What’s the Point?

What the Point

Romans 5:1-5 (ESV) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character and character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

What’s the point? You know you have asked yourself the question at least once along the way of life. What’s the point of trying? Giving? Forgiving? Starting over? Disappointments are a dime a dozen. Faith seems futile in the absence of logic. Hope elusive in the chaotic degradation of the world. Yet still there are those who strive each day to plant just a tiny seed of faith and stretch to see a glimmer of hope. Romans 5 begins THEREFORE SINCE WE HAVE BEEN JUSTIFIED BY FAITH (all caps all mine). Our predisposed position in life due to the justification offered by faith and believing gives way to peace with God through Jesus Christ. This is the point of access. Suddenly the faithless and hopeless generation born of sin has been pardoned and set free to become a new creation and accept a brand new life. No matter who you are or where you came to Christ from – this statement is about you. Therefore, since (you) have been justified by faith, (you) have peace with God through (your) Lord Jesus Christ. The first step of purpose is the point of salvation. The moment in time when our old identity was exchanged for a new one – Child of the Living God and Member of His Kingdom.

You will never know the point of a God-seeking, faith-driven, hope-full life until you see yourself and your existence from God’s Perspective. God created us and has already plotted our life according to His Plan. It is a series of carefully orchestrated steps that go through valleys, around the bend and over the mountain with seasons set forth to produce an abundance in each one. When our focus is based on what we can see rather than on what we know about God’s Plan – it is easy to say, “What’s the point?” Throwing up our hands and walking away serves our pride and preference but perseverance always leads us to purpose and promise.

The Plan

Jeremiah 29:10-14 (ESV) “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and hope.” Oh, how many times have these words been recited and never fully realized. To keep this in context, the promise required a journey. To bring you “back” from exile. It had a time frame. When seventy years are completed. God has a plan. It requires a journey. It has an appointed time. You also have a requirement. “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Sometimes reading part of the verse only gives us the promise and by not reading the rest – the process is missed. There is always a process in God. God is transforming us from the inside out. Jesus Christ is inside of us. New life is birthed from the inside.

Psalm 139 tells us that our days are prerecorded. Romans 8 and Ephesians 1 informs us of our predestination to become Children of God. To be adopted to Himself through His Son – Jesus according to His Purpose and His Will. Jesus is the Alpha and Omega. He is the Beginning and the End. Our Savior is the Author and Finisher of faith that puts us and keeps us in right standing with God our Father. Everything is going according to His Plan even when our plans fall apart. God’s Sovereignty is our security. It means He does not lie or change His Mind because He is perfect in ALL of His Ways. God’s Spirit seals us as sons and daughters of God cultivating good fruit to feed our starving soul until we hunger and thirst no more. Friends – God has a plan. There is a point to all that you are going through today.

The Path

Psalm 37:23-27 (ESV) The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing. Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever.

Let’s plunge into the deep for a moment and think about this – what if God really does order our steps ahead of time? In other words, what if you have not strayed from the Lord? What if your mistakes were on purpose? What if the whole point of everything you have been through was to lead you to Jesus? Once Jesus Christ came to reside in you – His Power and Authority vested in Him by God the Father became your power and authority, too. THEREFORE…nothing can ever separate you from the Love of God, no weapon formed you will prosper, greater is He that is in you, and you have hope that can NEVER lead to disappointment which means by faith you always win, live victoriously and overcome.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He was with you then, is in you now and will be with you forever. The Plan gave you the Person of Christ to navigate the path to His Promise which is our purpose in God. If this is true, you do not ever have to experience a lack of anything again because you are full of Him. It says that the righteous are not forsaken and they do not have to beg. In order to live the life promised all that is required is to turn away from evil and do good – in one word – repentance. It’s not about turning you around – it’s about turning our life over to Jesus Christ. It doesn’t mean you will change position in life but you will be positioned in the Kingdom.

The Process

2 Corinthians 5:16-19 (ESV)  From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

The process of redemption is achieved through reconciliation. Repentance turns us back to Jesus Christ. However, if there is no reconciliation the relationship falls apart. Our calling is to become a new creation in Christ Jesus. To stop looking at our existence through human eyes and take on a spiritual perspective. Christ does the work. We only give Him something to work with and through. To reconcile means restore friendly relations, to coexist in harmony, become compatible, and make consistent with one another. The process is in full operation – it is our choice to participate. Those who do not participate do not get the prize or promise. It is in our complete reconciliation of our life to Christ that purpose is fulfilled and destiny released in the life of God’s People. Simple obedience offers radical change that blesses those willing to engage in it.

The Purpose

but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character and character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame…

James 1:2-4 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

What’s the point? Perfect, complete and lacking in nothing. God has already provided it all. Jesus came to give us a rich and satisfying life. The purpose of the plan, path and process is to achieve His Purpose. We would have settled for less so long ago. Our lack of discipline gives way to substitutions when times get tough. Doubt and insecurity makes us question God’s Goodness due to our inability to do good all the time. Disbelief leads to questions and scrutiny of the Truth set forth by God’s Word. Delays and detours all have a place in God’s Perfect Plan. You cannot miss God! He is always with us – will never forsake us and pursues us with unfailing love and overflowing goodness. God has ordered our steps. Every single one is part of the course toward something good. God uses every detail of our life for good. His Glory is ready to fill every empty vessel poured out and ready for His Love. Your life is not pointless. God is always on point.

John 10:10 (ESV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

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Live Like It

Live Like It

Luke 9:23-25 (NLT)
Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?

 

Yesterday, my husband and I embarked on a unexpected but wonderful adventure together. As I prepared to go for a morning walk, I wandered around the house looking for companions and found no one except my little four-legged friend. I think my husband felt sorry for me and agreed to go. As we walked and talked, we randomly chatted about life in general. It occurred to me during our conversation that some things I do in life had become work. One of those things was going to the gym. On the days when I had other things to do or just wanted to do, I had begun to feel guilty for not donning gym clothes and trudging over to workout. It had become a chore. I want to exercise. I want the benefits of it, but it had become a burden. Another thing that I felt that I had to do. In the last few weeks, I have broken the monotony by walking with the family, dog or even by myself. Doing exercises by the pool while our daughter was swimming. And sometimes with shocking horror, I have chosen to do something else and remarkably survived. What about the fee I pay to use the gym each month? Doesn’t that mean I have to go? No. I have the right to choose how I live my life. We walked about five miles yesterday. Leaving the house on our usual route, we continued passed the turnaround into a greenspace at the end of the main road. Venturing down a trail into a beautiful park, we continued until the storm clouds loomed and home seemed maybe a bit too far for our worn out legs not to mention our tiny friend. We definitely got in our workout. But what strikes me the most is that I felt free and unencumbered in doing so.

There are many times in our life that we allow structure, scheduling, routine and worldly expectations to create burden and bondage in our life. Stress builds as we feel confinement and monotony take over. We become dissatisfied because we are created and designed by the Lord to live in freedom. Even our walk with Christ can become religious making us more concerned about the rules and regulations rather than maintaining the freedom given to us by the Lord. Obviously we are not to use our freedom to continue to sin but it is also not the exchange of one form of bondage to another. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed. (John 8:36)

Matthew 19:20-22 (NLT)

 “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?” Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

 

How many times we find ourselves in this same situation as believers? “Whoever wants to be my follower…” (Luke 9:23) Following Jesus is a choice. He does not make us follow Him or do what He does. The Lord invites us to follow Him and have the rich, satisfying life that He died for us to have. But the most important element in all of this is our freedom to choose. You cannot make someone love you. There has to be an inclination of the heart, otherwise it is not love but manipulation. I heard a group discussion about soul mates on the radio. The question was asked, “Is there really such a thing as a soul mate?” I believe that there is. If God went into great detail creating a life plan for each one of His Children, I am absolutely convinced that He embedded the qualities necessary to connect on that level with our one true partner. I have been married before. I can make the comparison and there is none. Until you connect with someone with your mind, body AND soul – you will never know true love. This is the same with Jesus Christ. You have an option. The choice to follow Christ or remain subject to the world is entirely up to you. But in the end, only those who choose to follow Jesus will have eternal life.

Jesus told the rich young man that if he wanted to be perfect that he must sell all his possessions, give the money away, and follow Him. What did the young man do? He walked away sadly. It is hard to compare the known with the unknown. Faith requires it every day in just about every single choice we make as believers. We choose to follow Jesus or walk alone. Like this young man, I am a pretty good rule follower. I am not interested in “or else” when it comes to life. When Jesus looked into this person’s heart, He could tell that his stuff meant more to him than God did so the Lord challenged his heart. The choice was made. We choose things we value in our life and give them precedence. This begins to accumulate in our heart and become desire. We can say that we want to follow Jesus Christ. Isn’t that what we are supposed to say? We “do” all the right things, learn the right lingo, go to the right church but if our heart is not in it…there is no point.

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (NLT)
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

“You must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me…” The biggest battle that I face as a believer who is trying to follow Jesus Christ is myself. My flesh is constantly battling for control. Paul said, I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.  I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.” (Romans 7:21-23) We have the Light of God’s Love in our heart now. It is chasing away the darkness hidden there. The flesh is fighting for its life. It doesn’t want to die now because this is the only life it knows. Once gone, it is gone forever. The struggle inside us is real and becomes evident all around us. True followers who have committed their hearts to following Jesus will live in a constant state of change. It is always for the better but who like being pressed, perplexed, hunted down, and knocked down all the time? No one only the strong in heart committed to change will ever survive the process of renewal, revival and revitalization that Christ gives those who give up this life to follow Him. Are you committed to change?

Romans 8:1-3 (NLT)

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

 

For a very long time, my husband and I have been season ticket holders for the local college football team. When our team won the National Championship, ticket prices increased significantly. However with our son’s battles with cancer, the kid’s social life, workdays becoming more hectic and many other reasons, it is a struggle sometimes to make every game. We pay a lot of money for the tickets so when something comes up and we cannot make it, there is obviously a burden. We feel pressured to go to every single game. This year we decided not to renew our tickets and for the first time in a long time, I am excited about the idea of football I can enjoy rather than feeling obligated to watch. I do not feel in bondage to a seat but can freely decide whether or not we will be able attend. No pressure. No commitment. There is freedom now to enjoy it unencumbered. We become in bondage to those things we feel forced to do due to obligation. I love the football team. I love to go the games. I do not like to feel condemned when I don’t make a game.

Jesus has given us His Spirit. His Spirit works to set us free from every obligation so we are free to love the Lord and follow Him. When we feel guilty about doing or not doing something, it is not a Spirit emotion. We are working in the Law again. Jesus came to set me free so that I am free to follow Him living a rich and satisfying life. (John 10:10) The enemy of my soul wants me to get caught up in obligations, bondage and become subject to the things of this world. It is up to me to allow the life-giving, chain-breaking Spirit of the Living God to have His Way in my heart and live in the freedom I have been given. Sin has no control over me unless I give it the right to. By choosing to live by the Spirit, I choose to live apart from sin and free from condemnation. If I sense such an emotion, I can choose to release it from my life. I have the power to overcome guilt, shame, and regret by the Power of God living in me. I have the right to follow Jesus every single day. I just need to put more of Him in it and less of me.

John 6:63 (NLT)
The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

Sometimes as I study the Word of God and then relay it here, I think these people must think I am some kind of crazy, weak and weird Christian. How can I struggle in things like this but I do? I cannot be the only one who feels condemned in my walk with Christ. I must not be the only one who wanders off course in the midst of it all. The more I read His Word – the less I seem to know. The more I follow Him – the less certain I am of where we are headed. The only thing I really know for sure is that I love Jesus. I want to follow Him every day even on those days I lose my way. Today I have discovered that even when I think I have thoroughly missed the mark, there is no condemnation. His Grace, Mercy and Love have me covered as He is making good on every promise. His Spirit in me means I have eternal life. I am off the hook. My effort accomplishes nothing. His Word is spirit and life that once accepted are the very things I will sow just by planting them in my heart. Jesus is leading me to life. (John 8:12) I don’t have to do anything but put my mind, body and soul (heart) into following Him wherever He may lead me. I will have a rich, satisfying life by living in the freedom found in Christ. I have it all.

Galatians 5:1 (NLT)

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.”

 

Jesus Christ has set us free from every obligation. Our only regulation in this life is to love. To love God. To love Jesus. To love others. I believe we are even to love ourselves enough to accept God’s Love, Grace and Mercy. Today if you are feeling overwhelmed or condemned, it is not a godly emotion so it doesn’t belong in your life. You have overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of God that is our testimony. No weapon formed against us can prosper unless we use it on our self. Stop beating yourself up for faults and failures. It’s because you are trying to do it yourself and failed. Be free today in the Name of Jesus and stay free by His Spirit. Release every earthly obligation that has become a soul tie and focus on love. That’s it. I know it is uncomfortable and requires more than we are willing to give but it is all that Jesus requires. Once you decide to step into freedom, you will never be satisfied in bondage again. You are free in Jesus so it’s time to live like it.

Galatians 5:13 (NLT)

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 

Old Scar, New Skin – A Devotion

Old Scar or New Skin

Matthew 9:17 (NLT)

“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”

 

As the winds of change blow through our family once again, it is with the onset of spring. The time change is just around the corner and not my shining moment. In fact, I hate it but love the impact that it has on our day. Who can argue with endless sunlight? The last few days have been a dark place for me as I try to wrap my head around what I clearly know is God’s doing but feels like my undoing yet again. The battle between our flesh and Spirit becomes quite clear in times of change as the flesh wants what is now but the Spirit reaches for forever. Ever since I heard the news, I have prayed for the peace of God to quite my panicked soul and quaking heart. As I brace for impact, worry, anxiety and fear have pursued me. In the early hours of darkness in the stillness just before morning, I woke up from a peaceful night sleep. Prayers are working. In that moment at full attention, I heard the Lord speaking to my heart. “Will this form new skin or an ugly scar?”

Skin is a sign of life. Skin is comprised of living cells in a constant state of renewal through reproduction. However, a scar is a sign of an old wound. It is intent on holding our skin together rather than growing and yielding new life. God is not only speaking to me today but every person who has ever gone through something, given up someone or endured a hardship in life. We decide by faith the outcome of each test and trial. The Lord promises new life but our flesh cries foul creating old scars. Reminders of what we have been through and a sign that we are still holding on. No one puts new wine in old wineskins. New wine is still fermenting and changing so to put it in an old dead wineskin would cause it to burst. But if new wine is put in a new skin it has room to change and grow without wrecking the wineskin. Both will be preserved. Change is once again coming to our family. It is a radical change that I am not at liberty to share just quite yet. The Lord is asking me today will this be a time of new growth or will it leave a nasty scar reminding me of the day I gave up.

Romans 4:16-18 (NLT)

So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”

Faith offers elasticity to our soul. It allows us to grow and receive the Promise of God for our life. There are many promises as His Goodness abounds in an abundant life. When our son was diagnosed with cancer, I was determined to see the Glory of God manifested in his life and share the Gospel with others. This would be the purpose and meaning found in such an awful time. I could do nothing to save our son or change his situation but I could stand on faith and proclaim hope. I vowed that cancer would not change me but that I would be changed by faith in God alone. God is faithful. He is true. He told me that because I trusted Him our son would live and not die. My son is very much alive. I will never be able to thank God enough for what faith discovered in the fight for his life. The Promise is always received by faith in God. Every blessing that God ordained for us and Jesus died for us to have is possible by faith alone. Faith is the source of new life that causes us to grow in and through adversity rather than become hard like a scar. Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to live and creates new things out of nothing. Are you that person today? No really. Do you believe that the Lord is faithful enough to do what He says even when the change causes a wounded soul and broken heart? Abraham had the ability to continue to hope when there was no reason to do so. Are you that guy or girl today? New life comes by faith in “the” God who brings back the dead. It believes in “the” God who can create something out of nothing and always gives us beauty for the ashes of unfilled expectation sacrificed for God’s Very Best. When we decide to accept His Plan and Purpose for our life it is in pursuit of His Promises. This will always require faith.

2 Kings 5:11-14 (NLT)

But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage. But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’” So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed!

I have acted like Naaman many, many times. Most believers have found the same situation as this mighty warrior. Naaman had leprosy…a skin condition. How ironic? You can read his story in 2 Kings 5. When Naaman finally made it to the prophet’s door with heartfelt expectation, Elisha would not see him but instead a messenger gave him instructions on what he must do to be healed. Naaman’s pride almost cost him everything and he would have been scarred for life physically and spiritually. His companions encouraged him to go do what the prophet said and do it his way. Finally, Naaman did what he was instructed to do and was healed. His skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child. Rather than scars, the man got new skin and a brand new life. God’s Ways are not our ways. His Thoughts are so much higher than our own. Sometimes we must trust Him on His Word alone without explanation and even when it does not meet our expectations but by simple obedience the Lord will not just heal our body or hurts but give us new life as well. God doesn’t always do things our way. He doesn’t always fulfill human expectation. He is not on our time clock. God is faithful. God is good. God is always on time. He does not want to just heal the hurt or bind a wound but is always looking to give us life abundantly.

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.”

As we walk in the newness of life as a believer, there will be a consistent cutting away of the flesh to gain closer proximity to Christ. We become engrafted to the Lord as we use these opportunities to seek His Face and step into His Presence so that He can heal us body, mind and spirit. His Word cuts like a two-edged sword to aid in this process of reproduction. I have an old scar from having skin cancer in my twenties (which was a very long time ago). It has long since healed and the scar has stretched and is quite enlarged. My doctor has offered to remove the scar for me. The process would entail literally cutting the scar off completely and allowing new skin to grow in its place as the skin is renewed. Those who remain in Christ undergo the scar removal process on an ongoing basis as the Lord removes those things that once hindered us to allow us to grow and flourish under His Careful Attention and Constant Care. Sometimes though as in the case of the scar on my arm, I choose not to remove it as a reminder of the dangers of the sun so that I will not be careless again. It reminds me to put on sunscreen. Sometimes small scars remain as reminders of where we have been to directly impact where we are going! His Grace is always sufficient for me. To bear fruit I must remain in His Love and sometimes…most of the time…there must be some pruning and cutting to bring forth new life.

Galatians 6:14-18 (NLT)

As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God. From now on, don’t let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus. Dear brothers and sisters, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

I am reminded this morning of the constant and ongoing change our family has endured over the last five years. It has seemed brutal especially when cancer came calling. However, the overriding and resounding theme has been God’s Faithfulness through it all. Everything has changed. Everything has changed for the better inside of me. Faith has become an essential part of my life. I want the Promises of God. My interest in this world and its ways wane in comparison to what God is doing in us and through us. I will not lie and tell you this has not been a painful process. The next change is already proving a difficult challenge. But God is bigger than the pain of this process. His Goodness is definitely worth trusting Him. We will see His Glory in our life as He moves through us cutting away those things that keep us from Him and pulling us closer each day. I must be a new creation. I must have new life. I choose whether the change we are going through will give me new life or leave an ugly scar. I want new life. God has promised that His Unfailing Love is pursing me. I must just wait for Him to capture me with His Great Love. Paul bore physical scars for his new found faith in Jesus Christ but day by day his heart renewed. I want that to be me today. Lord, I want new life. Remove the scars of the past and disappointment that things are not going the way I would like. Fill me with new faith and hope so I will continue to pursue new life.

Colossians 3:1-4 (NLT)

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

Every Other Thing – A Devotion

Every Other Thing

Psalm 27:4-6 (NLT)

The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music.

 

The one thing I ask of the Lord and the one thing that I seek the most is to live in the House of the Lord all the days of my life. This is my aspiration. The House of the Lord or His Presence is the place where I go to rise above the noise and chaos of life to not be overcome but overcome every situation. Chaos comes in a moment. Arriving home from work each day is a transition from one list of responsibilities and tasks stepping straight into another. I love being a wife and mother. When I walk in the door greeted by my children and fur babies, nothing brings me greater joy. In my mind, the to-do list is already set and by the time I hit the door its show time. Hug my babies, cook dinner, start some laundry and feed the dogs along with listening to the stories of the day and helping with homework along the way. It’s a well-oiled machine from years of practice, but there are still those occasions when a monkey wrench causes a grinding halt. Our daughter had been ill all weekend but really wanted me to dye her hair. I agreed as it seemed easy enough to apply, rinse and be done. I had about 45 minutes while dinner was in the oven. As she wandered through the house, I called out don’t get that dye on anything. When I saw her plop down on our leather sofa, I reminded her that it would stain the furniture. She disregarded my warning completely. When the timer went off and she came to get her hair rinsed out to my absolute and utter horror – there was hair dye all over the towel that was across her shoulders. Rushing to the sofa, hoping I was wrong only finding that I was right, dark brown almost black hair dye covered the back of the couch. I was mortified. I rinsed her hair and then rushed to the aid of the furniture. I tried everything “Google” could offer until finally settling on some leather furniture cleaner hidden in the linen closet. Meanwhile, the timer for dinner went off so I thrust it on the stove to cool. Barking orders to the others like “set the table” and “fix some drinks”, I had various cleaners strewn across the counter. There were dishes from the preparation of dinner. Time became a jumbled mess. Teenager fled to the bathroom. Little one was left hoping my head would not spin until I exploded. My husband quietly and cautiously not saying a word. Chaos, clutter, confusion released in a moment. I am happy to report that I got most of the dye out of the couch and what’s left is covered by my husband when he watches television in his favorite seat. Dinner was good. I made it to the gym which probably saved everyone from extra heartache. Oh and my daughter loves her new color – God I hope so!

Life is sometimes unpredictable. There are many days that I do not understand how it can go from good to bad and bad to worse so quickly. The only hope that I have of overcoming overwhelming situations is to live in the Presence of the Lord. Our family has had a great awakening and shaking that I hope no one ever has to endure. But through our experience in battling cancer with our son, certain things in our life have gained a new perspective. There was a day not too long ago that such an event would have resulted in a lot of yelling, screaming and complete overreacting to the potential damage that was done. But we are not the same people who withstood the horrible diagnosis years ago, we are new people who live in the promise of Christ that no matter what happens – God works every detail out for our good. Although I have no idea what good will come from my stained sofa, I am proud to report no children were harmed in this story.

Psalm 3:3-4 (NLT)

But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the Lord and he answered me from his holy mountain. 

 

When I pray for others especially my husband and children, I ask the Lord to wrap them in “bubble wrap” of His Love and Protection. Bubble wrap is a wonderful invention and will protect just about anything that is wrapped in it. Jesus promises to be our shield. He will wrap us for protection not only in body but in Spirit. This is very, very important. The outcome last night of our couch would have probably been about the same, but the attitude of my heart would have been very different just a few short years ago. I would have been mad that my daughter disregarded my warning. I would have been frustrated by her disobedience. There would most definitely have been some yelling and screaming which changes the environment of our home completely. But in that moment, I bit my lip – both of them. I focused on the task at hand which was to clean up the mess. The Lord will wrap even our ordinary life in His Glory. We overcome when we can maintain our thoughts and hope when all hell breaks loose in our life. This would be classified as a minor – but this is true even in the majors of our life.

Isaiah 55:8-11 (NLT)

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”

 

The Word of God shows us His Will for our life. It is the greatest stepping stone that we will ever find to take us to that higher level of thinking where we discover God’s Will and our true potential in life. I generally listen to Praise and Worship or Christian music all the time. Truth is driving back and forth to work in my car, I am not intently listening but find that as the artists sing the Word of God and His Promises to me that my thoughts wander back to Him. We must know God’s Word for our life. We must think about God’s Word and how it applies to us. We must intentionally choose to do what it says and wait for the results. God has given us the promise that His Word will accomplish all that it sets out to do. It will produce His Goodness and Glory in our life.

Ephesians 3:16-19 (NLT)

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 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.

God’s Word is always working. It never stops moving through the atmosphere of our life as the Lord tries to accomplish His Will for us. We decide whether it catches up to us or not. Will I align my heart and mind with the Word of God? Well, the Lord knew we needed some help here so He gave us His Spirit so that we could understand the true potential and purpose of His Word for our life. He wants us to have all the promises that He set forth from the beginning. God has glorious and unlimited resources for our life that are hidden by the empty philosophies of the world in which we live. If we could only comprehend the true width, length, height and depth of God’s Love for us then we would see it is impossible to escape it. We can live wrapped up in that love like bubble wrap and nothing will stop us from the complete fullness of life that Jesus promised in abundant life.

Colossians 2:7-9 (NLT)

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.

 

We have the promise (His Word) and the potential (His Spirit) to live in the grace and glory every single day of our life. It is a choice to choose “one thing” over every other thing that presents itself. Christ descended before He ascended so that He knows every weakness as well as the plight of His People. (Ephesians 4:9-10) The only descent I must make is to humbly surrender my life to Jesus Christ. From that point on, the Lord elevates my thinking to assert and claim all that He promises rather than settling for lesser things. I am a bit miffed that my couch bears the mark of shame. But I am so thankful that I did not destroy my teenager in the process or totally disrupt the peace in my household over a piece of furniture. Those who are honest enough will admit that it does happen from time to time. We do not have to live in bondage to empty philosophies or high-sounding nonsense but are empowered by the Lord to rise above such foolish thinking and live in the shield of His Love. As we surrender more and more of our heart and mind to Jesus, He because the fullness of our life rather than the things that fill our life. He becomes the Center of it all.

As we increase the investment of our life in the Lord, we attach more roots by faith into what He promises. These roots allow us to rise above our circumstances and stand strong in situations so that we will see His Goodness and Glory every day of our life even in the smallest victories like not losing out temper with a child. I love her more than my furniture. I had to remember that when one careless act left a nasty mark.

Psalm 40:1-3 (NLT)

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.

Each new day, I believe the Lord sets my feet on solid ground offering to steady me as I walk with Him. I make the choice whether or not I will stay with Him or walk alone. The choice we make in that moment determines the outcomes of each moment. Patience are a process. It takes time to bear such fruit. Those whose submit this process to God’s Timing and Faithfulness will not be disappointed as it will change the atmosphere of our life. Chaos is just around the corner. The unexpected may be found in just one more step but those who choose one thing over everything else will never be let down. God holds us head and shoulders above those who will try to pull us down today. He gives us a new song with words of victory that comfort and encourage us until we cross that line. Will you trust the Lord today? To do so is the discover of the one thing that will change every other thing in our life.

Psalm 73:28 (NLT)
But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.