Monday, March 26, 2012
"I am the vine you are the branches. If a man remains in me, and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
What does it mean to depend on God, and do I practice dependency daily? It is faith and confidence in Christ, but sometimes it is a struggle to see, because dependence is deployed from our soul and spirit. It seems easier to depend on the Lord when disease deteriorates the body, than when anger allies with my attitude. Dependence on God means we need Him, and we understand that without Him we are unable to accomplish anything of Kingdom significance.
Reliance on Jesus is the door to faithful and fruitful living. It means we are transformed by what the Lord says and thinks; therefore we can depend on Him for wisdom and insight. Perhaps, He will guide you over the next year to pay down debt, decrease spending, and increase saving and giving. Indeed, we can depend on Him for the fruit of frugality and generosity. Dependence on the Lord deepens your determination.
“This is what the LORD says: “Cursed are those who trust in mortals, who depend on flesh for their strength and whose hearts turn away from the LORD.”
Moreover, another reason you depend on the Lord is because you feel the pressure of others depending on you. You can crumble under the expectations of people, unless you have the inner strength of your Savior to sustain you. Like a branch draws sap from the vine for sustenance, so He energizes you for sustainability. Dependence is a continual connection to Christ that results in a harvest of holiness.
Pride is purged away, and humility grows in its place. Fear is purged away, and faith grows in its place. Anger is purged away, and forgiveness grows in its place. Lust is purged away, and love grows in its place. We depend on God because we are desperate and detached without Him. Jesus is our source of strength and our hope in hard times.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”. ~Ephesians 2:10, NKJV
What area of your life do you need to surrender, in complete dependence, to Christ?
About the Author: Cindy Laczynski is a phenomenal mother, friend, sister, and wife and an amazing CHILD OF GOD!!! She wants to remind others that though the Word guarantees that in this world you WILL have trouble, we can take heart because God has overcome the world. Cindy is pictured above with her son, Bo.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
In Susie Larson's book, "The Uncommon Woman: Making an Ordinary Life Extraordinary", she tells of a time when she was walking home and was knocked down by a group of boys and beaten up by them. She was outnumbered, overpowered, and screaming for help, while a neighbor kid watched from a distance and did nothing to help her. When the boys decided they were done, they took off running and disappeared into the neighborhood. Susie says she was, "lying in a heap with dirt in (her) teeth, a bloody lip, a scratched face, snarled hair, and an extremely achy body." Read what Susie says later in this chapter as she reflects on this experience:
As I have studied the life of Jesus, the depth of His character has continually overwhelmed me. Everything He did, everything He went through, was for something. When I think back to that time on the baseball field, I remember someone who stood at a safe distance while I took a beating. When it came right down to it, he wasn't going to risk getting hurt for me even though I was outnumbered and outsized. Because he didn't help me, I believed that I would always be at the mercy of my circumstances and that no one would ever stop bullies from being bullies.
But then I picture the scene before Jesus' crucifixion; I see the Savior lying in the dirt with fistfuls of His beard ripped out and spit on His face; I imagine Him surrounded by mockers and tormentors. . . and I realize He did the much harder thing. In fact, He did for me what I could not do for myself.
He defeated my foe. He won the war. And He secured my victory. He made a way for every person who has ever been knocked down to get back up again.
Though hard times come and people are cruel, we don't have to live tormented by our fears, nor do we have to be forever impaired by our past defeats. The more we understand who and whose we are, the more we'll truly believe that God will restore every lost thing. We'll comprehend which battles are ours for the taking and when it's good just to hide in the shadow of His wing and rest awhile. Jesus loves us so much and always has a watchful eye on us. Here's what He says:"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father's hand." (John 10:27-29 NLT)
Jesus led by example; He showed us how to walk, how to live, and how to love. When He was accused, He didn't become insecure; He already knew who He was. When He was mistreated, He didn't fight back; He saw past it. When He should have turned His back on us all, He instead prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing."Pictured above:
What kind of change could be affected in our world if we, as Christ's followers, had lines we wouldn't cross no matter what anyone else was doing or saying? If we could remain kind while others are cruel, if we could keep from hating while others do dreadful things--are there any bounds to what the Lord could do through us?
No matter how the enemy has tried to knock you down, whether by sickness or betraying friends, by past fears or current financial hardships, God can lift you up again and make something beautiful of your life.
Author of "The Uncommon Woman: Making an Ordinary Life Extraordinary", Susie Larson.
Awesome song time.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Lamentations 3:19-24 (KJV)
Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope:
It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Today I want to back-track to Psalm 39 and see what kinds of things David was saying prior to being "pulled out of the mud and mire".
David was rather expressive and he seemed to have a wide range of emotions, which I readily relate to. Where Paul, in the Bible, seemed to run the race hard and fast and be as consistent as they come, David paints a picture of someone with HIGH HIGHS, low lows, and everything in between and God still manages to use him like crazy for His purposes, which gives people like me hope. Through the Psalms, we "hear" David pour his heart out to God on multiple occasions, and there doesn't seem to be much of an emotional filter. He's up, he's down, and he's all around. "Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." (and speaks, and speaks, and speaks...) :o) We find him in Psalm 39 yapping away about how he is NOT going to talk. He's talking about putting a muzzle on his mouth to keep from sinning, and he admits that this challenge was less than pleasant. Keeping quiet makes his "fire burn". Don't take my word for it. Go ahead and check out the 39th Psalm. . .
Psalm 39For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David.
I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.”
So I remained utterly silent,
not even saying anything good.
But my anguish increased; my heart grew hot within me. While I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:
“Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
even those who seem secure.
“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
without knowing whose it will finally be.
“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.
Save me from all my transgressions;
do not make me the scorn of fools.
I was silent; I would not open my mouth,
for you are the one who has done this.
Remove your scourge from me;
I am overcome by the blow of your hand.
When you rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin,
you consume their wealth like a moth—
surely everyone is but a breath.
“Hear my prayer, LORD, listen to my cry for help; do not be deaf to my weeping.
I dwell with you as a foreigner,
a stranger, as all my ancestors were.
Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again
before I depart and am no more.”
David's intense at times, isn't he? Passionate. Discouraged at times. Weeping when he needed to. Angry. Firey hot Angry. The things that hurt God's heart also hurt David's heart. He was a "man after God's own heart" (Acts 13:22) and he cried out to God when the things he saw and heard stirred up his heart.
David is an example to us of someone who casted "his cares upon the Lord" because the Lord cared for him. Feeling what he was feeling with such intensity was just part of who David was. He was a man of passion. God placed that passion in him. It was not a mistake. He was passionate in everything he did. He learned at a very young age that he could cry out to God in his times of distress and praise God in his time of rejoicing. Notice, though, that in his times of distress David would bring back his Psalms to a place of hope. He would flush out the "stuff" that was weighing him down, and then come back to what he knew to be true about God. "MY HOPE IS IN YOU."
David was a warrior too. He was not weak. He may have wept, and he may have been discouraged at times, but he was NOT weak. He fought battles and won.
When he was not fighting battles, he was preparing for those battles. In his waiting on the Lord, he was not idle, pulling up daisies. In his hoping in the Lord he was not twiddling his thumbs figuring things would fall in his lap. He knew better than to stay in his depths of despair. He allowed himself to cry when he needed to, but he did not stay there. He got back up and got back to work. Check out this verse in Psalm 144, that shows us this other side of David:
"Praise be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle." -Psalm 144:1
You and I may not fight the same kind of battles David had to fight, but we have some "battles" to fight. There is a spiritual warfare going on over your life, and you do have work to do while you are here on earth. The harder you run after the Lord, the harder you are going to be attacked. Let's be prepared. If we stay focused, then when the time comes, we'll have confidence (like David did when he took down Goliath) as we put our hope in the Lord, Our Rock, knowing that we have "trained hands and fingers (and hearts and minds too) ready for battle" . We know from later Psalms that David's confidence also came from an assurance that God loved him with an unfailing love and because he continued to go back to God, looking to Him to find which way to go next. Check out Psalm 143:8:
"Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul." Psalm 143: 8Lets be people who continue to go back to God's word, and stay in a mode of prayer, seeking our direction from the Lord, so we can have a confidence that we are following His leading in the same way David did, being mindful to take hold of the eternal life to which we are called for.
"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." 1 Timothy 6:12
Psalm 39 leads us into Psalm 40 which is where we see God bless David for putting his hope in Him, and giving him a "firm place to stand". If you are interested in reading the post on Psalm 40 you can do that here.
Psalm 40 is a reminder of what the Lord does for those who wait on Him, putting their hope and trust in Him. I hope that this message will serve as an encouragement to you, but that you will also be able to find strength in praising Him for the blessings you can see even in your waiting. You can be strong, walking in faith, knowing that your "lifting out of the mud and mire" moment will eventually come as you continue seeking Him and trusting in Him.
He sees you,
He knows you,
He has compassion on you,
HE LOVES YOU,
and He hears your cry . . .
I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the LORD
and put their trust in him.
Blessed is the one
who trusts in the LORD,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
Many, LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
God blesses those who trust in Him, and He puts in a new song in their mouth (and their heart). Even now, though, while you are waiting for your "new song" to come in, you can still sing. In your "in between" time you can sing a song of praise, knowing that He sees you and is the God who gives strength where there is weakness, light where there is darkness, hope with there is hopelessness, and He knows your name!
Awesome Song Time!!!
Monday, March 12, 2012
"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."
Sunday, March 11, 2012
*****Thank you, Alice, for always being a means of inspiration, encouragement, and consolation for others. You are an angel without wings and I love you very much.******This excerpt is taken from "Bread for the Journey" by Henri J.M. Nouwen:
Giving and Receiving Consolation
Is there someone you can console today? Look around you. Who needs to know they are not alone? Take the time to listen to someone today. Give someone the gift of your patience and your listening ear. It just might mean the world to them.
Consolation is a beautiful word. It means "to be" (con-) "with the lonely one" (solus). To offer consolation is one of the most important ways to care. Life is so full of pain, sadness, and loneliness that we often wonder what we can do to alleviate the immense suffering we see. We can and must offer consolation. We can and must console the mother who lost her child, the young person with AIDS, the family whose house burned down, the soldier who was wounded, the teenager who contemplates suicide, the old man who wonders why he should stay alive.
To console does not mean to take away the pain but rather to be there and say, "You are not alone, I am with you. Together we can carry the burden. Don't be afraid. I am here." That is consolation. We all need to give it as well as to receive it.
Bless and be blessed.
You are loved.
Okay, and now I am going to let you jam out to some old school DC Talk. Shut the door and crank it up, grab a pen and pretend it is a microphone when no one is looking. Come on. You know you want to. Go ahead. Get it out of your system. ;o) hahaha. . . just kidding. Okay . . . For real, though (just for kicks and giggles) DC Talk-- "WE BE FUNKAY!" . . .
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Here is a promise you can cling to. . .
"I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me."
"Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
Awesome song time:
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Taken care of.
Created in the image of God.
Seen and ordained.
Appointed to be here at this time in history.
Fearfully and wonderfully made.
Created and knit together just the way God wanted.
Relying on God.
Capable of knowing God's love for you.
1 John 4:16
Lavished on with love, and a child of God.
1 John 3:1
Given good gifts by God.
Matthew 7:11 and James 1:17
Made to prosper and not to be harmed, and to have a hope and a future.
Saved by the Mighty Warrior, delighted in, not rebuked, and rejoiced over with singing.
Inspired to fear the Lord, that you might not turn away from Him.
Able to "find" God.
An instrumental part of fulfilling God's purposes here on earth.
Loved, encouraged and strengthened.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Worthy of compassion, and comfort.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Tended to, gathered in the arms of the Lord
carried close to his heart;
and gently led by God.
Designed to be in complete unity with the body of Christ so that the world can see and know God's love.
Capable of being purified from sins.
Reconciled to Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Loved and atoned for.
1 John 4:10
Graciously given good things from God.
Never separated from the love of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Child of God.
Capable of having eternal life.
Friday, March 2, 2012
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
-this version is credited to Mother Teresa