True Reality

True Reality.Matthew 6:31-34 (NKJV)

 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’”

I have come to terms with the reality that I am mellowing with age and the constant work of the Holy Spirit. The last season of our life produced patience born of fire and waiting. Lots and lots of waiting. When your whole life gets turned upside down, one is forced to evaluate its contents. In traumatic overtures, it becomes apparent those things we made a priority that really didn’t matter in the long run. This is gained by experience. When what we know or think we know is put to the ultimate test, when the only thing that we can depend on to help us is the faith that is planted in our hearts wrapped around God’s Love. Will it be enough? That is the question, if not the Lord uses the opportunity to grant us a little more wisdom and a whole lot of grace.

When left with only faith to dwell in the realm of hope for any period of time, our perspective changes. Detached from the world to become immersed in the Kingdom of God, people will go through whatever it is that threatens to destroy them. But as one pursues that normal life once lived, before the tragedy, trauma or even loss, it is clear that reality has changed and no longer can we or do we want to go back. This is how the Lord prospers our spirit. In every consequence, circumstance and problem proving that He is faithful even in our failures. My revelation came when our son was diagnosed with cancer. There was an instant change and there was also an internal change that began at the same time and continued throughout his ordeal.

I have been in communication with another mom who has engaged in the same battle. Her son diagnosed with the same deadly and aggressive cancer our son once had. She agreed immediately that the moment changes our life perspective forever.  Reality changes the very moment death becomes real. We know one day that we will die but decide that will not be today becoming enamored and engaged in life’s choices and pursuits forgetting that eternity lives in our heart and could be our home in our very next breath. I will be honest. When our son finally went into remission, I struggled greatly with the “new” normal. The old way of life did not consider forever in every moment and breath but now I do. I couldn’t shake it. I tried to go back but my heart just wouldn’t allow it. The time in life when I lived blissfully unaware of how close death lurked in one’s life. Now my reality has changed and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Matthew 6:25-34 describes people on a daily basis. Lord, we are just trying to get by. Make a good life. Pay our bills. Have a little fun. Do the right thing. I get it. I lived it. I also lived in the bondage of worry and stress as I assumed full responsibility of my life and all the little things entrusting all the big things to the Lord. I became a workaholic and stress addict. I lived spun up and wrung out all at the same time. I was a believer and called myself a Christian at that time. Clueless that my life had become all about me. My energy consumed with today. I limited the potential, purpose and promise of faith in my life. That is, until death came calling, breaking down the barriers of personal pursuits and self-seeking interests once and for all.

Jesus said quite clearly, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life…?” But how many times to we speak of God’s Promises and then decide to consider reality. Depends on what your reality is I guess. If the Lord has given us a promise or told us to do a certain thing, and we know it is Jesus, but then decide to be “realistic” and let our circumstances today determine our level of faith and trust. Friend, it will not end well. We will stay where we are rather than moving into His Presence and Prosperity.

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

This is reality. Reality is not based on one’s belief. It is the truth independent of public opinion or social sways. I generally do not look up words in Wikipedia, but I really like this one. “Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined. In a wider definition, reality includes everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible. A still broader definition includes everything that has existed, exists and will exist.” You know what I see in these words – Jesus. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Jesus is reality. We must learn to live and abide in the true reality of life and stop letting that which is observable and comprehensible form the choices that we make.

Hebrews 3:14-15 (NKJV)

For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

Each time our son was diagnosed with cancer, I took it to the Lord. The very first time I did this, the Lord spoke to me that “he would live and not die.” (Psalm 118:17) When he was cancer free, we rejoiced until the next diagnosis eight months later. I went back to the Lord with my complaint reminding Him of His Word the first go around. His Word for me that time was Romans 8:28. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His Purpose.” I didn’t get it. The third time, well of course, it was 2 Corinthians 12:9 “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, My Strength is made perfect in weakness.” Oh gee thanks Lord, but my son is dying and I really need you to focus please, God. I was desperate. I couldn’t understand why this kept happening when the Lord promised that our child would live and not die. The process of healing never is just a physical endeavor because it would be pointless because we will all die in the flesh at some point. It is always has greater meaning and purpose.

God’s Word is reality. If He said it, He meant it and it will come to pass. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Why do we allow our spiritual walk and faithfulness be determined by the pseudo-reality of this world. The world we live in will cease to exist. Reality is defined as that which has existed, exists and will exist. That is the triune God who we serve. Our only choice is will today be the day that salvation is allowed to work in my life. Will I use today to pursue the Kingdom of God or live in a state of rebellion? Jesus is reality. His Promises are true and continually being produced for us. Will we observe them? Take hold of them. Walk by faith and totally trust in the Lord. Will we listen for His Voice? Or will we just keep living a normal life until it is not normal anymore?

Psalm 139:13-16 (NKJV)

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

Psalm 139 is one of my favorites. It reminds me of God’s Divine Purpose and Perception of my life. My creation was not random no matter how surprise my young parents may have been. My childhood was difficult yet God was true to His Word and never left me along the way even all the times that I tried to leave Him behind. This is my reality. This is me. Child of the Living God working my way back home. However, if I do not see the part about my prerecorded life one might thing that their life is dependent on fate. I have purpose. I have a plan. I have potential. I have it all if I choose to live in the Reality of Jesus who was with me from the start, will walk with me each day and will greet me in forever. Who better than the One who knows my life from beginning to end? (Psalm 139:1-12) His Thoughts for me are precious. (Psalm 139:17-18) This takes my breath away especially on those days that I don’t think much of myself. His Mercy covers me as He whispers His Love to me.

Psalm 139:23-24 (NKJV)

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Search me God, know my heart, try me and know my anxieties. If you are worried about something, you are not trusting God. If you are anxious about it, you are living in fear. If when counting the cost of following Christ on considers natural conditions, you are not fully investing in Christ. How can I say that? Because the Lord is challenging me again to trust Him more, I just thought I might share the wealth. (Said with a wink!) The process of faith will take those challenging circumstances, devastating disappointments, overwhelming situations, and other unexpected hardships and make something good come out of them. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. If we do not please God, we will never really know Him for to disobey the Lord willfully does not usher His Administration of Grace that we so desperately need to make it from victory to victory and glory to glory.

I was in a meeting the other night with fellow believers discussing some church business. In one breath, there was affirmation of God’s Promise. But. I was once told that the word “but” nullifies everything said before it. I agree. But the reality… I wanted to scream and shout in frustration but tempered by grace I sat quietly in the sidelines. Faith and confident hope are not based on what is “observable or comprehensible”. Yet, faith and confident hope are a reality. They do not defy the definition but uphold it completely. Why do we consider the supernatural by natural condition? We want miracles but do not believe. We want to live by faith but will not move without seeing the next step. We tell the Lord that He is our hope but do not really believe that He exists or our lives would be marked by change. Are you worried today? Take it to Jesus. Are you anxious? Take it to Jesus. Are you stressed out? Take it to Jesus. Do not ever say after doing so…but…the reality is. The reality, salvation, hope and promise of our life is Jesus. (Period.)

Romans 8:28-30 (NKJV)

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Your life is not random but rather predestined. Your struggle is well documented and mercy has been generously provided. Your weakness has been covered by His Grace and it is enough. Your detour will not be disastrous. Your wait is not terminal. Your future is secure in the reality of Jesus Christ. Do not live for today, but live in faith for forever. When we decide that our life is planned by God containing a future and hope that is good and make it our reality, we will prosper in life. Worry will fall off us. Stress replaced with constant satisfaction. Anxiety ends in overwhelming overtures of inexpressible joy. This is God’s Plan for our life. To make good of every detail even those produced by rebellion or wandering. God has a great plan filled with promise and potential for those who chose to live in the Reality of Jesus Christ. To believe Psalm 139 allows us to have faith in Romans 8:28.

Ephesians 1:3-6 (NKJV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

To live in God’s Reality for our life requires one thing – faith. Faith that does not rely on what is seen or can be touched but on the foundation of Jesus Christ who we cannot observe or comprehend in the natural but experience supernaturally. He chose us from the beginning. He took our life that we choose and makes beauty from ashes. His Perfect Plan and Perfect Will would not contain all of those peaks and valleys. Freedom allows us to call the shots and make the choices. Surrender allows us to live in the Promises, Potential and Purpose of God that He planned long ago. Worry, stress and anxiety based on the natural will always rob us supernaturally. The Lord speaks to us. We consider the cost spiritually thinking we will go until we decide to evaluate it naturally deeming the price is too high and abandoning obedience for compromise. We miss our miracle because we are worried about this moment.

Radical obedience means a new reality for believers. Revival will not come until we consider the Cross as reality and abandon our fears about today. We must live fully surrendered to the Kingdom of God and stop holding on to this life. Those who do will lose their soul. I don’t want that to be me. Total trust on Jesus does not seem logical to this world, but it is faith is the key that unlocks Heaven on earth. We want His Kingdom to come, or do we.

In Jesus, we have salvation and redemption. Our sins are forgiven so we abound in grace. By His Spirit, He makes know the mystery of His Perfect Will so we can pursue Him. He purposed us to be His Pleasure. The God of all that is and every will be calls you “beloved”. In Him, we have a dispensation of fullness that will satisfy our soul and bring total contentment to our heart. We are His Inheritance. Jesus thinks we have value and worth. We are not random but privileged Children of the Most High God. He predestined us so that everything in our past, present and future is considered in His Will. We must trust the Lord. We must believe His Word over all other banter. We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is God’s Guarantee of all He has promised. This is reality. Nothing more and nothing less. To consider Christ in every moment of the day no matter where it leads or what it brings. Just to trust Him more…

James 4:13-15 (NKJV)

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”

 

I have walked over mountains and through many valleys with the Lord over the last almost 20 years. I have walked with others through the very same times. I have learned that through it all the Lord does not just stand idly by but continually brings about purpose and meaning in each trial, test, hurt and disappointment. He is faithful and true. It is through this journey that day by day and moment by moment the Lord has become my reality. I am one of those crazy people who I used to think might be just a little crazy. I cannot fathom my life without faith in the Lord anymore. The byproduct of that is I have been released from worry, stress and anxiety for the most part. Once I have God’s Promise as a clear objective, I am like a pit bull on a rampage. This would not be so without the tests and trials. Patience has been born in the wait times. Confidence in the many supernatural outcomes. Looking back, I will never be happy that our son went through something so terrible but I will forever be grateful for the change of heart that it produced in me. I don’t want my “normal” life back any longer. I want a godly life with supernatural outcomes, radical deliverance, many souls and complete unity with Jesus Christ. I want to harvest a crop of spiritual fruit that brings joy and pleasure to the heart of my Lord. What the enemy thought would break me and turn my heart against the Lord actually delivered me from the bondage I once lived in when I was bound by the wrong reality.

What is the reality of your life today? Is it Jesus who is the same yesterday, today and forever? Do not fall into the trap of this world that says I can do tomorrow what needs to be done today. Jesus is coming. Today may be your last day. This must be our focus. Having no certainty of tomorrow, live out today in full pursuit of Jesus Christ. Do not become consumed by the counting the natural cost but overtaken by your pursuit of faith and confident hope that will produced the promised life that is exceedingly abundantly more than we could even think to ask for. Secure it by accepting the reality of Jesus and believing nothing less will do!

I Thessalonians 5:9-10 (NKJV)

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

2 Peter 3:10-13 (NKJV)

 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

War and Peace

War and Peace

Psalm 34:11-14 (NKJV)

Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Chaos. Utter chaos. Seriously, just when I think life couldn’t get any crazier, it seems to find a way. I am not alone. I get texts constantly from friends and family requesting prayer followed by their need which usually culminates in a call and desire for peace in the storm, relief from the pain and strength to go on. So I pray for them. I love to pray for them. I feel power when I take their need, plea or longing to the Lord. Lately as I have prayed, I have noticed a shift in my request for them. It begins with a specific need but ends in an outcry of peace. People need God’s Peace to survive this world and reach eternity. Christians must find peace in the Lord to come together as the Body. Believers need the Peace of God to be steadfast and endure individually to the end as is required. How do we pursue peace and perfect it in life under the current circumstances and conditions? Well, our peace is not dependent on such things. Our peace is in the Authority and Power of Jesus Christ alone.

To pursue a life of peace is to follow Jesus. However, do not be misled by modern day teaching and compromised grace. You cannot come to Christ continuing in your own way and immersed in willful disobedience yet still have a peaceful heart. Peace of mind comes from godly knowledge and understanding applied to our life as wisdom. It means that when all hell breaks loose around us, our heart is confident that the Kingdom remains strong. When nothing makes sense, a made up mind will remain steadfast in Jesus. Trust me. The enemy has tried to strip me of peace. He violently attacked my heart and mind with relentless chaos and concerns. It would be a battle to the end of me when all I had left was a mustard seed of faith clenched deep inside my heart. Yet, in all things, I overcame in Jesus Christ. His Grace is always enough for me. His Strength is made perfect in my weakness. I must pursue peace.

Ephesians 2:14-18 (NKJV)

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 

Jesus Christ is our peace. He perfects peace in us. He died to reestablish our peaceful right standing with God. It is our unity with Christ that begins the peace process in life. He reconciles our life with God as we grow in faith and confident hope leaving our old life behind to engage with Jesus.

Isaiah proclaimed the arrival of Jesus and called Him Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father AND Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His Government and Peace there will be no end. (Isaiah 9:6-7) Jesus is the Prince of Peace. So why? Why all the chaos? Why is life so crazy? Why is sin rampant? Why has love grown cold? Why is everyone at odds? Why the stress? Why the anxiety? Why the fear? Why? If Jesus is our peace, why are we not at peace? I know this is a lot of “whys” but let’s be real for a moment – we have all asked the question. I am saved. I love Jesus. I trust the Lord. I have given Him my whole heart. I strive to live according to His Word, His Will and His Ways. Yeah me, right? One would think my life would be perfect. Without pain, problems and the like. Well it’s not. In fact, most of my biggest battles have been fought after I came to know Jesus as Savior and made Him the Lord of my life. Where is the peace that He promised? If Jesus is the Prince of Peace, why doesn’t peace reign in my life?

Matthew 10:34-36 (NKJV)

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’

What? I thought Jesus was our peace. I thought that was His Mission to bring peace on earth. Well, not exactly. Jesus came to be our peace. His Presence interrupts worldly order. It makes the natural atmosphere quake in His Presence. I regret to inform you that you might be the problem. The “Jesus” in you is stirring up things around you. The enemy hates you just because you are a Child of God. It doesn’t matter how good we are or how peaceful we attempt to be. If he cannot touch you, he is going to stir up everybody and anybody accessible around you. Work gets crazy. People go nuts. Circumstances become ridiculous. Believers begin to experience surreal conditions not because Christ is not present in their life but because He lives in us! We are the problem so now what?

John 16:33 (NKJV)

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

John 14:25-27 (NKJV)

“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The Peace of God that Jesus bestows on His People is not an outward presence by a holy inhabitation. It is personal. It is for you and I not the world around us. Jesus was honest. He said you will have tribulation. I have overcome the world. He had to leave us in the natural so that His Spirit could come inside us to develop peace of heart and mind that will get us past what we see and experience to what we know about the Lord. The God of Peace will crush satan under whose feet? Spoiler alert – He crushes satan under YOUR FEET. We will overcome the enemy with peace of mind, peace of heart and a peace-filled spirit. No matter what the weapon is – we win. The Lord is reminding us today that peace is not an outer circumstance but inward confidence. It is when our faith becomes hope that will not disappoint no matter how disappointing life seems. It is total trust and dependency in the Kingdom of God maintained by His Presence.

Matthew 11:12 (NKJV)

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.

“Si vis pacem, para bellum” is a Latin adage that means “If you want peace, prepare for war.” This is true statement. This is true even when it comes to the Kingdom of God. God is all powerful. He is the strongest force in all of the universe. That doesn’t mean that other kingdoms will not challenge His Power and Authority. The devil has been trying ever since his fall from Heaven to overtake God’s Kingdom one heart at a time. To have the Peace of God in our life will not only require pursing it, but we must fight for it.

Sin puts us in enmity with God and His Kingdom. Righteousness turns the table and now we are considered hostile to this world and its rulers. When Jesus becomes our Savior and Lord, He fills us with His Spirit. As we travel through life pursuing peace and sharing His Love, the principalities and rulers of darkness get all riled up. They are hostile toward the Spirit of the Living God because they know the end. Jesus told us exactly what to expect, but many preachers and teachers today tell of something entirely different. The “prosperity” gospel that doesn’t consider the price paid on the Cross or the Cost to take up our own cross and follow Jesus will never prepare us for the battle ahead. God doesn’t always change our circumstances, but He changes us. He doesn’t remove the consequences but rather works to eliminate the sin which produces them. If someone told you following Christ would be all sunshine and roses, they lied to you. It is pure deception that has plagued the church and tries to quench the end day’s revival that is stirring. If I want peace, I am going to have to prepare for war. If you desire the Peace of God to rule and reign in your life, you must do the same.

Romans 8:5-7 (NKJV)

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

The first step in claiming the Peace of God designated for your life is to decide that you will be spiritually minded from this day forward. To look for God, His Love, His Goodness, His Favor, His Presence, and His Victory in every single moment. To make it your mission to remain faithful when all hell breaks loose, the lie of the enemy fills your ear with venomous threats, and if chaos rattles ever door and window that it will be barred with peace. The enemy cannot have you. But he will work to take away your confidence in the Lord and smother your faith with fear. That’s really all he is capable of. We have the power to restrict him in our life and live in the Power and Presence of God which is our peace. He gives us peace of heart and mind when we choose righteousness over sin. We must make up our mind that we desire peace.

Philippians 4:6-8 (NKJV)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

“Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].” (Amplified Bible)  I have added verses 6 and 7 in the Amplified version for those of you who are like me who although we know what it says refuse to stop worrying and becoming anxious. It is human nature. I am working diligently to crucify that part of me at enmity with God. The part of my being that demands its own way. Tries to regain control. Chooses to be anxious, worry and stress even though the Lord is fully in control. They part of me that forgets or choose not to take every circumstance and situation before the Throne of God. The part of me that lapses into episodes of forgetfulness and is not filled with thankfulness. The Peace of God is available to me, but I must make up my mind that is for me. I must not rely on my own perception or understanding but totally immerse myself in truth, knowledge and godly understanding.

 

Think on these things. There is a whole list of them surely enough to fill up my mind. I must consciously choose to meditate on such things filling my heart and mind with God’s Promises and pursing His Peace even at the cost of my own pleasure.  Peace is what binds us together as we battle for His Kingdom together and keeps us from turning against ourselves. (Ephesians 4:1-6) If only we keep our minds “stayed” on the Lord, this is the place where we find “perfect peace.” (Isaiah 26:3-4) Right standing with God allows His Peace to permeate our life and overflow from it. (Psalm 119:165)

James 3:17-18 (NKJV)

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Faith makes all things possible in our life. To totally trust the Lord with our life and every detail will both wreak havoc and release peace. I do not understand it. I have just experienced it. The battles waged around you is nothing more than the enemy flexing his muscles, puffing out his chest and shouting worthless taunts. He cannot overcome you. The devil has no right to your peace. The only ground that he gains is that which is given over to him. If you want a peaceful mind and heart, it is yours today in Jesus Name. He gave you His Spirit so you would be at peace from now until He comes. You must decide that peace is worth fighting for and prepare for the battle every day. The enemy is relentless but so is God’s Love. His Love beat death and the grave so what do we have to fear? We overcome. We win. He provides perfect peace. It does not necessarily change our position in life. His Love changes us so we can live in perfect peace no matter where we are or what is present in our life – greater is He who is in us! We can live in peace every day, but only if we are willing to passionately pursue it and fight for it! My pastor said last night that if we are only after a reward in Christ, then we are in this for ourselves. It’s true. We must live for a relationship of peace with God and allow His Peace to be our completion. Fight for your peace today. Don’t let the enemy have it. It belongs to you!

Colossians 3:14-16 (NKJV)

But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

AMEN!

Amen

Hebrews 13:20-21 (NKJV)

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

From everlasting to everlasting…forever. Man equates time between a birth and death certificate and the line positioned between two dates on a grave. Life is not equated as the time we live naturally but spiritually. This timeframe is called forever. Our soul was created before birth and remains long after the body dies. If we could take the image of our life, its potential and purpose, stretching it from the beginning of time into eternity, it might allow us to experience all the possibilities found in the Everlasting God who we serve. He created an everlasting covenant. The Lord offers it to each person. Everyone makes their own choice. Doing nothing to earn it or deserve it, we choose in each “amen”.

There is a sign on my wall that reads, “Think Outside The Box.” I wonder what might happen if people really did think outside the box, the pine box that will mark their demise, the limitation that life puts on time, and the perception that it really doesn’t matter how we live as all are trapped by fate. I don’t believe it. I choose to believe that my life was made to be from everlasting to everlasting. Reaching out to God, I desire to claim the promise of forever with a life of “amens”.

The Lord desires to make us complete in every good work to do His Will. He is working in us what is pleasing in His Sight as His Love, Grace and Mercy overtake us. Jesus Christ is the Way, Truth and Life that allows us to step out of fate and into forever. We are born dying. Sin is a congenital. We are born in sin and therefore, sentenced to die. All have fallen short of the Glory of God and His Glorious Standard of Living. The wages of sin are death but the Gift of God is eternal, everlasting life in Jesus Christ. (John 3:16) God’s Love gave us His Son. Our response to His Love determines the boundaries of our life. “Amen” means it is so or so be it. It is to agree as an expression of strong approval and support. There is nothing that we do with it other than that. We can do nothing to earn this tremendous and invaluable gift that we have been given other than accept it. Good thing, because we struggle with that. Amen in Hebrew translates to “firm and hence also faithful.” To accept the everlasting, our response is “amen”.

I Chronicles 16:34-36 (NKJV)

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. And say, “Save us, O God of our salvation; Gather us together, and deliver us from the Gentiles, to give thanks to Your Holy Name, to triumph in Your Praise.” Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting! And all the people said, “Amen!” and praised the Lord.

Will you say “amen” today? No matter what is going on around you and what your circumstances may be, will you stand firm and hence also faithful to the Lord in all things. This is to accept the terms of covenant that are available in the Lord. The Lord established an everlasting covenant in the days of Noah. (Genesis 9:12-17) He promised never to destroy the earth and its people again. This covenant was perfected in Jesus Christ now everyone has the opportunity to escape death and live forever. Amen takes God up on His Offer and allows us to live in covenant each day. It is to continue in the promise made at the point of salvation and continue in righteousness.

We are not entering into a promise with a mere mortal but rather the Everlasting God. He is constant. (Psalm 90:1-2) Amen. God’s Authority and Power are everlasting. (Psalm 93:1-2) Amen. God’s Love and Mercy are never ending. (Psalm 100:4-5) Amen. God’s Word is forever true and unchanging. (Psalm 103:15-18) Amen. His Righteousness (Integrity) is eternal so that we can be confident that God does not lie or change His Mind. (Psalm 119:142) Amen. The Lord is always leading us to forever. (Psalm 139:23-24) Amen. His Kingdom is everlasting and not based on this world’s opinion or outcomes. (Psalm 145:13) Amen.

One’s ability to live in Christ is not based on an activity or action. Religion does not get you to God or allow access to Eternity. You are given the privilege of God’s Presence by accepting His Love completely allowing one’s heart, mind, body and soul to say, “Amen”. We live in Christ simply by acceptance. To take His Love and apply it to our entire life and learn to say every day in every situation, “Amen” to our Everlasting God, His Everlasting Covenant, and His Everlasting Love.

Matthew 6:9-13 (NKJV)

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name.  Your Kingdom come. Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever. Amen.

Can you say today with a willing heart, “Your Kingdom come. Your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”? Totally releasing every natural and human expectation to accept the Will of the Everlasting God completely and totally. There is freedom in this choice but it is a battle to get there. It strips us of all pretense as we see the Lord God for who He is Everlasting, All Mighty, Superpower, Sovereign, Relentless and Unchanging both now and forevermore. The prayer given to us by Jesus is simple in format but significant and complex in each word. Do we live in complete submission and total respect for the Name of God? Do we really want His Kingdom to come or do we love this life more? Do we want His Will or our own personal wants? Do we depend on the Lord to provide giving seed to the sower so we give our life away without regard? Do we forgive? Do we avoid temptation, sin and compromise? Do we live as though His Kingdom is forever? Do we desire His Kingdom Power and Glory forever beginning with today? Amen. This is the response that God is looking for which means “firm and hence also faithful.”

Isaiah 55:1-3 (NKJV)

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you—the sure mercies of David.”

God has desired an everlasting covenant with you from the very beginning. He placed Eternity in our heart. He recorded every moment of our life before our birth to ensure that we would have multiple opportunities to give our heart to Jesus and live in a state of “amen”. He offers us His Kingdom. Yet, we live paying for things that are given to us by God. We cannot simply accept what we are offered but find a way to make it harder than it really is. When I say “amen” and live for this world – it is an empty, fruitless response. It is to misuse the word and opportunity so graciously given on the Cross. Amen is a declaration of affirmation. It is the opportunity to live in an everlasting covenant by accepting the Everlasting God and His Everlasting Promises. Those who do will be given perfect peace and everlasting strength to hang on until eternity comes. (Isaiah 26:3-4) The Lord is drawing us into His Everlasting Love. (Jeremiah 31:3) What is our response today? Do we want His Kingdom? Do we want what God wants for us? Do we expect exceedingly abundantly more than we can think or ask? Jesus is called the Everlasting Father. (Isaiah 9:6) He is the everlasting foundation on which our life builds fulfillment and satisfaction rather than regret and disappointment. (Proverbs 10:25)

It takes one word. It is a simple response. We just need to say amen and mean it. In all things, amen. In the highs, amen. In the lows, amen. In the waiting, amen. In every situation along with every circumstance, we say, “Amen.” Those who do accept “our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort for your hearts and establish every good word and work.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17) So today, Lord, I say let your Kingdom come. Let Your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. You are my Provider who supplies all that I need so I can give those things tangible and intangible to those around me. I step out of my comfort zone called this world and step out by faith on the firm foundation of Christ and say, “Amen!”

Psalm 41:13 (NKJV)

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.

To Experience

To Experience

I Corinthians 2:9-12 (NKJV)

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

Albert Einstein said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” I tend to agree with this brilliant man. He obviously had intelligence deeper than the natural scientific and mathematical ability the world knew him for. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French philosopher and Jesuit priest said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Experience is the knowledge or practical wisdom gained from what one has observed, encountered or undergone. We must live to have experiences. The philosophical realm defines experience as the totality of the cognitions given by perception; all that is perceived, understood and remembered. What we perceive must be understood, and what we understand must be remembered to become knowledge that will be the wisdom exercised in life. Deep waters today. Deep, deep wells of understanding as the Lord invites us to see our life through His Eyes and hear His Word as spoken not from His Mouth but rather His Heart. God reveals His Word to us and His Spirit helps us discern what the Lord is saying and how to experience His Love. I Corinthians 2:16 tell us that we as believers have been given the Mind of Christ. Without experience, it will never make any sense.

When I first met my husband, he immediately grabbed my attention. The more the thought of him captivated my thoughts and encircled my mind, I knew that I had to know him. I told a friend that I was going to marry this guy who was a stranger to me. She laughed it off completely saying, “No you’re not!” Logically, I did not even know anything about him. But deep down inside, I just knew that there was more to him that I needed to discover. After a few dates and a conversation that could have been about anything, but instead turned to our love and desire for meaningful relationships with God, that my heart was forever bound to this man. Though only human, he answered the call in my heart to return to the Lord, love the Lord and live for Him. It has been almost two decades since that moment of revelation. I have experienced the potential come to life as I have partnered, parented and passionately loved this man. It began with a thought. A whim. A butterfly in the pit of my stomach. It became a commitment that would be tested by fire, and tried many times. What do I have now? Experience that makes my perception true knowledge. I know that my husband loves me. I trust him completely. This process of experience is not limited to natural life but begins in our spiritual life. I like what de Chardin said, “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” If we could only tap in to the fact that we are spiritual by birth and live that way. What a difference it would make! When our life becomes more than two dates on a headstone, it is then that we discover how to live and love.

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” What a wonderful promise with great potential! We cannot even begin to fathom the capacity of God’s Love for us. (Ephesians 3:18-19) His Love causes Him to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20) All of this is according to His Power at work in us. I think this is where we lose it sometimes. We want to know this love that is unfathomable. We want to experience those things that are exceedingly abundant, but we cannot because our knowledge never becomes experience.

Isaiah 55:8-11 (NKJV)

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My Ways,” says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My Ways higher than your ways, and My Thoughts than your thoughts.  “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My Word be that goes forth from My Mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

 

God does not lie or change His Mind. Do you believe that today? No. Do you really believe that today? Like with all your heart and mind. Our actions betray us. If we really did believe that the Word of God was 100% true, then we would do what it said completely and implicitly. There would be no room for compromise. If I told you that I was giving you a brand new car, it would take four weeks to arrive from the maker. If you believed me, you would wait for it. If not, you would go to Clyde’s Auto to buy a clunker at a super high interest rate which would breakdown on your way out of the lot. When it did, you could not blame me for your misfortune just because you didn’t want to wait on the new car to arrive. Perhaps, you desire a husband or wife. Do you really think that God’s Best is going to approach you as long as you are holding hands and exchanging glances with Mr. Wrong and Miss So-So. The constancy and commitment of God’s Word is not based on who we are or what we do. It is based on Who He is and what He will never do. God will never lie or change His Mind. He has a perfect plan for your life. Freedom allows for His Permissible Will offered by His Grace and Mercy. The one chosen is completely up to you and me.

My Thoughts are not your thoughts…God is whispering this to us today. My Ways are higher than your ways. We must listen to His Voice and commit this thought to our mind for careful consideration until it becomes knowledge that will become our experience. I have known the Lord for many, many years. It has been 38 years since I asked Jesus to be my Savior. It would take several attempts and many, many years for Him to become my Lord. The Word of God invites us to taste and see that the Lord is good. This is where what we think can become a reality in our spiritual live resulting in supernatural outcomes that have encircled us all along.

James 1:22-25 (NKJV)

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

Jesus told the woman at the well, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth.” What did the Lord mean “Spirit and Truth”? Jesus died and went away so that His Spirit could move from outside and around us to inside of us instilling all of His Power and Ability into us. Truth is the Word of God that helps us change our mind about the Lord using His Word to bring down every stronghold rising up against the Lord’s Power and Authority in our life. (Hebrews 4:11-13) It is diligence is following His Spirit and knowing God’s Word that fortifies our mind allowing us to test the Lord. Yes, test Him. Try Him. Believe by faith. Wait for the answer. Rejoice when it comes because with it comes experience. Now what you believe is credible, so you will do it again. Not only will you do it again, but like an awesome product, great movie, good restaurant or amazing deal – you will have something to share with others.

In church as the Spirit of God stirs us, we begin to see our life through God’s Eyes if only a glimpse. We take that image and leave to be pounded by the world as the enemy pounces to destroy that tiny seed of faith planted in our heart. He seethes at us until fear takes us over and doubt clouds our judgment. It is in that moment, we forget the person and plan that we found in God’s Presence. The secret to living a successful life as a believer is to take that godly knowledge and allow His Spirit to turn into wisdom which is applied knowledge. This will create meaningful and mind blowing experiences with God that will far exceed anything you could have ever done with the hours, days, months and years that comprise this life. You were created with Eternity in your heart. You are a spiritual being, a Child of the Living God who can have His Kingdom come and invade your life now, today, and this very moment. You were made for such a time as this. His Word for your life circles round about you. He will not relent from giving you His Best. The rest, my friend, is up to us. To live in the Presence of God moment by moment allows us to live in His Perception according to His Perspective.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NKJV)

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

My husband and I are very human beings. There are days when we wake up with bad attitudes and do things that are really just too petty to report. It is on those days that we rely on what we know about the other person, not the activities of the day. I know from experience that when the dust settles – apologies will be exchanged. I am absolutely convinced of his love for me and he feels the same. It is our spiritual connection as evidenced by our covenant to each other before the Living God that makes the difference in our marriage. I warn people all the time – marriage is impossible outside of God’s Love. I cannot emphasize this enough. Two people sharing life sounds like a fairytale – humans have painted this image in our head from childhood. But the reality is meshing of two lives into one is messy.

If we ever were truly convinced that God loves us more than anyone else, it would change our life forever. Why? Because we would begin to think like Him. We would have peaceful satisfaction abandoning self-seeking, selfish, and self-destructive ways. We live by faith and confident hope that yielded results rather than more questions. It would mean that when we called on the Lord, we would hear His Voice rather than talking over Him all of the time. It would mean that when we prayed – His Presence would meet us right where we are. Seeking Him would also result in finding right where He is. All of this comes to those who seek the Lord with their whole heart. Giving their entire life just to know Him more.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (NKJV)

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

Though we walk in the flesh, we do not have to live there. We have been given the privilege of higher learning and greater knowledge to know God’s Love and live in it. Will we? It begins by pulling down every stronghold that our mind has built up and fortified to experience God’s Love that comes from knowing Him and following Him each day. I am made of flesh, but I am a spiritual being. The presence of a soul indicates that there is more to me than what this life has to offer. When the men purposed to get their friend to Jesus, the Lord did not mistake their true intentions. First, He told the man that his sins were forgiven. Then, he told him to, “Rise up and walk.” (Luke 5:20-25) Repentance is the starting point of godly knowledge. It is in the going and doing that it becomes wisdom that yields experience. There is no better teacher. As the Spirit leads us to do what His Word instructs, we enter the Presence of God no matter where we live, work or play. It is in this place of undeserved privilege that the depth of God’s Love is revealed. It begins with the forgiveness of sin and leads to avoiding it. Too often we forget that repentance is a daily posture not a one-time position.

Religion thrives on repentance but has problems with the supernatural and divine order of God. People kept at the altar and not empowered to go feeds the church business. The church is starving today because there is no harvest. Like begets like. Giant nurseries of crying, hungry babies are never developed and nurtured into thriving believers. Why? They draw never to God with their mouth for natural satisfaction, but hearts remain far away. Sin will always distance us from the Lord. Two very prominent pastors crossed the line in the last couple of weeks which I find devastating. If I told you their names, you would know them instantly. Embracing and tolerating sin in their churches will never allow the Spirit of God to come and change the hearts and minds of the people. It will now be up to them to feed all these babies alone and without a harvest to sustain them. The Pharisees were offended…again. Jesus asked Peter, “Are you also still without understanding?” (Matthew 15) To experience the Lord, to know Him, understand Him and follow Him, we must seek such things over all other pursuits. Without an experience, there is no knowledge. Knowledge is a commitment to seeking the Truth. His Name is Jesus.

Ephesians 1:7-12 (NKJV)

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

 

 

To Triumph

To Triumph

I Corinthians 15:53-58 (NKJV)

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 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. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

We have been created to live from victory to victory. To experience life through His Glory to Glory, and triumphantly through each day. (2 Corinthians 3:18) Do you feel victorious today? Do you feel triumphant? Do you walk in the power and authority of God present in your life? The transformation of our life is not due to our circumstances or situation but the Living God inside of us making His Way out of us. The Holy Spirit works to produce in us the qualities and characteristics once stifled by sin now freed through the Grace of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Now the potential once hidden deep within us, can make its way out of us. The process by which we live victoriously and triumphantly in life is for “this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” What does this mean? To keep it simple, there is a process by which God’s Glory is achieved in our life. It is not a manmade endeavor but a spiritual journey as we walk out of the darkness into the Light of His Love no matter how small, insignificant and unworthy we may feel. It is a pathway of His Will verses our insufficiency that is paved with grace. Those who choose to walk in it will discover true triumph and live a victorious life.

Having been on this journey for most of my life, I can attest that there are days when the purpose revealed in my heart in no way compares to my natural abilities making faith a requirement to achieve the hope that I have inside. It seems that the Lord calls my name at the worst possible time requesting more than I can give. He sees me in my weakness and calls me to be strong. What is the Lord requesting of you today? What is the purpose driving your heart? Do you want to fulfill the Will of God? Or are you comfortable in hiding? At least when we are hiding even surrounded by fear, it is comfortable. We feel somewhat in control. But God has other plans. He came to set the captive free. His Plan is for us to live for His Glory and to make us champions of faith. The Lord always leads us to victory. It is human nature to put limits on our faith. Self-preservation is to blame. The enemy uses isolation to convince us that the Lord has somehow left us behind or run out of uses due to our weakness or unwillingness. This is not true. You are to triumph today, tomorrow and into forever

Judges 6:11-13 (NKJV)

Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”

Gideon was hiding in a wine press threshing wheat when the Lord came to him. Hiding in fear, the Lord called him “you mighty man of valor.” How often does the Lord call us by our purpose and not our position in life? Coming to us in our current condition, He speaks not of our circumstance or consequence but our creation. The Lord knows our purpose. He is focused on our potential. It is His Plan to cultivate this in us so that it will make its way out of us for His Glory. Our victory is to God’s Glory. When we triumph, the enemy trembles.

However, Gideon responded like most of us would. Focused on the problem not recognizing the solution had come, he points out that the Lord had forsaken Gideon and his people. “If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?” How we all could say the same thing? Our sin separates us from the Lord. It causes circumstances and consequences that can be overwhelming. As we repent and turn from our sin to walk in righteousness, it is a process not an overnight whim. Gideon went to remind the angel that the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us to the enemy. This could have been the end of the story and is for many people who remain bound by their situation. But not Gideon…

I Kings 19:11-12 (NKJV)

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

We all have moments in life when this thing called faith seems too big for us. Times when like Elijah, we head into hiding. Elijah had killed all the false prophets but at the threat of Jezebel for his life ran into the cave. The Lord came to Gideon just like Elijah. He did not come to chide him for his weakness but empower them with His Word. God’s Purpose for our life takes into account our human weakness. His Grace is made complete in our weakness as we step down and assume His Power and Authority in our life. We all have our way of retreat. Gideon hid in a winepress preserving all he had left. Elijah went to a cave at the top of the mountain. Simon Peter and some of the other disciples went back to their old life. Taking their boats, they decided to go fishing for food rather than continuing after souls. (John 21:1-7) All these men were filled with purpose and potential from God. All three went into hiding. How about you? Do you feel as though the Lord has forgotten or forsaken you? I assure you nothing is further from the truth.

Judges 6:14-18 (NKJV)

Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.” Then he said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me. Do not depart from here, I pray, until I come to You and bring out my offering and set it before You.” And He said, “I will wait until you come back.”

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8) The angel was not moved by Gideon’s response or lack of faith but again reminded him of the Lord’s calling on his life. We are called by God. He has a plan for our life. A good plan with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) It does not matter how far we wander or deep into hiding we go, this potential is hidden inside of us even still and goes where we go. Gideon asked the angel to wait while he prepared an offering for him. The angel agreed. The Lord is waiting on us to walk in victory for His Glory today. He is not slack concerning His promise, but long suffering waiting for us to come back to Him. His Primary Objective is that we will be saved and set free to follow Jesus. To be complete lacking no good thing. To live triumphantly. This is God’s Plan. What is yours? What is mine?

 

Judges 6:25-27 (NKJV)

 Now it came to pass the same night that the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it;  and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down.” So Gideon took ten men from among his servants and did as the Lord had said to him. But because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city too much to do it by day, he did it by night.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” (Romans 1:16) Private faith becomes public faith in times of testing. God will always require us to take this show on the road. The treasure hidden in the fragile jars of our heart must make its way out for public display. Are you ashamed of Christ? Do the people you live with, work with and play with know that you love Jesus and live for Him alone? If not they should, Gideon took down the altar of Baal. Are there false gods that need to fall around you? Fear does not flee in faithfulness. It is still present but cannot inhibit our obedience. We overcome fear with faith that God is more powerful than anyone or anything that threats to rise up against us. This is only a test. You will triumph if you remain faithful to the end.

 

Judges 6:36-40 (NKJV)

So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said— look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.” And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.

The Lord has spoken His Purpose for your life. You have decided to accept His Promise. You have participated in the test and found some success. It is now to step up to the line of faith and step over into the realm called hope. This may be only a small step but the human heart it is a giant leap. I am standing here today contemplating if I can make it. Gideon had taken down the altar of Baal and survived the test. Now He must fulfill the Call of God on his life and do what the Lord planned and purposed Him to do. He had repented and made his way back into right standing. He had given the Lord an offering that was accepted. He survived the test of obedience. Now the trail would begin, do I believe that God’s Word for me is true? Gideon asked the Lord for a sign. Some people call it a “fleece” since this is what Gideon used. Twice the Lord did as Gideon requested. If you are struggling on the edge of faith, it is okay to ask for a sign or fleece. God will certainly encourage you with such but you still have to take a step of faith to realize hope and its true potential in your life. You cannot continue to stand on the edge calling out to the Lord like a child on the side of a pool, “Daddy will you catch me?” At some point, we must take a step of faith to claim victory in our life.

Gideon would go on to claim victory with just 300 men. Thousands stood with Gideon, but the battle belonged to the Lord so only a portion of them were selected to go. They took provisions and trumpets with them. The men did not engage in battle but declared God’s Word and praised Him for it. The enemy turned on itself killing their own companions with their own swords. The battle is the Lords. We must only overcome our doubt and fear to triumph and walk victoriously through life.

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (I Corinthians 15:58) Will today be the day you come out of hiding? Will it be the day you step out in faith into confident hope? The Lord is speaking to your heart to trust Him. He is speaking to mine, too. All I see is me? The weak and weary worker who seems so insignificant compared to the Glorious God I serve and His Precious Son, Jesus Christ. But God is not put off by my excuses, He waits for me to exhaust them all. He meets me in hiding and tells me who I am. Jesus has given me the victory today, I simply must choose to walk in it. Lord, make me steadfast today. Make me immovable always abounding in your work knowing that my small faith is not insignificant but the very thing you desire most. You are leading me from Glory to Glory and victory to victory. With you I will go!

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.

 

Therefore

Therefore

Psalm 16:9-11 (NKJV)

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You will show me the path of life; in Your Presence is fullness of joy; at Your Right Hand are pleasures forevermore.

Therefore. When I read “therefore” today, I had the distinct impression that this otherwise overlooked word had more meaning than I realized before. Therefore means in consequence of that, as a result, consequently. Consequently is a result, effect or outcome. What came before the word “therefore” must be important, so I scanned the verses preceding. This is what I found…

Psalm 16:1-2 (NKJV)

Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust. O my soul, you have said to the Lord, “You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from You.”

In You, Jesus, I put my trust. Therefore is possible if I put my trust in the Lord. Trust is my confident expectation. It is total reliance on God’s Integrity, Strength and Ability which means I can depend on Him for every situation, circumstance, condition and consequence in my life. Do I? I think I do. That is until my mind shifts into overdrive and I cannot catch my breath in the anticipation and discomfort of change in the midst of impatience due to waiting. It is then that I realize I have more of me to give. How do I know? Because if all of my trust was invested in confident hope, I would live after therefore. Therefore, my heart is glad. Therefore, my glory rejoices. Therefore, my flesh will REST in hope. Therefore, I will know the pathway of life. Therefore I will live in Your Presence full of overflowing joy. Therefore, I will experience your pleasures forevermore. I want to step over having to “put my trust” in God to trusting Him completely. How about you? What’s on your mind today? What thoughts circle round about your head? Are you worried? Are you anxious? Do you doubt? Do your eyes wander from the path of righteousness to what’s-the-point pass?

Trusting the Lord is the process by which righteousness is secured. To simply say that one gives their heart to Jesus, doing nothing else is not a worthwhile endeavor. It is so pointless that one should consider living as before because either way futility follows. Trusting the Lord does not mean that there will not be consequences in our life. Challenges of the heart, testing of the mind, and trials impacting our soul. All these things will train and condition us to trust the Lord if that is our heart’s desire.

Psalm 37:3-5 (NKJV)

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His Faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.

Trust is the transference of our life from natural consequences to supernatural conditions. Sin always leads to death. But the Gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. Either way, you are still going to die. Faith in God impacts what happens after our natural life ends. To say that the Grace of God rights every wrong is incorrect. To live as though His Grace allows us to continue in sin and darkness is contrary to the Word of God though taught in many churches today. God is love. But God is God and He cannot change. For it were true that God could change His Mind or lie, why would we trust Him at all? His Power and Sovereignty become questionable if His Word, Will or Way ever change. I am thankful today that the Lord is relentless and will not change His Mind.

Trust in the Lord and do good. This is what I am after today. To trust the Lord and do good. As my mind reels, thoughts race and heart pounds in my chest at the new things that the Lord is doing, I find my next step challenged by limitations of faith. However, I am met by a Gracious God who sees me on the edge of His Glory and Grace inviting me closer to Him. Though my way is committed, my feet feel like lead. Trust me. These are His Words to me in the midst of panic. Trust me. I have heard Him speak them to me at various times and each time He has been faithful and true. Why is my heart so weak? My mind so forgetful? It is human nature to go through seasons of life when leaning on the Lord, we are pressed to move closer. Like a trust fall off a cliff, or so that is how it feels.

 

Psalm 18:1-3 (NKJV)

I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.

David said, “I will love You, O God, my strength.” Notice the word “will” tucked in his admission. He didn’t say simply “I love you”. Why? I think David, just like us, had to remind himself sometimes to love God with total trust and confidence. As he reminds his heart and soul, I WILL love You. God is the Strength of those who trust Him. Faith shields us, salvation keeps us as we enter His Presence choosing to remain their trusting the Lord and His Faithfulness to us. Three times David uses the word “will” here. I WILL love You, Lord. I WILL trust. I WILL call upon the Lord. David wrote this psalm the day that he was delivered from the hand of Saul. It was after the battle or test that he decided “I will…”

Psalm 18:30-34 (NKJV)

As for God, His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places. He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

At the end of the same Psalm, David acknowledges the perfection of God’s Way. This is evidence of trust. To know the power of God in our life and live according to His Perfection. We would not dare to trust the Lord if we did not need Him. If everything was perfect, why would we move? My second son is quiet. He is comfortable alone and completely self-entertained. When he was about three, I became concerned because he wasn’t talking. I asked his pediatrician if he thought there was a problem. He smiled and said, “No, he just doesn’t need to speak.” Continuing his explanation, his older brother was a chatterbox. When he needed anything, his brother would speak for him. I also anticipated his needs and provided them without provocation. If I wanted him to use his words, I would have to make him ask for what he wanted or needed. It worked. Though he is still not very communicative, he will express himself when needed. It began by waiting for him to ask. Then responding to his need. Well… could it be that the Lord makes us uncomfortable or creates change so that we will come closer and communicate with Him. Absolutely. We must trust the Lord to have His Will and Way in our life. To give us His Best the Lord will always have to move us from our compromise. Past seasons do not yield future harvests.

Trust is the process of training used to empower us to live victory to victory and glory to glory. I want that life even though I do not always like how it comes about. To trust the Lord means that we do not live according to the conditions and consequences of our life but rather according to what Jesus did on the Cross. We are more likely to trust natural outcomes rather than trusting the Lord for the supernatural which takes every consequence and condition of sin and failure turning it into something good. Every single detail of our life holds potential when entrusted to Jesus. (Romans 8:28) But I must trust the Lord including the process until I, too, can say that I will love the Lord. I will trust the Lord. I will call upon the Lord. This is the transference of our life from the here and now to therefore.

Psalm 34:8-10 (NKJV)

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.

To taste and see is a commitment of trust. Think about it. What happened the last time someone held a spoon to your face and said, “Taste this…” First you held your head back to see what they were trying to get you to try, then you asked what it was. You may or may not have declined once or several times depending on their insistence. Your willingness to try it most likely depended on who they were and whether or not you trusted them. Taste and see that the Lord is good requires commitment. It requires trust. Blessed are those who trust the Lord. There is no want to those who fear Him. Those who dare to seek the Lord will not lack any good thing. Do you believe that today? I do. But even saying that, I know that I will still be challenged each day to trust the Lord a little more and a little more. Sometimes it will be a lot more. Do not beat yourself up if after following Jesus all these years – it is still an ongoing battle to trust Him. Everyone has those days so the Lord provides new mercy each day so that we are covered. In exchange for our trust, He promises to perfect that which concerns us. I have some concerns today. They seem petty and small compared to the challenges of many. The enemy taunts me in my ear with lies like “after all God has done for you…” and other condescending thoughts. But the Word of the Lord tells me clearly and directly that “the Lord WILL perfect that which concerns me.” I just have to believe His Word is true. He will do the rest. Why? Because His Mercy endures forever so even when I hesitate, procrastinate and become anxious on the edge of faithfulness – He waits for me to come into therefore which is the moment I choose to trust Him just a little more.

Psalm 138:8 (NKJV)

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your Mercy, O Lord, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

Overtaken

Overtaken

I Samuel 30:7-8 (NKJV)

Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, “Please bring the ephod here to me.” And Abiathar brought the ephod to David. So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?” And He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.

The pursuits of life are marked with various meaning and purpose. The desires of our heart promote that which is pursued in life. It is by faith that a person is motivated to pursue that which is not evident in their life. The greater the desire the more someone will go after that which motivates the heart and mind. Often one’s challenges or difficulties will form and shape from our youth and grow into a passion to overcome as a person grows and matures into adulthood. My biological mother struggled her whole life as a person. She loved us but could not overcome the addictions in her life to properly care for her children. The Lord sent me a mother to bridge the gap who loves me as her own, but I have struggled most of life to be completely opposite. Her struggles in nurturing pushed me to over compensate with my own children. I had to be the perfect mom. Knowing from the beginning that it would be impossible, I could not stop trying to do everything right. The things we do and how we live has deeper meaning then what we realize most of the time. It is very important that as Christians, believers and followers of Christ that we evaluate our motivations and intentions at all times. It was only after many years of trying not to be like my mother that I realized I was supposed to be imitating God and striving to be like Jesus that I stopped my fruitless pursuit to be overtaken by His Love.

I was thinking about my life this morning. My pursuits in life have dramatically changed in the course of just six months. I am excited. I am focused. I am a bit fearful. When we step out to follow the Lord by faith, I think there is always a twinge of anticipation mixed with anxiousness. To go deeper than we have gone before in trust and live in confident hope must always challenge our mind, will and emotions or is it really of God? It must defy human logic and go beyond what I can see and understand to be that which the Lord has for me which is always exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to His Power at work in us. (Ephesians 3:20) What is your passion today? What are you pursuing? As in all things, there is a process to godly pursuits. I think it will challenge you as it has challenged my heart today to examine each one.

David and his men returned to find their city, Ziklag, attacked, raided, and burned to the ground. Their families had been taken captive. David’s wives Ahinoam and Abigail were among the captives. David and his men wept until they could weep no more. His own men turned on him threatening to stone him in their grief. But David “strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” (I Samuel 30:1-6) It is a natural human response to look for someone to blame when things go terribly wrong in life. In fact, pursuit is driven by passion. Passion can be driven by any emotion possible in the human mind and heart. In this case, grief drove them to look for someone to take out their anger and pain upon. When an emotion becomes too great to contain it, we look for someone else to alleviate the pressure and dump the load. The men chose David. But David chose the Lord.

David told the priest to bring the ephod, his mantle of worship. David would take his cause before the Lord to see what He had to say on the matter. Just two simple questions, nothing more or less. David inquired of the Lord – 1) Do I pursue this? and 2) Will I overtake it? If only we took the time in all our pursuits to go before the Lord transparent and honest with an open heart to ask Him is this worth pursing and will I win? The Lord answered David, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.”

I Peter 3:10-12 (NKJV)

For “He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

David took six hundred men to pursue the Amalekites who raided their village and took their families. Part way through their journey, two hundred men were just too weak to continue and were left behind as the continued their pursuit. The men came upon an Egyptian slave left behind in the desert to die who confirmed that he was with the group who destroyed their city. David feed him and gave him water caring for the man until he regained his strength. The slave promised to take David to them if he would not kill him or return him to his master. David agreed. They found the Amalekites and recovered everything that was taken from them. “And nothing of theirs was lacking, either small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything which they had taken from them.” God delivered as promised.

When the men were grieving they wanted to kill David for the violation of their home and family. Now they came across someone who was with the people who committed the heinous crime against them, David showed the man compassion. This is so important in our pursuits in life. I believe that when the Lord puts people in our path no matter how driven to succeed that they are treated with love and compassion. They easily could have mistreated this man, tortured him, used him and abused him just like everyone else and gotten the information needed to find the others. David’s heart would not do such a thing but responded to his need instead. He fed him. He satisfied his thirst. He earned his trust and took him with him. How many times even in godly pursuits do we lose sight of what our overall mission is in the first place? To follow the Lord. Walk in His Ways. Love others as He loves us. How we pursue is just as important as what we pursue. Are we after vindication or vengeance?

Psalm 26:1-3 (NKJV)

Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the Lord; I shall not slip. Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my mind and my heart. For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in Your truth.

Psalm 43:1-4 (NKJV)

Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; Oh, deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man! For You are the God of my strength; Why do You cast me off? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your tabernacle. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God.

Romans 12:19 (NKJV)

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

As we read the Psalms, the heart of David is revealed. He cries out to the Lord for vindication. This is important and evidenced in his response to the violation of I Samuel 30. His immediate reaction was for vindication while the others wanted vengeance. This is so important and not just a play on words but points directly to the motivation of our heart. Every worthwhile pursuit in life should be born of faith and trust in God’s Worth resulting in His Glory. Just as God promised, they did “without fail recover all.” We want perfect outcomes so therefore we must perfect our pursuits beginning with the people who are along the way. They met the Egyptian and David cared for him. They were reunited with the 200 men who were just too weary to continue and fight. The Word of God tells us that the “wicked and worthless men” among the 400 told David not to give them back what belonged to them just their families. They even went so far as to tell David to “make them depart” from us. But David again arising from a heart after God’s Heart told them, “My brethren, you shall not do so with what the Lord has given us, who has preserved us and delivered into our hand the troop that came against us.  For who will heed you in this matter? But as his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike.” (I Samuel 30:21-25)

Vindication is to assert, maintain or defend a right or cause against opposition. To justify which means to show to be just or right. To regain possession. However when our pursuit becomes tinged with bitterness, it can quickly turn into vengeance. Vengeance is to inflict injury, harm, humiliation or the like on a person by another who has been harmed by that person. Bitterness is always the root of vengeance. God has reserved vengeance for himself. We cannot be vengeful because we have been justified by faith which is given by God’s Grace. (Romans 3:21-26) Therefore we must afford the same grace to others in the midst of pursuit. The Lord has clearly identified the enemy. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) The Lord has promised us many things. We pursue those promises. Success or failure depends on the motive of our heart. We can seek imperfect justice or have complete vindication. It is up to those in pursuit.

Hebrews 12:14-16 (NKJV)

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.

As Children of the Living God, we are promised victory after victory and to live from Glory to Glory. This is achieved by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus the author and finisher of faith. But sometimes let’s face it, the people that oppose us, offend us, battle us and seem to be the bane of human existence take on the appearance of the adversary. Jesus died for them too. We are to love even our enemies. These are not my words but a reminder from the Lord today. We must not forsake people in our passionate pursuit for Him. In fact, to do so changes our mission complete and impacts the outcome greatly. When you think of “that” person, the one who is constantly causing problems, getting in your business, trying to mess up your plans, and overall just drives you crazy – that is the Egyptian in the desert, or the 200 hundred too weak to make it, and they are the ones that test the purity of our pursuit. The ones who once opposed us or offended us or even abandoned the cause. The Lord is testing the motives of our heart because to pursue Him fully and completely above all other things is demonstrated in our response to these people. To have all that God promised requires all of our heart.

Pursue peace with all people. Live a holy life. Today in the midst of my pursuit, I am challenged to inspect my heart for any bitterness linked to my past keeping me from my future. It must be dealt with swiftly and completely if my goal is to “without fail recover all.” I have clear direction. I have been promised much. I cannot fully pursue this unless it is wholeheartedly so I must take back any part of my heart yielded to offense, bitterness and anger in the Name of Jesus Christ. I will not be overtaken by such things, if I want to be overtaken by His Love.

Psalm 51:10-13 (NKJV)

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.

 

Just Before Jericho

Just Before Jericho

Psalm 37:3-7 (NIV)

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

God is a good God. He have a very specific and highly detailed plan for each of us that always results in our prosperity – mind, soul and body. With this thought in mind, it is not always easy to stay true to our inclination, vision or the nudging of the Holy Spirit when the world and everything in it seems bent against that which the Lord has promised us. The vision is exciting. The dream seems so real. But in the waiting and preparing, sometimes our heart loses sight of that which is to come. The barriers seem too high. The obstacles too challenging. The opposition too great. The enemies outnumbering. It is in that moment of counting the cost that one must decide if they believe. The sum total of our life is weighed on a scale not of what we amass in this life but rather what we believe. The trend and tendencies of our life are formed and fashioned by what we believe.

To believe that God is good and His Intentions for me are true means that I must trust Him. I cannot always see what He is doing, hear what He is saying or feel His Closeness in my life but I know what He has promised in the Word of God. We live on the edge of breakthrough. The moment that we take a promise and decide that it is true pursuing it wholeheartedly. The covenant entered in with Jesus Christ contains more than a promise of life after death. It promises a new life before you die as well. For those who choose to pursue Him wholeheartedly and live in His Promises, this will be a daily challenge to trust the Lord and do good no matter the circumstances, situations, obstacles, pain and process. To delight in the Lord. To commit our way to the Lord because we believe He will do exactly what He promised. To live a righteous life without compromise, no substitutions, apart from sin just to know Him more. This the covenant that allows us to have the life of promises carefully scripted for us to read and written on our hearts by His Spirit during our daily encounters. What are you waiting for today? Do you want the life promised to you? Do you have a dream? Do you have a vision that seems too far in the distance to even comprehend? So did Joshua and the Israelites as they stood just outside of Jericho.

Joshua 6:1-2 (NIV)

Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.

God. Such a kidder. Just reading the first two verses of Joshua 6 will sum up just about every endeavor of pursuing the Promises of God in life. The gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. They were prime enemy number one. The warriors on the wall were waiting and to attack the first one who tried to gain entrance to their city. The Lord tells Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its kind and its fighting men.” As my kids might say, “LOL”. Can you imagine Joshua, hands on his hips, feet in a battle stance, looking up the side of the concrete wall, maybe just a little sarcastic – “Yes Lord, I see that you did.” Or maybe since Joshua was way more holy than I, he quietly waited for the Lord to tell him more. Ok here’s the plan. Walk around the walls for six days carrying the Ark of My Presence out in front. Now on the seventh day, walk around seven times and then shout. In that moment, the walls will collapse and everyone is to straight in. (Verses 3-5) What does Joshua do? He goes directly to the people and instructs them to do exactly what the Lord tells them to do. (Verses 6-14) This is exactly what Joshua, the priests and people did for six days straight.

These are the moments just before Jericho. When standing just outside the thing that keeps us from having all that the Lord has promised and claiming it. This is the most important part of the process. It is completely based on what we believe molding our attitude and motivating our actions. I think if we could learn from Joshua what to do just before Jericho more and more Christians would be stepping over barriers, overcoming obstacles and living to the Glory of God every single day. There would not be sporadic miracles, occasional healings, and once-in-a-while deliverance but men and women coming to know Jesus and turning their hearts and lives over to the Lord. We cannot ask of another what we are not willing to do. We must live wholeheartedly for Jesus to ever expect another to do the same.

 

God gave Joshua His Word. Though the walls around the city were fortified, barred and armed, God told His Man this is your city. This is the destiny of My People. Just do what I say, and I will hand it over to you. Placing it directly in your hands for My Use. What did Joshua do? He saw the mighty walls before him, but He kept looking up until He saw God’s Face, heard His Voice and decided to take Him at His Word. Whose got the final say in your life today? Has the Lord promised you something that the world denies? Who do you believe? It matters.

 

God’s Plan may have seemed a little off or even a bit crazy. Joshua did not add to it or take from it but delivered it directly to the people. He told them exactly what God said to do with the sole intent to do exactly that – nothing more or less. Faith in God will always require absolute trust in His Direction and His Timing. The Lord will lead you into your promise unless you choose to look for it your way or make it happen when you want it. This is spiritual rebellion and will cause an abortion of that which is perfect in its own time.

Joshua 6:15-19 (NIV)

On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city! The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.”

On the seventh day, what would be the final hour, Joshua believed that the city would be theirs that day so right before they were to shout, he instructed them on what to do once inside. What amazing faith! Six days of marching around a wall may have seemed pointless, but Joshua was planning with each step asking God for direction and making the final preparations for once they stepped inside. How about you? As you walk out these days just before Jericho, are you preparing to make your entrance into the promise for which you wait? Those who truly believe the Word of God is true will begin to prepare when the barriers are tall, obstacles many, naysayers plenty and the promise humanly unattainable. This is the place where the believers who refuse to relent will dare to dream past today, cast vision for tomorrow, envision victory and claim the win. It can also be a bit scary in the moment preceding the breakthrough when the enemy questions every single belief we have mocking our commitment to God reminding us of every other time, we quit, gave up or walked away never achieving that which God promised. It was not because God was not intent and fully committed to bringing it to pass. It was our inability to wait, plan, prepare and push through in that final hour that snatched victory, success and prosperity from us. “When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.” (Joshua 6:20)

Are you just outside Jericho? Is this the day just before you will march over the wall and step into God’s Promise? Only the Lord truly knows. What matters is our level of commitment to the Plan of God and His Promise, are we wholeheartedly pursuing God with all our mind, soul and body today? It does matter how big the enemy, high the wall or solid the mountain when it comes to God and His People, He will do anything to take care of His Children. By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.” (Hebrews 11:7) It is time for God’s People to reclaim the faith and commitment of men of God like Joshua and Noah who before they could see the victory, claimed it and lived for it. Noah began building the ark before this world even knew what rain was or where it came from. God told Noah what to do and by faith Noah began to plan and prepare for what was to come. This is the life of a true believer unchanged and unaffected by the world and its perception but fully motivated and committed to see the Word, Will and Way of God come to pass in their everyday life. Changing things from ordinary to extraordinary. Moving from what is possible into the impossible possibilities given to those who choose to live by faith with confident hope in God alone.

Hebrews 10:19-23 (NIV)

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

The days of our life that lead us to the day before our breakthrough are ordained by God with purpose. He prepares as we go through life for what comes next in life. His Purpose is that His Children will one day have a sincere heart and full assurance of what faith brings. This will be a journey of peaks and valleys as we learn to walk with the Lord, follow Jesus and stay true to Him in season and out. He molds and shapes us to enter His Kingdom one day which will require total trust and commitment of one’s heart, mind, soul and body to Jesus Christ. The steps of life are designed to lead us to that very moment when we claim forever with the Lord. Until then, we face obstacles, challenges, and barriers in order to see how far our personal faith will take us. How near we will draw to His Word. Whether or not we will obey and remain true to our covenant with the Lord. What is our covenant?

The Lord instructs people to follow His Decrees and Commands for righteousness sake. We must carefully observe them with all our heart and soul. Why? We have declared that He is our God and that we will walk in His Ways. We were not forced but chose this life on the day we said, “YES!” to Jesus. I was the one who promised to give Him my life and seek Him wholeheartedly. So the Lord now calls me His Treasured Possession and treats me as such. The moment that I decide to stay committed to our covenant, walk in His Ways and follow Jesus – my life becomes praiseworthy. The Lord says that He will lift us high above other nations. (Deuteronomy 26:16-19) God does not waver. He does not lie. He never changes His Mind. He set out to love us and He does. He desired to save us and so He did. He opens the doors to His Kingdom and says come on in weary sinner and I will give you rest. He is always keeping His Promises and true to His Word. So if my life does not add up to what He promised, where is the disconnect?

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Are you just before Jericho today? Is breakthrough about to come? You will never know if you stop walking with the Lord, watching for Him, waiting on Him and hold back your shout! Words hold power are you welcoming the promise or pushing it away with fear, doubt and negativity. God is doing exactly what He promised and just as He planned. Nothing has changed. So neither should you? Or me? We must press into His Presence today. Praise Him for His Promise that is sooner than we think, more than we asked for, greater than we know and that will bring us closer to Him than we ever thought possible. Are you weak? Good, now Jesus will be your strength! Are you tired? Good, now He can give you rest. Are you heavy laden? Let the Lord remove the yoke from you as you prepare to break out in praise. Are just before Jericho today? Awesome! You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Victory is coming! If you choose to go in! I wonder how all those people felt walking around the city unarmed and silent each day. I bet by day six they were thinking they lost their minds. Questioning their decision to follow the Lord listening to Joshua. God was not doing anything. Joshua must be crazy. Why must we walk? Why must we wait? I bet they forgot all those things when they walked right in the very next day. Trust the Lord. Do good today. Delight in Him. Your breakthrough is coming. Who knows? It may already be here. Why not praise Him like it is? Or at least, like we believe it just might be!

Galatians 6:8-10 (NIV)

Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Clean Sheets

Clean Sheets

Psalm 62:5-8 (NIV)

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

There is nothing better in the world than clean sheets. Freshly laundered and smelling divine. Clean and soft from the fabric softener. Smooth and tightly molded around your comfortable and familiar bed. The smell reinforces the sense of home and its gentle wooing as you drift off to sleep. It is the thing I long for when traveling, to come home to my bed and fresh linens. Every Friday morning, we strip the sheets from our bed and toss them in the machine. Filling each compartment with cleaning agents, it begins to fill with water, as I close the lid it locks and begins to twist and spin as it washes the fabric. It is a violent process occurring under the lid. However, soon it is over and the wet mound is thrust into the dryer where for the next half an hour it is tumbled in high heat. Soon the alert is given that the sheets are dry and ready to be put back on the bed. Shaking them out, the aroma of the process endured rises from the pile. It smells fresh and welcoming. The fitted sheet is spread across the bed molded to the mattress. The flat sheet is then lifted into the air and spread across the top. Once it settles, stretching and adjusting as it is folded to fit the top as a steady hand begins to smooth out all the wrinkles until it is pristine and perfect. The process of preparing is full of twists and turns, but in the moment they are done a place of comfort, rest and peace is provided such are the processes of God in Christ Jesus to us.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God! My hope comes from Him. All this is not seen immediately in life but through the process set forth by His Plans for us – it is accomplished. Hope requires faith which is found when the shaking, moving, trembling and unknown are claimed to be real, valid and worth having. God is my rock. He is my salvation. He is the fortress of my life. Therefore, I will not be shaken. Note: It does not say that the world will not be shaken or that life will not happen but simply states that you (and I) will not be shaken. When my life depends on God – there is a process of growing, maturing, refining, and developing the small beginning of faith into a confident hope not reliant on a perfect life but a perfected soul. To trust in the Lord at all times requires the process by which the fruit of His Spirit grow so that we produce that we have been called to do and accomplish. The shaking tests the foundation of our faith, the concreteness of our confidence, and the placement of our soul. It was after violently shaking the mountain he was standing on that Elijah heard the Lord. God has promised that He will do it again. Thank you Lord for considering my heart, my mind, my spirit and loving my soul enough to continue shaking the world around us until our heart, mind and body fall into place and worship the God who loves us and died for us now and forevermore.

Isaiah 54:9-10 (NIV)

“To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

 

The seeker sensitive environment called the church of today prides itself on comfort and acceptance of God’s Grace to the fullest. Focused on God’s Unfailing Love and Neverending Grace, it does not talk about the significant price paid for our soul or the cost of carrying our cross. It loves the world and everyone it and with that all things are permissible. Approaching God as a friend forgetting His True Identity creates a relationship of comfort and compromise that is yielding nothing more than warm fuzzies and fellowships. I do not mean to be hard but to go to church, pray and serve God in a state of constant comfort means that there is a lack of repentance, revelation and redemption. As we journey deeper, edging closer and turning more of our life over to the Lord there is a general discomfort in our sullen sinful state. It cries out for more repentance and acceptance of the holiness that we are called to waving goodbye to this world, forsaking this life, forgetting the past to press on to the mark of our high calling in Christ.

To live for Christ shakes up our natural life. The world hates Him and us, too. To be accepted all the time means something is lacking in us. It is a sign that there is no growth, moving of the ground that signifies new life rising. Complacency tickles our comfort zone as the slightest bit of compromise becomes our pitfall. I know for I have fallen. As the Lord shakes the earth, it begins to fall apart. In the shaking of His People, His Promise is revealed as the things of this earth fall away and His Glory in us is revealed. It is not just hard coming through the valleys of life, sometimes it is equally as difficult to come down off the mountain. Triumph and victory always come with a price. In the battles of life, Jesus promises a win. There is still an assault. There is still opposition. We will have to make a stand even when all hell breaks loose against us. Everything will shake, but we will not be shaken or moved. The Lord’s Covenant of Peace remains firmly established in us. He has great compassion for you.

Nehemiah 5:13 (NIV)

I also shook out the folds of my robe and said, “In this way may God shake out of their house and possessions anyone who does not keep this promise. So may such a person be shaken out and emptied!” At this the whole assembly said, “Amen,” and praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised.

The church in Nehemiah’s time had a problem. There was a famine. Fellow Jews who were mortgaging their fields, vineyards and homes just to eat. Their children enslaved. They were powerless to save them. They called out to the Lord and Nehemiah. Nehemiah 5:6-12 tells of its members who were lending money to them at huge interest rates further victimizing the poor among them. Nehemiah told them it was not right and to stop charging their “brothers” interest. Not only that, they were to return the land taken from them along with the interest. The people repented saying that they would give it back taking an oath and making a promise.

“In this way may God shake out of their house and possessions anyone who does not keep this promise…so may such a person be shaken out and emptied.” Everyone said, “Amen!” Of course they did, they were in church. No one would object in such a state, but when they left and began rethinking the commitment as the enemy whispered in their ear, I wonder how many really did what they committed to do? In this image of shaking the folds from his garment, I see the Hand of the Lord shaking us gently. He spreads the contents of our life before Him as we submit it to Him. He begins lovingly but firmly smoothing every wrinkle and blemish until we are spotless and clean – washed by His Word, covered by the Blood, truly repentant as He begins to mold and shape us into who He created us to be. This process is continuous in our life. We are shaken and moved like sheets stripped from a bed. Sometimes gently they come off or other times must be tugged, pulled or yanked from a corner that just seems to be hanging on. Washed in water, dried by the fiery heat of refinement and prepared for service through the trials and tests of life until we are ready. We feel ready until by faith our life seems completely up in the air. As everything begins to fall into place, God’s Hands begin working faithfully as promised to remove the bumps and folds that keep our ways from being straight and hearts remaining true. Yes, we are shaken as our sins removed. The heat of our trials work its way through, but in the end as it all falls into place, we find the purpose and meaning of the violence of its process.

Hebrews 12:26-29 (NIV)

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” (Luke 21:25-27) I believe these days are coming. In many ways, they are already here. Love is cold. Sin is rampant. Wars and rumors of war. The persecution of Christians is a worldwide event. Many will turn away from faith, hating and betraying each other. Our world is in a sad state socially. Environmentally and naturally it shakes and trembles at the close proximity of Christ. Are you shaken? Is your faith questionable as you read the news? Do you have confident hope? Those who endure to the end will be saved. Does the fact that as believers not yield a clue that there will be tough times and shaky situations as well as cataclysmic circumstances as our faith is tested, hope confirmed and salvation secured for the Day of Redemption? Of course it does. How you hold up under the shaking? Are you being shaped and molded by His Love? Do you feel the pressure today? Good!

The earth shook and the foundation tested to make the doors to the prison of Paul and Silas open and for the chains of bondage to fall off. (Acts 16:25-27) When the Spirit of God broke loose, the whole building shook at the sudden arrival of His Presence. (Acts 4:31) Don’t kid yourself any longer, if the church got serious about Jesus again and invited Him to enter each service it would most certainly shake things up. People would be saved. The bound set free. The broken restored. The sick healed. The blind would see. The deaf would hear. The dead would find new life again. See all these things come of God’s Great Shaking in life. It cannot be avoided if the Lord is who we are after. If Jesus is the One we seek, our lives will begin to tremble with change as the possibilities of faith are revealed. They will come to pass when the shaking around us doesn’t move us but changes our heart and mind until it is settled on Jesus Christ alone.

Psalm 16:5-8(NIV)

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

The only way to survive the process that yields faith and confident hope is to find the fullness of our security in the Lord. We must transition our life from this earth to His Kingdom. We are in this world but not of it. With the revelation of faith, we know that no matter how things look, feel or what the circumstances are that we are more than conquerors through the Love of Christ. We know that no matter what the weapon is that it cannot prosper against us. We know that by faith we are saved. This does not mean that we will not be violently shaken from time to time but what it does mean that as things fall into place, the inheritance claimed by faith and confident hope will be to our complete satisfaction. We claim these promises by faith alone. Confident hope is our commitment to the process of change as the Lord moves us from His Glory to Glory and victory to victory in life. It’s not always comfortable and most of the time unclear but we can be certain that greater is He who is in us than He that is in this world. If Jesus is my portion, He is my cup, He is my inheritance than my position is always secure and independent of the condition of this world. The boundary lines created by holiness, obedience and trust will always fall in pleasant places if I choose to believe with total trust in the Lord and all of His Ways. Seeking His Counsel, living by His Truth as He instructs me, so that I keep my eyes firmly fixed on the hope that is before me. With Jesus at my right hand, I may feel the sensation of shaking but I will not be moved. Do you feel shaken? Pressed? Is it like everything is up in the air? Just hang on. God has it all under control. In the end, He will give you peace, comfort and rest as His Process is completed in you and His Glory will shine through your new life.

I Corinthians 15:57-58 (NLT)

But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

Tax Time

Tax Time

Proverbs 10:22 (NLT)

The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich and he adds no sorrow with it.

It’s that time again, ugh. Tax season. Time to drag out all your W-2’s and documentation to submit a report of earnings and proper payment of one’s taxes. We lost another deduction this year. Preparing a tax return, one may become a bit anxious wondering if they paid enough the previous year or will I need to pay the IRS more. Scrambling to gather every possible deduction to lower one’s burden can be quite overwhelming.  This is also a time of testing our faith in God. Will we trust the Lord? Will we remain truly obedient by being completely honest in preparing and filing a return? Of course, now come on. I mean really what’s the big deal. It is not God I am cheating but the government of this world that is totally corrupt. The Lord desires complete integrity and honesty of His People because we trust the Lord to care for us. We do not need to cut corners, help Him out or gloss over the truth but simply just believe that He will care for us in all things.

I know that many try to separate church and state. It is impossible because people are involved. Where there is a person, a soul or God’s Creation – He is there. Therefore, though they may try God will examine the hearts of those who participate in the governments of this world. Even us as we prepare and file our taxes which is the very same thing. So where did this all come from? Well, yesterday I began to organize last year’s medical deduction. In the past couple of seasons, as one might imagine, we were able to claim the deduction as our son’s illness was quite costly. This year we cannot. At first, for just a split second, I was a bit disappointed until the Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart. The fact that I cannot take a worldly deduction is because I have had a supernatural response. Against all odds and doctors statistics – our son has been healed and delivered of cancer. Our lack of medical bills is proof that God is good and able to do exceedingly and abundantly above what we can think or ask.

The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich and He adds no sorrow with it. God is good. He is an excellent Father. He provides all that we needs supplying them according to His Riches in glory not the economy of this world. Money is a magnifier. It takes the contents of our heart and puts it on full display as one is able to live out their dreams. Sadly, most people who win the lottery and inherit large sums of money will be bankrupt in just three years according to recent studies. The very thing that they thought would change their life for the better puts them in a deeper debt situation. A preacher once said that in order to claim your healing, one must give up their disability check. In order to live above the poverty level, they must give up the government handout. Whoa! These words ring true as I smile and claim no medical deduction this year. Look what the Lord has done!

I Peter 2:13-17 (NLT)

For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.

I think it would be safe to say that with only about two percent of the church who tithe that people have trouble trusting God with their money. Tax evasion is illegal and ungodly. I watched a deposition the other day of a mega church pastor who was required by the IRS to give account for his personal deductions, I was embarrassed for the Body of Christ in that moment. In the last few years, there has been a rash of audits as the church is held accountable to the government to keep its tax exempt status. The outcome has been so sad. The Bible is clear. We are to fear God. We are to respect the king, president or whoever has been placed in authority over our life. We are not accountable for their actions but our submission. We respect God when we do so. How? It means that our faith in God allows us to be honest in all we do, because His Blessing adds no sorrow with it. If we do the Will of God, follow the Way of God and live honest open lives before all men – it draws others to Christ.

 

Submit to all human authority. Do you give your best at your job? Or do you take care of personal business wasting the boss’s time? Do you have to minimize your screen when coworkers walk by? Do you pay for items that you leave the store with by mistake? Do you clock in and out properly? Do you charge clients fairly or pad the bill? Do you pay your taxes? All of these things determine our in God. Giving our best in all situations and living in open honesty. This is the message today. If you want God’s best, stop trying to make up for the deficits in your life and let the Lord do it.

Psalm 37:25-29 (NLT)

Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread. The godly always give generous loans to others, and their children are a blessing. Turn from evil and do good, and you will live in the land forever. For the Lord loves justice, and he will never abandon the godly. He will keep them safe forever, but the children of the wicked will die. The godly will possess the land and will live there forever.

I have never seen the godly abandoned. I have never seen their children begging for bread. God meets our needs. Those who choose to put their finances in His Hand along with everything else in their life have nothing to fear. When I look back each year at the Lord’s Provision for our family, the finances seldom add up. It is the Lord’s Favor that does the trick. He does not always operate monetarily. In fact, most of the time, it is hard to track how He provided I just know that He did. To have this promise and live such a life requires very little. Turn from evil. Do good. Love justice. Easy right…not so fast. To live openly and honestly requires us to step out of the gray areas of societal norms such as fudging on our taxes and wasting others times to live in complete honesty before God and men.

It does not say that the godly will live in debt. It doesn’t say that they will have less than enough. It says here that they will “possess” the land. They will be “generous”. In order to have what God has promised means that we have to do what He says. Obedience is crucial. Honesty is absolutely a must. When we choose to live God’s Way, His Hand opens in our life revealing the many blessings hidden there all along. Do you want your inheritance from the Father? You must be a Child of God.

Matthew 17:24-27 (NLT)

On their arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked him, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the Temple tax?”  “Yes, he does,” Peter replied. Then he went into the house. But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?” “They tax the people they have conquered,” Peter replied. “Well, then,” Jesus said, “the citizens are free! However, we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.”

 

The Lord has granted us freedom. Our freedom may be used to serve God. It is not a requirement. We are not forced into submission to the Lord but choose a life of servitude to honor Him. Unless you are independently wealthy and totally self-sufficient apart from this world, you will be called to choose today if you will live according to the governments of this world or break its law. In the same respect, you will be held accountable for this day according to God, will you obey God’s Word and do His Will or choose your own bidding? By virtue of Who He was, Jesus should not have been required to pay the temple tax, but He did anyway. Jesus sent Peter down to the water with a fish and line. Peter went. In doing so, a coin was provided large enough to pay both of their temple taxes. And so it is with the Lord in our obedience. Peter respected the local authorities meeting natural requirements and in doing so Jesus blessed Him supernaturally.

 

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NIV)

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 

 

“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:10-11) If it is true, which I believe it is, that God gives seed to the sower – I must sow to have seed. If I am unwilling to take my time, talent and treasure to commit to God’s Service in all areas of my life including that which I render to all lower authorities in my life. I will always have more than enough. In fact, I can live a generous, giving life. Do I render to God what is God? Do I tithe as Biblically indicated? I promise if you want to see a significant shift in your finances start tithing! Tithing is not enough. We must also be faithful in our finances according to this world. Why? Anything less would be dishonesty and a lack of integrity. Do not “buy it” if you cannot pay for it. What about our work life that generates our income? Are we giving the job the amount of time required to receive our paycheck? Do we work or play? Do we give our boss our best or just when he or she walks by? We are supposed to work as if we are working for the Lord. Your testimony is wasted if you try to share Jesus with those who carry your weight in the office or see you constantly wasting time. If I cannot be generous, there is a problem. A deficit to be righted in my way. Proverbs 10:9 says that whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes a crooked paths will be found out.

2 Corinthians 1:12 (NIV)

Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (I Corinthians 13:11-12) It is time for men and women of God to shift their dependency from this world and its support to God and His Prosperity. As our soul prospers so will we. I believe that if Christian men and women decided to respect the authority God has placed over them out of obedience and reverence for the Lord that things would begin to shift and change. I have heard many preacher say that the wealth of the wicked is laid up for the righteous. (Proverbs 13:22) Where are the righteous? The uncompromisingly righteous who will not stop until their life is an open book with balanced ledgers before the Lord.

 

We must grow, mature and develop in our walk with the Lord. To remain as children, and never try to live as Christ has instructed is not an advantage of grace but is an act of disobedience. It is in repentance and the yielding of our life to Christ that we are changed into Children of the Living God. He withholds no good thing from those who do. Today, I am rejoicing in the fact that God is faithful and true. I may have to grab a fishing pole and cast my line in the water when it comes to paying our taxes, but it is worth it to say to others, “Look what the Lord has done.” The fact that I even have to pay taxes in the first place means that the Lord has provided. Thank you, Jesus. We must fear God and respect authority in our life in order to live a life of right standing with God. The Lord knows our heart and its motives. If our motive is to serve the Lord with our whole life, we may have to give a little more of our natural life to secure the supernatural provision of the King of King and Lord of Lords.

Do you trust Him today? Jesus met a paralyzed man. He had been that way for 38 years. When He met the man at the pool, the Lord asked him, “Do you want to get well?” What kind of question is that? Of course, he did…didn’t he? He said, “I have no one to carry me to the water.” That is not what Jesus asked. He asked if he wanted to get well. What did Jesus say? “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” The Lord has saved you to the uttermost. Healed you completely. You are more than a conqueror. You have been freed from the bondage of sin and captivity of darkness. He is telling us today to “Get up!” Pick up our mats and walk.” We must walk in the righteousness of God granted to us through Jesus Christ to live the new life and have the prosperity promised to those in right standing with God – the Father. Trouble is He does all those things for us yet we still sit on the beggar’s porch in life. Our Father supplies all of our need. We have an inheritance. We are blessed beyond any curse. All we have to do is walk humbly with our God. It means that we live an honest life with open integrity. To take responsibility for our actions in our everyday life and make them line up with the way God tells us to live.  To have the next level of God’s Faithfulness requires one more step of obedience. Will you get there today?

Proverbs 11:1-6 (NIV)

The Lord detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with him. When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. The righteousness of the blameless makes their paths straight, but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness. The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires.