Tuesday, August 16, 2005

#7 Because I Love Him

Because I Love Him
#7 August 16, 2005
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind {strength}." (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37)

I made up my mind a long time ago that there would be no pets in my house. After many bad experiences with cats and dogs, we decided that if it didn't walk upright on two legs (at all times, mind you!), it wouldn't live in our home. Well, as I'm writing this, the most adorable little dog, named Silly, is lying next to me. My daughter somehow convinced me over the last week or so that she needed to get a dog. After MUCH prayer, we agreed and here she is. Why did I change my mind? Because I love my daughter.

What we won't do for those we love! We will drive any distance, work any hours, pay any price, make any sacrifice, if we truly love someone.

Our verse today is very familiar to us yet I believe it's more important than we realize. We find the words first in the Old Testament as Moses is declaring them to Israel at God's command. They come right on the heels of the Ten Commandments. Jesus repeats them later when asked by an expert in the law what the greatest commandment is. He says it is the First and the Greatest!

If we truly love God, what are we willing to do for Him? Remember what He has done for us because He loves us. He gave His all, His everything, His very life because He loves us. And if that weren't enough - He continues to give, day in and day out. If Jesus never did one more thing for us, never answered one more prayer we've prayed, never sent us one more blessing - what He did on the Cross for us would be enough to keep praising Him until He comes again! But He didn't stop with the Cross! He's "the energizer". He keeps giving and giving and giving. His grace, His mercy, His compassion, His strength, His forgiveness, His blessings, His intercession for us - there are no bounds to what He has and will do for us!

If we could ever really "grasp how wide and long and deep is the love of Christ" (Ephesians 3:18) for us, we would be willing to give our all for Him. I don't think our finite minds can ever understand it completely until we get to Glory, but if we meditate on it enough, and really believe it, we should be compelled to do more than just our Christian "duty" to please Him.

What we do for those we love is BECAUSE we love them, not to get them to love us more. Jesus will never love us more or less than He does, no matter our behavior. But just as an earthly father is proud of and pleased with and smiles on his child, I want my Heavenly Father to smile everyday because I have done all to please Him.

I want Him to be my first thought when my eyes open in the morning - Because I Love Him!
I want His word to be my spiritual breakfast each morning no matter how I need to arrange or rearrange my time to make it happen - Because I Love Him!
I want to follow His instruction on what kind of wife I should be and His manual for my marriage success - Because I Love Him!
I want to be the kind of mom He wants me to be and have the courage to stand firm on tough issues and follow His commands at the risk of my children not thinking I'm "cool". They'll respect me later - Because I Love Him!
I want to be quick to see when I've sinned and just as quickly repent and be forgiven, keeping a short list with God. I always want to be right with Him, nothing between us - Because I Love Him!
I want to forgive those who have hurt me, not be offended easily and not let anger get the best of me - Because I Love Him!
I want to live my life following His call. To feed the hungry, clothe the naked, seek justice for the oppressed and lead others to Him and then to guide them in living for Him - Because I Love Him!
I want to love the unlovely, bless the ungrateful, pray for those who don't give Him a second thought - Because I Love Him!
I want to do things that He tells me to do that I would not do for anyone else but Him - Because I Love Him!
I want to grow so close to Him that I see what He sees, hear what He hears and to crawl into His lap as He tells me "unsearchable things that I do not know". (Jeremiah 33:3) - Because I Love Him!

As Paul says, "not that I have already obtained all this or have already been made perfect (far from it (mine)), but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." ) Philippians 3:12). Because I Love Him!

I submit this question to you. What are you willing to do for Jesus because you love Him? Time? Sacrifice? Obedience? Money? Submission? Jesus says "Love with ALL..." Not some - not most - not just enough to squeek into Heaven. ALL! Take the first step. Sit in His presence and make some decisions. Pray. Repent. Submit. Taking that step will cause Him to smile - your Daddy will be proud - Because He loves you!

I write because I love Him,

Donna Schultz

If you would prefer to not receive these e-mails, please let me know at savemom@aol.com. Feel free to forward them as the Lord leads you and if others would like to receive it, e-mail savemom@aol.com to be added to the list.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

#6 Delight Yourself in the Lord...

#6 August 9, 2005
"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

For the most part, Christians read Psalm 37, Verse 4 all wrong. We believe that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, all of our desires in life will be given to us. We would attain a great marriage, saved and Holy Ghost filled children, prosperity and health. All of our relationships would be perfect and blessed by God.

Are we ever wrong!

Looking back, this attitude and expectation from God is selfish with a capital S. It is all about us. If I just delight myself in the Lord, then I would have all of my desires met.

Yikes! Forgive me, Lord!

Look at the words again..."he will give you the desires of your heart." It doesn't say that he will give you everything that you want. I believe God is saying that He will place HIS desires in you. He will give you the desires. He will define what your desires are. He will make you want what He wants. He will put the desires in your heart.

A desire is a conscious impulse toward something that promises satisfaction in its attainment. It is a longing or a craving. God, replacing your longings for His longings. A divine exchange of your impulse for something with His. A renewing of your mind as far as what will satisfy you when it comes to pass, because it is what will satisfy Him.

How do I delight myself in the Lord? To delight is to take great pleasure in, to get joy or satisfaction from. In order to do this I must know God and what He is like. I must spend time in His word. I must acknowledge Him in every second of my day. I must spend quiet time listening for His voice just for me.

When we delight in something in the natural, it is because we love it, know how awesome it is; it gets us excited and fills us with joy. We want to spend time with it...so it must be with God.

As we make Him our number one priority, as we spend time with Him, as we abide (dwell) in Him over a period of time, we can supernaturally see our desires change.

We begin to desire to spend every waking moment in His word, praising Him, listening to music about Him. Whatever keeps us close to Him. We wish we didn't have to do anything else but commune with Him all day. Our church gatherings don't fill us up or satisfy us anymore. We become so hungry for more of Him that we're willing to do just about anything or even look foolish just to feel His presence. We long to go deeper and closer to our Daddy till we can see and touch His face.

His desire for all men to be saved becomes our desire. He puts in us a desire to give of our time and our finances in whole new ways to get the gospel to the far corners of the earth.

My best friend, Shari, let me know today that she and her husband will be leaving in three weeks to live in Honduras and work with orphaned children. They are perfectly willing to leave everything and everyone familiar to them, to follow after God's own heart..souls! They are a true example to me of how our desires can change and line up with God's desires when we draw closer and closer to Him and allow Him to change us from the inside out.

I believe that our prayer life will be revolutionized when God exchanges our desires for His. We find ourselves praying less about our needs and more about His desires. After all, our Heavenly Father knows what we need before we ask Him (Matt 6:8). Our prayers will be answered because if our prayers are according to His will (1 John 5:14-15), which they are if He has placed them there, He will certainly answer them. Aren't we also told to seek first His kingdom (Matt 6:33)?

We will begin to pray for God to change us, to make us more like Jesus. We will even pray to be convicted of sin and to go under the spiritual scalpel of the Holy Spirit if it means that we can get closer to Him. We will pray for and love the lost and the hurting people around us no matter their color or status or outward appearance. We will truly begin to love the unlovely! He will supernaturally allow us to see with His eyes, hear with His ears, cry about what makes Him cry. The material things that seemed so important to us will just seem like waste and diminish in their importance to us. The pain and hurt of the past will no longer be able to control and define our future. Our future will be so wrapped up in God's desires, that there will be no room for hurt, pain, bitterness, anger, resentment or anything that holds us back.

What are you desiring today? What do you think about most...pray about most? I urge you to carve out some time each day just for you and Jesus...DO IT TODAY! Delight in Him. Get to know Him through His word. Make a list of all of His attributes (i.e. His goodness, grace, forgiveness, faithfulness, power, kindness, mercy, compassion etc.). Have a great time praising Him - eyes on Him - eyes off you! Do this consistently, continuously and watch your desires change. It's true--He promises that it will happen. It's happened for me and God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11). He does not show favoritism. If He did it for me, He'll do it for you.

One of my hearts desires is that you would be desperate for more of God in your life and that you would grow ever so close to Him and that nothing else would satisfy you except being one with Him. That's why I write. I believe that it's the driving force of God's desire for you and He has birthed that desire for you in me.

Delight yourself in the Lord!
Watch God change your desires!
Enjoy your changed life!

Until next week,

Donna Schultz

If you would prefer to not receive these e-mails, please let me know at savemom@aol.com. Feel free to forward them as the Lord leads you and if others would like to receive it, e-mail savemom@aol.com to be added to the list.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

#5 "Lazarus, Come Forth"

#5 August 2, 2005
"Lazarus, come forth!" John 11:43

Take a few minutes and read your Bible's account of the death and raising of Lazarus in Luke, Chapter 11, verses 1-44.

Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that the one He loved was sick (v. 3). In actuality, Lazarus was probably already dead by the time these conversations with His disciples took place.

What seems dead in your life? Is it a marriage, an unsaved and wayward child, a failing business, a broken relationship, crushed finances? Is it a past that has beat you down and killed your self-esteem and sense of worth?

The Bible says that when Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where He was two more days (v. 6). Allowing a day for the messenger's travel, two days of waiting by Jesus, and one day for His return, we arrive at four days before Jesus gets to Bethany, near Jerusalem.

How long have you been waiting for Jesus to arrive? How long have you been saying to yourself, "if He had only been here..?" (v.21) Maybe a few days sooner and your husband wouldn't have left. Just a couple of days earlier and the money would've come in. Just one more attempt with your son, and he would've come around. If only....if only.,.He had been there.

But Jesus waited. He waited for God's glory so that He would be glorified through it. (v. 4) God's glory is His main objective. And He wants it to be ours. God's will for us is to bring Him glory. Our purpose is giving Him glory. We don't need programs and agendas to know our purpose..it's living to give Him glory! If Jesus had come when Lazarus was ill, the higher goal associated with the glory of God would not be revealed. A resurrection would demonstrate that glory and divine power more fully than restoration from a sick bed. Jesus was glad He hadn't been there! One of the greatest lessons of faith to be learned would've been impossible!

Busy Martha ran out to meet Jesus when He arrived. Mary sat still. When she heard that Jesus was there, in reverence and helplessness, she fell at His feet. Are you running or laying at His feet in your situation? Are you Mary or Martha? Have you emptied yourself so much that you know that only Jesus can do something? Are you helpless, hopeless, bankrupt of self enough to know it's all about Him? Again, that's what He wants from you..He loves that attitude!

He is not being cruel. He hasn't turned His face from you. He doesn't enjoy watching you suffer. Verse 35 tells us that "Jesus wept." It is likely that He wept over the havoc that sin has brought into the world bringing along with it, sickness and death and sorrow. But I like to believe that Jesus weeps for me as well. I know He feels my pain, sees my hurt and heals every hurt that I have. He wants to strengthen me and watch me believe what He says and then He can show me the Glory of God!!

Four days elapsed...the body began to decompose...the odor must have been foul! The hold of death was broken by the voice of authority calling, "Lazarus, come forth!" The One who had proved Himself the Light of the world by giving sight to the blind man now showed Himself as the Life of men, the Overcomer of death.

Think again about what your "Lazarus" might be. Jesus calls it forth...

Broken marriage --- Come forth!
Unsaved child --- Come forth!
Sickness and disease --- Come forth!
Broken finances --- Come forth!
Hurtful past --- Come forth!
Drug addiction, Alcoholism --- Come forth!

Hear Jesus whispering in your ear, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"

Whatever you're facing today, the end result will be so that God's Son will be glorified through it. The grave clothes will come off, really they will...

Just Believe!

Until next week,

Donna Schultz

If you would prefer to not receive these e-mails, please let me know at savemom@aol.com. Feel free to forward them as the Lord leads you and if others would like to receive it, e-mail savemom@aol.com to be added to the list.