lifewords 11.29.10 in the fear of the Lord is life!
Grace and peace to you today from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I'm praying for you this morning, rejoicing in God's great love for you.
Remember last week in the last verse of Paul's letter to the Ephesians, seeing the relationship between a God's grace to us and our lifestyle of loving Him with sincerity? A sincere, pure, humble, undivided heart is what He loves.
Along these lines, today I'm thinking of what God's Word says concerning reverencing the Lord. To "fear the Lord" is another way of saying "to revere Him, to honor Him, to worship Him with a pure heart." Proverbs 8:13 gives additional insight to what the "fear of the Lord" is. "To fear the Lord is to hate evil. I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech."
Proverbs 19:23 says that the fear of the Lord comes with humility. "The result of humility is the fear of the Lord, along with wealth, honor and life."
Psalm 34:9,10 admonishes us to "Fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing." We are to honor Him, reverence Him with our life, worship Him with all we are.
I love the living wisdom of Proverbs. Oh, that we would walk in the wisdom of God daily! Pr 9:10 says that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..." without a heart of worship, we won't even get off the starting block to attaining true wisdom! Honor Him first, then wisdom's flow.
Proverbs 12:27 says that our reverence for the Lord will prolong life!
Proverbs 14:26 says "In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence and His children have a refuge."
Our hearts of reverent worship and honor to the Lord today will bring His wellsprings of life and favor to us.
As I pray for you today, my meditation is Psalm 107:1
"Thank the Lord for He is good.
His love continues forever.
That is what
those whom the Lord has saved
We can practice saying this today!!! Lord, thank you for your goodness and faithfulness to me! Thank you for your love, which is from everlasting to everlasting!! Notice it does not say, "this is what those whom the Lord has saved should 'think'." It is what should be on our lips!!!! Psalm 107 is a Psalm about remembering. It is a Psalm exhorting God's people to rehearse the great things the Lord has done in their lives. The Psalm is about the Israelites wandering in the desert. They were hungry, discouraged,feeling lost, confused, weary miserable and afraid. We can relate! The instruction is to Give Thanks!!! Remember the awesome works of God! Throughout the Psalm, in verses 8,15,21, and 31, it repeats this phrase,
"Let them give thanks to the Lord for His love, and for the miracles He has done for His people."
Thankfulness expressed. Thankfulness has a voice. More thanking, less complaining. More time praising, less time requesting. More time appreciating our King, less time with idle talk. More time celebrating His love and faithfulness, less time explaining the problems. Today is yet another day the Lord has made for us. His faithfulness to us abounds, His love never ceases, great are the miracles He has done in our lives!
Let's cultivate a Psalm 107 lifestyle, giving thanks continually to the Lord for His love, and for the miracles He has done for us and for His people. Don't allow a racing mind about the temporary circumstances, rehearse His faithfulness! Thanksgiving will keep your faith airborne. It will repel the artillery of the enemy. It will bring life and encouragement and strength to you and those around you. Your thankfulness will cause those around you to adjust their focus and the direction of their gaze.
Praying for you is one of the great joys of my life! I greet you with Paul's Holy Spirit inspired words with which he greets the Ephesians. "Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:2,3) God's grace and peace can flow unobstructed to us today! I love how Paul's first sentence to them focuses on GRACE.
Amazingly, the last sentence in the letter to the Ephesians gives a glimpse of the secret to experiencing the continual grace of God we so desperately need. It says, "Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity." God's grace is tied to our sincere hearts toward Him. Sincerity means from the heart, without hypocrisy, in truth, not in word only, but in deed and in truth.Our sincere heart of love for God, loving Him with all we are, will enable us to experience a fresh supply of His free grace, love and favor today.His grace toward us is conditional only to our sincere heart of love. Sincerity is demonstrated by a continual desire to abide in Him spend time with Him, the joyful, obedient, yielding of our will to His, and our pure motives to love what He loves. Loving Him in sincerity is the secret to experiencing the river of His immeasurable grace.
Jesus said, in Matthew 5, that the pure in heart are blessed, for they shall see God. Oh, to truly see Him and know Him! I believe that when we truly see Him, we will reflect Him to the world. The whole dark earth groans for the people of God, the sons and daughters of the living God, to rise up with a sincere love for Him, and manifest the fullness of His grace and love to the captives.
Praying for you before the sunrise each day is a great privilege. Today I pray that you will experience His lavish love and grace as you spend time with Him in the secret place, desperate for His presence, desperate for His living Word.
In John 15, Jesus speaks to His disciples about abiding. His desire is for us to abide in Him, and He in us. He compares this to a branch abiding in the vine. The lesson of the branch is that as it stays connected to the vine and enjoys the complete life of the vine! The branch cannot exist if it is disconnected from the vine! The nature of the vine is seen in the branch. The evidence of the branch connected to the vine is the fruit. The connected branch is one with the vine and receives all its nutrients, water and resources from it. The purpose of the branch is to bear fruit. So it is with us. As we abide in Him, and He in us, the evidence will be the fruit seen in our lives. His purposes for and through our life will be seen. Fruit is seen. Fruit is experienced. Clearly, we can see in John 15 that our Lord desires that we bear much fruit as we are connected to Him.
The branch doesn't have to beg itself to produce fruit. It simply abides in the life of the vine. The Vinedresser also cares for it, protects it and occasionally prunes it back so it can produce even more fruit. We are in Christ and He is in us. We abide in Him through His Word and prayer and worship. The Holy Spirit abides in us, and as we yield to Him, fruit will be seen in our lives. The fruit is the evidence of a Spirit-led believer. One primary demonstration of the fruit is found in Galations 5:22.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
It's good to check up on our fruit! Today we can ask ourselves, "is the love of God dominating my thoughts and actions toward others?" Is the fruit of peace evident in my life today, even in the midst of the storm. Just as the fruit on a tree is not hidden, this fruit of the Spirit can be clearly seen. How is my patience level toward others? Are kindness and goodness motivating my actions. Am I faithful? Is there a humility or meekness about my life that reflects Christ to the world. Do I exercise self control? The great news is, any area lacking simply requires more yielding to the Holy Spirit. As we decrease, and He increases in our life, His fruit will be seen by all, and will draw others to Him. The abiding Word of God transforms us. Time in His presence transforms us. A lifestyle of prayer, praise and worship transforms us. As we learn the lesson of abiding in Him, He is committed to fruit being produced in our lives. He gave all to redeem us, now He gives all to see us conformed to His image and fulfill His purposes. He beckons us to this abiding life in Him!
The evidence of our abiding life in Christ can be seen and experienced. The evidence is the fruit. Less of us, more of Him. Magnificent!
I pray today that you will be found in the secret place of prayer, praying to your Father who sees in secret and rewards openly!As you pray, spend much time reading the Word, for prayer is a two way communication.Powerful prayer is praying according to the Word of God. Remember in John 15:7, Jesus makes an amazing statement.Memorize this one.
"If you abide in Me
and My Words abide in you,
ask what you will and it shall be done for you."
What a powerful prayer promise!And for the Word to abide in us means time not only reading it, but meditating on it, memorizing it, writing it, speaking it, obeying it. This verse speaks of a relationship with God's Word. For the Word to abide in our hearts, it must first be planted there, then watered and cared for. It must be protected from the predators that would attempt to steal it from our hearts. Weeds must be kept out! But as we put Psalm 1 into practice, delighting in meditating on the Word day and night, God's living Word will begin to abide, to dwell in us.We will understand how to pray according to the will of God in His Word and not our own thoughts. Paul admonishes that the Word of God is to "dwell in us richly." Much time with the Lord, meditating on His Word is the key to effective, faith filled praying that moves mountains.What an adventure!
I was so privileged to pray for you this morning, because consistent prayer is powerful and effectual. The book of Matthew is incredible and rich regarding prayer. In Matthew 6:6, Jesus gives instructions concerning our personal prayer time.
"When you pray, go into your room (your inner room, or closet) and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you openly."
How wonderful! An open invitation to meet with our Father in secret, closing the door on the business, usual activities, people and distractions of our daily life. "When you pray" means that as often as we choose to draw near to Him in secret prayer, He will meet us. Jesus says that the Father sees us in that secret place. His ear is open to us in that secret place. His presence is available to us in that secret place. He delights for us to come into that quiet place, away from the clamor, and meet with Him in prayer. Intimacy.The more desperate we are to meet with the Father alone, the more we will experience His abiding presence and learn how to pray. He takes notice of our prayers in the secret place. Oh He is beckoning us to more time with Him in secret prayer.
Jesus speaks of the results of our secret time with the Father. He says that "the Father, who sees in secret, will reward you openly." What type of reward? Well, the context here is prayer. He is speaking of secret prayer. So the reward is very specific to prayer. I believe the reward is the manifestation of answers to prayer. The answers to our secret praying will be seen openly. Of course we can talk to the Father continually in prayer any time during the day and night. The habit of meeting with others in prayer is also essential. But this secret place of prayer is on an entirely different level. As we meet with Him regularly in the intimacy of that secret place, His presence will saturate us, and we will take that presence with us as we go about our day. The reward is Him. The reward is His favor on our life, His wisdom displayed through us, His love manifested to the world through us. The reward is a manifestation of His will. The reward of our secret time is that His purposes are seen in our lives and in the earth.
Much time alone with the Father in prayer is the most valuable investment which yields the most valuable reward! Be intentional in making it a priority, then be jealous over keeping this time, for you can be sure the enemy will do everything to keep you from it.
lifewords 11.12.10 the ministry of the Holy Spirit
As I think of you this morning I'm so thankful for the Holy Spirit, and pray that you experience His continual abiding presence and be alert to His leading. Today I pray that the Lord will bring clarity to our understanding of the ministry of the precious Holy Spirit in the life of every believer.
What an incredible miracle that when we trusted Jesus as our Savior, confessed Him as Lord, and were born again as a new creation in Christ because of His redeeming blood, something else occurred. The Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Godhead, came into our hearts and continues to dwell in us now.
Jesus told His disciples that when His work on earth was completed He would go back to the Father, promising His return again. But in the meantime, He said He would not leave them as orphans, but would send Another like Himself, and it would be to their advantage.
"And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him, because He abides with you, and will be in you."
This same Holy Spirit is with us, dwelling in us today! Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Truth. In this world of uncertainty and deception, we can know God's truth! Again in John 16:13, He says that "when the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of Himself, but whatsoever He hears, He will speak and He will show you things to come." This very day the Holy Spirit will guide YOU in all truth and show YOU things to come .
In John 16:8 Jesus explains that it is the Holy Spirit who will "convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment." When we share the love of God and the Gospel with others, we don't have to point out their failures. As we present Jesus to them, the Holy Spirit will convict them of their sin and their need of a Savior. The Love of God is so amazing! When He convicts us of our sin, He also provides the power and the help to get victory over those areas. The Holy Spirit is so involved in our consecration to the will and purposes of God! He will help us have pure hearts and clean hands.
In John 14:26, Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit as our Counselor and Teacher in this life. He says, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said." Practice inviting the Holy Spirit to teach you all things and bring to your remembrance the Word of God. He desires to teach and counsel us continually through His Word.
He is our Helper. The King James translation of Romans 8:26 is, "Likewise the Spirit also helps us in our infirmities." The Amplified translation, "... helps us in our present limitations." The New American Standard says "...helps us in our weakness." The Phillips translation says, ".....helps us in our distress." Realize that you have a continual Helper living in you, who, when invited, will help in every limitation, weakness and distress.
In every situation of life, every moment of this day, you have a Counselor, a Teacher, a Helper with you, abiding in you, Who is ready to give wisdom, understanding and direction. He will also give the strength for all your days. In other words, He will not only show you what to do, and how to do it, but will also supply the strength to do it! For it is God (the Holy Spirit) who works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure. ( Phil 2:13) Therefore you can be confident of Philippians 4:13 that you "can do all things through Christ who strengthens you." The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ living in us.
The Holy Spirit desires to fellowship with us continually and lead us in the will of God. We can know Him well, because Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will disclose to us everything about Him. (John 16:15) He reveals the Word of God to us. When you open up the Bible today, ask the Teacher to open the eyes of your understanding and to reveal Himself to you. Pursue understanding His ministry, give Him full access to every part of your life,and be quick to obey His leading.
One of the most important truths about the Holy Spirit is that He gives us power evangelize....Acts 1:8 "but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." Oh that the Body of Christ would arise in the power of the Holy Spirit and fulfill the commission He gave in Mark 16:14 to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."
Our relationship with the Holy Spirit, and our understanding of Him, should be the most intimate of all. His desire is a moment by moment abiding relationship. Every day is a new day to acknowledge and obey His leading. Know Him. Love Him. Welcome Him. Submit all of your will to Him. Allow Him full access to every area. Honor and reverence Him. Obey His leading. Invite His love to consume you and then release it to the world around you. This is the normal Christian life that our Lord intended for every believer until His return!