Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Voice Of Truth - Casting Crowns

Peace Through Practice

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 NASV (Paul’s letter was written from prison.)

I am taking James MacDonald’s Bible study Lord, Change My Attitude. In week two he made this statement about our emotions. “Emotions make a great caboose but a terrible engine.” I had to learn that gem by experience. God was faithful to deliver me from the bondage of living in my emotion laden soul.

I was saved in my late 20’s and within two years had my first child followed twenty-one months later by the birth of my second child. To say that I was hormonal would be an understatement. I know that my Father was sympathetic, but He also knew the enemy was having a field day with me. One day I would wake up and all would be right with the world. The next day I would FEEL that I was failing in my walk, my motherhood, at being a wife, _________ fill in the blank. I would FEEL such condemnation. The first thing the Lord showed me was Romans 8:1-2 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. God does not condemn us, He convicts us. He will be specific in his dealings, loving in his manner, and empowering by his Spirit. General FEELINGS of unworthiness and failure should not be tolerated.

Then the Lord put in my hands a quote by Martin Luther. It ministered so profoundly that I had a friend calligraphy the statement and frame it. That was 30 years ago and it is still on display at my house.

Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving.
My assurance is the Word of God,
Naught else is worth believing.

The great theologian who started the Reformation had to remind himself of this. We would do well to allow the Lord to engrave it on our hearts. We must make our emotions bow to the truth of His word. If you allow your emotions to be the engine you will find your track is a roller coaster. Up one day and down the next. The enemy loves to play with emotions in moments of weakness. Jesus left us an example when he was tempted in the wilderness. The weapon He used to defeat His enemy was the Word of God. “It is written”…..Replace whispered lies with spoken truth.

Our thoughts affect our emotions. It isn’t a sin for a bird to light on your head, but to let it stay and build a nest is. A negative, lying, or sinful thought that comes to my mind isn’t a sin, but is to be brought into alignment and obedience to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 It only becomes sin if I let it “build a nest.” I entertain the thought, let it stay, and become at home in my heart and mind. How do we identify wrong thinking? Philippians 4:8-9 tells us what to think on and delivers an amazing promise with a condition. I would suggest that if you ever memorize Scripture that you memorize this one. It will help you identify healthy thinking. Then Paul says, “Practice these things,” that means habitually, present tense, continuous action, “and the God of peace will be with you.” The enemy or your flesh will tell you it is too hard to bring your thoughts into alignment with the Word. The opposite is true. Nothing is more draining or defeating than negative, unbiblical thinking. If you invite the Holy Spirit to help you overcome, He will.

MY PRAYER: Lord, I ask your Holy Spirit to help me take every thought captive. I no longer want to stand on the shifting sands of my emotions, but stand on the bedrock of your truth.
MY CONFESSION: The things I have learned and received I will practice. The God of peace will be with me. I stand on Your Word.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Big Tent Revival - Choose Life

By Faith….Not Afraid

Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, "Every son (Hebrew) who is born you are to cast into the Nile, and every daughter you are to keep alive." Exodus 1:22 NAS

And the woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch. Then she put the child into it, and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. Exodus 2:2-3 NAS

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king's edict. Hebrews 11:23 NAS

When I read in the O.T. and the N.T. that Moses was hidden because his parents saw he was a beautiful child, I smile. I thought both of my newborns were beautiful and felt the same about my grandchildren. Most parents and grandparents gaze with wonder and delight at the beautiful little creation who has entered their world and instantly stolen their hearts. I can’t imagine what my reaction would have been if they were under threat, but I know that I would protect them.

Women in our country don’t have to face such a harsh decree, but we do have societal pressures that encourage abortion. Without thinking very hard or long I can call to mind three women I know, who were told by doctors that it would be best if they aborted the children they were carrying. By faith they carried their little ones to term. Two of the women were rewarded with beautiful babies. The third mother suffered the death of her little one shortly after birth. Her reward was in placing her daughter into His hands and the peace of heart and conscience that comes from obedience.

Moses’ mother in an attempt to save her son gave him up for adoption. She trusted God that whoever found him would love him and be merciful. I have nothing but respect for women who give their babies life even if they themselves don’t raise them. It is a brave and selfless thing to do.

I have friends who in trying and fearful circumstances succumbed to the pressure and had an abortion. They have suffered the consequences of broken hearts, wounded souls, and the haunting thoughts of what might have been. They have taken it to the cross of Jesus and found that His grace indeed is sufficient. He has poured the healing balm of His mercy over their damaged hearts. I am not writing this to bring condemnation, but awareness that the enemy of our souls only comes to kill, steal, and destroy and he uses well honed tactics.

The “kings” of our land opened up a horrible scourge on our country by pronouncing abortion to be a legal and personal decision between a woman and her doctor. The number of abortions in America since 1973 numbers at 49,551,703, yes… that is forty-nine and a half million babies. I can only imagine the wonderful children who have been sacrificed on the altar of fear, selfishness, and a lack of personal responsibility.

So what do we do? We exercise our rights as citizens and vote for pro-life candidates. I am appalled at the number of Christians who don’t vote. We encourage our local church to support pro-life organizations. We show compassion to those who are facing unwanted, untimely, or difficult pregnancies. Educate yourself so that you can speak up intelligently in conversations with friends and family. Volunteer your time in projects that reach out to help single moms. Pray that God will bring the church and America to repentance that we have allowed this horrible sin to exist in this country.

MY PRAYER: Father, righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. Lord, abortion is a disgrace and great sin before you. Forgive us and help us to humble ourselves and turn from our wicked ways of apathy and inaction. Help us to pray and to act compassionately to be part of the solution. For Jesus sake and the honor of Your name, amen.

MY CONFESSION: You have promised that if Your people would humble themselves and pray, and seek Your face, turn from our wicked ways, You will forgive our sin and heal our land. I stand on Your Word! II Chronicles 7:14 NAS