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Sweet Salvation

This is a Psalm of King David. He spent about a 10 year period of his life being chased by Saul. This caused Him to cry out, thank and praise God for His saving hand in his life. God sustained David from many threatening instances where he should have died. I was intrigued when I looked up the Hebrew word for salvation in verse 5. “Salvation means deliverance, help, victory. The primary meaning is to rescue from distress or danger.”

I’d like to share two specific times in my own life when I cried out for God’s saving hand to rescue me. The first story is from when we lived in the Philippines. There, we loved to go on mini trips and go snorkeling around different islands. One one occasion we went out as family to snorkel in a secluded area. We loved marveling over the colorful fish, starfish, and corals we would see. After a while the rest of my family went back on the sandy shore. I was left there alone to explore. This was fun for a while, but I began to get tired of swimming and was getting anxious that I was going to cut myself on the corals. Not only that, but I didn’t know how to navigate the waters to get to the shore. I cried out to the Lord because I was afraid and didn’t want to drown. He gave me the peace of mind and wisdom to know how to swim back to safety. This made me so grateful for God’s hand leading me and guiding me in my time of desperate need.

The second is my salvation story. In one week I had almost lost my license because of a speeding ticket. Then the boyfriend whom I thought was the one broke up with me and was fired from my job. This brought me to an all time low point. I can remember being in my kitchen putting dishes away as I talked to God. I told God that I had been doing life my own way and I wanted to fully surrender my life to Him. I needed rescuing from my own failures, sins, and short comings. That day I came to know God in a personal way and received the gift of eternal life found in knowing and believing in Jesus Christ.

When have you been in danger or in distress? What did you do in those situations? I would encourage you today to journal what God did for you when you were in need of saving. Praise the Lord and thank Him for the marvelous work he did in sustaining your life and remember: He has been so very good to you!

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Walk In His Ways

Obedience and love for God go hand and hand. Our obedience flows from our love for our Heavenly Father. As we take small steps to obey God, 1 John tells us that His love is made complete in us. How beautiful it is! How can you and I take steps to obey His Word practically? What things that you have read from the Bible recently? Is there anything that keeps coming back to your mind? Has the Holy Spirit convicted and reminded you of things that you have read?

One thing God has been reminding me of lately is to help those in need. He recently gave me a chance to live this out in a real sense. There was a man along the side of the road with a sign asking for a drink or food. I had just gotten a smoothie with my daughter and needed to quickly decide what I would do because I was at the stop light. I sensed I was supposed to give the smoothie away to the man. The smoothie seemed to really bless and refresh him as he was out in the hot sun.

God longs for us to live His Word out! Why?! Because he desires for His perfect love to be made complete in us. The word complete or perfected in the Greek means to “make perfect by reaching the intended goal, mature.” When we live out and obey His word we are coming to the point of maturity in our love for Him and others!

We have a litmus test to know if we in God. 1 John says, “Whoever claims to live in Him must live or walk as Jesus did.” How did Jesus walk?

  1. In obedience to the Father – “He humbled himself and became obedient to death” (Philip. 2:8)
  2. In humility – “I am gentle and humble in heart.” (Matt. 11:29)
  3. In submission -” The Son only does what he sees the Father doing.” (John 5:19)
  4. In prayer – “He went up to a mountainside to pray.” (Mark 6:46)
  5. In love – “Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent on His love.” (John 13:1)
  6. In Holy Spirit dependence – “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was lead by the Spirit in the desert.” (Luke 4:1)

What a privilege we have to walk in the foot steps of our Savior Jesus! May we be humbled and challenged as we look at His wonderful example and seek to walk as He did today and in the days to come.

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The Lord’s Prayer II

God is in the business of providing for our daily needs. Sometimes he does this in ways we don’t even notice and other times it is so obvious that God did it! One prime example happened this week in our home. My husband Wade had been complaining of back pain for the past three months or so. He said that our 16 year old mattress was too old and causing him pain, but we didn’t have the funds to go buy another one. On Tuesday, a friends asked me if I needed a bed. She had no ideas we had been talking about needing one, but God did. She mentioned to me that a friend had a new King sized bed and frame for free. I was floored. Who gives away a bed for free?! Well, this couple did and we were the recipients of it. What a incredible gift from the Lord. Be on the look out on how the Lord is meeting your daily needs and thank Him often.

“Forgive us of the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs others have done to us.” This comes from the Good News Bible translation. I thought is was a little clearer than “forgive us our debts”. Wow, this verse is a big one. Everyday we come across situations where we hurt another individual usually with our words. We can be quick to speak and say something we regret later. Though our Heavenly Father is in the business of forgiveness, we need to be willing to turn and repent of our sin. “Jesus said, I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32).

We are also called to forgive others for little things and the big hurts. Sometimes I find that it’s the little things that linger and cause me to remember what was said and feel frustrated over. When I do this I haven’t yet forgiven them. In verses 14 and 15 it says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” God takes forgiveness very seriously! We are all sinners and we all need forgiveness from God. I pray today you would ask yourself if your are holding anything against another individual. Set yourself and them free by forgiving them. This will result in God forgiving you too.

“And lead us not into temptation” The word of God has some clear words about the subject of temptation. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, he will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Cor. 10:13). I love that last line, he doesn’t let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. This makes me think of Joseph in the Bible. He had to flee from a home where a married woman wanted to seduce him. (Gen. 39:12) This was where he was working daily for Potiphar. Potiphar had entrusted Joseph with all of his personal affairs. (Gen. 39:4) Potiphar’s wife wanted Joseph to sleep with him and he ran out of the house instead of giving in to her desires. God will make a way for us to escape from temptation.

“But deliver us from the evil one.” It tells us in 1 Peter 5:8, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him standing firm in the faith.” How do we stand firm in the faith? By knowing the living word of God. This is what Jesus did when Satan tempted him three times in the wilderness. He countered the things Satan said with the truth of God’s word. (Luke 4:2-13) Also in James 4:7 we see that it says, “Submit yourselves then to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” We can also follow this pattern of submission and resisting. When we do this we are told that the enemy will flee from us.

Wow, we covered a lot of ground today as we finished up the Lord’s prayer. I would encourage you this week to pray the pattern of the Lord’s prayer and see what the Lord might have to say to you in return. He is in the business of healing and restoring his beloved children.

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The Lord’s Prayer

As a little girl, I have very fond memories of my mother teaching me the Lord’s prayer. It was a very sacred moment between us as we prayed. This taught me how to go to God in prayer and and take my concerns to Him. This practice followed me to adulthood, though it wasn’t till I was 19 that I made a decision to truly follow after Christ.

Let’s delve in today and look at the first portion of this very vital prayer that Jesus taught His disciples. The one thing I noticed right away is the word hallowed. This is a word we don’t really use in our modern language. It means to be honored and holy. God’s name is to be lifted up and glorified because He is set apart and holy! There are so many names for God in the bible that help us identify with his wonderful character. He is our …

Elohim – Our Creator

El Shaddai – My Supplier

Jehovah Jireh – My Provider

Jehovah Rophe – My Healer

Jehovah Shalom – My Peace

Jehovah Rohi – My Shepherd

I would encourage you to do a study sometime on the names of God. It will draw you nearer to His heart and help you to know who He is in a greater way.

Lets look at the next phrase in the prayer,”Your kingdom come”. The kingdom has been communicated as “God’s place under God’s rule.” When we pray for God’s kingdom to come we are looking forward with anticipation to the coming of His eternal kingdom and reign. This helps to set our hearts in the proper direction of His kingdom agenda and not our own.

“Your will be done”. Jesus was often concerned about doing the will of the Father. Jesus said to his disciples in John 4:30, “That his nourishment came from doing the will of God who sent Him.” At the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed to the Father, “I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Matt. 26:39) We are to be like Jesus, submitting to the Lord’s will in our lives, and not our own.

Now that we have taken a greater look the beginning of this prayer I pray that it would encourage you to pray the Lord’s prayer on a consistent basis. That it would draw you closer to the heart, passion, and purpose of the Father and His eternal Kingdom that is to come!

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In The Morning

The Lord reminded me this early morning that I once wanted to do a bible study on the “in the morning” verses and see what I could find out about the Lord in each one. Did you know that the phrase “in the morning” is found in the bible 76 times? Here are some ways that it is used in the Old and New Testament.

God called Moses to Mt Sinai to stand before Him in the morning. Ex. 34:2

Pharoah was confronted in the morning by Moses. Ex. 7:15,8:20

Ruth was redeemed in the morning by Boaz. Ruth 3:13

God hears our requests in the morning. Ps. 5:3

The word of the Lord came to Ezekiel in the morning. Ez. 12:8

Jesus prays early in the morning. Mark 11:20

Jesus teaches in the temple early in the morning. Luke 21:30

Jesus stands before Pilate in the very early morning. Mark 15:1&2

The women brought spices to the tomb of Jesus in the early morning. Luke 24:1

Early in the morning Jesus stood on the shore and calls the disciples to throw their nets on the right side. John 21:4

What things does the Lord do in the morning in own your life? God tends to speak to my heart in the morning as I’m studying the word and praying. The morning is a crucial time that God lead his leaders to act. Just look at the example of Moses. He was called by God to confront Pharoah in the morning. Probably before he did anything else, he obeyed the Lord and went to Pharoah and spoke the words God gave him. We see in Exodus 34:2 that God called him to Mt Sinai to present himself to God. God had a special thing he wanted him to do. This was to chisel the 10 commandments in stone. Our best hours are usually at the beginning of the day.

Then we see Jesus using his first hours in prayer and teaching the word in the temple. He modeled a life of obedience to the Father and wanted to share what God revealed to His heart. He also used the morning to speak into the disciple’s lives when they had been fishing. He had them cast their nets on the right side. They listened and caught more fish than they could carry.

How are you listening to the Lord’s leading in your life? Do you take time to listen to Him in the morning hours? If not, how could you begin to spend time in His wonderful presence. Just as God lead Moses to do certain things, God wants to lead us also.

May you be satisfied IN THE MORNING with God’s unfailing love, that you may sing for joy and be glad all your days! Ps 90:14

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Shine Like The Stars

I’m going to start out a few verses before the ones above to set the stage. Paul is exhorting the Philippians to work out their salvation with fear and trembling in Philip 2:12. I think this is so very important to be working on our faith in a serious manner. To be pursuing God, His Word, and fellowship with other believers who can sharpen our walk.

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing.” Have you ever been around an argumentative person? One that always seems to be unhappy with life and the way things are going. One that wants to fight you at every corner. We are called as believers to act in a becoming way. “We are to seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Peter 3:11). One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is also peace. So as we walk in the Spirit, peace should emanate from our lives.

“So you will become blameless and pure.” To be blameless is to be without fault, without spot, guiltless. Pure in the Greek is to be innocent, without any mixture of deceit, reputable, and honorable. These are things we should all seek after and strive for.

“Shine like the stars in the sky.” I always told my mom when I was little girl that I wanted to be a star. I wanted to be in the lime light shining in the area of dance for the world to see. Now as a believer, I am to shine out my faith as bright as the stars we see in the night’s sky. Isn’t that incredible to think about?! When we when seek to “do everything without grumbling or arguing” we actually shine before others and they see something different in us, Christ!

How are you and I seeking to live in unity and peace with others? What relationships need to be altered or changed as a result? It seems like a tall order. But God can and will enable us to to do what we consider to be impossible for the glory of His great name and kingdom. Let’s shine like the stars in the night’s sky!

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Set My Heart Free

The scripture today is my favorite one found in the Psalms. I wanted to choose this particular translation of it though. It goes like this, “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free!” The Lord brought it clearly to my mind yesterday as I and some friends were talking in Bible Study about how the Lord heals us, restores us and makes us into the men and women of God that he so desires.

How is your spiritual run? Where are you headed? How is the word directing your heart and mind? There is a path that the Lord desires us to follow and it leads us directly to His living word. When we spend time meditating on scripture our hearts begin to change. Romans 12 :2a says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Our minds need daily renewal. That’s why we are to run to the word daily. It’s like pure living water to our soul. It nourishes and sustains us.

Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” God’s word lights up the way we should go. It guides us like the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day that the Israelites received from the Lord while on their wilderness journey. (Ex. 13:21) The Israelites would have been lost without these two very clear guiding signs in the sky that God provided for them. This is the same for us too. The word leads us, it guides us on our journey each day with our faithful Father.

As we grow in our consistency of being in the word daily, God begins to set our hearts free. This is true of me in my own personal walk. As I press in daily to knowing God more in His word he does something wonderful inside me. He has been in the process of healing me of things in my past that I never thought I’d be free from. I feel like the woman in this picture running in a field of flowers. Running freely in the arms of my God who knows me intimately and loves me unconditionally. It’s beautiful and it’s freeing!

How are you doing in the area of freedom? Do you sense your heart is free like this picture above or do you feel enslaved to something from your past or a current sin? I would encourage you today to take it to God in prayer. Ask Him to begin to do a work in you of freeing you from whatever is keeping you from living to your fullest potential. This is a definitely a process that takes time but have hope my friend, God is most certainly at work in your heart.

Choose today to run in the path of His commands and He will set your heart free!

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Wisdom Giver

When I think about God giving wisdom to his children, the prime example that comes to mind is Solomon. King Solomon prayed for wisdom at the beginning of his reign. “At Gibeon, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” Solomon answers and says, “Give me an understanding mind so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong.” “The Lord was pleased with Solomon’s reply and was glad that he asked for wisdom. I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding mind such as no one else has ever lived. God even went further than that and provided Solomon with riches and honor.” (1Kings 3:5,9-13)

Solomon wrote about wisdom in Ecclesiastes. He uses the word wisdom about 25 times in the book. One of his quotes was, “Wisdom is of more value than foolishness, just as light is better than darkness. For the wise person sees while the fool is blind.” So wisdom enlightens our eyes and enables us to see clearly, while foolishness blinds us.

Proverbs has a lot to say about wisdom too. Here are some quotes. “If you live a life guided by wisdom, then you won’t limp or stumble as you run.” (4:12) “For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can be compared with her.” (8:11) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in understanding.” (9:10) A person’s words can be a life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a babbling brook.” (18:4)

The book of James gives us a list of characteristics of wisdom. “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first pure, peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It show no partiality and is always sincere.” (James 3:17) This is what wisdom looks like in our life to others. Wisdom is not just about acquiring more knowledge, but it’s about using our knowledge with these qualities. I’d like to challenge us to think on this passage in James and ask yourself, “Are these traits of wisdom found in my life?” Purity, peace loving, gentleness, good deeds, mercy, sincere, humble and impartial. If not, take time to ask the Lord to fill you more with these wisdom qualities.

How are you pursuing wisdom today? How is wisdom shining forth in your life as a beacon of hope? Think on these things and choose to apply your heart to wisdom.

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In The Light

This morning I was singing a song to God about being in His wonderful presence. I decided to then look up scriptures about being in God’s presence. That’s how I chose the word for today from Psalm 89:15,16.

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you.” Acclaim means “to shout sounds of joy and enthusiastic approval.” This makes me think of King David as he came back with the ark of God, he came into his town with singing and dancing before the Lord. (2 Sam. 6:14) This was a time for great rejoicing and he did it with all of his heart.

I’d like to ask this question. How do we acclaim God? Do we do it in songs of worship and praise? Do we acclaim Him in our prayers that are like an incense to Him? Ask God this question, “How can I acclaim you today?” See what He says and stand up and do it by faith.

“Who walk in the light of Your presence, Lord.” Psalm 43:3 tells us, “Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me.” The light of the sun enables us to fully see where to walk. The light of the Lord illuminates the way he wants us to walk. To walk in his ways is to walk in his light. What are God’s ways? They are what the word sums up as goodness, righteousness and truth. Ephesians 5:8,9 says “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.” I’d encourage you to do a word study on these three words and see what you learn. It will most certainly enlighten your path.

“They celebrate your righteousness.” The hebrew word for righteousness is sedaqah. It means justice, right actions, and right attitudes. We can celebrate and praise Him because He is a God of justice. Psalm 103:6 says that, “The Lord works righteousness and justice for the oppressed.” “He also secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.” (Psalm 140:12) He is constantly working on the behalf of his people and this world he created. How do you see this in the world today? What are some good examples of our God who fights for justice?

Let’s choose today to walk in the LIGHT, rejoice in God’s name, and celebrate His righteousness! He is worthy of all the praise and adoration that we have. Celebrate God, glory in Him, walk in the light!

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Brave

I chose the word brave today for my title because to me that is what Esther embodies. She was a courageous woman of faith. One aspect of courage and bravery that I love is doing things even if you are scared. That’s exactly what queen Esther did. But before I delve into this truth a little deeper, let me give you a glimpse of what brought Esther to say, “And if I perish, I perish.”

I would encourage you to read the full book of Esther. It’s 10 chapters and worthy every minute of your time. It is full of intrigue, a murderous plot, and a surprising twist of fate.

I will begin the story in the kings palace. Esther ends up there because the king is searching for a beautiful virgin bride and is placed there in the best harem. It says that Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her including king Xerxes. He loved Esther and set a royal crown on her head.

Now there was a man name Mordecai who was relative of Esther. He would not kneel down and give honor to one of king Xerxes top men named Haman. Haman didn’t like that he wasn’t honored, so he devised a plan to destroy Mordecai and all of the Jews. Mordecai finds out about this evil plot and warns Esther. Esther responds by asking all the Jews in Susa to fast and pray for her for 3 full days. She in turn fasts and prays too. After that she said she would go and see the king. Though she is afraid that she might be killed because she is going uninvited into the kings presence. She resolves in her spirit that if she should perish, let it be.

Esther was very brave. Where did she get her courage to go into the king’s presence? I believe she got it from the Lord and spending time in His wonderful presence. The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. She knew her life was in God’s hands. Isaiah 41:13 tells us,”For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” God had taken hold of Esther’s hand and said I will go with you. No matter what you may face, I will be right there with you Esther. Courage is doing things even when we are frightened or afraid.

What things are you scared to face or do right now? What can you learn from Esther today that will help you face your fears? For me the thing I’m afraid and scared to do at the moment is a masters course. It’s quiet challenging and the homework is daunting at times. But I am greatly encouraged that the Lord of compassion and grace goes with me in it holding my hand. I am choosing to move forward each day working towards my goal of fully completing it in 2 year.

How is God calling you to be brave today? What faith steps can you take to conquer your fears and become more like an Esther? I would encourage you to take some time to journal about it and see what the Lord may have you do. We are on this journey of faith together. Where will the Lord take you? What courage is he calling up in you? Go to Him and see. It’s a journey! Let’s choose to be brave!