Complete

Complete

Romans 15:13 (NLT)  I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Complete. Having all parts or elements. Lacking nothing. Whole. Entire. Full. Finished. Ended. Concluded. Having all the required characteristics, skills or the like. Consummate. Perfect in kind or quality. Thorough. Entire. Total. Undivided. Uncompromised. Unmodified. In Genesis 2, God, the Father, completed creation and then rested in its wholeness and perfection. Sin separated us from encountering God and embracing His Divine Impartation of perfection for us. Jesus Christ, His Son, came to the world and paid the price of sin in full on the Cross. When our Savior and Lord said, “It is finished” the restoration of mankind to God was complete including every description listed above. The salvation of God and impartation of His Grace to humanity is absolutely complete. Those who to accept the grace that has been given and enter into the righteous relationship offered have full and unrestricted access to the Father through the Son. Let that sink in for a few minutes…

The limitation on our life and lack that may be in it is not of God. It is a breach in our trust agreement with Him. How do I know this? Because it says so in the Word of God…our connection with Christ completes us. The Christ in us fills every void left by sin, shame, regret, bad choices, old habits and weakness. His Grace must be enough to complete us or it remains powerless at best. We have faith invested in us to become confident hope that is exercised by trusting Him more. The promise and plan of the Living God for your life is complete. It has all of the elements needed for success. You will lack nothing in His Presence. He makes broken things whole again. You have all the required characteristics, skills and the like as you are created in the image of God who is absolutely perfect in all of His Ways. His Will is to completely fill your life with every good thing that was ordered and ordained for you during conception as He was with you in your mother’s womb. You are not random. God made you intentionally complete and sin tried to destroy His Work. In Christ – His Work becomes a masterpiece.

I Corinthians 13:12-13 (NLT) Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

The value of our life is not determined by our current situation or circumstances. Success or failure in life doesn’t determine the ultimate worth of our life. You are priceless. An innocent man, not just any man but the Son of the Living God, died for you. The Living God who decided that you were worth dying for. I could not conceive this until I had children and now grandchildren. I would gladly give my life so that any one of them may live. It would be an easy exchange. I love them with my whole heart. God’s Love for us is exponentially more than a human heart or mind can comprehend. It is perfect.

God is completely in love with you and me. The righteous relationship is not in any way impacted by our past. Grace removes our sin as far as the east is from the west. Trust removes every hindrance from the perfect plan that God preordained for us and predestined us to have. We do not understand the completeness of God for if we did it would be the greatest pursuit of our life. Instead, we work harder and try to make better choices rather than fully relying on the completeness of God to fulfill His Purpose, Plan and Promises for us. We see things imperfectly. We are puzzled by the impossibilities rather than picturing the miracles to come. With partial perspective, comfort zones are carefully constructed because doubt produces fear and insecurities about God’s Perfection and His Intentions for us. God knows me completely and loves me just the same. God’s Love for us is complete and perfect. There is no way to earn or deserve it. God would not set us up for failure when He promised us a future.

Ephesians 1:22-23 (NLT) God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.

In order to experience the completeness of God in our life, one must make Christ the Lord of their life. To become one with Him is to engage in fulfillment and completeness offered to us by Jesus Christ. He will gladly fill every area offered in surrender and submission with Himself which becomes the sought after prosperity of man which is not found in the natural but only experienced by a prospering soul. It is our union with Christ that offers true abundance in this life and forever.

Ephesians 3:18-20 (NLT) And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

What if the problems you are facing and lack you are currently living in is not God withholding anything from you but rather you withholding something from Him? The Love of God offered through Christ offers us completion with fulfillment of life and power. It is accepted humbling through His Grace that works best in our weakness. What if the lack in our life is actually of our own doing? It absolutely is. Oh, please don’t be offended. This is not an accusation but a providential challenge. You work hard. Give generously. Live righteously. Try to be kind. However, if there is no submission and surrender in the form of trusting God in certain areas of life – there will be lack. We must know and believe that God’s Love for us is complete and unconditional. We must live by the truth that nothing can ever separate us from His Love thanks to Jesus. Christ must fill every area of our life to experience His Fulfillment and Completion. We are part of an abundant Kingdom. Our Father is the Living God. He is good. He loves us and withholds nothing from us. Are we ready to receive?

God is able to do and accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. How? His Mighty Power at work is within us. The Christ in us is pressing and prodding us to accept the abundant life that is promised. The barriers and obstacles within us must give way to totally trust and the absolute conviction that God will do exactly as He promised. He will complete our life. We will lack no good thing. We have every spiritual blessing. It is not a God thing. It is a “me” thing if I am not experience such an existence.

Lord, I acknowledge that you are my source of hope in all things. I ask you to fill me completely with joy and peace. I will trust you more today. I receive the overflowing confident hope that faith allows and your Spirit gives in Jesus Name. AMEN!

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

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Undeserved

Undeserved

Romans 5:1-2 (NLT) Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

I do not deserve the grace and kindness given to me through Jesus Christ. It is completely undeserved and therefore quite difficult to take hold of. It has not been justly or rightly earned. It is unmerited favor which in my sinful state cannot ever be acquired by human acts or abilities. Like a prickly cactus in a hot desert filled with life giving and sustaining water, how does one fully embrace a love so pure and untainted? Barbs of self-recognition lead to doubt and distress. Such revelation pierces the skin and penetrates the heart with the simple truth that I can do absolutely nothing to earn or repay God for the extravagant gift of His Love.

In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6) Too often those “fiery arrows” are self-inflicted when the lie of the enemy is allowed to penetrate the soft and broken heart. It is truth by the world’s standard but nullified by the Kingdom principle that God is love. His Love for us is giving freely and undeserved. We are saved by grace through faith. The route is simple but pathway diverse. The struggle to accept the simplicity of the Gospel that is the covenant of relationship often leads right back to captivity by doctrinal law and religious overtures meant to buffer our pride so there will be no suffering. The suffering that leads to repentance is the revelation of who Christ is and the fact that we will never be able to offer anything in return to reciprocate His Generosity in giving up His Life to give us a new and everlasting place with Him forever.

Salvation is a heart change. However, if there is not a mindset associated with it there is no chance of survival for the new believer. The enemy comes in with lies. He attacks us with truthful accusations. None of this changes the fact that Christ died for you and me giving us the opportunity for full restoration and active relationships with God the Father again. The helmet of salvation is confidence in the hope give to us through faith in Christ alone. Uncertainty is slain with the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Unarmed with faith and confident hope fortified and forged by God’s Word, there is nothing to defend our belief that God is who He says that He is and Christ has given us the Gift that is promised. Faith and trust in God is irrational and illogical outside of God’s Word and Truth that by His Grace I am saved through this process.

Romans 5:3-5 (NLT) We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

To fully accept the gift of new life given to us by Jesus Christ, means that I must allow Him to change my character. The hope that I have comes through my utter helplessness. It is in all the things that I cannot do that the Power of Christ prevails because I succumb to weakness. Grace works best in human weakness. (2 Corinthians 12) Happiness is a temporary feeling. A conditional emotion based on the evident outcomes in life. The cause and effect of the natural occurrences in life. An immediate reaction to our current condition. The Lord has a different plan for us. It is not emotionally driven.

We can rejoice, too…when we run into problems and trials. God is building our character each day. The character of Christ was always in His Identity as the Son of God. Peter made the revelation in Matthew 16 when asked by Jesus, “But who do YOU say I am?” Peter’s response, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” This is the declaration of those who have a change of heart and mind. The ones who dare to step over pride and past self to fully embrace the Undeserved Love of God the Father for us – the prodigals. The strength of character is to fully know and believe that in Christ our relationship with God the Father is fully restored regardless of where we are now, how we feel, or our strength and ability. Character is built on the foundation of Christ alone. The kind of character that allows us to be confident in our salvation and to follow a hope that will not lead to disappointment. We must know that God loves us as undeserving as we all are.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT) God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 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.

What to do when the masterpiece looks like a mess? I often joke with people that I have a black thumb. A notorious plant killer by reputation with a heart that longs to nurture and grow little plants. When I was preparing for Mother’s Day in our church, I ordered fifty tiny succulent plants. Knowing of my own inability, I waited until the last minute to order them. When the ten day shipping really was only a couple of days, I was in trouble. For about a week, I worried over my tiny wards. These little cacti are made to live in diverse conditions. Yet, I fully believed in my heart that they had met their match. When the day finally arrived for them to go their new home, they were all alive. I celebrated. I still have a handful of them in my dining room facing the morning sun. I do not worry about them just tend to them every so often. They are alive. Just outside the dining room window are two hydrangeas that are flourishing after a year of my care. Miracles do happen.

I wonder how many times God is working in us and developing our character and new nature but we still wear the titles of our past life. Apparently, I am a reformed plant killer. If the enemy can keep our eyes on the mess, we may very well miss the message. If we give up in the test, there will be no testimony. Quitters never win. If the only thing good in me is Christ – then why do I expect greater things from me than the Lord? Christ gives us new life and calls us a new creation. The Character Changer is making a masterpiece because that was His Plan all along. The nature of God does not change to accommodate my feelings or emotions. He does not lie or change His Mind. What He says will be done for no word that comes from Him will ever return void of accomplishment.

Romans 5:10-11 (NLT) For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

No one deserves a right relationship with God. Jesus gave us the relationship out of His Goodness, His Grace and His Unfathomable Unconditional Love. It doesn’t make any sense. Outside of faith, it is completely unattainable. Abraham was called a friend of God because he dared to believe in God who “brings the dead back to life and creates new things out of nothing.” (Romans 4) Do you know that God? Do you believe that He will do what He says? You can say that you do but does your life show that you are absolutely certain of His Love. Certainly in Christ is evident when our character is built on humble acceptance of a love incomprehensible and undeserved. You are a friend of God by faith, friend. Your ability to be perfect melts in His Perfection and gives way to promises too great to pass by. Will you accept Him today? Get over the prickly human qualities that buffer pride constantly telling us that there must be repayment and recompense. There is nothing you can do to earn or deserve God’s Love – you must simply live in it.

James 4:5-7 (NLT) Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Our Approach

Our Approach

John 1:1-4 (NLT) In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.

“The Word of God is quick and powerful. In the beginning He spoke to nothing, and it became something. Chaos heard it and became order, darkness heard it and became light. “And God said – and it was so.” (AW Tozer – The Pursuit of God)

The importance of God’s Word in our life is indisputable. The Word is not irrelevant. It is not out of date or old fashioned as some might want to think. God created everything with His Word. Through His Voice – His Mighty Breath formed a world and produced light and life. The Sovereignty of God makes His Word powerful. The potency of His Vocabulary tears down strongholds beginning in our mind, wrangling our thoughts, breaking our heart and somehow producing a new and better life from the pieces left behind. God is the Creator of Life.

I think it valid to point out that babies are born every day. Life is perpetuated throughout the planet so therefore it only credible to think that God’s Word is still circulating the earth to accomplish its tasks. I set out on this journey of writing each day to prove that God still speaks to people. Ordinary people like you and me with all our faults and failures fueled by faith to have an ongoing conversation with the Life Giver – Life Changer – Jesus Christ. So it has been for almost a decade now, I get up early each morning to read the Word and listen for His Voice. He does not disappoint. It would seem that God does want to speak to us, converse with us, and abide with us in a place of intimacy meant for just the two of us.

While taking a few days off to rest and rejuvenate at the beach, I have been reading AW Tozer’s classic – The Pursuit of God. Tearing off chunks of meat each day – it has been a hearty diet of spiritual food for the hungry soul. Our soul and spirit must live in expectancy. Spiritual receptivity is essential to experience the life of a new creation. To live in God’s Abundance with a life overflowing in good fruit. The Word of God fills us with the Bread of Life. HE is the Living Water needed to satisfy our thirst for more. How many times does the busyness of life distract us? How often does the time in His Presence, reading His Word and listening for His Voice get cut short in the chaos of routines, schedules, and more? We want God’s Best. Crying out for an Open Heaven, but what if the Heavens are open but it is our eyes and ears that are closed? God is here. He is speaking to us.

John 1:14 (NLT) So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

I am quite certain that if I asked about your prayer life – there would be a list of things that you petition the Lord for each day. Conversations with God become egocentric. Often, one-sided in nature as there is nothing I can offer Him but He has a Kingdom for me. Entitlement is a dangerous venture. To come boldly before the Throne of God is not an act of entitlement but to trust Him in our approach and surrender. Jesus Christ lives in each one of us.

Hebrews 4:12 (NLT) For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

The Word of God is alive today. It is still powerful. Jesus Christ is the Word who came wrapped in flesh to demonstrate God’s Love for us and allow us to live as part of the Kingdom. He opened our communication with God the Father once again. God is always listening. He continually speaks. Now we have an ongoing conversation with the Lord that produces new life in us and through us. The Word of God will always change us. It begins in us before working its way out to our surroundings. The Lord will never go against His Word. He does not lie or change His Mind. He will not contradict the Word in you and for you by giving in to our whims and complaints. The communication between us must be intimate and personal. Too often we come to the Lord with about as much respect as the waitress at Chick-fil-a. We bark our order and expect it fast. All the condiments must be in the bag and don’t forget to say, “My pleasure.” Right? Come on… let’s be honest. It’s just us.

God has a plan for your life. He will give you the future and hope that is promised. He will lead, guide and direct you by His Word and with His Spirit. It is up to us if we will listen. To engage in an ongoing conversation rather than barking orders and outlining our demands to the Sovereign God. He knows exactly what is needed to produce a rich and satisfying life. He is ready to do more than you can think, ask or imagine. The limits on our life may be in our approach. It could very well be that our spiritual receptivity is hindered by a lack of focus or heartfelt sincerity. Do you want God’s Heart today? Or are you good with just what’s in His Hand?

I Peter 1:23 (NLT) For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.

My husband and I have been together for almost 20 years. Two decades is a long time. Not many friendships last that long let alone marriages, but I have been blessed with both. God has given us a love story for which I am thankful. In Psalm 139, it tells us that all the days of our life have been prerecorded by God. He has written a love story spanning the course of a lifetime overflowing into eternity. A small fraction of that timeline will involve the things associated with this life. Those things that we think will make us happy, satisfied and complete yet now much time do we spend talking to God about worthless things rather than communicating with Him on an intimate and personal level reserved for lovers and best friends.

God has given you a new life that will last forever. It comes from the eternal and living Word of God. It is important to embrace His Word each day and engage in conversations with the Lord. My daughter is a new mother. I strongly encourage her to schedule routine date nights with her husband. She gives me a long list of instructions on how to care for my grandson, and I give her but one… don’t talk about him during the date. We can get lost in the busyness of life and lose touch with intimacy with the Lord if not careful. We must pay careful attention to our partnership with Jesus to make sure it is bound by love and devotion not laws and duty. He has such a wonderful plan for us. The Word lives in you. It is our connection with the Word and communication that new life is born. God’s Glory is looking for a way out of you. It is an overwhelming glory that no man can produce but is possible only when we respond to the Word of God and obey His Voice. Are you running into dead ends? Living under a closed ceiling rather than open heaven? Are you satisfied? Are you content? Is your life prospering as your soul does? If not, it may be in your approach or lack of it. God is always speaking, whispering, encouraging and longing for a closer walk with me and it is up to me if I will walk with Him! Just a closer walk with thee…that dear Jesus is my plea… daily walking close to thee…let it be…dear Lord… let it be!

2 Corinthians 3:7-10 (NLT) The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way.

Time to Rest

Time to Rest 2

Hebrews 4:1-3 (NLT) God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God. For only we who believe can enter his rest. 

It is time for some rest. The last month has been a whirlwind of activity. God knows what we need and when we need it. At the beginning of spring, I booked a condo at the beach for Memorial Day weekend. A celebration for our daughter’s high school graduation and getaway for the family. This morning I have been packing and gathering things together to head out later today. As I come into this quiet place, it is with a thankful heart. I was uncertain whether or not to spare the expense and forego the trip due to home renovations and the inevitable expenditures with graduation, etc. My husband and I agreed if we didn’t do it now it wouldn’t happen. We are workers. Rest is a struggle for us. We do not stop until we hit the proverbial wall. Yesterday, sitting in my office I encountered the barrier – mind, soul and body shutdown. I need to rest.

God’s Promise of entering rest still stands – earthly and eternally. We should pay attention to our need for rest. God’s Work in us and through us is complete in Christ. Our toil is in vain. God never intended for His People to toil in vain and struggle until reaching forever. When He created the world, even God rested from His Work. It is good to rest. Pride tells us there is no rest for the weary. That is true if you do not believe. You will work hard for the rest of your life in vain if you do not come to the understanding that God’s rest is for you today.

For only those who believe can enter His Rest.

Faith and trust produce rest in the Lord. To know and understand that God’s Plan is constantly enacted in us and through us so that our doing is simple obedience – nothing more or less. There is not a single activity under the sun that is not orchestrated and ordained by God for our life. Ecclesiastes 3 details all the many activities. Psalm 139 reminds us that our life is prerecorded by the Lord with each day in vivid detail. To think that rest is not for us is to declare that we know what’s best for our life. This is dangerous my friend.

Mark 6:30-32 (NLT) The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone.

The disciples were led by Jesus to a quiet place to rest. They had been on a ministry tour. They were tired. They hadn’t eaten. Pouring out physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – Jesus took them to a quiet place where they could be alone. Now reading on – we find out that the people followed them and a miracle was coming. However, I would like to pause for a moment to remind you… and me…

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.”

The thought that there is no rest for the weary is the lie of the enemy to drain us. He wants to tire us out to the point of exhaustion. To be overwrought in emotionalism and overwhelmed by our situation and circumstances. It is all part of his ploy to take us out of the constant comfort and care of Christ to cast us into chaos. Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I WILL give you rest.” Sometimes the problem is that in our doing, we have taken the full load of our life and become unyoked from Christ. We live in partnership and reconciled to Jesus Christ but if at some point we no longer abide in His Love – we stop producing the fruit that nourishes our soul and keeps us peacefully resting in the Lord. His Yoke is easy. His Burden is light. When we become too tired, weary in well doing and overcome by exhaustion – it is usually because we have assumed full responsibility for our life rather than keeping it entrusted to Him. Guilty as charged…

Hebrews 4:9-11 (NLT)  So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest.

For the next handful of days, I am going on a getaway with my family. The forecast calls for rain, but I don’t care. I am going to find respite and rest as I have been carefully instructed by my heavenly Father. To become restored will always require responding to the Voice of Jesus when He calls us. For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. I believe in hard work. I believe in doing your best. I believe that everything we do should be done to glorify God and honor His Son, Jesus. Resting is included in such activities. To never cease from our labors of life is an indication of a void in our trust that His Grace is always sufficient and enough. We can do nothing to earn or deserve the Love God has for us. He is a Good Father who blesses our life. Simple obedience includes coming to the Lord with our weariness and accepting His Rest. Thank you Jesus for rest. I will enter it today…all over again.

Ecclesiastes 3:9-13 (NLT) What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

Live Free

Live Free

I Corinthians 1:7-9 (NLT) Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

“So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” (John 8:36) Free indeed. Unrestricted. Unbound. Unhindered. Unrestrained. The life of the believer is completely free in every possible way. The debt in life that kept us from living as sons and daughters of God was sin. Jesus paid the price in full and gave us the key that unlocks every door that keeps us from what the Lord has promised us. “Now” we have every spiritual gift needed to eagerly anticipate and wait for Christ’s Return. No longer are we subject to eternal judgment for there is no condemnation in Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:1) It is up to us to learn to live free.

“Freedom always comes with a price.” (C.S. Lewis) Jesus paid for our future. It is ours to embrace by faith in the One who secured it for us and released it to us. There is nothing I can do to earn freedom only live in it. I do not deserve the Gift of Grace that I have been given. However, to fully utilize it may very well be the best response to the Giver of Life. The new life given to us in Jesus Christ is without limit. It is abundant. It is extravagant. It is priceless. Always good and futuristic. Freedom is to be cherished and valued. To exercise our freedom in becoming the masterpiece that God designed is to live a life of liberty in His Spirit. How is it even possible? How do I engage in freedom when the Law seems so strict? How does one overcome religious doctrine to live openly in a loving and abiding relationship with Jesus Christ? It is really quite simple. It begins with “yes”.

Galatians 4:28-31 (NLT) And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac. But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit. But what do the Scriptures say about that? “Get rid of the slave and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman; we are children of the free woman.

God made a promise to Abraham. A promise that could only be delivered by faith in the Living God. Like many of us, Abraham and Sarah grew tired of waiting on the Lord and doubt caused them to try to help God fulfill His Promise. Abraham would have two sons – one born to a slave wife and one from his freeborn wife. The son of Hagar represents a human attempt to fulfill the promise of God. This is also the representative of the Law. The Law kept us bound until Jesus came to set us free. Sarah was a free woman. She is figuratively a spiritual mother of those who live by faith. There are promises born by human effort and then there are those birthed by the power of the Spirit. We are called to be the sons and daughters of the Living God who have been given every spiritual blessing. Too often waiting on God’s Word, His Will or His Way to come to pass produces bondage again to negative thoughts, shortcuts and substitutions that are not the product of freedom.

Luke 1:34-38 (NLT) Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.” Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

Freedom always says, “Yes!” To live in complete and absolute freedom according to God’s Holy Spirit is to say, “Yes!” The greatest conviction of a free man or woman in Christ is that nothing is impossible for God. To believe that the Word of God will never fail. Mary would become the mother of our Savior and Lord – Jesus Christ. She was a teenage virgin when the angel of the Lord came bearing wonderful news that might prove catastrophic to her social circle and religious beliefs. Her response the example for us all – “I am the Lord’s Servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Yes! Mary said, “Yes!” What is your response to God’s Promise today? How will you respond to His Word, Will and Way for you? The freedom of potential and purpose is subject to our response to God’s Promises. Will it be yes? No? Maybe? To live in complete freedom is to let go of the things of this world including time to allow God to have His Will and Way for us.

Proverbs 10:22 (NLT) The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich and he adds no sorrow with it.

By way of His Son, Jesus Christ, God has given us freedom. The freedom given is not true liberty if it cannot be used as we choose to use it. Think about it for a moment. You are free. The Son has set you free. You have the right to choose how to live and the fruit produced in your careful cultivation. You can try human effort to respond to God’s Promises or simply live by faith. It is up to you because who the Son set free is truly free. It is up to me. The choices made produce consequences. The consequences are directly related to our freedom. How will you use your freedom today?

The blessing of the Lord makes us rich. Jesus came to give us a rich and satisfying life. Such a life is not of wealth as the world sees it but of a prospering soul. If our freedom is used properly, the blessings and promises of God will not add sorrow to our life but produce wonderful things like love, joy and peace that passes all understanding. This is the life I want. To live free. The Lord has opened doors that no one can shut. I must look for them. He has closed those that are not for me. I must stop trying to reopen them. To live free means to lay my life at the feet of Christ and accept the new covenant. I can’t do it. He must increase and I must decrease. This is how I find true freedom.

2 Corinthians 3:17 (NLT) For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Perfect Me

Perfect me 2

Psalm 138:8 (NKJV) The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

I am not exactly sure when I stumbled across this scripture. All I know is that it has become one of my go-to. When things do not add up to my expectation or jive with the way I interpreted God’s Direction or Timing, this verse instantly comes to mind. When things are unraveling or the world crumbling, “the Lord will perfect that which concerns me…” I must be honest that at first it doesn’t bring the solace one might hope for. It is not easy to swallow or digest at first. How can an imperfect person achieve a perfect way?

Perfect means complete. It means having all the required elements, qualities or characteristics. When the word, perfect, is used as a verb it means to make something completely free from faults or defects. To make complete. “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:4) It doesn’t matter what the situation or circumstances of our life – the Word of God promises the Lord will perfect that which concerns me. His Plan for me is that I will lack nothing but prosper in all things pertaining to life and godliness. His Purpose is in me with enough faith to grow, mature and develop the good fruit that will satisfy my soul. The Lord even promises to make all things work together for good for those who love Him and to those called according to His Purpose. (Romans 8:28) This promise is just before the sweetest of godly convictions that nothing can or will ever separate us from His Love. We have been given perfect love by a perfect God who will perfect all that concerns His Beloved.

Psalm 18:30-32 (NKJV) As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect.

The egocentric nature of humanity wants to believe it plays some role in perfection. The mind, will and emotions embrace pride that can be the greatest foe against faith. Pride tells us not to surrender in weakness or to submit to God’s Authority. However, if God’s Way is perfect – it is surrender and submission is required which comes at the end of self. The Word of God is proven. No word that He has ever spoken or given breath to will return to Him empty of purpose. Jesus Christ is the Word of God who came wrapped in flesh. (John 1) To fully embrace completion and allow the Lord to perfect that which concerns me comes through the bond formed with His Son – Jesus Christ, the Word.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the access point to God the Father. No one can enter the Presence of God apart from the Son or uninhabited by His Spirit. The Holy Spirit marks us for completion as the sons and daughters of God. The only way to achieve the promise of perfection is to trust God. We must learn to live in the process of perfection with persistence, perseverance and patience knowing and believing that His Way is perfect and His Word proven for my life.

God arms us with strength by His Grace. His Power is manifested in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) Perfection is achieved only by oneness with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son and filled with His Spirit. All three have vital roles in completion. The trinity is a partnership. When the rich, young ruler came to Jesus in Matthew 19, he had one simple question, “What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” The man went away sad and dejected because he had great possessions. God knows our weakness. He knows the imperfections. He sees right through us. He wants to take those things produced by doubt such as fear, worry, stress and anxiety in order to replace them with perfect peace. The kind of peace that can only be found in total trust and sweet surrender of this life for the Kingdom of God and eternal life.

Isaiah 26:2-4 (NKJV) Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in. You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.  Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength.

God will keep you in perfect peace when your mind is stayed on Him. Those who trust the Lord will be able to wait on Him while He perfects or completes all that concerns them. Trust is the shelter and refuge provided by Jesus Christ, the rock of our salvation. The one who takes our weakness giving us enough grace to exude His Power despite our imperfections and weakness. God is creating a masterpiece of all the broken pieces. He takes each one and makes something good out of it. He gives us beauty for ashes. Think about that for a moment. We have a fire pit in our backyard. When our inky black Labrador retriever was a puppy – she would dig in the ashes like a sand pit. Sitting by the backdoor waiting to come in, she was unaware that she was covered in gray dust and a complete mess. Do we come to God like that sometimes? After we play in the remains of our past, broken life or tried to make something useful much less beautiful out of our mess? Have you ever tried to make a log out of ashes? Impossible. Who would even try? The Lord says that He will give us beauty for ashes. (Isaiah 61) He is perfect in all of His Ways. Trust allows God to make something beautiful out of every broken thing in our life. Not just beautiful but perfect! We must only believe enough to trust Him in His Way and at His Word.

Philippians 3:12-14 (NKJV) Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

I am not perfect. I will never experience perfection outside of complete oneness with Jesus Christ. To fully embrace and totally trust His Way by following Him every day not just some days. To believe the Lord and take Him at His Word even on those days when nothing He spoke is evident in the circumstances of my life – to hold that truth as my confident hope. To continually sow seeds of faith in the firm foundation of Jesus Christ requires more effort and energy than I have as a human and must completely deplete me of self to be completely filled with Christ. Less of me and more of Him must be my daily commitment. Otherwise the life I live is not authentic but rather a façade for others. God has promised to give me His Strength. I must be weak to receive it. He has given me His Word – I must believe it. God has given me His Son – I must follow Him. The Lord has given me His Perfection – by grace I can receive it when I learn to trust Him more. Today I press toward the goal for the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus that takes me out of brokenness and worthlessness to live in complete confidence that He who began this work in me will finish it. He indeed perfects that which concerns me.

Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV)  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Little Faith

little faith

Matthew 17:20 (ESV) He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Dynamite was invented in 1867 by Alfred Nobel. The same Nobel who is responsible for Nobel Prizes for scientific and cultural achievements and awards. His invention of dynamite is what gave him the wealth to fund what is historically one of the most prestigious awards in the world. Before dynamite, the strongest explosive was gunpowder. Gunpowder did not have the power needed for many needs as it was very dangerous to handle especially in larger quantities. Dynamite met this need and was much safer to use.

Dynamite consists of a few common elements. Nitroglycerin, which already existed though extremely dangerous and quite unstable, is the primary potent ingredient that causes the massive explosion. Nobel took nitroglycerin and packed it in diatomaceous earth which is soft, chalky stone made nitroglycerin safer to handle. A wick and blasting cap are the final two components needed to create a stick of dynamite. Once placed in the desired location – the wick is lit and when it ignites the blasting cap causes a small explosion that triggers a much larger destructive explosion.

The Greek “dunamis” is used 120 times in the New Testament. The word refers to strength, power or ability. Yes, it is the root word for dynamite, dynamo, and dynamic. In Matthew 17, the disciples have tried to release the power of God by casting out a demon from a possessed person. It did not work. They are perplexed. When they ask Jesus, he responds “because of your little faith.” I often have read this thinking that the faith of these men too small to get the job done but I do not think that is the case at all. How much smaller can faith be than a mustard seed? What if Jesus was not talking about the size or quantity of faith but rather its handling and placement?

Mark 4:30-32 (ESV) And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

Faith is given to us. God assigns us a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3) We have the proper amount of faith but it must be properly handled to release God’s Power and Glory in our life. The Purpose and Plan of God for us is released as faith is planted then grows, matures and develops into a fruitful and abundant life. The seed must be buried to give way to its present form and release its divine purpose. Seeds of faith must be sown into the fertile heart in order to produce the dunamis power inside each one. Maybe when the Power of God and His Glory are not evident in our life is not because of a lack of potential or purpose but maybe abandonment of process. Unless we truly believe in the potential of each tiny seed of faith, there will be no energy expended in cultivating them. Funny that even with dynamite the powerful nitroglycerin must be enveloped in earthen material in order to be properly handled. The death of self is in living a life of faith not futility by trusting and believing God at His Word, planting it deep in our heart, lighting it with the Power of His Love, and allowing the Holy Spirit to explode inside of us until the Light reaches the world.

It only takes a stick of dynamite to release an explosion capable of great destruction. You have dunamis power inside of you in the person of Jesus Christ. We connect with His Power by faith. Faith comes in the form of seeds to be planted in a soft and fertile heart. It must grow into the confident hope. This is accomplished outside of our five senses. Faith is not logical unless it is supported by the Word of God. Quite simply – faith can only become powerful when properly handled until just the right time. God has given us a purpose and plan that is far beyond our expectation. It is not to be found in our present form but the Glorious Power that He has hidden on the inside of us just waiting to find its way out. You have faith. It must be handled properly. Thank you God for giving me the right amount of faith. Teach me to use it properly. I have Christ in me. He is enough. The Power and Glory of God is hidden inside of me. Lord, I ask that Your Power becomes the energy and drive of my life. In Jesus Name!

2 Peter 1:3-8 (ESV) His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faithful to the End

Faithful to the End 2

Psalm 145:13-18 (ESV) Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. [The Lord is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.] The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

The faithfulness of God has been heavy on my heart. To consider that He is always faithful. Faithful in all His Words and kind in all His Works. Every good thing in our life is a product of the Father’s Love that somehow whether consciously or unconsciously has made its way to us. The great thing about God’s Faithfulness to us is that it is not contingent on my faithfulness to Him. When my best effort results in complete and utter failure, God takes that detail and still makes good on His Promise to complete the masterpiece of my life from all the broken pieces. His Kingdom is everlasting. It is without end. There is a place for me in it which belongs to me. My heavenly real estate is given to me as an inheritance of faith in the Living God who have supplied a sufficiency of grace to overcome my every weakness with His Loving Kindness. God is faithful and His Unconditional Love for me is secure.

The Lord is faithful in all His Words and kind in all His Works. I love this promise. It is precious to the believer. To consider all the broken promises that have tainted one’s ability to trust and then somehow believe that the Lord is not capable of ever going back on His Word – it is life changing. Too often the human heart is tempted to take hold of unmet expectation and the offenses of this world including other people and form negating thoughts that change our confession over our life. It is always going to be this way. Why does God hate me? I can’t change. The list goes on and on.

His Words

Isaiah 55:8-11 (ESV) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Every word spoken by God for our life comes with a purpose. Those words cannot and will not return to Him void or empty of accomplishment. His Word for our life will always produce exactly what He promised it would. The trouble comes in our inability or unwillingness to trust God at His Word. Jesus Christ is the Word of God who came wrapped in flesh to fulfill the promise of salvation and redemption. Jesus released His Spirit to take God’s Word inside of us and by faith those words prosper into God’s Promise, His Purpose and His Plan for us. We must only receive Him by faith and live in the confidence of new hope. It is easier said than done.

God’s Thoughts are more numerous than the sand on the beach or stars in the sky. His Thoughts are higher than our thoughts. His Ways so complex that finite human logic cannot comprehend what God is doing from beginning to end. God is a planner. His Plan is quite detailed and prerecorded before our life ever began. His Word waters the faith in us to make it bear the true potential of its fruit. We must only trust the Word of the Lord and believe that it will come to pass enough to endure. Why? God is faithful.

His Works

Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV) For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

God is faithful to complete the work in us. The primary purpose of our life is to seek out the Love of God and learn to live in love with Him. I know what doctrine and religion has told you all these years. Those who love God will avoid sin as much as possible. There are convictions based on one’s desires to please God and remain in right standing with Him. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. To seek the Lord wholeheartedly will always move us farther from the worthless endeavors and fruitless works to a common place of mutual affection found only in His Presence. You will begin to love and live differently not because the Law says so but it is part of the covenant of relationship.

As we align our life to love God and remain a faithful partner to Him, suddenly our life agrees with God’s Plan. Purpose rises up from the broken heart that is so in love with God it cannot stay hard. The Grace of God that saves us begins to soften us – molding and shaping us into sons and daughters of God who live in close proximity to Him. Such a life encounters the blessings of God already set forth and planned for us because one cannot help but encounter God’s Goodness in His Presence. For example, I can send a text message invitation out to my children that we will have family dinner on Saturday night at 7:00 PM. We will be grilling steaks and all are welcome. At 7:00 PM when the steaks are ready cooked to perfection by dad and the twice baked cheese potatoes slightly browned covered in melted cheese hit the table with some fresh bread and we sit down to eat, those who attend will be blessed with a full belly and probably a tasty dessert. Those who choose to go have a burger at the local dive with their friends will miss the gathering and then pay the bill for their greasy food. Can that child complain that they did not get to eat the wonderful meal that was completely free? We do it all the time. The Lord offers us a place at His Table to partake of all His Goodness but we choose something else and have the audacity to complain about it.

Philippians 2:12-13 (ESV)  Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Psalm 145 offers the promise that the Lord will open His Hand to satisfy the desire of every living thing. God has a plan that is fully operational in our life regardless of our ability or willingness to trust Him. Why? God is faithful. He is faithful to the end. He is faithful to His Word. He is faithful in His Works. Our obligation in this covenant is to have faith and trust the Lord at His Word. The promise has a due date. Premature delivery produces miscarriage or abortion in most cases. Prematurity causes hardship because that which was created is not sustainable yet. It is out of season. It has not accomplished the proper stages of preparation. The Lord promises that the Plan and Purpose of our life will bring fulfillment. It requires faith in God even when it is not logical to even believe that which is hoped for could ever be possible. Sometimes it means reminding ourselves that it is not the end yet.

Lord, I call to my heart and mind every faithful experience and encounter that has come to pass in my life so far. I remind myself that You are faithful. You have always been faithful. You will always be faithful. You will complete the Word spoken over me and the Work begun inside of me. I choose to believe. Thank you God for your faithfulness even in my fears and doubts. Forgive me for all the times I lack trust. Help my unbelief! Thank You Lord that You are faithful to the end. Help me to endure! In Jesus Name! Amen

 

Chaos

Chaos

I Corinthians 1:9 (ESV) God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Chaos! Utter chaos! The words scribbled in my journal this morning. The last few weeks have been a runaway train. Today our fourth child graduates from high school – breathe mama breathe! Time is flying by and the winds of change are clearly stirring up my heart and soul. With a mind fully of memories, thoughts and a to-do list that keeps on growing – I am seeking peace this morning. I need rest for my mind. Rest for my body. I am looking for the Peace of God and calling on the internal comforter – His Spirit inside of me.

The words that come next are from a place of deep reserve. The reservoir of hope filled each morning in this quiet time begins to spill forth from my mouth even though my head and heart may not agree right this second – God is faithful. The faithfulness of God is not surprised by circumstances or shaken in our disbelief. He is faithful always. Let that sink in for just a moment as I have this morning. Even though I have lost control – God is still sovereignly in absolute control of my life. My world is in His Hands because I have placed it there and refuse to take it back. It is in this passage I find new breath on a morning of absolute stress, worry and well…chaos.

Our little fur baby, Izzy, is asleep in the chair next to me. Our giant fur baby, Scout, resting at my feet. Both are completely passed out and intermittently snoring. They are resting after an early morning breakfast and frolic in the yard. They do not worry about their next meal. They are not concerned with the details of the day. The rain is of little to no concern to them in the shelter of the home provide. They trust me to take care of them. They follow me from room to room plopping down right where I am working, sitting or even sleeping if possible. I wonder today if that is the lesson in the busyness of life – a gentle loving reminder of the faithfulness of God that is for us and the rest found in Him. I must only trust Him. Believe Him. Take Him at His Word. Love Him. Desire Him. Seek Him. Serve Him. Follow Him…and all these other worries, concerns and details fall into place. Lord, let me find my way back into your Presence today.

Deuteronomy 7:9 (ESV) Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations…

Do you know that God loves you with steadfast love today? It is not performance based but a covenant promise to you, His Beloved Child. God keeps His Covenant with us because He is faithful. My ability to keep my covenant with Him was irrevocably broken by sin. So His Faithfulness provided a sacrifice for my sin to pay the debt owed and rescue me from certain death – He has apprehended me with love not by force. His Love set me free to choose who I love and serve in this life. I choose You, God! I have decided to follow Jesus and accept the grace that I have been given. God only desires our love. Not just any love, but a committed love. A love that tries to be faithful and is remorseful in our failures. We have made a very structured idea of church and set mandates for the Body of Christ never detailed by God. He asks only that we love Him enough to seek Him, follow Him and trust Him.

Deuteronomy 32:4 (ESV) “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.”

The firm foundation of our life, faith and confident hope is the unchangeable, all-powerful, fully authoritative, all-knowing, and ever present Rock who is the Lord. He is incapable of lying or changing His Mind without altering His Perfection. If something is perfect, it has no need to change. It is our imperfection that calls for change. God promises to be the Rock. Our shelter. Our refuge. The hiding place of the righteous who come boldly before Him. He is a Good God who is faithful and without iniquity. He offers divine disciple but thanks to grace there is no punishment involved. When faced with challenging seasons or long processes, it is the faithfulness of God that is our hope. We must look above the wind and waves to see that He is still right where He has always been and perfecting all that concerns us according to His Word. (Psalm 138:8)

Hebrews 3:3-6 (ESV) For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.

God’s faithfulness was demonstrated in Jesus Christ. Though tempted by the enemy, Jesus overcame him by simple telling him what God said. The enemy fled. Christ lives in us. The resurrection power and life that overcomes is in you and me. Moses built a tabernacle for God’s Presence in the wilderness. God revealed His Glory to the people. Forty long years of wandering and there were few who would ever enter the promise of rest. King Solomon built a beautiful temple. God was pleased. He went on to waste his life indulging in sinful conquests. God had a better plan and a more glorious thought – He sent His Son to inhabit those who would be His People. We are His House. Christ lives in us. He gives us the desire and drive to be faithful to God so it is no surprise that the enemy comes to tempt us. He reminds us of our past. He sows regret, remorse and shame to choke out new life and hope. He tells us that God is mad at us. He says that He is punishing us. He tells us that the Lord has forgotten us. Or maybe just that we deserve the consequences of our choices. He is a liar. The Word says that God has other plans for “His House”. Christ is building a strong “Body”.

I Corinthians 10:13 (ESV) No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

The greatest temptation commonly faced by believers each day is to abandon trust. To believe something other than the Word God has given us. To pursue lesser things hoping to achieve some other kind of glory. We have been given the Glory of God for our broken vessels. He resides in us and wants to shine through us. I don’t know what you are facing today – I only know the insufficiencies of my own heart. What I do know is that God is faithful! Some days, like today, I must remind myself that He is faithful. He is always faithful. His Faithfulness is unreserved when it comes to me. He is relentless in His Passionate Pursuit of me. I must learn to run to His Refuge and seek His Shelter when tempted not to trust Him. To seek His Peace that passes all understanding to pull in my rebellious thoughts. I must only call out His Name and He always rushes to my aid. He will leave the 99 just to carry me back. He is faithful today. He has already provided everything I need to overcome temptation and achieve my purpose today and every day. I must remind my heart, mind and soul – God is faithful every day even today!

Psalm 62:8 (ESV) Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah

God of Gifts, Grace & Glory

God's Gifts, Grace & Glory

Romans 11:28-29 (ESV) As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 

The Gift of God to us in His Son Jesus Christ is threefold. He gives us His Gifts, Grace and Glory all in one neat and tidy package called you. If you are like me, there are days I look in the mirror wondering how the Lord will ever turn this mess into a message or the test into a testimony. I cannot see the full potential hidden inside me. The purpose of my design or the prerecorded details of my existence. All I do know and believe with any certainty is that God has a plan for me and has called me to be someone other than I am.

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. We are so use to the fickleness of human hearts that when presented with unconditional love – it is difficult to comprehend and far more difficult to accept. To believe and live by the Truth that God’s Love is unfailing. It is constant. Standing the test of time, it has the endless mercy and fathomless grace that no one could ever contain except an all-consuming God. You have been given an inheritance. It is familial and secured in the righteousness given to us by Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is the guarantor that it will be given to us. The word “irrevocable” means it cannot be revoked, recalled, repealed, annulled and must remain unaltered. The perfection of God is precise. He predestined our life before our first cry and it is clearly defined until our last breath. Do you believe that God’s Plan and Purpose is irrevocable today?

God’s Gifts and Giftings

Malachi 3:6 (ESV) “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.

Numbers 23:19 (ESV) God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

God will always be consistent and true to His Word. Trust is the essential that makes our belief a reality. When we trust God taking Him at His Word, our faith grows in confident hope that is willing to wait on the Lord. God does not change. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Jesus is the Word of God who came in the form of a man to be our example. He died to be the sacrifice for our sin and open up the heavens for us. He accomplished this fully on the Cross when the Lord spoke, “It is finished.” He released His Spirit to us to identify us as His Beloved. The Father now calls us His Children. Who would change their mind about a son or daughter? We love them no matter what.

If we choose to ignore God’s Gifts, to live outside of our giftings, to ignore His Calling, it will never change God or what He already has planned for us. Disobedience may create detours, delays and consequences but God promises to make good of those details produced by doubt. We must choose to believe that God is who He says that He is and will do exactly as He has promised to do. The purpose in us is activated by faith. Faith exercises trust which will become a relationship. This relationship produces confident hope that becomes our conviction. The conviction is that nothing is impossible with God!

God’s Grace

Romans 11:30-32 (ESV) For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

Through one man’s sin, all of human became guilty. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, all humanity was saved. The abundance of God’s Grace is the essential component that turns our fears, faults and failures into a future that is filled with God’s Goodness and confident hope. The impartation of God’s Grace is absolutely vital to accepting His Gifts and answering His Call. The Word demonstrates our need for God’s Mercy and Grace called the Law. The Law was not to condemn us but that through it people would see their need for Jesus. Everyone falls short of God’s Glorious Standard. Everyone needs the sufficiency of His Grace. It is not a performance based assumption but a complete and perfect surrender to the Cross. Religion makes it exclusive. Relationship gives itself to everyone. The Word of God is all about love. The love of God for us. The love of God in us. Our love in the same capacity for everyone else. It is all about love because the Law was satisfied by Jesus. There are no fatal errors with God just divine opportunity to take another broken piece of a stubborn, hard heart and lay it at the feet of Jesus to become the masterpiece God promised.

God’s Glory

Romans 11:33-36 (ESV) Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

True story. Years ago as a teenager, our family went to a restaurant for dinner. As customary in many establishments, the young waitress offered my parents something from the bar. My dad looked at her and said, “In the Name of our Lord Jesus, I do not partake of alcohol” or something very close. Her face turned red with shame and she took the beverage card quickly departing to find some sweet tea. My sister and I melted under the table in embarrassment with her. While the conviction of my dad was pure and honest in demonstrating his love and acceptance of Christ, the public display of his conviction turned the waitress off immediately. Our new life in Christ is not a demonstration of perfection or a public display of professing our faith and commitment to Christ in such a way to drive others away. When the Light of His Love is burning within us, it is attractive. People want the love, joy and peace that is given off by the faithful and confident believer. The opportunity to share our faith is practical. It begins with relationship. The Purpose of God for us is to encounter His Love and choose to live in it. The Plan of God is one opportunity after another to experience God’s Love. The overflow of His Mercy and Grace in our life gives us something to offer others.

We live for the Glory of God. Our life should always point to the unfailing love, grace and kindness of God offered in His Son – Jesus. We do that when our faith and confidence is in the unchangeable character of God which produces unconditional love and acceptance of all mankind. It is the kind of confidence that is not based on circumstances or conditions but calls for logical faith demonstrated by practical wisdom. Simply put – we obey God’s Word because we love and trust Him more than what we are feeling – physically or emotionally. In every storm, Jesus is our anchor. In every shakable matter, Christ is our foundation. In every mistake, He demonstrates magnificent grace that will not allow us to be removed from our election and calling in God.

Romans 4:16-17 (ESV) That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 

The Promise of God including His Purpose and Plan all depend on faith. It rests on His Grace alone because we can never earn or deserve the good things God has in store for us. We have already proven that adherence to the Law in our personal life is impossible. Sin happens. No one is sinless. Every droplet of the Blood of Jesus Christ is absolutely necessary to save, heal and deliver every single one of us. It is all inclusive. The power of purpose is to believe. The moment our faith becomes planted in confident hope and the possibilities set forth by the Living God seem attainable – passion of purpose kicks in and we will press for the mark of His High Calling. The belief that Jesus gives life to the dead and calls into existence things that do not exist is the beginning of miracles. God has already predestined us for supernatural living. His Gifts and Call deemed irrevocable. There is nothing that can separate us from God’s Love. God will always be true to His Word. His Word will always be truth to us. Our disobedience does not create impossibility only shows us our need for more of Him. You have a gift. You possess giftings placed in you by the Living God designed for His Glory. His Grace is all you need to achieve a glorious life – so live it!

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