Slow Leaks

Slow Leaks

Romans 15:13-15 (NLT) I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them. Even so, I have been bold enough to write about some of these points, knowing that all you need is this reminder. For by God’s grace…

Today, I am celebrating my one year anniversary with my car. According to Timehop, we purchased the Honda about a year ago. It has been such a blessing and I recommend it to anyone looking for a new automobile…less I digress. Though I could go on and on about the attributes of this car, it has one feature that I really like. When I engage the engine and it runs the systems check that most new autos do, it checks the tires as well. Now I don’t know how it does it but if one tire is running low on pressure an indicator light warns me to check it. I know that the tire is slowly deflating somehow and can have it serviced before I get a flat tire. Glory Hallelujah! I hate being stuck with a flat tire, dead battery or faulty anything. Such a simple thing brings me great confidence. A nail or foreign object that punctures a tire will often cause it to flatten immediately but what about the slow leaks that occur slowly over time. Well, by now you probably realize that this is probably going somewhere other than the garage and it is…

Jesus Christ connects us to God once again which causes a source of hope to rise up and overflow in our life or at least it should. The abundance of God through Jesus should be gushing from our life in all areas – physically, naturally, spiritually and supernaturally. This does not mean that everything is going to be perfect but that you are in a constant state of being perfected. When we develop “slow leaks” in our life – areas that are not exactly flourishing according to God’s Word, Will and Way – it is human nature to become caught up in the lie that perhaps we have discovered the limit of God’s Love for us and so we run dry. This is not the case at all. We just need a little more of God’s Grace.

We forget that His Grace is sufficient or enough. It is the sum total of that which allows us to obtain freedom and initiate God’s Overflow to reach us. I cannot do anything to obtain salvation, righteousness, healing, deliverance, inheritance, abundance or any other thing from God except through His Son, Jesus Christ. Over and over again, faith falls short of recognizing one’s human inability to secure these things so our flesh tries its own way. Are you tired, thirsty, drained, sick, exhausted, overcome, overwhelmed, anxious, busy, too busy, too this or that, if you have reached an extreme other than completely satisfied – it is time to visit the Cross and discover His Grace again.

John 10:10 (NLT) The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

There is no satisfaction or contentment outside of Jesus Christ. Any area of our life operating outside of faith, trust and complete dependency on the Lord will always fall short of His Glorious Standard because sin will find its way there. The thief is the enemy of your life who wants to drain you of all resources until he can easily overtake your overburdened heart. It happens like a slow leak. You are excitedly serving the Lord one minute and unsure how you have wandered so far the next. All with good intentions but no understanding that only Jesus Christ can offer a rich and satisfying life. He is the One who rebukes the devourer for those who are faithful and obedient to His Word. (Malachi 3)

We went to Puerto Rico on a company trip many years ago. The vendors had arranged a dinner in the heart of the rain forest. Buses were rented to take us through the city to the outskirts of town. Riding along one of the passengers attempted to open a window as the small bus was overcrowded. The bus driver yelled from the front, “CLOSE THE WINDOW!” He went on to share this is a very bad part of town. It is not uncommon for robberies and hijackings to occur if we are not careful. This would probably explain his erratic driving through the area. It looked like a neighborhood like any other modest one, but it housed dangers that foreigners could not see and did not realize. The bus driver was keeping us safe.

We obeyed his instructions making it to and from the event unharmed and intact. We have been given the Word of God and the Holy Spirit as a guide for our life. Obedience saves our life because it rebukes the devourer and binds the hands of the thief against us. Obedience requires trusting the one who instructs us and believing that what they say is valid and true for our own good. There are areas of our life that are kept from God’s Word and His Spirit because we want our own way. When the devourer comes or the thief steals, kills or destroys something in our life – we blame God for not being there when sometimes it is our own willful betrayal and intentional disobedience that left the window open that he crawled through. Shut the windows of your life and lock them tight. Seal the doors bolting them shut and keeping them that way.

When a sinner is set free and comes to Jesus, sin is removed and goodness exposed. Our life is renewed. His Spirit fills us with God’s Goodness and Grace. The enemy now sees something that he wants. He desires to steal us away from the Lord. It is his revenge for the end that is coming. If we do not examine our life day by day applying mercy and grace to patch the holes in our soul, we are susceptible to stumbling, falling and leaking out that which God is filling our life with. All the good things that He is sending down from Heaven wasted…because we did not stop the leaks in our life.

Psalm 112:4-9 (NLT) Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly. Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor.

Psalm 112 is just a glimpse into the life of godly people made righteous by faith in Jesus Christ. Their life becomes valuable and worth something. They will begin to walk confidently in the Love of God. The constant connection to God for righteousness sake will produce an overflow of abundance in each area given over to the Lord. We will have something others want. Our trust in Jesus will cause reckless love, generous giving and a constant state of victory. It doesn’t say that we will not have battles. It does tell us that we win each one that begins by trusting God. But here is what happens…

Luke 5:36-38 (NLT) Then Jesus gave them this illustration: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be stored in new wineskins.

I have three daughters who all have closets full of nothing to wear. Our middle daughter went through a phase where her shorts seem to get smaller and smaller as she grew bigger and bigger. However, when she gave her heart to Jesus and decided to serve Him wholeheartedly – a whole summer wardrobe became obsolete. No longer were the shorts too short. The tops too small or tight. As she discovers more and more her worth to Jesus Christ, she decided to change her wardrobe. As women, we struggle with the clothes that we wear. Not many girls I know do not have times of personal body shaming and self-loathing in a world that sets a ridiculous standard for girls and women. I am kicking the soapbox back under the bed though I really want to drag it our really bad.

Our growth process in the Lord will develop through seasons of change. To come to Christ and think that is all there is to it is a lie that can steal God’s Glory and Blessing from our life. God promises that we will see His Goodness in the land of the living. Our confidence in God’s Word keeps us pressing to see that day come. (Psalm 27:13) Not everything is heaven-bound, we just haven’t figured out how to loose them on earth to overflow from our life. God is not going to pour out more of His Spirit on a person who is not ready to receive. First, the Lord does everything on purpose. If I am not ready to receive, it is pointless to pour things into my life. He is also not going to take that which is holding us back from us, but waits for us to let it go. That is called freedom, my friend, and God hates double standards. If you want “new wine” you need new wineskins. If you want more of His Spirit, you must make room for Him to come in.

2 Corinthians 8:1-3 (NLT) Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will.

There are many people who will give from their surplus but few who will sacrifice. Sometimes the problem is not our ability to receive from the Lord but be obedient in our offering. The Lord presses us to give back our time, talent and treasure as a tithe to Him. With only 2% of God’s Church in America tithing, I think there may be a pressure problem here. God is filling our life with good things. Are we hoarding it for ourselves? Before you can offer anything to God – you must meet His Requirement. For example, tithing is 10% of what you get. An offering is anything over 10% or the level of obedience. We give the time we have rather instead of making time to serve the Lord, read His Word, spend it in prayer, reach out to others, and love when it hurts. We pay our bills, buy our toys, and fill our life with everything imaginable because we think we somehow earned it. Friend, those who are blessed with abundance must know that every good and perfect gift is from the Father who gave you that great job, your income and all those things you hold on to so dearly and lovingly. We must learn to give our life until it hurts. Sacrificing our way to do it His Way. What God puts in our life must be generously shared to be blessed and broken.

2 Corinthians 9:10-14 (NLT) For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you.

“Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine.” Psalm 16:5 We have a sweet little dog who we adopted when she was over a year old. She came with some bad habits that needed retraining. One of those bad habits came when it was time to eat. I was completely taken back the first time I fed her. I have never seen anything like it. She would slam her head in the bowl inhaling the food to the point of choking. Her anxiety was so bad that sometimes she would knock the bowl over in her haste to devour it. If anyone came close to her while she was eating, she would try even harder to get it all in her mouth. This was unacceptable. Not sure of what caused this in her, her behavior had to be modified as it was not good for her. To begin her training, I let her go for about a week just to observe that she would be fed twice a day. No change in behavior. So for about two weeks, I fed her the tiny pellets of dog food one at a time. At first impatient, she soon discovered that I was not taking it away and would sit and eat with me. When I tried her food bowl again, however; she was right back where she started. Finally I discovered a bowl that separated her food into four sections making it impossible for her to smash her face it. Poor thing almost knocked herself out the first few times she ate from it, but after a while she slowed down. She still eats somewhat frenzied but as her trust increases her anxiety seems to be decreasing.

I am in no way equating any of you or even me to my four-legged friend, or even if I am, could it be that the Lord must restrict our overflow until we trust Him more? Could it be that His Goodness is SO good that we cannot handle it so He must withhold it for our own good? What profits a man (or woman) who gains the whole world but loses their soul? God knows. He doesn’t want you to find out. So He waits on us to trust Him more, follow Him more closely and open every door in our life to His Spirit to cultivate the planted seeds of His Word and His Promises that we are holding on to with the little bit of hope that we have left.

Philippians 1:9-11 (NLT) I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

What does your meter read today? Has the indicator light been coming on but you have chosen to ignore it? Do feel dry? Are you empty? The Lord has more for you today. His Love is unconditionally overflowing from the river that never runs dry hoping to find a void in our life to fill us new. His Grace is always enough even when we fall down again and again, it is discovered in our weakness but commitment to try. We must be givers. Last night, shopping with our girls, we found an amazing sale. The cashier commented on our savings. As I began to tell her about God’s Goodness and Favor, the woman was almost shouting. She thanked us for reminding her of God’s Goodness and Love. Her whole demeanor changed and she began praising God under her breath as we left the store and she helped the next customer. You have an amazing power and love hidden in the fragile frame that forms your life. It is always looking for a way to overflow into your life for His Glory and your goodness. The Lord seeks to bless you with the inheritance that He designated for you. What are you doing to secure God’s Blessing and Prosperity in your life today? People need the person of Jesus Christ that fills us to overflowing giving us something of worth to share. The Lord will always give seed to the sower. What are you planting in your life today? Is it worthy of a harvest? He must be the Center of our life so that all things flow through Him to be blessed and broken for His Use…beginning with me!

Proverbs 11:25 (NLT) The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

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