“He changes times and seasons...He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning."
~Daniel 2:21 (NIV)~
So, God breathed on that valley of dry bones and they started to rattle and grow tendons and flesh and skin, turning into an army while Ezekiel watched. Now the chills had to be going down Ezekiel's spine. Bones growing flesh and coming to life right in front of your eyes - not exactly an everyday occurrence.But then again, it's not exactly an everyday occurance for us to get new life either. God breathes and our dead places become alive, the dryness is replaced with muscles and flesh, the emptyness is filled with life.
Oh God, breathe new life on me, refresh my parched and weary soul. Breathe onto this community too and cause a revival in our dry land. We so desperately need life and only You can give it.
Labels: Heather's devos
I spent the better part of my life living as a religious woman. I did what I was told a good Christian should do. Performance and striving were a way of life for me. Guilt, condemnation and shame were frequent visitors. The more they visited, the busier I became.
"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. Hosea 2:14
Labels: Julie's Articles
The Ghost and the Darkness is a 1996 thriller film about the Tsavo man-eaters, two lions who attacked the builders of the Uganda-Mombasa Railway in 1898, killing about 35 of them, and the subsequent hunt to kill them.
These lions were so quick and ferocious that every attempt to kill them failed. The men dubbed the lions “the Ghost and the Darkness” because of their notorious methods of attack.
1 Peter 5:8 reminds us to;
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
This movie reminds me of how sin can swiftly crawl into our lives as believers and followers of Jesus Christ. Bitterness and resentment is like the Ghost and the Darkness in our lives.
Fourteen years and 22 kids later I was confronted head on with those two sins which almost destroyed our beautiful family. The lions from "The Ghost and the Darkness" when attacking the builders would come in from any angle at any time, without notice. Bitterness and resentment are equally the same way!
In ministry and helping families all these years we were not prepared to what happened in our own home recently. There was an explosion that caused all of us to examine our hearts before our Savior!
Why am I being so transparent?
Explosions happen in the best of families but what do we do with it is what is very important.
Reinforcement was needed and it came in from everywhere just like it came when the Ugandans could not kill the lions in the movie! My husband and I traveled for about 45 minutes to Barren River State Park where we began our journey of being honest with one another for the very first time!
We not only had to be honest about the bitterness and resentment that was ailing him for all those years but I had to admit my own fear of trusting him.
Sounds pretty messed up, huh?
That is what I love about our Savior, He is willing and ready to begin picking up broken pieces and gluing them together again if we obey and trust Him!
In the movie the Ghost and the Darkness the lions were killed but it took a very special strategy and it was after killing 35 of the men. Bitterness and resentment was in the process of doing the same thing in our lives. Killing us little by little and pretending that it was not there. Bandaging a wound really without healing it. Does it make sense?
Getting home and sharing our hearts we saw forgiveness and restoration begin to take place. Recognizing the Ghost and the Darkness played a major part of our healing. Recognizing it and laying it down also brought some junk out of our kids’ pasts that needed to be dumped! The picture of that day will never be erased from my memory.
Philippians 3:12-14 tells us “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Satan did not win his ferocious battle against our family! Something good has happened and that good came about because we serve a Great and Mighty God! I am asking each one of us to search out our lives to see if we keep bandaging our past hurts, holding grudges, unforgiveness, resentment, and bitterness. I will let you know it will show it’s ugly head when you least expect it just like in the movie when the Ghost and the Darkness would slide right around the corner!
Close and Personal
1. Do you think because you don’t talk about things that you have dealt with any past hurts?
2. Are you bandaging your pain?
3. The Ghost and the Darkness in your life, do you see it or do others?
My dear Heavenly Father I just want to tell you thank you all over again for loving us as you do. You have been such a longsuffering Savior and Friend! I pray for all my sisters that will read this today Lord that they will not allow any Ghosts and Darkness to enter into their lives but rather that they will recognize the enemy and be prepared as a good soldier in Your army! Lord, use me in whatever way You want me to used by You! I love You so much my Lord and my Savior!
When you're perfect in every way.
I can't wait to look in the mirror.
Cuz I get better lookin' each day.
Do you, by chance, recognize the lyrics above?
I have my father to thank for indoctrinating me into the ways of old country music dudes like Charlie Pride, Mac Davis, and Ronnie Milsap. So much so that I still remember the songs they sang as they blared out from my Daddy's 8-track player in our 1976 Blue Chevy Suburban.
Not the easiest subject to discuss or describe, but I'll give it a shot.
One of the definitions of the word humble is not proud or arrogant. Maybe you've heard Christ Followers say that to be humble doesn't mean to think less of yourself, but to think of yourself less. No matter how you define the term, I think we can agree that being humble is a far more beautiful character trait than exhibiting arrogance.
But, what do you do when you are talented in sports or writing or speaking or acting or singing? What do you do when people start mentioning your name as someone who has touched them or inspired them? What do you do when you are kind of a big deal?
Take Michael Phelps, for example.
Oh, you've not heard of him? He's only the most decorated Olympian who has ever walked the surface of our planet. Athens? Beijing? Anyone?
I was impressed with Phelps each time someone interviewed him. Impressed because not once did I sense arrogance. Confidence, yes. But arrogance? No way José. And the reason that he appeared that way to me was because of his manner.
Because of his grace.
His manner was very gracious as he stated facts about his training and the races. He did not make predictions about how much he would win. He just swam. And quite well, I might add. Not only that, but he also did not pretend that he wasn't good. You did not hear him say, "Yeah, well, I'm not that great of a swimmer but somehow I won the race."
That would have been false humility, in my opinion.
Years ago I was confronted with this in my own life. When someone would try to encourage me after I would sing a song, I would reply with, "Oh, it's not me. It's the Lord."
If that's not false humility, I don't know what is.
In Cindy's definition, to be falsely humble is to think you are all that and then say you are nothing.
I realized that I was indeed taking more praise than I deserved because that particular reply made me seem more godly than I really was. So, not only did I sing a nice song to that person, but now, I'm practically Mother Theresa in their eyes. Eventually, my reply changed to a mere thank you. And then in the quiet of my heart, I would tell God, "Thank you for using me. I owe my life to you."
And I still do that today when someone praises me or encourages me. Because I know exactly from where my gifts and talents originate.
Obviously, there is only one perfect example of humility by a human. His name is Jesus. Philippians 2 states exactly what He laid down to come to this earth to redeem mankind. We will never display the kind of humility that He did.
But what we can do is to realize who we are and how we are gifted. Once that is acknowledged, we can live in confidence because of how our Heavenly Father has wired us. He has made no mistake giving you the gifts you have. So operate in them.
And after you offer your gift, remember that you are nothing without Him.
I am nothing without Him.
Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to
inherit eternal life?”
So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.
(Luke 18:18-19, New King James Version)
Labels: Sue's Articles
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT)
"So all of us who have had that veil removed
can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord-who is the Spirit-makes
us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image."
No frills about it: Jesus is the grandest Ornament of them all. His authentic beauty will shine through us as we ask Him to redirect our attempts to decorate our lives with anything other than Himself. Let's wrap ourselves in His glorious image today.
A friend shows his friendship at all times - it is for adversity that [such] a brother is born. ~ Proverbs 17:17 (CJB)
Have you ever noticed that godly friends are like good bras?
As a mother of four breast-fed children...well, I will spare you the downer details! Seriously, godly friends provide much needed UPLIFT & SUPPORT when you are DOWN! And their encouragement makes us feel a whole lot better, doesn’t it?! They are a perfect fit and you can’t wait for them to be around you! SEE! Godly friends are most definitely like good bras! I rest my lace...
You know these friends I speak of.
They are there for you.
They will not judge you unrighteously and condemn you, no matter how much of a mess you have made. They understand (though may not be able to completely relate to) where you stand. They realize we all travel an Appointed Way and cheer you onward to persevere in HIS strength through your trials. They are able to see the other side of a given situation and speak the Truth of the Word of God into your ear. If you do get off track, they will lovingly guide you back in the right direction...God’s direction....provided that your spirit is teachable. For Proverbs 12:1 says,
‘Whoever loves instruction, loves knowledge; but he who hates correction is stupid.’ (NKJV)
She is the one you can count on.
You know that nothing will surprise her. You know that she will love you REGARDLESS of your actions (good, bad or indifferent) - because the essence of grace is undeserved favor. She is the woman free of critical thinking, generous with her love and holds within her spirit a depth of Kingdom understanding and divine revelation. She bares a striking family resemblance to her Heavenly Father. Her face shines with acceptance and is not darkened by condemnation and fault-finding.
She is a fruit inspector, but only of her own fruit!
She is the one you aspire to be like. She lives the WORD OF GOD. Her words (which are HIS WORDS) and walk are in perfect alignment. She has a godly and reverential fear that drive her to her knees in humility and holy adoration before HIS Throne. You feel the Kingdom at work within her because you perceive that only the Father is able to supernaturally reveal both humility and boldness in and through HIS servant simultaneously.
She is a Merea.
That is Hebrew for ‘trusted friend and companion’. Merea comes from the root word ra’ah which means ‘to feed, to provide nourishment, to tend a flock.’
And that she does for you! She does not stifle your spirit or quench HIS, but encourages you with Living Water that you may grow in the grace and knowledge of the LORD. She gives those she loves, serves and prays for the GRACE, SPACE and TIME to grow. HIS Name is not blasphemed because of her ways. Rather, her conduct gently whispers to all who heed, ‘Where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty!’
Blessed Father, may we be like this woman because of Your Holy Breath within us. May all who read this realize THIS IS Your plan for each of us. May YOUR NAME be hallowed in us and may Christ be regarded as holy in our hearts in our ways (1 Peter 3:15). Give Your servants deep conviction that moves us to repentance. In HIS Name.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6