Week of: Jan. 3, 2011
Sharing by: Pam Crawford
Over the past five years I have been blessed to share forward the many lessons that God has brought me through on this journey called life thus far. I am humbled and extremely grateful for all the notes of encouragement that I have received over the years. Your words always seem to come at just the right time, usually when Satan is working overtime to discourage me in some form or another.
If you are new to these weekly devotions – WELCOME. You are encouraged to print and read in your quiet-time with the Lord. Why is this so important? Because when we tune out all the noise, close off from the distractions around us, and make God a priority instead of just fitting Him in, He speaks directly into the core of our heart. When you’re willing to listen, God’s voice will penetrate above the crowd.
Although my work is going to take on a new direction in 2011, I am excited to see what God has planned for those of us who desire to grow in our personal relationship with Christ as we strive for Spiritual maturity. I do pray you will stay tuned. This year it is my intention to continue writing on a weekly basis whenever possible. However, from time to time I may have to take a sabbatical in order to study, teach and give attention to another project that God appears to be nudging
NEW YEAR, NEW OPPORTUNITIES:
In the past my writings have generally reflected a witness to or a testimony of something that God has walked me through. I will be shifting gears a bit this year and will write in real time. Wherever God is working in me will be the place I draw inspiration from. I will also continue to draw wisdom and use resources from the many gifted authors and teachers that God uses on a regular basis to encourage me as I study His Word and rest at His feet.
I anticipate many “God-Stop Moments” (Beth Moore) this year too. Moments when God may want to get our attention in order to draw us closer to Him. Or moments when He simply wants to take our breath away with His grace. I would love for you to share your “God-Stop” moments with me also. Please note my e-mail address has changed. I truly believe that we all have a story to tell. Our mistakes and the victories we can achieve with God’s help are all means for encouraging others. It is my hope that God will continue to give me courage to be a transparent witness for His glory.
I would love for you to travel on this journey with me in 2011. It’s always better to have someone alongside us when we’re striving to achieve a goal. Although I have certainly not yet arrived, I am thankful that I’m no longer where I first began (Phil. 3:13). I hold onto the promise that “With God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). And, with God’s help we can achieve some victories!
My prayer today is that the works I do in the future will in some way help others to better understand the importance of developing a personal relationship with our Creator as we change the way we think. I am not talking about simply engaging God on Sunday mornings or with occasional prayer or even participation in Bible study groups. No, I’m talking about nourishing a valuable relationship daily. I’m talking about getting to know God intimately in order to understand His character and what He desires. I’m talking about making God a priority and developing a willingness to be obedient to what He reveals. I am talking about God knowing you (Matt. 7:23) because your face is a familiar one. It is just like our human relationships, when we fail to nourish them properly they eventually begin to break apart.
Over the years I have learned that I cannot worship properly when my heart is not right with God and others. When my mind is not focused on the things of God, or when I find myself backsliding I’m like a fish out of water. When my “thinkin is stinkin” (Joyce Meyers) nothing goes well for me. And, I can tell you from experience that it is not always easy to hear what God has to say about ones character, but it’s always necessary when you desire to make changes in order to align yourself to His instructions.
Jesus’ brother James challenged God’s people to not only listen to the Word, but rather he tells us we’re to do what it says (James 1:22). This applies to all people who claim to be believers today. How we think about spending time with God will determine how we respond to Him.
If you’re willing to stick around, we will get busy next week on the current area that God is getting my attention in, “my stinkin thinkin.” Anyone else struggle with your thought life? Well, I have to tell you I thought I was making good progress in this area especially after going through the Battlefield of The Mind series by Joyce Meyer’s a few times. But, obviously God has more lessons ahead since for Christmas this year I unwrapped the book Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer and then a few days later Who Switched Off My Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf. Hum, I can’t help but wonder what’s ahead?
Before I close this week I simply want to encourage you that when you choose to take your relationship with God to a deeper level; He not only draws you into His presence, but His power enables you to grow and become obedient to His Word. Over time you begin to naturally reflect the fruits of God’s Spirit to a hurting world around you, (Gal. 5:22-23) because you are no longer interested in grieving your Heavenly Father. May I suggest this Scripture as a good measuring tool for determining spiritual growth?
I love the reminder shared by David McCasland of RBC Ministries concerning the first and greatest commandment. Matthew 22:37 - “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” He writes “First and foremost, our relationship with God is a matter of the heart. If we see God as a taskmaster and consider obedience to Him as a burden, then we have joined those of whom the Lord said “I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Rev. 2:4). Friends, whether we’re expressing prayers of hurt, lashing out in anger, flip-flopping, asking for help, or praising God from joy, our first love is right there. His Word is true and He does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). As a child of the Most High we are guaranteed time with Him anytime we desire it. This is one appointment worth keeping at the top of your to-do list.
Next week we will look at winning the battle over our toxic thoughts. Until then, please take a few moments to mediate on the words below.
“Whatever you hold in your mind will tend to
occur in your life. If you continue to believe
as you have always believed, you will continue to act
as you have always acted. If you continue to act
as you have always acted, you will continue to get what
you have always gotten. If you want different
results in your life or your work, all you
have to do is change your mind.”
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
In Christ by grace,
- Anonymous taken from Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer.