Revive Me #49–See God at Work

Revive Me, Week 49–A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

See God at Work

I love the idea of keeping a prayer journal.  At ladies’ Bible class this past week, Anthea Carelse shared how she does hers.  I thought it was so great that I plan to do the same thing.  Instead of coming up with New Year’s resolutions, Anthea spends time creating her prayer journal for the year.  She thinks of and writes down her list of major prayer requests/ concerns.  She adds to it throughout the year.  She said that her favorite part is looking back a few weeks or months later and seeing how many she can cross off the list.  Anthea said that at the end of the year, she looks back over her prayer journal and can clearly see how most of her prayers were answered or in the process of being answered.  How faith building!

Anthea’s idea is a great one because it’s a reminder to see God at work.  When we do that, we will be more thankful for His love and attention.  We can always grow in our faith and in our gratitude.  Acknowledging answered prayers is an easy way to do that.

And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.

–1 John 5:14,15

“Leave it all in the Hands that were wounded for you”

(Elisabeth Elliot)

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  Purchase a spiral bound notebook or pretty journal and be thinking about the specific prayer requests/ concerns you’d like to write down on January 1st.
  2.  Besides building faith and growing gratitude, keeping track of God’s work in your life can also keep complaining and the martyr complex at bay.  What other benefits can you think of that will come from acknowledging answered prayers?
  3.  Read the following verses and note the conditions mentioned for answered prayer:

1 John 5:14,15-

John 15:7-

Matt. 7:7-

Psalm 37:4-

James 5:16-

Luke 18:1-

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

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Revive Me #48–Go to Calvary

Revive Me, Week 48–A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Go to Calvary

I’m fighting distraction.  I’ve been focused on whatever my current responsibility has been.  When I could check off that assignment or event, my focus would move on to the next one.  Yesterday during the Lord’s Supper, I was about to put the fruit of the vine to my lips when it dawned on me that my mind had completely wandered all through the partaking of the bread.  I lifted my head as I realized I couldn’t recall one single sentence mentioned in either prayer that had just been offered.

Paul lifted up the cross as his central focus.  For him, nothing else mattered.  “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:1,2).  I can see that I need to clear away the clutter and focus on the cross:

  • It is my power source (1 Cor. 1:18).
  • It is my motivation (Gal. 2:20).
  • It reminds me of God’s love (Rom. 5:8).
  • It strengthens me against temptation (1 Pet. 2:24,25).
  • It helps me see what’s important in life (Heb. 12:1,2).

It is so easy to get pulled away.  When I wander off on my own, I need to revisit Calvary.  The purpose of the cross was to bring me to God (1 Pet. 3:18).  Jesus gave everything for me there and that should be the reason for everything I do here.

“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” (2 Cor. 5:15).

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  Read through all the gospel accounts of the death, burial, and resurrection.
  2. See how many of the rest of the New Testament books mention the cross.
  3. Sing songs about the cross this week:  “The Old Rugged Cross,” “Lead Me to Calvary,” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross,” etc.
  4. Share the story of the cross with someone this week.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

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Revive Me #47– Give Thanks

Revive Me, Week 47–A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Give Thanks

“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.”

(unknown)

“Be thankful” (Col. 3:15; 4:2).  “Give thanks to Him and praise His name” (Psa. 100:4).

When?

  • In all circumstances- 1 Thess. 5:18
  • In all that you say and do- Col. 3:17
  • In every situation- Phil. 4:6
  • Always and for everything- Eph. 5:20
  • Forever- Psa. 30:12

Why?

  • For God is good and His love endures forever- 1 Chron. 16:34; Psa. 106:1
  • Because it is God’s will for you- 1 Thess. 5:18
  • For the Lord is the great God, the great King- Psa. 95:2,3
  • Because of the kingdom- Heb. 12:28
  • Because everything God created is good- 1 Tim. 4:4
  • Because of grace- 2 Cor. 4:15
  • Because of the generosity of others- 2 Cor. 9:11
  • Because it is good-Psa. 92:1
  • Because of all of the Lord’s wonderful deeds- Psa. 9:1,2
  • Because God answers- Psa. 118:21
  • Because the one who does it glorifies God- Psa. 50:23

Expressing thanks should be easy for the Christian.  We are most blessed!  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, readers.  May the Lord bless you and your loved ones as you continue to live for Him.

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  Memorize Psalm 100
  2.  Send handmade cards expressing thanks for several individuals who may feel unappreciated, unnoticed, or taken for granted.
  3.  Makes sure your daily prayers overflow with thanksgiving.
  4. Create a list of specific things to be thankful for.  Post it in a prominent place and add to it daily.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

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Revive Me #46–Live Victoriously

Revive Me, Week 46–A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Live Victoriously

Have you picked up any anxious vibes lately?  We went to lunch with some friends a couple of days ago and as soon as the waitress greeted us she launched into her fears about our nation.  I’ve heard other conversations swirling around me involving words like unsafe, need protection, and division.  The fear is palpable.

Fear, doubt, insecurity, anxiety, mistrust, timidity, alarm, dread…surely these are the devil’s tools.  How will we react to them?  Will we freeze up or faith up?  Will we cry out or carry on?  Will we shudder or shoulder?  God’s people are armed with His strength.  That should make us view things differently:

  • “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4).
  • “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
  • “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10).
  • “Salvation belongs to the Lord.  Your blessing be upon Your people!” (Psa. 3:8).
  • “Stand firm in the Lord, my beloved” (Phil. 4:1).
  • “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord” (Prov. 21:31).
  • “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57).

Courage!  Inspiration!  Power!  Victory!  These belong to us because we belong to God.  Oh, how the world needs to see that in us.  We are not of this world (Col. 3:1,2).  Our hope rests in Christ Jesus (1 Pet. 1:3).  Our peace cannot be taken away (John 14:27).  So let us smile more, teach more, love more, and shine more.  We can do it (Phil. 4:13)!

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;  We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 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 height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Rom. 8:31-39)

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  Choose a verse about power or victory to memorize.
  2.  Have a song in your heart (like “Victory in Jesus” or “Faith is the Victory”).
  3.  Don’t be driven by fear.  Pray for confidence in Christ to saturate your thinking.  This should affect your choices, temptations, speech, demeanor, and relationships.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

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Revive Me #45–Be a Gentlewoman

Revive Me, Week 45– A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Be a Gentlewoman

Gentlemen are a pleasure to be around.  They are courteous, mannerly, noble, and honorable.   I believe all Christian men should be gentlemen.  They demonstrate sterling traits that represent Christ well.  They stand out.

God desires all Christian women to be gentlewomen.

Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

1 Peter 3:3,4

“Very precious in the sight of God.”  Don’t you love that phrase?  That’s how God feels about a woman whose heart and spirit are gentle.  Do you have a gentle spirit?  Gentleness is a trait of those striving to “walk worthy of their calling” (Eph. 4:1,2).  It is demonstrated by those trying to “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16, 22, 23).  It is an essential part of having “good behavior in Christ” (1 Pet. 3:15,16).

At the risk of sounding old-fashioned, women have a special knack for being gentle.  Even Paul compared gentleness to “a nursing mother tenderly caring for her own children” (1 Thess. 2:7).  Let’s not smother that God-given ability.  It’s beautiful.  Let’s not swallow the world’s presentation of the hard, edgy woman.  When a woman displays gentleness, it doesn’t mean she lacks strength.  We don’t think of a gentleman as being a weakling!  No, a gentle woman has the greatest strength of all–the ability to draw others to Christ by her compassion, kindness, and patience (Col. 3:12).

“Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.”

(Phil. 4:5)

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  Practice gentleness in your speech, tone, and body language.
  2.  Would your husband describe you as gentle?  Would your children?  If not, start today to make sure they see your inner beauty.
  3.  Look up “gentle” and “gentleness” in the Bible.  In what areas should we be practicing gentleness?
  4.  Smooth out any rough edges in your personality.  Be attractive.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

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Revive Me #44–Think Souls

Revive Me, Week 44–A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Think Souls

“Who is God putting in front of you?”  This question was asked by Pam Randall.  She is a soul-winner so when she talks about how to reach others, I want to listen.  She is always involved in a Bible study and usually multiple studies.  She cares about people and wants them to know the Savior.  One time she even struck up a conversation with a stranger in Costco.  That stranger is now our sister in Christ!  How does she do it?  Here are a few of her tips:

  • You can’t wait until you’re good enough.  You just start.
  • Have a plan for soul-winning.  Then you can be ready at any time.  Pam uses the Open Bible Study method.
  • Attach Scriptures to emails, payroll checks, or any other correspondence.
  • Remember you can study anywhere.
  • Be a big respecter of their time and they will invite you back.
  • If you are asked a question you can’t answer, never try to guess it.  Write it down and tell them you’ll get back with them.
  • Send written thank-you notes in the mail.  There’s power in that.
  • Take failure or rejection.  If Christ and the apostles were rejected, why shouldn’t we be?
  • Be slow to be offended.  Try never to offend.
  • Never say, “I think,” or “I believe.”  Let the Word speak.
  • Never put down other religions.
  • Do the Open Bible Study with your children and grandchildren.  Don’t just assume they know it.
  • Go to assisted living homes and show the “Searching for Truth” DVD.
  • Remember that when God sees us trying, He will help us (Ex. 4:11,12).

Pam treats the opportunity to share the Good News as an honor.  She said, “Isn’t this a wonderful thing that we get to do?”  Indeed it is!

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  Create your soul-winning action plan.  Be prepared for open doors.
  2.  This week ask someone, “Would you like to study the Bible with me?”
  3.  Think souls.  See people as you go about your day.  Smile, interact.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

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Image credit: Michael Hite

 

Revive Me #43–Be On The Alert

Revive Me, Week 43–A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Be On The Alert

We can’t finish a series on growing stronger in the Lord without focusing on the one who wants to pull us away from the Lord.  Recently a Christian gentleman came back to God after years of worldly living.  In genuine humility, he shared an interesting perspective.  He said, “I try to be very aware of the devil’s attempts to pull me back.  For instance, when a job advancement opportunity comes along, instead of assuming that God must be blessing me, now I consider it carefully.   Could it be Satan at work?  Would the new job and responsibilities take up more of my time, keeping me from making visits and serving God?”  This tender-hearted brother wants to make sure he stays strong in the fold.  He has been the prodigal and never wants to go back.

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

(1 Peter 5:8)

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”

(1 Cor. 16:13)

“Be on the alert” means to be watchful and stay awake.  Keep your eyes open.  The Bible goes on to show us why that’s necessary:

  • Satan wants to enter the heart of the individual- John 13:2; Acts 5:3
  • He tries to take advantage of us- 2 Cor. 2:11
  • He tempts married couples- 1 Cor. 7:5
  • He tries to hinder the work of the saints- 1 Thess. 2:18
  • He’s the tempter who deceives the whole world- Matt. 4:3; Rev. 12:9

Paul said he wasn’t “ignorant of his schemes” (2 Cor. 2:11) and we shouldn’t be, either.

Suggestions for the week:

  1.  The world portrays the devil as a cartoonish joke.  Spend time looking up verses that show Satan’s activities.  Be re-convinced that our adversary is no laughing matter.
  2. Look up and write down all the names the Bible uses for the devil.
  3. What does Eph. 6:10-20 teach you about our enemy?  How can we protect yourself against him?
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Revive Me #42–Lift Your Eyes

Revive Me, Week 42–A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Lift Your Eyes

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

(Psalm 121)

This psalm has been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember.  It’s a beautiful reminder of God’s care.  When you’re hurting, lift your eyes to the One who wants to help you.  When you’re afraid of what lies ahead, remember your Protector.

How easy it is to feel alone!  How quickly I become overwhelmed.  “I will lift up my eyes.”  God is there.  He is helping, keeping, shading, and preserving ME.  The God of heaven and earth watches over ME.

“We have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (2 Chron. 20:12).

Sometimes I need a reminder to lift my eyes.

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  Memorize Psalm 121.
  2.  Read Psalm 123:1 and Isa. 40:26.
  3.  Think of examples of those in the Bible who looked up in their distress.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

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Revive Me #41–Know the Lord

Revive Me, Week 41–A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Know the Lord

Jesus said the “great and foremost commandment” is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37).  If we love the Lord, we will obey His commandments (John 14:15) and our actions will be saturated by that love (1 John 3:18).  But how can we love Him if we don’t know Him?  How can our children love Him if they don’t know Him?

To know the Lord, spend time in the gospel of John.  John shows us who Jesus is:

  • He is the Word (read 1:1)
  • He is the Life (read 1:3,4)
  • He is the Light (read 1:6-9)

“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.  He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him” (1:10).  To know Christ, then, is to receive Him.

  1.  To know the Lord, receive Him as the Word (12:48-50).

He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.  For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.  I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”

2.  To know the Lord, receive Him as the Life (11:25,26).

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?'”

3.  To know the Lord, receive Him as the Light (8:12).

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

Spend time in John this week and get reacquainted with your Lord.  Get to know Him as:

  • the Miracle Worker, when He turned the water to wine (ch. 2)
  • the Healer, when He cured the nobleman’s son, the paralytic, and the blind man (ch. 4,5,9)
  • the Provider, when He fed the 5,000 (ch. 6)
  • the Bread of Life (6:36) and the Living Water (7:37,38)
  • the Supreme Being, when He walked on water and stopped the wind (ch. 6)
  • the Compassionate One, when He wept for those He loved (ch. 11)
  • the Conqueror of Death, when He raised Lazarus and Himself from the grave (ch. 11,20)
  • the Humble Servant, when He washed His disciples feet (ch. 13)
  • the Interceder, when He prayed to the Father on our behalf (ch. 17)
  • the Sacrificial Lamb, when He gave His life for all mankind (ch. 19)

To know Him is to love Him!

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  Read through the gospel of John this week.
  2.  List each of the descriptions of Jesus above (Miracle Worker, Healer, etc.) and write down why that should grow your love for Him and how that knowledge impacts you personally.
  3.  Focus on making sure your children/ grandchildren know the Lord.  Share those amazing accounts with them this week in your devotional times.
  4.  So many around us have never met the Lord.  Introduce a neighbor, friend, or coworker to Jesus this week by sharing something you read in John.
  5.  Choose one verse in John to memorize this week.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

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Revive Me #40–Take the 5 Star Challenge

Revive Me, Week 40– A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Take the 5-Star Challenge

The challenge comes from a quote and may change your life.  It’s simple yet powerful.  You can do it by yourself.  You can do it with your family.  You can do it with your ladies’ Bible class.  You can create your own special team to do it with.

It will grow you.  It will make an impact on those around you.  If you want to make a difference in the world, this challenge is how you can.

Here it is:

“God’s Word…read it through, write it down, pray it in, work it out, pass it on.”

(Smith Wigglesworth)

See how simple?  And yet we know the Word is powerful and penetrating (Heb. 4:12).  It’s so powerful it can keep young people on the path of purity (Psalm 119:9).  It’s profitable (2 Tim. 3:16).  It blesses those who hear and obey it (Lk. 11:28).  It can make a difference in this dark world because the unfolding of it gives light (Psalm 119:130).  It saves (James 1:21).

Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Daniel 12:3

Suggestions for the Week (how the challenge will work):

  1.   Ask others to take this challenge with you.  Decide if you all want to do the same texts or each choose your own.
  2. Option A)
  • Monday- Read it
  • Tuesday- Write it
  • Wednesday- Pray it
  • Thursday- Work it
  • Friday- Pass it.

Option B)

  • Monday-Friday- Do all 5 each day

3.   Continue it at least until the end of the year (12 weeks).  Discuss with your team on Jan. 1st if/ how it made an impact.  Compare notes.

4.    Suggested text:  Psalm 119

           Psalm 119 has 176 verses.  This equals 15 verses a week for the next 12 weeks.  That is     3 verses a day (Monday through Friday).  This passage covers multiple ways in which the Word of God can change our lives and the lives of those around us.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

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