Wednesday, July 27, 2005

#4 Blessed are the Poor in Spirit..

#4 July 26, 2005
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3

When we hear the word "poor" most of us would conjure up a picture in our mind of those who have no home or food or clothing. Pictures of the homeless on our streets or the persecuted, starving people in Sudan come to mind. However, when Jesus spoke these words, "Blessed are you who are poor (Luke 6:20) in spirit (Matt 5:3) he was referring to someone entirely different.

Being poor in spirit is the opposite of being proud in spirit. It is a person who has recognized their poverty in spiritual things and have allowed Christ to meet their need. (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Moody, c1962). I like the way the Message says it: "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you, there is more of God and His rule."

We cannot walk the Christian life alone. We have to be connected to Jesus through His Holy Spirit who lives on the inside of us. We do not have the power or ability to do anything without Him. Jesus said, "Apart from me, you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

I love to spend time in God's Word studying and finding out how He wants me to live my life. I take in all of His commands and say, "Yes, Lord. That's great! I want to be like that. I WILL be that today!" But I have learned a huge lesson. If I go out in my own power and forget to invite the Holy Spirit to come with me and live through me, I'll foul up every time. I will show annoyance, be rude, gossip, hurt other people, be selfish and not be a good witness for Christ to my unbelieving friends. If I go about my day without consciously being aware of Jesus in me, (the hope of glory, by the way), I will fall every time.

This happens because we CANNOT do it alone. We are incapable and unequipped in our own power. We are only who we are because of Christ. He made us to operate that way.

We need to pray continually, in every situation that we encounter, for the Holy Spirit to be strong in us. Acknowledge Him when caring for your children, going to your job, having lunch with friends, before going to a everything! If you don't, you're going in your own power.

The Christian life is only hard when we're doing it alone. Jesus said, " yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:30) A yoke is a wooden bar or frame by which two animals are joined at the head or necks for working together. (Merriam Webster Dictionary) A yoke was meant to be carried by TWO - never alone.

We can't save ourselves. We can't atone for our own sin or gain access to heaven by ourselves. What makes us think we can do anything else alone? Be poor in spirit. Be so poverty stricken that before your feet hit the floor each morning you cry out to Jesus - "I can't do this day alone. Be with me Jesus. I need you!" And then throughout the day, invite the Holy Spirit into your conversations, work, play, and every situation that you face.

He will answer that cry of your heart and honor that prayer because after all, that's what He wants. That's His will. I seem to recall a vine and a branch story....oh, well, that's for another day.

Send the Holy Spirit your invitation...He's waiting to RSVP...No regrets...He'll be there!

Until next week,

Donna Schultz

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

#3 Down From the Mountain

"Down from the Mountain"
#3 July 19, 2005

About a week ago, I experienced a day like none other. It seemed that from the moment I woke up, it was one of those "God days". My prayer and devotional time was charged with fresh and deep revelation. I praised and prayed, wept and rejoiced because the Holy Spirit was just that close. Teaching the Word to our clients at My Father's Business, I felt anointed and watched God's power that is in His Word lighten spirits and invigorate those who were listening. What a day!

A mere 24 hours later, life happened. Unpleasant things to deal with - and in the next few days, unpleasant people to endure. All of the "stuff of life" that makes up our days. I first began to blame the devil for my troubles, reasoning that he didn't like me growing closer in my walk with God. But the more I pondered and prayed, I believe there was a lesson to be learned.

The mountain was still ablaze with fire when Moses came down from it. The two stone tablets that were in his hand were written by the very finger of God. But what he found were God's people bowing down to a golden calf and indulging in corrupt behavior. (See Exodus Ch.32, Deuteronomy Ch. 9)

Elijah called fire from heaven on a sacrifice drenched in water. The sacrifice was burned up! He then killed 450 prophets of Baal with the sword. But just after that, when he heard that the priestess of Baal worship, Jezebel, was after him to kill him, he ran for his life. He became so discouraged that he asked the Lord to take his life. (See 1 Kings 19: 1-4)

One day Jesus took Peter, John and James up onto a mountain to pray. (Read Luke 9:28-36). During that time He was transfigured and was visited by Moses and Elijah. Peter and the guys saw Jesus in all of His glory and heard the voice of God. But skip to verse 37. The very next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met them. A man begging for his son's life and deliverance from demons. Disciples who were ineffective in ministry. Still others who couldn't understand His words to them. Arguments among the disciples.

Unfortunately, we live more of our lives "down from the mountain" in the Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays of life. We have spouses, children, jobs and ministry work to do. We may deal with sickness, not enough money to pay the bills, a lost job or an aging parent.

Moses got angry and broke the stone tablets. Elijah got depressed and wanted to die. Only Jesus had the proper response. He helped those who came to him who were in need. The best thing to do when we have problems or boredom with our everyday lives is to get our eyes off of ourselves and help someone else.

The second thing we should do is never forget those "God days", those special mountain top times. Many times in God's Word He tells us to remember His times of faithfulness to us, His times of anointing on our lives, His blessings and His favor. (See Deut. 8:2, 11:2). The Psalms are filled with David's accounts of all that God did for Him. The Bible says that he encouraged himself in the Lord. And even down here at the bottom of the mountain, God is no less present in our lives. He is Always there with us.

Life can be tough, busy, mundane or uneventful. But if we keep a good attitude, help others and always remember God's goodness to us we can persevere. Since we spend most of our time down here anyway, we may as well enjoy it and do it right.

By the way...did you notice who appeared on the mountaintop with Jesus? Hmmm...

Waiting to go back up the mountain,

Donna Schultz

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

#2 Closer Than You Think

Closer Than You Think
#2 July 12, 2005
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock." Revelation 3:20

As I write this today, the death toll from London's terrorist bombings last Thursday is over 50. I woke on that morning to the horrible news on the television and experienced a deep sadness in my spirit. For London's people, for families who lost loved ones and for the injured. My deepest pain however was for those who died who did not know Christ. I'm willing to bet there were a few.

I was reminded that morning of Matthew 14:27. "Jesus spoke to them saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." That verse and the words of my devotional, "When you doubt, look around; I, Jesus, am closer than you think", (Lucado, Max. Grace for the Moment) reminded me of the Lord's nearness. His nearness gave me comfort in that moment, but His nearness in another respect caused me to pause.

In Revelation 3:20 Jesus tells us, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock." Jesus is that close; at the door!! If we look at scripture and compare it to the times in which we live, we can't deny that we are in the last days. Many prophecy scholars believe that every prophecy in scripture with regard to the second coming of Christ has been fulfilled. We're only left with the main event. Jesus will split the eastern sky and in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, we will meet our Lord in the air (the rapture). (See Matthew 24: 27-31 and 1 Corinthians 15:52).

Jesus tells us that He is at the door when He's speaking to the Laodicean church in Revelation 3. A church that was neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm and the Lord was getting ready to "spit them out of His mouth". I don't like a cup of coffee if it's lukewarm or an iced tea that is not cold. I like my coffee hot and my iced tea cold. Otherwise I might want to spit it out as well.

The Lord's nearness should COMPEL us to stop being lukewarm and complacent. It should compel us to grow up. Time is running out. We need to be hot, on fire for Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit and ready to step out and do something. We should strengthen our resolve to grow in our faith and to bring the lost to Christ before it's too late. Proverbs 1:32 says that "the complacency of fools will destroy them". We should not be satisfied that WE know the Lord and that OUR lives are going along pretty well.

A woman who was interviewed after the London bombings said, "Positive thinking can avert these kinds of things". NO IT CAN'T! Nothing can avert anything except the life changing gospel of Jesus Christ.

Let us all ask the Lord this week to draw us closer to Him, beg Him for His nearness in your life. Give Him all of You to use as He pleases. Don't ask these things for your own personal blessings but ask to be used by Him, for His purposes. Open up your spirit to the Holy Spirit and allow Him free reign in your life. I dare you to pray that kind of prayer and mean it! The answers are amazing, if you really mean it.

It's up to you. Jesus is good. He won't force you, but I, in love, warn you to "stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near". (Luke 21:28)

Until next week,

Donna Schultz

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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

#1 With Whom Are You Walking?

With Whom Are You Walking?
#1 July 5, 2005
"Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols." 2 Kings 17:41

These words in 2 Kings Chapter 17 and verse 41 almost seem to be a contradiction, don't they? How can we be worshiping the Lord and serving idols at the same time? Sadly we all do this more often than we would want to believe or admit.

I guess you could call this being double-minded. Walking the fence? Compromising? Not fully committed? Whatever we want to label this behavior I believe it is not God's best for our lives.

Churches are filled to capacity each Sunday morning with compromising Christians. We get up in the morning, put on our Sunday, "Praise the Lord" faces and head off with our happy families to church. We sing, lift our hands to the Lord , feed ourselves on the pastor's message and go home feeling quite full and satisfied for another week.

What happens from Sunday to Sunday in our lives? Those are the days that our lives and behavior have the most impact on those around us, not on Sunday mornings. It is in the Monday through Friday's that we show Christ (or don't) to our spouses, our children, our co-workers, our friends and everyone we may come into contact with throughout the week. It is the greatest opportunity for showing Christ to others that we are given.

Are we a friend of God's or a friend of the world's? James 4:4 says "..don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." I don't know about you, but I don't want to be God's enemy! We need to be different if we say we are Christians. 1 John 2: 15-17 says, "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father, but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever."

How do we look as Christians? Do we have a bible in our hand on Sunday and a Jesus fish on our car but use unwholesome speech and gossip? How does our behavior measure up with the Bible, our instruction manual from our Creator on how to live life? What attitude do we show in the hard times and interruptions of life? Do we walk in love and treat people with kindness, gentleness and mercy? Are we yoked with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14) in our friendships, doing just as they do? What are we watching on television, listening to on the radio? What kind of places do we frequent and how are we raising our children?

Wow, I've asked a lot of questions...please know that I continually ask these questions of myself. I believe that the Lord wants us to examine our lives, measure them up against His Word and repent where necessary and make some changes with His help. By all means, don't try to do it can't!

Another consequence of living a compromised/double life is that the Lord will remove us from His presence. In 2 Kings 17:18, we are told that .."the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from His presence." God will NEVER remove you from His love but He will remove His presence, His voice, and the voice of the Holy Spirit in your life. His voice in my life is like my daily bread and water. I need it to survive...

As Christians we are called to be a light in a dark place. The world is full of hurting and hopeless people. We are losing the battle to the secular humanists, false religions and darkness in our world as people search for a way to have inner peace and meaning for their lives. We need to have lives that show that the Bible is not a waste of time. That Jesus makes a difference in our lives. We want the lost to want what we have. Only if we look different, act different and live a different kind of life, will we ever be noticed or asked, giving us opportunity to share Christ with them.

May we all take an inventory of our lives in the coming week and seek the Lord for His guidance and conviction on our daily walk with Him. May we be quick to respond and repent in those areas He shows us and lean on His arm for the strength to live a life wholly devoted to Him.

Until next week,

Donna Schultz

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