Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Peace, Be Still

Recently, I went on a Ladies’ Retreat designed to let each woman there seek to sit in the presence of God.  While I was reading Mark 4, I began to journal about all the circumstances in my life that had me screaming, “Lord, do you even care!”  After a couple of pages of pouring out all my stress and struggles and after reading back over the Scripture in Mark 4:35-41, the Lord made the following principles clear to my troubled heart:

·      Learn to access God during the daily craziness of life! This may mean that I take time to pray, write a paragraph in my journal, put on some praise music, rewind a scripture over and over in my head, find the blessings in the moment or just be quiet!
·      Learn to leave the crowd and get in the boat with Jesus! Take time away from people to be with God so I will be worth something when I am with people!
·      In the moment-by-moment storms I must remember Jesus is with me!
·      Not only is He with me, He controls the storms and every single moment of life!
·      Learn to close my eyes, take a deep breath and hear the voice of Jesus whisper into my stress and craziness, “Peace! Be still!” (Mark 4:39)
If I don’t learn to practice God’s presence this way, I will continue to hear Jesus say, “Why are you so troubled? Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:40)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Victory: My Part, God’s Part and the Devil’s Plan in the Middle

We all want to live in victory as believers.  The struggle is choosing to surrender to God's plan to victory instead of our own distorted plan.  Today, we are going to unfold some verses that help us see how much action is involved with living  by faith and walking in victory.  Take time to read I Peter 5:6-11 and note all the action words that are used.
Actions for you to take:
1.  ____________ yourself.
2.  ___________ all on Him.
3.  ______ self-controlled and alert.
4.  ___________ him (the devil).
5.  ___________ firm in the faith.

Actions God takes:
1.  He will ___________ you up.
2.  He _______ for you.
3.  He ____________ you to His eternal glory.
4.  He will ____________ you.
5.  He will _____________ you __________________, _________________ and _______________.
6.  He holds all _____________ forever and ever.

Now that you see your part and God’s part, let’s talk about how to deal with the devil.  Notice he is mentioned right in the middle of our actions and God’s actions.  Isn’t that just like an enemy?  He tries to get in the middle of all that is going on and distract and destroy.  Write down how the devil is described in I Peter 5:8:
1.  He is ___________ enemy.
2.  He is ______________ around constantly.
3.  He is like a __________________ ________________.
4.  He is always __________________.
5.  He is set on ______________.

We have a real enemy, but we have a God who has a mighty hand to save us, sustain us, warn us and make us strong, firm and steadfast. Prayer as we go is a practiced and essential discipline.  Encouragement and realness with other believers is a needed accountability.  Time spent alone in the Word should be a non-negotiable.  Think back to the bleeding woman.  She is a vivid picture of knowing the necessity of getting to Jesus to be healed and set free.  We need to touch Jesus just as bad as she did.  Based on all you have learned or been reminded of this week, pour out your heart to God about the actions you need to take to live in victory by faith rather than defeated by fear!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Only Name that Matters!

 The world says make a name for yourself.  God says deny your own name making and take up your cross to follow Him.  We can get so distracted making a name for our self in this world that we don’t hear when Jesus is calling our name. 

Mary Magdalene knew what it meant to hear Jesus call her name.  Jesus had driven 7 demons out of her.  She became all about His name and her name had meaning in Him. John 20:10-18

Abraham heard God calling his name to leave all he knew and go with God.  God also changed his name from father of no one to “father of many.”   Gen. 12:1-4

John tells us in his gospel in 1:12 that He will change anyone’s name who believes in His name. “To those who believed in His name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

John 1:46 gives us the name Nazareth.  Can any good name come from there?

John 3:18 tells us that whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only son.

John 3:30 says, “He (His name) must become greater; I (my name) must become less.”

John 5:43 reminds us that we are more likely to accept things in a human name rather than God’s name by faith.  “I have come in my Father’s name, and you don’t accept me; but if someone comes in his own name, you will accept him.”

There is a confidence that fills us when we come in Jesus name: John 8:14, “…for I know where I came from and where I am going.”

We are blessed and protected when we go out in the name of Jesus:  John 12:13, 17:11

Even a lost person saw the power of Jesus’ name…Pilate ordered a sign made that said “Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews.”  John 19:19

Jn. 20:31 “…that by believing, you may have life in His NAME!”

All of these verses are convicting reasons to walk in the new name Jesus gives to us after salvation, but the flesh slips back in and we can begin to doubt.  We can get discouraged and drift back to an old name.  In John 21, the disciples were sad, discouraged and just went back to the names they knew…fishermen.  Peter said something like this, “I am going fishing.”  That is what Peter knew.  The rest said, “We’ll go with you.”  Jesus called out to them from the shore.  John was the first to recognize Him, but Peter was the first to go to Him.  Peter jumped into the water to swim to Jesus.  He tried to go back to the name Simon, fisherman, but Jesus had changed his name to Peter- the rock.  When God changed our name, going back always leads to empty nets, empty plans, empty hearts and empty lives.  The net is full when we press on to share in His name.

Jesus goes on to call Peter out for service and re-affirm him in John 21.  Peter is still struggling with the whole his name for Jesus’ name thing in John 21.  Peter is asking, “so if I follow you, what about John?”  Jesus gets straight to the point, “If I want him to live until I return, what is that to you?  You must follow ME!” 
Peter obviously got the whole “his name for Jesus’ name” thing by the book of Acts! 
1.    Acts 2:21 opens with Peter preaching, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!” 
2.   In Acts 4:12 Peter preaches, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name by which we must be saved!” 
3.   Acts 4:13 “When they saw the courage of Peter and John, and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus!”
4.  Acts 4:18-19 ‘Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard!”’
Have you called on His name for salvation?
Do others see the courage of Jesus in you no matter how ordinary you feel?
Have you gone back to fishing when God has called you to something else?
Do you spend more time obeying man than God?
Do you run like Mary crying, “I have seen the Lord?”
Do you proclaim his name above your own?