This brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful story of perseverance and God’s love. Enjoy!
Jeremy was born with a twisted body and a slow mind. At the age of 12 he was still in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He would squirm in his seat, drool, and make grunting noises. At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however, Jeremy just irritated his teacher.
One day she called his parents and asked them to come in for a consultation.
As the Forresters entered the empty classroom, Doris said to them, “Jeremy really belongs in a special school. It isn’t fair to him to be with younger children who don’t have learning problems. Why, there is a five year gap between his age and that of the other students.”
Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue, while her…
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The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound (Isaiah 61:1 New King James Version).
“How can I be lost when I’ve got nowhere to go?” “Set sail to sea, but pulled off course by the light of golden treasure.” These are lyrics from a song by a group I used to listen to in my teenage and early adult years; however I don’t really listen to them anymore. It’s no longer my style of music, and I’m not really into secular music anymore. I’m not going to tell you the band or the song title, because I seek to bring them no glory, but to bring glory to the Father through their lyrical word choices.
I enjoy listening to Greg Laurie every so often, and he said something once that has also stuck with me. As I listened to the lyrics in the song I’m talking about, I could hear Greg Laurie speaking this word. What he said was those who are lost are captives, they are prisoners of war; held prisoner by the devil and this world. Now, when I was lost in the world, I certainly wouldn’t have believed it if someone told me I was a prisoner, but looking back (ahh, yes, hindsight truly is 20/20) I can see I was. Greg Laurie indicated we, as the Church, need to have compassion on these prisoners because it wasn’t long ago we ourselves were captive. We can’t leave them to fend for themselves because they don’t know where to go. As I listened to Greg Laurie, the Holy Spirit brought to mind the words of today’s Scripture.
There are many people today who truly feel they’ve got nowhere to go. They don’t understand how they can be lost when they don’t feel as though they’ve ever really belonged anywhere. There are many who started off on the right foot, walking the right path, but because the things of this world were shinier and louder than the right way, they veered off course. In a literal sense, the song speaks of traveling on the sea. To get where you need to go while traveling on the sea, you need excellent navigational equipment, and you have to understand the navigational equipment you do have. When these fall into place, you won’t get lost at sea; you will make it to your destination. As Christians, we have navigational equipment, it’s called the Bible. It’s God’s road map for our life, it’s our nautical navigational compass. We are the navigational equipment those captives in this world need, to help them see they do, in fact, have a place to go, and the golden treasure which pulled them off course is about as real as a mirage in the desert.
We need to change our perspective and mindset, having compassion on the captives and the prisoners of war, because when we view them this way, we are more inclined to desire to set them free. We cannot continue to live in our boxes, thinking someone else will find the “lost”. If we view those who don’t know Christ as captive prisoners, then we will be more willing to set them free. Church, it’s time to step out and preach good tidings to the poor, to preach Jesus and heal the brokenhearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives in Jesus Christ and to open the prison of the bound. Let’s not allow them to think “How can I be lost when I’ve got nowhere to go?” Proclaim the kingdom of heaven and pray they see there is a place being prepared for them!
Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, You are mighty to save and because of this, we thank You for the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ. We thank You for healing our hearts, freeing us from captivity and opening our prisons. We thank You, Lord, for giving us Your Holy Spirit, for being our navigational equipment, for illuminating our path. We thank You for the redemptive and cleansing power of Your blood and the sacrifice of Your Body. Lord, we now ask for compassion; compassion to view those lost as captive, compassion to have hearts stirred to action and deed. Lord, may we have boldness to preach Your word, to step out in faith, to love as You loved. May we allow the Holy Spirit to speak through us, may we be discerning and wise when showing others their need for freedom. Lord, may we not add anything or take anything away from Your Gospel, but may we preach the whole truth. Cover us Lord, as we go about our day sharing Your love. We offer ourselves to You in worship, take control of our lives today. We lift our hands and voices in praise and adoration of You! We love You! In Your mighty name, Jesus, amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: I encourage you to view that one person that is not saved, but rubs you the wrong way, not as unsaved, but as a prisoner held captive by this world. You will be amazed how much more compassion you will have on them. Bring the Light of the World into wherever you are today by viewing the lost as captives.
Additional Scriptures: Luke 4:18; Psalm 146:7; John 8:32-36
“Either sin is with you, lying on your shoulders, or it is lying on Christ, the Lamb of God. Now if it is lying on your back, you are lost; but if it is resting on Christ, you are free, and you will be saved. Now choose what you want.” ~Martin Luther
MINISTERING TO YOU
The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17 New King James Version).
Who doesn’t enjoy being serenaded? My husband loves to serenade me. He will take any one of his many nicknames for me and turn it into a sweet little love song, many times complete with a few choice dance moves. I enjoy his creative songs and dances of appreciation, they make me feel loved, and always bring a smile and giggle to my lips! And the best part is it doesn’t matter where we are, my husband will dance and sing for me anywhere. I try to pretend I am annoyed sometimes, but secretly I am flattered!
Have you ever been to a church service in which one song just spoke to you? I mean, the melody touched your inner spirit and woke something up, or the lyrics said everything you wanted to say but couldn’t find the words. Perhaps, the lyrics answered a prayer you didn’t even know you had spoken? You just didn’t want this song to end, and you sung or hummed it all throughout the week, recalling the peace and love you felt during the service? God loves to minister to us through song. He sends His Holy Spirit to whisper to us through melody, lyric and instrument. This is His way of serenading us! He comes among us, singing. When He ministers through music, the Holy Spirit moves and His tangible presence is felt, especially by the ones He is ministering to. The sweet serenade of the Lord is wonderful to experience and wonderful to witness, and while He is singing, we just don’t want it to stop!
Sometimes we can be so caught up in form, schedules, songs to match the message and having the perfect service we forget God doesn’t always adhere to our plans. When we become rigid and inflexible in not allowing the Holy Spirit to minister, we hinder the powerful work He is doing in someone’s spiritual life. If the message is on love or faith, but God desires to remind us of His sovereignty and majesty, we must not ignore the promptings of the Spirit in order to pick worship and praise music to fit the message, or we miss out on something wonderful God wants to do. Cutting off the song just as the Spirit begins to minister leaves those being ministered to feeling disjointed and hungry for more. We need to be flexible and open to the promptings of God, not only those of us who sit in the congregation, but also those of us who lead. We need to come to church, or any gathering of the saints and even our own prayer times with a sense of expectancy, of longing, of watchfulness and of openness, looking for what God has in store for us. He has our best interests in mind and we need to be mindful of His flow and His ways of ministry. He rejoices over us with singing and gladness! Why not lift up your hands, lift up your face and just allow the Lord to serenade you?
Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, You are awesome and mighty! You are beautiful and Your voice is beautiful! Sing over us, Lord, rejoice over us! Minister to us and empower us to minister to others! Thank You for Your songs of love, for Your Spirit, for Your strength and endurance! We praise You and exalt Your holy name, Lord, we acknowledge You as our source of all we have and all we can accomplish! Father, it is our prayer that those that lead are tuned to Your Spirit, following Your lead, becoming flexible and attentive to Your will. Father, may those that serve You serve with all their hearts and minds and strength and put themselves aside for You. May Your leaders be engaging, humble and filled with Your Spirit. May those that join the saints feel Your presence, become unburdened, receive Your blessings, Your word, Your teaching; may those that teach bring forth Your word and not their own. May there be personal revival among the saints and may they press into You more and more! Raise up Your Church, Father, sing over us, rejoice over us, teach us, reveal Yourself to us! We give You all glory and honor, in Jesus sweet name, Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: Listen for God’s voice singing over you, rejoicing over you! It’s not always going to be during Sunday service, perhaps you woke up with a song on your lips, or heard one on the radio, or maybe you have a new song in your heart. Let Him minister to You!
Additional Scriptures: Psalm 46:10
DO YOU LOVE HIM?
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength (Deuteronomy 6:5 New King James Version).
“Love is an action word,” I’ve heard it said, and I believe it is true. By actively choosing to love, the emotional feeling of love follows. We declare our love for many things, food, friends, jobs, ministries, churches, TV shows, books, hobbies, etc. Why is it then, when chatting with others, it becomes so tough to declare our love for God? What can be so difficult about saying “I love God?” His word clearly says we are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our souls and all our strength. It seems to me we should be shouting our love for Him in all ways possible!
Some of us believe declaring our love for God means spending Sunday morning in church, yet living contrary to our profession of faith the rest of the week. Some of us out what we want to believe are demonstrations of our love for God, but in reality, they are more for the love of ourselves. God knows our hearts; He knows who among us truly loves Him, and whose hearts, souls and strength are actively engaged.
When we really love God with all our hearts, our souls and our strength, and with His love for us, we are capable of loving those society deems unlovable, we are able to love those mean-spirited family members and we are able to love strangers. By loving God wholly and completely, all we do here on this earth is an act of worship to God and an outpouring of His love to others.
Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we love You, we love You, we love You!! We give You our hearts, our souls and our strength as declarations of love and adoration! We praise and bless Your holy name, we stand on the truth of Your word. Because of our love for You and Your love for us, we want to reach many, we want to be Your hands and feet; Your voice and vessel. You are holy, worthy, mighty and righteous, there is no one else like You! You are the creator of heaven and earth, by Your hands we have been formed, by Your breath we live. We cannot tell You enough how much we love You. All glory and honor is Yours. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen!
Today’s Attitude of Worship: If you are struggling with loving God, or if you only profess love to Him infrequently and you can’t seem to live it out, I encourage you to take action and sit with Him awhile.
Additional Scriptures: Joshua 22:5; Luke 10:27
GRAB YOUR EARMUFFS
Also do not take to heart everything people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. For many times, also, your own heart has known that even you have cursed others (Ecclesiastes 7: 21-22 New King James Version).
We need to be careful of what we listen to; is it from the Lord? Is it based on biblical principals? Is this conversation bringing glory to the Father, or is it demeaning or tearing down people who are not present for their own defense? These are questions we need to ask ourselves before getting involved in certain conversations. When responses are required, we need to ask ourselves the same questions. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, so we need to take a good long look at what our hearts may have to say
We must also be aware we may hear things upsetting to us; they may even be about us, in particular. God wants us to forgive and not dwell on what we hear because we are also guilty of speaking about others hurtfully. I believe we should forgive quickly, for if we didn’t we would harden our hearts, creating a wall of bitterness which hinders the work God wants to do in our lives.
Let’s Pray: Lord, thank You again for Your love, for this glorious day that You have blessed us with! We are grateful for Your mercy, grace and faithfulness. We ask that today we are given discerning ears and clear hearts to distinguish what we hear and to speak in love in all our responses. Equip us to be Your mouth today, and to examine ourselves. Help us to forgive those who paint negative and hurtful pictures of others, and allow us to bring positive light to every conversation. Holy Spirit, help us to sprinkle salt into every interaction we have today. Lord, let Your love be evident in all our relationships and grant us opportunities to share You with others. In Your blessed Name, Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: I like information, I like to know as much as I possibly can and I like to know it now; but over the years with Christ, I’ve had to learn what information is good to know and what information is simply gossip. I have learned, with regards to people, if it’s a conversation of which I am neither a part of the problem or the solution, chances are I don’t need to be engaged in the conversation. This is an area in which I still struggle and need to remind myself constantly to carefully weigh what others say and what my responses are against the Word of God. Pay attention to what you hear today and examine it in the light of the scriptures.
Additional Scriptures: Matthew 7:3-5; Matthew 6:14-15; Matthew 5:13-16; Luke 6:45
Notice, we never pray for folks we gossip about, and we never gossip about the folk for whom we pray! For prayer is a great deterrent. ~Leonard Ravenhill
When I worship the Lord with my whole heart, my whole mind and my whole being, heaven opens and He begins to speak to me. When I am with Him, it doesn’t matter what is presently going on around me, all that I see and hear is Him. This morning, in church, while listening to the message from Pastor, I received 4 different song lyrics and the following message. Along with the message was a vision.
The message from the Lord:
“There are wolves among My sheep. Shepherds, know your flocks as I know you. There are wolves among My sheep. I have forewarned you to watch, but you have faltered. Shepherds, separate your flocks, learn your sheep. There are wolves among my sheep. I have shown you, Shepherds, protect your flocks. Seek Me. Seek Me. Seek Me before your flocks are led astray.”
Matthew 7:15: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
Acts 20: 28-30 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
The vision He showed me was of a wolf, then a wolf pack running together, then the pack tearing apart sheep. This is not a happy clappy word, but a warning to the Church. Many warnings have been coming lately, Church. We must rise up and be watchful, we must rise up and turn to God and God alone.
THE BEST PLACE TO BE!
As we spend time with God in prayer, Bible study, praise and reverent worship, we spend time in His courts. It is extremely uplifting there. There is no amount of adversity, strife, worry, burdens or even persecution which the presence of God can’t overcome. It is in His presence where we find strength to face our day, tackle our challenges, overcome fear of the unknown, and step out in obedience with faith. It is better in His courts than here in this world. In His courts we see ourselves as we truly are, and we see exactly what Jesus has done for us. We see how material things don’t matter, we find sustenance in what God provides for us. In His presence is fullness of joy! Is there anywhere in this world where we can also lay this claim to? No.
Stepping into the presence of God consistently prepares us for what He has in store for us. By spending time in His courts we learn to listen to His voice, and follow His direction. We recognize areas of our lives He is working on, and we are quick to humble ourselves in all situations. Spending time with God is imperative for the Christian. It’s what keeps us going, it’s our strength, our peace, our joy, our song, our hope, our shelter, our fortress and our very life!
If you have been lackadaisical in your communion with God, today is a new day! His mercies are new every morning and they endure forever!
Let’s pray: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for this blessing of another day! Thank You for the privilege of coming into Your courts and standing before Your throne. Thank You for Your glorious touch, Your healing and Your peace. Thank You for Your direction and chastisement. We know You love us, and we desire to show our love for You! Father, we ask that You continue to work in our hearts, creating hearts that are tuned to Your voice, hearts that seek to be clean and righteous, hearts that will stand firm on the ground You have stood us on, heart that will forever be grateful and humble! Father, take that which we focus on that is not of You and we ask that You remove it and turn our eyes toward You. We know that sometimes standing in Your presence, we have to face those things about ourselves that are not righteous and we ask for Your grace and endurance and courage to let those things go and seek out the heavenly things that You have for us. Father, we love You, we praise You, we lift our hands and voices up to You exalting Your beautiful name! In Your courts, in Your presence is the best place to be! In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: Whenever thoughts of God run across your mind, grab the moment to say hello and check in with Him. Whenever you have a free moment, meditate on a scripture which resonated within your heart recently, and listen for God to share with you why the scripture spoke to you so.
Additional Scriptures: Psalm 84; Psalm 16; Psalm 42:8; Psalm 21:6; Psalm 92:13
YOU ARE AN OPEN BOOK
Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart (2 Corinthians 3:1-3 New King James Version).
As Christians, we are living examples of Jesus Christ. How we behave, how we speak, what we engage in, our passions, our ministries, our attitudes when we take care of daily errands, how we view our jobs…all of these reflect Christ in our lives. Sadly, there are people who interact with Christians every day who don’t know these people are Christians because because Christ is not reflected in their actions or words. Church, we cannot just be holy on Sunday, or when we set foot in our respective churches. We cannot say we love and follow Jesus if He’s not reflected in our daily lives. We cannot walk with one foot in this world and the other in the spiritual realm, sooner or later we will trip and fall unless we purpose in our hearts to step fully across the line to stay on the heavenly side.
Every day we encounter non-believers, lost, hurting, and broken people. When we say we are Christian but don’t reflect the attitude of Christ, they pick up on it. Our expressions, body language, word choices, attitudes, conversation topics…all of what we do is an open book and non-believers are studying us, hard. We cannot say one thing yet act the opposite. We cannot behave one way when outside the church walls and then another inside. Where in the Bible did Jesus do that? Non-believers all over are being turned off by what they see in some “Christians”. If we want to bring people to the Lord, we have to live as though we are serious about being called by His name. When we give ourselves fully to Him, allowing Him to be Lord over our lives, we can’t help but mirror Him!
Church, it’s time to rise up and move beyond personal hypocrisy. Repent of your lukewarm, sitting on the fence attitude, plant your feet firmly on the side of Jesus and get going.
Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for this wonderful day; we are so blessed that You woke us up this morning and we are able to hear, read, and study Your word in whatever capacity You have given us! Feed us, O Lord, from Your bountiful table; give us drink from Your fountain! You are holy, righteous, faithful, mighty, wonderful, highly exalted and worthy, so worthy, of our praise! Father, we stand before You today ask for Your forgiveness. Our actions and attitudes have not been reflective of Jesus Christ, and we have been lukewarm in our behavior towards You. Forgive us Lord, for this attitude and we ask that You strengthen us to remove ourselves from this world, to die to ourselves and to place both feet in Your sheepfold. Lord, we want others to see You in us, we want to be a book that is read and cherished and passed on to others. We want Your light to be so bright within us that the devil is blinded, threatened and confused when we approach. We know that we cannot attain this on our own, and we don’t desire any glory or honor, we just give ourselves to You as vessels available for Your use. Clean us, purge us, mold us…do whatever You have to do to make us ready. We want Your will, not our own. We love You and we pray that You accept the sacrifices of praise we offer up and that our worship is a sweet smelling fragrance. We bow before Your throne, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: Remember that no matter what happens to you today, you are an open book with Jesus Christ’s name on the cover. As I used to tell my children when I let them go with friends, “You are reflections of your parents when we are not physically with you. Act accordingly.” As children of God, we need to behave accordingly.
Additional Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 3:4-6; Galations 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:8-10; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Galations 2:20
TIME FOR A VISION CHECK
Every day we must make the choice to follow Christ in all we do. Once we slip into the world in one area, it becomes easier to slip in other areas. Before we know it, we have become worldly. When we are wise in our own eyes, we are prideful. We’ve moved our focus from Jesus, and put it upon ourselves. Sin is unhealthy, and will suck the strength right out of us if we are not careful. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) but Jesus gives hope. We must trust in Him completely, giving Him control of our day, and ourselves. He is a hand to hold onto should we begin to fall. Focusing on Jesus will keep us in the fear of the Lord, and remain strong in Him.
Let’s Pray: Dear Lord, thank You for being our strength and our lifeline. Without You we would fall and be lost. Lord, we ask that You grab us and not let go when we begin to slip, we ask that we have the courage to remain holding tight to Your hand. We thank You for loving us so much that You don’t let go and not give up on us no matter how much we slide downhill. Thank You for going after the sheep that have fallen into pits. We praise You for leading us out of temptations, and we give You all the glory. In Your name, Jesus, Amen!
Today’s Attitude of Worship: Pay attention to your focus. If it’s not where it should be, ask God to help you get re-focused.
Additional Scriptures: Matthew 12:11-12; 2 Peter 2:9
Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed (Hebrews 12:12-13 New King James Bible).
It’s been proven regular exercise keeps us strong, healthy, as well as being a vital component in how young and limber we feel. Working out regularly along with eating right helps us maintain our bodies enabling us to live longer lives. It gives us better sleep, we feel better about ourselves, and exercise helps combat depression and boredom. As temples of the Holy Spirit, we are to be good stewards of our physical bodies. It takes discipline and desire to persevere and gain strength. If we want to work out, it also takes commitment to discipline ourselves to do it.
We must take care of our spiritual self just as well. Spending time with God, studying His Word, being filled fresh daily with the Holy Spirit all work together in keeping our spiritual bodies strong and healthy. Being spiritually fit also helps keep the armor on the Lord has given us. By daily spiritual exercise we become stronger spiritually, physically and mentally. Working out our spiritual health gives us the extra motivation we need to stay physically healthy, giving us the strength we need to be mentally healthy. God gives vitality!
A few months ago, the Lord gave me a wake-up call, telling me to take better care of myself, both physically and spiritually. He showed me areas of trouble within my physical body, and He called me from a place of serving to a place of rest at His feet. It has been difficult, but I have heeded His voice, and I am beginning to see the benefits and blessings from my obedience. It is not easy to be disciplined, yet God gives endurance, strength and the ability to maintain self-control. Together, with Christ, it is possible.
Let’s Pray: Dear Most Heavenly Father, You are awesome! You have fearfully and wonderfully made each and every one of us, knitting us together in the womb, numbering the hairs on our heads and writing our stories before we could even speak! You are faithful and merciful, loving and so very worthy of our praise! We give You glory, honor and we bow in worship at Your feet! Father, thank You for the blessing of this day, this day in which we can begin to understand what exercise of our spiritual and physical bodies can do for us! Grant us spirits of stewardship, Father, that we may become good stewards of our bodies. Teach us with what to nourish ourselves; what spiritual foods to eat and what physical. Whatever habits, lifestyles, activities that we partake in that do not please You, reveal that to us and show us Your path. Father, we desire to have strong hands and knees, we desire to walk on Your straight path and we desire for our lameness to be healed. We pray for Your guidance. Father, we love You and we give You ourselves as an offering today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: I am not a fan of exercise, but I have learned the importance of working out. Even if all you can do is walk, walk up and down your driveway until you’re ready to walk down the block. Spiritually, get that bible out and begin reading it, and as you read, ask God to grant you insights, and to speak to you through His word. Pray every day and invest in Spirit-filled praise and worship music to help you praise the Lord. Begin to weed out the secular things in your life that do not bring honor or glory to God and replace it with Godly things and you will see yourself becoming stronger.
Additional Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 9:27; Proverbs 14:30; Daniel 1:8-15; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
“Life is tons of discipline.” ~Robert Frost