Identity Lost

identity lost

Romans 8:29-30 (ESV) For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

It is easy sometimes to get caught up in what we do and forget who we are. If you are a spouse, parent or employee – it can happen many times. The duties and responsibilities of life drain the time and energy once used to secure self. Maybe it is monotony or mediocrity that robs us of the pursuit of purpose in order to maintain the present. Have you ever asked yourself is this really all there is to life? There has to be more. The inkling inside of us is the Holy Spirit who prods us to the predestined potential of God hidden in our heart. You and I are created in the Image of God. (Genesis 1:27) Yet it seems from the beginning our identity as His Beloved is a problem for us. The fall of mankind came quickly after creation. It did not take us long to lose sight of who we are to settle for lesser things. Has the church lost its identity? Have believers forgotten who they really are? Do Christians truly identify with Christ? Am I one of these?

Throughout the Old Testament, the Children of God carved out images from wood and stone. Some even took gold melting it to molds made to resemble animals and people. They worshipped these images when all along the Living God vied for their attention. Idols are not foreign to us today. Though it may not be in the form of days of old – make no mistake they are still there. I use filters quite a bit on a popular social media app. I love it because it erases the lines and wrinkles of time. I have often commented to friends wouldn’t it be great to live with this filter all the time. Hmmm… Maybe to some extent it is already happening. The profiles reflecting on social media seldom reflect who a person “really” is but rather becomes a personification of who they would like to be. Only “perfect” pictures are posted. Some people have multiple accounts according to the different social circles in life. As I read these words today, I am a bit convicted. How often I forget not only whose I am but who I am according to His Creation! God predestined me to be His Child. To live in a thriving relationship as a Kingdom Kid. To partner with His Son, Jesus and overcome the world. From victory to victory. Yet I spend a great deal of time finding myself all over again.

New season. I have entered a new season of life. Crossing over into my fifties chronologically didn’t present any real challenges. My family and friends threw me a lovely party. However, in the last couple of years, the change has been physical and emotional. It has been relational with the arrival of our first grandchild. It has been spiritual as the Lord coaxes me to step out of my comfort zone into new endeavors. Sometimes I wish that He would just shove me over the edge. But that is not how God works – it is our willingness to acknowledge and accept who we are in Him and do what He has purposed us to do by faith that walks and moves in Him.

John 1:11-13 (ESV) He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

I have a friend who was adopted as a toddler. She grew up in a loving family with siblings. Yet in her adulthood she struggled with her identity. She needed to know her birth father and family to find her place in this world. What she found was not pretty? An abuser who lived a life of addiction. Siblings tainted by the generational curse of the father tragically broken. A family who lived in denial enabling and then praising the one who was really the victimizer long after his death. The void left unfilled it would be a difficult pill to swallow. Yet isn’t that what we do in life – paint a pretty picture to cover the ugliness of imperfection.

There is something in us that wants to know where we came from in order to decide where we are going. I believe healing comes when a person knows and understands that our Father God created us to be His Child. When humanity chose something else, the Lord still chose us. He sent His Son to make a way for us to become His Children again. He seals our adoption with the Holy Spirit. There are many fatherless, motherless, and parentless kids in the world seeking for acceptance, affirmation, affection and love. The world will give them a swift substitution and the enemy will soothe their cries with a settlement bent on their destruction. We must know who we are in Jesus Christ to offer them the love and peace that belongs to them. My sister once said every child wants to know that their parent loves them unconditionally and will pursue them relentlessly. When natural parents fall short, God always fills the gap. He created us to be loved by Him.

Daniel 3:13-15 (ESV) Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”

Are you struggling with identity today? Have you lost your identity? The enemy wants you to believe that there is no God. No Jesus. No anything after today. If that doesn’t work, he will try to mislead you into thinking you are insignificant to the Lord. Or worse yet, that God is punishing you by keeping you in the current position or placement in life. Well…there is more to life than this. We must be very diligent in removing the idols or those things created to improve our image and boost our self-esteem giving us a something we can live up to. Our position in life (naturally, socially, familial, professionally, or spiritually) can all lend to the idols that keep us from living as Children of God. To lose our identity is dangerous because when we forget who we are then we forget whose we are as well. You are a Child of God. He loves you. He is for you. He is with you. The tests, trials and temptations in life are not for your destruction. They are fires of refinement to burn off the superficial and release the supernatural. You may have to go through the fire to reveal the treasure of your heart. It will be worth it. Your hope will never lead to disappointment. You, friend, are a Child of God.

Psalm 139:1-6 (ESV) O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

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Power of Praise

Power of Praise

Psalm 108:1-5 (NIV) My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul. Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.

Our grandson is just four months old. He is beginning to engage with us. When he does something new and exciting, everyone smiles and praises him. When he simply sits in his seat looking around in wonder, you guessed it – we do the same thing. He is constantly being praised and affirmed even though his behavior is simple milestones in human growth and development. His mama tells him all the time that he is a good boy and he is a “cool dude”. She is constantly positively affirming her little boy. He smiles at her words. He looks to those around him for their reaction to his new endeavors. It is important to speak life over our children. To affirm them when they are good and redirect not so good behaviors. Punishment is not the goal of parenting but rather discipline. Building strong character in our youth begins with affirmation and praise at an early age. Praising tiny humans raises up confident adults.

There is power in praise. It elevates our spirit and strengthens our resolve eliminating insecurity and lack of confidence. However, it is not human nature to praise. It is all too common to be critical, to tear down, and this is usually from a place of comparison. People are created in the image of the Living God. He is the standard set that sin has stolen from us. It is our mission in life to discover the eternity hidden inside of our heart and take the measure of faith entrusted to us to pursue it as our destiny. As sons and daughters of the King, there is no need for strife or division because we are all joint heirs with Jesus Christ.

My heart, O God, is steadfast…

My heart is steadfast, loyal, faithful, devoted, dedicated, dependable, reliable, steady, true, constant, solid and trusting. Are these the words that describe your heart connection to the Father? Do you remain steadfast in love, joy, peace, and all the other fruits of His Spirit? Praising God comes not from our current circumstances or conditions. These generally will produce complaints. Praise for the Living God must come from a confident heart. A heart that fully knows and understands that its connection to God is through His Son – Jesus therefore our boast is in nothing this world has to offer but fully consummated within a steadfast heart. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Our heart must remain constant in this truth to offer praise in every situation. Praise builds the stairway that faith will tread upon. Though one might think our praise elevates the Lord – it really is our pathway to His Presence.

I will sing and make music with all my soul…

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

Praise makes us prosper. We must make our praise project from the depth of our soul. To prosper is to make successful. The prayer to prosper and become successful is not answered unless it comes from our soul. There are many who have created shortcuts to God’s Favor that simply are not true. God honors every seed planted by faith in good ground when our soul is healthy and our heart is fertile. What is a fertile heart? A heart that is broken and remade by the Hand of God into the wonderful masterpiece that He has promised before our birth. What is a healthy soul? A soul that hungers and thirsts for righteousness. A soul that is satisfied with the Bread of Life and Living Water. A soul that pursues God’s Presence. A soul that is hopelessly and completely devoted to Jesus Christ. Our soul is eternal. It must be trained and guided to look past today and all the cares and worries of life to become confident in Jesus Christ alone.

For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Psalm 23:5-6 (NIV) You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Praise propels us past our problems to the promises of God for our life. It is the opportunity to remind ourselves what the Lord has promised and what He will do for us. We really have nothing to offer the Lord except our praise and adoration. There is no possible way to earn or deserve the goodness and love that He pursues us with each day. Our pride would like to somehow find a way to repay the Lord to keep itself alive, but the truth is that there is no possible way to out give God so we praise Him for His Faithfulness and Generosity to us. Praise is a valuable tool when the giant seems too big or obstacle too large. It elevates our perspective from the ground to the Heavenlies. It reveals angels unaware who are positioned for our deliverance. It excites the Spirit of God within us so that as He expands our momentary trials and troubles don’t seem that big any longer. Praise keeps us company while we wait on the Lord for proper timing brings about completion.

Acts 16:25-26 (NIV)  About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.

Praise changes the atmosphere from hopeless to hopeful. Paul and Silas were in prison. They were arrested and severely beaten after delivering a slave girl from a demonic presence. Surely God should have protected them. Why such savage treatment? Where was God? Chained to the wall like animals, they were surely discouraged and afraid. Things were looking rather hopeless for the men of God. They were in danger. In the midnight hour… Before moving on – I think it pertinent to point out that praise is not always our first thought. Midnight is the time when one day turns into another. The Word of God says that mourning lasts for a night but joy comes in the morning. I wonder if they were crying and complaining but heard the bell toll twelve and decided to make a change. It says that they were praying and singing hymns to God with an audience of prisoners when suddenly… Do you need a suddenly today? Are you discouraged? Fearful? Anxious? On the verge of hopelessness – it is important to evaluate our vocabulary. Praise has the power to change the atmosphere. The breath of God in us released causes a change around us. Not only did the doors fly open and chains fall off of Paul and Silas but every prisoner was set free. The jailer was saved and took the men home to wash their wounds and feed them good food. The next morning the magistrates came to free them. This all happened because they choose to praise in the prison. Whatever has you captive is subject to your praise. Jesus lives in you!

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.

Psalm 134:1-3 (NIV) Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who minister by night in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Zion, he who is the Maker of heaven and earth.

God affirms His Children. He has great affection for you. He has no intention of punishing you but rather good discipline gives footsteps direction and makes destiny divine. He put eternity in our heart for a reason. There is power and purpose awaiting those who pursue His Love with all their heart, soul, body and mind. It is important to position ourselves in His Presence to live in His Promises. Praise is our constant reminder to exalt the Lord giving Him proper placement in our life. No allegiance is a sign of rebellion. Praise communicates our allegiance to Jesus Christ and puts the enemy on notice that we have relinquished our life to Him as Savior and Lord. Praise does not exalt Christ in the sense of moving Him but rather praise moves us. We must be intentional in our praise. Praise is a powerhouse for those who choose to use it.

Psalm 86:11-12 (NIV) Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.

AMEN!

Amen

Hebrews 13:20-21 (NKJV)

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

From everlasting to everlasting…forever. Man equates time between a birth and death certificate and the line positioned between two dates on a grave. Life is not equated as the time we live naturally but spiritually. This timeframe is called forever. Our soul was created before birth and remains long after the body dies. If we could take the image of our life, its potential and purpose, stretching it from the beginning of time into eternity, it might allow us to experience all the possibilities found in the Everlasting God who we serve. He created an everlasting covenant. The Lord offers it to each person. Everyone makes their own choice. Doing nothing to earn it or deserve it, we choose in each “amen”.

There is a sign on my wall that reads, “Think Outside The Box.” I wonder what might happen if people really did think outside the box, the pine box that will mark their demise, the limitation that life puts on time, and the perception that it really doesn’t matter how we live as all are trapped by fate. I don’t believe it. I choose to believe that my life was made to be from everlasting to everlasting. Reaching out to God, I desire to claim the promise of forever with a life of “amens”.

The Lord desires to make us complete in every good work to do His Will. He is working in us what is pleasing in His Sight as His Love, Grace and Mercy overtake us. Jesus Christ is the Way, Truth and Life that allows us to step out of fate and into forever. We are born dying. Sin is a congenital. We are born in sin and therefore, sentenced to die. All have fallen short of the Glory of God and His Glorious Standard of Living. The wages of sin are death but the Gift of God is eternal, everlasting life in Jesus Christ. (John 3:16) God’s Love gave us His Son. Our response to His Love determines the boundaries of our life. “Amen” means it is so or so be it. It is to agree as an expression of strong approval and support. There is nothing that we do with it other than that. We can do nothing to earn this tremendous and invaluable gift that we have been given other than accept it. Good thing, because we struggle with that. Amen in Hebrew translates to “firm and hence also faithful.” To accept the everlasting, our response is “amen”.

I Chronicles 16:34-36 (NKJV)

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. And say, “Save us, O God of our salvation; Gather us together, and deliver us from the Gentiles, to give thanks to Your Holy Name, to triumph in Your Praise.” Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting! And all the people said, “Amen!” and praised the Lord.

Will you say “amen” today? No matter what is going on around you and what your circumstances may be, will you stand firm and hence also faithful to the Lord in all things. This is to accept the terms of covenant that are available in the Lord. The Lord established an everlasting covenant in the days of Noah. (Genesis 9:12-17) He promised never to destroy the earth and its people again. This covenant was perfected in Jesus Christ now everyone has the opportunity to escape death and live forever. Amen takes God up on His Offer and allows us to live in covenant each day. It is to continue in the promise made at the point of salvation and continue in righteousness.

We are not entering into a promise with a mere mortal but rather the Everlasting God. He is constant. (Psalm 90:1-2) Amen. God’s Authority and Power are everlasting. (Psalm 93:1-2) Amen. God’s Love and Mercy are never ending. (Psalm 100:4-5) Amen. God’s Word is forever true and unchanging. (Psalm 103:15-18) Amen. His Righteousness (Integrity) is eternal so that we can be confident that God does not lie or change His Mind. (Psalm 119:142) Amen. The Lord is always leading us to forever. (Psalm 139:23-24) Amen. His Kingdom is everlasting and not based on this world’s opinion or outcomes. (Psalm 145:13) Amen.

One’s ability to live in Christ is not based on an activity or action. Religion does not get you to God or allow access to Eternity. You are given the privilege of God’s Presence by accepting His Love completely allowing one’s heart, mind, body and soul to say, “Amen”. We live in Christ simply by acceptance. To take His Love and apply it to our entire life and learn to say every day in every situation, “Amen” to our Everlasting God, His Everlasting Covenant, and His Everlasting Love.

Matthew 6:9-13 (NKJV)

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name.  Your Kingdom come. Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever. Amen.

Can you say today with a willing heart, “Your Kingdom come. Your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”? Totally releasing every natural and human expectation to accept the Will of the Everlasting God completely and totally. There is freedom in this choice but it is a battle to get there. It strips us of all pretense as we see the Lord God for who He is Everlasting, All Mighty, Superpower, Sovereign, Relentless and Unchanging both now and forevermore. The prayer given to us by Jesus is simple in format but significant and complex in each word. Do we live in complete submission and total respect for the Name of God? Do we really want His Kingdom to come or do we love this life more? Do we want His Will or our own personal wants? Do we depend on the Lord to provide giving seed to the sower so we give our life away without regard? Do we forgive? Do we avoid temptation, sin and compromise? Do we live as though His Kingdom is forever? Do we desire His Kingdom Power and Glory forever beginning with today? Amen. This is the response that God is looking for which means “firm and hence also faithful.”

Isaiah 55:1-3 (NKJV)

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you—the sure mercies of David.”

God has desired an everlasting covenant with you from the very beginning. He placed Eternity in our heart. He recorded every moment of our life before our birth to ensure that we would have multiple opportunities to give our heart to Jesus and live in a state of “amen”. He offers us His Kingdom. Yet, we live paying for things that are given to us by God. We cannot simply accept what we are offered but find a way to make it harder than it really is. When I say “amen” and live for this world – it is an empty, fruitless response. It is to misuse the word and opportunity so graciously given on the Cross. Amen is a declaration of affirmation. It is the opportunity to live in an everlasting covenant by accepting the Everlasting God and His Everlasting Promises. Those who do will be given perfect peace and everlasting strength to hang on until eternity comes. (Isaiah 26:3-4) The Lord is drawing us into His Everlasting Love. (Jeremiah 31:3) What is our response today? Do we want His Kingdom? Do we want what God wants for us? Do we expect exceedingly abundantly more than we can think or ask? Jesus is called the Everlasting Father. (Isaiah 9:6) He is the everlasting foundation on which our life builds fulfillment and satisfaction rather than regret and disappointment. (Proverbs 10:25)

It takes one word. It is a simple response. We just need to say amen and mean it. In all things, amen. In the highs, amen. In the lows, amen. In the waiting, amen. In every situation along with every circumstance, we say, “Amen.” Those who do accept “our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort for your hearts and establish every good word and work.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17) So today, Lord, I say let your Kingdom come. Let Your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. You are my Provider who supplies all that I need so I can give those things tangible and intangible to those around me. I step out of my comfort zone called this world and step out by faith on the firm foundation of Christ and say, “Amen!”

Psalm 41:13 (NKJV)

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.

Soul Selfie

Soul Selfie

Psalm 49:8-9 (TLB)

For a soul is far too precious to be ransomed by mere earthly wealth. There is not enough of it in all the earth to buy eternal life for just one soul, to keep it out of hell.)

“If we could take selfies of our souls…would you find it attractive enough to post?” Scanning Facebook to wake up this morning, I had to stop to read this again and chuckle for a minute. Our daughters love to post selfies. After snapping the picture, they will blow it up on their phone examining their faces intently… too intently in my opinion. Every detail of their countenance in question, most of the time a retake is in order until they get it just right. We will take pictures together and they will look carefully at themselves and then if they are satisfied post it. When I see it, many times other people may not be at their best but that doesn’t matter if they are satisfied with how they look. So when I read this today, I thought of them blowing up the image to examine every pixilated detail of their face. I know they are not the only ones. I have seen them do it with their friends. I am blessed to have Christian teenagers who understand the meaning of modesty. They are good kids who love the Lord. However, today I am wondering if they are also carefully noting each detail of their soul? Which leads me to a far greater question, am I?

I am not a selfie girl. I don’t post many of them. To be honest, I just don’t think about it. When I do post selfies, it is usually “usies” with my family or friends. We live in an appearance driven world and vanity-filled culture. It is easy to get caught up in the social media trend of selfies. But I wonder if we really spend as much time examining our souls as one might a picture they are about to post. Do we really understand the true value and worth of the soul tucked within hidden behind our heart filled with the Living Breathing Spirit of Almighty God? A soul is far too precious to be ransomed by mere earthly wealth. There is not enough of it in all the earth to buy eternal life for just one soul and keep it out of hell. You matter. Not how you look or what others think of your appearance. You matter to the Lord. When there was nothing that could save our soul from dying, Jesus came and paid the highest price. You are worth more than what others think of you.

Mark 8:36-38 (TLB)

“And how does a man benefit if he gains the whole world and loses his soul in the process? For is anything worth more than his soul? And anyone who is ashamed of me and my message in these days of unbelief and sin, I, the Messiah, will be ashamed of him when I return in the glory of my Father, with the holy angels.”

 

You can tell a lot about someone by what they post on social media. A picture is worth a thousand words. Some people who once graced my wall on Facebook or I followed on Instagram and Twitter are gone. I love them. I miss them. However, the posts did not reflect the person who I know. This is not a call to end social media or selfies at all. To say that social media is the problem is to say a gun has a mind of its own, it is all how one uses it. The point of this post and the message that the Lord is speaking to me today is a reminder that the most important gift that I have been given is my soul. It came at a high price and has a solid purpose. To love Jesus first. To follow Him wherever He goes so one day I can step into forever with Him. It is all about what you want out of life. I want Jesus. This requires paying attention to my soul. Using it for His Glory, not to satisfy man or even myself. I must examine it as closely as a picture I may be about to post. Blowing it up, looking at every detail, and doing things over when I find something is amiss. We must spend more time examining and inspecting what is on the inside than what we present on the outside. Ladies, this is not a call to let yourself go or put down the mascara just to pick up the Word for careful reflection instead of the mirror. Men, you are called to be the head of your home and Christ to your partner, so the most important muscle is your heart not your abs, back or shoulders. Let what God has done on the inside make its way to the outside.

Proverbs 22:4-5 (TLB)

True humility and respect for the Lord lead a man to riches, honor, and long life. The rebel walks a thorny, treacherous road; the man who values his soul will stay away.

We all want other people to like us. Respect us. Think highly of us. Acceptance and affirmation are the things we seek fulfilled by the Lord. It is a natural desire that is only supernaturally satisfied. True humility and respect for the Lord lead to godly contentment. Riches, honor and long life are attributes of the soul not our bank account or life status although the Word of God promises that God supplies all of our needs and that God’s Children do not have to beg for bread. It also says that He will not only meet but exceed our desires. It requires something though that sometimes people are not willing to give. It means putting our expectation in the Lord no other people. This does not often produce immediate gratification. It is a lifelong process of learning to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and might. (Deuteronomy 6:5-6) The very thing we seek from others comes from the Lord but it doesn’t come just by “saying” okay I love Jesus. It is achieved by obeying His Word each day until our heart and soul reflect the Light that has invaded it. If we truly value our soul, and want to be with Jesus forever than our life should reflect that change even in our countenance.

Jesus reiterated what is said in Deuteronomy when He said, Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second most important is similar: ‘Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.’ All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them. Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all the others.” (Matthew 22:37-40) Obeying the Lord in all things begins by self-examination. The Holy Spirit will assist in our efforts if we ask Him to. It is a pivotal shift from looking for man’s approval to seeking God’s approval in all things… even the things we post on social media. When we put ourselves out there as a believer, it should always point to Christ. He is the difference in our life. He is our game changer. Our bodies are dying day by day. We can slap some makeup on it, lift our chins until there is only one, or turn one way or the other to show our best side, but the truth is the only thing that really matters at the end of the day or better yet the end of our life is Jesus! The second commandment just killed the selfie when Jesus said we are to love others as much as ourselves.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (TLB)

The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. It is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone.

The Bible is the best mirror to reflect the true condition of our life. We must use it daily to examine our soul and its countenance first before we worry about our face. What profits us if we gain the world’s approval or more than 100 likes and lose our soul? Nothing. When I was with my son in the hospital, each morning I took a shower and got ready for the day but it didn’t really matter to me that much about my clothes or makeup because no one was going to see me. In the quietness of hours spent serenaded by beeping monitors, and nothing to do but wait I found that I spent more and more time in God’s Word so I wouldn’t be alone. It became the mirror of my soul that it should’ve been the whole time. Over the course of four years of treatment and hospital stays, I found that I really didn’t like the person I had become before such careful introspection. Look at what it took for me to see that I wasn’t who the Lord created me to be? Now I don’t for a second believe that God gave our son cancer, or allowed the enemy to attack but He certainly used it to open my eyes.

“If your eye is pure, there will be sunshine in your soul. But if your eye is clouded with evil thoughts and desires, you are in deep spiritual darkness. And oh, how deep that darkness can be!” I want sunshine in my soul. The kind that is given from experiencing the Light of His Love and grabbing hold of it. To bask in His Light, I must move out of the darkness. There is nothing good in me except what Jesus Christ is doing inside of me. I want to feed the Light and not the darkness which means I must carefully inspect my soul each day and make sure my heart and body are following suit. Our heart is fickle and must be disciplined. Our body is weak so Christ becomes our strength when we allow His Mantle of Love to cover our life. We have a purpose far beyond the affirmation of any man. We have been given the opportunity and undeserved privilege of righteousness or right standing with God again. We can be His Children. He can be pleased with us again. My soul is the access point of God’s Acceptance, Affirmation and Affection. To offer it to Him allows me to live with sunshine in my soul as the Light of His Love overtakes me.

Psalm 16:8-11 (TLB)

I am always thinking of the Lord; and because he is so near, I never need to stumble or fall. Heart, body, and soul are filled with joy. For you will not leave me among the dead; you will not allow your beloved one to rot in the grave. You have let me experience the joys of life and the exquisite pleasures of your own eternal presence.

I am always thinking of the Lord. Wow, that is a direct statement and high aspiration for our life. Are we always thinking about Jesus especially when we put our life on display? He is the Source of Life for those who call Him Savior and Lord, do we live like it? When people see our selfies or posts on social media, I wonder if their first thought is that I love Jesus or I love myself. Good question and one I think we all need to ask in every situation and encounter in life. Nothing good lives in me and all the good things about me are directly attributed to Christ. When they see me, do they see Jesus? When they hear me, do they hear about Him? When they know me, can they tell that He is my everything? It’s time to take a soul selfie. Blow it up. Look deep within at every detail and make the necessary changes to be more like Jesus. Why? I want to live in His Presence forever. I want others to experience the life changing love that I have found. Those who give their heart, body and soul to Jesus will be filled with joy and satisfied just to have Him near. If you decide to put yourself out there today on social media or real life, make sure that it honors, glorifies and magnifies the One who loves you most and paid the highest price to satisfy your soul!

Psalm 57:8-11 (TLB)

Rouse yourself, my soul! Arise, O harp and lyre! Let us greet the dawn with song! I will thank you publicly throughout the land. I will sing your praises among the nations. Your kindness and love are as vast as the heavens. Your faithfulness is higher than the skies. Yes, be exalted, O God, above the heavens. May your glory shine throughout the earth.

Acid Rain

Acid Rain

Psalm 19:12-14 (MSG)

Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh! Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I can take over your work; then I can start this day sun-washed, scrubbed clean of the grime of sin. These are the words in my mouth; these are what I chew on and pray. Accept them when I place them on the morning altar, O God, my altar-Rock, God, Priest-of-My-Altar.

You probably remember the essence of this verse to read, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord…” There is power in our words. God does not take an idle word for granted. He hears us when we speak in great anticipation of an expression of faith, love or trust that will release more of the abundance that He has tucked away in Heaven for those who believe. I have lived long enough to eat from the harvest of my conversations and declarations in my life. Some I have enjoyed and others had to choke back down. I found a suggestion yesterday that was a great reminder. It said, “Go 24 hours without complaining. Not even once…then watch how your life starts changing.” What a challenge this is for us? In a world filled with dissatisfaction and discontentment to not voice our concerns for a single minute not one time in the course of the day…I can only imagine the results.

During the first round of cancer treatment, our son was receiving maximum dose radiation to his head and neck. Though not painful during treatment, it burned long after it was over as it continued to radiate the tumor and everything in its vicinity. Toward the end of treatment, his extremely fair skin began to blister and breakdown boiling from the inside out. His skin was so hot that cream would melt before I even put it on him just being in close proximity. Splitting open, it was the most horrific thing I have ever seen yet each day I had to take him back twice a day for treatment. During the last week as I tried to soothe the burning, festering, and open wounds all around his ears and neck, I told him that it would be okay if he told God that this was not okay and that he didn’t like what was happening to him. See up to this point, he had not uttered a single complaint. While I on the other hand continually complained about his situation right down to the uncomfortable bed I had been given to care for him free of charge. I am all too human. While I was professing God’s Faithfulness and my belief that a miracle was coming, I was cursing every step along the way. You know what that kid told me in the midst of agony and pain that few will experience. He said, “Mom, what good would it do to complain about it?” I have never felt so convicted in my life and couldn’t wait to have a talk with Jesus about my bad behavior. Trusting the Lord does not allow for complaining because we know something good is coming. Grumbling only indicates a lack of faith that produces unproductive conversation.

Blessing and cursing is a daily choice. I make the choice with my attitude and actions but most importantly with my words. Words tell the secrets of our heart. Why do you think it reads may the words of my mouth first? Our idle words without thought or intent spill forth the contents hidden in the deepest recesses of our heart. They indicate belief or disbelief. Faith or fear. When we begin to set a new precedence in our life with our daily conversation it will change the productivity in our life.

James 3:7-12 (MSG)

This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth! My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you

We say that we trust the Lord. We want to believe. We are in a battle that incorporates our body, mind and spirit. We are in control of our body and mind. As we strive to submit our body and mind to the Holy Spirit living inside of us our life has the potential and probability to change. However, either one left to its own devices will rob us of the blessings that God has in store for us as His Children. Such things are released by faith and trusting His Way as the best way for our life even the mountains, valleys, and storms with the waiting that comes with it. Complaining our way through the wildernesses does not produce the same effect as praising our way through trust me I know I have tried both ways. The Promise Land was right there but they kept circling and circling complaining all the way. What if your promise is that close and you are wandering in our words? What if our own confessions over our life are keeping us confined? What a shame that would be to be so close to God’s Glory, Goodness and Favor for our life but kept just out of reach because we voice our discomfort in the process

Luke 6:44-45 (NLT)

A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thorn bushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

The contents of our heart comes pouring out of our mouth. When we speak, there is power in our voice that releases commands in Heaven and earth. How do I know? If you are a Christian or believer who has accepted Jesus Christ as the Son of God and call Him Savior and Lord, then you have the power to bind and loose in Heaven and earth. (Matthew 16:17-19) What are you commanding in your life today? What are you permitting? What are you forbidding? Excuse me while I cower in conviction because while on most days I live on praise and adoration of my God, there are many that I actually gripe and grumble my way through. I call out to God and then hold the door shut with words that do not indicate trust and faith but doubt and fear. Lord, help me watch my word. Let me be the gatekeeper over my mouth that I need to be.

Isaiah 55:10-11 (MSG)

Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, so will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.

Do you know where rain comes from? God draws water from the earth and pours it back out. (Job 36:26-28) It is simple science designed by God based on sowing and reaping. What is God drawing from your life? When water is pulled from the earth, the rain produces its contents? Rain produced of chemical-infused, polluted water will give forth something called “acid rain”. Rain was designed by God to produce a harvest in our life by watering the seed entrusted to the ground. We plow the ground of our life laboriously with obedience. We plant seeds of faith in good soil. But then we curse our seed with negativity, doubt, fear and anxiousness in the form of words that rain on our harvest and kill it in the field. If you are discontent or dissatisfied with your harvest, yet you are being faithful to God and living a “good” life and planting seeds of righteousness along the way, what are you saying while you wait for the harvest? How sad to think of all the seeds we have sown that died in the ground because of idle words, complaining, grumbling and mistaken statements.

Are you tired of sowing and never reaping? Watch your words. Are you discontent with your life in the Lord? Change your conversation. To experience new results requires making a change otherwise it will just remain the same day in and day out. What if we began speaking God’s Word over our life when tempted to complain or voice our discontentment? It says that God’s Word never returns to Him unaccomplished. We can sow and water our life but it is God who gives us increase by faith and trust in Him. This opens the windows of Heaven to bless our cultivation in life. People who change their words to agree with what the Lord says about their life will prosper.

Philippians 2:13-15 (NLT)

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.

Why would the world want a God that does not keep His Promises? Why live in obedience to God if there is nothing to gain? I want the love, joy, peace and true satisfaction that comes from living a life in the Presence of God and in constant fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ. Negativity, complaining, grumbling and venting is cursing our life. Given the Power of the Holy Spirit in us, we have the power to dictate our outcomes based on our confession alone. What are you saying about your life today? What is coming out of your mouth? I am a talker. I am taking on a huge task in the evaluation of my speech today, but I cannot help but want everything that God has for me so I need to stop killing my crops. Are my words like acid burning up my fields? Or are they like fresh spring rain drawn from untouched mountain snow? It is up to me. I am free to produce whatever kind of life I desire. I can follow the Lord in mind, soul, body, and, yes, even mouth. Or I can allow the world to influence my communication and destroy my harvest. God is working in us. This power cannot be taken for granted or it is like giving a toddler a loaded gun praying for a good outcome. He is giving us the desire to please Him and His Power to do so. We must do EVERYTHING without complaining to have God’s Very Best. We must do EVERYTHING without arguing to live in complete agreement bonded by love with the Lord and every other human being on the earth. Ouch! This is how we become shining examples of the Lord of God and a hope that never leads to disappointment. Take the challenge with me to day to totally eliminate complaining and grumbling from our lives today. I am convinced that within a day our life will dramatically change as God pours out more of His Love on us like good rain!

Psalm 34:12-14 (NLT)

Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

Blessed Reassurance

Blessed Reassurance

Psalm 119:33-40 (NLT)

Teach me your decrees, O Lord; I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart. Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found. Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money! Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you. Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good. I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness.

 

True believers live in the midst of change. We are destined to live from glory to glory. So when we attempt to live in alignment with God it seems to mess up everything we have worked hard to establish. Sometimes it seems harder the more we work our way closer to Him as our life begins to dramatically change for the better the discomfort of change produces chaos in our heart. As the Lord reshapes us for His Glory, it begins to produce His Glory in our life. But if you think about it whenever Jesus showed up, crazy stuff started to happen. Unnatural events surrounded his arrival, dead people came back to life, water turned into wine, and other things that defied human understanding and worldly knowledge. Why would we expect any different knowing the Word of God and having it as a guide for our life? Do you really want me to answer that question or just let it marinate for a while? There are days when self-condemnation berates me for asking questions, looking back and when uncertainty causes me to second guess what I know God has spoken to me or has directed my to do. These are the days that we need reassurance of what we are after and that His Promises are true.

Our husband and I were on a company trip when we had the brilliant idea to go parasailing. For those of you unfamiliar with such a thing, it is being strapped into a parachute behind a boat tethered to it by a ski rope of sorts. The boat accelerates and the parachute catches the wind like a kite and you are pulled high above the earth to “sail” through the air. How fun? Sure it is until you are actually sitting in the water strapped into the darn thing. Flying through the air is great until you look down and realize how fragile the contraption you are in. But the worst part for me was the moment you land in the water and must wait for the boat to circle back for you. With a life vest keeping you buoyant you float in darkness of the deep, but you cannot see below the surface. In that moment, you feel like the smallest fish in the pond. Sometimes… okay most of the time… faith works that way. God gives us a word or promise and we are high on life. But when we begin to walk out the process by which we receive that good thing – every insufficiency and fear will rise up within us. God’s Glory and His Goodness belong to us as His Children. He is constantly trying to produce both in our life. But many times we halt the process because in the midst of the “ocean” we cry out for fear of failing, falling or even flailing cause us to panic and swim back. The thing about faith to always remember is to get more than our feet have to fail, human logic is not reality and it challenges us from the inside out. You cannot get more faith without using what we have. Confident hope is built on trying our faith and finding blessed re-assurance to get through each day.

Psalm 119:33-34 (MSG)

God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course. Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—my whole life one long, obedient response.

 

When I woke up this morning, my mind was reeling. After a long night of dreaming, I was uncertain about the new career change that I know is expressly designed by God for my life. I began to question leaving the known to pursue the unknown. I hate that feeling. I am embarrassed to even think such things when I know God sees my heart and reads my mind. He has been so good to me. I cannot believe that after watching Him heal and deliver our son from cancer that I could doubt Him in the smallest detail of my life. Paul understood my dilemma. The constant battle for faith fought in our heart and mind. What I always go back to in the moments of human uncertainty is to remind myself what did the Lord say about the matter? I have to look in His Word but even beyond that I must examine my heart. Did I seek the Lord in this matter? Yes. Did I get a response? Yes. Will I walk it out? Lord, I am trying.

The first thing that a believer must to live in blessed assurance is to be sure. I looked at “The Message” translation compared to the “New Living Translation” to see if there might be a more clear and concise definition of this thing that I am after today. “Teach me to lessons for living so I can stay on course…so my whole life (is) one long, obedient response.” To have God’s Will and His Way – I have to know God’s Will and live His Way. Okay let me put it another way. If you want an apple pie you cannot substitute peaches for the apples. Now if you don’t care what kind of pie you get, then that’s fine. But if you want a certain flavor, you have to follow the recipe. You will never have God’s Best your way UNTIL you align your will with God’s Plan and decide that nothing less will do. His Word tells of the great things that He has in store for His Children. Every single promise applies to your life just as it does mine. I must want it enough to live it every day in every moment with every decision. The first is to surrender my way until my whole life is one obedient response to God.

Psalm 119:35-36 (MSG)

Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway! Give me a bent for your words of wisdom and not for piling up loot.

 

The Highway to Holiness is definitely the road less traveled. It is to change the way that we think about grace from an excuse to an exception. Grace releases us from our obligation even though we sin against God. But it is not enough to say, “I’m sorry!” You must repent for that grace to do more in our life. It must become our exception. Grace as an exception means that it does not conform to the general rule. It is an allowance for us to stop living in our sin, shame, guilt, regret and past to accept the Love of God that allows us to have more, do more and be more now and forever. We are exempt from the penalty of sin not because God erased it making a line item change but rather Jesus paid for every single thing we do against God’s Word in His Blood. Grace is not a doormat to come and go into the Presence of God. It is the towel handed to a runner along the way that encourages us to keep running the race of faith. God’s Word spells out His Love for us. His Unfailing Love that gave up His Own Son to have all of His Rebellious and Undeserving Children. We must embrace grace by using it as an avenue to success. Love is the difference between an agreement with God and covenant relationship. If you love God, you will love this journey with all its twists and turns along the way. Your love for Him will keep you on the right track and your eyes on Him looking for the way!

Psalm 119:37-38 (MSG)

Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets, invigorate me on the pilgrim way. Affirm your promises to me—promises made to all who fear you.

 

I know the voice of God. I hear Him speaking to me each day. When I need direction, He gives it to me when I ask for it. I am His Child. He loves me. He doesn’t want to see me struggle. But when I ask and He tells me, He expects me to obey. My daughter comes to me and wants to have a friend spend the night. Okay, she is instructed to go clean her room and then her friend can come over. Simple enough, right. Well, she goes to her room with every intention of cleaning it up so her friend can come over. It’s not a hard task she just needs to do it. She gets a notification on her phone. She picks up the phone and responds to the text message. But wait she gets a Snapchat message from her sister in New Hampshire, okay time for a quick selfie. Hang on! Who is that on Instagram? What is she wearing? Where did she get it? On to the Internet, to do a little quick window shopping to hit mom up. Her diversion is broken when she is called to dinner. The table is set for four. “What about my friend?” she inquires. Did you clean your room? You get the picture. We all do the same thing to the Lord. He tells us exactly what to do – we get distracted and do something else. God’s Word does not change. He is not a man so God doesn’t lie or change His Mind. Every time God speaks to us – we decide how we will respond. Overt disobedience is no different than casual forgetfulness or succumbing to distractions. We just have to do what He says to have everything we need and want we want. He promises to do more than we can even think to ask for when we obey His Word.

God’s Promise is for you. You just need a little blessed reassurance to get that motor of faith going again. God will do exactly what He said that He would do if you will just do what He says. It really is that simple. You cannot get to California from Florida in a car going east or you will end up in the ocean. You must go west because that is the way the road leads. It makes perfect sense – it’s just not always the way that we might want to go. God’s Word for your life is always perfect. It is true. It belongs to you. Could it be so simple as knowing what He says and then just doing it? Lord, turn my eyes from worthless things today and give me life through your Word.

Psalm 119:39-40 (MSG)

Deflect the harsh words of my critics—but what you say is always so good. See how hungry I am for your counsel; preserve my life through your righteous ways!

 

Faith in God will always promise things in life that are too good to be true. This opens the door to worldly criticism when we decide to step out on faith. Public opinion does not wait for an invitation. We must decide what God says about our life and choose to entertain that and not the commentary of other people. The only one always out for you is the Lord. The only one truly on our side is our Father – God. If you choose to seek godly counsel, make sure it is someone who is prospering in life from the inside out. Don’t look at their blessing but their heart to determine if God is in them not just all around them. God is always good. Our family has been through a lot but I hold to this truth tightly. He will never let the righteous fall but I must be in right standing with Him to have such assurance. God’s Promise is enough to base your life upon. We must be hungry for God’s Counsel but even the starving are not satisfied until they consume their food. We must be consumed in Him. We must seek His Counsel and do what He says if we want all that the Lord has prepared for us and to do in us. There is no other way. When you do, you will find blessed assurance all over again.
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine; Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit, washed in His blood. 

 

This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.

 

Perfect submission, perfect delight, visions of rapture now burst on my sight; angels descending, bring from above echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

 

Perfect submission, all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest; watching and waiting, looking above, filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

(Blessed Assurance, by Fanny Jane Cosby 1873) Oldie but a goodie for sure!

Yes!

Psalm 130:5-6 (NLT)

I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word.  I long for the Lord more than sentries long for the dawn, yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.

Affirmative action is a series of policies intended to create equality and include individuals who have faced discrimination due to race, ethnicity, physical disabilities, military careers, sex or a person’s social class. These policies are widely recognized in areas from employment to education and beyond. It is an effort to promote the idea that all men and women are created equal and in spite of all differential factors should be given equal opportunities to succeed. At times, there has been controversy surrounding this worldwide effort to positively affect the plight of the common man. Affirmative action is not new idea as it is clearly defined in the first line of the Declaration of Independence which this great nation is founded upon. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” God did create all humanity to be equal when it comes to a life attained through Jesus Christ. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness encompasses a wide range of human efforts that God has promised to enable to those willing to serve Him. What is the requirement? Affirmative action is absolutely the first step in possessing all of the Promises that God has for you! It is a requirement. When we make a positive proposition to God, He will then begin the process of making our lives equal not to the principles and policies of the earthly realm but just by saying, “Yes!” to Him unlocks the door to every single benefit of the Kingdom of God and all of its benefits. Not only does the Lord make opportunities available in consideration of life’s circumstances, God will begin to change the configuration of necessity. In other words, not only will Jesus promote you, prosper you and provide opportunities but He can change the circumstances as well through healing and restoration. The Lord will always provide such influence to those willing to simply say, “Yes, Lord!”

The words “Yes, Lord” come at the moment when God presents the entirety of who He is for you and the decision is made to engage in the positive process that God has written just for you! It requires releasing any and all preconceived notions of what you thought your life would be like and accepting each day as it is carefully orchestrated by your Father. Discrimination must go and acceptance of all men and women as brothers and sisters on the same journey who require your love to continue. It is part of God’s plan that His Children work together. It means focusing on the future and not the disappointments and travesties of the past. Every part of your being will become committed to the progress of God’s Kingdom for it is a commitment to service. “Yes, Lord” is an open-door policy with Jesus Christ that says please feel free to come and dwell in my life and I will make every attempt to make it inhabitable for you, Lord! There is a profound freedom in “Yes” because it breaks the stronghold of negativity that in a word means “No.” All children have felt the sting of “no” and even as adults we desire to hear the word “yes.” Being created in the image of Almighty God means He also desires to hear the words “Yes”. It is affirmation of the belief that God is able to do all that He has said that He would do and that He is exactly who He said He is! It is a faith statement that is more powerful than other declaration you could ever make. Are you ready to say, “Yes Lord” today?

Romans 8:16-17 (NLT)

For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

When we say, “Yes Lord”, it is then that our spirit joins with His Spirit and we truly become Children of God. Immediately the situation changes when our birthright changes to heirs. We have an inheritance and it is one that does not come after death but came with the resurrection of Jesus Christ for now. The Glory of God is available to manifest each and every day! Have you invited the Lord to inhabit your life and promote a positive process? Affirm the Lord today! Simple words that can change the course of a lifetime – “Yes, Lord!”