Take a Stand

Take A Stand

Psalm 18:32-34 (NLT) God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.

“He (or she) who kneels before God can stand before anyone.” (Unknown and paraphrased)

Psalm 18 is David’s song to the Lord praising God for rescuing him from all his enemies particularly Saul. Who better to sing it than the shepherd boy turned mighty warrior with a single stand and monumental victory over a Philistine giant with one small pebble hurled by faith and powered by the Hand of God. David did stand in strength and power full of self-confidence and natural abilities. He was a scrawny kid surrounded by a battalion of soldiers whose heart was firmly established in the Lord. God arms me with strength. He makes my way perfect. He makes me surefooted. He enables me to stand on mountain heights. He trains my hands for battle. He strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. One might think this is a battle cry of a highly trained tactical fighting machine but really it is more about the human heart than any man’s ability.

Adrenaline fuels our heart and mind to react to a situation. We will either fight or flee depending on our perception of the outcome of an encounter. In the natural, it is often an assumption made after sizing up our opponent or obstacle to determine one’s ability to overcome. But with God all things are possible to those who believe. Do you believe today? Do you have faith and confidence that God is for you? Do you believe that He loves you and will never leave or forsake you? Our mind can play tricks on us especially when the enemy comes with clever traps of half-truth and deception. He cannot stop the plan or purpose of God in our life. He is successful only when we give up or give in to human temptation, weakness or emotions. Yet even still God’s Word for you will never return to Him void. What the Lord has promised – He will deliver – if we stand!

God arms me with strength. God’s Power is delivered by grace in our weakness. It is the humility of repentance when our life is turned over to the Lord and trust begins to develop that victory is secured. I know it seems preposterous that in surrender that His Power is most effective. It seems illogical. But what if this strength mentioned in Psalm 18 is not about anything our physical body can do but rather strength of spirit to trust the Lord until the bitter end. To stand in the field well sown but not growing. To believe in famine and drought that you will do more than survive but God says you will thrive. How do we find our way to the source of strength that becomes the sound foundation of a prosperous life? Tell us today David where does your strength come from? “I love you, Lord. You are my strength.” (Psalm 18:1) From beginning to end, David put his heart and soul into knowing and loving the Lord. From the pasture full of sheep to the battlefield of soldiers, God was God to David.

Psalm 139:1-6 (NLT) O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!

He makes my way perfect. In Psalm 139, there is a glimpse of the moment of creation. An intimate encounter with God even delving into His Thoughts for us. God is greater than our emotions and feelings. When He created us it was with the full potential of purpose that would completely satisfy our life exceedingly and abundantly more than we could think or ask or even imagine. Knowing this and believing this requires a self-discipline that stands when every fiber of our being says to run. It is the hardest part of spiritual maturity. To develop an understanding that doesn’t understand everything (or anything) God is doing yet still chooses to continue following His Path. To decide God you are who You say you are and will do what You say You will do and live life with such a conviction and confidence that keeps us in place. It is hard. It is completely contrary to our education and life experience that is until we encounter the Living God and begin to experience His Promises.

It is not uncommon to come to crossroads of decision each day. Who will I trust? What will I believe? Will I consistently choose the better way? Jeremiah 6:16 talks about crossroads – “This is what the Lord says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’” How many times have I made a rational choice rather than a radical commitment to do things God’s Way? I cannot count the number of times that I have taken my toys and gone home rather than continued laboring in the field God has placed me. What about you? Have you done the same? Well, I have good news. His Mercy is new every morning. His People are called to endurance so there is still time. The God who created you knows you. He had to if His Son would provide enough grace to save and empower you. You may have made a bad choice but today is a new day. The Lord inside of you is full of resurrection power and life which is yours for the asking and ready for the taking of those who surrender it all to Him.

A little knowledge of God is worth more than great knowledge about him. (J.I. Packer)

He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. God is fortifying our feet to be surefooted. To stand on mountain heights and look at life from His Perspective requires conditioning. I could not hike up a mountain in my present condition. I am embarrassed at my unhealthy state compared to a few years ago. When I finally foray back into the gym, I will have to recondition my body. It will take time. It will require a commitment. I must ignore screaming muscles and dying fat to continue to bring my body into subjection. And so it is with our heart, soul and mind when it comes to being “surefooted” in the Lord. His Perspective is higher than our own. His Plan is naturally uncommon. His Purpose fully encompassing a life not fully lived. It is our passion to know God that keeps us engaged. Knowing about him does nothing for us. I have thoroughly researched the gyms close to my work and home. I know their hours of operation. I know the equipment offered. I have inquired as to membership fees and requirements. I have not made a commitment yet. Therefore, my knowledge is really doing nothing for me. We must exercise our knowledge of God by faith to make it wisdom beneficial in our life. It requires a commitment. It will take trust to get us there. Our confidence must be in the Living God who is not fully understood yet embraced just the same. Maybe the greatest battle in standing is not taking one but staying there until the battle is won!

“God is not what you imagine or what you think you understand. If you understand – you failed.” (St. Augustine)

He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. The battle is the Lord’s today and every day. His Plan for you and me is in full effect. The stand to be taken is in solidarity with God. To continually walk in His Ways while training our heart and mind to trust Him implicitly. It doesn’t matter whether you think your enemies are many and your strength too small – greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world. No weapon formed against you will prosper. God is offering you His Strength today. He will be your refuge. It is all up to you. Will you take a stand against human understanding today? Will you believe past your doubt and disbelief? Will you say to the Lord forsaking all others I choose you? These are the words of warriors who win battles and overcome all obstacles in life. The warrior is you! Take a stand! The war waged against you is won in your heart not with your hands!

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Philippians 4:7 (NLT) Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

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Shining Light

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Matthew 5:14-15 (NLT) “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.”

You are the light of the world. A city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. A lamp is placed on a stand where it gives light to everyone in the house. I think sometimes this imagery of Christ is modernized into a flashlight meant to shine in the darkness when all along it was intended to be a light standing in the darkness attracting others to its light. The need to illuminate the life of others must never be to expose them but always to encourage them to leave the darkness behind. We choose to live in the Light and give others the same opportunity by becoming light.

Yesterday started out well, I knew there was a big project with a looming deadline waiting in my inbox. I was prepared for it. However a couple hours in the day, things took a twist. It sent me to the Emergency Room with our son. I could feel my not-so-normal life trying to put a damper on the day. My joy was under attack by the constant reminder of days gone by. Sitting in the hospital for some precautionary tests, I could feel frustration rising up accompanied by the incessant beeping of a monitor the nurse forgot to silence in her haste. As time ticked by, I could also sense the urgency of the task waiting at work. Upon returning, I knew that it would be a late one. My heart sank. This is the night our daughter and grandson come to visit. Though the sun was shining, I could sense rain clouds on the horizon. It seems like lately the tears fall just a little faster than before as though they are on the edge of my eyes all the time. Standing in the grocery store with the deli backed up, now even dinner was taking forever. I felt like I would burst into tears at any moment. It was then my daughter called she was passing by the store and asked if I would like her to come wait with me. When she walked in the store holding her bundle of joy, it was like sunshine through rain clouds. She was light. My dark day illuminated by two people who bring me absolute and complete joy.

John 8:12 (NLT) Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

You are the light of the world…or at least the Light of the World lives in us. Rather than living like flashlights, it is our privilege to become lampstands of Christ. The light of His Love burning bright inside of us is more appealing than a spotlight in someone’s eyes. There are days I don’t feel saved. There are times when I don’t want to get up again. There are moments when the pressure seems too much to bear. The enemy too close to my ear. But it is in that moment, that God sends His Light to me. I do not ever have to walk in darkness but if it possible to be honest and transparent some days the darkness finds us anyway.

How do I maintain the Light of His Love? To keep a fire alive requires attention or it will burn out. We must feed the Light of His Love within us with the Word of God. The Light of His Love is a lamp that keeps us company in the dark times and helps us find our way in our wanderings. It shines through the broken pieces of its fragile jar called our heart for all to see. This life in Christ is one of complete transparency. People don’t need an artificial light that doesn’t represent a real God but rather need a passionate fire to fuel God’s Love in them. Is your light attractive? Is it bright enough? Is it properly fueled? Maintained even in the most inclement weather?

Psalm 27:1-3 (NLT) The Lord is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.

This little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine! Hide it under a bushel…no! I’m gonna let it shine… I am quite sure that I will sing this with my grandson one day. He is a little light already. He is just another representation of God’s Love, Goodness and Faithfulness in my life. A blessing among blessings. The Lord is my light and my salvation. The next part of this verse is so important…why should I be afraid? What are you afraid of? What keeps you from living fully in the Light of His Love today? I guarantee you it is from the father of lies because there is absolutely nothing that can separate you from the Love of God today.

Before I can be a light to the world, I must identify the Light that lives inside me. He is Jesus. He is the Light of the World and definitely my salvation. In order to become a light in the darkness, I must become confident in His Love and Salvation. I know many people who claim to be saved but do not know or understand that capacity of God’s Love and Grace for them. They live in prisons built by fear, doubt and insecurity because surely no one can love like Jesus or offer grace without a price. Well…plot twist…He did and He does!

Psalm 36:7-9 (NLT) How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.

One of my favorite worship songs has a verse, “You can’t turn out a light that shines from the inside. You can’t put out a fire that burns from the inside.” You cannot become light to the world without a constantly consuming passionate relationship with Jesus Christ. Your light will flicker and go out according to circumstances and conditions if not fully confident in the Lord as our Source. He must be more than enough. He must stand as overcomer. He must be exactly who He says He is to me in order for me to offer any kind of glimmer to another. The passion in our hearts is missing so the vibrant reflection of Christ that once was a beacon drawing thousands at a time, without sound systems, light shows, computerized screens and full bands with professional singers but just a light on a stand or city on a hill, is slowly fading to black. The Light that shines from my heart is an important part of the Kingdom. The Light potential in you is, too. Together we become the city for all to see and run to for refuge.

I have a flashlight I use each morning to take the dogs outside before dawn. It is important to avoid any surprises such as freshly dug holes or piles of mess. I share this because this is true in life, too. The Lord has given us the light to see. We must use that light in our own life. It is important to keep our eyes on the path before us with a consciousness of the “cloud of witnesses” all around. Those who are looking for light. Those who need help out of the pits of life and those who need to clean the mess off if you know what I mean. Sometimes we become so consumed with our own magnificence in life that we forget to magnify Jesus and draw others to Him. A light in the darkness stands like a candle. It cannot move or be swayed but nevertheless must be constantly consumed by fire to accomplish its purpose… as do I!

Ephesians 5:8-10 (NLT) For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.

I must live as light. I must pay attention to the lens of my life to be sure that I am allowing the Light of His Love to shine through me. I am not called to illuminate my darkness and live in my circle of light but to be a lamp on a stand and city on a hill to shine the Light of God’s Love to the lost, broken and dying people who He came for. We become consumed with our own life sometimes rather than allowing the all-consuming fire of His Love burn away fear, doubt and insecurity so total trust gives way to complete transparency. The world is looking for love – real love. We have it. Hidden in the fragile jars of our heart ready to spill out for all to see – will you let the Love of God shine through you today? It means focusing on others rather than self. It means climbing the rough side of the mountain with a smile on your face. True joy is found in Jesus Christ. If you do not have joy – it is time to reevaluate the well. Living water flows through you to quench the thirst of others. You were made to be salty adding flavor to life. Jesus Christ lives in you. You are the Light of the World. Don’t hide. Shine. Shine bright and confident in His Love today. No matter what you face you will be victorious. No matter the obstacle – you will overcome. You are more than a conqueror with the confidence that no weapon formed against you will prosper. Even if you are weary, if you wait on the Lord – He will take you higher than ever before. You are called to be a city on a hill! Be the Light!
Proverbs 4:18 (NLT) The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.

Proverbs 13:9 (NLT) The life of the godly is full of light and joy, but the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.

 

The Price

The Price

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (ESV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

I have a new guilty pleasure. A friend recommended that I try the grocery pickup service. Each week I make a list for the coming week of all the food and household items needed for the coming week. On Thursday or Friday, after work I make my way to the store and spend one to two hours filling the cart with everything on my list and everything else that catches my eye. After making my purchase, I push the overflowing cart to the car and proceed to unload the haul. Get a ten-minute rest on the drive home, unload it all again, and begin putting everything away. Sigh. Well not anymore… I tried the online grocery ordering. Walking through the house filling the cart based on the contents of the fridge and pantry, I asked everyone if they needed anything adding those items, too. Finally, with a huge intake of breath, I pressed submit order choosing a time for pickup. Using location services on my phone, the associate tracked my progress to the store. I parked in the designated delivery zone and a gentleman walked out with my purchases. He showed me substitutions and had me sign for them. The entire exchange took about five whole minutes and to top it all off it saved me a great deal of money on wasteful impulse shopping. Currently, the program does not charge a fee for this service. But if they do, I would probably still use them because considering the cost of my time and energy – it is totally worth it!

I have shared my experience with friends. Many scrutinize and question the quality like “what about produce” or “what if the bread is not soft”. The store offers full refunds if you are not full satisfied with your order. You can request no substitutions on items out of stock. Other people decide they are just not that “organized” etc. What is right for me is not for everyone. There are some things I would rather select for myself and pop into the fancy grocer to pick up these items using a whopping five or ten whole minutes. We must consider the cost of our everyday choices in all areas of life to decide how to budget our time, energy and resources including our new life in Jesus Christ. It will cost something – every choice has a consideration, consequence and cost. My bananas were slightly yellower and a little bruised this time but they doubled another item. Did I decide to stop using the grocery pickup service? Absolutely not!

“Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Reconciliation of our life to the one Christ has given us is a personal choice. It means to bring into agreement and harmony or make compatible and consistent. It requires change. There are some who know Jesus but choose to use their freedom to satisfy their flesh. Even the demons know Jesus and tremble, so it is the same with people. They know of Him but do not live in a relationship with Him. Each day mercy greets us at the door and grace is given to us to make it through the day. In fact, when we choose to live in the love, grace and mercy of Jesus Christ reconciling the details of our life to His Word, Will and Way – there is new growth potential in our pursuit of God’s Best.

We decide if the cost of our life is too great to follow Jesus. Those who desire to reconcile their life to Jesus will have to be ready for change. Jesus does not change. Like Father God, He doesn’t lie or change His Mind. The Bible says that the Word of God will not return to Him void. Jesus is the Word. With this in mind, we must count the cost of discipleship. There were only twelve original disciples and they did not all make it to the Cross, see the tomb or experience the resurrection of Jesus. To give one’s life is the bearing of our soul and allowing the Lord to mold and shape our life according to His Plan and Purpose and release its full potential. But you will never be forced to do so. Reconciliation to Christ is a choice. We must consider the cost.

Luke 14:26-33 (NLT) “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.

And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.”

“Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

The cost of discipleship is not required of all. You are not required to be a “disciple” of Jesus Christ. John 8 tells us that the Truth sets you free. The Word is Truth. Jesus is the Word. It also tells us that whoever the Son sets free is free indeed which means you don’t have to choose to live for God or His Kingdom. It is up to you. But if you do not pay the price – you do not make the purchase. Jesus died for you. He went to hell and took back your life for you. He hands it over to you and allows you to decide how to live it. Those who desire a relationship with Jesus Christ will reconcile their life to Him and those who do not will use their freedom as they choose. However, if you desire the Kingdom and all that it has to offer – the only choice is discipleship. Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He gives us access to the Father. We must only give our life to Him.

Matthew 13:44-46 (NLT) “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!”

“Discipleship can tolerate no conditions which might come between Jesus and our obedience to him.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

What does the Kingdom of Heaven have to offer you today? Have you thought about it? There is a natural designation between Heaven and earth. Humanity considers today where we live and eternity where one resides after death. Like Martha when Jesus came to awaken Lazarus, our heart wants to believe that Jesus is the Resurrection and Life for today but logic tells us that He is our eternal hope that new life is not an everyday happening. The Lord will be the Resurrection and Life to those who believe and have faith for today not fully invested in forever. We must believe that God is a Living God and that we live in the Presence of God or Heaven on earth today. The realm of hope is not restricted to the next breath after death. It is for everyday life as well.

The price paid to know the Living God today requires a purchase. The more expensive the item the more careful the consideration. The investment of entire life is probably the most valuable of all. What will you lay down your life and everything you own for? That is your treasure. The mouth speaks from the abundance of your heart. What do you talk about? What do you dream of? What is your greatest desire? What fuels your passion? What are you pursuing? Be careful in your consideration. The heart is fickle and our mind plays tricks on us. We can believe one thing but live completely to the contrary. Until our heart, mind and mouth agree, life will be plagued with cyclic frustration. We must live what we believe. We must decide what we will give our life for. The man found a treasure worth having so he sold everything to own it. The merchant found a choice pearl. When he discovered its value and worth, he sold everything and bought it. I wonder if maybe we do not see the value and worth of reconciling our whole life to Christ so we give Him bits and pieces waiting and praying for a full return. The man who bought the field was given a price. He decided it was worth it and paid it. The pearl was appraised and deemed quite valuable. The merchant considered its price and the possible yield on his return so he invested fully to own it. How important is God’s Kingdom on earth to you? Is it worth it? Is it worth it all?

Luke 15:8-10 (NLT) “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”

The economy of Heaven and wealth of the Kingdom is souls. Human souls are what the Lord desires. He yearns for His Beloved Children to all return home. God gave His Son to make a way for our return to His Home. He searches high and low. He will stop at nothing to give us eternal life. In the meantime, He gives us faith to obtain blessings and promises that benefit our life now. Here. In the land of the living. God loves unconditionally and grace is always enough. I must decide if I will pay the price and count the cost of travel from the natural to the supernatural. Like a business venture or any other investment, I must decide if it will be worth it. A half-hearted investment will not give a full bodied return.

Matthew 6:33 (NLT) Seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

And live righteously… These words are often misinterpreted. Righteousness is provided by Jesus Christ. To live in Christ is to maintain right standing with God. It is not a religious endeavor. There is nothing I can do to earn or deserve salvation or the Favor of God in my life. My flesh and pride so would like to though for this is how they can stay alive. Jesus has promised a new life to those who live reconciled to Him. This is the life of discipleship. To put all of our life in studying, following and imitating Christ. To seek the Kingdom first above all else is reflected in our choices. What a man sows He reaps. Sow Kingdom seeds and bear Fruit of His Spirit. To live all in opens the windows and doors of Heaven in our life. It comes at a price. It means that I must relinquish my rights and step fully into righteousness. I must lose my life to find it. I have to lose my life in Jesus. God is not calling us to suffer for Jesus Christ. He is asking for our soul. As our soul prospers, our natural life will be impacted Heaven’s Economy. You cannot experience Heaven on earth living in your present condition. Repentance and reconciliation to Jesus every single minute of every single day changes us forever into the new creation that Jesus promised. Nothing ventured nothing gained. I am all in today. I want all that His Kingdom has for me. I have decided to follow Jesus! How about you?

Mark 8:36 (NLT)  And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?

Discipline says, “I need to.” Duty says, “I ought to.” Devotion says, “I want to.” (Adrian Rogers)

Threshold

Threshold

Matthew 14:28-33 (ESV) And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

The word “threshold” means the starting point of an experience, event or venture. Any place of entering or beginning. For Peter, the first step of faith was a big one. In the midst of a storm, when the other men were huddled in fear on the boat. Peter saw the Lord. Jesus called to them, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” Peter said, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” The threshold may be exciting and new but walking through it may be a whole other story. Peter got out of the boat but his confidence remained in the boat. When he saw the elements surrounding his journey, suddenly that sinking feeling of doubt began to drag him down. He was beginning to sink. The Lord saved Peter in the midst of his drowning. Lord, will you save us today?

Our new front door is beautiful. Rather than a solid panel, there is now beautiful leaded glass which allows glorious light to flood the foyer. It is an inviting entrance into our home. It is a magnificent exit to the world around us. The possibilities of life are met on the other side when one ventured from the safety and security of our home into the surrounding world. When the sun sets at the end of a long, arduous day – it is the place where peace and rest are found in comfort. If only we could see across the thresholds placed before us by the Lord, to see past the obstacle into the outrageous plan of God that awaits us. To exit confidently and mindfully aware that there is always more in the Lord and each day a new beginning with new opportunities to know Jesus and love Him more.

The threshold of our home is transparent but the doorway to new beginnings not so much. Faith requires a step into the darkness most days. It is a quiet calling to “come” in the midst of raging storms, trembling mountains, and rough terrain. To go beyond human comprehension into the realm of hope that doesn’t not yield a clear view of the journey just the promise of a wonderful destination. When I leave home today, there is not telling what the day will look like. My plans may fall apart. My expectation in people, place or things sadly unmet. It may be a horrible day for all I know but one thing is for sure each brand new day comes with new mercy to make it through. It holds a sufficient amount of grace even if I fail miserably. God’s Love is pursuing us today. His Goodness right there with Him. If we could only concentrate on crossing the threshold of His Presence – there is new life in each moment of every single day.

Psalm 84:10-11 (ESV) For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

The Amplified Bible translates part of these verses to read – “I would rather stand (as a doorkeeper) at the threshold of the House of my God than live (at ease) in the tents of wickedness.” To live on the threshold of His Presence each day is the possibility of faith and confident hope in our life. It is not for everyone because it takes courage to react and respond to who we know rather than what we see. Experience can be a rough teacher. Life is full of hard knocks that make harden hearts. I have attended such a school. Even though Peter jumped over the side of the boat and failed miserably that day, the Lord was there to keep him from forever falling and drowning in the depths of his doubt. Jesus knows us. He can see right through our façade that is presented to the world each day. He wipes our tears cried in the darkness of night and every so lovingly places them in a bottle. One day the Lord will redeem those tears to water our faith and cause new life to spring forth in the deep crevices of our broken heart.

When Peter left the boat, it was a new beginning. A threshold or new beginning as the Lord unfolded the plan to begin the building of His Church in the belief of just one man. We want to go in groups. Who wants to be alone? Our hand on the knob ready to turn it – yet our heart wavering within us. What if? What about? Can I possibly? Must I go it alone? Where are you, Lord? The enemy will stand at the threshold of opportunity waving his hands furious and shooting fiery darts at our heart. If he can distract us or dissuade us, then we will not be victorious overcomers. He is on a mission. To destroy our confidence in the Lord and keep us hiding in the darkness rather than allowing us to make our way into a life of glorious light.

Isaiah 6:1-8 (ESV) In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”  Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

On the threshold of new beginnings when things seem to be impossible, we must put our heart and mind in the Presence of God who knows the beginning from the end. Jesus has been with the Father from the beginning and knows the plan including the future and hope that promised to us. We must become attached and aligned with the person who knows our purpose rather than standing on the threshold recalling all the reasons we cannot do it or what could go wrong. Delayed obedience is disobedience. The daily mantra of my life. The longer we live the more experience there is to draw from. Life experience produces consequences but the encounters with the Lord become the birthplace of possibilities. No matter how it comes about the end is full of miraculous possibility if we only choose to believe.

God will shake the foundations of your threshold to move you from ordinary to extraordinary. He will make mountains move and ways where there seemed to be no way. What must I do? What is my part in His Perfect Plan? Trust. To be vulnerable and intimate with the Spirit of God will always require us to trust the Lord. He does not change so we will be the ones who do. He doesn’t lie so now our life will be governed by truth. Truth exposes every lie once hidden inside of us producing conviction to live in the Light of His Word and to put away useless things to fully embrace godliness simply because He is worthy. The more I know Him the more I love Him. The more I depend on the Lord the more I need Him. The more I trust Him the less like I am to turn back. Is the Lord shaking the threshold of your life today? The once comfortable, convenient and controlled environment you survived in is now being turned upside down so you will thrive. Will you go? Will you step over the threshold into a new life?

Revelation 3:20-21 (ESV) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

In John 21, Peter has another opportunity to cross the threshold of the boat to come to Jesus. When he knew it was Jesus on the shore, he left the boat, fish, fear, doubt and every insecurity to get into the Presence of the Lord. He had denied Christ three times and then watched Him die. Yet still when the next opportunity came to get out of the boat there was nothing in this world that would stop him from reaching His Beloved. It was a new beginning. As history reports, the life of Peter would end tragically according to this world but he would triumphantly enter the Kingdom of God. You have to lose your life to find it. You have to lose your life in Him. There is no new beginning on the starting side of thresholds. We must cross the thresholds set before us to enter in to the new thing the Lord has prepared for us.

Peter would fulfill his destiny. He would be the foundation of the early church. Nothing would ever separate him from the Love of God that He discovered in Christ Jesus. It all begins with Jesus. When He says, “Come.” Will you? When He wants to enjoy your company? Will you remain in His Presence just a little longer? Will you lay down your pride that demands comfort, convenience and control? Confidence in Christ begins in a humble moment of surrender. We awake each day to possibility on the threshold of something new and exciting to be discovered in our partnership with Christ. Will you cross the threshold today?

Luke 1:37 (ESV) For nothing will be impossible with God.

Consider the Field

Consider the Field

Proverbs 31:16 (ESV) She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

“The abundance of our life is not determined by how long we live, but how well we live, Christ makes abundant life possible if we choose to live it now.” (Barbara Brown Taylor)

What does an abundant life look like to you? If asked what is the “one” thing you lack that would provide complete contentment and full satisfaction, what would it be? Is it a material possession? A tangible thing? Can it be counted or quantified? Is it demonstrated by a certain quality? Is it a talent? Goal? I do not believe many could answer this question with confidence? If given three wishes, would you ask for three more? Life is full of experiences. The longer it is lived the more evident the consequences of our choices – good and bad. The things I once thought would bring me contentment and satisfaction are not what I expected. But maybe that’s the point…

We are called to live an abundant life. Abundant means an extremely plentiful or over sufficient quantity or supply. It is defined as overflowing fullness. And, yes, affluence or wealth. The Bible tells us “for out of the abundance of the heart his (or her) mouth speaks”. A whining, complaining, grumbling poor mouth is not a person with an overflowing heart but a leaky sieve. We must “consider the field” of our heart before expecting a harvest to grow from it. Our life prospers when our soul does. Our soul must prosper to have abundant life. How’s your heart today?

Matthew 6:27-30 (ESV) And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

There is a saying, “Fake it until you make it.” Christians put a new spin on it by saying, “Faith it until you make it.” Faith is not fake. Faith is not something believers must pretend to have until they find it along the way. Faith is given to us. We come equipped with a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3) The eternity in our heart requires faith to make it so God decided to incorporate it in our design. Everyone has faith – you just have to figure out what to do with it.

Jesus came to give us abundant life. (John 10:10) There is a thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy it. He uses fear, doubt, anxiety, offense, and the list goes on. We curse the field and waste the good seed given to us on worthless efforts and stony ground. What could have been used to produce a fruitful life is devoured by the enemy as it is carelessly laid to waste. Proverbs 31:16 is not just for women, but all of us. It holds the secret to success for every believer. We must consider our field. We must buy it. We must seed it with the good seed cultivated in our life. We have a role in the provision of God. It’s called faith. There is no excuse. He has already provided seed to the sower.

Matthew 13:18-23 (ESV) “Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

Since people are provided with a measure of faith to seed our life, this parable of Jesus applies to us all. No one is exempt from sowing and reaping. God declared seedtime and harvest in the days of Noah and it will be perpetuated until the return of Jesus Christ. What you sow you will reap. (Galatians 6:7) In the most practical manner, this is human expectation yet people only what to reap the good things not the not-so-good things in life. God cannot be mocked. He does not lie or change His Mind. You cannot sow strife, discord, doubt and fear and expect the productivity of faith including blessings, promises and prosperity.

“As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” The Word of God is the truth that governs the life of a believer. Whatever it says about you is true. Whatever it promises you is yours. Whatever the end result is your dividend. Whatever you decide to plant by faith in your life and wait for it to grow will yield exactly what it promises – good or bad. The fertile soil of the Word is our heart. This is the place where faith yields its providence. In order for our life to prosper into abundant life, it must be broken and carefully evaluated. We must decide to buy the field and invest in it.

Matthew 13:44-45 (ESV) “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

Are you willing to seal the deal? Make the purchase? Will you buy the field? The “hidden treasure” that is offered is full satisfaction and complete contentment which will produce abundance in our confidence that if we invest our life in the Kingdom it will be a benefit and blessing in the land of the living. Most of the time, like Martha, we look forward to the resurrection life and power on the other side of death and do not invest it in the land of the living. How can we have confidence in the God of Eternity if we do not know Him today?

The truth of these two verses will change our life forever if we can simply see the worth of a Kingdom commitment. To invest our life in the Kingdom and not in the world will give us the joy, peace and fruitfulness that everyone strives for but few find. It changes our need to survive into the ability to thrive. When the man found the treasure in the field, he did not claim it or pretend like it belonged to him with a finders keepers mentality. No this man was smart. He invested all that he has to possess it. The man decided to own the treasure. What about you? The Kingdom and all its treasure can only be obtained one way. The Way, the Truth and the Life – Jesus Christ bestows the promises and blessings of the Father to His Children. There is no such thing as blab it and grab it. The Kingdom is a deal or no deal proposition. You have to buy it, own it and work it just like the Proverbs 31 woman.

Luke 6:37-38 (ESV) “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Trust allows you to give. Giving is abundant. As you give so it shall be given to you. If you give with judgment, limitation, and stinginess that is what you create in your life – judgment, limitation and stinginess.” (Gary Zukav)

Our little grandson came for a visit yesterday. Still an infant, he is learning to grab hold of things especially hair. Trying to pry his tiny fingers apart is tough as he still has the grasping reflex that he was born with. His innate natural will hold more tightly if that which is held is pulled on. We hear the words “judge”, “condemn” and “give” immediately allowing human natural and instinct to interpret a humble release and begin to justify our feelings when God is inviting us to engage in an exchange. You give me your limited faith and I will turn into a fantastically fruitful future and forever. You have to give to receive. Don’t judge a book by the cover. Don’t judge a field by its present condition. Don’t condemn your life with curses born of complaining. Do not withhold any good thing because it will take the place of God’s Goodness for your life today.

If you decide you want a financial blessing but do not enter a financial relationship (tithing) with the Lord what seed will grow into the provision you desire. If you want someone to love, you must give love (real love) first. If you want peace, you must give up fear, doubt and anxiety. See we want what God has but will not give up anything to receive it. Faith requires an exchange. It means there must be good soil to grow something. It requires a full investment. What you sow you will reap. It is an infant mentality to hang on to less because you cannot trust the Lord for more. A lack of consideration will render every field barren. God has given you the seed – you must be willing to sow it.

“If you want love and abundance in your life, give it away.” (Mark Twain)

Ephesians 3:14-21 (ESV) For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

You are called to a life of abundance. Fully satisfied and completely content in Jesus Christ. I wonder what would happen if we really believed that this kind of life is possible. Would it change how we live? Absolutely. What we believe? Of course. How we love? Without a doubt. We must consider the state of our heart. Buy the field, plant the seed and wait for it to grow. Investing our life in Jesus Christ is worthwhile. It will yield every promise and blessing that His Word gives to a prospering soul. We must decide only that we want it enough to give up this life for it.

“Fear of the future makes people settle for things in the present that completely defy abundant life.” (Beth Moore)

Living God

Living God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

No More But…

No More But...

James 1:12 (AMP) Blessed [happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God] is the man who is steadfast under trial and perseveres when tempted; for when he has passed the test and been approved, he will receive the [victor’s] crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

I am blessed. I am happy. I am spiritually prosperous. I am favored by God. But… The word “but” nullifies everything in the previous statement. It is the very word that renders an apology useless in its own justification. I’m sorry but… It is the place saver for the condition that will limit the commitment. I would go to church but… Three letters can change everything in a single breath. I am blessed, but… I am happy, but… I am prosperous, but… I am favored by God, but… What is the limitation on your life today? What comes after the but…?

Steadfastness in the troubles, trials and temptations of life is only possible when Children of God remove the hindrances often breathed into life giving declarations. The little word “but” seems so small but it holds greater conviction than the statement just before. It is the obstacle of faith that must be overcome. The human heart will reveal places of doubt and disbelief and the enemy picks it up using it as a weapon. There is no weapon formed against us that will prosper, but… We are our own weapons of mass destruction as rebellious thoughts become firm beliefs keeping us locked in what-could-have-been rather than living in the realm of hope marked what has already been done.

The word “but” in the middle of a sentence is called a coordinating conjunction. Ever heard the Schoolhouse Rock song that goes “Conjunction Junction” – “Conjunction junction, what’s your function?” The function of “but” is to create the opposite. When “but” is placed as a conjunction, it represents a change of direction. It is a contradiction. When our attitude and actions are contradictory to the Lord, suddenly we have a crossroad. We have been crowned with victory by the Lord Jesus Christ. His Goodness is for the Land of the Living…but…

What is the contradiction that is confining God’s Best from flowing in you and through you today? What is keeping you from remaining steadfast in the Lord? It is the thing on the other side of your but… There was a man who was lame for more than 30 years. He would sit by the pool and wait for its stirring. Healing would have missed him altogether had Jesus had enough love and compassionate persistence for both of them. Jesus offered the man expectation. The man only made excuses. Jesus said to him, “Get up; pick up your pallet and walk.” The man was healed and fully recovered. (John 5) The man was reacting to his condition and years of disappointment. When he encountered Jesus, these weights would have kept them there except for the faithfulness of Jesus.

James 1:16-18 (AMP)  Do not be misled, my beloved brothers and sisters. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes]. It was of His own will that He gave us birth [as His children] by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits of His creatures [a prime example of what He created to be set apart to Himself—sanctified, made holy for His divine purposes].

Thank you Jesus for Your Persistence and Perseverance in pursuing us with Your Goodness each day. New mercies are bestowed on us each day. His Love and Goodness always pursuing us. He offers us victory. His Power works best in my weakness. How crazy is that? Because I am weak. I fail every single day. Simple obedience is often an overwhelming task. I am not talking about religious rules and regulations. I love God. I love Jesus. I love His Spirit at work in me. I am to love everyone else as well. To lay down my life (pride, bitterness, offense) and love unsparingly. It is easier to do the right things. Wear the right clothes. Avoid the so-called vices. To live a religious life than to strive for a righteous one. Why? I must surrender all my “buts” to replace them with periods. I am loved. I am convinced. I am steadfast. I am blessed. I am victorious. I am prosperous. I am successful. I belong to Jesus. I am an overcomer.

I was made with divine purpose that supersedes human ability. He set me apart for Himself. I am in a relationship with Jesus Christ who gave birth to me by His Word. When I receive Christ, I receive His Word. He is the Word. Now I can have confidence and conviction in every circumstance of life that I am saved, healed, delivered and perfectly blessed. God does lie or change His Mind. He set the sun to rises in the east every single day because He ordained it to be so and as it rounds the earth it will set in the west every single day. If creation is obedient to God, I must be also without reservation or excuses. Simple acts of obedience change the course of our life completely.

James 1:22-25 (AMP) But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth]. For if anyone only listens to the word without obeying it, he is like a man who looks very carefully at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he immediately forgets what he looked like. But he who looks carefully into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and faithfully abides by it, not having become a [careless] listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he will be blessed and favored by God in what he does [in his life of obedience].

Who do you see when you look in the mirror each day? When God looks at us, He sees His Precious Son. To live my life in accordance with His Word, Will and Way is not a form of restriction or limitation but to live in the liberty of His Love. No longer bound by the penalty of sin or imprisoned by darkness. I can live in the Light of His Love and showers of blessing each day. Confidence in Christ is the beginning of a supernatural life leaving behind the excuses that once kept us from Him. When I look in the mirror, who do I see? Do I see a beloved Child of the Living God? Or do the wrinkles stand out along with every other imperfection? To be steadfast begins with a conviction. To believe means the eradication of doubt. To prove that God is real and trust valid requires a life of faith in action. It is not an outward display but inward belief that no matter what God is good. His Love for me authentic. His Strength for me enough. His Grace always sufficient. His Promise coming. His Blessing given. Prosperity growing from the inside out. This must become our vocabulary to be a firm foundation. To walk confidently in His Love must be more than a confession, it must become our confidence.

I Corinthians 15:58 (AMP) Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose].

Be steadfast. Immovable. Always excelling in the work of the Lord. Hmm… I have always read this and believed it to mean the “work” I do for the Lord, but what if it really means the work that He is doing in me? God is faithful. He is good. He is going to accomplish everything in me that He decided from the beginning. There is nothing I can do to move the heart and hand of the Lord because He is already totally in love and completely committed to every promise and blessing ordained in my life. He wrote it all out before I was born. (Psalm 139) The commitment of steadfast perseverance is not about me performing. It is about the Lord perfecting me and making me the masterpiece that He designed and declared I would be. If I do my best – the Lord does the rest. If I continually press in to the Presence of God simply obeying his every leading – I will have the life that He promised because He is faithful, persevering, and steadfast.

Are you frustrated today? Do you desire a prosperous life? Do you want to be blessed? Who doesn’t? Everyone wants a good life. We all desire good things. I have come to the place in my life where the suffering of self is really the death of our flesh. When we decide that God is going to do exactly what He said that He would – our faith makes us unstoppable. The impossible becomes an ongoing lifestyle simply because we decided to remove all the “buts” and become confident in the Lord. The God of ALL GRACE is the one who imparts blessing and favor on our life. There is nothing I could ever do to deserve or earn the life that I have been given. He is the One who will complete me, confirm me, strengthen me and establish me. All I must do is believe. Believe enough to stop living in lies and excuses. To be steadfast in believing and stepping out in simple obedience day by glorious day!

I Peter 5:10 (AMP) After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be].

Fairytales are Fiction

Fairytales are Fiction

Ephesians 6:10-12 (MSG) And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

What did you expect coming to Christ? A happily-ever-after fairytale with a prince on a white stallion coming to steal you away? Or maybe the final scene in An Officer and Gentlemen when he comes to whisk you out of an ordinary life to embrace a new journey? Did you expect every problem to disappear? What did you expect? What do you expect now? I do not want to dissuade you. I do not bring bad news. You are called more than a conqueror for a reason. You have more than enough to achieve great purpose. There must be a challenge to find victory. There is no glory in surviving. God called us to thrive.

God promises to be our strength. To give us His Power by Grace in our weaknesses. He give us the land and then commands us take it. Did you really think the enemy would give up that easy? Oh, he came to Christ – game over. The enemy is desperate. He has nothing to lose. The end of the story is clear and the odds not in his favor. Like a thief who comes in the darkness looking for an open window or unlocked door to enter the unguarded heart or unfiltered mind. His weapon is not hewn out of metal or forged in steel but a tiny little lie or half-truth lobbed into our thoughts. What if? Or else? Really? All he has to do is trick you into believing that God is not Who He says that He is, or He will not do exactly as He said. In that moment, faith falls apart and confidence crumbles.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (MSG) The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.

We must demolish the mindset of culture set forth by life experiences and encounter Jesus Christ as the powerhouse that governs our life. If we could just change our mind about Who He is and What He came to do – we would channel our life including our goals and dreams through Christ. Reconciling our life to His Word mandates change from poverty to prosperity in our soul that begins to change every possibility in our life. The impossible becomes possible in Jesus. Every detail of our life turned for good to His Glory. The enemy has no power against us. It is embracing the lie over the Truth that caused us all to fall short of God’s Glorious Standard of Living. The struggle is real. It is in our heart and head. How do you wrap your mind around surrender that gives way to power and submission that becomes freedom? To give up and gain it all. It just doesn’t make logical sense outside of faith that believes God does exactly what He says and the Gift of His Son is all that we need.

Mark 9:22-24 (MSG) He asked the boy’s father, “How long has this been going on?” “Ever since he was a little boy. Many times it pitches him into fire or the river to do away with him. If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!” Jesus said, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.” No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!”

There is a young man who I met just over a year ago at our daughter’s birthday dinner. Before the food arrived, she asked him to bless our meal together. As he began to pray, I almost fell out of my chair. The thick anointing in this kid’s honoring God just to say grace got my full attention. I immediately left the “adult” table to meet him. His testimony will blow you away. He was not raised in church but when he met Jesus Christ – he was forever changed. His mother passed away prematurely. He and dad are distanced. No real parents living with grandparents yet finding his way as a Child of God. The potential in this kid is unprecedented. God is going to use him. There is no doubt in my mind. His grandmother was diagnosed with metastatic cancer last week. He knocked out a tail light yesterday. On his way, he got pulled over. He is battling discouragement. He feels alone. What did he expect? To set our heart and mind on Christ paints a big red target on our back. To engage in the pursuit of faith and confident hope gains negative attention from the enemy. He begins lobbing attacks to stop you from reaching your destiny, becoming a bright light or just a little salty. It is up to us to identify these attacks and fight back. How? What can I do?

You just have to believe. You must pump up Jesus and not your problem. Put the Lord on the throne and make Him the king of your hill. The mountains become molehills for those who believe. David didn’t see a Philistine giant but rather knew a Gigantic God. The devil wants you to think that the impossible is the ending point. It is the starting line of faith. It is the entrance to the realm of hope where all things are possible. Do you believe? If you do, then the battle indicates you are about to step into God’s Promise and the place right in front of it is enemy territory. Go back. Give up. Don’t be ridiculous. Why would God love you? You are nothing. You can do nothing. You will be nothing. All the taunts of the father of lies. He is ruthless in his candor and relentless in his taunts. But they are all just words unless we hold on to them. The Word for our life is God’s Word. It contains every promise and provision given to us by the Cross. If we hold it with both hands and wrap our mind around it, it becomes the shield of faith that guards our heart in battle.

Matthew 24:13-14 (MSG) “Staying with it—that’s what God requires. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be saved. All during this time, the good news—the Message of the kingdom—will be preached all over the world, a witness staked out in every country. And then the end will come.

Jesus was clear in Matthew 10 that He did not come to bring peace but a sword. Life is a battle to the finish. We must endure to the end. Jesus is not all about world peace. He is love. To teach us to expect His Love and love others from the Source. We must tear down every stronghold and leave no stone unturned when it comes to claiming God’s Promises. He has given us victory over every scheming attack. It is found in faith for those who choose to believe even when such a thought is illogical. Confident hope keeps us in the battle when it looks like we are losing. Sometimes it takes losing everything to gain our very soul. I have to lose my life to find it. I have to lose my life in You – Jesus!

We are called to be soldiers of the Lord. A soldier on duty doesn’t get caught up in civilian affairs. The unit will provide his basic needs. He is trained. He is equipped. He has his objective. His life is a mission. Not every soldier is a warrior. A warrior becomes seasoned in the fight. His hands calloused from holding his weapon. His mind now confident that he can win. His scars are his glory of victory gone by. He does not flee engagement but welcomes it because he longs for the next big win. He is ready to see glory. I wonder today what would happen if we lived for the battle rather than running from them. If our faith was aroused by confrontation and hope became our life force. What if the impossible got us excited because we knew God was about to do something big? What if we expected miracles rather than settling for mediocre? Let me assure you if you are not living a rich and satisfied life of exceeding abundance beyond what you could think, ask or imagine – there is more to life than this. You have a land to take. A promise to claim. With every promise, there is a fight. With every miracle, a battle in our heart to be won. You can do it. Christ lives in you. He is enough!

Fairytales are fiction. Faithful expectation produces in real life. Every story has a climax. An evil to overcome. Every princess at times must straighten her crown. Every prince must find his way to the throne. We are sons and daughters of the Most High God. We are not called to poverty but prosperity. It gains the attention of the thief. The battle rages on. The promise that we live for is that Christ is enough to make us overcomers. He gives us the victory. He infuses power in our weakness. He will be our Strength. He is more than enough. Live in expectation. Focus on your faith. Pick up your sword (the Word of God) and partner with His Spirit. You are in it to win it. Fight for it. It’s yours!

Romans 8:31-39 (MSG) So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

 

Give Me A Sign

Give me a sign

Hebrews 2:4-8 (NLT) And God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose. And furthermore, it is not angels who will control the future world we are talking about. For in one place the Scriptures say, “What are mere mortals that you should think about them, or a son of man that you should care for him? Yet for a little while you made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them authority over all things.” Now when it says “all things,” it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority.

Gideon was at the bottom of the winepress threshing wheat when the angel of the Lord came to him. He called Gideon, mighty warrior, while he was yet to emerge from his hiding place. The man of God was trying to survive when the Lord decreed that through him Israel would thrive. Gideon did not immediately rise up to his calling. He needed a sign. Actually before the chapter ends, Gideon would ask the Lord for multiple signs to signify that this encounter and experience was real and the Word of the Lord true.

For a long time I struggled with stories like Gideon’s, God’s call tested by mankind. But the longer I walk with the Lord, the more that I have come to realize that true power is accessed in my weakness rather than when I pretend to have strength. The first miracle performed in my life drained every single ounce of trust I had in the Lord and His Word. When faith becomes our mission – it is in the pursuit of miracles. Faith is not for the things naturally occurring but for supernatural outcomes. Faith is the credible confidence that we are fully assured of God’s Promises for us and live expectantly. Faith is illogical in accordance with natural intelligence and human reasoning. It is the mindset that the power of God is within us and will find its way out of us that should keep us constantly aware that signs, wonders and miracles are the attainable lifestyle of all God’s Children. As our soul prospers, in all things so shall we.

I need a sign. I have walked as far as faith will carry me. I need the Lord to show me that I am still on course. I do not need a release from my calling but rather confidence in my way. I am not asking for a change of way but a change of heart today. Do you feel lost in the journey today? Does everything seem contrary to your calling? Do you think maybe you missed Him? I do. The Lord has given us power and authority over all things. Jesus Christ gives us grace infused with His Power. It flourishes in our weakness as long as we do not give up, wander off or refuse to wait. I have asked the Lord for a sign. I know He will give it to me.

Judges 6:36-40 (NLT) Then Gideon said to God, “If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised.” And that is just what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung out a whole bowlful of water. Then Gideon said to God, “Please don’t be angry with me, but let me make one more request. Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew.” So that night God did as Gideon asked. The fleece was dry in the morning, but the ground was covered with dew.

The angel of the Lord called Gideon a “mighty warrior”. Gideon asked for a sign. The sign was the acceptance of his offering to the Lord. God obliged him. Gideon took ten men to destroy his father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole. Even though his father’s household and town people came against them, the word of the Lord proved true and Gideon was spared. The Lord “clothed” Gideon with power. The armies had formed an alliance to come against Israel. Battle was at hand. So Gideon, asked the Lord for a sign. “If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me this way…” Friend, I don’t know what you are battling today but I do know the battle is the Lord’s. There is victory inside of you.

Is it wrong to ask God for a sign? To take Him at His Word sounds easy until impossibilities take over. When you need a miracle is the hardest time to keep your mind, will and emotions in check. Desperation takes over. Fear of disappointment is cast at your weary soul each day. God is the God of the impossible. It is impossible to please God without faith. He knows us inside and out. He even offers us the opportunity to test Him, try Him, and prove Him. (Malachi 6) This passage in Malachi refers to money and finances. What better place to start? One of the staunchest competitors for our heart. Yet I believe that in all things God says, “Put me to the test.” If you desires faith and a more meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ – He will give you a sign.

Matthew 9:6-7 (NLT) Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” And the man jumped up and went home!

I believe the outcome of our request for a sign from the Lord is contingent on our heart. What is that we desire from Him? Are you after God’s Hand or His Heart? There was one thief on the cross who desired to be with Jesus while the other one only wanted to escape. Only one was granted his request that day dying nevertheless. Is it easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven?” or “Stand up and walk?” There are many people who call themselves Christians but never go beyond the title. This is not a word of condemnation just part of the identity crisis of the church today. Signs, wonders and miracles should accompany the modern day Christian just like the early church. We have everything needed to live under an open heaven so what is keeping it closed?

Doubt. Truly that is the source of the mountains that we face and obstacles we cannot overcome. It is always doubt. God’s Power is never lessened by a lack of faith. Grace releases the power and authority of Christ as we humble our life before Him. We can say that our sins are forgiven, but no one can see the contents of our heart. However, signs, wonders and miracles in our life are evidence that His Power is at work in us and through us.

Matthew 12:38-41 (NLT) One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove your authority.” But Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. The people of Nineveh will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent.”

When the religious folks requested a miracle, Jesus had one for them. The sign of Jonah that was yet to come when He died on the cross, laid in the grave three days and emerged with victory over sin and death in His Hand. For them, there’s the sign. However, for those who seek to live by faith and an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ – He will give them signs, do miracles and they will experience wonders that cannot be explained so all glory will go the Lord. True repentance opens the window of heaven. Faith is a series of steps toward loving and trusting Him more. It is not an easy journey. The Lord sees our heart. The heart intent on finding Him will seek Him. He sees your heart and responds to your faith. If you need a sign, do not be afraid to ask for it. The Lord comes close to the brokenhearted. The one who is searching for Him will find Him.

Are you striving in obedience? Do you think you lost your way? The Lord will be our light. His Word is a lamp for your feet and light to your path. His Spirit is your helper. He will give you a sign when you need it. Ask for it. Look for it. Trust Him. Believe. Walk by faith and not by sight. God is doing exactly as He promised according to His Will and Way which always is exceedingly abundantly more than we can think, ask or imagine.

Acts 1:3 (NLT) During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.

We focus on Acts 2 and the day of Pentecost when Jesus poured out His Spirit on mankind. However, if you look in the first chapter of Acts – a beautiful love story unfolds. Jesus had been betrayed and brutalized. He died on the Cross and came up out of the grave. For forty days, the same amount of time he was in the wilderness, the Lord spent time with the apostles. What was he doing? He proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. Are you in a wilderness of testing? Fasting? Praying? Believing? Yet still wondering? Wandering a bit? The Lord will come to you. He will give you a sign. He will prove that He is still alive. Jesus will show His Love for you again and again if you request it from a repentant heart. He is that good! He has that much grace!

Proverbs 30:5 (NLT) Every word of God proves true. He is a shield for all who come to Him for protection.

God always responds to our cry for help. He listens to our doubts and disappointments. In that moment when our heart desires Him, and strives for more faith – He will answer and give us a sign. You just have to want Him more than anything else. Miracles still happen. They come at a high price. We must give up on ourselves and fully embrace Him by faith and trust to do what His Word says that He will do. No more compromises. No more shortcuts. No more excuses. Here is your sign – the One who has called you is faithful. He will do exactly as He promised to do!

2 Corinthians 1:19-22 (NLT)  For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says. For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.

Time To Change

Time To Change

Colossians 3:1-4 (ESV) If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Daylight Savings Time. I will not complain. I will not gripe. I hate it. There I said it. I don’t care which clock you choose just pick one. A CNN poll shows that I am in the minority. Truth be told, I do not mind the results of the time change. I do not like the disruption of my schedule. It creates a few days of discomfort as my body whines for the extra hour of sleep. It’s change. You can say that you don’t mind change but we all are impacted by it. I painted the study in our house yesterday. I had already decided to move the furniture around so my desk faced the window. I like to change things up in the house. After 18 different renderings, I asked him to come look. He said, “I like it the old way better.” My daughter said, “It’s because you don’t like change.”

Transformation always requires change. If you are a creature of habit, it is uncomfortable to have your routine interrupted. However, I believe for the transformation from death to life requires it. We believe in God. We profess Jesus Christ. Yet, the patterns constructed by our habits and experiences are held tightly too. The Lord is offering us the opportunity to live a satisfied life. To live from glory to glory. To prosper as our soul does. To be resurrection and life in the land of the living long before we meet Him face to face. Yet the moment when change begins, most will begin to whine and complain as I do about the time change because change often makes us uncomfortable. It is new. It is inconvenient to those of who maintain order such as habits, schedules and routines that are completely compromised when the Lord steps in. It is a place of trust rather than confidence that our flesh does not want to fall into. We cannot control Christ. Christ must control us in order for our life to change from ordinary to extraordinary.

Matthew 6:31-33 (ESV) “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Resurrection power and life are available to us right here and right now. I have been studying John 11 and the death of Lazarus. I am like Martha. There is comfort in control that I am slowly giving up on. She liked staying busy. She ran a tight ship. She believed in Jesus Christ to a point. But the Lord had so much more for this radical doer. When Lazarus died, she believed that he would be raised…in eternity. Jesus stood right there in front of her offering new life to her dead loved one. She went back to her busyness. She told the Lord that she believed, but did she? Really? When it came time to roll the stone away and call forth her sleeping brother – she protested. His body in the grave for four days – she was concerned about the stink of it. New life could only come if she gave up the body to receive it.

How many times do we believe to the point of return? Our mind limits us. We can only journey to the extent our belief. The moment doubt, fear, anxiety, and worries take over – it is human nature to take control of the situation. How many times has the resurrection and life stood before me and because I was losing control or ran out of faith that my courage waned and I walked away from a miracle? God wants to open the windows of Heaven and pour out a blessing on His People. However, human nature loses courage when the impossible happens or unthinkable occurs. The Lord invites us today to set our mind on higher things. To begin Kingdom thinking giving up our earthly cares and concerns. Trust is a fall from fear to faith that lifts us above our circumstances and situations to full satisfaction for those who will go. Do you believe that His Resurrection Power and Life is for you today? In the land of the living…

Psalm 27:13-14 (ESV) I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Daylight Savings Time is really a good thing. By setting our clocks forward one hour, it gives us more daylight in the summer. I will complain for a few days about the loss of sleep but fully embrace the light in the afternoon when I get off work. How many good things do we miss because our flesh doesn’t like the inconvenience? I am afraid quite a bit when it comes to the Lord. Faith is not in the seeing. Hope comes from confidence in the one who is faithful. If we are waiting for the Lord to show us His Hand, it will not happen until we give Him our heart. Fully trusting and believing in His Faithfulness now AND forever. With each new day comes the opportunity to say, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Then comes the not so fun part, I will wait for the Lord. Be strong. Let my heart take courage. And wait some more if necessary.

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (ESV) From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Word of God is Jesus Christ. In John 1:4, it says, “In Him was life.” As a believer, Christ lives in you. His Breath is in your body along with the Resurrection Power and life. What is holding you back? What is keeping His Power from overflowing into the natural realm of today? Fear and insecurity keeps the stone over the dead things in our life. We doubt the Jesus of today yet claim to fully embrace our future hope. Jesus wants to breathe new life into those dead dreams today. Something will have to change. It will begin in you. Transformation is not comfortable or convenient. You will not be in control when the Lord reigns and rules in your heart. But you will be blessed beyond measure when Jesus begins to pour out the full satisfaction that He promises in His Word!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

We are transformed by the renewing of our mind. (Romans 12:2) I cannot give my life away without change. Today, I ask the Lord to change my heart and mind from natural excuses to supernatural expectation. To produce new faith and establish firm confidence that allows me to embrace change rather than trying to control it. To surrender my life like a seed put in the ground, He will transform it into exactly who and what He has called and created me to be. Lord, change me. Transform all the brokenness into the beauty you have promised. Bring every dry and dead bone back to life. I trust you Lord! Change is good when it is according to your Word, Will and Way. Teach me to embrace and embody all the changes you have in store for me!

Romans 12:2 (ESV) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV) And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.