Tag Archives: #biblestudy

What Prevails in Your Life?

Many a saint and hero win the race by prevailing through dark times. Dark storm clouds gather yet they persevere and push on. Our history books ar full of this struggle! Good versus evil, right versus wrong. But what will the historian say about us? Will they write epitaphs of our courage? Will chapters be written about how we faced our fears and succeeded no matter the circumstances?

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I think that all depends on one little word with a great big meaning. I believe it’s in the word “prevail”.

It appears in Acts 19 in this context.

“So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed” Acts 19:20

What a usage! What a statement of fact! We have it on our wall by our door in our home. Every time I see that verse it encourages me.  It exhorts me! It pumps me up! What prevailed? The Word of God!

But first, it had to grow. It had to grow inside each individual person from the inside out. Our lot in life is not to simply suck air and hope things turn out great. We are destined for bigger things. Great things! But first we must work on us. IF the Word of God is going to prevail out in our schools, our work and our churches, it must first prevail in us.

Let’s take this a step further. What does prevail mean?

It is, as used here, the Greek word, “ischyo” and  it has several meanings.

  1. to be strong

    1. to be strong in body, to be robust, to be in sound health

  2. to have power

    1. to have power as shown by extraordinary deeds

      1. to exert, wield power, to have strength to overcome

    2. to be a force, avail

    3. to be serviceable

    4. to be able, can

Wow, right. that is one loaded word!  It has all the potential of massive amounts of creative and unyielding energy and power. It is agape love, earth triumphant forces of nature and God in manifestation doing the impossible all wrapped in one! I mean, WOWZAH! We don’t really see the emphasis until we see the rest of the usage. Let’s talk about that.

Where else is Ischyo used?

“But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole G2480need not a physician, but they that are sick.” Matthew 9:12

They that are powerful, prevailing and healthy need not a physician! Ha! They don’t need to be fixed, they are already living the abundant life, they are already seeing God work in powerful ways. They don’t need to be patched up and put together.

How about this one.

“And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.” John 21:6

“Not able” is the usage. There was so much fish, they could not prevail over them, they could not pull them into the boat.

“And they were G2480 not able G2480 to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.” Acts 6:10

Stephen spoke with so much wisdom that the words he spoke prevailed, they were not able to resist the wisdom. Wow! Just speak the Word, let it do the prevailing.

“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth G2480 any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” Galatians 5:6

Love prevails, not circumstances.

“I can do  all (G2480) things through Christ which strengtheneth me” Philippians 4:13

Now we’re getting somewhere! I can prevail over all things through Christ which strengthens me! WOW! What a usage! Are you stuck? Are you feeling less than prevalent? Let this word sink into and heal your soul!

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth G2480much.” James 5:16

I just love the Word of God! This is how it prevails! When we look at all the ways God used this word in His Word to heal us and take care of our hearts. Do we really need to wonder? Do we need to worry?

Take heart and be of a good courage my friend. Keep praying, keep going and know that God loves you and it’s Him and His power that will prevail, you have only to believe it and walk in it!

God bless you today!

3 Kinds of Hard Times and 1 Way to Prosper

At some point in your life you hear this phrase. “Tough times build your character.”

Then you think, “Okay, I have enough character!”

God promised us the more abundant life. Should that be enough to set us on the right track? After twenty some years studying the Word and bumbling through mistake after mistake myself, I’ve narrowed it down to three possible ways a person can fall on hard times, and but there’s only one way to prosper.

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We Get Hit With Temptations or Pressures by the Devil and Fall into Hard Times.

Our bodies and minds are very frail sometimes. We get tricked into thinking something is a good way to react to a pressure, or temptation and YAMMOAHH we are down for the count. Diseases, sickness, pleasures and temptations come crashing in and we are tossed around like a rag doll.

“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” Ephesians 4:14

I had a time in my life in my late teens, early twenties when I’d go party with my friends. After a few beers you forget which one is the designated driver and things went down hill fast. This lifestyle can be a habit. Habits are hard to break. We can make a habit out of having hard times, but it really bites.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

In the end, the wages of sin is death. This is a principle. Death as in “corrosion”. It corrodes our heart, our mind, our life, our finances and our motivation. Life on this rock without abundance, blessings upon blessings and the wealth of understanding or growth that comes from getting God’s wisdom and input.  The next way is…

We’ve heard the Word, but not enough to Believe on It

God has done a really huge thing for us. He gave us salvation but then he also asks us to renew our mind. God never does anything for us that He asked us to do for ourselves. It is on us to search out His wisdom. It is on us to learn His ways, His Word and His Will. He never forces it on us. It’s a personal choice to seek God and His truth.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” 2 Timothy 3:16

What I’ve seen people do is this. God exposes them to a better way to live their life, a smoother way to operate or a “correction”. Some of you who are sensitive to these little corrections catch on quicker, but some of us slow ones need a few reminders.  Let’s take these quick verses as an example.

“Be  ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;” Ephesians 5:1

The word followers is the Greek word “mimētēs” which means to mimick. So we are supposed to love like God loves, act like God acts. How do we find that out?

We go over to 1 Corinthians 13. This probably the most memorized and read section of scripture in the whole world. Keep in mind that God is LOVE.

“Charity (Love or Agape) suffereth long, and is kind; charity (love) envieth not; charity (Love) vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh (calculates and records) no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

This is a list of 15 characteristics of the love of God. God who is love is always longsuffering and kind. It or rather, God, is not easily provoked, nor does He calculate and record all our evil against us. If this is how He acts and we are supposed to be imitators of Him, it stands to reason that we should learn everything we can about these characteristics and try to incorporate them into our life.

When we know how we are supposed to act, but don’t do it. That’s on us. So we have to keep working on us. And really what would it hurt to work hard and do it? It’s not like we have to bleed and die on a cross or anything. Jesus Christ already did the hard part. We have the easy part! Lol…

Those kind of hard times make our prayer life a hit miss target practice. Our results are patchy and there are looming problems on the horizon.

The third way and the most dangerous way to mess up is…

We’ve heard enough of the Truth to believe, but choose not.

“But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” Matthew 10:33

God is no respecter of persons. He doesn’t judge based on what our status is at church or how long we’ve been a deacon. He sees if we have fulfilled the conditions of the promises in His Word. Of course there is mercy and grace by the tons. But when our actions are deliberate, conscious and against truth, we have tied His hands of blessing.

Reproof is the correction of error that has become a habit pattern or a doctrine in our lives.

Here’s the facts, we can’t possibly know everything about God. Either He is all-knowing and all-wise, or He isn’t and He fits in our man-made boxes of religion. I was told once that it takes a huge amount of spiritual maturity just to believe that God is good always. Ha! Imagine that one for starters. God is ALWAYS good. If that is true, we can’t blame Him for all the sickness and death in the world, we have to blame someone else.

There is only one right way to prosper, to seek Him.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

Seek and keep seeking. I know now that I have a long way to go before I get there. I’m always adjusting. In fact, just this morning I asked God who I need to apologize to and change my attitude towards. THERE was a LIST! Ha!

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” Romans 3:10

I think that’s why humility is such a big deal to God.

On that note, God bless you today!

Plant God’s Word, Grow the Abundant Life, Harvest His Love

In so doing that you will…

Avoid being Pigeon Holed

pigeon hole

Sometimes we get so hung up with what the Devil is promoting; death, disease, error, confusion we become defensive and then go on the defense. When really love is on the offense. Love moves forward, love takes the lead, love is constantly planting in new ground. We should always be asking God, “What’s next?” What can I do to bless this person or that person? What can I do to love without hypocrisy? What kindness can I bestow? How can I give when the pressure is on? Where do I go next on this path God? God might just tell you to smile at a total stranger.

God honors conditions.

What would you do if you had an employee who was always asking you those kind of questions about your company?  Here are some examples in the Word of that kind of heart.

“Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshing floors. Therefore David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah.” 1 Samuel 23:1-2

David asked, what do I do God? In that situation, David succeeded in battle. In fact, he did that over and over again. David did what it says in Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

But, you may say, I can’t hear God’s voice.

“For I am the LORD, I change not;” Malachi 3:6a

If He spoke to them then He still speaks today. He still moves today, and He’s still in the miracle business. But we must trust and let Him direct our steps, otherwise the conditions are not fulfilled and we will not see results.

We must become like Abraham became…fully persuaded.

“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” Romans 4:20-21

How do we become persuaded like that? We start with little things. Ask God what route to take to work today. Use short, “yes” or “no” questions, “left” or “right” questions. Start practicing with the baby steps. You are going to miss it more than you get it in the beginning. But then, when big situations come up, you will be tuned in. God wants you to treat every time like the first time. It’s easy to assume God wants you to do the same thing in each scenario, but resist the urge. That’s how Christians get pigeon-holed as kooks.

When He works within you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure as it says in Philippians 2:13 it is in the quiet of your mind. Let the answers drop into your thoughts. Its your will, your actions. You decide to do them. He never takes away your free will choice.

I’ve heard it said that you need to practice doing this at least 2,000 times before you will be sure you are hearing God over your own mind. Do you know what that means? Our society is so geared towards distraction that you have to really focus. In David’s day and time, he didn’t have internet, cell phones, traffic jams or television, a few bleating sheep were his constant companions when he got started.

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5

By the time he was in the midst of the roar of battle, he had practiced enough to hear God clearly working in his own spirit and mind. God does not change. He did it for David and He will do it for you too. It takes patience, perseverance and practice, but like anything worth doing, its work and worth getting it right. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t hear God right away. It will take time.

Practice, Practice, Practice

This is real and it takes time, but it will also get you out of the defense and onto the offense with God. God wants us to hone our spiritual abilities. He gave them to us after all. Hearing Him speak to you is a biggie. When you are so busy seeing God’s direction in your life you will be a hard one to pigeon-hole.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” Ephesians 1:3

God bless you today!

Let Your Little Light Shine Podcast

Hi!

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Did you miss our Supporting Godly Women Meeting last Wednesday night? No worries! Listen to it here. You can even listen on your smart phone by clicking the link below.

Topic: Letting your Light Shine

God Bless You Today!

Seasons Change, But Is Change Always for the Better?

Have you ever noticed that change sucks?

(I feel a rant coming on.) Sometimes there are cold fronts in relationships and changes in people around me and I don’t like it. They start avoiding me for no obvious reason and I get down. But, I can also relate. Oh yes, I fall victim too. Hey, I’m just being real with you. But…

Last night, I realized how those changes start and I caught it before the winds of change blew too strong in a situation and changed my heart and the relationship. Here’s what happened.

I started moaning and groaning about my “treatment”.

I felt, unappreciated. I felt like I had to go to all this trouble to fix dinner, and nobody acknowledged or realize it. The more I thought about it, the more I became upset.

pizza dinner-001

How many times in our life do we feel unappreciated? Do you feel that way too? Unnoticed? No one validates how you feel? Yep, that was me.

All I wanted was a, “Thank you”, or a, “Wow, you must have gone to a lot of trouble to do this great thing and I appreciate it.”

Then, I decided, mid-pity party, that I was way outside my normal M.O. My normal M.O. (mode of operation) was thankfulness for the hungry people in front of me. Or those that teach me new things and care about my life. Or, for those who are relieved and thankful for me too. Ha! That’s my normal M.O. The change was the complaining and the grumbling.

So, I prayed like this. “God, I feel totally sorry for myself right now, but I also don’t like it that no one understands how hard it is to cook for picky eaters. Food I work hard to put together, gets a slight wrinkled nose. Not, a ‘Wow I love this’.  I don’t like that God. But, I also don’t want to change my attitude towards them, because I love them. I love them a lot. Can you help me? Can you make me better, and make this situation better.” I said this prayer out loud and with all the emotion of a pissed off Mama. (Hey, just bein’ real with you.)

Suddenly, my heart calmed down.

I had prayed before deciding what to make, so I looked around my kitchen, through my “fix-only” options for dinner, and started throwing things together. It was a weird new dish, I’d never made before. When they sat down, there were raised eyebrows and silence. Like, “we have to eat that?”, was running through their minds.

My husband started dishing everyone up. Their smiles melted and they groaned, but in delight, not in disgust like I thought. My son, who  doesn’t like cheese, tasted the meaty middle and gave a surprised grunt and then sighed. I couldn’t believe it.

They gobbled it up like I served their favorite pizza.

They loved it! Then the compliments followed. They wanted to know how I came up with it and where I got the idea. They had two helpings, even my son! I am still shaking my head. Then it hit me, if I would have let that bad thought continue to prey on my attitude, I would have missed all that wonderful joy and satisfaction I gained later.

There’s the old saying, “You can’t help it when a bird poops on your head, but you can sure keep it from building a nest there.”

It’s about the renewed mind. The devil will always throw discouraging thoughts at our mind, but we can decide if we should dwell on them or not. He loves to make us think we are the victim of some unfair situation. But, and let’s be honest, how many times have we bled on a cross and died for some ungrateful sinners? Never!

When I think about that, it gets me real thankful, real fast. You and I live in the one of the best times in history, not to mention the most filled with opportunity. Are we going to focus on the positive or the negative? Don’t let the devil trick you out of the relationships, joy, abundance or prosperity in your thought life. Take control back. It’s your mind. You can think what ever you choose.

“29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:29-32

God bless you today!

 

Why Don’t Some People Change?

Have you noticed that some people never change for the better? They just stay in the same old ruts they were in, in their twenties, and by the time they are forty or fifty there isn’t that shift of maturity and growth. They just manage to be more opinionated about the same things. Sometimes these people come in and out of Bible Studies and meetings but you see them struggle with the same issues over and over. Do you know why that is?

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People can hold the truth of God’s Word, but it will never hold them unless they walk in it.

The biggest little commandment in the Word of God is do. “Do” causes change, growth, the abundant life even! But if we just listen but never put into practice the manifestations, or the principles of practice, we never get results.

It’s most obvious when the chips are down in a person’s life. Like in the Apostle Paul’s for instance. Here was a man who had a celebrated and high-ranking career as a Pharisee. He studied under one of the “Greats” of his time. If he asked for a request from the government, he was taken seriously. Very seriously. He thought he was doing God a favor by killing and imprisoning Christians. He was on the inside of everything political and religious in Jerusalem. He probably even attended the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. He was zealous over his opinions.

All that changed one day…

1 “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: [it is] hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. 8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought [him] into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.” Acts 9:1-9

Saul or Paul, had an encounter that threw every belief he held dear into the fire. What was he going to do? Now, he could have refused to change. He could have mouthed platitudes to God, or could’ve gone to the temple in that state of blindness and searched out help from one of his Pharisee buddies. Right? He could’ve went back to doing the traditional cleansing of his roots. He could’ve asked to be taken back to Jerusalem. But instead Saul/Paul, decided to DO what Jesus Christ asked, to the letter. He waited. It’s a good thing too, because another man named Ananias had a choice to “Do” God’s will as well.

“10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I [am here], Lord. 11 And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for [one] called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting [his] hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. 17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, [even] Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. 19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened.” vs. 10-19

We get results when we do.

Even if we are afraid, even if we doubt what we are hearing, we get the results when we do the Word of God and the Word is the Will of God.

What is God asking you to do? Has He been clear about a change in your life, but you refused to walk in His guidance? Why? What’s holding you back? Or more importantly, what do you have to lose? You’ve done things your way for your entire life, what could hurt to do things a little different for once and get amazing results?

I’d start here. Ask God; “If you were me God, what would you do today?”

God bless you!

Is Perfect Peace a Fairy Tale?

Perfect peace. Is it possible? What does it mean? Does it mean everything is still and quiet in the house? Does it mean that no problems exist? No drama? Not a peep of misunderstanding? Does it mean that you always know what to do in every situation, with every person you come across?

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Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:” Isaiah 26:3-4

These verses are taken from a chapter of upheaval in Israel. The children of Israel were dying. Their temple, their lands, their women were being invaded and here Isaiah, the prophet had to keep his calm. He had to encourage God’s people.

Let’s fast forward to just after Jesus died.

“Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. 11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, [and looked] into the sepulchre, 12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.” John 20 10-13

Imagine this moment for Mary. Here her teacher, savior and friend was supposed to be entombed and needing care. She had come from desperate grief and chaos to prepare him properly for the burial. But he was gone.

I’m going to play you an old song now by Dean Ellenwood.

“14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary.” vs. 14-16

He was alive!

Back to my question. How do we get to perfect peace? Sometimes we just have to remember that our savior has come, he conquered death so that we could live. He conquered it so we could really live! And some day soon he’s coming back for us.

Let those words sink deep into your heart and life. Jesus Christ is the prince of Peace, and God is the Author of if. Embrace the truth. Trust in it. No matter what chaos we have to deal with, we can be alive! ZoE is the Greek word for life, and it means to energize, liven, make a live and animate. We have life, and we have it more abundantly because of what Jesus Christ went through. Peace, is living in that truth.

God bless you today!