Archive for November, 2012


“…and they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the words of their testimony.”

Don’t let the enemy rob you of your testimony. He wants to convince you to give up in the midst of the battle. He understand that through Christ you already have the victory as long as you stand.

As he paints his illusionistic portraits of negativity and despair his purpose is to distort the view of faith. If he can get you to believe his lie you will not retain the testimony of God’s deliverance. Listen, their is no trial, temptation, heartache, valley or pit that you can find yourself in that God has not already planned your deliverance. Don’t believe the lies of the enemy. Don’t accept the negative report of the enemy.

He will tell you that the prolonged length of your struggle is an indication of your failure, when the Word of God has revealed repetitively that struggle has no deadline and delay in deliverance is not indicative of denial of delivery or absence of faith. God has set a path and much of it is appointed for the duration and nothing you do will expedite the situation. Abraham waited 25 years before the fulfillment of the promise. The Children of Israel waited centuries for their deliverance from the Egyptians. Joseph, before them, waited thirteen years before the vision became reality. I could go on. What I can tell you is that the longer the delay, the greater the destiny.

Hold on to your testimony for dear life. Your testimony is a powerful weapon in combating the enemy. Your testimony speaks the powerful words of victory and deliverance. It is a reminder of God’s faithfulness in times of trouble (Ps. 46:1). Hold on to your testimony with all that is within you.

You will overcome, just hold on to your faith and your testimony. They both have power. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

November 21, 2012

Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” – (Matthew 11:28-230 NIV).

Friend to Friend
Here’s a question. Do you think obedience to God is easy or hard? Hmmm. Obedience may seem hard at first, but in reality, obedience is the easy way. It is difficult to cope with the messes we get into when we don’t obey. The consequences of sin are hard to deal with. Think about the times you have disobeyed or turned your back on God. What were the results? Easy? Hard?

Satan will try and convince you that obedience is much too hard, that it carries too high a price, but he will never tell you the cost of not obeying God. He will never tell you the glory moments you will forfeit by refusing or ignoring God’s invitation to join Him.

Practicing Acts 17:28 (In him we live and move and have our being.) will never lead to sin. When we wrangle from God’s embrace and set out on our own, that’s when we get in trouble. God isn’t telling us to obey to make life difficult. God wants us to obey to make life less difficult. The end result of obedience is the blessed way…smooth moves.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” (Matthew 11:28-30). The yoke is simply a farmer’s understanding of the divine dance of obedience. When two oxen are yoked together, they move as one—walking in tandem to the bidding of the master. Usually, an older, more experienced animal is yoked with a young upstart. The apprentice ox learns from the more seasoned ox as they walk along tethered together. If the younger animal tries to surge ahead, the yoke chokes at his neck and slows him down. If he lags behind, the yoke chafes at his neck and prods him to hurry along.

And what does Jesus say about this yoke? It is not hard. It is not difficult. It is not heavy. It is easy. It is light. Being yoked to Jesus actually makes life much simpler…smoother…more peace-filled.

God said to the people of Israel: “If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:18). A river flows unhindered over rocks and boulders as it moves from one place to the next. It flows around them, over them, and past them—all the while smoothing rough edges. A river doesn’t strive to get from one place to another. It simply flows. That is the glory life of living and moving and having our being in Christ. We simply flow with a sacred inner calmness. Sometimes circumstances will be like tumultuous white-capped rapids, other times like a lazy gentle stream. But the life in union with Jesus keeps flowing. Moving forward. And in the journey, we catch glimpses of sudden glory in the scenery as we move between life’s banks.

Obedience is so much more than following a list of do’s and don’ts. Practicing religion rather than enjoying a love relationship with Jesus is like trying to plow the field alone. It will exhaust you rather than energize you. You will feel like a martyr and then wonder why others around you seem to be so joyful in their calling. Obedience because of our love relationship energizes our lives. Obedience out of a sense of duty or law drains. Always drains.

Religion operates on a “works of the law” principle: “I obey God, therefore, I am accepted by God.” Relationship operates on the gospel of grace principle: “I am accepted by God through the finished work of Jesus, therefore I obey—because I love and trust Him.”  We’re going to talk more about that in the next chapter. This is important to understand because until we grasp the difference, we will never experience the joy of living and moving and having our being in Christ.

Obedience is aresponse to love. Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching,” (John 14:23-24).

Sometimes relinquishing control and following Jesus’ lead through obedience can feel uncertain or awkward, like when your dance partner leads you into a new move for the very first time. But each time you say yes to God, a new passion and peace flows through your veins until eventually, hopefully, a total transfusion of Christ-centered living replaces self-centered stubbornness. Intimacy becomes sweeter. Passion grows stronger. Glory moments become easier to see. Unique glory moments…selected especially for you.

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, thank You for loving me enough to provide boundaries in which to experience the abundant life. Help me to obey You quickly and fully, so that I can experience all that You have for me. I don’t want to miss a single blessing because I’ve chosen to walk through the wrong door.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

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Lord Heal

Lord, there is someone hurting today. Someone has been left to bear a most pressing burden on their own; lift that burden and give them rest. Someone has been seized by the unbearable pain of abandonment; hold them in your arms and caress away the hurt. Someone is perplexed by the enigmatic conundrums that seem to plague their lives; simply this moment so that they can exhale.

Lord, somebody is at the point of giving up, shine a light into their darkness so that they may see that they are standing on the edge of a breakthrough. Lord someone has been convinced that their life is not worth living, reveal the cross so they will see that you thought so much of their life that you gave yours to save it. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

Taking a Leap of Faith
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
“I can do everything through him (Jesus) who gives me strength,” (Philippians 4:13 NIV).

Friend to Friend
Several years ago, on a trip to Kauai, my husband and our friends, Larry and Cynthia Price, decided to go on a zip line through the jungle. After being jostled and tossed like ragdolls in the back of a retired army jeep, we finally made it to the top of the mountain from which we were going to zip down—risking life and limb I might add.

I hopped out of the jeep and eyed the cable suspended high above the valley below. After watching Cynthia fly through the trees, I climbed up onto a wooden platform and surrendered to Jack, a jovial, burly Hawaiian, who strapped me into a harness and placed a helmet on my head. With a simple click of a metal buckle, he attached my harnessed body onto a seemingly flimsy steel cable. As I stood on the edge of the platform eyeing the disappearing earth below my feet, I had a choice. I could say, “no thanks” and ask to be released from the cable, or I could jump.

I chose to jump. My body flew over the treetops and the stunningly beautiful gorge. I was Tarzan’s Jane and this was my jungle. Airborne. Exhilarating. Risky.

Jacob was with us that day. He was a stranger among our little band of adventurers. Jacob was alone. No friends. No spouse. No family.

“Jacob, what brings you up to this mountain today?” I asked.

“I’m afraid of heights,” he answered.

I then noticed the thin line of perspiration beading over his upper lip. The slight tremble in his voice. The mechanical one-foot-in-front-of-the-other halted gait up the hill.

“You’re afraid of heights?” I asked. “Then why are you here?”

“I’m going to conquer it today,” he determinedly answered.

I was struck. We were here to have fun. He was here for a totally different reason. When Jacob stood on that platform, I prayed for my new friend. For Jacob this was not just a joy ride…or just maybe it was.

I’m not saying that God told Jacob to go to the top of a mountain, attach his body to a flimsy cable, and fly over the gorge at the risk of life and limb. But I am saying that obedience often requires a leap of faith. Too often we say yes to God, but live the no because of fear. We stand at the precipice of belief and a decision has to be made. Am I going to trust God or not? Am I going to attach my heart to the cable of His love and take a leap of faith, or am I going to freeze in fear because I don’t trust that He has my best interest in mind? Am I going to settle for safety and miss the thrill of seeing God work through me?

As we live and move and have our being in Jesus, God will take us to some amazing places. And there will always be a choice. Will we jump headlong into the adventurous journey of His perfect plan, or will we hang back for lack of faith? Jacob stood on the platform, took a deep breath, and jumped. He flew over the treetops, careened over the river, and landed safely on the other side of his greatest fear.

We clapped and cheered. Jacob took a bow. God smiled.

In Him we live and move and have our being…and sometimes we soar.

Let’s Pray
Lord, sometimes I’m just flat out afraid. Afraid I’ll fail. Afraid I’ll be rejected. Afraid I won’t be good enough. Lord, forgive me for all those “I’s.” Forgive me for focusing on my weaknesses rather than Your strength. Today, I’m believing that I can do all things that You call me to do because I know that You will give me the strength I need.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

November 9, 2012
It’s Time to Do Something!
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another – (1 John 4:11, NIV).

Friend to Friend
I could not tear my eyes away from the television screen as the 33 miners began to emerge from the depths of what could have been their mass grave. The men had been trapped for more than two months in the collapsed Chilean copper mines nearly half a mile underground. Everything I have read or heard about the tragedy is extraordinary.

The miners survived the early days by rationing food and working together as a team. Each man was assigned a job, one of which was to maintain peace and harmony until they were rescued. The selfless mining supervisor who insisted on being the last to leave his underground prison showed the world what it really means to put others first. I was amazed at the selflessness of the rescue worker who became the initial guinea pig for the rescue capsule and then chose to stay behind – alone – while the world celebrated above.

I wonder how long it will take us to forget. How long will we remember that the world came together to save a group of strangers? Will the powerful lessons of their rescue make any difference in the way we treat each other?

We all know what it is like to be trapped in a pit of some kind. It is probably not a collapsed mine, but pits are all basically the same.

Our world has collapsed under the weight of fear and pain.
No one seems to care. In fact, a lot of people have written us off as a lost cause.
People are too busy to recognize or understand our hopelessness.
Darkness prevails and rescue seems impossible.
We are wounded, sick and tired.
Civil war rages in our soul as we struggle to obey God instead of giving in to sin.

I truly believe that every day is filled with divine appointments – opportunities to rescue people who are trapped in some kind of pit. We miss the emptiness reflected in the eyes of the sales clerk or we simply choose to ignore the homeless man begging for money so he can buy food. After all, we are in a hurry and have more important things to do. The sales clerk would probably be embarrassed if I said anything and that homeless man would probably just use the money I gave him for drugs or alcohol.

The ringing phone is someone in need, but we don’t care enough to answer. Our neighbor does not know God, but her life is a mess and we really don’t want to get involved. Instead of taking action and doing what we know God wants us to do, we decide it is enough to pray for that neighbor and leave the messy part of God’s work to someone else.

I am so guilty of walking away from someone in need instead of running to their rescue. I am in pain, too, and my pain is more important than theirs. I may not actually say those words, but I don’t have to. My actions are blatant illustrations of my own egotism and self-absorption.

I do not want to be like the priest who nonchalantly strolled by the wounded and bleeding man lying on the road. I want to be like the Good Samaritan who stopped and saved the wounded man’s life. I want to be “God with skin on.”

A tired father came home from work, grabbed his newspaper, and settled into his favorite chair with a sigh of relief. All he wanted was a little peace and quiet. All that his young son wanted was his daddy. The little boy raced into the room and asked, “Dad, can I get you something to drink?” The man lowered his newspaper, smiled and replied, “No, thanks. I’m not thirsty. I just want to read the paper.” He then raised his newspaper and resumed reading. The little boy thought for a moment and then said a little louder, “Dad, can I get you something to eat?” The slightly exasperated father lowered his paper and said, “No, Son. I just want to read the paper!” As the father resumed his reading, the little boy tried again. “Dad, can I get you … “, but before the little boy could finish his question, the now irritated father lowered his paper and demanded, “What is it that you want, Son?” The little boy sighed and gazed into his father’s eyes as he explained, “I don’t want anything, Dad. I just love you so much that I have to do something about it.”

One day, just as rescue workers descended into that Chilean mine, Jesus Christ will descend into this broken world and rescue us from the pit of human frailty. Until then, let’s be His hands and feet. Let’s love Him so much that we just have to do something about it.

Let’s Pray
Father, I come to You today with a heart of praise for the way You meet every need in my life and for how You constantly rescue me from the darkness. I want Your heart, Lord. I want to be Your hands and feet to the people You place in my path. Give me eyes to see their need and the courage to do something about it. Please guard my heart against pride and selfishness. I want to please and honor You alone. In Jesus’s

 

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He Took My Place

November 7, 2012
He Took My Place
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever – (Psalm 106:1, NIV).

Friend to Friend
In a few short weeks, friends and family across America will gather around beautifully decorated tables filled with warm, scrumptious food to give thanks on Thanksgiving Day. However, this day will be nothing like holidays of the past for many people.

Lonely but committed soldiers covered in the dust of battle will patrol foreign borders, fighting for our freedom while their families back home long for word of their safety. The homeless will make their way to the nearest soup kitchen, hoping for a warm meal and a smiling face as so many celebrate this day of abundance. An empty place at the table will be a painful reminder of the loved one lost not long ago. A worried husband and dad will sit at the head of the table, wondering how he is going to tell his family that he just lost his job. The list of wounded hearts and unmet needs is endless.

We convince ourselves that life will be better when we have more money, when we find the right mate, when we get the kids raised or build the right house. We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer car, when we get that promotion, when we are able to go on our dream vacation or when we retire. We keep trying to find joy, contentment and peace in lifeless places and things.

Jesus Christ is life. He is Joy and Love, and He took our place on the cross. That’s why we can give thanks when it seems as if there is nothing for which to be thankful.

One day, a man went to visit a church. He arrived early, parked his car, and got out.  Another car pulled up near him, and the driver told him, “I always park there. You took my place!” The visitor went inside for Sunday school, found an empty seat, and sat down. A young lady from the church approached him and stated, “That’s my seat! You took my place!” The visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome but said nothing.

After Sunday school, the visitor went into the church sanctuary and sat down. Another member walked up to him and said, “That’s where I always sit. You took my place!” The visitor was even more troubled by this treatment but still said nothing.

Image

Be Grateful

During the worship service, as the congregation was praying for Christ to dwell among them, the visitor stood, and his appearance began to change. Horrible scars became visible on his hands and on his sandaled feet. Someone from the congregation noticed him and called out, “What happened to you?” The visitor replied, “I took your place.”

Yes, we live in a broken world and life is filled with pain, challenges, dark times and trials, but today can still be a day of thanksgiving and praise because praise and thanksgiving have little to do with the Thanksgiving holiday and everything to do with our inner attitude toward God. It really doesn’t matter how much we lose here, my friend.  I have read the Book and we win … for all of eternity!  We just need to take the time to remember … and give thanks.

Let’s Pray
Father, we come to You today, praising You for meeting our needs this year in ways that we may or may not have understood at the time. Looking back, we see Your hand of mercy and love. We recognize Your presence and your power and we celebrate You. We celebrate the life You give us now and for all eternity. In Jesus’s name, amen.

November 6, 2012
Are We Having Fun Yet?
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
I [Jesus] came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows),” (John 10:10 Amplified Bible).

Friend to Friend
C.S. Lewis says that most Christians lack “merriment.”  I like that word. “Merriment.” Just moving the words across my lips is fun. And I think Lewis is right. We lack merriment and we don’t expect it. Many Christians look like they’ve been weaned on a dill pickle. My goodness, if there is anyone who should exude merriment, it is a person who knows Jesus as Savior and Lord. We, above all people, have something to be merry about!

What God desires, not from you but for you, is life to the full (John 10:10). There’s nothing ho-hum about that. I read Jesus’ words in John 10:10 and I am famished for glory moments of life to the full. I want to see God, to experience His presence as I live and move and have my being in Him.

John wrote, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1). He didn’t simply use the word given, but lavished. Webster defines lavish this way: “given or provided with great generosity and abundance, to bestow with large generosity, profusion, a downpour.” Ponder those words separately.

Lavished.
Provided with great generosity.
Abundance.
Bestow with large generosity.
Profusion.
Downpour.

Do these words reflect your expectations in your relationship with Jesus? C.S. Lewis said it well:

“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”(C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (New York: HarperCollins, 1949,1976,revised 1980), 26.)

The first statement in the Shorter Catechism of Westminster Confession of 1646  states that man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Enjoy Him! To enjoy God is to glorify Him. Just as He takes delight in you, He longs for you to take delight in Him. You simply can’t separate the two.

Are you enjoying God? As you live and move and have your being in Him, is there a smile on your face and a skip in your step? Do you expect the rich adventurous faith-filled life that you read about in the Bible? Do you expect to experience God’s glory today? If not, perhaps you need to raise your expectations of what your relationship with Jesus can be.

Once we’ve tasted the sweetness of His fruit, to settle for anything less than the bountiful orchard of His blessings will always disappoint. Oh yes, there are heavy-laden branches filled with low hanging fruit just waiting to be picked. If only we would reach up high enough, raise our expectations, and pluck them from the tree.

Let’s Pray
Jesus, forgive me for acting like I’m doing You a favor for following You. I know that you came to give me life to the full. Help me to stop walking around like I have life to the half-full. Today, I’m going to laugh, to smile, to enjoy being in Your presence. I am going to keep my eyes open for moments of sudden glory as You make Your presence known to me!
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

November 5, 2012
Be My Portion, Part 2
Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him” – (Lamentations 3:24, ESV).

Friend to Friend
I sometimes run to God as if He’s a celestial Wal-Mart purposed to satisfy my every want. Change my family. Fix my job problem, God. Do it my way! Instead of leaning in to hear the whispered will of the Lord, I selfishly shout my will, my desires and my demands. Lord, give me relief from life-pressures instead of giving me strength to endure them. When I’m desperate to fill my mega-sized heart-cart with things that I want, I rob myself of what really matters: the pursuit of God and the blessings found in Him alone.

The truth is that even those of us who are Jesus-girls, you know… good Christian women who strive each day to live for Christ… continually sin and wallow in the shallow, unsatisfying waters of discontentment. We tell God what we’d like Him to do for us so we can be happy and then expect Him to intervene in ways that suit us. We blur the lines between our wants and our needs – between our plans and God’s plans.

In part one of this devotion, we were reminded to rest in God. We looked at His care of the sparrows, considered that God loves us even more than he does the birds of the air, and were challenged not to worry. Today, we focus on prioritizing God above all else. Matthew 6:33 instructs us to seek God first: to look to Him as our Ultimate. Our Portion. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33, ESV)

David modeled this beautifully when he called out to God in the midst of trouble and recognized Him as being enough. I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living” (Psalm 142:5). In Psalm 119, the psalmist recognizes God as his portion and takes the moment of surrender a step further by tethering his satisfaction with obedience. You are my portion, O Lord; I have promised to obey your words. I have soughtyour face with all my heart; be gracious to meaccording to your promise (Psalm 119:57-58).

Life is unpredictable. There will always be days that we want to yell, C’mon, God! Throw me a bone here! I could use a little help, please! It is not a bad thing to call to God in the midst of our struggles. In fact, we should! We must! The big game changer, however, is not God’s presents – but His presence. Refuge from our circumstances and contentment in the midst of them is found in the center of our surrender.

So what’s the connection point between our longings and His provision? Perhaps the better question is not what but who? The late pastor and theologian Charles Spurgeon said it this way, “It is not ‘The Lord is partly my portion,’ nor ‘The Lord is in my portion’; but He Himself makes up the sum total of my soul’s inheritance. Within the circumference of that circle lies all that we possess or desire. The Lord is my portion. Not His grace merely, nor His love, nor His covenant, but Yahweh himself.”[i]

Once again, Spurgeon hits the nail on the head. We are distracted cravers when we expect our people, places and things to fill our hearts as only God can. God loves us so much. Why do we forget this all the time? His plan is perfect and we can trust Him. He knows our needs and desires. When we seek Him as the answer instead of for the answer, God enables us to rest in confidence that He’s working on our behalf and in our best interest, to bring glory to Himself through our lives.

Set your list of wants aside today and seek God. Go before Him with a heart of worship and adoration. Get lost in His presence. Remember His mercy. Relish His grace. Love Him. Seek Him. Choose Him as your Portion.

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, Please be my Portion. Forgive me for the times when I seek Your blessings before I seek Your heart. You are all I need. In Jesus’s name I pray, amen.

One of the questions that finds its way to me from believers seeking guidance more incessantly than all others is: How do I get past the pain? Within this one question lies many others: How do I move on? How do I forgive? What did I do to deserve this? Where is God when it hurts?

One of the most difficult things to do is recognize the hand of God moving in the midst of your pain. The pain of heartbreak and loss can be crippling, paralyzing, and even blinding. Pain has the power to stop you dead in the middle of your tracks and it has the weight to buckle your knees. Being a person intimately acquainted with pain, I can easily empathize with those that are engaging the enigmatic conundrum of pain. One of the most insightful books I have ever read on pain was a book entitled: :Where is God When it Hurts? ~ by author Phillip Yancy. In addressing this topic I thought it would be appropriate to borrow that title.

As I stated earlier, the ability to sense the presence of God in your circumstances can be stifled by the excruciating force of pain. The loss of a loved one, betrayal or abandonment by a loved one, and many other painful experience can squeeze you so tight that the very breath that sustains you seems to leave your body. It takes all that you have within you to rise each day and face the uncertainties of what was once a very simple and sequacious life. The question arises: Where is God in all of this? When the pain won’t subside and the malevolent force of its merciless cruelty, will not allow you to seek refuge from its pernicious assault, what do you do? When you look for a moment to simply recompose yourself, but the deafening sounds of the cries of your soul will not allow you to rest, how do you maintain? When every breath that you take seems to collapse your chest with wreathing pain, where do you turn? When it seems that God has abandoned you to the chaos of the moment, what is left?

I would simply like to make one point. God has never and will never leave you. It may be dark right now, but Solomon said that God dwells in the darkness. God knows all that you are going through right now. He is perfectly cognizant of the depth of your pain and the severity of your struggle. One day, you will be able to say, like King David, “If it had not been for the Lord, who was on my side, I would have been destroyed.”

My friend, you are not alone. Pain is a part of the process and though it is uncomfortable, it is profitable. Your pain is developing character within you that cannot be obtained through any alternative measure. It is building a resolve of faithfulness and commitment to the cause of the kingdom. Your pain is revealing those in your life whom you can trust, and those whom you can’t. Pain has a way of thinning the air of all of the impostors in your life masquerading as friends. Pain frightens the inauthentic people in your life. It makes them uncomfortable and drives them into the distance. It is disappointing, but very necessary that they leave. They were a distraction and hindrance to your growth and advancement.

Pain draws you nearer to God as you yearn and seek his presence. The most awesome thing to me about being a Christian is the uniqueness of the relationship between the Savior and the saved. You see, only in this faith can the believer say that their Lord has shared in their pain. You may say what you will about God being indifferent to the pain of His people, but what other God can boast that he has literally come down as a man and experienced the same pain? So, when you are going through, know that there is nothing that you are experiencing that our Savior has not already experienced before you. You are not alone. In fact, Christ wants to carry that pain for you. Give it to Him. Dealing with pain is never easy, but with God all things are possible. You are a child of the King. Lift your hands and give God praise, for He will soon reveal the great things that your pain has produced. ~ (Bishop) Dr. Rick Wallace

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November 2, 2012
Be My Portion, Part 1
Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” – (Lamentations 3:24, ESV)

Friend to Friend
I am a lot of things, but low maintenance is not necessarily one of them. Straight up, I am a girl with some constant cravings. Though I do try to savor life moments with gratitude, I fail all the time. Many days, I find myself looking beyond my now to my next, longing in discontent. I seek God’s blessings instead of seeking God. I seek His hand instead of His heart. This frazzles my peace and messes with my joy. It tangles my heart in knots until I begin to dance through my days to the tune of, “I can’t get no satisfaction!”

Why do we desire God’s presents in our lives more than His presence? Does God need us to tell Him how to be God? Isn’t that what we do when we stomp our feet before His throne and whine about all of the things that need fixing instead of praising Him for the strength He graciously gives us to get through? While we’re certainly encouraged by Scripture to make our requests known to the Father (Philippians 4:6), the highest calling on our lives is to love God with all of our hearts, souls, bodies and minds (Matthew 22:37). We can do both, but we are commanded to seek God first: to look to Him as our Ultimate. Our Portion.

Asaph wrote Psalm 73 with a lot on his mind. He was flustered about all the bad people around him. He wondered why God wasn’t smacking them around for being so wretched and was struggling to keep his eyes on his own life. (Sound familiar?) Then his woes turned to worship as he entered into the sanctuary of God (v17). His heart began to untangle as he remembered God’s sovereignty. In Psalm 73:26, he finally landed in a good place. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heartand my portion forever.

He took a deep breath and found his God-confidence.
Oh, how I can relate to that!

The Bible shows us time and time again that when we prioritize God – when we look to Him to be our Portion – we are supernaturally equipped to rest in Him. Do you remember that old hymn His Eye Is On The Sparrow? Girlfriend, God doesn’t miss a trick. He knows what’s going on.

And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘what will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today(Matthew 6:30-34, NLT).

If divine eyes rest on tiny sparrows and flowers of the fields, how much more are the needs and desires of God’s children known to Him?

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, Would You be my Portion today? Help me to trust Your plan and rest in Your grace – beyond what I see or feel. In Jesus’s name, amen.

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