Thrive – Casting Crowns

Here in this worn and weary land
Where many a dream has died

Like a tree planted by the water
We never will run dry

So Living Water flowing through
God we thirst for more of You
Fill our hearts and flood our souls
With one desire

Just to know You and
To make You known
We lift Your name on High
Shine like the sun make darkness run and hide
We know we were made for so much more
Than ordinary lives
It’s time for us to more than just survive
We were made to thrive

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Hide The Word in Your Heart

“And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.” Matthew 26:75

There are several Greek words used for “word.” The Greek word used here is RHEMA and it literally means, “a spoken word; an utterance, a saying, but specifically a spoken word appropriate for the situation.” It’s not the Bible lying on your coffee table that makes the enemy flee, but the Word of God hidden in your heart, activated by the power of the Holy Spirit, and spoken in the appropriate situation. It’s similar to what Jesus says in John 6:63, that “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.”

The words that we speak from the written Word of God are empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Word by itself doesn’t make us free. It is the Word we know and speak that will deliver us (Jn. 8:32).

Why is the Word so effective? Because it is the WORD of God. It has authority, because it is indeed the WORD of God. God’s Word supersedes all authority of the church, of reason, of intellect, and even of Satan. That’s why it is so effective.

In Luke, chapter four, when Jesus was tempted of the devil for forty days, it was the Word of God that Jesus used to defeat the enemy at His temptation.

Jesus constantly met His temptation by quoting from God’s Word as He repeatedly stated the phrase, “It is written.” Likewise, the Christian soldier must avail himself of God’s Word by placing it in his heart so that the Holy Spirit may bring it forth at the appropriate time to accomplish a complete and total victory.

awmi daily devotionals

Why Do You Seek Him

"Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled."  John 6:22-39

Matthew 14:34-36; Mark 6:53-56; John 6:22-39

Jesus knew the hearts of all men and therefore, He did not commit Himself to this crowd. Just the day before, these same people tried to take Him by force and make Him their king, but He withdrew and spent the night in prayer.

This crowd looked like they were seeking Jesus, but they were actually trying to use Jesus to seek their own end. It is true that there are many personal benefits to be reaped through serving the Lord, but the benefits are never to become our object. In all things, Christ must have the preeminence (Col. 1:18).

Jesus exposed the true intentions of the people’s hearts by preaching a strong message of commitment. Those who were self-centered were offended and left while those who were willing to lay down their lives to experience God’s abundant life remained. Commitment to God Himself (not what He can produce) is what always separates the true worshippers of God from the false.

As Jesus began to explain in these verses that He was the only way to the Father (Jn. 14:6) and that they would have to come through Him, the people grew angry. It always angers the flesh to think that all our righteous acts can’t save us, but Jesus made it clear that our only part in salvation is to believe. Believe what? Believe on Jesus and His sacrifice – not ours. Salvation is a gift and cannot be purchased (Rom. 10:2-3).

Many times, we get so intent on seeking God in one area that we forget the greatest miracle of all, which is the love and redemption given to us from God through His Son. God loves us so much!

daily devotional

Afford To Pay Attention

My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to My sayings.  Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart.  For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Proverbs 4:20-22

The word of God is truly amazing and humbling.

Here, the Holy Spirit is telling us: child of mine, My son, listen up, pay attention to the words I Am saying to you. Isn’t it interesting that the advice is not given to everyone, only to family.

Even as family though, we must first have a realization of just how important it is to read the word of God.  When we read Scripture, we begin to learn the will of God, the plan God has for us, and importantly, what is pleasing to God.

Luke 24:18-27 tells of 2 of Jesus’ disciples (not the 11) on the road to Emmaus, being sad and discussing His death, when Jesus came along and joined their discussion (unbeknown to them who He was).

Jesus taught them what Scripture revealed about Him, beginning with Moses onward through all the prophets. He also let them know, if they had believed the Scripture [if they hand inclined their ears to His sayings, and paid attention to His words, and kept them in their hearts] they would have expected and known what was going to happen, and that knowledge would have kept them from being sad.

The word of God is life, but only to those that find them. That’s an incredible statement. First, the word of God is life. It didn’t say, the word is about life or has some life or was life. The word of God IS life.

Second, it’s life to those who find it. Sometimes we can stumble upon things, but if we don’t know the value of what we’ve stumbled upon, it profits us nothing.

However, when we are looking for something, and we know what we’re looking for, it’s a joy and a delight to find it. We have to search for and find the word of God, to receive the life that it is, and this is the life that provides health and wholeness to all our flesh.

Jesus is the living Word of God revealed in the written word, and it is through reading the written word that we become acquainted with the living Word.

Like seed, we plant the living Word  in the midst of our heart when we read the word. We’re able to root out negativities, worries, worldly cares and fears when we keep the Word before our eyes and prevent them from escaping our hearts.

Deut 8:3 So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.

Understanding God’s Word

[Our parable continues…]

Luke 8:12, “Those by the wayside are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”

LUKE 8:4-13

The first type of person Jesus describes is someone who doesn’t understand God’s Word (Mt. 13:19). Before God’s Word can penetrate your heart, you have to understand (not comprehend) what it’s saying. If the Word isn’t understood, then it will be like seed scattered on top of hard-packed ground (the wayside). The birds will eat the seed and there will be no fruit.

Mark 4:15 and Luke 8:12, make it clear that these birds represent Satan, and Mark says the devil comes immediately to steal away the Word. Satan did not have direct access to the Word in any of the other heart-types which Jesus described. Satan cannot steal the Word from us if we will hide it in our hearts (Ps. 119:11). This first type of person simply heard the Word but didn’t receive it. He never applied it to his life, so he lost it.

Notice that Luke links belief and salvation with the Word being sown in our hearts in the same way as Romans 10:14-17. If there is no Word, there cannot be any belief or salvation (I Pet. 1:23). We must preach the Word – not just morality or social issues.

Luke’s use of the word “saved” could include, but is not necessarily limited to, forgiveness of sins. Salvation includes much more than forgiveness of sins. This verse could describe a person who didn’t receive the Word and, therefore, was eternally damned. It could also be describing a Christian who simply doesn’t receive the Word in a certain area of his life and therefore doesn’t experience the victory that Jesus provided for him. Are you experiencing His victory in your life?

AWMI Devotional

God’s Word: Use as Directed

This week I’ll be sharing on a teaching that has tremendously impacted my life. Words are seeds and the word of God is incorruptible seed.  The life of a seed is contained within itself, so it’s for us to prepare our hearts (soil/ground) and to sow the word of God daily and watch it transform our life and the lives of those around us.

Jesus told the parable of the sower, and makes this profound statement even before revealing the meaning of the parable. And when His disciples asked Him what this parable meant, He [Jesus] said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

——-

Luke 8:11, "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God."

LUKE 8:4-11

This parable illustrates the importance of the Word of God. God’s Word contains total power, but it has to be planted in our hearts and allowed to germinate before it releases that power.

The seed is God’s Word, and the types of ground are the four major categories of men’s hearts. The Word was the same in each situation, but there were different results in each case because of the condition of men’s hearts – not because of the Word. The Word doesn’t work for everyone because not everyone will allow the Word to work. The variable in this parable is the condition of these hearts. God’s Word is always the same. It has the same potential in every heart.

Good ground doesn’t just happen; it must be cultivated. This is the reason why only one out of four persons in Jesus’ parable brought forth fruit. It takes a lot of time, effort, and diligence to be a fruitful Christian. The Christian life is not like a hundred-yard dash but rather a 26.2 mile marathon. It’s quicker and easier to raise weeds than it is to raise tomatoes or corn.

In this whole parable, it was the Word that produced the fruit. The ground simply gave it a place to grow. If we will simply put God’s Word in our hearts, protect it, and give it priority in our lives, the Word will produce fruit of itself. Satan has deceived many people into thinking that they don’t have the talents or abilities to be fruitful Christians, but they are not the ones who bring forth fruit; it’s God’s Word. When we protect the Word sown in our hearts, it will do the rest.

AWMI Devotional

Knowing God Is Our Greatest Treasure

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Matthew 6:19-21

If isolated from the rest of God’s Word, there are some scriptures that could be interpreted to mean that having money or wealth is wrong. However there are other scriptures that speak of riches as a blessing. The harmony between these two apparently opposite positions is that money is neither good nor bad. It is the love of money that is the root of all evil, and many have committed the sin of loving money who don’t even have a dime (1 Tim. 6:10)! The love of things (covetousness) is idolatry, and this is what Jesus is addressing.

Because it is so easy to lust after money and the things it can provide, the Lord established a system whereby prosperity is a by-product of putting God first. As Matthew 6:33 states, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” We should no more reject the blessing of prosperity than we should covet it, which is idolatry.

The reason for not laying up treasures on this earth is so that we will not have our hearts drawn away from the things of God. A key to success in the Kingdom of God is singleness of purpose. We don’t have the capacity to do our best in two areas at the same time. If we will simply put God and His Kingdom first in every area of our lives, He will add to us all the wealth that we need. What is more valuable or important than knowing Him? – AWMI Devotional

Why Are You A Christian

I came across this post, “The Beginning of the End” where the author cited the following question as the beginning of the unraveling of their belief in God: “Why Are You A Christian?”

Found wanting by their inability to give a reason for the faith/trust they’ve been proclaiming to have placed in God, the author “scrambled” for an answer, eventually borrowing from C.S. Lewis’ Surprised by Joy and “tacked on to the end: [G]od is the only thing that fits that longing,” thoroughly ‘knowing’ that was not the truth but saying what the audience “wanted, needed, to hear.”

They proceeded to end their post with: “Thus, a question which was supposed to bolster ones faith proved to be the catalyst for apostasy. How’s that  for divine planning?”

The lessons from this post for me are very simple, but profound.

1. The question is a great one; one we should all be asking ourselves: Why am I a Christian?

2. Such a question is not meant to bolster anyone’s faith. This question is meant to reveal what’s in your heart. The author has clearly demonstrated that while they could deceive an audience – that lacks discernment -through flowery pretentious speech, they failed at convincing the most important audience: themselves, let alone The Almighty God who already knows the thoughts and intents of the hearts of all men.

3. How’s that for divine planning: Absolutely brilliant! How incomprehensibly awesome is my God, who invalidates the cleverness of the ‘clever.’

What type of Soil is Your Heart

The seed is the Word of God.

Image result for free clip art - words are seeds

The voice of God falls on human hearts like seeds scattered across a field.  Some people hear that message, but the devil opposes the liberation that would come to them by believing. So he swoops in and steals the message from their hard hearts like birds stealing the seeds from the footpath.

Others receive the message enthusiastically, but their vitality is short-lived because the message cannot be deeply rooted in their shallow hearts. In the heat of temptation, their faith withers, like the seeds that sprouted in gravelly soil.

A third group hears the message, but as time passes, the daily anxieties, the pursuit of wealth, and life’s addicting delights outpace the growth of the message in their hearts. Even if the message blossoms and fruit begins to form, the fruit never fully matures because the thorns choke out the plants’ vitality.

But some people hear the message and let it take root deeply in receptive hearts made fertile by honesty and goodness. With patient dependability, they bear good fruit.

“The thing that made this ground good, in contrast with the three other types of ground, is not that it had more rocks, thorns, etc., but rather that it had less. Many times, we feel that we just don’t have what it takes to become fruitful, but the truth is that any of us can see God’s Word produce in our lives if we root out all the contrary things. Good ground doesn’t just happen; it has to be cultivated.”- awmi