What a mess! Can God do anything with this??

What a mess!!Messy room with girl in it

Sometimes it’s easy to look at our life and wonder “Can God do anything with this?” We look at all of our faults and question if there is any way that He will ever be able to truly change the mess inside. But the good news is He already has done something about the mess! The word of God tells us that we are redeemed and restored to glory – that old things have passed away and all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

But the enemy will lie to us so consistently and so believably pointing out our flaws and our failures that our consciousness of who we are in Christ becomes deadened and our focus on the lies becomes acute.

What is the solution for this? I believe that thanksgiving plays a major role in keeping God at the center of our focus and not placing weight on the wrong things. Do we have flaws?  Yes, we do. Do we have failures? Yes, we do. But believe it or not, those things do not define us. God has clothed us in the righteousness of Christ and he sees us as perfectly redeemed and restored. He doesn’t see us that way as in seeing us through a hopeful vision of who we may become someday. He sees us that way NOW.

Galatians 3:27
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

 

Romans 13:14

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

So why do we continue to struggle with the old man? Why is it so easy to see ourselves as defeated, as a bad person, as a failure?

It’s because we have lost our vision of the truth. But thanksgiving will put the truth back in the center of our focus. It will put the miraculous work that God has done in us and for us on Center Stage. We can’t afford to lose the awareness of God’s presence for one moment or we will succumb to the pressures of this life and to a worldview of ourselves and our limitations.

We serve a God who is unlimited and who calls us to live an unlimited life of adventure and holiness, so a small-minded view of ourselves will hinder God’s plan.

  • Do you wake up excited for a new day? Do you rise in the morning with an awareness of God and a feeling of intimacy with him?
  • Or do you wake up feeling already defeated, hemmed-in by your life, by your obligations and by your poor self-esteem?
  • Do you see other people’s successes and envy them because you feel you will never have success of your own?
  • Do you see goodness in other people and feel condemned by it because you wonder if God is disappointed in you?

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that God adores us and loves us the way he does when we are so busy comparing ourselves to other people. But He does love us each uniquely. He created us and he loves who he created. It is unhealthy to focus more on the problems in our lives and in ourselves than on the goodness of God. Thanksgiving turns our perspective around changing our thinking from focusing on the negative and on our failures to focusing on the work of God.

Now you:

  • Do you want to wake up with a positive attitude about the day and about your life?
  • Do you want to stay aware of the goodness of God throughout the day.

Thankfulness is the key to keeping God at the center of our focus.  We can set a reminder on our phone or place sticky notes around our house to remind us to be thankful.  We can teach our children the difference between being thankful for what they have and complaining about what they don’t have.

I was with a mother last night who had her daughter with her.  The daughter is around 10 or 11 years old.  When they were leaving the cafe where we were meeting, the daughter started to complain that the mom hadn’t bought her a cookie.  The mom calmly stopped her by lifting up her finger and said, “That’s complaining.  That’s not being thankful.  How about being thankful for the wonderful salad with chicken and tomatoes that mom bought you? How about being thankful for your family and for your blessings, like swimming lessons?” The daughter proceeded to try to voice her complaint but the mom stopped her again and said, “If you want to complain, you’re not going to do it front of me. You’re blessed and you need to say ‘Thank you’ to me, not gripe and complain.” The daughter, seeing that her complaining wasn’t getting her what she wanted relented and said, “Thank you for dinner.”  I thought that was such a great lesson.  Instead of telling her daughter that she didn’t want to hear the griping, the mother focused on the fact that being thankful should be her attitude and she helped her daughter by focusing her thoughts on things to be grateful for.

Let’s parent ourselves well and stop that little griping child inside from voicing complaint after complaint.  Let’s put a finger to our mouth and stop ourselves from being unthankful, rather reminding ourselves of things that we can be grateful for! Amen!!

 

Thought For the Day: We should REHEARSE all of God’s benefits to ourselves and others

StrawberriesThought for the day: Not only should we not FORGET all the Lord’s benefits, but we should REHEARSE all of His benefits OUT LOUD to ourselves and to others.  Speaking about the benefits and blessings of the Lord keeps His presence at the forefront of our minds.

It’s too easy to lose sight of God’s greatness and goodness in our tiresome lives. It’s too easy to focus on everything that isn’t happening.  So the Lord gave us a solution for our ingratitude and shortsightedness.  In Psalm 103, He tells us to forget not all of His benefits.  The opposite of forget is remember, right? But simply remembering His benefits in the solitude of our mind doesn’t create the atmosphere of God’s favor that speaking about His benefits does.

Have you ever been around a person who is talking about something great that happened to them? As they speak, you can see how they are reliving that situation in their minds as if they were there. The same is true for when we tell others about the things that God has done for us.  As we relive His goodness and power, people can see that our God is real and moving on our behalf.  A God who once was a theory in their mind now becomes the Living Wonder that He truly is.

And as far as it concerns us, I have noticed that when we lose sight of God’s benefits, we grow cold in our affection towards the Lord. But when we remind ourselves and others of what God has done for us, we refocus ourselves on the fact that the that God who poured out His benefits before can do it again.

So today, let’s open our mouths to our families and friends and tell them of the benefits that God has poured out.  Ask the Lord to bring situations back to your memory and to give you opportunities to share testimonies of His care with people who need to be encouraged.  You never know how the goodness that God has poured out in your life will bless someone else – and I KNOW it will certainly bless you!

And if you’re having trouble thinking of anything to applaud as a benefit, I recommend reading all of Psalm 103 where the Psalmist rehearses many of the benefits of the Lord. Those displays of God’s goodness, mercy and patience should never lose their luster in our affections; and if they have, repent for your hard-heartedness and ask the Lord where the root of bitterness has sprung up. He will show you, wash you up and restore the joy of your salvation!

Psalm 103:2 – Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits.

Psalm 116:12 – What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?

Now you:

  • Can you think of a time that God poured out His goodness and mercy upon your circumstances? Can you recall times when you could imagine the worst, called out to God for rescue and then watched Him work His wonders on your behalf?
  • Do you ever spend time in prayer just thanking God for what you have rather than asking for something more?
  • Do you know people who are discouraged and who don’t believe that God would ever want to do anything good for them?

Dear God

Today, let’s make it a point to thank God for all we have instead of asking Him for anything more,  Let’s exalt the ways that He has blessed us and create an atmosphere of His goodness around us that others can draw from.  Amen!

Thought for the Day: Let the Redeemed of the Lord “Say So”!

Psalm 107 verse 2 says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary.”

We have been redeemed from all the power of the enemy. Every spiritual blessing has been laid up for us in Heavenly places and purchased for us by the precious blood of Jesus.

Ephesians 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

But Satan is not going to roll over and give up ground without a fight. So we must ‘say so’ in every area. We must declare our place in Christ and remind ourselves and the adversary of our position in Christ.

1 Peter 5:8

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

If we are being stolen from in the area of finances, of health, or in our families, the blessing belongs to us. And we must say so. We must declare what belongs to us because of the blood of Jesus that Satan cannot resist. He does not want us to realize the power in the blood that has been shed for us and that has obtained for us a great inheritance. But we are called to give thanks unto the Lord for his goodness and for his mercy that endures forever! And we are called to declare the victory of Christ over all of the enemy’s power in the Earth. God has redeemed his children back to the place of victory and glory and with our mouths we declare this victory every time we “say so”!

Revelation 12:11

And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony (their “say so”)*, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.

*parenthesis mine.

Now you:

  • Do you understand and believe that if you are a born again believer that you are spiritually seated with Christ in heavenly places, far above all spiritual forces that could ever tie you down?
  • Do you know what the victory of Christ on the cross has purchased for you and the new position of glory that you have been given as a result of your faith in Jesus?

At the moment you became born again, your new birth recreated you inside where no one can see, and you became a new creature in Christ.  All that you are in your inner man is now TOTALLY acceptable to God.  You used to be His enemy. But if you have placed your faith in Jesus as your substitutionary sacrifice, you are now God’s CHILD.  You can never earn more of His love or lose it through your mistakes and failures.  Furthermore, you have been restored to the place of being covered with God’s glory (His nature).  You have great power and authority on this earth as a child of the King of Kings.  All power, rule and dominion other than God’s is spiritually under your feet.  When the Church of Jesus Christ really, REALLY gets this truth locked down, we are going to change this world with the love of God. The enemy hopes you never fully grasp who you are in Christ, because then his lies and traps will fail to work.  You will walk in your freedom and set others free as well!

For a deeper understanding and greater insight into who you are in Christ, I recommend the following reading:

  • Who We Are In Christ: Discovering Your Eternal Identity by Joe McIntyre
  • The Blood and the Glory by Billie Brim
  • The Believer’s Authority by Kenneth Hagin

God bless!

Welcome to my readers from…

Pilot MountainI want to extend my warmest and most grateful welcome to my readers from all over the world! So far, I have readers from Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, Great Britain, Brazil, Mexico, China, India, Norway, Denmark, Canada, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, The European Union, Israel, Ireland, Spain, Austria, Kenya and more!

I am praying for you all and for your nations to come to Christ.  I know that many of you live in nations that are torn by war and civil unrest. Others of you live in areas of severe poverty and great need. Others of you live in comfort, but your country is oppositional to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  You risk your reputation or your life when you stand up for your faith.

Some of you stumbled upon my blog by accident not knowing who I was or what I was going write to about.  I’m glad you did and I hope that you were touched and encouraged by what you read!

Thank you ALL for reading my blog and for allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to your hearts. I pray that my life, my trials, my vulnerability and my time with the Lord benefit you in some way.  The only way that I could be more blessed is if I could see you all face-to-face and learn who you are, what you struggle with, what your lives are like and…wait for it…what food you like to cook!!

If you want to leave a message in the Comments space at the bottom (the very bottom!) of each blog post, I would LOVE to hear from you.  You have no idea how much I would enjoy that.

But in the meantime, be blessed and keep reading! I recommend that you subscribe to my blog on the Home page so that you don’t miss any posts. Each post will be delivered to your email inbox. Getting the updates only on Facebook is not always the most reliable way to stay up-to-date on posts.

May God bless with you grace and peace,

Cecily

Thought for the Day: You can hear God speak to you. (Yes, you!)

Every now and then, my morning journaling time becomes more about what the Lord is saying to me than the other way around.  These are the times that I feel as though I have hit the bulls-eye in my devotion time.  After all, what’s more meaningful – pouring out my prayers and requests to the Lord or hearing His direction and wisdom on a matter? My words are important, and my prayers are a delight to the Lord, but when He chooses to enter my Here-and-Now and speak a word of comfort, direction or wisdom, I just can’t write fast enough! Below is one of those simple words that came while I was pressing in in prayer regarding some issues in my finances and my ministry that just weren’t budging.  I was fighting off discouragement as I looked at how many years I have prayed about some of these things. Let’s see what Jesus had to say:

“I am the God of the In-Between. I will fulfill every promise to you.  And in between the promise and its fulfillment, I will hold you and carry you. Stay close to Me. Don’t turn from My Word. Don’t turn to the left or to the right.  My promises are certain and My ways are sure and solid. I will never leave you or forsake  you. Make sure that you stay close to Me. Open your heart to Me and let’s be together. Pressure comes from you, not from Me. Peace and joy and overwhelming love come My holy presence. Surround Me with your love and it will deepen. I will take the seed and give you back a harvest.”

Now you:

  • Do you hear the Lord speak to you this way?
  • Do you believe that Jesus wants to speak to you as His child?
  • Do you know that you can hear Him speak to you?

Every child of God can hear His voice. God is no respecter of persons, the Bible says in Acts 10:34. That means that God answers the faith of whosoever.

I remember when I was first taught that I could hear God speak to me and that I could write down what He said.  When I started trying to journal what I thought I was hearing, I felt so foolish! I felt like I was making it all up! But here’s how I knew that I wasn’t making it up: As I kept practicing my ability to hear God’s voice, I began to write things down that were so correcting, aligning and freeing that I couldn’t have made it up.  The words carried such life that the more I meditated on them, the more I began to change. That could not have come inside me or else I would have been changed and found freedom long ago! Further, the words that the Lord speaks to me are always in alignment with the Word of God.  My thoughts are not always in alignment with God’s word, so that’s a big litmus test right there! And finally, the proof has been in the pudding, so to speak, in that I have grown in my ability to hear not only for myself, but for others as well.  And when I have ministered what the Lord wants me to say to other people, He has blown them (and me!) away with His accuracy and knowledge of their heart struggles.

But I had to start with the basics – getting a notebook, putting myself in the place of worship and then asking the Lord to speak about a situation or whatever He felt I needed to hear. Cool, huh?

You can hear God speak to you, too! Don’t believe the lie that you can’t!

John 10: 4-5a: When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow…

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Thought for the day: Holding unforgiveness against those who have hurt us is as self-destructive as drinking poison hoping that the other person will die.

Girl looking upThought for the day: Holding unforgiveness against those who have hurt us is as foolish and self-destructive as drinking poison hoping that the other person will die.

Unforgiveness is a trap of the enemy based on legalism.  Legally, we have the right to hold people’s offenses against them.  We have the right be feel angry, hurt and ripped off. We have the right to wish bad things for them. We have the right to accuse them in our hearts for everything that they have committed against us. And the enemy loves nothing more than when we do that.  Satan is the Accuser of the Brethren and a legalist, so when we accuse others we join him in his efforts.  When we accuse, we act like him and we don’t even know it.

Revelation 12:9-11 – And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

But when we forgive, we act like Jesus who kept silent even while he was being falsely accused, lied about and wrongly sentenced to death. He forgave those who were murdering him AS they were standing there watching him die.  

And on top of that, Jesus forgives us from ALL of our sin and iniquity when we come to him in repentance. All that we have done in rebellion against the holiness of our merciful God is NOTHING in comparison to what others have done against us and if we don’t agree with that statement, we are not in touch with the depth of sin that we have been forgiven of. 

Ephesians 1:7 – In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace

In the Lord’s Prayer, the Lord is specific in His command that we forgive those who have trespassed against us.  He is so clear that it should shake us all out of our complacency when it comes to holding unforgiveness to other people’s accounts.  God will forgive us AS we forgive others.  So the degree to which we clear the accounts of those who have debts against us is the degree to which we ourselves are forgiven by God.  Oh boy.

Matthew 6:12 – And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Now you:

  • Are you holding unforgiveness against anyone? 
  • Do you feel that their sin against you is something you cannot forgive?
  • Do you feel as though this person will be “off the hook” if you let them go in forgiveness?

When you forgive someone, you set yourself free.  Their sin is between then and God, not between you and God. When you forgive, you are not saying that what happened is OK. It probably isn’t OK at all.  But what you are saying is that you will not be their judge and jury.  You are allowing God to handle the situation.  He works in ways of love of redemption that are far above our understanding. 

When you are in Heaven with Jesus, you will not have this hurt.  But you will have the record of whether or not you forgave.  Unforgiveness will be a point of separation between you and God on that day.  Will it be worth losing your place in heaven to hold on to this fleeting pain? God wants to heal your heart right now and give you ability to begin the process of total forgiveness.  

Let’s pray:

Lord Jesus, I ask for Your help forgiving (name their name/s).  Please lead me in the path of forgiving and letting go of this pain and hurt.  I release to You those who hurt me.  I forgive them and let them go into Your hand.  I ask that You would help them to be all that You created them to be.  Help me to become all that You created me to be.  I will not allow this pain to identify me and define me any longer.  I am free to love with God’s love which is shed abroad in my heart.  My life reflects the fruit of love in every season.  I forgive and receive Your forgiveness for my sins, Father. Thank you for the grace to forgive and not allow the enemy to refresh these hurts in my mind.  I set up a hedge of protection by the blood of Jesus around myself and my thoughts as I walk out obedience to You, Lord.  I renounce all patterns of unforgiveness and decide as an act of my will that I will no longer attach myself to the sins of others through unforgiveness.  I release myself from them in Jesus Name. I am free, Amen!