January 22, 2018

He could have been more

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Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.”
And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other.
And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it.  So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life.
Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father.  He had judged Israel twenty years.

Judges 16:28-31

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If you went to Sunday School as a child, you have probably heard this story. Maybe even got to put the characters on the purple felt board.  I do remember thinking that it was tragic.  How could someone who said that they loved someone, hurt them and betray them?  Now that I have lived a few 24 hours since then…I see that it happens.  Do you wonder what we could possibly learn from this story?  God always has a lesson, right? And this story is no different….

There’s Samson: his birth was announced to his parents by the angel of God, just like Jesus and John the Baptist.  He was chosen and set apart for big things.  He would grow up strong and would defeat many.  But he had a weakness…women.  And he had a secret—he could never cut his hair.  God had big plans for him to begin saving the children of Israel but his love for the things of this world kept him from doing the will of God.

Then there is Delilah: she was in love with him but chose greed and power over her husband.  She asked him many times what his weaknesses were and he lied.  She got angry and threatened to leave until he finally told her the truth—that he can never cut his hair.  You can guess what happened next (if you don’t already know)…she sets him up for failure and has his head shaved. But God gives him one more chance to show his strength; and Samson grew his hair back once more.  At their wedding, he gets his revenge and kills all who are there by pushing the main pillars that hold the roof.  Over 1,000 died that night.

This world is so full of temptation and things that can take us so far from God and His will.  If we don’t stay so close to Him and constantly remain in the Word, we just might stray from Him.  This world is our temporary home. Heaven is our forever place!  When our eyes look at the things of this world, and we start to place value here on things like big houses and nice cars, we can lose our strength, too, and become weak.  But all we have to do is look up and we find grace.  God forgives us and gives us chance after chance.  He never gives up on us.

We all are sinners and we all fall short.  Instead of judging each other, let us pray for one another.  Let us love each other like Jesus has told us to.  That is the best way to show our love for Him.

What are you putting value in today?  I challenge you to really think about it. It is never too late…God is always waiting!

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Let us pray: Dear Father, thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your only Son to die in our place.  Thank You for forgiveness and grace.  Lord, I pray for those today who are hurting, and for those who desperately need provision, and for those who need healing.  You are the One Who can do all things.  Nothing is too hard for You.  Comfort Your children today, Lord.  Give them hope and let them feel Your arms around them today!  We praise You and worship You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

At The Cross (Love Ran Red)

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There’s a place where mercy reigns and never dies,
There’s a place where streams of grace flow deep and wide
Where all the love I’ve ever found
Comes like a flood
Comes flowing down

At the Cross
At the Cross
I surrender my life
I’m in awe of You
I’m in awe of You
Where Your love ran red
And my sin washed white
I owe all to You
I owe all to You, Jesus

There’s a place where sin and shame are powerless
Where my heart has peace with God and forgiveness
Where all the love I’ve ever found
Comes like a flood
Comes flowing down

Here my Hope is found
Here on holy ground
Here I bow down
Here arms open wide
Here You save my life
Here I bow down
Here I bow down

Written by Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jonas Myrin, Matt Armstrong, Matt Redman

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The center stage of our Christian faith is the Cross.  There our Savior, Jesus Christ, allowed Himself to be hanged on that torturous cross to bleed, suffocate, and die.  Why would anyone do such a thing? Because,

God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Sin and shame imprison everyone.  They bind us in chains that cannot be broken—but for God.  God in His mercy (His compassion) and grace (unmerited favor) loved(s) us, His creation, so much that He chose to make the perfect sacrifice for all people through the crucifixion of His Son, Jesus.  Jesus’ blood was more powerful than any sin or shame that we have ever endured or will ever endure.  Jesus shed His blood for each of us.  His blood dripping from that Cross was His love running red, flowing down into the very depths of our soul to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Here are just a few Scriptures that make it clear that we in our sins are powerless, but that the blood from God’s perfect sacrifice, Jesus His Son, is powerful enough to wash our ugly sins as white as snow.

All of us also lived among them (children of disobedience) at one time,
gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts.
Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
But because of His great love for us, God, Who is rich in mercy,
made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions
—it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:3-5

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.
And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous.
He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins.
For God presented Jesus as the Sacrifice for sin.
People are made right with God
when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood.
Romans 3:22-25

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”
Isaiah 1:18

The Royal blood of Jesus is more powerful than all our sins.  His “love ran red and my (our) sin washed white.”  There at the Cross sin is powerless.  There at the Cross is where love, forgiveness, hope, and peace are found.  When we personally accept Jesus’ great sacrificial love for ourselves, we are made right with God.  From that point on we can have a personal relationship with Him.  His Holy Spirit will dwell with us.  And we can be assured that we will spend eternity with God.

If you have not yet accepted God’s love for you, please take the time today to do this.  God gave His Son.  Jesus gave His blood.  What are you willing to give for such love?  I pray that you give Him your all.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
1 Peter 1:3

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Dear Jesus, thank You so much for allowing Yourself to be the Sacrifice, once and for all, to save us from our sins and shame.  We bow before You on holy ground with our arms open wide, because here at the Cross Your blood (love) ran red so our sins could be washed white. You have saved us.  Herein is our Hope.  Blessed be the Name of the Lord!  In Jesus’ Name we praise and worship our God of Love.  Amen, It is so!

 

CHRISTLife — Chapter 15: Knowing My Need

CLfridaygraphicBefore Christ, I was “spiritually dead, defiled, disobedient, and deceived.” I was “empty, enslaved, and self-willed.” Then at the age of six, I knelt at an altar of prayer, and those things were washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ. Yes, it’s true, I was all those ugly things. Psalm 51:5, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Romans 3:10, “As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one;” No matter at what age you got saved, I know you are saying with me, “Praise God, He saved me from all of that and so much more!”

However, I am still needy. How about you? In our flesh we are still prone toward “doing evil deeds” (Colossians 1:21, ESV). As humans we still have our limitations, and we still sin. So we must continually “acknowledge our deep need for God and cast away our self-centered pride.” God can only work in us when we admit that we are His child, and as a child we are dependent on Him to care for us and help us in our weaknesses. Romans 8:26, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.” Even though we have many wonderful qualities, we can’t take personal credit and think too highly of ourselves. Instead, we must see that it is not by our works but by His mercy that we do anything good.

He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.  He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
Titus 3:5 NLT

If we never had any needs—emotionally, physically, psychologically, or spiritually—we would never realize just how needy we are for God. He created us for Himself. Genesis 1:26, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness….’”

Adam and Eve spent time in God’s presence. But as I think about them, I’m not sure they truly understood their need for Him until they had sinned and realized they weren’t “presentable” anymore.

When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He (Adam) replied, “I heard You walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”
Genesis 3:8-10 NLT

After God told Adam and Eve how their sin would affect their lives from then on, He forgave them and, through the sacrifice of animals (Genesis 3:21), He provided for their need. Life wasn’t easy (verses 22-24), but the good news is that it kept them humble and in relationship with Him.

For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise His own people.
Psalm 69:33 ESV

He stands beside the needy, ready to save them.
Psalm 109:31 NLT

The more we study God’s Word and spend time with Him, the more we will recognize our shortcomings and our great need for Him to reign in our lives. We will find our help is in the Lord, as God tells us in Isaiah 41:17-20, “When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I, the Lord, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them.”

As pride is gotten under control, God doesn’t want us to think too lowly of ourselves either. David said (Psalm 40:17 NLT) that even though he was needy—God was thinking about him! Please meditate on this Scripture because it shows us just how significant we actually are to our Father God. He is thinking about you and me!

Yes, we are needy. I know I personally need more love, more patience, more self-control, more—you name it. As I grow in God’s Word, I will see how He is providing for me, protecting me, guiding and guarding me. I will see more clearly how much He loves me. How about you? Have you taken time to see your needs? Have you looked into God’s Word to see how much He wants to help you? Do you know today that God loves you, my friend, and He wants only His best for you? That’s His message to you right now. Our Lord is saying to you, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3).

May these Scriptures be your heart cry today:

The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the Lord.
The poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 29:19 NLT

Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to Your truth!
Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor You.
With all my heart I will praise You, O Lord my God.
I will give glory to Your name forever, for Your love for me is very great.
You have rescued me from the depths of death.
Psalms 86:11-13 NLT

Whom have I in Heaven but You? I desire You more than anything on earth.
Psalm 73:25 NLT

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Dear Lord and Savior of our souls, thank You for loving us beyond our comprehension. Thank You for loving us enough to save us. Thank You for continuing to show us Your love by revealing to us our areas of weakness so we will repent, be forgiven, and become more like You. We acknowledge our need for You. May we always hunger and thirst for You, Lord, for You promise to answer us and never abandon us. We love You, Lord. In Jesus’ Precious and Holy Name, Amen.

CHRISTLife – Ten: A Self-Opinion Too High

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Have you ever said to yourself, either verbally or mentally:

In light of a problem:   “I’ve got this. I can handle it by myself.

Or after an accomplishment:  “I did it myself with no help from anyone!

Those statements may indicate a self-opinion that is too high. The truth is we can’t—don’t—do anything without the help of God. He is our breath and life.

God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny!
Daniel 5:23 NLT

And He (God) is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything.
Rather, He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else…
For in Him we live and move and have our being.
Acts 17:25 and 28 NIV

The ‘puffed up’ attitude can become a habitual part of our lives. The way to counter a self-opinion that is too high is to compare ourselves with God as His Word describes Him, and us. The benefit to this for me (and hopefully for you) is that it reminds me (us) of how great God is and still how loving He is toward us. It is humbling to realize that:

All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of the Lord endures forever.
I Peter 1:24,25

Let’s look at just a few other Scriptures that will help us balance our self-image with His Truth:

I am — “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
James 4:14 ESV

God is  “from everlasting to everlasting You are God.”
Psalm 90:2

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I am accountable — “So then each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
Romans 14:12

God is — “…the great God, the great King above all gods.”
Psalm 95:3

God is our Creator; we are His creation. Do you see in just these few verses what a vast difference there is? We can’t be God, but that is the lie which an inflated self-opinion would lead us to believe, whether we are aware of it or not. (Remember Satan’s fall as told in Isaiah 14:12-15.) Instead the truth is that we need God. We need His guidance. Without Him, our life and our accomplishments don’t amount “to a hill of beans” (a trifling value).

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.
Galatians 6:7

Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.
Jeremiah 10:23

An inflated self-image is a dangerous trap. Look at some of the verses from the end of the chapter that point this out:

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18

The Lord Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty…they will be humbled.
Isaiah 2:12

‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’
Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
James 4:6,7 ESV

Hmmm, if I’m correct, that last Scripture (in James chapter 4) is saying that pride, arrogance, too-high a self-image are each sin that we should run from. Ouch! Okay I get it. This is not just some little hiccup in our personality. This is a sin, a wedge that will separate us from God. I want to get rid of that, how about you!? This next Scripture is our guide to help us correct our self-image to line up with God’s image of and plan for us:

Come near to God, and He will come near to you.
Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts…
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.
James 4:8-10

Praise God, He loves us enough to point out the areas we need to change, and then shows us exactly how to do it.

We are, after all, fallen and flawed. We are like the sheep in Isaiah 53:6, we “…have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way….” But the Good News is that God is the Giver of life! (Psalm 36:9, NCV). Jesus knows His sheep, and as we humble ourselves more and more to Him we hear and know His voice and we follow Him.

The One who enters by the gate is the Shepherd of the sheep…
and the sheep listen to His voice.
He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out…
and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.
John 10:2-4

So instead of being in the dangerous position of a self-opinion that is too high, and will surely cause us to wander “off the cliff of pride,” let’s humble ourselves before our God Almighty. Let’s continue to listen to His voice, to follow Him, and get rid of the high self-opinions He sees as sin. He is Our Good Shepherd who wants only the best for us, His sheep.

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Dear Lord God Almighty, we humble ourselves before You today. We ask You, Lord, to show us any sin of a “self-opinion too high.” Thank You for Your Word that not only reveals our sins, but also reveals Who You are, who we are in Your sight, and just how much You love us. We want to repent of pride today and receive Your forgiveness. We want to know Your voice and follow You because You are our Good Shepherd Who loves us and wants only the best for us, Your sheep. Thank You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Esther – Chapter 9:17-32

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Please join us for our next Online Bible Study!

“16-Day Love Challenge:

Matching our Words and Actions with

1 Corinthians 13:4-8″

by Cherie Zack and Rebecca LeCompte.

This study begins November 4th.  

Be sure to go to our Registration page for more details, and to sign up today!!

The Registration page can be found by clicking on this LINK.

We hope you will join us!!

As we read this lengthy section of Scripture, we see the final explanation of this time of salvation and rejoicing for the Jews. The Jews in the provinces killed their enemies on the 13th of Adar and rested on the 14th (Esther 9:17).  But the Jews in Shushan were given permission to stand against their enemies two days, 13th and 14th, and then rested on the 15th (verse 18).  On those days of resting from their enemies, there was a great celebration—gladness, feasting, and exchanging of gifts (verses 22-23).  Esther and Mordecai confirmed that this celebration would become a new holiday for the Jews called Purim (verses 29-30), named after the Pur (lot) that was cast for their destruction was turned on their enemies (verses 24-26).  It is still celebrated every year by faithful Jews.

Darlene Schacht includes a commonly accepted fact that Moses was circumcised on the 13th of Adar. “Circumcision represents the cutting away of the flesh and the putting off of a former life.” The Jews “cut down” their enemies on Adar the 13th.  God provides the way for us to have our old life “cut away” to cleanse us from all sin (Haman), and celebrate new life and freedom (Purim) in Christ.  Darlene and I ask, “Have you exchanged your sinful life for a new life? If not, you can make that decision right now by…asking God to forgive you for your sins and inviting Jesus into your life.”  Now is the time to put your faith in Him.

After the Jews cut down their enemies, they rested (Esther 9:22).  God gives us rest from our enemy, sin, when we allow Jesus to cleanse us and give us His gifts. He gives us:

…a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

Isaiah 61:3

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

This doesn’t mean that we won’t have trials and temptations.  It’s not a “sunny day at the beach ever-after.”  But, James 1:2-5 and 12, encourages us that we will want to “…persevere under trial because, having stood the test, that person (we) will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

Did you notice that it wasn’t Esther’s position as queen that set her people free from the sentence of death?  It was actually because of the king’s love for her and his generosity (grace) to her people that he provided a way to put them in “right-standing/righteousness” with him.  It was upon his word and his name (Esther 9:25) that Mordecai and Esther were given permission to write the new decree that made the way for the Jews to live and have rest.

The joyous truth of our salvation in Christ is that we are forgiven and are now in right-standing/righteousness with God.  It is not based on our own merit, our position, our own standard of right and wrong, or even on keeping every ‘jot or tittle’ of the old law.  There is no rest in those.  Isaiah 64:6 (KJV) tells us, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.”  Instead, it is based on His love and His grace.  In His righteousness there is rest.  There is freedom from condemnation, and a blessed assurance that we belong to God.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:1, 2

Esther knew that she would find her salvation only in her king, so she came to him in obedience and courageous submission.  When we realize that our salvation can only come from the power, love, and authority of the King of kings, Jesus, we too will want to live in obedience and courageous submission to Him.

This great story of love and salvation of Esther and the Jewish Nation was, and is, to be shared from generation to generation, and in every province (Esther 9:26-32).  The Great Love Story of our salvation given us through Christ Jesus is to be shared in every family from generation to generation and in every “province” until Christ returns for His Bride, the Church.  “…future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn—for He has done it” (Psalms 22:30-31). “The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the Water of Life” (Revelation 22:17).

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His Holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits—

But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children—with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts.

Psalms 103:1-2, 17-18

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Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for the rest we find in our salvation that comes only from You, not from our own merit.  Thank You for changing our mourning into joy and our despair into a garment of praise!  We praise You that the joyous truth of our salvation is evidenced in our right-standing before God, our Father.  Help us, O Lord, to live in the beauty of courageous submission to You, our King of kings.  Help us find creative ways to share Your Great Love Story with our families from generation to generation, and in every “province” until You return for Your Bride. In Jesus’ Name.

Amen.

Esther – Chapter 6:12-14

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Afterward Mordecai returned to the king’s gate.

Esther 6:12

How interesting that all that honor and fanfare didn’t seem to give Mordecai a big head.  He went back to his daily position and duties.  I believe he knew his true value came from his God, and not from men, and that’s all he needed.  What a difference humility and faith makes in a person’s life!

Then there was Haman.  Obviously, honor from the king fed his self-centered pride so it meant everything to him.  But the honor went to the “other guy!”  Esther 6:12b, “But Haman rushed home, with his head covered in grief,”  How frustrating, depressing, and embarrassing for Haman.  What could be more defeating than to have his plans for destruction completely reversed, and perhaps begin to fall on him!?

Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.

Proverbs 29:23

Esther 6:13 (NLT), “When Haman told his wife, Zeresh, and all his friends what had happened, his wise advisers and his wife said, ‘Since Mordecai–this man who has humiliated you—is of Jewish birth, you will never succeed in your plans against him. It will be fatal to continue opposing him.’”  In his arrogance, Haman expected some sympathy from his wife and his “wise” friends but instead they foretold of his demise.  They told him two things which turned out to be prophetic.

The first was based on a fact: “Mordecai is a Jew, and because of that fact your plan will fail.” They were implying that the Jews’ God was watching over them, and He was more powerful than any human plan.

I found this very intriguing.  Here was the Jewish Nation defeated in war, their cities destroyed, and the people taken captive to serve in foreign lands.  In spite of those facts, the citizens who lived around the Jews recognized that God was with them.  They saw the resilience, strength, and confidence of the Jews that could only be explained in reference to their worship of and their trust in their God.

This raised questions in my own mind: Do others see the evidence of resilience, strength, and confidence in my life that demonstrates my faith that God is taking care of me?  Do I live a life of humility so that my life points others to my God?

What “great“ friends these guys were, and they weren’t finished with Haman yet!  They barely took a breath when they hit him with the second prophetic statement: “You, personally, will be ruined!”

Without a chance to think that through, a knock came at the door and Haman was escorted, as was the custom, to the second of Queen Esther’s banquets.  I imagine in light of what his friends had just told him, he had many conflicting thoughts as he went.  Would this be his chance to make more “brownie points” with the king and queen and receive more honor, or was doom lurking in the very shadows of the queen’s banquet hall?

Our author, Darlene Schacht says, “This entire chapter has a strong focus on the dangers of pride and the blessings of humility. It is further exemplified here as Mordecai is exalted and Haman is cut down.”  We talked last week in chapter five about pride and humility, and Tonya talked about the dangers of pride on Tuesday.  Oh my, here we are again today.  Over the years I’ve heard Bible teachers say that if God’s Word repeats something more than once God must consider it important enough for us to stop and reflect on it.  (Okay, Lord, I’m listening!)

Humility:  Mordecai is our example of humility.  He was meek, having a quiet, gentle spirit. He was more concerned about others than he was for his own welfare.  True humility is more than an outward act of service.  It is also an attitude that comes from the heart. Colossians 3:12, “Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”

Pride: There are two kinds of pride.  We can take “pride” in a job well done; that is to be happy for the accomplishment.  We see the other kind of pride that the Bible refers to in Haman; pride in himself, giving himself all the credit.  Like humility, pride is an attitude of the heart.  We, too, can have this pride which convinces us to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to. This pride can be subtle. This pride is self-righteousness, not giving credit to God for the good in our lives and what we’ve accomplished, and that is sin.                 

I Corinthians 4:7, “For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?”

Darlene asks, “What are some of the ways you might protect your heart against pride?”  I’ll share a couple and then please add your thoughts as you share today:

  1. I remind myself regularly that any gifts and talents that I have, and the fruit of the Spirit, all come from God.
  2. I must recognize that whatever is good within me is only because of Jesus.
  3. Your turn!

I would like to use some of John Piper’s quote that Darlene shared with us as part of our prayer today.

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Let’s Pray:

Dear Lord, we are once again confronted with the sharp contrast between humility and pride, two very opposing forces in our own lives.  You want us to be clothed in humility, and to be alert to protect our heart against pride.  Holy Spirit, we can’t do this without You.  Please help us “to cultivate a joy in Christ, His wisdom, power, justice, and love that is more satisfying than the pleasures of human praise.  We pray that we will experience the miracle of self-forgetfulness in the admiration of Christ, and in love toward people.”  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Finding Forgiveness and Freedom from Guilt

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Dear Coach Megan,

I am really struggling with letting go of feelings of guilt I have had over things I did a long time ago. I am hoping that you can give me some direction on how to let go of this guilt that is keeping me locked up inside. I know God needs me free from this so that I can truly live free and forgiven for his glory. Thanks in advance for any guidance you can give! ~S.J.

Thank you so much for your questions, S.J!

I remember when my kids were little and they would fall and scrape their knee on the playground. They would come running towards me at full speed, tears in their eyes for me to kiss it and make them feel better. It always worked, every time….a big hug and lots of love always made the sting of a scrape feel that much better. A few moments later, they would run off again, to play in the sun without a care in the world. The same is true when we take our bruised and broken lives to God…. He forgives and forgets, and it ALWAYS works! AND…when we trust in Him, He takes away all the guilt.

Luke 5:20

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

Please, dear friend, do not stay stuck in the ditch of guilt! God has so much bigger and better plans for you that cannot be fulfilled to their fullest until you let yourself be FREE and transformed! I have some practical steps for you today that I pray will help you grow in Christlike maturity and bring all your guilt to our forgiving God for good! Grab a journal, print this out, and get ready to work through all the guilt that is holding you captive so you can finally be set free!

1. Find the source of your guilt

  • Examine why you feel guilty
  • Determine if your guilt is true or false
  • Use Scripture as the ONLY standard for determining true guilt

Psalm 51:6

Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

2. Own the responsibility for your sin

  • Agree with God that you are guilty of sinning
  • Ask God to reveal your personal sin patterns
  • Make restitution to those you have sinned against

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

3. Realize and believe that God means what He says
  • Thank God for the gift of His Son, who paid for your forgiveness
  • Thank God for His unending forgiveness, even if you don’t feel forgiven
  • Choose to believe what God says

Ephesians 1:7

 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

4. Stop and give up for good dwelling on the past

  • Give up holding on to past pain
  • Give up self-condemnation
  • Give up refusing to forgive others

Isaiah 43:18

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.

5. Invest time in renewing your mind

  • Memorize scriptures that reinforce God’s forgiveness
  • Remember that in Christ, you are a “new creation” {2 Corinthians 5:17}
  • Learn to see yourself as a valuable child of God

Ephesians 4:22-23

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self,
which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds;

6. Verify satan’s lies to God’s truth when satan accuses

  • Learn to discern the difference between the Holy Spirit’s voice and that of satan
  • Answer satan’s accusations with truth from Scripture
  • Verbalize a personal prayer receiving God’s forgiveness

Isaiah 54:17

“No weapon forged against you will prevail,
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.

7. Exchange your life for the life of Christ

  • Understand you cannot live the Christian life in your own strength
  • Allow Christ to transform you and live out His character through you
  • Continue to nurture the Holy Spirit’s presence through personal prayer and Bible study

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
The life I now live in the body,
I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

8. When you obey Him, God brings your feelings in line with the facts

  • Know that God is a God of second chances
  • Know that your feelings won’t change immediately
  • Know that feelings usually follow thinking

Psalm 32:1-2

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them 
and in whose spirit is no deceit.

Dear God,

We ask You to give us the discernment to know when we are feeling false guilt instead of true guilt. Please Lord, have Your Spirit convict us when we are headed the wrong way so that we will get on the right path and be in line with Your will. We also pray that we will always be sensitive to the convicting touch of the Holy Spirit’s hand. Thank You that we are forgiven and set free through the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross. We pray these things in Your holy name, amen <3

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

Love Letters From God

My story is made up of many love letters written from my heart to God’s heart and from His to mine.  I open up to Him with a pen in my hand and a journal in my lap.  The Lord speaks to me through my writings and I am beyond excited to share with you bits and pieces of different letters I have from God.  I share parts of my story so that God’s love, power, grace, forgiveness, and perfectness may be showcased.  As you read I pray the Lord grabs a hold of your heart and fills you with hope!

 

The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them, He delivers them from all their troubles. 

Psalm 34:17 

 

 

One night, one very dark, painful, terrified night I cried out to the Lord….

Dear God,

I am crying out to You right now for lack of any better ideas.  I do not know if You will hear me.  You are probably so mad at me and You probably do not want to talk to me ever again.  I know that I have made a mess of everything.  I know I should not go back to my sinful ways but I cannot stop.  I do not want to go back to the things that cause so much hurt and pain in my life.  Is there anything that will not cause me pain?  Is there anyone who will ever love me?  If my sorry is worth anything at all, I am sorry.  If my love is worth anything at all, I love You.  I am desperate, I am at a loss.

These feelings bottled up inside are toxic, Lord: I am being used, I am being taken advantage of, I do not have a voice in these trials or an open door to walk away.  I am miserable.  I am in pain.  I am choosing wrong over right and do not know how to stop.  I am going back to someone who is trying to kill me.  Please Lord, just DO IT FOR ME, I CANNOT DO IT.

That night, the Lord did it, He did it all! (I cry every time I remember that night and remember these words He spoke directly to my heart…)

Love Letters from God

Precious Daughter of Mine,

I not only hear your cry, but I feel the pain behind each and every one of your tears.  I am here; never will I leave you, NEVER WILL I FORSAKE YOU.  You are weak, but I am strong.  I will do it all for you.  My love is worth it all and I love you, Diane.  My forgiveness covers your sins.  You are forgiven, Diane.

I never stopped loving you; I will never stop loving you.  I will take all of the weight of your burdens in My hands, where they belong.  You are mine, and I will not let anyone harm you.  I will give you EVERYTHING you need to fight temptations.  I will open your eyes to the door that has been here all along, waiting for you to walk through out of your past and into My abundant future for you.

I am holding your heart.  I have been waiting patiently for you to give up so I could step in and give you My all.  Please, promise to always accept My love in every situation you encounter in your life.

*********

Dear Lord,

There are no words this side of Heaven to thank You enough for what You have done in my life.  You have turned my painful tears into happy ones.  You have saved me from a life of sin and have prepared the most abundant life for me to live out with You by my side always!  You have waited for me to turn to You. You healed my broken heart.  You fixed my mess.  You did it all and I am forever thankful.  I wish there was a word I could use to express this feeling of complete adoration I have for You—but every time, I come up empty.

I promise to love You with my words, with my actions, with my WHOLE LIFE.  Thank You for giving me the most beautiful love story with You; one my soul has been longing for ever since I was born.  My heart will continue to long for You until that glorious day when You will finally give me the words I have been searching for, all for You!

With Love,

Your Free Daughter

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1.  Have you ever cried to God out of complete desperation?  Did you believe He would hear you?  Are you scared to for fear that He will not care or hear you?  The Lord is waiting patiently to speak the words you need directly to YOUR HEART; will you let Him?
  2. The Lord wants you to give up so He can give you what you need.  Is there an area in your life where you are in desperate need of God’s healing touch?  Pray to God, letting Him into this area.  See what happens when you live constantly surrendered to God.  (Do not get discouraged if you have to continuously surrender…sometimes I have to give the same thing over to God many, many, many times a day!)
  3. One of my favorite verses is Galations 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free; stand firm then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  Memorize this verse and remember that God offers you His freedom so you can live out the life He has perfectly planned for you.  It is your choice and I pray you choose His freedom always!

Love and Prayers, my dear Sisters,

Diane

© Diane Meyers



If you are interested in sending a private email to Diane in regards to this blog, please email her at: Diane@girlfriendscoffeehour.com.

Resolution for Women: Forgiveness

The Lord has shown me that this week is going to be LIFE-CHANGING for some of you, as you reach out to Him and open your heart to what He has to say about forgiveness in this weeks lessons in The Resolution for Women.

I would like to share some statements about forgiveness from Priscilla, in this section of this book:

  • forgiveness of your sins is something that Christ suffered a terrifying death to give you.
  • the capacity to forgive yourself is personally impossible.  You can’t do it.  Nobody can.
  • the bible doesn’t tell us to forgive ourselves.
  • you know it’s the right thing to do, even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing.
  • a wounded heart cannot open up either to fully love or receive love.
  • forgiveness is a miracle.
  • only one power, one invisible force, one miracle can clear away the eroding illness that robs you of peace and love and the enjoyment of life.
  • only God can alter your pattern, quicken your step, expand your reach, and get you out of those circles
  • forgiveness is designed to rescue you, while bringing with it the added by-product of extending the impact of your grace toward those you love.

“Just as the Lord has forgiven you,

so you must also forgive.”

Colossians 3:13

Forgiveness is something that we must offer others, as He has so wonderfully, abundantly, and outlandishly poured it out on us.

__________________

Your Assignment Today:

On a piece of paper, draw a line down through the center, to make two columns.  On the left side, list the names of those you know you need to forgive.  On the right side, list the sins you personally have committed.  Take that list to Jesus.  Sit at His feet today.  Speak out each name that you have on your list, and each sin that is listed.  Ask the Lord to speak to Your heart about each one, and how you can release them to Him.  This may take you all week, but do this every day if you need to.  Add to the list each day, if needed.   But we are going to have a BURNING CEREMONY at the end of this week, and we are going to take that list and BURN IT at the foot of the cross, as a symbol of our forgiveness for each one, and HIS forgiveness toward our sins.

Let’s Pray:

Father, I lift each person who is reading this blog today.  I ask You Lord, as they read this chapter, and this blog, each day this week, that You bring them one step closer to freeing them through the act of forgiveness Lord.  Whether it’s an act of forgiveness toward another person, Lord, or through them asking You to forgive them for their own sins.  I pray that each persons heart will be prepared and ready to receive from You, Lord.  Reach down deep into their hearts.  HEAL their brokenness Lord.  HEAL the wounds  that have kept them in bondage all this time.  HEAL the pain they have carried for so long, Lord.

I pray for FREEDOM to come to each person this week, Lord.  I pray for the chains to be broken, that have held them captive for so long.  I pray for the prison doors to break forth, and each person to step out of that prison that has held them captive to unforgiveness, for so very long, Lord.

I pray for Your healing Lord to come forth.  I pray for Your anointing to flow over them, and cover them from the top of their heads to the soles of their feet, Lord!  Release them Lord!  Release them as they CHOOSE to forgive this week.  As they CHOOSE to make forgiveness a priority in their lives, Lord.  Forgive them, Lord, for the sins that they themselves have committed, also.

I thank You now, Lord, for the work You are doing in each heart.  I thank You for the healing You are bringing forth this week.  I thank You in advance for the lives that YOU are changing this week, In Your Precious Name, AMEN!!!

______________________

Now, it’s time to go back to our Facebook OBS Group, and see what Megan has in store for us this week.  This week is YOUR week!  If you do not belong to one of our Facebook OBS Groups, and would like to, please email us at GirlfriendsCoffeeHour@gmail.com, and we’ll be happy to add you!

I will be lifting you in prayer this week.  I KNOW God is going to set YOU FREE!  Expect that from Him, as you read each lesson in this weeks study!

Be Blessed & Be a Blessing to Someone Else Today,