Archive for April, 2008

The Weeding Never Stops

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4: 31-32 King James Version

I asked someone yesterday how her garden and flowers were coming along. She replied “It seems I just get one area weeded and it is time to weed another area.” I immediately thought about how God has to constantly weed our hearts to get rid of the bitterness, resentment, jealousy, hatred, criticism and other things that hurt Him and bring shame to Him.

Many times we start our day with joy, peace and happiness but because of crises and difficult situations that arise and critical remarks that people make to us, we sometimes allow these weeds to spring up again in our hearts. Once again God has to weed our hearts so we will be able to serve Him effectively and bring forth fruits that honor Him. “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1: 11).

Have you ever heard someone say “Why should I forgive them? It wasn’t my fault. It was their fault.” More important, have you ever said that to someone? I have said that to people many times in my life until one day it finally penetrated my heart that God is kind and gracious enough to forgive me time after time when I fail Him. It hurts Him when I refuse to forgive the ones who have hurt me. God also reminded me that I hurt people also and that if I want them to forgive me, I had better be willing to forgive them.

Jesus gave us the greatest object lesson that anyone could ever give on forgiveness. “And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots” (Luke 23: 33, 34).

How dare you and I not forgive people when they hurt us when God is merciful and gracious to forgive us when we don’t deserve His forgiveness? One day, all of us will stand before a Holy God and give an account of the way we treated one another.

Have you allowed the weeds of resentment, jealousy, criticism, hatred and bitterness to choke the fruits of the Holy Spirit? If so, I urge you to go to our Heavenly Father who is the Master Gardener and ask Him to forgive you.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.

Somebody Has to Set Up the Chairs

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

2 Kings 3:11
Elisha the son of Shaphat is here,
who poured water on the hands of Elijah.

I’ll never forget the time that God spoke to my heart about direction for my life in 2007. He said, “Somebody has to set up the chairs.” For someone who is passionate about teaching the Word of God, whether orally or in written form, that was a tough instruction to assimilate. And yet I knew God was telling me that it was a time in my life of “setting up chairs” for others to proclaim the gospel, a time of serving in the background and giving myself away for the benefit of others in public ministry, as well as for those they ministered to daily.

After “arm wrestling” the Spirit of God for a while (and losing!), I finally gave in and submitted myself to what God had called me to for that season. As it turned out, it was one of the most rewarding and blessed seasons of my life. Like Elisha, I “poured water on the hands” of others in public ministry, and when the seasons changed, God blessed me with a “double portion” of His anointing on the work of my own hands. I am grateful beyond words for what God is now allowing me to do, both in my writing and speaking.

However, if He calls me back to another season of setting up chairs or pouring water on the hands of others, I know now that it too will be a blessed time of service, a time when the ministry He’s entrusted to me will be multiplied many times over. For when I insist on being the one in the limelight, the one who is center-stage in visible ministry, I limit that ministry to what I myself can do. And, according to Jesus, what I can do without Him is absolutely nothing!

I once heard someone say that if we insist on manufacturing our own ministry platform, we will also have to manufacture our own anointing. How true that is and how humbling! May we all have hearts that are willing to serve wherever God places us, whether publicly or pouring water on the hands of others. If we will maintain that attitude and serve accordingly, we will see the power of God working in and through us, changing the lives of those around us, as well as many we may never meet this side of glory.

Don’t worry about award and accolades, dear ones; seek only the applause of heaven, and God will bless you with the double portion necessary to fulfill His purposes for your life.

Copyright 2008 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
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

The Fires of Discouragement

Monday, April 7th, 2008

“Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” James 3: 5-10 King James Version

I have received sixteen emails in the last seven weeks from people who are discouraged because of being criticized so much. Our enemy, satan, is out to discourage all of us and he proved it yesterday because he attacked me with criticism most of the day. I received two emails yesterday from people who were very critical and judgmental of the devotions that Jesus inspires me to write.

Apparently, satan didn’t think I was discouraged enough with those criticizing emails that I received yesterday because someone verbally attacked me off and on for three hours. This person told me that I am no good. This person also told me that I was stupid and have been stupid all my life and that I will never change.

I am quoting what this person said to me yesterday “You are just kidding yourself if you think that God loves you because you are just as rotten as you were when you were younger.” I have to admit that statement really hurt me and I had to run into the outstretched arms of my precious Saviour and let Him hold me close to His compassionate and loving heart. He gently and tenderly reassured me that He does indeed love me. He wiped away the hurt from my heart with His gentle and tender kisses. There is no friend like Jesus!

I submit to you on the authority of the Word of God that when Jesus saves us, we belong to God and are part of the family of God. “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 John 4: 4). The next time people start criticizing you, tell them that you belong to God and tell them “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

When I was a young girl at home, I remember going to my Mother one time and telling her that one of my classmates at school had said something cruel to me. She replied “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.” I believed her for a long time until the cruel words that people said to me caused me to go into a deep, crippling depression. Criticizing words do discourage and hurt us.

Father, please keep us from saying hateful and criticizing words that would discourage someone. Would you please filter our words so that when they come out of our mouths they would encourage people? “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalm 19: 14). Amen.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe. All rights reserved.

Our Hearts, Our Home, Our Country

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

“If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.” 2 Chronicles 7:13-15 King James Version

Last night while eating my dinner, I sat in my recliner to relax and turned on the television to see if there were any family programs on at that time. There were no family programs. There was a program with children and their parents and they were in a counseling session. I am always interested in anything to do with counseling so I watched it.

However, I had only watched it for ten minutes when the title of the program flashed across the screen “Wife Swap”. I immediately turned it off and became very nauseous. I always get nauseous when I am upset. It’s bad enough that it showed the couples who were involved in the wife swap but to show their children is in very poor taste and very wrong!

One day, all of those people who acted in that show and all of the people who produced it or had anything to do with it at all and those who watched it will stand before a Holy God and give an account of why they subjected those little children to such trash and sex talk. May God have mercy on them! However, instead of condemning them, we need to pray for them that they will humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways.

We wonder why our country is in such turmoil and why we have wars and violence. It is because our homes are in turmoil. However, it doesn’t start in our homes, it starts in our hearts. We will never have any kind of peace in our country until we have peace in our homes and we will never have peace in our homes unless our hearts are right with God. We must humble ourselves and turn from our wicked ways.

We read in the Bible “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Ezekiel 36: 26, 27).

The prices of groceries keep rising. God addressed this issue in the Bible “And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen. (Ezekiel 36: 28 ? 30).

It is time that we who claim to be Christians humble ourselves and ask God to please forgive us for sinning and for hurting Him. We must allow God to cleanse our hearts of all bitterness, resentment, hatred, jealousy, and all other things which hurt Him and brings shame to Him. Instead of blaming everyone else for what is wrong in our lives, we must examine our hearts and see if there is anything in our own hearts that offends God.

What condition is your heart in today? If Jesus were to return for us today, would you be able to look Him in the eyes or would you have to hang your head in shame? This devotion is not for the lost who have never accepted Jesus as their personal Saviour. It is for those of us who claim to be saved through the precious atoning blood of Jesus.

The Bible makes it very clear that it is for Christians. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Again, what condition is your heart in today? If you want to have peace in your home and in our country, allow Jesus to give you a heart checkup and remove anything that hurts Him. If we want peace in our country, it must first start in our hearts and then in our homes. Only then will we please our Heavenly Father and make Him happy.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.

Your Sins Are Forgiven

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

“For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
Psalm 103:11-12 King James Version

I receive a lot of emails from people who are allowing satan to put guilt trips on them for their past sins and mistakes. They are still living in bondage to satan. I submit to you on the authority of the Word of God that if you have asked Jesus to forgive you for your sins and invited Him into your heart to be your personal Saviour, you are forgiven. Don’t let satan keep you in bondage. You have been set free through the precious atoning blood of our Saviour. We read in the Bible “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8: 12).

The word “fear” in our Scripture verse does not mean to be afraid of God. It means that we should treat Him with the respect, honor and dignity that He deserves. We serve a Holy God and He and Jesus are to be exalted and praised. Our Heavenly Father is a merciful Father. He does not hold our past sins against us any longer and He never reminds us of them again. If our sins have been put under the precious blood of Jesus, our sins have been forgiven and forgotten!

It makes satan very happy if he can cause us to have doubts. We need to remember that satan is very sneaky. We can be on the mountain top of happiness, joy and peace. Everything is going wonderful in our lives. There are no crises or difficult situations in our lives when all of a sudden we feel the sharp arrows of satan in our backs. Once again, we have doubts because we have listened to that liar. We need to realize that satan is a liar.

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own, for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8: 44). We should constantly be on guard against his vicious attacks. We read in the Bible “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5: 8).

Have you asked Jesus to forgive you for your sins and come into your heart and be your personal Saviour? If not, I urge you; I plead with you to say “yes” to Jesus before it is too late! If you have asked Jesus to forgive you and to come into your heart to be your personal Saviour, your sins are forgiven. You can walk victoriously in the freedom that Jesus has given you through His precious atoning blood which He shed for you on the cruel cross of Calvary.

There is a song that I used to sing in Sunday School that I love “If the devil doesn’t like it, he can sit on a tack.” Tell that sneaky devil to not only sit on a tack but to lie on a tack. Tell him that your sins are forgiven and forgotten and to leave you alone. You do not have to live a defeated life. Jesus has set you free from the bondage of satan. You have a choice to make. You can listen to satan and his lies or you can believe Jesus when He tells you that you are forgiven. Who are you listening to, Jesus or satan?

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.