Life is Beautiful – A Devotion

Life is Beautiful

I Chronicles 16:28-30 (NKJV)

Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples, give to the Lord glory and strength. Give to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth. The world also is firmly established, it shall not be moved.

 

I have a beautiful life. You may not see it from the outside looking in. In fact, the joy and peace that our family has found in our faith in Jesus Christ is somewhat perplexing to onlookers. I believe some may even think that we are a little bit crazy. The beauty that has risen from the ashes of refinement represent those things that had to be removed to save our life and begin the process of true living. I wish I could adequately explain the process that I have gone through over the last three years of battling cancer with our son. I wish I could take people’s eyes off the tragedy of a life interrupted to see the Goodness and Glory of God coming from the Realm of Hope that we have entered. I did not name it that but his doctor’s did about the time modern medicine began to run out of options. His first relapse was in the summer of 2012 which statistically only would give him a couple of years at best. The other relapses significantly reducing his chances of survival dramatically but yet it is two years later, summer is ending and our boy is alive and well. God planned our life to be beautiful. He provided everything that we would ever need to have all of His Goodness. When sin was introduced things changed dramatically as people chose another way other than the one God plotted out. It was in our rebellion and distance from God that all these horrible things like sickness, disease, insanity, and horror precipitating so many tragedies that humanity must face day after day. God shut off access to the Tree of Life so His People would not have to suffer endlessly for their sins. He provided a sacrifice to pay the debt sin leaves behind – His Name is Jesus. God works endlessly and tirelessly to turn every detail of our life back to the good that He designed for it. (Romans 8:28) This beautiful life is worth having but it means that we must pay a price. The evil in this world will one day end forever. The enemy of us all is desperate to take as many of God’s Children a possible like a madman on the loose. If we want the Goodness and Glory of God in our life, we must choose to live in His Presence. This requires a choice. We must learn to worship God in the Beauty of Holiness!

 

Wonder from You Make Me Brace (Bethel)

May we never lose our wonder
May we never lose our wonder
Wide eyed and mystified
May we be just like a child
Staring at the beauty of our King

 

In this worship song from the folks at Bethel called Wonder, we are pointed to the beauty of our King. Do you think He is beautiful? I have five children. They are all individuals with strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes obedient and other times rebellious as is the tendency of all humanity. But when I look at them, I never lose my wonder. From the moment they came into this world even until today, I am amazed by them. They are beautiful to me. They are wonderful to me. I have been married to my husband for more than fifteen years now. I am amazed by him. He is beautiful to me. Even as time changes his appearance, he becomes more lovely to me each day. Why? Why are they beautiful? The beauty that they have comes from the love that I have for each of them. I cannot imagine a day in this life without them. It would break my heart to lose them. I do not like when we are apart even when it is just going about daily life, growing up, getting married, and maturing. I want them close to me. If you will take your love and commitment to your family, now look to the Father – you will get a glimpse of His Intentions for your life. You are beautiful to Him. He loves you more than you love any other person in your life. If we could only discover the true potential of that love, we would live in the wonder of God and never take our eyes off of Him. Like wide-eyed children we would be so mystified that we must keep watching and waiting for what comes next. God is a person. We have never seen Him yet He exists. We must find a place in His Presence and remain there until Jesus Christ comes to take us home. He is coming as a Bridegroom to whisk away His Beloved Bride. Will you be ready when He comes?

 

Revelation 21:1-3 (NKJV)

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

 

We are preparing for the wedding of our first daughter who is to be married in just a couple short months. With all that has been going on with our son, it has been a challenge to stay on top of all the preparations. Obviously, we want her special day to be perfect. Laying in the hospital couch/bed with our son, I have a dream that it was her wedding day and nothing was ready. She stood in her wedding dress but nothing else was prepared as the guests began arriving. I woke up in a cold sweat. Ever since their engagement in January, we have planned and prepared even with the ongoing appointments and medical care of our son. So many distractions, but it is all coming together according to the plan. I say that to say that life is full of distractions and there will always be something in competition for your time and attention. The enemy uses such tactics in the anticipation that when He comes people will be left unprepared for the arrival of the Bridegroom for His Bride. The Spirit says, “Come…” but the church is not ready. (Revelation 21:7) The Lord has provided everything that we need to be His Bride (Isaiah 61:10) but we have tarried in putting it on. We have not prepared for His Coming. We are not ready for His Arrival. “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.” Matthew 25:6-10

 

Ephesians 5:22-24 (NKJV)

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

 

Oh, I can feel the bristling over this verse already. The “S” word is probably one of the most debated in the Word of God. It is not a gender-specific term but rather a covenant promise. To submit means to give over or yield. It is to present for consideration, approval or decision of another. God’s Will for our life is to live in submission to Jesus Christ. He is our Bridegroom. He is the Head of our home and Leader of our life. Beauty is that which gives profound pleasure or deep satisfaction to God. He loves our marriage to His Son through submission. God desires holiness. Consecration means to separate our life from this world and invest it fully in service to God. All of expectations and desires are to be in Christ alone. It is a process of exchanging ashes for beauty. But well worth it in the end. Our daughter and her fiancé are very young. They both were raised in Christian homes. They have never shared a room or bathroom for that matter. Each very independent but now must come together as one. Right now, they are in the euphoria of the fairytale unfolding before them. They have eyes only for each other both willingly giving up their way for the other. When they are married and the reality of covenant comes forth there will be a struggle. Everyone goes through it as we submit our life to God and each other. They will figure it out like all successful marriages do because they are first sold out to Jesus Christ who is the marriage mediator. As long as they seek Jesus first above all things and in all things, it will all work out. It is all part of exchanging our old life for a new life. But in order for their marriage to work, they must submit. We are called to first submit our life to God. (James 4:6-10) We are then to submit to all governing authorities no matter who they are. (Romans 13:1-4) Finally we are to submit to everyone else. (Ephesians 5:16-21) Jesus Christ submitted His Life for all of mankind. We are to follow His Example. How? Why? I don’t want the world to walk all over me. If you want a beautiful life, you must submit it by faith into the careful care of Jesus Christ. You must do what He says to do with confident hope in His Perfect Plan and Promise.

 

Romans 10:2-4 (NKJV)

For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

 

I am very strong-willed to the point of outright stubbornness. I know the Lord must shake His Head all the times I keep ramming my head into a closed door intent on my way not His Way. He flinches each time I make contact and even goes as far to heal my aching head and broken heart. I have a beautiful life because my will is now to have His Will in my life. I had a friend tell me once to submit to my husband. I thought she was crazy until I tried it in my marriage. The results were miraculous. It is not about being right but faithfully believing that the Lord is perfecting all that concerns me even my spouse when necessary enough to keep peace in our home and give way. This works in all our life when we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us. Zeal for God is wonderful but short-lived just as an engagement. Once we are married to Jesus Christ, we must learn to submit our life to Him. All of it. The struggle to submit our life is the hindrance of our promise. The beauty of holiness is found when we submit our life to one another in preparation for our Bridegroom to come allowing nothing to stop us from being with Him forever. The struggle is real. Submission is not a fashionable or favorable term to our sinful nature. But those who yield their life to Christ must surrender it to Him in holiness. God makes a beautiful life in our submission. Who doesn’t want that? The Spirit of the Lord has come with a specific mandate for our life. He is to comfort, console and give us beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, and a garment of praise all of which lends itself to a beautiful life. A life worth having. A life worth sharing with others.

 

Isaiah 61:1-3 (NKJV)

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

Proper Praise – A Devotion

Proper Praise

Psalm150

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness! Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp! Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes! Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord!

 

It’s Sunday! I love today every time it comes around. Ever since I began going to church although not much more for rolling out of bed early, the moment we arrived and the music started something inside me suddenly became alive. In the midst of corporate worship something begins to stir, the atmosphere changes despite the condition of its members and the doors to our heart fly open and for some they encounter Jesus for the first time all week. As a teenager, a group of friends went to a major theme park for a night of worship. Christian bands representing every type of music imaginable set up all over the property and you could wander from about from group to group. In front of a magical castle, I closed my eyes and lifted my hands to the Lord for the very first time. Singing in the midst of so many to a starry sky, it was if we stood in the court of God before His Throne. I didn’t want it to end. But sadly it did, the bands packed up and the park closed but my thirst for such an experience only made me want more. There is something about praising God that changes everything from the inside out. Praise to God takes us out of our ordinary life, momentary circumstances and troubling situations high above the noise of this world to a place that is our refuge and strength. The enemy does not want us to get there because he knows it is where we are set free. We must learn to live in this place and give proper praise to Jesus.

 

What is proper? It is what is fitting and right. The conformed behavior established by certain standards, but we must know what those “standards” are to make our praise proper. Proper is not only a standard but distinction. Our praise in all things in every season throughout our entire life belongs to God. We worship Him for who He is but we praise Him for something different. Worship is not because of anything God does but simply because of Who He is. Knowledge of God is essential to worship Him. It is the very thing that allows us to grow deep and profound respect for Him. If we worship God for who He is, our worship will not change even if our circumstances do because He is our God. The personal revelation of God and Jesus Christ should change how we live based on their divine character and its significance in our life. But praise is different. We can believe in God and Jesus but never surrender our heart and life to them. Praise is the result of God’s Investment in our life. Praise expresses acceptance, approval and admiration of God’s Presence in our life. It is to value what Christ did for us. Respect for God is one thing, but a relationship with Him or falling in love with Him is completely different. We are the Bride of Jesus Christ. We must love Him back to make a successful union. Praise is a product of that love. It is not a legality like worship. “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.” (Philippians 2:9-11) Where is the choice there? Praise is our public and private decision to entrust our life to Jesus giving Him charge over every outcome. It is our commendation of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Praise presents, mentions, and commends the Lord as worthy of confidence. It is the product of His Spirit inside of us. We have been given the freedom to choose who we will give our life to and praise expresses our choice.

 

John 7:37-39 (NLT)

On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!  Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)

 

Jesus promised that “rivers of living water will flow from our heart.” Whose heart? Those who come to Him and anyone who believes.” Why isn’t living water flowing through your life? Are you thirsty? Water needs a source to flow from or one of two things will happen. It will either dry up or grow stagnant. When Jesus left us, He did not leave us alone but gave us His Spirit. As we thirst for more of Jesus, we will pursue Him. Jesus told the woman at the well that true worshippers will worship in Spirit and Truth. (John 4:23) We have the Spirit but many lack the Truth. If praise is an expression of approval and admiration there must be some action that we are endorsing. The Fruit of God’s Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) These attributes and qualities in our life are evidence of the Spirit moving in us. Without living water to nourish and sustain such productivity it will dry up. We must thirst for the Lord. We must satisfy this thirst with more of Him. Nothing else will cultivate His Glory and Goodness in our life so we will have nothing to really base our praise upon. Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit to take His Word and work through our life so that His Promises will come to pass and God’s Purpose will be fulfilled. It is a good plan with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) But as the passage goes on to reflect, we only find the Lord when we seek Him wholeheartedly. It is the only way to release God’s Potential in our life. (Jeremiah 29:13)

 

Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT)

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

 

Proper praise is produced when we live in agreement with God and alignment with Christ. Otherwise, we are approving His Presence in our life. There is no admiration outside of a relationship because we do not have full knowledge. We cannot credibly or convincingly recommend that which we have no knowledge of. I can recommend Jesus as Savior because He saved me. I can recommend Jesus as Lord because He has led me to a better life. I can recommend Him as Healer because Jesus has healed my children of devastating illnesses not one time but six. As I learn to trust in, rely no and turn my life over to the Lord – He produces things in my life that are praiseworthy. In order to continue the cycle of living water rushing through my life, I must fix my thoughts on what is true. His Word is Truth for every believer. It is valid and relevant to our life. Every single thing in it applies to us the modern day believer. I would be cautious of any religion, doctrine or denomination that ignores or excludes as single principle found in His Word. Our thoughts lead to action. As we begin to discover new truth in the Word of God, it acts as two-edged sword exposing those things in us that much change to further live in agreement with God and alignment with Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 4:12) This is not a legality or forfeiture of freedom but acceptance of mercy and grace that allows us to return to God and have His Glorious Standard for our life again. Probably the most important part of this statement is not to just read the Word but “keep putting into practice all you have learned.” Peace with God produces peace in life. Through Christ, we become overcomers not subject to natural outcomes but impossible possibilities. You will commend Christ when He becomes your Savior and Lord because as we surrender our heart and mind to Him our life changes. Living water begins to revive, restore and renew every facet of our life until the Goodness of God is undeniable and His Glory uncontainable until we emit proper praise rising from a full and confident commendation of Jesus to others.

 

Psalm 34:1-3 (NLT)

I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.

 

Proper praise is permanent praise. Praising the Lord is not determined by our circumstances but rather by our commitment. I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast in the Lord. Each statement contains “I will”. We must make such a commitment in our everyday. We must be transformed by the renewing our mind. (Romans 12:2) Our mind must be changed from the thoughts of this world to the thoughts of God. You cannot do that successfully continuing in old ways and practices but must allow God’s Spirit to work His Word, Will and Way through our heart and mind to become in agreement with Christ. This and only this solidifies our commendation of the Lord allowing us to give praise confidently to God rather than just going along with a worship leader or Christian band in a group of others – it becomes the place we live in our everyday life without the lights, music, instruments, or production. Praise is a product of who we become in Jesus Christ changing our attitude and actions to represent our acceptance and approval of the Lord in our life. Moving through Psalm 34, we find these words: “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:8-10) We will never satisfy hunger if we do not eat. We cannot stop thirsting without water. Praise will not flow from our life without constant interaction with the Lord.

 

Psalm 103:1-5 (NLT)

Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

 

Every single thing that I have tried from God’s Word led by His Spirit has worked. Every single time, the Lord has delivered without fail. I wish I could honestly say that I trust the Lord all the time with everything but alas I am only human and fall short time and time again. If I asked you today, “Why do you praise the Lord?” what would you tell me? What has the Lord done for you? The truth is that Jesus has done so much more than we realize that we can go back in time and see Him. He is with us now. Christ is our future. We just need our eyes opened to see and our ears opened to hear. We cannot properly praise a Savior and Lord who we not know. There is no relationship between a bride and groom without intimacy. To properly praise the Lord requires a commitment that goes beyond a few words and hand gestures in church. “Let all that I am praise the Lord with my whole heart” is a desperate, thirsty and hungry cry that moves the Hand of God and Heart of Christ every single time. There are so many good things that the Lord has done we have no knowledge of because we do not recognize Him. There are things that He is doing which we are resisting due to ignorance. There is a future and hope worth having that if we can align, accept and approve Him we will have. Such revelation allows our faith to be turned to confident hope and complaints to confident praise. The Lord is filling my life with good things. I must give Him proper praise!

 

Psalm 5:11-12 (NLT)

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy. For you bless the godly, O Lord; you surround them with your shield of love.

I Am Happy – A Devotion

Smiley Flower Happy!

Proverbs 3:18 (NLT)

Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.

 

God wants me to be happy. I woke up with this thought this morning. He intends for me to have a joy-full life. No really, He does. Encircled by circumstances that may cause one to think that He does not see to look at us favorably, I know deep in my heart and mind that He is working diligently to turn all the details of my life (even the last three years) into something great. He works out the details (good and bad) for my benefit. (Romans 8:28) The Lord perfects that which concerns me. (Psalm 138:8) I love those promises. I have seen them come to pass more so now in the midst of this journey than ever before. How does one become convinced that God is for them? How do you know that He wants to make us happy rather than continued to punish us for our offense? These seem like simple questions to answer when things are going well. The Favor of God is a wonderful thing. But when life is not so gracious, how do we know that God is still pouring out His Grace? This morning it is well beyond dawn. It is dark outside and everything is quite but I know that in a couple of hours the sun will rise up in the sky and Saturday will spring to life all around me. I have no idea what today holds though I know my plans for the day. My confident hope is in the Lord. It remains there. When everything in our life fell apart on that dreadful day almost three years ago when the doctor told us holding back his own tears that our son had cancer, I lost it. Right then and there, the façade of control carefully created by structure and routine fell apart. But God had already built the safety net that would catch me and lift me up again. So, yes, I am happy.

 

Proverbs 8:22-31 (NLT)

“The Lord formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else. I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began. I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters. Before the mountains were formed, before the hills, I was born—before he had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil. I was there when he established the heavens, when he drew the horizon on the oceans. I was there when he set the clouds above, when he established springs deep in the earth. I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth’s foundations, I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence. And how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family!”

 

Time began long before the Bible was ever written and its commentary began. It obviously goes on beyond the Book of Revelation. The complex being who is our God is far more than our simple human minds can ever fully conceive. The things that God does in my own life along tend to blow my mind. So the Word of God is all about that which concerns me. It is my guidebook to the life that God intended for me to have. I did not grow up in church but rather wandered in and out of it. When I was very young, my parents divorced. It was my visits to my grandmother’s class when I would go to Mrs. Strock’s second grade Sunday school class. In my mid-teens, my parents felt the Lord tugging at their heart to come closer so we began attending church once again. That’s when I began to truly discover God’s Love for me, but still struggled with the Word of God. I could understand its diction but not process its divinity. I walked away from the Lord to enter my own wilderness for many years. It was when I finally stumbled across my husband and we united with the intent to be married and know God more that it finally hit me that Jesus had been there all along. I wanted to know Him more. I just didn’t know how. When I surrendered my whole life to Jesus Christ, we faithfully attended church, cleaned up our life, started tithing among other things to demonstrate our faithfulness to God. We became youth leaders. I volunteered at the church when our children were in school. Even though I studied each week to teach those kids the Word of God, I did not hunger for it as I do now. Five years ago, God laid it on my heart to begin blogging my daily encounters with God. I believe now that He was preparing me for the road that was ahead. The Lord knew I needed Him to be the foundation of my life so that I would not just survive this ordeal but thrive in the midst of it. He was right.

 

I do not remember ever seeing this passage at least understanding it in this context before. But I am so glad that I am reading it now. God made Jesus first. Before anything existed, He made His Son. God created everything through His Son. Jesus Christ is the Word of God. He wrapped His Word also known as His Son in flesh so that the Word would come to life for us and humanity could visibly see God’s Love for them. Jesus was not a quick fix but God’s Master Plan to save us from our sin so we could live a happy life. God had the foreknowledge that we would fall victim to sin and that such things as sickness and disease would become its byproduct. Before this world was created, God provided for that moment. The Lord says in this passage, “how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family!” Even before Jesus came to this world, went to the Cross, overcame hell, and ascended to Heaven, He found joy in you and I. Think about that. Knowing the price that He would pay for us to have life, Jesus rejoiced in our creation. (Mind blown yet again but such love!)

 

Proverbs 8:32-35 (NLT)

And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it. Joyful are those who listen to me watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord.

 

The character of Jesus Christ does not allow us to know Him and remain ignorant of His Word. The more that I discovered that the written book of God’s Instruction was ultimately for my benefit, I became interested. Those who know what the Lord is after, His True Intentions, will make every effort to know the Word to find His Favor. Wisdom leads us to the Favor of God. Those who follow my ways are joy full. Such people do not need their situation to change for happiness and contentment to find them because they know it is coming. Confidence in God is strengthened through our faith in Jesus Christ who is the Word of God. The more we know the Word the more we know Jesus. The more that we know Him the more we want the Word. They are the same thing – you cannot have one without the other. It would be like wanting my head and giving away my body. I cannot exist in such a form. When we follow His Way, we have joy. When we listen to His Word, we have peace. When we do what it says, we find His Favor. When we live in anticipation of His Return, we find life. Oh yes, I am happy today and you can be too.

 

Proverbs 15:13-16 (NLT)

A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit. A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash. For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. Better to have little, with fear for the Lord, than to have great treasure and inner turmoil.

 

Are you hungry for knowledge of God today? Hunger is produced by one’s physical need for food in a natural sense. Spiritual hunger is developed by those who taste and see that the Lord is good and decide that He is a daily requirement. When we whet our appetite for the things of God by meeting Him at His Table each day to feast on His Goodness, Grace, Mercy and Love all outlined in His Word – we begin to see what He is doing in our life and take hold of the fact that just because things don’t seem to be going the way that “I” think they should go, doesn’t mean that God is not faithful or uncaring but intent on making me happy! Each morning I spend about two hours with God. I have a full-time job and family not to mention the other added responsibilities with our son and his healing process. I have a home to take care of and daily duties just like everyone else. I go to the gym four or five times a week and even have time here and there to do other things that I want to do. When people ask me where I find the time to study and write, I tell them the truth. I get up two hours early each day. I cannot tell you how many people respond that won’t work for them because quote “I need my sleep.” I didn’t begin getting up two hours early each day – I used to get up thirty minutes early and think it was killing me. That is until I got in the Word on a consistent basis and it came to life in me. My Spirit has taken the Word of God working it all through my life until it became a safety net and trampoline for me. On the days I am crushed and brokenhearted, it catches me in mid decent. His Love catches me and lifts me up in His Word because it tells me what is coming. I gain insight into God’s Plan. He speaks to me through His Word. I am happy! Even in the midst of sorrow and many of them, I always have joy and peace that God is with me and working it all out. I found such truth in His Word. I need Jesus Christ more than I need sleep. Trust me – you do too! It is most definitely better to have little (sleep) with respect for the Lord than to have a long slumber to wake up tired and cold. The more I know Him the more I want of Him. He has given me a happy heart.

 

John 14:27-29 (NLT)

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am.  I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.

 

Are you happy? Do you have joy and peace today? The Lord left it for you. He said, “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart!” Contentment is found in the knowledge of God and His Word – Jesus Christ. If you don’t understand this statement, I was right there with you for many, many years. I can tell you how to make my family’s favorite dish. I can show you all the ingredients. I can carefully write down each step to its creation and completion. But if you don’t make it that way – it will not turn out the same. There are many tired and weary Christians who have missed a key ingredient in producing God’s Promises in their life. They do not prosper in the Favor of God so they doubt Him when they are to blame. God gave us the Word. His Name is Jesus Christ but like any other unopened and unused gift – He is no good to you if you don’t have enough faith in Him to believe that He is worth having, knowing and using in your life. God wrote a love story and gave it to us. When that didn’t work, He wrapped in flesh so that we could see, feel and touch it. We killed Him. But God’s Unconditional and Unfailing Love did not stop there. If we will believe in Jesus Christ, we will be saved. If we choose to know Him, we can have everything God promised us from the very beginning before sin became a factor. Choosing to follow Him allows us to walk in according to God’s Purpose and Plan for our life which is always good! Such a way leads to everlasting joy and overwhelming peace so much so that I cannot help but be happy in every circumstance that I face. Are you happy? God wants you to be.

 

Philippians 4:4-7 (NLT)

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Worship God – A Devotion

freedoms

 

John 4:21-24 (NKJV)

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

 

Wednesday night in church before the Bible study, we had a time of worship. In the midst of singing our praise to the Most High God and His Son – Jesus Christ, the worship leader broke into the song, “Heart of Worship.” These well-known words are often sung in many gatherings. “I’m coming back to the heart of worship and it’s all about you…it’s all about you. I’m sorry Lord for the things I made it…when it’s all about you…it’s all about you, Jesus.” Every single time that I hear these words or even sing them, my heart is humbled before the Lord again and again. It seems ironic that just 24 hours later a famous pastor’s wife will publicly shatter the image of sweet surrender in the midst of a blinding light show and a cheering crowd. As she describes worship to be about the creation and not our Creator, I am appalled. As the video goes viral, it is another hit to the Body of Christ as the world continues to introduce a lie rather than the truth straight from the mouth of super Christians. I am not mad at her for her ignorance or misrepresentation of something that is very intimate and personal in my life. I am absolutely terrified that someone who needs to know God and His Close Proximity will be led to believe that worship is an emotional response to anything other than the Unfailing Love and Faithfulness. I did not discover true worship in my wholeness but rather my brokenness. “When all is stripped away and I simply come longing just to bring something that’s of worth that will bless His Heart.” At the end of me, I find more of Him. This is the place of worship. When the song leader no longer can express in words what is pouring out of their heart, so our mouth and heart takes over when the music stops. What is worship?

 

Worship is reverence. We have been set free by God through the Sacrifice of His Son to choose who or what we will worship. The choice to worship the Lord is one made in Spirit and in Truth. You must have the Holy Spirit in you to truly worship the Lord and make that connection apart from your sin. You must know and accept the Truth of Who God is and all that He has done for you. The Truth is the basis of our belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died for our sins. Those who know Him and accept Him will be inclined to worship the Lord…”for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” My worship is based on my love and adoration for God the Father, Jesus His Son and the Holy Spirit. I am nothing without Jesus Christ. Every ounce of joy and peace that I have comes from the Father’s Love for me. Worship is my weak and feeble attempt to show God the love and deep devotion that He has proven for me. It takes every fiber of my being. It is all that I am for all that He is – yet it has nothing to do with me. It is all about Him. I have found that in those moments when I am dry and thirsty. When I have nothing left to give and need Him so very much – worship is the point of intimacy that I need.

 

Genesis 22:4-6 (NKJV)

Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”  So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.

 

Worship is surrender to God. Abraham waited 99 years for his promise to arrive. When God required his promise from Abraham, the man loaded up and went to the mountain to worship the Lord. Before someone says in their heart this is so Old Testament, let me set the record straight. The Word of God from cover to cover is relevant in our life. You cannot add or subtract to it. If you think sacrificial worship is a thing of the past, then your worship of God is not complete. To live in covenant requires a sacrifice on our part to be participants. Jesus Christ is the sacrifice that God made. Worship is the sacrifice that we make. The moment that we stop acting religious and trying to find ways around legality to say, “God Your Will not my will” is worship. The phrase “less of me and more of Him” is the call to worship. God called Abraham righteous. He called him faithful. But most importantly, “God called Abraham, His Friend.” “And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” (James 2:23-24)

 

Worship is not a product of an emotion such as happiness. Look at Job who in the midst of the worst day of his life, Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job1:20-21) Some of the sweetest times of worship for me have been in a hospital room with earbuds playing songs of praise to my God at my son’s bedside as God pours His Love into my heart and Jesus wraps His Arms around me and His Spirit soothed my aching heart. It is in that moment that I came to understand not only the reality of the Living God but also that He is with me. Faith and confident hope are the basis of our worship. These are discovered when in the midst of other options or when we are a victim of our circumstances – our heart still chooses well. “Blessed be the Name of the Lord.”

 

Acts 17:22-31 (NKJV)

Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

 

It occurred to me after reading this passage that perhaps the reason no one understands worship is because they do not know God. Jesus told the woman at the well that we must worship in Spirit and in Truth. The Holy Spirit is the holy inhabitation of God given to us when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. But He is a silent partner until Jesus Christ becomes our Lord. The Truth has been ignored in the modern day church as a provision of His Grace. God is preparing His People to rule and reign over the earth. Would you elect someone to a governmental position with no experience and who are ignorant of the law? Of course, not. Why would God? We have been given His Written Word to point us in the right direction. Jesus opened the door to God’s Presence so we can now step in and hear His Voice. When you get there what do you have to offer the One who gave His All for you – WORSHIP! That’s it. It’s not at all about me but everything that Jesus Christ has done to set my life in order and prepare me for His Glory. People do not know God’s Character because they do not know His Word. You cannot have a relationship with Jesus Christ and spend time in the Word. Jesus IS the Word wrapped in flesh to come demonstrate the power and intensity of God’s Love for us! When you do not know Him – why in the world would you worship the Lord? Paul introduced God to these men to change their worship from that of an unknown God to the One True and Living God.

 

Matthew 15:7-11 (NKJV)

Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ” When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”

 

I am not so much concerned today with the words of a pastor who does not know the meaning as worship as I am with my own. I want to know that I worship the Lord in Spirit and Truth today. I want every word that I speak express praise. I want everything that I do to exemplify that faith and confident hope that I have found in Him. I want every thought that crosses my mind to be compared to the Word of God for validity and truth so when the world offers anything contrary that I am ready to distinguish the Truth from a lie. I want my life to be a living act of worship for my God. He makes me happy. He gives me joy and peace. He is my Healer, Deliverer, Provider and Promise-Keeper. I have nothing else to give Him but all of me. This is worship. I do not worship an Unknown God but the Most High God. Worship is a personal response to a divine invitation. When the lights are turned off, the microphones silent and the church pews empty – this is the moment that real worship begins! Will you be ready?

 

Revelation 22:8-17 (NKJV)

Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still. And behold, I am coming quickly, and My Reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. Blessed are those who do His commandments that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. I, Jesus, have sent My Angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

 

Let’s Work It Out – A Devotion

Lets Work It Out

John 14:11-13 (NKJV)

“Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

 

The hearts and minds of God’s People are captivated by His Grace. In fact, the profound revelation of God’s Love and Mercy for His People allows us to come to the Lord just as we are and by faith there is salvation. I believe this. There is no question that mankind embraces the personality of Jesus Christ as Savior. The struggle with faithfulness to God through Jesus Christ is not in this aspect of His Divine Character but rather His Lordship. We give our sin to Jesus but faith to submit our life. The Nation of Islam is a highly successful religion not because of the Power of Allah but rather the faithfulness of its people to their god. Their faith is demonstrated by their works no matter how heinous some acts may be. These men and women are engaged in a holy war from a heart that is completely surrendered to what they believe which has made them quite successful. What if the modern day church would move past salvation to embrace surrender to their God in the same capacity and choose to serve Jesus Christ as our Lord? Would it change the position of the church today? I think it would. The Body of Christ has all the power and authority that was given when Christ ascended into Heaven. The Light of the World still burns in the heart of mankind. Miracles, signs and wonders are still possible. Anything is possible for those who believe but do they believe it enough to do something about it. God has been kicked out of our government, schools, society and homes. Christians are embarrassed to practice Christianity in their daily life a victim of cultural persecution. Jesus Christ gave us the Holy Spirit. The same spirit that lived in the Lord is now living in us. Why do we remain powerless? We choose to hide in this world although we are not of this world. Keeping our faith in God a secret more closely guarded than any other skeleton in the closet. Well, today I am calling those dry bones to life in the Name of Jesus.

 

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also.” Where is the Power of God that Jesus promised the church for today? They are locked away in the hearts of His People. Who has the potential to do the Works of God? Every single person who has faith in Jesus Christ calling Him Savior AND Lord. What’s the difference? Those who call Him Savior bring all their sin, shortcomings and failures laying them at the foot of the Cross. Many will join you there. But those who truly want to be Children of God living in His Power and doing His Works will exchange these things for righteousness working it through their life making Jesus Christ the Lord of them. Not only that, but Jesus told the men that those who do this will do “greater works than these will He do because I go to the Father.” This is the key to successful servanthood in Jesus Christ. It is not enough to proclaim faith in Christ. We must live what we believe. It is time to work it out.

 

John 6:28-29 (NKJV)

Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

 

I want to do God’s Work. How do I do it? Believe. The greatest thing that I will ever do for my God is believe in Him. Maybe you are thinking today, I believe in God. Those who truly believe in God do the works of God. It is part of covenant with Jesus Christ. If your belief has no impact on how you act, what you do, how you think or what you say – then it is time to reevaluate what you really believe. Do you have faith in Jesus Christ? Can others tell that you belong to Him and are following Him if you do not tell them? Our deep dedication and abiding commitment to Christ is not something we do but rather how we live every day without exception. Our beliefs mold and shape our practices in our life and define how we live. If our faith in the Lord does nothing to change our attitude and actions than it is not the product of true belief and we are dangerously close to missing out on a great reward reserved for the Sons and Daughters of the Most High God. Salvation should change the way that we live. It should temper every word that we speak. It should influence every single thing that we do without exception. This is the Will of God for our life to live what we believe.

 

Psalm 33:14-15 (NKJV)

From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

 

The Lord considers “all” our works. Everything single thing we do is under close consideration by God the Father and Jesus the Son. The Holy Spirit living in us is guiding and directing us to do the Will of God. What about His Grace? It is for all those times that we do not consider our works in agreement with faith and trust in God through our belief in Christ. Casual Christianity has infected the church today painting a very weak and liberal picture of God. It has wiped up every “unsightly” drop of blood and will not even whisper the brutality of the Cross not to offend our finer sensibilities. The grace card is thrown every time we are inconvenienced or called to endure. Freedom is used to continue willful sin and disobedience against God only to come and get cleaned up on Sunday for another week of wicked rebellion against Him. The Glory of God is gone. The Works that He promised elusive in the midst of disbelief and ignorance of faith. We do not trust the Lord because we have forgotten His Lordship. We must decide today that we will work out our salvation with fear and trembling before our God. We must come back to the heart of worship that reminds us that it is all about Jesus not about me. Why? God considers all our works no matter what anyone else has told you about Him. He is not looking to punish our shortcomings and misgivings because the Blood of Jesus was enough. He wants to bless us with His Power and Promises. We must now consider all our works to have such potential in our life again.

 

James 2:17-24 (NKJV)

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

 

We can all learn something from radical religions like the Islam. Oh, don’t be offended. Listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Body of Christ today. These people uncompromisingly and unapologetically live what they believe. Their faith may be misplaced but there is definitely convincing power in their actions. They live what they believe even unto the death. What if Christians felt the same way about Jesus Christ? Faith without works is dead. If you have faith but it doesn’t change the way that we live it is useless. We can do many good things without faith in God but when we do good things because of our faith in God there is power. To believe in God is not enough. We must have absolute faith and total trust in Jesus Christ which goes well beyond lip service to action. What we do justifies our faith demonstrating true belief. There were some men who were casting out demons in the Name of Jesus who were not presently following Jesus Christ but obviously had faith in His Name. The disciples wanted to stop them. But Jesus pointed to them as true examples of faith. They were honoring the Name of Jesus by what they were doing which would lead them closer to Him. (Mark 9:38-41) The more we do to “work” out our salvation the more confident that we will become in the One who we have faith in. His Glory will fill our life as miracles, signs and wonders begin to happen just because we believe in the Power of His Name. It is that basic. We must believe.

 

Proverbs 16:3 (NKJV) Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.

 

Today, I am once again going to attempt to commit all my works to the Lord. His Word will establish my thoughts when I choose to meditate on them regularly. Now I must apply what I know to my life. The struggle is real. The world is filled with people who are the vessels that the enemy uses to interrupt us. We must be focused on faith that minute our feet hit the floor until our eyes close in sleep to be successful. Why? I want the Glory of God in my life. I want to have real faith and credible hope that will endure to the end so that I will be saved. It matters how I live. The Lord has made this quite clear. Work for the Lord today and not man. Committing our life to Jesus Christ making Him Lord of our life is essential to our salvation. Not my words but His Word for our heart and mind today.

 

Psalm 15:1-2 (NKJV)

Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart…

 

Abraham was considered a friend of God not only because of His Faith but His Righteousness, too. Our faith should produce righteousness or a deep desire to remain in right standing with God the Father which is always the avoidance of sin. Surrendering our life to the Lord is not forfeiture of freedom but acceptance of a new life. By doing so, we accept the Power of God and His Glory as a benefit and blessing in our everyday existence. This reserved for those who truly believe. A perverse and divided heart cannot live in His Presence. You cannot believe one way and live another. (Psalm 101:4-7) The Lord will guard you and protect you from all wickedness if you submit your life to Him every day beginning with your attitude and actions. He will put a covering over our mouth so we can consider each word. (Psalm 141:3-4) This would be a great place to start for some of us (typed with my finger pointing at me). I want God to work out my life for His Good and Glory. I want miracles, signs and wonders to show others that He is real and relevant today. This will happen if I choose to live what I believe starting today in this moment and throughout every single minute of the rest of my life.

 

Philippians 2:12-13 (NKJV)

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Trust Fall – A Devotion

Trust Fall

Isaiah 26:3 (AMP)

You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.

 

What is your inclination today? What is your preference? When you woke up were you hoping for a good day? What is your expectation because that is how you are inclined? It is the deviation or direction of our mind, will and emotions or our mental tendency. Many people opened their eyes from another seemingly sleepless night not ready for another day like yesterday or the day before. Those same people are not really sure how they will survive or I they can face another day of dissatisfaction and disappointment. You might be dismayed to realize that is most people. Where that garrison of peace that God promised would guard and keep us? Why is it not a constant in my life? The Lord grants us “perfect and constant peace” whose mind in both inclination and character is stayed on Him. The problem is that we are not so inclined. Our thoughts do not stay committee to the Lord in such a way that we constantly are leaning in His Direction. If we can fix our heart and mind to stay focused on His Perfect and Constant Peace in such a way that we are not only conscious of His Moral Tendency (or inclination) and make it our moral force (which is character), we can have His Peace every day in all situations from now until forever.

 

Psalm 37:3-7 (AMP)

Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass. And He will make your uprightness and right standing with God go forth as the light, and your justice and right as [the shining sun of] the noonday. Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him; fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.

 

Do you trust the Lord today? This is a very personal question that no one can answer for you but you. We are all very good at acting the part of Christian but it is our personal commitment to Jesus Christ that makes the difference in each day. At some point, one must examine their heart and mind to determine its inclination. When given options each day, what is our natural choice? Do we lean toward others, their opinions, and objectives or do we measure each choice to the standard that Jesus Christ has put forth in our life? We were made to live for His Glory and in His Presence. It is a personal choice whether we will lean on, rely on and be confident in the Lord enough to choose His Goodness even when we cannot see the outcome. It is a mindful decision to be so inclined to seek the Will of God that it becomes our only option. Even when it seems like the world is passing us by, we wait on the Lord.

 

Do you delight in Jesus today? He gives those who love Him and are so inclined to be near Him the desires of their heart. He includes those secret petitions that you may have never uttered openly but the One who guards our heart is well aware of. Is Christ your first choice or final option? You know the difference. When all is said and done do you fall into His Arms, or were you leaning towards Him all of the time? This is how we examine our heart and mind to determine our inclination.

 

Commit your way to the Lord. This is probably one of the most valid descriptions of how to fully commit your life to Jesus Christ that I have ever known. We must “roll and repose each care o our load” on Him. Human nature will not allow us to dump it all on Him at once because we do not trust the Lord naturally. We must learn to “lean on, rely on and be confident in” the Lord today. We do that by committing one thing or two today and more tomorrow until one day we wake up to find our commitment has shifted from the things of this world to the person of Jesus Christ so we are now leaning in His Direction when it comes to all facets of our life. This is the kind of confidence that builds godly character that becomes the garrison of peace that we so strongly desire in life. We learn to lean by shifting the weight of our life toward the Lord until we are inclined that way always. This is the commitment that He is after. It is not so much an effort of obedience to His Rules but a bending toward His Way. It’s a give and take relationship. We give Him our worries, burdens and cares and He takes them.

 

The Lord will make our righteousness evident in such a life. When our character begins to become like Christ, others will see that we have been justified. Why do people shy away from certain Christians? Could it be that they cannot identify with them? Show me a believer who has been through enough to live humbly in God’s Love and that is the person who can help me out. Jesus is my righteousness. He is the only thing right about me. I must learn to do what is right, love mercy and walk humbly throughout each day with my God and to know the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ. (Micah 6:8) That is what the Lord requires of me to build strong character. It is to become fully reliant on the personality of Jesus Christ to be my example in all things. He is my justice. He is my right to a better life.

 

The Peace that the Lord is offering us today is perfect and constant. It creates stillness in an otherwise chaotic world that is constantly moving due to its desperation. I can rest in His Perfection knowing that He is working on my behalf to perfect all that concerns me. (Psalm 138:8) I know that His Goodness is also taking every detail in my life using it for His Plan for my life which is good with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) My only responsibility in this entire operation is to seek the Lord wholeheartedly. (Jeremiah 29:13) I can do that right? If I am inclined, then yes I can do it. It means leaning on, relying on and becoming so confident in Christ that it becomes my mindset in every situation as His Peace becomes a guard around my heart.

 

Psalm 26:1-3(AMP)

Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity; I have [expectantly] trusted in, leaned on, and relied on the Lord without wavering and I shall not slide. Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; test my heart and my mind. For Your loving-kindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in Your truth [faithfully].

 

Character is proven through testing. (Romans 5:3-4) Our integrity is important to the Lord. He is not looking for perfect people just honest ones who are trying desperately to build strong godly character against all odds. The Lord is fully aware of our circumstances and weaknesses. He bore them on the Cross which means that He knows the full weight of our sin, true measure of our heartbreak and the struggle that we face. He overcame them all. (John 16:33) The enemy is powerless in our life but we must assume the Authority of Christ and accept our new life to be changed from victim to victor. Our character must change from who we were to Child of God to fully assume our position in His Presence. To vindicate means to clear, to justify, to uphold and to claim. When we call on the Lord to do this in our life, we are submitting our life to His Careful Examination. We want Him to find us expectant in Him alone. Leaning on and relying on His Power without wavering so we do not “slide”. The angle of our inclination will determine the direction of our fall. Natural force follows the inclination of our angle. If your world fell apart today, which way would you fall? Back into sin and darkness or fully into the Arms of Jesus Christ, sadly many will not know until tragedy comes knocking. You can know the inclination of your life and determine the outcome by deciding to ask the Lord to examine your heart and mind each day and inviting Him to make it like Jesus. Faithfulness is found in daily submission. Confidence is found in daily trust. Victory belongs to those who are so inclined.

 

I Corinthians 3:11-14 (AMP)

 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is [already] laid, which is Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). But if anyone builds upon the Foundation, whether it be with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, the work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done. If the work which any person has built on this Foundation [any product of his efforts whatever] survives [this test], he will get his reward.

 

The full foundation of my life must become faith in Jesus Christ. The foundation of our house is the basis for the entire house. If the foundation is found faulty, the entire structure is compromised. The appraisal of our house would decrease significantly if the foundation were to crack or begin to fall apart. If put on the market it would not sell but for a fraction of its true worth because it is compromised. Our life is worth nothing if Jesus Christ is not the foundation of our faith. If we cannot trust Jesus, our existence is futile and hopeless. You can walk to the front of any church and town to say a sinner’s prayer or even in the privacy of your own home. However, if you get up and go back to the old structure of your life it is still faulty and condemned. It is important that with our submission to Jesus Christ comes a commitment to become inclined to Him and allow His Spirit to change our character. This is the life of someone who is looking to live in a garrison of perfect and constant peace. You can fool others but you will not be fooled. You can build a façade for others to ooh and ah at but unless the foundation and structure of your life become Jesus and His Presence the lie of your life will be exposed and possibly too late for you to do anything about it. I want His Reward both now and forever. I want to live by faith and confident trust in Jesus Christ. I want His Peace. I need it. I have to have it every day of my life. When everything fell apart in our life, Jesus caught us in the middle of our trust fall. Now I cannot imagine being inclined any other way!  And they who know Your name [who have experience and acquaintance with Your mercy] will lean on and confidently put their trust in You, for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek (inquire of and for) You [on the authority of God’s Word and the right of their necessity].” (Psalm 9:10) Is the Lord inviting you into a trust fall today? Why, yes, I think He is? What a wonderful way to discover His Hope is real and for you but to fall in His Everlasting Arms!

 

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,

Leaning on the everlasting arms;

What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,

Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;

Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

 

 

Psalm 28:7 (AMP)

The Lord is my Strength and my [impenetrable] Shield; my heart trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song will I praise Him.

End of Season – A Devotion

End of Season

 

Ecclesiastes 7:8 (AMP)

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning of it, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

 

It is not how you start but how you finish, if you finish or will you finish that counts. I think of all the things I have tried and given up on in my lifetime that creates a long, line of what-ifs to consider. These can result in regret which ties us to the past unable to successfully move into the future. We serve a redeeming God. If He put it in our heart back then, everything that comes from Him can be found in the future. However, the human heart is fickle and races back and forth uncertain if it is the past that is missed or the future more desired. Some of the best advice my father ever gave me that I have given to our children is never burn your bridges. Keep the door you exit open in case of return. When coming to the end of a season, it is human nature to want to rapidly exit leaving things unfinished to explore what is new. But I believe that the end of a thing is better than the beginning of it. Not because it is my nature, but it is God’s Word. Patience is a virtue and gift of the Holy Spirit that produces endurance in the life of a believer. It is the thing that presses and pushes us across the finish line of faith the many times that we wanted to throw in the towel and exit the course. I am not a patient person. God knows my heart so many times I do not realize a season is ending until right before He moves me. I completely understand why He does that. The Lord knows me too well. Rather than finishing the race and completing the course – I am ready to run to our next venture and escape the hard work of endurance. I am at the end of a season. Are you? Has God put a thought in your heart and mind for a new direction that you just cannot think? Does this thing keep presenting itself to you as an option at every turn? Change is coming, but completion comes first.

 

Philippians 1:6 (AMP)

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.

 

The course of a believer’s life is presented in seasons. Each season has a time of preparation, planting, waiting and harvest. Every season has these four points. To avoid one will require a longer stay in that season to reach completion. For example, a farmer can toil the soil and prepare for planting. He can then wait and watch for crops to form. But if he never plants anything there will not be a harvest. It is human nature to look for shortcuts or an easy way out. But God is conditioning us for the long haul of faith. The kind of faith that produces blessings and promises for His Glory in every season. The Lord has promised that He will complete every good work that He has begun in our life. It says that He will perfect and bring it to full completion in us. We must make it a point to finish each season with the intensity that we began even when we are ready to move on. To abandon this season too soon is to forfeit the potential fulfillment and satisfaction found in the Lord when He completes what He has begun in each of us.

 

Hebrews 12:1-2 (AMP)

Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

It has been about six weeks since I last went to the gym for a workout. Upon my return, I knew that I would not be at the same level of conditioning that I was before I left to care for our son. Toward the end of the elliptical routine, I realized that I was right. The end of the cycle becomes a mental challenge more than a physical one. Every bone, muscle, ligament and most of my major organs scream out to stop this insanity quite sure that I am trying to kill myself. It is at this point that endurance kicks in. Endurance is not a physical attribute but a mental attitude. The one that tells us to keep going when we really want to quit. It pushes past physical discomfort in search of the finish line. Endurance refuses to give up even when our body is past its prime. “Let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us…” This is the end of our season displayed in God’s Word. We have an example. His Name is Jesus Christ. He is our leader and source of faith. He is also the Finisher. He is the One who brings it to full maturity and perfection. This is the goal of each season and the course of our life that our faith is perfected in Christ alone.

 

Ephesians 1:13-14 (AMP)

In Him you also who have heard the Word of Truth, the glad tidings (Gospel) of your salvation, and have believed in and adhered to and relied on Him, were stamped with the seal of the long-promised Holy Spirit. That [Spirit] is the guarantee of our inheritance [the first fruits, the pledge and foretaste, the down payment on our heritage], in anticipation of its full redemption and our acquiring [complete] possession of it—to the praise of His glory.

 

When Jesus finished His Mission here on the earth, He did not leave us alone to fend for ourselves. First, He overcame the world. (John 16:33) He disarmed every power of darkness from its ability to harm us giving us victory in all things. He also gave us His Spirit who produces certain fruits in our life that complete us in Jesus Christ such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) each one a tremendous benefit in our life. The Spirit is our guarantee of potential promises and purpose in every endeavor of this life as it identifies us as Children of the Living God. All we must do is finish what He starts in us. God will never lead you to another season until this one is complete.

 

Ephesians 1:19-23(AMP)

And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places], far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come. And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church [a headship exercised throughout the church], which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all [for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere with Himself].

 

There are times when we see the Lord closing one door so we race to open the next door rather than waiting on Him to do it for us. This is probably why God is so secretive most of the time. We abort the blessings of this season to escape the pressure of completion. In Jesus Christ is fulfillment – God is in the business of complete satisfaction. He does not know settlement and compromise because He deals in fullness. Finish means to bring to an end or completion. This is our God. He finishes all things in our life well.

 

Ephesians 4:12-13(AMP)

His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church), [That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.

 

In this season of change and completion, it is important to remember that the Lord leaves nothing undone in our life. Nothing is wasted. Faith is what we are after that becomes confident hope. We must have enough faith to remain in our current season until it is complete before running off to the next one. There are certain things to be found in each season before it is time to move on. The first thing is harvest. This season was meant to produce something in our life. The Kingdom of God works on the principle of sowing and reaping. Have you seen a harvest yet? (James 5:7-8) Harvest is not just a monetary or tangible blessing. You will know when the harvest from this season comes because it will bring you peace. You will be satisfied which will cause you to rest. (Hebrews 4:3) The Lord provides a place of rest for finishers called peace. Finally, there will be joy. Even when it breaks our heart to leave this time behind to embrace the future, it is not without the blessing of joy. (Psalm 126:5-6) It is all part of the process of trusting in, leaning into and relying on the Lord with our entire life. Is the Lord calling for change in your life, too? Is it uncomfortable? Decide to endure to the end and have the blessing of God meant to be your harvest. Even when you are ready to move on, don’t leave your blessing behind in ignorance or haste. Finish this season. Endurance has a prize.

 

Luke 21:19 (AMP)

By your steadfastness and patient endurance you shall win the true life of your souls.

 

Romans 5:3-4(AMP)

Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.

 

Matthew 24:13 (AMP) But he who endures to the end will be saved.

 

The ultimate goal that we are after is the fulfillment of our salvation which is the completion of our faith. Every season in our life promotes this. We must learn to be finisher and completers of each course in our life. Self-control will keep us from abandoning one season prematurely. To work and never finish does nothing for our soul, it is the source of discouragement because we will never know success or completion. The Lord may be changing your season but He expects you to finish each course for His Glory and Honor because you live under His Name. So finish well, my friend and be complete in Christ. Meanwhile, I will also continue to put one foot in front of the other through this closing door into the one that He is opening!

 

2 Timothy 4:7 (AMP)

I have fought the good (worthy, honorable, and noble) fight, I have finished the race, I have kept (firmly held) the faith.

It’s a Brand New Day – A Devotion

It's a Brand New Day

 

Matthew 9:16-17 (NLT)

“Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”

 

Ever since I returned from caring for our son during his bone marrow transplant, I have tried to reestablish my old routine and schedule. Getting our home in order preparing to return to work, I have looked for the familiar and normal that I longed for but it is not here. Change has been stirring in my spirit but my flesh is not as welcoming. Oh, I want the blessing of the new season but there is always a process of planting to get there. It’s hard to accept change and welcome the impact of the unknown even when I know that God is good. Yet my attempts to return to my old life are all in vain as I am clearly not the same person who left the house several weeks ago. My roles of wife and mother I gladly hold onto in a tight embrace. It is in these two identities that I can feel the arms of God wrap tightly around me holding them in place as the winds of change swirl all around me. I want to bury my face deeper in His Presence as I do not feel as strong and confident like in the days before. Our life is not the same. I can accept that. In the brokenness, I have found that He is faithful and good in all things. In the victories, I also have discovered that His Love for us is unfailing as His Goodness overtakes us there as well. Today is a brand new day. As much as I want to drag all my “yesterdays” here for comfort, the Lord keeps telling me to let go. He has something different for me in mind. It is better than I could even think to ask for. I must also let go of my idea of the future to fully embrace His Plan. The only problem is that we have learned to survive in the midst of this journey. The Lord has padded our way comfortably through it all. He has been overly gracious to us in so many ways. But now, He wants to do something new. It’s crazy but Jesus want to make “everything” new in our life. (Revelation 21:5) I only want Him to fix the bad things or that which I am dissatisfied with rather than surrendering my “everything” to Him good and bad trusting that Jesus can always do better than I can do for myself. I am trying, Lord. Help me today in this brand new day to surrender my “everything” so you can give me new life.

 

“New wine in old wineskins” is what the Spirit is whispering to me today. I have to allow the Lord to change me in my skin so that He can do this new work in me. My comfort zone has been disrupted and I keep trying to put everything back in its proper place. But until my mind and heart agree where it all belongs, it will continue to resemble disrupted chaos. It is human nature to try to control the parameters of our life. Even free-spirited people in this world have their limitations. I can be completely open-minded yet still have certain ethics, morals and principles at work in my life. It is human nature to have some level of control over our surroundings and the atmosphere in which we exist. We try to sew a patch of the “robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10) over the filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) called our life and believe that is enough to experience the Glory of God in our life. Jesus invites us with each new day to have a brand new life impacting every single detail our existence. Will you accept?

 

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.

Lamentations 3:23-24 (NLT)

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”

 

There are two principles at work in my life as the Lord tries to make everything new despite my apprehension. Each day grace and mercy are poured out for me to take advantage of. I have been given a robe of righteousness to wear every day that is not dependent on how I act, what I do, anything that I say but simply a gift from the Father with love. Jesus gave it to me. I choose whether or not I put it on. When I step into the Righteousness of God, immediately the details of my life will begin to change. God begins working each detail for His Good. My flesh rebels against such intrusion because it knows ultimately it will lead to its demise. Now the inner battle ensues. The closer I move to Jesus Christ the greater my flesh will resist. In the past three years, the sufficiency of God’s Grace has become real in my life. I do not know how we made it other than to say that His Grace is sufficient for me. I know that God’s Power is real because when I could not walk another step with a heart too heavy – He carried me the rest of the way. In a season that to the world should be marked by tears, I have too many moments of laughter, joy and peace to remember those any more. His Great Faithfulness so evident. His Mercies new each morning for all the times I failed and allowed fear to worry me through the night or cause me to ever think that my God was not in full control of the situation. So why not now? I must expect the Lord to be my inheritance every day. He must become my hope in everything.

 

Ephesians 4:21-23 (NLT)

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.

In order to have all that Jesus Christ has promised me in our covenant requires that I “throw off” my sinful nature. Now in many ways, I have as I continually study the Word and the Holy Spirit convicts me of those things in my life offensive to God. That being said, the Law of God only shows me how much more I have to remove. But in addition to those things that offend the Lord, I must also be conscious of my “former way of life”. I am a person who loves routine, schedule and order. I am not comfortable in chaos and tend to try to organize anything that becomes out of control. Hence, my problem recently. I must let the Holy Spirit renew my thoughts and attitudes to align them with Jesus Christ. Yes, even the ordinary everyday things that prohibit me from accepting the new life that includes everything in my life. The Law of God leads to rebellion. It is all about mindfully keeping the rules which are contrary to our sinful nature that produces rebellion. But when Jesus died and rose again ascending to Heaven with God the Father, He released His Spirit to us. His Spirit restored our peace with God allowing us to experience righteousness. No we are free to uphold the Law of God not because we have to but because we want to. Freedom promotes respect as we can choose whether or not to obey. Our heart keeps us right when our mind wants to rebel. When we allow the Holy Spirit to live in our heart and take hold of our mind, will and emotions turning them back to God and developing a love affair, obedience is not as burdensome and we begin to win our struggle in the flesh. The spirit that you empower and endorse will prevail. We must be conscious to promote God’s Power in our life by feeding our mind God’s Word so the Spirit has something to work with. Not only should we read the Word but pray to God for His Will and Way. We are free to live our life as we choose. I want my life to be Glorious. God’s Way which is following Jesus Christ is the only way my life will ever become Glorious!

 

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (NLT)

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 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.

 

Is my life glorious? Glorious means delightful, wonderful and completely enjoyable. It means to be brilliantly beautiful, splendid and magnificent. Do you believe that your life has such potential? Come on. You are probably alone reading this today so be honest with yourself. Is your life glorious? Is it what you expected when you gave your heart and life to Christ? Are you trying to make the Plan of God fit into your idea of the perfect life? The Spirit of God lives in you. He is all the freedom that you need to step out of mediocrity and into supernatural living but this will never ever be accomplished our way. God has a plan. It contains a future and hope. Our hope must be in the Lord driven by a willingness to go where He goes, do what He tells us to do, say what He tells us to say and be who He called us to be. This is accomplished by daily surrendering our life (and everything in it) to His Way even when it is not our way. This is not a forfeiture of freedom but acceptance of His Glory. We have been given the Holy Spirit and set free to have His Glory in our life. (2 Corinthians 3:7-11) Yes, I realize it is easy to change certain habits and stop doing unacceptable things. This is never enough. Until we full accept of His Grace, Mercy and Love freeing our heart and mind to pursue Christ and align our life with God we are wasting our potential. I have seen the Glory of God working in the life of our son. God has healed him of cancer five times in less than three years which defies statistics. What makes it so hard to accept that God wants to bless me with new life, too?

 

2 Corinthians 5:14-17 (NLT)

Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

 

Your new life is not necessarily marked by prosperity in a material way. It may not hold a powerful or influential place in society as we know it. What will God’s Glory bring with new life? Peace, joy and satisfaction. Faith will be secured by confident hope that has the strength to believe even when it means bringing the dead back to life. (Romans 4:16-18) The pressure you feel deep inside you is the Holy Spirit bringing about change in your life today. It is the new life that you were promised but have failed to achieve as of yet. It’s not too late to accept it. In fact, the Lord has been trying to give it to you throughout your entire life. Now is the time to accept it and make your life glorious. Trust the Lord. I am not telling you but reminding myself. It is much easier to trust the Lord with things when there is no other hope than when presented with options. I believe that His Glory is for everything in my life so now I must work to surrender everything in my life to Jesus Christ. Not everyone will understand this today, but I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the source of your pressure and to guide you in what to do next. The Glory must return to the House of God or what difference will we make in the world? God’s Glory is reflected in each and every person labeled Child of the Living God. If our lives are shambles what credibility does this lend to followers of Jesus Christ? The world wants relief. It is looking for an answer to all the mounting problems it is facing. Love has grown cold and people do not even know where to find it. I will never convince the world of God’s Love until I allow His Love to change my life and produce His Glory in it. There are too many one-hit wonders in the church and not enough pressing in boldly to His Throne surrendering freedom to obtain His Promises. It is clear that the Lord wants to do something new and fantastic in my life today. He wants to do the same for you. Are we standing in His Way? Have we allowed our sinful nature to cause rebellion in our heart and mind? Today I surrender my life and everything it. I choose to throw off my sinful nature because I want the Glory of God to manifest in everything in my life. I am confident that His Grace and Mercy will meet me tomorrow morning for all the areas that I tried today and failed so I can commit tomorrow to doing the same.

 

Colossians 2:6-9 (NLT)

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.

 

There is enough opposition in this world without me being my own worst enemy. I surrender everything in my life to Jesus Christ and pray that the Holy Spirit will root me and ground me deeper in His Love today than ever before. I want to build the rest of my life on faith in Christ alone. I want the Truth to be the structure that I live in. I pray that this pressure leads to constant thanksgiving and continual praise rather than complaining and griping about change. Lord, teach me to listen for your voice and block out human rationale and empty philosophies. I want my life to be so full of you – Jesus that it spills over into the life of every person who I come into contact with. I want the fullness of Christ to live in me. It’s a brand new day! I want a brand new life in preparation for the hope that will be a brand new Kingdom!

 

Revelation 21:5-7 (NLT)

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

It’s a Brand New Day – A Devotion

It's a Brand New Day

 

Matthew 9:16-17 (NLT)

“Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”

 

Ever since I returned from caring for our son during his bone marrow transplant, I have tried to reestablish my old routine and schedule. Getting our home in order preparing to return to work, I have looked for the familiar and normal that I longed for but it is not here. Change has been stirring in my spirit but my flesh is not as welcoming. Oh, I want the blessing of the new season but there is always a process of planting to get there. It’s hard to accept change and welcome the impact of the unknown even when I know that God is good. Yet my attempts to return to my old life are all in vain as I am clearly not the same person who left the house several weeks ago. My roles of wife and mother I gladly hold onto in a tight embrace. It is in these two identities that I can feel the arms of God wrap tightly around me holding them in place as the winds of change swirl all around me. I want to bury my face deeper in His Presence as I do not feel as strong and confident like in the days before. Our life is not the same. I can accept that. In the brokenness, I have found that He is faithful and good in all things. In the victories, I also have discovered that His Love for us is unfailing as His Goodness overtakes us there as well. Today is a brand new day. As much as I want to drag all my “yesterdays” here for comfort, the Lord keeps telling me to let go. He has something different for me in mind. It is better than I could even think to ask for. I must also let go of my idea of the future to fully embrace His Plan. The only problem is that we have learned to survive in the midst of this journey. The Lord has padded our way comfortably through it all. He has been overly gracious to us in so many ways. But now, He wants to do something new. It’s crazy but Jesus want to make “everything” new in our life. (Revelation 21:5) I only want Him to fix the bad things or that which I am dissatisfied with rather than surrendering my “everything” to Him good and bad trusting that Jesus can always do better than I can do for myself. I am trying, Lord. Help me today in this brand new day to surrender my “everything” so you can give me new life.

 

“New wine in old wineskins” is what the Spirit is whispering to me today. I have to allow the Lord to change me in my skin so that He can do this new work in me. My comfort zone has been disrupted and I keep trying to put everything back in its proper place. But until my mind and heart agree where it all belongs, it will continue to resemble disrupted chaos. It is human nature to try to control the parameters of our life. Even free-spirited people in this world have their limitations. I can be completely open-minded yet still have certain ethics, morals and principles at work in my life. It is human nature to have some level of control over our surroundings and the atmosphere in which we exist. We try to sew a patch of the “robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10) over the filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) called our life and believe that is enough to experience the Glory of God in our life. Jesus invites us with each new day to have a brand new life impacting every single detail our existence. Will you accept?

 

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.

Lamentations 3:23-24 (NLT)

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”

 

There are two principles at work in my life as the Lord tries to make everything new despite my apprehension. Each day grace and mercy are poured out for me to take advantage of. I have been given a robe of righteousness to wear every day that is not dependent on how I act, what I do, anything that I say but simply a gift from the Father with love. Jesus gave it to me. I choose whether or not I put it on. When I step into the Righteousness of God, immediately the details of my life will begin to change. God begins working each detail for His Good. My flesh rebels against such intrusion because it knows ultimately it will lead to its demise. Now the inner battle ensues. The closer I move to Jesus Christ the greater my flesh will resist. In the past three years, the sufficiency of God’s Grace has become real in my life. I do not know how we made it other than to say that His Grace is sufficient for me. I know that God’s Power is real because when I could not walk another step with a heart too heavy – He carried me the rest of the way. In a season that to the world should be marked by tears, I have too many moments of laughter, joy and peace to remember those any more. His Great Faithfulness so evident. His Mercies new each morning for all the times I failed and allowed fear to worry me through the night or cause me to ever think that my God was not in full control of the situation. So why not now? I must expect the Lord to be my inheritance every day. He must become my hope in everything.

 

Ephesians 4:21-23 (NLT)

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.

In order to have all that Jesus Christ has promised me in our covenant requires that I “throw off” my sinful nature. Now in many ways, I have as I continually study the Word and the Holy Spirit convicts me of those things in my life offensive to God. That being said, the Law of God only shows me how much more I have to remove. But in addition to those things that offend the Lord, I must also be conscious of my “former way of life”. I am a person who loves routine, schedule and order. I am not comfortable in chaos and tend to try to organize anything that becomes out of control. Hence, my problem recently. I must let the Holy Spirit renew my thoughts and attitudes to align them with Jesus Christ. Yes, even the ordinary everyday things that prohibit me from accepting the new life that includes everything in my life. The Law of God leads to rebellion. It is all about mindfully keeping the rules which are contrary to our sinful nature that produces rebellion. But when Jesus died and rose again ascending to Heaven with God the Father, He released His Spirit to us. His Spirit restored our peace with God allowing us to experience righteousness. No we are free to uphold the Law of God not because we have to but because we want to. Freedom promotes respect as we can choose whether or not to obey. Our heart keeps us right when our mind wants to rebel. When we allow the Holy Spirit to live in our heart and take hold of our mind, will and emotions turning them back to God and developing a love affair, obedience is not as burdensome and we begin to win our struggle in the flesh. The spirit that you empower and endorse will prevail. We must be conscious to promote God’s Power in our life by feeding our mind God’s Word so the Spirit has something to work with. Not only should we read the Word but pray to God for His Will and Way. We are free to live our life as we choose. I want my life to be Glorious. God’s Way which is following Jesus Christ is the only way my life will ever become Glorious!

 

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (NLT)

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 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.

 

Is my life glorious? Glorious means delightful, wonderful and completely enjoyable. It means to be brilliantly beautiful, splendid and magnificent. Do you believe that your life has such potential? Come on. You are probably alone reading this today so be honest with yourself. Is your life glorious? Is it what you expected when you gave your heart and life to Christ? Are you trying to make the Plan of God fit into your idea of the perfect life? The Spirit of God lives in you. He is all the freedom that you need to step out of mediocrity and into supernatural living but this will never ever be accomplished our way. God has a plan. It contains a future and hope. Our hope must be in the Lord driven by a willingness to go where He goes, do what He tells us to do, say what He tells us to say and be who He called us to be. This is accomplished by daily surrendering our life (and everything in it) to His Way even when it is not our way. This is not a forfeiture of freedom but acceptance of His Glory. We have been given the Holy Spirit and set free to have His Glory in our life. (2 Corinthians 3:7-11) Yes, I realize it is easy to change certain habits and stop doing unacceptable things. This is never enough. Until we full accept of His Grace, Mercy and Love freeing our heart and mind to pursue Christ and align our life with God we are wasting our potential. I have seen the Glory of God working in the life of our son. God has healed him of cancer five times in less than three years which defies statistics. What makes it so hard to accept that God wants to bless me with new life, too?

 

2 Corinthians 5:14-17 (NLT)

Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

 

Your new life is not necessarily marked by prosperity in a material way. It may not hold a powerful or influential place in society as we know it. What will God’s Glory bring with new life? Peace, joy and satisfaction. Faith will be secured by confident hope that has the strength to believe even when it means bringing the dead back to life. (Romans 4:16-18) The pressure you feel deep inside you is the Holy Spirit bringing about change in your life today. It is the new life that you were promised but have failed to achieve as of yet. It’s not too late to accept it. In fact, the Lord has been trying to give it to you throughout your entire life. Now is the time to accept it and make your life glorious. Trust the Lord. I am not telling you but reminding myself. It is much easier to trust the Lord with things when there is no other hope than when presented with options. I believe that His Glory is for everything in my life so now I must work to surrender everything in my life to Jesus Christ. Not everyone will understand this today, but I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the source of your pressure and to guide you in what to do next. The Glory must return to the House of God or what difference will we make in the world? God’s Glory is reflected in each and every person labeled Child of the Living God. If our lives are shambles what credibility does this lend to followers of Jesus Christ? The world wants relief. It is looking for an answer to all the mounting problems it is facing. Love has grown cold and people do not even know where to find it. I will never convince the world of God’s Love until I allow His Love to change my life and produce His Glory in it. There are too many one-hit wonders in the church and not enough pressing in boldly to His Throne surrendering freedom to obtain His Promises. It is clear that the Lord wants to do something new and fantastic in my life today. He wants to do the same for you. Are we standing in His Way? Have we allowed our sinful nature to cause rebellion in our heart and mind? Today I surrender my life and everything it. I choose to throw off my sinful nature because I want the Glory of God to manifest in everything in my life. I am confident that His Grace and Mercy will meet me tomorrow morning for all the areas that I tried today and failed so I can commit tomorrow to doing the same.

 

Colossians 2:6-9 (NLT)

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.

 

There is enough opposition in this world without me being my own worst enemy. I surrender everything in my life to Jesus Christ and pray that the Holy Spirit will root me and ground me deeper in His Love today than ever before. I want to build the rest of my life on faith in Christ alone. I want the Truth to be the structure that I live in. I pray that this pressure leads to constant thanksgiving and continual praise rather than complaining and griping about change. Lord, teach me to listen for your voice and block out human rationale and empty philosophies. I want my life to be so full of you – Jesus that it spills over into the life of every person who I come into contact with. I want the fullness of Christ to live in me. It’s a brand new day! I want a brand new life in preparation for the hope that will be a brand new Kingdom!

 

Revelation 21:5-7 (NLT)

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

Darkest Hour – A Devotion

 

Mark 10:50-52 (NLT)

Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.  “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. “My Rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.  

 

Why can’t I “see” what the Lord is doing in my life? Truly I cannot. I do not know what lies ahead a year, a month, a week, a day or even an hour from this very moment although I sense that something new is coming. Why doesn’t the Lord show us what lies ahead? Why is it such a secret? The Lord came to open the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf. Some are instantly changed while others it will take time. From season to season, the Lord works in the heart and mind of those who love Him to get them to accept that His Plan is better and His Promises true. But nevertheless, we are a reluctant and rebellious bunch of people who tend to wait on desperation to finally call out to the Lord with an ounce of sincerity. “My suffering was good for me for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.” (Psalm 119:71) I completely agree with the psalmist because before experiencing brokenness, sorrow and suffering I did not pay close attention to the Word of God and all its decrees. My relationship with Jesus Christ was more of an acquaintance. He was the Name I dropped in church. Or the One I called when in a bind. But not the Lord who I relied on, trusted in and surrendered to. I was blind to the Power of God’s Word. I did not need God like that. Life was good. Way better than I ever anticipated that my life would turn out. We loved God. We served Him. We tried to live a righteous and godly life. God rewards those who seek Him. Those who earnestly and wholeheartedly pursue Him are the ones His Plan is for. (Jeremiah 29:13) He gives everyone the opportunity but few will answer His Call.

 

When Bartimaeus heard that the Lord was close, the blind man sprang into action. This was his chance. He heard that Jesus healed the blind and at the present moment this man fit that description. When he made his way to Jesus, the Lord asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” Most blind beggars would ask for money or food, but this man wanted to see. “I want to see!” His faith in Jesus Christ healed the man of blindness. His Response? He followed Jesus Christ. When Bartimaeus rose up that day it was by faith, he could not see a thing. He asked Jesus for the impossible by faith in hope that He would heal him. Jesus did it. This is the circle of faith and hope that establishes our relationship with God. He is constantly on a mission to open our eyes so that we can see His Glory in our life. It requires faith. Hope motivates us to move. Are there any blind Bartimaeus’ out there who like me are desperate for a change in their life? Any who are blind but want to see? We must call out to the Lord in faith with confident hope that He will do what His Word has promised us. After all, Jesus is the Light of the World.

 

John 9:1-5 (NLT)
As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”

 

Thomas Fuller wrote that “the darkest hour is just before dawn.” This is so true. Just returning from caring for our son during his bone marrow transplant and trying to reestablish my regular routine has proven quite challenging. I am not worried or concerned about my son. He is doing quite well. We don’t know what the future holds but we thank God for His Promise and Plan for our son’s life that continuously has proven to be a good one with a future and hope. But now it is time to get back to “normal” life for the time being. My normal life is gone. Change is all around me. The darkness of the hour is not fear but anticipation. God is doing something in our life. It is a new thing. I feel like I am blind and groping through the darkness trying to see what comes next. I want it. I desire it. I am pursing it but why can’t I see a thing?

 

When the Pharisees began questioning Jesus about the blind man, they tried to rationalize his blindness rather than restore his sight. This is a purely human reaction to a natural problem and what keeps us from the supernatural every single day. If we can figure it out then we can keep God in the neat little box where we put Him. The façade that we have created of who Jesus is cannot be threatened when things don’t turn out as we plan. The blind man was born for such a time as this so that God could once again reveal His Glory to the watching world. Jesus came to be the Light of the World. When He left, the Lord sent us His Spirit to live in us so that we could carry on His Mission as the Light of the World. However, we have such little faith in Christ’s credibility many remain in the darkness of this world detached from the Light of His Amazing Love. God’s Ways are higher than our own as are His Thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9) The Gospel is no secret and His Promises are not elusive. We must have faith. Hope must be our vision.

 

John 9:38-41 (NLT)

“Yes, Lord, I believe!” the man said. And he worshiped Jesus. Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.” Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard him and asked, “Are you saying we’re blind?” “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.

 

Blindness is not a sin problem. The problem is with those who think that they can see but really know nothing at all about what God is doing. Jesus Christ did not come to condemn the world but that through Him the world might be saved. The end of spiritual darkness is in the revelation of Jesus Christ. Many times this comes like an onion as our life is peeled back layer by layer. It is a complex process of surrender. The Holy Spirit is on a mission to work our salvation through every facet of our life to the Glory of God which is to our benefit and blessing. Everybody wins. The problem is that too often we set off with a gun half-cocked. We know just enough of the Word to get us in trouble. One verse is no good unless the context is given. You will never know the context of God’s Promises without knowing His Word. It is an instruction book for believers to walking in the Light. It is the lamp we need when covered in darkness.

 

John 9:6-11 (NLT)

Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing! His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said he was, and others said, “No, he just looks like him!” But the beggar kept saying, “Yes, I am the same one!” They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?” He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.’ So I went and washed, and now I can see!”

 

If you have ever experienced the Lord’s Supernatural Intervention in your life, it will change your testimony forever. How so? I tried for years to tell others about Jesus Christ and to explain the difference that He made in my life to no avail. It all sounded too much like a self-help story of personal discipline and habitual changes. No one believed that tithing changed our finances just hard work and motivation. Everyone thought that our changed lifestyle should be credited with change. It was too easily to rationalize. When our daughter was miraculously and completely healed of asthma, I was completely undone. No longer could I doubt the existence of an All-Powerful, All-Knowing and Everywhere God who loved me and cared about my life. When the Light of God’s Love breaks through the darkness of your desperation, everything changes. You will begin to desire such change to feel Him close. You will begin to expect Him to do something else. Or…you will allow the world to explain it away and step back into darkness and obscurity of society. Well, now we have gone through another season of refinement of our faith with some sorrow and suffering to go with it. The Lord has healed our son of cancer five times. Medicine will tell you that cannot figure it out. The second relapse statistically called for his life to end in less than two years – we have passed the second anniversary and he is alive and well. I don’t know what else to tell you but my God is real. Jesus Christ is alive. He is working in our life. “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!” (John 9:25) The simplicity of the Gospel is revealed when our blindness is gone and by faith we see all we must do is believe.

 

Romans 4:16-18 (NLT)

So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the Law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”

 

Do you feel that you are in the dark? Unable to see what the Lord is doing, but you know that He is doing something. It will drive you crazy if you let it and do not properly change your mind, will and emotions. What to do while you wait? The promise is received by faith. After all, isn’t that what we are after that thing that God has dropped in our spirit and the Holy Spirit keeps bringing to our attention. We want it but cannot yet reach it so what now? We do not even know what to pray for at this point. There is nothing that you or I can do to hasten the process or snatch our promise from the Lord’s Hand. Faith is the substance of things hoped for so maybe we should reinforce what we believe focus on living in the Light of His Love demonstrated by serving Him, seeking Him and studying Him to know Him more so when the time comes to respond you will be ready. Abraham believed that God brings the dead back to life and creates new things out of nothing. Do you believe that too? This is another definition of hope. To believe beyond anything rational or visual. When there was no reason to hope – Abraham kept on hoping? Will you? Will I?

 

2 Peter 1:5-10 (NLT)

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins. So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away.

 

We must decide to respond to God’s Promises by faith before change comes. We must work diligently to be prepared to do what He tells us to do when He tells us to do it even when it means walking blind. God prepared Saul his whole life to become Paul and lead the way for the Gentile’s Salvation. Even when he was murdering innocent Christians, God had a better plan reserved for him. He spent his whole life studying the Word of God. He purposed though misguided at the time to please God by doing His Will. There are many people today who are modern day Sauls who are about to have a conversion to Paul. Saul believed that he was serving God on the road to Damascus. Crazy that is exactly where ISIS is attacking Christians today. The Lord called on him there and in the brightness of His Glory – Saul became blind. (Acts 9) The moment of change was upon him. If not for blindness, there probably would have been no conversion and likely the encounter brushed off to heatstroke or something of the sort. When God sent Ananias to lay hands on him so that Saul would be filled with the Spirit and become Paul, soon he would be the one pursued, imprisoned and executed for his belief. As you read all of Pau’s writings in the New Testament, his boldness is not that of a normal man for most of it he wrote bound in chains. The Glory of God that overtook him gave Paul a hope that man could not beat out of him and the enemy could not take from him. This is the glorious change that only confident hope fueled by persistent faith that opens our eyes to see past the natural to the supernatural. It gives us the passion to pursue it at all costs. This is the change that I am after. We have a neat list of instructions of what to do while we wait for His Light to show us our next great leap of faith. Do we have the willingness to do it until He comes?

 

Isaiah 48:8-10 (NLT)

“Yes, I will tell you of things that are entirely new, things you never heard of before. For I know so well what traitors you are. You have been rebels from birth. Yet for my own sake and for the honor of my name, I will hold back my anger and not wipe you out. I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.”

 

Are you facing your darkest hour? Is the fiery furnace of refinement hotter than it has ever been? Be encouraged today. He is preparing you to be changed into that new thing you have been crying out for. Do not give up and do not give in. The enemy wants to blind you to the New Light about to burst from your life. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) God is about to reveal His Glory in your life. Be ready to respond. The darkest hour is before the dawn. But in the morning is when new mercy and unfailing love come pouring back in! I know it is hard. I know it hurts. But I also know what it feels like for my sorrow to be turned to joy and tears to laughter as His Light floods my life again. Friend, it’s worth it. Every single time – it has been worth it all!

 

Lamentations 3:20-24 (NLT)

I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”