Are you putting the Full Armor of God on?

In this mornings devotion reading, I find myself thinking and wondering if I and other Christian’s are putting on the full Armor of God on a daily basis as the Word says for us to be doing.  I know that it has convicted me of this as I know because of the busyness of the daily activities for me finishing my degree and raising a Special Needs child are not an easy task for a single parent.  I know that I have to take a daily inventory of my thoughts, actions, and behaviors to make sure that I am on the right track.  In my devotion for today I am reminded that I need to consciously put on the Full Armor of God everyday.   Read today’s devotion and see if it does not convict you as well.

A Year with Jesus: “Head-to-Toe in the Full Armor of God”
HEARTLIGHT
“Head-to-Toe in the Full Armor of God” — A Year with Jesus for 10/13/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Faithful Follower,

Some of the churches in your day are skilled at drawing big audiences. Many more congregations, both large and small, need to focus more on equipping a spiritual army. My disciples are facing an all-out spiritual war. I’ve got the marks on My body to prove hell’s fury toward the Father and His desire to redeem humankind. Hell has a way of insidiously seeping into politics, government, religion, and personal relationships and too many of my followers are ill-equipped and unprepared. When Satan gains a foothold, then it is literally “hell on earth.” Look at the book of Revelation in your Bible and you will see this war story:

  • War in heaven.
  • War on earth.
  • War with religion.
  • War with government.
  • War through false teaching.
  • War because of weakness.

Yes, My disciples are at war with Satan and hell. This war has casualties and cost.

That’s why I need real followers. I don’t need Twitter® or Instagram® followers or Facebook® friends. I’m looking for genuine disciples. I’m looking for friends who won’t run out on Me even when hell breaks loose against you. That’s why I’ve never been very excited just to get a big audience. If you don’t believe me, ask those 5,000-plus folks I fed with 5 loaves and 2 fish and who wanted a sardine sandwich Messiah (John 6:1-29). When I wouldn’t be their kind of Messiah, these “followers” flaked out on Me (John 6:41-71). My audience dropped to way below 5,000 pretty quickly!

Paul understood. He knew My disciples were under attack. He had smelled the breath of hell’s fury in the form of religious haters and government lackeys. He had lost people he loved to hell’s fury, people into whom he had poured his heart, his hopes, and his time. He also knew faithful friends who were so committed to My cause and his mission that they voluntarily shared his imprisonments and hardships. Paul knew the difference between an audience and an army! His army was willing to pay the price to prepare for the battle, to stand alongside him in the battle, and to give their lives with him in battle if it was required.

Why? Why would they pay such a high price? Why would they take such risks to share Paul’s worst moments? Simple. They were called to be part of the army. They never considered settling for being like internet followers or faux friends to Paul. They enlisted in My army to fight a war against hell, sin, death, and Satan.

Read Paul’s words in the verses below. He wrote them to the brothers and sisters in Ephesus along with other believers throughout Asia Minor. He was preparing them for spiritual warfare. More specifically, he was telling them to prepare themselves for the warfare that had already begun.

They lived in the place where religions collided in the Roman Empire. Wealth and power came with many of those religions. Superstition, black magic, and immoral acts went with others. Dark clouds were gathering on the horizon. These storms would crescendo into the emperor cult in Asia Minor, a pseudo-religion that thrived in the same cities that received Paul’s words about spiritual warfare. This cult with its political power would propel the persecution of My followers. The war between hell and My disciples would lead to My Revelation to John, the vision he received and recorded in the book of Revelation. Paul wasn’t looking for just an audience; he was trying to awaken an army.

Today, as you read Paul’s words, please know that the Holy Spirit is working to use these same words of Paul to awaken an army in your day. I don’t want just more audience; I’m looking for a committed army. I don’t need more Twitter® or Instagram® followers; I AM looking for genuine disciples. I don’t need Facebook® friends; I AM looking for real friends. I AM looking for friends who do what I ask them to do. I am looking for genuine disciples who will follow even when they don’t understand all I am doing in the world(John 15:9-15; 1 Corinthians 13:9-12)!

There’s a war going on right where you live. Follow Me. But don’t come unprepared. Pick up the weapons and the armor that win the war and be ready — because there’s a war going on right where you live.

Verses to Live

Paul’s words about those who see you as their enemies are powerfully descriptive and one hundred percent true. You don’t need to be afraid, though; you just need to be prepared for the battle. Your ultimate victory is assured when you are committed to Me.

Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. Put on the full armor of God to protect yourselves from the devil and his evil schemes. We’re not waging war against enemies of flesh and blood alone. No, this fight is against tyrants, against authorities, against supernatural powers and demon princes that slither in the darkness of this world, and against wicked spiritual armies that lurk about in heavenly places.

And this is why you need to be head-to-toe in the full armor of God: so you can resist during these evil days and be fully prepared to hold your ground. Yes, stand — truth banded around your waist, righteousness as your chest plate, and feet protected in preparation to proclaim the good news of peace. Don’t forget to raise the shield of faith above all else, so you will be able to extinguish flaming spears hurled at you from the wicked one. Take also the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray always. Pray in the Spirit. Pray about everything in every way you know how! And keeping all this in mind, pray on behalf of God’s people. Keep on praying feverishly, and be on the lookout until evil has been stayed. And please pray for me. Pray that truth will be with me before I even open my mouth. Ask the Spirit to guide me while I boldly defend the mystery that is the good news — for which I am an ambassador in chains — so pray that I can bravely pronounce the truth, as I should do.
(Ephesians 6:10-20)

Response in Prayer

Father, forgive me for not praying with greater urgency. I forget the spiritual warfare in my environment, at my doorstep, and over the devotion of my heart. Please bless all who lovingly and courageously share Your truth in dangerous places. Give them supernatural spiritual and physical strength to stand firm in their faith. Deliver them from harm’s way. Forgive us for complaining about life in “church land” because things sometimes aren’t being done in ways that please us. Please forgive us. Please awaken us. Move us from being satisfied as just an audience. Move us to be a passionate and prepared part of Your army on a mission. I ask for my own courage and strength in Jesus’ name. Amen.

I know that for me this has convicted me to look deeper within myself and change what I need to change and seek Him more in my life.  What about you?  Care to join me?

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Faithful, Abundant, True bible study-thought reflections

I started a new Bible study this week at my church.  Faithful Abundant True by Kay Arthur, Beth Moore, and Priscilla Shirer.  Going through this first week, I find myself checking my life to see if I am matching up with God’s will.  Am I doing what He wants me to be doing?  Am I walking in the Spirit and is my soul with Him?  Hmm, these are tough questions that I need to stop and think about and I wonder if I’m following God with all of my being.  Kay Arthur pulls not bunches when she teaches her messages.  This I have learned from experience.  So I know that I can truly trust what she is saying and that the urgency has to be that we need to get ourselves right with God NOW rather than waiting.  Why?  Because we don’t  know when Christ will be returning for us.  So we have to be preparing ourselves right now for His return.

I know that I have some things to seek Him about!  What about you do you?  As each week goes on I will be adding to this post on each week.

Stay tuned!

Week 2:

Talks about having faith,  how strong are we in our faith?  Are we following the things of this world or are we following the Lord?  Are we being diligent and persistent or are we being stagnate?  Are we being good stewards with what we have been given?  These are questions that we need to be asking ourselves.  For me it hit home when Kay started asking these types of questions.

We’ve been going through the book of Hebrews, each chapter has something different going on.  The writer gives instructions and things that we need to be doing, however some of the people that the scriptures are talking about seem to be going their own way and not following what the writers are saying, or they are indulging themselves in the world following what others are doing and not listening to the teachings that the writers are stressing them to follow.

When we follow Christ we are do as He did and do what He did.  Loving others, pursuing His will not ours, enduring the hardships that come upon us, and watching what we say.  We are to be encouraging one another not tearing each other down like this world is doing.  Sometimes that is easier said than done.  We are not doing for our glory, but for the glory of God and to please Him not ourselves.  Are we forsaking our Savior or Satan?  That is the question that we should be asking ourselves and whom we should be following.

I am going to be diligently following my Lord and Savior, how about you?

Week 3:

This week was with Priscilla Shirer, she is a funny and every expressive woman.  I can relate to her on some of her points as I have been through them myself.  This week we are going through ‘God is Able,’ and ‘God is able to surprise us.’ God can do anything for us if we just seek Him and ask Him.  Which is the foundation of our faith.  A lot of the time we don’t do that.  We try to work things out on our own esteem only to find out that we are failing miserably every time.  Uggg, I don’t know about you but I’m tired of failing and am working on walking the path that God has set before me instead of my own accord.  Having that faith whether it is big or small, doesn’t matter because when we trust God for everything no matter how big or small they are He will give us the desires of our heart.

It can become not only draining, but frustrating at the same time.  We also judge and criticize those around us  Why, because they either have something that we want or they have bettered themselves than we have and we have become jealous of what they have.  It’s pretty sad if you ask me.  I know that I have fallen into that trap and I work extremely hard now not to fall into that trap every again. It is not a pretty sight for one and I don’t like how it made me feel when I was in that position.

This study so far has opened my eyes to making the necessary changes that I need to make to get closer to God and for me to become more Christ like.  Purging if you will the old past to becoming the new and improved me that God wants me to be.  Growing up to becoming the mature Christian that Kay talked about the last 2 weeks.

What about you, are you changing and growing up, having faith to move forward and cleanse yourself to become more Christ like?  I know I am, care to join me?

Week 4:

This week Priscilla talked about thinking about the beyond the beyond.  Thinking outside of the box.  God wants to abundantly bless us if we only seek Him and ask in His name, but we have to ever mindful of that if what we are asking for is not in His will then we need to know that we may not receive it.  That it is not God’s will for us to have.  Yes, we will become disappointed, but at the same time there maybe a reason that God does not give it to us.  Only He can foresee what the future holds for us.  He knows whats best for us.  He has our lives all planned out for us and we just have to seek Him to see what His will is for our lives.  Which is not an easy thing to do as we want to know what that is.  That is where we have to trust God, believe that He will come through, and have faith that God will do what is best for us.  It’s easier than we think but we have a tendency to make it harder than it really is.

We also have to get into the Word to learn and study it so that we can have it in our minds to recall it when we need it to keep us straight on our journey with Him.

It’s something to think about and put into action.  I know that I am working on that.  How about you?  Care to join me?

Week 5:

Beth Moore talked about being duped this week, where we have had that gut feeling that something was off with a person that we were talking and getting to know.  Where you come to find out that you had been betrayed and punked as she put it.  Have you ever been betrayed or duped by someone that you trusted?  I know that I have and it was not a good feeling.  You not only feel betrayed, but you end up feeling ashamed at the same time.  That is where we have to have our Spiritual Discernment.  We need to be more into the word and be applying it to our lives so that we can be more aware of things when they don’t feel right, or when something feels off.  God gives us this discernment to help us to walk more like Him.  It’s not easy, but a necessary thing that we have to do to continue and stay with the walk in our spiritual life.

I know for me it has been a hard thing to do.  You want to trust people, but you get that nagging feeling that something is not right.  We can either ignore it and end up failing or we can take it to God and seek Him for what to do.  I know for me that not seeking Him first has caused me more hurt and pain that I really needed.  So from this point on, I’m going to go to God first when I feel something is off and seek His will instead of trying to do things on my own.

What about you?  Care to join me?

Week 6:

This week Beth Moore was talking about 4 questions that we need a ‘no’ to when we are sensing things.  These 4 questions are:

  1. Am I a critical or suspicious person by nature?
  2. Am I jealous or do I feel threatened?
  3. Do I have anything selfish to gain from this outcome?
  4. Are my emotions clouding my discernment?

These 4 questions have to have ‘no’ answer to them for us to be walking in the spirit.  By us doing this and looking deep within ourselves we discover that we are doing what God wants us to be doing and we are obeying what He is telling us to do.  These are not easy questions to be asking because we have a tendency to answer yes and then we are walking in the world and following it’s rules, where as if we say no to these questions than we can be walking closer to God’s will for our lives and following His leading.

These past 6 weeks of going deeper into the scriptures and digging deeper within myself has made me think of what a better woman I can become if I only let go of things and seek God first in all of my decisions and allow Him to lead my life instead of me trying to do things on my own power.  For by doing them on my own power I am only setting myself up to fail and that not only makes me sad and disappointed in myself, but tells me that I am not trusting God to work things out in my life.

Hmm, this is definitely something to ponder and continue to do think about, because I want to be more like my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and I cannot do it if I am not obeying His will for me and following what the Bible is telling me to do to apply His teachings to my life.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I know that for me I am going to do God’s will for my life and seek Him more that looking to outside help unless it is for confirmation from Him.  What about you?  Care to join me?

I highly recommend this study if you are looking to go deeper into the word and walk closer to God.

Are we trying to buy the Spirit of God?

It’s a good question, when you stop to think about ones actions and deeds.  are we looking to please man or God?  Do we want to secure ourselves a place in heaven or we just going a long with everyone else?  It’s something to think about and ponder.  We need to trust in God, that He has everything under control.  We need to relinquish our control and pride to let Him cleanse us from our past and transform us into His likeness.  Which is not easy and our deeds and actions speak louder than our words.  Today’s devotion speaks about trying to buy the Spirit.  I know for me I have tried not to do this, but at times I have found it to be difficult.  So I have to relinquish it everyday, relinquish that control of me trying to control everything in my life.  I have to put my trust in God and give it all to Him.  What about you?  Are you relinquishing your control to God?  It’s definitely something to think about.  The following devotion says it well by Phil Ware:

 

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious Disciple,

One of the great gifts you received with your salvation was the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39). I pour out the Spirit on all who come to Me in faith and are baptized (Titus 3:3-7). The Spirit cleanses you of all your sin as you call upon My name to save you, and you turn from your past sins and from living for yourself (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

When Philip went to Samaria because of the persecution in Jerusalem, he taught and baptized people there (Acts 8:12). The emissaries of the Jerusalem church, My apostles, needed to see that these Samaritans — “half-breeds and heretics in the minds of many Judeans” — received the Spirit so they would include these new believers in full fellowship. When these apostles saw the Samaritan’s faith was genuine, they prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit because I had not yet poured out the Spirit upon them (Acts 8:14-17). When the Spirit came upon them in a clear and demonstrable way, full fellowship was recognized with these new believers and full fellowship and acceptance with My Samaritan followers were achieved — I will share more about this tomorrow.

One of the new believers was a magician named Simon. He had amazed people with his power. However, in the miracles performed by Philip, Simon saw a greater power that wasn’t tied to magic. The coming of the Holy Spirit on My Samaritan disciples when Peter and John laid hands on them and accepted them into full fellowship revealed an unredeemed part of Simon’s character. Simon had grown accustomed to being admired and held in high regard. His lust to be seen as amazing led him to offer Peter money for the power to give the Holy Spirit to others.

Peter’s response was clear, harsh, and right on target. The gift of the Holy Spirit is not something that can be purchased. I give the Holy Spirit to My disciples when they come to Me for salvation. The Spirit is My gift to give. The Spirit is My promised presence to be your Helper (John 14:15-27; John 15:26-27; John 16:5-15). He is your assurance that you will share with Me in resurrection and glory (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14), giving life to your mortal body (Romans 8:11).

The Spirit’s work is to conform you to Me (2 Corinthians 3:18), not to bring you glory, as Simon wanted. The Spirit works in you to bring about the character and compassion you have seen demonstrated by Me in My ministry(Galatians 5:22-23). The Spirit intercedes for you even when you don’t have words to speak what is on your heart(Romans 8:26-27). The Spirit joins with your spirit and cries out to the Father using the very same name I used to address the Father when I was on earth — “Abba”! (Mark 14:36) The Spirit empowers you to overcome the very kind of things that were going on in the heart of Simon (Romans 8:13).

Thankfully, Simon was willing to see the error of his request and the evil that needed to be eradicated from his heart. He wanted to be My disciple more than he wanted to be recognized as someone important or powerful. He was willing to leave his past glory as a magician using black magic and become My follower. The question for you, My dear one, is whether you are willing to be My disciple more than you want your own forms of recognition or your own sense of self-importance?

Verses to Live

Is there something that keeps you from fully following Me and being led by My Spirit? Do you wrestle with ways of feeling important other than your great importance to Me? Have you left your past life?

Jesus:

If any of you want to walk My path, you’re going to have to deny yourself. You’ll have to take up your cross every day and follow Me. If you try to avoid danger and risk, then you’ll lose everything. If you let go of your life and risk all for My sake, then your life will be rescued, healed, made whole and full. Listen, what good does it do you if you gain everything — if the whole world is in your pocket — but then your own life slips through your fingers and is lost to you?

(Luke 9:23-25)

Look closely at Simon and how, in the end, he offered up everything to follow Me… just as every true disciple must do! Thankfully, Simon turned his heart to fully follow Me. Have you?

All those who had been scattered by the persecution [in Jerusalem] moved from place to place; and wherever they went, they weren’t afraid or silent. Instead, they spread the message of Jesus.

Philip, for example, headed north to the city of Samaria, and he told them the news of [Christ]the Anointed One. The crowds were united in their desire to understand Philip’s message. They not only listened with their ears, but they witnessed miraculous signs with their eyes. Unclean spirits cried out with loud screams as they were exorcised from people. Paralyzed people and lame people moved and walked in plain view. So the city was swept with joy.

There was a fellow named Simon who had a widespread and long-standing reputation as a sorcerer in Samaria. Everyone — not just poor or uneducated people, but also the city’s elite — paid him great respect. Because he had amazed them with his magic, they thought, “This is a truly great man, full of the power of the God of Greatness.” But they were even more impressed with Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus the Anointed. Both men and women received … baptism — and even Simon himself became a believer. After his baptism, he shadowed Philip constantly, and he was as amazed as everyone else when he saw great and miraculous signs taking place.

Meanwhile word had reached the Lord’s emissaries in Jerusalem that the message of God was welcomed in Samaria — a land of half-breeds and heretics in the minds of many Judeans. They sent Peter and John to pray for the Samaritans. They were especially eager to see if the new believers would receive the Holy Spirit because until this point they had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus but had not experienced the Holy Spirit. When Peter and John laid hands on the people, the Holy Spirit did indeed come upon them all.

Simon watched all this closely. He saw the Holy Spirit coming to the people when the apostles laid hands on them. So he came to Peter and John and offered them money.

Simon:

I want to purchase this ability to confer the Holy Spirit on people through the laying on of my hands.

Peter:

May your silver rot right along with you, Simon! To think the Holy Spirit is some kind of magic that can be procured with money! You aren’t even close to being ready for this kind of ministry; your heart is not right with God. You need to turn from your past, and you need to pray that the Lord will forgive the evil intent of your heart. I can see deep bitterness has poisoned you, and wickedness has locked you in chains.

Simon:

Please — you must pray to the Lord for me. I don’t want these terrible things to be true of me.

(Acts 8:4-24)

Response in Prayer

O Father, I confess that many things distract me from fully trusting and serving Jesus as my Lord. I know that when my heart is divided between following Him and seeking my own good and glory, I end up interfering with the Spirit’s work of transforming me to be like Jesus. So I ask for your forgiveness. I commit to seek to follow Jesus with my whole heart and not hold back. I do ask, Holy Spirit, that you strengthen me as I take each step of faith so that Your work can be completed in me to the glory of God the Father. In the name of Jesus, the Father’s Son and my Savior, I pray. Amen.

Simon tried to buy the Holy Spirit, but was harshly told by Peter that he could not buy the Spirit.  That he would end up worse off then he was currently at that time.  After these words were spoken to him, he repented and asked Peter to pray for him to stop living the lifestyle that he was currently living.  So Peter did and Simon became a follower of Christ.

This can also go along the same lines as having idols.  Are you harboring any idols in your life?  This makes you stop and think and want to clean yourself of the past hurts, hang -ups and habits that you may have been caring around in your life for so long.  I know that it did for me.  Isn’t time to get rid of those things that have plagued us for so long?  Isn’t time for us to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us instead of us trying to lead it?  For me there is only one choice and I chose to follow Jesus.  What about you?  Care to join me?

Who Controls Us?

It’s a good question.  Who are we controlled by?  We hate it when others try to control our lives and we get defensive when they do control or try to control our lives and thoughts.  So the real question should be ‘who do we want to be controlled by,’ Satan or the Holy Spirit?  That is the real question here.  In my devotion for today Phil Ware talks about ‘who do we want to be controlled by the world of Satan (sin) or the Holy Spirit (God)?  Being Christians that should be obvious, but too often we are caught in the snare of the sinful world and into Satan’s trap.  Read the following devotion and see for yourself and evaluate your life and see.

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. —Romans 8:5 nlt

Key Thought

We don’t like to be controlled. Yet we will be controlled by our sinful nature or by the Spirit of God. There are no middle options (Ephesians 2:1-3; Romans 6). While politically incorrect, deep in the core of our souls we know it’s true. What Satan entices us to think is freedom, invariably ends up damaging us, our relationships, and our future. It enslaves us to addictive processes, systems, and habits. We are sucked into the vortex of sin’s power: our thoughts are increasingly controlled by sin’s enslaving lifestyle. The Spirit, however, frees us from this bondage. The Spirit gives us power to live with freedom, enjoying life full of his fruit — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control, and faithfulness (Gal. 5:22-23). And our role? First, we must choose to actively seek the Spirit’s influence over our will. Second, we must commit to respond to his lead in what we think and do (Gal. 5:25). When we look at our lives, do we see our thoughts dominated by the sinful nature or by the Spirit? If the sinful nature is dominating our thoughts, it’s time to go back and focus on our role!

Today’s Prayer

O Father, draw me to you. Have your holiness capture my heart and mold my character. Have your Spirit shape my life to reflect your righteousness and mercy. I want to be led, transformed, and controlled by your Holy Spirit. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

To me I would rather be controlled by God than by the world.  I want to work to gain my treasures in heaven.  What about you?  Care to join me!

What Idol’s are you harboring?

In today’s devotional I am reminded about what we must give up to enter the kingdom of God.  This can be and is a tough subject for a lot of people.  I know that at times it is for me.  We cannot enter the kingdom on our own accord, but we have to have the mind of a child.  By having that mind set is the only way that we can enter into eternal life with Christ.  A lot of people have a hard time rapping their mind around that because we are thinking in humanly terms, but it’s a Spiritual thing.  Having the mind of a child is where we have to spiritually turn ourselves over to God and let Him lead us.

Read the following devotion “A Year with Jesus, As A Child!” by Phil Ware.

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious One,

When you read the verses below, I want you to notice My interactions with My disciples regarding a rich public official who turned away from following Me. I challenged My disciples to think through his rejection of My call and focus their attention on those who are worthy of their emulation:

Don’t you realize — the kingdom of God belongs to those who are like children? You can depend on this: if you don’t receive the Kingdom as a child would, you won’t enter it at all.

Religion gets far off track when the focus becomes a question of who is most important, most religious, and most deserving of the Father’s love.

I came to you as God. The rich public official in the story below missed this truth. He called Me “good” and only God is truly good. So I challenged him to listen to Me as God. I told him that he needed to drop his religious game of trying to earn the Father’s love. He needed to quit trying to outdo all the others around him in his religious practices. He needed to look deep into his own heart and see that there was an idol he held as more important than obeying the voice of the Father. However, he dismissed what I said. He refused to give up his idol — his great wealth — for two reasons:

  1. He didn’t think of Me as God. He dismissed what I said as just more religious teaching. He didn’t accept what I said as the very commands of God.
  2. He was rich and his idol — his real god — was his money. Unfortunately, he thought he could earn the Father’s favor just like he had earned his money.

Sadly, he walked away from Me and from the joy of My kingdom because he couldn’t give up what was false.

Just before the description of this rich public official’s visit with Me, you meet children who are the model for the kind of heart that receives My kingdom. Just after this official, you meet My disciples. In childlike amazement, they wonder how anyone can be saved if someone who has lived a good life, like this rich public official, couldn’t find his way into My kingdom. I reminded them that they were thinking in human terms. And in human terms, it is impossible. But We — Father, Son, and Spirit — make the impossible possible. All that My disciples had to do was look at themselves and what they had given up.

You see, nothing is impossible for the heart totally yielded to Me. You cannot give up more for Me than you will receive many times over in the age to come (Matthew 19:29). However — and this is a huge “however” — you have to be willing to follow Me as a child. So come, dear precious one, and follow Me!

Verses to Live

During My time on earth, children were not an important part of society. They were trained, loved, nurtured, and apprenticed at home. They were not important in adult society. For Me to hold them up as a good example of a disciple was shocking. To elevate children above a rich, devoted-to-the-law public official was shocking. Sometimes, My precious one, shocking is good. Listen with your heart. Invite the Holy Spirit to attach these words to your soul.

I AM the good teacher. I AM God among you. I AM the One teaching the eternal truth. You either renounce all of your idols and follow Me as a child, or you walk away from Me with a sad heart. If you leave, you forfeit your hope of enjoying My kingdom.

Some people brought infants to Jesus, hoping He would touch them to bless them. The disciples rebuked them for doing this. However, Jesus reacted strongly to their rebuke.

Jesus:

Let the little children come to Me. Never hinder them! Don’t you realize — the kingdom of God belongs to those who are like children? You can depend on this: if you don’t receive the Kingdom as a child would, you won’t enter it at all.

Public Official:

Good Teacher, what do I need to do to inherit the life of the age to come?

Jesus:

Why did you just call Me good? No one is good but God — only God. You know what the Hebrew Scriptures command: “Do not commit adultery; do not murder; do not steal; do not bear false witness; honor your father and mother.”

Public Official:

I’ve already been doing these things — since I came of age.

Jesus:

One thing you still lack — one thing; sell all your possessions and distribute the proceeds to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. Then you can come and follow Me.

The man heard these words and sadness came over his face, for his wealth was considerable.

Jesus:

What a hard thing it is for those with much wealth to enter the kingdom of God! In fact, it would be easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than it would be for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God!

Listeners:

Then who can be liberated?

Jesus:

Remember, what is humanly impossible is possible with God.

Peter:

We have left our homes and followed You.

Jesus:

I’m telling you the truth: there is nobody who leaves his house or wife or siblings or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God who will not receive more than he has given up — much more — in this age and in the age to come. He will receive eternal life.

(Luke 18:15-30)

Response in Prayer

Father in heaven, I thank You for Jesus being among us in His earthly ministry as Immanuel — God with us. I confess that I sometimes try to win Your approval by compiling a list of things I believe You like and then going out and doing those things. I forget the accomplished mission of Jesus on the cross and the empty tomb that have saved me. So I ask the Holy Spirit to settle my heart in this grace and to reveal to me any unsurrendered area of my heart so that You, and You alone, are my God. I need the continuing guidance of the Spirit to help me completely yield myself to You. Dear Father, I want to follow Jesus as a child who holds nothing back from You and rejoices in the grace of Your acceptance of me and Your promises for me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

It’s a pretty powerful devotion today and one that has me rethinking and digging deeper into my life.  What about you?  Are you harboring unknown idols in your life?  It’s something to consider and evaluate.  I’m going to be doing that.  Care to join me?

Are you harboring any unforgiveness toward anyone?

Are you harboring any un-forgiveness?  I know that I do and have; today’s devotion talks about having un-forgiveness and how we hold onto that un-forgiveness and how we can have faith as small as a mustard seed to deal with that un-forgiveness.  The hardest thing that we can do to ourselves and others is to hold onto anger, bitterness, fear, and feelings of helplessness.  Holding these things against someone not only hurts them, but hurts us even more.  I know that I have to learn and I am learning to give those thought patterns over to God so that I can heal.  Are you doing that?  If not, maybe the following devotion may help you.

Read it and see what you think; it was written by Phil Ware.

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

What’s the hardest miracle to perform? I know many of you would love to see some great miracle of your selection to help you believe. Yet all around you every day, some of the most amazingly wondrous transformations happen by divine power at work in My followers. As My disciples show in the verses below, one of the hardest of the wondrous transformations is for the power of grace to lead a wounded heart to forgive.

This very important reality is the focus of My teaching about prayer and miraculous results. One of the hardest “miracles” to believe possible is forgiveness. I taught about this repeatedly in My ministry on earth. This teaching is rooted in the two greatest commands — to love the Lord your God with all you are and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40). You cannot be wrong with your brother or sister on earth and be right with your Father in heaven. It’s that simple to say and yet very hard for the wounded human heart to love as it should. This teaching is also based on another essential reality: you do not truly appreciate the forgiveness you have received if you do not pass along that same grace of forgiveness to others (Matthew 6:14; Matthew 18:23-35; Ephesians 4:32).

Yes, this is a hard truth. That’s why your forgiveness of others may be one of the hardest “miracles” to perform. Feeding 5,000? Not hard for Me with 5 loaves and 2 fish. Raising the dead? I have done that. Healing the blind, the lame, the paralyzed, the leprous? I have done that repeatedly. However, changing a wounded heart that has been abused and mistreated is so much harder because that change depends on the submission of the person to My will in spite of whatever may have happened to him or her. Grace has to permeate down to a broken and dark place in a person’s soul and capture it with the truth of what I did to redeem it. For you to genuinely forgive those who come in repentance and ask for forgiveness is a hard wonder to perform, but not impossible!

What I want you to realize is that if you can have “faith the size of a single, tiny mustard seed”, then that “little faith can accomplish the seemingly impossible” — including turning your wounded heart into a gracious heart like Mine! Watch what I do as I journey toward Jerusalem to take up the cross. Remember My words of forgiveness. Remember why I did what I did — not because I wanted to face suffering and heartbreak, but because those who sinned and rejected Me, both then and in your day, need My forgiveness and grace.

The same spirit of forgiveness and grace must be true of you as you deal with those who hurt you and sin against you. They need your grace displayed to them to understand the power of My grace. So when you forgive, don’t act like you deserve a medal for doing something hard. Yes, it is hard, very hard, and sometimes it feels impossibly hard. If you call yourself My disciple, that means you have committed to the lifestyle of the cross. Sometimes that will seem as hard for you to face as it was for Me to face the rejection, mockery, agony, and humiliation of My cross. Forgiving others is not only a sign that you have faith to follow My example of forgiveness. It also means that you realize that you are My servant and “unworthy of extra consideration or thanks” since you were just doing your “duty”. I don’t say that to be harsh, but to help you realize how important forgiveness is in My family of grace!

Verses to Live

I want you to know, My dear disciple, that much of My teaching during My journey to Jerusalem and the cross is challenging and sometimes just very hard to accept at a human level. It doesn’t make sense. It seems upside down to the way your world works. So I ask you again to watch Me and what I do on the way to My cross and all that goes with My passion. Redeeming a lost world means living a radical discipleship. I wasn’t crucified because I was a nice sweet man. I was crucified because I was a loving, kind, gentle, truth-telling world-changer Who lived the character and compassion of God before a world opposed to His ways. I call you to follow Me in this world-changing lifestyle!

Jesus (to His disciples):

You can’t stop temptations to do wrong from coming. But how tragic it will be for the person who becomes the source of the temptation! It would be better if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

So each of you needs to be careful. If your brother sins against you, confront him about it, and if he has a change of mind and heart, then forgive him. Even if he wrongs you seven times in a single day, if he turns back to you each time and says he’s sorry and will change, you must forgive him.

The Lord’s Emissaries:

We don’t have enough faith for this! Help our faith to grow!

Jesus (pointing to a nearby mulberry tree):

It’s not like you need a huge amount of faith. If you just had faith the size of a single, tiny mustard seed, you could say to this huge tree, “Pull up your roots and replant yourself in the sea,” and it would fly through the sky and do what you said. So even a little faith can accomplish the seemingly impossible.

Imagine this scenario. You have a servant — say he’s been out plowing a field or taking care of the sheep — and he comes in hot and sweaty from his work. Are you going to say, “You poor thing! Come in and sit down right away”? Of course not! Wouldn’t you be more likely to say, “First, cook my supper and set the table, and then after I’ve eaten, you can get something to eat and drink for yourself”? And after your servant has done everything you told him to do, are you going to make a big deal about it and thank him? I don’t think so! Now apply this situation to yourselves. When you’ve done everything I’m telling you to do, just say, “We’re servants, unworthy of extra consideration or thanks; we’re just doing our duty.”

(Luke 17:1-10)

Response in Prayer

Holy and Almighty God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I confess that there are wounds I carry that weigh me down and burden my soul. I want to believe that I can forgive, but it is hard. And when I will not forgive, I know that I hold myself captive to the offenses committed against me and against those I love. So please, I ask for the help of the Holy Spirit to understand all that You teach about forgiveness and what it means. I also trust the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit to pour Your love into my heart and to give me the strength to believe that I can forgive. I believe, but please help my unbelief. I want the “miracles” of forgiveness and grace to be an essential part of my life’s character. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

I know that I am going to apply this to my life.  What about you?  Care to join me?  What are your thoughts on this?   I would love to hear them.

Are you straddling the fence?

The reason that I ask this question is because I was once doing that same thing.  Wanting to have it both ways and still claimed myself to be a Christian.  Well it does not work that way and it is a trap from Satan to try and entice us into doing things that are evil.  We have to decide if we are going to follow Jesus or not.  In my devotion for today, Christ talks about a man that is demon possessed.  To have such demon’s in a person is scary to me.  I would never want to leave that way.  Yet, we are give the chance to follow either Satan or Christ each day.  Satan come s along making things look good and enticing, don’t be fooled by that deception, because Satan only wants to rob, kill, and destroy us in every way he possibly can.

Here read the devotion for yourself and see what you think, this devotion comes from Phil Ware “A Walk with Jesus” very powerful;

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious Child of God,

Two powers — God and Satan — are at war over your eternal destiny. The story below illustrates the different goals of these two powers. No matter how alluring temptation may seem to you, the ultimate goal of the tempter — Satan, the evil deceiver, the devil, the evil one — and all the forces of hell can be seen from the condition of the man called Battalion.

When you meet the man identified as Battalion, the forces of evil are literally hell-bent on his destruction. This devastation is Satan’s intent for you. However, the ultimate goal of your Father in heaven is for you to be in your right mind, for you to be learning from Me how to have purpose for your life, and for you to live out that purpose in your daily life.

Notice the ways Battalion is described at the beginning of the events recorded in the verses below:

  • He is isolated — actually driven into isolation by the demonic powers that control him.
  • He is filled with destructive power.
  • He is naked.
  • He lives and sleeps in a cemetery — the place of the dead.
  • He is uncontrollable.
  • He has lost his sense of self-identity — he doesn’t even know his real name.
  • He is aware of all of these problems in himself.

However, as much as this man is in bondage to demonic powers, notice this one truth: he can still come to Me and fall at My feet despite the power of the demons in him wanting to be rid of Me! I AM more powerful than all of these demons. So notice what I do to bless this man despite the demons trying to use My identity to gain power over Me and send Me away.

  • I deliver him from the demonic powers oppressing him.
  • I return this man to a normal life and a right mind.
  • I welcome the man into My fellowship and friendship.
  • I send the man out on a mission to share his good news and My story of grace.

Satan’s goal for you is clear: he wants to do with you what he did with Battalion. He wants to introduce hell on earth into your life. His temptations may look enticing. There may be no apparent signs of Satan’s destructive and evil intent in these temptations — at least not at first. But behind each temptation, there are traps designed to enslave you. I can help you break your bondage to these traps, although you are much better off if you avoid the traps all together!

I have a goal for you. I want you to be My disciple. I want you to sit by Me and learn the way of true life from Me. I want to defeat the powers that desire to hold you in bondage and enslave you to self-destruction. I want you in your right mind — in control of your life and your decisions. I want you to find your purpose in Me. I want you to have a positive and influential relationship with your family and friends. But you have to choose Me… you must call out to Me for help… and you must ask Me to take control of your life and be willing for Me to do so!

Not everyone will be happy if you choose Me. Some prefer to live out-of-control lives rather than to yield their lives to Me. In addition, the lure for you to go into a life under Satan’s control — to have that uncontrollable power at work in you — is just as destructive as it is strong.

You must recognize that you cannot defeat the power of evil on your own. However, I can defeat it. In fact, I have defeated it through My death and resurrection. Do not despair in the face of great evil. Cry out to Me. Trust Me. Follow Me. Learn from Me. Share your story about Me with others. And when you do, you can know this: I will never leave you or forsake you.

Verses to Live

Notice how the “friends” of Battalion react when he is set free of the demonic spirits. They order Me to leave after I have liberated him and put him in his right mind. They cannot deal with Me. They don’t know what to do with a power they cannot control or understand. So rather than inviting Me into their small little world, they ask Me to leave. What about you? Will you ask Me into your world or order Me to leave?

When they [Jesus and His disciples] get to the other side of the lake, in the Gerasene country opposite Galilee, a man from the city is waiting for Jesus when He steps out of the boat. The man is full of demonic spirits. He’s been running around for a long time stark naked, and he’s homeless, sleeping among the dead in a cemetery. This man has on many occasions been tied up and chained and kept under guard, but each time he has broken free and the demonic power has driven him back into remote places away from human contact. Jesus commands the demonic force to leave him. The man looks at Jesus and starts screaming. He falls down in front of Jesus.

Possessed Man (shouting):

Don’t torment me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God! Why are You here?

Jesus (calmly and simply):

What’s your name?

Possessed Man:

Battalion.

He says this because an army of demons is inside of him. The demons start begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit. They plead instead to enter into a herd of pigs feeding on a steep hillside near the shore. Jesus gives them permission to do so. Suddenly the man is liberated from the demons, but the pigs — they stampede, squealing down the hill and into the lake where they drown themselves.

The pig owners see all this. They run back to their town and tell everyone in the region about it. Soon a crowd rushes from the town to see what’s going on out by the lake. There they find Jesus seated to teach with the newly liberated man sitting at His feet learning in the posture of a disciple. This former madman is now properly dressed and completely sane. This frightens the people. The pig owners tell them the whole story — the healing, the pigs’ mass suicide, everything.

The people are scared to death, and they don’t want this scary abnormality happening in their territory. They ask Jesus to leave immediately. Jesus doesn’t argue. He prepares to leave, but before they embark, the newly liberated man begs to come along and join the band of disciples.

Jesus:

No. Go home. Tell your people this amazing story about how much God has done for you.

The man does so. In fact, he tells everyone in the whole city how much Jesus did for him that day on the shore.
(Luke 8:26-39)

Response in Prayer

Lord Jesus, I know that You stand at the door of my heart and knock. I know You won’t break down the door and barge into my life. I know that I must invite You in and welcome You to my table. So, Jesus, I ask You to claim me, cleanse me, come to me, care for me, and guide me so that I serve You in ways that bring You glory and bring others to know You and Your saving grace. Amen.

I don’t know about you, but after reading this morning, I’m going to make sure that I cry out to Christ everyday to make sure that I am ‘Walking in the Spirit.’ I want to get closer to Jesus and be His disciple.

What about you?  Who will you follow?

Care to share your thoughts?  I would love to read them.