Friday, March 20, 2015

The Lord of Heaven's Armies

Often I think....why read the Old Testament?  There really isn't much in it to help me with what I am facing today!  And then the Lord lets me see that yes....really there is!  Just look at this passage from the story about David and Goliath....

1 Samuel 17:45-47New Living Translation (NLT)

41 Goliath walked out toward David with his shield bearer ahead of him, 42 sneering in contempt at this ruddy-faced boy. 43 “Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods. 44 “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” Goliath yelled.
 45 David replied to the Philistine, —“You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! 47 And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!”

When remembering this story....from my days as a my mind all I could see was the flannel graph board with a Sunday School teacher slapping some little paper figures on it telling us about David slaying Goliath with his sling and a stone.  While that is a good story that's really all it ever was to me....just a good story.  I have to admit that even to this day....even though I believe it to be true....I have only thought of it as a good kids story.

Side note....I'm thinking I still have a lot of old thoughts and feelings that I need to let the Lord help me with if I want to really grow in my walk with Him.  Yes?!

But this morning I saw so clearly that in just this one little passage there is so much more!  My first thoughts when I read this were....Goliath was in the lives of the Israelites what Satan is in our life at times.  Big....burly and intimidating!  He comes at us instilling fear and intimidation with everything he has.  Jabbing us with his spear....slicing at us with his sword....throwing darts at us that seem as big as a javelin....yelling things into our ears so we will back down from what we know to be right.  In effect....beating us down until we go whimpering off....defeated and no good to ourselves or anyone else.  Then just when you think you are done....something happens.  Yep....GOD steps in and leads you to read something from His Word that kind of kicks you out of your frozen state.  This story of David and God's eyes...."little giant" Goliath....

Immediately the words that got my attention this morning were....

....I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  Today the Lord will conquer you...

I have got to tell you that these verses changed my day today!  What I knew was going to be an awful day turned out to be a good day.  I am confident that things changed only because of the Lord. 

We need to realize that as long as we have the Lord we really can face anything.  We might have multiple giants going on in our life but it's okay because we have the Lord of Heaven's Armies standing with us and fighting for us!  We will make it through whatever our challenges are and we will still be on one piece when we get to the other side!

"until we see JESUS....face to face"

Saturday, March 14, 2015

He Shall Strengthen Your Heart

At times life brings things that are just hard to understand....things that we really don't have answers for....things that are just plain....tough....hard....and unrelenting!  I've been sitting here this morning trying to process through some of these things in my life and really....I'm having no success in doing that.  There's just one thought through all of this that I keep coming back to....

JESUS....He is the One constant good in my life!

When I first got up this morning I read a devotion on line.  It talked about being a follower of Jesus and not just a fan....we must totally surrender ourselves to Him.  Give up our will for His....good stuff and oh so true.  Then I read a few random scriptures but really....just couldn't get my mind to focus on anything.  At this point I started to write because it usually helps me to start to think on what is really important in my life....Jesus and my relationship with Him.  At this point I noticed the book laying on my desk....52 Weeks With Jesus....

As my mind keeps going to things I don't want to think about I find my eyes keep being drawn over to that book.  Every time I look at it I think....why?  Why do I keep looking at this?  Well, I'm getting matter what is happening I need to focus on Him....Jesus.  No matter what He is where my focus needs to be!  I flipped the pages of my bible back to the Psalms because....somehow....I just always feel better when I read from there.  This is the verse my eyes went too....

Psalm 31:24 NLT
So be strong and courageous,
all you who put your hope in the Lord!

I didn't notice at first but off to the side I had written the NKJ version of the verse....

Psalm 31:24 NKJ
Be of good courage,
and He shall strengthen your heart,
all you who hope in the Lord!

He shall strengthen your heart!  Really what I needed to know in this early morning.  My strength can only come from the Lord.  Within myself I really don't have much but through Jesus I will have what I need.  Which takes me back to....

Psalm 16:8 
I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.

That doesn't mean that things that happen won't bother us....even rock us to our core at times!  No.  It just means that we will know that the Lord is with us....right beside us....and we won't have that hopeless feeling that unbelievers have.  If....or when....we start to have those types of feelings we only have to call on Jesus and ask Him to help cover give us strength. 

1 Peter 5:7
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.

"until we see JESUS....face to face"

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Finding Rest

Today was definitely a day!  I woke up much too early and then drifted in and out of sleep for the last few hours of my night.  Finally I got up to get ready for work....but nothing went well.  Eventually I made it to my car to leave....and my phone rang....the day just kept unraveling from there....

Tonight....sitting here thinking....I looked up and saw a scripture I have on my desk....

Matthew 11:28-29
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]
29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.

I love both of those verses and I love them in every version I read them in.  This amplified version though....well it spells it out tonight.  Even though these verses say everything I need to hear right now, it's the first three words and the last four (not in parenthesis) that are jumping off the page at me!  

Come to for your souls. 

Can't you just see Him right now....arms outstretched opened wide....hands open showing the scars....beckoning....saying "Come, come to Me.  I will put my arms around you and hold you.  There is rest for you when you come to Me."  I'm not trying to add words to the's just how I am picturing Him for me.  In my moment of unraveling I can see Jesus doing and saying that....for me. 

Are you overburdened tonight?  Do you need that rest for your soul that only Jesus can give you?  If that's true for you....just go to Him and ask Him for some relief and blessed quiet.  Then you will find sweet rest.

"until we see JESUS....face to face"

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Created Anew

God is good!

Right now we are being held in the nail scarred hand of our Savior....Jesus Christ!  I am forever thankful!!

This morning I started a new book....52 Weeks With Jesus by James Merritt.  I said a short prayer before beginning this because I wasn't sure of it was meant for me to read or not.  My prayer was simply that the Holy Spirit would let me take in....digest....only what He wanted for me and that anything else would not sink in.  I believe He helped me to get exactly what I needed this morning....

The last verse in todays section was this....

Ephesians 2:10

"For we are God's masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things planned for us long ago"

I love that verse! 

The first section was about the family tree of Jesus....the people in His lineage weren't perfect!  Guess what?  Neither are we!  But that's okay.  Once we accept Jesus our past is just that....our past.  Now we can go on to do the things for Jesus we were created to do. 

Just like all who have come before me....I am not perfect and neither are you.  Our past isn't spotless and neither will our future be.  However....because of Jesus we have been made new!  We are a masterpiece of grace and mercy....God's grace and mercy.  We were created for a purpose with a job to do.  What we do for the Lord will be the part of our history that will be remembered for all time by the only One who matters!  Praise the Lord!!

"until we see JESUS....face to face"

Monday, March 2, 2015

Don't Just Be a Sunday Christian

Since becoming a Christian I have had many thoughts about my walk with Jesus.  The latest one is the thought that just kind of hit me between the eyes this morning and I believe that it came from the Lord....

Don't just be a Sunday Christian. 

Well....I don't want to be just a Sunday Christian.  No I don't!  I want to be the kind of Christian that the Lord wants me to be.  That is a....Sunday....Monday....Tuesday....Wednesday....everyday of the week and then start all over and do it again follower of JESUS type Christian!!  That's what He wants all of us to be.  He wants us to go all out for Him! 

Jesus has changed my life and He is continuing to change me daily.

What I have been saying for some time now....and you're probably tired of reading it is....I just simply want more of God.  I want everything He has for me! 

Psalm 63:1 says this;

O God, You are my God;
I earnestly search for You.
My soul thirsts for You;
my whole body longs for You
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.

Daily I feel that way and tonight it just rings truer than most nights.  I....and all of you....must grow in the faith that He has given to the way and the place that He has for us.   Wherever you are in your journey with Him....walk it out.  Wherever He has placed you....dig in and grow.  Grow deep in and with Him and with those He has placed around you.  Study His with Him....worship Him....and be a light in the dark so others can see Him as He really is....not as they think He is. 

If your soul is truly thirsty for will seek will cry out to Him....and He will give you what you need.  He might even ask you to change some things in your life.  It could be people, or it could be a place, but whatever it is for you....just go with it because it can be an exciting time!  But really what I find the kicker is....

When He changes things in your life you will know that He is in it and everything about it will be good!  And yes....He has changed some things in my life and it is good!  The best part of all that has been happening lately is....the more of God that I have been experiencing!  And the other best part is....there is so much more of the more of God that I know He is just waiting to give to me.  My job is to keep seeking and searching with an open heart and sometimes....just to wait quietly before Him and see what He has for me. 

I believe that the Lord wants us to keep reaching out to Him.  To keep calling on Him....searching for Him with an  open heart....and seeking Him with all that you have within you.  If you do these things....He will come to you and begin a work in you that you never thought was possible.  Then I believe you will walk with Him in a deeper way than you ever have before and you won't be....

Just a Sunday Christian!

Psalm 89:15

Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship,
for they will walk in the light of Your presence, Lord.

"until we see JESUS....face to face"