Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Have you ever thought that you, your spouse, or your children had committed some sin(s) that would cause God to refrain from blessing your family? While it is true that the consequences of our lives most often reflect the sum total of the decisions we have made, this doesn't mean there is no hope for a fresh, new start, with Christ... no matter how broken the road of life may seem.
The Lord wants to restore the joy of our salvation!
The only requirements are...
That we repent from our wrong doings. (Repent means 'to change'.)
Then, we place all of our hope in the promises of God's Word.
Like Abraham, we are seen as righteous in the Lord's eyes WHEN WE BELIEVE THAT GOD WILL DO WHAT HE SAYS HE WILL DO - not because we deserve it, but because He is faithful!
Like many of you, my life has had certain twists and turns resulting from poor choices made by either me or my spouse. Then again... some of my life's pitfalls were simply the result of pro-longed situations and circumstances that I had no control over. I too, was once in a place where doubt and unbelief threatened my heart with lies that better days would never come. As fear chanted, "Doom, gloom, and despair", it would have been easy to rationalize God disqualifying me (or our family) from any sort of deliverance. The enemy of my soul would certainly want me to think we were unsuited for any sort of future blessings from God.
Praise the Lord for His mercy and grace! Praise God for second chances! Praise Him for His promises!
I'm thinking of an 'aha' moment with the Lord from Ezekiel 36:22. It is here that God's Word refreshed my soul - once wearied from what seemed to be a never ending fiery trial - giving me hope for a bright future:
"Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went."
Hallelujah! God wants to sanctify us in the eyes of the world (the heathen) as we confess our wrong doing, repent, and then trust Him for divine protection from shame and defeat. His Word declares He will sprinkle 'clean water' upon us, making us clean from all of our filthiness (Ezekiel 36:25). He says He will do this for His name's sake and not because we deserve it. To me, that's refreshingly GOOD NEWS. That's news that I can completely put my hope and faith in.
Has someone wronged you in such a way that bitterness and oppression have 'dirtied' the very core of your soul? Maybe you or your spouse have made poor choices, resulting in consequences that have put you into a 'dirty' deep ditch; one so deep that it seams there is no way you'll ever be able to recover. Or, perhaps someone in your family (you, your spouse, or your child) just became born-again after a long history of sinful 'and dirty' behavior; now, you are having a hard time believing that God wants to restore the physical realm in addition to the spiritual realm.
Though you want to believe for God's best, the enemy of your soul threatens to lock you into the curse by saying...
"You've gone too far. God may allow you into heaven, but He'll never allow you to live in the blessings of this present life. You are dirty - forever marked with a curse."
The devil is a LIAR!
God says He'll not only give those who cry out to Him (those with sincere remorse over their sinful behavior) a new heart and new desires, but He will also restore their lives - not because they deserve it, but for His name's sake! God will take you from a life of desolation to a life that flourishes like the garden of Eden (Ezekiel 36:35)!
Be encouraged today knowing that God wants to take the dry bones of your life - the most hopeless and dead dream you may have - and breathe life back into it (Ezekiel 37:5). He wants to raise you up with life abundantly and joy unspeakable.
Like Ezekiel, 'I' prophesy to YOUR dry bones...
"God will put His spirit in you and you shall live! You will have peace in your own land and you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of despair and hopelessness. Only trust Him with a cleansed heart of FAITH... faith that believes God's Word... and faith that trusts in God's love."
My friend, the Lord loves you, your spouse, and your children! He has good plans for you. There is always a bright future for those who place their faith in the Word of the Lord; for He is good and His mercy endures forever.
Life is never hopeless with Christ Jesus. He is our hope. He is our peace. He is our future.
If you are a child of the King, He will deliver you - for His names sake... not yours. Trust Him today and praise Him in advance for His goodness.
"And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord." - Ezekiel 37:13-14
Deborah Ross Ministries
Strengthening Families & Encouraging Women
Monday, February 2, 2009
"OBEDIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE...
THAT DOESN'T GROW WEARY"
Galatians 6:9 "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
Do you want to know God intimately and walk with him like Enoch? Would you like to have the faith of Abraham? How about the zeal of Paul? What about the radiant beauty of Esther or the bravery and leadership qualities of Deborah? Do you want to be humble like Mary?
Though these hero's of the faith were not perfect, they all sought to please God by persevering through difficult times. In our Bible, not only do we read about the triumphant victories of great men and women of God, but we also get to peer into their weaknesses and downfalls, as well. It is through their life's example that each succeeding generation will have the opportunity to become more and more valiant as children of the King. It is from the journey's of others that we should learn what 'to do' and 'what not to do', as we press on, aiming to please God in all of our ways.
Today, I'd like to show you an example of how important it is to persevere, even when our trial may be many years in the makes. I want to encourage you to not grow weary in well doing. Don't give up, because your miracle could be just around the corner!
Let's look at the life of Moses for a moment. Moses is known for his faithful determination in leading the children of Israel out of bondage from Egypt, believing God for a peaceful land, a place flowing with milk and honey. For forty years, Moses led this massive crowd of whiny, unbelieving, self-centered relatives through the dessert.
God wanted the Israelites to shed their sinful ways. He wanted them to purge their souls from all thought of Egyptian influence 'before' they entered into their promised land called Canaan. For this reason, He allowed them to suffer many trials throughout their wilderness journey. This wilderness experience was a time for God to reveal His provision and faithfulness as the Israelites were forced to lean solely upon Him for their daily survival.
Even though God was always faithful to provide, their immaturity and lack of patience kept them longing to return to their past (settling for a false comfort) instead of looking toward the future (the coming day of complete deliverance and life abundantly in the land of Canaan).
In Exodus 17:1-7, we see where the Israelites camped in Rephidim, but there was no water for them to drink. And so, as expected, they whined and complained to Moses saying, "Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us?"
Desperate for wisdom of how to handle this mass of disgruntled followers, Moses prays to God asking for help in dealing with these unruly people - his people / even his relatives. God answers Moses by telling him to 'hit' a specific rock in front of all of the elders of the community while proclaiming God's promise; prophesying water to spring forth from the rock. (This water will quench the thirst of the people while revealing God's love and power as Moses stands - in faith - proclaiming God's promise... in front of the congregation.) Moses does as the Lord commands and everyone praises God for His faithfulness! Moses was obedient!
Then, in Numbers 20:8-12, once again the Israelites were perishing for water. When Moses seeks God for wisdom over what to do, this time his instructions are to 'speak' to the rock in front of the crowd while proclaiming God's promise to bring forth water. Unfortunately, in his frustration (perhaps 'weariness' in well doing) Moses 'hits' the rock, instead. (This seems reasonable since that is what God had him do the last time. Right?)
As he is hitting the rock, Moses calls the Israelites 'a bunch of rebels', and appears to be fed-up with their constant lack of faith in God. Amazingly, God does allow water to flow forth from the rock, quenching the thirst of the Israelites; but, He also rebuked Moses for his disobedience. The Lord tells Moses that he will never get to enter into Canaan, because of his "lack of obedience".
Can you believe that after all of those years, Moses doesn't get to enjoy the fruit of his labor, all because he got a bad attitude right before his breakthrough?
In Deuteronomy 32:48-52, God allows Moses to 'see' Canaan, but he does not allow him to enter in because of his disobedience; disobedience right at the end of his wilderness trial! Moses died... although his eyes were not dim and his strength was still great (Deut. 34:1-7). Even though he lived to be 120, Moses might have lived many more triumphant years in Canaan, had he not missed his chance by not following God's instruction - perhaps one last time before the breakthrough.
Although Moses is in heaven today, I think he would have loved to have led the march on into Canaan, shouting the victory that he had worked so hard to obtain. Instead, his protegee, Joshua, held the privilege of leading Israel into the promised land.
Our lesson today is one of 'staying faithful until the end'. Yes, your breakthrough could very well result from your next act of obedience to God's command. Perhaps your relatives are a 'bunch of rebels', like those of Moses. Maybe some of them act like the devil, himself. Or, perhaps your finances are out of whack, you've lost your job, your body is sick, your children are disobedient, your life is unfulfilled, or your mind is oppressed. Whatever your situation, God is still on the throne! His promises are true!
As you cry out to Him for help, He will give you specific instructions on how to obtain your victory... but you must do things HIS WAY... at each crossroads of decision. You must be obedient to His command - the voice of the Holy Spirit. Remember, every act of obedience gets you one step closer to YOUR breakthrough!
Dear brothers and sisters, don't grow weary in well doing. Don't become frustrated and fed-up during your trial (a time in the wilderness where God waits for someone - you or those close to you - to shed sinful ways, to be purged from habits of the past that bring bondage). For it is the trial of our faith that brings praise and honor and glory unto our Lord, Jesus Christ. Don't let your trial wear you down. Your breakthrough is very near!
1 Peter 1:7 "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:"
Deborah Ross Ministries
Strengthening Families & Encouraging Women