus strengthen me today? I woke up with one thing on my mind – Spiderman. Perplexed as I continued to mull around to stimulate clarity as I prepared to dive in the world, I kept mulling this figure over and over in my head. What does Spiderman have to do with any of this? Then came a verse that I had not thought of in years…”Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good!” It’s funny how I remember scripture in the New King James Version and even the Old King James sometimes. All those scripture memory verses I guess being called back into my thoughts, and to think I did it for the candy! So I looked it up in the New Living Translation which has become my go-to and look what I found. It is all about becoming a conqueror! Are you more than a conqueror today?

Romans 8:37-39 (NKJV)
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am not really sure if Spiderman is our son’s favorite superhero or not. He is the tall quiet type. He does have a Spiderman shirt. On many occasions, he has told the doctors that after all the scans, imaging, chemotherapy and radiation that he and his children will have superpowers. I think he may be right. He has certainly earned them. True character is revealed in the hardships and pressures of life when it squeezes our truest potential from the deepest recesses of our heart. The heart holds many secrets. It has desires that sometimes we are not even aware of. In that moment that our heart is broken, the contents are revealed. Peter Parker was orphaned by his parents as a baby when they were tragically killed in a plane crash. He was sent to live with his elderly aunt and uncle who raised their beloved nephew as their own. Peter was a shy guy and quite the nerdy one – sound familiar. Anyone who knows our son knows that he is shy and well you get it. When Peter is bit by a radioactive spider something happened and he began to develop arachnid-characteristics that would become his superpowers. Peter tested his powers in a wrestling match and became an overnight sensation donning a costume to maintain his shy, humble existence and escape the attention. His plan was to continue to use these powers to support the people who loved him first and provide for them. At one point, he witnessed a burglary and allowed the burglar to escape when he could have apprehended him. The escape would prove fatal as a short time later the burglar turned murderer shooting and killing Peter’s Uncle Ben. Now this is the point when his heart is broken and he must decide the man that he would become with the powers he had been given. I am perfectly aware that Peter Parker and Spiderman are fictitious characters created for entertainment. However he is the epitome of the struggle of all mankind as we determine the course of our life as we live it. The bite that gave Peter his powers was painful. His future uncertain so he made the best of it. But the real decision came after his life was turned upside down and nothing was as he expected. Guilt and regret consumed him. He could have prevented this tragedy. We will never be able to prevent trials, tests, and hardships – they are a part of life. What we can work on is our heart so when it comes to such things they do not overcome us but we overcome evil with good!

What good? God is good! We become more than a conqueror when the Eternity placed in our heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11) is exposed and faith grows out of our brokenness. It is the point when we are overcome by weakness and His Grace becomes sufficient for ME! (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) It is when hope forms an anchor that keeps us firmly in love with Jesus Christ when the storms of life seem to bring every power from hell against us. It all begins by accepting the Love of Jesus Christ! Nothing can separate us from the Love of God. His Spirit comes to live inside of us and is our super power. It doesn’t matter what the enemy brings about to cause chaos in our life we can overcome in every situation. The battle has already been one. Jesus Christ overcame the world. (John 16:33) The more of our heart and mind that we give to have the same attitude as Christ the greater His Power becomes in our life. We win. In every situation, we win.

I Corinthians 15:56-57 (NKJV)
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

What is our greatest fear? Death, of course. Oh I know – you are not afraid to die until a doctor tells you that you or a loved one may not make it. When faced with the reality of mortality, it is clear that a decision must be made. Jesus walked into hell snatched the keys to death and walked out handing them to us. What will you do with it? If Christians really believed that death has been overcome by Jesus Christ, they would live differently. They would act differently. They would talk differently. They would be different. We lack confidence in the Cross. Don’t be offended it’s true but we can change. The great thing is Jesus did not give up His Power or take it from us when we refuse to believe. No it is in us. It is part of us. Grace and mercy cover us so if we don’t get it today, we can surely figure it out tomorrow. It takes practice this walking by faith thing. It is not natural. Just as Peter Parker had to learn how to use his spidey senses, Children of God have to learn to live supernaturally. Guilt and shame are removed the law has been satisfied and your sin debt paid. The power belongs to us. Now it is up to us to use it. We have victory in Jesus Christ. Now it’s time to learn to live with super power!

Ephesians 3:16-21 (NLT)
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

The Lord has given you super power today. It belongs to you. There is no greater force in the universe than God’s Power. He is Sovereign. Whether we believe or not is irrelevant. The Power of God was given to you when you decided to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. It will take some getting used to. You will have to learn how it works and the best way to use it. God’s Power is working in you to make good in every detail of your life even those things that threaten to break our heart. (Romans 8:28) He perfects all that concerns us. (Psalm 138:8) God is able to do more than we can even think to ask for. All we have to do is experience the Love of Jesus Christ which is in and of itself too great to understand. I did not learn these things growing up in church. I did not learn them in the wilderness of life. I found them to be true when my heart was forever broken and our son was diagnosed with cancer not once but four separate times. I discovered His Power when I wanted to give up after being denied by the insurance company four times. I appealed to anyone who would listen and even some that would not. When everything fell apart, I found that I had it all together. Not because I knew what to do but because of Who knew me and loved me anyway. You have the power to overcome any situation today. It doesn’t matter what the doctor said, he does not have authority over your life. The only thing you owe this world is to love the people in it. As Christ makes His Home in our heart and is no longer treated like a visitor who we invite during the hard times and ignore every other time, you will begin to understand the vastness of His Love. You will discover a fortress like no other in His Presence. You will find power that you have had all along just never really knew how to use. No weapon formed against you will prosper but you will in the midst of famine and drought. You are full of super powers today. Tap in to the Holy Spirit inside of you. Allow Him to transform you into who God created and equipped you to be. Expect the supernatural today and you will find it simply because you changed your perspective. Be super today!

Philippians 3:8-11 (NLT)
Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!