To Be Continued

To Be Continued

Colossians 2:6-7 (AMP) Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in [union with] Him [reflecting His character in the things you do and say—living lives that lead others away from sin], having been deeply rooted [in Him] and now being continually built up in Him and [becoming increasingly more] established in your faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing in it with gratitude.

No resolutions this year for me. I tried to come up with some significant changes. We could all use some new habits and better choices. Each year, I have these good intentions and wonderful lists of goals. I have racked my brain for something anything that would make life significantly better. Nothing. So I dove in spiritually, and asked the Lord, “What can I do for you?” Nothing. I continued to seek out something anything that I could do differently. My motives, though I hate to admit it, is change. I want to see the promises that I know in my heart are coming today. It is human nature to try to “do” something different in order to facilitate change. The idea that “there has to more to life than this” comes from eternity hidden in our hearts. Everyone goes about the pursuit of contentment and fulfillment different ways. When choosing Jesus Christ, it is to accept the way called grace. Grace means that there is nothing I can do other than remain in the One who gives it.

I thought I would write a book or two this year, but I didn’t. I thought I would have developed a flourishing women’s ministry at our church. Nope. So when the end of December came I pulled out the bat of self-destruction and tried to figure out what was wrong with me. I am not used to this idea of failure. To set a goal and not reach it is just not like me. With a stubborn tenacity innately inscribed in my personality, when met with obstacles – I usually take the head down and charge through approach. Not this time…something is different. So studying God’s Word and seeking His Presence, I asked the Lord, “What am I doing wrong?” The revelation of God set forth in His Word and whispered in my ear doesn’t line up with my personality but it totally identifies the Person of Christ. The position that He ultimately must take in my life to bring the fulfillment and completion that He promised.

I have received Jesus Christ as my Savior. It is my heart’s desire that He is Lord of all my life. I long to walk in complete unity with Jesus. I want my life to be a reflection of His Character. To show others a love so strong that sin is unappealing to pursue His Perfection and Purpose. I must live a life rooted in Christ. His Word secures me to the foundation of faith that is the Truth that governs my existence. Every single promise belongs to me. Every spiritual blessing already given to me. There is a timeline ordered by predestination that has an appointed time for each of these things to arrive. Not because of anything I do, but because of what Christ is doing in me. My purpose for the next 365 days is simple – I must continue.

To continue can mean one of two things – I must persist in the calling of God and do as He instructed regardless of what I see. Those things I have slacked off on – I must resume in those things that God has spoken and I gave up on along the way. I shared with someone yesterday that God does not lead us to fruitless or barren fields. Never. Experience now tells me that the field will bear the fruit in due season if I continue in God’s Word and Way until it comes. Persistence and perseverance are characteristics of continuance. The current field in which I am working has proven to be a difficult one. The ground is hard. Weeds are thick. Rocks are plenty. Yet, every time I am ready to walk away, I remember that God has never led me to a place that His Blessing could not be found. So I stay and continue…not because I can do anything but based on the Truth that God’s Word never returns void. It will do exactly what it set out to do. God is good. He is always good even when I’m not. God is faithful and that seed will grow one day whether I am there to harvest its fruit or not. To be continued…

Ecclesiastes 3:1&11 (AMP)

There is a season (a time appointed) for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven—

 He has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time. He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God]—yet man cannot find out (comprehend, grasp) what God has done (His overall plan) from the beginning to the end.

God has appointed a time in our life for everything – good and bad. It all works together for our good and His Glory. God makes everything beautiful and appropriate in His Time. The time that was recorded before you were born. (Psalm 139) You are fearfully and wonderfully made. A complex being created by an infinite God who knows exactly what is required for you to discover His Love and accept His Grace. We must take hold of 2 Peter 3:8-9 to collectively understand that God’s Promises are not held up by our activities or actions. His Spiritual Blessing is not removed when we sin. His Grace is sufficient. It is enough to have every disappointment turned into destiny. To the Lord time is not a hindrance. Timing was preset before a moment passed. Therefore, God does not keep His Eye on the clock because He is in our future waiting on our arrival. Take a deep breath. This is pretty deep, I know. Your life is already prescribed by God. You just have to live it. God is good. To choose Jesus and live in alignment with the Lord means that every blessing and promise is predestined for your future. It is not about perfection but persistence. If you love the Lord – you will seek Him wholeheartedly and find fulfillment just as He promised.

John 15:5-8 (AMP) I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken off] branch, and withers and dies; and they gather such branches and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you [that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart], ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified and honored by this, when you bear much fruit, and prove yourselves to be My [true] disciples.

The vitality of my life is Jesus Christ. My flesh wants to think it has the ability and wherewithal to make things happen but the truth is every good thing in my life came straight from my Father in Heaven. Jesus makes it all possible because I couldn’t get to the Father without Him. I would love to give you an epiphany of great wisdom that would change your life instantly. Faith doesn’t work that way. Confident hope comes from continuing to follow the way of faith. Commitment must be a life of to be continued. When the field doesn’t bear its fruit in our timing, it is the commitment to continue until God’s Timing comes to pass. It is to continue in God’s Word until faith becomes logical.

Let me let you in on a little secret – my need to “do” things for the Lord is not always from a heart with good intentions. There is a part of my flesh that tries to earn the favor and goodwill of God by doing something for Him. Religion is built on good intentions. Resurrection life only comes by way of an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ. He is my fulfillment. He is my completion. My life is definitely to be continued this year. Maybe I will write a book… maybe I will figure out this women’s ministry thing… or maybe God will completely change things around with a supernatural plot twist. Who knows? There is never a dull moment to new life in Christ. What I do know today more than ever is that God doesn’t want me to “do” anything. The Lord did it all. He even packed me full of promise and potential working its way out of me. He just wants me to be me and let Him do the rest.

I John 5:3-5 (AMP) For the [true] love of God is this: that we habitually keep His commandments and remain focused on His precepts. And His commandments and His precepts are not difficult [to obey]. For everyone born of God is victorious and overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has conquered and overcome the world—our [continuing, persistent] faith [in Jesus the Son of God]. Who is the one who is victorious and overcomes the world? It is the one who believes and recognizes the fact that Jesus is the Son of God.

 

 

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Ready to Move

Ready to Move

John 15:9-11 (NKJV)

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My Love. If you keep My Commandments, you will abide in My Love, just as I have kept My Father’s Commandments and abide in His Love. These things I have spoken to you, that My Joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

 

We are moving. The house is not for sale yet. A new location not secured. I know in my heart that the Lord is moving our family to a new place, new season, and new thing. I trust the Lord. Even though nothing is certain yet, I can feel the stirring of change in my heart and the need for fulfillment. It has happened before. When it was time to leave my career with the school system, before another offer had been presented or a new position found, I began cleaning out my office. In my heart, I felt the tiny hooks of responsibility give way to sweet release. God prepares us to move. He knows our hearts. The Lord understands our need for comfort and security. Yet, to live in the Presence of God will always require trust. Faith is what we know about the Lord and not what we see. Hope is fostered and matured by faith but if you can visualize it naturally – there is no need to hope for it. Hope is the confidence and full assurance that God’s Word is true and active in our life. It motivates us to respond to His Word rather than the events around us.

 

If you were to take a long hard look at our circumstances, life is pretty good. We both have short commutes to work. Our house is exactly what we dreamed of and prayed for. It has grown larger with each bird that has flown from the nest. It is comfortable. It is ours. We know how to live here. We know the schedule and routine. Waste collection on Monday. Yard trash every other Thursday. Mailman just after lunch and Fed Ex all the time. We have lived here more than ten years. Why move? The Lord has laid it on our heart. He is preparing and pressing us for change. Our commutes will double. Everything will be new. It will require change. Showing our house which means keeping it ready at all times on high alert. Not a challenge? I have two teenage daughters make a bedroom and bathroom look like the aftermath of Armageddon shortly after awakening each day. Not to mention, two little dogs who believe that run things and will yap incessantly at the slightest sound or movement. Yet, in all of this a soft, gentle whisper says, “It’s time to go!”

 

Abide. Yes, this is the word for the day. I am a lover of His Presence. The Peace and Joy that prevail in our home is born of His Spirit. I give God all the glory and honor for this family and its means of survival. We have done more than that here. Learning to thrive. It is time to go with God. Move with His Calling. Following His Lead. Stepping out of comfort to “where His Name abides”. Hold right here. To abide means remain, continue and stay. To dwell. To continue in a particular condition, attitude and relationship. To wait. To accept without opposition or question. To submit to. To comply. Abiding in the Lord is obedience. It is to offer our lives to Jesus even when we must move with the Lord and go where He goes.

 

John 14:1-3 (NKJV)

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

Jesus went to prepare a place of us. The place prepared is called righteousness. It is the foundation of faith that allows us to believe AND receive the Lord’s Promises. Grace is not a provisionary endorsement that adds to our love covenant with God but the attachment. We can abide in God’s Love because Jesus handed us the keys to the kingdom. In doing so, when we walk by faith and not by sight using those keys of spiritual power and authority, it is possible to open the impossible making it a reality in our life today. I have seen the impossible happen. I know that miracles still happen. I believe more in what I cannot see than anything I can see. This perspective is only possible when we abide in His Love. Live in it. Dwell there. But right standing with God has a requirement – the absence of sin, obedience and submission of our life to His Kingdom. Grace didn’t change that. It just made it a beneficial and prosperous position again.

 

When I began to study the Word of God today – I searched for passages with the word “abide” in them. I came across four passages in Deuteronomy with the words “where His Name abides”. It caught my attention. I find that in our relationship with the Lord from the beginning it is evident that there is only one way. We can try to change it or map out a new direction for holiness but there is already a Highway to Holiness. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father (God) except by the Son (Jesus). It is plain. We make it complicated and gray. Before Jesus died on the Cross for our sins, the Holy Spirit could not inhabit us. Sin would not allow it. It was in the perfect sacrifice of Jesus and the application of His Grace that now we have His Spirit. I am getting ahead of myself.

 

Back to the Old Testament, two things are mentioned to gain entrance to the place where “His Name abides”. Deuteronomy 12:10-11; 14:22-25; 16:5-8; and 26:1-3 – all discuss what to bring to the place where His Name abides. It all about offerings and obedience. If tithing and offerings offend you – please do not read these passages. The new-age, modern-day, spoon-fed religion requires nothing of us to rob the coffers and pillage the vaults of Heaven. We can plunder His Kingdom with no regard for His Beauty, Sovereignty or Righteousness. Wiping our feet on the white robes of righteousness to gain entrance in, stepping over the Blood not to offend, and avoiding the Cross as it is barbaric at best, there is a lie being mass produced that there is no requirement in taking up our Cross to follow Jesus. In fact, don’t worry about the Cross just come as you are, stay where you are, and do as you like. Well…it’s simply not true. God is not concerned with your money or your mess. The Lord desires our heart. He wants to prosper our soul. He has prepared a place for us where His Name abides. To enter this place will always require the Bloody Cross and repentance of sin. It will mean turning our life over to the Lord and trusting Him. We have been given the opportunity to live in the Presence of God and all things are possible in this place. Will we move our life to achieve it? You cannot move the lines of righteousness, change the rules of holiness and avoid obedience to prosper in the Lord. You must move your life into His Presence.

 

John 8:34-36 (NKJV)

 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

 

John 14:15-17 (NKJV)

 If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

 

It is time to move. I know it in my heart even though at times, I am still trying to wrap my head around it. The Holy Spirit is pressing and prodding me to step out in faith and live in the freedom offered in full obedience. That’s right, my obedience to God increases my boundaries and enlarges my borders as I step fully into the Light of His Love by faith in Him alone. I am not a slave in the House of God but a child of the Living God. Sin binds and restricts my life apart from Him. Each act of right standing and obedience to My Father yields dramatic, life-changing results. The Holy Spirit helps me find God’s Way and accompanies me when I move into it.

 

My husband asked me last night if I am sure. It will take me almost an hour to get to work. I am time-challenged as it is. No comments necessary, please. At first, I groaned on the inside because I am willing to admit promptness is a weakness. Our grown daughter who is married and living in another state does not embrace the notion of change. She calls this “her house” even though she has made another home. I understand that and it pulls at my mama heartstrings to take that from her. But our home is not this building, it is the place in us that Jesus lives and has changed so that together we have a home. Home is where the heart is. We plan on taking that with us and just leaving the shell that once housed our home behind. Jesus is in each one of us. He is what binds this family together with all our faults and imperfections into something cherished and beautiful. We must go where He leads to maintain this lifestyle in which we thrive.

 

John 12:45-47 (NKJV)

And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.  And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.

 

The Love of Jesus is a beacon. The Light of His Love draws us closer. Those who desire to live in the Light will leave darkness behind. But please understand that forced love is not love at all. Jesus invites us to abide, dwell and live in His Presence. He will never make us. He did not come to judge or condemn us so He doesn’t punish those who choose not to obey or offer their life to His Holy Inhabitation. He just continues to pursue them with His Grace, Mercy and Love. Consequences are produced by sin and cannot be changed or dismissed without repayment. His Grace is sufficient in our surrendered weakness. Otherwise, we are rejecting a new life with new outcomes in His Goodness, not because He is withholding, but simply because we chose something else.

 

With this in mind, what is the Lord telling you to do today? Are you avoiding it? Or fully embracing it by faith? Faith will always include the unseen, illogical and totally impossible. Hope is formed on these things. Trust is required to go deeper with God. To live fully and completely in His Presence demands obedience, needs offerings and requires obedience. Not out of obligation but respect. God will not lower His Standards for you. He only wants you to have His Very Best. The “fear” or to “respect” the Lord giving Him proper placement leads to life and full satisfaction. (Proverbs 19:23) It will always give us fulfillment. It will be a challenge. It will always be worth it.

 

Psalm 91:1-2 (NKJV)

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

 

I love Psalm 91. I also love Psalm 15. They both are all about living and abiding in the Presence of God. To know the depths of His Love and reside there changes our life. We are on the move to the place where His Name abides. When we prayed about getting a new car, yes, we prayed about getting a new car. I knew that when it was time that I would know immediately. The Holy Spirit would confirm it and we would know. Sure enough after months of searching, wandering car lots, doing research, an ad popped up for a shiny, new-to-me, Honda Pilot. When I saw it, I knew immediately that it was my car. There was not a doubt in my mind. We went to the dealership who told us another person had already begun the process of purchasing the car, but that we could essentially buy it out from under them. I knew God was giving me this car and I didn’t have to do anything underhanded or manipulative to have it. The next morning they called to let us know the time on the offer had expired and after multiple attempts to contact them it was clear the other party was no longer interested. The night before we had cleaned and prepared our old vehicle to trade in – by faith. The next day on the way to the dealership, the Suburban who had been so faithful and reliable became demon possessed and we almost didn’t make it there. I prayed all the way.

 

I share this to say that the Lord will give us His Word and show us what to do. We step out on faith to do it. It seems in that moment that natural circumstances start to rise up and all hell breaks loose around us. Of course, it does. The enemy does not want us to abide in God’s Love, experience His Goodness, or dwell in His Presence. This is where our heart becomes secure in Who He is not what He does. To experience the Power of His Presence and fulfillment of abiding in Christ, will change us forever. We will begin to take steps of faith that don’t make any sense but our need to move closer to our Lord makes it a lifetime pursuit. We cannot live apart from our Lord and Savior anymore. Obedience becomes faithfulness. Offerings become surrender. The “things” we once thought were so important become vessels to serve Him more. All those things we strive for, all those things we want to do, all those places we desire to go is all culminated in our need for fulfillment, longing for peace and desire for joy. These are found in His Presence. We can have all these “things” added to us when we desire His Kingdom, His Presence more than any “thing” else. (Matthew 6:33) We are moving. Not to a place, but rather deeper and closer to our Lord. It is obedience that takes us there. The offering of our life secures our place.

 

What has the Lord laid on your heart today? Where are you going? Are you ready to move?

 

Psalm 61:1-4 (NKJV)

Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your Tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your Wings.

End of Coexistence

End of Coexistence

John 15:5-8 (NLT)

 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”

 

Growing up I had a very good friend who we will call “Lucy”. Lucy and I were friends in high school even though we did not attend the same school but the same church. Lucy’s mom was a bubbly woman with a very outgoing personality who invited me over to share meals and spend the night with her daughter. Lucy’s dad was a stoic man who never spoke unless responding to a question. He was not mean or hostile towards his family. A good provider, he worked hard to meet his family’s needs and Lucy wanted for nothing. He loved his daughter very much. He would offer a faint smile whenever she walked into a room. When Lucy graduated from high school, she moved out of her childhood home to attend college. The very next day, her mother and father announced they were divorcing. It was final in the limited amount of time allowed by law. Lucy was absolutely devastated. Within weeks of their divorce, her father met a woman completely different from her mother and they began dating. Lucy wanted to hate this woman. She loathed everything about her and criticized everything that she did. As the product of divorced parents and a successful blended family, she asked me to join her to meet with dad and his new girlfriend for dinner. I reluctantly agreed fearing long, awkward moments of silence as Lucy leered and her father remained in his usual stoic state. We met at a local restaurant. Her father and his friend approached us and he threw his arms around me welcoming me then turned to introduce his girlfriend. I was absolutely blown away. Not by the woman standing before me, but by the man her father had become. The transformation was incredible. He was alive. He was engaging. He was…well…the man was happy. Needless to say, I did not help Lucy’s cause. Within a couple months, Lucy’s dad married his friend. Shortly after that, her mom reconnected with her high school sweetheart and they married as well. Both parents were happy and thriving in their new relationships last I heard.

All the years that Lucy’s parents were married they simply coexisted. Coexistence means to exist together at the same time. It means to exist separately, but peaceably even those that are adversarial. The couple remained together for their daughter. It became clear after the marriage ended that Lucy’s mom pretended to be happy for Lucy and built a life the watching world would accept as normal but it was totally dysfunctional in the four walls of the home. Her father was dying on the inside clearly evident by the transformation when the two parted ways. We are called to abide in Christ. But I wonder, if at times we are merely coexisting but calling it a relationship. We are the bride of Christ but are we participating in a relationship or simply living life in the same space. There is danger in the realm of coexistence. Its walls are often painted gray. There is no black or white, good or bad but rather we live accepting compromise. It is a place that we choose for its comfort rather than being compelled by a passionate desire for perfection, we decide to accept the known rather than risking it all on the unknown possibilities that are the Promises of God for our life. We are not called by God to coexist. Compromise and comfort are not necessary. They are something we choose rather the pressure to change and the stress of release. I do not want to get to the end of my life and meet Jesus only to find out we coexisted. I wanted to abide so deeply in the Lord that when I get there it is with great anticipation and longing that we will hold each other so tightly from years of longing for and yearning to be closer.

Matthew 7:17-20 (NLT)

A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

 

Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” God has provided everything you and I need to live a godly life. (2 Peter 1:3) By accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, we can still produce some fruit by His Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) We are well on our way to prosperity. But if we never challenge ourselves to step out of our human comfort zone and decide to abide (live and dwell in) Jesus Christ. This is the place where providing changes to prospering. It is where surviving turns into thriving. The enemy wants us to think that we are incapable of such things because of who we are, but when we move every branch that makes up our tree of life connecting it to Jesus Christ every impossible suddenly becomes possible for those who believe enough to take that chance. Comfort is conformation. Conforming to this world limits those things provided by the Glory of God because the vessel is too small, too shallow, and too sinful. But when you and I choose to no longer be residents of this world, when we choose the abundance of Heaven over the pittance we can hold in our hands deciding to follow Jesus every single day of our life, things are about to change as we move from a limited life to a limitless forever.

Matthew 7:21-23 (NLT)

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’”

 

“Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.” Are you passionate in your pursuit of Christ? Can you take Him or leave Him? Can you live without Him? This is a question that I beg you today to ask and really think about. Christianity is not a status symbol. It is not something we do but must be who we are. I am James Thomason’s wife. I love him. I live with him. I want to be with him every day. I hate when we are apart. I talk to him every day. I miss him when he is gone. I desire him. We live in a relationship. We abide together in marriage. I now know the importance of this kind of marriage as our kids have begun to grow up and leave the nest. Please understand that we came home from the church with three kids in the backseat. Within a year, there was another and almost three years later our last child was born. We haven’t been alone for long periods of time since we got married. We have no regrets. But unlike our oldest daughter who married her best friend, they grew up together. They are both 21 but have been friends since they were 8. They are enjoying this time together alone before adding children to the mix. So when we look ahead to the days fast approaching when it will just be the two of us, it is wonderful to KNOW that I am married to my best friend. We have not coexisted but rather built a relationship that is abiding at its best. We are not perfect but such a love covers a multitude of sins. My friend’s parents did not have that kind of relationship. When she left home, there was nothing left in their relationship so they decided to live apart. There will be a day when many people will stand before the Lord ready to join the party in Heaven. They will come to Jesus with all their accomplishments, sacrifices, tithes, and fulfilled responsibilities all I the name of faith. They will come to Jesus thinking that because they walked to an altar, changed a few bad habits, attended church on a somewhat regular basis, threw some change in the offering, and even maybe led a person to Jesus Christ that the Lord will rush to meet them and usher them in. There will be mega preachers who built magnificent auditoriums, flew from state to state or even country to country meeting thousands at the altar who do not make the cut. Why not let them in? There is only one way to enter the Kingdom of God. His Name is Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Do you know Him? Really know Him. Have you spent any time working on your relationship, leaving your comfort zone, giving up compromise, praying, believing, and trusting? Do you desire Jesus? Do you long to be closer enough to do what is necessary to go deeper in the Lord? The demons know who Jesus is. They have accepted that He is Lord. They submit to His Authority. But they do not live, abide or remain in Him. Do you? I am asking myself the very same question today.

John 14:12-14 (NLT)

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!”

 

“But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!How is the Power of God working in your life today? When our son was diagnosed with cancer, I thought life was good. Everything seemed to be going along just fine. God was blessing us. He was providing for us. But when everything fell apart that day, I realized that things were not exactly as they should be. My job had taken a much higher priority in my life than it should have. It affected my home life and people life in ways that I did not imagine. When I saw the frailty of my son as he prepared to fight for his life, something rose up in me. I knew the Lord. I trusted God. I didn’t have a doubt that He was going to heal our son. But when I looked at all the pieces of my broken heart, I made a startling discovery. There were some things that had manifested there that I did not notice. To the average person who serves an average god, it would be unnoticeable. But in the moments of revelation given by hours of waiting and watching our son go through treatment, I found my life again. I cannot explain it – you have to experience it to understand. I don’t want an average acquaintance with the Lord but a passionate relationship. One that if the whole world leaves me – Jesus will always be more than enough to keep me satisfied. He is able but I must be willing. Compromise comes easy. Complacency often hides behind the word “rest”. Conviction can be silenced in our confusion. Commitment is not labeled by our routine. If we are not careful and attentive in any relationship, it will falter and fall apart. These things demand our time, we must be willing to give it to end coexistence and experience new life.

Jude 1:24-25 (NLT)

Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.

Pardon the Interruption – A Devotion

John 15:1-5 (NKJV)

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

 

Life’s little interruptions have the propensity to completely blow a person off course. Why people choose to believe that life as we know it will continue indefinitely is false thinking when clearly it does not? Hoping that we will be the one who is left untouched by the unthinkable, unmarked by the unimaginable, and undeterred by the unexpected, often we choose to live not thinking about tomorrow but intent on living for today. However, those bad things do happen to good people. There will be days of sadness and despair. Human beings will deal with opposition, hardship, failure, sickness and death just to mention a few. The very first question most people ask of God in these situations is quite simply, “Why?” As if receiving a punch in the arm, the automatic human response is “What was that for?” Even in the midst of a consistent prayer life, continuous worship and rallying for righteousness, it happens overnight. It’s an interruption sometimes small and others of epic proportions. Now what? How does one pardon such an interruption?

Our first inclination when these interruptions in life occur is that God has forgotten us or that it is punishment for something. Nothing could be further from the truth. God is acutely aware of your every breath. He is constantly with you through His Holy Spirit. Once you are filled with the Living Spirit of God, He would have to remove His Spirit to abandon you. This cannot be done. His Word says that God will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6) Furthermore, grace and punishment are contradictory forces. If you are living by the Grace of God through Christ Jesus, then God cannot punish you and still be true to His Word. God is TRUTH therefore this cannot be the explanation of such things. Why then? How can we pardon the interruptions in life when we do not clearly understand them?

To release you from the human need for greater understanding, there are some things that you will never fully understand until Jesus returns or while standing in His Presence. What you do need to know regarding such things is this: 1) God’s Ways are always higher and more complex than yours. (Isaiah 55:9) 2) God is ALWAYS working on good things for His Children. (Romans 8:28) Faith is the only way to wrap these two concepts into one and guard your hope in the midst of the great uncertainties of life. Understand this, everything that God is doing or allowing to happen are with one goal in mind. The Lord is desperately in love with you and is doing whatever it takes for you to love Him, too. Even those who love the Lord have room to grow in faith and righteousness; it is a constant process in the life of every believer.

Pruning represents an interruption of the grow cycle in plants. It is contradictory to the internal nature of the plant that was created to grow and bear fruit. In particular seasons, a gardener must selectively remove branches in order to remove dead limbs, shape the plant for additional growth, improve its health, provide room for growth potential and increase the yield quality for flowers and fruit. All of these qualities of improvement are also available to those who have become engrafted into the “vine” that is Jesus Christ. He wants to deliver you from the things from your old life that are weighing you down. The Lord is shaping you to fit His Purpose and Plan for your life which is always better and far reaching than your own. God wants you to grow and prosper. Through weakness, we are made stronger and healthier more vibrant Believers. We were created to yield fruit for our God. God is looking to fill your basket with His Goodness and provide you with all you need to serve Him successfully. God is promoting you in the midst of your interruption. Through this process, you will grab hold of God more tightly. This is where we learn to “abide” in Jesus Christ. He is our refuge. When uncertainty greets us, the Lord makes us certain of what is to come. With this thought in mind, won’t you pardon the interruption?

Psalm 61:1-5 (NKJV)

Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.  Selah 

God will “attend” you in your prayer today. To attend is to appear and assist. He knows the sound of your weeping and has felt the wetness of your tears. The Lord lives within you and is not exempt from your pain and concerns. If your heart is overwhelmed today, abide in His Presence. God is not mad at you. He is not disappointed in you and he is not punishing you. God is searching for you with intense desperation. His love for you is passionate and complete. Let Him be your sanctuary in the midst of uncertainty. Allow God to take life’s interruptions and use them for His Goodness and Glory. Abide in the Lord, trust Him, shield your faith as He takes you higher. Above all pardon the interruption.