…because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. Ephesians 1:11 NLT
As another year comes to an end, many of us begin to look back over the months and days of our lives. Often, we begin pondering our purpose.
Why are we in the place we are in? Are we making a difference with our life? What has been accomplished in the nearly 365 days we have just lived?
If you are pondering such thoughts, or asking God such questions, I want to encourage you that each moment you have spent this year was not in vain.
…for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13 NKJV
As a believer in Christ, God has a plan and purpose for you—one that is good–one that He will bring to fruition in His time.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremaih 29:11 NKJV
Psalm 138:8 ESV says: “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;” Therefore, you can be sure that He is always at work day and night to bring about what is needed in your life to fulfill His purpose for you.
Perhaps your circumstances were not as you thought they should be this year. Perhaps you suffered setbacks, adverse situations, or delays.
Perhaps you encountered obstacles that you had a hard time overcoming or perhaps you were slowed down from moving forward because of some difficulties.
Just trust and believe that God was with you through it all and know that He is working all things out to accomplish His purpose in your life.
Know that nothing can stop the plan and purpose He has for you.
So, as you look back over this year, I encourage you to pause and praise Him for what He has done, is doing, and will still do for you.
For we [believers] are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
Posted in Daily Blessings--2014
Tagged 54 Spiritual Blessings in Christ, believers, bible, blessing, blessings, Christ, Ephesians, Ephesians 1:11, Ephesians 2:10, God, God's will, Jeremiah 29:11, Jesus, life, plan, plans, Psalm 138:8, purpose, year
Hot day! The lake looked so inviting!
The clear water had a slight green tint revealing what appeared to be a sandy base.
However, the scene changed as people entered the water!
It’s green color turned to a muddy brown! The lake’s base was not sand but clay dirt!
Most of the people who entered stayed in, either because they didn’t really realize they were swimming in muddy water, or they chose the momentary refreshment of the water over it’s potential health hazard.
As I sat on the shore watching all of this, it caused me to realize how deceptive things in life can be sometimes.
We can easily get mislead by things that seemingly look good.
Once we enter into them we may not notice how bad they are because we are in the midst of it enjoying the moment, but in the long term we may find the things have done us harm.
Or, we may see they are unsavory, however once involved, we decide to overlook the danger in favor of self satisfaction, or just because everyone else is doing it
This is where we should take wise counsel to heart, because those who are sitting on the shore can see the whole picture. They can issue a warning, and if they do, we should listen and obey.
As believers we are blessed to have the Holy Spirit as our guide and God’s Word which is truth. If we listen and obey them we should not get caught up any of life’s muddy waters .
Posted in Daily Blessings--2014
Tagged believers, bible, blessing, choices, deceiving, deception, God, God's word, good, guidance, guide, Holy Spirit, hot day, lake, life, listen, muddy brown, muddy water, obey, truth, unhealthy, water
Colossians 3:15 says: “…let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.”
What comes to mind when you hear the word “peace”?
Serenity, quiet, calm, freedom from disturbances, no problems?
Yes, peace can be all that, but it can also be much more.
In fact, the Peace that Jesus gives us believers, can be found in chaos.
His Peace is not dependent on outer circumstances, for it dwells within us.
A good example of this would be in some events that unfolded in my life recently.
I was awakened early one morning by a text message from my bank. It said my account was over-drawn.
My half-awake mind tried to process the validity of this as I got up to find my checkbook.
Not being an early morning person, my day already had the tendency to be off to a bad start.
Then, my grand-daughter, who was spending a few days with me, woke up and said “Happy Friday the 13th!”
Now, I am not superstitious, but under the circumstances I was a little bit tempted to be swayed towards negativity.
In looking over my checkbook, I could not find any reason that my account should be overdrawn, but because I and grand-daughter had
a busy day planned, I decided to just deposit some money from my savings into the account and deal with going in to talk with the bank
on another day.
After an un-eventful breakfast we drove to the ATM where I planned to withdraw some money from my savings.
The ATM had a sign “Out of Order”.
Going inside, I told the teller, and she said since I have e-banking only, I would have to drive around and use the drive up ATM because
if she processed my transaction she would have to charge me a fee.
Trying to keep my cool, I left and proceeded to the drive-up ATM, which of course, had two cars ahead of me.
Then it started to pour rain, on what was supposed to be a bright warm sunny day.
What did I do? Did I lose my temper? Did I let frustration overcome me? Did I get discouraged and blame it on “Friday the 13th”?
No! Because something inside of me said “enough is enough” I was not going to let the enemy steal my joy and destroy my peace.
Right then, I prayed out loud—“In the name of Jesus Christ, I will not be tormented! I will not be oppressed! In Jesus’ name I have peace!”
As I claimed the day for Jesus, a peace came over me and the enemy retreated. Instead of just going to deposit the money in the supposedly overdrawn account I decided to take the time to go inside the bank and talk with them. I prayed for God’s favor.
I ended up being greeted by a very pleasant young lady banker who reviewed my account and finding no errors, credited the overdraft fee back into my account and got everything all straightened out for me very easily.
When I went outside the rain had stopped and the sun was shining. My grand-daughter said “Well, I guess that prayer worked!”
That gave me an opportunity to witness to her about faith, belief and the peace that believers have in Jesus. It is not just about saying a prayer “that works” but living a life where we are in constant communication with the One in whom we believe—receiving His peace as we abide in Him.
Do things always work out easily or with out problems? No, but Jesus’ peace can be felt in the midst of the chaos or problem, for His peace does not depend on circumstances.
In John 16:33 Jesus said: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Timothy 1:2 NKJV
Posted in Daily Blessings--2014
Tagged 2 Timothy 1:2, 54 Spiritual Blessings in Christ, abiding, account, awakened, bad start, bank, belief, believe, believers, blessing, busy day, calm, chaos, Christ, circumstances, claimed, Colossians 3:15, communication, day, dependent, discouraged, disturbances, dwells, early, enemy, enough, events, faith, Father, freedom, Friday 13th, frustration, God, God's favor, good example, grace, half awake, hearts, Jesus, Jesus Christ, June 2014, Leona J. Atkinson, life, Lord, mind, money, morning, negativity, opportunity, oppressed, overcome, overdrawn, Peace, pleasant, pray, prayer, problems, process, quiet, rain, reason, retreated, rule, savings, serenity, straightened out, superstitious, swayed, temper, tempted, tendency, testimony, text message, tormented, trouble, unfolded, validity, within, word, world
Recently I was “blindsided.” Blindsided means an attack that seemly comes out of nowhere, because the impact hits in such a place where vision is limited, or in an area where a person is vulnerable.
I am sure you have heard the phrase, “ Wow! That came out of nowhere!” or “I didn’t see that coming!” Also, if you are a football fan you know that blindsiding is often practiced in that sport.
My recent blindsiding experience was not physical, but spiritual, and it was aimed at shaking my faith, however, it also did affect me physically.
One evening I was talking with someone whom I love dearly about a totally positive prospect. This person was planning to fulfill a long desired dream and they were relating recent happenings that they thought might lead them to achieving their goal. As I listened in agreement, all of a sudden—“out of the blue”—they said something totally off subject and out of character for them! Instantly it was as if my breath was knocked out of me! When I was able to recover my speech, I shouted “What! What are you saying!” Yet this person, whom I am sure now was someone other than the person I loved, continued speaking of this outrageous, ungodly idea. At the time, I was so totally confused, hurt and shocked that I had to end the conversation. Then, feeling completely overwhelmed, I began to cry.
I found myself so debilitated that I was not even able to pray. Quickly, I called a godly sister in the Lord, who “just happened” to be at her weekly bible study/prayer meeting. “I need help” I said. She instantly prayed for me for strength and then said she would have her group pray also. Soon, my tears ceased and I felt my strength returning.
I was able to “pick myself up” from where I had fallen by opening my bible and reading words of help and hope. As I grew stronger I was able to cry out to the Lord in prayer and stand firm in His power and strength.
Later, when I talked with my sister in the Lord about the experience, I told her how I felt I had been completely knocked off my feet, breath taken away, unable to speak or pray, yet the Lord did renew my strength. I realized since my faith was in Christ, that I was standing on the Rock, and even though the blindsiding knocked me down, I fell onto that firm foundation of Christ, where I was able to regain the strength in my inner man that I had been blessed with in Christ. Therefore, I was able to rise again renewed and refreshed in my faith. As His word says I was “strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man…” Ephesians 3:16.
I wanted to share this experience with you, so that you could see how these spiritual blessings are indeed alive and active in our daily lives. Isaiah 40:29 says: “He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.” Thanks be to God, who has blessed us in Christ with a firm foundation in which to stand in this Spiritual Blessing of Strength!
As a follow up note to this experience, a few days later I did talk with the person again. When I asked them about our previous conversation, they said they wanted to totally apologize for what they had said. They said that they didn’t understand why they had said what they said that evening, because it was not really what they meant at all. That, to me, was a testimony that the enemy had indeed somehow entered the conversation that evening just to blindside me. In the future, I hope that I will be more aware of his tactics and be better prepared to handle his attacks. However, what he meant for evil, God used for good in many ways in my life, and for that, I am grateful for this experience.
Posted in Daily Blessings--2014
Tagged attack, bible, blinded, blindsided, blindsiding, Christ, enemy, Ephesians 3:16, evil, experience, faith, firm foundation, football, godly, good, impact, increases, Isaiah 40:29, life, Lord, might, out of the blue, physical, power, pray, prayer, prepared, renew, Rock, scripture, shaking, spiritual, Spiritual Blessing, stand, strength, vision, vulnerable
Last month I remember reading in the news about the discovery of a rare blue diamond in a mine in South Africa. It was the size of an acorn and was worth millions of dollars. Previously, other rare diamonds had been found in that same mine which were also very valuable.
I am sure the company that owes the mine is very pleased to have found such riches.
Many people would love to have found such monetary wealth, however, as we have often seen, money and/or material possessions are not something that automatically brings happiness, for many people with such wealth are not happy.
Money is necessary in this life to purchase the things we need, however, many people who “have it all”, money and material wise, often say their life is empty or unfulfilled.
So what good are riches if they don’t bring happiness ?
There are riches that do offer happiness.
They are God’s spiritual blessings in Christ.
As believers, we have many riches in Christ, in fact, scripture tells us that we have “exceeding riches” ! (Ephesians 2:7)
Riches are not just defined as monetary, they can be large amounts of possessions, but not necessarily material possessions.
Riches are also good things that are available to use. Scripture tells us that “every good and perfect gift comes from abpve” (James 1:17)
Therefore, believers have been given many good and perfect gifts, treasures and riches from God, our heavenly Father.
Some of them are the redemption we have through Christ’s shed blood, the forgiveness of sins, the riches of God’s grace and mercy.
They are the blessings of God’s kindness and favor towards us, the peace we have in Christ, and the wisdom, power, and might of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.
God has richly blessed us everything we need daily to live successfully in this world. We are rich in Him. We need nothing more.
So let’s think upon this and stop looking to the world or our flesh for our supply. Let’s begin using the riches God has provided us with. Let’s begin digging deep in His word where we will find golden nuggets of truth that will be even more valuable than any blue diamond ever could be. Let’s walk in the many blessings we have been given and we will soon discover how rich we really are!
Posted in Daily Blessings--2014
Tagged 54 Spiritual Blessings in Christ, believers, bible, blessings, blue diamond, Christ, daily, digging deep, discovery, dwells, empty, Ephesians 2:7, exceeding riches, forgiveness, gems, God, golden, golden nuggets, good gift, good things, grace, happiness, happy, Holy Spirit, James 1:17, Jesus, life, looking, material, mercy, might, millions of dollars, mine, monetary, money, need, nuggets, Peace, perfect gift, possessions, power, provided, rare, redemption, rich, riches, richly blessed, sins, South Africa, spiritual, successful, supply, think, treasures, unfiulfilled, valuable, wealth, wisdom, word, world
Recently I came to hear of an interesting idea called “My One Word”.
It is based on a book titled “My One Word” written by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen
The idea is that, in the New Year instead of making resolutions, we should pick just one word to focus on for the year.
This word would be something that you hope God would do in you during the year. The thought is that by doing so, this one word focus could perhaps change your life.
I have not read the book—yet—but I may do so. However, I did pick my word for this year, only because I had felt prompted to do so
even before hearing about this one word idea. My one word was in my mind even before the New Year began and it was based on
something I had written back in 2009 that I hoped someday I would use as a foundation for a new devotional series on my ministry website.
Well, this seemed to be the year I was to do that, because the feeling was still strong after I prayed long and hard about it.
Therefore, on January 2nd I began my new devotional series titled “P-O-W-E-R” which focuses on believers living in the power of the Holy Spirit.
I also felt led to begin a new scripture memorization titled
“His Power”–which focuses on memorizing “power” scriptures from the bible.
Both of these decisions I feel are something God wants to do through me, as neither are easy tasks, and not something I feel could be done without His help.
So, it is my hope that as I do what He seems to want done, that I too will come to know more about His Power and how I might live in it daily.
Therefore, when I heard about the “My One Word” idea, it was not difficult for me to choose my one word for this year–it is indeed “Power”
It is my hope this year “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, Philippians 3:10 NKJV”
For I, as a believer, have been blessed to receive His Power–the Holy Spirit–within me. Therefore, I want to know more how to use that Power in my daily life.
I want to know more how to walk in the Spirit, and pray in the Spirit, and just live my life daily in the Spirit’s power and then to also share what I learn with others.
Such a blessing should be recognized and put to use daily–don’t you agree?
Perhaps all we believers should choose the word “Power” to focus on this New Year!
Wouldn’t it be amazing to see what happened if we all did!
“P-O-W-E-R” Daily Devotional http://www.smilegodlovesyou.org/DD/
“His Power” Weekly Scripture Memorization Group http://www.smilegodlovesyou.org/mindfulgroup.html
“My One Word” http://myoneword.org/
Posted in Daily Blessings--2014
Tagged "My One Word", believers, bible, blessed, blessing, book, change, daily, decisions, focus, foundation, God, groups, help, His Power, Holy Spirit, hope, idea, January, know, life, live, living, Mike Ashcraft, Mind Full of Him, ministry, new devotional, New Year, one word, P-O-W-E-R, Philippians 3:10, pray, prayed, Rachel Olsen, resolutions, resurrection, scripture, scripture memorization, SGLY Ministry, smilegodlovesyou, thought, walk, year
Christmas….it comes into our lives and changes things…once it enters, nothing is the same.
Those were my thoughts yesterday as I packed away the rest of my Christmas decorations.
Nothing interrupts, invades, or changes my life and surroundings like Christmas does.
My ordinary days, surrounded by everyday mundane things, are suddenly transformed by Christmas!
A tiny Christmas village completely overtakes the table in front of my window, and the other table in my hallway holds a small Christmas Tree filled with various sentimental ornaments collected over the years. Varied other decorations are placed here and there around the house, a nativity, an advent wreath….all reminders of Christ’s birth. Christmas Carols, Christmas Cards, and Christmas lights all add to the joy of the season.
Oh, my home and life are so changed by Christmas, just as the world was changed, on that first Christmas so many years ago!
For when Christ came, His presence changed this world forever.
His birth was a miracle–one never to be repeated–It was a life changing event for many.
His birth interrupted some shepherds ordinary night, and their life was forever changed.
His birth transformed a lowly stable into the birthplace of a King.
As His star shone in the sky it changed the lives of the wisest of men.
His coming changed the world then and it is still changing lives now.
How blessed we believers are to know Him and celebrate His birth as Christmas.
How blessed we will be to be a part of His second coming–which will change our lives even more!
“looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” Titus 2:13 NKJV
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20 NKJV
Posted in Daily Blessings--2014
Tagged birth, birthplace, blessed hope, blessing, celebrate, change, Christ, Christ's birth, Christmas, Christmas Cards, Christmas Carols, Christmas decorations, Christmas lights, Christmas tree, decorations, glorious appearing, God, great, home, interruption, Jesus Christ, King, life, lives, miracle, mundane things, ordinary days, Revelation 22:20, Savior, second coming, shepherds, shone, sky, stable, star, suddenly, thoughts, tiny Christmas village, Titus 2:13, transformed, village, wise men, world
I remember as a kid I thought my dad was the greatest. In my mind he was good at everything and could do anything.
He worked two jobs for many years but he always seemed to have some time to spend with his family. I remember him teaching me to how to fish, play baseball, and pluck chickens. I learned a lot about nature from him. There were winter walks where we would search for different animal or bird tracks in the snow and he would teach me how to identify each one or fall excursions to check out the different leaves and trees. Springtime would find us berry picking in the woods where he would show me all the different wild flowers. Once I got in a heated argument with one of my friends over whose dad was the best. It was the classic “Whatever your dad can do, mine can do it better” type of thing. However, even though I thought my dad was the greatest, in reality he was just a human who had limitations just as we all do.
But… in Christ, all of us Believers do have the Best Dad of all! Our Father in Heaven is Almighty. He has no limitations. With Him all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)
‘He is able to do exceeding abundantly,’ so abundantly that it exceeds measure and description.” (Charles Spurgeon)
Whatever good thing you can think of to ask for—God can do far more above that.
Whatever great thing you might imagine to do—God can do it greater
Anything that you can think of or dream of, do or accomplish—God can do it above that.
He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, (Ephesians 3:20) Believers, His Spirit is within us, that is the power that works in us to enable us to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. God is able to do this in our life now. We don’t have to wait for heaven. His power is at work in us now!
Consider these questions:
- Since God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that you ask or think, how do you think God would work “exceedingly abundantly” in your life?
- Since His power works in you, how does that affect your daily life?
- Have you experienced His Exceeding Abundance in your life or in the lives of others?
- What do you think God wants to abundantly accomplish in your life?
- What good or great thing can you think of to ask God for or imagine yourself doing for Him?
Remember: You are His child. He is your Almighty Father and “Therefore he is able to do all things, and able to do superabundantly above the greatest abundance.” (Clarke)
Realize what you have been given in Christ, claim it and use it daily to bring Him glory! I guarantee Your Heavenly Father has no limitations to what He can accomplish through your life as His power works in you ! Start living in Exceeding Abundance today !
Posted in Daily Blessings 2012
Tagged abundance, almighty, believer, bible, Charles Spurgeon, Christ, dad, Ephesians, exceeding, Father, God, greatest, heavenly, life, Matthew, power