This is currently one looping throughout my space – home, car, office. The Holy Spirit ministers each and every time I hear this song. I hope you can feel the presence of God as well!
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward (Psalm 127:3 New King James Version).
I had the distinct pleasure to babysit my 3 ½ month old grandson the other day. We had so much fun and I discovered how much he loves to be sung and read to, played with and simply spoiled! I remember when my children were born, the awe and wonder which filled my heart at their tiny little personages; reliving it again in the arrival of grandchildren is amazing! My heart is overflowing with love for him and when I see him next, it will be such a grand reunion!
As I process this emotional walk into grandparent-hood, I am drawn to see the parallels of the Father’s love for us. How He must long and pine for us when we have strayed from Him and He has no fellowship with us. How sad His heart must be when we turn our backs on Him. But the joy which fills His heart when we return to Him must be overwhelming! The prayers Jesus prayed for us while He was in the garden have similar undertones to the prayers I pray for my grandchildren – to be one with the Father. It’s fascinating to see the hand of God throughout.
Heritage means something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth; an inherited lot or portion. If children are a heritage from the Lord, then we have a responsibility to teach them the ways of the Lord. We have a responsibility to love them and nurture them just as He loves and nurtures us. When they test our patience, these are the times when we need to examine ourselves and see how we can grow and mature. Sometimes we may learn more from the children than they will learn from us in a situation. Angelo and I are looking forward to leaving a legacy for our grandchildren; to teach them the love of Jesus Christ; to show them the power and fellowship that comes through prayer; to model for them Godly living and how to love one’s neighbor. We want to instill in them a deep trust for the Lord that surpasses anything this world offers and we accept the challenges that we will face.
Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, You are incredible and the love that You have for us is unmatched! The grace and mercy that You grant alongside Your love is wonderful and we can feel it envelope us. Father, if we could but take a fraction of Your love and extend it to others, it would spread like wildfire. Show us how to love our children and grandchildren the way that You love us; guide us in instructing these younger generations so that they know You more intimately; strengthen us against the cares of this world and its oppressive grasp over these generations. May we rise up as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and relatives to help bring our children back to Your sheepfold, but more importantly, may the children have ears to hear Your voice, eyes to see Your hand and hearts ready to receive Your word. Father, we love You and we desire to bring You glory! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: I have been enveloped in a pocket of God’s love and I don’t ever want it to dissipate. Take a look at what’s gone on around you and begin to notice the love of God as He touches and cradles you. If you’ve grown distant, turn back, He is longing for you. His hands are outstretched and His lap is welcoming. If you have children or grandchildren, nieces or nephews, teach them the ways of the Lord. Be the example that Christ was. Let the children see you trust fully in God.
Additional Scriptures: Jeremiah 31:3; Matthew 19:14
It is easier to build a boy than to mend a man. ~Author Unknown
PREPARE FOR BATTLE
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:10-18 New King James Version).
How strong our armor is depends on whether or not we’ve reinforced it lately. We must make sure our belt of Truth is cinched tightly and placed correctly, since the belt mainly holds the sword. Our sword, the sword of the Spirit, is the Word of God. It’s important we be thoroughly grounded in God’s Word so we can adequately wield the sword. The breastplate of righteousness protects our heart and internal organs. When our heart is fully devoted to God, we wear our breastplate correctly. We must have proper footwear on our feet; improper footwear causes fatigue. Have you ever tried walking in bad shoes? It’s neither easy, nor fun, and our feet get so sore and tired we need to sit down and rest them. The terrain we walk as Christians is very rocky and sharp at times and we can slip easily without the correct shoes. Wearing the gospel of peace on our feet indicates we are following Jesus and continuing to be His example on this earth; it also ensures a proper fit so we are able stand. At last, we cannot forget our head protection, the helmet of salvation. The helmet protects the head; when we accepted the gift of salvation, we became new creations. The enemy will always try to attack us in our minds. Holding tight to the fact Jesus has given us new life and we are not who we used to be is the helmet is protecting us.
How do we wield our sword and engage the enemy? Prayer, praise, worship and studying God’s word. Prayer keeps us connected to God, keeps us watchful, holds the enemy back and helps to keep the armor strong and whole. Prayer is not complicated and it’s not only for pastors and church leaders on Sunday mornings. Prayer is available to, and should be practiced by everyone. Prayer only costs the time and effort you put into it. Praise keeps our eyes focused on God, no matter what we go through, no matter what type of situation the enemy throws at us, with attitudes of praise we are telling God we trust Him to fight on our behalf. As Christians, our lives and lifestyle should be considered worship to God. All we do, all we say, all we are is for the glory of God. Studying and reading the Bible will reveal more and more of God’s character and His will for our lives, making it easier to discern spiritual attacks and stand firm against them.
Take time today to reevaluate your armor. Are there pieces of armor that have grown weak and dingy? Do you need a complete armor overhaul? Do you even wear your armor or are you standing behind someone else to fight your battles for you?
Let’s Pray: Dear Lord, thank You for blessing us with another beautiful day. It is a gift and we offer all we do today for Your glory and honor. May you accept our acts of worship and our sacrifices of praise, and may they be a sweet aroma to You. Lord, we ask that our armor be fortified. Reveal to us any holes or dings that need patching and strengthening. Show us how to wear it correctly and to properly wield the weapons You have given us. Grant those of us that are already engaged in battle strength and endurance to make it through, protect us from any sneak attacks of the enemy and grant us discernment to know what warnings are from You and what the enemy is trying to fool us with. Please grant us watchful eyes, and may we heed the warnings from the watchman. May You raise up Your watchman and grant them discernment and boldness to speak Your warnings and Your word. Let us not grow complacent and compromising in the midst of battle, pinch us when we begin to become weary, and reinforce us when we become weak. We give all glory and honor to You, our worship and praise our Yours. In Your name, Jesus, Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: If you find that your armor is slack and weak, strengthen it. Spend time in prayer, sing along with some praise songs, make a mental note to offer all that you do today as worship to God, and begin reading His Word.
Additional Scriptures: Matthew 4:1-11; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
GET PLUGGED IN
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice (Philippians 4:4 New King James Version)!
You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).
Have you ever been around a person who is truly happy? I mean really, really happy? With twinkling eyes, a quick smile, patient attitudes, peaceful and joyful? People that never seem to have a bad day. I’m not talking about people who act happy, yet their eyes do not smile when they do; I’m talking about happy, joyful people. People, who, no matter what their circumstances are, they remain full of joy. They are the saints who have tapped into the fullness of joy in the Lord’s presence. They have grabbed hold of Him and have not let go. They don’t play the “woe is me” game and they are quick to ensure that others needs are met before their own. They are seasoned servants in the Lord and much is to be gained from their wisdom and insight. It’s always a pleasure to be around these people because the joy they carry in their hearts is infectious!!
God desires that each of us, as His children, carry this joy. His presence is always with us, but there are many of us who don’t grab onto Him and hang tight. There are many who choose not to be joyful, relying instead on being despondent because that always worked for them. When we give in to despair, we have shown God that we don’t trust Him enough to lift us up from our problems. We will be more likely to trust in the things of man than the things of God. How do you tap into this joy, you ask? Prayer, bible study and listening to the Holy Spirit that resides in each of us. Sitting before God on a regular, consistent basis is what plugs us into the source of all joy, all peace, all hope, all strength, all of who He is.
If you’ve been sitting on the fence, going through the motions, gracing your home church with your presence on Sunday mornings only, and avoiding a regular prayer and bible study time – God is wooing you to jump off that fence and pick a side. He’s romancing you to come to Him and to plug yourself in and recharge your battery. Sit before Him so that you can rejoice always!
Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we stand before You today with grateful hearts because You have blessed us with another day full of Your mercy and grace! We thank You for more opportunities to grow closer to You, to listen for Your voice and to sit in Your presence. We ask for forgiveness for climbing the fence and parking up there for too long. We ask that You rekindle the flame of passion in our hearts, that You whisper to our spirits the words of love that You have for us. We pray for strength to jump down and rest at Your feet, filling ourselves with Your presence. We pray to be filled with joy, to have the ability to truly rejoice always. We praise You and honor You because You deserve all praise and honor. We glorify and worship You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: Begin to change your attitude by giving God praise and thanks for your blessings. It takes action and determination, but it’s not impossible!
Additional Scriptures: Psalm 5:11; Psalm 27:6; Psalm 35:9
***Today’s devotional comes from my book, Today’s Bible Treasure, Simple Christianity Volume 1.***
NO MAN IS AN ISLAND
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25 New King James Version).
Many Christians do not attend church. They have their reasons and in their minds, those reasons are valid. Some feel they are not in a good spiritual place to set foot in a church. Others were treated unfairly at one house of worship and made the decision to never go back. Then there are those who feel they don’t need to be surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ because they think they can teach themselves much better. Still there are some who have no desire to serve in their church, so they don’t go, lest they be asked to serve. Church, these are tactics of the enemy to bring division, strife, disunity and conflict to the Body of Christ. Some of these folks may be very strong in their faith, but the longer they avoid fellowship and the feast of God’s word with other believers, the more they starve.
Please read very carefully what is being said here- God is not speaking to those of us who may miss a Sunday or church activity now and then, He is speaking to those who do not go to church for reasons of their own. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control (1 Corinthians 7:5 NKJV). This verse speaks about marriages, but God granted me insight to it in the context of this message. We, as Christians, are the Bride and Body of Christ. To remain strong yes, we need to fast and pray; but we also need fellowship, corporate and agreeing prayer, as well as worship, to teach and be taught, to be useful to God and others, to share our gifts and talents, to strengthen and encourage one another, to pray for one another and to minister and bring God’s love to the lost. Our relationship with God comes first and foremost above all else, but He also designed us to be social. With our many different gifts we are united in one Body. When we decide we are not fit to be inside a church, or if a church is not fit for us to be inside, we have lost our self-control and given in to the lies of Satan. We may not even realize it, we may still pray, we may still worship…but have we allowed God to use us? Do we have questions God wants to use someone else to answer? We deprive someone else of the purpose God has for them as well as deprive ourselves of our blessings by our refusal to congregate with the brethren.
Make no mistake; God is not just speaking of Sunday services in a church building. Church is wherever we are because we carry it inside. It could be a gathering of Christian friends; it could be coffee with one person. It might just be a small or cell group meeting; or a church prayer meeting. We each are a necessary part of the Body of Christ; let us not give in to the schemes of the devil to tell us otherwise. God has a purpose and plan for us and we have to allow Him to show it.
If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually (1 Corinthians 15-27 NKJV)
Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your wisdom and insight. Thank You for the meat of Your word, for Your correction and discipline. May Your truths be hidden in our hearts and may they be applied to our daily living. May we not think ourselves so far above that which You teach us, may we be humble and trusting of You. Forgive us for our selfishness, forgive us for not allowing You to fully use us, forgive us for our giving in to temptation and to the lies of our enemy. Father, remove our doubt, our fear, our pain and show us the path to take. Father we ask that for those who feel they are not spiritually fit enough to gather with Your saints, may they look to the cross again; for those who have been hurt in the past by members of the Body, may they find forgiveness in their hearts and may they have courage to step out in faith and assemble with Your Body; for those who feel that they can teach themselves, we ask that You reveal Yourself to them and to grant them teachable and humble spirits. Father, for those who don’t wish to serve, we ask that You place within them servant hearts, worshipful hearts, gracious hearts. Father we ask for unity within Your Body, within Your Church. We are Your Bride, Lord, purify us, mold us, shape and fashion us to what You desire of us. Let us not deprive one another of the purposes You have for each of us, and let us each fast and pray to draw closer to You. We give You all glory and honor for You are worthy, mighty, faithful, Holy and true. In the precious redeeming name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: If you have not been to church or a fellowship or any gathering of the saints, take that step of faith today and begin to draw closer to the Body of Christ. Ask God to show you where He desires for you to be planted.
Additional Scriptures: see passage
“The bible knows nothing of solitary religion.” ~John Wesley