The “Must” of Being in His Word

A.W. Tozer wrote in The Knowledge of the Holy: “The decline of the knowledge of the holy has brought on our troubles. A rediscovery of the majesty of God will go a long way toward curing them. It is impossible to keep moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate. If we would bring back spiritual power to our lives, we must begin to think of God more nearly as He is.”  

May our plans for the new year have time with The Almighty at the top of the list – rediscovering His majesty, holiness, divine power, and His enablement for us to fulfill our calling and to walk in a manner worthy of that calling (Eph. 4:1).

We need the encouragement that is found in daily being in His life-giving, living and active Word. 

The “must” of being in His Word is one of my life messages, and I feel a now more than everwe must dedicate ourselves to know the truth of His Word and to prayer – to pray His Word, to pray according to His Word, to listen to His voice, and to obey. 

And, honestly, all of this just doesn’t happen without a plan!

I have a Bible reading plan I love that you can download here: My Favorite Reading Plan. It can be folded and used as a bookmark to mark off as you go. But I encourage you to use whatever has worked best for you. Just have a plan! I always also read through the NT slowly throughout the year and study deeply somewhere in Scripture. I believe these are all so important for us to know and live the Word. I plan to read a chapter in the NT each day this year which will get me slowly through the NT before getting there in the reading plan in October.

I’m also including a link below to the type of chart we used for the 21 day challenge and the following encouragement from that challenge for the person who is hearing/feeling the resistance of “I don’t want to be legalistic about daily being in the word and checking boxes”.

First, there’s a mindset shift from “I have to” to “I get to”. What a blessing we have to sit and read a book that is like none other! It is living and active, and God-breathed, and through it we experience His love and goodness and our faith is grown in His truth that “with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26).

AND Jesus said that we will not live by bread alone but that we WILL live “‘on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God'” (Matt. 4:4). Oh, to not neglect hearing His words in scripture and listening in prayer! 

And think about this: no one has ever said, “You know, I just don’t want to be legalistic about eating meals every day.” Never would eating be looked as such! And here we have the bread of life!

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.'” (John 6:35) 

May the Word of God become not only a daily nonnegotiable but something we daily consume for our very life sustenance. 

The 31 day chart link can be used to keep tabs on any habit that you would like to establish. I’ll share some of my thoughts on how I’m using mine next week. 
Happy New Year!
With love,
Traci

Freeing Up An Army

Is there a step of faith with which God could use you to free up an “army”? Before you dismiss the thought with a “who am I?” please read on.
  
“Who do you think you are? What do you think you can accomplish?” These “taunts” (from the last post) remind me of Goliath’s (and even David’s brother’s). The “look of impossibility” against the likes of Goliath dismayed and produced great fear in a whole army who heard him take his stand every morning and evening for forty days (1 Sam. 17:11, 16, 24).
 
David, who had only been sent to take his brothers some food, came upon the scene and saw it for what it was and asked, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” (1 Sam. 17:26) 
 
And God’s victory through David’s courageous actions FREED A WHOLE ARMY that day, an army that had been distracted and stopped in their tracks for 40 days by “taunts” (by a “taunter”). 
 
There is a lot of taunting of the “armies of the living God” these days, and how much do we just take at face value, agree with, succumb and surrender to rather than realizing that it is a ridiculous spiritual battle? It’s “ridiculous” because it looks so ominous, BUT in Christ you already own the victory
  
The question today is “WHEN WILL the army of the living God stop being frightened and RISE UP in His strength and power – to overcome the taunts and save those who have been taken captive by fear?” 
 
When?
 
Satan has plans to keep us unproductive and to thwart the work of God in and through our lives, but we are not unaware of his schemes (2 Cor. 2:11). Rather than entertain or bow down to the taunts, we must take them captive (2 Cor. 10:5) and extinguish (Eph. 6:16) them. Satan is always a liar (John 8:44); therefore, we must know the truth of the Word of God! If we are not armed with the Lord’s unadulterated truth directly from His inspired Word (the truth of how we are to live and who we are called to be in Him), Satan’s persuasive lies (Col. 2:4) will be more effective and too easily steal (John 10:10) our courage and perseverance and render us ineffective. 
 
What is ridiculously taunting you right now? Is it something that is keeping you from a step of obedience that God could use to free up others in some way? 
 
Prayerfully consider if there is a course of action that God is leading you to that you need to rise up in bold courage and take the next known steps of obedience. Our obedience, or lack thereof, has ramifications for not only ourselves but also unknown others. 
 
There are consequences to our obedience
 
“And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant it to Your bond-servants to speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” Acts 4:29, 30 
 
Lord, raise up a bold, courageous army of believers who believe.

A Statement of Belief

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

With all the turmoil going on in this world, we can be tempted to think (by the “liar” John 8:44b) that the Lord God Almighty certainly doesn’t have time to concern Himself with the small details of our lives or the confusing thoughts we struggle with. But here is truth: He loves you and has told you to seek Him and that He will be found. As a believer, He lives within you and is always “here”. He is not far away or disinterested in what concerns you. He is here, full of love. And perhaps you need to hear this encouragement from His heart (receive this if it resonates with you):

I am proud of you. You have done hard things, and I am rewarding that obedience. I am a rewarder of those who seek Me. Oh, the things we can do. Don’t look ahead to other things. You have ideas and then run past them for other ideas. Let’s do the things. Be faithful where you are. Do the necessary WORK so that this future obedience too can be rewarded and used. Do the next right thing.

Let me share some thoughts that may encourage you with your “next thing”. It always feels momentous when I end a journal and start another; it’s like another fresh start and a blank canvas. The following was written as I came to the end of a journal last May and asked the Lord: “Is there a way that I need to wrap up this journal? A statement of belief?” Below is what came from my heart and off my pen that day. It has been good to be reminded of and to proclaim (and challenge myself with) often. Perhaps it will be useful to you as well and a great reminder of important points to be thankful for this week. 

Lord,

I believe that You ARE and that You are a rewarder of those who seek You (Hebrews 11:6). I believe that You work in and through me and, therefore, call me to an obedience that produces the work that You want to do through my life (Phil. 2:13). I believe that You can. You ARE able (Eph. 3:20)! I believe that You will. I trust You (Isaiah 26:3, 4).

TRUST You. 

I will guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells within me, the treasure (good deposit) which has been entrusted to me (2 Tim. 1:14). I will press on and not hold back. I will not listen to and entertain the “who do you think you are?” or “what do you think you can do (accomplish)?” taunts*. I will listen to my Father who loves me and created and called me and blessed me to be a blessing (Gen. 12:2). I will not bury the treasure. I will use it and multiply it and expect to receive more to USE – to be a blessing (Matt. 25:18-23). I will speak (1 Peter 4:11) as one speaking the utterances of God, the One who is faithful and true (Rev. 19:11). I will say “yes” and DO the hard work. I will do hard things. I will plan and discipline myself accordingly. I will study to show myself approved – a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15). I will be diligent (to exert myself, endeavor, give diligence, to make every effort, to do one’s best1).  
(1greek def. of the word “diligent”)

To TRULY believe any one of these truths (which means acting upon it) is actually quite challenging. They are all quite profound in that way. What in my daily life (or even in my thought life) changes if I believe and live this truth out? I can ask myself this question about each and every one of these statements. Perhaps you’ll find the Lord directing you to as well. 

Take the time to thank Him for the powerful truth of His Word (and commit yourself to it – to know it). Thank Him for how He reveals, through His Word, both Himself and how we can live a victorious, abundant life that fully pleases Him. 

“The Lord is good, and His lovingkindness is everlasting.” (too many verse references throughout scripture to pick just one, but Psalm 136 may be a great Psalm to meditate on this week)

“Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.” Psalm 63:3-5

Ok, I need to wrap this up, but those words from that Psalm came to mind, and I just can’t leave it there without directing your attention to the first two verses of this Psalm. Go to Psalm 63 and check out what the psalmist has “seen” in verse 2. Then note that the verse begins with “Thus” (NASB version). Look to see what verse 2 is a result of from verse 1. 

Friends, we really are in a good, good place, that then leads to verse 2 if we will let it and then verses 3-5: satisfaction and praise and joyful lips. (We’ll have to talk about this someday here!)

But next week I want to talk about those “taunts”*.

Do You Fear God or Man?

“The remarkable thing about fearing God 
is that when you fear God you fear nothing else, 
whereas if you do not fear God 
you fear everything else. 
‘Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord’; …” 
Oswald Chambers
from The Highest Good—The Pilgrim’s Song Book, 537 L

From the heart of God:

Care what think (and know)Let that be your focus and stick to it. This world is so fickle and opinionated, and all flesh is like grass that withers (1 Peter 1:24). Who is man that you would live according to his opinions rather than My instructions? Think of the freedom of LIVING before Me so that what I think is all that matters! What would you be doing differently?

“The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread? …
Though a host encamp against me,
My heart will not fear;
Though war arise against me,
In spite of this I shall be confident.”
Psalm 27:1, 3

Belovedlay down any fear of man and let Me (and Me alone) name you and tell you who you are and give you instructions for life. Indeed, all who desire to live godly will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12), but My truth will make you courageous and bold and set you free. Be sanctified (set apart) in the truth of My Word (John 17:17). LIVE before Me, to please Me in all respects (Colossians 1:10), so that what I think is all that matters, entrusting yourself to the One who judges righteously (1 Peter 2:21-24). I know, and I know. I know your heart and intentions.

“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:21-24

Thoughts to pray through and ponder with pen in hand:
Lord, forgive me for where I have placed the opinion of man above Your truth. Show me areas where this has been true that I am not even aware of.
If I lived to please You alone, what would I be doing differently?
If what You think is all that mattered to me, what would change?
What would I be stepping out in faith in if I did not fear man’s opinion?
Reveal to me areas where I am fearing man over You alone. I repent.

May we be so near to His heart and know His Word and hide it in our hearts that we are filled with bold courage to follow His ways, and His alone.

“With all my heart I have sought You;
Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You.
I will meditate on Your precepts
And regard Your ways.
I shall delight in Your statutes;
I shall not forget Your word.”
Psalm 119:10,11,15,16

Bow to Him alone.

How Do I Make Forward Progress?

“True belief requires that we change our attitude toward God. It means that we not only acknowledge His trustworthiness but go on to trust His promises and obey His commandments.” A. W. Tozer 

Oh, to be relentless against the workings of the enemy, the worry, the wasting of time, all the fears, and “living with the brakes on”!  May we move on from always just thinking, planning, and dreaming of what we will do some day in the future. Let’s take action today.

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:12 (see also John 14:21, 23: 15:10, 1 John 5:3)

In this current battle, let’s resolve to take our stand, to know our place and our assignment, and to move forward in bold confidence in our callings.

Go produce change in this needy world. The Lord God, the Maker of heaven and earth, “’is not restrained to save by many or by few’” (1 Samuel 14:6). 

WHAT ABOUT THE RESISTANCE I FEEL?

Realizing that we are in a battle, we must take up the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:13) and use the shield of faith with which “we will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16).

Fiery, flaming arrows will come and if not extinguished, the “fire” will not only spread and affect our own lives/minds (thwarting our forward progress), but will also most assuredly affect those around us. 

“Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, tostand firm.” Ephesians 6:13

WHERE DO I EVEN START?

Making forward progress may start with simply asking, “Lord, what is my place? What do I need to take action on?” or by asking, “Am I doing the last thing I heard God instruct me to do?” If something comes to mind, prayerfully consider if perhaps this is your next right step.

We may all have somewhat similar instructions and yet different assignments because one thing we can know for sure is that we are called to “the place of quiet”–of seeking His presence and of knowing His Word, that we may all be built up in faith to stand firm and equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).

“You have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need]. My heart says to You, Your face (Your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require [of necessity and on the authority of Your Word].” Psalm 27:8 Amplified Bible

Our place is to stay in this “place” which is too often neglected (by us and by those who too easily influence us)– being completely dependent upon the Lord God Almighty and His strength, abiding in Him (John 15:1-5) and in His Word, loving Him as our priority of life. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

“Complete weakness and dependence will always be the occasion for the Spirit of God to manifest His power.” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, May 5

Our “place” is (to fight) to keep this as our one thing (Psalm 27:4) and be fully dependent on all that He provides (His direction, His strength, His words, His courage), having our heart completely His and undivided because a heart fully given to Him produces steadfastness and the bold courage necessary to fulfill every good work of faith.

“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” 2 Chronicles 16:9

Oh Lord, make us a supportable people!

Rise up and take your place. BE the change. Be NOW the change you are longing for and hoping for in your life and in those around you – be the prayer intercessor, the bible student, the friend. Whatever desire for good that is on your heart, strike out in the power of the Holy Spirit and go for it!

We must obey. The time of waiting is over. Take that next known step. Stop waiting. The time is now.

Lord, we come boldly before your throne of grace to seek Your face and receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16), making ourselves ready, being transformed by Your Word and prayer! Holy Spirit, bring to our remembrance anything that we’ve been asked to do that we have not taken action on. Show us if there are fiery arrows that we are allowing to hit their target. Uncover the lies and show us Your truth in their place. We soak our shield of faith in Your word of truth! We believe that You have a plan and a calling that is beyond anything we can even imagine and that You can use us (Eph. 3:20). We choose to follow Your lead. Show us our place. What do we need to take action on today? What are those first next steps?

 

(Remember you can hover over any of these verses to see them in a pop-up box. Or you may want to look them up on your own to see them in their context.)

Do Not Agree with the Enemy’s Lies

“for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:4,5

I serve a big God, but do I live a little life? 

Lord, I want to fulfill my ministry. I want to use the gifts You have given me and fulfill my calling. I want to stand before You and hear “well done”. I want to live for eternity and not for today. But I feel confused on what to do and where to start. You are not a God of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), so show me what is happening here.
 

Is this your heart’s cry as well? 
So why all the confusion? Here is some insight into a scheme of the enemy (2 Corinthians 2:11) that has been a good reminder for me recently.

From the heart of God:

You feel confused because there is opposition to your calling that you must ignore.

You have a low “hum” of identity attack going on below the surface that you are not aware of. You are not doing this to yourself and you are not confused for no reason. Nor are you stuck there. Let Me uncover it so that you can hear. The “hum” won’t be silenced until you deal with it.

See it for the lie that it is and cast it into the sea of forgotten.

You can’t settle for it. 
You can’t accept it as something that is normal and must be lived with. 
You can’t agree with it and entertain it! 

You agree with the enemy of your soul, and your soul retreats, shuts down, becomes cancerous and unconfident.

This is the root to your bold confidence problem. You AGREE with all the enemy’s identity attacks to shut you up. And you shut up. You oblige.

Replace the constant “hum” with My truth – what I say about you – and be free (John 8:31, 32)! 
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 Ask the Lord if this could be at the root of any of your confusion today.

It will take some spiritual earplugs to silence the “hum” of continual attacks of the enemy against us and a leaning into the TRUTHS of God
about 
who He is, 
His ability, 
who He says we are in Him, 
who He has called us to be, 
and what He has called us to do. 

Be dependent (John 15:5). 
Be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
Be holy in all your behavior (1 Peter 1:15).

In these days of warfare, “holiness and radical obedience will be your covering” (a phrase the Lord spoke to my heart years ago that He brings to mind often).

The time is now!

It’s time for some radical obedience out of our comfort zones and fears.

Hear the Word of the Lord and act on it (Matthew 7:24-25, James 1:22). Let us throw off the lies and “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…” (Hebrews 12:1, 2).

And go live a big life!

“The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high place [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!” Habakkuk 3:19


“On the day I called, You answered me;
You made me bold with strength in my soul.”
 Psalm 138:3

Friends, we need to hear what God has to say about us and believe it. Know who you are by KNOWING WHO HE IS! Study (2 Timothy 2:15, 3:16,17), knowbelieve His Word, and obey. Spend time in Scripture and in prayer, listening and believing what He says is true (write it down), and rise up in obedience.

Ask the Lord to show you where you are agreeing with the enemy’s lies and need to take those thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. (This may be hard because the lies feel true.) What does He say is true in place of those lies? 

What is your “take action” step today?

(If you would like to read more in the context of that phrase “holiness and radical obedience” along with much needed repentance, click here.

Are You Making Yourself Vulnerable?

What do you know but don’t believe?

The Lord has been revealing to me that there are truths (and things He has called me to) that I know are true but don’t believe.

I realize that if I truly trust and believe Him and what He says, there are things I would be taking action on.

I would be walking in obedience rather than giving into all the good reasons I have not to (which are really only excuses).

I have been making excuses to not obey – to be disobedient!

And this is a very dangerous place to be.

As I give into fear (and think I’m protecting myself), I’m actually placing myself in an even more vulnerable position.

It is the one who hears His words and acts on them who is compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock, and when the storm came, “it did not fall” (Matt. 7:24, 26). It is the one who doubts who “is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6). And oh, are there some winds and waves these days and some storms threatening us on the horizon!

This is the time to set our anchor, to grow our roots down a bit deeper, to stand firm against the enemy, and to find our firm footing by hearing His Words and acting on them (Matt. 7:24, 25) so that when the storm comes, we will STAND and not be shaken.

The time is now!

“to one who knows the right (good) thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” James 4:17

 

Take some time this week to sit with the Lord and put pen to paper. Listen to Him speak to your heart in answer to some probing questions and write it down:

Lord, search my heart (Psalm 139:23, 24) and show me any and all “unbelief”.

Is there any area that I have given into fear and made excuses (even if they feel like really good reasons) for not following Your instructions in Your Word, for not following something You have called me to do, or not following Your promptings?

What do I need to take action on? And what is my next step of obedience?

“Obey God in the thing He shows you, and instantly the next thing is opened up.”
Oswald Chambers My Utmost for His Highest, Oct. 10

 

Let us be relentless against any and all unbelief! 

Personal note: My first step is to consistently write and show up here. It will not be perfect, but as a friend just shared with me, “Done IS perfect!” I will borrow her motto, publish each week, and grow as I do. I pray that God uses these words to spur others on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24) – to be in His Word and do what He says.

I’d love to hear what your action step is and to pray for you. Leave a comment or send me an email.

When Life Hurts

When the pain feels like too much!

This I recall to mind,
Therefore I have hope.

The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul,
‘Therefore I have hope in Him.'” Lamentations 3:21-24

It’s been a very emotionally heavy week for many around me (and therefore for me as well). I hate it! Oh, to be mindful that everyone around us is unfortunately all too familiar with the pain of living in this fallen world whether we see their pain or not.

We know that we will “encounter various trials” (James 1:2), and Jesus said, “‘ . . . in this world you have tribulation . . ‘” (John 16:33). Yet the times of pain still understandably surprise us and catch us off guard. It is in these times that we must recall to mind (remind ourselves of) what we know to be true and find our hope in Christ

Friend,

He makes a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert (Isaiah 35:6) – impossible provisions out of unlikely sources. 

He is big ENOUGH for even “this” (and each and every “even this” that crosses our path). 

Let’s look to Him and keep things in the “perspective of the miraculous”. He will give us eyes of faith to see beyond the circumstances to the provision that we may grab hold of.

“walk by faith and not by sight” 2 Corinthians 5:7

Trust in Him at all times; pour out your heart to Him, for God is your refuge. (Psalm 62:8).

~~~
Lord,
Show us today what we need to recall to mind that would settle our hearts and give us peace and hope. We praise You that Your lovingkindnesses indeed never cease (no matter how it feels) and Your compassions never fail. For great is Your faithfulness. Nothing can separate us from Your love (Romans 8:35-39). We “take courage” right now because You “have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

We worship you and come to You to help us in this time of need. 

“God is our refuge and strength, 
A very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

Blessings to you,

Traci

You may also want to click and read God’s Protection in the Midst of Turmoil if you also find yourself in this place.

If someone comes to mind that would be encouraged by this, please share. And if you aren’t receiving these weekly devotionals in your inbox and would like to, let me know by clicking here.