Monday, July 27, 2009

Friend of God


Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God. I Corinthians 2:12 But I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. John 15:15b Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4b

When we come to a saving (as opposed to a vague acquiescence in our minds to something we’ve heard or been taught) knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and believe and receive that He is:
· The perfect Son of God
· He took our punishment on the cross
· Gave His blood for the forgiveness of our sin
· Died and rose again
· He is now in heaven at the right hand of the Father
We receive the Spirit who is from God. Ephesians 3:17 tells us that Jesus dwells in our hearts through faith. He becomes our Savior, Lord, and yes, He tells us He will call us His friends. Part of friendship with Jesus is an intimate, impartation of spiritual insight.

I Corinthians 2:12 tells us that we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God. Oh, how very different those two spirits are. The world system has a spirit (it operates in those who know not God) and to the degree it still holds sway over our sense of self-worth, what we value, and our way of thinking, we will be hampered in our ability to really know the things freely given to us by God. Picture yourself all poised to breathe some clean, pure, invigorating oxygen through a tube, but suddenly you realize someone is standing on the hose. That spirit is not your friend. That spirit calls good evil and evil good. That’s why the world weeps when Michael Jackson dies and only wants to talk about the positive things they believe he did. When someone like Jerry Falwell dies the world will call him divisive, narrow and a homophobe and totally ignores a loyal family man, a thriving church, a growing university and many charitable outreaches that he has left behind. Is it any wonder that James tells us that whoever wishes to be a friend of the world’s system makes himself an enemy of God?

So practically what can we apply from these Scriptures? Breathe them in through reading and declaration. Meditate on them for a day or a week or a month, however the Holy Spirit would lead. Post them on your mirror as you get ready for your day.

· Lord, today I declare that I have received your Spirit so that I may know the things that you have freely given me.
· I am your friend, not the worlds.
· Root out any attitudes, alliances, or allurements that come from the world’s spirit.
· Help me to receive the right Spirit and choose the right Friend.

MY PRAYER: Lord, I thank you that I no longer have to receive the spirit of the world. How can I be friends with or love a system that is so opposed to you? Lord, divided affections dull my ears and harden my heart. I want to hear your still small voice. Holy Spirit help me to recognize and turn away from the world’s clamor that desensitizes me to your ways and your voice. Lord even as you knelt before Peter washing away the defilement picked up on his journey, I ask you to wash away any of the world’s dust and ways that are clinging to me. I receive your Spirit this day that I may know freely the things you have given to me because I am your friend.

MY CONFESSION: I confess boldly today that I am a friend of God. I have chosen sides and I will not be friends with the system that opposes Him. I receive the Spirit who is from God. My ear is tuned to hear His voice. He will make known the Father’s word to me.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

All my Days/ Rita springer

Encourage One Another!

Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing. But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. 1 Thessalonians 5:11-13a
Is there anything that can cut deeper than ingratitude? I think as mothers and fathers, as good employees, caregivers, or faithful church members we have all felt its sting at some point. Experiencing ingratitude can cause us to look back with regret that we didn’t show more gratitude to those people who blessed us with acts of kindness or service.

I knew a young woman who wrote birthday and anniversary cards to an enormous amount of people. She felt led to do it and was very faithful. I was one of many who received a card twice a year from her, year after year. Little did any of us know that would be her legacy. She died in her early 30's from an undiagnosed brain tumor. I have never seen as many people at a funeral visitation as I saw at hers. The line went on and on and many waited almost an hour to pay their respect. As people stood in line they talked about the cards she had sent to them and how much it meant. I wondered if she knew.

A couple of years ago I was facilitating a Bible study and I mentioned her example of faithfulness and the impact it had. I was leading a morning and evening class and in both classes women spoke up and said they had developed the same ministry in their church. Both had tears in their eyes, both expressed that they were ready to quit because they didn't think it mattered to those who were receiving them. Both of those dear women felt encouraged to continue.

Rich Mullins said something that shook me to the core in his music video A Pursuit of a Legacy. At first I balked at what he said until I realized the real point he was making. His statement as best as I can remember it was this, “Some people are bothered that Catholics make so much of Mary. I am bothered that we make so little of each other.” All I can say is, “Ouch!” I want to be a person who is grateful. First and foremost to a God who redeemed me with the blood of His Son, has forgiven me every trespass, and has lavished His grace on me. I don’t ever want to get over the magnitude of what He has done or take Him for granted. I believe keeping that gratitude in the forefront everyday will splash over on those who need to know that I appreciate and notice their acts of kindness. Yes, our motivation isn’t to get a pat on the head, but it can certainly brighten and encourage the heart of a weary traveler.

Look around in your life, church, home or work place and tell those who serve in big and small ways that you notice and appreciate what they do. Make it your goal to encourage someone today. You never know when God might use you to be the wind beneath their weary wings.

MY PRAYER: Lord, open my eyes to see and appreciate those that serve in big and small ways. Help me to be a grateful person. Everyday you load me down with benefits too many to number. Thank you.

MY CONFESSION: Today I will encourage and build others up. I will esteem others and tell them so. I stand on your Word!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Twila Paris - The Joy of the Lord

His Joy Remains

"These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:11 NKJB

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 NASB

Recently, at a family reunion, I was standing at the sink doing dishes when a relative working next to me commented that I was humming a song. “That’s what I remember about you whenever we were at your house. You were always humming a song while you worked which would indicate that you are happy.” I said, “Well, I am happy.” Then I realized that wasn’t true, I was actually sad about a couple of things, so I revised my statement, “I’m not always happy, but deep inside I always have joy.” That was and is true.

In the New Testament the word for joy is chara and is described as “cheerful, a calm delight.” We live in a fallen world and in a human family. I get bad news; have my feelings hurt, and face disappointments like anyone else. Jesus loves me through it all and remains my calm delight no matter what winds or storms may be passing through. I’m so glad that my relative’s comment made me reflect a little deeper. It brought up a flood of gratitude for the work of the Holy Spirit in my heart. Part of the fruit of His Spirit is joy. As we trust in His matchless love that is not based on our performance His joy will remain. Let’s take the time today to thank Him for the incredible blessings of His joy deeply resident within us.

MY PRAYER: Lord your joy truly is my strength. I am so grateful it remains within as a deep well of solace through the ups and downs of life. Lord, your presence is everything to me. You are beautiful beyond description. You are too marvelous for words. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

MY CONFESSION: The God of hope will fill me with all joy and peace in believing, that I may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 I stand on Your Word!