The Power of Confession

IMG_1422Since Jesus is my ‘High Priest’ I never really thought about the need to confess my sins to others, except in cases where I wronged someone.

Confession takes humility and trust. Do you have people of integrity in your life you can trust enough to bare your soul? My Pastor often talks about the need to have 4 or more Christian friends in your life. 

If you’ve ever had a confidence betrayed, trust may not come easy for you. I understand. God does too. He doesn’t ask us to confess our sins to each other to shame us. So why does He advise us to do this? For our healing. When we confess our sins to Jesus we are forgiven. Our confession to others has nothing to do with forgiveness, unless of course we are asking someone to forgive us for a sin against them. I remember many times as a teen going to my Dad to tell him I had disobeyed him. It wasn’t because I was afraid he would find out; it was because the guilt I felt was worse than my fear of punishment.

Guilt and shame are a heavy burden to bare alone. God knows how therapeutic it is to share our faults with one another, in an environment of trust. I wonder how many therapists would still be in business if we took James 5:16 to heart. (Not that there is anything wrong with seeing a therapist.)

This scripture also confirms the power of agreement in prayer. “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” -Matthew 18:18-20 (NKJV) If you are struggling with a particular sin you just can’t seem to overcome, it may be time to call in reinforcements. You do not have to suffer alone. 

Another benefit of confession is accountability. When we share our sins with others we make ourselves accountable to them. We are not only asking for prayer support, but in essence we are giving them permission to follow up with us, to make sure we are walking in victory. 

Additionally, God wants to use your story to impact others. Revelation 12:11 tells us, “They overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the Word of their testimony.” Your story is powerful! If you allow shame to keep you silent you miss the opportunity to help others. I know from experience the joy of seeing someone moved by the transparency of sharing my testimony. Others need hope that they too can overcome.  

In closing, the power of confession brings healing, deliverance, accountability and influence. Find a trustworthy brother or sister in Christ and begin to build the kind of relationship that fosters authenticity. And remember, to have a friend, you have to be a friend. 

 

 

 

 

 

His Plans Stand Firm

IMG_1421Do you know God’s not shocked or shaken by anything you say or do? He saw every thought and action, before you ever took a breath. (Psalm 139:16, Isaiah 66:18, Hebrews 4:2) Unlike humanity, God isn’t constrained by time. Given this knowledge the Bible also tells us Jesus was slain before the foundation of the World. (Revelation 13:8) It’s mind boggling, right? He KNEW we would be evil, yet He not only created us but provided our redemption. 

Have you ever seen a movie based on a book you’ve read? I generally find the movie disappointing. I can’t ‘read’ the thoughts of actors on film, the way they are generally revealed in writing. God doesn’t have that dilemma. When He sees our life He sees past, present and future; He knows our intent and motives. Still, He assures us, His plans stand firm forever, His intentions can never be shaken. (Psalm 33:11)

I admit, this has often puzzled me. People often ask, “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” If He knows someone is going to commit an atrocity, why allow them to be born in the first place? Just because God knows something, doesn’t mean He approves of it. As parents, we know before our children are born that they will do things we do not approve of. No matter how wonderful our parenting skills are, we know they will choose to be disobedient at times. Does this knowledge keep us from having children? Of course not. Love drives us to endure the hardships of parenting.

The better question might be, “Why does God allow good things to happen?” Knowing that the heart of mankind … all of mankind … is deceitful and wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), He still chooses to bless us with life.

This life is simply the womb of eternity.

A few years ago God gave me a nugget of truth I cherish. This life is simply the womb of eternity. It is not an end but a beginning. God endures the hardship of parenting creation in order to spend eternity with those who choose Him.  His plans do not change. He created you with eternity in mind. His intentions are not shaken by your sin. He waits patiently for you to repent, in order for your fellowship with Him to be restored. God chose you, because He knew you would respond. 

 

 

Generational Blessings


I find it very comforting to know that God is faithful to His covenant to multiple generations. 
We often hear about generational curses, but what about generational blessings? IMG_1420

Honestly, I don’t know much about the spiritual condition of my ancestors, beyond my grandparents, but I know I have battled some serious strongholds in my life that I believe were generational curses. Thankfully, my parents and grandparents began a new legacy for our family, one of God’s favor and blessing. One, I hope to pass on to my son and future generations.

Deuteronomy 7:9 brought me great comfort this morning. I have been struggling with depression and negativity the past few days. I’d love to be one of those people who have a natural bend toward positivity and joy, but in all honesty, I am not. I still have a lot of work to do in the “battlefield of the mind.”

It’s times like this I have to make a desision. Am I going to believe my thoughts and negative emotions, or am I going to believe God? It’s a no-brainer. God’s Word IS faithful and true. It is the ultimate measure of truth.

Have you ever dug into God’s Word to discover the promises of a covenant relationship with Him? Trust me … we (and our descendants) get the better end of this deal! Whatever situation you are facing, God’s Word offers a promise and a solution. Not only has He given us eternal life, we have the promise of His constant presence in this life. (Hebrews 13:5)  We have His promise of healing, (Isaiah 53:5) of protection, (Psalm 9:9) of provision, (Luke 12:22-31) of unending, unmerited love, (Jeremiah 31:3) etc., etc., etc. I could go on and on, but that would require a book, rather than a devotional blog. But, I challenge YOU to continue. What blessing of God are you thankful for today? Share the scripture that backs it up in the comments.

PRAY: Father, thank You for Your Faithfulness! Thank You that I am blessed because of the covenant You had with my ancestors, and my descendants will be blessed by Your covenant with me for a thousand generations. I release generational blessings over my family blood line, and I break generational curses. I boldly declare, “As for me and my house, we SHALL serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) Father, when I am weak, You are strong. Remind me when I have my eyes on my circumstances to change my focus to Your Word. 

 

Determine My Steps

IMG_1418Have you ever been lost? I mean, REALLY lost? It’s a terrifying feeling. You would think with the technology we have today, this wouldn’t be an issue. I have found myself in this predicament twice in my life. Somehow my GPS was as clueless as I was.  

The Bible talks a lot about direction. I challenge you today; do a Biblical word search on the following words: path, road, direction and lead.  

When we get in our cars we have a destination in mind and a planned path to get there. Are we as strategic with our life? Do we really believe God has a specific plan for our lives? If so, it would stand to reason that we need a spiritual GPS to guide us. We have one … The Holy Spirit!

IMG_1419Do you seek God’s direction in your decisions? Don’t leave life to chance. It’s too important. Ask God to lead, guide and direct you, daily. Seek His will before making any major decisions. The more intimate our relationship with God becomes, the easier it is to hear His voice. This doesn’t mean we always get it right. And that’s okay. God is capable of rerouting us. 

The Word say, “Broad is the road that leads to destruction.” (Matthew 7:13) Nothing is more frustrating than ending up at a dead end or getting stuck in a roundabout. It reminds me of those wind up toys for kids. Once they run into a wall they continue to hit it over and over again until they finally unwind.

Let’s seek to get it right the first time.

PRAY: Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness. Show me the right path Lord, and point out the road You have chosen for me. Lead, guide and direct my steps. Redirect me when I get off track. Give me wisdom and discernment. Protect me from deception. Father, I thank You that I do not have to travel this journey alone. You are with me! Your attention to detail is beyond comprehension. I trust You, Lord. Determine my steps. 

 

 

 

 

Anointed

YOU are anointed. It’s true! God wants to use you. His Spirit is upon you to continue the ministry of Jesus, one person at a time. IMG_1405

We live in a very “me” centered culture. Jesus didn’t come to be served, but to serve others. Your salvation isn’t just about you. It’s also about the lives God wants to touch through you.

Everyone isn’t called to a full-time “career” in ministry, but we are all called to minister. When I was younger I thought this meant going out and preaching to anyone who would listen. Don’t get me wrong, there is a need for evangelism, but people are more likely to listen when you are serving them. Before you try to feed them spiritually, feed their need. Today’s verse gives us four areas of service: 

  1. Proclaim good news to the poor: If you are poor, the good news of salvation is a wonderful message, but it doesn’t fill your belly or put clothes on your kids. People need to know that God isn’t just concerned with the hereafter, He cares about the situation you are in right now! He knew you before you were born, and will know you long after your life on earth is over. We can’t feed/clothe everyone but we can feed/clothe someone. God wants to bless you by allowing you to be a blessing to others. Jesus said whatever we do for others, we do for him. (Matthew 25:40) If you look into the eyes of a hurting man/woman and see Jesus it will change how you view them. His anointing will overwhelm you with compassion and love. 
  2. Proclaim liberty to the captives: I have been blessed to be part of a jail ministry for a couple of years now. While I love the work we are doing, we are very limited. We are not allowed to give the inmates any handouts, books, etc. We are not allowed to have one on one ministry with them, or develop personal relationships with them. This is for our protection, but heartbreaking none the less. We get one hour a month to speak life and truth into them. They are hungry for so much more! They desperately need discipleship, to prepare them for life outside of prison. If God lays it on your heart, contact a local prison chaplain and ask if there is a way for you to write or have one on one visits with an inmate. However, I STRONGLY encourage you to stay away from any misperceptions of a romantic interest. Also, remember, there are many people who are held captive without the constraints of four walls. People can be held prisoner to addiction, abuse, etc. Pray for God to open doors for you mentor those needing intervention. 
  3. Recovery of sight to the blind: Jesus still heals. I believe this with all my heart. He heals physically, emotionally, financially and most important spiritually. Everywhere Jesus went He healed people. Are you sharing this good news with others? There are two kinds of blindness. There is physically blindness, and there is spiritual blindness. My prayer is that God will use us in the recovery of sight for both. 
  4. Liberty to the oppressed: Oppression can be physical or emotional. For example, human trafficking is a real issue that few people want to see or acknowledge. People are still enslaved, even in America. Educate yourself on the civil issues in your area, and get involved in relief efforts. From an emotional standpoint, mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety disorders are rampant in our culture. People often neglect to seek help due to the stigma attached to mental illness or the cost of care. When you see someone struggling emotionally, step in. Do some research and become familiar with the resources available to them. Minister to them on a spiritual level. LOVE them where they are and be an encouragement to them. 

““Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭25:34-36‬ ‭NLT‬‬

YOU are anointed. It’s true!

 

 

Never Empty

IMG_1408I needed this scripture today. It’s been a rough week. Unfortunately, I tend to worry, which I KNOW is pointless, sinful and completely unnecessary, because God ALWAYS comes through for me.

God gave me a huge blessing last week; which Satan immediately tried to snatch. Without going into detail I’ll just say, my income shrunk by 25% this week.

My typical response would be panic. BUT GOD … keeps reminding me, He is my provider. Take a deep breath and relax! Then this verse just “happened” to show up in my devotion yesterday. Right.on.time.

The great thing about the story behind this verse is the prophet gave this promise to a widow who shared what she believed to be her last meal with him. She was so poor she expected her and her son to starve to death! Yet, she gave. You can’t outgive God. 

I’ve heard that one of the worst things people can do in a recession is to stop spending. Why? It grinds the economic wheels to a halt. I’m not advocating that you go out and blow your savings here, but don’t let fear keep you from being a blessing to others. Many times our blessing comes through blessing others.

Do you feel like you are running on empty today? Do you wonder how you are going to pay your bills this month? If so, I pray today’s verse will bless and encourage you. May your flour and oil never run out.

As you enjoy a warm meal this week, remember those in your city who have nothing. Perhaps your leftovers could be the blessing someone else is praying for.  There is always someone who has it worse. Sometimes it takes seeing the lack others face to help us realize how truly blessed we are. 

 

 

Love is a Decision

IMG_1397If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” ‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:17-18

I used to think love was a feeling. One day the Lord gently corrected me, and said:

No, love is a decision.

Today’s verse is a great illustration of that point. We can say we love others, but do our actions prove otherwise? Our nation is being battered right now by hurricanes, fires, mudslides and earthquakes. As horrible as these situations are, I have been so impressed with the way people pull together in times of disaster. Total strangers are coming to the aid of others. For a brief moment people lay aside their prejudice and selfishness to serve one another as Christ intended.

When life gets back to normal, remember these times. Remember how good it felt to “BE” the hands and feet of Jesus to others. Find a way EVERYDAY to be a blessing.

Loving well doesn’t always mean providing financial support. Sometimes it means cooking a hot meal for someone or visiting them in the hospital. Sometimes it means cleaning someone’s house when they are unable to do so themselves. Sometimes it means being a shoulder to cry on when someone is grieving. Maybe it means babysitting for a young couple who can’t afford a sitter, so they can have a date night. Maybe it means going next door to that neighbor you’ve never met and becoming a friend. The opportunities are endless.

PRAY: Father, thank You for loving me … even when I am unlovable. Help me to show that same love to others. Lord, remind me each day to look for opportunities to be a blessing to others, so they can see YOU through me. When I need it, remind me that actions speak louder than words. Help me to see others as You see them and to love them as You love them.  

📝 Please share your creative ideas in the comments for putting love in action.