Friday, November 17, 2017

Lost Baggage

Lost Baggage
Recently our son-in-law returned home to his family after two months of military training. The excitement and joy of his return was over shadowed by the frustration of the airlines losing his baggage! In my many years of flying or traveling by bus, I am grateful I have never experienced that. Fortunately his was located; and they brought it directly to their home.

God provides us with all needed baggage, equipping us for service; and it is always handled by Him with care. The equipping gifts are never misplaced or removed, “For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29).”

When luggage is lost, a person often must replace essentials to use until their personal items, contained in lost baggage are returned. Not only would that be aggravating, but would mean unexpected expenses as well. My mother wisely packed needed items in her carry on, including tooth brush and paste, extra set of undergarments, etc. Mom always thought of everything!

God knows our every need, “for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him (Matthew 6:8b NAS).” How is that for speedy service? God not only provides our trip itinerary, (Matthew 28:19-20) but He packs our bags with gifts and power (Acts 1:8)! That baggage cannot be lost! PamFord Davis.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Lord I Do Not Understand

Lord I Do Not Understand
My mind is unsettled, my soul is in a state of heightened awareness, I am spiritually confounded.

Lord, I sit here dumbstruck because events around me have my mind in a whirl, and if I am honest Lord, I am a bit at a loss. Things are just not suppose to be like this. No, not at all. So help me, Lord, to understand. Everything tells me that what a person sows that person is suppose to reap. But it is not happening, Lord, and I can’t seem to move on.

You see, Lord, I have been planting tomatoes for as long as I know, and my pals have been planting all sorts of vegetables. In every case we are reaping exactly what we sowed. Truth to tell, Lord, I thought recently that I had planted carrots, but now I see that thyme is growing, and when I checked my cupboard I see the carrot seeds that I thought I had planted. Lord, even when I made a mistake I still got exactly what I planted.

Lord, I heard the gospel preached, and I submitted to your call for redemption, and committed my life to you because you told me “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:29) Lord my soul needed rest, my spirit was broken, I felt crushed and traumatised by the world. Truth Lord, I felt useless and utterly unworthy of your grace and mercy because I know that I was bad, worse than bad; I was a reprobate heading for destruction. I knew it, others knew it and Lord, you knew it too.

And yet, Lord, you, knowing all this brought me to you, you cosseted me with your love, you filled me with your grace, you wiped my slate clean with your mercy, you even elevated me to a heavenly place with you and the saints, and not once did you condemn me, you did not badger me for my many faults, Lord, you dried my tears and took away my sorrows. And Lord, you know I haven’t earned any of this, I am reaping what I did not sow and Lord, I do not understand.

For my many sins you gave me peace and comfort.

For my waywardness you showered me with love and plenty of blessings.

For my many fears and insecurities you underpinned and supported me with your mighty arms.

Lord, through your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, you are showing me something that all believers are experiencing. You are showing me that you do not do anything by half measures, Lord, and I am so humbly grateful. Lord, I did not expect to have so much joy, so much deep-seated happiness, so much divine peace that I can scarcely contain my heart from bursting.

Lord, you told me, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22). Lord, I did and for the past 50 years you have kept these promises, in deed all your glorious promises are unshakable, timeless and applicable to all those who put their trust in you. Lord, I still do not understand how you do it, but in your mercy and grace I ask that you help me to keep hanging on.

All I ask, in addition to your blessings and love upon all believers in Christ everywhere, is that you, Lord, help all those like me, who may not fully understand the ineffable workings through your grace, but cling to the simple promises of redemption and glory through faith in Jesus Christ. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11) Dr Henderson Ward

Friday, November 3, 2017

Lord, Break Out

How often I have looked to heaven and cried, “Oh, that You would rend the heavens, Lord, and come down!” (Isaiah 64:1)
I have bent myself in my prayer closet and whispered, “Lord, come and break through the darkness.” (2 Samuel 5:20)

Lord, Break Out
There is nothing inherently wrong with these prayers and certainly we do want the Lord to come near and give breakthrough in our situations.

But lately, I have felt like the Lord wants to change my point of view. If I am always waiting for the Lord to break into my life and circumstance, I have adopted a mindset that He is somehow separated from me, outside what I am living in and walking through. This skewed understanding makes it seem as if He is sitting far off on some white cloud watching to see if I can figure things out in my life. My experience in this salvation is vastly different.

You see, I have known Jesus to be a Good Shepherd, always close and guiding me with His sheltering love. I have known Him to be the One standing firm footed on top of the billowing waves, pulling me out of the stormy waters when I wavered in my faith. I have known Him to be the One Who holds my hand as we walked together through the blazing furnaces of my hardest circumstances. I have known Him to be the wind blowing on my face in the secret place, eyes blazing with passion as I worship. No, I have never known my Jesus to be in any way separate from me. I abide in Him and He abides in me. We are connected. He is closer than the breath in my lungs. That is the Jesus I have known.

He will never leave us nor forsake us, Church (Hebrews 13:5). He is not far away waiting to break in. The Lord is very much present in the Body of Christ and in the life of the believer, and He is still very much a miracle working Messiah. All the power that surged out of Jesus as He walked the streets of Galilee still resides in Him now. The voice that healed the sick with a word, made devils tremble in fear, and raised the dead, is the same voice that whispers in our souls. We are filled with the mighty Holy Spirit, Church. Instead of breaking in, perhaps we should be praying, “Lord, BREAK OUT.”

Pray with me? Lord, we stand absolutely amazed at You. You fill us with wonder and joy. We are captivated at the very thought of You. We praise You. You have made our lives so much more than they were supposed to be. You have poured glory into us and we didn’t deserve such generosity. —Cynthia Bowen

Lord, as we look around at our community, we can be overwhelmed at the problems we see. So, Lord, do BREAK IN for those who around us, but can we dare ask it? BREAK OUT of us. Let Your light shine through these earthen vessels. (2 Corinthians 4:7) Let Your love be poured out of these frail vessels. Let Your miracle power be manifested through us. Let these earthen vessels leak the power of God.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Lord I Am So Angry

Lord I Am So Angry
Lord, as I sit here doing my meditation, reflecting on your blessings, and engulfed in the warmth of your love, and the splendour of your grace, I am nevertheless deeply troubled. I can’t seem to put off this deep anger that seems to have cloaked my body like a second skin, and I am wondering if my anger is sin.

Lord, I know the scripture that is often quoted with regards to anger, but knowing it seems not to be working for me. That scripture is found in Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus and says, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” (Ephesians 4:26). True, Lord, one can be angry and sin not, meaning that anger is not the same as sin, but why does it feel so sinful, so wrong if it’s not. Or am I allowing my feelings to colour my judgment?

I was angry when I heard of the pointless, avoidable death of those Brazilian football players, and all the others, who died in a plane crash because their plane had run out of fuel. Before that anger had subsided, I heard of the  pointless, avoidable death of so many innocent souls in the raging fire at a converted warehouse in Oakland, California, USA, where the death toll is nine and mounting, and many people are still unaccounted for. And only a few hours ago, I heard that the naked body of a teenager  was found on the beach, with his head smashed in.

Lord, it seems my anger cup is full, and overflowing.

Then I remembered that Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, was angry too. I am in good company. That’s better. How did Jesus get on, and can I learn a thing or two? Let me check.

Jesus must have been angry when he saw the thieving Jews doing their dirty business in the temple, and when he made whips and drove the thieves out, and overturned their money tables. But the three mentions of this incident in scripture, Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-18 and John 2:13-22 did not say that Jesus was angry. The word “angry” was never used. No help here, so I am forced to move on.

Then I remembered that Jesus Christ was angry with some Jews because of their meanspirited, wretched attitude to a suffering human being. Bingo! I found the scripture, and here it is: “And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.” (Mark 3:5)

Lord, meditating on this scripture is awesome. I get it.

Jesus was angry, just as I am, and my anger will remain a little longer, but Jesus did not sin. Jesus did not sin, although he was angry, because he dealt with his anger in the right way.

So how did Jesus manage it, and can I follow his example?

In his normal, exemplary fashion, Jesus dealt correctly with his anger because:

  1. He was angry for the right reasons. Not for some petty personal matter or some piffling annoyance. There was nothing personal, hypercritical or sneering in his manner.
  2. His focus was centered on a specific sinful behaviour. Jesus was infuriated when he saw their lack of compassion for a suffering soul.
  3. His anger was grounded in love. Love for the suffering man with the withered hand, but love also for the Jews, “being grieved for the hardness of their hearts”
  4. His anger was controlled. Jesus did not shed blood because he was angry, he never let his emotions get out of hand and beyond his control. The discipline that comes from a dedicated life was on full display, even when he chased those crooks out of the temple.
  5. His anger lasted just right. He did not allow the anger to fester, and perhaps turn to bitterness and resentment.
  6. His actions were righteous. Jesus had every reason to be angry and he acted in such a way as to bring honour and glory to God.

Yes, Lord, I get it, and as ever, it was the excellent example of Jesus that brought it home. My anger might be deep, but you have assured me that it too will vanish, even as your word comforts me with knowing that, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) Dr. Henderson Ward

Father, teach me always to remember that Jesus, “... was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15), and that in every troubling situation, in every distressing event in our life, we can turn to him for consolation and guidance. Speak peace to your children everywhere, and give us all the reassurance we seek, that we might serve you better day by day. Amen.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Look Up and Don't Give Up

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Look Up and Don't Give Up
I only have eyes for you, Jesus.

Sitting flat in the dirt of the garden near an olive tree, Jesus was weeping before the Father while his companions were peacefully sleeping just yards from him. “Father, I really don’t know whether I can do this. If it’s your will … please may this cup pass from me … but I know … it’s not what this flesh wants but what you want, Father. This is what I need to do. Oh Abba …”

Jesus sinks his head into his hands as drops of blood from burst capillaries in his skin, mix with his sweat and dampen his fingers. Jesus knows he’s facing crucifixion; the consequence of sin for which he is not guilty! Slowly the Son of Man submits and as he does he straightens up and sighs, “Abba, not my will but your will be done.” Suddenly a surge of power of the Son of God that he is, comes upon Jesus’ flesh and he looks beyond the cross and sees himself at God’s right hand, glorified as King of kings!

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus …” My friend, just as Jesus took his eyes off of the pain and anguish in his soul and looked beyond the cross, take your eyes off the pain in your body and fix them on God’s healing power. Take your eyes off that debt or poverty and see God’s provision for all that you need. Don’t focus on the problems in your marriage, look to the Lover of your souls and, with a softened heart, see the One who unites you in his love. Pay no attention to that bullying at work or school and trust in God’s love to heal those hurts and make you strong. Look beyond the hopelessness of your problems and know that God does have a blessed and a prosperous future for you. Never look down! Never look back just look-up! Press forward with joy and courage right now just as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane, declaring with me, “I only have eyes for you, Jesus!”

Look-up and fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God! Dudley Anderson

Dear Lord, forgive me for taking my eyes off of Jesus and looking at my problems. I know that you do have a purpose for me. Jesus, you are my example, my role-model. Help me to get through this time and meet my needs, oh Lord. Thank you for your joy and courage, I praise you now, Lord, for my healing and deliverance in Jesus’ name. I only have eyes for you, Jesus. Amen.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Living Room Light

Living Room Light
Aint love grand? That special someone comes into view and lights up the room. To others he or she may go unnoticed but you see a spotlight falling upon your beloved and breathlessly await the rapture of falling into loving arms. They not only briefly light up a room; your significant other lights up your life.

The Lord dispels darkness from spiritually blinded eyes and hearts draped in darkness of despair. “For you will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness (Psalm 18: 28 NKJ).” Lord, open my eyes; light up the living room. A dark cloud hovered over Job; he lamented over loss of light.

“Oh, that I were as in months past, As in the days when God watched over me; When His lamp shone upon my head, And when by His light I walked through darkness (Job 29:2-3 KJV).” Job endured through suffering and once more God lit a lamp and removed spiritual blindness. “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You (Job 42:5 NKJ).”

I hunger for the sight of my loving God. Will I mystically enlighten foreboding darkness through mind over matter or through positive thinking over negativity? No, God’s word envelops light. “Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light o my path (Psalm 119:105 NKJ).” God keeps his lamp burning and lights my path from here to his everlasting arms! —PamFord Davis

Friday, October 6, 2017

Living in the Valley

Living in the Valley
People say that life is all about climbing the mountain, or life is full of peaks and valleys. Well, in a sense it is. Trials and things we must work through or overcome; tests to teach us who we belong to and depend on. On a short side note, I believe that when God tests us, He is not trying us to see what we are made of-He already knows. I believe the trials come so we can see for ourselves what we are made of, to strengthen our faith and our resolve.

Most people seem to believe the mountain top is the achievement, and the valleys are low points in life, and they want to stay on the mountain top once they arrive. Have you seen the top of a mountain? With the ice, cold wind, and thin air, life is not sustainable. Sure, stay and enjoy the view for a while, but you must come back down to the valley to survive. The valley is where you grow and harvest what you need for the next trip up the mountain. I think that’s where all the hard work is … The grind of everyday life; the preparation for the trip.

Romans 5:3-5 “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Without suffering, there would be no need for the Comforter.

Climbing mountains are only temporary excursions in our life here. We must learn to live in the valleys. Mark Miller

Friday, September 29, 2017

Living in Exile

Living in Exile
Do we ever consider that today there are those who live in exile from the will and hope of God because they fail to see and understand the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. You see as much as we might love this world we live in; scripture tells us that since Adam’s fall the whole world groans in anticipation of being set free once again. Just as each of us as Christians do (Romans 8:19-22 NLT). I look forward to that day every morning when I rise and every evening when I go to sleep. Yet as I wait along with you I have come to realize we live in exile from the place we long to be.

In 1 Peter 1: 1-2 we read a greeting that while addressed to certain cities and regions applies to each of us today. Peter states;

1 This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. 2 God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace. 1 Peter 1:1-2 (NLT)

Today we are living in a world that sees what we believe as Christians as more and more foreign to what the world holds as truth. We are foreigners in a country and a world that once held many of the same beliefs and was founded on the same principles outlined in God’s Word. Yet today there is a movement to forget that and move away from it and establish a world based on man’s ethics and ideas. So when we as Christian believers hold fast to God’s word we find ourselves mocked and ignored often seen as ignorant and intolerant of others.

The same was true of those Peter wrote to; many were dispersed and came to live in these places but many more were converted and began to change the communities in which they lived. The truth is the church flourishes under persecution and the more the world tries to exile it from the public the more growth it sees in the lives of people.

I just want to challenge you today to hold fast and know that to walk in the light of God’s Word through a real relationship with Jesus Christ will bring you one day into the place God has created for you and me. The exile will be over and one day He will welcome us home. —Rev Brian Mathis

Friday, September 22, 2017

Living for Tomorrow

Living for Tomorrow
At one point in my life I was an alcoholic. I was surrounded by individuals who required drinking as part of the organization and if you did not drink you were quickly replaced because there was a lack of trust in you as an individual. It was so bad that one time, we got in trouble for alcohol related issues and fifteen people had to start AA. Yes I was one of the lucky ones who got to experience that. Now I have no fight with individuals who drink; I personally believe that a little wine or moonshine at the right times provides medicinal relief for certain ailments, Paul even instructs Timothy to take some for his stomach problems. The reason I shared that was this morning I was studying and as I was reading Proverb 31:4-7 (ESV) it is advice from King Lemuel’s mother and it reads,
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink, 5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted. 6 Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; 7 let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.

You know throughout scripture; starting in the Old Testament with Daniel in Daniel 7 that we will rein and rule over all the earth. Again Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:2 and Jesus in Mathew 19:28 that one day we will rule alongside of Him. We will be judges and rulers over the entire world even judging the angels.

You might wonder what the point of this is. It’s not to bash someone who drinks but it’s to point out a simple fact that I have recently come to understand. If you desire certain things in your life you have to live and act like you really want it. Case in point I desire to serve as a chaplain and I need to lose weight to do that; but to be honest I need to lose weight, whether I ever get to serve as a chaplain or not. The bottom line is I must live the life I desire in preparation for the life that is yet to come. I hope that makes sense.

It’s not just about drinking or tobacco or any other point you might want to argue over that someone might call or consider a sin, but every area of our Christian walk. Do we want to see God move in our worship services? Than do we worship Him in our private time? Do we want to see Him answer our prayers and bring healing to the sick? Than do we pray without ceasing? Do we believe He can provide for our every need or do we work ourselves to death trying to provide for our wants?

I ask you today, are you drinking in the world trying to satisfy your flesh; thinking you have reached your greatest potential or are you willing to slow down and focus on God and follow after His leadership allowing Him to prepare you for the best that He has to offer?

Have a blessed day as you walk in the light of His Word. —Rev Brian Mathis

Friday, September 15, 2017

Living for the Cause of God

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)

Living for the Cause of God
Nothing in this world can change the plans that God has for us. Our life, best interest, and destiny are in His control. Our complete trust in this truth and full submission will yield blessings which are far beyond our imagination and human potential.

Our primary life purpose is not to just earn money and have a good life. It is not about worldly matters, trying to care for ourselves or create the perfect social image. The plans of God are great for us, He has assigned us the position of a co-heir with Christ and empowered us as ambassadors of the gospel. This life is about wholly trusting and serving the Lord while leading the lost to the eternal safety we have already found.  It is about giving Him praise and trusting Him for all our needs and wants. When we do the Lord’s will, we do not toil. His grace strengthens us to complete our mission. 

For those who trust and submit wholly to His plan, He faithfully clears the way throughout their journey, leading them to level ground. He uses them to be a blessing, to influence people with His word and to bring souls closer to Him. He establishes the work of their hands and freely gives them the wishes of their heart. He walks beside them scattering blessings and fulfilling their needs and wants by His grace.

Oh, what a wonderful Lord who promises to reward the heart’s desire of the faithful! Trust and faithfully obey to see His miracles happen in your life today. Deepika Emmanuel Sagar

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