BE RESOLUTE: DON’T TAKE OFFENSE

Throw offense out the door! Do not hold on to it. Release it. It is freedom.

by Tammy Phillips
January 27, 2021

“Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” (Matthew 18:7 NKJV)

Jesus himself warns us about offense in this verse. Sadly, He says that they are coming.

Let’s take heed and discover what offense really is.  Offense in this verse is the Greek word, skandalon, which means:

    • the movable stick or trigger of a trap
    • any impediment placed in the way and causing one to stumble or fall, a stumbling block

Satan is a liar and he is trying to trap us.  Imagine that?  Satan uses offense to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10) He uses it to steal joy.  He uses it to destroy family, friendships, relationships and lives.   He uses offense to divide.  It is our choice whether we take the bait and fall into his trap.  We get to choose how we deal with stumbling blocks.  If we are awake and watching, we can maneuver around the obstacles with God’s help.  We can go over, around or break through, if need be.

One of my son’s got engaged this past weekend, a year ago.  It was the most joyous occasion.  Satan tried to get me offended on the way to the party and when I got home, he tried to strike again.  He tried to mar what God had done. I determined not to let him steal my joy.   It was not his for the taking.  I stood resolute against offense!  

Power thoughts:

I will DO the word.  I will have faith in God’s Word. I will “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. I will…

Put on the whole armor of God, that I may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (I will) take the whole armor of God, that I may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand..” (Ephesians 6:10-11, 13)

I enCOURAGE you to not take offense.  It is your choice just like it was and is mine.  I encourage you to do the word and stand against the enemy.  Be resolute!

ACT ON GOD’S WORD

Sparkle’s Fuchsia Sky

by Tammy Phillips
January 26, 2020

 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22 NKJV)

Some have a really hard time with trials and with faith.  Some say we are trying to get faith, don’t have enough faith or are just trying to believe.  All we need to do is act on what God says.

Kenneth Hagin says that instead of saying:  “Have faith,” that he says, “Act on God’s Word,” because that is exactly what faith is!

Raymond T. Richey, a man mightily used of God in the healing ministry was asked, “What is faith?”  He replied, “Faith is just acting on God’s Word.”  Smith Wigglesworth would say, “Faith is an act.”

Faith is simply believing God is who He says He is; He will do what He says He will do, then acting on His Word.

I enCOURAGE you to be a doer of God’s word.  Read God’s word.  Learn God’s Word.  Hear God’s Word.  Act on God’s Word!

Inspired by Kenneth Hagin…

HAVE FAITH

by Tammy Phillips
January 25, 2021

And Jesus, replying, said to them, Have faith in God. ( Mark 11:22 AMPC)

This is one of my favorite scriptures.  You would think it meant to trust in God.  He’s got it, whatever your “it” is.  He does got it, if your trust is in Him.  He may not always have it the way you think he does, but He’s got it!  However, this verse really says have faith…in God or have God kind of faith.  Say what? God kind of faith?

The faith that believes all things are possible.

The faith that moves mountains.

The faith believes you are an OVERCOMER.

I enCOURAGE you to have faith, take faith, wear your God kind of faith! To His Glory! Amen.   H A V E  F A I T H!

 

DO GOOD! BE A BLESSING!

This is not the best quality photo from the night of Brayden and Mary’s engagement. I snapped it when they were listening to their father’s words. However, It is one of my favorites. It shows joy, happiness, tenderness, and their love for each other. He chose to do good and bless his bride to be. I know the adoration is mutual and it is a beautiful thing to see.

by Tammy Phillips
January 24, 2021

“So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good to all people [Be mindful to be a blessing] especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God’s family with you, the believers].” (Galatians 6:10 AMPC)

The Holy Spirit had been relentlessly, yet softly, whispering this scripture in my ear for days. What are you trying to say Father? The light bulb finally went on.

I have repeatedly told my boys, Brayden and Parker, you only get one chance to do it right the first time.  When Brayden, my oldest was proposing to precious Mary Claire.  He texted me a picture of the ring.  I commented, “Beautiful. This is for real!”  He replied, “No going back, now.”  He was correct.  We get second chances in life, but no go-backs, no do overs of doing it right the first time. He had once chance to propose and do it the right way.  And he did it right.  He was a blessing to his bride to be with a gorgeous ring and a surprise, proposal party.

The focus verse says that we need to take every opportunity, every chance to do it right the first time, to do good to all people.  Every opportunity, we need to be mindful to be a blessing.  We always have the opportunity, don’t we? 

How many times have we said, “We’re praying for you?” and we never lifted the brother or sister up to throne.  We must stop and do it at the given opportunity.  How many times have we raised our voice to the person on the other end of the phone because things were not going as we expected or wanted?  How many times have we missed an opportunity to bless the person who cut us off on the road and instead we chose to curse them?

I enCOURAGE you as each opportunity opens up, every chance you get, to do good to all people.  Choose to be a blessing.  Make their day or life better by simply choosing and doing good.  If we all did good at EVERY opportunity, what a different place the world would be.

P.S.   However, thank God that His word teaches us about grace, mercy and forgiveness.  If we do not do it right the first time, he teaches about second, third and four hundred and ninety do overs.

“IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL”

by Tammy Phillips
January 23, 2020

Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. (Psalms 146:1 KJV)

As a reminder, I originally wrote these devotions to encourage my sister in Christ whose son passed, way too early.   She inspired today’s devotional with the picture above and with a corresponding text, “It is well with my soul.”  Here is the amazing story behind that song.   

Horatio Gates Spattford was a prominent Chicago lawyer and businessman.   He wrote, “It Is Well With My Soul” in 1873. This hymn was written after 3 major traumas in Spafford’s life. His 4year old son died of Scarlett fever in 1871. Then the great Chicago Fire of October 1871, burned his real estate investments which ruined him financially.  Shortly after, while crossing the Atlantic on November 22, 1873 to vacation, all four of Spafford’s daughters died in a collision with another ship.  Spafford’s wife. Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, “Saved alone.” Several weeks later, he sailed to join her.   As Spafford’s own ship passed near the spot where his daughters died, the Holy Spirit inspired the words of the song. They speak to the eternal hope that all believers have, no matter what pain and grief befall them on earth.

Spattford and Anna, his wife, had a consistent history of acting on their faith.  After the great Chicago fire of 1871, and their loss, they devoted countless hours to helping the survivors.  After the ordeal at sea, Anna and Horatio Spafford left their Presbyterian congregation and hosted prayer meetings in their home.  Their study was dubbed “the Overcomers” by the American press.  In 1881, they moved to Jerusalem (taking two daughters born after the shipwreck tragedy) and helped found a group called the American Colony; its mission was to serve the poor.  The colony later became the subject of the Nobel prize winning, Jerusalem, by Swedish novelist Selma Lagerlöf.

Sparkle:

Like you, his wife was conscious of a soft voice speaking to her, “You were saved for a purpose!”

Like you, my strong and mighty sister, Mr. Spattford could have been overwhelmed with grief, pain and the tragedies of his life. BUT GOD!!!

Like you, he chose faith.

Like you, he chose life.

Like you, instead of being overwhelmed, he chose to be an OVERCOMER. His story and faith reflect yours.

Look what he did.   He did not fear.  He kept stepping. And, I can hear him saying:

“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive.” (Genesis 50:20 KJV)

Out of his extreme pain, he went on to be a blessing to many during his life, and ultimately, generations of people.  He wrote a beautiful song that enCOURAGEd you 146 years later.  Like him, I believe God will use you for great things too, as your mission has always been to bless others.

I enCOURAGE you to keep the faith.  Keep believing.  Keep saying.  Keep singing: “It is well with my soul.”  

 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3 John 1:2 NKJV)

Remember…

 “It’s easy to be grateful and good when you have so much, but take care that you are not a fair-weather friend to God.” -Anna Spattford

SHE SMILES AT THE FUTURE

by Tammy Phillips
January 22, 2021

“Strength and honor are her clothing, And she smiles at the future.” (Proverbs 31:25 NASB)

A woman who follows hard after God is confident and resolute in who she is. She knows that she is daughter of the King.  She is the apple of His eye.  She is clothed in strength and honor and glory, not because of who she is but Whose she is. She walks confidently in Him. She does not fear because she has great faith in her Daddy.  She trusts that His Word is true and faithful.  She is assured that she is never alone. She can always count on him.

Even though life may not have led her down the path she had imagined, and she may have experienced unspeakable disappointments and hardships, she is able to laugh at her future.  She is able to talk to the future fearlessly and say, “I am not afraid of you. I laugh at you because my Father holds my future in his hand.”  She laughs at the future, saying: “No weapon forms against me shall prosper.” She smiles at the days to come and simply says, “nothing is impossible for my God!”

I enCOURAGE you, sister, as you continue to clothe yourself in His strength and His glory to boldly laugh at your future. There is not one thing to fear.

HE CATCHES EVERY TEAR IN HIS BOTTLE

by Tammy Phillips
January 21, 2020

When you cry what happens to all those tears!  Be encouraged.  They are treasured.  The word of God says:

You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book? (Psalm 56:8 NKJV)

Every time I read God’s word; I find a new nugget. I am amazed by this verse. 

God has his own GPS on us.  He takes a count of when we are happy, sad, shaken, or moved.  He records when we are so upset that we can do nothing but move to and fro. He also collects our tears in His bottle. He cares so much that He captures everyone and records it in his book. Wow. Just wow.

So, for now, I enCOURAGE you to cry as often as you need.  Cry happy tears or sad tears.  Remember, they both have a God delivered natural pain killer to make you feel better and to relieve stress. Treasure the fact that he captures every one.

CRY TO YOUR DADDY

“When you toss the Rock into the deep, it makes a big splash and many waves.” -T. Phillips Photo credit: Austin Shenton

by Tammy Phillips
January 20, 2021

LORD, I cry out to You; Make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You. Let my prayer be set before You [as] incense, The lifting up of my hands [as] the evening sacrifice. (Psalm 141:1-2 NKJV)

 When we were younger and experienced pain in body or mind, the very first thing we would do is shriek out loudly for our Dad or Mom.  “I have a boo-boo. Fix it! or He will not play with me.  She will not share her toy.”  We wanted no part in suffering and expected our parent to fix it immediately.  What changed?  As adults we are supposed to be “strong and courageous” in the face of affliction.   This preceding statement is true.  We should face our enemy and not be afraid of the pain.  However, in the presence of God, “we did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but we received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15 NKJV)

Cry in our focus verse is the Hebrew word, qara’. It means to call out; be summoned; to address by name.  It presents the idea of encountering a person with the idea of accosting them.  David’s cry to God was of necessity and faith.  I love his boldness when he says: “Make haste unto me!” Haste is the Hebrew word, chuwsh, which means hurry, come quickly.  David prayed to God: “I need you and I need you now! Hurry!”   Oh my, the boldness. He knew that he could come to God.   He knew God could take whatever he had to say.  He needed God at that moment and was not afraid to tell Him.  If that wasn’t enough, David also said: “Give ear to my voice!” He was implying, “Hey God! It’s me. You there? Listen to me!”

God wants us to come to Him like David, just like a little child: “Hey Dad! Lord God, who always were, you are, and you will always be!  I am talking to you. Hurry! Come to me, Dad.  Listen to me when I call you!”  Doesn’t that sound like a little kid urgently calling his Dad and pulling at his Father’s pant leg?  What a comfort to know that we can so boldly come to God. 

In verse 2, Davis’s prayer was that his words be like the sacrifice of incense and uplifting of hands. He wanted his prayer to be sweet smelling, pleasant and accepted by the Lord.  In Revelation 5:8, we learn that in heaven there are golden vials full of incense, which are the prayers of saints.  Like God, we treasure communication from our children, whether it be letters, cards, phone calls or gifts.  God considers our prayers so valuable that he keeps them in golden vials in heaven. Wow! Just, Wow!

 

I enCOURAGE you to call out to God.  Tell Him about your pain and exactly what you need.  He understands your urgency.  You are His child, and He desires to hear from you. He desires your presence.  “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrew 4:16)

LET THE SPARKS FLY

by Tammy Phillips
January 19, 2021

As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. (Proverbs 27:17 NKJV)

In the times that Old Testament was written, one iron blade was used to sharpen another blade until both became effective tools.  A piece of iron can sharpen another piece of iron, but it happens through time.  It happens through friction.   Friction creates heat and creates sparks. Sparks change the useless.

We need boosters to lift us up. 
We need champions to push us higher.
We need supporters to encourage us.  
We need a tribe who celebrates with us.
We need companions who mourn with us.  
We need brothers and sisters to come along side us.
We need defenders who support us.
We need advancers who challenge us.
We need interceders to pray for us.
We need friends who sharpen us.

Alone, we can be dull.
Together, we sharpen each other.
Together, sparks are created that change the useless to the useful.

I enCOURAGE you to let the sparks fly!  It is always ok to challenge each other.  After all, being changed into the image of our Father is no easy task. 

THE LORD WAKES US

Sunrise in Clarksville, Tennessee, December 2020

by Tammy Phillips
January 18, 2021

“The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak a word in season to [him who is] weary. He awakens Me morning by morning; He awakens My ear to hear as the learned. (Isaiah 50:4 NKJV)

The above verse is speaking about Jesus.  We are to imitate Him.   As disciples on assignment, we should believe and receive this this word today. Like Jesus, the Lord God has given us the tongue of the learned.  The word learned in Hebrew is limmuwd.  It means disciple or taught.  It comes from the root word to be trained; to be exercised. We are the “learnt,” as Madea would say because we are students and disciples of Christ.  We seek him.  He trains us in His word, and we exercise our faith.  He trains us to be His mouthpiece, so we know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.  Isn’t that what we are doing now? We share His word every day, we encourage each other, and we encourage others. 

Each day, morning by morning, He wakens. The Hebrew word for wakens is uwr.  It means to arouse; to stir; to be excited; to be triumphant; the idea of opening eyes.  All this time we thought we were giddy for God in the early morning hours.  It was Him waking us up.  It’s always Him.  He was stirring us up. He was opening our physical eyes and our spiritual eyes to the day ahead.  If that was not enough, He was waking up our ears to hear, too.   He opens our ears to hear and to listen to others that may be in need of the learned word.  Most importantly, He opens our ears to hear the revelations He wants to share with us about Himself.  I am so glad He wakes us up every day!  

I enCOURAGE you to be awakened with eyes and ears wide open to hear God, His word and complete your assignment in Him today.