Archive for May, 2008

Our Rock of Protection

Friday, May 16th, 2008

“And David spake unto the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul: And he said, The Lord is my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.” 2 Samuel 22:1-3 King James Version

We are living in a world that is filled with hatred and violence. There is chaos everywhere we go but we have a rock of protection, the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only is He our rock of protection; He is our dependable rock. “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to day and for ever” (Hebrews 13: 8). How reassuring it is to know that our precious Saviour never changes. So often we turn our love off and on like a water faucet, but Jesus never changes. He loved us as much yesterday as He does today and He will love us as much tomorrow as He does today.

Whatever heartaches and trials you are facing today, you can depend on Jesus. There is no problem that He can’t solve. He can take the most hardened heart and melt it into a heart filled with compassion and forgiveness. I know that He can do it because that is what He did with my heart. I hated every person on this earth and did not want to be around anybody.

Because of being raped and because of all of the verbal and physical abuse that I endured for so many years, I didn’t trust anybody. However one glorious day, the Saviour of the world came to me and told me that He loves me and my hardened heart began to melt. It took Jesus many years of reassuring me that He really does love me for me to believe that He could love me.

I knew that He loves everyone else but I didn’t think that He could possibly love me because I had been told for so many years that I was no good and didn’t have a right to live. Not only does Jesus protect us from our enemies; He also protects us from ourselves. He keeps us from committing suicide and from making decisions that will hurt us. It is always safe to trust Jesus because He will never lead us in the wrong path or hurt us. Thank God for our rock of protection!

If you are in the middle of a crisis and you feel like you are going under the water for the last time, remember that all you have to do is whisper the sweetest name on earth “Jesus” and take hold of His hand. He is waiting for you with His arms outstretched and His heart is filled with compassion and unconditional love for you.

He will not only protect you; He will comfort and encourage you. Our precious Saviour will put His arms of compassion around you and hold you close to His loving heart as He says to you “I love you. I will never leave you and I will protect you.” Allow Jesus to be your rock of protection.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://www.heavenwardbound.com
http://christians-in-recovery.org

How Close Are You Following Jesus?

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

“Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.” Psalm 57:1-3 King James Version

A few years ago, when I was just starting to interact with other people I was frightened of everyone and everything. I remember that I used to stay very close to my sister whenever we went somewhere. I never let her out of my sight. If we were in a department store looking at clothes, when she would walk around the racks of clothes, I would follow her every step around those racks.

She never said anything to me but I think that I probably embarrassed her many times. I’m not sure why I followed her so closely and never let her out of my sight except I thought that she could protect me if someone tried to hurt me. God has used my precious sister many times in my life to encourage and comfort me. How I thank God for my beloved sister!

When satan attacks us with his fiery poisonous barbs of criticism, sarcasm and judgment, only Jesus can protect us. It is the power of Jesus who lives in our hearts working through us that conquers satan time after time when satan comes against us with his vicious lies and deception. The war against satan has already been won when Jesus defeated satan on the cross.

However, satan will still try to do his best to discourage us and keep us from serving Jesus. It is true that sometimes we allow satan to discourage us temporarily but satan does not have the power to keep us discouraged if we have invited the Christ of Calvary into our hearts. Thank God for our risen Saviour who gives us the victory through His precious redeeming and atoning blood.

There is a song written by Pastor Cleland Boyd McAfee in 1903 “Near to the Heart of God” that has been a source of encouragement and comfort to me for almost twenty eight years. He wrote these words after two of his nieces died from diphtheria. “There is a place of quiet rest, Near to the heart of God. A place where sin cannot molest, Near to the heart of God.” Thank You, dear Heavenly Father for giving us a place of protection and rest near to Your heart.

I believe that Pastor McAfee wrote these words from the depths of his heart as he was grieving over the death of his two nieces that he loved so much. He knew from past experiences that only in the presence of God do we find lasting comfort, rest and peace. How closely are you following Jesus? Do you keep Him in your sight at all times or do you allow the cares of this world to take your eyes off of Him?

One of the definitions for the word “closely” in Webster’s Dictionary is “having little space between items or units”. I think when I was following my sister’s every step that I was as close as I could get to her without knocking her over. O that you and I would be that close to our precious Saviour. Are your eyes on Jesus or are they on your circumstances? Are you trusting our precious Saviour to bring you through your trials victoriously? If not, what you are saying to Him is “I don’t trust You because I don’t believe that You can do it”. May God forgive us for doubting Him.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://www.heavenwardbound.com
http://christians-in-recovery.org

No Answer

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

“Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.” Psalm 66:16-20 King James Version

I receive a lot of emails from people who tell me that God plays favorites because He doesn’t answer their prayers like He answers other people’s prayers. I submit to you on the authority of the Word of God that this statement is a lie straight from the pits of hell. God does not play favorites. God is a Holy God and He is to be treated with respect and approached with a broken and a contrite heart. We are not to demand anything from Him. God is not a name and claim it God!

We read in the Bible “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51: 17). If we go to Him with an arrogant and demanding attitude, He certainly will not hear our prayers. We need to be certain that our hearts are right before we ask Him for anything. If we have unforgiveness, malice, criticism, hatred, resentment, bitterness and jealousy in our hearts, He will not hear our prayers.

Our Heavenly Father is loving and merciful, however He can’t hear our prayers if we have sin in our hearts. If you feel that God isn’t answering your prayers, ask Jesus to sweep the hidden corners of your heart and get rid of all of the bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, jealousy, hatred and criticism that you have allowed satan to put in your heart. Then, and only then, will God hear your prayer.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://www.heavenwardbound.com
http://christians-in-recovery.org

We Are Powerless

Friday, May 9th, 2008

“Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6 King James Version

How many times have we tried to solve our problems and change our situations? I think if we are honest with ourselves, all of us would have to admit that we have tried to do it many times in our lives. If we will quit trying to solve our problems and change our situations ourselves and allow Jesus to take control of our hearts and our lives, we will have a lot less stress in our lives.

Jesus said that it is “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit.” When we try to fix things ourselves in our own strength, not only do we fail many times; we also hurt Jesus because in reality what we are saying to Him is “I don’t trust You to fix this situation.”

Just as only Jesus can change a person’s heart, only Jesus can solve our problems with a lasting solution. We may be able to temporarily solve something but many times we are faced with the same situation again. When we allow Jesus to take control of our hearts and lives, He will give us peace because we trust Him.

It is very foolish of us to continue trying to solve difficult situations when Jesus has told us that He is the one who has the power to solve our problems. Not only does He have the power to solve our problems; He is our power! I urge you to give your difficult situations to Jesus. He will not only solve them for you; He will also bring you through them victoriously.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://www.heavenwardbound.com

All Day Long

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Luke 22: 31-32 King James Version

Yesterday was a very frustrating and challenging day for me because all day long satan attacked me hour after hour with poisonous fiery darts of lies. We know that satan is a liar and the father of lies, but when he is attacking us then we sometimes forget that he is a liar and we listen to his lies. We read in the Bible “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).

Not only do we sometimes forget that satan is a liar, we also forget that Jesus is greater than satan. “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). I am so glad that our dear Heavenly Father and our precious Saviour are on our side. The words to this beautiful song “God On The Mountain” that Lynda Randle sings never fail to inspire me, comfort me and encourage me. “For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley. When things go wrong, He’ll make it right.”

Tracy G. Darrt wrote the words and music to this inspiring song in the early 1970’s. How I thank and praise God for song writers and singers of the Gospel who dedicate their lives to praising and serving God. Because of this beautiful song that Tracy wrote and Lynda sings, I have been comforted, encouraged and inspired countless times. I have a friend who sings beautifully. It always thrills me and brings tears to my heart and eyes when I hear her sing “The Old Rugged Cross”. However, instead of using the talent that God has given her for His glory, she sings this ungodly sound that is called rock. How it must hurt and break the heart of our dear Heavenly Father that she uses the talent He gave her to sing for satan instead of singing for Him. If God has given you the talents to write songs and sing for Him and you don’t do it, may God forgive you!

Father, I thank You that even when we walk through the dark valleys of depression, loneliness, confusion, uncertainty, fears, turmoil and verbal and physical abuse that You are still God. I thank You that You are indeed the God of the valleys as well as the God of the mountains and that You do make everything right. Thank You from the bottom of my heart for being there for me when I am hurting so badly that I can’t even tell anybody. You are wonderful and I love You with all of my heart, dear Father. Again, thank You for comforting us, encouraging us and taking us out of the valleys and putting us on the mountain tops once again. Amen.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://www.heavenwardbound.com
http://christians-in-recovery.org

The Path to Happiness

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.” Proverbs 3: 5-7 King James Version

Have you ever looked at a map while you were on a trip and tried to decide which road you should take to get to where you wanted to go? If you chose the wrong road, you were lost and you had to turn around and go back to the right road. The same is true with our lives. Many times we choose the wrong path when we make decisions in our lives and we become lost in sin and live in disobedience to Jesus. We have to turn around and go back to the right path; the path that Jesus has told us to travel.

There is only one path to real happiness and that is on the path that Jesus gives us. We have a lot of decisions to make in our lives but if we will allow Jesus to direct our paths, we will have a lot less trouble and confusion. Sometimes we think we know what is best for us. However, that is not what we read in our Scripture verses for today. We are given instructions to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

Are we really trusting the Lord and following the path that He has given to us or are we traveling down a path that we have decided is best for us? We can’t see the end of our paths but Jesus can see them and He knows that if we continue on the paths that we have decided are best for us that we will end up with broken hearts, confused and lonely.

If you are traveling down the path that you have set for yourself; the path that will lead you to loneliness, confusion, unhappiness and turmoil, I urge you to turn around and get on the right path, the path of Jesus that leads to true and lasting happiness. His path will give you peace, joy, contentment, happiness and excitement. The most precious thing about traveling down the path that He has set for you is that He will take your hand and walk with you to lead you and protect you from all danger. Put your hand in the hand of Jesus and allow Him to lead you down His path of happiness.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://www.heavenwardbound.com
http://christians-in-recovery.org

A Lasting Joy and Happiness

Monday, May 5th, 2008

“Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” Isaiah 51:11 King James Version

I receive so many emails from people who tell me that they are trying to find happiness in their relationships. Some of them try to bargain with God. They tell Him that they will do something for Him if He will do something for them. I submit to you on the authority of the Word of God that our Heavenly Father is a Holy God and He is to be treated with respect.

Our Heavenly Father is not a puppet for us to pull His strings and make Him perform for us. We have no right to demand anything from God. It is only through the crucifixion of Jesus on the cruel cross of Calvary and His redeeming atoning blood that we are counted worthy to go to God. How dare you and I try to bargain with God! It is very foolish, selfish, disrespectful and dangerous to demand anything of Him.

Even the best marriage does not bring the everlasting happiness and joy that Jesus gives to us as our Bridegroom. Several years ago when I worked in a nursing home in Texas there was a husband and wife there who had been married for over sixty years. They were no longer able to take care of each other so they had to come and live in the nursing home. They were always holding hands and smiling at one another. Many times they would hug and kiss and say “I love you” to each other.

I asked them one time “Why do you think your marriage has lasted so many years and why you have been so happy all of these years?” I will never forget what they told me. Their eyes lit up and both of them said the same thing almost at the same time “It is because we know that if we will keep our hearts right with Jesus and give Him the rightful place as the head of our home, He will bless our marriage and bring happiness to us”.

Jesus said in our Scripture verse for this devotion “Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return.” When we accepted Jesus as our personal Saviour and invited Him into our hearts, we became His bride. However, there are times when we leave Him and give our attention and affections to someone else. We read in the Bible “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” (Revelation 2: 4). Jesus is telling us that we have left Him and put our focus on someone else. I think that we hurt Him many times.

It is only by centering our affections on Jesus and making Him the first priority in our lives that we will have lasting joy and happiness. Have you left Jesus and transferred your affections to someone else? We are to love our spouses but we should make sure that we don’t leave our precious Bridegroom and that He takes first priority in our lives. If you want to be truly happy and have joy and gladness in your heart, make certain that you allow Jesus His rightful place in your heart as your Bridegroom.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://www.heavenwardbound.com
http://christians-in-recovery.org

The Tender Heart of Jesus

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” Matthew 23:37 King James Version

I believe that this statement came from the depths of the heart of our precious Saviour. If you are a parent, you can probably relate to this cry from the heart of Jesus. There have probably been times that you have cried out from the depths of your heart to your own children who are rebellious and have become involved in drugs or other activities which are dangerous.

Perhaps your children are hanging around with the wrong crowd and you have told them time after time that they are heading for danger. Finally, you cried out in desperation from the depths of your heart and told them how much you love them and long to protect them from danger.

As much as we love our children and long to protect them from hurt and danger, our love for our children is nothing compared to how much our precious Saviour loves our children and longs to protect them from danger. We may not be able to protect our children, but Jesus is able to protect them. There is no place that they can go that He can’t see them.

He will protect them because He promised us that He will protect us from danger and harm. There is absolutely nothing too hard for Him. The answer to every heartache and every crisis is Jesus. He is the one who gives us hope when we have lost all hope. He is the one who tenderly wipes the tears from our hearts and eyes with His gentle kisses of compassion and understanding.

He has a very tender heart and it is filled with unconditional love and compassion. He loves us so much that He also said this from His tender heart of compassion “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11: 28 – 30).

When I first read these verses, the first image that came to my mind was of pictures that I had seen of oxen in a yoke pulling a heavy burden. I was going through something very traumatic at the time and I knew that I couldn’t handle anything else. When I fell in love with Jesus, these verses were easy to understand and they became very clear to me. His yoke is not a yoke of burdens. It is a yoke of unconditional love, compassion and understanding.

Did you know that it is possible to have our sins forgiven and cleansed by the precious atoning blood of Jesus and still not love Him? I had been a Christian for twenty five years but had never fallen in love with Him. I taught Sunday School, taught Vacation Bible School, went on mission trips, was on the executive council of the Baptist Student Union when I was in college, led Bible studies at nursing homes and jails and had witnessed to people but I still felt there was something else I needed to do to make Him happy.

It was only after I fell in love with Him and surrendered to be a missionary that I felt peace in my heart. When God first called me to the mission field, I ran from Him because I didn’t want everyone watching my life. I found out that it doesn’t matter if we are in leadership positions or not, people still watch us. I think you have probably heard or read this statement “Some people are the only Bible that others see”. God grant that you and I will live our lives in such a way that we will exalt the name of Jesus and love people to Him.

If you are hurting today and feel that you just can’t take another step or give another smile, run as fast as you can into the waiting arms of Jesus. His arms are open and He longs to comfort and encourage you. He is calling you to come to Him so that He can give you peace, joy and happiness. There is no one like Jesus! He will be the dearest friend you have ever had and He will never leave you, not even for one minute.

Has there been a time in your life when you fell in love with Jesus? You may be saved but do you love Him? Do you know what His favorite colors are and what makes Him happy? Have you stayed up all night praising Him? What a sad commentary it is on those of us who claim to be Christians that we can cheer for hours for our favorite sports team until we are hoarse but we are not willing to cheer for Jesus.

If ever someone deserves to be cheered and praised, it is my precious Saviour. I urge you to open the door to your heart wider and fall in love with Jesus. Not only will you live a more peaceful life, you will make Him happy. If making Jesus happy is not your top priority in life, then you need to search your heart and see if you really do love Him like you should love Him. I have said this many times and will continue to say it because it is so true “The level of our service to Jesus depends on our level of love for Him.” How much do you love Him?

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://www.heavenwardbound.com
http://christians-in-recovery.org