devotions

You Are His Delight

February 1, 2015

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17, ESV).

In a legalistic world where everything must be done according to the rules, it’s quite difficult to believe that you are God’s delight. But it’s true! The Almighty Creator of the universe, the all-knowing (omniscient), all-powerful (omnipotent), and ever-present (omnipresent) God delights in you!

Many times, people’s upbringing, culture, family, or circumstances create a vague and hazy image of who God is to His children. Some church doctrines present an image of an angry, error-list-checking God and a never-good-enough standard where you are measured based on performance. All of this makes it incredibly difficult to believe that our God is slow to anger and abounding in love. But He is! (Check out Psalm 86:5, 15; Exodus 34:6; Psalm 103:8; Nehemiah 9:31.)

The context of Zephaniah 3 reveals that God’s people had sinned against Him, but the heading from verse 14 in my ESV Bible reads “Israel’s Joy and Restoration.” God’s people had sinned and fallen far short of His glory (Romans 3:23), but through His prophet, God was reminding them that He was in their midst and would save them, rejoice over them with gladness, quiet them with His love, and exult over them with loud singing.

Jehovah God is calling out to His daughters today to remind us that He is not angry with us. Jesus Christ has already paid for our sins. He took our place and our punishment (1 John 2:2), so we do not have to strive to be perfect or righteous. He is our righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Jesus Christ came not to condemn but to redeem you and to make you God’s delight. His blood and resurrection, along with the wonderful fellowship and seal of the Holy Spirit, empower you to live not on the basis of works but out of love and worship to God (Ephesians 1:13). Thus God is able to exult (which means to show jubilation and elation, especially as a result of success) in you because you are His very own child, daughter, and bride. Hence when the enemy comes against you with thoughts and feelings of condemnation, self pity, and guilt, remember, daughter of the King, that you have been redeemed and restored.

The King of glory delights in you!

Prayer: Lord, I thank and bless You for Your goodness and mercy and for the precious blood of Jesus that redeems and restores me. Today, I choose to believe, hope, and trust in Your love and kindness. I denounce any mental, spiritual, and emotional agreement with the enemy about Your love for me, and I choose to believe that You not only love me but delight in me.

devotions

Are Your Ways His Ways?

January 31, 2015

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

God’s will for us is very mysterious; it unfolds little by little, day by day. Many details of our lives are left unknown—perhaps because if He were to show us a blueprint of our lives in their entirety, our limited minds and faint hearts would not comprehend how we would possibly survive it all. This verse has been misused many times because people believe it implies that nothing bad will ever happen to us. That, my friends, is not the case. With God by our side, we will experience the mountaintops, but we will also experience some dark valleys.

Unfortunately, when we encounter those dark valleys that don’t make sense, we become stubborn, taking matters into our own hands by making our own plans, believing we know what’s best. When we do this, however, it causes us to forget that God already has pre-made plans for us to get through those dark valleys safely onto the mountaintops. He had plans for each of us even before the foundation of the earth, even before we were a thought in our mother’s heart, and before we were carefully knit in her womb. The Bible says that God foreknew and predestined us (see Romans 8:29), and although His will does not always make sense to our temporal mindset, we must remember that God sees the end from the beginning. Anything He allows into our lives is for our good and His glory.

John 10:27 says: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me’’ (NIV). This verse is so beautiful because it clearly shows our relationship with the Father before He placed us on this earth. Meditate on this verse and this thought for a moment: When He spoke, you turned to Him because you knew Him (past tense), which means you had intimacy with Him beforehand. And because you already knew Him, you followed Him. People don’t usually turn to listen to a voice that doesn’t sound familiar to them, and people definitely don’t follow someone whom they don’t recognize. This verse has brought comfort to my heart so many times. It reminds me that because He knows me, He has made plans for me, and those plans are to prosper me, give me hope, and give me a future.

On this day, my sisters, are your ways His ways? Are your plans His plans? Or do you live in doubt of His Word? I encourage every reader today to take a bold step of faith to surrender your self-generated agendas at the foot of the throne and take up your God-generated agendas. Believe that He will never leave you nor forsake you, even when things just don’t make sense. So, the next time you have more questions than answers, the next time you are struggling and desperately need a way out, remember to run to His Word and seek His ways—His plans are always good because He is always good.

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your promises over my life. Help me to always remember that Your ways are much higher than my ways, and Your thoughts are much higher than my thoughts. Help me exercise and stretch my faith as I daily rely on Your plans for me. I know that all things work for good for those who love You and are called according to Your purpose. In the name of Your precious Son I pray. Amen!

devotions

You Have Access by Faith

January 30, 2015

“Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God” (Romans 5:2, AMP).

Through Him we have access …

Our access is not granted because of anything we’ve done, nor is it denied and withheld because of anything we haven’t done. It is through Jesus, and Him alone, that we are given access (see Ephesians 2:8–9).

By faith into this grace…

In this grace is the divine life God predestined for us to live. The storms will come and the weapons will form, but because we are firmly established in God’s divine love and favor, they will not prosper. We come into this grace with God and He closes the door behind us, sealing us with His Holy Ghost (see Isaiah 54:17; Ephesians 1:13).

In which we stand…

We’re not merely visiting; we stand in this amazing state of favor with God. We are seated together in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. We are in the palm of God’s hand and nothing, no one, and no devil can remove us from our designated place (see Ephesians 2:6; John 10:28).

Let us rejoice and exult in hope…

This is the attitude of someone who knows their position in God. We can have boldness, confidence, and great expectation even when it looks hopeless. We can rejoice because we know God is who He says He is, and He will do everything He has said in His Word that He will do (see Ephesians 3:12).

Of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God…

We serve a great and wonderful God who not only wants us to believe but also wants us to receive what we have labored in prayer for. He wants us to experience Him and enjoy living under the spout where the glory pours out! (See 1 John 5:14; John 16:24.)

Prayer: My loving Father God, thank You for the access You’ve given me by faith into Your amazing grace! I give You full access into my life, and I receive by faith the access You’ve promised me. Help me God to lay hold of everything made available to me. No matter what I’ve done or haven’t done, I choose to live by faith and stand in Your divine favor. I repent of every sin, and I receive Your display of goodness in my life and around me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

devotions

Reasons for the Storms

January 29, 2015

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” 2 Corinthians 4:17 (KJV)

You are a living epistle read by men and God’s light shines through you. If you think people are watching you now, wait until you face a difficult season in your life. The eyes of anyone within your sphere of influence will zero in wanting to see how you will respond and if you will do what you have preached all those years to them. They want to see if you will forgive those that hurt you, if you will still believe God after you have been diagnosed, if you will still serve God with passion after you’ve lost someone you love, and if you will continue to walk with God even though you don’t understand why it happened to you. This is not to sound insensitive to your pain that you may have experienced. Nor is this to infer that God did this horrible thing to you to win someone to Jesus. No, absolutely not! God is not to blame. He does however allow trials for reasons that only He knows. Could it be that your trust and reliance upon Him in the midst of adversity is just what those around you need to see in order to know that God is real? We pray for God to save those we love, yet we do not know how He will do it. Yet, God in His infinite wisdom will allow a storm in our lives knowing that He is going to be glorified in it. Is the storm then worth it? Yes, you better believe it is! God knows that your faith in Him and your resilience in the storm will do more in reaching your loved ones than anything you could ever say. Be willing then to go through the storm and face the adversity head on if it means the eternal salvation of those you love! It works for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!

Prayer: Father, I hear You. Thank You for Your comfort and for giving me understanding. In every trial I face, I count it all joy knowing that You have a greater work that You are accomplishing. I am willing to go through the storm if it means that those around me will see Your light in me and come to know You for themselves. Be glorified in my life! In Jesus name, Amen.

(Read 2 Corinthians 4; 2 Corinthians 3:2; James 1:2)

devotions

The Blessing of Confession

January 28, 2015

“I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin” (Psalm 32:5, NIV).

What is sin? Simply stated, sin is anything that disappoints God. Sin can be both an act of commission (when we say, do, or think something that disappoints God) or an act of omission (when we know the right thing to do but we purposely don’t do it).

We all sin. Romans 3:23 confirms this. So what do we do to make things better? How can we make right what we’ve done wrong?

Israel’s King David, the writer of this psalm , tells us we can’t just hold it inside. “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer” (Psalm 32:3–4).

Keeping silent about our sin just makes matters worse. King David knew from personal experience how trying to hide his sin affected not only his mental state, but also his physical body.

We must remember that God knows our sinful hearts. He’s not some giant eye in the sky waiting to hit you with a lightning bolt when you sin. But, because He is all-knowing, He patiently waits for His children to come to Him and confess their sins. We can cry out to our Father and He will spread His arms and embrace us as we confess and ask for the forgiveness that He will never withhold.

Remember verse 2 from last week’s devotional on Psalm 32? “Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.” The blessing of confession circles back to the blessing of forgiveness. When you confess your sins to our Father, He wipes them out, tosses them as far as the east is from the west, and never, ever counts them against you again.

You—we—are indeed blessed!

Prayer: Dear Father, help me to pray as the psalmist prayed. I confess my sins to You, Lord. I cannot keep silent in Your holy presence. I praise You for cleansing me of my guilt and shame, for forgiving me over and over, for embracing me. Thank You for washing me and making my heart spotless, whiter than snow. Amen.

devotions

Go Out with Joy

January 27, 2015

“For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands” (Isaiah 55:12, NRSV).

Isaiah 55 is full of prophecies of the future glory for God’s people and an invitation to those who are thirsty to come, seek the Lord. Then come the astounding verses, “‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts’” (55:8–9).

Following those verses, Isaiah talks about how God’s Word is like rain and snow watering and nourishing the earth. His Word will always accomplish what He desires (55:10–11).

Then finally, these verses about God’s people going out in joy and being led forth in peace, with all of nature rejoicing.

It seems that the context reveals that we “go out in joy” only after we have sought the Lord, come to Him with our thirst, trusted Him to do things His way, and gotten soaked in His Word. When we do these, we will go out in joy—out of slavery to sin and into freedom, out of slavery to evil desires and into purity, out of slavery to our own self-focus and best-laid plans into a willingness to let God lead.

We can take that to the bank because this “will be an everlasting sign of his power and love” (55:13).

The Lord has set you free. He has great plans for your life—plans that are beyond anything you could imagine. He gave you His Word, which He promises will accomplish what He desires.

You want freedom and joy? Seek the Lord. Come thirsty. Trust Him. Soak up His Word. Know that His plans and thoughts far beyond (and better) than anything you can imagine.

Walk into your world today trusting in God’s great plans for you. And if you listen real close, you just might hear the trees clapping their hands!

Prayer: In Your Word, You promise freedom, Lord. Freedom from sin and freedom from strongholds. I seek Your face, I come thirsty, I dive deeply into Your Word, I trust You that Your plans for me are beyond my understanding and better than anything I could plan. Amen.

devotions

Believe God’s Goodness

January 26, 2015

“Then the captain on whose hand the king leaned said to the man of God, ‘If the Lord himself should make windows in heaven, could this thing be?’ But he said, ‘You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it’” (2 Kings 7:2, ESV).

There comes a time in life when you have dealt with so much that it becomes hard to really expect a break or anything good. At this point, strongholds of fear and calamity seize your mind and take over your whole being. During this time, any prospects of goodness seem unreal and might even seem repulsive.

This actually disables you from receiving God’s blessings in all their fullness. James 1:6–7 (ESV) says; “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.”

Such strongholds of the mind are very dangerous because not only do they usher you into a state of hopelessness, they also obstruct and deprive you of the privilege and ability to receive from God.

This is the state in which the captain on whose hand the king leaned found himself in 2 Kings 7. He was not just an ordinary guy; he was always in the king’s court and was more like a cabinet minister. He knew the state of affairs and how bad things were in the economy—for the nation had been experiencing a terrible famine. The severity of the famine and how it had reached the extent of cannibalism had created a stronghold of doubt, fear, and repulsiveness in his mind. A turnaround in the situation was unimaginable for him. So when Elisha gave words of promise from God and the captain expressed doubt, Elisha explained that while God’s promises would indeed happen, the captain would not experience them.

John 20:29 (ESV) says: “Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” This is a promise Jesus has given you: Whenever you believe despite your circumstances and even when you can’t see, it becomes a blessing to you.

Believe in God’s goodness and mercy. With the blood of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the word of the Lord, shake and break off strongholds that have been created in your mind. Revelation 12:11a (ESV) says, “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” Remember to expect and receive God’s goodness because no good thing will He withhold from you (Psalm 84:11).

Prayer: Lord, You are good and Your mercies endure forever. Today, I break off strongholds in my mind in Jesus’ mighty Name, and I choose to expect, believe, and receive Your goodness.

devotions

Scripture Prayers for Your Marriage

January 25, 2015

The following are short Scripture prayers that you can use to pray for your marriage. These prayers are based on the
Word of God. You can plead them with confidence and with faith.

Father, I plead that we would speak the truth in love to each other, honestly and openly sharing our feelings with each
other (Ephesians 4:15, 25).

Lord, I pray that our marriage will glorify You and be an example of Your intention for marriage (1 Corinthians 10:31).

God, I plead that You would give us wisdom and compassion in dealing with our in-laws (Matthew 5:7).

Father, bless and strengthen our marriage in the midst of the pressure and problems of our lives (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Father, I ask You to protect our marriage from the attacks of Satan. Deliver us from his evil, destructive plans (1 Peter 5:8).

Father, grant that we might find great delight and joy in each other (Proverbs 5:18).

Lord God, I pray that You would deepen and strengthen our friendship to each other (Proverbs 17:17).

Father, I plead that Your power would sustain and give stability to this marriage (Jeremiah 32:17).

Father, help us to discern and deal with those things that hinder and hurt our relationship (Psalm 139:23-24).

Father, I ask that our strengths would match and overcome our weaknesses (Genesis 2:20-23).

I pray that we would be kind and tenderhearted to one another, forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s sake has
forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32).

I plead that we would be sensitive to the needs and hurts of each other. Enable us to minister to each other in these areas
(Matthew 20:28).

God, create within us a hunger for each other. Let us be satisfied with one another (Proverbs 5:19-20).

I plead that You would give us a heart to seek after You and serve You all the days of our lives (Psalm 63:1)

devotions

God is Not Through with You

January 24, 2015

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 1:6 NIV

It takes time to create a work of art. If you are a perfectionist, then you want it to be just right before you unveil it to the world. God is no different. Every time He knits a new life together in a mother’s womb, a creation that has never been seen before or since is in progress.

Each day of your life God has a plan. Now, we all don’t acknowledge Him from the beginning of our lives, but that doesn’t stop Him from reaching us. Bringing us to the place where we can hear about and accept Him is also part of the plan. Think about Paul on the road to Damascus. God may not speak to you like rolling thunder, but you will know when He does all the same.

And, once you are restored to Him, through your belief in Jesus Christ, the journey begins. God has lots for you to do. As His child, His mission is now yours – reaching people with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

It’s important work too. There are people living in pain and dying without knowing how good God is. Lives are messed up from abuse of all kinds because they don’t know that God can love them through their pain.

With so much to do, God needs your help. Maybe the vision He showed you hasn’t come to fruition yet, but it will. Why? God is not through with you yet!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I ask that you place within me your obedient spirit so that I may be obedient to your instruction. Help me Lord to walk by faith and not by sight. I don’t understand what you’re doing in my life, but I make a decision to trust you God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

devotions

A Special Prayer for You

January 23, 2015

Good morning Father. Good morning Jesus. Good morning Holy Spirit. I take a moment to pray for the person who is reading this right now. I pray You touch them deeply in their soul and let them know that You are in control. Everything is going to be alright. I ask that You establish Your Kingdom in their lives and bring divine order where there’s been confusion and chaos. As they humble themselves and submit to Your will, I pray You will take Your rightful place on the throne of their hearts. Help them take their rightful place in being seated in heavenly places with Christ. Help them put the enemy under their feet and walk in their spiritual authority in Christ. I pray that You supernaturally strengthen their heart. You are able to do exceeding abundantly above all that they can ask or think. Help them believe. Not only are You able, but You are willing. So willing. Help them get to know You better and get to know Your character. You said, they that do know their God will be strong and do great exploits. Oh God, deepen their understanding. Help them not to live their faith in their mind, but from a real relationship with You in their heart. I pray for true conversion of their soul. You promise as we seek Your kingdom and Your righteousness, You will add to us and enrich our lives. You will always do Your part, help them to do theirs. I pray You lift every burden and destroy every stronghold off of them. Deliver and heal, God. Anything that is preventing them from seeing You clearly, remove it. You know everything they are facing in their private lives and You have not, and will not, abandon them. If You allowed them to face a test or trial, it is because You will be glorified in the end. Breathe on them a fresh wind and fill them with anticipation of You. Be glorified in their life in a great way. I pray this with all of my heart and I thank You in advance for answering this prayer. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

(Read Daniel 11:32; Ephesians 3:20,21; Matthew 6:33)