Everyone Needs To Take Time To Rest!

Mark 6:30-32 Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.

Once the word about the miracles that Jesus was doing and how He had empowered His apostles to do those same things, the people flocked to them. The multitudes came from all over to hear and receive the life that they offered. Healings abounded and many received the miracle working power of God through them. They found themselves constantly ministering to the needs of the people until they had no time for themselves to rest. Many times they didn’t even have time to sit down and eat a meal because the needs of the people were so great. In this particular instance after the apostles had been out ministering Jesus sensed their need for rest so He took them away to a deserted place where He thought they could get by themselves to have some time to rest and refresh themselves for the days ahead.

Rest – Greek word anapauo – Strong’s #373 means “to make to cease.” The word describes a cessation from toil, a refreshment, an intermission.

Everyone needs time away from the demands of life to catch their breath, to relax and to enjoy a little “down” time. A lot of ministers will take Monday off after having such a demanding ministry day on Sunday. God, the Father, said that man should work six days and then take a day for rest.

Exodus 31:15-17 ‘Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. ‘Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. ‘It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’”

Rested – Hebrew word shabat – Strong’s #7673 means to stop, to rest, to cease, to end. This verb is of great importance in the Old Testament, mainly because of the noun that is formed from it: shabbat, or as we say, “Sabbath.” The shabbat is the day when all work ceases, and Israel rests and meditates on the glories of God’s creation (heaven and Earth), just as God rested on that first Sabbath (Gen. 2:1-3)

God worked in making His creation for six days and then He took a day for resting and refreshing Himself. He knew that His man would need that same “down” time to give his spirit, soul and body the refreshment they need to be able to handle the demands of life. We now live in a society that goes constantly; people rarely take time to just do nothing but be with the Lord. They are pulled in all different directions by the high demands of life. Some work even on Sundays which is the Lord’s day and supposed to be a day of rest. And even when they take time off to rest their vacations are so filled with activities or work that they do at home that they never get to the place where they feel rested from being away from work. They simply exchange one form of work for another.

It is when people continue in the high demands placed on themselves that their bodies become stressed and eventually break down under the pressure. Their emotions are pulled in different directions and Christians can experience instability in their spiritual walk with the Lord because the demands on their bodies have become so great.

In 1 Kings 19 we read the story of Elijah running into the wilderness fleeing from Jezebel who wanted to kill him for the ministry he had done in exposing her and the false prophets that were leading the people astray. We find that because of his extreme fatigue his whole emotional outlook towards ministering for the Lord became skewed. He was tired and emotionally drained and listen to what he said to the Lord because of it:

1 Kings 19:1-4 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” and when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”

Elijah was tired, stressed and emotionally drained. He had confronted all the prophets of Jezebel and ministered mightily in exposing them and revealing God to the people as the One true God. He hand of the Lord was upon him to end the drought they had been experiencing for three years. He had run ahead of Ahab to beat the abundance of rain that was coming as he spoke according to God’s word to end the drought and bring rain upon the land once again. His ministry was flourishing and he was exhausted as he met the attacks of the enemy. He spoke to the Lord of wanting to die because he simply was worn out from working in the ministry.

God didn’t condemn him or reject him for feeling the way he felt. But instead He caused him to lie down and rest. After the rest he sent an angel to minister refreshment to him.

1 Kings 19:5-7 Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the LORD came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.”

God ministered to him in his time of fatigue. He sent an angel to provide foot for him after he slept. The Father knew that he needed time to rest and be refreshed before he could continue on doing what He had called him to do. People need time to rest and be refreshed or they will burn out under the demands of life. It was only after Elijah had taken time to rest and have proper nourishment that he would be able to go back into the high demands of ministry that God had given him.

Are you tired this morning? Do you feel that life is overwhelming you? Maybe you just need some time away from it’s demands to rest and refresh yourself; to get the proper perspective about what is taking place.

Friends, I have written a daily devotional blog pretty much every day for the last six months and I am tired. I realize that I need to take some time off periodically so I have some time away from the demands of ministry. Not only have I written this blog, but I have also continued to pursue my college degree through this time as well as teaching as requested by my Pastor on Wednesday nights. I am going to take some time off to rest. I may continue to have a daily blog for you as I feel lead to share, but if I am not here every day please don’t think that I have deserted you; I am simply taking the day off. I will seek the Lord for what to share and if I have a shortened blog for that day I will still present it to you. I know that many of you count on me for your devotional life and I feel the pressure of being responsible to feed the sheep in this manner. Please know that my heart is to share God’s word with you and to encourage you in your daily walk with the Lord. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement to me through your comments, prayers and personal words of encouragement. I appreciate each one of you!

Father, I thank you for the opportunity to minister Your word to the people. I thank You for the avenue You have given me to share what I feel You have placed on my heart with others. And I thank You for their faithfulness in reading and commenting on my blogs. They have been faithful supporters of the work that I feel that You have called me to do in this place. I ask You now, to meet their every need. Fill them with the spiritual manna that they need to build up their spirit man to meet the demands of life. Give them the strength that they need to fight the battles that the enemy brings into their lives. Love them through me, Lord, and give me the word from Your word that will lighten their load and encourage them. Thank You, Father, for times of rest and refreshment. I pray that as I rest You will fill me to overflowing with what You want me to share with them. I love ministering Your healing balm to those that You have placed within my sphere of influence and I thank You for the opportunity to speak into their lives what You would have me share with them. I pray Your blessing on each reader this morning that comes to this blog to find spiritual nourishment. Grant them the blessing of knowing You, Lord. Fill them to overflowing with Your very presence and give them rest from their labors. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

Two Ears And One Mouth

I was praying recently about a situation in my life and as I prayed about it I immediately heard the Holy Spirit speak this verse to me in answer to my problem:

James 1:19, 20 NLT My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Your anger can never make things right in God’s sight.

Since I have quieter, more passive type of personality it usually isn’t too difficult for me to hold my tongue and think before I speak. But there are times when it gets the best of me and, as a person once said about the little boy when told to sit down and be quiet, he said, “I may be sitting down on the outside, but I’m standing up on the inside”. The person on the inside of me sometimes cries out over what is happening on the outside. And I have had to pray that God would set a guard over my mouth and keep watch over the door of my lips. (Psalm 141:3) It is a lot easier for me to deal with my own emotions than to have to go back to a person and apologize for something that I said in haste that hurt their feelings. Words cannot be retracted and always hang out there waiting for the devil, who is the accuser of the brethren, to bring them back to remembrance when they will once again bring the sting of hurt and disappointment to the person to whom they have been spoken. It is with regret that I’ve thought so many times that I wish I could take back the words that I have spoken in haste or anger.

God, through the writings of James, instructs us in being quick to listen and slow to speak and especially when angry because, as my mother used to say, two wrongs do not make a right. What may have been said to me could very well be wrong, but my angry response to it does not produce God’s right way of living; it doesn’t make my angry response any more right than the one who hurt my feelings with what they said to me. In being quick to listen we give ourselves time to gain discernment to understand the underlying reason for what is being said to us, rather than just taking the words at face value. We are more apt to understand the other person’s heart rather than just reacting to the words that are spoken. Time between what is said and the response always gives an avenue whereby we are able to reflect and respond rather than react.

 

Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Relationships can be really challenging. Human nature compels us to feel that we are right and the other person is wrong. And since we are all human none of us is perfect so we are not right all the time, but we are not always wrong either. However, God’s way, the higher road, is to relinquish our rights in order to live in peace with the other person. He says, “if it is possible”…..unfortunately, sometimes it’s not possible to live in peace with another person, but our part is to do what He asks of us in trying our best to live in peace with them.

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

I have often heard that this scripture says that God places some people in our lives as sandpaper to smooth down our rough edges! Different opinions within our relationship cause us to think about our own position, whether we are right or wrong. If there are no challenges there is no room for growth; our countenance will remain the same. We will not ever be changed. The key to good relationships, then, is not that one opinion overrides the other, but that in presenting our opinion, spoken in love, we offer room for growth. By so doing we are each giving and receiving input by which we may reflect and understand another’s point of view in order to meet in agreement and be changed through the peaceable exchange of opinions. It is in working with the other person that we learn to live peaceably with them.

And once again we have come full circle back to the first scripture in James 1:19, 20 where we are instructed to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. I guess there is some truth in the saying that God gave us two ears and one mouth so we could listen twice as much as we speak.

Father, I thank You for the wisdom that You give us through Your word. You are always working with our best interest in mind and I thank You for instructing us in how to live peaceably with others. Thank You, Father, for purchasing our redemption and for placing us in the body of Christ. May we all think of the other person more highly that we think of ourselves, yielding to them and learning from them. Thank You, Father, for those that You place around us to sharpen our countenance. May we treat them with understanding and love as we interact with them. Father, I pray that we will always walk in love towards the other person and give them the opportunity to speak what is on their heart without fear of rejection. Thank You, Father, for hearing my prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

Like A Tree Planted By The River

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Those who are perishing don’t understand the power of God revealed through the cross of Christ Jesus! To them it is foolishness! But to those of us who are being saved it is powerful! It is the only way to live. I can look back through the years and see how Jesus lifted me up out of situations that would have destroyed me had I not had the power of God in my life. He is my life and breath and my reason for living. It is because of Christ Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross of Calvary that I will spend eternity in His presence; worshiping at His feet, proclaiming the praises of my Savior! And for life now, as it is on this earth, He is my strength and deliverance; my fortress in the time of trouble; my refuge from the storm. It is under His wings that I take refuge until the storm passes by.

Jeremiah understood that a person needed God’s power and strength to live life effectively when he penned these words in the book of Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 17:5: Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trust in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the LORD. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see when good comes, But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land which is not inhabited.”

Jeremiah understood that those who don’t know the Lord only have their flesh to trust in. They don’t know God and as a result do not have hope in someone greater than themselves. They may seem to have a measure of success as some of them actually practice Biblical principles, not realizing that there are spiritual laws that when put into motion will bring the desired results, but on a whole, they will not prosper because they don’t recognize God as their Source. When good comes their way, they often don’t recognize it and it slips through their fingers. They are like a shrub in the desert, blown about by the wind with no root system. Even though rain comes periodically in the desert it doesn’t last long and the plants are not nourished from it. They have no anchor for their soul; no direction for their lives, but simply exist from day to day wondering and worrying about the future.

Jeremiah went on to say in Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.”

Here we have the contrast between the man who trusts in himself and the one who trusts in the Lord. The man who trusts in the Lord knows that his hope is in God. This man understands that the power of God is real and he depends on it. He prospers like a tree planted by the water, with its roots firmly planted by the river. He doesn’t have to worry when the heat of the summer comes, or when the pressure is on him because his Source will never dry up. His leaf will always be green because he is plugged in to the power Source. His thoughts are not anxious when the economy turns sour, nor does he stop serving the Lord because of fear. He simply draws from the power of God in his life and continues doing what a tree does; being green and fruitful.

We live in trying times. We, as a nation, are experiencing some things that trouble me and many are struck with fear for the future. But I realize who my Source is and am plugged in to Him so I will not fear nor be anxious for what might lie ahead. The power of God is greater than any man, or government, or nation, or anything the evil one might try to throw at us. God is all-powerful! He is greater than anything that could possibly arise that would try to destroy His people.

Paul went on to say in 1 Corinthians 1:19-25 NLT As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy human wisdom and discard their most brilliant ideas.” So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made them all look foolish and has shown their wisdom to be useless nonsense. Since God in His wisdom saw to it that the world would never find Him through human wisdom He has used our foolish preaching to save all who believe. God’s way seems foolish to the Jews because they want a sign from heaven to prove it is true. And it is foolish to the Greeks because they believe only what agrees with their own wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended, and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the mighty power of God and the wonderful wisdom of God. This “foolish” plan of God is far wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is far stronger than the greatest of human strength.

God has a plan for our lives. It includes salvation; deliverance; healing; and prosperity. He knows exactly where each one of us is in our everyday walk of life. We might not always understand why things happen the way they do, but we can know that God is more powerful than any of man’s plans or ways of success. Even at His weakest, if that is possible, He is stronger than any human and wiser than any of man’s ideas or thoughts.

Proverbs 21:1 NKJV The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.

God is still in control! He can change a person’s heart just as easily as changing the course of a river. He created all things including each and every human being. God knows where you are! He knows your situation and the trials that you are facing. Just one word from God can change your entire life. He is all-powerful; He is omniscient or all-seeing; and He is omnipresent or all-present. He is God; there is none above Him and none beside Him. Will you place your trust in Him today?

Father, I thank You for Your power to overcome any and all adversity that comes into our lives. You are greater, Lord, that anything that we might encounter. I pray for those this morning who may be fearful of the future. I ask You, Lord, to touch them and give them revelation knowledge of Who You are and want to be in their lives. I pray that they will surrender their hearts to You and look unto Jesus for their strength in the times of trouble. Father, You can change our lives with just one word. I pray that You will do that for each one of us as we trust in You. Move in our lives as only You can, Father. Bring deliverance and healing for those who are sick and oppressed. Make provision for those who are suffering lack and forgive those who have transgressed against You. You are all powerful; there is nothing too difficult for You. You are all-present and all-seeing; there is nothing that You do not see and You are always with us. Thank You, Father, for rescuing us from the evil one. Thank You for setting us free from sin, sickness and disease and poverty and lack. I pray for wisdom, Lord, that we might know how to live our lives according to Your ways. And I ask that You would give us courage to choose right over wrong. Forgive us for our wicked ways, Father, and bring healing to our land. Thank You, Father. I pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

 

The Prize Awaits Us!

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.

Vision – do you have a vision for your life? Do you have a dream or a goal that you are working towards. This verse describes it as a revelation or as in the Hebrew meaning of the word, a prophetic vision, dream, oracle or prophecy. Has God given you a specific direction for your life that culminates in a certain goal or dream? Everyone needs a vision for direction to live life to the fullest. Whether it is for a certain weight or size or healthy living goal, a dream for a godly marriage, a certain financial status or a position in your career. Without a vision people cast off restraint.

What does it meant to cast off restraint? Well, the best way I can explain it is that when a person casts off restraint they no longer work towards a certain goal, they simply do what feels good, or what seems to be the thought for the moment. They remove all boundaries and go with the flow of what feels like the thing to do. They are like a boat without a motor simply drifting through life driven by whatever current comes their way. All motivation to achieve results is gone and life becomes whatever it makes of itself. They are controlled by circumstances, situations, feelings and are driven and tossed about on the sea of life! Depression often becomes their best friend and the hopelessness that comes with it paints a life of defeat and failure. They are on a spiral downward towards destruction. And what brought all this upon them? The lack of vision….nothing to work towards; idleness and lack of motivation!

Have you ever been in this type of a situation? Sometimes life deals us a hand that’s difficult to play. We feel controlled by what has happened in our lives or by an inability to work through the challenges that we face. But God’s word goes on to say in that same verse, “But happy is he who keeps the law”. There is an answer for every situation that you may encounter in the word of God. He has a plan to bring you into wholeness and set you on course to achieve the goals and dreams that you may have once had. You might paraphrase that statement as “happy is he whose vision and focus is on hearing and doing what God has said.” It is as we find the promises in God’s word that applies to our situation and then apply them to our lives that vision is restored and we are happy once again. The key to hearing and doing God’s word that brings the results that we desire is making the choice. We all get to make the choice to either get on board with God’s plan for our lives or continue to float through life driven by whatever comes our way.

Joshua put it this way: Joshua 24:15 “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Joshua said they needed to make a decision one way or the other, to either serve the Lord or some other god, but he had already made his choice and his family was going to serve…..the LORD! We all have choices to make. Will we choose good or bad, to live or die, stay in bondage or seek the Lord for deliverance. The choices that we make today will affect the quality of our tomorrows! A pond without an outlet becomes a stagnant pool. Indecision leads to stagnation and ineffective living!

What can you do if you’ve lost your drive; your vision or dream? First, decide to make a change. Pray and ask God to restore your vision; to give you the motivation that you need to get started again. Then seek His direction for a plan of action to help you achieve your goals. Where do you want to be next year at this time? Next, begin to make systematic changes that will move you toward the achievement that you have set your eyes upon. And lastly, continue to do the things that you have set before you as your plan of action.

Jesus knew that God’s plan for His life was to go to the cross to purchase the redemption of mankind. He had to overcome all His fleshly desires to avoid the pain and ultimate separation from His heavenly Father to secure our salvation. The word describes His determination to go all the way to Calvary in Luke 9:51, 52:

Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him.

Jesus steadfastly set His face; He was determined to finish His course, to purchase our salvation. He prepared for it by sending messengers before Him to prepare the way for Him. He had a plan and He was determined to complete what God had called Him to do. It was prophesied in Isaiah that this point in time would come and He would have to be determined to finish His course.

Isaiah 50:7 “For the Lord GOD will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.

Jesus knew that the key to winning was depending on His heavenly Father to help Him and then being determined to carry out His life’s purpose. He set His face like a flint. Flint is describes in Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary as being very hard, strikes fire with steel, and is an ingredient in glass. It is said to be anything proverbially hard; not impressible. In other words, it is an attitude of determination that can’t be distracted by any outside influence. Jesus was determined to do what God had called Him to do. He drew His strength from His fellowship with the Father. He understood that His flesh was going to try to rebel because that’s the weakness that resides within each one of us as human beings. But He countered the weakness with prayer.

Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

We will experience those same temptations to give in, to quit, to not complete our mission. But if we will pray and stay in the Word,leaning on God’s Spirit, we will have the strength to overcome and win. Battles will come against us. If you are striving to achieve a certain weight or size you will be tempted to eat things that are not on your plan for healthy living. When you marry and live day by day with that one special someone, eventually there will be disagreements and the temptation comes to throw in the towel; to give up and go your separate ways. Where will you get your strength to continue towards your goal of that life-long commitment? If you are working towards financial freedom the temptation will come to deviate from your plan for success by purchasing something on credit that adds more debt instead of subtracting from the debt that you already have. Temptations come in all forms and sizes. But winning is achievable if you don’t give up or quit or cave in when that temptation comes. What will you do?

Hebrews 12:1, 2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Turn your focus back on Jesus who is the author and finisher of your faith. He will lead you into the victory. Lay aside the things that have held you back, even the sin that might have been the problem that has gotten you off course. Remember, Jesus had to fight the temptation to give up just like us. But He won by looking past the pain to the joy that would come as He made the way for all of mankind to live in relationship with Father God. He pushed through the disgrace and the pain to reach the prize! You and I can do that too, if we will keep the right perspective and continue to make the right choices. The desired results, the goal, the prize is waiting. The question is: Will we reach out and grab it?

 

Father, I thank You for giving us the strength to win! Father, You have said that when people lose the vision they cast off restraints. I pray, Father, for those who may have lost their dream to the circumstances of life. I pray that You will restore their vision, Father. Give them back the motivation that they once had to succeed and achieve their dreams. Show them how to achieve those goals that they once had. Father, You have equipped each one of us with the tools that we need to succeed. Help us to be determined to win. Strengthen us by Your Spirit within us and give us a glimpse of the good things ahead of us when we strive to achieve our goals. Thank You, Lord, for renewing our vision and determination. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Sharper Than A Sword!

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.

Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 that “’Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Well, there’s so much meat in these two scriptures that we could chew for days and be spiritually nourished. But for today I just want to give you a little better understanding from looking at a few words in these verses about the importance of feeding on His Scriptures.

To begin with, the verse starts out with ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God. What does ALL mean? It means every word, regardless of it’s grammatical placing in the sentence or verse, has a specific reason for being in God’s word. It has a place in our lives to give us spiritual nourishment. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.

Scripture – Greek word “graphe” – Strong’s #1124 – means a document, anything written, the holy writ, the Scriptures. Graphe points to the divine author with the idea that what is written remains forever identified as the living voice of God.

The Scriptures are and will forever be identified as the “living voice of God”. The word “inspiration” means that it is God-breathed! God’s word is so important to us because it is God-breathed; His very own voice speaking to us to give us strength and nourishment for our spirit man!

The verse goes on to say that the Scriptures are profitable to us! Profitable means that it is useful to us. It brings gain into our lives. The Word goes on to say that the profit it gives is in four different areas: doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness. So, let’s look at these four words a little more in detail so we can gain a greater understanding of the importance of God’s word.

Doctrine – Greek word didaskalia – Strong’s # – means that which is taught.

Doctrine, in God’s word means the teaching of God. It is His principles and precepts spoken out of His mouth that is alive and powerful to work for our good, to our advantage.

Reproof – Greek word elegehos – Strong’s #1650 – means proof, conviction, evidence.

God’s word proves itself; it never goes against what other Scriptures on the same subject would reveal. It convicts our hearts and gives evidence of the way we should be living. Another translation says it rebukes or tests us bringing conviction where it’s needed to convince us of the way we should be living.

Correction – Greek word epanorthisis – Strong’s #1882 – means a restoration to an upright or right state which brings a person to an improvement of life and character.

When we are headed down the wrong path, God’s word will correct us so that we are restored to a right way of living. It improves our lives; our character and our position bringing us into right thinking. The word of God shows us how to stay on the right path.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

Instruction – Greek word paideia – Strong’s #3809 – means education or training; chastening, instruction, nurture.

The word of God educates and trains us through discipline and nurture. This word gives the implication of the training of a child where all forms of instruction are applied: education, training, correcting, disciplining, instructing and nurturing. God’s voice as it is breathed into our hearts trains us in how we are to live in righteousness; His right way of living.

Righteousness – Greek word dikaiosyne – Strong’s #1466 – means that which is consistent with God’s nature and promises; God’s right way of doing things.

The Word of God teaches us, tests us on what we learn, convicts us when we are wrong, convinces us of the correct way of living, restores us to the right path of life, improves our character and our position in Christ Jesus, and trains us through every means used to bring up a child. The Word teaches and trains us in how to live according to God’s way of thinking; His right way of doing things that are beneficial or advantageous to our character as a Christian. It is profitable to us; bringing us gain in our lives. God’s Word is His living voice recorded for all to see and as we read it and apply it to our lives we are changed!

The last part of verse 17 says the reason we need God’s word in our lives is because it brings us to completion and fully equips us for every good work. It gives us the equipment that we need to fulfill the plan that God has for our lives. God’s word gives us what we need to do the work that He has called us to do. It prepares us for life, not just for this moment, but for what lies ahead so we will be ready to meet His calling.

Have you had your next meal from God’s word yet? Why not jump in there and eat until your filled and satisfied?

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Father, I thank You for Your word. I thank You that it is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword. Father, I thank You that it goes deep into our hearts and divides between our soul and our spirit; it divides and cuts out those motives and thoughts that do not line up with Your will and desire for us to live our lives. Thank You for it’s ability to pierce through the darkest thoughts in our minds. I pray, this morning, that we will all dig in and study Your word, taking it into our hearts and I ask that You would cause it to sink deep into our hearts and change us. Father, we need the words that You have breathed Your life into. We need the life that it brings to us to give us spiritual nourishment. Please speak to our hearts and help us overcome the inconsistencies in our lives. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer. I believe that I receive when I pray according to Your word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

Who Is The Thief?

There are so many things in this world that I do not understand. But this one thing I know: that God is good all the time and the devil is bad all the time. Many times, unknowingly, people credit God with the devil’s activity in their lives. But the word says in John 10:10 that the devil has a plan for your life, just like God has a plan for your life. The devil’s plan is to steal, kill and destroy and God’s plan is to give you abundant life.

John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Again, James tells us in James 1:17 that God is the giver of good gifts.

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.

God gives good gifts! There is no “variation or shadow of turning” with God. That means that He doesn’t “change like shifting shadows” (NIV). He is not a Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, type of personality.

So, why would we think that something bad that has happened to us is from the Lord? Well, quite simply because we don’t understand that we live in a fallen world where the devil is the prince of the power of the air who goes about looking for people whom he may devour with his evil plans.

1 Peter 5:8 NLT Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.

As long as we live in this fallen world there will be a war against the enemy of our souls. God created us as free moral agents with a will to choose to love and serve Him. But he does not force us to do that. Likewise, we are not puppets on a string controlled by Him as we go about our lives. We are given the freedom to choose how we want to live. When we live by our own standards and desires we often open the door for the enemy to move into our lives. The decisions that we make are not always in our best interests and because of the desires of the flesh we sometimes make choices that lead us to sickness and disease, unhealthy lifestyles and dysfunctional relationships. And then God gets the blame for what we as individuals have brought upon ourselves. Our choices affect the quality of our lives.

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 NLT “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between prosperity and disaster, between life and death. I have commanded you today to love the LORD your God and to keep His commands, laws, and regulations by walking in His ways. If you do this, you will live and become a great nation, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live! Choose to love the LORD your God and to obey Him and commit yourself to Him, for He is your life. Then you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

God gives us the choice to choose “life and blessings or death and cursing” (NKJV). It’s our choice. But oh, how He desires for us to choose the life of prosperity or blessings! He doesn’t want us to experience the heartache that not walking according to His ways brings. That doesn’t mean that everything that happens to us is a result of disobedience or selfish choices. It simply means that God has planned a good life for us, filled with His blessings, and our choices often determine the outcome of our lives. We still live in a fallen world where the devil has freedom, for a time, to move about trying to steal, kill, and destroy. But God’s will for us is for good, not evil. When we experience the bad things, God will turn them around for our good if we will trust Him. He uses those things that we experience that are bad to help us learn how to overcome the attacks of the enemy.

Will you choose life today? Will you decide to close the door on the devil’s activities in your life by walking according to God’s ways? He is waiting for you to choose! He wants to bless you with the good life that He has planned for you.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Father, I thank You for the good life that You have planned for each one of us. I pray that we may see Your goodness in our lives and choose to live according to Your ways so we can close the door on the enemy’s plan for destruction. Father, give us wisdom to choose the right paths to walk, the best decisions to make and the most healthy choices for our lives each day. Thank You for the Holy Spirit that lives within me who helps me choose a healthy lifestyle. May each of us continue to seek Your will before making decisions that affect the quality of our lives. Thank You for Your blessings! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Peace–Great Peace!

Psalm 119:165 NIV Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

Peace—does it often seem to elude you? The Psalmist speaks of a way to have peace in your life. It is through loving the word of God. In speaking of loving God’s word it is with the understanding that when you love the word of God you live it out in your life. You learn it, love it and live it!

So, what is the Psalmist speaking of when he talks about peace? Well, the Hebrew word for “peace” in this scripture is the word “salom”. And by Strong’s concordance it is defined as completeness; wholeness; welfare; health. The root meaning of the word is “to be whole” or you might say, “nothing missing, nothing broken and nothing lacking” in your life.

Why would loving God’s law produce peace in your life? God’s word is alive; it is life and produces the same in our lives when, by the Holy Spirit, we ingest it into our spirit man. When we begin to live by God’s word we are changed. We are strengthened by the life that comes from the word and our minds are solidly placed on a firm foundation where the enemy cannot shake us.

Jesus said in Matthew 4:4: But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

What did He mean that we live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God? He meant that physical food is not the only thing necessary to sustain life in a human being. We have a physical man that needs to eat regularly for optimum health, but we also have an inner man, a spiritual man, that needs regular spiritual nourishment for optimum health that comes from ingesting the word of God; reading, studying and applying it to our lives. It is only as we make the word of God a priority in our lives and learn to live it that we will be able to fight off the fiery darts of the evil one. It is then that we are made strong so we do not stumble at his attacks.

Great peace; nothing missing, nothing broken and nothing missing in your life! Do you need more peace? Then get into the word; let it saturate deep down into your spirit. Make it a priority in your life. Study it, memorize it, speak it and live it!

Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified You word above all Your name.

The Psalmist here says that God has magnified His word above His name. When you magnify something you make it larger. When God’s word becomes larger in your life the problems that you experience become smaller. You begin to see your problems in light of God’s word and realize that the enemy has no power to stand against the truth of God’s word.

Jesus told His disciples in John 8:31, 32 that the way to being His disciples and being set free was by abiding in His word.

John 8:31, 32 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Why would the truth of God’s word set a person free? Because there’s power in it!

John 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

The word is given life by the Spirit of God. He has breathed His very own life into His word. When we read it and take it into our lives as our daily nourishment that life is placed within us. As believers, born of the Spirit of God through salvation, we live and thrive because of the breath of life that God has placed in His word.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The New Living Translation says in Hebrews 4:12 that “the word of God is full of living power.”

2 Timothy 3:16, 17 NLT All Scripture is inspired of God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.

The word of God fully equips us for whatever we need to do! It teaches us the right way to live and changes us! If you have lack in your life, get into the word of God and find out the promise that counteracts what you lack. Then begin to feed on it! Read every scripture you can find on what you are needing in your life. Soon you will notice a difference in the way you think about your situation. Then you’ll begin to speak differently about what’s happening in your life. And the end result will be a change in your situation. God’s word will work for you if you will work it!

Father, I thank You for Your word; for it’s life-giving power in my life. I know that Your word is true; it is living and active and that when I ingest it into my spirit being it changes me. Thank You for the power that I have received from loving it and learning it and living it in my life. I thank You that when I get into a situation where I need answers Your Spirit will speak a word from your word into my heart that I know will help with my problem. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for bringing the word back to my remembrance so I can defeat the enemy in my life. Thank You, Lord, for breathing Your life into Your word! I pray for my friends this morning who may lack peace in their lives. I pray that they will realize their need for Your word in order to flourish in every area of their lives. I pray that they may have “great peace”, Father, that comes from spending time in Your word. Bring it life for them, Holy Spirit, when they read it. Show them the nuggets of truth that they need to change their situations! Thank You, Father, for giving us the manna from Heaven for our spiritual nourishment! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

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