Archive for November, 2011

AwAreness: Warfare

Posted in Gypsy Carns on November 30, 2011 by Gypsy Carns

After September 11, 2001, our country declared war against terrorism. Initially, this effort monopolized headlines and kept many of us glued to the television. Ten years later, there is far less publicity about the struggle, but we are far from experiencing international peace.  These are trying, uncertain times—and not just on a global scale. As believers, we face warfare constantly, wrestling with sin and its consequences. Continually at a crossroads, we are faced with a decision: Will we follow Jesus or let the pressures of life turn our loyalty elsewhere?

In any war—whether renewed tensions in the Middle East or our own spiritual battle—there are several actions essential for victory. Focus on knowing our Enemy and the way he operates. In his desire to draw us away from the Lord, the Devil attempts to bring doubt, sin, guilt, and destruction to our lives. He deceives, divides, and destroys.  Christians must stay alert with regard to the Enemy. When we are reading the Word, praying, and spending time with other believers, good protection is in place.

Are you in a vulnerable position where the Adversary has easy access? Make sure your life is firm upon the solid rock of Jesus Christ. Unless you purposefully stay close to Him, the Devil will draw you away from God. Be like a branch that stays attached to the vine so that victory is yours.  On  daily basis; read the bible, pray for direction and protection, and most of all pray for others who have not yet found the love of Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 2:4 – No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted his as a soldier.

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AwAreness: Within

Posted in Gypsy Carns on November 28, 2011 by Gypsy Carns

Let these words slowly sink into your understanding: “able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think”. What an amazing description of God’s ability to work within us. Yet so often our focus is mainly on what we want Him to do around us: If He would change this situation or fix that problem, then my life would be better. But He invites us to think and ask bigger—He wants to change us!

The Holy Spirit has more than enough power to transform lives from the inside out, but working change within is usually a slow process. Spiritual fruit takes time to grow and mature. That’s why we need patience and faith to believe He is working even when we don’t see the results right away. God is never in a hurry and will never give up on us.

The Lord has a purpose for our lives, and He is constantly working to achieve it. Although He has an individualized plan for each one of His children, He also has an overarching goal—to conform every believer to the image of His Son Jesus Christ. In order to accomplish this, He may have to bring us through some struggles and heartaches. It might make no sense to us, but God knows exactly what He’s doing.

Ephesians 3: 20, 21 – Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

AwAreness: Waiting

Posted in Gypsy Carns on November 24, 2011 by Gypsy Carns

We have become so accustomed to this hurried world that we’ve begun to demand speed in our spiritual life too. However, God “acts on behalf of those who wait for him”. Wise believers endure until the fruits of His labor appear.  In this devotion, we’ll look at three reasons believers are called upon to wait. First, God may be preparing us to receive His blessings. Perhaps we need new skills or greater maturity. Sometimes people require fresh spiritual insight before their hands are ready to hold what their hearts desire. For example, David waited years to sit on his appointed throne. But when he did, he was a wise, strong, and battle-tested king.

Second, the Father is often teaching His children to have confidence in Him. How would believers ever learn faith if God immediately fulfilled their every request? In my own life, the Lord has often said two words: “Trust Me.” And He has never been late to meet my needs. Third, the Lord will at times withhold blessing to protect us from harm we can’t see. We may never find out what caused the delay. But be assured that God examines the object of our desire closely before placing it in our hands.

Waiting is rarely easy, particularly in this instant-everything world. But rushing ahead of the Lord short-circuits His plan. Believers who do are left unsatisfied, and they often must live with terrible consequences. Be patient while the Lord works out details. His best is on the way.

Isaiah 64: 4 – For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him.

AwAreness: Peace

Posted in Gypsy Carns on November 22, 2011 by Gypsy Carns

Many in our world seek “peace”, in that they desire inner calmness. People often seek contentment by trying to improve their appearance, physical fitness, financial situation, or social status—or by abusing substances. But such things can’t bring tranquility of heart or mind. Only a relationship with Jesus leads to true peace. Prior to salvation, we were slaves to sin and living in opposition to God. Our transgressions had formed a barrier of hostility between Him and us, which we were helpless to cross on our own. Without God’s intervention, we could not have found the way of peace. But our heavenly Father provided the perfect solution to our sin problem. He sent His Son to pay for our iniquities and remove the separation that existed between us and Him.

When we trust Jesus as our Savior, we are reconciled to the Lord and no longer at odds with Him. In Christ, we have peace with the Father.  Our triune God has provided everything we need for inner tranquility. The Father opened the way for us to be in His family. Jesus continually offers His peace so we can experience serenity of mind and heart. And the Holy Spirit cultivates the fruit of peace in our lives.

Romans 5: 1,2 – Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

AwAreness: Compass

Posted in Gypsy Carns on November 18, 2011 by Gypsy Carns

If you’ve ever been lost in the woods, you know the concerns, confusion, and panic this situation causes. Now think what a difference it would have made to know that a compass was in your pocket. Spiritually speaking, we have such a compass—God’s Word. But it does no good unless we let it guide us. Yet at times, we may fail to follow its direction.  How so?

Neglect. Sometimes we are so busy walking through life that we forget to look at God’s compass to make sure we’re headed in the right direction.  Pride. Oftentimes we want to determine the destiny ourselves. Relying on our own strength, understanding, and abilities, we plan our own route.  Distractions. God’s path of obedience isn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes it can be extremely challenging. Satan offers other trails that promise pleasure and ease if we will just ignore the compass and follow him.   Difficulties. Whenever obstacles appear on the trail, our natural tendency is to try and find a way around them. But by ignoring God’s compass and stepping off the path, we’ll miss the blessings He wants to give us.

Why should we wander when the Lord’s compass is available? Let Scripture be your guide on life’s journey. God promises to give you productive days and fruitful years if you follow His path. He’ll direct each step of your way, and His peace will sustain you, even during the difficult times.

Proverbs 3: 5, 6 – Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

 

 

AwAreness: Evil

Posted in Gypsy Carns on November 17, 2011 by Gypsy Carns

When Christians discuss how and when evil entered the world, we most often point to the serpent’s temptation of Eve. But in fact, we must go back a bit further to the moment when God planted the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. By offering Adam and Eve a choice between obedience and rebellion, the Lord allowed for evil to enter His perfect creation. God had a purpose for letting wickedness enter the world. The Tree of Knowledge was a testing ground. Adam and Eve had to choose between rebellion and love, evil and righteousness, disobedience and obedience. Because the Lord desired love from the human beings He created, He had to offer a choice. Genuine love is given freely. The alternatives were either to skip the whole creation process or to program mankind like robots to give Him glory and praise.

The Lord gives two assurances regarding evil. First, His purpose is not for us to sin. He desires that we live with righteous intent so that evil can find no room in our hearts. Second, when we are touched by evil, He will cause the experience to work for our good.  Stay on the narrow path, pray always but especially in times of trial and the Holy Spirit will guide us.

James 1:13 – Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.     Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

AwAreness: Witness

Posted in Gypsy Carns on November 16, 2011 by Gypsy Carns

One of the biggest problems in the church today is that many Christians don’t see themselves as servants of the Lord. However, it’s not His will that we just come to church and listen to sermons. He wants us to go out and be Christ’s witnesses wherever we are or wherever He sends us.  The roles and methods by which we carry out our witness will be different, but each believer has a vital role to play. Individually, you may feel as if  your efforts have little impact, but the Lord can work wonders through a willing servant. No one is too messed up to be used by Him: He specializes in taking broken people and making them whole. Nor does anyone reach an age when he or she is no longer useful—if you’re still alive, God isn’t done with you yet.

The question is not whether we are adequate to be His witnesses, but whether we are willing. God has promised the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish His purposes through us, but if we won’t use His divine strength, we waste opportunities for impact. Earthly responsibilities have a way of stealing our attention and limiting our obedience to the Lord. However, nothing in life is
more important than doing the will of the Father.  Salvation is not just an experience to be enjoyed; it’s a gift to be shared. You
don’t need a theology degree. Just tell what Jesus has done for you, and the Spirit will do the rest.

Acts 1: 6-8:  Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”  And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.  But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”