Be blessed my friends!
Regrets, shortcomings, criticisms, ridicule, abuse, neglect, feeling unworthy, worthless, scarred, and so many more…the wounds of our past. Are you still hanging onto them? Do you let them define you today and dictate your future tomorrow?
Jesus took all our sin and shame upon Himself at the cross so we would not have to carry it. He says in Matthew 11:29, Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Did you get that? Rest for your souls!! We need rest from all those uglies in our past, and we need redemption. Ephesians 1:7 says, In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.
Friend, Jesus took every ounce of ugliness from your past and replaced it with His love and mercy, and He gave you victory in this life now and for your future!! Victory is yours now and forever!! Victory over sin and shame. Victory over criticism and ridicule. Victory over abuse and neglect. Victory over unworthiness, you name it. It was all paid for at the cross! Now that is something to shout about, and shout out loud!!
Jeremiah 29:11 promises, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Hope and a future!! Not regret and a past. Hope and a future!! Let that sink in, really sink in. Jesus gives us hope and a future.
Leave that past behind. The damage was done, but notice it WAS done, not is being done. But Jesus is alive and His victory over sin and death gives us Hope and a Future!! All we have to do is take it.
How do we take it, you ask? By the words we speak. No longer can we say, “when I grew up….” “I was mistreated by …” “I did such and such terrible thing…” “I feel such shame over…” “I feel so unworthy because…” “My life is scarred because of…” NO!! These words need to stay in the past they came from and never be spoken about our present or our future.
2 Corinthians 5:17 is such an encouragement and a promise, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Have you trusted Jesus Christ as your savior? Have you given your life to Him? Are you living for Him, or do you want to live for Him? Then speak His promises over your life. Walk in these truths. And never bring up the chains of your past that keep trying to hold you back there. Break off those chains and move forward into the future God has for you. It is possible, because Jesus paid it all at the cross.
There’s a great old hymn that says, “Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow!”
Romans 10:9-13 says “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, ‘Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”
I have heard from people all over America who believe that our nation is in trouble—morally, spiritually, and politically. But as attention turns to an election year, I do not believe that Republicans or Democrats (or any other party) can turn this nation around–only God can. That’s why in 2016 I will hold prayer rallies in the capitals of all 50 states. We’re calling it the Decision America Tour, and it starts in January. God hears the prayers of his people, so I’m calling on people of faith in every state to pray fervently for America and our leaders. I want to challenge Christians across our land to boldly live out and promote biblical principles at home, in public and at the ballot box. The only hope for this country is if the people of God are willing to take a stand for truth and righteousness.
To start the tour, we will hold prayer rallies at noon in these four cities: January 5 Des Moines, IA (capitol building) January 12 Tallahassee, FL (capitol building) January 13 Baton Rouge, LA (location TBD) January 19 Concord, NH (capitol building). Decision America Tour will not endorse political candidates or legislation, and no candidates or current public officials will speak at any of the rallies. Instead, I will be sharing the life-changing truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in every state. Will you come out and pray with us?
Get more information about the other 46 states in the coming months at www.DecisionAmericaTour.com, a ministry of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Please SHARE this with others. #DecisionAmerica
Posted by Franklin Graham on Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6
Have you ever opened your mouth and spoken so quickly that you later wished you could take those words back? God in His Word gives us much direction on harnassing our thoughts, our words, and our actions.
He wants us to always respond to others with grace, but in our humanness we often fail when we don’t take time to stop and consider what we are going to say and how it will affect the person we are speaking to. Will our words encourage? Will our words show love and compassion? Or will our words wound and sting? Will our words put a wedge between us and the person we are speaking to, or will our words help to maintain good relations between us?
Words from a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips. Ecclesiastes 10:12
We should always consider the other person first and not just blurt out the first thing that comes to our mind. We should respond in love after considering our words and God’s instructions for our speech, and not just react and spew all kinds of nastiness onto the other person.
I just love the Proverbs in the Bible. God promises to give us wisdom if we seek it and the best place in His Word to find wisdom is in the Proverbs. Here is a nugget of wisdom from Proverbs 16: 21 and 24:
The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction. Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Dig into the Word of God and find these nuggets for yourself, and watch how they can transform your speech!
We all know the saying, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”, right? My birthstone is a diamond and I do enjoy wearing them. Beautiful, aren’t they? I love the way diamonds glisten in the sun. But are they really a girl’s best friend?
I’d like to say that while I do like my diamonds and think they are very beautiful, they don’t compare to the love Jesus showed me on the cross, the love Jesus shows me daily when I walk in and through each challenge life throws my way; even when I mess up He loves me still.
Yep, I’d say that Jesus is a girl’s best friend!
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”~ John 15:13
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” ~ John 10:11
“I am the good shepherd; and I know my sheep and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” ~ John 10:14-15b
Thank you Jesus for being my good shepherd, for laying down your life for me, and for being my best friend!
Have you ever felt alone in a situation, wondering if God cares about your struggles? Have you ever felt like just when everything was going good in life, everything went wrong? That was the case with Job, a man considered blameless, upright, and one who feared God.
Job had great possessions, servants, sons and daughters. He was considered the greatest of all men of the East, so much so that God said to the devil, “For there is no one like him on the earth.”
Listen to this account from Job 1:6-12, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. 7The LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” 8The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” 9Then Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10“Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11“But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.” 12Then the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.”
Many of us know the story of the loss and afflictions Job endured at the hand of Satan, but he continued to praise God anyway. At the end of the story in Job 42, we read these words, “Then Job answered the LORD and said, 2“I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.”
If we could only be more like Job, knowing and believing that God can do all things and that His plans for us are good. We read in Jeremiah 29:11 the following promise from God, 11‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14‘I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’” Notice we have a responsibility in this, to search for Him with all our heart, and when we do this He promises to be found by us and to bless us.
I’d like you to consider the ways that God goes before us, with us and after us. Proverbs 16:9 says that in our hearts we plan our course but the Lord determines our steps. God’s got our back. He goes before us to pave the way, to open doors, to put things before us that will bless our lives, and then He goes with us as we step out in faith and walk through those doors. Even when doors close and things don’t pan out to all that we had hoped for, God is still with us and will still make something good of the situation. Remember His promise in Romans 8:28 which says, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Here again He lays out our responsibility along with His promise to us. We are responsible to love Him, and He promises to make all things in our lives work together for our good. He calls us according to these promises.
I’d like you to think about another thing I believe God does for us and that is that He goes after us. I don’t mean that he follows us and then makes good things of our mess, although He certainly can and does do this. What I want you to think about are times in your life when you strayed from God, times when you perhaps walked in direct disobedience to His word. Did you turn back to Him? Do you believe he was “going after you” to draw you back? I know from personal experience a time when I was walking just that way and I know that my Lord loved me too much to leave me there in that sin. He lured me with His love for me, He called me back into His presence and into a right relationship with Him again. Even in this, though, I had responsibility. I had to recognize and repent of my disobedience and rebellion and ask Him to forgive me, and that was all it took to get right with Him again.
Thank you Father that you do go before us, you go with us, and you go after us. Thank you for loving us even when we are most unlovable. Walk with us this day and help us to never stray from you again. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
~~Reading this Psalm this morning I was struck by the fact that God gives us specific instructions concerning our responsibilities to seek out His wisdom, wisdom He freely gives us but only when we seek it. With our free will, one of the gifts God gave us, we must desire, seek and pursue wisdom, and He will gladly lavish it upon us. Glory!!~~
Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father,
And give attention that you may gain understanding,
~~We are responsible to listen and give attention. He will help us understand.~~
For I give you sound teaching;
Do not abandon my instruction.
~~God gives sound teaching (we cannot go wrong with this teaching)~~
~~We are responsible to heed and follow this instruction.~~
When I was a son to my father,
Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother,
Then he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
Keep my commandments and live;
~~We are responsible to hold fast to God’s words and keep His commandments (be obedient to what He tells us to do and do it), and He will give us a full and abundant life!~~
Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding!
Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
~~We are responsible to seek wisdom and understanding and not ever turn away from God’s word.~~
“Do not forsake her, and she will guard you;
Love her, and she will watch over you.
~~If we keep focused on the wisdom God gives us, that wisdom will guard us always.~~
~~If we love wisdom and love God, His wisdom will watch over us always.~~
“The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom;
And with all your acquiring, get understanding.
~~The first wise thing we learn is that we need to seek wisdom, and by doing so we will understand what He is teaching us.~~
“Prize her, and she will exalt you;
She will honor you if you embrace her.
~~When we prize wisdom above all other things, that wisdom will place us in high esteem with God, but we must seek and embrace it always.~~
“She will place on your head a garland of grace;
She will present you with a crown of beauty.”
~~Through wisdom we find grace and beauty.~~
Hear, my son, and accept my sayings
And the years of your life will be many.
~~Walking in God’s wisdom will give us long life!~~
I have directed you in the way of wisdom;
I have led you in upright paths.
~~God is the source of our wisdom and the one who directs our steps in life.~~
When you walk, your steps will not be impeded;
And if you run, you will not stumble.
~~God will make our life productive and prosperous.~~
Take hold of instruction; do not let go.
Guard her, for she is your life.
~~We are responsible to hold God’s instruction high in our life and never let go.~~
Do not enter the path of the wicked
And do not proceed in the way of evil men.
~~We are responsible to refrain from following wicked ways and evil men.~~
Avoid it, do not pass by it;
Turn away from it and pass on.
For they cannot sleep unless they do evil;
And they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble.
For they eat the bread of wickedness
And drink the wine of violence.
But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.
~~Our days will increase with calm and brightness.~~
The way of the wicked is like darkness;
They do not know over what they stumble.
My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
~~We are responsible to listen to God by reading His word and pay attention to what He says.~~
Do not let them depart from your sight;
Keep them in the midst of your heart.
~~We are responsible to keep His words always in our heart, thinking about them all day long.~~
For they are life to those who find them
And health to all their body.
~~His words will give us life and health in our bodies.~~
Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.
~~We are responsible to guard our hearts.~~
Put away from you a deceitful mouth
And put devious speech far from you.
~~We are responsible to control our speech.~~
Let your eyes look directly ahead
And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.
~~We are responsible to keep looking to Him and not looking back at past mistakes or looking to the world for answers.~~
Watch the path of your feet
And all your ways will be established.
~~We are responsible to be careful where we go and what we do.~~
Do not turn to the right nor to the left;
Turn your foot from evil.
~~We are responsible to follow the straight and narrow path of life and to stay away from evil things.~~
~~We serve a loving, gracious God, but we must never forget our responsibilities to serve Him with our whole heart, seek Him always, and obey the things He tells us to do. We cannot live our life however we want and still expect Him to bless us and let us spend eternity in Heaven unless we do our part, and that starts with surrendering our life to Jesus as Lord! Make sure you are right with Him today, and seek always to serve Him and follow His instructions for your life. Seek wisdom and you will find it! He is faithful.~~
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.
“ . . . And that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown,” Linus concluded.
If you are a Christian, one who follows Christ, remember that you are living your life for the approval of just One.