Que Sera Sera

Que Sera Sera

Ephesians 2:9-10 (NLT) Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Que sera sera translated means “whatever will be, will be.” We are God’s Masterpiece created anew in Jesus Christ. What does it look like? How does one become such a work in this lifetime? Is it really a transformation or just a foretaste of the life after death promised to those who love the Lord? I think that depends on each person. The Lord has a plan and purpose developed for us during creation. (Psalm 139) We are not random acts of science born as a result of a human act but a work of divine inspiration of God. He created us. He desires us. He wants to be with us. God loves us. He prepared a plan that is good with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29) Those who pursue God through His Son, Jesus Christ have nothing to fear because the plan is already working in us and through us by His Spirit. God made us with a measure of faith and taste of eternity in our heart. The breath of life breathed in us perpetuated His Plan in motion. Now it is up to us if that is what we choose for our life. To live out God’s Word for us. To have all that He promised us. To prosper in our soul until it produces abundance and full satisfaction in our life.

Que sera sera is absolutely true. God has recorded each day of our life in advance. Whatever will be – will be. Does that mean that there is nothing for us to do to facilitate the process? No. We do have investments that yield Kingdom dividend. It is in our weakness that the sufficiency of God’s Grace is revealed. It is in the sacrificing of our way that His Way is fully achieved. Is it really all that important to make a plan? To have vision or revelation if que sera sera is true and whatever will be will be?

Psalm 37:23 (NLT) The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.

The Lord orders our steps. Like a well-crafted staircase, it is going somewhere or leading us to a higher destination. However, it is by faith that we continue in God’s Way. His Will and Word lead us to the greater things that He has in store for us. The motivating factor of God is His Love so He will not force you to accept His Graciousness and Goodness but is always pursuing us with unfailing love and goodness. (Psalm 23) I think the hardest part of Christianity is our free will. Though the Lord is perceived with a hovering hand ready to punish each indiscretion or mistake made – nothing could be further from the truth. The Hand once thought to be a visit is actually open and inviting us to a better life. New life and new creation produce good fruit that nourish our soul and bring forth the blessing. The Word of God says, “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence, and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (Psalm 16:11) We are invited to participate in a new way of life living in the Presence of God and those who engage in that life are promised joy and pleasure forever. We must make a plan. We must plan to plant our faith in God. Wait for Him. Engage with Him. Following the Lord wherever He leads us.

Habakkuk 2:2-4 (NLT) Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed. “Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God.

God has a plan for our life. He reveals His Plan to us many times. We get excited. Ready to run with it. Then lose momentum when it does not produce immediate results. We do not take God seriously enough to actually write down what He speaks to our heart or the word that is given to us by another. We do not heed the words of the prophet, Habakkuk, shared that say, “The vision is for a future time.” Anything born before its time is premature. Things that come too early are aborted. The Plan and Purpose of Lord for our life are from His Perspective. He is the Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and the End. He sees our life completely. He knows exactly what it will take to win our heart, mind and soul forever. Not only does He know, but exacts an individual plan that requires absolute faith and complete trust until our hope becomes the confidence that leads our life.

Nobody likes waiting. People don’t come preprogrammed with patience. Even our little grandson already knows how to throw a tantrum when he does not get his way at just three months of age. Doubt gives way to frustration and discouragement compiled with the fear that life will not get any better than this so that even grown folks pitch fits in the Presence of God rather than waiting quietly in the watchtower marked “trust” until He comes. The righteous live by faith in God. Faith is not perceived by the eye but believed in the heart. Even when human logic and understanding do not understand, faith waits on the Lord. Trust keeps us from running off.

The Lord is clear that He reveals His Mysteries to us. The Word of God says that we are given the secrets of the Kingdom. (Mark 4:11) You have eternity in your heart. It is written by the Hand of God. Like any good book, it must be examined thoroughly to establish its validity. We must pursue that which God has placed in our heart because it is part of the eternal plan. Our natural ambition and drive for success outside of the four walls of the church is equally as important as how we serve God in the church. We must understand that every part of the component of self is part of His Plan for success and prosperity. Our realm of influence is to be the light of the world and salt of the earth. We have a Kingdom investment to make in earthly soil that will not only produce heavenly rewards but natural blessings. The plan is faith and will always incorporate trust in the Lord. We must make a plan and stick to it. We must set goals based on God’s Word for our life and choose to walk in them even when things are not turning out the way we planned knowing that His Plan is in perpetual and purposeful motion.

Galatians 6:7-9 (NLT) Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 

“Que sera sera” is an expression of surrender. Whatever will be – will be is scary when given a random spin. But as a believer to say, “Whatever will be will be… according to God’s Plan” – it becomes a surrender of self to the working of God in us and through us. The supremacy of God allows Him to exact His Plan for our life without our willful participation. But instead of exerting His Hand of Authority over us – He extends it to us through Jesus Christ. Now we can say with confidence, “I will wait on the Lord. He has a plan. It’s a good one. I want it and trust that it will come.” Are you ready to give up? Have you grown weary of well doing? The enemy wants you to leave the field that you have been sowing so he can steal every benefit and blessing about to spring forth because God is faithful. His Word does not return to Him void. It will do exactly what it was set forth to do! You must only wait for it! Has God given you His Word on something but it just seems impossible now? Awesome! God does miracles in the midst of the impossible. When there is no logical or natural way to accomplish it – God will do it every time! Be encouraged today! The Lord has not forgotten His Promise for you. His Plan for your life is in full motion. I know you cannot see all the steps ahead of you but if you take just one step of faith – you are headed in the right direction!

Hebrews 11:1 (NLT) Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.

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Death to Life

Death to Life

Romans 6:1-3 (Message) So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we’ve left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn’t you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land!

Today is Baptism Sunday at our church. There are people who have decided to participate in the symbolic act of baptism, but I wonder if they know the true potential of such a public confession. It is the gateway by which one may enter a “new land” and “new life”. An existence of true repentance marked by a turning over of every dead thing in our life to the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. Oh how I wish they knew how powerful the water can be for those who step in it with such an expectation. Salvation is the beginning of a transformation process that takes a lifetime to complete. It is the moment of realization that sin is killing us and without a Savior there is no chance of life. The next doctrinal step might be a public profession of our faith in Jesus Christ and then baptism. I love the opportunity presented by Paul in this passage and the way the Message explains it to us. It is a form of house cleaning where we lay down our old life, ways, faults, failures and disappointments in order to move into a new one without all the shackles and chains of our past holding us back. A handful of people have signed up to participate in the baptism service today, but I wonder how many more might if they realized the potential of leaving it all behind and moving into the new life Christ promised us.

Romans 6:3-5 (Message) That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we’re going in our new grace-sovereign country.

I grew up in the Baptist church. My little sister has a very soft and sweet heart. I cannot count the number of times she responded to an altar call to repent and start again with Jesus. I know you may be thinking it silly, but I think it is essential. Since when did the altar become a place of shame, where people are chided for coming again and again? I think she was baptized at just about every summer camp. My sister is a mighty woman of God who leads home Bible studies and small groups. She impacts many lives with grace and generosity. She understands the life and power of Jesus Christ because she kept coming until she found what she was looking for. Oh what might happen if the church and its people were open to true repentance and transparency before the Lord again? Not afraid to come forward for prayer and divine healing? Unashamed that they want a new life when this one is not working out for them?

John 7:38-39 (Message) On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand. He cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.” (He said this in regard to the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were about to receive. The Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.)

When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus…

Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes…” Are you overflowing with Living Water today? Or are you feeling the thirst that comes from seasons of drought – an inner dryness that nothing in this life can seem to satisfy? The Spirit inside of us produces good fruit to nourish and satisfy our soul. There are times when the Spirit of God within us is limited because of the lack of fertile soil – He cannot sow in a hard heart. The Holy Spirit lives in us to change our life from death to life sowing good seeds in fertile soil. Faith produces seeds of potential that must be cultivated to become the promise within each one. It is up to us to provide a place for them to grow, develop and mature into the abundance that the Lord has promised us. Without water, seeds die in the ground. Without the Spirit, the believer cannot move from death to life.

To be lowered in the water is like being buried with Christ, to make an exchange of all the dead things in our life so that they either be washed away or revived again. Sin is washed away along with regret and remorse. Faith is revived in the water and new life begins in that moment for those who believe. We must be buried in Christ with fruitful expectation that His Spirit will take over and produce new life in us all over again. This is not just for the new believer but every other saint of God who has become weary in well doing or overcome by fear, doubt, anxiety or disappointment. The water is for everyone.

Romans 7:3-6 (Message) So, my friends, this is something like what has taken place with you. When Christ died he took that entire rule-dominated way of life down with him and left it in the tomb, leaving you free to “marry” a resurrection life and bear “offspring” of faith for God. For as long as we lived that old way of life, doing whatever we felt we could get away with, sin was calling most of the shots as the old law code hemmed us in. And this made us all the more rebellious. In the end, all we had to show for it was miscarriages and stillbirths. But now that we’re no longer shackled to that domineering mate of sin, and out from under all those oppressive regulations and fine print, we’re free to live a new life in the freedom of God.

When we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus.

It is often easier to get caught up in the rules and regulations of our religion rather than live a life true repentance and ongoing surrender to Jesus Christ. I have nothing of worth to give God other than my whole heart. My heart and life are not worthy of His Glory but what God desires therefore enough. We are married to Jesus in the careful exchange of sin and the acceptance of His Grace. When our life is fully reconciled to Christ – all the benefits and blessings associated with our relationship are evident. When we come up out of the water – it is like the resurrection of Jesus and new life begins all over again. There is no Christian who has it all together. There is no preacher, teacher, elder, deacon, or leader that does not fall short of the Glory of God and His Standard of living. No one can live apart from sin and the only hope we have is the resurrection power and life of Jesus Christ to keep us constantly turning in repentance to receive what He died for us to have.

We no longer live under “oppressive regulations and fine print”. We are free to live a new life of freedom in God. Do you live in the perpetual freedom that God offers those who believe? Do you have living water flowing through you today? Have you been baptized? There is no limitation on the water. You can come to the river as often as you like. Repentance is turning. Cycles are circular motions without real results. It may look like revival but it is not. It is repetition. Seasons are the terms and conditions of God’s Productivity. It is the prospering soul that receives all the blessings. A season produces something. It has purpose. It gives provision. In the end, there is an abundant harvest. It is how real revival begins and perpetuates itself. It begins when we surrender every dead thing to new life.

John 5:5-11 (Message) One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, “Do you want to get well?” The sick man said, “Sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.” Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.” The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off. That day happened to be the Sabbath. The Jews stopped the healed man and said, “It’s the Sabbath. You can’t carry your bedroll around. It’s against the rules.” But he told them, “The man who made me well told me to. He said, ‘Take your bedroll and start walking.’”

There was a man who had been handicapped for more than three decades. Jesus asked him, “Do you want to get well?” The man began to make excuses. Jesus told him, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking. The man did exactly what Jesus said. He didn’t even make it into the water, but received his healing from Jesus right then and there. Immediately the Pharisees began to condemn the man for breaking the rules. It was the Sabbath. You can’t carry your bedroll on Sunday. How many people carry burdens into church and lug them right out afraid to break the rules? Or how many preachers, teachers, elders, deacons, and the like live with heavy chains because they are afraid to come to the altar and be judged by their peers? How many times do we accept death where Jesus promised life just because of our pride? Too often. Jesus gives us the opportunity to exchange every dead thing for new life. He promises to make good of every detail of our life if we would only trust Him. Nothing can every separate us from the Love of God offered in His Son, Jesus Christ. Are you allowing something to separate you?

Seek out new life today. If that comes in the form of baptism when you can lay all these burdens into the likeness of His Death and be raised to new life then jump in with both feet all over again. Jesus didn’t give up His Life so that you would like a dead existence filled with doubt, discouragement, depression, disease or defeat. He came up out of the grave and so can you. You can leave death behind and embrace new life. You can do it as often as you need it. Jesus came to give us life more abundantly. Don’t stop until you receive it no matter what the cost. If that means running to the altar, do it! If that means jumping in the waters of baptism, go! Whatever it takes – let Jesus breathe new life in you again!

John 11:25-26 (Message) You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?”

Quiet Place

Quiet Place

I Peter 3:10-12 (ESV)  For whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Faith is a quiet place. Once the battle of our heart and mind are won, faith takes the place of fear, anxiety and worry when our confidence is in the foundation of Christ alone. Few will ever find such a place because the enemy works day and not to uproot us with circumstances, conditions and concerns in that natural that keeps us from supernatural revelation that with God all things are possible for those who simple and fully believe. To say one has faith and continue to strive is inconsistent. The Lord offers us peace that passes all understanding. It is up to us to make up our mind who we believe and even more important who to serve. We do not lean on faith when our confidence is secure because it is our hope that sustains us. Trust and believing begins with seeds of faith planted in the Kingdom. Over time, it becomes confident hope that quiets every storm and keeps us in the waiting. Faith is a peaceful and quiet place of dwelling in the Presence of God no matter what the conditions of your life may be.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to love life and see good days. Do you? There are simple instructions in this passage beginning with our conversation and communication. We must keep our tongue from speaking evil and our lips from speaking deceit. What does this mean? Our heart and mind must agree to produce words that affirm our faith and trust in the Lord rather than the current situation. We must learn to speak of His Goodness to us. It is important that our mouth speaks His Word not the way it is. Rebellion is anything contrary to God’s Word, Will and Way including what we say. To say, “I believe” and then express doubt marked by complaining, grumbling and malice is to refute our previous claim. Faith is in God alone and His Careful Concern for us that gives us confidence no matter what life looks like that He works every detail for our good.

We must turn away from evil and do good. We must stop allowing evil to penetrate our heart and mind. It is imperative to the growth and maturity of faith that we carefully filter what we feed our heart and mind on a regular basis. Like a diet counts caloric intake or carb monitoring, it is the same with our soul. To read the Word of God and study its way, but then not carefully examine what we see, hear and engage in is contradictory living. We become frustrated because those things attributed to faith are not producing good fruit when the problem is that in our fertile heart are seeds of faith and weeds of sin. We must challenge ourselves in every moment of every day to do good. Regardless of how we are treated or what we face that our character resembles that of our Savior and Lord – Jesus Christ.

I must seek peace and pursue it. Peace doesn’t find us – we must pursue it. Peace that passes understanding is offered but one must decide to accept it before it takes over. The meek inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. (Psalm 37) Meekness is humility. A peaceful and quiet nature not governed by pride. Humility is exactly what God is looking for in His People to given them an abundance of peace. Peace that comes from knowing He is fighting our battles and we must only be still. Faith is quiet and gives way to thresholds of peace in God’s People. The Lord promises us peace that passes all understanding and that peace guards our hearts and minds in Christ. Do you need peace today? You must pursue it. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but it is the tearing down of strongholds in our mind. To think like God thinks and respond per His Instructions. The battle is won in the natural. We must win the war in our heart and mind to stand victorious.

I Peter 3:4 (ESV) But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

This treasure of a verse is tucked in between careful instruction regarding submissiveness. Submission is the duty of every wife to her husband. There is power in submission to authority found only by the humble. We are ALL the Bride of Christ which is the submissive role in the relationship…woman or man. Our place in our covenant relationship with Jesus requires us to submit to His Authority and Power in all things. Our heart is thereby covered in the “imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” deemed precious in God’s Sight. We do not fight for the Lord. He fights for us. If we are still, we win. It is when our flesh tells us to do more than what God has instructed that we overstep boundaries of faith into a place that we are not called to be. We do not argue the Word of God for it is truth and therefore verified all by itself. We are not in conflict with people because that would be like our right arm trying to subdue the left arm. Faith is quiet when our heart is submitted and secure in Christ alone.

Isaiah 32:17-18 (ESV) And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.

Righteousness will produce peace in our life. Right standing with God is not based on performance but acceptance. Crazy I know and often times difficult to fully comprehend so it is human nature to throw ourselves into serving God as though it somehow is repayment of our debt to Him. The truth is that the purest form of worship is to do so by living a peaceful life. The result of righteousness is a quiet life wrapped in trust. It means trusting God in all matters and at all times simply because He is God. He loves us unconditionally. His Grace is always enough. He pursues us with His Goodness. We are His Delight. There is nothing we can do to ever change that even when living in the depths of darkness. His Love never fails us though we constantly fail Him. God’s People, those who live by faith, will abide, dwell, and live in peaceful habitation. The Holy Inhabitation of Jesus is the Holy Spirit. Peace is one of the fruits that He is cultivating in us with seeds of faith. Are you living in perfect peace today? Is your dwelling place secure? Is your existence a quiet resting place that draws others to it? If not, it can be.

Psalm 46:10 (ESV) “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Be still. Know that I am God. Faith is not logical. I say it all the time. Faith is not a practical form of living widely accepted by the average person. It doesn’t make sense at all most of the time. In fact, faith is usually developed when faced with the impossible. In other words, in situations where there is no other choice. God wants you and I to have faith. He desires to give us peace of mind and soul security so we can prosper in every area of life. It’s definitely not a “God” problem. God will do exactly as He promised that He would do. His Word cannot and will not return to Him void. We must be still and wait for the Lord. Stop fighting for every lost cause and with every person who doesn’t agree with you and be still in the Presence of the Lord who fights for you and gives you victory time and time again. You can only do this when you KNOW that He is God. When that knowing becomes living in confident hope.

Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV) The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

When our oldest son was overseas serving our country, I had this verse on my refrigerator. I prayed this over him every time I was in the kitchen. He was in a foreign land unwanted and in the enemy’s territory but God was with him. I prayed that the Presence of God would surround him especially in his sleep. I wanted him to have peace and rest each night though far from home and in constant danger. The Lord brought him back safely. Reading this today, I wonder if we are all not facing battles every day. Battles of our heart and mind without absolute confidence in the hope we have so our striving becomes strife. We begin to fight for something that already belongs to us simply for the asking. God will give us His Peace. We can rest in the stillness of the quiet place of faith. The Lord is in our midst. He is the Mighty One who will save, heal and deliver us. He rejoices over us with gladness because He loves us. He quiets us, soothes us and revives us in His Love. He signs over us as a mother to their sleeping child out of an overflowing love from the innermost depths of their heart as only a parent could understand. God loves us. We can trust that love in all circumstances and craziness of this life. We must only step over the boundaries of fear, doubt and insecurity into the quiet place called faith.

Isaiah 26:3 (ESV) You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

New Beginning

New Beginning

Philippians 3:12-14 (ESV) Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Here we go again! Ever feel like life is vicious repetitious cycles rather than prosperous seasons. Hours turn to days becoming weeks until a month is gone and then a year has passed and yet nothing seems to be as wonderful as the hope once held on to so tightly. Life is tough. It is a struggle. To live for Christ is not always a happy place filled with sunshine and roses. There are dark days with thick cloud cover when it is hard to see the Lord’s fulfillment nearby. Of course, every rose has its thorns. It is easy to get caught up in the tangled mess of circumstances and unfavorable conditions pulling our focus from forever and the possibilities of our new life in Christ. Are you there today? Wondering when fulfillment will come or if it will ever be the way once envisioned? I have excellent news for you today straight from God. Each day you are alive is a new beginning waiting to happen. A word of encouragement and yes it may be a bit hard to swallow but in the end it will produce the life that He promised when He finished the work before us. Sometimes life must be viewed through the realm of hope for the joy set before us rather than the rearview mirror of life and experience that makes what we hope for so elusive.

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. There are some key points in this passage that cannot be ignored. We must focus on one thing. Jesus Christ. We must invest our whole life – heart, mind, soul and body in our pursuit of Him. Christ alone is the cornerstone of life and foundation of faith that a blessed, favored and prosperous existence is established. Diversified living produces divided interests that are not all profitable. Our existence must be continually filtered through our relationship with the Lord in order to become a valuable asset. Forgetting what lies behind us and straining for the future means letting go of everything that keeps us tied to the past in order to fully embrace the new life offered in Jesus Christ. The call is upward. Symbolic of a mountain climb to view life from a new vantage point and see the beauty unperceivable by human eye but only fully disclosed in the Presence of God. You will fight yourself. You will fight the enemy. Those who battle these foes will find life filled with satisfaction just like the Lord promised those who seek His Face.

Lamentations 3:21-25 (ESV) But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

I know what you’re thinking… another feel good message from an optimist. Not really…I just happen to have fully invested myself in the realm of hope. I wasn’t given a choice. To continue to live – I had to accept that there is life beyond today and a place for me in His Presence. When life no longer can be normal, it is the only option. There has to be a forever. There must be a Savior. I must seek Him until I find Him. He helps me in the process by providing new mercy each morning. If yesterday was a complete bust and I went to bed a failure all that changed when I woke up with new mercy waiting for me. His Grace is enough. It will always be enough. Jesus is from beginning to end. He is the Word. The Word cannot return void so nothing is impossible with the Lord. In every misstep and mistake, there is still a mission to be accomplished by divine direction that cannot and will not stop until it is complete. This is not because of my ability to be faithful and true. It is entirely based on the faithfulness of God and fulfillment of Jesus.

What does your soul say today? An empty soul cannot prosper and has nothing to offer your life. Our life prospers when our soul does. The Holy Spirit is the sole cultivator of our soul. He takes the measure of faith entrusted us and makes good fruit grow from it. He tills the hardest of hearts until it is fertile soil. He plants those seeds. He waters them with the Word of God. He carefully picks out the weeds with conviction. The problem is that the process takes time like any other season. We do not want to wait. We do not like discomfort and/or inconvenience. We abort the process and thereby the promise with it. So what does the Lord do? He gives us new mercy and abundant grace so a new life as a new creation is always possible to those who believe.

Zechariah 4:10 says, “ For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.” We must not only recognize and rejoice in the smallest and minute areas of growth and development in our spiritual life. My husband gave me two hydrangeas last Mother’s Day. I love hydrangeas but am a well-known plant killer. I planted the little bushes in our flowerbed and walked away – literally. I went to inspect them after a long cold winter to find sticks where my plants used to be. I was a tad bit discouraged but what did I expect from my notorious black thumb. However, on closer inspection, I noticed new bright green leaves coming up from the ground and tiny buds covering the limbs. The plants are not dead but transitioning seasons. The dead leaves had to fall off to make room for new growth. I wonder if our inability to see past this season keeps us from recognizing the masterpiece that God is making in our midst. We despise those small beginnings as He takes the “plumb line” of Jesus Christ and measures our life. He is directing us upward to the high calling but we would rather wallow in the mud most days than engage in the process needed for new life.

Luke 1:37 (ESV) “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

If we must start somewhere, why not here? To wake up each morning expectant of His Love, Grace and Mercy ready to receive it on the principle that nothing, absolutely positively nothing, is impossible with God. We get to God through His Son, Jesus Christ. We have the Word activated inside of us because Jesus entrusted His Spirit to us as a guide and cultivator of purpose in us. We must stand on the foundation of Christ by faith with the expectant hope that nothing is impossible if we believe. Nothing. Zilch. Zero. This is confidence. This is our conviction. Faith is the assurance of what we hope for based on the strongest of convictions that even though we don’t see it – we believe that all things are possible with Jesus.

Proverbs 20:21 (ESV) An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning will not be blessed in the end.

Matthew 24:13 (ESV) But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

Amplified Trust

Quote About Trusting God 1000 Images About Peace And Trust On Pinterest Trust God Trust.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (Amplified) Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].

To walk by faith and not by sight makes life interesting. Sometimes, it makes you feel a little bit crazy. Have you ever gotten out of the boat, like Peter, and about two or twenty steps out thought what in the world was I thinking? The waves begin to rise and the wind starts whipping. The fog rolls in and even the One you were trying to get to seems to have left you all alone. Fear becomes a weight pulling you under and doubt begins your descent. To trust in and rely confidently on Jesus requires all of our heart. Our mind plays tricks on us. Even our eyes and ears can lead us astray. It is this thing called trust that makes all the difference. How do we find it? How do crazy Christians make it in this world?

I am a crazy Christian. A Jesus freak in every sense of the word. I lost my way along time ago and am too far gone to go back now. Yet there are days when I look around wondering how I wandered into such a mess or did I miss my turn. Faith is illogical. Hear me today, it doesn’t make sense to trust the Lord. Your mind will never be able to wrap itself fully around the concept of salvation and the magnitude of grace that it offers. We can know Christ though. In fact, His Desire for intimacy with us is exemplified in the offering of His Spirit to a broken and fickle heart. He longs to be our beloved as He that is His Fondness and Affection for us. So much more than a friend, closer than a brother – Jesus is the Lover of our soul.

“To trust God in the light is nothing – but to trust Him in the dark – that is faith.” C. H. Spurgeon

Matthew 5:16 (Amplified) Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.

It is important to know and understand that the Light of the world lives in us. It is that light inhabiting our being through Jesus Christ that is the beacon illuminating every dark place in the world. Therefore, it is only reasonably to believe that as believers there will be times when we find ourselves in darkness. Those days when nothing seems to line up with God’s Word. There is nothing pointing out God’s Way. Moments when our faith in God is challenged and our hope clearly defined by the impossibility of darkness closing in around us. These are the moments in life when it is our time to shine.

Let your light shine before men. To trust God when things are going well is not trust at all. I have faith in the furniture in my house. However, if I find a curbside treasure, I will not trust the solidity of the chair without careful evaluation and testing. To trust God in the darkness is faith at its finest. When we believe God made a way when that way is not abundantly clear or discernable with our natural senses. These are the times that our faith in God is tested to reveal if connected by trust. Do you trust the Lord today? Do you trust Him enough to let Him shine in every dark recess of the heart to expose light from within you?

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” Corrie ten Boom

Isaiah 43:16-19 (Amplified)  This is what the Lord says, He who makes a way through the sea and a path through the mighty waters, He who brings out the chariot and the horse, the army and the mighty warrior, (They will lie down together, they will not rise again; they have been extinguished, they have been put out like a lamp’s wick): “Do not remember the former things, Or ponder the things of the past. “Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”

God’s Way is never like we planned it. There is always a twist, turn or tweak that makes it better. Too often it is human nature to get caught up in our expectation rather than placing the weight of it on the throne of our Savior and Lord. To say, “Jesus, here it is! You do it!” Fear tells us it may not be what we want. Doubt reduces the credibility of the Cross as a finished work and diminishes the value of God’s Gift of Grace. There has to be a point in time when all of our expectation is placed in Jesus Christ. This is the point of faith overtaking fear and confidence removing all insecurity. God has already made a way for us to access His Kingdom, Power and Authority – trust gives unlocks its unlimited potential in our life. It is the breath behind our “yes”!

“Do not remember the former things, Or ponder the things of the past. “Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” God’s creativity is always at work in us. He has promised to complete the good work that He began when He first gave us life. He will not stop until His Word, Will and Way come to pass. Trust is futuristic not reliant on the past or former things. It sees through the darkness using the Light inside as a guide. We must constantly remain forward facing in this walk of faith or risk being sucked back into the dark shadows our past failures or repetitive cycles that will kill the seeds of faith growing within us eliminating the potential of new life as a new creation in Jesus Christ.

Psalm 20:6-7 (Amplified) Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will remember and trust in the name of the Lord our God.

I am about to wreck some religion and theology. We are all God’s Anointed. Being filled with God’s Spirit which identifies you as His Son or Daughter is characteristic of anointing. You have been filled with the Spirit of the Living God. We all have various gifts and talents entrusted to us by the Lord along with a measure of faith to release the potential. His Anointing gives life to that faith and makes it grow, develop and mature into our calling. You are called and equipped to minister and be an ambassador of Jesus Christ. A partnership and covenant relationship is what unlocks the heart and releases that potential. It is all about trusting the Lover of our Soul – Jesus to do what He promised to do when He said, “It is finished.”

Do you trust the Lord today? With your whole heart? Do you lean on your own logic or completely on His Word? Trust me. After living more than 50 years, I will testify that your heart and mind changes with time. We are in a state of constant transition and change. I was a daughter and sister, then a wife and mother and now (oh glorious day) a grandmother. Seasons of life are inevitable but if I make all these transformations but do not focus on my relationship with Jesus Christ to change my character and identity from death to life – I have wasted my existence. People made me who I am in the natural through relationships. My father sent me a text the other day to say, “Happy Birthday!” My response – “Thanks Life Giver.” My parents made me a daughter. My husband made me a wife. My children made me a mom and now a grandmother. Why is it so hard to accept that God who created us with divine inspiration could make us into something new? It is important to fully lean on the Lord. To trust Him to tell us who we are and what He has planned for us. I am no good to anyone without Christ as my foundation. Every other relationship must be built on and established in the Lord to be productive. I must trust the Lord with all my heart and lean on Him for understanding.

Psalm 37:3-5 (Amplified) Trust [rely on and have confidence] in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and feed [securely] on His faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him also and He will do it.

Today, I must amplify and exhibit trust in the Lord. I must strive to rely on and have confidence in the Lord and His Word in all things. To do good even when I do understand what the fruit will look life but sow just the same. To dwell in His Presence in my placement and the position that He has placed me in until He comes because He is always faithful and His Word does not return void. To go one step further and DELIGHT in doing it. Deep breath! This is probably the toughest one of all is delighting in the unknown because you trust the God you know. God has promised to give me the desires and petitions of my heart. I must commit my way to the Lord and TRUST HIM to do it. Lord, open the doors and windows of my heart to the Light of Your Love today, chase away all the darkness, and let me be a conduit of love and trust that draws men and women to You!

Psalm 34:10 (Amplified) The young lions lack [food] and grow hungry, but they who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing.

Deep is Calling

Deep is Calling

Psalm 42:6-8 (Message) When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you, from Jordan depths to Hermon heights, including Mount Mizar. Chaos calls to chaos, to the tune of whitewater rapids. Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers crash and crush me. Then God promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night! My life is God’s prayer.

“Deep calls to deep” is a verse read many times. It is a sense of longing for the gentle whisper that requires a response. Reading the same passage in The Message translation is a more apt description of what the deeper things of God feel like. Chaos calls to chaos. The violent shaking of the storm with the wild winds and waves tossing us from the complacency of what is to the confident hope of what could be if we walk by faith and not by sight. Deep calls out to deep as the Lord beckons us to come closer to step out of the proverbial boat to walk on water with Him. We call out to the deep but prefer wading. There is no real interest in what is beneath the ocean’s surface where grace turns to obedience and calling becomes our destiny. When our soul begins to slump, it is in that moment we look for the Living God to bring His Power and New Life. When He rushes in and change begins to unravel our comfortable, convenient and seemingly controlled existence – we are shaken from the security of what is and to be completely undone to new possibility.

Living in the south, our physical intuitiveness can feel the rain coming. The humidity descends with all the damp pressure. The air is thick. The clouds circle overhead and it becomes overcast. The thunder begins to roll and lightening begins to flash. Sometimes just a few gentle droplets or a torrential downpour – its all the same. Spiritual discernment sees pasts the rising waves. It perceives the winds of change sweeping through our life. Our heart comprehends what our mind does not want to accept – transformation always requires a transition. You cannot stay where you are and find a new position. You cannot remain who you are and assume a new identity. You cannot hold on to the past and fully embrace the future. God put this longing to answer His Call in our heart and mind calling it eternity. He planted a measure of faith in us to achieve that calling equipping us from our creation with exactly what is needed to be who He created us to be. Nothing in this world can stop God’s Plan. We must only answer His Call.

Hebrews 12:25-29 (Message) So don’t turn a deaf ear to these gracious words. If those who ignored earthly warnings didn’t get away with it, what will happen to us if we turn our backs on heavenly warnings? His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time—he’s told us this quite plainly—he’ll also rock the heavens: “One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern.” The phrase “one last shaking” means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered. Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!

“He is jealous for me… Loves like a hurricane… I am a tree… Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy… When all of a sudden…. I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory… And I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affections for me… Oh how He loves us so.”  (John Mark McMillan)

We sing this popular worship song often not really listening to the words but repeating it from memory. What if God’s Love for us produces violent shaking in an effort to make us release the ordinary and receive the extraordinary? What if our hunger and thirst is to seek more and discover full satisfaction? Could it be that all the “chaos” in our life is to stir up the inner gifting and anointing planted by God for His Purpose? God wants to prosper us. It begins in our soul. Makes its way through our heart. Enters our mind. Changes our thoughts. Transitions us from fear to faith and we become courageous in confident hope. See God is doing something in us far greater than the immediate gratification sought after by a weak flesh and fickle heart. He knows exactly what it will take to draw us into the deep. He creates the vortex that will soon overtake us.

Our God is likened to an “all-consuming fire.” Like the burning bush before Moses, thought engulfed with flames, the bush remained. God loves us like that in an explainable display of His Glory that complete overtakes our life yet within Him – we are safe and secure. Like the three Hebrew boys cast in a fire, yet they were never forsaken and certainly not alone. The Lord was waiting in the fire for them. He accompanied them until it was time to come out. Not a hair singed or garments reeking of smoke, they were presented to the people no worse for wear. The people recognized the Living God in that moment. Our calling will always include those who are watching for and waiting on the Kingdom of God to be presented.

Psalm 93 (Message) God is King, robed and ruling, God is robed and surging with strength. And yes, the world is firm, immovable, Your throne ever firm—you’re Eternal! Sea storms are up, God, sea storms wild and roaring, sea storms with thunderous breakers. Stronger than wild sea storms, mightier than sea-storm breakers, Mighty God rules from High Heaven. What you say goes—it always has. “Beauty” and “Holy” mark your palace rule, God, to the very end of time.

The deep calls us to be drowned in His Grace. It is an invitation to die to self and be overtaken with life. If you find it easy to exist in God – there is so much more to discover. The deeper you go the less likely it is that your flesh will survive. Full surrender is required to fully accept salvation and eternal destiny. God is King. He is Sovereign. He is All-Power, All-Knowing and everywhere at the same time. He knows us inside and out. He created us with a purpose and definite plan that is in full execution. The answer of our heart to the deeper things of God is always the same – “yes”. It doesn’t have to loud or dramatic. Most often it is in the darkest place or most dangerous height when a single step of faith seems illogical and impossible – and the Lord says, “Do it anyway…” Will you? Will you allow the chaos of calling overtake you? Will you answer His Call to come deeper? Will you let God mess up your ordinary life to make it extraordinary? Will you say, “Yes” to it all? Delayed obedience is considered disobedience. It is a quiet rebellion that denies the impossibilities of miracles to accept the ordinary. God has something waiting for you and me that is just beyond our comfort zone, outside the boundaries of convenience, and just outside of our control. Do you want it? Do you desire the Lord above all things? Deep is calling deep. Chaos is crying out to chaos. Our destination is called beautiful and holy. Do you want to meet Him there? He is calling you deeper… Just say, “Yes!”

I Peter 2:9-10 (Message) But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.

 

Thankful Heart

Thankful Heart

Psalm138:1-2 (ESV) I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.

Today is my birthday. It is just an ordinary day to me. I will let you in on a little secret. Taking another year doesn’t really bother me, I believe age is just a number. It is all the extra attention that I find to be the most uncomfortable. I am a giver. I love to bless other people. The position of receiver makes me want the day to pass more quickly. There is vulnerability in being the recipient. It creates a feeling of obligation in the acceptance of a gift. There is humility in the posture of receiving because it creates expectation. This morning as I fed the dogs, started laundry, working on the Mother’s Day plans for church, my heart began to recount all the blessings in my life. I am a grandmother now. Oh how I love that little guy. My life and my home the one that I dreamed of as a little girl. Life has not always been perfectly but now looking back it is turning out beyond anything I could have asked for, considered or imagined. Even though there were times I just knew all my bad choices, horrible habits, years of wandering, and inability to walk in constant obedience would result in a consequence – I just cannot find them now. God has certainly taken all those details making good on His Promise that unfailing love and possibility would be birthed in even the tiniest of details. Today – I am thankful with my whole heart.

I wonder what would happen if we lived each day in such a state. To be thankful with our whole heart would certainly change our mind. It would alter thoughts and reposition our perspective in life completely. Human nature is giving to comparison and complaining that eats away at our confidence in the God who works out all the details and even perfects that which concerns us. To be grateful acknowledges Him and to do so before the rush and radiance of His Glory comforts us in the waiting. I have received much from the Lord and to Him I must return my praise, glory, honor and worship. He takes our whole life and makes a masterpiece of it – can we give Him our whole heart in return?

3 John 2 (NKJV) Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased. (Psalm 138:3) I didn’t ask for anything for my birthday this year despite my husband’s pleadings for some ideas. I was bestowed a crown fitting for a queen or at least my dentist charged me like it was. I really am content. The only thing I wanted today was to be surrounded by my family and closest of friends. To fellowship together and enjoy each other’s company over dinner somewhere. To hug all my kids and squeeze my littlest grand – there is nothing I am more thankful for than this. The Holy Spirit lives in us growing and developing fruit to feed our soul. The first of which is love. Love then joy and peace. These three things are essential. Given to us with a measure of faith to cultivate them fully in our life. Our heart is the fertile soil of new beginnings. I wonder if thankfulness and gratitude is an added nutrient that accelerates growth in us like a good fertilizer on flowers or the lawn. To weed out all the fear, doubt and insecurity sown in us by the enemy to choke out the confident hope that leads to impossibilities and prosperity overtaking us from the inside out. As I call on the Name of the Lord today – it is with two simple word not nearly enough for all He has done – Thank You!

I Thessalonians 5:16-19 (ESV)  Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.

The Lord WILL and DOES perfect all that concerns you and me. It takes a lifetime to produce the miracle inside of us called new life. It takes a lot of planting for our heart and mind to prosper. We facilitate that process only in our “yes”. In the waiting, it is our willingness to praise and worship the Lord for who He is that is essential in tending that which is growing with us to manifest in our life. We can rejoice always. We can pray to a listening God without ceasing. We can give thanks in all circumstances because His Word will not return to Him void. It will accomplish exactly what it set out to do. He does perfect all that concerns us out of His Unfailing Love and Faithfulness in spite of us. This is the Will of God for our life. To prosper as our soul does. Let the Holy Spirit fill you with new life, new love, and new possibilities today. It begins with a simple “yes” watered in thanksgiving.

Psalm 138:8 (NKJV) The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord endures forever.

In the Shadow

in the shadow

Psalm 91:1-2 (ESV) He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

To live in the shadow of can mean to live close to or in a position of being unnoticed because all the attention is given to someone else. It is human nature to live by comparison. The shadow of choice is the standard set for our life. He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. It is important that the standard of our life is from the Word of God and not living in the shadow of other people. God made you with an individual plan and purpose that no one can fulfill but you. It is filled with blessings and benefits that are your inheritance set aside for your good pleasure. There is no competition with God. The Father has no favorites. Each one of His Children unique and complex in His Creation. Or have you someone found yourself living in the shadow of others? Maybe you live in the shadow of the impossible mountain that won’t seem to move? The Lord offers us a place in His Presence. A close proximity to Him. To dwell in the shelter of His Refuge and the Fortress marked “Peace”. He invites us to abide in the shadow of the Almighty! Yes, please.

“My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Oh and there is the secret. Trust. To eliminate all fear, doubt, and insecurity by moving from the obscurity of the crowd into the courts of the Almighty. The transition will defy all human logic as it is solely reliant on faith. We walk by faith and not by sight. Faith must have a new foundation. The foundation of our faith is Jesus Christ. We must compare our standard of living to Him to align our life with the Father. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. What is right for me may not be right for you. Our convictions may be different. The habits that are healthy and choices that are right are not the same for everyone – it is important to understand that while we all have fallen short of God’s Glory not every produces the same light. Each light is needed to drive out darkness of every kind. The brightness of our life is produced by living in the Shadow of the Light of the world.

Psalm 91:9-10 (ESV) Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—the Most High, who is my refuge—no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.

The story of Elijah is one of my favorites to study. In 1 Kings 18, he is killing all the false prophets but then in I Kings 19 – he is hiding from simple threat. I was listening to a snippet of a sermon from one of my favorite preachers yesterday. He was retelling the story from a different perspective. Elijah was in the midst of transition. He was being repositioned by the Lord in his ministry. He was a teacher, prophet and minister. He was becoming a mentor. Sure enough at the end of I Kings 19, Elisha arrives on the scene. I wonder if in the midst of transition or perhaps transformation the undoing is too much for our humanity. If in those times – we forget that we live in the shadow of the Almighty and reposition ourselves in the shadow of others. Shadow of fear. Shadow of doubt. Shadow of insecurity. Shadow of isolation. We forget that we live in the shadow of the Almighty God who never grows weak and weary. When we are tired of the process, He continues to work on us just the same. His Word does not return to Him void even when we give up on it. Two different mountaintop experiences – one man. Great faith and confidence on one. Fear and doubt on the other. Same God. Sometimes the Lord has to get us away by ourselves to reassure us. He wants to speak to us but must silence all the other voices so that we listen to the still small voice. No weapon formed against us will prosper in this place.

No evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. Faith will always release God’s Favor in our life. It is no different than turning on the faucet and water running out. As long as you are connected to a source, the source is available to you. The source of water to my home is the county water line. The source of Living Water is Jesus Christ. When I align my life to Him and live in His Shadow, things begin to change. My closeness to the Lord allows me to experience such a life.

Psalm 91:14-16 (ESV) “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Because he holds fast to me in love… We are God’s Beloved. He bestows His Unfailing Love on us each and every day. He gives us new mercies every morning. His Grace is always enough to restore any breach. He gave His Only Son to die for our sins. This gift of God to us cannot be earned or deserved only returned. God doesn’t need us. He desires us. He wants us. He is desperate for us. The only thing that you and I can “do” for God is to love Him. To live in close proximity and intimacy with the Lord. To dwell in His Presence. Those who find the way into the shadow of the Almighty and choose to love Him forever will experience long and satisfied living as the Lord shows Him salvation at its finest. There are many who call on the Name of the Lord without the express desire to actually find Him or make their way to Him in this lifetime. It is like having money in the bank but living a bankrupt existence. The fulfillment of God given to us is found in His Love. There is nothing more to do than connect with His Love and never let go. Those who fall in love with God through His Son Jesus Christ will experience a holy inhabitation that consummates the relationship – it is the Holy Spirit. He becomes our teacher, mentor and guide through life so when things don’t make sense or storms rage or situations arise or the impossible comes – we have nothing to fear living in the shadow of the Almighty.

James 1:16-18 (ESV) Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

Oh how He loves us! He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy. When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affection for me. And, oh, how He loves us… (How He Loves – John Mark McMillan) The capacity of God’s Love for us is not limited by inability to receive it. He just keeps pursuing us and inviting us to enter into His Presence. Every good thing in our life is a product of God’s wooing us. He sends good gifts to His Children even those who do not live in an intimate relationship with Him. The prodigal’s father had two sons. A good son who was faithful to the family and another wild rebellious child who took his inheritance and squandered it prematurely. The father didn’t forget his “lost” son. He didn’t give up on him. In fact, when the broken shell of a man returned, the father welcomed him and celebrated his return fully restoring his place in the family.

God feels the same about you and me. He keeps our place in His Presence. There is no competition. There is no comparison. There is no condemnation in Jesus Christ. His radical and ridiculous love for us cannot be deterred or displaced it just keep pouring out in our life. Do not be deceived, my beloved. He invites you to come boldly before His Throne today and claim your place in His Presence. There is only one you. He made you to be a masterpiece. You are fearfully and wonderfully made because God did a marvelous work in your creation. (Psalm 139) Jesus Christ has given us boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him to approach God and live in His Presence. (Ephesians 3:11-12) The Lord invites you to live in His Shadow today.

Hebrews 4:15-16 (ESV) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Yes Lord Yes

Yes Lord Yes

Psalm 51:10-12 (ESV) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

There are seasons in life when it is time for a little introspection. It is important to evaluate our heart carefully to determine the proximity of Presence in our life. Relationship can easily turn into religion if our worship becomes habitual not a result of intimacy. I am here today. In this place of quiet with the Lord, the only One can truly hold me accountable by His Spirit in faith and confident hope. The words of the psalmist inspired by the Holy Spirit hold true today for all of us if our internal desire is the eternal hope of Christ. Though righteousness is found in Christ alone, it is up to us to give the Lord permission to examine us, evaluate our progress, eliminate that which is unproductive and exact growth and development in all the proper places. All we can do is say, “Yes!”

Create in me a clean heart, O God

Ezekiel 36:26 (ESV) And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

A change of heart is in its absolute breaking. God must have all the pieces of our heart in order to create a masterpiece. An artist cannot do anything with a canvas if there is no brush or paint. It is easy to withhold bits and pieces of our heart in order to preserve pride. It is difficult to surrender those parts that are painful. Depths of emptiness too vast to risk devastation. Darkness that is so recessed light has not reached it yet. All this space within us ready for holy inhabitation must be fully exposed and exchanged for the new heart, new spirit, and new mind waiting in the Presence of God offered by His Son, Jesus. Lord give me a new heart today. Remove the stony one of flesh and make it soft as promised.

Renew a right spirit within me.

2 Timothy 1: 6-7 (ESV)  For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

The Helper, Holy Spirit, who the Father gave us through the Son lives in us. He teaches us all things and brings into our remembrance that which God has ordained, decreed and spoken to us. (John 14:26) The Spirit offers us internal insight and eternal understanding not given to the world but received through Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:12) Finally, the Spirit is God’s Guarantee of every spiritual blessing in our life. The Spirit identifies us as God’s Children. This is the Gift of God when we come to Him through Jesus Christ. It is a non-negotiable part of our covenant with God as the Spirit is full consummation of our relationship to Him. Have you opened this gift in your life?

God has not given us the spirit of fear. Too often it is readily taken when offered by the father of lies as the truth that governs our life. Oh to have back all the time wasted worrying about things that never happened and carrying burdens that never came to fruition but still robbed me of peace and rest in the Lord. God has given us the spirit of power, love and self-discipline. Have you taken hold of that today? Sometimes we must exchange something we have to fully obtain what God is trying to give us. The same is true in renewal of a right spirit within me. I must examine my motives and emotions for power and love which always requires self-discipline to overcome the traps of doubt marked worry, anxiety and fear. God didn’t give us these so we must reject them.

Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (ESV) Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

There is nothing that can separate us from the Love of God. (Romans 8:28) Do you believe that today? I mean really believe it. Sometimes even saints of God forget that the Love of God for us is constant and concrete in the Cross. There is absolutely nothing you can do to ever make the Lord stop loving you or pursuing you with unfailing love and goodness. His Mercy is new every morning according to His Faithfulness not our ability to be faithful. There are no fatal errors for those who love God. Hard times create soft hearts. It is those moments of extreme weakness (physical, emotion and/or spiritual) that the truest nature of God is discovered. His Grace. When I am weak, I am strong. The enemy tries to make us think that when our walk turns to wandering or our thoughts to wandering that we somehow become lost. The Lord never leaves us or forsakes us but waits like the father for the prodigal son. I wonder what would happen if Children of God fully understood and embraced the importance and power of God’s Grace. It would be a life changer and history maker for the Body of Christ as the fullness of His Power permeated people and steeples everywhere.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Psalm 16:11 (ESV) You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

I’ll say yes, Lord, yes to your will and to your way. I’ll say yes, Lord, yes… I will trust you and obey. When your Spirit speaks to me with my whole heart I’ll agree and my answer will be yes, Lord, yes! (Shirley Caesar)

As I sit here today in the quiet of early morning, I am offering my heart to the Lord once again. I say yes, Lord, yes to Your Will and to Your Way. Sometimes that is not an easy proclamation in our journey with Jesus. We walk by faith not by sight. Trust is the issue of greatest importance. He will make known the path of life to me and offers me a choice which is a product of the freedom afforded me by His Son. In His Presence, there is fullness of joy but I must leave myself at the doorway and enter through Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The only way to the Father is through the Son. I must give Him my heart today. I must present Him my willful and overbearing spirit with all its pride to make room for His Spirit. I must move in closer with each “yes” until I am close enough to experience His Pleasures marked as promises forevermore. I find joy in doing His Will which always starts with love. His Spirit is producing the kind of fruit in me that is worth sharing. The cost is my pruning so that more fruit will grow. The sacrifice is my hard heart and unwilling spirit. Today – I say I will say, “Yes, Lord, yes!”

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (ESV) From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 

Greater Than All

Greater Than All

John 10:27-30 (ESV) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.

As I have openly admitted, I spend most of time commuting praising and praying my way into town and back home again. After a challenging week, I felt like praising was the only way to finish the week and prepare for the weekend. If you are like me, the transition into the two days set aside by the world to rest are usually filled with chores, tasks and to-do lists. Taking a deep breath, I just needed to be refreshed. Do you ever just need the tangible Presence of God to sit down beside you? Riding down the road, I came to a stretch of highway surrounded by tall trees. At this particular point though, the pines and oaks seemed to be closing in around the road producing the sensation I had been feeling all week. Overwhelmed a bit, losing sight, looking for direction, and every other emotion that comes from walking by faith and not by sight following an invisible God. Suddenly, I heard the music playing, “It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You.” (Surrounded – Bethel) The Peace of God that passes all understanding met me right there in my car driving to work. I realized that I couldn’t see past the trees but God could and He was right there with me. All those impossible situations were possible to Him. All those inexplicable concerns were melting in His Understanding. Sometimes we must come back to the basics of faith and following the Lord in the one simple truth – God is greater than all. All my problems, misgivings, uncertainties, fears, doubts, bad choices, enemies, obstacles, and every other thing that proves challenging in my life. He is the Unchallenged Authority, not only over me, but everything else. God is Sovereign. He reigns supreme. All these qualities God instilled in Christ who now lives in me.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus is the Shepherd. We are His Sheep. Those who believe in Him will follow His Voice. His Voice doesn’t always lead us where we want to go or how we would like to do it. In fact, it is my experience that when I hear the Voice of God and do what He says His Way – it is usually the most uncomfortable, inconvenient and uncontrollable way possible. It usually is marked by the impossible because God doesn’t want to give me a good life but every spiritual blessing ordained for me that is in the Heavenly Realm accessed by faith and confident trust. This is only found in trusting the Lord and becoming completely depended on Him. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. It is a challenge. It will take your all. You will have to endure. You cannot give up. The promise is victory. You will always win. Greater is Who is in You than he that is in the world.

I John 4:4 (ESV) Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.