February 15, 2013

Do Not Be Afraid

I thought someone else worded everything perfectly for me today, and this goes so well with the season I am in. So I am going to give credit where credit is due, and just share with you the February 15, 2013 devotional from "Words of Hope". They truly are wonderful and inspirational writers. This one is by Joy Petroelje.

Do Not Be Afraid

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? (v. 1)

What are you afraid of? What worries invade your thoughts and keep you up at night? Perhaps it is the unknown, possible illness, or the loss of someone important to you. Maybe you are afraid of failure, unmet expectations, or even the darkness that falls each night.

Fear can shake our confidence. It may make us question the present and be apprehensive about the future.  The writer of Psalm 27 had every reason to fear for his very life. He was surrounded by is enemies, threatened by evildoers, the victim of slander. War raged around him. He felt as though his own mother and father had turned away from him.

When we are afraid we often seek comfort in  something or someone. We may either go home or run away. We may seek hope in things that do not last or turn to destructive behaviors to try to forget our fears. The psalmist took a different approach. He chose to turn to the only true source of comfort, the Lord. In God's presence he found confidence, beauty, and singing. God alone provided acceptance, a level path, and safe refuge.

The next time you are fearful, consider the safe and secure comfort of a loving God. Through his word and faithfulness, the Lord provides a sense of security like no other. When you know you are his child, you do not need to be afraid.

Prayer: Loving Father, I give you my fear, and I delight in your comfort.

February 9, 2013

Only Trust Your Heart, If It Is Centered Around God

Why do we wrestle with decisions? Why do we constantly make choices and then regret them, or wish we could take them back? Why do we feel one way this hour, and a completely different way another hour?

It is because the heart is treacherous and cannot be trusted...unless it is rooted in God. Our emotions, heart, and mind have a way of wandering to things that are not good for us. We usually do not even see it happening until it's too late...that is how Satan works, sneaking subtly into the smallest cracks of our weaknesses. Proverbs 23:19 reminds us of this:  "My child, listen and be wise: Keep your heart on the right course." (NLT)   Our hearts course is to live for, through, and because of Jesus. Not for our own sin, desire, or control. We need to remember this in times of heartache or consequences. We must ask ourselves, "Did I cause this because of the choices and decisions I made that were rooted from my own wants and a heart looking out for my own desires?" Many times, the answer is, "Yes."

Proverbs 3:5 also reminds us of the Lord's command to trust in Him, because our own ways and human tendencies cannot be trusted. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take." (NLT)  This is one of my favorite of all verses in the Bible...it reminds us that He will NEVER steer us wrong, and brings only good, regardless of the sinless nature we possess. How comforting to know that God's love never fails, that He alone can bring us happiness, peace, and joy. And that He is the Almighty One who can always make our paths straight, and show us where to go. Although we cannot trust or rely on our own hearts to make wise decisions, His heart is ALWAYS wise and true.

February 5, 2013

Look to Jesus, Not Man For Your Wholeness

We all think about it, we all wonder, and we all look for answers. Why do things happen? Why DON'T things happen? Why do people hurt others? Why can we never seem to find complete happiness and peace? Why do the same things keep repeating themselves in our lives?

Simply put....most likely because we are looking to ourselves and others to fill our hearts and minds. We look to parents, spouses, children, friends, family, and community to make us whole. Make no mistake, all of these elements are very important in our lives, but not a single one of them (and not even all of them combined), can give the peace, happiness, comfort, and healing that we so need and desire in our lives. Only Jesus can heal our hearts and fill our minds with his Almighty Good. When we keep our sights on him, all things become easier, more manageable, and clearer. We can gain a sense of peace from knowing he wants to carry our burdens for us. We are not meant to carry our burdens, or the burdens of others. We are to cast them on Jesus for him to deal with as he sees fit...and then we are to trust in his timing and outcome.

Our sufferings make us richer by bringing us closer to God, reaffirming our trust, and building our faith when we see what miraculous blessings He pulls out of even the most difficult times for us. This is always easier said than done...but sisters and brothers, it is essential to us have a balanced life centered around Christ. Here are some scriptures I will leave you with today that will hopefully speak to you and calm your mind, as they have done for me:

(Ecclesiastes 2:26 NIV)
To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

(Ecclesiastes 7:14 NIV)
When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.

(Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV)
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

(James 1:2-4 NIV)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

(Romans 5:3-5 NIV)