Power Hungry

 

IMG_1307Have you ever met someone so power hungry they didn’t care who they had to step on to succeed? There’s nothing wrong with success or power in its self. It’s what you do with that power that determines your legacy. 

Before Jesus ascended to Heaven He left the apostles with a promise … 

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts‬ ‭1:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

These simple men who had given up everything to follow Him carried both the hope of the gospel and the responsibility of seeing it spread to the ends of the Earth. The Lord knew it was beyond their natural ability to accomplish. They needed to be empowered by The Holy Spirit.

On the day of Pentecost as they gathered together, the promise was fulfilled. The Holy Spirit arrived as a rushing mighty wind. The same Peter, who had denied Christ 3 times out of fear, now stood before a huge crowd and boldly proclaimed the gospel. Three thousand souls were converted that day, and the birth of the Church began … just as Christ had prophesied. 

“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”  Matthew 6:18

That’s power, and that power is still available for you and I today! I’m hungry for the power of the Holy Spirit of God to flow through me so that others can be transformed by the message of the cross. If twelve men could change the world under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, imagine what you and I could do! Imagine the impact millions of POWER hungry, Spirit filled Christians could have if we became motivated to be His witnesses to a lost world. 

The power of the Holy Spirit has purpose. It is not simply meant to help us live victorious lives … but to pass that power on to others. Jesus called us to be light to the world. When the Holy Spirit appeared He was represented by tongues of fire. I think that is significant in that while fire provides heat (power) it also provides light. 

Are you power hungry? I hope so. 

 

 

 

The True Value of a Woman

IMG_1303Many women suffer from low self esteem because our world puts so much emphasis on external beauty. King Lemuel’s mother knew the true value of a woman is found in her relationship with God.

We don’t hear a lot of messages these days on “the fear of the Lord”. People think of fear as a negative emotion. According to Matthew Henry’s commentary to fear the Lord means to revere, serve and worship Him. There is nothing negative about fear in this context. In fact Proverbs 1:7 teaches us: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

A virtuous woman doesn’t allow culture to define her worth. Her relationship with God enhances her relationship with others because her priorities are in order and she can love from a place of authenticity. When we seek to attract others through charm we become deceptive because we slip into people-pleasing mode.

IMG_0616And what of  beauty? There is nothing wrong with trying to look your best, but don’t judge your beauty by comparing yourself to others. I always had low  self esteem until one day the Lord opened my eyes to my own misperceptions of my appearance. I found my high School graduation picture and realized just how attractive I actually was. It saddened me to realize how insecure I had been because I thought I was unattractive. There will always be someone prettier than you, but that doesn’t distract from your beauty unless you allow it to. And as today’s verse reminds us … “beauty is fleeting.” When you pass away people won’t care about how beautiful you were on the outside. They will remember you for the woman you were on the inside.

Focus on the internal and God will attract the right people to you. I’m not just speaking of romantic attraction. A well rounded woman has a circle of friends who also bring balance and fulfillment to her life. Surround yourself with Godly women who can be a source of wisdom, encouragement and correction in your life.

God created you uniquely and you are beautiful!

 

 

Check Your Motives

IMG_1300What motivates you to do the things you do? Today’s photo verse reminds us that we are nothing without love. I want to encourage you to read 1 Corinthians 13 today. It’s known as the love chapter, and it is an eye opener.  

Today’s devotion is one that is difficult to write. I love writing posts that encourage, but today’s word is a word of correction. 

I have always been a bit puzzled when disaster strikes and I hear of Hollywood actors putting together massive fundraisers to assist those affected, while the church fails to be on the forefront of the relief effort. Granted, Hollywood is  generally wealthy and when you consider their giving in proportion to their wealth it may seem difficult to ‘compete’ with their efforts. But that’s the point … it isn’t a competition. Jesus once honored a poor widow who gave two mites because He saw that while others gave out of their abundance, her gift was a true sacrifice of love. (Read Mark 12:42-44) It isn’t about the money, it’s about the motivation.  

Have you read the book, “The Five Love Languages “ ? In it we learn of 5 ways people generally receive and give love: 

  1. Words of Affirmation 
  2. Quality Time
  3. Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch 

My primary love languages are words of affirmation and physical touch. If you give me a hug, or even a touch on the shoulder, I feel valued. But if I am trying to give physical touch to someone whose primary love language is acts of service or gifts it might come across as trivial to them. This “love” thing is complicated!  

The following verse used to puzzle me, but demonstrates the uselessness of good works IF they are not motivated by love. 

“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”  Matthew 7:22-24 NKJV  

We can’t earn our way into Heaven through good works. Our salvation is a gift from God to those who believe. However, when our works are motivated by love we bless others and please God. I believe our rewards in Heaven are compiled though acts of love.  Do what you do because of love, not by coercion, people pleasing, selfish ambition or recognition. Another words … check your motives . 

 

 

 

 

 

Conquerors

IMG_1299Most of the time when we think of a conqueror we think of someone’s who has overcome by force. The conqueror in Romans 8:37 is not victorious because of their own ability to overcome, but simply because he or she is a child of the living God.

I always encourage people to research verses in context. It is vital in understanding the true meaning of the passage. Scroll up a verse and you find the author quoting Psalm 44:22 which states: “For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
From a human perspective this doesn’t sound like a conqueror. You and I only see things in the here and now, but God’s view is eternal. What this verse really illustrates is that we are victorious regardless of our circumstances. Why? Because we belong to the one who has conquered the ultimate enemy … death. There’s nothing Satan can do about it! You’ve been bought and sealed by the blood of Christ, the perfect lamb of God.

If we read all of Romans chapter 8 we learn 2 important reasons why we are considered conquerors in Christ.

  1. Because Christ is interceding for us! (Verse 26 and 34) Who better to petition God on our behalf? Our prayers are often misguided by our will. No one wants to suffer. However, the Holy Spirit and Jesus intercede for us with an understanding of the perfect will of God for our circumstances.
  2. Because NOTHING can separate us from God’s love. (Verse 38 and 39) “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”. You can be confident in God’s everlasting love for you. Don’t allow the trials of this life to discourage you. Don’t give up or give in to the temptation to quit. You are in a race and it takes perseverance to finish well, but you will finish. Jesus is waiting at the finish line. Keep your eye on the prize. You ARE a conqueror!

 

 

 

Love WHO?

IMG_1298“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” Luke 6:28-28 NKJV 

If you continue reading Luke 6 it goes on to ask, “if you only love those who love you what credit is that to you?” The true test comes when we love the unlovable. You know, that person who makes you cringe when they walk into the room. Let’s face it, this kind of love does not come natural to most of us. While I can’t think of anyone I personally consider an “enemy”, I can think of a few who rub me the wrong way. I am sad to say most of the time I fail the love test around those people. Are we really being honest when we say, “I love them, but I sure don’t like them”? 

What does love really look like? A look at 1 Corinthians 13 shows me just how far I have to go, to love like Jesus.  

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV    

Why do you suppose Jesus asks us to do something so radical? I believe it is because He knows how powerful undeserved love is. That’s what sent Him to the cross. The longing to be loved is a basic human need. The worst punishment you can give a prisoner is solitary confinement. 

I am thankful I serve a savior who tells me to love my enemies. Too many wars have been waged in the name of religion, including Christianity. Jesus came to show us a new way. The way of love.  

As we close today, I want to challenge you to think of the person you find most difficult to love and ask God how you can impact their life by offering unconditional love. You might be astounded at the reconciliation God brings to pass through your obedience. 

 

Perfect Love

IMG_1293Many use fear to persuade people to come to Christ. While there is a time and place for warning people about the consequences of rejecting the Lord, love IS the message of the gospel. God’s grace is amazing! 

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17 NKJV      

When Jesus laid down His life for us, it was perfect love in action.

I became a Christian as a teenager, but still lived my life in fear. Even though I had accepted Jesus as my savior I constantly worried about whether or not I was ‘really saved’. I still feared that I would spend eternity in Hell. This fear based faith haunted me for years and I lived on a spiritual roller coaster.  

You see, you and I can never measure up to God’s standard of holiness. We can never BE good enough to earn our way into Heaven. The GOOD NEWS is God knows that. Jesus didn’t die because He wanted to condemn the lost to Hell. He died because He wanted to save them from it. Grace isn’t an excuse to keep living in sin, but Jesus died to provide continuous cleansing because He knows we can’t live a sinless life.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NKJV  

I’ve never met a parent who said, “If that kid falls down again, I’m done! I’m never helping them up again.” Yet somehow we think God will throw in the towel if we fall. The truth is, God will pursue you until you take your last breath. He loves you with an everlasting, PERFECT love. When you sin, run to Him … not from Him. He has no desire to punish you. He wants to cleanse and restore you. 

 

Speak Blessings

IMG_1292Today’s scripture photo is commonly known as “The Priestly Blessing”. The Lord Himself gave Moses instructions to have Aaron and his sons speak this blessing over the people of Israel, and He promised to bless them in return.

I’d like to encourage you to speak this blessing over your family each day. If you are single, stand in front of a mirror and speak it over your own life. This short passage invokes God’s blessing, protection, favor, grace and peace. That’s powerful! 

According to Proverbs 18:21 life and death are in the power of the tongue (words). The Jewish people recognized this truth and took blessing and cursing very seriously. Sometimes we need to take inventory of our speaking habits. Are we speaking life into our situations, or death? Are we believing God’s Word over our circumstances? It’s easy to forget the power of our words. When we voice our fears or complaints are we actually cursing ourselves?

If you want to know how to overcome the negative situations in your life, find scriptures that address the issue from God’s perspective and speak His Word. Isaiah 55:11 promises that God watches over His Word to perform it. His Word will not return void. He will accomplish what He says. His Word is His bond. You can count on it.

Pay attention to what you speak. Speak blessings over yourself and others.