You are God's Girl

I was nothing special. Just a common girl, growing up in my uncle's home. Living an uneventful life, until the day I was taken away to the king's palace where I was pampered and perfumed, dressed in silk garments and schooled in refinement, but inside, I was still that common girl. Suddenly, an overheard conversation revealed mortal danger for my people and I, only I, was positioned to save my people from annihilation. Scared, inadequate, I sought my God for wisdom and guidance, then He heard my cry, showed me what to do and my people were saved.

You are now positioned to save those around you. Perhaps not from physical death, but from spiritual death, from the plans of the evil one, who seeks to destroy their lives. You think yourself a common girl, nothing special, but you are God's girl, placed in this time and space for specific purposes. Will you allow Him to use you?

Each day you are surrounded by hurting people, wounded and broken by the hardships of life. You are light in a dark place, hope where there is none, a friendly face among the crowd. It is no coincidence that you are where you are - your city, school, work place, neighborhood, even the stores you frequent. God has situated you to share His love with those around you. Will you be His hand extended?

This is the moment for which you were created. Each encounter is an opportunity to bless - a smile, a kind word, an pat on the back - these are life changers. Let Him help you change lives today.

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What happens when we talk about the Lord?

Don't you just love getting into a good conversation about the Lord? When thoughts and scriptures flow to and from one another? When questions are asked and someone can give the answer from the Word? When a friend shares a moment when God stepped into the middle of a bad situation and turned it around for good?

Those kind of conversations stir my spirit and build my faith, but there's something else that happens when we stop along the way to talk about the Lord together.  I found it in Malachi 3:16 this morning...
"Then those who feared the Lord talked often one to another; and the Lord listened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who reverenced and worshipfully feared the Lord and who thought on his name." (AMP)
"Then those who honored the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened and heard them. The names of those who honored the Lord and respected him were written in his presence in a book to be remembered." (NCV)
"Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name." (NIV)
"Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name." (KJV)
"Then those whose lives honored God got together and talked it over. God saw what they were doing and listened in. A book was opened in God’s presence and minutes were taken of the meeting, with the names of the God-fearers written down, all the names of those who honored God’s name." (MSG)
Then those who feared the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name." (NLT)
See, no matter which version of the Bible you prefer, the fact remains that God takes notice of what we say about him when we get together. He keeps a record of our conversations. 

How it must please him when his children discuss his goodness and faithfulness. How he must delight when we speak in faith rather than in fear and trust rather than doubt. It must cheer his heart when he hears his children encourage one another to stand strong in their faith. He must be thrilled when we surround a hurting brother or sister with love and prayers and support.

Let's bring him honor today. Let's be aware of our words as we talk with one another. May our words encourage, uplift and inspire others to draw closer to Him.

He is watching and listening to our conversations. Will he be blessed or disappointed with what we say today?

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Satan's Gone Fishing - Don't Take the Bait!

I grew up fishing with my Dad. He knew just where to fish, what bait to use and the right lure to use if the live bait didn't work.  If the lure or bait wasn't drawing them in, he had a "magic" spray that made them smell enticing to the fish once they took the hook, he knew exactly how to work the line and reel them in.

Me? I always felt a little sorry for the fish. I mean, there they were, swimming along, minding their own business when suddenly something catches their eye. It's shiny, it's moving seductively, it even smells good in a wormy kind of way.

What's the fish expecting? A yummy treat that's going to be so satisfying. A distraction that makes swimming around in the same old boring lake seem fun and exciting. Maybe he's dreaming of how he's going to brag to the "guys" about how good it was. He might even recommend that his buddies give it a try.

What did the fish get? A sharp pain, dragged out of his place of comfort, away from his fishy family. Finally, he was pulled to destruction and finally to his death.

Are you getting the connection?

Satan loves to go fishing. He also knows just where to fish - usually among those who are dissatisfied or bored with the status quo of their life.  He suspects that they're hungry for something new, that they're vulnerable to just the right bait.  

The devil has a tackle box full of lures and magic sprays. He will try everything in his arsenal until he finds what works with you, and when he does, and when you bite, he'll reel you in so fast it will make your little fishy head spin.

Saying yes to his bait will cost you - sometimes your job, friendships, marriage, reputation, money...make no mistake...he will drag you further and further away from happiness until destruction surrounds you and if possible, he will seek to take your life.

How to keep from falling for Satan's bait:
  • Read God's word to stay spiritually strong
  • Be aware of the Devil's schemes and on guard against them
  • Pray to be kept from temptation
  • Pray for insight and wisdom
  • If it looks good - BE CAREFUL!
What to do if you're already on the hook and headed fast toward the shore of destruction:
  • Admit and renounce your sin
  • Ask God to forgive you
  • Admit your sin to a Pastor or a strong and trusted Christian friend- ask them to pray for you
  • Make yourself accountable to someone
  • Make amends with those you've hurt
God has the power to take you off the hook and restore your life. Oh, you might have a sore mouth for a while. Sin always hurts and might even leave a scar. Sin has consequences, but God will strengthen you to face them.

Final advice - stay away from flashy things that distract and tempt you to stray from what you know is safe and right.  

Don't take
the bait!

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Crucifixion - It's a Good Thing

As I read this scripture today, I had to ask myself, "Has the world really been crucified to me and I to the world?"

Admittedly, we have to live in this world, but let's look at what Jesus prayed just before he ascended to Heaven...

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world." John 17: 13-18
Jesus said that he was not asking the Father to take us out of the world, but that God would protect us from the evil one.  

  • Why would we need protection?  
Because the world, under the influence of the evil one (Satan) will hate us, just as it hated Jesus.
  • Why would Jesus want us to stay in this world? 
Because we are light in this dark place. We are a preserving power, keeping evil from overcoming all good.  We are Children of the Living God, filled with the Holy Spirit, representing His love as we reach out to others with the truth of salvation through Jesus Christ. He is sending us into the world, just as God sent Jesus to the world.
  • How do we crucify the world and yet still be engaged in ministering to others? 
First, crucifying the "world" does NOT mean crucifying (figuratively speaking) the people in it. God loves people - all people, even the mean ones, and He commands us to do the same. If you can't minister to them, reason with them, or reach them - PRAY FOR THEM and ask God to give you His love for them. Make a difference to those around you in any way you can. Ask God to give you open doors and open hearts, then reach out to those around you.
  • How do we crucify ourselves to the world?
While we are in the world, we will be tempted to adopt the world's standards, culture's morals and habits - those things that go against biblical standards and God's commands. It's a subtle temptation, to which our carnal nature leans. It's a tendency to make small compromises to fit in or enjoy just a little sin - to live right on the edge. To dabble in things we know that if taken to the extreme would be a sin.  Our rationale is, "Just a little won't hurt." That's how every vice, every addiction, every moral failure begins. Flirting with sin is a dangerous habit, so start with those little temptations. Say no at the beginning of temptation and yes to the things that please God. That's how we crucify our selves to the world.
  • But, won't I miss all the fun in life?
Sin may look like fun, but there are always consequences to sin. Yes, there is forgiveness, but that doesn't always alleviate the suffering caused by our bad choices.  Avoiding sin requires self-discipline, which is a fruit of the Spirit. You have the ability to be disciplined enough to say no - you just have to exercise it.  God has already extended the grace you need to say NO to sin.
"For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age" Titus 2:11-12
  • What's the pay off?
"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11
The pay off to crucifying the world's sins to you and you to the world's temptation to join in those sins, is a righteousness that pleases God and a peace that settles deep in you soul. Add to that the full measure of Jesus' joy that He promised in the verses above and your life will be rich and fulfilling. RIGHTEOUSNESS (being right with God), deep PEACE and JOY beyond measure - what a way to live!

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Where is the POWER in PRAYER?

image used by permission from  Des Pain
 "Much is said and many complaints are made about the feebleness of the church to fulfill her calling, to exercise an influence over her members, to deliver them from the power of the world, and to bring them a life of holy consecration to God. Much is also spoken about her indifference to the millions of heathen whom Christ entrusted to her that she might make known to them His love and salvation. What is the reason that many thousands of Christian workers in the world do not have a greater influence? Nothing except this - the prayerlessness of their service. In the midst of all their zeal in the study and in the work of the church, of all their faithfulness in preaching and conversation with the people, they lack that ceaseless prayer that has attached to it, the sure promise of the Spirit and the "power from on high" (quote from The Prayer Life by Andrew Murray)

What was the "promise of the Spirit" that would bring us "power from on high?"

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8

Jesus promised that when the Holy Spirit comes to us (at the point of salvation), He will give us the power to be His witnesses. The power to influence people to turn to Christ. The power to pray with authority for the healing of those around us. The power to change the world is at our disposal, yet we fail to tap into that power because of our weak prayer lives.

How do we tap into the power of the Holy Spirit?

"In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." Romans 8:26-27
If you want your life to be a powerful witness for Christ,  the answer is found in prayer, much prayer, accessing the Holy Spirit's ability to show us how to pray, what to pray and giving us the POWER to do the will of God.

Do you experience the ability - the power, to do the things God asks you to do? If not, then I ask you - How's your prayer life?
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When People are Rude and Hurtful

 I saw this post on Facebook from one of my friends...

"I'm trying not to be upset/offended by how rude some people can be. I am about at the point of just not talking to some people anymore. Period. Pray for me in this. I don't want to be rude either but I don't want certain people to think it's OK to be rude at the same time. What to do, what to do. Any advice ?"

Never one to pass up the invitation to give advice, here's what I came up with...

It's hard when people are rude and hurtful, so what does the Bible say about how we are to handle a situation like this?

I have two go-to passages of scripture that I lean on when things like this happen.

First - Proverbs 19:11 "A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense."   - So, I try to overlook the offense. I often say that a person would have to go a long way to offend me, because I refuse to be easily offended. Being offended is a choice. A person can be a jerk, but we don't have to let their actions or words offend us to the point that we lose our peace.

Second - if someone commits an offense that it is actually a sin, I do what it says in Matthew 15:17-18 - “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector."   - How does the Bible say we treat a pagan or a tax collector? We are to love them in spite of who they are.

Another person responded to the post with this...

I have problems with confronting some people... It comes down to confront them or forgive and forget them. Sometimes the latter is easier for me.

I agree it can be hard to confront some people because we pretty know their reaction will be bad. I don't really like the word "confront" because it carries the image of harsh face-to-face argument. The Bible, however, teaches us to go to one another in a spirit of love, approach them at the right time (not when you're angry), in the right way (with soft words and willingness to hear their side with understanding), and with a forgiving spirit,( even if the issue is not resolved). When done like this, a relationship may be salvaged, mended and made stronger than ever.

Hope this is helpful to you.

What about you - how do you handle a situation like this?

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Help - My Faith is Fading!

Have you ever felt like your faith is fading? Like the tighter you try to hold on to God, the more his presence seems to slip away? You know he's there, but you can't quite connect with him like you used to. Sound familiar?

First let me say, that this is common. It doesn't necessarily mean you have "lost your faith."  What it does mean is that something has interfered. It could be sin, busyness, troubles, heartbreak, unforgiveness, etc...or it could be the most common cause of all - neglect.

All relationships suffer when we neglect to nurture them. Friends drift apart when they don't talk very often. Spouses lose intimacy when they get too busy to spend time together. It doesn't mean you don't still care about one another, it just causes a feeling of distance between you.

So what's the cure? Simple - carve out some time to spend alone with God daily. Shut out the world, turn off your cell phone, close Facebook and simply sit with God. Read his word and allow him to speak to you from it. Share your heart with him in prayer. Write down impressions, verses or answers that come to you in those intimate moments.

You'll find your awareness of God refreshed and enjoy moment-by-moment fellowship with Him throughout your day.

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