Stir Me Up Lord!

Stir Me Up Lord!: March 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lay Those Burdens Down and Pick up GOD's Promises

How often do you pray to GOD to help you with a burden and then after you lay it down, end up picking it back up when something else is added to it? Do you ever pick it up and start worrying over it again, pick it up and think GOD’s too busy for this, I’m sure I can figure something out… Part of the faith walk is leaving those burdens behind and keep trusting in GOD, trusting that in HIS time it will be taken care of.

‘For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.’ (Matthew 11:30 NLT)

Walking by faith means trusting GOD no matter the circumstances around us. GOD didn’t put those road bumps, difficulties and pitfalls in our path, but HE can use any situation to teach us what we need in our journey with him.

‘Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from the beginning to end.’ (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT)

Some people insist that their problems are too small for GOD and they don’t want to bother HIM with their ‘stuff’.

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. (1 Peter 5:7 AMP)

In the Greek translation, the word used for ‘all’ is the Greek ‘pas’ and this word is literally translated into ("each, every") means "all" in the sense of "each (every) part that applies." The emphasis of the total picture then is on "one piece at a time."  (ananeóō) then focuses on the part(s) making up the whole – viewing the whole in terms of the individual parts.

Do you see that ALL our cares, ALL our anxieties, EACH and EVERY little detail that makes up our anxieties are to be cast upon Jesus – there is no tiny detail that JESUS wants left out, HE wants us to bring HIM everything to HIM!!

Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail). (Psalm 55:22 AMP)

What’s good about starting with the small stuff, is that when we see GOD’s faithfulness in answering those smaller issues, we have built our faith up enough that bringing HIM the bigger issues are second nature and without thought. The faith walk is a trust walk, we trust that GOD will answer our prayers; we lose our worldly way of thinking and begin to think in the Kingdom of GOD  way.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus spoke of the faith of a child? Because a child doesn’t question when they are told something, they believe it, it is fact - period: “You stole my nose!” and/or “Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy is coming”.  We are given a whole Bible filled with GOD’s Word and we still have doubts. Doubt is what happens when you’ve lived in the ‘world’ too long – we learn to doubt and we learn to distrust. This world is ruled by Satan and that’s his job, to keep us from receiving all that GOD has for us. When we buy into the enemies lies, ‘miracles are of the past’, ‘GOD doesn’t heal today’, ‘that’s prosperity teaching and it’s not for us’.

If you are a Believer and you believe the Bible is GOD’s Holy Word and that GOD is truth and GOD is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow – then you don’t need to be concerned with the devil’s lies because our GOD is a GOD of miracles, a GOD that heals, a GOD that wants to bless you with an abundance!!

Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you. (Luke 10:19 AMP)

In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides] (Ephesians 6:10 AMP)

But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. (1 John 4:4 NLT)

There’s our authority, we have Christ in us, we are empowered by the same Spirit of GOD that raised Jesus from the dead! With the Holy Spirit living in us, we are given the Authority of Christ, with that authority we can do all that Jesus told us we could do!

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received! (Matthew 10:8 NLT)

Did you see that Jesus told us to heal, HE didn’t say, ‘go pray to GOD for healing, HE said go and heal’! The devil’s greatest deception has been using ‘wolves in sheep clothing’ to tell Believer’s that we can’t have what GOD’s Word ALREADY told us we have!

Beware of false prophets, who come to you dressed as sheep, but inside they are devouring wolves. (Matthew 7:15 NLT)

Our minds have to be renewed to GOD’s way, not the world’s way, that’s why we HAVE to immerse ourselves in the Bible, immerse ourselves in the promises of GOD and refuse to listen to the lies of the enemy. The devil can’t take from us what is already ours, but he can lie to us and keep us from experiencing the promises that GOD has for us.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  In those days when you pray, I will listen.  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.  I will be found by you,” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT)

GOD’s promises are so great that the enemy wants desperately to keep us from them, because when he keeps Believers in bondage from his lies, we aren’t able to fulfill all that GOD’s wants to give us and all that GOD has planned for us to bless and encourage others.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you [the priestly nation] have rejected knowledge (Hosea 4:6a AMP)

If you renew your mind with the Word of GOD, it will become second nature to you speak out the Word of GOD and to believe it without fail. Faith walking and trust walking can only happen if you keep the Word flowing from your heart so that it pours out of your mouth! Alter your thoughts to GOD’s will for your life, there you will find all the promises that GOD has for you and that is when you see those promises come to be!

For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:34 NIV)

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. (Romans 12:2 AMP)

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Monday, March 26, 2012

You are Gifted

Once we confessed with our mouth that we believe by faith that Jesus is the Son of GOD, sent to earth to die on the cross for all of mankind’s sin so that we could be made right with GOD, and that HE rose from the dead on the 3rd day and is now seated at GOD’s right hand in heaven; we are made righteous.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV)

After our confession, we received the gift of salvation and are children of GOD. As new creations in Christ, we take on a new mission in our life or a new course in our lives, we no longer live for ourselves, but we now live for Christ.

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. (Romans 12:6a NLT)

Each believer is given gifts (talents or skills) to use to help further the Kingdom of GOD, some are obvious talents like musical abilities or speaking abilities, some are more subtle like the gift of encouragement, prayer, or giving (of time and/or money). There are gifts of organization, teaching, handiwork, artistic abilities, etc. Really anything that is a skill or comes natural to you or that you enjoy doing can be used for the Glory of GOD. 

Most of us know what area we are gifted in, but sometimes we have to try out a few areas to discover what really works the best for us. If your church has an area where volunteers can get connected in different ministries, find out who you need to talk to about serving.  I've tried several different areas in my church and although I might help in different capacities, they are not all the area that I am necessarily 'gifted' in either. I also volunteer when our church has their different outreaches, it's not necessarily using my 'gift' but I believe anytime we volunteer to help our church, we are helping others.

Jesus spent HIS ministry giving HOPE to the hopeless, giving LOVE to the unloved, and CARING for those who thought they were forgotten.  Sometimes we need to stand up for justice, stand up and be a voice. The cliché term is, “you have heart for something”, make this more than a cliché – do something about it. I believe it’s in each of us, to be tender hearted to the cries of those around us. The Bible tells us to look after the orphaned and the widowed, the helpless and the poor.

External religious worship [religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world. (James 1:27 AMP)

It’s important to pray about everything, if some ‘cause’ keeps coming up in your heart and mind, pray about it, ask GOD for direction and leading; HE will always guide us in the right path. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)

Once you’ve prayed about what GOD wants you to do, do some research and find out if there’s anything already out there in the area you would like to serve in. Lots of times, someone has already started a group that you can volunteer and /or serve in a capacity they already have available. GOD will always open doors if its where you are supposed to be.  As I’ve written about before, when we focus on others, it also helps take our minds off our own issues and by helping others, GOD blesses us as well.

The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25 NLT)

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ain't No Valley Low Enough

Psalm 77 (NLT)
I cry out to God; yes, I shout.
Oh, that God would listen to me!
When I was in deep trouble,
I searched for the Lord.
All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven,
but my soul was not comforted.
I think of God, and I moan,
overwhelmed with longing for his help.
You don’t let me sleep.
I am too distressed even to pray!
I think of the good old days,
long since ended,
when my nights were filled with joyful songs.
I search my soul and ponder the difference now.
Has the Lord rejected me forever?
Will he never again be kind to me?
Is his unfailing love gone forever?
Have his promises permanently failed?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he slammed the door on his compassion?
And I said, “This is my fate;
the Most High has turned his hand against me.”
But then I recall all you have done, O LORD;
I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
They are constantly in my thoughts.
I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.
O God, your ways are holy.
Is there any god as mighty as you?
You are the God of great wonders!
You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.
By your strong arm, you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
When the Red Sea saw you, O God,
its waters looked and trembled!
The sea quaked to its very depths.
The clouds poured down rain;
the thunder rumbled in the sky.
Your arrows of lightning flashed.
Your thunder roared from the whirlwind;
the lightning lit up the world!
The earth trembled and shook.
Your road led through the sea,
your pathway through the mighty waters—
a pathway no one knew was there!
You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep,
with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds

I'm always comforted when I read in the Bible, real people that experience what I'm going through or can relate to! As you can see, this Psalm writer experienced times when they thought they were alone or that GOD had turned HIS back on them. Recently I read an article that made me think about the times when Christians feel alone and feel same way. I know I’ve been in a valley for a while now, that’s how I would describe when I’m going through so many trials and battles that I feel so beat up, pushed down, and alone, that I’ve lost that ‘loving feeling’. 

Our Pastor reminds us all the time that we can’t go on these feelings and I’ve read in the Bible and heard from other Pastors that we can’t be led by our flesh (aka ‘feelings’), we need to be led by the spirit.

So how do we get past those ‘whoa whoa feelings’? What I’ve discovered the easiest way to get past my feelings, is to get past me. That’s right, put me on the back burner and move someone else to the front – no matter what I’m going through that’s causing me to feel so bad, there is someone else who is going through a trial and/or storm that is struggling the same or more. Here's some ideas: there's always praying (I mean real praying- either praying with them or just setting aside time each day by yourself to concentrate on that person and pray for them), sending a person a note (call them, text them, Facebook them, let them know that you are thinking of them and would like to 'be there' for them), volunteering (countless ways to volunteer, check with your church for an outreach program or serving in your church), or just pray to GOD to allow you to help a stranger (safety first ladies- I'm talking about a person in the grocery store who doesn't have enough to pay for their groceries, buying the person behind you at Starbucks their drink, our church calls these 'Random Acts of Kindness').  This is so beneficial on so many levels: 1) you’re helping someone else out, so that person is now experiencing a blessing, (2) you are helping yourself by concentrating on someone else’s needs and not focusing on your own issues, (3) it always brings an added bonus of joy to know you have helped out another person.

The next way to help you, help yourself, is to remember what GOD has already brought you through. This isn’t your first trial, you’ve gone through some rough times before, and GOD was there for you then (as well as HE is there for you now and HE will be there for you when you go through your next trial). HE never changes, HE’s the same yesterday, today and tomorrow – so when you made it through those situations in your past, at the time you thought that was so difficult, you couldn’t see yourself getting out, but GOD made a way. HE can always make a way, GOD isn’t limited by our circumstances, HE’s empowered through our circumstances to show us HIS miracles. Have you ever noticed that you feel closer to GOD, the closer you get to your knees – when I’m face down crying in despair, I’ve felt GOD’s presence more than any other time in my life. Hindsight is 20/20, once we’ve made it through our trial, once we’ve made it to the mountain top, we can look back and gasp, seeing what we went through, what GOD carried us through, because we will realize then that we could have never made it through without GOD and that HE was with us the whole time, HE never left us!  

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD.  “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth.  They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.  It is the same with my word.  I send it out, and it always produces fruit.  It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.  You will live in joy and peace.  The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow.  Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up.  These events will bring great honor to the LORD’s name; they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”
(Isaiah 55:8-13 NLT)

GOD’s Word never comes back void, when HE sends us a promise, when HE quiets us in the storm, when HE brings us strength, peace and comfort that can only be given from our Heavenly Father  - that’s the promises of the Lord God Almighty! HIS Word never changes, HIS Promises are the same everyday, HIS Mercies and Grace are new everyday. HE is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. HE IS.
The trials we go through don’t always make sense, but that’s because those trials weren’t from GOD (GOD doesn't give chaos, that's the world and the devil). We can’t always figure out the ‘why’ this is happening, but we can ‘KNOW’ that GOD will make it ‘good’ for HIS children. WE can’t always understand the ‘how’ this is going to end up for our good, but we can ‘KNOW’ that the GOD who created the universe doesn’t need step by step instructions to solve anything, HE speaks and ‘it is’.

The day I look forward to, when I don’t have to walk by faith any longer, but 'when my faith will be my eyes'. When my faith walk has completed, when my race has finished, when the prize is standing in front of Jesus and hearing, ‘well done, good and faithful servant’; that is the day when I will no longer struggle with my ‘feelings’ and the battle between my flesh and my spirit will finally be over. Until then, my faith will only continue to grow stronger through the valleys.

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 NLT)

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.  When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. (Romans 5:3-6 NLT)

Yes we can rejoice, we can count all things as joy – that doesn’t mean we’ll stand in disaster and say thank you GOD for this disaster (after all it wasn't GOD that brought the disaster), that means we can stand in the middle of the disaster and say “thank you GOD for delivering me, for I still have ‘fill in the blank’ in my life”; focus on what we still have and not what we lost.  And YES that means saying, ‘thank you’ when we don’t FEEL like saying thank you or praising GOD – that’s why it’s so important when we are on the mountain tops to praise GOD, it’s easier to thank GOD when everything is going great and once we’ve developed that as a habit, it will be ‘natural’ for us to find reasons to thank GOD during the valleys.

GOD deserves our praises ALL the time, no matter the circumstances, HE didn’t put us in the trial or situation we are in; HE is Holy and HE is GOD, that never changes – so our praises should never change. I wrote before about the sacrifice of praise, I believe when we cry through the praises, GOD counts those tears and HE receives more glory through those praises than the ones we give with a happy heart.

So right now, right where you are, thank GOD for HIS mercies, for HIS grace, and for HIS blessings. Thank GOD for HIS Son that saved you, for the new life in Christ you have been given, for being an adopted child of GOD, for the opportunity to begin anew every day. There’s always going to be something we can thank the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth for, we just have to push aside those feelings, and look to the Heavens. Remember Jesus was in the cold, dark grave for your sins BUT now HE sits at GOD’s right hand enthroned in Glory – even HE had to walk through the valley before HE could be seated on the mountain top.

When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. (Romans 6:10 NLT)

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Healing Takes Faith and a Little Patience

   But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brougt us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 NIV)

That is just one of the many scriptures that refer to our healing, I have a list of over a 100 scriptures that show how healing is GOD's desire for us. I had spoken to others who have received miraculous healing, read about others and heard pastors talking about it. So what I haven’t been able to grasp, in groups that believe in healing, why some people are healed and some are not. I’ve wondered does that mean those that haven’t been healed didn’t have enough faith?  So I began looking at what we need for our faith:

So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. (Romans 10:17 NLT)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—(Ephesians 2:8 NIV)

Jesus told them. "I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible." (Matthew 17:20 NLT)

So we grow our faith from reading GOD's Word, we are saved by grace through faith (believing that we can even be saved), and that with faith as small as a mustard seed we can move mountains. So now I think I know what is required to have healing, but don't have a practical application, that is until....

Febuary 8th our vet gave us the prognosis of lymphoma and advanced kidney failure for our 'puppy' Jedi. The vet told me he had about 30 days - I immediately told her we believe in GOD's healing and that we won't have to worry about that. Three days after that prognosis we brought him back in and she was amazed at how wonderful he was doing, she said she knew we believed in healing and that she was impressed. We have been continously praying for Jedi and have only been speaking life over his diagnosis and not death, we have believed that he received healing and that maybe some symptoms are still showing, but everyday he is healthier and he is healed. 

I pray over a list of people every night, all for different requests, and there are a few for healing. I've often prayed the same way for these healings and now that I've been in a situation with a healing, I have been second guessing the way I've been praying, because I've learned from personal experience that our emotions, faith, and patience are constantly battling each other.

I read once a story that happened to Bro.Kenneth E. Hagin, he said he was visiting a friend at work in an oil field, he had just left that friend and the friend was in a terrible accident that he was maimed so badly, that he had died. While Brother Hagin was praying over his friend he was giving GOD all the reasons why this man needed to stay alive and couldn’t die; the man would later tell Brother Hagin he was in heaven and talking with Jesus, and Jesus told the friend, sorry you can’t stay, Brother Hagin won’t let you. The friend lived and continued to serve the Lord all because Bro. Hagin was praying over him and explaining why his friend needed to live! 

Well, last night (30 days past the original diagnosis), my dog was very near death and I was very afraid; crying and praying over him in the Spirit. You see I was so torn, I had believed we received healing, so why was this happening, my flesh (emotions) fighting with my faith (spirit) and my patience (my mind - soul). As I was praying in the Spirit, my mind began thinking of that story from Bro.Hagin, so I began to tell GOD why Jedi couldn’t die. His healing is going to lead others to salvation, there are too many people who are watching him to see if my miracle happens or not, there are too many people counting on this to make or break their faith. My Facebook friends are aware of the prognosis, many are praying, some I’m sure are skeptical and then some are probably needing this miracle as badly as we want it.  Our sons need to see this healing, so they can know first hand that healing is ours, that prayers do get answered and GOD cares about us, what matters to us, matters to GOD. My father hasn't been in church for years and I know how much he loves his ‘grand-dog', so I know he needs to see this miracle. Last but never least, my husband away in Afghanistan needs to be able to see his puppy of 6 and half years again. Their reunions are so sweet, there are a large number of ‘viewers’ who could see this as a miracle since I take video of our Boxers and Daddy’s reunions and upload to YouTube, we have gotten over 500k hits – think of how many people we could share and our miracle healing with.

So my point here, Jedi’s miraculous healing could very well lead to people turning to GOD for salvation. So this battle we’re in, is not just a battle for our dog’s life, but the battle for people’s salvation and restoration! Which makes sense why the devil would be attacking my family so hard right now, we’ve had more than just one fight on our hands, we’ve had several, and all at the same time. I know without a doubt, I could not have made it through this if it weren’t for the previous faith battles we’ve endured, that which doesn’t kill us, really does make us stronger!

I’m not going to lose this battle, I don’t care what the devil throws at me next, I’m standing on the solid rock and I will not be moved. It doesn’t matter how many times we get knocked down, it only matters how many times we get back up! So I’m fighting here for much more than our puppy beating cancer, I’m fighting for the lost and wayward; I have been praying that GOD would use me as HIS vessel and often I've thought of what Jesus said:

He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.  So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” (Matthew 9:37-38 NLT)

So I’ve learned a lot during this time, I’ve learned that I can never know what a person is going through when they are praying for healing. I’m only praying for our sweet puppy, I refuse to even imagine what it would be like if it were one of my sons or another family member. I use to wonder if continuing in medical treatments, surgeries, medications that seem to destroy the quality of people’s life to fight the disease was actually going against their faith – but I’ve learned personally, that I would do whatever I physically could, to fight for my Jedi.  I’ve learned that healing can be received immediately or the healing maybe present but we just might not see the immediate effects; that maybe GOD is working on our patience during this season of illness. I believe without a doubt that EVERY illness, accident, and injury are from the devil! And I know that whatever the devil means for harm, that GOD can turn to good. 

And we know that God causes everything to work together  for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28 NLT)

HE made the water into wine, HE made the blind see, the lame walk and the dead to live! The key to every miracle was faith and action. We have to have faith that we will receive the miracle and we have to put that miracle into action. In my situation, we prayed for healing for Jedi, then we made the action of telling everyone, "The Vet has given Jedi 30 or so days to live, but I'm claiming victory in the name of Jesus ~ if you've never seen a miracle before, watch closely, ones on its way!!!" You see that was a step of faith, proclaiming to everyone that we were going to receive a miracle, that step of faith was the action GOD needed for us to receive our miracle. 

Now like I said, I believe patience is a big part of faith, sometimes we have to grow in patience and personally I know I needed to work on my patience. So we might not see an immediate end to all the symptoms, but we know we've received the healing and we will see it in GOD's timing, not our own, because HE sees the big picture; HE knows what we need to get to where HE wants us to be in our faith.  

As I sit and watch the events unfolding around me, I can’t see GOD’s plan, but I trust that HIS plan for me is full of an abundance of goodness, mercy and grace. We don’t see the big picture, we only see a narrow view of what’s going on around us. The plan was that I was to be driving to Florida today, I had the perfect opportunity to stay with a friend, have a wonderful and practically free trip to Disney and the beach for our son's Spring Break. It's just that the devil threw a wrench in our plans this past week; he did a few things that would have totally knocked the wind out of our sails if they had happened a year ago, but we’ve grown enough in our faith walk that we’re able to take the punch and just roll with it now. This relapse happened late last night and I would have been on the road a few hours after - it wouldn't have been a good trip if I had known Jedi was sick. I would have been worried the whole time, because you know no one can take care of your sick 'child' like Momma.  Thanks to what the devil intended for our harm, I’m able to take care of our puppy and nurse him back to health promptly so he can be on the road to recovery and healed! Our family has also learned a valuable lesson, because Jedi received such fast healing when he was initially diagnosed, I believe we took that healing for granted - now more than ever we are united in fighting for Jedi, we’re joining in prayer, we’re taking this opportunity and using it to spread the Gospel to all those we know.  I know that if we stay on the path HE has for us, we will get to see the goodness of the Lord....

Yet I am confident I will see the LORD’s goodness
      while I am here in the land of the living.

     Wait patiently for the LORD.
      Be brave and courageous.
      Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.
(Psalm 27:13-14 NLT)

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Write Your Blessings in Stone and Your Troubles in the Sand

You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me,
For you, O God, are my fortress.
In his unfailing love, my God will stand with me.
He will let me look down in triumph on all my enemies.
But as for me, I will sing about your power.
Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love.
For you have been my refuge,
A place of safety when I am in distress.
O my Strength, to you I sing praises,
For you, O God, are my refuge,
The God who shows me unfailing love.
(Psalm 59: 9-10, 15-16 NLT)

What I enjoy about this Psalm so much, is that even though David is trapped and surrounded by his enemies, he doesn’t dwell on his circumstances. David chose to praise GOD and sing of GOD’s love and acknowledge that GOD is the one who protects him and that he doesn't need to worry.

How often do we need to have that mindset? The famous saying, ‘Don’t tell GOD how big your problem is, tell your problem how big your GOD is’ is perfect for this Psalm. David was surrounded by Saul’s men and they were waiting to kill David, David was trapped, no way out, but he didn’t focus on that; no he focused on his GOD. He sang of the strength of HIS fortress, he sang of the safety of GOD’s refuge, he sang of GOD’s unfailing love.

“The trials of his people will end in joy and praise. When the night of affliction is over, they will sing of the Lord's power and mercy in the morning. Let believers now, in assured faith and hope, praise Him for those mercies, for which they will rejoice and praise him forever.”  (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

I know it’s sometimes easier said than done, focusing on the good instead of the bad. That’s why  this Christian life consists of renewing our minds. 

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 NLT)

We had so many years to learn the world’s way of doing things; the world tells people to complain about what’s wrong instead of focusing on what isn't wrong.  Renewing our mind is a one day at a time task, it will take time and it’s something we’ll be doing until we meet Jesus, but each day we can become better at renewing our mind than we were the day before!

The battle begins with our mind, our mind is where thoughts of the enemy are whispered, our mind is the battlefield. We need to daily work on renewing our mind, so we can prevent the enemy from gaining a foothold. The key to renewing our mind is getting GOD's Word into us. GOD's Word is HIS way, not our way; GOD's Word tells us how we ought to think, say and do; it's the instruction manual for our walk with GOD. When we’ve allowed our mind to be renewed and transformed into the way of GOD and not of the world, we will stand out, we will seem different to the world.

    “You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
     We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
     We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.  Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.” (2 Corinthians 4:5-9 NLT)

With our fragile and broken clay jars, the light (Jesus’ love) that is within us, will shine through the cracks of our imperfections but illuminate the love of Jesus to those around us.   When the world is living in such darkness, the world can’t help but be drawn to the light! We will stand out;  use the light you’ve been given to draw others to break out of the darkness they are living in.

When we become new creations in Christ, our lives change, we are not the same. We cannot go back to the way we were before, we have to leave the old and renew the mind with the ways of GOD. We can’t go back to despair and emptiness and living in a world so filled with darkness. When we are in Christ, we will have troubles, but we must not focus on those troubles, our focus has to be on GOD. If we stay focused on GOD we will see HIS strength, HIS fortress, HIS mercies, HIS grace, HIS love and then those troubles will seem less and less because of where our focus is; on the GOD who created the Heavens and the Earth, who gave us life, who sent HIS Son so that we would have life and have an abundance ~ that is where our focus needs to be. 

If you'd like to know more about this topic, I found this resource while searching the scriptures for renewing the mind on the 'Christ in You Ministries' website.

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