Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Finding Yourself

"She found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz." Ruth 2:3 NIV

Ruth's life was spiraling downward. Her husband died. She'd left her old home in Moab and wasn't accepted in her new one in Bethlehem. She was in survival mode, making the best of a bad deal by gleaning just enough to stay alive. Then God turned things around. The reapers began deliberately dropping handfuls of barley in her path. She started picking up undeserved blessings. Why? Because Boaz saw Ruth gleaning and told his workers, "leave them for her to pick up" (Ru 2:16 NIV). Even though Boaz had never spoken directly to Ruth, she still received the blessing. There's an important lesson here: You don't know what God has spoken over your life, but suddenly everything changes! Doors open, opportunities come, people you thought didn't notice you, or even like you, begin showing you favor. What's happening? Your steps are being ordered by the Lord (See Ps 37:23).When the Israelites came into the Promised Land God told them, I'm giving you "vineyards...you did not plant" (Dt 6:11 NKJV). God can put you in situations where others do the work and you get the benefit. And you don't even have to worry, or get jealous about somebody else getting what's yours, because nobody can glean it except you.
Ruth started out for one destination and "found herself" in another. When Boaz called her name, she came from the background to a place of blessing in the foreground. Instead of working in a corner of the field, she ended up owning the field. When God moves, that's how quickly it can happen. So be ready

Mean What You Say!

"'...Let your 'Yes' be yes, and your 'No,' no...'"James 5:12 NIV

Remember when people said what they meant? Maybe you didn't like it, but you understood what they meant, and you knew they meant it. The word 'cool' meant somewhere between warm and cold, and if you said, 'wicked good,' someone would've asked which one it was. It seems like straightforward speech is going the way of the horse and carriage. The Bible tells us, 'Let your 'Yes' be yes, and your 'No', no.' In other words, mean what you say and say what you mean. Failing to do so damages relationships. We avoid saying 'no,' or we say 'yes' when we don't want to, out of the fear of rejection. And what are the results? (1) We live with stress, anger or resentment over feeling mistreated by others. (2) Our life becomes a classic double-bind where we feel trapped whichever way we go: 'If I say no, you'll be mad at me; if I don't, I'll be mad at myself and you!' So we stay stuck in our own pressurised trap. (3) The other person will never know how we really feel, or understand why we act as we do. Unless you say what you feel, you'll never get what you need from others. People don't change, until you change how you interact with them. (4) Your choice to avoid what you fear is what makes you a victim, not other people's words or actions. (5) You become part of the problem, surrendering to others the power God gave you to determine your own direction and set your own boundaries. So start saying what you mean, whether it's 'yes' or 'no!'

Soulfood Bible Readings 2 Chron 16-18, John 13:1-17, Ps 95, Pr 27:17-19

Who Belongs In Your Life?

"Where you go I will go." Ruth 1:16 NIV

Ruth told Naomi, "Where you go I will go." You can spend your life anywhere with anybody doing anything, then suddenly meet someone and sense that there is a connection between you. It's what made Elisha quit farming and follow Elijah, an eccentric prophet; it's why Timothy hung out with Paul, an old man soon to be executed. You know intuitively, "I won't reach my destiny without you in my life." Looking back you realize if you hadn't met that certain person, or taken that phone call, or read that email, you wouldn't be where you are today.

On the other hand, "Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye" (Ru 1:14 NIV). Now Orpah's leaving didn't make her a bad person; it just meant her part in the story was over. Recognize when somebody's part in your story is over, otherwise you'll just keep trying to raise the dead. David pleaded with God for his newborn baby's life. "He fasted...spent the nights lying on the ground...and...would not eat" (2Sa 12:16-17 NIV). But when the child died he had to accept that there was nothing more he could do, so he "got up...washed...changed his clothes...and he ate" (2Sa 12:20 NIV). Acknowledge when something is over. If God means you to have it, He'll give it to you. If you've tried to make it work and it hasn't, accept His will in the matter. Get up, go to the mall, buy yourself a new outfit, treat yourself to a good meal; start living again! Never beg anyone to stay with you against their will. Their leaving is no accident; it just means God has something better in store for you (and possibly them too), so trust Him and move on!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rejoicing Today

"This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Why is it that we spend most of our days worrying about the cares and affairs of this life? Why do we spend them anxious about things we have no control over? Why do we spend them complaining about what we don't have? Why do we spend many of them sad, depressed, upset, frustrated, aggravated and agitated?

Why don't we spend them rejoicing instead? Why don't we spend them rejoicing in the fact that our names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life and that our sins are forgiven and we have a home that is being prepared for us in heaven? Why don't we spend our days rejoicing over the faithfulness of God to meet our need, to never leave us nor forsake us, to go before us, to guide and direct us, to give us wisdom, strength, joy and peace? Why aren't we rejoicing each day because of the grace that has been given to us? Why aren't we rejoicing that we are victorious through Jesus Christ and no weapon formed against us shall prosper? Why aren't we rejoicing because we are more than conquerors through Him, we have been given power over all the powers of the enemy and that the greater One lives in us?

Why is it that we can find so much to murmur and complain about yet nothing to rejoice about, especially when we have been given all things that pertain to life and godliness; especially when we have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; especially when we have been given great and exceeding precious promises from a God who cannot lie but who keeps those promises? How can we do anything besides rejoice when we remember how much God loves us?

Think about it today, what are your days filled with? Are they filled with rejoicing or murmuring? Thanksgiving or complaining? Do you talk about your problems constantly or the faithfulness of God who's your problem solver, way maker, provider and constant companion?

Have a great day. Why don't we spend our days rejoicing? Especially when we have so much to rejoice about.

For further reading:
Philippians 4:4
Isaiah 61:10
Habakkuk 3:17-19
1 Thessalonians 5:16

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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell

Are We Connected?

It’s a wonderful day to be a child of God. There are times in each of our lives that we must evaluate the people surrounding us. While we love to have people within our inner circle, it is imperative for us to make sure each person around us has been placed there by God and not because of our fear of being alone. In life there will be times when you will experience lonely periods, as well as discomfort from within. You will desire to do the same things you were able to do before but your spirit man will reject it. During the times when your spirit is willing but your flesh is weak, you must make sure the people around you are such that they can uplift you in prayer and not encourage you to sin against God.

Today, I have been commissioned to come and minister to you. My friend, it is time to ask that one question to everyone around you. The question that will determine if people in your life are there for a reason, a season or a lifetime (purpose). What is the question? It is very simple! The question is … Are We Connected? To be connected means to join or fasten together usually by something intervening. At this point in your life, you no longer need one-night stands but covenant partners in the Lord. People who pray for you fervently and faithfully. People who hold you accountable for the actions you perform and responsible for the assignments entrusted to you. The Bible declares in 1 Samuel 18:1 - And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

My brother, my sister, do you have any person in your life willing to endure the fire with you? Do you have anyone in your life who sows into your spirit? Beloved, there will be times when the entire crowd is screaming your name. They will applaud everything you do. But there will also be times when the same crowd will criticize and scorn you. They will try their best to tear you down. During these times, do you have any brothers and/or sisters connected with you in the spirit? Better yet, are you connected to anyone in the spirit? The Bible declares in Proverbs 18:24 - A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Are We Connected? Prayer for Today: Father, please show me the people who are connected to me no matter what happens. In the name of Jesus … Amen!

Scripture Reading for Today: Proverbs 17:17 & Genesis 17:2

May God Bless you at Your point of need!

Minister Darrick D. McGhee

Monday, November 16, 2009

Morning Reflection

Psalm 34:14. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. Thought for the Day: Don't Wait For Peace To Arrive, Seek It Reflection for the Day: Evil Must Be Left Behind

To be at peace with God, as well as with self and with others is what every child of God should desire. It however will not simply occur, but must be sought after. The first step is to depart from evil. Once this step is accomplished you are free to seek and pursue.

It is God's will that you enjoy the fullness of His joy. Do not allow anything or anyone to hinder you from obtaining this great blessing. Don't sit back and wait but rather depart from evil, positioning yourself to pursue the fullness of God's joy with expectation.

It Will Change You

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:2

Yesterday I passed by a church and the sign on the marquee said, "You won't change His message, but His message will change you." So many people try to "change" God's word and make it say what they want it to say. They try to twist it to where it will condone what they do. They try to make it fit their situation. They try to make it line up with what they desire. Try as you may, God's word is unchanging. You may try to make it mean one thing, but God will always judge you through His word by what He means and says.

The reason some try to do this is because they think that if they can "change" it, then it won't change them- because basically they don't want to change and line up with it. You can't read the word or hear the word- the true, uncompromised, un-waterd down, kept in context word- and it not bring about change in your life. The word will convict, it will reprove, it will instruct, it will correct, it will guide and it will provoke you to righteousness. When you read or hear the word you will either have to conform to it or rebel against it.

As you conform your live to the teachings, statues and commands of God's word a change will come, a transformation will take place in you. Your actions, your attitude, your speech, your way of thinking will all begin to change. You won't be the same person you once were- which is the goal. The word is intended to bring such a transformation in you as you allow it to do it's work in you through heeding and applying it to your life that you will no longer look like you, but like its Author- Jesus.

In conclusion I want to ask a question- are you trying to change God's word to make it say, fit and line up with what you want, or are you allowing it to do a change in you; a transforming change?

Have a great day. God's word is eternal and forever established, it will not change, but if you will let it, it will change you.

For further reading:
Psalm 119:89, 93
2 Timothy 3:16,17
James 1:23-25
Matthew 7:24
2 Peter 1:1-8

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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell

Obey His Way

"And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean."
2 Kings 5:10

Naaman almost missed his miracle because he didn't want to do what the prophet told him to do. Many of us are like Naaman. We want a "word" from the Lord concerning our situation but often that "word" will require something on our part. This is where we will "miss it" if we aren't careful. We want the word, we want the miracle, we want the need met, we want God to do something, but when He tells us what we are to do, we don't want to obey it because it involves doing something that we don't want to do. We want Him to do His part, but we don't want to do our part. Or we want to do something else besides what He tells us to do.

Is this where you are this morning? Are you struggling with doing something the Lord has told you to do? Do you want the miracle/answer to come in another form or through another way? God's ways aren't our ways. If we could do it our way we wouldn't need God. And if we aren't willing to do what He tells us to do in order to receive the answer, why do we even bother to go to Him?

The key to receiving is obedience and obedience often involves sacrifice. But we have to do the "sacrifice" when that is the condition that the Lord has placed on the receiving, if we want to receive-- we learned this from Naaman's experience also. He could have washed in another river, he could have washed only one or two times in the Jordan, he could have washed five or six times, but he still would not have received his healing, because it still would have been disobedience because he would have been trying to do it his own way instead of God's way.

Have a great day. Our answer often comes through God requiring us to do something, and the "something" may not always be what we want to do. But do it, if you want to receive.

For further reading:
2 Kings 5:1-5
1 Samuel 15:22
Isaiah 55:9
Proverbs 4:4

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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell

Wolves In Sheep's Clothing

It’s a wonderful day to be a child of God. Today, I have been commissioned to come and minister to you. My brother, my sister, I have been sent to forewarn you about the people, the places and the things that are currently in your life. How knowledgeable are you regarding the people in your life? How familiar are you with the things in your life? How certain are you about the places you visit? Do you realize there are attacks sent against you each day but many times they come disguised? Without spiritual discernment, many times you will fall prey to the enemies traps and schemes.

The Bible declares in Matthew 7:15 - Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Beloved, I come today to tell you one important thing, beware of:

Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing!

These are people who smile in your face, but oftentimes they're stabbing you in the back. These are people who applaud when you do good and criticize at the first sight of failure. These are things that are set up to make sure you fall face first.
Scripture Reading for Today: Matthew 10:16

Battling Selfishness

As citizens of God's kingdom, we live by a different value system. "Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others." Now let's be honest; that's hard to do and easy to forget, because selfishness is a battle we fight daily.

When Jesus was hanging on the cross in intense pain, He took time for a condemned criminal hanging next to Him (See Lk 23:39-43). When Stephen was being stoned to death, he prayed for those who were killing him, asking God not to lay the sin to their charge (See Ac 7:59-60). Though Paul and Silas were beaten and wrongly imprisoned, they took the time to minister to their jailer. Even after God sent a powerful earthquake that broke their chains and opened their prison doors, they remained there just for the purpose of ministering to their captor. How tempting it must have been to run away while the opportunity was there. How easy it would have been to take care of themselves and not worry about anybody else. But their act of love moved the jailer to ask how he might be saved. As a result, he and his entire family were won to Christ (See Ac 16:25-34).

When we begin to win the war against selfishness and walk in love, others will take notice. We'll never win the world by being like them. So here's the question you need to answer: How many of your loved ones might come to know Jesus if you demonstrated that you genuinely loved them, instead of ignoring, judging or rejecting them? It's time to find out!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

If They Only Knew!

It’s a wonderful day to be a child of God. Have you ever wished someone else could be in your shoes? People always act as if everything in your life is trouble-free. For some reason people want to always compare their life with your life, their burdens with your successes, and their frowns with your smiles. They think you never have days of doubt or nights of negativity. “If they could only walk in my shoes” you often say. Have you ever found yourself trying to tell people about the ‘hell’ you often experience? No matter what you say or how you say it, they still do not believe you. Is it possible for you to have your own problems but carry yourself in a manner that shows no signs of trouble? Yes it is! Many times we experience tragedy and turmoil but no one will ever know. Why tell people who cannot help you about the problems you are faced with?

Today, I have been commissioned to come and minister to you. My friend, If They Only Knew! If your family and friends only knew the nights you walked the floor with tears running down your face. If they only saw how you fasted and prayed before you made serious decisions. If they only knew the times you doubted yourself and the anointing God placed on your life. No, things are not always wonderful but you have learned how to rest in the assurance of God’s power. The Bible declares in Ephesians 3:20 - Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. As a result of this scripture, you are now able to make it each and every day. You have been assured that God is able to handle what you ask for and what you think of asking for but do not. Who else can hear and respond to your thoughts?

My brother, my sister, If They Only Knew! No you do not always have money in your pocket, but you know God will make provision for you. Yes there are times when you worry but you remind yourself of the promises God made to you. There are times when quitting appears so easy but you know God is up to something. The Bible declares in Jude 1:24 - Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. It is the Lord who is able to keep you from losing your mind. People may never know what you go through each day, but make sure you never forget how faithful God is toward you each day. Prayer for Today: Father, thank You for always working things out for me. People may never know, but Lord I appreciate all You do. In the name of Jesus … Amen!

Scripture Reading for Today: Psalms 46:1

May God Bless you at Your point of need!
Minister Darrick D. McGhee

Lip Love

"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." Mark 12:30

When Jesus answered the question about which commandment was the greatest, He did not include loving God with all your mouth- it was your heart, soul, mind and strength. So many people want to love Him with their mouth only. They talk about loving Jesus, they profess they love Him with their words, but that's the only "evidence" that you see in their lives- their words.

Lip service was not in the definition of true love toward God. Any one can "say" they love God, but words are often cheap, empty and hollow. God's desire is that we love Him with our heart, not our words. Our words are backed up by action. If our words of love for God are words only, you'll know it by the actions because the actions will be contrary to what the definition of true love is. If our words of love for God are true words of love that come from our heart, they will be followed up by deeds and actions that honor and glorify God. Let me give you an example of what I am talking about that fits both- true love from the heart and mere words of love. Jesus said that if we love Him we will keep His commands. If you say you love God and are keeping His commandments, then it is love from the heart because your actions have backed up your profession. If you say you love God but don't keep His commandments then it is "love from the lips" only- which is not love at all.

If you are merely talking about loving God or loving Jesus but aren't backing it up with your actions and don't mean it from your heart, then you have already broken the first and greatest commandment. So right up front and at the beginning you have proved that all you have is a love from the lips and not from the heart. And love from the lips is not true love for God at all.

Have a great day. He didn't say to love Him with your lips but with your heart. Just because you "say it" doesn't mean that you really love Him. But if you mean it, you will say it and your actions will prove it.

For further reading:
Isaiah 20:13
Deuteronomy 6:5
Matthew 22:37
Luke 10:27
Matthew 15:7-9
John 14:23,24; 15:10
1 John 2:3-5

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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell

Are You Available for Service?

It’s a wonderful day to be a child of God. Life is an amazing journey that each of us must travel. For some the ride is smooth, while others think there are too many bumps on the road. For some the sun shines at the right time, while others believe the sun shines too much and too bright. Isn’t it amazing how one party can appreciate something, while another party complains about the same thing? Do you realize the rain you hope will not come because you have plans, is the same rain someone else is praying for because they have flowers and crops that need watering? Life is an amazing ride. One person may think you smile too much while another party thinks you have a beautiful smile. One person dislikes you while many other people love you dearly. Do you understand where I am coming from?

My brother, my sister, today I have been commissioned to come and minister to you. While it is true that everyone will not appreciate you, there are still things God requires from us. We may never agree upon our favorite recipes, our favorite songs or our favorite outfit, but these things should never pull us away from each other. The calling upon your life is not predicated on your singing ability, your cooking ability, your gift to close the deal or your many friends. While that means a lot to you and me, this really does not move Heaven. The calling upon your life starts and ends with the Lord Jesus Christ. He chose you, not the other way around. The Bible declares in John 15:16 - Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

With this said, allow me to ask you the Devotional question for today. Beloved,
Are You Available For Service? Are you available to do what the Lord is requiring of you? In spite of what people say or think of you, are you available for service? Prayer for Today: Father, prepare me for where You are taking me. In the name of Jesus … Amen!

Scripture Reading for Today: Isaiah 6:1-11

Friday, November 6, 2009

Darkness Is Light

"Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee." Psalm 139:12

"The darkness and the light are both alike to thee." It doesn't make how dark it may be outside, it doesn't prevent God from being able to see what is happening. He sees in darkness just like He sees in the light. He sees just as well in the dark as He does in the light- it's all the same to Him. How encouraging! If He can see in natural darkness as if He were looking at the light of day, then He can see the "dark" times we go through as if they were light.

The darkness of your trial doesn't hide you from God's view. The veil of darkness that you feel you are behind does not shroud you from His view. He sees in darkness. He sees you this morning. The confusion, the heartache, the pain, the weakness, the distress, the sorrow doesn't block you from His view. Though what you are going through may be dark, it is not too dark for His eyes to penetrate through.

You may be going through a "dark" period. You may feel as if the darkness is so dense that you are hid from even God's sight. Take comfort this morning, you aren't. He sees you. You are not hid from His sight by the things you are going through. Nothing is hid before Him, everything is open and naked in His sight-- even you. Elijah was hiding in a dark cave of despair, but God saw him. The darkness did not hide him. You dark "cave" does not hide you either.

Have a great day. God sees just as well in darkness as He does in light.

Don't Receive What You Hear

"And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them." 1 Samuel 17:23

There was a war going on between the Israelites and the Philistines. For forty days Goliath would stand before the Israelite army and threaten them. King Saul and the soldiers would shrink back in fear each time his threats came. None of them would go out and fight him- they were all too afraid. One day while David was there Goliath came out and made his threats again. David's response was different than that of the other Israelites. While they were all fearful at hearing his words, David was not. Instead, he wanted to go out and fight him.

Here we have two different reactions to Goliath's threats- David's and the Israelite army. David acted with courage and trust in the Lord. The Israelite army acted in fear and unbelief. They both heard the same words. They both heard the same threats. They both heard the taunts and accusations of the enemy, yet, their reaction was different. Why? What made the difference?

The difference was- David did not receive the giant's words, the soldiers did. They listened and believed them, therefore, they were afraid. Fear would not let them go out to fight him and so they hid in the bushes. David heard what he said also but he did not receive it. He did not take his words to heart. He did not believe them. Instead he believed God's words and placed them above the words of Goliath.

There are many voices out there. The enemy has one and he will use it to speak to you. He speaks words of fear, accusation, condemnation, doubt and confusion. But his words only effect us if we receive them by believing them. And if we believe them, they will cause us to react the same way the army did-- in defeat.

When the enemy "speaks" to you, you may hear what he says, David did, but don't accept what he is saying. Reject it. Turn your attention to what God says instead. Listen to God's word and your reaction will be like David's- "Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel." (verses 45,46)-- one of victory!

Have a great day. You may hear what the enemy is saying, but don't receive it.

Prayer and Praise

"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." Proverbs 17:22

What a contrast- a merry heart and a broken spirit, the complete opposites. To have a merry heart is more beneficial because there is life and healing in it, while a broken spirit brings death, discouragement and even sickness. How do we keep a merry heart? How do we overcome a broken spirit? James 5:13 gives us an answer. "Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms."

When experiencing a broken spirit or afflictions, don't just ignore the problem that causes them. Don't just try to sweep it under the rug. PRAY. Philippians tells us to pray in every situation. Go to God, talk to Him about it, turn your care over to Him, seek Him for direction, pour out your heart to Him, let Him know how you feel.

When we have a merry heart, we shouldn't ignore it either. Don't withhold it, don't keep it bottled up inside, release your joy, this is one time not to keep your mouth shut. James says to sing psalms when we are merry. He didn't just say to sing, he said to sing psalms- the praise chapters of the Bible. Release your praise and sing unto the Lord. Make His word your meditation, make it your song throughout the day, make it the thoughts your dwell on.

We experience times of both in life- joy and affliction. But there is something that we need to do when we are. Broken in spirit? Go to God in prayer. Merry in heart? Sing His praises.

Have a great day. Prayer and praise-- two great principles to live our lives by.

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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell

When Times Appear Dark

A word from Minister Darrick D. McGhee

It’s a wonderful day to be a child of God. Have you ever lost someone who was very dear to your heart? Maybe this person was a spouse, future spouse, best friend, relative or someone you knew at church. While we know death will take place, it is never easy to get use to it. You never imagine your life without this person by your side. This is the same person who believed in you when no one else did. This is the same person who consistently encouraged you when you wanted to give up on yourself and life. Have you ever found yourself mad at God because you felt He let you down? You are mad because you feel God dealt you a bad hand. The questions that often are accompanied by pain begin to leak out of your mouth: “Why me?” “What did (s)he do to deserve this?” “Where were you when we needed you?” You know it was not the Lord’s fault but pain causes you to blame someone.

Today, I have been commissioned to come and minister to you. Each of us endure trying times in life. As a matter of fact, Job said it best in Job 14:1 - Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. We never picture life causing us any challenges or tragedies. We expect the “ever so often” arguments with family and friends. Those we can handle, but we never imagine dark days. My friend, what do you do When Times Appear Dark? What do you do when getting out of the bed appears harder today than it did yesterday? What do you do when crying is easier than ever before? I rose up today, under the power of the Holy Spirit, to tell you that you shall LIVE! I know it is hard, believe me I do, but there is still life to live. There is still purpose to fulfill. There is still lives to impact for the glory of God. There are still sinners to save for the Kingdom of God.

My brother, my sister, what are you going through today? Who have you lost in your life? Does life appear over for you now? I beg the differ. You shall not die but live. The pain is there, but God still has work for you to do. Beloved, what do you do When Times Appear Dark? You continue to trust and depend on God for strength to make it through each day. The Bible declares in 2 Corinthians 12:9 - And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness … At your lowest point in life, God is at His strongest. This is not to say that God has weak points. No, no, it is to inform you that God is now able to carry you through the dark days of life. He is able to hide you in the shadow of His wings. This is not the time to live defeated; but the time to call on the name of the Lord. Prayer for Today: Father, help me overcome the times when it appears dark in my life. Help me to trust totally in Your power and strength. In the name of Jesus … Amen!

Scripture Reading for Today: Ephesians 6:10

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Let God's Word Settle It!

"'...Your word is settled in heaven.'"Psalm 119:89 NKJV

Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes: 'It is the Spirit and the Word, the Spirit upon the Word, and the Spirit in us as we read the Word.' You say, 'It's impossible.' God says, '...What is impossible with men is possible with God.' (Luke 18:27 NIV) You say, 'I'm exhausted.' He says, 'But those who wait on the Lord, Shall renew their strength...' (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV) You say, 'Nobody loves me.' He says, '...I have loved you with an everlasting love...' (Jeremiah 31:3 NIV) You say, 'I can't go on.' He says, '...My grace is sufficient for you...' (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV) You say, 'I don't know what to do.' He says, '...And He shall direct your paths.' (Proverbs 3:6 NKJV) You say, 'I can't do it.' He says, 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.' (Philippians 4:13 NKJV) You say, 'It's not worth it.' He says, '...we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.' (Galatians 6:9 NIV) You say, 'I can't forgive myself.' He says, '...in Christ God forgave you.' (Ephesians 4:32 NIV) You say, 'I can't make ends meet.' He says, '...God shall supply all your need...' (Philippians 4:19 NKJV) You say, 'I'm afraid.' He says, '...God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power...' (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV) You say, 'I can't handle this.' He says, 'Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you...' (Psalm 55:22 NIV) You say, 'I'm not smart enough.' He says, '...if any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it...' (James 1:5 NCV) You say, 'I'm all alone.' He says, '...I will never leave you nor forsake you.' (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV) Billy Sunday said, 'I stand on God's Word, and if the Book goes down, I'll go with it.' Today, let God's Word settle it!

Soulfood Bible Readings 1 John 3:11-5:21, John 8:42-59, Ps 123, Pr 25:18-20

Fighting Fear

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

From the verse above we learn that fear is a spirit. We also learn that the spirit of fear does not come from God. In addition we learn too that He doesn't give us a spirit of fear, but instead He gives us power, love and a sound mind. The power, love and sound mind that He gives us is not just a replacement for fear, it is also the "weapons" and "strategies" that He has given us to combat fear.

He gives us power to defeat fear. "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you." (Luke 10:19) As we said already, fear is a spirit and it is not a spirit that comes from God. Therefore, it is a spirit that comes from the enemy of our soul. But God has given us power over all the powers of the enemy, including power over fear.

He gives us love to cast out fear. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4:18) There is no fear in love, neither is there any place at all for fear in love. God is love. There is no fear in Him. According to 1 Corinthians 13 the attributes and character of love leave no place for fear to be able to dwell.

He also gives us a sound mind to overcome fear. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." (Isaiah 26:3) When you think about the Lord, renew your mind with His word, make Him your thought life, then you will have peace of mind. Peace and fear cannot both occupy the same place at the same time. Peace is the opposite of fear. Peace says, "All is well". Fear says, "No, it isn't".

If you are fearful this morning, you have no need to be. It does not have to overcome you. The Lord has given you everything you need through Christ to overcome it. Walk in power, walk in love, walk in a sound mind and fear will never be able to catch you.

Have a great day. God hasn't given you a spirit of fear, but He has given you all you need to overcome it.

For further reading:
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
1 John 4:4
Deut. 31:6
Ephesians 6

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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell


"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices." 2 Corinthians 2:11

A couple of weeks ago my husband killed a copperhead snake in our yard. He showed it to me and told me to be very cautious around the yard and pay attention to my surroundings. These snakes are small, very well camouflaged and very poisonous. Last night I dreamed that I was in our garden. I was picking the squash and as I was pulling back the leaves to get to them, there he was- a copperhead snake. He was well hid. The way he was coiled caused him to look like several dead leaves laying beside the plant. If my husband had not showed me what they look like and told me to be cautious and careful, I never would have seen him. And of course it could have been fatal for me. In my dream I was glad that I had heeded my husband's warning.

We have an adversary who is out to destroy us. He doesn't always come right out in the open plainly visible. He lies in wait to attack us under a camouflaged covering. He came to Eve in the form of a serpent, but the Bible says that he also comes as an angel of light. In the appearance of an angel of light he often blends right into "religious" surroundings. It is often hard to distinguish him from the real. This is why we need to know what he "looks like". This is why we need to know his characteristics. This is why we need to know what type of tactics he uses in his pursuit to destroy us.

My husband showed me what this snake looked like, he told me what their habits are, he told me what type of areas that they like to stay in, he told me which places to be especially careful in because this snake could easily hide in them and not be spotted. The word of God does for us what my husband did for me. It reveals the devil's real character. It tells us how to detect him. It tells us what to look for and look out for. It exposes him so that he becomes more visible and unable to deceive us. Take heed to God's word concerning your adversary. Don't think that you can't be deceived. Don't think that you'll always be able to easily spot him. He is there and he lies in wait to give you a deadly "bite". But the word of God will keep you safe if you'll listen to it and pay attention to its warnings.

Have a great day. Our adversary is often very well camouflaged, but God's word shines the light of exposure on him so that he isn't hid any longer.

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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell

Words of Praise!

"Faith is not believing that God can. It is knowing that He will."
You may have gone to bed last night weary and wondering How? When? or Why? But thank God you woke up this morning and placed your feet on the floor.
And when you did, I'm sure the enemy said... " DARN, she is up again!"
That's right. You are up again. You may still be discouraged, but you are not defeated!
You are up again. Your head is up! Your gratitude is up! Your faith is up!
You are standing up on your faith. You are cheering up and looking up.
You are speaking up and thinking up.
You are hooking up with the right people.
You are growing up and maturing in your self-esteem, self-worth and self-control.
You are up and ready to make it through and up out of your temporary circumstances.
To get better sleep, reduce the news watching and distance yourself from thenegative people.
Prayer is better than Prozac. There is no cost.... just a lot of reward.
Make sure you pray, and pray believing God will answer.
May today be all you need it to be.
May the peace of God and the freshness of the Holy Spirit rest and abide in your thoughts, rule in your dreams tonight, and conquer all your fears.
May God manifest Himself today in ways you have never experienced. May your joys be fulfilled, your dreams be closer, and your prayers be answered.
I pray that faith enters a new height for you; I pray that your territory is enlarged.
I pray for peace, healing, health, happiness, prosperity, joy, true and undying love for God.
Someone once said, "Aging puts wrinkles on the body. Quitting puts wrinkles on the soul."
So for as long as God gives you breath in your body, keep getting up, again and again!
Confuse the enemy with your praise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
May God bless you abundantly mentally, physically, spiritually and financially.
I will embrace and enjoy every season of my life, winter as much as spring....

Why Not?

"Why Not?"

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all." Psalm 34:19

Yesterday we talked about the fact that when something happens in our lives we tend to start asking "why?". The real question though should be "how?". We may never know the "why" but we should always desire the "how"- how can God get glory out of this situation? One of my email friends wrote back and said that she asks, "Why not?" Her reply prompts me to write on this subject this morning.

I think she made a very good point- "Why not, me?" Why don't I think that bad things won't happen to me? Why do I think that just because I am a Christian I am exempt? So many Christians believe and are taught that nothing bad- no trials, no pain, no grief, no heartache, no problems- is ever suppose to happen to them. The scriptures don't back up that way of thinking. Jesus Himself told us that we would have tribulation while we live in this world. The Bible tells us that it "rains" on the just and the unjust.

Just because you are a Christian doesn't mean that you are "exempt". There are consequences to our actions and choices. If we make the right choice we will not suffer the consequences that are attached to them. So in that way, we become "exempt" from facing many additional problems. But there are times when God will allow or even bring to you certain situations that will try you, but each one is planned to work together for your good. Just ask Job- he was a righteous man, yet he suffered. Joseph had a call upon his life, yet he went through a pit, slavery and a prison. Jesus Himself was led by the Spirit into the wilderness for a time of testing.

We are also told in the scriptures not to think that it is strange when some trial comes upon us- it serves a purpose. Therefore, if your question has been, "Why me, how could this happen to me I am a Christian?", you need to change your way of thinking and "step up to the plate" in faith and remind yourself- "why not me?". When you do, it will better equip you to then ask the question "how" and put you in a better position to be able to glorify God, bless others, and let it accomplish its perfect work in you.

Have a great day. The Lord never said that we would be exempt from problems, but when they come they serve a purpose in our lives that will work together for our good and His glory.

For further reading:
James 1:12
Psalms 105:17-19
John 16:33
Matthew 5:45
Job 23:10
James 1:2-4

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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell

Give It Back To Him!

In life, we know the things we must let go of. We know God is instructing us to release it to Him. We know we must lay it at the altar and never return to pick it up again. Beloved, now that you know, it is time to start doing it. The Bible declares in 1 Peter 5:7 - Casting all your care upon Him; for he careth for you. My friend, today, Give It Back To Him! Give that person, place or thing back to the Lord. You cannot fix this. You have tried it your way for far too long. God is asking for you to release it to Him and trust that He will work it out. In your eyes, things appear real horrible. You cannot see how things will get better for you and your family. Right now everything seems hopeless. This is the reason God is asking you to cast your cares on Him. The way you see the matter and the way God sees it is totally different. You see it as over, but God sees it just beginning. You see it as defeat, but God sees it as victory. You see it as bondage, but God sees it as liberty.

Today, whatever the situation is or whomever you are trying to change, Give It Back To Him! The Bible declares in Isaiah 55:8-9 - For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. My Prayer for You: Father, I pray for the recipient of this devotional. Whatever (s)he is holding onto that You are asking him/her to give up, I pray (s)he will obey You and trust in Your word. In the name of Jesus … Amen!

Scripture Reading for Today: Proverbs 23:26

The Great Exchange

"'God made Him...to be sin for us...'"2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV

The Bible says: (1) 'You must not steal.' (Exodus 20:15 TLB) Ever stolen anything? A paper clip, a parking space, the credit for someone else's idea? (2) 'You must not lie.' (Exodus 20:16 TLB) You say you haven't-you just did. 3) 'You must not commit adultery.' (Exodus 20:14 TLB) Jesus said if you look at someone with lust, you've committed adultery in your heart (Matthew 5:28);-ouch! 4) 'You must not murder.' (Exodus 20:13 TLB) Before you claim innocence, remember that Jesus treats anger seriously. '...anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment...' (Matthew 5:22 NIV) We assassinate a dozen drivers on our way to work every morning. Bad news: on your best day, you still fall far short of the divine standard required to get into heaven. Good news: '...He was wounded for our transgressions...The chastisement for our peace was upon Him...' (Isaiah 53:5 NKJV) A Chinese convert to Christianity understood this. Before her baptism the pastor asked her a question to ensure she understood the meaning of the cross: 'Did Jesus have any sin?' 'Yes,' she replied. Troubled, he repeated the question. 'Yes, He had sin,' she answered again. The pastor set out to correct her, but she insisted, 'He had mine.' And she was right! 'God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become [righteous in God's eyes].' This is the great exchange. The holy and the vile change places. God makes right what was wrong, and straight what was crooked. Aren't you glad?

Soulfood Bible Readings 1 John 1:1-3:10, John 8:31-41, Ps 30, Pr 25:13-17

Not A Captive...

"Not A Captive"

"We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion." Psalm 137:2,3

I went through a period of time years ago when I felt like I had lost my joy, my song, my victory and my fight. The verse above was my "theme song"- I had hung my harp upon a willow tree. Each time I thought I could take it off and pick it back up, I was "hit" again with the same discouragement that kept me in defeat.

One day a friend shared something that the Lord had shown her from the verses above. She said that the enemy would taunt Israel while they were in captivity to sing them the songs of their homeland knowing they would not because of their physical condition/location. Then she related what was happening to them on a spiritual level. The enemy tries to make us feel like captives then he taunts and mocks us to sing a "song"- to rejoice, to testify, to sing praises- but we allow the situation to make us feel like captives so we don't. She went on to say that we are not captives; we have been set free. Jesus set us free. He destroyed the works of the enemy that he uses against us. We are not in bondage, the chains have been broken, the prison door opened, we have no reason to hang our harps, our heads or our hands down. We are free.

Once she said that my eyes were opened, I received the truth of God's word and regained my "fight", my song, my joy and my victory! And anytime the enemy has come to attack and try to make me lay my harp down and take away my joy, he can't do it. My situation may not be the best. Conditions around me may look like captivity. It may look like defeat and not victory. It may not look like I am winning, but I am a winner. I am more than a conqueror. I am victorious and not a captive because Jesus already got the victory on my behalf. He broke the bonds of prison for me. I am not defeated, the devil is!

Don't listen to the lies of the enemy. He tries to make you think that you are a captive, that you are defeated, that you have lost, that you will never win, that you have no reason to sing, but it's all lies. Jesus defeated him and his works and he can no longer take us captive. He who the Son sets free is free indeed. Jesus didn't give us a partial freedom, He didn't give us temporary freedom, He didn't open the prison door a little, He didn't destroy a portion of the enemy's power-- He did it all and when He did it... it was finished!!! So pick up your harp and start singing and rejoicing, you are not a captive!!!

Have a great day. You have no reason to hang your harp on a willow tree or lay it down, you are not a prisoner... Jesus freed you!

For Further Reading:
John 8:36
Romans 8:37-39
Colossians 2:15,16
Psalm 98:1
1 John 3:8

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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell