Thursday, April 24, 2014

Jeremiah 49-50: "Pushing Back the Dark"

Jeremiah 50:20

In those days and at that time, says the Lord, the iniquity of Israel will be sought, but there will be none, and the sins of Judah [will be sought], but none will be found, for I will pardon those whom I cause to remain as a remnant (the preserved ones who come forth after a long tribulation).

Abba's dealings with His chosen ones foreshadow His dealings with those saved by merciful Jesus!  It's comforting to rest in the thought that though my sins have been as scarlet, He sees me as white as snow.

Isaiah 1:18
Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool.

White as snow!!!

Not only is Jesus merciful, but lovingly creative in demonstrating His love.  I've lost count how many times I have asked Him to have a song play on the radio and then the song plays.  He knows how much music encourages and draws me into worship and prayer.  :)

The most recent song, "Pushing Back the Dark" by Josh Wilson, encourages me to continue allowing His light to shine.  His love, His light is desperately needed by those I contact.  His light drives away the darkness.  

Whatever you do, just don't look back.
Oh somebody needs the light you have.
Whatever you do, just don't lose heart.
Keep on pushing back the dark,
Keep on pushing back the dark.
He finds no iniquity in me, no sins, because He has pardoned me, and then He tells me to shine His light and love to others.  He demonstrates outrageous love!  That is my God!!!
I want to love others the way He has loved me!  I require His grace. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Get Shot, Give Praise!

Question for today...

You and 49 other people are in a bank. A robber comes in, fires, his gun once and you get shot in the right arm. Are you lucky or unlucky?

Ok, friends, this awesome question was posed by Pastor Charles Stock. It got me to thinking about CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) a type of therapy I use for my patients and myself. We interpret a particular situation using our mind. With our thoughts, we judge situations to be "good" or "bad," "lucky" or "unlucky." 

 I am NOT attempting to minimize the traumas that we all have suffered. What I am trying to say is the thoughts we think about those traumas will affect our brain chemistry. Powerful neurotransmitters are released in response to our thoughts, good or bad. These neurotransmitters affect our emotions, which in turn affect our behavior. 

 Back to the question. We all can agree that getting shot wouldn't be on most people's bucket list. But the types of thoughts we think about that "bad" situation can make us "feel" better or worse. Pastor Stock mentioned some responses. 

"Out of all the banks and all the days I could have gone to, the bank I choose is the bank a robber chooses. That's unlucky." 

 "You mean I am the one who gets shot when there are 49 other people in the bank. How unlucky." 

 Do you hear the negativity in these statements?

 How about these?

"Wow, I could have been shot in the head and been killed. That's lucky!" 

 My favorite response, "Wow, I stopped the bullet. Someone else could have been killed. I'm a hero! That's lucky!!!" 

We can apply this to our real life with real heartaches and real traumas. When we meditate on difficult situations with a "woe is me attitude," neurotransmitters, which can influence the development depression are released. When we face a situation for what it is whether hurtful or traumatic with a positive attitude, we stimulate our brain to release neurotransmitters, which induce peace and joy. 

God knows how He designed our brains. That's why the Ultimate Counselor tells us to keep our thoughts fixed upon Him and to think on things, which are pure and lovely. Friends, I am learning to keep my eyes upon my Abba, no matter what situation presents. The fiery darts of the enemy fly, sparking thoughts and emotional responses, but we don't need to allow the barrage. We can stand up with our shield of faith and stamp out the negative thoughts replacing them with praise! We can reach our hand out to others instead of being focused on our own problems. 

I am learning. You can learn too. Holy Spirit, empower us to keep our eyes on Jesus. During this Passover/Easter season, let us remember and be thankful for He did for us!!! He saved us. He is saving us. He will always save us! I am so thankful!!! I love you guys!!!

Amplified Bible (AMP)

8 For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].

Hebrews 12:2
Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Jeremiah 46-48: The Great I Am

The chapters listed in the reading for today speak of God's discipline against the Gentile nations of Egypt, Philistia, and Moab.  Jeremiah had the "privilege" of delivering a word of discipline from the Lord against these idolatrous nations. 

I've been mediating on these chapters for a few weeks now.  Often, I receive insight applicable for right here, right now.  

In short...

  • Don't worship idols.

  • Don't disobey God's direction.

  • If you do, there are consequences.

I think if those Gentile nations had had an encounter with the Living God, the Great I Am, they wouldn't have turned to their own ways, serving gods of metal, wood and stone.

I think if we have an encounter with the Living God, the Great I Am, we wouldn't turn to our own ways, serving gods of money, power, and self.

"Great I Am" is one of those songs with such a strong anointing, that I can feel it breaking chains.  The Great I Am pours out His grace on us to stand firm against temptation and gives us resolve to continually give ourselves to Him.

Feeling the Great I Am, God Almighty touch my soul causes the draws of this world to dim.  Suddenly, a holy power fills my heart causing me to dance supernaturally.  There is no idolatry in this place, no temptation, only angel voices singing.  Now I am passionately worshipping along with heaven  for One alone!!!

Friends, this is where we go to insulate ourselves from sin and temptation!!!

I have a long drive to work, and use that time to worship.  This morning, I thought about this song and pictured myself dancing for Jesus.  Guess what song played as I drove home tonight?
I love the way you love me, Great I Am.