Fizzy Soda

Fizzy Soda

Psalm 34:8-10 (NLT) Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

Have you ever been then grocery getter for your house? You have those thin and useless plastic bags rolling around in the back of the car. When you get home an army of helpers hoping to plunder the new supplies arrive to help carry the hoard in. Some of those big two-liter bottles of soda were on sale so you got them BOGO or to the novice shopper – buy one, get one free. Immediately, my people turn up their nose at them. In my efforts to be a wise consumer, I find that they do not want the surplus of soda and list their complaints. Opening the bottles at the release of pressure, the dark syrupy liquid becomes a foaming bomb shooting soda everywhere creating a huge mess that even the dog is incapable of licking it all up. They don’t like the way that after a day or so they go flat – no matter how tight the lid is kept or how quickly they try to consume it. When the fizz is gone – so is their appetite for the once coveted drink. In all fairness, I bought them for portion control. Tired of pouring their unwanted, forgotten soft drinks down the sink that sounds like change falling in the drain. Yet now, I have a garage full of unwanted bottles but wait what just happened? Suddenly, they are grabbing water bottles instead. How did that happen?

For more than a week, I have had this image of fizzy soda in my head along with the idea that it is just like the zeal a Christian might have at first for the things of God. We come to the Lord full of expectation and excited about the potential of His Spirit’s Inhabitation in life. But once the “fizz” is gone, our life goes flat so we return to our old life and old way of thinking abandoning the potential of faith in God that remains there. Where are we once the excitement is gone? What happens when things take longer than expected? Why is discipline necessary? God is greater than all things. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He supplies all we need but when I ask I must wait. We must taste and see that the Lord is good. We must desire to move from things that are not good for us to those things that benefit our life. It will be a struggle in a world that offers immediate gratification and feeds our emotions. God wants us to be godly people who have joy in Him and those who trust Him will lack no good thing.

For the last month or so, I have been attempting to give up a beloved diet drink. Is it bad for me? Depends on who you ask. Water is better for me. All things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial. When I was young, my birth mom was a “Coke” addict in the soft drink form. She gave it to us freely. As I began to share time between both parents’ homes, my new mom provided sweet tea – the soft drink of the South. Loved it and consumed it freely. However, I became more aware as I grew older that water is a much better choice. However, I don’t necessarily want water. I don’t care for the taste. I don’t really want it or desire it. It is good for me in many ways. It is the best for my body health wise. It is excellent for my skin. It keeps me well-hydrated. But I prefer other things and none of that I desire is illegal or prohibited. I make the choice to drink a gallon of water or at least try to every day. What I have found is the more water I consume the less capacity that I have for those things that are not as good for me. Water is more beneficial. How does this all tie together? I am glad that you asked.

So many times, we try to make a Godly life resemble our good life worldly expectations applying our appetite to the things that the Holy Spirit would like to do in us and through us. Did you know that the primary content in all soft drinks is water? We add the sugar or sugar substitute. We put the carbonation in it that makes it fizzy. Have you ever noticed that conscientious parents do not give their newborns soft drinks or tea? They give them milk. If not straight from mom, they sterilize the bottles. Everything they do is to make sure that their baby grows, develops and matures. God sees us as His Children. He feels the same way.

I Peter 2:1-3 (NLT) So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

Pure spiritual milk. What is it? I believe that it is the Word of God. We must know the Word to enter fully into a productive relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Word wrapped in flesh. Salvation is not an arranged marriage but a personal choice to engage in an active and committed relationship with Christ as Savior and Lord. We make that choice. All things are permissible yet not all things are beneficial. Just as in our relationships naturally, there must be development and growth to mature our relationship so it is no longer superficial. If we are not growing in the Lord, we are growing apart from Him. I find it interesting that in this passage, it says, “Get rid of all evil behavior.” Then it begins to talk about things that destroy relationships first. To cry out for nourishment once we have tasted the Lord’s Kindness is to grow in our knowledge and capacity to love the Lord and other people. We focus on our list of seven deadly sins and regard religious rules and regulations but miss the part about love. God is love. To be godly we must be good lovers.

John 7:38 (NLT) “Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”

A newborn primarily exists on milk although the newest parenting trend does add water at an early age. When my babies were little, I only gave them milk, some juice and lots of water. Growing in our walk with Christ, spiritual milk gives way to living water. Jesus promised that living water would flow from His Heart to us. He has given us His Spirit. The Word of God works with the Spirit of God to allow us those benefits offered to those who choose the better way over the permissible options in life. We must discipline our body and mind to live a healthy spiritual life. Have you ever tried to take candy from a baby?

The little children at our church flock to “Memaw” a beloved matriarch. She always has a sugary candy treat for them so after service like little ducklings they flock to her. They want the contents of her big bag. They know she has treats for them. However, mom and dad have the opportunity to train their children in healthy habits. Thank God I am headed into “memaw” days! I found with my own children that in order to take something from them, I offered them a better choice. If they did not want the new thing, they would often pitch a fit. As a mom, I hated that they were so upset but my heart was set on giving them the very best start in life. Candy and sugar was limited. I made sure they were given the right food – all the things that were nutritious. Too many times, it is human nature to cave in to emotions rather than stand strong for goodness and so it is with the church.

Romans 10:1-4 (NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.

To pursue God emotionally but not spiritually is misdirected zeal. To claim to know Him but not take in the spiritual milk and living water is spiritual suicide. You are starving your spirit to feed your flesh. False teachers pave new roads every day and we fall for it because our flesh is strong and our spirit weak. Many years ago, in order to lose some weight, I switched from full-powered soft drinks to diet soda. Ironically or not so much, it was after a Daniel Fast, where for a solid month I only drank water. After becoming addicted to them, I read an article that warned of the high sodium content in diet drinks that they wreaked havoc on weight loss efforts. How is this possible? Well, the sodium that settled in our body soaked up the water and got fat, too to put it in layman’s terms. Bottom line – water retention. Ugh! Darned if you do and darned if you don’t. Is it possible that rather than relying on water – we are substituting things in our life that are not God’s Best and of no benefit. Absolutely.

Zeal is not bad. In fact, the Bible encourages and endorses spiritual fervor for the Living God. Romans 12:11 tells us to never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. See the “but” – it is our warning. It is easy to direct our zeal toward the Lord, and then get detoured, delayed, or distracted. In fact, it is the greatest scheme of the enemy. He challenges our knowledge of God every day in the temptations of life. Religion is the diet soda of the church. Rather than truly loving people somehow church folks get an appetite for judgment and hypocrisy based on false knowledge of God who expects love to be our first and foremost motivation. If I can do it, God is not required. It’s everything I cannot do that is where grace causes His Power to manifest. I am not supposed to be strong but weak and reliant on Jesus Christ for all things every day. The psalmist admits in Psalm 119 that “zeal wears me out” and goes on to admit that his enemies ignore his words. Words must hold power. The power of my words is based on my knowledge of the Truth and its ability to set me free. I am free to choose the life I live.

God is not emotional. Our feelings do not move the heart of God or His Hand, His Focus is set on our future. He is working in us now for forever. Endurance means making it to the end. It is a struggle because usually somewhere around the middle we begin to wonder what were we thinking. Towards the end, everything in us screams quit. Those who endure to the end are honored because not many will. When the zeal is gone and the fizz goes flat in their spiritual life, many become discouraged, discontent and disinterested in Living Water which runs steadily and consistently in us. Water seems boring. It doesn’t seem like anything of worth. Yet 71% of the earth is covered in it, and mankind is made up of about 60% water. It would seem that water is important. Living water is essential to spiritual survival and one’s ability to thrive in Jesus Christ. Maybe there are substitutions in our life that must be filtered out so that we can engage in spiritual growth and development again rather attempting to survive in deprivation.

Ephesians 4:11-16 (NLT) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

People spend a great deal of time on what they consume. Whether deciding what to eat or where to eat. Challenged to consume more or eat less or even just make better food choices. Intake is a primary concern in many households. There are even some that wonder if they will get to eat. We must taste and see that the Lord is good. The first day of the water challenge was horrible for me. I didn’t want to drink one glass of water let alone almost eight. Some days I do great and other days I choke it down. I know that if I stick to it that over time I will develop a taste for it. Why the struggle? Water is good for me. It is good for my body and skin. I hate when my flesh dictates things so the more it fights me – the more I fight back. I want a healthy body.

God is not building a building – He is creating a body. The Body of Christ. The Bride for His Son. It is important that I do my part to be the best member of the Kingdom I can be not for others or even me but to be who I promised to be when I partnered with Jesus. I would become less and He would be more. I would decrease so He could increase. I John 3:20-21 is clear that God is not an emotionally-driven God. Thank you, Lord! His People are emotional enough. When our spiritual life goes flat, maybe God is facilitating an appetite change in us that will produce growth and maturity. He is giving us something better if we will endure the process of refinement. Our flesh wants none of it and will fight it all the way. Until our relationship is not emotional but faithful – the blessings and benefits promised in His Word may seem elusive. Nothing could be further from the truth – they are exclusive. Exclusively for God’s Children, those who decide to use their freedom to become part of the Body of Christ rather than building another church.

To become rooted and grounded in the Love of God through Jesus Christ, we must stop wavering back and forth. Discipline gives way to faithfulness when we decide to engage in the process called endurance. We must move from the emotionalism of infancy into the steadfastness of adulthood – the Body of Christ must mature to become effective. The Holy Spirit and Goodness of God’s Word produce the spiritual growth potential in the lives of those who are committed to its consumption daily. (Hebrews 6:1-6) We must learn to hold on to the progress made in our spiritual life and build upon it. (Philippians 3:14-16) If our goal is to press on and obtain the high calling, we need something to stand on. The firm foundation of faith built in trust is the only way to reach the heavenlies and bring it to earth. God promised that our earthly life and heavenly existence can be connected in heaven and on the earth. We put in the effort.

Discipline is not a warm fuzzy feeling but a tough painful process. Immediate gratification is not part of it but endurance is. There may be some things in our life that although they are permissible are not beneficial to our walk with the Lord. When runners pass a checkpoint, they are not handed coffee or a can of soda. The helpers hand them water or a supplement filled with electrolytes to replace those used while they run. What do we give others when tired, thirsty or weary? When weighted with sin, do we give them yet another set of rules to fail at or the grace that has been so sufficient for me? The first discipline that is to be readily accepted in the modern church is love. Not love for the rules and regulations set forth by religion, but to focus on our relationship with Jesus Christ and relaying it to the world including every single person in it. Our language is love and we must not only speak it but live it. You cannot give what you do not have. God’s Word and His Spirit give us new life to give to others. We must taste and see that the Lord is good. Has your spiritual fervor gone flat? Are you growing disinterested in God’s Way? It is time to make a change. Call a fast. Ask the Lord to stir you up. It is up to you to develop a taste for spiritual things rather than feeding full of substitutions. God has given us everything we need to live a godly life – now we just have to tap into it. It’s a choice. Better life or best life. Permissible or beneficial. Good or God! I know what I am after…how about you?

2 Peter 1:3-8 (NLT) His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

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Wash Me White

Wash Me White

Isaiah 1:18-19 (NLT) “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat.”

I own one pair of white pants. Just one. Why? Wearing white pants is a huge responsibility. To put on a white shirt causes a consciousness of every activity for the coming day. White shows every mark and blemish without any grace whatsoever. When something spills on white, it is undeniable like a glaring siren that calls it to everyone’s immediate attention. White clothing stains easily. It shows even the slightest imperfection. See my dilemma. I love the look of solid white, but seldom take on the responsibility of wearing it. White goes with every other color but immediately becomes worthless when marred by stains.

What if we took our salvation as seriously as we do wearing white clothing? What if we were conscious of the purity Jesus has given us through His Blood and by His Grace enough to make our righteousness a priority to maintain it at all costs? To live our life according to His Word and by His Spirit is to live a holy life. Yet, we are quite unsettled. Considering most of the time worthless things and meaningless things such as our physical appearance, presentation to people, influence in the workplace and even position in the church more than we consider the foundation of our faith which is repentance that keeps us righteous. The Lord invites us to “come now…let’s settle this.” Our sins were as scarlet and Jesus wants to make them white as snow. Perhaps you are thinking today, but I am saved. I love the Lord. I am serving God. This all may be quite true. However, if we do not live a life of righteousness through daily repentance…we have missed it altogether.

Isaiah 61:10 (NLT) I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels.

On the day our daughter chose her bridal gown, she was behind the curtain in the dressing room with the attendant trying it on. When she zipped her into the dress, I heard my daughter say, “I don’t care what anyone thinks…this is my dress.” That was the moment, I pulled out my checkbook because I knew that she was saying, “Yes, to the dress!” She felt complete in it. It made her feel like a beautiful princess bride which indeed she was. It was pristine and white. When we picked up her gown, they warned us not to touch it too much as the oil of our fingers could leave marks that would not show up right away but to keep it safely tucked away until her big day. I wonder if this is how we should feel about the clothing of salvation and robe of righteousness given to us by the Lord. So overwhelmed and captivated by its beauty that we cannot take our eyes off of it and are determined to preserve that beauty at all costs.

After the wedding, our daughter left it hanging in her bedroom for months. It was too beautiful to put away so she basked in the glory of it every day. I have her dress with me. When she moved it was tucked in our guest room as it was too precious to risk a ride in the rental truck or vehicles piled high with ordinary things. Yet, when she came home not too long ago, she took a prom gown which was expensive and beautiful in its own right and stuffed in her carry on as I tried to breathe looking on. It was not the same thing. What if we valued our purity and holiness in Jesus as a bride does her gown?

The Lord is looking for a bride dressed in white. He paid the price for her clothing of salvation and robe of righteousness. Does the bride value His Sacrifice? Once given these precious garments do we strive to maintain their integrity, beauty and perfection? Do you own a nice white shirt? Do you have a pair of white pants? Do you try to keep your daily clothing clean without stains? Why wouldn’t we do so with our heart more so? Lord, today I ask you to wash me white again.

Revelation 22:17 (NLT) The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.

The Spirit says, “Come.” He is ready. The bride says, “Come.” Are we ready? Really ready to see Jesus. The cry of the church today is for the return of Christ. Could he be waiting for us to clean our garments and ready ourselves to be wed to Him? Can you imagine if my daughter had not cared for her wedding dress but chose to wear it to work cutting hair, followed by her favorite Mexican restaurant afterwards, and maybe even a round of Frisbee golf before heading home? On her big day, her dress would have been covered with the soils of everyday life rather than the pristine white that it was. Too many times, the Grace of God given to us by Jesus is taken for granted. Churches do not teach repentance but religion to keep the doors open. We know what to say and what to do but few are aware of the heart condition that will the most faithful preacher, teacher, elder, deacon, leader and servant in our churches far from the wedding supper that will be the second coming of Christ. Are we crying out prematurely? Is Jesus waiting patiently for His Bride to plan, prepare and get serious about the wedding? I remember during the preparation for our daughter’s wedding having nightmares about details missed on her big day. Waking up in a cold sweat because I was panicked that something was not done. I should be so conscious of my life in Christ even more so…if I want Him to come.

Psalm 51:5-7 (NLT) For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

God desires honesty from the start. He would rather you have integrity than to live a lie. That’s just who He is – the Living God who does not lie or change His Mind. He wants us to come and settle this right now – today. To decide if He is the One we desire and prepare for the return of His Son, Jesus. It doesn’t matter what you “do” for the Lord, if you do not live a life of daily repentance. Sin will always keep us from Jesus until His Grace covers it. Life is black and white. Gray areas of compromise fall into one of these two categories as the Lord does not accept compromise or substitutions but calls them “lukewarm” and “vomit”. We must to live in the purity of holiness offered by Jesus. It must become our passion. Like donning a pristine and perfect white shirt daily determined to maintain it at all costs. What if we approached each day with the one purpose not to sin or rebel against the Lord in any way, shape or form, what might happen? His Glory would fill our life. We would not lack any good thing. We would walk on the Highway of Holiness far above insufficiency complete in Christ.

Matthew 23:26-28 (NLT) You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.

The Lord is not looking for good people. He is searching for godly people. Those who are fully surrendered to holiness and purity in Christ from the inside out. How many times do we hear about famous preachers with horrible hidden lives? Last night, our youngest poured a glass of apple juice to have with her dinner. As she walked to the table, drinking from the glass, she stopped abruptly and said, “Eww!” She was using one of her favorite Mason jar glasses. It was filled with one of her favorite beverages. But when she went to drink from the cup, it was dirty. Have you ever found a hair in your food and completely grossed out couldn’t eat it anymore? That is how God feels about the hidden and harbored sin in our life. He loves us. He hates the sin in us. It doesn’t matter what we look like, how we live, or what we say if we love sin. We will not entertain things we do not like and love. We must strive to live godly lives apart from sin if our greatest desire is to live with Christ forever. We must love the Light more than darkness. Whitewashed hearts have no room for Jesus. Clean cups cannot be filled with His Spirit if inside they are crusted by sin. We must sacrifice our sin to live in love with our Savior.

Titus 3:4-8 (NLT) But—when God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 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 for everyone.

To know the Love of God through Jesus Christ should motivate us to live in His Presence. But too many times, we make excuses for sin rather than eradicating if from our life. If I approach my life in Christ with the same consideration I do in maintaining white clothing, it would make a difference. However, it is human nature to be like a “dog returns to its vomit” or a “pig returns to the mud.” It says in 2 Peter 2:21-22, it would have been better to never know the way of righteousness than to know it and reject the command we are given to live a holy life.

In Revelation 3, the Church of Sardis is called out for hypocrisy. They had a reputation of life but they are called dead. They are instructed to go back to what they first believed and repent. He tells them to remove their soiled clothes and “walk with me in white.” The “me” is Jesus. “All who are victorious will be clothed in white.” Further along in Revelation 3, the Church of Laodicea is addressed for its “lukewarm” condition. They are warned to “buy white garments from me so you will be ashamed at your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see.” We must stop turning a blind eye to sin and ignoring the “stains” in our life. We would change out of a soiled white shirt or stained paints but live in filthy rags rather than robes of righteousness given by the Grace of God through the Blood of Jesus Christ when we truly repent.

Hebrews 10:21-23 (NLT) And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.

Christ is the Husband of the church. He loves us. He gave up his life for us to make us holy and clean. We have been given the precious privilege of going right into the Presence of God. He takes our guilty consciences sprinkling them with Christ’s Blood so we can be clean washing even our bodies in the Word. To hold tightly to the hope we have of His Return and retrieval of His Bride means that we trust the Lord enough to maintain our robe of righteousness. To keep it clean through repentance. To strive to live a holy life just a bride before her wedding day keeps safe, clean and protected her gown of choice. We must be sincere in our devotion to Christ and honest with ourselves. If Jesus is who we want, desire and need, I must live a life of repentance and righteousness with a heart of integrity that says, “Wash me white, Lord! Keep me clean!”

Ephesians 5:25-27 (NLT) For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.

 

 

While We Wait

While We Wait 2

John 14:1-4 (NIV)

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

 

Jesus warned them. He told His disciples directly that He would go to prepare a place for them. I don’t think they were listening to the content of His Words but perhaps thinking it just another parable continued to mull over their meal. It would be their last supper together. The next several days would shake them to their core. They all had expectations but did not one consider that Jesus would soon be dead in a tomb. My thoughts turned to the wait from the day Jesus died until Resurrection Day when everything that died with Him that day came surging back to life. The morning after if you will. Was there regret? Were they afraid? Some dazed and confused not sure what to do, where to go how to live without the Lord with them. Many of the men went back to work casting their nets without much success. They were lost without the Lord. Oh, how I remember that feeling.

 

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”  (I Corinthians 10:13) Temptation is not always what we think. To tempt means to entice or allure to do something often regarded as unwise, wrong or even immoral. It is to attract, appeal strongly or to invite. It also means to try or test. No temptation has overtaken us expect what is common to mankind. We are not only tempted to sin, but give up, walk away and let go. These in and of themselves are not lethal transgressions unless it is our faith which is the subject. When Jesus died, it tested the resolve of every believer. Would they wait on the Lord for His Word to come to pass? Our greatest testing is not sin. Sin causes consequences so often we let it go rather with natural understanding. However, when it comes to our faith a benefit seldom seen only experienced in our soul – it is different. Considering this, as the followers of Jesus waited and watched those three long days many would give in to the temptation to step back into normal life and live as though He never lived. But then there were those who decided to wait on the Lord!

 

What are you waiting for today? Is there a promise you have yet to collect? Is there a dream is slowly dying? It matters how we wait. Temptation comes in the moment that the clock starts ticking. When the Lord falls quiet, to see what we will do. He is there. He is working out all the details for our good. What are we doing to respond to His Promise? Are we willing to wait? Are we productive in our wait time? How long will we stay here? Will we wait until we are called?

 

Matthew 25:4-10 (NIV)

The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

 

Faith is the currency with which hope is obtained. You will never receive what you hope for without the proper amount of faith. Faith is procured in the waiting periods of life when forced to examine what we believe and if there is real substance to it. Faith must be tested by fire to prove genuine. The Parable of the Ten Virgins paints a clear picture of the period of life that we live in.

 

Jesus is coming. No really, He went to prepare a place for us. In His Word are signs and markers with which to evaluate the time of His Return. Though it does not pinpoint the moment exactly for no one truly knows, there is prophecy fulfilled daily as the time draws near. Jesus fulfilled every single Old Testament prophecy before He surrendered His Life and released His Spirit on the Cross. Every New Testament prophecy will come to pass and He will return just like He promised. Are we waiting and watching for His Return? Are we preparing for that day?

 

Each virgin had a lamp but not all of them brought the oil to fuel it and keep it burning. We all have the potential to be saved but not will wait and watch for the Lord. Some will bring the lamp with no oil. Some will rush out in the final moments to try to find the oil they need and will miss it. Could it be that the oil in this story refers to our faith? The thing that keeps us watching and waiting for the Lord and His Word when everyone else might give up or give in to the temptation to leave their post? It matters how we wait on the Lord. We must watch and wait being fully prepared each moment of every day for His Return.

 

Psalm 27:14 (NIV) Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

 

Habakkuk and I have had many encounters over the last several years. When I discovered the reality that God still speaks to His people even today, I began listening for His Voice each day. This blog is part of that journey. But hearing the Voice of God, understanding what He is telling us, and doing exactly what He says can be challenging to my very human and overriding flesh. Many times, I have taken the Word of God to heart without using His Word to fully understand or His Spirit to fully instruct. When the Lord speaks to us, it is important to apply these two valuable resources before taking a single step.

 

Habakkuk 2:1 says “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.” I have been guilty of many starts and few completions in life simply because I am impatient. I cannot wait to see the finished product or real the goal. I lose interest. Give up. Just do not follow through. We ask the Lord daily for things in life. We register our complaints regularly. If God does not immediately answer and gratify our flesh, most people decide to do it themselves rather than wait on the Lord.

 

Habakkuk 2:2-3 is the Lord’s reply, “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” So here are a few tidbits that tell us that waiting is part of God’s Process in everyone’s life. The Lord tells the prophet to write down the “revelation”. A revelation is something revealed but not yet realized. Faith is the requirement to full realization. Make it plain so the “herald” will run with it. When we pray in the Name of Jesus, the Lord releases a command in Heaven. We learned this in Daniel 9:23. The herald is a forerunner. I believe this may refer to heavenly ambassadors sent forth at God’s command to complete the pathway for our success. It is not for us to run with it. The herald runs with it while we wait. Finally, it speaks to the end, God’s completed work and total fulfillment in Jesus Christ – God’s Word for my life is seldom a “right now” thing because without faith I am nothing, can do nothing, and will never be able to please God. Though it linger, WAIT FOR IT. I have prayed for things but never patience. In the acquisition of those blessings, the Lord has given me some in the process.

 

I hate to wait. I was very bad at it. Impulsive and impatient – if God didn’t move fast enough, I would move for Him. Bad idea. It would take a circumstance completely out of my control and totally reliant on God’s Intervention to make me willing to wait on the Lord. What about you? Until we are after is invaluable and important to the extent we cannot live without it, most people will not give the Lord time to complete His Work. That was me. That was then. This is now.

 

Lamentations 3:22-26 (NIV)

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

 

I love this passage. Verses tucked in the book of Lamentations. The word “lament” means to feel or express sorrow, regret or grief. How ironic that in the midst of one’s complaints they find the Source of Life. The followers of Jesus woke up to the darkest day. They did not realize that it would end in the dusk before dawn. The moment that would change everything for them and every other believer who called on the Name of the Lord. What was their final conviction? Was it this “The Lord is my portion. Therefore I will wait for Him”? Did they still believe that the Lord is good in the midst of persecution and possible death? While they hid in their homes and tried to gather a mustard seed of faith to face the next day, did they still hope?

 

What are you waiting for today? What is in the tomb with Jesus? Will you wait for dawn when the Resurrection Power of God surges and life returns? Faith restored? Hope regained? Will you wait for it? It matters how we wait. We must be expectant in God alone. (Psalm 5:3) Enough to wait for His Answer anticipating a response knowing that He will reply. We must trust the Lord enough not to be overtaken with fear, doubt and anxiety but joy and praise as we wait confidently for His Arrival. (Psalm 33:20-21) We must be still remaining where we are and doing what we have been instructed to do until He clearly and distinctly tells us to move. (Psalm 37:7) No longer paralyzed by fear but provoked by faith. We must be obedient to God when we wait unrelenting until He comes. The enemy offers retreat and rebellion to eliminate the pain and pressure of waiting. We say, “No thank you – we will wait on the Lord.” (Psalm 119:165-167) We must wait with “our whole being” including mind, soul and body. All must agree with God’s Word and Revelation continuing together in unity. Our thoughts, desires and longings must line with the Will of God never giving in to emotions or lacking willpower to stay true to our first love. (Psalm 130:5-6) We must wait without judgment but full of love, joy and peace. We must live in love with Jesus so we can love others rather than judging them. Comparison is deadly when we look at others evaluating our position and promises from a lateral perspective. God’s Plan for each one of us is individual. He does not consider or compare to another person. The Lord is intimate and direct with every living breathing creature that He has created. My life, God’s Plan and Purpose may intertwine with others but is not dictated in any way by their choices. (I Corinthians 4:4-5) As a farmer sows seeds with expectation and hope, he does not know what the season will bring naturally or each one will produce provisionally so he waits. We must wait together. (James 5:7-9) It matters how we wait.

 

Jude 20-25 (NIV)

 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

 

Today as I reflect on the day before the Resurrection of our Lord, I must evaluate if I am waiting and watching for His Return. Just as the disciples waited and watched, believing and hoping that this was not the end but beginning, we must do the same. Are we ready? Are we prepared for the return of Christ? I really don’t think judging strictly by the fruit in this life. The church seems weak and powerless. Yet, there is a cry rising up though faint it is getting louder. Revival is that word. People are praying for the next great move of God but as Steven Furtick of Elevation Church says, “We cannot wait for the next move of God. We are the move of God.” I must decide if I am waiting for this life to get better or determined for Heaven to touch the earth. Until we begin to wait on the Lord, watch for Him, cry out for Him alone and settle for nothing less, we will remain in hiding. Without faith, hope, obedience and faithfulness that is really what waiting is for the believer, it is a hiding place. I must wait expectantly on the Lord waiting as though it were a matter of life and death because it really is. It matters how we wait. I will wait upon the Lord. Watch for His Coming. Anticipate His Arrival. With all that I am seek to see His Face. Will you?

 

Revelation 3:10-12 (NIV)

 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.

Speak to Me

Woman sitting alone on a bench

Psalm 50:1-3 (NIV)

The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets. From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth. Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before him, and around him a tempest rages.

From time to time, my husband and I take impromptu rides to nowhere. Hopping in the car without a real destination, just stealing away for a few moments together alone. It seems silly to do so since we live in a house with ample space. Our home also is filled with responsibilities, distractions and other people vying our time and attention which we willing give away. But when it is just the two of us driving to no real destination just intent on being together something miraculous happens, we communicate. This is definitely a marriage builder and I highly recommend it to couples especially those who are in the midst of raising children. It is good to regroup. Get on the same page. Here the heart of your beloved, partner and friend. I think our relationships would prosper if given more of this uncompromised time without all the other things vying for our attention.

When our car rides begin, we are usually silent. Neither one saying very much just decompressing from the day or week. As time goes by, the quiet melts as we begin to talk with one another. To be honest, most of the time I am sad when it ends. There are many distractions. We live by schedule, routine and agenda so when given the opportunity to relax it is often in the world of “me time” doing something mindless and meaningless to relieve the stress of the day. Relationships left unattended will not survive. We must invest ourselves into them to keep them alive. All of them. How many friends lose touch over the distance of time? People change and so do the dynamics of their relationships. Married friends lose touch with single people. Parents don’t have time for the childless. We become self-consumed in life naturally. Suddenly we are in a wilderness and sometimes feel quite alone.

The Lord speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets. Each day my husband and I get up in the wee hours of morning. It wasn’t always this way but several years ago – we decided to carve out some time to hear from God. I want to hear His Voice. He speaks. He is constantly summoning His People. Do we respond? I must admit that on some mornings when I am tired or just not thrilled to be up – I sit silently a bit miffed. But I choose to wait…and wait depending on how bad my attitude is until I can hear Him speaking again. God is not silent. So why can’t we hear the Lord?

Psalm 95:6-9 (NIV)

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice, “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did.

Hard hearts close the ears of people. Pride will add to its thickness. Those who think they know it all or have it altogether, have no need for the Lord on this day at this very hour. But let their world fall apart, He is the first One they call. Raising five children, there have been many times it feels as though I am talking to myself and others until I am blue in the face yet they choose to ignore me. This is not without consequence. When my children became adults, I can give them advice but no longer do I have authority over their life so they are free to choose whether or not they listen to me. Each one dictates the parameters of our relationship by their willingness to communicate. Some call me first. Others wait until exhausting all efforts or hit the bottom. It is their right as adults to live as they desire.

Today, if only you would hear His Voice… A plea for communication that is so important and vital to our relationship with the Lord. To open our ears and hearts to His Voice each day. I know it sounds ridiculous to some because truthfully at first His Voice sounds a lot like our own. A day will come when God will speak to you directly. You will know that it is the Lord without question. It will melt your heart in a moment as He writes His Word on your heart. These are the moments that I long for. The life-changing times when I finally open my ears and heart to the Lord so He can answer. The Lord is speaking. Are you listening? Am I listening with my heart not my head?

Proverbs 8:6-9 (NIV)

Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right. My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness. All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse. To the discerning all of them are right; they are upright to those who have found knowledge.

God speaks wisdom in our life. Do we truly want to know what the Lord has to say to us? Do we desire His Instruction or is our longing for pacification? Do we want God to fix our circumstances, improve our situation or change us? We bring Him our grocery list like the local merchant waiting for Him to fill our order, expecting Him to do it immediately and exactly how we specify. This is not the Will of God. This is not His Way. It is definitely not His Word. The Lord has a plan for each us that contains a future and hope. He wants and has prescribed the very best for our life with the ultimate destination of life forever in His Kingdom. Is that what we are after?

When we moved into our first house, we were so excited. Crying out to all, look what the Lord has done. Telling others of the Goodness of God. Well, after a long day of moving and wrestling with five young children, we plopped in our bed. As we lay in the quiet, we began to hear the cars on the highway behind our house. The longer we laid there the louder it seemed to get. My husband said, “I wonder if we will get used to that?” “I guess we are going to have to since we just signed a 30-year note.” Over time, we didn’t hear the semis rushing by any longer as the noises fading in the night. They were still there just as before, but we soon got used to them.

Have we gotten used to hearing the Voice of God and learned to ignore it? Have I developed selective hearing only listening when I need something not for His Heart, too? I know that when we traveled with all the children, I learned to block out their chattering. So much so that sometimes if one of them were calling to me, they would have yell to invade my thoughts so I might hear them. God is always speaking and summoning us to a closer walk with Him. He is talking. Are we listening? Or have the things of this world allowed our thoughts to wander? Are you filling our head with things that are contradictory to His Voice so we don’t really want to hear from Him anymore?

John 3:28-30 (NIV)

“You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.”

We are the Bride of Christ. How could we not want to hear the Bridegroom’s Voice? He has been gone a long time. There are so many other voices vying for our attention. He asking for us to come closer and talk with Him – privately, intimately and alone. If my husband wants to go for a ride, or I do – the other one comes. Why? We love each other. We want to spend time together. We need to communicate to continue to grow our relationship.

We must not allow any other voice to take precedent over God’s Voice in our life. People have many opinions even those with the best of intentions. The Lord speaks the unadulterated Truth in our life. He speaks directly to us. His Spirit inside of us takes that Word and makes sense out of it working it through our heart and mind until we become connected with it. His Voice must become greater than any other in our life. I must learn to talk less in His Presence and listen more. This is the place I find peace in the wait for my Bridegroom’s return.

When our son was in Kuwait serving our country, I kept one of the online messengers on at work. My ears (and heart) were tuned into the little “yoo-hoo” sound that it made when our son was online and could chat for a moment or two. This didn’t happen every day. When it did, I would stop everything, close the door to my office, and spend time with him. Why? He is my son. I love him. I missed him. I wanted to be sure that he was okay. If he needed anything, I would send it that day. Whatever I could do to be connected with him, if even for five minutes was a huge blessing. Imagine how our Father in Heaven feels about us? Jesus died just to restore effective communication with the Father for us. What are we doing to preserve it? God is always calling you. He desires our attention, communication, and love. What are we giving Him?

I Kings 19:11-13 (NIV)

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

I love this story. I read it all the time. There is something about when the wind, earthquake and fire pass and the Lord breathes on us that changes everything. I have had my world fall apart. I have had my heart irrevocably broken so many times. Yet each time, the Lord has been right there in the midst of it all to whisper His Love and Affirmation for me backed by His Promise. I wonder if He rushed to me or if in fact, He was always right there whispering but I was not listening. God is speaking. He is summoning us to His Side because He loves us. What is our response? Are we too busy? Too overwhelming? Too tired? Too sick? Too broken? Too distracted? Doing too much? Thinking too much? Talking too much? Everything we need is found in Him. The enemy knows if he can “too” us into not spending time with the Lord and listening to His Voice, he can easily overtake us and is doing it every day. Driving us into hiding rather than running from the Power of God in us, we must come out of the “caves” of life and spend some time with Jesus. He is the Good Shepherd. His Sheep will listen to His Voice and respond to Him. (John 10:14-16)

What will be your response today to the Voice of God? Will you put Him off one more day until you get a few more things done or will you drop everything for the One who loves you most and best? Jesus is our beloved. He desires to communicate with you – His Bride- each and every day never missing a moment. Do you desire time with Him too? Make the time to spend with the Lord. Turn off and leave behind every distraction in your life. Take a ride. Close the door. Do whatever it takes and wait as long as it takes to hear Him speak. He will, if you will only listen.

Hebrews 12:25-29 (NIV)

See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

 

 

Do Me a Favor

Do Me a Favor

Psalm 30:4-5 (NLT)

Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.

 

When I was a little girl, I would spend many weekends at my grandparent’s house. Being born and raised in the South, long leisurely meals were enjoyed with something fried and a whole lot of sweet tea. I remember watching my grandmother “serve” my grandfather his meals. Now Gram was a full-time nurse and around this time in his “retirement” Grandpa was an ice cream man on Daytona Beach. When he finally got home after a long day on the beach, cleaned and restocked his truck, and had a chance to sit down, she would bring him his meal with a tall glass of sweet tea then asked if there was anything else that he needed. He would thank her profusely and encourage her to sit down while he ate. As we sat together, his glass never was without tea as my grandmother would quickly fill it back up without him even asking. My grandparents were married for seventy years when my grandfather passed away. There were many times that I witnessed them “serving” each other in such ways as the evening meals. One did not outdo the other in giving and it was clear that they favored one another. We love to serve those who we love. It is an honor not a chore. It is the fulfillment of our purpose. Without love, service becomes our obligation.

There are many who will read this account and immediately become offended at my grandmother’s submission to her husband. Go ahead. They had a lifelong marriage built on giving rather than taking that made their union last more than a lifetime. They loved each other with all their hearts. They favored one another above all others loving God the most, of course. The problem is that their kind of love doesn’t exist in this world anymore. The love that gives more than it takes. The kind of love that favors the other more than its own self. True love is a commitment – warts and all. It is the same on the good days and the not-so-good ones. Favor does. It requires intimacy and trust that few people experience in a self-consumed, what-have-you-done-for-me world with equitable marriages without sold-out hearts. One cannot approach a committed relationship such as marriage with the idea that it is 50-50 because it’s not. It is all of me for all of you!

So what does this have to do with God’s Favor? Everything. We want God to do us a favor but do not know how to live in His Favor. God’s Anger lasted only for a moment. When Jesus died on the Cross, God’s Anger passed the moment that His Son gave up His Life and we entered the Lord’s Favor forever. We have the potential to live in the Favor of God forever. But we have to want it. It is a life of serving the One we love and His Love for us becomes even more evident in His Careful Attention to every single detail of our life as well.

Isaiah 61:1-3 (NLT)

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

 

Favor is something that is done out of goodwill rather than justice or as a form of repayment. It is excessive kindness or partiality. (I keep telling you that I am God’s Favorite.) Favor as a verb means to prefer or treat with partiality. It is to aid or support. Ok, let’s take it home. It has become obvious in my marriage that I definitely picked up some tips and tricks from my grandmother. I want a marriage like they had. I want to bless my husband as my Gram blessed Grandpa all the days of his love. Did they have rifts? Yes. Were there days that they did not agree? Yes. Love didn’t make their life perfect. Let’s face it – it is the coming together of two rebellious souls in agreement with God. They stuck it out. As they grew older, their differences began to meld together and their bond became so encapsulated in trust that they served one another freely. I serve my husband meals. Yes, I work full-time but I want to bring him his dinner and sit to enjoy supper with him each night. I have been known to fill his tea glass without asking like my grandmother did. I will go get him dessert from the kitchen just as I would for our children. I want my husband to know that I love him with all my heart and sometimes that is shown in submitting to him by doing nice things for him. Not because he demands it or even expects it, but because I want to. My husband has found favor with me.

Our relationship to Jesus Christ works the very same way. When we unite our life with the Lord, we have the potential to live in His Favor. I can cook a meal, make a good dessert, wash smelly gym clothes, clean the dirty house and care for unruly children but I will never be able to show my husband or anyone else the kind of favor that the Lord shows us. The fact that Jesus Christ has saved me from my sin to live with Him forever really is all the favor that I need but truthfully He doesn’t stop there. By choosing to live in His Presence, we begin to experience His Favor in every aspect of our life. As we seek to show Him love in serving Him, He turns around and pours His Favor on even thicker in our life. It’s not for anything we do but because we have chosen to live our life in agreement with Him. We have chosen to be close by faith.

If my husband is at work and I am at my office a few miles away working as well, when it is time to eat lunch he is not going to call me to come heat up his lunch or find him something to drink. Why? Because we are not together. I am not where he is. When we decide to live our life outside of the Word or Way of God, yet call on Him to show us His Favor – why are we so surprised when it doesn’t happen? I mean seriously. It happens all the time. Young women begging and pleading God for a man. They are in the House of God every Sunday and Wednesday. Serving in the nursery, singing in the choir, and getting their life together – all the while “saying” that Jesus is all they need. That is until their “man” wanders back into their life. Gone! They head back out into the world. Did they love the Lord? Or did they just want His Favor? God knows our heart. He knows those who love Him and the ones who use Him. His Grace is sufficient for them all. True favor with the Lord is found in His Presence. You and I are living in the time of God’s Favor. It is our relationship status with Him that determines if we are experiencing it in our life.

Exodus 33:16-18 (NLT)

How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.” The Lord replied to Moses, “I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.”  Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.”

 

It was Moses who lived in the Presence of God. He was constantly trying to get the others to experience the life that He had found in close proximity to God. There is a special place in Heaven for Moses I am convinced. Moses knew that the only way that these people would make it out of Egypt, through the self-imposed wilderness, into the Promised Land was in the Presence of God. His Favor is found in His Presence. The price Jesus paid for our sins was enough open the door to God’s Presence giving us the ability to step in once again. We know have the potential to live a life fully reconciled and reunited with God including the inheritance that He has for His Children. Sadly most people are not much different than those people, God performed miracles in their midst all the time. He fed them by raining food from the sky. He produced water from rocks. They still doubted and cried out to go back to bondage. We do the same thing when we ask God for what we want rather than accepting the things that He has designated for our life. See we want what we want, but God only gives His Best to His Children. What would happen if we fell in love with God and gave Him our best? What if we served the Lord like we do the people we want to love us?

2 Corinthians 11:1-4 (NLT)

I hope you will put up with a little more of my foolishness. Please bear with me. For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ. But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.

 

I am the Bride of Christ and you are, too. The moment I approach my relationship with Jesus as what have you done for me lately rather than what can I do for you – I risk division in it. It is no different than my relationships in life. If I become self-seeking, then I put a stipulation or obligation on it. I have a very good and wise friend who has been married for a number of years. Many eons ago she told me that I must be submissive to my husband. I balked at her. My response – I am not going to let any man walk all over me! Well, the seed she planted all those years grew into something very beautiful and fulfilling in my life as I have learned the power and awesomeness of submission. In letting go of my expectation, I leave room for Jesus to fulfill it as I honor my commitment to my earthly husband as well as many other areas of life. When I am at odds with my husband, I avoid the Word of God and hush the Holy Spirit because I now know it is God’s Will for me to submit to him. Arghhh! That is so tough when “I” am mad, frustrated or hurt. But my relationship with Jesus Christ has fulfilled me so that when I give I am satisfied. You may not get this…but you will. See I believe it starts with a tiny seed planted by faith in our heart. My friend planted the tiny seed of submission to love in my heart and it has grown into a strong marriage to my husband and deeper connection to Christ. I know it will do the same for you. I believe that it is in submission to love that we step into the Favor of God as we live in peaceably in His Presence from now to forever. AMEN!

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.