In the Valley

in the valley

Psalm 23 (NLT) The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Walking with my husband and fur babies, I become lost in my thoughts. Conversation fades to only the sound of our footsteps on the pavement. I thank God for this wonderful man and soul mate who He created to “do” life with me. I honestly do not know what I would be or where without his precious love. The details of life like a heavy wet blanket burdening my thoughts laying heavy in my soul. Life is hard. Not all the time, but if totally honest most of the time. I don’t understand all the details and how God is able to wrap them into something good and tie a little bow on top like His Word says He will do. The Lord has been good to me. He has been more than gracious to our family. Yet, still there are many details that do not add up. Parts of our life not prospering as the Word of God indicates they would. I know it is a season and just as I get tired during this walk, I will not stop until I round the corner and make it home – it is not my intent to stop in the valley but rather find peace here.

The Word of God tells us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd. I am quite certain that He is exactly who Psalm 23 promises Him to be but that doesn’t make climbing the mountain any easier or the valley filled with light on any given days. The Power of the Shepherd in my life is manifested by my willingness to trust and obey His Leading in my life. It is not human nature to give up our way and follow anyone like sheep. Sheep are not known for their intelligence. In fact, just the opposite. Living in dependency to the one who leads, guides and directs them completely is the marked trait of such livestock. They are meek and cowardice. Desiring only basic care and daily needs met if they leave the flock they are immediately lost and fall victim to the environment.

John 10:9-11 (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. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.” The confidence of sheep in the shepherd is the quality that produces loyalty. Do you believe that God is good? Do you believe that He provides all we need? Do you believe that Jesus came to give you a rich and satisfying life? Do you desire to walk in His Ways and follow the Lord (the Good Shepherd) all the days of your life? Do you believe that the Goodness of God is for the land of the living? See all of these qualities and attributes of God are valid and true. However, I do not believe them, I will not experience them as I will not follow the Lord very far.

Hope is belief in the unseen. Faith is for those things that seem impossible in the natural. Yet we try to use faith and hope for things that we can have, see and do rather than applying them to the principle of prosperity that is not humanly possible. The kind of prosperity that comes as our soul prospers. Why? Dependency is not a characteristic embraced by our pride. To totally surrender the care of our life to Jesus Christ is way more difficult than one may think. The valley is like swimming so far out in the ocean you cannot see the beach you left and too far away to see the shore on the horizon. The valley requires us to totally depend on God and trust Him. It is not a bad place yet not a favorable condition. Are you in the valley today? The place of walking, waiting and watching. I am. I will admit it so that we both can find purpose and meaning in this dark, low lying place.

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.”

In complete honesty, it feels like most of our days are in the valleys if you think about it. I know that the day I decided to follow Jesus Christ for the rest of my life a bright red target was placed on my life by the enemy. Thank God that the bright red blood of Jesus Christ makes it null and void as He assumes the role of Good Shepherd. I must learn to trust Him more. I must learn to follow Him when I cannot see where we are going. I must learn to seek Him when He doesn’t feel like enough. When my hands are reaching for other things, may I not stop grasping until I fully embrace Christ.

The valley is dark but Jesus is the Light of the World. His deepest desire is to live, move and exist in us so that our life becomes glorious light that reflects His Amazing and Unstoppable Love. I cannot share something that I have no experienced. My words are not convincing until I become confident in the words I am speaking. The rod of God’s Word leads me to obedience. He doesn’t punish us anymore because the Grace offered by Jesus Christ is enough. More than enough, now I can be confident in God’s Love and Care for me as His Child. Do I believe God loves me? Do I believe that He is a Good Father with only my best interest in mind? Do I believe that if I seek Him wholeheartedly His Plan will become the destination of my life? If not, I need more of God’s Word to fill the voids that lead to willful disobedience so I am encouraged to live an obedient life. And let’s be clear as I pause for a moment, obedience to the Lord is not a religious effort. It is not strict adherence to rules, regulations, doctrines or guidelines. It is absolute and total submission to Jesus Christ in a loving and committed relationship. His Spirit will lead, guide and direct us in life. Along with the rod, the Good Shepherd has a staff. Again, the Word of God is like that staff. It rescues us with the hook when losing our way. His Word equips us. It feeds our spirit. He guides us with that staff through the valley to the place of promise. Oh Lord, let me fully embrace your Word and your Will for my life today.

Enemies are a real threat to sheep who become separated or isolated from the flock. It is vitally important to maintain our relationship and close proximity to Jesus Christ. We need Him every day not just on those days that are particularly difficult. Many years ago, I had a dream. At first, I would have called it a nightmare. But not anymore, my family was visiting a state park. Our youngest became separated from us. I found her in the presence of the enemy. He kept changing forms and becoming the face of many ordinary people before taking form. I could smell the putrid burning of flesh. I prayed and cried out to the Lord. The enemy pushed my daughter into my arms unharmed. Then in the blink of an eye, I could feel his hot breath on my neck as he seethed, “If it wasn’t for the Blood of Jesus I would kill them (my children) all.” I believe that the Blood of Jesus is our protection from the enemy’s attack and assault against our life. I also believe that Jesus doesn’t stop there but actually flaunts His Love, Care and Protection of us in front of him. To trust the Lord with our life and our loves is one thing, but to live confidently in that place means we do not have to fight the enemy but simply live in the Presence of Jesus Christ who won the battle already. The enemy is powerless in my life because I believe Jesus won it all.

John 1:1-5 (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. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

The Good Shepherd is the Light of the World. He is the Word who came wrapped in flesh to share God’s Love Story for us. He did just that. When He died on the Cross, He removed everything that separated us from God. He opened a river of overflowing grace that rushes through every valley in our life whether led there or wandered to that place. God is with us. He will never leave us or forsake us. He goes before us to make our way straight. He fills in valleys. He levels mountains. He unbends curves and smooths out rough spots for us. (Isaiah 40:3-5) He comes in behind us pursuing us, wanting us and desiring our love more than anything else. Most importantly, Jesus lives in us. He is our Source of Life. Jesus prospers us and shapes our life so that it becomes a rich and satisfying one as He promised. Many times, it is in the valleys of life that this is discovered because it is those dark times and places that the Light of His Love becomes our desire. The places where disappointment and unmet expectation lead to dissatisfaction which is contrary to the Promise. We must learn to believe and depend on Jesus Christ to have the life that never leads to disappointment. A life of faith and hope. A life that learns to prosper and rejoice in the valley just as much as in the field of harvest or on the mountaintop of worship. We have the opportunity to live in the Presence of God. The one true Almighty God who loves us more than life and proved it by laying down the life of His One and Only Son, Jesus. We learn to trust the Lord in the valley.

We also experience new hunger and thirst in the valleys of life. When the details of our life do not add up to the Word of God or the vision in our heart, desperation sets in. Our desire increase for the One who makes all things new and gives life to new creation. If you have experienced the Light of His Love just once, you are hooked. It is impossible to not want more of His Love, Joy, Peace and every other good and perfect gift coming from Heaven. Trust is the only way to accomplish a true relationship with God because it is evidence of the reality of our confidence. I will not trust anyone I lack confidence in. Struggles and challenges give us the opportunity to trust the Lord just a little bit more. In our desperation, we finally cry out to the Lord who immediately comes rushing in to save His Sheep from despair or destruction. (Isaiah 41:17-20) God is leading to a place of full satisfaction. (Isaiah 49:10-12) It is on the other side of the valley.

Psalm 27:12-13 (NLT) Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

I don’t think it is possible to ignore the depth of the valley or see through its darkness in our natural abilities. I believe that the only way to successfully navigate the deepest valleys in life is with the Light of His Love and our confident belief that Jesus is a Good Shepherd. Life is a series of peaks and valleys that keep us leaning, trusting and depending on the Lord with good reason. We have a hope worth having that cannot be seen and only obtained by faith characterized by absolute confidence in God’s Saving Grace. It must believe that the Blood of Jesus is enough to overcome sin, death and the grave. We must hold tight to our hope without wavering making it the anchor for our soul. (Hebrews 6:19) What better place than in the valley when we cannot see or even find the bottom yet confidently trust the Lord. He provides in the valley. He protects in the valley. He even will prosper us in the valley. The Lord does it for those who love the Shepherd, know His Voice and follow Him to the other side. I am really not sure where the Lord is leading me or my family today. What I do know is: Jesus loves me. He died for me. He will lead me to the other side. I will have a rich and satisfying life. He is the Good Shepherd. I have all that I need to achieve what He has called me to do and prosper as my soul prospers. Amen. And Amen.

John 10:14 (NLT) “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me…”

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The Place Called Rest

The Place Called Rest

Hebrews 4:1-2 (NLT) God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God.

Life is a busy place. Most days 24 hours just does not seem like enough time to clear our plate of all the responsibilities heaped on top of it. Life is like a buffet. Each day, we wake up to a new place of mercy and opportunity to discover faith and the promises of God. Yet somehow even in our best attempt – it is easy to become covered up by all the unnecessary and worthless things that the enemy labels as important which truly are insignificant when it comes to God’s Kingdom. As we walk down the line of appointments, opportunities, and the like, we begin to pick and choose among the many offerings along the way. Have you ever wondered why the meat is at the end of most buffets? It is because the salad, vegetables and other sides are not as costly as the main course. It is with this in mind that the enemy will toss every diversion, distraction and detour in our way to keep us from the Presence of God each day. He wants to keep us on the run. What are we running from? We are called to stand. God’s promise of entering his rest still stands. Did you know that the Latin root of rest is “restare” and “stare” means “to stand.”

We would like to think of rest as sleep. We all need sleep but sleep is not the kind of rest that the Bible is referring to. When we sleep our body and mind do not shut down but rather important processing occurs. Our mind takes bits and pieces of information from tentative, short-term memory filing it away to stronger long-term memory. Sleep helps us retain information more efficiently because of this process. While we are sleeping, our body is restore and rejuvenated. Muscles grow, tissue is repaired, and our hormones are synthesized. The type of rest that is referred to in the Word of God is a state of relief or freedom. It is spiritual calm. It means to be at ease, have tranquility and abide in peace. Rest remains constant even in the midst of chaos. God prepared a place of rest. God has promised us rest. He has invited us to live in at rest. Why don’t we?

As we look at our overloaded life and all the cares, concerns and associated worry and stress – we become overwhelmed and overloaded. I used to be one of these people. My mother used to tell my sister and I all the time that we took on too much. It was a constant elevation of tasks and devastating realization one cannot do it all. My life was completely overloaded…again when our son became ill. I hit a wall. I absolutely could not do everything anymore, it was impossible. His health, his life became my number one concern. I could “do” nothing for him. Every detail of my life even my own sanity and wellbeing had to be thrust by faith and trust into the Lord’s Willing and Waiting Hands. Little did I know, that He had been watching and waiting for me to this for a very long time. It would be the first step in my entire life of entering His Rest.

Hebrews 4:3-5 (NLT)  For only we who believe can enter his rest. As for the others, God said, “In my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest,’” even though this rest has been ready since he made the world. We know it is ready because of the place in the Scriptures where it mentions the seventh day: “On the seventh day God rested from all his work.” But in the other passage God said, “They will never enter my place of rest.”

Genesis 2:2 says, On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work.” Sometimes we gloss over important details in scripture, like this one. God had finished His Work of Creation. It was complete. Every detail of life carefully scripted in time for fulfillment including everything about your life and mine. In that moment, not right before you were born or during your journey in life, but at that exact moment. It is impossible to completely understand the everlasting God who is our Creator. Our existence was not the result of reproduction but a carefully constructed masterpiece. We have a plan that includes a future and hope. It is filled with purpose. There is meaning to our life that this world cannot comprehend. It is by faith that we step from this life into His Purpose. Sin is rebellion and rejection of rest. When we decide to enter His Rest, it is signified by faith that gives us hope it will come. It is motivated by our belief that there is such a place and we must find it. It comes at the sacrifice of self. It is humbling to discover just how out of control we are because we think we have it all under control.

Hebrews 4:6-7 (NLT) So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted: “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts.”

Rest is not found in our not doing, but rather our undoing. What if we are going about it all the wrong way? We try to get everything done so we can rest, but there never seems enough time to do all that we have assumed responsibility for. Will there ever be enough hours in a day? I hear people tell me (especially women) if I don’t do it nobody will? Martha, do you know that for a fact? Could it be another “apple” handed to you by the enemy to keep you from rest? It was a lie caused sin to enter the world and humanity was barred from Eden. Truth overcomes the lie. Who has time to read and study God’s Word? I need that thirty extra minutes of sleep to get everything “I” need to do done. Faith allows truth to work in our life. I have faith but if I don’t to do this who will. The Lord will work it out. Another lie of the enemy is that God needs you and I to effect His Will on earth. We want God to need us because then we can somehow earn grace. God is Sovereign. He doesn’t need us. He desires us. There is absolutely a difference. The Children of Israel faithfully observed the rules and regulations of religion. When it came to faith in God and His Word (spoken directly to them), they did not have faith and did not enter rest. Without a relationship with Jesus Christ, we live in constant danger of continually falling in the pitfalls of pride, doubt, fear, worry and anxiety because our tasks will always go beyond our ability.

Matthew 11:27-29 (NLT) “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Picture a packhorse or mule for a moment. After our son went into remission, I tried to go back to a “normal” life. The life that I had before he got sick. For three years, I lived in the freedom and relief of rest because all that I could do was trust God, live by faith, and hold on to hope. Way more than the 21 days it takes to change a bad habit, I believe the Lord was using that time to retrain me. When life became “normal” again, I kept trying to repack my life with all the burdens of work, life and family that I once bore so “effectively”. I wanted to feel back in control of all the details of my life. After months and months of trying, I had the moment on the mountain like Elijah when God said, “What are you doing here?”

“My father has entrusted everything to me.” When I read this today, I almost cried at the thought. God trusts Jesus with everything…why don’t I? You can say you do, but faith is revealed in our actions. If life is running you crazy, you do not trust Jesus with everything. The invitation to “come to me” is an invitation to enter rest. It is to relinquish control of your entire life to Jesus Christ. Hebrews 4 tells us specifically that rest can only be found by faith and belief that allows us to trust the Lord in all things. We become yoked to Jesus Christ which means we have to follow Him in all things. The moment we decide to go our own way, do our own thing, trust our instincts, or rely on our emotions, the connection is lost. The Word of God reminds us that apart from Christ we can do nothing. This means that all those “things” you are doing “for the Glory of God” are meaningless because He is only glorified by our faith and trust that lives openly believing and doing His Will, His Way. Those who do this will find rest. They will stand by faith through storms. They will do the Will of God without it wreaking havoc on them physically and emotionally.

We have to believe by faith that in all things, Jesus can be trusted. When a soul finds rest, it lives in peace. Things like stress, worry, and anxiety will become foreign, so much so that when they arise our spirit will reject them as invaders called fear and doubt because that is what they are. Martha’s become Mary’s once yoked to Jesus Christ. We serve the Lord with gladness and happiness rather than the feeling that we must do everything all the time. If you do it all, then the ones called to do it cannot take their rightful place in the Body of Christ. You cannot see the workers God is sending because you have spiritual blinders. Faith calls them forth which means that you will not see them until you believe enough to make a place for them. God is calling you to a place of rest. You must have faith that Jesus can be trusted in all things. You must believe that His Will and His Plan are perfectly complete without you adding anything to it. You must trust the Lord in all things to enter His Rest. Maybe that’s why we live this life we live, so that in our undoing we can find the place called rest.

Psalm 91:1-2 (NLT) Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.

Tiny Cracks

white flower growing on crack street, soft focus.

Luke 6:47-49 (NIV)

“As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

 

We have lived in our house more than ten years. I remember when it was just a few cinder blocks with plumbing pipe shooting up out of the ground. I love it then and I love it now. I can still recall the day I pulled up to find the finishing touches all in place. It was perfect in every way. In awe of the Goodness of God, it seems like the waves of grace move continually over me at the revelation that God is good all the time and blesses us far beyond our comprehension. However, over time, the house was broken in. With kids and pets and life, the once pristine walls and surfaces show a bit of age. If you look closely at the floors, there are tiny cracks here and there as the house has settled over the years. Some houses develop major foundation issues with settling cracks. Others fall into large sinkholes beneath the foundation as the earth moves and shifts with time. It is important the foundation of our life. This house is just a building constructed by the hands of man. The home inside it is a work of God. Sometimes I forget to separate the two. My house is not my family. It is our souls bound together in love and harmony that have grown into the unity we have now. The love expressed by each person has formed a solidified bond that the storms of life and fiery trials could not destroy. The foundation of our home and life is Jesus Christ.

 

As I have prepared the house to put it on the market, I was more and more aware of the settling cracks that had formed in different places. How long had they been there? When did they begin to come apart? Though nothing major and totally acceptable in sound construction, I am aware of them. I don’t like the way they look. I don’t want others to see them either. I wonder if we form tiny cracks in the foundation of our life when we become comfortable and settle some over life. You know when our pursuit of God becomes a marathon rather than a furious foot chase. When our passion cools to a low boil and our soul simmers with a slight hint of complacency. When other things begin to take the place of time spent bonding with the Lord and spending time in His Presence. I am turning 50 this year. I am seeing some tiny lines and wrinkles that were not there just the other day. While my age does not concern me, but rather a testimony of survival, I am beginning to notice changes in my appearance and even in my personality that seems attributable to the passage of time. I must also examine my heart, my mind and my soul to see if the foundation of my life is intact. I am entering a new season. No, I am not looking back. Nor am I looking ahead, no today I am looking inside.

 

Isaiah 26:3-4 (NIV)

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

 

It makes me laugh how the Lord leads me into these conversations. This morning, I came to the Lord needing peace. My heartfelt desire was His Perfect Peace. Once you have experienced the Peace of God, it is very difficult to live any other way. You know that there is a better way. It took a huge storm and massive trial for me to discover the Rock I have found in Jesus Christ. He keeps in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you. My peace does not come from me or the conditions of my life – but is found solely in the Lord. I know that. I do not always remember it or live according to it but the Truth remains regardless of my response. But sometimes we do not move on to the next verse, which would only make sense that when the Lord offers us something, surely He will tell us how to attain it. Maybe we want God’s Promises but forsake and forgo His Plan. I know because I do it, too.

 

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, THE LORD HIMSELF, is the Rock eternal. Notice how it is repeated within His Statement – for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock. Our life is a building process. We are establishing our existence in Jesus Christ. There is no peace found in life worth having outside of our relationship with God through His Son, Jesus. We can try to find security by being responsible and building a good life for us and our family, but unless we dig just a little big deeper into the true foundation of life, we will be disappointed.

 

Psalm 27:4-5 (NIV)

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.

 

Psalm 27:4, one thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek that I may dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of my life. I love this verse. It is my passion. It is my pursuit. It is my complete undoing. We do not construct anything of worth. God is the expert builder who brings dead things back to life. He is the One who takes all our broken pieces together and displays a masterpiece of beauty. He set me high upon a rock. It is in the day of trouble, trial and tragedy when the foundation of our life is put on full display. When an earthquake hits a city, the expertise of a builder and wisdom of his plan is discovered. Those who built on firm foundations leave behind something of worth. But those who did not take the time to focus on the foundation and connecting every part of the infrastructure will be revealed as homes and offices crash to the ground. This life is temporary. In those moments of shaking, are my feet set high on the rock or am I swallowed up by the cracks in my foundation?

 

Matthew 7:24-25 (NIV)

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

 

Jesus is the Word of God wrapped in flesh and sent to live among us. To show us a new way, a better way of life beyond our five senses and inevitable death. Those who took the Word and put it into practice are considering wise builders with lives established in Christ that can withstand any storm. It will not fall for the foundation is the Rock. Stay with me…

 

Acts 7:48-51 (NIV)

“However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says: “‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things? “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!

 

What kind of house will you build for me? We are living stones that need a good foundation to build upon. We have God’s Word. He offers to be the Cornerstone of our life. (Psalm 118:22-23) We try to build a good life with what the Lord has given us. Is it enough? Psalm 127:1-2 tells us that unless the Lord builds a house – we labor in vain. Jesus is the Cornerstone who the builders rejected. Are we still rejecting Him today? We come to Jesus and want a Savior. To build our life with Christ as the Cornerstone requires just a little bit more. We must make Him Lord. He must be the foreman of construction in the process of growth and development. We can do nothing apart from Christ. His Spirit is cultivating the things in us that are needed to firmly establish us on His Foundation…are we allowing God’s Spirit to fill in the cracks and insufficiencies in us or are we cutting corners to ease the cost, cease the labor, and create a comfortable environment?

 

Matthew 16:15-19 (NIV)

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

 

And I tell you that you are Peter and on this rock I will be my church. I have read this passage countless times, but I think I missed something very important. When Jesus said, this to his disciple, He was not telling Peter that he was the rock, but that the faith in him was the foundation of growth that would become His Church. The personal revelation of Jesus Christ is only the beginning, but when we acknowledge His Person as Messiah, Son of the Living God and continue to do so day by day our feet our firmly planted in faith which is the foundation of our life in Jesus Christ. Peter was not the rock but the faith evident in his profound declaration. Jesus doesn’t desire parrots chirping back at him but rather confident believers who declare who He is in their everyday life. As we continually invest every bit of time, talent and treasure in building the Kingdom by faith our life will prosper on the firm foundation. Storms will not crush us. Earthquakes will not move us. Every fiery dart from Hell will not touch us. We will be on the Rock that is higher than I. Hannah said it best in her prayer, “There is no one holy like the Lord, there is not besides you, there is no Rock like our God. Are there some cracks in your foundation today? Have little openings appeared in the midst of settling? Are you comfortable? Do you need perfect peace today? Do you want a little rest? To those who believe, the Stone is precious. (I Peter 2:7) He will be the Cornerstone of our life, if we establish our life by faith in Jesus Christ.

 

Psalm 127:1-2 (NIV)

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.

 

Our house has been on the market for many weeks now. People have paraded through it. Agents toured the rooms. Each Thursday for as long as I can remember has been “cleaning day” in our house. For the past month, it has turned into the complete purging of every room and closet. I have noticed things about the house that I didn’t notice before it went up for sale. Many little projects and small repairs that needed to be made. I can note every imperfection. We have not sold the house and I will admit I was a bit discouraged. As I cleaned last night, it was not with the usual fervor but rather just washed, vacuumed, dusted, and the like as I have every other Thursday for years. I am thankful for this house. I know that our days here are numbered. In the waiting, I have grown impatient. I asked the Lord to give me peace today. He gave me more than that as I could see the tiny cracks in my foundation, my faith if you will that needed just a little more Jesus. See my life is not a house or even the people who live in it. It is Jesus. When everything in my life is placed on the Rock, it becomes immovable, unshakeable and everlasting. Everything else has to go. See what it says in Psalm 127, unless the Lord builds my house or my life, it is all in vain. Unless the Lord watches over all transactions and interactions in my life, the “guards” stand in vain. I can get up early and worry if we will have a showing today and go to bed late wondering if this is “really” His Plan, but it too is in vain. God grants sleep (or peace) to those He loves. The cracks in my faith do not make Him love me any less but rather just make room for His Grace to be applied. His Mercy is new every morning to cover my fear, doubt and worry lines that have no place in my life because I have nothing to fear. Perfect peace is a process. The process of moving our life from reality to the Rock. Faith is the process of acquisition that allows us to have perfect peace.

 

Soon a home inspector will come to examine our house for a prospective buyer, then an appraiser will come to access its worth, Lord let us find favor with man concerning the sale of this house. But more importantly, let the Holy Spirit examine my heart today and fill any cracks in my foundation. Make my faith strong in You. Be the foundation of my life, Jesus. May I find favor with you, Lord. I give myself to You!

 

Ephesians 2:19-21 (NIV)

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.

 

 

But God…

But God

Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world. We do. We don’t mean to, but we do. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. As believers, we must think about our faith in God, relationship to Jesus Christ, His Word and practical application of what we believe on a daily basis. Christianity is faithful and habitual. As we begin the transformation process of salvation, our participation is surrender. It is take bits and pieces of our existence and daily turn them over obediently to God. His Spirit reveals the areas of our life which are withheld and it is our job to turn them over in repentance. I may have lost some of you here, but that’s okay. You will want to be a living sacrifice by the end of this, I am convinced.

 

“But” be transformed is a pivotal statement in the key verse today. This world can empower your life or it can kill your purpose in a single statement. It happens all the time. I have seen it in Sunday school, church, board meetings, and Bible studies. In this social groups of believers who claim to have faith, a lack of faith is revealed in their conversation. “I am trusting the Lord, “but” the reality is…” “I know that healing is possible, “but” the doctor says…” “The Lord has laid it on my heart to do (blah) “but” the budget…” “I want to serve the Lord, “but”…”

 

“But” is a conjunction. The danger of this word comes with its explanation. The definition of “but” is on the contrary, yet, except that, unless, otherwise and other negating words. To use the word “but” after a statement of faith negates it. In other words, when you profess to believe in Jesus and add “but” to it, you have nullified the declaration entirely. The word after “but” holds all the power. Do not be offended by this but be aware of it instead. Offense is the enemy’s way of shutting us off and isolating us. It keeps us from using knowledge to our benefit and keeps us from understanding the Power that God has given us. I know, I know – “but” we live in a real world. Okay, I get that so do I. “but” – greater is He who is in me than he that is in the world.

 

Proverbs 18:20-21 (NIV)

From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

 

Luke 6:45 (NIV)

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

 

Our words hold power. We don’t have to try or even mean them for damage to be done. The tongue gives life or administers death each day. The word “but” is important. We must carefully listen to the order of our sentences to determine the condition of our heart and level of faith operated in. If God, Jesus or Lord come before the word “but” when used we have a problem.

 

Sitting in a Sunday school class, the attendees were sharing special prayer requests and the needs of others. As one might expect, there were many who asked for prayer for ailing family and friends. As we bowed our head to pray, the speaker said, “And God if it is Your Will to heal these folks…” I almost came out of my chair right there save my husband sitting right next to me. Of course, it is God’s Will to save, heal, deliver and restore us. Why would He have allowed His Son to be tortured and die for anything less? I opened my eyes and looked around the room and everyone was praying earnestly. Their intentions were good but they did not understand. We must know what we believe. We must examine the contents of our heart. We must allow Jesus to transform us day by day especially until our heart and mind agree. From the abundance of our heart, the mouth speaks. Healing is most certainly the Will of God – He says so in His Word. God holds all power and authority in our life. Jesus is Lord of our life when He comes after all “buts”.

 

Matthew 19:26 (NIV)

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

 

Looking back in the Old Testament, there are many references to “but God” in the accounts of men like Noah, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph just to name a few. When life was less than favorable, the passage generally ends “but” God or “but” the Lord was with them, or “but” they found favor with God. These men faced many challenges. In the end, it was the “but God” was with them that changed everything.

 

Mark 9:22-24 (NIV)

“It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

 

All things are possible to those who believe. I know many believers who I consider to be strong Christians who still have unbelief. I still have unbelief in me at times. Everything is possible for one who believes. The more we believe the less impossible life becomes. “If you can…” Jesus didn’t like that statement very much. “If you can…” he responded to the man with a quick correction. The man said, “I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.” Even the smallest amount of disbelief is a faith ender, miracle spoiler, blessing robber, and dream killer. We must check our declaration to determine the driving force of our life. This may help us understand why Heaven has not made it to earth yet, healings aren’t happening and deliverance is dead. The impossible is only possible when we believe.

 

Romans 8:8-10 (NIV)

Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.

 

“But” if Christ is in you, then you have been made righteous. Many times but is our excuse for trying to help God our or establish some kind of work in our life. Righteousness is in Christ alone. Our connection to Him is established in desperation and never co-dependency. Nothing we can ever do for Christ will be worthy of what He has done for us and is now trying to do through us. The realm of flesh separates us from the realm of hope. God’s Spirit works inside us to cultivate more faith of the little that we have and produce spiritual fruit to satisfy our soul and promote generosity and sharing of that fruit with others. We do not produce increase in our life. We may plant or water but it is always God who gives us increase. (I Corinthians 3:6-7) God is trying to grow us today and move us from the barren unproductive state of God, we must change “but” to “but God” again.

 

I Corinthians 3:10-11 (NIV)

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

 

“For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” (Hebrews 3:4) Humility can be crushing sometimes and I find that every time I enter a transformation phase in my life that the subject is addressed. Everything I am. Everything I can do. Every word I speak must be devoted to the supremacy of Christ in my life for faith to fill my life. When I take precedence or situations become priorities or my words are not petitions to God but complaints to man, I rob myself of the blessing of righteous obedience. Friend, the Lord can do it without you. You are not a martyr in your labor but simply took the burden from Christ. Our competence is completely from Christ alone. (2 Corinthians 3:5) Apart from Him, we can do nothing of worth or value for us or the Kingdom of God. (John 15:5) It is in Christ alone. It’s humbling to think that all my hard work is in vain when it is not attributed to Christ, wrapped in love, and surrendered to Him. I am nothing without Him.

 

I Corinthians 2:11-13 (NIV)

For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

 

The third relapse of cancer in our son was the worst of all. It had spread from his neck throughout his entire torso. His scan was an array of dots throughout his body. The doctors had declared us in the realm of hope now because to them the reality was that cancer was winning. After the third round of chemo, they were going to scan his body to see if the treatment was helping. It came with a warning. Do not be discouraged if the cancer is still there. The only thing we want to see is that it is no longer spreading. Something rose up in me, it had to be God. I was really struggling by now with the continued relapses in the natural but I asked anyway, “What if it’s gone?” Patting me on the shoulder and then putting her arm around me, the doctor tried to let me down gently and after some pressing, she said, “It’s impossible!” My heart began beating wildly in my chest, my spirit long dampened by bad reports and the Holy Ghost began stirring in me. Could it be? Was it true? Was something about to happen? When she called me three days, yes, three days later, it was to a doctor laughing hysterically. The scan was clear and the cancer gone.

 

The reality was that our son would relapse again and again. The Truth is that he is alive and well today in total remission to the Glory of God. God works in the impossible. When we dare challenge the lines of reality with God’s Word backed by just a little faith, impossible things happen. Revival will break out when continue to push the line of the impossibilities with conversations that are declarations of faith rather than empowering fear and doubt. We must work day by day to wrap our head around God’s Supremacy and Power allowing His Spirit to convince our heart until our mouth cannot give credit, power or authority to anyone or anything else without immediately realizing the mistake. God wants the impossible to be labeled possible and probable in our life. it begins with me. I must examine every single word that I speak, comparing it to the Word of God and making sure that God always comes after my “buts”. Titus 1:15-16 talks about those who claim to know God but remain impure and corrupted. I don’t want to be someone who has to tell others that I believe in God because my life does not display the Truth. I want them to know without asking. Your situation does not dictate one’s faith and circumstances hold no power over us. No matter if the bondage faced is real or perceived, the truth remains unchained and moving in our life. (2 Timothy 2:8-10) Isaiah realized that he was unclean. The angel touched his lips with a coal from the altar. He was cleansed and renewed immediately to do the work of God.

 

Titus 3:3-6 (NIV)

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior…”

 

Jesus said, “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” I believe this includes powerless conversation when we allow something or someone else to have more power than God in our life. I trust God “but”… I believe in Jesus “but”. All those times when we profess faith “but” nullify it with fear and futility. We are all guilt of it. When we add all the reasons that make it impossible to trust the Lord, this should be lead to immediate conviction so that we can surrender our thoughts and mind back to Christ. Do our words relay foolishness, disobedience, deception, bondage, malice, envy, hatred or do we constantly express confidence, love, affirmation and allegiance to Christ which frees us of worldly expectation so we can love more, give more and serve more in the Kingdom of God.

 

If someone hurts me, then comes to issue an apology, it is all good until they use the word “but”. I’m sorry “but”…is a lie. For example, I’m sorry “but” I was having a bad day. I’m sorry “but” you made me whatever. Repentance does not come with an excuse. There is no need for “but” when it comes to our life of faith. The only time “but” is effective is when it is “but God.” We all need to be washed by His Blood on a daily basis. We all could use the coal on our lips each day. There is no shame in accepting His Mercy given to us. The greatest sin of all is to know His Great Love and refuse to receive it. We must strive in all things to be like Jesus. We are successful when we surrender everything to Jesus. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Listen to your words each day to see if faith is holding power or fear has taken over. Now do something about it. The words that are spoken after “but” nullify everything spoken before. The subject of our “but” is the one that holds power in our life. Who is that today?

 

Philippians 4:5-7 (NIV)

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Pay Attention

Pay Attention

Hebrews 2:1-4 (NIV)

We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

 

We must pay the most careful attention to what we have heard so we do not drift away. I am guilty of half-listening and thinking I have the whole-truth. You may do the same thing. Raising five kids demanded multitasking which often required quick evaluation and prioritization of needs based on who expressed themselves most clearly. Our youngest has a knack for drawing the greatest attention the quickest. She is the baby of the family. Always surrounded by her parents and siblings with a crowd of people telling her what to do, when to do it and how to do it, she learned quickly to assert herself within our family structure. But sometimes in the midst of the noise, it is important to note not so much what is said but remains unspoken. We must pay attention.

 

We have two somewhat quiet children. One son and one daughter who for most of their lives have been hidden in the pack. One left for college while there was still a houseful. He is still quiet. What we have discovered about our daughter is now that the crowd has dispersed and only two remain at home, she has come out of her shell. She is very talkative now. Her personality has been revealed in the intimacy of four rather than the chaos of seven. She will fall back in the ranks when everyone is home and doesn’t say quite as much but when she is alone with us – she is very different.

 

This morning, I read the story in 2 Kings 6 about Elisha and the prophets building a new place for the prophets to live and study under his leadership. At first, I didn’t know why God led me to this place just that I was supposed to read about the floating iron ax head. Yawning in the moonlight waiting on the dogs, the Holy Spirit just dropped it in my head. Even after reading the seven verses through two or three times, I couldn’t get the gist of this morning’s conversation so I stopped and asked the Lord to speak to me. I have been asked many times over the last seven years, where I get the content for the blog. How do I know what to write about? Okay, here’s the secret. Are you ready for it? God speaks to people. He is always speaking, we just don’t always listen. Every single day that I get up – I ask Him to tell me something, say anything, and then I wait until He does. It really is that simple. What about the other things in Heaven that we desire on the earth? Could they be just as easy as asking God to come into our lives and change us? What if we looked for every opportunity to see Heaven and earth agree would it make the atmosphere of our life different?

 

2 Kings 6:1-7 (NIV)

The company of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to meet.” And he said, “Go.” Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?” “I will,” Elisha replied. And he went with them. They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water. “Oh no, my lord!” he cried out. “It was borrowed!” The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.

 

A miracle happened in the midst of an ordinary day. Just men working on a new facility, and right there in the middle of their work – Heaven comes down to earth. How else might one explain an iron ax floating to the surface? After several attempts to discern the significance myself, I turned to good ole Matthew Henry and his useful commentary. My grandmother loved this man’s reflection on the scriptures. What seems like an account of an Old Testament miracle – no frills and chills just the facts opens the door to self-examination today that I did not expect. What if my life is not miraculous because of me? What it I am standing in the way of the unexpected and unexplained intervention of God on my behalf is all my fault? Okay, Lord, now You definitely have my attention.

 

A couple of things that I gleaned about the events of that day from the Matthew Henry Commentary – first, the prophets were hardworking, humble men. In an age were pagan prophets were revered and heavily favored by the government. These men – God’s Men were humble servants of the Most High God. When they expanded beyond the capacity of their dwelling, they went to build a new shelter. This was not a mission trip or ministry event. It was simply to build a housing facility yet they insisted the Man of God go with them. First, thought do I invite the Lord to come with me in everything that I do? Do I desire the companionship of Christ every step of the way even on ordinary days filled with mundane tasks? Am I aware of Him? Do I consult Him? Do I spend time with Him? Do I revere Him? Do I respect the fact that my Savior and Lord is with me always? Good question.

 

The second thing is the prophet. Elisha the prophet was their teacher. He was mentoring these individuals. Two things are noted about Elisha in the commentary. One – “Let no man, especially no minister, think himself too great to stoop to do good, but be tender to all.” And two – “That he was a man of great power; he could make iron to swim, contrary to its nature for the God of nature is not tied up to its laws.” True men (and women) of God are humble and hardworking. They possess a willingness to “stoop” to do good. They are tender to all. Elisha was a man of great power and taught others to act contrary to nature just as he was able to make the iron that day. It is important to pay attention to those who we follow as examples of Christ. Those who lead by example and live among the people are those who are like Christ. They are not caught up in the law but bound by love and commitment living lives of compassion as well we should.

 

“God’s grace can thus raise the stony iron heart which has sunk into the mud of this world, and raise up affections naturally earthly, to things above,” one final thought from Mr. Henry and maybe the most profound. God’s Grace is the miracle maker in our life. Jesus is the Grace of God extended to us. He gave us the Keys to the Kingdom. We have everything we need to bring Heaven to earth. To see miracles, signs and wonders. So why not here? Why not now?

 

Mark 16:15-18 (NIV)

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

 

When our son received chemotherapy, each time I would sit by his side and pray Mark 16:17-18 as it began to makes its way through the tubes into his body. Chemo drugs are highly lethal and deadly. They require special conditions in the pharmacy where produced. Those who handle the bags they are in must where special thick purple gloves. Once ingested if the patient becomes ill one must wear complete protection that no body fluids come in contact with skin, etc. It is toxic. Our son is alive and in remission after five rounds of chemotherapy. He is a documented miracle who has defied medical statistics. I cannot even recount all the horrible side effects that he was promised or horrific aftermath foretold but he didn’t experience hardly any of them. God had His Hand over our son. I give Him all the Glory for his success and survival of the world’s most dreaded disease.

 

Today – I realize that there is more to the story here. The miracle is not the event but what precipitates it. I desire to see people healed of cancer. In fact, I expect it and pursue it wholeheartedly these days as I cry out for revival. The Lord is shedding light on the way. Jesus told us right before He left to, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Unlimited expression of the message of Christ should be pouring from us. Is it? Let’s keep moving. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” This is a definitive statement and not a point of vacillation. We have been equipped and sent to be a disciple and make disciples of others. Our example is Jesus Christ… and men like Elisha. What if the signs that we seek are hidden in the events of our life not captured in a church service or tent meeting somewhere? What if in sharing the Gospel of Christ that changes hearts and makes irony stony hearts rise from the mud causes an outpouring of desire for communion with Christ. Such a trend elevates faith from the things of this world to the Kingdom of God which in turn will cause Heaven to touch earth. What if the next great revival starts in our ordinary life before it comes to the church? Oh friend, I think we are on to something.

 

Proverbs 27:17-19 (NIV)

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. The one who guards a fig tree will eat its fruit, and whoever protects their master will be honored. As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.

 

A corporate anointing is generated by individual connections to Jesus Christ. Iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another. Perhaps, it is in our discipleship and the discipleship of others that we will begin to see the next great revival. The Kingdom of God is always about one. It rejoices when “one” lost soul is saved. We must examine ourselves for genuine faith before we have anything of worth to give another. The only thing I have to offer another person is the Gift of Grace that allows us to break free from the bondage of sin and shame floating to the realms of the Heavenlies to experience His Goodness and Greatness in my life. Miracles begin in our heart. They begin at home. We will not see revival until our personal relationships with Jesus become constant companionships that motivate us to disciple others and walk them through the process that the Lord leads us through. He does not leave us, forget about us, get mad at us, demand His Own Way but with Grace and Compassion – the Lord sticks closer than a brother.

 

Elisha went with the prophets to complete an earthly task. Jesus will go when invited, wanted and acknowledged. The prophets wanted the prophet with them. Does our attitude and actions invite holy inhabitation or does our lifestyle and habits grieve the Holy Spirit? Those who guard the Fruit of God’s Spirit will usher His Presence deeper than ever before. The closer Christ comes the greater the evidence of His Existence in our life. Whoever preserves the Lord’s Place in their life will be honored. We must look in the muddy river for the iron ax head that is sinking. In doing so, we see our reflection. What do we see?

 

Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV)

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

 

We must pay attention. We must evaluate our relationship with Christ and give it the attention it deserves. The warning is clear. There are people who think they have a constant connection to the Lord and live in a relationship with Him who will be devastated one day to find out that Jesus doesn’t know them. It will even be some who we looked up to as great preachers and teachers who could deal the gospel but never dealt with their souls. The more I study revival the less I see me. The clearer it becomes that it is the Christ in me in need of full exposure. Until God’s Love is completely radiated in all I say and do, revival will remain a thought not an event. Revival is not so much a corporate event but an individual calling that gathers in one place on Sunday. What if revival is in me but I am not letting it out? I want to change. I must pay attention. For me to live is Jesus Christ. He has done miracle after miracle in my life. How do I continue to see such things until it is a daily event? Well, all I know is that Jesus came calling when I could do nothing. As I decrease, He increases. When I am powerless and weak, His Grace has been more than enough to change the situation and make a miracle happen. So maybe it is in the continual sowing of my life…all of it… day by day… moment by moment… even in the most ordinary of tasks that my stony heart will change and His Glory will fill more of my life.

 

Acts 5:12-16 (NIV)

The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.

So You Want Revival?

So You Want Revival

John 11:25-27 (NIV)

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.”

There is a small cry building momentum rising from churches across America and around the world calling out for revival. People want God to manifest His Presence. They desire a move of God beyond the natural confines of buildings and productions. Is this a need to see God for validation or is it a burning desire for Him to come closer? It makes a difference. Our church is crying out for revival. We want God to come in our midst. Our deepest desire is to be an institution completely given to the lost, dying and afflicted people all around us. Our vision becomes our mission to see all – saved, healed, developed and fulfilled. Knowing our purpose, one must come up with a plan. This morning as I once again petition the Lord send His Revival, the thought occurs to me, “Do we know what we are asking for?”

God is not like us. His Ways are not our ways and His Thoughts much higher than human consciousness or basic perception. As begin to dig deeper into this ancient cry now beginning to resonant again, it must be fundamental. The origin of the root word “revive” is to return to consciousness or restore to health. It comes from the Latin word “revivere” which is re – again and vivere – live. The dictionary defines “revive” to activate, set into motion, or take up again. To renew. To restore life. To quicken or renew our mind. When you add “al” to the end of the word, it means to set it into motion or make it a reality. There is nothing new about revival. It comes from something ancient and authentic that is inside of us.

 

Lazarus had died. They called for Jesus to come while he was sick, but the Lord did not make it in time so their brother had passed away. He had been dead and buried for three long days. When Jesus arrived, He found His Friends mourning and in the midst of grief. He presented a different option. He offered resurrection and life. Whoever lives believing in Jesus will never die but live again. After His Statement, Jesus asked Martha, “Do you believe?” What a respectful cover she gave, thinking fast on her feet, she offered all that she had in that moment, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” Why didn’t Martha say something like, “Yes, I believe”? Because Martha’s faith was limited to the here and now. She was the sister consumed by activity and responsibility. The one who worked her way to approval and affirmation. She was the busy one who had no time to wait around but rather chose to make things happen. All she knew and believed was that if Jesus had been there her brother would not have died. She did not realize that before her stood the Resurrection and Life that would change her situation. The One who would end her mourning. Jesus would be her Revival that day.

Every moment that I spend with Jesus thinking I am getting to know Him is lost in the revelation that I am only beginning to discover His Love, Grace, Faithfulness and Goodness to me. Revival is not something we do. It is not like a fire beginning with a spark that we can add fuel to. Revival is Jesus. Plain and simple. Revival comes when we allow our faith to grow beyond this life to experience everlasting life – now. Initially, people come to the Lord desiring a better life now. Seeking release from the bondage of sin, its consequences, life’s hardships including sickness and disease. All of these things are now. Following Jesus will absolutely change our life now. But if we limit our pursuit to just this life, we are selling ourselves short.

James 1:4-6 (NIV)

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

We must allow faith to finish its work so that (God’s People) will be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Are you lacking anything today? I have a good life. Things are going well right now. However, I am lacking some things. If you have a single pain, ailment or sickness in your body – you are not complete. If your mind has an inkling of fear, stress, worry or anxiety, you are lacking. If you do not believe in any way shape or form that God is doing exactly what He promised in your life or you possess a dead dream – God is not finished with you yet. Faith and confident hope are the basis of revival. We must take the tiny seed of faith and take the time to build confident hope that connects us to Jesus until we become so rooted and grounded in His Love we are fully mature. How do I know that the church has not arrived? Simple.

Mark 16:16-18 (NIV)

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

This passage states that “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” and “these signs will accompany those who believe.” Accompany means to “go along with.” The New King James Version uses the word “follow”. Stop and think about that for a moment. I have ever since I studied this passage yesterday. Signs will follow those who believe. If signs, wonders and miracles are not following me or accompanying me – it is directly connected to my faith and ability to believe. If I truly believe, they will follow and accompany me which means that it is not something that I do but the Resurrection and Life who is Jesus Christ emanating from inside me.

Isaiah 57:14-15 (NIV)

And it will be said: “Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.” For this is what the high and exalted One says—he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.

Isaiah 61:1-4 (NIV)

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations.

In the book of Isaiah, there are many passages that point to Jesus and His Work on the earth. He came to rebuild the way for mankind to return to their Creator. He became the Way. Note that in Isaiah 61 it says that “the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me.” On me versus in me. The Spirit of God is in us because in the New Testament – Jesus, the Sinless Son of God, sacrifices His Life for our life. The word “revive” becomes “resurrection” in the New Testament because now that same Spirit of the Sovereign Lord moves from on me to in me. (John 20:22) People can now be baptized with the fire that was promised that will send a spark of revival into their soul. Revival is resurrection life. Resurrection life will always be direct gift from Jesus Christ. We can do nothing to facilitate revival other than believe. To believe motivates us to follow the Lord which will be evidenced by the “signs that follow us.” I want to see people saved. I want them to be healed, oh how I desire it so. I want to see them fully developed and mature so the enemy can stop misleading and distracting all God’s People. I want to see others fulfilled. Martha’s belief only carried her as far as this life, Jesus wanted it to lead her to forever. Resurrection and life stood before her. She could see the Lord. However, now revival, resurrection and life live in us. Greater is He who is in me than He who is in the world. As I decrease, Christ increases. If I continue to pursue Jesus and only Jesus – revival will come from the inside out.

Romans 6:4-8 (NIV)

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

Something must die to live again. Revival cannot happen until something dies in us. Repentance is the beginning of resurrection life. (Isaiah 1:27-28) As we consistently and completely turn from sin and darkness into the Light of His Love. People repent in varying degrees. How do I know? If you do not live, look and talk the same way in the world as you do in church – then your repentance is limited. I know, I know. I am only human, too but I want to be like Jesus. If it makes me look over my shoulder, than I am going the wrong way. Revival requires repentance. We must die to our flesh and live by His Spirit in and out of church. I am the church. To live a double life doesn’t fool anyone. The psalmist in Psalm 85 ask the Lord to be revived. He says, I will listen to what God says.” God’s response – revival includes faithfulness born of love. It is given as part of our salvation. It is cultivated by those who desire to remain faithful and righteous before God in all things. It is a life of reverence considering God’s Word, Will and Way in all things not just things pertaining to religion or the church. It requires a life of sowing and reaping in the Spirit. It is revolutionized by obedience. God desires us to live complete lacking nothing. It must become our desire and mission in life to fulfill God’s Desire. We must die to our selfish, sinful nature and all of its wiles and take up our cross to follow Jesus. No matter how many times we may stumble, fall or lose our way – those who continue to pursue, press in, and persevere will see God’s Glory in their natural life.

Philippians 3:10-11 (NIV)

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Our desire to know Christ, really know the Lord, must become the drive and motivation of our natural life to experience the supernatural manifestation called revival. Just the revelation that revival is not something new, but rather those dead to sin coming alive in Jesus is exciting. Suddenly, I don’t have to do anything but believe which as we all know and will admit is tough sometimes. I can do nothing to promote revival or be resurrected except die to sin allowing Christ to live with in me and make His Way out into the world around me. Count me in. If this is revival, I want it. I am completely incompetent of laying hands on the sick so they will recover. However, Jesus makes me competent as a minister of the New Covenant to do exactly that. (2 Corinthians 3:5-6) The Spirit gives me life that allows me to resuscitate others with the Love and Grace that I have been given. The more I accept Him, acknowledge Him and allow Jesus to give me a new life allows me to let it flow from me to others.  I am a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:16-17) I must stop allowing the world and its opinion to dissuade me from the Truth. There will be naysayers until corporate revival breaks out because a group of believers embarked on the same mission together. (Acts 4:32-35) Those same people that picked on you, persecuted you and rejected you will be first in line and you will receive them according to the Grace you have been given.

My belief in Jesus Christ must begin to believe in His Resurrection and Life of today not just forever. David said in Psalm 27, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Are you confident in the Lord today? Are you willing to bet your life on the new life and new creation that He promised? It is this kind of belief that brings Heaven to earth sparking a revival that will spread among believers and followers of Christ. I am afraid that we may have forgotten or become overwhelmed like Martha. In Matthew 24, Jesus warns us that “the love of most will grow cold.” He is not talking about the world. The world does not know love outside of Jesus. He is talking about the church. He concludes that those who endure to the end will be saved. He is definitely talking about His Followers. Revelation 3:16 warns that the “lukewarm” will be spit or vomited from his mouth. Church – He is talking to us directly. Are we listening? We cry out for revival? His Response is the same – “Come to me!” He is the Resurrection and Life. We must put all of our hope and trust in the Lord and His Word, Will and Way to see revival come. (Psalm 119:49-56) So do you still want revival? I do more than ever – even so come, Lord Jesus come!

I Peter 1:3-5 (NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

 

The Mystery of Fellowship

The Mystery of Fellowship

Ephesians 3:8-12 (NKJV)

To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.

Friendship. Relationship. Companionship. Fellowship. It is the interworking of people networking through life that incorporates our heart, mind and eventually our soul with others. Intimacy creates soul ties not easily broken yet ripped apart by division and discord. The Body of Christ is not exempt. I have been a member of churches that would eventually split and venture off in separate directions. How is that even possible when our only goal is Jesus? Does He veer off in different directions? Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) God does not lie or change His Mind. (Numbers 23:19) No one came come to the Father but by Jesus. (John 14:6) The Lord is quite clear concerning His Thoughts on division among believers. It is written in His Word, “Now I plead with you, Brethren (or believers, Body of Christ, Christians, disciples, followers of Jesus, whatever you have named your pursuit of God and His Kingdom) by the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you…” To be a Child of the Living God is to live in pursuit of fellowship with the Lord, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The impact for those who engage in this endeavor will develop, grow and blossom into a prospering fellowship among all believers.

Yet in this age of small groups, culture groups, traditional Sunday School and church gatherings, there continues to be discord and division in the family of the Living God. Rather than pursuing greater understanding of who the Lord is and what He desires of us, the church has taken on a whole new cause. In attempt to prove that their way is right, it has become locked in a mudslinging war amongst itself. God hates it. Jesus is broken hearted. The Holy Spirit is intent on changing it. Fellowship is important. Not the kind of friendships and acquaintances that the world engages in, but rather the type of relationships that we have been called to and equipped by His Love to participate in.

 

Psalm 63:1-3 (NKJV)

O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your Power and Your Glory. Because Your Lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.

 

The primary source of growth and development of true fellowship, the kind that the Lord desires for us to have, begins with Jesus Christ. A daily pursuit of His Love, Grace, Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom that gives us a desire for greater things in our life connections and relationships. The change in our heart produced by Jesus Christ begins to give us a new perspective on people and the role they play in our life. A firm foundation of faith wrapped up in confident hope allows us to love other without expectation from them. This makes grace flow through the inner workings to bind us to one another. We must have a thriving and earnest relationship with Jesus Christ to move into a place of constant companionship that will carry over into all our interaction with others in life. One cannot engage in godly fellowship without being likeminded. To accept Jesus as Savior and not make Him Lord places our life in a gray abyss. We no longer interact with the same people or do the same things because there is an immediate heart change, but unless He becomes Lord producing a life change, those same individuals are forces to move forward or drift back forsaking their new found freedom once again. When Jesus is our Savior and Lord, it changes our heart and life which gives us a desire to fellowship with those who believe as well.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (NKJV)

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.  I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

What is fellowship? It is friendly relationships. It is companionship. To be joined together by a common interest or cause. People come together many times on this basis. There is power in this kind of unity. 2 Corinthians 6:14 tells us as believers to not be “unequally yoked” with unbelievers. This does not mean to avoid such people, ignore them or in any way, shape or form abandon them. We are called to share the Gospel of God’s Love with every person who we come in contact with in word and deed. To be yoked means to join, couple, link or unite. It is like the harness used to join two animals together to share the same burden like oxen or horses. Their strength is increased in the pairing of the two. The Lord is telling us that such a connection with those who do not believe should be avoided. Why? There is not a common interest or cause therefore the two will oppose each other and the weaker will give in to the stronger animal. It is counterproductive as we fight a battle that is unnecessary and clearly to be avoided as it is stated in the Word of God. We love and seek to serve unbelievers to lead them to the Love of God. But we are never to “yoke” our life according to their purpose.

Our cause must always be Christ. When it becomes any other objective, opposition arises and churches quake splitting down the middle showing the world around us that we are not untied in cause or purpose without true revelation of God’s Love. We must come to an agreement. Christ above all agendas, schedules, personal tastes and preferences. This is what unites the Body of Christ. It is the very thing that will spark a fire of revival again.

Ephesians 5:8-12 (NKJV)

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.

I John 1:5-7 (NKJV)

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

True fellowship with Jesus is to avoid darkness completely and live in the Light of His Love with character and integrity each day taking one step closer to Jesus and moving farther away from the darkness of the past. To do so will cause a change in the relationships once had with other people. This is true of most positive change in life as well. If you were once an alcoholic, but now choose a clean and sober life. Your drinking buddies will one day stop calling because you have nothing in common anymore. Single friends will slowly drift away from married couples as their goals in life now differ. It is human nature for relationships to come and go. Jesus is constant. He never changes. As He becomes the premise of our life, our relationships will change. It is okay. Yes, He will heal the hurting heart when love leaves. But the real love that is found in Christ will fill every void left by wandering people and wavering hearts around us.

2 Corinthians 8:1-7 (NKJV)

Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also.

 

The fellowship of ministering to the saints. The Churches of Macedonia were suffering great trial of affliction and poverty that they gave with great joy and abounded in freedom. They did not allow the challenges of their life impact their fellowship full engaged and completely generous in their absolute surrender to the ministry of the saints. What is that? I believe it is to never forsake the coming together of like-minded people in Jesus Christ. To fully participate in becoming like-minded and growing in the Grace of God together. It goes on to say as you abound in EVERYTHING – faith, speech, knowledge, diligence, love and grace. Understand that this life will not get any better, it will always hate Jesus. You and I cannot change how the world feels about the Kingdom of God but by continuing to put aside our opinions and personal agendas to pursue true fellowship and absolute unity. The commonality between us is not how we choose to worship but Who we worship with our whole heart and every fiber of our being. When yoked to other believers in a thriving relationship, a constant source of comfort, encouragement and unity become a cord that we use to bind ourselves to the Altar of God as we pursue Him together.

Philippians 2:1-4 (NKJV)

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

As a teenager, our youth group had a weekly Bible study and fellowship. Each gathering included a devotion and prayer. In the modern church, small groups and culture groups gather in homes, restaurants, basketball courts, shopping malls, and just about any other place you can think of. They call it fellowship. Maybe. Is Jesus in it? See fellowship is formed by a common cause or interest. If that interest is anything other than Jesus and He is not glorified during our time together, we are pursuing a hobby or interest. The work begun in us by Jesus Christ relies on the constant molding and shaping of the Word of God, Holy Spirit and friends who are in our life to become the iron that sharpens iron. (Proverbs 27:17) We must not become distracted by trying to find a common interest other Jesus Christ. But dwelling so deeply in Him, that any other interest or gathering that we embark on will bring Glory to His Name.

There has always been power in unity. The Tower of Babel is the perfect example. The people united in cause were able to do extraordinary things but apart from the Will of God their efforts would end in confusion as the Lord disrupted their communication. (Genesis 11:1-9) There are many towers that have risen in these dark times and some include the word “church” attached to them. Like-minded people forming a fellowship on a cause other than Christ with a convoluted message and disgrace of grace. They have not made Christ the foundation and one day, it will be evident in their fall. To preserve our fellowship as pure, holy and godly requires a constant connection to Christ with full examination of our heart going in. As we fellowship with others, it should be yoking those believers who pursue Christ wholeheartedly and blending our lives together in God’s Love. By doing so, God will bless every relationship born of our love for Jesus – body, mind and spirit. Jesus is our cause. Nothing else will do as it becomes a fiery passion for souls. This will grow into a strong desire and willingness to share the faith, speech, knowledge, diligence, love and grace discovered as we prosper in Jesus Christ together. Our souls will prosper. Life will get better in the Presence of God in fellowship with His People. It is in harmony with all believers that we solve the mystery of fellowship growing in God’s Love, Grace and Mercy together.

Psalm 133:1-2 (NKJV)

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments.

To Experience

To Experience

I Corinthians 2:9-12 (NKJV)

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

Albert Einstein said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” I tend to agree with this brilliant man. He obviously had intelligence deeper than the natural scientific and mathematical ability the world knew him for. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French philosopher and Jesuit priest said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Experience is the knowledge or practical wisdom gained from what one has observed, encountered or undergone. We must live to have experiences. The philosophical realm defines experience as the totality of the cognitions given by perception; all that is perceived, understood and remembered. What we perceive must be understood, and what we understand must be remembered to become knowledge that will be the wisdom exercised in life. Deep waters today. Deep, deep wells of understanding as the Lord invites us to see our life through His Eyes and hear His Word as spoken not from His Mouth but rather His Heart. God reveals His Word to us and His Spirit helps us discern what the Lord is saying and how to experience His Love. I Corinthians 2:16 tell us that we as believers have been given the Mind of Christ. Without experience, it will never make any sense.

When I first met my husband, he immediately grabbed my attention. The more the thought of him captivated my thoughts and encircled my mind, I knew that I had to know him. I told a friend that I was going to marry this guy who was a stranger to me. She laughed it off completely saying, “No you’re not!” Logically, I did not even know anything about him. But deep down inside, I just knew that there was more to him that I needed to discover. After a few dates and a conversation that could have been about anything, but instead turned to our love and desire for meaningful relationships with God, that my heart was forever bound to this man. Though only human, he answered the call in my heart to return to the Lord, love the Lord and live for Him. It has been almost two decades since that moment of revelation. I have experienced the potential come to life as I have partnered, parented and passionately loved this man. It began with a thought. A whim. A butterfly in the pit of my stomach. It became a commitment that would be tested by fire, and tried many times. What do I have now? Experience that makes my perception true knowledge. I know that my husband loves me. I trust him completely. This process of experience is not limited to natural life but begins in our spiritual life. I like what de Chardin said, “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” If we could only tap in to the fact that we are spiritual by birth and live that way. What a difference it would make! When our life becomes more than two dates on a headstone, it is then that we discover how to live and love.

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” What a wonderful promise with great potential! We cannot even begin to fathom the capacity of God’s Love for us. (Ephesians 3:18-19) His Love causes Him to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20) All of this is according to His Power at work in us. I think this is where we lose it sometimes. We want to know this love that is unfathomable. We want to experience those things that are exceedingly abundant, but we cannot because our knowledge never becomes experience.

Isaiah 55:8-11 (NKJV)

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My Ways,” says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My Ways higher than your ways, and My Thoughts than your thoughts.  “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My Word be that goes forth from My Mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

 

God does not lie or change His Mind. Do you believe that today? No. Do you really believe that today? Like with all your heart and mind. Our actions betray us. If we really did believe that the Word of God was 100% true, then we would do what it said completely and implicitly. There would be no room for compromise. If I told you that I was giving you a brand new car, it would take four weeks to arrive from the maker. If you believed me, you would wait for it. If not, you would go to Clyde’s Auto to buy a clunker at a super high interest rate which would breakdown on your way out of the lot. When it did, you could not blame me for your misfortune just because you didn’t want to wait on the new car to arrive. Perhaps, you desire a husband or wife. Do you really think that God’s Best is going to approach you as long as you are holding hands and exchanging glances with Mr. Wrong and Miss So-So. The constancy and commitment of God’s Word is not based on who we are or what we do. It is based on Who He is and what He will never do. God will never lie or change His Mind. He has a perfect plan for your life. Freedom allows for His Permissible Will offered by His Grace and Mercy. The one chosen is completely up to you and me.

My Thoughts are not your thoughts…God is whispering this to us today. My Ways are higher than your ways. We must listen to His Voice and commit this thought to our mind for careful consideration until it becomes knowledge that will become our experience. I have known the Lord for many, many years. It has been 38 years since I asked Jesus to be my Savior. It would take several attempts and many, many years for Him to become my Lord. The Word of God invites us to taste and see that the Lord is good. This is where what we think can become a reality in our spiritual live resulting in supernatural outcomes that have encircled us all along.

James 1:22-25 (NKJV)

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

Jesus told the woman at the well, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth.” What did the Lord mean “Spirit and Truth”? Jesus died and went away so that His Spirit could move from outside and around us to inside of us instilling all of His Power and Ability into us. Truth is the Word of God that helps us change our mind about the Lord using His Word to bring down every stronghold rising up against the Lord’s Power and Authority in our life. (Hebrews 4:11-13) It is diligence is following His Spirit and knowing God’s Word that fortifies our mind allowing us to test the Lord. Yes, test Him. Try Him. Believe by faith. Wait for the answer. Rejoice when it comes because with it comes experience. Now what you believe is credible, so you will do it again. Not only will you do it again, but like an awesome product, great movie, good restaurant or amazing deal – you will have something to share with others.

In church as the Spirit of God stirs us, we begin to see our life through God’s Eyes if only a glimpse. We take that image and leave to be pounded by the world as the enemy pounces to destroy that tiny seed of faith planted in our heart. He seethes at us until fear takes us over and doubt clouds our judgment. It is in that moment, we forget the person and plan that we found in God’s Presence. The secret to living a successful life as a believer is to take that godly knowledge and allow His Spirit to turn into wisdom which is applied knowledge. This will create meaningful and mind blowing experiences with God that will far exceed anything you could have ever done with the hours, days, months and years that comprise this life. You were created with Eternity in your heart. You are a spiritual being, a Child of the Living God who can have His Kingdom come and invade your life now, today, and this very moment. You were made for such a time as this. His Word for your life circles round about you. He will not relent from giving you His Best. The rest, my friend, is up to us. To live in the Presence of God moment by moment allows us to live in His Perception according to His Perspective.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NKJV)

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

My husband and I are very human beings. There are days when we wake up with bad attitudes and do things that are really just too petty to report. It is on those days that we rely on what we know about the other person, not the activities of the day. I know from experience that when the dust settles – apologies will be exchanged. I am absolutely convinced of his love for me and he feels the same. It is our spiritual connection as evidenced by our covenant to each other before the Living God that makes the difference in our marriage. I warn people all the time – marriage is impossible outside of God’s Love. I cannot emphasize this enough. Two people sharing life sounds like a fairytale – humans have painted this image in our head from childhood. But the reality is meshing of two lives into one is messy.

If we ever were truly convinced that God loves us more than anyone else, it would change our life forever. Why? Because we would begin to think like Him. We would have peaceful satisfaction abandoning self-seeking, selfish, and self-destructive ways. We live by faith and confident hope that yielded results rather than more questions. It would mean that when we called on the Lord, we would hear His Voice rather than talking over Him all of the time. It would mean that when we prayed – His Presence would meet us right where we are. Seeking Him would also result in finding right where He is. All of this comes to those who seek the Lord with their whole heart. Giving their entire life just to know Him more.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (NKJV)

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

Though we walk in the flesh, we do not have to live there. We have been given the privilege of higher learning and greater knowledge to know God’s Love and live in it. Will we? It begins by pulling down every stronghold that our mind has built up and fortified to experience God’s Love that comes from knowing Him and following Him each day. I am made of flesh, but I am a spiritual being. The presence of a soul indicates that there is more to me than what this life has to offer. When the men purposed to get their friend to Jesus, the Lord did not mistake their true intentions. First, He told the man that his sins were forgiven. Then, he told him to, “Rise up and walk.” (Luke 5:20-25) Repentance is the starting point of godly knowledge. It is in the going and doing that it becomes wisdom that yields experience. There is no better teacher. As the Spirit leads us to do what His Word instructs, we enter the Presence of God no matter where we live, work or play. It is in this place of undeserved privilege that the depth of God’s Love is revealed. It begins with the forgiveness of sin and leads to avoiding it. Too often we forget that repentance is a daily posture not a one-time position.

Religion thrives on repentance but has problems with the supernatural and divine order of God. People kept at the altar and not empowered to go feeds the church business. The church is starving today because there is no harvest. Like begets like. Giant nurseries of crying, hungry babies are never developed and nurtured into thriving believers. Why? They draw never to God with their mouth for natural satisfaction, but hearts remain far away. Sin will always distance us from the Lord. Two very prominent pastors crossed the line in the last couple of weeks which I find devastating. If I told you their names, you would know them instantly. Embracing and tolerating sin in their churches will never allow the Spirit of God to come and change the hearts and minds of the people. It will now be up to them to feed all these babies alone and without a harvest to sustain them. The Pharisees were offended…again. Jesus asked Peter, “Are you also still without understanding?” (Matthew 15) To experience the Lord, to know Him, understand Him and follow Him, we must seek such things over all other pursuits. Without an experience, there is no knowledge. Knowledge is a commitment to seeking the Truth. His Name is Jesus.

Ephesians 1:7-12 (NKJV)

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

 

 

The Winner – A Devotion

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Psalm 118:14-17 (NLT)

The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly. The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things! The strong right arm of the Lord is raised in triumph. The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things! I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the Lord has done.

 

We live in a football town with a major university. Each fall thousands of hopeful fans flood the stadium in pursuit of victory. All organizations have winning and losing seasons. Coaches will come and go based on their performance as the love of fans is fickle this is a constant current. No kid who straps on pads and dons a helmet thinks about losing. They have their heart set on victory. They play to win leaving all their heart and strength on the field week after week. By the time these young men reach the collegiate level, they have spent the majority of their young life working to attain their dream of becoming a professional athlete on the national level. Parents have poured their time and energy in the development of their children’s athletic ability. Signing them up to be coached by the best, hauling them back and forth to countless practices and events, forking out thousands of dollars for prestigious camps. They have celebrated victory, consoled in defeat and comforted the many bumps and bruises associated with winning and losing a football game. Some athletes are born with natural talent and ability while others learn such skill through discipline and hard work. Everybody wants to win. Everybody desires victory in life.

 

The team from our town won the National Championship last night. The town is in great celebration. I love football. However, it is not my heart and soul so when my body called out for rest I gladly obliged heading to bed in the first quarter. It did not help that our team was playing poorly although highly favored. Nevertheless, I quickly fell asleep. Not long after my husband came to bed long before the end of the game which only confirmed that out team was still not playing well. A couple hours later, I was pulled from blissful sleep by the breathless whispering of my daughter and husband. I asked if everything was alright, she said, “Yes, we are the champions!” My husband quickly got up and they raced in the living room to watch the final play of the game and celebrate long distance with the team we so closely follow. Excitement filled our house after midnight and cars could be heard racing past the house to buy the celebratory gear at the nearby sporting store. Victory was won! We did it. A perfect season with a perfect record despite a not so perfect game. After a few minutes, I stumbled back to bed knowing that this morning would be tough. It felt good to wake up a winner this morning. In fact, I wake up a winner every morning not just when my favorite team ends up on top.

 

Romans 8:28-30 (NLT)

And we know that God causes everything to work togetherfor the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstbornamong many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

 

If you get nothing out of this devotion today, I want you to grasp one thing – “You are a winner!” In every situation and circumstance of your life is potential for great victory! Not because of anything you have done, effort you have invested or really anything that you can do. God has predetermined that everything in your life will work together for good! God created you and called you for a purpose – to have victory. He gave His Son to die for our many sins so our victory would be inevitable and secure. All that we must do is come to Christ, and remain in right standing with Him. It is in this place that we will be overtaken by His Glory! What glory is there for God in our defeat? None. So you see, God preordered your victory. Jesus secured it on the Cross. The Spirit is constantly at work within you pressing and pushing you to win which will always be outside of our comfort zone, beyond our comprehension and at the end of our endurance. It is a gift to be obtained and utilized by those who put all their faith and trust in the Lord. Simply by believing that God has purposed you to win will change your attitude to produce winning activity in your life!

 

2 Samuel 22:35-37 (NLT)

He trains my hands for battle; He strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. You have given me your shield of victory; Your Helphas made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.

 

God has purposed you to win in every situation of life. Personal victory is not elusive but it is exclusive. The Lord trains our hands for battle so why do we constantly try to rely on our own strength? He strengthens our arm to draw a bronze bow. I remember long ago learning to do archery. It looks effortless until you draw back your first bow strength and feel the pressure that will push the arrow forward to hit the target. My teacher put their hand over my hand holding the bow and overlapped my fingers to help draw back and steady the bow. With one simple release, the arrow hit the target albeit barely. I picture God doing this with us. However, if you have ever tried to teach another person to do something new, you know that there are some people who are not teachable and insist on doing it themselves. Many times these same individuals grow frustrated with failure and give up due to poor technique and a lack of instruction. In fact, the Word of God warns us that people perish due to ignorance. Lord, I pray that you would make us all teachable and give us a hunger for more knowledge in our pursuit of victory through Jesus Christ. The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and will always lead me to victory by crushing the lie of the enemy. (Hebrews 4:12)  

 

God has not just empowered you but also protects you. He has given me a shield but not just any old covering. He gives me a shield of victory. Faith is the name of that shield. The more faith I develop in my life the more protected I will be from the fiery darts of the enemy that are hurled at me constantly. (Ephesians 6:16) Without faith that becomes confident hope, your heart will fail. Without God’s Help, you will never win the against the enemy of your soul. He is cunning. The devil knows every lie in the book including the one that you are most vulnerable to because on your life experiences.

 

God has made a wide path for our feet called righteousness. When we walk according to God’s Way through life, we are guaranteed victory. He makes our way straight leveling our path. (Isaiah 42:16; Isaiah 49:11) The players who won the national championship began playing the game backyards and behind community centers in their home town. However, each new opportunity that they were willing to take led them all to the great stadium where victory was won! Each practice developed skills. Many coaches invested in their life. Many of them even gave glory to God!

 

Proverbs 21:30-31 (NLT)

No human wisdom or understanding or plan can stand against the Lord. The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.

 

Victory always belongs to the Lord. Human wisdom, understanding and personal planning will never stop the Will of God coming to pass in our life. His Plan stands firm forever. It is preordained. It is predestined. God is constantly working to give us victory. (Isaiah 12:1-2) It is a gift straight from the Hand of the Father to His Children. We are powerless when it comes to having all that God has promised and prepared for our life. This gift comes by faith. No matter how much credit we take for discipline and self-control who created your mind, soul and body. Every ounce of your ability and potential come from God. Another gift! We can do nothing but choose to operate in the Power of God designated for our life and enjoy the blessings thereof. You cannot outdo God. So what is keeping you from victory today?

 

Psalm 32:5-8 (NLT)

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment. For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”

 

Could poor coaching be the problem? Not on the Lord’s side, I can assure you. We tend to rebel against God’s Leadership and the Spirit’s Guidance in our life because we think our way is better and do not have confidence in the Lord. God always has the big picture in mind. He does not live moment to moment or play by play, if you will. God lives from glory to glory. He is looking forward to the next time that He can reward you for a win and release more and more promises and blessings in your life. He is advising us and watching over us in an effort to proper us and propel us to victory. Why resist? Our victory is in the Lord – alone. Yet we run from refuge to refuge looking for greater success. (Psalm 62:1-2) If you will just stay put and let the Lord work out the details of your life – you will advance. (Psalm 62:6-8) You will prosper. You will win! The Lord has promised to give you strength and victory. (Exodus 15:1-3) The Lord will be the banner of victory over our life. (Exodus 17:12-15) Keep Him lifting up and every battle belongs to you no matter how tired you become. You must only finish to win. (I Corinthians 9:23-26) To give up or give in now is to choose to lose. God’s Way leads every participant to victory if you will choose His Way as the best course for your life. It always takes you to the finish line by faith. (2 Timothy 2:5) Not only will the Lord lead you to victory and strengthen you for the win, He will fill you with joy as you go!

 

Romans 8:31-37 (NLT)

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

 

Let’s bring home the prize today shall we – despite EVERYTHING overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loves us! You are a winner in disguise today. What is keeping you from walking in the Glory of God ready to break out in your life? Faith overcomes the world but fear can overtake you. (I John 5:3-5) This is the sad reality for most believers today. Their victory is shrouded in fear and doubt. What are you afraid of? What do you fear? There is no spirit in this world greater than the Spirit of God that lives in you! (I John 4:4) The enemy has tricked you into believing that he is more powerful. I break that lie of the devil in your life today and speak to the Living Spirit of God within you to manifest in all His Power today! You are an overcomer! You win in every situation and circumstance by faith no exceptions. There is no limit to God’s Love for you so you are not exempt from any of His Power as His Child. It belongs to you. It is God’s Gift to you through His Son Jesus Christ. He paid a high price for your victory so win! How do you win? By the Blood of the Lamb (by faith) and the Word of your testimony (by belief), that’s it. (Revelation 12:10-12) The winning combination and secret to your success! Stop trying to figure out everything God is up to in your life and just do what He is telling you to do. Victory is seldom secured in one action but a series of events that culminate in a win. Choose to win today! Victory is mine through Jesus Christ. In all things, we overcome because God is for us. He loves us! Say it with me, “I win!”

 

I Corinthians 15:54-57 (NLT)

Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die,this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory.O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

It Matters – A Devotion

Matthew 16:13-19 (NLT)

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’) and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

 

It matters what you believe. Though your belief system does not change the fact that God is God, Jesus is His Son and the Holy Spirit is alive today, it can drastically change how these three facts impact your life. The term “religious diversity” is a detrimental term to the body of Christ because it implies that there are multiple truths and that a person can choose one of many options and still makes it to Heaven. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Too often believers use obligatory name dropping using the Name of the Lord at strategic times as a password of sorts in conversation to hint at an intimate knowledge of a God and Savior they do not know at all. They have heard the Name of Jesus and even may have called upon His Name for salvation in a tight spot, however; the depth of this truth has not impacted their life. See Jesus Christ is not a secret club code or password, spoken to grant admission into heaven. Jesus is the Gate to a brand new life. You must pass through knowledge of God and Jesus Christ through to total belief to become a Child of God and enter the Kingdom of God otherwise you are just an onlooker. You will witness God moving across the world but when it really counts, He will not know you because you never took the time to develop a relationship with Him. These seem like harsh words, I know. They convict me to the core when I think of the times that I had to identify my Christianity to others because I did not live it in full view. There have been times when my knowledge of who God is and what Jesus Christ has done for me personally that I have taken for granted and chosen to ignore living my own life and agenda. A pastor said, “The Bible was not written to fit into our life, but that our life might become one with His Word.” When what we believe about the Lord begins to move us from our comfort zone and we begin to act differently than before we knew His Name, then we are beginning to make our faith matter. Anything less is not faith in our belief which makes it invalid and therefore it really won’t matter.

 

If you ask one hundred people to define their faith, you would probably get one hundred different answers. Jesus asked His Disciples who do people say that I am. The Lord had touched the lives of many individuals but that still did not mean that their belief had become faith. They began to tell Jesus the many ideas of the people. Then Jesus asked the most important question, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter replied without hesitation, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” It did not matter what ninety-nine other people thought about Jesus Christ, Peter responded by faith. He spoke the Word of God. The connection between belief and faith is found in God’s Word. Until we devour His Word and become intimately aware of who God is and His Son, Jesus, it is impossible to develop faith that matters. Life will define God according to its own plan and agenda but that does not change the Great I AM for moment. God does not change. People’s opinion of God has changed over the course of time. His Word remains the same. If you want to challenge your belief system and test your theory of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, pour over the Word of God and meditate on it. You have to believe all of it for it to develop faith. If you do not believe the entire Word of God, then there is a fallacy in its truth making it all a lie. Nevertheless, without proper knowledge of God, how can one believe in Him? Without such knowledge, how can faith be developed? It cannot. Who do you say that God is today? Does it line up with the Word of God? If not, it will not make a difference in your life.

 

I John 5:9-11 (NLT)

Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. And God has testified about his Son. All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son. And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

 

Do you believe in God? Do you believe that sin has separated us from Him? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Do you believe that He died for your sins and is faithful and just to forgive you of them? By now, you have probably answered “yes” to all these questions. After all this is a devotion designed for believers who are saved, right? The question remains, “Who do you say that He is?” Not by words, but by your life. The words in the Bible will give you the right responses to the inquiry but it is a matter of the heart as well. The Word of God is filled with knowledge to acquaint people with God through Jesus Christ, however; intimacy with Jesus Christ through face-to-face encounters with the Lord turns what I know into what I believe and turns knowledge into faith and wisdom. Are you knocking on faith’s door today or have you entered in? It matters what you believe – every finite detail of your relationship with God counts. It has the power to open the doors of Heaven and allow the fullness of God to overflow into your life. Everything that God is and all of His Power is available to those who believe. Just knowing God can do it does not prod the heart of God. It is those who are insistent that will see Heaven on Earth because they will not stop knocking knowing what is theirs. They insist on God’s Divine Intervention in their life. Is that you today? If not, it can be.

 

Matthew 7:7-8 (NLT)

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

 

Persistence pays when it comes to faith. You have to know what you believe to access the Kingdom of God. It is saved for the righteous. Those people who cannot live outside of the Presence of God because their belief has become a reality called faith. Ask yourself the question, “Who do I say that you are Lord?” Take some time to look at your life and see if the words of your mouth not only line up with God’s Word but are evidenced in your everyday life today. It is as easy to fix as just banging on God’s front door. Ask the Lord to show you His Glory. Ask Him to be real in your life. Ask Jesus to satisfy your unbelief and change it to supernatural faith and trust. It is important what you believe. It matters.