Archive for March, 2008

Over and Over

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not the Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:16-18 King James Version

Someone asked me why I keep saying that Jesus loves us over and over in almost every devotion that I write. It is because once you allow the fact that Jesus loves you to penetrate your heart instead of your intellect, you will feel the peace, the joy, the happiness and the excitement that only Jesus can give you even in the midst of the fiery and poisonous darts that satan hurls at you.

Right now, I have a very heavy burden and I am going through a crisis. Of course, our hated enemy, satan, is doing his very best to discourage and defeat me. However, it doesn’t matter what he tries to do, because I have Jesus in my heart and I know that no matter how many times I hurt Him and fail Him, He will forgive me and love me unconditionally.

A Methodist preacher once said "I heard the gospel. I heard the gospel. I heard the gospel, and then praise God, one day I heard the gospel." I am going to keep telling people that Jesus loves them until the day God calls me home. I heard an evangelist on the radio yesterday afternoon who said "There may be some people here who are not saved for one reason or another. Perhaps you don’t know how to be saved."

It is important and urgent that we tell people how to be saved but if they don’t know that Jesus loves them, they are not going to listen to what we are telling them. I remember years ago, someone said to me "You need to be saved". I didn’t even know what being saved meant. I didn’t know that it meant that Jesus loves me so much that He died for me so that I could have my sins forgiven and live with Him for all eternity. I didn’t know that it meant that I had to humble myself, admit that I was a sinner, ask Jesus to forgive me and invite Him into my heart to be my personal Saviour.

Have you allowed it to go from your intellect into your heart that Jesus loves you unconditionally and that He loves you so much that He died for you on the cruel cross of Calvary? You don’t have to feel alone and live a defeated life. Jesus has already defeated satan on the cross. I am going to say it once again Jesus loves you unconditionally. Do you love Him? If so, what are you doing to prove that you love Him?

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.

We Should Feel Guilty

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4: 12 King James Version

Someone sent me an email yesterday and told me that I should never say anything that would make people feel guilty. I submit to you on the authority of the Word of God that if we are doing things and saying things that hurt Jesus, we should feel guilty. In fact, one of my prayers is "Father, if I am doing anything or saying anything that would hurt You, please make me so uncomfortable that I would be nauseous".

He has answered my prayer because every time I say or do something unkind that hurts Him and brings shame to Him, I get very nauseous. It’s not anything that I say that makes people feel guilty and uncomfortable. It is the Word of God that brings conviction. There have been times when I too felt guilty when the pastor said something in the sermon that related to something that I had done or said that I shouldn’t have done or said.

I used to think that the pastor was just trying to make me feel uncomfortable and guilty. Until one Sunday morning, when the pastor preached a sermon on our verse for today. I realized then that the pastor had nothing to do with the guilt that I was feeling. It was the Word of God that was bringing me into account for my actions and thoughts.

I have good news for you. We read in the Bible "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved" (John 3:17). We do not have to feel guilty and ashamed if we will but confess our sins and ask Him to please forgive us. I have heard this comment countless times "You’re a Christian. You’re not supposed to sin and do things you are not supposed to do and you are never supposed to say unkind things to people". That is a true statement. People who claim to be Christians should not say unkind things or do things to hurt people but we do and say them anyway. Christians are not perfect; they are only people who have been saved by the blood of Jesus.

If you are doing things or saying things or thinking things that bring shame to Jesus and hurt Him, stop it. Ask God to please forgive you and help you not to do them again. He will be faithful to forgive you. Don’t allow satan to keep you under condemnation. When God forgives you, He will never hold it against you again. Live victoriously knowing that your sins have been forgiven through the precious blood that Jesus shed for you on the cruel cross of Calvary.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.

God’s Wheelchair of Love

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." Isaiah 61:1-3 King James Version

When God called me to the mission field, He gave me these verses as my calling. I was so awed and humbled that God would call me, a lady who had spent most of her life for over forty years in mental hospitals for severe depression, and entrust me with the mission of encouraging pastors and writing devotions when Jesus inspires me.

I called my Mother and told her that God had called me to the mission field. My Mother was quiet for a couple of minutes and then she said "Who did you say called you?" I said "God called me." She said "You talk like He is real". I said "Mother, He is real." Oh dear friends, He is real. He’s not just something out there in space. We serve a Holy God whose heart is filled with unconditional love, mercy, grace, tenderness, understanding and forgiveness for us.

Jesus has been with me every day since God called me to the mission field. When I become discouraged, Jesus is there to pick me up and put me in His wheelchair of love. He understands that there are times when we feel like giving up because of being criticized so much. He also was criticized and I am sure that He felt like giving up at times. Remember, He was human and He hurt just like you and I do when someone criticized Him. He knows how it feels to have people who you thought were your friends ridicule you, criticize you and withdraw their friendship just when you need them the most.

Jesus has not been here for over two thousand years. He has left us to push the wheelchair for Him. When we see people who are brokenhearted, discouraged, depressed, and suicidal and who feel all alone, we need to encourage them by reassuring them that Jesus loves them unconditionally. We must set them in God’s wheelchair of love. Where would you and I be today if Jesus hadn’t picked us up when we were hurting so badly and encouraged us?

Are you putting people in God’s wheelchair of love? It is not enough to take people out to eat and spend a couple of hours with them during the day. It is at night, when people go to bed that all of the fears, doubts, discouragement and depression overwhelms them. It is then that they desperately need Jesus to tenderly enfold them in His protective and compassionate arms of unconditional love and understanding and hold them close to His heart.

If we don’t tell people the good news of our risen Saviour, they will never know how much He loves them. They will never feel the peace, joy and happiness that only He can give to them. Yes, it may interrupt your busy schedule to encourage someone but Jesus was busier than anyone has ever been or ever will be and He always took the time to encourage people.

How much time are you willing to give to Jesus? The level of our service to Jesus depends on our level of love for Him. Let me repeat that again as it is so important. The level of our service to Jesus depends on our level of love for Him. How much do you love Jesus?

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.

They Just Get Dirty Again

Friday, March 7th, 2008

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
1 John 1:7-10 King James Version

I remember when I was about twelve years old my Mother told me to do the dishes. I was reading a book and I didn’t want to do the dishes then. I told her that I would do them later. She said that I needed to do them then. I got upset and said to her "Why do I have to do the dishes? They just get dirty again". Mother replied "Why do you have to eat? You just get hungry again".

Oh friends, the more that I feed on the Word of God and spend time with my precious Saviour, the hungrier I get for His Word and for Him. There is a song by Robert C. Loveless "Every Day with Jesus". I have lost count of the times I have heard this song. The words are beautiful and they express the joy, happiness and excitement that I feel in my heart when I am in the presence of Jesus.

"Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before. Every day with Jesus, I love Him more and more; Jesus saves and keeps me, and He’s the One I’m waiting for. Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before." What a wonderful song of love and devotion to Jesus. Indeed, every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.

Just as the dishes get dirty again, so our hearts get dirty again and we need Jesus to cleanse our hearts. Because of hurtful words and hurtful things that are done to us, we allow ourselves to become cold and indifferent to people. Unless we go to Jesus as soon as someone hurts us and ask Him to please take the pain and hurt away, our hearts become filled with bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, criticism, sarcasm and ridicule.

Several months ago I received an email from someone who told me "I never make mistakes and I never sin and I don’t get discouraged". I submit to you on the authority of the Word of God that what this person told me is a lie straight from the pits of hell.

Our Scripture for today tells us "If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us". What this person is really saying is that Jesus is a liar. How dare people make Jesus a liar by saying that they never sin! This person also said "I don’t get discouraged". I question the truth of that statement because I believe that when Jesus was here on earth that He got discouraged because people doubted Him.

How is your heart today? Is it filled with bitterness, anger, resentment, jealousy, criticism, sarcasm and hurt? If so, allow Jesus to cleanse your heart and fill it with peace, joy, happiness and unconditional love for others. Christians are not perfect. They are only people who have been saved by the blood of our precious Saviour. Allow Jesus to search your heart today and remove anything that might be hindering your relationship with Him.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.

The Lamp of Love

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

"For thou art my lamp, O Lord: and the Lord will lighten my darkness. For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall. As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him. For who is God, save the Lord? and who is a rock, save our God? God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds feet: and setteth me upon my high places." 2 Samuel 22:29–34 King James Version

When we are constantly bombarded day after day, and hour after hour by satan and the world with criticism, sarcasm and ridicule, we sometimes become discouraged. Many times it feels like we are living in darkness rather than walking in light. Don’t despair and please don’t give up and stop serving Jesus. There is good news, dear friends. Jesus is our lamp of light and love when the darkness of criticism, sarcasm, discouragement, despair and hopelessness overtakes us.

There are times when we can’t read our Bibles or pray because of hurting so badly. It is then that our precious Saviour picks us up and sets us on His lap of unconditional love. As He holds us close to His loving heart of compassion and understanding and rocks us in His protective arms, the darkness fades away and the light of His tender loving care begins to illuminate our hearts again. Once more, He sets us on the mountain tops of happiness. What a Saviour! What a friend, this Jesus of Nazareth!

It is so important that we are encouragers to one another. If we were to encourage one another as Jesus has told us to do, we would have a support system that the world has never known. If every Christian would commit to be an encourager to another person, I believe that we would not need to go into the hospital for emotional problems. When I was in the hospital for emotional problems, the times that I needed someone the most no one was available. Oh, the nurses were always there but on the very rare occasions when I said that I needed to talk, they were always too busy doing paper work. If we are so busy doing material things that we don’t have the time to encourage people, then we are too busy. Not only are we too busy, our priorities are not in the right order.

If you are walking in the darkness of discouragement, defeat, hopelessness and doubts today, reach up and take the hand of Jesus. His hand is outstretched and He is waiting for you to take His hand. He will be faithful to wipe the tears of hurt from your eyes and from your heart with His tender kisses of love and understanding.

There is no one like Jesus! No one loves you like our precious Saviour and our dear Heavenly Father loves you. You don’t have to walk in the darkness. In fact, you can’t walk through the darkness of this world by yourself. You don’t have the power to withstand satan. Allow Jesus to encourage you and brighten your heart and your life with His lamp of love.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.

Two Recipes: One for Success and One for Failure

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

"’When leaders lead in Israel, when the people willingly offer themselves, bless the Lord!’
… In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 5:2; 17:6).

I’ve been studying the Book of Judges lately, and in doing so, I came across two recipes: one for success and one for failure.

The recipe for success is found in Judges 5:2, where we read the opening lines of Deborah’s victory song. Having just led the Israelites in a successful vanquishing of their enemy, Deborah declares that "when the leaders lead" and "when the people willingly offer themselves," it is time to bless the Lord. Why? No doubt because only the Lord’s miraculous moving could effect such elements of victory.

You see, "in those days there was no king [leader] in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." That, of course, is the recipe for failure: a lack of strong, godly leadership on the part of those who should have been setting the pace and the standard for the people, and a resulting lack of submission to leadership on the part of the people. When the people lack godly leadership, they will "do their own thing," and the results will be disastrous. When godly leaders step up to the plate and the people "willingly offer themselves" to follow, victory is assured.

In a time of history when we in America once again prepare to choose leaders for our temporary lives here on earth, this is a good principle to keep in mind: choose the recipe for success, not for failure. Even more important, however, is the need for we who are God’s people to keep this recipe in mind regarding our eternal lives. If we want victory in the spiritual realm, then strong, godly leaders must commit themselves to lead (whether or not that wins them any popularity contests!), and the people must commit themselves to follow. That, of course, means walking according to what God says is right—not what’s right in our own eyes.

Whether called to lead or to follow, spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today so that you may know what God says is right—and then walk accordingly. Victory is right around the corner!

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored seventeen books. Her newest book “Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World” (New Hope Publishers, July 2008) The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

Our Firm Foundation

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 1 Corinthians 3: 11–13 King James Version

Jesus Christ is our foundation. He is the foundation of our lives and the foundation of our hearts. One of the definitions for the word "foundation" in Webster’s Dictionary is "an underlying base or support". Indeed, Jesus is our support through the storms of life. If we don’t have Jesus as our foundation, we will sink in despair and discouragement and stay there when satan and the world attack us.

Jesus is the one who protects us from the attacks of satan and the world. If we build our lives upon the foundation of Jesus, we don’t have to stay in despair and discouragement when satan and the world hurl their fiery darts of criticism and sarcasm at us. Jesus is more than able to lift us up from the depths of despair and discouragement and once again set our feet on the mountain tops of happiness and joy.

In this corrupted and sinful world that we are living in, we have all kinds of temptations. The television is one of the most harmful tools that satan uses to attack us. It is extremely harmful because it is filled with violence, profanity, sexual scenes and all other things which hurt Jesus and bring shame to His precious name.

We wonder why our teenagers are tempted to do things that they shouldn’t do and why they are disobedient to their parents and to people in authority. It is because they see people being disobedient on television and to them it looks glamorous and exciting. It’s not just the television that is dangerous. It is all of the media that the world is using to broadcast or spread the news. Yes, we need to know what is going on but it does not need to be broadcast over and over and dwelt on.

The Bible clearly tells us that we are not to dwell on these negative and sinful events. We read in the Bible "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Philippians 4: 8).

If we read the newspapers and watch television and listen to the radio more than we read our Bibles and spend time with Jesus, we are not only disobeying God, we are hurting Him. He has told us to think on good things not on harmful and sinful things. Rarely do we read in the newspapers, or see on television or hear on the radio about people getting saved and hearts and lives being changed by the mercy and forgiveness of God. May God forgive us for dwelling on the news of the world rather than on the good news that we have been given by our loving Heavenly Father.

There are times when we try to build on the world’s foundation of drugs, alcohol and all other things which the world promises us will take our pain and heartaches away. It has never worked and it never will work. Our precious Saviour is the only one who can take the devastating and crippling depression, the pain and agony, and the heartaches from our heart.

There might be a temporary relief from the pain and the heartaches by using drugs and drinking alcohol but it doesn’t last. When the effects wear off, the pain and the heartaches are still there. Only Jesus can give us a permanent remedy for our pain, our sorrows, our burdens and our heartaches. What are you building on the foundation of Jesus? Are you building good things that please Jesus or are you building negative things?

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.

A Holy God

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Genesis 3:19 King James Version

Over the last three years, I have received several emails from people who were upset because they had prayed and asked God for newer cars, bigger houses and other material things and He didn’t give them what they had asked Him for. How dare you and I get upset with God when He doesn’t do what we want Him to do. He knows better than we do what is good for us and what is in His perfect will for our lives. We would do well to remember our Scripture verse “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

Sometimes we act like God is a puppet and all we have to do is pull His strings to make Him perform for us. God is not a name it and claim it God. He is a holy God and we need to treat Him with the respect that He deserves. Thank God for His mercy and for His forgiveness or we would be in serious trouble. He loves us so much that He gave His Son to die for us. If He would do that for us, we should never doubt that He loves us even when He doesn’t give us what we think that we need.

I think that all of us would like to live in a beautiful big house and drive a fancy car but we don’t need these things. God allows us to have these things because He wants us to be happy, not because we need them. If we have food to eat, clothes to wear and a house to live in, then we have all the material things that we really need.

Someone sent me an email two years ago and told me “There are too many days in the month and not enough money for the days.” This person is on Social Security and sometimes doesn’t have enough money to buy all of the things that he needs. He told me that when he was working that he had made a lot of money. He said that he has a nice retirement fund but because of the prices being so high, the money is almost gone. If you have food to eat, clothes to wear and a house to keep you protected from the weather, then God has provided all that you need so remember to thank Him for His provisions.

You can drive the newest car, live in the biggest house and have all the material things that you want, but if you don’t have Jesus in your heart, none of those things mean anything. God is not impressed with our material possessions. What touches His heart is the condition of our hearts. Is He happy when He sees what is in your heart or is He sad?

Have you thanked God today for the bed that you sleep on? There are many people who do not have a bed to sleep on. Have you thanked Him for the three meals you eat every day? There are some people who only have enough food to eat once a day. Let’s stop complaining to God because we don’t have all that we think we need or want. Instead of complaining, let’s start thanking and praising God for His unconditional love and for providing all that we need.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved

The Cleansing Blood of Jesus

Saturday, March 1st, 2008

"But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children." 1 Thessalonians 2:7 King James Version

As I was taking some paper off of the toilet paper roll in the bathroom yesterday morning, I realized that the brand of toilet paper I am using now is a lot softer than some brands of toilet paper I have used. Just as we have toilet paper to clean our bodies, so we have the precious blood of Jesus to clean our hearts. When Jesus applies His blood to our hearts, our sins are washed away never to be remembered or held against us again.

We read in the Bible "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us" (Psalm 103: 12). Not only does Jesus forgive us for our sins, He does not dwell on what we did to hurt Him. He forgives us from His heart of compassion and He is gentle with us as a nurse is with a patient. When He forgives us, He doesn’t say to us when we sin again "You did that last week".

When He forgives us; He forgets what we did. That does not mean that He has a poor memory. It means that He makes the decision to act as if we had never sinned and hurt Him. Oh, that you and I would act like people have never hurt us when we forgive them.

Many times we tell them that we forgive them but we dwell on what they did to hurt us. We have not forgiven them from our hearts. All we did was tell them that we forgave them. Until and unless we forgive people from our hearts, we have not forgiven them. If Jesus were to look into your heart right now, would He see bitterness and unforgiveness for the ones who have hurt you?

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for the cleansing and redeeming blood of Jesus which wipes away our sins. Thank You for loving us so much that one day You opened Your heart of compassion and sent Your beloved Son into the world so that we might have the forgiveness of our sins. Thank You, sweet precious Jesus, for Your sacrifice for us on the cross of Calvary and for Your cleansing blood which takes away our sins. Amen.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.