Posts Tagged ‘Religion and Spirituality’

“…but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14 NIV)

Picture a large meadow of yellow flowers bowing to a gentle breeze. This golden pond of beauty is densely populated on the outer edges by trees that stand stoic throughout the course of time. The summer sun hangs lazily alone in the afternoon sky against a canvass of aqua blue. The air is punctuated periodically by God’s curious creatures that fly about on cue — assuring the casual observer that life is more than worrying about the next event.

But that’s not all.

The sound of a rushing river nearby captures the essence of energy as it follows its familiar path toward the open sea. All marvel at its ability to remain constant. Nothing stops its flow. Its strength is undeniable. Its will, undeterred. The river beckons those who are thirsty to partake of its power to quench. For the filthy, it calls them to bathe in its capacity to cleanse. For everyone who seeks healing, it invites them to take a leap of faith and jump in.

Similarly, Father thank you for being the ever-present river of life in our lives. May the richness of your presence flow from us to others so that they may see your mercy and grace. May those who feel discouraged or depressed find supernatural strength in your heavenly reservoir of love.

I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin
Psalm 32:5

Two things we are clearly meant to take away from this account: sin must be confessed and, when it is, sin will be forgiven.

The psalmist reports that he was brought to the place of acknowledging his sin. He was not trying to hide it, or justify it, or excuse it. He held nothing back during his confession; he admitted to God his every fault and failing.

As he freely admits his sin to the Lord, we should notice, the psalmist also freely acknowledges it as sin (not just a mistake or personality flaw). He confesses his transgressions to the Lord. They are his (no one else is to blame) and they are transgressions (willful offenses against the law of God).

Have you gone to the Lord in confession and owned up to your own willful disobedience and pride? Have you utterly opened your heart to him, acknowledging the wrongs you have done against his good and just law?

Then — but only then — will we have the same assurance in which the psalmist rejoices, that our sin is forgiven and every transgression pardoned. What a sweet, powerful thing is a clean conscience before our holy God!

Do not delay the repentance that God deserves or the forgiveness that you need.

I know that the title of this blog caught a lot of people’s eyes. Everyone wants and needs to know how to solve the issues they’re facing, so here it is….prayer. Yip, it’s that simple.

Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray.James 5:13

As James writes, from his pastor‘s heart, to the people of God, his entire letter is full of practical instruction and direct admonition. He does not have a flowery style or a theoretical bent; he is interested only in getting clear, candid counsel into the hands and hearts of believers.

And when he comes to the matter of affliction — gut-wrenching, spirit-pounding, heart-crushing affliction — this practical pastor gives his guidance in only three words: let him pray.

“Is that it?” we might ask. What about formulating an exit strategy? What about checking all our options for circumventing the pain? What about gathering a support group to cheer us up and cheer us on? The greatest therapy, the surest solution, the sweetest healing that we will find, James says, is in fervent and honest and faith-full conversation with God.

James is not suggesting a momentary, fleeting mention of our trial — perhaps in the middle of blessing our breakfast food — as the answer to affliction. The verb he uses is in the present tense: let him, in other words, continually be praying.

Perhaps you know what it is like to be so pressed by a sorrow or pain or trial that you pray, not only as you breath, but in order to be able to keep on breathing. There are times when God’s people truly find Him their only source of strength, of life, of purpose, and of joy. They pray, not because they have to, but because they can’t not pray.

Whether your affliction is earth-shattering or hardly-worth-mentioning, take your trial to God in prayer. And out of the fountain of close communion with your Father, will flow the calming, refreshing, restoring waters of spiritual renewal.

I’ve heard so many believers ask, “How can I get more of the Holy Spirit?” As if the Holy Spirit is some kind of power or force that we can control or weild. What we should really be asking is, “How can the Holy Spirit have more of me?”

We cannot control this power from on high. If we could, then we could be led to pride and strut around as if we’re some kind of “Super Christian“.

But if we recognize that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person — and that this Person is actually willing to live in us, we’d greatly be humbled! We must be very honored that the Spirit of God would inhabit these these corrupt vessels of ours and more importantly that He would even consider using us!

It’s only when we empty ourselves that we truly become filled! Let’s empty ourselves of our selfish ambitions and desires today and allow ourselves to become broken before the Lord. We need to be truly filled with God’s Power if we’re going to impact the world for Him! There’s SOOOOOO much work to be done!!

Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Writing daily devotions throughout the years I’ve often been asked the question, “How do I find the will of God?” There are probably many good scriptural approaches to answering this question; but I want to offer something very basic as you think about understanding the will of God. That is, simply, that you’ll know His will when you come to know the heart of God.

When you begin to understand, appreciate, and share the heart of God, then you really begin to search for and to desire the things that God desires; to be passionate about the things He is passionate for; even to be broken over the things that break God’s heart.
 Our Lord wants to share His heart with you; He wants you to know and care about what really moves Him. He longs for the kind of personal relationship in which He can share with you His longings, His passions and His desires. If you want to know His will, ask Him to share His heart with you. Ask Him to move you over the things that move Him. Ask God to reveal His passions to you because you really want to share them and to care for them in every possible way.  He will answer you, and when you discover the heart of God — you will most certainly know His will!
Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

One of the most painful things that can happen to a person is when they’ve made mistakes in the past, and it keeps getting brought up again and again. Usually the person that is bringing it up says something to the effect of, “I can forgive, but not forget.” I honestly believe that this is the worst case of theology one can believe in. I am so grateful that once we confess our sins, the Lord forgets them.

Heb 8:12
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

Heb 10:17
And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

So if God forgets them, why can’t others. It’s because when someone brings up the past, or reminds you of something you did wrong in the past, they are really just exacting a form of vengeance on you. So who wins? Nobody. The person bringing up past sins is not only sinless in their pasr (Romans 3:23, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God), but they remember and bring up your past, they are saying that their memory is in fact better than God, because He has told us He will remember no more.

But one of the ugliest parts of people reminding others of their sin is that they are not allowing the person who committed the sin to enjoy the forgiveness of God, because they now feel guilty or convicted all over again.

So in closing on this rather short and not so well written post, I want to remind everyone that we all are guilty of something ugly in our past. If you know of someone who has offended you, or done something you disagree with, then be Christlike and leave it where it belongs, in the past. Try to remind yourself that there is good in everybody and that the past is just a way to open up a wound that is trying to heal. Learn to forget. Learn to forgive and move forward. Just as you judge others, the Lord will judge you. (Matthew 7:2)

It is Monday morning and the weekend is over. So many people from time to time in their lives, get caught up in a rebellious lifestyle that leaves us empty, hurting, and knowing what we should do . . . but not doing it. It would have been so much easier if God would have just not given us “free will” to make our own decisions.

That way everything we did would be in accordance with His will and plan for our lives but the fact is He did give us the ability to make our own choices, and in so doing, has given us the ability to live, at times, in total rebellion to what we know in our hearts, is how He wants us to live.

Many people are very uncomfortable reading this devotional this morning because it is bringing automatic conviction to them since this is where they are in their life today. God loves you. He cares about you. He only wants the best for your life. That is why He is trying to get your attention before it gets any worse.

You see, sin is like quicksand. The longer we are in it, the deeper we get, and the harder it is to get out. Many people were not in church Sunday because the things in their lives have separated them from God to the point that they can’t even be in His presence. They are like Adam after his sin in the garden-you are trying to hide from God.

Life is not easy and I am not here to judge you. I am here to encourage you. God has made a way back to Him for you today. If you are tired, can’t deal with the pressure any longer, and sick of the direction that your life has taken, the Lord is speaking to you this morning . . . “Come Home.” Much like the prodigal son, who was at the very lowest depths of despair, somehow heard the voice that told him to “go home.”

When he arrived, he found his father, not ready to punish him, but love him. Not ready to chastise him, but restore him. Your Father is waiting for you, today, with outstretched arms of love, simply saying to you this day . . . “Come Home.”

I love you and care about you so much. I pray for you today especially those caught up in things that you shouldn’t be. You know it isn’t working your way. You know that your life is a mess. You are tired of running, tired of hurting, and tired of being tired. There is an answer. There is a way.

God is calling you right now, to simply, “Come home to Him.” The problems won’t magically go away and the consequences of your actions won’t magically disappear but by coming home, you become restored into fellowship with the God who loves you. He will give you the courage and strength each day to fight your problems and get victory over them. You will slowly see the joy and the peace and the happiness return to your life.

Trust GOD, today, and “Go Home!!!” Take a moment right now and pray. Ask God to forgive you for your sins. Read 1 John 1:9. THAT VERSE IS FOR YOU TODAY!!! I will be praying for you!!!

Luke 15:18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.