Word of the Day

I can Hear

Isaiah 50: 5

The Lord God has opened my ear.

Do you know that you stand in the shoes of Jesus? That is what it means to be in him and in him is our goal and calling. This is the New Covenant. What does this have to do with today’s verse? You have been positioned to hear the voice of God exactly as Jesus did. Jesus didn’t speak or perform on his own initiative. Everything he did and said was at the direction of the Father. He heard God speaking to him and followed the Father’s instructions. This is the plan for us too! “But I cannot hear Him speak,” you say. I beg to differ. God has opened your ears as He did Jesus’.

Jesus went further. He said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me,” (John 10: 27). So, you can hear him. And that is the end of the debate. Jesus says you can hear him, so you can. He knows of what he speaks. The question, then, becomes why are we not following his voice as he said his sheep do? Why are we unaware of our ability to hear him?

When I had my law practice I learned something about this. Often, I would take a vacation to the mountains for a week or two of quiet and solitude. I took my Bibles and books and settled in for some quiet time with God. I noticed, though, that it usually took me a couple of days before I began to hear anything or even receive anything in my spirit. My world was so full of stimulation and noise that it took a couple of days to settle myself. I think of Psalm 46: 10, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” The King James Version reads, “Be still, and know that I am God.” My world was too chaotic, too full of being busy and on the go to ever hear God. I didn’t have the time in my regular day to slow down long enough to hear the Lord speak to my spirit. It took me several days of peace and quiet to be able to really be still in my spirit. I like how the God’s Word translation relates Psalm 46: 10. It says, “Let go of your concerns! Then you will know that I am God.” Most of us don’t let go of our “stuff” long enough to know Him as God. Even when we go to bed at night we still turn things over in our minds. During the day, the TV is on, people are talking to us, we’re working, etc. How much quiet time do you have just to ponder? People don’t think any more. They don’t have time. There is no sitting on the porch in a rocking chair just contemplating the world.

So, even though God has opened our ears, we rarely have space for Him to speak into. It takes a quiet, calm spirit to hear the Lord. He doesn’t yell, He whispers. He speaks into the stillness. I bet if all televisions and cell phones went on the blink for a month two things would happen; you would read a lot more and you would hear God’s voice. What if you made a decision that you and your family would have one hour of quiet time when no electrical or electronic device could be used. Do you think it would impact your life? You might talk with your spouse, your kids. You might even get to know them. Best of all, you might get to know your heavenly Father better too. What about thirty minutes? Will anyone take me up on thirty minutes? Twenty? Even if you only did one hour one day a week it would make a difference. Maybe you could do it two or three days a week.

I promise you – you can hear God, you can hear Jesus. You only need to give them an environment into which they can speak. If you will do that, you will hear them. Don’t forget to use your journaling skills too.

Tired and Weary

Galatians 6: 9

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

It is easy to get tired; tired of trying, tired of standing in faith, just plain old weary. How long am I supposed to stand anyway? Do you ever feel that way? Sure. We all do, but the Lord tells us not to give up. Don’t lose heart. If we will but stand, God promises that we will reap.

Have you been believing God for something for a long time? Maybe it has even been many years that you have stood on a promise of God without seeing your answer. Well, don’t faint. Don’t lose heart. There is still a harvest awaiting you. All we need to do is figure out how to appropriate that which God has already approved.

Truth be told, we do faint. We get tired of believing, praying and confessing and we give in. We don’t mean to but the next thing you know, we have let that goal or dream slip away a little bit. Believe it or not, that is fainting. We have to learn to be people of stone, rocks to our God. People who cannot be moved, who don’t grow faint. People who are firm and resolute. You might need to write out a one sentence or even one phrase statement of faith that you speak at least once a day. Make a recording on your phone and listen to it while you drive to work. Stir yourself up. Listen to Christian teachers who will inspire you daily.

Become firm, strong, resolute. Determine to stand strong until you receive that which you desire. Be stubborn, tenacious. If you really believe God has made you a promise, then don’t back off of it. The trouble is, we don’t really believe. We play at Christianity rather than live it. We aren’t living and believing it right down to our core. Mentally we understand what the Word promises but in our hearts, we harbor resistance, reluctance and even doubt. What do you truly believe? And what do you honestly think God will do with a devout believer? If you imagine a person who is determined in their faith, what do you think their outcome will be? Do you think God will honor their belief but in your own heart know that you are not that person? Do you doubt your own faith and belief? Sometimes it is worth questioning.

We have something to say in this however. We get to choose who we will be. It is up to us. Shall we become faithful believers? Do we dare commit ourselves to a life of passionate Christian faith? What does that mean and how would it manifest in our lives? Let’s rally ourselves as the chosen people of the Almighty. Let us join our faith together for you are stronger and I am stronger when we join hands. What if we started using this daily devotional as a place to encourage one another.

The Word of the Day is formatted in such a way that you can add your own post to it. Others can add to yours and we can reach around the world, literally, with our faith – hand in hand, faith to faith. If you encourage someone else, perhaps you will be encouraged. Maybe you can keep someone else from growing weary and fainting. We are all trying to stand as individuals and we are failing. That is not the way the Father created us. We need to encourage and support each other. Let us join hands today. Stand up tall, stand up proud. Renew your dreams. Revive your waning beliefs and desires. Put those prayers back on the alter and pour the oil of anointing over them and use the anointing and faith of others to breathe life back into them. Come on believers! Believe with me! Arise mighty church of the living God! Arise and believe and in your believing, receive all the greatness of our God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Anger, Worry Flee from Me

Psalm 37: 8

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret, it leads only to evildoing.

Here is the word of the Lord on worry and anger. It is pretty clear. It says don’t do it; don’t worry, don’t give in to anger. Now what part of that is difficult? Well, sometimes the hard part is in the execution of what God has directed us to do, rather than in the understanding. There is help in that though. First, God will never tell you to do something that He has not already empowered you to do. So, take some comfort there. Secondly, if He has told you to do it, then He will also help you. He never tells you something to do without making His resources available to you. You do not have to use will power to control your anger, you use His will power. Pray for His help and then let Him help you.

And as for worry, nothing good comes of it. Put worry away and don’t let it control your life any longer. Don’t waste your time and energy. Ask for help daily if need be and determine that you are not going to be a worrier. Anytime you feel yourself slipping, call on God to rescue you.

Lastly, God tells us that abiding in worry or anger leads to evil deeds. Worry and anger are ungodly thoughts and ungodly thoughts lead to ungodly acts. It is that simple. That is not to say that you will never feel anger nor be plagued by worry. It means that you must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ Jesus. When those thoughts assail you counter them with the Word of God. You can hang them on this verse from today. You say, “Worry, I declare Psalm 37: 8 to you and command you to be gone in the name of Jesus.” The worry, anxiety, fear or anger must, and will, flee. Beware, though, for it can come back within moments. When it does, you just speak these words again. Say, “Worry, I told you to be gone. Psalm 37 tells me that I am not the prisoner of you. Now leave.” Just keep at it until the worry, fear or anger is convinced that you mean what you say. Those negative feelings and thoughts have to obey the Word of God. Be free of those chains of fear, anger and worry. Be free in Jesus’ name.

Rest & Restore

My laptop is getting a much needed rest, so I might as well take a vacation while it recovers.  My trusty laptop, Heavenly Father and I have just completed our 2800th Word of the Day devotional.  I pray you are enjoying them and that they are bringing new life to your day and your life.

We will all return to our labor of love on September 19th.  Hold a spot for us in your morning.  You bring the coffee, we’ll bring the Word.

Until then, be abundantly blessed!

Labor Day

Happy Labor Day 

From

Ivey Ministries

May you enter into your Father’s rest and be blessed!

 

Discrimination

Galatians 3:28

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Boy, do we need to get a revelation of this! This is what I call tough love, which usually amounts to being told what we do not want to hear.

Most of us do not want to hear what we need to hear. We will even shy away from the people who are best able to guide us. It is hard to face ourselves at times. Better to hide from the truth than face those uncomfortable revelations. Well, this verse is one of those revelatory mirrors which reflects a face most of us would rather avoid. Discrimination within our ranks.

The early church leaders had a job on their hands reconciling the Jewish believers and the gentiles who were flocking to the message and person of Jesus. The Jews had lots of rules they wanted the new converts to adhere to. They definitely thought of themselves as superior to the gentiles. After all, they were the children of Abraham and those gentiles had probably never even heard of Abraham.

In this new covenant, this new dispensation, all kinds of people are treated as the beloved of God. Each person is recognized as an heir to the promises. See that this includes women. It also includes slaves and Greeks. Frankly, it includes everyone. God is not one to show partiality (Deuteronomy 10: 17, Acts 10: 34). It is easy to read this passage as told to someone else. We can sit quietly by and watch them be rebuffed. However, let’s apply this to our world. What does it mean to us today?

We are all one in Christ. That means that Episcopalians and Methodists are meant to be brothers. Lutherans and Baptists are all one in Christ. And even Catholics. Yep. It is time we got off of our high horse and begin to love one another. Whose theology is perfect? Yours? Then why are we all called to continue learning and growing? The key words here are “in Christ.” That is where we are supposed to be. It is not a goal to be attained to be a good Baptist or a good Catholic. The goal is to be “in Christ” and to help others to be in Christ too. We are supposed to lead people into a relationship with Jesus. This is not a private club, as the Jews found out. And while we are about it. God still loves the Jews. Don’t think He doesn’t. He wants them to hear and embrace the good news about Jesus, who himself was a Jew.

God does not see all of these labels that we use to categorize people. He sees hearts. He doesn’t care what you call yourself or what others call you. He is attracted to all those who love Him with an honest, sincere heart. And just in case you wondered, I don’t care either. If you love Jesus, you are alright by me. That is this ministry’s official position, that we do not love according to labels. Your denominational affiliation is between you and God. I just want you in a church that teaches you the Word and supports you. I hope you are in a church which understands today’s scripture and is doing all it can to eradicate denominational prejudice. And for that matter, that includes every other type of discrimination. All people are welcome in the house of God and in this ministry. Come all who are weary and heavy laden. Jesus wants to wrap himself around you and give you his rest. Enter into his rest. Enter into his love, regardless of your label. Check your label at the door and just be free in Christ. God loves you! Those are the important words.

Selah

Psalm 32: 7 – 8       Amp

You are my hiding place; You, Lord, protect me from trouble;
You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance.
    Selah.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you [who are willing to learn] with My eye upon you.

This is a good time to learn about the word “Selah” because it impacts the understanding of this psalm. One of the primary ideas about this word is that it indicates a pause. We find this word mostly in the Psalms so one might ask if it represents a musical interlude or just a pause in the lyric or instrumentation. It turns out that it has more to do with ideas represented in the lyric than it does to the lyric or melody specifically. It calls the listener, or in our case, the reader, to pause and consider the immediately preceding lyric. Today’s psalm was written by David. When we hear or read “Selah” in the above passage, he wants us to stop and consider the meaning. He has just said something very important and he wants us to stop and be sure that we have taken in that important thought.

There is a second use of Selah. It is used as a bridge or a connector. It alerts the listener that the stanza which is about to follow is thematically tied to that which has just preceded. In other words, the psalmist wants us to hear the next passage with the former still in mind. So stop and hear what has been said with a mind to integrate it with what comes next.

In today’s scripture selection, David confesses his confidence to God. He is able to hide himself in God, receiving protection and deliverance from trouble. He says, also, God surrounds him with joyous songs and exuberant shouts. That isn’t the end though, because in the next stanza, God answers him.

In the combination of these two verses we see a great deal of their relationship. Not only does God protect David but you hear David’s confidence in that protection. David is the one who proclaims that he is protected from trouble. His trust in God is the unspoken refrain. Yahweh answers his confidence and trust with, “I will lead you. I will counsel you. I will be your mentor and will guard your way and keep my eye on you at all times.”

There is a relationship between these two verses and these two people. That is what we are supposed to see in this psalm and that is what the word Selah reveals to us. These are not two independent ideas but rather a revealing of the intermingling of their lives. This is a model of how our lives are meant to be. We also have a hiding place, we are hidden in Christ. We should have the same confidence is the three persons of the trinity as David sang of here. I am hidden in Christ and thus protected from the danger and trouble of the world. God is my helper, my right hand and my deliverer. God, for his part, will lead me and guide me in the way that I should go because I have hidden myself in Him. Selah!

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