Friday, April 29, 2016

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

2 Corinthians 12:7-10
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

Eternal, Invisible, Almighty God-
Thank You for the prickly thorns of trouble and temptation sent to me by Satan. I now know that You authorized him to deliver them to keep my heart humble. I've repeatedly asked You to remove the pain of my afflictions and addictions. Instead You've empowered me with grace to endure them. Your magnificent grace is enough to enlighten and enliven me. It is sufficient to strengthen and soothe me. When I am worn-down, weak, and weary from sadness, sickness, and sin, please purify my heart and fill it with faith to believe in Your almighty power. 
By faith, I BELIEVE You will turn my hurts to hope, my loss to life, and my difficulties to determination. In the turmoil twisting around me there is a purpose. During chaos and confusion, Your power is manifested and magnified in me. Rather than dreading trials and tests, I need to delight in them. Instead of focusing on my inadequacies and insecurities, I need to focus on Your unfailing, everlasting promises. You have pledged to keep me, protect me, and teach me. You've promised to abide in me and be my strength. Now, I need to walk in faith by acknowledging, accepting, and acting on Your holy name - El Shaddai. To Your all-sufficient, all-powerful, almighty name be the glory forever and ever. Amen

Identify the prickly thorns sent by Satan to torment You. Thank God that they were sent to keep you focused on Him. Instead of focusing on your difficulties and despair, focus on God's unfailing, everlasting promises. Search the Scriptures. Acknowledge God's faithfulness, accept His powerful promises, and act in faith. Then, you will discover extraordinary delight in the midst of your despondency. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

John 10:27-30

John 10:27-30
Jesus said, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
O how Your voice resonates deep within the inner ear of my soul. The longer I walk with You the more definite and distinctive it becomes.
I BELIEVE You are the Great Shepherd of my weak, vacillating, trembling soul. Bought with Your precious, priceless blood, my heart is permanently branded with the seal of Your Holy Spirit. You can easily identify that I belong to You.
How precious it is to think that You gave me eternal life - permanent life that never ceases; imperishable, immortal everlasting life that never ends. People and problems will persistently pull at me. Trouble and temptation will tirelessly tug at me. Sickness and suffering will steadily assail me. Through it all, I will not perish but prevail. No one or no thing can ever snatch me from the grip of Your almighty, tight-fisted, nail-pierced hand. You paid too high a price to ever let me go. As Your absolutely treasured possession, You firmly hold onto me even when I let go.
O Lord, I believe that You are faithful to all Your promises. Without reservation or hesitation, I'm choosing to believe that You'll keep me eternally secure bringing glory, honor and praise to Your powerful name. Amen
If you are one of God's chosen sheep, you are branded with the seal of the Holy Spirit. The seal guarantees that you are His possession, bought and paid for with the priceless blood of Jesus. (Ephesians 1:13) He paid too high a price to ever let you go.
His sheep listen to His voice and obediently follow Him, not making up their own whimsical rules as they roam to and fro. His sheep imitate Him. As you read the Word of God, what do you see Jesus doing? Are you following Him producing spiritual fruit that will bring glory, honor and praise to Him?
Jesus promises His sheep who listen to His voice and follow Him eternal security. You can choose to believe Him or argue with Him about this incredibly powerful promise. His Word says, according to Your faith it will be done to you (Matthew 9:29). Are you standing on the promises of Christ the Lord?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Isaiah 40:11

Isaiah 40:11 
He tends his flock like a shepherd: 
       He gathers the lambs in his arms 
       and carries them close to his heart; 
       he gently leads those that have young.

Good and Gentle Shepherd, 
So tenderhearted and compassionate, You certainly love Your sheep! You carefully lead us to the lush mountain pastures in our Bibles where we can graze to our heart's content on the fertile food of Your Word. Faithfully, You guide us through barren deserts to refreshing streams of Living Water to quench our dry and thirsty souls. 
Along the way, You protect us from animalistic humans who threaten to attack our character. Prone to wandering, we slip into clefts of criticism and condemnation, plunge into ravines of rejection and ridicule, and sink deep into depressions of disgrace and despair. In our times of trouble, You never fail to hear our cry, find us and set us free. I BELIEVE Your sheep are Your most prized possession.
 Bruised and bloodied from the fall, You meticulously bandage our broken hearts. Scooping us up in Your powerful arms, You hold us close to Your loving heart and carry us to safety. Resting in Your presence, we have nothing to fear. You are bigger than the people, problems and pressure pursuing us. 
Thank You dear Shepherd for diligently doing Your job twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, year in and year out. Because of Your hard work I'm alive and well. I know from experience that danger lurks around the bend. It's crucial that I trust and obey You. Huddled in Your flock, there's protection, provision, and perfect peace because of Jesus. Amen.

Are you sticking with the Shepherd or have your wandered away from the flock? You are valuable to Him! He wants to take care of you, but you need to follow Him. 
If you've lost your way and are stuck, cry out to Him. He'll find you right where you are, pick you up in His strong arms, and carry you close to His heart to the safety of His presence where there's protection, provision and perfect peace.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Psalm 92:1-5

Psalm 92:1-5
It is good to praise the LORD 
       and make music to your name, O Most High, 
to proclaim your love in the morning 
       and your faithfulness at night, 
to the music of the ten-stringed lyre 
       and the melody of the harp. 
For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD; 
       I sing for joy at the works of your hands. 
How great are your works, O LORD, 
       how profound your thoughts!

O Lord Most High,
It's a delight and honor to sing of Your wonderful works. In humble adoration, I gratefully thank You for Your ever loving kindness each morning. Your unbelievable mercy has kept me from complete obliteration. Each evening, I fondly remember Your incredible faithfulness. With a cheerful song in my heart, I love to tell of Your excellent greatness! My eyes have seen Your magnificent handiwork!
Merrily, I sing the praises of my drastically changed life. Your marvelous grace has miraculously covered all my past, present and future mistakes. Clothed and unashamed, I'm free to come into Your holy presence and worship You. With sheer confidence, I can stand up and assuredly sing with all my heart, "How great is my God!" 
Jesus, You mean the world to me! The amazing works of Your hands have made me glad. I'll sing of Your love forever because of the blessed promise I have in Your gloriously beautiful name. Amen.

It is good to praise the Lord! Bless Him for keeping you from complete obliteration! If you're alive today, thank Him! It's only by His amazing grace.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Watching God at Work: Making Connections

While I was representing Insight Management Consulting in Ocean City, MD at the Training Officers’ Consortium Annual Institute, God connected me with several key contacts, assuring me of my footing on this career path. Sometimes it feels like the way is congested and confusing. A door seems to open. I make seemingly important connections. The door closes, and I discover that I’m still standing at ground zero and haven’t really advanced at all. For a results-oriented over-achiever that can be quite frustrating. Then I remember that God defines success differently than the rest of the world.

Arriving at the convention center, we were meeting and greeting guests when a fine-looking bearded businessman approached me with a big bright smile, “Beth Rudy!” he exclaimed with excitement. “Brian Hammill.” He reached out his hand to shake mine. “Remember me?” How could I ever forget! The handshake turned to a friendly hug.

Brian and I had worked together a few years prior.  In fact, when he was promoted to a new position, I was promoted to his position. We took a selfie to show our friends that we bumped into each other at the beach. Talking the evening away, we reminisced about by gone days and mutual friends. Rick, Jane and Laurie report to him now. I learned how he earned the nickname Felix by our beloved boss Sherrie. David works with me now, and I was able to introduce him to David’s brother, Paul. What are the chances of meeting a former co-worker from Minneapolis in Ocean City, MD? God gave me a warm welcome by placing a nice guy from my past in my path.

The next day, I introduced myself to a spunky vendor named Chris. Since neither of us had meal tickets, I invited her to join me for dinner. Not only did we have a delightful and delicious dinner watching the brilliant reddish-orange sunset over the bay to magnificent sounds of the 1812 Overture, but we also discovered that we are both super achievers who left big careers to pursue our passion. Chris, the mother of two young adults like me, was a crime analyst with the FBI, climbing the ladder toward Senior Executive Services. Noticing massive inefficiencies and waste, and unable to influence change, she decided the organization and job no longer fit her character. Courageously, she walked away from the FBI to pursue writing, speaking and coaching. Her book, "Quit [Bleeping] Around: 77 Secrets to Superachieving" - is meant to help superachievers like us get out of their own way and step fully into their potential.
Surely the restaurant received an electrical surge while we were there; after all, two high-energy super achievers were in the same room at the same table generating momentum while sharing our similar paths and passions. I believe God connected us to encourage, inspire, and motivate one another.

As we were winding down on the third day, the exhibit hall was about to close when a sharp looking professional woman approached me to talk about our leadership development programs. Very intrigued, she handed me her business card and asked me to call her to schedule an appointment to further discuss her needs and our programs. Her card read: Director, Employee Development FEMA. Wow! Did God just connect me with a key decision maker at a 5,000 employee government agency?

Someone gifted me with a ticket to the send-off brunch the following morning. My intentions were to sit at a table at the back of the room, enjoy a nice meal, and then head back to my 16th floor condo overlooking the magnificent Atlantic Ocean to work. Wearing jeans, a bedazzled velour jacket, and flip flops, I planned to be obscure. Trading my brunch ticket for a blue folder emboldened with the letters FEMA, my imagination wondered if my new contact had anything to do with its contents. Sure enough, the Director of Employee Development at FEMA was the keynote speaker.

God provided the ticket, and changed my plans so that I would hear this inspiring woman talk about the incredible leadership programs she’s brought to FEMA. Our programs will fit like a hand in a glove. Wearing my jeans, bedazzled jacket, and flip flops I approached her afterwards apologizing for my less than professional appearance. I boldly told her I wanted to work FOR her. She was a high-energy, passionate, people developer like me. I don’t know if I’ll ever work FOR her, but I have a pretty good inclination that I will work WITH her.

Over four days, I watched God work to connect me with some really amazing people to encourage me to keep walking this path, pursuing Him, and success His way. I am incredibly blessed that God leads and guides me every step of the way. No encounter is by chance. He creates everything, owns everything, and makes everything work together according to His plans for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Psalm 116:3-6

Psalm 116:3-6
  The cords of death entangled me, 
       the anguish of the grave came upon me; 
       I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.
  Then I called on the name of the LORD : 
       "O LORD, save me!"
  The LORD is gracious and righteous; 
       our God is full of compassion.
  The LORD protects the simplehearted; 
       when I was in great need, he saved me.

Lord of Life,
I BELIEVE you are gracious, righteous, and full of compassion.

I was intertwined in a web of confusion, trapped by trouble and seized by sorrow. Satan choked me with his charm, strangled me with his shams, and was slowing killing me with his lies. 

In fearful desperation, I cried out to You, "O Lord, Save me!" In Your loving kindness, You rescued me and saved my life. I didn't deserve to be released from Satan's snare, but because You abound in love and mercy You set me free. Unwrapped from the cords of death that entangled me, I'm free to stand upright and tell others the wonders of Your love.

Because You have done great things for me, I will extol You.  With a grateful heart I will always praise for caring enough to save me, keep me, and wash me with the crimson blood of Your Dear Son through whom I live and move and have my being. To Him who is seated on the throne of heaven, and to the Lamb, be glory and honor and praise forever and ever! Amen.

How will you worship God with all your heart this week for His wonderful work of salvation?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Isaiah 53:6

Isaiah 53:6       
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, 
       each of us has turned to his own way; 
       and the LORD has laid on him 
       the iniquity of us all. 

Darling Lamb of God,
I BELIEVE You've carefully led me through Heaven's Gate where I can live safe and secure surrounded by You limitless love. You faithfully take care of ALL my needs. Yet, disgruntled with my lot in life, I deliberately chose to wander off in search of greener pastures seeking gods to suit my own desires. Beyond the safe confines of Your community, I live dangerously, making unwise choices. Taking wrong turns, I end up in precarious situations, falling prey to power-hungry people.

Rather than letting me perish in a pit, You voluntarily gave Your life to save me from death. Though I blatantly chose to go my own way and do my own thing, You willingly carried the deep gashes from my deadly decisions on Your body accepting the blame for every wrong move I ever made.

How can I ever thank You for giving Your life to safely bring me back into the sheepfold where I can heal in the peace and protection of Your prosperous presence because of Jesus, the Darling Lamb of God who was slain. Hallelujah! Amen.

Consider how far you have strayed from the sheepfold of God and the awful trouble you've gotten yourself into. Then consider the wonder of the Darling Lamb of God who came to save you by taking on all of your iniquities. What does this mean to you? How will you respond?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

John 10:9

John 10:9
Jesus said, "I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures."

Jesus, Lamb of God,

I BELIEVE You are the Heavenly Gate! Thank You for swinging wide the door of righteousness so that everyone who believes in You can come through and be saved from sin and death.  Laying down Your life, You made an opening for me to access Your holy throne in heaven.  

Within the walls of Your gated community, there is safety, security, and shelter. Through the Heavenly Gate lies a peaceful place of rich, luscious life where the Son always shines brightly. In the presence of Your majesty, I graze on Your glorious grace day and night when I read my Bible. My life will overflow with love when I persistently obey You and point people on the broad road leading to ruin to the narrow Gate of Righteousness leading to the lush green pastures of Your eternal love.

I rejoice and exalt You, the One Way to everlasting life. Amen.

Thank God that the Gate of Heaven has been open to you! Share the joy of your discovery with someone traveling the road to ruin.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

John 1:29

John 1:29
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

Jesus, Lamb of God worthy is Your Name! All power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise belong to You, the precious Lamb who was slain!

Your limitless love is too much for my meager mind to grasp.  No one - no, not one - is worthy of Your Holy Love. From the purist to the vilest, we stand equally condemned in Your most high and holy court. Shamefully destitute, our only recourse is to come to the foot of the cross where You, the unblemished Lamb of God, took on the imperfections and blame of the entire world, dying for the benefit of all mankind. Thank You for Your boundless mercy and unending grace freely offered to all who voluntarily come.

By Your blood, cleanse my conscience and heal my heart. With a renewed mind and soul, I'll willingly lay down my life to radically love others as You have loved me. Enthusiastically, I'll point them to the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power forever and ever! Amen.

What can we say to such magnanimous love? We are acceptable to God not because of our obedience, but because of the death of Christ, the perfect Lamb of God. He came for no other reason than to take away the sins of the world. How will you respond to Him?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Lending a Hand in Shifting Sand

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the elite FBI National Academy Re-trainer Program--a group of 100 or more executive law enforcement professionals from state, local, county, tribal, military, federal, and international law enforcement agencies gathered to hone their leadership skills.  Participation in the academy is by invitation only. As a consultant and business developer, I received the opportunity to represent Insight Management Consulting, the organization and leadership development firm I work for.

It was a place filled with some true American heroes – men and women who risk their lives every day to protect “We the people”.   Bashed by President Obama and his minions, criticized by governors and local leaders, and attacked by members of the mainstream media, I wondered what motivated these high caliber professionals to do what they do every day.  Despite all the negative publicity, I discovered they are leaders who truly have the best interest of others at heart, lend a hand, and walk the talk. Honorable individuals, they genuinely care about people and personify leadership.   One man in particular, Paul, with a thick southern drawl became my personal hero.

On a damp and dark night, I was invited to join them at a bon fire on the beach. The sky cast an eerie glare over the churning water as I nonchalantly trekked across the deep dunes and onto the gritty expanse. I approached a large pit about 6 feet round and 3 feet deep that reminded me of the cavernous holes my sons dug in the sand on hot summer days in bygone years. Nestled in the cavity, were brightly blazing reddish orange logs giving off intense heat and radiantly lighting up the ominous night. It was ideal for warming the body and soul on a cool spring evening by the galloping sea. While the waves crashed the shore a short distance away, I stood with some of the nation’s finest men and women, roasting marshmallows and listening to stories of drama and adventure. There were searches in scary places and high-speed chases. One burly guy, with the coarse tongue of a sailor, told about piracy on the high sea. Real people. Real stories. Real heroes.

The night grew blacker so I headed back to the hotel.  The glowing beams from the fire were behind me and the twinkling lights from the hotel towers were barely visible beyond the behemoth mountains of sand ahead of me. A fierce windstorm the day before had whipped millions of molecules of coarse granular crystals onto the walking path making it like a slippery playground slide that even a rambunctious young boy would have had difficulty climbing.

Wearing my rugged J41 water shoes (made by Jeep for adventure) typically ideal for the beach, I began ascending the steep slope of shifting sediment.  Unable to get traction beneath my feet, I kept slipping sideways like a car on a snow covered street, and I crashed into the powdery heap of drifted sand hoping my rear bumper wasn’t damaged.  

Laying on my back with my bumper in the sand, laughing out loud at my predicament, I had no sooner spread out my arms like a seagull in flight to make an angel in the sand when a booming voice came from the darkness behind me.


Before I knew it a strong hand was enveloping mine, lifting me to my feet, and guiding me to solid ground.

“Mammmmm, that drift was as steep as Mt. Everest,” he jokingly said. “Why, even a Mountain Goat would have slid down it sideways!”

“Well, I sure feel like an old goat,” I teased, wondering if he could see my hot red face.

“I always wondered why policemen carry billy sticks.” I continued. “Now I know. You use them to dig out silly old goats who get stuck in the sand,” I wittingly replied.

It was better for me to spin my awkward situation with humor than shrink back, in humiliation and tears. Brushing off the sand, along with my shame, I walked back to the hotel sharing some hilarious moments with my personal hero.   Unfortunately, I failed to get his name and wasn’t certain I’d recognize him in the light of day.

The next evening, a 27-year veteran law enforcement officer from Horry County, SC was called to the lectern to entertain the audience after dinner. I could hardly believe my eyes! The man who pulled me out of the shifting sand and transformed my humiliation with humor was standing smack dab in front of me spewing one wise crack after another with his deep southern drawl.

I had no idea my personal hero was a speaker, presenter, trainer, and entertainer. I didn’t realize that THE CHIEF DEPUTY of the Horry County Sherriff’s Office who has been a lifelong public servant and crisis negotiator rescued me.

Not only that but my personal hero, openly proclaimed his faith in Jesus Christ in front of an audience of one hundred or more executive police officers while calling them to find their passion, live on purpose, and be proud of their profession.

“It’s not the uniform that makes me a police officer,” he said. “It’s not what’s on the outside that makes you who you are. It’s what’s on the inside. We’re being encouraged to shine up on the outside,” he remarked, “but we are failing at shining up the inside.”

He challenged them, and reminded me, to recognize the difference between image and character, to reach down and make a difference, and to be better husbands and fathers (well, I can’t be a better husband and father, but I can be a better wife and mother). As though he was speaking my heart, he said, “Life is short. Spend it with those you love, doing the things you love.”

Lastly, he quipped, “Use your experiences to provide comfort in darkness,” the very thing he did for me the night before. Paul Butler was my personal hero not only because he pulled this old goat out of the sand, but also because he personified leadership by having the best interest of others at heart, lent a hand, and walked the talk.

My heart was touched when God sent His Chief Deputy to lend me a hand and lift me up when I was having a crisis in shifting sand.

I was right on the cliff-edge, ready to fall,
    when God grabbed and held me.
God’s my strength, he’s also my song,
    and now he’s my salvation. 

Ps 118:13-14 MSG

This is similar to the sandy slope I had to climb in the dark. I couldn't even climb it in the light of day.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Psalm 91:9-16

Psalm 91:9-16
  If you make the Most High your dwelling- 
       even the LORD, who is my refuge- 
  then no harm will befall you, 
       no disaster will come near your tent. 
 For he will command his angels concerning you 
       to guard you in all your ways; 
 they will lift you up in their hands.

 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; 
       I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 
 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; 
       I will be with him in trouble, 
       I will deliver him and honor him. 
 With long life will I satisfy him 
       and show him my salvation."

Lord, Most High,
Thank You for making my heart Your home. You are my safe haven. I come in, shut the door, and rest in the shadow of Your almighty presence. From the heights of heaven, You order a battalion of angels to watch over me wherever I go. If I climb the highest, most majestic mountain, You are there. If I sink deep within the sea of sadness, You are there. In the darkness of distress and discouragement, You are there. In the light of love and laughter, even then, You are there. Thank You for the angels that surround the shelter of my heart, Your home. 
Because I love You, I trust You to: 
Rescue me from sin and suffering 
Make me strong and mighty 
Answer me when I call You 
Be with me in times of trouble 
Deliver me from evil and temptation 
Honor me with the prosperity of Your presence 
Satisfy me with a full life 
Give me everlasting life and happiness

I know that problems will pursue me and danger will distract me, but with You living in my heart, I'll not just survive, I'll thrive. With the angels watching over me, I'll bravely trample trouble beneath my feet and loudly proclaim "You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. You are my strength and my refuge." 
Please dear Lord, make my heart Your home today and send those beautiful, powerful angels to protect me as I come and go in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Imagine! If you are a child of God and have invited Him to live in your heart, He has sent His beautiful, powerful angels to protect you! Claim and believe His precious promises. Live in the fullness of His blessing. No matter your circumstances, He's there, watching over You, protecting you within the walls of His Mighty Fortress. Praise Him! 
I'm reminded of the childhood lullaby, Angels Watching Over Me:
All night, all day, angels watching over me, my Lord.
All night, all day, angels watching over me.
Sun is a-setting in the West; angels watching over me, my Lord.
Sleep my child, take your rest; angels watching over me.
All night, all day, angels watching over me, my Lord.
All night, all day, angels watching over me. 
 Copyright and Author unknown

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Psalm 62:5-6

Psalm 62:5-6
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; 
       my hope comes from him. 
 He alone is my rock and my salvation; 
       he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

O my Strength! You, my God, are my Fortress, my Mighty Rock, My Refuge. Peacefully resting in the presence of Your upright, unmovable shelter, I will not be afraid or discouraged.  Your divine providence will save me and Your powerful grace will support me.  You'll readily supply all my needs, and strengthen me for the impending battle. Surrounded by the thick walls of Your mighty bulwark, people can't harm me and problems can't destroy me. 
You alone are my Rock and my Refuge. People are as unpredictable as the wind. When I put my hope in their power and promises, I'm bound to be disappointed, discouraged and discontent. People, no matter how influential, don't have an ounce of strength to shield me from deadly peril. 
You, on the other hand, are steady, solid, and secure. You never change Your mind or change the rules. With my heart cheerfully set on Your promises, I can expect to receive unlimited power, unparalleled peace, and unrivaled protection. Daily pondering Your Word and communicating with You through prayer, my faith will increase to an unwavering steadfastness. My sheer joy in Your strength will swell into a holy triumph and I will sing of Your love for You alone are my hope, my Fortress, my loving God. Amen.

If you are pressed beneath problems, crushed under crisis, or pursued by people, run into the safety of Almighty God's unfailing bulwark. A bulwark is a wall-like structure built to keep out attackers. 
He's expecting You. Open Your Bible and read His Word. Begin with this Psalm. Pray with expectancy. Resting on God's holy, unchanging words, you'll find unlimited power, unparalleled peace, and unrivaled protection. 
A Mighty Fortress is Our God! A Bulwark never failing!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

2 Chronicles 20: 15, 17, 21-22

Recently, my heart has been troubled and my spirit disturbed by all the bad things happening in the world: multitudes being sucked in and deceived by the feel-good teaching in the seeker-sensitive, culturally-relevant Church; wars and rumors of wars, nations pitted against nation as proud leaders jockey for more power; horrifying famines and deadly diseases afflicting millions of innocent people; shocking earthquakes and devastating storms; unemployment and financial disaster wrecking lives and livelihoods; increased immorality, violence, and hatred. You don't have to look far to be appalled by the headline news. 
In my despair, I poured out my soul like the Psalmist. "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?" (Psalm 42:5) I then opened my Bible to 2 Chronicles 20 and God gave me these words:  
2 Chronicles 20: 15, 17, 21-22
This is what the LORD says to you: 
"Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's."
"You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you." 
Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: 
       "Give thanks to the LORD, 
       for his love endures forever." 
As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the enemy.
This prompted me to take up my position, stand firm and wait for the deliverance of the Lord. Immediately, I began to sing and praise the Lord like the Israelites. As I did the Lord, indeed, set the ambush against the enemy. The power of praise set my heart, mind and soul free, and armed me with strength.  

I will praise You, Lord, with all my heart;
      I will tell of all the marvelous things You have done.
I will be filled with joy because of You.
      I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High.
You are a shelter for the oppressed,
      a refuge in times of trouble.
Those who know Your name trust in You,
      for You, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for You.
Lord, have mercy on me.
      See how my enemies torment me.
      Snatch me back from the jaws of death.
 Save me so I can praise You publicly,
      so I can rejoice that You have rescued me. 
(Psalm 9)
 I love You, Lord;
      You are my strength.
You are my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
      In You I find protection.
   You are my shield, the power that saves me,
      and my place of safety.
 I called on You, Lord, who is worthy of praise,
      and You saved me from my enemies.
 You reached down from heaven and rescued me,
      from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
 They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
      but You supported me.

 You led me to a place of safety;
      You rescued me because You delight in me.
 You, Lord, rewarded me for doing right;
      and restored me because of my innocence.

 You light a lamp for me.
      You, my God, light up my darkness.
In Your strength I can crush an army;
      with my God I can scale any wall. 
 Your ways are perfect.
      Everything You promise proves true.
      You are a shield for all who look to You for protection.

You arm me with strength,
      and make my way perfect.
 You make me as surefooted as a deer,
      enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
 You train my hands for battle;
      and strengthen my arm to draw a bronze bow.
 You have given me Your shield of victory.
      Your right hand supports me;
      Your help has made me great.
You gave me victory over my accusers.
The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock!
      May the God of my salvation be exalted!
(Psalm 18)

Scour the Psalms and write down all the ways God is strong, mighty, and powerful. If you dwell in the shelter of the Most High, then His strength, might and power are in you. Rest on His promises. This battle is His, not yours. 
Whatever is troubling your spirit today, remember what the Lord says to you in His Word. Take up your position, stand firm, do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out and face tomorrow, the Lord will be with you. His Word says so. Do you believe Him? 
Open your mouth and begin to loudly sing and praise Him. The enemy that's attacking your heart, mind, soul, and strength will be destroyed by the dynamite of praise! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

1 Corinthians 15:57

1 Corinthians 15:57
Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Triumphant Lord, 
You're the Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Blessed Angels. I celebrate the sweet victory You've given me through Jesus Christ. As a result of His glorious conquest, I can stand firm on Your powerful promises expecting You to defeat the enemy again and again. 
My mind is the battlefield where speculation, knowledge, and thoughts take place. It's constantly clashing with the opposition of a corrupt culture. A ferocious, frightening, and confusing hailstorm of doubt, disgrace and distress bombard me. Condemnation ruthlessly assaults me. Guilt viciously attacks me. Dying to my past is agonizing. The enemy is rapidly advancing and I need to take hold of the indispensable weapons You've given me to wage war with this world. Igniting the dynamite of Your Word with the matchsticks of prayer and praise, I'll successfully demolish the adversary.
You're my Commanding Officer. Respecting to Your authority is a matter of life and death. It's imperative that I obey Your orders, submitting my thoughts completely to Your control. With You in charge, I don't have be fainthearted or afraid. Terror and panic won't besiege me. I just need to comply with Your commands and rely on Your almighty armament. 
Thank You for Your faithful promise to go with me, fight for me and give me the exultant victory through Jesus, Your Son. Hallelujah! The battle's won! Amen. 

Thank God for the spiritual victory! It's a command. You no longer have to live in fear of condemnation, guilt or death. Ignite His Word with prayer and praise, and the battle's already won. 
Deuteronomy 20:4
For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.
I John 5:3-5
This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.