Light Up My Life – A Devotion

Light Up My Life

Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT)

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”

 

Jesus Christ is the Bright and Morning Star who intended for you and I to be Children of the Light. It is our divine purpose to shine in the righteousness that He provided to us when Jesus gave His Life for us. Light is merely the absence of darkness. Are you afraid of the dark? For some, it is a comfort zone while trying to hide weakness or indiscretions. Jesus calls you the “light of the world like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” Does such a thought make you feel uncomfortable? Please understand that the Glory of God inside of you will not be hidden forever. To truly desire the Will of God and follow the Way of God moves you from the darkness to a lampstand for everyone to see. Jesus came to light up my life whether I desire it or not. I was made for His Glory and to reflect His Light to this dark and dying world. This is my purpose as a Child of the Light.

Psalm 37:5-6 (NLT)

Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

 

Not every “Christian” is a Child of the Light. Only true believers who commit everything that they do to the Lord will become such a person. Trust Him and He will help you. The Lord will make your innocence radiate like the dawn. Think about the dawn of each day for a moment. There is no hand that visibly pushes the sun into position or pulls back the moon. They do what they were created to do. How many times have you watching the sun rise or set only to be completely overtaken by its beauty simply in fulfilling its purpose? This is the type of glory that the Lord is referring to. Your life will begin to shine as you fulfill your purpose in Christ. The justice of your cause which is fulfillment in Jesus Christ will shine like the noonday sun. People will try to look at the Goodness and Grace covering your life and by mystified especially if they knew you before the Light of God’s Love overtook you. His Favor “shines” in the life of the godly who commit their way to the Lord. ”Light shines on the godly and joy on those whose hearts are right.” (Psalm 97:11) The Light of His Love surrounds those who choose to be god-like and follow the example set forth by Jesus Christ. “Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. Good comes to those who lend hereThose who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.” (Psalm 112:4-7) See what happens? Just by living in the Light of His Love unafraid as we commit our whole life to following Jesus – things in our life begin to change. As we begin to live what we believe, the darkness is removed from our life and suddenly we have nothing to fear no matter how life is treating us because God is changing every detail into the Good that He has planned for us from the very beginning. To live in the Glory of God is to be a Child of the Light, to live in the Light chases away fear and doubt as His Favor shines on us and in us.

John 1:1-5 (NLT)

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

 

Let’s try an experiment. Go to the darkest room or closet in your house. Now turn on the light. What just happened? The darkness disappeared. It will happen every time without fail. The darkness cannot remain present in the light. This is a natural and spiritual truth. Jesus Christ is the Light of this world that chases away the darkness left behind by sin. Jesus Christ is the Word, Will and Way of God wrapped in flesh to demonstrate God’s Love for us. As we accept His Love, we become Children of the Light. Darkness has no place in our life. We are limited only by the amount of darkness that we allow to remain after His Glory fills us with His Love. In the early morning, our garage is very dark. Many times, I will go out to the freezer to find that evenings meal. When I open the door and see that it is dark, I will not step out if I cannot see what is on the floor beneath my feet. My mind concocts all kinds of critters and creatures that could be there. Once I turn on the light and see nothing is there, then I step out and finish the task. Children of the Light must learn to go only where the Light is and separate themselves completely from the darkness. This is a process. However, those who decide to live in the Light of His Love will always walk in the Light of Truth set forth as a lamp for our feet so that we never wander into the darkness again. Darkness will never overcome the Light in our life again because we choose not to allow it. “Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. 36 Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.” (John 12:35-36) Walking in the Light may separate you from certain people who once rallied with you in the darkness of the world. But when danger comes – you will not be overtaken by fear or doubt because faith makes the way clear. It is the difference between knowing and seeing your adversary coming in the light versus a surprise ambush in the dark. You will be prepared and ready to overcome the enemy in every situation. Jesus came to lead us out of darkness to permanently live in the Light of His Love. It is our profound privilege as Children of the Light to reflect His Glory in this world. We benefit from such a position even in the darkest times of our life.

2 Corinthians 4:6-10 (NLT)
For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

If you want to be that “pressed-but-not-crushed, persecuted-not-abandoned, struck-down-but-not-destroyed” believer, you must have the Light of His Love shining in your heart. It is the powerful force of God’s Glory which is His Love inside of you that keeps the darkness from overpowering you. It is the only thing that keeps us from being overtaken by the enemy. As we go through tough times, this Light shines through the crevices of our broken heart, the cracks in the façade of perfect people, for all the world to see. What they see will change their life as you resonate joy, love and peace when all hell is breaking loose in your life because you are not afraid but filled with faith, hope and love in Jesus Christ. This is God’s Glory that is His Light inside of you. It will pour out of you and the Light of His Love will be a spark in the dark for many!

Isaiah 60:19-22 (NLT)

“No longer will you need the sun to shine by day, nor the moon to give its light by night, nor the Lord your God will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set; your moon will not go down. For the Lord will be your everlasting light. Your days of mourning will come to an end. All your people will be righteous. They will possess their land forever, for I will plant them there with my own hands in order to bring myself glory. The smallest family will become a thousand people, and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation. At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen.”

 

Children of the Light are not dependent on natural light to prosper. Things do not have to look favorable to believe that they will overcome and succeed in this lifetime. Those choose to live an uncompromisingly righteous life like Abraham will prosper even in their darkest day because the Light they depend on comes from the inside of them. They will harvest where they do not plant. Live in houses that they do not build. The will begin to succeed in everything they do because they have chosen to walk in the Light of God’s Love where His Favor is found. Can you imagine facing each day with confidence that God is working every detail out for our good? No longer fearing bad news or wrong choices, but rather just living in the Love of God designated for our life. Righteousness affords us this luxury. Living in the Light of His Love is to experience the peace that passes all understanding and being engaged with our God who does more than we even think to ask for. This is the life that God designated for each of us and that Christ died for us to have. It would be a shame to live in the darkness when such an existence is more than possible but totally probable for those who are willing to live what they believe. Is that you today? Do you want to step out of the darkness into the Light? Jesus is calling for you to come closer and experience the radiate and warm illumination of His Great Love for us! He wants to light up our life and chase away all darkness including sin, fear and doubt to empower us to live in His Glory! Step out of the darkness into the Light of His Amazing Love today. Claim the lifestyle that His Righteousness allows and you will never want to go back in the night again! Do not hide the Light of His Love that the Lord has invested in you but present your life to Him to be put on a lampstand and show the world that He is the Light of your life forever!

Revelation 22:1-5 (NLT)

Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.

 

Insult to Injury – A Devotion

Insult to Injury

Proverbs 19:11 (NLT)

Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.

 

Recently on Facebook, I shared a post by John Bevere that said, “Our response to an offense determines our future.” It was a statement that required marinating in my mind, spirit and soul. How can our response when offending have anything to do with our future? After all, isn’t our salvation through Jesus Christ? We are saved by the Grace of God demonstrated in the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. We are covered by His Grace and Mercy. It is a gift given to us by a love that would do anything to right the wrong that separated us from His Love. Now we are called to love each other the very same way that Jesus Christ loves us even laying down our very lives for one another every single day. (John 15:13) A controlled temper is a spiritual gift from the Holy Spirit. It means we don’t get riled up like we used to at all the injustice in the world because we are now justified by Jesus Christ. But now, we must move past such things and earn respect by overlooking wrongs. This is difficult. Pride hates this statement. It doesn’t say that the other person must reciprocate or bear any responsibility in this objective, but simply that we earn respect this way. I have been wronged in my life. I have been insulted. I have been accused justly and unjustly. This represents quite a bit of baggage in my life. However, Jesus Christ came and accepted the load of this burden when I choose to surrender it. To be offended leads from insult to injury in the life of a believer. Mr. Bevere decided to add the hashtag “satanbait” to his statement. I agree…

Christianity must be a logical choice not just a radical choice. What does that mean? We must think about what we believe as we apply it to our life. It should make sense to us based on the Spirit and Truth that now govern our life from the inside out. When we think about our faith as we apply it to our life by acting out what we believe, it becomes the confident hope that anchors our soul to our salvation. (Hebrews 6:19) We must think before we speak to ensure that our words are not weapons. But we must also think about what we allow to remain in our life. You will be offended. You will be insulted. You will endure hardship at the hands of other people. Jesus warned us that this would happen. But He was also clear that we must never let insults injure our relationships with others or the Lord Himself.

Proverbs 10:12 (NLT) Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.

 

Love makes up for ALL offenses. I love my husband and children very much. We live in constant relations to each other and maintain close fellowship. They have earned a special place in my heart. When there is strife it may cut a little deeper, but with them it will heal even faster because love makes up for those offenses. They are more easily overlooked so that we can continue in our relationship. We miss each other. We are to love the people in this world like that. Love prospers when a fault is forgiven. (Proverbs 17:9) God is love. He wants us to love each other. Offense is always out to sever ties and cause division. It is a tactical strategy of satan to destroy relationships which he knows are precious to God. Each relationship of love developed between human beings represent God’s Love and His Sacrifice. When a relationship is destroyed by insult that turns to injury, it breaks the Heart of God and tramples the Blood of Jesus so the enemy rejoices and revels in such moments. We must make God’s Love prosper in our life. How? Forgiveness. Where there is love there is always forgiveness. We are to walk in love and commitment to others.

I Corinthians 10:31-33 (NLT)

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.

 

Too many times, Christians offend other people. Rather than walking in the Love of God that led us from the darkness to the Light, we use our relationship with Jesus as a spotlight to point out the sins and shortcomings of others. But this is not what God’s Glory is all about – it is about a fault that has been forgiven or in my case, many faults that need His Forgiveness. Every day I need the fresh mercy that He leaves for me as my faults are many. When I choose to accept offense, I am telling the world that I am more important than the God of the Universe and that I deserve more respect than Jesus Christ. It is this act of entitlement that causes injury to my relationship with God. My job in this life is to lead as many people as I can to the Love of God and His Son Jesus Christ for the remission of sin. I am to try to please everyone in everything I do. I must do what is best for them not for me all the time. This leads to salvation. “To walk in love is to step aside and allow the God of the Universe to come between you and the situation that are dealing with.” – Kenneth Copeland. When I put my relationship with God the Father and Jesus the Son before any other relationship, how can I ever be offended? He is working out every detail of my life for good because of His Love for me. (Romans 8:28) The Lord is perfecting all that concerns me. (Psalm 138:8) He has taken full command of my heart and mind so that He guards my heart against things like offense and insult that lead to injury in my life.

 

Isaiah 44:21-23 (NLT)

“Pay attention, O Jacob, for you are my servant, O Israel. I, the Lord, made you, and I will not forget you. I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.” Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done this wondrous thing. Shout for joy, O depths of the earth! Break into song, O mountains and forests and every tree! For the Lord has redeemed Jacob and is glorified in Israel.”

When Jesus Christ died for our sin, He swept it all away along with the offenses committed against God in our life. He did it for us. Now we must do this for others. When I placed all that I am in all that Jesus is, I released the world and all its people from expectation. I do not expect other people to be perfect anymore. When I become offended, I have now given back a piece of expectation to the world and will be let down every time until I regain my faith and put it back in Jesus Christ alone. The Word of God reminds us that a wise person stays calm when insulted. (Proverbs 12:16) Do you remember the last time that you were insulted? Did you take offense to the callous words of another? I did. Cue in the music filled with children’s voices. “He’s still working on me…to make me what I ought to be…”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT)

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

Sensible believers will read the Word of God and apply it practically to their life. It is a logical book that tells us how to live in Christ. Saying that, I have read this verse no less than one hundred times in the past few years but only today saw “I take pleasure in…insults.” It’s all about grace. His Grace is all that I need for His Power to work in my weakness. I can boast in my weaknesses including insults, hardships, persecutions and troubles that I suffer for Christ. His Grace is not just for the major things in my life but every minor detail in my life. When I have a disagreement with another person and they insult me, hurt my feelings or injure me with words – His Grace is sufficient for me so that I can choose to never hold on to the insult but rather grab hold of His Healing Power. This privilege is for us in Christ alone who did not retaliate when we insulted Him, but chose to love us anyway! (I Peter 2:22-24) We can walk in love because Jesus walked in love. Putting our full expectation in Christ alone means not allowing insults to injure us but allowing His Grace to be enough in all things. There is coming a day when God will remove all of our insults forever. (Isaiah 25:8-9)

I Peter 3:8-9 (NLT)

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.

 

Friends, our challenge for today is to fully accept the Grace of God given to us in Jesus Christ. We must be of one mind. We must love one another enough to forgive and move on even when grossly offended or horribly insulted. Let’s face it sometimes we get overwrought when we are cut off in traffic or someone cuts us in line never moving past such little things in life to love big like Jesus does! Make it a point today to not let that insult injure you but let His Grace be sufficient for you! Pay people back with a blessing and you will be blessed!

I Peter 4:12-14 (NLT)

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.

Come In – A Devotion

Come In

Psalm 16:11 (NLT)

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

 

Our oldest daughter is getting married in just a couple months. Time is flying by and we are scurrying about to finalize the details of her big day. After her engagement, we were thrust headlong into the medical care of her brother and his battle against cancer so when the dust finally cleared in his victory – it was time to get ready for the wedding. The last detail that needed to be decided was the florist. A friend recently got married and after months of looking, she decided that she loved the bride’s bouquet. We got the name and number of her florist and made an appointment. Upon arrival into the little shop, it was a little business that had been in our town for many years. Nestled in a strip mall, the door had a “come in” sign and of course, a little bell that rang when opening the door. We approached the counter and was greeted by a very nice clerk. Giving her our name, she recognized us and ushered us around the counter into the back room where we met with the owner of the florist. For two hours she and her daughter worked with us to decide all the arrangements for the day. With great excitement and relief, the final details were in place for the big day!

We gained access to the florist through my daughter’s friend. When we arrived, we were acknowledged as having an appointment and ushered into the back room. We met with the owner who assured us every detail would be taken care of. We left with nothing in our hands and confident that every detail would be covered. This is the kind of access that we are given by Jesus Christ. To come boldly to the Throne of God with our needs, and to leave with each one met. But that is not all, we are given the privilege of living in the Presence of God where not only will find joy but pleasures forevermore. Do you want that kind of life? Well, then it’s time to take advantage of our right in Jesus Christ and “come in.”

Hebrews 4:15-16 (NLT)

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

 

It’s funny how people readily rely on other people to meet their needs but have no confidence in Jesus Christ. Even though, He paid the ultimate price for our sin to give us access to the Kingdom of God. We lack confidence in the One who can grant our every request and make good on every detail of our life. He understands our weaknesses. That is why there is enough grace for all our shortcomings. He gives us mercy so we can discover the grace surrounding His Throne and enter into it when we need it most. But that is not what His True Intent is for our life. People are good at coming to the Throne to take what they need in an attempt to better this life, but that is not what access to the Throne of God is all about. We have been given the privilege of living in the Presence of God. “Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.” (Ephesians 3:12)

Matthew 16:15-19 (NLT)

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

 

Faith in Jesus Christ is our access point to God. When we decided to approach the florist about our daughter’s wedding, we used the name of her friend. The florist recognized the name and immediately became familiar with us. Now obviously, we will still have to pay for their services. When we come into the Presence of God using the Name of His Son, Jesus – everything in His Kingdom is immediately accessible to us because we believe. Now at the flower shop, they will grant our desires at a price. However, in the Kingdom of God, I can have whatever I want because it has been paid in full but it only is possible if I believe. Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” Translated – “Do you believe that I am the Messiah or Son of the Living God?” Peter believed. Peter immediately was granted access to the Kingdom of God. Now even though Peter would falter, fall and fail along the way, his core belief remained true and one day he would enter into all that Jesus declared over him that day. You and I have been given equal access to the Throne of God by faith. Access is the ability, right or permission to approach, enter and speak to the One True Living God. But if we don’t believe, we will never use our access afraid it will not work. It’s like being given keys to your dream house that you have just won, but returning to your old house afraid the new ones won’t work. We have been given access or the Keys of the Kingdom. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in Heaven, and whatever your permit on earth will be permitted in Heaven, but only if by faith you believe enough to access God’s Power and Plan for your life found only in His Presence.

Matthew 27:11-30 (NLT)

“My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Just like the little sign hanging on the old flower shop door, the Presence of God bears the sign “Come in – we’re open!” The invitation still stands to come boldly to the Throne of God each day even if you ignored it the day before. This morning, the Lord provided fresh new mercy that perhaps today would be the day you exercised some faith to develop confident hope that would lead you into His Presence. When I went into the florist, we were overwhelmed with many choices and had no idea what to do. We left without the burden that we came in with. This can happen in every situation, circumstance, problems and even on just plain ordinary days when we learn to live in the Presence of God rather trying to keep rushing in and out never accomplishing more than temporary respite. The Lord is offering you rest today. God has entrusted EVERYTHING to Jesus! Jesus is offering it all to you! Come to Him and He will give you rest and teach you have to live in His Rest. He will make your life easier! Why don’t you accept the invitation? “Come in – He is open!”

Psalm 89:14-19 (NLT)

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants. Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation. They exult in your righteousness. You are their glorious strength. It pleases you to make us strong. Yes, our protection comes from the Lord, and he, the Holy One of Israel, has given us our king.

Keep Walking – A Devotion

Keep Walking

Micah 6:8 (NLT)

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

 

If only life were as simple as doing what I right, loving mercy and walking humbly with My God. Life is that easy, but I choose to complicate it. I had an appointment yesterday afternoon. Of course, moments prior to my departure an administrator called me to task which delayed my leaving five or so minutes. Not a problem, I still had plenty of time to make it across town or so I thought. On my way, I encountered an unusual amount of traffic for this time of day along this particular road. I checked the time and then scanned my brain in case I had forgotten something. Nope, couldn’t think of a reason. The flashing lights another mile or so down the road told the store, there had been an accident. Two cars collided, nothing major just a fender bender. However, everyone driving along felt the need to slow down and survey the damage for themselves creating a horrible traffic jam along the way. There was no reason to stop as both vehicles had been moved into a parking lot. The officers were working with both parties as one man stood on the side of the road waving cars along and urging them to keep going. How many times do you see other accidents occur because people do not keep their eyes on the road but another accident along the way? This only creates more of a bottleneck along the way. The Lord is clear in His Expectation for us. Do what is right. Love mercy. Walk humbly with Your God. Life can be just that simple if we could only get over ourselves.

Deuteronomy 11:22 (NLT)

“Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lord your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him.

 

The world is constantly changing but not for the better. We are in a state of transformation by the Power of God in our life which is a good thing. The only constant unchangeable factor in our life is God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit – the Triune God. The problem is that we cannot seem to keep our concentration on Him but shift our sights all around at any given time according the circumstances that we face. As Paul said, “I want to do what is right, but find I continue to do the wrong thing.” (Romans 7:21) The struggle is real for every man and woman even those who walk by faith.

Matthew 14:27-31 (NLT)

 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

 

The walk of faith is the process by which we learn to love and trust the Lord more and more. We sing about faith. Step out on faith. Sometimes we fall in our faith. It is all part of the process and I believe why we are granted new mercy each day. Peter jumped out of the boat as believers we need faith every time we get out of bed to carry us back to the solitude of rest. This is not always an easy endeavor. Peter walked on water with Jesus Christ right there with him and still failed to totally trust the Lord so is our endeavor to learn to trust the Lord in every single step that we take. If God recorded every moment of our life before we were born (Psalm 139:16) this surely includes every single step that we take each day as we learn to live our life moment to moment with Jesus. This is how we walk in righteousness. This is the ONLY WAY to remain in right standing with God!

Acts 3:2-6 (NLT)

As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money. Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”

 

People have taken up two crutches in life hoping that they will carry them through. Human confidence and self-confidence rest under each arm. Both are equally dangerous and lead us to a fall. The Word of God warns that putting our confidence in unreliable people is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot. (Proverbs 25:19) To qualify this statement every person who you know is unreliable compared to the One you have found in Jesus Christ. He will never leave you or forsake you. He does not have bad days. His Sacrifice indicates that He ALWAYS has had your best interest in mind. So to put our trust in anyone other than Jesus Christ is misplaced trust and confidence. We should not be surprised when they fall or let us down because they are only human and plagued by sin just like us. There is NO ONE like the Lord so we have no right to expect them to be or it is clearly our fault.

The second crutch is self-confidence. We must live in the Light of God’s Love and not the light of self-love. (Isaiah 50:10-11) This is promoted by pride. Even the righteous grab hold of it sometimes calling it the Power of God when it is nothing more than mindset and willpower. Your strength will fail you. I promise it will. You will become weak and weary. You know the Lord wants you to keep walking by faith but the wind and rain are hammering you so you begin to sink. Our confident hope is only as strong as its basis who is Jesus Christ. He is the best beneficiary of all of our love and trust. We must learn to hold nothing back investing every single step we talk in following Christ even when others let us down or we let ourselves down. It is time to get up and walk in the Name of Jesus!

I John 2:10-12 (NLT)

Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness. I am writing to you who are God’s children because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus.

To do what is right, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God will always require love which always requires forgiveness. Forgiveness is probably the biggest obstacle that keeps us from walking in the Light of His Love. Love always requires forgiveness beginning with Jesus Christ. He forgave us of every sin that we ever committed on that Cross enabling us to enter the Presence of God once more and enjoy a right relationship with God the Father once more. We must forgive to love. Forgive those who left us. Forgive those who let us down. Forgive those who just don’t understand. Forgive all the users and abusers. Forgive ourselves. This opens the roadways of love in our life so we are free to walk in the Light of His Love every day and in every step. To keep walking in love will require that we love Jesus more than anyone else and that we love everyone else more than we love us. This creates and promote the fullness of joy and peace that passes all understanding in our life. We no longer are interrupted by what goes along the side of the road but remain focused on the Highway of Holiness that leads us home day by day and step by step.

John 13:34-35 (NLT)

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.

 

To be disciples of Jesus Christ and prove to be Children of God – we must walk in love. Every single day in all our ways with each step and every single breath, we must be love at all times.

John 8:12 (NLT)

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

 

To find live and have abundant life requires that we become Children of the Light no longer walking in darkness again. God’s Word is a light for our feet. (Psalm 119:105) Faith becomes confident hope when His Word proves to be true in our life. Do not be distracted by what is going on to the right or the left but get focused on what lies ahead for you that God has planned and prepared for those who seek Him wholeheartedly. (Jeremiah 29:1-13) It is a good plan with a future and hope reserved for those who get up and walk. It remains the hope of those who keep walking through the wind, rain and storms of life never once taking their eyes off Jesus Christ. Walk in His Love today. Walk in the Light. Do what is good. Love mercy. Walk humbly with our God!

Hosea 14:9 (NLT)

Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.

My Provider – A Devotion

My Provider

Philippians 4:19 (NLT)

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

 

How many times in our moment of need have we declared this trusted Word of God over our life? Suffering from dissatisfaction or discontentment, it is our mantra to remind ourselves that God is our Provider. But really this is not our personal testimony, but rather the words of Paul concerning his own life experience. He starts out by saying, “This same God who takes care of me will…” There is no doubt that God has the ability and wherewithal to supply everything that I need from His Glorious Riches. The Word of God clearly states that it is my covenant right and inheritance in Christ Jesus. But I am afraid that many will never find such satisfaction as that which is called contentment simply because they do not know how to access the provision of God and live in His Glorious Standard.

Romans 3:23 (NLT)

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

 

There is no upper or middle class in God’s Kingdom. There are no places of poverty such as slums or projects. There is one standard for all. It is God’s Glorious Standard. I believe that our standard of living on the earth can match that of Heaven for those who call on Jesus Christ to be their Savior and Lord. It is my understanding that such a revelation and commitment offers the Keys to God’s Kingdom. Those who have keys to my house have access to all that is mine. God’s House and His Kids are no different. My children have access to my home even after they have grown up and moved away. If they need anything, they know that it is here for them. All that I have belongs to them if they need it – all they must do is ask for it. As parents, we will do all that we can to meet their need. Sin is a violation in any relationship causing separation. If my child were to defy my trust, steal from me, or come and misuse that which I would freely give – then access to all that is mine might be denied. Sin did just that in our relationship with the Father. He created us and recorded every single moment of our life at that time. In doing so, He knew exactly what we would need to live a life to His Glory. He provided it in that moment including the perfect sacrifice to restore a right relationship between us. We have access to our Provider if we are willing to go where He is.

Genesis 22:13-18 (NLT)

Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” Then the angel of the Lord called again to Abraham from heaven. “This is what the Lord says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.”

God’s Provision is found in the complete sacrifice of our life and newfound freedom to Jesus Christ. It is how we regain access to all that belongs to Him. It raise our standard of living from the impoverished state of this life to the Glorious Standard of God’s Kingdom. For many who are saved, there life will begin to change for the better as they make better choices. This is definitely a good thing but not necessarily a God thing. You will never know if your faith in Jesus is genuine or if our Love for God pure without being tested. The true potential of our new life in Jesus Christ I found in complete surrender of all we are to fully accept all that He is. Less of me and more of Him. I must decrease so the Lord can increase in my life. Abraham was a friend of God. He was a righteous man who truly loved the Lord. When his son, his only son, the one he waited a hundred years for was required, Abraham headed straight to the mountain of sacrifice. What is the Lord requiring of you today? Are you willing to give it? Until in the midst of all other options, we are willing to say, “Lord, I choose you.” We will never experience the peace, love and joy of His Presence in our life. The place of provision in our life is the place of sacrifice. Why? Not because God wants anything that we have or to punish us in any way but simply to know that we will withhold nothing from Him. This is the intention to love overflowing from our heart. Even in the face of great loss, we are still satisfied, content and following Jesus Christ.

I am not Abraham. In no way do I feel that my righteousness or faith is equal to this Mighty Man of God, but I watch him. I read about him. I have identified with him in our journey with our son and his battle against cancer. I had to decide if I would continue to follow Jesus Christ or run off like a crazy person in the midst of fear, disappointment and grief. My faith had to grow from sprints to more of a marathon. My hope had to be in God alone to get through the last three years. I had to decide if my son did die in this process, would I still love and trust the Lord My God? This is what it means to give all of who I am for all that He is. Thank God, He has not required the same of me as Abraham. Thank you Lord for pressing me, encouraging me and teaching me to love you more by giving more of my life to you! God blesses those who withhold nothing from Him. It may appear to be a mountain of sacrifice you are climbing when really it is the Place of Provision and Blessing you are about to enter in.

I Timothy 6:3-10 (NLT)

Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life. Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions. These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy. Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

Live a godly life. This is how we obtain open access to the Kingdom of God and all His Provision. Jesus Christ is the Gatekeeper. He opened the gate and carefully watches over all comings and goings. There are wolves among the sheep who preach and teach a prosperity gospel that does not include sacrifice but pure selfishness. We read the scripture “love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” out of context. Anything we love more than God is an idol in our life and the root of evil. If your life is consumed with acquiring cash and resources in a natural sense, it becomes our God. Even if it stems from a sense of entitlement created by misused Word or ill-planted seeds. To serve the Lord to have more is not going to result in the life you are after. In the Kingdom, less is more. When the “stuff” God gives us means less than the overflowing abundance of our heart – you will have more.

When our son was diagnosed with cancer, it culminated in costly medical treatments, medications and endless doctor visits including hospital stays. The insurance company who is our provider approved the treatment and everything was fine. When we exhausted conventional treatment to enter the “realm of hope” as the doctors would deem it, the insurance decided to stop paying for treatment calling it experimental. They indicated that if he had cancer again they would treat it but not allow him to have a procedure that was showing great promise in long term remission. We were denied multiple times and exhausted all appeals. We began to look for other avenues of treatment and ways to finance his care. Nothing. For months, I fought and fought to essentially “save his life” only to find out that this world has put a price on human life. It is possible to have a treatment in one hand but if there is no cash in the other it can be withheld. I will never forget the day that I gave up. It was in my office at work with the door shut and blinds closed on all the windows. After hanging up with the finance director at the hospital, I just broke. My words were simply this…”God I put Brenan in Your Hands. I have done all that I can do. You have to do the rest.” The next day, I received the call that his treatment was approved and would begin immediately. Everyone involved was stunned. No one really knows how it all changed in an instant…but I do. I discovered over this past year that money cannot change my life. The currency of the realm of hope is righteousness. Faith in God demonstrates our righteousness. We must exhaust our desire and end our thirst for money as a means to an end to fully pursue Jesus for Himself not for His Riches in Glory. Divine cash does not look like the American dollar or any other manmade money. It is blessing, honor and glory that the Father gives His Children providing for their every need in their choice to live a godly life.

I Timothy 6:11-12 (NLT)
But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.
Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.

 

But you, ___________, are a man (woman) of God so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a Godly life. This is the meaning of life and to choose a new provider. Our son underwent a bone marrow transplant and is recovering miraculously. Our family is experiencing peace and overwhelming joy. I am blown away by the Goodness of God that is evident in our everyday life that was long taken for granted. The Light of His Love is always leading us to His Promise. (Exodus 13:21-22) Our supply comes from an everlasting kingdom and attentive God who listens for His Children and waits for them to come so He can bless them. God will not give you anything that potentially will separate you from His Love. Even if it means that you may not have an endless cash supply, you will have everything you need and then some according to His Word.

2 Corinthians 9:7-11 (NLT)

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.

Generosity is the act of sowing what God has given us. What has God given you? Give it back. You can never out give God. We have time, talent and treasure that can be used to promote the Kingdom of God. Selfishness indicates that we are withholding some part of our life from the Lord. God is generous and will supply all you need. If you aren’t using what you have properly, He is not going to give you more just to have it and create a false sense of security. The season of life that our family has just endured has blessed me more than I could ever share with you in words. I do not worry like I used to. I do not fret over bills and money as I once did. I do not give in the weight of my burden but have learned to keep pressing it into the Hand of God so that I can continue to worship Him with my life. This used to be such a struggle and from time to time I am on the brink of giving in again but now more than ever I know that God will supply all my needs according to His Riches in Glory when I choose to raise my standard of living in Jesus Christ. You and I decide what we give to God and what we withhold from Him. If our lifestyle or current economic status never changed, would you still bless the Lord and serve Him well? May we all learn to give more and want less today in our pursuit of that which is everlasting and forever! Lord, may we be satisfied in you!

John 10:10 (NLT)

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Am I For Real? – A Devotion

Am I For Real

I Peter 1:6-8 (NLT)
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.

Is your faith genuine? Is it real? Is it manmade or God-Inspired? It is important to know if one is authentic in their relationship with Jesus Christ or simply practicing counterfeit religion. Imagine paying thousands of dollars for a diamond, then upon appraisal finding out it is just a piece of meticulously cut glass. Would you be upset? Would you demand your money back? Of course, you would. Christians struggle with the value of true salvation because they did not pay the price. It was not their son or daughter hanging on a Cross nailed by their hands and feet bloody and beaten that absorbed the high price of everyone’s sin so how could we possible comprehend the true value and exorbitant worth of such a sacrifice. It is no sacrifice for us at all but a gift given in unfailing love and overwhelming grace. No wonder we take God for granted. We did not pay the price so there is no cost to produce value in our life. It is up to you and I to get to know Jesus Christ and truly understand the price that was paid on the Cross for us. In doing so, we will begin to comprehend the vast love of God for His Beloved Children and the price that was paid for our salvation. This enables us to go through the trials of life in persistent pursuit of faith by fiery trial and claiming confident hope in our deepest desperation.

The word “synthetic” popped up in the news headlines today. A father on “synthetic” drugs murders his five children, drives them across several states in his SUV, and dumps their little bodies in the woods. I looked up the word “synthetic” in a vain attempt to distract my mind from something so heinous. Synthetic means manmade. It is a counterfeit reproduction of the real thing. It is not real or genuine instead artificial, feigned or counterfeit. This is the world in which we live. No longer willing to wait for anything – everything has a quick counterfeit. We do not want to wait on a meal so there are microwave meals. I don’t care what you say – you forsake taste for time saving substitutions every day. We do not want to endure the process so we create a substitution, but then do not understand why we cannot be satisfied. Life is a process. It is an opportunity to enter the process of faith that becomes confident hope. However, since it is not manmade but according to God’s Plan there are no substitutions even though we have tried to create some. Where are the genuine people today? The father in the headlines had never displayed any violence against his children and was described as a good father. He is not the only one who “has gone mad”. Every day the headlines express unthinkable acts of violence that once would only happen among strangers. Love is growing cold. The hearts of fathers have turned from the children. Sin is rampant. We need genuine faith if we will ever turn our hearts back to the Lord and receive His Inexpressible Joy once again. “He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.” (Luke 1:17) This is a part of the description of the life of the John the Baptist spoken to his father, Zechariah. I believe God is calling us to the commitment to Christ that John had before he even knew the Lord. He had not met the Lord face-to-face but called men and women to genuine faith demonstrated in authentic belief. The Holy Spirit calls us to the same today.

Job 2:2-4 (NLT)

“Where have you come from?” the Lord asked Satan. Satan answered the Lord, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.” Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil. And he has maintained his integrity, even though you urged me to harm him without cause.” Satan replied to the Lord, “Skin for skin! A man will give up everything he has to save his life.

“A man would give up everything he has to save his life”. Would he now? If your life was required of you today, how far would you go to save it? If the one requiring it of you, promised you could live if you denied Christ would you do it? This is not meant to instill fear in the heart of anyone but allows us to examine the innermost parts of our heart if only in theory. Remember, Peter didn’t think he would give up on Jesus even offering to die with him. But when he was sitting in the courtyard with the other people, he denied the Lord not once or twice but three times. What about Job? First the enemy took everything that he had from him including all his children. Job was found to be a man of integrity with his heart set on God. So he asked for another go at the man physically – Job remained firm in his faith in the Lord. If you think for a second that the enemy stopped with Job, you are wrong. He is the accuser of the brethren just waiting for a crack at you and I. What will remain of our faith when a fiery trial consumes us? What will happen when our whole world falls apart and all that we have left is our hope in Christ? Job was found to be a man of integrity. What will our testimony be?

James 1:19-25 (NLT)

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

Genuine faith is the product of a process. It is daily submitting our life to the power and authority of Jesus Christ choosing to turn our entire being over to the Lord accepting His Word, Will and Way as our directive. Faith in God requires something of us. It is not a spoken commitment but a life’s calling. Faith creates the foundation on which we live, breathe and move until Christ returns. It is developing a relationship not a religion. It is to look at the gift we have been given to appraise its value and worth. Only then will we consider the cost as we lay our life down at the foot of the Cross. Otherwise it is just like every other counterfeit that we have impatiently accepted rather than waiting for the real thing. The Word of God not only reveals God’s Love for all mankind pointing to Jesus Christ the Author and Finisher of our faith but tells us how to develop our faith into confident hope. It shows us how to live a life of authenticity that the world can see and follow as well. “Otherwise, you are fooling yourselves. You see yourself, walk away and forget what you look like.”

I have a confession to make. I have no idea what my natural hair color is. There may even be gray mixed in there after all these years. Somewhere in my thirties, I decided to “enhance” my natural color with synthetic hair dye which has continued into my late forties. I am really not that concerned and will continue to highlight and color my hair. But it has made me think of the man (or woman) in the mirror who looks back at me each day. Are there areas of my life that are not genuine? If you carefully look at the roots of my hair, you will begin to see the new growth of my hair. It is here that you see a hint of what color my hair really is. As a believer, this is how I determine just how genuine my faith is. Am I growing? What is my life producing for Christ? Is there any good thing coming from the harvests in my life? If not, Lord show me the areas of my life that lack spiritual integrity. Change me. Renew me. Restore me and revive me again by your Spirit! When hints of my natural color start to overcome my color, it’s time to get my hair dyed again. When my old nature begins to overtake the growth process of God in my life, it is time to be washed in the Word, and covered in His Blood once again. Rinse and repeat as many times as it takes to be genuine in faith and authentic in our hope. Finally, God make me more conscious of my inner man and the new creation that I am called to be then my outward appearance and momentary struggles.

Romans 12:9-18 (NLT)

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Pretend love is a real problem in the world we live in. Love has grown cold just as Jesus predicted and mankind is desperately in search of real love. Many are victims of love grown cold ranging from the heartbroken to those who have lost their lives at the hands of a loved one. It is a heinous representation of the work of the enemy which has caused us to pretend to love each other rather than really doing something with this great love given to us by Jesus Christ. The time has come to reevaluate the Body of Christ and discover real love all over again. Everything that Jesus Christ did for us was motivated by His Love for us. Anyone who tries to follow His Example without true love will fail. “Pure and genuine religion is caring for one another and refusing to let this world corrupt you.” (James 1:27) We have let the world into the church and it is time to bid it goodbye with all of its counterfeit and substitutions. It is time for real love to flow through the hearts and minds of believers once again attaching our life to Jesus Christ as we develop confident hope that is representative of true and genuine faith in God through His Son. We must be real in our commitment to the Lord and stop bringing Him what is left of our life rather than tying our lives to His Altar each new day. Only real and genuine faith in Christ allows us to live with Him forever.

2 Corinthians 13:5 (NLT)

Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you ; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.

I will take this opportunity called today to examine my heart and mind for genuine faith. I will test myself to make sure that His Spirit is in control of my life and not my only sinful self. It is important to know that everything I do is in accordance with Jesus Christ not because I have to but it is my profound privilege to surrender my life to Him. I am free to live how I want but I choose to live in the shadow of the Cross. I want my faith to be memorable (2 Timothy 1:5) not because I have it but because Jesus gave it to me. It is the hope that I hold onto. I must strive to know what true love is. It is found only in faith in God through Jesus Christ. I have to know Him more…

Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

At the Cross – A Devotion

At the Cross

Mark 8:34-38 (NLT)

Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

 

One of my favorite worship songs is “Forever” by Kari Jobe. On the Bethel album, “You Make Me Brave” before she talks about the Cross where Jesus died. She says, “Don’t you love the Cross. Are you thankful for the Cross?” She goes on to talk about what Jesus did when for us when He gave His Life on the Cross creating access for us to return to God and worship Him “forever”. In this brief reminder, I am taking back to the Cross. Yes, I am thankful for the Cross. The prelude makes me consider what Jesus did for me all over again. Why don’t we talk about the Cross anymore? I know it seemed barbaric and heinous as it surely was but without the Cross I have no reason to rejoice. There is no salvation outside of the Sacrifice of the Son of God. I challenge everyone reading this today to think about the Cross. Make your mind, heart and soul reconsider the Gift given that day when Jesus died brutally to wipe away our sin allowing us to enter the Presence of God once more. You cannot follow Christ any other way but by the Cross. You cannot be saved without a visit to the Cross. You cannot take up your own cross without fully accepting all that was accomplished that day because otherwise righteousness is a futile effort on our part as we will never see God. The world doesn’t want to consider the Cross because it tells the end from the beginning. People do not like to talk about the Cross because it requires surrender. The church stopped talking about the Cross under the pressure of the world and people. I invite you to meet me at the Cross today.

 

“Aren’t you thankful for the Cross?” When Miss Jobe asked this question and I heard it for the first time, I had to stop and think about it. I haven’t heard the Cross mentioned much lately. Had I forgotten about it? If only for a second, it called me to repentance. I should thank the Lord daily for the Cross about the time I go to claim the new mercy that is left for me as a product of His Grace and Unfailing Love. How could I not be thankful for the moment that death lost all power in my life? This saved not only my life from certain death due to my own sin, but has filled me with hope as cancer has relentlessly pursued the life of our child. Jesus said, “No!” He has the Power and Authority to do so because at the Cross after He died for our sin, His Reward would be such. Everything I need to live a godly life walking in victory after victory is found by way of the Cross. How could I forget? Have you forgotten?

 

Philippians 2:5-11 (NLT)

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up his divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

You can never have the same attitude as Jesus Christ had if you do not understand the significance of the Cross on which He died for you. My kids hate to take medicine especially my youngest one. I dread when she needs cough and cold medicine because it is going to be a fight every single time. Overwhelmed with congestion and a nagging cough keeping her from sleep as her mother I insist that she take a small cupful of the purple liquid because I know it will relieve her symptom allowing her to rest peacefully through the night aiding the healing process in her body. She will pretend that she is no longer ill. Or she will jump in her bed and pretend to be asleep. You would think I am torturing her with paint thinner or turpentine rather than giving her something that will help her. However, when she finally relents her ravings and gives in within a short time she is quietly breathing, the coughing is over and she drifts off to sleep. Now that she is older and a bit more mature, she may still pose an argument but she is more ready to meet me at the medicine cabinet now that she understands what the medicine is for and what it can do for her. When we understand that importance of the Cross, the Power of the Blood and the Passion of Jesus Christ for His People, only then can we ever begin to offer our body, mind and soul back to the Lord as an offering. Jesus gave up His Divinity to come and save our soul. His Love offers relief that cannot be found anywhere else in this world. It gives us the ability to have love, joy, peace and a satisfied soul that will begin to prosper. Humble obedience to God begins at the Foot of the Cross following the example of His Precious Son who died to give us access to God in the first place. We must learn to live at the Cross!

 

Acts 2:22-24 (NLT)

“People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.”

 

Perhaps, we avoid the Cross at the realization that it is where we (I) took the life an innocent man. How can I look at the beaten, bruised, battered, bleeding and dying body of the Lord without some realization of my responsibility? You can’t hence our discomfort. God publically endorsed the Life of His Son Jesus by doing powerful miracles, wonders and signs through Him. The same things that Jesus said that His People would continue to do long after He ascended into Heaven and released His Spirit to all mankind. Where are the signs, miracles and wonders of today? Every single empowerment of God was released through Christ when He gave up His Spirit releasing Him to live in us. You will never have the wherewithal to publicly endorse the Lord with your life until you have met Him at the Cross and decided that it was for you that He died.

 

Matthew 27:45-54 (NLT)

At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, ema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.” Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

 

I downloaded the “You Make Me Brave” album before leaving home to be with our son for his bone marrow transplant. I did not listen to any of the songs on it just a few excerpts but knew that God sent it to me for my time of need. That time would come sitting at his bedside as his body began to decline after four days of round-the-clock chemotherapy. His six-foot frame curled up in a tiny hospital bed with twelve lines flowing through two IV pumps to sustain his body. He was not moving. He was not talking or cracking dry jokes as is his nature. No headset for Xbox. He was not eating. His skin frail and pale. It was in that moment that I remembered the praise and worship music that I had added to my playlist and turned it on. I needed to remember that I was not alone because right at that moment I felt like it. That is the first time that I heard Miss Jobe ask me the question, “Are you thankful for the Cross?” It felt as though the Spirit of God was speaking through her voice directly to my heart. “Are you thankful for the Cross?” Tears flowed down my face as I recounted the four separate and distinct times over the last three years that the Lord has healed our son of cancer. Worship filled that room for the rest of the night. Nurses peered through the window as they walked by more than normal as I lifted my hands with tears streaming down my face and journeyed back to the Cross. It saved my life. Now it saved my son’s life. Like the Roman officer, I believe that “this man truly is the Son of God.” I found Him at the Cross where He is reminding me that all things are possible if I only believe in the Gift that He offers there and choose to surrender my life at the Cross daily!  

 

Matthew 16:15-19 (NLT)

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

 

Before the revelation of the Roman officer at the Cross on that day, there was a man named Peter who understood not by what was going on around him but what God was doing in him that Jesus was “the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” He didn’t see the heavens open, the curtain split from top to bottom, the tombs open or dead people come back to life. Yet Peter still knew that this was the Son of the Living God. Peter would witness the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ firsthand with the foreknowledge that this was the Messiah. Jesus was the Son of God. We must come to the Cross with the same belief and put our faith in what the Lord did for us on the Cross not one time but all of the time. We must talk about the Cross. We must live at the Cross. We must be thankful for the Cross. This is the Source of our power as believers and the only thing that will change our life forever.

 

I Corinthians 1:18 (NLT)
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.

 

Anyone who does not understand the significance of the Cross enough to talk about it and point others to it is headed for destruction. If your church does not talk about the Cross, find a new church because the one you are going to is faithless and baseless. The Power of God was released at the Cross when Jesus died for our sins. We are to be thankful for it. We are talk about it. We are to live at the foot of the Cross every day. It is our only hope of a brand new life.

 

Galatians 5:24-25 (NLT)

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

 

I belong to Jesus Christ. He has given me a place to nail my sin, passions and evil desires that are attributes of my sinful nature so that the fruit of my Spirit will prosper in my life. Tired of dragging around all that baggage from life interrupted and unexpected, meet me at the Cross. Reacquaint us Lord with the Power of the Cross and the potential that we find there. To live by the Spirit is by way of the Cross. Let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives which begins at that Cross! “Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ.” (Galatians 3:1-2) Do not let the enemy rob you of a single blessing found at the Cross today by tricking you into believing that there is any other source of power by which to be saved or changed. There is Power in the Blood of Jesus Christ. There is potential at the Cross where He died. It is where every promise begins and prophecy fulfilled over your life. Are you thankful for the Cross today? I know that I am!

 

John 12:31-32 (NLT)

The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” 

Always Enough – A Devotion

Always Enough

Philippians 4:11-13(NLT)

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

 

Are you content today? Do you have enough? Is your life filled with balance? The equal distribution of every care, worry and burden on Jesus Christ will offer an equilibrium to our life like never before yet we strive to maintain control in the chaos of this world. Why? What is so great about discontentment, dissatisfaction and discord that causes mankind to thrive on its drama? We have a Savior and Lord who offers to carry every burden and shoulder our concerns but we feel far better suited for such an endeavor that we ignore His Offer to find rest. (Matthew 11:28)

 

I am beginning an online business. It is a clothing store. It is from this revelation that we always have enough that I am filling it with the surplus of our closets. Having three daughters and being a woman myself, I have made the claim on many days of “having nothing to wear.” This is a shameful lie if one had a momentary glimpse of an overstuffed closet filled to the brim and running over on my poor husband’s side. It is not that I do not have sufficient clothing to wear but lack satisfaction in my choices. There are some things that I cannot wear any longer because the clothing no longer fits and there other articles I choose to wear because they are no longer desirable. God is evident in every area of our life and can even be found buried in the midst of unwanted clothing in my closet. It was in this moment of revelation that I have discovered that the Lord provides everything that I need in my life if I am willing to reconcile Him with every area of my life. Yes people, even in my closet. It’s crazy how the Lord works in our life. He will take a natural need and fulfill it with supernatural revelation that opens our eyes to the real, true picture of His Provision and Promises in our life. I live in the Favor and Goodwill of God. There are times when discontentment and dissatisfaction overshadow this image of God’s Goodness and Grace so I must achieve balance in my life once more. How? I reconcile my life back to Jesus Christ because He is always enough!

 

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NLT)

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

God’s Grace is always enough for me. It is all that I need to experience His Power working in my life. It is in my weakness that this becomes evident. I am learning to find comfort and peace when I am at the end of my rope because it is there that I finally accept His Mercy, Grace, Goodwill and Favor in my life. The moment when I decide to step out of childhood ranting of “I do it myself” to maturity speaking “all that I am is Yours Lord.” I am not sure that I will ever “take pleasure” in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions or troubles but I know that I will take pleasure in Jesus Christ. He is my satisfaction. He is my contentment. This is not the ravings of inexperience but of someone who went faced with all these at once found that His Grace was indeed sufficient for me. The greatest part of that is once the Lord fills our doubt with faith it makes our foundation stronger. Once He comes to our rescue once, we expect Him to do it again. There are many things in my natural life that I have literally begged the Lord to take away, but what He did instead would change me forever. He gave me His Grace to endure the hardship or trouble to find full satisfaction and contentment in His Provision, Promise and Plan. The Lord offers completion when we cry out for compromise. He loves us too much to settle for anything less than our full satisfaction even when we are willing to settle for sloppy seconds. The Lord came to give us full satisfaction and He intends for us to have it. It begins with His Grace that keeps us in place until His Blessing comes.

 

John 10:10 (NLT)

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

 

Jesus Christ came so that we could have full satisfaction. The enemy of our soul wants to keep this from us at all costs. Welcome to the world we live in. It is driven by supply and demand that fosters envy and callous want in the heart of mankind who will stop at nothing to feed the leeches who cry more, more. My grandparents had a statute in their house. It was an antique rendering of a boy concerned over a splinter in his foot. He sat poised in a small niche carved in the wall over their fireplace for as long as I can remember. When my grandfather passed away and my grandmother was selling the house, my aunt decided to look into the value of the statue going as far as the Smithsonian for an answer. To tell you the truth, I have no idea what the worth turned out to be because for all the years that my grandparents had it and people debated his worth, the statue brought them contentment right where he was in the niche. This is a full representation of my grandparents in one simple story. They were content. Married for 70 years when my grandfather passed away – they found contentment in each other. Never having a credit card to their name or paying a single cent of interest – they were content with what they had. The basis of all this was Jesus Christ. They formed and fashioned their life together on the Lord and reaped the benefit of true contentment. They are a lesson to us all.

 

I Timothy 2:5-6 (NLT)

For, there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.

 

We have just come through a long season in our life, our son who has battled cancer for three years just underwent a bone marrow transplant. It took a miracle to get him through it but God did it as He has done four times before. Cancer has not changed our family. The faithfulness of Jesus Christ that I have found every step of the way has changed me forever. Now I am looking for all those things that He has promised me that I have long taken for granted. Reassessing my life, I have discovered that I have more than enough to be satisfied and content with my life just as it is. As I look around with eyes wide open rather than blinded by discontentment and want, it becomes evident that the Lord has been with us providing more than enough for us for years and years. We live in a surplus of His Grace, Mercy and Love. True freedom is discovered in godliness not because God changes how He provides or what He is doing but rather our Spirit identifies EVERYTHING the Lord has been doing all along. Reconciling our life to Jesus Christ is full acceptance of His Total Satisfaction. Such a life on contentment offers the fruit of His Spirit to full develop and nourish our soul so that we will be complete lacking no good thing just as He promised.

 

I Timothy 6:6-8 (NLT)

Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.

 

True godliness with contentment makes us wealthy. Such wisdom will change our life forever just as Jesus promised. Contentment comes with a price. It is called complete surrender. When we give all that we are to have all that He is – we exchange unhealthy and unbeneficial desires for the things of this world to fully embrace the joy and peace found in Jesus Christ. He is our satisfaction. But this is not an impoverished position, it is the opportunity to see the true wealth all around us long taken for granted while we pursued “more”. Jesus is more than enough. He has supplied every need that we have according to His Riches in Glory even offering us the means of acceptance by way of the Cross. Beware of anyone who implies that God’s Grace is possible ignoring Jesus, turning our back on the Cross or finding our own way. It’s a trap to keep us from full satisfaction and total contentment found only in Jesus Christ – our Savior and Lord. Let us be content today, Lord! Open our eyes in the Spirit to see the Favor you have surrounded us with. Let us not take for granted that you are a Good God who gives us more than we think to ask for available when we reconcile our life to You through Your Son, Jesus Christ.

 

Proverbs 3:1-3 (NLT)

My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart. If you do this, you will live many years, and your life will be satisfying. Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.

Changed – A Devotion

Changed

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NLT)

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

 

Our family is in a season of change. The oldest three children are all now adults. Two sons have moved out of our home to pursue life on their own. The great danger surrounding our son’s health has been adverted. Our oldest daughter will soon be married. We are left with just two kids in the house who prefer to be out and about as much as possible. I feel the Holy Spirit whispering “change is coming”. My hands and heart make a feeble attempt to embrace the days ahead but it is precarious to hold on the unknown. I am no longer satisfied with just getting by. The weakness that I have found in human strength compels me to be led, driven and empowered by the Holy Spirit more than ever. His Promise is that when I am weak – He becomes my strength. Now that I have experienced such an effort by my Lord, I want more of the sufficiency of His Grace. The change is coming from the inside of me and I must be sure to welcome it around me as well. The Lord is the Spirit. I know sometimes it is difficult to understand the Trinity of God and the three images as one. My freedom depends on my ability to live by the Spirit of God. I want my life to reflect the Glory of the Living God who is inside of my heart, mind and soul. I want His Goodness and Grace to permeate my life in such a way that others will want to know Him and be changed, too.

 

Hebrews 13:8 (NLT) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

 

It has become clear that life is unpredictable. Just when everything seems to be under control, chaos strikes in an instant. The only thing that is constant in my life is Jesus Christ. He lives in me. Therefore, I can live according to His Constancy. This is not an outward change but inward resolve. The storms of life will come. Change is imminent. The more that we attach ourselves to Christ and attempt to align our life with His Way – the more that this is true. If Christ does not change, then it must be our role in this relationship. Pride tells us don’t do it. Human nature refuses to submit. Calling on Jesus Christ as Savior includes making Him our Lord to complete the process of divine intervention in our life. Jesus is not just here to clear up yesterday, or even help us through today, but His Presence wants to change and improve our forever. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6) I cannot make it to God but through Him. I must change and make Him constant in my life.

 

Malachi 3:6 (NLT)

“I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.”

 

Lord, forgive me for all the times I half-heartedly study your Word. Thank you for Your Grace that presses me until I get the point. “I am the Lord (God) and I do not change.” I have read this passage a thousand times. It points to a rigid, unmoving personality until you read the rest of the scripture attached. “That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.” God’s Love for me never changes. It doesn’t matter what I have done. God created me with the express purpose that I would be His Child. He has made sure that I could be just that. He is a loving father filled with compassion and mercy even though I have rebelled so many times. No, God does not change. But this is not a harsh statement but rather a commitment of love. “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) When we are changed by the consistency of God’s Love for us which happens by faith that produces confidence in such a thing, our life will change because our hearts are aligned with God rather than being wary of Him. I am God. He does not change. Thank you Lord for loving me with such consistency that I know everything will work together for my good. (Romans 8:28) It is all about God’s Love for us. It is constant. It belongs to us.

 

Deuteronomy 30:6 (NLT)

“The Lord your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live!”

 

It’s funny to me that when I know change is coming that I strive to change things around me. It is preparation for something that I have no power to control yet I try to make it as comfortable as possible. God has promised to change my heart. He will teach me to love Him with all my heart and soul so that I can live. As I learn to embrace change, it does not become any easier but more of a resolve. When the sailors faced a storm of greater strength than their vessel or skill, they stopped trying to control it. “The sailors couldn’t turn the ship into the wind, so they gave up and let it run before the gale.” (Acts 27:13-15) In the tumultuous storm that has overshadowed the last three years of our life seems to have given way, I am amazed at the God who I serve. He will allow the storm to encircle my life but never overwhelm His Child. I am not a storm-battered vessel barely gimping into shore. I had not become shipwrecked on an island with no hope. But rather as I have surrendered my heart and soul to a power far greater than my own, I have been led to a safe harbor and refuge called His Love. “What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor!” (Psalm 107:30)  

 

Matthew 21:28-32 (NLT)

“But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go. “Which of the two obeyed his father?” They replied, “The first.” Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins.

 

Surrendering our life to Jesus Christ is only the beginning of the transformation process. We call Him Savior because He has saved us from our sin. We call Him Lord because we desire to live in His Kingdom forever. The two roles are partners and neither one can be forsaken. We cannot call Him Savior and forget that He is Lord. We cannot serve Him as Lord without accepting that He is our Savior first. To accept the Full Character of Christ allows His Spirit to come reside in us. I read recently a quote. “Obedience is not our obligation to obey God but rather our choice to love God!” A man told both of his sons to go work in his vineyard. The first one said, “No I won’t go” but later changed his mind and went anyway. The second son, to appease his father, lied and said, “I will go.” But never went as promised. Which one obeyed? The one who changed his mind. We must change our mind to align our thoughts with God. Why? He wants to do more than we could even think to ask for in our life. (Ephesians 3:20) This means most of the time we are not going to see or know what God is doing until the work is finished. We must change our mind to have faith in God first and wait in confident hope. This is what it means to be renewed by being transformed. (Romans 12:2) This life is not for everyone only those who want what God desires for their life enough to invest it wholeheartedly in the things of God and His Kingdom.

 

Jonah 4:1-3 (NLT)

This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”

 

Jonah was mad at God’s Mercy for the people of Nineveh. Jonah did not want to go there from the beginning. When he tried to go to Tarshish, he was swallowed by a whale. He repented and the whale vomited him on a beach. He did what the Lord instructed him to do and there was a revival in Nineveh so God spared the people there. Now the prophet was mad about God’s Mercy. Before pointing a finger at God’s man or even daring to condemn him for his lack of love for the brethren, take a good hard look at your own life for a moment. There are many times when God institutes change in our life in response to our deep desire to know Him more, have His Will and walk His Way that we end up mad just like Jonah. A change in our plans is bound to upset us because it puts in an unknown place. The only way that we will ever embrace the changes that the Lord is making in our life is to have faith and confident hope in Him alone. Change is an inevitable part of our life as we submit all that we are to God’s Plan and Purpose but we still get mad sometimes when it affects us in an uncomfortable way. Change is uncomfortable especially as God brings about more than we could “think” to ask for! Jonah said, “I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.” How many times have we been in the midst of God’s Mercy but because we were mad failed to see its great benefit to us? Change will do that to us. We must learn to fully trust and rely on God’s Plan enough to embrace the change that is all around us!

 

Romans 2:29 (NLT)

No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.

 

I am not a Jew. I am a Child of the Living God. My heart is being changed by His Spirit. Such a life begins on the inside of my heart working its way out. Obedience to God’s Word is not enough unless my heart is circumcised in covenant with the Lord. Circumcision is an Old Testament practice that has moved to an inward process in the New Testament. Baptism takes the place of this rite. But does not exempt our heart from the process. If a man were circumcised in the Old Testament without an inward change it meant nothing. Now we have been given the Holy Spirit to circumcise and change our heart cutting away the flesh to give way to God’s Spirit in us. This inward transformation will result in an outward change if it is truly undertaken. You cannot hide the Light of God’s Love once it takes you over. It is impossible not to talk about what the Lord is doing and seek to do His Will. Circumcision was an act of purification and sanctification before the Lord. God wants to change your heart today. Will you allow Him to do so at the risk of becoming someone else?

 

James 1:16-18 (NLT)

So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.  Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

 

To face and embrace the change that God is producing in our life requires love and obedience on our part. Surrendering our life to the Lord is a process. It is to cut the soul tie to our sinful nature and develop a love story with Jesus Christ. We must work at it continually and be conscious of it always as not to hinder the productivity of God in our life. Knowing that whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from the Father by faith and having confident hope that He who promised is faithful and will deliver makes all the difference in the world. On the elliptical machine, I work to keep my feet moving at a constant pace. I want to build endurance. But from time to time, I will change up my work out and try to change the direction of my feet moving in the pedals. Before I can do so, I must stop the momentum that I have built up and then slowly begin moving in the new direction. My legs ache from the endeavor of stopping and restarting. Sometimes my life in Christ feels the same way. I am going along pretty good. Things are rhythmically moving in step to my own drum. The Lord says, “Hey lets change directions. Go this way.” The process of change is difficult at this point of stopping, changing and restarting.” But the Lord is telling me today to do it because it is worth it. I want to be changed. I do not want to be mad when God throws a curve ball in my life. Holy Spirit rise up in me today so that my faith will become confident in the fact that God is good. He never changes and intends to love me. Keep my heart from failing or becoming fickle in its way! When I change direction on the gym equipment, I must first tell my mind that we are going to do it. I must become determined to make it happen. I must invest all my energy in changing the momentum of my feet. It is the same when it is the momentum of my life. The only difference is that when I am weak – He becomes my strength! If God’s Love does not change and if Christ does not change them change must be a good thing!  

 

Hebrews 6:17-19 (NLT)

God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

Like a Tree – A Devotion

Like a Tree

Psalm 1:2-3 (NKJV)

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.  He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

 

There is this tree. It is in the middle of the parking lot right outside the windows of the gym. When I am using the leg press machine in between intervals – it is quite the eye catcher. It is big and full not limited by the small patch of grass and soil that sustains it. It has the same appearance of a tree that is in the midst of a grand forest or an open field but it is instead surrounded by asphalt and businesses yet it flourishes. In my musings, I hear the Word of God calling for my attention. “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water…” Lord, it’s just a tree. Why should I be like a tree?

 

Psalm 139:14-16 (NKJV)

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your Works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.

 

I was made on purpose. When God created us it was with a divine direction carefully written out and a plan that was firmly established. When the architects and builders came to create the shopping plaza there was nothing here but trees and bushes. When they began to mark the area for construction, someone tied a ribbon around the tree to be saved. The tree in the parking lot was established long before man came to develop his plan in this place. So they marked off an area and built around the tree. When we bought our house, the builder had decided that rather than work around the trees he leveled the property. Right before we moved in, they planted three trees in the back yard that died within a few months. When the trees were dug up, the root balls were still bound in sacks with nowhere to grow. When I was made in secret and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth (like a tree), God had a plan in mind for my life that cannot be interrupted or stopped by mankind unless I move from His Plan to pursue my own way. A tree does more work underground then what we see above it. We must strive to remain established in God’s Plan to not only survive but thrive. We must make it our goal in life to not be moved from a foundation of faith to any other place. If we are successful, we will be successful.

 

Matthew 7:24-27 (NKJV)

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

 

The tree in the parking lot has a good foundation. The space around it well-preserved it is higher than the asphalt all around it. While adding visual appeal, it also allows room for the root system to remain firmly in place. The foundation of our life is faith. We must have a good footing in that foundation to survive the storms of life. Prosperity is an outward expression of an inward working. Without faith it is impossible to please God! (Hebrews 11:6) Without the Plan of God working in our life, true prosperity will not happen. I am not talking about it like the cheap gospel beings sold among mega churches today. I am talking about prosperity as our soul prospers. (3 John 1:2) Just as filthy and unsightly as the soil around the roots of the tree was my sin until Jesus Christ died on a Cross made of wood. His Blood poured out so that I could not just survive but thrive in this place I have been planted. So forgive me if I offend you talking about a brutal death, bloody picture, and graphic repentance but without them I have no foundation to live past my mortal days to see My God in His Glory. Faith begins with Jesus Christ. It is established through salvation. There is only One Way – His Name is Jesus. It is in Him that I live, breath and move. I must move my entire life to this foundation! It is on this rock that my hope is found. A hope that will never lead to disappointment. (Romans 5:5)

 

John 7:37-39 (NKJV)

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

 

Around the tree, hidden in the bushes surrounding it, is an underground sprinkler system that waters it. Each night there is a timer that turns on the automatic sprinkler system that sprays the tree and plants around it. Jesus said that if anyone thirsts to come to Him and that their heart would flow rivers of living water. We have a source that will never run dry. It doesn’t matter where we end up in this life, we can always count of the Lord to keep “living water” running through us. Some of the driest seasons in our life is in the midst of the greatest storms. We must learn to breathe in the Holy Spirit and drink in living water to survive no matter what happens in this life. Surely it was not ideal to have every other tree and plant removed from around it though it has no feelings, trees and plants are part of an ecosystem that is co-dependent to survive. We must become co-dependent on Jesus Christ to live through each season of life and prosper in it. We will not taste and see that the Lord is good until we develop an appetite for what Christ has to offer. (Psalm 34:8-10) Those who seek the Lord will lack no good thing. Maybe if you are lacking, thirsty, hungry or barely surviving, it is time to be like a tree and taste the Living Water that comes from a heart set on God!

 

Psalm 92:12-15 (NKJV)

The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

 

The tree in the parking lot made me really think about my place in this life. I know it may seem random to you but I want all of my life to be placed inside of my faith in Jesus Christ. Life doesn’t always turn out the way that we planned it. In most cases, it never turns out the way that we think it will. The only way to insure that we are strong and mighty oaks of righteousness is to plant our life in Jesus Christ. Every single root of our being must be grounded in Him in order to weather every storm. We may lose a few leaves in certain seasons and other times it may feel as if our fruit will never come, but those who remain rooted in the Love of God will prosper in every season because they are not dependent on the elements of this world but the river of living water flowing from their heart thanks to Jesus Christ. We have just come through a season where I find myself patting my life down in awe that we made it through not barely but thriving. Righteousness is not what we do but who we are in Jesus Christ. If we could just focus our time and energy in knowing Him more, loving Him more, and pursuing Him always – we would flourish no matter where we end up and be like a tree…just like that tree planted in the middle of a parking lot!

 

Colossians 2:6-7 (NKJV)

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanks