The Crossing

The Crossing

Joshua 3:5 (ESV) Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.

“The mark of a saint is not perfection, but consecration. A saint is not a person without faults, but a man who has given himself without reserve to God. (Brooke Westcott)

For forty years the Children of Israel walked in the wilderness surrounding the Promised Land. A straight-line distance of 240 miles that would take the average person about 20 minutes to walk a mile. If you do the math using an 8-hour day which is a standard workday, it should have only taken the Israelites about ten days, or maybe two weeks if you consider the Sabbath, to cross the Jordan. What happened? They wanted the Hand of God without pursuing His Heart.

Moses and Aaron could not lead where they did not go. The promise is a result of obedience to God that begins with consecration. Now Joshua is commissioned by God to finish the journey and cross the Jordan but first there must be a consecration. Consecration means to set apart. To make something sacred. Dedicate to service. To be devoted. To be sanctified. It means to be changed. We are to be holy. Holiness can only be accomplished by the wholeness of Christ. He sanctifies us and it is through His Holy Ordination that a life of consecration can produce completion.

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.

I was listening to a worship service on my way to work. The songs selected were all about the holiness of God. The most powerful form of praise is to worship God for who He is. To simply say, “Jesus – You are holy!” To be lost in the Presence of God without worry or care and simply rest in Who He is before heading off into the darkness to be the light. A pastor began to exhort the people and quoted Joshua 3:5. As he shared his heart clearly uttering on behalf of the Holy Spirit – he began to talk about consecration but in a whole new way. He didn’t talk about the rules and regulation of religion but rather to set ourselves apart from the feelings and emotions that challenge our faith each day.

We must step out of our past to embrace the future. The Promise of God is non-negotiable as the Father has given us every spiritual blessing in His Son, Jesus. It is just as real and tangible as the land on the other side of the Jordan. However, there were people over there that would not take kindly to these newcomers trying to inhabit what they believe to be their place and property. There would be battles. There would be opposition. The people would need absolute and total confidence in God’s Promise and Purpose to inhabit the position or place that He was leading them. So will I. So will you.

The guidelines and mandates of consecration is not the doctrinal outline set forth by our church affiliation. Holiness has nothing to do with my ability to live a faultless or flawless life but to daily live in true repentance. To acknowledge and respect my need for Jesus Christ to inhabit my heart, mind, body and soul and influence every attitude and action in my life. It means I must relinquish control of me and trust the Lord to do what He promises in me and through me. Consecration is not a religious act but a sacrificial relationship with the Living God through His Son – Jesus Christ who lives in you. I am His Beloved. I must live like He is mine.

2 Timothy 2:20-21 (ESV) Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

“Consecration is only possible when we give up our will about EVERYTHING.” (F.B. Meyer) My life must become a vessel. An empty vessel to allow the fullness of Christ to make it holy and acceptable for God’s Use. Consecration is a call to holiness that is the wholeness of Jesus Christ who leads us to His Fullness including full satisfaction and complete abundance by the surrender of self. Total trust and confidence in Jesus does not allow us to hang on to things like fear, doubt, disappointment, unforgiveness, anxiety, worry, control and every other emotion, feeling and stronghold held on to. Our promise is inevitable. Consecration opens the pathway to purpose.

Fulfillment comes when by surrendering our right to hold on to such things in order to be filled with the fullness of Jesus Christ. It is the place where the circumcision of our heart takes place cutting away the hard stony exterior to expose the new life within us.

Philippians 4:7-9 (ESV) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Peace with God is established in Jesus Christ. To consecrate our life to Him as Lord is not an act of service but rather complete sacrifice of our will to be in His Will. It is not that complicated. But rather a daily giving of ourselves to the Lord piece by piece which He will receive wholeheartedly. The Lord knows us and hence has given us His Spirit to help us along the way. The Peace of God comes with peace with Him. To walk the narrow road (Matthew 7) is a lonely venture without His Partnership and Holy Inhabitation. Today – you are on the edge of the Jordan ready to enter your promise. What will you do? Wait another day to enter in or fully consecrate your life – mind, will and emotions – heart, soul and spirit – every ounce of your flesh and cell in your body to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Gate. He is the Door. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life for you. What is breakthrough? It is when we decide to go after God’s Heart and cross over to the Promise. He is not withholding His Hand but offering us His Heart today.

“Consecration thus constitutes the only unconditional surrender which is also a total victory!” (Neal A. Maxwell)

Jeremiah 1:5 (ESV) “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Leviticus 20:7-8 (ESV) Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Keep my statutes and do them; I am the Lord who sanctifies you.

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Soul Selfie

Soul Selfie

Psalm 49:8-9 (TLB)

For a soul is far too precious to be ransomed by mere earthly wealth. There is not enough of it in all the earth to buy eternal life for just one soul, to keep it out of hell.)

“If we could take selfies of our souls…would you find it attractive enough to post?” Scanning Facebook to wake up this morning, I had to stop to read this again and chuckle for a minute. Our daughters love to post selfies. After snapping the picture, they will blow it up on their phone examining their faces intently… too intently in my opinion. Every detail of their countenance in question, most of the time a retake is in order until they get it just right. We will take pictures together and they will look carefully at themselves and then if they are satisfied post it. When I see it, many times other people may not be at their best but that doesn’t matter if they are satisfied with how they look. So when I read this today, I thought of them blowing up the image to examine every pixilated detail of their face. I know they are not the only ones. I have seen them do it with their friends. I am blessed to have Christian teenagers who understand the meaning of modesty. They are good kids who love the Lord. However, today I am wondering if they are also carefully noting each detail of their soul? Which leads me to a far greater question, am I?

I am not a selfie girl. I don’t post many of them. To be honest, I just don’t think about it. When I do post selfies, it is usually “usies” with my family or friends. We live in an appearance driven world and vanity-filled culture. It is easy to get caught up in the social media trend of selfies. But I wonder if we really spend as much time examining our souls as one might a picture they are about to post. Do we really understand the true value and worth of the soul tucked within hidden behind our heart filled with the Living Breathing Spirit of Almighty God? A soul is far too precious to be ransomed by mere earthly wealth. There is not enough of it in all the earth to buy eternal life for just one soul and keep it out of hell. You matter. Not how you look or what others think of your appearance. You matter to the Lord. When there was nothing that could save our soul from dying, Jesus came and paid the highest price. You are worth more than what others think of you.

Mark 8:36-38 (TLB)

“And how does a man benefit if he gains the whole world and loses his soul in the process? For is anything worth more than his soul? And anyone who is ashamed of me and my message in these days of unbelief and sin, I, the Messiah, will be ashamed of him when I return in the glory of my Father, with the holy angels.”

 

You can tell a lot about someone by what they post on social media. A picture is worth a thousand words. Some people who once graced my wall on Facebook or I followed on Instagram and Twitter are gone. I love them. I miss them. However, the posts did not reflect the person who I know. This is not a call to end social media or selfies at all. To say that social media is the problem is to say a gun has a mind of its own, it is all how one uses it. The point of this post and the message that the Lord is speaking to me today is a reminder that the most important gift that I have been given is my soul. It came at a high price and has a solid purpose. To love Jesus first. To follow Him wherever He goes so one day I can step into forever with Him. It is all about what you want out of life. I want Jesus. This requires paying attention to my soul. Using it for His Glory, not to satisfy man or even myself. I must examine it as closely as a picture I may be about to post. Blowing it up, looking at every detail, and doing things over when I find something is amiss. We must spend more time examining and inspecting what is on the inside than what we present on the outside. Ladies, this is not a call to let yourself go or put down the mascara just to pick up the Word for careful reflection instead of the mirror. Men, you are called to be the head of your home and Christ to your partner, so the most important muscle is your heart not your abs, back or shoulders. Let what God has done on the inside make its way to the outside.

Proverbs 22:4-5 (TLB)

True humility and respect for the Lord lead a man to riches, honor, and long life. The rebel walks a thorny, treacherous road; the man who values his soul will stay away.

We all want other people to like us. Respect us. Think highly of us. Acceptance and affirmation are the things we seek fulfilled by the Lord. It is a natural desire that is only supernaturally satisfied. True humility and respect for the Lord lead to godly contentment. Riches, honor and long life are attributes of the soul not our bank account or life status although the Word of God promises that God supplies all of our needs and that God’s Children do not have to beg for bread. It also says that He will not only meet but exceed our desires. It requires something though that sometimes people are not willing to give. It means putting our expectation in the Lord no other people. This does not often produce immediate gratification. It is a lifelong process of learning to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and might. (Deuteronomy 6:5-6) The very thing we seek from others comes from the Lord but it doesn’t come just by “saying” okay I love Jesus. It is achieved by obeying His Word each day until our heart and soul reflect the Light that has invaded it. If we truly value our soul, and want to be with Jesus forever than our life should reflect that change even in our countenance.

Jesus reiterated what is said in Deuteronomy when He said, Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second most important is similar: ‘Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.’ All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them. Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all the others.” (Matthew 22:37-40) Obeying the Lord in all things begins by self-examination. The Holy Spirit will assist in our efforts if we ask Him to. It is a pivotal shift from looking for man’s approval to seeking God’s approval in all things… even the things we post on social media. When we put ourselves out there as a believer, it should always point to Christ. He is the difference in our life. He is our game changer. Our bodies are dying day by day. We can slap some makeup on it, lift our chins until there is only one, or turn one way or the other to show our best side, but the truth is the only thing that really matters at the end of the day or better yet the end of our life is Jesus! The second commandment just killed the selfie when Jesus said we are to love others as much as ourselves.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (TLB)

The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. It is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone.

The Bible is the best mirror to reflect the true condition of our life. We must use it daily to examine our soul and its countenance first before we worry about our face. What profits us if we gain the world’s approval or more than 100 likes and lose our soul? Nothing. When I was with my son in the hospital, each morning I took a shower and got ready for the day but it didn’t really matter to me that much about my clothes or makeup because no one was going to see me. In the quietness of hours spent serenaded by beeping monitors, and nothing to do but wait I found that I spent more and more time in God’s Word so I wouldn’t be alone. It became the mirror of my soul that it should’ve been the whole time. Over the course of four years of treatment and hospital stays, I found that I really didn’t like the person I had become before such careful introspection. Look at what it took for me to see that I wasn’t who the Lord created me to be? Now I don’t for a second believe that God gave our son cancer, or allowed the enemy to attack but He certainly used it to open my eyes.

“If your eye is pure, there will be sunshine in your soul. But if your eye is clouded with evil thoughts and desires, you are in deep spiritual darkness. And oh, how deep that darkness can be!” I want sunshine in my soul. The kind that is given from experiencing the Light of His Love and grabbing hold of it. To bask in His Light, I must move out of the darkness. There is nothing good in me except what Jesus Christ is doing inside of me. I want to feed the Light and not the darkness which means I must carefully inspect my soul each day and make sure my heart and body are following suit. Our heart is fickle and must be disciplined. Our body is weak so Christ becomes our strength when we allow His Mantle of Love to cover our life. We have a purpose far beyond the affirmation of any man. We have been given the opportunity and undeserved privilege of righteousness or right standing with God again. We can be His Children. He can be pleased with us again. My soul is the access point of God’s Acceptance, Affirmation and Affection. To offer it to Him allows me to live with sunshine in my soul as the Light of His Love overtakes me.

Psalm 16:8-11 (TLB)

I am always thinking of the Lord; and because he is so near, I never need to stumble or fall. Heart, body, and soul are filled with joy. For you will not leave me among the dead; you will not allow your beloved one to rot in the grave. You have let me experience the joys of life and the exquisite pleasures of your own eternal presence.

I am always thinking of the Lord. Wow, that is a direct statement and high aspiration for our life. Are we always thinking about Jesus especially when we put our life on display? He is the Source of Life for those who call Him Savior and Lord, do we live like it? When people see our selfies or posts on social media, I wonder if their first thought is that I love Jesus or I love myself. Good question and one I think we all need to ask in every situation and encounter in life. Nothing good lives in me and all the good things about me are directly attributed to Christ. When they see me, do they see Jesus? When they hear me, do they hear about Him? When they know me, can they tell that He is my everything? It’s time to take a soul selfie. Blow it up. Look deep within at every detail and make the necessary changes to be more like Jesus. Why? I want to live in His Presence forever. I want others to experience the life changing love that I have found. Those who give their heart, body and soul to Jesus will be filled with joy and satisfied just to have Him near. If you decide to put yourself out there today on social media or real life, make sure that it honors, glorifies and magnifies the One who loves you most and paid the highest price to satisfy your soul!

Psalm 57:8-11 (TLB)

Rouse yourself, my soul! Arise, O harp and lyre! Let us greet the dawn with song! I will thank you publicly throughout the land. I will sing your praises among the nations. Your kindness and love are as vast as the heavens. Your faithfulness is higher than the skies. Yes, be exalted, O God, above the heavens. May your glory shine throughout the earth.

Burnt Offering – A Devotion

Burnt Offering

Isaiah 43:1-2 (NLT)

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”

 

There are days that it is as though I live in the fiery furnace of refinement. Times when I can’t take the heat and just want out of the kitchen. Life can be too much for me. This is an honest confession from a heart that has been broken and healed. It is the cry of a mind that doesn’t always understand the purpose in life but tries to live according to its purpose. Those moments in life that the altar feels real, the ropes binding me there tight and the fire so hot that surely it will consume me. My soul burns for Jesus Christ. No, literally it is on fire to remove anything that might come between us because to be quite candid without Him I will not survive. On those days, I am reminded that He has ransomed me so now I belong to Jesus Christ. He paid the price for my life. It belongs to Him. Jesus calls me by name. When I go through deep waters, though I feel like I am drowning, He will be with me even in the dangerous depths of difficult that I face – I will not drown. It is a promise. Printed in the Truth that is the Word of God – it belongs to me if I will just hold on to it. But water is not the only threat I face in my battle against self – there is the fire of oppression. I will not be burned up or consumed by it although there are times when I can only breathe moment by moment in the midst of tall flames. Am I the only one? Do you ever feel like life is just too much for you? Well, it is.

I joke with people and tell them it is my fear of fire that keeps me saved. The true potential of burning to death is too much to bear so I would rather trust the Lord. Well, out of the frying pan into the fire my friend. A life committed to Jesus Christ begins with a burnt offering of all that we are to be consumed by all that He is – that is if you are serious about becoming a Child of God and resident of His Kingdom. Faith carries us through the fire and confident hope meets us on the other side. Are you willing to be a living sacrifice? (Romans 12:1-2) It means giving all that we are to Jesus Christ, and being consumed by God the Father in all things. A bit overwhelming don’t you think until you consider that it is as simple as every single choice that we make in life. Will I serve the Lord and sacrifice my way? Or will I abandon my covenant with Jesus and have my way?

Exodus 29:42 (NLT)

“These burnt offerings are to be made each day from generation to generation. Offer them in the Lord’s presence at the Tabernacle entrance; there I will meet with you and speak with you.”

 

God promises two things in the midst of a burnt offering. First, He promises to meet with you. Secondly, He will speak to you there. Burnt offerings are a daily requirement. Jesus Christ is the ultimate sacrifice for sin so no longer is a physical sacrifice needed. Now we sacrifice our life by yielding it to God through the Sacrifice of Christ. Jesus opened the door to the Presence of God for all mankind. It is up to us if we meet God there and listen to what He is saying to us.

Exodus 3:2-6 (NLT)

There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up.“This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. “Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.  I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.

 

Moses was attracted to the “burning bush” because despite the raging fire it was not consumed but continued to burn. When he made his way to it, Moses encountered the Lord. God spoke to His Servant, Moses, from within it. God told His Man that this was holy ground. The ground on which Moses was standing. Anywhere we live with God is holy ground. We do not have to change our real estate in order to follow the Will and Way of God for our life. God revealed His Identity to Moses in that place in the middle of the desert without priest or preacher. He will do the same for you. Whatever is burning in your life has the potential to be a place where you meet the Lord and He reveals Himself to you. You will not be consumed. He promised that you would not. You must choose whether your life will be a burnt offering to the Lord or a sad sacrifice to self.

John 15:5-7 (NLT)
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!”

 

Those who remain in me and I in them will produce much fruit but those who are apart from me can do nothing. Hmmm…Jesus goes on to say that anyone who does not remain in Him is to be thrown away like a useless branch that is burned. We must remain in Jesus to be productive. But I thought righteousness is not about what we do. It’s not. Righteousness is found in Christ alone. He is the Only One who could reestablish a right relationship between God and man. So how do I remain in the Lord if it is not about my “works”? “I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.” (Matthew 3:11-12) The Holy Spirit identifies us as Children of God. But look what else this verse says that we are baptized with fire. Why? To separate the chaff (useless branches) from the wheat (productive harvest). When Jesus comes back, it will be too late to change our heart and mind to become a living sacrifice. The never-ending fire will consume those not identified as God’s Children. No questions asked. We live in a world filled with believers, nonbelievers and those who think they are one but are really the other. Life among the weeds. (Matthew 13:24-30) When Jesus comes back, the weeds will be burned instantly. Only the harvest (true believers who believe in Spirit and Truth) will make it until the end. Will that be you? It all depends on how you make it through the fiery trials of life right now! The Lord is burning away that which is offensive so we will grow productive in His Kingdom. Faith in Jesus Christ secures us in righteousness. Confident hope comes as we tread on the Holy Ground of life step by step following the Lord. Jesus said, “I have come to set the world on fire…” (Luke 12:49) The fires is not to consume you but refine us so we will be productive and make it out of the fire untouched.

Daniel 3:23-27 (NLT)

So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames. But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” “Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied. “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!” Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!

The three Hebrew boys thrown into a fiery furnace to die because they would not bow down to an idol. They were supposed to die in the fire but that is not at all what happened. What the enemy intended to consume them did not touch them. When Nebuchadnezzar called them from the fire after he saw the Lord with them, “not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!” It was clear that the fire had not touched them physically but what it did spiritually that day was monumental. Even the king who created the great image to be worshipped by all, worshipped God in that instant. You may feel as though you are being consumed by the fiery trial that you are facing today. It may seem as if this is the day that you will indeed lose what’s left of your weary mind. Weakness overwhelms you and fatigue sets in. How can I make it another day? I know what you are thinking because I have been there, too. I write to you from the other side of the furnace. I am not disillusioned into thinking that I will not end up there again. But from this side, I am calling to encourage you. I wish that I could say that the fire does not burn something deep inside of you because it does. I cannot lie to you and tell you that it will not change your life because it most certainly will if given the chance. I would love to reassure you that the “furnace” is comfortable because there were days I did not think that I could endure it a moment longer. What I can tell you is this? When I stepped out of this last fiery trial, nothing was wasted. I can tell you with confidence that it was worth it. Servants, true worshippers of the most High God, will find themselves in the midst of the fire in life. It is inevitable. What God does in the fire will amaze you! How the Lord brings you through will bless you! What He tells you in its midst will change you forever! My life is a burnt offering to the Lord today! I am not consumed but confident in His Great Love!

I Corinthians 3:11-15 (NLT)

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.

My place of employment is headlong in a crazy season at the moment. To say someone turned the heat up is an understatement and tensions are running high as happens in the midst of great pressure. I have a wonderful guy who is our building custodian. He is a believer. When he came to empty the garbage in my office, I handed it to him. I try to be conscious of the job that he does which is often unnoticed thanking him and making general conversation. When I asked, “How are you today?” He turned with a huge smile and said, “I am really good!” I inquired as to the nature of his enthusiasm as it was only Tuesday with a chuckle. His area is one of the ones that is in the midst of problems – but he said that they were not his problems and he had decided to have a good day anyway. I told him that He worked for the Lord anyway and not man. He turned and said, “Someone else had told him that today and that is exactly why he was so happy!” Nothing changed in the atmosphere of our employer but he decided that it would be holy ground and this man was continuing to work for the Lord! He is such a blessing to me without even knowing it. Whatever you are doing today can be a burnt offering to the Lord. You can allow His Fire to burn in you stirred up by the Holy Spirit so that whatever you do will be for Jesus! “The fire will show is a person’s work has any value!” The Lord wants to bless you in your mess today. He wants to give you beauty for ashes. Will you have it? This Holy Ground is called your life. He is with you! He wants to speak to you! Most of all, Jesus wants to spend forever with you!

Luke 12:35-38 (NLT)

 “Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn, but whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready.”

Know Holiness – A Devotion

I Peter 1:14-16 (NLT)

So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

 

Let’s face it, things such as holiness, consecration and separation are not appealing terms. All three suggest a form of isolation. By striving to step out of our old life and into the New Life given to us by Jesus Christ, there are some things that will be left behind. Holiness seems almost unattainable to human beings with all of their faults and failures. It is important that believers are holy. Why? Because God is holy, it is a family characteristic and trait that is to be evidenced generationally. How? First, God had to provide a sacrifice to allow His Children to return to Him. We were created to be holy, however; sin made it impossible. Jesus Christ paid the sin penalty so that all of God’s People could return to holiness. Holiness is a characteristic of God’s Children made possible through the Blood of Jesus Christ. It is to be specially recognized as a Child of God, dedicated and devoted to God’s Service. When you become holy, your life becomes inhabitable by God. His Spirit moves in to guide God’s People into their New Life. It is a Holy Life, one that has been consecrated and set apart for God’s Use. The Bible says, “You must live as God’s obedient children.” Unfortunately, it is all too easy to slip back into your old way of doing things simply because it makes sense. Old habits must be changed requiring discipline which is not a fashionable or palatable word. It smacks of submission when pride wants control. Before you came to know Jesus Christ as Lord, it was ignorance that drove you to such a life of darkness and despair. But now you have seen the Glorious Light of God’s Love for you. It is time to become your Father’s Child and be holy in EVERYTHING you do. God chose you to be holy. He designed your life to be lived in obedience. Through God’s Word and God’s Spirit, mere mortals are completely enabled to live a life of humble obedience by the Grace of God.

 

Hebrews 12:9-11 (NLT)

Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

 

Our children are distinctly divided in age, with three children who are in their late teens and early twenties, as well as two little girls who are several years younger. It is not uncommon to hear the phrase, “You are not my mom!” blurted out in the midst of frustration as an older sibling corrects one of the younger ones. They are insulted at the rebuke or guidance of their sibling. In their mind, they are equals even though the older children have experience and in our absence authority over them. Disobedience stems from failure to recognize authority. The parental authority of God as our Father requires a response. Just as earthly parents discipline their children out of love so does our Heavenly Father. However as God leads us into godly living and holiness, it is with a great reward. The blessings of God’s Kingdom are greater than anything our human mind can imagine. So wonderful in fact that God sent Jesus Christ to die for our sin so that we by grace could partake in the Spirit of Adoption that allows all the benefits of Heaven to be ours.

 

Ephesians 3:1-5 (NLT)

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

 

Holiness separates us from the world and makes us members of God’s Family and Kingdom residents. To be united with Jesus Christ requires separation from this world and all earthly attachments. Sin prevails in the world we live but does not make it into the Heavenly realm. By accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior, you have asked God to adopt you as His Child. He was glad to do so for the Bible says, “it gave him great pleasure.” Now it is up to us to move from our old life into the New One. There are orphans around the world who do not have a family to love, guide and protect them. They pray each day for someone to rescue them from their isolation, to love them and complete them. They are looking to be separated from their desolation and despair. They want to feel whole and complete. Sin puts us in the same position. God loved us from afar. Jesus Christ opened the door giving us access to His Family once more. Holiness allows us to transition from death to life. It is a requirement.

 

Colossians 3:12-17 (NLT)

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

 

God chose you. He made the decision that you were worth having and gave it all to attain you. His Extravagant Love is undeniable. Yet, as His Children, we struggle with things like holiness and obedience choosing the squalor of this world over the blessings of God. God’s Word clearly defines the qualities of holiness. It is all about love. God is not asking us to perform the rituals of the Old Testament. He is not asking us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus to Calvary enduring the beatings, torture and crucifixion all over again. God is asking us to come and live in His Presence. Yet there is still a struggle to maintain a life in two worlds. Are you a representative of Jesus Christ? The worst thing any believer could ever hear are the words, “I didn’t know you were a Christian.” Do the people you encounter on a daily basis recognize that you are a Child of God? If not, it is time to start acting like one. Colossians 3 is a detailed outline of where to begin. God will provide His Word and His Spirit to enable you to make an effective transition from the mediocre to the supernatural. You were created to be holy and live in the holiness of God. It’s just time to move out of the darkness into the Light of His Love.

 

John 17:16-18 (NLT)

They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.  Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world.

 

As a believer, you are not of this world. The comings and goings of society should leave you appalled feeling like an outsider because you are not of this world. Jesus prayed for us before He departed. He longed for His People to recognize their truth identity. God’s Truth makes us holy as we see ourselves reflected as God created us not as sin corrupted us. God’s Word is the Truth about you and me. If we do not take the time to read it, understand it and commit it as a valuable tool in life, then we will miss the mark of holiness altogether. Prayer is nothing more than communication with God. As we speak to the Lord and listen for His Voice, He reveals the mysteries of life that are perplexing to finite human cognition. God wants to tell you that He loves you. He wants to hold you like a Father holds His Child. It all begins with His Word. His Word must be the Truth and basis of your faith. The foundation of Christ is fortified and expanded by the Word. Jesus is the Word that came in human flesh so that man could recognize God’s Love. This world is not our home. It should be a foreign land. As God’s Truth takes hold of our heart and life, we begin to think and act like Jesus as discipline is fueled by knowledge and transformed into wisdom. Godly wisdom allows us to move confidently from our old life to the New One offered through Jesus Christ.

 

I Corinthians 1:30-31 (NLT)

God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.”

 

The Blood of Jesus Christ makes us holy and pure. It freed us from bondage to sin. Now we live in freedom to choose our destination and home. Holiness is making our life home to God’s Spirit and living as a member of God’s Kingdom and not this world. You do not have to do anything to be holy, it is simply the transition from death to life. Living the New Life is marked by a heightened awareness of the Lord and His Inhabitance in your life. You just want more. So allowing the Spirit of God to connect with the Word of God your life is instantly changed into one that is inhabitable by the Lord as you move into the Presence of God by faith. God is calling His Children home, one by one, each by name. If you confess salvation, you should be making a transition. If you continue to live in the old life, then it is highly unlikely the words of your mouth are in unison with the intentions of your heart. Adoption changes your identity. Salvation changes your address. To experience the Holy Inhabitation of God’s Spirit in our life, we must move from death to life. You are holy. You are pure. You are ready for holiness. (I Peter 1:2)

 

Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)

And so, dear brothers and sisters,I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

 

Is your life a living and holy sacrifice? God’s finds faith in Jesus acceptable. His Grace makes us worthy to live in holiness and consecration. This is worship. To move into the New Life that Jesus Christ has given you and assuming the identity of your Father. The world has no idea what this is like because they have been orphaned by sin. You do because you are a Temple of God. (I Corinthians 3:16) Does the Spirit of God live in you? Have you surrendered your heart AND life to Jesus Christ? There is no separation and distinction between the two. It is a package deal. You cannot give the Lord your life without surrendering your heart. You cannot live for God on the outside and loath Him on the inside. God has empowered you to live a holy, pure and blameless life. Are you taking full advantage of His Amazing Offer?

 

Romans 6:21-23 (NLT)

And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

The past can stay in the past. Your future is freedom. Today is the first day of the rest of your life – the Brand New Life given to by God through Jesus Christ. What will you do with it? Don’t be tempted to reattach those chains that held you back yet felt so secure. Step out on faith and determine to allow God to lead you into holiness. It is a life of blessing. It is a life of favor. It is living in unity with your Father as His Kid no longer orphaned by sin.

 

I Thessalonians 5:22-24 (NLT)

Stay away from every kind of evil. Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.

 

Strive to live in obedience and God will make you holy in EVERY way. God will do the work. His Goal is that you will be whole spirit, soul and body. Satisfaction is found in completion. But nothing is every complete until it is finished. Jesus is coming again. Until then, it is my life goal to be ready. Oh how I long to hear the words, “Well done!” This can only be made possible by submitting my life to God for His Restoration and Completion.

 

2 Timothy 1:9-10 (NLT)

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.

 

Holiness was God’s Plan all along. He did not create you for anyone else. He made you to love you. Love is the purpose of God for His People. He longs to bring you in closer. His Presence is prepared with you in mind. Will you choose holiness today and strip away the sin that gets in the way? You just have to let go and God will do the rest. He will make you holy. He will purify your soul. He will refine your intentions and He will make you whole! With nothing to lose and everything to gain, why not try on this lifestyle called holiness! You just might find that it fits better than the life you are living today!

It’s Not Hard to Be Holy – A Devotion

Colossians 3:12-13 (NLT)

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

 

What does it mean to be holy? By definition, it means to be set apart. Holiness is to be specified for religious use or authority. To be holy is to be dedicated to serving God. It is to be a saint and devout. It is an exclusive calling for God’s People. Holiness is in your DNA and has been a part of you since creation. Unfortunately too often religiosity perverts the true meaning of holiness and Christians misinterpret it to mean hard line rule followers with a zero tolerance for sin not only our own life but the lives of other people. Everyone sins every day even people who are living a holy life. Holiness is a simple concept that has become extremely complicated with self-imposed rules and ideology that are contrary to God’s Idea. God has a distinct desire for His People to be separated from sin. But such a calling does not separate us from people. Holiness is a wardrobe change from filthy rags to garments as white as snow. It is a call from the mediocre squalor of compromise to the full blessing available to those who stop settling for less than God’s best. Holiness is never accompanied by pride unless of course we desire to become a Pharisee or other staunch religious ruler who decides to add to God’s Perfect Plan. Holiness is accompanied by tenderness, mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. If this behavior does not set one apart, I don’t know what will. The darkness of this world is filled with harsh, merciless, mean, prideful, arrogant and impatient people so when you become someone who decides to act contrary to popular culture, it is a standout decision. Holiness requires flexibility as we bend with God’s Spirit and move in the direction of the Lord’s Still Small Voice that gently and lovingly will guide each moment of one who has given His Life into His Nail-Scarred Hands. Until holiness is fully understood, I am afraid we will continue to miss the mark of His Calling making it hard to be holy.

 

There are days that my indignation for sin carries over emotionally into my feelings for others. My personal struggle to avoid compromise leads to frustration with others who should be doing the same thing. Compassion gives way to consternation as harsh words of reprimand fill my mouth creating a bitterness that does not point others to a loving Savior but a God ready to exact immediate punishment for every single shortcoming or failure. That is not the God we serve, however; sometimes it is the god we project. Intolerance for sin should result in more love and compassion rather than a judgmental attitude toward those who struggle within its evil grips. It is a horrible battle filled with many regrets and those who have escaped should thank the Lord every day for their release rather than berate others for their continued bondage. It is terrible to see someone waste their life. It should provoke concern and alarm that they may be losing the battle for their soul. Religiousness takes over righteousness and soon a new sin of pride takes root strangling forgiveness that should flow through our life making us bitter, hateful and pious people. God has called us to love. He has called us to be holy by His Definition of the Word. We are to be loving, tender and gentle in our demeanor and way of life. It is a sacrifice of self that penetrates deeper than the things we do and how we act. It will sever the heart and break its hard exterior exposing our weak love that is tender, compassionate, merciful, generous, caring, humble, patient and sweet. It will open our eyes to see the hurting, desperate and broken. It will open our ears to hear the cries of the devastated. It will change us from hard-nosed Christians to compassionate believers who live to love as Jesus did. We will become holy.

 

I Peter 1:14-16 (NLT)

So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

 

As a Child of God, holiness is not optional. You cannot be part of this world, participate in the darkness thereof and be clothed in righteousness living in God’s Presence. Darkness has no place in the light. Because holiness is not optional, people tend to add additional rules and regulations such as prayer rituals, reading schedules, fasting regiments, etc. to prove that they are indeed able to be holy. I believe that God is calling His People back to true holiness that is not found in church or religion but in His Word and His Presence. God has to teach us to be holy. Jesus Christ modeled holiness. It is up to us to individually strive to understand this important aspect of faith and live it every day. Holiness is just as much about others as you. However, it is not a finger-pointing gesture but a hug. Holiness should draw in people. Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I’ll draw men unto me.” We lift up Jesus by living a holy, consecrated life. The strength of holiness is much like the mighty oak or towering palm tree. It is not in the bark or trunk but the roots that hold it firmly to its foundation. The trees ability to bend and move in the wind with flexibility makes it viable in life’s storms. It increases its chance of survival. However, if it is unbendable and inflexible it will snap in fierce wind. Holiness is not hard. It is the opposite – the opposite of this world and the darkness that fills it. Holiness is not an excuse but an escape. It gains access to the Presence of God through obedience in loving others and making a difference in the life of people through an existence focused and consecrated to God.

 

John 17:16-17 (NLT)

They do not belong to this world any more than I do.  Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.

 

Jesus prayed that we would be holy. Holiness is delineated in the Word of God. It is a love concept like no other. To move from selfishness and self-seeking into a life that seeks to constantly and consistently serve God. Serving God begins with loving His People even the unlovable ones. It means choosing to get our hands dirty helping others out of their filthy rags and into the new life God has for them. It requires prayer, worship and time studying God’s Word not to meet a quota but to know Him more and be more like the Lord. His Word is TRUTH. It will guide you to holiness. Start exercising the Spirit in your life today. Don’t take religion so seriously. Focus on your relationship with the Lord. Drop the act and become an active participant in this thing called holiness. Love will overflow from your life and just might touch another. Soon you will discover it’s not hard to be holy.

It’s Friday – A Devotion

Romans 8:23-24 (NLT)

And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hopefor it.

 

It’s Friday! The work week is finally coming to an end. The hustle and bustle of routine gives way to rest and peace. Cares and worries are sidetracked temporarily for sojourns of carefree fun and relaxation. Though it technically still is a workday, it’s Friday! The thought occurs that one must survive only one more grueling day of toil and then freedom. It comes once a week making it hard to miss. No one has to remind us that Friday is coming because it has been hyped all week. The plans begin at 5:00pm. Everything will be better once the weekend is here. The labor and burden will be over for 48 full hours. The routine of society has dictated an official work week that ends with two days of rest. However, it was not the world’s idea to have a day of rest but God’s. He called the day of rest Sabbath and consecrated it as holy. For a long time, people have designated it as the time to worship God during our designated day of rest. It seems odd that ordained worship would be on the day we are called to stop and rejuvenate. So maybe it was mankind that adopted fitting God into our spare time and taking Him out of the rest of our life. Or maybe it is a misunderstanding of holiness that causes the confusion. Holiness is being set apart. It is giving something fully to God. Sunday has become a holy day for believers because it is set aside for corporate worship of the Lord, but that is not the only day that is holy. Believers are called to live consecrated lives. A set apart life is 24/7, not just on Sunday and the occasional Wednesday. However, as with most things in life, people have decided to place God in the same parameters of routine and scheduling as the rest of their lives. We live for Friday to begin to experience peace. We wait for Sunday to worship God. What if every day became our Friday? The anticipation would be infectious and overtake our life as we lived each day filled with expectation of the days to come. Moving away from placing all our hope in one day, we decided to experience hope every day. It would be a different world. We would live a brand new life if every day was Friday.

 

Ecclesiastes 2:22-24 (NLT)

So what do people get in this life for all their hard work and anxiety? Their days of labor are filled with pain and grief; even at night their minds cannot rest. It is all meaningless. So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God.

 

King Solomon made a very important discovery that is tucked in the words of Ecclesiastes. “It is all meaningless.” His description of labor in life and work filled with anxiety and stress is quite insightful. People place a great deal of emphasis on job performance and career paths but truly we are not called to be doctors, lawyers, managers, fast food servers, associates, or civil servants. God has called us to be His Children. We are to live consecrated, set apart and holy lives. Which means whatever we choose to do that we do it as to the Lord? No matter our profession is. However, it is not the institution whose name is on the paycheck that is your provider. It is God. Everything we have is from the Hand of God. It is up to us as Followers of Jesus Christ to find satisfaction in our work. It is our choice to enjoy life. All the factors are present. It is just up to us to position them properly in our life. In Romans, we find the wise words that we should not hope for what we already have. We are working hard, getting stressed out and not enjoying life for something that we already have. God has provided everything that you need to live a life full of peace, joy and rest. He has given you the ability to acquire the necessary provisions in your life. All that He asks is for your heart. Place your heart in the Lord and every day becomes Friday full of anticipation and expectation at what tomorrow will bring. You will begin to live for forever rather than just the weekend. Residency in the Kingdom of God will make worship a daily event, praise moment-to-moment and fellowship with the Lord a daily benefit.

 

Philippians 4:19 (NLT)

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

 

The core belief essential to live a life of Fridays is the understanding that God will supply all your needs and that it is a gift from Jesus Christ. Toil and labor are the human idea of success not God. By placing faith and trust in Jesus and His Sufficiency, we move from working for things in life to living for God. But Jesus has to be enough? Is He enough for you? Or are you God’s Little Helper who is constantly buffeting your faith with open-ended disclosures and working to make sure that God does not fail? Friday is for those who know that the weekend is coming. Those who have faith that their rest will be fulfilled can live in anticipation of the coming day because they know what they will find there. God’s peace, love, provision, protection and prosperity is in each new day lived for Him. God not only can supply all of your needs, wants, dreams and hope but He WILL for those who place their trust in Him. Is today your Friday? It can be. Choose to wait on the Lord. Make it a point to seek His Face. Live a life of anticipation of God and no-one else. Experience a meaningful life. Stop working so hard for worldly wealth and make a Kingdom investment. Celebrate! It’s Friday.

Not What I Expected – A Devotion

Romans 8:22-25 (MESSAGE)

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

 

Pregnancy is a state of expectancy. While some describe it as a joyous occasion, it is actually birth that is the highly anticipated moment when that which we have labored for arrives. Actually, pregnancy is work. It begins with changes to the body. As a woman physically changes to accommodate a growing child, the hormone levels change often producing horrible morning sickness that can last a day, month or the entire time. Her body increases in size and becomes tender as everything is stretched to make room for her promise. Internal pressure pushes her organs to the side and shifts everything with it often causing acute discomfort and indigestion. Her life is subject to the constant poking and prodding of not only her midwife or physician but every other person who catches on to her change of condition. Unfamiliar hands are bold as they reach forth to make intimate contact with her bulging body. No longer is there such a thing as personal space even though that which is to come cannot be seen, people immediately take to talking to her belly rather than her face and her existence becomes obsolete as all inquiries are pregnancy related. There is a change coming but it is not here. People say the craziest things with differing motives ranging from friendly advice to staunch warnings. Of course, her life will never be the same. She is expecting something. The crazy thing is that with all the sickness, swelling and changes – a woman is content in her wait. She understands the potential that lies within despite the things that she is experiencing. A baby is God’s Promise and she knows that even though she cannot see her little one, if she can just hold on he will arrive. If she can just make it through nine months, she will fall in love all over again. If she can just keep moving, her arms will be full. Whether you are a man or woman, as a Child of God, you are pregnant with His Promises today. You are full of Godly potential that will burst from your life, if you embrace your changing condition. However, unlike natural pregnancy, too often we reject the changes that accompany the blessing and change that we desire. We want the reward of expectancy without the preparation that comes with it. Expectancy that results in the release of one’s reward requires a process of preparation that includes stretching, changing, discomfort and pressures in life. We are a dying vessel that is not worthy of reproduction. Like Sarah, who could only laugh at the thought of bearing a child in her elderly state, God waits for His People to become expectant once more. He has the seeds of righteousness that will grow into your promise but He is looking for fertile people. Those willing to endure the seasons of testing that comprise the birthplace of dreams. It will be work. There will be pressure. Your life will shift and expand to accommodate His Presence. Life will not be what you expected.

When a woman is pregnant for the first time, she has an idea of what it will be like but cannot fully appreciate the journey from conception to delivery until she has lived each moment. It has been said by many woman, “I didn’t expect this.” After all aren’t babies about sweet smells, precious rolls, soft skin and loving cuddles. Well, of course. But they have to get here somehow and their method of arrival is not a lullaby walk-through life. It is a lot of hard work. It is the toughest thing I have ever done. It is full of long days and even longer nights of waiting, watching and hoping. Sweat and swelling are not attractive but are a part of the process. The labor process is the hardest thing that I have ever done. But the blessing when my time has come all five times has been worth every second. Maybe just maybe if we could endure just one process that produced a Promise of God in life, we would commit to the processes of consecration and righteousness to know Him more. Only then would it be possible to see that all the testing and trials are worth it all. To fall in love with Jesus all over again, would it change our stamina in the race of faith? Lord, heal the hearts of men and women who have not had the joy of producing one of your Precious Promises in their life. I ask you to give them the courage and strength to keep trying and never give up on you or what you have promised. Give them strength and endurance to make it to the end and never quit. In Jesus Name, I ask these things.

Message 105:16-22 (MESSAGE)

Then he called down a famine on the country, he broke every last blade of wheat. But he sent a man on ahead: Joseph, sold as a slave. They put cruel chains on his ankles, an iron collar around his neck, until God’s word came to the Pharaoh, and God confirmed his promise. God sent the king to release him. The Pharaoh set Joseph free; He appointed him master of his palace, put him in charge of all his business to personally instruct his princes and train his advisors in wisdom.

 

Joseph is the perfect example of God’s Way of doing things. Joseph dreamed of who God created him to be. He was confident in the Word of the Lord and even shared it with members of his family. The joyous news ended there as Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery. I am sure many times this young man said, “I didn’t expect this.” Promises are good things but such a vision becomes elusive in the midst of the pain of the process. Even new mothers struggle at the height of labor to envision the face of their newborn when the pressure is the most intense. Your promise is coming. It is quietly growing within you. The external pressure you are experiencing is characteristic of the internal excellence that is about to come. Character is required to do with your promise what it was created to do. Wisdom is born in the midst of change as we struggle to see God through our tears and feel His Heart in our brokenness. God has not abandoned you! He is changing you to be the Man and Woman of God with unshakable faith who is a receiver. One who is able to receive your promise AND prosper in it. Jacob’s promise was not only for his benefit but saved the lives of his entire family in the midst of famine. It did not begin as he expected but culminated in more than he could ever ask or imagine. The people that are pulling you down are all part of God’s Magnificent Plan. He has a purpose for every single individual ever created. The Lord longs for their salvation. It may come through you. The Lord will use you in your tears and in triumph when your heart is set on Him. Never give up, even when life is not what you expected! The best is yet to come!

Romans 8:18-21 (MESSAGE)

That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

Radical Sinectomy – A Devotion

Matthew 5:29-30 (MESSAGE)

“Let’s not pretend this is easier than it really is. If you want to live a morally pure life, here’s what you have to do: You have to blind your right eye the moment you catch it in a lustful leer. You have to choose to live one-eyed or else be dumped on a moral trash pile. And you have to chop off your right hand the moment you notice it raised threateningly. Better a bloody stump than your entire being discarded for good in the dump.”

 

Breast cancer has become an exposed hidden killer of men and women around the world. Once confined to silent dormancy inside the body far from human observation it would silently commit its heinous crime against the unknowing victim. But over the course of time, scientist have made strides to detect and remove this unwanted inhabitant prolonging the life of its would be homicide. Science daily reports people are taking greater steps towards early detection by self-examination and regular mammograms with the health insurance industry backing the cause of awareness. The famous pink ribbon campaign has brought to the forefront the silent fight against cancer showcasing survivors and promoting breast cancer awareness. Medicine has taken a radical approach at decimating this silent killer through a procedure called a radical mastectomy removing the infected breast tissue and attached lymph nodes. However for some women simply taking care of the present problem is not enough and many are now opting for a bilateral mastectomy removing both breasts at once due to the high occurrence of cancer detection in the second breast. Geneticists have identified the DNA marker of those predisposed to breast cancer known as the BRCA gene mutation. Even these women are choosing mastectomies rather than risk of developing breast cancer. It seems like such a radical move for those who are in danger of developing cancer and baffles others who do not understand the significance of seeing cancer devastate a life until it is too late. Removing the risk is the only option for many who have seen a loved one die or those who want no part of cancer and its dirty work. Sin is a cancer of the soul. It lies deep inside of human beings as a silent killer. Its mutation seems harmless with little mistakes here and there until ultimately it steals life and robs people of their future along with the promise that it holds. How unfortunate when we disregard taking the radical steps necessary to remove sin and its potential from our life?  

Removing a body part only on the chance of developing cancer must be a huge dilemma. One must consider not only what if it becomes cancerous with the option what if it does not? Believers have the same dilemma daily while toying with sin. What seems like harmless fun or momentary weakness has the power and potential to take your life away in an instant. Jesus did not talk about a twelve-step process for sin removal. Sin is not an addiction, it is a disease which calls for its immediate removal from our lives. What person chooses to allow cancer to live in their body willing? No one – they feverishly seek to have cancer remove and discarded from their life. Why not treat sin the same way? Jesus calls for a radical “sin”ectomy. A sinectomy as defined by medical terms refers to sinus surgery to remove unnecessary or dead tissue and cartilage and by the spiritual description of Jesus Christ it is removing unnecessary and dying sin from our body, mind and soul. Sin has the potential to kill a person. Why do believers quandary and waiver over harboring the fugitive of sin in their bodies? A known killer of the unrighteous, yet we choose to hang on to these habits, ideas, actions and notions in lieu of life and freedom. Bound by our addiction to self and self-gratification, our vanity prohibits spiritual wellness by keeping the offensive in order to be physically whole. Jesus said it would not be easy but we must remove the offensive from our lives in one radical motion at the presentation of sin. The thought of sin is contaminating and must be discarded. Wide margins of faith are required to surround the area of weakness and promote healing once again. There is no excuse. It is a life or death choice. Will you sacrifice sin for life today?

Jeremiah 17:9-10 (MESSAGE)

“The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.”  

 

Ignoring the deadliness of sin is not immunity for the human heart. The Lord searches the hearts and minds of His People regularly to detect sin and weakness. In that moment, He alerts the Holy Spirit who by careful goading and prodding will bring it to your attention. It is a preventative measure on the part of a God who loves you so much that He longs to see sin removed from your body. It is a desperate search of the Father to save His Dying Children. Sin is eating His People up from the inside out and so God is pressing. His Hope is that by the Blood of His Precious Son, Jesus Christ that you will accept a second chance at life that is only possible by removing the sin from your life – all of it. You would not allow cancer to steal your life – you would fight for it relinquishing whatever body part necessary to regain your life. Why would you allow sin to fester and steal away Eternity? It just doesn’t make sense. It is time for a radical “sin”ectomy in the Body of Christ through the hearts of God’s People.

Isaiah 61:1-3 (NLT)

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

 

God has a promise for those who endure the painful process of refinement and strive to remove sin from their life. It is righteousness. Righteousness is a second chance at life that makes all former things pale in comparison to His Goodness. The pruning of your life has produced roots that link you to the Kingdom of God and the resources available there are abundant and innumerable. You cannot fathom the richness of God afforded those who will sacrifice sin for His Glory. Do some self-examination today. Seek the advice of a professional – the Holy Spirit. Radically eradicate sin from your life. Experience the fullness and wholeness of God. Be free to live for Him and enter Eternity. It is truly a matter of life and death!

How to Build a Fence – A Devotion

 

Psalm 62:1-3 (NKJV)

Truly my soul silently waits for God; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. How long will you attack a man? You shall be slain, all of you, like a leaning wall and a tottering fence.

 

It’s funny how the image of the American dream is a house with a white picket fence. Why not just a big house with a giant oak tree in the front yard or maybe a nice porch swing, but why does this image include a fence? People innately desire security even though what one perceives as secure can be entirely different, everyone longs to have boundaries of control that keep their life together and their “stuff” intact while keeping uncertainty and danger safely outside of their perception of life. One would think that while pursing an amazing life, there would be no boundaries to contend with just endless opportunities. This is not the case. There is safety and security in knowing the boundaries. There is power in controlling what comes and goes from the life we furiously build and maintain. But physical fences that mark the boundaries of our personal property are not enough to sustain the human heart through eternity. These structures are built on what we can see and this temporary circumstance called life. We must carefully and diligently build a spiritual fence around our life to be powerful and effective for God’s Kingdom now. A consecrated life is one in which a believer builds a fence around their existence marking what is God’s. It is a stand that tells the world this is what is mine and who I am after. It is not made to keep everyone out but simply be prudent about who and what we allow to come in. It states that we are God’s property. God’s Word says that God is our defense. He is our refuge and strong tower. He is a rock meaning immovable and our salvation which means active on our behalf all at the same time. God is big. He is more capable than one could ever imagine. So why do we hurry and scurry to build a comfortable life and chase the American dream rather than begin to build a fence around our life that defines it as God’s? In an instant, natural disaster, economic devastation and life’s tragedies can rob us of the safe and secure environment our hands have constructed as a means of protection. But when God is our defense, we cannot be moved. It is important to know today how to build a fence.

Jesus be a fence all around me everyday…Jesus I want you to protect me as I travel along the way…I know you can(yes Lord)…I know you will (yes Lord)…Fight my battle(yes Lord)…If I just keep still (yes lord)…Lord be a fence all around me every day.

(Jesus Be A Fence Around Me by Fred Hammond)

How important is the Lord’s protection today? It is absolutely vital in the life of His Children. To build a successful Christian life one must clearly mark the borders of their life as God’s Property while guarding it from the enemy’s attack. The devil is not in favor of your construction. In fact, the enemy is constantly looking for weakness in the life that we build. If he can just get through your line of defense then he can disrupt the building process. If you are working in your own power, he will be quite successful. Many years ago, a friend in the Lord came to me with what he felt was God’s Word. Knowing that this person loved God and had an active, productive relationship with Him, I listened intently to what he had to share. He told me that God had given him the image of a post being planted in the ground. He went on to describe the brutal process that a post undergoes when being hammered into the ground. He landed the final blow with the revelation that I was the post and God was pounding me in the ground to make my life immovable and unshakable. Oh really! What kind of encouraging word was that? A bit disgruntled I weakly thanked him for his efforts and continued to ponder the image not just for a day for many years to come as God faithful to His Word has pushed me deeper in His Word, brought me to my knees in prayer, pulled me close to His Heart in His Presence until I have embraced the Word from my friend. Though sometimes building the boundaries of a consecrated life holy to God is tough, it has proven well worth the effort.

Posts are not enough. There has to be connecting boards and panels to make it secure. One can hardly protect their entire property with a single fence post in place. The Body of Christ must build connecting panels and boards to bond the posts together creating an impenetrable barrier. There is more to living a consecrated life than the process of planting poles of immovable and unshakable saints of God. It is important that they are connected to God AND each other to survive in this world. God created the church to foster these relationships. By worshiping, fasting, praying, praising, loving and living together, the Body of Christ builds a fence around their life through a sense of community that is strengthened by God and fortified by others. God did not intend for you to go it alone in this journey. He provided His Spirit. The Spirit of God lives in you as your constant companion and empowerment. But God knows His Children and our needs especially to “see” and be a part of something so He gave us other believers to come together with. Sadly, quite a few Christians have devalued the importance of such relationships altogether.

John 10:1-7 (NLT)

“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”  Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.”

Every proper fence has a gate. Jesus Christ is the gate for His People. There is no other way to enter a consecrated life than by Jesus Christ. There are many counterfeit gates out there today that boast entrance to God’s Kingdom but they are all lies. Without Jesus Christ it is impossible to enter God’s Kingdom. Love and deeds will never open the gate to all of God’s Glory without the Blood of Jesus Christ. Fence building is messy. It is hard work but when allow God to plant you firmly in His Word and finish the process of reconstructing your life beginning with a firm foundation it is worth the sweat and tears to see it complete. Interesting to note is that Jesus Christ is a gate for His Sheep which is plural further confirmation of the unity that Jesus desires for His People. Allow God to enrich your life through an intimate relationship with Him and healthy interactions with the Body of Christ. Your consecrated life was not meant for complete separation from mankind. It is simply marking your borders for God and only allowing the Lord to dictate who comes and goes and what impact they have on you. Let Jesus be the gateway to your success today. Skip the American dream and grab hold of the Vision of God for your life. Let God be your defender. Raise high the banner of His Love to let the whole world that your life belongs to Him. Declare that you are God’s Property. Ask Jesus to build a fence around you for His Glory!

The Power of Sifting – A Devotion

Luke 22:31-32 (NKJV)

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

 

Sifting flour was a process our grandmother’s used to do but is seldom called for now. Before the modern age of heavy machinery and higher government standards on food handling and preparation for the public, giant millstones were used to make flour bits of the stone would turn up in the flour along with other impurities that made their way into the mix. Flour would be sifted in order to remove all the little pieces that would certainly ruin breads, cakes and other recipes calling for the powdery substance. Now with increased regulations on food preparation by the Food and Drug Administration, large plants with state-of-the-art steel rollers make this process more sterile and unwanted impurities are less likely to make it into the flour. However, there are still times when sifting is necessary for a light and airy cake or nicely risen rolls. As flour sits on the shelf, it becomes settled. The air is removed as it waits for the moment it will become something bigger than just a bag of flour. Who wants to sit down and eat a bowl of flour? However, put a basket of steaming fresh rolls on the table and say no more! As flour is sifted air is distributed throughout the mixture. Flour is also sifted to incorporate ingredients that should be mixed together for the best results. By doing so, you introduce new qualities to the dry mixture surely to result in culinary success. Life is full of processes isn’t it? To think so much thought and attention goes into a common household item that is in many of the foods we eat, yet it is often taken for granted as we pour some out and dump it in a recipe.

There is another form of sifting that Jesus spoke to Peter about the night that would begin the ultimate betrayal that would result in our Lord’s tragic death yet triumphant victory. It resembles the process by which flour is prepared and used, no wonder Jesus warned Peter that satan had requested to sift him like wheat. God gave Peter great potential. Jesus saw that purpose and added faith to it. The enemy saw Peter’s flaws and inconsistency. While trying to capitalize on his impurities, satan actually revealed these things to Peter as well. The night would be devastating for the man but his spirit would flourish in revelation. Within hours of leaving the Lord, Peter would deny Jesus Christ three times. The sifting process would begin.

You cannot remove something that you cannot see. Finding something requires looking for it. If not aware of this process, often one will encounter failure after failure. Even the strongest, most dedicated follower of Jesus Christ has sin in their life. Consecration is the constant process of being sifted through prayer, fasting and deliverance of the impurities that are hindering the Spirit of God from fully activating in your life. Each round of “sifting” reveals the things that must be removed for purpose to rise. It becomes more vigorous as we eliminate the big things and have to search for the little hidden sins that have infiltrated our life. As God always, He is using what was meant for our harm for His Good! The enemy looks for new ways to disrupt your life, steal your joy and destroy your purpose, but God uses it to make us stronger especially in profound weakness. Are you being sifted today? Look for those things that are becoming evident in this process and allow the Lord to remove them from your life as your purpose begins to rise.  

Sifting will add the characteristics of God and mix His Power with your purpose. Sifting makes flour lighter. Air is added as the clumps of flour are broken down. Sifting a human soul adds God’s Spirit to every particle of your being. Your burdens become lighter as your yoke becomes His. Suddenly, success begins to overcome failures. Victory shines in the life of those who submit to the process of consecration and allows God to become a part of every aspect of their life. Finely distributing the qualities and characteristics of Jesus Christ throughout our daily existence empowers us to rise above the chains that bind us to the earth and live as a part of the Kingdom of God. It mixes all of who He is into what He has called us to be illuminating our Promise, binding Him to our Purpose and exposing our great potential. Sifting strains whatever has been submitted to the process. Do not hang on to what you think life was supposed to be like or who you thought you would be. It will not survive the process and the sooner you let it go, the sooner success will be yours. Anything that is sifted is broken…even people. God desires it. (Psalm 34:18) In fact, those who are in the midst of this process are closer to the Lord than one may realize. God is drawn to your insufficiency and weakness. It makes room for His Spirit. Feeling sifted today? Let go for help is on the way!

Psalm 51:17 (NKJV)

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise.

 

If you can relate to being sifted today, read Psalm 51. It is all about the process of consecration. God desires to make you complete and whole. He longs to lift you above this world and reside with you in His Presence. But there are some things that may hinder your arrival. He will remove them. Those things which bind you to earth once removed will allow you to rise above! What are you waiting for? Submit to God’s process of removal and renewal for your life. Allow Jesus to activate your potential and reveal your purpose by letting go. His Promise is nothing less than spectacular! Submit to sifting!