Rise before the family. Start a load of laundry, make the kiddo's breakfast, kiss hubby goodbye as he walks out the door. Fold that load of laundry, wash the breakfast dishes...
Join me today over At the Well as we reflect on God's truth regarding being still before Him.
Rise before the family. Start a load of laundry, make the kiddo's breakfast, kiss hubby goodbye as he walks out the door. Fold that load of laundry, wash the breakfast dishes...
"He disciplines us for our good,so that we may share His holiness.All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful,but sorrowful, yet to those who have been trained by it;afterwards it yields the peaceful
fruit of righteousness."
Hebrews 12:10b-11, NLT
Discipline increases wisdom; along with wisdom come blessings from the Lord.
Discipline brings one into the protective realm of the hand of God, making us submissive to His authority.
Discipline is evidence of God's love for His children.
Discipline is a means by which God educates His children in the way they are to go. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, we see that Paul learned humility and the power of God in his life because of the "thorn in the flesh". Paul was to walk in the path of humility, recognizing that all he was and was doing could only be attributed to the power of Christ in him.
Discipline, although uncomfortable to its recipient, is good.
What we don't often realize is that behind the scenes, before He ever flung the stars into space, God had today in mind. He had this very week in mind. In fact, He had you in mind. And He knew exactly what He was going to do. God is never at a loss to know what He's going to do in our situations. He knows perfectly well what is best for His children. Our problem is, we don't. And we say to Him, "Lord, if You just tell me then I'll be in great shape. Just reveal Your plan to me. Explain to me exactly what we are about to do, and then I'll count on You for everything." But, my friend, that is not faith.
Oh Father, thank You for rescuing me from the pit of despair and defeat. Thank You for turning my mourning into dancing! I will praise You for the rest of my days!
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Unless man is changed inwardly, the external changes will never come. In order for those internal changes to take place we must walk in the Spirit so as not to fulfill the desires of the flesh.
Let's look at two reasons why we should walk in the Spirit.
~1. Walking and/or abiding in the Spirit will give us victory over the flesh by diminishing its power. Verse 16 of Galatians 5 says that we are to "walk in the Spirit". If we dig below the surface meaning of this word, we will find that the word "walk" in the original Greek language is a present imperative which should actually be translated to read "keep on walking". This walking in the Spirit is a continual process; it is a habitual lifestyle. We are to align ourselves so that we are placing our feet in the very footprints of the Holy Spirit. If He steps to the right, we are to step to the right; if He steps to the left, we are to follow suit. If the Spirit presses on straight ahead, then we too, are to forward march. Where He goes, we are to go.
You and I have the choice to align ourselves with the Spirit. We must choose daily to keep on walking after Him. How do we do this? How do we daily walk in the Spirit so that we experience victory over the lusts of the flesh? We must get into God's Word digging for those truths He's placed there for us to live by; we are to surround ourselves with believers who will encourage us to live our lives according to His precepts; and we are to discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness. To walk in the Spirit we must let go of our selfish will and surrender completely to God's will; we must confess sin quickly; we must trust God to do what is best and we must be obedient in every aspect of our lives.
In Romans 7:15 & 19, Paul says, "the things I desire to do, I don't do, and the things I don't desire to do, I do." Paul realized that in Christ he was a new creature. His new nature desired to please and serve God, yet his flesh was still waging war within him. He goes on to say in Romans 8:1 & 2, that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus and who are walking according to the Spirit; rather there is freedom from the law of sin. Paul understood the importance of walking in the Spirit; he knew that only when one was in step with the Spirit would one experience victory over the flesh.
~2. Abiding in the Spirit will give us victory over the flesh through the production of fruit. In Galatians 5:22-23, we find the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
The first three characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit- love, joy, and peace- speak to our relationship with God. The next three- patience, kindness, and goodness- have to do with our relationship with our fellow brothers and sisters. And the last three characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit- faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control- speak to our relationship with self.
There are only a few essential things a plant needs in order to grow and produce fruit, two of those being warmth and water. Whether it be in dirt or wrapped tightly inside a paper towel, a seed must be placed inside something in order for it to grow. It needs protection and warmth before it is able to sprout. When a seedling begins to grow, it grows in two directions, up and down. It first begins to grow down, establishing a strong root system that will firmly secure the plant as it continues to grow. Once the roots are established, the seedling then grows up in search of the sun. It is important to note here that the seed will neither develop roots nor sprout in search of the sun if it has not been watered properly.
What does all this plant talk have to do with you and me? I'm glad you asked. Think of the Holy Spirit as that which surrounds us, protecting us, giving us the freedom to grow. We are watered with the Word, which enables our roots to grow deep, firmly planting our feet so that when the storms of life rage around us we will not topple over. As we grow, our pursuit of the Son intensifies and we begin to stretch ourselves reaching out for Him every step of the way.
The fruit of the Spirit will be displayed in our lives when we have put to death the flesh. In Romans 13:14, Paul tells us to make no provision for the flesh; we are to put to death the flesh and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Abiding in Christ and keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, we are empowered to starve the flesh and live the abundant life Christ came to give us.
What we couldn't do, what we can't do, put to death the flesh on our own, has been surpassed by ALL that CAN be done in and through walking in step with the Spirit, allowing Him to lead and guide us in this life.
God is our ultimate picture of strength (Psalm 68:35; 89:13). His wisdom is far beyond what our feeble minds can fathom. He NEVER gets tired; He NEVER slumbers. He is always working for our good (Romans 8:28).
~In God, not only do we find strength, we also find rest.
"I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me."
~In Him there is protection from the enemy.
~God is the source of wisdom.
~Power and strength are in His hands to bestow upon His children.
Father, we praise You today for You are our strength. Thank You for being the shield that protects us from the enemy who seeks to devour. Thank You that Your peace allows us to lie down and sleep. Your power gives us to ability to do all You have called us to and Your wisdom enables us to make right decisions. Guide us this day in Your ways. Amen.
In the Word
If I heard it once growing up, I had to have heard it a thousand times, "You look just like your mom!" As a teenager who thought she knew everything those six words meant nothing to me. Today, though, they mean the world.
I do want to look just like you; not only do I want to age as beautifully as you have, minus the gray hair- I'll continue to dye mine, thank you very much- but I desire to have a heart just like yours.
The beauty of the Lord shines upon your face and His compassion fills your heart. For as long as I can remember, your hands have served others before yourself. Your words are filled with wisdom and knowledge, tenderness and mercy. You are a servant unlike any I have ever know. You go above and beyond your call of duty. You never half-way do anything; "excellence" is your middle name. You bring light into a very dark world.
Thank you for loving my daddy and showing me how to be a godly wife who loves and respects her husband. Thank you for loving Leah and me, being that example for me as to how I am to raise my children in the admonition of the Lord.
Thank you for loving Jesus with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Thank you for being His servant, teaching me what it means to put others before myself. Thank you for always praying for me and believing in me when I didn't believe in myself.
You are more than my mom, you are my best friend. I love more than words can say and I hope I look just like you when I grow up!
* Pray. Ask God to give you an open heart and mind to learn new truths from His Word. Read Psalm 28 through three times. Record any thoughts or questions you have in your journal. If a verse stands out to you, write it on an index card and begin committing it to memory.
1) To you I call, O LORD my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to
me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the
pit. 2) Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands
toward your Most Holy Place. 3) Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those
who do evil, who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their
hearts. 4) Repay them for their deeds and for their evil work; repay them for
what their hands have done and bring back upon them what they deserve. 5) Since
they show no regard for the works of the LORD and what his hands have done, he
will tear them down and never build them up again.Psalm 28:1-5, NIV
The exact occasion that led David to pen this Psalm is unknown. What we do know is this, David is in need of his Lord and is crying out in earnest for the Lord to hear and rescue him.
I am a visual learner, so when I read this Psalm a picture immediately come to my mind.
David was surrounded on all sides by evil men. There were those who were building their own kingdoms in order to further themselves and make their name great. Then there were those who were involved in idolatry and pagan worship. Others, close to David, were out to destroy him and his kingdom because of the God whom he served.
David had a front row seat to the world of wickedness, which allowed him to witness firsthand what a life apart from the LORD would do to a person. His cry to the LORD was, "Oh, LORD, please hear my cry to You and save me. I do not want to become like one of these who seek after the pleasures of this world. Raise me above this wickedness and set my feet upon Your Rock." This man of God did not allow himself to focus on the circumstances around him. Rather, he fixed his eyes on the LORD, having great confidence that God would hear the cries of His child.
6) Praise be to the LORD, for He has heard my cry for mercy.7) The LORD is my
strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps
for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song. 8) The LORD is the strength of
His people, a fortress of salvation for His anointedone. 9) Save Your people and
bless Your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.
Psalm 28:6-9, NIV
I believe David went from feeling alone in a myriad of people to standing in the presence of God Almighty. He praised, he worshipped, he danced, and he sang, for the LORD had heard his cries and answered. The LORD became his strength; empowering David to continue to stand strong in a world plagued by evil man. The LORD became David fortress, shielding him from the schemes of the enemy. The LORD was to him a shepherd who would lead and guide David all his days.
Yes, David was alone amongst his people, but God was always with him. What a beautiful reminder to us to always cry out to the LORD in times of aloneness, uncertainty, trial, or heartache. The LORD will hear the voices of His children. He will become our strength and our shield. He will shepherd us and set our feet upon His Rock.
Lift your hands today and praise Him in His holy sanctuary!
The History Of National Day Of Prayer
Because of the faith of many of our founding fathers, public prayer and national days of prayer have a long-standing and significant history in American tradition. The Supreme Court affirmed the right of state legislatures to open their sessions with prayer in Marsh vs. Chambers (1983).
The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history, including President Lincoln's proclamation of a day of "humiliation, fasting, and prayer" in 1863. In 1952, a joint resolution by Congress, signed by President Truman, declared an annual, national day of prayer. In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Reagan, permanently setting the day as the first Thursday of every May. Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. Last year, all 50 state governors plus the governors of several U.S. territories signed similar proclamations.
The National Day of Prayer has great significance for us as a nation. It enables us to recall and to teach the way in which our founding fathers sought the wisdom of God when faced with critical decisions. It stands as a call to us to humbly come before God, seeking His guidance for our leaders and His grace upon us as a people. The unanimous passage of the bill establishing the National Day of Prayer as an annual event, signifies that prayer is as important to our nation today as it was in the beginning.
There are many ways you can involve yourself in the NDP. You can learn more about those opportunities by visiting the National Day of Prayer's Official Website. Let me encourage you to make it a point to check out the 7x7 Prayers.
Friends, our nation needs prayer like never before. Our government leaders need us to pray for them. Those fighting for our freedom all over the world need our prayers. The media, our economy, and those who are making decisions about our children's education need our prayers. The pastor's of our churches and their families need our prayers. Our families and friends need our prayers. Satan, I believe, is on the prowl in our day and age like he has never been before. He is out to destroy the body of Christ and we as members of that body must fall on our faces before the Lord and fight for what belongs to us.
"Prayer is the fuel that energizes the power of God."Dr. J.W. Lee, Old Testament Professor
Information on the history of the NDP was obtained from the NDP official website.
"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because
anyone who comes to Him must believe that He existsand that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him."Hebrews 11:6
One of the many definitions of the word "digest" means to think over and absorb. In order for you and I to become like Christ, it is an absolute necessity that we are thinking about, meditating upon, and absorbing His Word. You and I MUST daily be in God's Word feasting on the richness contained within.
In school, we learned about the Revolutionary War and Queen Elizabeth by reading and studying through those periods of time in our history books. We studied poems written by great authors such as Robert Frost and Walt Whitman. We read famous works of literature and studied the authors behind those works by doing research. All of this required work on our part; it required that we spend the time needed to gain the knowledge that was available to us through a thorough study of these works, periods of time, and people.
Think of the Bible in the same way. In order for you and I to know about God, we've got to read "His Story". We can't become more like Him if we have no idea who He is. We can't live our lives according to His precepts, if we aren't willing to spend the time digging into His Word to pull out those nuggets of truth. The more we read and study, the more we will know who He is. A thorough study of God's Word will give direction and purpose for our lives.
"I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways.I delight in your decrees;I will not neglect Your word."Psalm 119:15-16, NIV
Are you meditating on the precepts contained within the Word of God? Are you spending the time necessary to know God more?
Set aside a specific time each day when you can spend uninterrupted time digging into God's Word. Find a special place where you can spend this time with Him that will be quiet; somewhere that won't have any distractions. If you need someone to hold you accountable seek out a sister in Christ. Tell her the time you have set aside to spend with the Lord each day and ask her to hold you accountable to spend this time with Him. Pray, pray, pray for God to speak to you and to give you the discipline to remain consistent in your time with Him.
Setting aside time each day to spend with the Lord will require sacrifice on your part. It's going to require that you stretch your mind and tackle ideas you've never come across before. You are going to have to discipline yourself in order to be consistent and stay focused. It's not easy; in fact, it's hard. But, the reward of knowing your Lord Jesus in a more intimate, personal way will be so worth it!
"Study to show thyself approved unto God,a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,rightly dividing the Word of truth."2 Timothy 2:15, KJV
* Pray. Ask God to give you an open heart and mind to learn new truths from His Word. Read Psalm 27 through three times. Record any thoughts or questions you have in your journal. If a verse stands out to you, write it on an index card and begin committing it to memory.
"1) The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I
fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread? 2) When evildoers
came upon me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled
and fell. 3) Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war
arise against me, in spite of this I shall be confident. 4) One thing I have
asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the
LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate
in His temple. 5) For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His
tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up
on a rock. 6) And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, and
I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the
LORD."Psalm 27:1-6, NASB
If one were to look back over the life of David, she would see time after time after time, the enemy's of David seeking to do harm to him and the kingdom of Israel. I've often asked the question, how could David have such a confident faith in the Lord if someone were always out to hurt him and at times go so far as to try to kill him? I believe the answer lies in David's private commitment to the Lord. When no one else was looking, David was enjoying sweet fellowship with the Lord, seeking the Lord's will for his life and allowing the Lord to mold him and shape him into the man he was born to be. David knew that the most important aspect of his life wasn't how he would rule over Israel or how he would conquer other kingdoms; instead, David knew the most important facet of his life to be those parts that only God could see. What David did in the private places with the Lord was the what made him a man after God's own heart.
The temple had not yet been built so the dwelling place of the Lord was nothing more than a tent. Although the place where David met with the Lord was a structure made of poles that were draped with some type of clothe, God's presence filled every nook and cranny of that place. David entered into God's tent with exuberant joy because he was entering into the presence of his Lord.
In the ancient Near East, when a visitor entered into the tent of his host, the host became personally responsible for the visitor's protection and provision; the fragile walls of the tent became a mighty fortress that would keep safe it's inhabitants. As David entered the tent of the Lord, that tent became a fortress that would keep David safe from those who sought his life. David, as the visitor, would experience God's saving protection and would never go without anything he would need.
David's confident trust in the Lord to keep him safe and provide for his every need, allowed him to enter into His presence not pleading for protection and crying out for more of this or more of that, but rather this confident trust gave him the freedom to worship the Lord and behold His magnificent beauty. David was able to sit and meditate on the goodness of God and not fret about the enemies who desired to harm him. He was able to walk away from his times of worship feeling the rock under his feet and seeing above and beyond the enemy to the victory God had prepared (Warren W. Wiersbe).
Just like David, there is an enemy who seeks to destroy us. It is an enemy who desires to steal our joy and divert our attention. An enemy who seeks to destroy our homes and render us ineffective for God's kingdom. It's an enemy who tries to control your mind and ruin your self image through barbie doll images and fade diets. This enemy wants so much for you to believe that you are nothing, that you are worthless, that no one will ever love you because you are such a bad person. This enemy, my friends, is out for blood- he is diligently seeking whom he may devour.
What do we do? How to do we fight the enemy? We march ourselves into the very presence of God and allow Him to be our strength. We praise Him in all things. We focus our thoughts on Him and not on the one who seeks to destroy. We abide in Him. When the enemy comes against you, run as hard as you can to the place where God is and allow Him to be your shield.