Romans 7:15 NIV – Hello Lord

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

“Hello Lord. This verse Lord describes what I face from time to time. And it can be a struggle. And it’s true that it is hard to understand. I often ask, “Why did I do that?” or I state, “I hate when I do that” and then again, “I wish I had more time.” There exists a conflict between the energies of sin and the grace You provide in our lives. Lord, I know that my life in You is eternal and my life here on earth is temporal.   I realize I have my Victory in You, Jesus and I rejoice in that. What resides in my inner being should take priority over my outward being. Lord, we all have some knowledge of good and evil, but I know full knowledge is revealed to us in Your Word. But Lord, I sometimes fail, in that I miss the opportunities that You give me to study Your Word. Sometimes I miss Sunday School or miss a time or two at church where I am taught and fed. But Lord, sometimes I just don’t have the time. Our lives are so full and we feel like we’re in a tug of war just to get the simple things done. Lord, there’s work and the kids and my responsibilities. And Lord, the 24 hours a day You give me just seems to go by so quickly. Most of the time I feel that I can’t get caught up. So this letter is written so You can understand that I don’t like doing the things that I shouldn’t be doing. And the things I should do, I just don’t seem to have the time. I knew You would understand.”

The Christian’s life is a constant struggle against sin and the powers that exist to pull us away from the things of God. The apostle Paul goes on to say in Romans 7: 17-20, “As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”

But thanks be to God, “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 17:21-25 NIV)

We can accomplish the things we should do and stay away from the things we should not do. It’s all in our relationship with Jesus and His power to overcome. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 John 5:4 NKJV) The key to victory is our faith in the overcomer, Jesus Christ. As we cultivate a greater and deeper relationship with Jesus through prayer and the study of His Word, we will find time to do the rights things and be that lighthouse of faith that God has called us to be. By the way? The reason for the letter? I thought I would put it out front. These are the things we all have thought from time to time. I have found myself exactly in the place a time or two that the letter describes. Have you?

Precious Lord, thank You for Your great mercy and grace. Thank You that we too can overcome by blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Help us Lord to continue to do the things we should be doing and call upon Your Name when sin begins to pull us away. In You Lord we have Victory. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Philippians 2:13 NKJV – By the grace of God

“for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure”

The power of God is working within us. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV). It is the grace of God which enables us to perform the will of God and to act according to His principles. We cannot act without the grace of God. We cannot claim it. We cannot pretend we deserve it. God’s good will toward us is the cause of His good work in us.

When I ponder on the goodness of God and how each day His will is worked out in me, I stand amazed. I wonder what God sees in me and what He could possibly desire from me. But that is where my thoughts are flawed. God is looking through the eyes of salvation and mercy and grace. I am wondering through my own eyes. When God looks at me He sees His son, His child. Grace has taken over and what God views is an open vessel ready to be filled.

When we pray each day, we need to remind ourselves that God is hearing and seeing and moving through His good will and His purpose. When doing so, it takes all doubt away that we might have in the corners of our heart where unbelief resides. It’s for His will and His own purpose. It is His desire that we are saved. It is His will that we are restored. It is His will that we are healed. It is His will that we return to Him. It is His will that we be blessed. It is His will that we are comforted. Is there any doubt within the will and the purpose of Almighty God? No.

So when we’ve had a bad day and have felt we have turned our back on the Lord, we can run to Him. When we’ve made a bad choice, we can run to Him. When we’ve been stubborn and refused to listen or been disobedient, we can run to Him. When our hearts have been broken, we can run to Him. When we think that He cannot possibly hear or answer our prayers, we can call upon the Name of the Lord in confidence. You see, it’s always about God’s will at work in us.

Friend, it’s God who spoke life into all creation. It’s God who knew us before the foundation of the world. It’s God who loves us all with an everlasting love. So much that He sent Jesus to the world to seek and save the lost. It’s God who works in and through all of us to accomplish His will and for His good pleasure. What do we have to do? Just believe, submit, and rejoice. The Christian life, from the beginning to its end, is totally dependent upon the grace of God.

Father, thank You for working in us to do Your will and for Your good pleasure. Thank You that we can have confidence that by Your grace, all things are made complete. When we sin we have the promise that we can come to You and seek Your forgiveness and we will receive it. When our hearts are broken and we’ve been kicked around by this world, we have the promise that when we call upon the Name of the Lord, You will save us. Help us Lord to never forget that through You and only You we have strength to complete Your will. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Romans 8:26-27 NKJV – A Dear Friend thought to share this with me

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.

FOR MY FRIENDS NEEDING PRAYER AND GOING THROUGH TOUGH TIMES

Have you ever just NOT known how or what to pray? Perhaps you have run out of words, or a situation has left you speechless or in so much pain that all you can do is groan? In Romans 8:26 Paul explains a prayer resource we may not realize we have or do not take advantage of: the Holy Spirit. When circumstances or pain leave us without words to pray, we can yield to God’s Spirit. This means that we do not pray out of our own understanding or try to figure out what to pray but we rest in the fact that HE knows our heart and HE knows the situation. Verse 27 says that the Father who knows all hearts also knows what the Spirit is saying on our behalf in the most baffling or distressing times. HE makes prayers out of our tears, our sighs and our groaning’s. What a wonderful thing to know that the Holy Spirit is interceding and, even beyond that, pleading for us believers in harmony with God’s will. In addition, Jesus, at the right hand of the Father in heaven, the place of highest honor is praying for us! Thank-You, Holy Spirit, for praying through us in perfect agreement with God’s will and, with Jesus, interceding for us at the throne of God. When we don’t know the words to say or have no words at all, you carry our sighs, groans, and tears into God’s presence for us. What Amazing Grace!” (From “The One Year Book of Praying Through the Bible”, Copyright 2003 by Cheri Fuller, www.tyndale.com)

Thanks, Rachel.

Dear God. Thank you for my dear friend who thought enough to share this wonderful study from Your Word. Holy Spirit when we don’t have the words to pray, You are already there. All we need to do is submit to Your love. When our tears run dry and our hearts are breaking, You make prayers out of our sorrows. Direct to the Your throne room where they will reside in God’s presence. Thank You Jesus! Help us understand that when there is nothing left in us, even words, that You are always there. We love You Lord and pray in Your Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

2 Peter 1:2-4 NKJV – Everything for life and godliness

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Peter starts with a wonderful salutation. “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” Knowledge is an important theme; the knowledge of God and of Jesus are connected because God is known savingly only in and through Jesus Christ. “All things have been delivered to me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (Matthew 11:27 NKJV) But this Scripture goes on to say even more wonderful things. God’s divine power has given to us (believers) all things that pertain to life and godliness through our knowledge of Him. A promise that all things that pertain to living our lives and living in godliness is given through the knowledge of Him. That knowledge comes from the Holy Spirit.

And then this Scripture ends with another glorious promise. We have been given “exceedingly great and precious promises” and that through these promises we would be partakers of the nature of God. We are being conformed to the likeness of Christ and the image of God.

Human knowledge of God may be a purely an intellectual thing, as somebody knows about things by observing. But believers know God in a personal way because we have relationship with Him; a personal relationship with Him through our faith in Jesus Christ. But I have to ask one thing. If we (believers) have a more than human knowledge of God because we have relational knowledge of Him, why is it we have a hard time believing in the promises that Scripture says are “exceedingly great”? God’s promises reveal His particular and eternal purposes to which He is committed and upon which we can depend. God is absolutely trustworthy. “For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.” (Hebrews 6:13-18 NKJV) Sometimes believers don’t believe in the promises of God because we look at them with worldly eyes. Our faith in God and in His promises is fundamental to believers, but just like anyone else, we place those promises into a very small box and believe in our own power.

But friend, it’s not about our power to believe. It’s about the power of God to believe. This Scripture says that God has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness and that through His promises we may be partakers of them. God’s power not our own. God’s strength not our own. God’s victory not our own.   We’re given a choice to believe in the promises of God or not to believe. “For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV) What choice will you make?

Dear Lord, thank You that your divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. Thank You that your promises are exceedingly great and precious and that they are available to us. Draw us Lord into a closer, more personal relationship with You so that our knowledge of You increases. Forgive us when our faith and belief rests in our own knowledge, strength, and power. Our victory is in You, Lord. May we glorify You in all we say and do. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

1 Peter 5:7 NKJV – Will you give Me everything?

Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

This is a wonderful and gracious promise from the Lord. It demonstrates the compassion of God; an aspect of God’s nature which is reflected in his sympathetic understanding of human weakness and His promise to restore those in trouble.

But I have to ask you a question. Are the cares you are casting, for just the moment you are facing? Are the cares you are casting, just for what you need right now? What this Scripture says truly is to submit yourself to the mercy and grace of the Lord and cast ALL your cares upon Him. If you are simply going to the Lord with the burden you are facing right in front of you, you are not submitting your whole mind, body, and soul to Him. Now there is no condemnation here. I have done this and we all have done this. We allow our unbelief to take over or our pride gets in the way of totally submitting to God.

Unbelief is a lack of faith and trust in God and to accept His Word. When we only go to God with what’s in front of us and not go to Him in humble submission for everything, we are saying that we will only trust God in our terms. It’s like saying to God, “I’ll let you know when I need you.” Whoa! But it’s true. The Bible is clear about this kind of pride. “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but give grace to the humble.”” (James 4:6 NKJV) And then it goes on to say, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:7-8 NKJV)

The devil wants us to believe that God is not big enough to handle everything about us. The devil leads us to believe that if we just go to God one issue at a time that we’ll be OK. God wants all of our cares so that we can walk in complete freedom. The devil is a liar. Don’t believe his schemes.

Submission is a humble attitude where obedience is rendered within a relationship with God. Submission is relational. It demonstrates to God your love for Him and your total dependence on Him for ALL things. “For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,” says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.” (Isaiah 66:2 NKJV)

Friend, we face lots of things and from day to day, even maybe minute to minute we will be challenged. God wants to be the Lord of our entire life. When He says to cast all cares upon Him, He wants all of you. He loves you with an everlasting love and nothing you do will ever change that. Give your thoughts, your words, your heart, your actions, your life to God and let Him care for you. What better care is there in all existence than the care of a loving, gracious, and merciful God, whose power is above all things you face.

Dear Lord, thank You that we can cast ALL of our cares upon You. You are our defender, our hope, our joy, our peace, our help, our counsel, our restorer, our Savior, and our King. Your power is above all things. Forgive our pride and lack of belief when we only submit to you a small portion of our lives. As we seek you in humble submission, draw near to us. Teach us Lord to trust You in all things. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

 

 

Deuteronomy 30:19 NKJV – What choice will we make

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live

God is full of grace.  If you turned off your alarm, got stirred up by your dog, or had the morning sun shine through the window that caused you to get out of bed this morning, God poured out His grace upon you.  God is full of grace.  He has given you another day to live and breathe.  There is no other reason why we are alive except that God chose to allow it.  Period.  It’s up to us and how we will spend the time He has given us.

As the Scripture says, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing”.  We must choose wisely.  We are given two choices; choose life or death; blessing or cursing.  It’s one or the other.  We can walk with the Lord and in His ways or we can choose not to.  That’s it.  There are no other choices.  Well, some might say, “I can go to God when I need Him.  Then I’ll walk in His ways.” That’s a wrong answer.  It must be one or the other.  You can’t have it both ways.

God is the source of all blessing.  “Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.” (1 Chronicles 29:11-12 NIV)  Why would we desire to walk in our own ways instead of walking in the ways of the Lord?

God has placed in all of us a free will.  That is an ability to make decisions without being coerced by any external forces.  Our Scripture above stresses that people are confronted with free choices between good and evil and commands us to choose good.  Our Christian life involves making decisions at many levels.  We make decisions concerning our family.  We make decisions concerning our work and how we can support the needs we have.  My decision, my choice is life; the blessing of God.

When I wake up in the morning, sometime between the time I wake up and the time I arrive at my workplace, I enjoy spending time with God in prayer.  One of my favorite prayers goes something like this, “Thank You Lord for another day to serve You.  Thank You that You have ordered my steps today. I pray I remain in Your steps for Your glory.  If I happen to wander off those steps and I find myself walking in the ways of the world, Lord forgive me, take me by the hand and place me back on track and on the path You have laid before me.  May all I say and do glorify Your name.  In Jesus Name.  Amen” That’s my prayer.  It will vary from day to day.  But what I am endeavoring to say to the Lord is, “I desire Your ways.  I choose the blessing.”

We are given only so many days to live on this earth.  God controls this and we never know what lies ahead of us.  It’s vitally important for us to choose wisely and stay away from choices that will curse us.  Certainly we are free to walk in the ways of the world and let the world care for us.  But friend, I just don’t think that’s a wise choice.  Scripture says this, “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4 NKJV)  When we are a friend of the world, we are walking in spiritual infidelity.  The world is a fallen place and is in rebellion to God.  But thanks be to God that through Jesus Christ, God reconciles the world to Himself, breaking the chains of sin.  “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NKJV)

You might ask, “I’ve never thought about choice this way.  I never heard of the blessing or the curse.”  Well, that’s ok.  You may not have read God’s Word before.  There’s a starting point for everything.  The Bible says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for corrections, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV)  You can make a choice right now if you would like.  You can choose to call on the Name of the Lord and have a personal relationship with Him.  You can choose to study God’s Word for your life and allow it to guide and direct you in your decisions.  It all begins with a prayer.

Prayer is simply a humble conversation with God.  Prayer demonstrates our dependency on God and believing He will hear and answer our prayers.  Will you choose to pray this prayer?

Dear Lord, I desire to make the right choices.  I find myself choosing unwisely and away from Your will for my life.  Forgive me Lord.  I am a sinner.  I pray for You to guide and direct my thoughts, my actions, my decisions, and my life.  Come into my life and be my Lord and Savior.  Forgive me of my sinful life and give me eternal life through Your Son, Jesus.  I believe Jesus died for me and my sins and rose from the grave so that I can have eternal life with Him.  Help me to choose wisely and make my decisions based on Your Word.  Forgive me when I fail and pick me up, wash me clean by the blood of Jesus, and set me on the path You have chosen.  I love You Lord.  In Jesus Name.  AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

2 Timothy 1:12 NKJV – I am persuaded (Part 2)

“For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”

Part 1 of “I am persuaded” was published in December 2013.  I return to this Scripture because God has proven even more that our trust needs to be in Him and that He responds to our every need.  I am persuaded!

The other day in the midst of the craziness of the world, the Lord spoke a still small voice into my spirit that I almost missed.  The Lord said, “I have this.”  Yeah, I almost missed it.  The Lord had my situation covered.  I realized His hand was over me when things that I hadn’t expected started falling into place.  People began to cooperate.  The pressure of having to be on top of everything lifted and the success of my endeavor was removed from my hand.  I had to let go of my control and release it to the Lord.

David had confidence in what the Lord could do when he said, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell.  Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.” (Psalm 27:1-3 NKJV) David was sure that no matter what he faced, the Lord was with him.

I was not afraid of what I would face.  I prepared long before and put a lot of time and effort into my task to ensure that everything would go well.  I worked diligently for many days.  I needed to be successful, and worked as though that meant everything.  I prayed asking the Lord to find favor with all the work I had completed and to bless my task.  And then the Lord spoke.  “I have this.”

Friend, here’s the point.  I prayed expecting the Lord’s blessing and the Lord did.  Right before my task, He spoke.  Right at the point of need when I would have begun in my own strength and authority, He spoke.  I don’t think it was a reminder that I needed Him, but rather a statement that I would be able to “Stand still” and watch what the Lord was going to do.  “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!” (2 Chronicles 20:17 NKJV)  I didn’t deny the Lord’s power in my situation, but my prayer was more for Him to bless and find favor with what I was going to do; my work.  The Lord wanted me to understand that it would be His work, His power and His authority in the situation and that His blessing and favor would come as a result of His grace.  Wow!!!  I am persuaded!!!

This is why we are to place our trust in Christ alone.  Trust nurtured in the understanding of who God is, His power and authority for every need we have, revealed by His Word, established by faith, and empowered by God’s merciful grace.  There are times when we just need to “Stand still” and watch what the Lord can do.

Precious Lord, thank You that we can trust in You.  I believe and am persuaded that Your hand is in every single detail of my life.  That it is never about blessing my actions, but rather it’s about Your work in and through my life.  The favor and blessing comes as a gift of Your grace.  Thank You Lord.  Help me to understand Your ways.  Open my heart, my eyes, and my ears to You so that I can remain on the path You have laid out for me.  In Jesus Name.  AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!