Isaiah 43:18-21 (Message)
This is what God says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves, The God who summons horses and chariots and armies— they lie down and then can’t get up; they’re snuffed out like so many candles: “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, in rivers the badlands. Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’ —the coyotes and the buzzards—Because I provided water in the desert, rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me.
My life is currently under construction so please pardon the mess. I am dissatisfied with the way things are and ready for a change. Yet, I am tired and overwhelmed in all of the chaos all around me. I am ready to move but seem too tired and weary to go anywhere fast. This life that I am living seems warmed over, too nuked, and well past the expiration date. My faith is not fresh but entirely too repackaged and self-preserved. I am in a rut but fighting my way out. Is there anyone reading this who feels the same way? When monotony overtakes us and the thought of this moment, day or season representative of the rest of our life seems to disappointing for words. God has promised me a new life. He calls me to attention with His Words that “I’m about to do something brand-new.” I want it. I crave it. I desire it. But am I ready for it? When we allow the Lord to fully take over our life, it is with hope which is nothing more than pure speculation based on our faith and what we believe to be true. There is always that little voice that whispers in our ear, “What if…” But with God all things are possible…”but what if it’s not.” He is making good out of every detail of our life, “but what if He’s not.” God loves me, of course He is doing more than I could even think to ask, “but what if He doesn’t.” The enemy is relentless in trying to give us a lie in exchange for the Truth. If he can make us accept a single spore of doubt, we forfeit that mustard seed of faith. Like mold such a thought will overtake what we know about God that is the foundation of our faith, and kill the potential and purpose in our life as we live far below God’s Glorious Standard.
Like any other construction endeavor, there is no difference when it comes to our new life in Jesus Christ. The landowner must commit their property to the project. If they are remodeling an older home, they must decide if they will live there during renovation. There is a commitment to time, energy and resources to the project. If our heart’s desire to have all that God has promised us then we are going to have to invest something. The greater the investment the greater the change. This is only logical. The only difference is that anything given to the Lord has the potential for supernatural increase and complete prosperity. I needed to be reminded of this today. Our life is moving very fast right now. Things are constantly changing and it seems like I cannot catch my breath. Yesterday for the first time in over five years despite having an awesome quiet time and writing for a good hour, I did not post on Pure Devotion for the first time ever. I was disappointed and overcome with emotion. This month marks three years since our son was diagnosed with cancer and he is still fighting the good fight albeit winning – it is still of concern. Our oldest daughter is getting married in less than a month so another one is leaving the nest. With two girls left in middle school and high school, every parent of a teenager knows the changes it brings. With no downtime in sight and living on high alert, when the computer shut down unexpectedly and did not “autosave” the devotion I was over it all. Professionally I am tired. Personally I am drained. Physically I am exhausted. In my weakness, I believe spiritually I am about to prosper. Why? He promised that in my weakness, I find new strength in Him.
Deuteronomy 30:8-10 (Message)
And you will make a new start, listening obediently to God, keeping all his commandments that I’m commanding you today. God, your God, will outdo himself in making things go well for you: you’ll have babies, get calves, grow crops, and enjoy an all-around good life. Yes, God will start enjoying you again, making things go well for you just as he enjoyed doing it for your ancestors. But only if you listen obediently to God, your God, and keep the commandments and regulations written in this Book of Revelation. Nothing halfhearted here; you must return to God, your God, totally, heart and soul, holding nothing back.
When I got in my car to head to the office yesterday, I was made. Everything I had written was gone. An hour of my life wasted or so I thought. Why? I got up early to spend time with Jesus. I read the Word, studied it and mediated on it. Then as I began to write became lost in His Presence all together. So why would I lose it all like that? To teach me a lesson. Things may not turn out as I planned. The Lord is still doing that new thing in my life. The new thing is all about Him. It begins in Him. Finds its way through God. Culminating in total surrender of my life every single minute to the Glory of His Name. My time with the Lord each day is not to enrich others although I am thankful if it does. It is to change me from the inside out to be all that God has planned and purposed for me to become. If I do not blog, would I still get up two hours early to get lost in Him? You will make a new start. From the moment that I completely turned my life over to Christ, God set out to “outdo himself in making things go well” for me. God began to enjoy me (His Creation) once again. For righteousness sake, He began “making things go well for” me. All I have to do is maintain a right relationship with the Lord to have all that He promised. It is very easy to get distracted. Total dependency on God is difficult to maintain as our flesh is constantly trying to find something to do to “work” out our own salvation rather than depending on Him. I love that the Lord speaks directly to my heart. I value and appreciate that when I sit and listen that He whispers in my ear. What I do with such knowledge is important to Him and will impact that outcomes in my life, if I continue to strive for right standing with my God wholeheartedly and continually return my wandering heart and rebellious thoughts to Him.
Romans 8:9-11 (Message)
But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!
This pressure that I am feeling must be Christ in me trying to enlarge my life so that I can be filled with more of Him. I see the Holy Spirit inside of me with His Back against one side of me pushing with His Arms and Legs to make my stubborn heart give way and allow His Will, Way and Word to flow freely through my life. Such an event allows God to enlarge my life to accept the full capacity of what He has for me. I like to be comfort. I am not a fan of change. But to cry out to the Lord for more of Him, to have His Way and do His Will requires such an occurrence no matter how uncomfortable it makes us. God has taken up residence in our life. He created the universe and everything in it. No one can imagine the size and full force of our Creator who only has to breathe to create new life. When such awesomeness chooses a holy inhabitation of its creation, there must be a change. It requires renovation. We had a shower for our bride a week ago. The days leading up to the event were spent cleaning up, cleaning out, preparing and planning for our guests. We wanted them to feel welcome. We wanted them to be fed. We wanted them to enjoy their time with us. What if we spent the same amount of time we do preparing for parties and holidays preparing our life for God? Imagine the potential when we make room for Him in our everyday life. What an awesome thought? Sin limits our capacity for God. It restricts access to His Presence. But when we decide to give Him some room to work – what a work He does! God had the Power to raise Jesus from the dead and He did. Jesus Christ had the same power as He raised Lazarus from the dead. Jesus promised that we would do even greater works in His Name. The Power and Potential is there, now what?
John 11:12-15 (Message)
The disciples said, “Master, if he’s gone to sleep, he’ll get a good rest and wake up feeling fine.” Jesus was talking about death, while his disciples thought he was talking about taking a nap. Then Jesus became explicit: “Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there. You’re about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let’s go to him.”
The disciples thought Lazarus was asleep, but Jesus cleared that up by giving them the terrible news that their friend had died. Then He told them, “You’re about to be given new grounds for believing.” What they were about to witness would change them forever AND prepare them for the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They had no idea of what was coming, but God was preparing them for it. To cry out to the Lord for more faith will require great change. It will come with great challenges as we embark to know the Lord better than before. There will be some things we know and many more things that are unknown. If you are crying out to God to be your confident hope, it will require testing of your faith. Are you ready for that? We must consider what we are asking for. If you want more faith, greater knowledge of God and confident hope, you will need to come closer to the Lord. It will be our undoing and project us into a life under construction. It will require many changes. It will be uncomfortable. It will require a commitment. Are you ready for all that?
2 Corinthians 5:16-20 (Message)
Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.
I know that the faith that has been required walking this journey with our son has changed me forever. I am well aware that I will never be able to settle for the life that I lived before. I think I want it because it was comfortable with few cares and worries. I know that the normalcy of my life has been effected and that is why I am no longer satisfied with the former status quo. I need to stop looking around so much and start looking inside of my heart for clear direction. God has given me His Spirit so that I may know which way to go but my fickle heart protests as my weak mind wants to give up. This is hard. This is not easy. But He keeps telling me it will be worth it. I am intrigued. I have to know. I cannot live my life wondering what if I had taken the step of faith. I love a short poem by Erin Hansen that is quite popular –
There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky.
What if I fall?
But, oh my darling, what if you fly?
I want to live in the freedom that Christ died for me to have. I want to be a brave and courageous Christian. I want to believe beyond my boundaries and human limitation. I do. I want to be God’s Friend. It begins by settling things for myself. Who do I believe? What will I do with its potential? Will I allow the Lord to wreck my old life and give me a brand new life in Him?
2 Kings 5:9-14 (Message)
So Naaman with his horses and chariots arrived in style and stopped at Elisha’s door.
Elisha sent out a servant to meet him with this message: “Go to the River Jordan and immerse yourself seven times. Your skin will be healed and you’ll be as good as new.” Naaman lost his temper. He turned on his heel saying, “I thought he’d personally come out and meet me, call on the name of God, wave his hand over the diseased spot, and get rid of the disease. The Damascus rivers, Abana and Pharpar, are cleaner by far than any of the rivers in Israel. Why not bathe in them? I’d at least get clean.” He stomped off, mad as a hornet. But his servants caught up with him and said, “Father, if the prophet had asked you to do something hard and heroic, wouldn’t you have done it? So why not this simple ‘wash and be clean’?” So he did it. He went down and immersed himself in the Jordan seven times, following the orders of the Holy Man. His skin was healed; it was like the skin of a little baby. He was as good as new.
What if the life that God has planned and prepared for me is nothing as I expected? We all wonder but dare not ask such a question lest others would perceive it as faithlessness. It is not a lack of faith but rather an honest response from the depths of our humanity. Naaman knew that God would heal him. He believed in the Power of God and in His Servant, Elisha. But when the man would not come to Naaman as he expected, he became infuriated. “Mad as a hornet” might adequately describe my emotions yesterday. What if God is looking to do something totally out of the ordinary in our life, will we be willing to do what He says by faith? Will I miss it when my human expectation is not met? Scary to think of all the times, God was about to do something great but in our pride and ignorance we have settled for less. The only expectations that will ever lead to complete and total satisfaction are those left in God’s Hands for fulfillment. I can put them in people but must assume I will be let down. I can put them in things but I must be aware they will rot and decay if not taken from me beforehand. I can live for today never giving a thought to forever, but I must expect to reap what I have sown. The only expectation every truly met is that hidden in the Lord.
Romans 4:1-3 (Message)
So how do we fit what we know of Abraham, our first father in the faith, into this new way of looking at things? If Abraham, by what he did for God, got God to approve him, he could certainly have taken credit for it. But the story we’re given is a God-story, not an Abraham-story. What we read in Scripture is, “Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own.”
“Abraham entered into what God was doing for him and that was the turning point. I love this statement. It is my newfound hope. I must enter into what God is doing for me rather than trying to pull God into everything that I am doing. This is His Project. I am His Work. I must trust God alone. I must put all of my faith in Jesus Christ…all of it. I must let His Spirit lead me step by step and breath by breath so I continue to walk with Him. My life is under construction. Am I working with God or allowing Him to work in me? Change is coming. I can feel the wind on my face. He is doing something new. It is a good thing, I know it but will I wait for it. Can I commit to this life of change and remain in confident hope? But what if I fall? But, oh my child, what if I made you fly? (God)
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (Message)
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.