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Archive for August, 2007

“And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude],” Ephesians 4:23

Recently I have endured one trial after another, leaving me quite weary. The Lord is faithful though, He knows how my faith is depleted and has sent me wonderful messages and messengers to remind me of how important it is to keep my faith. Just because I get tired doesn’t mean that He does. He is the same yesterday and today, it is my feelings that vacillate.

I had been aware that I was just existing instead of living in Joy every day. To me when I am just existing and getting through each day, I am not living in Faith. When I am full of thoughts of great promise my Faith sings. I was waiting for this period of weariness to pass, and then I remembered that it was my choice to dwell on the trials or remember God’s promise. It was not dependent on how I feel, but rather how I renew my mind until I am back on the road where I belong. How many times has he led me through difficult times and rewarded me with His blessings at the end of such a chapter. Yet if I am not renewing my mind consistently I fall into the same trap of sadness, despair and hopelessness. These feelings stoke the fire that dries up my faith.

I listened to the audio book Extravagant Worship by Darlene Zschech, she speaks at great length of praising the Lord and thanking Him in Faith. Praising Him in our pain even before we see the purpose for the trial and the blessing.

I watched a sermon by Joyce Meyer, in it she said: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

I read my book Blessed Beyond Measure by Gloria Copeland, “If you will keep going with God, refusing to be drawn off by disobedience or unbelief, you will find yourself walking in your dreams. You will look around and see the goodness of God poured out in every area of your life. You will see His goodness everywhere you turn. You will be living out His plan, and enjoying His provision and dwelling in the place He prepared especially for you.”

I read in my devotional Streams In The Desert: “Blessed are those whose strength is in you…As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs.” Psalm 84:5-6

“When the shadows of night needed night, gather over the garden of our souls, when leaves close up and flowers no longer reflect any sunlight within their golden petals, and when we experience even the thickest darkness, we must remember that we will never be found wanting and that he comforting drops of heavenly dew fall only after the sun has set.”

I just couldn’t find my way back to Joy. Someone approached me recently and said let yourself go, what are you afraid of…Live life to it’s fullest. I felt ashamed because I am usually the one cheering others on in their walk of believing all things are possible.

I had a dream two days ago that I was beneath this field of golden flowers. I could hear joyful laughter of those that were walking in this field. I was attempting to climb to get to the field, but I could not. I could just peek into the golden field beyond my reach and hear the joyful laughter in the distance. The Lord walked up to me and asked “Why have you lost your faith now?” When I awoke from this dream I wept, selfishly I wanted to stay in that beautiful field with the Lord. I felt sad that He had asked me that question, even in my sleep I felt ashamed that I had lost my faith after so many lessons of blessings. Yesterday I had struggled yet one more day looking around me for my answer going through a trial. Then I found a poem that made me see that I was choosing to dwell on the gloom and not on the promise:

One Day At A Time

Just for one day I will promise
To see God’s love in all things,
In the calm, the joy, and the peaceful
In the burden, the pain and the sting.

I will look to His love in the moonlight
In the wave of each swaying branch,
In each breath, in each step, in each moment
I will pause to my Lord and give thanks.

Though the turbulent waters surround me
I’ll be still as a calm peaceful lake,
For if He is in charge of this temple
Then the outcome to all will be great.

So with my new mind I’ll sing praises
And release alleluia’s sincere,
For if God and I are this temple,
Then the outcome to all will be clear.

So do not sway for a moment
When dark clouds are somber and gray,
Just look to the sunshine beyond them
And just let the Lord have His way
.
Chris Zambernard

Suddenly it was all clear…I had forgotten the basic rule in maintaining Faith…I had forgotten to count my blessings. I had forgotten to Thank God for my trial and that I believed in Him and that He had a purpose for my suffering. I ran to get all my journals to read, reminding me of countless times like this when He had allowed me to go through a trial for His purpose. He had always blessed my life and shown me why He had allowed me to go through a particular trial. I had my answer, even though He has not revealed the purpose yet for this trial, He clarified what I must do to climb back to Faith. Back to the golden fields of the Lord’s promise, back to walking on the path of golden fields with the right mind believing in God’s promise.

A Recipe for Finding Faith

To remember the Blessings the Lord has given.
To Praise Him in the middle of a trial,
To Believe that the Lord has a reason for any suffering,
To Choose Faith instead of Doubt mindfully,
To Renew my mind with the Word of God.

I stopped today and for the first time since I had that dream, I no longer wished that I had remained there. I knew now that we can have that dream on earth. When we look at the gloom all around us and fall beneath the fields of gold we cannot be blessed with joy. We walk through golden fields of heaven and laugh in joyful song when we have Faith in Our Lord and Savior. It is in the renewing of our mind that we build up our faith. We must keep things in perspective and focus more on the good, renewing our mind with the Word of God.

I remembered the verse from Romans chapter 10 verse 17:
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

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I gave my life to Jesus Christ twenty-five years ago. During my walk with the Lord I have studied the Bible, listened to sermons, discovered beautiful worship music and read many books. I truly found my best direction many times from my devotional. I started with Hearing God, by Lory Basham Jones and then added Streams In The Desert, by L.B. Cowman, and Springs In The Valley by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman which helped me daily to receive a message from God. To this day I read these three devotionals and I have added even more devotionals to my morning devotional time.

What I love about a devotional is that there is a daily message for that specific day of the month that you are reading, I can’t tell you how many times it fits absolutely perfectly with my circumstances. There is scripture and scripture references, which taught me how to study the Bible on a daily basis. When I discovered the devotional, I learned how others applied God’s word to their every day lives. In my first devotional Hearing God, I read every day what guidance the Holy Spirit was giving Lori Basham Jones. I also learned from that book how she would ask God in plain English, no flowering fancy prayer, to guide her. She begins with scripture, moves on to ask God about her circumstance and then includes how God directs her path. Through reading this little book, which is tattered and missing the spine now, I learned how to recognize God’s voice.

Streams of the Desert is truly amazing to me. Day after day, year after year I read the daily message and it never ceases to amaze me how the writing is so close to my circumstance. That little treasure is full of so many messages from people like us just taking life one day at a time. It is my favorite gift to share with others and give as a gift. This book has comforted me so many times in the middle of difficult times, and has taught me how to react to my circumstances.

My most recent additions to my devotional library are Starting Your Day Right By Joyce Meyer and Choosing Life, One Day At A Time by Dodie Osteen, and this divine little treasure Meeting God in Quiet Places, The Cotswold Parables by F. LaGard Smith, illustrated by Glenda Rae.

F. LaGard Smith has written a whole series of Meeting God in Quiet Places. My favorite is in the Cotswolds, in it he refers to everyday things and how he sees God’s parables all around him. He leads you through his words down the beautiful places in the Cotswolds and describes in detail how he sees God’s parables. It is the loveliest little book, and it has inspired me tremendously. Not only do I feel like I am walking through the Cotswolds, but F. LaGard Smith narrates how God’s parables are still alive all around us today. Max Lucado wrote the Foreward and it he writes:

“LaGard has invited us to walk with him through the countryside of England. But as you walk you will see much more than bunnies and sheep. You will see truths of Scripture come alive and the promise of God renewed with each sunrise.”

Today I own many devotionals and I still am learning to see God in the details of everyday life. My devotionals were the inspiration for this blog. I thought I would love to introduce others to the world of these little guide books called devotionals. I decided to write in my own devotional for you, how the Holy Spirit has and continues to teach, comfort, lead and strengthen me, as I walk the path following Jesus Christ. I wanted to write a devotional that would hopefully touch your heart the way that my library of friends has touched mine.

I believe I owe everything to my Savior. I hope my writings bless you and inspire you to never grow weary of following our Lord.

We all have the abililty to encourage one another just as Paul did thousands of years ago from a jail cell through his letters. Whether you are a new believer, a seeker, or feeling lost our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ will lead you. When I was first saved I was lost how to read God’s Word, where to begin and how to read the Word. My devotionals were my introduction how to understand scripture, and how to apply it to my circumstance.

I believe one of my favorite scriptures is in Jeremiah, chapter twenty-nine, verse eleven:

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

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    My life has become a scrapbook of layered dimension of the Lord’s Word.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13

As I sat at my computer, I listened to the hymns on my computer, singing of the Lord’s faithfulness. A music window remained on my screen. “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” played in the background, as I brought to the screen a Bible website. As I started to complete the Bible Study homework, I brought to the screen another window for a Bible dictionary, and yet another screen that helped me to copy and paste into my document all the important notes to help me understand the book of Ruth. The screen resembled a scrapbook.

It was so amazing to me, as I looked at the table filled with my Bible, books and resources to help me know the Lord even better. Tonight I attend beautiful Evening Joy with a group of women that are so special. Each one brings to the table a view that enhances and teaches me about the Lord. Stories will be told around the table that will edify how He works in their lives. Questions will be discussed amongst seekers and answers will be given by the elders.

As I layered the screen with all the Windows of The Word, I could not help but reflect on The Lord’s provisions. Just like the layered windows on the screen in front of me, the years of studying and seeking the Lord has added more depth to my understanding of the Word and has abundantly blessed my daily life. My life has become a scrapbook of layered dimension of the Lord’s Word.

The Book of Ruth parallels the love story of how I found Jesus Christ. He is my redeemer and I am now a kindred (of like mind) soul to the brotherhood that follows Jesus Christ. “Sing to Jesus He is our Redeemer” plays in the background and my heart is made full. Self has become transparent once again as I bathe in the presence of the Holy Spirit. I owe everything to my beautiful Savior. He has given me hope and continues to give me a future. I now know after so many trials in my life, that He does listen to me and He will answer my prayers. I no longer have to think about seeking Jesus, He is in my thoughts all day long. My heart knows my Savior’s voice. When He calls me to prayer, I obey. When I ask to sit with Him in counsel, He is always there. If it weren’t for the trials in my life I would never have developed the faith I have today.

There is no longer any question, there is no longer the “Why is this happening”, there is only trust because my Father in heaven is always Faithful and just. I totally know the words of Jeremiah 29:11-13 as if it were written as a personal love letter to me:

Dear Beloved,

“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.”

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