Who am I? Why was I born? These two questions puzzled philosophers through the ages, but they need to be answered by each individual so we aren’t depending on another person, a position or money to give us identify. When we do, then we’re terribly threatened if that dependency leaves us. Continue reading
In the mid-70’s my husband and I bought a piece of land with many pecan trees on it about 70 miles from our home. That first fall, I picked pecans for several hours, delighted with the beautiful day and all the nuts. As I fell exhausted into bed that night and closed my eyes, I saw a huge pecan; it was the size of a large watermelon! I quickly opened them and then shut my eyes again, but the same thing happened. After the third time, I asked God what was going on. Continue reading
I’m not a fighter. I want peace and sometimes give in when I shouldn’t, but I’ve had to learn to fight until I win the battle. That’s not easy for me and I don’t enjoy it, but when it’s necessary I will. God has richly blessed me in my physical life with loving parents and then a loving husband and children, so my battles don’t come in those areas. What a wonderful life! Of course, we’ve had our ups and downs but no major battles. My battle comes from the enemy of my soul, Satan. For years I didn’t realize I had to fight him, but the last few years I’m aware that he comes only to kill, steal and destroy. (See John 10:10.)
But how do we fight someone we can’t see? Something that’s bigger than we are and far more powerful? First, we get God’s will or promise for our situation. That means we need to spend time with God and with the Bible so we know what His will is and what promises He gives us. Then we ask the Holy Spirit to help us comprehend that so it’s perfectly clear to us and becomes a part of us. If we have head knowledge only of what our Father wants, then we can’t stand well because our whole self isn’t involved. A challenging verse says, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Ephesians 6:13). We do everything we can and then we continue to stand against our oppressor. We do NOT let him overcome us.
Most of us learn about this kind of faith as we mature in the Lord; it’s not given when we’re baby believers. We find out Who God is and then who we are in Him. Because we’re in Jesus Christ, we have authority but we must learn that as we grow in living lives pleasing to our Father. With that authority, we can tell the devil to leave us alone as James 4:7 tells us: Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Notice though that first we must be submitted to God. Satan won’t listen to us when we’re not in right relationship with our Father, because He holds all authority. Obedience cannot be overstated in the Christ-follower’s life.
With obedience, we put on our spiritual armor, which protects us from all attacks of our enemy, as Ephesians 6:10-18 says (in the Amplified Version):
In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides]. 11 Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.
13 Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. 14 Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God, 15 And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace. [Isaiah 52:7.]
16 Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God. 18 Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).
Sometimes our battles continue for days, months or years, but we must learn to endure. James, the half-brother of Jesus, tells us about endurance in James 1:2-4 (New Living Translation): Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect [mature] and complete, needing nothing.
What promise keeps me going during this battle? That depends on what the fight concerns, but I study the Word of God until in my spirit I know for sure that He has given me a particular verse on which to stand. Then I daily, and often more regularly, repeat that verse to myself so that I’m positive of where I’m headed. When I see clearly my goal ahead, then no confusion comes in about my destination.
Probably few of us like any kind of battle, but when we know our God, then we can stand, fight and win because He is incomparably stronger than the one who fights against us, as 1 John 4:4 reminds us. I’m encouraged to continue to stand and fight the fight of faith!
Occasionally I like to include posts from friends of mine, and this comes from Laura Shaffer who writes Daily Bible Prayer. When I read it this morning, I wanted all my readers to see it too. Thank you, Laura.
“When my first son was small, I remember wanting to avoid having a child who yelled ‘no’ all the time, so I tried to avoid saying ‘no’ to him if I could. Eventually, I did end up having to say ‘no’ much more than I wanted. It was such a convenient way to help him understand what was allowable and what was not. Continue reading
At church this morning we sang, “Flow to You, flow to You; Let the river of my worship flow to You.” As we sang, I saw *the river of the water of life flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb to us who were worshiping God with all our hearts as our praise flowed up to the throne of God. The river of our praise and the one flowing from the throne of God came together and flowed into each other. Our hearts and Father God’s were in sync as we stood praising Him. Beside this single river, from the two joining together, stood the tree of life on each side of the river, bearing fruit that healed all issues we had – whether relationship, financial, health, work. Whatever our need was, God used that tree to supply it. Continue reading
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 1:3 and 2:6 NKJV)
Belief must be brought into focus for these Scriptures to have any effect. Do I truly believe what these words tell me? Believe enough to apply them to my life? That takes more than head-knowledge; it takes heart-knowledge. Can I grasp the fact that God has multiple blessings for me residing in heaven, not when I get to heaven, but for the here and now? What kind of spiritual blessings are those? Well, what is God like because all blessings come from Him. Continue reading
For some unknown reason, I thought of this verse today: To whom [the saints, see verse 26; that is believers] God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27 New King James). What really stood out in my mind is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Continue reading
The church where I belong is in Dickinson, Texas and I drive mainly on a highway that goes through town going to it, but yesterday when I left from helping hand out supplies to Harvey victims, I went a different direction going home. While I’d seen sheet rock and household belongings out on the side of the road in some places previously, I’d not seen something like this from Harvey. These things piled high on both sides of almost the whole three or so miles I traveled down that street. Likewise, all the side streets looked the same way. It reminded me a lot of the way Galveston looked when my husband and I went there about three months after Hurricane Ike hit and overflowed the island from the Gulf and the Bay. The tremendousness of the loss hit me anew, even though I knew that my church alone had helped 331 different families the last week. Continue reading
Do I greet each new morning as an adventure? Do I ask God what He has in store for me that day? No. Usually as I tell Father good morning when getting out of bed, I don’t think of an exciting day, though I don’t dread them either. It’s simply another day, right? Perhaps it would be better to see the day as an adventure; for instance, whose path will I cross that day? Will I have an opportunity to share Jesus with them? Can I pray for them? Will they bless me in some unforeseen way? Continue reading
A prayer of one overwhelmed with trouble, pouring out problems before the LORD. LORD, hear my prayer! Listen to my plea! 2 Don’t turn away from me in my time of distress. Bend down to listen, and answer me quickly when I call to you. 3 For my days disappear like smoke, and my bones burn like red-hot coals. 4 My heart is sick, withered like grass, and I have lost my appetite.
17 He will listen to the prayers of the destitute. He will not reject their pleas. 18 Let this be recorded for future generations, so that a people not yet born will praise the LORD. [Psalm 102:1-4, 17-18 New Living Translation]
Have you ever been in this terrible place where it seemed that no matter how hard you prayed, God still didn’t answer your prayer? Maybe you cried out with all your heart and even fasted as you prayed but no answer came. Heaven seemed sealed shut to you, although you saw a quick resolution to other people’s prayers. You wanted to yell, “God, that’s not fair!” We don’t understand why our loving heavenly Father lingers over some prayers. According to Bible principles, God ought to answer them quickly because His will demands their answer. We’re at a loss and can’t explain it but we certainly feel like verses 1-4 of Psalm 102. Continue reading
Feeling kinda down and don’t know why? Your family life is going well, your job’s OK, finances are sufficient for your needs, health is adequate. Yes, you’re not overflowing in any of these areas but things are sufficient, so then why do you still feel like something is lacking? You’re somewhat depressed without being able to understand the reason. Let me tell you my story. Continue reading
As Christians we often know we’re not living like we should and keep trying to change so we can please God but don’t always succeed. Why? Maybe it’s the way we think about it. We try to overcome bad habits on our own, asking God to help us.
The good news is we don’t have to fight our wrong actions because they died when Christ was crucified! Maybe you say if such a thing is dead, why does it keep on occurring? Why do I keep on doing what I don’t want to do? I fly off the handle if someone says the wrong thing to me, and I really don’t want to do that. How can that happen if it’s dead? Continue reading
For Christmas a few years ago I was given the three letters to spell joy and as I looked at them today on a what-not shelf, I realized the subject of this devotional. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying to find “joy,” consider Jesus first, others second and yourself last. I thought that way for most of my life but the last few years, I’ve realized that the first commandment Jesus said is to love God with all our hearts and the second is to love our neighbor as ourselves (see Matthew 22:37-40). The more I’ve thought about this, the more I say we must love ourselves before we can know how to love others! Continue reading
God loves you. Let me repeat: God loves YOU! Yes, He really does. No matter what you have done. No matter what you have not done. No matter who you are. Father God sent His son Jesus to die so that anyone who believes in Jesus becomes a child of God. Continue reading
A couple of mornings ago as my husband and I ate breakfast, I listened to the quiet. The hush awakened me to the silence of the mockingbird. Soon a dove cooed and I noticed how close and loud the dove sounded. Blue jays joined in the chorus but I missed the mockingbird’s sweet melody. Continue reading
The Sovereign Lord has spoken to me, and I have listened; I have not rebelled or turned away. I offered my back to those who beat me and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard. I did not hide my face from mockery and spitting. Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame. (Isaiah 50:5-7; all verses from New Living Translation.)
Father, I have several problems in my spine and I know a number of other people who have back pain. 1 Peter 2:24 says that by His stripes we were healed. That means that when Jesus’ back was beaten, He was paying the price for my back pain and for the issues others have as well. Jesus conquered death when He rose again and in verse 5 He overcame the pain and sickness Satan puts on us. Continue reading
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. (1 Corinthians 2:9 New King James Version).
In Part 1 of 1 Corinthians 2:9, we looked at ideas about the eternal life believers find when they die. I said, “Besides living in such an optimal place with our Father, Savior and the Holy Spirit, we’ll enjoy long conversations with loved ones and people from the Bible. God’s promises of eternal rewards occur throughout the New Testament. What a wonderful verse God provides about eternal life. I believe this verse also applies to the life we’re living now as well. That idea follows in Part 2.” Continue reading
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9 New King James Version)
1 Corinthians 2:9 (Amplified Bible): As the Scripture says, “What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, [all that] God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed].” This verse references Isaiah 64:4, from which it quotes, and Isaiah 65:17, printed below. Continue reading
Open up, O heavens, and pour out your righteousness. Let the earth open wide so salvation and righteousness can sprout up together. I, the LORD, created them. (Isaiah 45:8 New Living Translation)
Father, this is my prayer today: that the heavens would open wide and pour out your righteousness upon me, upon my family and friends, upon everyone. Turmoil abounds all over the world today; perhaps never was your justice and honesty needed more than now. Everywhere I look exists terror and fighting or the threat of it. Many governments seemly don’t care for their people but only their greed. Even nature groans with earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, drought, fires, blizzards and excess heat. Who can make sense of it all? Continue reading
As I sat to eat breakfast I suddenly noticed I missed something – a sound that delighted me each morning – so I opened the window. Then I heard the beautiful strains of a mockingbird’s song. On and on he went brightening an already beautiful morning. Today, however, he perched further away than usual so I had to listen carefully or I’d miss him. When a loud car went down the street, it overshadowed his sweet melody. Continue reading