Saturday, July 31, 2010

No Vacancy

Then he [an unclean spirit] says, “I will return to my house from which I came.” And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. – Matthew 12:44-45a (NKJV)

This passage is talking about unbelievers. If the Spirit of Christ is in a person then a demon cannot also live there, however, I think the concept can be applied to believers too. Demons irritate Christians to make them fearful.

A fear of human opinion prevents me from letting my light shine but God prepared good works for me to accomplish. I need to work diligently toward the completion of His work, but I listen to those fears far too often: “You can’t do anything worthwhile,” “You’re not good enough,” and “God cannot use you.”

I recite God’s Word and the demons go away. All Scripture is inspired by God and it teaches me the truth. God uses His Word to equip His people to do good works. It also tells me that I can do all things through Christ, He strengthens me, and I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

The Word of God puts my mind in order but if I don’t continue to remind myself of these truths, the demons can return. I need to speak Scripture to sweep the area and keep that space filled with the Word so that when those demons return they’ll find a “No Vacancy” sign.

Lord, help me to fill up my mind with Your Word so I can be prompted by the Spirit to do Your good works. Amen.

© 2010 Jenni Hurst

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Just Like Peter

The Lord will sustain him on his sickbed and restore him from his bed of illness. Psalm 41:3 (NIV)

A couple of weeks ago the story of Peter walking on the water was read four times in church. With the first three readings, we were told to reflect on the Word. The final reading was to let the Word wash over us.

I was in Peter's shoes four years ago. I remembered how the Lord restored and changed my life. Peter cried out to Jesus to save him, and the Lord reached out His hand to catch him.

Sickness had overtaken me. I was lying in bed depressed and afraid. Where would I be if I died today, heaven or hell? In my bed, I was sinking quickly. I cried out for the Lord to forgive me for running away from Him. In a backsliding condition, He was there for me. Immediately, I felt His love and comfort. I never stopped loving God. I had wandered away, trying to live life on my terms. That did not work. Without God's Word in my life I was caught in a storm and going down with the ship.

I still have health issues. Without Jesus by my side, I do not know where I would be or what I would be doing. Since that day, I have found myself leaning on the Word and moving forward. Yes, there are times when I fall, yet Jesus is always there, reaching out to pull me up. Just like Peter.

Father, thank you for always being there when I start to sink.

© 2010 Marcella Panowicz

Friday, July 16, 2010

Who Am I?

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have...crowned him with glory and honor. Psalm 8:3-5 (KJV)

I have a friend who answers all my questions about constellations, geography, flowers, trees, birds, and insects. We were talking one afternoon, basking in the sun’s warmth, and I told her that the sun astonishes me. It is 93 million miles away, yet its light reaches Earth in eight minutes. “I often look at nature and think of how amazing God is,” I said.

She just looked at me and replied, “I just think of how amazing nature is.”

I wasn’t sure how to respond. All I could think was that she missed so much by not acknowledging her Creator; not knowing what an intimate friend He is.

Eternity. Time. Universes. Solar systems. Planets. Earth. Oceans. Continents. Countries. Communities. And us. How can we not stand in awe that He knows our names? How can we comprehend why our Creator is mindful of us? Why He knows the number of hairs on our heads, cares about our struggles, heartaches, questions, and joys? Why He hears our prayers, answers them, and why He wants to be in our lives? Why did He place us in His amazing world?

I can’t explain it. But He created us for a purpose: to be His Bride. What a joy it will be to finally know Him, even as He knows us.

Lord, thank You for Your love, and for placing honor on our lives. Help us to show Your heart to those who don’t know You, because You love and hear them, too.

© 2010 Katherine A. Fuller

Friday, July 9, 2010

Water and Hats

Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? Matthew 25:37 NASB

It was a down day when I read these words. With the disciples I asked Jesus “When have I ever given you a cup of water?” I remembered the road to Calvary when someone gave Him a drink and when His lips touched vinegar. Nothing in my life seemed worthy of Him who died for me. I tucked the question into the back of my mind and lived on.

A year or so later, a work crew cleared brush across from our house. A young woman, dripping sweat, held the “slow/stop” sign. Head and neck exposed to the sun, she would soon be in pain. Immediately I knew my job was to give her a bottle of water from the refrigerator. Surprised, she took it.

“Not enough” the Spirit told me. “Get the Safari hat.” I knew He meant the one left over from a Vacation Bible School program.

“I don’t know where it is,” I said, but walked straight to the cranny where it was stored and carried it outside.

Even more surprised, the hat's new owner said,“It wasn’t hot this morning.”

Looking back, I know Jesus wanted to underline His message that He will reveal others' needs. He will tell us where the hats are stored so we can get them without thinking. We don’t need to wonder about our service. He leads us daily.

Prayer: Lord Help us be on the alert for when you want us to help friends, relatives, acquaintances or strangers. Amen.

© 2010 V. Colclasure

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fireflies and Fireworks

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Psalm 19:1 (NIV)

We have come to expect spectacular fireworks as we celebrate Independence Day. However, I chose not to attend the fireworks sponsored by my town last year. I was amazed to find that many of my neighbors also stayed at home to celebrate in unique ways.
A sweet surprise began as a plethora of fireflies rose from the ground, crickets chirping in concert. The boom of rifles, shotguns, and ground works echoed. A bright white ball whistled into the sky and exploded into a shower of lights, tinkling like a rain shower on a roof. Another light squealed skyward and burst into a giant ball of smaller lights quickly falling towards earth in waterfall formation.
Surrounded by booming noises and fireworks my senses roamed following the lights and sounds. Possibly, because it came as a surprise, I enjoyed this neighborhood show more than the extravaganza in town.
I was touched by the thought that my neighbors, knowingly or not, presented an earthly celebration across the backdrop of God’s sky, following the gentle sounds of God’s creatures of light and night music.
People celebrate Independence Day, the day our country declared itself to be a sovereign nation, free from the tyranny of another.
How like my loving God to bring gently to my mind the fact that He offers a freedom infinitely sweeter and more profound than freedom from earthly tyranny.

My Dear Lord, I thank You for the grace and blessings You have bestowed on America. Thank you for reminding me that You offer independence from sin and an eternity of joy with You.

© Christy Struben 2010