Monday, December 17, 2012

Power in the Name of Jesus

John 14:12-14 - Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."
As I sat in the quietness of my living room this morning, writing in my journal, praying, taking time to sit & listen to the Holy Spirit... I was reminded of a story. 

A close friend of mine in college was a new believer. She had recently accepted Jesus as her Lord and jumped whole-heartedly into a relationship with Him. She began to dive into the Word of God. She began to seek Him with all her heart. Her simple passion and love for Jesus was refreshing. It was innocent. It was pure. You could see it in her zealousness, she was hungry for more of this Jesus that she had just met. 

She began to devour the Word, learning and reading about Jesus, memorizing scripture, learning the stories and acts that Jesus did when He was on earth. She came from a divorced home. I remember her telling me of how her mom dabbled in other things, things that did not line up with the Word of God. Her mom would prophesy to her about strange things, things that did not line up with the Word. Now, her brother had been into drugs and hung out with the wrong group of people. Sometimes when she looked at him, she was sure that he was demon possessed. The look in his eyes, the way he did things, he was most definitely off balance and not right. 

As I remember the story, one day she was at her mom's house. Her brother had just arrived, and through a series of events began to run at her with a knife. She ran through the house trying to get away from him as he chased her with this knife. As she slammed a door behind her, it was all that she could do to keep the door closed from him pushing it in. In her desperation, when most people would call upon "Mom" or "Dad" for help, being from a broken and unstable home, she did not do that. As a new believer, the only name she knew to call on was the name of Jesus! She stood on the other side of that door, as her brother was trying to push it in and all she knew to do was yell, at the top of her lungs, "JESUS! JESUS! JESUS!" She continued to yell, "JESUS!"

The next thing she knew, her brother was gone. He had fled the house, dropped the knife. Ran out through the garage door and was running down the side of the road. He had fled! At the name of JESUS, he could no longer be in the presence of her yelling it. 
James 4:7 - Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 
Ephesians 6:12-13 -  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. 13. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
That was but ONE of the stories she had of a PERSONAL experience of spiritual warfare. But what a powerful reminder about the POWER in the NAME OF JESUS! Above ALL names, there is POWER in that name!! As we see above in John 14, Jesus himself was talking and reminded us, "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it." He said, whatever we ask in HIS name, that is the name of JESUS that he would do it! I take this so seriously that even at the end of a prayer, I don't say, "In your Name, Amen." I make sure to say, "In JESUS Name, Amen!" Such power in that ONE word, in that ONE name, Jesus!

Whether on an airplane, Psalm 91:5 reminds us, "You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day." I want my relationship with Jesus to be so close that at the FIRST sign of danger, my IMMEDIATE and first response would be to yell, "JESUSSSSSSSS!!!!!" 

Psalms 91 is such a GREAT promise for protection! I like to personalize this... check out how powerful  the Word of God is, in regards to our safety. This is verses 7-12. 
A thousand may fall at my side, And ten thousand at my right hand; But it shall not come near ME! .... Because I have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, my dwelling place, No evil shall befall me, Nor shall any plague come near my dwelling; For He (God Himself!) shall give His angels charge over ME, To keep me in all my ways. In their hands they shall bear me up, Lest I dash my foot against a stone.
What GREAT news!!! I remember the first time, as a new Christian, that I learned about these verses! I was in Costa Rica, away from home. I woke up in the middle of the night and there were cockroaches in my BED! YES! My bed! Cockroaches! Crawling by my ears, crawling by my head. I was petrified! I immediately freaked out, began crying and called my mom. As she woke up in the middle of the night to answer the phone, I began crying and just said, "Mom, there are cockroaches in my bed!" I was bawling. Mom directed me to Psalm 91. :) What comfort that brought me. That was the last night there were ever cockroaches in my bed. 

Whatever it is that you are doing, take the Word, take Psalm 91 and allow the WORD, allow GOD Almighty and the ANGELS that He has given charge over YOU, to be your protection! 

Be blessed today!

Friday, December 7, 2012

#253 - Christmas Overwhelmed?

Romans 9:21 (NKJ) - Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
John 15:1-7 - I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.
Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.You are cleansed and pruned already, because of the word which I have given you [the teachings I have discussed with you].Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned.If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
Proverbs 31:15-16 - She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household and assigns her maids their tasks.16 She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard. 

Good morning! Honestly, as I sit here sipping my 2nd cup of coffee, writing in my journal and just spilling everything in my heart and mind to the Lord, one sentence came to mind, "I'm ready for things to get back to normal." As I thought about it, that was a bit sad because it's ONLY December 6th!! The Holiday season is JUST starting. My whirlwind started at the beginning of November, North Carolina Leadership Conference, Florida Birthday with Grandparents, Georgia Thanksgiving, Kansas Business Trip, Mom's Night out Christmas Party (at my house), and blah, blah, blah... they were GREAT, but life has been anything but normal!

Do you know the feeling I'm talking about? I am not even unpacked from one event, to just dump my suitcase out and pack for another.... while the pile grows of things that need to be put away... or new suitcases come out while the others remain unpacked. 

So... here I sat, this morning in my Quiet Time, just spilling out my brain onto paper. Telling the Lord of all the things that I need to fix about myself, feeling frustrated and a bit like I'm still in the center of a whirlwind. Remembering the weird dream I had last night, waking up in a frenzy because I had "lost my basketball shoes and was running around looking for them and I didn't want to get left." (Weird! I don't have basketball shoes and haven't played since I was in 9th grade.)  So my dream was just another reminder of one area in my life I need to improve on...... argh..... getting more organized and being on time! 

I stopped my frenzy of all the things I "NEED" to do, the areas I "NEED" to improve on, the tasks that I "NEED" to get my head together on... I stopped. Then, I proceeded to just LISTEN. 

As I listened, this was what I heard: is all about staying connected to Me. Staying connected to the TRUE VINE. I will prune you & as a potter shapes, I will shape you. I will direct you in your tasks & priorities. 
Immediately the verses that came to mind were Romans 9:21 and John 15:1-7.

What happens when a branch is disconnected from a vine or tree? I had a "Mom's Night Out" Christmas Party for my mom's group on Monday night. Beforehand, I went out back and cut some branches off pine trees, got some sprigs of pine to make a centerpiece and decorate some random places. I even found a "Charlie Brown" looking pine tree and cut that down to decorate in a corner. Well... currently, my "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree in the corner of our eating area is staying artificially alive. It is in a vase with water. BUT, it will not stay alive forever. It is currently being artificially kept alive. It is disconnected from it's root system. As soon as I take it out of the water, it will begin to brown, dry up and die completely.

The reminder to me this morning.... as I've been feeling overwhelmed, a bit in a frenzy, my "To-Do" list of Christmas presents and exchanges growing, this morning as I slowed down long enough to LISTEN to the Voice of the Holy Spirit... I got a great reminder! Stay connected! Stay connected to the TRUE VINE. As I stay connected, like the potter directs the shape of the clay, the Holy Spirit will direct me. He will even direct me in keeping me productive on the tasks I NEED to be productive in. He'll direct me where to go and when to go. "No Amy, don't go there right now, they won't have what you need. Wait until Wednesday." Then, the store will receive a shipment, put items out and the item I was looking for will be newly placed on the shelf. I will not spend time in vain, or toiling because I will have taken time to listen.

It really is amazing!!! Because Jesus ascended into Heaven and left this earth, what a gift we have! But, even the disciples argued with Jesus. "NO Jesus, Don't go! Don't go!" Jesus responded, "But I am telling you the truth: it is better for you that I go away, because if I do not go, the Helper will not come to you. But if I do go away, then I will send him to you." (John 16:7 GNT) The Helper, Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit. Isn't it awesome that WHEN we got saved the HOLY SPIRIT comes to live inside of us!! I remember growing up and as a child we would say that Jesus lived in our hearts. Well, it wasn't actually Jesus (since he was human and it would be hard to fit him in our heart), but it was the Holy Spirit. The Spirit part of the Trinity. 

Why is that such good news today? Right now? Because SINCE we have the Holy Spirit living inside us, we have COMPLETE ACCESS! All we have to do, is quiet ourselves enough to listen! John 10 talks about the shepherd and his sheep, "...sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.

How cool! When we accept Jesus into our life, we have the SHEPHERD leading us. BUT... we must tune our ear into HEARING and KNOWING His Voice, so that the other voices (ie: the voice of the enemy), when we hear those, we will NOT follow them but flee from them. It's a process and it begins with just choosing to quiet ourselves and listen. Shutting off the TV, the radio, our iPhone, getting away from the hustle and bustle, before our kids are awake... and with no distractions, just sitting and listening. 

So today.... are you feeling the "Christmas Overwhelmed" feeling? My suggestion (to myself!!), STAY CONNECTED. Being connected to the TRUE VINE is crucial more than ever during times like this. I feel so much better after just having a true quiet time this morning. Stay connected. Don't allow yourself to be cut off from the vine! The life cut off from the vine is ARTIFICIAL and TEMPORARY.... it's inevitable that someone cut off from the True Vine will not last. So, this holiday season, stay connected. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct you, to save you time, free your life from toil, to direct you to be at the right place at the right time. Allow the Holy Spirit to position you for Divine Favor!! :) Because as a CHILD OF THE MOST HIGH GOD, that is EXACTLY what our Father wants for HIS  children! Divine favor! 

Be blessed! :) 

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