DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Nine, Day Four

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Nine, Day Four

 

“LORD, Your faithful love reaches to heaven, Your faithfulness to the clouds.” Psalm 36:5 (HCSB)

 

As traumatic moments turn into dreadful days, or weeks, or longer—our hearts can grow very tired and weary. In such times, we can find ourselves wondering if prayer is really doing anything at all. In such times, we can be tempted just to “hold on” rather than actively pray for the Lord’s continued will for the situation. In it in such times, praise God for His Word, that we need to return our gaze back to the Holy Scriptures. Psalm 36:5 plainly states that the LORD’s faithful love extends to the heavens and His faithfulness to the clouds. Allow your aching heart to soak in these truths today. The LORD loves you and is able to bring about beauty from any situation; no matter how hopeless or beyond repair it may seem. Do not give up in praying—meditate on this verse today and write it down where you can reference it frequently. In the midst of the chaos, God is more faithful than any friend or family member could ever be (Proverbs 18:4). Reach out to Him in a vulnerable way today and ask for the strength to trust Him with this heartache and to use it for His eternal purpose. Your life or the life of one you love may be in harm’s way, but nothing can separate us from the faithful love of God (Romans 8:31-39). And as faith hits fire, our doctrine and our determination have the opportunity to become more solid as we press, further still, into the Holy Scriptures to guide us in our distresses (1 Peter 1:7).

 

Prayer For Today:

Lord, I feel the heat of the fire. Gosh, I hate this. I hate what it is doing to (name)___________. Help me to see this situation from Your eyes. Help me to see any good that could possibly be coming out of this mess. Lord, Your Word assures me that Your faithful love and faithfulness are endless. Impression Your love and presence upon my heart in a fresh and vibrant way today. I need You every second. I am sorry for turning to other means to numb the pain. Please forgive me for turning to screens, people and other things, rather than turning to You for help in this. I accept that You alone are faithful at all times and through each stage of this life. Help me to walk out the truth that I know. Please help (name)___________ to hold fast to You in the midst of this fire. You are worthy of all glory, honor and praise. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

The Saturated Fats of the Heart

Have you ever looked in the mirror while trying on new clothes and wondered, “Did that nasty comment make me look fat?” Or as swimsuit season is approaching, “Do these excuses make me look bloated?” Sound crazy? Allow me to explain. Excuses, grudges, nasty words and blame shifting could be described as high saturated fats of the heart. “Oh wow, can you even believe how ridiculous…” or “I wouldn’t have had to act that way, if…” or “I cannot be blamed in this because…”

 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)

 

Whether we realize it or not, excuses for not obeying God’s word is much like carrying extra weight. When we are unwilling to follow God’s lead, and rather, hold onto an excuse, grudge or shifting blame to justify our own actions—we gain weight, spiritually speaking.

 

Walk with me here. If we are unwilling to “pick up our cross” (Luke 9:23) and follow Christ, we will experience the same atrophy spiritually, as we do physically from not treating our body right. Our body is called the “temple of God” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). In the same way, the most sacred part of us would be our heart—the very essence of who we are. Thus, if we are not willing to obey God in the most inner parts of ourselves, it will show in every other part of our lives. From our spoken and written words to the friends we hang with and even the kind of guys we are willing to date. It all comes back to obedience to the Lord.

 

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

 

If we are willing to be obedient to the calling of God on our lives, even when it is inconvenient, or even down right annoying, we are honoring God—and keeping in good spiritual health (Acts 17:28)!

 

When we encounter stressful and unexpected circumstances, rather than grabbing a less than healthy snack option or calling a friend to vent, may we be women whom are willing to take our issues to the Lord and lay bare the ugliness of the circumstance before Him (Psalm 37:4-5, Psalm 62:8, Proverbs 3:5 & 1 Peter 5:7). May we be a generation of Christ followers who are willing to pray things out with the Lord on long walks or runs, even before we turn to others for advise. As we are more exposed to the world that the Lord created, we will be reminded that He works all things out in His creation for good (Job 12:10). Thus, we can be assured, simply by observing the natural world, that He will in fact do the same thing in our own stories; no matter how complicated the details may be (Romans 8:28).

 

Sometimes we all just need to hit “pause” on the world for a little while and regain our focus on what really matters. When I am stressed, I need to get alone with the Lord and hash things out. Through long drives or mountainside journaling sessions, I feel free to lay all things bare before the Lord; the good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes I am balling in anguish. Other times I am screaming in frustration. And sometimes still, I am worshipping and laughing so loud, I think creation itself may be joining along in celebration!

 

The point is, regardless of how you do it, make time to get honest before the Lord—just the two of you. When you do, you will experience a great weight lifted off of your shoulders as you give your circumstances to the Lord through honest communication (Psalm 68:19 & Isaiah 46:4). It is in those private moments with the Lord, that we can then realign our will to His. In doing this, we can lay our excuses down and shatter the blame shifting that may be holding us back from experiencing the spiritual fitness that God has for us. By letting go of the excuses that have been used to justify our behaviors and thought patterns, we are then able to experience life in abundance (Jon 3:17).

 

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 (NASB)

 

Jesus Christ promises us that He did not just want us to experience life—but to experience it in abundance (John 10:10)! So, when we find ourselves and others we love focusing on excuses or grumbling, let us check ourselves in love. Why? Simply put, our focus should not merely be on physical world and outward beauty, but on keeping our whole body (e.g. body, mind and spirit) in good health (Deuteronomy 6:5). How do we do this? By keeping close to God through prayer, reading God’s Word and plugging into a Bible study where real life can be shared with other like minded followers of Jesus Christ. With Christian sisters at your side, you all can cheer one another on to memorize encouraging scriptures to recall in hard times (Psalm 23:4, Jeremiah 29:11-13, Jeremiah 33:3, Philippians 4:13, 2 Corinthians 12:9, 1 John 4:9 & Revelation 12:11), work out together, go on missions projects together that bless the hearts of others and just share life together in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

Summer is just around the corner and we all begin to look in the mirror to see if we need to shed a few pounds. In the same way, may we consider if we also need to loose a few excuses, drop a few grudges, and detox our hearts and spirits from blame shifting and nasty words and pick up a little extra compassion, tenderness and responsiveness of heart. Let’s enjoy this approaching summer with a newfound spiritual fitness that is found in Jesus Christ alone (Psalm 27:14, Psalm 33:20, Psalm 62:1, Psalm 62:5 & Psalm 130:5)!

 

“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Ezekiel 36:26 (NLT)

To All The Mamas and Papas Who DARE To Raise This Next Generation for Jesus Christ: This One Is For You

To the mamas and the papas who dare to raise this next generation as the Lord Jesus Christ commands us to, this one goes out to you.

In a time in history where the children of our own country are not valued, but rather mass celebration in government as well as neon pink display on the side of the World Trade Center at the declaration of legislation to allow the death of children seconds post-womb, may you be encouraged that you are a champion of life.

Late-term abortion is not a matter of a “woman’s choice”—to what–commit murder? It’s a matter of removing God so far out of the equation that we deny even the preservation of our own kind–humanity–and loose sight of the beautiful fact that each breathing human both inside and outside of the womb is fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139:14).

” 14I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14 (NASB)

 

Christian parents, it’s time to get involved and teach our children what is right…and not wait for the media or even “scientists”–regardless of what letters may or may not be behind their names–to define when life begins…or more to the pointat what point a life has worth…Praise God that the Bible is very clear on this issue. ALL pagan religions of the time of Abraham practiced murder of their own children as sacrifices to their gods–and this is why when God asked Abraham to give up Isaac as a burnt offering (his only legitimate son), Abraham was thrown for a major loop. Yet, in obedience, Abraham intended to go through with the murder of his own son…but God stopped his hand and his son was spared (Genesis 22:1-19).

Why does that matter and why should you care? Well, simply put, God was testing Abraham…did he love God more than even the gift of legitimate lineage through his son Isaac…his actions and God’s later praise showed that Abraham chose correctly…fear God above the reproach of humanity (Matthew 10:26-33) and through the lineage of Abraham we meet another man, the God-Man, Jesus Christ by name, who would fulfill the covenant of Genesis 12:1-3.

26“Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27“What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. 28“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.30“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31“So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

      32“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33“But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 10:26-33 (NASB)

 

The Abrahamic Covenant we just spoke of:

” 1Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to a land which I will show you;

 2And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; 
         

3And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

Genesis 12:1-3 (NASB)

Abram (later known as Abraham) was promised a people (descendants), a land and that through his lineage would come one–The One–who would be a blessing to all people All people of all nations would be blessed through Abraham’s seed…through confessing our own screws up and believing that Jesus Christ is in fact the one and only Son of God and raised from the dead to redeem any and all who would put all their faith, trust and belief in Him (Romans 10:9-10).

 

If you have had an abortion—KNOW YOU ARE LOVED.

If you are considering an abortion–KNOW YOU ARE LOVED.

But, may you also remember, the one inside your womb–is ALSO LOVED by the God who made you both.

There is forgiveness of such acts…for God sees all rebellion against His holiness on an equal playing field—and the price of all types of sin is death, but the free offer of eternal life is through Jesus Christ the Risen Messiah (Romans 6:23).

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (NASB)

Thus, if you are on the fence about making the choice to CHAMPION LIFE or chop up a baby human, may I encourage you in the strongest and warmest of ways, SIDE WITH GOD and CHAMPION LIFE. 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NASB)

 

 

VLOG: Christian Apologetics in light of Islam (part 2 of 5)

The Holy Spirit has laid it upon my heart to share of conversations over the past near decade with dear friends from the Islamic faith regarding Christian doctrine. In this five part series, we will explore why Jesus had to die, if there is really only one God, which apostles should we follow, what the Christian church believes regarding other creeds and how does one decide what is right and what is ultimately wrong. May the Lord Jesus Christ be glorified and draw hearts to Himself for He alone is worthy.