Dear sisters in Christ,
I wish you and your families prosperous, full of God’s blessings and mercy New Year.
Along with welcoming the New Year come new resolutions. What better resolution for 2013 then to spend more time in the presence of God, interceding on behalf of our loved ones, observing how God changes lives through prayer.
It is common that despite our best intentions new year resolutions are pushed to the side - life takes over, our to do lists get longer and other commitments take 1st place. Over the years I have found that accountability and making something a habit is a sure way to accomplish a goal. Having a prayer filled life brings numerous benefits: it helps us unload the heavy burdens we carry at the feet of our Savior, it gives us an opportunity to worship and thank God, it prepares our hearts to hear from Him, it is the foundation for fulfilling our main purpose in life - serving the King in the area/s in which He has called us, it is the bases for a wonderful relationship with the great I Am. Prayer changes lives!
Making prayer a priority in your life can be intimidating: how do I stay consistent, what do I pray, is God really hearing my prayers, how do I know I am praying God’s will … the list of self-doubting questions goes on. With that in mind I am delighted to invite you to join me as we take on the 21 Days of Prayer challenge. It is well known fact that it takes 21 days to build a habit, so we are going to do just that make prayer a habit and answer some of those daunting questions.
Join me if you are ready to change lives through prayer.
When: January 7, 2013
What's Needed: Notebook, your Bible and an attitude for God to change things.
What to Expect: I will send an email with our reading plan and I will post a prayer each day on my website/blog starting January 7th, 2013
How to Sign Up: in the sidebar you will find "SIGN UP TO RECEIVE DESSI'S BLOG", please enter your email address there and be sure to confirm your subscription. Watch for a confirmation email from Freedburner; if you don't receive one, please check your spam folder or sign up again. That
way you will be notified when the updates for the 21 Days of Prayer are posted
on the website.
Walk with God and glorify His name.
This Advent season we focused on preparing our hearts for Christmas by examining our relationship with Christ and how that reflects in our daily living. We started with the story of Luke being the only Gentile among the New Testament writers and how God has used him. At the end of the post I encouraged you to examine your hearts searching for the confidence to share the true meaning of Christmas with others. Next
we looked at Zachariah’s faith journey and need to stand silent before the Lord, seeing his own limitations he could not believe that God has finally answered his prayers. I hope you were encouraged and maybe took some time of silence before the Lord. He sends answers to our petitions according to His timing and will, but we need to stretch our faith and believe. Following we addressed the subject of how God uses relationships to impart values and shape our character. We looked at Joseph’s faith, trust and obedience to God despite his feelings and the difficulties the situation presented. My encouragement to you was to be courageous and follow God wherever He leads you so you can build a strong godly heritage. I hope the married ladies also took the time to encourage their husbands during the week by finding something to thank them for each day. Finally we looked at Mary’s revolutionary faith, her trust and rest in the knowledge of who God is. I hope you took the time to pray over what is God’s plan for your life at this time and boldly take a leap of faith. I hope you will strive to have a closer walk with God and gain a deeper knowledge of His character. In closing I pray that this Advent season you were able to focus on Jesus, His great mercy, humility, promises and power. Our journey was short but we looked into the most vulnerable life moments of the main characters from the nativity scene and we found that the source of their strength was a deep knowledge and close relationship with the living God.
Making Advent Practical:
Assurance – Jesus saves
Dedication for deeper knowledge and relationship with God
Vulnerability equals opportunity for God to display His power in your life
Encouragement – costs nothing but can change lives, make sure you touch someone’s life
Neighbor – Be a mentor/have a god-fearing mentor yourself, we all need trusted, faithful friends to share our journey
Thanksgiving –Start your prayers with thanksgiving for the ways God has blessed you.
I pray you have a blessed and Jesus filled Christmas. I pray that the Lord bless you and your family abundantly, grant you good health, prosperity and a heart after Him. May God minister to your soul in such a way so that you can experience and appreciate Him anew. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Walk with God and glorify His name!
Mary’s Revolutionary Faith
Today we will focus on Mary and her magnification of the Lord. To view the scripture reading click here Luke1:46-55.
Despite being a young girl in a much compromised situation Mary’s words are filled with references and quotations from the Old Testament. This suggests that she had an extensive knowledge of the word of God. At such tender age her faith was authentic and radical – complete trust and abandonment to the will of God regardless of the circumstances and consequences. Despite her fears Mary was willing and submitted herself. This kind of revolutionary faith comes only when one walks closely with the creator. Deeper knowledge of God’s character allowed Mary to rest all her fears, anxieties and questions at His feet. Her call was not to carry the burdens produced by such feelings; this young girl’s call was to carry the Messiah. What brought her comfort in such a time as this? From her words we see that she recalled the promises, faithfulness and mercy of God. In addition Mary was keenly aware of her own need for a savior and her submission was an outward expression of that conviction.
My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. "Luke 1:47-48
Have you come face to face with the reality of your need for a savior? Is God calling you to stretch your faith and follow Him in uncharted waters? Mary did not take into consideration what would others think she was eager to obey her Lord and Savior. Will you let God set you free and do His will in your life? Despite your current situation that may be so outside of your plans – can you trust and rest in God? For each of us His plan is uniquely tailored for we all have been given different gifts but we all are called to carry the Messiah into the world. This Advent my prayer is that we will have a revelation of what it means to have a revolutionary faith like Mary.
Dear Lord, thank you for being so loving, merciful and patient with me. Help me to see your will for my life in the midst of my current circumstances that are so outside of my plans. Help me to keep my eyes on your promises and who You Are above all else. Help me to embrace your call on my life and follow you. Thank you for being my Savior. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Do you know Jesus? If you long to have a closer walk with God and know His character better come and join me as we learn, grow and find encouragement in His word one verse at a time.
Walk with God and glorify His name.
Today I will take little detour from the usual scripture readings for Advent. I am doing that because God has been using Jer31:3-4 to press the following message strongly on my heart and felt it was important to share it with you too.
The lord appeared to us in the past, saying:“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again”Jer31:3-4
Do you mess up sometimes? Not intentionally - just your sinful nature has found a way to poke its ugly head in spite of your best efforts to live as the new creation you became on the day of your salvation. Well I mess up sometimes, and then I get on the guilt train and take a real long ride to and fro, replaying the scenario in my mind until I’ve convinced myself how miserably and irreversibly I’ve failed God, disappointed and hurt others. Towards the end of the ride the enemy decides to fling an extra punch - the thought of God throwing His hands in the air saying “This child is just never going to get it… “. I think you get the picture.
Today I want to remind you that these kinds of thoughts do nothing else but tear you down. They are not consistent with the word of God and his heart towards us. His only son Jesus humbly stepped down from Heaven in order to be born to a virgin teenager and laid in a manger. He hanged on a cross at Calvary as atonement for our sins and was laid in a tomb - all because of His love for you and me. Not because once saved we are perfect and got our act together, not because we will never ever sin again, not because our good works will outweigh the bad. It was because of God’s love, mercy and grace toward us. On the third day history tells us that Jesus left the tomb empty, He ascended into Heaven and sat at the right hand of God. This same Jesus is the Lord who appeared to us in the day of our salvation, because of His everlasting love and unfailing kindness He left us with a counselor, the Holy Spirit, who builds us up when we fall and fail.
Dear sisters, guilt is what you feel when the realization of having done something wrong sinks in.Think of it as a way for the Lord to call on your undivided attention and if you let him and are willing God does the transforming work in you.
So when we mess up:
We ask for forgiveness from God and the ones we’ve wrong
We renew our minds with the word of God
We walk with God from the place of shame and disappointment forward, confident not in ourselves but in the one who transforms us into His image, so we can glorify His name.
I don’t know about you but next time when I mess up I will not be getting on that guilt train. I will take a walk with the Lord on the high road to Calvary, so He can turn my mess into a message of grace and transformation.
…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…” Phil 1:6
Walk with God and glorify His name.
God on the Throne of Your Heart
Joseph was engaged to Mary and in Jewish tradition betrothal was as binding as modern marriage even though physical union had not taken place. This legal agreement lasted for about 12 months during which preparations for the wedding and the new home of the couple use to take place. In order to break the engagement the couple had to undergo a divorce. This is the backdrop on which we will take a quick look at the difficult decision Joseph had to make once he learned that Mary was with a child that is not his. Even though scripture does not give us much information on the life of Joseph we have enough leads to conclude the importance of the role he had in Jesus’ life. Joseph was divinely selected to be Jesus’earthly father because of his genealogical heritage that fulfilled the prophecy. Read Matthew 1:1-16 Secondly Joseph was chosen by God because of his character- he was a just man. The Webster dictionary describes the word just as acting or being in conformity with what is morally upright or good. In Hebrew the word suggest that Joseph was true believer in God, one that had been declared righteous, a man who obeyed and carefully followed God’s law. Mary’s legal punishment for adultery would have been public stoning but Joseph was not only a faithful follower of God’s law he also displayed our Lord mercy – “not wanting to make her a public example…” Matthew1:19
In spite of being Lord, Jesus was born into a family and had to go through the process of growing and learning. He had a heritage of godly parents who influenced and shaped his character. At numerous occasions Joseph had displayed character of righteousness and obedience to the will of God even when the task was extremely difficult and made no obvious sense. Our Father in heaven is a relational God and he chooses to use others to influence our lives not because he needs help but because through relationships we learn, grow and are challenged to reflect His true qualities – Love, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Humility, Self-control, Mercy, Forgiveness, Faithfulness and Justice. Beloved the person who has experienced a new-birth in Christ is a new creation. When interacting with others our true nature is exposed and it leaves a lasting imprint. So today I want to leave you with few questions:
Have you been born again?
If the answer to the 1st question is yes - what kind of imprint are you leaving in others; is it one that points to your old nature or to God’s transforming power in your life? (This does not mean we don’t make mistakes and don't have setbacks. It means that we are work in progress, we’ve allowed God to sit at the throne of our hearts and are obedient to His teaching and correction.)
Have you thanked the people that had influenced and helped you to become the woman you are today? – If you have never done so I encourage you to do it. It will be the best gift you can give them this Christmas.
Joseph had to trust and obey God despite his feeling and the difficulties the situation presented at present and in the future. He had to display character of righteousness and obedience. Is God leading you to make a decision that goes against your feelings and makes no obvious sense? I pray that you will trust and follow Him, so you too can build a godly and strong heritage.
To read today’s scripture reading click here: Mathew1:18-25
In closing I want to address the married ladies: If you have experienced God’s mercy through your husband thank him for it. Secondly, your husband is a man in progress, he is not perfect, he makes mistakes and sometimes he hurts* your feelings deeply not because he wants to but because he is human and we live in a fallen world where sin exists. This week I want you to think of one godly characteristic a day that you see him display – and each day you find a way and time to thank and encourage him for it. I am asking you to help the “Joseph” in him shine.
*This refers to conflict or situation that is not threatening to your emotional and physical wellbeing. If you are in abusive situation you need to seek safety and professional help.
Zechariah was a priest who lived with his wife Elizabeth in the time of Herod, king of Judea. Both of them were upright and blameless in the sight of God; however despite their faithfulness and prayers they were unable to have children. (Luke1:5-7)
Once a year a priest was chosen to offer incense inside the temple, and this year Zechariah was to go before God. Considering that the priest was chosen by a lot, this was an opportunity of a lifetime. Unfortunately upon receiving the news from the angel Gabriel that his prayers have been heard and answered Zachariah could not believe and God silenced him.
Six months later God sends angel Gabriel again, this time to visit the Virgin Mary in Nazareth. Her reaction to the encounter was one of a submissive servant with a radical faith. “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered.” May it be to me as you have said.” Luke1:38
I don’t know where you are today in your faith journey. I don’t know how long have you been praying and waiting for an answer from God. But I do know this: Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection made it possible for you and me to approach the holy throne of God in prayer boldly. No more Old Testament sacrifices and laws, Jesus was the sacrifice once and for all, He fulfilled the law. What was an opportunity of a lifetime for Zachariah has become an everyday privilege for us. Dear sister I hope you see this simple yet awesome truth - our bodies are holy temples of the living God and our prayers are the incense. Take comfort - God hears every prayer and He always answers, according to His time and will. From the scripture account we see that Zachariah needed time of silence in order to focus and process. Even when we are sincere in all the religious things that we do: prayer, worship, service and so on if we luck confidence (believe) in our Father it’s time to take a moment or two, silence all the chatter that goes around us, refocus and regroup.
From the place where you are today I want you to stretch your faith as uncomfortable it may be and Believe? Reach out for the radical – if need be silence yourself and set out for Mary kind of faith.
Reading for today: Luke 1-5-38
Walk with God and glorify His name.
... the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Rev5:8
Something to think about:
Luke is the only Gentile among the New Testament writers (Col4:11), he authored the gospel according to Luke and the book of Acts. Even though he was not an eyewitness his research and
writing were divinely orchestrated and moved by the Holy Spirit. Luke’s letters emphasize the universal scope of the gospel invitation and God’s grace toward gentiles. I find this very reassuring since I myself have been saved not by lineage or works but by the grace of God. By compiling his account of the gospel Luke’s objective was to write a detail account of the life of Jesus. His description of the nativity is the fullest in comparison to all the gospel records. And he does this because of a deep conviction that is vital for believers to know and be confident in the truth about our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the
word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” Luke1:1-4
Theophilius name means “friend of God” or “dear to God”, so I would like to turn to you using the translation of this name and ask: Dear friend of God, do you have not only the knowledge of God but also the confidence to share the Truth with those who’s perception have been formed, watered-down or distorted by the culture we live in?
May you have a fresh perspective on the truth this Christmas.
Walk with God and glorify His name.
My prayer is that this will be a place where you find hope and nourishment for your soul.
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