Crown of Righteousness

Crown Of Righteousness

 

2 Timothy 4:8

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only,

but unto all them also that love his appearing.

A Crown of Righteousness

A Crown of Righteousness seems like an impossible dream to those of us living in a very dark and sinful world.  A world where sinful acts are celebrated and published for the whole world to see.  A world where infants in the womb are not safe, old people are abandoned and left on their own, where citizens are concerned about walking in their own towns for fear of attack.  Poverty and lack abounds all over the world.  Yet in the midst of all that the Bible promises we can live a righteous life.  How can that happen?

When Jesus took our place on the cross of Calvary, He took all our sins and bore the punishment of them.  He replaced hopelessness with hope and joy.  He became sin that we can become righteous through Him.  It is not how “good” we are, how many works we do for Him that make us righteous.  Rather it the finished work of the Cross of Christ.  We have become righteous in Him. I love the way Paul the Apostle puts it.  He was pursuing righteousness.  His heart was following hard after Jesus Christ.  His old ways were pushed out of the way as he pursued Jesus.  He was determined to win that “crown of righteousness”.  Let us take up that same call today.  Let us pursue Jesus and the work of righteousness in our own lives.

2 Corinthians 5:21

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;

that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Philippians 3:8-14

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:  10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.  12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.  13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

 

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The Place of Joyfulness

The Place Of Joyfulness

 

Psalm 100

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
 Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

Where is our place of joyfulness?

Where is our place of joyfulness?  Is it a physical place?  Can we structure our lives to include a physical place to be joyful?  Is it our family dinner table when  the family is gathered there?  Is it a front porch swing where we enjoy the singing of the birds and the neighbors passing by?  How about a quiet place in our home we go to pray and study the Word of God?  While in any of these places joy can be found, they cannot produce it.

Joyfulness is a choice and a gift at the same time.  The Lord brings us joy by being in our lives.  When we reflect on who God is and what He has done in our lives, joy automatically shows up.  Whether or not we receive that joy, participate and fully respond to it, is our choice.   The Bible is filled with verses about joy, how to receive it and how it can be restored.  It even declares that God inhabits our praises!  Talk about a place of joy.  The wonder of the Creator and Lord of all, living in our praises and also respecting our response to Him, should fill our hearts with joy. (Psalm 22:3)  The prophet Nehemiah had a revelation of joy in a different way.  In Nehemiah 8:10 he declares that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  The thought of strength filling us through the joy of the Lord should resound in us like an anthem.

When we choose to be a joyful person, we also choose to share it with others.  How can our joy not spill out on others?  It is so contagious that just getting near a joyful person causes us to be lifted up.  Let us choose the joyful places in life rather than bitterness and sorrow.  Let us allow the Lord’s own joy be our strength.  Father God, help us to start spreading joy everywhere we go.  Ready?  Let’s get going!

 

 

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How Is Your Love Walk?

How Is Your Love Walk?

 

Ephesians 5

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;  And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.

John 13:34-35

A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

What Does A Love Walk Look Like?

Have you ever wondered how your love walk looks to the Lord Jesus?  When we are following Him with the best of our ability, through our eyes we may see failure or success according to our emotions.  But, what does the Lord see?  What does our family see?  What does the world around us see?  Does that sound like a painful place to consider?  We judge ourselves through flesh eyes so many times, never checking out our heart.  Are our hearts following hard after the Lord?  Do we desire to please Him?  Are we allowing Him to lead us into a spiritual life rather than staying in the flesh?

If we can answer those questions through the eyes of faith, we might see a different picture.  All those little acts of kindness that have become a part of who we are in Christ are usually blind to us.  We are no longer looking for pats on the back, but just want to reach out to others.  Those times we reached out in prayer in the darkness of the night for friends and family are a heart habit.  All those kind thoughts we have for our fellow believers just grow there the more we follow Christ Jesus.

Do we fail to walk in love all the time?  Of course we do, we have not reached a place of perfection and won’t till after we reach Heaven.  Our heart goal on this side is be more like Christ Jesus.  I love the verse in Acts 10:38 that describes the acts of Jesus on earth.  “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”  If we want to be like Jesus and walk in love, we need to start doing the same things.  In our everyday life, share the love we have received from God with those we meet.

The hardest two areas to walk in love are with family and strangers.  Our family knows all our secrets and delight sometimes to point out all our faults in front of others. To walk in love in those kinds of moments takes the grace of God and the decision not to respond in kind.  By setting a holy example before our families, we can change the atmosphere at home.  When strangers curse us and act in anger or disrespect it is equally hard to walk in love.  Our heart cry can change to one of “let me see them through Your eyes, Lord.”  Romans 5:5 declares that “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”   We are not alone in our love walk.  The Holy Ghost is here to help us learn to be like Jesus.

In this “LOVE” month, let us strive to understand just what that really means. How much love did it take the Father to allow his beloved son, Jesus to die on the cross for us?  How can we show more love to our part of the world?  Lord God, help us to fulfill the commandment Jesus left us, to “love one another”.

 

 

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Beholding His Glory

Beholding His Glory

Psalm 27:4

One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple.

Our heart cry is to behold His Glory!

We only see a small portion of the glory of God in our daily lives.  We see the beautiful sunrise and sunsets and all the glory of His creation, yet it is only the tip of the iceberg of who God really is.  Can we as humans really behold His glory?  Is it possible for our hearts to be opened up to the majesty and glory of Jesus our Redeemer?  Yes!  Because we are His, we have access into the very heart of God.  There lies the true glory, a magnificent Creator God who loves His creation and wants to have relationship with us.  Every time we allow Him entrance into our lives, His glory touches us.  The more we open our hearts, our very beings to Him, the more He responds back.  Glory-upon-glory of His personage is being released for us to behold.  It is an awesome thing to be allowed to see Him.  The glory of the sunset is only a reflection of a small part of His creation.  Those who seek Him, who follow hard after Him will see more of the glory of God in their lives.  May we choose to look for His glory this year, in our worship and praise, in our obedience and outreach and in the deepest part of our heart being open to Him.

Psalm 113 (NKJV)

1 Praise the Lord!  Praise, O servants of the Lord,
Praise the name of the Lord!
Blessed be the name of the Lord
From this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its going down
The Lord’s name is to be praised.

The Lord is high above all nations,
His glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God,
Who dwells on high,
Who humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in the heavens and in the earth?

He raises the poor out of the dust,
And lifts the needy out of the ash heap,
That He may seat him with princes—
With the princes of His people.
He grants the barren woman a home,
Like a joyful mother of children.

Isaiah 25:9 And it will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”

2 Corinthians 3:17,18

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

 

 

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Looking With Hope

Looking With Hope

Romans 5:1-5

1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Hebrews 12 (NKJV)

1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Looking with hope?

That seems like an impossibility in the world we live in.  There is so much violence, sadness and loss in our world. Constant turmoil boils around us, the television and newspapers declaring hopelessness in every corner of the world.  It would seem there is no place of hope or peace left on the planet.

Yet, the Bible has a lot to say about hope.  There is a place of hope to be found.  We have to look for it as a treasure.  We can have both hope and peace in Him.  Jesus Himself was able to find that place of hope by seeing into the future with joyful hope.  He saw an end to sin and death if He would go to the cross and take our place.  In Hebrews 12, it says “endured” the cross because He had a hope at the end of it.  He saw a world of men and women all freed from sin and spending eternity with the Godhead in Heaven.

By following His example, we can “lay aside” those things that are a constant worry.  Choosing instead to trust Him over worrisome things and receive His peace during troubled days.  He also offers us courage and strength to go through life, with all its evil companions  allowing our hope to be our guide till the end.

Our prayer this year is for us all to reach into that place of hope and allow it to produce our faith in times of sorrow, sadness, loss and struggle.  When we learn how to lean on Jesus and give Him access to our heart, we can learn to walk free of the worry and anxiety that life shoves in our face.  Will there be temptations to fear, worry and fret?  Yes, of course, we just have to stop letting them be the focus and instead keep our eyes on Jesus, our fearless Leader.

Psalm 16:9

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.

Psalm 31:24

Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord.

Psalm 33:18-19

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
19 To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.

Psalm 42:5

Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.

Psalm 119:114

You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.

 

 

 

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Come Close To God

Come Close to God

James 4 (NLT)

1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

What are the steps to come close to God?

We have to realize our future is in Heaven not here on earth.  Any future plans have to include our eternal life.  When we want the world’s pleasure and acceptance more than we want nearness with God, we will be separated from His presence.  Not because He desires that, but because the two worlds don’t mix well.  The world’s goal is a self-pleasing lifestyle.  Everything is centered on the big “ME”.  If we are not comfortable, entertained, well-fed, pleasured and pampered, we start whining and complaining.

The Kingdom of God is centered on the work of the Cross and the great sacrifice Jesus made to pay the price of man’s sin.  He was crucified to pay our blood price.  He died and went into hell to take our place.  He rose from the dead and sits on the right hand of God, ever making intercession for us.  All those actions made a way for mankind to be reconciled to God, once and for all.  The new life we lead after we accept Jesus as Savior is one of serving others, not ourselves.  This does not mean our needs are not met, on the contrary, we now can trust the Lord Jesus to help us in all our needs, spiritual, soulish and physical.  He steps in as our Provider.  His great love for us, leads Him to open all the treasures of Heaven for us.

The way we come close to God is to choose what is more important.  Is our belly being full more important than helping someone who has no food?  Can we learn to share what we have with them?  Is having our own way more important than fellowship and friendship with others?  Do we need to be number one in life, or can we be satisfied to be one of the followers of Christ without ever gaining earthly recognition?  When we look at all the things that rule our lives, the choice to be like Jesus is ours.  If we want fellowship and closeness to God, we have to choose Him over our own wants and trust Him to meet our needs.  We can rest in Him and not strive and struggle to “get” stuff.

James clearly points out our failures in chapter 4.  He declares that if we want closeness with God, we need to humble ourselves, resist the devil’s temptations then we can come close to God and He will come close to us!  Let us take an honest look at our motives this year and allow the Lord to help us let go of the world’s way of life.  There is much peace to be found in the Lord’s Kingdom.

John 3:14-20 (NKJV)

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 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. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

Isaiah 59:2

But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.

Romans 8 (NKJV)

Free from Indwelling Sin

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Sonship Through the Spirit

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

From Suffering to Glory

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us[b]with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

God’s Everlasting Love

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 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.

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Resounding Praise!

Resounding Praise!

Psalm 146 (ERV)

Praise the Lord!
My soul, praise the Lord!
I will praise the Lord all my life.
I will sing praises to him as long as I live.
Don’t depend on your leaders for help.
Don’t depend on people, because they cannot save you.
People die and are buried.
Then all their plans to help are gone.
It is a great blessing for people to have the God of Jacob to help them.
They depend on the Lord their God.
He made heaven and earth.
He made the sea and everything in it.
He can be trusted to do what he says.
He does what is right for those who have been hurt.
He gives food to the hungry.
The Lord frees people locked up in prison.
The Lord makes the blind see again.
The Lord helps those who are in trouble.
The Lord loves those who do right.
The Lord protects strangers in our country.
He cares for widows and orphans,
but he destroys the wicked.
10 The Lord will rule forever!
Zion, your God will rule forever and ever!  Praise the Lord!

What is Resounding Praise?

When we think about God and who He is, do we have a heart filled with joy?  Do we get excited thinking about all He has done for us?  Does the wonders of God’s creation make our breath stop at times?  Sunsets, sunrises, an horse loping across the field, a hawk soaring overhead or the beauty of a smile, a warm hug…do any of those type of things cause us to smile with joy?  That is essence is experiencing the works of God.  Those wonderful days of peace and rest, the times He answers our heart’s cry, the manifestation of His holy presence in our midst all should make our hearts expand with praise and thanksgiving.

Resounding praise is our response to His greatness.  It is our exuberance and shouting out our wonder and praise at His mighty works in our lives.  While we usually have a daily place of thanksgiving and wonder at His relationship with us, resounding praise is an outward and very expressive response used for those times when we are overwhelmed with how much He loves and cares for us.  It can include shouting, singing, worshipping in song and just voice, dancing, jumping and even running with joy!  All of our being is responding at one time to Him.

When we see someone responding like that and question their motives…we need to think about how much God has done for us.  If we start thanking Him and listing the things He has done for us, the times  He loved us through bad times and brought us out, He protected us from harm, held us close in times of grief, provided for our financial needs when we were at our wit’s end.  We might just find ourselves joining in!  We as believers in God and his son, Jesus need to be more responsive and expressive in our praise.  Without the intervention of Jesus, we all would be lost.  Let freedom of worship and praise resound in our midst.

The Bible says we should be like children.  They don’t hold back, they fling themselves into life.  We may have to be more childlike to enter into Resounding Praise.  The Father God, does not hold back when blessing us, and we should not hold back when blessing Him back.

Psalm 8:2 (ERV)

From the mouths of children and babies come songs of praise to you.
They sing of your power to silence your enemies who were seeking revenge.

 

Matthew 18:2-4  (ERV)

Jesus called a little child to come to him. He stood the child in front of the followers. Then he said, “The truth is, you must change your thinking and become like little children. If you don’t do this, you will never enter God’s kingdom. The greatest person in God’s kingdom is the one who makes himself humble like this child.

 

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Prime Your Well of Praise

Prime Your Well of Praise

Isaiah 12:3

“Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

Is your well of praise dried up?  Is it hard to really get into praise and thanksgiving to God?  Perhaps it is time to do some priming of the well.  So many things can clog the well. Sorrow, anger, loss, bitterness, sickness, disappointments and so forth can cause us to draw back from praising the Lord God.  Our flesh gets tired, our soul gets frustrated and angry and our patience in “waiting on the Lord” gets really short sometimes.  Any one or combination of these things can cause our praise well to get clogged up or even to dry up completely.

How can we prime our well of praise?

Let’s go back and read the rest of the story in Isaiah 12.

Isaiah 12 (KJV)

“1 And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.  Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.  Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.  And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.  Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.  Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.”

In these verses we see some steps to take:

  1. I will praise Thee  Even though we feel He is angry, we accept His comfort.
  2. I acknowledge Him as my salvation through Jesus Christ
  3. I will trust Him and not be afraid
  4. I declare that He is my strength and my song
  5. Then joy comes back to me and I can now draw out of the wells of salvation

Out of that restoration of relationship comes:

  1. Praise to the Lord
  2. Return of prayer and trust in His provision
  3. Return of telling others about His greatness
  4. Exhalting His name publicly
  5. Singing unto Him, telling Him of all His wonderful works
  6. And a great jubilation and shouting over who He is.
We are the controlling factor in priming our well

As long as we allow our own pain and personal frustration be center front in our lives, we will not be willing to praise the Lord freely.  It takes a commitment to “do it anyway” to become free of dryness of soul and spirit.  Our well has to be primed from our side to allow the Lord the freedom to move in our lives.  He will never force His way into our lives.  His work in us and through us comes from an open invitation from us.  We ask in faith, believing He will work in our lives and He accepts that invitation and helps us change.

Let’s look at another Scripture about this:

Psalm 63 (KJV)

“1 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;  To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.  Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.  Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.  My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:  When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.  Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.  My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.”

We see here David is weary and dry and troubled.  He chooses to seek the Lord, to search out where He is.  It would seem that the Lord left David, we know the opposite is true.  David was doing his own thing and missed the path the Lord had laid out for him.  We do the same thing, when we allow the troubles in our lives to be more important than God.

How did David get out of the depressing self-pity?  He sought God, he praised Him, he ate the Word of God as honey.  He also acknowledged the way God had been in the past.  He knew God was good, so he sought that goodness.  In the end, he got victory and was able to praise the Lord with a free heart.  We can do the same thing!

Praise You Lord in the midst of our life issues!

 

 

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Stop, Drop and Roll in the Spirit

Stop, Drop and Roll in the Spirit

Do you have a “prevention plan” in place?  When a crisis situation in your life hits, do you have some Scriptures memorized to help you prevent a total disaster?  The fire departments all over the United States teach grade school children to “stop, drop and roll” in a fire situation.  They practice it even with younger children, so that if a fire was to happen, they don’t panic, they act out what they were trained to do in the emergency.

We as Christians, need our own tool kit of Prevention Plans.  We need an inventory of what to do in the “what ifs” of life.  When fear tries to attack us, when sickness hits us or our loved ones, when lack, anger, temptation, laziness…the list goes on, present themselves before us, we need a defense shield, then  an attack plan.  It is not enough to know to “stop, drop and roll”, we have to get out of the danger zone.  Leave the place of the fiery trial and come to safety.

The following are some good Scriptures to have in our Prevention Plan Kit:

Temptation:

1 Thessalonians 5:21-23 Amplified Bible

21 But test all things carefully [so you can recognize what is good]. Hold firmly to that which is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil [withdraw and keep away from it].

Ephesians 4:32

17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:  19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.  20 But ye have not so learned Christ;  21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:  22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;  23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.  25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.  26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil.  28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Fear:

1 Timothy 1:7

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Psalm 27:1-3

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

Anger:

Proverbs 15:1
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
Proverbs 15:18
A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.
Proverbs 16:32
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
Proverbs 19:11
The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.
Laziness:
Proverbs 19:15 ERV
Laziness brings on sleep, and an appetite for rest brings on hunger.
Sickness:

Psalm 107:20 Easy-to-Read Version 

20 He gave the command and healed them,
    so they were saved from the grave.

Psalm 103:3
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
Psalm 147:3
He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
James 5:16
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
1 Peter 2:24
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
These verses are just a small starting place of having a great Prevention Plan Kit.  When we learn these verses, plan ahead to speak them in faith during that crisis time, we are more prepared to deal with life’s challenges. We will face many challenges in this year.  If we know ahead what the Lord says about some of them, we will be able to deflect the terror and stress darts aimed to stop us in our tracks.  May we all gather a good set of “stop, drop and roll” tactics this year.  The Lord is able to deliver us from all things.  It just makes it a lot quicker, when we have the Word in our hearts to stand on.

 

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Transitions and Transformations

 

Transitions and Transformations

Transitions: noun

movement, passage, or change from one position, state, stage, subject, concept, etc., to another; change:

From poverty to wealth

From sickness to health

From loneliness to family

From a junked out car to a working safe car

From a falling down house to a whole safe livable home

All of these things have outside influences. They are changes that occur from the outside and involve other people to accomplish them.

Deuteronomy 7:12-15

12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers:

13 And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.

14 Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.

15 And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.

Psalm 115:14

The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your children.

Transformations: noun

1.the act or process of transforming.

2.the state of being transformed.

3.change in form, appearance, nature, or character.

From ignorance to knowledge, wisdom and understanding

From weakness to “strong in the Lord and the power of His might”

From fear to boldness and courage

From apathy to enthusiasm in Him

From prayerlessness to prayerfulness

From rebellious to surrendered to Him

From shattered life to wholeness

From powerlessness to strength in the Spirit

All of these things are from inside us.  We are changed internally and spiritually to accomplish transformation.  It includes changes of attitude, submission, courage and actions we accept and obey.  No one can change us without our cooperation.  They can force us to do actions, for example on your job, a certain chore is part of it.  But heart change makes us obey willingly and joyfully.  Only the Lord God can help us change our inside person permanently.  Our own efforts seem to change with each new circumstance.  Transformation makes a permanent change of the heart.

Proverbs 1:1-7

The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;

To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;

To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;

To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 

Romans 12

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

2 Corinthians 3:17,18

17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Are we ready for transitions and transformations?

We are the controlling factor in either action.  If our faith is in God’s great ability to change our circumstances and to change us, we will have both events happening. We must allow Him entrance into our lives, He does not control us without our permission.  We can look forward to those transitions and transformations in our lives this year if we surrender our wills to Him.  Growth only happens when we have both transitions and transformations in action.

 

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