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The Language of Promise by Graham Cooke ~ Study Week 18

Graham Cooke: pgs. 41-42

GRATITUDE

Gratefulness may be humanity’s most underestimated
devotional tool. We often forget that gratitude is how we access
God’s presence. “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into
His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For
the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to
all generations,” the psalmist sang in Psalm 100:4-5.

It’s always good to set aside a few hours just to be thankful.
Make a list of the things you’re grateful for. A lack of gratitude
can lead us into feeling that nothing is happening, or into frustration
over hassles and issues. In that moment, stop and ask
yourself: “What are the benefits in my life right now?”

In the west we don’t know how well-off we truly are. Twothirds
of the world doesn’t eat more than five meals a week. God
has blessed us and it’s important that we think about it. I long
to see Christians get beyond themselves and start seeing the

“IF YOU CONCENTRATE ON
FINDING WHATEVER IS GOOD
IN EVERY SITUATION, YOU WILL
DISCOVER THAT YOUR LIFE
WILL SUDDENLY BE FILLED
WITH GRATITUDE, A FEELING
THAT NURTURES THE SOUL.”
RABBI HAROLD KUSHNER

glory of God as it pertains
to their own life. We need
great people who understand
that their success is
wrapped up in the sovereignty
of God.

If we can do that, a
faith, power, energy and
zeal will emerge that will take us forward in the things of the
Holy Spirit. We must become overwhelmed with who God wants
to be for us.

We often forget that gratitude is how we access God’s presence. “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations,” the psalmist sang in Psalm 100:4-5.

It’s always good to set aside a few hours just to be thankful.

 

Let’s be honest, most times we find ourselves entering into His presence with a mouthful of complaint and lamenting over current disappointments. Then we wonder why things are not changing in our lives, right?  This is because we are holding onto the problems before Him.  Instead, I think what Graham is stating here is reminding us that God desires us to be at rest…unshackled by what is weighing us down when we come before Him, whether it is in our prayer time or devotionals.  God is not worried about what besets us.  He is letting us know He is Good and full of Mercy. So, the question becomes “Are we allowing ourselves to leave it all at our heart’s door (so to speak) and give thanks for the things He HAS done?  Let His Goodness fill you with the things to be thankful and watch His Mercy begin to change your perspective in the moment.  Make a list of 3 things you are Grateful for to Him.  You can make it like a love letter. I did this, “Lord, today I am grateful you love me and that you are teaching me how to love and be loved.

 

 

 

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Knit Together in Love

Faith_2014My Devotion:   Colossians 2

Excerpt of the Apostle Paul speaking to the church at Laodicea:

[For my hope is] that their hearts may be encouraged as they are knit together in [unselfish] [b]love, so that they may have all the riches that come from the full assurance of understanding [the joy of salvation], resulting in a true [and more intimate] knowledge of the [c]mystery of God, that is, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge [regarding the word and purposes of God]. I say this so that no one will deceive you with persuasive [but thoroughly deceptive] arguments. For even though I am absent [from you] in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, [d]delighted to see your good discipline [as you stand shoulder to shoulder and form a solid front] and to see the stability of your faith in Christ [your steadfast reliance on Him and your unwavering confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness].

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in [union with] Him [reflecting His character in the things you do and say—living lives that lead others away from sin], having been deeply rooted [in Him] and now being continually built up in Him and [becoming increasingly more] established [e]in your faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing in it with gratitude.

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception [pseudo-intellectual babble], according to the tradition [and musings] of mere men, following the [f]elementary principles of this world, rather than following [the truth—the teachings of] Christ.

For in Him all the fullness of Deity (the Godhead) dwells in bodily form [completely expressing the divine essence of God]. 10 And in Him you have been made complete [achieving spiritual stature through Christ], and He is the head over all rule and authority [of every angelic and earthly power]. 11 In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, but by the [spiritual] circumcision of Christ in the stripping off of the body of the flesh [the sinful carnal nature], 12 having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him [to a new life] through [your] faith in the working of God, [as displayed] when He raised Christ from the dead.

13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (worldliness, manner of life), God made you alive together with Christ, having [freely] forgiven us all our sins, 14 having canceled out the [g]certificate of debt consisting of [h]legal demands [which were in force] against us and which were hostile to us. And this certificate He has set aside and completely removed by nailing it to the cross.

15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities [those supernatural forces of evil operating against us], He made a public example of them [exhibiting them as captives in His triumphal procession], having triumphed over them through [i]the cross.         [Amplified]

 

My prayer:

Father, through Christ we are no longer a slave to fear but we can come boldly before you and make our petitions known.  We as believers in Jesus can connect in spirit and in faith, building our union in the body of Christ.  Let our faith arise in the working of Your purpose, Lord.  I pray this in your holy and good name, Father. Amen.

 

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Love letter to the Servants of the Lord by Zoey

Love Letter to Believers_2014

1 Timothy 6 (AMP)

6:1  Let all who are under the yoke as bond servants esteem their own [personal] masters worthy of honor and fullest respect, so that the name of God and the teaching [about Him] may not be brought into disrepute and blasphemed.

My Prayer:

Father, I lift up those who carry the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Bless them with the stamina to fight the Good fight and to walk a victorious testimony to Glorify your Name, Lord. Refresh their heart with Rejoicing. Heal their battle wounds (physically, emotionally and spiritually) and remove all shame and condemnation (which is from the enemy of the finished works of Christ Jesus).  Empower and Affirm these through the Holy Spirit with your Grace, Wisdom and Knowledge.  ~amen

[And it is, indeed, a source of immense profit, for] godliness accompanied with contentment (that contentment which is a sense of [d]inward sufficiency) is great and abundant gain.

My Prayer:

Father, in ALL THINGS we can come before you with a heart of thanksgiving. It is what you wait for, watch for and desire to see in our life. You give us life for your purpose and it is through the Holy Spirit that we receive the gifts; therein we find Godliness with contentment. ~amen

11 But as for you, O man of God, flee from all these things; aim at and pursue righteousness (right standing with God and true goodness), godliness (which is the loving fear of God and being Christlike), faith, love, steadfastness (patience), and gentleness of heart.

12 Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned and [for which] you confessed the good confession [of faith] before many witnesses.

13 In the presence of God, Who preserves alive all living things, and of Christ Jesus, Who in His testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I [solemnly] charge you

14 To keep all His precepts unsullied and flawless, irreproachable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Anointed One),

15 Which [appearing] will be shown forth in His own proper time by the blessed, only Sovereign (Ruler), the King of kings and the Lord of lords,

16 Who alone has immortality [in the sense of exemption from every kind of death] and lives in unapproachable light, Whom no man has ever seen or can see. Unto Him be honor and everlasting power and dominion.  Amen (so be it).

My Prayer:

Father God, let YOUR precepts be on the fore front of our minds and hearts. You are unchanging. You are the Unapproachable Light, the Everlasting Power and there is no one or any dominion of Evil that can stand against the Living God. It was finished on the Cross of Christ Jesus as a testimony of your Unfailing Love. This is the Good News that you have commissioned to be preached and taught to a dying world. We will share Life to those who are in need of a Savior and Healer and bring them the message of the Kingdom of God, which is Eternal Life through your Son, Jesus. Continue to encourage hearts and connect the community of your servants ~ to fight the good fight of the Faith.   ~ Amen.

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Overcoming feelings of helplessness

When sadness comes into one’s heart what can you do? Call on the Lord! Yes, call on the Lord. Thank you Lord for your grace, we thank You Lord for your righteousness. We thank You Lord for sending Your only begotten son who without sin died on the cross for our sins. Continue reading “Overcoming feelings of helplessness”

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Race on!

run-the-race-hebrews12-1Today I had an “Aha!” moment. A moment when I see clearly what my issue is and am empowered to make the change that needs to be made. The pastor today was speaking about condemnation as a strategy of the enemy.  He referenced Hebrews 12:1:

Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,

He pointed out that the word “sin” is not plural because it is a specific sin that besets us. He then took us to Gal 5:19-20 which tells us what the sins are:

19 Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency,

20 Idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies),

21 Envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

As I sat in that service I asked the Lord what the specific sin in my life is. He immediately brought to mind fear, which manifests in doubt and unbelief in my life. I often really struggle with believing what my eyes can’t see, what my mind can’t understand and what I don’t feel. I try to logic God.  May I just say God doesn’t fit into my logic, no matter how hard I try to squish Him in.

At first look I don’t see fear on my list of practices of the flesh in Gal 5.  However, I do see Idolatry. Idolatry is when I worship anything as the absolute authority and power in my life greater than God.  Isn’t that what I do when I doubt God? I am choosing to believe what I know, what I understand and what I can see more than what God is speaking, showing or leading in? Yes, it is and I saw it very clearly, today as the sin that I need to strip off and throw aside.

Another scripture that talks about sins of the heart is found in Matt 15:19:

 For out of the heart come evil thoughts (reasonings and disputings and designs) such as murder, adultery, sexual vice, theft, false witnessing, slander, and irreverent speech.

Fear, for me, is an evil thought. It is my own reasoning rising up to dispute God’s plan according to my limited senses. It is evil because when I allow it to operate in my mind; it creates a ping pong effect that creates confusion that renders me useless. My heart and my mind will war between feeling anxiety and thinking correctly to release faith. In that place of confusion, I always lose. I become the victim. That is not God’s plan. His plan for me is for good (Jer. 29:11). His good! His good always comes from the measure of faith He has given me, activated and working in my life.  He has not given me a spirit of fear (2 Tim 1:7)!

As I run the race that God has set before me, fear will rise up, sometimes, blatantly, sometimes overtly to entangle my heart and mind. It will use legitimate doubts to convince me to unbelief about my God. Pretty soon, my thoughts will become greater than my God. When this happens, all that I am will move in the direction of my idolize fear and it will be produced in my life. Then the power that God has given me to produce His work in my life (Faith) is contaminated and used to honor the enemy and produce his work in my life. Yuck! NO MORE!

It is so vital for me to recognize my enemy. When those fear thoughts come, I need to set them aside. They are trying to encumber me, to cleverly entice me to carry them, to worship them. Today, I decide no more free rides or piggy backs to fear.  I recognize that this is the “sin” that is trying to trip me.  I strip it off by setting my mind to being renewed to God’s word. I read, meditate, and speak about His word.  I think His thoughts (1 Cor. 2:16), I cultivate His attitude (Phil 2:5), and I speak His words (Ps 19:14).

The enemy’s power doesn’t change, but mine does. God gives me His power to defeat the enemy. So when fear tries to rise up, whether it comes in anxiety, doubt or unbelief I will recognize it and nullify its power with the power of God’s word. When fear is trying to manifest in my thoughts and heart or when others try to put fear on me, His words of faith will roll out of me. I will be vigilant with what I am thinking and what I am saying, making sure it lines up with what God says about the situation. I will run His race, free, because that is His plan for me. I will inherit His kingdom, which is His righteousness, His peace and His Joy.

Race on!

2 Timothy 1:7 (AMP)

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

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A Sinner’s Confession

social_media_truth“I am a sinner, and I have cheated in (almost) every relationship I have been in.”

“Can one go upon hot coals and his/her feet not be burned? (29) So he/she who cohabits with his/her neighbor’s wife/husband [will be tortured with evil consequences and just retribution]; he/she who touches her/him shall not be innocent or go unpunished.” 

~Proverbs 6:28-29 *author added emphasis on gender

So..why am I confessing this? Well, I woke up at 0400, and for the last 2 hours and 36 minutes have fought to go back to sleep. But, the Holy Spirit was nudging me, and I finally gave in. I know this confession will likely lead to a flood of comments, but I have faith that God will use this post for good.

Cheating, IMO, is a symptom of a much larger problem. My inability to stay faithful to the commitment of the relationship(s) I was in was NOT about them-it was about me. The TRUTH of the matter is that before I became a Christian, ( I mean a “Walk the Walk” not just a “Talk the Talk” kind), I had little to no self respect or self love. If I could not respect/love myself, how could I respect/love someone else? How could I show someone I cared about something I did not feel for myself?

Like many people who cheat, I tried to convince myself what I was doing was okay. I used the “He doesn’t respect/love/cherish/etc”..excuse. I would start an argument to justify my position. I would find any fault, no matter how small, and blow it way out of proportion, to justify my wanderings. It made looking in the mirror each morning something I dreaded. I couldn’t look myself in the eyes. I felt shame, because deep down, I knew I was a really bad/terrible/unsavory/despicable/person.

Then I received Christ, and He loved me. ME!! He accepted me as I was and loved me.

He FORGAVE me!

That changed my heart.

Some people say “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” or “A leopard can’t change it’s spots.”

Really?

Try telling GOD that! 

In 1 Samuel, chapter 10, God gave Saul a new heart. Yep! If He can do it for Saul, who is to say He didn’t do it for me?

In the 2 relationships since I have been a believer/follower/servant, I did not cheat. Why? Because I am a new person in Christ. He loves me, I love me. Yes, I am still a sinner, but THAT sin..THAT sin..no more.  First, I have too much respect for myself to cheat. Second, I have to much respect for the man I was with to cheat. Why? I respect the commitment I had made to him. (Yes, same man, 2 different times!!) I loved him, and in many ways, still do.

The LORD helped me love myself, and forgive myself too.

Wow. It was like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. Carrying around “shame” is exhausting.

I am rid of it. I can look myself in the mirror now without the fear of shame.

If I am asked in a (hopeful) future relationship, if I have ever cheated, I will be honest and say “Yes.” I am hoping the man the Lord brings me will understand that I have faced my fears, faced my faults, taken responsibility and changed.

The Lord changed my heart.

I am Blessed!

For His Glory,

Nicolette

 

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Healthy homemaker is back!!!

Good Morning friends of faith. I would like to tell my faith and fitness journey. I started out 260lbs and at 5’4 that’s a lot for one lil girl to carry. I started where I was and never took no for an answer. I crawled at 6 am to put on my runners and walked into the gym and then ran home to my family. I have learnt lots about forgiveness, love, mercy and grace. It was not easy and there were day I didn’t want to do it. It is easy to slip on the slippery slop of sin then to stand Jesus strong and persevere. People think of it was easy. NO IT WAS NOT and still is not. You make choices ( thank you Lord for this blessing and at times a curse) but must always live by the repercussions of them. So I say every step is a step. Take it move and do it all for Gods glory. He does care about your physical health. The reason being is the longer you are fit and on this earth YOU can spread His good word.

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My ALL in ALL, 5 Feb 2014

praying hands 2*note: from this day forward, I will continue be inspired by the book “My ALL in ALL,” by author Robert J. Morgan, but will not be coordinating the scriptures based on the way they are laid out in the book. I will be presenting them on what the Holy Ghost presents to me through prayer.

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling: (5) One LORD, one faith, one baptism, (6) One GOD, and Father of all, and in you all. (7) But, unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of CHRIST.”

(Ephesians 4 vs 4-7, KJV)

As I have remarked before, the word “all” is a word that is used to include everything and everyone. In the book of Ephesians, Paul is asking that we seek unity among us.

Unity in our churches, where disention is often brought upon by a differences of opinions “hidden” among the population of members.

In our homes, arguments, and bad feelings can lead to a breakdown of our families.. The very place where we go to seek comfort and refuge can now be a battleground.

But, how does that happen? Satan likes us to be ALONE, separated from our FAITH, hidden in the DARK, outcast.

How can we fix this? By praying for unity, talking over problems, keeping feeling out in the open, not hidden in the dark.

If the God/Jesus/Holy Spirit is no longer the Head of your home, and you have replaced Him with unrest, you are no longer acting in the unity that Paul is calling for.

….one body, one Spirit, one LORD, one faith, one God, one Father who is: above ALL and in you ALL.

Pray for this..and I will see you tomorrow!

Nicolette

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Metamorphosis

whatever-happens-butterfly-purpleRomans 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.

Tonight I am grateful for my heart flexibility.  I used to be so rigid, things just had to be just so. I could only do what made logical sense to me.  My leaps of faith were tiny hops, from steps I could see to steps I could almost reach.  However, the Lord has been loosening my heart and taking my stiffed necked opinions and stretching them.

What I am now seeing, and hereto didn’t know, is that God knew that this season of my life would require not only strength but flexibility.  Strength to stay focused on Jesus and flexibility to keep my thoughts stretched into faith places. Faith places are God places that require me to trust Him while I can only see Him, not the place, or much of anything else.

The places my heart could only longing look have now become places it can reach. As I was pondering this transformation Romans 12:2 came to my mind. “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…..”   Of course, the word “transformed” caught my eye.

Transformed in the Greek is the word metamorphoó.   It means to “change after being with.” We get our English word metamorphosis from this word. Here is a video of what is going on in my heart.

It is the perfect word for what is happening in my heart.  The more time I spend with the Lord and His Word, the more I am changed.  Remember those hops of faith I told you about? Those have become leaps of Olympic proportions (at least to my faith challenged heart.) These last two years of life, the Holy Spirit has diligently trained me. Now that my time is here, the challenge is before me, I have the strength to run this race but I also have the flexibility to leap over the hurdles.  I am running hard. It is taking all that I am……that is, all that God is, being that His covenant name is “I AM that I AM (Exodus 3:14).

I have set the Lord before me because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved ( Psalms 16:7). Not even when my eyes tell me it won’t work, not even when my emotions are staging riots in my heart, not even when thoughts are faster than the Indy 500, I will not be moved from obeying what He has called me to.  Yet, I am greatly moved by His Spirit as I step out into this new place of faith. I do so with His strength and His flexibility that He has prepared for me, and in me. Just as Peter stepped out of the boat on the waves to walk to Jesus, I too, can walk on these waves.

I leave you with this song, which has greatly encouraged me in this process. No matter where you are in your own transformation process may your heart be encouraged.  May you trust God beyond your borders, beyond your beliefs of your strengths and weaknesses.  May you step out and go where He calls you.  You can do it!