Friday, May 15, 2009

Develop & Exercise

II Peter 1:5-7 (AMP)

"For this very reason, adding your diligence to the divine promises, employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in exercising virtue develop knowledge (intelligence), and in exercising knowledge develop self-control, and in exercising self-control develop steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in exercising steadfastness develop godliness (piety), and in exercising godliness develop brotherly affection, and in exercising brotherly affection develop Christian love."

The Greek word for patience in this scripture is hupomone. Hupomone means cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy: enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting).

It is derived from the Greek word Hupomeno, meaning to stay under (behind), for example; to remain; figuratively; to undergo, for example; to bear trials, have fortitude, persevere: abide, endure, take patiently, suffer, tarry behind.

Hupomeno is derived from the Greek words Hupo & Meno. Hupo is a preposition which means under, beneath, through, underneath, below. In comparison it retains the same general applications, especially of inferior position or condition, and specifically covertly or moderately. Meno is a verb, meaning to stay in a given place, state, relation or expectancy: abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry for.

Patience is a call to action not a state of inactivity. Patience is not passive, but a constant state of patient continuance and expectancy. Just as important, is to do so covertly or moderately. In a way patience is a type of fasting, fasting from putting myself above a given situation or moving forward before God has said to move. It's important to be covert or moderate about patience; cheerfully enduring. As it's said in Matthew 6:17-18, "But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

I have been called to be Christ-like, godly, righteous. When I see these words on their own, I see Priests and Rabi's in their robes. I think pride and self-righteousness. I feel turned-off by the use of these words, and my thinking turns to rebellion. Satan has twisted the meaning of what God intended to be good, so I would be distracted from the gift God is trying to give me through righteousness in Christ. God has given me revelation knowledge for my life. Exercising is something that one has to do continually to maintain prime physical condition. God does not want me to achieve righteousness, but to develop and exercise it. He gives me the key to this in II Peter...Patience. The key to becoming (a constant action) more like Christ is to exercise ( a constant action) patience. All the while, continuing to increase or add to my diligence, faith, virtue, knowledge, and self-control, which will lead to brotherly affection and eventually "the greatest of these is love." (I Corinthians 13:13)

Father God,

Help me to cheerfully endure, to remain hopeful, to be constant and not waiver, to come expecting with eagerness, conviction, praise, intelligence, self-control, acceptance and love. You are Holy, and I desire to be like you. Mold me into your image. Discipline me so that I may be called a child of God. I humbly submit my life to You. Your kingdom come, and Your will be done.

In Jesus name,


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Promise of Hope

Father God,

Help me to care for your flock. I am a willing worker, eager to serve. Show me how to be an example of your love.

Humble me, Father, and show me where in my life I need to submit. I claim your promise to hold me up and care for me. I release all of my anxiety to you. I release all of my worries to you. I need not worry about what I should eat or where I should live, for I am valuable to you.

Send your Holy Spirit to quicken me keeping me alert to your plan and the dangers that would distract and seek to destroy me. Through the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, I will exercise self-control and I will not give in to the temptations of this world.

You have called me into your eternal glory. I will resist the devil and stand firm in my faith for you have promised to restore me; I am strong, firm and steadfast in the power of Christ Jesus.

You chose me. You love me. I believe in you and accept the Word of truth and life. Write your words on my heart. Whisper words of truth in my ear. I rebuke all confusion. I dispel Satan's lies. I remember your words and your promises. I accept your grace, encouragement and hope. Encourage my heart and strengthen me in every good deed and word.

In Jesus' name,


Friday, March 13, 2009

My right to chose cannot be taken.

In small group last night, one particular phrase stuck out to me, "When God's promises are no longer feeding me, I must feed on His faithfulness." We were talking about the story of Joseph (Gen. ch. 37-47) being sold into slavery, sent to prison and rising to a place of blessing and leadership. Stories like these help me remember God's faithfulness. Before group last night, I was having a bad day. Satan had really gotten me down about the details. So naturally I reached out to my support group. I am always amazed, although I shouldn't be by now, at how God gives me the answers I need and then confirms them multiple times, as long as when I ask, I'm willing to hear!

It actually started the night before. It was so bad, I couldn't seem to open my mouth to pray. It was like Satan had laid a burden on me so heavy I couldn't speak. Now, I've had nightmares about this very thing. Where I'm battling a demon and I'm unable to speak, and in this dream I rely on my spiritual support group to fight for me by speaking the scripture for me. In the dream, this causes the demon to flee, allowing me to speak again. My spiritual support group is my mom and grandmother. In the dream they are there.

My grandmother had sent me some political email about the current economy which opened a conversation about some of the issues I have been dealing with, so I responded to her email with some thoughts and a request for prayer. After I sent the email, I called my mom and spoke with her about some of the things on my mind. We had a rather lenghty, tear-filled conversation. But the summary of what she said was...,"Satan can't take what's most important from you, no one can except you." God was able to remind me, that life can only get me down if I let it.

In small group last night, the story of Joseph reminded me to be faithful, even when I can't see the end. Joseph is an amazing example of someone that went through very difficult circumstances and remained faithful to God. He became a great leader because of the strength he developed from his circumstances. Even Christ had to be tried in order to become perfect. (Heb. 5:8-9) The Bible says, I will be complete through the testing of my faith. (James 1:2-4) It also says, " Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." (Rom. 8:18) This was definitely true of Joseph. He suffered tremendously, but how much more and far greater was his reward?! We ended last night with this thought, "In Joseph's limited freedom (slavery/jail), the one freedom that could not be taken from him was the right to chose his response to all that had happened to him." Again God reminded me that the choice of how to respond to life's circumstances is mine.

Late last night, I checked my email, and my grandmother had sent me the following prayer by Rev. TD Jakes. I hope you will all take time to pray this prayer with me daily. Christ says, "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (Matt 18:18-19)


Bless me, even while I’m reading this prayer, and bless the others, that pray this prayer with me, in a special way. Open supernatural doors in our lives today. Save and set free! Give us a double portion of your Spirit as we take back everything that the Devil has stolen: emotional health, physical health, finances, relationships, children, jobs, homes, and marriages.

I cancel every plot, plan and scheme the enemy has devised against us in the matchless name of Jesus. I declare that, “No weapon formed against us will prosper.” (Isaiah 54:17) I speak life into every dead situation. And, I thank you that nothing is over until You say it’s over! I speak prophetically into our lives and to our situations. Our households are blessed; our health is blessed; our marriages are blessed; our finances are blessed; our businesses are blessed; our jobs are blessed; our children are blessed; our grandchildren are blessed; our parents are blessed; our siblings are blessed; our ministries are blessed; our decisions are blessed. Husbands are on the way; wives are on the way; mortgages are paid and debts cancelled. Our "heart’s desires" (Psalm 37:4) are on the way, according to your perfect will and plan for our lives.

In Jesus’ name,

Monday, March 9, 2009

Making One's Calling and Election Sure

We are beginning a new series in our small group about offense, and how Satan uses offense to deceive the believer. I was offended recently by my church. What I didn't realize is that it was my pride that caused me to be offended, not the actions of anyone at my church. That pride was causing me to be useless to God.

God actually dealt with me about this back in the fall before I ever started this series, but during the first week of the series I was able to see, in hind-sight, what God had been doing. Back in the fall, God really convicted me that I needed to stop worrying about what I wasn't being asked to do, and start saying yes to what I was asked to do, then do it to the best of my ability. I started to realize that God would give me the opportunities to serve Him, and I didn't have to go looking for them or be offended that I wasn't being asked to do certain things. I complained to God for over a year about how I wasn't being used to the best of my ability. It wasn't until I stopped complaining, and started doing, that I was most effectively used by God.

Satan had me deceived that my motives were pure, but the fruit of my life should have told me otherwise. If my motives were pure, then I would have seen results. Instead, I was in a spiritual stalemate, battling an enemy that was not my church at all, but pride. I was reading in II Peter 1:3-11 last night, and God revealed to me why I have been so much more at peace about knowing that I am operating in my calling, and why I was so spiritually ineffective and unproductive before. I was focusing on the reward or recognition for the calling itself. After I stopped being so prideful and began listening to what God was leading me to do, I was able to focus on the right things, which I discussed briefly in my previous posts.

God has given me everything I need to accomplish His will in my life through the divine power of the knowledge of Him. I am able to escape corruption when I focus on God and not myself. For the first time in my life, I am realizing exactly how to get where God wants me to go and finding peace in the knowledge that God has it all figured out. God is very clear about how to make my calling and election sure; I am called to "make every effort to add to my faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love."

I hope this will help any of you who, like me, have struggled with being in God's will and fulfilling His calling. Be encouraged that, "the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:3-4)

Father God,

Thank you for the opportunity to know You more and to serve Your kingdom. Forgive me for allowing Satan to deceive me and be ineffective and unproductive in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Forgive me for being nearsighted and blind, forgetting that I have been cleansed from my past sins. Help me to possess Your qualities in increasing measure, so that I can glorify you, Father. I submit my life to you to be refined in the fire. Make me the purest gold, pliable and unresistant to Your Word.

In Jesus' name,


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My heart's desire...

Jeremiah 17:9 (Amp)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]?

I often try to decide what it is that I want out of life. I try to plan what I want to become and what I will do, and I only become frustrated that I can't seem to "see" clearly my motives and goals. I was reading the scripture above when it clicked. The reason God is always saying to trust Him and not to worry about the future, is because it will only bring confusion. Trying to "figure things out" is the wrong approach, rather I should be spending my time looking and listening to what God is doing and saying, and spending time praying to understand God's wisdom, as it mentions in the following scripture.

Matt. 13:13b-17

"Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or

In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

" 'You will be ever hearing but never
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people's heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.'

But blessed are your eyes because they see, and you ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."

I think of all the time I've spent looking for a quick fix. It's the fad diet mentality. I'm always trying to maintain control and "find" the answer, only allowing God to play a part if He will make things easier. I'm sad to admit, I've been seeing and hearing, but not understanding or perceiving. As it says in I John 1:5-10, if I am not experiencing all of the good things of God, I am not walking in fellowship with him. It says nothing about doing anything, but simply spending time in the presence of God. Time and time again, it seems the answer is so simple. There is no 10 step program. Just one thing, fellowship with Him (glorify Him, worship Him). Satan is so good at using guilt to convince me I am not doing enough, only to keep me from understanding the simple truths that would set me free and make me truly righteous in God's eyes. Jesus has already paid the price. I know that is said so often, but when it truly sunk in that God loves me as He loves Christ, I felt so free from sin and guilt, and close to God. I'm starting to realize that it doesn't matter how "good" I am. I cannot know what I want, or more appropriately what I need, because my desires, without the influence of God, will always lead me down a path of dissatisfaction and distress, but when I am close to God and allow Him to lead me, I am at peace.

Mark 7:6b,21-22

" 'These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me...'

For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly."

Eph. 4:18,22-24

They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

When I allow my heart to lead, it makes me feel that I am trying to do the right thing, but at the same time discouraging me that I will never get there. The heart is truly deceitful. Which is why I believe it says "to be made new in the attitude of your minds". I must make the choice to take on Christ instead of myself without regard to how I "feel", so I can "be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Feeling and emotions are such a huge part of how I value myself, when I should be valuing myself on the righteousness of Christ Jesus.

Father God,

Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to free me from sin and the bondage of guilt, shame and lies. Forgive me for trying to fulfill my own desires. Forgive me for looking and hearing with earthly senses and allowing my emotions and feelings to determine my path. Be with me through the day, so I can live in Your presence at all times. I want to be in Your will and glorify Your kingdom through my actions and thoughts at all times.

In Jesus' name,

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Treasures In Heaven

It seems Matt 6 has been my inspiration this month. First praying, then fasting and now blessing. I feel the Word says it best, so I'm just going to share some scripture with you this morning. I know most everyone is going through some sort of hard time right now. This scripture really spoke to me and gave me peace for today, and I hope it does for you as well.

Matt 6:19-34

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart is also.

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness, how great is that darkness!

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

As Paul talks about in Phil 4:10-20, I feel I have renewed concern for the Lord. I have a new understanding of what it means to "be content whatever the circumstances." "I can do all things through Christ which strenghteneth me!" I pray God will give me the opportunity to increase in giving to others that which he so amply provides for me, so I can glorify and honor Him in my success.

Jehovah-Jireh, My Provider,

Thank you for supplying all my needs exceeding abundantly above all that I ask or think (Eph 3:20). Forgive me when I worry about tomorrow and doubt Your awesome grace. Send your Holy Spirit to remind me of Your love and provision when Satan tries to sneak in with worry and doubt. May Christ dwell in my heart by faith; that I will know the love of Christ and be filled with the fullness of You (Eph 3:17-19) I pray for strength in my inner being (Eph 3:16) I pray for the opportunity to bless others, and be an example of Your abundant grace. I put all of my cares in Your hands, and I glorify You for Your faithfulness to provide. Your grace is sufficient for me!

In Jesus' name,

Monday, January 12, 2009

A tree planted by the water...

I have been wallowing in self loathing this week, but I'm back, and my caffeine detox has finally completed. I spent this last week mourning my morning coffee, well, and my afternoon and evening coffee, too! But in the midst of my misery, God finally got through to me yesterday, sitting in church. It's not about what I have to give up, it's about what I have to gain. It's not about giving up what I love, it's about loving God so much that I couldn't let anything take away our time. So I have an analogy...bear with me.

I've been trying to make myself grow. The pastor was standing on the platform yesterday attempting to "grow". He's standing there, making all these grunting noises. His example was to show that the lilies of the field do not worry about growing. They aren't in the field stressing about how to grow. They just soak up the sun, the nutrients in the soil and the moisture from the rain, and they grow. How much more does God provide for me! I am more valuable than a bird or a flower. (Matt. 6:26-32) I just need to soak up the "Son", plant myself firmly in the Word and be renewed by the Holy Spirit! My walk with God will grow if I allow God to provide for me, then He will prune me for perfect growth.

In I Kings 3:5-15, God asks King Solomon what he wants. Solomon had so many needs; finances, fame, etc., but he asked for wisdom to know God's will in all things. God says because he asked for wisdom, he would also have all his other needs met. Solomon was one of the wisest, richest and most famous kings that ever lived. His namesake was talked about throughout the land. (I Kings 10:1-7). I need only to be concerned with wisdom and God will provide all my needs. If I want wisdom, I need only to ask.

James 1:5 (Amp)
If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproach or faultfinding, and it will be given him.

Father God,

Your are my provider! I give you all the glory and honor and praise. Thank you for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ to fill me with your light and life. Thank you for your Word to fill me with Your wisdom and Your will. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit to guide me and teach me. Forgive me for worrying and being controlling, stubborn and prideful. Give me wisdom and discernment to make the right choices that would glorify your kingdom. Take my life today and make it Yours. I submit to You today. I will not worry about trying to grow, but allow You to tend to my needs because You love me and have made me for a purpose.

In Jesus' name,

Monday, January 5, 2009

I'm exhausted!

I finished reading "Shadow Boxing" today, and I strongly recommend it to any Christian. While reading this book, God brought many things in my life to mind that are strongholds. But today specifically, as I was trying to read the last chapters of my book, I was exhausted. I've been tired since I woke up, and I'm so tired all the time. As I finished reading my book 20 minutes ago, I decided to take a little nap. I hate taking naps in the middle of the day. It feels like such a waste of time, but I was so tired. Right before I went to sleep, I decided to make good on my promise from yesterday to pray more. I began talking to God, asking Him to please show me what I need to do and how I can change some of the patterns and break the strongholds in my life. And then it happened, God said..."Stop drinking caffeine." I'm like, "Well, that was fast." But as soon as I started to dismiss this "voice", I decided to submit. I said, " Yes, God." It was so easy and freeing, and I immediately had more energy.

Now I'm not saying caffeine is bad, or you should give it up. Maybe you don't have this issue in your life, but how many times have you prayed for God to relieve you from a burden, and then ignored the simple clear answer He gave you. In the following moments while I lay on the couch with my eyes closed talking to God, he gave me some other obvious things that cause me to be tired. These things of themselves are not sin, but I know they cause me to be tired, therefore, preventing me from getting up early to spend quiet time with God, accepting opportunities to do God's will, and being in a good mood. Because these things prevent me from obeying what God has commanded me to do, they are sinful for me. It amuses me how Satan often uses the little things to keep me from experiencing the true bounty of God's grace in my life. So, as I lay there on the couch, thinking about how awesome God is, I think, "Alright, great! When I'm done with my nap, I'll do something." LOL! Yeah, I know. "Why not now?" It finally clicks. Have faith, and do what God says. Some days I'm a little slower than others, but God is so faithful to continue pushing me in the right direction!

Father God,

Thank you for answering my call. I accept Your wisdom and guidance and fully submit myself to your will. Forgive me for choosing small conveniences in life over You and allowing Satan to deceive me that any sin is small. Send your Holy Spirit to fill the holes where my bad habits once were and encourage me, and give me strength and grace through your son, Jesus Christ, to resist temptation. I commit to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provisions for the flesh, to fulfill its lust (Rom.13:14). By resisting Satan and refusing to conform to this world, I take authority by Christ Jesus over being tired. I give all the glory and honor to You, Father. Thank you for your wisdom, grace and mercy. Please continue to give me wisdom through Your Holy Spirit to recognize my sin, repent, and change my actions.

In Jesus name,

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Faith Or Fear In The New Year

I was sitting in church today, and realized I had been ignoring my blog because I didn't want it to fall short of my expectations. Fear...My own expectations often breed fear, which is why I've come to loath the New Year. Year after year, it's the same thing. I focus on all of the things I failed to do, and I start by trying to fix myself and "be better" this year.

I got the title to this post from my pastor. He was preaching from Isaiah 43:1.

"But now [in spite of past judgments for Israel's sins], thus says the Lord, He Who created you, O Jacob, and He Who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you [ransomed you by paying a price instead of leaving you captives]; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you."

So, no New Year's resolutions this year. Resolutions are based in the future, which makes them useless. Only God knows the future, and so I must place my faith, which is now, in God. My faith will manifest in the future, if I have faith now to follow God today, my future is guaranteed to be in God's will. God's will is good and perfect, and no amount of worrying about what I can't predict or focusing on the past, which I can not change, will accomplish anything for God. I've already proven that I can not do anything in my own strength, but through Christ, nothing is impossible.

I often learn so much by teaching, especially, children. The term, "Faith like a child," come to mind. I was teaching Sunday school today, and the new memory verse is Philippians 4:6.

"Do not worry about anything, but pray about everything."

My first step in the New Year is to stop making plans and plan on praying. I need to clear my thoughts out of my head, so God has some room to move in and make His plans. I often try so hard to fix things and pray only when I've tried everything and failed. Let's see if GOD can make this year better, while I learn to listen and obey.

Father God,

Thank you for calling me by name, despite my past sins and failures. You created me and formed me in Your perfect image, and I am Yours. I will not fear because you have promised to be with me, and I will not be overwhelmed or harmed by the natural struggles in life. Thank you, Father, that I'm not where I used to be, even if I'm not where I'm supposed to be. Help me to hear your voice and just have faith.

In Jesus name,