Sunday, October 12, 2014

Word of the Day- Let Go and Let God

Luke 22:42- "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."

Jesus held onto hope that there was another way to save everyone. Surely, no one would want to do what he did. But Jesus left the choice up to God. Jesus came to God and basically asked him if there was another way to save mankind, yet he did not impose his will.

How many of you hold onto things when you really should let go? Jesus held onto hope, but he still chose to follow the will of God. Just imagine if Jesus held onto the fear of pain and death so much so that he decided not to die on the cross for us. Where would we be now? It's so easy to hold onto things that feel or seem better to us. For  widows who lost their spouse, they may be holding onto their anger towards God for taking their loved one. For any lonely person out there, it could be holding onto someone, or the hope of someone, that God never intended them to be with. For any driven and ambitious person, they may hold onto dreams and goals that were never a part of God's will. While these things seem great to us, and we question God why we can't have them, we never question why God doesn't want these things for us. When God said that he had "plans to prosper and not harm you," that is his promise to give you the best that he has to offer you, and that which is best for you. Because God never breaks his word, it means that he may not want you to "be with that guy" or "sing in that band" or "remain in that state of grief." What makes all of this difficult on us is that God gave us free will. God is a gentleman, and he will never force something on you that you don't want. However, when you say that you want God's will but still have an iron grip on what you want, you are tying God's hands. God can't move in your life when you don't give him the option to remove what you don't need or what may hurt you. I don't know if any of you, when you were in junior high, had to go through the classes about the consequences of drinking, but I did. When the officer came in to talk to us, we of course covered all the consequences of drinking and driving. The officer wanted us to actually have a visual understanding what of it was like for a drunk person, so we all had to try on the beer goggles. Now, most of us were just getting a kick out of trying to walk with the goggles on. Some of us veered so far off the straight line that we were running into desks or each other. This is exactly what we are like when we hold onto something too tight. We become so "drunk" on our wants, desires, and/or emotions that we start veering off the path that God wants us to walk down, and we start running into things that hurt us, or we run into other people that are wandering around just as aimlessly. It all comes down to trust! We love God, yet for some reason, we still have a hard time trusting that he knows what is best for us. The thing about love though is that "it always protects (God), always trusts (us)..." (1 Cor. 13:7)

So today, let go and let God! God has wonderful things in store for you!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Word of the Day- To Fear or Not To Fear?

Psalm 16:8- I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

We are not of this world. We were never meant for this world. Death was never part of the picture. Sin was a completely foreign concept. Fear was never even a part of our vocabulary. However, when we were no longer ignorant of the ways of good and evil, we nailed the lids on our coffin, we fought against flesh and blood, and fear was no longer just a word. Most people forget that Jesus is always at our right hand. Here is a perfect example: most people, when they were really little, were afraid of the dark, mostly because they were afraid that something they couldn't see would get them...aka The Boogeyman. So when you were afraid, mom or dad would come to comfort you, and suddenly the dark wasn't scary anymore. You had someone there to protect you from the dark and all the monsters hiding in your closet or under your bed. Let me tell you something: nothing about that has changed. You may be older in this world, but you are still a child of God. So if you know in your heart that Jesus is with you at your right hand, then why do you still walk in fear? Jesus does not walk with you so that you would still be afraid. Fear holds you back from being who God intended you to be. When Jesus died on the cross, he bought back our life for us. He bought back our freedom from sin. He bought back our fearlessness. If you went to the store and bought something life-changing and the store owner tried to take back what you paid good money for, wouldn't you be upset?

John 16:33- "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world."

1 John 4:18- There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear...

Jesus' love for you is perfect. You know that Jesus loves you... we go through trials and sorrows so that we may grow and thrive. So every time you face a trial, know that Jesus is with you, just like your parents were when you were afraid of the dark. Their love and protection drove away your fears, so let Jesus' love and protection cover you and drive away your fear. Don't take the fear back. Just take Jesus' hand and find your courage and your strength!

Psalm 27:1- The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom then shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Word of the Day- The Scent of Life and Death

2 Corinthians 2:16-  To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life...

In this world, those who live for the world don't understand the ways of those who are saved. When you live for the world, giving up sinful ways is like death. Since the beginning of time, God has been portrayed as an ogre in the sky who is ready to strike you down if you sin. For those who don't understand who God really is, they see any belief in him as pointless or crazy. A relationship with God isn't viewed as a relationship with God. It is viewed as slavery. God gave us free will. What we as believers need to do is show others the difference between "the freedom to sin" and "the freedom from sin." Show the difference between love and judgement.

"If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy? If our love's insanity, why are you my clarity?" -Zedd

Word of the Day- No Comparison

Sometimes you feel like you are behind... like those around you know something that you don't... People sometimes feel that way when it comes to their relationship with God. They look at their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and suddenly, they are comparing their relationship with God with those around them. Now, I have done this myself, so I am guilty as charged. But here is a great way to look at it: consider yourself married to God. In a marriage, what may work for one couple, may not work for another. Each marriage is different, and has it's own way of functioning. And in your walk/relationship with God, treat it like you would a marriage. So in this sense, considering that we are the bridegroom, we should "submit to our husband" (Eph 5:22).
Philippians 2:12-13- “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his purpose.”

Word of the Day- The Purpose In Knowing Your Purpose

Jeremiah 29:11- "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
Begin each day as if it were on purpose. You know why you should? You should because you HAVE a purpose. Don't let the struggles in life bring you down. Every day that you wake up is another day that you have a purpose, and each day has a purpose of it's own. And always remember that God is there for you every day, every step of the way.
Deuteronomy 31:6- "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

Word of the Day- Knowing Your Authority

Matthew 16:15-19- He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 

Never doubt your authority! This is something that I have been learning about. I was talking to a friend of mine about this very same thing. I felt like I had no authority over certain things happening in my life. I had began to feel like my authority wasn't existent or that I had done something wrong. But the truth is that it was never gone. When Jesus died on the cross, the authority that we lost when we fell into sin was given back to us. So if you are like me, feeling like you don't have the authority, remember it has always been there for you! 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

You Were Born For Such A Time As This

There are times I have often wondered, "What is my purpose?" There may be a time in life where it feels like nothing is happening, where it feels like you aren't making a difference, where you honestly wonder if you should be here in the first place... It's so easy in times of trouble to just give up and not even try anymore. Or, there is one of the most common lies that we believe: "I'm too much of a sinner for God to use me." Wrong! Where is the buzzer when you need it? Let me be the first to tell you that I have recently been feeling like nothing is happening in my life, I have felt like I haven't been making a difference, and depression has made me wonder why I am here in the first place. That is never a good place to be for anyone! I can, however, tell you that you do indeed have a purpose, and your purpose is 100% absolutely vital!

Each one of us are members of the body of Christ... we all together make up the body. Now for example, the human body has ten toes... Did you know that if a person loses their big toe, the ability to balance well goes up by 40%? So naturally, all other toes and several other muscles have to compensate for a missing toe, but even then, a person's body will no longer function at 100%. 1 Corinthians 12:21-25 says this: And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." No, much rather, those member of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those member of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable part have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. Therefore, you, as a member of the body of Christ, have a purpose that no one else can replace! Esther was a wonderful woman of God. She was once known as Hadassah, and she lived with her cousin because she no longer had a mother and father. She, of all the young women taken to the palace, found favor in the eyes of the king. It was Esther, one single young woman of Jewish origins that helped save the Jewish nation. In times when she could have been found out, God protected her. In times when she could have died, God saved her. God's hand was on Esther because she was fulfilling the purpose that God had given her.

God reassures us many times in His word just how valued we are to him. Many of us sometimes need to just understand our value because when we do, we feel we can fulfill our purpose. Ephesians 2:10 says, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. We are masterpieces! God does not make junk! Even Psalm 139:14 says that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made." God made you to be something special, and before you were even born, he had a purpose for you! No matter how we view ourselves or our purpose, it is all a part of God's plan. Jeremiah 29:11 says this: "For I know the plans I have for you," declared the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." If you trust God with your life, then trust also that he has a purpose for you and that it is blessed!

Now, we all know that if something is not of God, then it must be of Satan. Satan, or Lucifer, was an angel of God, however, he became a fallen angel when pride overtook him. The problem that people have is that they give him more power than what he actually has. People don't see that he is just a created being. God created him beautifully and he knew it... Just before he fell from Heaven, he wanted to be looked at and admired. Well not much as changed. He wanted to be looked at then, and he wants to be looked at now. So, the whole world has given him a spotlight, and he uses it to distract us from our purpose. Some are aware of what he is and some are not. It is easy for him to distract because he can come in any form. 1 Corinthians 11:14 says, "And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." Satan will do anything to distract people from their purpose because he knows that we have one. Jeremiah 1:5 says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Well, for Satan, that just won't work. The bible has a good example of distraction. Nehemiah 6:1-4 says this: When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it—though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates—  Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.” But they were scheming to harm me; so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer. God does want to be seen, and he wants people to focus on him and his purpose for them, but he will not force people to focus on him or follow a purpose. Satan however will do just about anything to get you to look his way. So keep your eyes on God, and Satan will no longer have an audience!

Satan is commonly referred to in the bible as the Father of Lies. There is indeed a very good reason! John 8:44 talks much about this. There is no truth in him. That being said, if there is no truth in him, he will feed you any lie necessary so that he can use it to his advantage. It is important to recognize the lies from the Father of lies. When it comes to your purpose, it is very important! Lies are Satan's most important distraction. Here are some common lies of Satan:

1. Satan can distract you from your purpose by simply trying to make you believe you don't have one. We have already learned though that each one of us does have a purpose, so don't fall into that trap!

2. Satan can distract you from your purpose by making you believe that you are beyond forgiveness, and that if you are beyond forgiveness, then God can't use you. If you honestly believe that you are too much of a sinner and beyond forgiveness, take a look at Paul. He was once known as Saul of Tarsus. Now, "Saul' was a persecutor of Christians. He was a violent man, and had any Christians he came across killed. However, God came to "Saul" on the road to Damascus and blinded him, but his vision was later restored by Ananias of Damascus. Upon regaining his vision, he proclaimed Jesus to be the Son of God and shared the word of God wherever he went. In fact, he wrote several books of the Bible which you now read today!

3. Satan can distract you by pointing out your "so-called flaws" so that you focus more about what is supposedly wrong with you than focusing on Jesus and your purpose. This is a difficult one for me, and I struggle with it a lot. This, for many people, could be a number of different things. It could be a struggle with physical appearances, it could be a physical or mental disability, or many other things. For me, right now, Satan is trying to tell me that I am not smart enough to write devotionals, and that what I have written down is stupid. That no one will read these. Wrong! Let's take a look at it this way though: Moses had a stutter and his brother Aaron had to speak for him. Abraham was very old in age... Zacheus was a short little man, David was just a boy but he defeated a giant. The thing about these "so-called flaws" are that they are no more than lies. While we are flawed because of sin, God does not make junk, and He calls anyone that he wants to to do his work despite what the "world" thinks about it. What we need to realize is that lies are just that: lies. Lies are always changing to suit the situation, but Truth is from God and it is absolute! Nothing can change the truth!

If you can recognize the lies, it is easy to not let them distract you or keep you from your purpose. The first thing you should do is ask yourself: "Is that of God?" "Is that how God feels about me?" "Is this really true?" The Holy Spirit will always guide you and give you answers to these question, but if you need reassurance that you can see, go to the Word. If you find that any of the answers are not of God, here what you can do: James 4:7 says,  "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." Martin Luther King Jr., a wise man, once said “If a man is called to be a street sweeper... He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” Whatever your purpose is, whether it be a street sweeper or a CEO of a major company, do it well and as unto the Lord. Throw yourself so much into your purpose and focus so much on God that, in this, you will resist the devil and he must flee!

Remember brothers and sisters in Christ, you are called according to his purpose, and he does have a purpose for you! If you are unsure of or are confused on what your purpose is, then pray to God and ask! God is not an author of confusion, so he will always bring clarity!

"...Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" -Esther 4:14 (NKJV)