Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Old Rugged Cross

"And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split."
(Matthew 27:50,51)

"...then behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom..."

Quietly settle your spirit so that you can take hold of this miracle of God. At the very moment Jesus took his last breath, the earth turned dark and trembled. Simultaneously, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. Its blue, purple and scarlet threads frayed and ripped apart as the power of God surged through its fabric.

This is very significant. The veil was a thick curtain hung within the inner court of the Tabernacle to SEPARATE the attending priests from the Holy of Holies where God's Spirit dwelt. With the veil destroyed, the people of God would no longer be separated from His Presence. The work of Redemption was finished.

Just imagine. Now we can rest in the glory of God's Presence. Joy unspeakable. Abundant peace. Grace beyond measure.

All because of the old rugged cross.

Sing it with me. Oh come one is one, but Him.

On a hill far away, stood an old rugged cross.,
The emblem of suffering and shame.
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
Til my trophies at last I lay down.
I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it someday for a crown.

The next time you feel overwhelmed by the stresses of life, close your eyes and picture the old rugged cross upon Calvary's hill.

Your battle was fought and won right on that blood-stained cross.

If only we could learn to walk in that victory.

Lord, how I love Your cross! I confess that I used to take it for granted, but in the hard times, in my times of anguish, Your cross took on more meaning for me. Now I understand that You died to heal my broken heart. You died to set me free from the bondage of this earth. You died so that I can approach God's throne of grace boldly and talk to Him, telling Him my heart. You, Jesus, did that for me! Thank You Lord. Thank You for Your sacrifice and for the power of Your cross.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Shine Like the Stars in the Darkness

"For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and arguing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world."
(Philippians 2:13-15)

Is it possible to do ALL things without complaining and arguing? That's a tough one.

My husband has named "my other personality" Trudy Lou. Trudy Lou is not nearly as accommodating as Nan. She tends to be a little bit moody. She lacks on the gracious side and has very strong opinions. Sometimes I wonder if Trudy Lou is the part of me that has not surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Verse 15 tells us that we are living in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation and that we are to "shine like lights in the world." The New International Version of the Bible reads, that we are to "shine like stars in the universe."

Can you picture this? Our life is not our own once we have declared Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. No matter what happens to us, we are to "conduct ourselves worthy of the gospel of Christ" (Philippians 1:27). We are to shine like the stars in the darkness around us. We carry Jesus (through His indwelling Holy Spirit) everywhere with us. We are His representatives. His ambassadors to the world.

How quickly we forget this.

I don't want you to focus on the negative here - the "don't complain or argue." I want you to concentrate on the glorious statement, "shine like the stars in the universe." Because, if I'm shining, then the arguing and complaining will take care of itself.

That makes my heart happy; that gives me a goal to work towards that will glorify my Heavenly Father. "For it is GOD who works in you..."

We only need to LET Him work in us.

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

It's all about Him.

Father, I fall so short when it comes to murmuring and complaining. Please forgive me. I want to be Your Light in the darkness. I want my life and my Light to draw people to You. Thank You for that privilege, Lord. Write it on my heart, speak it gently to my spirit as I go about my daily routine. Be glorified in my life, Lord.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Repair the Altar of the Lord

"And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice, no one answered, no one paid attention. Then Elijah said to all the people, 'Come near to me.' So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down."
(1 Kings 18:29,30)

"...And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down."

Do you remember this story of Elijah?

The region around Samaria had been experiencing drought for nearly three years. The drought was God's response to the Israelites' worship of other gods under the rebellious leadership of King Ahab. King Ahab had built an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal. The children of God were worshiping everything but the One True God - and Baal had become the "Big Kahuna"!

Now Elijah brought them a challenge: Would Baal send rain or would the Lord God send rain?

The prophet Elijah gathered all the children of Israel and the prophets of Baal together on Mount Carmel. And Elijah spoke to them, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." (verse 21)

Elijah challenged Baal's prophets (450 of them!) to present a burnt offering to Baal, but without lighting the fire themselves. Baal would surely ignite the wood and consume their offering if he was a god to be worshiped, right? And upon receiving the offering, Baal would show his pleasure by sending the rain.

At least that's what they thought.

For hours, the prophets of Baal cried out to Baal. They worked themselves into a frenzy, leaping upon the altar, dancing around it like a bunch of hooligans, cutting themselves...all for naught.

Then, like a gentle father, Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down." (verse 30)

Elijah prayed, "Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You ARE the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again." Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice...(verses 37,38)

What is the lesson God has for us?

We must come to the conclusion that He, ALONE, is God. We can build altars our whole life long and then worship those things that will never satisfy. We can work ourselves into a frenzy trying to get those gods to respond. We can leap up on the altars, demanding a response from our bank accounts, our refrigerators, our lusts and our fancy toys - all to no avail. For there is only One True God - El Elyon, the Lord Most High is His Name.

Dear one, repair the altar of the Lord that has broken down in your life.

We all experience times of rebellion, times of wandering and drifting away. We build our altars to worship our pain, justifying every piece of brick and mortar placed there by each tear that falls.

But, only the Lord our God can satisfy. Only He can heal your heart, restore your life and meet your needs.

Trust Him. Fall on your knees and worship Him.

Declare Him Lord of your life.

Lord God, You are mighty and worthy to be praised. You Lord, are the One True God. We recognize that and yet...and yet we STILL turn to our man-made gods, our sources of provision and pleasure. Father, forgive us! Forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We lift Your Name on high and worship You, Lord. Thank You for Your love.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lest We Drift Away

"Therefore we must give all the more careful attention to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him?"
(Hebrews 2: 1-3)

" shall we escape if we NEGLECT so great a salvation..."

If ever there was a time in our lives that we need to cling to our Heavenly Father, it is now! The world, as we know it, seems to be crumbling around us. Where is the morality? Where is the ethical code that establishes society's boundaries? Where is our Christian nation?

And where is the adherence to God's Holy Word?

For many of us, our faith has been slowly eroding away by the steady ebb and flow of the world's tide of influence. For sure, it hasn't been blatant - Heaven forbid! Our self-righteous pride would never allow for that!

No, it has been subtle. For years and years, the spirit of humanism has lowered a veil over our spiritual eyes and clouded the eyes of our hearts with deception. And now that deception is weaving its ugly tendrils around our brothers and sisters in Christ!

The Lord spoke very clearly to me this morning, "Wake up! Wake up My child and do not neglect your salvation! Pay attention to the Truths you have heard and experienced - yes, the Truths you have walked in. Pay attention and do not drift away. For the Kingdom of God is at hand. Guard your spirits. For heaven's sake, guard your minds! Put on the helmet of salvation and allow Me to transform you into the image of My son. Do not be deceived. Cling to Me. Draw near to Me, and I will draw near to you. You are My child. Do NOT neglect your salvation."

Whoa - I wasn't expecting that! I'll bet you weren't either.

I have learned to listen for the Lord's response to my prayers. I have learned to cling to Him, to take Him out of that beautifully gilded box and let Him reign in my heart.

My prayer is that you will do the same.

Friends, do not neglect the gift of your salvation. God's Word to us is urgent and heartfelt. Dig deep into His Word. Sit at His feet and let Him teach you His Truths. Pour out your heart to Him, fully transparent, fully yielded to His Holy Spirit. Let His love wash over You, cleansing you, freeing you from the chains that bind. And dare to take Him at His Word.

Child, He loves you with an everlasting love.

Father, Your Word is strong and profitable. And sometimes it is hard to hear. Thank You for Your Word to us today. Give us courage to heed Your warnings and determination to walk closer to You. In these days of trouble, surround Your children with a hedge of protection. Hide us under the shadow of Your wing. You, Lord are our refuge. Your Name is a strong tower we can run to and be safe. Thank You for Your mighty power and love. And thank You for your discipline.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My God is Able

"Now to Him Who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to all the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
(Ephesians 3:20,21)

Can we even begin to understand His love, not to mention the enormous power and ability of our God?


"Now to Him Who is ABLE to do EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY above all we ask or think (or imagine)..."

How is He able? "...according to ALL the power that works in us."

OK. That's how He does it, but what is the source of this power working IN us? The Holy Spirit! The same power (Spirit) that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us. It is through this power that God is ABLE! He is ABLE to do exceedingly abundantly above ALL we ask or think! Praise Him!! Nothing is too difficult for our God.

What are the burdens on your heart? Do you have secret dreams tucked away in the shadowy recesses of your mind? Maybe you are facing "giants" - mountains of debt, fear of rejection...the agony of depression.

Know this, dear one, your GOD is ABLE!!

And the rest of the story? He takes great delight in showing Himself mighty on your behalf.

And it's all because of His amazing love.

Lord, Your amazing love! How can it be that You, my God, should die for me? Thank You, Father. What a comfort I find in knowing that nothing that concerns me is too difficult for You. Here's my heart, Lord, with all its hurts and disappointments. I give them to You. I trust You, Lord.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Are You Expecting?

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor - it is a gift of God."
(Ecclesiastes 3:11-13)

Are you like me? I like to know what to expect, when, where, how and why! I hate to admit it, but maybe that gives me a sense of control. Ugh! I like solid ground beneath my feet.

I believe, in this passage, Solomon is exhorting the people of God to take a deep breath and relax. Rest in the knowledge that God is God and, if He can put the stars in place, then surely He can orchestrate and define my life. If I know that He is God, isn't that enough?

I need only to trust.

"He has made everything beautiful in its time."

That is so true, isn't it? When we open our hearts to the goodness of God, we can see Him and His handiwork everywhere. Even in our most tragic circumstances, if we take God's hand and look back, we can find beauty in the sorrow, joy in the pain. We can see His Light in our darkness.

" is a gift of God."

Thank You for Your gift, Lord. Help us to see Your gift of knowledge, of sovereignty, as an extension of Your love. Why is it so hard for us to relax in this Truth? We want to be the one steering the boat, or at least the one navigating! Forgive us Lord. Forgive us for minimizing You and Your power. Forgive us for not automatically finding Your good in everything. It is so hard, Lord, when we are in the fire! Stir within us the spirit of expectation - looking for and expecting to find Your beauty in all things, according to Your promise. Thank You, Lord. I love You.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Beneath the Grape Arbor

"But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. For all people walk each in the name of his god, but WE will walk in the Name of the Lord our God forever and ever."
(Micah 4:4,5)

I've been thinking about this.

Micah is a prophetic book that speaks primarily to the coming kingdom of the Lord. Micah addresses the Sovereignty of God, His judgments, His compassion...His forgiveness.

Chapter 4 addresses "The Lord's Reign in Zion." And yes, it is referring to the time when, once again, God establishes His Kingdom upon the earth. Oh, what a wonderfully peaceful and glorious time that will be - well beyond our own comprehensions.

But, this is what I was thinking - and, actually, its nothing new. But, it is something we need to take to heart...

"But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid." Why? "For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken."

Picture this: Rolling, emerald green pastures dotted with the sweetness of lambs grazing in the natural splendor. The farmer of this land has been working very hard, toiling night and day to care for the land his Heavenly Father has given him. He lifts his hat, wipes the sweat from his brow and saunters over to the cooling shade beneath his grape arbor. The sweet aroma of nearby fig trees fills his nostrils. From this vantage point, the farmer surveys his land. An unexplainable peace fills him - yes, a satisfaction , a fulfillment. The farmer is content. He has chosen to walk through life with integrity, to live by faith. He works hard to please and honor his God by the work of his hands. The fruit of his labor surrounds him and, in the quietness of the moment, he can hear his Father whisper, "Well done, my good and faithful servant, well done."

When it is all said and done, I want to be satisfied with the work of my hands. I want to know that I have pleased the Lord my God through my labor for Him.

Verse 5 reads, "For all people walk each in the name of his god, but WE will walk in the Name of the Lord our God forever and ever."

Can you hear the determination in Micah's voice here, as he speaks for Israel? He is saying that whether you know it or not, everyone walks in the name of something - some god, some priority, some driving force.

But Israel - the people of God - WE will walk in the Name of the Lord our God forever and ever.

And when it is all said and done, we will sit beneath the shade of the grape arbor, mesmerized by the beauty of our land and enjoy the Presence and pleasure of our God.


Lord, how I love Your peace! How I long to please You, to honor You in my life. At the end, I want to be at peace knowing that I have not labored in vain. I want to know that I have embraced the tasks which You have given me and worked with all my might to accomplish them. You are my God, my King. I am so thankful for You. I glorify Your Holy Name!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

To find Him, We Must Seek

" that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being..."
(Acts 17:27,28)

Paul was speaking in the midst of the Areopagus (Mars Hill) of Athens when he made this statement. Athens was the religious center of this ancient world. Because of this, statues of gods were everywhere. He even found an altar which said: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. (Like that really mattered - I think they were simply covering all their bases!)

Why is this information important?

Because Paul is introducing the concept of faith to these people, these people to whom he said, "I perceive that in all things you are very religious. (verse 22)" He goes on to explain (verses 24-26) that God made all things and does not dwell in temples made with hands.

And then Paul tells them what I want us to focus on: He says God created them "so that they should seek the Lord, in the HOPE that they might GROPE for Him and find Him..."

I love the image these words invoke. Can you picture it?

Have you ever entered a darkened room and GROPED for the source of light enveloped by the darkness? Of course, you have. Your groping was an intentional act - it had to be! You recognized your state of darkness and your need for light. You also realized that you had knowledge of a light source, but you had to seek after it, groping, reaching, pursuing it until it was found.

This is a beautiful reflection of our faith-relationship with the Lord.

God wants our relationship with Him to be voluntary, desired, sought after and based on love. Our faith in Him comes when we experience His remarkable love.

We do not SEE the wind, but we experience its effects.
We do not SEE the air, but we experience its life.
We do not SEE our Heavenly Father, but we experience the power of His love.

And we believe.

We believe because we reached out our hand in the darkness, groping, and felt the assurance of His fingertips grasping ours.
We believe because suddenly His Light shines bright in our darkness.
We believe because now we understand that in Him - in His love - we live and move and have our being.

Yes, indeed. We believe.

Lord, I BELIEVE!! I know You are the One True God, maker of heaven and earth. I know Your redemption power, Your restorative mercy and goodness. You are the air that I breath, the water I thirst for. I love You, Lord and I desire to know You more. Bless Your Holy Name!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Awaken Our Hearts

"Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."
(2 Thessalonians 1:11,12)

How often do we discount the Lord's interaction in our lives? Do we make Him a reality OR do we consider Him to be just a nice concept? I realize these sound like ridiculous questions, but I feel the need for us to think about this.

God has CALLED us as His children.
He has CALLED us to represent His Son, Jesus, in a fallen world.
He has CALLED us to be a Light in the darkness.

These were not our ideas nor are they part of OUR plan! This is God's mandate: that we would fulfill His purposes on this earth.

Paul is saying, "Church of Thessalonica, I am praying that you are living your life in such a way that God is pleased and deems you worthy to receive His inheritance as His child. I want you to consider Him who made you for His good pleasure and for His divine purposes."

So, I guess I am saying the same thing...

When we make decisions do we consider whether or not Jesus will be glorified in our actions? Do we consider if our choices will "fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness" in us? Will our actions exemplify the work of faith in us so that the power of the Holy Spirit is revealed?

These are tough question, aren't they? I know. I thought the same thing, but I believe these questions are from the Lord because He wants us to examine our hearts. We live in a time that we must count the cost of our discipleship. We live in a time where we must INTENTIONALLY consider our God in all things. We cannot organize our lives in such a way that places God in His own category, separate and isolated from our moment-by-moment existence.

It is time that we move past this generic knowledge that He is El Elyon - the God Most High - and begin to WALK in that truth and all of its implications.

Either He is God...or He is not.

We can't have it both ways.

Ouch! That hurt, didn't it? Let's pray for one another.

Father God, We don't especially enjoy the times of chastisement, but, Father, I know that Your motive is love. You want to be our Lord, not just our Savior. You want us to understand the harsh realities of the times in which we live. You have shown me that You must be the Lord over ALL my life so that I can live victoriously for you. This is how Your children will endure the days ahead - not just dutifully warming our church pews every Sunday - but recognizing that You are GOD!! You are Master of the Universe and...You are a jealous God Who requires loyalty from Your children. I am so thankful that, again, Your motive is love. It is born out of a Father's heart. But, Lord, I truly believe You want us to heed this message because we must allow our faith to mature. Awaken our hearts to love You more, Lord.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

He Speaks Out of the Whirlwind

"Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: 'Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell ME, if you have understanding. Or who laid its (the earth's) cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut in the sea with doors? Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place? Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that an abundance of water may cover you? Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, and say to you, 'Here we are!'?"
(Job 38:1,2,4,7,8,12)

Ouch! Now that was a reprimand!

The subtitle to this passage is, "The Lord Reveals His Omnipotence to Job". Do ya think?!

If you remember, Job's world was tumbling out of control. God allowed Satan to sift Job because He knows Job's heart. God knows that Job's righteousness will prevail, that his faithfulness to Almighty God will not waiver. Throughout the book of Job, a great debate occurs between Job and his 'friends'.

Beginning in Chapter 38, God responds.
And He responds in a GRAND way!

I find it interesting that this chapter begins with, "Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind..."

"...out of the whirlwind..."

I feel quite certain that this is referring to the pillar of cloud that God contained His Presence in quite often as He led His chosen people through the wilderness. But, my first impression was that of a swirling wind of confusion and frustration.

When things get difficult, doesn't it feel like the confusion is swirling about you, mocking you, daring you to trust in the Living God? Every time I find myself in a place of desperation, I can sense the swirling whirlwind of confusion. I venture to say that Job experienced the same sensations.

My friends, God is NOT a God of confusion. He is the God of peace.

What was God's answer to Job's confusion and frustration? He reminded Job of Who He is! He reminded Job that He is Omnipotent - all-knowing - that He is Sovereign and that He is Creator of the universe. God reminded Job that nothing is too difficult for Him.

And He is reminding us of the same. Let Him speak to you out of your confusion and frustration. Take comfort in knowing that HE IS GOD - the Great I AM!!

Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.

Father God, How awesome You are! We cannot fathom Your greatness. We cannot fathom the works of Your hands, the depth of Your heart. I take comfort in knowing that my daily struggles are nothing compared to the majesty and power of my God. In light of Who You are, Lord, I can truly say, "Nothing is impossible for You." I am so thankful to be Your child, to have my name written in the palm of Your hand. Eternity. Help me to put life into the perspective of eternity - not the trivialities of daily living. Open my eyes, Lord, that I might see.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How Beautiful Are Those Who Proclaim Peace

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'"
(Isaiah 52:7)

This chapter of Isaiah discusses the redemption of Jerusalem after having overthrown Babylon. Tall, majestic mountains surround Jerusalem. During ancient times, watchmen perched on the mountain peaks to safeguard the Israelites against an enemy attack and often called to one another to spread the news.

We are expected to be like those watchmen.

Certainly, we are to be aware of the enemy's tactics and to stand guard over the things of God. But - we are also to proclaim the Good News to a hurting world! God has given us the victory through His Son, Jesus. We cannot - we must not - keep it to ourselves!

How beautiful is he "who proclaims peace."

Peace. Shalom (shah-loam).

We all have our idea of what "peace" means, but "shalom" is so much more. It is much more than the absence of war and conflict. Shalom, in this regard,is referring to the wholeness that people are seeking - the wholeness that people so desperately need.

Friends, we must proclaim His goodness to those around us. Don't hold back. Allow His love to overflow through you into the lives of others. Tell them of their Savior, their Redeemer and Friend.

And proclaim to Zion - the people of God - "Your God reigns!"

Indeed, Lord, You reign!! Thank You, Father! Thank You for Your peace, Your wholeness, Your completeness. Thank You for saving me and filling me to overflowing with Your love. You are the Lord, the King of all the earth! And to think, I know You and You know my name, my deepest thoughts, my sorrows and joys. Father, help me shout it from the mountaintops that Jesus is Lord! Stir a desire within me to intentionally share Your love and goodness with others. Thank You, Lord for Who You are. I love You.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Encourage Yourself in the Lord

"Now David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, 'Please bring the ephod here to me.' And Abiathar brought the ephod to David. So David inquired of the Lord, saying, 'Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?' And He answered him, 'Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.'"
(1 Samuel 30:6-8)

This is a remarkable example for us to follow when we feel as though the enemy of our soul will virtually destroy us before we see victory.

Under David's leadership, the Israelites had been battling the Amalekites. The Amalekites were winning. They had burned the city of Ziklag and taken the Jewish wives and children captive. Even David's two wives had been captured. David and his men lifted their voices and "wept until they had no more power to weep." Can I get a witness?

Now, get this. David's men wanted to STONE HIM!! Even his comrades had turned on him! And David was greatly distressed.

Have you ever felt like this? Have you felt like your world is falling apart? Have you felt like you had let everyone down - that you had nowhere or no one to turn to?

This is the place David had reached. But, though he was grieving to the point of exhaustion, his spirit won the battle.

I said, "His spirit won the battle!"

Dave CHOSE to strengthen (encourage) himself in the Lord. I can imagine that his flesh would have preferred a pity-party or bitterness like his comrades. But David CHOSE to pour out his heart to his God.

Good choice!

The Scripture says he asked the priest to bring the ephod to him. An ephod was an outer garment the priests wore when ministering to the Lord in the Tabernacle. It was beautiful, made of blue, purple and scarlet yarns, woven with golden threads. Memorial stones (gems) representing each of the tribes of Israel were placed upon the shoulders.

Wearing the ephod was a symbol of righteousness. Only the priests wore these. This garment was necessary to enter into the Holiness of God's Presence in the Tabernacle. What is our righteous "garment"? The Blood of Jesus. Because of the Blood we can approach God's throne of grace boldly, making our petitions known.

Did David pray, "Oh, Lord, please be with me" or some other sweet, generic plea?

No! He asked specific questions, "Shall I pursue this troop?" And God ANSWERED him! God answered David, giving him specific instructions to lead the Israelites into victory.

The take-away? When you're up against a battle:
Encourage yourself in the Lord.
Approach His throne boldly.
Make your petitions known.
Listen for your answer.

And then obey, for an obedient heart is far better than any sacrifice you can offer to the Lord your God.

Father, the battle has worn me down today but I CHOOSE to kneel before Your throne of grace. Grace - Lord, I need Your grace. I need Your strength for I am weary. Thank You for promising that Your grace is sufficient and the joy of the Lord is my strength. I find my joy in You! Open my ears that I might hear Your voice and listen to Your words of instruction. Cleanse me of any unrighteousness, Father. Make me clean before You that I might bring you honor in all that I do. I love You, Lord.

Monday, July 19, 2010

He Heals the Brokenhearted

"The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers together the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (sorrows). He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite."
(Psalm 147:2-5)

Are you broken today? Is your spirit downcast within you? Do you feel like an outcast?

In my mind's eye I can see a mask - that smiley, happy face, got-it-all-together mask. But underneath, something is wrong. You are feeling overwhelmed, desperate. Pain threatens to destroy you. But being transparent with your family and friends is out of the question.

Beloved, Your Heavenly Father sees. And He knows.

He sees your tears.
He feels your anguish.
And He promises to heal your broken heart.

"Great is the Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite."

What does that mean? Infinite means "unsearchable, unable to be fully discovered". It means "beyond our comprehension". THAT is how great His understanding for us is.

Can you imagine that? When no one else understands you, your Heavenly Father does.

And His understanding and His power to heal is infinite.

Thank You, Lord. Thank You for understanding our pain and for desiring to heal our brokenness. If we could only fathom how deep is Your love for us. If we could only learn to run to You in our pain. If we could only have the courage to take off our masks and be transparent. Build up Jerusalem, Lord. Build up the Body of Christ to be mature and focused on You. Bind us together so that transparency becomes natural and not shameful. Heal our wounds, Father. You are great and mighty in power. You, Lord, are worthy of our praise.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Praise is Beautiful

"Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful."
(Psalm 147:1-5)

"...praise is beautiful."

Have you ever seen this before? Me, either! But it warmed my heart as soon as I read it.

God's Word is like that.

David is offering praise because he is taking time to remember the goodness of the Lord. Oh, that we would do the same, friends. David's remembrance of God's faithfulness causes praise to swell within him - unabated, unconditional praise.

And I don't think he holds back. Repeatedly, the Scriptures tell us that David sang to the Lord, danced before Him, shouted joyfully before His God. David didn't just mutter his praise...he REJOICED in God, His Savior.

I believe David could do that because he took time to remember God's goodness, His mercy and His love. David took His God out of the proverbial box - he let God be God in his life!!

And when David did this, he could not help but praise the Almighty God.

After all, praise is beautiful.

Not only to us...but, also to the Father.


Praise You, Lord!! May my praise be a sweet aroma to you. May You find it beautiful, pleasant and heartfelt. I remember Your goodness, Lord and I stand amazed at Your power and Your mercy. I give You praise and honor, Lord. I love You.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Do Not Cast Away Your Confidence

"Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise."
(Hebrews 10:35,36)

Do we think of confidence as being something tangible - something we can hold onto? Apparently, according to Paul, we need to consider it in this way.

Paul tells us to "not CAST AWAY your confidence." Why? Because holding onto confidence has a great reward - the promise of God.

When I think of the concept of "casting away", I wonder if we should consider 'confidence' to be similar to a garment like righteousness or praise, a garment we CHOOSE to put on? Before we can cast confidence away, it needs to be part of our person.

We are also taught to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 13:14)

So, wait a minute. Does this mean that when we CHOOSE Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord - when we CHOOSE to submit to His authority - when we CHOOSE to increase the depth of our relationship with Him...when we make these choices, then confidence is like the lining of a jacket? Yes, I think so. It becomes part of the infrastructure of our faith.

Hmmm...I like that.

Isaiah 30:15 reads, "...In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." And that is where you will find your endurance for the days ahead.

Jesus = confidence = strength = endurance.


Lord, I find myself singing, "I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord; No tender voice like Thine can peace afford. I need Thee, O I need Thee; Every hour I need Thee! O bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee." I come to You, Lord. It is in the quiet moments of fellowship with You that I find my peace, my confidence and, in turn, the endurance I need for whatever assails me. You are the victor, Lord. I need only to hide myself in You.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Vision is For An Appointed Time

"For the vision is yet for an appointed time; It hastens toward the goal, and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, it will not delay."
(Habakkuk 2:3)

Have you been standing on God's promises for something specific in your life? Has He placed a dream in your heart that you long to fulfill? Perhaps you have been praying and praying, crying and praying some more for a difficult situation or a hurting loved one.

In your special moments with God, has He put hope in your heart concerning these desires?

Then, that is what I want you to hold fast to.

"For the vision is yet for an APPOINTED time...Wait for it because it will surely come..."

I have discovered that when you think God is not doing anything, that's when He is doing the most. He is putting all the pieces together, lining things up, setting up divine appointments...changing hearts.

Ezekiel 12:25 reads, "For I AM the Lord. I speak, and the word which I speak will come to pass; it will no more be postponed..." I AM Who I AM.

Remember? "I AM Who I AM! I AM all that you need me to be." We need only to focus on Him, press in and BELIEVE.

BELIEVE He is Who He says He is.
KNOW the One in Whom you have believed.
DELIGHT yourself in Him and He will give you the desires of your heart...

At the appointed time.

Wow, Lord, It is so difficult to WAIT!! Why? Why are we so stubborn when it comes to WAITING?!! We want it now! Father, forgive us for our impatience. Father, we believe, help us with our unbelief. Our hearts long to know You - REALLY know You. This is a trust issue, isn't it? Either we trust You or we don't. Either we believe You are Who You say You are, or we don't. I am so very sorry, Lord. Please, forgive me and cleanse me of anything that opposes You or Your will. You, Lord, are my portion and I hope in You.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Let Them Ever Shout For Joy!

"But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your Name be joyful in You. For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield."
(Psalm 5:11,12)

Friends, we have reason to rejoice!

I am not referring to your circumstances. If anyone knows how difficult life can be, it's me. I am referring to the fact that you are loved totally and completely by the Lord God! The Creator of the universe knows YOU by name. Praise Him!

Have you put your trust in Him? Then, the Scriptures say, "shout for joy, because (He) will defend you!"

Do you love His name? Have you considered His attributes, the many facets of Who He is to His children: Lord, Savior, Redeemer, Counselor, Prince of peace, Mighty God, Heavenly Father...I AM Who I AM...?

Then rejoice in Him today. Focus on Him - not the confusion swirling around you, not the mountain of debt, not the pain and sorrow of life-threatening illness, not a wayward child - FOCUS ON JESUS! Put your hope in Him!

And rejoice!

"For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield."

You, Child, are sealed IN the Spirit of God. You live WITHIN His love.

His favor surrounds you like a shield.

Lord, I rejoice in You, O God my Savior! I give You praise and I choose to focus on You, not my circumstances. In You, Lord, I find peace. You, Lord, defend me against my enemies and You, Lord, are a shield about me, the lifter up of my head. I will ever praise You!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Horn of Salvation

"Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the hour of His servant David...Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring (Dawn) from on high has visited us; To give Light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."
(Luke 1:68,69,78,79)

"...and has raised up a horn of salvation for us..."

Many times throughout Scripture, Jesus is referred to as "the horn of salvation". Would you like to know why? It's pretty awesome!

The Hebrew word for 'horn' is qeren (keh-ren) which means 'strength'. In ancient Jewish traditions, the horn of an animal such as a ram, was used as a symbol of strength, power and victory in times of celebration, battles and sacrifice.

Now, this is significant:

In the Tabernacle of the Old Testament, the altar of sacrifice was a HUGE 7 foot square, bronze structure just inside the gate to the Tabernacle Proper. It was the place of blood sacrifice and burnt offering of sacrificial animals for the forgiveness of sins. On each corner of the altar was a horn-shaped stoned outcropping. This is where the sacrificial animal was secured to the altar. As part of the ritual, the priests would sprinkle its blood on each horn using a hyssop branch. (Hyssop was also used to smear the blood of the Passover Lamb over the doorposts of the Israelites to protect them from the Angel of Death on the brink of their deliverance from Egypt!)

Psalm 118:27 reads, "God is the Lord, and He has given us light; Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar." Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God was secured - He was bound - to the cross for our redemption. He is our Strength (qeren), our victory over sin and death.

In Psalm 18:1&2 David says, "I love You, O Lord, my Strength (qeren)! The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

This next note is interesting:

The root word for qeren is qaran, meaning 'to have horns' or 'to shine'. Think of radiating light - beams of light. Jesus is the Light of the world. He came to bring Light into our darkness - to light our path and lead us in the way of peace.

Jesus is the horn of our salvation - our Strength. He radiates His Light into our darkness, lighting our path in the way of peace.

Like David, I can say, "I love you, O Lord, my Strength (qeren)!"

Father, The intricacies of Your Word amaze me - the complexities of Your plan of salvation are incredible! And yet, Your Word is simple because it reaches deep into the heart, touching, renewing and restoring us to You. Thank You for enlightening the eyes of our heart so that we might understand just how amazing You are. Thank You for teaching us Your Truth. Thank You for revealing to us how everything fits together like a puzzle. We love You so much, Father. You, indeed, are our Strength!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It Is Finished!

"So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, 'It is Finished!' And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit."
(John 19:30)

What is finished?

God's remarkable work of redemption - cleansing, forgiveness of sin, clothing us with the robe of righteousness so that a Holy God can abide with His children.

Jesus had completed the perfect sacrifice for the atonement of our sins - FOREVER!

OK. Get ready...this will blow your socks off! I learned the following morsel of delight from Beth Moore.

As we know, the Old Testament is filled with religious laws which, by the way, Jesus came to fulfill. One such set of laws is found in Leviticus 6:8-13 which gives Aaron and the priests instructions for the burnt offerings which took place upon the altar of sacrifice in the Tabernacle. This altar, symbolically, is a type of Christ.

The burnt offerings were for the atonement of sins.

Each evening the priests were commanded to kill and burn an evening sacrifice to God - one that was perfect, without blemish. God commanded them to let it burn upon the altar all night. Before dawn, the priests would rise and wait at the altar for the last of the ashes to fall through the bronze grate beneath the altar. "Ancient Hebrew history records that the moment the last ash fell, the priests blew the trumpets in celebration, shouting, 'It is finished!' (Beth Moore, A Woman's Heart: God's Dwelling Place)

Did you catch that? Can I hear a Whoop-Whoop?!!

"...the moment the last ash fell, the priests blew the trumpets in celebration, shouting, "IT IS FINISHED!!"

That takes my breath away.

The priests tending to the Tabernacle in the wilderness shouted the same words as Jesus when the atoning work of redemption was completed. The only difference is that the priests had to offer these sacrifices daily. Jesus paid our debts once and for all.

Hallelujah! It is finished!!

Praise God.

Lord, the only word that comes to mind is, "Amazing!" It thrills my soul to see how the Old Testament and the New Testament are connected. You are truly an awesome God! I love You, Lord and I love Your Word! And I praise You for Your atoning work upon the cross. Thank You for finishing the work that allows us to dwell with You. I give You praise, honor and glory.

Monday, July 12, 2010

His Grace is Sufficient

"And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me."
(2 Corinthians 12:9)

I pray each day for God's leadership in the Morning Glory devotionals and today I felt His insistence on this scripture, but with the additional insight from the Amplified Bible. The Amplified Bible is an amazing translation. It takes the original text, which was transcribed in Hebrew and Greek, and gives us a literal translation of the meaning of the words.

I believe all of us will benefit from this insight, but, in my heart, I believe the Lord is wanting to minister specifically to someone.

I think you must know who you are. So, read and be strengthened in the love of Your Lord.

"But He said to me, 'My grace - My favor and lovingkindness and mercy - are enough for you, (that is, sufficient against any danger and to enable you to bear the trouble manfully); for My strength and power are made perfect - fulfilled and completed and show themselves most effective - in your weakness.' Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ, the Messiah, may rest - yes, may pitch a tent (over) and dwell - upon me!" (2 Corinthians 12:9, Amplified Bible)

Read it again slowly and let it sink in.

Beloved, He is with you and you will find His grace to be more than enough.

Father, bless You! Thank You for Your sensitivity to the needs of Your children. Thank You for Your grace, Your strength...Your Presence. Without You, Lord, I can do nothing - my righteousness is as filthy rags. But, because of You, Lord Jesus, because of Your blood, I can experience the grace of my Lord. Thank You for making a way when there seems to be no way. Thank You, Lord for Who You are. I love you.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Treasure in Earthen Vessels

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed - always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body."
(2 Corinthians 4:7-10)

"...we have this treasure in earthen vessels..."

What message is Paul conveying to us?

Our body is an earthen vessel which contains a glorious treasure - the POWER of the Holy Spirit! Yes, on our own we are weak in the midst of trials, but friends, GOD is working IN us - we are not left to our own devices!

Are you having a bad day, a bad week? Maybe you are in a season of sorrow and struggle. This can be so overwhelming - I know. Yes, I know.

But take hold of this truth: No matter how hard it gets, you will not be destroyed, you will not be forsaken! It is the power of God within you, sustaining you, giving you strength.

And what is on the other side of your despair? The manifestation - the evidence - of Jesus Christ in your life.

And the caveat? Not only will the world see Jesus in you - His grace, His love, His power, but YOU will see Jesus face to face. You will have a new understanding of His suffering. You will have a new understanding of His resurrection power.

And you will count your faith more precious than gold.

Ah Lord God, You have made the heavens and the earth and still - AND STILL - You dwell within us!! Your power, Your grace, Your love abound in the hearts of Your children. Thank You, Father. Thank You for loving us enough to fight our battles for us. Help us grasp this truth - to walk in the knowledge of Your power and strength within us. You, Lord, are worthy of our praise!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I Have Called You by Name

"But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I AM the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.'"
(Isaiah 43:1-3)

"I have called YOU by your name; You are Mine," says the Holy One of Israel.

Doesn't this quiet your restless, anxious spirit? Not only does He call you by name, your name is written in the palm of His hand. He knows the number of hairs upon your head. Child, you are precious to Him and He wants you to not be afraid. Why? Because He has redeemed you.

Redeemed. What exactly does that mean?

According to Webster, redeem means "to free from captivity by payment of ransom; to free from what distresses or harms; to release from blame or debt; to free from the consequences of sin; to repair or restore; to convert into something of value."

Redeemed. Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb!!

What does the Lord say next?

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you..." He goes on to say that we will not be 'drowned', nor 'burned', nor 'scorched' as we pass through the trials and hardships this fallen world throws our way.

The Hebrew word for waters is mayim (my-yeem). This means what you would think: water, floods, seas. But, more significantly, mayim refers to 'life'!

So..."when you pass through LIFE, I will be with you...

My Child, do not be afraid or overwhelmed. You are not alone.

Father, help us to grasp this Truth! Help us to walk in it, draw strength and courage from it. We are SEALED in Your Holy Spirit - protected from the works of the enemy. We, Lord, are Your redeemed. Please Lord, let me hear You call my name. Sweet Jesus, thank You.

Friday, July 9, 2010


"Then Moses said to God, 'Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, "The God of your fathers has sent me to you," and they say to me, "What is His Name?" what shall I say to them?' And God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM.' And He said, 'Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, "I AM has sent me to you.""
(Exodus 3:13,14)

Several years ago I dove into an in-depth bible study of the Names of God. This name - I AM WHO I AM - is, by far, my favorite. Each name revealed by God throughout the bible represents a different attribute of the Lord. And each name was revealed during a corresponding situation.

And this situation is a BIG one!

God is sending Moses into Egypt to speak with Pharaoh to demand the release of His enslaved children. When Moses asks the Lord, "Who shall I say has sent me?', the Lord responds, "I AM WHO I AM, I AM has sent me to you." This not only establishes the very existence of a Sovereign God, it also declares God's relationship to His children.

"I AM WHO I AM! I AM everything you need me to be. I AM your deliverer, your provider, your Savior and Lord. You are my child and I am your God."

And these things were spoken on the eve of their deliverance.

It is important to realize that this situation directly parallels our Christian journey. Egypt represents our bondage to sin before being delivered through the Blood of Jesus. We are the children of God and I AM is our Lord.

Now, here's a special nugget of gold...

In John 8:56-58 Jesus says, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day and he saw it and was glad." Then the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet 50 years old and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM."

WOW!! "I AM the same yesterday, today and forever."


Lord, You continue to amaze me with the depth of Your Word. It is astounding - so complex, yet so beautifully simple. I pray that You will continue to open the eyes of my understanding. I am hungry for more, Lord. You Word is alive, exciting and powerful...just as You are, Lord. I bow at the mention of Your Name.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Breath of Life

"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."
(Genesis 2:7)

"...and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life..."

As Believers, we know that the Lord God gave us life. He created man and shared His own breath - nishmat chayim (nish-maut chai-yeem) - "the breath of life" - with His child. This is a very tender account of our Father's love. Another Hebrew word for "breath of life" is ruach (roo-ach) meaning "Spirit". It was God's Spirit that gave man life, that joined us to the Father.

Do you remember why we were created?

God created us so that we could have fellowship with Him - relationship. In the beginning, God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. He talked with them, He dwelt with them. They were extremely close.

But then sin entered in, separating a Holy God from His beloved children. Could the Lord God find another way to place His breath of life - His Spirit - into His children?

Yes, through His Son Jesus.

John 1:4 reads, "In Him (Jesus) was life and the life was the light of men."

Life - zoe (dzo-ay) refers not only to physical life, but also spiritual, eternal life. Through the Blood of Jesus we are made righteous before God - our sins are forgiven, washed away. Now a Holy God can dwell within us and we are given life everlasting.

Picture this. Can you imagine your Heavenly Father cradling your face in His hands? Because you asked Jesus to free you and forgive you of your sins, a Holy God can be joined with you. Your old man has died with Christ and now...NOW, your Father can embrace you. He longs to revive you, to make you a brand new creature. Holding your face, He breathes the breath of life into your nostrils. His Spirit enters into your heart and resides there. Like a newborn baby, you take your first nishmat chayim - breath of life.

No longer are you dead in sin. Behold you are a new creation. And the Spirit of God dwells within you.

God will always find a way to be with His children.

Praise You, Father! Thank You for not leaving us alone in our sin. How marvelous that we become as newborn babies and You give us our first breath through Your Spirit. I am so thankful that You are a persistent God, persistent and yet, so loving. You are a wonderful Father. I love you, Lord.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

His Heart Beats For You

"There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides the heavens to help you, and on the clouds in His majesty. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms."
(Deuteronomy 33:26,27)

Jeshurun is a poetic name - an affectionate term - for Israel. That means Jeshurun is an affectionate name for us, as well.

And there is no one like our God!

Imagine, He rides on the heavens to help us. His eyes roam to and fro upon the earth looking for those who need to be strengthened. How comforting!

"...and underneath are the everlasting arms."

For the first time I saw the image of the Father carrying me in His arms as I read this. Before, I understood this to mean that He under-girds me and supports me in my times of trial.

And certainly this is true.

But now in my mind's eye, I can see the image of Almighty God - El Shaddai - carrying me through the fiery trials, holding me with His everlasting arms.

And He rides the heavens to help you, too, and to lift you with His everlasting arms, near to His heart...

His heart that beats for you.

Father, how great is Your love! How great is Your faithfulness to those who place their trust and hope in You. For You, Lord, are our hope. You, Lord, are high and lifted up and yet You concern Yourself with everything that concerns us. Thank You Lord. Thank You for Your love.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

You Have Received the Word of God

"For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe."
(1 Thessalonians 2:13

" welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God..."

If only we could grasp the transforming power of the Word of God! There is a life-giving flow that traverses through its pages, word by word, bringing about effectual change in the life of a Believer.

Words BREATHED by the Spirit of God!

Oh, my goodness...can we really fathom this?

James 1:18 says, "Of His own will He brought us forth by the Word of Truth..."
"Brought us forth" where? Into new life! How? By the Word of Truth!

Jesus Christ IS the Word of Truth - the Word of God that transforms, restores and effectively works in us through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Isn't it good to know that our life CAN change, not because of who we are, but because of Who He is - the Word of Truth - breathed into us straight from the throne of God?

Lord, Your breath of Life is amazing beyond words. I cannot truly fathom how a written Word can bear life-changing power, yet I know that it does. Your Word is alive, powerful. It is a two-edged sword penetrating the depths of the soul, separating the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. And, Lord, Your Word became flesh and lived among us bringing Light into our darkness. Such things are too marvelous to understand. Give us discernment to know the difference between Your Word and the words of men. Help us all to take in a deep breath full of Your life- changing Spirit. Discipline us to study and devour Your Word of Truth. Thank You, Lord. Bless Your Holy Name!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Set Apart For Jesus

"So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow."
(Acts 18:18)

Paul "had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow."

Beth Moore first brought this to my attention in her bible study, "A Woman's Heart, God's Dwelling Place." She asks the question, "Why would God think it was important for us to know that Paul stopped by the barbershop?"

Gotta love Beth!

So..Why WAS this important? Paul had been ministering in Corinth for about a year and a half. Corinth was a hub of corruption and sexual immorality. It reeked of temptation and ungodly influence.

And Paul went into this situation with eyes wide open. Why? Because the Lord God sent him to Corinth and because he listened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

It is apparent through verse 18 , that Paul had taken the Nazarite vow before traveling into the immoral world of Corinth. The Nazarite vow was a voluntary vow used to separate someone (consecrate them) to the Lord for a specific time. This Old Testament law is described in Numbers 6. One of the requirements was that the individual allowed no razor to come upon his head until "the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the Lord." (Numbers 6:5)

Why would I bother to point this out?

Because Paul knew he must be consecrated to God before and during the time he dwelt among the corruption and immorality of the world. He was wise enough to listen to the prompting of the Lord to enter his battleground strategically.

And so must we.

People need the Lord. We have the answers they are searching for. But it is VITAL that we reflect Jesus, not the world.

Like Paul, we must be set apart for Him.

Listen to the gentle voice of the Master. Let Him reveal to you how you might consecrate yourself to Him - not by religious laws, but by obeying His voice in the things He requires of you.

Ask yourself, "What is it about me that lets the world know I am set apart for Jesus?"

"You will be My people and I will be your God," saith the Lord.

Father, this was so difficult to write about. It isn't easy to stand apart in our faith. It isn't easy to set ourselves up for rejection. At least that is what Satan whispers in our ears. But You, O Lord, You are mighty in our midst. Your Word is sweeter that honey and You promise to dwell among us and within us as we consecrate ourselves to You. Forgive us for playing games with our faith, especially during the days in which we live. I long to be a sweet aroma to You and the fragrance of Jesus to a hurting world. Help me, Lord. I love you.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Oh, The Blood of Jesus!

"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 have 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."
(Revelation 12:10,11)

Certainly, the book of Revelation is describing the supernatural events surrounding the Second Coming of Christ. What an extraordinary day that will be! The insights given in this visionary book of the Bible are deep, metaphorical and difficult to comprehend. I don't EVEN pretend to understand the book of Revelation.

But, this, I do understand.

The Word of God is living and relevant to our lives today. He is the same yesterday, today and forever! So, I can study a scripture in Revelation, knowing that it pertains to the Second Coming, but, at the same time I can apply it to my new life in Christ TODAY.

Today's passage is one such scripture.

At the Second Coming of Christ, the accuser of the brethren - Satan - will be cast down for all eternity. But what about his evil presence today? Friend, if you are a Believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have encountered the accuser many times. God wants you to know that you have been given authority TODAY to overcome him. How? By the work done upon the Cross.

Verse 11 says that Satan was overcome by the "blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony" and by not loving their own lives more than the Lord Himself.

The blood of Christ establishes us as a child of God, it places us in the shadow of His wing. The Blood seals us into God's covenant - relationship with Him - which cannot be broken.

Satan's desire to destroy us is carried out through guilt and accusations. But the Blood of Christ, the Lamb, answers ALL of the enemy's accusations - it satisfies ALL of the charges brought against us.

Oh, the blood of Jesus that washes white as snow!

Please, ask the Lord to give you understanding - to open the eyes of your heart - concerning the power and the authority of His blood. I didn't wake up one day with a head full of knowledge! I asked the Lord to give me understanding, wisdom, insight...and He did!

May we never discount, or brush over lightly, the work done upon the Cross for us. May it never become so familiar that we no longer experience its power to save and transform!

Remember always the Blood shed for you. Testify - confess with your mouth - that Jesus is Lord.

Lord. Not only Savior.

There is a BIG difference.

Lord God, You are magnificent! I bow before You at the mention of Your Name! Thank You for giving us a way to overcome the accusations of the enemy. Thank You for the Blood of Jesus and the wonder working power that it provides. Forgive us for ever taking Your sacrifice for granted - for forgetting the suffering that was endured for us. Thank You , Lord, for Your unfailing love and mercy. You are wonderful beyond words, Father.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

When Your Enemy is in Hot Pursuit

"And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night."
(Exodus 14:19,20)

Picture this: About a million children of God - weary, dirty and very afraid - are camped on the shore of the Red Sea. The Egyptian army is in hot pursuit, gaining ground every day. When the Egyptians catch up, surely the Israelites will be destroyed.

The children of God looked up and "...behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord." (verse 10)

They CRIED OUT to the Lord. And the Lord heard them.

Now, look what happened...

The Angel of God in the pillar of cloud Who had been leading them, moved and placed Himself BEHIND the Israelites.

And this is what the scene looked like:

Egyptian Army -> ANGEL OF GOD -> children of God

The Lord God placed Himself BETWEEN His children and their enemy. Hallelujah!

I said...the Lord God placed Himself BETWEEN His children and their enemy!

We have an enemy in hot pursuit of us - Satan is his name. He roams the earth like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Satan has given his army of demons names: depression, anger, fear, job loss, cancer, alcohol, drugs, pornography - and the list goes on.

These are our enemies but, according to God's Word, when we cry out to the Lord our God, He moves Himself and stands between us and our enemy.

Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world!

Father, Thank You for the image of Your protection You have given us in this passage of Scripture. Thank You for loving us enough to fight for us, to defend us and - yes - to even move so as to place Yourself between us and our enemy. You are awesome, God. I love you and I give You praise!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Obedience is a Choice

"Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, 'Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families and kill the Passover Lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning...and the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your house to strike you.'"
(Exodus 12:21-23)

The story of the Passover Lamb. Familiar, right?

The Lord decreed that the firstborn of every Egyptian household would be killed because Pharaoh had refused to free the Israelites from their bondage of slavery. God gave Moses instructions for His people to sprinkle the blood from a sacrificial lamb - one which was perfect and without blemish - over the lintel (the crossbar of the door) and the doorposts. The angel of death would see the sacrificial blood and know that these were children of God, and would therefore "pass over" that home.

God gave one further set of instructions for His children.

At the end of verse 22 God says, "...And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning."

What would happen if they disobeyed God's instruction? The destroyer would strike them dead. They would not be covered by the blood of the sacrificial lamb. They would not be protected from the destroyer!

In fact, you might say that the child of God would be stepping out into the land of Egypt - the place of their bondage.

Hmmm...To a Christian, Egypt represents who we were before we were set free from the bondage of sin through the blood of the Passover Lamb - Jesus!

Obedience is vital to the life of a Christian. Obedience says, "Father, You are my Lord, my authority. My life belongs to You."

Disobedience takes us out of the will of God. It leads us out from under His shadow - His shelter and refuge.

Disobedience makes us very vulnerable to the destroyer of our soul.

Choose this day whom you will serve.

Father, I choose You! I choose Your love! I choose Your Son, Jesus. Oh, Jesus, I am so thankful for Your sacrifice. May I never take it for granted. Please, keep me under the shadow of Your wing, venturing out only when You have given me a task to complete. I know that, to You, an obedient heart is far better than any sacrifice. I pray that You will take pleasure in my choice to obey.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Make His Praise Glorious!

"Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! Sing out the honor of His Name; Make His praise glorious. Say to God, 'How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power, Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. All the earth shall worship You and sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name.' SELAH"

"Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul. I cried to Him with my mouth, and He was praised with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear. But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me!"
(Psalm 66:1-4,16-20)

Oh my goodness...Here is that "praise principle" again! Have you figured out yet that I think this is EXTREMELY important in the life of a Believer?

Please take just a minute and read the first paragraph again, but this time do it out loud - you know, like you mean it!! Because I know you do, even if your day has begun a little less than joyful. Remember? Even when we don't want to praise Him for our circumstances we can ALWAYS praise Him for Who He is!!

That is exactly what David is doing in this Psalm.

Now what is the 'take-away' in the second section?

David says in verse 18 & 19, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear. But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer."

David understands the importance of cleansing his heart before God. God is a Holy God. When we harbor sin in our heart we cannot enter into God's Presence for the mere fact that He IS Holy.

And, dear One, He yearns to be in fellowship with you. He longs to respond to the cries of His children. But sin WILL separate you from Him.

We categorize sin and make it this horrible monster that some Christians do not want to consider. God does not categorize sin - He doesn't differentiate between 'big sins' and 'little sins'. Again, sin is ANYTHING that opposes the will of God - anything that separates us from Him.

That's why He addresses the sinfulness of His children. Its not because sin makes us evil creatures. It is because sin separates us from our God Who loves us and desires to dwell among us.

David cleansed his heart before the Father, then lifted his heart in praise to the One Who heard his cry.

And the Presence of the Lord embraced him and gave him peace.

Praise You, Father! Bless Your Holy Name!! I am so thankful that You desire to walk with me and talk with me. I am so thankful for Your love. Cleanse my heart, Lord. If there be anything in me that displeases You, please reveal it to me that I might confess it to You and receive Your forgiveness. I want to be in close union with You. I will declare all that You have done for me and I will sing Your praise. I love you, Lord.