Dead Batteries – A Devotion

Dead Batteries

Psalm 94:18-19 (NLT)

I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.

 

A few months ago, I bought a Swiffer mop. It is a handy device that sprays solution on the floor so you can quickly “mop” it up with the disposable pad. I like it. However, my only complaint so far is that the darn thing goes through batteries quickly. I was using just plain ordinary household batteries but those died with a couple of weeks. Switching to industrial batteries when it was clear cleaning less was not an option, those too did not last very long. It seems batteries run our life. During a layover traveling, I noticed that the airports have now installed power outlets between the chairs at each gate. No more rushing to find a plug and hovering next to the wall like winos around a flaming barrel. Our life is run by batteries. There is one in the mode of transportation we rely on. In the computer we use at work. The technology that keeps us informed. The phone that keeps us in close contact. The only concern we have is if that battery goes dead. I have experienced firsthand the total meltdown of a teenager whose battery life in their phone has not met their expectation or lasted through the day. One would think that it is death of a pacemaker or oxygen machine. Dead batteries are a nuisance and inconvenience in life. But there is more to this dead battery thing than this…

What about our batteries? The ones that keep us ticking. Why can’t there be a power outlet for people to plug into right before they burn out or give up? My battery single is flashing. I am feeling drained and weary physically, emotionally and spiritually. How about you? Life has a tendency to be parasitic but not consider the source. With total disregard for the person, its demands dry us out, use us up and suck the life right out of us. Discarding what is left of the person for the next one who comes along. I woke up this morning with two words circling in my head, “Renew me.” I prayed right there in the bed, but not for renewal about all the other people and things on my heart. Then I heard it again, “Renew me.” Like the signal given off that resonates through the house when the smoke detector battery is about to give up the ghost. Persistent and insistent for attention. “Renew me.” I need to be renewed. There are some areas of my life that need to be restored by the Lord. They are personal. Yet I feel as though others might be able to see the “flashing” indicators. I believe it is the Spirit of God within me telling me…I need to be renewed.

Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT)

Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

 

I have heard the rumor that one should drain a battery completely before recharging it the first time. This is a rumor. There are a few types of batteries that actually have a memory of sorts but for the most part a battery should always maintain a charge of 20 to 80%. Google is a wonderful thing. Balance is essential in our life. We cannot run on high speed all the time. Those who do not run at all will never win. We must learn to live a life of balance. I believe this is God’s Plan for our life. However, when we grow tired and weary feeling almost completely spent – there is meaning and purpose in this place, too. After all, we are the sons and daughters of God who have a detailed plan and purpose for our life that leaves nothing out. I have read this passage in Isaiah 40 over and over. I can recite it from memory as many Christians can. But when I read it today, I found something new. New to me that is.

He gives power to the weak. He gives strength to the powerless. God will give me His Power… when I am weak. God will give me His Strength… when I am powerless. The only thing that I can do when I have no strength is trust the Lord in my weakness. The only thing that I can do when I am powerless is to ask the Lord for His Strength. In that moment when God’s Grace becomes my sufficiency I have everything I need to be renewed. Perhaps these times of feeling weak and weary are not without meaning but meant to fulfill my purpose. Could it be that it is a divine run in with God and His Purpose for my life? God, I hope so.

It is in His Strength and Power that I find everything I need to live out the Plan and Purpose of God for my life. When my battery light is flashing and my spirit calls out for renewal, the Lord is inviting me to come closer, go deeper and get a better connection. What I do in my weakness determines if I will find strength. What I choose in my powerlessness signifies if I will discover His Power.

Psalm 23:1-3 (NLT)

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.

 

The Lord is my Shepherd. I have all that I need. I have all I need to rest. I have all I need to have peace. I have all I need to have strength. I have all that I need to make good decisions. I have all that I need to bring honor to His Name. I have it already. I just don’t know how to use it properly some days. The key in all this is who is in charge of my life. As my “Shepherd”, He is responsible for providing all these things and He has. I just have to get connected to the source. Just like any battery that needs to be recharged must simply get plugged in, I too must be conscious of my proximity to the Lord and in my walk with Him. If I am weak, I just need to get closer. If I am having my doubts, I just need more of His Word. When life is chaotic, I must find my place in His Presence. He has everything that I need to have strength and power consistently in my life if I am committed and consistent in Him.

Psalm 103:1-5 (NLT)
Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
 Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.  He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

 

Praise will renew us. It is a good starting place. Reminding our heart and mind of all the things that the Lord has done and is doing in our life will definitely change our attitude. Sometimes that is all it takes. We forget at least I do. The hope we have is unseen but hard times and hardships are real. We see them, feel them and are touched by these kinds of things. Healing is a lovely and comforting thought but hard to see when our loved one is undergoing radical chemotherapy. The Lord is our provider seems logical and biblical but when evicted from a foreclosed home it is not the first thing we think. Faith is not easy. Hope is unseen. But those who trust the Lord will be renewed. You aren’t supposed to be the strong one. Weakness releases God’s Power in our life. We are not supposed to be the strong one just the steadfast one to experience His Strength. We forget in the midst of battle who it actually belongs to. Praise puts us back in the right frame of mind. It reshapes our thoughts. Calms our fears.

God’s Word can do the same thing. “I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness.” (Psalm 119:40) Let’s be real and transparent for a moment. There are a lot of people who read the Word of God and extricate the promises that they desire. But few really read the Word for instruction as to how to live. See you will not have God’s Promises your way. You will have it the world’s way. But when you read God’s Word and apply it to your life, do what it says, and live how it implies – then God’s Promises that are His Goodness apply to your life. You will have those things you read about because you are doing things God’s Way.

 

“When you give them your breath, life is created and you renew the face of the earth.” (Psalm 104:30)  The Breath of God is His Spirit. His Spirit lives in us. He leads us. He guides us. He is speaking to us. God’s Spirit is constantly on a mission to renew us from the inside out. This is the prospering of our soul. When our soul prospers, so does our life. It is the renewing of His Spirit. The Fruit of the Spirit cultivated in our life produces all those things that we long for. The things that sustain us, satisfy us and renew us day by day. We must learn to look to Jesus to renew us day by day rather than going long periods of time on yesterday’s word or encounter. He is the Source of everything that we need, long for and desire. When we maintain a life balanced in our prayer life, studying the Word, applying it to our life being led by His Spirit – we are consistently renewed day by day, moment by moment and breath by breath.

Ephesians 4:21-24 (NLT)

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

 

As the Spirit of God renews our thoughts and attitudes, I believe that there will be times when we feel weak. We are throwing off our old nature to take on the new one. (Colossians 3:10-11) It is an ongoing process that is happening whether or not it is something we are aware of. The regenerative work of God in our life is constant as believers. He never grows weak or weary and is working even when we are not to produce good things in our life making good out of every detail of our life. Our humanity gets in the way sometimes. Thank you Lord that we have His Spirit to guide us and influence us when we are not living up to our full potential in Christ. When we are dry, the water of His Word permeates the hard, dry cracks reaching the seeds of righteousness planted by faith and watered by our tears. It renews us. (Psalm 126:4-6) Lord, revive me again. Renew me. I give you my life. I am plugging back in. I want you to be my source of life – for all my life – in all things. Forgive me when I think of giving up – it is my humanity talking. Lord, I long to be continually renewed by you! No more dead batteries for me. I will stay plugged into your Presence. I need you more than anything else this life has to offer. Renew me today.

Job 29:19-20 (NLT)

“For I am like a tree whose roots reach the water, whose branches are refreshed with the dew. New honors are constantly bestowed on me and my strength is continually

There is a Difference – A Devotion

There is a Difference

Philippians 3:10-11 (NLT)
I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

 

As I have often shared, I have some deeply philosophical moments running on the elliptical equipment at the gym. If I do not get lost in my thoughts, I am focused on the time clock and it seems to drag on forever. Most of the time, I listen to upbeat music like most people but there are those days that require a little extra one-on-One with the Lord. These are the times that I choose to listen to praise and worship music. Some days I go to work out for my body and other days it’s my brain. Since injuring my shoulder, I have not been able to do my full routine so I have been relegated to running like a hamster on a wheel. The situation on my job has forced me seek a higher realm of thinking in the midst of adversity. Our life in general feels to be in that flux called waiting at least when I am tracking miles on the machine it feels like I am getting somewhere. I was listening to a song last night and the singer begin sharing about the Cross. I am thankful for the Cross. I am thankful that Jesus died for my sins. The basis of my salvation is to know and understand what happened when my Savior was crucified for my sins for it is the very foundation of our faith. The magnitude of what happened on that hill should impact every single decision that I make from this day forward, but the truth is that if I make no attempt to know Jesus more than to accept what He did for me on the Cross that’s perfectly okay because of His Grace.

There is a difference between the work that was accomplished on the Cross and what happened the morning that Jesus came back to life again. It is a significant moment in the life of every single believer but often wrapped in a neat package. In our regular life, we often make agreements and sign contracts. They are the binding force between us and those who we live with and join in business etc. To know and accept salvation from Jesus Christ is one thing, but to enter into covenant with Jesus by making Him Lord of our life changes everything. It is the power to have a new life rather than merely surviving our old one just to make it to eternity one day. The Resurrection Power of God that brought Jesus back from the dead offers us hope that this life can be changed not only forever. I want to know Christ that way and experience the might power that raised Jesus from the grave. Paul was so committed to encountering God’s Power that he said, “I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I WILL experience the resurrection from the dead.” Salvation changed everything for us. The resurrection power of God is what makes change possible after salvation made it worthwhile. To be saved is to spend eternity with Jesus, to be experience new life changes everything now.

Philippians 3:7-9 (NLT)

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.

 

I once thought… There are so many things that I once thought based on my experience and knowledge obtained in life. Now I know that they are worthless compared to what I know about the Lord. What do I mean? I became serious about God’s Word probably six years ago. So serious in fact that it became part of my daily diet until I gained an appetite for it. Have you ever eaten too much junk food and started feeling ill? Often times, eating something good will counteract the way our stomach feels by giving it something substantial. Everything is considered worthless to knowing Jesus. We are going to continue to sin. Mistakes are inevitable because of our human nature wrapped in our DNA. Failure is not fatal. Say it again, failure is not fatal unless one chooses to give up. Thanks to the Cross – we have been given grace for those times that we fall short and fill our life with things that are less than beneficial and sometimes detrimental. Here is the difference, my mistakes contain possibility thanks to the resurrection power of God demonstrated in Jesus Christ. This is how we obtained the promise that all things work together for the good of those who love Him. Stepping out of sin and into the power of God is to understand the significance of the resurrection and choose to walk in it day by day. We must follow the footsteps of Jesus to experience God’s Power in our life. A trip to the altar will never be enough but rather who we follow when we leave the altar, the church and the crowd. The Blood of Jesus washed away our sin giving us right standing with God. Our faith in Jesus allows us to walk in that power every day and experience the benefits of our salvation.

Psalm 103:3-5 (NLT)

He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

 

The benefits of our salvation are the forgiveness of sin which promotes healing in our body, redeems us from death, and crowns us with His Love and tender mercy that produce God’s Favor in our life. He fills our lives with good things. We are renewed every day. Are you living like this? Why not? If you are not experiencing the benefits of salvation, it doesn’t mean that you are not saved or that Jesus is mad at you or even that God is punishing you. Jesus only has unfailing love and mercy for us. God cannot punish us without negating the work of His Son on the Cross. The problem may be that we have not moved from death to life by walking in the Resurrection Power of God designated for us. Faith allows us to walk in something we cannot see until it makes it to us. It is our contribution to the process of finding hope and experiencing all the great things that God has promised. We need to acknowledge the resurrection, apply our faith to it, and learn to live in it. This will promote and produce change in our life. But be warned, changing our standard of living to God’s Standard for us that includes all these things that we desire requires a process of refinement that continues to remove the sinful residue from our life to renew, restore and revive us. The process can be uncomfortable even painful at times but well worth it to those who want to walk in the Power of God every day.

Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,  I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

 

Not to sound unthankful but I don’t want to get stuck in a rut of righteousness that just keeps me getting by. An ordinary life does not appeal to me anymore. When Saul became Paul, he went from having religion to living in a relationship with God. It was what he was after all along. Saul didn’t persecute the Christians because he was mean. He did it because he thought that they were an insult to his God. When Saul met Jesus, he became Paul. This man fell in love with Jesus. He experienced new life from the inside out. If you look at his life though things did not change for the better around him. Rather than living in a fine house and experiencing the good life that he was living, Paul gave it all up to live on the run just to know the Lord more and more. He counted everything else as garbage. Would we feel the same way? Religion has hyped the blab-it-grab it prosperity message for a long time. Mega churches with mega pastors with mega bank accounts are still around. I have no animosity for these people but must look within myself. If nothing else changed in my life would what I found in Jesus be enough? I have heard the devastating news that our son had cancer five times in three years. Five times. This is probably the worse news any mother or father could ever hear. Jesus Christ has healed his body each and every time. He is cancer-free today. He was saved going into this. Our son has known the Lord as Savior for many years professing his faith freely. This would have been enough to save him had this disease had its way. When I came to God with this problem more than three years ago, I was mad. I was hurt. I was confused. I couldn’t understand why this was allowed in our life. I “boldly” came into the Presence of the Lord. It was not pretty. It was not fake but raw and real in that moment. I was desperate for an answer. I would not leave until I heard His Voice in the matter. God asked only one thing of me, “Do you trust me?” All I could muster was “Of course, I do.” It was weak and breathless covered by tears and hoarseness from a mixture of crying and shouting. He said, “Then your son will live and not die!” This is the resurrection power of God and how it is released in our life. The moment that we accept salvation we are catapulted into the Presence of God which is righteousness. Resurrection power is released when we decide to trust the Lord by faith. It is activated the moment that we decide He is Lord of our life.

There are a lot of people who will read this who know Jesus as their Savior but who have never experienced Him as Lord. Lord is a whole new endeavor with Christ. It is where His Power is released in our life now. It prepares us for forever but it makes a difference right now. It changes our outcomes. Heals our body, mind and spirit. It is a source of comfort in the unthinkable and the promise that the Lord will bring good out of every bad situation even those of our own doing. Be thankful for the Cross. It is the moment we are saved. But move ahead to your future which lies in the Resurrection Power of God evidenced when the Father brought His Son back to life. In that instant, He handed Jesus power and authority over everything. What did Jesus do? He handed the Keys to His Kingdom right back to me and you. Trust opens closed doors. Faith is the foundation of our new life. We must walk by faith and not by sight to have those outcomes that we desire and hope for. Faith comes by hearing God’s Word – we must read it, study it, value it and keep it safely in our heart. It is a treasure map to fulfillment for those who spend time in it. God’s Power is alive in us. We have been given His Spirit. We have the potential for a better life now we must undergo the transforming power of the resurrection to claim it. There is a difference and it will change your life both now and forever. Salvation changes our life forever. The Resurrection Power of God begins now and lasts forever.

Ephesians 1:18-20 (NLT)

 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.

Forced to Change – A Devotion

Forced to Change

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

 

As she made her way to the altar for prayer, the tall beautiful woman caught my attention. Holding tightly to the young man’s hand, her intention was to find relief from the pain she has suffered. The loss of a child is a change no parent ever wants to endure. Much less the senseless murder of an innocent but she has made it this far. The sweet prayer worker prayed with the couple as I prayed from afar. God heal their heart of this unthinkable horror. Flood them with joy and peace again in this life though they now long for the everlasting. In life there are many times that we are forced to change and adapt to our circumstances. We have no choice in the matter whether a tragedy or simply the process of transformation from one season to the next. In these moments of forced change in order to survive, we must learn to accept what we did not want to accept the Glory hidden in that moment. The pain is real. The suffering severe. No one is exempt from the tragedy and trials of life. Change is inevitable. But change is not bad. I dare say that in every season and situation – God will make good on His Promises for His People regardless of the events leading up to it. When we submit our devastation and brokenness to the Lord that is when we accept the change that is forced upon us.

We are God’s Masterpiece. Allow that thought to sink in past familiarity and really chew on it philosophically. Sin caused our beauty to be hidden beneath its ugliness but in Christ we are being renewed day by day for the good things that He planned long ago. We are given this opportunity to live again in Jesus Christ. It is our blessing and benefit though we have very little to do with the process other than change. Those who have accept the Lord have committed their life to change. It is transforming which is another word for change. Don’t be deceived. The details of life are constantly moving and changing. The difference between a believer’s plight and that of those who do not know the Lord is that we have hope. In every season with every change there is life potential. How do I know that God makes good on every detail of our life? Why am I so sure? I am just like you today. I have been forced to change due to certain circumstances and situations beginning with our son’s battle with cancer. It was in that moment that the reality of death became a real factor in our life. Was it always there? Of course, but I chose to ignore it. Our children are growing up and leaving the nest. Is this normal? Yes. Do I miss them? Without a doubt. There are so many changes that go on each day but as human beings we often ignore change until it is forced upon us. Renewal requires change. Transformation is change. Both are necessary to see God’s Glory released in our life.

Jeremiah 18:1-6 (NLT)

The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. Then the Lord gave me this message: “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.

Human inability to live apart from sin keeps us on the Potter’s wheel day by day. The Lord has a plan for our life that far exceeds our imagination. When we call on His Name asking Him to save us and be the Lord of our life, it is a cry for change and commitment to the process of change. We cannot be a Child of God and remain the same. We are His Masterpiece. We are His Glory. We are His Beloved. He cannot and will not leave us in our broken down and ineffective state. As believers we pray for change without even realizing it, when we ask for more faith. When we cry out to be closer to the Lord, He pulls us in separating us from that which kept us apart. Change. It’s all about change. Our prayers and pleadings to the Lord produce a change that seems so forced but really is exactly what we have asked for. As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. What if I never prayed to the Lord for faith or hope or any other thing that He offers? Clay on the wheel is watered and worked into a vessel worthy of use but if it never makes it into the potter’s hands or becomes subject to the wheel, it becomes dried out, wasted and lost. I want change. I want God to transform my life into something beautiful. I must trust the Lord enough to stick with Him even though change is inevitable and sometimes even painful.

Isaiah 30:14-15 (NLT)

You will be smashed like a piece of pottery—shattered so completely that there won’t be a piece big enough to carry coals from a fireplace or a little water from the well.” This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.

 

Are you broken today? Even strong Christians and committed believers can become devastated in times of change. When it is difficult to comprehend the Love of God and His Hand in the midst of the pain and pressure of change. I remember the morning after our son was diagnosed with cancer. Someone who knows that we are believers who love the Lord asked me point blank, “How can you love a God who gave your son cancer?” Whoa, way to be put on the spot. In that moment, the only answer that I could get out of was just wait and see what my God will do. Three years later and five bouts of cancer, our son is alive and cancer-free attending school and living his life as a college student. Yes, he still has to be closely monitored. Yes, there are still some side effects that are being resolved. He is a living breathing miracle. The real treasure in all this is the faith in God that was forged through the change. Would I still love God if the story had ended differently? Yes. I know that I would because life is uncertain and change inevitable. We made it through being smashed into being renewed over and over again. No longer attached to ordinary life the hope we have is eternal because life is uncertain. There are no guarantees. “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved.” This is true of those undergoing radical transformations in this life. God didn’t do but He is taking your situation and circumstances as an opportunity to reveal His Grace, Goodness and Glory in your life.

Psalm 139:13-16 (NLT)

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

 

I attended my first church retreat in high school. I had the most wonderful youth leader there named Louella who introduced me to Psalm 139. I experienced many changes as a child first as a military kid who moved a lot, then as the product of statistics when my parents divorced. I lived with my mom for part of my childhood and then moved to my dad’s house in high school. I wasn’t really certain of anything other than all the changes in my life. She told me that I was made with purpose by a God who love me. He paid careful detail to my creation and I was fearfully and wonderfully made. I was important. I was worthwhile. Despite all the changes that I had undergone in my life, God had a plan for my life encompassing every single moment of my life. Nothing was wasted. Instantly, I knew not only did I want to know God but I had to have Him.

“Every moment was laid out before a single day passed.” Why can’t God stop the things that are going to happen that will break me? It’s not that He can’t but He won’t. Sin introduced pain and suffering in our life. God gave us a free will to choose our course and make our own decisions. Too often we choose the Lord after the fact. God cannot lie or change His Mind so He promised that He will make good out of every detail of our life instead so even though we may choose something or someone other than Him – He can make it right when we turn back to Him. What about the little boy in Heaven? Can God bring Him back? Sure He could. But that child has no interest in returning to this world now that he has met Jesus. His parents must accept the change in their life and choose to have faith in God trusting Him to make good of the details of life. I know of one person who was saved at his funeral and is now serving the Lord wholeheartedly. The first seed in the ground of tragedy already producing great fruit. Heaven becomes real in change especially when someone we love relocates. I cannot understand everything about how God works in tragedy and devastation other than how He works in me. I can refuse to change until the details of life force me to do so. It is acceptance by faith that God is in control and my hope that He will make good on every promise that I find life and am renewed in change.

2 Timothy 2:19-21 (NLT)

But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.” In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.

Change produces hope. Hope is the unseen goodness and glory of God that He desires for us. Faith connects us to hope making it a very real possibility in our life. Those who are committed to change will experience this with all probability as the true potential of God is revealed in our life. God made you. He knows what it will take to complete us. Satisfy us. Make us content. God is finishing the work that He began in you when you rushed to meet Him asking His Son, Jesus to let you in. He did. Now you are subject to change, the world forces change on us most often in consequences but many times in life. The evil of this world preys on the believer. As hatred grows the challenges we face are greater, faith allows us to have hope in the midst of change even when it is the result of tragedy and devastation. This is where the Lord can renew us in our broken state and God produces the great masterpiece hidden behind our hard, callous hearts. You may be forced to change today. Don’t fight it. Accept the opportunity found in change when the Lord fills our voids and heals the brokenness left behind. You were made for more than this. You have the potential to experience the Glory of God in your life and shine for Him today. Change is a requirement. It is the opportunity to be made new.

Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Have Mercy – A Devotion

Have Mercy

Psalm 116:1-2 (NLT)

I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!

 

Mercy is the compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, enemy or other person in one’s power. It is considered an act of favor. We all want mercy but are reluctant to give it. Like so many other things in life, it is good enough to receive but too precious to give. The sin that runs rampant in the world today and lack of love that is growing colder in each moment has created a dog-eat-dog environment. This is a far cry from the kingdom that Jesus died for us to enter. We must endure this life in order to make into the Kingdom of God and live there forever. Mercy is forgiveness. It is not humanity’s strong suit but the divine example of God through Jesus Christ. We must learn to not only accept God’s Mercy for us but live to have mercy on other people.

The trials in our office have been escalating for months. It has been a warzone since I returned from caring for our son during and after his bone marrow transplant. The stress level of two sides of the office fighting a battle and become collateral damage has weighed on us all. All that the bystanders can do is watch and hope the next assault will not be from within their own department. It sounds brutal because it is. There has been so many double standards, twisted truth and unfair practices it seems no one will ever find real justice. Instead, people’s lives and livelihoods are destroyed. Years of excellent service ruined by mistakes along the way exploited by another who does not want their own shortcomings exposed. It’s a mess. There has been no mercy just a battle calling for justice but really bent on destruction. I came to the Lord this morning because I am lost in the midst of such wrongdoing. I know that people have done some things that were against the rules. They have not been completely honest. Every suspected wrongdoing and possible mistake has been plastered across the news. Lord, thank you for your mercy today. Your compassionate and kind forgiveness that will keep me from such an occurrence when Jesus comes back. Now Lord, teach me to have mercy on others as you have had on me.

Psalm 103:6 (NLT) The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.

 

In high school, I really didn’t fit in with any major clique. My friend base was in our youth group. I attended a very large church with an extremely active youth group that consumed most of my time. One day in the cafeteria, some people were picking on some kids at a table that might be labeled “misfits”. They were just being mean. Some of the bullies were my “friends” but at that moment I didn’t like any of them. As I walked over they acknowledged me, but I ignored them putting my tray on the table I introduced myself to two people who would become my close-knot companions for the rest of high school even attending church with me. They both later received Christ. One is already with Jesus today. I cannot stand bullies or seeing others picked on. I absolutely loathe it and am compelled to stand up for the “little” guy. In this instance, it paid off and they not only became my friends but more importantly became friends with God. It all began with mercy. Showing kindness and compassion in a world where it is foreign and misunderstood.

The situation that I am facing at work makes me want to stand up for my friends and coworkers especially those who I feel are being treated unfairly. In my spirit, the Lord keeps compelling me to pray for mercy for them. I cannot fix the fight. I am powerless in a battle that goes to the highest ranking office but I can reach into the Heavens with my heart and ask my Father who gives us righteousness in the midst of our sin and justice to all who are treated unfairly. He will answer my plea for mercy not only for me but those around me who need it too.

Romans 9:14-16 (NLT)
Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not! For God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.” So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it.

I wish I could see past the injustice and malice of the circumstances with my coworkers to the purpose and meaning of it all. How will this end well for anyone involved? How will they rebuild their broken live from the wreckage? When will those who are abusing power be changed? God is not unfair. He is God. He is Sovereign – all powerful. He is constant – never changing. He is good – it’s a fact. He loves us – every one of us. If we accept God’s Mercy, His Compassionate nature and unfailing love work in our favor. If others come to know the Lord, the details of their life will become a source of goodness, grace and glory. We must have mercy on others while we ask God to have mercy on us. I am not here to judge these people although some days I already have. It is not my position to shout for the head of those who are persecuting other people and abusing their personal power. I must continue to cry out for mercy. God decides who He will show mercy to. The Love of Jesus calls for God’s Mercy in the lives of His People. If I have been saved and love Jesus then I must have mercy on all of mankind to avoid a double standard that separates me from God’s Best.

Matthew 7:1-2 (NLT)

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”

 

There are some clearly unjust people in this fight. There are Christians who appear to have lost their way locked in the bloody battle and bent on destruction. I fight the urge to judge them. Some days I am successful. Other days not so much. I must cry out for God’s Mercy to cover me those days that I cannot seem to help but judge other people. I do not want to be judged. I do not want my sin on full display for the world to see. Rather than crying out for justice, I must beg the Lord for mercy. Mercy for me. Mercy for others. Mercy for my enemies. Mercy for the meanies, the bullies and those who are bent on destruction. Why? Because I want, need and desire the Mercy of God in my life. Lord, forgive me for judging these people. Lord, I ask you to have mercy on us all.

Micah 6:8 (NLT)

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

 

I have grown to love this passage. I fine peaceful release in these words. What does God require of me today? The Lord wants me to do what is right. His Word will make it clear. His Spirit will guide me. My heart will be set on Him. I must LOVE mercy. To love mercy requires me giving up the notion of justice and demanding what I deserve to embrace the unfailing love of God and consuming compassion of Christ not only for me but extending it to every other person I encounter today. I am to walk humbly with my God. This world has nothing for me. It is not my home or reward. I must endure this life with all the pain, hardship, trouble and problems to be with Jesus. I endure it be having more faith in God then the details of today. By trusting Jesus above any other power or force that I encounter and letting Him fight my battles even those that are within. Christianity is not a complicated effort. It would be easy if there were no other people in this world. It is this friction that leads us to compassion and His Kindness that makes us choose repentance. I must love mercy to have it and hold on to it.

Psalm 51:1-4 (NLT)

Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.

 

As I constantly pursue the mercy of God in my own life, I must strive to remember that my mission in this life and the only commandment that I have been given is to love others as Christ loves me. His Love is merciful or He could never love me in the midst of my sin. The mercy of Jesus is evident in the Cross. Today as I repent of my sin, I cry out for His Mercy to cover me. I cannot stop there. Rather than asking the Lord for justice or even to expose the sins of those who unjustly are persecuting others, I must ask the Lord to have mercy on us all. I can be angry at the situation but I am not to sin by demanding something for others that I do not want myself. I am called to love all people even those designated as enemies. This is a tough one. However, if I seek the Lord’s Mercy than I must be willing to have mercy on everyone else. After all the sins of others, like my own, may appear to be against others but in reality it is against God that we have sinned and it really doesn’t matter how it ends on earth but how it affects our heart. Lord, have mercy on these people today. Forgive me for judging them and I ask you to persuade my heart to cry out for mercy for them today instead. You are a Good God with Unfailing Love who everyone should come to know and trust. Lord, I don’t know all the details and desperation that have caused such a passionate and violent war among people but you do. Heal their hearts Lord. Show them Your Love today. And please, teach me to have mercy!

Psalm 86:15-16 (NLT)

But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. Look down and have mercy on me. Give your strength to your servant; save me, the son of your servant.

Back on Top = A Devotion

Back on Top

I John 4:4 (NLT)

But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

 

There are days in this life that make it tough to remember that the Spirit who lives in us as believers is greater than the spirit who lives in this world causing chaos and hardship in our life. I belong to God. I have already won the victory. But I will be the first to raise my hand when asked who sometimes forgets and walks in defeat. The Lord knows are trials and pain in this life. He was subject to everything we face and more. On the Cross, He bore the guilt and shame of every time we fail and fall short. There is nothing but transparency where Christ is concerned. He sees our hearts. He knows our weaknesses. The Lord has handed us victory but we don’t know what to do with it so we continue to fight battles already won and move mountains on their way to the sea. The only thing standing between us and the victory that we are promised is disbelief. On those days when we dare to think that the problem we face is greater than the Spirit of God living in us, these are the days we need to be shaken. These are the moment meant to endure as our faith comes alive putting Jesus back on top of the throne of our life. It is His Rightful Place. It is the Position that we need Him to be in our life to really live.

John 3:30-31 (NLT)

He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else.

 

He must become greater and greater. I must become less and less. This is not a call to a Jesus beat down but rather holy exaltation of the God in us over our flesh. My belief that God is greater comes most often in my weakness. Those times when I have tried everything I know to do and can do nothing more than wait on the Lord. Not my favorite times because it requires waiting but totally necessary to elevate the Lord and have His Way in me. Sometimes the outpouring of self is slow and other times it feels like the unceremonious dumping like mop water. The Power and Placement of God is never in question anywhere else but man’s own heart and soul. We have been given the privilege and right as His Children to choose whether to live in His Power or die in our sin. While there doesn’t seem to be dilemma here as no one wants to die and everyone wants to live, I wonder why we are so challenged to believe? Is it possible that somehow, somewhere deep within us we do not really believe in this God we serve and the power that brought His Son Jesus from the grave? It is not only entirely possible but probably the one thing holding most of us back from all that God promised. Today He must become greater and greater in my life. I must become less in my own evaluation. Relying on His Strength by faith in His Love, Mercy and Grace will impact my life and thrust Jesus back on top of all my problems. I am no longer king of that hill when I allow the Lord to take His Rightful Place as Lord of my life.

John 14:11-13 (NLT)

Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do. I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.

To believe in the Power of God over any other problem that we have is a monumental task because we cannot do it with any other power or plan but faith. We have to trust the Lord at His Word. We must believe that what He says is true enough to do what He says by faith. Faith is worthless if not tested and used. To say that I have faith in a chair and never sit in it is not an act of faith. It is when I rest all my weight in the furniture believing that it can hold me without holding on myself that faith is fully evidenced. I think of my children young and old as they walk in our family room and plop down on the couch or in a chair. They never give it a second thought as they throw themselves completely into the structure. This is how our faith must become to put Jesus back on top of our life and all its details. He promised to make good of every detail of life but can do nothing with the ones that we hold on to in distrust or disbelief. The Lord promised that anyone who believed in Him would do the same works that Jesus did and even greater works. Where are those works? Last time I went to the hospital with our son, it was still full of folks fighting cancer and other horrible diseases. Sin is rampant. Love has grown cold but it doesn’t mean that the Word of God is dead or dull. We just don’t use it by faith anymore because if we did – the Bible says that we would ask for anything in the Name of Jesus and He would do it just to bring glory to His Son. The desires and cries of our heart lack fulfillment until they bring glory and honor to the Lord.

John 15:13-14 (NLT)

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.

There is no greater love than to lay our life down for a friend. Jesus did that for us. He deserves the highest ranking in our life. But not only that – perfect love casts out all fear. “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” (1 John 4:18) If we had perfect love for Jesus and received His Love fully by faith than we would not fear. If we did not fear than could be filled with faith and truly believe. We are called to love one another. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend. Jesus is not asking us to do anything that He has not already done for us first. Until we believe there is no greater love than that of Jesus, we will continue looking for love in all the wrong places.

2 Corinthians 3:7-9 (NLT)

The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God!

 

Religion is always comfortable because it allows us to do something. Our relationship with Jesus Christ is solely based on faith. We trust that the Lord loves us and died for us. His Grace is a Gift that cannot be earned in any way, shape or form. We are not comfortable with such a thing. We must rightfully own something which requires a price, right? The Holy Spirit gives us life. The Glory of God lives in us and there is nothing we can do to reproduce it just let it out. We suppress the Spirit of God when we lack faith and rely on our feelings. God is greater than our feelings. However, our emotions have a loud voice called the flesh. We must silence our flesh and live by faith to experience the Glory of God that will satisfy our life. Have you been struggling lately? Are you looking for the Glory of God in your life? Do you want His Promise but grow tired of sowing? Don’t give up. It’s time to get back on top of this thing called faith and stay there. We do this by putting Jesus back on top. Above every problem, hardship, disappointment, fear and doubt. Putting His Word in place of the lie that the enemy keeps shoving at us. By refusing to give up but stand strong in faith you be back on top of those wayward emotions and wandering thoughts in no time. As He becomes greater in our heart and mind – He fills in those blank spaces and voids that we allowed to be occupied by less than His Glory allows.

I John 3:19-20 (NLT)

Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.

There are many days that we do things that we do not feel like doing. Maybe you didn’t feel like getting out of bed today, but you had responsibilities. Perhaps you didn’t feel like going to work, but you have bills to pay and others who depend on you. Maybe you didn’t feel like obeying the law, but didn’t want to get a speeding ticket. There are a lot of things in the course of this life that we do not feel like doing. The trouble is we allow our emotions and feelings to rule our life rather than deciding to work God’s Word. It doesn’t matter whether or not it seems to be working by faith we know that it is even when it doesn’t feel like it. We forget about His Way when our way feels better and offers more comfort. We exact our will in our life because after all we are our own person and the Lord did set us free. But if we do what we feel, we will never experience the Greatness and Glory of God available in our life by believing even when there is no seeing. It is always more than we think or ask so it is better than we can imagine. Maybe that is why we have such a tough time waiting and watching for the Lord. So today, I have decided to get back on top. No longer will I let my feelings rob me of God’s Best for my life. He is greater than my feelings. His Way is best. His Will is for me to prosper. His Word shows me how. I will be confident standing in faith on these things so that I will see the Goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Who’s with me?

Psalm 27:13-14 (NLT)

Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

More Grace Again – A Devotion

More Grace Again

Romans 5:20-21 (NLT)

God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

God’s Grace rules our life. I wish I understood the true capacity of His Goodness and Mercy found in His Grace already but the fact that it is totally contradictory to human nature makes it something that must be discovered and discerned. It requires a level of trust beyond human comprehension. Grace is found at the end of me. A place that I am not interested in going, but seem to find myself in lately. In the midst of frustration and overall impatience, on the verge of breaking down is the very moment that I receive the grace that I am after. It is the thing that I need the most but desire the least. Hang on before you go ahead and cast judgment my way. The whole point of His Grace is found in our complete and utter weakness. Nobody wants to be weak. Who in the world wants to be drained of all energy and strength? It is in that exact moment when we discover more and more of His Abundant Grace. Filled with new life and power – it empowers us to do more than we ever thought to be possible as His Spirit takes over in weakness. We keep trying to do all the right things and be good people. Complete honesty reveals that we fall short every single day as it is clear that people will never be without sin apart from Jesus Christ. Epic failure turns into a wonderful opportunity to discover His Grace all over again.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NLT)

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

 

Like most believers, I long to do great things for God. He has done so very much for me. I call out to the Lord to make me strong and fit for service. It seems that just moments after I do – all hell breaks loose in my life. I have begged the Lord to take certain things out of our life. There are days that I endure them even though that is not really God’s Will for our life finding it easier to deal with the known then to pursue the unknown by faith. God sees me when I am “strong” but He rushes in when I am weak. This is when His Grace is pivotal in our life. When we mess up, fall down, flunk out or choose to give in rather fighting for our faith. The Grace of God is all that I need. It is sufficient for me in all seasons whether I choose to accept it as power or not. His Power always works best in weakness because they we do not fight against it. When I can’t, God does. When I won’t, He will. When I am done, He is only beginning. This is the story of His Grace, I want more of His Grace again.

Romans 11:6 (NLT)

And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved.

 

After more than three years of aggressively fighting cancer with our son physically and spiritually, we are experiencing a sweet time of respite as his body recovers from the bone marrow transplant. Things are good. He is cancer free according to the last set of tests. Back in school, he continues to be monitored by the medical team but is able to attend school and resume a somewhat normal routine. It is a miracle. It is one of many instances in the course of this trial that has yielded nothing less than demonstrating the Goodness, Mercy and Healing Power of God available in Jesus Christ. But in this time of quiet that we longed for, I do not know how to act or what to do.

The enemy has done his best to present me with more challenges to consume my time. They are so minimal and small compared to the battle that we have returned from. As we sang about the Grace of God in church yesterday, I became increasingly aware that the frustration that I am feeling is my indebtedness to the Lord. It is not the way that God wants me to feel but rather the way that my flesh attempts to regain control. I will never be able to pay the Lord back for healing our son, much less saving my soul. My flesh is dying to do so just to save itself. So as God invites me to rest, it calls me to attention. God’s Grace is free and undeserved. In order to receive it, I must understand that there is nothing that I can or will ever do to earn it or even begin to pay the Lord back for it. Grace is the unmerited Favor of God. It was established in my life the day I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. Each day I discover more and more how little I can do for Him in light of His Amazing Love.

Galatians 2:20-21 (NLT)

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.

 

The only way that I can ever make the most of God’s Gift to me is to decide never to treat His Grace as meaningless. There is purpose in His Giving of Grace for my life so that I can have all the His Plan and Purpose offers in my life. I can find peace and joy in the “not doing” more than in anything “I” attempt to do. Just because I am not currently preaching to masses or writing a book about His Love does not mean that I have fallen short and am not doing exactly what I am supposed to do in that moment. Religion keeps us doing. Our relationship is all about being a Child of God. We must acknowledge the Grace of God as superior to human strength and ability which comes when we cannot move another muscle for the Lord but must simply wait for Him to come. Not a favorable position for people, but a powerful stand of faith for the believer.

Hebrews 13:8-9 (NLT)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. Your strength comes from God’s grace, not from rules about food, which don’t help those who follow them.

 

People are moody. Some more so than others, I am raising three daughters. But even our sons can be driven by their feelings and emotions as well. One of the key factors in our son’s treatment and recovery is his lack of emotion. He is probably one of the most unemotional people that I have ever met. He is not driven by his feelings so he never developed any kind of attachment to cancer either way. Love is not the only binding emotion in our life. We can become in bondage to things based on feelings even hate and anger. He just fought it. Our son can be misunderstood as uncaring but the reality is that you will never meet a more loyal person in your life. When he loves you, it is completely. Nothing will change it because he decided to love you. Once he has a made up mind, nothing can change it.

Jesus is the same every single day. His Love and Intent for our life is not driven by what we do or do not do in any given moment. Our strength to receive all that His Grace offers is by giving up the notion that He is like every other person that we know. Jesus has decided to love us. He made up His Mind. Nothing will ever change how the Lord feels about you and I. He doesn’t expect us to do anything but love and accept Him. That’s it. Every other “do” thing on the list was written there by mankind and can be scratched off in the Name of Jesus.

James 4:6-8 (NLT)

And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.”

To be humble is to be conscious of one’s failings. I never heard that definition until today. When I began writing, I used to worry about how people would receive these words. They are basically an account of my quiet time with the Lord each day. Very seldom are they for anyone other than me or if so at least I am unaware as I look in the mirror to look for His Reflection. As I humble myself before God, I become more and more aware of my shortcomings. Such revelations bring me to my knees, and then the Lord lifts me back up. The enemy wants to make us think that there is a cap on the Grace and Goodness of God. That at some point in the covenant there is a “should-have-known-better” clause that we can violate. The enemy wants us to think that this thing called Grace and Goodness is too good to be true. Just a tiny seed of doubt in the Grace of God will keep us from the Glory of God as we choose lesser things that we do, earn or acquire rather than waiting for the Lord to grant His Best in our life. The world keeps telling me to earn my keep but the Lord assures me that He has everything under control. Will I accept more grace again or decide that I have reached the limit? It is up to me.

Ephesians 1:6-9 (NLT)

So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. 

Today I choose to accept more grace again. I have decided that in my own personal weakness, spiritual ineptness, and over all powerlessness that I am loved by God for no other reason than I am His Child. Nothing I can do or say or be will ever make Him love me more. When I fall short, He gives me the grace that I need to still be eligible for His Blessing in my life. When I make a mistake, His Mercy cleans up my mess so it will not prevent me from winning the prize. When I am ready to give up, He rushes right in to help me the rest of the way. Every day even those that I feel weak and insignificant in the Kingdom of God – His Grace is rushing through my life. He is showering me in His Kindness and Goodness. I just need to ask for His Wisdom and Understanding to see that it is free and I can have as much as I am willing to receive. Only the weak can partake of His Grace and receive God’s Glory in their life. Today I am weak.

John 3:30 (NLT) He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less

Still Adjusting – A Devotion

Still Adjusting

Ephesians 1:3-6 (Message)

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

 

One of the many things that I do for work is event planning. When there is a campus event, it is my responsibility to work with other departments to pull it all together. There are meetings and lists that drive the duties of everyone involved. At first it is quite overwhelming, but in the end it is satisfying when everything comes together. When it comes time to set up for these events, I am extremely particular about very small seemingly insignificant details. For example, table placement is one of the things that can literally take me hours along with set-up. There are a select few who will work with me in this area because I am too picky. Alignment and symmetry must be good. Functionality a must. Table covers must be even and straight. If there is anything on the table, it must be uniform. It is a tedious task and many people do not see the point. But when the event begins and visitors walk into the room, it is clearly noted. Presentation is very important. In each detail, there are little adjustments here and there. Over the course of working with many of my coworkers, it is inevitable that in the course of putting on the finishing touches the patience of some wear thin. Others will suddenly have other tasks that call them away. Not everyone is all about the fine tuning that drives me when I am in the “zone”. I am not even sure if it is a blessing or a curse sometimes. I am unable to walk away until in my mind it is perfect or at least as close as I can possible come to it.

God is perfect. He is a blessing in my life. He wants to bless me more and more. Jesus Christ is the One who makes such blessing possible. My ability to receive all the blessings that God has prearranged for my life comes in my ability to align my heart, mind, body and soul with His Will and Way for my life according to His Word. It sounds like an awesome task and responsibility which it is. But Jesus bears the brunt of this responsibility in our life. We are called to endure until the tweaking, adjusting and changing of our life settles us into proper position and placement to prosper. Who likes to be picked at? Who loves change? Who wants to conform? The process of perfecting our life is God’s Job but we are the ones who must undergo the transformation. Sometimes it is miraculous and supernatural, but more often than not, it is a constant process of refinement.

Romans 8:18-21 (Message)

That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

 

“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.” (Romans 8:28) This has become my life verse. It is how I live ever since our life dramatically changed more than three years ago. I radically changed in the course of a day and have continued to adjust ever since. At first, being so engrossed in the care of our son and trying to hold things together in the rest of my life – I could do nothing more than trust the Lord and hope for the best. Ever since his bone marrow transplant for the first time in those three years, we have made it seven months with no evidence of cancer. Praise the Lord! So why can’t I fall back into a regular routine or certain schedule. I do not live in fear of cancer or anything of the sort. But I am different and my life forever changed so why can’t I adjust. I have sought the Lord on this subject because as a survivor through the difficult times growing up it is not my nature to live in an emotional flux. I plant my feet in the ground and keep forging along. But not this time – not know. It all points back to what the Lord has promised me in Romans 8:28. He is working all things together for my good because I do love Him. I am called according to His Purpose. His Purpose is all about thriving not just surviving.

It is hard sometimes to see past the hard times of life to the future that we have in the Lord. It is even harder to understand that no matter what we are going through that He is always working out the details for our good. I have come to realize that I am still adjusting to the violent change that impacted our life and exploded our faith. I am not on my own timetable but the Lord’s. I am not alone even when I feel as though I am because this glorious transformation is in us all as His Creation.

Romans 8:22-25 (Message)

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

 

Having five children, I am well aware of the pregnancy and birthing process. The Bible equates our difficulties in life as “birth pangs”. God is doing something productive in us but sometimes all we feel is the pain because we cannot comprehend the promise that is attached. The Spirit of God sees the Promise anticipating its arrival, He prepares us to receive it. We yearn for deliverance not knowing how to find it. We want full satisfaction in the midst of our discontentment. The problem is that if we do not become connect to our promise – we may abandon the process and abort the promise. There is joy in expectancy when what we are waiting for is worth something to us. I would go through everything that I have been through physically to have my children all over again because I love them and they were definitely worth waiting for and the endurance of labor and delivery. Each promise that the Lord has for His Children is of equal or greater magnitude than this. We must become connected to the promise and release the pain of our process to endure until the end.

Romans 8:26-28 (Message)

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

 

As I said before, I am still adjusting. Adjusting to my new life after a total change of heart. It is not easy but worthwhile as the Lord changes my life to fit into His Plan and to receive His Promises. He is putting me in good working order for His Kingdom. He is settling me into a life of faith that produces full satisfaction and hope that never leads to disappointment. He is altering me to achieve accuracy in my goals and aspirations to fulfill the desires of my heart. When I was about to give birth entering the “transition” stage of labor, I would make the declaration that I was done. I didn’t want to do it anymore. I was tired of the pain. I wanted “it” out of me now. Looking back, all these statements seemed ridiculous as my flesh called out for relief. I laugh at the midwife who told me in the middle of such a rant. Ok, you can go. No problem. I actually took her seriously for about 30 seconds. Two minutes later, I was holding a beautiful more than nine pound baby girl falling in love all over again. Could it be that in that moment we are tired in the waiting that we are closest to the promise? When it is the hardest to hang on that we are almost at the top? The Holy Spirit is pushing and pulling helping us in our weakness but ultimately it is up to you and I just how intent we are on seeing the Goodness in every detail of our lives. Is it worth the wait? Is it worth holding on one more day? Is it worth pressing on? Is it possible to overcome? We decide in that moment if we will have God’s Promise and fulfill our purpose. It is totally up to us because as long as we are willing to accept this change – the Lord is adjusting, aligning and fine tuning our life to have it.

Psalm 119:73-77 (Message)

With your very own hands you formed me; now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you. When they see me waiting, expecting your Word, those who fear you will take heart and be glad. I can see now, God, that your decisions are right; your testing has taught me what’s true and right. Oh, love me—and right now!—hold me tight just the way you promised. Now comfort me so I can live, really live; your revelation is the tune I dance to.

I know that I do not have all the answers. I am not in control of His Plan. The Lord knows exactly what He is doing in my life so I have to trust Him. When I work on events, I see a vision in my head that is clear while others just have to trust me until it comes together. When I think about the Lord ordering the steps of my life, preparing me for the glorious life that He has promised, and all the details that sum up the goodness that He is working on – I understand in my not understanding that He has a vision for my life worth having, worth waiting for and worth changing for. I am still adjusting and I won’t give up.

Habakkuk 3:2-3 (Message)

And then God answered: “Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.

Blinded by the Light – A Devotion

Blinded By the Light

Psalm 97:11-12 (NLT)

Light shines on the godly and joy on those whose hearts are right. May all who are godly rejoice in the Lord and praise his holy name!

 

I know that God loves me. I know that He is good. I know that He is not only mindful of me but set in His Way to bless and prosper my life. But just like everyone else, there are times when I allow my wants to overshadow the fact that I am blessed. I allow my selfish desires to chase away satisfaction and I permit discontentment to begin to sour my spirit. It happens to the best of us in a moment. After working a long week, rushing through the grocery store for the next week’s haul, picking up the youngest from school, swinging by the house to put away groceries, and begin cleaning the house, it was time to take our daughter to a friend’s birthday party. I admit that I was tired and a bit overwhelmed by my to-do list. Our neighbors had built a new home in a beautiful neighborhood of large lots and sprawling oaks. As I pulled into the driveway, it is gorgeous craftsman. She invited me in for a quick tour before the party as I had not yet seen their new abode. It was perfect. From the ceiling to the floor, absolutely perfect. I didn’t realize it at that moment, but as we left the neighborhood I began to notice for sale signs throughout. The thought then entered my head how I would love to sell our house and move out there. It’s funny because that morning as I pulled out of the driveway to head off to work, I remember looking lovingly at our home thinking just how perfect it was. How thankful I was! What changed in an instant? How could I have gone from thankfulness to discontentment so fast? I was in a foul mood by the time my husband got home and I began to complain. I do not share this with you because I am proud of it at all. I am sharing it with you because many time people struggle with dissatisfaction and discontentment that leads us from the Light of His Love into the darkness of worry, anxiety, envy, bitterness, frustration, disgust, and overall discouragement. I want to encourage others today as I encourage myself. Lord, forgive me for looking away from the Light even for a moment.

Light shines on the godly and joy on those whose hearts are right. After I was done being mad and grumbling to the Lord, I could sense a quickening in my spirit. As if to ask, “what are you willing to give up to have what these people have”? Will you stop serving me? Will you stop tithing? Will you go into debt? Will you find another job or two? I cannot serve two masters. I must make a choice. The Light of His Love is amazing. But that does not change the fact that darkness still will try to take its place. We have complete control over what we see in this life. There are days that we need to flood our hearts and lives with a little more light to overshadow the darkness that prevails. I have a reason to rejoice today. I have been given a brand new life with great potential. To have the things of this world would require pursing this world rather than trusting the Lord.

Matthew 6:21-23 (NLT)

“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

Having “things” is not bad. Desiring certain things in life is not bad. It is all about what we treasure most in our heart that is important. Wherever your treasure is. My treasure is in my home but it is not the structure in which we live. It is in the people who I share my life with. It is the Spirit of God that lives in this place because we choose to honor Him with our life. Our home is a peaceful place filled with faith, hope and love. It is our Heaven on earth and place we run to when we need sanctuary and rest from the crazy chaos called life. I know that. But when I begin to look around at what others have comparing it to what I have it becomes a problem. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I absolutely agree. My experience in my friend’s home is only an illustration of the danger of losing our joy in the midst of comparison.

My eye is the lamp that provides light to my body. Each day on my way to work, I drive past several new and used car lots. I drive a well-loved, well-driven Suburban that once hauled a load of kids all over God’s green earth. Most days, it is just me and the Beast. She has been a faithful automobile despite my attempt to drive her wheels off and almost did at one point. I have experience many joys heading off on vacation with a truck full of laughing kids, as well as shed tears of devastation back and forth from our son’s treatments. Would I like a newer and smaller car? Yes. When I dare look intently to the right or left on my way to work, I have actually found myself looking online at my options. The bottom line is that I do not want a car payment. I do not believe that God wants me to go into to debt. When I catch myself doing this, I will make it a point to stop window shopping with my eyes. This applies to every other area of our life as well. We must be in control of what we see. This does not only apply to “things” but everything. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul? Be careful. It will come to that some days. We must be keepers of the Light.

John 8:12 (NLT)

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

 

Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. But how can I walk in the Light when I cannot even see Him? Good question! He is the Light that leads to life. I want a good life. He came and died so that we could have abundant and everlasting life which means both now and forever. The only thing in question is our soul. If the things in this life we want will somehow, someway or someday compromise our soul, what do you think the Lord will do? He is not going to give us anything that weighs us down, causes a burden or makes us stumble because the bottom line is our salvation. So if I want to have other “things”, He must become the ONE THING that I desire most meaning if nothing else changes or is added to my life Jesus will always be enough.

John 1:14 (NLT)

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

 

They say that just five minutes can make a suicidal person change their mind and choose life. I guess like most things in our life – it is all about endurance. Enduring the moment that we decide to give up so that it does not become a failure. It’s tough because this world presents us with so many options other than living an abundant life. We are given the ease of substitution which gives us the opportunity to have immediate gratification but will never result in full satisfaction. There are many counterfeits that can fill a void temporarily but will not lead to contentment, peace and joy. If we take that five minutes of dissatisfaction and discontentment and committed them to the Word, what would happen? Jesus is the Word wrapped in flesh. Every promise that God ever made us is in Him. He is how we can have exactly what God has already provided in our life. We must allow the Light to overcome the darkness lurking in our hearts. Even that shadow that is so deep we do not see it until the ugliness of it is too evident to ignore. The Lord My God will light up every dark space in my life. He will be a lamp for me. (Psalm 18:28)

Psalm 43:3-4 (NLT)

Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God!

 

I am ashamed of myself for falling into the comparison trap when I know better. I am not usually given to that kind of behavior. It is most likely that when we do not think we have a problem in a certain area that the Lord graciously points out the hidden darkness in our heart so He can shine some Light on it. We are blessed. I am blessed personally, professionally and most importantly spiritually. The only way that the enemy can detour me from the Plan of God to prosper me fully is to somehow persuade me that there is life outside of Jesus and that it is better than living for Him. When facing this challenge, the answer is always the Light of His Love. It is perfectly okay to ask the Lord to “send out Your Light and Your Truth to guide me.” All Jesus wants to do in the course of each day, moment by moment and breath by breath is blind you with His Love so that darkness never distracts you again. Choose the Light today. Feeling discontent – start thanking God for every single good thing in your life. It will change your perspective. Feeling dissatisfied – evaluate the things you are doing for the Lord and the choices you are making to decide if there is anything you are willing to give up to have what the world is offering you. The more you focus on the Light of His Love, the less enamoring and enticing the world and its darkness becomes. Joy and peace will flood your heart as praise takes the place of complaining and thankfulness reveals just how blessed you really are…at least that what happens to me.

Psalm 36:7-9 (NLT)

How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.

Small Beginning – A Devotion

Wet Seedling

I Corinthians 15:37-38 (NLT)

And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed.

 

On the days that I seem to accomplish all that I set out to do and experience small victories in overcoming me to see Jesus in my life, it is easy to rejoice and say, “Look what the Lord has done.” But on all those days that I cannot seem to do all that I want to do or be the person who I think the Lord wants me to be, this life of believing seems futile rather than fertile. The truth is that our heart and lives will always be a fertile place because God ordained it as such when He placed Eternity in our heart that keeps us working toward forever. I cannot think about forever when I just want to get through one day. I want to be a super Christian. I desire the Lord above all other things but those same things demand my attention and need to be done. Where is the balance? How do I grow when I barely survive? I know His Word calls us to thrive and prosper as our soul prospers. (3 John 1:2) God has planned and purposed today – this day – as the day that you will prosper from the inside out. You may not feel like you are getting anywhere or doing anything of significance, but just by believing you are.

Zechariah 4:10 reminds us not to forsake the small beginnings in life. Righteousness is a gift once received, it will take time to cultivate the Spirit of God and mature as a believer. We do not give ourselves time to grow. I know that as a mother of five beautiful and wonderful children nine months of pregnancy more or less seems like forever when you are highly anticipating the birth of a child. You want to meet the one you love and so the days seem longer as time goes by. It is this anticipation that allows a mother to endure the hardship of labor and delivery yet forget all the pain when she falls in love all over again with her baby. We place an expectation on spiritual growth and development that is unwarranted making it so overwhelming that we often give up. This is not how it works. You are fighting a battle each day to force the sinful nature that is used to dominating your thoughts, attitude and actions out of the way to give God’s Spirit room to move. It is a battle. The struggle is real. Yet, we do not allow ourselves the opportunity to fail or fall short. Mistakes are not terminal when covered by Grace. The only time a fall becomes a failure is if you do not get up. What’s holding you back may not be the obstacles that you see before you but simply because have forsaken the small beginning that has the potential to change your life.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NLT)

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

 

Like you, I have asked the Lord to remove certain things from my life. He has lovingly declined. The trainers at the gym are given the task of encouraging those who are pursuing better health with a new routine. I was watching a woman working out with a trainer the other night who gave up. She told him that she couldn’t do it. He told her, “Yes you can.” She continued to insist that she was done. Finally, the trainer sat on the floor with her encouraging her for the remainder of her session. She got up and left. I wondered in that moment if she would come back again or be another gym fatality. Well, last night, she was back working out again. I believe that is how Jesus is with us although we paint a much less gentle picture in our mind. Because of the Cross and all that Jesus endured, we think that He expects the same of us. Well, think no more…about this lie from the devil anyway. If Jesus expected us to be as strong and perfect as He is then we would not need His Grace.

The Grace of God given to us by Jesus Christ works best in our weakness. We must come to the end of ourselves to fully experience the benefits and blessings of the Grace of God. Not many people want to go that far to discover His Grace, Glory and Goodness in their life. Who wants to admit that they cannot do it anymore? Who wants to rely on anyone else? We do not cry out for deliverance until our burden is too heavy to bear. This is not what God wants but it is what we require. As long as you think you are strong, you are bound to fall. Personal strength comes from our sinful nature. We must exchange the way we think and do things for the Power of God to ever accept the full potential of His Grace.

Romans 7:21-25 (NLT)

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

 

This is not a word of encouragement for those who have given up in their battle to overcome their flesh but a promise for those who continue in such a struggle today. We all want to do what is right – we all inevitably do something wrong. If you love God’s Word with all of your heart, you will continue to strive to follow His Way in your daily life. Those who do will STILL mess up and make many mistakes because you are human. Jesus Christ has given us the power to overcome the flesh and live in the abundance of God. We must begin somewhere. Grace is made best in our weakness and admission that we cannot overcome our sin alone and need the Lord. But if we just say that with our mouth doing nothing in the flesh to make it a reality – what’s the point? For me to look at another and think “well they are stronger than me” is ridiculous because we are all weak. It is in our disability that we find new abilities. We must first decide that we want to overcome our sinful nature to embark on the discovery of God’s Grace.

Galatians 5:16-18 (NLT)

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

 

The Holy Spirit is our only hope to overcome sin in our life and the desire to sin. He is the only one who can stop those cravings in our life. So how do we let the Holy Spirit guide our life? We cannot see God’s Spirit. He lives inside of us. We must find a way to tap into this power source to overcome the oppositional and always adversarial sinful flesh that fights to hold us back, trip us up and continually invites us to give up on all the Lord has promised.

Galatians 6:7-8 (NLT)

Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

 

With the introduction of Google and then Pinterest, I am quite certain I can find a solution to just about any problem that I face. I can fight any stain. Diagnose discomforts. I can find definitions and explanations when presented with something that I don’t know or understand. However, only God’s Spirit can empower me to overcome my propensity for sin. Only the Spirit can dispense satisfaction and contentment in my life that makes me want more of what God prepared for me and Jesus died for me to have which is His Very Best. You cannot mock the Justice of God – He knows our hearts. He is constantly examining them for new growth potential in our lives so He can bless and prosper us with His Goodness. You will always harvest what you plant even though it may not look like what you want going into the ground. My birth mother was not a cook. She fed us. But she was not a natural in the kitchen. When my dad remarried, my new mom can really cook. She is more of a natural in the kitchen. She introduced many new foods to us, as well as some we had tried minus the salt. I came to realize that I actually liked things like broccoli and Brussel sprouts. She did not force them on us but offered them to us to try and we liked them. This is how the Lord does it. He offers us something better than before and if we try it – we will soon discover that it is better than what we had before. We are given seeds to plant by faith in our life. When we do, we harvest things we did not know we liked or wanted. This changes our appetite and desires. It is the fulfillment of “taste and see” that the Lord is good!

Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

 

It is at this point that the Holy Spirit comes into play! To produce something it must be planted in our life and given the opportunity to grow. The Holy Spirit offers us seeds. They are listed in Galatians 5:22-23. All produce begins with a seed. To have love – you must plant love. To have joy – you must plant joy. To have peace – you must plant peace. To have patience – you must be patient and so on and so on. Grace allows us to cultivate what we do not always plant in abundance. We don’t always see immediate results. When I was a younger mother with three small children born in the span of four years, I had days when I was overwhelmed and would lose my patience simply because I had more children than hands. As time went on, two more children joined our family. Our last child had horrible colic every single night until she was about two years old. I remember thinking that if she had been my first that she would have been the last. But God knew that I needed to grow as a mother and so when she came I had developed more patience. Now those last two babies are twelve and fifteen, lovely ages said with a bit of sarcasm. The other night our daughter accidentally got hair dye all over our leather sofa despite being warned not to sit there. In the past, I would have yelled and screamed. Fussing at her disobedience as I cleaned the mess and pulled out my hair. But not this time, when it was all said and done – I just cleaned up the mess. This is how God works in us and through us over time. He allows us opportunities and experiences to grow over our lifetime and develop all these gifts of the Spirit. We must be willing to plant them in our life never despising the small beginnings that will change us forever.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (NLT)

Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”

 

Some people say that it takes money to make money. Maybe that’s true. But if that money is in your bank account or tucked away in a mattress somewhere, what good is it? You decide the harvest in your life but how much of your life you will yield to godly cultivation. Will you allow the Spirit of God to take over your flesh and make room for His Prosperity? I must decide what I will plant, cultivate and harvest in my life. If I plant hate, I will harvest hate. If I sow dissatisfaction accepting substitutions and counterfeits in my life, I will reap dissatisfaction from the same soil. God’s Grace allows us to sow where we did not plant because His Spirit makes a way for us to do so. We just have to come to the end of ourselves to let the Lord plant in our fields called life. God wants to do a powerful and prosperous work in our life today. Will we choose small beginnings? It’s really up to us! Plant something in your life today. Find a fruit of the Spirit that your life is lacking and choose to give God room to cultivate in your life. He knows you cannot do it yourself silly – that is the purpose of His Grace.

Isaiah 55:11 (NLT)

It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

Rise Above – A Devotion

Rise Above

Matthew 13:33 (NLT)

Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”

 

As our children have grown up and there are only two left at home, I have been able to enjoy cooking rather than just trying to get it out on the table. When you are feeding seven people sometimes more – it is a challenge. There were a lot of weekly grocery outings that entailed dragging along two carts instead of one. But now there are just four of us around the table most nights as the other have grown up and moved away. (Sigh) The last few years have been filled with many changes for our family and as we discover this new life that we have been given, I have found that cooking is more fun than I imagined. With the introduction of Pinterest, I have spent literally hours sitting with my son at the hospital “pinning” new recipes and meal ideas. With each new attempt, some things turn out great while others not so much. I have begun making banana bread out of old bananas using things out of the pantry rather than a box mix which is a profound change for me. The other night I needed some buttermilk for a recipe. This is not a staple in our home so I browsed the Internet to see if I could find a substitution. I did! One tablespoon of white vinegar in a cup of milk that is allowed to sit for five minutes will change into an excellent buttermilk substitute. It doesn’t look any different until you begin to pour it out. The acid causes a chemical reaction in the compounds and proteins of the milk. Crazy science just to get dinner on the table.

Jesus told the people many parables trying to relay the message of the Kingdom of God. What it is like? How it works? What you can do with it? What it can do in you? The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast. Yeast is a single-celled organism that needs nothing to reproduce itself. It is effective all by itself. It only needs to be placed in the right conditions. When yeast is added to dough – it begins to multiply and divide. Scientifically speaking the rapid reproduction of yeast that is the same reaction that causes dough to rise is caused by adverse conditions that produce a positive change. We use yeast to make bread. However, it is the exposure to “adverse” conditions that allow it multiply and divide raising the dough. That’s how our faith in God works in us. We have faith. It grows when testing through the trials and hardships of living making it multiply and grown. So much for our science lesson today, I was never really a fan of the subject. However, I want the chain-reaction of faith rising up in my life. When we decide to cultivate the Kingdom of God in our life. It is not a difficult planting or hard reaping. We simply sow seeds of faith and reap the reward if we faint not.

Ephesians 5:1-2 (NLT)

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

 

God’s Grace and Sufficiency are evident in human weakness. I am powerless to produce God’s Plan in my life just like I cannot make a pile of dough rise without a little yeast. We try to do all the right things. We try to be good people. Without the Kingdom of God planted as seeds of faith, it is a futile effort. Our power and promises come from the Lord and He is the Kingdom of God. During our midweek teaching at church, the pastor made a very valid point. Christ lives in us. But until we decide to live in Christ, there really is no spiritual growth in our life. When we asked Jesus to be our Savior and Lord, it was a lot like the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. If Jack had not planted those seeds even carelessly, there would be no story. There are many Christians who do not understand that the giving of our life back to Christ is the process by which we prosper and grow deep roots attaching us by faith to His Kingdom. Imitating God is not necessarily doing every single thing that His Word delineates. Now before all the religious people get mad. If we could do everything the Law of God said, we would not need a Savior so simmer down. We strive to do the Word of God. Live His Way. Follow His Word. But do we imitate the Love of God which is our purpose in life. When we sacrifice our life, our will, our emotions, our attitudes, our coming and our going to live in Christ, the Christ in us reacts causing explicit growth and an endless harvest in our life. This will inevitably produce a “pleasing aroma to God.”

Psalm 54:4-6 (NLT)

But God is my helper. The Lord keeps me alive! May the evil plans of my enemies be turned against them. Do as you promised and put an end to them. I will sacrifice a voluntary offering to you; I will praise your name, O Lord, for it is good.

If faith grows the most in adverse conditions, what do you think is going to happen in the life of most believers? You guessed it. As believers, we are going to go through some stuff. Maybe even a lot of stuff as we commit our body, mind and spirit to the process of renewal according to His Kingdom. God is my helper. He is your helper, too. There are a lot of things that are included in the title, “Helper!” God is my helper but will I allow Him to help me is the true question. Do you believe that His Promises are true and for you? See without faith it is impossible to please God. We cannot obtain faith unless we go through some things. Why? We will rely on our own strength rather than discovering God’s Power for our life. Faith is released in our ability to praise the Lord through the faith-cultivation process that we are all in. It sings of His Love, Goodness, Grace and Mercy even when we are having trouble seeing the Light. It calls from the Christ “in” us and connects with the Christ “around” us as we learn to live in Him. Christ in you changes you. If that would only satisfy us, but it doesn’t to step out of self and walk in love with Jesus changes the atmosphere around you. Suddenly, the unexpected does not deter you. Bad news does not stop you. People do not distract you. Praise welcomes the Lord from in you to live in your world and be your God. God loves you. He wants to help you.

Jonah 2:9-10 (NLT)

But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.” Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.

 

You will never leave your comfort zone as long as it is comfortable. Jonah offered “sacrifices” of praise to God and made the commit to fulfill his vows in the belly of the whale. He identified the Lord as his sole source of life. What happened next? The whale spit Jonah out on a beach. I don’t think anyone is crying out to God from the belly of a whale today, but perhaps the circumstances of your life have left you just as powerless and hopeless in your situation. The pressure is making it difficult to breathe. When you lose what you think is your last breath and sacrifice it to the Lord as praise. The faith in that confession begins a Kingdom Process in your life. God opens the next door or window over our life so we can move closer in Him.

Hebrews 13:14-16 (NLT)

For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.

 

The Lord has empowered us to rise above every situation that comes against us in this life. We are not residents of this world. It is only our temporary home. We have been promised the Kingdom of God. Jesus handed us the keys. We must live for the Kingdom of God as residents who are only visiting this place we are living. To rise above this world means to set our sights on the Kingdom. This is not a super spooky spiritual thing but rather a practical and intentional way of living. By taking the seed of faith that came with the Christ “in us”, we plant it in our life and allow it to produce a harvest that allows us to walk through this world “in Him”. I want the Lord to control every aspect of my life. I want my praise to usher Him into my life so He can change every detail for my good. Praise expresses my faith in God and gives Him a place to dwell. It lifts me out of my circumstances into His Presence and I can see clearly what was not so evident before. Bu doing this, we sacrifice praise to the Lord continually and in all seasons. We are pledging allegiance to His Name. Now His Power has complete authority in our life because we handed it right to Him. Now we can rise above. Not by might or by power but by His Spirit. He will lift us up! Let the Lord raise your standard of living today!

Ephesians 4:13-14 (NLT)

This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.