Archive for July, 2008

A Blood Transfusion

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. Matthew 26:27 – 30 King James Version

I heard an appeal on television the other day for blood donors because there is a shortage of blood if someone should need a blood transfusion. I went online to research what steps are taken when someone needs a blood transfusion. I also wanted to provide medical documentation for you on how they determine if the blood is safe to give to someone requiring a blood transfusion in case you have any questions concerning the procedure.

I already knew the answer but I wanted to put authoritative proof in this devotion. I found this information on a blood center website “Your blood sample is sent to our laboratory where tests are performed to ensure selection of compatible donor blood. Before transfusing the blood, a nurse of physician will confirm that you are receiving the blood, or blood component, matched specifically for you. The transfusion of a unit of blood generally takes one to three hours.”

These blood transfusions may help save someone’s life physically but if the person has never had the blood of Jesus applied to his or her heart in a spiritual blood transfusion, the person is still dead. God Himself confirms to us and assures us that the blood of Jesus which our precious Saviour shed for our sins on the cruel cross of Calvary is safe for every person.

Jesus shed His precious blood for every person in the world and we don’t need any tests to be certain that His blood is safe to be transfused into our hearts. A physical blood transfusion generally takes one to three hours but our Saviour’s blood immediately enters our heart when we ask Him to forgive us for our sins and come into our heart to be our personal Saviour. At the very moment when Jesus walks through the door of our hearts and comes in to be our personal Saviour, His life giving blood is transfused into our hearts.

Sometimes we read or hear about someone getting a bad blood transfusion. The spiritual blood transfusion of Jesus will never have negative effects. When the blood of Jesus is applied to our hearts, we have a new heart. Do you need a spiritual blood transfusion today? Has the blood of Jesus been transfused into your heart? If not, I urge you; I plead with you to open the door of your heart and allow Him to replace the bad blood in your heart with His life giving blood. Give your heart to Jesus right now before it is too late!

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

God Chooses the Most Improbable

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

“You did not choose me, but I chose you…” (John 15:16a).

I know what you’re thinking: “God chooses others, but not me.”

You think it’s because of your secret, don’t you? The awful thing in your past — that abortion or that affair; your divorce; the rape; the sexual abuse; the shameful business failure; your drug usage; alcoholism; criminal past. etc. Like the clumsy, nearsighted child no one picks for playground sports, you want God’s favor, His grace, but it seems beyond your wildest dreams. It’s not.The poem “The Chosen Vessel” tells how God picks a vessel to use: “Take me,” cried the gold one. “I’m shiny and bright,”I’m of great value and I do things just right.” But God passes by the gold, silver, brass, crystal, and wooden urns, and chooses the vessel of clay. The poem explains why:

Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay.
Empty and broken, it helplessly lay.
No hope had the vessel that the Master might choose,
to cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use.
“Ah! This is the vessel I’ve been hoping to find,
I will mend and use it and make it all mine.”

For many of you, the impact of your mistakes or the sins committed against you is so profound that it has shattered every ounce of your identity. Perhaps you have struggled with criminal behavior, drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, psychic disorders, and suicide. Some of you chose sexually and physically abusive partners; others of you chose chemically dependent partners. I am one of you. For nearly forty years I lived with anger, low self-esteem, anxiety, fear, hopelessness, and depression as I repressed the pain of a childhood filled with physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Like some of you, I disassociated from the original cause of my anger and helplessness and found expression in destructive acts against others and myself. I tried to fix everything on my own. And I failed.

At the lowest point in my life, I called out to God. He heard me. I’m living proof that it doesn’t matter who we were yesterday, or what we did: God wants to do something with our lives today. God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His plan to save us from our own disasters is permanent and everlasting. Throughout the ages, from 2000 B.C. through today, God continually chooses to heal and transform the most improbable candidates.Why would God use such improbable people? I believe it is because the Lord wants to make clear that the power lies in him, not in us. And when people observe such drastic change in our broken lives, their eyes turn heavenward.

The last verse of “The Chosen Vessel” reads:Then gently He lifted the vessel of clay.
Mended and cleansed it and filled it that day.
Spoke to it kindly, “There’s work you must do,
Just pour out to others as I pour into you.” The message is simple but profound: In Jesus, we can be mended and set free. Hope is available to all through Jesus. I’m living proof..We all need a hand to hold, especially when walking through dark valleys. Hold on to God’s as you face the past with honesty and a desire to heal.

In the deepest, darkest, most unreachable area of our lives, we are not alone. God sees us, hears, and knows our every past experience; He knows what we will experience in the future. The moment we call on the name of Jesus, He reaches down, and grasps our hands to lead us through our healing journeys. Like the clay vessel, God chose us. He chose us to be set free. Will you accept His invitation?

Coates
Jan Coates is an author, speaker, consultant, founder of Set Free Today and serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery®.

We Don’t Need Them

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5 King James Version

If ever we needed to be content with what we have, it is now. We are living in a world that is filled with people wanting more and more material things. Not only are gas, groceries, clothes and other material things becoming a lot more expensive, families are in danger of breaking up because of greed. We find ourselves wanting more and more material things and we don’t need them.

We don’t need to drive bigger and more expensive cars. We don’t need to live in bigger and more expensive homes just to keep up with our neighbors and friends. We don’t need to join clubs and pay a lot of money to join and then pay a lot of money annually to keep our membership active. What we do need to do is to accept the prescription for joy that our great Physician gives us. We read in the Bible “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11).

We will never find happiness, peace and joy by buying a lot of material things. We can drive the biggest and most expensive car and live in the most expensive home and still be miserable. Only Jesus can give us what we so long for in our hearts, peace, joy and happiness. He has told us that He will never leave us or forsake us. All that we need is Jesus living in our hearts and the protection and the companionship that He gives us.

Just knowing that the Saviour of the world loves us so much that He walked that long and lonely road to Calvary and there hung on the old rugged cross and died an agonizing death for us so that we can have our sins forgiven and live with Him in Heaven for all eternity should fill our hearts with joy, peace and happiness. When we finally grasp in our hearts instead of our intellect that the Saviour of the world loves us unconditionally, the things of this world will begin to fade in importance.

There are many people putting a lot of expensive things on their credit cards that they think they have to have and can’t live without and then they aren’t able to pay the credit card bill. These material things are not worth the price they pay for them. Husbands and wives sometimes end up getting divorces because of all the arguments over finances. This is just another sneaky attack from satan to destroy our families.

Instead of complaining about what we don’t have, let’s start thanking God for what He has already done for us and given to us. The most important thing we need to thank Him for is the gift of His beloved Son. Are you content with what you have or are you constantly asking God to give you bigger, better and more expensive cars and homes?

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

A Dangerous Path

Monday, July 28th, 2008

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Proverbs 14:12 King James Version

There are times in our lives when we make unwise decisions and travel down a path that we choose. However, it is a dangerous path that leads to death. The reason why it is a dangerous path and why they are unwise decisions is because we didn’t consult Jesus and ask Him if this is the path in His perfect will for our lives.

Some people choose the path of alcohol and drugs trying to escape from the overwhelming pain and problems that they have. That is a dangerous path because it can lead to the end of their marriages. It can also cause them to lose their jobs and all of their money. Only Jesus can solve our problems and only Jesus can give us real peace, a lasting peace.

If you have chosen the wrong path, it is not too late for you to repent and get on the path that leads to happiness and peace. Ask Jesus to please help you get off the dangerous path you are on. Allow Him to put you on the path that He wants you on and trust Him to take your hand and walk every step of the way with you. We have a loving Saviour and He longs for you to be happy and have peace. Put your life in His hands and you will experience a peace and a happiness that you have never known before.

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

Get Your Degree in Wisdom and Understanding

Friday, July 25th, 2008

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).

Much is made of the need for education and the importance of a college degree-and I don’t argue that point. At the same time, a person can have a string of degrees and letters after his name and still possess no wisdom or understanding, for the Bible tells us that wisdom only BEGINS when we fear the Lord, and understanding comes only as we continue to develop an intimate knowledge and relationship with God. In fact, the Bible tells us quite clearly that “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God'” (Psalm 14:1). A person seeking after wisdom and understanding will achieve his goal by possessing a healthy fear of the Lord and becoming more intimately acquainted with Him. To do otherwise, the Bible states, is to deny God and remain a fool.

Most of us as believers see the obvious truth of those statements, for each of us had to come to that point in our lives where we first acknowledged our need for God and turned to Him in humble repentance. That was the BEGINNING of wisdom. But have we increased our wisdom and gained understanding by cultivating the relationship that was established when we became true believers? Or have we been satisfied to rest in that beginning phase of wisdom and never move on to the deeper relationship that produces understanding?

If we’re not sure, we can ask ourselves how we react when we hear the evening news on TV. Does the news alarm us? Does it confirm an already cynical worldview within us? Or does it cause us to reflect on what God says about the absolute depravity of human nature apart from His Spirit within us?and then to pray for those involved in the news event? And what about when we receive an insult or slight from someone? Do we exhibit the wisdom and understanding that flows from a deep and abiding relationship with God, offering grace to the one who has hurt us and trusting God to deal with that person’s heart? Or do we “go for the jugular” and, in a foolish and futile display of self-defense, allow words unbecoming to a believer to flow from our heart and mouth in an attempt to repay the insult?

Our reaction/response to these sorts of occurrences speak volumes as to the depth of wisdom and understanding within us, and tells us whether we view life through the eyes of the world or the eyes of God. Of course, that statement alone can send most of us into a despondent spiral of condemnation, since none of us reacts/responds as we should all the time, and that certainly wasn’t my intention. After all, none of us is perfect; none of us has arrived. We are all “works in progress,” who stumble along the way. But the important thing is that we are indeed “on the way,” obediently and humbly following our Master and growing in wisdom and knowledge as we deepen our relationship with Him, a relationship that includes a healthy and respectful fear of the One who holds our lives in the palm of His nail-scarred hands.

We serve a gracious and forgiving God, dear ones, but He is also a God worthy of respect and awe. May we, in the words of the psalmist, “follow hard” after Him, ever growing in wisdom and knowledge, and exhibiting that maturity to those who are watching, looking for a better way?

Macias
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) The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

God is Full of Compassion

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

“But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” Psalm 86:15 King James Version

Time after time we hurt God and fail Him and time after time He has mercy on us and forgives us because His heart is full of compassion for us. However, we should never take advantage of His grace and mercy and forgiveness. If it ever penetrates our hearts instead of our intellect just how much our loving Heavenly Father has done for us and how much He loves us, it should make us eager to serve Him and to do all that we can to make Him happy. He did all that He could do for us to make us happy when He gave His only beloved Son to die for our sins on a cross of anguish and horror.

No matter what we have done God will forgive us if we will repent of our sins, humble ourselves and tell Him that we are sorry for hurting Him and failing Him and ask Him to please forgive us. We need to understand that we must first repent of our sins if we expect Him to have mercy on us and forgive us. In other words, if we are doing or saying things that He has told us not to do or say, we must stop doing them and saying them before we have any right to go to Him and ask Him to have mercy on us and forgive us.

I think that we sometimes forget that God is a Holy God and He is to be treated with respect and dignity. There are times that we treat Him like He 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! Yes, our Heavenly Father is a loving God but He is also a Holy God and it is time that we start treating Him as He deserves to be treated.

If you are hurting today and broken hearted, know that God’s heart is full of compassion for you and He really does care about you. There is a song that we sing “Leave It There.” Some of the words are “Leave it there, leave it there, Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.” So many times we take our burdens to Him but as soon as we say “Amen” we start thinking of a way to solve our problems. We need to leave our burdens with Him and then get out of the way and let Him solve them. Leave your burdens with God today and allow Him to fill your heart with peace, joy and happiness.

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

The Problem and the Promise

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

The master carpenter carefully lays foundations for a building. He figures the dimensions, erects the door frames, and sets the cornerstones.Once the foundation is set, less skilled carpenters can build upon it.Amateur carpenters sometimes found ready-cut stones too big or too small for the foundations. Rather than looking for properly fitting stones, they sometimes tried to adjust the foundations and cornerstones. The result: The house would collapse under its own weight.

The building rests on cornerstones. The cornerstones cannot be shifted on a whim or fancy. They have to be cut from the right materials, properly set on solid ground.

Here is eternal truth: Jesus, the Master Carpenter, laid the foundations of our faith. He is the Chief Cornerstone.

See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame. The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone… a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. 1 Peter 2:6,7

Jesus’ teachings may not always fit with popular philosophies and human thought. We try to rearrange the Cornerstone to suit ourselves. The result is a false faith that collapses just at the time when we need it.

Take this challenge: Set aside your preconceived notions and prayerfully reread the Gospels. Take careful note of what Jesus actually taught and how He lived. And build your life on Him.

Montgomery
Copyright 2008 by Rebekah Montgomery

Rebekah Montgomery, author/speaker/teacher, is a gifted, dynamic communicator. She is the author of more than five books and has penned 1,100 articles. She shares tough real-life topics and biblical application in a simple easy to grasp manner. To book Rebekah for your next event visit
http://www.rebekahmontgomery.com Rebekah is also the editor of Right to the Heart of Women and a publisher at Jubilant Press .

Just Pray

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

“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.” James 5:16 King James Version

Have you ever noticed that people will share good things about themselves with us but they are reluctant to confess their faults to us? They probably are reluctant to share their faults with us because they are afraid that we won’t want to be their friends any longer. I wonder how many times people have shared their faults with us and instead of praying for them, we immediately started thinking about how we could help them, or worse still, we thought “How can this person be a Christian and do these things?”

Instead of taking them to Jesus and praying for them like Jesus told us to do, we criticized them and judged them. Jesus said to pray one for another. He did not say to give advice or tell people what they should do or criticize and judge them; He said to pray for them so they will be healed. Jesus is the one who does the healing, not us. I think if we will be honest with ourselves, all of us are guilty at times of giving advice and telling people what they should do instead of praying for them when they ask confess their faults to us.

Have you ever confessed your faults to someone and instead of that person praying for you, that person told you how terrible you were? Five years ago, I confessed to someone that I was still having a lot of trouble controlling my anger (thank God, I no longer have that problem) and that person immediately said “You can’t be a Christian if you are tempted to do that.” In the first place even Jesus was tempted so it is not a sin to be tempted; it only becomes sin when we act on the temptation.

We read in the Bible “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4: 14 – 16).

Every one of us needs to be very careful that we don’t criticize and judge others. Always remember when we criticize and judge others; we are criticizing and judging Jesus. “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25: 40). Are you criticizing and judging Jesus? If you are criticizing and judging Jesus, may God have mercy on you. One day you will stand before a Holy God and give an account of the way you treated His beloved Son.

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

The Prison of Our Minds

Monday, July 21st, 2008

“And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.” Mark 5: 15 King James Version

This verse has really been a comfort to me because there are times when people who knew me when I was having all of those emotional problems and was in a deep depression don’t think that I have changed. It is as if they are just waiting for me to slip up and end up back in a mental hospital. I submit to you on the authority of the Word of God that when Jesus touches your heart and your mind, you are changed permanently.

When people doubt that you have changed, what they are really saying is that they don’t think Jesus can change a person’s heart and mind. One day these people will stand before a Holy God and give an account not only of the way they treated people who had emotional problems, but also of the way they didn’t believe that Jesus can change people. May God have mercy on them!

I was teaching Sunday School several years ago in Texas when the Sunday School director came into the class and said to me right in front of the eight grade girls that I was teaching “I just found out that you were in a mental hospital for emotional problems. I will take over this class now and you can go to the church service.” I was very hurt and devastated. Not only that, I was extremely embarrassed because the girls were looking at me like I was crazy.

If you are locked up in the prison of your mind because of fear and emotional problems, run as fast as you can to Jesus. He will remove those crippling emotions and replace them with His peace and happiness. Don’t listen to the ones who say that you have not changed. Tell God what they are saying to you and allow Him to deal with those people. Remember, you can live a life of joy, peace, happiness and excitement if you will only reach out to Jesus and allow Him to get rid of all the fears, torments, horrors and lies that satan has planted in your mind. Don’t let satan keep you locked up in the prison of your mind for another minute. Allow Jesus to unlock the prison of your mind with His compassion, understanding, unconditional love and tenderness.

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

Your Source of Power

Friday, July 18th, 2008

What made a Carpenter think He could tell religious experts they were in danger of God’s judgment? Or that they didn’t know God at all? Where did a Bachelor get off encouraging men with wives and children to attend, businesses to operate, fish to catch, and taxes to collect to leave everything behind and follow Him? What gives a Man from sleepy backwater Nazareth confidence to say, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.”?

How does a 30-year-old say, “Before Abraham was, I AM.”? How could He do miracles? Where did He get courage to tell a leper, “Be clean!”?Or a paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven. Get up and walk.”? Or a crowd of mourners, “The girl is not dead but asleep,” then take her by the hand and bring her back to life? What were His credentials? What schools did He attend? What were His degrees? Where were His letters of reference? Where was His Source of power? On His knees alone with the Father.

Before Jesus set foot on history’s stage, He spent 40 days alone in the wilderness waiting upon God, fasting and praying, measuring His strengths, dealing with His vulnerabilities, and counting the cost. Torn between the two cosmic forces of the universe — the LORD God Almighty, who was calling Him to a life of sacrifice, and Lucifer, the devil, who was luring Him toward a life of plenty, prestige, and power — He unswervingly turned toward God, becoming Satan’s sworn enemy for the duration of His life.Time alone with His Father became His pattern for life, His source of strength. Throughout His ministry, He withdrew from His disciples and clamoring crowds to wait upon the LORD. Some of His greatest miracles — feeding the 5,000, walking on the water, and more — were performed after He spent a season alone with God. The Garden of Gethsemane was not the first time He prayed, “Not My will, but Yours be done.” It was His constant prayer, spoken in a variety of ways. How did He do what He did? He prayed. He asked the question of God: “What do You want Me to do?”

He sought for the right path and became the Way. He asked for answers and became the Truth. He wanted the meaning of His existence and became the Life. Although the Son of God, He found it necessary to wait patiently for His Father’s instruction. He received authority, inspiration, power, and guidance — whatever it was that He needed — by waiting on God. If we want God’s power in our lives, we must diligently do the same.

Montgomery
Copyright 2008 by Rebekah Montgomery

Rebekah Montgomery, author/speaker/teacher, is a gifted, dynamic communicator. She is the author of more than five books and has penned 1,100 articles. She shares tough real-life topics and biblical application in a simple easy to grasp manner. To book Rebekah for your next event visit
http://www.rebekahmontgomery.com Rebekah is also the editor of Right to the Heart of Women and a publisher at Jubilant Press .