Whatever is, and if There is any

“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable — if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise — dwell on these things.”  Philippians 4:8

This verse, right here, is extremely practical.  I will restate the obvious in order to make a point:

WHATEVER is true

WHATEVER is honorable

WHATEVER is just

WHATEVER is pure

WHATEVER is lovely

WHATEVER is commendable

IF THERE IS ANY moral excellence

IF THERE IS ANY praise

Whatever you can find concerning a difficult situation or a problematic person to be true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable and if there is any moral excellence or praise DWELL on those things.  Why?  Because these are the noble things, these are the things God sees as highly valuable.  If you can only see a fraction of honor choose to dwell on that fraction as opposed to the chunk that is dishonorable.  If you see only a fraction of lovely and a whole lot of ugly dwell on that tiny bit of lovely.  If there is ANYTHING you can give praise to, give it.

It may seem remarkably easy to notice the lousy attributes of a person or situation because those can seem to stand out like a spotlight on the darkest of nights but to look past the blaring elements and see the lovely takes an exceptional kind inner strength.  The kind of drive that comes from a life grounded in humility.  Another benefit of seeing the ‘whatever’ and ‘if there is any’ will not only assist you in taking note of the good in others, but it will help you tremendously when your circumstances seem bleak.

If I feel as though I have been mistreated or not valued by someone, it is easy for me to keep staring at the hurt which then causes me to spiral into negative thinking and disparaging thoughts.  If, however, I choose to LOOK for the ‘whatevers’ I can cling to those positive things.  While clutching these godly attributes, I can pray with a heart full of thanksgiving while clinging to the buoy of that one good thing while in the still, the current, or the avalanche.

The appeal is so vital that we can find another similar adage by turning back two chapters.  “If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal.” (Philippians 2:1-2)

Words matter to God.  In Genesis 1:2,  God did not curse the darkness when it covered the surface of the ocean, He merely said, “Let there be light.”  We do not have to be amazed by the audacity of the darkness we merely copy God.  In the face of darkness, He proclaimed light.  It is all about perspective.  When Paul and  Silas were in prison, bound by chains and suffering the sting of a beating they choose the attitude of worshipping God instead of railing about how servants of God should be receiving honor instead of shame.  The result of their viewpoint brought freedom, even though they had no idea it would. The abused simply chose to view their perspective through the lens of holiness as opposed to interpreting through the lens of human nature.

God tells us life and death are held in the power of the tongue.  Do you choose to curse the darkness that surrounds you or do you decide to speak God’s word in the midst of that darkness?  It is ENTIRELY about your perspective.  Do you prefer to see the ‘whatever’ and ‘if there is any’?  The outlook is yours to determine.  It certainly does not mean it will be easy or will not come without cost, but absolutely will mean life and death to you.

Thank you, Lord, for Your Word.  You are faithful, and You will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I am able, but with the temptation, You will also provide a way of escape so that I am able to bear it.  I choose Your perspective when I am in the midst of darkness.  I prefer Your viewpoint when I am tempted to despair.  You are my escape when darkness closes in.  I choose to praise You in the midst of darkness.  In the name of Jesus, I pray and believe, amen.

In His grace,

Amanda

Hearts Ablaze

“So they said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts ablaze within us while He was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?”  Luke 24:32

Greetings fellow sojourners!

What an emotional roller coaster ride it had been for the disciples of Jesus!   In the span of three days, they lost their teacher, dearest companion, and hope.  Their chief priest betrayed them, and Jesus was crucified.  To confuse things further it was reported that His body was missing and some angels told the women that He was actually alive!

We are not told why two disciples left the group on the morning of the Resurrection and set off to Emmaus.  As they were walking along the road, Jesus appeared to them. They were prevented from recognizing Him even as He walked along the path with them and spoke to them.  Jesus said to the two disciples, “How unwise and slow you are to believe in your hearts all that the prophets have spoken!  Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and enter into His glory?”  Jesus then proceeded, by beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, to interpret for them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.  (Luke 24:25-27)

It would seem to me that if someone had been a disciple of Jesus, as soon as He spoke the words about how slow they were to believe in their hearts all that the prophets had spoken and that the Messiah had to suffer these things to enter into His glory that their heads would have turned and their eyes popped because of the familiarity of the testimony.   After all, hadn’t they been under His teaching for some significant amount of time?  But that did not happen.  The unbelief in the disciple’s heart did not allow them to see the one thing that was the answer to all their questions.

If the disciples, who had known Jesus intimately, were unable to recognize His familiar pattern of speech or even His presence because they were undergoing one of their worst trials imaginable, could it be that when we suffer difficult trials, we also are at risk for unbelief?   Jesus could easily have laid out the entire resurrection story beforehand to the disciples so they could escape their feelings of fear and unbelief, but He didn’t.

It is probably safe to surmise that the disciple’s unawareness of the resurrection events was meant to prove their faith.  Can it then be right to conclude that as we face our trials, which seem to flow out of our favor, that our faith might be just the thing that needs the strengthening, or proving?  The disciples spent three years in-depth with The Word (John 1:14). How much focused time do you spend with the Word?  If we do not devote our energies with the Word so that it builds our faith (Romans 10:17), why would we think our confidence in trials would be more resolute than the discouraged disciples walking on the road with the ‘stranger?’

Unbelief is a thief disguised as a human strength and robs you of your belief.

When the Lord revived their eyes, they were able to see His presence clearly (v31).  They confirmed their faith to each other by saying, “Weren’t our hearts ablaze within us while He was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?”  Filled with faith, “at that very hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem” (v33) and to fellowship with the rest of the disciples.

Fellow sojourners, let’s ask the Lord to set our heart ablaze as we read His Word.  When the fiercest of trials come our way let’s not rely strictly on the witness of our senses but on the testimony of the Word.

In His grace,

Amanda

The Wisdom Psalm

The instruction of the LORD is perfect, renewing one’s life;

The testimony of the LORD is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise.

The precepts of the LORD are right, making the heart glad,

The command of the LORD is radiant, making the eyes light up.

The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever,

The ordinances of the LORD are reliable and altogether righteous.

They are more desirable than gold ~ than an abundance of pure gold; and sweeter than honey, which comes from the honeycomb.  In addition, Your servant is warned by them; there is great reward in keeping them.  Psalm 19:7-11

Greetings fellow sojourners!  A psalm is a sacred song or hymn used in worship so let’s worship the LORD in spirit and in truth as we look at what the LORD’s word does for our entire being.

C.S. Lewis wrote about this psalm, “I take this to be the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world.” (Reflections on the Psalms, pg. 63).  Let’s gaze at the beauty of the truths found in Psalm 19 as we see God’s disclosure of Himself and His purposes to mankind.

The revelation of God in these verses (v7-11) is given by the covenant God, whose name is LORD. The synonyms for God’s revelation as observed in the words, “instruction”, “testimony”, “precepts”, “commands”, “fear”, and “ordinances”  all indicate that God’s words bring enormous benefits to us in all-encompassing ways as it ‘renews our life’.  Lord, I desire to be in line with Your instruction.  Bring renewal to my life!

There are four benefits we receive when we embrace God’s revelation.  First, the renewal of life.  Renewal brings healing to the whole body by assuring forgiveness, receiving cleansing, and by giving life to the godly.  If you take a look at Psalm 80 you will discover the Psalmist says three times (v3, 7, 19) that when God unleashes his promises by his gracious redemptive acts, renewal comes. Second, God’s word is the source of wisdom to all who welcome it in every area of their life.  Third, the heart is glad (possesses joy).  We experience inner peace and tranquility when God is loved with our whole heart.  Fourth, the word of God makes our eyes light up.  Just like God has given the sun for light in creation (v4b-6) He has given His word for light in redemption.  Lord, I love that Your commands are so radiant they make my eyes light up!

Of all the striving man does to obtain “gold” in this life, this psalm is directing us towards God, the far better thing.  When we are committed to doing God’s will, we will call ourself the lofty title of His servant.

Prayer

Who perceives his unintentional sins? Cleanse me from my hidden faults. Moreover, keep Your servant from willful sins; do not let them rule over me. Then I will be innocent and cleansed from blatant rebellion. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:12-14)  Amen.

In His grace,

Amanda

A Continual Psalm Of Praise

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth.  Serve the Lord with gladness; come before his presence with singing.  Know that the Lord is God; it is he that has made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.  Give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endures through all generations.
 Psalm 100

Greetings fellow sojourners!

If you have the desire to memorize Scripture, please consider adding this one to your list!  I consider this psalm of praise one that should continually pound in our heart when we approach the Lord in prayer as well as reverberate as truth, powerfully edifying our mind throughout the entire day.

Let’s take a look.  Do the utterances which flow from your mouth indicate your joy in the Lord?  Approach the Lord with joy and forget about grumbling.  Enter His presence with a song in your heart!  Approach him KNOWING he is God.

When you work do you work as one who works for the Lord?  Consider approaching your commitments and duties as things you get to do as opposed to things you are obligated to do.

We understand He created us but do we comprehend that He is the one who has made us what we are today?   Let’s stop short when we desire to claim responsibility for our accomplishments knowing full well we would not have even had the opportunities if He had not ordained them. Praise God.

We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.  The Lord is the Shepherd and owns the pasture where His sheep were meant to graze/feed.  It is not intended that we graze/feed in any other pasture of this world.  We are HIS and are meant to feed off HIS pasture!  If you are noshing from the world’s pasture expect to produce worldly fruit.  Spiritual fruit grows from trees nourished only from the Shepherd’s pasture.

Thank you, Lord, that I am yours!  Thank you that I can come into your presence with a grateful heart and approach your throne of grace with praise!  You are good and your mercy is everlasting. Your truth endures through all generations.  Amen!

In His grace,

Amanda

What Thou Lovest, That Thou Dost Become

Jesus answered, “The light will be with you only a little longer. Walk while you have the light so that darkness doesn’t overtake you. The one who walks in darkness doesn’t know where he’s going.”  John 12:35

Greetings fellow sojourners!

This verse advises us that the one who walks in darkness doesn’t know where he is going.   Walking in darkness can lead you to feel as if you have no purpose and will cause you to walk around not knowing where you are going because you feel lost.  However, if you walk in the light you have a purpose because you are doing the will of the Father and the illumination indicates you are not lost.

There is an interesting account of two disciples who left Jerusalem and began walking on the road to Emmaus after women had reported to them what they had seen and heard at Jesus’ tomb.  The “words seemed like nonsense to them, and they did not believe the women.” (Luke 24:11)  The two disciples walked away from Jerusalem feeling discouraged as they discussed and argued about all that had taken place.  Jesus Himself appeared to them while they were walking and began talking with them but they were prevented from recognizing Him.  It was only after Jesus broke bread with them that their eyes were opened and they were able to recognize Him.

Immediately upon their revelation, “they got up and returned to Jerusalem. They found the  Eleven and those with them gathered together who said, “The Lord has certainly been raised, and has appeared to Simon!” (Luke 24:33-34)

It was when the disciple’s faith had returned to them that they then turned from where they had previously been walking and in full faith returned to Jerusalem and back to the eleven disciples to fellowship together with them in truth.  Anytime our faith is strengthened we should also strengthen the faith of those around us by the truth that we know.

Be exhorted to believe in the Light because it is in the believing that we actually see.  Unless you and I put our confidence in Christ and know Him by reading His Word as He IS the Word (John 1:14), we will have no adequate knowledge of Him and therefore no clear vision of Him in order that we might walk in the Light.  Please, exhort yourself daily to read your Bible.

When the Light is rejected, expect the densest darkness to be close behind.   The one who has the light but does not trust in it will put around himself a thick cloud of obscurity and gloom which seems impenetrable.   But even in the obscurity and gloom, we must have some kind of light!  2 Corinthians 11:14 tell us that the enemy masquerades as light.   If we have rejected the true light then we will grab hold of any light to provide our answers ~ even if it is demonic!  Since Satan poses as an angel of light – the things presented to us will appeal to us and appear as if it is good and makes sense.  Satan is the father of lies.  There is NO truth in him, only a masquerade.

Prayer:  I trust you Jesus and I open my heart to You knowing you will come in and illuminate my path.  I repent (change my mind) of trusting in worldly devices and schemes.  I know sin is an enemy and removes me from fellowship with You and other believers.  I choose you, Lord.  Help me to change as it is what I truly desire.  In the name, power, and authority of Jesus Christ, amen.

In His grace,

Amanda

The Lord Our Champion

“Why are you fearful, you of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was a great calm.”  Matthew 8:26

The disciples were awake, Jesus was asleep, and the sudden violent storm produced waves which not only threatened to sink the boat but also threatened to sink the disciple’s faith.

At times of crisis do we have such confidence in God’s love for us that we are seen as the reliable ones, standing on His firm foundation and offering faithful prayers?  Or do we become the ones who can only offer panic prayers as if we do not even know God?  How we respond in crisis indicates the allegiance of our heart.  It does not honor the Lord to offer the sort of prayer which indicates our God just might be asleep.  And if not asleep, He is at best unaware and at worst unconcerned about our current crisis.

Psalm 121
The Lord Our Protector

I lift my eyes toward the mountains.
Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
your Protector will not slumber.
Indeed, the Protector of Israel
does not slumber or sleep.
The Lord protects you;
the Lord is a shelter right by your side.,
The sun will not strike you by day
or the moon by night.
The Lord will protect you from all harm;
He will protect your life.
The Lord will protect your coming and going
both now and forever.

Let’s honor the Lord by offering non-hesitant, bold prayers and proclamations which indicate we know He is completely able to deliver us from every single predicament in which we find ourselves.  Let’s pray as if we know Him!!  We praise you Lord with full faith and assurance knowing you are King of Kings and Lord of Lord!  There is no one like you!

The next time you feel compelled to wonder where your help comes from, whether your God slumbers and is unaware, or if He is concerned about your life, build yourself up in your most holy faith and proclaim to yourself His wonderful works.  Remind yourself He is the God that spins the planets, ushers in the seasons and gives the ocean’s their boundary line.  He alone secures our protection at all times.  He is your undisputed Champion.  Thank you, Lord.

In His grace,

Amanda

Spiritual Singing Evokes Joy AND Hastens The Enemy’s Retreat

Greetings fellow sojourners!

Let’s take a look at two verses that share a striking resemblance to each other.  The first account is found in the Old Testament.

Then he (Jehoshaphat) consulted with the people and appointed some to sing for the Lord and some to praise the splendor of His holiness. When they went out in front of the armed forces, they kept singing: Give thanks to the Lord, for His faithful love endures forever. The moment they began their shouts and praises, the Lord set an ambush against the Ammonites, Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir who came to fight against Judah, and they were defeated.                   2 Chronicles 20:21-22

The second account is from the New Testament.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains came loose. Acts 16:25-26

The spiritual song of God’s people throws the enemies of God into defeat, retreat, and confusion.

The victory is indeed the Lord’s but the means by which it came in these two examples is by singing.  I personally think it is virtually impossible to authentically sing spiritual songs of worship void of joy.  Authentic singing cannot happen without joy.  We may be able to give voice to lyrics but singing is something altogether different.  And by the way, you are making agreements with the father of lies when you say you cannot sing.  It is true not everyone is able to perform, but we ALL are capable of singing.

In both of the scriptural examples above, spiritual warfare was involved.  Exhort yourself and those in your sphere of influence to not ignore singing in either spiritual worship or spiritual warfare.  The verse in 2 Chronicles illustrates for us that the moment the choir began praising, the Lord set the ambush on their enemies.   The verse in Acts demonstrates that Paul and Silas’ singing initiated God’s earthquake which produced their freedom.  Praying certainly required their stamina but what prompted the singing?  Joy must exist in order to sing authentic praises to God.  Even though they were beaten and even though they lacked physical comfort…they sang.  Remarkable.  That singing, friend, pushed back the darkness and moved the hand of God.

The fullness of the Holy Spirit will, among other things, cause the heart to sing (Ephesians 5:18-19).  God’s Spirit in us equips us with the power to be victorious in our battle against Satan.  If the fullness of the Spirit is experienced as a heart filled with song, then one of the ways we fight Satan will be with singing.

Never forget that the ministry of singing is warfare.  Individual singing or corporate singing is not merely a pleasurable experience or something we do because it is part of the program.   I vividly recall the time the Lord allowed me to witness the enemy’s retreat as the result of singing.  The church was gathered and it was one of those times when it seemed the entire body was fully engaged in worship.  I saw spiritual darkness in an upper corner of the room and as it came closer it appeared to grow in size.  The voices of God’s people were singing with bold assurance and I noticed the effect of the singing was pushing the darkness back.  A few seconds later it completely vanished.

Song also powerfully effects your heart and mind.  Be careful what mainstream songs you are singing along with.  Are you singing songs that are agreeing in some way with the sin in your heart?

Below are some choruses to worship songs (you may also have some) you can sing on your own when the battle gets fierce.  Sing during your devotions, in your prayers, or during the routine of your day as it will bring a new power to your fight of faith.  As we have seen in three examples, the enemy loses when up against the singing of God’s saints.  Find your voice fellow sojourners to speak God’s word and worship in song with all your heart.

10,000 Reasons

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before, O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

How Great Is Our God

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God

Blessed Be Your Name

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed Assurance

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine;
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood

There’s Power In The Blood

There is power, power, wonder working power
In the blood of the Lamb
There is power, power, wonder working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb

What a Beautiful Name It Is

What a beautiful Name it is
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
What a beautiful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

In His grace,
Amanda

The Christian Life MUST Bear Evidence of God’s Power

“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”  Romans 12:2

Greetings fellow sojourners!

My friends and I have discussed numerous times the importance of being transformed by the renewing of our mind but what about the significance of the beginning portion of this verse?  It states we ought not to be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world.  Consider the world as an indoctrination of procedures concerning thoughts and beliefs that contradict God and his Word.  John Stott calls such conforming, “cultural bondage.”  It includes how people view success, beauty, family, riches, power, and life in general.

The world’s indoctrinating procedural goal is to conform everyone to the same image/same thinking and draw people away from following God.  Christianity becomes a problem in a world that educates in pluralism and relativism because Christianity teaches absolutes.  What you consider reality, because of the way you choose to live, will be a true test of your salvation.  First John 2:15 says, “Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.”

So how does a Christ follower maintain the victory?  By daily battling.  Our mind is transformed by continually reflecting on and practicing Scripture, disciplining ourselves in godliness (1 Timothy 4:7), walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), relying on God’s power (2 Corinthians 12:9, Ephesians 1:19-20), as well as putting on His armor (Ephesians 6:10-18).

There should be an obvious, continual decrease of sin in our life.  The Spirit continually works to convict us of sin and helps us hate it so that we become overcomers.  As a Christian, we are expected to continually put sin to death in our lives.  I urge you to fully comprehend how the same power that resurrected Christ from the dead is what is at work in you and what will resurrect you from the deadness found in your sin.  Thank you, Lord, for allowing Your power to be at work in me when I choose to yield completely to You.  It will be by Your power and my obedient yielding that will allow me to walk in white clothes with You as the victor (Revelation 3:4-5).

In His grace,

Amanda

The Resourcefulness of Guilt

Jesus, frees those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death.  Hebrews 2:15

Adam said, “I heard You in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” (Genesis 3:10)  The word ‘hid’ means to withdraw.   The people whom God created to be in a relationship with Him committed sin in the Garden and the guilt from their sin urged them to withdraw from Him by hiding.  Has the guilt from your sin ever caused you to withdraw from God?  Their guilt also prompted them to sew fig leaves together to construct loincloths to ‘cover’ themselves.  The word loincloth means, ‘girdle, apron, and armor’.  It comes from a word meaning, “to gird on (as a belt, armor) — be able to put on, be afraid, appointed, restrain, on every side.” (Strongs)

I find the definition curious regarding the portion, ‘being afraid’.  I am sure we can imagine putting on a covering as a means of self-protection but can we also picture that self-protection driven by an element of fear? Did Adam and Eve ‘put on’ the loincloth because guilt’s resourcefulness also levied the toll of fear?  It created for them an apprehension regarding their relational, loving God who desired to walk with them in the Garden.  They had always been naked, yet they felt no prior guilt (Genesis 2:15).  Yet when God came to walk with them in the cool of the evening, following the meal of the prohibited fruit, sin caused them to become afraid (Genesis 3:7).

The Hebrews verse above which tells us that Jesus frees those held in slavery by the fear of death has me pondering.  I wonder if it is true that the ultimate reason we fear death is because we will be required to give God an account of our life.  If we have an unrepentant heart on any issue which causes us to ‘cover’ unconfessed sin by this world’s mechanisms, does that lead to a fear of death because we must account as to why we allowed our heart to not be completely repentant?

We call guilt a failure to do what we should have done.   The bad feelings that often accompany guilt we call a bad conscience.  As a noun, guilt is defined as ‘the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime.’  As a verb, guilt involves making ‘someone feel guilty, especially in order to induce them to do something.’ (dictionary.com)  I type this as loudly as I can, let us NO LONGER manipulate someone to do what we want them to do, manipulating with the tool of guilt.

When we are ‘guilty’ of wrongdoings we can examine it this way:

  1.  We are justly chargeable with a particular fault or error
  2.  We are conscious of or affected by a feeling or guilt

Here is how the Word addresses guilt.  Romans 3:23-24 tells us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”  The glory of the gospel is that the One before whom we are guilty has replaced our guilt with justification (number one) by redemption in Jesus.  We may have been justly charged with sin but in Christ Jesus, we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and redeemed from the fault or error!

When we are conscience-stricken (number two) we are feeling very bad or guilty because of something we have done.  God’s kindness towards us is intended to lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4) and repentance will remove our guilt.  Our conscience should be subordinate to the Word of God (1 John 3:20).  As Martin Luther once proclaimed, My conscience has been taken captive by the Word of God.

It is not a matter of coming up with a solution that this age deems will ease our conscience or that we hope will be true because it is not just a problem of how to feel better, but how to be right with God.  We will not endlessly ease our conscience with the resourcefulness of guilt by utilizing our tireless intellect, or by physical distractions, or by religious works.  Our conscience must be taken captive by the Word of God.

We must lead a repentant lifestyle and allow God full access to our mind and heart in order to deal with the issue of guilt.  Unchecked guilt will drive us to forfeit fullness in every area of our lives because of the sting of embarrassment, regret, and loss.  Our question is no longer why, why, why?? But our powerful proclamation, Come Lord Jesus!  Come into my past, present, and future.  I welcome you!

Thank you, Lord, that you alone remove our guilt.  The power of Christ in me proclaims I have no guilt in this life and will have no fear of death!  Thank you, Lord, that by removing my guilt I have a clean conscience (Hebrews 9:14, 10:22), peace with You (Isaiah 53:5, Romans 5:1, Colossians 1:19-20), access into Your presence (Romans 5:1-2, Ephesians 2:18), joy (Psalms 32:1-11, Romans 5:1-2), hope (Romans 5:1-2), a desire to worship You (Psalms 51:14-15), and a desire to serve You (Isaiah 6:6-8, John 21:15-20).  In the resounding name of JESUS, I proclaim these truths and say, Yes!

In His grace,

Amanda

Don’t Believe This World’s Press, You INDEED Have Dignity

“But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people! For among them are those who worm their way into households and capture idle women burdened down with sins, led along by a variety of passions, always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.”           2 Timothy 3:1-7

After a recent discussion in my household regarding whether or not there is a ranking of sin, I went back again to this long list of sins people in the last days will exhibit. I feel quite convinced we must take a look at the characteristics listed here, as well as other places in the Bible, and make every effort to understand what these behaviors look like so that we can expunge them from their existence in our lives.  The portion of our life spent unexamined will ultimately be the thread the enemy will attempt to use to snag and unravel us.  It is not that we analyze the splinter in someone else’s eye, pointing fingers and suggesting their radical change, but that we examine the plank in our own eye.

The warning that begins in verse six vexes me.  “For among them are those who worm their way into households and capture idle women burdened down with sins, led along by a variety of passions, always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.”   According to The Word Study Dictionary, the wording, ‘idle women’ is used contemptuously as, ‘a little woman; one who displays immaturity and a lack of dignity’.

We receive our dignity from God.  Just because someone chooses to not treat you with dignity does not mean you do not possess it!  No one takes it from you just because they choose to not recognize it in you.  Psalm 8 speaks of God’s glory and man’s dignity.  Verse five of that Psalm says, “You made him little less than God, and crowned him with glory and honor.”  We were created to have value, dignity, and honor.  Proverbs 31:25 says, “Strength and dignity are her clothing.”  We must recognize our dignity as members of the household of God.  If this belief resides in our heart it will be showcased through our behavior.

Satan began his work of temptation with Eve so why wouldn’t the demons follow his example?  The people described in the 2 Timothy verse ‘worm their way’ into households in a manner of a serpent.  They will attempt to sacrifice you for their unholy purposes, steal the promises of God, and destroy your great value in the Kingdom of God (John 10:10).  The entry point for the stronghold of these lies will begin with your thinking and whether or not you are making agreements with the enemy.

They choose to first ‘capture weak women’ and then use them to influence men in their household.  Ladies, we must be vigilant at our post and be evaluating ourselves daily in order to reveal what does not belong in a child of God and expunge it from our heart through the Lord’s remedy of repentance.

So how do these ‘people’ get power and influence over ‘weak women’?  We are told the women are laden with sin, led by various lusts.  Whatever it is that convinces us we can ease our conscience and continue to indulge and pardon our sin by methods other than repentance will hinder us from “being able to come to a knowledge of the truth.”  If we desire to come to a knowledge of the truth, the necessary conditions must be present in our inner life – the truth found in Jesus.  The sin laden heart is easily tempted to seek the quickest and easiest method of relief and will quickly turn to what is false.  Our incentive must be a search for The truth which is found IN Jesus Christ; otherwise, we will become prey when someone/something comes offering new wisdom.

Thank you, Lord that YOU take away not only my sin but all the guilt associated with my sin.  Help me lead a daily life of repentance and not be confused in any way by counterfeit wisdom.  In Jesus name, I pray, amen.

In His grace,

Amanda