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KEEP ON WALKING


by Neil Anderson

July 29

Isaiah 50:10  
Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of His servant, that walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God
 
The life led by the Spirit of God is marvelous. Sensing His presence, living victoriously, and knowing the truth are characteristics of a free person. But what if you couldn’t sense His presence? What if God, for some reason, suspended His blessings? What would you do if you were faithfully following God and suddenly all external circumstances turned sour?
 
My family and I have been through two extremely dark periods in our life. There were days I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it. If it wasn’t for the message of Isaiah 50:10, I’m not sure we would have survived spiritually. Isaiah is asking if there is a believer, somebody who fears the Lord, walking in darkness. He is not referring to the darkness of sin or even the darkness of this world. He is talking about the darkness of uncertainty–that blanket of heaviness that settles in as though a black cloud has drifted over our very being. God has suspended His conscious blessings.
 
What is a person to do during these times? Isaiah tells us that no matter how dark it gets, we are to keep on walking. In the light we can see the next step. The path ahead is clear. We know a friend from an enemy and we can see where the obstacles are. But when darkness settles in, every natural instinct says to drop out, sit down, stop! We become fearful of the next step.
 
Isaiah says don’t stop; keep on walking. Keep walking in the light of previous revelation. If it was true six months ago, it is still true. I try never to make a major decision when I am down. Rather, I wait until the cloud lifts and everything is clear and in focus again.
 
If God’s ministry of darkness should envelop you, understand that God has not left you; He has only suspended His conscious presence so that your faith will not rest on feelings or be established by unique experiences or blessings. Listen to Isaiah’s advice: Keep on walking. Never doubt in the darkness what God has clearly shown you in the light.
 
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for guiding me through the darkness of my trials with the light of Your truth.


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What I’ve Learned Along My Journey

Red Rose 2

1 I am stronger than I ever thought I was.

2. Even at my weakest moments I am stronger than those who try to bring me down -because I keep getting up!

3. Strength comes from love, never from anger, pain, or revenge.

4. Its ok to feel weak and vulnerable -just don’t stay there.

5. The only person you can rely on is yourself.

6. Value your friendships and those you love.

7. Make the time to show how much you care. Always show your love. Often the words are not enough.

8. Be kind to everyone –we all have our own crosses to carry.

9. Do it now! Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Now is all you have.

10. Set realistic goals but dream big. Achieve one step at a time, and soon your dreams will become a reality.

11. Be an adventurer —if you want something, get it. Its only impossible if you believe it is.

12. If you can’t get to the mountain, get the mountain to you -there’s no obstacles you can’t tackle with the right approach.

13. Smile -it has the haters wondering why you so happy and it opens you to new friendships and opportunities.

14. Start each day in gratitude, acknowledging the blessings in your life.

15. Never take a positive attitude for granted. Positively is the energy your soul requires to sing.

16. Take every opportunity that presents itself to you -if it changes your life, it was meant to.

17. Never loose faith ……it is your inner sanctuary.

18. Be the reason for others smiles, help those you can, loose yourself in the service of others -you will gain more than you ever gave.

19. Look at life through a child’s eyes -experience the wonder and joy in everything.

20. Remember to play -life is not always serious.

21. Happiness cannot be bought or acquired. It does not come gift- wrapped or on a gift card. True happiness comes from a healthy mind, body and spirit. It starts with inner acceptance.

22. Its ok to be sad. It’s ok to cry. It signifies you are real enough to show your emotions.

23. Pretenses and lies have a way of catching up to you -why be ashamed of your authentic amazing wonderful self?

24. Jealousy, anger, revenge , pain are inner expressions of what you feel about yourself. Love yourself enough to let it go.

26. Forgiveness is the selfish act of healing yourself. You deserve to be whole.

26. Be humble -we are made of the same dirt we will return to.

27. Respect and tolerance will take you much further than any networking you may do. Treat others as you want them to treat you or don’t moan when you have enemies.

28. Integrity is staying true to your inner moral compass.

29. Values are important. They define your path.

30. No matter how much you mess up or how low you feel you have sunk -it Can be fixed.

31. The grass is only green where you water it.

32. Don’t take people for granted ever. People have a way of forgetting everything except how you make them feel.

34. There is power in the words thank you, I’m sorry, I love you and a sincere are you ok?

35. Nothing is more beautiful than an honest compliment, a kind word, a true friend or a shoulder to cry on.

36. Don’t underestimate the power of nature to heal your soul.


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SATISFACTION IN LIFE


by Neil Anderson

July 28

2 Timothy 4:7 
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith
 
Satisfaction in life comes from living righteously and seeking to raise the level of quality in the relationships, services and products you are involved with. Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Do you really believe that? If you did, what would you be doing? You would spend more time feeding your spirit than trying to satisfy your fleshly desires. Have you ever tried to satisfy the flesh? It can’t be done. The more you feed it, the more it wants.
 
What causes you to become dissatisfied? It’s usually because the quality of the relationship, service or product has diminished. I often ask people when they became dissatisfied. Inevitably they identify the time when the quality of a relationship, the service rendered, or the product produced diminished.
 
Satisfaction is a quality issue, not a quantity issue. You will achieve greater satisfaction from doing a few things well than from doing many things in a haphazard or hasty manner. The key to personal satisfaction is not in broadening your involvements, but in deepening them through a commitment to quality.
 
The same is true in relationships. If you are dissatisfied in your relationships, perhaps you have spread yourself too thin. Solomon wrote: “A man of many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). It may be nice to know a lot of people on the surface, but you need a few good friends who are committed to a quality relationship with each other. We all need the satisfaction which quality relationships bring.
 
Paul accomplished what he was called to do. He left a lot undone, but he fought the good fight, finished his course, and kept the faith. Jesus also left a lot undone, but He did His Father’s will and was able to say, “It is finished.” You may not be able to do all you want to do for Christ in your lifetime, but you can live obediently and faithfully day by day.
 
Prayer: Lord, I desire the satisfaction that comes from righteousness and quality in my relationships and activities.


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GIVE YOUR CHILD TO GOD


by Neil Anderson

 

July 26
 
Psalm 37:5 
Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it
 
You can and should uphold Christian values and standards in your own home. But when your child leaves your home, he leaves with his own values, beliefs and personal agenda. This is the first half of the prodigal son story (Luke 15:11-32). The prodigal son wanted to do his own thing, so his father let him. I don’t think the father would have let the boy rule in his home, but he did let him go. We don’t like to see our children fail or make mistakes like that. When they do, we are too quick to rescue them from the natural consequences of their actions.
 
The father in the story welcomed his son home after the boy came to his senses. His repentance was complete: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son” (verse 21). The critical insight we need is offered by the father: “This son of mine was dead, and has come to life again” (verse 24). When your child is out of your sight, only God can bring him to his senses, bring him home, and give him life.
 
You can’t go everywhere your child goes, but God can. He is the child’s heavenly Father, and He is fully capable of protecting him.
 
I know of a dear lady who has buried two sons and witnessed the miracle healing of her husband from a near-fatal car accident. But her hardest trial was discovering that her beloved third son was struggling with homosexuality. Months of dark depression were lifted in one day when she realized that her son belonged to God, so she gave her boy to Him. For 11 years she didn’t hear from him. Then one day he called and said he had a Mother’s Day present for her. He had come back to the Lord!
 
God is in control. When you pray you release Him to do what only He can do in your child’s life. And when you pray, He can mold your parenting style so you can do what He has called you to do in raising your child.
 
Prayer: Lord, I release my children to Your care and protection, and I relinquish my will for them in favor of Your will.


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Flesh vs. Spirit, part I

god stuff 4

“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please (Galatians 5:17, NAS).”

 

There is an ongoing battle between the flesh and the Spirit. Satan wants to activate the flesh in all of its deadness because he strongly desires to make people act irrationally, unjustly, mercilessly, selfishly, foolishly – evil and against The Kingdom of God. Where God uses His Spirit to connect with our spirit internally, Satan uses the flesh to connect with us externally. The god of this world provokes us to evil through emotionalism.

Emotionalism stems from the flesh. Emotionalism, in whatever form it may present itself, causes us to act and react in an unholy manner and, when we do, we justify our poor conduct. Emotionalism causes us to rationalize bad behavior with “I’m tired, I’m stressed, I’m angry, I’m sad, I’m bored, I’m irritated, I’m right, I’m aroused, I’m hungry, I’m needy…I’m, I’m, I’m!” Notice the “I” which translates: I’m thinking only of myself (an idol set before God) and not of God who is my life. My fleshly thinking is more important that heavenly, spiritual thinking.

In this, our God-focus becomes buried under self-focus; and believe me when I say that I am not exempt! My child and I have simultaneously undergone much travail with our health the last two and a half years; stressful and exhausting does not begin to express this experience. We are both feeling much improved these days, but that is not the focal point.

The subject at hand is that situations such as this can gradually cause us to become weakened spiritually so as to awaken the fleshly nature – or rather, they cause us to recognize and face that which has not been fully consigned to Christ as we may have thought. I know for me at the worst of it, I caught myself saying things at the “slip of the tongue” (aka lack of self-discipline) that are not godly and have had to quickly consign myself back to Christ.

I have said for years that bad situations do not change people; they only bring about truth of who the person really is underneath the tidy veneer. It’s easy to walk with God when things are great, but turn up the heat and yikes – out comes all the junk! For me personally, I find that where patience would otherwise prevail, impatience and irritation with people and things tended to become more prevalent. When I stepped back and heard/saw myself, I was appalled, or rather; my spirit, Holy Spirit, was appalled at the flesh in which I reside. This is the battle spoken of in Galatians 5:17.

That which the flesh loves (self-desires), the Spirit hates and vice versa. As long as we live in this fleshly shell, there will be battle. There, of course, will be times where the battle seems less intense, but it’s there nonetheless and can do a sneak-attack if we are not on guard at all times. But we are not without hope, people of the Most High God!

Romans 7:14-25, NAS: For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.”

 

Stay tuned for next week’s part II! If you’re interested in reading more, please go to my website and check out my books or my ministry Facebook page.

Peace and blessings,

 

Alexys V. Wolf

 

www.thefierysword.com

 https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fiery-Sword-Global-Ministries/185299884822251

 http://thefierysword.wordpress.com/


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THREE LEVELS OF PRAYER


by Neil Anderson

 

July 25
 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
 
I have observed three approaches to prayer which progress from level to level. The first level is petition. We are encouraged to let our requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6). If it helps us to keep a list of daily prayer reminders, we should do so. However, most people weary of this, and their devotional life disappears over time. Often they don’t see immediate results from their prayers, so they conclude that more can be accomplished if they just get busy for the Lord.
 
We’ve progressed to the second level when prayer becomes personal. We have discovered a new dimension when we are comfortable in His presence and don’t feel obligated to talk. It’s much like a marriage relationship. A mature couple can ride together in the car for hours, enjoying each other’s company, without having to say a word. I can just be with God and I’m learning to listen.
 
Realizing that I need not feel obligated to keep the conversation going when I’m with God has changed my prayer life dramatically. This kind of prayer makes my relationship with God a 24-hour-a-day experience. Setting aside special times for prayer is still important. But when we leave our quiet time, the sense of God’s presence should remain with us throughout the day.
 
I call the third dimension of prayer true intercession. True intercessors hear from God. They know how to pray and what to pray for. In my observation, there are very few true intercessory prayer warriors. The ones I know of are usually older than 50 and most are women. They pray privately in their homes and often at night. Every church has at least one or two of them. Share your family needs with them. When these people pray, things happen because they don’t just talk to God, they listen to Him.
 
Prayer: Father, I want to grow in all dimensions of prayer to the point that I sense Your presence and hear Your voice.


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HUMANITY’S BASIC NEEDS


by Neil Anderson

 

July 24
 
Philippians 4:19 
My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus
 
Adam and Eve were created spiritually alive. The attributes they experienced before the Fall became glaring needs after the Fall.
 
1. Acceptance was replaced by rejection, therefore we have a need to belong. Ever since Adam and Eve’s sin alienated them from God and disrupted human relationships, we have experienced a deep need to belong. Even when people come to Christ and fill their need to belong to God, they still need the acceptance of people. You will never understand the power of peer pressure in our culture until you understand the legitimate need to belong and the fear of rejection we all share.
 
2. Innocence was replaced by guilt and shame, therefore we have a need for a sense of worth. Many psychologists agree that people today generally suffer from a poor sense of worth. The secular psychologist responds by trying to stroke the human ego and psychologist responds by trying to stroke the human ego and encourage us to improve our performance. Your worth as a person is not an issue of giftedness, talent, intelligence or beauty. It’s an identity issue. Your sense of personal worth comes from knowing who you are: a child of God.
 
3. Authority to rule over creation was replaced by weakness and helplessness, therefore we have a need for strength and self-control. There is no one more insecure than a controller. The fruit of the Spirit is self-control, not spouse- or child-control.
 
Only Christ can meet the most basic needs of humanity such as life, identity, acceptance, security and significance. These needs are eternal, unlike our physical needs. If we present Christ as meeting only our physical needs, we will have stiff competition from every humanistic organization.
 
Prayer: Father God, I reject any counterfeit fulfillment Satan offers me. I will live by every word that proceeds from Your mouth.


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THE POWER TO CHOOSE


by Neil Anderson

 

July 23
 
Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve. . . . As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD
 
Adam and Eve’s sin also affected the area of their will. Do you realize that in the Garden of Eden they could only make one wrong choice? Everything they wanted to do was okay except eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16, 17). They had the possibility of making a myriad of good choices and only one bad choice– only one !
 
Eventually, however, they made that one bad choice. As a result, you and I are confronted every day with a myriad of good and bad choices. You can choose to pray or not pray, read your Bible or not read your Bible, go to church or not go to church. You can choose to walk according to the flesh or according to the Spirit. You and I face countless choices like that every day, and we eventually make some bad ones.
 
Other than the Holy Spirit in your life, the greatest power you possess is the power to choose. Someone has said that pure Christianity lies in the exercise of the will. The animal kingdom operates out of divine instinct. But we are created in the image of God, which means we have a self-operated, independent will. The essence of temptation is to function independently of God. The basis for temptation is legitimate needs.
 
Sinful behavior is often a wrong attempt at meeting your basic needs. The real issue here is are you going to get your needs met by the world, the flesh and the devil, or are you going to allow God to meet your needs “according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19)? It’s an issue of identity and maturity. The more you understand your identity in Christ, the more you will grow in maturity. And the more mature you become, the easier it will be for you to choose to live your life in dependence on your heavenly Father.
 
Prayer: Lord, I determine to exercise my great power of choice to live in moment-by-moment dependence on You today.


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BEHAVING YOUR WAY INTO GOOD FEELINGS


by Neil Anderson

 

July 22
 
John 13:17 
If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them
 
What happened to mankind emotionally as a result of the Fall? For one thing, we became fearful and anxious. One of the first emotions expressed by fallen humanity was fear (Genesis 3:10). Today fear is crippling our relationships and activities. Fear is a result of the Fall. If fear is controlling your life, then faith is not.
 
Another emotional by-product of sin is shame and guilt. Before Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they were naked and unashamed (Genesis 2:25). God created them as sexual beings. Their sex organs and sexual activity were holy. But when they sinned, they were ashamed to be naked and they had to cover up (Genesis 3:7). Many people mask their inner self in fear that others may see them for who they really are.
 
Mankind also became depressed and angry after the Fall. Cain brought his offering to God and, for some reason, God was displeased with it. As a result, “Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up?'” (Genesis 4:5-7).
 
I believe God established a principle here which echoes all through the Bible: You don’t feel your way into good behavior; you behave your way into good feelings. There are tons of things you don’t feel like doing, but you do them. I never feel like going to the convalescent hospital to minister. And the moment I step in the door, the smell alone does away with any positive feelings of wanting to continue on. But I always leave feeling great; I’m glad I went. Good feelings follow right behavior. Jesus said, “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them” (John 13:17).
 
Prayer: Lord, help me do what You want me to do even when it seems unpleasant. I seek Your blessing for obedience.


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A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP


by Neil Anderson

July 21

John 1:14 
The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth
 
What effect did the Fall produce in Adam’s mind? He and Eve lost their true perception of reality. We read in Genesis 3:7, 8, that they tried to hide from God. Doesn’t that reveal a faulty understanding of who God is? How can you hide from God? After the Fall, Adam and Eve weren’t thinking straight.
 
In essence, when Adam and Eve sinned, their minds were robbed of the true knowledge of God. In God’s original design, knowledge was relational. Knowing someone implied an intimate personal relationship. You can see it in Genesis 4:1: “Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived” (KJV). Yet we don’t generally equate a knowledge of someone with personal intimacy.
 
Before the Fall, Adam and Eve knew God, not sexually of course, but in the intimacy of a close, personal relationship which we associate with marriage. They knew God by being with God. When they sinned and were banished from the garden, Adam and Eve lost their relationship with God and the knowledge of God which was intrinsic to that relationship. And you and I inherited Adam and Eve’s darkened mind. Before Christ, we knew something about God, but we didn’t know God because we had no relationship with Him.
 
The necessity of being in relationship to God in order to know God comes into sharp focus in John’s announcement: “The Word”– logos in the Greek–“became flesh” (John 1:14). The word logos represented the highest form of philosophical knowledge. For the Greeks, saying that the logos became flesh was the same as saying that ultimate knowledge became personal and relational. God was announcing to the world through John: The true knowledge of God, which can only be discovered in an intimate relationship with God, is now available to the world through God in the flesh–Jesus Christ. In Christ we are able to know God personally, not just know about Him.
 
Prayer: Lord, I thirst for deeper intimacy in my relationship with You. I want to know You more personally today.