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Monthly Archives: July 2015

Free to Trust for Today

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journal lableAnd do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink;
do not worry about it.
For the pagan world runs after all such things,
and your Father knows that you need them.
But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

Luke 12:29-31

The people of God were desperate in the desert after three days and they didn’t understand how God could provide for their thirst. After transforming the bitter water to sweet drinking water, Yahweh leads his people to an abundant oasis of seventy palm trees and twelve springs. If we are His own, we can do more than survive. Jesus promises, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this, he meant the Spirit… (John 7:37-38)

Every other thirst or desire that would overwhelm us and control us needs to be put into His loving hands. This promise of abundant, living water is for anyone who will come to Jesus. We need to be careful that we are coming to Him first, not relying on others, ourselves, or our comforts.  No career, possession, relationship, romance, book, food, entertainment, alcohol, or experience can take the place of the Holy Spirit to satisfy your thirst and give you overflowing, eternal water from the life-giver Himself.

The hungry people did not know that God would go on providing manna and quail every day, for 40 years, they only had the evidence of today. God’s desire is that we trust Him one day at a time, believing He is with us, He is good and He is Lord over today. We do not need to live bound by worry for tomorrow as though we have no one who sees our needs, no one who can fight for us, no one who can meet us in the deepest concerns of our hearts. Jesus says we have a loving Father who knows our needs, our battles and our hearts. We are free to seek His kingdom, to set our hearts first on His ways and His rule. We are free to look outward towards the needs of others, free to live for what lasts forever, into eternity instead of being controlled by every need we have today. Jesus says He can free from worry, not because there is nothing to worry about tomorrow, but because our loving Father has our tomorrows in His mighty and careful hands. Whatever your circumstances, Jesus wants us to pray “give us today our daily bread”; God wants us to trust Him one day at a time.

Weekly Prayer Focus
Pray Luke 12:29-31
And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

Pray that you and those you are praying for will receive the Father’s love so that you can believe he sees your needs. Pray that you and they will come to the caring Father to provide all that is needed practically, spiritually and emotionally one day at a time and trust him with tomorrow. Pray that you and they will not be led by fear or the need to control every need but you will be freed to set your mind and heart on the eternal kingdom.

You still have the opportunity to hear Linda Boyette speak to the women of Hartsville, Ohio at their summer retreat. Follow the link to hear Linda’s messages. This link is still available for a limited time. Click here for Linda’s messages

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The God Who Stands Between

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God’s people are led by his own presence. He will not leave them alone, but the pressure is on. God carefully tells Moses of the terrifying threat coming behind them and shows him what to do. They are free from their oppression, but now the past seems to be coming after them as their enemy chases them into the desert.

Jesus, our Passover lamb, has done everything needed to save us. Yet sometimes Satan, our enemy comes after us with our past, often in our own thoughts and whispers: “ God couldn’t really forgive someone with a heart like yours?” Or “You think God really wants someone like you to be his child?” Or “You are not free. Jesus can’t change you.” Or “You were so broken and wounded you’ll never really be free.” or “God loves other people and fills them with His Spirit, but not someone with a past like you.” Or “Jesus is not with you.” Some of us even hear the lie, “You were doing better back then, you don’t need Jesus to forgive you or free you.” When these lies come at us from behind, we often don’t notice who is speaking. The enemy is terrified that you will live freed by Jesus and desperate to keep you from the power of the cross and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in your life. When the enemy of their past comes into view, watch how God’s people react. They panic, complaining bitterly, certain they will be destroyed. They forget God’s power over creation, over the gods of the Egyptians, over life and death itself, and they even say it would have been better to stay in the place of bondage. The Lord gives Moses clear words to remind them that they do not need to fight for themselves. Then the Lord puts the angel of his presence behind them to stand between them and their enemies all through the night until they have crossed the Red Sea. God fights for them.

We need to recognize the enemy coming after us, but we must not try to stand against him ourselves, or believe we can somehow think ourselves into real freedom. It’s not about you fighting for yourself; it’s all about Jesus. He stands between you and your past and between you and the enemy. Nothing can separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. You can trust him to lead you out of the past and fight for you always.

Pray: Romans 8:37-39: “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Pray that you and those you are praying for will know you cannot conquer on your own, but only through Christ who loves you. Pray that you and they will know with all your hearts that nothing, no spiritual power, not life nor death, present or future or anything else can separate you from the love of God in Christ. Pray that you and they will allow Jesus to stand between you and the enemy of your souls, between you and the past, you and the future, between you and any opposition or distraction to your faith and trust him to fight for you.

Summer Resource Links
A Special Opportunity THIS WEEK-
This week we have the opportunity to hear Linda Boyette speak to the women of Hartsville, Ohio at their summer retreat. Follow the link to hear Linda’s messages. This link is available for a limited time. Click here for Linda’s messages

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The Cost of Freedom

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journal lable“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

1 Peter 1:18-19

The freedom God won to bring his people out of slavery in Egypt came at a huge price. Pharaoh did not give up despite the terrible plagues and the loss of precious firstborns who were spiritually sacred in that culture. It was a terrible cost. The Lord carefully instructed his people to put the blood of a lamb over their houses so that they would be saved as death passed through the land. He prepared them with food for the journey and enabled them to take the treasures of Egypt from their oppressors. They would celebrate the “Passover” for generations. The truth we read in the New Testament is about what God did for us to save us out of slavery. The ransom for our freedom has been paid, and we are no longer chained. Just as life for the Israelites came out of the death of the firstborns, so our freedom was bought when God gave His first and only son. It was a terrible cost. When Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again from the grave, he defeated our slave masters of sin, death, and Satan himself. Jesus is the perfect lamb, sacrificed on the cross at the same time as the festival of Passover. God promises us that if we live under the blood of Jesus, accepting that we need him to cover us and trusting that He can wash our hearts clean, he can lead us out of death and into eternal life with him.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36) What does the freedom Jesus gives look like in your life? We get confused, thinking it is the right to do what I want when I want, a temporary feeling which changes from day to day. The costly freedom God offers you through the sacrifice of Jesus, our Passover lamb, is far more than any of that. Just as the people of God were freed to be set apart for him, so you are freed by the blood of Jesus to belong to God. We are freed from self, our own thoughts, sinful desires, the need to conform to the world and freed from captivity to the enemy that comes through all of these. You can thank him today that because of his love you are free to be his own beloved, forever.

Prayer Focus

Pray1 Peter 1:18-19: For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

Pray that you and those you are praying for will know that truth that you have been redeemed, bought out of slavery through the blood of Jesus, a perfect Passover lamb. Pray that you and they will choose to live under his blood and give all of yourselves to him so you will receive the freedom he can give from the past, your desires, addictions, from living for self, fears, conforming to worldly ideas and anything that keeps you captive or prevents you from being completely his own.

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Holding on to the One True God

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journal lable“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is no other.”

Isaiah 45:22

We live in a time when other religions are trying to assert their power and dominance around the world. Christians are persecuted in nations who hold every kind of belief from communism, through Hinduism, and of course Islam. Who is the one true God over every other human belief system, political ideology, every idol, every dark power and every other god? How do we make sense of what is going on in the world today?
God showed his supreme power as the Lord over every god the Egyptians worshipped in every aspect of creation through each plague he sent as Pharaoh refused to release the Hebrew slaves. He revealed himself as the mighty God, greater than any power in their magic arts. Everything the Egyptians had made their strength and pride, the river Nile and the fertile land, abundant crops, and vast herds of animals, was stripped away at God’s command. These plagues may seem harsh, but in the face of opposition and mocking, God himself was willing to show his strength against this kingdom and all the spiritual forces they thought were in control of nature and sought to please.

If we are to stand in this time of severe persecution and extreme spiritual confusion, we can take hope in the God who controlled the plagues. There is no other like him, a God who passionately and carefully intervenes to rescue and save people to be his very own. He has not changed. You can know him as the Lord who will not be overpowered by any ruler or any other spiritual force for all eternity. From the Gospels to Revelation, the New Testament promises persecution will come, and we should expect it if we are truly following Jesus. But suffering, defeat and struggle does not mean that Jesus is not ultimately King. Every other power will bow at his feet and you can worship him and put your hope in Jesus today and into eternity. God is mighty to rescue people out of the kingdom of darkness, from every deception, every destructive force and all spiritual confusion yo bring them into the kingdom of Jesus, the Son he loves(Colossians 1:13). Other kingdoms and governments will come and go. Magic arts, other gods and idols will cause people to give themselves to other spiritual forces, but you can hold onto the one true God, trusting that he is able and longing to hold onto you. Filled with His own Spirit, you can rest without fear in the mighty arms of Jesus and pray for others to know him as the only Lord and Savior.

Tough Call

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You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you
so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.

John 15:16

The Bible is full of people like me. I love that. When God meets with Moses (Exodus 3-4) ,years later, he reveals his power and his holiness right before his eyes. And Moses hides his face. God makes it clear that he, Yahweh is the one who has heard the cries of his people and will rescue them and give a land of their own. Yet Moses responds “but who am I to go?” The Lord promises to be with him and Moses says “But what if…” Yahweh gives Moses visible signs to show him and others that he is with him, the Mighty Lord of all creation, who loves his people and plans to rescue them himself. Yet Moses still says, “I can’t do it, I’m not good at that”. God promises to make a way himself, even in the weaknesses of Moses and he pleads, “Lord, please send someone else”. God shares his heart for his people with Moses, he explains his detailed plans and makes it clear that it is his power and love that will be at work, not Moses. Yet Moses is still looking at himself. I think we’ve all been there.

The Lord asks us to join him in his work but he is the one who will do it. Jesus invites us in John 15:5 to remain in him and says without him you can do nothing. Yet we, like Moses, look at ourselves and hide. We say, “Who am I to go, but what if…?” We think as though Jesus is not able to work or to fill us with his Holy Spirit and we say “I’m not good at that, please send someone else”. Jesus promises to be with us always, to be in us and to appoint us to bear fruit that will last. Thankfully it’s not all about me. My part is to pray, willing for him to show me where he will meet other people through me, change me to see them through his heart and show me how to join him in his work.  It may not be easy and when Pharaoh oppresses God’s people more, Moses prays honestly “why did you send me?”. But when things look hopeless to us, God sees a long-term picture and it does not mean he is not at work. He chooses us to bear fruit wherever he has placed us, that will last for all eternity, that we may not always perceive in the short term. Whatever Jesus is asking you to be and do for him, he is with you and in you, he has chosen you and he will bring fruit. Thank him today that it’s all about him, not about you.

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Taking a Stand

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journal lable

 The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

Exodus is a book about the fight for freedom from an oppressive kingdom and the challenge to live freely as God’s very own people in the faithful love-binding relationship he has won for us. I hope you know that it is not a history of amazing spiritual people who never question, never struggle. The thoughts, emotions and faith of the people in this book are very like ours. Have you ever heard of “Shiphrah and Puah”? They are two ordinary women who were midwives and listened to God. He knows the name of these two heroes who were Egyptians, not God’s people. They did not do what the King wanted them to because they honored and respected the true God even more than they feared Pharaoh, who could easily order for them to be punished or destroyed. They were a crucial part in Yahweh’s plan to save the Hebrew baby boys and, therefore, the entire future of his beloved people. Hear the tender love of the God who saw Shiprah and Puah. Exodus 1:20 “So God was kind to the midwives”
Moses’ mom was not afraid to hide him then boldly takes him to the river in the waterproof basket she had made. His sister watches to make sure he is seen and then offers to find a nanny to care for him while he needs breastfeeding. When the princess agrees, she brings Moses’ mom who gets to mother him while he is young.

God used the women in these chapters right where they were, as midwives, as a mom and a sister. Where is Jesus asking us to do something for him or speak out for people that means there is some cost in time, energy or emotion; maybe a risk to our comfort or reputation, even our safety? What are the fears that keep us from listening to God’s heart?  Where is Jesus asking you to be part of his plan to rescue and save in your community, to care for the vulnerable or defend the oppressed?

Moses’ efforts to stand up for his own oppressed people ended in a death and in him having to run away. We cannot do take a stand our own way or in our own strength as he did. Only when we pray, asking the Holy Spirit to lead us in his way and his strength, can we take a stand for God. And when you do, remember he knows your name and sees all that you do for him.

Remain Renewed

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Linda Boyette

“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!”
II Corinthians 13:5

Soaking in the Son, Autumn Harvest, Winter Watch and Spring’s Revival have offered you scheduled Bible reading, Biblical articles for strengthening your walk In Jesus, a direct focus for intercession and suggested  reading for the renewing of your mind. If you began participating in the Titus Women’s weekly e-News with the 2014 Summer Challenge, you have finished a full year “growing” cycle. Well done beloved in Christ!

As an ambassador for Christ, Paul has a tremendous burden for all of Christ’s church to live in the victory that Jesus provides. It is clear in I & II Corinthians Paul is giving his admonishment to those called into fellowship with Jesus Christ – the Church! It is also clear the newly birthed church had yet to understand saved by grace means living in the New Testament Covenant, with the inner presence of the Holy Spirit giving power for all purity of heart, mind, soul and strength and New Testament grace is to have a love for others rather than for themselves. “And working together with Him we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain” (II Corinthians 6:1).

Paul teaches New Testament grace is to live in and from Jesus’ holy agape love. He clearly states he presents the severe correction to the Corinthian church from such love. “For the love of Christ controls, (compels, empowers) us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (II Corinthians 5:14, 15).Christ’s love gives Paul the passion for bearing reproach, conflicts without and fears within. He risks his own reputation because of Christ’s love, admonishing the Corinthians to have no immorality in the body of Christ, to remove the wicked from among them. Unify the fellowship of believers. Get rid of all divisive differences among them. With Christ’s love, he declares the necessity to remember the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Bought with a price – the blood of Jesus, their bodies are the holy temples of our Lord Jesus. It is Christ’s love that surpasses any God-given gift, any amount of faith and hope and empowers one to lay down His own will and life for the honor and glory of God the Father and Jesus the Son. One must be foolish and fanatical to love like this. Paul agrees and He writes only by having and abiding IN the Holy Spirit of Agape Love is one capable of freely living such love. Paul didn’t make up His own theology. “…for love is from God” (I John 4:7); “God Is Love…” (I John 4: 16); “Through love serve…” (Galatians 5:13) and “…Pursue love!” I Corinthians 8:1.

Jesus, Love Himself, shares the key: “ABIDE in ME and I IN YOU… for apart from me you can do nothing…ABIDE IN MY LOVE; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:4, 5, 10). Paul tested himself frequently! He knew this key for steadfast living. “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers…nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8: 37-39. )

What extraordinary good news! You and I need not live for the next revival. We may continually, every second of every day, live overflowing with the beauty of renewed life- the holy present love of Jesus.