June 22, 2017

Encouragement Comes in Many Forms

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This morning I’ve been meandering around FaceBook…noticing oh-so-very-many encouraging posts.  This—the encouragement—is a wonderful use of social media such as FaceBook, don’t you think?  Encouragement comes in MANY different forms; for example,

  • beautiful photographs of God’s gorgeous Creation that are shared
  • quotes that nurture our souls and motivate us to go and do
  • prayers that are offered to sisters in need
  • and (my favorites!) Scriptures that you post to remind another of God’s goodness, His grace and mercy, His faithfulness, and His love.

It is through the history depicted in the Scriptures that we come to know so much about our great God and His heart for all mankind.

For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope.
Now may the God Who gives the power of patient endurance (steadfastness) and Who supplies encouragement, grant you to live in such mutual harmony and such full sympathy with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,
That together you may [unanimously] with united hearts and one voice, praise and glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).

Romans 15:4-6

Truly it is by and through the Scriptures that our hearts and minds are encouraged. In the Bible we read of God’s promises, we hear of the Hope of eternity spent with Him (and each other) in His Kingdom, we learn of our Father’s unconditional love. All intended to encourage us!

Here are definitions for the words encourage and encouragement from Webster’s 1828 dictionary:

ENCOUR’AGE, v. enkur’rage.

  • To give courage to; to give or increase confidence of success; to inspire with courage, spirit, or strength of mind; to embolden; to animate; to incite; to inspirit.

ENCOUR’AGED, pp.

  • Emboldened; inspirited; animated; incited.

ENCOUR’AGEMENT, n.

  • The act of giving courage, or confidence of success; incitement to action or to practice; incentive.

Each of us knows by experience…some more than others, it is true…that there are days when we simply feel that we don’t have the courage to endure. There are times when the stresses and pressures of this world cause our little hearts to cave and we doubt we can handle them. There are life situations that we struggle through worrying and being overwhelmed at times. These are all situations and circumstances in which we must find a way to seek the One Who has made us promises, the One Who is faithful, the One Who loves us unconditionally…the One Who desires to encourage each one of us!

There is SO MUCH that is good and joyful and righteous and blessed and a blessing  to think about!  When we set our thoughts on THESE things, we will be encouraged!

Finally, brothers,
whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

It is our’s and our’s alone…a constant choice we have to work towards being encouraged!  We are not alone in this!  We have each other…we have the Scriptures…we have Jesus…we have the Holy Spirit…and we have God Almighty!  We CAN do this!  We can become encouraged and live with joy and rejoicing!  So…

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4, 6and7

 *   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *  

My prayer and desire for each of us:

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…
but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:23-25

 

Esther – Chapter 9:4-5

Esther 9:4-5

For Mordecai was great in the king’s palace, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces; for this man Mordecai became increasingly prominent. Thus the Jews defeated all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, with slaughter and destruction, and did what they pleased with those who hated them.

Life can feel like a battle sometimes.  Well, honestly, life CAN be a battle most of the time. Some days the battles waged are more intense than others, but, they are battles none-the-less. Some days the battle is to get the kids up and out the door on time; some days the battle is the foreclosure notice in the mail.  Sometimes the battle is in the workplace, or in the doctor’s office. Life can be a battle. The story of Esther is a battle in itself—from start to finish.

The days when the battle is intense, it can feel like we don’t have anything to protect us.  We know Christ is there, and we know He is in our corner…but what do we have to defend us is tangible and that we can reach for when temptation, doubt, fear, anger, are staring us in the face and taunting us.

One of the most assuring feelings is knowing that we do have something to reach for…that we have a weapon at our disposal stronger than any battle we may face.  We have Christ and His written Word.

1 John 4:4

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because

He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

 The sword.

“Thus the Jews defeated all their enemies with the stroke of the sword…” (Esther 9:5)

What is this sword?  No, we’re not expected to carry around a huge piece of metal on our waist, but we are expected to carry around a different sword in our heart, the Sword of the Spirit—the Bible—our instruction book.  This is our defense and our protection.

 Ephesians 6:14-17

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

This is a wonderful gift, a wonderful tool, and a wonderful source of protection.  Like Darlene encourages us to do, we should look at the many ways in which the Word of God can protect us.  It protects us not only from the outside world but from ourselves.  For example, when I’m tempted to complain, I know where to go (Philippians 2:14), when I’m tempted to worry, I know where to go (Matthew 6:25-27), and there are so many more verses I know I can go to when I need a sword.  But it takes effort on my part.   It takes study. and it takes me immersing myself in the Scripture so it is on my heart and mind when I need it.

The last question Darlene asks of us is to look inside and examine our study habits: do we read the Bible often?  Do we study it as we’re called to do?  This is not a condemning question but an opportunity for growth.  I know that this is an area than I need to work on, (and am so thankful for how technology can help with this goal).  When you get a chance, think about how you can grow in this area, how you can strengthen the Word inside of you.

*****

Let’s Pray:

Lord, we breathe a sigh of relief when we can reach inside and pull from Your Word, when You bring a Scripture to mind that will help us in the situation we’re in.  Lord, time isn’t something that we have a lot of, but please touch our hearts and remind us how important it is to strengthen our Sword.  And thank You for giving us this tool, for giving us the Sword.  In Jesus’ name we pray.

Amen.

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Changing Your Heart from Critical to Caring

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Dear Coach Megan,

God has really been working in my heart lately and, whether I like it or not, He has shown me that I have a really critical spirit with the people closest to me. I don’t like it and I want to do my part to change, but I’m not sure where to begin. Can you help?

~ DJ

Dearest DJ…

In my experience, anyone with a critical spirit is an expert at finding fault and focusing on it! Bless you for not only admitting this, but being willing to let God in and work on your precious heart to make an impact {in a good way} on all the lives you touch!  I pray that this blog post will be a blessing to you and your family, and I would love to hear how God fills your heart with His supernatural caring!

A critical spirit does not reflect the heart of the wise, nor does it reflect the heart of God.  Jesus said, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man  brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him”  {Matthew 12:34-35}.

A critical spirit is an excessively negative attitude with harshness in judging.  A person with a critical spirit gives unfair criticism by fault-finding, nit-picking, carping, quibbling, and complaining.  The Bible is clear about those who are judgmental:

Romans 14:10

You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister?  Or why do you treat them with contempt?
For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.

On the flip side… a caring spirit is a thoughtful, attentive attitude with a heart to help.  One of the most important needs we all have is for someone to care about us; someone to be attentive to our dreams and disappointments, our joys and sorrows, our successes and failures, our strengths and weaknesses, our vices and virtues.  How blessed we are when we have caring people in our lives!  Those who have a caring spirit reflect the heart of our caring Savior.

Nahum 1:7

 The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him

How to change your heart from critical to caring:

Identify your shortcomings {Psalms 139:23-24}

  • Humble your heart to see your own sin, your imperfections, and your immense need for God’s mercy.
  • Help others see their significance in God’s eyes.
  • Pray: “Lord, may I see my sin as You see it…may I hate my sin as You hate it.”

Practice compassion for others {Colossians 3:12}

  • Look closely at the life of Christ to learn His compassionate way of confronting the truth.
  • Pray that you will not be a critical stone thrower, but a compassionate need-meeter.

Draw out the heartfelt needs of others {Proverbs 20:5}

  • Don’t listen to only what people say on the surface. Listen for the needs and feelings beneath the surface… feelings of being unloved or feeling insignificant or insecure.
  • Pray that God will give you a discerning spirit as you seek to draw others out.

Offer acceptance to others {Romans 15:7}

  • Realize that everyone has an innate fear of rejection and a deep yearning for acceptance.
  • Choose to be a channel through which God extends His acceptance to others.

See the God-given worth in others {Luke 12:6-7}

  • Treat every person, especially the one most problematic to you, as someone with God-given worth.  The truth judges our hearts, attitudes, and actions towards others.
  • Pray that the Lord will not allow you to despise anyone whom He created and loves.

Praise the positives in others {Philippians 4:8}

  • Avoid the temptation to try to catch people doing something wrong.  Instead, comment on what they are doing right.
  • Pray that you will see something positive in every person, then faithfully make that your focus.
  • Pray that you would see others as God sees them and value them as He values them.

Refuse to wound others with words {Colossians 3:16}

  • Consider the fallacy of the saying “talk is cheap.” Talk is costly when it tears others down. Prayerfully consider the possibility that what you are criticizing in someone may be something God wants to deal with directly, and that God may want you to pray and remain silent.
  • Before speaking words of criticism, ask a wise friend to evaluate the content and tone of your words.  Realize that after critical words are spoken, you can never take them back.
  • Inspire those who need to change by sharing with them your belief that they can change. Encourage them by saying “Don’t give up. Trust God to guide you in the way you should go. I know you can make the right decisions. I believe you can experience God’s best!”
  • Present your words to God as His instrument for good, and pray that He will put His words into your mouth.

See the unmet needs of others {Philippians 4:19}

  • Instead of judging the inappropriate actions of others, seek to understand the need behind each action.
  • Realize that people who speak forth cutting words reveal that they have unmet inner needs {for love, significance, or security.}
  • Realize that people don’t always mean what they say nor understand their own deepest needs.
  • Pray that your critics will allow the Lord to meet their deepest inner needs.

Rely on God’s Word and God’s Spirit for wisdom

  • Seek God’s wisdom by reading a chapter a day from the Book of Proverbs.
  • Write down every verse from Proverbs that pertains to the tongue.  Check your words against this list and see if you are being wise with what you say.
  • See God at work in every circumstance and trust Him for wisdom to know how to respond {wisdom is the ability to look at life from God’s point of view.}
  • Pray that God’s Spirit will teach you spiritual truths and lead you to speak these truths in love.

1 Corinthians 2:13

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom 
but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂 

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Breaking Strongholds (w/ free download)

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2 Corinthians 10:4 
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal,
but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.

Strongholds are birthed and dwell in deception (which are lies and false beliefs), so naturally the cure is to bring in the truth in God’s Word to defeat them once and for all.  You debunk the lies of the enemy with the truth that lies in the Word of God.

The Bible says that our weapons are mighty for the tearing down of strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.”)  What is our primary offensive weapon?  The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17, “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”)  Truth dispels deception and lies, and therefore the more truth you bring into a situation, the more the darkness must flee.  This is where it’s important to grow in God’s Word, is because it is your primary weapon for tearing down the strongholds of deception that the enemy has been feeding you.

If you are not currently spending time in God’s Word every single day, please vow to make this a habit right now.  THIS is how God will most often speak to you and how you will grow in your relationship with Him like never before.  Please make this intentional time with the Lord every single day…ink {not pencil} Him into your precious schedule!

In John 8:31-36, Jesus tells us that we can be held in bondage due to strongholds in our lives. And His solution was to, “…continue in my word… and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (verses 31-32).  Strongholds are torn down as we meditate on God’s Word.

To help you with this, I have a FREE download for you today filled with stronghold-breaking meditations to help you on this journey to break free once and for all!   Click on the link below to download to your computer.

Stronghold-breaking Meditation Scriptures

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: A Scripture Prayer on Decision Making

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I pray this is a blessing to you….

Proverbs 3:5-6

Lord, I trust in You with all my heart and I won’t rely on just what I understand.
In all my ways, I will rely on You, because You will direct me in the way I should go.

Psalm 32:8

Thank You for being willing to instruct me and teach me the right way to go… even to counsel me and watch over me.

Psalm 25:9

I humble my heart so that You will guide me and teach me Your way.

James 1:5

When I need wisdom, I will ask You for it. Thank You for not faulting me for asking, but rather wanting to make me wise.

Proverbs 16:9

Even when I plan my future, I’m so glad that You determine my steps.

Psalm 40:8

Oh God, I truly desire to do Your will.
Thank You for putting Your truth in my heart.

John 16:13

I yield myself to Your Spirit of Truth, who will guide me into all truth.

Matthew 6:10

I pray that whatever is Your perfect will for me in heaven will also be accomplished in my life here on earth.

1 Corinthians 10:31

And, Lord, may whatever I do be truly for Your glory… and Yours alone.

In Jesus’ name.  Amen.  <3

Click the link below for a free download of today’s prayer!

DailyPrayer

You will need Adobe Acrobat on your computer to open this PDF file. If you do not have this program on your computer, you can find a free download HERE.

Blessings,

Megan 🙂

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Praising God…Even in the Hard Times

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More and more it seems that suffering and hurt are prevalent everywhere we look.  Maybe you have recently lost your job or you are living with a chronic illness….  Maybe you are grieving a loss or have recently been handed a major disappointment.  If you are hurting right now while reading this, know that your tender, loving Father has His arms open and He is always ready to hold you if you just let Him.  Many people who are hurting today are cursing God and some believers have abandoned God.  They did not have Christ as their solid foundation.  It is so important to have a strong faith through the best of times so when the winds blow, we will not be moved.  Trials and hard times come for a reason and that is to grow closer to our Father.  So, how can we praise Him during the darkest hours?  Let us look at scripture for some clear examples.

Remembering Christ 

2 Timothy 2:8-9 says, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal.  But the word of God is not bound!”   Remembrance of Christ and His death at Golgotha needs to be the centerpiece through which we praise God in the hard times.  When we suffer, we can remember that He suffered, and His suffering gave us freedom!  This is one reason some leave the faith…they forgot what even brought them into God’s loving hand.  Praise be to God, our Almighty King, that gave us the final sacrifice to atone for our sins!

Trials and hard times come for a reason and that is to grow us ever closer to our Heavenly Father.

Prayer 

Every time we connect with God in prayer, we are praising Him because we are acknowledging our need to set our burdens on His strong shoulders.  Isaiah 25:4a says, “For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.”  These are things we can praise Him for while we are praying!  He takes care of His children!  Even in the darkest part of the storm, He is there as a stronghold to keep us standing against the crashing waves and raging winds.  A woman on her knees in prayer can stand before any tragedy.

Through Song

When you read Psalms, you can find so many verses about God’s children singing praise even in the midst of hard times.  David writes in Psalm 142:4b-7, “No one cares for my soul.  I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “you are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”  Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low!  Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me!  Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name!  The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me.”  This particular psalm was a written prayer, but it could just as well be sung.  So many songs today are written straight from the Psalms.  One particular song that has always touched my heart on this issue of hard times and suffering is “There Will be a Day” by Jeremy Camp.  This song always brings tears to my eyes as it offers so much hope!  What songs speak to your heart as you praise your Father?

Time in the Word 

Anything that we do as Christians that focuses our time on God brings Him glory and praise.  When we look to His word for healing and guidance, we again are telling God that we need Him and we praise Him for His sovereign nature in all circumstances.  In Hebrews 4:15-16 it says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  This is a passage of love that speaks to all who are hurting.  Jesus was tempted in every way so we can be completely firm in our belief in Him.  My fellow sisters, write these verses on your hearts.  We can have confidence in our Father in all circumstances.  Stay in the word!  It can heal the brokenhearted.

Fasting

Fasting is an outlet that provides a spiritual and physical reliance on God.  Fasting is not set on any particular facet.  Many people fast from food for an extended amount of time, but fasting really involves giving up anything that means a lot to you in order to spend time with God instead.  This is a precious way to praise Him!  When you fast you stop “me” and focus on Him.  He has sustained me every time I have fasted.  The spiritual bond always grows with fasting because God is feeding that bond as you rely on Him…and you are creating the space He so desperately needs to move!

Forgiveness 

Forgiveness always reflects praise on the Father.  We forgive out of obedience to Christ.  We forgive because it is always the right thing to do.  There is real spiritual maturity and growth when we can look at specific people who have wronged us personally and forgive them.  This is because sin always comes from the devil and not from the individuals themselves.  There is massive spiritual warfare fighting for us every day.  Satan’s legion of demons are always hunting.  It is our job as believers to always forgive those who trespass against us.  The true fault is always against the devil and his wicked schemes.  Even Christ on the cross asked His Father to forgive those crucifying Him (Luke 23:34).  May we all strive to be like that!  Praise be to our Sustainer in all circumstances!  The next time you are having trouble with another person, remember that your battle is NOT with them and it is not of the flesh….  Your battle is a spiritual one and your Mighty Creator is BIG enough to guide you and sustain you to forgive.

I would love to hear all about how YOU show God praise through the hard times!  Please leave me a comment below all about how He is your Sustainer and Redeemer!

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

Place the Bible in my Hands

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God’s Word is a precious gift.  If ever our Bibles become dusty due to lack of use, let’s cry out to God to forgive us.  Within its pages are God’s great messages and truths..stories of His love, hope, forgiveness, and His Presence as Lord and Savior unfold there.  From God’s Word you gain wisdom, knowledge, and insight into how God wants you to live.

With my Bible in my hands, I sat on my comfy couch and read all of Psalm 19 to soak up all God wanted me to gain from David’s words in this chapter.  David writes,

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.
Psalms 19:7-10

Let it be written and let it be proclaimed: God’s Word trumps ANYTHING that any mere man could ever say.  Why?  It is inspired by God, and it is this:

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

Never let dust gather there.  Open God’s Word!  Read it, absorb it, and live it!!!  It continues to be a precious gift, as it—through the power of the Holy Spirit—teaches, encourages, convicts, and reveals the plan of salvation through Jesus.  It will remain as truth for all times! 

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.
Isaiah 40:8

Contemplate:

Imagine you have to be on a deserted island by yourself for one year.  You are told you will have bread, water, and shelter.  But you have to make an important choice.
First option:  Each day you can have a cup of the best-tasting honey ever and gaze into a huge cave filled with bars of pure gold, which you can have at the end of the year. —OR–  Second option: You can have a Bible with you to read daily.

What do you choose?    Place the Bible in my hands!!!

*****

Dear Lord,  let us treasure Your Word!  Allow the Holy Spirit to penetrate its truths deep into our hearts so that our desire is to live it and, only by Your grace, bring You great glory in our lives.  Daily, we desperately need You!  Please may we all desire to read Your Word every day!!!  In Jesus’ Precious Name,  Amen.

“I AM” Chapter 7 – Day 2: Alpha and Omega

2Chron7_14_IAMAlpha and Omega

These are two very powerful words; they are strong and demand attention.
But for me these words also bring comfort.  Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega; the Beginning and the End. There is so much in between those two words, in between those two names.

Alpha (Friend. Redeemed. Forgiven. Free. Confident. Assured.) Omega

This is who I am in the great I AM.  This is who you are in the great I AM.
When I look at this title, and what the Alpha and Omega truly means, it reassures me that I will never be left alone.  Christ has been with me from my start and He will be with me through my finish. He will be with me when I need a friend; when I need redemption; when I need to be forgiven; when I am seeking freedom; when I need confidence and when I need assurance.

By having a relationship with Christ we can feel these things, we can develop a relationship in which we will always know our Beginning and we will always know our End. To quote Teresa from this book, “Jesus wants to be your best friend.” He wants us to have all of these things in abundance. He wants to be there in our Beginning and in our End.

 ____________________________

Let’s Pray:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for showing us our beginning and our end. Thank You for being there in our lives for both, and through all the in-between. Lord, You offer us friendship and redemption.  You offer us things we do not deserve; Your love always remains. Your gift of friendship always remains. Lord, help us to walk in the power of Your promises and in Your covering.  Most importantly, help us to be an example to others of what it means to be a friend of the I AM.  In Jesus’ name we pray.

Amen.

“I AM” Chapter 7 – Day 1: 7 “I AM’s” in Revelation

2Chron7_14_IAM

Revelation is more than just the end of the Bible.  It is more than the end of time, or the end of the world.  A revelation is a new realization of something you previously had not known or understood.  It could be revealing of a secret.  A revelation is definitely a gaining of knowledge you can use to apply to your life.

Here we are at the end.  The last week of our study.  The omegathe last.  There are seven more “I AM’s” for us to look at this week.  As we conclude our study together, we find that four of them use the term “Alpha and Omega”.  The word nerd in me had to look these up for us.  Let me show you a couple of things I have learned.  (Warning: This will be cheesy!)

  • The New Testament was written in Greek, the Old Testament in Hebrew (mainly).  Alpha and Omega are the first and the last letters in the Greek alphabet and signify the “beginning and the end” or eternity.    The Greek “alpha” was derived from the Hebrew “aleph.”  (Doing a Happy Dance!)  The Hebrew name for aleph sounds like “eleph” or ox.  An ox is a leader and leads the other letters in the alphabet.  (Get it?  The alpha – bet?)
  • Ox comes into play in our culture, too.  How many times have we signed a greeting card with oxoxox?  Did you know you were actually sending God’s love to that person?  These are Christian symbols introduced through the ages, based on the Bible and the Great I AM.  Don’t get me started on crossing your fingers….
  • The Hebrew word for truth – “emet” is made up of the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet.  This kind of consistency makes me dance with joy.  Our God is a God of order.  No matter what language or dialect you speak, His TRUTH will always be the same.  He is “I AM”.

From the Prophet Isaiah, “I AM the first and the last”  (Isaiah 44:6) to the Psalmist, “From everlasting to everlasting thou art God” (Psalms 90:2), to John, “I AM the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8), the message of the Bible DOES NOT CHANGE.

This “I AM” is important because Jesus is telling us He was before creation and will be after the end of time.  He is eternal.  When we see or hear Alpha and Omega (AΩ or ox) we are seeing the “I AM”.  Because of our relationship with Jesus (The Great I AM) we can claim the “Truth.” 

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
even when we were dead in our transgressions, made alive together with Christ
(by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him,
and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus
Ephesians 2:4-6

As a member of God’s family, seated in the heavenly places because of Jesus, we are in His KINGDOM.  A kingdom is where the king is.  The Kingdom is where the KING lives.  If you have received the gift of salvation offered by Jesus, you are in the Kingdom and the King lives in you.  Did you hear that?  The KING lives in YOU!!!  The Kingdom is not a far away land, it is here now.  If the King lives in you, the kingdom is hereon earth.  The kingdom is not broken down into small factions of fighters in their own corners doing their own thing.  We are ONE Church, ONE body of believers, living in the Kingdom of God RIGHT NOW!!!!  Let revival begin with us!

We have received a revelation over the last seven weeks.  Now, we have a responsibility to share the good news with others.  Listen to the prayer of our hearts as we declare our allegiance to the King of Kings.

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, King of Kings,

We praise You for the HOPE You have placed in our hearts as we have drawn closer to You.  We thank You for the great LOVE You have shown us that while we were yet sinners, You wanted us.  Lord, we want to let this fire burning within us to be seen by the world.  Heal our hearts and heal our lands so that we may serve You.  We ARE the ChurchSend us out to do Your work while we are here on earth.  We are YOUR church…One Body, unified for Your purpose.   Live in us.  Bring Your Kingdom now.  We are ready.  We love You, Lord.

AMEN

“I AM” Chapter 6 – Day 2: I AM…A Branch

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.  

Galatians 5:22-23

You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.   Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

 John 15:3-5

 

I am a branch; this is a title that I willingly accept in my life.

When I think of a branch the first thing that comes to mind is the extension of a tree; simple, right?  A branch is a part of something much bigger than itself but plays a very important role in the success of the tree as a whole.  A branch at any time may be full of fresh green leaves, fruit, flowers even, but at other times the branch may be bare.  It is still alive and still connected to the tree but it is in a season of waiting—a season of needing to be content until it is time to bear fruit again. There are also those times when a branch may be broken, when the gardener needs to reattach it to the tree in a way only he can…to allow the branch to become reconnected to the tree.

I love how the relationship between God and man is illustrated.  I love how He can take something as simple and beautiful as a tree and give us a visual concept that applies to our everyday life.

Like Teresa said in today’s reading, bearing fruit means more than winning souls to Christ (although that is a task we are assigned with).  Remember, being a branch means that we are an extension; we are to display the characteristics of Christ.

Love – Joy – Peace – Longsuffering – Kindness – 

Goodness – Faithfulness – Gentleness – Self-control

Displaying these characteristics is part of being a branch.  “We can only bear this fruit by the work of the Holy Spirit in our life.”

What is listed above is a lot of fruit—a lot of characteristics that we are commanded to display. This can be very intimidating.  Yes, I pray that I can display all of these fruits of the Spirit.  But I understand that I am a maturing Christian, I am a maturing woman.  There may be times when I don’t display any of them, and times where I only display one or two.

God’s grace reminds me that His love for me surpasses my lack of bearing all the fruit at once. His grace also reminds me that I may be called to bear different fruits in different circumstances.

God has already “pruned and purified us.”  He has already accepted us and appointed us. Ladies, let us daily remain in Christ so that we can bear His fruit and so we can be examples to others of the joy that comes from being branches of the I AM.

Don’t forget this week’s Memory Verse!

Eph2_10

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Let’s Pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us these fruits of the spirit.  Thank You for making plain what is expected of us.  Lord, please place on our hearts what fruit we need to display at what time.  Lord, remind us that we need to stay rooted in You, through prayer and through studying Your word in order to bear fruit.  In Jesus’ Name, we pray.

AMEN