Monday, May 31, 2010

The Power of His Christ Has Come

"Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, 'Now salvation, and strength and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ has come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.'"
(Revelations 12:10,11)

"...and the power of His Christ has come..."

The same power that raised Christ from the dead is the same power that dwells within us. It is the power of the Holy Spirit.

How is it that the Holy Spirit has come and now dwells within the hearts of the Believers?

It is by the shed blood of Jesus Christ! His blood sanctifies us, cleanses us, sets us apart and creates a place of righteousness for the Spirit of God to dwell. The blood of the Lamb clothes us in power and righteousness! Forgiveness of sin flows through His veins and sets us free from the clutches of the enemy whose accusations are rendered null and void.

Acknowledge the precious blood of the Lamb! Speak the words of testimony! Tell of the faithfulness of your God! Pick up your cross and follow Him!

And that, my friends, is how we overcome.

Thank You,Lord for making a way for us to overcome the accusations of the enemy. Thank You for releasing us from his grip, his destruction - yes, even his eternal death. I ask, Lord, that we never take the precious blood of Jesus for granted. May we always consider the sacrifice and never become comfortable with the suffering You endured for us. Thank You for the Holy Spirit and His power that resonates within Your children for truly, we are never alone. Our strength comes from You, O Lord.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Do You Know the Joyful Sound?

"Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance."
(Psalm 89:15)

Do you recognize the joyful sound? It's the sound of the redeemed celebrating the goodness of the Lord!

It is the sound of praise ushering in the Presence of the Lord, for He promises to inhabit the praises of His people.

My path is no longer dark. It is illuminated by the Holy One of Israel.

His presence. His Light. All because of praise...

Come, celebrate the Lord today and by blessed.

Lord, there is something so wonderful about praise. For sure, it is a key to Your kingdom. I even think it is one Your mysteries. We celebrate You, we rejoice in Your goodness, we remember Your faithfulness and suddenly our hearts are filled with joy. Our world becomes filled with the Light of Your Presence. Nothing has changed and yet, everything has changed! Thank You for teaching me to recognize that joyful sound! I love You so much, Father. Words cannot adequately express the tenderness I feel when I think of You.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Seek First His Kingdom

"But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
(Matthew 6:33)

What things? What things will be added to us if we seek the Kingdom of God first?

The answer is everything that we have need of - food, clothing, finances - all the physical things that sustain our physical life.

But I would like for you to dig a little deeper. I would like for us to change our emphasis of understanding.

In the past , whenever I was worried about how we would make ends meet, I would be reminded of this verse - nothing wrong with that! But the Lord has shown me that I need to change my emphasis when I stand on this promise.

Instead of "But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, AND ALL THESE THINGS SHALL BE ADDED TO YOU," our focus should be "BUT SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD, and all these things shall be added to you."

Do you see the difference? It's remarkable how just a simple little tweak helps us hear His voice more....thinking about Him instead of about me.

Same words. Same promise. New emphasis.

Lord, thank You for teaching me this simple lesson. We are all about our physical needs; You are all about our spirit and the things of eternity. Your mercy is very great, and Your understanding of our thoughts and emotions is absolutely wonderful. You have shown me that we miss so much when we take Your Word at face value. Open our ears to hear Your voice as You teach us and strengthen our faith. I love You, Lord.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Set Your Heart to Understand

"Then he (an angel of the Lord) said to me, 'Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.'"
(Daniel 10:12)

"From the first day that you set your heart to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard..."

"Your words were heard."

Beloved, have you set your heart to understand the things of God? Have you recognized that God, alone, is God - He is sovereign, Holy, mighty in power?
Then God's Word promises that your prayers are heard by Almighty God! Amazing.

In response to our prayers, He comes to strengthen and encourage us. He comes to uphold us by the righteousness of His right hand.

He comes to cradle us in the shadow of His wing.

Father God, I am so thankful that our prayers are not in vain. You, Lord, hear the cry of Your children. Not only do You hear, but You also respond. I want to be aware of Your intervention - I want to see Your hand in My life. I choose to make You Lord. I choose to seek You and to set my heart to understand Your ways. Father, I humbly bow before You and recognize that You, and You alone, are God.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

His Ways Are Higher

"'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.'"
(Isaiah 55:8,9)

The more I understand that God is El Elyon - the Most High God, the Sovereign Ruler of the universe - the more I take Him out of my man-made box. You know, the box that minimizes Him, the one that keeps Him on my level so I can pretend to understand Him. But, truth be known, God IS in complete control of everything.

Hmmmm....Let's say that again: GOD IS IN COMPLETE CONTROL OF EVERYTHING!! How easily we say those words. They are so familiar to us. We feel very comfortable, maybe even a little self-righteous at times, as we mutter these words in the face of hardship. May they never become cliche` in the hearts of a Believer!

But really - God IS in control of everything! The Creator of the universe - MY Creator and Redeemer - knows everything that comes my way. He is weaving together a beautiful tapestry for His glory.

We cannot begin to imagine how great the things are that He has PREPARED for us. They don't come about through happenstance. He has prepared them, put all the pieces together, set up all the divine appointments.

His thoughts and His ways are on a much higher plane than my own. His thoughts and ways are all about the eternal.

And I want my life, and all that is in it, to count for eternity.

I am Yours, Lord.

Father, help us to grasp this truth. We say it. We know it in our heads, but help us know it in our hearts. Your MAJESTY and POWER does not work within the confines of our minds. Give us a glimpse of Your Spirit working everything together for our good. Forgive us for insisting that You remain in our little man-made boxes. I think we do that because deep down inside there is a part of us that wants to be in control. Forgive us, Lord. You are God - You alone.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It Is a Good Thing to Give Him Thanks

"Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His Name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! Glory to His holy Name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord! Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore! Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth, O seed of Abraham His servant, you children of Jacob, His chosen ones!"
(Psalm 105:1-5)

It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord! It is a good thing to sing praise to His Name, to seek His face and to remember His marvelous works.

Go ahead! Read the words to this Psalm again and let His love fill your heart. Let the praise of your lips transform your worries into joy and strength.

You are His child, His chosen one.

Oh, give thanks to the Lord!

We praise You, Lord. We give You thanks. We remember Your provisions and blessings. We remember Your comfort and Your love. In our darkest moments You were there holding us. In our moments of unspeakable joy You were there rejoicing with us. When we turned away from you, You Lord remained steadfast. Your mercies are new every morning. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for being Who You are in our lives - our Lord, our Savior, Redeemer and Friend.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The One True God

"They feared the Lord, yet served their own gods..."
(2 Kings 17:33)

Ouch!! The children of God feared the Lord - they worshiped Him, followed His Laws and yet they served their own gods! At the same time!! Pretty much right after they worshiped Him!!!

That's a hard pill to swallow! Aren't we guilty of the same charge? How often do we keep things in our lives which demand our devotion and we willingly offer it? Our time is occupied, our thoughts are consumed and the Holy Spirit is crowded out of our hearts.

He is to be our first love - the One True God. Our devotion belongs to Him. Our thoughts should be steered and governed by Him. And yet...

And yet the world creeps in. Oh, it is usually not obvious or brazen. No. Surely we would not intentionally sell part of our soul for worldly gain. After all, we are totally devoted to our God, right?

The world is very sly and our heart is very deceptive. The Word teaches us that our heart is most deceptive above all things. How easily we are swayed, tossed and turned. The result is that we serve other gods instead of our God...usually without even realizing it.

The result is that we turn to other people or other things for our security.
The result is that we turn to other people or other things for comfort.
The result is that the Lord has to compete for our devotion and love.

May it never be! May we never declare that He alone is God and then run quickly to our other gods for solutions and provisions.

Lord God, You alone are worthy to be praised! You, Who created the heavens and the earth are worthy of my devotion, my love. I do not want to intentionally place other people or things above You. I want You to be high and lifted up. I want to love You with all of my heart, my soul, my mind and my strength. I want You to be glorified in all that I do. Lord, help me identify things in my life that You consider to be gods. Open my eyes that I might see the deception and then to see Your Truth concerning these things. Thank You, Lord, for Your mercy and grace.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I Am the Vine, You Are the Branches

"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can no nothing."
(John 15:5)

I want you to realize the relationship that is represented here - it is a type of covenant exchange - our weaknesses exchanged for His strengths. I know that may seem like a stretch because we are talking about vines and branches. But I want you to understand this image fully.

"He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit.
" To abide means to dwell, to live within. The exchange here indicates to me that there is ONENESS in the relationship. The fruit is a natural result -it is 'born' of this shared relationship.

Isn't it interesting that John equates our relationship with Jesus to that between a vine and its branches? Why would he use that imagery? Because there is a power source - a life source - that flows through the vine that has no other choice but to produce branches, blossoms and fruit! Apart from the vine's life source, the branch will wither and die. It will become a mere stick - not the fruit bearing branch it was created for!

It is God's power that flows through us replacing our weaknesses with His strength, our certain death with His life. It is God's life-giving power that flows through us and produces the fruit - the evidence - of His Holy Spirit.

And apart from Him, we can do nothing - no branches, no sweet smelling flowers and certainly no fruit.

Just sticks. Yep, just sticks.

Lord, keep me attached to Your life-giving power. Let Your Holy Spirit flow through me making me a strong and sturdy branch. Let my life yield a bountiful harvest of fruit for Your Kingdom. Thank You, Lord.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

It is God Who is At Work in Us

"For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."
(Philippians 2:13)

If only we could grasp this truth! It is GOD who works in us to fulfill His purposes, to bring Him pleasure. It is GOD who puts all the pieces of our lives together. We know this in our heads, but He wants us to know it in our hearts.

The Greek Word for 'works' is energeo (en-erg-eh-oh). It means "the active operation or working of power in order to achieve effectual results." Effectual results? Hmmmmm.....

Try your best to imagine the big picture - not only of YOUR life, but - THE BIG PICTURE!! God, in His wisdom, has a plan - an objective, if you will. He IS the Sovereign Ruler of the universe, after all. Nothing happens by chance - it is all by His great design. His plan is all about transforming lives through the power of His presence - for His glory - for His pleasure.

And His plan counts for eternity. His objectives involve love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness. self-control, gentleness, faithfulness - not only for you, but for those whose lives you, His child, impact.

Do you feel unsure of your future? Do you ever wonder if your own life is counting for eternity?

If you have surrendered your life to your loving Savior, you can be sure that He holds you in the palm of His hand and He WILL complete His purposes in you.

God + His power + you + me = effectual results
effectual results + you + me = transformed lives which makes Him smile

Lord, thank You for not letting us live stagnant lives. The power of Your Presence in us transforms us and the lives of those whose paths we cross. Work in us to fulfill your purposes. Mold us and shape us for Your pleasure, that You might be glorified through us.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

God's Light & Truth Lead Us Into His Presence

"Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill and to your tabernacle (dwelling place). Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; And on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God."
(Psalm 43:3,4)

The subtitle to this Psalm states, "Prayer to God in Time of Trouble". I love that David recognized his need for God's presence. He recognized his need to give God praise in the midst of the storm.

David asked God to send out His Light and His Truth to lead him into the tabernacle - God's dwelling place. He is asking God to light a way through the darkness. David knows that God's Truth is his stability during uncertain times - he has learned to rely upon, depend upon, the Truth of Who God is. And David also knows that in the Presence of the Lord is joy unspeakable - regardless of his circumstances.

Jesus is OUR Light - He is OUR Truth! Because of Jesus, we too, can go up to the altar of God - into His presence - and be safe. God is our exceeding joy - our great reward.

He is the light at the end of the tunnel.

Praise Your Name, Lord Jesus!! Thank You for Your Light that leads us into all Truth. Thank You for Your Truth that escorts us into Your Presence. Ah, Lord God, Your Presence... Is their any place greater than Your Presence? May we never take Your Presence for granted, Lord. Open our eyes that we might see that YOU are our exceedingly great reward.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I Will Cry Out to God Most High

"I will cry out to God Most High, to God who performs all things for me. He shall send from heaven and save me; He reproaches the one who would swallow me up. SELAH God shall send forth His mercy and His truth."
(Psalm 57:2,3)

David wrote this Psalm when he was fleeing from Saul who wanted to kill him! He was hiding in a cave when these beautiful words flowed from his lips."

David was not shy when it came to crying out to his God - BUT - in his crying out, he acknowledged Who God is! David cried out to God Most High - El Elyon - the sovereign ruler of the universe - the One who is in control! He identified the power of his God.

Interesting note: "He reproaches the one who would swallow me up." Reproach means to disgrace and when David says God will disgrace the one who would 'swallow him up' - a more accurate translation would read, "one who snaps at me or hounds me or crushes me."

Do you feel like the stress of life is going to swallow you up? Is someone or something hounding you, crushing you with anxiety? GOD will take care of that situation IF you acknowledge Who He is in the midst of your problem.

SELAH. Pause and think about it.

Father, I am so thankful that You hear me when I cry out to You. I am Your child, therefore, Your ear and Your heart are turned towards me, just as I am aware of the cry of MY children. You are fully aware of my battles. Yes, You are fully aware of my tears. Thank You, Lord, that I find victory in You. You are precious, Lord.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Under the Shadow of His Wings

"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by."
(Psalm 57:1)

I want you to picture a mother hen and her baby diddles. When something frightens her babies, they INSTINCTIVELY run and hide beneath the wing of their mother.

Now, apply that analogy to your Heavenly Father.

In Ezekiel 16:8, the Lord reminds the children of Israel that when He entered into covenant with them, He spread His wing over them to cover their nakedness - their vulnerabilities, their disgrace. Everything that pertains to the children of Israel, pertains to us as Believers. We have been covered by His wing as well.

And we can run to the shelter of His wing during frightening times, just like the baby diddles run to their mother.

The Lord God's wing is a place of refuge. The Hebrew word for refuge is machseh (mahch-seh). It refers to a PLACE of hope or a PLACE of trust. When we run to our Father, He hides us under the shadow of His wing - a place of hope, a place of trust...

...until the calamity has passed us by.

Lord, help us to understand how precious this is. There is no place I would rather be when I am frightened or overwhelmed than under the shadow of Your wing. That places me near to Your heart. I can feel the safety, the assurance...the warmth. And I can hear the rhythmic beating of Your heart declaring Your love for me. Thank You for Your tenderness towards Your children.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Jehovah-shammah - The Lord is There

"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."
(John 14:1-3)

"...that where I am, there you may be also!"

Jehovah-shammah. The Lord is there!

What a blessed thought! Do we really understand how much our Lord desires to be with us? Every aspect of His plan of salvation flows from His desire to know us and to dwell with us. His love for us exceeds our capacity to comprehend.

Don't you love this Truth? Let not your heart be troubled. Your Heavenly Father is with you, now and forever. He is with you in your sorrow. He is with you in your joy.

Always there. Always God.

Lord God, You are truly amazing. Your lovingkindness overwhelms me at times. How a Holy God could desire to be with me humbles me and makes me very thankful. Thank you Father. May you feel welcome in my life.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Perfect Peace of God

"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You."
(Isaiah 26:3)

Easier said than done, isn't it? These word are nice. Simple. Familiar.

But isn't it hard to keep our minds stayed on the Lord when it feels like our world is falling apart? Yes, it is!!

The phrase, 'keep our minds', refers to our 'creative imagination'. We can get pretty creative in our imaginations when we begin to worry about something, can't we? The 'what ifs' are enough to drive you crazy! But this scripture teaches us that when our thoughts, our plans, our dreams are founded on the eternal Lord, we will enjoy peace.

It's the same as exercising 'attentive hearing' and then submitting our thoughts to Christ.

When I focus on Jesus, when I gaze into those lovely eyes, my mind settles down and I find peace.


Peace. Sweet Lord, we all need to know Your peace. Forgive us when we entertain creative imaginations instead of keeping our thoughts fully on You. Be Lord of our minds, our thoughts. How beautiful to realize that peace is ours, if only we will focus on You. Praise you, Father.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Behold, I Make All Things New

"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain for the former things have passed away.' Then He who sat on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.'"
(Revelation 21:1-5)

O what a glorious day that will be!

Take time this morning to bless the Lord, to praise Him for Who He is - our Redeemer and friend, the prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Almighty God is He! He is glorious in majesty and worthy of our praise!

And just day He will come to take His children home.

Father God, in my wildest imaginations, I cannot behold the beauty of that day. Thank You that your ways are perfect. Thank You for being our God. I look so forward to the day when we will see You face to face. What a glorious day that will be. Praise, honor and glory to our King.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bringing Our Thoughts Captive to Christ

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."
(2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

This is one of my favorite verses - one that I pray quite often, "Lord, I bring my thoughts captive to you."

Why is this important? Think about it. Satan, the enemy of your soul, has access to your mind. He cannot touch your spirit - your spirit is SEALED in the Holy Spirit. But your mind? Now, that's another story . Your mind is a virtual playground for Satan. He is very good at causing us to speculate or entertain thoughts that, without question, go against the knowledge of God. That's why we are instructed to "not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our MINDS." (Romans 12:2)

When I choose, and then pray, "Lord, I bring my thoughts captive to you - to your obedience," I am set free from their destruction. The Greek word for obedience is hupakoe (hoop-ak-oh-ay). Significantly,it means attentive HEARING, listening with compliant submission.

Once we understand our spiritual warfare and the schemes Satan uses to destroy us, we have gained our first step towards bringing down his strongholds (anything opposing God's will) in our lives.

Attentive hearing. Captive thoughts. I sense a breakthrough coming...

O Lord, how I love Your Word! What freedom it brings us, if only we will pay attention! Thank you for this lesson. The most difficult part is CHOOSING not to entertain thoughts that are not of You. Give us determination or gumption or whatever it is that we need to immediately bring those thoughts to You. Thank You, Lord. We love You.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Name of the Lord

"The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe."
(Proverbs 18:10)

"The NAME of the Lord is a strong tower." What does this mean? How could something concerning protection be so simple?

God's Name represents exactly Who He is. Throughout the Bible, He identifies Himself with different names which reflect the many aspects of His character. Depending upon our need, the Lord reveals Himself by a name which satisfies that need.

For instance: Are you familiar with the name El Shaddai? In Genesis 17 God and Abram entered into covenant. God told Abram, "I am El Shaddai - God Almighty." El Shaddai means that the Lord is all-sufficient, a life-sustainer. Whenever you see the words, 'God Almighty' or 'Almighty God', it is translated El Shaddai.

Another example? Jehovah-Jireh means, "I am the Lord Who provides". God told Abraham that Jehovah-Jireh was His Name when He provided the ram as a sacrifice in place of Isaac. (Genesis 22)

There are many more examples, but the point is that "the Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous shall run to it and be safe."

The Name of the Lord - the Name ABOVE ALL Names!

Not only is there strength, or provision, or grace - or whatever we need at the moment - His Name is high and lifted up like a tower on a fortress. When we run to Him and call upon His Name, He lifts us up securely on high - with Him - high above our enemy.

Call upon His Name. Run to Him as fast as you can. He promises to answer you, to lift you securely above the fray.

Our God is faithful.

Lord, what a wonderful lesson to learn. When we call upon your Name, we are safe, we are lifted high above our enemy. A mighty fortress is our God!! Thank you, Lord.

Friday, May 14, 2010

I Hear the Marching of Angels

"Therefore David inquired of the Lord, and He said, 'You shall not go up; circle around behind them (the Philistines) and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.'"
(2 Samuel 5:23,24)

Glory!! "When you hear the sound of MARCHING in the tops of the mulberry trees..." God was not talking about the rustling of a breeze blowing through the leaves. HE WAS TALKING ABOUT THE SOUND OF AN ARMY OF ANGELS GOING BEFORE DAVID INTO BATTLE!!

Wow!! I don't know about you, but if I listen carefully, I can hear the sound of angels marching into battle on my behalf! What a powerful thought! I can hear them because I dare to believe God.

Before this happened, David INQUIRED of the Lord. He was facing an impossible situation. The Philistines were looking for David - they were on a seek and destroy mission. What was David going to do?

He INQUIRED of the Lord. He prayed. He sought His God, asking for wisdom, for guidance. Did God ignore him? No! God not only answered with complete instructions - God honored David's faith and sent an army of angels to defeat David's enemies.

And He can do the same for you.

Are you feeling oppressed by the work of the enemy? Do you long for a day of rest - of peace? Maybe you just need a break from the battles of life.

Inquire of God and then...listen.

Maybe, just maybe, you will hear the sound of an army of angels marching through the tree tops, joining you in battle.

You are not alone.

Praise you, Father. In our wildest dreams we cannot imagine an army of angels coming to fight for us. But yet, this is exactly what your Word says. Forgive us for putting you into our dignified and sophisticated boxes where we limit your power. Help us to listen, Lord - Not only to your instructions but also for the sounds of marching angels. Open our ears that we might hear. Thank you, Lord. We love you and give you praise.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Heart Set on Pilgrimage

"Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca (weeping), They make it a spring; the rain also covers it with pools (or blessings). They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion."
(Psalm 84:5-7)

As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are on a pilgrimage - a journey. A journey entails many variables - mountains, valleys, sunshine and storms, drought and rain. A journey involves alone times, fulfilled times, anxious and peaceful times.

This Psalm reminds us that when the Lord is our strength, we are blessed - we are happy. Blessed is the one whose heart is set on pilgrimage.

Why is this important? Because our faith should never be stagnant. It should be alive and moving forward - always learning - always growing. We need to acknowledge that a life of faith truly is a pilgrimage and set our heart on that knowledge!

I love the fact that the pilgrims in this Psalm passed through the Valley of Weeping - and then they made it a spring. The valley floor was covered with pools (or blessings). Do you suppose the pools of blessings were formed by their tears? Just wondering...

More than likely, the geography described here is a desert region called the Valley of Rephraim. This region annually experienced the early rain that fell in the autumn. The early rain brought rejoicing to the pilgrims that journeyed there because the vegetation needed to be watered in order to support new growth - the people needed encouragement that only a fresh rain delivers after a time of drought.

Picture this: An early rain in autumn. Autumn follows hot, dry summers. The early rains of fall replenish the earth.

Tears, when given to God, replenish our dry and barren hearts. Like the Psalmist, after traveling through the Valley of Weeping, we are able to go from strength to strength - from grace to grace - from glory to glory - into the Presence of Almighty God.

Let's set our hearts on pilgrimage. Our destiny is the throne of God in the beauty of Zion. Let your tears strengthen and replenish your dry and barren hearts.

And let the Father wipe your tears and hold you close.

Lord, I give my tears to You. I ask, Lord, that they water and refresh my drought-stricken heart. You alone, are worthy of my praise. You, alone, can turn my mourning into dancing for You. Open my eyes that I might see the early rain that falls in the autumn chill. Help me dance in the rain.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Set Your Mind on Things Above

"If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth."
(Colossians 3:1,2)

This is hard to do, isn't it? We live in a very physical world, with very tangible problems. It glares at us, screams for attention and occupies every minute of every day.

But the Word of God offers us a better way. Paul instructs us to SEEK after those things which are above - to SET OUR MIND on things above - not on the things of this world.

Seek. Set your mind.

These are action words. They require doing. They require determination. They require making a choice.

Remember that your heart follows your treasures - those things that are important to you - those things you seek after and set your mind to. We must put our treasures where we want our lives to be.

I choose Jesus.

Lord, I do choose You! I choose Your love, I choose Your grace and forgiveness. Lord, I choose to trust You and to seek You first. On days that I get caught up in the ways of the world, please put Your hand on my shoulder and gently lead me back to You - to Your peace and to Your purposes. Thank You, Lord. I love you.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

You Are Not Alone

"Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles."
(2 Chronicles 32:7,8)

The king of Assyria, with his great armies, waged war against Jerusalem. The situation looked impossible. The Israelites were out-sized and outnumbered. Fear gripped the people.

But Hezekiah, king of the Israelites, knew the one True God - Jehovah. He encouraged the people, "Be strong. Don't be afraid. The Assyrian king only has flesh to fight for him, but us? We've got the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles!"

And the Israelites, against all natural odds, defeated the Assyrians.

Do you feel outnumbered by your enemies? Are you overwhelmed by their size?

Know this. "If God be for you, who then, can be against you? What can mere man do to you?" (Romans 8:31 and Psalm 118:6)

Hezekiah kept a pure heart before the Lord and could, therefore, call on Him during his time of distress. We, as children of God, through the blood of Jesus Christ, have that same privilege. We can approach the throne of grace boldly and make our requests known to the Father.

Is something worrying you today? Are you staring face-to-face into the glaring and accusing eyes of your enemy?

Beloved, God is with you. You are not alone.

Lord, a day can change in an instant! Out of nowhere comes the enemy's grip, eager to defeat us, to snuff out the Light of faith. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness to defend us, to protect us, to give us victory. When we feel overwhelmed, help us Lord remember to Whom we belong. Remind us to run to You.

Monday, May 10, 2010

His Spirit Thoroughly Saturates Our World

"'Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?' says the Lord; 'Do I not FILL heaven and earth?' says the Lord."
(Jeremiah 23:24)

The Hebrew word used here for 'fill' is male` (mah-lay). It means to fulfill or to fill to the brim. It also means to saturate thoroughly.

The Lord is saying that the heavens and earth are saturated thoroughly with His Spirit. Isn't that a beautiful image? His Spirit fills our world to overflowing!

Our God is everywhere, all the time. He sees all, He knows all. He is with us in the Light - He is with us in the dark. He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Can I get an amen?

What a reassuring thought that is, Lord! YOU are with me always, everywhere. You know my going in and You know my going out. Nothing that comes my way escapes Your watchful eye. Bless You Lord! Thank You for being such an awesome and good God!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

He Walks on the Wings of the Wind

"Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty, Who covers Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain. He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind."
(Psalm 104:1-3)

Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord, YOU are very great!

Can you imagine a God so awesome that He makes the clouds His chariot and He walks on the wings of the wind?


That amazes me.

I challenge you to take God out of the box that invariably, we put Him in. It is not our heart's intent to minimize Him - it's just that we can't wrap our brains around His greatness, His power - His might.

Go ahead, close your eyes and picture our great God walking on the wings of the wind.

And, just think - HE'S the One Who is in control!

Father God, You are great and worthy of our praise. You, O Lord, are mighty beyond our comprehension. Open our eyes that we might see. Open our ears that we might hear the TRUTH of Who You are. You are the Great I AM! You are El Elyon - the Lord Most High. And yet - AND YET - you dwell in me. Thank you Lord. I pray that I will never take You for granted.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

You Can Leap Over That Wall!

"For You are my lamp, O Lord, the Lord shall enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop; By my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect, the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him."
(2 Samuel 22:29-31)

Is there an obstacle in your way? Are you facing a tomorrow of impossibilities? Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing hidden in the darkness can take you by surprise and overtake you if...

IF you have made the Lord your companion! I don't mean a once-in-a-while friend. I mean a constant companion. His Light will enlighten your darkness. With Him you can face your enemies with grace and courage. You will have wisdom to defeat your foe. The mountain you are facing will become as a mole hill. And that wall? That wall that separates you from your dreams? You can leap right over it by the power of the Lord, your God!

God's word has been proven. You can believe in, rely upon and trust in His word.

Lord, I desire your companionship in all that I do. To me, companionship means relationship. Cleanse me Lord, make my heart pure before You so that I might walk hand in hand with You. With You as my constant companion I know that nothing can defeat me - no weapon formed against me can prosper. With You as my constant companion that wall of fear and doubt that I'm looking at is nothing - absolutely nothing! Thank You Lord. I love You so much.

Friday, May 7, 2010

He is Worthy to be Praised!

"I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies."
(Psalm 18:1-3)

When I say these words I feel immediate release from the anxieties that plague me. This scripture reminds me of the One in Whom I have placed my trust. There is power in saying, "I love You, O Lord, my strength!"

King David offers gentle instruction here, if we'll open our ears to hear. He says, "The Lord is WORTHY to be PRAISED - halal (ha-lal)!" This means to praise with a loud voice or to cause to shine. The Light of our Lord is illuminated by our praises. By that,I mean He responds in a mighty way when we call upon Him in adoration - not focusing on our needs, but focusing on Him - recognizing the wonders of His love, honoring Him for Who He is and for Him alone. King David says that if I will call upon the Lord, and praise Him, I will be saved from my enemies.

Who is your enemy today? Is it a financial crisis, a terminal or chronic disease? Are you struggling in your marriage or with a prodigal child? Maybe your enemy is named depression or anger.

Whatever your enemy is named - when you praise the Lord, you will be saved, set free. You will be high and lifted up into His Presence. Your praises will cause His Light to shine upon the darkness, exposing the enemy within.

And that is the first step to victory.

Father God, I DO love You. You, O Lord, are my strength! You are my refuge, my shelter from the storm. My heart sings Your praise for You alone are worthy to be praised. Thank You for Your mighty power. Thank You for Your love.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Law of the Lord is Perfect

"The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting (restoring) the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb."
(Psalm 19:7-10)

When I was in college (a l-o-n-g time ago) I learned this scripture which had been put to a melody. I loved the words. I loved the way my spirit felt grounded when we sang these words.

Grounded. Set on a firm foundation.

I speak a lot about God's steadfast love - His mercy and His grace. These elements best describe the relationship I have with my Father. I have learned of this Love during extremely difficult and painful days in my life.

But. I could not speak of His love with such conviction if I did not have a foundational understanding of His Law, His testimony, His statutes, commandments and judgments.

In the midst of His great Love, there reigns a Just God. The blood of Jesus provides us with grace and forgiveness, but the Holiness of God requires righteousness. God will not be mocked. We are to take our faith - our testimony - very seriously.

"The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring..." I am not afraid of my Heavenly Father - I love Him with my whole heart - but, I do revere Him. I respect Him. I recognize and submit to His ultimate authority in my life.

The longer I walk with Him, the more I love Him.
The longer I walk with Him, the more I understand His majesty and Holiness.
The longer I walk with Him, the more I desire to stand before Him with clean hands and a pure heart.

Father, You are the Lord, my God. I am so thankful for You. I pray that I would never simplify You or compromise Your Word just so I could feel better about myself. I pray that I would never put You into a box of my own design, but, that I would always recognize Your Truth and that You alone are God. Thank You for Your Laws and statutes and commandments. May we never forget that You are a Just God. Because of Jesus, our covenant with You is established in grace, but grace does not negate Your Laws. Jesus fulfills Your Laws. You are Holy, Lord and Your Laws are sweeter than honey on the honeycom

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

You Are Worthy O Lord to be Praised!

"You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created."
(Revelation 4:11)

"You are worthy, O Lord!" Doesn't it just feel good to speak those words? "You are worthy, O Lord to receive glory and honor and power!" Go ahead, declare them from your heart! Let your praises bring you into the very presence of God.

We were created for God's pleasure - thelema (the-leem-mah) - because of His WILL. He desires fellowship with His creation. He desires companionship with His creation.

He didn't create us because He HAD to. He created us because He WANTED to. He wants to walk hand in hand with us.

When we praise Him, we bring Him glory and honor.
When we praise him, we acknowledge His presence in our lives.
When we praise Him, joy unspeakable fills our hearts. The Mighty Hand of God clasps His fingers in ours and we know we are not alone.

We praise You, O Lord our God! We worship and adore You. We lift Your Name on High and declare Your wonders to the world around us. I pray that we would desire Your presence as much as You desire ours. Thank you for tearing the veil in two that separated us from Your dwelling place. Thank You that because of the blood of Jesus You now dwell within us. Forgive us for when we forget that Truth. May we be pleasing in Your sight and honor You with our lives.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Like a Watered Garden

"The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail."
(Isaiah 58:11)

Think of a season of drought - the parched earth, the dry riverbeds. Nature cries out to its creator to quench its thirst, to sustain life - to send the rain.

This scripture in Isaiah symbolically calls us, as Believers, to consider the Lord in a time of drought. God's Truth reveals that even though the earth - and all its inhabitants - is perishing in a season of drought - our soul will be satisfied. The wellspring of Living Water quenches and refreshes the weary soul.

Like an oasis in the desert, we shall be like a watered garden, yielding fruit, bearing brilliance of color and evidence of life in stark contrast to a dry and barren land.

Our soul shall drink and be satisfied.
Our faith will stretch deep through the hard soil and tap into the Living Water.
Our lives will yield the fruit of hope and encouragement to a hurting world.

Hallelujah! Drink freely and lavishly of the Living Water.

I am thirsty Lord. Fill me up to overflowing with Your precious Living Water. Help me tap into Your life-source. I pray that the fruit of my life and the brilliant colors of Your glory and Presence will draw people to Your oasis in the desert. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Monday, May 3, 2010

God Will Remember You

"Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided"(Genesis 8:1)

I believe God felt devastated by the sinfulness of His creation. I believe He was grieved by the necessity to destroy the earth. It couldn't have been easy for Him. Remember, His children were created because He desired fellowship with them. Creation was an enormous act of love.

Genesis 7:23 says, "He destroyed all living things on the face of the ground, both man and (all living creatures)." Only Noah and his family were saved. The destruction lasted for 150 days.

Then God remembered Noah.

Thank you Father.

When you find yourself in a season of destruction hold onto the fact that God is faithful. He will REMEMBER you and bring deliverance. You are His child. You are in covenant with Him because of Jesus Christ.

A covenant cannot be broken. And that, my friend, is a hidden treasure of Light in the darkness.

Lord, I am so thankful for Your faithfulness towards us. Even when we fail You, even when we turn our backs on You, You remain faithful. Teach us to understand the depth of love this requires. You are precious,Lord.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Fully Pleasing Him

"For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy..."
(Colossians 1:9-11)

When I read this scripture I thought of you - my friends. I pray for you often as I know many of you pray for me. Thank you.

I want you to pay attention to the gentle instructions Paul is giving to the Church at Colosse. He prays for them and asks the Father:
~ to reveal His will and give them spiritual understanding
~ to help them walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him
~ to make them fruitful in their work for the Kingdom
~ to strengthen them with His might and power so they will be able to endure
this Christian journey with joy.

I desire so much to walk worthy of the Lord's love. My heart longs to please Him in all things. And I know that is your desire also. That's why we share the joy of Morning Glory!! We all desire to know the treasures hidden in God's life-giving Word.

Prayer. Life-altering. Life-sustaining.

Praying for one another is a very good thing.

Father, my heart feels so full as I write these words. The prayers of my friends - of my brothers and sisters in Christ - mean the world to me. And I know how much they mean to you. Help us to take the ministry of prayer more seriously. Help us to understand the power of intercessory prayer. And help us to be disciplined and tenacious as we pray for one another. Thank you Father.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I Am Persuaded

"For this reason I also suffer these things, nevertheless, I am not ashamed, for I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day."
(2 Timothy 1:12)

Be encouraged. God is ABLE to keep what you have committed to Him until that Day in which He returns. The word for ABLE is dunatos (doo-nat-oss) meaning dynamite, powerful, mighty. Paul is saying that he is totally convinced that the Lord has the ability to act and the power to accomplish everything and anything that Paul has committed to Him! Awesome!!

Can you say the same thing with such conviction?
How is Paul able to say this?

Because, he said, "I know Whom I have believed." I love that!! I love it because I, too, can say, "I know Whom I have believed." This knowledge has come through many struggles, much grace and by learning to trust Him by witnessing His faithfulness.

I am convinced. I am persuaded. I KNOW that He is ABLE to keep - to stand guard - over all that I have committed to Him!

And I would say to you - Dare to believe! Take God at His Word. Stand on His promises. Discover everything there is to know about Him.

And you, too, will say, "I am persuaded!"

Lord, I love Your power. I love Your desire to show Yourself mighty in my life. Thank You for giving me the courage to dare to believe You. And thank You for not letting me down. You are awesome, God. I love You.