Faith Messages to build your faith

Sunday, September 30, 2012

What’s the Plan?




 Mary Southerland  said, "I want to be successful – don’t you? And the awesome news is that God wants us to be successful as well.

When we know and seek God's perfect plan for our lives, we will find success. 

Our immeasurable value rests solely in the fact that God created us, that His stubborn love sets us apart and the amazing fact that He designed and empowers a unique plan for each one of us.

Yes, I know that plans are rampant in your life. 

God loves you and everyone else has a plan for your life, right? But the only plan that matters is the plan made for you by the One who formed you - the One who loves you, knows you and has set you apart to be His own. 

And it is a great plan!

1.Your life plan is customized. Psalm 139:16 "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!"

 You were born in response to the determined plan of God, not as an afterthought. 

Before you took even one breath, every day, every step and every circumstance in your plan was recorded. 

God's plan uses your strengths as well as your weaknesses.

We all have strengths - they are part of the plan. 

We all have limitations - they are also part of the plan. We all have seasons of life that are essential to the plan as well.

True success comes when, instead of constantly fighting against or trying to change the plan, we learn to identify and build on our strengths, accept the limitations as hedges of protection from God, and yield to the seasons in life as God's avenue of perfect timing. 

God's plan for you is not a 'one-size-fits all.' It is customized and just your size.

2. Your life plan is good. Jeremiah 29:11 “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.”

For some reason we tend to think that God sat down one day and designed a sinister life plan laced with pain and defeat. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

This train of thought contradicts the very nature of God and misunderstands His heart - the heart of a loving Father who wants the absolute highest and best plan for His child. It is a good plan!

3. Your life plan is guaranteed. 1 Thess. 5:24 "The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it."

 God always empowers what He calls us to do. With the plan comes every resource that we will need to accomplish that plan.

For many years, my life mission was really quite simple. I tried and often succeeded in filling every waking moment with activity

Oh, it was wonderful activity filled with good things - but they were not the best things or the highest things for my life.

I did many of those things in order to feel worthy and important, hoping they would bring my life into balance and under control. 

I hoped that doing good things would provide a purpose and plan for the restlessness in my soul. 

While sitting at the bottom of a deep, dark pit named 'Clinical Depression,' I discovered a truth that has redefined who I am and altered my soul perception of God. 

I now realize that the most powerful life flows from a clear life plan not to it!

How do we discover our life plan?

At first glance, that question may seem complicated and almost impossible to answer, but when we spend time with the Plan Maker, that question is easily answered as we step out in obedience to God. 

When we begin to saturate daily life with His truth and continually turn our hearts to conversation with God, His plan naturally unfolds as we take every 'next step' in obedience. 

Consider the following questions when praying about and asking God to reveal His plan for your life:
  •     What are your spiritual gifts?
  •     What are you passionate about?
  •     What are your natural abilities?
  •     What is your personality type?
  •     What are the spiritual markers in your life?
  •     What do others see in you?   
 After a two-year battle with clinical depression, I realized that I had lived a great deal of my life based on the wrong plan. 

I began to ask these questions, looking for the gifts He has given me instead of the ones I thought I should have or wanted to have.

I began to accept my limitations knowing that He had woven them into the seams of my journey for my good. 

I began yielding to the seasons of life, trusting Him to lead the way through this foreign land called life.

 Guess what? I looked around one day to find myself smack-dab in the middle of His life plan for me. It was suddenly so simple and amazingly clear! 

I am learning to say 'no' to those things that do not fit into that life mission.

Certainly, I fail and have to begin again. And sometimes I am misunderstood because I have chosen to follow God's plan instead of someone else's. 

But I would rather be misunderstood than disobedient. 

I had to choose a new audience for this race of life and so must you. 

I had to make a decision about the One I wanted to please and so must you. 

Don’t waste another minute on anything but God’s very best plan for your life.

Let’s Pray

 Father, I want to know and live out the plan You have for me. Sometimes my faith is weak but I really do want to please and honor You. Guide my steps, Lord. Give me Your strength to be obedient. Thank You for giving my life purpose and meaning. 

Today, I choose Your plan above all others and celebrate the joy I find in knowing You.

 In Jesus’ name,
 Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

 Read and memorize Jeremiah 29:11 “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.”

Spend time alone with God in prayer and ask Him to help you answer the following questions:
  •     What are my spiritual gifts?
  •     What am I passionate about?
  •     What are my natural abilities?
  •     What is my personality type?
  •     What are the spiritual markers in my life?
  •     What do others see in me?   
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart! Jeremiah 1:5, NIV.

What’s the Plan?  Mary Southerland  August 29, 2012

www.girlfriendsingod.com


Tomorrow’s post: The First Step  Carole Tschumper
Today’s treasure truth #31: If you are “born again”, you are not moved by what you see. 2 Cor. 4:18
Our thought for today: It's the power of Christ coming into us that changes us! 



Samples of Jean's crafts
Crafts order blank link

So You Plan to Marry a Man

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Splinters




Marietta Taylor asks, "Have you ever had a splinter? 

Those little slivers of wood get under your skin and they’re not easy to remove without further pain or injury.

 It’s amazing how something so small can cause such great discomfort. 

We’ll try everything to get relief. 

Some 'remedies' require sitting still with no squirming. If we don’t do that, the splinter burrows much deeper.

Sometimes God’s plans for us are like splinters. When His plans don’t line up with ours, it can be painful and we’ll often do everything to get back to our own agenda.

Splinter be gone!

Proverbs tells us there are many plans in a man’s heart but the Lord’s purpose prevails. 

We can make plans for our lives based on our own expectations and desires but in the end, God is in control.

 His purpose for our lives ultimately determines what happens to us. 

Sometimes it might coincide with our plans but when His are different than ours, His will wins.

When this happens, we feel like we’ve gotten a splinter. 

God’s 'no' or 'wait' gets under our skin and we don’t like the way it feels.

 I’ve tried on occasion to squirm my way out of the Lord’s plan and find a way to make mine work. 

All that does is bury the splinter deeper into my spirit.

But when I get still in prayer and obedience, it disappears. How?

In giving up my plans and giving in to God’s lordship, I receive peace. 

This may not happen right away but in the end, the splinter is removed and there is sweet peace instead of pain.

Instead of letting splinters get the best of us and steal our joy, we can master their removal. 

We can ask God to transform our dreams and desires into His. He can give us faith to believe that his purposes for us are best. 

For those occasions when we do get a splinter, we can pray for peace to accept that our plan has been bested by God’s.

Then we can say, 'Splinter, be gone!'

"Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21 NIV

Splinters – Marietta Taylor




Marietta Taylor is an author and speaker.

 She is the author of Surviving Unemployment:Devotions to Go. 

Marietta is a monthly blogger at the Go ask Mom Blog at www.wral.com. 

Her tagline is Mom of Teens. 

She was also a contributing author to Penned From The Heart Vol XV. 

Marietta has a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Illinois-Chicago. 

Visit Marietta at www.mariettataylor.net or www.marismorningroom.blogspot.com or email her at maritay918@gmail.com.

Read Marietta’s devotions.

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Used by permission  by www.christiandevotions.us

Today’s treasure truth #30: If you are “born again”, you are daily overcoming the devil. 1 John 4:4
Our thought for today: Don't be willing for a partial victory. Be willing to humble yourself. 
Tomorrow’s post: What's the Plan? by Mary Southerland

Feelings Can Fool Us






Cathy Baker tells us, "In 
celebration of the first day of 
Fall, I'm sharing a re-post from 
2010, as it still rings true today."

"It doesn’t feel like the season for:

Roasted marshmallows
Apple cider
Kaleidoscope leaves
Cool breezes
Pecans
An abundance of candy in fun-size packs
Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin
Colorful mums
Pumpkins
Mountain trips
Fresh apples (especially Honey Crisp!)
Long sleeves and weathered jeans
Warm fuzzy sweaters

But it is that season, according to the trusted calendar, even though we are experiencing temperatures in the low 90’s.

It does not feel like fall, but the calendar says it is. Which am I to believe?

The same question is sometimes asked, although rarely audible or even consciously, when we are faced with believing how we feel versus what the Word of God says.

While God created emotions to complete the whole person, it’s easy to get swept away by them—only to be swept up in the deception that can sometimes follow.

Just as the calendar has the final say as to when we are truly embarking on the fall season, so God’s Word is our final say as to what is true—regardless of how we feel.
  • I may not always feel His presence, but God says He will never leave nor forsake me Heb. 13:5
  • I may not always sense His working in my life or those around me, but God says that nothing can thwart His plans Job 42:2
  • I don’t always trust Him as I should, but God says that even when I am unfaithful, He is faithful. 2 Tim. 2:13
  • I can feel defeated, useless to the Kingdom, beaten up by all my weaknesses, but God says that in Him, there is in no condemnation, regardless of what the enemy says. Romans 8:1
Emotions can be a beautiful expression of our worship to the Lord. 

In fact, if we are rarely moved by the words we read or sing, or if we can watch a resplendent sun rising from the east without a pause of praise welling up from within, we may be in need of an emotion intervention. 

It's all about balance.

So, while it may not feel like my favorite season of the year, I rejoice in the fact that it is indeed fall, and that summer has been left in the dust of 2010 (and my grass along with it). 

I may have to break out my long-sleeved shirts and fuzzy sweaters in celebration of this truth!

Care to join me?"


Posted: 22 Sept. 2012 08:09 PM PDT
This afternoon's post:  Splinters by Marietta Taylor

Tomorrow’s post:  What's the Plan?  Mary Southerland 
Today’s treasure truth #30:  If you are “born again”, you are daily overcoming the Devil. John 4:4
Our thought for today:  Don't be willing for a partial victory. Be willing to humble yourself.



Samples of Jean's crafts & craft order blank


http://www.amazon.com/dp/1938499999/  Link to Granny’s Guide to Marriage in Verse  my book with new title and cover for women contemplating marriage.





Friday, September 28, 2012

Milk or Solid Food?




Michael Brooks in this Pocket Devotions gives us these thoughts for today:  

"How often have you gone to church and listened to your pastor preach, been inspired, then upon arriving home opened your Bible and 'examined' it to see if what you heard was true?

Not too often I would guess. 

"Now the Berean's were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." Acts 17:11


Do you go to church 'with great eagerness' to hear your pastor's message but unlike the Berean's your learning stops right there? 


If so, you might be one of those who like an infant of the faith is still being fed milk. Paul says in 1 Corinthian 3:2, "I gave you milk not solid food, for you are not ready for it. Indeed you are still not ready for it."


So what is the difference between milk and solid food, and how do we get ready for it?

Hebrews 5:13-14 "Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."


In other words you have to open your Bible, read and study it often, not taking anyone's opinion for absolute truth (including a pastor or other teacher). 

It is by constantly using your Bible you will train yourself to distinguish good from evil, and you will become mature no longer an infant.


Questions to Ponder:

The Berean's heard the message preached by Paul with great eagerness. But that is not where their learning stopped; they then "examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." 

Now that is demonstrating great maturity and "noble character."


How noble is your character as you listen to your pastor preach? How mature is your faith? 

Are you still on feeding on milk or have you grown to a place where you feed on solider food?


Begin this weekend. Take the notes from the weekend message look up the Scriptures; read the context; ask yourself 'What is the Big Idea?' determine one personal application for the coming week. 

These are just few small steps you can take towards training yourself.


Milk or Solid Food?  Michael Brooks of www.ptl.com


Tomorrow morning’s post:  Feelings Can Fool You  Cathy Baker 
Tomorrow evening's post:  Splinters  by Marietta Taylor


Today’s treasure truth #29: If you are “born again”, you are an over comer by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony.  Rev. 12:11
Our thought for today:  Develop a reading plan: Bible, biographies, classics, poetry, favorite authors, and new fields of interest.






Thursday, September 27, 2012

God's Holy Detonators: Prayer Note #76


  




Dutch Sheets tells us, “We have weapons that are ‘Divinely powerful’ to pull down strongholds, if we would only realize it."

   "God says, ‘Instead of using yours, I’ll let you use Mine. Yours won’t work, Mine will.’ 

The word ”powerful” is dunatos and is actually one of the New Testament words for a miracle.
These weapons empowered by God will work miracles. The word is also translated ‘possible.’ I like that. 

Do you have anyone that seems impossible? Will it take a miracle? 

With this power, they become possible. And, of course, this is the Greek word from which we get the word dynamite. This stuff is explosive!


   This dynamite is explosive for the 'Destruction of fortresses' or, as the King James translation says, is capable of “pulling down strongholds.”

'Destruction' and 'pull down' are the word kathairesis. This important and powerful word has a couple of pertinent meanings. One of them is ‘to bring down with violence or demolish’ something. 

With this powerful, miracle working dynamite behind our weapons we can become demolition agents violently tearing down Satan’s strongholds.

 
[Sheets tells us of his watching a school building, when a child, being demolished blow by blow by a crane and huge ball...]

 "I suppose this would be, in one sense, a viable picture of our warfare as we systematically—one divine blow at a time—work destruction on the strongholds of darkness.

 It truly does usually happen this way—systematic, ongoing, one-blow-at-a-time war against Satan's stronghold.

[Later in life, he speaks of a huge building having dynamite strategically placed by experts to demolish it in less than 10 seconds.]

 
  


   “I like to think that this in some ways can also be a picture of our intercession. 

Unlike this physical building, we don’t usually see the answer in secondswe may be strategically placing the dynamite of the Spirit for days, weeks or months. 

But every time we take up our spiritual weapons and use them against the strongholds of the enemy we are placing our explosive charges in strategic places. 

And sooner or later the Holy Detonator of Heaven is going to say, ‘Enough!’

 There will be a mighty explosion in the spirit, a stronghold will crumble to the ground and a person will fall to their knees.”


Prayer Note #76 God's Holy Detonators, taken from Dutch Sheets’ book, Intercessory Prayer (169, 170)


The next Prayer Note: Oct. 2nd - The Strongholds, Satan's Prison Within: Prayer Note #77 

Tomorrow’s post: Milk or Solid Food?  Pocket Devotions

Our quote today: Mary Southerland, on www.Crosswalk.com  Sept. 21, 2012:
"I heard the story of four Bible scholars who were arguing over the best translation of the Bible. One said he preferred the King James Version because of its beautiful, eloquent old English. 

Another said he preferred the American Standard Bible for its literalism and accurate translation from the original text. 

A third man preferred the newer translations because of their practical application. 

The fourth scholar listened thoughtfully and then added, 'Personally, I prefer my mother’s translation.' 

When the other men laughed, he explained, 'My mother translates every page of the Bible into her daily life and it is the most convincing translation I have ever seen."

Today’s treasure truth #28: If you are “born again”, you are establishing God's Word here on earth. Matt. 16:19

Our thought for today: Don't put limits on what God can and will do with and for you.


Samples of Jean's crafts
 Crafts order blank link

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http://facebook.com/jean.oathout   my home page

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Do You Know Your Shepherd’s Voice?



Michelle S. Lazurek  tells us, "I heard a loud, happy scream pierce through the crowd, interrupting my much needed 'me' time."

"I was at the mall with my husband and eight-month-old son.

Immediately able to identify the screamer, I whipped my head around and spotted my husband and son – my son waving happily and blowing me kisses.

Call it mother’s intuition, but I have always had a special bond with my son. Through spending time with him and caring for him, I acquired an intimate knowledge of him.

I can now immediately interpret each of his cries, screams, and whimpers to give him what he needs.

Even among the thousands of other sounds filling the crowded mall that day, I knew the sound of my son’s voice.

It is the same with Christ.

Through knowledge of Scripture and an intimate relationship with Him, I am learning to recognize His still small voice even amidst the clamor of the world.

I also distinguish the Lord’s voice in an audible way, through fellowship with fellow brothers and sisters in the faith or the utilization of spiritual gifts.

Nothing could have prevented me from hearing my son’s cry that day. He is a part of me, and I am a part of him.

Sheep know their shepherd’s voice because of the time and care a shepherd invests in them. Because of this care, nothing can tear those sheep away from following their shepherd.

Do you know your shepherd’s voice?

Don’t let it be muffled by the sounds of the world’s distractions. Listen closely to Him."

"My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand." John 10:27-28

Do You Know Your Shepherd’s Voice? – Michelle S. Lazurek

Michelle S. Lazurek is a pastor’s wife and considers each day an opportunity to find her place in God’s story.

Michelle holds a Master’s degree in Counseling and Human Relations from Liberty University.

She has two beautiful children. Michelle provides tips for busy writers on her blog The Writers’ Tapestry: Where Writing and Life Intertwine (www.mslazurek.wordpress.com).

Her book Becoming the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved: Discover Your Character In God’s Love Story invites readers to engage with the love story God.

The book is available on her website www.michellelazurek.com, www.amazon.com, and www.barnesandnoble.com.

 You can follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/mslazurek or Twitter: @mslazurek.

Read Michelle’s devotions.

Receive a daily devotion on your Kindle!

Used by permission by  www.christiandevotions.us

"Whenever life's burdens oppress you
And trials are too much to face,
Remember God's strength in your weakness;
He'll give you His power and grace.Sper
The increasing darkness of trials
only makes the lamp of grace shine brighter."
OUR DAILY BREAD
Sept. 25, 2012 
 
Tomorrow’s post: God's Holy Detonators: Prayer Note #76  Dutch Sheets
Today’s treasure truth #27: If you are “born again”, you are more than a conqueror. Rom. 8:37
Our thought for today: Pray for more of God to develop within you. Let Him teach you to do things His way.
"Pass me not, O gentle savior,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou are calling,
Do not pass me by.
Let me at a throne of mercy
Find a sweet relief;
Kneeling there in deep contrition,
Help my unbelief.
Trusting only in Thy merit,
Would I see Thy face;
Heal my wounded broken spirit,
Save me by Thy grace.
Thou the Spring of all my comfort,
More than life to me,
Whom have I on earth beside Thee?
Whom in Heav'n but Thee?
Chorus:
Savior, Savior, Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
 Do not pass me by."
Fanny J. Crosby/W. H. Doane
   

Samples of Jean's crafts



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Praying for the Lost: Prayer Note #75




Dutch Sheets explains further about pride being a hindrance to folks receiving God:
 

   “This understanding of the blinding ability of pride is a tremendous clue in how to pray for the lost.

 It is mentioned again, along with several other important insights, in 2 Cor. 10:3-5:


   For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”


   As we observe these verses more closely, we’ll see that the Lord gives us not only a solution for the pride problem, but also identifies and offers God’s remedy for other aspects of the stronghold.

 This passage is both fascinating and enlightening.


    Notice first that God tells us what should be obvious: The weapons of our warfare are not carnal or fleshly. This simply means they aren’t human. 

God knows we often overlook the obvious, so He states it clearly. We will never win people on an intellectual basis, nor will we do it through innovative techniques or methods alone.


   When we approach people on a human basis, especially if they feel we are pressuring them, we generally make things worse. 

This is because the root of pride in them which says, I don’t want anyone else controlling me or telling me what to do, rises up and defends itself. If we attack this pride on a human level we will only strengthen it.”


Prayer Note #75- Praying for the Lost, taken from Dutch Sheets’ book, Intercessory Prayer (168, 169)



The next Prayer Note; 9/27- God's Holy Detonators: Prayer Note #76 
Tomorrow’s post: Do You Know Your Shepherd's Voice? by Michelle Lazurek
Today’s treasure truth #26: If you are “born again”, you are above only and not beneath. Deu. 28:13 
Our thought for today: God's ways are not our ways, nor our thoughts, His thoughts. His are higher and better!