God is Able

 

Today we’re looking at II Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need you will abound in every good work.” (NIV) The New American Standard Bible (NASB) says, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” What jumped out at me is, GOD IS ABLE!

That is such an encouragement for me. No matter what I’m going through, God is able! He is able to bless me above anything I can even dream of, He is able to hold me tight when I am going through a trial, He is able to guide me in wisdom, HE IS ABLE!

What a blessing to know that I don’t walk this walk alone, He is with me! I have Pandora on at the moment, and a little bit ago, it was playing, “Good, Good Father”, and that song just resonated with me. He is able because He loves me, and He is a good Father who desires to give me all that is good for me. When discouragement hits me, He is there to bring encouragement and remind me that I have peace, joy, grace, and salvation through Him and Him alone. When I am burdened, He is there to lighten the load, for He tells me to “take my yoke upon me and learn of me.” (Matthew 11:29 KJV)

As I write this, my heart is heavy. In the middle of working on this post, my sister emailed me to let me know that my nephew is in the hospital after a heroin overdose, and he almost died. How “on time” God is…to remind me that He is able, and then to hear news that could shake my foundation of faith in Him if it weren’t for that reminder that “He is able!” He can take my nephew and turn him 180° in the opposite direction, save his life, physically and spiritually, and set him on a new course. My faith in God is not shaken. I’ve already put my nephew on a couple of prayer boards, and I’ve heard from so many who have said they’ve been there, and sent me encouragement, and are praying for my family. How good God is to surround us with a body of Believers who uphold each other in prayer, give encouragement, and sometimes even wrap their arms around us physically to keep us on our feet.

That is such a great blessing from God! I am so grateful to Him for His care. He knows right where I am. He knows what is heavy on my heart, He knows just what I need, He knows! We do not serve a God who is distant from us, nor unconcerned with our lives and what we experience. He loves us with an everlasting love, He walks with us, His desire is to bless us immeasurably, and He is faithful!

As I just looked at the verse again, I notice it says that He is able to bless us abundantly so that at ALL TIMES we have what we need. Do you need encouragement? He is able. Do you need healing? He is able. Do you need financial freedom? He is able. Do you need peace? He is able. Do you need your marriage restored? He is able. Do you need chains broken? He is able. Whatever your need is…HE IS ABLE!

My friends, even in the depths of despair, GOD IS ABLE! Take courage and gain strength in the knowledge that God is able no matter what your situation. Reach out to Him and give Him whatever it is you need for Him to do for you. Remember, “the God of Angel Armies is always by your side!”

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God will Bring the Rain

Today’s Bible Journaling is from Joel 2:23, “Rejoice, you people of Jerusalem! Rejoice in the Lord your God! For the rain He sends demonstrates His faithfulness. Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as the rains of spring.” (NLT) The New American Standard Bible (NASB) puts it this way, “So rejoice, oh sons of Zion, And be glad in the Lord your God; For He has given you the early rain for your vindication. And He has poured down for you the rain, The early and the latter rain as before.”

The prophet Joel was giving the people of Israel a message from God, encouraging them to turn their hearts to Him, and He would give them blessings far above anything they could imagine. God demanded obedience, and when they disobeyed and went after other gods, punishment was inevitable. But the time for punishment was coming to an end and God was pleading for His people to return to Him, and when they did, He would pour out blessings as the rain!

When I think of the blessings as of rain, my mind goes to a real gully-washer! Rain pouring out of the sky, so hard and so fast, one can not even see! That’s how I see God’s blessings. We may be in a time of trial, but that trial will not last forever, and God promises to bless us as only He can.

For me at this point in my life, trial comes in the form of pain, I have pain all the time. Yesterday was a prime example. I was pretty much laid up all day long with pain. The pain was so bad, I couldn’t even do my Bible Journaling, and spent the whole day on a heating pad stuck in my recliner. But I know this will eventually end…either in a complete healing from God here on earth, or when I meet Him face to face. My hubby spent yesterday praying for the pain to leave me. I must say, I still have pain, but it isn’t like it was yesterday, so there is my blessing. Learning to live with pain is a day by day process. But I have a God who promises me it will not always be like this, and I can praise Him because He will bless me one day with a pain-free life.

Each of us has trials or we are walking in disobedience. But God will walk through the trials with us, desires for us to turn to Him in obedience, and promises blessings like the rain. Some rain comes as a sprinkle, just barely noticeable, other rain showers come as a steady, quiet rain, still others are an outright downpour! God’s blessings are also like that. Some come quietly, and sometimes we don’t even recognize them as blessings from God, others come where we have no doubt that God was the source, and still other blessings fall so fast and so quickly, that we become overwhelmed with the enormity of the blessings God has for us.

Notice in our Scripture, God says He will pour down the rain “as before.” That is a promise for us to hold on to. He’s telling us that just as He has blessed us before, He will bless us again. When we doubt that God will bless us, all we need to do is look at what He has done in the past and know that what He did then, He will do again.

God Supplies

 

Today we are looking at Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory.” This is a verse that is so familiar to Believers, that I think we sometimes just rattle it off without really thinking about what it says. When I first look at this verse, I notice something that I think most people either skip right over or don’t really consider. Notice that the Apostle Paul says that God will supply all our NEEDS, not necessarily our WANTS. I may want a lot of things, but they may not be good for me, so therefore; God will not supply anything that would do me harm.

When I look at my life, I see that God has indeed supplied every need I have. I have food on my table, I have a house to live in, my finances are in good shape, He gave me a husband to share my life with, a family that loves me, and He has directed me to a church family that surrounds me and upholds me in times of distress and in times of victory and joy. All these things are things that I NEED. My wants can get out of hand and will bring joy for only a short time, and then they are quickly forgotten and possibly even discarded.

God supplies Spiritual gifts also. He gives me salvation, peace, joy, strength, courage, and a friendship that goes beyond anything I can experience. As I stated yesterday, the gift of salvation is the greatest blessing we can receive. Because of that blessing we can then walk in victory, joy, peace, and have a relationship with Him that is everlasting.

The second thing I notice in the verse is, He gives according to HIS riches. He has riches far above anything we can even imagine. So, the best thing that we can imagine for ourselves is nothing compared to what He has for us. His ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

We sometimes find ourselves in a period where we are discouraged, nothing seems to be going our way, life is throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, at us, and we come to a point of only looking at our circumstances and not looking at the Savior, who can help us overcome those circumstances. We don’t see the blessings He has already provided, and we become mired down in the pit of discontentment, complaining that nothing is going our way, and throw a 2-year old’s temper tantrum, shaking our fists at God, stomping our feet on the floor saying, “I want it MY way!”

It is then that we need to stop, take account of ourselves, count our blessings, ask for forgiveness, and thank Him for all He has done for us, then lift our voices in praise to God for His unsurpassable riches and blessings!

Being thankful for what we have has added benefits. Our spirits are made lighter, we find joy in everything around us, the sun seems to shine a little brighter, friendships are a little dearer, physically, we seem to enjoy better health, and we find a contentment that settles into peace in our hearts. God has given us more than we can ever desire. Today is a good day to thank Him for all He has done, all He is, and all He has given.

God’s Blessings

Today my Bible Journaling took me to John 1:16, “From His abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.” (NLT) Today has been a fun day. Our church is participating in a fundraiser for our youth group. The kids decided to “decorate” an old toilet and the purpose is for the congregation to pay to have it removed from your yard when it arrives. Of course, you could buy insurance to keep it from showing up on your lawn, but what fun is that? LOL. Well this morning we got blessed! LOL It was passed along to us from some friends who had it yesterday. We’ve had a lot of laughs over it today with friends and family.

Today I am grateful and beyond blessed with the gift of laughter and with good friends who are so dear to us who feel free enough to prank us. But there is one blessing that is better than even having the ability to laugh or having great friends to joke around with, and that is the blessing of salvation. The Apostle John said that God has an abundance of blessings and He gives to us graciously. The best blessing is the offering of His Son, Jesus to take the punishment for our sins so that we could be saved from sin’s penalty of death.

Many people think that just going to church is what makes one a Christian. However, that’s not what God says. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (KJV) That means every single person has been born with a sin nature because of Adam’s sin at the very beginning. Every heart has a spirit of rebellion which is born in natural man. That is a spirit of rebellion against God. This creates a broken relationship with Him. God loved us so much, from the very beginning of time, that He created a plan to redeem us. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (KJV) God provided a way of escape through His Son, Jesus. He is the only means by which we are saved. John 17:3 says, “And this is life eternal, that they might know the, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (KJV)

Jesus Himself said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9 KJV) Acts 4:12 says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (KJV) Each one of us must decide whether to accept God’s gift or reject it. If we decide to accept God’s gift, He brings us into His family. John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave power to become sons of God, even to those who believe on His name.” (KJV) Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that faith comes only through the grace of God. “For by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (KJV) There is nothing we can do to earn salvation. No amount good works will save us, only faith in God through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

Jesus is standing at the heart’s door of each person, asking to be invited in. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (KVJ) All that is required is that we ask Him to forgive us of our sins, invite Him into our lives, and then promise to live for him for the rest of our days, and endeavor to follow Him. That is the greatest blessing we can receive. The Bible says, “Today is the day of salvation.” (II Corinthians 6:12) We never know if we have even the next second. Once we have closed our eyes in death, it is too late, no more opportunities will be offered. If you haven’t yet asked Jesus to come into your heart and life, today is a good day to receive the best gift you could ever receive and blessings above anything you can imagine.

The Armor of God

Today’s devotion is from Ephesians 6:10, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” (NASB) The question is, how do we become strong in the Lord? If you read Ephesians 6:10-18, the Apostle Paul tells us. We are to put on the whole armor of God. Each piece of the armor is important. As Believers, we are in a battle daily. It is a battle that we don’t necessarily see in the flesh and is mostly a Spiritual battle being waged between the old man and the new man.

The first element of the armor of God is the Belt of Truth. We must seek out truth and that is found in God’s Word. Without knowing what is true, we have no defense against the lies of the enemy. The Bible says that Satan is a deceiver and the father of lies. John 8:44 says that he has no truth in him. So, when he speaks, he lies, and we must know the truth to be discerning when we hear him speak and know what we hear is not truth. We must also speak truth and believe the truth of the Bible.

The second element is the Breastplate of Righteousness. The Breastplate is extremely important because it protects the vital organs of the soldier’s body. Having the Breastplate of Righteousness is a protection against Satan’s attacks. Right living is also a testimony to others of the work God has done in our lives. Again, the only way to know how God expects us to live, is to read His Word and apply His principles and laws to our lives and exhibit those precepts so that unbelievers will see and know that God has made a change in our lives and is a testimony of God’s faithfulness to us.

Element number three is footwear…the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace. First of all, peace comes only through a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We are to spread the Gospel to others and to do that we must be prepared. Again, we are to search the Scriptures, hide God’s Word in our hearts, and go out to share the Good News that Jesus brings peace. Knowing God’s Word helps to strengthen us and helps others to know that they can rely on Him to deliver them.

The Shield of Faith is our next piece of armor. Shields fend off the attack of swords and other weapons of warfare delivered by the enemy. Satan wants to weaken our faith and he will throw all kinds of ammunition at us to derail our faith. Reading God’s Word, assembling with fellow Believers to be encouraged, learning more of God and His love for us, and remembering the times God has delivered us, all go toward strengthening our faith.

The next element of the armor is the Helmet of Salvation. Salvation is where our journey begins. Salvation is accepting Jesus into our hearts and lives, allowing Him to take total control, repenting for our sins, and endeavoring to live for Him for the rest of our lives. Joyce Meyer says that the battlefield is the mind, and it is true. It is one of Satan’s favorite areas to try and defeat Christians. He will try to deceive us into thinking that we have lost our salvation, or at least are a horrible Christian, and so we should give up trying to live a godly life. The helmet protects the head; therefore, the Helmet of Salvation is to protect us from the lies the enemy tries to place in our minds.
The last element of the armor is the Sword of the Spirit, which is God’s Word. We are to read it daily for instruction, for encouragement, and for strength. As you look at the armor, notice it is the only piece of armor that is used for defense. The Sword is the only means of defense we have against Satan. The Bible says that God’s Word is a two-edged sword. It is given for teaching, reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. (II Timothy 3:16-17) Not only does it teach us, but it also shows us our sins and where we have messed up so that we can repent and correct our relationship with Jesus, and then in turn, as we bury His Word into our hearts, we can use it to fight against the enemy’s attacks. Jesus showed us how to use the Word to fight back when He was being tempted by Satan.

Satan knows the Word of God also, but he twists things around to mean something it doesn’t say. Jesus quoted Scripture in response to every temptation Satan brought before Him. Satan had no defense, because He knew that God’s Word is true, and his lies were no match for God’s Word.

The one thing you will notice about the armor of God is, there is no protection for the back. God does not want us to retreat or turn our back on the enemy. That is a very vulnerable position for the Believer. As the Army of God, we are to fight back to back, standing together to defeat the adversary of our souls. That is the reason meeting together as Believers is so vital. When one is weak, there are others who are strong who can help that one to gain strength in Christ. Having an accountability partner is a great help. We can keep each other from straying or retreating in the face of heavy opposition from the enemy, and that strengthens us when we are weak. Being with other Christians also encourages us to keep in the fight, and to rely on Jesus when the battle gets too hard.

So today, do you have your armor on? Are you prepared to fight the enemy? As Soldiers of God, put on your armor and prepare to win the battle against Satan’s attacks.

Courage

Sometimes life throws some heavy obstacles in our pathway and we can feel defeated, rejected, disillusioned, frightened, and alone. We can’t find strength to persevere, nor can we find the courage it takes to go through those obstacles. I’ve been there. I’ve been so afraid to even fight through the battles, that I forget that I have a Source of courage and strength. This month’s devotional series is on courage. Matthew 10:22 says, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”

Endurance in a battle takes courage. That courage comes from one Source, God. David knew from where his courage came. I Samuel 17:45 says, “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.”

When we are faced with things that come across our path, be it normal events that happen to everyone or entrapments set up by Satan to trip us up, we can rest in the knowledge that God is our source of courage, that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews13:5), and that He gives us the strength and courage to endure to the end when we can say with confidence that we weathered the storm and came out on the other side in victory.

Jesus knew His disciples would have a very difficult road to travel once He was gone. They would be persecuted, rebuked, and even killed for proclaiming the Good News of Jesus. The early church went through such horrific trials that we, in this day and age, can not even imagine. But Jesus encouraged them to endure to the end. He was their Source of strength and courage, even in the face of death. For the majority of us, we don’t have to be faced with persecution like that, but there are areas of this world where persecution of Christians is currently happening, and many have given their lives to proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior. We’ve all heard stories of how bravely missionaries and fellow Believers faced persecution and death. They knew the Source of the courage they possessed and endured to the very end.

David exhibited that courage when he faced Goliath. David was just a teenager, but because of his faith in God, he boldly stepped forward to defeat the giant, Goliath. Lest we think that David was perfect, he had his moments of doubt and discouragement just like we all go through. Read the Psalms, you will see David struggle with every emotion and battle we experience, but inevitably he always ends with praise to God and the assurance that God is with him, and he knows where to find the strength and courage to continue to endure through the battles.

A dear friend of mine is battling a rare form of leukemia, and I am amazed at her strength! She always has an encouraging word even when she is not feeling well. She does her best to be in church, and she is such an encouragement for me. I struggle with back pain that is constant, it never leaves. On the days when I feel like I can’t even get the energy to get ready for church, I remember what she is going through, and I know that if she can endure her battle, I can endure mine. She knows from where the source of her strength and courage come. Her faith is solidly placed upon the Savior! She is my hero! If she can be in church when she isn’t feeling well, then I can also. She has taught me so much in how to endure to the end. She has taught me to remember that my strength and courage come from God, just by watching her as she fights and prays for healing.

David’s courage came from the God of the armies of Israel. He fought Goliath in God’s name, giving God the honor due Him, and God gave David the victory. We can claim victory also when we remember Whom it is that gives us courage and strength, and when we give Him all the glory and honor despite our circumstances.

Producing Fruit

Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Psalm 1:3, “He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water; which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” (NASB) As I was considering this passage, the phrases “firmly planted” and “yields its fruit” seemed to pop out at me.

The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. (Galatians 5:22 KJV) The New American Standard Bible says, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” These are the fruits that we, as Christians, are to exhibit. So, how do we go about incorporating these into our lives? Well, Psalm 1:3 tells us. We are to be firmly planted in God’s Word! Once we have these fruits imbedded into our lives, we find that joy is a result.

For some, like me, it is very difficult, to get these things deep into my heart. Love, joy, peace, goodness, faithfulness…for me, these are easy. The hard ones are patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. I’ve been thinking about last month’s devotion series I studied on “Being Content”, and that goes right along with having a joyful heart. If I’m not content, there is no joy. On top of these devotions, my Pastor has been preaching on “What Were You Thinking?” All these combined have given me a lot to digest, and let me tell you, the struggle is real! Have I conquered my anger issues? No, but I’m working on it. Have I overcome my impatience? No, but I’m working on it.

I am most definitely a work in progress. These are things that have plagued me my entire life. It took a life-time for me to develop these behaviors and it will take a life-time for me to overcome them, unless God delivers a miracle!

The first key that I see in today’s Scripture is that as Believers, we are to be “firmly planted” in God’s Word. If I don’t take the time every day to read and study His Word, I have no clue what I am to do, how I am to act, and worse, I have no relationship with Jesus! If I don’t spend that time with Him, I’m out here on my own trying to do my own thing, and when that happens, it always ends up a disaster. The Psalmist gives us the picture of a tree planted by the water. Trees need lots of water! Their source of nourishment comes from the water and the soil for their roots. The tap root of a tree seeks out that good source of water to keep it alive and bearing fruit.

Secondly, when I am trying to do things on my own, I am vulnerable to the attack of the enemy. He knows what my faults are, and he takes full advantage of that by putting me in situations where it is easy for me to fail. Additionally, if a tree doesn’t have a good source for nourishment, it will fall because its roots haven’t found a good source to sink into to keep it stable.

The second key I see is that we are to produce fruit. When we are deeply rooted in Jesus, it gives us the ability to produce the correct type of fruit…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Left to our own devices, we can produce hatred, discontentment, turmoil, impatience, and other unhealthy attitudes. The latter group is just what the enemy wants to see in our lives because then we become ineffective in our witness for the Lord. Our actions and attitudes don’t match up with our words. You know the adage, “actions speak louder than words”. It’s true! When our lives don’t match what we say, others tend not to want to listen or become a follower of God.

I will be the first to tell you that it isn’t easy. It is a definite war going on inside of me. I try so hard, and I will do well for a while, but then, something will happen, and I fall back into my old ways and I completely erase any progress I have made and I’m back asking for forgiveness from God and asking for His help once again.

If I keep my mind fixed on Him, study His Word, listen to His voice, and put what I hear and learn into practice, I can move forward and bear the fruit that draws people to Jesus. I hope that this has been an encouragement to you and that you will find something in todays devotion time that will help you in your walk with the Lord.