Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Praise Ye The Lord!

It’s a wonderful day to be a child of God. Do you know that God is faithful? In spite of what you have been through in life. Do you understand how much He loves you? Even when you did not love yourself, He still loved you. Do you realize at your lowest points of life, He has always been there for you? After all of your friends and family disappeared, He kept watch over you. When no one could be found, you could always depend on the Lord. When the storms of life were raging, God was your anchor. When the enemy attempted to destroy you, God was your protection. When your marriage, your ministry, your home, your children, or even your job was in jeopardy, God granted an unexplainable peace. He is Faithful and Just. Do you believe it?

Today, I have been commissioned to come and encourage you in the Lord. My friend, what are you facing today? What dilemma do you find yourself involved in? You have tried everything and everyone, and the results have not changed. The people you thought could be called on, failed. Your hiding place was exposed. The thing you hid behind has been taken away. You feel as though your world is crumbling down. Beloved, the Lord desires to free you from the turmoil of this life. When your surroundings seem threatening, and everything is [seemingly] against you … Praise ye the Lord! Stop complaining. Stop griping. Do you not know who your Father is? Your Father responds to praise and worship, not whining and groping. The Bible declares in 1 Chronicles 29:13 - Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. Exalt the name of Jesus Christ. Let your enemies know who your Father is.

My brother, my sister, put your head up. Walk with upright shoulders. You have no reason to walk with a depressed demeanor. God is on your side. Through every attack of the enemy, Praise ye the Lord! When your finances get low, Praise ye the Lord! When tomorrow seems uncertain, Praise ye the Lord! When your place of employment is hellish, Praise ye the Lord! When your relationship is on the ropes, Praise ye the Lord! When your friends laugh in your face, Praise ye the Lord! Prayer for Today: Father, Today I declare that You are God of all and in all. No matter what my situation looks like, I give You the praise. I know that my current situation is not greater than You. Father, have Your way in my life. In Jesus’ name … Amen!

Scripture Reading for Today: I Thessalonians 5:18

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

"Believing Faith" by: G. Craige Lewis

Mark 11:23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

If there is something you are believing God for, don't be tricked by the enemy to think that you are not believing when you have doubtful thoughts in your head about it. You can have doubt in your mind and yet believe with your heart and your mouth! Your mind may tell you all kinds of things, but that does not mean you are doubting. As long as you believe in your heart and confess it or speak it with your mouth, you are exercising faith! Faith is not a scary test, like some of us were taught growing up, but faith is merely believing in your heart in the unseen. The substance of things hoped for says that it is tangible even when it's only in the hopeful stage! The evidence of things not seen means that there is proof that it's coming! Impossible things are God's specialty. Either you are gonna rely on what can be attained by you or you are going to trust the most powerful God in the universe and believe that he can do all things.

The devil can use all kinds of weapons in your head and cause you to think crazy thoughts during a test or trial, but your thoughts do not have to manifest into actions. You can arrest your thoughts or bring them under captivity and say to yourself the opposite of what you were thinking. Don't think you have lost faith just because a doubtful thought came into your mind. Just speak what you believe and you are exercising faith regardless of what the enemy tells your mind! I have had bad dreams about things, bad advice given to me about things, and crazy ideas in my head, but I would have to get the bible and sort out what is biblical and what is imagination. And whatever was biblical, I would stand on it, but my imagination cannot be trusted! I trust God and I believe that by faith, I have things that are not seen yet or evident yet! That's faith and that's what we should stand on. Keep believing people of God and know that what God said is gonna come to pass. Know that your mind can play tricks on you and your gut can send you superstitious signals, but if you keep speaking it and believing it, by faith, it will come to pass.

Suggested Reading: Heb. 11:1, Rom. 14:23, 1Cor. 15:58, 2Cor. 10:5

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"Make More Room"-by: G. Craige Lewis

1Tim. 4:14 be not careless of the gift in thee, that was given thee through prophecy, with laying on of the hands of the eldership

Why is it that things we desire to do for God are many times neglected?We keep wishing, wanting and praying for great things of God, but we are still in the same spiritual rut we were in 5 years ago? Well, God works as he is allowed to in us. You see, God will move according to your ability and space to receive. In some cases, the person you have made your spiritual "head" can sometimes block your progress! Many times we belong to churches and ministries that limit us because of heretic teachings or their desire to play God in our lives rather than teach us the Word.Just because mama and grandma grew up in that church does not mean that's where God wants you. Even though your pastor may be the bomb to them, that doesn't mean that he will allow your personal ministry to be birthed! Even though you know everyone there and it's a real comfort zone for you does not mean that God will ever use you there. We cannot get caught up in the old fashion mindset where you die in the church you were born in! If you are being limited, you must go where you can be blessed of God. Of course, everyone will not do great things in the Kingdom. But many of us have the desire and the call, yet we are limited to our surroundings.

If you are packing for a trip, and everything does not fit in the suitcase you have, which would you rather do? Take things out and leave them behind, or get a larger suitcase and keep everything you had in it? Well, imagine that's your life. Are you leaving things out? Are you putting your dreams and purpose aside because they don't fit where you are, or are you making room for what God has given you? Don't sell yourself short because you are apart of the wrong fellowship, and please don't get caught up in the lie that you should never leave a church! Leave and find the right church if you have to and don't look back. You must protect your family, your call, and your purpose and you cannot be concerned with what people think about you or will say about you. Find your place in God's Kingdom and stop wasting time.God wants to use you, but you must make room for him.

Suggested Reading: Psa. 37:23, Psa. 112:5, Prov. 13:22, Matt. 12:35

The Word Is There

"Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice." Matthew 26:34

We are always wanting "a word" from the Lord. We pray for a word, we seek out a word through others, we read the Bible hoping for a word. We want the Lord to talk to us and tell us what to do, give us direction and guidance, reassure us and comfort us. There is no lack of desire or want for a "personal" word. But when He does give us a word, what do we do with it? Do we ignore it? Do we disobey it? Do we turn a deaf ear to it? Or do we heed it?

Jesus gave Peter a word and Peter did two things with it. He protested it- "Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples." (v.35) We may want a word from the Lord, but that doesn't mean that the word He gives us will always be the word we want to hear. When it isn't, do we protest against it as if the Lord "missed it"; as if He doesn't know what He's talking about; as if He doesn't understand the question. Or do we accept it and do whatever we need to do with it?

Secondly, Peter ignored the word. "Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?" (vs.36,40) Had Peter not ignored, or forgotten about it, he would not have been sleeping, he would have been praying. Had he taken Jesus seriously, he would have spent the time praying that Jesus' words would not come true. He would have taken heed to His words and prayed for strength to stand, grace to not deny, power from on high to resist the temptation. He would have followed the example of Jesus and spent the time in prayer.

The Lord speaks to us more often than we realize, but what are we doing with what He is saying. Are we ignoring it? Are we believing what He says? Are we taking Him seriously? Are we acting upon His word? If not, why are we asking Him to say something else when we are not heeding what He does say?

Have a great day. When the Lord gives you a word, what are you doing with it?

For further reading:
Matthew 26: 31-41; 69-75; 11:15
James 1:22

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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell


"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:7

I was thinking about an old hymn this morning- "There is Room At The Cross". The chorus goes like this: "There's room at the cross for you. There's room at the cross for you. Tho millions have come. There's still room for one. Yes, there's room at the cross for you." As this song played over and over in my mind, I thought about making room for Jesus. This earth did not make room for Him at His first coming. There was no room for Him to be born in- He was born in a stable. There was no grave for Him to be buried in- He borrowed a tomb. Even now He still doesn't find room in the lives of multiplied millions of people. And sadly, even among His own children is room seldom made for Him in their daily activities.

But I have good news this morning. Even though we seem to find no, or little, room for Him, He has made room for us. He made room for us by coming to earth-- He took the time to reach down to dying humanity in order to give us the opportunity to receive eternal life. He made room at the cross for whoever would come to Him in repentance-- the space at the foot of the cross is not limited, there is always room for one more. He has also made room for us in His house-- He couldn't find a place here on earth, but He has made sure that we find a place in heaven. "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2)

He is preparing a room/place in heaven. This place is for those who will give Him room in their lives here on earth in return. Is that you this morning? Are you giving Him room in your life? If so, how much room does He occupy? If you aren't, why not? Or do you give Him room when it is convenient or only when you need His help? When He comes desiring to spend time with you, does He often walk away having found no room- not even a "stable"? You are the desire of His heart so He has made room for you. If He is your desire, you will make room for Him.

Have a great day. He has made room for you, are you making room for Him?

For further reading:
Matthew 6:33
Psalm 31:8
John 14:1-3,23

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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell


"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6:9

Yesterday we planted a small garden. Even though it is small in size, it was still hard work. There are many steps to planting a garden- breaking up the ground, removing the grass, making the rows, planting, fertilizing, covering the seeds, watering. Each step is important and can't be neglected.

Our lives are like a garden, we are always "planting" something in them. There is one thing to note about planting- when you plant, you will reap. Do you ever feel as though you aren't reaping good things? There are three reasons for this that I want to discuss.

1) What are you planting? Perhaps you aren't planting something good. You reap what you sow. You can't plant lemons and expect to get apples. "For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." (Galatians 6:8)

2) Are you getting tired of planting? After breaking up the ground in the garden and de-grassing it, we could have quit and not gone any further because we were tired. But just because the ground was prepared if we didn't plant seeds nothing will grow. This is what our scripture is referring to- don't get weary, give up or stop in the planting process. You have to continue until you have planted something.

3) Impatience. Sometimes we just don't wait long enough for our planting to produce. My garden is finished but I can't go out there this morning and expect to pick beans. There is a time element involved- some things that we plant in and through our lives don't produce overnight. "For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise." (Hebrews 10:36)

There are no short cuts to sowing if you expect to reap. Each step is all part of it, and each step is important. So don't give up, don't get weary in the planting process you will reap in due season if you don't quit.

Have a great day. Keep planting and keep waiting.

For further reading:
Matthew 7:17,18
Hosea 10:12
Psalm 126:5
Proverbs 22:8
2 Corinthians 9:6
Galatians 6:7-9

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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell

"Seasons of Discipline"-by: G. Craige Lewis

Matt. 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

With all the money messages and the prosperity sermons out there, you would almost be inclined to believe that no matter where you are in Christ, you should be financially rich! Many preachers sound as though they have been rich all their lives and you should be able to ask God for any amount of money you want and it will magically appear in your mailbox!! But it's so peculiar to me how everyone of them had to go through a season of discipline before they ended up in their season of plenty! You see, God did not immediately give the children of Israel the promise land. He took them through 3 seasons. A season of not enough, a season of just enough, and a season of plenty. I believe that we as believers face these seasons today. Why?Because this is how God disciplines us. Now, you will rarely hear this on TV or in conferences where a man that has gotten rich off the people of God is making you feel less of a Christian if you don't have enough money to to plant a huge seed! They call it a curse! But its probably not a curse, it may just be your season of testing. I don't believe God will cause us to go totally without, but I do believe that God will take us through a season of testing just as he did his chosen people in the wilderness. Their every move had to be dictated by God because they had no direction. That is how God wants us that are chosen by him in the beginning. He totally blocks our sense of direction and sometimes cuts off our supply so we will depend totally upon him to work our own ability out of us. Just as a child depends upon his parents, so must we depend on God. Then, we move into another season of God giving us enough. We learned from the previous season, so now we can have more. And after that, once he has trusted us with what he has given, he moves us into our season of plenty!

But this kind of teaching messes with a lot of people's perception of God.We are now being taught by many tele-evangelists that we should always have more than enough because God has more than enough. But i refuse to believe that God would spoil his children by sparing the rod of discipline. Why would he give us everything all the time? He cares too much about the big picture to bypass discipline and correction! I just refuse to preach a prosperity Gospel like that because Jesus didn't preach that. Jesus said that if you seek the kingdom, things will be added! Now, in math, adding started out with a numeric figure and that figure got bigger and bigger right? Well, I believe that the more you walk with Christ, the more he adds to you.

"Specific Prayers" - by: G. Craige Lewis

Matt. 6:9 - 'After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.'
Prayer is a powerful tool, when used correctly. The problem is that most of the time, we don't pray the right prayers. We must learn to pray specifically and not generally. We must learn to pray as Jesus did in his prayers. Jesus did not pray vaguely, but he would even sound, to some redundant, to add specifics to his prayers. He wanted us to learn this so we won't be general when talking to the Father. Don't you hate when your children or friends talk to you vaguely and do not give specifics? That's so impersonal and it really makes you feel that you are not close to them. Well, God wants us to be specific and pray for the right stuff. There are keys to prayer that can unlock doors for you and get results in a hurry!
Jesus could have just said, "Our Father", but, after that he said "which art in heaven"! He didn't want any other father to answer this prayer, only Father God in heaven. "Thy Kingdom come" is the will of God for the earth and heaven, so many feel he didn't have to say "Thy will be done", but Jesus was specific, even when it was obvious what he was saying. Then he said, "Give us this day, our daily bread" because he only wanted what was meant for that specific day! He could have said "Give us this day our bread" but because he was specific, he got what was meant for that day. He didn't just say, "Forgive me for my sins" but he stated that he would forgive others. This is a powerful key because the Word tells us that we must forgive others to be forgiven. Jesus did not want us to waste God's time by praying to be forgiven without first forgiving others. And if God leads us out of temptation, then it would seem we will automatically be delivered from evil, right? NO. Jesus was specific and asked for correct leading and then deliverance for when we don't follow his leading. I know many of you are saying, "is all this really that important?" But I want to let you know that what you want from God can be unlocked by these keys to prayer. If you pray for specifics that agree with his will, God will act on your words. Stop praying the same old prayers, vague and general babbling, and start talking to God like you know what you are talking about. You know what you want and he knows what you need, so if you can agree with him, then you can get your prayers answered. God has all that you desire and when you learn how to ask, you will receive it.

The Word For Today-Zeal

"'I must work the works of Him who sent Me...' "John 9:4 NKJV

The Bible word for passion is zeal. Without it, life can become pretty drab. Everything is a 'have to' and nothing is a 'want to'. Zeal keeps you going when others quit. It pushes you through the toughest times and gives you energy you didn't know you possessed. Nothing can take its place. Opportunity can't . Opportunity may open the door, but without zeal you won't make the most of your opportunities and you won't get to your destiny. Howard Hendricks said, 'You don't put live eggs under dead chickens.' That's what opportunities are to people without zeal. Knowledge can't . Some of America's worst presidents are reputed to have been the smartest. And some of the greatest, such as Abraham Lincoln, had very little formal education. A resume may get you through the door, but that's as far as it will get you. Talent can't. There are many people in the world with great natural talent who never achieve personal or professional success. Talent is like money; it only grows when you put it to work. Finally, others can't. You will never be successful without the help of others, but merely being surrounded with the right people doesn't guarantee success. A team with no heart won't succeed. Zeal is the difference-maker. And one of the secrets of having zeal, is knowing that God has truly called and gifted you to do a certain thing. Jesus said, 'I must work the works of Him who sent Me.' (emphasis added) This kind of zeal is not taught but 'caught', so if you're lacking in it today, spend more time with Jesus.
Soulfood Bible Readings Dan 8-10, Mark 3:1-6, Ps 103:13-22, Pr 10:14

What Are You Living For?

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal." Matthew 6:19
I came across this quote by Joan of Arc and felt this was a good way to start the week-- with a reminder to stay focused on the things that really matter. "Everyone gives their life for what they believe. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing and yet they give their lives to that little...or nothing.One life is all we have, we live it and it's gone. What do you live for?"

What are you giving your life for? What are you spending it on? What do you live for? That which is temporary or eternal? That which pleases self or pleases God? That which has eternal value or no real value at all? Are your sights set on material possessions or heavenly treasures? Do you work harder to get more and more possessions but are negligent in developing a closer relationship to the Lord? Where do your priorities lie? On heavenly or earthly things?

Like the quote says, people give their lives for what they believe. They make it the goal and focus of their lives. And they also spend themselves and their resources to secure that which they believe is most important. When you look at your life, does the evidence of your "spending" (spending yourself) weigh heavier toward those things that money cannot buy or those things that moth and rust destroy and thieves steal?

Am I saying that having possessions is wrong? Of course not, unless they have your heart, unless they are your goal, unless they are your focus and you are neglecting the things that are truly valuable. Many Christians are living their lives centered around accumulating more and more material possessions. Remember that these things are going to pass away and will have no eternal riches attached to them. So stay focused on laying up for yourselves treasures in heaven.

Have a great day. What you spend your life on is a clear indication of what you believe is most important.

For further reading:
Matthew 6:21,33
Proverbs 23:5
Luke 18:22
Philippians 3:8,13,14

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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell

Have A Not-To-Do List

My purpose is to give them a rich, satisfying life. John 10:10 NLT

Jesus wants you to enjoy a '… rich… satisfying life' (John 10:10 NLT), without getting bogged down by things that don't add value or meaning. Life coach Robyn Coffman says, 'Clutter isn't only what you can see; it's what you can't see. It perpetuates your overloaded schedule, endless commitments and overwhelming fears. A cluttered mind means over-thinking, over-reacting, over-analyzing, over-worrying and over-committing.' So, de-clutter your mind by giving yourself permission to have a not-to-do list: Not to feel guilty for saying no to something that may be good, but not right for you. Not to worry about how well-adjusted your kids will be as adults. Not to hang something new in your wardrobe without giving something away. Not to feel over-responsible for everybody else's well-being. Not to answer the phone after a certain time each night. Not to say yes just because you've been invited. Not to schedule busy activities on Sundays and family days. Not to buy something just because it's on sale. Not to think you have to make a meal requiring more than three ingredients, do laundry, clean the house, and spend quality time with your family all on the same day. Not to ruminate over your own, or other people's mistakes. Not to compare yourself. The more you give yourself permission not to do, the more you free yourself to live a centered, abundant life. And God will help you to live this way. Listen: 'He gives power to the weak… those who trust in the Lord will find new strength… ' (Isaiah 40:29-31 NLT). Make spending time with God each day a priority, and everything else will fall into place.

Destroyed World

"And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark." Genesis 7:23

(Bear with me this morning as I take a little liberty. I know that the flood/storm that Noah went through was the judgment of God- but I want to make a point that will hopefully help someone today.) When the flood, or storm, came in Noah's life, it literally destroyed his world. It destroyed all he had worked for to accumulate- his home, his properties, his assets, etc . It destroyed everything that he had grown up with- familiar surroundings were gone. It took away relationships. It transitioned him from one place to another. As I said, it destroyed everything (with the exception of his wife and children).

There are storms that many have faced, or are facing now, that are literally destroying their whole world. Some are going through marriage storms, some are going through financial storms, some are going through storms that are attacking their bodies with disease, some are facing storms so devastating that it is changing their whole life to such a degree where nothing is familiar any more. Some are facing storms that are "blowing away" everything they have worked so hard to accumulate. Perhaps you are that person this morning. Perhaps you feel as if your world is gone- nothing left.

Let me give you a word of hope and consolation. Even though Noah was going through a storm/flood unlike anything ever experienced before, he did not go through it alone. God was there with him. God was there leading him and guiding him the whole time. God sustained him and kept him through it. God instructed him and continued to speak to him. So take heart, God has not left you in the storm. He didn't abandon Noah, He has not abandoned you in your time of need either- if He had you never would have made it this far. Noah wasn't destroyed because God was protecting him while the rain was falling and the flood waters rising. He will do no less for you. He will protect you as well. It doesn't always mean He will protect your possessions, your position, your accumulations, but He will protect you and be with you through the storm.

Have a great day. Some storms seem to destroy our whole world, but even in the most devastating storm you are not alone- the Lord is still with you.

For further reading:
Genesis 7
Genesis 8:1
Hebrews 13:5

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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell

Repentance Requires Action

"I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee." Luke 15:18

The first message that Jesus preached was that of repentance. "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt. 4:17) Repentance is not passive, it requires that something be done- even the word itself is a verb that means to "change your mind, which involves turning with contrition from sin to God".

In the story of the prodigal son we see a picture of a repentant young man- we also see a prime example that action accompanies repentance. Repentance in this young man's heart did not start when he got home. It did not start when the father embraced him. It started in the pig pen when he said, "I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee." At that moment not only was there contrition of heart, but a turning away from sin. He got up out of the pig pen (symbolic of the life of sin) and started in the direction of home.

Repentance isn't just a confession of sin and then continue going in the same direction- it always requires that you go in the opposite direction from the sin you just confessed. "Go, and sin no more." (John 8:11) What is in the opposite direction of sin? God. To sum up what I have already said- repentance means that we turn our backs on sin and our faces toward God and start heading in that direction. That is exactly what the prodigal son did- he left the pig pen behind.

Where are you today? In confession or repentance over your sin? Confession only (acknowledging that it is there) does not get you out of the "pig pen." Repentance on the other hand causes you to arise, get up out of it and head toward the Father.

Have a great day. If it's true repentance it will be accompanied by action.

For further reading:
Luke 15:11-22; 8:36-39
Acts 14:15; 26:20
Ezekiel 18:30

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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell

The Cry Of An Empty Heart

"'...the world offers...a craving for everything we see...' "1 John 2:16 NLT

A Christian author writes, 'There was a teenager with lots of friends who excelled in school...But looks can be deceiving. I know. I'm that girl. At 7, a neighbour molested me...at 8, I watched my grandfather collapse with a stroke...at 10, my dad left and never returned...my parents divorced...my world got worse by the year. I asked Christ into my life but I still felt guilty, dirty, disappointed, scared, unworthy and empty. I said, 'God, if you won't fix my life, I'll do it myself.' I satisfied people through achievements, but inside I was empty and aching. I gave in to temptation...by crawling into bed with another searching-for-love soul; two people trying to feel complete and looking in the wrong places...Growing inside were seeds of guilt, shame and disgust. After years trying to fill the emptiness...I realised Jesus had been in my heart since the day I asked Him, and He alone could fill it completely. I'm older now...far from perfect, but I've learned that nothing in this world can satisfy the desires of the heart...if it could be found in looks...clothes...relationships...my heart wouldn't have hurt. None of these do what Jesus does. Don't be fooled by the world's promises; believe the promises of God. You're His child. He loves you and wants a relationship with you no matter what you've done.' A hymn writer wrote, None but Christ can satisfy; none other Name for me! There's love, and life, and lasting joy, Lord Jesus, found in Thee!

Soulfood Bible Readings Lev 8-10, Matt 28:16-20, Ps 72:12-20, Pr 9:7-9

Faith and Sacrifice

"And immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him." Matthew 4:22

Following Jesus is a walk of faith and sacrifice. Which means that you often have to leave that which gives you security and what you are most familiar and comfortable with and make Him your first love. When Jesus called His disciples- James and John- they left the boat. These men were fishermen by trade. The boat represented their livelihood. It represented their provision. Without the "boat" where would there next meal come from? Where would the finances come from to meet their physical needs? Not only did they leave their financial security but they left "their father". They left the relationship of a father who loved them, had cared for them all their lives and who had taught them about life in general, in order to follow a "stranger".

When we follow Jesus it doesn't mean that we are to leave our jobs, stop working, stop providing for our families, but sometimes it does mean that. It doesn't mean that we are to break off our relationships and have no more contact with your loved ones, although it might mean just that too. But what it does mean is that following Jesus is more important than anything else. Jesus said that if we love others more than Him then we are not worthy of Him. He also said that if we love the things of this life more than Him He does not have our heart.

We see a contrast between James and John's immediate response to Jesus' invitation to follow Him and the sacrifice that they made in order to do that, and those that Jesus spoke about who were given an invitation to a great supper but made excuses as to why they could not come. Out of the three excuse makers two wanted to take care of their possessions first (their security which comes through material things) and the other one was focused on a relationship with his new wife (that which is familiar and comfortable). In both cases they loved something else more than they loved Him.

Again, it's not always about the job or the relationship (let me make that clear before some get the wrong impression and quit their jobs or leave their spouse to "follow Jesus"). It's about understanding that following Jesus makes Him your place of security- it's a walk of faith. Following Jesus is also about getting out of our comfort zones and making Him the love of our life. It's about putting Him first in your life- after all, is it really considered following Him if He isn't.

Have a great day. Following Jesus means that we walk by faith and make sacrifices.

For further reading:
John 21:15-17
Matthew 6:20-22; 10:37,38
Luke 10:27; 14:17-20
1 Thessalonians 3:10

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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell


"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." Matthew 5:6

Recently I was talking with someone and they asked me to pray for them. They said that they were finding themselves short tempered, yelling at their daughter and being impatient with her. She wanted me to pray for her against this attack of the enemy. Then she confessed that she wasn't reading the Bible and wanted prayer for that also. When she told me that, it was easy to determine what was going on in her relationship with her daughter, and her life in general. What she was going through was not necessarily the enemy's attack but she was bringing this upon herself.

Not everything we go through has the devil's name on it. We often do and bring some things on ourselves (but that doesn't mean that he won't take advantage of the situation and move in on it). Let me explain what was going on with this person so that we can guard against it happening to us or if it is happening we know how to overcome it.

The problem and the solution was in the statement she made about not reading her Bible. If you aren't reading your Bible then chances are you aren't having time with the Lord in communion either. When we aren't communing with the Lord on a daily basis, there is an empty spot within us. An empty spot represents/means something is missing. That empty place longs for and desires to be filled. What fills it? Communion with the Lord- through prayer, Bible reading, praise, etc. When it is filled, we are satisfied. When it isn't filled, there is a "gnawing" inside of us that desires to have it but doesn't. That "gnawing" (emptiness) because something is missing and not getting what it wants or needs breeds frustration. Frustration always finds an outlet- it will come out in some form. And it often comes out in the form of temper, aggravation, bitterness, discontent and so on. "For of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh." (Luke 6:45b) It's like a growling stomach in the natural. When my stomach is empty and I am hungry, it makes a growling noise that can be heard by others- and sometimes it does it rather loudly.

Often it is not an attack of the enemy, it is not a problem with some person, it is "us"- frustration is built up within us because of what is missing from our lives and because it is going to come out, we tend to take it out on others. I said earlier that this was the problem and the solution. People can pray for you, you can stand against the devil, but until you spend time communing with the Lord, that emptiness in your spirit is still going to be there. And as long as it's there, you are going to be "unsettled", "unsatisfied" and "frustrated" and you won't be able to contain it. That emptiness has to be filled. When it is, you will be satisfied and have peace and contentment. And then that is what is going to come out.

Have a great day. A lack of communion with the Lord leaves us dissatisfied. Being dissatisfied leads to emptiness. Emptiness breeds frustration. Frustration finds an outlet.

For further reading:
Isaiah 26:3
Mark 7:20-23
Proverbs 19:15,16

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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell