Living God

Living God

Psalm 42:1-2 (NLT) As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?

The key to Christian living is a thirst and hunger for God. And one of the main reasons people do not understand or experience the sovereignty of grace and the way it works through the awakening of sovereign joy is that their hunger and thirst for God is so small. (John Piper)

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is pivotal. The fact that Jesus is alive changes everything. The passion of our pursuit as Christians must be to discover the living, breathing reality of God for ourselves. My grandparents and parents introduced me to the Lord as a child. I had an encounter with God at eleven years old. It was only the beginning. It would take decades of my life to begin to experience the vitality of living in the Presence of God. Our faith is not established in the reality of what is seen but the realm of hope that exists beyond the human eye. It is illogical outside of the Word of God which is alive as well. To hunger and thirst for the Living God requires an encounter. We must taste and see that the Lord is good to work up a desire for more of Him.

I have acquired a number of tastes based on different foods I have tried and actually liked. My biological mom was not big on vegetables. My bonus mom cooked them every night encouraging us to try them. I found that I actually liked broccoli, Brussel sprouts and asparagus. All once thought to be green and gross, but after I tasted them and found them to be quite tasty have become my choice. Not only are such vegetables palatable to me but hidden within each one are nutrients that are good for me producing benefits to my whole body. Fresh vegetables straight from the garden are the best. The price tag for organic food without the preservatives is higher than the canned goods.

If the key to Christian living is a hunger and thirst for God, it seems advantageous to try Him. What is the point of serving a powerless and lifeless concept? If faith does not give any benefit to our life than why attempt it? I wonder today how many people are serving a dead god rather than experiencing Resurrection Power and Life offered by loving and serving the Living God. What if we faced each day with an urgency to experience the Kingdom and seek encounters with the Lord? What if we truly believed that on the third day Jesus came out of the grave? Martha was looking for the Resurrection of the dead expressed in Revelation before it was even written. She was waiting for the Messiah that would call all the dead to life in one gesture. What she did not know is that the Living God was with her that day and His Intent was to call her sleeping brother from the grave in which he had laid for four long days? I wonder how many times we limit the Living God in our limited belief.

“When you have closed the Bible, you have neither closed God’s mind nor shut God’s mouth. God continues to speak, live and exist. I think we should consult the Living God for the living word for living people dealing with death, destruction and despair in the midst of our hurt humanity. I believe love will conquer all.” (Michael Eric Dyson)

Do we seek God past the Bible or beyond the church? The Lord has placed His Spirit in us. The Spirit of God is constantly seeking to plant seeds of new life so that we can become the new creation that He promised. Life in us is not dependent on our physical condition but spiritual hunger and thirst. It is our desire and appetite for the Living God that changes everything. How can we have a relationship with a dead Jesus? Except He is alive and well – what’s the point?

God is alive. He is constant. He is All-Powerful, All-Knowing and everywhere at the same time. Mind-blowing is the fact that given His Sovereignty and Pervasive Presence, He still chooses to love us in spite of ourselves. That God in all His Divine Wisdom still thought us worth every breath in His Son, Jesus is enough to praise Him and thank Him for the rest of our natural life. BUT…God didn’t stop there. Jesus came to give us a rich, satisfying life. To meet us in the land of the living and escort us to eternity. To provide an excellent example of how to live and hope for the moment we die and exit this world. He has it all covered. My lack of interest or inability to fully comprehend the extensiveness of God’s Plan, His Goodness and His Grace all wrapped in unconditional love does not exempt me from it, but is a moment wasted on a worthlessness when righteousness could release Heaven on earth in my life. God is ready to bless me. He is ready to heal me. He will restore me. He will make good on every promise. He will turn every detail of my life into something good. He will make me a masterpiece. I must only believe. Believe that God is alive. To know that I serve a Living Savior and Lord. This is the moment that my life changes.

Acts 17:22-23 (NLT) So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.

Who was more religious than Saul? One encounter with Jesus Christ changed him into Paul. He knew the Word of God inside out. He was a scholar. He knew the rules and regulations of religion and was a Pharisee. He persecuted Christians killing them without cause. The same man changed in an instant after meeting the Living God know stands before the council. Paul recognized their religion but now attempts to introduce them to the Living Lord. They worshipped an “Unknown God”. Do you? The same God that you have sought after is ready to meet you right where you are. His Presence is life but you must first believe that He is alive. As Easter is upon us – many will gather together to celebrate Resurrection Sunday. But few will actually realize the impact of that day. The day that Jesus came out of the grave and breathed life again was the day your life gained meaning and purpose. It was the day that every promise became your reality. It changed everything and yet many do not know this because they do not know the Living God.

“Having your spiritual radar up in constant anticipation of His Presence – even in the midst of the joyful chaos and regular rhythms of your everyday living – is paramount in hearing God, because sometimes the place and manner you find Him is the least spectacular you’d expect.” (Priscilla Shirer)

The revelation of resurrection power and life were not discoveries on a mountaintop inspired by a passionate preacher or meaningful message. In fact, it was on an oncology floor of a hospital. Our son had been fighting cancer for quite some time. Suddenly the odds were shifting or more like sliding down the scale. The doctor declared us to be living in the “realm of hope.” His survival was becoming a medical impossibility as each relapse came closer and closer together. While he underwent treatment, often sleeping through each course, I would put in headphones and listen to worship music. I was listening to Kari Jobe sing, “Forever”. It still gives me chills. The thought came to mind no doubt the enemy trying to place fear in my heart, “What if he doesn’t make it? God, what if my son dies?” As if on cue, the words shook me back to my seat, “The ground began to shake…the stone was rolled away… His Perfect Love could not be overcome… Now death where is your sting… Our resurrected king has rendered you defeated. Forever, He is glorified. Forever, He is lifted high. Forever, He is risen. He is alive. He is alive.” (Forever – Kari Jobe) I cannot explain the peace that overtook me in that moment and remains in me today. My life, the life of my husband and children forever secure in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It seems like each day more and more people I love enter eternity with Jesus. What if we did not have that hope? How awful it would be? But what if that same hope in forever could be manifested today? The same power and life demonstrated in the ordinary life of men and women. It can! His Name is Jesus. He is alive and He will do everything He promised if you only believe. In every situation and every impossible condition, there is always hope for those who have faith in the Living and Loving God.

Luke 24:4-8 (NLT) As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” Then they remembered that he had said this.

“Beware of anything that stands between you and God – the Spirit living in your soul.” (Lee Tolstoy)

Do you know the Living God? Are you hungry and thirsty for Him? The women came to tend to the body of Jesus. They did not expect to encounter angels or an empty grave. In utter shock and disbelief, they stood and listened to the angel’s good news. Jesus is alive. “He isn’t here! He is rise from the dead! Remember what He told you…” Some of us need a reminder that Jesus IS alive. We have resurrection power and life inside of us which means nothing is impossible if we believe. The women only needed a reminder to remember and then ran back to tell the others the phenomenal news that Jesus had done exactly as He said that He would do. Only some believed. Jesus spent 40 days after the resurrection trying to prove that he was alive to his own disciples. (Acts 1:3)

Do you believe that He is alive today? Do you believe that Jesus is alive? He left the grave behind – will you? Will you stop holding the stone in place and let the Living God breathe life back into dead dreams and impossibilities today? What if you are the only thing standing in the way of resurrection power and life changing your situation? What if the newness of life is sealed in doubt and disbelief that Jesus is alive and well today? Lord, don’t let that be me! I believe. I pray that Your Word penetrates hearts today. I pray that Your Spirit changes minds today! I ask Lord that you make yourself known to those who hunger and thirst for you enough to try You today! You will never let them down! You ARE alive!

Psalm 84:1-2 (NLT) How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God.

 

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Principle of Life

Principle of Life

Luke 24:5-7 (NLT)The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”

Waking up to the smell of field peas cooking in the crock pot, I remember what today is. I need to get up as there are a few extra things to do before heading out to church. As I hesitate, my husband whispers in the dark as if not to chase it away, “Happy Easter!” I love this day. It has become my favorite of all days. A day to celebrate life and all the opportunities released the day it was clear that Jesus was no longer in the grave. He was alive. He is alive. The Living Christ lives in me. Works through me. Changes me. Challenges me. Pushes me. Presses me. Everyday strengthens me delivering mercy in the morning and more grace throughout the day. I am promised His Power because He is omnipotent. Death could not hold Him. The one thing that is feared the most by all humanity had absolutely no control over our Lord and Savior who is life.

People struggle with the concept of the Risen Christ. The Christ who exists on paper and in theory must be encountered to exist in us, impact our life and change us. It is one thing to say, “I believe in Jesus Christ” yet quite another to make this our principle of life. Ray Dalio, a hugely successful investor and founder of Bridgewater Associates who is one of the world’s largest hedge funds, said, “Principles are what allow you to live a life consistent with those values. Principles connect your values to your actions.” A principle is the fundamental truth from which all others are derived. An applied principle is to take that truth or belief and base all other attitudes and actions upon it. It is our accepted rule of conduct. Do you live like Jesus is alive? Do you truly believe that His Life influences your existence? Will today be the day that you do?

John 1:1-4, 14 (NLT) In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.

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

Jesus is the creative power behind every living thing. He is the Word of God which once released must do exactly what He promised it would do. It cannot return void. It is impossible. When God breathed life into Adam – Jesus was that one breath that perpetuated all life. Think about that for a moment. Jesus is life. He is the essence of life from God that enables us and empowers us to live up to the Glorious Standard set for us that people abandoned for sin. His Blood is the life giving power that washes us clean and allows us to apprehend such a life again. The Word of God wrapped himself in flesh to come demonstrate love for all people so that it would be vividly clear that God loves us and desires us above all things. Even with a Living Color Lord, they did not believe Him. Don’t beat yourself up. The men and women who walked with Jesus did not get it either.

The women were coming to the tomb that day to give Jesus a proper burial. They did not expect to find life but finalize His Death. They called Him the Messiah but did not believe it to be so. They expected to find Jesus trapped in a tomb, but that’s not at all what happened that day. Jesus was alive. They ran to tell the others and still no one really believed. The enemy had already begun to perpetuate lies and accusations. The body was stolen. He did not come back from the dead but was hidden by his followers. The enemy always tries to hide the truth with a lie.

John 10:9-10 (NLT) Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18) Jesus came to give us a rich and satisfying life. In the New King James Version, it is called an abundant life. For God so loved the world that He gave His Son so that whoever believes will have everlasting, eternal and forever life. Often this is projected forward and put into a futuristic setting. Jesus did not come to judge people. He did not come to condemn them, but that through Him that they would live. Live now. Live tomorrow. Life this life. Life forever. It is all about believing. It has nothing to do with one’s ability to change their life, make better choices or even do good things. It is all about what you believe and our ability to live that belief. The principle of life for the believer begins with the empty tomb and continues from that point throughout all eternity. If just for today, as we celebrate Easter and honor the Resurrection of Christ, we could for a moment inspect our life.

John 11:21-27 (NLT) “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Lazarus was dead. Jesus appeared to be delayed and upon His Arrival everyone was in mourning. Martha met the Lord and said, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Then she went on to say, “I know that even now Go will give you whatever you ask.” Martha was conflicted. Her heart and mind at odds. She said that she believed and oh how she wanted to believe but she struggled with disbelief just the same. Jesus told her, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” He is saying the exact same thing to us today. The same Jesus that came barreling out of the tomb, visited many people, and ascended into Heaven is alive and well today. He is still the Resurrection and Life. The same person who called Lazarus to come up out of his grave and he did. This is the Jesus who lives in you and me today. We have the power to see dead dreams come to life and the Glory of God to fill our life. But just like Martha, we struggle to truly believe.

Romans 8:10-11 (NLT)  And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

What if it is true? What is Jesus Christ really is alive in us? What if His Spirit is trying to give us new life every single day? What if grace really is enough to release God’s Power, His Resurrection and Life-Giving Power, to every single dead thing? What if it is my unwillingness or inability to believe that is holding the doors and windows of blessing shut? What if it is my stubborn foot standing over the seeds of faith attempting to produce good things and harvests in my life? What if my words are poisoning the good fruit that His Spirit is attempting to grow in me? What if I am aborting the birthing of my promises? What if it is me? Today changes everything!

I challenge you as the Lord challenges me today – if you are headed to church, just got home, running late or not doing anything at all but hunting some eggs with the kids and spending time with your family – look for Him today. Not the dead Savior hanging on a Cross, but the Powerful Lord who came alive with the keys to every locked door in your life, heart and mind. Jesus is alive and well. The Living Savior ready to break every chain, release your burden, heal your body and release every other forgotten benefit that marks the new life that He promised. His Promise still stands. God’s love for you cannot be taken or shaken from you. He loves you! He always loved you! He paid the highest price for you – not to make you a performer but a producer of His Love. Your dead dreams are only sleeping. Your potential is not lost just hidden in the soil of your heart. Once fertile, it will explode with life again. Every blessing and promise for your life is safe and sound. Your inheritance is secure. It is your heart that Jesus is after. Do you believe? It is impossible to please God without faith. Faith makes all things possible…we must only believe. Jesus is the principle of life. He is life. He gives life and power to those who love and trust Him. Apply this principle to your life and you will live in peaceful prosperity both now and forevermore. Living for Jesus Christ should be a satisfying life not filled with disappointment. Hope never leads to such a thing. If my life is less than I expected, then I need to let Christ increase in me. He promised to do more than I can think, imagine or even ask. This is the principle of life to be satisfied. To apply Jesus Christ who is alive and well in all areas of my life. Christ is the One who completes this process in us. He gives new life. We become new creations.

John 14:6 (NLT) Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

Just Because He Lives – A Devotion

Just Because He Lives

Luke 24:1-8 (NIV)

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”Then they remembered his words.

 

“Then they remembered His Words…” Oh how many times I fall into that category of believer. When we drift off course a little just living or hardship unexpectedly comes knocking on our door, we continue to do life as we know it and forget that confident hope we have been given as believers. The angels asked the women that day, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen!” These words are a source of endless comfort. They are the fuel that fires our testimony in life. The existence of our faith is in the simple fact that death had no power over our Lord and the grave could not hold Him back from fulfilling His Purpose. His Death paid the price for every sin, weakness, and sickness committed. His Burial signified the fact it was finished and He marched straight into hell to take back the Keys to the Kingdom to give them back to God’s Kids. When He stepped out of that tomb and later ascended into Heaven it secured our freedom to be Children of God. It gave substance to faith and confidence to our hope. It doesn’t matter what happened in our life yesterday, what happens today, or what will happen tomorrow, just because Jesus is alive I am well-equipped to have the victory. I have everything that I need to overcome the enemy just because He is alive. I am fully stocked with everything I need to thrive and prosper in this life. It is all mine because Jesus lives. Even those things I do not understand, He will make clear to me one day. All those loved ones who I am missing are secure in His Kingdom and we will be reunited. All because He lives.

“Because He lives…I can face tomorrow. Because He lives…all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future…life is worth the living just because He lives. (Because He Lives – Bill Gaither)

I Corinthians 15:17-28 (NIV)

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the first fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

 

We are made alive in Jesus Christ. The death sentence in our life was rebuked when He paid for our sins in red blood. Perfect blood. Sinless blood. Innocent blood. He sacrificed His Life for us but until He was made alive again – we had nothing. Jesus Christ is the first fruits of all that God has promised us. First fruits are the first productivity. He is the first harvest of many blessings to come for God’s Children. If God was simply out to save you and set you free, the Cross was more than enough. But God was out for full restoration. He intends for you to fulfill the purpose given you in Creation despite the fact that sin took over. Jesus is a fresh clean start for every man and woman who accepts Him as Lord and Savior. We must learn the importance of the resurrection power of God in Jesus Christ. We must know the significance to step into the reality of our salvation and prosper in God’s Love. Jesus sits at the Right Hand of God interceding for you and I today. He will remain there until “everything” has been put under Christ’s Authority. How can this be? I thought Jesus already won the victory. He did. Now it’s our turn to accept the prize.

Matthew 27:50-51 (NIV)

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.

At that moment, resurrection power was released across the world. When Jesus died and gave up His Spirit, the earth literally shook with power. Rocks split and tombs broke open. But wait there is more, holy people who died were raised from the dead. In the past few years, I have learned to rely heavily on the Power of God in our life. We have walked on the verge of death with our son not once but five separate times. Each time that I have been told, “It’s cancer” has pushed me into a deeper reliance on Jesus Christ. He is life. My son needed life so we went to the source. He became our only hope and proved to be enough. What about the others who did not beat the disease on the earth? What about those taken too soon? Christ remains our only hope. Full reconciliation to Christ only happens in the resurrection of the dead when we finally shed the sin that kept us back for the life that we have been promised. So how about now?

John 11:23-27 (NIV)

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

When Jesus arrived Lazarus had been dead for three days. He was buried in a tomb and the family was mourning his death. When Martha met Jesus on His Way to her house that day they had a conversation that I believe benefits you and I on this Resurrection Sunday. Jesus told Martha, “Your brother will rise again.” But Martha had already accepted death and decided in her heart that they would be reunited in Heaven. Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live…” Martha agreed. She then confessed that He was the Messiah, the Son of God. She professed her faith in the Lord at that moment. But Jesus wasn’t talking about forever, but He was talking about “today”. She was willing to wait to see Lazarus again but the Lord was ready to release His Power in her family today. I wonder if that is the message for our life. Yes, the Resurrection of Jesus and fact that He lives is the foundation of faith that leads to salvation. But maybe just maybe Jesus is reminding us that Resurrection Power is for our everyday life as well! Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead that day. (John 11:43-44) We think we are letting the Lord off the hook when we accept the situations in life with hope but sometimes the Lord is calling forth our faith for new life now! Jesus released His Spirit and the Power of God became possible in every single person who gives their heart and life to Christ. That means you and I will have supernatural outcomes when we accept that Jesus is alive and in us as a way of life and not only hope for the future.

Acts 4:32-35 (NIV)

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

 

With great power the apostles continued to testify to the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus…wow does that blow the top off modern day evangelism. You mean to tell me to be successful in sharing the Gospel all I have to do is tell people that Jesus is alive. Yes! All believers where one in heart and mind. Imagine the revival that would come to the modern day church if we stopped worrying about everyone else and chose just to share God’s Love. You cannot share something you do not know firsthand but must experience the Love of God and His Power first. God’s Grace works powerfully in us to slay our flesh and give way to the Spirit who is life. People literally laid money at the feet of the apostles unprovoked. We want God to bless us. We ask Him to prosper us. We desire healing and wholeness. We want what is rightfully ours. We cry out for release. We have all these things simply because Jesus is alive. If we can learn to focus on the Life-Giving Power available just in knowing Jesus – nothing more and nothing less – we will have all these things and so much more. Simply the message to others today – life is worth living just because He lives. That’s it. He is more than enough! Celebrate Jesus today!

Ephesians 1:18-21 (NIV)

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.