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This is the day which the Lord has brought about; we will rejoice and be glad in it. —Psalm 118:24
Enjoying the abundant life Jesus died to give you is based on a decision you make, not on your circumstances. Thankfully, you can decide to be happy right where you are and to enjoy the life you have right now on the way to where you are going. You can make a firm decision to enjoy your journey.
You can begin by saying out loud, “I am going to enjoy my life.” Until you get that thought established in your mind, every morning when you wake up, before you even get out of bed, I encourage you to declare out loud, “I am going to enjoy this day! I am seizing the day! I am taking authority over the devil—the joy thief—even before he tries to come against me. I have made up my mind that I am going to keep my joy today!” Having a right mindset always helps in every situation.
Prayer of Thanks I thank You today, Father, that I can choose to live in the abundant life Jesus died to give me. I don’t have to live a miserable, unhappy life. I can choose to celebrate Your goodness and enjoy the life You have given me.
Thus says the Lord of hosts: Ask now the priests to decide this question of law: If one carries in the skirt of his garment flesh that is holy [because it has been offered in sacrifice to God], and with his skirt or the flaps of his garment he touches bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any kind of food, does what he touches become holy [dedicated to God's service exclusively]? And the priests answered, No! [Holiness is not infectious.] Then said Haggai, If one who is [ceremonially] unclean because he has come in contact with a dead body should touch any of these articles of food, shall it be [ceremonially] unclean? And the priests answered, It shall be unclean. [Unholiness is infectious.] —Haggai 2:11-13
Holiness has been defined as "separation to God," a separation that should result in "conduct befitting those so separated." In the New Testament, the same Greek word translated holiness is also translated sanctification, which the Greek dictionary says "cannot be transferred or imputed." That means that holiness is an individual possession, one that is built up little by little. It cannot be given to or taken from another person.
In other words, you and I cannot become holy by going through a prayer line or by having hands laid on us or by associating with someone else who is holy. As we see in this passage from the Old Testament prophet Haggai, unholiness is infectious; holiness is not. What that means is that you and I can associate with someone who is living a sinful life, and that individual's sinfulness can rub off on us. We can catch it like a disease.
But holiness is not like that. It can't be picked up by contact or exposure; it has to be chosen on purpose.
I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live. —Deuteronomy 30:19
When God begins to deal with us about wrong behavior, it's easy enough to say, "I can't help it," but it takes real courage and faith to say, "I’m ready to take responsibility and get my life straightened out."
Avoidance, which is not facing issues, is a major problem. Wrong things don't go away just because we refuse to acknowledge them. We often stuff things. We hide from them, and as long as we do, they have power over us. Issues buried alive never die.
For many years, I refused to deal with the sexual abuse in my childhood. My father had abused me, so I left home the week I turned eighteen years old. I thought I was getting away from the problem by leaving, but I didn't realize I had the problem in my soul. It was in my thoughts, attitudes, and words. It affected my actions and all of my relationships. I had buried my past and stuffed my stuff. We don't have to live in the past. In fact, we are encouraged by God's Word to forget it and let it go. However, that doesn't mean that we are free to ignore the results of it and pretend that we are not hurting when we are.
I was merely feeling sorry for myself and saying, "I can't help it. It's not my fault I was abused." And it wasn't my fault. But it was my responsibility to let God help me overcome all the bandages I was experiencing as a result of that abuse.
God began setting me free by dealing with me about all the wrong thoughts I had accepted and allowed. My mind had to change before my life could change. At first, I didn't even want to take responsibility for my thoughts. I thought, I can't help what I think. Things just come into my head! I eventually learned that I could choose my own thoughts, and I could think things on purpose. I learned that we don't have to accept every thought that falls into our minds. We can cast down wrong ones and replace them with right ones.
I learned that instead of feeling helpless over the thoughts that fill my mind, I can and must do something positive.
Much of our thinking is habitual. If we regularly think about God and good things, godly thoughts become natural. Thousands of thoughts flow through our minds every day. We may feel that we have no control, but we do. We don't have to use any effort to think wrong thoughts; we have to use much effort to think good thoughts. As we begin to make changes, we will have to fight a battle.
Our mind is the battlefield, and Satan's primary way of initiating his evil plan for us is through our thoughts. If we feel we have no power over our thoughts, Satan will entrap and defeat us. Instead, we can determine to think in godly ways. We constantly make choices. Where do those choices come from? They originate in our thought life. Our thoughts become our words and our actions.
God has given us the power to decide to choose right thinking over wrong. But once we make that choice, we must continue to choose right thoughts. It's not a once-and-for-all decision, but it does get easier. The more we fill our lives with reading the Bible, prayer, praise, and fellowship with other believers, the easier it is for us to continue choosing right thoughts.
It may sound as if I'm saying that trying to live the Christian life is nothing but one continuous struggle. That's partly true, but that's only a piece of the story. Too many people want to live victorious Christian lives, but they don't want to fight the battles. Victory however, means winning and overcoming obstacles. We must also remember that living a life of disobedience to God is harder than choosing to live in victory. Yes, there are struggles but they are worth it in the end.
To think in the right way takes practice, and it is not always easy, nor does it feel natural for us to focus only on the good. But if we know this is the pathway to life both now and in eternity, it's worth the effort and the struggle to think positive thoughts.
When we're bombarded with doubts and fears, that's when we need to take our stand. We don't ever want to say again, "I can't help it." We want to believe and say, "God is with me, and He strengthens me. God enables me to win." The apostle Paul said it this way, "But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord [always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord], knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile [it is never wasted or to no purpose]" (1 Corinthians 15:57-58).
We can choose. Not only can we choose, but we do choose. By not pushing the bad thoughts from our minds, we're allowing them to invade us and take us captive. It takes time to learn to choose good and push away evil. It won't be easy, but we're moving in the right direction every time we take responsibility and make right choices.
Powerful God, remind me that I can and do make choices every day. Please help me to monitor my thoughts, choosing only those that will help me overcome the devil and win the battle for my mind. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.
And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all ques¬tions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] . . . And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always]. —Colossians 3:15
You are waging spiritual warfare when you give radical praise to God in the midst of your need and lack. When you are thankful to God for all He has done and is doing, you are de¬feating the enemy. When you hold your peace in the midst of the storm, you are warring with spiritual weapons (see 2 Corinthians 10:4–5).
Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you... [Stop al¬lowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimi¬dated and cowardly and unsettled]" (John 14:27).
Jesus has given you peace! Put it on, and wear it everywhere you go.
Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. —Philippians 4:6
I highly recommend speaking the Word of God when a "worry attack" comes upon you. Doing this is what it means to wield the two-edged sword against the enemy (see Hebrews 4:12 and Ephesians 6:17). A sword in its sheath won't do any good during an attack; God has given us the sword of His Word so we can use it! Learn scriptures like Philippians 4:6, and when the enemy attacks, counter his attack with the same weapon that Jesus used: the Word.
The Word coming from a believer's mouth, with faith to back it up, is the single most effective weapon that can be used to win the war against worry and anxiety.
Jesus replied, "This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger]." —John 6:29
Many dedicated believers who love God have the same question for Him: "Father, what do You want me to do? If You will just show me what to do, I will gladly do it."
For many years, I was excessive when it came to being a "do-er." All anyone had to do was point me in the direction of something that needed to be done, and I did it—and I did my best to do it right. But what frustrated and confused me was when I did something "right" and it still did not work. I had not yet learned that unless the Lord builds the house (unless He initiates and empowers an effort) that "they labor in vain who build it" (Ps. 127:1).
Today's scripture is Jesus' answer to a group of people who wanted to know what they were supposed to do to please God. They asked Him, "What are we to do, that we may [habitually] be working the works of God?" We can sum up Jesus' response in one word: believe.
So many people, including myself and maybe you, too, think we are supposed to be achievers. This is true; we certainly are supposed to achieve and accomplish things. But the way we achieve is to first believe. That frees us from worry and enables us to live victorious lives. We are called "believers," not "achievers," so let's make sure we always believe first and then do what God leads us to do.
To another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances true] spirits [and false ones]. —1 Corinthians 12:10
I believe the discerning of spirits is an extremely valuable gift, and encourage you to desire and develop it. I actually believe it is one of the most needful gifts for today and the times we are living in.
Some people say that the discerning of spirits gives people supernatural insight into the spiritual realm when God allows it. Many also believe that discerning of spirits is a gift given so we can know the true nature of a person or a situation. Our world today is full of deception and many people in it are not who they appear to be. The gift of discerning of spirits helps us see through deception and behind the masks people often wear so we can know what is really going on. The gift also helps us discern good things. It enables us to sense when something is a good thing or a person has a good heart.
Discernment helps us recognize when something is of God and when it isn't. Dave and I have seen this gift work many times when dealing with people who wanted to work in our ministry. Many times, people have seemed qualified, capable, dedicated, and "perfect" for the jobs for which they applied. I remember one specific occasion when we met with someone and everyone involved thought we should hire him, but I had a nagging feeling in my heart that we should not. We hired him anyway and he did nothing but cause trouble. I allowed my reasoning—thinking he would work out because his resume was exactly what we wanted—to overtake my discernment, and I wish I had not.
The Spirit of God lives in our hearts and speaks to our hearts, not our heads. His gifts are not intellectual or operative in our minds; they are spiritual and they operate in our spirits. We must follow what we sense in our spirits, not what we think in our minds should be right. This is why God gives us discernment.
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is [already] laid, which is Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). —1 Corinthians 3:11
We can know a lot of spiritual methods(or formulas) for getting things, but many such methods simply have no power flowing through them. Powerless methods are like empty containers— useless.
I had learned many spiritual methods, and I was busy trying them, until I realized that methods don’t work. It was like building on a cracked foundation; nothing stood the test of time. If our foundations leak, we get into trouble every time it storms.
Build your life on who you are in Christ. Take time to meditate on the foundational things about being a Christian. Build your life on the solid foundation that you are an heir of God’s grace and His unmerited favor.
They trusted in, leaned on, and confidently relied on You, and were not ashamed or confounded or disappointed. —Psalm 22:5
There is nothing unusual or wrong about initial feelings of disappointment, but it is what we do from that point forward that makes all the difference in the world. Absolutely nobody gets everything they want all the time, so we need to learn how to deal properly with disappointment.
Trusting God completely and believing that His plan is infinitely better for you than your own will prevent you from being disappointed with God. You might feel anger toward your situation, but don't ever be angry with God. When you get angry, you naturally want to lash out at someone, but it is unwise to make God your target. He is the only One Who can help you and truly comfort you; therefore, it is much better to run to Him in your time of pain than away from Him.
Power Thought: I trust God completely and am never disappointed with Him.
And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power. —Ephesians 1:19 NKJV
In today's Scripture Paul prayed that we would know the exceeding greatness of God's power toward us. God is powerful, and anyone who believes in God surely believes that, but the question is: Do we believe His power is available to us and that it exists for us? Being able to live power-filled lives starts when we believe that power is available for us.
God's power is greater than any other power in the universe, and it is limitless. This power, which is "toward us," has already been given. In Luke, Jesus said, "Behold I have given you power..." We do not need to strive for power or hope to have power someday; we have power now! The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us (see Rom. 8:11) and we can be quickened (filled with life) by that power.
This is not a onetime filling that slowly drains out of us as the days go by, but we can be filled day-by-day and even moment by moment. We can constantly and continually experience God's presence and power in our lives. When we belong to Him, there is never a time when His power is not accessible to us.
Just think: If your local power company called and said you were chosen to receive free power for the rest of your life, you would prob¬ably get so excited! This is the way life is when we are connected by faith to God's power. You have to pay for the power that comes into your home, but your power for life has been paid for by Jesus Christ.
Love God Today: Think about this: You are never, ever in a powerless position, because God makes His power available to you at all times.
I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain. —Galatians 2:21 NKJV
I discovered years ago that every time I became frustrated it was because I was trying to do something myself, in my own strength, instead of putting my faith in God and receiving His grace (help). Receiving a revelation of God's grace was a major breakthrough for me. I was always "trying" to do something and leaving God out of the loop. I tried to change myself and my husband and children, tried to get healed, tried to prosper, tried to make my ministry grow, and tried to change every circumstance in my life that I did not like. I was frustrated because none of my trying was producing any good results.
God will not permit us to succeed without Him. If He did, we would take the credit that is due Him. If we could change people, we would be changing them to suit our purposes, which would steal their freedom to make their own choices. I finally learned to pray for what I thought needed to be changed and let God do it His way in His timing. When I began trusting His grace, I entered His rest. Grace is always flowing to us in every situation, but it must be received by faith.
Lord, give me the understanding of Your grace that frees me from doing things in my own strength. Help me to do my part and rest in the fact that You will do the rest. Amen.
And the Lord said to Moses, Make a fiery serpent [of bronze] and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live. —Numbers 21:8
In Numbers 21, we see that when the Israelites were out in the wilderness, they were dying in large numbers because of a plague of snakes that had come upon them as a result of their sin. Moses went and fell down before God and worshiped Him. He turned his attention immediately to God, not to himself or anyone else, to solve the problem.
I have discovered that throughout the Bible when people had a problem, they worshiped. At least the ones who were victorious did. They didn't worry—they worshiped. I would ask you today: Do you worry or worship? Moses sought God about how to handle the snakes. He didn't make his own plan and ask God to bless it; he didn't try to reason out an answer, nor did he worry—he worshiped. His action brought a response from God.
We know that the pole with the bronze serpent on it represented the cross and Jesus taking our sin upon Himself on it. The message is still the same today: "Look and live." Look at Jesus, at what He has done, not at yourself and what you have done or can do.
The answer to your problem, whatever it may be, is to not worry but worship. Begin to worship God because He is good, and His goodness will be released in your life.
Be honest in your judgment and do not decide at a glance (superficially and by appearances); but judge fairly and righteously. —John 7:24
Today’s verse is a very clear, specific word from God to us. He tells us not to judge people superficially or by appearances.
For years I was the kind of person who made snap judgments. God seriously dealt with me about it several times, and I finally realized the danger of judging hastily and superficially.
Before we judge people, we must take time to get to know who they really are. Otherwise, (1) we can approve of someone because they appear to be something, when in fact they are not; or (2) we can disapprove of someone because of some outward appearance or action, when that individual is actually a wonderful person inside.
We all have our little quirks, our odd little actions, behaviors, and ways that are not easily understood by others. God Himself does not judge by appearances and we need to follow His example.
David would never have been chosen to be king if people had judged superficially. Even his own family disregarded him. But God saw David’s heart, the heart of a shepherd. God saw a worshipper, someone who had a heart for Him, someone who was pliable and moldable in His hand. These are qualities God values, but they aren’t always obvious at a glance.
I encourage you to seek God and let the Holy Spirit speak to you about people. He knows their hearts, and He will tell you whether to beware or pursue a relationship with them. Trust Him, not your own judgment, to lead you as you get to know people and develop relationships.
God's word for you today: Have the same attitude toward others that you would like them to have toward you.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom). —2 Corinthians 3:17
One of the most dynamic ways to keep your joy is to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you (see Psalm 139:24). If you pray first, asking God for a plan, He will never push you into a work of the flesh. Instead, His Holy Spirit prompts, guides, and gently leads you to a place of joy; He will never manipulate or control you. If you are too consumed with your own plan, too locked into the way you think things ought to be, you won't even hear God speak to you or recognize the promptings from Him. If you are too determined to follow your own ritualistic rules, you can miss the gentle leading of the Holy Spirit and lose the joy God intends for you to have.
It is not wrong to have a plan, but always offer your plan to God and tell Him that if He has something else in mind, you are willing to submit to Him.
Power Thought: The Spirit of the Lord has led me out of bondage and into a life of freedom and joy.