Fierce Strength

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Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

New King James Version (NKJV)Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

I loved this Bible story as a child and I’ve loved it to the moment I’m typing these words.  The Story of David and Goliath.  My mom taught children’s Sunday School classes so she had a flannel board with all the appropriate characters.  Every time I read the story today; I can see little David and Giant Goliath ready to go at it, Goliath with his sword, shield, and javelin; David with his sling and fives smooth stones.

I love David and can hardly wait to meet him in heaven. Dear reader; can you hear him say to his enemy and foe, Goliath; “You come to me with a sword and a shield and a javelin but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts.”

What Goliath are you facing today?  Is it a horrible diagnosis, financial ruin, a prodigal child or an addiction of some sort?   I could make a huge list of woes but you’ve probably already added your own.  There are many Goliaths in our lives; however, we have the Rock of Jesus, our fierce strength.  He wants you to defeat and slay the giant(s) in your life.

As David drew out his first stone; did he know the giant would fall to the ground dead?  He had four more just in case that  one missed it’s mark.  This young man was called “a man after God’s own heart.”

How do you come to your giant?  Do you come already defeated in your mind and heart?  Is your god weak?  No, your God is stronger than any giant you face today!  He’s David’s God, the same One who longs to build fierce strength in you.  He wants you to have God confidence to slay your giant.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, thank You for providing me with fierce strength.  You are such an amazing God.  Thank You for helping me slay my giants.  Today, may I take every thought captive and know that if God is for me; who can be against me?

 

The Sound of His Voice

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Devotion:  Deuteronomy 5:22-24

Once you’ve made your choice; do you ever wonder if it was just your idea or was it God’s idea?  I’ve asked that question many times in my life.  I pray and fret and fret and pray.  Did I really hear God in His sweet whispers to me, or in His booming voice that no one can discredit?  One is no more important than the other.  However; you must be still and quiet, in order to hear His whispers.”

This is hard for me; to be still and quiet my thoughts. If He longs for us to be still and know that He is God; then why would I stay in such a tizzy all the time?  I’m jumping up and down, running here and there; body in a twirl, mind at the same place.

  …Seems like so much to do and so little time to do it.

Wait a minute, was that God’s voice or mine?  I can be in the middle of walking a baby or a dog and I hear His gentle whispers.  Sweeter than any morsel of food this world has ever offered; is that voice I know.  As I went out this early A.M. to walk my friend’s dog; I heard a choir of birds welcoming this Thursday morning.  “I love you too Lord, I whispered back.”

We miss many wonderful sounds when we are always consumed with the next thing and the next. There are some beautiful sounds in this world; the sound of the wind blowing, the birds singing or your husband’s or wife’s hearty laugh. The one voice I don’t want to miss is my  Shepherd’s voice.  He reminds us, “My sheep know my voice.”  It truly is the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard.

I so long to be certain it’s His voice; His idea, I hear in my head and my heart versus my own.  If my heart belongs to Jesus; then why would I not be able to discern His voice above my own?  A question to ponder.  I must be intentionally listening for my Beloved’s voice.  Oh dear brother or sister in Christ; may we both practice His plan to “Be still and know that He is God.”

Prayer in Motion:

My Lord and my God; “Here I am to worship.  Here I am to bow down.  Here I am to say that You’re my God.  You’re altogether lovely, altogether worthy, all together wonderful to me.”  I am listening with the “ear of a disciple.”  “Speak to my heart Lord Jesus.  Speak that my soul may hear. Speak to my heart Lord Jesus…. Calm every doubt and fear.”  In Jesus Name.  Amen

Keeping the Standard With Grace

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Devotion:  John 1:14

How do we keep the standard without being legalistic?  God is with us and gives us grace every single moment of every single day.  Why do we fall so short in pouring it back into the lives of the very one’s with which He has entrusted us?  It’s one of the chief reasons people are turned off by us and the God we serve.

God daily pours out grace upon His children through the blood of His Son Jesus.  Jesus lives and dwells in the hearts of those who belong to Him.  Are we mirroring Him?  When Jesus lived in this world; He called people out for their sin; however,  He did it in perfect love.  His love for the lost and disheartened radiated through His kindness.  After all the Bible says, “It’s kindness that leads us to repentance.”  All the finger pointing, lam blasting, screaming and yes even profanity used by the world; will only bring anger to the heart and mind of the one who is far from God.  Nothing will ever be resolved using the world’s methods and standards.

How did Jesus handle sin?  He kept the standard of love through loving others the way His Father loved Him.  He was in the Father and the Father was in Him.  They were one.  Are you and I daily pouring into God’s Word, hiding it in our hearts that we might not sin against God?  Are we diligently praying for those whom He has given us?  These acts of kindness will make you more unified with your Lord and your God.

It’s when we realize our hearts are desperately wicked and deceitful above all else; that we can give out the same grace which the Lord has bestowed freely upon us.  There can be no self-righteousness coming through.  It has to be the righteousness of Christ pouring out through your words and your deeds.  If you are born again; you must abundantly pardon all those who have sinned against you.  You can address the elephant in the room as did Jesus.  He never held back the truth but He spoke truth in love.  He kept the standard of God’s grace!

Prayer in Motion:

Oh God, may I keep the standard You ordained for me.  May I pour out the grace You freely bestow daily on my undeserving self.  I do love You so Jesus!  It’s in Your Name I pray.  Amen

Fear Arises from Neglect

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Devotion:  2 Timothy 1:7

Charles Spurgeon said; “Half our fears arise from the neglect of God’s Word.”

Lisa Whittle in her book, “Put Your Warrior Boots On,”  says,”  “A sound mind conquers fear, because our thoughts are what mostly terrorize us. We who are engaged in a world gone crazy, have to understand that our declaration to know what we believe, to live with a raised standard, hinges on how much we fortify our mind.”  How do we Christians fortify our minds?  Of course it’s with the powerful Word of God that is sharper than any two edged sword.

Lisa also stated, “We can’t trust what our minds think up. We must trust the Word of God.  Otherwise we throw the gift of our sound mind away.”

We tend to question the times we do not understand God’s ways.  I remember as a little girl asking my sweet mama lots of questions about God.  How did God get here?  If our soul goes into the presence of God immediately when we draw our last breath; why does the Bible talk about being asleep in Jesus? The questions went on endlessly.  My mama would always say; Libby, some things we have to accept by faith.  God will accomplish what concerns us.  We must trust Him.

He says in His Word, “The secret things belong to the Lord.” Inquiring minds want to know and understand His ways; but His ways are higher than ours.  When we can’t trace His hand; we must trust His heart.

If we seek first His kingdom through reading and studying His Word; He will handle our fears.  Fear does not come from God because as our verse states; God is not a God of fear.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord God, forgive me for the times I have neglected studying Your Word.  Thank You Lord for saving my soul.   Thank You Lord for making me whole.  Thank You Lord for giving to me; Thy great salvation so rich and free.  Thank You for leaving us with Your wonderful words of life. I love You Jesus.  It’s in Your Name I pray.  Amen

 

Twisted

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Devotion:  Ecclesiastes 4:12

Twisted peppermint.  Twisted gum.  Twisted thoughts.  Twisted actions.  There are levels of twisted.  Twist is an action verb however; add the ed and it becomes a descriptive adjective.  I was surprised by Webster’s English language learner’s definition.

: strange and unpleasant : not normal.  He has a twisted [=sick] sense of humor.  

We’ve all encountered twisted minds at different times in our lives.  It’s not a good thing.  A twisted mind is a wasted mind.  While in the ER; I observed lots of twisted minds.  There were three gay girls who came in the emergency room.  One had been bitten by a dog and was bleeding profusely.  The other two were kissing on her in a very inappropriate way.  It was sick.

Another young man was pacing around and around the central desk of the concierge.  He was talking out loud to himself continually.  I’m certain it was very annoying to the concierge.

Since my husband and I were there for fourteen hours; he finally wore himself out and rather than sitting in a  chair; he slumped down against the wall, took off his boots and put his head against his knees to rest.  After he rested for a while, the pacing began again.  Poor guy was tortured in some way or fashion.

Twist in and of itself has a more affirmative definition.

to unite by winding twisting strands together b :  to make by twisting strands together twist thread from yarn c :  to mingle by interlacing

Today’s verse puts a very positive spin on the word twisted. “A chord of three strands is not easily broken.”  Visualize with me four different sizes of ropes; small, medium, large and extra large.

According to its task; the size of the rope matters.  The larger the rope; the more work it can accomplish.  For instance a small rope can embrace a tomato vine when tied to a dowel rod.  A medium rope when tethered to a hook in the ground can keep a dog in your yard.  A large rope when attached to a car; can actually pull a lawn mower out of a ditch.  Lastly; an extra large rope can pull a car from a ravine.

When these strands are twisted together they can accomplish the task for which they were created.  I’ve said all these things to help you think about the church of Jesus Christ.

Think about the things we could accomplish if we were bound together by our love.  There’s a song that says; “They will know we are Christians by our love.”  So many churches are divided on selfish issues, each group wanting it’s own way.  One has a twisted view of what the church should be and the other has a more united view of accomplishing the greater good for the kingdom of Christ.  Each group pushes against the other and nothing is accomplished in the Name of Jesus.

The Bible says; “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Just think what could be accomplished if we would lay down our rights and allow ourselves to be twisted together.  God would be honored and glorified and Christ’s kingdom would grow and flourish.

Prayer in Motion:

Oh Sweet Jesus, forgive us; the church, for not being the church into which you have called us.  “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”  You paid the price for our sins.  I know You must weep over the spiritual condition of Your bride.  We repent before You, our Lord and our God.  Bring repentance quickly to the church, so we can finish well the purpose for which we were created.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

Waiting

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Devotion:  Proverbs 8:34

I hate waiting.  My husband and I had to wait 14 hours in the ER on Saturday evening from 4:00 p.m. till 6:00.a.m.  It was pure torture.  The later it got; the stranger the clientele became. People were getting angrier and angrier.  Some were bleeding. Others were in pain.  Some were sick on their stomachs.  Some were very loud and others were crying.  There were all nationalities and ages ranging from babies to people in their eighties.

I had experienced pain in my chest and right arm along with tingling down my arm.  All were symptoms of heart disease. Doctors made me stay over night because they want me to do a nuclear stress test on Monday.  They don’t do them on Sunday so I’ve tossed and turned all over this hospital bed.

Waiting is incredibly hard when time drags on and on and on. One guy got so tired of waiting; he waved the nurse over and said, I feel suicidal.  Honestly, I wouldn’t make that up.  One minute he was laughing his head off and the next he felt suicidal. He just told the nurses that tale; so he could get ahead of the fifty other people waiting.  Other people who had waited over ten hours got up and left; and quite honestly I didn’t blame them.

At one point; I wanted to take a picture of the expressions on people’s faces.  Ben said I would get in trouble for putting these people on social media without their permission.  You start to get a little hysterical when you’ve been up over 24 hours; so I began to laugh when I would hear someone fussing about their wait time; not out loud of course, just under my breath.

Quite frankly; waiting on God takes a lot of patience.  Waiting on Him involves long suffering.  He has great and mighty things in store for those who love and trust Him enough to wait upon Him. Allow Him to teach you to watch prayerfully while you are waiting.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, I thank You for never getting impatient with me.  All this waiting is training me in righteousness.  I trust You to accomplish what concerns me both now and always.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

Our View Changes our Perspective

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Devotion: Romans 12:1-2

Since moving into our house in 1999; I’ve had my quiet times on the right hand side of my living room sofa.  It has been the place I read and study God’s Word.  Recently, I had the idea to create a new place to study and pray.  It’s in the corner of my dining room; below my book shelf.  I placed a small white table with a lamp, right beside the chair that once sat beside our bed.

From this corner; I can see the bird feeders and the beautiful blue hydrangea bush.  It’s like having a fresh start, a new place to meet with Jesus.  Now mind you; it’s probably thirteen feet away from the sofa, however it brings with it a whole new perspective.

When I was young; my dad built us a new house, a couple of football fields length from the old house.  The old house sat under a hill upon which my sister and I sledded every winter. The house sat so far under the road above us; we could barely see Brandon Road from our living room window.

The new house had a beautiful view of Table Rock Mountain out our living room window.  You are probably wondering why I am giving you all these details.  I’m telling you this because:

                       our view changes our perspective.  

If moving a piece of furniture can change our perspective, think what changing our mind and heart can do.  God declares in His Word, “If any man be in Christ; he is a new creation.  Old things have passed away, behold all things have become new.”  We need a renewed mind and heart on a daily basis.  “If we seek Him; He will let us find Him, when we search for Him with our whole heart.”

Ask the Lord to search your heart daily, to see if there be any wicked way in you.  If we confess our sin; He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness and renew a right spirit within us.  Talk about a new perspective!

Prayer in Motion:

Lord of heaven and earth, I thank You for making me a new creature in Christ.  Please do not allow me to become so set in my ways but to always acknowledge Your higher ways.  You will direct my path and order my steps.  Thank You for a new perspective and for renewing a right spirit within me.  I love You Lord Jesus.  It’s in Your Name I pray.  Amen