Keep Going

Keep Going

Hebrews 10:35-36 (ESV) Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

Keep going. Just keep going. I have to tell my feet that sometimes during my workout. The limbs get all shaky and I cannot catch my breath yet I tell myself over and over – keep going. Cardio is my best friend and worst enemy. It pushes my body past the breaking point yet yields the positive results I am hoping for. When I pull up at the gym, I can feel my flesh begin rebel and make excuses for every reason to turn the car back on and leave. I am determined to live a better lifestyle through diet and exercise. It requires dedication that is greater than my desire to quit. I continue because I want the reward of a healthy body. It all seems rational until the first turn of the pedals of the elliptical or the drops of sweat make it hard to see. Someone needs to hear the words – “keep going”! Jesus is whispering to us today. Do not throw off your confidence in me. I have promised you a great reward that is an inheritance just for you. You just need to have endurance. So you will do the Will of God knowing full well that He is faithful to each promise.

There are things in life that must be sought after past our feelings and emotions. The things of God are seldom achieved in an instant but require faith exampled by endurance. You may believe that God’s Promises are true and His Plan is for you yet still feel like giving up. Perhaps, the wait is too long. The struggle too real. The trials too hard. The temptation too great. “Do not throw away your confidence…it has a great reward!” When our mind, will and emotions beg us to quit, it is usually because breakthrough is coming. Our flesh does not want to die or give way to the Holy Spirit inside of us so it balks at endurance and tries to shut us down as we strive for anything other than what makes it comfortable. Convenience leads to complacency hence just another reason I am at the gym. Confidence will kill comfort, convenience and complacency when hope becomes the anchor of our soul and mindset that is held on to.

Romans 5:1-5 (ESV) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Faith is logical when it is based on God’s Word. We have been justified by faith which is made credible by the Word of God. Peace with God is established through His Son, Jesus Christ, who is the Word. He obtained access to God and all that He has promised when Jesus gave us grace to access a new relationship with the Father. Now because of God’s Grace, we can enter into His Presence and experience His Glory. Sounds magical. It’s really not. Magic requires a slight of the hand or illusion for the eyes. The Lord is straight forward. There is a process involved to obtaining that which is hoped for. It is not reserved for favorites but the faithful.

The process of God that leads to fulfillment is through refinement as set forth in Romans 5. Suffering produces endurance. Discipline always requires suffering. It is contrary to what comes naturally and therefore requires a forceful change of an otherwise innate reaction. The Word of God is contrary to our mindset formed by the nature and society. It must be continued consumed and digested even when it tastes like a bitter pill at first. Anytime, we introduce a new food to my grandson – his initial response is to wrinkle his nose, make a sour face and shudder. It takes a couple bites before he is readily consumes it. He tastes and sees that it is good so he begins to devour it. And so it is with God’s Word, His Will and His Way – it doesn’t always seem palatable but daily consumption, digestion and nutrition will soon change our heart and mind because we taste and see that the Lord is good!

Suffering produces endurance. Endurance produces character. Character produces hope. Hope in the Lord will never ever put us to shame. We must endure. The Bible tells us in Matthew that those who endure to the end will be saved. Luke 21:19 tells us “by your endurance you will gain your lives.” We must keep going to fully discover the hope that is to be found in Jesus Christ. God’s Plan, His Purpose and every promise to prosper holds something worth having if His People would only learn to endure.

Hebrews 12:3-7 (ESV) Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

Endurance produces discipline within us. It is the turning point of decision each day. Do I keep going or turn back now? What is your God dream? What motivates you? Are you tired of the same old same old and reaching for new things with new goals and aspirations? Is it a new season? Or is God revealing a new chapter in life? Have you been met with the unexpected? The Lord will be your confidence, but to do that He must first teach us discipline. Discipline is not punishment. Say it again, godly discipline is never ever punishment. If God still punished us, it means that the grace given is not enough and insufficient. Jesus is the example of endurance set forth for us to follow. Hebrews 11 is the Hall of Fame of faith delineated to encourage us that ordinary men and women can do extraordinary things when they set their heart and mind on God first.

Hebrews 12 is the gunshot of the race of faith to the finish line of hope. To keep our eyes on Jesus the “founder and perfecter” of our faith. He endured the cross for us. He exhibited complete discipline and obedience to the Father on the earth as a man. We must gain encouragement and motivation from the simple truth that the struggles in our life even the very real striving to just keep going will be worth it. Christ solidified that for us. No father or mother stops pushing and prodding their child toward purpose and success. Neither would your Father in Heaven who paid such a high price just so you could have it. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Following His Example means living a life of disciplined endurance that keeps going no matter what!

Lamentations 3:18-24 (ESV) So I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.” Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

When you cannot change your present situation, current circumstances or conditions, there is still one thing that is completely within your power to change – your mind! In the midst of the worst pity party imaginable, new hope and life arises from the one who calls his or her mind to order. But THIS I call to mind and therefore I have hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His Mercies never come to an end. In fact, they are delivered each morning. Great is YOUR faithfulness. It doesn’t matter how you got it, why you are here or if it is totally your fault. Mercy says, “Hey, come with me!” God is faithfully pursuing us today with unfailing love and goodness no matter where yesterday left us – we still have His Love therefore we have hope. You just have to keep going. The Lord will be our portion. He will fill every dry and dead spot in us with new life. We must only endure the struggle so our godly character reflects the love and care of our gracious Father. He has already given us the seeds of faith to prosper. Hope will carry us to the harvest.

I John 4:16-18 (ESV) So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Hey Friend! You have to keep going! It will be worth it if you hold tight to your confidence in Christ for it comes with a reward. The rich and satisfying life promised by the Lord to be exceedingly and abundantly more than imaginable – it belongs to you. You must be confident in His Love so that courage will drive your heart to receive it. We cannot live in fear of failure or the bondage of daily striving, but must run the race of faith freely unhindered. It seems silly to most and that’s okay. My promise belongs to me and I intend to have it. In fact, I want all that the Lord has promised me. Discipline tells me that I am a Child of God and He has invested in me potential that will be birthed into purpose if I don’t give up but keep walking in His Footsteps and running toward obedience. It is the demonstration of trust to live like winners before the finish line is insight. We have victory. We are triumphant. We can hold our head high because help is on the way. I don’t have to get it all right, but I must keep going in Jesus Name!

I John 5:13-15 (ESV) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

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Deep Penetrating

Deep Penetration

Psalm 51:6-8 (ESV) Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.

Thursday is cleaning day. I have taken to doing the bathrooms first thing in the morning. I purchased a new completely chemically hazardous bleaching spray to tackle some spots in the grout of the tub. Equipped like hazmat or more like in my hoodie, I saturated the places of concern and left them to soak. When I returned, the foam had disappeared yet the stains remained. Looking at the label again, I was quite disappointed. Truly, I am not sure why. I sprayed some more and this time put some elbow grease into it with a brush and abrasive sponge finally some progress. The Holy Spirit stopped me in that place of victory. How often do we desire victory yet choose to not engage or put any effort into obtaining it?

The word “purge” is not light hearted. It means to get rid of whatever is impure or undesirable. To cleanse and purify radically. It means to clear or empty. To have the promise of God for our life requires deeper penetration. Face value faith and superficial discipline will not make room for the seeds of prosperity to grow in a fertile heart. Hard hearts yield no fruit. There is no room for roots to dig in and anchor a hope so beautiful yet difficult to see and ever harder to believe. We must take the Word of God and use it. In order to use the spray, I had to buy it. Salvation is the moment believers “buy” into God’s Plan. Repentance is turning the tip of the nozzle from closed to open. Using our hand to pump out the contents is discipline and using our other hand to scrub allowing the Word to penetrate our heart and cleanse our mind. A new life emerges from such a process. Do you want to be a new creation?

Psalm 51:10-12 (ESV) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

You have been given absolute and complete freedom in Jesus Christ. You have been given the opportunity to choose who you follow and how you live. Those who desire the Will of God must choose the Way of God. This is not a forfeiture of freedom but choosing to live in love and in line with God, His Word, His Son, and His Spirit. The craziest part is it all works together to create this masterpiece from a mess. God is an awesome Father who gave up everything because He could not bear to live without us. Yet, in all His Giving, humanity still struggles to give anything back. It’s funny. We bought this house a couple years ago. It was not brand new construction but had two previous owners. The first were foreclosed upon and the second began renovations but sold before complete. I have been working to restore the bathrooms for a couple of years now. I am slowing seeing them come back to life but each week I must spray, scrub, wipe, and repeat. It is a process. I am seeing results. How much time are you worth investing? How much energy is God’s Best worth to you? Are you willing to take up a new “hobby” and grow the garden of your heart today? God never gives us offering us His Absolute best. Jesus is set on giving you a rich and satisfying life lacking in nothing and prospering in everything. The rest, my sweet friend, is up to you.

Psalm 139:23-24 (ESV) Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

Will you allow the maker of your heart to search it today? Inspect it? Point out the things keeping you from His Promise? Will you invest time and energy in pursuing the lover of your soul rather than all those worthless things? We must allow the Word of God and His Spirit to penetrate us deeply. Spirit and truth are the way of redemption, restoration, revival and renewal. It can be a painful and exhausting battle to win over your mind, will and emotions to fully invest your heart, body and soul into the Kingdom. Well, you made it through your birth into this world just fine even though it was a difficult passage. Now the process of being birthed into the Kingdom is presented to you! Do you want it? Can you see it? Will you allow the Lord to penetrate your hard heart and break it into a million pieces? Or perhaps, are you willing to hand Him all the broken pieces and finally trust Him to make them into the best life ever? You decide.

Ephesians 5:25-27 (ESV) “…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”

Fight for You

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Exodus 14:13-14 (ESV) And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

Our middle daughter still lives at home while attending school. She is employed by a new restaurant that is just starting out. Living in the county, it is difficult to start such a business and endure the cost until patrons begin to help meet budgets. A little more than a week ago, she had the unfortunate situation arise and her paycheck was returned for non-sufficient funds. Now our daughter only works a night or two a week as she attends class Monday through Friday all day long. She contacted her employer who assured the funds would be available immediately and given to her. She is learning to adult in the safety of our home. Her father and I assisted her financially in the interim while she attempted to work with her employer. However, the limited funds impacted her social life and freedom she had come to enjoy. If mama pays, I have a say is the rule. She had been handling the situation completely until I received a call from my defeated teenager. The bank informed her that they needed a new check to process and they could not redeposit the old one. The restaurant manager disagreed so she sat on the verge of tears overwhelmed with frustration and called her mama.

Can I just say that it had been very hard to intervene from the beginning? I asked for the owner’s name and telephone number. She hesitantly obliged as she did not want to lose her job or cause a problem. I have to be honest. I was ready to burn the place down and call the Labor Department. As the phone rang, I prayed that the Lord would keep me to the point and calm. The young man who answered sounded to be about 20 years old. I told him who I was, my daughter’s name and that she needed to be paid immediately. No hesitation or wavering in my voice. He must have felt that parental authority because before I could finish – he told me his location and that if she would come to the establishment that he would honor her check. Well, my daughter was quite relieved but now concerned that due to my intervention she would lose her job as all expected cutbacks. Within 30 minutes, the message came that there would be cutbacks. Her name was NOT on the list. Isn’t God good? Yes, God!

The Lord will fight our battles for us. In fact, the victory is secure in Jesus Christ. When my daughter cried out for assistance, of course mama bear came charging through the forest. She works hard in school and maintains good grades. She is a dedicated and committed worker. She loves Jesus and tries to make good choices according to her faith. Truth is I would have helped her from the beginning, NOT because of all the former qualities and characteristics I shared, simply because she is my daughter and she belongs to me. No one will cause her ill will or come against her without facing mama bear. Just ask the Labor and Delivery nurses who attended our grandson’s birth, God bless them all. If we love our children and desire good things for them, how much more does the Father love us?

Deuteronomy 3:18-22 (ESV) “And I commanded you at that time, saying, ‘The Lord your God has given you this land to possess. All your men of valor shall cross over armed before your brothers, the people of Israel. Only your wives, your little ones, and your livestock (I know that you have much livestock) shall remain in the cities that I have given you, until the Lord gives rest to your brothers, as to you, and they also occupy the land that the Lord your God gives them beyond the Jordan. Then each of you may return to his possession which I have given you.’ And I commanded Joshua at that time, ‘Your eyes have seen all that the Lord your God has done to these two kings. So will the Lord do to all the kingdoms into which you are crossing. You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.’”

The life you may be settling for is not the one that God intended for you to have. He did not promise you poverty. He did not threaten you with enemies. He did not tell you to struggle. The Lord has given you possession. Power and authority to take over the place you occupy and vision and dreams to claim that which is beyond human reach but acquired by supernatural application. The Lord has given you protection. He will fight for you. You just have to trust Him enough in the transition. You already own the new season, position, or place that His Grace has given you. You just simply have to take the land. Finally, God didn’t tell you to go it alone. The Lord has given you His Presence. He will take out the giants, overthrow kingdoms, and give you victory in all things. You are not made to survive but to thrive. He did not create you to exist but to flourish.

You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you. The Lord doesn’t need you to fight His Battles or even your own for that matter. Our position in this relationship is to trust and obey. To fall into complete alignment with His Will and His Way all laid out in fine detail in His Word (who is Jesus in human form so we have an earthly example). Do you believe that God is for you? Do you believe that He is with you? Has He made you a promise that seems too good to be true? Well its not! God is with you. He is for you. He is always good. He is always victorious. He is your protector. He is your provider. By choosing to live in the Presence of God all of these benefits belong to believers, oh there is the missing ingredient – do you believe?

Luke 11:10-14 (ESV)  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

You are a Child of God. You must tell yourself daily, “God is good and He is for me.” You must remind your heart and mind, “I am a Child of God and exactly who He says that I am.” Your identity must be founded in the person of Jesus Christ and trust must bind us to that realization to hang on until His Glory comes and Goodness fills the vacancies and voids of our life. Too many time it is a settlement, compromise or substitution that is chosen out of doubt which produces fear and anxiety that produces an identity crisis.

I Timothy 6:11-12 (ESV) But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

In the meantime, what am I fighting for? Faith. We must fight for our faith. Faith is evident in one’s ability to cling to Christ until the promise comes rather than grabbing hold of the next best thing. It is to pray and seek the Lord’s assistance with full confidence that He is working behind the scenes. It is to entrust every single detail of our life to Him as He promises that it will be turned into good. It is to believe without a single doubt that there is nothing that can separate you from His Love so it is easy to put every expectation in Him. He promises to meet and exceed them all! We must fight the good fight of faith in order to live a life of obedience as good children who love and trust their Father. My daughter called mama because she knew she would answer. She shared her problem and frustration with me. When I asked her to trust me and give me the phone number, she was obedient. I called and they answered – praise God! The Lord was already there and the cash in hand. Not only that with favor, He gave her double for her trouble in protecting her position and giving her more shifts. God is a good Father. He is so in love with you! Why not share your burdens with Him today! He will fight for you!

Psalm 84:11-12 (ESV) 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. Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!

Imitations

Imitations

Ephesians 5:1-2 (ESV) Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

On a recent visit to the doctor, a discussion developed regarding name brand pharmaceuticals versus generic medicines. Touted to be the same, he explained that while generic medication may indeed have the same benefits – there is also a risk inherent with manufacturing. Brand name medications are produced by the same company using the exact same formula. However, generic drugs are manufactured in a variety of different companies. He didn’t dissuade the use of the much more cost effective generics but cautioned to always read the label to be certain that it is manufactured by the same company each time. The consistency of dosing is important in protocol. One would assume that it’s all the same if the ingredients match, but just as in cooking this is simply not true. I can follow my grandmother’s pound cake recipe line by line and ingredient by ingredient sticking with her instructions in detail yet it still doesn’t taste quite the same.

Therefore be imitators of God…

This passage takes me back to the craze when “What would Jesus do?” became the church slogan. Plastic red bracelets embossed by Christians as a reminder to ask yourself in every situation what would Jesus do. I wonder if we really considered the question thoroughly. When people hurt, angered, wronged, betrayed or offended us – what would Jesus do? He would still walk up the hill to Calvary severely hurt, angry, wronged, betrayed and offended to be nailed to the Cross to die for the sin that caused it. He died for you. He died for me in just such a state. Now God has requested us to be imitators of God as beloved children. Prior to the death of Jesus and remission of sin, the only son in Heaven was Jesus. Now the opportunity to become sons and daughters of the living God is an option for us, and He requests us to act like His Beloved Children.

Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Does my life imitate God and His Son – Jesus? Or am I a cheap imitation? I am inquiring of my God to examine my heart and soul today for validity. It is easy to become a form or likeness without truly experiencing the blessings and benefits of becoming a Child of God. Do I walk in love? Real love? Messy love? Authentic love? Outstanding love? Forgiving love? All the love possible in a human. Or do I choose who to love and how to love according to my feelings and emotions? There are so many questions to ask of myself to determine if this faith I live by is real and my commitment to Christ genuine.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 (ESV) But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

I want to be a lover of God – every day and in every possible way. I want to imitate God and follow His Instructions in my whole life. This requires careful inspection of our attitude and actions. It means discipline like most have never engaged in or experienced. However, in these last days, our primary pursuit must be one with Christ. Oneness with Jesus produces righteousness with God and affords of the Spirit of Adoption called the Holy Spirit as an identifier. There cannot be conflicted feelings. The Word of God is entirely true to the believer because it is entirely Jesus. Our performance means nothing. Our preference even less. We must test our life to be sure that our life is authentic and real according to the precedent set forth by the Word.

I Thessalonians 5:20-22 (ESV) Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.

Test everything… What does this even mean? Well looking at the preface, do not despise prophecies perhaps it means do not ignore the cries in the wilderness crying out, “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Jesus is coming back. Do I live like it? He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Do I worship like it? God is sovereign over all the earth. Do I serve like it? His Grace is enough. Do I accept it? He must increase and I must decrease. Do I have a humble heart? It is vitally important to test everything according to the Word of God and His Voice. Just like the generic drugs made slightly different from the original brand, there is a risk to diluting, compromising or ignoring the Word of God. It doesn’t matter our preference or what we believe when it comes to the Truth. To be an imitator of God – we must make Christ our example. He is the author and finisher of faith. He is the Source of Life. He is our access point to the Father. His Spirit identifies us as Sons and Daughters. Apart from Him, I can do nothing. Even if it makes me peculiar, that is who I am and how I must live. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light…” (I Peter 2:9 KJV) Imitating the Lord will indeed make you a bit peculiar or maybe radically different from those around you. But since His First Thought is love, you will fit right in because everyone wants to be truly loved.

1 Peter 2:1-3 (ESV) So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Never Too Late

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Romans 8:28-30 (NLT) And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

Breakthrough is coming. It is on the horizon of your life today as a believer. I know you are tired of struggling. Wandering. Wondering. Believing. For what? Never satisfied and always longing contentment that is elusive. Why? Why hasn’t the Lord brought His Promise to pass? We all come to the place of exhaustion – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. It seems to be part of God’s Plan to bring us to the end of ourselves. I know just when it seems I am going to quit – something happens that encourages me to take one more step, give it on more hour, or breathe one more breath. The verse of promise – God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His Purpose for them. Is that you today? The good little onward Christian soldier with weak knees, tired arms and a broken hallelujah? Awesome – you are closer than you think!

I saw a quote on social media the other day that made me laugh and cry at the very same time. It said, “I threw in the towel. God threw it back at me and said, “Wipe your face…you’re almost there!” Stop it. How many times do we give up on the verge of breakthrough? Think about the Word God has given you – the promise you desire more than anything. Do you still seek it? Pursue it? Pray over it? Or are you caught up in the busyness of life or bondage of the feels? See the enemy has to intercept your faith so belief will died. How does he do that? He continually feeds your mind with thoughts of fear, insecurity and doubt. If we entertain such thoughts – they will form words of complaining, grumbling and even cursing the promise or worse Promise Maker. We must understand the importance of endurance and perseverance in the process of promise to make it.

Genesis 32:9-12 (NLT) Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my grandfather Abraham, and God of my father, Isaac—O Lord, you told me, ‘Return to your own land and to your relatives.’ And you promised me, ‘I will treat you kindly.’ I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness you have shown to me, your servant. When I left home and crossed the Jordan River, I owned nothing except a walking stick. Now my household fills two large camps! O Lord, please rescue me from the hand of my brother, Esau. I am afraid that he is coming to attack me, along with my wives and children. But you promised me, ‘I will surely treat you kindly, and I will multiply your descendants until they become as numerous as the sands along the seashore—too many to count.’”

Jacob cheated his brother, Esau out of his blessing so ran to his uncle, Laban for protection. Now to some it might seem like his purpose in God was done in his outright deception that he was responsible for. Yet, while working for Laban, Jacob prospered greatly financially and married two wives and had an abundance of children. If you read the story, he did not deceive Laban but the Hand of the Lord was on the wayward child or prodigal son. It is hard to accept the success of those who seem unworthy. Need I remind you and me most days that we are all a product of God’s Amazing Grace and deserve not a single blessing or good thing in our life today? With this in mind, Jacob is now returning home. He is not expecting a welcoming committee just praying that his brother doesn’t kill them all.

Jacob was pursuing God’s Promise. God placed eternity in his heart from the beginning and no amount of earthly success or wealth could stop the man from chasing his destiny. I wonder today if some of us just need to stop and look at what the Lord has done for us. Just take a deep breath to see the ground covered rather than the distance yet to go. Life is our process. Every detail from beginning to end carefully scripted in God’s Plan of fulfillment and Christ’s Mission of full satisfaction. For time sake, Jacob is about to cross over and enter his homeland. The women, children and servants have all gone before him. He is preparing for the encounter with Esau. Genesis 32:9-12 is his prayer to the Lord which reveals the heart of his journey. This sets the scene for his encounter with God.

Genesis 32:24-28 (NLT) This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” “What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.” “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”

Many of us are right where Jacob is in these verses. On the edge of destiny, promise, or purpose, yet feeling alone and isolated. God desires an encounter with you. He brought you to this place to get you all to Himself. He created you for such a time as this and you are about to enter in. This is probably the hardest part of the journey. It is the place where most will turn back. Coming to the end of ourselves is the ultimate place of transformation. It is the place of change. It is the moment of revealing when God shows off the masterpiece that He has been working on this entire time. You think it’s too late. God says, “I am always on time.” It is never too late as long as you are breathing.

If our lifelong pursuit of God’s Promises – do not lead to a face-to-face encounter with the Living God which results in our complete undoing – there is no point in it any longer. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel because in that moment Jacob was changed, transformed and made new. We are called to be new creations yet struggle in the change. God is faithful, friend. Just like Jacob, He has a plan carefully scripted and handwritten for you. It makes good of every detail of your life. He will reveal His Promise to you when it is His Person that you seek. Breakthrough is coming for those who choose to be broken and made new. You can never stay the same and reach full satisfaction in Jesus Christ. It is by allowing the Hand of God to change us, move us, transform us, and transition us that we walk by faith and not by sight into His Glorious Destiny prepared just for us by our good, good Father. Don’t give up. Don’t stop. Seek His Face and He will make Himself known to you even in the driest desert place. The water that satisfies the thirsty soul is not outside of us but the Living Water within us. Rise up oh well!

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Still Later

Still Later

Mark 16:14-18 (NLT) Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead. And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”

Where are the modern day miracles? Signs? Wonders? Why is the church not experiencing an outpouring of Heaven and revival like Jesus promised? It says clearly, “these miraculous signs will accompany those who believe…” Do you ever find religion boring? I do. The Lord is shaking his church hoping to reach the people today. I feel it. Do you? Mediocrity grows bitter in our midst and it is time for breakthrough. How does one experience breakthrough? What does it feel like, sound like, or look like?

Breakthrough in Jesus Christ is like the mighty wall of Jericho falling flat. I had been praying for breakthrough in a relationship for almost two years. Offense had become opposition building a wall between two people. I continued to press into God’s Presence. Something had to give. In praying one day, the Lord showed me an image of the Great Wall of Jericho and as the people watched it fell flat before them. No one was harmed and everyone crossed over safely into the Promise. The Lord is ready to blow over some walls of oppression surrounding you today. The very ones you have agonized over and been tormented by for a long time. They will fall flat. No one will be harmed. All will cross over. Shortly after that vision came to me – the Lord did just that in the situation I was facing and praying about. The issue literally dissolved at the altar of God and reconciliation was instantaneous. Crazy huh? No – God desires to save us, heal us, deliver us, bless and prosper His People. He is waiting on us.

Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead.

Oh my goodness, how many times do the Children of God dwell in “still later”? Like tasting something new and then mulling it over in our mouth until it loses its flavor and is tasteless and lukewarm. Rather than swallowing it and absorbing the nutrients hidden inside, it is quickly discarded as tasteless and no good. The Word of God is the Truth for our life. It is the very essence of God’s Plan laid out like a fine meal to be savored yet packed with powerful nutrients for our soul to prosper. Jesus is the Word who came in flesh. He was dining with the original 11 remaining disciples reprimanding them for stubborn unbelief.

Faith is not possible outside of believing yet it is claimed every single day. How can I believe in Jesus to be saved and not allow it to carry over into my life? The reality of salvation, if truly believed, is life changing and miraculous. It is not anything I do but the fact that I become a conduit to Christ in me. I must exercise my faith to expand the foundation of hope in my life. Jesus goes on to tell them that those who believe WILL experience a miraculous life and ministry. Yes, ministry. The Great Commission has ordained each of us who believe to “go into all the world and preach Good News to everyone.” The problem is our belief is left inside the four walls of the church, or small group, or special conference along with the hype and social group. It is not for the world, but something to rev us up and send us out to live the same mundane and mediocre life from the day before. Still later…

Today is “still later” for the church and Body of Christ limping around powerlessly vulnerable to every lie the enemy lobs over the fence at us. We sit sick and bound in every kind of sin not because the Blood has lost its power but because we don’t believe in the full potential of His Name. The Blood of Jesus has the power to save, heal, deliver and set free. If these are not characteristic in our life, there is more to our salvation yet to be discovered. God is shaking His Church with a wakeup call. Christ is offering a rebuke to those living in the days of old. It is the last great awakening.

Hebrews 12:25-29 (NLT) Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.

The attack of the enemy is subtle. He quietly builds walls of doubt and disbelief grouted with insecurity to keep God’s People from the promise of fulfillment. The rich and satisfying life promised to us by Jesus are just on the other side. It is not within our personal power to make things happen but completely possible through confidence in Christ. The Christ in us is always enough to live a miraculous life full of signs and wonders if only we would discard stubborn disbelief allowing faith to become the foundation of our life. The Faithfulness of God in His Son, Jesus is demonstrated in “still later”. His Lovingkindness and Patience towards us revealed. It doesn’t matter if you have loved Jesus a day or a decade or even more than that – there is still more for you and me on the other side of disbelief.

I speak to the walls in my life – you must come down in Jesus Name. I speak to the borders and boundaries of faith in your life as well – you also must come down in the Name of Jesus. Lord, we want every miracle, sign and wonder promised to us. Help us Lord to believe. The atmosphere of your life is changing right now along with mine. Do not be afraid of shaking or earth moving – it’s just walls coming down because we believe!

Mark 9:23-24 (NLT)  “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

Basic

basic

John 3:16-18 (ESV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”

Basic. It is an urban slang term for someone who is unwilling to express individuality. If you are basic, then you are considered to be an ultra-conformist, not unique or someone who seeks status within your group association but no more. Just the implication of the word in modern culture may be what sparked your interest in this writing. However, the original meaning of the word “basic” is forming an essential foundation or starting point. Have we missed the starting point that changes everything? The beginning that builds a Kingdom beyond this world? The fundamental concept that God set forth before time in order to save a people bent on rebellion and compromise? Yes. We have. Religion has somehow compartmentalized a union of people that were meant to work together as a streamlined body edging to eternity together taking as many with them as might go. It’s all about a relationship. God who loved His Son yet would accept His Life as blood payment for the sins of all. God gave His Son for you and me. It doesn’t matter if you accept Him or not – He did it anyway. The basic truth behind Christianity is that Christ died for us all again. The Love of God for us clearly demonstrated yet the point missed completely most of the time. God did not send His Son to condemn us because our sin already did the job. He sent His Son to provide the grace needed to set us free again. Free to love. Free to learn. Free to lead. Every single person is a candidate for God’s Love and Salvation. Every single one…

Romans 3:21-25 (ESV) But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.

We are all basic by definition. There is no distinction. Everyone has sinned. Everyone fallen short of God’s Glorious Standard of Living. Everyone worthy of His Love through Christ alone. Everyone. If only it was possible to grab hold of the basic concept and truth that everyone is the same and there is no distinction, perhaps our individuality could begin to be revealed because competition and comparison ends in such a revelation. My purpose and plan set forth by God is for me. I am a Child of the Living God. No one can take my place. God does not have favorites. We are all favored by the Lord God. It is the gift of His Grace that makes us righteous again. It is independent of an organized religion but the basic truth behind our relationship with Jesus Christ apart from anyone else that can bind us to everyone else without expectation. It is received by faith.

I John 4:16-19 (ESV) So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. 

I know a lot of Christians. People who call themselves believers. I am a Christian. I do believe. My employer has never called himself a Christian or even a believer. Probably just not terms that he would use. In fact, if you catch him on a good day you may hear some language you haven’t heard in a long time – like maybe a sailor if you know what I mean. BUT – there is no kinder more generous person that you will ever meet. His ability to love and give to others is truly Christ-like. He recognizes the blessing of God in his life and chooses to give his life away. We don’t really talk about religion so I am not sure if he attends church EVERY Sunday or serves on any church committee. I don’t know if he prays every single day or adheres to the long list of do’s and don’ts prescribed by religious people. No clue. But I know this…he gives every single day. He gives his time, talent and treasure to all walks of mankind in an effort to love others. I wonder if we have set our eyes on the wrong set of rules, doctrines or mandates and somehow bound our ability to be basic again. To live and love like Jesus who did not come to judge others but that through Him they would saved and set free. Definitely food for thought today at least for me…

The basic concept is that Christ loves me so I love other people. All other people. If the Lord decided in advance that everyone was worthy of His Love, how can I pick and choose the way I give my life away? I must give it all away. This is the example of Christ the fundamental basis of the Kingdom of God and binding force of the Body of Christ. Lord, make me aware of every opportunity to love and give today. Keep me from judgment because it is not the example that you have set for me. Teach me to be a generous person in all ways every day. In Jesus Name.

I John 3:16 (ESV) By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

Soulful Sowing

Young woman reading bible by stream in summer

Hosea 10:12 (NIV) Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.

God has already provided for us. He has supplied every need. The Lord desires to bless us. To prosper us in the land of the living long before entering His Kingdom forever. This is the Will of God for us. It is not a contract with heavy stipulations but rather a covenant of love. Sow in the Kingdom – reap Kingdom rewards. Sow in the Spirit – reap the Fruit of the Spirit. Sow in the natural – reap in the natural. What you sow – you will reap. It is a principle set forth in the Days of Noah and a promise that holds true today. When God’s Promise suits us – it is called good. When God’s Promise delivers what it says it will but we do not like the outcome then He is not good. The promise is good if the outcome favorable. The promise is deemed a threat if it is considered unfavorable.

The Word of God is good because He is good. It is for us. It promises good things to us. God cannot contradict His Word. He doesn’t lie or change His Mind. If He has spoken it, His Word will not return to Him until it has fully accomplished what it was sent to do. It is sometimes difficult to fully comprehend the perfection of God in that He will not relent to our notions and whims. The senseless whining and ongoing pleas of a people full of doubt lacking trust and yet His Patience prevails in His Persistence to make sure that His Promise arrives right on time because He is faithful in all things.

Isaiah 55:9-11 (NIV) “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

If only one might take the time to consider God’s Word in relation to His Promises. To sit and ponder at the wonder of His Word released to accomplish great things and not take hold of the reins to steer it, put our hand to the plow to break it, or decide that it means something entirely different. If I plant watermelon seeds in my backyard, and then tell everyone to watch and see my new zucchini plants grow. I am leading others astray for surely when the plant yields its fruit it will be a watermelon despite my declaration. We must know the Word of God including its context and content to fully understand Kingdom blessings and benefits.

In Leviticus 25, I found a passage regarding sowing and reaping that I feel is helpful. It is a command to observe the Sabbath Year. The Lord tells Moses that once the Children of Israel enter the Promised Land that they must observe a Sabbath Year. For six years, they will sow and reap from their fields. In the Seventh Year, they must not work the field. Whatever the land yields they may eat it but they cannot work it. The same account is in Exodus 23, the land is to be unplowed and unused for the whole year and not only will you and your family eat from it but others may get food from it along with livestock. An entire year of trusting God – to provide for a household. This passage ends with the warning…be careful to do everything I have said to you. What if God told you not to work for one year? To live off what you have and trust Him for the rest, could you do it? We must evaluate our sowing and determine the condition of our heart. To sow simply for the productivity of the field will not produce a rich and satisfying life. It is the sowing of God’s Word in our hearts that yield the kind of life God promised.

Mark 4:14-20 (NIV) “The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

The Lord has given us the Word to sow into our lives for supernatural productivity. However, we all fall into own of the categories described in the Parable of the Sower. I believe that many of us experience different stages of receivership according to spiritual grow and development. Spirit maturity advances us to the next level of faith that allows us to take God at His Word and trust Him a little more each time. The Word is the good seed of our life that will produce exactly what it says it will provide. We must plow through the hardness of our heart to make it fertile for the Word. Hearing the Word, it must be accepted as Truth for our life. You must believe. Believing is not enough. What you believe is of the utmost importance? We must accept God’s Word as our Truth and then do what it says. Then, a prosperous crop of what is sown will surely come up and become established in our life.

Galatians 6:7-9 (NIV) Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

All things are permissible but not all things are beneficial. Prudent words to live by. Desiring God’s best must be followed by a disciplined decision to do exactly what He says. We cannot have God’s Best outside of His Faithfulness which comes to those who diligently seek Him with their whole heart. Sometimes Christians get so caught up in the sowing and reaping process that they do not find the rest of the Sabbath. So God in His Infinite Wisdom and Divine Perfection allows His Mercy to prevail and the job loved more than Christ is gone. Or perhaps, our Christian service becomes a jewel in our crown rather than another one to lay at His Feet. Perhaps vain glory and puffed up pride have convinced us that we are doing is more important than what the Lord is about to do so we ignore some of His Commands as old-fashioned or unnecessary. You will reap what you sow. Sowing God’s Word in our heart will always cause our heart to prosper and soon after our life.

It is important to engage in soulful sowing. It is easy to turn what was once faithfulness to God into something fruitless in small focusing on His Hand rather than His Heart. We must focus on sowing righteousness for ourselves. Continually reaping the fruit of unfailing love. I cannot do this for myself but fully rely on God and His Word. Allowing Him to break up my habits, practices, routine, schedule and agenda to make room for the Lord and His Work to be accomplished in me and then through me. Everyone wanders off from time to time. Don’t let anyone fool you. The enemy is a formidable foe. But the Book says that we win! We live in the Triumph of Jesus Christ who is in us. We must not allow the world or other people to influence our pursuit of righteousness but live in the Word and do exactly what it says. You don’t have to but you will certainly reap exactly what you sow!

Matthew 13:23 (NIV) “But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Overflowing Gratitude

Overflowing Gratitude

Colossians 3:15-16 (NIV) Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 

I am blessed with a wonderful work environment. It allows me to bring my grandson and even my dog some days to the office. Both can be therapeutic in their own special way. My daughter had some work duties and asked if my grandson could come spend some time with Grammy. My response – absolutely without a moment’s hesitation. Having worked at home when my kids were young, it is easy to adapt to a little helper for the day though he is quite the distraction. After a morning filled with bouncing, playing, lunch and snuggles, naptime offered a respite for me to catch up on some work. When his nap was abruptly interrupted by some unexpected noises in the lobby, he settled in on my chest to sleep. Since my job is essentially a keyboard and monitors, we all settled in quite nicely as quiet calmed the office again.

Deep in thought and contemplating the project, I became aware that my little chunk was completely relaxed draped across me in a deep sleep. Looking down at the top of his head at the hair quickly covering it, I paused at the sight of him. Overwhelmed with thankfulness, I prayed. Thanking God for this precious gift that He has given me overflowed into overtures that quickly spread in my heart as words began to form on my lips. I am truly blessed. Some days I am more focused on the yet to comes rather than those things that have already arrived. Plagued by the problem, my praise somehow silent in the midst of unfailing love and relentless goodness.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. The peace of Christ is not manmade. We cannot create an image of perfect peace if it is not that which fills our heart and mind. Like rose-colored glasses, gratitude changes our perception in life when we stop and give thanks simply for what grace has already provided. Life is hard. It is unsettling. But I believe that might just be God’s Mercy not allowing us to settle for less or die not knowing Him. Forever is a long time. Much greater than the here and not including the sum total of our life. It is in that quiet moment holding an imperfect little man who sees so perfect for me that I am acutely aware of God’s Love and perception of me…a sinner and depraved wretch who He loves more than anything and chose to set free. Love sets free in the hope of finding it to be true. Yet the longing of God’s Heart is for us to cling to him as my baby grandchild was holding me. At complete peace and total rest in the arms of His Love in the closest possible proximity covered by His Love.

You were called to peace. Our office has been in a bit of turmoil. Our staff experienced the loss of a member to a new opportunity. The company that shares the space with us the same. People problems can disrupt us and cause us to become focused on the wrong thing sometimes. Life unexpected in many ways can be the unsettling reality that draws us out of the peaceful presence of the Love of God until we feel isolated and alone separated from the Lord and the peace that He offers us. This passage in Colossians can also be found in Ephesians. It is a call to unity in the Body of Christ. To be lovers and encouragers of one another and bind together the church that is the Kingdom of God and Bride of Christ. We must experience the perfect peace of God to ready our heart and mind to share in such an experience. Gratitude is overflowing grace too thankful for what is in our heart that we could ever want or desire anything less than Him.

Isaiah 26:3-4 (NIV) You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

I discovered this passage when our son was in the midst of cancer treatment. His body showing obvious signs of the fight, the doctor had just told us that we were in the realm of hope and needed godly intervention as the disease was quite aggressive. Soon after the conversation, I was talking to him with no response. Looking at his face, he was sleeping. Peacefully sleeping moments after his physician had told him that he was running out of options and had to trust the Lord for healing help. Sleeping just like that baby laying on my chest yesterday. His countenance at peace. His breathing steady. His body relaxed. The Lord WILL keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast. Those who decide to seek Him wholeheartedly will always find Him even if that means bringing Him all the broken and messed up pieces. We must learn to trust the Lord in the details of life enough to be thankful.

Gratitude is not a concession. It doesn’t mean that there are not some things that are still to come. It is not a settlement for those things not yet completed or fully satisfactory. Gratitude is a declaration of trust. Praise is our proclamation that no matter what God is in control and we are okay with that. Sometimes I must remind myself in my own heart and mind by simply stopping and beginning to thank God for even the most basic of blessings until it overtakes the negativity and bitterness building in my mind. The lie of the enemy is subtle in its penetration but lethal once inside. Faith in God requires our total trust. We cannot see Him. Faith comes by hearing and deciding to believe it. It is being consciously aware of God’s Intervention and Interaction in our life including the most simple blessing that is often taken for granted like a roof over our head, food in our belly, a job, or even the dysfunctional people surrounding us with love.

Colossians 4:2-3 (NIV) Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.

Paul writes the letter to the church in Colossae while in chains. A prisoner of the Gospel, he still takes the time to say, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Lord help us when we lose sight of the true freedom offered by grace. The opportunity to be thankful in all circumstances knowing that You are working all the details together for our good. Help us to recognize that Your Love is always for us, surrounding us with us, and pursuing us. Nothing can separate us from it. When I feel alone, isolated, abused, betrayed, discouraged or even just discontent, remind me Holy Spirit to be thankful. To engage in the close proximity of Your Presence by letting my praise open the door. We must learn to devote ourselves to prayer. But not only prayer, we must learn to be watchful and thankful for what we see, hear and know about the Lord. His Purpose, Plan and Promises belong to us and are secured by faith. Not our ability to be faithful but His Faithfulness to us. That alone is enough to make the believer shout… or should be. Find a way to wander off this morning, to enter a quiet place and begin to thank God for everything around you. Let gratitude overflow and cover your heart and mind with more grace until it abounds. Let His Perfect Peace fill you at the sound of praise as you enter into His Presence. Crawling on His Lap, like a child, let His Love cover you today. This is God’s Will for you in Christ Jesus!

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Voice of Victory

Voice of Victory

I Samuel 17:45-47 (ESV) Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.”

One of the greatest stories ever told, David and Goliath. The story of a shepherd boy overcoming a mighty giant with nothing but a slingshot and smooth stone driven with precision. Armies held at bay by him yet David small in stature and unarmed but mighty in heart and full of God’s Spirit dare to stand and face the giant. A true example of not by might or by power but by His Spirit as the Word relates in Zechariah 4:6. Victory is the favorable outcome in every battle ever faced by the believer. We fight from victory to victory. Christ has already given us the win. But then there is always a pesky giant to deal with now isn’t there.

The elephant in the room often ignored doubt that deteriorates our confidence in the hope-filled promise that as believers triumph is our destiny. We win. In every possible situation by faith, victory belongs to us. It is not an act of willpower, determination or even personal strength and discipline. The power to win comes simply in believing God’s Word to be the absolute truth of our life. The Bible is quick to point out that the weapon of our warfare is not carnal or of the flesh. It is our mindset. Our thought process decides whether we will walk in victory or cower in fear when the giants come calling. We have the divine power to destroy strongholds. What strongholds? Those of the mindset that there is any other power greater or stronger than God Almighty. Strongholds are carefully constructed lies that keep us in the mental prison of fear and anxiety. Thanks be to God that He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. King Jesus.

David faced quite a bit of opposition just trying to get to the battlefield that day. His father sent him to check on his brothers and take them some provisions. David wasn’t looking for a fight, but he sure found one. He didn’t expect to find the great and mighty Israelite army cowering from the Philistine army. For 40 days, the Goliath would come forward and take his stand morning and evening shouting threats and daring confrontation. All the men of Israel were afraid and fled at the sound of his voice. David’s brother questioned his sibling’s motives. Why have you come? To see the battle? He even belittled his brother by inquiring as to the whereabouts of his sheep. David asked the men around him as to the king’s reward for the one who defeated the giant. His brother was appalled. When David found himself before King Saul, he said, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight this Philistine.”

The king was quick to point out all the reasons David could not defeat Goliath. Too young. Too inexperienced. David recited all the times the Lord had delivered him from the lion and bear. He believed that same God would deliver him from the giant standing in their midst. His confidence was clearly in the Lord and His Power. Saul finally succumbed to David’s request, then tried to put his armor on the boy. It didn’t fit and overpowered him. So David took off the armor and headed unarmed and unprotected by conventional battle array to face the enemy of Israel. As David approached him, Goliath began to affirm the former reasons of the king and add his own indignation for Israel sending a boy rather than a seasoned warrior to face him. Little did Goliath know that it was not in David’s appearance, but in his heart that would end this battle with his massive defeat. It is right here that our passage picks up.

For the battle is the Lord‘s, and he will give you into our hand.” What is your battle cry today? What giant are you facing? Have you retreated pressed back by fear and uncertainty? It is time to change your declaration. It is time to take hold of the divine. God has empowered us to win. Christ has given us the victory. The only weapon the enemy or giant has against you is a lie. You have the truth in you. Filled with the Word, it is time to release it. You don’t need to be like anyone else and you certainly do not need their affirmation or approval. God empowered you from the moment you said, “Yes” to His Son to win every battle through Him. David did not walk out but ran to face Goliath. But note, the enemy did not engage David. He did not even draw a sword. You are God’s Child. His Anointed is in you. The enemy casts lies and hurls threats but in the end you just have to tell him what God told you. It is in the moment when our confidence becomes our declaration that praise becomes a prophetic voice of victory.

Goliath held Israel for 40 days with a lie. The same God that carried David on the field to victory was for them but they had taken hold of the enemy’s threat rather than overcoming Him with truth. Praise is the weapon that arms our mind. It is the sword of truth waved by the Spirit to refute every lie trying to create a stronghold to keep us from living a victorious life. No matter what you are facing, nothing is impossible with God. The only way this becomes our destiny is to believe it. Do you believe that God is almighty today? Do you believe that King Jesus has all power and authority over your life? If so, then remind your heart, mind and soul. Tell the enemy what God says about you. Remind the giant that God is bigger than he is. Rebuke him not by fighting with faith that fights for you. Our mind must be ready for battle or it will fall in the field of lies, threats and taunts.

I Corinthians 15:57-58 (ESV) But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

You have victory today. You win every day. Not because of you, but because Christ lives in you. It doesn’t matter how things look, how big the giant, or how impossible the odds – we must only believe it to achieve it. The battle is the Lord’s. Whether it is a personal one or outward attack, He will never leave you or forsake you. We must only be steadfast and immovable. The giant couldn’t touch David. David did not lay a finger on the giant. God is our refuge. He is our strength. He is our shield. The Sun that causes darkness to flee. You have everything you need to win. David didn’t even have a sword but lopped off the enemy’s head with his own sword. God has already provided everything you need to be victorious in every situation so we can abound in His Work knowing our labor is never in vain but always triumphant. I needed to hear that today! How about you? The lie may be big and it may seem like reality but the Truth always prevails. Jesus is the Word. He is in you. He will win for you. All you must do is believe and be the voice of victory by shouting His Praise.

Psalm 68:32-35 (ESV) O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God; sing praises to the Lord, Selah  to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice. Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel, and whose power is in the skies. Awesome is God from his sanctuary; the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!