“Stand Your Ground!”

Stand your ground, be firm,
don’t settle or rest.
Wear your resolve as an emblem
mounted on your chest.

You know who you are.
You know Who knows you.
And, you know in your heart
you have nothing to prove.

Don’t let their words sway
how you feel about self.
Don’t let their thoughts control –
For time will tell.

Your character, your work,
will speak for your stand.
Believe in who He made you,
perfectly planned.

Opinions of others,
their views of you,
pale in comparison
to Creator of skies so blue.

Let them judge and baulk,
throw verbal stones at you.
You are committed in faith
and God will see you through.

So, stand in your beauty
from the inside out.
Rest your heart in God’s thoughts,
under your feet, place their doubts.

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;).”  Hebrews 10:22-23

 

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“When You Feel There Aren’t Enough Hours in a Day!”

Photo: Pixabay/fancycrave1

Every day we are given is precious.  Every moment, a treasure from heaven.  God perfectly crafted our days in these 24 hours that cycle in and through our lives.  He fashioned each one precisely as a gift to get things done and rest and enjoy life as well.

With that being said, I must wonder why time seems so elusive to most of us?  Why aren’t we able to craftily work each section of the day for our good and still enjoy other pleasures of life that God endowed us with, things that bring the fulfillment of personal joy and happiness (ex. more family time, rest, and so on) that’s supposed to come with it?  Why do we bemoan the idea that there are just not enough hours in the day when God perfectly gave us all we need?

The problem is not with the design of days.  Nor will the problem be solved with adding more increments of time to the day.  The problem is us and how we prioritize and manage this gift of time that God has already given us.

In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul wrote that we are to redeem the time because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16).  Every day opportunities abound to spend the hours of our lives in one way or the other.  The choice is always ours on how we use it.  Let’s look at it this way, if we have been given a bunch of money to spend, hopefully, we would sit down and think carefully about how to get the most use out of it.  That same diligence should be applied to our management of time.

The hugest difference between money and time is this: for many, there are usually ways to replenish or re-earn funds to add to one’s finances if money is spent in a reckless fashion.  However, for time, that opportunity is not there.  Once time is gone – it’s gone!  Once the moment passes – it passes off the scene as a part of our personal history.  Therefore, we are encouraged to make the most of every second given.  And, although God’s grace, mercy, and faithfulness are new every morning – we are not promised the dawning of a new day.

So, whether it’s mundane, it’s a moment we won’t get back.  Treat it as the treasure it is.  If it seems trivial, remember in the scope of all the days given, it’s a time to be honored.  Even if it seems like the most basic of all days, keep in mind there is nothing basic about the gift of waking up again and be given the chance to make the most of the time you have been gifted with.

When you feel there aren’t enough hours in the day – treasure what you have and be determined to make the most out of what God did give you.  For when we do, we can make a better impact for His kingdom and in the lives of those entrusted to our care.  Because no matter how smart our watches become it will always be up to us to make smart use of our time that registers there.

Inspiring Your Time:

“This is the beginning of a new day.  God has given me this day to use it as I will.  I can waste it – or use it for good, but what I do today is important, because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.” – W. Heartstill Wilson

“Time is your most precious gift, because you only have a set amount of it.” – Rick Warren

Pray: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

Pray: “LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.” – Psalm 39:4

“We must recognize how the evil one is working in this world and take a firm stance against him.  It means we take careful thought concerning what we put in our minds – what we listen to, what we watch, and how we use our time.” – Chip Ingram

“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.” – Colossians 4:5

“Love Without Hypocrisy!”

Jesus loved us with a sincere love.  Everything He did, right down to dying on the cross as a substitute for our wrongs, was motivated by love, real love.

Paul commanded, “Let love be without hypocrisy,” (Rom. 12:9; NKJV).  The church was to model Christ in the way that they loved people.  They are to have the purest and most sincere love that would compel people to want to know more about Christ.  They are to be pillars of love that the lost, broken and hurt can lean on and find strength.

One thing people can readily pick up on is fakeness.  Those that come to us and come to our buildings are looking for something real.  They have had enough of the phony stuff.  They have dealt with the pretenders of the world and they are not looking for that in us.  They are looking for something real.  They are looking for something pure.  They are looking for somebody to look at them as Christ would and feel nothing but love and compassion for them.

How many times has the Bible described Jesus as being “moved with compassion?”  That’s what sincere love does; it moves the heart.  It allows one to look beyond what they see to have genuine concern for others.  This is what people are looking for.  This is what the church should be displaying.  The love of Christ is our greatest asset in drawing people to salvation.  After all, wasn’t it God who told Jeremiah, “With lovingkindness have I drawn thee,” (Jer. 31:3; KJV)?

Real love draws people.  Fake love pushes them away.  If we truly want to be like Christ then love on people sincerely.  Don’t give them what the world is already giving them; fake love.  Give them something genuine.  Give them something real.  Give them something that will bring them closer to God.  Give them real love!

Photo: Pixabay/pixel2013

Community of Believers | We are here for one another!

 

Races can take you through many terrains.  Running uphill, it’s hard.  The more you go, the steeper the incline, the harder it gets.  Breath after breath your chest heaves for relief.  Push after push your muscles cry out for mercy.  And, just when you thought you had no more in you; just when you thought you couldn’t go any farther, from behind there comes these hands out of nowhere that steadies your stride and helps propel you forward some more.  On the side of you comes smiling faces with encouraging words grabbing hold of your arms and help pull you up that incline that you might finish your race.  They want to help you make it.

The Apostle Paul often described our Christian life as a race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).  We run it.  We press for it.  But, sometimes the way gets hard and if it had not been for the grace of God, we would not have made it.

As the community of racers pushed and pulled the struggling runner uphill, so God will minister to us to help us go through our race.  Often this is done through the community of believers that will come alongside the one that needs support.

In this world the struggle is real.  May we, as a community of believers, recognize the support that each one needs.  May we join up with our fellow Christian race runners and offer the help and encouragement they need to make it.  May we see beyond our own race and allow God to use our hands and smiling faces to help bolster someone’s faith as they are striving to make it up the inclines of this life.

We all have the same goal in mind: to finish the race.  We need each other to do it.  As a community of believers, our job goes beyond spreading the gospel and being a light in this dark world, and all the other spiritual stuff it entails.  Our job is also to seek the welfare of one another.  We need to be there for one another.  We need to be present and involved in the process of what they are going through “that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it,” (1 Corinthians 12:25-26).  

More encouraging verses and quotes:

“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow . . .” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a

“God has chosen us to help one another.” Smith Wigglesworth

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But… the Good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Photo Source: Pixabay

“Take A Stand Against Fear!”

 

Photo: Pixabay/geralt

“. . .And so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law:
and if I perish, I perish,” Esther 4:16, KJV

There are a lot of things that act like blockades in our lives, but fear by far has to be one of the hardest to overcome. Fear can render useless the one who entertains it because unlike physical limitations, fear messes with the mind. It changes one’s perspective on how they view the world, the people around them and their own lives.

Fear acts like a photographer. It snaps a picture and develops it in the dark recesses of your mind. When the picture is finished being developed it comes out for you to view a new reality, whether it’s true or not. Fear is not based on truth but it wants you to believe in the image it presents to you more than God. That’s why many of us will never tread the courts of the king as Esther did. We can become so focused on that false image (the things that we see that make us afraid) that we fail to step out with courage.

The Bible tells us, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” (Heb. 11:1, KJV). Going against fear takes faith. Faith doesn’t concentrate on what is visible to the naked eye. Faith concentrates on the truth of God’s promises. And His promises declare, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness,” (Is. 41:10, KJV).

That’s what faith sees!

With Queen Esther’s physical eyes the picture she saw wasn’t pleasant. What she saw was her beloved uncle Mordecai’s life was in danger, (Esther 5:14). What she saw was hatred and an evil desire for her people to be destroyed, (Esther 3:8-9). What she saw was the anguish of her people, grieving her also, (Esther 4:3-4). What she saw was a law that could take her life, (Esther 4:11).

A decision had to be made. Esther could look at the circumstances and let the fear of those images stop her from doing what’s right. Or, she could take a stand against the fear that assailed her and go for it, debunking that old image to see something new.

With great resolve and commitment she said, “If I perish, I perish.” She took a stand against the fearful, stepping out into the unknown, not sure if she would find favor with the king. Her people needed her to be brave. Her uncle needed her to be unbending in her determination. She needed to step up to the plate “for such a time as this,” (Esther 4:14, KJV).

In what area of your life do you need more courage? Is there something you are dealing with that is extremely hard, yet you want to be determined to see it through? It takes a resolve such as Queen Esther possessed to stand against the fear of what you see so that you too can walk the King’s court in victory!

“It Only Takes a Moment” – Word For Life Says

Photo: Pixabay/silviarita

Have you ever had one of those moments when you realize God is teaching you something significant?  Where every current scene that plays out in your life you spiritually awaken to the idea of God’s guiding presence in a new way; His hand steering you this way and that?

I have had some of those revelatory moments lately.  God is cracking old perceptions I once held of myself and He is pulling me into new areas of trust.  In this area where I am being drawn, I readily admit I don’t know what I am doing.  My human frailty comes to the forefront but God is showing me Him.  He is showing me more of His heart, more of His care, and more of His heavenly abilities to work it all out.

Oh, His ability to do it all has always been there, but there were certain areas of my life where there were still scales on my eyes, shielding me from seeing the bigger picture; from seeing God fully at work in it all.

I was awakened on the inside and became more aware that there is so much more to me than me.  God has me on His radar and He is orchestrating my life in a unique and special way.  No, I don’t have all the answers, nor do I know what tomorrow looks like or how this will all end up, but by faith, I want Him to take the lead while I just step out and follow.

It requires not only a moment of revelation but a life of trust.  Steven Furtick said, “The only way God can show us He is in control is to put us in situations we can’t control,” (Quote Source: Pinterest).

It’s purposely declaring every day and with every step, “I don’t know it all, but I choose to follow the One who does.”  It’s a time when we let that one moment of believing God is the fullness of His promises defines the makeup of our future.  It’s when we permit the wonder of all that He is to overshadow any doubt or discrepancies that we might feel within ourselves, realizing what He has made us for and ordained us to do never depended on us in the first place.

Is there an area of your life where God wants to give you that ah-ha moment of revelation?  Or, are there still scales blocking your full vision of Him?

Father God, remove the scales from our eyes that we might see the full vision of You.  We are praying against every hindrance that tries to blind Your people and obstruct their view from the wonderful works You want to do through them.  Amen!

I pray for your moment of connection with God.  I pray that you would trust in God more, and focus on Him more than whatever you think you can’t do.  It only takes a moment of sincere trust and abandon to Him to change your course in history forever.

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” Jeremiah 17:7

“Precious Lord, take my hand…”

 

Precious Lord,
take my hand,
and lead me through
this desert land.

Where hope seems dismal
and love fades.
But, You are my shelter.
Your heart is my shade.

Each step I walk,
I am found with You.
You hold me, You guide me.
You carry me through.

No matter the dreariness
of the land ahead.
I have no reason
to fret or dread.

My hand in Yours,
we keeping walking through.
Til I arrive in that City
whose destination is true.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

Psalm 23:4

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.  I and my Father are one.”

John 10:28-30

“490 Acts of Love!”

 

“Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven,”
Matthew 18:22

Gulp!  Yes, forgiveness in any form can be a hard pill to swallow.  But, let me ask you this.  How many times has God ever said no to us whenever we sought healing and restoration for the wrongs we have done?  Exactly, He hasn’t!

Forgiveness, much like love, is nothing to be played with.  It is not a lip service to please others rather, it is a heart service to the Lord.  It is, in a sense, showing to others the same grace and mercy that God showed toward us.

Immediately following this verse, so that there were no misconceptions about the seriousness of this point that He was making, Jesus sealed it with a story of one who showed mercy and offered forgiveness and one who didn’t:

 “Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” – Matthew 18:23-25

The seriousness of it all really comes to light when Jesus opens up the parable and comparing it to the kingdom of heaven.  Now, why did He go and do that?  Because the story He is about to tell so resembles what occurs in the spiritual realm that it would be easy for the people to relate to.

What would happen if today God sat down and “took account” of all the wrongs we have done?  What would it be like if we stood before Him unable to pay what we owe?  We were there!  Jesus knew the predicament that humanity was in.  He knew that man could never get himself out of the debt of sin, so here He stresses grace, mercy and compassion on those who don’t deserve it.

How often have we withheld those three precious gifts from another because our feelings were hurt?  Believe it or not, it’s the same thing.  We may not have choked out a man, demanding retribution, but if we are withholding the same mercies that God showed us then we are choking that man or woman spiritually and emotionally.

“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses,” (Matthew 6:15).  God will not allow us to act like that unjust servant.  Love has compelled Him to shower us with love, at all cost to save us, just so that He could forgive us and restore us.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16).

It was an act of love.  An act of love that we now have the responsibility to pay it forward to another.  No, people may not deserve it.  But, then again, neither did we.  It was only through the eyes of a merciful God that we are given another chance.

Tell me, who in your life deserves that second or third or whatever the number may be, chance today?  Forgiveness IS NOT EASY!  But, it is an “Act of Love.”

490, of course, is not a definite number.  It’s a symbol that we are to be unlimited in our willingness to forgive the offence of others against us.  It is the same love; the same “Act of Love” that God showed us.  We have been loved to the point of forgiveness and we called to love in the same way.

The Bible tells us, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8, KJV).  I guarantee, if we were to look at ourselves, we could not fathom how many times our accounts would have gone unpaid had it not been for the blood of Christ.  More than 490 times?  But, thank God, He acted in love to save to us!

 

“Be Anxious for Nothing!”

My Project 43-001

How many times have “anxious” thoughts robbed us of the enjoyment of today?  How many worried days have we spent trying to control the uncontrollable?  How many times do we expend all our energies and might to solve all the world issues only feel like a wrung out wash rag at the end of the day?

Worried thoughts have a way to compel us to look to ourselves for the answers that we can’t find.  Believing that in and of ourselves we are the all end authority to all of life’s issues, at least this is what the human intellect would have us to believe.  Rather, God exhorts us over and over to rely on Him.  To come to Him in prayer and relinquish all of our cares, worries and frustrations on Him because He cares for us.

The Lord knows what a heavy load humanity can carry.  He has felt it in His own being.  As a matter of fact, He carried it all to the cross so that we wouldn’t have to carry these burdens alone.  Yet, when push comes to shove and trials and tribulations knock on our personal doors we feel a need to answer the call and find a remedy for our problems on our own.  As a result, we struggle to find the answer to the question of why we can’t find peace in the midst of it all.

In actuality, the reason peace seems so evasive to many of us is because of our personal insistence on trying to do it on our own.  We pick up the problems that we are going through with every intention of carrying them to the altar and leaving them with Jesus.  Walking away from the altar of prayer, we pick those same problems back up feeling a need to control the outcome on our own.  As if God can’t handle our specific needs. Our humanness gets in the way of His divineness.  The limits we see on humanity are then applied to God and it gets in the way of His wonder-working power in our lives.

The way to obtain peace during these anxious moments is to give whatever is bothering us; whatever is burdening us over to the Lord and trust Him to give us His best in the situation.  After all, when it came to the matter of saving us He already gave us His best, didn’t He?  How much more difficult would it be then for Him to work out our everyday worries for us?  I believe you would agree that the two can’t compare.  So, if He was willing to do that for you and I, should we not then trust Him to do right by our anxious thoughts?

Would you rather place all of your problems in your own hands or in the hands of God?  Maybe it’s time to try something new.  Give God a shot at wrangling in the worrisome so that you can experience true peace.  Let’s get rid of the anxious for something better.

Be blessed 🙂

“Today, I Want to Be Me!”

 

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well,” Psalm 139:14

Oh, the creative power that took place for you to be here today.  From the moment of conception, and from the time cells began to divide within themselves, you were and are a product of beautiful design.  Uniquely you, you are made just the way God intended.  And, since we know that He doesn’t make any mistakes, whatever we view as shortcomings in our lives may be there for a much higher purpose.  Our so-called defaults are part of the plan that God has laid out in your life.

What would happen if every Christian really armed themselves with this beautiful truth?  How would that personally make us feel?  How would it affect the way we live, the way we walk and talk?  More importantly, how would it affect the way we move in our Christian walk?  How much more would we be apt to express our faith knowing the value He places in each and every one of us?

I believe if Christians really got a hold of this truth they would turn the world upside down.  They would step out with a newfound faith knowing that they are something really special before God; knowing that their worth is not in how the world sees them; rather, how God sees them.  What does He think about me?

Let me tell you what He thinks about you. Jesus said in Luke 12:6-7, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?  But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”  “Ye are of more value!”  Humanity is the apex of all His creation.  He made sure everything that was created was put in proper place and proper order for us.  We are the only part of creation where God claimed Himself, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion . . .” (Gen. 1:26).  Not only created, but we created in “His image.”  Not only in “His image,” but we are also created to have “dominion;” authority over all the earth including the thoughts that come to make us feel less than anything He said of me!

Today, I want to be me.  I want to walk like I walk.  Express me like only I can.  I want to relish in the wonderful thought that when no one else is taking notice of me, He is.  Because He designed me this way and I know the care that went into this design, I can rest and enjoy me.  I can love me some me.  Even when it seems no one else does, I can love me because He loves me.

If He says I’m good just like this then all I have to do is learn to work in what He gave me and just be me.  “Marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”  Does your soul know that you are a marvelous work of God?  Can you believe that today so that you can just enjoy being you?  You are so incredibly special.  Let no one rob you of the precious way that God sees you.

“Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us and not we ourselves. . .” (Ps. 100:3).  I’m so glad I didn’t do this myself.  As they would say in social media circles: “LOL (Laugh Out Loud)!”  It is a laughable notion because there is so much that goes into this that we will never figure it out.  Then again, I don’t have to because He already did.  He stepped back and looked at creation and said, “It was very good,” (Gen.1:31).

I am good!  From the time that He has “covered me in my mother’s womb,” (Ps. 139:13), I am just the way He wants me to be.  So, today, I can be me!  Now, that’s something to 🙂 about!