Monthly Archives: January 2014

Thankfulness Changes Lives

Philippians 1:3

“I thank my God every time I remember you.”

I whispered a prayer of sincere thankfulness for all of those people who helped shape my life. Their encouragement, advice and sometimes mere presence were blessings to me.

In today’s key verse, Paul writes to the believers at the church in Philippi declaring, “I thank my God every time I remember you.” Just calling to mind the image of these loved ones gave the apostle reason to be grateful to God. But Paul didn’t only thank God, Paul also told his friends of his thankfulness.

Could we do the same today? To not only thank God for those in our lives but also let them know how grateful we are for them? Dare we divert from our daily routine to take a moment or two to send an email, a text message, make a phone call or even send a hand-written note to someone we thank God for each time we remember them?

Gratefulness brings contentment and contentment brings peace—peace in knowing all the pieces of our lives string together to make us who we are today.

Grab a pen or pick up your phone. Someone is waiting to hear how thankful you are for them. It might just make their day. And yours.

Dear Lord, help me to take time today to not only thank You for the many special people in my life but to joyfully tell them as well.

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God Has Not Forgotten You

Mark 5:34

He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering’

Oh how I love the story of Jesus healing the woman with the issue of blood recorded in Mark 5:21-34. Today let’s take a closer look.

I can so relate to this woman. What woman among us hasn’t felt the wretchedness of rejection, the shame of suffering and the humility of hopelessness? What woman hasn’t wondered, would God care about the likes of me? And here we have a story of just how much God values and esteems His female image bearers. He singles out one lone woman from a multitude of curious followers, heals her of her affliction with but a touch and then shines the heavenly spotlight center stage for her to testify of the miraculous transformation.

The woman we meet in Mark 5 has been called “the woman with the issue of blood.” She was defined by what was wrong with her. For twelve long years, this woman had been bleeding. When we meet her, she is physically, financially, socially and spiritually drained—bankrupt in every way.

In biblical days, certain situations and conditions rendered a person ceremonially unclean. Leprous people were separated from society and had to shout, “Unclean! Unclean!” when they walked among common folk. Anyone who touched a dead body was considered unclean. And women were considered unclean during their monthly period.

For seven days, considered the time of a normal female period, a woman was secluded. A woman hemorrhaging for twelve years would be considered permanently unclean. If unmarried, she would not be able to marry. If married, her condition would be grounds for divorce. She would be expelled from her home, cut off from her family and ostracized by her community.

Each doctor’s visit brought a surge of hope and expectation, only to be swept away when the red flow of despair reappeared. The joy of tender youth was now a vague memory, crushed by life’s hardness and the weight of disappointment. The hammer of rejection drove the nails of isolation into the coffin of her tightly secured heart.

Unlike the lame man who was lowered through the roof by four friends and placed at Jesus’ feet, this woman had no one to intercede for her. There was no father pleading for his daughter. There was no husband praying for his wife. There was no master employing Jesus’ help to heal a servant. When we meet this woman, she is fearful and forgotten. She is all alone or so it seemed to her.

Sometimes we can feel the same: abandoned by friends, deserted by a spouse, forgotten by family, unseen by society.

But she was not forgotten. She was not alone. This daughter of Abraham was close to God’s heart and foremost on His mind. So God the Father orchestrated His Son’s journey to pass her way.

This woman understood that Jesus was radically different in his approach and appreciation of women. She knew full well that she was overstepping cultural and religious boundaries set out by pious men of her day, but it was a risk she was willing to take.

Two things happened when she touched Jesus. First she was healed. It was measurable. She felt the flow of blood had ceased. Jesus felt the power of God released.

Secondly, she was revealed. Her courage was cloaked in anonymity trembling in the fear of exposure, but Jesus was not going to allow her to “steal” her healing. He wanted to do more than stop the flow of blood. He wanted to start the flow of ministry. He called her forward to testify, to tell what had just happened to her so that others would believe.

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering (Mark 5:34).

A rabbi did not speak to a woman in public, but once again, Jesus, the liberator, broke the man-made rules for the God-made woman. He did not call her out to embarrass or shame her in any way. He called her center stage to honor her honesty, to commend her courage and to validate her valor. He did not reprimand her for breaking the religious rules, but praised her great faith.

Once again, Jesus called a woman out from the shadows and placed her center stage. No longer was she a woman in need of a healing touch, but now a believer who had received it and was called on to tell about it.  

Dear LORD, I am so thankful that Jesus didn’t let this woman slip away with her healing, but called her out to tell what happened. Help me to speak up about the wonderful things You have done, and are doing in my life, so others may hear and believe.

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Don’t Let Go

Psalm 6

In Psalm 6, the writer, David, states that he was worn out by crying and that his vision was blurred by grief. Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever felt “emotionally raw?”  Maybe you are feeling that way right now as you read these words.  I have only one thing to say, “Don’t let go!”

Life can leave you spinning in uncertainty and loneliness. Discouragement and brokenness can lead you to believe that there is no way to put the pieces back together. But don’t let go.

God awaits your cries for help. He wants to hear your “emotionally raw” prayers that ask Him to rescue you from the pit of despair. He wants to guide and direct you to higher ground. He wants to tell you that you are loved and that there is hope for your future.

In many of the Psalms that David wrote, he cried out his afflictions and suffering to the Lord. Even in his anguish, David always affirmed his trust in the Lord’s power to save and heal (Psalm 6, 22, 63, 142…). This is because David knew from experience that when he felt emotionally raw, left without answers or an escape plan, His Father in Heaven would free him from the prison of defeat.

Hold on my friend! You may not see the evidence of your miracle yet, but God is at work in your life! Today, pray whatever is on your mind. Whether you are feeling emotionally raw or emotionally joyous, God wants to listen and He will respond. You are not alone!

 

 

 

 

Dig Again

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Genesis 26:17-25

Wells that are mentioned in the Bible have a Special Message to you and me. There’s something special about a well. A well speaks of water that is RUNNING! They’re not still or stagnant!

Isaiah 12:3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

A well speaks of water that’s REFRESHING! 2 Samuel 23:15 And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate. John 4:14 (Jesus said)But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

As we have been quietly observing the life of Isaac everything looks okay until we get to verse18. Verse 18 Sounds a BIG Problem in Isaac’s Life. Does anybody else have some BIG PROBLEMS? The Problem is there’s NO WATER. Water speaks of blessing in the life of the believer. You see Abraham had done some sweating in his day and opened up some wells for he and his generation to enjoy.

The problem was, the Philistines came along and stooped them up. WHY would anyone stop up a well of water?

Here is the message: Isaac saw that IF his generation was going to be blessedIF his generation was going to make it…he was going to have to do some digging…Can I remind you there’s some wells that have been stopped up in our generation that needs un-stopping. There are some wells from grand pa’s day that need somebody that’s thirsty to do some digging. (Would anyone be willing to dig a well for our generation?)

I want us to see:

Abraham had dug wells in his day. It’s hard for some of us to imagine not being able to go to the nozzle and turn on the water. But mind you Abraham lived in the dessert. I can see Isaac as he’s surveying these wells that his father had dug. They are now stopped up. Isaac can see that they were:

A. THEY WERE WELLS OF SURRENDER- Each one of these wells represented a life of surrender to God. No doubt Abraham had access to water back in Ur of the Chaldees. But when he stepped out in faith, he was surrendering his will to God’s Will. Every one of the wells Isaac encountered shouted out Surrender. Has there ever been a day in your life when you fully surrendered your life to God?

B. THEY WERE WELLS OF SACRIFICE- Each one of those wells came with a cost. Somebody sacrificed greatly in order to have a well. Do you know how they dug those wells? Inch by inch, foot by foot till they reached water. They labored…till they found water. (I’m thankful for the wells of our spiritual fathers…

SACRIFCEWHO is willing to sacrifice that we may have some wells in our Generation?

Who is willing to Surrender & Sacrifice so that our generation can drink from some wells of Revival?

Who will come to an altar and begin to dig into God’s Mercy? …dig through God’s Long Suffering? Dig deep into God’s Grace till you reach a well a water springing up? 

Who is Jesus Christ? Part 3

He is God Almighty

Isaiah 9:6 – For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 7:14 – Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Prophecy).

Matthew 1:23– “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”– which means, “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14 prophecy fulfilled). 

Jesus was declared to be the Mighty God and Everlasting Father long before he was ever conceived in the womb of Mary. The Everlasting Father became the child and son born in the manger. Therefore Jesus truly is Immanuel, God with us.

Jesus is Almighty God become a man Isaiah 40:3 – A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God (Prophecy).

John 1:23 – John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord'” (Isaiah 40:3 prophecy fulfilled).

Isaiah 45:23 – Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear (Prophecy).

Philippians 2:9-11 – Prophecy fulfilled: Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Isaiah 45:23 prophecy referring to Jesus).

Isaiah 45:23 quotes God to say that “every knee will bow…every tongue will swear.” In the previous verses God stated: “…there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me…there is no other.”  In Philippians, Paul, a Pharisee, uses this same language to refer to Jesus. He understood scripture’s description of God as a solitary spirit, a lone sovereign. He also knew that applying  this scripture to Jesus was the same as calling him the only true God. In essence, Paul was saying that Jesus was the only God and Savior, become a man.

Isaiah 44:6 – Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

Isaiah 48:12 – Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.

Revelation 22:13, 16 – I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

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Loving Others No Matter What

Dee's Bugaboo Boutique ~ 1 Peter 4 vs_8

1 Corinthians 13

In this fallen world where people can be difficult and situations stressful, it’s often challenging to love others. Good intentions often give way to frustrations as we face those challenges, preventing us from achieving the loving relationships we hope to enjoy.

But God chooses to love all people in all circumstances and his unconditional love can inspire and empower us to choose love in our relationships – no matter what. Loving others even when it’s hard to do so is the most powerful choice you can make as a Christian, because it shows people that God – the source of all love is really active in the world.

Here’s how you can love others no matter what:

Recognize that you have the power to choose. God will always give you the power you need to choose to love others, no matter what they may say or do. So don’t blame others when you fail to put love in action; realize that you’re not a victim of other people’s choices. Your love is not dependent on whether or not others love you in return. Instead, your love will prevail no matter what when you rely on God to help you act toward others with love.

Commit to the goal of connection in all of your relationships. You’re constantly moving either toward or away from other people as you communicate with them. Even when you don’t intend to move away, your relationships will naturally become more distant if you neglect intentionally moving toward people by communicating loving messages that will draw you closer together.

Study the people who are in your life regularly to get to know which of the five love languages (touch, gifts, quality time, acts of service and words of affirmation) best communicates love to them. Then communicate with them as often as you can in ways that make them feel loved, which will also make them feel connected to you.

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Who is Jesus Christ? Part 2

Jesus is the image of the invisible God

Hebrews 1:3 — The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

2 Corinthians 4:4 — The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Colossians 1:15 — He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

According to John 4:24, “God is a spirit.”  Luke 24:39 tells us “a spirit has no flesh or bone.” All scripture confirms that God, in the Old Testament, was invisible.”No man has seen God” (John 1:18);  but Jesus is described as the “exact representation of God, the image of God, and the image of the invisible God.” The spirit of God that never permanently occupied a body or form before, took on the form of a man by becoming the person of Jesus Christ.  He was no longer invisible, untouchable, without form, now he dwelt among us. Both God Almighty and man: born in Bethlehem as Jesus Christ.

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It Is Well With My Soul

PSALM 46:1-11

We all have days when we’d like to run away from it all. Sometimes our hurt is so bad our spirit throbs inside us. Our dreams fall apart…our hopes fade. Our lives become wearisome drudgery. A marriage goes bad…
Health problems develop…Financial problems come up…A loved one dies…And we are tempted to give up….

Though problems will still be a given, though difficulties will still touch us,
though hardships will be a part of our lives, there is always a reason to keep going.

We can press on! We can hang in there! We can go on…when we want to give up

1 ….God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

· Refuge: it means “a shelter or hiding place.”
· Strength:… “our security, boldness, might.”
· Present: He is always with us.
· Help: this word means “aid or assist.”

He doesn’t leave us to our own struggles alone.
· Trouble: it means “tight spots…misery, distress, agony, suffering, aggravation, .”
· In: this preposition means “not before or after but during, in the midst of”.

In all these problems…
God is our refuge, strength and a present help. God is nearer to you than your spouse and closer to you than your best friend…

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Who is Jesus Christ? Part 1

When this question is personalized, it becomes the most important question one will ever be asked or answer.  Who is Jesus Christ to YOU?  Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” John 10:10. In 1 John 5:11-13 we are told that if we have the son in our life we can KNOW that we have eternal life.
 
Jesus is the only way for us to live an abundant life here on earth or receive eternal life in fellowship with God.  Jesus died on the cross to take the punishment for our sins so that we could be sinless in the eyes of God. If we do not receive the free gift of eternal life by experiencing the forgiveness achieved by Jesus, then we will receive the punishment we so justly deserve.  Jesus must become the Lord of our lives. 

Imagine your life as an automobile—Jesus must be behind the wheel of your life. The verses below show the attributes of Jesus, but if he has not forgiven your sins, been invited into your life and involved in a personal relationship with you, there is little purpose in reading on. You can change your life at this very moment.  Admit your sin, repent of it before God. Believe in the atonement of Jesus on the cross and receive the gift of eternal life which Jesus died to freely give you. Invite Jesus into your life to live through you and thank him for doing so… To be continued

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Be My Portion

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“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

Though I do try to savor life moments with gratitude, I fail all the time. Many days, I find myself looking beyond my now to my next, longing in discontent. I seek God’s blessings instead of seeking God. I seek His hand instead of His heart.

Why do we desire God’s presents in our lives more than His presence? Does God need us to tell Him how to be God? Isn’t that what we do when we stomp our feet before His throne and whine about all of the things that need fixing instead of praising Him for the strength He graciously gives us to get through? While we’re certainly encouraged by Scripture to make our requests known to the Father (Philippians 4:6), the highest calling on our lives is to love God with all of our hearts, souls, bodies and minds (Matthew 22:37). We can do both, but we are commanded to seek God first: to look to Him as our Ultimate. Our Portion.

Asaph wrote Psalm 73 with a lot on his mind. He was flustered about all the bad people around him. He wondered why God wasn’t smacking them around for being so wretched and was struggling to keep his eyes on his own life.

Sound familiar? Then his woes turned to worship as he entered into the sanctuary of God (v17). His heart began to untangle as he remembered God’s sovereignty. In Psalm 73:26, he finally landed in a good place.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever. He took a deep breath and found his God-confidence. Oh, how I can relate to that!

The Bible shows us time and time again that when we prioritize God – when we look to Him to be our Portion – we are supernaturally equipped to rest in Him. Do you remember that old hymn His Eye Is On The Sparrow? Friend, God doesn’t miss a trick. He knows what’s going on.

“And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘what will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today(Matthew 6:30-34).

If divine eyes rest on tiny sparrows and flowers of the fields, how much more are the needs and desires of God’s children known to Him?

Dear Lord, Would You be my Portion today? Help me to trust Your plan and rest in Your grace – beyond what I see or feel. In Jesus name, amen.

How has God met your needs in the past? Do you trust that He is able to meet them today?

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