Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hope Against Hope


Are you currently in a situation that looks hopeless? I mean are you facing financial hardship, underwater mortgage, unemployment with past issues preventing employment, a wayward child, a cantankerous spouse or some other situation that you just can't seem to get out of? Well, if so, you are not alone, and the Bible offers a wealth of scriptures to guide you through your "rock and a hard place situation."

The wealth of scripture is vast on this type of thing, so for the sake of this devotion, I want to turn your attention to Romans 4:18-20.

Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

Hope against hope, Abraham believed God. In other words, with the odds stacked against him due to his own impotence and the deadness of Sarah's womb, he believed that God would perform what He had promised. This is powerful! Yet, it leaves this question on the table for believer's who are faced with hope against hope situations. Can you believe God in dead situations?

I don't know about you, but I had to ask myself, Can I believe God in dead situations? I mean, let's face it, the rock and a hard place is about to grind you down to nothing and you have exhausted all human possibilities. You can't even conjure up in your mind how God will get you out. You find yourself like, Abraham, Jehoshaphat, Gideon and others and all you can do now is look to God.

This isn't a bad thing either. When you look to the scriptures and see what Abraham, Jehoshaphat and Gideon did, they all looked to God. I like how Jehoshaphat said it in 2 Chronicles 20:18, "...for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee." We have no power against the "hope against hope" situations, nor do we know what to do, but if we would just look to the One who gives us hope we shall see that all hope is not lost.

Abraham received what was promised in his hope against hope situation and so can you. However, in order to receive what you have been promised, you have to do what he did, and that is look to God. You must look to the One who has promised for He cannot lie, He is faithful and He is more that able to do what He has promised. Your role is to discipline yourself to look to God only and say what He says only, in order to see what He has said about you come to pass in your life.

Whatever you are faced with today, believe God. He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly far above all that you ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). Don't stagger at what God has promised through unbelief. Be strong in your faith because this is what brings glory to God. Most of all, no matter what your "hope against hope" is, be fully persuaded that He is more that able to perform what He has promised!

Love, peace and blessings,

Dr. Sheila

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Terrible Times


This week has been a time of terror, tribulation and tragedy. Everything from the Boston Marathon bombings, the explosion of the fertilizer plant in West Texas, the shooting and bombs going off on the MIT campus in Boston has left this country reeling in despair. Lives of many innocent people have been lost and others mortally wounded through these events, leaving many, (even some Christians) wondering, Where is God in the midst of all of this?

While these events have left many are wondering where is God, they have also stirred up fear in the hearts of the people everywhere, especially in the places where it all happened. Nevertheless, it is in times like these that we as believers need to amp up our faith and fix our focus on our faithful Father who promised to never leave nor forsake us.

The Bible declares in Hebrews 12:2-3 KJV, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."

Why look to Jesus? He knew all about tragedy. He first hand experienced tragic events in His own life on His journey to the Cross. He was beat beyond recognition, spit on, whipped, mocked and abused. Nevertheless, He said not a word. The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:23, "who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously." Therefore, we can fix our eyes on Him and do what He did to give us hope in terrible times.

Another reason to look to Jesus is because of one of the most profound things that He did just before He gave up his life on the Cross; He prayed. He prayed and asked the Father to forgive those who had done all those terrible things to Him because they didn't know what they were doing (Luke 23:34). Therefore as we go through times of tragedy, the most important thing we must do is pray. Pray for the victims, those who lost loved ones, healing, justice, wisdom and grace to get through it all to name a few.

We are living in the last days and perilous times have come. However, nothing escapes God's notice and we can trust that He is still on the throne answering the prayers of the righteous. So, don't succumb to fear, have faith in God knowing that His grace is sufficient to get through terrible times. Prayerfully as a believer, these terrible times will help you to learn more about the God of your faith. For those who don't know the Lord, prayerfully these terrible times will cause you to come to know Him.

Remember, don't panic in fear during terrible times. Fix your eyes on Jesus and by faith trust Him for healing, help and hope.

Love, peace and blessings,

Dr. Sheila

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Choices


Life is all about choices; choices for the good and choices for the bad. The profundity of this truth is that, we don't get to choose the consequences for our choices. The consequences for our choices choose us. The awesome thing about choices for the believer is that God tells us what to choose.

Moses said in Deuteronomy 30:19, "I call -- heaven and -- earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live." Notice the latter part of the verse says, "choose life." It doesn't get any clearer than that! It goes on to say that the reason to choose life is to promise life for you and your offspring. That is great news!

However, along with that great news is the crashing reality that sin is lurking in the dark recesses of the flesh waiting for a port of entry. That port may be offense, addictions, attitudes or any other fleshly propensity that we may have. The question at this point will always be, will I choose to dock at the port called flesh or, will I choose to continue on to the port called life more abundantly?

Joshua echoed Moses sentiments in his address to the children of Israel. He said in Joshua 24:14-15, "Now therefore fear -- the Lord, and serve -- him in sincerity and in truth: and put away -- the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye -- the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve -- the Lord, choose you this day -- whom ye will serve; whether -- the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or -- the gods of the Amorites, in whose land -- ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve -- the Lord.

He gives the same charge to choose whom they would serve. He then lets the people know, whether you choose God or not is up to you, but as for me and mine we will serve the Lord. This is so powerful because as a leader he was letting the people know what He was going to do, regardless of what they did. If they picked up what he was putting down, they would choose what he chose and walk in the blessings of the Lord.

Unfortunately, the end of that story was that though they said yes to God in the presence of Joshua, when that generation died, they ended up choosing to serve other gods. The results of their choice are recorded in the book of Judges which is a detailed account of the cycle of sin which ultimately led to the Babylonian captivity.

In light of what you just read, what will you choose? Remember there will be consequences for whatever you decide. Blessings and abundant life if you choose God and His way or curses and calamity in life if you choose the devil and his way. The choice is up to you, but I say to you as Moses said to the children of Israel, choose life that you and your seed may live.

Love, peace and blessings,

Dr. Sheila

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Maintenance Is Mandatory


The dentist office is really not a bad place if you do the daily maintenance that is prescribed by the doctor. The daily maintenance of brushing in the morning and the evening before bed for two minutes plus rinsing and flossing will promote healthy teeth and gums. The earlier in life that this is put into practice, the better the chances are for not having cavities or other issues with teeth.

Many people are aware of these simple maintenance practices, but many still don't do it. I know I was guilty of this for several years. When I finally made it to the dentist, I found out the price I had to pay for not doing the basic things to keep my teeth and gums healthy.

The Word of God also talks about spiritual maintenance. I admit, it is not called this in the Bible, but the pragmatics of it is displayed. Take a look at Joshua 1:8. It reads this way in the NIV, "Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."

This verse is teaching that if a believer would take the time out to meditate, mutter and muse over the Word every day AND apply its truths to life, success is guaranteed. Do you see the parallel to oral maintenance? Another way to look at is if a believer will read and do morning and night every day, they will maintain a healthy spiritual life.

Another passage of Scripture that reiterates this truth is found in Psalm 1:1-3. It says, "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper." Again the Bible is teaching that the one who delights in meditating on the Word every day will bear fruit and prosper or do better.

I trust that you see the simplicity of this teaching and either start doing it or keep doing it. If you would just purpose to do spiritual maintenance, you will be well equipped to handle any challenge that life may present. The antithesis of this is that if you don't do spiritual maintenance you will suffer many ills and pains that could have been prevented  by simply daily reading and doing the Word.

In short, remember, maintenance is mandatory to overall spiritual health. So, purpose to read and do the Word of God daily to guarantee a healthy spiritual life.

Love, peace and blessings,

Dr. Sheila