Thursday, September 3, 2015

His Word Goes Out

For each of of the next 21 days, I will be sharing specific ways believers can set themselves apart for Christ through prayer, fasting, and intentional focus. Today continues"setting yourself apart by..."


There is nothing more worthwhile than investing time in learning Scripture. It takes discipline and determined effort, but memorizing God's truths will yield results for the rest of your life.

I cannot tell you how many times I've been in the middle of a struggle and God has brought to mind a verse I memorized years before. With no effort after the initial memorization, I'm given comfort and assurance when I most need it. God says in Isaiah that when His word goes out, "it always produces fruit." I've seen it for myself.

Post your #PrayerRequest on Instapray.com Download the free prayer app. #Pray with the world -----> www.instapray.com: Post your #PrayerRequest on Instapray.com Download the free prayer app. #Pray with the world -----> www.instapray.com
instapray.com

If you're not sure how to go about committing Scripture to memory, there are some very practical steps you can take.

One method that has worked for me is write a verse on an index card and post it somewhere you will see it multiple times a day. I had Psalm 91:1 on my vanity mirror years ago, and to this day I remember the words "Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."

I've also carried around a small spiral-bound set of index cards with my memory verses on them and pulled it out when there were spare minutes.

You can even set a verse to be the lock screen on your phone.

Whatever method you use, Scripture memory is a spiritual discipline that truly makes a difference for you. You will be telling yourself divine truth throughout the day, and in future hardships, God will remind you of it. 

Today's Prayer: "Lord, give us an insatiable desire to know what You have said. Let us not rely on what we hear from the mouths of others but meditate on what came from your heart. Give us the discipline and desire to dedicate our minds to You."

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Steeped in Truth

For each of of the next 21 days, I will be sharing specific ways believers can set themselves apart for Christ through prayer, fasting, and intentional focus. Today begins "setting yourself apart by..."


Setting yourself apart as one who is fully devoted to God requires something so obvious you might not even think of it.

To be set apart for Him, you have to know Him.

I don't mean knowing with your brain the things you've heard about Him or even knowing Him as your Savior. To be devoted wholeheartedly, you have to understand His character - who He is at His core.

Without an understanding of God's character, you will find yourself wondering if He really loves you, if His plans really are good, if this faith thing really is worth it. But once you know Him, you know those things. Once you know who He is, you know how He'll act. No, you might not be able to tell what's coming or what He will allow into your life, but you'll know that everything is for good. You'll trust that everything comes from love. And sometimes knowing is half the battle.

Jeremiah 32:17 ~ There is nothing too hard for You: Jeremiah 32:17 ~ There is nothing too hard for You
taidyeoriginal.blogspot.com

A.W. Tozer said, "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us."

When you think about God, what do you think? Who do you imagine?

Do you envision God as a divine judge with a gavel, condemning you for every mistake?

Do you picture Him as a disapproving father for whom nothing is ever good enough?

Do you think that because He knows it all, He rejects you for your ways?

Too often, we paint our pictures of God with the brushstrokes of humanity, giving Him human failures and frailties. We associate him with humans who have failed us, and we cast Him in the light of those we can see.

God cannot be limited by our finite understanding.

He is only good when humans are often bad.

He is only loving when humans often hate.

He is always patient when humans hurry.

God is not a human, and to set yourself apart for Him, you have to understand that. You have to read what His word says about Him, and you have to commit those words to the deepest parts of yourself.

To be set apart you must be steeped in truth.

Today's Prayer: "Lord, I repent of all the times I have held a wrong view of you, limiting your omniscience to the power of a man. You say that nothing is too hard for you (Jeremiah 32:27), yet I question whether you can act on my behalf. Even more, I question whether you will. Remind me that your always loving nature remembers me and will never forsake me. God, show me more of who you really are. Erase my wrong notions and replace them with truth."

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

For Such a Time

For each of of the next 21 days, I will be sharing specific ways believers can set themselves apart for Christ through prayer, fasting, and intentional focus. Today continues the theme of "setting yourself apart because..."


You were created to exist in this very moment.

There is nothing accidental about who you are, and there is no mistake in where you are. Every aspect of your life is working together as part of Christ's divine plan. Even the parts of your life you wish could be changed are serving a God-ordained purpose. 

the NKJV is slightly different, but it does still give the same message of God calling us into certain situations.: the NKJV is slightly different, but it does still give the same message of God calling us into certain situations.
kelly-place.com

Your purpose in God's kingdom is why you are to set yourself apart. Because of God's great desires to work in you, Satan has great plans to attack you. Without deliberate action on your part to pursue Christ and his ways, you will fall prey to Satan's ploys and his ways. It is only through setting yourself apart that you can withstand, and it is only through setting yourself apart you can understand.

No one accidentally falls into a godly lifestyle, and no one accidentally becomes righteous. Choosing to seek God's face - deliberately - is the next step for all believers, no matter where and what they are.

Today's Prayer: "Lord, today we say your words back to you and claim them for ourselves.  'My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, LORD, I will seek.' (Psalm 27:8). In all parts of our lives, it is our desire to see you. It is our need to hear you, and it is our hope to find you. May you find us faithful in relentless pursuit of you."


Monday, August 31, 2015

A Wretch Like Me

For each of of the next 21 days, I will be sharing specific ways believers can set themselves apart for Christ through prayer, fasting, and intentional focus. Yesterday began a three-day series in "setting yourself apart because of..." 


I really am a miserable human being.

Every single day, I behave selfishly. I put my own needs before others, and I look out for my own comfort more than the legitimate needs of those around me.

I covet and am jealous, am impatient and unkind, and want what suits me rather than what builds Christ's church.

I am a wretch. 

It's only when we stop to consider how undeserving we are that grace truly begins to look amazing.

God's AMAZING GRACE!!! It is also HIS power to intervene for us, protect us, heal us, restore, bless, etc. HIS power is unlimited, and unfailing.
whatsyourgrief.com

Grace, according to one source, is God's gift to us that is "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved" (The New Dictionary of Theology).

Not one of us humans would deliberately set out to give good things to people who have cursed us and rejected us. We would never desire to spend time with those who mock us or show spite in the face of kindness. We just wouldn't - but Christ did.

You and I have, in our sin, rejected Christ. We have behaved wretchedly to the One who only loved us, and we deserve to have Him turn his back on us and leave us without hope. 

We deserve damnation, but because of grace, that totally unexpected and undeserved gift, we have a hope and a future.

Because of grace, we are free from sin's shackles.

Because of grace, we have seen His glory.

Because of grace, we have been saved.

Amazing grace, indeed.

Today's Prayer: "Father, I confess to you my innate wickedness. There is nothing good in me, and even my good deeds are like filthy rags. The only hope I have is your spirit in me, so I beg you today to fill my emptiness with more of you. Remind me often of my true condition and help me see the wonder that your grace really is. Not only that, but help me to share its wonder with those who don't know! Grace like this must be shared, and I pray that I will be a testimony in all I say and do."

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Because of Love

For each of of the next 21 days, I will be sharing specific ways believers can set themselves apart for Christ through prayer, fasting, and intentional focus. Yesterday was "despite your lack of knowledge," or to read from the beginning, click here. Today begins a three-day series in "setting yourself because of..." 


Fasting is making me hungry. 

Duh, I know, but deliberately going without so many of the foods I normally eat is making my stomach growl, and as more time passes, it's also making it harder to do what I normally do. Yesterday at the gym, running three miles was much more taxing on me than it normally is. (If I've learned anything from watching that crazy show Naked and Afraid, it's that we need protein. And that I'm so grateful we wear clothes.)

Fasting doesn't make me super-spiritual. Disciplining myself with what I eat doesn't make my physical body any less hungry, and today it didn't even make me crave those cookies at Ingle's any less. 

Why, then, do I do it? If it's not a magic portal into a more spiritual realm, why am I denying myself? What's the big deal?

It's this: when I purpose to detach myself from the world, I am making room to attach myself to God. 

Every time a hunger pain or craving hits, I am prompted to pray when I otherwise might not be. My denial of myself sets up more opportunities to worship Him. I fast to show my love to the One who first loved me.

...amazing love be unto you...in Christ...And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said unto them," Receive ye the Holy Spirit;" John 20:22
letitbebeautiful.com
There is nothing magical about fasting, but we do it because of the all-consuming love that was shown to us. We fast so we will be more consumed with God than the things that so easily distract us. 

Our enemy wants us to forget the enormity of the sacrifice Christ made. He wants us to forget the beatings, the public execution, the spear in the side and the hanging on the cross. When we do, it's easier for our faith to appear burdensome and for us to make light of the grace we were shown. 

This is why we fast, so that through our small sacrifices we are reminded of His. It's only because of love that we live, and it's only because of love we have hope. May we all check our motives today and ensure that whatever we've given up, our motivation is love.

Today's Prayer: "Lord, remind us of the greatness of your love for us. It's so easy to listen to the shouts of the world that bemoan and mock your existence, but we pray for ears to hear your still, small voice whispering love. We ask you not to ease the pangs we feel from our fasts but if anything, to strengthen them. Let every pain we feel remind us of the pain you endured on our behalf. Let our sacrifices only serve to remind us of yours, motivated only by the purest love."

Saturday, August 29, 2015

I'm Not a Smart Man

For each of of the next 21 days, I will be sharing specific ways believers can set themselves apart for Christ through prayer, fasting, and intentional focus. Yesterday was "despite your failures," and today is "despite your lack of knowledge."


Jesus doesn't need you to be a scholar.

It's intimidating, sometimes, to navigate the world of Christianity. With words like exegesis and justification and substitutionary atonement floating around, it can be understandably easy to get confused and feel, well, dumb.

10 Words That You’ve Probably Been Misusing (As a former editor, I have to say this is a really good list.)
hellogiggles.com
There are more books than you could ever read lining Christian bookstore shelves, and you may feel like you need a degree in theology to understand just what it is you believe.

The good news is you don't.

You don't have to understand the nuances of Christian doctrine to follow Christ. You just have to believe. 

You don't have to be able to define the terms to follow Christ. You just have to follow. 

You don't have to be an expert. You just have to be you, devoted to Him.

Today's Prayer: "Lord, you tell us to come to you like little children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. In a world where we're constantly confronted by all we don't know, it can be hard to have the faith of a child, because we think we should have the knowledge of a scholar. While it is a privilege to have access to scholarly books and unlimited knowledge, sometimes we need to forget all the facts and just focus on you. Let us never be tempted to worship what we know instead of Who we know."


Friday, August 28, 2015

Perfectly Weak

For each of of the next 21 days, I will be sharing specific ways believers can set themselves apart for Christ through prayer, fasting, and intentional focus. Yesterday was "despite a lack of time," and today is "despite your failures."


Call me a classic perfectionist. 

My whole life, I've wanted to do things right. Not just right, but perfectly. Better than anyone else. I've had a need - a compulsion, really - to excel. So for someone like me, not being excellent is more than just an inconvenience. It's a nightmare.

Messing up comes with being human, though. No matter how hard we work or how much effort we give, we will fall short - and sometimes fall on our faces. It's true in our jobs, our parenting, our marriages, and even our walks with the Lord. Failures happen. We mess up. 

Inspirational Quotes Of The Week | #inspiration #levo
shewearsmanyhats.com
When we look in the mirror and see nothing but mistakes, God sees righteousness. He sees the blood of His son covering all of our shortcomings, and He doesn't write us off. He doesn't have a supernatural scorecard where He rates us like we rate ourselves. Our failures don't disqualify us from being His children. Rather, our weaknesses are opportunities for His grace. His "power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:19).

Grace is never an excuse for giving less than your all, but failure is never an excuse for giving up. 

Regardless of what mistakes you made this week, God is making you new. Rest in the knowledge that you - because you are His - are enough.

Today's Prayer: "I could list way after way I have failed this week. I have failed you, I have failed my family, I have failed myself. But Lord, you promise that you will never leave me, so I need your presence in those failures. I need you because of them and through them. Remind me that I am not the sum of my mistakes, and that no matter what, you take great delight in me. Rejoice over me with your singing, Lord, and let my soul hear the tune."