No Weapon!

It won’t work! It may look fearsome but, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17

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Walk by Faith

As we enter this new day and this new week, let us do so by choosing to walk the path of faith. Faith will carry us farther than our feelings and is more powerful than any doubts we may have. “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” 2 Corinthians 5:7

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Let us not be weary…

Keep doing good . . . Keep choosing what’s right . . . Keep pressing on!
“And let us not be weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” – Galatians 6:9

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More of Jesus

More of You, Lord Jesus, is what we need. Nothing else matters. Fill us up till our cup runs over! “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” – Matthew 5:6

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Keep Pressing!

KEEP GOING!  KEEP MOVING FORWARD!  KEEP PRESSING!  QUITTING IS NOT AN OPTION!  Through the sweat, heartache, and pain – press!  Through all the ups and downs of life – press!  Through uncertainty and disappointment – press!  “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” Philippians 3:14.

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I See God’s Goodness

Lookn around and see the blessings, see the beauty, and see the goodness of the Lord working in your life.  “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” Psalm 27:13.

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The Father’s Hand is Still Moving!

When you read the stories in the Bible, stories that tell of God’s great moving power in the lives of people, what goes through your mind?

Do you think within yourself of the possibilities of if you were in Abraham’s shoes, or what it would be like if you present watching David fight Goliath, or maybe if you were there with the three Hebrew boys plus One in the fire, or with Daniel in the lion’s den?

Each of these stories is unique and beautiful in its way.  Each story tells how God took ordinary individuals and did extraordinary things for them and through them.

As I contemplate the stories, or I should say, the recorded events of these lives in the Bible, I see phenomenally mighty works done.

I see God moving faithfully in these lives who said “yes” to Him; in the lives of those who chose His will over their own.

As extraordinary as those events and lives are that are recorded, I am reminded that God is still in the business of working out remarkable things in surprising ways through people’s lives today.

Hebrews 13:8 reminds us, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”  And that with the Father, who does all things perfectly, there is no “variableness, neither shadow of turning” James 1:17.  The faithfulness and moving of God that was present when the pages of the Bible were written are still very much alive and active today.  It may not look like walking on water, speaking dry bones to life, or walking through the Red Sea on dry ground (but, if God wills, those miracles can come to pass again).  Perhaps they look like someone just taking brave steps to step out into the unknown and experience with God something they could have never imagined.  Maybe it may look like a repentant soul rising out of the ashes and coming back to life spiritually.  Or even adversity parting the way because God commanded it to hush that you may receive safe passage.

The point is, no matter how God chooses to move today, He is still moving.  The things He is doing in the lives of present-day people are a reason to get very much excited.

Their stories of deliverance, help, and another chance are phenomenal miracles to them and us, and we can rejoice because we know the Father’s hand, we read about moving in those historical lives, is still moving today.

After all, we are here today, also.  And, if we took the time to reflect and review the pages of our personal history, we know that we have a reason to praise God for His moving hand in our lives, as well.

God is still in the moving business today!  You may consider yourself to be ordinary.  But remember, it is the ordinary who God chooses to do the most extraordinary through. “Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered” Psalm 40:5.

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Safe in God’s Arms

Nobody can hold you like the Father. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

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Is Your Mind Like a Super-Center? | 5 Steps to Fix It

Image by Igor Ovsyannykov from Pixabay

Is your mind like a super-center, cluttered, with no real aim or focus and too many offerings for any given time?

Sometimes it is a pleasure for me to shop in a place with only one or two different offerings of any particular product.  By going to these stores, your decisions have been made simple.  It is going to be either this one or that one you will buy.  If you want to shop here, that’s it.  That is all the options you get.

It is quite the opposite experience shopping at a huge chain store or places that offer a little bit of everything under the sun.  And not only do they offer a little bit of everything, but they offer you a little bit of everything of everything to choose from.

Shopping here, I am bombarded with over twenty different offerings for one single product.  Do I get this one because it’s cheaper?  Or this one because the ingredients are more natural?  Do I get this one because it is a reliable brand that has been around since way before I was born?  Or this one because it has an international flair to it?  Do you see where I’m going with this?

I often wonder what it would be like to shop in those areas where you visit the farmers market for produce, the bakery for bread and possibly a little dessert on the side, the butcher for the perfect cut of meat, and so on.  They each have a specialty, a focus, something they have worked at, perfected, became knowledgeable about, and are now considered a professional.

Many of us have too much going on upstairs, and it is overwhelming.  There is no aim.  No focus.  No defined purpose with a whole lot of clutter.

A cluttered mind is a frazzled mind.  It is someone who is stressed out.  Someone who feels overburdened by the cares of this world and the questioning that comes with it, alongside all the particulars of life.  It can cause one who is trying to move forward to stagger with indecision in the choices they make.  Kind of like standing in front of twenty different brands of the same product, huh?

Taking all of that into consideration, how does this affect your relationship with God and your Christian growth?  Have you become so burdened down and overwhelmed that spiritually you feel stuck?  Are you so cluttered that you cannot see your way out?

When you find yourself in this position, what can you do about it?

1. Realize there is a problem. You know when you are being choked by the things around you.  You know within yourself when things have become too much for you and you need help.  A toothache can’t be healed unless you acknowledge it hurts in the first place.

Whatever is choking you, it is stopping you from bringing forth your best fruit.  Jesus told the parable of the sower and demonstrated the different types of grounds the seed falls on (read Luke 8:5-15).  In verse 14, He stated, “And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.”

All of us want to bear good fruit in our lives.  All of us want to see it grow to the point that it is not only helping us but others around to us.  That can’t happen by overlooking what is clearly causing a problem.

2. Acknowledge it’s getting in the way. Hebrews 12:1 says it like this: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”

There is so much to glean from this one verse but let’s just focus on the part of laying “every weight” aside.  Weights are hindrances.  Hindrances are blockades to where we want to go and what we are seeking to do.  You cannot run a race effectively if you become bogged down with other stuff.  Acknowledge it is getting in the way.

When Jesus told His disciples about His journey to the cross and Peter opposed the very thought, Jesus saw it not as sympathy, but as a hindrance to His purpose and treated that episode as such, saying, “Get thee behind me, Satan…” (read Matthew 16:21-23).

See the hindrances for what they are – opposers of your purpose and employ a “Get thee behind me” mentality.

3. Quiet your soul for divine direction. This activity may be the hardest step for some because quieting ourselves is not in our modern, rushed vocabulary.

Hush the noise.  The Divine wants to speak.  “Be still, and know that I am God,” (Psalm 46:10).  Focus on Him, and the clutter will clear.

Choose the one needful thing, a time to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear His word (Luke 10:38-42).  We have one main priority: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,” (Matthew 6:33) – and everything we say and do in life fades under the umbrella of this.  “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek,” (Psalm 27:8).

4. Refocus.  Your mind has probably been cluttered because your focus is off.  If you have ever held a camera to your eye, you quickly realize that to get a sharp image, the focus must be just right.  So, you adjust the lens until the object or person you want to take center-stage in the picture comes into proper focus.  Although many other objects may appear in the background, you keep adjusting until your main object stands out.

What is your objective for this day or this week?  How do you give it a center stage?  Or, better yet, how can refocusing help you clear away the clutter that has been hindering you thus far?

One way is, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you,” (1 Peter 5:7).  The clutter we face is usually because we are holding on to too many things.  Old things, bothersome things, unprofitable things, extra things that we don’t need to be carrying.  They are heavy.  They are baggage, and they weigh us down.  As you would that over-crowded closet, basement, or attic, maybe it’s time to purge some stuff so that you can focus on what really matters.  The unnecessary things you hold on to will keep you in a frazzled, cluttered state.  Let it go.  Release it to God and let His peace overshadow you (Philippians 4:6-7).

Another way to refocus is to realize all that you see before you today is not as important as where you are trying to go.  “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth,” (Colossians 3:2).  The here and now will not always be the here and now.  If our ultimate goal is to be heaven-bound, our lives and minds, and hearts should be ordered and directed in a way that reflects that.  Everything around us, all that we entangle ourselves in, will all pass away (1 John 2:17a), and yet, we spend copious amounts of our mental, emotional, and spiritual energy on it.  Go figure.

Additionally, the ultimate way to refocus ourselves is to keep God always in our view, always at the center, always as the main focus of your overall story.  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.  Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3, 4).  Saying that God is all we need is not a Christian-cliché.  It’s the truth.  And, when we give Him the proper place in our mind, heart, soul, and with all our strength (Matthew 22:36) everything else must fall in line and take a back seat.  All that cluttered mess is not allowed to do the driving in my life, for my life is being driven and directed by God and His purposes for me.

5. With God’s direction, move forward productively. Forward is the way to go.  A cluttered mind tends to keep dwelling on the past, prohibiting progression but, in Christ, we must take the same stand the Apostle Paul did when he declared, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13, 14).

Our direction is forward.  Continually looking back stunts our spiritual growth (compare Luke 9:62).  And, as we are moving forward, we don’t do so on our own.  We need wisdom.  We need divine direction (which is why it is so imperative for us to quiet ourselves before the Lord).  The Bible instructs us, “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil,” (Proverbs 3:7).  We are not omniscient (all-knowing); therefore, we need direction from He who is.

Pray for God’s leading and guidance for your life.  Invite Him in the everyday decisions and choices.  One thing is for sure, with all that He deals with, God is never overwhelmed or cluttered in His thinking.  He is perfect and does all things perfectly.  God has precision thinking with determined purposes that we may never fully understand.  But one thing we can understand is through it all, He is here for us.  And He never designed us to be these over-frazzled creatures, constantly over-whelmed and stressed out by our everyday affairs.

My prayer is that something in this article resonates with you or is helpful to you in getting rid of a super-center, cluttered mindset.  Many blessings to you as you begin your journey of decluttering what’s within.

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Finding Rest in Times of Unrest

As a child being afraid of the dark, nighttime was not pleasant for me.  Some nights rest would be hard to come by and I would wake my sister from her bed to come with me so that I could get some rest.  There was something about the presence of having someone there with me in that dark time that was comforting.

Dark times and seasons of weariness can keep people balled up in a bundle of nerves.  But, when they realize someone is with them, someone is there holding their hand through the tough seasons; it helps them endure until they arrive on the other side of the difficulty they were facing.

Times of unrest may come in many ways.  The word “unrest” means that things are disturbed from their normalcy.  Suddenly, things do not look or feel like they usually do.  One can wake up to a world in a moment that is different and unfamiliar because of certain events.  Things like this make people nervous about what is going on.  That nervousness can turn to fear and panic.  But for those who have attached themselves to the Lord, throughout the Word, He speaks of comfort and rest in times of uncertainty.

Moses in the past needed reassurance about continuing to lead the children of Israel, and God spoke this promise to him: “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest” (Exodus 33:14).  Those words would, no doubt, carry him through the difficult task of leading a multitude of people who were often referred to as being “stiffnecked” (vs. 5).  Those very people he led and labored over and prayed for would test his patience many times over, but I can imagine those reassuring words God spoke to him kept feeding encouragement to his soul – because, even when it did not look like or feel like it, Moses knew he was not alone.  He may not always be able to rely on people, but Moses could always rely on God, and oh, what comfort that is in the darkest of times.

Later, Moses would be instructed to pass this same level of encouragement on to the people because there would be days, and there would be battles they would face which would seem to be much more than they could handle.  But Moses relayed this message to them: “When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the Lord thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 20:1).  On the way to the Promised Land there would be some times of fighting – but their certainty in the midst of everything they would face; their rest, would be found in the presence of God with them.

And that is the key to finding rest in times of unrest.  It is realizing, that as a child of God, no matter what we face, we do not face it alone.  The fighting may still be there.  The dark days may seem to eclipse the good – but through it all we are never alone.  There is great comfort in that, and we still have that promise with us today, and His name is Jesus.

Although this is not the Christmas season, we are still reminded of what was spoke of Him by the prophet, saying, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23; see also Isaiah 7:14).

“God with us.”  Those beautiful words of reassurance were spoken to Joseph, but they are words of reassurance to us all – “God with us.”  In the darkness, He is there, with His people, promising to never leave them, nor forsake them (Hebrews 13:5).  In the uncertainty, it is His presence that allows us to find rest.  That is why David said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).  David found reassurance in knowing that God was with him in the dark valleys of life.

We have seen how God’s presence brought rest in the most trying times in the past, and we have the reassurance of Jesus (God with us) with us even today.  But we also have this promise into eternity.  Jesus said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3; emphasis mine).  Regardless of the uncertainty and unrest we face, there we will have a heavenly joy that will never fade away.  There we will have “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4), untouched and unbothered by the things we see down here that are before us.

But, to get there.  To receive that reassurance of rest for today and for that time to come, you must be born again.  You must be saved.  The Bible tells us, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (James 4:8; also see 2 Chronicles 15:2).

Are you seeking to draw near to Him today?  Jesus is the only true rest that you will find in any time of unrest.  But only those who attach themselves to Him can claim this promise for their life: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

We have “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  But, as the Son of God, Jesus came and died for our sins that we might be free (John 3:16; John 8:36).  The Bible tells us, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

If you want to find true rest and be in right standing before God, you need to surrender your life to Jesus Christ and accept Him as your personal Savior.

After hearing Peter’s powerful message on the day of Pentecost, the hearts of the people were pricked, and they asked, “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).  In the very next verse, it says, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).

Jesus once said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27, 28).  Do you hear Him calling you today?  Will you answer the call?  In Christ Jesus is the only place where you will ever find rest in times of unrest. With Jesus, you will never have to fear the dark.

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