Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Keep thy Heart with All Diligence...

 " Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. " Ephesians 4:29

Have you ever thought about the words we speak... and what power they have...

... in encouraging 
... or discouraging 

...those who hear them?

I've always known(and been aware) of the verse above... where we are taught to,

 "... let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth..."  

But I'll be honest, I don't always think and dwell upon the verse as I ought... especially when I let myself utter words... that are not edifying. 

Recently I've been dwelling much on my need to apply the verse in my life with diligence... not just once or twice... and then forgetting about it...

... but making it a priority.

You know, I realize that if I take care of what's inside my heart... I'll end up having an easier time in uttering words that...

build up,
and lift up.

" ... for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." Matthew 12:34

O, that the Lord will put a bridle over my tongue... and keep me from bringing destruction upon myself ... and discourage those around me.

"Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips." 
Psalms 141:3

The tongue. How powerful. It can bring death... or life.

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue: 
and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof."
Proverbs 18:21

O Lord, be our guide... teach us... when we ought to speak... when we ought to be silent.

And help us to remember that...

"...whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
giving thanks to God and the Father by Him." 
Colossians 3:17

May you be encouraged today to speak words of comfort, words of kindness... words that edify and bring grace to those around you.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The eyes of all wait upon Thee...

"The LORD is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works." Psalm 145:9

One day this past week, I was coming home from my morning walk. I was about to walk my last few paces before reaching the front door... when I was met with the beautiful sound of a meadowlark singing ever so sweetly. Such beautiful sound!

Immediately I looked up to find her perched on the very top branch... singing away... under the cloudy sky. 

I kept thinking how free she was, without a care in the world. How the heavenly Father takes care of her so marvelously, as she safely abides under His wings.

She still sings... under the clouds, the rain, the wind.

I couldn't  but be encouraged that morning. Yes, our heavenly Father takes care of us as well...

... even more so than the birds in the skies.

"Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; 
yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. 
Are ye not much better than they?" 
Matthew 6:26

What a beautiful reminder to rest in the shadow of His wings... knowing we are loved and protected by the mighty power of God. 

"How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! 
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. "
 Psalm 36:7

Oh, the peace to be free of the worries of this world... and sing praises to the Holy One.  


Under His wings I am safely abiding;
  Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him, I know He will keep me;
  He has redeemed me, and I am His child.

  Under His wings, under His wings,
  Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
    Safely abide forever.

Under His wings—what a refuge in sorrow!
  How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
  There I find comfort, and there I am blest.

Under His wings—oh, what precious enjoyment!
  There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me;
  Resting in Jesus I’m safe evermore.
Ira D. Sankey

May you find a haven of rest under the MIGHTY wings of God... and magnify His name in your life today. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me...

" These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. " John 16:33

Several weeks ago, I happened to be reading through the book of John. It was while reading the 16th chapter, that I came across a beautiful verse that made me stop and dwell on it. 

Chapter 16, in the gospel of John, is loaded with the Lord's comforting words... it's where the Lord relates to his disciples the events that will happen after His departure from their midst. And even though the Lord Jesus tells the disciples of the future persecutions in store for them, He also comforts them. 
  • He doesn't leave them without hope....
" In the world ye shall have tribulations:
 but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." 
John 16:33
  • He tells them of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, that would come to guide them in all truth...
"Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, 
He will guide you into all truth.." (v. 13)

  • He tells them of the future joy... reminding them it wouldn't belong before they would see Him again.
"... but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, 
and your joy no man taketh from you." (v. 22)

**Isn't it beautiful. No  man can take away our hope and joy!**

  • He tells them of the Father's love for them...
" For the Father Himself loveth you..." (v.27)

So as I was reading through the chapter, I was touched with the Lord's tenderness... in taking care of the disciples. How He comforted them! 

And yet, I thought of the heaviness weighing upon the Lord Jesus himself during this time... the need to go to the cross... and being forsaken by the very disciples He was comforting. 

But when I came to verse 32, I was overwhelmed with the Father's love... for the disciples... and for the Lord Jesus...

... and for us.

 " Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me..."

What encouraging words... as we live our lives here awaiting Christ's return. We too can  be comforted through the very words written in His Holy Word.

The Lord Jesus knows what we need... He endured loneliness. He was forsaken.

Have you ever felt alone? Forsaken by all? Jesus knows. He knows exactly what you need. He will never forsake you.  

 Author Unknown

My Jesus knows when I am lonely
He knows each pain; He sees each tear
He understands each lonely heartache
He understands and always cares.

My Jesus knows just what I need
O yes, He knows just what I need
He satisfies and ev’ry need supplies
Yes, He knows just what I need.

My Jesus knows when I am burdened
He knows how much my heart can bear
He lifts me up when I am sinking
He brings me joy beyond compare.

When other friends seem to forget me
When skies are dark, when hope seems gone
By faith I feel His arms about me,
And hear Him say, “You’re not alone.”

May you know the presence of the Lord in your life today... and be encouraged to lift your eyes towards heaven. "My help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and earth."(Ps. 121:2)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Their heart is divided...

" For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings." 
Hosea 6:6

Several years ago, I took an online class on the book of Hosea. It was a wonderful class that brought about an understanding of God's redeeming love to a people that have gone awhoring after other gods. It showed me how God loves us...  inspite of our iniquites... and that His love stands firm to the end.

And while the book of Hosea was a blessing to me back when I took the class, I found that God's word never grows old... and I was recently blessed by it once again during my daily reading.

So while reading through Hosea, I noticed the importance of God's desire for us...  How He longs for us to return to Him in faithfulness... and to remember the great things He has done for us.

  • He desires that we be faithful to Him.... 

" For Israel slideth back  as a backsliding heifer... " Hosea 4:16
"And  my people are bent to backsliding from me." Hosea 11:7

  • He desires that we grow in the knowledge of who He is...
                          " My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge... Hosea 4:6
                          " I have written to him the great things of my law, 
                           but they were counted as a strange thing." Hosea 8:1
                      "For I desired... the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. " Hosea 6:6

  • He desires that our hearts be fully devoted to Him... 

" They set their heart on iniquity... "  Hosea 4:8
" Their heart is divided..." Hosea 10:2
"Israel has cast off that which is good..." Hosea 8:3

  • He desires that we have mercy...

" For I desired mercy and not sacrifice..." Hosea 6:6

  • He desires that we sow in righteousness and reap in mercy... Hosea 10:12

" For  they have sown the wind, 
they shall reap the whirlwind..." 
Hosea 8:7

  • He desires that we forget not who our Maker is... 

" For Israel hath forgotten his Maker... Hosea 8:14

  • He desires that we return to Him...
 " Therefore turn thou to thy God: 
keep mercy and judgement 
and wait on thy God continually." Hosea 12:6

As a result, when we acknowledge who God is, when we acknowledge our offences and seek His face, He promises...

--That He will not execute the fierceness of His anger. (Hosea 11:9)
--In Him the fatherless shall find mercy. (Hosea 14:3)
--He will heal our backsliding. (Hosea 14:4)
--He will love us freely...  (Hosea 14:4)

And He will be our dew, making us to grow, helping us to cast our roots, making our branches to spread, making us beautiful, and even making us to smell good.

" I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.
His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. " 
Hosea 14:5,6

I was simply amazed with the wealth of knowledge  and application we can draw from the Word... even from such a small book as Hosea.

It is enough to know that God's love... saves, forgives and restores.

"...   and it shall come to pass, 
that in the place where it was said unto them, 
Ye are not my people, 
there it shall be said unto them, 
Ye are the sons of the living God." 
Hosea 1:10

What a merciful God! We are children of the MOST HIGH.

May you know the power of God's love in your life today... and praise Him for His redeeming love.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Follow thou ME...

" But He that judgeth me is the LORD." 1 Corinthians 4:4

Do you struggle with comparison? Do you struggle with being controlled by what people think of you? Are you critical and judgmental of others?

I'm sure we've all, in one form or another, been there... and maybe we still struggle from time to time with these issues.

One day last week I was thinking about such things. It was while trying to fall asleep during the middle of the night. For some reason I woke up... and then I kept turning and tossing and couldn't find a comfortable spot. And even though some time did pass before I eventually succumbed to sleep, I was most grateful for my time with the Lord.

I noticed that most times it's during the night God reveals some of the most profound thoughts to me... maybe it's because I'm not so distracted with the things of the day and can actually be still and hear His voice.  

" Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge." 
Psalm 19:2

While musing about my own life and desiring to be pleasing before the Lord, I was reminded how easily I get affected by people. 

You  know, people have a way of affecting us...and yet I know people are placed in our lives for our own good. But we oftentimes allow man to take precedence over our Creator... especially when we are "concerned" with the speck in their eye and fail to see the log in ours. 

"And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, 
but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" 
Matthew 7:3

I find it's our own attitude...  that really affects us. Not necessarily the people around us. It's how we view others...

Do we place certain people on a pedestal? Do we seek praise from man? Are our actions controlled by others to the point where we do everything to please them? Ok, maybe not everything, but do we allow the actions of others to define who we are? 

Are we too dependent on others for our well being, for our encouragement, for filling in our down time with "fun things", etc....

Or, are we judgmental in our thoughts towards others... are we always critical of their every move? Do we portray an attitude of self-righteousness?  

Is our life so tangled up in people, that we neglect our own  personal (spiritual) walk? 

And in the process...

... neglect placing the LORD first? 
... neglect being controlled by the Spirit?
... neglect the WORD to be our encouragement, to fill up our "down time"?

So I thought about these things... and found myself guilty. How easily the Lord becomes second, or third in my life... or dare I say, last!... when I'm preoccupied with others.

Is it any wonder that discontentment, self-pity, lack of joy, unthankfullness, all creep in when we find ourselves feeding upon... 

... judgmental thoughts, comparison, covetousness, pride?

All along forgetting,

... that God reigns supreme. 
... that God is the ultimate Judge. 
... that God is not a respecter of persons. 
... that God tests the hearts.

So I was most grateful for the Lord's reminder, in bringing to mind, the incident where Peter is preoccupied with someone else ... 

" Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following...
Peter seeing him saith to Jesus,
 Lord, and what shall this man do?
Jesus saith unto him, 
If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
Follow thou me."
 John 21:20-22

3 simple words... Follow thou me.

The Lord's gentle reminder to me was enough that night ... 

I am to worry about my own personal walk. 
I am to follow Him. 

" Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the LORD come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts...
1 Corinthians 4:5

I am so grateful for the Holy Spirit... bringing the truth in my heart... convicting me of my own faults. 

Oh, Lord... put a bridle over my tongue when I judge, help me to "forget not all Thy benefits" when I compare or covet... abase me when I'm full of pride, 

... but above all, help me to follow you.

May you desire to be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ... and allow Him to be your all in all.