What Does The Lord Require

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Have you ever found yourself pleading with God to show you what to do? How to please and serve Him…but not knowing how?

Well, here is a good place to start: Micah 6:8, we need to handle those around us justly — practicing patience and dealing with others in fairness, without partiality. We need to practice mercy — blessing others in need with what they don’t deserve but so greatly need. We need to walk humbly with our God.

It’s interesting to note that although there is action involved, each of those requirements starts with a soft and loving heart. We won’t act justly if we harbor resentment or hate. We won’t show kindness and mercy if we seek to serve ourselves. And a prideful heart will always walk ahead of God.  Finding God’s will for your life is really pretty simple. He wants all of your heart. He wants a surrendered life.

Maybe all God is asking of us is to stand for what is right … to choose kindness … and to walk closely to Him, submitting our will daily.

As for me, I want to embrace all that God has for me, and that means obeying what He’s already shown me.

I hope God’s Word encourages you today. Maybe it really is this simple. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God. Now, the choice is yours.

Father, please make of me what you will. As you fashion me, please bless me as I seek to be a person of justice, mercy, and humility. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

He Will Cover You With His Feathers

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I wonder if there are times when God would like to have comforted us “under his wings” but instead of coming to Him, we depended on our own resources. When He covers us, the forces of evil cannot penetrate His protection.

God’s wings provide safety and refuge. In Psalm 17:8 David asked the Lord to hide him in the shadow of His wings, protecting him from danger and attack. I may not have physical enemies attacking me but Satan is continually attacking me with fears, despair, discouragement, and countless other negative thoughts. When I cry out to God for His protection, His Word and Spirit are my refuge.

If you are experiencing pressures or satan’s attacks in your life today, just ask the Lord in faith to help you.  Say, “God, you said you’d be my refuge!”  If you’ve run out of strength , remember that he is your strength.  Now you have to run to him!  Begin by praising him right now for loving you and for being all that you need.  Thank God that he is greater than every problem you may encounter.  Tell him, “Thank you, Lord, for who you are!”  Then trust him to be your refuge and your strength, at this very moment in your life.

Father, what words can I offer that are sufficient to thank and praise you for your deliverance that is greater than death? You are the Alpha and the Omega. You are the God who was and is and is to come. You are my Abba Father, who has adopted me and made me your own. I place my trust, my hope, and future in you and I will not be afraid. I find my refuge under your wings! All praise to you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Casting Your Cares On Him

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The psalmist wrote, “Be still, and know that I am God” (46:10).  Paul exhorted the Philippians to “be anxious for nothing” (Phil 4:6). And Peter instructed his readers to cast all their cares on God (1 Peter 5:7).

I confess that for too long I have tried to work out my own problems and carry my own cares in my own self-strength, but I thank You Father-God that You care so much for me that I can cast all the burdens and hurts and disappointments and worries that seem to be flooding my life today, upon You – in the sure knowledge that you have promised to carry them. I admit I am weak, but I praise You that I can draw on Your amazing strength today and in the days that lie ahead, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.

 

 

Things Above

 

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“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3

If you’re a Christian, your identity is not in this world. It is found in Christ. You belong to him.

Have you ever asked yourself what occupies your thoughts? That’s a challenging question and one we should not ignore. We are what we think. If our thoughts are focused on the concerns of this world, we will become like the world. But if our minds are set on the things above—in other words, where Christ is—we’ll become more like Him.

When we think on Christ and meditate on his word we find that the things of the world will lose it’s appeal. The more aware we are of Jesus, the less we tolerate sin, because we know it doesn’t fit us anymore. Instead of chasing the passing pleasures and goals of the world, we’ll pursue a lifestyle of obedience to the Lord.  Even when everything looks dismal, we have a reason to hope because our time here is so small compared to eternity with Christ.

Your beliefs determine your perspective on life, and that shapes your priorities and attitudes.

Always check your heart and make sure you pursue the mind of Christ in every area of your life.

Gracious Lord, we surrender afresh to You and Your Lordship over all areas of our life. Give us Your heart and mind today as we choose to walk with You.

Give Thanks To The Lord

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When we trust in the Lord and become a child of God, there is nothing we cannot do to make Him love us more; there is nothing we can do to make Him love us less. He will love us as much tomorrow as He does today. His love endures forever.

Thank You, Father, for Your enduring love. Thank You that Your love is not based on my performance but is a perfect, unconditional, lasting love that is mine through Jesus. In His name I pray. Amen.  

Where Are Help Comes From

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God watches over us every day, 24/7. How do I know that? Psalm 121.

The promises in Psalm 121 are as true for us today as they were thousands of years ago. No matter what situation we face, we can rely on the God who created heaven and earth. Day or night, today through eternity, God promises provision and protection for all who follow Him (Psalm 121:5-8).

There is no situation that God is not aware of. Trusting in the Lord is the safest place for us to be. Why?  Because, Our Helper is also our Keeper. The One who watches over us never sleeps, He is all ways with us. The One who guards our souls cannot be moved.

This Psalm is a tremendous encouragement to me. I hope it is to you as well.

Gracious Father, Thank you Lord that our lives are in your hands. You protect us in ways we will never know. And, though we might suffer difficulty in this life, we know we are eternally safe with you.  Help us to realize that we do not walk alone, that you are always with us now and forever.  In Jesus name we pray, Amen

His Mercies Are New

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The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.   Lamentations 3:22-23

 We can start new every day.  God’s mercies and compassion are fresh each morning.  We can forget about the mistakes and failures of yesterday.  We can release the hurts of the past and begin again.  We can forgive and forget those who have wronged us.  Isn’t that good news?

The enemy wants us to believe that we have screwed up so badly that we are doomed to a life of defeat; that we have failed one too many times and God cannot forgive us or is mad at us.  We do mess up a lot, at least I know I do.  But, I choose to believe God’s Word.  It says that He loves me.  It says that He forgives me.  It says that He understands my plight.  It says that He is waiting for me to run into His open arms.  And for that I am so thankful.

Isn’t God amazing?  A fresh start every day!  How can we be defeated when we have  fresh start every day?  How can we be discouraged with His unfailing love surrounding us?  How can we be unhappy or sad when we serve the greatest God in the universe!

 

Dear Lord, I come to You now for fresh mercy. Thank You for your great faithfulness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Lead Me To The Rock

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When you feel overwhelmed, when you begin to feel hopeless, when you lose heart, cry out to the Lord. He is your Rock, your Strong Tower, your Safe Refuge from the storm.   The God you serve is a mighty God. He will protect you and He will keep you safe and deliver you!

Always remember God’s great love for you. Remind yourself of His loving faithfulness and of all the times He has come through for you. Count your blessings and refuse to waver in your faith and trust in Him.

Psalm 34:19 says, Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

It helps to be so grounded in God’s Word that when you face these tests, trials, afflictions, storms, and outright assaults from the enemy, you will not waver, be swayed or shaken.

  • Psalm 91:2 (KJV) I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.
  • Isaiah 54:17 (NKJ) No weapon formed against you shall prosper…
  • Luke 10:19-20 (NKJ) Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
  • 1 John 4:4 (KJV) Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:57-58 (NIV) But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you.

Empathy is what we need!

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We all need Empathy

What better way to represent our Lord and serve others than with the gift of empathy?

Christ is the ultimate example of empathy. He literally put himself in our place when He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. So when God allows us to go through a hardship, we should consider it a privilege to suffer as our Lord Jesus suffered and use our experience to bless others.

We find several examples of empathy in action in the Bible. Jesus was always sensitive to the plight of others. Matthew tells us how Jesus, “when he saw the crowds, . . . had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt 9:36). On another occasion, Jesus observed a widow about to bury her only son. Sensing her pain (the NLT says that Jesus’ “heart overflowed with compassion”), He approached the funeral procession and resurrected the young man (Luke 7:11-16). Having lived a human life, our Lord can and does empathize with all of our weaknesses (see Hebrews 4:15).

The word compassion describes the deep mercy of God. God is the very best at empathy: “He knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). He personally feels the pain of His people: “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book” (Psalm 56:8,). How comforting it is to know that God records all our tears and all our struggles! How good to remember God’s invitation to cast all our cares upon Him, “because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7)!

As Christians, we have a higher calling. We have been bought at a price and are no longer our own, but humble servants to our King. The greatest commandments are to love our Lord with all our hearts, minds and souls, and to love others as ourselves. In a world rampant with selfishness, vanity, bullying and greed, God offers a better way. We are after all His hands and feet, and what better way to represent our Lord and serve others than with the gift of empathy?

Thriving After Your Storm

 

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As, I look back on this year, I am amazed at the goodness of the Lord.   And I’ll tell you why.

My son was married, to a beautiful christian girl.  My oldest daughter is engaged to her long time love.  My youngest is in the final stages of wedding preparations.

I have a wonderful fulfilling job working as an advocate for women and children.  I find myself strong, happy and more peaceful than I ever thought possible.  At the beginning of the year I was diagnosed with cancer…after radiation treatments and medication, I am doing better than I should be.

At the beginning of this year, I heard the Lord speak to me as I sat in church with my head bowed in prayer.

I felt God speak louder and clearer than I had ever heard before. a short message that held life-altering repercussions. “Go and share!”

I became overwhelmed with emotion. I had stop speaking to women a year and a half ago due to the affects of my divorce and past abuse. I was amazed that God had spoken to me about this at all, but even more so at the three words I heard. Go and share? Go and share what?

Then it hit me. Fear immediately overwhelmed me and I sank into the pew, trembling at what I thought God might be asking. I began to question God, “Surely You can’t mean share my past, Lord. I thought you wanted me to stop sharing? I don’t want to continually relive this hurt….Surely You don’t mean go and share what I prefer to keep secret.” Yet, that is exactly what He meant. And I was full of fear.

Return home and tell how much God has done for you. So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. Luke 8:39

The man who was healed from demon possession in the scripture above experienced similar feelings. He was a tormented man that lived as an outcast for many years, naked and alone in the tombs of Gadara, near Galilee. When he saw Jesus, he fell to his knees and shouted at the top of his voice, begging for mercy from God. Jesus commanded the demons to leave him and then cast them into a herd of pigs that rushed down the steep bank into a lake and drowned. The man was healed physically, but more importantly, spiritually.

He was so overwhelmed with gratitude for what Jesus had done, he begged to travel with Jesus and stay by His side. But Jesus had other plans. Instead, Jesus told him to go and share his story. And he did.

What had once been a burden to bear became a powerful story of holy transformation. This man’s past, and the healing he experienced, became the foundation of a purpose in life that he would have never imagined — living his life as proof of the life-changing power of Jesus.

This man’s story became a testimony he was willing to share with others. How many people believed in Jesus and are now spending eternity with Him simply because this former demon-possessed man willingly allowed his terrible past to become a story of redemption and purpose?

People can cannot deny, dispute or ignore God’s transformational power in someone’s life. Our stories of pain, adversity and overcoming in Christ are meant to serve as a testimony of God’s faithfulness and power, evidence that God really can take what the devil meant for evil and use it for good.

I’ve since learned it is always God’s desire for us to go and share our stories, whether we want to or not.

God never wastes our pain. Only we do. God has a plan a great purpose and a beautiful future for all who believe in Him. Not despite our past, but because of it.

For years I’ve believed in, written about and spoken about the promise found in Jeremiah 29:11, which says “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  Do I still believe it?

During the year of 2016 – which honestly had felt much like a disaster – I had endured one of the most difficult, heartbreaking and horrific storm I’ve ever had to go through.   But I have to admit there have been times when the burden felt too heavy to bear and an overwhelming deluge of emotions seemed to be controlling my mind and my life. I was not only dealing with a divorce, but the painful memories of years of childhood sexual abuse.  There were days when I felt weak, inadequate and hopeless, despite leaning into God as hard as I could.  The future I once thought was secure and all planned was now so uncertain, in addition to the personal sorrow of being catapulted into the unwanted roles of a single woman.

At the time, I loved my husband dearly, and have always prayed fervently for him and our marriage. Over the years, I prayed endlessly for a change in his heart and mind, and even prayed for some type of miraculous restoration to occur if that was God’s will. However, at this point, it seems abundantly, clear that restoration does not appear to be in God’s plan for us.  I have since learned many truths about my marriage that caused me to see that it was never what I thought it was.  Played for a fool in the hands of a man that used me because he could not have the life he desired. An unwilling participant in his obsession with youth and the paradox of what is appropriate and what he desires.  I was forced to play a game, I had no chance of winning. I sadly, realize now, he will never be happy, no matter who he marries until he sheds his old life and confesses, allowing the Lord to shed light on his dark life.

I would have done anything in the world to avoid this happening. However, I’ve finally come to realize through a lot of prayer, faith, and emotional and spiritual healing, that sometimes, no matter how badly we want something, strive for it or pray for it, it may not work out the way we wanted or prayed for.

The reason the Lord wanted me to share is:

God uses the hurting to help the hurting. He uses the redeemed to help redeem. God used a divorced women during my darkest days, early in my divorce healing, to give me hope that I too would survive this divorce… and maybe even thrive someday.

Every day women need to hear that I have been through an abusive marriage and a divorce, that I have been abused as a child, that I have been raped and I’ve healed, and I’m more than thriving on the other side sharing this hope and healing with them. Someone you meet is going to need to hear that you too have been through a divorce or whatever storm you have been through. Seeing how your life is better now, what it took to get through the healing process, and that you’re doing well, which will give someone hope, needed to keep moving forward in her own healing journey.

Whatever God’s purpose is for you, do it to shine a light into the dark places of pain, hurt, and struggles. Your purpose may look very different than mine, and mine different from yours, but we all can be used in distinct ways to comfort others in their times of troubles and use our purpose to benefit the Kingdom of God.

The good news is that God has been incredibly,  faithfully present throughout this storm.  I can see tangible evidence of His speaking hope into my spirit every time I so desperately needed it and how He gave me strength on the hardest of days.

Admittedly my faith has felt weak at times, but I have now personally experienced how God is strongest when we are at our weakest.  His obvious intervention in my life, along with the unconditional love, support, encouragement and prayers from beloved friends and family, are what have carried me this far.

So today, despite it all, I can honestly say I do still wholeheartedly believe in the promise of Jeremiah 29:11.   I truly believe God has a great plan and purpose for what I am going through and for my future.

Although the happenings of 2018 are yet to be known, I am choosing to be hopeful and believe God has a wonderful year ahead with exciting new opportunities, relationships, blessings and adventures in store. I am choosing to believe my story is still being written, and trust God will be with me during the journey.

In His love and trusting in His continued goodness,