Friday, December 31, 2021

A New Awareness of Psalm 23, Matthew 6:9-13, and 1 Peter 5-7




 I was reminded recently of a mentor training workshop I once attended. The instructor gave us I Peter 5:7 as a scripture to memorize using a neat technique. You read aloud the scripture several times, putting the emphasis on the first word the first time through, then the second word the second time through, the third word the third time through, and so on…like this…

Casting all your cares on Him for He cares for you.

  Casting all your cares on Him for He cares for you.

    Casting all your cares on Him for He cares for you.

      Casting all your cares on Him for He cares for you.

        Casting all your cares on Him for He cares for you.

          Casting all your cares on Him for He cares for you.

            Casting all your cares on Him for He cares for you.

              Casting all your cares on Him for He cares for you.

                Casting all your cares on Him for He cares for you.

                  Casting all your cares on Him for He cares for you.

                    Casting all your cares on Him for He cares for you.


Not only have you memorized the scripture when you’re done, it also helps you to focus and meditate on the individual meanings of each word in the verse. 


As I was praying through I Peter 5:7 using this technique, suddenly two of my favorite and most beloved Scriptures, the Twenty-third Psalm and the Lord’s Model Prayer from Matthew 6:9-13, came to my heart. I began praying them using the same technique—repeating each verse of these familiar scriptures aloud several times, putting the emphasis on the first word the first time through, then the second word the second time through, the third word the third time through, and so on. It is truly amazing how the emphasis on a different word in each verse gives a new focus and a new application of meaning to whatever you’re going through at the moment.


It is so interesting how the word “cares” in I Peter 5:7 is repeated with its two different meanings in the same verse…powerful. The word “care” and all it means…to be cared for…like this paraphrase…”Whatever produces a care in your heart produces God's care for you.”


Suddenly, the word “care” takes me back to 1962...I’m a little girl, nine years old, my parents have moved us from our home in Lakeland to Sebring, Florida. No friends or relatives there. Then one Sunday we go to church, we open the hymnal, and the song we sing is, No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus by Charles Frederick Weigle. This old hymn written in 1932 has a small footnote at the bottom of the page which says, “This hymn was written on the shores of Lake Jackson in Sebring, Florida.” 


WOW! That was where we lived, on the shores of Lake Jackson in Sebring, Florida! Now my eyes were riveted on the words as I sang along with the congregation…and to this day, this hymn is still one of my favorites, because it was so personal, so comforting, so heaven-sent to me that day as the new kid in Sebring.

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How can we avoid becoming discouraged when we deal with overwhelming tasks and challenges in the world around us? We can successfully keep running our race with endurance and not burn out only by fixing our eyes on Jesus—by casting all our cares on Him because He cares for us. Our faith, our ability to be a blessing to our brothers and sisters, or to accomplish anything at all of lasting value depends on Christ from start to finish. When we lift our eyes to the all-powerful, all-loving God, we can commit our way to him and receive his assurance that in God’s time we will reap what he has richly prepared for us—a harvest of blessing—as we daily draw fresh strength from his inexhaustible supply.

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Lord Jesus, thank you for teaching me that I can do nothing apart from You. You are my life, my strength, my salvation. As I cast my cares on You, and pray these familiar Scriptures back to You, You give me a new awareness of Your Peace and Your Presence in my life today. As I give myself to You anew each day, I ask that Your resurrection power restore my joy and renew my vision for the needs of those around me daily. In Your precious name I pray, amen.

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Look Up—meditate on I Peter 5:7, Psalm 23, and Matthew 6::9-13 ... pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

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Look In—as you meditate on I Peter 5:7Psalm 23, and Matthew 6::9-13 … pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

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Look Out—as you meditate on I Peter 5:7Psalm 23, and Matthew 6::9-13…pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.


May our hearts be encouraged by this heart-warming words of the old hymn, No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus

No one ever cared for me like Jesus,

There's no other friend so kind as He;

No one else could take the sin and darkness from me,

Oh how much He cares for me.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

You are Who God Says You Are


Truth from Ephesians Chapter One, Scripture passages I wrap around my heart, like the Loving Arms of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ...

You are who God says you are…

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In Christ, you are...

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BLESSED with every spiritual blessing,

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ACCEPTED in the Beloved Son of God,

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ADOPTED as a child of the King,

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CHOSEN before the foundation of the world,

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REDEEMED by His Blood,

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FORGIVEN by His Grace,

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LOVED with an everlasting love.

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When you feel betrayed, God says: You are BLESSED

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Eph. 1:3)

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When you feel ignored, God says: You are ACCEPTED

According to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. (Eph. 1:5-6)

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When you feel abandoned, God says: You are ADOPTED

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. (Eph. 1:4-5)

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When you feel inadequate, God says: You are CHOSEN

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. (Eph. 1:4)

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When you feel rejected, God says: You are REDEEMED

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us. (Eph. 1:7-8)

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When you feel condemned, God says: You are FORGIVEN

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us. (Eph. 1:7-8)

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When you feel forgotten, God says: You are LOVED

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. (Eph. 1:4) 

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Heavenly Father, may we yield to the power and authority of the Spirit of Christ, Who dwells in the innermost part of us. May we submit and surrender to the authority of the river of transforming power from the Holy Spirit flowing through us, washing away our doubt and unbelief, our pride and self-focus, our self-absorption, our idolatry of any person, place, or thing we put ahead of or instead of Jesus Christ, our prayerlessness, and our legalism, and filling us to the brim with Your presence—believing You, glorifying You, finding our satisfaction in You, experiencing Your Peace, and enjoying Your presence. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

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Look Up—meditate on Ephesians 1:3-8... pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

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Look In—as you meditate on Ephesians 1:3-8... pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

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Look Out—as you meditate on Ephesians 1:3-8... pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Quicker Than A Wink

 



Sometimes it’s just a word that connects-the-dots to memory. Like the word, “crowned” in Psalm 8:5, "crowned him with glory and honor." A word study of the Hebrew word used for “crowned” is `atar (aw-tar') meaning "to surround, encircle (for protection); especially to crown -- compass, crown, to cover, enwrap, wrap oneself." 

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The moment I read this definition the image of another “crown” came to mind, but now with the added meaning, “to surround, encircle, enwrap.” The “crown” I pictured was actually a photograph of the “Milk Drop Coronet” taken by Harold Edgerton in 1957, an unseen world of objects in motion, capturing that which is ordinarily invisible to the human eye...yet it was real. I wrote the blog post below about the first time I saw the photograph in 1963, a memory that came back to me in 2007 as I wrote a journal entry in response to a Christian counselor’s prompt, “Tell me about a time when you felt special as a little girl.” As I wrote the journal entry, I drew a sketch of the photograph as I remembered it. 

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Quicker Than a Wink

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I was the new kid in third grade at Woodlawn Elementary in Sebring, Florida, 1962. As an only child, I always felt alone, now even more so. The teacher said I was identified as “special” and would be “pulled-out” of my regular class once a week to go to a “special” class under the stage in the cafetorium to research anything that was interesting to me. “Special,” it fit, it felt good, I had been chosen, selected for something special, just like when I had been adopted, chosen, wanted, loved. Walking down the steps into the slightly darker, musky-smelling room under the stage, I picked up a book on photography. Turning the pages slowly, in awe at the wonder of this new world, suddenly there it was, the “Milk Drop Coronet” photograph by Harold Edgerton, an unseen world of objects in motion, capturing that which is ordinarily invisible to the human eye...yet it was real.

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“Pretend you are “little Beth” and describe what it’s like to be you.” It was November 23, 2007, the counselor was helping me learn that “feelings are neutral” and how to let my feelings come to the surface, writing in my journal about how special “little Beth” felt in that room under the stage. Just a few weeks later, December 21, 2007, my family and I are visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. We walk through the central aisle, looking ahead, then suddenly, I turn my head to the right and from the corner of my eye, catch a glimpse of a photograph displayed in a darkened alcove. At first, I keep moving straight ahead, but something stopped me in my tracks and turned me around to go back and take a closer look. Back to the darkened alcove, back to the darkened room below the stage, back to my childhood. It was the memory which had just come to the surface in my counseling, the “Milk Drop Coronet” photograph by Harold Edgerton, framed and lighted, and on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was the same photograph I had only seen once before, and yet I had drawn a sketch of it in my journal just a month before this.

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I took out my cell phone and snapped a picture of this “Milk Drop Coronet.” The symbolism was unmistakable to me, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has been with me all along—when I was knit together in my birthmother’s womb, when I was chosen, adopted, by loving Christian parents, when I walked down those steps and first saw the “Milk Drop Coronet” in 1962, when I turned to look at the darkened alcove to snap a picture of the “Milk Drop Coronet” in 2007 as I wrote about the experience in my journal, today and everyday into the future. 

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My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is with me, He is intimately involved in the tiniest details of my past, my present, and my future. Trusting God means looking beyond what we can see to what God sees. A wider view, a broader perspective, a new day, a new way of looking at things, of allowing all the feelings to surface.

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Because of Christ, I am not alone, He is with me, invisible to the human eye, yet “quicker than a wink,” in the blink of an eye, what was unseen is seen, in that other realm, that other dimension, just beyond the veil, visible in the heavenlies. 

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He sees me, He knows me, He knew me, before He knit me together in my birthmother’s womb, I was planned, I am eternally significant. He knew that before I saw the photograph of the "Milk Drop Coronet" for the first time in 1962 that it would come to the surface with feeling in my journal entries in November 2007, and I would turn aside to take a closer look in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in December 2007…I am known, I was planned, I am significant, I have hope for the future.

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Now, this word study of the word “crowned” with the added meaning, “to surround, encircle, enwrap” reminds me that He “crowns” me with His glory and honor everywhere I go, surrounds me, encircles me, like a hoop skirt of light, visible in the heavenlies. 

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One of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received, included in the newspaper article about me in The Ledger in 1993 was, “She was like a shining light coming through the door.” Then recently, another friend described me the same way. I know that “light” is Jesus shining through me, surrounding me, encircling me.

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A pastor’s wife once told this true story of a time she was walking down a path in a park, when suddenly, she could see a man running toward her with an evil intent and expression on his face. She cried out, “Jesus, help me!” and instantly she said she actually saw a “hoop skirt of light” shining down around her, and the evil man just kept running past her, as though he had not seen her, and she was safe.

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Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

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Just to know that I know that I know that because I have placed my trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, I am redeemed by His precious blood, He has crowned me, surrounded me, encircled me with His glory and honor…I am a greatly blessed, highly favored, and deeply loved child of God.

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Heavenly Father, thank you, that in Christ, You have crowned me with Your glory and honor. I am a greatly blessed, highly favored, and deeply loved child of God. Thank you for how Your favor is operating and functioning in my life. It surrounds me and encircles me like a shield. Your favor goes before me and prepares my way. Your favor opens doors of blessing and opportunity in my life. Wherever I go and whatever I do, Your favor is with me, surrounding me, encircling me. Your favor fills my life with overflowing blessing, peace, joy, fulfillment, and abundance. In Jesus’ precious name I pray, amen.

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Look Up—meditate on Matthew 5:16 … pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

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Look In—as you meditate on Matthew 5:16 … pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

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Look Out—as you meditate on Matthew 5:16 … pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Peace is the fruit of Authority

 


Word Study inspired by I Thessalonians 5:23-24:


I Thessalonians 5:23-24--May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

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I Corinthians 6:17--But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit..

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I Corinthians 3:16--Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?

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II Corinthians 6:16--What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."


Colossians 3:15—Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

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Scripture teaches us that humans are made up of three components: spirit, soul, and body. My body may have been hurt and my soul—the seat of emotions—may have been injured, but my spirit—the innermost part of my being, where the Spirit of Christ dwells—cannot be touched. Therefore, what defines me most has never been touched. God taught me that the more I allowed the Spirit of Truth dwelling in me to take authority over my body and soul, the more the wholeness of Christ would overtake every part of me. In other words, God taught me to live from the inside-out. I seek to allow the strongest, most invincible part of me—the spirit—to have dominion over all else, thereby sanctifying them (setting them apart as holy) just as I Thessalonians 5:23 suggests. Now I live most consciously out of my healthiest part—the Spirit. Through the years, the health of my spirit has been gloriously contagious to my soul and even to my body. According to I Corinthians 3:16 and II Corinthians 6:16, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. In some ways, broken temples can be rebuilt. The Spirit of Christ dwelling within me has overtaken my whole being.

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God created us as to be whole creatures made of three different components: body, soul, and spirit. As long as we see God as Lord of our spirits alone, we will continue to live in areas of defeat. God is as surely Lord of our souls and body as He is our spirits. It’s all His turf. In fact, take a refreshing look at 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24. “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” 

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First of all, please celebrate the glorious fact that God Himself is the One at work in you and through you. He hasn’t just assigned you a mighty angel. God is thoroughly interested and involved in every single part of you: body, soul, and spirit.

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Second, notice that the verse identifies God specifically as the God of peace. The Word of God is perfectly inspired; therefore, every identification of God, every name He is called, is in perfect context. In this case the inference of the title is that the believer will be awash with God’s peace when every part of the life—body, soul, and spirit—is surrendered to His wise, loving, and liberating authority. I know far too well how distant the peace of God is when we refuse to bow a part of our lives to His rule. 

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Peace is the fruit of authority. God’s authority. As Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule. Christ brings His peace where He is Prince. That’s what the title “Prince of Peace” represents.

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Third, don’t miss what God Himself desires to do. First Thessalonians 5:23 proceeds to tell us that this glorious God of peace wants to sanctify us “through and through.” The original Greek word for “sanctify” is hagiazo, meaning “to make clean, render pure…to consecrate, devote, set apart from a common to a sacred use…to regard and venerate as holy, to hallow.” In other words, God deeply desires for us to grant Him total access to set apart every single part of our lives—body, soul, and spirit—to His glorious work. Always keep in mind that anything to God’s glory is also for our good. The two concepts are never at odds. God’s inclusion of the physical body is proof among many others in Scripture that He cares deeply what happens to these tents of flesh in which we dwell. Indeed, our physical bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit.

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For just a moment, let’s think of ourselves like triangles. Imagine each point of the triangle being labeled as body, soul, or spirit. If the triangle is sitting on its base, only one point is “up.” Imagine that point being the one in present control of us. For instance, when distinguished from the spirit as in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, the soul represents the seat of our emotions and our personality. 

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If the “soul” is in the upward, authoritative position in our lives, then we are ruled by our feelings and our personality types. All of us know what kind of trouble results from being under that kind of authority! Our feelings and personalities are given to us by God, but they are not meant to control us. 

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Now picture that the “body” is in the upward position and momentarily ruling over our triangular selves. We don’t have to be terribly bright to imagine what can happen because we’ve all experienced the upheaval firsthand: our fleshly appetites and physical drives and habits take over. Our “appetites” become our masters. Certainly, our physical bodies are gifts from God “fearfully and wonderfully made,” but when they control us, the result is bondage. Also understand that one area exerts tremendous influence over the others. As you know, our feelings can drive our physical appetites just as our physical appetites can drive our feelings.

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The “point” we need in the upward position to live in victory is the Spirit. All of us were born with a “spirit.” When distinguished from the soul, it represents the part of us created in the image of God to know Him and enjoy His fellowship. It is the primary component in us that sets us apart from all other creatures. Until we are redeemed and inhabited by Christ (Rom. 8:9), our spirits are no better off than our souls and bodies. But, glory to God, when we receive Christ, His Spirit takes residency in ours! 

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First Corinthians 6:17 speaks of this supernatural consolidation: “he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” The key to victory as we occupy this triangular temple is to bow daily, perhaps a half dozen times daily, to the control of the Holy Spirit over our lives. Our bodies and our feelings and personalities are wonderful components sanctified by God when the Spirit is in control. I am convinced that a huge part of wholeness in the life of a believer is when God has been allowed to sanctify (take over and set apart) our whole spirit, soul, and body. 

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The question of authority is one we are challenged to answer every single day. The concept of rededicating our lives to Christ only at infrequent revivals or conferences can prove disappointing and defeating. Joshua 24:15 suggests a far more workable approach: “Choose this day whom you will serve.” Christ repeated the concept when He called us to take up our crosses daily and follow Him. 

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Do you want to know something wonderful? A daily recommitment is not to ensure that we’ll never fail, but to help us develop the mentality that every single day is a new day—a new chance to follow Christ. Obedience to God is not some diet we suddenly blow. It is something to which we recommit every single day, no matter how we blew it the day before. 

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Victorious living is not an instant arrival. It is the pursuit of one victorious day at a time until the sun sets on enough to begin forming victorious habits. 

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So, are you just about to give up? Good. Give yourself up to God, to the authority of His Holy Spirit. Both Galatians 5:22 and II Timothy 1:7 tell us that self- discipline is a work and a quality of the fruit of the Spirit. Stop feeling guilty because you don’t have any self-discipline on your own. Neither does that together-looking person next to you. None of us can master ourselves. Some yokes may be more obvious than others, but all of us have had them. God is the only One who can sanctify and make every part of us whole…“and He will do it.” All He wants is our trust, our belief, and a little time…For without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5) and with Him, we can do anything (Phil. 4:13).

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II Timothy 1:7--For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 

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Galatians 5:22-23--When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

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Suppose you wanted to start an apple orchard. In early spring you carefully cut dozens of twigs from an apple tree and stick them in the ground twenty feet apart. You water and fertilize and watch and wait. But in the fall, you have no apples to pick. Why? Because those twigs could not mature and bear fruit once they were not rooted in the tree they came from. The same is true with spiritual fruit. It is only when we belong to Christ and stay close to him that his Spirit lives in us and produces the virtues, or “fruit,” listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

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Self-effort won’t produce this fruit. Good intentions won’t produce love, joy, peace, patience, or kindness. Instead, as we yield ourselves to Christ, his Spirit lives and moves freely through us and touches others through our lives. We express his gentleness as we respond to children, his great patience as we encounter difficult people. We demonstrate his faithfulness as we keep commitments, and we share his goodness and kindness as we bless others. 

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Corrie ten Boom writes: “I have a glove here in my hand. The glove cannot do anything by itself, but when my hand is in it, it can do many things. True, it is not the glove, but my hand in the glove that acts. We are gloves. It is the Spirit of Christ in us Who is the hand, Who does the job. We have to make room for the Hand so that every finger is filled.”

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LORD, teach me to yield to the authority and control of the Spirit of Christ Who dwells in the innermost part of me. How I realize that none of the virtues reside within my flesh. But this understanding is a gift from You that enables me to humble myself before You and rely wholly on Your Spirit rising up within me. Do so, Lord, and may the fruit You produce draw others to You! In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

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Look Up—meditate on I Thessalonians 5:23-24… pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

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Look In—as you meditate on I Thessalonians 5:23-24… pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

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Look Out—as you meditate on I Thessalonians 5:23-24 … pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.


Saturday, October 16, 2021

God’s Love Is Extravagant


 The praise and worship time in the evening service was coming to an end. The beautiful chorus we were singing was Darrell Evans’ song, Your Love Is Extravagant...”Your love is extravagant...Your friendship intimate...I find I'm moving to the rhythms of Your grace...Your fragrance is intoxicating in our secret place...”

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I had my eyes closed, lost in the music, feeling the presence of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so real, as if His arms were wrapped around me. 

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I opened my eyes and looked down at the Bible book cover on the seat in front of me. It was as if my Savior was speaking to me through the words I was reading on the cover. 

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There was an embroidered daisy with three small petals gently drifting down, and beside each petal were the words...

                    “He loves me”

                                  ”He loves me”

                                                ”He loves me”

...usually a girl playing the daisy game alternately speaks the phrases, "He loves me," and "He loves me not," while picking one petal off a daisy for each phrase. The phrase she speaks when picking off the last petal supposedly represents the truth about the object of her affection loving her or not.

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As the music faded and I sat down, I knew I had just experienced one of “those moments.” There was no doubt in my mind or my heart, I knew it was real, it was the Truth, my Savior loves me with an everlasting love and underneath are His everlasting arms...He loves me...He loves me...He loves me...

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In his book, “The Ultimate Conversation: Talking with God Through Prayer,” Dr. Charles Stanley writes, “Your intimacy with God–His first priority in your life–determines the impact of your life.” Stanley goes on to say there was a time in his life when he wrestled with knowing God more deeply. He couldn’t identify what the encumbrance was, no matter how much he sought the Lord and prayed. Then, he called his four closest friends, who were all godly men, and said, “God is trying to teach me something, but I don’t know what it is and I need your help to figure it out.”  He says they conversed for several hours. 

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Finally, he writes that one of the men said, “Charles, put your head on the table and close your eyes.” Stanley says he did this and quietly the man asked him, “Imagine your father just picked you up in his arms and held you. What do you feel?” The friend knew Dr. Stanley’s father had died when he was nine months old and that his loss had had a tremendous impact on Stanley’s life.

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Dr. Stanley says he immediately began crying, and he continued weeping for a long time. Still, Stanley says, he did not understand what was causing so much emotion. The friend again asked, “What do you feel Charles?” Stanley writes, “The feelings were so overpowering, it was a long time before I could answer him. At last I replied, “I felt hugged, like I was warm and secure. I felt…loved.” 

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He realized that until that day, he had never really experienced God’s love. He said he told others about God’s love, but had never truly sensed it for himself. Stanley says, “That day changed my life. The time with four of my friends transformed my ministry and everything I felt about the Christian life; the Father’s love had become real to me and extremely powerful.”

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Dr. Stanley invites us to do the same, writing: “I challenge you to do the same. Put your head down and imagine the Father holding you. You may be surprised by the emotions you feel. You may, as I did, realize His overwhelming love for you. You may realize that you’ve been running away from Him all of your life when all you’ve wanted to do is feel safe in your heavenly Father’s arms. Be still and allow God to deal with whatever emotions and issues arise. He will draw you into a deeper, more intimate relationship than you have ever known. Trust Him.”

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Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. —Matthew 11:28-30 The Message

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Whatever stress or chaos may be in your life right now, Jesus invites you, just as he did the crowds he was teaching: “Come to Me. Give Me the heavy load you’re carrying. And in exchange, I will give you rest.” Jesus knows the challenges and deadlines we face and the weariness of mind or body we feel. 

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He understands the stress, tasks, and responsibilities that are weighing us down. As we lay all that concerns us before him, His purpose replaces our agenda, and his lightness and rest replace our burden. 

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The verdict is final. The case is never going to be re-tried—irrevocable. On that we can rest—we are justified on the basis of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. It is a blessing to know that I am, right now, under the completely sufficient imputed righteousness of Christ. Because I have placed my trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, I am redeemed by His precious blood. The threat of failure, judgment, and condemnation has been removed. Knowing that God’s love for me and approval of me will never be determined by my performance is the most encouraging promise to which I cling.

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Lord Jesus, Thank You that I can rest in Your finished work on the Cross. Thank You that I can rest as You carry my burdens for me. I give them all to you and I gladly receive Your rest! Teach me Your wisdom that is humble and pure, and help me to walk in the ways you set before me. Thank You for Your mercy and love that invite me to continually experience Your Peace and enjoy Your Presence, living my life resting and trusting in You! 

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Look Up—meditate on Matthew 11:28-30

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Look In—as you meditate on Matthew 11:28-30 pray to see how you might apply it to your life.

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Look Out—as you meditate on Matthew 11:28-30 pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others.

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