Sunday, July 31, 2022

The O Word

 


It's so easy just to give up when we've struggled with some obedience issue over time. Sins of words (why can't I just be nice?), sins of wasting time (but I'm TI-red Lord!)...there's not room here to list all the sins against which I struggle. But in order to draw near to our Savior, to know more of His love, and to abide in the peace He left for us...we've gotta' keep working on obedience. Lord forgive us disobedience of the things we know You are asking us to do. Thank You for covering our sins with grace and forgiveness, and help us to do better. Help us to know more of Your love. Amen.

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"I f you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you" (John 15:10-14).

Look to the Lord


 When we have obeyed, given our best effort, prayed hard, tried hard and yet some situation that causes us grief and concern has not changed, we must not continue to stare at the situation itself and the people who seem to be in control. It is safe to look to the Lord! In fact, it is the recommended procedure!  We are not waiting to see what other people are going to do, we are waiting to see what God will do! 

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but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

Look to the Lord and his strength;
    seek his face always.
1 Chronicles 16:11

Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.
Deuteronomy 3:22

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6:13

 

Friday, July 29, 2022

When We Are Hurt...

 


When we've had a dispute with another human being we might hesitate to bring our upset to the Lord if we fear we aren't completely in the right. But it is always safe to run to our heavenly Father because when we hurt, He feels our pain, and will gently set us on our feet again. He may also provide discipline, encouragement, or whatever the situation requires, but it is always safe to run to His arms.  

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Bring All Your Sorrows to Him

 


Sometimes I am hesitant to bring my upsets to the Lord.  This happens when I am upset with Him for some reason. Trust is very important to the Lord; He has done so much for us, and all He asks in return is for our belief, also known as trust.  

However, it is so much better to pour out our upsets before Him than it is to close our hearts to Him.  Apart from Him, we will find ourselves searching for alternative ways to make ourselves feel better and this inevitably will lead to sin.  

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, when things happen that we don't understand, when we are afraid, and even when we feel angry with You, help us to come into Your presence, to reaffirm that we trust You, and seek Your direction.  When we can't do anything else, we can choose to believe.  Amen.  

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Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

A Better Belonging

 


Through Him we are "...a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession.  ...fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God" (1 Peter 2:9, Ephesians 2:19 ESV).  

Monday, July 25, 2022

Entrust Them to His Care


 Father, I release my precious loved ones into Your hands and Yours alone I entrust them to Your care. Please keep me from detaching from them emotionally so as to avoid the responsibility and burden of intercession. Strengthen my heart to do my loved ones real good as I bring them to your light in prayer. Help me to deal with those I love with a heart that stays open to them, but with my eyes placed firmly on You. In recognition of your sovereign control over my life and the lives of those I love, I entrust them to You. You are the only One I can't do without. Amen.*  

I will never leave you nor forsake you. 

Hebrews 13:5


*This prayer from 100 Days to Freedom: Release from the Self-condemnation of Overweight, day 15

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Saturday, July 23, 2022

He Leads Us Gently

 


Aren't you weary of feeling judged--and judging yourself--for how much you have achieved (or failed to achieve) in a given day?  I sure am. 

The Lord doesn't judge  by outward appearances, but by the state of our hearts.  If, when He asks, "Lovest thou me?" we can reply "Yes, Lord," then we can be assured of the rejuvenating and blessed warmth of His approval.  

We love You Lord.  Thank You for loving us!  Help us to rest in Your presence, blessed by the knowledge that You will help us accomplish Your purposes in Your time, and for Your glory.  Amen.  


Friday, July 22, 2022

Keep on tryin', keep on tryin....

 


We must keep trying. The enemy always wants us to sit down alongside the path and wait for something to change. The Lord says, "Keep alert, keep trying, make a beginning and persevere in continuing on the path, and strength will be given as you go."  

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

It's a Relationship

 


"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Which Comes First?

 


Remember that prior to telling Peter what He wanted Him to do, Jesus first asked, "Lovest thou me (John 21:15-17)?"   Love for Christ fuels an obedient mindset. 

Love comes first. If we love Him, we will obey Him.  

John 14:15 says, "“If you love me, keep my commands." And then, verses 16 and 17 promise the Holy Spirit, our counselor, comforter, and helper. God helps us to obey via the power of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.  

Lord we love You, help us love You more, in Jesus' Name we ask this, amen. 

Monday, July 18, 2022

All My Hope Is in Jesus

 


I inevitably start each day strong in resolution to honor the Lord in all I do, but weaken as the day wears on. My morning Scripture and devotion time see me through until about 3 pm, and I go downhill from there.  

The solution should be obvious: more of Jesus.  The Lord recently spoke to my daughter of the need to seek Him three times a day, and if I am going to make it through to bedtime without giving up my resolution to keep watchful and pray, I need to implement some sort of realignment strategy midday.  

How to do it, Lord? How to stay focused on You when the moment I leave my time of focused concentration in prayer, the cares of the world descend on my shoulders? At times this weight causes me to retreat into lethargy and at others it revs me to adrenalin pumping urgency. Is it mental focus, just a matter of breathing God in and refocusing?  Prayer?  Scripture? (Probably all three of these...) How to keep from letting my armor slip off my shoulders so that I retreat rather than advance as the day wears on? 

Strengthen us, Lord, we are weak. Help us to stay on our guard, in You. Enable us to obey you right through to bedtime today. Thy will be done in our thoughts, actions, and will, in Jesus' Name we pray, amen.   


Sunday, July 17, 2022

The Blessings of Obedienc

 


We who have repeatedly experienced God's grace and mercy are sometimes slow to give up our sins of self-comfort. After all, this world is an uncomfortable place. We suffer, we watch those we love suffer, we strive valiantly in prayer and in service (and You know, Lord, those kinds of things are tiring)...and these hard facts of our earthly lives can give us a sense of entitlement to pleasures God does not condone. 

I must quickly qualify this with the sins "good" Christians (an oxymoron if there ever was one) allow themselves: a movie binge, a pint of ice cream, buying something we shouldn't buy...like that.  And then I must further qualify this with the assurance that these things are not always a sin. But you and I are aware, because of the Holy Spirit's conviction within, which behaviors the Lord does not want us to indulge (and sometimes, it is the timing of the behavior rather than the activity itself that is wrong). Innocuous-seeming sin is sin, just the same.  

The Lord will not hesitate to bring to mind what sin of commission or omission He would like us to bring to the foot of the Cross, if we ask. It is important to ask.  

We need not to excuse sin in ourselves. We must keep fighting against it, even though we feel confident the Lord will receive us back once we've enjoyed our guilty pleasure. The Bible warns against giving up the fight: "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (Romans 6:8)." Various translations state the answer to this question as follows: "By no means! Certainly not! Of course not! God forbid!"

Obedience is how we show our love for God.  When we obey, channels of blessing are opened by Holy Spirit power so that we begin to taste now the peace that will be ours for eternity, when we see all things brought under God's power and authority. When we voluntarily place our hearts and minds under His authority here and now, we participate in Kingdom blessings even in the midst of the turmoil of this present world.  

Lord help us to keep fighting the good fight. Thank You for the forgiveness that cost You so dearly; thank You for the Blood of Christ. Father we want the peace of obedience and we want to show our love and commitment to You.  Help us! Have mercy on us! Forgive us and help us to obey You in everything. In Jesus' Name we pray, amen. 

Saturday, July 16, 2022

We Can Be Brave

 


These memes I am sharing daily feature the same background design because I am working to create a desk calendar. The Lord put this on my heart a couple of years ago, but I couldn't find a publisher for this kind of project and gave up the idea. However, I did do some preparatory work; as I read through 100 Days, I created a file entitled, "one-liners for desk calendar," and recorded short excerpts from each day's reading.  

This year I purposed to complete the templates for a spiral bound flip calendar, on the premise that one has to build tracks before a train can come through. I still haven't found a place to publish the calendar! 

My daughter and I have committed to reading and re-reading 100 Days to Freedom, our unspoken agreement being that we will read and re-read until we have internalized the truths God has provided us in its pages and see fulfillment of some very specific promises He has provided.  

Along the way, I pray that these daily thoughts are used by the Lord to bless others.  

Father, I commit these daily "one-liners" to You, and pray they do the work for which they were sent. Please bless and direct every person who reads them. Thank You for Your presence with us and for Your guiding love, amen.  

Friday, July 15, 2022

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Rest


 

I'm praying today to stay open to the Lord about the ways I choose to "get away from it all." I truly want to honor Him in everything I do. My time and labor belong to Him, my rest belongs to Him; it is the desire of my heart to abide with Him 100% of the time, not just during my daily devotion time...

We ebb and flow in everything.  Obedience is marred by times of closing our hearts to the Savior who died with us so that we can feel "free" to go our own way. The deception is that we can choose between our way and God's way, but that is a lie of the enemy. Our choice is always either to abide in God's strength or give way to the enemy's manipulations. God's power far transcends that of any other, but He allows puny humans to choose whether to submit to Him or not.  

When we belong to Him, God's mercy and grace cover us and He works to draw us back whether we are submitting and obeying or not. But do we really want to flirt with the power of the enemy, like a toddler who runs out into the middle of a busy street just because he's been told, "No?"  

Lord, we love You. Help us to honor You at work and at rest, in prayer and in play, Lord, help us honor You in everything we do and thank You for Your grace and love that cover us even when we stray. Keep us safe in You.  In Jesus' Name we pray, amen.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

A Matter of Mindset

 


Although the melody is a tad different than I grew up singing at the Monticello Methodist Church just north of Olathe, Kansas, the chorus is sweet and familiar.  Whether the song is familiar to you or not, the advice is golden: turn your eyes upon Jesus...




Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Getting My Act Together

 


My parents struggled with moderate overweight for the whole of their lives together, and I do mean, struggle. My mother tried diet after diet. My dad, frustrated with her and then with himself for not being able to lose weight would lose his temper, and I don't know how many times I heard him say, "We've just got to get our acts together."  

The trouble is, when human beings do manage to get their acts together, it often means they have focused with religious zeal on some course of self-improvement.  A friend of mine once made a comment regarding the extremely fit and attractive outward appearance of one of our mutual friends, "You can just tell by the set of her jaw that there is a fat person inside struggling to get out!" And indeed, this woman went around with a grim look on her face and was known to prioritize her fitness routine above all else.  She kept her act together...but just barely.  

Our freedom in Christ includes freedom from the law, and we have to be careful not follow rules of exercise and diet as our law. This does not mean we are to be slovenly in our habits, but that the purpose for our self-denial, indeed, our purpose in everything, is to know more of Christ. We deny the flesh for the sake of Christ in us.  

It's a struggle.  Self-denial for Jesus' sake isn't something we can accomplish once and for all.  We set our minds on Jesus, remember His love in our hearts, and pray each day for strength to honor Him in all we do.  

Body mass can't measure the degree of a person's devotion to the Lord. Blessedly, God looks at our hearts.  He knows what we've been through. He sent Jesus for us. He knows that we sometimes do what we don't want to do and that we must time and again say, "Thanks be to God for saving me from this body of sin and death!"  

Sometimes what we judge as failure is actually a step on the path to full surrender of our lives to Christ. Humility is the gift that spurs us to cry out "I can't do this Lord! Do this for me! Take me and use me as You will!" Failure is transformed by the Blood of Christ into the gift of humility: humbled adoration for the God who has saved us from ourselves.  

We are not to judge others or ourselves by outward appearance. We don't need to get our acts together.  All we need is the warmth of acceptance we experience when we turn our eyes to Him.  

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Flesh denied for the sake of His life in me,

Released from sin's power, 

In Christ I am free!  

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The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Romans 8:6 NIV



Monday, July 11, 2022

Praise

 


Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Psalm 150:6

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Love-fueled Obedience

 

 The quote above in no way means to infer that obedience is unnecessary.  It is why we obey that needs examining; if we make lists of things to do that will make us feel worthwhile, if we strive for an appearance of Godliness rather than an expression of love for God, then we may appear to be obedient but God sees our hearts. He will find us out if our obedience springs from any motivation other than love for Him.  

The purpose of obedience isn't for the sake of our own righteousness; Jesus purchased righteousness for us and it is ours as a free gift, through belief.  The purpose of obedience isn't even primarily so that we can help God's Kingdom along. God allows us to flow with His purposes because He wants to share eternal reward with us, but do we really believe that He couldn't accomplish His will without us?  

Our obedience shows our love for Him. Doing God's will must grow out of our love for Him, and our love springs from lifting our eyes to Jesus. When we gain even a partial understanding of what He has done for us, humbled adoration fuels our desire to obey.  The sequence a truly obedient heart must follow is this: lift your eyes to Jesus, respond with praise for all He has done, and then out of the outflow of gratitude and love, hurry forward to do His will. 

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If you love me, keep my commandments. 

John 14:15 NIV


Sunday, July 3, 2022

All for Love

 

We empower our fellow human beings in ways that are not good for them or for us when our actions are determined by what we imagine  their judgments of us will be.  

We must take a careful look at our motivations as we ask, "Is this course of action motivated by God's love?" Quite often, prayerful scrutiny reveals that we aren't concerned about God's will so much as we are worried that we will be judged by other human beings. When fear of judgment from others is our prime motivation, the devil can whisper lies about "what they will think."   

The answer to what we ought to do in any given situation is not always straightforward, but what a blessing it is that the Lord hears our prayers and is with us wherever we go. 

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Dear Father, please keep us from the enemy's snares as we cry out to you, in Jesus' Name we pray, amen.  

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 

Galatians 5:1. 

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Thy Will Be Done

 


The release God asks of us is that of abandonment to His will. We show this release when we pray, "Thy will be done."  This prayer is so simple but often there is an all-out, tantrum level battle to be fought through before we can finally give way to God and to His perfect will.  We may not be happy with our status quo. Our circumstances may include challenges we do not want to face and battles we do not want to fight. Suffering, our own or that of loved ones, may factor in.  

In all of our struggles, and whether we like our circumstances or not, peace comes when we remember who it is that we serve.  God has withheld nothing from us.  He gave His son for us, He never abandons us; He loves us perfectly and powerfully.  It is safe to trust a God such as ours, who is perfect in power, wisdom, and love. As we think upon what we know to be true about Him, our emotions are calmed.  

Lord, we praise Your Name. Father, we entrust our loved ones and ourselves into Your hands. We trust You, we love You, and we pray, "Thy Will be done."  Amen!