Grab a Shovel

grab a shovel

I Corinthians 3:6-8 (NLT)  I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.

A visiting minister was sharing his heart on faith and prosperity to our congregation. He spoke of the intangible and tangible blessings of God that is the inheritance of God’s Children. He said, “People pray for God to move mountains but refuse to ever pick up a shovel.” His words made me chuckle audibly quickly looking around to see if anyone heard me. I have been at this whole faith thing a while. Just when I think I have it all together, I realize that I have only just begun. It is an adventure now. Deep cries out to deep so I swim a little farther until my feet can no longer touch and I call out to my Savior to come and get me. He calls me a little higher and as I quickly step up – I realize in my flesh that I really am not a fan of heights and my fear of falling reaches for God to catch me. Hebrews 12 reminds us that the raceway is crowded with many witnesses. In the midst of the great cloud of witnesses is an enemy who wants to get me tangled in worthless words and caught up in bold-faced lies. His response to my faith is to remind me of every insecurity that is hidden in my thoughts. To tell me that I am not good enough, missed the mark, or will fail like before. But I have been in this race for a while now, and what I have discovered is just about the time that I am grow weak or weary yet decide to take just one more step – that tiny seed of faith in my heart grows just a little bit bigger.

The Lord has planted a seed in our heart from the very beginning. Ecclesiastes 3 – it tells us that God put eternity in our heart. If it were complete it would not be hidden, but before the Lord tells us this secret – His Word holds true – God has made everything beautiful in its own time. Time. The most precious commodity given to humanity but so often wasted on useless and ordinary things. I find it a bit ironic that in all the places this could have been put in the Word of God that He chose to scribe it in Ecclesiastes. Written by the one who asked for wisdom to whom it was granted and who wasted in on many futile endeavors in this life. God has planted eternity in our heart. We will journey through life to eternity. We have been given absolute freedom in our relationship with Jesus Christ to do with it what we will. But what I am discovering as time goes by is that if I am not carefully many seeds will never be given the opportunity to grow not because I do not have them or they are being watered but I do not have any faith in the process.

I Corinthians 15:36-38 (NLT) What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed.

Growth is a process. It takes an investment or sacrifice if you will. The seed must die to its presence forth to release the hidden potential inside. For the believer, death gives way to life. Resurrection power is demonstrated in each seed that is planted with the promise of harvest. God did not limit seed time and harvest to the earth but through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ empowers us to experience rapid and expansive growth in every area of our life that is committed to sowing and reaping including the hidden growth process called faith. As faith becomes confident, it increases our life. All areas of our natural, physical, emotional and spiritual life are open to God’s Reproductive Process called Prosperity – with no limitation to increase and growth.

Though so simple, people cannot seem to grasp the concept of seedtime and harvest in every area of life. We claim to have faith but our actions tell on us. We profess to belief yet our lives do not emit the Glory of God or Goodness of the Father. It is no wonder that the church buildings are empty. Congregations closing down. Who wants a disempowered god or disloyal parent? Life is full of disappointment. Hope never leads to disappointment but is it the harvest of our life? Those who sow will reap. Those who sow sparingly will reap sparingly. Those who sow generously will reap generously. Every area of my life should prosper because the seed of God’s Word has been planted in my heart. It is watered as I seek the Lord and choose to follow Christ. Where is the increase that He has promised? Why are there areas of lack in my life? The Body of Christ will never be attract to lost and dying people if there is nothing to offer them. If following Christ leads only to more disappointment, why bother? Intentional faith plants seeds in every area of life. Faith waits for the seed to die and begin to grow. Faith oversees the field and waits for the harvest.

2 Corinthians 9:10-11 (NLT)  For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.

God provides seed for the farmer and bread to eat. The difference between disappointment and satisfaction is defined by expectation. Every day is filled with expectation. Hope never leads to disappointment based on the fact that God dearly loves us. He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with love. Jesus came to give us a rich and satisfying life. Are you rich? Wealth comes in many forms from wisdom down to finances. Are you satisfied? God has placed eternity in our heart. To settle for anything less than complete fulfillment is to leave that seed unsown in our life. Ordinary and natural outcomes are for those who sow sparingly. Extraordinary and supernatural who make it a point to put every seed in the fertile furrows of our heart expecting God to make it grow rather than abandoning the field to eat the scraps under another man’s table.

Why would the Lord command us to be generous and then withhold the resources to fulfill that command? It just doesn’t sound like the God I know. Yet, there are areas in my life that I have not been sowing into. When our son was battling cancer, my faith was completely focused on sowing seeds of healing. I was continually studying, praying and exercising my faith in that area of God’s Plan. So much so, that I now have total trust and confident hope in the Lord when it comes to healing – medically, miraculously and mercifully. However, at the end of his fight and entrance to remission, I realized I had put it all out there. Like an athlete who won the Super Bowl or World Series, the morning after was a little rough. Celebrating victory and realizing that I had just left it all on the field. God gave me time to recover but then immediately started pressing my heart. Faith is not just for healing. It is not just for one thing in our life but God has given us faith to prosper our life and lead us to confident hope that completes us so we will lack nothing. I have been able to share our son’s story including his victory and our experience related to faith in Christ freely and openly because it is worth sharing and I believe it to be true. Faith and confident hope can never be given to others until you have a supply from which to give.

Matthew 13:3 (NLT) “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds.”

Going back to Genesis 1:28 where God blessed humanity to “be fruitful and multiply” and to “fill the earth and govern it.” It was no small order. God blessed us. He gave us the ability to be fruitful and multiply. The gift of increase was given to us in our DNA. From the very beginning, the reproductive gene is in our body, mind and soul. It is not just in physical reproduction but when Jesus gave us His Spirit – it was with the promise of spiritual reproduction as well. We pray “may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus handed us the Keys to the Kingdom. Grace empowers us in our weakness. Like a seed planted in the ground, the more of our life invested in Christ the higher the dividends across the board.

Matthew 13 is all about planting and harvesting. Reading it today, I discovered four seeds that it eludes to. These are the seeds that grow into harvests worth having in life. Matthew 13:18-23 is the harvest of the heart. God’s Word is planted in our heart but the condition of our heart determines its ability to reproduce. A soft, fertile heart is conducive to successful harvests. ”Good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Before any other area of my life will produce a harvest, it must begin in my heart. I must believe that God is able and will do everything that He promised. I have been guilty of being the one who lets thorns get in the way. Worries and cares of life that overtake my heart and mind. Well, not anymore. I have experienced the productivity of faith and decided to dig up those things that are not worth of faith and trust to replace them with good seed that promotes constant growth.

The seed of Heaven is covered in Matthew 13:24-29. God has given us a plan. A good plan that leads to prosperity as our soul prospers. We must only seek Him wholeheartedly. (Jeremiah 29:11-13) If my treasure is heaven, there the desires of my heart will be as well. (Matthew 6:21) Once my heart is set on heaven every other increase in my life is blessed. Prosperity is not the problem. Riches, power and influence do not have the ability to change a person’s heart. They magnify what is in that heart. God’s Blessing comes without sorrow. If having more leads only to disappointment, then the heart was not set on heaven in the first place. God will grow good things from good seeds in our life naturally and supernaturally. Hope is the only thing that does not lead to disappointment.

The seed of hope is found in the Parable of the Mustard Seed. When a person comes to Jesus, the measure of faith hidden in our heart is discovered. To take this teeny, tiny seed and plant it is to release our life from human expectation and seek something greater. I believe this is the turning point of harvesting and increase in a person’s life. The realization that I am nothing outside of the Christ who lives in me and the grace that Jesus has given me. It is at that moment, heaven and earth connect as the Keys to the Kingdom are used to unlock God’s Hidden Treasure kept safe for us. The handle to the shovel that breaks the ground to bury our faith is marked with “obedience”. The head on the end of that handle is embossed with the word “trust”. God is faithful. What you sow you will reap. When we allow our heart to become fertile and accept God’s Word then begin to seek the Kingdom of Heaven something begins to grow in us as our roots grow into God’s Love. Suddenly, we begin to prosper as our soul prospers. Life is good. Things are getting better. But we must not and cannot stop here…we must keep digging, planting, and harvesting.

The seed of harvest is one that is probably the most difficult to press for so God allows testing, trials, and troubles to apply a certain pressure to our life. The faith discovered in the trial of cancer for our family meant applying all that we had learned about it and putting it all on the line for our son’s life. To say, I trust you God no matter what. At the end, I wasn’t sure I could venture out on faith much farther and stepped back for a moment. Seeds in the ground must die to self to grow. However, if we do not abandon the field, quit or give up – there will be a harvest far greater than we can think about, pray for or even imagine. After a period of rest, the Lord has challenged me. He has put the shovel back in my hand and challenged me to dig some fresh holes and plant more seed. In fact, our life is filled with all kinds of wonderful and valuable seeds that are overlooked because of all the cares and worries that fill our busy lives.

The mentality of just enough seems noble but God says He is the God of more than enough. The last thing the enemy wants us to do is plant seeds and cover them with faith. As the Body of Christ become consistent and confident farmers of God’s Word, the Glory of God will begin to shine from a church full of believers who lend and not borrow, become the head and no longer the tail, are independent of the world’s fluxes in economy or do not trend with society. They are confident in their God who supplies all of their needs as evidenced in the harvest of their life. Complaints are silenced by completeness. Flaws are filled by fulfillment. Who could resist a God who does not lie or change His Mind, but blessed His People as evidenced in their prosperous lives? We cannot offer revival until we experience it. As our soul prospers so will the church.

Galatians 6:7-8 (NLT) Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

As I am challenged today, I am asking you to pick up the shovel and begin planting seed in your life again. What area is lacking? It is the perfect place to plant. Where is dissatisfaction or disappointment? Dig into God’s Word and find His Solution – plant it in that barren field and watch what the Lord will do. It is God’s Will for us to prosper and experience increase in every single area of our life. We are His Children. He is a Good Father. His Kingdom is filled with a priceless inheritance with your name on it. It cannot be stolen or taken unjustly but those who faithfully plant God’s Word in their life will have a harvest. The Lord is bound by His Word. It cannot and will not return void. It will do exactly what He said it will do if we trust Him enough to plant it in our life and wait for it to grow. Survey your life. Take inventory of your heart. Grab a shovel and begin to dig up the hard areas that have been overgrown by doubt and disbelief. Water it with His Word. Plant that promise and wait for it to grow. Sow some seed. Real seed. Tangible seed in that area. God is faithful. It will always grow!

2 Corinthians 9:6 (NLT) Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 

Four No More

Four No More

I Peter 1:3-6 (NLT) All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.

I could blame it on a hectic and chaotic week or admit I am no spring chicken, either is fine. My usual Saturday routine is wrecked. Usually up before everyone else to spend time with the Lord and get a jump on the day, I dragged myself out of bed much later than most weekends. With my usual schedule disrupted, I tried to gather my thoughts and filter them into an organized list. Saturdays are the one opportunity to do everything that you cannot incorporate into the work and church flow that orders our everyday life. The disciplines in my life allow me to maintain some level of control. (Written with a chuckle or laugh.) I no longer fancy myself in control of this summation of time called life but rather have finally decided each day is simply a new opportunity filled with moments and increments of time to be invested. I know that God has a plan so I loosely hold on to my timeline and prepare for the inevitable interruptions along the way. But I digress…

For those who do not know me, during the week I begin my day around 4:30 AM. Shuffling out of bed stumbling through the darkness, I grab our fur baby – feed her and take her out while the microwave brews the detox tea. With power bar and banana juggling my tea, I then head to my study to enter my prayer closet and spend time with the Lord. On the weekend, the routine is the same just a couple hours later. But not today…today was different. I woke up two hours later. Put on the tea and took care of the fur baby. But before heading to that quiet place, I decided to start a load of laundry. The machines were enshrouded in hanging clothes so retrieving mine I went to the closet to put them away. Trying to find them a place in the midst of the plethora of clothing crammed, I made an impulsive decision to finally get rid of all the pants that don’t fit. I used to be a size four. I am a size four no more.

I will not bore you with the details of my plundering but I will admit that I have not been a size four for quite some time. I have only worn that size once in my life a few years ago. Now some may say – oh man she fell off the wagon. Yes, I fell alright but not off the wagon but an impressive elliptical at the local gym. My fall was not physical but mental instead. I began working out halfway through our son’s illness. Walking for the first year or so gave my clarity and time to talk to the Lord about our journey. It was during the downtime of the battle or in between treatments. Our son is an adult so I am quite certain he welcomed those times of independence and solace from doctor’s and mom’s poking and prodding. I was in the gym a lot during those times and would run on that poor machine until my head was clear, mind at peace and heart still again. It was a long journey. It felt like running up the steep side of the mountain. But this is not about that journey (okay maybe a little) but when I was exercising to benefit my mind, something crazy happened to my body. I melted to a size four. What is ironic is that for my whole life I have struggled with my body image, but during that time my heart and mind was set on healing and nothing else. For God’s Word to come to pass, I was just doing what I needed to benefit my heart and mind. I got healthy – go figure. Well, our son is healed and living his life as it should be. I no longer am fighting a battle within myself and my body is a four no more.

What I realized this morning is, though maintaining my health is important, I do not expect to be a size four anymore. I am quite fine with a solid six. I am so certain that I am gathering all the smaller clothing to post online. Somebody will get a new wardrobe for mere pennies…any takers? Well, God as usual was using this exercise to show me something important. To release limitation in my life comes at the price of human expectation. I must examine my life and ask some pointed questions. Do I want an ordinary life or an extraordinary existence? Do I desire the natural or am I set on the supernatural? Do I settle for face value or will I wait to obtain vested interest? There is a difference. Life is filled with opportunities. They look the same but have great potential according to the mindset of each person. The probability of earthly success is measured by hard work and motivation. Spiritual success is to move the asset called your life into the person named Jesus Christ. The details of the natural for all are the same. The conditions may be different but everyone has a mind, soul and body to do with as they will. You will find many successful and wealthy people who have terrible health habits and horrible mental capacity. Though they prosper in business they are failing at other things. There are many people who lack financial success who are amazing athletes with sharp mental aptitude. Their focus is on health and strive for longer life through making good choices for their body. Though their body is flawless, a few bad choices may lead to the end of the life that was otherwise fit enough to live a hundred years. I have been given the freedom as an American to live my life how I choose. I have been given freedom in Christ to pursue His Kingdom. My life is my opportunity.

Proverbs 8:27-31 (NLT) I was there when he established the heavens, when he drew the horizon on the oceans. I was there when he set the clouds above, when he established springs deep in the earth. I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth’s foundations, I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence. And how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family!

I am going to let you in on a little secret – in Proverbs 8 wisdom who is speaking is actually Jesus. He hints at His True Identity in these words and no I cannot back it up with a whole lot of resources but I know it is Him. I know Him. He was with God in the beginning. His Hand is part of all creation. Everything exists through Him the Spoken Word of God. Jesus came wrapped in flesh to demonstrate God’s Love to us. He lives with God forever seated at the right-hand side of God with all power and authority in heaven and earth. This is important. Remember it. Jesus is God’s Constant Delight. Christ lives in us. God also delights in us. Oh wait, “how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family!”

God created the world with limitation. He established the boundaries of heaven and earth. He marked the line of the horizon which divides night and day visibly. He put the clouds in the sky. He limited the depth of springs. He set limits for the sea so they could not spread beyond the boundary. He plumbed the earth’s foundations. Jesus was the architect at his side. But when God created mankind it was different. He set us up differently with the potential of an unlimited life. Genesis 1:28 – he gave us the ability to increase, be fruitful, multiply and have dominion over the earth. It is our potential. He planned it and decreed it for His Human family. Sin came to call and humanity chose it. However, God wasn’t done with us. In Genesis 8, though God was angry with the world so He wiped it clean, He found goodness and grace for Noah. He was pleased with this man’s sacrifice so he said, “I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think is evil”…”As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.” The place where you are standing right now is blessed. There is potential in the real estate of your life whether you realize it or not. The situation you are in may seem limited. The conditions adverse to growth and prosperity. But the Word, the Jesus in you is much greater than that. In creation, you were ordained for prosperity from the inside out. When sin took over the world, God blessed the very ground you walk on. You work the land and there will be growth and increase despite our inability to be perfect. The Grace of Jesus Christ and His Blood allows the growth potential of Heaven to live in us and so what is limited to the natural can give way to supernatural because Jesus has all power and authority over every boundary in our life. The ordinary can release extraordinary if we just take the time to work the place we are whether than envying the greener pasture next door. Everything I need to prosper is in me and around me – the only possible limitation is me.

Proverbs 10:28 (NLT) The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing.

Hope is the expectation of the godly. Hope is not what we see but faith in the unseen reality of our life in Jesus Christ. I cannot see heaven but I have the keys to it. The first one is labeled faith and it has the powerful potential to unlock every promise of God beginning in Genesis 1:28 including every promise from Genesis to Revelation and ultimately that place called Eternity I am destined for and strive for every day. Faith in God makes all things possible but I must believe. During our journey with our son, I got a tattoo. I can hear some of you gasping. There are times when I must cover it as not to offend the religious and that’s okay, too. I did not get it for you. I got it for me. I needed to remember that this whole journey called life is about faith that produces hope. When I look at my wrist, I see the word “faith”. If I extend my arm, you will see the word “hope”. I wanted to remember that no matter what the outcome of this endeavor, whether God healed our son medically, miraculously or even mercifully taking him home – it was all about faith and confident hope. This would be the journey that changed my life forever. It was the battle that once overcome I experienced true fulfillment like Peter that day when Jesus asked, “But who do you say that I am?” I know Jesus. Everything has changed. Human expectation has melted into the spiritual realization that things of this world really don’t matter. I have absolutely no control over the situations, conditions or circumstances that rise up in my life but I do have the power to overcome and experience His Glory in each outcome.

Hope is the inexpressible joy that many search for and never find because it is not an outward accumulation but an inward uprising. It is the prospering soul transitioning from earthlike expectation to holy inspiration breathing in Christ and expelling doubt and fear along with it. Just like my husband has always loved me no matter what size my body is – Jesus love is far greater than any limitation that I face or boundary built before me. It is in His Love that I overcome every obstacle of faith. It allows me to plant in tears and still sow joy. It is the kind of faith and hope that gives God time and freedom to work all things together for my good and His Glory so I keep myself in the race for faith and fight the things that come against it. I know God will do it. I have experienced it.

So today I am a four no more and truly I am okay with it. I am emptying my closet to make room for the size that fits. I am okay with that. I will still work to maintain a healthy lifestyle and be a good steward of my physical health. I have stopped evaluating my image by a human standard. Is there a closet or two that need to be cleaned out in our hearts and minds today? Do I need to make more room for faith and hope to expand and take over new areas of my life? Human expectations create the limits and mark boundaries around us. They give increase in size to the obstacles that we face. God is greater than our feelings. Perfect love casts out all fear. We have nothing to lose but a Kingdom to gain in our personal life and in the realm of influence called our life. Is it time to stop shaking the keys to the Kingdom trying to scare the enemy off or use them to open the door to God’s Presence running boldly and confidently before His Throne?

Ephesians 3:16-19 (NLT) I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Deep in conversation with someone the other day, I shared with her the simplest truth about faith secured in the love of Christ. I have come to a place in my life where I don’t have to argue religion or the relevance of Jesus Christ. I know Jesus lives in me. I am confident enough not to need anyone else opinion to confirm or deny. I know Jesus loves me. I know His Way is the best way for my life. I know that even if I died to discover there was no truth to heaven or eternity that my life is significantly better just by believing anyway.

I “know” that I will not be a size four again. If I do somehow stumble my way back into it – God will supply all that I need to walk in it and wear it. Just as I am cleaning out my closet of unwanted clothing, I must examine the expectation in my life to determine if it is limited by my human condition or if it is spiritually secured in the Love of God. God calls us His Precious Treasure. He promises an inheritance that is secured in Heaven. This does not mean that I must wait for eternity. It means that I must connect my natural and spiritual life to be mutually conducive rather than ultimately exclusive. (Matthew 6:10; 16:19) We must live in constant faith and confident hope every day for entrance into eternity. Our life does not have to be limited to the natural. It does not have to be ordinary. It is not God’s Plan for us. It is not His Way. It is a choice. We must learn to stop limiting our life by human expectation and yield our life’s capacity to the Lord so He can complete our life by His Design giving us the fullness of life and power that He promised.

Can I just encourage you today? God really is working every detail of your life for your good and His Glory? He is offering daily opportunities to release your natural expectation and increase your expectancy in Him. Focus on faith today. Do you believe that the Lord can and will do more than you can think to ask for? Explore new regions of hope that extend beyond the boundaries and obstacles of your natural life. Consider the impossibilities in your life. God will make them possible according to His Will and Word. Faith and hope are the evidence of believing that must be a daily consideration. The limits placed on our life are natural. God gave us everything needed to prosper from the very beginning and to have a blessed life. Jesus came and handed us the Keys to His Kingdom so now not only do we have all of His Resources but He lives in us empowering us to overcome all barriers and obstacles to have a complete and full life. We can find overwhelming satisfaction in this life and forever. Release those natural expectations today and let the Lord fill you with new revelation that will increase your faith and fortify your hope. The best is yet to come!

I John 3:2-3 (NLT) Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.

Soul Prosperity

Soul Prosperity

3 John 1:2 (AMP) Beloved, I pray that in every way you may succeed and prosper and be in good health [physically], just as [I know] your soul prospers [spiritually].

What is prosperity? According to the Random House Dictionary, prosperity is a successful, flourishing or thriving condition especially in financial respects and good fortune. Do you believe that the Lord prospers His People? In 3 John, the author writes to “beloved and esteemed” Gaius. This man is not identified further. The next verse gives way to a new way of thinking. I pray that “in every way you may succeed and prosper and be in good health” just as your “soul prospers.” As a believer, it is God’s Will for you to prosper both physically and spiritually. However, like every other benefit available to us through Jesus Christ, the Cross and Resurrection, it is completely up to me if I will live in the blessings of God bestowed on me before I ever breathed a single breath. You are blessed. You were made to prosper. However, the enemy has done his best to make people believe otherwise. I hope to change your mindset and motivate you to seek out the Lord’s Will for your life including the prosperity hidden beneath layers of lies that the enemy has used to overshadow the true potential of your new life in Jesus Christ.

Genesis 1:27-28 (AMP) So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

When God created man and woman, He blessed them. Do not go any further, stop right there. I did when our pastor shared this verse and the wheels of my mind began to get in gear with my spirit man. I am blessed. God released a blessing on people that cannot be revoked. Once God blesses, it stands. He does not lie or change His Mind. When He decided to bless us, the release was instantaneous. So where is it now? God SAID to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate (putting it under your power or subdue) it.” God’s has now issued a directive to His People. Rule over and dominate all living creatures and every living thing that moves upon the earth. Oh, but what about the fall of mankind? Well, that’s true. But can I introduce you to my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. In Him, “we live and move and exist”. (Acts 17:28) Everything is brought into existence through Jesus. (John 1) Thanks to Jesus – our sin is removed and live restored to us. So the blessing on our life still stands as long as we live.

God was clear in His Directive to His People. Be fruitful. We know that the Fruit of the Spirit is the very thing that feeds and nourishes our soul changing us from death to life. (Galatians 5:22-23) To be fruitful is not only physical but a spiritual accomplishment as well. He told us to increase. Prosper. To live a limited life does not represent an unlimited Lord. Fill the earth. I believe that as true believers our life should overflow in goodness and grace in all things to all people. A life of generosity is a life of fearless abundance for those who are not afraid that our God has a small supply but exceedingly more than we can think or ask. Finally, to subdue the earth. We have authority and power locked away in these weak vessels of human bodies that is ready to take over every sickness, oppression and bondage that has people held captive. Greater is He who lives in us. We have the Keys to the Kingdom. Rather than shaking them all the time, it is about time God’s People started using them to unlock the captive and lock up the enemy.

Psalm 103:1-5 (AMP) Bless and affectionately praise the Lord, O my soul, and all that is [deep] within me, bless His holy name. Bless and affectionately praise the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget any of His benefits; who forgives all your sins, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you [lavishly] with lovingkindness and tender mercy; Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the [soaring] eagle.

“Do not forget any of His Benefits…” Have we forgotten the blessings and benefits of God? Or did we ever have a clear understanding of who they are for and how to receive them? Hosea warned that people die from a lack of knowledge. It’s true. God has blessed me. He has blessed you. I have the same benefits available to me in Christ that every other person born is given. It is up to me if I take advantage of these benefits. My husband’s company offers health insurance including dental and vision. It is a benefit offered to all associates. Some consider the cost to high and opt out completely. Others, pay for the insurance but do not understand all it comes with and do not take full advantage of the benefits. Then there are others who have read the policy and procedures who utilize as many of the provisions as possible to get their monies worth. Where do you fall in this picture? Do you know the benefits offered in Christ? Do you take full advantage of them? Do you read the Word of God? Study it. Use it. Apply it. If not, you are missing out on blessings and benefits that are carefully detailed in God’s Word and waiting fulfillment in your life.

In Deuteronomy 28, the blessings of obedience are outlined in great detail including the “abundant prosperity” those who obey God. Before you exempt yourself because of sin, is the grace of God given to us in Jesus Christ enough to cover your debt? Is the Blood of Jesus still strong enough for the remission of sin? If it is (and it is), all these blessings are still in good standing. Jeremiah 29, tells us that God has a plan for our life that includes prosperity. The only thing I have to do is seek the Lord wholeheartedly. What’s the catch? You have to believe enough to use your faith to trust the Lord at His Word. How do I trust God? Simply do what His Word says while seeking His Presence wholeheartedly.

In Jesus Christ, I have been given every spiritual blessing from the Heavenly realm. (Ephesians 1:3-6) Digging deeper in God’s Word, there is a recurrent theme. Obedience. Knowing God’s Word, and doing what it says will prosper my life spiritually and physically. I have the potential for success in all things. However, it is not obtained religiously as some people and churches might want you to think. Prosperity gospel is nothing more than multi-level marketing in the church. As my soul prospers, God will prosper my life. No man has a say on the level of blessing in my life. God has granted me all blessings in Heaven and Earth according to His Word and I find it in obedience. What is obedience? I cannot possibly do everything right. Of course, not but it is in pursuing righteousness in love that it all belongs to us. What is that?

Proverbs 16:20 (AMP) He who pays attention to the word [of God] will find good, and blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) is he who trusts [confidently] in the Lord.

When asked “which is the greatest commandment in the Law”, Jesus responded, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first commandment. He didn’t stop there but went on to say, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”. Love. It is all about love. To seek God’s Presence and live in His Love prospers our life. As our soul gets it right, suddenly the windows of Heaven open and His Blessings begin to pour out all around us. It take energy, effort and commitment. Loving God and obeying Him is contradictory to human nature. Sin separates us from the Presence of God and limits our life. (Proverbs 28:13) Everything we do has the potential to prosper in God’s Love. (Psalm 1:1-3) His Way is always prosperous. (Psalm 10:5) Obedience to God equals prosperity every time. (Psalm 128) Prosperity is all about love and faithfulness (Proverbs 3:1-6) because it is an inheritance. I cannot earn God’s Love. He just freely gives it to me. I must choose to be faithful to my first love. Righteousness lived out in love with Jesus will prosper our life as our soul prospers. (Proverbs 21:21) Perfect love expels fear from our life so the sky becomes the limit. Dream it. Believe it. Do it. There are no limits for those who live in love with Jesus Christ.

Luke 9:24-26 (AMP)For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake, he is the one who will save it [from the consequences of sin and separation from God]. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world [wealth, fame, success], and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed [here and now] of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and the glory of the [heavenly] Father and of the holy angels.

To prosper in our natural life is the ordination of God beginning in Genesis. He did not change His Mind when people decided to find their own way but rather provided THE WAY (Jesus) to come back to Him in righteousness again. The choice to follow Jesus Christ is a personal one. Some will do so religiously and find great frustration. Those who decision to enter a real relationship with Jesus changes the outcomes of life. Seeking the Lord wholeheartedly means there will be things I choose to do and not do in His Name. My primary motivation and soul prosperity is in loving Jesus wholeheartedly and seeking Him that way. In doing so, I have many benefits available to me that He is ready to release in my life. It is up to me if I will have them or not according to my willingness to accept them. When my life means nothing outside of Christ, the things of this world fall down my priority list. As the Lord and His Spirit begin to make my heart fruitful, I find that things like love, joy and peace are the precious commodities of my life. As my soul prospers, my life naturally does as well because now I have a better perspective on how to use my resources for God’s Kingdom and His Glory. I can be generous in all things because things are not as important as My King. If the tangible blessings of God will in any way remove you from His Presence, you are not ready to naturally prosper. When your whole heart is invested in loving Jesus, then and only then will our natural life resemble our spiritual condition.

Friend, God’s Blessings belong to you. From Genesis 1, God has called us to live in a successful, flourishing or thriving condition especially in financial respects and good fortune. His Favor belongs to you as His Child. You have every right to the benefits of your salvation. All of this secured God’s Love for us and released by our love for God and our ability to transcend that love to others. In love with Jesus, our soul prospers and then so will the rest of our life. God will not put it in your hand until He has your whole heart. Beloved, I pray that in every way you may succeed and prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.

Jeremiah 29:13 (AMP) Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and [you will] find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

Good Seed

good-seed

Matthew 13:37-39 (NLT) Jesus replied, “The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed. The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and the harvesters are the angels.

The potential of the harvest is always in the seed. You will reap what you sow in the most basic form yields such a conclusion that whatever the content of the seed speaks to the end result of full development and growth potential. We must plant good seeds in our life. Johnny Chapman aka Johnny Appleseed was an American pioneer who traveled throughout Pennsylvania, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and parts of West Virginia planting apple seeds. He did not plant trees but seeds. Not just seeds that would produce a harvest of tasty apples, but he was an American legend known to be kind and generous in many ways. Mr. Chapman was a leader in conservation. He was also a missionary. Johnny Appleseed did not share a harsh message of turn or burn but of love and generosity that would show the Light of God’s Love to many Native Americans. I wonder if Christians today could boast of the same.

What are the seeds sown in our life each day? Are they good seeds? Is there such a thing as bad seed? Well, of course, it is all indicated by the harvest. When Johnny Appleseed planted those seeds across America, he did not just toss them on the ground carelessly moving on to the next without regard. He did not do random planted but produced radical transformation. He planted nurseries that would become orchards. Each nursery surrounded by a fence to keep it safe from livestock and he left the nursery in the care of a neighbor returning once every year or two to check on them. Are we planting good seed and tending it the same?

Genesis 1:27-31 (NLT) So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened. Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.

Human beings every single one born is created in the Image of God. Sin corrupted the good seed that God created limiting its potential and hindering its prosperity. The purpose which God instilled in you when He created you is not eliminated by sin at all. God created you and oversaw your life come together in your mother’s womb. No matter what the circumstances of your birth, condition of your childhood, or even bad choices made in the maturation process, none of it in any way limited the potential or promise of God built inside of you. The only limitation is sin.

Upon the entrance of humanity, God ordained two things reproduction and full authority. His Purpose for our life is that these two principles are restored to us. It begins with the elimination of sin which sounds so simple but becomes complex. Botanists have broken down the science of the plant reproduction, growth and development down to a cellular level. They have even tried to replicate the process but cannot change the factors only influence the variables. Biologists have reproduced animal life calling them clones. However, no one can reproduce human life any other way than that which was ordained by the Lord. When God create human beings things went from good to very good. If God knew our propensity to sin and rebel, how could He call people given to such “very good”, “special treasure” or even “beloved”? God sees the potential in the seed.

The potential is always in the seed. It is allowed to prosper when the elements needed to be transformed are introduced such as fertile soil, sunlight and water. Yet once committed to the ground, nobody can knows fully the mystery of growth that follows. We know the maturation process but how does it know what to do or how to do it is the burning question. God gives the increase. God knows what He is doing in seeds, animals and more importantly the human heart. Jesus Christ came to break the power of sin, death and the grave. He paid our debt in full so now the full potential of our life is not limited by it. It is by sowing the good seed of God’s Word in our heart consistently and committing our life to spiritual growth that His Full Potential breaks loose and prosperity is our portion. God created abundance for us in His Provision, Protection and Power. We just need to plant good seeds in a fertile heart to receive them.

James 3:17-18 (NLT) But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

Jesus is the farmer who plants good seed in us. When Jesus came to be our Savior and become our Lord, it was as a farmer sowing good seed in us. The seed of most potential is called faith. It is by far the smallest seed but should be the most coveted. It is the seed that develops into righteousness with God. Peace is a seed given by the Holy Spirit as He produces the other fruits of God’s Spirit in us including love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This was definitely demonstrated in the life of missionary and nurseryman, Johnny “Appleseed” Chapman. He understood the relevance of the Gospel and importance of relationship as he planted good seeds. He didn’t carelessly toss it to the ground and expect it to grow. He planted nurseries which required tending. He established people who he instructed and entrusted with his gardens. He supplied their needs. He came back to check on them continually.

Those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. When coming to Jesus as Savior, He gives us a tiny seed of faith offers us the platform of Himself to plant that seed in to grow deep roots. Many will call Him Savior but few will make Him the Lord of their life. Blessed are the peacemakers is often attributed to external relationships but it begins with Christ. Humbling ourselves before the Cross and remaining in Christ day after day. It is not what we do but the plowing, rending and breaking of our heart day by day allowing seeds of faith to be reproduced in us until greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. What does this mean?

Religion will never produce righteousness. It hinders the growth of spiritual fruit. Human life only produces natural things. The Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. I cannot avoid sin completely. I can attempt to make better choices and change certain habits, but my flesh likes sin whether I want to or not. With this in mind, our faith must grow into a thriving love affair with Jesus greater than our love for the sin, darkness or the world in order for us to produce the seeds of faith for others. We must make peace with God to release our potential. We must make peace with Jesus calling Him Lord to find our Way. We must allow the Holy Spirit to prosper our soul before we can be the sowers supplied by the Lord.

Matthew 13:31-32 (NLT) Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”

Faith sown richly produces life. As our faith grows, it expands to seed the Kingdom. It is a small seed. The smallest of them all usually hidden at the very bottom of our heart. It is discovered in complete brokenness with the realization I am nothing apart from Jesus Christ. I can do nothing good without Him. I cannot survive if He is not with me. The moment when His Grace becomes enough for us is the time when seed is released to the sower.

Everyone pictures the finish line of faith as a jubilant place. The line freshly painted rather than a line drawn in the sand. It is imagined that the “great cloud of witnesses” are cheering us on but only mockers and naysayers wait to see us fail in the greatest test of all. It is the moment that I know I cannot make it to victory or overcome in my own strength but by the grace of God that His Power is revealed in me. Most do not run through a bright colored tape with crowds and resounding applause but barely crawling on hands and knees to the finish with just enough to get one finger across the line. It is a humbling win to the world but a resounding victory to our soul when God cracks open our heart and releases our full potential that allows His Abundance to be produced by the good seed which has grown just a little more.

Mark 4:26-29 (NLT) Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.”

Every good seed planted in our life will yield a harvest. It doesn’t matter if it is planted and left behind. In due season, it will yield its harvest. Have you abandoned your field? When the Christian life did not change your current condition, circumstances or situation did you walk away? Did you sow good seed in your children but they became prodigal? Did you give your heart and life to another before God and man but that person changed their mind? You will reap what you sow. It is not contingent on you but completely by the Power of God that there is increase. You plant. Others water but it is God who increases our life. He cannot lie or change His Mind so if you planted faith – it is going to yield its potential.

The Word of God contains good seed. It tells us of our life potential in Jesus Christ. Every single Word in that book can be committed to fertile soil and watered by His Spirit to produce every good thing that is promised. If you are looking for worldly gain though, be warned you must plant in the world. If you love and desire money, then you must invest seed of the same. If you desire a promotion at work, you must invest the hard work and motivation to secure the position. If you desire power in this life, you must sow seeds of drive and determination in the same. But if you want the Kingdom, eternal life and Jesus Christ, it is in the Spirit that one must sow good seed.

I Corinthians 15:36-38 (NLT) What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first.  And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed.

“Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.” (John 3:6) To become one with Jesus Christ means that I must die to self. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. To become one with Him means that I must let my way go. Jesus does not force us to make such a choice but offers us the opportunity. To have all that He promised is to do all that His Word says, this is not something I can do in my flesh or it is religion. It is when I consummate my relationship by allowing faith to be the seed that gives birth to new life in me. Every seed put in the ground must die to its present form to become the potential that is inside. You reap what you sow. Yes! You also reap only as much as you sow!

2 Corinthians 9:6-10 (NLT) Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”  For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

Are you sowing good seed? What are you investing in today? We must carefully inspect the seeds of our heart and eliminate those which have little or no potential. Weeding out the ones that will result in nothing good is worth it when the harvest comes. There will always be weeds. (Matthew 13:24-29) The enemy will do his best to choke out God’s Word, His Potential and His Promise for our life. It marks his death sentence. He wants to steal, kill and destroy our faith with seeds of doubt, discouragement, defeat and despair. We overcome by faith. Faith must have time to grow in us to supply the famine or drought that lies ahead. To feed our heart, mind and spirit when the world is intent on starving it. We sow for the next season. It is preparation for the days ahead.

Sow generously. Sow good seed generously.  We must give before receiving. Giving is essential to good planting…God planting. You must constantly take in good seed from God’s Word and through communion and communication with the Lord in order to have anything worth sowing in your life. Too many times the cares of life demand our attention. Busyness sucks every spare second. Other things demand a higher priority as the images seem larger than our God. Faith invested even in the smallest portion yield huge potential. The softest and most desperate cry, “I trust you, Lord” will produce miracles and things greater than you ever imagined. You will reap what you sow. Choose to sow in the Kingdom today and you will harvest Kingdom benefits.

2 Timothy 2:3-7 (NLT) Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things.

Time to Activate

time-to-activate

2 Corinthians 1:20-22 (NLT) 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.

The email was tempting. The newest IPhone at a great price. It was so enticing that I opened it surely too good to be true. It all checked out. Up to this point, I had not been able to decide on a Christmas gift up to this point. I consulted my technology team (hence my daughters) who approved and encouraged me to act. I have an extremely difficult time doing things for myself. It is easy to gift good gifts to my family and friends. However, I do not like doing for me. I didn’t act right away but thought it best to sleep on it. The next morning, I got another email – “Hey, did you leave something in your cart?” After way too much deliberation and too much time thinking about a dumb cellphone made the decision and pushed the button.

A couple days later, I received the brand new shiny rose gold phone. Much larger than my old one, I carefully put it back in the box to await the protective case I had also ordered to arrive. Boxing it up carefully, I put it on my dresser. Another couple of days passed by and the case arrived, I put it in the box with my new gift. The box is still sitting on my dresser. I have not activated the new device even though everything I need to do so is right there. What’s wrong with me? I can psychoanalyze this all day long. I do not feel worthy of something so awesome. I do not want to take the time to go through the steps. I am afraid that I might be disappointed if I run into trouble.

God has given me many promises for my life. Promises that are not currently active in my life. Jesus Christ made every single gift and promise available to me through His Grace. When He died on the Cross, Jesus said, “It is finished.” When I finished wrapping all the gifts, it is with great satisfaction that I look at the tree with all its treasures for our family. The blessings of God evident in our life in a snapshot. I wonder if Jesus from His Place next to God looks at us wondering why we do not open and activate all the gifts given to us directly when He finished His Work on the Cross. What if on Christmas morning our children did not rush out of bed to open their gifts? What if they didn’t like them or chose not to use them? How would you feel? I would feel like I was taken for granted and my hard work wasted. Wouldn’t you? Does the Lord?

James 1:16-18 (NLT) So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

I love Christmas but my favorite is New Years. The chance to start over with a brand new year, make new commitments, to start fresh and all the hope attached to change. I love it. About mid-December each year, I begin to look past the coming holiday to the New Year. It is with such a mindset I do not look to make resolutions but seek divine revelation from the Lord. I want more of Him this year. I want to see the Promises laid on my heart so long ago come to pass. With this in mind and spoken in my prayer time a lot right now, the Lord laid the word “activate” on my heart today.

To activate means to make active or cause to function. In physics, it means to excite. Chemistry uses the word to refer to the hastening of a process or to make it begin to work. For those in the military, it is to be stationed or placed in position. All these things speak to me today for the coming year. Are there gifts and promises in my life that are simply not activated? Yes and amen. Jesus is yelling, shouting and jumping up and down (in a dignified godly manner, of course). He is cheering me on! Saying – “just do it”, “go for it” and “what are you waiting for.” See so many times we don’t see the potential of God’s Promise around us because we are too busy looking at ourselves with every flaw and imperfection listing all the reasons why it cannot and will not come to pass. What if the only thing keep you from fully achieving God’s Purpose for your life is that you simply refuse to activate the Gift within you? It is not only possible, but highly probable.

Why? Why me? Why now? What makes me so special that God would give me such good and perfect gifts? We are His Prized Possession. It really doesn’t matter how one perceives self but how we respond to God’s evaluation of us. Our faith is not in our personal ability or attributes but the Living God who is in us making all things possible. We are our biggest critics. No one beats us with a bigger bat. No one can inspect us any closer than we examine ourselves. What does all of this do? Lower our expectation. Raising fear and doubt. My worth is not based on my physical, mental or natural ability but solely on Jesus Christ inside of me. The gift of salvation activates every other gift in us when Jesus becomes our Savior and Lord. There is no other reason than I am a Child of God.

2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NLT) This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Activating this phone has opened a whole new revelation in my life. In preparation, I realized that my old phone with all its contacts and photos has not been backed up since April of this year. So I plugged it into the computer and downloaded all the new software. I just got a message in order to fully activate the new information that I must restart my computer. I pushed the “not now” button. The minute I did, I could feel the Holy Spirit tug on my heart. How many times do I put off time with God? Doing what He says? Seeking His Direction? How many gifts are left unopened in my life while I settle for lesser more comfortable things? Change is not comfortable or convenient but completely necessary to move the past into the future.

As I prepare for the New Year, my word for the coming year is “activate”. It is my goal to look within my heart for all the hidden things that I am holding on to which need to be surrendered by faith to have the hope that is reserved for me. God has blessed my life already so much that I feel unworthy and undeserving but that does not change the fact that He has blessings and promises yet to be filled. I must “fan into flames the spiritual gift God” has given me. All of them. Not just the ones that I am comfortably in control of but also those that take me out of my comfort zone with bold confidence that He who has promised is able. God did not give me a “spirit of fear and timidity” so if it exists in my life it is not of God but a ploy of the enemy in a vain attempt to keep me from assuming my position. Finally, Jesus gave me the Holy Spirit to be my helper. It is the Spirit of God within me that activates “power, love and self-discipline.” I must acknowledge His Spirit and depend on Him fully to step boldly into God’s Gifts and Promises all ready for me. It is up to me if 2017 will be just like 2016 or if I will activate all that God has for me. Will I function according to His Word and His Will? Will I be excited about the Lord? Will I hasten the process and allow the Lord to work in me through complete submission and full surrender? Finally will I take my position in the Kingdom of God and live like His Child? It is up to me. It is time to activate.

2 Peter 3:8-9 (NLT) But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 

Are You Hungry?

are-you-hungry

Psalm 107:8-9 (NIV) Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

It never fails. Our family can agree that everyone is hungry and sometimes even exaggerate a bit to use the word “starving” but follow-up with the question – “where would you like to eat?” Nobody can decide. Once someone does voice an opinion then no one can agree. I may ask them, “What would you like to eat?” Oh course, no one knows. I offer suggests that are batting down like a goalie deflecting a hockey puck. Finally after debating over and over, our car pulls into one of the usual hangouts with a disgruntled person who had the same thing just the other day, one who truly still does not care, a victorious one who is truly glad to eat here and my husband who “for the love of God” just wants out of the vehicle. Sound familiar? It is the sound of those who have choices, options and more than enough. Too many choices it sounds like to me.

Now let’s flip the script for a minute, bear with me. I am definitely going somewhere with this little rant. If I am in the kitchen cooking dinner, inevitably one of the kids will come in to investigate further. They will inquire as to the menu which I will happily relay to them. Nothing irks a mama worse than planning meals for a week, working all day, coming home to prepare the meal of the day and have someone sigh in utter disgust at all her hard work. Just a hint people…this is not Burger King and you cannot have it your way. There are times when one might attempt to stage a protest with “I’m not hungry” or “I’m not eating”. This is a personal choice and I am not going to force feed my children especially with them half-grown into adults. However, no you may not make something else. Yes, you will join in the fellowship around the dinner table even if you do not choose to partake of the evening meal. Why? Because I am the mom that’s why.

Unless you are alone and deciding what you will eat for your next meal, one of these two scenarios will likely be faced when dinnertime comes around. Hunger and thirst are natural driving forces in life that can also have spiritual applications. God desires to satisfy us body, mind and spirit. The satisfaction of our soul is a top priority to the Lord. However, Christians have developed a sense of entitlement that somehow has decided that there is a choice. Well, this is partially true. But unless fully explored, it is easy to become deceived. Eve became deceived. Hunger was in the Garden of Eden hence there was fruit growing from the tree. Water flowed through the center of it indicating a thirst. When introduced with a choice, man immediately fell into the trap of doubt and disbelief. Wow, that didn’t take long.

 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:16-17) The Lord was clear in His Direction. Offering mankind every other option but one. The one that would kill them. Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (Genesis 3:1-6) Before one judges Even too quickly or too harshly, be reminded that our inability to completely trust the Lord in all things causes us to make bad choices each and every day. Humans have a tendency to desire the one thing that is withheld. It becomes the very thing they have an appetite for ignoring all other good things that the Lord has provided for them. It is the very reason many will choose the crumbs under His Table rather than feasting and fellowshipping with the King.

God wants to satisfy your hunger and thirst with good things. This is a true statement that demands a choice. Just one decision that changes everything. Will you choose Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life? Or will you pick something else? Each day there are many offerings in our life because God has given us total and complete freedom. Everything God does is complete. His Plan for you is complete. His Provision for the plan is complete. His Prosperity is predestined for our life. Everything God has in store for us is good, satisfying and fulfilling. So why do we still hunger and thirst each day for other things? Why are Christians dissatisfied with their life? Why do we hunger? Why do we lack?

Matthew 5:6 (NIV) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Revival is an appetite for righteousness. It is a hunger and thirst for Jesus Christ that cannot be satisfied by lesser things. It must become the driving force of the church to see the Glory of God manifest itself. Let’s go back to the dilemma of hunger. When presented with choices, no one can decide what they really want. When in a group of people, the decision is more difficult as public opinion weighs in. Each person, family, church and community puts a little different spin on what righteousness really is. My righteousness comes directly and completely from Jesus Christ alone. I believe that McDonald’s has the best French fries of any fast food restaurant in the world. Now, you may agree or disagree. If I go to another fast food chain and order fries, but expect them to be just like McDonald’s I will be disappointed. I may not be hungry anymore but I will not be satisfied because my desire is not met. Welcome to most churches in the world today. Buildings full of people who cannot agree on the choice of righteousness. Congregations at an impasse because though they desire revival no one knows, understands or believes that it will come so they settle for lesser things. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed. Free to choose who and what they will worship in life. We didn’t earn the right choose, but Jesus gives us the right to choose how we live our life with the opportunity to be righteous again. To be satisfied. To live in complete contentment. To see His Glory fall all around us again. To experience in expressible joy, supernatural miracles, and purposeful prosperity every single day. This is His Gift to us. But…

Romans 3:22-24 (NIV) This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 

Just as many cannot agree on true satisfaction is and where to receive it, many struggle with the fact that it is God’s Way. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life as stated in His Word. No one comes to the Father but through the Blood of Jesus Christ. Here is the problem. People demand choices. They want to decide how to live their life. Isn’t that freedom after all? It is. You are free to choose. The Way to God is clearly defined. This is a stumbling block for many and the barricade that holds back the Glory of God and revival from hitting our altars, pews, churches, homes, workplaces and communities. We want to choose how, when and where God will visit us. However, Christ lives in us. We choose to honor Him with our life or choose another way.

The enemy challenges what we know and believe about God every single day. The only way to achieve righteousness is faith in Jesus Christ. It is the only way. He takes the little bit of word that we know and tiny bit of knowledge it has grown challenging our right to choose each day. Pride chimes in with a voice of its own creating dissatisfaction and discontentment in God when He has provided every spiritual blessing for this life. If my life is not all God has promised me, it is not because God is not doing His Part. He chose to love me first. He sent His Son to make a way for my return. He has given me every spiritual blessing to lead to complete and total fulfillment. Every lesser thing in my life and substitution allowed to exist is according to my free will. I choose to accept less than God’s Best when I choose some other way that is not God’s Way.

Nehemiah 9:13-19 (NIV) “You came down on Mount Sinai; you spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good. You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws through your servant Moses. In their hunger you gave them bread from heaven and in their thirst you brought them water from the rock; you told them to go in and take possession of the land you had sworn with uplifted hand to give them. But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them, even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,’ or when they committed awful blasphemies. Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take.”

The Lord will never take away our right to choose who we serve. He will not restrict our freedom and contradict our word. Faith is the choice to believe in the hope that He has given us. We cannot live in the realm of hope and live life in reality. The reality of faith is hope. Hope cannot be seen. It requires trust. Trust that is not set on what we see or know in the natural but every promise given supernaturally by God. We must have an appetite for righteousness. We must hunger and thirst for right standing with God. This is only found in Christ alone. No matter how religious a person is, or how right they think they are. It doesn’t matter if you have great influence in your community or church – if you choose any other way than Jesus Christ. Revival will come when the Body of Christ agrees on righteousness. When we come together collectively to hunger and thirst for one thing, giving up our way and completely embracing God’s Way of righteousness fully accepting the Grace given to us by Jesus Christ.

Psalm 34:8-10 (NIV) Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Many people do not make wise food choices. Opting for fast food, convenience, and satisfying hungers that have nothing to do with their physical need for food. Many suffer from obesity and even some eating disorders. Hunger and thirst in the natural sense often will tell its own emotional story. With the New Year only a couple of weeks away, many will make the commitment to make better health choices in the coming year. Gym memberships will increase. Salad bars will be ravished. The church will embark on its on spiritual diet called fasting. It has become a “fad” over the last several years to fast for an allotted amount of time in January. Self-depravation and starvation will lead to a whole lot of moaning and complaining but not enough praying. To make a difference means to make better choices. What are those things in our life that must change to see the Glory of God reach us?

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. Those who fear Him lack nothing. They are fulfilled. Satisfied. Content and complete in Jesus Christ. It is this confidence that makes are faith strong. Grace becomes our strength in human weakness. Human weakness is perceived as the giving up our way to someone else. This would solve a lot of food wars on Friday nights, and even more fights over family dinner. Until the church unites in its appetite for righteousness, hungering and thirsting for one thing, the same thing, that is Jesus – friends there will be no revival. We will continue to eat different things, dine in different places and see God differently from place to place. Disunity causes dysfunction. To cry out for revival and not hunger and thirst together is like everyone calling out for the “food” they want and not the “fulfillment” God desires to release among us.

Can we all agree to hunger and thirst together for the same thing? It strengthens our cry for revival as everyone becomes in one accord. God loves unity. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. To follow Jesus means that we all end up in the same place. One step in either direction other than in wild pursuit of Him offers something different for each one us. We must agree on an appetite of righteousness and the Glory of God will join us. You don’t have to go to the same church or be a member of the same congregation to be after the same thing. We are part of a Kingdom and its gateway is righteousness.

Psalm 42:1-2 (NIV) As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

Psalm 63:1-3 (NIV) You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.

 

 

The Outcasts

The Outcasts

Psalm 63:1-3 (NLT) O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life I tself; how I praise you!

My soul thirsts for you. Are you thirsty today? Not naturally or physically, but spiritually thirsty for more of God. The common answer of every Christian would be “yes” or “amen”. However, is our thirst enough to be defined as desperation? When a need is prolonged, it moves from desire to desperation. I need God every day. I want Him. I desire Him. The longer it takes to finally reach the depth of my desire, the more desperate I become.

My whole body longs for in you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. If my soul is thirsty for the Lord, it will soon begin to impact the rest of body and spirit in an attempt to attain the fulfillment it desires. If my thirst is not sufficiently satisfied naturally, my body will begin to manifest many physical symptoms. Dehydration impacts us mentally and physically as the body goes into overload due to its overwhelming need for water. For example, mild dehydration produces symptoms such as dry mouth, sleepiness, thirst, decreased output, dry skin, headache, and dizziness. These warning signs are an indication that there is a physical need that is becoming urgent. When not addressed, mild dehydration turns into severe dehydration which becomes a medical emergency. Severe dehydration is marked by the same symptoms which now become extreme. Additionally, it is associated with low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, as well as, rapid breathing. There are no tears when crying. In the most severe cases, delirium or unconsciousness may develop. If these symptoms are ignored, the person will die.

The earth’s surface is covered by roughly 71% water. Water even exists in the air as water vapor. Yet there are still those who die of dehydration every day. Equally, there are many who will succumb to desperation today rather than tapping into the Life Source of Jesus Christ. They hunger and thirst. Their need turns to desperation. Doubt and disbelief coupled with ignorance and pride keep them from immersing their entire being into Living Water. “Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart!’” Are you dry today? Are you thirsty? Is your soul dehydrated? Are you desperate for the Lord today? I am.

Matthew 5:6 (NKJV) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

There are many dedicated Christians. People who attend church regularly. Reading God’s Word and applying it to their life, they live in a comfortable relationship with the Lord. They are committed to basic obedience that yields more blessing than they ever thought possible. However, in their routine structure of life Jesus bears a certain role rather than becoming the Source of Life. When trouble comes or chaos hits, it is met with a natural reaction rather than confident hope. I don’t want to be a dedicated Christian.

It is my life goal to be a desperate disciple. I do not want to stop until I discover the width, length, height and depth of the Love of Jesus Christ for me. I want to know what He means in His Offer to do exceedingly abundantly more than I can ask or think according to His Power at work in me. The Love of Christ that surpasses earthly knowledge so I may be filled with the fullness of God. I am desperately seeking the kind of relationship with Jesus that brings His Kingdom to the earth along with every sign, miracle and wonder that the Realm called Hope promises to produce. I want to experience the impossible made possible at His Word. I want to be the one who goes against the flow of religion and tradition who, just like Peter, jumps out of the boat by faith as many times as it takes to make it to Jesus Christ. I am hungry and thirsty for righteousness or right standing with My God. He promises me that I will be filled. I will find satisfaction.

2 Kings 7:3-4 (NLT) Now there were four men with leprosy sitting at the entrance of the city gates. “Why should we sit here waiting to die?” they asked each other. “We will starve if we stay here, but with the famine in the city, we will starve if we go back there. So we might as well go out and surrender to the Aramean army. If they let us live, so much the better. But if they kill us, we would have died anyway.”

The King of Israel had made pact with the Arameans. The King of Aram was at war with Israel. He would plan an attack with his officers which the Lord would convey to Elisha who then would warn the King of Israel. Time and time again saving Israel which infuriated the king of Aram. So the Aramean king plotted to capture Elisha. Elisha’s servant was afraid so the prophet asked the Lord to open his spiritual eyes. When God did the servant saw the hillside filled with horses and chariots of fire. When the enemy troops approached, they were struck blind and led right into Israel’s hands. The king of Israel wanted to kill them but the Lord had other plans. Instead, a great feast was prepared for them and they were sent home again.

When King Ben-Hadad of Aram mustered up some courage, he sent his army into Samaria to besiege Israel. This time his invasion brought a great famine to the land. New devil, new level. The king of Israel encountered a woman who had made a pact with another woman to eat their children. She had gone through with it and the other woman reneged on the pact. He was overwrought by this news. Tearing his clothes, he wanted to kill Elisha as he blamed him for this disaster. (II Kings 6) When the messenger arrived at the home where the prophet was staying, the Lord had already let his man know that they were after his head. He sent him back with a message that then next day the famine would end. The officer of the king persisted and Elisha assured him that he would not partake. This brings us to four lepers sitting just outside the gate.

The four lepers were in a desperate situation. They were hungry, thirsty and literally starving. In their desperation rather than trying to seek help from their people who obviously could not help themselves, they decided to surrender. For if the enemy let them live, it would be better than this. If they were killed, what did it matter for they were dying anyway? When they arrived, they found the camp was deserted. The soldiers were gone yet all their belongings remained. The Lord had come and scared away the enemy but left the blessing for His People just as Elijah told the messenger. The four lepers went back to tell the gatekeepers the news who shouted it to the people. The king still not convinced sent out scouts who confirmed the news. In their hunger and haste, the officer of the king who doubted was trampled at the gate by the people rushing out for provision. Everything happened exactly as Elisha told them it would.

Our response to desperation reveals the contents of our heart. What we do in desperation determines our destiny. The king became desperate and turned on God. His inability to believe the God of the Impossible caused great despair so he turned his heart and hand against the Lord. The four lepers were desperate before the famine. Their condition created a great need anyway complied with famine left them nothing. Their situation was impossible. Yet rather than rising up against God – they chose to surrender. They went to the enemy’s camp and took back what the enemy had taken from them. What is your response to the desperation of your soul, mind and body today? Will you blame the Lord? Will you surrender and take back what the enemy has taken from you? I am desperate to take back so many things that the enemy has stolen from my life. I am desperate for the victory and fulfillment of God. Am I desperate enough to surrender my entire life to faith in the Living God? Will I hunger and thirst for right-standing with Him day by day, moment by moment, crisis to crisis?

Judges 15:18-19 (NLT)  Samson was now very thirsty, and he cried out to the Lord, “You have accomplished this great victory by the strength of your servant. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of these pagans?” So God caused water to gush out of a hollow in the ground at Lehi, and Samson was revived as he drank. Then he named that place “The Spring of the One Who Cried Out,” and it is still in Lehi to this day.

Believers and followers of Christ are promised a life of transformation from glory to glory. The Lord works in us constantly turning our heart back to Him. With each new revelation accepted by faith and confident hope, there will be victories. Will we rest on our laurels? Samson had just killed 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey filled when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. After the battle, he was very thirsty. With great victory comes added desperation as the Lord fills us again because we live victory to victory. It is hard to imagine a single person killing 1,000 attackers yet it happened. When Samson cried out to the Lord, God immediately responded with water and he was revived.

It is human nature to control certain things. To believe natural outcomes are physical results and forget that our spirit man (or woman) needs nourishment. Even living as an overcomer, it is easy to lose sight of where our source of strength began all in fighting the good fight of faith. We do not seek replenishment from the Lord but allow our soul to run dry, become dehydrated creating desperation. God will meet your need today. Just because you are weak doesn’t mean you have failed or lost a battle, it simply means you need more of Him. God doesn’t make bad things happen. He uses the attack of the enemy to renew us, restore us and revive us because it increases our dependency on Jesus so we surrender more of ourselves to Him.

Psalm 145:13-16 (NLT) For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations. The Lord always keeps his promises; he is gracious in all he does. The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads. The eyes of all look to you in hope; you give them their food as they need it. When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.

In Genesis 17:7, God confirms His Covenant as an everlasting one. “This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God…” Everlasting is without end. His Kingdom is an everlasting kingdom which means it is the supreme authority and most powerful of all because it will never end. It will outlast every other authority and power ever known. We are members of that kingdom. We have all the same power in us that overcame death and the grave. Greater is He who lives, breathes and exists in us.

Why the desperation? Why the great need? Why do we have unfulfilled desires? We have not brought His Kingdom to earth…yet. I hear the cry for revival and join in the song. It will not come until men and women of God become desperate for the Lord again. Not just a good life with good things, but with a God Life where the impossible is always possible. The kind of faith that accepts nothing less than the full satisfaction of God. Those who will tarry until His Spirit comes. Pray until each request completely answered. It will take full surrender of our current condition, abandonment of comfort zones and for committed Christians to become desperate disciples of the Living God.

Some translations refer to the four lepers as outcasts. There were only four of them. This is not a popular lifestyle because it means giving up this life to save our soul. These men bravely were willing to face death to take back what the enemy had stolen from them. What has the enemy taken from you today? Does he have your joy? Has he hidden your hope? Did the enemy rob you of heath? Captured your thoughts? Is he messing with your kids? Has he helped himself to your stuff? It’s time to take it back. Take it all back.  I want to be an outcast of this world and a citizen of God’s Everlasting Kingdom. The Lord always keeps His Promises. He has promised to satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing. Lord, let that be me. Is that you? It is definitely me. Lord, I am desperate for you today!

It Belongs to Me

It Belongs to Me

Psalm 16:5-8 (NKJV)

O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance. I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.

 

My husband has decided that he would like a pair of cowboy boots. I am not sure why he would like a pair, but he has been looking in stores and online for the perfect pair. On a whim, we loaded up the girls and went to a store that specialized in boots, jeans and other “country” type items. I am from the South but have never been quite that Southern if you know what I mean. I say, “Hey y’all” and love sweet tea but that is about the extent of it. Walking into the store, I left my wallet in the car certain there was nothing that would appeal to me. I was wrong. On one wall of home décor, there was a section of nothing but crosses. A particularly worn one caught my eye over its rugged appearance was a piece of metal with the words, “Amazing Grace” burned into it. It spoke to me. I turned to show my daughter but she had moved on to another part of the store where something had caught her eye as well. Looking around the store, it was clear everyone had found something that appealed to them. Isn’t funny how that works out in life?

 

The Lord is my inheritance and He is my cup. What does that mean exactly? Jesus is everything that I hope for and He is all that I have. We forget that sometimes. Like my family who all walked in the store together on a mission to find dad a pair of boots, once inside everyone headed off in their own direction. Life keeps us very busy. We get wrapped up in personal pursuits, agendas and endeavors forgetting that this is a temporary place and our situations are not permanent. I love what the psalmist says, “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” Where are you today? What are you after? Does it matter? God has a plan for us and a purpose. He not only provides what we need to make it through each day well cared for but promises us an inheritance.

 

Romans 8:14-17 (NKJV)

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

 

As a believer, we have the opportunity to be sons and daughters of God. There is but one requirement. We walk in the Spirit and not according to our flesh. It means that Jesus is not only our Savior, but has been chosen as Lord of our life. Adoption is a choice. Every man and woman makes the choice to be a son or daughter of God. He does not force you to follow the example of His Son, Jesus. In fact, we are free to do what we please every single day of our life. It is completely up to us who we will serve. Make no mistake. You will serve someone. The only limit to the Love of God in my life is my willingness to receive it. He not only designates a portion to provide for my life but an inheritance for me as His Child. He is God here and now. He is the God of my future.

 

Do you live led by the Holy Spirit? This is not a trick question but the only requirement to be called a Child of God. The Holy Spirit promotes oneness with Jesus. He prods us to do the right thing according to God’s Word and His Way. He is the one who prospers the things in us that make us like our Father. It matters how we live. Let me say that again, there is no condemnation in Jesus Christ so it matters how we live. (Romans 8:1) There is therefore…can be misconstrued. It doesn’t say there therefore there is no condemnation in Christ. It says, “There is therefore” no condemnation in Christ. It is only by placing our entire existence in the Lordship of Jesus that we overcome sin completely and obtain righteousness fully. My flesh or human being cannot please God. It is completely and fully contaminated by sin. Unacceptable to a perfect God.

 

Picture this – it is like a costume. When I step into the costume and begin to pull it up over my legs and torso, putting my arms in each side and lift the covering over my head, I assume the identity of the character all around me. People do not see me but the character that I have become. My salvation and adoption is not about me. It is not accomplished by anything I do other than stepping into the character and person of Jesus Christ and covering my life completely in Him. We do this every day if our choice is to live by the Spirit.

 

The best part is this – we become heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. Whaaat? Our inheritance in God is the contents of His Kingdom. To be joint heirs with Jesus is to partner with His Authority and Power now and forever more. He becomes our portion now as we are able to bring Heaven to earth and He is our forever as we are more than conquerors. My inheritance belongs to me. My portion is already provided. Say that out loud. Let your body, mind and spirit soak it in. I am a Child of God. My inheritance belongs to me. I have been provided a portion that fulfills every need.

 

Romans 8:28-30 (NKJV)

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

 

Romans 3:21-24 tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of what? God’s Glorious Standard of Living. It is the lie of the enemy that tells people that to live for Jesus Christ is restrictive in nature. It limits our flesh but not our spirit. In fact, to take control of our flesh allows us to flourish in the Kingdom of God. The more of our life surrendered to the Lord the less our limitation. This is how we know…this is how I know that all things work together for my good because I love God and I am called according to His Purpose. It is in this thing called confident hope that I find a better and more satisfying life. I know it is not logical. It is not realistic. It may seem a bit irrational. All I know is that it is true.

 

Romans 8:31-33 (NKJV)

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

 

This verse reminds me of when the Lord asks Elijah, “What are you doing here?” Similar to when He asked Adam, “Who told you that?” The lie of the enemy is fierce opposition because we see what He is saying even though it contradicts what we know about God. Faith in Jesus Christ absolutely has to go beyond our natural emotions and human feelings. It must go against our gut sometimes to take hold of hope refusing to let go. The Lord told Abraham to leave his natural inheritance into another land, Abraham trusted the Lord so he did. (Hebrews 11:8-10) This would be the first step of faith that would one day make him the father of many nations and a true friend of God. It would be his righteousness that his faith in God did not waver. Nothing in God’s Kingdom or God’s Heart changed when you decided not to trust Him anymore or hope seemed too farfetched to take hold of. Not a single ounce of your inheritance went missing and your cup did not run dry. You moved. You turned your cup over and said, “No thank-you.” Just like in a restaurant, the whole operation did not close down and the coffee pot did not get shut off because you decided you didn’t want anything. The moment we open our heart and mind to Jesus and allow ourselves to be led by His Spirit again – the windows of Heaven fly open and its contents come pouring out.

 

Colossians 3:23-24 (NKJV)

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

 

I want what belongs to me. I want full satisfaction on the earth. I want every blessing hidden in Heaven awaiting my arrival. I want it all. My pursuit of such things will keep me in alignment with Jesus. He is my partner. His Spirit gives me strength and understanding because quite frankly faith makes no sense at all. It defies reality. It calls things that aren’t as though they were which most often we must wait to see. Exceeding greatness is available to those who believe. (Ephesians 1:15-21) But do not be deceived, we are the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Our inheritance is not here but in Heaven. (Numbers 18:22; Deuteronomy 18:1-2) The Lord promises to be our portion and full satisfaction instead. Our inheritance will last forever. (Psalm 37:18-19) It is worth having. It requires my life.

 

Ephesians 3:14-21 (NKJV)

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

 

Someone told me just yesterday that they wanted to know what their inheritance was as a Child of God. There was no hidden meaning or Christian jargon in the statement but the look in her eyes cleared of a child in pursuit of her Father’s Love. Do you know that you are God’s Heir today? Have you realized that as a Joint-Heir with Jesus Christ? You have the power and authority to change your living conditions effective immediately in Jesus Name. Sometimes we forget. Sometimes it is a lack of understanding. Most of the time it just doesn’t make any sense. But in those moments that we move just a little bit closer to the edge of our faith peering beyond into the realm of hope that we discover it just gets better. So much so that we forget that which once kept us bound because we must have more. Today’s revelation is not a new one – but rather a work in progress in our life. As we learn to live in Christ – life gets better. Not because I do not do what I used to do, say what I used to say, or choose the choices I used to. It is all because of who I am. I am a Child of God.

 

It is simply in our understanding of who we are and who lives in us that we are able to move past today and persevere until tomorrow knowing new mercy will reach us and that the Lord is working everything out for my good. I am filled with His Portion. I have an inheritance. It is mine. I want it. I am willing to lay down my life to have it. Our understanding must not be limited by logic or restricted by reasoning, we must never keep ourselves bound by reality but become fully released into the realm of hope. I have found that I do not like to go there and sometimes need a little push. Thank you God. Thank you Holy Spirit for enabling me to experience all the blessings of being a Child of God!

 

Whatever that thing is that seems too important to let go, just go ahead and do it. The problem that has reached epic Philistine proportions – it’s going down. Just lift your hands to Heaven today and say, “I am a Child of God! Whatever He has for me I want it.  I will lay my life down to have it.” Now do what you said!

 

I Peter 1:3-5 (NKJV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Collard Greens Song

Collard Greens Song

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT)

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

 

Riding home one evening from dinner, the radio was playing softly in the background. I heard a song that I really liked begin to play. Turning it up, I told my husband to listen when my girls shouted from the backseat. “Turn it up, mom. It’s the Collard Greens song.” I couldn’t help but laugh. “Why do you call it the Collard Greens Song?” I couldn’t help but ask. They responded in unison, “Because that’s what he says.” We turned up the music to listen more intently for the words they insisted were in the song. Well, the song is called “Call It Grace” by Unspoken. The chorus is “Some call it foolish and impossible but for every heart it rescues it’s a miracle. It’s nothing less than scandalous this love that took our place. Just call it what it is…call it grace. In their defense, I absolutely can hear “collard greens” when they sing “call it grace.”

 

In the South, collard greens are a delicacy especially when someone knows how to prepare them properly. My mom used to buy huge bundles of them for holiday meals or special occasions. Preparing these massive plants for consumption is a chore. She would rinse the bundles in the sink and dump them in the washing machine. After a good rinse cycle, she would begin to cut away the rough stems holding the leaves together while a huge pot of water and salt was placed on the stove began to boil. Working diligently until every leaf was separated, she would put them in the pot with a ham hock, bacon grease or pork fat. As they began to boil, the house smelled awful. How something so tasty could smell so terrible is beyond me. My husband doesn’t like them and will not allow me to cook them in the house so my mother-in-law often prepares them for us. You might say to us southern folks a steaming pot of collard greens might be considered a masterpiece considering all the work that goes into their preparation for presentation.

 

God’s Grace allows us to become God’s Masterpiece. The process of grace is messy as God takes there terrible mess that sin has made of our life carefully working to remove it and replace it with His Grace and Power. When we believe in Jesus Christ, we are saved by His Grace. It sounds so easy who would think it so difficult. However, it is difficult for many to receive God’s Grace as it is given and give it as is indicated in God’s Word. Why? We just don’t understand what it is and how it works. We might as well think like my girls who used to sing…”call it what it is…collard greens.”

 

Let’s start with the facts. Just the most primary basics of our new life in Christ. Salvation is not a reward therefore no matter what we did before receiving it or what we do once it is discovered impact its potential and outcome in our life. You cannot make salvation or work it out – it is a miracle of God presented to us for our acceptance or rejection. Nothing more or less. We cannot (or should not) boast about who or what we are in Jesus Christ because we are not the one’s responsible for the complete and total transformation that we are presently undergoing. Everything that is good in us is a direct result of Christ coming to live in us. Even self-control is produced by His Spirit. Grace is the promise, potential and power of God that creates the masterpiece that He predestined us to be. He is the Potter and we are the clay.

Jeremiah 18:11-6 (NLT)

The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. Then the Lord gave me this message: “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.

 

Romans 9:21-23 (NLT)

When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory.

 

Grace is that thing which is eagerly accepted yet reluctantly given. It costs the giver something that the recipient is unable or unwilling to pay. Why? I don’t think everyone understands the magnitude and complexity of the grace that is given to us by God through Jesus Christ. Essentially, grace takes us from the trash and puts us into God’s Hand again. At first, our hearts are hard. Necks have become stiff and set in our own ways. By we are washed by the Word of God, and get a little softer. We are moistened by the Holy Spirit, who works in us and through us, to create a movable and shapeable form. Obedience begins to mold us into the more acceptable way which is beginning to manifest in waves of grace making its way throughout our life and things are getting better so that little thing called pride rises up within us telling us “look at what an awesome job you are doing.” Uh-oh. Boasting turns from what God is doing in us to what we are doing for God. Can you hear the inherent danger? The signals are coming off.

 

Now when people come to church immersed in their sin – they don’t look like us – the don’t smell like us – they don’t do the right things – they don’t know the words to the songs – they don’t act like we do – they don’t talk like we do – they are not one of us. His mercy is new every morning – and thankfully so. These presumptions made about others were once made about us. Relationships turned religious always make us look down. Our relationship to Jesus will not allow it because in His Grace all I can do is look up to Him because there is nothing worthy enough that I can do, say or be for Him. Jesus is everything to me. Those people who I am judging, talking about or looking down upon are me in the beginning I just don’t remember what Jesus did or truly understand this thing called grace.

 

I Corinthians 15:10 (NLT)

But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace.

 

Many people are crying out to God and pleading for revival. Hmmm… do we really know what we are asking for? The things of God are delivered by faith through the Grace of God. Grace is a continual flow or it becomes a stagnant pond. The very second that we determine something else is unworthy of God’s Grace. It stops. It doesn’t matter how hard I work, how much I serve, how anointed by God that “I” think I am, if I am not ever aware of His Grace and my responsibility to be gracious, it stops working in me completely.

 

What is the truth about God’s Grace? Sin has accomplished two things in my life – sin has produced inevitable eternal death and it has stripped me of God’s Glorious Standard of Living. (Romans 3:23-24) Grace fixed me. Faith in God through Jesus Christ by accepting and applying His Grace to my life allows me to have hope of eternal life AND to live according to God’s Goodness right here and right now. Grace is not an exclusive right but inclusive relationship. We are part of the Body of Christ now. There are no rogues. Rogues are labeled rebellious. Grace gives us the freedom to part ways with sin completely along with all its consequences and become part of something far greater and more powerful – His Kingdom. The Law condemned us and created religion to keep itself alive. I am bound to Jesus Christ in a covenant relationship by His Grace alone. Grace is the life changing message to be sent around the world. (Colossians 1:6) It will never make it until we know what it is and learn how to circulate it.

 

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NLT)

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

I was talking to one of my kids yesterday about grace. The more I shared the concept of grace with him concerning others the more I came to recognize how it works in our life. We cannot fathom grace in our strength but identify it in our weakness. When we are feel complete or whole, it is not something sought after or required but in our utter brokenness and total weakness that we desire it more and more. The Power of Christ is not sought after in what I can do but when I am absolutely convinced that I can do nothing that I find it. The process of transformation is much like the plight of the collard greens. Cut down in their splendor and beauty in the field. Rising up from a seed, enduring all seasons, and feeling as though it made it only to be cut down. In the kitchen of a chef, washed, cut, broken and prepared to be unceremoniously dumped into a pot boiling water cooking over fires of refinement. The heat unbearable the leaves become soft and soak in the flavors present all around them until finally ready. They are placed in a lovely bowl and presented to those who are hungry. Doesn’t grace work the same way?

 

God prepares us to be offered to the world. Not hard and unpalatable, but as living sacrifices who give off a flavor of grace to all that come searching. If I am not softened in the Hands of God until I am fit for His Service, there will be no revival. If I do not learn what grace really is, there will be no message to offer the world. I must understand grace. I must apply it practically and impartially in my life.

 

Hebrews 4:15-16 (NLT)

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

 

Coming to the Throne of God asking for revival, I am humbled that what I need to get ready is more grace. He is a Gracious God. We must be His Gracious People. To be gracious means to be pleasantly kind and benevolent. It is to be merciful and compassionate. Jesus understands our weakness and when offered to Him can apply His Grace. We must learn to properly apply grace in our life as well. We must not treat the Grace of God as meaningless. (Galatians 2:20-21) Without God’s Amazing Grace our life is over. We have nothing. It will not end well for us no matter how good we think we are or how hard we try. The boldness that I have is my faith in the Grace of God given in the life of Jesus Christ. To put my confidence in anything or anyone else especially me implies that I have put another god in the place of the One, True Living God.

 

I Peter 1:13-17 (NLT)

So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s Obedient Children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents”.

 

There is no sin in the Kingdom of God only grace. There is no hurt, pain, trial or trouble. Just immeasurable love and grace flowing down from the Father through His Son. As we work to build the Kingdom, we must be every mindful of the commodity on which His Kingdom operates. It is fully activated by grace. Unlimited grace. Forgiving grace. Applicable grace. Everything we do or so in this world should reflect God’s Grace, Love and Mercy which leaves no room for pride, separation or fear outside of complete reverence for the Grace given to us at such a huge price. Today as I get ready to head to church, I am reminded that over the years I have learned a lot about grace but today I am challenged to know more grace and be more gracious than ever before. God’s Grace working in me is the only hope I have that does not lead to disappointment but everlasting life. Grace is God’s Standard of Living that makes me prosperous and successful in this world and effective in sharing the Good News. Some call it foolish and impossible. But for my heart it is a miracle. This is the Love that took our place. So call it what it is – call it grace. I will never listen to the song “Call it Grace” without thinking about collard greens. I also won’t hear it again without thinking just a little bit more about this scandalous and precious gift given for me to give to others. Thank you Jesus for amazing grace!

 

Titus 3:7-8 (NLT)

Because of His Grace He made us right in His Sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial to everyone.

New Benefits

New Benefits

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (NIV)

But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

With the arrival of 2016 comes immediate change in our family’s healthcare benefits. Our insurance provider and benefits have been the same for many, many years now. Before our son was diagnosed with cancer, our family seldom used our health insurance for more than the occasional injury or minor illness. I understood our benefit planned and how it worked. I knew who was a “provider” and what medications were covered. When our son became ill, my knowledge and experience rose to a whole new level as we encountered the limits of medical insurance. A few months back, my husband’s company was sold and new benefit packages were provided. I have to admit that while I am thankful we are provided the blessing of healthcare coverage, it has also caused some anxiety. I was comfortable with our old insurance. Even with its limitations, I knew what it would and would not cover. I was familiar with the cost of care and the fact we could afford it. Now as the New Year arrives, it is with a new insurance company, new providers and a new plan.

The Irony of God does not escape me. God is doing a “new thing” in our family. He is doing something “new” in me which culminates with the arrival of 2016. We have experienced many new things recently. New job, new company, new cars, new church, and more new things are just around the corner. I am excited to see, feel and know God is moving in us and through us again, but I would be a liar to say that I am not a bit uneasy. I relish my comfort zone. I really like order and control. When the Lord moves in our life, there is always change. Change brings uncertainty that makes us need more faith and confident hope in order to continue moving in the right direction. I want the Lord to use me in 2016. I want Him to have my whole heart. I am willing to be moved and changed to walk in true freedom. I long to experience all the many benefits that the Lord has promised but it will require change. I will be uncomfortable in the process because faith, trust and hope are required.

“Whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” As our family prepares to enter a fast to start the New Year, I know from experience that during times of fasting and prayer as we turn to the Lord that He will begin to reveal new things to us. Things maybe that need to change, be redirected, or refocused. The Spirit of the Lord in us is always leading us to new freedom in Christ but sometimes the way seems hard and unyielding. It is with good reason. I have many benefits available to me in Jesus Christ that sin and rebellion keeps me from each day. It is when I turn my life back over to the Lord completely that I am set free again. It is in this capacity that the Glory of God transforms me and ever-increasing glory makes its way from the inside of me to the outside where others can be impacted. This is my desire. To experience new freedom in Christ and all the benefits that I may be missing.

Psalm 103:1-12 (NIV)

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)  And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) It is by faith that we experience all the benefits offered to us by God through His Son, Jesus Christ. If we do not have faith, we remain powerless. Salvation is not possible if we do not have faith. To believe is essential to freedom. It requires acting on what we know about God and His Character without every seeing His Faith. We believe in His Word. (Romans 10:17) We must believe that God is good and rewards those who “earnestly” seek Him. The trouble is our humanity grows comfortable with controllable “faith” and confident that what “hope” for is a now thing rather than forever endeavor. Hope never leads us to disappointment. Our hope is not something found in this world but in Jesus. If we can see it, do it, attain it, make it or have it in this life, it is not a product of hope. Faith in God that becomes confident hope makes the impossible possible.

Do you know the Benefits you have been given by God and accessible through Jesus? It is important that we do to know what is attainable by faith and decide if it is worth having. Freedom in Christ means that He will never force them on us but we can choose them if we so desire. According to Psalm 103, my life is praiseworthy. (vs.1) I have the potential to live from victory to victory and glory to glory by faith in God alone. My life is full of benefits. I am beneficial. (vs.2) If I do not feel blessed or have not experienced the Glory of God around me, it is not because it is not available to me. I am forgiven. I am healed. (vs.3) Healing is an act of the body, mind and spirit. Although I did not undergo rounds of chemotherapy for a cancer attacking my body to go it with our son produced psychological trauma which severely impacted my life until Jesus healed and restored my very soul. I am redeemed bought with the highest price and crowned with love and compassion which quite simply means that I have the Favor of God. (vs.4) I am blessed with good things from a Good Father who is intent on my complete contentment and total satisfaction. (vs.5) I am renewed. His Mercies are new each day to heal the broken parts, forgiven the hidden sins and bring me to wholeness of body, mind and spirit. (v.5) I am free. (vs.6) I am loved tremendously, overwhelmingly and unconditionally every moment of every day. (vs.7-8) His Grace is always enough for me. (vs. 9-10) Though the world may try to shame me and others guilt me, the Lord says otherwise. Guilt and shame are worldly offerings that are overshadowed by His Grace for that is always sufficient especially when I am weak. I am in right standing with the most, high God. (vs.11-12) There are some days that I forget all the blessings and benefits that are provided through Jesus Christ for my life. It doesn’t mean that the Lord forgets. No, He patiently and lovingly waits for me to extend my heart, pay attention and listen for His Careful Instruction to lead me directly to them – each and every one.

Proverbs 2:1-8 (NIV)

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.

When the new company took over, my husband was sent a booklet that explained the new benefit package offered to employees. It outlined the coverage one would receive and the price they must pay. It also offered the option of opting out and not accepting any company benefits. You and I have been provided the same resource in the Word of God. If you can find it in the Word, it belongs to you. You must follow the instructions and steps to obtain those benefits. Why are we so quick to do this in the world but not in the spirit? We can see, feel and touch worldly benefits. Human beings thrive on immediate gratification. But when it does not meet our need or satisfy our soul, we are at a loss. Many turn to Jesus in that moment unaware that they could have been experiencing life changing moments all along. Prayer is not a crisis hotline. The Bible is not an emergency plan. Loving God and living for Him is a lifestyle. We are given everything we need to live a godly life. (2 Peter 1:3) If only we choose to put our trust in the Lord and live what we believe, our lives would be changed as His Benefits became our lifestyle. Others would be saved, healed and delivered as His Power and Glory made its way through us. We have benefits. We have a contract for coverage. We have everything we need to live a godly, prosperous life. Are we accepting it or opting out? It really is up to each one of us if we will live the blessed life we are offered or choose something much less.

I Corinthians 10:23-24 (NIV)

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36) We are told that America is a “free” country. To some extent this is absolutely true, but in others ways it is not. True freedom means that we have the “right” to do anything. So when it says, if the Son sets you free that you are free indeed – we are not sure how to interpret it. Some think this means that I can live in whatever way that I choose and still inherit the Blessings of God. Other think that our covenant with the Lord requires His Grace to excuse our sin (willful or not) and grant us His Glory regardless. There are churches that tell Christians that God is going to make this life better if they just give what they have emptying their pockets disregarding their heart. We are free to do what we choose, BUT not everything is beneficial. Not everything we do is constructive, in fact we lean toward destruction most of the time. Our flesh longs for and presses us to live for today rather than thinking about tomorrow or even the future of eternity. This is the only time the flesh will live. We have been promised forever.

 

If the Benefits of God are not manifesting completely in our life, we must turn back to the Lord and dare to step closer. In His Presence, we find everything we need to be completely saved, healed, and delivered to prosper here into forever. If you are not completely satisfied and totally content, you can be. He is the Way, Truth and Life. Jesus is our access point to God but no one can come to the Father outside of Christ. One way. The only way. You can know the way. You must decide to walk that way.

 

“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” What does this mean? How does this impact our life as believers? Well, it doesn’t say that whenever anyone turns to the Lord, He does a new thing and makes a new way. No, it says that when we turn to the Lord, the veil is taken away. It was there all the time friend. We have benefits that we fail to use or take advantage of in our life. Most of the time, it is ignorance. Other times, it is rebellion. God shows us the way but we choose our way. The way that we know or may be comfortable with. If I want all the Benefits of God in my life, I must walk His Way. I must give Him my whole heart. I must seek to know Him more and apply new understanding to my life which turns it into wisdom. All things are permissible because I am set free.

Not all things are beneficial or constructive to a blessed and prosperous life – there is only One Way to accomplish that. I must follow Jesus. So as I prepare for 2016, I am asking the Lord to reveal to me those things that are not beneficial or constructive and remove them from my life. I want to walk in the everlasting and experience God’s Glory and Favor as He has planned, promised and purposed for my life. I completely understand and acknowledge it means going where He goes, doing what He says, and following His Lead. I want to experience all His Benefits so I am willing to go! How about you? Will 2016 be the best year of your life? Will it be beneficial? Will it be constructive? Well now that’s up to you isn’t it? God called us to a glorious standard of life that we had once forsaken by our sin. Through righteousness it can be easily attained for those who desire it.

Ephesians 3:16-21 (NIV)

 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.