Monday, January 14, 2008

The Spirit and Heart of Love

Isaiah 61:1b,2,3,7
"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me,
for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.
2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
3 To all who mourn he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.
7 Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor.
You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours."

These words were written by the prophet Isaiah foretelling One who would come to bring life, hope and healing to a world of broken people. People waited for hundreds of years before the arrival of the One who would be the fulfillment of the prophecy.
When Jesus Christ came, He read these words aloud, from a scroll, in a synagogue and told the people that this prophecy was being fulfilled that very day.
What He was telling them was that He was the One of whom the prophet spoke! He was the One whom the Lord had anointed! He was the One on whom the Spirit of the Lord had come! He was saying, “I am the One! I have the Spirit of the living God and I will live to reveal His incredible heart of love and life for you! It is the heart of the Spirit of the Lord to demonstrate His great love by bringing comfort, hope, freedom, favor, vindication, redemption, blessing, praise, strength, honor, prosperity, and everlasting joy to each one of you! I am filled with Him, with His Spirit and I will do what He wants to do for you with your best interests in mind - because He LOVES YOU!” So, Jesus’ life was marked by many acts of love and compassion resulting in the changing peoples’ existence.
The Spirit of the Lord is still alive and longing to live in each one of us, as He did in Jesus. His heart of love still beats to bless you! If you do not know Him, He would love to be invited into your heart and life so you can have the joy of knowing Him and experiencing the love, hope, joy, peace, freedom, redemption – life beyond your greatest imaginings – regardless of your circumstances!
If you do know Him, He is so ready to bless those around you by filling you with the same ability He gave to Jesus in order to bring His great love to those who are hurting. Ask Him to open the eyes of your heart and fill you with readiness to do whatever He would love to do. It’s amazing what a simple, genuine smile can do!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Embrace God and Live!

Romans 12:1-2
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you. Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."

It's SO easy to melt into the picture of life around us, if we aren't thinking about it! When things are going well, we are happy and very optimistic! Positive feelings and outlooks come easy when we're 'riding the wave' of good times! And, when life becomes ugly, we can become ugly right along with it. We give in to anger, discouragment, fear, depression, hopelessness, disfunction. If we're not careful, the attitudes or 'customs' of the people around us become our way of thinking and then govern our behavior.

How do we keep from being 'dragged down to the level of immaturity' so characteristic of the 'culture' around us?

The verses in Romans say, "fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out.". Daily, as I purpose to fix my attention on God, and not on my self, on others or on my circumstances, I find my heart and mind being "changed from the inside out". I am more able to recognize what God desires to do in and through me, and then, I'm able to do it with all my heart. Even when circumstances are pressing and treacherous, even when there are huge demands on my mental energies and time, I LOVE TO TAKE TIME TO FIX MY ATTENTION ON GOD! ! ! I love to embrace Who God is and what He does for me -- I submit my heart and mind to His incredible plan -- I accept and am so very thankful for His provision of grace that enables me to live in His life, regardless of what life looks like around me. Taking the time to agree with the truth about God's love, His goodness, His faithfulness and His power to carry out His perfect will increases my ability to hear His promptings to think good thoughts, to do the wise thing, or to speak an edifying word. It opens my heart to receive His grace for my need and it opens areas of my life for Him to work out details I can't even imagine! The joy that comes from a 'deep down' knowing Who He is, gives me strength to love and live abundantly! Without the hope and peace that comes from believing that God IS and He IS with me through whatever comes my way, leaves me with my own wretched, empty humanity and so weak, that I adopt the attitudes and conduct of one whose life is void of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control! ! ! YUCK! ! !

Can I entice you to FIX YOUR ATTENTION ON GOD, today? Can I encourage you to EMBRACE GOD, daily? Can I invite you to COME into a new way of living that will fill your soul to overflowing and enable you to live the best life you could have ever dreamed possible?

Real Joy!

"Joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a service, and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness." -- Leo Tolstoy

"Lord, help me reach out to others ... especially to the broken and discouraged ... not only to love them but to learn from them as well." -- Carol Hamblet Adams

"A friend is someone who knows the song of your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words." -- Anonymous

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Prayer


In all of Your goodness, be here.

In all of Your love and mercy, be here.

In all of Your light and truth, be here.

In all of Your strength and peace, be here.

Make plain Your heart,

Your will,

Your desires.

Give voice to the 'ones' that cry out for Your righteousness. Hold up a standard of truth. Still the 'dark ones' that whine for themselves. Expose their smallness, their lack of love.

Guard my friend. Keep her heart. Give her strength and courage to speak the truth and to decide rightly. Protect her from unnecessary compromise. Come to her aid. Let no evil come near her.

O God, my heart cries out for Your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. I long to see Your life resonating in lives creating peace, joy, and love within them. I am so weary of the counterfeits and their distortions of life.

Please God. Please give my friend hope in Your will for her life. Let her see the goodness You want to pour out to her.

Cause her heart to hear Your voice of truth above her own voice,

above her circumstances,

above her fears,

above her giants.

Bless her with wisdom for every situation. Give her peace to take her time and think carefully. Silence the 'ones' that would pull her down, would confuse her thinking, rendering her hopeless.

Give her eyes to see through any act, any falsehood, any manipulation. Let her see what You see - the good and the bad.

Oh God, You alone know how much I long to see her life be everything You designed it to be. You alone know how to get her to that place of glorious freedom that You have created for her to live in and I agree with Your perfect will.

My hope is in You, Lord. You, alone, can keep my heart, and my friend's heart safe from the harm intended by evil.

I trust You,


Tuesday, January 1, 2008


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