Living Defeated or Victorious: That Decision was Given to You to Make.

This devotional clip was written by David Bowden author of When God Isn’t There. You can read more of this devotional through YouVersion titled Rewire Your Heart (I have inserted a few thoughts as well throughout this devotional; they are italicized in brackets).



When times get really hard it becomes so much easier to sin. (The temptations seem to pull stronger, the lure more frequent.) Psalm 37 is about how to persevere during a really hard time.

The Psalmist, David, writes that wicked people are doing terrible things. How should David and the people respond? David says we should respond with stillness, patience, and faith.

  • But how is that even possible?
  • How can we just sit there and take it?
  • How can we be still when everything is swirling around us?
  • How can we be patient when everything is going wrong?
  • How can we have faith when all hope seems to be lost?

(God has filled the pages of Scripture for us to see, learn, taste in the goodness of Him in the land of the living (Psalm 27), but for today we will only look into one powerful verse. Psalm 37:4 is one of the most beautiful, helpful, and we encouraging passages I know.)

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

This verse is so helpful for two main reasons.

1) Perseverance and fighting sin don’t have to be a sad affair. We are called to find delight! But where are we to find this delight in such bleak circumstances? We can’t find them in our surroundings. We can’t find them just by looking on the bright side.

We find (true, real) delight in the LORD…when we delight ourselves in Him.

For us as Christians, (one of) the best ways to do this is by repeating (remembering) the Good News of the Gospel to yourself. Jesus has saved you from sin and death (don’t even forget that). He has taken your punishment…(your rightful place on that cross.) You have been reconciled to the Father (forgiven of it all, justified, redeemed). You’ve been made a temple of the living God (an heir). Delight yourself in all God has done for you (praise Him)!

2) The second reason this verse is so helpful is because we get something (isn’t God so good, not only does He forgive us, cleanse us, make us His child, He also lavishes upon us good things). Not only do we not have to be sad, but…we get the desires of our hearts.

What are these desires in our hearts that we will be given in times of trouble? Well, it is the very thing we have been delighting in.

We will get God!

  • No matter the circumstance.
  • No matter the sin.
  • If you delight yourself in the God of the Gospel you will get the God of the Gospel.
  • Revel in Jesus.
  • Jesus will reveal himself to you.

That is how you fight sin in difficult times. Engage your heart in the fight. Delight yourself in God.


There are so many more verses in Scripture that we could comb through today, but this devotional has been such a good reminder that…

  1. We are not defeated for we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us so (Romans 8:37).
  2. God is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
  3. When we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:8).

Engage your heart in the fight. Delight yourself in God…He delights in you!

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Your “Egypt”

“Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD” Isaiah 31:1.

  • What or who is your “Egypt”?
  • What or who do you run too?
  • What or who do you trust in?
  • What or who do you think will provide for you more than God Himself will?
  • What or who looks bigger, better, or more powerful?
  • What or who seems to satisfy, fulfill, complete, and gratify you other than God?

What or who is filling God’s shoes in your life – or can that even be possible?

The personal act of running towards, trusting in, or thinking ‘something’ or ‘someone’ other than God will fulfill you will always end in disappointment. The alleged completion, false gratification, so-called satisfaction over Christ only leads to self—destruction; for to conquer is to stand in Christ alone. It is not through selfish ambition or earthly manners that we will win battles, it is only through Jesus Christ (Romans 8:37-39).

  • Isaiah 31:2 – God will not share His glory with another…period. This is His rightful place.
  • Isaiah 31:3a – Human flesh is just that, human. We are made in the image of God (what a precious gift from God), yet we are fallen men filled with sin and in need of a Savior (thanks to Adam and Eve). Man is just that, a man…not God. Man’s tools are perishable just as a man is. God is not disposable nor will He ever be. God is spirit, eternal, everlasting. God is God!
  • Isaiah 31:3b – God is just. He is just towards you; He is just towards others, despite what we think. Justice is a God character. He is just, therefore He walks and lives out justices 100% of the time just as much as He is love, merciful, and holy 100% of the time. God cannot contradict Himself.

Whatever you allow your trust to rely on, whatever it is you cling to other than God, my friend, there is One greater.

Isaiah warned Israel, “Don’t do it. Woe to that man or woman who allows Egypt (in our case…someone or something else) to take the place that rightfully already is God’s in the first place.” Egypt looked good. Egypt was very strong.

But there was a problem, Egypt could not do what God could for Israel and your “Egypt” cannot either!

  • Who or what is taking the place of God in your life?
  • Isn’t it time we turn to God with all of our heart, with all of our soul, with all of our mind and with all of our strength (Luke 10:27; Mathew 22:37)?
  • Isn’t it time we love God with 100% of us just as He loves us?
  • Isn’t it time we cast away our “what” and “who” and draw near to God?
  • Stop giving God your scraps; He didn’t give you His. God has given us everything, including His Son – redemption, new life, eternal security, relationship.
  • Friend, we are warned – just as Isaiah prophesied many years ago, be wise in what you choose. The choices we make now affect our future.
  • The final decision is ultimately yours; no one can make it for you. It must come from within you. There must be a turning point, a change of direction – God’s direction! I cannot change your mind or make you, but I surely can encourage you to choose God!
  • Friend, choose God over your “what” or “who”. It can be difficult to see past fear, questions or the unknown – but doesn’t Christ already have the answer(s) for you? Isn’t God…God? Isn’t He capable to fulfill, sustain, provide, conquer for you or fix your situation?
  • He can, He will but we must believe Him, trust Him, and hand yourself over in submission…and get out of the way. Don’t let your pride get in the way of obedience.

God longs for you!God loves you!God smiles when He sees you!God likes you!

Did you know that?

The decision is yours.

  • Will you take your step of faith in Jesus Christ?
  • Will you trust God through allowing Him to fill your “what” and/or “who” and commit to Him?
  • Stay close to Him, be in the Word, connect yourself to a Bible preaching church…one that stands on God’s Word alone.
  • God will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5; Isaiah 41:10). You draw near to God, God will draw near to you (James 4:8; Jeremiah 29:12-14). You seek first the kingdom of God, He will add His precious, perfect will unto you (Matthew 6:33). You call unto Him, He will show you great and mighty things you couldn’t even image (Jeremiah 33:3).
  • Did you know that He (Jesus) came that you would live an abundant life in Him – a life full, a life worth living (John 10:10).

“What” or “who” is your choice?

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Is the Solution to Try Harder or Let Him In? What does God say?

img_20171013_103839_998000-339584810.png

“You have to stop loving and pursuing Christ in order to sin” –there is a fear in writing or saying such words. A fear not in physically writing them or saying them for they are true; rather a fear that a hearer will only listen to their own evoking fears and guilt thus not seeing God’s love for them; therefore, not instilling a fire of love to begin within the them because they love God.

Actions that are driven by fear and guilt are not an antidote to lukewarm, selfish, comfortable living–it is LOVE!

Our relationship with Christ should never be out of duty, obligation, or slavery, but rather craved from a genuine desired love for God. We need only look no further than the cross– where God demonstrated His love for us that while we were YET sinners; Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)! God’s love hasn’t changed.

When we love we are free!

  • Galatians 5:13-14
  • Psalm 63:1-5
  • Loving God and loving people –isn’t that what it is all about?!

Lukewarm living and claiming Christ’s name simultaneously is utterly disgusting to God–when we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that it isn’t very fulfilling or joyful to us, either, but the solution isn’t to TRY harder, fail, and then make bigger promises, only to fail again.

It does no good to “muster up” more love for God, or to will yourself to love Him more. When loving God becomes obligation, one of many things we have to do, we end up focusing even more on ourselves.

So what do you do? The answer lies in letting God change you! He wants to change you, He died so that we could change!

  • Remember His counsel to the lukewarm church in Laodicea? “HERE I AM! I STAND AT THE DOOR AND KNOCK. IF ANYONE HEARS MY VOICE AND OPENS THE DOOR, I WILL COME IN AND EAT WITH HIM, AND HE WITH ME” (Rev. 3:20).
  • His counsel wasn’t to “try harder,” but RATHER LET HIM IN!!!
  • James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and HE WILL come near to you.”
  • Jesus died on that cross to save us from the bondage of SIN; not just save us from hell.
  • John 10:10 “I (Jesus) have come that you may have LIFE — FULL abundant life!” He was talking about this lifetime.
  • I NEED GOD TO HELP ME LOVE GOD and if I need His help to love Him it would stand to reason I need Him to love others: who are perfectly fault-filled…like you and I.


Excerpts taken from Crazy Love by Francis Chan; further comments written by Colleen Woodruff.

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Is the Solution to: Try Harder or Let Him In? What does God say?

img_20171013_103839_998000-339584810.png

“You have to stop loving and pursuing Christ in order to sin” –there is a fear in writing or saying such words. A fear not in physically writing them or saying them for they are true; rather a fear that a hearer will only listen to their own evoking fears and guilt thus not seeing God’s love for them; therefore, not instilling a fire of love to begin within the them because they love God.

Actions that are driven by fear and guilt are not an antidote to lukewarm, selfish, comfortable living–it is LOVE!

Our relationship with Christ should never be out of duty, obligation, or slavery, but rather craved from a genuine desired love for God. We need only look no further than the cross– where God demonstrated His love for us that while we were YET sinners; Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)! God’s love hasn’t changed.

When we love we are free!

  • Galatians 5:13-14
  • Psalm 63:1-5
  • Loving God and loving people –isn’t that what it is all about?!

Lukewarm living and claiming Christ’s name simultaneously is utterly disgusting to God–when we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that it isn’t very fulfilling or joyful to us, either, but the solution isn’t to TRY harder, fail, and then make bigger promises, only to fail again.

It does no good to “muster up” more love for God, or to will yourself to love Him more. When loving God becomes obligation, one of many things we have to do, we end up focusing even more on ourselves.

So what do you do? The answer lies in letting God change you! He wants to change you, He died so that we could change!

  • Remember His counsel to the lukewarm church in Laodicea? “HERE I AM! I STAND AT THE DOOR AND KNOCK. IF ANYONE HEARS MY VOICE AND OPENS THE DOOR, I WILL COME IN AND EAT WITH HIM, AND HE WITH ME” (Rev. 3:20).
  • His counsel wasn’t to “try harder,” but RATHER LET HIM IN!!! 
  • James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and HE WILL come near to you.”
  • Jesus died on that cross to save us from the bondage of SIN; not just save us from hell. 
  • John 10:10 “I (Jesus) have come that you may have LIFE — FULL abundant life!” He was talking about this lifetime.
  • I NEED GOD TO HELP ME LOVE GOD and if I need His help to love Him it would stand to reason I need Him to love others: who are perfectly fault-filled…like you and I.
  • excerpts taken from Crazy Love by Francis Chan
  • further comments written by Colleen Woodruff

 

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}