Change me, Lord

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It’s a new year, it’s a new season,

I pray that my heart, will be more like Christ

Change my heart Lord, when I get so blind,

Keep me accountable, when I get stuck in the ugliness of this world.

It’s simple to pray and ask that the Lord to change someone else’s heart,

But only to find out, that it was me who needed the changing.

Anger and bitterness often times cloud my view when I pray,

God says, “hold on child, it’s you who needed the disciplining.”

So here I ask again, change my heart Lord, change the way I pray,

And begin every prayer with, “Change me, Lord.”

I want to start off the year 2014 with only your blessings. In Jesus’ name, amen.

~Happy New Year to all the bloggers out there! May this year brings you lots of new perspectives, God blessings and a willingness attitude for God’s purpose. 🙂

Blessings,

Sue

~picture is not mine and credit to Proverbs 31 Ministries.

The Power of Assumptions

nice_flowers_2-wide~picture isn’t mine.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

Assumption, we all do it all the time and it’s costly.

The assumption battle is one I have fought most of my life. I’ve questioned friends’ motives, assuming they were against me. To avoid being hurt, I’ve detached from relationships with no valid reasons.

Perhaps you’ve fought the same battle?

Your friend didn’t sit with you in Bible study like she usually does; she must be upset with you, so you avoid her at your weekly meetings. Another friend is invited to several parties you aren’t; obviously the two of you are drifting apart, so you don’t reach out any more. Your sister hasn’t responded to your text and phone messages; she must have found another friend in whom to confide, so you stop calling her.

It’s easy to assume others are upset, have “more important” friends, or are too busy for us when their behavior changes. Anger and hurt can well up in our hearts and we may pull away from friendships in order to protect ourselves. There is a danger in assumptions: they can destroy relationships.

Before we know it, even without proof, what we assume becomes our truth. Our misguided feelings lead to misguided thoughts, which cause misguided responses. The result: ruined relationships.

Living under the havoc of assumptions isn’t the way God intended it though. Second Timothy 1:7 tells us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (NKJV). Looking at the last part of this verse, we see God gives us the ability to think, reason, and understand.

Through Christ, we have a mind that is well balanced and considers things in context. Our sound mind is stronger than our feelings, but we have to give our thoughts time to catch up with our emotions. A good way to do this is to pause and think clearly about the conclusions we’ve made.

When an assumption rears its ugly head, simply take a moment to ask if this assumption is consistent with your friend’s normal behavior. If it isn’t, this would be a good time to ask a few more questions: Is my friend okay? Have I done anything to hurt her? How can I pray for her? Do I believe the best before assuming the worst?

Repeat the pause until the assumption passes. The result: positive relationships.

Ruined relationships can be prevented and assumptions can be put to rest when we stop and focus on our thoughts. God has blessed us with a sound mind to surrender to the truth and not allow our imaginations to run wild.

Before the power of assumptions ruins a relationship in your life, pause. Settle your emotions and consider what you know to be true about your friend. Take a moment to pray for her and plan how to reach out to her. She might just be struggling with her own assumptions that you could help her clear up!

Dear Lord, thank You for empowering me to overpower assumptions. I commit to believe the best before assuming the worst, and to not allow my emotions to jump to conclusions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Would you like to bring the message of this devotion to the women of your church? Click here to find out more about considering Wendy Pope as your next retreat / key note speaker. And be sure to visit Wendy’s blog today as she shares how she overcame the power assumptions had on her life.

Trusting God for a Better Tomorrow Bible Study by Wendy Pope, available in a printable download, Kindle, Nook, and hardcopy.

The I Am His medallion necklace is a great reminder that we belong to Christ and His truths are ours to hold on to! Click here for more information.

Reflect and Respond:
What power have assumptions had on your life?

Reach out and make an attempt to reconcile with someone with whom you made an assumption.

Power Verses:
2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (NIV)

Philippians 2:4, “Don’t be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others.” (GW)

~Credit to Proverbs 31 Ministries

Love for the enemy

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      When Jesus tells us to love our enemies, He Himself gives us the love that He demands from us.

   In Africa I visited the cell of a young man who was sentenced to death. His hands were chained and his dark skin had many red wounds, caused by lashes. Behind me stood three soldiers. The cell was absolutely empty; only a plank on the floor and high up in the wall a very little window. The prisoner looked very healthy and strong. The tragedy that this man had to die overwhelmed me.

I sat down beside him and prayed for a word from the Lord. “Have you ever heard of the cross of Jesus Christ, where He carried the sins of the whole world, also your sins?” He nodded. “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, that He will be your Savior too?”

“Yes, I love Him, but I have not always been faithful. Politics have taken up my time and attention completely, but now I have brought all my sins to Jesus. He has forgiven me. If I may live any longer, then I will serve Him with all my life.”

“Have you forgiven the people that have brought you here, who have your death on their conscience?”

“No, I hate them.”

“I can understand that. I will tell you one of my experiences. During the war in Holland, I helped to save Jewish people, because Hitler wanted to kill them. One day a man came to me who told me that his wife had also helped the Jews and that now she had been arrested. ‘She is in the police station and probably she will be put to death. Now there is a policeman who is willing to let her escape, if we pay him six hundred guilders, but I have no money,’ he told me. ‘I can help you,’ I said. ‘Come back in an hour.’ In the meantime I collected all the money from my friends and all I had myself, and it was exactly six hundred guilders. I gave it to him to save the life of his wife. But he was a betrayer. His wife was not arrested at all. The enemy had told him to find out whether I helped Jewish people. So this man thought that at the same time he could make some money out of this situation. He went home with six hundred guilders in his pocket. But five minutes later the enemy came and my whole family was arrested. Later, when I heard that this man had betrayed us, hatred came into my heart, just at it happened with you. I had given him the last money that I had. But then I read in the Bible that hatred is really murder in God’s eyes (Matthew 5:21-22).

“How glad I was that I knew what I could do against hatred. ‘The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin…If we confess our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:7,9). I brought my hatred to Jesus. He forgave me and cleansed my heart with His blood. After the war this betrayer was sentenced to death. I wrote to him: ‘What you have done through your betrayal caused the death of my 84 year old father, my brother, his son, and my sister in prison. I myself have terribly suffered through your fault, but I have forgiven you everything. This is just a very little example of the forgiveness and love of Jesus. He lives in my heart; that is why I can forgive you. Jesus will also come into your heart and will make you a child of God. Confess your sins to Him. On the cross of Calvary He has finished all for your sins and mine.’ Later he wrote me: ‘I have prayed: “Jesus, when You can give such a love for the enemy in the heart of someone who follows You, then there is hope for me.” I have indeed confessed my sins to Him. Now I know that I am a child of God, cleansed by the blood of Jesus.’

“So you you see that Jesus used me to save the soul of this same man I had hated so much. Do you know that if you do not forgive, you yourself do not receive forgiveness? Jesus said: ‘For if you forgive other people their failures, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you will not forgive other people, neither will your Heavenly Father forgive you your failures’ (Matthew 6:14-16). You cannot do that, neither can I, but Jesus can!” That same day, the prisoner sent a message to his wife: “Forgive my murderers. You are not able to do it, I am not able, but Jesus is able. If we are not willing, then we ourselves do not receive forgiveness.”

When Jesus comes and we have bitterness, yes, even hatred in our hearts, then we are not ready to meet Him with a clean heart: “Everyone who has at heart a hope like that keeps himself pure, for he knows how pure Christ is.” (1 John 3:3).

In the time of the final battle, many will be filled with hatred, then we do not stand on victory ground. It is very easy to belong to the masses of people. It is one of the laws of the kingdom of God that men receive peace only if they are always ready to forgive unreservedly. We never touch the love of God so much as when we love our enemies. “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5). He does the job. Hallelujah!

~Corrie ten Boom

Well-Meaning Soul

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I seek a well-meaning soul that desires to be radical

But there are distractions, and it won’t allow me to be different

It’s easy to sell myself to empty pleasures of this place

It’s easy to be conned by the façade of what seems to be pretty

If only happiness is not so hard to find, If only I knew every answer

Then I would say my ultimate existence in life is complete, yes?

All the while someone is calling my soul to break away from these thoughts of emptiness

To enter the secret place of security and satisfaction

Therefore, I have to make a choice

I’m desperate and I know It, I’m feeling pressed to make a decision fast

Why is it so hard for me to decide?

I can almost feel the walls forming an alliance against me

So, I’m holding my tongue and I’m holding on to my thoughts

I’m going to break through and decide right now

Life. Life. That’s what I want. I want to live.

Whatever it takes, I’m choosing forever with this someone.

I’m choosing consistency. I’m choosing faith.

 

~Picture is not mine and my poem is inspired by Proverbs 31 Ministries.

God’s Discrepancy?

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I  found this article to be very enlightening. There are some issues in life that we contemplate about but never really took the time to read or pray about it. This is one of them. I pray that this article will help shed a bright light on you as you walk in the path of righteousness towards Christ. Be encouraged friends, God didn’t leave you or me here to fend for ourselves alone but here to bring us the truth and live an abundant life. May you continually always seek God’s truth until the day you’re taken up to Heaven. 🙂 Btw, picture is not mine.

 

By Dr. Charles Stanley

Luke 6:27-31

One area of confusion about war is the apparent discrepancy between Jesus’ words and God’s approval of battle in the Old Testament. Can such dissimilar teachings be reconciled? How can the God who told Israel to destroy the Canaanites be the same one who said, “Love your enemies,do good to those who hate you” (v. 27)?

To clarify this issue, we must distinguish between commands issued to nations and instructions given to individuals. The Lord has bestowed certain responsibilities upon governments. He calls them ministers of
God for good and entrusts them with avenging evil (Rom. 13:4). But to individuals, He says, “Never take your own revenge” (12:19).

People are killed in war, but this isn’t the same as murder. A soldier on the battlefield carries out his duties under the authority of his government (Rom. 13:1-2). Murder, on the other hand, is an individual’s vengeful response to anger or jealousy and is motivated by a desire to destroy another person.

When governments avenge wrong, innocent people are protected, but when individuals seek their own revenge, they destroy themselves and others. In Luke, Jesus was speaking about personal conflicts, not national wars. He knows that loving our enemies is the only way to protect ourselves from bitterness.

Would we prefer to turn the responsibilities around—are we quick to fight personal battles, but slow to affirm the avenging of evil nationally? Sometimes the only way for a country to have peace is to go to war, but we’ll never experience inner peace if we battle with individuals who wrong us.

Popsicle!

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Popsicle are fun for those who enjoy the sun

Popsicle are yummy when work is all done

Popsicle are the best when eating it with friends at the Oceaaaaaan!

~Happy Wednesday! Another day to be tender heart-ed, gentle, humble and enjoying life this summer. 🙂

Dear Friday

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Dear Friday,

Today is Friday. Another day of an 8-5 pm shift. Lunch at noon and back to my desk at 1pm. What does all this mean? What’s my goal? What do I want to accomplish? What do I want to do? Lord, what is Your dream for my life? Please awake what’s been tucked in my heart. Emerge those hopes and dreams that You want to fulfill in me. I feel that today is another ordinary day of living and working. I feel like I’ve drifted off course, away from what God intention for me. I also feel that my heart has grown cold to the things of God lately. Because I know that I’m drifting away from the Lord, I am having a hard time paddling my boat. I’m actually paddling against the current really. It’s hard, nearly impossible to win this water battle. And so, I give up. I sound like a broken record again. But yes, I give up. It’s tiring to travel this river alone. I’m getting back on course again. I’m guarding my heart and mind against attitudes and ideologies that would carry me away from God’s truth. Instead, I’m choosing to paddle my lifeboat towards the Lord by meditating on Scriptures, praying and  living obediently. Practicing discipline will help keep my heart warm towards God.

Love,

Sue

 

~I hope you’re inspired today. It’s not too late to get back on course. Thank you Lord for giving me hope. My hope in you never fails. (2 Peter 3:17 and Luke 15:11-32)

~picture is not mine.

 

Because of Jesus

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I had never heard anything like it.

In a village on the Gujarat-Madhya Pradesh border in India, 50 families came to know the Lord within a short period of time. These were very simple but God-fearing people who heard the Gospel and responded to Jesus—Jesus who forgave their sins and set them free from bondage.

In the midst of their celebration and joy, they received an ultimatum. Their village chief and a band of others rounded up these 50 families and told them that they could no longer live in the village.

These new Christians hurried to pack their tattered clothes, pots and pans and other few belongings, and then they walked away from everything they had known. Like refugees from a war zone, they trudged out of the village, along with the elderly who could hardly walk, little children and pregnant women.

As they were leaving, the village chief told them that they would be allowed back only on two conditions: payment of a 500-rupee penalty per family, plus each would have to deny Christ.

But not one of them returned. They walked until they finally crossed over the border into Madhya Pradesh, finding shelter under trees in the jungle.

Why Do They Press On?

I thought about these people and the suffering and hardship they went through just to survive and find a place to settle down. They were so new to the faith. None of them had any theological background or had had a chance to attend seminars, retreats or Bible studies.

They had never even heard about some of the most elementary truths of the Bible, much less complex issues such as eschatology with its pre-, mid- or post-trib viewpoints. I doubt that any of them knew the books of the Bible. In fact, most of them were illiterate.

What made them willing to walk away from their huts, fields, friends and relatives?

If you asked them, this is what they would tell you: “We are walking away because of one reason—Jesus.”

What causes a young brother in Maharashtra, India, to decide to return to the same village where he was nearly beaten to death for leading 25 people to Christ?

What gives African Christians in Sudan the endurance not to renounce their faith, but to go through continuous suffering, pain and death?

They all understand what it means when Jesus says: “Follow Me.” You see, Christianity is not following a system, theology, doctrines or some ideas. It is following Him.

It Takes Love for Jesus

In all things that we do, we must keep in mind that the highest, most sacred call the Lord gave us is to walk with Him, to love Him and to know Him.

That’s why Paul wrote to the Philippians: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). In chapter three, he explains the purpose for which he renounced all things—not to reach the whole world with the Gospel, not to become a revolutionary, not to travel all over the world and plant a thousand churches—no, none of those things, but “that I may know Him” (Philippians 3:10).

When we read through the book of Acts and all the letters Paul wrote, we see the result of one man’s commitment to know the Lord. Everything Paul did—evangelism, missions, sacrifice, hard work day and night—it all came out of one thing: loving Jesus, knowing the Lord.

Unless our knowledge of the Bible turns into a relationship with Jesus, the strong winds of persecution, discouragement, enticement from the world, a better job, higher salaries, concerns for the future, life struggles and relationship problems will knock us down; we will no longer closely follow the Lord.

There is no doubt that the three Hebrew young men survived the fiery furnace because of their love for the Lord. That’s the reason the fourth one, the unseen One, was there with them. And Moses rejected his position in Egypt, for by faith he saw “Him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27).

Every individual in the Bible who really came through and was approved by the Lord didn’t get there because of his or her achievements. It was because of a close, personal relationship with the Lord. That was the sustaining power.

It takes this kind of love to go through trials and persecution just as those 50 families did who gladly walked away, willing to lose all and live and sleep under some trees in the jungle. Somehow, in their newfound faith, they saw “Him who is invisible” more visibly and tangibly than some of us do, who have learned everything and know our theology inside and out.

Today, the call of Jesus remains fresh and real: “Come, follow Me” (Luke 18:22). His footsteps will take us to the most unreached, to the suffering, to lost and dying millions. But serving them, interceding on their behalf and sacrificing to send missionaries to them will never be a burden for us because it’s all for Him. If we truly see the invisible One, all we do is because of Him, and it is truly our privilege and joy.

His arms are open wide—let us run after Him.

 

~ credit to: Destined to Soar, Chapter 36 © 2009 by Dr. K.P. Yohannan

Let Me Dance

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Sometimes my voice is too loud for me hear that my heart is shaking in fear.

I’m afraid. I’m afraid of change. I’m afraid of losing control.

I try my best to list all the reasons why, but it’s no use.

And at times, it hurts so bad. I’m hurt all over if I’m not careful. I’m losing the battle.

But what am I to say? This darkness that stares me in the face. I can’t fight it alone. Oh no, I’m so afraid.

Help, help, I’m out of control. I’m falling apart. Someone save me.

Stuck in a spiral of my indecisiveness, why, why am I like this?

I feel feeble and utterly crushed at times; I mean, I can’t even hear groan of anguish in my heart.

My guilt has overwhelmed me, it’s like a burden too heavy to bear.

I’m like a deaf woman who does  not hear because she is stuck in a deep hole which she created for herself.

Like a mute who can offer no reply in her defense, I can’t speak at all

I am so helpless, I am so worried, I offer no excuses for my actions, for I am guilty, no justification.

But, But even so, among  all that is against me, I am still alive.

Because I am waiting upon the Lord for my strength. I will wait for His answer.

I’ve confessed my iniquity to Him; for I was troubled by my sin

Though many are judging me now and hating me, I am right with God. I am honest with my Father.

I have no more fear, I am redeemed. I am free from my troubled past.

My Lord has not forsaken me, He has totally set me free from my destructive self.

I am free to dance, so please, just let me dance.

 

~late night poem inspired by Psalm 38.

 

The Ultimate Sacrifice

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~picture is not mine.

Dear friends, my heart is heavy and I feel the need to share this with you out of my concern and love for you:

As I daily continue to walk in intimacy with Jesus Christ, I am drawn back again to the scene of His crucifixion. Crucifixion in those days was a totally inhumane way for anyone to die. Today, I want you to sit down in a quiet place and travel this journey with me to Golgotha, the place where Christ was crucified. I want you to sit and “listen” to the sound of the hammer striking. I’m not trying to be melodramatic. I just want us to come as close as possible to being eyewitnesses. You don’t have to open your eyes and “look,” but I want you to open your spiritual ears and listen. Move close enough to hear the conversation of the marksmen as he positions the nail at the wrist of Christ. You’ll have to fight the crowd to get close enough. Then listen to every hammer hit the nail–several times at each hand and foot to make sure the nails are securely in place. I’m not trying to make you wince. I only want you to hear the sound as the nails are driven securely into the wood.

How do you feel? What’s going through your mind? Is your heart pounding loudly in your chest? Are your tears falling and dripping down your chin? Are you sad or are you sobbing? Or, do you not feel anything all? Are you feelings numb? Please, what are you thinking? The reason I ask you is because I want you to know that Jesus Christ was crucified because of us. Our sins put Him on the Cross. We are the bad people here. We are the one who inhumanely killed Him. He was punished for a crime He didn’t commit. He was punished for being “The King of the Jews,” the Son of God (Luke 23:38).

Ladies and gentlemen, let be frank with you. Are you walking with the Lord today? Are you in fellowship with Him this morning/afternoon/day? Are you aware that there is life after our death? Do you want to spend the rest of your life in Heaven or in Hell? Yes, these places do exist. Where would you like your destination to be?

I’m not trying to scare you but I want you to start thinking about these things. Our time is short. We’re like a flower that is slowly but surely fading away (Isaiah 40:8). We don’t have forever. Choose wisely. I pray that you choose Christ. Because you know what, no other religion or god will take you to Heaven. Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Not your good works, good deeds, tithing and good ethic or morals will get you to Heaven. Only through Jesus will you inherit the Kingdom of God. Only in Christ will you be saved from eternity in Hell.

Here is the Sinner’s prayer when you’re ready to receive Jesus into your life and live with Him for eternity:

Dear God,
I come to You in the Name of Jesus. I admit that I am not right with You, and I want to be right with You. I ask You to forgive me of all my sins. The Bible says if I confess with my mouth that “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead, I will be saved (Rom. 10:9). I believe with my heart and I confess with my mouth that Jesus is the Lord and Savior of my life. Thank You for saving me!
In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

~Credits to LifeWay Biblical Solutions for Life, Kenneth Hagin Ministries and the New Testament.