Desire & Destination

Desire and Destination

I Corinthians 12:31 (NIV) Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.

Our desire will lead to a destination. Desire defines our drive, dictates our dedication and decides our destination every single time. Desire is not an opinion but an inner force of combined thoughts that become our attitude and actions. Desire is a strong feeling. A feeling of wanting something or wishing for something to happen. God has a desire. His Desire has a face. It is your face and mine. God desires people. To create an everlasting Kingdom of those He loved first and still loves the most.

“Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.” (Plato) Our attitude and actions first formed deep within us are motivated and mastered by sin. Our flesh knows no other way until introduced to the better more excellent way. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. It is by way of Jesus that humanity is reconciled to God through His Grace that is always enough. To know the Way is not enough – even demons know the Name of Jesus and tremble at it. However, to the Way and decide to follow Him is a new thing altogether. Our destination is decided by our desire. Desire dictates our drive. Desire is the motivation for dedication. When we desire anything other than Christ, it leads to dissatisfaction.

Ecclesiastes 2:9-11 (NIV)  I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

The Lord loved Solomon. In I Kings 3, King Solomon was faithful to the Lord God and so God offered Him anything. Solomon chose wisdom and a discerning heart. I wonder how the same person who was so invested in serving God would come to such a place as Ecclesiastes 2. At this point in his life, “everything was meaningless.” His desire and drive made him successful. He denied himself nothing that his eyes could see. Maybe if he had heard Paul’s warning that all things are permissible not all things are beneficial. When he surveyed his success, all that his hard work had achieved – he found it all meaningless. He had gained the world and lost his soul. Anytime that our life prospers without soulful participation – life becomes meaningless. The purpose and plan of God that leads to fulfillment cannot be achieved apart from Him.

Mark 4:18-20 (NIV)  Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

Overcoming doubt in our life is accomplished by faith. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Seeds of faith planted by the Word have various results. Seeds sown among the thorns hear the word and maybe even believe it but quickly the “worries of life”, “deceitfulness of wealth” and “desires for other things” literally choke the word and it does not bear the fruit it was intended to. This was King Solomon’s dilemma. God was true to His Word and gave the king exactly what he asked for. However, his human desires overtook his desire for the Lord and well we see what happened in Ecclesiastes 2. It happens to us all. God blesses us and then our desire overtakes our desire for the Living God and well you know the rest of the story. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. (Romans 7:17-19)

Romans 8:5-6 (NIV)  Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

We must master our desires and place them fully into Christ. The mountain you are facing marked doubt will not move until the very thing you desire is Jesus Christ. Why would God move a mountain if the everlasting was not waiting on the other side. The Lord has placed His Spirit in us to cultivate the fruit that leads to everlasting life and hope that never disappoints. Are we using these gifts for righteousness sake or do we simply desire the Hand of God? Are we after His Heart in the process? The things of this world will pass away. Our life in Christ is eternal. It is the admission point of eternity. Jesus died to give us access to His Kingdom. His Father will not give us the things that might block our entrance. His Grace is enough to endure our wrath of unmet expectation. “Desire increases when fulfillment is postponed.” Maybe the mountain is not moving because secretly you desire something different than Christ? Is it possible to know the Lord but not desire Him? Absolutely.

The Spirit of the Living God will lead you to life and peace. Feeding our flesh starves our soul. Feeding our soul, likewise, starves the flesh. The Fruit of God’s Spirit changes our appetite for the things of this life as eternal life becomes a reality. Suddenly, all the things we wanted, needed and desire change to one thing – Jesus Christ. As our soul prospers, so will we.

Psalm 145:13-16 (NIV) Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

Your desire to change must be greater than your desire to stay the same. (Unknown) Are you satisfied with your life today? Are you struggling with unmet expectation? King Solomon had it all according to earthly success yet found life to be meaningless. How many of the rich and famous who appear to have it all end their life due to depression, discouragement and distress that the world could not see for the notoriety of fame and influence of wealth? Life outside of Christ is preset and predetermined. Sin produces death. Our life in Christ must become more than just knowing His Name but we must desire the Lord. He desires a relationship with us. His Hand opens with His Heart. His Hand will not open outside of an established relationship or risk losing us forever. His Desire is for us so He will do nothing to keep us from Him even if that means withholding what we ask of Him.

C.S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” You were born to be part of an everlasting kingdom yet arrived in a temporary world. The Lord is trustworthy and true. He created you with purpose. You have a handwritten plan prerecorded for your good. The only investment you make in your future is faith. Faith in God’s Love. Faith in God’s Son. Faith in God’s Grace. Faith in God’s Promises. It is all about living a life of faith that overcomes doubt in every area of our life. This is when the mountain will move and be cast in the sea. The very moment our heart’s desire is for the Lord and Him alone. God will then open His Hand and satisfy our desire.

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

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The Burger Joint

The Burger Joint

Psalm 34:8-10 (AMP) O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good; how blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who takes refuge in Him. O [reverently] fear the Lord, you His saints (believers, holy ones); for to those who fear Him there is no want. The young lions lack [food] and grow hungry, but they who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing.

Our girl’s weekend has concluded. It has been a good time. We attended the Beth Moore, Living Proof Ministry Conference and I would highly recommend it to individuals, families, friends and women’s groups. I may or may not have been living under a rock the last ten years, but I have never read one of her books or heard any of her teachings. Her team definitely were game on this weekend. I came hungry and received more than my fill. My hunger and desire for Jesus these days seems insatiable. The turning point is unclear when His Word and His Voice became a vital nutrient and daily requirement for my life but now I cannot seem to make it through a single moment of an ordinary day unless I know that the Lord is right there with me – walking arm-in-arm.

The first night of the conference ended after 9:00 PM and the parking garage was a crush. Glad the victory was won that night, because after hometown football games I have sat in the long line of cards with the bitter taste of defeat and a roaring belly. Sitting in the car packed in like tiny sardines, the most pressing matter in the moment became food. No one had really eaten since breakfast and all were getting hungrier by the minute. The only thing open that late was the usual breakfast clubs and a few burger joints. Votes were cast and due to the early wake-up call everyone decided on the latter. Now, I have not completely purified my diet but in the name of old age and trying to preserve this shell of humanity that covers me, I don’t eat greasy food much anymore, especially not late in the evening right before bed. I prayed a little prayer that the Holy Spirit would but His Hand on my stomach and protect me. Once in the booth, I really didn’t need a menu. We all ordered the same cheesy, greasy, double patty burger loaded with fries and milkshakes, Lord help us – we were now committed.

When the sweet waitress delivered the food, I am sure to other patrons it must have resembled a school of piranha in the Amazon River. My daughter confessed later that she did not even remember consuming the pile of fat and calories. Every person who engaged in the frenzy agreed that the burger was the best they had in a long time. Food was delicious. I had to smile inside. Was the burger really so tasty? The fries cooked to perfection? The milkshake filled with all the creamiest richness? Or was our perception of the food based on our appetite conditioning our desire? Or our hunger that led to desperation? When our appetite was fulfilled and our desperation turned to satisfaction, suddenly the burger was praised. I think you know where this is going so let’s just dive in…

O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good; how blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who takes refuge in Him. I have been a Christian since I was eleven years old when I invited Jesus to come inside my heart and live there forever. I did not fully understand what I was asking or how it would happen, I just knew that He is who I desired based on the recommended by others and the little bitty hunger that rose up in my heart that day. It would take hears for me to develop a true desire for Jesus Christ in my life. However, once we do “taste and see” for ourselves – no one can change our mind. No one will convince our group that the burger on our plate and then in our stomachs the night before last was anything less than perfection. However the Truth is that the burger really was not that great for us. Some experienced a bit of gastric distress but deemed it worth it in the end. Hear me today! To taste and see that the Lord is good requires dining at His Table. In fact, Jesus is always knocking on the door to our heart asking to share a meal with us. (Revelation 3:20) Too often, busyness or cares of life or fear of expectation keep us from allowing Him to come and satisfy our heart with His Richness and Goodness so we pop in another microwave, quick-gratification meal to keep us from experiencing those hunger pangs or feelings of desperation just a little bit longer. The Lord has desires. He is desperate to bless you and me. To make us fortunate, prosperous because we are favored by God. Too many times, we choose something less to meet the current need rather than to experience a rich and satisfied life. (John 10:10)

O [reverently] fear the Lord, you His saints (believers, holy ones); for to those who fear Him there is no want. Fear is a powerful force. There are two kinds of fear. The first and most understood by people is the feeling. Fear is a distressing emotion aroused by perceived danger, evil or possible pain where it is real or imagined. This is not the fear expressed in Psalm 34:9 yet the reality of faith for most people. They fear God’s judgment and punishment because they have not fully comprehended the authenticity of His Unconditional Love and Amazing Grace offered in the Person of His Only Son, Jesus Christ. When Jesus lives in us, and by chance we fall in love with Him. The bond creates a union so that when God sees us – He does not see our sin but the Beautiful Face of His Son and the sacrifice offered to rid us of it. Fear arises from doubt in the sufficiency of God’s Grace and is often shrouded by religion rather than true fear of the Lord arising from confident trust in the relationship offered when we yoke our life with Jesus Christ. The fear that offers us a fully satisfied and completely content life is found in reverence for the Lord. Fear defined as reverential awe. Reverence is the feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe and the outward manifestation of it. It is to have faith and trust the Lord. When He acts upon His Promises as a result of this attitude, it only deepens and widens our capacity to love and trust Him more. Reliance becomes inevitable. Our hunger will grow. Our desire deepen. Our appetite will increase for more of Him. All of this will create people who are desperate for all of Jesus.

The young lions lack [food] and grow hungry, but they who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing. Yes, I am convinced that our perception of the hamburger the other night was based on our hunger and need for food rather than the reality that it was that tasty or divine. It just hit the spot. Somebody needs to hear this today. You live from day to day even meal to meal on less than God’s Best driven by natural desire and hunger that force you to compromise and live on less. No experience will do this every time. Young lions lack food and grow hungry. BUT… But God… But they who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing. Food is a daily necessity for healthy growth and development. The Lord invites us to His Table today. He is the Bread of Life. Communion is not just for certain Sundays but welcomed in every day of our life with the Lord. It is up to us to make better choices in our consumption. The day after eating the burger and fries guess what I was craving again? You guessed it. I was ready to consume more of it. It is up to me to decide what the best choice including the things I take in to my life naturally, emotionally and spiritually each day. I must choose what I consume based on the desires for each area of my life.

Galatians 5:22-24 (AMP)  But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature together with its passions and appetites.

I am so thankful today for the Spirit of the Living God who resides inside me. Not only is He an excellent life coach but the Holy Spirit produces fruit in me that will produce complete satisfaction in my hungry heart. He offers things like love, joy, peace, and yes, even patience to wait for the right thing rather than grabbing the first thing that comes along. He offers me kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness in such abundance that I have no other choice than to share it with others. He also provides self-control so I will make better choices in all areas of life. Why do we limit God to the super-spiritual when He offers to bless, prosper, multiply and increase every are of our natural and spiritual existence? All I must do is choose to bring my choices, appetites, desires and even passions to the Cross and hand them over to Christ for inspection. He does not shame me in those things that are not good for me, but rather always offers me something so much better than I might have settled for. His Word instructs me to choose better. His Spirit leads me to those things. I have the opportunity to live a life defined as rich and satisfying. It is up to me if I will choose it.

Psalm 37:3-5 (AMP) Trust [rely on and have confidence] in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and feed [securely] on His faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him also and He will do it.

Our desire for the Lord will turn to delight by tasting and seeing that He is good. To know if a certain food is palatable to us requires tasting or trying it. This is a commitment. I cannot sniff and decide it worthy of consumption but must put it in my mouth, roll it around and swallow it. You will never know or experience the fullness of God available in Christ until your faith tries Him by trusting Him. We must rely on Him some to develop confidence in the Lord. We must “feed on His Faithfulness” to see the remarkable changes produced by such a choice. The Lord wants to give you a rich and satisfied life unaffected by the temporary problems, troubles, trials or even distractions. Once you experience the Goodness of God, you will never be the same. It changes us from the inside until suddenly there is a deep desire that becomes desperation. Now no longer do we want His Hand but all of His Heart. This will lead to the everlasting lifetime of called glory to glory which produces an abundance of love, joy and peace in our life. It raises our standard of living to the God’s Standard again. Right here. Right now. His Love is amazing and overwhelming. The question has been posed – How do you eat an elephant? The answer is simple. One bite at a time. You get to choose when and where you will decide to taste and see that the Lord is good. Why not today? Why not now?

Matthew 5:6 (AMP) “Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.”

Taste and See

taste-and-see

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

Taste and see. Well I have been tasting for a long time and seeing a change to my body that is unhealthy so it was time to do something about it. I need to make some adjustments to my intake to decrease the load I am carrying if you know what I mean. I need to change my diet. Ugh. I hate the word. It gives way to another word that I loathe even more called exercise. You are what you eat. Whatever you put inside of your mouth and choose to digest is what your body uses to sustain itself. Put junk in. Get junk out. Put fat in. Get fat out. With our move and a plethora of other excuses as long as my arm, my diet went from pretty good to terrible seemingly overnight. With this change some unwanted weight gain. Now I must evaluate the foods I eat and what I drink for caloric intake, sugar content and other important qualities to make my body healthy again.

I start each day at my computer in the Word of God with a banana and protein bar. Bananas are high in potassium and magnesium. They also have soluble fiber and natural detoxifying agents that are great for digestion. The bar contains protein which is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. Protein is considered a “macronutrient” because the body needs large quantities of it. Since the body cannot store protein, it needs a new supply constantly. In evaluating my diet, I read the protein bar ingredients again to make sure it was a good choice.

Several months ago, balking at the high price of the protein bar that I was eating, I chose a less expensive brand. When I read the packaging comparing it to the old one, I realized that in an effort to save a dollar or two each week – I had definitely sacrificed in the content. Rather than the 12 grams of protein in the expensive brand, I was saving money but only getting 2 grams of protein. I quickly switched back to the one that offered more protein. We do that sometimes in life. You know – like when we set the alarm to get up early to seek God in His Word and pray but quickly turn it off opting for more sleep when morning comes. We need the content but don’t want to give up anything to get it. Taste and see that the Lord is good! The Lord invites us each day to have His Best. Taste His Goodness. See His Glory. Yet too many times we sacrifice quality for quantities of lesser things.

“Oh the joys of those who take refuge in Him!” As we read through Psalm 34, it is a reminder that in our lifetime certain conditions will come like fear(v.4), sin(v.5), desperation(v.6), opposition(v.7), hunger(v.10), temptation(v.13), distractions(v.14), troubles(v.17), and brokenness(v.18) just to name some of them. We must learn to take refuge in the Lord so that in all things – we will overcome. Each condition has a solution. Every time it is the Lord. How do we invest our life with Jesus to the max? How do we maintain a life of victory experiencing His Glory over and over again? We just keep packing Him in. Every day tasting to see that the Lord is good. Even on the days when I am not hungry or feel full, I must keep tasting the Word of God ingesting it over and over again. I must do so with expectation that I will see the Goodness of God in the land of the living. I will not live in fear or lack but confidence and fulfillment just as He promised. I must make the change in my diet and appetite to see the changes in my life that God promises. Why? He does not lie, change His Mind or relent in any way. It is up to me if I will taste and see God’s Goodness in my life today.

Psalm 40:11-13 (NLT) Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord; may your love and faithfulness always protect me. For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. Be pleased to save me, Lord; come quickly, Lord, to help me.

The Lord does not withhold His Mercy or His Goodness from us. The enemy would like to make us think so though. Trouble comes at us from all sides. Sin overtakes us and we cannot “see” or comprehend a God who loves us in the midst of constant failure and the bondage of bad choices but He does. Our heart will fail without proper nutrition and exercise. Even by trying to maintain a healthy heart, people still end up needing medical intervention as they advance in their years. The Lord invites us to give Him our heart and allow Him to renew us day by day. In Ezekiel 36:26, it says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

The Lord is intent on keeping His Promise. We must only taste and see that the Lord is good. Change our appetite. Continue to feast on His Word to nourish our soul. We will seek the Lord’s Goodness as He begins to change our heart and mind to what pleases Him and our life follows suit. The Lord wants to save us. He loves to heal and deliver us. He desires nothing more than to flood our life with His Goodness and Glory. I must decide that He is what I want and desire to have the new heart and new life that is promised.

Proverbs 3:1-8 (NLT) My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 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.

I have long since learned that random and radical dieting does nothing more than put my body on a physical roller coaster. There are two closets in my home filled with different sizes of clothing. Rather than reacting to the changes in my body, I can live a life responsibly instead. I don’t have to deprive myself when I choose a healthy diet every day. Just soak that in and marinate on it for a moment since we are talking about food. God did away with religious tradition when Jesus died on the Cross. His Sacrifice covered all our sin and shame so now I am free to live a righteous life with copious amounts of grace and the promise of everlasting life and complete fulfillment. It belongs to me. All I must do is choose to live in it. Each day comes with enough mercy to get over yesterday’s failures and shortcomings, more than sufficient grace to cover my sin and shame, and the same promises that were mine from the very beginning. It is up to me if I will taste and see that God is good, or choose to remain in the troubles all around me. God’s Word leads to peace and prosperity in life – do I read it, study it and ingest it each day. His Spirit allows us to directly communicate with God the Father and Jesus the Son for direction, guidance and wisdom – am I looking for that kind of relationship? Those who do will “win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man” which is a good thing. We must trust the Lord with all our heart and stop leaning on our own understanding and just keep packing in wisdom like a free buffet. This will bring health to our body and nourishment to our bones. It is a good life for those who choose to taste and see the Goodness of God!

Psalm 27:13-14 (NLT) I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Change of Heart

Change of Heart

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NKJV)

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

 

Dinner over. Dishes done. House quiet as all my people head off to find a place to digest and decompress left just me and the little dog staring at each other in the kitchen. The very clean kitchen within the pristine house after more than a week of scouring and purging. Every closet gone through and each cabinet in order, it looks like when we first moved in. Change is coming. No, change is here. In my peaceful resolve within my exhausted frame, compelled to take a walk and talk to the Lord, I grab the little dog harnessing her in and set off in the twilight as evening comes. She is more than happy to oblige.

 

The cul-de-sac was perfect. With five kids of our own, many days it was filled with more than ten to fifteen children at a time. Playing kickball and learning to ride bikes. Shooting hoops and tossing the baseball. The children have grown up for the most part and many moved away. We are moving. Today a sign will be placed in our front yard and the house that has blessed us so much readied for another family. As I kept walking, rounding the corner and up the hill, I am reminded of the emotion, elation and sheer excitement as the Lord unfolded His Plan all those years ago. Overwhelmed by His Goodness and Grace as a young couple with five small children that we were able to achieve our dream. The model home that captured our attention was sold long ago, but still looks as it did back then. Our home is different. In our hearts, we longed for a craftsman-style home, and to our complete and utter surprise ours would be the only one built in the area. The Lord knows our heart’s desire. We have had many wonderful days in this place and many challenging ones, too. Three little birds have left the nest. Another now driving and our last one a teen. Times are changing along with our heart’s desire.

 

Yes, I am a bit nostalgic and somewhat taken back how quickly things can change in life. Time goes by and we all find that yesterday’s dream now fulfilled or the promise made good is the past and we long for the future. People definitely mellow with age. The change that I am after is not to be matured and seasoned to the point of hiding away in the country until the Lord calls me home. No, I am challenged to move, grow and develop into the place and person that Jesus Christ called me to be. When the Lord is ready to change us, He generally moves us from our comfort zone and out of complacency with this call to action. No longer content with how things are, used to be or the direction that they care heading – our heart is motivated for more. God is not interested in saving us, healing us, delivering us and just leaving us in His Spirit’s Safekeeping until He comes. No, the Lord wants to move us from Glory to Glory. Though our bodies are aging and progressively dying away, we can be renewed day by day in His Presence. We cannot stay where we are and remain the same yet still expect His Glory to find us. His Goodness and Unfailing Love pursue us as we move through life, at some point we must respond and be captivated by it to experience the Promises, Potential and Purpose for which we are created.

 

Sometimes faith can feel like insanity except for the Mind of Jesus. The things we do because of belief in the unseen reality of the Living God often seem crazy and a bit extreme to other people who do not understand. One experience with Jesus in His Presence to hear His Word and watch it come to pass will make it impossible to ever be satisfied outside of the Lord ever again. My heart longs for the things hidden in Eternity naturally because God put it there. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) It is that thing that drives our dreams, fuels our passions and whispers there is more to life than this every monotonous day. As the Lord moves closer, keeping His Promise to renew us day by day, our heart changes. Our spirit, too. In the longing to align our life with the Lord abiding in His Presence – we discover that He does not change but we do. To be like Him, we must desire what He desires. Do what He says. In becoming like the Lord, we are moved. He stays the same. He is sovereign and unchanged by the tests of time or the rebelliousness of His Children. His Love is the same. His Grace is sufficient.

 

Matthew 6:19-21 (NKJV)

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

 

Where is your treasure today? There is where you will find your heart. Our heart is fickle. It can waver and wander if left to its own devices. Passion is a heartfelt emotion that has the power to propel us uncontrollably through life if not bridled and contained by purpose. Passion possess a fire that must be maintained. It must have an enduring flame with an appropriate supply to continue to endure after the initial lighting. Too many times, we give up when things don’t appear to be panning out as we would like them to or as quickly as we think that they should so we abandon our dreams. The dream you have been given is from the purpose that God placed inside of you. It lingers as the Lord waits for you to pick it back up and add desire with a good dose of passion to it. The only way that our potential will not be realized or our purpose left unfilled is our inability to accept change and unwillingness to leave our comfort zone.

 

There are many reality shows on television where people risk life and limb forsaking all dignity just for bragging rights. There is no cash prize except maybe some future exposure. Many will lay their entire life on public display just to be noticed. It is sad. Truly, sad. My life is no longer my own. I gave it away. Not until I had made a complete and total mess of it, but then gladly and willingly handed it to Jesus. As promised, He began to knit together a beautiful life from all the broken pieces. On many occasions, I have taken it back intent to finish the Work that Christ began in me. Only to discover as I crawled back into His Presence that it was never me, but the Christ who lived within me that was my power, purpose and strength. So now, as I begin to rifle through my possessions, get rid of things no longer wanted, needed or used, discard the things well past their prime, and look at the perfect house filled with imperfections from being lived in, I am aware of the change that the Lord has produced in my heart. I am not sad in letting go. But ready to move on. Why? I have had a change of heart.

 

2 Corinthians 4:6-10 (NKJV)

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

 

I have a cousin who is a major league baseball player. If I mentioned his name, any baseball fan would know of him. He is a pitcher. But this isn’t about him, it is about Jesus. When he walks on the mound, he looks at home plate and watches the catcher who will begin to signal certain pitches according to the next batter up. If he likes the pitch, he nods affirmatively. If he doesn’t he will, wave it off until he is satisfied. I think we do that we the Lord many times. He will instruct us to do something. Encourage us to try. Lead us to something far greater but we wave it off like a bad pitch sure that we think our way is better. When the enemy seems to score against us, we look back at God like he is to blame when it was our unwillingness to trust and obey that caused our dilemma in the first place. The pitcher has confidence in his catcher and his discernment. It is the job of the pitcher AND catcher to be in educated concerning their opponent and in sync with the game plan.

 

God has placed a great light in the darkness and His Name is Jesus. Jesus gave you His Spirit so you have the spark that will become a fiery passion, if you choose to stir it up and fuel it with faith. God put the desire in this young man’s heart to play baseball for His Glory. Yes, I believe that every dream and desire is directly related to God’s Will for our life made to produce His Glory. When our passion and purpose is to serve the Lord, holding nothing back, our life becomes a platform. The tests and trials of life will burn away those things that stand between us and fulfillment. This particular ballplayer had his career immediately sidetracked by injury. The world was watching him based on his promise and potential until he got hurt. He was left behind and seemingly forgotten in the minor leagues hidden in the south. The stir died down to the next great graduate. However, when the Major League team ran out of pitchers due to plethora of injuries, guess who got called up? God has placed a purpose inside you that no matter how far suppressed keeps coming back up. What once was a dream becomes a nightmare as it plays over and over in our heart and mind. Why is there no release? It’s simple. God’s Word will never return to Him void. He sent it out with purpose tucking it deep inside our heart and it will not return to Him without accomplishing what it set out to do. (Isaiah 55:11) In the same chapter, the Lord always reminds us that His Ways are not our ways and His Thoughts so much higher. This is the very same God who will do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can even think to ask. (Ephesians 3:20)

 

Ezekiel 36:26 (NKJV)

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

 

I love this verse. Today, if you are unfulfilled, dissatisfied or frustrated with your life, it is time for a change. God is perpetually changing us from the inside out which stirs and renews the passionate desires and dreams hidden in our heart. But since we cannot see the Lord, we must have faith in what He tells us and see Him through His Word. If it sounds too big, too much or too hard – it usually has His Name written all over it. But I think the most important thing to know in every change, intent and motivation of life is that God wants to give us a new heart and new spirit day by day from Glory to Glory as we endure until the end are saved. We evaluate our choices by our bank account because that is where our treasure lies. We decide our future based on the temporary circumstances called to today. We commit to spend the priceless commodity of time on worthless things. But the Lord presses us, prods us, and provokes us to change beginning with our very fickle and human heart that becomes comfortable and complacent unwilling to change.

 

Proverbs 13:12-13 (NKJV)

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. He who despises the word will be destroyed, but he who fears the commandment will be rewarded.

 

Discontentment is not a fruit of God’s Spirit but produced by human expectation. We think we know what will make us happy or satisfy our soul, but when it comes it is fleeting. I have experienced miracles from God and still want more even though I know to experience miracles the impossible must exist. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Longing overtakes us. Impatience goads us to just move on. Doubt begins to rise up to get us moving again. Our kids would challenge each other to see who could hold their breath the longest under water. They would get in the pool and test themselves over and over again. Our lungs are made with elasticity that expands and contracts with air. The more they practiced the better they got. This was a personal challenge. No one told them to do it, they just wanted to win or be the best against their sibling. Passion is driven by our cause. What is your cause today? What is Jesus whispering you to do that you are waving off like a bad pitch? “Lord, I don’t have time. I am doing all these other things. I must work to provide for our family. I have to take the kids to ball practice or dance class. Lord, I am just too busy to pursue my passion, potential and purpose in You.” Do you find yourself in one of these statements or maybe all of them?

 

When desire comes it is a tree of life. Take it from someone who not too long ago, gave up. Put my sword down. Slowly backing away from God’s Call on my life to fade into the gray area of compromise, complacency and comfort. I fought the battle. We won the war. I was weary and tired and didn’t fancy fighting ever again. The price was just too high. I slowly began to fall apart until finally the Lord could overtake me in my weakness gathering all the broken pieces of my heart and give me a new one. As my new heart began to beat, purpose and potential came out. My spirit rose up adjusting my attitude and actions. Now it is time to change, it begins with a new heart. It will always require change. Has the dreamcrusher taken your passion from you today? Do you want it back? King Jesus will gladly snatch it from him returning it to you. But He will not leave you like you were before but He will also revive, restore and renew your heart, mind and spirit to make His Glory come to pass in your life? Ask the Lord today for a new heart and new mind. You were made for more than ordinary but to do extraordinary things. The possible does not dictate your future but the impossible defines your faith producing a tree of life.

 

Psalm 20:4-5 (NKJV)

May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose. We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

Lost Desire

Lost Desire

Psalm 73:24-25 (NLT)

Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.

 

The thought occurred to me. Do I desire Jesus Christ? Do I want Him more than anything on earth? I do today, but not every day. There are days when my wants and desires take over producing discontentment that demands immediate gratification. Notice I did not use the word “need”, because honestly the Lord meets my every necessity even on the days I am stubborn and headstrong trying to go my own way. People are busy. I am quite sure the enemy planned it that way. With a husband and children, my life would be busy enough but add work, church, schedules, agendas, as well as, all the other responsibilities associated with maintaining a home, etc. Our eyes are on many other things, as our hands work to achieve things and to get them done. Suddenly, it easy to forget the One who loves us and desires in every moment of life. Why else would He hand script our life moment by moment? Why would He be so in tune to catch even our tears in little bottles of safekeeping? In the midst of our chaotic frenzied state to make a better life, He is working behind the scenes to make good of every detail in the mess that we leave behind at the end of human efforts. But in the quiet moment of time carved out for our Keeper, I am reminded today that He wants me. He desires me. The Lord is constantly pursing me with Unfailing Love coupled with His Goodness. His Love and Desire for me so profound He allowed men so far beneath Him to ridicule, torture, spit on and crucify Him just to be with me one day. Jesus is mine forever because He gave Himself to give me forever. He gave me my life back in the hope that I would give it back to Him. When two become one in marriage, it is to surrender their thoughts, dreams, goals and aspirations to share life together. Do I desire Him today more than anything on earth? Do you?

Psalm 51:16-17 (NLT)

You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

 

Jesus came to this world to give us a rich, satisfying life. (John 10:10) I believe that, do you? If we truly believed that it was the Lord’s Heartfelt and Expressed Desire to satisfy us completely and had faith that He could and would – we would desire Him, too. Of course, we would. The human race longs for satisfaction and contentment seeking endless ways to achieve it even unto death for those who find it too elusive. The Lord does not desire us to sacrifice our life because the ultimate sacrifice has already been given and accepted by God – Jesus. He doesn’t need a burnt offering – one easily consumed by the fire because anything we surrender was already supplied to us by God. So now what? He desires a broken spirit and repentant heart. Well, isn’t that lovely? Sounds like fun. Well, actually it is the very thing that puts us a place of receivership from the Lord.

Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 (NLT)

Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.

 

Solomon, son of King David, lived under the Favor of God for His Father. When God asked him what he desired, he asked for wisdom. God granted his request. Now here the man is after using
God’s Gift, his life was full of people and things (Ecclesiastes 2:7-11) but his soul a cavernous void. He perceived his life as meaningless. We can use the Favor of God granted in our salvation to achieve immediate gratification but the Lord desires to give us complete satisfaction. What’s the difference?

Desire is to wish or long for; to crave and to want. It is to express a wish to obtain; ask for; and request. What are we asking the Lord for today? Do we want the Lord to satisfy our soul? Satisfy means to fulfill the desires, expectations, needs and demands with full contentment. To put an end to desire, need and want by sufficient and ample provision. To have full assurance. To answer completely. God wants us to be complete lacking no good thing. The Lord desires to give us a rich and satisfying life.

Too often humanity cries out for gratification rather than satisfaction. What’s the difference? Glad you asked. To gratify means to give pleasure by satisfying desires by humoring inclinations and/or feelings. Whoa. It is false satisfaction. Anything false is dangerous because it takes the place of truth. God does not lie or change His Mind. He operates fully and completely in truth. To seek instant or immediate gratification from God is to ask for less than His Best and He is not willing to do that.

Galatians 5:13-17 (NLT)

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another. So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

 

Human nature is a strong force within us all. We never fully can rid ourselves of this nuisance until we are one with Jesus Christ on the Day of Redemption. It will take a daily desire for Jesus to pursue Him every day of our life as our flesh tries to get us wrapped us up in other things. It demands immediate gratification while the Holy Spirit works in us to produce total satisfaction. We must desire the One who can complete us and make us fully content which means daily taking those sinful desires, human inclinations and overwrought emotions nailing each one to the Cross allowing the Blood of Jesus to flow over them, washing our soul in the Word and presenting our body, mind and spirit to the One who loved us first and loves us the most. He is the One who desires nothing but the absolute best for us… nothing more and nothing less.

 

Galatians 5:22-26 (NLT)

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

 

Use the Helper that you have been given. He works in us to produce the life that we have been promised by the Lord and deals with our flesh every day. He gives us the Gifts that last forever as fruit born of surrendered ground. Broken spirits that refuse to run off and make themselves wait. Thank you Lord for self-control born of Your Spirit who whispers, “It will be worth it, just hang on!” A repentant heart maintains its position in righteousness and with that is satisfied with the richness of a right relationship with God the Father by becoming one with Jesus, His Son. We must nail every emotion, passion and desire for anything other than 100% total and complete satisfaction to the Cross to want Jesus more than anything on earth. He is worth the wait. You won’t be disappointed when He arrives. Faith and confident hope never leads to disappointment.

 

Philippians 2:13-16 (NLT)

 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.  Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.

I do not want a working relationship with Jesus. I want an intimate and personal relationship with Him as a bride loves her groom. What’s the difference? Jesus and I can work together and my life can life in cooperation with the Word of God and doing His Will. Such an endeavor will produce prosperity in my life. I will be blessed just in working His Plan. Those who sow will always reap. I can fill my house with things and my bank account with money following God’s Word and Way implicitly. However, that doesn’t produce intimacy. I am not intimate with my boss. I do not desire him. I do desire intimacy with my husband. I want to share every aspect of my life with him. This has produced a large family and more than a decade of life together. I cannot image a day without him in my life and how I never have to. This is the kind of relationship that Jesus desires with us. Each one of us individually because even if you were the only one on the earth that day. If you were the one who had to drive each nail into his hands and feet, He would have still died just for you because He loves you and me that much.

With that thought, I ask the question again…”Do you (I) desire Jesus more than anything (or anyone) else? Am I seeking a marriage of convenience just to get what He has for me but never giving myself to Him? Do we have a casual working relationship? Are we friends with benefits but no real commitment? Struggle is real and these questions valid. In the end, it will matter to Him what matters most to us now.

I Peter 1:13-15 (NLT)

So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 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. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.

 

Revelation 2:2-4 (NLT)

 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting. But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!”

Well-Watered Life

Well Watered Life

Psalm 42:1-2 (TLB)

As the deer pants for water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. Where can I find him to come and stand before him? 

 

Traveling out of town for a concert and shopping with my three girls was such a blessing! In the heat of South Florida  surrounded by palm trees and outlet malls, we exercised retail therapy amongst the plethora of shops, eating yummy food and jamming out to the one and only Taylor Swift. However, upon our return, I began feeling a dull ache in my back. My stomach didn’t feel so good. As I began to self-assess my body, I realized that I had unintentionally become dehydrated with all our fun in the sun. Throughout the course of a normal day, I drink probably six to eight glasses of flavored water. However, I had forsaken my routine and did not drink more than a glass or two a day. My body is used to constant hydration and how is voicing its displeasure in its thirst. Distracted by our travel and fun, I neglected taking care of my body. It is thirsty. I need to supply the hydration it needs to function properly.

As a deer pant for water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the Living God. Our family is in the midst of a transition. We are in the process of praying for and seeking out a new church. I haven’t said this before publicly but after a month or more of no church, I feel it is obvious. Now as I our family makes this change, I am not only dehydrated from our trip but also the lack of church in our life. Thankfully, I have the Source of Life running through me. One thing that is commonplace between both my natural need for more water and spiritual need is that it took some symptoms to elicit the thirst that I now have. Our bodies and spirits can live on our reserves for a while. We can learn how to survive on less, but that is not God’s Plan for us.

Psalm 65:9-12 (TLB)

He waters the earth to make it fertile. The rivers of God will not run dry! He prepares the earth for his people and sends them rich harvests of grain. He waters the furrows with abundant rain. Showers soften the earth, melting the clods and causing seeds to sprout across the land. Then he crowns it all with green, lush pastures in the wilderness; hillsides blossom with joy.

For those who live in countries like the United States, clean drinking water is easy to find. We may choose bottled or fancy water but the truth is the public works department in each community works to keep clean drinking water flowing throughout. In the Spirit life, it is not different for those who seek the Kingdom of God. If you want His Spirit, all one must do is welcome Him as a part of salvation. The Spirit of God is given to everyone who calls Jesus Savior and Lord, but not as many drink Him in or use Him to satisfy their soul. There are many dehydrated Christians out there who barely survive rather than thriving in the Overflow of God pouring out of Heaven for all mankind.

He waters the earth to make it fertile. God is watering our life each day. His River never runs dry as it runs right through us. Will we drink from it daily is up to us? Or will we get busy, travel away or become too distracted to properly maintain our body and spirit? It can happen so easily in the hustle and bustle of the daily grind. Just as I may forget to keep drinking water because it is not handy or I do not feel thirsty in that moment, I do the very same thing to my spirit man, too. The Lord sends His Rain to drench us, soften us, fill us, and prosper us every single day. His River never runs dry. The question is are we running to it.

John 3:4-7 (TLB)

“Born again!” exclaimed Nicodemus. “What do you mean? How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “What I am telling you so earnestly is this: Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Men can only reproduce human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven; so don’t be surprised at my statement that you must be born again!

Nicodemus was a Pharisee. He was smart. Still this whole concept of being born again did not make any sense so he had a conversation with Jesus. Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, He cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Men can only reproduce human life. The Holy Spirt gives new life from Heaven. When you and I were growing inside our mother’s woman, her body fed us. Through the umbilical cord, the blood flow gave the nutrients needed to grow and develop hidden within. Submerged completely in the amniotic sac full of water, hydration occurred from the outside in as our bodies absorbed what was needed. From the moment of birth, a baby begins to suck and seek hydration. It is a natural innate response. If you gently brush your hand on a newborn’s cheek, they will immediately open their mouth and begin rooting in that direction. It is this reflex that enables a child to thrive. I wonder what our spiritual response is when the Lord comes close enough to brush up against us. Do we respond?

I am adult. I know have the knowledge and wisdom to keep my body properly hydrated. That doesn’t mean that I always do, but that God has empowered me with understanding so when I am thirsty or experiencing symptoms of dehydration, I know to drink more water. What about my spirit? When I am dry and thirsty do I know to tap in to the Living Water inside of me? This is just as if not more important than my physical health but directly related to my spiritual well-being. I have living water flowing in me. It is the Holy Spirit. Without a properly watered soul, I will not grow into the new life that God has given me through Jesus Christ.

John 7:38-39 (TLB)

For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me.” (He was speaking of the Holy Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him; but the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet returned to his glory in heaven.)

The Holy Spirit works within us as believers much like the natural God-Given responses that keep us alive. God gave us hunger so we know to eat. He gave us thirst so we will drink. Pain tells us to stop doing that which is causing it to avoid injury, etc. The Holy Spirit is the same to our spirit man or woman. He is the One who helps us to respond properly in the Spirit. He is the Overflow of God that waters our soul making our soft heart soft and preparing us to prosper. Without Living Water, the Fruit of God’s Spirit will not be cultivated in us and we will not grow spiritually beyond a newborn state.

Proverbs 21:1-3 (TLB)

Just as water is turned into irrigation ditches, so the Lord directs the king’s thoughts. He turns them wherever he wants to. We can justify our every deed, but God looks at our motives. God is more pleased when we are just and fair than when we give him gifts.

I can go to the gym, diet and drink lots of water to improve my physical health and appearance. But if I neglect my spiritual health, all is for naught. My body is dying. I may be able to delay the process but it is appointed to man once to die so it is inevitable. But if I work diligently to maintain the health and well-being of my spirit man as well, I do not have to worry about dying because I will live again. My spirit man operates on the same principle of hunger and thirst as the natural body. I must get in tune with the Holy Spirit feeding and watering my soul properly as I do my body in order to prosper my soul and have a well-watered life.

We have not been to the gym in months. Life got busy and it just became hard to fit in our schedule. When I go to the gym, not only do I work out my body, but I work out my mind. Often I pray through the 45 minutes on the elliptical machine. I started this when I would get back from chemo treatments with our son to clear my mind and renew my spirit. Our son is healed and delivered from cancer. We have not been going and I have discovered my spirit girl misses that time. Running, praying and praising God working my mind, soul and body out until everyone agrees so we are headed back. Our flesh never aligns with our spirit willingly. It is a day by day work out and diet that must be closely monitored and maintained in order to continue to prosper body, mind and spirit. It is worth it.

John 4:14-15 (TLB)

“But the water I give them,” he said, “becomes a perpetual spring within them, watering them forever with eternal life.” “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me some of that water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again and won’t have to make this long trip out here every day.”

 

John 4:28-30 (TLB)

Then the woman left her water pot beside the well and went back to the village and told everyone, “Come and meet a man who told me everything I ever did! Can this be the Messiah?” So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

 

Jesus daily offers us the same Living Water that He told the woman at the well about. The kind that allows us to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. When she finally realized who Jesus was and what He was offering her, she left her water pot. Are you carrying around a water pot today filled with all those dreams and visions not yet come to pass? Or maybe it is filled with all the cares and worries not yet surrendered to our Savior and Lord? Or perhaps its unclaimed blessings and the seeds of faith that you are afraid to plant as your life is in a season of drought? It’s time to leave that water pot behind. Your life does not belong to you anymore. You are filled with living water looking for a way out. If we will tap into the Living Water in us, it will flow out in our life to make us prosper again. Dreams and visions will come to pass as quickly as they come streaming in our heart and mind. Worries and cares will fall off of us into the Lord’s Waiting Hands. We will being to overflow and prosper in a well-watered life. What are you waiting for?

Revelation 21:5-7 (TLB)

And the one sitting on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true: It is finished! I am the A and the Z—the Beginning and the End. I will give to the thirsty the springs of the Water of Life—as a gift! Everyone who conquers will inherit all these blessings, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

Completely

Completely

Proverbs 3:5-6 (TLB)

 If you want favor with both God and man, and a reputation for good judgment and common sense, then trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.

 

Not sure if this has ever happened before when my quiet time with the Lord from yesterday crept into today too, but I am a stubborn person and sometimes quite obstinate so I can see why the Lord may feel the need to drive the message home. I have also been known to be a half-listener and to hear only what I want to hear. Hey, at least I am honest. Yesterday was a tough day, one that replays each year. I lived it only one, yet find myself reliving it each year as it passes. The day our son was diagnosed with cancer apparently left a mark deep inside my soul and a scar on my heart that is still tender despite the Lord has been true to His Word. The Lord told me that night in a dirty hospital bathroom as I cried on the floor, tears falling on the gray tile and yelling in the mirror as He hushed me, calmed me and instructed me that our son would indeed live and not die. But before I heard His Word, He asked me one question. “Do you trust me?” It seemed so unnecessary and irrelevant at the moment, because I did trust the Lord. Why else would I have surrendered my life to Him? Yes, Lord I trust you. I did. I really and truly did.

Trust the Lord completely. Completely means having all parts or elements; lacking nothing; whole; entire; full; finished; ended; and concluded. Furthermore, it means thorough, entire, total, undivided, uncompromised, and unmodified. We are supposed to trust the Lord COMPLETELY. How can a human being doing such a thing? We think we do. But to do so would mean that one would never experience fear, worry, stress, anxiety or devastation again. But there is hope that I found in God’s Word yesterday that I never realized before. Ephesians 2:8 (TLB) says, Because of his kindness, you have been saved through trusting Christ. And even trusting is not of yourselves; it too is a gift from God.” Trust is not a human quality but a gift from God. Mind blown. Like truly what a relief for people like me who trust the Lord, but struggle to trust Him COMPLETELY.

Psalm 37:3-5 (TLB)

Trust in the Lord instead. Be kind and good to others; then you will live safely here in the land and prosper, feeding in safety. Be delighted with the Lord. Then he will give you all your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him to help you do it, and he will.

Commit EVERYTHING you do to the Lord. Trust Him to HELP you do it. This whole idea of trust coming from God will change our lives forever if we can somehow in our finite intelligence completely wrap our head around God’s Love for us. Trust in His Love is the very thing that changes us forever. Salvation is a demonstration of God’s Love for us not condemnation. Jesus did come to sign our death certificate but tear it up. There is joy in our salvation if we can find a way to trust the Lord to do it. I thought I trusted the Lord but then it became a matter of life or death. Time for the rubber to hit the road. When God said, “Do you trust me?” I thought, of course look at all I am doing to live for you and trying to serve you. Oh, but none of that matters without faith that trusts the Lord completely. Trusting the Lord is a “moment by moment” endeavor of taking every minute of our life and believing He is doing something with it. Think about it. Psalm 139:3 tells us that every moment God knows exactly where we are. It says in verse 16 that those moments are already recorded. God can be trusted with every facet of our life. He gives us what we need to trust Him more. Why? He wants to bless us so we can live safely in a world that is hostile towards Him. He wants to feed us and provide for us. He wants to fill us with inexpressible joy. He wants to give us our heart’s desire. This requires supernatural trust that comes from seeking the Lord and living in His Presence day by day so we will be granted such to love Him more.

Genesis 39:7-9 (TLB)

One day at about this time Potiphar’s wife began making eyes at Joseph, and suggested that he come and sleep with her. Joseph refused. “Look,” he told her, “my master trusts me with everything in the entire household; he himself has no more authority here than I have! He has held back nothing from me except you yourself because you are his wife. How can I do such a wicked thing as this? It would be a great sin against God.”

We all know the story of Joseph who went from the pit to the palace in Genesis. Father’s favorite son but hated sibling. Thrown into a bit – trust destroyed. Sold to slavery to live in bondage. Sent to Potiphar’s house to be hounded by his wife. Let’s stop there for a moment before Joseph winds up in prison. I have read this story so many times that I breeze past this exchange like I ignore the “Housewives of” you pick the city. Today, I have new insight to the commentary of Joseph. “Look”, he told her, “your husband (my master) trusts me with everything. He has given me equal authority in this household. The only thing that is withholding from me is you. Now why on earth would I do such a wicked thing?” Then Joseph says this, “It would be a great sin against God.” What about her husband? This opens Joseph’s heart to us so we can look in. Everything Joseph did from the pit to the palace this man did because he trusted God not the people around him. It doesn’t mention a bad attitude or anything other than Joseph finding favor in each step. Now at that moment a bitter man or one who wanted something other than God’s Best might have given in to his flesh. Most men in his position would – he was a slave to the master what better way to get him back or even find more favor in the household by having the wife’s favor, too. The people in the story were not as important or relevant as the God in Joseph’s heart. What if we approached life the same way? Working for the Lord in every capacity including our relationships, home, job and church? What if when we don’t do the right thing it is not an offense against the people in those positions but rather against the Lord inside us? Game changer. For real, this is a complete and total shift in our mentality.

To totally and completely trust the Lord is to have faith in Him above all other relationships and interactions in our life. To make Him the Source of every need, want and desire believing enough to do the right thing, continually seeking His Face, and following His Way. We don’t always to that because our trust is limited. When we decide that He is everything we need and all that we want, the Lord increases our trust. The situations and circumstances we face to burn away the insufficiency of faith that limits our trust can be brutal but the revival in our heart changes EVERYTHING.

Psalm 33:4-5 (TLB)

For all God’s words are right, and everything he does is worthy of our trust. He loves whatever is just and good; the earth is filled with his tender love.

 

God loves us. We can trust Him. All of God’s Words are right and filled with His Loving Kindness. He does not want to harm us but prosper us. His Love is defined by justice and goodness for His People. We cannot trust ourselves. We tired that and failed. Job 8:14 likens trusting ourselves to trusting a spider’s web. God blesses us even in our wandering. The grumblers and complainers were fed in the wilderness with manna and quail. They were weakly following God but disobeying Him at the same time. Little trust but still provided for. (Deuteronomy 8:15-16) God knows we have trust issues. He supplies the Love and Mercy that we need to trust Him more. We cannot trust the Lord for other things until we decide that He has saved us. (Psalm 13:5-6) Salvation is the beginning of a right relationship with God. Those who endure to the end will be saved. Endurance is required for faith to grow and trust to be firmly established.

Psalm 112 promises the reward of trust as: 1) blessed beyond expression; 2) happiness; 3) our children are honored and favored by God; 4) darkness may come, but the Light of His Love will always overcome it; 5) all will go well for you; 6) evil circumstances will not overtake us; and 7) confidence that God will take care of us. There are more nuggets of truth associated with trusting God. If we want it, He will give us more trust. It comes at the price of self.

Psalm 34:8-10 (TLB)

Oh, put God to the test and see how kind he is! See for yourself the way his mercies shower down on all who trust in him. If you belong to the Lord, reverence him; for everyone who does this has everything he needs. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those of us who reverence the Lord will never lack any good thing.

 

I have felt many times that our son’s battle with cancer exhausted the limits of my trust. To God be the glory, honor and power because I know that He healed and delivered Him. I cannot count the times God supernaturally intervened on his life. This has nothing to do with my commitment to God. It is the limits of my faith and trust. See at the end of this journey, I feel like I have reached the limit like if another test comes it might be too big for me because this one took it all out of me. What a relief and rejoicing to discover – trust is not my issue but God’s Gift to me. He is the One who fills me with His Love, Grace and Mercy to trust Him more. I cannot trust God like I need to outside of His Presence. It is my connection to the Source of Life – Jesus Christ that allows me to continue to trust Him more. We can test God and see how kind He is not worrying if trust will be our issue. Those who are willing to test Him will be given the trust they need to endure whatever happens in the process. God is more than enough. The Lord is all-powerful and able to overcome every situation if we will simply hand it over to Him and wait until He is done. Those who reverence the Lord will never lack any good thing. It is His Promise to love us completely and never settle for less that brings about blessing in our life. Trust is God’s Issue. Surrender is ours.

Psalm 80:17-18 (TLB)

Strengthen the man (or woman) you love, the son (or daughter) of your choice and we (I) will never forsake you again. Revive us (me) to trust in you.

Free Water

Free Water

Psalm 107:8-9 (TLB)

Oh, that these men would praise the Lord for his loving-kindness, and for all of his wonderful deeds! For he satisfies the thirsty soul and fills the hungry soul with good.

This morning when I woke up I was thirsty. No, really parched and dry like I had walked in the desert all night. Going to the kitchen, I quickly drained a bottle of water. Yet, still I was not satisfied so I kept drinking. When I opened the Word of God, naturally thirst was on my mind. God let me straight to this Truth. He satisfies the thirsty soul and fills the hungry soul with good. The Living Bible is not one of the usual translations that I study from. I am not sure how it ended up in the browser unless the Lord wanted me to look at this familiar passage in a different light. The Light of His Love will do amazing things to enhance our knowledge and understanding of what God is saying and how He moves in our life. We can praise the Lord in each day because of His Loving Kindness, but instead we work for a love that is freely granted. Concentrating on making our life acceptable before the Lord, sometimes I think it is forgotten that such righteousness is established by grace alone. I can do everything right for the rest of my life following every single commandment in detail and walking the rest of my days out in complete sacrificial love for God, Jesus, and all mankind yet still fall short of the glorious standard of living found in Christ alone.

Christian burnout comes from trying to find satisfaction, contentment and completion in our actions rather than placing our life in the Love of Jesus. There are thirsty and hungry souls in churches every day who know the Lord but have no idea how to receive from Him. There is nothing I can do or say to ever be deserving of the Love that I have been given. It is futile to try. The only way that I can receive the loving kindness and wonderful things that the Lord has for me is to step out of my doing and into His Love. That’s really all there is to it. It seems so small that all He wants to do is stay close and love me. I am not worthy. No one really is. Even great preachers like Billy Graham and T.D. Jakes have fallen short of God’s Standard of Living and committed transgressions against God. Being great teachers of the Word does not change the fact that they had to come to Jesus and step in His Love like everyone else. The difference is that they learned to live there.

Today the Lord is reminding me that I have all of His Love right here and right now to live in. I do not have to do a single thing but surrender my life to Him – body, mind and spirit. If I give all that I am to Christ, He will do the rest. I don’t have to do a thing. I must hunger and thirst for more of Him. Just as I was thirsty when I got out of bed this morning, I knew that in the kitchen we had bottles of water that would quench that desire and need for hydration. My soul cries out for such relief. Do I respond by receiving? Do I run to His Word, or step into His Presence to be filled yet again? Today my natural thirst has revealed a spiritual thirst. The Lord wants to satisfy us today with His Loving Kindness.

John 4:10-15 (TLB)

He replied, “If you only knew what a wonderful gift God has for you, and who I am, you would ask me for some living water!” “But you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this is a very deep well! Where would you get this living water? And besides, are you greater than our ancestor Jacob? How can you offer better water than this which he and his sons and cattle enjoyed?” Jesus replied that people soon became thirsty again after drinking this water.14 “But the water I give them,” he said, “becomes a perpetual spring within them, watering them forever with eternal life.” “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me some of that water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again and won’t have to make this long trip out here every day.”

 

It takes a desert to dry us out sometimes. I am not at all surprised that this journey has led us to the woman at the well. She was thirsty for love. There is no doubt that she was ready to be satisfied and made complete. Her opportunity met her at a well. The place where she would dry water to sustain her home for another day. She was in the process of providing water for others when the Lord came to water her. I think religion offers us a bucket and rope when we really don’t need it at all. We forget that living water comes from our relationship to Christ alone. The woman was given access to the well because of her “ancestor” – Jacob. When Jesus came and offered her living water without a “bucket or rope”, she was perplexed because she could not see how He had access to the water or what the Lord would use to pour it in her life. It would require faith to receive living water from Jesus. The Lord offered this empty, broken woman water that “becomes a perpetual spring within (her), watering (her) forever with eternal life.” She asked for the living water right then and there. The Lord would go on to make the way of repentance for her that day. Though He had not yet died for her sins, or provided a way to His Kingdom, this woman was well on her way to salvation and satisfaction in Jesus Christ.

We all have our moment that we meet the Lord. Repenting of our sins, we accept His Loving Kindness, His Grace and Mercy because in that moment of complete brokenness – we are filled. To worship the Lord in Spirit and Truth as he told this woman we must do requires remaining in such a humble place of receivership. If she had not had multiple husbands in her pursuit of love and care, she would not have been at the well alone broken and ready to meet Jesus. Her position in the community would have allowed her to join the other woman as they journeyed there together each day to draw water and fellowship together. She came alone. She bore the weight and burden of her life in solitude. She met Jesus there.

Isaiah 35:3-7 (TLB)

With this news bring cheer to all discouraged ones. Encourage those who are afraid. Tell them, “Be strong, fear not, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unstop the ears of the deaf. The lame man will leap up like a deer, and those who could not speak will shout and sing! Springs will burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The parched ground will become a pool, with springs of water in the thirsty land. Where desert jackals lived, there will be reeds and rushes!

 

God uses our droughts to drench us in His Loving Kindness and Goodness because we become broken open and willing to receive in such a place. Broken is open. The Lord doesn’t have to break our heart. Life is hard enough to do it on its own. Sin has made this world a terrible place. Evil seems to be prevailing. Love has grown cold. People are callous. Just yesterday, someone got so angry in traffic that they shot into a car killing an innocent four-year-old riding in her car seat with her parents. Road rage. They got so angry driving to their destination that they opened fire on a family in a car. Last week in other news, a woman was attacked and killed by someone. This story is already tragic enough until you read further to see that her body hung on the fence that kept her from escaping for more than a day because people thought she was a Halloween decoration. People, I can’t make this stuff up just read the news. There are other tragic stories that are not as senseless as the ones I just mentioned. Like that of the famous football player whose wife battled cancer valiantly for many years yet still succumbed to the illness leaving him a widower with four children to raise. Sickness and disease are a part of this life but not what the Lord intended for His People. Life is hard. The enemy is prowling around looking for people to devour, discourage, detour and destroy. These are all opportunities for the Lord to reach His People as through the darkness He offers the Light of His Love, in the midst of such rampant evil He give us hope that one day it will end as we step into His Kingdom forever. In the midst of such brokenness, we can be satisfied as He fills every void with His Loving Kindness and Compassion…if we come to Him thirsty, dry and broken and allow Him to fill us up!

Isaiah 55:1-3 (TLB)

Say there! Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink—even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine and milk—it’s all free! Why spend your money on food that doesn’t give you strength? Why pay for groceries that do you no good? Listen and I’ll tell you where to get good food that fattens up the soul! Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, for the life of your soul is at stake. I am ready to make an everlasting covenant with you, to give you all the unfailing mercies and love that I had for King David.

 

A local church decided to bless some people sitting in rush hour traffic by handing out cold bottled water. There were no donation buckets in hand or intent to deceive but rather just to satisfy some thirsty people. So they went to an intersection and when the light was red, walked up and down the roadway trying to give people a cold bottle of water no strings attached. The ones who would open their window received a bottle of water and told, “Jesus loves you!” That was it. It took them over three hours to get people to take the “free water”. People were afraid to open their windows in the car. Most wouldn’t even make eye contact.

The Living Water given to us by Christ is a powerful drink. It satisfies our soul. It completes us so that we lack no good thing. It may be free to us but it costs Christ everything. Have we closed our life to is overflow? Are we afraid to partake because it might cost us something? The invitation still stands – “Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink.” The Lord invites us to come to Him and He will do the rest. He will fill us. He will satisfy our thirst from the inside out. He will meet our needs and our longings, too. If we will just meet Him at the well, He will be there.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (TLB)

 I will say this: because these experiences I had were so tremendous, God was afraid I might be puffed up by them; so I was given a physical condition which has been a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to hurt and bother me and prick my pride. Three different times I begged God to make me well again. Each time he said, “No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.” Now I am glad to boast about how weak I am; I am glad to be a living demonstration of Christ’s power, instead of showing off my own power and abilities. Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite happy about “the thorn,” and about insults and hardships, persecutions and difficulties; for when I am weak, then I am strong—the less I have, the more I depend on him.

2 Corinthians 11:27 (TLB) says, “I have lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights. Often I have been hungry and thirsty and have gone without food; often I have shivered with cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.” This is Paul describing his life AFTER he met Jesus Christ. This is not what most of us imagined coming to the Lord. Remember, Paul was a Jew. He was a Pharisee. He was not killing Christians out of blood thirst but because his religion gave him hatred for these people because he thought they were contradicting his God. Now, he came to the Lord after the dispensation of grace so God is not punishing Paul for his actions – they are under the Blood now. Where is the prosperity message in the persecution of believers? I will tell you were it is. It’s in 2 Corinthians 12.

Paul begins to tell of his wonderful experiences in Christ and all that the Lord is doing in him and through him. Paul talks about suffering for the Lord and also preaching the Gospel and building His Church. He then reviews a “thorn in (his) flesh.” Brokenness is openness. That thing which challenges us, breaks us open, keeps us exposed creates a spiritual thirst that nothing in this world can fill but Jesus Christ alone. This is the thing that keeps us connected to the Source of Life otherwise our religion and self-righteousness would carry us away. It is in our absolute and utter devastation that we are filled to the max with His Loving Kindness. I have been broken and for months now have tried to pack the wound. But the Lord has kept it open, not for my destruction, but to fill me with His Loving Kindness so that I can overflow with joy and gladness once again. The things in life that are tragic, unexplainable, and unexpected leave us open and exposed to the Love of God all over again. They are the very instances that drive us in His Presence for relief. I wonder if we learn to live there if we will finally be released…

John 7:37-38 (TLB)

On the last day, the climax of the holidays, Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me.”

 

Jesus wants us to live fully satisfied and complete lives. (John 10:10) The enemy will have none of that and works to drain us of faith and hope in God every single day. Those who use these times as an opportunity to allow Jesus to pour Himself in our wounds and fill our brokenness with His Loving Kindness will soon have rivers of living water flowing from their innermost being. We just have to believe. Living water requires a living Savior. Jesus wants to overflow our life. Are you thirsty today? Have you hit a dry spot? Are you in need of refilling? If you are broken, you are open. Christ can fill your every void with His Love, Grace and Mercy – if you come thirsty and ready to be filled! You don’t need to bring a thing – it’s free. Just be ready to receive!

Revelation 21:5-7 (TLB)

And the one sitting on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true: It is finished! I am the A and the Z—the Beginning and the End. I will give to the thirsty the springs of the Water of Life—as a gift! Everyone who conquers will inherit all these blessings, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

Anchored

Anchored

Hebrews 6:18-19 (NLT)

So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

 

Hebrews 6:18-19 is absolutely one of my favorite promises in the Word of God. I have tried it. It is true. That doesn’t always mean I understand it or why storms still must come to those who love the Lord. I see the outcome in growth and endurance but it is not pleasant to be battered in the midst of strong winds and high waves of testing. The ship is on top of the ocean while the anchor rests on the ocean floor. It is not moved. The tremendous weight of it still may not be as massive as the vessel it holds but in quiet confidence it does the job effectively. I know in my life that I would have never totally relied and depended on the Promise of God for my life until there was nothing left to hold on to. Sad, but true. We think we have faith by turning over bits and pieces of our life to God. Though it seems like a sacrifice, it’s not. We can survive and get by on the amount of control remaining so our flesh is satisfied even in its lessened state. We want more of God. The desire to live deeper in His Presence because of the goodness of His Love so we venture out a little farther crying out for more. Then it happens, all hell breaks loose in our life. Where is the Lord? Where is the One who called me out on the water? Oh friend, He is right where He has always been. Holding our life in His Nail-Scarred Hands, never moving, not concerned but working to make our life into that thing the Lord has promised.

I am not sure why the Lord led me to this verse again today. Are there clouds gathering in the distance? Should I be concerned? Or is it just to remind me of His Permanence in my life. The fact that when things seem chaotic and hectic that He has a firm grasp and strong hold. God has given us a His “Promise” and His “Oath”. For the first time, I realized that this seemed redundant. God gives us His Promises. I understand that. I have survived on them for last four years. But why would He have to give us His Oath, too? As if His Promise is not enough, why does the God of the Universe feel the need to give us an oath on top of that? A promise is a declaration of something that will or will not be done. It is an express assurance on which expectation can be based. Has anyone every promised you something and not followed through? Yeah, me too. Now an oath is a little bit different, it is a promise made with an appeal to a deity that it is valid and true. So when the Lord proclaims that He is giving us a promise with His Oath – it means that this assurance is based on His Character as the Great I Am. “I AM” is the one who Moses was told by God to tell the people had sent Him. Freedom would be found and secured by the Great I AM. I AM existed before anything else or anyone else. He is God. He cannot lie or change His Mind because His Name alone is Truth. Immovable, unshakeable, unwavering and solid are the Promises that God makes us because He intends to make them possible in our impossible life.

Hebrews 10:19-23 (NLT)

And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 

We have been given the privilege of “boldly” entering the Presence of God because of the Blood of Jesus. God intends to make His Promises a reality in our life if for no other reason than to honor the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. Think about that. God so desired us to live in His Presence that He was willing to sacrifice His Son to have us close to Him. Jesus was willing to come to this earth forsaking His Throne to become a human being and endure hardship and fight sin just like us so He would be able to understand us. He then surrendered His Life to the Cross to fully pay for every indiscretion, trespass and sin whether intentional or not, for each one of us. We are important to God. It is also important to honor Jesus, His Son. Jesus opened a new and life-giving way for us to enter into the Presence of God in right standing. Otherwise the sin in us would cause immediate death. Now we can come boldly, but do we?

The enemy takes pot shots at our promises day in and day out. He lies to us that we cannot have God’s Best. He reminds us of our past. He compares the Great I AM to other people. The enemy wants us to be afraid to trust God. It works. We settle for less than God’s Best and compromise all the time. Ignorantly, refusing God’s Best for substitutions because we believe a lie rather than digging into the Truth. The Truth of God’s Word means nothing unless we have been washed in the Blood. For those who are saved, it is the Truth on which life can now be based as we live boldly before the Throne of God. But this is a two-fold effort, we must first be saved but then we must desire the Lord and His Kingdom more than the things of the earth. Believe it or not, there are people who want Jesus to make this life better never looking past tomorrow to see forever. I guess we are all guilty of that sometimes.

Our hearts must sincerely desire Jesus above all other things and long to be in His Presence to have all of His Promises. To hold tightly without wavering requires both hands – we cannot keep a firm grip on this life and have all that is in forever waiting for us. Am I holding the anchor of hope I have been given? Or am I floating adrift in the sea today? God is keeping every promise that He made to you. Are you keeping your promise to the Lord?

Matthew 7:24-27 (NLT)

Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.

 

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1) Faith in the Lord and dependence on Him are the foundation of a solid, immovable and unshakeable life. We must build our house on the Truth found in the Word of God by faith which means that we are confident enough that God will do what He says that we live there. It is too late to build your house in the middle of the storm. The structure must be in place before the winds and rain start beating on the roof. Faith is not a rescue remedy to bail us out when hard times hit. It must be the foundation of our life. When we go through tough times, we dig in the Word of God like rummaging through the kitchen drawer for a flashlight when the power goes out. We can’t find anything but all the junk crammed in there for months since the last time we needed something. How can we be upset when it is our lack of preparation that kept us from what we needed? We do it all the time. Loosely committed to God in the off-season, yet expecting to be fully engaged in crisis. We must check our anchors today. Testing the links and replacing the weak ones before the tugging and pulling begins again. Our spiritual life is important every single day. God is not a crisis deity. His Promises are true every single day of our life. Mercy is given daily – not weekly, monthly, yearly or when crises come. No one knows what tomorrow brings…except for the One who wrote out every moment of our life.

Hebrews 12:12-13 (NLT)

So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.

 

My daughter was excited to tell me that she and her husband bought heavy jackets and snow boots. They are preparing for their first full winter in the great white north. It is not really cold right now except for occasional evening temperatures. Those who have lived there are preparing them with all the basics for life in the frigid winter that is coming. These Florida kids are excited about the prospect of blankets of white snow while those who have lived through several seasons know what they are in for so they are helping them get ready. God invites us to do the same each day as He waits for us to come and talk with Him. He wants us to walk with Him through life not just run to Him in the crisis. He wants us to live in His Presence where we can see things as He does. The Lord wants us to know His Promises and live in them. His Spirit is His Guarantee that they belong to us. Do we even know the Spirit of God living in us? Take a new grip today. Strengthen your weak knees but falling on them. Mark out a straight path as revealed in the Word of God. We have been given the undeserved privilege of living in the Presence of the Great I AM who does not just make empty promises but backs them will all the power and authority of His Sovereignty. Nothing can stop God from acting in our life but us. I intend to move everything out of the way, release all the useless garbage I have accumulated, and grab hold of the anchor of hope that Jesus offers. It’s up to me if I will hold on to hope. It is up to me if I will live in His Promises, and I intend to.

Psalm 107:28-31 (NLT)

Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

Needs Wants and Desires

Wants Needs and Desires

Matthew 6:19-21 (MSG)

Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.

 

Every person ever created has needs, wants and desires. A need is something required or a necessity. It is a duty or obligation. Food, shelter and clothing are basic needs. Need influences what we want. We need food but we want steak. We need shelter but we want a nice house with a picket fence and good schools. We need clothes to cover our body, but want massive closets of options right down to a particular outfit for a special occasion. Needs and wants are often confused. Wants are escalated needs that become clothed in adjectives. Living in America, most people have what they need and only want more. We are a blessed country where even those incarcerated for the most heinous of crimes are cared for better than many innocent people alive and well in the world. It is our needs and wants that create and motivate our desires. Desire is a longing or craving for deep satisfaction of what we need and want in life. It is a powerful influence that if not managed properly can lead the most devout Christian straight to hell. Who wants to heart that? I do. I want to be satisfied. I want to be content and complete in life. Every desire I have leads to something, somewhere. All things are permissible in the life of a believer. But not all things are beneficial. (I Corinthians 10:23)

The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. When need and want become a desire it begins to shape our life. We are motivated and fueled by that which we desire the most. I have more today than I did twenty years ago. I have more family, more money, more things, more confidence and more wisdom. Yet, I still have desires. Oh, don’t get me wrong I am thankful oh so thankful for the blessings in my life. But the “things” I have even the people do not meet the desires of my heart. We bought our house more than a decade ago. It was brand new. Over time, wear and tear (namely five kids and two dogs) have dulled its once pristine condition but what I have discovered is that even though it was better than I ever thought possible and more perfect than I could have dreamed of and even though I know that God gave it to us – it is still not perfect. The light in the nook is off center. The faucet in one bathroom is not flush. There are other tiny imperfections that I have noticed living in and cleaning our house. There is nothing in this world that can satisfy us completely but Jesus Christ. The eternity in our heart cannot and will not be content with anything less than God’s Glorious Standard of Living. Heaven is a beautiful place. We long for it because we are from there. No place we land will ever be Heaven. As a child, I thought my grandparent’s home was Heaven on earth. It was a sanctuary and shelter for two children caught up in divorce. But over time with maturity, I realized that it was just a house when they both went home to be with the Lord. It was their spirits that changed the atmosphere. Needs and wants are part of life. It is my desire that controls my destiny.

Psalm 73:24-26 (NLT)

You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.

 

I desire you more than anything on earth. Do you? Do I? When we take our needs and wants to Jesus because we desire Him more than anything else – He takes them through the Blood cleaning them and then shapes them according to the Word of God to perform the Will of God which will lead us into the Glorious Standard of Living forfeited by sin. Some of our wants will not make it through the process deemed unacceptable for His Precious Ones and will be replaced with something better. Many will forego this process in fear that what is required may be more than they are willing to give thus accepting the things of this world as counterfeits. The Lord will only lead us by His Counsel to a glorious destiny. He will never settle for less than His Best and we as His People will not be satisfied until His Glory reaches our life.

When our son became sick – we discovered that we had excellent insurance. However, with changes in the government the second year around the time of his first relapse the premium increased more than four times. We were forced to lower our coverage and believe God because not treating cancer was not an option. Our son would fight cancer five times in three years. My spirit did grow weak. The third time I received the devastating news that it was back, I literally fell to my knees telling God I cannot do this anymore. The insurance company finally decided that enough was enough and when experimental treatment was the only option threw in the towel with five denials. I had no control. I could not provide what was needed. I could not do what we wanted. I just crawled into His Presence and shoved it all over to God. I was done. My strength was gone. My heart broken. My spirit failing. You know what, God did it. He endured three more rounds of chemo and a bone marrow transplant to enter remission. My needs can be temporarily met but it is not guaranteed. My wants may or may not be satisfied by the things of this world, but it is not constant. We think we have it all together carefully managing our life, but what happens when those privileged enough to have their needs met and most of their wants can no longer provide it for themselves. It can happen to anyone and will happen to most of us in the process of working out our salvation.

James 1:13-15 (NLT)

And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

 

I have shared the story before of asking my grandfather for a fancy car when I was sixteen. I loved that car. I wanted it so much I was convinced I needed it. My grandfather loved my brother and I so much that he would do just about anything for us. I remember my grandpa looking at the car and walking around it several times silently. He looked at me and said, “Sweetheart, I want to give you this car but I know that if I do it will ruin you.” I wonder how many times we come to the Throne of God with a long list of demands thinking that He will give us anything we ask and the Lord knows this so He withholds it from us. We become like petulant children storming away determined to get it or make it happen for ourselves. God never tempts His Children. He is a Good Father who wants only the very best for us. Temptation comes from our sinful desires. Those things that we think we need or want that do not line up to the Word, Will or Way of God. The Lord will never give us anything that goes against one of these three things. Sin gives birth to death. My kid may want a rattlesnake but that doesn’t mean I am going to give him one. Sin is that dangerous and deadly to us. Anything we desire more than Christ has the potential to lead us away from Him.

Romans 6:12-13 (NLT)

Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.

Sinful desires don’t have to be harmful to be detrimental. Needs disguised as wants cause us to make foolish choices. The Lord provides everything we need not just to survive but thrive. Those who seek Him will have more than enough and succeed in everything they do. If this is not reminiscent of our life, it means that we have some unsurrendered wants and needs now driven by sinful desires. We all deal with sin every day. Don’t try to be all righteous. Christ is our righteousness. It can only be found in Him. Anything we say or do contrary to the Word of God is sin. There is no hierarchy of sin that allows those who do a little better than others to live in the Goodness and Glory of God. We are all in this together. We must live clothed in Christ to experience true contentment and satisfaction. (Romans 13:14)We must live as temporary residents according to the Kingdom not the law of the land. (I Peter 2:11) We have all we need to live a godly life which means a glorious life. (2 Peter 1:3-4) So what’s the problem?

Mark 4:18-20 (NLT)

The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!

Guilty as charged. There are days when God’s Word falls on a hard heart that is too crowded with the needs, wants, cares, worries, and concerns for this life that keep its fruit from growing. I am the problem when God’s Word and His Will are not manifesting in my life. At the Cross, I was given the promise and potential to prosper. My selfish desires get in the way sometimes. Every day I must nail them to the Cross and let Him take over again. (Galatians 5:24-25)

Hebrews 4:12 (NLT)

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

 

Galatians 5:17 (NLT)

The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

 

Philippians 2:13 (NLT)

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

 

We have everything we need to live a godly life. By allowing God’s Word and His Spirit to access our needs, wants and desires molding them and shaping them – we will live the glorious destiny promised to us. It may not look like what we wanted but it will satisfy our heart each and every time. I must release my desires to the Lord every day. I must be overwhelmed with a desire for His Word for it shows me the way. (Psalm 119:18-20) You will never satisfy human desire. (Proverbs 27:20) But God will satisfy our heart and Jesus fulfill His Purpose of giving us a rich and satisfying life if we make Him our one and only desire.

2 Timothy 4:3-5 (NLT)

For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.

 

Why does it matter? It matters to our faith. We live in the end times. Preaching is sometimes convoluted. Seeker sensitive churches make it difficult to discern our own will from God’s Plan. It is up to me to rightly discern my life according to the Word of God and His Spirit. I must decide if I desire God or this world and live like it every day. I must make up my mind and remind my soul or risk losing it all because of an accepted lie or myth due to ignorance. Salvation is an individual pursuit decided in each human heart. We all have natural and sinful desires that must be crucified day by day until all that we desire is Jesus. Those who do will be satisfied now and forevermore. Our mission must be – “The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.” (Psalm 27:4)

Jude 17-21 (NLT)

But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them. But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.