Your Amazing IF

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IF has been around since the beginning of humanity.  IF usually comes with choice, consequence, and question.  But, what if the word IF can be a statement of faith?  What if the word IF can be a declaration of what you believe God can do in your life.

One of my favorite IF questions in the Bible led to a miracle occurring and the constraints of what is normally not possible being removed.  IF unlocks something amazing in one man’s life, never to be repeated by another human being except for Jesus Christ.  Tossed about in the waves of contrary winds, Jesus’ disciples are struggling in a boat in the middle of the sea when Jesus came to them walking on the water (see Matthew 14:22-33).  After Jesus greeted the men in the boat and calmed them, Peter asked, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water,” (Matthew 14:28; italics added mine).

I believe Peter knew wholeheartedly it was Jesus since some Bible studies use the word IF as SINCE.  Thus, I believe Peter’s IF is a statement of faith, even if it appeared to be an immature faith at the onset.  He believed in Jesus.  He believed if Jesus allowed him to, he would be able to do what is naturally impossible.  He, under the direction of the Lord, could do the amazing, and walk on water.

Now, many of us are very familiar with how Peter’s story here ends.  Seeing the waves his faith falters and Jesus is there to pull him up from his sinking condition and bring him back to the boat.  Yet, that isn’t the part I want to focus on here.  I want to focus on the power of the IF that drew him out of the boat in the first place.  Where other men stayed hidden, he literally threw it all to the wind, and with the chance of a lifetime, stepped out to experience the amazing.

We can laugh at Peter and put him down, but how many of us can honestly answer that we would have gotten out of the boat also?  You see, IF can be a hindrance that causes over questioning and actually act as a stumbling block for not moving forward into something wonderful.  But, IF can also be the catalyst to open a door of opportunity if it is approached with the idea that something amazing can come out of taking a chance with Jesus; to move on to the waters of the unknown with my eyes on Him.

The phrase “What if?” has birthed a lot of good quotes and with good reason.  In that two-worded question, we are daring to ask ourselves the question: “Do I stay in the boat or do I choose to walk on water?”  We are daring to see potential in ourselves to do more than the ordinary, to do something amazing with my IF.

Where is your “IF” calling you today or even this week?  What extraordinary thing may unlock for you if you take a chance with your amazing IF?  I believe God gives us dreams to pursue, but it’s our faith in active pursuit of that IF that will allow the amazing to happen for us, just like it did for Peter.  Jesus most certainly could have gotten to the boat without walking on water, but then Peter or any one of the other disciples would have never had the opportunity to ask and pursue something more.

Is Jesus calling you to walk on water?  Is He calling you to take steps of faith in pursuit of a particular IF?  If He is, keep your eyes on Him and allow Him to lead you to your amazing IF.

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“Wisdom is Better!”

“Wisdom is better,” is what I read twice during my devotional reading.  In Ecclesiastes 9:16, 18.  In verse 16 it states that “wisdom is better than strength” and in verse 18 it states that “wisdom is better than weapons of war.”  This had me thinking, how often do we resort to strength and weapons before choosing wisdom to fight the struggles in life?

Strength and weapons are carnal devices that depend on fleshly know-how and might.  Often these are the first resources that man runs to in times of difficulty and adversity.  Wisdom is dependent upon God.  “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction,” Proverbs 1:7.

Would it not be more prudent in the days of trials to follow the path of wisdom whose author is God?  Many of life’s mistakes are made from rash human impulses instead of the patient endurance of wisdom that God provides.  Christians especially are admonished to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths,” Proverbs 3:5-6.

“Wisdom is better!”  James 1:5 gives us the key to finding this wisdom to help with life’s choices.  He said, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be give him.”  God will freely supply for the heart that seeks wisdom rather than the harried messes of one’s own way.

Today, choose wisdom.  It’s always the better option.

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Heaven in My Heart

As I read over the page, speaking of the “two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God” found in Exodus 31:18, my fingers etched the outlining of the words, and a feeling of awe and wonder came over me at the reality of it all.

Moses held in his hands that which was written by the finger of our Holy God. To say it is amazing would be an inadequate attempt at best to describe the wonder of what that must have been like to experience. But it didn’t stop me from still wondering: “What was that like to hold those very tablets?”

As I kept reading and following his story, in my mind, I saw him carrying those tablets, engraved by God as he descended the mount (Exodus 32:16), and my heart was quickly reminded of the promise spoken in Jeremiah of the time when God Himself said, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33).

And I thought, as much as I would love to hold that piece of our Christian history physically in my hands, I now have in my heart, through the power and indwelling of His Holy Spirit, God’s testimony, His very Word in the innermost part of my being.

Yes, my eyes would have loved to see and behold those external declarations of His Testimony, but my soul is ever so grateful for the internal and eternal work God’s Word and saving grace has done deep inside of me. No wonder the psalmist wrote, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11).

It is in our hearts where we establish our faith and believe in the One who called us and loved us (Romans 10:10). The heart is where we hold our greatest treasures (Matthew 6:21). So, to have a piece of Him there in the recesses of my being; to have His Word, this piece of heaven living in me, I am still overtaken with awe and the wonder of it all.

As frail as humanity is and as short as we come from His glory (Romans 3:23), we are honored creatures to have the grace of this New Covenant go through the lineage of Israel and trickle-down upon us and flood our hearts when we receive Christ as our Savior.

In Mark, John the Baptist spoke, saying, “I indeed baptize you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost” (1:8). At the baptism of Jesus, John witnessed “the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1:10-11).

Jesus Christ is the one sent from heaven to dwell in our hearts. He is that Word made flesh (John 1:14). Through Him, the Father will send “the Holy Ghost. . . in my name,” Jesus said (John 14:26; see also VSS 16-17; Acts 1:5) to comfort us, to dwell in us, and change our lives forever.

There is no better time than now to seek a whole heart transformation. Deep inside, we know we need Him. Nothing else will satisfy.

In the anguish of his sins, David cried out in desperation, saying, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). A heart that is devoted to God, a heart renewed in Him; a heart that cradles and nurtures His Word and has His Spirit within them, a heart who has the Son – they are the ones who “shall be my people” and He will be their “God” (Jeremiah 31:33).  

It may not be a piece of history in my hands, but I’ll take heaven in my heart any day.

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“Our lives must be infused with power from on High!”

Our lives must be infused with power from on High – Holy Ghost power! “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6

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“The Lifter of My Head!”

“But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” Psalm 3:3

How much wrestling have you dealt with in life?  How many in just this week alone?  In the heaviness, in the heart, our God stands as the One who lifts our head:

“When confidence in others is fleeting,

And friends cannot be found.

It is God who restores,

And lifts my countenance from the ground.

 

Running, exhausted, weary, and worn.

With His salve of love,

He heals this heart

That was torn.

 

He takes the troubles,

As if they didn’t exist,

Encourages us in Him,

And our hearts, He lifts.

 

No more to feel like

I’m fighting alone.

God has lifted my head

And, called me His own.”

Friend, when troubles find their way into your life, remember Your heavenly Father is He who fights with you and for you.  David found himself in opposition often.  Some were of his own doing, and some were from others who pursued him with unrighteousness.  But in his heart, he never failed to keep believing in God, to keep his confidence and praise in the One who not only saw his sin and his circumstances – but God was also He who held his life in His hands.

A praise was never far from his lips.  Even when he was down, he knew in whom he believed.  He knew that in everything, God is the one who can restore and exalt.  God is the one who can return a smile to his face and gladness to his heart.  God is He who can bring a victory in the midst of a mess therefore, David kept his hope in the one and only true living God who can carry him and lift him during the hard times of life.

Friend, I pray that you will find your solace in God today.  May a praise be on your lips for the God who can save.

“I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.” Psalm 9:1

“And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.” Psalm 27:6

Your biggest source of encouragement is found in God alone!

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The Prayers of the Saints

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Oh, my friend, do not think within yourself that your prayers do not matter.  Don’t let the thought enter your mind, saying, “What’s the point.”  The point is your prayers are very special to your King.  He loves to hear the words and petitions that flow from your heart and mouth.  His ears are opened, listening for His beloved ones who wills to communicate with Him.

Your prayers are so special before God Almighty.  Only the enemy wants you to look away from that blessed throne.  Only those who don’t want the best for you wish to turn you from believing your prayers matter.

God loves when your heart is bowed before Him.  He loves the utterances that are spoken from your lips to His hears.  You are His child.  He loves you and wants to hear from you daily.

Give yourself permission to release all that’s inside at His holy feet.  Let your prayers rise as a sweet-smelling savour before He who loves you more than you’ll ever know.

Your prayers are precious to God now, and in that time to come.

“And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.” Revelation 8:3,4

“Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” Psalm 141:2

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In the will of God

“But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.” Jonah 1:4

Are the winds blowing?  Has a tempest howled at your door?  Do you feel like your ship is bring broken and your world falling apart?

Have you stayed the course?  Have you allowed your sails to be set in another direction from His calling?  Have you gotten on board with a plan that is not God’s best plan for your life?

There is only one solution.  Reunite yourself with God’s will for your life.  Step back onto the path He has chosen for you to walk.  It may not always be easy, and the way may be unclear to us, but when we are where God want us to be, doing what God wants us to do, we are in the best place possible.

Following, when we don’t know all the specifics, is not always easy but the Bible encourages us to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5,6).  But you must be willing to go where He directs.

Jonah fled and when his plan began to break around him, he ended up in the belly of a great fish (Jonah 1:17).  If your plan is breaking apart, make sure your plan is falling in line with God’s plan for your life.

God’s ways are perfect and right.  He wants to see a good end come from even the worst of circumstances (Jeremiah 29:11).  But we can never see the fulfilling of it if we are determined to board our own boat and go our own way.

In the will of God is where we’ll find safety and refuge.  In the will of God is where His best plan for us becomes the best part of our story.

Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”  God will instruct you in the best way to go.

Psalm 37:4 “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”  When we delight in God’s will, God delights in us.

Proverbs 19:21 “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.”  It is God’s will that will always stand.  Don’t fight it.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”  God knows how to get to the best ending out of your life.

Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Seek God’s kingdom/His will first and everything else will fall into place.

John 7:17 “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”  Those who truly seek after His will, will know His will.  God doesn’t play hide and seek with His people.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  Following God’s will, even when we don’t understand, will always work out according to His purpose.

Father God, I don’t pretend to know everything.  The things that are happening and the things I don’t understand may perplex me, but nothing is out of the reach of Your Sovereign hand.  Thank You, for Your faithfulness in my life.  Thank You, for the daily new mercies.  Thank You, that You have not given up on me, rather daily, You help me in the way I should go.  Forgive me for the times when I went the wrong way.  Help me to stay where You want me to stay and do what You want me to do.  In the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN.

If you have found yourself out of the will of God, use today to start again.  Today can be a day of renewal for you.  Today, you can have a fresh start.

“When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.

They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.” Jonah 2:7-9

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“Will I Be Worthy?”

Will I be worthy - pagemodo pic

Will I be worthy

in that day

when the clouds part

shining redemptive rays?

 

Will I be worthy

before the Son

rising with the saints

together as one?

 

Will I be worthy

to gain a crown,

with robes of righteousness

as my dressing gown?

 

Will I be worthy

to bask in that glory

when the books are opened

exposing my story?

 

Will I be worthy

to hear, “Well done;”

to enter for eternity

where’s there’s no need for sun?

 

Will I be worthy?

The answer is, “No,”

if on my own accord

I try to go.

 

My own works cannot mark me as good,

but if on Christ’s sacrifice I have stood;

my unworthy, sinful, scarlet state

counts me as worthy, by His grace.

 “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus,

and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11

“Stop the Madness!”

“. . . And bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:5

“I cannot get this thought out of my mind!” That is the howl of frustration that has come from many persons I know. It has probably come from you, too. The relentless, almost like water dripping from the faucet thoughts, that drip, drip, drip their way into your mind. Sometimes making your head spin with a bothersome problem. If those thoughts were pleasant to us, then we would not mind it so much. It would cause us to feel as though we were walking through a field of flowers all day long. It’s when the invasion of unpleasant thoughts comes and messes with our peaceful reverie that we have a problem. These things continually bounce off the mind, not allowing rest for the soul.

The apostle Paul taught, “Take every thought captive.” The Christian must make a conscious effort to have a fly trap mentality. There is a barrier that every individual is to put up to guard their precious mind. That barrier is the Word of God. Whatever does not fall in line with Him and His Word is supposed to be trapped and discarded as refuse like that old, dirty fly trap. There is some bothersome stuff that people put up with every day. They are buzzing around your head and just plain ole getting on your nerves. I mean, you really wish you could tear it out of there and throw it away. Guess what? I have good news for you you can. Today, you can stop the madness because the Word of God declares, “You will keep him perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You!” (Isaiah 26:3, NKJV).

When you are dealing with all that annoying stuff, it is robbing you of the peace that God wants you to have in Him. As I am writing this, I am looking at my cats stretched out on the floor, sleeping. Outside there is some stonework cutting going on using a loud machine not far from my window. When the work first began, it caused their ears to perk up, and I think they were wondering what is going on out there. As time went on, they stopped wondering and started sleeping. I guess they figured, hey, whatever is going on out there does not affect me in here. I am in my safety. I am in my shelter. I am in my place of trust.

That is what God wants each of us to experience in Him. This kind of rest and peace only comes with first, trusting Him, and secondly, taking every thought captive. These two working together will give you the peace you so desire. After all, who does not want more peace? One can have all the money in the world and be miserable because there is no peace of mind.

Stop the madness. “Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” I once heard this described as a wrestling match. I forget who I heard it from, but the idea is taking hold of that thought, pinning it to the ground, and making it obey Christ. If that thought does not profit my spiritual growth in God or my relationship with people or any of the good stuff God wants for me, then it is to be pinned down. It is not allowed to get the victory today. It is not even allowed in the ring with me.

How do I do that? “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things,” (Phil. 4:8). That is how you do it. I know from personal experience how easy it is to focus on all the negative stuff that tries to rob you of peace. But if you will change, on purpose, the focus of your thought life, you will begin to experience what God said you can have. I have heard it said that if you keep doing the same thing then you will keep getting the same results. No truer is that than here, in dealing with what you think throughout the day.

So, instead of letting all that madness of wrong thoughts overrun you – today, stand up against it. Take control of it and capture it. It is not allowed to have access. Today, declare, it is time to “Stop the madness!”

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