Archive for September, 2008

Our Loving Father

Monday, September 29th, 2008

“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.” Psalm 63:1- 4 King James Version

Heavenly Father, we give You thanks today for Your faithfulness and for Your lovingkindness to us. So many times You have comforted and encouraged us when we were heartbroken, discouraged and lonely. Thank You, dear Father, for loving us and for loving us unconditionally. Help us to not only lift up our hands in Thy name, but help us to also lift up our hearts in Thy name. Please help us to love others unconditionally as You love us. May we be children that will make You happy and bring honor and glory to You. Again, thank You for all that You have done for us and continue to do for us every day of our lives. Amen.

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

In Despair, Hope is Found

Friday, September 26th, 2008

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!” (Lamentations 3:21-24).

Do you ever find yourself being caught up in what the world calls “news” (which really isn’t anything but a rehash of the same old stuff by self-absorbed talking heads and overdue-for-retirement political pundits)? It’s easy to do, isn’t it? Right now it is especially so, as financial gloom-and-doom reports abound, terrorist nations obtain nuclear power, and the moral breakdown of society escalates at levels never before imagined. And yet…

This morning as I prayed and sought God for a word of encouragement, He directed me to the Book of Lamentations—a seemingly odd place to find a word of hope or a ray of light. But as I read, I knew this was indeed the place I needed to be in the Scriptures to see God’s faithfulness most clearly. For you see, dear ones, it is in when our world seems darkest that God’s light shines brightest. The key is to remember where our hope lies…and where it does not.

Regardless of our political persuasion, if we truly want to shine God’s light in a dark world, we must first understand that no human candidate for office can “save” us from the messes of our own making. No President or Senator, Congressman or Judge can clean up the dirt of human sin. Whether we consider ourselves conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat (or none of the above), we cannot reject and rebel against God without ultimately reaping the consequences of a godless society. And yet—as is so clearly demonstrated in the Book of Lamentations, written by God through the hand of the “weeping prophet,” Jeremiah—it is in the midst of darkness and despair that true hope is found, and where God’s mercy and compassion and faithfulness are most appreciated.

Regardless of what we see going on around us, beloved, my we hold fast to the promise that God will never leave or forsake His people, and that where two or more of us are gathered in His name, there He is in our midst. With that as our hope, we can joyfully rest in His mercies, which are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness!

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

Today

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the day of salvation.) 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 King James Version

Yesterday with all of our mistakes, our sins and our failures is gone. We all fail and hurt Jesus in some way every day. There is absolutely nothing that we can do to erase the mistakes we made yesterday. However, there is something that we can do about today. It is up to us to choose how we are going to use this day that God has given to us. We can either spend the day watching television and doing what we want to do or we can spend the day serving Jesus.

Each one of us must decide if we are going to use the day for ourselves or if we are going to use the day for Jesus. All of us must ask ourselves these questions “How much do I love Jesus? Do I really love Him with all of my heart or do I just tell people that I love Him? How much am I willing to give up to serve Him? Am I willing to shut off the television and spread the unconditional love of a risen Saviour to people who desperately need to know that someone cares?”

The way we answer these questions will determine if we will make our precious Saviour happy or if we will break His heart. Today is the day for some precious soul to accept Jesus as his or her personal Saviour. Unless we are willing to get out of our comfort zones and go minister and witness to people, we are hurting Jesus and breaking His heart.

We must spread the unconditional love of Jesus to everyone we meet because Jesus may want to use us to love someone to Him. Just telling somebody about the unconditional love of Jesus will never win that person to Him. That person must see and hear Jesus in our smiles and in our words. We must be willing to extend the unconditional love of Jesus by our actions to those we are trying to win to Jesus. It is very important and urgent that we put our arms around them and hug them for Jesus.

Then and only then, will they feel the unconditional love of Jesus for them. They too will want the joy and happiness that we have and will invite Jesus into their hearts to be their personal Saviour. Are you spreading the good news of Jesus or are you watching television? Are you making Jesus happy today or are you breaking His heart?

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

Thirsty for Love

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Jesus answered and said unto her, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13-14 King James Version

There are times in our lives when our hearts grow dry and we get discouraged because of criticism, sarcasm, and cruel things that are done to us. I know that Jesus loves me and that He loves me unconditionally but I’m human and I get discouraged at times just like you do. I have lost count of the emails that I have received in the last three and a half years from people who were discouraged and needed to be reassured that Jesus loves them. Many of the emails were from pastors and missionaries.

When we invite Jesus into our hearts, He gives us a well of water that springs up into everlasting life. However, satan still tells us vicious lies and hurls his poisonous fiery darts of criticism at us. Sometimes all that criticism is overwhelming and we feel like we are going to go under for the last time. The good news is that when we start to go under for the last time, our precious Saviour lifts us up and sets us on His lap of compassion and understanding. He tenderly folds us in His loving arms close to His heart as He whispers softly in our ears “I love you and I will never leave you.” What a Saviour! What a friend, this Jesus of Nazareth!

If you are thirsty for the reassurance of the unconditional love of Jesus for you, remember the old rugged cross. He died for you while you were still in your sins and that proves that He loves you unconditionally. There is absolutely nothing that you have done or ever could do that would make Him stop loving you. He does not turn His love off and on like a water faucet like we do at times. Allow Jesus to fill your heart to overflowing with His unconditional love and compassion. Only Jesus can quench the thirst in your heart. Thank God for the old rugged cross! Jesus died for us on the cross so that we can have our sins forgiven when His atoning blood is applied to our hearts. If our sins are under the blood of Jesus, we have a mansion reserved in Heaven for us and we will live with Jesus for all eternity! Again, thank God for the old rugged cross!

JoanneCopyright 2008 by

Trying to Find Your Way Back?

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6).

Every so often the familiar and even somewhat predictable “amnesia scenario” is resurrected for another made-for-TV-movie or sitcom. The actor stares blankly into once-loved faces and professes no recognition whatsoever. Places, sounds, smells, even names–nothing seems familiar. Memory has been lost; hence, a sense of identity has been lost as well.

And that is exactly what has happened to us–all of us. We have lost our memory. Like the prodigal son’s older brother who toiled endlessly and joyously in the fields, we have forgotten who we are and where we came from. But the forgetting goes beyond the pigsty from which the Father has rescued the prodigals. It extends back to the beginning–to a time when our identity was secure in our fellowship with the Father.
Before the rebellion…
Before the fall…
Before the exile.

As a result, our world is in the midst of an ongoing identity crisis. We walk around, day after day, year after year, generation after generation, trying to find our way back to….somewhere…. hoping that when we get there, someone will recognize us and tell us who we are.

The problem is, even if we figure out where that “somewhere” is, we cannot get ourselves back there, contrary to a song that was popular in the late ’60s and early ’70s that proclaimed the need to get ourselves back to the Garden.

The Garden–that “somewhere” that calls to us from the deepest recesses of our heart. The songwriters had that much right. They knew where we came from, and they were trying to express our universal longing and need to return. But they were wrong in thinking we could get ourselves back there, even though our homesickness almost overwhelms us at times, beckoning us,to the Garden, where we once lived, even if only in the loins of Adam. To the Garden, where we once walked in intimate fellowship with our Father in the cool of the evening. To the Garden, where we once had dominion over the plants and the animals and the birds. To the Garden, where sin had no place and death did not reign–and hard hearts were unimagined.

But we made a choice to go our own way, and so we had to leave. As beautiful and as perfect as it was, we stubbornly and rebelliously–although ignorantly and regrettably–packed our bags and chose to leave, to run away, to do our own thing, go our own way, run our own lives — to be the masters of our own fate. And now, like the foolish six-year-old who leaves home with nothing more than a baseball glove and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, we find ourselves adrift in the dark night, the cold wind whistling down our necks as we shiver, wondering if we will discover who we are and where we came from–before it’s too late.

Of course, like the prodigal son, we can turn around and go back to the Father, but not to the Garden. When we left the Garden, the Father stationed angels to guard the entrance. No one who left could come back in, despite the fact that millions have tried, using any means at their disposal: drugs, alcohol, sex, money, power, education, success, religion, other people.

And the world continues to try to find the way back, longing for the Garden but rejecting the Father. As a result, they are doomed to fail…and to continue to wander aimlessly, still lost in the universal identity crisis that is common to all mankind.

No, we can’t go back to the Garden; we can only return to the Father. And, according to Jesus in John 14:6, there is only one way to get to the Father: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” For those of us who have found that One Way, may we recommit ourselves to lighting the Way for the lost who are even now stumbling down the road that leads to nowhere…

***Adapted from “Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World” by Kathi Macias.

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

Five Minutes – Jesus is More than Enough

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye hath suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:8-11 King James Version

There have been several times that I have gone online to the National Hurricane Center to see if there were any hurricanes and there were no hurricanes reported. However, when I checked again five minutes later it said that there was the possibility for a hurricane. I thought how true that is in our lives. Everything can be going wonderful. For once, we have no problems or difficult situations.

Then all of a sudden, without any warning at all, satan attacks us with vicious lies and hurricanes of criticism, sarcasm, ridicule and judgment. It is very important and urgent that we listen to Jesus to be sober and vigilant against the attacks of satan. We must be alert at all times for the poisonous arrows that satan hurls at us.

I don’t know what is going on in your life today but I do know the one who can take all your heartaches away and His name is Jesus. Whatever problems or difficult situations you have, He is more than enough to bring you through them victoriously. If you will trust Him and allow Him to take your hand, He will be faithful to walk with you not only on the mountain tops of joy and happiness but also through the valleys of discouragement and heartaches.

Our precious Saviour will never leave you, not even for one minute. It is always safe to trust Jesus because what He says, He will do. Thank You, Jesus, for being faithful to walk with us through the heartaches and sorrows as well as the happy times. Thank You for sitting beside our beds when the night seems endless and our fears and doubts try to pull us under for the last time. Indeed, You are wonderful, majestic and altogether lovely. You are the beautiful rose of Sharon and the King of kings and Lord of lords. Again, thank You, Jesus, for all You have done for us and for all that You do for us every day.

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

Slow Down

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

In recent years, I’ve come to learn the value of a good old dictionary. For in its pages are found a king’s ransom worth of knowledge.

In Prov. 19:2 we read “Also it’s not good for a person to be without knowledge. And he who hurries his footsteps errs.” The knowledge we are to learn here is the negative consequences of moving or acting in haste. I found it very interesting that the word hurricane a windstorm of intense severity) precedes the word hurry and the word hurt follows right after it in the dictionary (just a coincidence?)

How many times has our impatient spirit turned a delicate situation into a tropical cyclone leaving behind a host of hurt (injured, damaged, grieved, distressed, and wounded) people!

Its here that one’s inability to wait causes us to err (go astray; to be mistaken and to sin.) Isn’t a shame, when all the dust finally settles to find out, that it was all just a big misunderstanding? If we would of just slowed down a-bit and waited patiently. You see, it’s only in that state of being, that we can see the whole picture, and find a peaceful solution.

James 1:19 “This you know, my beloved, brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.”

My friends, if we must – must open up our big mouths, let us direct our words in manner recommended in Phillippians 4: 6, 7 “Be anxious for NOTHING, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the PEACE Of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I believe with all my heart that if we can muster up the courage to apply this solution, we will hear the voice of the Master saying to the storm, “Peace – be still.”

Your friend always in the Journey

Rev. Joe A. Rivera
Pressing On Faith Ministries
Temecula, Ca.

Pride ain’t healthy… but a steady diet of humility is good for the soul

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

We in America are definitely not a humble bunch. We see magazines, newspapers, and televisions filled with information on how to build ourselves up, how to increase our self-esteem, and how to be bigger and better than the rest of the world.

This is so contrary to what the Bible tells us. The Bible speaks of humility as a modest estimation of one’s self. Humility suggests no pride and arrogance. It is a spirit of deference or submission.

When I think of humility, I think of Jesus. He did nothing from selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility he always considered the needs of others. Jesus took on the role of a lowly servant with the physical appearance of man, glorifying God in all ways while humbling himself to death on a cross (Philippians 2: 3-8).

We can live our lives expecting to be served, or, as transformed children of God, we can accept our human limitations and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to create a humble heart in us. We are free to choose our attitude.

A friend from Texas once told me that “if it’s truth, it ain’t bragging.” As a resident of Texas for the nearly 15 years, I can now say this without prejudice. Unfortunately, long before I moved to Texas and long before I rededicated my life to Jesus, pride had become a way of life for me.

I put myself through college and worked my way up the corporate ladder. By the world’s standards I was a “success.” Proud of my accomplishments, I reminded my peers constantly of what a hard worker they had beside them. I was proud of the big bucks I made, the nice clothes I wore, my house, and horses.

I didn’t like myself much, and I’m sure others around me felt the same way about me. After I trusted Christ as my Savior, I met a remarkable lady at church. I watched her in amazement. I’m sure she didn’t realize it, but she had a tremendous impact on my life. She seemed to notice everyone’s needs and reach out to help with empathy and compassion. She seemed honestly concerned about the welfare of others. The words I, me, my and mine did not seem to be part of her vocabulary. I wanted to be like her so I tried very hard. I failed miserably.

I finally realized that I could not make myself be humble. I needed to rely on the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. I know firsthand that when we finally let go of ourselves (our concerns, anxieties, self-sufficiency, pride) and let God care for us, then, and only then, will we experience humility.

When God transforms a proud heart into a humble heart, that heart produces a magnificent fragrance of holiness.

For more information about humility and God’s Ultimate Makeover, visit: http://www.crosswalk.com/root/spirituallife/women/11581627/page0/

I’m late. I’m late. I have an appointment with “The Makeover King”? Lord, it’s me Jan and I’m on my way!

Coates
Copyright 2008 by Jan Coates, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Jan Coates is an author, speaker, consultant, founder of Set Free Today Ministries and serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery®.

Special Missionaries (to our young children)

Monday, September 15th, 2008

And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them. Mark 10:13-16 King James Version

One of the definitions in Webster’s Dictionary for missionaries is “a body of persons sent to perform a service or carry on an activity”. Every time I see children who are handicapped in any way, I know that I am seeing special missionaries. It is true that when we have a special needs child, there are a lot more challenges we have when we raise them. However, the joy they bring to our hearts far outweighs the challenges we face.

There is a lady who is a very close and dear friend of mine that I have known since I was a teenager. One day my friend called me and she was crying. She said as she was sobbing brokenheartedly “Joanne, our doctor just told my husband and me that our son is retarded and we are devastated and heartbroken”. About three years later, I talked to her again and she was very excited.

She said “Our son just started work and he has learned to read and write. However, the most important thing that has happened to us since our son was born is that my husband and I are closer and we have started going to church again. Our son has brought love, joy and happiness into our home”. If you have a special needs child, pray and give God thanks that He trusted you enough to give you this child.

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for sending us these children as Your special missionaries to brighten our lives and to bring love, joy and laughter into our homes and also to our hearts. May we as adults become as these precious little missionaries and spread the unconditional love of Jesus to everyone we meet so that people will have Your joy and Your peace in their homes and in their hearts. Amen.

Light and Darkness

Friday, September 12th, 2008

O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. Isaiah 2:5 King James Version

We have a choice to make. We can either choose to walk in the light of the Lord or we can choose to walk in the darkness of satan. Jesus is the light of the world and when we accept Him as our personal Saviour our hearts are illuminated with His light. However, all too often, we allow satan to dim the light that Jesus has placed in our hearts. Many times satan tells us that Jesus doesn’t love us. That is a lie straight from the pits of hell. Not only is our precious Saviour the definition of love; He is love.

If we were to put a blanket over a lamp in our homes, the light would be much dimmer. When we allow satan to fill our hearts with lies, deception, bitterness, anger, resentment, hatred, criticism and unforgiveness the light that Jesus has placed in our hearts becomes very dim. It is so important that we don’t listen to the lies of satan. We need to remember that Jesus loves us and that He loves us unconditionally.

Thank God that Jesus loves us no matter how many times we fail Him and hurt Him. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13: 8). He loved us as much yesterday as He loves us today and He will love us as much tomorrow as He loves us today. Are you walking in His light or are you walking in the darkness of satan? Allow the light of Jesus to so fill your heart that you won’t have room for the darkness of satan.

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