February 22, 2018

Hold Fast

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Where can I go from Your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from Your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, You are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, You are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there Your hand will guide me,
    Your right hand will hold me fast.
Psalms 139:7-10

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Hold me fast.  Imagine God’s hand sticking firmly to us…no matter where we are, where we go or how far we run; once we are His, God will never leave our side.  And, my friend, this is how God intends all of His relationships to be.

In days of old, where you were born is where you typically stayed.  Perhaps you grew up in a small rural area, were educated there, and you were expected to go to work where your father worked or do the same things your mother did.  Kind of like Paul of Tarsus…Paul was born into the tribe of Benjamin.  The family’s trade was tentmaking so Paul would have to learn from his father, and he had the privilege of being chosen by Gamaliel, a famous rabbi, from whom Paul learned a great many things.

God had plans for Paul.  We may not see what our path is, but God does. Being trained by the best rabbi and becoming a Pharisee, Paul would know how to explain the plan of salvation in easy, simple terms, or be able to speak for hours defended why Jesus is the fulfillment of these scriptures. I mean, who else is God going to tell (as he did to Ananias):

But the Lord said to Ananias,
“Go! This man is my chosen instrument
to proclaim My name to the Gentiles and their kings
and to the people of Israel.
I will show him how much he must suffer for My name.”
Acts 9:15-16

Can we be used in this way?  Yes, we can.  All we have to be is willing subjects to go and preach the Word, teach where we can, and spread the good news to all people as God opens those doors.  Who will answer the call?  Pray, seek, learn…and God will use you for His purpose.

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Father, thank You for Your Word, inspired by the Holy Spirit to be written and shared by all who read and are blessed to understand.  For those who hear, let it enter their hearts to stay.  For those who do, laboring in your fields, planting, watering, and harvesting.  You give talents to each of us.  Let us use them to bring Your kingdom home.  Let Your kingdom come, Lord, let it come!  In Jesus’ name,  Amen!!

Take Joy

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Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.   Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Ever been accused of doing something you did not do?  It can be an occasion to become angry, confused, and desperate.  Jesus was foreshadowing how His life was going to play out.  Even though He knew the outcome of His life, He still chose to let others in on God’s basic plan.  God wanted His people, Israel to come back to Him.  From the time that Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, they have done nothing but whine and complain.

In the New Testament we have Christ’s example to follow in order to honor Him. We also have the Apostle Paul and John the Baptist as examples of how to live and not become discouraged. Jesus was tasked to show and tell others about His Father in Heaven, about how to get to Heaven, and how to grow in our faith.  Paul showed us through his perseverance during his journey across the Middle East that teaching others about God’s love was more important than his own safety and comfort. While Paul was beaten, whipped, stranded, jailed, and shipwrecked, he never lost his passion and drive to share with others. The zeal he had used to persecute the Christians was the same he used to tell others the good news!

John the Baptist is an example of sacrifice for his beliefs. God sent John to be a messenger for Jesus’ ministry.  John was raised with rules and a different purpose than most other kids.  Being taught Scripture by both parents, he was raised in a strict Nazarene lifestyle—set apart and different.  I am sure he was persecuted for the way he behaved and how he was different while he was young and definitely during his ministry. The Holy Spirit was with John while he preached the coming of the Messiah. He was able to discern the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and other religious leaders when they came to hear him speak.

We all know the outcome of each of their lives. What is more important is how they lived. The desire to serve God was so overwhelming they could not stop themselves. I pray that we, also, would receive a desire like their’s to share the Lord’s love with others as we live our lives.

Esther – Chapter 10:1-3

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This book closes with God reminding us to remember the secret of victory….

King Ahasuerus laid tribute on the land and on the coastlands of the sea. And all the acts of his power and might, and the full account of the high honor of Mordecai, to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of Chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? For Mordecai the Jew was next in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was great among the Jews and popular with the multitude of his brethren, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people.

Esther 10:1-3

This book began with the king as the important, prominent figure and it told the story of the display of his might and power.  But as we kept reading, we learned of a hidden cancer in that kingdom, eating away at, ready to destroy this power.  But the story takes a turn and the book ends with the king being prominent again…his power and might is on display…and we now realize there is power behind the throne.  That power is Mordecai and he is always subject to the will of the king, and he never forces the king to do anything against his will.

In your life, is this true for you?  Your will is supreme in the final decision of what takes place in the kingdom, but there is power behind the throne, and through the Will of the King.  The Holy Spirit works to bring power and peace to the kingdom.  Isn’t this a picture of the Spirit- filled life?  Isn’t this the open secret of every joyful Christian?  Our will is still dominant and we can still do wrong if we choose to, but we have learned a lesson.  We have learned that it is only through the yielding of our will in a continual sense of dependence on the One Who dwells within us, that there can be a manifestation of power and peace in our kingdom.  And when we learn to walk in dependence, we become under the authority of God, under His power—Who brings peace and joy and all that we long for into our own lives and those around us.

This is what makes a Christian believer able to fall time and time again, and pick ourselves up and start over again fresh and clean, unblemished.  God uses everything and makes it good, under any and all circumstances.  Romans 8:28 says, “All things work together for good to those who love God” no matter how bad or evil or difficult they appear at first.  This is why, to us who follow Jesus, our disappointments make us better not bitter.  Our heartaches are turned to joy. The hard circumstance of your life produce in you the choicest virtues, the very things you long to add to your character.  The weaker you feel, the more impact your life has on others.  You become sweeter, mellower, filled with inner beauty, driven to this by the very unpleasantness you go through.

This is the secret…this is the spirit-filled life—a human instrument counting on an indwelling of the Holy Spirit to meet every need.  All our weaknesses are made strong in Him.  And as we come to the Lord’s table, all the glory of the Spirit-filled life flows from this experience of the victory of our Lord upon the cross.  As we celebrate this awesome mystery, we see that it was in this manner that His life became our life and that our old life came to an end and our new life starts when we become Him!  We are joined to Him!  As Paul says, “We are crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ, lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

Let’s Pray:

Dear God, we cannot begin to comprehend these amazing truths, but we believe them. We know that they are true. We know there is deliverance in this truth. There is power in them and glory to You. Lord, we pray that Your Spirit will enlighten our understanding so that we will not ever walk in defeat but walk in the peace and joy, knowing that in our weakness, You are strongest. When we are weary, You are a place of rest. You are our Stronghold, our Deliverer. You are everything.

Thank You for bringing us through this study and for revealing so many truths to us. May we continue to stay on top of anger and resentment and repent of it immediately. We want to live with joy, freedom, and love. You are all those. Keep us humble and remind us always where our help comes from. In Jesus’ name.

Amen.

Captivating: Chapter 11 – “Warrior Princesses”

“And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews.  For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish.  Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Esther 4:13 and 14

I love the story of Esther, I have read it many times, and I have watched the adaptation of the story in the movie that Tommy Tenney made “One Night With the King” countless times.  The movie was created beautifully, from the choice of actress to the setup to the beauty pageant and, of course, the colorful wedding of Esther to the King.  As much as everything else is beautiful, it does not take away the purpose of why Esther was chosen by God to be Queen.  She was to fight for her people and deliver them from Haman’s vicious plot.  After seeking the face of God through prayer and fasting, Esther used the only weapon that was available to her—food.  She prepared a feast for the King and Haman.  After they had eaten, Esther told the King what Haman’s plot was: to wipe the entire Jewish nation from the face of the earth.  Well, Haman’s evil plans did not succeed because of the courageous act of this Warrior Queen Esther.

Esther is a true example of the Warrior that we all are.   Just like Esther, each one of us faces battles in our everyday lives.  They may not be as enormous as preserving the existence of a nation, but we cannot deny that they weigh us down, causing us grief and many sleepless nights.

As long as we are alive, we will be required to put on our armor and fight.  We may be called the “weaker sex” but we are not weak.  We are warriors too.  We are in the war zone the moment we wake up to the time we go to bed and the next day is no different.  Some of the battles may seem mundane but still they give us stress.  We battle with our looks when we glance in the mirror; we battle with comparison just as soon as we walk out the door; we look at how others are dressed and we wish our clothes fit the same way.

Then there are battles that we face that are relational, such as misunderstandings with our families that distress us.  The workplace is no different.  We don’t agree with our colleagues, our bosses take us for granted, and we are overworked and unappreciated.

Throughout the day we are bombarded with decisions that we need to make whether we are at home, work, or school.  What happens during our day can make us feel great about ourselves or depressed.

So much of what happens in our day attacks our minds more than any other part of our body.  We need to guard what goes through our minds more than anything else.  Once a thought comes in, we think about it some more, it develops and the more we think about it the more it takes root and then it becomes an action.

No WarriorIt is so important that when we wake up in the morning, we should prepare for the battle that is ahead of us.  No warrior goes to battle without ammunition.  In the same way, we cannot wake up and begin the day without putting on the armor of God.  Just like Esther had to pray and fast to meet with the King, we, too, ought to prepare for what’s ahead of us.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.   

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.    In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.    Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 

Ephesians 6:10-18

Prayer should be part of our lifestyle as Warrior Princesses; we need not wait for a situation to arise that is beyond us in order to invoke a prayerful attitude.  Just like a soldier takes instructions from his superiors, we too need to meet with our Maker to take instructions for our daily living.  Our enemy is real and he is not chained.  He is “…like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  If you are not dressed for battle then he will prey on your mind, body, and soul.

I pray that as we go through this chapter this week, we will be prepared to fight our daily battles knowing that we are more than conquerors.  Christ won the battle on the cross for us and we need not fear for THE BATTLE BELONGS TO THE LORD.  Face each day like a true Warrior Princess.  Not only are you beautiful, but you are also wise, cunning, strong, courageous, and victorious.

In closing let me leave you with thes words that Paul spoke to Timothy and permit me to change them to suit us Warrior Princesses.

“You then, my daughter, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.   Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.  Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.   The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.  Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this”   (2 Timothy 2:1-7).

Be Blessed

Jackie

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LET’S PRAY

Father, thank You so much for giving me Your armor so that I can wear it in readiness for the battles that I face each day.  I will face each day knowing that the battle is already won.  May I seek Your face so that I may not be unaware when trouble comes.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT

Read Ephesians 6:10-18 about the full armor of God.  Take time to know what each piece of armor means and literally practice putting it on.

Why would Paul tell us to put on the full armor of God?

 


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Click on the Girls with Swords book to the left, complete the registration process, and we will email you further details!  We hope you will join us for this amazing study!

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If you would like to send Jackie a private email in regards to this blog post, you may email her at:  Jackie@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com