Archive | July 2011

Scripture Meditation

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You”
(Isaiah 26:3, NKJ)

Do you need more peace in your life today? Are you frustrated or upset over something or fighting off discouragement? The first question to ask yourself is “What am I thinking about?”

If you’re thinking about your problems all the time or how impossible everything is, then your life is going to follow that negative direction. But, when you get your mind going in the right direction, when you focus your mind on the Word of God, then you are setting yourself in the direction of peace.
Today, choose to keep your mind focused on the Father. Be empowered by meditating on His Word. As you set your thoughts in the right direction, your life will head down the path of peace and victory He has in store for you!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Heavenly Father, thank You for peace today. I receive it as a comforting blanket to my heart, my mind and my emotions. I choose to focus on Your Word today. Direct my steps and guard me by Your peace. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Bag Lady, Why are you so burdened?!?!

“Come to me, all you who are weary burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” – Matthew 11:28-30

During devotional today I was lead to this passage, and it really struck a chord in my heart because it sums up everything that is my Christian experience (THE Christian experience actually!!). I was a slave to sin, living a life devoid of God and filled hopeless, because despite all the effort on my part I would never find fulfillment. Why?? Because every step and action that I took lead to death (Romans 6:20-21). Without realizing, the daily facets of life and sin were creating small parcels that attached to my soul. As these “gifts” accumulated my steps started to become weighed down, I was burdened by past actions. Things I did, that felt were innocent at the time, left impressions that polluted the way I viewed life and others in general. This is where Jesus came in…Jesus was sent to save you and me from our sins.

He is meant to be the one to take our spiritual burdens on; he is willing to make an exchange with us. (This is so cliché rolleyes , but bear with me) Jesus is standing right next to all of us; he has been trying to catch our attentions for a long time, consistently calling to us despite our best efforts to ignore him. He’s holding out his hand waiting to trade loads with us. He says “take my yoke upon you… [and] you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light” (Matt 11:29-30). He means that he is the one who will sever the soul ties of sin from our spirit. Through him we will become renewed and live a life where we are free beings that have been taken away from the chronic condition of sin. As Christians we are all daily survivors of the spiritual warfare being waged around us; to live we have to daily offer up our burdens to God in exchange for his lighter load.

My question for everyone is how did you make this process of exchanging spiritual burdens easier? What are practical ways to commune daily with God and ask for his guidance?? Please feel free to share your thoughts. ;) 

Post curtsy of The Burgeoning Christian
 

Divine Direction

“I know, O LORD, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.” Jeremiah 10:23

We do not own our lives.  We have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20).  Jesus’ sacrificial blood purchased our freedom from the fire of hell, sin, and death.  By faith, He owns us.  A great exchange took place when you first believed in Jesus.  What’s yours became His, and what’s His became yours.  The life of Christ became your life. It is not your life to define, but His.  He has wrapped a wonderful definition around whose you are in Him.  You are a child of God.  You are secure because your Savior keeps you.  You are valuable because the Lord values you. 

You are protected because the Almighty owns you. The Bible is God’s glossary of how to define yourself.  Scripture gives you a family tree of faith for you to trace your religious roots.  It is a mirror of how God sees you.  He sees you as accepted in His Son, though you suffer rejection from others.  Cherish and enjoy daily the acceptance of Jesus. Moreover, your mistakes are His opportunity to affirm His acceptance.  There are still consequences to your sin, but He is always available to receive you back because you are His.  He accepts and receives back His own. 

Furthermore, He directs His own (Isaiah 48:17).  God wants you to understand and follow His plan for your life.  Praise God it’s a step-by-step process and He directs your steps!  Some days you may feel like it’s three steps forward and two steps back, but do not be discouraged or dismayed.  God is still directing your steps, though at times they seem tedious and laborious.  The Lord leads you in lockstep with His steps.  In His steps is the wise way to walk.  Do not run ahead, thinking you have to set a record for speed or quickness. 

In fact, fast steps may cause you to backtrack and relearn what God was trying to teach you.  Walk patiently with Him, and watch Him work.  The Holy Spirit is your step director.  You are in His step class for instruction in His word and exercise in faith.  Learn how to let the Lord direct your steps.  Prayerfully listen to the quiet prompting from His spirit.  Stop when you need to stop.  Speed up when you need to speed up.  Slow down when you need to slow down.  God directs the steps of a submitted and surrendered man or woman. 

Stubbornness is hard to direct (Psalm 81:12).  Pride resists direction, and independence attempts to self-direct.  Listen to your spouse or close friend.  God may speak His next steps through them.  Self-direction is like traveling alone to a new destination without a map or an orientation to your surroundings.  It is futile and frustrating.  It leads to fatalistic thinking.  God-directed steps, on the contrary, are a pathway to peace. 

You can rest in His far-reaching perspective and other-worldly wisdom.  He gives divine directions that determine His will for your life.  Step by step He leads you.  You can trust that His way is the best way.  Be patient.  Watch Him work in spite of adversity and a lack of resources.  Avoid a two-step with yourself, and stay in step with your Savior.  Allow your Maker to define your moves. Walking with the Lord is the wisest way to go, so resist directing your own steps.  Trust in your walk with Him, and allow His direction to define your steps.

Taken from the July 10th reading in the 365-day devotional, Seeking Daily the Heart of God.

Additional Resource: Hard copy of 365 day devotional: Seeking Daily the Heart of God and 90-day devotional Infusion… click here: http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

Steadfast Heart

My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing and make music with all my soul. Psalm 108:1

A steadfast heart is secure in Christ, and not even the devil can drive it from its devotion to the Lord. Indeed, you can be steadfast, because your Savior is steadfast. Markets may crumble and economies erupt in uncertainty, but a steadfast heart stays fixed on the faithfulness of its heavenly Father.

A steadfast heart understands its sufficiency is in Christ, so it goes there first by faith. Sometimes you climb to praise God by the ladder of prayer—and at other times you bless the Lord for the past, so in prayer you have faith to plead to Him in the present. The Holy Spirit seizes your steadfast heart, so you can pray your way up to praise, or so you can patiently praise the Lord until you are ready for prayer.

You know your heart is steadfast when sin’s allure loses its luster. You do not want to go to the playground of pride, because you know it will bully you into bad behavior. A steadfast heart sees the awful consequences of disobeying God and does not go there. Because you are anchored in the fear of God, He stabilizes you in the face of fear. You remain fixed on trusting the Lord with your finances, your family and your future.

Grace gives you the gumption to tame your fickle nature, and it develops the discipline of a resolute and determined frame of mind. Your steadfast heart results in your soul exploding in joyful songs of praise to your Creator. Paul eloquently exhorted this high degree of faith focus when he said:

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:58, KJV).

Therefore, do not waver in your commitment to Christ and to your promises to people. Circumstances may have changed and caused you great consternation, but you remain steadfast of heart. Stay true to what you said, for your faithfulness is not contingent on your circumstances, but on the integrity of what’s right.

Be steadfast in your heart by giving what you said you would give, by going where you said you would go, and by doing what you said you would do. When your faith begins to flicker, go to God and He will ignite its bright flame. Christ creates a steadfast heart and He blesses a steadfast heart. Indeed, your soul sings praises over steadfast security in your Savior!

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (I Peter 5:10).

Where is the Lord calling me to remain steadfast and trust in Him?

Related Readings: Psalm 51:10; 57:7; 112:7; Proverbs 4:26; Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:1