Archive for September, 2008

Time for a Confession….

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

O wretched man [woman] that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Rom. 7:24-25).

I have a confession to make: I’m a hypocrite. Furthermore, I’m a phony, a sham, a fake—and there’s nothing I can do about it.

For those of you who don’t know, I have a book about to be released titled “Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World” . With all my heart, I believe in the topic/focus of the book—selfless, you-first living, centered in total and complete dependence and reliance on the life of Christ within us—and with all my heart I try to live that sort of life. The problem is that I can’t. In truth, I fail miserably at every turn—and so do you.

Most of us—particularly those who know and love Jesus—desire to live that sort of selfless life, but the harder we try to do so, the more time we spend failing and repenting and failing again. Why is that?

It’s because we’re not repenting of the root sin, that self-centered, self-serving pride that drives us all. The Apostle Paul understood it only too well when he cried out, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Thank God for the next line, which declares, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Paul recognized his complete inability to be the godly man he so desired to be, but he also recognized that Jesus had fulfilled the righteousness and godliness that God requires of us, and that our beloved Savior extends His righteousness and godliness to us all—if we will but accept it. And that means more than accepting it in order to “purchase” our fire insurance to escape hell when we die. It means depending on His righteousness and godliness for each breath we take while still on this earth.

When I fail, my first reaction is to ask God to forgive the specific act of sin I’ve committed, whether it’s something blatant or scarcely noticeable to anyone else. That’s fine, but so long as I focus on trying to overcome that particular act, I’ll never make it. Good intentions simply aren’t enough. What we need to do on an ongoing basis, each time we fall short of the standard God requires of us, is to ask Him to forgive us for not loving Him enough. That truly is at the root of every other sin, isn’t it? It is only a deep and abiding love for Him that will be strong enough to keep me from disobeying Him and going my own way. And that, of course, is the heart of the “beyond me,” selfless, you-first living that should characterize the life and testimony of everyone who names the precious Name of Jesus Christ as Savior.

May it be so in each of our lives today, beloved, as we seek to love Him more….

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

Let His Light Shine

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it (John 1:4-5).

The Bible talks a lot about light, including the fact that the devil masquerades as an angel of light (see 2 Cor. 11:14) in an attempt to deceive and destroy us. The Scriptures also tell us that when we are born again, God delivers us from the power of darkness into the Kingdom of His Son (Col. 1:13). Since it is the devil’s kingdom from which we are delivered when we are born again, then it is obvious that the devil abides in darkness, as do his followers. God, however, is the Source of all light, because “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5). As believers, we are called to live and walk in that light, allowing it to shine through us everywhere we go.

I’m reminded of the children’s song about letting our light shine and not hiding it under a bushel. But do we understand how to do that? Are we clear on the fact that apart from God’s Spirit living within us, we have no light to shine on anyone?

Part of the meaning of John 1:5 is that God’s light is greater than the darkness, and there is nothing the darkness can do to snuff it out. If we attempted to shine a light based on our own power or goodness, the devil would annihilate it before it could generate a flicker. But when the light shining through us is the light and life of God Himself, the devil is powerless to stop it.

That’s why it’s so vital to stay “plugged in” to our Source, to daily and regularly spend time with the Father, allowing His light within us to grow brighter, even as we fade away in its glow. Any imagined light apart from the one true God is a counterfeit, and we dare not trust it. The more time we spend in the presence of the true light, the more it will be reflected in and through us, regardless of how dark our situation or circumstance may be.

We are called to let our light shine in the darkness, and we are promised that the darkness will not extinguish that light “so long as it is the true light that originates and blazes forth in the power of God’s Spirit. May that Light shine brightly in us today, as we continue our journey homeward, lighting the way for others to follow.”

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

How Much Do We Trust Him?

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. Psalm 18:1-3 King James Version

Jesus has helped us over and over and yet there are times when we still don’t trust Him. It is always safe to trust Jesus because what He says; He will do. Jesus is the rock of our salvation. He not only saves us from our sins; He also saves us from our enemies and even from ourselves.

Sometimes He has to save us from ourselves so that we won’t make unwise decisions. He is not only a tower of refuge; He is a high tower of refuge where we can take shelter and hide from our enemies. We say that we love Him but do we really love Him?

If we really loved Him, we would do things to make Him happy. However, all too often, we do things and we say things that we know will hurt Him and bring disgrace to His name. Do we love Him enough to trust Him with our children?

There are times when our children go astray and we don’t know how to help our children. Our precious Saviour knows how to help our children. When it comes right down to it, He is the only one who can help our children. We need to get out of His way and stop interfering with the plans that He has for our children.

I am going to share something personal with you. It is extremely personal and very painful but I share it with you praying that it will help someone else who may be going through the same situation. Twenty eight years ago on Thanksgiving Day, I was raped. As a result of that rape, I had the most beautiful baby girl ever born. I kept her for five months until I realized that she was wearing dish towels for diapers and I was literally stealing her food from the grocery store because I didn’t have money to buy her food or buy her diapers.

I went to my pastor and shared my heart with him. My pastor gave me some of the greatest advice anybody has ever given me. He said that it was between God and me and that nobody had a right to tell me what to do about placing my daughter for adoption. My pastor told me not to do anything until God confirmed to me what He wanted me to do.

I prayed and asked God what I should do. He was so tender, compassionate and understanding. He didn’t judge me or tell me that I was a terrible person. He told me that as much as it would hurt me to do so; the best thing would be to place my daughter for adoption so that she would have the material things that she needed.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss my daughter and wish with all of my heart that I could hug her and tell her how much I love her. However, I know that I can trust Jesus to take care of her. I have to admit that twenty eight years ago when I made that heartbreaking decision to place her for adoption that I did not trust Jesus. I worried constantly about her and made myself sick over what I had done.

One day I asked Jesus to please forgive me for not trusting Him and I placed my beloved daughter in His tender, compassionate and loving arms. The more I fall in love with Jesus; the more I know that I can trust Him to take care of her. He is trustworthy and faithful.

Do you trust Jesus enough to allow Him to take care of your children? Only our precious Saviour can see into our children’s hearts and He is the only one who can change their hearts and bring them back home to us again. Allow Jesus to take care of your children and then thank Him for taking care of them.

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

Making the Right Decision

Monday, September 8th, 2008

“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” Joel 3:14 King James Version

I receive a lot of emails from people who ask me if they are making the right decision about something. I tell them to pray and ask God about the situation and if He gives them peace in their hearts to do it then it is okay to do it. If God does not give us peace in our hearts about something we want to do, then we should not do it.

We read in the Bible “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). We are to get advice from several people regarding a situation. However, the final authority is God for any decision we make and for everything we say and do. Unless and until He confirms to us that it is okay to do it and we have peace in our hearts that He approves of what we want to do; then I submit to you on the authority of the Word of God that we should not do it.

The most important thing we need to consider when making an important decision is the condition of our hearts. We should ask ourselves: What is the motive of my heart regarding what I want to do? Why do I want to do this? Will it bring honor to Jesus and point others to Him? We read in the Bible “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12). If you are facing a difficult decision, seek guidance and counsel from people, but allow God to be the final authority when making the decision.

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

Identifying the Counterfeit

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God,
a worker who does not need to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

Years (decades!) ago I worked as a bank teller. In order to detect counterfeit money, we did not spend hours studying such counterfeits; instead we invested our time learning to recognize the distinctive characteristics of authentic bills. It was only through familiarizing ourselves with the authentic that we could then easily detect the counterfeit.

Religion and faith are much like that. We know there is an authentic faith because there are so many counterfeits. In order to identify the counterfeit, we must first be intimately acquainted with the Real Deal. The only way to do that is to be a disciplined student of the Scriptures, regularly and rightly “dividing the word of truth.”

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

He Has Forgiven You

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1- 2 KJV

I have received several emails lately from people who have told me that they were feeling guilty about their past. I submit to you on the authority of the Word of God that if you have repented of your sins, confessed them and asked God to forgive you then your sins are under the blood of Jesus never to be held against you again.

God has forgiven you and the people who keep bringing up your past and telling you that you haven’t changed are liars. We read in the Bible “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5: 17).

Don’t listen to the people who tell you that you haven’t changed. What they are really saying is that they don’t believe Jesus can change someone. May God have mercy on them because one day they will stand before a Holy God and give an account of why they said that Jesus can’t change someone.

You have been forgiven and cleansed by the precious blood of the Christ of Calvary. Thank God that He loved us so much that He sent His beloved Son into the world so that we may be saved and live with Him for all eternity. Don’t dwell on your past. Keep your thoughts focused on Jesus and you will have peace in your heart, a peace that passes all understanding.

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

A Day of Laughter <== read if your heart is full of pain

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

“Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.” Luke 6:21 King James Version

One day all of our sorrows and heartaches and crying will fade away. When our precious Saviour comes back for us, it will be a day of rejoicing and laughter. If I close my eyes, I can see Jesus holding my hand and laughing with me. O how my heart longs to see my precious Saviour! Not only will it be a day of laughter for those of us who have invited Jesus into our hearts to be our personal Saviour; it will also be a day of rejoicing and laughter for Jesus.

Sometimes it is hard to laugh. There are things in our lives that make us sad and fill our hearts with pain. The good news is that if Jesus lives in our hearts He will rock us in His compassionate arms and comfort us. He will softly and tenderly kiss us until our tears are gone. What a Saviour, this Jesus of Nazareth! There is no one like Jesus! He is the great I AM, the bright and morning star, the beautiful Rose of Sharon and my very best friend.

If you are hurting today and your heart is filed with sorrow and pain, take the outstretched hand of our Saviour. He will lift you up out of the valley of sorrow and pain and set your feet on the mountain top of joy and happiness. He will replace your tears with laughter. Thank You, Jesus, for loving us unconditionally and for caring what happens to us. Amen.

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

Are You a Special Needs Christian?

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him. And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. Luke 10:33-37 King James Version

I looked up the definition of special needs in Webster’s Dictionary “the individual requirements (as for education) of a person with a disadvantaged background, or a mental, emotional, or physical disability or a high risk of developing one.” We have many special needs Christians who have been abused and mistreated. They have been ridiculed and criticized.

When we accept Jesus into our hearts as our personal Saviour, old things are passed away and all things are become new but we still have memories and scars from our past. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5: 17).

Joyce Landorf Heatherley, a well known author and speaker, said on one of her teaching tapes “I am not super spiritual every second of the day. I have pain that wipes out my determination to go on and if I am going to make it through, it’s going to have to be because of you.” God has used Joyce so many times in my life to encourage and inspire me because she shared from her heart.

Have you ever felt so discouraged that you wanted to give up and stop serving Jesus? I think if we are honest with ourselves, and if we will stop trying to be super spiritual that all of us will have to admit that there are times when we get so discouraged that we are tempted to give up and stop serving Jesus. When I first started posting my devotions on the internet three and a half years ago, I received so many criticizing and sarcastic emails that I cried. There were a few times that I was tempted to give up and stop serving Jesus. However, every time I wanted to give up, I remembered what Jesus did for me on the cross. I’m sure that He did not want to die on the cross for me but He did it anyway.

In our Scripture verses for today, Jesus tells us to “Go, and do thou likewise.” When we see people who are in pain; who are hurting and discouraged, we need to put our arms around them and hug them for Jesus. We don’t know what the people we sit next to in church have been through. Some of them may have been abused sexually, physically and emotionally when they were children like I was. They desperately need to know that they are loved and that they are loved unconditionally.

Your parents, your spouse, your children and your friends may be special needs Christians. Only Jesus can see into our hearts and only Jesus can take the pain, the anguish and the horror from our hearts. However, He has not been here for over two thousand years. He has left us to hug for Him. When is the last time you put your arms around someone and told that person that Jesus loves him or her unconditionally?

You may be a special needs Christian yourself. You probably have heard this saying before “You get back what you give out.” If you aren’t a loving person, and if you don’t hug people and comfort and encourage them when they are hurting, it is very doubtful that people will hug you and comfort and encourage you when you are hurting.

Did you know that Jesus is a special needs Christian? He desperately needs to know that He is loved. He was not only abused physically and emotionally when He was here on earth; He is still being abused today when people reject Him, curse Him and mock Him. How often do you tell Him that you love Him? How many times have you told Him that you love Him today? Let’s determine in our hearts to not only be an encouragement and comfort to our families, to our loved ones, to our pastors and their families but also to Jesus.

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him. And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. Luke 10:33-37 King James Version

I looked up the definition of special needs in Webster’s Dictionary “the individual requirements (as for education) of a person with a disadvantaged background, or a mental, emotional, or physical disability or a high risk of developing one.” We have many special needs Christians who have been abused and mistreated. They have been ridiculed and criticized.

When we accept Jesus into our hearts as our personal Saviour, old things are passed away and all things are become new but we still have memories and scars from our past. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5: 17).

Joyce Landorf Heatherley, a well known author and speaker, said on one of her teaching tapes “I am not super spiritual every second of the day. I have pain that wipes out my determination to go on and if I am going to make it through, it’s going to have to be because of you.” God has used Joyce so many times in my life to encourage and inspire me because she shared from her heart.

Have you ever felt so discouraged that you wanted to give up and stop serving Jesus? I think if we are honest with ourselves, and if we will stop trying to be super spiritual that all of us will have to admit that there are times when we get so discouraged that we are tempted to give up and stop serving Jesus. When I first started posting my devotions on the internet three and a half years ago, I received so many criticizing and sarcastic emails that I cried. There were a few times that I was tempted to give up and stop serving Jesus. However, every time I wanted to give up, I remembered what Jesus did for me on the cross. I’m sure that He did not want to die on the cross for me but He did it anyway.

In our Scripture verses for today, Jesus tells us to “Go, and do thou likewise.” When we see people who are in pain; who are hurting and discouraged, we need to put our arms around them and hug them for Jesus. We don’t know what the people we sit next to in church have been through. Some of them may have been abused sexually, physically and emotionally when they were children like I was. They desperately need to know that they are loved and that they are loved unconditionally.

Your parents, your spouse, your children and your friends may be special needs Christians. Only Jesus can see into our hearts and only Jesus can take the pain, the anguish and the horror from our hearts. However, He has not been here for over two thousand years. He has left us to hug for Him. When is the last time you put your arms around someone and told that person that Jesus loves him or her unconditionally?

You may be a special needs Christian yourself. You probably have heard this saying before “You get back what you give out.” If you aren’t a loving person, and if you don’t hug people and comfort and encourage them when they are hurting, it is very doubtful that people will hug you and comfort and encourage you when you are hurting.

Did you know that Jesus is a special needs Christian? He desperately needs to know that He is loved. He was not only abused physically and emotionally when He was here on earth; He is still being abused today when people reject Him, curse Him and mock Him. How often do you tell Him that you love Him? How many times have you told Him that you love Him today? Let’s determine in our hearts to not only be an encouragement and comfort to our families, to our loved ones, to our pastors and their families but also to Jesus.

God’s Comfort Station

Monday, September 1st, 2008

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 King James Version

Have you ever been on a long trip and you were very tired and needed to stop and rest? When you didn’t think you could drive another mile, you saw a sign that said “Comfort Station”. It was a rest stop with a restroom where you could rest and be refreshed. We are on a long trip in this world and there are times that we become very tired from all the obstacles and hurdles that we have in our service to Jesus. It is then that we need to rest in God’s comfort station.

God’s comfort station for me is my bed. When I go to bed at night, I lay in the arms of my precious Saviour. He encourages me and comforts me. During the day, if things become overwhelming to me then I go lay on my bed and rest in His arms and allow Him to comfort me. Sometimes, I just want to be alone with Him and I will go lie on my bed and tell Him how much I love Him and appreciate all that He has done for me.

Are you weary in the service of Jesus? Have the obstacles and hurdles become overwhelming to you? Allow Jesus to comfort and encourage you as only He can. Find a place where you can be alone with Jesus. If you have children, that may be difficult but go to the bathroom if you have to do so. Just get alone with Jesus. Your spouse and loved ones can comfort and encourage you but only Jesus can satisfy your need for unconditional love and a lasting peace.

After Jesus has encouraged and comforted us and filled us up again with renewed determination to keep going no matter what we encounter, then we need to encourage and comfort one another. Just as we are not saved to sit on the pews at church Sunday after Sunday and watch other people serve Jesus, so we aren’t encouraged and comforted by Jesus to keep it to ourselves. When is the last time you hugged someone for Jesus? When is the last time you told someone that Jesus loves him or her unconditionally? Are you being a comfort and an encourager to those around you? If not, you are hurting Jesus and making Him sad.

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