Saturday, August 4, 2018

August 4

I know that I’m a little late with my post this morning, but with good reason. God has drawn me out into the woods for some quiet time so I can hear His voice more clearly. I took a trail that I had never been on and He brought me to a spot beside a lake. The place I sat was right at the edge and there was a tree bent over touching the water. This is what God said to me: This is my picture of you. You are well anchored along the bank, but you have grown and are now dipping into my living water. At some point, the day of my choosing, your anchor will be released and you will be totally immersed in my presence. Do not dwell on that day, but soak up as much of Me as you can while I take you down this path. 

There was this branch that was broken off and completely rotten, but it was still hanging on. That was a picture of something that is dead in me, but I keep looking at it. He told me I need to push that branch down and never look at it again. So I physically tried to push that branch down, but it still hung on. I felt like He wanted me to document it so I took a picture. Then I said to Him, “if you want me to break this branch off, I will need your help.” Well guess what happened, it came right down! I don’t know what it is that He wants me to let go of yet, but I will now focus on doing what He has told me to do. 

What is dead inside of you that you need to break off, never to look at again? Ask God what that is. Then ask Him to help you rid yourself of it!

Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Psalms 51:9-11

Friday, August 3, 2018

August 3

During a recent church service, I watch some lives change before my eyes. My friend has been fervently praying for her family. She’s been watching Bible prophecy unfold before her eyes, as many of us have, and has a great fear of her family being left behind. When she walked in, I saw that she had her husband with her who has a fear of crowds, and her daughter, I’d never met either of them. She also had her son and daughter in law with her who are part of our church. My friend is very expressive and without saying a word, I could read her face. It expressed, shock, and overwhelming joy, and that was just because they came with her. Before the evening was over, her husband had stood up before the church and gave a short testimony and her daughter had accepted Jesus as her Savior. Her tears flowed uncontrollably. This is a prime example of praying with faith without doubting. And she wondered why the enemy had targeted her! Obviously it was because her relentless prayer would be part of the reason the rest of her family would enter the Kingdom of Heaven. My friends, pray without doubting. Our God can do amazing things and sometimes it happens unexpectedly. 

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:6-8

Thursday, August 2, 2018

August 2

I had the opportunity to speak in front of my church last night. Let me preface this by saying that I’m a writer and speaking in front of a crowd is not in my nature. The Holy Spirit gave me a message over a week ago and I worked on perfecting it until last night. The bad thing about doing it that way is that what I wrote becomes a crutch and I can’t get away from the words on the page. Lacking confidence, I decided to go to the church earlier in the day to practice and to become comfortable with my surroundings. Sometimes you think that God has you walking through something like this for one reason, like stepping out of your comfort zone; then you realize that it wasn’t about that at all! It wasn’t about getting up in front of the church, or breaking out of my comfort zone, though I’m sure there was a purpose for that too. It was about God drawing my attention to a community of people who lovingly encouraged me and blessed me with their prayer. I’m so grateful that He has given me a family of believers where I can love and be loved. If you do not have a church family, you need to actively pursue finding one!

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Acts 2:42

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

August 1

My friend Edgar DeJesus said in a sermon, “Wisdom is the application of knowledge.” That struck something within me, so I wrote it down. Years ago, before I started writing these devotionals, I was reading the book of James and ran across the verse that says, if you lack wisdom, just ask for it. So I prayed that prayer, several times, I still pray that prayer. Now years later, I can see that He has answered it! I couldn’t write these if He hadn’t. God has taken my study to a different level and shows me His word coming to life every day. If you’re not studying the Bible, how do you expect God to teach you to apply the knowledge you’re not getting? On the other hand, why study and never put it into practice? It’s like going to college to become a doctor, but never working in that field. If you want wisdom, ask for it! Then do your part by digging into the Word of God and learn His way and He will pour out His wisdom upon you.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

July 31

I just began a study of the book of James. The words are beautifully arranged, but will cut straight through to the heart. It’s easy to read, but a single verse can impact your whole day. Just after the greeting in verse two, James tells you to be happy that you’re facing trials! What the heck!! I’m not happy I’m going through trials of various kinds! To count it all joy, which to me is beyond happiness and more like jubilance or jumping around in excitement, seems insane! This guy must have had too much wine! All kidding aside, God allows us to go through trials to burn off the dross. He is purifying us like gold. Why does He do that? Because we are precious to Him and He wants us to be able to stand strong during any challenges we may face. The reason we should be joyful is because God does not send His weakest warriors into battle, or the ones He knows will cave to the wiles of the devil, but the ones He knows are battle ready and armored up. If you take a pounding now, you will regain your strength and be more fierce and ready for the next round! Every blow the devil takes at your hand is a reason to be joyful!

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Monday, July 30, 2018

July 30

You are good enough. Many have been told their entire life that they aren’t good enough. You’re too young, too old, not skilled, uneducated, too tall, too short, too pretty, too ugly, the list goes on. In God’s kingdom, none of those things matter. All God wants from you is for you to accept His son as savior, to love Him, and to love others. When you get those simple things placed at the top of your list, the rest will fall into order. It doesn’t matter what others think of you. You don’t have to fit into some cookie cutter image to be accepted into the kingdom. God loves you just as you are, and He uses the most unlikely people to bring about change in others. When you ask Him if you can help, He says yes! You are important! You are worthy! You are exactly what He’s been looking for! He welcomes you with open arms and will satisfy your every need, if you let Him.

Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? John 2:5

Sunday, July 29, 2018

July 29

All of us have been rejected at some point in our lives. The pain felt in our hearts because of that rejection can last a lifetime if you let it. You are not alone in your brokenness, though I’m sure that doesn’t make you feel any better. Just being a Christian subjects you to rejection! But God, in His great love for us, feels our pain, and His heart breaks for us like most fathers when they see their child hurt. Our Heavenly Father is not like any other, His love is beyond what any of us could possibly imagine. He accepts us and if we go to Him, He will never turn us away. So, today if you are feeling hurt or rejected, turn to Jesus, He will never leave you or forsake you. You can count on His love to get you through even your most trying times. With Jesus you are accepted.

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. John 6:37