Call to Rest

Call to Rest

Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT) Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Rest is important in the life of a believer. To take a step out of the busyness of life to physically and mentally rest and be rejuvenated. The enemy uses overloaded schedules, rigid routines, and mounting pressures to perform as a means of distraction until people become so overwhelmed by the persistent pull of responsibility that faith in God forgets He is in control of our life. A couple of months ago, I felt the gentle whisper of a loving Savior confirmed by the voice of my husband the call to rest. Life has been hectic. Chaotic. Crazy. It is time to get away. The beach is our favorite place to unwind and getaway. Today we leave for a respite.

Of course, this morning the dog woke me up in the wee hours of the morning. My brain then refused to go back to sleep so I packed and repacked the car in my head. I woke up grumpy. Worried a little about work and other things circling my thoughts. I need to rest. Not just rest my body and mind but my soul. So do you… It is important to focus on our relationship with Jesus Christ more than serving Him physically. We must connect our heart and mind with Him. Just like a natural marriage requires such attention to continue to thrive, it is important to spend time with the Lord away from the cares, worries and burdens of life. I plan to do just that…

Love, joy and peace are the Fruit of God’s Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) They are not naturally occurring in a world that demands all our time. They call it a rat race for a reason with hurrying and scurrying all around. The Kingdom of God is not based the pursuit of such things. All that we need, want and desire are fulfilled when we come to Him. He gives us rest. Rest is from the word “anapauo” – ana meaning “up” and pauo meaning cessation from toil and refreshment.

Prosperity begins in the soul. To prosper in our soul impacts our natural life. Prosperity in our natural life that does not reach our soul can do nothing to bring satisfaction. Jesus is the Bread of Life. (John 6:35) Those who live in Christ find full satisfaction not in what they have but who He is. Only those who taste and see His Goodness will understand the value of such peace. Just like any food in life, you have to try it to see if you like it.

Matthew 6:25-32 (NLT) “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.”

What are you worried about today? What burdens your heart and mind? Robs you of sleep. Steals your attention. Keeps you weary. Tells you to give up. What causes fear to overtake your confidence? What is keeping your faith small? It is important to examine our heart and mind to answer these difficult questions. It will identify the areas of our life not entrusted to the Lord giving us the opportunity to surrender each burden and care to Him. Worry, anxiety, stress and fear evaporate when faith grows in us. Total trust in God’s Goodness and Greatness in our life. Confident hope that the grace of Jesus Christ is enough to release of His Power and Authority in every situation. These are the qualities that allow us to release every burden to the Lord and yoke our life to Christ.

God knows exactly what you need. I used to tell the young girls in our youth group that women are natural gathers. Born with little baskets on each arm designed to nurture and care for future families. The enemy wants to fill them with unnecessary things. It is important to empty our baskets on a regular basis and continue to carry only those things given to us by Christ. We can discern such things in His Word and communicating with the Lord in prayer. Living in His Presence gives us the peace and confidence to say, “No” to lesser and unnecessary things because our faith is in God alone because man cannot fill our expectation.

Isaiah 26:3 (NLT) You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Perfect peace. There is nothing like it. It comes when our life is yoked to Christ. Partnered with Him, the waves of the storm cannot remove us from the anchor called hope. Together – we are unstoppable because He overcame the world and handed us victory – Jesus is our champion. He has given us every spiritual blessing, provides all that we need, and promises to do more than we can think, ask or imagine. We have it all but settle for less when working for things already given. Trusting the Lord means resting in Him. It means releasing cares, worries, burdens, anxieties, fears and insecurities to take on the yoke called righteousness that by faith makes all things possible in Jesus Christ. To live in Christ is the place of perfect peace.

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 calls us to rest and leads us as well. He is a good shepherd who cares for his sheep. He will leave the 99 just to find the one who is missing. Distractions lead us off course. The lie of the enemy is that God is not enough and His Grace insufficient. Nothing could be further from the truth. Let’s examine our own heart and mind today. Find all the burdens, cares, concerns and worries. Take captive fear and doubt that are adversaries of faith. Go to Jesus and give them “up” and to be refreshed, restored and renewed. His Love for you will never let you down. We must trust and believe that God is good. Good to us. He is for us. He fights our battles and wins our wars. To step into partnership and presence allows us to let go of the lead and follow the Lord to love, joy and perfect peace. This is the place called rest. Well, I am off to the beach. I am stepping out of life to find solace with my family and seek the Face of Jesus at the sea. My prayer for you today is rest. May God apprehend your heart all over again and fill it with His Love, Joy and Peace. Amen and amen.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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My Heart Response

The Response

Romans 8:31-32 (NIV) What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Life is 10% of what happens and 90% of how you respond to it. This statement is applicable in our natural and spiritual life. Allowing experiences to influence and impact our life is generally up to the individual clearly evident in those who triumph in tragedy or those quickly overcome. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? Too much most of the time. Communication is complicated. Texting leaves wide open interpretation of emotions and feelings never implied. Offense builds a fence around the human heart marking it no trespassing as others venture by. Pride hardens the human heart until it no longer responds with kindness, compassion or love. No longer pliable it breaks at every hurt, betrayal or trauma without grace and mercy to keep it soft, pliable and humble. God has given us the opportunity to respond to an invitation. The promise is salvation and even success. It came at a high price in the sacrifice of His Son…His Only Son…Jesus. What is our response today? It is relayed in our response to the world around us, the things that happen to us, and how we live the next moment.

Romans 8:28-30 (NIV) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Not responding is a response. What is our response to the Lord today? Do we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him? Oh, we say that we do. But do we really? It is evident in our mind, will and emotions. It is determined by our reaction to bad news, ugly people and unjust treatment. If I believe that every detail of my life is predetermined by God and predestined for my good and His Glory before it begins, my reactions in life will be defined by such knowledge and not unmet expectation. I have a purpose. My life prescribed before I was born. (Psalm 139) I came prepackaged with hope for the future. (Jeremiah 29) My future is filled with good and not despair. It all sounds wonderful. It requires one thing. My whole heart. I must wholeheartedly pursue the Lord beyond being right, full of pride and finding my own way. Trust is knowing that God is knowing AND believing that God is working all things together for my good and living like it.

2 Peter 1:4-8 (NLT) And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Make every effort to respond to God’s Promises. We walk by faith and not by sight. Therefore, I must keep my eyes and attention on the promises of God and not the problems all around me. Life is hard. The struggle is real. People can be problematic and dramatic but they are not the problem. The enemy is working day and night in his realm of influence to “steal, kill and destroy” every relationship. That’s right. The enemy is not interested in what you have or what you do. He is hell bent on destroying your relationship with the Lord and every other person because that stops you from fulfillment. We are in this world but not of it. Building a Kingdom that will overpower the earth and create a new heaven and new earth under the Kingship and Lordship of Jesus Christ. No more sickness. No more pain. No more sorrow. No more struggle. Just life everlasting in the Presence of God together with all of His People. The enemy hates relationship. We must not get upset with people for their imperfection or inability to meet our needs, wants and desires. We must not react to offence or insult but rather apply grace, love and mercy to overpower the enemy and stop his attack. He becomes powerless in the presence of grace.

How do I respond to God’s Promises? Supplement our faith. Make it stronger and more vital by adding moral excellence. Moral excellence comes with knowledge of God’s Word, His Plan and His Promises. Moral excellence is not trying to be perfect. It is about understanding that there is more to life than this and responding by accepting a higher standard of living. It is the continuous effort not to settle for less than God’s Best, substitutions or quick fixes but striving to obtain all that God has for you by faith. Knowledge produces self-control which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in our life. (Galatians 5:23) The Word of God sows seeds of faith that grow into discipline. The disciplined will become Disciples of Christ, not by blind trust, but absolute and confident faith in the truth that He who promised is faithful. Self-control allows endurance and patience to be developed for longevity in life. This is not a sprint to eternity but a marathon. Patient endurance creates character called godliness. It gives us grace, mercy, love, joy and peace to generously spread around in the waiting and watching for the Lord. Godliness produces brotherly love and genuine affection for people that allows us to love them unconditionally. Suddenly our life is about God and His Goodness rather than us and our pride.

Psalm 27:8 (NLT) My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

The last couple of weeks, I have been studying about submission. Surrendering all of my life to the Lord and His Promises. Giving my life to other people. Investing my faith in grace, love and mercy continuously. Laying, tying and binding every bit of pride to the altar of God rather than the throne of self. God is good. He is faithful. His Word always produces life. What I have found in these passages is that submission sounds so ominous or foreboding but it really is all about freedom. I have lived long enough in Christ that seeds are becoming fruit. Good fruit. I have seen the Lord do more than I can ask, think or imagine just as He promises in Ephesians 3:20. There is more to come. It would be easy to see all the good things that the Lord has done and settle right here. However, He has called to me. “Come and talk with me.” How will my heart respond? The psalmist said, “Lord, I am coming!” It is important today, while it is still today, that our heart responds to the Living God.

Romans 8:37-39 (NIV) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

There will be many opportunities to react or respond today. I wonder what today might be like if we decided to live in the absolute belief and total trust that in Christ we are more than conquerors. Those who live in a place of victory in the shadow of our Champion, Jesus, have nothing to prove but rest in His Glory. It is from such confidence and hope that I am able to respond to God’s Promises rather than reacting to the irritants and chaos of this life including other people. I have nothing to prove. I am a Child of the King. A humble, loving and gentle Lord who laid down His Life to give me victory, authority and power in this life leading to the everlasting. Those with nothing to prove do not have to be prideful but live in confidence. Are you confident in Christ today? Do you believe and live life as more than a conqueror? You can. It is all part of God’s Plan and Promise for your life. It begins by responding to the Lord and living in His Presence.

Revelation 3:20-21 (NIV) Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Life’s Greatest Liability

Life's Greatest Liability

Luke 6:36-38 (NKJV) Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

The greatest liability in the life of a believer is unforgiveness. To restrict the mercy, compassion, love and grace given to us is the source of limitation and lack that often goes unnoticed creating frustration and unmet expectation. It binds and restricts the one who holds it tightly. Joyce Meyer said, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping your enemy will die.” T.D Jakes tells it like this – “unforgiveness denies the victim the possibility of parole and leaves them stuck in the prison of what was, incarcerating them in their trauma and relinquishing the change to escape beyond the pain.” And finally “forgiving someone may cost you your pride but not forgiving them will coast you your freedom.”

Mercy is not only characteristic of God the Father, but the overflow of His Existence. (Deuteronomy 7:9) His Mercy endures forever. (Psalm 106:1) It is freely given to us each morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23) The Lord is our portion. The One in whom our hope is secure. Mercy is defined as compassion and kind forbearance shown toward an offender. Sin is offensive to God. Pride resides in the human heart producing rebellion against God when given the opportunity. Unforgiveness is one of its most effective traits. The decision to harbor unforgiveness in our heart is to sow seeds of bitterness that will take root and choke out the relationship being restored in us producing new life, new love and new creations. How many times has Luke 6:36-38 been attributed to lesser things? Prosperity of our soul begins with the forgiveness of God given to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. It continues to grow and develop in us when we choose to extend the same grace, love and mercy to others.

Matthew 6:14-15 (NKJV) “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Jesus emphasizes the importance of a right relationship with God. He does not stop there but also right relationships with people. Building and maintaining right relationships is the development and advancement of God’s Kingdom and strengthens the Body of Christ. To know God is the highest pursuit of righteousness. To be in an ongoing and thriving relationship with God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit produces the fruit of forbearance or forgiveness in us which is evidence of our relationship with the Triune God. Understanding the importance of forgiveness to vitality in Christ is essential in our spiritual growth and development which is soul prosperity. The Lord even put in the model of daily prayer. (Matthew 6:11-13) We must live in a constant state of mercy and forgiveness to maintain a constant connection to God and His Kingdom.

Matthew 18:21-22 (NKJV) Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”  Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

Jesus did not give some mathematical formula but instead “seventy times seven” is used to imply limitless forgiveness. Unforgiveness is a liability and misuse of the binding power and authority given to us by Christ. It is forgetfulness on our part of God’s Grace towards us or to somehow imply ourselves more deserving than another. It restricts and binds. It is dangerous to our body, mind and spirit working like a cancer eating away at us. It is mishandling Kingdom power. It limits our prayer life. (Mark 11:25-26) It is sin retention in our life. (John 20:22-23) Unforgiveness is a liability to the believer creating limitation and lack while restricting the abundance that God has for those who live in a right relationship with Him. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. He is intimately aware of our sin as it is the very thing that nailed His Precious Son to the Cross. God’s expectation of His People is love and forgiveness as described in I Corinthians 13. Love never fails. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a permanent attitude.”

Psalm 52:8-9 (NKJV) But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever. I will praise You forever, because You have done it; And in the presence of Your saints I will wait on Your name, for it is good.

We have been given the love, grace and mercy of God. It is released in all fullness to the believer as seed to do with it what we choose. Freedom is established in the Son, the Word of God. The very first benefit given to us that makes way for every other blessing. (Psalm 103) To overstep forgiveness is to restrict abundance in our life. All blessings are contingent on the Grace of God that allows His Goodness to be poured out on the unworthy and imperfect chosen by adoption. When we decide to not forgive another person for their offense, it is to refuse God’s Blessings in our life and choose our own portion. Pride chooses its own way bypassing righteousness found in the Grace of God by way of humility. Is there lack in your life? Are you limited? Does your prayer life seem stagnant? Do you lack love, joy or peace? Search your heart with me today. Look for any seed of unforgiveness or bitterness. God’s Grace will cover it as you rip it out by the root. Freedom is poured out the moment we choose to forgive. It may not mean a mended relationship but it will restore righteousness when heartfelt and sincere. Do not let it be a liability but let grace and mercy by an asset as you thrive in the Presence of God today.

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the excusable in you.” C.S. Lewis

Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV) And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

 

 

To Be Immovable

To Be Immovable

I Corinthians 15:58 (NIV) Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

The world is full of distractions. Detours are at just about every turn. Delays drain our patience. Doubt fills the void. Discouragement overshadows confidence. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. The current is swift and is always moving. Yet believers are called to be steadfast and immoveable. Feelings and emotions get the best of us sometimes and pride tells us there is no turning back. How does one become immovable? Is it possible that within our humanness there is enough character to become fully confident and totally trusting of a God who cannot be seen? To walk by faith and not by sight. It is our calling. It is the purpose of all who follow Christ. To find the diligence in discipleship that allows us to submit our life fully and completely until established in our faith and moved by nothing but the Lord. I desire to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, therefore; I must find such a place.

Leaving a party, I was following my husband through the winding roads of an unfamiliar place. A warning light came on indicating the tailgate of my vehicle was not fully closed. I pulled over to secure it and realized that he had continued on his way. He did not see that I had fallen behind. I took out my phone and used the app for directions. It took it a little while for it to load my location due to poor service. I waited. Once it completed the operation, it rerouted my route so I had to turn around. Finally, I was on my way again. I have lived long enough and been lost more than once so I know that the last thing I needed to do was keep driving looking trying to find my way. I had everything I needed to make it to my destination. I have confidence in the little tracking device as it has taken me many places. The hardest part is the waiting. Waiting will always be a part of our process. It is the part where trust is testing and confidence established.

Faith enables us to believe and receive. Trust is the vehicle of faith that takes us to our destination marked abundance. Human logic immediately translates the Favor of God in financial or monetary aspects. Truly the abundance of the heart and soul are love, joy and peace found only in a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. As our soul prospers so will our natural life. Proper order and priority is the key to prosperity. By faith, believers walk in God’s Fullness beginning with the Fruit of His Spirit. Love, joy and peace are only the beginning of all God has for us. He continues with “forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” These are the key ingredients of a steadfast and immovable life in Christ. Each one nourishing a part of our mind, soul and body otherwise left to the deterioration of sin and ignorance. That’s right…ignorance. God clearly defines ignorance as a killer. (Hosea 4:6) To serve the Lord properly is to know His Word and apply it to our life effectively.

Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Confidence in God’s Word, His Power, His Authority and His Goodness will promote faithfulness. It must become a priority in our life that overcomes pride, selfishness and even busyness. To serve the Lord with persistence and diligence even when the way is unclear, uncertain, or even impossible. How do we remain unwavering, steadfast and immovable in the Lord despite hardship, hurt feelings, and overwhelming circumstances? It is a state of constant giving. To give ourselves fully to the Lord means bit by bit and piece by piece of our life is surrendering and submitted to God and His Word until all of us is fully invested in all of Him. The same verse, I Corinthians 15:58 in the New King James Versions calls brothers and sisters “beloved”. I am the one who Christ calls beloved. Like a groom to his soon-to-be bride whispered in the intimate embrace full of expectant exhilaration of the future that is at hand. I wonder how our effort and determination might change if our mind could fully conceive the capacity of God’s Love for us and His Commitment to our fulfillment as His Beloved.

I Peter 3:8-9 (NIV) But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

I Peter 3:14 (NKJV) Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless…

In the popular worship song, How He Loves, my favorite verse and constant reminder is that “We are His Portion and He is our Prize, drawn to redemption by the grace in His Eyes, if grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking. And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss, and my heart turns violently inside of my chest. I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that He loves us.” The greatest hindrance in our life as a believer is doubt and disbelief. To know Christ and His Love any other way than fully is an injustice of His Grace. The Grace of God leads to righteousness through Jesus Christ to the fulfillment of every individual who fully engages in pursuing His Love completely trusting and fully faithful. Diligence comes when doubt and disbelief are eradicated.

I wonder what might happen if one fully realized the kind of love that Jesus has for us. The kind of fathomless grace offered in finding our way and fully realizing the potential of new life. Marriage always needs a whole lot of love, grace and forgiveness to successfully overcome statistics. Jesus has such grace for us. He wants to live a love story with us. We must accept His Love and grow in the relationship to find the persistence, perseverance and diligence to become steadfast and immovable. Such a realization allows us to put all expectation in the Lord and stop expecting perfection from people. It slays our pride and opens our heart to love freely and generously.

Hebrews 6:17-20 (NKJV) Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.  This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

God is constantly promoting and producing abundance for our life. What is abundance? It means to superabound, have in excess, greatly surpass and excel. The word shows the generosity of God’s Grace giving assurance that faithful use of one’s talents and gifts set the stage for one’s advancement. This is our hope in Him. New life. New creation. New things. New possibilities. However, without hope, we cannot attain such things. Hope is the anchor of our soul that keeps us persistent and patient in the testing, temptation and trials of life. When presented with an alternative, substitution, settlement or counterfeit, it is easily identifiable given our knowledge of His Character and Intentions for us so we are able to endure and remain steadfast and immovable as we await with expectation fulfillment according to His Word. Jesus did not die for us to live status quo or so-so existences. It is our disbelief and doubt that hinder due diligence.

The surety and steadfast of salvation is God’s Word. Jesus came in the flesh to live out God’s Love for us. He left with the promise to return for a bride spotless and blameless. His Grace is enough to fully transform us but it is our weakness that allows us to claim it fully and completely. Those who believe that by grace they are saved through faith and not of themselves must come to this realization to live God’s Revelation for their life.

Psalm 51:10-11 (NKJV) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your Presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

This is my prayer today. I want a steadfast heart. One that is not easily distracted by the detours and delays in life but fully trusting in God’s Word, His Promise and Purpose for my life. It will require an immovable heart fully trusting Him at His Word. Walking by faith and not by sight. Waiting until He speaks, moves and leads. This is not my natural character and the very thing pride is always trying to stop. Submission to the Lord and living in full surrender will always come at the sacrifice of self. The freedom found is indescribable. The moment persistence is born of patience and one is able to wait out the process and receive the promise will change us forever.

What is stopping you today? Feed it the fruit of God’s Spirit. He gives us everything we need to overcome. In every situation, we win. It is confidence in the hope given to us that allows us to obtain the victory described in God’s Word. Jesus is our champion. We must trust the Lord to do all He has promised and allow Him to be our portion. He is our prize. Grace gives us every opportunity to live a life of fulfillment and abundance by offering the paltry sum of self for the perfection of God. Ask the Lord to give you eagerness in your pursuit of Him today. Eagerness will combine thinking and acting. It will partner planning and producing. It is inception and action that leads to follow through in our natural life for a spiritual fulfillment. To exert ourselves, make every effort, make haste, be zealous and strain every nerve to further the cause of Christ in us, through us and all around us. God is good! I believe that wholeheartedly. Am I willing to invest in it is the question? Are you immovable? Are you steadfast? Do you believe? God is good all the time. He is patient, loving and kind. He will never let us down. The Lord is our hope and salvation. He gives enough grace to overcome every weakness with power. I will be unstoppable when I become immovable because Christ is in me.

Psalm 112:6-8 (NKJV) Surely he will never be shaken; the righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established; he will not be afraid, until he sees his desire upon his enemies.

The Reveal

The Reveal

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NKJV) For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Today, our family will come together to find out the gender of our newest edition. The gender of our first grandbaby will be revealed in grand fashion. Our families will come together to see who this little person will be. It is better than Christmas because there will be no disappointment. No matter what color confetti shoots out of the handheld cannon – we are blessed far beyond anything imaginable. God is good! He is always good! His Plan for us has a future and hope worth having that no evil can prevail against. The feelings and emotions that I have today given this important truth could be applied to my entire life if I am willing to believe. Believe that the Lord is good and will never let me down.

God wants peace with His Children. All my children will be together today and nothing brings me greater joy and peace even in the chaos of sibling rivalry. To love them, spend time with them, and take with them. To encourage them and just be in their presence. How much more does the Father desire His Children all together – living in confidence of His Love and Care for them? It is this kind of assurance that faith takes root and grows into the future and hope that is promised. Not because we do anything other than seek our Father’s Presence and choose to live in pursuit of Him. When we speak to Him, He promises to listen. If we seek Him, He will always be found. The only requirement is that it is a heart decision. To love Him with our whole heart produces the life that is exceedingly abundantly more than we can think, ask or imagine.

Watching the little baby who is the size of an avocado moving around in ultrasound images, I was in awe of the Lord and the fact that already this little one has a personality. Just seventeen weeks old, it was clearly annoyed by our intrusion. Nestling into its mama and flipping over abruptly just when we could see the little face, even at one point with little legs jumping trying to get away. God has given us this awesome little person to love and cherish. He created this baby in His Image and to be His Child. Everyone in the room sighing in breathtaking awe of the beginning of life – not realizing they were once in the same place. God created you with purpose. Promises too wonderful. A hope and future worth having scripted specifically and especially for you! You are precious to Him just as this little one is to us.

Romans 8:28 (NKJV) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

The Plan of God comes with a wonderful disclaimer. Life is hard. It can be a struggle. There are tests, trials and temptations all along the way. But the Lord is working all things together for good to those who love God and those who are called according to His Purpose. (See Jeremiah 29:11-13) See the Plan of God cannot be influenced or intercepted. Inside your mother’s womb, God was handwriting your plan and purpose which began the moment that you drew your first breath. No detail of your life does not have the potential to bear good fruit.

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

There were eight people in the room during the ultrasound yesterday who will love the little baby soon to come. All so in love already that their hearts are bursting. Nothing will ever separate this child from the love of its parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and more. The love of all will bind it close in the structure called family. Yet even in our great capacity and commitment to love the little person, our imperfection will not allow us to make its life perfect. It is our relationship in Christ that makes us more than conquerors. His Love is the constant that keeps us safe. Tucked always in His Presence with perfect peace in the most violent storms. The victory of Jesus over death and the grave gives us hope that when things are falling apart, He has the whole world even our tiny part in His Hands. He is molding, shaping and perfecting us to be part of His Body.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 11 (NKJV)

Verse 1 – To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.

Verse 11 –  He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

Although I long to hold and love this little one, I know that I must wait a little longer. Any promise born too soon is an abortion or miscarriage. All things have a time and season that cannot be rushed without consequence or complication. We must wait. If only as God’s Beloved, trust would give way to rest as we endure seasons that are long or tests that seem impossible all the while waiting and watching for the Lord believing His Promises are true and for us. God placed eternity in our hearts and a measure of faith to grow there. It must be planted, watered, and cultivated in our life. Assurance is born of trust well-planted that grows into confident hope no matter what the season knowing and believing that God makes all things beautiful in His Timing.

James 1:16-18 (NKJV)  Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from God. Today we celebrate “a” gift. Sometimes we lose sight of all our blessings in the midst of unmet expectation. The “one” thing hoped and longed for that hasn’t happened makes us lose sight of all that God has already done. We cannot see the goodness and greatness of our gifts in life because the enemy is sowing discontent, disbelief and distrust in our hearts. Thankfulness will always water our heart in times of sorrow, barrenness and even just waiting. To praise God for who He is by faith believing all these things about Him are true and personal for us. His Love will never let us down. (Period) It is up to us to have faith, invest trust, and believe enough to wait on Him allowing His Spirit to produce love, joy, and peace in us. As our soul prospers so will we.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

“For we are God’s Masterpiece.” (New Living Translation Ephesians 2:10) This is the tricky part. The part of the promise that our flesh does not like and does not want to participate in. We are God’s Masterpiece. We must submit and yield our life to God through Jesus Christ in order for our life to become all that He has promised. Yes, it all comes to yielding our life to God’s Authority and Power as the superior force driving and determining our life. He gives us mercy to find Him. Grace for our weakness. Beauty for ashes. Joy for sorrow. He gives us peace in the waiting. We must decide to trust Him. To submit our life to the Lord will always begin with surrender and submission contrary to the world’s idea of success. Today I look back over all the details of my life and see God’s Hand. I am over fifty years old. I see things in my past that are now bearing fruit in my future. It takes time and trust. Friend, it’s too soon to give up. God will reveal His Plan and Purpose to those who choose to seek Him wholeheartedly. Your life has potential unrealized. You have promises yet to come. It is a life worth living.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV) Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

I AM

I AM

Exodus 3:14 (NKJV) And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

I AM. A statement of the divine nature and eternal quality of God the Father. Moses in the wilderness tending the flocks of his father-in-law encountered the burning bush. The point of revelation that would take the man who once lived in a palace, by sin relegated to a pasture, to step into his purpose. God carefully scripted His Plan to his servant. Human insecurity rose up in the heart of Moses. Surely the Lord did not know who he was speaking to or the tremendous impossibility of such a plan. Moses was willing yet lacked confidence. He asked, “Who am I that I should go before Pharaoh…? The Lord responded, “I will certainly be with you.” However, that was not enough to leave the place of comfort, convenience and control. He needed a name. Not just a vision or revelation, Moses needed a name of power and authority even presence not only to influence Pharaoh to release God’s People but to encourage them to step into the newfound freedom to be offered. God’s answer was simple. “I AM WHO I AM”!

What’s In a Name?

Exodus 34:6-7 (NKJV) And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”

Our daughter is expecting her first child (our first grandchild). She and her husband have chosen names for a boy and girl. Each name has a meaning and his special to them. A name is important. “I AM.” The Name of God is important to us. We must know His Name and the power and authority it contains to fulfill God’s Purpose for us. It is not enough to know His Name but His Character as well. To be convinced of who He is and His Ability to do exactly what He says. God is love. He is mercy. He is grace. He is patience. He abounds in goodness for us. He also abounds in truth which is an attribute for us but also a stumbling block to us.

In the beginning God created… (Genesis 1:1) In the beginning was God. God is not a man. He does not lie or change His Mind. (Numbers 23:19-20) In Psalm 139, the mystery of creation unraveled, God creates us and ordains purpose with a plan for fulfillment for us. Every day of our life is carefully scripted before our arrival. Isaiah 55:11 takes it one step further declaring that God’s Word cannot return to Him void. It must accomplish what is set forth to do. God is constant. He does not change which requires us to change to step into righteousness apart from sin. It means that repentance must be accompanied by the willingness to submit our life to Him.

God is justice. (Exodus 34:7) His Love for us cannot change His Character. Sin has a price. There is a penalty. God who loves us released His Word in the form of His Son, Jesus to come wrapped in flesh and live out His Love for us. We make the choice to accept God’s Love, Mercy and Grace. We are free to choose. Our choice does not define God’s Character but dictates our own destiny. We decide to live in the Light of His Love or in the darkness leading to death. God is constant. He is Sovereign. He does not live on emotions, feelings or impulse but wrapped in truth and justice. Access to God is only available through His Son who bears the same character being the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) To submit to God is to understand that He is the ultimate power and authority. He is the Creator. We are His Creation. To choose another way is the freedom given to us. The outcome is clearly detailed in the Word of God.

I Corinthians 15:23-25 (NKJV) But each one in his own order: Christ the first fruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.

Submission to God is inevitable. He is Sovereign. He has given each man and woman a free will. The ability to choose their course of life and their destination. Each day we choose the path taken and the outcome. It is our inability to accept the constant in a world filled with variables. Each with its own agenda and plan for personal gain and happiness. The inconsistent character of people with all the flaws and imperfections leading to distrust due to inconsistently met expectation creates an inability to trust and believe in the flawless character of God and His Son, Jesus. But that does not change who God is and what His Word says about you. We must grow in knowledge and understanding of who He is to understand the Power and Authority given to us in the Great I Am. Trust is only possible in seeds of faith given time to grow in a fertile heart. God is patient. He waits for us to fall in love with Him. Submission to God and fulfillment are born of trust.

Matthew 16:15-17 (NKJV) He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 

I believe God is asking us today, “But who do YOU say that I am?” We know who great preachers and pastors call Him. We know who are parents or mentors may have believed Him to be. There comes a moment in everyone’s life when the question rises up within us to be met with the truth of our heart and mind. Jesus asked Peter the same question until it came to the moment of truth for the man. “Who do YOU say that I am?” Who do you say that He is? Faith is given in a measure like seed. The Word of God facilitates spiritual growth of good fruit that nourishes our heart and mind with the Truth of who God is. It grows within us forcing the boundaries of human understanding forcing us into new uncharted territory of repentance and obedience. How far will you go today to know the Truth of Who He Is and what He wants to do in your life? Trusting God is the first step in submission. Faith will only take you where you are willing to surrender and go. It is dependent not on any human quality. Fulfillment comes in the Name of God and Christ who lives within us.

Philippians 2:9-11 (NKJV) Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

A Humble Heart

A Humble Heart

Ephesians 4:2-3 (NIV) Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21) To revere Jesus Christ in our life requires submission. To be completely humble and gentle. To be patient and loving. To make every effort to keep harmony, unity and agreement in the Spirit bonded by peace. This may very well be the most difficult aspect of submission to God. It is a sacrifice of pride that leaves people vulnerable and is completely contrary to society. It leaves our heart open, broken and exposed to His Grace and susceptible to the insults, offenses and hurts of other people who do not live by the same. To be united with Christ, I must have a humble heart.

The humble heart might be achievable if believers could hide away in their prayer closet or live lost worshipping in the Presence of God. But that, my friend, is not where we live. As temporary residents of this world, to find time and place in the Kingdom can be a struggle. Busyness becomes the enemy of time spent with the Lord. Troubles, trials and tragedy tread on the human heart making it hard, callous and even bitter. To walk by faith and not by sight is to keep our eyes on the unseen yet living, breathing God. Well, one trip to Wal-Mart may very well drain every ounce of patience left on reserve. A quick drive across town may evoke enough anger to steal every bit of our joy. Dealing with teenagers is a call to preserve and a reminder that the terrible twos should have been a sign. Bills pile up. The unexpected catches us off guard. People seem to be our problem. All these factors, do not change or impact the Word of God. It stands firm, true and constant just as the One who delivers it. Lord, teach us how to live with humble hearts.

John 13:34-35 (NIV) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13) Jesus instructs us to love our enemies. (Matthew 5) There is even a full description of love in I Corinthians 13. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” The opposite of proud is humble. Love is humble. It is to offer our heart equally to the just and unjust. To give it to those who are worthy and unworthy following the example of Christ. If they do not love us back, it should not be because we are unlovable. Grace given to us must be paid forward to others.

To be a disciple of Christ requires a humble heart. A heart be molded and shaped in the image of that possessed by Jesus. The King who took off his crown and left his throne to give his people life. Life more abundantly. Full satisfaction. To offer access by way of a humble life and tragic death to give us victory that He already possessed. Jesus is the example of humility. To continue to maintain pride and selfishness withholding love and grace from others is to deem our life more important than the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Love one another defines the parameters of this commandment (not suggestion) to all people. To walk in the shadow of Jesus and live in His Image requires selfless love of humble stature. It means forgiving the unforgivable. Accepting the unacceptable. Rejecting offense and not becoming offended. It literally is to lay our pride on the altar allowing our heart to remain broken before the Lord. Accepting His Love makes this the mandate for our life.

Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV)  In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

In your relationships with one another…” A relationship is a connection, association or involvement. This does not limit relationship to familial or friendship. It is not defined by intimacy. A relationship is formed upon meeting or interacting with another person. When you open the door to allow someone to enter, it is a connection. Maybe you smile as they walk by or nod your head to acknowledge their quick “thank you” hurrying by. A connection is made in that moment. It is a stranger yet still there is a form of relationship. By opening the door to allowing them to enter before you, there is a humble giving of way that takes a step back. Maybe if we begin by allowing others to enter physical doors, or stop our vehicle to allow others safe passage across a crowded parking lot with a smile, it will crack open our hearts just a little to the Light of His Love and the impact kindness has on the world today.

To be honest, marriages and family relationships are hard enough without trying to live in love with everyone else. The word “dysfunction” is closely associated with every family I know even those I hold in high regard including my own. The church is no better. Arguments and disagreements that would easily be resolved by love and humility quickly escalate to hurt feelings and division. Pride is the culprit. Humility is the cure. Religion tries to do everything possible to emulate relationships that only love, grace and mercy will allow. God is breaking open the heart of His People today and calling them to accountability. Jesus is coming! Love will be the line drawn in the sand dividing the save and unsaved. Love is the ticket. To be found with a humble heart. Love must be the death of me.

I Peter 3:8-9 (NIV) Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

Be sympathetic. There are several meanings to the word “sympathetic” that apply to a humble heart. It means to be characterized by compassion. God is compassionate. Each morning the new mercy given is from God’s Love and Compassion for us. It is the nature of a mutual responsive relationship which is the very character of godly submission. Is to look upon others with favor just as Jesus gives us His Favor. Sympathy is synonymous with kindness, tenderness and great affection. We must pay forward all these things from the reservoir of receivership since Christ has given them to us in full measure. By faith, I can pay it forward knowing that God’s Love and Faithfulness will never let me down no matter how others treat me or whether or not human love reciprocated. His Love will continue to fill my life as I continually pour it into others.

A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. (Proverbs 19:11) Just like a fence, offense can be a barrier in life. It doesn’t keep others out but keeps us from the wide space of freedom that is our calling in Christ. Fear and insecurity quickly build walls around the hearts of God’s People when offense is allowed to clutter our heart and mind. Strongholds are formed from such thought. The limitation is placed on our life in one’s attempt to protect their heart from being broken. The Lord is close the brokenhearted. I cannot live in close proximity to God preserving my pride living behind walls of fear and insecurity. In such a place, pride has its way with us and the favor of God is far from us. It is to our glory and God’s Glory when we overlook offense. Opening the gateway of forgiveness, to move on in our high calling in response to the Shepherd’s Voice.

“Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”(Proverbs 17:9) The growth of God’s Love in us is inhibited by offense. Bitterness chokes out the truth marked as seed of the human heart. We allow their offense to be greater than the Blood of Jesus in our mind. We are called to “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Fostering love in our life is a form of submission to God’s Power and Authority. Placing our life and love in His Compassionate Care while venturing out to love in all relationships. As the Body of Christ, to build His Kingdom, unity and agreement is a requirement. It will never be found taking our own way but following the example of Jesus Christ fully and completely beginning with His Love. A humble heart is the only way to live such a life. To overcome every obstacle. To experience fulfillment. To fulfill God’s Purpose.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Come to me – an invitation to those who are weary and burdened. Jesus promises to give us rest. Take my yoke and learn from me – now comes the point that we have come to – I am gentle and humble in heart. What if the weariness in our spirit and heaviness of our burdens are not from the enemy but a prideful heart? What if the problem is that in carrying our burdens to the Lord, we refuse to take His Yoke? Love is the yoke that binds us to Christ and the offering our heart to others. It is the agreement and unity that creates a real relationship with Jesus. He came to save us not condemn us. The only condemnation is to love darkness more than the Light of His Love. Pride is the darkest depravity of the human soul because it elevates itself against God. Creating conflict and hostility within us that is so subtle like a cancer destroying our soul unnoticed. Healing comes in the form of brokenness. Taking all the broken pieces of a heart subject to all the unmet expectations of love to the Lover of our soul who was willing to lay down His Life and Lordship for us. To accept – I must have a humble heart and follow Christ’s example of love.

Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV) Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Peace with God

Peace with God

Job 22:21-22 (NIV) “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart.

These are the words of Eliphaz to his friend, Job during the worst time of his life. Job’s children were gone. His wealth gone. Everything God had blessed him with in his lifetime taken from him within a single day. Even his own physical health compromised, I am quite certain that he was not looking for a sermon but sympathy from his friends. The story of Job is one, though hard to read and difficult to comprehend, is absolutely necessary to understand true submission to God. “Submit to God and be at peace with Him.” This may imply that Eliphaz had decided that Job must have sinned against God to invite such tragedy into his life. From a human aspect – it would be the natural assumption. However, his words I believe are led by the Holy Spirit and not his own intellect. Submission to the Lord in all things will give us peace. The Holy Spirit produces peace in our life as a fruit. As our soul prospers so does our life, but I do not believe that God will allow us to prosper in this life if it compromises eternal life. “

“In this way prosperity will come to you.” Everyone has a natural desire to prosper. To see increase and live in abundance. It is a common thread of commerce. However, peace does not come from financial security but confident faith that there is more to life than this. A place of eternity rest offered through Jesus Christ. The Lord has given us His Spirit to produce the kinds of fruit that satisfies our soul and causes our heart and mind to prosper in God’s Word which is His Plan for us. “Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart.” I have studied the Word of God every day for the last eight years. Each morning getting up early to read, study and meditate on it. I want to extract every single truth, promise and blessing hidden within the pages of text. I do not say this to boast but rather to share that even though I have spent countless hours poring over the Word of God, I find new things every single day. It is life to my heart, mind, thoughts and soul. It is never old but always fresh and new.

Romans 10:2-4 (NIV) For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Our zealousness and enthusiasm serving God must be based on His Word. Faith comes by hearing and found in God’s Word. We desire righteousness but do not fully understand what it entails. Pride wants to earn it. Somehow find a way to deserve the Grace of God. It is impossible. Yet still religiosity can interrupt our relationship when pride tells us – “I can do it.” The only way of reconciliation with God is through His Son, Jesus. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can make it to God except through Him. The Word made flesh to live among us is none other than Jesus. I must submit to God’s Righteousness fully accepting His Grace in my weakness. His Power is complete in my life when I do. The story of Job depicts man’s struggle with pride. Doing everything right cannot erase our sin or promote a relationship with God. It is our thriving relationship with Jesus that gives us total access to God the Father and His Power in this life.

Divine discipline as recorded in Hebrews 12 is not in the form of punishment. It is God’s Love at work in us to remove barriers of pride, fear, and insecurity that keep us from reconciling our life to God through His Son, Jesus. It is always born of love, mercy and grace. God cannot punish those who believe as it would be contrary to His Word. God doesn’t take back His Promises but daily pursues us in order to bless us. It is His Desire to give us the desires of our heart. Misalignment spiritually creates conflict in our life. (James 4:1-6) Our friendship with God makes us enemies of the world. I want more of God’s Grace. To have it means moving my life from this world to Kingdom living by constantly pursuing a relationship with God by way of accepting His Grace more and more which means I must decrease and He must increase in me. Pride is crucified in this place and submission fully embraced as a way of life.

2 Corinthians 5:17-20 (NIV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

To be reconciled with God is live at peace with Him. Submission to God comes in the form of acceptance of His Grace as enough for my life. His Power is manifested in my weakness and inability to accomplish anything of worth outside of my relationship with Jesus Christ. I must become a new creation. Pride must be executed so that the fulfillment of His Purpose can be accomplished in me. I must learn to submit. Humbling myself before the Lord and other people. God has a plan containing a future and hope that oversteps death into eternity. By faith, I can achieve it. I must understand my place as a participant in this process. I must humble myself before the Lord which means also extending it to other people.

“Submit to God and be at peace with Him” is not a threat or form of punishment. It is an invitation. Like a wedding invitation all in white tied with a scarlet bow, bidding us to come and participate in the greatest love story ever written. To be His Bride. To await His Coming with real enthusiasm not overrated zeal. His Word gives us the opportunity to know Him. His Spirit is the intimate consummation of His Betrothal. We have a promise, not only of a fantastic future, but blessings for the land of the living. Pride will never exalt us to the level of confirmation that humility born of absolute trust in the Living God allows. It is the destruction of the platform of pride that spiritual elevation takes to the new levels and life intended by God. I must live in Christ to find them. He must increase and I must decrease. I must live at peace with God in Christ Jesus to reach my full potential. Sometimes it is the moment when all we have is the Lord, that we find He is all we ever need.

Colossians 1:19-20 (NIV)  For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

To Trust

Old chair and wall

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

I want to trust the Lord with all of my heart. I would like to lean on His Understanding and not my own. But then there is that word again, submit. In all your ways submit to Him… How do we submit our life to the Lord? How do I surrender my life to the Living God who is invisible to me? Trust and dependency require submission in order to be valid. Trust is not good unless tested. Dependence is invalid if not tried. To lean on something determines its strength and stability. If I want to try out a chair, I must sit in it. Commit my weight to the structure of it. It requires me to stop standing and press into the chair for support. Once it is trusted, never again will it be a concern when sitting down. Trusting the Lord works the same way. We must daily try and test our faith in the form of trust.

Submission is a characteristic of trust. To trust the Lord with all of our heart requires submission on a daily basis. Such faith is evidence of unseen hope that defies human logic based on God’s Word and Way. We must walk by faith and not by sight to experience true intimacy with the Lord. It is important to learn the humble calling of submission in order to live in alignment with God and His Plan. It is in complete subjection to Him that our way is made straight. Submission acknowledges our faith, trust and hope in the Lord above all other authorities and powers that govern our natural life. It is a higher calling and one that few will ever fully invest in.

The word “acknowledge” is used in this verse in the New King James Version. To acknowledge the Lord is to submit all of our ways to His Kingship, Authority and Power. In Hebrew it is “yada” which means by observation, investigation, reflection and firsthand experience. To acknowledge the Lord by submitting all our ways to Him is an active process engaged in daily by the believer in order to have divine order and spiritual clarity in our walk with God. The highest level of “yada” is direct intimate contact as in marriage. Direct intimate contact in marriage is life-giving and so it is in a spiritual marriage to Jesus Christ. Intimacy gives new life to the covenant of marriage as it does in our relationship with the Lord. When we submit our life to Jesus Christ, it will carry over into our natural life. To submit to others – empowers our life rather than limiting it.

Romans 8:6-8 (NIV) The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

Trusting God is a decision. It is more than a spoken word but a daily endeavor to change our heart and mind from hostility toward God to total trust and dependence. Hostile flesh is a force to be reckoned with. There is no compromise. You cannot appease flesh and Spirit at the same time. It requires a choice. One or the other. It is totally up to us to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Allowing God’s Spirit to change our heart and mind leads to steps of faith and trust that build an intimate relationship with the Lord like a marriage. Abraham was considered a friend of God for his faith and demonstration of trust still believing that God brings the dead to life. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Trust is how one accesses the plan and purpose of God that lead to fulfillment. Distractions detour our destinations. Submission means giving up my way to have His Way.

Psalm 37:3-5 (NIV) Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this…

Trusting the Lord means doing good even when others are not good. Our life goal should be to live in alignment with God and His Plan for us. It is life giving not limiting. In doing so, is to dwelling the land AND enjoy safe pasture. It is life for this life. It is peace for this life. It is joy in this life. It is every fruit produced by His Spirit becoming an everyday harvest even in seasons of drought and famine. Life in me is produced by intimacy with God. Such intimacy is the result of submission to the Lord evidenced in my life acknowledged when my expectation and hope is in God not man. Submission to people is possible when our full expectation, trust and dependency is committed to the Lord. Those who learn to delight in the Lord will have their heart’s desire. It says so right there. Commit your way to the Lord. Trust Him. HE WILL DO THIS… Every good and perfect gift is from the Father and accessible by faith and trust. ”Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” (Proverbs 16:3)

James 4:7-10 (NIV) Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

“But He gives more grace…” Grace is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) His Grace is enough. It is sufficient for me. I am only able to submit my life to God and man when I completely accept the grace of God as enough for my shortcomings and insufficiencies, as well as those of other people. When the Grace of God is enough, people will not have to meet certain standards in my life because He gives us more grace. The enemy cannot overcome the power of agreement. It dissolves his strategy which is to steal, kill and destroy. He uses strongholds in our thoughts that keep us from fully engaging in intimacy with God. However, when people agree with God and each other, no weapon formed us can ever prosper. Alignment with God and His Plan require submission. End of story.

You cannot live in complete agreement with the Lord and not be subject to every authority that He has instituted in our life. The character of that person is not my problem. The choices made by them is between the Lord and the person. I am held accountable to my response when given the opportunity to submit. Double-minded people cannot make up their mind who to serve so they serve them all – self, others, things and last of all God. I don’t want to be that person.

Coming near to God requires grace. All of it. His Compassion for us is His Mercy but His Grace is the access point to be entered by faith and trust. Trusting God will our life is essential and a process that will take up all our time. Humility before the Lord requires the same in this life. We must humble ourselves before the Lord and submit to others following the example of Jesus Christ who took off His Crown, set it on His Throne and came to this world to die for us. He laid down His Life to become our bridegroom so we could be His Bride. Intimacy with the Lord requires my submission of my life, all my thoughts, all my actions, every single word to the Lordship of Christ demonstrated in laying down my life for others as I honor Him.

Ephesians 5:21 (NIV) Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Beauty of Submission

The Beauty of Submission

I Peter 3:1-4 (NKJV) Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

There is beauty in submission for the heart intent on surrender. It is a beauty far surpassing the outward appearance that leaves an indelible mark on the heart it touches. The heart must be soft, pliant, open, and humble to receive such instruction and not become hard and unyielding as pride senses a takeover. Submission is the utmost form of trust in any relationship. It denotes total surrender to the Lord for fulfillment of expectation releasing all other human counterparts. In the beginning it may be a bitter pill choked down rather than savored. Those who force it down will find it to be a seed of blossoming blessing that will lead to success in all relationships as we live and love from a gentle and quiet spirit confident in God’s Love, Grace and Goodness.

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands…

I will be the first to admit that I did not receive the “gift” of submission as one probably should. Preparing for a women’s conference at church with a fellow board member, I had spent the better part of a half-hour ranting about my husband and a disagreement the night before. She allowed me to vent thereby setting the groundwork for a message that would change my marriage forever. When I finally ran out of words, the room was silent. She crossed over to me with what I knew would be solid and profound advice. Holding my hands in hers and looking me right in the eye, she said, “You must learn to submit to your husband. You must be submissive.” If it were possible for my head to spin and steam come shooting out of both ears, it would have happened in that moment. I was so angry that not a single word could be formed and my mouth was hanging open. Had she not heard the injustice? Had she not listened to my hurt? Did she not understand that it was all his fault? I thought she was on my side. She was. She was the godly influence who would plant a seed of truth in my open and exposed heart that would grow, develop and mature into a beautiful marriage of mutual responsiveness and respect.

Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

I am woman hear me roar…not so fast tiger. Inner beauty within our heart is the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that God finds very precious. I am an extrovert and my husband an introvert. Our personalities are very different as are our life experiences. Coming together in marriage is to leave all other relationships and establish a primary connection with our spouse. To become one together. Just as two people traveling in different directions do not end up at the same destination, one of the two must submit. It is our gift and calling as wives to do just that. To become a reverent partner to the man who God has joined us with is to honor and revere God with total trust and dependency. I trust my husband. I love him. He is just as human as I am and we both make a lot of mistakes. The Grace of God is the glue that keeps our marriage strong as I have learned to submit to God’s Authority and my husband but boy oh boy was it a fight.

Ephesians 5:22-24 (NKJV) Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

To submit means to be humble and compliant. It is a perceived vulnerability yet must be pursued for complete faith. Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord. As wives, women are called to respect, regard and deeply care for her spouse. To reverence or be in awe of as translated from the Greek word “phobeo”. All believers are called to live in mutual submission. (Ephesians 5:21) As a wife I am called, according to God’s Word in Ephesians 5, to serve, honor and edify my husband. Does such a statement rub you the wrong way? Are you irritated at the thought of it? Good, so was I. My life as a wife is to be lived as unto the Lord. I do these things for my husband out of reverence for God and His Word. This should end the argument but it usually causing a warring in our heart and mind. What about me? Who’s going to take care of me?

The husband is called to lay down his life and sacrifice his interests for his wife. He is tasked to support her growth and development spiritually. He is to cherish, warmly care for and attend to her needs, wants and desires. He is to love her as Christ loves the church. He holds the most responsibility in this thing called marriage. God holds husbands accountable for their wives. We must only trust the Lord. This is important unless marriage is deemed impotent because it is out of order or misaligned.

Submission to each other following the guidelines set forth by God creates mutual responsiveness. Just as the Body of Christ is formed by leaving the things of this world and clinging to God through Christ and His Way – marriage is the same process. To become one body in marriage or in the Body of Christ requires leaving and cleaving. Cleaving is to adhere firmly and closely with all loyalty unwaveringly to something. Genesis 2:24 sets forth the marriage principle that “a man shall leave his father and mother to be joined with his wife and they become one flesh.” I wonder what the success rate of marriage might be if both partners embraced these roles fully and completely as designed by God made possible through Jesus Christ. Would revival break out in the Body if it became one?

I Peter 3:8-9 (NKJV)  Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;[a] not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

Smith Wigglesworth was a great man of faith. One of the forerunners in faith for the modern day church. His wife, Polly, was a mighty woman of God in her own right. When his plumbing business became very successful, Smith began to work long hours. He missed services and his heart grew cold toward the Lord. Polly faithfully continued serving the Lord. One night she was later than usual returning from church and her husband rebuked her saying, “I am the master of this house and I am not going to put up with you coming home at such a late hour.” Polly told her angry husband, “You may be my husband, but my master is Christ.” Smith put her out the back door in anger forgetting to lock the front door. She came around to the front entering the house in laughter. Soon her gentle spirit and sweet response had both parties dissolved in fits of laughter.

It is human nature to be caught up in our rightness and miss the point of righteousness. We are Kingdom builders which is all about relationships. Building relationships requires submission. Successful marriages are marked by wives who embrace the role of submission and empower their husbands to take the leadership role and fulfill the assignment of accountability for our life. Grace is the gold of submission. We serve in all positions of life as unto the Lord including our marriage partnerships. Each member of the Body of Christ has a role that must submit to the headship of Jesus. Without submission – all things will remain broken. Those who embrace and strive to live a submissive life will inherit a blessing far greater than pride could ever yield. Be submissive. Take on your role given by Christ, whatever that is, fully embracing the calling clearly defined by His Word. You will prosper as your soul prospers.

Ephesians 4:4-6 (NKJV) There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.