Saturday, July 31, 2010


"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus ." (1 Timothy 12-14)
Paul writes to Timothy and shares his heart with him about his past and where God has taken him on his spiritual journey. He takes a moment in time to reflect back in to where he came from and where he is now. He then sees how far the Lord has brought him through Jesus Christ. He sees that it was not by his own works or deeds that he gained this favor but it was through the mercy and grace that was poured upon him. We too have the same mercy in our lives and can see where we came from and where we are now. Stop a moment and reflect where you were five years ago. Take a good look at your life and where were you in your spiritual journey. Now, fast forward and look to where you are today. If you have been born again, you will be like Paul and see how far you have come and what great mercy has been poured upon your life. Take for example the water lily. Where do you think this beautiful blossom comes from? Water lily roots are firmly rooted in the mud and debris in the still and stagnant waters. Look at where the water lily comes from and the magnificent flower that is produced from the muck and mire. Our lives are like that too, for we can come from a pretty sinful place and because of the transformation in our lives through Jesus Christ, we too can have beauty come from our lives. Like in Isaiah 61, we will be transformed to "beauty from ashes".

How grateful I am in having been called and answered that call. I have been transformed through the mercy of Jesus Christ. May others know of the redemptive quality that can be received when one received Jesus as their savior.
Question: Where were you in your life five years ago? Has Jesus transformed your life?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Peace Within

"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you." 2 Thessalonians 3:16

As I reflect on this picture this morning, I get a great sense of peace. Look at the stream running in the front of the cottage. There are trees and so much tranquility there. You don’t see the freeway filled with cars, cell phones and work stations here. The location is isolated and away from distractions. We can relate this to our own lives by removing yourself from your everyday stresses and entering into a place where there is peace. I believe that we can have what Paul writes about in this verse, an inner peace at all times. We can be in the middle of a chaotic event and still have peace. Is that hard to imagine? Just think of this – when you received salvation, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within you. That means that peace is always in you and with you. Outside yourself, there is the chaotic world and all the stimulus that can rob you of that peace but the catch here, is ONLY IF YOU LET IT! Yes, you can still stay near the clear still waters if we dig deep and go to that place of peace when life begins to try to steal it from you. What does the enemy come to do? Steal, Kill and Destroy and the first item on his agenda is your peace! So when you get challenged by the world, begin to dig deep inside to those peaceful and calm waters to refresh and restore your soul.  We truly can be at peace at all times and in all ways! Let us always dig deep within ourselves during stressful times and not allow our peace to be stolen by the enemy. We will not allow him to rob me of the peace that is within!

Question: Are you allowing the enemy to steal your peace?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Joy, Pray and Thank Daily

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Now isn’t this a very simple model to follow to live out God’s will in our lives? To have joy, to pray and to give thanks all day long. What does it mean to always be joyful? I like to define joy as a feeling of peace that is within that is not dependent on the circumstances of our lives. Unlike being happy, which seems to be generated around events and it is a temporary emotonal state. Joy can be within us at all times! To pray continually is to always have a prayer under your breath as you go through the day. When my internet cable went out this morning I was praying continuously or when I am looking for that lost item in the house. I ask Him to help me in all I do, all day long. Also, I give him praise all day long. Like when I go to the gym and I finish a set, I whisper, “thank you Lord”. For He is my strength and I remember a year ago when I was bedridden with a herniated disc in my back, I would not be exercising today, if it were not for God healing me! Everything I do, I can see through the eyes of gratitude and give the Lord thanks. But my thanks does not only come when things go my way. I can thank the Lord in crisis and when things look the darkest. Why? Because I know I have a God that is going to get me through it. I have a God that gives me hope and promises that I can find in His Word. I have a God that has shown me that He will never leave me nor forsake me. I have God in my heart, and for this, I am truly thankful! Joy, Pray, Thank is my motto today – to live life as a faithful Christian. What a great scripture, simple and clear for all to understand and apply.
Question: Are you experiencing joy today? Do you pray and thank God through out your day?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rooted in Jesus

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7

I focus on these tree roots this morning and see the visual right in front of my face, on how my life needs to be “rooted” in Jesus. He is to be at my very source of nourishment, at my roots. Roots are the part of the tree that holds the tree firm in the ground but also it also feeds the entire tree. The Lord is to be my foundation and everything I do is to be fed by Him. Reading God’s Word daily and reflecting on His Will for my life, is what I know is part of God being my nourishment the sustenance which makes me thrive. My life is to be built on Him and as in the Psalms, he is my rock and my foundation for which I stand. If my roots are firmly planted in the ground then I am receiving the living water from the Lord. It does not matter when the rains come, the storms come, the fires or devastation come to shake my tree. My roots are solid in the ground and that is where my source comes from – it comes from the Lord. I really love this analogy of the tree and the roots. On the other hand, we can have "bitter roots" of anger, resentment, rejection, fear and other strongholds that the enemy has placed in our lives through traumatic and painful events. We can choose to have our roots planted in the Lord and then we will receive health and peace or we can choose to have our roots planted in bitterness and resentment. Where do you want your roots? It makes a difference when you think about what fruit will be produced from those roots. Really makes you think, doesn’t it? Let us all praise Him for being that solid rock in which we stand!
Question: Are your roots firmly planted in Jesus? What kind of fruit are you producing in your life?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Beware of Those Fiery Arrows

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.Ephesians 6:10-13
We have all been through those tough times in life and often sense we are under attack. We sense those fiery arrows coming at us and we know in those times, we are being called to a battle – a spiritual battle. It is not a war against things of this world like people or circumstances, but it is a battle against the unseen in the spiritual realm. Sure, life happens and we cannot always say that when rough times comes it is all from the devil, for that is giving him way too much credit and focus. But when a battle comes, we need to realize that we have stepped into a battle in the mind. Let us begin to realize that when we accept the fiery arrow of hurt/pain/offense, we are now spiritually “wounded”. I have experienced this wounding and I know what it feels like when I have accepted a hurt and then I feel like that fiery arrow has pierced my heart and I am now down on the ground, wounded in Spirit. We are to be aware and on guard so that we do not accept that arrow of offense. Once we let down our shield of faith, the arrow can penetrate and and now we are wounded warriors. We are always to wear our full armor as described in Ephesians 6 and to not ever walk out of our houses without that spiritual protection. We would not walk outside being naked and neither should we do the same spiritually. Be on guard always and have your armor ready for those times when the enemy wants you to receive those fiery arrows in the battlefield of your mind. Stand firm mighty warriors and be aware when we begin to get annoyed, angry, upset, offended that that is the warning signal or battle cry to begin to fight the war in you mind by not taking the offense and taking those lies and thoughts captive. Stand firm this verse says and you will have victory against those attacks from the enemy. I realize the importance to put on my spiritual armor daily and to watch for those danger signals of emotions and offense. When I sense those gates are tying to be opened in my mind, I stand firm with all the full armor that God has given me. May I walk in victory, all the days of my life! I am called to be a warrior and part of being a warrior is to always be ready for battle!
Question: What battle are you engaged in? Have you put on your spiritual armor today? Are you ready to stand firm against those fiery arrows?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Let the Light Shine

"Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord." (Ephesians 5:7-10)
We have the light of the Lord within us and no matter where we go, we bring this light with us! I remember having a conversation with a lady and it was about the light of the Lord that is within us, that shines out and others seem to perceive it. My friend said that when she called a customer service, she got a brash and rude person on the other end. No matter what she said, she was receiving opposition. Even when she hung up, she sensed that nothing she could do or say would change this person’s heart. She had tried but nothing was successful. I had to chuckle on this one because of this very verse. I explained that it it was NOT about her but the lady was reacting to the light of Jesus that was within her. Here was someone that was sensing the light of Jesus on the other end of the phone and she could not tolerate it. That happens, when the light begins to permeate the darkness – it brings to light those things that are kept hidden and in the dark. We take this light with us, everywhere we go. So the next time you run into a rude person, know that it is probably not about you, but they are reacting to the light of Jesus within you! I always want to remember that this light goes with me everywhere I go. Darkness cannot stand light and there may be an adverse reaction to the presence of Jesus within me. Light always will shine in the darkness and it will illuminate and bring to the light, those things that are hidden. May I take joy in the knowledge that the light of Jesus is within me.
Question: When was the last time when you felt opposition to you? Did you ever think that it was not about you but they were reacting to the light within you?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Bait of Offense

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:26-27; 31-32)

Have you ever read God's Word and it was so convicting that it was like you got hit on the side of the head with a 2 x 4 piece of wood? Today's journal is that journey for me. I am keely aware that anger can give a foothold to the enemy in our lives. God's Word tells us that we are to forgive one another as soon as we realize we have taken the bait of offense. John Bevere wrote a book, "The Bait of Satan" and I learned so much from him and how we can get offended but the offense is not from others but it stays in our hearts. I believe that these verses are ones that we are to tuck away in our tool box for those times when we get upset with our spouse, family and/or friends. I like to think of this as the formula for when we get offended or hurt by others. We are given the bait by satan in the form of an offense through words and/or actions by others. Once we feel offended there is always an emotion that comes into our heats: anger, resentment, bitterness etc. It is at this point when we allow ourselves to be offended that we accept that offense and now we have given the enemy a foothold into our minds and lives. Now all we can do is focus on the offense and begin to replay the tape in our minds and the emotion (anger, bitterness, resentment) becomes stronger and we then become more justified in our position of being right and the enemy is increasing his grip in our minds. When we are at this point, it is called an “oppression”. That is the foothold that we allow the enemy into our lives. That is why this verse says to forgive one another and don’t wait, for the longer you keep it in your heart as an offense, then the foothold goes deeper. That is why the verse about not letting the sun go down while you are angry is important – for it is about the amount of time you dwell on the offense. Does that literally mean that as soon as it becomes night we need to forgive? I think there is a greater implication of this. Yes, you should not go to bed angry because it is more time that the enemy to gain that foothold. To me, what this means is that you are not to delay or let ANY amount of time go by when you are offended and have taken the bait. When you sense an oppression, it is to be dealt with as soon as you can and not let it to sit and reproduce more justifications in your mind. The longer the oppression is on you, the more that the lies of the enemy are allowed to sink in (like roots that begin to grow). The longer it stays then the more attached those oppressions become and the more you are now deceived by the enemy with the lies. We are to stand on guard of the gates of our minds, to make sure that we are knowing God’s Word which is truth and that the truth in His Word sets us free. This Ephesians 4 is the freedom chapter about the danger of taking offense and what to do. Paul wrote the manual on how to deal with oppressions and for this, I am grateful. After reading these verses today, I not only have absorbed what the Spirit has been leading me, but now am able to TAKE ACTION when I find myself being offended or hurt by others. I need to know that as soon as I am offended that I own up to my feelings and the justifications. I am to get into His Word, see truth and to ask for forgiveness. Unless I ask for forgiveness in repentance, then I am still holding on and the oppression will not leave. I pray that this is part of my life always and that I can share this, teach this and equip others on what to do when the bait of offense is taken in our lives.
Question: When were you last offended or hurt by others? Have you forgiven them? Are you holding on to the offense to give the enemy a foothold in your life in the form of an oppression? Forgive now and be released!