Assumption

Assumption

Ephesians 4:20-24 (ESV) But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

The journey of faith is long and arduous. It requires endurance as that exerted in a marathon. Many will begin but few will finish – the broken road is laden with many who heard the Word of God and wanted all of its benefits but succumbed to one of the many distractions along the way. Some of the seeds falling on a path easily devoured by the lie of the enemy which is his only weapon formed against. It will not prosper when seeds planted deep in the human heart become confident hope. Other seeds were considered and even pondered for a short time but then the busyness of life and need for immediate gratification hindered the roots of trust from grabbing hold of every fear, doubt and insecurity and crushing them in the peace of God through Jesus Christ. Without being rooted and grounded in God’s Love and Goodness through Jesus Christ there is no Living Water to sustain us during times of drought. Other seeds were suffocated by distractions and the thorns of life keep us in the ordinary when all along the new life waits in the extraordinary. You were born in the natural and through Jesus Christ have access to the supernatural. Why do so many Christians live defeated lives? They have the wrong assumptions.

There are two kinds of assumption – 1) there is the assumption that takes for granted, and 2) there is the assumption that takes possession. Let’s talk about assuming. The word jumped off the screen reading Ephesians 4 today. God never lies or changes His Mind. He is Sovereign and Perfect in every way. He loves us. He is good to us. He desires us. His Unconditional Love for us evident in the selfless giving of His Son to obtain our life in its most wretched state. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Therefore, He never changes. Our life has a plan and purpose containing a future and hope prerecorded and predestined before our natural birth only awaiting spiritual rebirth. My heart has a measure of faith to begin the growth process. It has a promise – eternity. Jesus came to be the Way, the Truth and Life. To give me access to the Father and become His Child again. All of this belongs to me including every spiritual blessing and the supplies to meet every need. I am promised victory in Jesus Christ. He is the overcomer who will never leave me or forsake me. He has given me His Spirit as a helper. The Spirit provides guidance in applying God’s Word (seed) to my life and making it grow into good fruit that will satisfy me with a prospering soul. If my life doesn’t line up to God’s Word, it is not His Fault but by my own assumption.

Do I assume natural occurrences or supernatural outcomes in Jesus Name? My strongest conviction must be that the Lord is exactly who He says He is and does exactly what He promises to do. Before Christ I took all these benefits and blessings for granted because honestly they were unattainable. Coming to Christ, I must change my assumption by faith fulling believing and adopting the promises of God in every area of my life. It is human nature to doubt. To have fear and anxiety is evidence of insecurity in my heart that Jesus can and will do exactly as promised in His Word. To lack joy, peace and every other fruit born of the Spirit is to accept these things as a way of life rather than giving this life away by faith to trust God at His Word.

Ephesians 1:3-6 (ESV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

“We all make basic assumptions about things in life, but sometimes those assumptions are WRONG. We must never trust in what we assume, only in what we KNOW.” Darren Shan

Our new life in Christ requires us to make new assumptions. We are prewired by experienced to never assume but always try, test, ask and know. As I have said many times, I do not believe in blind faith. Faith is what we know about God and choose to believe. The assumption of our life as believers is through adoption. To know, trust and believe so that faith becomes logical and hope our confidence. God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. He chose us before the creation of this world to be holy and blameless before Him. He decided to adopt us to become His Sons and Daughters. It is according to His Will and by His Grace that such a life is even possible. The rest is up to us. The acceptance of Jesus Christ and the new life that is offered is to know His Love and live in it.

We must fully assume our new identity in Jesus Christ in order to obtain every spiritual blessing. The Spirit of God within us is proof of our identity. Faith is His Investment so that when sown in our heart and life that it blossoms into new life. Jack’s mom didn’t believe the beans he received in trade were worth anything and threw them out the window. But the next morning those seeds became a beanstalk connecting earth to the sky. Now we both know this is just a children’s story, but what if the seeds given to us in the form of God’s Word really do have the potential to connect Heaven and earth. To change our normal existence into a supernatural lifestyle. What if our ordinary really is purposed to become extraordinary? What are you waiting for? It’s time to put some seed in the ground by faith and watch it grow in Jesus Name.

Romans 8:14-16 (ESV)  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God…

“Faith grows when we assume the position of one who can’t do it all by himself. That means we go to God, follow Him, and ask Him for help.” – John Townsend

I am caught up in this thought of assumption today. Are there areas of my life that I have not yielded to Christ and assumption of my new life? Am I living as an adopted daughter of the Living God or do I still lack full assumption of my identity in Christ? How do I know? What do I expect? Do I expect God’s Love and Goodness? Do I live a confident life fully trusting the Lord to meet my need and exceed all expectations? The answer lies in my own heart. I must examine the contents carefully lest I assume without knowing. I must know the Word – not assume it doesn’t apply to me. I must know Jesus Christ through an abiding relationship – not just assume an introduction one day. I must live in a life of power by fully accepting grace that is only magnified in my weakness. Less of me and more of Him allows me to connect with Heaven by faith now rather than wondering when I die if I will enter its gates. There is no greater confidence than faith flourishing in every spiritual blessing given to those who live by faith as an assumption of all God has planned and purposed. To do so, I must assume that I am a Child of God because I know the Word and He lives in me.

I John 4:4 (ESV)  Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

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Get It Together

Get It Together

Romans 12:3-5 (ESV)  For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

One body. One Spirit. One church. Oh, so many members. The human body has many components that somehow can figure out how to work together in one fluid movement. Our brain tells our organs how to function, our limbs to work in unison, and somehow there is a coordinated effort it all work together. A handicap is when there is a component of the body not properly functioning according to its original design. The word “handicap” means a disadvantage. It makes success more difficult. It is considered a disability or burden to the bearer. It creates a challenge to the proper function of that which it impairs. To some this word is considered offensive. I mean nothing of the sort. Our body was designed by God to function a certain way. Sin introduced certain disadvantages that Christ has overcome. The Body of Christ suffers certain handicaps that the Spirit works in us to overcome. I am encouraged today that I serve the Living God who gives resurrection power and life to all His People.

Acts 2:42-47 (ESV) And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Everything created by God works in the realm of relationships. Even our bodies were designed with many members and one brain that works together. Right down to cellular regeneration within us, everything has a purpose in the grand scheme of our natural bodies. When a part of the body is not fully functioning, it may be considered disabled or handicapped. If our immune system is not successful in overcoming an attack, our body becomes sick or infirmed. If an organ ceases to function, life is compromised by the adverse condition. This is all in the natural AND spiritual realm of relationships. Our body’s ability to coordinate all its members into a fully functioning operation is what perpetuates and propels us through life. We are not only a physical body but a member of the Body of Christ.

Within our participation as a Child of God, believer and even Christian – we are part of a body. We have a purpose and place within the Body of Christ meant specifically for us. I have five children. Two boys and three girls. Each one has a special place in my heart and in our family design. It would be ridiculous to think that if something happened to one of them that it would be okay because we have four other children. There is no such thing as collateral damage in a household. If a family member passes, they will be missed. It will create a void. It should be so in the Body of Christ. He is a Good Shepherd. He will leave the ninety-nine to find the one who is lost. We must learn to place value and worth on the Body of Christ that we belong to. It is vital to our successful prosperity in life. To be a fully functioning member produces the promises of God not only in our life but for those around us in relationship with us, too.

The early church came together. They became a body. A functioning unit that added to the Kingdom daily. They spent every day in close fellowship with one another. None too busy or self-involved, these believers experienced miracles, signs and wonders as God’s Power flowed through them. His Breath is life to us. When we breathe together, it becomes a source of power. God loves unity. Harmony is precious anointing that He is ready to pour out over the Body of Christ. Are we ready to receive it?

Romans 12:9-13 (ESV) Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

In Romans 12, the believer is encouraged to become a living sacrifice. To live a holy and acceptable life that promotes a fully functioning body. It is called worship. We must not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Hence the war of self begins. It is human nature to survive. Yet, we are called to thrive. No one will prosper if they are not willing to invest. There is no return where there is no investment. It’s Biblical for a man cannot reap what he has not sown. With this in mind, to become a living sacrifice means something must be fully surrendered. To say, I surrender all means nothing if not accompanied by change. Sacrifice is not generally a comfortable effort but completely worthwhile endeavor.

I am led a ladies small group the other night. I am challenged to do so. Women are tough when it comes to relationships. I should know… I am one. However, I know that God desires us all to maintain healthy, loving and trusting relationships with those around us. We struggle because of past experiences. Trust forsaken is tough to recover. Yet we must find a way to overcome our differences, and forge strong bonds together to see the Body of Christ become healthy again. To see a Body fit for our soon and coming King!

Let love be genuine.

I Corinthians 13 lays out the guidelines of God-like love and commitment that characterizes genuine. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. This is genuine love. This is the love that God places in us and is the kind of love that He wants us to have for others. Lord, let my love be genuine.

Abhor what is evil.

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

We must flee from evil. Do not entertain it. Our minds are like sponges the things we permit to remain will assert dominance in us. You cannot love God and love sin at the same time. There is no meeting of the minds when it comes to the Goodness of God and every kind of evil. We must learn from God’s Word what He defines as the sin that defiles us and permit the Holy Spirit to change our mind from loving sin to loving God more than sin. This is how we combat evil in us. Our flesh wants to live. It wages war against the Spirit. There will be no unity in the Body of Christ if each member seeks its own way and allows sin to have dominance in their life. The word “abhor” is a strong verb. It means to regard with extreme repugnance or aversion. To detest and loathe something. Sin is rampant in our world. Violence at an all time high. Love has grown cold and there is complete disregard for others. Lord, show me the sin and evil in me and around me. Teach me to abhor it as much as you do!

Hold fast to what is good.

God is good. He is always good. No matter what is happening around you He is still good and His Goodness is for you. It doesn’t matter your present conditions or situation. God is still good. His Unfailing Love and Goodness are pursuing you. On those days when nothing is going right, Lord I challenge me to still sing, “You are good!”

Love one another with true affection.

We are all members of one body. Mic drop. The first commandment is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and body. The only other one is to love others. Loving one another is non-negotiable. By choosing to remain offended and unforgiving, we are the ones who are limited. Love is expendable and thereby expands into full satisfaction and inexpressible joy, not in its reproduction or reciprocation, but as the Lord fills more and more of our heart with His Love.

Outdo one another showing honor.

Comparison is a joy killer. I need my right and left hand equally to type these words to you each day. My left and right hand are both appendages but they do not fight for superiority. They were created with a job to do and they do it seemingly unaware of the other hand doing essentially the exact same thing. The Word of God tells us who we are in Jesus Christ and promises to make us a new creation in our abiding relationship with Him. My purpose and promises are not your purposes and promises – this is not a competition for the Father’s Love. We care brothers and sisters in Christ with an equal proportioned inheritance. It already belongs to us. There is nothing to do but remain in a righteous relationship through Jesus to secure it. Lord, help me to look for my value and worth in Your Word. There is no competition. Hands down! I have victory in You!

Do not be slothful in zeal.

Praise the Lord! No seriously! We have to live in a constant state of praise and worship to maintain life in His Presence. It creates enthusiasm in our spirit person when the Holy Spirit responds to the close proximity of God. The Lord inhabits the praise of His People. Get excited. Stir up the Gift of God within you. You have every reason to celebrate even on your worst day knowing that all things work together for your good!

Be fervent in Spirit.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. Jesus Christ has given you His Spirit. Resurrection power and life live in you. The Holy Spirit is our helper. Teacher. Mentor. Guide for life. Utilize this power gift imparted to you by God through His Son – Jesus.

Serve the Lord.

Wow! This fell so far down the list. Love. Be loved. Finally, we come to service. Serving God must be precipitated by a deep and abiding relationship of love for Him and other people. We owe no man anything but love. To serve God we must be lovers.

Rejoice in hope.

The hope that has been given to us never leads to disappointment.

Be patient in tribulation.

Tests and trials are temporary. Do not make permanent decisions based on temporary circumstances. If I break a toe, I am not likely to cut it off.

Be constant in prayer.

Communication with God is essential to maintain a right relationship with Him.

Contribute to the needs of others.

The blessings in my life are not just for me. God provides seed to the sower. He gives to us in the name of generosity so we can pour it out on others. The Body of Christ needs each member to become united. To live looking after one another so the Body will thrive again. The fractured, dysfunctional unit presented to the world today does not offer anything any different than another group of people. Where is the power? Where is the difference? What happened to the Light? Why aren’t we salty anymore? Could it be that rather than considering God and His Purpose to love others – that we have become lost in ourselves?

Seek to show hospitality.

Church of the Living God and Members of the Body of Jesus Christ, I am challenged today. I am moved in my heart and soul that we need to get it together. God has set forth characteristics for Christian believers. One thing is clear. It is not about me. Or you for that matter… It is all about Jesus. His Body is hurting, broken and fragmented. I can do nothing other than be sure that my “member” is ready. I must examine my own heart. I must allow the Holy Spirit to change my mind. I must remove myself from the throne of self and put Jesus back in His Rightful Place. The early church was exciting. Charismatic. There were signs, wonders and miracles. Life was a party in the midst of terrible tribulation. They were murdered for believing back then yet risked it all to be together as one. What will you give up to assemble the Body of Christ again? What am I willing to sacrifice for unity? We have to get this together before Jesus comes for us. We must put aside our differences and find commonality and community in Christ.

I Peter 3:8-9 (ESV) Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

No Longer Orphans

No Longer Orphans

James 1:16-18 (NIV) Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.

Who doesn’t love to receive a gift? Especially that unexpected random bit of thoughtfulness on an ordinary day out of the blue for no reason at all. Such simple gestures grow relationships including marriages and friendships. But in that moment of receiving – it can become a burden if you have nothing to offer in return. Even from a friend rather than accepting with humble gratitude, our pride wants to immediately give something back. To reciprocate that goodness offered in order to remove any expectation or indebtedness. I love to give. I am a giver by nature. I have a tough time receiving. I am not sure why or even the point of this scripture passage that I have been led to. What gift is the Father offering me today? Am I willing to receive it? Though I have nothing to give Him, He is always doing good things for me.

The Lord lavishes His Unfailing Love and Grace on us each day. He pursues us with His Faithfulness. He gifts us with new mercy each day. He promises to provide all of our needs. He offers to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can ask, think or even imagine. The gift of life in exchange for the death sentence that once convicted us. God is good. He is a Good Father. His Son, Jesus, is good. He is ALWAYS good even when we are not. His Love transcends our faults, failures and weaknesses. We cannot reciprocate it. There is nothing worthy to return to Him even as an offering. He just keeps making good of the details in my life just as His Word says. Grace maintains that no matter what the Lord never changes His Mind about me and His Love will always be enough to change my life radically. To turn darkness in to Light. To transform the natural into supernatural. To take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. All I must do is believe.

To believe. Such a simple word with magnificent and marvelous ramifications if applied in our life. Yet why the struggle…could it be that the offer sounds too good? The depth of God’s Love too overwhelming to go further than wading. The vastness of it producing so much freedom that fear tells us we will be lost. Do you believe that God is good? Have you experienced His Goodness? Would you like to?

Matthew 7:7-12 (NIV) “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

There are heartbreaking stories of silent orphanages all over the world. Filled with babies and small children yet void of any sound. Why don’t the babies cry? They know that no one will come. How sad is that to even consider a crying child that has never experienced the warmth of a tight embrace or soothing whispers of a loved one. Last year our office adopted a family for the holidays, a grandfather caring for a handful of grandchildren abandoned by parents caught up in bad choices. When all the gifts were gathered and presented to them, I was humbled by comparison. My own children take for granted the gifts that these children cherished. Ordinary things that one might think every childhood entails including a warm jacket for an unseasonably cold winter. We are no longer orphans.

We have a Heavenly Father. Whether we are prodigal or presiding with Him, it doesn’t matter His Love and Lavishing Goodness are for us. Grace makes a way for us to enter His Presence and come to Him bolding with confidence that He will answer. So why are we not asking, seeking and knocking on Heaven’s Door? It all goes back to one word. The same word that keeps those little babies from crying. Fear. The fear of unmet expectation is stifling in the life of a believer. Past experiences tell us to trust no one.

Our Father invites us and longs for us to come to Him. “How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts those who ask Him.” The rain falls on the just and unjust. The Lord is always providing what we need to experience fruitfulness and abundance in our life. It is our receivership that struggles. Pride verses humility. I remember when our oldest ventured out on his own. He was full of confidence and even a little arrogance. He went overseas to serve our country for almost a year. When he came back, he moved into an apartment and began “adulting”. He balked at returning home to get his feet on the ground. Six months later, home looked really good. The “King of Rock and Roll” – the one and only Elvis Presley – had the misfortune of an untimely death as he decided to do things “My Way.” I wonder what would happen if we humbled ourselves as little children at the feet of Jesus and crawled in Father God’s lap to ask forgiveness for our failures, unload our fears and finally confide in Him our wants, needs and desires. Good things, that’s what we would experience as the Goodness of the Father overtakes His Children who come to Him.

John 14:15-18 (NIV) “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the Glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:20) Every promise that can be found in God’s Word (written and spoken) are a resounding “yes” thanks to the precious gift of salvation through the Blood of Jesus. The Spirit of Adoption, the Holy Spirit, identifies us as God’s Children. He is a Good Father who blesses His Children with good things day in and day out. Where is God’s Goodness in your life? All around you. Why can’t you see it? Do you believe?

Do not let past unmet expectation or lifetime disappointment keep you from believing in the Goodness of God. His Grace is enough to overcome every sin, fault and failure and He promises that His Power is for the weak. We must believe enough to ask. To approach the Father in faith that He will do just as He said that He would do with the willingness to wait until He responds. Doubt will keep you from destiny if allowed to flourish in the place of faith. Jesus said, “I will not leave you as orphans.” We are not orphans but dearly loved children of the Most High God. It’s time to live like it.

When the prodigal son returned home, he was met by the love and grace of his father with fully restored sonship. Even Elijah experienced the loving kindness of the Father when hiding on the mountain. The still small voice did not condemn him for fearing Jezebel and hiding from her threats. No, He simply asked him – “What are you doing here?” What is the still small voice saying to you today? The Lord wants to shower His Love and Affection on us every day. He is always sending us good gifts. He is a Good Father. He calls us His Children.

Romans 8:14-16 (NIV) For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

Have I Failed?

Have I Failed

Psalm 73:26 (NKJV) My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

My flesh and my heart fail…Have I failed God? What happens if I do not pass the test? When my flesh and heart feel like failures – what then? What’s next for the believer who doesn’t get it right? In the midst of spiritual droughts, it is not uncommon to feel like a failure. To wonder “what’s the point” of even trying because I have made a fine mess of things. Or even worse lug out the heavy bat marked regret in order to beat yourself up over and over until you live in shame. The enemy of our soul wants us to believe that failure is not an option but inevitable. Do you feel like a failure today?

But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. We can be our own worst critics. Examining our life and choices with a magnifying glass. Comparing our success to others. Trying to do it all and do it all well. A life of excellence is not defined by doing everything but doing what you do well. The accomplishment of excellence takes focus on raising the standard of our life with commitment and discipline that cannot be diverse. It must be consistent. It must remain constant. How does a human being accomplish such a daunting task? With fickle hearts and wandering minds, how is it even possible to achieve God’s Standard of Living. Truth is it is impossible. I cannot make my life any better. I can make better choices. I can change some of my behaviors. I can develop good habits. Yet still I cannot change my future and hope. It is already established. A plan carefully written for me, my good and God’s Glory before I was born. It contains a future and hope. Always good things in store for me. But the only way that I can have constant success in life is to seek the Lord wholeheartedly. Is it possible to fail God? We already did. Is it possible to fail? Yes. Our flesh and heart will fail us over and over again. The good news is that even when our flesh and heart fail that the Lord is our strength and portion forever. “For with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)

The definition of failure is a lack of success. It is absolutely possible and inevitable that there will be failure in certain areas of our natural existence. In fact, our body is born in a state of aging and deterioration. Our choices directly impact the advancement of the process. At some point in the future, everyone will die. It is unavoidable. However, as sons and daughters of God this does not impact our future negatively. Others will mourn our crossover into Heaven, but I do not think a single person welcomed by Jesus ever looks back. Disappointment is unmet expectation. Any expectation placed in people or the world will often result in disappointment or discouragement. This impacts our heart and mind. Unless we understand the greater picture of our new life in Christ it is easy to become persuaded that there are things that can separate us from the Love of God and His Plan for us. This is simply not true.

I John 3:1-3 (NKJV) Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

I am a child of God. Are you? If you are a child of God – you have an inheritance. He becomes your portion. What does that mean exactly? Every promise and blessing that the Father has for you is unconditional. It is your inheritance. You receive it simply by becoming His Child. Let these words sink in for just a minute. Failure means nonperformance on something due, required or expected. God released His Word for your life. His Word cannot return to Him void. It must accomplish what He pleases and it must prosper in the thing for which He sent it. (Isaiah 55:11) It doesn’t matter if you fail what matters is that God’s Word cannot fail. God is not like mankind. He does not lie or change His Mind. Once He commands a blessing in your life, it must happen. It will happen. 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. (Psalm16:5-6)

Lamentations 3:21-25 (NKJV) This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your Faithfulness.  “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.

I have hope. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. The evidence of the unseen reality in our life. God is our hope. Faith attaches us to the hope. We must believe it to receive it. If only men and women of “faith” could overcome fear of failure. Imagine the explosive impact on those who were not afraid to fail in their faith but flourished in hope. Confident hope becomes consistent faith. Faith that moves mountains is not the kind that whispers words of uncertainty or remains tangled in regret. Fearless faith is that which relies on God’s Mercy that comes to us each day. The Spirit-Filled Bible puts it like this – “Where grace emphasizes the freeness of God’s Love toward us, mercy stresses the freeing of our lives from the misery of disobedience.” The truth is that we obey God’s Word because we do not believe it. For if we believed in our inheritance, we would devour the Word of God finding ways to make it work in our life. When new mercy came this morning, did you receive it? Did you use it to cover the wounds of disappointment, the marks of regret, and the stains of shame? God’s Compassion for us does not fail. His Love for us provided a wave of grace much larger than any mistake or indiscretion. The current of His Love, Grace and Mercy gently drawing us closer to Him so that our inheritance is released to us as His Children.

Mercy is God’s Covenant of Compassion for us. It is His All Consuming Commitment to bring us into the good things that He has prepared for us. It is the invitation to live in everlasting communion with our Father. Mercy is the key to our success. It is the understanding that though we may fail, God never fails in His Love including His Compassion, Commitment and Communion with us. He is our portion. This is vital in our understanding of faith and hope and how it all works together. We need His Mercy every single day because we will fail. It allows us to see that He never fails. We will prosper by remaining in His Love.

Psalm1:2-3 (NKJV) But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

I wonder if a barren tree sitting in a blanket of snow in the winter feels like a failure. Or maybe a flower whose blooms are wilted and withered on the ground, does it bow its head in regret at what it has lost. It knows what season it is and therefore waits in the soil for the conditions to change. You are God’s Child. He is molding and shaping your life into a masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10) Just because your life looks like a mess right now, does not in any way mean you have failed?

At the end the school year, my youngest partnered with a friend to do a class project. She asked if they could use some of our crafting supplies and work on it at our house. I agreed. When I came home from work from my kitchen to the porch all the way in the back yard including covering the girls – it looked like a paintball war had occurred. I was quite sure her oldest brother was involved but I cannot prove it. I was less the enthused by the condition of our home. They completed the project with a “B” – I think. I am still cleaning up the paint. Life is messy. There will be tests. Some you will pass with living colors, others only barely get by and there will be those that you fail altogether. God’s Grace is sufficient in every season. His Mercy is new every day. His Love for His Children unfailing. He is constantly working success and prosperity according to the measure of faith that He put in our hearts and the Spirit that He has given us. He knows we are weak. He knows we can’t do it all.

All that the Lord desires is that we seek Him. Make a commitment to love Him wholeheartedly and seek Him the same. He will make His Way known and empower us to follow and equip us for success. We must only know that though I may fail – it is impossible for God to fail. His Hope NEVER leads to disappointment – we must follow through. God is good! He loves you! He is our inheritance which is freely given to His Sons and Daughters without condition. He is prospering us from the inside out. God is for you – you cannot fail. His Grace is producing His Glory in us and through us. Where my life ends, and my new life in Christ begins is the day I leave failure and regret behind. He is working all things together for my good and His Glory. (Romans 8:28) Take hold of Jesus today. He will lead you from victory to victory. Let Him tell you who you are. Stop looking around and look up. Let the Lord be the strength of your heart and your portion forever. You will be satisfied.

Proverbs 3:21-24 (NKJV) My son, let them not depart from your eyes—Keep sound wisdom and discretion; So they will be life to your soul and grace to your neck. Then you will walk safely in your way, and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.

Through It All

Keep Walking

Exodus 14:13-16 (ESV) And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground.”

Most churches have used the anthem “No Longer Slaves” in the worship set as it has grown in popularity. The bridge of the song belted out “You split the sea so I could walk right through it… My fears were drowned in perfect love…You rescued me, so I can stand and sing…I am a Child of God. Such an empowering message, which makes the one praising and worshiping God in that corporate moment feel strong and immovable. Right? At least I do. It reminds me of all the times God has brought me through tough even tragic situations. The times that I thought I couldn’t find my next breath much less my next step. Church ends and life begins again.

How do I carry that mentality from church into real life? The feeling of strength and power when all hell is breaking loose in my life. How do I maintain confident trust in the Lord when the walls of water around me grow tumultuous? How do I hold an anchor that I cannot see or feel the weight of? I don’t know about you but I think walking on water seems preferable to “drowning” in perfect love. You know having the faith to walk with Jesus above the wind and waves. Need I remind you, Peter jumped out of the boat by faith but found that his heart was not ready for the journey so he immediately sank…let’s read about it.

Matthew 14:27-31 (ESV) But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 

Different scenario same God. While the Egyptians pursed the Israelites, there didn’t seem to be a real choice in the faith matter. Either walk through the Red Sea or die on the beach, not favorable but definitely with great reward. The boat was being beaten by the winds and waves. The disciples were afraid. Jesus came to them walking on the water. He did not split the sea or calm the storm yet but when Peter asked to come to him. Ever hear the song, “Oceans”…ever sang it out loud. We ask the Lord to challenge us, take us deeper, move us closer to Him, allow us to live in His Presence but when the opportunity comes – our flesh fails. Faith is clearly too small to keep us buoyant. The Lord faithfully, loving and always reaches down to catch us. It took a whole lot of faith to walk between two walls of suspended water but the people had no choice it was move or die. Peter had a choice. Intrigued by Jesus, he thought he was ready to walk with the Lord. When his feet hit the water, I believe that Peter thought Jesus would impart some super power to him and he would magically stay on top of the water. Not the case then and not the case now.

Our super power is faith. But just like every other super hero, it takes time to cultivate our power into something tangible, useful and, yes, even powerful. For a new driver, putting the right foot on the accelerator and pushing it down hard the first time seems exhilarating and easy at first. The powerful force of the engine engaging as sweaty hands clutch the steering wheel while our entire body is catapulted forward makes us think maybe there is more to this than I thought. At least, I hope so. Faith is powerful but it comes in raw form. It is dispensed in our heart as a small measure and left up to us if it will remain a seed or be harvested into a mighty force. However, my power is not in myself. It is not part of my being. It is the Christ in me. In order to find the power invested in me by my Creator and see it manifest in my life – there will be pressure applied to my life to force it out.

Whether external (as the Israelites experienced) or internal (as Peter experienced) – faith is the power that God desires to express from our life. What if that thing that is pressing, pushing or bearing down upon you is not to overtake you but rather to move you to something better? What if He is moving you from a mundane life to supernatural existence? Could it be that you have somehow settled for less than enough when the Lord has more than enough instore for you? Or maybe just maybe there is more than you can think, ask or imagine that stinking thinking has stopped you from dreaming and doing? The Lord will never leave you in Egypt. He won’t let you drown in fear and doubt. He has already given you every spiritual blessing now you just have to go after it, reach out to take hold of it or move to where the promise is!

Romans 12:3 (ESV) For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

Each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned means that you already have been apportioned the faith you need to be triumphant and victorious in every situation. It is in you. It came with Christ. Now what are you going to do with it? What did the Lord say to Moses when he came to them relaying the fear of the people in the midst of their complaining? He said, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground.” God has given you faith and power. Jesus has given you the grace to make it through. All that is left to do is what He tells us to. We must go through it. Peter asked. Jesus answered. Sure, come to me. The disciple who followed Jesus, heard Him teach the Word, saw Him perform mighty miracles, and was overwhelmed by all the followers. He definitely knew the Lord but his faith was still too small to make it a few feet on top of the water. The cry of the living sacrifice is give me faith to give more of me. I believe the Lord is telling us that He already gave it to us now it is time to do something with it.

2 Corinthians 5:6-9 (ESV) So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.

For we (are to) walk by faith and not by sight. I have added that “are to” because if it were that easy our churches would like fearlessly in a state of ongoing revival. Flesh would not weigh us down but faith create a light so bright it would illuminate the world with God’s Love. Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) The only way to know what measure of faith evident in our life is through testing. When I make a cake, I measure the ingredients to ensure it will be delicious. Any good recipe has a process, it takes time, and one must go through all the steps using the proper ingredients. Our life in Christ is the same.

We are free to choose the amount of faith cultivated in our life but the measure is the same. It starts small but has the potential to turn into something big. The Lord is our courage. He is our strength. He promises victory to those who trust Him, follow Him, and stay with Him. I cannot do that where I am now but must keep walking no matter how relentless the enemy or overwhelming the storm. Eyes on Jesus not my circumstances. Faith entrusted and invested in Him not the evidence of my life. He is faithful. He knows it’s going to take some time – that’s why the Lord blesses endurance with salvation and life. He knows that I will mess up, my flesh will fail but Jesus promises that His Grace is enough for me and will work even better in my humble weakness.

I don’t know what you are going through today. I only know my own struggles and battles but I know this. God is good. He is faithful. He will help me if I trust Him. He will give me courage. He will be my strength. He is constant and unfailing. The Lord always responds to my cries. He has never left me or forsaken me even when I have given up myself. See the Lord gave you and I faith because He has something bigger and better for us. If only, we will keep moving, breathing and existing in Him until we have it. This is what we hope must for and truly believe. Do you feel pressure? Do you feel pushed to make a move? Seek the Lord today. Call on His Name. Ask Him for direction. Offer your heart and mind to Him for careful inspection. Let Him weed out those thoughts that have you all tangled up. Sometimes just seeing things from God’s Perspective or tying His Promise to your problem will lift your head up to see that help has arrive. His Name is Jesus. He overcame the world…let Him overtake your heart. He will walk through it with you!

Psalm 3:3-4 (ESV) But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah

No Surprise

No Surprises

Proverbs 13:19-21 (NIV)

A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil. Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. Trouble pursues the sinner, but the righteous are rewarded with good things.

 

My family loves to surprise and trick other people. Yet, they hate to be surprised or tricked themselves. Our middle daughter is constantly stalked by the others because she cannot help but jump out of her skin when caught off guard. It all begins in good fun and then turns quickly into an argument amongst them. I don’t like to be surprised. After almost two decades of being the primary adult when it comes to such things, as my husband is just as bad as our children when it comes to this, I am generally not lead astray by their comradery any more. In fact, I don’t believe them most of the time due to the constant antics. If the house is too quiet or something seems off, I know that I am about to be shanghaied by somebody hiding in the dark or behind a door. The girls are just as bad as the guys. Yet, in that moment, when my feet hit the ground and I catch my breath after being scared yet again, the laughter is well worth it. Today is April Fools Day and so I must remain on high alert. They are going to come after me, I know it. So I must be ready as I am quite sure they have plenty of tricks up their sleeves.

 

April Fools Day is set aside for harmless pranks and practical jokes. It is a day filled with hoaxes meant to surprise and trick those around us. A fool is considered to be someone who lacks judgement or good sense. It is one who is considered to be silly or stupid. My maternal grandmother considered it the highest insult you could give a person. If you called someone a fool even in jest, she would immediately rebuke us threatening to wash our mouth out with soap. No joke. Although today is all meant for good old-fashioned fun, I am thinking we can learn something in the midst of all its banter. There is a saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Today as I think about the wisdom that I have been given in Christ my Lord, it is with careful consideration of all the times I am fooled, tricked and surprised by the enemy. I should know better. Yet, when I am presented a lie. I gladly take it over the Truth that I have been given and hold so dear. If the enemy surprises me, suddenly I question or maybe even doubt God’s Word to me and all the other times the Lord has silenced him in my life. Today, I will attempt to walk lightly and carefully through this day to not be caught off guard by all the jokers in my life.

 

To walk by faith and not by sight is a tough one… at least it is for me. I am a very visual person. Words become images in my head quickly so I must be very careful what I listen to or more importantly who I listen to. I am to walk by faith. I am to live by what I know about God not what I am presented as truth in this world. Today, I will live by knowledge and wisdom gained by personal experience. I have survived many days living in this family. If I fall for their tricks today, it is my own fault. I know them. I know better. It is the same with our life in Jesus Christ. As believers, we are warned about the enemy who lies in wait and the world in which we live. It is when we take this knowledge and apply it to our life that it becomes wisdom. Wisdom is truly one’s salvation to live by faith and not by sight. Naivety is a lack of knowledge that makes us victim to the plots and schemes of the enemy. To think that God’s Word does not apply to us is folly. To think the enemy has no desire to sift us like wheat is a lack of knowledge that will lead to our death. We must live giving our full attention to obtaining knowledge that can be turned into godly wisdom to feed our faith and nourish our soul.

 

Proverbs 10:22-24 (NIV)

The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it. A fool finds pleasure in wicked schemes, but a person of understanding delights in wisdom. What the wicked dread will overtake them; what the righteous desire will be granted.

 

God desires to bless us. He decided to do so before we were created. He recorded each one meticulously concerning us. It is not something that He thinks up when we do something good or pleasing in His Sight. The Lord is not motivated by our actions or attitudes. He is not moved by our demands or mandates. There is nothing that a human being can do that God needs us to do. It is written in black and white with no shades of gray to be found. This means that if I follow Christ and walk His Way that I will be blessed without painful toil. Religion tells us to work harder and do better. Our relationship with Jesus Christ says, “Come closer and let me take that from you.” It is the wisdom from the Word of God applied to our life that opens the windows of Heaven allowing His Blessing and Favor to come pouring out. Sometimes when I pile groceries in the back of my car, they will shift in transport. As I begin to open the trunk, I realize that there is something leaning against the door and if I do not push it back everything tumbles onto the garage floor. This is how it is with God’s Blessing. Stockpiled in Heaven pressing against every opening and orifice of our life just waiting for us to open the door by faith to everything that the Lord has promised.

 

There is nothing a person can “do” to bring Heaven to earth other than open the door with the keys to His Kingdom that Jesus handed to us after He conquered hell, death and the grave. Those keys are marked, “faith, hope and love.” Everything we need, want and desire our bound by these three things. They are wisdom to our life once applied will release the contents of His Kingdom making the ordinary life extraordinary and the impossible completely possible. I do not reward my children for good grades. I know that many do. As long as they work hard and do their best, they live a very blessed life. I do not hold them all to the same standard. Some excel in school while others excel in other areas. They are good kids. God’s Reward in our life is not created by our willingness to serve and obey Him. The Blessing of the Lord already exists. We can live in it rather than be surprised by it. Those who find pleasure in foolishness and who decide that grace is for later and not right now, will be frustrated in their pursuit of the Blessing of God secured in Heaven for them. God does not bless us for what we do. His Blessings are already there. We decide whether we want them or not by our response to His Word, Will and Way. It’s up to us.

 

I John 3:12-14 (NIV)

Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.

 

There are illustrations in the Word of God that guide us in the acquisition of God’s Blessing and Favor in our life that bear noting today. The brothers – Cain, Abel, Esau and Jacob – are representative of two members of the same household with different agendas and plans. First there is Cain and Abel, who were the sons of Adam and Eve, both knew God. How do I know? They both presented offerings to the Lord. Abel gave his best. Cain gave only what was required. He gave less than his best. Adam and Even loved both of their sons. Raised side-by-side growing into adulthood, they observed the same examples. Abel’s knowledge and experience would grow beyond knowledge becoming wisdom as his religion became a relationship with the Lord. But Cain did not take the knowledge given allowing it to become wisdom that changes our heart from relentless sovereignty of God making Him fearful to be captivated by His Love. Where there is no love hatred takes root. This happens when the Body of Christ compares their blessing to another brother or sister in Christ. When they feel insignificant due to ignorance as to their birthright. We all have the opportunity to become Sons and Daughters of God. Some don’t make it through the adoption process because they die in comparison. It produces fear that eats away at our faith. It is the insecurity that forms a breath in our hope that doubts our Father’s Love because of the commitment, obedience and sacrifice of another. It is a pride issue that must be severely dealt with.

 

Hebrews 12:15-17 (NIV)

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.  See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.

 

God’s Grace allows me to claim my birthright and inheritance stored in His Kingdom. I do not have to fight another for it or do anything other than attach my faith to the doorway and pull. Fools give up their birthright for a single meal. When we look at the details in our life, it is important to note the deal breakers and faith wreckers. We all have them but not everyone is wise or attentive enough to decipher the significance of the moment of choice. See Esau would have inherited it all. Everything would be his property. He would have absolute authority in his household. His natural hunger ate up his spiritual reward. He gave up his birthright for a single meal. What is that thing you are not willing to give up for the Kingdom? It is all tied back to faith, hope and love living in total submission radically following Jesus who leads us to all things. If fear, anxiety, worry or stress are present in your life it arises from a lack of satisfaction, contentment and completion in the Lord. To avoid the pitfall of forsaking all that Christ died for you to have, it is important to note these foolish follies and apply faith, hope and love in strong doses.

 

Esau not only gave up his birthright, he would go on to lose his father’s blessing as well. Jacob deceitfully took it from him while he obeyed his father’s wishes. Isaac sent him to the field to find game for his meal. Rebekah encouraged her son, Jacob, to impersonate Esau and gain his blessing from Isaac. He did. When Esau returned discovering he had been taken advantage of again, he begged his father to bless him. Because of this, Esau would rebel against his father. We must not allow the enemy to take our birthright or steal our blessing from us. We must be alert and aware that the enemy has come to steal, kill and destroy God’s Children and he is relentless. He knows no mercy and has no love. He is ruthless in his tactics and skillful in deception. He knows no bounds. Even in our churches, he prowls around seeking who he may devour and its working. We are Children of God. We have a birthright sealed by the Blood of Jesus. It belongs to us. It cannot be taken but we can give it up. We are blessed by God. It is ordained and written into God’s Plan for our life. This is sealed by God’s Grace that delivers even though sin deceived us. The enemy cannot take our blessings but we can carelessly discard them. I don’t want to be foolish. I do not want to be ignorant. I claim my birthright today. I claim my blessings in the Lord.

 

Proverbs 3:5-10 (NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

 

A while back, one of my adult children made a mistake. It led to consequences. As parents, we love these kids no matter what so we came to this child’s aid immediately. The next day, we sat down to talk about what happened. Obviously embarrassed and ashamed. I immediately expressed our love and lack of condemnation. Come on parents, we are not perfect and made many of the same mistakes if not worse ourselves. The regret, guilt and remorse was evident. I had prayed the Lord would give me wisdom for this situation before this conversation came to pass and He did. How could this happen? The enemy works overtime to trick us, lay traps for us, and detour us any way that he can. This is what the Lord laid on my heart in that moment and I believe applies today. If we do not take the knowledge and experience obtained in our mistakes and turn them into wisdom, we are a fool. To do so turns tragedy into triumph as we overcome the enemy and regain our right standing through repentance. It is in repetition that rebellion takes root. The Lord’s Grace is sufficient for every fault and failure that I have. God has given me the opportunity to be His Child anyway. Unlike the Old Testament brothers, no one can kill me, take my birthright or have my blessing. How do I maintain it?

 

Trust in the Lord with ALL my heart. Do NOT lean on my own understanding that is flawed from the start. In ALL my ways SUBMIT to the Father. He WILL make my paths straight. Do NOT think I am wise in own eyes. Fear the Lord. It is the beginning of knowledge that will save our life and bless us in the midst of it. By choosing to shun evil, even if we have been the victim of it, the believer is able to walk in right standing with God and obtain every spiritual blessing secured by our birth right bound by His Spirit and far from the reach of the enemy. Don’t be a fool. Be alert and ready. It is our ability to walk by faith in hope and love that allows us to remain in alignment with the provisions and blessings of God prescribed, preordained and presented in this life.

 

I Peter 5:7-9 (NIV)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

 

It would be foolish for me to think that my husband and kids will not try to pull one over on me today. It happens all the time. My experience tells me it is coming. I must be alert at all times or I will be their victim. There is absolutely the possibility I will fall for one of their tricks. That’s okay. It happens all the time, too. However, the stakes are much higher when the enemy sets his sight on sifting us. He plays for keeps. Like a roaring lion behind a cage, it is foolish to think one might walk in the cave and not be overtaken. Only a fool would take that chance. Yet every day believers skirt along the edge of darkness, dip their toes in pools of sin, and follow the crowd’s folly, yet wonder why they have been duped again. Compromise and complacency bed comfort zones of death where our substitutions for submission pad our grave. It’s true. We become foolish thinking we are wise. Grace is not an excuse it is an escape from death to life. I challenge you today to stand guard. Be alert. Resist the urge to give in or give up. Take a stand. The higher the watchtower the more evident the enemy. God has given you a birthright. He has given you His Blessing. He gave up His Only Heir so we could have eternal life. God is all in. Are you? Am I? As a believer, I have no excuse. Living under God’s Standard is not my calling. Filthy rags are not my raiment. The crumbs under His Table were never for me. The Lord has given me everything. He has given me His Best. I would be a fool not to take it. I must not be taken unaware or by surprise. I have the Mind of Christ. His Spirit lives in me. I have all that I need to live up to Christ Standard with all of Heaven being mine.

 

Proverbs 17:24 (NIV)

A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.

The Good Father

parent holds the hand of a small child

Luke 15:17-20 (NIV)

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

I was listening to the popular worship song, “Good Father” on my way to work the other day and the Holy Spirit began moving in my heart with each word. God is good. I absolutely believe that statement to be true. With every fiber of my being, I am totally convinced that God is always good and never intends harm for me or my family. I did not always know and understand this even as a longtime believer in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I still just couldn’t wrap my head around an all-powerful God who would still allow sickness, disease and tragedy to occur in life. When bad, terrible or horrible things happened to good people, I would spend time contemplating the contradiction of such pronounced goodness in the midst of prevailing evil. It would take a personal tragedy turned to triumph to come to the realization that God is always good. Yet, it was not discovered in our son’s healing but the probability of his death. Faced with plummeting odds of survival, I had to face the validity of my faith in the Lord and His Being head on and face first. No longer could I dally with religion, feign obedience and profess an unreceived word. I had to thoroughly investigate my beliefs and the contents of my heart. At the end of myself, I finally determined that God is a Good Father. He is always good. He is intentions are good. He will always be good even when I am not.

“You’re a good, good Father. It’s who You are, it’s who You are. And I’m loved by You. It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am.” Though it is a popular song, I wonder if we are singing along because it is a catchy tune or do we really, really believe that God is a Good Father. There are two declarations in this verse. First, the belief that God is a Good Father which most people believe or at least try to distinguish as true. Secondly, is the belief that we are loved by this Good and Great God as His Beloved Child. We must grab hold of both to live a changed and transformed life.

The prodigal son immediately came to my mind for obvious reasons. I think his situation is a relevant account of mankind’s struggle to accept God in all His Goodness. He is a Good Father. The prodigal son had a good father. When the boy came to his father demanding his inheritance prematurely to set his own course in the world. The father granted him his desire and off he went leaving the comfort and stability of his family home. The son made his own way into the pit to feast with the pigs although it was not where he belonged. In the midst of his mess, the father still maintained his household and cared for all those who dwelled there. It was when he finally “came to his senses” that he remembered his good father and returned home.

The lost son left his home. He took responsibility for his own life. He squandered his future. He ended up on his knees. He came home. He was greeted by the good father. The good father was still good even when we lose sight of who we are. Leave home (His Presence). Take responsibility for our life (leave His Way). Squander our future (doing what we want instead of His Will). We end up on our knees and He greets us with His Love, Grace, Mercy and Goodness time and time again. He really is a Good Father. What we must come to realize that His Goodness is not dependent on what we do, where we go or how far we may fall. His Goodness remains true and intact awaiting our return.

Genesis 1:31 (NIV)

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.S

Everything God created is good. Everything. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) God has set eternity in our heart which is what draws us back to Him. He also promises to make everything beautiful in its time. Why? How? God created everything so it has been purposed to become something beautiful in its own time as we make our way back home (to eternity). “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” We have the potential of receiving all of God’s Goodness by simply receiving it with thanksgiving, consecrating it by the Word of God and prayer. When we return to the Father, we will never be welcomed by anything other than His Goodness and Grace. Always and forever because He is a Good Father who does not lie or change His Mind. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. It is up to us to become His Children.

Romans 8:28-29 (NIV)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

Every afternoon around three o’clock, I get a text from my fifteen year old. It says simply – “What’s for dinner?” Every day. Seldom without fail. I generally cook dinner every night. Around 5:30 PM, the family stirs knowing that a meal will be provided. My daughter never asks, begs or pleads for dinner because she knows I will provide it. She may call me if I am running late. Or try to help me get it on the table a little faster but not once has she continually bugged me as to if I would prepare her evening meal. Oh, you know where this is going. She knows that I love her and that I will be sure that her needs are met. She lives confident that her parents are caring for her so she does not question our care.

What if we began to believe that God really is a Good Father? What if we began to take Him at His Word? What if we decided to wait on His Promises? What if we trusted Him as we do other people in our life? I would know, believe and live by the Truth that “in ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love Him”. Period. End of statement. Moving on. We pray for things already promised. We want our way never considering God’s Way. We demand our Father to be less than good or perfect concerning us in our quest for immediate gratification and self-satisfaction. We are called according to His Purpose. When we live in His Presence pursuing His Purpose, the goodness in our life is overflowing because He is that kind of dad.

Romans 12:2 (NIV)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

When I read the word “conform” in Romans 8:29, I remembered Romans 12:2. Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed. Conformity is to conform or act in accord with the prevailing standards, attitudes and practices of this world. Transformation is to be shaped into who God purposed us to be which is in Romans 8:29. “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” When we decided to allow God to transform us through His Son, Jesus and by the Power of the Holy Spirit to become like Jesus, we become Children of the Living God who is a Good Father. His Goodness becomes our way of life. Too many times we conform to the standard set out by the world, society or even the modern day church rather than seeking the Presence and Power of God that changes us from the inside out to be His Beloved Children. We play the part but have not assumed the role. So God doesn’t seem that good to us because we have not experience the transforming power of freedom from sin and the fullness of His Great Love for us.

Conformity to the world makes us who everyone else thinks we should be. Transformation by the Love of God allows us to become who we are created to be – Children of God who live in His Love and Goodness every single day from now to eternity.

Philippians 2:12-16 (NIV)

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

Faith allows us to continually be transformed by the Love of God. There will be days like the lost son that we may somehow wander into less than God’s Very Best. That has not, does not and will never change God’s Love for us or intent to be a Good Father. He will always be. Just the father of the prodigal son, He waits in His Kingdom for you to accept your role as His Child and continue in His Blessing. As the New Year approaches, I am more convinced than ever before that He is a Good Father. In the days ahead as we fast and pray for 21 days, it is with the intent to be transformed even more in my role as Child of the Living God. To move deeper in His Presence, for my faith and confidence in my Father to grow more than ever before, I know that He is a Good, Good Father. I know that is Who He is. I am still journeying deeper and deeper into His Love on a quest to know Him completely. The Lord promises to withhold no good thing from those who walk blamelessly. Thanks to Jesus, I have been given the privilege of His Grace. It is enough for me to grab hold of God’s Goodness. Who better to tell me who I am and make me into that person than my Creator? (Ephesians 2:12-16)

Will 2016 be the year that you discover the Goodness of God for your life? That really is up to you. Every good thing in your life is from Him. (James 1:16-18) Whether you choose to love Him or not He is good so the rain falls on the just and unjust. One who tastes the Goodness of God will never forget it. The son remembered the father in this midst of the pit and so will you. It will always draw you back even in wandering. He is such a Good Father. You are loved by Him. Make the coming year the one that you desire and discover the Love of the Good Father reserved just for you. It is who you are. It is who I am. The Lord is truly perfect in all of His Ways.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (NIV)

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

More Grace Again – A Devotion

More Grace Again

Romans 5:20-21 (NLT)

God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

God’s Grace rules our life. I wish I understood the true capacity of His Goodness and Mercy found in His Grace already but the fact that it is totally contradictory to human nature makes it something that must be discovered and discerned. It requires a level of trust beyond human comprehension. Grace is found at the end of me. A place that I am not interested in going, but seem to find myself in lately. In the midst of frustration and overall impatience, on the verge of breaking down is the very moment that I receive the grace that I am after. It is the thing that I need the most but desire the least. Hang on before you go ahead and cast judgment my way. The whole point of His Grace is found in our complete and utter weakness. Nobody wants to be weak. Who in the world wants to be drained of all energy and strength? It is in that exact moment when we discover more and more of His Abundant Grace. Filled with new life and power – it empowers us to do more than we ever thought to be possible as His Spirit takes over in weakness. We keep trying to do all the right things and be good people. Complete honesty reveals that we fall short every single day as it is clear that people will never be without sin apart from Jesus Christ. Epic failure turns into a wonderful opportunity to discover His Grace all over again.

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.

 

Like most believers, I long to do great things for God. He has done so very much for me. I call out to the Lord to make me strong and fit for service. It seems that just moments after I do – all hell breaks loose in my life. I have begged the Lord to take certain things out of our life. There are days that I endure them even though that is not really God’s Will for our life finding it easier to deal with the known then to pursue the unknown by faith. God sees me when I am “strong” but He rushes in when I am weak. This is when His Grace is pivotal in our life. When we mess up, fall down, flunk out or choose to give in rather fighting for our faith. The Grace of God is all that I need. It is sufficient for me in all seasons whether I choose to accept it as power or not. His Power always works best in weakness because they we do not fight against it. When I can’t, God does. When I won’t, He will. When I am done, He is only beginning. This is the story of His Grace, I want more of His Grace again.

Romans 11:6 (NLT)

And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved.

 

After more than three years of aggressively fighting cancer with our son physically and spiritually, we are experiencing a sweet time of respite as his body recovers from the bone marrow transplant. Things are good. He is cancer free according to the last set of tests. Back in school, he continues to be monitored by the medical team but is able to attend school and resume a somewhat normal routine. It is a miracle. It is one of many instances in the course of this trial that has yielded nothing less than demonstrating the Goodness, Mercy and Healing Power of God available in Jesus Christ. But in this time of quiet that we longed for, I do not know how to act or what to do.

The enemy has done his best to present me with more challenges to consume my time. They are so minimal and small compared to the battle that we have returned from. As we sang about the Grace of God in church yesterday, I became increasingly aware that the frustration that I am feeling is my indebtedness to the Lord. It is not the way that God wants me to feel but rather the way that my flesh attempts to regain control. I will never be able to pay the Lord back for healing our son, much less saving my soul. My flesh is dying to do so just to save itself. So as God invites me to rest, it calls me to attention. God’s Grace is free and undeserved. In order to receive it, I must understand that there is nothing that I can or will ever do to earn it or even begin to pay the Lord back for it. Grace is the unmerited Favor of God. It was established in my life the day I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. Each day I discover more and more how little I can do for Him in light of His Amazing Love.

Galatians 2:20-21 (NLT)

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.

 

The only way that I can ever make the most of God’s Gift to me is to decide never to treat His Grace as meaningless. There is purpose in His Giving of Grace for my life so that I can have all the His Plan and Purpose offers in my life. I can find peace and joy in the “not doing” more than in anything “I” attempt to do. Just because I am not currently preaching to masses or writing a book about His Love does not mean that I have fallen short and am not doing exactly what I am supposed to do in that moment. Religion keeps us doing. Our relationship is all about being a Child of God. We must acknowledge the Grace of God as superior to human strength and ability which comes when we cannot move another muscle for the Lord but must simply wait for Him to come. Not a favorable position for people, but a powerful stand of faith for the believer.

Hebrews 13:8-9 (NLT)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. Your strength comes from God’s grace, not from rules about food, which don’t help those who follow them.

 

People are moody. Some more so than others, I am raising three daughters. But even our sons can be driven by their feelings and emotions as well. One of the key factors in our son’s treatment and recovery is his lack of emotion. He is probably one of the most unemotional people that I have ever met. He is not driven by his feelings so he never developed any kind of attachment to cancer either way. Love is not the only binding emotion in our life. We can become in bondage to things based on feelings even hate and anger. He just fought it. Our son can be misunderstood as uncaring but the reality is that you will never meet a more loyal person in your life. When he loves you, it is completely. Nothing will change it because he decided to love you. Once he has a made up mind, nothing can change it.

Jesus is the same every single day. His Love and Intent for our life is not driven by what we do or do not do in any given moment. Our strength to receive all that His Grace offers is by giving up the notion that He is like every other person that we know. Jesus has decided to love us. He made up His Mind. Nothing will ever change how the Lord feels about you and I. He doesn’t expect us to do anything but love and accept Him. That’s it. Every other “do” thing on the list was written there by mankind and can be scratched off in the Name of Jesus.

James 4:6-8 (NLT)

And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.”

To be humble is to be conscious of one’s failings. I never heard that definition until today. When I began writing, I used to worry about how people would receive these words. They are basically an account of my quiet time with the Lord each day. Very seldom are they for anyone other than me or if so at least I am unaware as I look in the mirror to look for His Reflection. As I humble myself before God, I become more and more aware of my shortcomings. Such revelations bring me to my knees, and then the Lord lifts me back up. The enemy wants to make us think that there is a cap on the Grace and Goodness of God. That at some point in the covenant there is a “should-have-known-better” clause that we can violate. The enemy wants us to think that this thing called Grace and Goodness is too good to be true. Just a tiny seed of doubt in the Grace of God will keep us from the Glory of God as we choose lesser things that we do, earn or acquire rather than waiting for the Lord to grant His Best in our life. The world keeps telling me to earn my keep but the Lord assures me that He has everything under control. Will I accept more grace again or decide that I have reached the limit? It is up to me.

Ephesians 1:6-9 (NLT)

So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. 

Today I choose to accept more grace again. I have decided that in my own personal weakness, spiritual ineptness, and over all powerlessness that I am loved by God for no other reason than I am His Child. Nothing I can do or say or be will ever make Him love me more. When I fall short, He gives me the grace that I need to still be eligible for His Blessing in my life. When I make a mistake, His Mercy cleans up my mess so it will not prevent me from winning the prize. When I am ready to give up, He rushes right in to help me the rest of the way. Every day even those that I feel weak and insignificant in the Kingdom of God – His Grace is rushing through my life. He is showering me in His Kindness and Goodness. I just need to ask for His Wisdom and Understanding to see that it is free and I can have as much as I am willing to receive. Only the weak can partake of His Grace and receive God’s Glory in their life. Today I am weak.

John 3:30 (NLT) He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less

My Masterpiece – A Devotion

My Masterpiece

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.

 

My life is a masterpiece. It is something beautiful, wonderful, and worthy because I know Jesus Christ. He is the beginning of the unfolding of God’s Plan in my life beginning with my immediate rescue. But what about the days that my life resembles scribble art more than a work in progress? How about when everything that was coming together so nicely seems to all fall apart? If my new life is so wonderful, why do I not see it yet? The process of making a masterpiece is painstaking and time consuming. Impatience sets in for those who are the one being molded and shaped but the Hands of the Potter know exactly what is necessary to make our life into a masterpiece. I must have faith and confidence that God’s Plan is good and my future excellent in order to submit to this process of rebirth and renewal. I know that on some days joy and peace flood my soul and I am unaware of the process that I am in but then there are those days that feel like I have taken two steps forward only to slide three steps back. It is on those days that I must remind myself that I am a masterpiece. My life is something beautiful, wonderful and worthy of all the effort, endurance and patience as I seek the Lord and His Will each day. The Plan of God is good and well worth having.

Live. Love. Forgive. Never give up. Lyrics of a song the other day etched these words in my mind with the phrase “rinse and repeat.” Some days it feels like we are going through the motions of Christianity but the purpose is not really clear where we are going or how everything will turn out. Welcome to the realm called “Hope.” It is easier to “live, love, forgive and never give up” when there is purpose and meaning in our life. We hold on tightly to the known and understood but grasp desperately when things seem unclear. The Lord wants us to live this life with great expectation. We do not have to wait until forever to experience His Glorious Grace. He wants us to love as we live binding our hearts and lives together on this pilgrimage to His Promise of Forever. He wants us to forgive each other and ourselves so we continue to have save passage. The most important thing on the list though is that we never ever give up. This is called endurance. We must hang on until the work in our life is complete lacking nothing to experience that place of more than we could think or ask. (Ephesians 3:20) Just like in Ephesians it may take another chapter or turn of the page to get to, but it will be worth it.

Ephesians 2:1-3 (NLT)

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

 

To become this masterpiece that I am called to be requires accepting God’s Unlimited Grace and His Unmerited Favor. Too often we use our past to excuse our unwillingness to wait for the Lord and His Future. Doubt tells us that no one could ever forgive us to the extent that we are supposed to believe His Grace, Mercy and Love are capable of. All have sinned and fallen short of God’s Glorious Standard. (Romans 3:23) I don’t believe that the Lord is condemning us in this verse but rather introducing us to the infinite possibilities when we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord. We have all sinned. It’s true. Everyone. No one is exempt. It means that we are dying failures outside of our relationship with Christ. Therefore no one is better than another. God does not have favorites. If you have children, do you love one of them more than another? Of course not. God forbid but if you lost one would the others make up for the lost or would you produce another to take his or her place? That’s ridiculous. God feels the same way. You are important. You are His Child. He loves you just like you are. The moment that we decide to turn from sin and darkness and accept this marvelous grace and favor that our Father is offering – everything changes (whether we want it to or not)!

God cannot leave you the way that you are. It is below His Standard of Living. Our kids accumulate free t-shirts like bunnies reproduce. They are always picking up one here or there. Then there are the old clothes that are threadbare and barely fit that they just cannot let go of. I assure you that my children could clothe third world countries with their closet yet insist on wearing the same thing over and over again. (I assure you we are working on this.) When we get ready to go somewhere and they come out wearing ill-fitting, cast-off clothing my husband will usually make a comment or encourage them to change. Why? He provides well for His Children but they sure don’t look like it in their ragged appearance. Truthfully, when you have five children of varying ages and dispositions I was just thankful when each one had shirt, pants and shoes. But to the one who works hard to provide for them and be sure that every need is met not to mention their heart’s desire, He wants the very best for them always. God feels no less committed to making sure that His Children have all that they need AND the desires of their heart. He is not happy when we settle for anything less. You are a Child of God. Now the Lord wants us to live like it.

Ephesians 2:4-7 (NLT)

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

 

My personality to most may come across care-free, confident, bold and even daring but really deep inside I am just like everyone else most of the time. I wonder if God’s Best is really possible or am I too far gone. When our son was diagnosed with cancer a second time, I was completely blown away. I was taken off guard. I did not expect it. I had decided that God had healed his body and we were moving on. Imagine my dilemma when it kept coming back a third, fourth and fifth time. God has healed our son each time. But how can this be a masterpiece life? Well when the second diagnosis came, I needed a Word. Many people offered many words of encouragement during that time. Some believed what they were telling me while others didn’t at all but just thought it was the right thing to say. I listened but I did not hold people accountable. I wanted, needed and desperately sought the Word of the Lord. He told me from the beginning that our son would “live and not die”. Was this some cruel trick? This wasn’t part of (my) the plan. Why? Where did I miss it? God gave me Romans 8:28. At first I was a bit miffed, that’s it. That’s all you got!

Romans 8:28-30 (NLT)

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

 

“God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His Purpose for them.” That is what the Lord told me. When this first happened, God asked me if I trusted Him and my response was “of course, I do!” That’s when I received the promise that our son would live and not die. But with the turn of events, I began to wonder did this mean now or forever? My son is alive. His Purpose and Plan are all encompassing. It has taken a lot of prayer and pursuing the Lord to finally understand that my life is a work in progress. When it seems to be unfolding – God’s is good. When it gets all crumpled up – He is still good. When everything falls apart – His Goodness is at work in my life. God knows me. He chose me in advance to be His Child. He has called me to come live in His Presence. Like the prodigal son, when I realize that I was not created, called or destined to this standard of life called normal then I will leave behind compromise, substitutions and less than enough to accept the Glorious Standard of Living that belong to His Children. He is giving me His Glory if I allow myself to become the new creation that He is making out of my life. Some days all I can remember to do is “live, love, forgive and don’t give up”. I love Micah 6:8 – “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”  Sometimes that’s all we can do in the process of becoming what the Lord has called us to be. Just keep on keeping on. Things may not immediately change for the better but they will. Things may be changing too much too fast. Welcome to the oceans we have been singing about. Faith will keep you walking. Hope leads you in the right direction. My confidence hope has become that no matter what happens today – God is doing something good so I will trust Him. I am God’s Masterpiece. No one else dictates the outcome of my life. It is being recreated according to His Glorious Standard not my weak expectations so it will be more than I can think to ask for. He has given me a future and hope that if I will just purpose in my heart and mind to seek Him daily, moment by moment and even breath by breath will be wonderfully amazing and worthwhile. A masterpiece draws the attention of others. It reflects the Glory of its maker and creator. This is your life – it is a masterpiece. You are a Child of God. He loves you. That is all that you need to succeed just live in His Love! Live, love, forgive and don’t ever give up!

Psalm 36:5-9 (NLT)

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord. How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.