Command Change – A Devotion

Command Change

Daniel 9:22-23 (NLT)
He explained to me, “Daniel, I have come here to give you insight and understanding. The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God. Listen carefully so that you can understand the meaning of your vision.

The moment you began praying, a command was given. That very second that you cried out to the Lord in desperation, He immediately had a response for you. There are people who have a habit of talking and not listening. They will ask a question, but not wait for a response. Many people talk at God the very same way. They will pray about their worries, concerns and burdens but walk away before they every get understanding or resolution. We forget that God has a Voice and speaks to those who will listen. But we don’t want talk, human beings want action. Immediate gratification is the only thing that will do but it doesn’t always work that way. In most cases, if we are not getting what “we” want when we pray for His Will then we move forward with our plan. Endurance grows in our ability to wait on the Lord, but He does not leave us alone to wait for change. We have the power to command change in our life. When Daniel prayed, the moment that he prayed, there was a command given in Heaven. Nothing but the best for His Children is God’s Command for us. To come boldly to the Throne of God is not about acting out, sucking up or even demanding our rights, it is an acceptance of God’s Will, His Way and His Word that has been afforded us by the Grace offered by Jesus Christ. Daniel did not have that benefit because Christ had not come yet. Yet, when He prayed as a faithful and uncompromisingly righteous man – He released a command! You can too!

When the angel, Gabriel, came to Daniel it was not to change or fix his situation. It was be bring Daniel insight and understanding. The very first thing that encouraged Daniel with was God’s Faithfulness. Do you believe that God is faithful today? Is it enough that God gave you His Word that when you pray, a command is given in Heaven? Faith in God is not only in the moment your miracle happens or your blessing arrives, it is what you do in the waiting that God sees and honors. The realization of hope ends our need for it any longer. Hope does not disappoint because when it comes we are satisfied. But are you satisfied just knowing that He is faithful? The secret to commanding change in our life is in believing in the Power of God and His Faithfulness before you ever see things begin to turn around. Do you believe today? If you are going through hell today with all its fiery trials, what is steaming from your mouth complaints or commands? Prayer issues a command in Heaven. It is a command for change.

James 5:13-15 (NLT)
“Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.”

Prayer changes things. It sounds so cliché and in fact has become just a saying anymore. If we as the Body of Christ truly believed that Power of Prayer to change our circumstances, situation and overall life, we would pray a whole lot more. Prayer is not asking for something that God has not planned and Jesus provided for us. It is a command for it to be released as we accept it by faith. It is our way of telling God “yes” to His Plan and Promise for our life. Are you going through hardship? Have you prayed? Prayer offered in faith by believing in God and His Ability will produce results in our life. It sows seeds in our righteousness with God that will grow, develop and mature into all of God’s Promises. But most of the time, we do not ask the Lord for anything until we can do nothing about our current situation on our own. He is our rescue remedy rather than first defense. But what if you pray and healing does not come? Oh, if you prayed it is coming. The command was issued that moment. God has a plan for your life. It contains a future and hope. Some of us travel a great distance from His Glorious Standard of Living that requires some details to be perfected (Psalm 138:8) and other some things changed for our good (Romans 8:28). With that in mind, God issues the command for your life to line up with His Word, Will and Way but He will not allow a single detail to be wasted along the way. We want immediate relief, but the Lord wants complete renewal and restoration. He will not rescue you from your present circumstances. He wants to use them to bless you – including every single one. We have prayed for our son’s healing for almost three years now. He has had cancer five times in that time. Did God answer our prayers? Yes. Each time the cancer was gone completely. But he has had it five times? I think the biggest issue most people have with God is His Timing. The command goes out but no one waits for it to actually happen. Second would be His Way. If God doesn’t do what He promises the way that we think it should happen, too often we decide that He is not going to do it at all. Prayer changes things. Prayer releases a command in Heaven. We must learn to watch and wait until it comes God’s Way in His Timing according to His Plan.

Matthew 6:7-8 (NLT)
“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”

Prayer is an opportunity to fully accept the benefits of right standing with God. Nothing new happens when we pray so there is no need to beg or plead with the Lord. It’s not let’s make a deal where you negotiate “I will if YOU will.” He will if you do. What came first the chicken or the egg may be a debate as long as this world exists – but the Truth is in the beginning was God. The Word (Jesus) was with God. His Spirit hovered waiting to facilitate His Word. Before you and I – there was God and He had a plan for your life. A good plan with a future and hope that He is ready to send your way! The Plan is not consistent with our life style or choices but the consistency of God. The Power of Prayer is not in our petition but in our persistence. (Matthew 7:7-8) Prayer establishes our dependency on the Lord and our desire for His Will in our life. Not my will, but Your Will God. It accepts His Best as our desire. Those committed to a life of prayer in seasons of great need or even when things are going pretty well establish a consistent need for Christ in their life as an active participant. God’s Word tells us what to pray for in alignment with His Will. His Spirit inside of us will actually pray for us when we do not have the words to say or even know what it is we need. (Ephesians 6:18)

2 Chronicles 7:14-16 (NLT)
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy—a place where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.

My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. When God’s Temple was dedicated in the Old Testament, the Lord was pleased with the structure that they had built for His Presence. He noticed the faithfulness of His People in its construction. But here is the most important part of this promise, “if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven…” We want God to answer our prayer without living in covenant or committed to the Lord. This is an Old Testament Promise made possible by a New Testament Savior. Prayer works. We don’t do the work, but accept the promise by faith. Commitment to righteousness demonstrates faithfulness to God, and is interpreted as belief. When Jesus Christ died on the Cross later releasing His Spirit, you and I became the Temple of God. (I Corinthians 6:19-20) We honor the Sacrifice of our Lord, Jesus Christ by living a life of holiness which is nothing more than turning from our wicked ways and seeking God’s Face every day. This is an act of giving up our life to serve Him. It is how we humble ourselves by accepting His Plan as a better option our life despite the fact that we do not have all the details or an outline of what is to come. We accept it by faith in the Lord and the unprecedented Power of His Love. We live what we believe by praying and communicating with the Lord and remaining faithful while His Command turns into the Promise we have been waiting for. God detests the prayers of those who ignore His Law found in His Word which is His Way. (Proverbs 28:9) We must remain true to our commitment to the Body of Christ as a resident of His Kingdom and temple for His Spirit. (Psalm 17:3-6)

Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
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.

Are you ready for a change? Do you need a change in your life today? It begins with prayer. The command is issued in Heaven as God begins to work out all the details for your good. I understand just how hard it is sometimes to maintain a life of prayer when nothing seems to point to anything other than random fate. But my life is far from random and I am no longer subject to fate but a wonderful and glorious plan designed by God that is more than I could ever think to ask for. I cannot help but believe all of the trials, troubles and hardship must amount to something far greater than I can imagine in the pain and sorrow they have caused along the way. Each day I must strive to pray about everything which releases commands for change in Heaven. I can tell God what I need but more importantly I must be thankful for all He has done including the things I can see and those not yet recognized. The Holy Spirit inside of me will whisper instruction and give me understanding if I approach prayer as a conversation and not chronic complaining. Faith in God’s Word, Will and Way will blanket my life in peace that guards my heart so it will not be forever broken and mind so that I will not be distracted by the enemy’s roars. Command change in your life today by reestablishing communication with our Awesome God today. Have confidence in His Plan finding affirmation in His Word and by His Spirit. Decide to wait until your prayer for His Promise becomes a reality. God has not changed His Mind and He will not change His Way to accommodate us and our unwillingness to wait. Don’t forfeit your dream or give up on that vision but press in and pray today. Widen the boundaries of your prayer life to include the needs of others. Command change to come in your life today – it all begins with you! “As I was praying…” (Daniel 9:21)

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Free Your Mind – A Devotion

Free Your Mind

Romans 7:22-25 (NLT)
I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

When my kids were little and they could not find something in the toy box, they would take to dumping all the contents on the floor. Rummaging through the contents until they found what they were looking for. Our oldest daughter had a firm attachment and long-lasting addiction to her pacifier. When it was time to take it away, which was well past the recommended age, she would go in her room and begin to dig through her toy box which yielded three the first day. I loaded everything back into the pink and white chest thinking surely she had gotten them all. The next morning after hearing a ruckus coming from her room, I went back in to find her happily enjoying a disgusting dust covered “binky” that she had dug out from under her bed. This went on for a week until she had found every single one that she had lost over the years. My poor baby was so upset when she finally realized there were no more to be found. Each time I found her searching for another one in pure desperation, my heart went out to her. She had no way to know that this was good for her and her newly formed teeth. All she knew is that she wanted it, it brought her comfort, and when she was unsettled it was her peace. When it was gone, she was desperate to find it again with urgency and commitment to the pursuit.

When I awoke to the sounds of pumps and monitors in our son’s hospital room, I was desperate. Lack of sleep makes me ornery on every level already, and I have been here almost two weeks. The constant unknown of the radical effect of the high dose chemotherapy is wreaking havoc on his body and I hope killing every cancer cell hiding there. I am tired not just in my body but my mind as well. How much longer must I hold on until my help comes? I am battling with my mind to stay peacefully positioned rather than this current state of chaos that has me so frustrated. I am in need of His Peace today not for the outcome but in this moment for this hour. I want to complain. I want to be mad. I want to hold a grudge. I want to acknowledge that this is not fair. I do not want to be here anymore. I am so tired of seeing my son suffer through this, I need some relief. I need to be set free. It begins with my mind.

I do love God’s Word with all of my heart. It is law, yes. But I do not mind because it has never once failed to bring me instruction, encouragement and more. But there is most definitely another power at work within me that wants me to forget about faith and release the confident hope that I have found in Jesus Christ. My sinful nature is sick of being laid low by the Holy Spirit and bound by His Word so it fights back constantly against the new man rising up within me. I am my own worst enemy at times. Lord, you have given me your power. Today I am desperate for you. So as I dig in your Word, stirring up your Spirit who lives in me, set me free in my heart and mind to be at peace in you today. I need you, Jesus.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (NLT)
We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. And after you have become fully obedient, we will punish everyone who remains disobedient.

I don’t want to feel this way. I hate feeling this way. When my mind is not right, and I feel out of sorts I must find my foothold on faith and grab hold of confident hope once more. The enemy roams the earth like a roaring lion seeking whoever he can devour. The problem is that he is a toothless and clawless predator who is powerless to take over your life. The only way that he gains control is if we as believers give it back to him. God’s Weapons are His Word and His Spirit with both of these powerful partners working in our life – we can beat the enemy at his game of lies and deception each and every time. If that thought that is causing me to be frustrated, discontent or worry is not brought under subjection to God’s Word and Spirit – it is rebellious in nature and will lead to disobedience. It becomes doubt that keeps us from knowing God’s Glory and Power in our life until dealt with severely. Whenever I caught my little girl with a newly rediscovered pacifier happily enjoying it, she would pop it out of her mouth and hand it to me automatically. She knew that she was not supposed to have it. So she easily gave it up. Now that is not to say that she immediately felt better or did not dissolve into a puddle of tears right in front of me. My heart felt so bad for her obvious distress. I wanted to cry every time. But my head knew it was the best thing for her, so I stood my ground and did it anyway. God is doing the same thing in my life. He wants my life to be as He designed it to be. Every blessing and promise are essential in His Plan to perfect my existence both now and forever. There will be hardships, trials and heartbreaks alone the way as my old nature gives forth to the new creation that the Lord died for me to be. I must remember that God ALWAYS has something better in mind for me. (Hebrews 11:39-40) He is ready to do more than I could think to ask for. (Ephesians 3:20) His Ways and Thoughts are so much higher and better than my own. (Isaiah 55:9) God has already thought this thing through. He knows the best outcome. He is working every detail for our good. (Romans 8:28) My only responsibility in this operation is to have faith. Surrendering my thoughts for His Thoughts and allowing His Spirit to lead the Way!

John 14:26-27(NLT)
But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. 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.

I have the Holy Spirit inside of me. No really I do. I remember thinking a long time ago when I first got saved how silly this was. The voice I hear is my own. My morals directly impact my attitude and actions not some spirit lingering on the inside of me good or bad. Well, that was then and this is now. The Spirit of God does live inside of me. His Voice is real. His Interaction in my life valid. He makes my faith genuine. He reinforces confident hope. He is the Lord’s Representative in my life sent as an Advocate. The Holy Spirit will teach me about God my Father expressing His Love directly to my heart. His Spirit reminds me. Of what? The Word that I choose to tuck in the folds of my heart and recesses of my mind for rainy day use. When the Father, Son and Spirit are active in my life of faith and confident hope, I will have peace of mind and peace of heart. Both are of equal importance. Peace is a gift given to us by the Lord. If we do not have it, it is simply because we choose not to receive it. The Holy Spirit transforms the way that we think to line up with God’s Word, Will and Way. (Romans 12:2) The Holy Spirit will renew our thoughts. (Ephesians 4:21-24) Our thoughts were at one time separate from God’s because of our sinful nature. (Colossians 1:21-22) But now we have the capacity to know His Thoughts and use them to be like Him. (I Corinthians 2:11)

Matthew 22:36-38 (NLT)
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”

I love the Lord emotionally (with my heart). I love Him spiritually (with my soul). I must learn to love the Lord God consciously. What is the difference? Do you believe in love at first sight? I loved my husband from our very first date. I really wasn’t sure why I did, just knew that I did. In fact, on an outing with friends right before our first date I told my friend that I was going to marry this guy. She said, “No you’re not, you don’t even know him.” Something in my heart and soul connected with this individual. But now after fifteen years of marriage, I know that I love Him. Once the emotion of love wears off, we must work on the commitment to love. Love is not always fun. It takes a great deal of work. We must surrender our way to walk with another. Sound familiar? It is. We must decide to love God with our life and live what we believe.

Philippians 4:6-8 (NLT)
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.
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.

I woke up this morning in need of repair. So as I fix my thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable – I always find myself in the Word of God and spending time in His Presence with His Spirit. It is in this place that I bring Him all my cares and worries wrestling with myself to leave them there and accept His Peace that He so graciously offers as a guardian for my heart and mind. When I am troubled as I was today, He is not mad at me in my weakness but embraces honesty. When I think about Him, I begin to experience the excellence of His Grace and Mercy. Praise is the evidence that there has been an exchange of my rebellious thoughts for the Mind of Christ. I have now freed my mind. His Peace is overwhelming as it chases the darkness with His Light. I am not afraid. I am no longer agitated. I am full of faith. I am hope full, too. All because He has freed me from the inside out. I am free!

John 8:36 (NLT) …So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.

2 Corinthians 3:17 (NLT)
For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

After All – A Devotion

After All

Ephesians 6:12-13 (NLT)
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.

After the battle, you will still be standing firm. I wonder sometimes in my humanity how we will ever go back to life as usual after such a long ordeal. How will the trauma left by constant uncertainty be healed other than with more time waiting? Will the battle every end or will we exchange one engagement for another? Will the evil rulers and authorities ever decide to stop coming against God’s Power in us? This world is definitely not changing for the better. Will the trials, temptations, and hardship ever get better or continue to worsen at the close proximity of Jesus Christ. Holiness has become an abandoned highway. Grace is nothing more than an excuse to many. I am not in any way condemning or judging anyone else but looking in the mirror at the reflection of my soul wondering if I will still be standing firm. After all of this will I be the same person? Will things ever be the same? What is can expect after all this over?

The battle that we are in will end one day. Our son will be completely healed of cancer. It is God’s Promise to him. When it will come I have no idea? How it will happen…clueless? I have general theories but pretty much have exhausted them all. Each cancer-free report has been celebrated as the last one. This has not been the case. The solution is total dependency on the Armor that God provides us to stand strong not in the moment, not through the storm but every day for the rest of my life so that I will be standing firm after this battle.

John 16:33 (AMP)
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

Jesus Christ has deprived this world of its power to harm you and has conquered it for you. I read this the other day and it has stayed with me. I have to remember that when I am waiting for the momentary trouble that I am experiencing to resolve that it does not necessarily mean that the divine purpose has been accomplished. But I can be certain that as long as I have put all my faith and trust in Jesus Christ than I cannot be harmed and I am more than a conqueror. Jesus didn’t just overcome cancer. He did not only come to end poverty. He did not come to give you a better life now. He came to give you more life. I think the world is abundant life. You will have tribulation, trials, distress and frustration in this world guaranteed. Just because this one passes doesn’t mean that another one is not right around the corner. Why would Jesus tell us such things? I have told you these things so that in ME you may have perfect peace and confidence. Well, that’s reassuring. No really, that is reassuring for this who understand after all is said and done that we are safe and that we are overcomers in Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:29-30 (NLT)
For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

Jesus has given us right standing with God the Father. It is nothing that we can do for ourselves but rather an inheritance given by our Father. We are placed in right standing when we ask Jesus to come in our heart. The real task is maintaining our righteousness as it was given which requires nothing more or less than taking a stand for the Kingdom of God and demonstrating allegiance to Jesus Christ after all. He chose us from the beginning before there was any one to compare ourselves to. Long before we messed up the first time or decided to live our own life apart from Him. He chose us and then made a way for us to come to Him. The potential of this relationship is not limited to the here and now but forever. The trouble is my finite thinking compares my life to everyone else. I look at my mistakes as fatal rather than grabbing hold of God’s Vision for me that is futuristic. I choose lesser things when standing seems harder than I am capable of…until now. Now I must stand. There is too much for me to lose. I do not stand for just me but my child as well. Hang on! Maybe the Lord is giving me a brief glimpse into His Waiting Room where He does His Work. As He removes everything in me that separates me from His Very Best while I reach up for His Help – He is improving my life according to the Glorious Standard once forfeited by my rebellion. He is collecting my tears in a bottle and will redeem my sorrows for joy. It says right there in black and white that He gave me His Glory. After all…I have His Glory!

2 Corinthians 1:20-22 (NLT)
For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.

The Holy Spirit identifies us as Children of God. We are guaranteed certain things just because we are His Children. Every Promise of God for our life is fulfilled in Jesus Christ meaning the no was turned to a resounding “yes” the instant I turned back to God and stepped into right standing. I accepted God’s Glorious Standard of Living orchestrated from before my birth. God gave me His Spirit to enable me to stand firm in Christ. Whoa! There is that “stand” thing again. My life was planned by God to be more than I could ever think to ask for. It is called a masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10) I think it might be safe to say that this life we are currently engaged in is NOT a masterpiece…yet. It is going to take time. I have to give it time along with faith and trust in my Father’s Plan enough to take a stand for it. God wants to do great things in us and through us. We are destined to have a future and hope. We have the potential to live in complete peace and perfect joy! No matter what the situation we have been commissioned. We have been given the authority to overtake this world. If your circumstances are not infused with God’s Power, then you just have to take a stand. Do not step down or move back. You do not have to give up or give in to compromise. You have the power and potential to receive everything God has promised even more than you thought of to ask for. You are alive for His Glory. Failure, defeat and death are not glorious events but success, overcoming and life are of God and give Him great glory. You and I just have to finish the job.

I Corinthians 10:12-13 (NLT)
If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

After all, you just have to be found standing. Standing requires endurance. I have been knocked down not once or twice but four times in my stand against cancer. The Word of the Lord is that my son will live and not die. Each bout of cancer lowers his survival rate according to this world, but My God, the One and Only True God said, “He will live and not die.” I have decided somewhere along the line to stand on His Word no matter what, it was probably about the time that I realized my worst fear and death came knocking on our door. When will you decide that after all, I am going to stand? What temptation will force you to decide? What trial will press it out of you? I gave up begin the strong one so long ago. I decided that I can be faithful and that friends is a full-time job. God is faithful so as long as I remain covered in His Grace and choose to stand in righteousness – we cannot fail. It took all this to make compromise unacceptable. How many times have I stepped off my faith and trust to embrace complacency and compromise? Not this time, I can’t. The stakes are too high. I want what God has promised me and I will not leave this position until I have it. The Word says that if we endure to the end – we will be saved. That’s what He’s getting at.

I Corinthians 13:7 (NLT)
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Love never gives up. It waits for God’s Best. Love never loses faith because He died so it would be worth something. Love endures through every circumstance because faith makes all things possible through my belief. I must stand through the battle because I have won the war. What are you about to give up on today? Are you sure you want to do that? Do you love Jesus today? Then how could you not let Him finish the work that He began in you? He has promised good things. Sealed them inside you with His Spirit. All you have to do is stand and after doing all you must stand some more. It is not time to stop standing but plant my feet and refuse to move. I will be the first to admit I am tired of standing strong. In my weakness, He becomes my strength. I am weary of well-doing in the midst of constant pressure. But I must remember that He summons those who are heavy laden – He will take this burden if I will surrender it to Him. He gives me peace. Not like the world gives it only to take it back again. He keeps me in perfect peace when I stand on His Word, hold on to His Hope and stand on faith. I refuse to move. After all…I will still stand.

I Peter 5:8-11 (NLT)
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen.

I’m Not Mad – A Devotion

I'm Not Mad

Psalm 4:3-5 (NLT)
You can be sure of this: The LORD set apart the godly for himself. The LORD will answer when I call to him. Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. Offer sacrifices in the right spirit and trust the LORD.

I will admit it I was mad. Not once but many times in this journey, I have gotten mad. Angry at the situation, frustrated with the people involved and aggravated with the circumstances that we could not seem to shake. I am sick of watching our son suffer through treatment after treatment. I am weary of driving back and forth across the state. Interrupted schedules with no sense of routine, there is no order to our life anymore. Cancer created a chaos or at least that what it seemed like in the beginning. Just when I think that I have control of my emotions something happens and they come rushing to the surface. My husband and two youngest daughters came to visit. It was the first time seeing the girls in over a week. Brenan was sleeping compliments of nausea medicine and a falling blood count so we played games in the playroom nearby talking and visiting. Hours seemed like minutes and it was time for them to leave. My youngest daughter began to cry until it broke into uncontrollable sobs. Hot tears held just behind my eyes. She could not see me cry or it would be worse. I convinced daddy to stop for some milkshakes on the way back home assuring him that it would not ruin their dinner and if it did that would be okay. As I hugged each of them again before turning to back to our son’s room, I could not hold back the tears any longer. I was so angry that my daughter was hurting. She shouldn’t have to do without her mama over and over again. Our family should not have to be apart like this. The life carefully constructed now nothing as it once was just a shadow of the past. I was so angry. I wanted to complain. I wanted to gripe. I wanted to yell and scream. I wanted to be mad at someone for this injustice feeling that there would be release in designating responsibility. But in the end, I found myself biting my own lip. In my heart, the Holy Spirit whispered “be angry – sin not!”

You can be sure of this…it all begins right here. I used to be the type of person who was easily angered by any and all forms of injustice. This was tempered first by the revelation that life is not fair. If I got mad every single time something bad happened to good people, I would never know happiness. As I grew in Christ, I tried to offer at least some grace to others as Christ gave me. Not always successful, I tried to treat others as I wanted to be treated in return. Still I would get frustrated by setbacks and delays, I would press for perfection in myself and other equally getting overwrought with anyone who gave less than their very best. That is until something radical happened…my whole life fell apart. Yes, it was the day that the doctor told us that our boy had cancer. Like hurling a single rock at a glass house, my life shattered all around me. Nothing would ever be the same. Everything changed in a single instance. I lost control that day. I have not regained it since but I stopped trying a while ago. I can be sure of this – what am I sure of? God is good. His Word is true. His Love is for me. His Spirit is in me. Every detail of my life will turn out for good because I believe. Faith invested this way becomes something called confident hope. As we learn to trust the Lord with our whole life, our entire being, and everything in it – I can…You can…We can be sure of this!

The Lord set apart the godly for Himself. We are special. The outcomes in our life concern the Father and He is always working on our behalf whether we see the results or not. It doesn’t matter if His Presence is tangible or we just believe that He is there without really seeing or knowing or feeling Him. God made the decision to set my life apart and make it different. He decided that only the best for me would do. He sent His Son, His Only Son, to die for me that I might be saved and partake of all His Precious Promises. Faith tells me to trust Him. Confident hope tells me that He is there. His Plan for my life is more than I could even think to ask for so of course things aren’t always to go my way because He is doing it His Way. We are bound to get frustrated. We are even going to get mad. As anger rises within us, we have a choice to make of a pivotal nature.

Hebrews 12:14-15 (NLT)
Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.

How do we rightly divide anger and sin? How can I be sure that when I am mad that I do not sin? Anger is a strong feeling of displeasure. It is belligerence aroused by wrong. It is synonymous with resentment, exasperation, and sudden violent outbursts. Now none of these seem like reasonable responses given the following instructions – live at peace with everyone (who am I supposed to be mad at) and work at living a holy life (Note – it doesn’t say holier-than-thou life). Before coming to Jesus Christ, I expected my life to turn out a certain way. After coming to know the Lord and surrendering my life to Him, I began to construct the life that I thought He wanted me to have. Let’s face it – ain’t nobody flocking to the honest preacher saying, “Turn or burn!” They all want the one yelling, “Praise pays.” His Ways are definitely not my ways. His Thoughts are way above my thoughts. I am going to get mad when things don’t turn out the way I plan for now. There will be some level of frustration when I am required to wait on the Lord. I am only human. Well, part of me is anyway. “Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grow up to trouble you…” It will corrupt you. The New Living Translation of Psalm 4:4 reminds us not to let anger take hold of you. The root that it uses to lasso us is bitterness. Bitterness is caused by resentment. Resentment is our response to begin wronged. Forgiveness will kill just about every bitter root that arises in your life. Choosing to forgive whether the other party gets it or not is the key. It chops off bitterness at the root because you have released the injurious party from any expectation or obligation we are free to continue to walk in right standing with God. When we put our expectation in anyone or anything other than God – we take our faith away from Him. When we remove our faith from the Lord, we simultaneously release our hope which is the staying power we need to wait for His Outcome and the arrival of His Goodness. It literally enslaves us. So how do I get angry but sin not! When anger controls our attitude and actions, we essentially allow our sinful nature to regain control of our life taking it back from the Holy Spirit. This halts any progress in God’s Plan to wait for us to get back on board. Now that should really make you mad…

Romans 8:5-6 (NLT)
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

My sinful nature gets me nowhere but in trouble fast. When I gave my heart and life to Jesus it was with the understanding that I would live a Spirit-filled and Spirit-controlled life. It is my privileged commitment to follow Jesus Christ. He gave His Life freely, willingly without resentment. This is the example that we are to follow. I was praying about the high-strung emotions that I have had lately with all we have been going through with our son. I have battled anger, resentment and hostility focusing it on the cancer. There are many messengers along the way that were ripe for shooting if you know what I mean. I want the Holy Spirit to control my mind because it leads to life and peace. I must be the one to keep my emotions and feelings subjected to His Spirit at all times. When I allow any emotion to control me, my sinful nature steps right back in. How can we learn to anger and sin not? We have to go straight to our example. He is our only hope for success or we will remain subject to emotional sabotage that leads to bondage.

Hebrews 12:2-4 (NLT)
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

Jesus Christ is completely responsible for the life of every believer. If you have given Him your heart, your life belongs to Him. We have every right to expect a better life, everything that He promised including healing and prosperity. He will do it His Way according to His Word and His Will. He is our example how to live. He gave up His Life willingly without any animosity, anger or resentment to give us a brand new better life. We cannot grow weary and give up in the process but wait for Him to finish. Anger should always be reserved for sin and injustice not the poor victims of sin who we encounter each day. There is no need for bitterness because we have severed ties with this world. We will never be judged for our anger only if we allow ourselves to become bound in sin again forfeiting our faith. How could we ever? Why would we even consider?

I will be candid in this revelation. I was praying this morning about the brokenness I feel in this situation. I began to recite the promises back to the Lord that He has given me concerning my son. The ones that my faith stands on and hope is secured by. As I prayed, I heard my words and they fell off my lips like rocks. “You promised me Lord that he would live but…” See it right there. Shocked me back to reality. My anger had created bitterness – it was beginning to take root. “But” nullifies everything that came before it. I repented on the spot. I will not forfeit my faith for the right to be angry, mad, resentful or discontent with what the Lord is doing in my life. You may feel the same way if a life is on the line. Doctors and medicine have tried to save my son from cancer four times now we are on the fifth time. This has taken my boy to the footstep of death. Who is with me? God is with me and in an instant I almost forfeited my close proximity to the Lord to be filled with anger, hurt, resentment, fear and doubt. It is not worth it. But as I have told many people this has been a long, hard journey but the Lord promised it would be worth it – I believe Him so no friend, I am not mad!

Psalm 61:1-4 (NLT)
O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings!

When I am overwhelmed by emotions, I have a place to run to. He is the Towering Rock, Safe Refuge and Fortress where the enemy cannot reach me. I can take my cares, burdens, and worries straight to His Throne coming boldly (Hebrews 4:16) before His Throne and getting the answers I need to go on. He will remind me with His Word and by His Spirit as He confirms His Promises and lifts me above my circumstances so peace is established in my heart and mind again. As I learn to live in His Presence and wait on His Way, I will be at peace and satisfied with my life so there is no need to be angry or resentful because I know He prefects that which concerns me (Psalm 138:8) and He is making every detail work out for my good! (Romans 8:28) Why? Because He loves me. Yes, He gets angry too when the enemy messes with me or my family. But see God knows the end from the beginning, so His Primary Concern is that I make it to the finish line of faith to receive the prize. When I am overwhelmed with any emotion, the Lord promises to show us what to do with those feelings and which way to go. (Psalm 142:1-3) He’s a Good God! He is for us not against us. There is no need to be mad – He is working this out for our good! Are you mad today? Are you angry or frustrated? Get rid of it. Do away with it in your life. Be free to accept all that God has for you and let His Peace rule your heart and life now and forever more.

Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT)
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Fear Be Gone – A Devotion

Fear Be Gone

I John 4:18 (NLT)
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.

Love has no fear. How can that be possible? We all have fears and trepidations right? If you have never known true love, it is safe to say that you may not even truly understand what it is to be fearless. Love expels fear. What are you afraid of? There may be a list as long as your arm but they all equal one thing – everyone is afraid to die. Everyone prolongs life as long as they can because of the uncertainty of death and whether or not there is anything else to this thing called forever. I am not a fearless person. I am absolutely petrified of the dentist. I had a bad experience once about twenty years ago that kept me from the dentist for many years. With my last pregnancy, I lost a filling and over time the tooth became very sore. I had no choice. I had to go to a dentist. A friend who happened to be a hygienist encouraged me to use her dentist. She described him as kind and gentle. Yeah right I thought, he’s a dentist. But I finally went when the pain became unbearable. When I got to the office, they did not make me wait but ushered me right back. Once in the chair they immediately began the examination and cleaning that I so desperately needed. Throughout all of my visit, the dentist was very encouraging and sympathetic. He told me if it hurts let me know and I will try to eliminate your discomfort. If you need a minute, just let me know. Over the course of several visits, the new dentist began to relieve my anxiety and fear concerning dental care that was created by a lack of trust. When the first dentist did not listen to my concerns, access my need, or alleviate the pain, he lost my trust. I think we maintain fear in our life when we do not take the time to try to get to the true love and devotion that God has for us. He demonstrated in giving His Son – Jesus Christ to settle our sin debt. Once we accept the free gift of salvation, fear should be a thing of the past. We are not going to die. Knowing and believing this truth requires trust. It means that by faith we have to continually set out to live in His Presence, seek His Face, know His Blessings and become convinced that His Love is more than enough.

Perfect love “expels” fear. I looked up the word “expel”. It is a violent word that means to drive out or force away. It is not a passive but aggressive term. To expel means to discharge and cut off relations. Fear is nothing more than false evidence appearing real. The best way to end a lie is to discover the truth. If we are afraid it shows that we have more to learn about the unfailing love of God and more room to fit it in our life. Today is the day that you will expel fear from your life – if you learn to love Him more.

John 3:19-21 (NLT)
“And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

Sin is the one thing that will always separate us from God’s Love. His Justice does not allow it in His Presence. It keeps us bound to the darkness in fear of exposure by the Light. We have grace that is sufficient for those things that unknowingly and unwillingly trip us up, but until we discover the true potential of God’s Love for us and trust Him, we will always have some degree of fear in our life no matter what. It is unavoidable because we are close to death. As we strive to separate from sin and consecrate our life to the Lord, suddenly that barrier is lifted and His Grace flows back and forth like a wading pool that leads us into the secret place that is His Presence. You will never trust a god (or anyone else for that matter) who you do not know. There was a young lady on the campus of the school that I work for who had gotten tangled up in a scam of sorts. She had been misled by another young person that if she gave him her license and social security number that he would send in applications for different grants and such. She did it once and received a small check. Excited about her good fortune, at the urging of the con artist she began getting the same information from other students and providing it to the other party. When a man grew suspicious, he came to complain in the Student Services department which I am over. Now this man was older than myself at least his mid-fifties, one would assume that he was experienced enough to know about fraudulent activity and the importance of never sharing your personal information with someone you do not know. When I asked him why he would give in-depth personal information to a perfect stranger, he corrected me. He said, “I knew her. She hangs out in the parking lot with us after school.” Truth is he did not know this woman at all. The sad reality is that most people will spend more time involving near strangers with pertinent and relevant information about their life, then spend ten minutes praying to God and listening for His Voice. Living in constant stress and worry, we give our life to much lesser things rather than designating at least a portion to the God of the Universe. What keeps you from stepping into the Light of His Love today? What are you afraid of? Is there something that you are afraid to give up? Are you concerned that He may require you to change? Are you worried you won’t “like” the life that He planned for you? The Truth is you will love it. Problem is that you will never experience it until you decide to come a little closer to your God.

Romans 8:14-16 (NLT)
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.

God has given us His Spirit. It is what identifies us as His Children. The Spirit is our guarantee that everything that God has promised us will happened if we believe. God didn’t save you to enslave you. The things that He reminds to do and not do are all things that bring goodness into our life and prosper us from the inside out. Not one thing you “do” in God’s Word will be worthless. Servanthood will always produce good things in our life. You are His Adopted Child. He guides, instructs and disciplines us not to harm us but for our good. I want the very best for each one of my children. The Holy Spirit joins our human spirit to “affirm” that we are God’s Children. Not just to the world, other people or even the enemy – He affirms us! To affirm means to “to express agreement with or commitment to; uphold; and support.” This power partner takes the small measure of faith that we are born with and begins to work it through our being to make us into a new creation. This work is quite productive when we choose to bury our old man and all its selfish desires and sinful nature with Christ and allow His Spirit to resurrect the person God created us to be before time began. When we are weak, He is strong in us reminding us that we are a Child of God fortifying our stand for the rights of the Kingdom by faith in Jesus Christ. Now if we could only be convinced that fear is not a natural feeling for us anymore but power and victory in Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 1:6-8 (NLT)
This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News.

You have not been given the spirit of fear so stop accepting it in your life. You can overcome every situation by the Blood of the Lamb and Your Testimony. Does your testimony affirm that your dad is bigger than every other dad in this world because He is! There is none like Him. Jesus Christ paid the death penalty on your life. Forever belongs to you. Confident hope banishes fear from your life. You will never accept hope by faith to believe unless you decide that God’s Love is real and for you. It is unfailing and never ending. You must decide that His Grace is sufficient for you always and never give up. When you accept the power, love and self-discipline offered by the Holy Spirit as you walk with Jesus Christ, you will experience every single benefit offered as a Child of the Living God. You will have nothing to fear. As you develop a passion for Jesus Christ fanning the flame of His Spirit and feeding the fire with His Word, you will be fearless. Then you won’t be afraid to tell all your problems just how big your God is. You will elaborate on His Goodness on your worst day. You will praise through every kind of pain. Your worship will pour forth right along with your tears. Cares and burdens will not keep you from His Presence but you will run there to lighten the load. All this is possible when you believe. When you discover the Love of God designated for you as His Child accepting the Precious Gift of Life offered to you by Jesus Christ and decide to live by His Spirit – you will never fear anything again.

Hebrews 13:6 (NLT)
So we can say with confidence, “The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”

Crumb Snatchers – A Devotion

Crumb Snatchers

Psalm 34:8-10 (NLT)
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.

Many years ago as a single mom, I would hostess at the local grocery store to earn extra money to support my little family. If they were away for the weekend, I would accept assignment preparing samples to share with patron providing coupons for them to try selected items free or at a deeply discounted price. The food was provided by the company for free. The goal of each encounter was to sell the displayed product. Once they tasted the food, they could see that it was good and would buy it. Simple concept. Genius plan. However, there were some drawbacks. There were people who would come on Saturdays knowing that free samples were being given away make a meal of it. This was not the intent of the promotion. The intention of each encounter was to allow people to taste and see that the food was good! Sound familiar? Taste and see that the Lord is good. The joy comes when we take refuge in Him sliding up to the feast that He has prepared before the enemy. Godly people will be satisfied as their encounter with Jesus Christ becomes a daily experience. Those who choose to experience the Lord will lack no good thing.

An encounter is by chance. It is an unplanned casual meeting. Unexpected it becomes an opportunity for an introduction. There are many Christians who will never go any deeper into the satisfying things of God because they live from encounter to encounter. Their relationship with Jesus Christ is simply chance encounters whenever God can get our attention. It is just enough to get from one day to the next but never enough to have a rich and satisfying life. In order to have the rich and satisfying life that Jesus died for us to have requires an ongoing experience with Him. To experience something is direct personal participation. It is intentional. It is actual knowledge and contact with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The origin of the word experience means “knowledge gained by repeated trials.” Have you tasted the Lord to see if He is good? Has doubt, fear, complacency or comfort kept you from returning to the Lord and proving His Word, testing His Promises, and wandering His Way just to see if He is really able to satisfy our soul.

John 17:22-24 (NLT)
“I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!”

Jesus Christ prayed that we would experience “perfect unity” that the world will know that God sent Him and that God loves us as much as He loved Him. The unity that the Lord was talking about here was not for the church to love each other but for each man and woman would individually experience the Love of the Father and the sheer depth of its reality found only in aligning our life with Jesus Christ. Putting all of our trust in Him and experiencing Him in His Fullness as He fills us with His Word which is the beginning of all that He has for us. In order to ever be satisfied as Jesus intended we must know the Father’s Love. It is not discovered in one moment, a church service, on our knees at an altar, in an amazing worship session, or any one place. The only way to fully experience all that Jesus Christ has to offer is to stop trying to catch Him when you can but decide to spend every day pursing the full satisfaction found by all who choose direct personal participation in a faith-full relationship with Jesus Christ. It does not matter what circumstances are surrounding you or the situation that you have found yourself in, His Love is bigger than all that. His Word is rich and satiating. His Way will allow prosperity to become a daily convenience rather than a season of struggle. Jesus Christ invested His Spirit in you. This is the Glory of God in your body. You have all that potential but you just want to come for a quick buffet rushing through rather than sitting at the feast set before you.

Ephesians 3:18-20 (NLT)
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

The whole point of trusting God is discovering His Love for us. If we would take the time to experience Jesus Christ and His Power in each moment than we would know what it means to be satisfied. I am writing this right now sitting in the room of our son who is battling cancer. The floor is filled with many warriors just like him. We have been here for over a week. His body being aggressively attacked by chemotherapy to kill every single cancer cell. His blood count is almost completely wiped out at this point. He is in a critical situation. We are joking and laughing as if there not a worry or a care. There’s not. I know that God loves me and my son. So rather than crying, worrying, stressing out, I am jamming out to Chris Tomlin singing, “God’s Great Dance Floor” wondering can I get kicked out of the hospital if I start running up and down the halls. “You never stop lovin’ us…no matter how far we run…you never give up on us…all of Heaven shout, “Let the future begin.” I have tried the Lord. I know that He is good. I have dared to push, press, and pull on the parameters of His Love and they just keep going and going. I live to experience more and more of Jesus Christ in His Power every single day of my life. Five bouts of cancer, weeks away from my family and an interrupted life has not left me dissatisfied, discontent or broken. It has proven that God’s Love for me is greater than anything that I have ever experienced. Now I want more. He keeps doing more than I can even think to ask for!

John 6:35 (NLT)
Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Jesus has promised that whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. I challenge believers today with the logistics of this statement. You cannot experience godly satisfaction until you eat the bread and drink the blood. Now before you get all grossed out or think I am forming a cult of some sort. In I Corinthians 11:23-26 it talks about communion with the Lord. The act of communion is our way of recognizing the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us. We eat the bread and drink the wine as a sacrament. We are calling His Sacrifice sacred and taking ownership of it. Communion is an act of coming together. We want to experience the satisfaction, promises, miracles, signs and wonders of God but until we decide to accept the Love of God and allow Him to satisfy us from the inside out – it is all for naught. Communion is a sharing. It is an act of participation with God. Human desire can never be satisfied. (Proverbs 27:20) Satisfaction comes from the Lord alone. (Psalm 63:5) He doesn’t promise daily sustenance but complete and total satisfaction and contentment. (Psalm 145:15-16) When we decide to experience the Lord and His Kingdom every day, we are committing to change our appetite. The very thing that kept us bound to the Law can now be satisfied. (Romans 8:3-4) The “just” requirement is complete. Salvation now changes our appetite and we can experience satisfaction left undone by our sinful nature. But you will not change your appetite or taste buds until you change what you are taking into your body every single day. The Spirit will not be satisfied with day old bread or yesterday’s manna. His Word is new just like His Mercy. We think we know it but the more we “eat” it and “taste” its goodness the more we like and the more we want. We have been given an incredible opportunity to feast from God’s Table each and every day. Why are still snatching crumbs from under the table?

I Peter 1:13-15 (NLT)
So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.

Prepare your mind for action. It’s time to make a change. Why not try to experience the Lord each and every day? It will take self-control because the world tries to convince us that we are missing out on something but I assure you that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. When I was young, my mother was a smoker. Smoking kills your taste buds so she salted everything heavily. I had never eaten fruits like oranges, apples, watermelon and such without a “healthy” dose of salt so I did not really care for fresh fruits very much. When I got older and had children of my own, I wanted them to have good eating habits. I began introducing fresh fruits and vegetables to all of us. What I found was that without all the salt, I really liked the actual fruit. I think this world gives us such a distaste for the things of God that we do not find a relationship with Him palatable. Jesus Christ had one purpose – to give you a rich, satisfying life. We achieve that by discovering the Love of God and choosing to experience it every single day no matter what. That is faith that takes ordinary trust and turns it into hope which never disappoints. Taste and see that the Lord is good. His Love is worth the time and energy that you invest in knowing Him more. The dividend is contentment and full satisfaction. Now who doesn’t want that? You are no longer a crumb snatcher because Jesus made you the guest of honor.

Psalm 63:5 (NLT)
You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy.

Psalm 145:15-16 (NLT)
The eyes of all look to you in hope; you give them their food as they need it. When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.

In the Dark – A Devotion

In the Dark

John 1:1-5 (AMP)
In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. He was present originally with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being. In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it [put it out or absorbed it or appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it].

What a difference a day makes! Woke up this morning to find us walking in the darkness that is the shadow of death as our son’s counts go crashing down to almost zero. Deep breath. One more. Come on Holy Spirit kick in and get this weight off my chest. While he sleeps before me blissfully unaware, the chemotherapy is working and doing its job. His new bone marrow is circulating through his system looking for their landing site. In a few days maybe a week, his immune system should fire back up. But until then, we wait in the dark. I know God’s Word for my son’s life. I know that he will live and not die. I have faith in the One who loves me most. What He says goes. How do you convince your heart of that when the world becomes a dark and lonely place? I am surrounded by people but they are not his mom. I am comforted by loved ones who send words of encouragement and pray for us without ceasing but at times it is still not enough to ease the painful separation from others and the imposed isolation of this treatment regime. God knows exactly what is going on in our son’s body. He is instructing each cell and every fiber of his being according to His Will. I am the weak and wondering one. I do not know what is next. Groping in the dark, the Lord begins to speak. You are not alone. You are never alone. Sometimes you can’t see what I am doing, but be confident that I AM doing something good. I believe sometimes I believe God turns off natural “lights” so we can see Him glowing in the darkest times of our life.

In the beginning was the Word. The Word is Jesus Christ. The Word was God. The Word was with God. The Word is an original partner of the Trinity. All things are made through Him and exist in Him. Jesus is life. Jesus is Light to all mankind. Light shines in the darkness. But darkness never overpowers the light! Think about it. If you turn on a light in your house, darkness flees immediately. The stronger the light the farther the darkness. The weaker the light the closer the darkness. There are some things to know about the Light of the world and the darkness in it. First, darkness can never put out the Light. Oh, it tried. Jesus walked right into hell and snatched the keys to death and the grave right out of his hand. The Light does not absorb darkness it banishes it completely. The Light does not appropriate or belong to or take to or own darkness of any kind. The Light is unreceptive to the dark. It does not allow it to permeate its boundaries. Jesus came so that we could be the Light of the world, too. Restoring to right standing with the Father it is our birthright to live as shining examples of Jesus Christ, His Sacrifice and the Kingdom of God.

Psalm 107:13-15 (AMP)
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death and broke apart the bonds that held them. Oh, that men would praise [and confess to] the Lord for His goodness and loving-kindness and His wonderful works to the children of men!

When we cry out in distress calling on the Name of Jesus Christ to save us, He fills us with the Light of His Amazing Love. Though we are fragile vessels, He chooses to pour all of His Love into us right then and there. We are rescued from darkness and death immediately. Problem is sin entices people to live on the edge of darkness and light precariously balanced between two opposing forces one bent on our destruction while the other is trying to help us break free. Darkness will never put out the Light that God has entrusted to us. We put out the Light by choose to remain in the darkness rather than embracing our new positon as Children of the Light. When will we decide that living in the Light is worth the effort? When we decide that the Light of His Love is worth having and maintaining in our life and purpose to make a total separation from the darkness of this world. “For God Who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts so as [to beam forth] the Light for the illumination of the knowledge of the majesty and glory of God [as it is manifest in the Person and is revealed] in the face of Jesus Christ (the Messiah). However, we possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 4:6-7)

Psalm 91:5-6 (AMP)
You shall not be afraid of the terror of the night, nor of the arrow (the evil plots and slanders of the wicked) that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction and sudden death that surprise and lay waste at noonday.

We are Children of God who have the ability and privilege of living in His Presence. (I John 1:5-7) The Light of His Love illuminates the darkness and causes it to flee far away from us. That is if we decide to live apart from the darkness of this world. There are a whole lot of “Johnny-Cash” Christians who walk the line. When you try to live in this world and as a Child of God, many people attempt dual citizenship. Surely grace would cover that, right? Not really. Grace are for those who choose to put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ which means allegiance to the Light. We must put the darkness behind us and live in an armor of light. (Romans 13:11-12) Jesus knows the difference between those who strive to live in the Light and be the Light versus those who really prefer darkness. Light and dark is all the same to Him. (Psalm 139:11-12) He is looking through it all at one thing – your heart.

I Corinthians 4:4-5 (AMP)
I am not conscious of anything against myself, and I feel blameless; but I am not vindicated and acquitted before God on that account. It is the Lord [Himself] Who examines and judges me. So do not make any hasty or premature judgments before the time when the Lord comes [again], for He will both bring to light the secret things that are [now hidden] in darkness and disclose and expose the [secret] aims (motives and purposes) of hearts. Then every man will receive his [due] commendation from God.

We must learn to separate our life from the darkness of this world. We must work to eliminate it from our heart and mind. Sin is sometimes difficult to distinguish because it is such a natural occurrence. We are born with it. It is part of who we are. We must assume our new identity in Jesus Christ and learn to not only distinguish between light and dark but permanently remove darkness from our life. God is looking at your heart. Is it given to the darker things in life? Are there things hidden in there that you don’t think anyone even the Lord knows about? We must not appropriate, portion out, give over, take to or own any darkness or sin in our life. It should be our life’s mission to become as far detached from the things of this world as possible and totally immersed in the Light of His Love. We struggle with passages about being unequally yoked making them all about people. (2 Corinthians 6:14) When it is not about leaving people behind but stepping out of the darkness into the Light. If they can handle it, they will come too. If not, you must keep going righty dividing your life with the Word of God to secure your place in right standing with God by faith in Jesus Christ. We are to be yoked to Jesus Christ. He does not go into the dark because when He is around darkness flees. See the dilemma? You cannot be yoked to Jesus Christ and remain in the darkness. What are you yoked to today?

Ephesians 5:8-11 (AMP)
For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of Light [lead the lives of those native-born to the Light]. For the fruit (the effect, the product) of the Light or the Spirit [consists] in every form of kindly goodness, uprightness of heart, and trueness of life. And try to learn [in your experience] what is pleasing to the Lord [let your lives be constant proofs of what is most acceptable to Him]. Take no part in and have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds and enterprises of darkness, but instead [let your lives be so in contrast as to] expose and reprove and convict them.

When the Light of His Love or the Spirit take over our life we begin to reproduce spiritual fruit that would never have grown in darkness. Love, joy, peace and more come from the faith allowed to flourish in the Light. (Galatians 5:23) The darkness is the realm of the adversary (Ephesians 6:12) who wants to steal, kill and destroy everything and anything good in our life. (John 10:10) God has called us out of the darkness into the Light. (I Peter 2:9) We live in the Presence of God. His Light lives inside of us. The Light shines in the darkness for the godly and shows us the way. (Psalm 112:1-4) You are never completely in the dark even though sometimes it may feel like that. What do you do when you cannot see what God is doing? How until His Light will burst forth in your life? I don’t know. I do know this. It will. His Light is in you looking for a way out of you. You just have to walk in the Light of His Love, live in His Light, and strive to be one with His Love. God’s Love is amazing. It is for me. He shows me the way. Jesus is the Word for my life that came to this world to light the way! He wants to show me the way to His Goodness and Promises. It is up to me to walk in the Light!

John 8:12 (AMP)
Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the Light which is Life.

Not Ideal – A Devotion

Not Ideal

Romans 12:2 (AMP)
Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].

My life is not ideal. Looking around at this hospital room, sitting on the couch that will be my bed, looking through the rail at our son who is spending his time in a place that is not where he should be as a 22-year-old college student, I again feel that our life is not ideal. I have a conception of life in its perfection and this is certainly not it. I have had my idea of “ideal” changed many times in my life. Like any girl, I dreamed of the way that my life would turn out but it didn’t. Princesses are not common and fairytales just not true. Sadly, the world in which we live demands a compromise of ideal to experience success as an individual. Ideal means excellent, fitting, and optimal. I am convinced that perfection does not exist in this world. Rather we have accepted a lighter shade of gray as the best possible substitute for the life that we were offered. Instead of choosing to leave our comfort zone marked descriptively as actual, practical, flawed and imperfect to seek the true and real perfection that faith allows, we would rather accept our lot in life and choose to dwell in a world that is not ideal.

Do not be conformed to this world. Why do we accommodate this world so willingly rather than taking a chance that faith might make a real difference in our life? Jesus Christ came to us so that we could be transformed and changed. It begins with a renewal of our mind to accept new ideals and have a new attitude about living the perfect life that is offered. How can you say that you are thinking? Your son has had cancer five times. He fights for his life at this very moment. Aren’t we all? We are born dying. From the moment you drew your first breath, the timer was set. God has numbered our days. Not because He is mad at us or hates us, if people did not die they would be subject to sin endlessly. My husband’s uncle went home to be with the Lord yesterday. He had cancer multiple times in his life. Beat it every single time except the last round. He decided that he didn’t want chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries anymore. He wanted to be with Jesus. In his final days, he lingered. His body began to shut down but he did not pass. His family watched as he suffered day in and day out until finally he was swept away by His Lord. Death is our transition to life as a believer. No one will live forever in sin thanks to God’s Mercy. While we are here, it is an opportunity to believe accepting Jesus Christ by faith.

Matthew 8:25-27 (AMP)
And they went and awakened Him, saying, Lord, rescue and preserve us! We are perishing! And He said to them, Why are you timid and afraid, O you of little faith? Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great and wonderful calm (a perfect peaceableness). And the men were stunned with bewildered wonder and marveled, saying,
”What kind of Man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him!”

Lord, we are dying. When the storm came the disciples could not believe that Jesus was not concerned that they would perish. Rescue us. Preserve us. Do something. I must admit when I first heard our son’s diagnosis, I felt the same way. Panic rose within me. I wanted to know where God was and why He was not watching over us. The chaos consumed me as I called on His Name. My son had cancer. The ideal life I was living was shattered and irrevocably broken. It would never be the same. I wanted answers. The Lord gave me an answer in the form of a question, “Do you trust me?” I answered, “Yes.” But then realized that my response was not of one who was full of faith but a mother crying out in fear. The storm was upon me and all I could see was the wind and the rain. But sleeping inside of me just as in the belly of that boat was Jesus. The wind and the sea obey Him even when the storm is in me. Why are you timid? Why are you afraid? Where is your faith? What do you believe? Could it be the storm that I am facing is really just an excuse to believe? Is it an opportunity to change my “ideal” of life into something more complete and perfect rather than hanging on to compromise? Once Jesus rebuked the storm, there was a great and wonderful calm marked by perfect peaceableness.

Philippians 3:11-14 (AMP)
That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]. Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.

This life is not ideal…but we can strive to make it that way. If we allow the Lord to transform our heart and mind to accept a new and better ideal for our life, things will change. Not always on the outside but definitely on the inside where it counts. We are changed by the “entire” renewal of our mind that is ready to accept God’s Perfection found by living an uncompromisingly righteous life. Oh, I hear what you are thinking, and I am not that good either. His Righteousness is mine for the asking. By accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, the same power that brought Jesus Christ out of the grave now belongs to me. I may not use it but it’s in there. I must strive to attain the spiritual and moral resurrection that lifts me out of the dead. When the impossible becomes possible the opportunities in our life are endless. No longer are we restricted to natural outcomes but now we can experience the supernatural in this lifetime. This is totally contrary to natural and logical thinking so we must put on the Mind of Jesus Christ to have it. We must emulate His Life to walk in it. The problem is that we have salvation in our hands but do not put it on our bodies wearing it through life. What are you waiting for? What are you saving it for? I am not perfect. This life is not perfect. Jesus Christ is perfect and offers me His Perfection if I will take hold of it integrating into my life and weaving it through my thoughts binding my ways and words to Him. I must press on for perfection of Jesus rather than settling for a less than ideal life. I aspire to see the resurrection power of Jesus Christ active in my life but I cannot take a passive, compromising or settling position to have it. I must want more and strive for perfection.

Matthew 5:48 (AMP)
You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect.

The Sovereignty of God is His Perfection. He is constant. His Word, Will and Way never changes. I must change to have the perfect Will of God for my life. He will never change. His Consistency is what secures my hope and promises His Unfailing Love and Righteousness can always be mine if I want them. It is our inconsistency and insecurity in the Sovereignty of God that leaves us lacking. He is the Supreme Power. He is in complete authority. He has excellent understanding and is omnipresent (everywhere all at once). I don’t get it but I have Him. That is all that I need if I believe. To call on the Name of the Lord without faith, trust, belief or confidence that He can and will make a difference is useless. We must develop our faith so it redefines our character so we can endure with confident hope while the Lord perfects that which concerns us. Case in point – my son laying six feet in front of my knocked out from chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. He has survived cancer five times but statistically that marks him for death. However, the fact that he is still breathing means that the Lord is not finished with him yet and that the resurrection power of God is still working inside of him. Why? The kid is a believer. He has faith that God will heal him. This is not a room filled with joy and sadness but hope and peace that passes all understanding. It is an ideal atmosphere in the midst of tragic circumstances. But you know what is happening? There are some crazy “coincidences” popping up. The doctors and nurses are all eyes on him right now because his body is not shutting down but keeps getting up. God is perfect. Jesus Christ is perfect. The Holy Spirit is perfect. I can be perfect by putting all my faith in Jesus Christ especially when the circumstances of my life are less than ideal. Why? I have changed my idea of true living. For me to live is Christ. (Philippians 1:21)

John 16:33 (AMP)
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

There will be trials and hardships in this life. The world we live in is subject to God’s Judgment. Sin is rampant. Love has grown cold. The “perfect” life is impossible if you remain in and of this world. His Grace is sufficient if we use it to strive for the perfection found in Christ alone. Otherwise it is a waste of time and energy. Grace is the covering that allows us to live an uncompromisingly righteous life not hide in our compromising sin. We can have confidence in every situation and perfect peace because Jesus Christ has deprived the world of its power to harm us and conquered it for us. The power is believing that He is enough. We can have courage. Be confident. To live by faith is more than words, it is a total embodiment of Christ heart, soul, mind and body.

I Corinthians 4:20 (AMP)
For the kingdom of God consists of and is based on not talk but power (moral power and excellence of soul).

We must demonstrate allegiance to the Kingdom of God rather than just talking about it all the time.

Colossians 3:14-15 (AMP)
And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony]. And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].

If we could only comprehend the Perfect Love of God for us His Children, then we would stop settling for less than a perfect life. We put on Christ’s Love when we follow Him. When we imitate the Lord, we are His Disciples. When we fall in love with Jesus Christ, this world will become a better place for us. Love is commitment. It is not a frilly feeling that lasts forever. It means through thick and thin, good times and bad, it is the glue that keeps us as one. I don’t fully understand everything God is doing in our life especially through the course of this present journey. I trust Him though. I know that no matter how hard it gets my faith will be rewarded. I know that God is good – no longer thinking like the world who wonders if He is even real. If we bond our life to the Perfection of Christ beginning with love, our standard of living begins to become like His Glorious Standard that He intended all along. Soul harmony creates peaceful companionship with Jesus allowing us to press for perfection confidently and boldly in His Presence. It gives us the patience to wait until it comes. The peace in our hearts put there by Jesus will decide and settle with finality all questioning, doubts and lies that the enemy throws at u. We will know what to do and have the strength to do it in His Love. (Proverbs 4:18) We will live in perfect peace. (Isaiah 26:2-4)

I Corinthians 13:11-13 (AMP)
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside. For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God]. And so faith, hope, love abide [faith—conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope—joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love—true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I am not a child anymore. The naivety that went with being young is long gone. Life is tough. This world is a rough place to live. You can never be sure of anything but change. The one and only constant in my life is God. I know that He is always goo. I wasn’t always convinced but I am now. I didn’t figure out when everything was going my way or life was good. I discovered His Profound Love for me when everything fell apart. When life is not ideal, we change our perspective of what true love is and where it can be found. The uncertainty of life opens the door to what is real and relevant about the Kingdom of God. Faith is what we use to connect to hope. Hope is nothing that can be seen or found on the earth it is a reservation in forever. Only those who discover His Perfection can survive this imperfect place and all its cloudy mirrors and dim reflections. Those who take the time to grow in faith, hope and love will live in perfect peace even when things are not ideal.

Isaiah 54:17 (AMP)
But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification], says the Lord.

Super Power – A Devotion

Super Power

Romans 12:21 (NLT) Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Today our son will undergo a bone marrow transplant. It is touted to be his new birthday. After undergoing radical chemotherapy to eradicate as much of his bone marrow as possible to the point of death, today he will be given back his “life” in the form of four million stem cells taken previously from his body. Each day I meet the Lord in this place where I ask Him to tell me something new. I want to hear anything that will empower my faith and allow me to stand just one more day. Somewhere in the last three years, I have given up trying to stand on my own. This life just became too much to handle. There was not enough of me to go around so I asked the Lord to take over. I need Him more than breath to survive this adventure and thrive in its midst. So on this highly anticipated and long sought after morning, I was quite expectant. What would the Lord tell me today? How would He encourage me? How would Jesus strengthen me today? I woke up with one thing on my mind – Spiderman. Perplexed as I continued to mull around to stimulate clarity as I prepared to dive in the world, I kept mulling this figure over and over in my head. What does Spiderman have to do with any of this? Then came a verse that I had not thought of in years…”Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good!” It’s funny how I remember scripture in the New King James Version and even the Old King James sometimes. All those scripture memory verses I guess being called back into my thoughts, and to think I did it for the candy! So I looked it up in the New Living Translation which has become my go-to and look what I found. It is all about becoming a conqueror! Are you more than a conqueror today?

Romans 8:37-39 (NKJV)
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am not really sure if Spiderman is our son’s favorite superhero or not. He is the tall quiet type. He does have a Spiderman shirt. On many occasions, he has told the doctors that after all the scans, imaging, chemotherapy and radiation that he and his children will have superpowers. I think he may be right. He has certainly earned them. True character is revealed in the hardships and pressures of life when it squeezes our truest potential from the deepest recesses of our heart. The heart holds many secrets. It has desires that sometimes we are not even aware of. In that moment that our heart is broken, the contents are revealed. Peter Parker was orphaned by his parents as a baby when they were tragically killed in a plane crash. He was sent to live with his elderly aunt and uncle who raised their beloved nephew as their own. Peter was a shy guy and quite the nerdy one – sound familiar. Anyone who knows our son knows that he is shy and well you get it. When Peter is bit by a radioactive spider something happened and he began to develop arachnid-characteristics that would become his superpowers. Peter tested his powers in a wrestling match and became an overnight sensation donning a costume to maintain his shy, humble existence and escape the attention. His plan was to continue to use these powers to support the people who loved him first and provide for them. At one point, he witnessed a burglary and allowed the burglar to escape when he could have apprehended him. The escape would prove fatal as a short time later the burglar turned murderer shooting and killing Peter’s Uncle Ben. Now this is the point when his heart is broken and he must decide the man that he would become with the powers he had been given. I am perfectly aware that Peter Parker and Spiderman are fictitious characters created for entertainment. However he is the epitome of the struggle of all mankind as we determine the course of our life as we live it. The bite that gave Peter his powers was painful. His future uncertain so he made the best of it. But the real decision came after his life was turned upside down and nothing was as he expected. Guilt and regret consumed him. He could have prevented this tragedy. We will never be able to prevent trials, tests, and hardships – they are a part of life. What we can work on is our heart so when it comes to such things they do not overcome us but we overcome evil with good!

What good? God is good! We become more than a conqueror when the Eternity placed in our heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11) is exposed and faith grows out of our brokenness. It is the point when we are overcome by weakness and His Grace becomes sufficient for ME! (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) It is when hope forms an anchor that keeps us firmly in love with Jesus Christ when the storms of life seem to bring every power from hell against us. It all begins by accepting the Love of Jesus Christ! Nothing can separate us from the Love of God. His Spirit comes to live inside of us and is our super power. It doesn’t matter what the enemy brings about to cause chaos in our life we can overcome in every situation. The battle has already been one. Jesus Christ overcame the world. (John 16:33) The more of our heart and mind that we give to have the same attitude as Christ the greater His Power becomes in our life. We win. In every situation, we win.

I Corinthians 15:56-57 (NKJV)
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

What is our greatest fear? Death, of course. Oh I know – you are not afraid to die until a doctor tells you that you or a loved one may not make it. When faced with the reality of mortality, it is clear that a decision must be made. Jesus walked into hell snatched the keys to death and walked out handing them to us. What will you do with it? If Christians really believed that death has been overcome by Jesus Christ, they would live differently. They would act differently. They would talk differently. They would be different. We lack confidence in the Cross. Don’t be offended it’s true but we can change. The great thing is Jesus did not give up His Power or take it from us when we refuse to believe. No it is in us. It is part of us. Grace and mercy cover us so if we don’t get it today, we can surely figure it out tomorrow. It takes practice this walking by faith thing. It is not natural. Just as Peter Parker had to learn how to use his spidey senses, Children of God have to learn to live supernaturally. Guilt and shame are removed the law has been satisfied and your sin debt paid. The power belongs to us. Now it is up to us to use it. We have victory in Jesus Christ. Now it’s time to learn to live with super power!

Ephesians 3:16-21 (NLT)
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

The Lord has given you super power today. It belongs to you. There is no greater force in the universe than God’s Power. He is Sovereign. Whether we believe or not is irrelevant. The Power of God was given to you when you decided to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. It will take some getting used to. You will have to learn how it works and the best way to use it. God’s Power is working in you to make good in every detail of your life even those things that threaten to break our heart. (Romans 8:28) He perfects all that concerns us. (Psalm 138:8) God is able to do more than we can even think to ask for. All we have to do is experience the Love of Jesus Christ which is in and of itself too great to understand. I did not learn these things growing up in church. I did not learn them in the wilderness of life. I found them to be true when my heart was forever broken and our son was diagnosed with cancer not once but four separate times. I discovered His Power when I wanted to give up after being denied by the insurance company four times. I appealed to anyone who would listen and even some that would not. When everything fell apart, I found that I had it all together. Not because I knew what to do but because of Who knew me and loved me anyway. You have the power to overcome any situation today. It doesn’t matter what the doctor said, he does not have authority over your life. The only thing you owe this world is to love the people in it. As Christ makes His Home in our heart and is no longer treated like a visitor who we invite during the hard times and ignore every other time, you will begin to understand the vastness of His Love. You will discover a fortress like no other in His Presence. You will find power that you have had all along just never really knew how to use. No weapon formed against you will prosper but you will in the midst of famine and drought. You are full of super powers today. Tap in to the Holy Spirit inside of you. Allow Him to transform you into who God created and equipped you to be. Expect the supernatural today and you will find it simply because you changed your perspective. Be super today!

Philippians 3:8-11 (NLT)
Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

All of Me – A Devotion

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Romans 12:1-3 (NLT)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.

Sacrifice is defined as a surrender of something of value a means of gaining something that is more desirable. I have thought about this word a lot over the last few days. Watching our son endure four grueling days of chemotherapy as poison is pumped into his veins day and night seeking to destroy that which is trying to destroy him. After four relapses in less than three years, it would seem that the potential benefit of the treatment most certainly outweighs the risk. The list of side effects seems endless. This is an act of faith in its most raw form. He willingly came to the hospital to be admitted. He climbed into the bed of the little room. He signed the consent form and offered his body to be connected to tiny tubes and pumps. He did not shutter when the flow of poison started. He does not complain as the effects ravage his body. He has decided that the sacrifice is worth remission. To live apart from the disease that keeps coming back makes all the hardship worthwhile so he endures it. He has sacrificed his life in the most literal sense. Is it still sacrifice if you have no choice? Is it really an offering if you must give it?

I must make a decisive dedication of my life (mind, soul and body) to Jesus Christ living as a sacrifice, holy, devoted, consecrated and well-pleasing to God. It is only reasonable considering all that He has done for me. Why do we find it so hard to lay our life down before the Lord? Why do we struggle to give all that we are for all that He is? What makes this life so great that we would rather conform to this world rather than being transformed into a new creation? From where I sit now, it doesn’t seem like this world has much to offer. The job I once worshipped with too much time and attention is really the last thing on my mind. The finances that I constantly budgeted, worried over and stressed about will just have to take care of itself. All the “things” that I just knew could add better moments to my life are long forgotten. I have been given a reality check. It hit way too close to home. It was a very close call. The day that death pulled into view, I knew we had a problem. No one could stop the assault against our life. Every attempt to put our son in remission has turned into relapse. As I sit at his bedside hoping that he stays asleep until the sickness passes, the side effects are gone, and he begins to come to life again – it is with this one thing on my mind – sacrifice.

Malachi 1:8-11 (NLT)
When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isn’t that wrong? And isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased? Try giving gifts like that to your governor, and see how pleased he is!” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “Go ahead, beg God to be merciful to you! But when you bring that kind of offering, why should he show you any favor at all?” asks the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “How I wish one of you would shut the Temple doors so that these worthless sacrifices could not be offered! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “and I will not accept your offerings. But my name is honored by people of other nations from morning till night. All around the world they offer sweet incense and pure offerings in honor of my name. For my name is great among the nations,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.

Malachi was talking about the condition of the sacrifices coming from the people. Rather than being the “first fruits” of the people and the best of their flock, they were bringing sickly or lame animals of no use to them. He asked if they would give the same to the government to pay for their taxes. He wished they could “shut the Temple doors so that worthless sacrifices could not be offered.” I am sure there are some Men of God who feel the same way today. He called them worthless sacrifices. Maybe it is time for us to evaluate our sacrifice to the Lord. Are we giving Him our best or what’s left of our life? Do we seek Him with all our heart or just the pieces left behind by other things? Is He our First Love or last to get noticed? Before we can properly evaluate our sacrifice to the Lord, we must first decide what He is after. What kind of sacrifice does God want? What is the purpose of sacrificing our life anyway? How do we determine if our sacrifice is sufficient?

Romans 3:23-26 (NLT)
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

Sin forever separated us from God. The glorious standard of living that He purposed for us to have forever lost due to human inability to set themselves apart from it. Jesus Christ sacrificed His Life willingly for the sins of all mankind. He was perfect and sinless without spot or blemish even after living in the same unfair and violent world that we live in. Jesus was there when the world was created and each person given a name. When sin came into the picture, He was the life force that slammed the gate to Eden shut protecting humans from themselves. When it came time to offer a sacrifice, Jesus said, “I’ll do it!” which was the Plan all along. I know it is hard to wrap your head around God, Jesus and the Spirit sometimes the way they bounce from past, present to the future and back. Omnipresence defies human logic but it does not mean that He is not omnipresent – it just means that we don’t get it. Jesus Christ paid for our sin once and for all. (Hebrews 10:10) No further sacrifices would need to be offered because of His Dispensation of Grace. Now hold it right there, this is where the majority of believers lose their way. God’s Love, Grace and Mercy carried out by Jesus on the Cross does not excuse our sin but removes it. Deliberate sin and willful disobedience will always be unacceptable to God and not tolerated. (Hebrews 10:26-27) Repentance and salvation require us to turn from our sin and embrace Jesus Christ. We must take up our cross and follow Him. I promise you this – Jesus will never lead you into sin. He leads us away from it by example. You don’t sacrifice sin to live for Jesus. So if we have nothing to give and Jesus is the one true sacrifice than what is required of us.

Genesis 22:1-5 (NLT)
Sometime later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.” “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.”

Ever since this journey began, I have thought many, many times about Abraham and Isaac. I will admit I told the Lord that I was not willing to sacrifice my son for anyone – ashamedly not even Him. My stubborn, hardheaded nature struggled with this account as I tried not to line up my life with Abraham. I have always wanted the faith of Abraham, but never wanted to make the sacrifice that he did. I have discovered that I do not have to. The Grace of God reached back to find those who were righteous before Jesus came and died for our sin. It flows over the life of the righteous those who were willing to lay down their life to follow God. There were not many in the course of history but Abraham was the Father of Faith. God doesn’t want my son – he already belongs to God and has given his heart to Jesus Christ. God wants my faith – all of it. He wants all of me. “Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” (Romans 12:3) God gave Abraham a son because he lived in righteousness or right standing with Him. He was the fulfillment of God’s Promise to His Man. When it came time to test His Faith, it was through the promise. Why? Nothing else in this world will ever compare to a promise received from God that manifests in your life. Miracles, signs and wonders are provided to one thing – increase our faith and make hope more confident. When God told Abraham, go sacrifice your son. Abraham surely went through all the emotions that are human but still He was faithful in preparing to sacrifice His Son. I am quite certain that some people thought the man had lost his mind. But Abraham did not waver from the promise that he would be the father of many nations. He told those traveling with him up the mountain, “The boy and I will go a little farther. We will worship there. We will come back.” Holy revelation! How was Abraham so sure that God would provide? By faith. What if he was required to kill his son (his only son) by God?

Abraham believed God by faith as noted in Hebrews 11. “It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted. Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.” (Hebrews 11:17-19) Abraham reasoned. It was his understanding that Isaac was his son that the promise of fatherhood would come through. His faith in God so confident that it did not matter what the physical circumstances were that God would overcome. So if he was required to thrust a knife through his son’s heart, the One who created that heart, timing and numbering each beat would raise him back up from the dead. Do you believe like that? I will be the first to honestly admit that too often I forget the Power of my God getting lost in the circumstances of life. That is until I walked up the mountain of sacrifice. It all comes down to this: You will not sacrifice your life to a God who is not good enough or great enough to give you something better. You will not hand over your existence to one who cannot solve your problems making a brand new life out of a dry, dead bones. In the midst of the account of Abraham’s faith, we see a glimpse of the future. “And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. At that moment the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!” “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the LORD will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” (Genesis 22:10-14) God already provided the sacrifice. The rest is up to me.

Ephesians 5:1-2 (NLT)
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

When we give our heart to Jesus Christ, we sacrifice this life to take up the cross and follow Him. Not the burden of the cross, but the blessing of His Sacrifice. We accept the Glorious Standard of Living Christ died for us to have by shirking off the filthy stained rag of our prior existence to put on the Robe of Righteousness given to us. This covering allows us to live in the Presence of God but can only be obtained by faith in Jesus Christ. That faith that begins as small as mustard seed grows under the influence of the Holy Spirit to produce the life that God has promised to those who belief. Suddenly impossibilities become rational, logical and reasonable possibilities all because you were willing to give up your old life to take on the new one. We don’t have to make the physical sacrifice. Jesus did that. We make a spiritual sacrifice of our heart to love, honor and cherish Jesus Christ for the rest of our life into Eternity. Living in His Presence, the Righteousness of God, makes any sacrifice we make to God acceptable. (Psalm 118:26-28) The Lord examines our heart before He will accept our sacrifice or offering. He is looking for Jesus. We must imitate the example of Christ to be sure that is what He sees. (Proverbs 21:2-3) Everything that we are and ever hope to be is found in the person of Jesus Christ. We must lay down our life and the way that we do things to take up our cross daily and be like Him!

I Chronicles 21:21-24 (NLT)
When Araunah saw David approaching, he left his threshing floor and bowed before David with his face to the ground. David said to Araunah, “Let me buy this threshing floor from you at its full price. Then I will build an altar to the LORD there, so that he will stop the plague.” “Take it, my lord the king, and use it as you wish,” Araunah said to David. “I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, and the threshing boards for wood to build a fire on the altar, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give it all to you.” But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it for the full price. I will not take what is yours and give it to the LORD. I will not present burnt offerings that have cost me nothing!”

Are you willing to pay the price for the sacrifice? Jesus Christ paid the price to cover all of our sins – past, present and future. I can do nothing to earn salvation or enter right standing with God outside of Jesus. If my life is bought and paid for, how can I pay the price? It was bought and paid for but then Jesus set you free. He doesn’t want you to pay Him back – the Lord wants your love in return. ” No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.” (John 15:13 AMP) Jesus wants all of me. He doesn’t want me to hurt or harmed. He just wants to make sure that I love Him enough to make it to live with Him forever and ever. The sacrifice of our life to Jesus Christ proclaims allegiance to His Great Name. It relays confidence in His Power and Authority as Lord. It enunciates that His Sacrifice provided sufficient grace for me. His Sacrifice takes me to the mountain. His Sacrifice makes me call to the mountain to move. At times, His Sacrifice empowers me to go over the mountain. I have to give something to own this offering of my life. I give you my all, Lord. I give you my all!

Psalm 51:16-17 (NLT)
You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.