Monday, January 24, 2011

I Could Dance and Sing

Yes, today I could jump for joy, I can laugh and smile; I want to sing and dance and twirl around, I would do a cartwheel if I could Why, you ask? I have the joy of the Lord! Praise God!! Hallelujah!! May all creation sing with me the praises of our God and Creator, our Savior Jesus the Christ!!!

He is faithful and true, my strong tower, in Him do I trust.

Again, you ask; Why are you so happy today? I am not happy...I am joyful because I can count on God. He nudges us over on to a path that we're not familiar with and we get quite gripey, we're afraid we'll trip or slip or hit a place where we're unsure and lose our balance and fall. Somehow, we manage to stay on the trail. Little by little I see that had I not taken this path, I'd have missed some of the breautiful scenery, I wouldn't have learned the new, more beneficial route, and I wouldn't be seeing the benefits of trusting Him manifest itself in me in that my faith is being increased.

As a person who has been diagnosed with parkinson's disease, I, of course, have been advised by my neurologist to take the drug Sinemet. My father had PD, and he took the drug 30 years ago. It's been around a long while and is "mostly" considered safe. I noted while reading the disclaimer included with the drug that two of its side effects are 1) malignant melanoma and 2) myocardial infarction. Since then, I have been longing to be off of this medication. The problem, though, is (and I have to be realistic here) that the medication, for the most part, DOES help me to be mobile, limber and able to function normally.

Last summer, the Lord spoke to me in three dreams: 1) to fast for three days; 2) to teach my son about Him; and 3) to stop taking my medication. You can't know how terrifying this is to hear. I thought about it for a while and made mention of it a few times to various people but layed it aside as being "my imagination".

Over the last six months; however, it seemed like everywhere I turned I was hearing, seeing or reading something which confirmed to me that God was calling me to surrender my medication to Him. I was so afraid to do it, though, because I knew that to do so would render me basically a slave to my home; no driving and very little walking while in the grasp of a "PD moment".

It hit me full in the face last week when my son, who was home as a result of our latest snowfall, and I decided to read devotions and pray together. I told him he could choose our Bible reading, and he chose the 21st and 22nd verses of Revelation. Revelation 21:8 says it all:

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Plus God spoke to me in my quiet time asking me why He should ask Abraham to prove his faith by sacrificing his son and not ask me to prove mine by giving up my meds.

Later that day, he led me to this devotional that I am not accustomed to reading.

God also led me to prayer partner with another blogger for the duration of a fast that person is doing so I sent a quick email to see if they perceived this to be a confirmation of God telling me this is what I need to do. Their answer "yes"!

So when I combine this with the fact that I have been praying for God's wisdom in raising my son and in my relationship with my husband and how great this past weekend was for our family, I get filled with the joy of the Lord!

My son is a trying child; always has to have the last word; never obeys inherently; always a procrastinator and my husband loses it with him often and quickly. So things have been quite like walking on egg shells the past couple of months. BUT I prayed for wisdom WITH faith that He would answer and HE DID! He has been leading me with my son and also with my husband and we just spent a yell-free week end and a quite enjoyable one it was at that!

I love God! He is so good, so wise and so willing to meet us if we'll just reach out to Him. It doesn't mean that what He leads you to and through will not be painful because it probably will be, but He is faithful to go through it with you and bear the burden with you.

Won't you give Him a chance? Ask Him to meet you and lead you today.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lord, I Want to be an Overcomer!

The first few chapters of the book of Revelation are all about overcomers. I have read those chapters many times and in recent days a cadence has taken root in my mind that goes "I want to be an overcomer, Lord; help me overcome". Go to Revelation 2 and 3 for a complete reading of Christ's letters to the Churches which set forth his praise and warnings about what they were doing right and wrong and what the reward is to those who overcome. Warning: I am not a Bible teacher, so do not interpret this as such. This is what the Spirit spoke to me as I read and meditated about this.

In the letter to the church at Ephesus, Christ warned them to remember their first love, to repent of their lack thereof, and to do what they had done before in order to show their passionate love for Him. Those who are able to overcome this lack and are found to be in the throes of first love for Christ when He returns are allowed to eat of the Tree of Life. I take this as meaning that Christ is the Tree of Life because He is the Way, the truth and "The Life", and if we are overcomers in this area, we will have unlimited access to the Tree of Life in the life to come.

The church at Smyrna is encouraged to endure persecution and tribulation. I don't really find any admonishment here, but only encouragement to overcome persecution and tribulation unto death. Those who are faithful unto death are counted with the overcomers and given a Crown of Life. Remember, Jesus is "the" life, so this is a Crown from Jesus which shows the overcomer's affiliation to Him.

The church at Pergamos is admonished about the fact that they are allowing false doctrine of devils into their church and are told not to compromise their genuine faith in Christ. Overcomers of false doctrine (Bereans, bible studiers) will be allowed to eat of the hidden manna (The Bread of Life = Christ) and will receive a white stone with a name on it that only they and Jesus will know. Again, this represents to me, unlimited access to feed on the wisdom, love, acceptance and all the other good things that Jesus represents and a special relationship where you and Jesus share stuff that isn't shared with anyone else; also known as intimacy with God.

The church at Tyratira was told to reject the false teachings, idolatry and sexual immorality of the Jezebel spirit. That spirit is alive and well in today's church where the prosperity gospel is preached, and people living alternative lifestyles lead the people in the pews. Those who overcome these things will be given leadership positions over the nations during Christ's rule and reign on earth and in ages to come. They will also be given the morning star which is a name given to Jesus (again unlimited access to Christ).

The church at Sardis was told to keep their faith alive, vibrant and to strengthen all areas of their relationship with God; to be on the watch and prepared to meet the Lord. Overcomers will be given spotless white robes, their names will be in the Book of Life, and Jesus will personally confess them as belonging to Him to the Father.

The last two churches seem to be the ones we are most familiar with and think we have the ability to identify. However, I think there are more people/churches like the first five than we can really imagine. (Lord, I pray that you will keep me from being an active participant in any church but the church of Philadelphia.)

The church of Philadelphia is the true Church of Christ that has held fast to the gospel and in today's world has little strength. They are told to keep His Word and never to deny Christ. To the overcomer is granted the right to be a pillar in the tabernacle of God (one who is constantly in the place where God dwells and will never have to leave) and they will be marked with the name of God, God's City and Jesus' new name. They are also promised his protection in the hour of trial and a special place in his worship in which people who have wronged them will have to acknowledge them and understand He has loved them and they belong to Him.

The church of Laodicea is so far removed from the true gospel of Christ they make Him sick and He just might vomit them out of His presence, but to those who recognize their poverty of spirit without Him, repent and go forth and suffer with Him and for Him, he will clothe them in white and they will sit with Him on the throne of His father.

Are you with me? Can you see why I want to be an overcomer...unlimited access to Christ, dressed like Him, reigning with Him, wearing His crown, marked with His name, intimacy with Him, a new name like Him, and sitting on His throne with Him? And what do we have to do? Love Him with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength; keep our love and faith vibrant and alive by reading His Word and praying and talking to Him, including Him in everything we do and say; by doing His work on earth and loving our neighbor in His place; by watching for Him and preparing to meet Him; by knowing and speaking the true gospel of Christ and guarding against false teaching and doctrine. It sounds like a lot, but what it comes down to is devoting our lives, our all to Him. It's not that much because "in Him" we live, and move and breathe. He is our life.

May it be so unto me, Lord. In Jesus' name. Amen

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Motive Behind the Prayer

I often find myself reading the books of Ephesians and James over and over. It's no wonder because both are filled with instruction on dealing with things that hound me constantly.

Just yesterday, I had lunch with one of my best girlfriends and while we were at lunch, she read a scripture to me from the book of James about prayer and why our prayers are not answered. So, last night, after everything calmed down, I picked up my Bible to re-read that passage of Scripture thinking that it was something I needed to meditate on. The holy spirit had other plans for me, though and I ended up reading and re-reading a scripture a little farther down the page at James 1:26, 27. The ones that read:
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world. KJV

Before I left my home yesterday morning I got snippy with my husband over something he said to me as I was going out the door. The holy spirit convicted me of it immediately and I remember having a twinge as I walked out the door. The Lord required me to deal with it, privately and publicly by telling my husband I was out of line and should have remained silent.

This morning, I returned to the book of James and continued to read and was brought up short by the holy spirit when I reached this:

James 4:3 And even when you do ask, you don't get it because your whole motive is wrong--you want only what will give you pleasure. NLT

I have been in prayer a lot recently asking for the Lord to heal me, to set me free from this disease so I won't have to keep putting this man-made poison into my body. I have also been praying for God to set me free from my addiction to food. The Spirit forced me to look at myself and my praying habits with regard to these two things. What is my motive for asking for these things? As I came away from the mirror the Lord sat before me, I saw that I had been asking to give up my food addiction for my own purposes and not because I want to be in submission to God. So I looked at my request for healing and saw the sorry truth: I feel sorry for myself. I see myself as being a young woman inside the body of some little old lady and far to young to have to give up many of the things I have given up instead of a woman who is being tested and tried to determine my ability to trust the Lord in all things.

It was also revealed to me that I am progressing in my faith insofar as when I do pray, I am steadily increasing in my belief in God's ability to answer my prayers.

I know that we all have our own agendas when it comes to praying and seeking God, but at the end of the day, our desire should be to be in complete alignment with His will for us. ...thy will be done... because His will is good and perfect and will work for the good of all.

Lord, Take away my selfishness, my focus on me and inspire me to focus on you and your will for my life. Help me, holy spirit, to be submissive to you in all things. This is the prayer of my heart. Let me be conformed to you, Lord. I want to want you more than anything. I didn't use to understand the verse that says because you first loved me; I love you, but it is more and more clear to me every day. Because of your great love for me, father, I love you more each day. May you be glorified in my life today. I pray in Jesus precious, holy name.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Luke 22:31

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired [to have] you, that he may sift [you] as wheat:

Desired: Strong's G1809 - exaiteo: to ask that one be given up to one from the power of another (a) in a good sense it is to ask for the pardon or safety of that person and (b) in a bad sense it is to torture or punish that person.

Sift: Strong's G4617 - siniazo: 1) to sift or shake in a sieve; 2)fig. by inward agitation to try one's faith to the verge of overthrow.

I think it's safe to say satan doesn't "desire" us in order to ask for our pardon or safety and that he does, indeed, intend to torture or punish us.

Chuck Smith's Sermon Notes on Luke 22:31

Satan has had me in a sieve the past couple of days. He knows my rough spots just like God knows my weaknesses. I have many, but the two that seem to be causing me the most suffering and sleeplessness are taking medication when I think I hear the Lord telling me to give it up and trust Him; and eating, from the perspective of the lust of the flesh versus eating for fuel and necessity.

I find the analogy of us being like rough, not completely milled, flour interesting especially since satan wants to take us out of the Lord's hands and sift us in order to separate us from Him.

Now that Jesus is in heaven, I know that He is my advocate, pleading my case with the Father. He is, then, in the Father's presence praying that my faith not fail me in this time of suffering and sleeplessness.

James 1:2-4

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Our growth comes from trials and just like Peter, we have to learn the value of being tested.

It gives me courage and stiffens my spine when I digest the fact that Jesus is praying for me, advocating for me, cheering for me, "egging me on", so to speak. The Lord wants me to win this race. He's standing on the sidelines watching me run and all the while He's praying, "Father, don't let her faith fail her". Thank you for that, Lord. I hope it encourages you as well.

Make sure you click on the sermon notes above, especially if you are being tested and tried right now to the point that you feel you are being sifted by Satan. I believe you will find great encouragement there as I did. As believers and followers of Christ, we have to learn that only by going through these siftings and keeping the faith and clinging to the Lord Jesus will we be able to say with Peter:

(1 Peter 4:12) Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: (1 Peter 4:13) But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. (1 Peter 4:14) If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

I think it is evident that satan is indeed a prowling lion looking to see who he can devour at this late hour on the earth. Take heart in knowing that Jesus is praying for you and do not give up your faith in Him to be able to deliver you out of satan's hands.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for praying for me and for caring for me in everything I am going through in my life. It strengthens me to know that you are rooting for me. I want to cling to that in the days ahead. May your will be done in my life. I pray in your holy name and I put my trust wholly, completely in you. Amen.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Taking God Seriously

In Colossians 3:23, we are told: And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.

I have always been a good employee, a hard worker; one who diligently works to please their employer by working independently, conscientiously, meticulously and striving to be the best I can be. Because of that, I have always been fortunate to be on the high end of the pay scale and never having had difficulty in finding employment. Plus, I have a dastardly personality fault in that I am a "people pleaser". Ugh! I don't know what happened to me in my young life to instill that within me, but it's there, and I work harder for recognition than I do for money. My 21 years as a real estate agent proved this beyond a shadow of doubt in my mind.

I believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as my savior when I was in the 7th grade. I can still remember the force of the holy spirit coming upon me and propelling me up the aisle to the altar at a revival meeting a friend from school had invited me to attend with her family. I knew from that day on that the Lord was to be taken seriously.

The Psalmist in 111:10 says that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever. My pastor said in his message today that wisdom comes from God; and you acquire knowledge from various sources. The Lord did a very good job of instilling a healthy fear of Him within me.

However, the Lord has layed on my heart over the past month or so that I am not taking His prompting in a couple of areas in my life seriously. I "act" like I'm working on them; I think about them a lot; I have half-heartedly fasted; my prayer life seems lackluster and I'm feeling like I need a new revelation of who God is and what I am supposed to do with Him.

I love the Lord and how He has changed my life. But, just like a spouse that you love, when you live with Him every single day for a long time, somewhere along the line, you stop putting on your make up and getting dressed up before he gets home from work. You get in a rut, and you take him for granted.

I know that is not what God wants from me. As a matter of fact, I feel God calling me to a more perfect walk with Him than I have ever walked before. I feel Him calling me to a more obedient walk; a more specific walk and He wants my best work - the work I would put in to making me someone admired and respected within my field.

These are not the days to be taking His calling lightly. His Word says that he is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. He is patient, gentle, long suffering with us. But what happens if He is calling me to a higher level of walking with Him and I just play around with it and He should decide that today is the day He comes for His bride, the church? Is it possible that I might find myself being one of the foolish women who end up not having enough oil for their lamps? I think so, and that would be profoundly stupid on my part.

So, I am setting out on a new journey seeking the Lord and seeking to know Him more, obey Him more completely and to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. He gave His all for me and bought me at an extremely high price. Giving Him my best is the least I can do.

Lord, forgive me for not being as serious about obeying you, seeking you and loving you as I should be. This is more serious than a heart attack. Thank you for your holy spirit who gives me such good advice and leading. Thank you that your mercy is new every morning and that I can start again at working out my salvation in fear and trembling. Help me to listen for your voice ALL the time. Give me an unquenchable hunger and thirst for your righteousness. Fill me with the desire and strength to accomplish ALL the things you want me to do. In Jesus' Name I pray.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Spiritual Warfare - Updated 2X

There are many unusual things happening in the world today that can have no explanation other than spiritual warfare.

Here's a list of just a few new stories I have read and could find easily on the web:

Man Claims Demonic Possession in vandalizing Church;

Family in France jumps out of a window because they thought they saw satan;

Man cuts off mother's head;

Mother kills baby and eats brain

There have been many, many other stories like this in the news in the past couple of years. All you have to do is google certain words and you get the news stories...lots of them.

So, as I was in quiet time with the Lord this morning, the holy spirit impressed upon me the need to pray for things happening in the spiritual world of which we have no knowledge. It's hard to pray for something when you don't know what's going on, but as you can see from the news stories, people's lives hang in the balance there. My prayer, or yours, may be the difference in someone caving in to the demonic pressure in their life or the nudging of the Holy Spirit to get help, to do something or not do something.

Won't you take a few minutes each day to lift up people who are under spiritual attack and ask the Lord to intervene; to send His messengers to interrupt or assist, or to build a hedge of protection around, those whose lives are hanging in the balance in that day and time. We need to be praying that satan will be defeated in his quest to kill, steal and destroy mankind, that the persons under attack will turn their lives over to Christ and that God will be glorified in their lives.

I am feeling it in my spirit more and more each day that this is an extremely great need in the lives of people and that we need to be praying about it diligently. Remember, satan is a roaring lion prowling about seeking for whom he can destroy! David Wilkerson posted this on his blog today. He is able to protect us and others if we will just call on Him!

1/10/11 And now we have this. May the Lord lead you and protect you from evil in these days.