Bible Studies, Devotions, Home

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.

 

 

 

Home

Navigating Trials

Dear Readers,

How my heart has been weighed down with the weight of trials in my life. I am not sure if the trials are bigger or I am just smaller. When I look at the turmoil of the world, all the suffering and pain, I am ashamed that I feel overwhelmed by my small things. Yet, they are still there stressing me. This morning as I sought the Lord, He faithfully ministered. I would like to open my heart and share with you His precious gift.

We are challenged in the area of finances. It is an area we are meant to prosper in, because we are called to help equip the body of Christ to go forth. So, every time we step out and give, we are attacked. The attack came in the form of our water being shut off. In order to have it turned back on we had to use the little money we had set aside for our rent. Our rent being the giant we have to slay every month. This giant has been tormenting and taunting me. All my efforts to steward our finances to slay that giant have come to naught……until God spoke. He has given me three things to navigate this trial. I wish to share them with you.

NAVIGATING LIFE

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

This scripture is one I have known for a very long time. Usually when I read it, I focus on what God has not given me, ‘Fear.’ But this time, my heart was inspired to look at what God has given me, POWER, LOVE and SOUND MIND. Why did God chose to give me these three things? What is it about these three things that overcome fear?

SPIRIT OF POWER:

This gift is amazing. I looked up that word power in the greek. It is translated ‘dunamis’ which means “ability to perform” and for the believer, power to achieve by applying the Lord’s inherent abilities. “Power through God’s ability.’

God has given me all that He is for all that I need. I have His dunamis power to navigate this trial. So, He has gifted my Spirit with His. This is so vital because I get so weary. I feel so overwhelmed but His power is never overwhelmed. His strength is perfect!

His power is the vehicle that transports me through the trial.

SPIRIT OF LOVE:

This gift, deals with my soul. I know from scripture that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:8). The only way I can have perfect love, is to have His. That is, to receive His and allow it to flow through me. I also know that love never fails (1 Cor. 13:8). God’s love in me, causes me to realize that His love for me will never fail and is absolute. He always provides for me lovingly. His love ministers to my soul, filling all those places of mistrust and doubt that I have. He never fails because God is love. This kind of love frees me to walk in faith, totally trusting in Him. It is totally empowering.

Also, I always feel so much turmoil in my soul as I navigate trials. Even this God has a plan for. I love what Psalm 32:8 says ‘ I (the Lord) will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.’ I believe that God counsels me as I am dealing with all the emotions I face during trials. In His love He has provided for my emotions. I set my heart to depend on Him to help me process those emotions with a Holiness that honors Him  and honors me.

His Love is the power that motives me, propels me to victory.

SOUND MIND:

This gift is vital to navigating trials to victory. In the Greek this word is translated to mean ‘self-control, self-discipline properly, safe-minded, issuing in prudent (“sensible”) behavior that “fits” a situation, i.e. aptly acting out God’s will by doing what He calls sound reasoning. God knew I would need to be able to control my thoughts to navigate my trials to victory. What good is having power and feeling good in my soul if the thoughts of my mind only lead to death? My mind is the ground the enemy attacks. I often don’t know what to do but God always does. He has given me a mind fit for the moment of the situation I am in. So no matter what the devil sends me, tormenting thoughts about how God is not going to provide, or that I missed it and haven’t done my part, God has given me the ability to take those thoughts captive and to have dominion in my mind. God’s idea of a sound mind is having my thoughts disciplined to God’s word about my trial. By allowing my mind to constantly be renewed to His word, it transforms me into the victor that He has purposed for me.

My thoughts are the compass which I navigate the trial with. If my bearings are off, my destination will not be reached.

He has given me His power, His ability,  all that He is for this moment. His love for me provides perfectly for me, all the needs of my heart. Lastly, He has given me dominion over my thoughts. As I renew my thoughts It focuses my heart and gives me clear path through the hardship.

These three things are vitally important to making progress in my trial. Yes, progress. God’s heart for us is to move through the trial, not get stuck there .

Habakkuk 3:19 (AMP)

19 The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk]and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!

Today, as I seek the Lord concerning this trial of finances I am facing, my heart takes courage. He is making my feet like hinds feet….He is teaching me how to navigate this trial to victory. No rent giant is going to take my focus off of what God gives me.

Whatever tormenting giant you are facing, I pray that as you read this, God would give you a revelation of what He has given you for your trial.

Dear Heavenly Father,

We give you this trial we are facing. I thank you that you have not given us a spirit of fear. Fear concerning our health, our finances, our relationships. You have given us power to do our parts, to trust Him with all our hearts and not to lean to our own understanding. You have given us your love, which never fails and perfectly casts out all our fears. You have given us sound minds, self controlled and focused on You. You teach us in the way we should go and counsel us every step of the way. Our hearts may feel confused and doubtful, but your word is how we will navigate this trial. We give you dominion in our hearts and in our minds. In Jesus Name, Amen

Home

Grace (study) pt 4

Grace_wordleI am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
John 15:5

God intends for his grace to be the only source of my ability to do anything.

The greatest blessing you can pray for someone is to pray for grace & peace from the Father be upon them.

 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:   John 1:12

The power is God’s GRACE to live!
We notice that there’s a colon at the end of that verse, so we must continue on….

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14

If Jesus is full of grace and truth, what should we also be full of?

And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. John 1:16

The more we yield to the will of God, the more grace He provides. He only uses what we yield to Him. It isn’t God’s will to wrestle with us until we give in to His will. He is seeking those that will just let go.

What have we to fear in letting go? The devil?

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:19

The devil can’t do anything to me that the Father doesn’t allow (remember Job?). We aren’t vulnerable to the devil. Our God is not frail and weak. He causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). So anything that the devil throws at you is intended to grow you toward God.

God loves us so much that He will allow things to happen just to get rid of the parts of our nature that separate us from Him. Those attacks should be reminding us to humble ourselves, to seek God and to live a repentant lifestyle.

You can’t fear God & the devil at the same time.

Job was doing fine as long as he continued to worship God, but then he began to claim he didn’t deserve what he was going through.  Saying, “why me, I don’t deserve this trouble” is a way of blaming God for it.

We blame God when we can’t see past what’s happening to see what God really is doing.

How do I love God during trouble? Grace through faith.
Grace helps us to have the right attitude during the worst storms.

Credit to Bishop Chester Wright. This study can be found on YouTube by searching his name and “grace”

Home

There’s Still Power in the Name of Jesus!

Friday evening after a four mile hike (yay for fitness!), Mark and I got a disturbing phone call….his mom had just been kicked in the head by a horse. Naturally, we were concerned…but even more so because she suffers with advanced osteoporosis. Her doctor has told her that a fall could be fatal at this point.

I immediately sent out a text to our prayer warrior family/friends. Mark and I rode in near silence for the 45 minute drive to meet them at the ER….praying all the way….”Lord Jesus, please don’t take her this way.” Was nearly all I could manage to get out.

We began to receive texts back from others, “In Jesus name!” and “We’ve agreed for healing in Jesus name…she will be fine.”

Mark called to check in. They were still en route and she wasn’t able to stay awake. Her forehead and left eye were severely swollen (protruding out) and had already turned purple. Our throats tightened and so did our prayers…..”Lord Jesus, I know you are in control. I trust you to do what’s best for her and for us.”

More text messages from our pastor, “The Lord has told me that she is going to be ok. We have peace now.”

I was glad they did, but I knew that one look at her purple, frail, swollen face would make me cry like a baby…..

We finally arrived at the hospital entrance…just to see Mark’s step dad driving by. We turned to follow the truck and when they stopped we walked over to see if Ms Judy was in it.

There she sat….with a mildly purple horse shoe shaped bruise on her forehead.

What happened!?

“Well,” she said, “The mare had a pony this morning and I’d gone back out this evening to bond with it. I’d made the mistake of bringing a bucket of feed with me thinking that would keep mama occupied while I get acquainted with the baby. Unfortunately, the other horses came around and began to fight for the food. One of them wound up kicking me. I stumbled out of the fence and passed out in the field. As we drove to the Er, I kept passing out and I knew it wasn’t good at all. I felt my face swelling and I couldn’t keep myself awake. All I could say was the name of Jesus….The last time I went out I saw nothing but white…then I felt a calm peace and I knew I would be ok. I immediately woke up and by the time we got into the ER, the swelling had gone away. They did CT scans, x-rays and all that and didn’t find anything wrong with me except this horseshoe shaped bruise. Not a fracture, not even a blood clot. God is good, isn’t he?!”

Yes He surely is! We had many people calling on the name of Jesus that evening. We witnessed a miracle. She could have been dead. But our God is merciful….He is powerful…He is the great physician….

I’ve been wondering how I’d begin contributing to this blog…I can’t think of any better way than to proclaim  that there is still power in the name of Jesus!