Monday, October 13, 2014
Mark 4:35-40 NKJV On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”
Jesus' disciples had no idea that a great windstorm was going to arise as they were “crossing over” to the other side of the lake. All they knew was that Jesus said “let us cross over”. They were seasoned fisherman, accustomed to all sorts of weather while out on the sea. What was different about this occasion?
Mark's version of this story says that while they were crossing over to the other side “a great windstorm arose”. Now Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible gives this definition of “windstorm”: “a great storm of wind” – “loelaps” which signifies a particular kind of wind, which is suddenly whirled about upwards and downwards; or rather, a conflict of many winds: it seems to be a whirlwind, or hurricane.” With no warning, all of a sudden, this “great storm of wind”, a “whirlwind or hurricane” was upon them. They hadn't expected it; they didn't see it coming and had no indication that a storm of this magnitude would come upon them. And they were very fearful that they would perish in the storm.
As panic set in the disciples knew they had to get Jesus awakened so their first course of action was to run to Him. Prayer should be the first thing that we do when confronted with a storm in life. Jesus was quick to respond to their request and Mark's version of this story says He arose and rebuked the wind and said “Peace, be still!”to the sea and it ceased and there was a “great calm”. Jesus spoke and the wind and waves obeyed! But notice what He says to His disciples after that.
Mark 4:40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”
Why would He ask them those questions? I think He was trying to get them to locate where they were in their faith walk and to get them to see that they could take action and see their storms cease just as He did. When the storms of life are raging it's easy to panic and forget that the greater One lives on the inside of us. In their case He was in the boat with them! But today we live in the reality of the victory that Jesus secured for us on the cross. He lives inside every born again believer by the power of His Spirit. We must stop and take stock of where we are and who we belong to. The fear that is on the outside will try to over-ride the faith that we have on the inside. It's at that point that we have to re-focus and anchor ourselves in God's word to overcome the fear and stabilize our faith to keep from sinking under the cares and fears of this world. But Jesus Himself said in John 16:33 that we don't have to succumb to the pressure that's in the world because He has already overcome it for us. He said that because of the work that He did on our behalf that we could have PEACE even in tribulation.
Where are you in your faith walk today? Are you struggling to overcome the fear and emotions of life's problems? Are you afraid of what will happen next? Watchman Nee says that the Christian experience from start to finish is a journey of faith. 1 John 5:4 says that it is our faith that overcomes the world! Our faith! Not the faith of the person next to you or me, but your faith and my faith! Our faith works as we place our trust in God and speak to the storms in our lives to be still! It's not a formula for success, but a heart-felt journey from the time we place our faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord to the everyday lives that we live, walking by faith, to the point of our crossing over into eternity.
Romans 1:16, 17 NKJV For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
Today I have a stronger level of faith than I did yesterday because I am trusting in God and building my faith through His word! The gospel of Christ, the Good News of what He purchased for us on Calvary, is powerful and when I believe it and act on it in faith it works in my life to give me the ability that I need to overcome all the evil that's in the world and the devil who comes to steal, kill and destroy my life. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:17 that it is the “sword of the Spirit”. That means that when I speak the word of God that the Holy Spirit reveals to me that will work in my situation that it becomes like a sword to defeat the enemy that is hindering me from walking by faith and living according to the plan that God has for me. But I have to be the one to focus my attention on Jesus, His word and resist the fear that comes with tribulation in order to live by faith. No one can do that for me and no one can do it for you either. It is a growing process that I work on daily. How about you? Are you growing in your faith every day?
You can change your life, the course of it, and the outcome by growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and acting according to His word. It's what we believe in our hearts and living out of that belief that changes our lives. God is always at work within us to mold us and make us into the image of His dear Son. (Rom. 8:29) But we have to cooperate with Him in order to change. Living and walking by faith, speaking positive, faith-filled words and obeying what He asks us to do is our part of this equation. If we do our part, we can be sure He will do His.
Father, I thank You for creating me to walk in faith with You. I thank You for giving me a measure of faith and that I can build and strengthen it through your Word and exercise it through my actions. Father, I pray for those today who are weak and struggling to overcome the obstacles that are in their way in their faith walk. I pray that You will reveal to them the great power that You have placed within them to help them; the power of Your Spirit. I pray that they may be encouraged today in knowing that You are with them and will guide them in how to overcome the trials and tribulations of life. May they experience a new reality of Your power to overcome the storms of life today. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Friday, October 10, 2014
Psalm 71:17 NKJV O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.
To God be the glory, GREAT things He has done!
When I started my journey I was just a few days shy of 61 years old. At that time I was really apprehensive of my ability to do college level coursework and retain what I was learning enough to be able to pass the exams, etc., which were needed to complete my goal of a degree, but I knew God had called me to continue to seek Him, to grow in my relationship with Him, and to learn more that I could pass on to others. My instructor, my husband Gerald, my close friends and other students encouraged me, prayed with me and expressed what we all knew to be true, that God, the Holy Spirit, would teach me and enable me to pass my courses with excellence. And He did!
As I grew closer to my completion I set a goal to have my courses completed by my 65th birthday, which is today. So, I am happy to post these pictures and to say "Thank You, Lord", for helping me accomplish this goal!
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Let not the face of terror be that which you behold;
But instead turn your gaze into the face of the Lord.
The God of Creation is greater by far
Than he who was formed and whose nature was marred,
By the sin and disease of the the one who is known
As the father of lies and the murderer of those
Who stand for what's right, for freedom and love,
Who stare in the face of the terror of one
Who hates all those who do not agree
And plans to destroy all those who are free.
The God of Creation is mindful of that.
He watches the hearts of those who are fat
With hate and destruction, the motive He sees;
Who when they repent, through love He sets free.
So do not be afraid of the terror by day.
Or the arrow that flies or the knife that is swayed
By the hand of the face of the terror you see
For the God of Creation is mindful of thee.
He provides for His own; He protects and defends
The ones who are helpless and burdened within
With cares and fears of the blackness of him
Who's face is the terror that plagues all their years.
So turn away from the face of that tyranny and fear
And look into the face of the God who is near.
Avanell Savage 8/30/14
Psalm 91:1-16 NLT
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare of the LORD:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I am trusting him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from the fatal plague.
4 He will shield you with his wings,
He will shelter you with his feathers.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor fear the dangers of the day,
6 nor dread the plague that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
8 But you will see it with your eyes;
you will see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the LORD your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your dwelling.
11 For he orders his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you with their hands
to keep you from striking your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample down lions and poisonous snakes;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble,
I will rescue them and honor them.
16 I will satisfy them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”
Saturday, August 23, 2014
I read a book by Joyce Meyer several years ago entitled “Enjoying Where You Are On The Way To Where You Are Going”. It really made an impression on me! How many times do we think that we will be happy as soon as......? And then we wait for that “perfect” time to arrive, or that “perfect” person, or that “perfect” life. As we wait the life that we have to live ticks away, moment by moment, without us enjoying the virtues of the “present”.
A few weeks ago I purchased, at a garage sale, a box of Beach Body workout DVDs. I had heard a lot about the Beach Body workouts, but thought they probably would be too intense for me at “my age”! But the 14 brand new unopened DVDs at $5.00 for the box grabbed my attention and I thought just maybe they might be worth the investment! So I bought the box and opened the first set entitled, “Slim In 6”. I decided that I would give them a try and if I couldn't do all the exercises even if I did some of them, or a modified version of them, it would be better than if I just sat on the couch and didn't try at all.
That was almost six weeks ago. I found that even though they were difficult, that I could do them, and I have had some really good non-scale victories through this past 5 weeks. I decided that I might not be “Slim in 6”, but I definitely could be “Stronger in 6”. And how true that is! My energy level has increased immensely, my Abs have responded to the “Slim in 6-Pack” workouts and my flexibility has increased greatly through the “Limber in 6” DVD. As a result I have lost 5 pounds, 1 ½ inches off my chest, 1 inch off my waist, 1 inch off my hips, and 1 ½ inches off my thighs. I decided that my $5.00 purchase was a great choice!
I'm enjoying the present much more because of the choice I made to take a chance for change!
God's blessings to each of you! May He grant you great success in your journey to healthy living!
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
Psalm 107:1, 2 NKJV OH, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.
We have a little poodle named Abby and Gerald has her very well trained so that she will not step over the threshold of the door to go outside. Sunday afternoon I was taking her out for a potty break and she waited very patiently at the garage door for me to hook her leash onto her collar and lift her over the threshold and down the steps to go outside. When I picked her up it was at an angle and I felt a painful feeling in my lower back, one that I had felt before back in 2005 when I lifted my keyboard and injured my lower back. I immediately thought back to that experience, never wanting to go there again, as it took months of prayer and medical treatment for my back to fully recover. I remembered the difficulty I had in just maneuvering through my daily activities of home, church and work. All the thoughts of helplessness and trying to function with enough pain medication to get me through the days came flooding into my mind. I dreaded going through that experience again!
After taking Abby out I brought her back in the house and immediately told my husband, Gerald, what had happened and he went to prayer for me, laying his hands on my back and declaring the healing power of God to flow through it. We agreed that it was done and I began my stand of faith for healing! It wasn't long until bedtime so we decided I should take a couple of Tylenol and a sleep aid to assure a good night's rest so my body could have the best opportunity to relax and cooperate with God's healing power. I got up yesterday morning still in pain but determined that I was healed by the stripes of Jesus just as His Word declares. I began reading God's Word for healing and thanking Him for doing as He had promised in His word. I determined that this injury would not defeat me or cause me to experience what I had experienced in 2005, so I began to go about my daily routine as usual. When it came time to go out for my morning walk Gerald thought I should stay in and rest my back, but I knew I had to do as the scripture says and “let the redeemed of the Lord” say so! I determined to walk and proclaim Jesus as My Healer just as His word says!
Well, my walk took a little longer but as I walked I praised the Lord for healing me, even though it hurt and even though I didn't see a manifestation of answered prayer, I knew that I had asked in faith believing and His word is true that says that “whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive”. (Matthew 21:22) I knew that this would be a challenge of my faith! All through the day I had opportunities to either proclaim that I was the healed of the Lord or that I was injured and in pain. I had to choose to believe and then align my mouth with that belief. As I walked I began to see a difference in my stature. I was able to stand up a little taller as I walked; my stride began to increase and I noticed it wasn't as painful as when I started. I completed my walk and went on to go about my daily activities. Yes, I still had pain and it was uncomfortable to sit, stand or lie down. But God deserved my praise regardless of how I felt and I praised Him for His healing power in spite of the pain. As the day progressed I noticed that I was not in as much pain and it was easier for me to do my normal daily activities. I finished the day still proclaiming God's faithfulness.
This morning as I got up I felt a little bit of pain but nothing like yesterday and as I started my day I noticed the pain was lessening to the point that it is almost completely gone now! Praise the Lord! He has done it again! He has met my need with His provision and I am healed by the power of God!
One of the things that kept coming to my mind as I was standing in faith for my healing was the fact that Sunday morning we had partaken of the Lord's Supper, or Communion, at church and when we take the bread that represents His body that was broken for us we were asked to remember what Jesus suffered as His body was broken and His blood was shed for us. I repeatedly expressed to the Lord Jesus yesterday that I remembered the stripes that He took upon His back that I might have healing in my back. I remember, Lord Jesus, how You suffered under that scourging on Your back that my back might be healed. I also laid my hands on my back numerous times and thanked the Lord for effecting His healing power through my touch as His word says that believers shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. (Mark 16:18)
You see, friends, I believe that God has provided through the crucifixion of Jesus all that I need for salvation of my spirit, soul and body. I believe that His body that was broken for me was for my healing and His blood that was shed for me purchased my redemption from every sin that I have committed in the past, the present and will commit in the future. His salvation covers and protects me from every evil plan that the devil has arrayed against me. I believe and I desire to receive the full benefit of what Jesus died to give me. I don't know why some are not healed when they pray; if I did I would be God and I'm not. But this I know, in this instance, He has healed me and I give Him all the glory!
Today I thank God for healing my back! I thank Him for giving me His word that I can stand on to fight the good fight of faith. Jeremiah 1:12 says that God watches over His word to perform it. (Amplified Bible)
Psalm 107:20 NKJV He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.
God sent His Word, Jesus, the living Word, to die on an old rugged cross that I might be healed, both spiritually and physically and He gave me His written Word, the Holy Bible, as food to be used as medicine when I am sick.
Proverbs 4:20-22 NKJV My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my saying. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh.
That word “health” in the Hebrew is marpe and it means restoration of health, remedy, cure, medicine, tranquility, deliverance, and refreshing. God's word, when taken like a prescription, provides healing power to work with His healing touch.
Isaiah prophesied of the coming Messiah and His crucifixion that would pay for mankind's redemption in Isaiah 53:4, 5:
NKJV Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
When you look at some of the key words in the actual Hebrew translation you find that the word for “griefs” is defined as sicknesses and “sorrows” is defined as pains. So in looking at the crucifixion of Jesus we see that the payment for sickness and pain was a part of Jesus' redemption for mankind. He was wounded or “pierced through” for our transgressions, or sin, and was bruised or “crushed” for our iniquities, our sinful nature. The stripes or “blows that cut in” purchased our healing! These two verses of God's Word describes the crucifixion as the payment for sin, sickness, our natural bent to live a sinful lifestyle, and the separation from God that we experienced through sin.
Some faith challenges are more difficult than others and sickness is probably the greatest one of all because you have the symptoms of illness and pain in your body that keeps you from being able to focus fully on God's word to receive His healing. Sometimes God instructs people to receive His healing through medical treatment. That's great! He gave us doctors to help us, but the healing comes from God regardless of how it comes, because He is the Healer. Exodus 15:26 says that He is the LORD who heals you. I have had times of illness where God has instructed me to go to a doctor and receive medical treatment for healing. The time I injured my back in 2005 I was standing in faith believing for healing while receiving medical treatment. There's nothing wrong with going to a doctor for help. God works through physicians also. I've also had times when I've prayed for people to be healed and they weren't. I prayed for my former husband to be healed and he died. I don't understand the “whys and why nots”, but I trust my God, and when it doesn't turn out the way I've prayed I trust that He, who knows all, has chosen to handle the situation in a different way.
Father, I thank You for touching and healing my back. I thank You for reaching down and sparing me from further injury and pain. Thank You for the stripes that You took on your back, Lord Jesus, that secured my healing. I remember and I thank You for willingly going through that crucifixion that I might be saved and healed. Thank You for giving Your life for me! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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