Well, it’s a new year and most people make a list of Resolutions, usually regarding personal behaviors they want to change. Webster’s Dictionary defines resolution as: “the act of resolving or determining, as upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc; Firm determination; a solution or explanation, as of a problem.” We make a Resolution to change some form of behavior or bad habit we’re really not happy about. How many of these behavioral changes have required our “firm determination” to overcome? And how many Resolutions have we failed to keep in the past, only to make the same Resolutions for the next year, hoping to finally “master and conquer” our problem. The cycle leaves us discouraged by the failure and defeat of it all.
But we who are believers and followers of Jesus Christ have a greater power than just our “firm determination” to help us succeed with necessary changes in our lives. We have His Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and our faith. I John 5:4-5 says, “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
Below is a list of Resolutions to “proclaim and confess.” As you agree with God’s Word and submit to His lordship in your life, He will help you with the changes you desire. Resist and cast off the fear of failure, the fear that it’s “too hard,” and the fear that you will never change. Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Step 1: We ask God to help us and believe that He will!
Step 2: We step out in faith with our actions, for faith without works is dead. (James 2:26)
Through the Bible, God’s Word, we have access to the wisdom, knowledge and understanding which we need every day in this world. Change is not always instantaneous. Some changes take time, and in the process we learn patience and perseverance. Remember that every one of the eleven disciples (excluding Judas/the twelfth) were overcomers. You can be an overcomer too! God WANTS you to be an overcomer, and He is here to help you in every way to make it your new reality.
“Proclamations For This Year”
I ask for God’s help to be free from the habit of___________!
I realize this is not pleasing to God and nothing should have power over me but God.
I choose to not give in to negativity. Instead, I will recognize all that I have to be thankful for, and in my thoughts and words I will focus on the positive.
I will be a giver this year. I will not be stingy and hoard my money, for God loves a cheerful giver.
I will not allow myself to speak the words of the enemy. I will give him NO place in my life. Instead, I will speak words that are in line with God’s Word and what He will agree with.
I will not allow people in my life who bring me down and lead me away from God. I will trust God to bring good friends to me and I will make wise choices concerning friends and relationships.
I will read the Bible consistently and I will meditate on the Word of God every day. For this will help me to keep the right perspective and will help me break free from___________.
I will spend time in prayer every day, bringing my requests to God and giving Him my burdens and anxieties. I choose to not worry or be afraid, but instead I choose to trust in my Lord.
I will put others before myself in all circumstances, for this is pleasing to God.
I will be careful what I say and be mindful of others’ feelings.
I will ask God to show me kind things I can do for others just to bless them and to be a blessing.
I will plan my time wisely so I won’t be late to work, appointments, meetings, etc.
I will say “I love you” to my spouse, children and family every day.
I am trusting God for healing of____________. For Jesus bore all of my sicknesses and diseases. By His stripes I am healed. It is His desire that I be healthy.
I seek more of the Holy Spirit and the fullness of God, that I may be empowered to be all that God wants me to be.
I proclaim and declare that this is my time for a breakthrough, to become what God wants me to become. I will not give in to discouragement, for some changes take time. Instead, I will persevere, trusting the Lord for the strength I need.
Scriptures to Read for Encouragement:
I John 5:13-15 Ask according to His will…
I John 4:4 Greater is He who is in you…
I John 3:16-20 How we know love…
I Peter 5:7-9 Cast all anxieties on Him…
2 Peter 1:5-9 Goodness, knowledge, self-control…
2 Corinthians 6:14 Unequally yoked…
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 God loves a cheerful giver…
Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice; Think on these things…
Galatians 3:13 Expect God’s blessings…
2 Thessalonians 3:2-3 He guards you against the evil one…
Galatians 2:20 Christ living in me…
Galatians 5:13 Called to freedom…
Isaiah 53:4-5 By His stripes we are healed (The Greek says “sicknesses and diseases” rather than “infirmities and sorrows”)
Dear Heavenly Father,
I realize my weaknesses and that I am helpless to change on my own. But You are with me and in me. I look to You for strength and power to change. I want to please You in all that I say and do. I believe You have SO much more for me and I don’t want to miss any of it. My obedience matters. I choose to obey Your Word, and as I do, my confidence will grow. Forgive me for giving up in the past; for taking the easier way. I realize that continuing my poor behaviors and bad habits falls short of the good plans you have for me. Thank you for those good plans! I am now stepping into those plans with Your grace and help. I look forward to this journey with You, my journey for change.
In Jesus Mighty Name I pray,
P.S. If the prospect of sudden change seems overwhelming to you, try focusing on just a couple of these proclamations at a time. When you see progress in those areas, add additional proclamations to your efforts.
By Sherry McPherson | January 26, 2010 1:49 pm |
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At the October CityPrayz event I performed a skit titled, “The Great Exchange: Exchanging your baggage for God’s luggage.” We received a lot of positive comments about the skit, and as I was praying concerning this devotional, I sensed God leading me to reiterate its message:
Most everyone I know can name something about themselves that they would like to change but have felt powerless to do so. In my own life, I have discovered that changing something that has been part of me for a significant length of time takes a process: a series of steps required to move from where I am now to where I want to be, or more importantly, to where God wants me to be. I am amazed every day, as I walk this journey with the Lord, at how great His love is for me, for all of us. He loves us the way we are, and He loves us so much He wants to transform us into what He knows we can be. And He has some pretty good ideas for each one of us!
Is it true that we all have baggage? Can this baggage be keeping us from the best God has for us? Can it hinder us from truly changing for the better? I say, most emphatically, YES!
God wants to take us from a mindset of unbelief to a mindset of total faith: that is, fully trusting who He is and trusting Him for our lives and for our future. He says to you, “I know the plans I have for you and they are GOOD.” (Jeremiah 29:11) You have a future and a hope in Christ. He works from your present to your future, not your past to your present. If you choose to live from your present to your past, you’re going to miss so much of who God is. All of us come into a relationship with God carrying baggage from our past. What is this baggage?
Hurts and wounds
Sins that have scarred your mind and heart
Anger you feel justified in harboring (grudges)
Negative pronouncements about what life has taught you
You can be locked into a present-past lifestyle and a present-past perception that says, “Nothing’s going to change, nothing’s going to work for me.” You will notice that many of your current experiences come from your past in constant replays. If you live with this mindset, you are almost guaranteed your past will repeat itself again and again. Why is this? Because what you focus on keeps coming back again and again. If your expectations come from your history, then you are locked into that history. What is it that you doubt about God that keeps you focused on the negative and trapped in your old ways? What is it that you do not understand about God because your vision of yourself is distorted by your past? Many people have lived for too long in this mindset. The enemy, Satan, wants to keep us trapped in defeat, negativity and fear. But God doesn’t!
When we are “in Christ,” old things will pass away and all things become new. (II Corinthians 5:17) This doesn’t happen instantly, but the transformation can begin when we come to understand that, regarding anything we cling to that keeps us in bondage, God is constantly saying, “LET IT GO!” Let it go and let Him replace it with something wonderful that He has always intended for you to have.
A beautiful thing about the cross is that it represents our deliverance from the bondage of present-past thinking. Part of dying to “self” is the crucifixion of the thought patterns and behaviors that we really don’t like but can’t seem to escape. Allow those parts of you that are governed by your past to be crucified with Christ. God is our present and our future. The Lord wants to take us from our current life with Him to the future He desires for us. Walking with the Spirit means letting go of your “baggage,” the things that keep you from the best He has for you.
How much of your daily time is spent brooding over your past, dreading your future, and as a result, failing to enjoy the present? When I was first asked to contemplate this question, I realized that most of my life was spent dwelling on my past (the negative things) and worrying about my future because I was sure my past would keep repeating itself. But I can honestly tell you that I have gone through the processes of getting out of that mindset and I now walk in the freedom of trusting God, enjoying my life and living with a hopeful expectation of my future. I know this change is possible and it is crucial for God’s people to be set free.
Too often, we carry the hurtful words of others in our memories; words that make us feel worthless, useless, with no value, or ridden with fear. Our memories are full of pain or abuse, guilt or humiliation. God says to you, “I don’t want those things in your head. I don’t want them in your life. I don’t want them to rule you. It is time to let them go.” Realize that Jesus came to give you newness of life and freedom from your past. Yes, our past happened, and we can’t actually erase it from our memory, but we can let it go and give it to God. And when we do, it loses its power over us as we walk in the grace and love our heavenly Father is bestowing upon us.
Be comforted by these words: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) Those are His words of promise to us! When you are in the midst of crisis and turmoil, when your life has been turned upside down, that is the very best time to turn to God, because it is when we have come to the end of ourselves that we are most willing to fully trust in Him. At those times, when He truly has our attention, He may be able to bless us in ways that we might ordinarily not allow when things are going well. Too often, it is only in those times of great pain and misery that we are desperate enough to look beyond ourselves, to ask “What is really going on here? What can I do to change my terrible circumstances?” God wants to help you see those things that hold you in bondage and are not pleasing to Him. He will gladly take them from you. He is always there, always present, and always able to help you “let these things go.”
Unless your identity comes from the Lord, you’ve got a false identity. You are not living from the place of truth. For God is truth and He will restore your true identity. All that baggage we carry becomes our identity, and the devil does everything he can to keep us trapped in that false identity. But as we give our baggage to God, we find that we now have room for His luggage. He is saying, “You won’t need this baggage for where we are going, so can I have it? I have plans for you, I have places to take you, but in order for you to be that person you have to give me your baggage. I can then enable you to become the person I created you to be.” The Holy Spirit will point to those things that He wants you to let go of, to exchange for the gifts He has for you in return. What are these gifts He gives in exchange? Let’s call them “God’s luggage:”
A joyful, confident expectation of good
Enjoyment of life
It is about “The Great Exchange,” where God will love you through the process of change, taking your earthly baggage and giving you his heavenly luggage. God loves it when we see Him for who He is and walk daily in the relationship He has always longed to have with us. As we follow in His footsteps, we walk boldly into the future with hope, faith and confidence.
Dear Jesus, my Lord and Savior,
Thank you for giving me the knowledge of “The Great Exchange.” I am so tired of carrying this baggage. I have been afraid to let these things go, but I am willing to give these things to You because You know what is best for me. I long for the new luggage you give for my journey with You. Please help me to submit daily to your transforming power. Thank you for Your unfailing love and for the good future You have in store for me.
In Jesus Holy name, Amen.
*You may find it helpful to write a list of the things you need to surrender to God and the things He will give you in exchange, and then meditate on those good things He wants to give you.
More Scripture Verses:
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
I John 3:1 “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
I John 5:4-5 “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
All scripture references are from the English Standard Version.
By Sherry McPherson | October 28, 2009 4:31 pm |
Written October 23rd, 2008
Great change is coming to this country. The shift and changes have already occurred in the spirit realm. Know that change is coming to the churches of America, for your area. The light of My Son carries with it responsibility on those who pursue Him, on those who seek Him, on those who align themselves with My will.
What is the responsibility? It is to be holy as I am holy. It is to not be like the world or let the world pollute you or corrupt you. My church is to be the spotless bride. The lofty will not be long in this camp of the holy. in the camp of the righteous, in the camp of true servants who will give their lives for the cause, for a brother or sister to show the love of Christ. There is a cleaning out that I must do in the body of Christ. I will not tolerate arrogance for it pollutes every part of the church. It pulls down the very cause of why the church exists. The humble will hear the good news and be glad at what I am bringing to My church. Those who take risks in following My lead will reap GREAT rewards, not only in heaven but in their lifetime.
Truly the sanctified will win the battle. They are empowered by Me, by My Holy Spirit. The first shall be last and the last shall be first in My station. He who exalts himself will be humbled and the humble will be exalted in My Kingdom and in My plan and in the work I am doing in your area and in this nation.
Time has come for restoration; the restoring of what originally has been. Let the weak say I am strong; for I will strengthen them greatly in this time. Modern does NOT have to mean corrupt. Modern does NOT have to mean debauchery. Modern does NOT have to mean without God. For I am still here and I will restore all that has been stolen from America. I will renew her strength once again. For the cries of My people have come up to me showing Me they are ready for My move.
By His Still Small Voice | March 2, 2009 4:17 pm |
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Actions speak louder than words. Words without action mean nothing. The right action done in My power produces great fruit. Faith is an action word. It is a verb, not a noun. Faith without works IS dead. Faith is not to be dead, but it is to be alive. Believing in something before it is visible is faith. Faith must have truth to stand on. You find truth in My word. Truth has life, MY life in it and when it is believed in and put forth with action, that is when the invisible things become visible. I want My people to belive in My word SO much that they will take truth and move out in faith and see the impossible become possible, the invisible to become visible. There is more to this life than what you ‘see.’
Is that all you want to know is what you can see? “No, Lord! I want what I haven’t seen to be visible. I want to see more than what has been seen.” You will see if you believe and if you step out to see the unknown, then it will be “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Oh My glory has been hindered by the lack of believing and the lack of stepping out.
There are the fruitful lives and the unfruitful lives. Do you think the fruitful lives became fruitful without faith, without taking great steps in adversity? That is where faith is tested the most, in adversity. But if you take the steps of believing for more, even in the broken place, you will NOT be disappointed. Know that you eyes will see more and your life will accomplish more in this walk of faith and in the believing before seeing.
That is how the saints of old got through much adversity. They dared to believe, they dared to trust Me, to believe that I AM the Great I AM. That I am everything My word says I am. These things are not done without warfare. The enemy will fight the challenge of faith. But it is SO worth fighting for.
The full gospel includes faith, intertwined with the method of faith. Never void of faith. If you hold on to your way, you will fail to see Mine. My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways are not your ways. You must surrender your fallible ideals and run after My ways. Search for them and take hold of them and make them your “life.”
What is going to trigger this change in your life and in your mind? Let it be the calling of My Spirit. For when you come when you are called, it will produce deeper life within. But if you wait for a more desperate time, it will take longer to take root. So come with trusting, come with faith. Come ready to take action and move in My way. THE way, THE truth and THE life.
JAMES 2:24 “YOU SEE THAT A PERSON IS JUSTIFIED BY WORKS AND NOT BY FAITH ALONE.”
JAMES 2:26 “FOR AS THE BODY APART FROM THE SPIRIT IS DEAD, SO ALSO FAITH APART FROM WORKS IS DEAD.”
(READ ALSO JAMES 2 VERSES 18-26)
ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION
By His Still Small Voice | September 24, 2008 2:25 pm |
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The book of Romans, written by the Apostle Paul, is full of profound instruction for the believer. Yet, for a new believer, the lessons in Romans can be some what difficult to understand. A Bible Study on the entire book is well worth the time and effort, and I highly recommend it. In this devotional, I will be using several scriptures from Romans, but this is in no way an exhaustive study. Hopefully it will enlighten you and inspire you to do further study in Romans.
In the Old Testament, God seems to enforce a strict standard on His people. Why was God so rigid about His commandments, and why did He become so upset when His people disobeyed Him? He even allowed His people to suffer in punishment and slavery.
One way to understand the Bible is as an ongoing story, beginning with God’s creation of the universe and humankind. As the story unfolds, we see humanity’s rebellion against God and God’s ongoing call for humankind to return to Him. Ultimately, the story leads to the arrival of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who came to show us the true character of God, and to die on our behalf as the atoning sacrifice for our sins that would once and for all provide a means for us to be restored to a right relationship with God.
Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand.” Why were we in need of Grace?
The first word I’ve underlined is peace. Genesis chapter 3 gives the account of the first sin by Adam and Eve. After they had disobeyed God, they realized they were naked. They became afraid and hid from God. So sin, the disobedience of God, entered the world through one man, Adam, and one woman, Eve. Through their sin, Adam and Eve lost their peace with God, and instead of peace, they experienced fear. Sin separates us from God. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (Romans 1:18)
The second word I underlined is faith. Adam and Eve turned their faith from God’s words to Satan’s words. Either God’s words are true or they are not. The Bible tells us this about God’s word: “God is not a man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?” (Numbers 23:19 ) As much as Adam and Eve walked with God, they still did not have a right understanding of God’s nature, and they allowed Satan to convince them that if they ate from the forbidden tree, they would become like God, “knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)
Adam and Eve were in need of grace. After Adam and Eve sinned, God required the blood sacrifice of animals as an atonement for the sins of mankind. Genesis 4:1-7 tells the story of Cain and Abel, in which Abel brought an animal sacrifice to the Lord. Clearly, by this time, God had given some instruction about blood sacrifices. Through the atoning sacrifice of blood, God, in His grace, forgave sins. (Leviticus 17:11)
Throughout the remainder of the Old Testament, mankind continued to choose pride and sin instead of God and his righteousness. By the time of Noah, mankind had become so corrupt that God decided He must destroy all of humanity except for Noah and his family, who were righteous. Later, the tower of Babel would symbolize the continued rebellion of humans against God in their attempt to ascend to heaven. God saw that He had to do something about the pride and corruption, so He confused their languages, making it impossible for them to complete the tower and resulting in the scattering of the people to other places.
As humanity continued to rebel against God, He gave the Law, to show His standard of living and to illustrate how far short mankind had fallen. Yet, even then, in pride and rebellion, people continued to live according to their own fleshly desires instead of by God’s standards.
Yet, if God is perfect, why is there sin? God created mankind in love, in His own image. (Genesis 1:26) As part of His design, he gave us the ability to choose to love Him or to not love Him. Why would He do that? Think about it. If we had no choice but to love God, of what value would our love be to Him? We would be no different than a computer programmed to say “I love you.” God wants us to truly love Him and serve Him because it is our choice, not because we are robots that must automatically do His will.
Yet, throughout time, humans have abused their freedom to choose, following their own selfish and prideful path, at risk of destroying themselves through sin, and incurring God’s righteous anger.
But though the Old Testament years passed, God’s story was not over. The birth of Jesus Christ, prophesied in the Old Testament, ushered in a new era, the new era of grace covered in the New Testament. Mankind had forgotten the true nature of God and had earned God’s judgment. They had forgotten that God is love. The New Testament reveals that God loved the world so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to show mankind the true loving nature of God the Father, to point out the many ways humanity had fallen short of God’s righteousness. God did not choose to turn His back on mankind, but instead made a way for them to come back to Him.
To satisfy God’s requirement of a blood sacrifice for sin, Jesus offered up Himself to die on a cross, not just as an atoning sacrifice for our sins, but as the LAST blood sacrifice God would ever require for our sins, once and for all. God accepted the blood of Jesus for all the sins of mankind for all time. And by God’s grace, He offers forgiveness of our sins if we will simply confess our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. By faith in the covering atonement of the blood of Jesus, we are justified in God’s sight. That is, even though we have fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23), God declares us righteous in His sight! (Romans 4:1-8)
Jesus changed everything! When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we accept what Jesus has done for us and we have a “new nature” in Him. We are given His authority over Satan and demons, we are given His robe of righteousness and we are given power over sickness. God sees us through the interceding person of JESUS, His Son! In the Old Testament covenant, God required the shed blood of animals for the forgiveness of sin. But now we have the PERFECT sacrifice through our Lord Jesus. His sacrifice was enough. God showed His incredible love for us “in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. For in while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.” (Romans 5:9-10) Jesus has given us a means for a new relationship with God. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, He has accepted God’s righteous wrath that we deserved. The debt has been paid. This is GOOD NEWS.
The Apostle Paul explains it so well in Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. . . .” Verse 17 sums it up: “Because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”
When we come to God and accept His Son, we are brought to a newness of life. Our old self has been crucified with Him so we can no longer be enslaved to sin. (Romans 6:6-7) This doesn’t mean that we never sin, but we have an awareness of sin and the evil fruit of it, and we have Christ’s power in us to overcome sin. Our desires change from wanting to sin to wanting to be righteous like Christ. And the glorious truth of all of this is that God’s gift of eternal life is His FREE gift to us. It is up to us to receive it. Romans 6:23 explains it so well: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” HALLELUJAH!
I have found that many Christians think God is angry with them, that all He sees are their faults and failures. They see God as an angry Judge who is terrifying to approach. They can’t feel “good enough” to approach Him. That was how they felt in the Old Testament, and rightly so. None of us are good enough to approach God. But Jesus has changed everything! God loves you and He wants to extend His blessings toward you. If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior and repented of your sins, God has promised to forgive you! Accept His free gift right now today. Accept Him as the loving Father that He is and know that your sins are forgiven because of Jesus.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I know I’ve done wrong. I am a sinner needing your grace. Thank you that you made a way for me through your Son dying on the cross, shedding His precious blood and defeating death so that I can have life and be free from the slavery of sin. I accept your forgiveness now and I thank you for your love for me and I receive your blessings now. In the holy name of Jesus I pray, Amen.
The Salvation Poem
Jesus, you died upon a cross
And rose again to save the lost
Forgive me now of all my sin
Come be my Savior, Lord and Friend
Change my life and make it new
And help me, Lord, to live for you
Devotional by Sherry & Matt McPherson and Don Boyer
By Sherry McPherson | May 19, 2008 12:23 pm |
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I will live honorably through my thoughts, actions
and speech. I choose to be full of faith;
I will not only be a hearer,
but a doer of the Word of God.
I will serve before I demand, I will love and not
hate, and I will give before I take.
I choose to make a difference in this world and to be
a part of something bigger than myself.
I choose to dedicate my life to prayer and ask
God for his miraculous power and the courage
to do the impossible.
I will make Godly relationships a priority in my life
As I esteem others higher than myself
I will live my life in such a way that
I will change the world.
Adapted from – Teen Mania Ministries
By Sherry McPherson | May 2, 2008 8:37 am |