Forever Amen

Forever Amen

2 Corinthians 1:19-20 (NLT) For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says. For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.

Life would be very different if God’s People believed 2 Corinthians 1:20. The simple truth that in Jesus Christ all of God’s Promises have been fulfilled with a resounding “Yes!” and through Him everything is “Amen!” How you ask? Those who believe this to be true, relevant and absolute would not waver in their commitment to Christ because victory belongs to them. Fear would not overtake a confident and steadfast heart. The Word of the Lord would be enough to chart the course, engage in the voyage, and stick it out to the very end. If God’s Voice was all the assurance needed, the Christian would live from glory to glory abounding in the grace and abundance offered to those who endure to the end. We are not saved in our own power or strength but absolute trust that His Grace is enough. Or is it? Our heart must decide if it will be sufficient in our life. It is a personal choice to decide to follow Christ all the way to the Cross and the victory that lies beyond it.

Isaiah 55:10-13 (NLT) “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up. These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name; they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”

It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. (Isaiah 55:11) I could have just added this verse, and it would be a terrible injustice to the reader. Godly fruit and goodness is not immediate. The seed of faith planted needs time to grow. Humans come with a gene called impatience. Immediate gratification causes many to settle for less than God’s Best in the form of substitutions and settlements. God promised good things. The Lord will do exceedingly abundantly in our life if we would just learn to wait on Him. Seasons are essential to the productivity of faith just as any other seed. Seasons prepare the soil making it fertile and ready to receive the seed. Once inside the tiny seed must die to self to release its full potential. It will remain buried in dirt, mess and much until the day it bursts forth through the soil to give way to new life. The promise is certain but if there is not confidence in God’s Plan, Purpose, Provision or Prosperity – why wait?

God’s Word is mandated. It cannot return to Him without accomplishing exactly and precisely what He sent it forth to do. So I wonder, how many times good seed has gone into a fertile heart but we left the field before the harvest? What causes us to go? Doubt, fear, anxiety, and every other lie of the enemy sent to captivate our thoughts, put our mind in bondage, and decimate our belief that God is good, loves us and will do exactly as He promised. Grace suddenly comes with a limit. Works cause us to grow far too busy to wait, watch and wonder what the Lord will surely do.

Romans 4:16-17 (NLT) So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.

As I have shared, my husband and I are expecting our first grandchild early next year. We are elated. More than half of our brood is grown and gone with one teetering on the edge of the nest currently and the last little one right behind her. I know how fast time passes now. It took more than half my life to understand just how precious time really is. I cannot imagine and will not entertain the thought of having a child at more than 50 years of age. But then again, I did not struggle with infertility as Sarah did. Abraham trusted and believed God at His Word. It didn’t mean that he didn’t sin or attempt shortcuts along the way. Yes, I am quite certain that as the impossibility arose in his advancing years that he did not question the Word of the Lord mulling it over and over in his head. BUT – Abraham never stopped believing in God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. What about you?

Miracles happen in impossibility. Healing comes where there is brokenness, sickness or disease. God’s Glory is His Perfection. He does not lie or change His Mind. His Word released is absolute. It will be effective. Nothing will stop it from completing the mission. Do you believe that today? Walking by faith and not by sight is not human nature. It is completely opposite of human thinking. Experiencing God’s Best is not according to our time table. It is according to faith and belief that God loves us. He is good. He has a plan and purpose for us worth having. His Promises are true. He will never let us down. He will do exactly as He said that He would. What are you waiting for? It doesn’t matter if the Lord gave you that promise ten seconds ago, ten years ago, or more – it will come to pass…if you believe.

Romans 8:18-22 (NLT)  Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. 

When there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping. Don’t give up on hope. I know life is hard. The struggle is real. Faith is small and not so easily held on to sometimes. People will think you’re crazy to believe in the impossible – not just those who don’t know the Lord – but church folk, too and maybe even your own family. Faith is all about impossible things. Incredible ideas too wonderfully glorious to be possible yet unstoppable for those who believe. What do you have to lose today? Would you be so tired, anxious or depressed if you did believe? The saddest of all devastations is for a person to become hopeless. We have a constant hope. An anchor for our soul that is trustworthy and true. We must only believe that His Promises are “Yes!” and “Amen!” for us. Forever amen without wavering, doubting or quitting.

Be daring today. Step out of the boat and take one step of faith. Speak God’s Word over your life today. Even more powerful, pray it in your quiet place. Remind the Lord of His Promises. In doing so, you will remind your soul that is sinking. God is for you! He is a Good Father! He will never ever let you down! Do not let yourself down by giving up, giving in or giving out too soon. Those who endure to the end will be saved. You will prosper as your soul does even if there is no change or relief in sight. God’s Promises are forever amen if only you will dare to believe.

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

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Que Sera Sera

Que Sera Sera

Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NKJV) Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines;
though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls—yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

“Que sera sera” is a Spanish phrase translated means “what will be, will be.” You may be familiar with it from the 1956 song of the same name made famous by actress/singer, Doris Day in the fifties. It means that the future is random and whatever happens is going to happen essentially. It is most often used as a fatalistic term referring to a hopelessly unchangeable situation that is accepted. You may be more familiar with the term “it is what it is.” Usually these statements end with a sigh or some other reflective pause. It is a placeholder for whatever comes after that and the resolve that people are powerless in such situations. Do you feel that way today? Stuck between a rock and a hard place? Nothing ever seems to come out in your favor? It seems like you just can’t catch a break? No matter how hard you try you just can’t seem to get ahead. Have you given in to que sera sera? Today – this very moment – could be the defining moment when you change “what will be, will be” or “it is what it is” or even “que sera sera” to Selah! God wants to move your mind from the place of acceptance of all those seemingly hopeless and unchangeable situations to the realm of hope. The entry point is to leave behind hopelessness and step out in faith to the place called Selah.

The word “Selah” is used twice as much as “amen” and three times more than “hallelujah” in the King James Version of the Bible. Why? God’s Word is alive. It is powerful. Sharper than a two-edged sword, the Word of God has the power to do away with the subtle lies that keep us bound by hopelessness so that the Lord can move us into the realm of hope that strips impossibility from our life making all things possible if we only believe. That’s right! If you believe, faith moves mountains. It changes outcomes in our favor. It doesn’t always eliminate the struggle or battle but empowers us to be victorious in all things. Selah marks a turning point. It is found only in Psalm and Habakkuk.

The prophet, Habakkuk, had pleaded with the Lord in prayerful conversation on behalf of the people. The Lord responds to him each time yet the prophet is pressing in for the deliverance of the people. In Chapter 2, he promises to wait in a “watchtower” for the Lord to take action on his request. Sin rampant. Love cold. Sickness and famine in the land. The prophet still cries out for the people in Chapter 3 four times he says, “Selah”. Selah in the Hebrew means “lift up” or “exalt”. I believe “amen” is similar in that it expresses agreement with God by exaltation as does “hallelujah” which expresses affirmation of God with exuberance.

The difference may be as small as a mustard seed of faith but more powerful than any other expression. It is the moment that in spite of the chaos all around us, wars and rumors of war, famine, drought, circumstances, adverse conditions, or even consequences. Or maybe we should get a bit more personal – the infidelity of a spouse, betrayal of a close friend, loss of income, terminal diagnoses, or even death of a loved one – in that moment by faith when I choose to say, “Selah” that it is the very second that His Grace covers me in His Power and He becomes MY Great I Am. Habakkuk 3:17-18 is the prophets declaration as a direct result of his four “selahs”. It took four, mind you, for him to say, “yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” How many will it take you?

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)  But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

For my own peace of mind, I have a list of those things that happen that I just can’t seem to reconcile by faith. Those unthinkables that happened even though God is good and loves us unconditionally. I know that the list will mean nothing when I meet Jesus face-to-face but I had to put the thought, idea, disappointment or uncertainty somewhere in order to keep moving on. I am only human just like you. There will be things that just don’t make sense in this life. His Ways are higher than our ways. His Thoughts much different than my own. Time has resolved some of the items on my list which are now stricken but there will be somethings I never understand. I must have faith that just because I can’t explain it, don’t understand it or even don’t agree with it that God is God. He is the Great I Am. His Love for me complete and comprehensive. Unconditional. His Grace completely unfathomable. I believe that He perfects all that concerns me. It is right there in His Word. I also believe that because I love and trust Him all things work together for my good. Even those things, I try to forget. Don’t want anyone to know. Faith takes us past those things marked impossible and moves them to the column of possibility. When I choose to stop saying, “Que sera sera” and by faith declare “selah” things begin to change.

Psalm 3:1-4 (NKJV) Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” Selah But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill. Selah

Psalm 4:1-5 (NKJV) Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; have mercy on me, and hear my prayer. How long, O you sons of men, will you turn my glory to shame? How long will you love worthlessness and seek falsehood? Selah But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly; the Lord will hear when I call to Him. Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.

Psalm 32:8-11 (NKJV) I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Selah is the affirmative response when God says, “Do you trust me?” I don’t want to flood this message with verses that cause you to not see the clear relevance of trusting God when your situation seems impossible, irreversible and overwhelming. When all hell breaks loose in your life and everything falls apart – the absolute best declaration of faith is to trust the Lord. When you are going through the valley – it is not human nature to sing, “Hallelujah!” When everything is going wrong, who is going to shout, “Amen!” But in our distress, discomfort, discouragement and even disagreement with God’s Way of doing things that moment, to say simply, “Selah” tells God despite all these “things”, God I trust you. I believe that you are the miracle maker. I believe that no matter what the condition, circumstances or consequences that I am facing that Your Grace is enough for me and Your Power will overcome my weakness. It is spoken in the darkness, despair and disappointment as a white flag of surrender that no matter what God I belong to You!

Psalm 61:1-4 (NKJV) Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah

Selah is a term that is not easily given. It is an offering of all that I am or have left to the awesomeness of the Lord for His Careful Intervention. It is to take that last sense of control or comfort and burn it on the altar so that His Spirit can take over. I love to shout “amen” when the pastor makes a good point, or the Holy Spirit moves in someone’s life. It’s almost like saying, “You go God, I see what you are doing there Jesus!” I love to sing “hallelujah” even when no one else does because the Lord has been so good to me. My life is not perfect, but I have lived long enough to see His Word and His Way make all the difference in my life. However, I can also testify that my faith has grown more in the moments when all I could whisper was “selah” than any of these other times. The days when nothing seems to be going right and all my hope seems lost yet in my prayer closet, on my knees and through my tears cry out, “Selah, I trust you God!” These are the moments that the tiny seed of my faith grows just a little bit more and my hope becomes more confident than it was before.

I don’t know what you are going through today. I know what it is like to feel the pressure and stress of life bearing down on you. I know the breathtaking feeling of anxiety gripping your heart until it can hardly beat. I also have felt the pain of my heart being broken into a million tiny pieces thinking no one could ever put it all back together again. I know what impossible looks like. I know what the realm of hope feels like. It is the moment the breakpoint comes that breakthrough is possible. Are you there yet? Your life is full of possibility and potential yet to be recognized. How do I know? Put your one hand on your chest. Feel that? Your heart is still beating with life. God’s not finished. Put your other hand just outside your mouth – do you feel that? It’s the breath of God that you are exhaling. He is alive and well in you. Without purpose, God would have stopped your heart and carried you home. If you had no further potential, the Lord would not make you suffer here when Heaven is so much better. The fact you are still breathing means there is potential inside of you yet to be revealed and cultivated in your life. The pressure you feel is faith trying to grow so that you will reach the next level that the Lord has prepared for you. If He allowed you to remain comfortable – complacency would take over and your purpose would never come to pass. So rather than saying, “Que sera sera” maybe if you changed your declaration to “Selah” – all those seemingly impossible things might come to life again. Dead dreams begin to breathe with new purpose. Visions become a reality. See God just needs a little bit of faith and trust from you and me to do extravagant things. So I say, “Selah!”

Psalm 67:1-4 (NKJV) God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us, Selah That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, and govern the nations on earth. Selah

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.