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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Encouragement from the Lord



Life can get difficult and a little messy at times. This sinful fallen world we call home influences our thoughts and actions daily. The attitude of our flesh demands attention and is never satisfied. We constantly desire more and more. We covet. We lust. We spend. We sell ourselves out to lies that can never satisfy. Our lives continue on in this pattern day after day until we awake from our spiritual slumber and realize we are in a place we never intended to be.
An undisciplined life can be compared to floating in the ocean. You are relaxed and enjoying being rocked to sleep by the waves but unless you are diligent and observant you will be swept out to sea.
“Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. “ 1 Peter 1:8
I found myself in this place at the beginning of the week.   I am so thankful God is a personal God and when we are desperate we can cry out to Him and He will answer us. It is a promise in His word but I also know it to be true. “O God, You are my God. “ Ps 63:1 Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I will cry to You. When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Ps.61:1-2
To fall on your knees with the book of Psalms is a great place to start when you feel you have strayed in thought process or action from God. Straying from God always begins in your thoughts. Your actions follow your thought process. That is why in the book of Romans, God tells us to renew our mind.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2
Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You. Which You have prepared for those who trust in You, in the presence of the son’s of men. You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence.” Ps. 31:19-20
I see several truths in this verse. First of all, God’s goodness is prepared and laid up for those who “fear” and “trust” Him. If you have strayed and you take a good look at your life, I bet you will find a place of fear and trust that involves something of the world. I am a realist. I see the facts and many times these facts are just plain scary. God tells us in His word we are to walk by faith not sight. Looking at facts is walking by sight. This is an area of much needed repentance and encouragement from the Lord. I wonder if God bigger than your problem? Yes, He most definitely is! But the real question is, “Do you believe He is bigger than your problem?”
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever. For wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things, He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.” Ps. 2:20-22
Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.” Jer. 32:17 “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” Jer. 32:27
Can you depend and trust God instead of your self made solution? Can you trust Christ who came as a man and defeated death? The same Christ whose power lives inside of you? Can you allow God to show and remove from your heart your self made idols. This process does hurt. It causes many tears with the tearing away of idols but the end result is so worth it. God will hide you in the secret place of His presence. Why would we desire to be any other place than with Him?
It takes surrender. Into Your hands I commit my spirit-that is total trust and rest!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Open Shades

I love days like today (Sunday).  The sun is bright with a gentle breeze blowing.  I have the shades up and a window open as I organize Todd’s closet.  You all know when you are organizing a closet that it leads to organizing another and then another.  It is just a never-ending cycle.

The shades being open and the sunlight shining in reveals how dirty my house really is.  A house can look pretty clean with the window shades closed; the darkness covers all the dust on the furniture and the particles on the floor but the light reveals the truth. 

I have black bedroom furniture.  It does not matter how long or how many times I dust, if the sun light is shining, there is always more dust particles revealed.  So do you want to know what I do…I dust and then shut the shades. 

I’m afraid that is what many of us do with the dust (sins) in our own life.  We attempt to clean up our sin with our good works. These good works are in vain just like trying to dust the black furniture with the window shades open.  The dust particles are still on my furniture I just can’t see them

Many times in our sin we attempt to clean ourselves up to righteousness.  We become motivated and decide to stop doing a certain behavior.  We may not say it, but believe if we clean up our act God will love us more.  If we keep all the rules God is now obligated to us.  That is a great big lie!  God is not obligated to us in any way, shape or form.  We are obligated to Him.  He does not love us more if we keep the rules than if we break all of them.  We are desperate sinners, much worse then we even know.  His grace of forgiveness and love is more than we can even comprehend.

We are only able to keep up the fa├žade of righteousness for a short period of time before we realize we are burned out and cannot continue going at the self-righteous pace.  So we close our eyes to our sin.  We may compare ourselves to others and decide compared to others we are not so bad.

I tried for years to look good, smell good, and be good.  I got real busy with teaching preschool Sunday school.  I got real busy with doing visitations.  I made church attendance an important part of my life. I looked okay on the outside but inside I was dying a slow death of stress, anxiety, and lack of peace.  I did not want to acknowledge my sin. The window shades were closed to God’s love, forgiveness, and His righteousness. I wanted the shades closed.  I did not want to acknowledge the sin in my life, the same way I do not want to see the dust on the black furniture.  Most of us don’t want to do the hard work of repentance-to acknowledge and agree with God about our sin. 

Let me say God is not some ogre waiting for you to acknowledge your sin so He can pounce on you with anger or condemnation.  He is a tender Father.  He receives our sin, wipes our tears, and inputs His righteousness into our life by exchanging our life with His very own.  Can’t say I understand all this with my mind but I understand it by faith with my heart.  Would you like freedom from guilt and condemnation?  Come clean with God.

Repentance is hard work, on Jesus that is. Repentance cost Jesus His very life. Repentance is for the Christian as well as for the unbeliever.  Friend all you have to do to be righteous is acknowledge your sin and call upon the name of the Lord.  Believe and trust that His righteousness is being imputed to you.  It is not work that you do.  It is work that Christ has already completed.  We call out and believe.  He does the cleaning and changing.  Here is an example using a fruit tree. An apple tree produces apples because it is an apple tree.  The apples are a result of what the tree is internally. The true may want to be a pear tree but no matter how hard the apple tree tries to produce pears it will be impossible to do.  An apple tree could look like a pear tree for a while if someone stabled pears to the branches.  But eventually these pears will rot and the tree will be known as it truly is. We only produce fruit from our heart.  This fruit is either self-righteousness or Christ righteousness.

For us to change, for us to become righteous, we must have someone come to change our hearts-from the inside out.  His name is JESUS.  He freely took your sin and exchanged it for His righteous.  To receive His free gift, you must repent and call out upon His name. 


But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are like filthy rags Is. 64:5

For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes Romans 10:2-4.

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks Luke 6:45

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9-10


Friday, March 2, 2012

Omnipotent God

God is an omnipotent God.  I am thankful for this truth.  He can use our sin to bring unbeliever's to Himself as He did with the sailors in the book of Jonah.  He can also keep us from sin or should I say He can keep our idols from working for us.  You know an idol is anything or anyone that takes the place of God.  Many idols are good things that we have allowed to replace God in our life.  Your job, your spouse, your children-all good things-but when these things become more important to you than God-you have an idol.  Just today God worked in my life to show me the sin of idol worship  He prevented something from happening that could have brought embarrassment to me and to His name.  I love it when God does that!  He is omnipotent (all powerful) and all knowing.  I am humbled by His love!