Don’t Give Up!

IMG_1374If you’ve ever planted a garden you know it’s hard work. It takes time and dedication. You can’t just throw some seeds on the ground and expect to reap a harvest. You have to cultivate the soil, plant your seeds (in the proper season), water, weed and feed your plants. Nature will do the rest. 

Sowing and reaping take time. Instead of learning the benefits of “delayed gratification” we have become a culture of “instant gratification”. Don’t lose your patience in the waiting. Good things DO come to those who wait.

It’s easy to become weary when we don’t see the fruit of our labor, be it physical or spiritual, but God has a perfect timetable. Some plants take longer to produce than others. God is not delaying your answer to prayer, He is growing it to perfection. Trust His timing.

Phillipians 1:6 tells us, “He who began a good work in You will bring it to completion.” I am thankful God is patient with me in the process. What if He gave up on us if we didn’t meet His expectations? None of us would survive. And yet, too often we are ready to give up on God’s promises to us, on our dreams, on the lost, because we don’t understand the waiting.

Your situation is NOT hopeless, no matter how desperate it seems. Do your best and trust the rest to The Father.

Pray: Lord, thank You for Your perfect timing. Forgive me when I grow weary. Remind me that I will reap a harvest IF I do not give up. Give me the motivation to see things to completion. Thank You for Your faithfulness. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God Leads by Example

IMG_1373Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” II Corinthians‬ ‭1:3-4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I am thankful God is a God of mercy and compassion, but what really stands out to me in this verse is how God leads by example. There is a lesson to be learned in everything He does. His leadership skills surpass all others.

I doubt God would approve of the old parental saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.” God is not an abusive Father. He is not an authoritative tyrant. He is LOVE. Sometimes that’s difficult for people to understand in light of all the evil in the world. How many times have you heard someone ask, “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” The simple answer is free will. God created us to be His children. A good parent leads and directs their child but ultimately the child must choose to accept or reject the guidance they are given. Many times the suffering in the world is the consequence of someone’s bad choice. But, that’s a lesson for another blog. The point here is, God teaches and leads through action. He doesn’t ask us to do what He is unwilling to do Himself.

I have met many people who discovered their life passion through hardship. Instead of using their pain as an excuse they turned it into a purpose.

When God comforts us, He is teaching us to comfort others. Allow God to use the life lessons you have learned to help others in their time of need.

PRAY: Father, thank You for teaching me to be merciful and compassionate by showing me mercy and comfort. I am so thankful You lead by example. Teach me Your ways Oh, Lord. Help me to always model what I have learned through You. 

Come On In!

IMG_1372I’ve always heard this verse as an invitation for salvation. Reading it in the NLT gave me a different perspective. There is something very intimate about sharing a meal together. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords is looking for intimate friendship with us. How astounding is that? When was the last time you had dinner with a King?

Jesus wants to dine with you! He wants to sit down and converse with you. He wants to be your friend. The next time you sit down for a meal, imagine Him sitting across from you. Imagine Him sharing intimate details about His life that aren’t portrayed in scripture. What was He thinking and feeling during some of the events we know only from the perspective of the apostles? What was the atmosphere like in Heaven the day He stepped down from the throne to take on the form of human frailty?

I seriously doubt our list of prayer requests would even cross our mind during such an encounter. Our only focus would be on Him, and in that focus everything else dims in comparison.  

PRAY:
Lord, thank You for the gift of friendship with YOU. It is beyond my comprehension that You desire intimacy with me. What an honor and a privilege. Thank You that the gift of salvation is also a call to relationship. Yes, You are my LORD and SAVIOR, but You are also a friend who loves at all times. Lord, I give You an open invitation to the door of my life. Come in and dine with me, not occasionally, but daily. No need to knock, just come on in.

 

Freedom in Christ

IMG_1371“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.”  ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:13‬ ‭NLT

Paul wrote this passage to refute a false teaching that required Gentiles to be circumcised and obey the law of Moses. He reminds them that salvation is through Grace alone.

Jesus, the lamb of God, became the perfect sacrifice. He knew man could never obtain righteousness through performance. Our righteousness is in Christ. Jesus freed us from the curse of the law. 

In Galatians 5:19-21 Paul goes on to explain the results of giving in to the desires of the flesh. He erases any doubt that freedom in Christ is a license to sin. He gives a vivid metaphor of us hammering the passions and desires of our sin nature to the cross and crucifying them with Christ. 

We have a new law, the law of the Spirit. My freedom in Christ does not give me the right to sin against others. It gives me the freedom to serve them rather than myself. As the fruit of the Spirit matures within me, my desires should change from a focus on self to a focus on others, reflecting the nature of Christ. I should always consider how my actions will impact those around me. 

PRAY:
Lord, thank You for calling me to live in freedom. Thank you for replacing the “letter of the law”, which I could never uphold, with the law of the Spirit, which produces the fruit of the Spirit within me. 

Help me to always be mindful of how my attitudes and actions impact others. Let me be a reflection of Your love.

Your Word says all of the law can be summed up in the first and second commandments … Love God, love others.

Breaking Generational Curses

IMG_1370Sin doesn’t just affect the sinner, it affects the entire family. Science calls it genetics. Addictive behaviors, mental illness, and some physical illnesses have a genetic component. They also have a spiritual component. If we want complete healing we have to address both. 

My actions have consequences. It’s heartbreaking to think my sins will be passed on to my child or future grandchildren. It’s equally disheartening to think I am paying for the sins of my ancestors.

When we see a “pattern” among family members, especially with behavioral issues it may very well be a “generational curse”. Jesus became a curse when He hung on the cross. His blood gives us the power to break the generational curses over our lives and our bloodline. 

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”. Galatians 3:13 (NKJV) 

PRAY:
Father, according to this scripture you lavish UNFAILING love to a thousand generations. I thank You for this promise and pray that every member of my bloodline will know You and experience Your unfailing love.

Lord, release the guilt of my sins and the sins of my ancestors, removing the generational curses in past and future generations by applying the precious blood of Jesus to those sins. I claim the physical, emotional and spiritual healing that You purchased for me according to Isaiah 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”

Thank You Jesus, for paying a debt I could never pay! Your Word promises in John 8:36, “Whom the SON has set free, is free indeed.” I receive and release that freedom over myself and every member of my bloodline … past, present and future, in the mighty name of Jesus.

 

Lord, Please Send Someone Else

img_0624“But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.”

Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”

But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.””  ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭4:10-13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Has God ever asked you to do something uncomfortable, something beyond your own ability? If so, you can probably relate to what Moses felt when God called him to free the people of Israel from Egypt.

Did God relent to Moses’ request? Of course not. Instead He promised to equip him for the job He was calling him to do. When God calls us to a task He partners with us to see it through.

Even though I know God has called me to be a Christian speaker, I get nervous before I speak. I do my best to study and prepare, but I know His anointing is what impacts those who hear. His anointing is what moves people on a heart level.  

I am thankful scripture portrays the heroes of the faith in their human frailty. It allows us to see how God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. When God calls you to a task that seems impossible, remember He does not ask you to go alone. He will equip you AND He will be with you.

Instead of asking the Lord to send someone else, step up boldly and proclaim, here am I Lord, send me! 

 

 

 

 

Lack Peace?

IMG_1365“Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”  ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

 

Sometimes a lack of peace is the result of perfectionism.

When I read ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:9‬ , the saying, “practice makes perfect” came to mind. The ONLY perfect human being to ever live was Jesus. While believers will never reach perfection on this side of heaven we can experience the God of peace. How? By putting the principles of God’s Word into practice in our lives. 

We have instant access to ‘learning’ today, but if we do not put what we learn into practice, how does it benefit us? James put it like this: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22 (NKJV) 

 

Sometimes a lack of peace is the result of disobedience.  

Are you faithfully following the things you have learned from God’s Word? Examine yourself and see if you are “practicing” the example of Jesus. If not, repent (confess and turn from your sin) and allow the peace of God to restore you. 

 

Sometimes a lack of peace is the result of life stress.

Does peace ever feel like an elusive dream? We are constantly bombarded with the cares of life. When you lay your head down to sleep at night, is your mind at peace, or do your racing thoughts make it impossible to quiet your spirit? 

Several years ago I was tested for sleep apnea. Thankfully, that was not the issue; however, they confirmed I suffered from insomnia. This dilemma led to a decision … do I spend the rest of my life relying on medication to help me sleep, or is there a better way? 

Over and over in Psalms, David writes about meditating on the Word of God. I tried listening to worship music as I was going to sleep. Didn’t work. Then I remembered something from my college days. When I was studying for a test, I used to tape my notes and listen to them through headphones as I was drifting off to sleep. I found my unconscious mind was able to process the information much easier than my conscious mind, which was susceptible to distraction. 

I began listening to sermons at bedtime. By focusing on what the speaker was saying I was able to intercept the disruptive thoughts keeping me awake. Normally I am asleep before the sermon ends. Why? Because I changed my focus from my problems to my source of peace. 

The peace of God follows the presence of God.