Doing Right

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“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.”
-Isaiah 1:16-17

Word of the Day

In view of the recent happenings, the Charleston Nine Shooting, the Orlando Shooting and the Charlotte Shooting, many are left with a dull, aching pain which stimulates the heart to weep. As a society, for years we have been in a place of trying to reconcile how and why these things are happening in our society, but I believe these events aren’t new. Once you take a step back and think about the word of God, it is clear that “nothing is new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  In Isaiah’s day, the Lord had grown weary of his people pretending for Him. They were literally going through the rituals of worship and sacrifice without sincerity of heart. Sometimes we may find ourselves speaking for God, serving his people, and praying to him without truly surrendering to Him for ourselves. Each time we refuse to confess our sins and repent we develop an easier will to disobey. Before we know it, we will have traveled a great distance from the Lord and become less sensitive to Holy Spirit’s leading. God’s remedy is for us to make things right with Him.

We have so many privileges under our covenant of grace. First, we are instructed to “wash ourselves, make ourselves clean”. We wash ourselves by asking the Lord to show us ourselves (Psalm 139:23) and then be willing to accept what He shows us. In essence, we must desire to know what is lurking within our hearts and minds. It can become easy to ignore our sins because willful sinning creates a powerful sense of shame and justification. The shame can cause us to hide from ourselves and the justification is found in our reasoning of why. We have been commissioned to live our lives by faith (Romans 1:17), knowing there is nothing we can do to make ourselves right. Faith in God and what He has done through Christ enables us by Holy Spirit to choose His way over our own. Second, he says to “learn to do good”. This step is vital in making lasting change because it requires that we do more than say we’re sorry. The act of “learning” is fostered by the will. We must choose to act upon what we know is the right and acceptable will of God. The prophet Micah reminded Judah that God’s requirements had not changed, that he had already told them to “to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God” (6:8). The same holds true today, we must put into practice what we already know to do – no matter how it feels.

Prayer

Father, I thank You that Your love for me never fails, without it I would be hopeless. Today, I ask that You show me my heart, examine my mind and move on my will to walk in faith. I realize that I get into trouble when I start walking in my will rather than in faith. Holy Spirit help me to surrender to Your will and not my own. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Reflect & Journal

It may be that you struggle with negative thinking, have an addiction or filled with doubt and discouragement, know that God wants you to face it.
In what ways have you recognized that you are weak in faith?
Are you ready to change? If so, what are your first three steps?

Forward and New

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Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!                                               2 Corinthians 5:17

Word of the Day

Have you ever looked around and noticed that everybody seems to be moving forward and you feel stuck? Stuck with excess weight, stuck in a lifeless relationship, stuck in a dead-end job, stuck in a daily cycle of unfinished business! If you can relate, this is a word for you today. The Bible teaches that we are new creations when we come into the knowledge of Christ and accept Him as Lord. This simply means that we need to recognize and adjust our thinking, our behaviors and our tongues. We cover our heads with the helmet of salvation and we have the mind of Christ. So, what are we waiting for? Do we believe or not? Do we believe that God has given us all we need that pertains to our lives and godliness? If so, let’s think about our salvation benefits.  When we accepted Christ we were justified, freed from the penalty of sin. Colossians 1: 13 states, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love.” He has declared us righteous.  As we walk out our faith on a daily basis, we are being sanctified by the power of Holy Spirit, being able to overcome the power of sin in our lives. Paul explicitly told the Thessalonians (2:12) to walk out their salvation with fear and trembling, meaning this was something they were accountable to do. It requires that we are reverent, intentional, and dependent on Holy Spirit’s power within us. We know that it is God in us that gives us the ability and power to do pleasing work for His glory (Phil 2:13). ­­­So daily, we are being saved from the rule of sin. The third aspect of our salvation is the most exciting for me. I love to think about what eternity with the Lord is going to be like. With this in mind, we are anticipating that we will be like Christ forever (1John 3:2,3). Knowing this, we are encouraged to trust Him more. In that day we will be new again, but this time in perfection. ­­­

The truth is that we don’t have to wait to get to heaven for our lives to be made new. Newness begins each day. Each day we are blessed to be able to start over again, knowing that it’s another day the Lord has saved us for something.  As we anticipate the newness – the fresh start, the new direction – we must face the reality that God may not change what’s happening in our lives until we allow Him to change what is going on within us. As our decisions adjust to His leading, we will find that our words have to change. The Bible teaches that world we live in was created at the sound of spoken words (Hebrews 11:3), we have the power to build and destroy. Let’s build a new future beginning with today! Put the old stuff in its proper place – behind us and begin anew!

Prayer

Lord, we know that with time we all have a history, but You have a way of making all things new. Help me to take what I’ve learned from my past and use it to create a new future, one that is good, not evil. I submit myself to Your leading as you are the great orchestrator of my life, so have your way. Holy Spirit, enable me to push forward in You, knowing that I can do all things through Christ. I expect all things to become new as I walk with you today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Reflect & Journal

What is it that you desire to be behind you?

Describe your attachment to the dead things you still carry.

Identify at least two areas of your life that been to be changed or transformed.

Describe what you are willing to sacrifice in order to move forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Still

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Be still and know that I am God. –  Psalm 46:10

Word of the Day

As a child I can remember the elders around me telling us to “study to be quiet” whenever we would get too talkative. Sometimes fellow believers will ask me how to handle things and I have been led to tell them “just be quiet and listen to God” rather than encouraging them to continue rehearsing the issues. For those times, I have been grateful that many have come back delighted to tell me what God has spoken.

During seasons of my life the Lord has allowed and instructed me to go through periods of silence, in order to strengthen and sharpen my spiritual hearing. These times would be identified by a subtle pulling away from socializing, talking on the phone and entertainment. During those times of silence He has answered the questions that seemed so far away. He would reveal: The What. The Who. The Why. The When. The Where…and The How. God used those times of quietness to sharpen my discernment concerning the natural and spiritual truths surrounding my life and those around me. I learned that our God really wants us to know that He is present, fighting for us. People of God, like never before, we are in a time that demands we know God and what He is saying. Be still. Listen. He always has our best interest at heart. Today, I encourage you to be still and watch the Lord work in your life. This type of stillness can be the entrance to deeper places with Him, knowing He is already there.

Prayer

Lord God Almighty, help me to be still long enough to hear what you are saying concerning my life today. I am open to wait as long as it takes. I thank You that I can be confident in knowing that You are present in my life in Jesus name. Amen.

Reflect & Journal

Have you felt distant from God?
Are you having trouble connecting in worship and prayer?
When was the last time you remember Him speaking to you through the word, in prayer, through happenings? Did you understand the message for you?
What are you willing to move away from in order to hear from God during this season?