Archive | January 2014

Stand

standing strongDaily Reading: Ephesians 6: 13-18 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

This morning I could hear the worlds of Donnie McClerkin’s song Stand playing in my heart. I love when the Holy Spirit speaks to me through song. In my life when this has occurred it has several meanings. First it is a warning to be on guard. The Holy Ghost is not reminding us to stand unless there is something on the horizon that can/will try to make us fall. For me it just raises my awareness to watch my step, watch those that are around me and to strengthen my borders so to speak. Secondly those times are also encouragement that whatever is on the horizon that I am not alone in it. God is with me every step of the way. In fact, God has already handled it, but I just have to walk through it. I love how God always sends us a comforter in the form of the Holy Spirit. He lead, guides, prepares and directs us, when we are willing to listen.

There is a part of the song when Donnie sings “you’ve prayed and you’ve cried, you’ve prayed and cried. I was in that season for eighteen months or more. And I had to just stand. I had to take my lumps. I had to weather the storm. I had to sit on my hands. I had to keep my mouth shut. I had to just take it. I am a better woman because of it. I learned a lot about myself in the process. I certainly learned more about God in that season. I learned that He really is a keeper, a heart-fixer and a mind -regulator. He did all those things for me in that season of tears.

If you’ve found yourself in a stand season. Just stand. However, while you are standing fortify yourself. Read more of the Bible, get in a quiet place and ask God to open up His Word so that you may understand it. Then write down what He says, those will be the words that will carry you through. So after you’ve done all to stand. You just stand!

~~ Now get out there & Let your light shine. The World is a mighty dark place.

 

Copyright © 2014 Cassandra Baker Durham

 

Prepared to be the Replacement

ShepherdPrepared  to be the Replacement

Daily Reflection: 1 Samuel 16:1 ( NIV) The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.

While reading 1 Samuel: 16 which is the chapter in which Samuel anoints David.  David was not the pick of the litter in the eyes of man. In fact he was an afterthought. David was out in the field watching the sheep and the goats (v.11). Then the thought occurred that David was actually in the place of PREPARATION. The things that he learned in the place of Preparation prepared him for his first public victory when he defeated Goliath (Chapter 17). We have no idea of all the things that he experienced in his place of preparation, but one thing is certain. He learned to be a defender. Consider the sheep and the goat (which could very well represent both the saved and unsaved) and how David (the shepherd) defended and protected because they were in his care. Imagine the nights he did not sleep because he was watching over the flock. What about the nights that were filled with strange sounds. He learned to not be spooked by everything thing that he heard (We would do well to learn this lesson). How many wild animals did he have to fight off with a rock, staff and a rag?  His place of preparation could not have been easy. But neither is ours. Some of us are in a place of preparation. Learn everything you can at this juncture. You will need everything that you’ve learned, not just to get the victory. It will be important so you can keep the victory.

The second thing that stuck out was that all of Jessie’s other sons were tall and good looking. Perhaps David had not come into long legs or a great appearance at that time. But he had something else more important, He had God’s favor. So many times we judge a book by its cover, but God is not looking at outward appearances. He is looking at our heart. We would be much better off if we looked at the heart of people instead of their appearance. Matthew 12:34 as well as Luke 6:45 reminds us out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. In other words whatever is in someone heart will eventually come out of their mouth? So, if want to know how someone really feels about you. Listen for it. No it will not come out straight forward, it will probably be a little slick, veiled lightly under humor or under a just kidding.

Finally we see at end of the chapter that David winds up in the king’s palace as his armor bearer and musician. God would send a tormenting spirit to Saul and poor David would have to play it away.  The very person that God sent you to minister to could very well wind up hating you. I am not saying that they will, but it could happen.  David’s time in preparation prepared him to deal with anything that was thrown his way. Our place of preparation does the same for us. David became Saul’s replacement because he chose to be disobedient to God. David chose to submit and was rewarded.

Copyright (c) 2014 Cassandra Baker Durham

Being Fully Persuaded

Book Cover     Being Fully Persuaded…

         Daily Reflection: Romans 4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what he has promised, he is able to perform

Have you ever been thoroughly convinced about something? Consider for a moment the basic act of sitting in a chair. When we grab a chair, pull it out and prepare to sit in it: the thought never crosses our mind that the chair cannot hold us, it never occurs to us that the chair cannot bear our weight. We never consider these things because of our history with the chair it has never failed us before.

How about our relationship with God? Have we been fully convinced that God is able to do exactly whatever he says he will do? Do we fully believe, rely upon, and trust his every word? Has God ever promised us anything that he has not done? The devil comes to kill, steal and destroy, he wants to kill out our dreams and hopes for the future, he wants to steal every promise that God has made to us, he wants to destroy any and all faith that we have in God. Yet we have a history with God. Based upon that proven history, we can be fully persuaded. Fully persuaded that God loves us, fully persuaded that God is able to bring to fruition anything in which he speaks. Fully persuaded that he is a healer, fully persuaded that he is a deliverer, fully persuaded that he is a mind regulator, fully persuaded that he is our provider, fully persuaded that he is the bishop and captain of our souls, fully persuaded that there is nothing going on in our lives that he does not know about and care about. God wants us to trust Him with every single area of our lives. There is nothing ever going to happen to us for us or through us that he is does not know about. He already has a purpose and a plan for our lives and they go much smoother when we become fully persuaded.

Prayer of thanks: Lord thank you for the opportunity to be drawn closer to you. Lord help me to become fully persuaded of your presence while in the middle of my storm. Lord I look to you for guidance, wisdom and understanding that I may keep my light shining for others. In Jesus name. Amen.

 

Thought for today:  Write down at least three of the instances that God has proven himself in your life. Keep them near you as a reminder of the faithfulness of God. ~ Let your light shine!

friendsWhat About Your Friends?

Daily Reflection: Luke 5: 18-20 18 And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.19 And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.20 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.

The girl hip-hip and r&b group TLC once sang a song “What About Your Friends?” In it they were asking about the quality of the friends that you hang around. The song was really popular because it required the listener to examine the types of friendship that they have. And to also get rid of the people that were not in their corner.

In the above passage we see a man that is sick with palsy. The text does not tell us how long he has been sick. The passage neither mentions if the sick man lived with his friends or how many friends he had. It just tells us that they were so serious that they were willing to climb atop someone’s home and tear the roof off the place. It also reveals to us a little about the friendship relationship of the group.

To be totally transparent I know (or at least I think I know) that I have one or two people that are willing to fight for me and with me. (I do not mean physical fight, but they may). I do think that I have one or two willing to get into the heat of the spiritual battle. All you really need is a few. I know that there are several women that I am friends with that I would tear a roof off for them. But enough about me. What about you? What about your friends? Will they tear the roof off a house to help you get a touch from God?  If a roof was the only thing that stood in between your complete and total healing and sickness. Would they, or could they tear the roof off the mother? I just dropped by here to ask you … What about your friends? Are they going to turn around, are they going to let you down, will they turn their backs on you?

Every now and then we have to take a long hard look at the folks that are with us. Everyone that is with us, is not for us. We have to realize that just because someone smiles in our face does not mean they have our best interest at heart. We have to understand agendas, plans and outlines of others may be dreadfully different from ours. Once we know that, then we can know what and how much to invest in the relationship. You and I need people that are willing to tear the roof off for us to get our healing.

Prayer of Thanks: Lord thank you for this day and for this opportunity to examine who I have allowed to walk so closely with me. Lord help me to make good choices in the people that I have chosen to bear my soul to in Jesus name. Amen.

Thought for today: Birds of a feather, really do flock together.

Copyright © 2014 by Cassandra Baker Durham

www.cassandradurham.net

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

life-definingmomentsDaily Reflection: Joshua 24:14 14 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. 15 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.

At some point in time we all have to make a choice about serving God. Straddling the fence, one foot in and one foot out, will not do. You will, I will, we all will have to make a decision. We know that the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy and we know that Jesus came that we might have life and to have it have it more abundantly. So why is it so difficult to choose life over death and curses over blessings?  Could it be that the enemy has tricked us into believing that Christianity is “so hard?” The enemy was lured us away with imitation blessings and artificial miracles.

One way to tell if we have been lured away with synthetic dreams is that they are all bright, shiny, and flashy with no sustenance. False evidence appearing real, the devils dainties are like leeches they attach themselves to our fear, and feed on them. They constantly present an image of “what if’s” and “might be’s “as make us react to situations that have not occurred yet. So what if your husband/wife/friends leave, trust me, it will be okay. So what, if your dream job ends, trust me, another door will open.  This might be cancer that the doctor found, and this too shall pass. God’s word is quick, true and everlasting. God doesn’t woo us with flash and dazzle. He woo’s us with consistency and honesty. God’s promises are yes and amen. The devils promises are only of destruction.

If you had to make a choice today who would you choose? And Why? Choose God. Choose Life. Choose Blessings. Choose the one that is touched by the feelings of our infirmities. But do not do it because I said it. Do it because YOU know that you were created for more.

Prayer of Thanks: Lord help me to consistently choose you over the constant pressure of the enemy. Lord I know that you have come that I might have life and have it more abundantly. Lord, thank you for all that you are and all that you have invested in me. In Jesus name, Amen.

Thought for today: Choose Life.

Copyright © 2014 Cassandra Baker Durham

www.cassandradurham.net

Thorns and Thistles

Daily Reflection: 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10   7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

 

God’s grace is sufficient for us. In others words it is enough! The Apostle Paul reveals to us in 2 Corinthians 12 that he had a thorn in his flesh, and that although he went to God about it three different times, the thorn was not removed. Oh my gracious, how many of us have had this experience. If you’ve ever been in a sticker-briar you know how painful thorns can be. And they are tough little boogers too.  I talk about this in my book Fully Persuaded: 30 Days of Encouragement in Times of Trouble. The thorn that buffeted me was a person. I thought I was going to lose my mind in the process. Every day it was something, one day it was ridiculous, one day it was cussing, one day it was friendship, one day it was wrath. This went on for months. There were times I would get in my car and hit the steering wheel I would be just that upset. But one day, God began to speak to me; He said my grace is sufficient for thee.

I thought, “What”, I’m about to get a homicide charge, and you’re talking grace.

Yet, grace was just right for my situation, you see most of the time we think we are placed in jobs, classes, groups to “ let our light shine” and to get the “hell” out of other people, but it is really to get the “hell” out of us.  His grace was sufficient, once I started to pray and intercede; I got the focus off of me and the situation and put it on God.

See most of the time we are not the solution to our own problems…. God is, and his grace is sufficient, adequate, plenty, ample and more than enough.

 

Prayer of thanks: Lord help me to apply grace in every situation that I am in. Lord help me to see people as you see them, not through the sinful lens of flesh, but to use your Spirit as the guide. In Jesus name. Amen.

Thought for today: God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness.

 

Copyright© 2013 by Cassandra Baker Durham

http://www.cassandradurham.netthorns

You’ve Been Picked Out, To Be Picked On!!

picked outDaily Reflection: Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

Many people are called to do and be many things. Some people have been called to be doctors, lawyers and judges. Others have been called to be nurses, social workers and teachers. However there is one call that trumps them all. The call to be a Christian.

Even in this occupation/assignment not everyone answers, responds or even acknowledges their heavenly call. Yet, I submit to you this morning there is a difference between being called and being chosen.

A call gives you a choice. Your mother can stand on the front porch and call you all day long. You have a choice about whether to respond or not. You can remember as kids sometimes we acknowledged the call and at other times we just kept right on playing as if she is not calling us to dinner.

Being chosen on the other hand is a little bit different. Chosen is defined as selected or marked for favor or special privilege. Chosen people are those people that have never quite fit in anywhere. Chosen people have always secretly felt out of place with people. I like to say that chosen people feel like square pegs trying to fit into a round hole. Yes you want to be like your friends, but for some reason you just can’t seem to totally get with it. Perhaps you mostly feel like in relationships that you are on the outside looking in.

When you are chosen you have been picked out to be picked on. Most of the time you’ll be the topic of malicious gossip. At other times people will lie on you and try to aggravate you too. It will often seem that you are under constant attacks from the enemy. They enemy does not bother those that he already has. The enemy’s mission to destroy God’s children by any means necessary. Look at your life you see where you have been called or chosen. Either way, it is time to get busy being about our Father’s business. No more excuses, no more delays. You have been called or chosen and either way you have a destiny to fulfill!! Now get out there & let your light shine, the world is a mighty dark place.

Prayer of Praise; Lord thank you for this opportunity to clarify the call on my life. Please lead, guide and direct me, shape me, make me, and mold me into the image that you have called me out to be. In Jesus name Amen.

Thought for today: I’ve been picked out to be picked on!

Copyright(c) 2014 by Cassandra Baker Durham

http://www.cassandradurham.net