Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Scriptures of Encouragemet ~ Those Laughing Crows

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand." ~ John 10:27-29

The heat was grueling. Sweat trickled down my forehead wetting my eyelashes, stinging my eyes. Audrey and I pulled the hoes through the rich soil moistened by the previous night's shower. We sprinkled the kernels of corn down each row and gently covered them with a blanket of dirt...


Yes, the six long rows of succulent peaches and cream corn had to be replanted. Three days earlier crows had completely destroyed my crop by snatching each young plant out by the roots. Aurrghh!!!!

As Audrey and I worked, sleek miniature stealth bombers swooped into the nearby trees. Crows. The dreaded, greedy, gluttonous crows were back. Did I mention greedy? They perched on the branches cocking their heads to the left and then to the right watching us with evil intent. And then they began to laugh hysterically at us. Actually, they were cawing, but for the life of me, it sounded like waves of laughter mocking us for working hard to plant their next feast.

Well, you know what? The crows could mock us all they wanted because this time they would be defeated. This time I knew what to do. A farmer told me to run string a few inches above the corn rows. As the tender plants popped through the ground the crows would leave them alone. So...the little buzzards could laugh all day long if they wanted, but Audrey and I would have the last laugh.

Isn't Satan like that? He mocks and jeers at us as we step out in faith to follow the Lord Jesus. He hovers in the shadows with his evil self and thinks he can devour the seeds of faith God has planted in our hearts. The Bible warns us of this, "Be self-controlled, watchful; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith..." (1 Peter 5:8,9).

God doesn't throw us into the jaws of this roaring lion. Not only does He warn us, He also gives us the tools to defeat him - much like the string that now stands guard above my tender young corn. We are taught to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6). We are taught to speak the Word of God in the direct face of his lies (Matthew 4). And we are taught to proclaim the Name of Jesus - the Name above all names - as we pray for salvation, deliverance or rescue (Romans 10:13).

Satan may swoop in like a stealth bomber at times, but he is no match for the One who lives in us. So, let him laugh ...we know the joke's on him.

Father, You are the Mighty King, strong in battle, faithful to save and deliver. We trust You Lord. We run to You, our strong tower. Open the eyes of our hearts to understand that the battle really is Yours. We are hidden in You. The enemy cannot touch us. Oh sure, he can laugh at us and get us frustrated, but he cannot defeat us because we belong to You. Thank You Lord. Hallelujah! We give You praise!
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Thank you.
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ Water Pooling at His Feet

"So, as the Holy Spirit says: 'Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried Me and for forty years saw what I did.'" ~ Hebrews 3:7-9, New International Version

Our Sunday School lesson was about this very scripture. I am familiar with it and also familiar with the phrase, "Do not harden your hearts." As I sat on the church pew listening intently to the teacher, my mind's eye began to see a potter molding and shaping a ball of clay.

What is it Lord? I asked. What are You showing me?

He quickly reminded me of Isaiah's words, "You, O Lord, are the potter and we are the clay." 

I closed my eyes to see more clearly. I could see the wet clay spinning round and round on the potter's wheel, the Master's hand caressing it, applying pressure where needed, a gentle touch here and there. But over to the side, lying on the floor was some clay that had become hard - dried out. It was brittle and broken - mere shards of a vessel that was.

This, child, is a picture of a hardened heart. I cannot penetrate it with My love. It has refused My Living Water and has thus become calloused, withdrawn from Me and now lies in the shadow of My hand. I can no longer mold and shape this heart into the beautiful vessel I desire. I try to pour the love of My Living Water onto its surface, but I am quickly rejected and my Water runs off and pools at My feet. If only the hardened heart would allow Me to lift it up and hold it tenderly. I would bathe it in My love. My tears would soak through the hardness and make it pliable once again.

Life has a way of dragging us away from our Father's love. We shut down when the enemy taunts us with his lies. The fiery darts come fast and furious. We slink away into the shadows hoping to hide from the One who made us. And in those shadows far away from His loving hands, the Water of His Spirit seeps out and drains us dry. Our once pliable heart becomes hardened. Calloused. Brittle. But the Potter? The hand of the Potter reaches into the shadows every time and beckons us to come. He never gives up on us as He pursues us with His love.

Let the water of His love wash over you today.

Father, Your love is beyond our comprehension. Thank You for never giving up on us. Shape us Lord, mold us into a vessel for Your glory. Please forgive us for allowing our hearts to become calloused and hardened to Your sweet whispers of love. Stir up a hunger and thirst for Your Word - the Living Water that keeps our hearts soft and pliable in Your mighty hand. You are amazing God. We love You so much and we desire to be all that You want us to be. Blessed be the Name of the Lord! Hallelujah!
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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Scriptures of Hope ~ When the Morning Stars Sang

"Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said; 'Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened?  Or who laid the cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

"'Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place?'

"'Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths? Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death? Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this.

"'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!"? Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart? Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can pour out the bottles of heaven, when the dust hardens in clumps, and the clods cling together?'"

"For I know that the Lord is great, and our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleases He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all  deep places. He causes the water vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries." 
~ Job 38:1,4,5-7,12,16-18,34-38 and Psalm 135:5-7

Are you in the midst of a whirlwind - a violent storm? Does it feel like you are staring "impossibility" in the face while it mocks you and taunts you with its fear and doubts? Then I encourage you, take a deep breath and read through these scriptures again. And then I encourage you to open your eyes to see the greatness of our God. He is beyond our comprehension. His power knows no bounds. 

The next time you feel all alone in your struggles, turn your face towards the heavens. Focus on the One who made you and loves you. And, if you are blessed to feel a gentle breeze against your cheek, consider this: "He brings the wind out of His treasuries." 

Even the wind obeys His voice.

Father God, You are so great! Why, or why do we worry? Forgive us for those times that we don't trust in You. Break the chains of anxiety that keep us bound. Open our eyes to see You, the God of possibility. You, Lord, are able! Your eyes roam to and from upon the earth seeking those who need to be strengthened. Help us to grasp the majesty of Your Name. Calm our restless hearts, Lord. Thank You. We love You so much. You are precious to us, Lord.
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ I Thirst

"After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, 'I thirst!'" ~ John 19:28, NKJV


The Greek word Jesus spoke for thirst in this passage of scripture is dipsao (dip-sah'-o). Now, we know that Jesus was experiencing extreme thirst during His crucifixion. We also know that the prophetic Psalm 22 foretold great thirst during Jesus' crucifixion. But, digging deeper, I learned there is something very special about dipsao kind of thirst. Are you ready for this? Dipsao means to "suffer thirst; to painfully feel the want of and eagerly long for those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported and strengthened" (King James Concordance).

Let's think about this for a minute. During the crucifixion of Christ, He was separated from God because He had taken on the sins of the world. For this moment in time, the only begotten Son of God was covered in the shame and filth of our sins. God, the Most High and Holy God, could not even look upon His child. Jesus experienced the pain of separation from God that is ours until we come into the saving grace and knowledge of His precious Son. Jesus experienced the same void that is ours that only the Spirit of God - the Living Water - can fill.

I heard a powerful song this weekend titled, "I Thirst", written by Bev Lowry. The lyrics describe someone experiencing anguish in their life. The person expresses this anguish as a thirst, a longing, that only the Lord can satisfy. And as the story continues, this person realizes his/her thirst can only be quenched by the Living Water of Christ. Without Jesus' willingness to die for our sins, this Water would not be available. It was in His death that the Rock was cracked open and the Living Water gushed forth.

The words of the chorus are: "He said, 'I thirst!' - yet He made the rivers. He said, 'I thirst!' - yet He made the seas. "I thirst," said the King of the Ages. In His great thirst He brought water to me."

I love this.

John 6:35 reads, "He who believes in, cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me will never thirst anymore" (Amplified Study Bible).

Are you thirsty today? Is your soul parched, your spirit dry as a bone? Just think...the King of the Ages, the One who made the rivers and the seas knows all about it. He died so that we might never thirst again. Sweet friend, run to Him! Run as fast as your little legs will carry you. Pour out your heart to Him, your hurts, your fears and then open your heart wide to receive His love.

Did I mention that I love this?

It seems that so many of our friends and loved ones - even ourselves - have deep longings, hurts, and circumstances that only the Lord can satisfy. If you know of someone who may be encouraged by this message, please share it with them. Thank you so much.
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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ His Peace is Hovering

"Now may the Lord of peace Himself grant you His peace (the peace of His kingdom) at all times and in all ways, under all circumstances and conditions, whatever comes. The Lord be with you all." 
~ 2 Thessalonians 3:16, Amplified Study Bible

The following devotion spoke strongly to me last week. Sarah Young learned to sit quietly and listen to the Father as she sought to know Him. She began to record their time together in a prayer journal which became Jesus Calling. I pray the Holy Spirit will speak to you through her recorded message. After all, His Words are timeless and His sheep will know His voice.

"The Peace that I give you transcends your intellect. When most of your mental energy goes into efforts to figure things out, you are unable to receive this glorious gift. I look into your mind and see thoughts spinning round and round: going nowhere, accomplishing nothing. All the while, My Peace hovers over you, searching for a place to land.

"Be still in My Presence, inviting Me to control your thoughts. Let My Light soak into your mind and heart, until you are aglow with My very Being. This is the most effective way to receive My Peace."*

Oh, dear one, open your heart to receive the peace of the Lord. No matter what this old world is throwing at you, our God is able. Let these words soak in: "I look into your mind and see thoughts spinning round and round: going nowhere, accomplishing nothing. All the while, My Peace hovers over you, searching for a place to land."

He is offering the gift of His Peace. We need only to stand still and let God move.

Father God, Open our eyes to see this image of You waiting for us to hush and be still long enough for You to intervene and cover us in Your peace. Why do we make it so hard? Why on earth do we think we can figure things out better than You? Forgive us Lord. Cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Calm us, Lord. Cause us to look up and see Your peace hovering over us waiting for a place to land. Now, that image can make me laugh and holy laughter always brings peace. We love You Lord.

*Young, Sarah; Jesus Calling, Nashville, Tenn.:Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2004; p.158.
Do you know someone who is facing a mountain without enough strength to climb? Please share this message with them. It might just be the Word from the Lord that will strengthen them for the journey.
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