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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Seven Positive Confessions for an Abundant Spiritual Life

With all the negativity flooding our world these days, I though we could all use some encouragement and some solid Bible verses to get us through these difficult times and the upcoming Holidays as well.

1. “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well” (Psalm 139:14). Knowing that God created us and that as Christians, He is Our Father, places us in a place of great blessing. We can have a position in the heavenlies when we understand who we are in Christ. He is our Father and therefore desires good things for us, not evil as some would try to construe. We are His children, and therefore we inherit what God has passed down to us. He created every little feature, quirk, personality and character trait. Our job is to surrender ourselves to His will so that we can become all God intended. As Christians we inherit our father’s traits, though we need to grow into them and mature, the seed of all that Jesus was, other than actually being God, is within us. We can posses the ability to bind and loose spiritual powers here on earth. This is a great privilege as this not only includes prayer, but setting captives free by bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to others, so they too can become sons and daughters. What a great promise this is to know that God has fashioned us and not just chance or evolution. What great abundance of joy in know- ing we are sons and daughters of the king!

2. “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). We can do what God gives us to do because we have His Spirit living in us. Can we jump off buildings? No, we are not to test God, neither are to do what He has not willed for us to do. Sometimes it is difficult to discern this because the enemy of our souls will hinder our progress in the kingdom, but we can have the wisdom of God, if we ask for it. God strengthens us for the tasks He has us to do. If we are feeling weak, we need to pray and ask if we are pursuing God’s will or our own. Next we need to understand if the enemy is trying to thwart us. If so, we need to trust and believe that God will indeed strengthen us. He may not remove difficult or trying circumstances, but He will give us the ability to get through them. His strength might be the opposite of what we might consider strength, for example forgiving someone who hurt us deeply, but God will indeed help us to do what He asks of us. How wonderful it is to know that we can do whatever God requires!

3. “God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). I affirm this every day before I go to work. As an art teacher to over 700 elementary children I need a lot of strength, and I have a lot of needs. I need wisdom how to deal with inner city school children and all their needs. I need to be alert to potential problems between children. I need to be sensitive to children and their needs. I need to become a better teacher in communicating what children need to know today. The list goes on. When I was a mom, I had many needs also. I’m sure the mom reading this can agree. When I pray I ask God for what I need and quote this affirming that God will indeed give me what I
need…not always what I want, which can be a long list, but what I need. He knows what is best for us in the long run anyway, and so it is good for us to be content with what He supplies. When we understand this principle, great will be our understanding and our peace.

4. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins” (1 John 1:9). Why is this affirmation? Because forgiveness is so very important to our spiritual and mental health. When we humble ourselves and confess our sins, we need to know we are forgiven. The devil wants us to feel guilty…for a long time. He wants to milk it, but God wants us to forget it once we give it to Him. Once we know we are forgiven, it becomes easier for us to forgive others. Knowing we are forgiven and forgiving others helps us to be both spiritually and mentally healthy. No root of bitterness will trip us up when we keep short accounts with others. When we are in the habit of confessing our sins, we will be humble before God and that will prevent a multitude of sins—pride, unforgiveness, religiosity, and a bent towards sinning. Confessing our sins keeps us sensitive towards the things of God, which in the long run always better for us. Confess your sins directly to God himself, we need no intermediary, but Jesus.How wonderful to know He is available 24/7!

5. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor.12: 90. Life with God is all about His grace. It is by grace we have been saved. If it weren’t for God’s grace, I’d be a mess! It is by grace that we can stand before God. It is by grace that we can live. The measure of grace He gives us is exactly the amount we need. Those who suffer and die persecution have a greater measure of grace in order to withstand such fiery trials because they need it. If we were to be put in the same situation, God would supply the grace we need. Knowing this gives us the understanding and peace that God will give us all the grace we need for every situation we encounter, even if we feel weak, like the apostle Paul did when he entreated God to remove the thorn in his flesh. But God responded with His wisdom, showing Paul and us that when we admit to our weakness and realize we don’t have the power, then God strengthens us. And that is important for us to understand that we don’t have to be strong all the time. We have God as our strength.

6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths (Proverbs 3:4-5). This is one of my all time favorite Bible verses and guiding principle of my life. I had difficulty deciding what I wanted to do in life, but when I gave My life over to God and surrendered to Him, He began to direct My life. This verse not only applies to careers, but to big and small decisions in our life—from who we should marry to where we should go on vacation or what we should buy. No matter what we do, it’s all about trusting God. When we trust Jim, he shows us whether or not to go left or right and what road to go down. Every day we are confronted with both practical and ethical decisions that we need to make. Some our conscious choices and other’s we make based on or beliefs and our understanding of situations. Since we have a limited perspective on things, it’s so wonderful to be able to turn to God, who has so much more understanding than ourselves. Affirm this verse and trust God everyday and you will see life unfold before your eyes in a beautiful tapestry. Just remember, sometimes we only see the back of it with all its loose ends, cuts and tufts, but God is the master weaver and has a pattern in mind.

7. “Let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). This should be first, last and in-between. In a world that is spinning out of control, this is the answer to having peace. Making our requests known, placing everything before God, laying it in His hands, and then leaving it with Him to decide the outcome. Now that is a challenge, but when we do it, there is a wonderful peace that guards our heart and our mind. We don’t’ have to go insane trying to figure everything out, God will. God’s peace protects our minds, and our hearts. We won’t worry (or at least a little less) when we lay things at His feet. If we get into this habit, the worry will become less and the trust more. When we believe this truth, we can feel assured that God has heard our requests, and we can invite His peace into our lives. And who doesn’t need a lot of that these days especially with all the unrest in the world today.