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Take Heart Dear Daughter

Take Heart Dear Daughter
One of my favorite stories is found in Matthew 9:20-22. We find a woman who suffered for 12 years. For 12 years she bore a burden that she thought she would have to endure for the rest of her days. She was so ashamed of her condition that she approached Jesus from behind crawling on the ground. Ridicule and insecurity became a way of life for her. The look upon her face was heart-wrenching. No friend would associate with her. Her family disowned her. She hears about this stranger with healing powers and thinks to her, “what more do I have to lose?’ She thought, “if I don’t take the risk, I will forfeit the miracle.” She believed. She had hope. With all her strength she had left in her, she reached for His hem. She was healed instantly when she reached for His cloak but because God is God, He gave her so much more that day. He questioned, “who touched me?” Even though He knew who did, He still questioned. He desires for us to reach to Him in faith and when we do, He wants us to be bold enough to proclaim His power and use it for His glory. Her faith made her complete. Imagine running a 5K. You are exhausted but suddenly you see this finish line. Your pace picks up and you focus on the finish line and run with determination. That is exactly what she did. She focused on God, pushed forward with faith and crossed the line. She had exhausted all her resources and rested in the fact that Jesus was her only hope. I love that Christ called her daughter. It confirmed that He desires to be our Father and we can go to Him for every need that He will supply according to His will. Can you imagine something so powerful that it could completely change your life? Her life changed, her gait changed, her body changed, her face changed and her heart changed. We carry burdens too. Sometimes for 12 years or longer. How does carrying that burden affect your life? When we keep carrying that burden, we limit God. He desires to take it away but we won’t let it go. She showed up expecting miracles and walked away the daughter of a King. She came to Him broken, empty, physically ill, shattered, unloved, discontented and frustrated. She left complete, full (not to the rim but overflowing), well, loved, satisfied and whole. That’s what our faith does. Faith takes us to the Rock and heals everything. Mere words are just words when it comes to this healing power. This power is at our fingertips if we would just have the courage to touch the hem of His garment. Have the courage to make the change. Reach out to Him in faith.

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I Can Do All

Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Contentment is being satisfied with who we are and where we are at this particular moment in time. We miss so much in the present because we are worried about tomorrow or looking back to yesterday. Luke 9:10-17 isn’t just a story about Jesus’ miracle of feeding the 5000 but a story about teaching the disciples about being content. The journey had been long and weary. Jesus told the disciples to give the multitude something to eat but they only had 5 loaves and 2 fish. In their mind, the best solution might have been to send the people away. Jesus equipped the disciples, we are also equipped with everything we need to minister to others. Jeremiah 1:5 ‘Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.’ 1 Peter 2:9 ‘ But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.’ The power of God is inside of those who know Him. A content person will bless it, break it and it will multiply. Our journey can be weary but we are equipped and because we are equipped, we should be content. Ask God to open your eyes and heart to your circumstances and ask Him how you can use it to minister to others. If you feel there is no hope, read Luke 9:17, the leftover fragments were taken up by the multitude (12 baskets full, one for each disciple). Not only does God give exceedingly, abundantly above what we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20), He is always on time and will give us the peace that we need to be content.

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Exceedingly Abundantly Above

God has the ability to give you more than you can imagine. Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worked in us, unto Him be the glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Not just more than you can imagine but exceedingly abundantly above what we can imagine. I don’t know about you but I cannot quite wrap my brain around that concept. When we earnestly pray for God’s guidance, we must anticipate His response and wait patiently. The problem is that we get distracted, forget what we prayed or just plain give up. For example, instead of praying, “God, I want to witness to someone,” instead pray, “God place a person in my path that needs you, allow me to recognize this through Your spirit, interrupt me and give me the words to convey your great love and power.” Sometimes begging God for a task just so we can see Him work is a bigger blessing. Sometimes we feel that God is silent. And sometimes He is. Teachers are usually silent during a test. God was silent in John 11:1-45. Although Jesus dearly loved Lazarus, Mary and Martha, He tarried when Lazarus was sick. Well one funeral and four days later Christ yelled, ‘Lazarus come forth.’ Sometimes we get too comfortable with God. God always rescues us but it may not look like what we want it to look like. Sometimes God wants us to understand Him just a little more. He wants us to seek Him a little more. He wants us to read a little more. He wants to reveal Himself to us and bring us closer than you have ever been to Him and sometimes He accomplishes that through silence. In His silence, wee should seek His face more, we should beg to know more, desire more, confess more, love more, listen more and be prepared to know Him more. That is where our hope lies. In Him and only Him. We are nothing without Him.

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Immediately


The word immediately can be defined as instantly or without delay. How often do we do things immediately? Or how often do we do things without really thinking about it? This same urgency describes each of the 12 disciples reaction to Jesus’ call. They all immediately left their nets, fields and offices to follow Him. Matthew 4:18-22 18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them,“Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him. 21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him. Immediate obedience. In fact, when Jesus performed miracles and healings, the people were immediately healed. Mark 1:42, 42 As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. Luke 8:44 came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped. What would happen if we had the same faith? We feel the Spirit beckoning us to talk to someone about Christ, we turn the other way. We are put in a position to give someone hope, and we keep our mouths shut. Every day we are given opportunities to be immediately obedient to God. What will you do today to be immediately obedient? I encourage you to begin preparing yourselves to attend God’s house tomorrow. Pray for the services, teachers, pastor, children and worship. Be bold and ask God for a blessing. He always provides…

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From Everlasting to Everlasting


1 Chronicles 29:10-13

Therefore, David blessed the Lord before all the assembly and David said: “Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.  Yours, O Lord, is the greatness.  The power and the glory, the victory and the majesty.  For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours.  Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all.  Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all.  In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.  Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name.

David’s prayer is a prayer of thanksgiving, praise and a petition.  He openly praised God.  Not just praised Him in general but praised Him for power, glory, victory and majesty in all things.  David exalted God above everything.  He simply acknowledged that He is Lord of all and mortal man is nothing.  His name is excellent in all the earth.  Everything is the work of His hands.  He created all things and we should praise Him with uplifted hands all day, every day.  He is the refuge, strength of our lives, source of peace.  He is mercy and justice.  He is love, constant and hope.

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The Strength of My Life

Psalm 109:30

“I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth; Yes, I will praise Him among the multitude.”  David was under attack by his adversaries.  They spoke against him and lied about him with words of hatred without any just cause.  In my opinion, David could have done a couple of things here and he did both.  He turned to prayer v4 and he petitioned the court for justice and requested that his enemies be punished. V6-v20

  1. Turning to prayer – In that battle, prayer is our first defense. No matter where you are, what you are going through or how someone is persecuting you, prayer is first.  Before speaking to our enemy, we should speak to God first.  In prayer, we can be completely first.  In prayer, we can be completely transparent with God.  He knows how we feel anyway.  There are no curtains up with God.  If He dwells in your heart, He knows what is in your brain.  He knows your tears, puts them in a bottle and records them in His book.  Psalm 56:8 When we cry out to Him, our enemies turn back because God is for you. Psalm 56:9
  2. He petitioned for justice – The humanity of the psalmist is revealed. Don’t we do this?  Let our anger take over or our frustrations take root?  We get angry and our anger translates to harsh prayers.  The truth is that we all do it.  Someone harms us or our family and we ask God to send His wrath just as the psalmist did.  Anger is a part of life.
  3. The praise – v21 But You, O God the Lord. He turned his prayer back to praise and asked God to deal with him.  Save him according to God’s mercy.  V28 “Let them curse, but You bless.” You see, God sees our pain and knows what we need.  Yes, we can take our anger to God but we are still to praise.  V30 I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth; Yes, I will praise Him among the multitude.  Lord, I will lift my eyes to the hills, knowing my help is coming from You, your peace you give me in time of the storm, You are the source of my strength, You are the strength of my life, I lift my hands in total praise to You.
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7 Life Lessons


I’ve learned a lot of things in my life but probably the most important are these:

 

  1. Hurt people hurt people.  When we are hurt, something inside of us is damaged and we can harbor those feelings in our hearts.  When we open our mouths, what is inside our heart comes out.  If we harbor hurt, that is what comes out.  Misery loves company.  Are you ever jealous of someone who seems to have it all-together?  People put the best of the best on social media.  People put a smile on their faces and hide what is wrong inside.  We use those posts and those smiles as a barometer for our lives.  Everyone has hurts and everyone has disappointments.  We must choose to use our words to uplift instead of tear down.
  2. The way people treat you is not a reflection of you but rather a reflection of themselves. Refer to number 1.  When we are down, we lash out.  When we are up, we uplift.  Our goal in life is to find others who have been hurt (look to your left and to your right because they are everywhere), and use our experiences to be a positive influence in their lives.  God gives us things and circumstances for a reason….to help others heal.
  3. Confident people will build you up and never tear you down. Confidence does not equal arrogance.  A person can be confident and strong.  Confident people want everyone to be loved and accepted.
  4. An encouraging word travels a long way. Our words are powerful.  I’m reminded of the old rhyme, sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.  The truth is that words do hurt.  Our words can cut to the core of our person.  People are careless of the words they use.  Ultimately, they can cause more damage than good if we aren’t careful.
  5. If you love someone, tell them…and show it. Our hearts are overjoyed when someone tells us that they love us; how about if we showed them?  Small things make such a big difference.
  6. Random acts of kindness can change someone’s day, week or life. Random acts can be big or small.  They can be as simple as buying a coffee or lunch for someone and as large as donating an organ.  Random act today!
  7. Invest in others. Changing the trajectory of someone’s life…. our job!  Jesus told us to love all people as ourselves.  All people, not just the ones in our neighborhood.  Not just the ones who have the same skin color as us or even the one who believes like we do.  All people.  When God sees us, He doesn’t see color, religion or even social status, we see those things.  Challenge yourself to be more Christ like and look upon others the way He does.  Invest in their lives.  Show people that you care. Go the extra mile.
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Unveiled Face

2 Corinthians 3:7-18

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord”.  Veils are interesting articles.  My first thought is one of a bride on her wedding day.   On this day, she opens herself up to a new life with her husband.  When the veil is lifted, she can see more clearly.  When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the tablets, the people could not look at him because his face shone so strongly with God’s light.  Moses had been in a face to face conversation with God and it was literally written all over his face! Once we meet with Him, our veil is removed and we can see life clearer; a different perspective. Our countenance can be overshadowed by sin. The veil keeps us from being true, open and confident individuals with the gospel but removing the veil brings boldness and courage to our walk. Our lives change, our countenance changes, and we have a peace when we meet with God.  When the veil is lifted, ignorance is taken away, our minds are no longer blinded and our hearts are no longer hard. There is freedom in God.  I love sharing God with others because you can see their life change right in front of you.    The new way with God in our lives gives us confidence to face the any adversaries and we can become bold in our actions for God’s Glory.  V16 tells us that when a person come to Christ, our veil is to be lifted and taken away.  The veil can be symbolic of Christ and the only way to the Father.  Because He finished the work on the cross, we can now go directly to God through Jesus.  We are separated from God, veil between us, before accepting Christ.  True believers are commanded to let their countenance show proudly and openly.  That same unveiled face will one day see Christ.  Sometimes during worship, I think about seeing His face one day.  It gives me chills.  Think about His unveiled face for a moment.  That thought makes Him worthy of worship.