Archive for October, 2008

Walking Circumspectly

Friday, October 31st, 2008

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time,
because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise,
but understand what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:15-17).

Though there has never been a time since the Great Garden Rebellion that evil has not existed on the earth, it is difficult today not to look at the circumstances surrounding us and not surmise that we are indeed living in the most evil days imaginable. And yet…

Are we, as believers in and children of the Most High God, to be discouraged or defeated over that? Not at all! Indeed, we are to see it as an opportunity to shine His light in the darkness. But are we doing that? Or – God forbid! – are we allowing our light to flicker and fade as we blend into that darkness?

The Scriptures call us to “walk circumspectly,” which, according to Webster’s New World Dictionary means “careful to consider all related circumstances before acting, judging or deciding.” And how do we rightly consider these circumstances? By weighing them against what God says in His Word. What does the eternal God say about the issues we deal with today? We will never know unless we make it a practice to daily search and study the Scriptures.

But once we have discovered God’s will and word on a subject, what do we do next? IF WE TRULY BELIEVE WHAT WE SAY WE BELIEVE, THEN WE WILL CHOOSE TO LIVE ACCORDINGLY!

I will never use this or any other ministry platform to proclaim my personal political or social beliefs or to try to influence anyone to my way of thinking in those areas, but I must say that I am grieved when I hear people who name the Name of Christ and then make decisions – politically, socially, or otherwise—based on anything other than His Word and His will (for they are ALWAYS one and the same!). How can we “walk circumspectly,” shining God’s light in the darkness and wisely redeeming the time He has so graciously given us, if we don’t “understand what the will of the Lord is”? We cannot understand His will if we don’t know His Word, for that is the place He reveals His will. And if we understand His will but don’t CHOOSE to act on it, that is blatant sin—and we are hypocrites of the worst kind.

Consider what your answer would be if someone asked you what you believe about God and about life in general – and then ask yourself if you truly believe it. For if we make our choices and live our lives based on anything other than what we claim to believe…then the truth is, we don’t really believe it.

May we walk circumspectly today…and always…for a dark world desperately needs to see the Light that is within us.

It’s Dark

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8:12 King James Version

Last night I went to the window to look out but I couldn’t see anything because it was so dark outside. I had just looked out the window two hours earlier and I could see everything clearly. I thought how true that is in our own lives and hearts. Just as the sun outside goes down and the darkness comes, so there are times in our lives when we allow satan to put out the light of Jesus in our hearts. Our hearts grow dark with worry, fears and problems.

It seems like everything is okay in our lives for a change when all of a sudden satan launches a vicious attack against us as he hurls his poisonous arrows of lies, criticism, sarcasm and judgment at us. We don’t have to become bitter and harbor unforgiveness and resentment in our hearts. We don’t have to allow satan to sink us in despair and stop us from serving our precious Saviour. All we have to do is cry out to Jesus to help us and comfort us. Jesus said “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Are you following Jesus? Unless you are following Jesus, you will always have darkness in your life. Don’t allow satan to extinguish the light of Jesus in your heart. Jesus hasn’t left you; He will never leave you. The light is still there in your heart but you have allowed satan to extinguish it by following him instead of following Jesus. Follow Jesus and His light in your heart will illuminate your heart and chase the darkness of sadness, discouragement, fears and problems away.

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

If We Do These Things

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:29-31 King James Version

Did you notice that Jesus did not say “Thou shalt not kill” as one of the greatest commandments in this Scripture passage. What He did say is that there are no other commandments greater than loving the Lord with all of our heart, with all of our soul, with all of our mind and with all of our strength and loving our neighbour as we love ourselves. Just as Jesus told Israel to hear what He was saying to them; so He is telling us to hear what He is saying to us and He is commanding us to do these things.

If we do these things that Jesus has commanded us to do and if we do them from our hearts, not only are we being obedient to Jesus, we are also making Him happy. We would have fewer problems and heartaches in our lives if we will only be obedient to Jesus and do these things. May God have mercy on us if we fail to love Him and our neighbour as He has commanded us to do! We say that we love our neighbours and we love Jesus, but do we really love them as He has commanded us to love them from our hearts?

I think the reason He did not include “Thou shalt not kill” as one of the greatest commandments is because if we truly love each other unconditionally from our hearts as He has commanded us to love one another, we would have no desire to kill or hurt someone. We would have no desire to break the speed limit either. Jesus has told us to obey the laws of the land and if we go just one mile over the speed limit, we are disobeying Him and hurting Him. If we would only love people from our hearts as Jesus has commanded us to love each other, instead of thinking of ways to hurt each other we would try as hard as we could to find ways to encourage and help one another.

Are you trying to find ways to help people and encourage them or are you harboring unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, jealousy and hatred in your heart? Do you love the Lord your God as He has commanded you to love Him? Do you love your neighbour as yourself? You can say that you love Jesus and that you love your neighbor but Jesus can see into your heart and He knows if you are just giving lip service or if it comes from your heart.

What does Jesus see when He looks into your heart? Does He see things that make Him happy or does He see things that make Him sad? Are you putting smiles on the face of our precious Saviour because you are being kind and loving to people or are you putting tears in His heart because of the cruel words you say and the cruel things that you do to people?

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

Addiction Can Be Terminal

Monday, October 27th, 2008

by Steven White
This article is based on an excerpt from his book “The Fly and the Jackal: Addiction, Recovery and Biblical Principles”.

There’s more to the pitfalls of addiction than the loss of your job, finances, family and friends. Ignoring your physical condition can be hazardous to your health.

Without a doubt, substance abuse can be as serious as any other terminal disease known to man. Yes, addiction is terminal when left untreated.

Let’s imagine your addiction is a cancer and the doctor has just told you news that you thought could only be true about someone else. Your worst suspicions regarding that brain scan have been confirmed…you have less than a year to live, lest you act fast.

What do you do? No doubt you will experience despair, hope, denial, and determination. You will also have concern for those you leave behind. Not a one of us can predict how we will act under these circumstances, but I’m willing to bet that you will try to live.

Now, imagine your cancer is addiction. Are you still willing to fight for your life?

StevenCopyright 2008 by Steven White, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://www.authorsden.com/stevenwhite

Are You Reading and Listening?

Friday, October 24th, 2008

“Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears” (1 Samuel 3:9).

Billy Graham was once asked if he really believed God spoke to him. He answered something to the effect that God speaks to everyone, but not everyone is listening.

What a powerful reminder that is to us in this day when we so desperately need to hear His word and receive His direction! So why is it that so few would positively and absolutely declare their belief that they hear from God—not just occasionally but regularly?

I believe it is because few of us (yes, I’m talking about Christians here!) actually spend much time faithfully reading and studying God’s Word. How can we expect to hear from God when we neglect reading the words He has written specifically for our learning?

Most of us as believers would verbalize our belief that the Bible is God’s Word, and that it is relevant to us today—even necessary for our spiritual growth and survival. And yet…how many of us can find time to do just about everything except daily converse with God in and through the Scriptures? For though God speaks to us in other ways—through the still, small voice inside us and/or through other believers, or even an occasional sign or wonder—His primary way of communicating with us is through His written Word. Everything we will ever truly need to know is contained in the Scriptures—and yet we neglect them…to our peril. Worse yet, we then complain that God doesn’t “speak” to us as we would like Him to do.

Billy Graham had it right, as did the little boy Samuel, who said, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.” If we want to hear from God, we need to get into His presence and LISTEN with open ears and willing hearts. And the place where we are most apt to hear His voice is while we are reading and studying His words.

As the time grows short, beloved, and the darkness presses in, there is no better place to be than immersed in the inerrant words of a faithful and merciful God. Read them, meditate on them, memorize them—and act on them. And be thankful that, so far, we still live in a country where we can do so openly and without persecution.

Unlike fallible human beings, God will never give you bad advice or steer you in the wrong direction. And the more time you spend listening and obeying His words, the sweeter and clearer His voice will become….

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 Love Others?

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 1 John 4:10-15 King James Version

How much do we love others? Do we love them as much as God loves us? Of course not, the love that God and Jesus give us can never be equaled. However, we are to forgive one another and love one another unconditionally as they forgive us and love us. Loving one another is not an option; it is a commandment. “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15: 12 -14).

Jesus said “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” Do you love others as He has commanded you? If not, then you are not His friend. It is a privilege and an honor to be a friend of Jesus. He has also told us that we are to forgive when people hurt us. Are you forgiving people when they hurt you or are you harboring bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness in your heart? If you are not forgiving those who hurt you, Jesus said that you are not His friend. May God have mercy on us if we fail to forgive and love others!

Heavenly Father, we come to You and ask that You would please forgive us when we refuse to forgive the ones who hurt us. Help us always to remember, dear Father, that none of us are perfect and that all of us hurt each other. Thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your beloved Son to die for our sins. We love You, Heavenly Father, and we appreciate all that You do for us. May we be children that will bring happiness to You instead of children that hurt You. Please search our hearts and if there is anything that displeases You and hurts You we ask that You would please forgive us. In the precious name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

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

The Healing Salve of Jesus

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 King James Version

When children fall and hurt themselves, they want their mothers. They know that their mothers will make it all better. When my nephew was little, he used to tell me “Momma will make it all better.” It is the same when Christians get hurt. We want Jesus because we know that He will make it all better. Only Jesus can see into our hearts and only Jesus can make it all better.

When we are discouraged, heartbroken, depressed, lonely, and really believe that nobody loves us, Jesus gently applies His healing salve of compassion and understanding to our hearts. He holds us close to His heart as He tenderly wipes the tears from our eyes with His kisses of unconditional love. Thank God for the healing salve of Jesus.

Has someone said something cruel to you or done something to hurt your feelings? Do you feel like nobody cares about you? Are you lonely and discouraged and heartbroken today? If so, run into the waiting arms of Jesus. He will apply His healing salve of compassion and understanding to your heart as He tenderly wipes the tears from your eyes with His kisses of unconditional love. Jesus really does love you and He really does care when you are hurting.

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

Peace

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Isaiah 26:3 King James Version

Jesus has given us the prescription for peace. He has told us to keep our minds stayed on Him. Not only will He give us peace; He will give us perfect peace. There are times when we create our own unhappiness and difficult situations and problems. Instead of keeping my mind stayed on Jesus, for the last two weeks I spent most of my time trying to build a website. I sinned and I had to ask Jesus to forgive me. He was faithful to forgive me but it breaks my heart to know that once again I have hurt Him.

Anything that comes before Jesus is sin even if it is a good thing. If you are spending more time on things than you are with Jesus, ask Him to forgive you. While it is important that we have websites so that we can spread the unconditional love of Jesus, it is far more important to spend time with Him. Just as we long to hear from Him, so He longs to hear from us.

Have you spent time with Jesus today? If so, did you spend more time with Him than you did watching television? Did you tell Jesus how wonderful He is and how much you love Him? If not, why not? Do you love Him? If so, tell Him that you love Him. He likes to hear us say “I love You” just as we like to hear Him say to us “I love you.” If you want perfect peace in your life, keep your mind stayed on Jesus.

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

Encouragers

Monday, October 20th, 2008

“So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the soldering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.” Isaiah 41:7 King James Version

Jesus wants us to encourage people, not discourage them by our critical and unkind words. When I was a child, my Mother used to say to me “If you don’t have anything good to say, keep your big mouth shut.” I think that we would do well to follow her advice. We read in the Bible “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8).

One of my pastors said in a sermon “If you will concentrate on keeping your own heart right before God, you won’t have the time to criticize and judge someone else because there are times that you will need to ask God to forgive you several times a day.” I think all of us, including myself; have been guilty of saying unkind things to people and judging them.

The Bible instructs us to “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6: 37, 38).

The Bible also tell us “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4: 12).

How dare we think that we know the thoughts and intents in a person’s heart? We are at times an arrogant people. Only Jesus can see into our hearts and only Jesus can see the scars of unkind words that have been said to us. Instead of discouraging people, let’s become encouragers to everyone that we meet. It is impossible to spread the unconditional love of Jesus to people if we judge them and say unkind words to them.

We must stop judging people. Instead of discouraging people and judging them, we need to start loving them unconditionally and encourage them. Remember, we hurt Jesus when we judge people and when we say unkind words to them even if we think that they are helpful words.

“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). When we say something unkind to someone, we are saying it to Jesus. May God forgive us for saying unkind words to Jesus!

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

We Are Waiting

Friday, October 17th, 2008

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 King James Version

There are times when we grow weary. Jesus understands how we feel because He also grew weary when He was here on earth. He would pray to His Father and His Father would encourage and comfort Him. When we grow weary and discouraged, we need to go to Jesus and allow Him to hold us in His arms of compassion and unconditional love.

Only Jesus can see the pain in our hearts that we keep hidden from our families and friends. He will be faithful to kiss our tears away and comfort and encourage us. Why do we hide our pain from our families and friends? I think it is because we are afraid that we will be ridiculed and rejected. It is very risky to share what is in our hearts. Jesus will never laugh at us or reject us. What a Saviour! What a friend, this Jesus of Nazareth!

We need to understand that when we wait upon the Lord that does not mean that we should just sit around and wait for Him to do something for us. We need to be doing something for Him. Picture in your mind a waiter or waitress serving a plate of delicious food to you. That is what we need to do for Jesus.

We need to serve Him a plate of delicious food by spreading His unconditional love and compassion to everyone we meet. Since I started serving Jesus full time three and a half years ago, I have had more energy, more enthusiasm and more happiness than I have ever had in my life.

If today you are discouraged, don’t watch television all day. Pick up the telephone and call someone who is lonely and needs to hear a friendly voice. Send an email to someone who is hurting and tell the person that Jesus loves him or her. Above all, hug people for Jesus. One of the greatest joys in my life is knowing that one day I will be able to hug my precious Saviour in person. O how I long for that day!

Our loving and compassionate Saviour has not been here for over two thousand years. He has left us to hug for Him. We may not be able to hug our loved ones in person but all of us can call somebody on the telephone or send an email or a letter by regular mail. Are you sitting around waiting for Jesus to do something for you or are you waiting on Jesus by serving Him?

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