January 30, 2017

The Open Bible

Psalm 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.

I talked to a mother several months ago whose son was worried he would lose his salvation if he messed up. He didn’t understand that when he accepted Christ as his Savior this matter was settled.  Jesus finished His work on the cross. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit and belong to Him forever upon our salvation.

Ryan hadn’t been saved very long and the family had all sorts of turmoil going on and there had not been a concentrated effort to go to church or receive any instruction or much discipleship for this young teenage boy.

I talked to the mother who is also a believer and reminded her of several verses that speak to this subject and encouraged her to show him how to find these verses and also talked to her about the importance of every believer reading their Bible. When you get in the Word, the Word gets in you, is an old adage and a true one.

This fear Ryan was experiencing was put to rest when he studied those verses and began to read his Bible on a regular basis. He began to grow in his walk with the Lord. His mother called me recently and thanked me for pointing them in the right direction.

She shared how they also studied many verses on fear because Ryan tended to experience fear in many areas of his life and she was glad to report that those verses were a great comfort to him and that he was showing evidences of overcoming much of the fear he had let rule his life.

I was thrilled to hear the testimony that came from this young man studying his Bible and the benefit it was bringing to his life.

I have had that experience in my own life and it is why I want to encourage others to get in their Bible and stay in the Word. The Word of God is a powerful tool for life and if we just leave it collecting dust on a bookshelf or table we will find ourselves growing weak instead of strong in our walk with the Lord.

Open your Bible, read the words God has written to us, and it will work in our lives. It will make a difference every day.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Verses on Assurance of Salvation:
John 3:16, John 6:35-40 John 10:27-30, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Romans 6:23, Romans 8:38-39, Ephesians 1:13-14, Ephesians 4:30, 1 Peter 1:3-5

January 25, 2017

Unshaken


I think it would be safe to assume we have all experienced a time when our faith became shaky upon being tested with a difficult and uncertain circumstance. We have found ourselves in a place of wondering in frustration what God is doing, or sometimes wondering why it seems as if He isn’t doing anything.

This is the place we must take our shaky faith and dig down deep to the foundation of our beliefs and strongly proclaim anew our trust in God. This trust will strengthen us to face the uncertain factors in our lives and not be continually shaken by them.

Trusting God requires us to keep our eyes on Him and not ourselves and circumstances around us.  Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Trusting God invites us to cast our cares on Him and to know they are safe in His hands. 1 Peter 5:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Trusting God will bring us His peace, and His peace will calm our fears. Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.

Trusting God takes my shaky faith and strengthens me and in this strength, I will be steadfast. I will choose to be unshaken. 1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Trusting God is letting my faith rest in the One who is unshaken, unchangeable, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob." 

Hebrews 13:8  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

January 18, 2017

A Door for Hope


Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.

During my quiet time one morning, I reviewed the names and prayer requests in my prayer journal and found a name that made me stop to consider who else was praying for the needs of this person, and made a sad conclusion. I recalled recent conversations with relatives and friends and realized most of them had given up on this person. I often faced discouragement myself as the years have slipped by and there hasn’t been any change, any apparent softening of the heart towards the message of God’s love and gift of salvation through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Many of us have been praying for a loved one on our prayer list for a long time. Maybe the name on your list is someone who has turned away from the Lord, and you have diligently prayed for this prodigal son or daughter to come home. Maybe the name on your list is a relative or friend who has never called upon the Lord for salvation, and you have prayed for this loved one for many years, and still have not seen this prayer answered. It is easy to think that because there has been no change after all this time, they will never change and that attitude can lead to giving up on consistently praying for them.

Sometimes we become discouraged when answers don’t appear. It is hard to understand when we pray for someone and don’t see anything happen year after year. Even when we are discouraged and weary, we must continue in diligent prayer and keep believing God is doing a work we cannot see, yet.

Ask God to give you more love and compassion for those on your prayer list, and as you keep praying for their return to the Lord or their salvation, may you see that your prayers always keep open…a door for hope.  

James 5:16b The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

January 15, 2017

Clarion Call



Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!   Psalm 46:10
This is a special and favorite verse for many of us. I know it definitely is for me. Chapter 46 begins with proclaiming God is our refuge and goes on to declare that whatever rages around us, God is with us, and then in verse ten, these words stand out like an oasis in a desert. Be still, and know that I am God. Right there is the answer to everything. He is God.
Psalm 46:10 has been a clarion call in my life that drew me near to Him. Every time I read it or think about it, I hear Him saying “Stop everything else, draw near to me, and you will know Me.” It has been a life changing, relationship growing verse that has impacted my life more than any other verse in the Bible. 
You may be wondering how “Be still” can serve as a clarion call. A clarion call demands action. “Be still” doesn’t sound like an action. It sounds like the exact opposite!
But when that action is placing ourselves in a position to draw near to the Lord, that is the best action I can think of and one that has produced more beneficial results in my life than anything else I have done. There isn’t anything greater than being still to be with the Lord.
That action results in knowing Him. That is the clarion call. That is the action demanded.
Can you hear Him calling you to be still and know Him? What will your answer be to this great clarion call?

January 12, 2017

Before I Pray

By the time I arrive at what I call my official prayer time, I have already been praying many things. I have already engaged in much conversation with the Lord who hears our prayers before we utter them and knows our thoughts and words before we express them.

Before I sit in my favorite seat by the window for this special time of prayer, I have already welcomed a new morning and thanked Him for this new day. Before I sit here to pray, I have already placed the day in His hands and asked His blessing on all that I do.

We’ve already started our day together and His rhythm of grace is already beating strong in me. I heard His whisper as soon as waking moments brought me out of night’s slumber and I eagerly welcomed the break of yet another dawn.

Through the motions and routines of the beginning of a day I have invited Him fully into mine and drawn near to Him, but a special set aside time and place still waits for me and that is when I lay all my cares in the Lord’s hands. That is when I call upon Him to intercede on the behalf of loved ones and anyone I know who has a specific prayer request.

Even before I pray, I have already been in conversation with the Lord. Before I pray, I have already been praying. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 exhorts us to “pray without ceasing.” Prayer - like words - can fall like breath from our lips and from our hearts. It is the language God most readily hears.


Romans 8:26-27
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.