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  #2426  
Old 02-27-2012, 08:30 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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Believing Prayer

22And Jesus answered them, "Have faith in God. 23Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and thrown to the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." -- Mark 11:22-24

Faith is the ear through which the voice of God is always heard. The Father speaks to us through the Holy Spirit. The Son is the Word—and the Spirit is the living voice. The child of God needs this secret voice from heaven to guide him and teach him, as it taught Jesus what to say and what to do. An ear opened toward God is a believing heart that waits to hear what He says.

The words of God will be not only the words of a book; they will be spirit, truth, life, and power. They will make mere thoughts come to life. Through this opened ear, the soul abides under the influence of the life and power of God Himself. As His words enter the mind, dwelling and working there, through faith God enters the heart, dwelling and working there.

When faith is in full use as eye and ear—then it will be able to exercise its full power as hand and mouth—the faculties by which we take God and His blessings. The power of reception will depend entirely on the power of spiritual perception. For this reason, before Jesus gave the promise that God would answer believing prayer, He said, “Have faith in God.”
Faith is simply surrender. I yield myself to the suggestions I hear. By faith I yield myself to the living God. His glory and love fill my heart and have mastery over my life.

Faith is fellowship. I give myself up to the influence of the friend who makes me a promise and become linked to him by it. When we enter into living fellowship with God Himself, in a faith that always sees and hears Him, it becomes easy and natural to believe His promise regarding prayer. Faith in the promise is the fruit of faith in the promiser.

The prayer of faith is rooted in the life of faith. And in this way the faith that prays effectively is indeed a gift of God. It is not something He bestows or infuses all at once, but is far deeper and truer. It is the blessed disposition or habit of soul that grows up in us through a life of communion with Him.

Surely for one who knows his Father well and lives in constant close communion with Him, it is a simple thing to believe the promise that He will do what His child wishes.

Journal:

How have I noticed God speaking to me through His Word today?

Have I entered into a “living fellowship” with the Lord? How can I tell?

Prayer:
Father, how can I glorify You and fulfill the work of intercession through which Your kingdom will come unless my whole life consists of complete and total faith in You? Speak Your Word to me; speak it into the depths of my soul. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.


Andrew Murray, Walk in the Word devotions (James McDonald)
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  #2427  
Old 02-28-2012, 09:16 AM
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Being Proven

"There he proved them" (Exod. 15:25).

I stood once in the test room of a great steel mill. All around me were little partitions and compartments. Steel had been tested to the limit, and marked with figures that showed its breaking point. Some pieces had been twisted until they broke, and the strength of torsion was marked on them. Some had been stretched to the breaking point and their tensile strength indicated. Some had been compressed to the crushing point, and also marked. The master of the steel mill knew just what these pieces of steel would stand under strain. He knew just what they would bear if placed in the great ship, building, or bridge. He knew this because his testing room revealed it.

It is often so with God's children. God does not want us to be like vases of glass or porcelain. He would have us like these toughened pieces of steel, able to bear twisting and crushing to the uttermost without collapse.

He wants us to be, not hothouse plants, but storm-beaten oaks; not sand dunes driven with every gust of wind, but granite rocks withstanding the fiercest storms. To make us such He must needs bring us into His testing room of suffering.

Many of us need no other argument than our own experiences to prove that suffering is indeed God's testing room of faith.
--J. H. McC

***
It is very easy for us to speak and theorize about faith, but God often casts us into crucibles to try our gold, and to separate it from the dross and alloy. Oh, happy are we if the hurricanes that ripple life's unquiet sea have the effect of making Jesus more precious. Better the storm with Christ than smooth waters without Him.
--Macduff

***
What if God could not manage to ripen your life without suffering?
Streams in the Desert devotions
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  #2428  
Old 03-01-2012, 08:44 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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I apologize for not getting anything in here yesterday. It was a hard day (mostly for my hubs)... we lost our older cat ... he was about 15 -17 yrs old. He chose my hubs as a kitten, it was funny to watch him hug 'daddy'... he would lay his head on his chest. anyways his health has been deteriating and we got up yesterday morning and knew it was time. so we sat w/him from 6 a.m. till about 10 a.m. when he finally gave in and went to ''field-mice'' heaven - I know my buddy - my simon cat was waiting for him to show him around . anyways I didnt get much done at all all day. hardly was at the puter.
so, that said, today I am making up by putting in 2 devotions.

hugs
d'gal
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  #2429  
Old 03-01-2012, 08:49 AM
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What’s Your Temperature?



Today’s Truth
“Search Me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24, ESV)

Friend to Friend
I got a phone call in the middle of the day from my son Preston. He was calling from the nurse’s office at the school. Here’s how the conversation went:

“Hey, Mom. It’s Preston. I’m not feeling well, and I have a temperature of 96.5. Can you come get me?”

“96.5 degrees?” I asked. “Honey, that’s below normal! That doesn’t sound right.”

“I know,” he said, “but I don’t feel well. Can you please come pick me up?”

“Sure, honey. I’ll be right there.”

I chuckled the whole way to the school at what he had said. Surely he misread the thermometer! A normal temperature is 98.6. Something was off. I got to the school in a North Carolina minute and headed straight to the nurse’s office.
While Preston packed his bag to go home, I spoke privately to the school nurse. With a grin on her face, she explained to me that Preston was resistant to putting the thermometer under his tongue as she had instructed him to do. He wasn’t comfortable with that. “So,” she said, “he held the thermometer between his lips.” The nurse and I exchanged amused glances as I thanked her for helping my son.

Although Preston knew something wasn’t right with his body, the nurse didn’t get an accurate temperature reading because he didn’t place the thermometer deep enough into his mouth. He didn’t let it probe past the surface of his lips.

Later that night, as I thought back on the day, the Lord spoke to my heart. I realized that I’m often as stubborn as Preston because there are many times when I resist having an accurate reading of my spiritual wellness taken.
Times when I won’t let Him probe past the surface of my heart, my actions, my attitudes, and my perspective - to allow God to reveal the accurate spiritual temperature of my life. Times when I’m not comfortable with deeper-level stuff… when I won’t sit still to listen.

I was disturbed by that thought.

I needed to be disturbed by that thought.
By that truth.
Just because I’ve been a Christian for a long time does not mean that I’m always in perfect spiritual health.
In fact, the more I learn about God’s holiness through the Bible, the more I realize how much I need His grace and strength every minute of every day.

You might not “feel well” today. Perhaps you have spiritual indigestion from your marriage, your children, your friendships, your finances, your singleness, your conversations.
You could be “sick” from the shows you watch, the internet relationships you’ve developed, the gossip or harsh words you allow to pass from your lips, the jealousy you feel in your heart. Maybe you haven’t allowed your heart to be probed recently... you’ve been resistant because you don’t like to feel uncomfortable, convicted or exposed.

The Bible tells us that the kindness of God leads us to repentance, and repentance leads us to restoration. To wellness and holiness in Christ.
What’s your spiritual temperature?
Are you hot or cold?
Is the flame of faith in your heart fading or raging?
Have you sat still long enough lately to ask God to search your heart?

It’s time for an accurate reading, friend.

“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9, NIV

Let’s Pray
Holy Father, as the psalmist prayed, I ask that you would, “search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24, ESV).
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
Take a spiritual inventory today. Spend a few moments considering your spiritual wellness. Ask God to probe your heart and reveal areas in your life that need to be made right as you answer the following questions:
· What is your quiet time like?
· Is God a top priority in your life?
· Do you set aside time regularly to read your Bible?

Read John 15:1-11 and then write a prayer response.


More from the Girlfriends
The Bible tells us that God disciplines those He loves. I do realize that this devotion might have stepped on your toes today. Though we may not always love the sting of God’s pruning, we can trust that it is for our growing and for His glory. Hope you take time for the deeper-level stuff today!

Gwen Smith, Girlfriends in God devotions
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  #2430  
Old 03-01-2012, 08:57 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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Unmet Longings



"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

Have you ever wanted something so badly your heart ached with each thought of it? It seems life would be so much better if you had that.

There would be more happiness.
More contentment.
More fulfillment.
More satisfaction.
More peace.

We can envision ourself with this thing, this person, this opportunity. And all things are better. So, why doesn't God give us this longing of our heart?
Because He wants us to willingly release it to Him.

Ouch.
Not the answer we want. Why would God let the aching desire linger and not make things happen? He could. He's certainly able. But when He doesn't it seems unfair. Not good. Confusing.

It's easy to get down when we're constantly let down.

We hope this thing will happen... we'll meet this right person... we'll get this job... we'll finally be healed... we'll get that chance... we'll see that family member turn their life around. Time and again it doesn't happen. That's when it's easy to slip.

We can so easily slip into feeling a little distant from God because we feel hurt by God.

That's what happened when the man I thought I was going to marry told me he met someone else. That's what happened when I didn't get the job I was so certain was going to be the answer to all my financial problems. That's what happened when my son didn't get into the charter school we were so certain would have been perfect for him.

But, in each of these things, I eventually had to make a choice. I could either become consumed with my unmet longing or comforted by trusting God.

As an offering of trust, we must give up that which could so easily bring us down.

Not give up as in discouraged surrender. But give up as in placing this desire in the hand of God and saying, "Either way, I will see Your answer as the good answer and walk in trust."

Remember the Scriptures promise, He rewards those who honestly seek Him: "And without faith is it impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." (Hebrews 11:6 NIV)

Sometimes I get so consumed with seeking my unmet longings, I don't earnestly seek Him. But then I miss out on His reward. And His reward is the only thing that will fill the void in my heart.

Yes, I still struggle with unmet desires.
But not as much today as I did yesterday.
And that is good. Not easy. But good.

Dear Lord, I sacrifice chasing this so I might more fully and with more focus chase You. I release this grip of desire. I praise You for who You are, what only You can bring, and how You will fill whatever gap this release might leave. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Reflect and Respond:

Trust steps in and reminds us, we can't ever learn how to live real faith if we never need real faith.


Power Verses:

1 Timothy 6:12, "Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." (NIV 1984)


Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (NIV 1984)

Lysa TerKeurst, Encouragement for Today devotions
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  #2431  
Old 03-01-2012, 07:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dutchgirl1 View Post
I apologize for not getting anything in here yesterday. It was a hard day (mostly for my hubs)... we lost our older cat ... he was about 15 -17 yrs old. He chose my hubs as a kitten, it was funny to watch him hug 'daddy'... he would lay his head on his chest. anyways his health has been deteriating and we got up yesterday morning and knew it was time. so we sat w/him from 6 a.m. till about 10 a.m. when he finally gave in and went to ''field-mice'' heaven - I know my buddy - my simon cat was waiting for him to show him around . anyways I didnt get much done at all all day. hardly was at the puter.
so, that said, today I am making up by putting in 2 devotions.

hugs
d'gal
Oh honey, I am so sorry for your's and larry's loss! And after so many years-he just DID NOT want to leave you guys, you were such good "parents" to him. May God comfort your hearts. Love you, H!
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  #2432  
Old 03-01-2012, 08:46 PM
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I'm so so sorry....that is a heartbreaker for sure. I too pray that you feel God's comfort in such a sad time. I'm thankful that you all had such a wonderful long time together....and that God brought you together. I still have teary times over missing a few of mine!....but also have lots of smiles from memories.
Pets are such a wonderful gift ....
and the memories last a lifetime.
Love and prayers,
XXOO
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  #2433  
Old 03-05-2012, 08:22 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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The Shadow of a Doubt


Sunday mornings. I awake early, long before the family stirs, the sunrise flickers, or the paper plops on the driveway. Let the rest of the world sleep in. I don’t. Sunday’s my big day, the day I stand before a congregation of people who are willing to swap thirty minutes of their time for some conviction and hope.

Most weeks I have ample to go around. But occasionally I don’t. (Does it bother you to know this?) Sometimes in the dawn-tinted, pre-pulpit hours, the seeming absurdity of what I believe hits me. The fear that God isn’t. The fear that “why?” has no answer.
The valley of the shadow of doubt.

To one degree or another we all venture into the valley. In the final pages of Luke’s gospel, the physician-turned-historian dedicated his last chapter to answering one question: how does Christ respond when we doubt him?

For both the dejected Emmaus bound disciples (Luke 24:13-35) and the frightened upper room disciples (Luke 24:36-49): A meal is served, the Bible is taught, the disciples find courage, and we find two practical answers to the critical question, what would Christ have us do with our doubts?

His answer? Touch my body and ponder my story. We still can, you know. We can still touch the body of Christ. We’d love to touch his physical wounds and feel the flesh of the Nazarene. Yet when we brush up against the church, we do just that. “The church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself ” (Eph. 1:23 NLT).

Christ distributes courage through community; he dissipates doubts through fellowship. He never deposits all knowledge in one person but distributes pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to many. When you interlock your understanding with mine, and we share our discoveries . . . When we mix, mingle, confess, and pray, Christ speaks.

The adhesiveness of the disciples instructs us. They stuck together. Even with ransacked hopes, they clustered in conversant community. They kept “going over all these things that had happened” (Luke 24:14 MSG). Isn’t this a picture of the church—sharing notes, exchanging ideas, mulling over possibilities, lifting spirits?

And as they did, Jesus showed up to teach them, proving “when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there” (Matt. 18:20 MSG).

Max Lucado, Upwords devotions

* and I dont think this is reserved for just the church. I think it applies to everyone all the time. Like here on PWCIP......we share, encourage, pray for each other.
d'gal
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  #2434  
Old 03-06-2012, 08:28 AM
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Today’s Text of Encouragement:

“O God, be not far from me! O my God, make haste to help me! Let them be put to shame and consumed who are adversaries to my life…But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteous acts and of Your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is more than I know. I will come in the strength and with the mighty acts of the Lord God; I will mention and praise Your righteousness, even Yours alone.”
Psalm 71: 12-16
Amplified Bible


Today’s Study Text:
“Moses told the people, ‘Fear not; stand still – firm, confident, undismayed – and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians you have seen today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.’”
Exodus 14: 13, 14
Amplified Bible


EXPLORATION:

“Fear Not”

“There is never a fear that has not a corresponding, ‘Fear not’.”
Amy Wilson Carmichael

What is there in my life right now which is causing me to fear?
What would it mean to me, like God did for Moses, to have Him say to me, ‘Fear not?”
Do I believe God is the same today as He was in the time of Moses?
How do I believe God’s words, “Fear not,” apply to my life right now?
“If God can be found in all things, then there is nothing at all that can happen to us that we need fear.”
Margaret Hebblethwaite

INSPIRATION:
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship (daughtership). And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father,’”
Romans 8: 15
N.I.V.

For those of you who have come to Transformation Garden regularly for a number of years, you know that at times I have shared with you the fact that your responses to the daily devotionals, via your emails, have led me to spend extra time in prayer, asking for God’s heavenly wisdom and guidance as we study through His Word – the Bible.
As you are aware, we are studying the lives of all the women in the Bible as well as stories of the men whose lives are inter-connected with the women we learn more about.
But at times, we have detoured for several weeks, and the last four weeks, I felt impressed to tackle the subject of delayed and unanswered prayer because so many of you have shared with me the difficult challenges you’re facing right now as you feel as if your life is in a holding pattern as you wait for God to answer some personal desire which has enveloped your life – maybe for years!

It has been your overwhelming response during this series which substantially increased my confidence in the fact that God wants us to have more faith in His ability to answer our prayers – in His way and on His timeline. As I have continued studying God’s Word, with your permission, I want to spend several weeks, looking at two extremely vital elements of answered prayer that I have found critical in my own life and it is my prayer that as we study together, our fervor for communion with our Father everyday will only increase.

I hope you will take time to go back to the beginning of today’s devotional and reread the entire study text, for this passage from Exodus, will be the template for all our studies this week.

A little background would be helpful and will also explain to you why this text is so critical, especially when we face disturbing delays and unanswered prayers which cause us to doubt if God even hears us at all.

God had a special task for His chosen leader, Moses. This prince of Egypt and Shepherd of Midian was hand-picked by God to lead His chosen people, the Israelites out of slavery from their Egyptian taskmasters. This was no easy…or simple endeavor. Once out of Pharaoh’s control, I imagine everyone breathed a big sigh of relief. That is until a crisis so big hit this wilderness bound multitude that death seemed inevitable.
Looking behind them, toward Egypt, an ominous cloud of dust, heralded the dreadful news. The Egyptian army, along with 600 chosen chariots, and “all the other chariots of Egypt,” were headed straight toward the Israelite encampment. The Bible tells us that Pharaoh came toward the Israelites “proudly and defiantly,” intent on their complete annihilation. What’s worse, Exodus 14: 9 explains that the, “Egyptians pursued them (the Israelites), all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh and his horsemen and his army, and overtook them encamped at the Red Sea.”

I’m thankful God’s Word is so comprehensive. We aren’t left to wonder how God’s children felt, watching this army come down upon them. Exodus 14:10 (Amplified Bible) makes the situation completely clear: “When Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked up, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them; and the Israelites were exceedingly frightened and cried out to the Lord.” In the King James Version of the Bible the words “exceedingly frightened” are translated “sore afraid.” In the Hebrew, the word “sore” means, “utterly, intensively, totally.”
You couldn’t get much more afraid than this. I liken it to someone saying, “They were quaking in their boots!” Fear permeated every fiber of the Israelites.

The Bible says that God’s chosen children were so fearful and it helps me to understand that God doesn’t reject His children just because they are frightened. What’s more, the very first thing we are told happened when God’s fearful kids saw the Egyptians headed toward them with murder on their mind and the Red Sea on the other side of them, was that they “Cried out unto the Lord!”

Here’s the crucial point in this experience – just because God’s people became frightened at the moment when they were staring death in the face – God didn’t turn on them and say, “Well, you don’t have enough faith so I’m not going to help you – you faithless, and weak-kneed losers!”

This isn’t the way our Father works or acts. Instead, He took His precious children, as they were, where they were, and not only surrounded them with His protective love, but He gave them a very distinct plan of attack to assist them in the battle they faced.

This is important for you and me to comprehend today, especially right now when nearly every person I know is facing an “Egyptian” army on one side and the “Red Sea” on the other.

Over the past few months, the Red Sea that is drowning many of you is a wall of financial waves that are drowning you in “Red Ink!” and on the other side, many of you have been struck by marital infidelity or health problems, not of your own choosing or making.

And please let me just add one other thing to this discussion, even when our own folly and errant judgment brings us into challenging circumstances, the Bible is filled with examples of how God comes to the rescue of His fallen children, when we don’t deserve His loving-kindness.
And while there are often consequences as a result of our wanderings, God still renews us and does for us what we could never do for ourselves.

In a moment of terror, when fear reigned, when the Egyptian army had God’s children on the verge of being drowned in the Red Sea, or murdered in the desert, Moses, called aloud, ‘Fear not!” God’s message rang out over the barren wilderness. “Don’t be afraid! You can count on Me!”

God’s children found themselves in what you and I would call a tight spot. Cut off from any human assistance, their only reliance was on God. It is during times of complete isolation, when God is our only deliverer, that we find the words of David hold a meaning beyond any earthly thought: “Blessed be the Lord my strength…my goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and He in whom I trust” (Psalm 144: 1, 2, KJ.V.).

The words below, penned by Matthew Biller, are a wonderful expression of the greatness of our God, who when we are afraid, has the power to divide the sea that impedes our way to the Promised Land. All we need to do is call out and pray to the Lord our God:

“God will answer when to thee,
Not a possibility
Of deliverance seems near;
It is then He will appear.
God will answer when you pray
Yea, though mountains block thy way,
At His word, a way will be
E’en through mountains, made for thee.
God who still divides the sea,
Willingly will work for thee;
God, before whom mountains fall,
Promises to hear thy call.”
Matthew Biller


“Fear imprisons, faith liberates;
fear paralyzes, faith empowers,
fear disheartens, faith encourages;
fear sickens, faith heals;
fear makes useless, faith makes serviceable
and, most of all,
fear puts hopelessness at the heart of life,
while faith rejoices in its God.”
Harry Emerson Fosdick

AFFIRMATION

“Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go,
Anywhere He leads me in this world below;
Anywhere without Him, dearest joys would fade,
Anywhere with Jesus I am not afraid.
Anywhere with Jesus I am not alone,
Other friends may fail me, He is still my own;
Tho’ His hand may lead me over dreary ways,
Anywhere with Jesus is a house of praise.
Anywhere! Anywhere! Fear I cannot know
Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go.”
Jessie H. Brown
1861-1921


Dorothy Valcárcel, Transformation Garden, devotions
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  #2435  
Old 03-07-2012, 08:49 AM
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Today’s Text of Encouragement:

“Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you, He will lift you up and make your lives significant.”
James 4: 10
Amplified Bible


Today’s Study Text:
“Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today…The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.’”
Exodus 14: 13, 14
N.I.V.


EXPLORATION:

“Stand Still”

“It is better to stand still and wait.”
Eric S. Abbott

Is there an experience in my life where it would have been better for me to “stand still” and wait for God’s deliverance than to try to run in and fix things for myself?

“You are standing before God in the presence of the hosts of angels. The Holy Spirit is about to set His seal on each of your souls. You are about to be drawn into the service of the great King.”
Cyril of Jerusalem

INSPIRATION:
“Alone and in silence, I present the whole of my being to God. To say, ‘Here I am,’ is to place at His disposal the unique creation He has made. It is to give Him this body, with its weaknesses and strengths; this mind, with its confusion and clarity; this heart, with its hardness and pliability. To say, ‘Here I am,’ is to offer Him the talents He has entrusted to me, using them to their fullest potential. It is to follow Him wherever He leads, to stand ready in all situations to be His servant. To ready myself for such a commitment I have to become accustomed to frequent occasions when I stand peacefully and quietly before the Lord – alone and at the same time at one with Him.
In this aloneness I try gently to quiet the many voices that besiege me in the pressures of daily life in order to listen to His voice in the depths of my being…The closer I grow to God, the more I am able to be with Him in all circumstances. Whenever He calls I am able to say, “Here I am.’”
Susan Muto

Finding themselves in a predicament that looked as though death would come at the hand of Pharaoh’s army or by drowning in the Red Sea, the children of Israel, led by God’s leader, Moses, heard the call, “Fear not!” This was a seemingly strange thing to say in such dire circumstances.

However, this wasn’t the only instruction from God which Moses shared. God had a very distinct plan which He wanted Moses to lay before His children. As we learned yesterday, the first thing God desired of His chosen children was that they would not be paralyzed by fear from the oncoming army and the threat of the Red Sea.
Once God had the attention of His children, and they fully understood they had nothing to fear, God provided them with His next instruction which was: “Stand still.”

This directive from heaven was a call for God’s children to be confident – stand erect – be prepared.
They weren’t to be lazy or have a careless attitude. Their preparation for action was one, where in quiet confidence, the Israelites were to wait upon God’s call for further instructions. They were to be on high alert to say, “Here am I. I am ready to do all You want me to do.”

As I thought about Moses’ direction to the Israelites, “Stand still,” I was reminded of a troop of Boy Scouts I recently witnessed marching together. I could hear their leader calling out, “Stand up straight. Look confident. Don’t move around. Stand up tall and look as if you are prepared.”

This was the same message God had for the Israelites when they were literally between the “devil” from Egypt and the deep Red Sea.

God told Moses to have everyone stand still, be confident, and finally be prepared. This was not some “do nothing” group that God had in line, waiting for Him to rescue. Instead, God’s children were to “stand still” in preparation for His order to start moving forward toward the Promised Land.

I love the quote that begins our inspiration section today for we find that by standing still and watching God for all our instructions, we will be prepared, at every moment, to say to our Father in heaven, “Here am I – I’m ready for Your marching orders.”

Too frequently, in my own personal life, I find that in difficult situations I get so flustered, I end up running to and fro, searching for what I think will be the best way to solve my dilemma, when in fact, my Father has everything laid out ahead of time for me. And His plan always starts with “Fear not and stand still. Wait on Me for your next move!”

Lest you think this advice was unique to the children of Israel in the wilderness, I’d like to remind you about King Jehoshaphat, found in II Chronicles 20, when the “triple threat” of the Ammonites, the Moabites, and the people of Mount Seir attacked without warning. God’s prophet, Jahaziel, came to the king and God’s children with a message and a plan:

Be not afraid nor dismayed…stand ye still.” Does this sound familiar? It should for it is apparent that when we get into the tightest spots possible, when the outlook doesn’t just look bleak but appears impossible, God steps in and says “Wait a minute. I’m kicking into overdrive! I have a tried and true formula for your complete and total victory! Don’t be afraid…just stand still!”

Tomorrow, we’ll see, with our own eyes, what happens when we follow our Father’s pathway which quenches our fear and prepares us to say at a moment’s notice, “Here am I, ready and awaiting Your call for action.”

“Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves
and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while
He dwelt below.”

Katherine von Schlegel
1752

AFFIRMATION:
“I will be still.”
Isaiah 18: 4
R. V.

“O troubled soul, beneath the rod,
Thy Father speaks, be still, be still;
Learn to be silent unto God,
And let Him mould thee to His will.
O praying soul, be still, be still,
He cannot break His plighted Word;
Sink down into His blessed will,
And wait in patience on the Lord.
O waiting soul, be still, be strong,
And though He tarry, trust and wait;
Doubt not, He will not wait too long,
Fear not, He will not come too late.”

Author Unknown


Dorothy Valcárcel, Transformation Garden devotions
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  #2436  
Old 03-08-2012, 09:42 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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Loved, No Matter What


"We love because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19 (NIV)
I don't recall what my son did. I just remember his reaction to my husband Pat's discipline. It was unlike any time before.

"You're not my dad!" Mitch screamed with rage. "I hate you, I hate you!" he added between sobs.

I was shocked as I watched the two of them battle out their affections. I had never seen our son behave that way before. He was completely out of control and overwhelmed with anger, fear and pain. He had lost one dad in death. Could he trust this one?

Pat fell to his knees and embraced our son. Mitch fought him. Without letting go, Pat spoke calmly, "You can hate me if you want, but I will always love you." Pat struggled to keep his arms around Mitch as he tried to pull loose. "You're my son. I will never leave you—no matter what."

With every word Pat whispered into Mitch's ear as he held him tightly, Mitch's fears began to melt away. Suddenly, his body relaxed and he returned his father's embrace.

It was a defining moment for us all. In that instant, our faces still wet with tears, we realized Mitch had let down his guard. He began to believe in his father, to accept his father's love, and to offer love in return. He didn't do it because Pat was his playmate or because he filled a certain role in Mitch's life. He did so because he had been loved even though he had rejected that love at first.

Pat mirrored the character of our heavenly Father when he vowed to always love Mitch and never let him go. Pat was saying to our son as God says to us, "No matter what, I'm here for you."

What a beautiful picture of our key verse. "We love because he first loved us."

Our heavenly Father is not some far away God. He is near to us and we can approach Him, regardless of our needs. Our Father wants to be involved in every detail of our lives. He wants to know and share in our joys and our pains. Mostly, God wants us to know He loves us and there's not a thing we can do to change that.

I find it interesting that the word "Father," referring to God, is often translated "Papa" or "Daddy" in Scripture. These expressions of endearment comfort me as I equate them to my earthly dad. But perhaps you've never had an earthly father to turn to in times of celebration or sorrow.

Maybe your dad was absent and uncaring instead of loving and available to you. If so, you've discovered that not all people love sincerely and you've been hurt. I'm so sorry and I'm praying today that you'll believe this truth: no matter what you've done, or what's been done to you, you have a heavenly Father and you can cry out "Daddy!" any time, any place, anywhere.

His love is unconditional. Will you allow God to wrap His loving arms around you and wash away all your fears as He whispers to your heart, "I'm here for you—no matter what" today?

Dear Lord, thank You for Your unconditional love. Please give me the grace I need to stop fighting and to receive Your love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Reflect and Respond:

Do you fight God's affections or do you accept His love daily?


Make this your prayer each day until you grasp the reality and wonder of knowing that God truly loves you!

I pray, Father, that out of Your glorious riches You may strengthen me with power through Your Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith. And I pray that I, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge; that I may be filled of measure of all the fullness of God. (based on Ephesians 3:16-19)

Power Verses:

Psalm 36:7, "How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings." (NIV)

Psalm 136:26, "Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever." (NIV)

Micca Monda Campbell, Encouragement for Today devotions
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  #2437  
Old 03-09-2012, 08:28 AM
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The Trust Fall


Today’s Truth
But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you (Psalm 56:3, ESV).

Friend to Friend
Our arms were braided across each other’s and our hands were locked tightly. As the young girl stood on the tall tree stump above us she looked over her shoulder and saw with her eyes that our formation was tight...that we were ready for her. She heard with her ears that we would catch her...that we would not let her get hurt. Yet the fear that screamed in her head told her not to do it. Not to fall backwards.
Her legs shook and lips quivered. Other campers had gone before her and her cabin mates had successfully caught each one. But this camper hesitated – allowing the looming possibilities of failure and pain to paralyze her from action. The risks just seemed too great.

She trembled.
We encouraged.
She cried.
We encouraged.

Then, finally, with determination in her heart, she took the plunge. She fell straight backwards onto the safety net of our arms. We bent low to the ground giving way to her fall and caught her with cheers of excitement. She did it! As her trembling legs regained their confidence, she stood tall and beamed from ear to ear – realizing that she had faced her fear. Joy was felt from heart to heart as each of us rejoiced with her.

Mission accomplished. Early in the day, we had trekked across the campgrounds to the “Trust Fall station” as a group of counselors and campers who didn’t have a shared experience among us, an unconnected strand of strangers. Now our wooded team-building time had come to an end and we left the trust fall station having bonded deeply as a group of new girlfriends prepared for a fresh journey of fun and adventure.

Each of us took turns at the Trust Fall that day. We all faced a set of scary circumstances and were forced to work through our doubts, tremblings and fears. As a result, we learned valuable lessons and strengthened our relationships.

Since my days of being a camp counselor, I’ve faced many scary life Trust Falls: financial trials, relationship strains, relocations, sick loved ones, and difficult family matters. I’ve trembled and I’ve cried. I’ve been paralyzed by “what ifs” and “whys.” We all go through difficult seasons and trials; times when we want to see the invisible arms of the One who says He will catch us; times when we are afraid to fall into them.

Wherever we go and whatever we face, God is with us – yesterday, today and forever. He bids us to live by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). He wants us to trust Him. He catches us when we Trust Fall,when we live by faith. And to encourage us along the way He spurs us on by sending a cloud of witnesses who testify of His faithfulness.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1, NIV).

Today, whether you identify with the shaky young camper on the Trust Fall stump or with the cabin mates who were filled with encouragement for another, God wants you to trust Him...right where you are. It might be scary. Tears might be shed. But God is faithful and can be trusted.

Like the Psalmist, let’s choose to say, “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?” (Psalm 56:3-4, ESV)

When we Trust Fall from our struggles into the faithful arms of God, we are freed from the fears that paralyze us. Trust Him today, friend. A cloud of Girlfriend in God witnesses are cheering for you!

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord,
You are good, loving and faithful – and You know exactly what I’m facing. Please take this burden from me. Help me today to fall into a deeper place of trusting you.
In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

What is God asking you to trust Him in or through? Spend a few moments in prayer over this.

Who has been there for you when you faced scary circumstances? Consider writing her a note or sending her an e-mail of thanks.

Do you have a friend(s) who seems to be struggling to trust God with her tough places?
Maybe God wants you to encourage her or him. Perhaps you could write a letter or share a hug – call and pray with her – bless them with a meal or a plate of brownies. Ask the Lord for ideas!



Gwen Smith, Girlfriends in God devotions
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  #2438  
Old 03-09-2012, 08:34 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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God Has a Plan... Really

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”- Jeremiah 29:11

I had a rough time after graduating college. The economy was in the tank, and I was having trouble finding work. I was living with my parents, missed all my friends, constantly bored, and I was probably the only person from my university that had graduated without a girlfriend, wife, or fiancée.

I can remember on one particularly bad day, my mother came up to me and said, “Ryan, God has a plan.” I don’t remember what I said to that, hopefully something polite, but what I do remember is that underneath I completely snapped. I hate it when people tell me God has a plan. I wanted to scream, “I don’t care if God has a plan! What about my plans? What about my goals, my dreams? Does God care about them? Would God like to share this ingenious little plan of his, or is it just going to be a big surprise for later?

Maybe you’re like me. Maybe sometimes the future looks dark and hearing someone say, “God has a plan” is the equivalent to rubbing salt in an open wound. If you are, I’ve got some good news for you: the Bible is full of people like us.
  • David was promised to become the next king of Israel. But before that happened he found himself on the run from a half-crazy Saul who wanted to kill him.
  • Daniel and his friends became leaders and high officials, spreading God’s word to Babylon. Of course, first they had to be kidnapped, renamed, and face death on multiple occasions.
  • Finally, Jesus’ disciples believed they had finally found the one true Messiah, and then had to watch the Son of God be executed like a common criminal. Do you think there were ever moments when each of them wondered, “Does God really have a plan?
The truth is, God really does have a plan. We never know what tomorrow may bring, and we never know how past events, even a painful ones, might be used by God to create a brighter future. Life is tough, but that does not mean God doesn’t care. He knows what he’s doing; he’s got a plan.

Intersecting Faith and Life

Take some time to be alone and talk with God

Further Reading
Ephesians 1:4

Ryan Duncan, TheFish devotions
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  #2439  
Old 03-09-2012, 09:18 AM
1bird2 1bird2 is offline
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I have to tell you how God used you today....right now! I was looking for this very verse this AM!!!.....as I was going to write a prisoner about this VERY TRUTH....
I can't even count the times that things like this happen to me....for ME!! I almost expect them now!!!....In fact, I do!!
I love you....and THANK YOU!!
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"love all, trust few, do harm to none " william shakespear
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  #2440  
Old 03-12-2012, 08:28 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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hey 1bird. I am thankful that the Lord chooses to use me as His to help my sisters in this journey we are on.
To be honest, this message from you helped me. I have been slowly loosing something... I havent been on any of the threads for so long. there are times I feel tired and that maybe I will completely withdraw, even from this thread. then you come along, or suz, or someone else, and tell me how God used something I put here for someone else. that humbles me and helps me to keep going. thank you.
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  #2441  
Old 03-12-2012, 08:37 AM
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It’s Good for Your Character



Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:3-5, NIV

I grew up in a very special church back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. It was nondenominational, had tremendous traditional worship and congregational singing and was attended and led by many seminary professors and students.

Seeds that were sown in my life in those early years of my spiritual growth are now sprouting, and I’m drawing upon what I have learned as I make my way through adulthood.

From time to time, I flip through a bound collection of meditations on sayings that my pastor put together. He would regularly refer to these life principles from the pulpit, and today, whenever I hear them being said (or similar concepts) by others, I remember what he preached on them many years ago.

“It’s good for your character,” he would often say. And here’s how he explained that further:
“God uses the routine, the difficult, even the painful to develop in us qualities of Christlike character that can be learned in no other way.”

When we begin to see our lives from this perspective, that’s when we’ve turned a corner. But in order to keep thinking in this way, we have to make daily readjustments, as we don’t always want to see the routine, the difficult and even the painful in this way.

But it is the right way to look at any uncomfortable situation in our lives. The classic passage regarding trials in James 1:2-4 is wonderfully helpful and instructive to us pilgrims travelling life’s road on our spiritual journeys:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Now, let’s break down this outlook:
  • Consider it pure joy.How do you do this when you’re going through a divorce? Or in the aftermath of a departed loved one or the loss of a job? What will it take to see the joy despite the circumstances? Only God can give us this joy and change our perspective (Psa. 16:8-11).
  • Testing develops perseverance.In order to learn how to persevere, we have to go through some trying times. Think back on the trials in your life. What were the results? Did you make changes in your life? Did God help you get through them? Remember that as you continue to serve him (Psa. 25:4-10).
  • Perseverance must finish its work.We can’t go from diapers to dungarees in the snap of our fingers. Living takes time. And there are “pains” that go with it. Sure, it hurts sometimes, but know that the uncomfortable seasons mean that you’re growing (1 Peter 4:12-19).
  • Be mature and complete.When you were a child, you didn’t have a bulging file folder of life experiences to draw from. Now that you’re older, hopefully you can see how you have grown closer to the Lord and how he has changed you. Draw from past lessons as you choose to live and think differently today (1 Cor. 13:10-12).
Intersecting Faith & Life: Can you look back on “the routine, the difficult, even the painful” times of your life and see how God has developed your character? List some specific trials and the resulting changes that have been made in your character and then praise your merciful Savior.

Further Reading:

2 Cor. 4:7-12
Phil. 1:21
Heb. 10:32-39

Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk devotions
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  #2442  
Old 03-12-2012, 06:17 PM
1bird2 1bird2 is offline
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Oh Dgal, I can so very much relate to your feelings .... tired!!! I too, grow weary sometimes...I write to many prisoners and there are times when I feel like I am fading...and get word from them how something I sent them gave them the strength to continue forward in a more positive light....and BAM!, I'm energized again! Isn't that just like the Lord to work that out in perfect timing!!
I have to say, I personally give you a free pass any day you need one....I just have to know that you WILL BE BACK!! The results of your faithfulness runs far deeper than you can imagine....and for that, we thank you!!
Love and prayers, and appreciation!
XXOO
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  #2443  
Old 03-13-2012, 08:48 AM
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You are Who God Says You Are


Today’s Truth:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

Friend to Friend
There’s a game I’ve watched women play at retreats as an icebreaker activity. Each person has the name of a famous or infamous person taped to her back. Then the women walk around giving each other clues about “who they are.”

“You always put off worrying until tomorrow.” “You had so many children you didn’t know what to do.” “You were the queen of soul.”

The point of the game is to figure out your identity. Once you guess correctly, you sit down.

One night, as I watched the ladies play the game, I was struck with its similarity to real life. Many times we determine our identity, by what others tell us about ourselves.
You are so smart. You are a loser. You are so pretty. You can do anything you set your mind to. You are so ugly. You are so fat.
After a while, those messages determine how we see ourselves, whether true or false. It is only a mature person who realizes that just because a person says that you are this or that, doesn’t make it true.

One of the greatest blessings of becoming a Christian is receiving a new identity. In the Bible, when God touched and changed a person’s life, many times He changed his or her name. He said, “You will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow” (Isaiah 62:2). Saul became Paul. Abram became Abraham. Sarai became Sarah. Jacob became Israel. Simon became Peter.

Likewise, when you accepted Christ, God gave you a new identity and a new name. If you want to know who you really are, then you need to look in the Bible and see who God says you are. It may be different from what you’ve heard others say about you, but which do you think is more accurate? Who do you think has a better perception of who you are, your Creator, or other creatures just like yourself? If you are a Christian today, the following verses describe your new identity.

My Identity in Christ

Matthew 5:13 I am the salt of the earth.

Matthew 5:14 I am the light of the world.

John 1:12 I am a child of God.

John 15:15 I am part of the true vine, a channel (branch) of Christ's life.

John 15:15 I am Christ's friend.

John 15:16 I am chosen and appointed by Christ to bear His fruit.

Romans 8:14,15 I am a joint-heir with Christ, sharing His inheritance with Him.

I Corinthians 3:16 I am a temple of God. His Spirit dwells in me.

I Corinthians 12:27 I am a member (part) of Christ's body

2 Corinthians 5:17 I am a new creation.

2 Corinthians 5:18,19 I am reconciled to God and am a minister of reconciliation...

Ephesians 1:1 I am a saint.

Ephesians 1:3 I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places.

Ephesians 1:11 I am sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit who has been given as a pledge of my inheritance.

Ephesians 2:10 I am God's workmanship created in Christ to do His work that He planned beforehand that I should do.

Ephesians 4:24 I am righteous and holy.

That is a lot to put on a nametag, but that is your new identity. Neil Anderson, in his book Victory over the Darkness notes, “The reason so many Christians are not enjoying the maturity and freedom which is their inheritance in Christ is because they hold wrong self-perceptions. They don’t see themselves as they really are in Christ. They don’t understand the dramatic change which occurred in them the moment they trusted in Him. They don’t see themselves the way God sees them, and to that degree they suffer from a poor self-image. They don’t grasp their true identity.”

In that paragraph, Dr. Anderson described me perfectly. I had no idea who I was, what I had, or where I was in Christ. As God opened my eyes to the truth, I realized that how I saw myself and how God saw me were very different. I decided to start believing God.

How about you? Are you ready to start seeing yourself as God sees you today? After all, it is the truth!

Let’s Pray
Dear God, I thank You that I am a new creation in Christ. I admit that sometimes I feel just like the old me and act like the old me, but I believe by faith that I am brand new. Thank You that my identity is based on my position in Christ rather than my performance on earth.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Do have any labels from your past that are in conflict with what the Bible tells you about who you are as a child of God?

Look at the above verses. Do have a difficult time believing the truth about who you are?

Now here’s the big question. Are you going to believe what others have told you in the past or are you going to believe God?

Now, go back up to the list of verses again and read them to yourself a loud.

More from the Girlfriends

Someone once told me that faith is believing that God tells the truth. But many of us don’t know the truth about who we are in Christ, what we have in Christ, and where we are in Christ.

Sharon Jaynes, Girlfriends in God
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Old 03-13-2012, 12:19 PM
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Here's another important part of my identity as a child of God: I do not have to give in to temptation.

I Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.


That is wonderful.
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Old 03-13-2012, 12:43 PM
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[quote=dutchgirl1;6650599]You are Who God Says You Are
Today’s Truth:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

I'm a daughter of the King! thank you for sharing this - -I wrote my son this verse awhile ago . . .I'm going to cut and copy this and send it to him! Thank you for being so faithful - sharing the word with us! please know you continue to bring healing to this heart of mine!
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  #2446  
Old 03-14-2012, 08:43 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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Thank you communicator for your input. nice to see a new face here. and you are so right,,, we dont have to give in to temptation or for that matter, anything the enemy may whisper in our ears.

Sz........ thank you also for the encouragement. I need it as much if not more than anyone else.
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:47 AM
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How to Avoid Bankruptcy

Today’s Truth
Proverbs 25:28 “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control” (NIV).

Friend To Friend
It is not enough to acknowledge the presence of negative emotions or even understand why they exist. We must take action. If we don’t, negative emotions will take control, a dangerous proposition for any woman. We must not only be able to manage negative emotions in our own lives, we must be able to react correctly to negative emotions produced by the sometimes abrasive behavior of those we call family and friend. The seeker watches carefully, curious to see what happens when the pressure is on.

So many women are imprisoned by feelings of inferiority and the results are always disastrous. Constructive criticism is perceived as an emotional attack. Jealousy burgeons as others receive the accolades we desperately crave. Decisions are made and a course of life is determined so that fragile egos are fed, excluding God’s plan and purpose. Comparison reigns as a false idol attempting to validate worth and success. Inferiority crosses over to pride and sin reigns.

On the other hand, we can put negative emotions to work in our lives. Every woman knows that emotions can be like runaway horses. You are trampled by a friend with a hidden agenda, kicked in the gut by a family member, thrown by the lies of a trusted co-worker or crushed by a lack of integrity and character in those in authority over you. Emotions can easily stampede out of control and into sin.

The success of emotional integrity lies in the one who holds the reins. We must constantly choose to surrender every emotion to the supernatural control of God because when we do, the Holy Spirit empowers that choice, produces control and transforms emotional bondage into emotional freedom. Learning to control anger is a crucial life lesson and one that we need to master.

The people around us want to see what happens when life pushes our buttons or squeezes our emotions. While God created us with the capacity for emotions, it is our responsibility to control them instead of allowing them to control us. When Jesus saw money-changers desecrating the temple of God, He was furious! Yet, He modeled the right way to harness emotions and use them for good.

I have heard many Bible teachers and preachers attempt to soften the response of Jesus, but the truth is - He was irate! I can almost see His face shrouded in plain old fury as He contemplated His options. If I had been in His place, I can tell you that those wicked men would have been toast! But before Jesus faced the intruders, He stepped aside to braid a whip - not because He had completed “Whip Braiding 101”, but because He was taking the time to harness His emotions. Jesus then used that harnessed anger to drive the money-changers out of the temple, correcting a wrong. We choose where to invest every ounce of emotional energy we possess. Like Jesus, we must learn to invest wisely, in order to reap the benefits of healthy emotions, harnessed and trained by godly discipline.

Emotional bankruptcy is too often responsible for the destruction of a life. We must intentionally monitor emotional withdrawals and the impact they will have on our lives. There are certainly emotional withdrawals that are good, right and ordained by God. I will never forget the night we found a broken and defeated young pastor standing at our front door. With tears streaming down his face, John told us that his wife was having an affair and wanted a divorce. Certain that his ministry was doomed, this precious and gifted servant poured out his pain and defeat. For months, Dan and I ministered to this stellar young man, loving him, encouraging him, making him part of our family while he tried desperately to save his marriage.

When it became clear that his wife was determined to leave him, we repeatedly assured John that God would once again use him for Kingdom work. Today, that once broken young man is married to a beautiful, godly woman who adores him and has two incredible children. The church he now pastors is exploding in growth, changing lives and impacting the world for Jesus Christ! The time and energy we poured into David was a worthy emotional investment, to say the least, and one of our greatest blessings in ministry.

However, some emotional deposits are not good, right, healthy or God-ordained! Life is jam-packed with lifeless places in which to invest emotional energy. There are those who look to us to be their faithful savior or always available crisis manager. That job belongs to God alone!

We all know about bounced checks. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why banks don’t adopt my obviously superior philosophy about checking accounts. It goes something like this, “As long as there are checks, there is money.” Sadly, my current bank is rather narrow-minded in this area, so the reality is that my checks will bounce when our bank account is overdrawn and out of balance. The same is true in life.

We constantly need to check our emotional balance, guarding the emotional withdrawals we allow and diligently making consistent emotional deposits. Prayer, solitude, Bible study, friendships, service, accountability and a guarded thought life are just a few of the deposits that can make the difference between emotional health and emotional bankruptcy. Emotional imbalance occurs when we operate in our own strength, doing our “own thing” instead of wholly depending upon God and living in the parameters of His will. When we abandon all that we are to His strength, purpose and power, the Father deposits everything we need to accomplish every good work He created us to do.

Let’s Pray
Father, I praise You for giving me the gift of emotions. Help me learn how to manage and control those emotions so that they are assets instead of liabilities. I want to become a godly woman of discipline but I can’t even start that journey without your power. I choose to spend time in Your Word and in prayer. I submit my emotions to You and ask that You use them in my life for Your glory. And may others see and know You are God.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Now it’s Your Turn
Take a few minutes to make a list of the top five emotional responses common in your life. What one of these emotions do you experience the most?

Beside each emotion, write one habit you can incorporate into your life that will enable you to control that emotion.

Identify the activities, relationships or habits that drain you instead of replenish you. Eliminate those that are negative.

Keep an emotional diary for 5 days. Record any emotional outbursts and the reason behind those outbursts. Surrender each emotion to the power of God.

More from the Girlfriends
Since God created us with the capacity for emotions, He has a plan for those emotions. And since God never guides where He cannot provide, our emotional integrity is dependent on our obedience to God’s plan. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
Not!

The best way to be ready for emotional struggles is to get ready and stay that way. Make the choice before you have to. And know we are right there with you … walking the same path in pursuit of emotional integrity.

Mary Southerland, Girlfriends in God devotions
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  #2448  
Old 03-15-2012, 07:50 AM
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Because You Asked


Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father . . . At Gibeon the LORD appeard to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, "Ask what I shall give you." And Solomon said, "You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day.
And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child, I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?" - 1 Kings 3:3-9


Are you facing a decision or a dilemma right now for which you need a word from God? You’ve done all you know to do and still it keeps you up at night. In times like these, what we need is wisdom.

No doubt we can all identify with Solomon, the third king of Israel. This young man felt completely overwhelmed with the weight of leading God’s people. On his face he cried out to God,Give your servant an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” (1 Kings 3:9).
Hear the desperation in his words? God answered Solomon in an amazing way. He said, “I’m gonna give you one wish. Ask for anything you want."

Think of all the things Solomon could have wished for: a long life, riches, peace, the death of his enemies. Instead, he asked God for a “wise and discerning heart” (NIV). God was so pleased with his request that He not only made Solomon the wisest man who ever lived, but he gave him all that other stuff, too.

Wouldn’t you love to meet Solomon for coffee and draw some wisdom from him? Well, you can—it’s called the book of Proverbs. Almost everything in Proverbs is something wise God gave to Solomon and that he wrote down. Proverbs is a loose collection of sayings that illustrate how the answer to foolishness is wisdom.

Wisdom is not stuff I know, wisdom is what I do. No wonder the subjects in Proverbs cover the gamut—my home, job, time, money, relationships, what to do in conflict, what to do when under pressure, what to do in good times, what to do when my head is spinning or my heart is broken.

God promises to give you all the wisdom you need if you soak yourself in His Book. If you get God’s wisdom going in your life, you’ll get some serious results. You’ll be blessed, encouraged, and you’ll grow up.

Solomon learned the truth of the ages. God help us also to wise up to the truth of Proverbs 8:11, “For wisdom is better than jewels; and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.”

Journal:

Is the Lord pleased with my prayer requests?

Am I making every effort to discern God’s wisdom in my situation?


Prayer: Father, more than anything else, I want to be wise. Give me a heart of understanding for every challenge that I’m facing. Bring to mind any wisdom that I have learned from Your Book, and lead me to any wisdom that I am lacking.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.


James MacDonald - a Walk in the Word devotion
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  #2449  
Old 03-16-2012, 08:14 AM
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When You Can't See What God Is Building


"For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God." Hebrews 3:4 (NLT)

My son's seventh grade Social Studies teacher assigned the task of making a pyramid. There were no specific criteria given about the size or what materials were to be used, only that they rely on their imagination.

When Michael came home and told me about his school project, I immediately put on my crafty-mom hat. How much foam core board would we need to cut and hot glue? However, when he told his daddy about it, the project took a twist. Before I knew it, we were at the hardware store.

"Lumber and nails?" I eyeballed my husband as if he had forgotten it was a 7th grade project. He smiled and simply said, "I know."

I had no idea how a few 2x4s could be transformed into a pyramid. My husband on the other hand is a builder by trade, so he had a clear vision of the outcome.

He and Michael spent hours in the cold garage, measuring and sawing and nailing. Step by step, a triangular form evolved. We watched and waited for my husband's vision to become a reality for the rest of us - and when it did, it truly was amazing!

As I marveled at this work of art crafted by the hands of my husband and son, God spoke gentle reassurance to my soul. He knew my heart had been heavy, worried about several adversities and hardships my family was facing.

I'd been questioning His ways, wondering how He could bring good out of our difficult circumstances.
God chose this moment to whisper to my spirit, "Tracie, I am creating something good, beyond your human understanding. Trust Me as your Builder."

Today's key verse quickly came to mind. In it we are reminded that God is the builder of everything, including us. We are God's house, His temple, where His Holy Spirit resides. He is always at work building our lives so that He can be glorified through us.

The Barnes Notes Commentary refers to the meaning of Hebrews 3:4 in this way: "Every family must have a founder; every dispensation an author; every house a builder. There must be someone, therefore, over all dispensations...." And that Someone is God.

The theological definition of the word 'dispensation' means "the divine ordering of the affairs of the world; an appointment, arrangement, or favor, as by God."

God is arranging and re-arranging our lives in accordance with His will. Step-by-step, day-by-day, and with each circumstance we face. He is constructing a dwelling place for His Presence within us.

What comfort it brings to know that in the same way my husband had a clear picture of what he planned to build, God has a holy vision of the divine masterpiece He is building in our lives. Although we may not understand or like the building process, we can trust our Builder and know that He is always looking out for our best.

Dear Lord, I trust You are doing a good work in me. Help me embrace the promise that You are building my life based on Your beautiful design, even when I cannot envision the outcome. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Reflect and Respond:
Have you been questioning what God is doing in your life? Could God be building your future through your present?


Allow God to change your perspective of your circumstances, so that you see Him building character and faith instead.

Power Verses:

Psalm 127:1, "Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain." (NIV)


Tracie Miles, Encouragement for Today devotions.
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  #2450  
Old 03-18-2012, 07:28 PM
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God's offer to Solomon sounds amazingly like His promise to His children, in I John 5:14,15:

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
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