Day 365: The Last Day (December 31)

Here we are on the last day of our year long journey with Holy Spirit.  I pray you have been blessed.  I pray that you can hear God more clearly after this time, and that your heart has received much healing, and that you are more confident in your relationship with God.

I feel a release coming with the end of this, and whatever new thing will start.

This verse keeps circling my mind:

 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in Your Presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.  Psalm 16:11

I pray that verse has been made real to you over this year.

Lord, let me be filled with joy in Your presence.

As we close out one year, and prepare to embrace another, let us be full of hope.  Let peace reign in our hearts and minds as we trust the Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us listen for a new word.  A new lighthouse and compass.  Let us be grateful for all we have received this last year, and eager for what is yet to come.

We have only begun to experience the fullness of God.

I would like to end with an encouraging portion from Psalms.

 

To the faithful You show Yourself faithful, to the blameless You show yourself blameless, to the pure You show Yourself pure, but to the crooked You show Yourself shrewd.  You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.  You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.  With Your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.  As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless.  He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him.  For Who is God besides the Lord?  And Who is the Rock except our God?  It is God Who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.  He makes my feet like the feet of the deer; He enables me to stand on the heights.  He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.  You give me Your shield of victory and Your right hand sustains me; You stoop down to make me great.  You broaden my path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.  I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed.  Psalm 18:25-37

Now is the time to take up arms and fight the good fight.  We have all victory in Jesus!

 

If this devotional series has blessed you this year, then I would really love to hear from you.

Stay tuned for what will come next!!

Day 364: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (December 30)

Be joyful always; pray continuously; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Do you ever wonder how you should behave?  With so many different versions of the Christian walk, it can be confusing, but if we stay steeped in scripture, then we will remember….

Be joyful always!  Not sometimes, but all the time, because God is always good, no matter what we are walking through at any given moment.  Joy.  It’s not happiness, no, it’s much better than that.  Joy is a choice.  Joy is not circumstantial.  Joy is constant.  It is steady.  It comes from inside.

Pray continuously.  How many of you pray throughout your entire day?  It’s a really great thing to practice, and just like exercising your body, the more you do it the easier it becomes.  Also, just like exercising your body, the more you do it, the more you will want to do it.  I pray all the time.  When my own words fail me, I pray in tongues.  I never allow myself to have the excuse of not knowing what to pray.  I can always pray because He will always give me words.

Give thanks in all circumstances.  I have learned that one key to joy, is to remain thankful.  There is, without fail, always something to give thanks for.  There will never ever be a time in your life when you won’t have something to be grateful for.  You may have to look hard at your life to find it sometimes, but like a glimmer of hope, if you look then you will find it.

What is God’s will for your life?  Well, start with this verse because it makes it clear that the list above is God’s will for you.

If you are in a time of life where you are searching out God’s plan for your life and maybe your feeling discouraged, then at least you can be joyful, pray, and give thanks.  When you do that, you are walking in His will.

Are you facing sorrow and wondering where God is?

Well, be joyful, pray and give thanks….if you do, then you will find Him in that place.

He is found in your joy.  He is found in your prayers.  He is found in your gratitude.

We never have an excuse to wander aimlessly.  There is never an excuse to fall away.  God is near.  He is with you.  He will not leave, nor forsake you, and if you will do what 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says to do, then you will be resting on a firm foundation.

Rejoice in the Lord always; and again, I say, Rejoice.  Philippians 4:4

 

Day 363: He Will Be Exalted (December 29)

I can’t seem to escape the need to express a great and deep reverence for God right now.  Maybe it’s the Christmas season, or maybe it’s all the signs I see upon the earth as the divide between Light and dark becomes even more clear and the lines are being drawn.  Battle lines.  The signs of the times.

We are living out the last days.  I truly believe it.  Anyone with even a slight knowledge of Revelation, cannot deny all that is, and has recently come to pass among the prophecies.

But as the world comes together in a glorious friction that will beckon the return of the Son of God to the earth, riding His white horse, let us not be afraid.  Let us instead live life hard and be filled with the excitement of seeing Him exalted among the nations.  I long to see Him exalted in ALL the earth.  Every knee bowing and every tongue confessing He is the Lord.

While typing that, I could see ISIS falling to its knees in reverence and wonder and proclaiming the True King of kings.  I see the thick of sin city falling to its face and declaring Jesus is Lord.  I see all the earth worshiping the One Who was, and is, and is to come.

It’s so exciting!!

In the meantime, let me be found worshiping.  Let me be found dreaming.  Let me be found in His Presence.

Therefore, God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:9-11

Those words send chills down my spine, as I anxiously await my Saviors return.

Oh Jesus, come quickly.

In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, Who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To Him Who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”  The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.  Revelation 5:12-14

Day 362: Holy and Blameless (December 28)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. Ephesians 1:3-4

We have received every spiritual blessing in Christ.  That thought alone should make you stand up and shout “Hallelujah!”  But let’s continue, we were chosen before the world was created.  Not only were we chosen, but we were chosen to be holy and blameless in His sight.  These are things to wonderful for me to understand.

Isn’t it fantastic?!

We were chosen to be holy and blameless, but far too often we walk around feeling defeated and as if we could never measure up. Why is that?  Why is it that, in general, the church universal has only felt it was “holy” when pointing out the sins of those around them, or being a sort of police for the Holy Spirit?

This was not to be so.

We are to be filled with the Holy Spirit and pray in the Spirit, without ceasing.  We were meant to walk in unity, not division.  We are the ones who were to demonstrate to the world what unity looks like.

Why should we be surprised that our own government and country is so divided, when the American church is so set upon division?

These may seem like harsh words, but isn’t it time to face up to it?

We are supposed to be representatives of Christ.  How can we be representing Him when we are busy fighting with and judging each other?

I don’t understand it at all.

This devotional is a call.  A call to unity in the body of Christ.  A call to begin walking as if we realize we are holy and blameless in His sight.  A call to walk under one head, even Christ……..

And He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment- to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.  Ephesians 1:9-10

To prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  Ephesians 4:12-13

I consider them to be rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ- the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.  Philippians 3:8b-9

 

Day 361: No Eye Has Seen (December 27)

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him, but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.  1 Corinthians 2:9-10a

Oh, how I long to know all that God has prepared for me.  I am so grateful that we have Holy Spirit to guide us.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him?  In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.  1 Corinthians 2:10b-12

If we are not connected to the voice of the Spirit, then how can we know the deep things?  How can we know God’s heart if we are not connected the His Spirit?

“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?”  But we have the mind of Christ.           1 Corinthians 2:16

So, when we receive Jesus as Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us and gives us the mind of Christ!  If that doesn’t excite you, then I don’t know what will?!

Lord, let me be fully connected to Your Spirit that dwells inside of me.  Let me know Your thoughts.  In fact, let me be so close to You that Your thoughts become my thoughts.  Oh, how I long to know you better and better.  Lord, pour out Your heart over me.  Release the floodgates of Heaven over me that I may know Your heart.  I will not stop searching You out.  As one who is in love, I will pursue you unto my death.  You are mine.  I am Yours.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Take time today to ask God to reveal His thoughts to you.  Ask Him to sharpen your ability to hear and discern His voice.  Ask Him to pour out His Spirit upon you.  If you will, give Him full access to you mind and heart.  He loves you.  He is always eager and willing to share His heart with those who seek Him out.

God, see what is in my heart.  Know what is there.  Put me to the test.  Know what I’m thinking.  See if there’s anything in my life You don’t like.  Help me live in the way that is always right.                     Psalm 139:23-24

 

 

 

Day 360: Inadequate (December 26)

Yesterday we considered Joseph, today I ask you to consider the mama.  Mary.  If anyone in the world ever had the right to feel inadequate to face a task, it was Mary.  Imagine, you are young, very young, and unmarried and asked to become the mother of the Savior.  Wow!  I cannot even fathom it!

Today, don’t detach from the reality of this event.  Instead, embrace the truth of it all.  It actually happened, that when God was ready to send His Son to the earth in order to offer salvation to the world, He didn’t choose an older woman.  He didn’t choose someone who had given birth before.  He didn’t consider what the world would consider, just like when David was chosen to be king, Mary was probably not at all who others would have chosen.

But God doesn’t look on the outward appearance, He looks at the heart, and in Mary’s heart He saw something good.  Even though she was young and inexperienced with life, God found her to be highly favored.

When certain details about Jesus and His future were revealed to her, she had the self-control to ponder them in her heart.  She had maturity beyond her years, and I dare say she had a deeper understanding of what exactly was at stake.

Her only response to the angel that spoke to her before she conceived was, “I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be to me as you have said.”

Imagine that kind of surrender and trust.  Still, wouldn’t it seem so huge to be tasked with raising Jesus Christ?!  I cannot conceive of it.

Today I challenge you with this….. Is there anything God has been calling you to do, and you have felt inadequate to walk it out?  Do you think, “I can’t worship the way ______ worships because I am inadequate.”  Or, “I could never _______ because I am inadequate.”

If these thoughts feel familiar, then I encourage you to consider….Mary.

If she could do it, then so can you.  If she could trust God with her life and reputation, you can too.  If she could trust God to walk her through how to raise the Son of God, then you too can trust God to walk you through anything He places before you.

Don’t let thoughts of inadequacy stand in the way of you and your calling!

Let the words of Mary’s song encourage your heart:

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant.  From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me- holy is His name.  His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation.  He has performed mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.  He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.  He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.  He has helped His servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as He said to our fathers.”  Luke 1:46-55

Day 359: The Adoption (December 25)

As I pondered the scene at the nativity, I was struck by something that I had not previously considered.  I focused on Joseph.  I normally don’t really think about him and his role very much.  I mean, it’s pretty common for us to mainly pay attention to Mary and baby Jesus.  But this day, I realized a beautiful part of God’s plan.

Let’s first read this scripture:

God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ.  This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.   Ephesians 1:5

Through accepting Jesus as our Savior, we them become grafted in, or adopted, into the Kingdom of God.  We become co-heirs with Christ.

Now if we are children, then we are heirs-  heirs of God and co-heirs of Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.  Romans 8:17

God’s plan was to adopt us into His family.

But first, Jesus was adopted.  He was adopted by Joseph.  Have you ever considered this?

God is Jesus’ Father and Mary is His mother.  He was born on earth and Mary’s husband acted as His earthly Father.

An adopted father.

How amazing is that?!

God even designed it, so Jesus would know exactly what the adoption He offered would feel like.  He knows the intimate details of being loved and raised by one who was not a birth father.  It offered Jesus a unique and full perspective of this process.

Many times, I have realized that I see my adoption into Christ’s family in a unique way since I too was adopted by my earthly father.  What used to feel like something that made me less valuable, has become something that truly demonstrates my value to me.  I was chosen. Not only did my Heavenly Father choose me, but also my earthly father.  I know what it is to have access to my father’s life because I am adopted into a family.  I know that my access equals that of his natural born children.  There is no difference.

Having these experiences has really helped my walk with Jesus, and my intimacy with the Father.

Today, I encourage you to consider these things.  Ponder them in your heart.  Imagine Joseph, facing this great task of raising God’s son.

But it first started with his choice.  He chose Jesus.  Will you?