Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"Have A Nice Day!"

I can’t even begin to write about the many times that I have felt defeated, depressed, or less than wonderful. Neither could I begin to describe the pain that my friends have often described to me about their own anguish and frustration at their lives and circumstances. Because of the nature of this fallen world, we experience pain and struggles. However, there is hope!!

If you have had a bad day, week, month, year, etc. please continue reading (don‘t be scared by the length - it‘s worth it)!! What I am going to share are some awesome insights that I learned from the final lesson in the Beth Moore study “Living Beyond Yourself”. I think these principles of “victorious living” are very encouraging and helpful! They’ll ensure that you have a “good day” every day if you put these things into practice!

First off, Beth mentions something that I have always thought to be very important. She talks about starting off your day with God. Like any coach will tell you, the first “play” of the game is always the most important. It sets the tone of the game. Likewise, your first “play” of your day is going to set the tone/mood for you as well. So, what better way than starting it off with God?! Jesus modeled that very thing for us (Mark 1:35). King David even wrote in Psalm 5:3 about presenting his requests before God first thing in the morning and waiting on the Lord. Morning quiet time (even if it’s but a short time) is WORTH the time!! (Yep, even if you are not a morning person - like me! LOL Make God first in your day!).

Beth then lays out the following steps for abundant victory (see Psalm 63):

1. Acknowledge His authority! (v. 1)
2. Abound in His presence! (v. 1)
3. Ask to see His glory and power! (v. 2)
4. Award Him with your mouth! (v. 3)
5. Approach Him with praise! (v. 4)
6. Attribute all satisfaction to Him! (v. 5, & Psalm 65:4)
7. Audit the manifold blessings! (v. 6)
8. Allow yourself to rest in His arms! (v. 7-8)

Let’s break it down……

Beth says: “The moment you awake, settle the issue of authority. Awaken every morning to the challenge, ‘Choose this day whom you will serve!’ (Joshua 24:15). Remember, any day not surrendered to the Spirit is virtually surrendered to the flesh by simple default! We will slip back into what comes most naturally to us: our sin nature! Remember, the things of the Spirit come supernaturally to us by God’s invitation.”

Amen to that!! She also says to “confess to Him any thoughts, words, or deeds performed outside the realm of His authority. This is a perfect time for the repentance of all unconfessed sin and places Him in proper perspective and you in proper perspective. All sin boils down to an issue of authority. His will or my will?”

After you have given God charge of your day, invite Him to FILL your day! More importantly (since you have just been emptied out through confession and repentance) ask for Him to fill YOU!! Don’t have an empty house!! (Matthew 12:43-45). Beth gives this equation: “cleansing + yielding = filling, and with the filling of the Spirit comes the fruit of the Spirit!” That power of the Holy Spirit will enable you to truly live “beyond yourself” because in our flesh, we cannot exhibit the fruit of the Spirit.

Next, ask to see His glory and power! Do you want to see God working wonders?! Read and heed Jeremiah 29:13: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Beth explains it this way: “Only through the filling of the Holy Spirit can you truly see God in the daily grind of living because the things of the Spirit are spiritually discerned, and only those filled with the Spirit are spiritually discerning. Being filled with the Spirit means having our spiritual eyes opened. Like Elisha’s servant, we will see God work in ways to which the carnal Christian is blinded!” Beth also cautions us not to limit God to only the “big things.” God is all around you, but if you’re only looking for the obvious “Oh there He is!” moments, you are going to MISS Him more often than not! Pay attention to the small things!

Beth continues by urging us to glorify God with our mouths. We ought to “muzzle” our mouths and keep them from sin (Psalm 39:1). Like the old saying goes: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” Choose your words carefully, and speak only what is good, beneficial, and encouraging to others (Ephesians 4:29). If we are going to open our mouths, it should be to have God fill it (Psalm 81:10) so that we can speak of His blessed truth, love, salvation, etc. (Psalm 40:10).

That leads us right into the next point: praise!! Even if you can’t think of a single thing to praise Him for, muster up that sacrifice of praise and do it anyways because HE IS WORTHY! Beth says that she’s always listening to praise music because it conditions her to praise God more and more! She’s filling her mind and heart with the praises of God because, as she put so truthfully, “I have a strong carnal nature and I cannot afford to allow my mind to be idle. Music is one of the greatest praise catalysts as well as spiritual pleasures in my life.”

Praise is one of those big keys to the next point which is satisfaction. When we are giving praise to God, we will find more and more reasons to be thankful, content, and satisfied. Contentment goes a LONG way!! Without it, pride, greed, and unhappiness abound and creates some remarkably horrid attitudes and a pathetic self-pitying view of life!!

With that being said, the next point emphasizes counting your blessings. Beth shares a great way of doing so: “If you asked in the morning to see His power and His glory, and you allowed Him to adjust your spiritual vision and sought Him with all your heart, then you can be sure He worked in the course of the day. Recount His faithfulness to you. In your journal record the ways you have seen Him that day. Keep a diary of His activity in your life. A record of your history with God is an immeasurable asset to your Christian experience. How do you know He will care for you today? Because He cared for you yesterday! And the day before! And the day before! He never changes. He’ll never forget you. When He discloses Himself to you, remember it, praise Him for it, and record it! Nighttime is prime time for remembering the day.”

Finally, we come to a principle that many of us forget (and yet it’s so vitally important!): REST in His arms! This world is “busy, busy, busy.” Can you imagine how much different our lives would be if we all took a little time to REST? When was the last time you were still and just rested in the fact that God is sovereign and in control? When was the last time you allowed His peace and comfort to flood your soul and sweep away your worries? If the answer is “too long”, I encourage you to make the time (even a few minutes) just to do nothing, and bask in His peace. It will do wonders for your mind, body, and soul!!

Grace and peace to all of you!! God bless all who read this and take it into their hearts!! May these things enable you to truly “have a nice day!”

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