Daily Discovering the Blessing

Posts tagged ‘Choose Life’

A Continual Feast

Proverbs 15:15 – … he who has a glad heart has a continual feast.

I have, in previous writings, written a description of the offices of the church I attend. As a teacher at the associated school I would have occasion to walk through that area and was inevitably touched by the atmosphere of peace that prevailed there. Praise music was softly playing, ministry and prayers on behalf of those seeking counsel was taking place – the entire purpose of the office area was to honor and reflect God, and the result was extraordinary, tangible peace.

Your home, your days, can give evidence of this same peace. A peace that speaks the Truth that God is here and in full control, that Jesus, Who is our Peace (Ephesians 2:14), is Lord over your life, and that God’s Holy Spirit establishes our moments in this peace “that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7);  peace that reflects the absolute certainty of new creature status:

…the {previously moral and spiritual condition} has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come.(2 Corinthians 5:17)

Unwavering confidence, unshakeable peace, and a completely altered perspective are the intended outcomes of this “new creature” status. For our new life in Christ is established on “precious and exceedingly great promises” (2 Peter 1:4). Numbers 6:26 defines peace as “tranquility of heart and life continually“. According to our Father, according to His Word, that continual tranquility of heart and life is not only possible, it is our inheritance, our expectation, as His children.

We have a role here. That “peace that passes all understanding” is not automatic. We are to search for, seek eagerly and pursue “peace (harmony, undisturbedness from fears, agitating passions and moral conflicts (1 Peter 3:11). We are to assume, faithfully accept, that this peace is ours. We are to reject outright anything that attempts to destroy that peace and diminish the Truth of our Father’s Word. We are to tune into the Holy Spirit Whose ministry on our behalf produces peace. He always points us to Jesus, the Prince of Peace (John 16:13-14), Who tells us:

Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. {Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.} (John 14:27)

When we “do not let…stop allowing…do not permit” we are choosing God’s life, God’s Truth, and God’s promises to “ garrison and mount guard over our hearts and minds” (Philippians 4:7). We are determining, resolving, that the Word of God overcomes anything that the world, the flesh, and the devil throw our way.

We are God’s family as believers in Christ, the Messiah, who are watching for the soon return of our Lord. Let every moment reflect His Person and His peace. Whatever you are facing this day, because you belong to God, and because He wants to bless you and do you only good – let there be peace.

“Since He may come any day, it is well to be ready every day.” A. J. Hudson

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His Banner Over Me is Love

There can be no clearer demonstration of God’s love for us than His willingness to die for us, and then, having risen, coming to live in us.  We have inherited, through His love, “in accordance with the riches and generosity of His gracious favor” (Ephesians 1:7) all of the blessings of the Kingdom.  He lavishes upon us “every kind of wisdom and understanding (practical insight and prudence)”, He makes known to us “the mystery of His will” (Ephesians 1:9), “the profound and bottomless things of God [the divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man’s scrutiny]” (1 Corinthians 2)

There was a popular song several years ago entitled “God is Watching Us From a Distance”!  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Nothing could be closer than the Lord!  More caring, more deeply loving, more intimately involved in all of the issues of our lives. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, we are guided into “the whole, full Truth” (John 16:13), we are enabled to hear “whatever He hears from the Father” and we are privileged to hear “things that are to come [that will happen in the future]”.

When the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, He will take you by the hand and guide you into all the Truth there is.  …He will take from Me and deliver it to you… (John 16:13, 15Message Bible) [Emphasis mine]

When we begin to understand the full purpose of the ministry of the Holy Spirit we realize how greatly loved we truly are.  We are the adopted children of God (Galatians 4:6); we are “well-beloved [by God Himself]” (Colossians 3:12); we are heirs of God’s grace (1 Peter 3:7), and the Holy Spirit was given to us to reveal all of these blessings to us.  He is here on our behalf to grow us in faith and grace and reveal to us all that God has provided.

He is here to be known intimately.  His friendship and His mentoring will bless your days and cause you to be the very best you can be in Jesus.  Stepping over into His care and guidance will guarantee success, peace, wisdom, and fulfillment.  He yearns to accomplish the good and perfect will of God in your life.  Choose this day to submit to His loving, tender, and powerful ministry.

God’s Word on the subject:

Song of Solomon 2:4                            1 Corinthians 2:9-12                                      Ephesians 1:7-8

The Dark and the Light

One of the first things that my husband, Jim, said when he was born again was, “I never realized that I was lost until I wasn’t lost anymore.”  Profoundly simple but powerfully reflective of the basic truth and promise of the Gospel – that which was lost is found (Luke 19:10).   The Truth that God is everything He says He is invades the darkness of the souls of the lost; those who never realized that in this world you must choose. A light finally shines for them.  John 1:5 tells us:

And the light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it [put it out or absorbed it or appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it].  [Emphasis mine]

The darkness brought into the world through sin and a selling out to Satan hides from God and from everything that is ultimately for our benefit, blessing, and fulfillment.  Proverbs 4:19 says that the wicked walk in deep darkness and don’t even realize what they are stumbling over.  “The road of wrongdoing gets darker and darker – travelers can’t see a thing; they fall flat on their faces.”(Message Bible) And our Lord further reveals the desperate state of those who are unreceptive to God’s love and to the light that love brings:

Matthew 6:22-23 The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound, your entire body will be full of light.  But if your eye is unsound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the very light in you [your conscience] is darkened, how dense is that darkness!

From the very beginnings of time our Father has brought light to darkness:

Genesis 1:2-3The earth was without form and an empty waste, and darkness was upon the face of the very great deep.  The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the water.  And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.

That same Genesis moment occurs in the life of any man or woman who abandons their lost state for life in the Lord.  Like the turning on of a light switch in a darkened room, there is awareness, understanding, and revelation.  1 Peter 2:9 says that we have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light:

to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for you – from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.  (Message Bible) [Emphasis mine]

With his words upon being born again, Jim began his testimony of the goodness of God, and of the reality that unless and until you choose the life that our Father extends to you, you are a lost soul, still groping around in darkness.

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Proverbs 4:19             Isaiah 9:2             Matthew 6:23

John 1:5                      John 12:35            James1: 17

1Peter 2:9

The Last Bastion – Part One

From Father one morning:

“You must keep your eye on Me – your heart on Me – always.  You have allotted Me a certain time slot, and then given the rest of the day over to former things.  Why step away from life in Me to entertain life in the world?  This is the last bastion – let it fall.   The woman you desire to be is hidden in Me – that self-confident and spirit-controlled woman.  You are allowing yourself to be robbed. Step up into your fulfilled self.  From this moment forward – all that had perished in misdirection, misunderstanding, and poorly defined identity – all is restored, recreated, refreshed, redefined, refined.  See yourself as I see you.  Accept nothing less.  Your future in Me hinges on this willingness to allow Me to transform your moments.”

Webster’s Dictionary defines “bastion” as “a fortified position, a stronghold”.  Through the years of my faith walk there have been many moments when the Holy Spirit pointed to a particular issue or lingering idolatry in my life, leftover remnants of my life before Christ, and instructed me concerning the need and the method to be rid of it.  Once, early on in my faith walk, His light shone on the Beatle albums that I had been collecting and treasuring over the years.  I was clearly led to throw them all in the trash – and the collection was quite extensive!  When I share this story and the Holy Spirit leading with others I am asked why I didn’t sell them rather than destroy them.  The answer of course is, “Because that’s not what the Holy Spirit directed me to do.”  It was not just a matter of removing them from my home in whatever manner I chose, it was the recognition that this particular idolatry needed identification in my life as trash; it was a heart issue.  Some would call that foolish and some would turn that into doctrine and say, “Well if He asked you to do that, I had better do that too.”  The trash was where my albums belonged because they represented idolatry in my life.  God’s Holy Spirit carefully tends and lovingly guides each one of us.  This is not a one size fits all.

It profoundly matters to God what we fill our heart with.  He is a jealous God on our behalf (James 4:5).  He knows how we are made for He made us; He knows how Satan has attempted to diminish or destroy our faith walk and He has the perfect antidote in each case; He knows the potential people each of us can be and how to help us reach that level of maturity and accomplishment and complete peace.

The Message Bible so very beautifully expresses today’s Scripture (“God’s Word on the subject”):

The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture.  We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.  Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.

 

God’s Word on the subject:

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Heaven’s Answer – Part Two

As we continue to direct our attention to allowing the Word to inform our expectations, be ever aware that the extent to which you receive the reality of God’s Truth into your heart and into your life is the extent to which the manifestation of those truths will be evident to all.  For it is faith in God’s Word, and God’s Word alone, that receives the promises.  Heaven’s answers are there for all to discover, yet so many skim the surface of His will for their lives. Yesterday we spoke of the Truth concerning God’s delight and great pleasure in the prosperity of His people (Psalm 35:27).  There has been so much poor teaching on this subject.  There is a poverty mentality among Christians which is debunked by a close study of the Word.  Prosperity honors God – poverty does not.

The same is true of sickness.  Sickness is overcome:

Psalm 103:3 – …Who heals each one of all of your diseases.

Exodus 23:25You shall serve the Lord your God; He shall bless your bread and water, and I will take sickness from your midst.

1 Peter 2:24 –  By His wounds you have been healed (Isaiah 53).

It is that knowing in the face of symptoms that defeats Satan’s agenda to “steal, kill, and destroy”  (John 10:10).  This is another one of those blessings of kingdom life that speaks so powerfully to the lost.  When you own it, when symptoms of ill health cannot gain a foothold in your life and you proclaim daily the promises contained in the Word which declare God’s will on the matter, you are drawing that line in the sand – that demarcation between the world’s bleak understanding of “reality” and actual Kingdom Truths.  You are announcing to Heaven, all of the demons of hell, and any human who cares to look and listen that you know that here lies Truth.  Standing on “every Word that comes forth from the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4), and refusing to judge by what you see with your eyes and what you hear with your ears (Isaiah 11:3), you are demonstrating Kingdom realities to a world plagued by fear concerning illness.

When we stand in faith for abundant life in the area of continuous health we are proclaiming (as with prosperity) that this is what God in a life looks like.  We are demonstrating that God means what He says and says what He means. We are silently sermonizing of the goodness and trustworthiness of our Father.  We are standing in faith – in absolute reliance – on what Jesus accomplished on our behalf.  No half measures here.  Don’t straddle the fence and accept less than in your life in any area.  Less than does not correctly represent Heaven’s answers.  Heaven’s answer is “nothing missing – nothing broken” (Shalom).  Heaven’s answer is peace overcoming fear, prosperity replacing poverty, abundant health instead if illness, confidence and fulfillment triumphing over doubt and confusion.  These are not just wishful words.  This is reality.  Dig deeply into the wonderful Word of God and you will discover the extraordinary richness and blessings of life in Christ.  And as you appropriate Heaven’s answers for your own life, you will ultimately bless many with you testimony.

God’s Word on the subject:

Psalm 35:27              Psalm 103:2-3              Matthew 4:4

A Prosperous Spirit

I recently spoke with someone very dear to me who was sensing a change of direction in her life – a crossroads experience – and she felt very unprepared to correctly assess the direction she should take.  She spent much time alone- forced time alone due to injury – and, never having practiced listening carefully to her heart, did not trust the process.  Even if she felt a leading, how could she know that  she was either hearing correctly or being misled by her own preconceived ideas of where her life should go?  She shied quickly away from any reference to God – His willingness to carefully and lovingly direct her path and life decisions,  the reality of His Being as presented in Scripture which she had been very purposefully avoiding, and the clear-cut call to obedience which the Word requires.  She welcomed a generic, “I’ll pray for you”, but when she sensed any step toward a discussion of God’s covenant promises to His children, when she understood that the conversation was veering toward the inevitable discussion for or against the Lordship of Jesus, she shied away and brought the conversation to a close.  And yet through today’s Scriptures (God’s Word on the subject) we understand that there is no life outside of God, for nothing is independent of Him.

In His book The Power of the Blood  Covenant  Malcolm Smith writes:

“The problem with defining death is that those who are in the state of death are doing the defining and are convinced that they are alive!  From their perspective, they are alive now and death is what happens at the end of physical life;  but the Bible plainly says that ourside Christ they are not alive now!  This is the world of the walking dead who do not live but exist.”

My daughter Carly was recently sharing in an e-mail some Scripture passages that she felt would significantly help a young friend who was also dealing with life decisions after a path which she had taken ended in disappointment and seeming defeat.  The girl responded that, yes, those were Scriptures which she enjoyed and appreciated as well.  But Carly felt that the awe and wonder and the excitement and joy were not there in the girl’s response.  For, if that was God’s promise, His living Word, His covenant guarantee to His faith-filled children, then the Word should be latched onto with great expectation and gratitude to our Abba.  How wonderful, how assuring,  how success-filled is the Word!  For He does not lie – he is faithful to His Word!

A prosperous spirit is established firmly in this realization.  A prosperous spirit lives on “every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3).  A prosperous spirit relies on the Truth that our Abba extends to us “age-enduring love and kindness…compassion and mercy…a covenant of peace and completeness.” (Isaiah 54: 8, 10)  A prosperous spirit rests in peace.  A prosperous spirit recognizes and fully depends upon that covenant relationship that Jesus restored through the shedding of His blood; a covenant that God will never ever break.

He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, {I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake you or let you down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] (Hebrews 3:15)

God’s Word on the subject:

Lamentations 3:22-23                John 1:3-4              John 15:4-5

Hebrews 13:5

Fearing God – Part One

Psalm 111:10 –  The reverent fear and worship of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom and skill (the preceding and the first essential, the prerequisite and the alphabet); a good understanding, wisdom, and meaning have all those who do (the will of the Lord).  Their praise of Him endures forever.

In my Bible classes, for both the junior high and high school levels, “the fear of the Lord” was a difficult concept for my students to own. Trying to grasp that a God of love was to be feared seemed a confusing combination.  Often my students would claim that they understood it, but couldn’t explain it in words.  My response to that statement, in any class that I taught, was “If you are unable to use your words to explain it, then you truly don’tunderstand it.”  Fuzzy thinking, the unwillingness to “dig in” and encompass the meaning of a thing, is a wide-ranging symptom in today’s world.  So we would dig in.  We looked to a good dictionary for a definition, and we looked to the Word for an explanation.

Fear – to have a reverential awe of God, to be apprehensive, to have a distressing emotion aroused by the awareness of impending danger, to have reason for alarm.

Why would God command us to have a distressing emotion aroused by the awareness of impending danger; to be apprehensive and to have reason for alarm in our relationship with Him?  Why are we to fear God Who identifies His Being, His primary characteristic as love (1 John 4:16)?  Because of that love, Jesus came to die for us (1 John 4:9, John 3:16, Galatians 2:20).  We are controlled, urged, and impelled onward by the love of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14).  As God loved Jesus, so He loves us, tenderly (John 16:27 Amplified). We are to trust in His love, base our faith on His love.  His entire Word is a letter of love to us!  God is for us, for our success and prosperity, our health, our peace of mind and heart.  All of His commandments, His stated expectations of us, are for our benefit.

Deuteronomy 6:24 – And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to (reverently) fear the Lord our God for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is this day.  (Emphasis mine)

To fear Him is to realize that life without Him is not only unsuccessful and incomplete and unfulfilled, but dangerous.   To fear Him is the recognition that to walk in a way other than His way (of doing and being right) places us in harm’s way – open and susceptible to the enemy’s devices.  To fear Him is to acknowledge, by word and action, that wisdom chooses what He requires, because the alternative is sin/ disobedience (Exodus 20:20) , and therefore a choice to walk away from the protection of His promises, guidance, and provision.  Fearing God is our life-preserver, our righteousness compass, and, ultimately, our reason for being.

Look at Proverbs 1:7 in the Amplified version:

The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and the choice part of knowledge (its starting point and its essence); but fools despise skillful and godly wisdom, instruction, and discipline. [Emphasis mine]

Attend to that definition.  The underlined words truly instruct us in the significance to our lives of the fear of the Lord.

Psalm 111:10 (Message Bible) – “The good life begins in the fear of God – do that and you’ll know the blessing of God.  His Hallelujah lasts forever.”

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Exodus 20:20               Deuteronomy 6:2, 24                 Proverbs 1:7

1 John 4: 16-19

Healing Relationships

In my role as headmaster of a Christian school I often accepted students whose self esteem had been greatly wounded by the cruel taunts of others in another school’s setting.  Their sense of self-worth was so diminished, that they would not be able to look me in the eye; they walked through the halls with eyes downcast, timidly and painfully making their way through the school day.  Years of bullying and mocking and scoffing had certainly taken a toll.  These students, made in the image of God, felt worthless.   Their view of their life and their world held no sense of value; their negative judgment of their worth and self-condemnation a clear response to how the world had treated them. And this, of course, profoundly affected their studies.

Years later, coming across these same students walking through the school halls, I observed confidence, a sense of humor, camaraderie with others, and, as they initiated conversation with me, their eyes making confident contact with mine, I saw the result of several years of consistent love and encouragement.

In 1 Corinthians 8:1, we are told:

love (affection and goodwill and benevolence) edifies and builds up and encourages one to grow [to his full stature]. [Emphasis mine]

Look, too, at Ephesians 4:16:

…when each part [with power adapted to its need] is working properly [in all its functions], grows to full maturity, building itself up in love. [Emphasis mine]

Those dramatic instances were examples of, first, years of negative input, and, then, years of that which God calls us to – encouragement of one another, love, compassion, goodwill, and benevolence; that growth to full, godly maturity founded on being loved and therefore loving oneself.  But what of our daily interactions with others; family members, friends and acquaintances? God’s expectations remain the same and the results are equally life- giving.

In Philippians 2:3 we are told to look upon others with a degree of high value; to esteem them and even to consider them as better than ourselves.  Harsh words, unresolved disagreements, hurtful memories that still pierce our peace, contentiousness, envy, arguments (1 Corinthians 3:3) do not in any way reflect the God of love that we serve.  Our job to reconcile the world to God is seriously hindered and made of no effect through any lingering remnant of these actions in our lives and relationships with others.

Love, encouragement, and compassion open up the door, smooth the way, and anoint your words and testimony.  Ask the Holy Spirit today to show you any relationships that need this healing touch or any hurtful feelings in your own heart that prevent peace from being fully established there. His purpose in your life is to enhance your ministry of reconciliation so that God can effectively make His appeal through your life to others (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).   His desire is that you grow to your full stature in Christ, in love.

God’s Word on the subject:

1 Corinthians 8:1         Ephesians 4:15-16            Philippians 2:1-4

1 Thessalonians 5:11

In the Face of Unbelief – Part One

Our Lord Jesus told us throughout his earthly ministry that faith in God was the determiner of hoped for results, the medium through which we receive the answer to our prayers.  It is the conduit that transfers the blessings in the spiritual realm into the physical realm.  Faith is the currency of God’s kingdom.  It is the “self-surrender that accepts the blessing” (Isaiah 55:1).

Ephesians 1:3 –Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual (given by the Holy Spirit) blessing in the heavenly realm.

Our faith reaches into the realm of the Spirit and pulls those promised blessings, those God-given provisions that are “Yes, in Christ”(2 Corinthians 1:20)  into the physical realm.  As defined in Romans 12:2 faith transforms what is hoped for into the assurance, confirmation, and title deed of it. It “perceives as real fact what is not revealed to the senses”.  Faith is the proof of things we do not yet see.

So many New Testament Scriptures confirm the power and the promised results of activated faith in the Word, the promises, of God.

Matthew 8:13 – it shall be done for you as you have believed.

Mark 9:23  – All things are possible to him who believes.

Mark 11:22-24 – Have faith in God [constantly]…believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him…whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will get it.

We have our Lord’s Word on that – the Word of God on that.

Matthew 17:20 – I say to you, if you have faith [that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

What mountain hasn’t moved yet for you?  What situation in your life continues to stubbornly stand against God’s Word, His promises to you in Christ?  Be open to the inevitable reality that unbelief is mixed with faith.

Patsy Cameneti and Lynne Hammond in their book The Secrets to Powerful Prayer, tell us of a preacher, a traveling evangelist, who heard of an illness troubling his daughter.  This brother-in-Christ had, for years, preached, taught, studied and demonstrated that healing was the birth-right of each born-again child of God.  And yet, before he lifted up one prayer on behalf of his daughter, he returned to the Word , studying, speaking out, and reconfirming to his spirit what God’s Word had to say on the subject of healing.  When he felt sufficiently built up in this area – when the Word of God and only the Word of God filled his heart and mind – he spoke forth the healing promises of God in absolute trust and confidence, and from a distance his daughter was completely healed.  Why did this faith-filled man of God need to go through that process?  He understood the ever-present need to combat unbelief.

We need to attend more to the Word of God and its manifestation in our lives.  As his daughters, nothing else matters as much as proving Him right.  God’s Word builds our lives. It informs our expectations. It establishes our success and prosperity in all areas.  Establishing faith in the areas of our lives still hindered by unbelief is our daily calling!  The Word of God is our remedy for this – dig in!

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Isaiah 55:1              Ephesians 1:3               Hebrews 11:1

The Home of the Consistently, Uncompromisingly Righteous – Part Two

“Get your Bible.  I want to show you why My people are not receiving the fulfillment of My promises.  I want you to see why they are not receiving health and healing, why they aren‘t receiving prosperity and riches.”  (Secrets of Powerful Prayer– Cameneti and Hammond).

That certainly grabs your attention, doesn’t it!  The verse God led the author to was Psalm 112:1:

Praise the Lord!  (Hallelujah!)  Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who fears (reveres and worships) the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments.

The Lord goes on to speak, throughout Psalm 112, of all of the benefits inherent in the lives of those who live according to Verse 1.  Honoring God in your life, in your family, in your home starts with this.  Praise the Lord!  Worship Him!  Delight greatly in Him!

Again, from Secrets to Powerful Prayer:

“You can tell which people are doing business with God on a regular basis, because they’re always praising Him.  They always have something going with God to praise Him for.”

You are the heart of your home.  May the heart of the heart of the home be continually filled with gratitude, praise, thanksgiving and a joyful recognition that all that you are that is good, all that you have that is a blessing, and all that you will successfully become is our Father’s handiwork.

Be a daughter who leans the entire weight of your personality over onto God in praise and thanksgiving, who casts every concern once and for all over onto Him, who consistently raises up you children in the nurture and the “training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4), who stands uncompromisingly on His Word.  And praise, praise, praise!

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Psalm 112                Hebrews 13:15