Friday, April 27, 2012

A Cord of Three...

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  Ecclesiastes 4:12

When I read this verse the picture in my mind was of a braid… if you just twist two pieces of hair it might stay for awhile, but it will eventually fall apart.  But if you braid three pieces of hair it will hold up forever or at least until a part of the trio weakens or becomes frayed.  How do we keep our hair strong and healthy? By eating right, practicing good nutrition, cleansing it regularly, and trimming the split ends.

It is the same in our walk through life… we need to eat right by feeding on God’s Word, we have to receive every bit of nourishment we can from Him.  We need to allow the Holy Spirit to show us what needs cleansing in us… asking for forgiveness and letting freedom come from the “dirt” that can easily build up. And the hardest one of all… we need to accept that God (the gardener) prunes us to produce more fruit in our lives.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2

Our strength for daily life comes from the Lord!  How great is it that He can take the frayed ends of our lives and make them strong again?  God also uses those around us to keep us strong and on the right track.  Take a look at those you are spending your time with... are they adding to your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health? We all need to re-evaluate that from time to time.  Remember, as iron sharpens iron, so does a good friend encourage and change a friend's outlook. (Proverbs 27:17)

Praying God's blessings over you today!

For further study read John 15.

Rejoicing in Truth!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Key to Faith...

I just had to share this devotional I came across, it is from the book "From Dream to Destiny" by Robert Morris. I hope it blesses you the way it did me! So powerful!

* The key to our having faith is in hearing the Word of God. I want to emphasize this: the key to having faith is not in obeying the Word of God – the key to having faith is in hearing the word of God. Now I believe in obeying the Word, and we must obey God if we want to have His blessing on our lives. But it is not obedience that produces faith. Rather, it is faith that produces obedience. And faith only comes by the Word of God.

This is not my idea. God made this very plain in Romans 10:17 when He said, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." This scripture passage says that if I hear the Word of God, "faith comes." In other words, faith shows up. So all I have to do is hear the Word of God. So there is something about hearing the Word of God produces faith.

Now I know the Bible says that I must be a doer of the Word as well. James
1:22 says, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." But it is hearing the Word that is the key to doing it! Because the more I hear the Word of God, the more faith I will have. And the more faith I have, the more I will want to obey God and live out the Word.

The reason that a lot of people are not doers of the Word is because they don't really have faith. The more faith you have, the more you will obey. The more you obey, the more the presence of God will manifest in your life. And the more often you live in the presence of God, the more you will prosper and succeed.

Every one of us can prosper, and everyone of us can be successful! And the way we begin is by hearing the Word of God. So start to make the Word of God part of your life. Listen to His Word whenever you can. Read the Bible daily. Memorize Scripture passages, meditate on them, and write verses on notecards to tape on your mirror. If you hear his word consistently, faith will naturally come. God promised that it would. And as your faith increases, you will find that you are walking in obedience. As you walk in obedience, you're going to have the presence of God on your life. And if the presence of God is with you, you're going to succeed!

There are no words to describe the blessing of having God's presence in your life. Right now I can feel that the favor of God is on my life, and it is a wonderful thing. It is so wonderful that I don't want to do one single thing to mess it up! The favor of God makes you feel that nothing is impossible. The favor of God makes you feel that anything you attempt to do for God will succeed. Because when you sense that God is with you, you know your efforts on His behalf will not fail.

What could possibly be worth losing that blessing, that favor, that manifested presence of God? I don't want to walk in disobedience, because I know that if I disobey God, His presence will leave my life. And I don't want to lose His presence or His favor!

So it really wasn't a hard thing that day at the airport to leave a note on the car I had bumped. It really wasn't hard to decide that we would miss our plane. It was easy to do the right thing – when I remembered that God has called me to be faithful in small matters, as well is great, as I live out my destiny according to His will.

I want to walk in the destiny God has planned for me. And I know that if I am to be set over much, I must be found faithful in little things – even a crack in a piece of plastic on an old car.

Eventually I received a call from the lady whose vehicle had been damaged. I apologized for the accident and gave her our insurance information so that she could get her bumper repaired. But before we got off the phone, she said, "I just have to ask you a question. I have shown your note to everyone in my office, and no one can believe that you actually left a note. It would have been so easy to just drive away. We don't know if you're a saint, a space alien or what – but none of us can figure out why you would leave a note."

The woman was an unbeliever. Yet she recognized that there was something different about my behavior. So I was able to explain to her the reason that I had left that note. I was able to share the gospel with her and tell her how Jesus Christ had changed my life – that he could change her life also. "You said that everyone in your office wants to know why I left that note," I said to her. "Be sure that you tell them. Be sure to tell them that the reason I left that note is because Jesus Christ has changed my life – and He wants to do that for all of them, too."

There is nothing on this earth that can compare to the joy of a moment like that, when the presence of God rests upon you as you do something important for Him. But it all begins by being faithful in the smallest things – by being a faithful steward. If I had not been faithful to do the right thing about the accident, I would never have had the opportunity to be God's messenger to the people in that office.

Faithfulness – good stewardship – causes us to be successful in everything we do. It causes us to have the favor of God and His presence in our lives. So be faithful in little things. Be a good employee, a good steward "as to the Lord" (Colossians
3:23). Spend time in God's Word and watch your faith increase. As faith comes, obedience will naturally follow. And when you honor God and walk in obedience to Him, He will honor you with His presence. Then His favor and blessing will rest on your life, and you will prosper in all you do.

Rejoicing in Truth!
*Excerpted from From Dream To Destiny by Robert Morris (Regal). Available this week as part of the Living Free teaching series.

Monday, April 2, 2012

No Greater Love...

Good Friday – I’ve often wondered why it is called “Good Friday”—if this is the day Christ was crucified… then why is it good?  Just think about that day… the day Christ gave up His life… does it bring mixed feelings?  On one side, no one would have a chance of eternal life in Heaven without this Great Sacrifice. So it is good for the sake of our salvation, but so sad that it was my sins and your sins that sent Him to that death on the cross.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
Focus on that verse for a moment… it is a mind blowing verse for me… would I be willing to lay my life down for a friend?  As I was thinking on that God showed me He was not asking me to just physically lay down my life for my friends, but to spiritually and emotionally lay it all down for Him!  Really think about that… if someone put a gun to your head and said “deny Christ or die” would you have the strength to die for Him?  I would hope I would. On the other hand, everyday we are asked to “die to self”… but how easy is that to do?

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

If you are at all like me, most every day I know I am a total failure at that… since I am not even close to perfect, but God can see if I have a desire and a willing heart to lay it all done for Him. And because of His unconditional, unfailing love, He gives us an “A” for effort and not an “F” for failure… He made each one of us… He knows we are all works in progress… we are blessed, priceless children of our Heavenly Father! I am so thankful that He loved us so much to give us a second chance at life by giving up His Son to save all those who believe and receive Him.

If Christ just died for us then the story would be over, but He died because of our sin and He rose from the dead to break the bonds of death (sin) and the grave!  Remember… it is only because of Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and RESURRECTION that each one of us can have eternal life through Him.  Good Friday in itself is not good, but when we look at the whole picture… the whole story, the Greatest Love Story ever told… now that is good!

We must remember the sadness of “Good Friday” in order to sing praises of the risen Lord on Easter morning!

 Rejoicing in Truth!