Zechariah 7:9 NKJV – A Thanksgiving Message

“This says the Lord of hosts: Execute true justice, show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother.”

Guest Blogger: Social Media

The beginning of this prayer devotion is an excerpt of something that has been passed around on social media and shared with me. A big thank you to Pastor Scott. I thought I would share it here. (edited for clarity)

“It’s important to remember that not everyone is surrounded by large wonderful families. Some of us have problems during the holidays and sometimes are overcome with great sadness when we remember the loved ones who are not with us. And, many people have no one to spend these times with and are besieged by loneliness. We all need caring thoughts and loving prayer right now. We need to set aside some time in loving support and care for those who have family problems, health struggles, job issues, worries of any kind that hinder them from enjoying what we sometimes take for granted. Sometimes folks just need to know that someone cares. Nobody is immune from these things.”

Let’s think about this. What would Jesus do? Well, scripture tells us time and again that Jesus was moved with compassion. He looked upon the multitudes and was moved with compassion. Forgive me, Lord, for sometimes looking away because of what I thought was more important.

I’ll let you in on a secret. I was one of those folks as written above. When I was alone, not knowing if anyone cared, someone contacted me. I was a new believer, but knew no one I could call upon. My old friends had gone. And then a wonderful family in the Lord asked me what I was doing for Thanksgiving. They cared. They invited me and my young son to their home where we were made to feel a part of their family. Their kindness continued for a few more years at Thanksgiving and even over a couple of Christmas Day celebrations. Those memories will never be forgotten and we are forever grateful. This wonderful family demonstrated “Jesus Christ Alive” to us.

During this Thanksgiving Holiday, why not take some time and give someone a call. Tell someone that you care and you love them. Maybe even invite them to your Thanksgiving celebration.

Precious Lord, thank You for Your love and compassion. Thank You that You teach us to demonstrate Your love in our lives. Help us Lord to see with Your eyes, hear with Your ears, and love with Your heart. Thank You Lord for all You give to us. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

1 Samuel 17:45-47 NKJV – Who or what is your “Giant”?

“Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”

Ladies and gentlemen, “Giants” come in all different kinds of packages. Some are human and some can’t even be seen. The “Giants” I’m speaking about are those things that keep us or should I say we allow keeping us from living out what God has planned for our lives.

We sometimes give a lot of credit to those things that keep us from being effective for the Lord. We say things like, “If only I had gone to Bible College.” Or “If only I had an outgoing personality.” Or “I could do my job better if it weren’t for my boss.” Yup. These are “Giants”. These “Giants” are self-doubt, fear, or even low self-esteem. We don’t want to admit that we have “Giants” and we sometimes choose not to go with the Lord as David did.

Some “Giants” in our lives we can’t control. Serious illness can bring down the strongest person alive. Or even the death of a spouse or child and we realize we are alone. But we have hope. We have a defender, a healer, and a comforter. We have someone bigger than any “Giant” we face. God Almighty Himself.

No matter what the army of Israel saw in Goliath, David refused to look upon the giant in the same way. God had caused David to defeat both a lion and a bear. He saw Goliath as no different. If God got me through that, this Philistine was no match. Is it difficult for us to look at our “Giants” as David did? Yes it is. It can be very difficult. But this I know. God is the source of all victory. He grants victory to those who put their trust in Him. For both physical and spiritual victory. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57 NKJV)

What shall we do in the face of our “Giants”? Face it in the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. Face it with belief and prayer that God is our protector and defender. Face it with the confidence that Jesus Christ is victorious over temptation, sin, the enemy, sickness, anger, addiction, fear, and even death. “The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:26 NKJV)

Friend, we all face “Giants”, but Jesus said, “I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20 NKJV) Some of our “Giants” are huge and cause fear to rise up in us. But God is bigger. Turn to God in prayer. Call upon His name. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up. The battle belongs to the Lord. And your “Giant” will not survive.

Precious Lord, You are our defender and protector. You go before us and the battle belongs to You. May we walk in belief and faith that the giants we face will be defeated in the power and the Name of Jesus. Teach us Lord through Your Word to trust in You for all things. For You Lord are already in our tomorrows. Thank You Lord. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

 

Psalm 18:3 NKJV – My enemies have surrounded me

Psalm 18:3 NKJV – My enemies have surrounded me

“I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.”

Do you want to know something? Enemies can take on a lot of forms and be a lot of different things. I have learned that. Sometimes there are individuals that seem to get their joy from making people feel uneasy, embarrassed, or even frightened. It seems that no matter what is tried to keep these people outside of our sphere, they find a way to get into the door. In the world, there are people who are just plain mean.

But there are other enemies that come in to take away our eternal joy. And these enemies are not flesh and blood. Their names are fear, jealousy, anger, bitterness, bigotry, greed, and lust. There are many more but I name these because the world feeds these every day and tries to make them stronger. The world places those listed here out for everyone to partake in. And these, like flesh and blood enemies, can be powerful and nearly impossible to take down. I said nearly. There is a way! The way is Jesus!

Our defense lies in the One who can save us from the enemies that come against us. It lies in our faith in Jesus and our confidence in Him. Scripture emphasizes the importance of putting our trust in God and God alone. “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (2 Timothy 1:12 NKJV)

What is the one requirement that is called out in our foundational verse? “I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised.” Sounds simple doesn’t it. And it is. By calling upon the Lord we demonstrate our trust in Him and this is a form of praise. Prayer, or calling upon the Lord, embraces praising God for who He is, thanking Him for what He has already done, and looking forward with joy to what He has promised to do in the future. When we are surrounded by our enemies, both human and not so human, we can do what David did as recorded in this Psalm below. We can call upon the Lord and praise Him and we will be delivered from our enemies.

“The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted. It is God who avenges me, and subdues the peoples under me; He delivers me from my enemies. You also lift me up above those who rise against me; You have delivered me from the violent man.” (Psalm 18:46-48 NKJV)

Friend, when we face attacks or enemy forces, we are not alone. The Lord, our Rock is near. All we have to do is call upon His Name, Jesus. “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11 NKJV)

Dear Lord, thank You for Your protecting presence over our lives. You are worthy to be praised. Our enemies must bow to Your Name, Jesus. They must flee from us and leave. Thank You Lord that as we trust in Your love, our faith is increased. And no enemy, either human or not, can stand against the Your authority over all things. For greater is He that is in us than he who is in the world. Glory to You Lord. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 103:12 NKJV – How vast is God’s mercy and grace?

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

“But Lord, You can’t possibly forgive me for all that I have done. How could forgiveness be for me! You don’t know me. And if You did, You couldn’t love me.” Oh how the enemy wants us to believe all of this. The enemy wants us to think that there is no way that God could love us to forgive us. I remember the times I’ve let the devil speak to me this way. I remember the helplessness I felt when I found myself bound in sin and thinking there was no hope.

But that is not what this verse tells us. When God forgives sins, He completely removes them. The height and breadth of His mercy is vast; as far and as wide as the east is separated from the west. WOW! “For I’m persuaded that neither death nor live, nor angels nor principalities not powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 NJKV) If nothing can separate us from the love of God, than God can forgive us no matter what we have done. His love is everlasting and He loved us so much that He died for us.

Then why do we think these things? First, we allow the enemy to speak to us this way. We don’t rebuke him or resist him. We allow his lies to penetrate our minds. Second, we fail to look at God for who He is. He is our everlasting Savior. The gospel reveals the purpose and the power of God to deal with sin and ALL of its effects. God forgives the sins of believers on the basis of the once for all sacrifice by Jesus on the cross. Believer’s sins are no longer held against them, on account of the atoning death of Jesus Christ.

Scripture reveals God’s assurance of forgiveness. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2 NKJV) Jesus is our Advocate. He is one who speaks on our behalf and because of His blood sacrifice, the price has been paid for our forgiveness. Restoration is demonstrated by God in His love and grace which restores a fallen humanity and by His lifting of His people to their former place within His service.

Believers are assured of the unfailing love of God and of their relationship with Him as Father, the salvation and eternal life which He offers and the absolute hope one day of sharing His glory. “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2 NKJV)

Don’t listen to the enemy’s lies. Turn away from them and believe in the power of God to forgive no matter what. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV) Let’s take time today to turn toward God in awe, and in praise and in joy as we realize how wonderful God truly is. Prayer is a natural part of worship; to know God is to want to pray to Him and worship Him. Let’s take time today to pray and ask God to forgive us from the sin that keeps us from a right relationship with Him.

Dear Lord, forgive me when I think that You cannot love me. Thank You Father that You loved me so much You gave Your only begotten Son, Jesus. Thank You Jesus that You died for me and all my sin. Forgive me when I believe the lies of the enemy and turn from You. You are my hope and I believe in You. So Lord, forgive me and cleanse me today. You are my salvation and nothing can keep me from Your love. Thank You Lord for the promises of Your Word. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Colossians 3:15 NKJV – The peace of God

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

Sometimes we choose to live our lives outside of the peace of God. Yet as believers, we are called to be a lighthouse for the Lord; to be a showcase of the reconciliation and peace Jesus Christ has brought to us. The world should see in us His love, His forgiveness and His grace. Sometimes we choose to take hold of the world instead of taking hold of the hand of Jesus.

Peace is found only in God and is maintained through having a close relationship with Him. John 15: 4 says, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” Here Jesus emphasizes a steadfastness needed in a relationship with Him. This personal relationship begins with faith. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1 NKJV)

So why do you suppose we would want to live outside of the peace of God. I believe it’s a trust and submission issue. Failure to trust may be a result of a betrayal of trust in the past. But we can be assured that God will not fail us. We can put our trust in God’s power and strength, His unfailing love, and certainly in God’s salvation through His Son, Jesus. Trust in God is nurtured through His revealed truth.

Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1 NKJV) The faithfulness of Jesus in shown in His character because He is the truth. He is the way. He is life. (John 14:6 NKJV) The peace that is found in Jesus Christ is a supreme remedy for all of our fears and it is a legacy that He left for each and every one of us because we are His heirs.

When was the last time we prayed for the peace of God to be upon us, our spouses, our children, our families, our friends, our church, etc?   The world is a fallen place. The world does not look out for us and cares not for our peaceful existence. The peace of God can only be found in Jesus and a relationship with Him. Join me as we make it a part of daily prayer that the peace of God would rule in our hearts and the in lives around us. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27 NKJV)

Dear Lord, thank You that the peace we need to live in this world is found only in You. Thank You that You are constantly watching over us and waiting for us to simply submit to You. May we always walk in Your hand as You guide and direct us. May the peace of God rule in our hearts and the hearts of those around us. Forgive us Lord when we place our trust in the world to help us get through the day. May we turn back towards You in repentance and receive Your forgiveness and restoration. We love You Lord, and pray in Your Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

James 4:10 NKJV – God blesses the humble

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

God exalts the humble. As believers we should humble ourselves before the Lord. It’s being aware of the majesty and glory of the Lord and the reverence needed before Him. I’ve heard some believers say that when they get to heaven and meet Jesus face to face, they will jump up and embrace Him and love on Him. I say, I will not, just yet. What I know is that I will be on my face in weeping humility and reverence before my glorious Lord. The sheer magnitude of the thought of being face to face with Jesus will drive me to lay prostrate before Him.

Humility is an attitude of lowliness and obedience, grounded in the recognition of your status before God as His creation. God commands humility. That is what our foundational verse is saying. When I was saved in 1999, I came from a life of pride, not humility. I thought I could do anything, live anyway, and I was totally responsible for the outcome of either. But humility is linked to repentance. “So the leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, “The Lord is righteous.” Now when the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, “They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance.” (2 Chronicles 12:6-7 NJKV)

Humility is also linked with God’s favor. “The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way.” (Psalm 25:9 NKJV). God will not despise a broken and contrite heart. (Psalm 51:17 NKJV) God will restore those who humbly come before Him. Through Jesus Christ, God has made possible a new relationship between Himself and a sinful humanity. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are born again. We become a new creation. The prideful way I lived my life was taken away and I was reborn and became as new. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things be become new.” (2Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)

In humility I came before the Lord on Sunday, July 18, 1999 and knelt and prayed. He gave me new life and lifted me up. And today, I find myself coming to the Lord in humility each and every time I pray; each and every time I have conversation with Him. I can’t say that I am completely free from my selfish pride. I continue to seek forgiveness with that. But I can say that each day I come to God in humble prayer, I find myself less and less prideful. And more and more blessed as a result. Isaiah 66:2 says it this way, “For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,” Says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.” Let us worship and bow down to Him, our glorious Lord!

Dearest Lord, we exalt Your Name. We humbly come before You Lord and give You praise. You are our Almighty King and Glorious Lord. Teach us Lord to always approach You in humble reverence but in complete faith that You will hear us and answer us. May we live humbly before You always and repent of any prideful way in our life. May You be glorified in all we say and do. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 61:1 NKJV – Hear my prayer

“Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer.”

When we pray, we are seeking God’s counsel and readiness to answer. That is exactly what this verse is saying. O Lord, I am here and I need Your help. Hear me O God. Whether we are seeking Godly wisdom, or an answer to something not understood, or healing for oneself or a loved one, or prayers for deliverance from an addiction, you can call upon the Name of God.

Psalm 50:15 says, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” When we call upon the Name of God we are demonstrating a dependence upon Him. Sometimes this is out of a sense of desperation. Sometimes it’s acknowledging who God is. And as intercessors, we call upon the Name of God as a function of prayer. In all of these cases, we are making known we need the power and the presence of God.

God promises to hear and respond to the prayers of His children. And God expects His children to make requests of Him in prayer. ““Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:7-11 NKJV)

So crying out to God in prayer is not something strange. Among other things, crying out to God in prayer should be central to a believer’s life. And prayer is a form of worship. As I said before, when we call upon the Name of God we are demonstrating our dependence on Him. We are literally saying, “Only You Lord can take care of this.”

God’s desire is that all people should seek after Him and find Him. Those who seek God with all their heart are rewarded. “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.” (Isaiah 55:6 NKJV) So in times of need, times of trouble, times of sorrow, times of confusion, seek the Lord and cry out to Him. He will certainly attend to your prayer. And while you’re at it, thank Him for hearing you and answering you.

Dear Lord, we thank You that You are always ready to hear our prayers. Thank You that You answer our prayers. Help us Lord to come humbly to You and believe in advance that You completely understand our needs. Teach us Lord to trust in You and wait even when things seem to be needed almost immediately. Forgive us when we sometimes lose faith in the midst of Your answer. Hear my cry O God and attend to my prayer. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!