His Love Never Quits

His Love Never Quits

Psalm 139:1-3 (MSG) Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits. Thank the God of all gods, His love never quits. Thank the Lord of all lords. His love never quits.

His Love never quits. The equivalent to “His Love endures forever” in other translations is mentioned 43 times in the Old Testament. From Genesis to Revelation, it is all about an enduring love that never fails. God is love. He loves us. The Father decided to love us when He created us. He was careful and specific in making us calling us “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139) and preparing us to become “masterpieces” (Ephesians 2). The plan is complete from inception. No modifications. No do overs. No second thoughts. The Love of God given to us never quits.

Lack of faith and fear from realizing our full potential. We try to “do” all the right things. Live the right way. Make better choices. To be honest, I fail the Lord every single day. Doubt and disbelief live on the doorstep of my heart trying to gain access. Pride doesn’t want to die. My flesh has proven to be a formidable foe. When I am ready to give up rather than enduring, I wonder what might happen if rather than focusing on me, my inabilities, my failures, my feelings, and everything else that comprises my ego, I chose to focus on the fact that His Love NEVER quits.

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

It’s not about me. It’s all about the Love of God for me. Me, myself and I were destined for death. When Jesus came to offer me a better way, I chose it. But did I really choose His Way, or did I want the new life without the new way? Do I want new life my way? How is that even possible? It’s not. The Sovereignty of God that works for us in that His Love endures forever means that He cannot change His Mind including His Complete Opposition to sin. It’s what makes Him who He is. His Word is the power and authority in our life because it is infallible. God doesn’t make mistakes and is completely confident in His Love for me. To become less is to accept His More.

Psalm 117 (MSG) Praise God, everybody! Applaud God, all people! His love has taken over our lives; God’s faithful ways are eternal. Hallelujah!

As God’s Love takes over our life, faith and confident hope are established. Not in my ability to do the right thing and never sin again, but full acceptance and acknowledgement of God’s Amazing Grace. The relationship that I am growing with Jesus makes sin less appealing because union with Him is more appealing. The things of this world fade to black while the Light of His Love attracts us to move in closer and keep surrendering more of our heart to engage in more of His Love.

Galatians 6:9-10 (MSG) So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

The more I know about the Lord, the less I understand the vast potential of His Great and Constant Love for us. Unconditional love is not possible in this world. Expectation creates certain conditions on love and relationships that must be met for the partnership to continue. But imagine this, no matter what you do God’s Love for you never ever fails. It is unending. It is not contingent on our love in return. It was in the beginning and remains until the end. I have seen Christians walk by faith and drift into darkness. I have found myself in the wilderness many times. But when I began to grasp the concept that no matter how far I wander, how deep in the darkness I sink or how crazy my rebellious thoughts may be…God still loves me. Jesus wants to have an intimate relationship with me. His Spirit never leaves me even when I don’t want to be with me. It is the moment of realization that His Love never quits that I find new strength. The greatest lie the enemy tries to hand you every day is that there is something too great for grace or a problem too impressive for God, it is simply not true. God is love. His Love for you endures forever.

I Corinthians 16:13-14 (MSG) Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.

Ridiculous, radical and reckless love belongs to us. Love stronger than death and the grave that executes the power of sin and drives away even the darkest shadow. Could the problem with church be a lack of confidence today? We can produce services, performances and doctrine, but can we live in love with Jesus. The body of Christ would function properly with one beating heart and one mind set on loving God no matter what. Believing that His Love never gives up so we won’t either. Before charging out to save the world today, let the Love of God surround you. Bring your broken, tired and beat-up heart to the Lord and let His Love put all the pieces back together. You don’t have to be anything you’re not. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. God will complete the good work that He began in us – we just not to give Him our life to work with. Fall in love with Jesus today – He is already head over heels in love with you!

Psalm 18:26-229 (MSG) Blessed are you who enter in God’s name—from God’s house we bless you! God is God, he has bathed us in light. Festoon the shrine with garlands, hang colored banners above the altar! You’re my God, and I thank you. O my God, I lift high your praise. Thank God—he’s so good. His love never quits!

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Perfecting Love

Perfecting Love

I John 4:17-19 (NLT) And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.

The local department store is filled with helium heart-shaped balloons. Aisles overflowing with chocolate and conversation hearts expressing “true love”. A jungle of stuffed animals larger than life surround me. The smell of fresh cut flowers and rose bouquets fill the air. It’s Valentine’s Day. It’s all about love. Expressing love with trinkets and tokens. I will admit I am after some of these things for my family as well. The perfect gift to express my deep affection for those I love and cherish.

Our family “went to town” together. My husband joined us. Not because he likes to shop but he loves us and wants to be with us. We meet our oldest daughter and precious new grandson at her favorite store wandering the aisles. There is nothing really that is needed just spending time with them. Together sharing candy hearts and chocolate on our way to the local mall, it is becoming the perfect date. Entering the mall, there is a section filled with sparkles and tulle. It is almost prom season so the girls and I begin looking through racks of newly discounted dresses. Our middle daughter has a big week. She turns 18. Soon, she will go to her last prom and graduate high school. Where has the time gone? She sees a dress and deems it the perfect princess dress. While she is trying on graduation dresses, I pull it off the rack. She is one of our princesses so it only seems fitting that she would try it on. She made her graduation selection and her eyes sparkle as I enter the dressing room with the “princess” dress. As it slipped over her head, and pooled to the floor nothing could wipe the smile from her face as she whispered, “I love it!”

Well, the end of the story, her dad approved and it came home with us. There was no real thought or discussion about the price or the timing of the purchase only that she loved it and we love her. I am a bargain hunter. It is my goal in life to get a good deal. Hence the huge discount signs walking in caught my attention. But when she put on the dress, and her countenance changed – I just wanted to bless her because I love her! We were blessed to spend precious moments together – to be in each other’s presence. That really doesn’t happen very often. Like every other family – we are busy. We all have places to go and things to do. I wonder if that could be called our Valentine’s date. I wonder if that is really what God is after. Precious moments of time together. To love each other and learn to love others with the same commitment as the ones in our earthly family. To be together and enjoy each other with no real agenda. To stop worrying about all the details of life and wander off together.

And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. I wonder sometimes if we have overcomplicated the perfecting of love. My husband can go buy every box of candy, flower and stuffed animal in the store but if he doesn’t love me the other 364 days of the year – it really doesn’t represent anything other than marketing dominating another holiday. We can get all dressed up and go on a fancy date but if we do not have love for each other – what’s the point? We can follow every rule and regulation in the Bible. Even get dressed up and head on church “dates” every Sunday but if we do not love then what’s the point? I Corinthians 13 tells me I can do all these things even understanding God’s Secrets and have faith that moves mountains but if I don’t have love – “I would have gained nothing.”

I Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT) Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

I Corinthians 13:13 (NLT) Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Are you dating God or devoted to Him? This is the question in my mind. Dating is when the decision to love is made. It is the testing of our partnership that leads to union. But once married, the covenant of love is a commitment. I Corinthians 13 is God’s Definition of Love. It is not limited to our spouse, family and friends because God sees us all as beloved children. Often – our love and commitment to people is not the same as how we approach the Lord. Expectations are put in others that really belong to the Lover of our soul. God’s Love for us is perfect. His Presence in us allows us to perfect our love for Him and others. Love is a discipline not an emotional overture. To be a disciple of Jesus Christ, we must be lovers.

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. What keeps us from loving the Lord with all our heart and loving others the same way? Fear. Perfect love expels all fear. However, humans are not trusting souls. Grace is difficult to accept when we know the level of sin and shame once lived with. Does God really love us with unconditional love? Does He really pursue us with unfailing love and goodness every single day? Is He really a good, good Father? The answer is a resounding “yes”. It is impossible to replicate perfect love without first knowing and accepting it. You don’t have to understand it to receive it but you do have to experience it to exemplify it in your life. I cannot give away something I do not have. There is nothing to give if I do not know the Love of God and live in it.

2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT) For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

The source of our fears, worries, regret, shame and deepest concerns are not products of God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit in us. He has not given us the spirit of fear or timidity. The Lord has given us His Power which is from a grace that overcomes every weakness. He has given us perfect love in spite of ourselves. He has given us self-discipline to produce change in us from death to life. It is not by anything we do or say but in the truest revelation of a love worth having and worth giving to the world. Fear comes from doubt. It takes the Gospel and turns into religious habits skipping God’s Intent to form a family of perfect lovers and uses discipline to mold and shape others to fit human expectation. For example, we love those who think like we do but if they make bad choices and still manage to come to church on Sunday – they face people who scorn, shun, or shame them rather than the unconditional love of Christ. If I try not to sin, but do not do it out of love for Jesus Christ it is not enough. I must love Jesus so much that I avoid sin because of that love and devotion. I can make better choices. I can do different things. It doesn’t change the fact that I still sin every day and struggle with my flesh. I am no better than the person committing a crime. I have already failed God enough to require every ounce of His Son’s Blood. Friend, we are all in this together. We are all the least of these. The very ones who put Jesus on the Cross. I can change my ways but I can only get to God by His Son – Jesus Christ who is THE WAY.

Romans 8:38 (NLT) And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.

What are your fears today? What are you worried about? Do you have things that keep you awake at night? Doubt in God’s Perfect Love causes us to feel that way. To think that there is a limit to the Limitless Love of God given to us through His Son, Jesus. It is the lie of the enemy that keeps us from being overcomers. The greatest barrier in the life of a believer is doubt. The mountain to be moved is not an obstacle in the world but in us. The place where God cannot move is because we do not believe in the God of more than enough, greater than he that is in the world, and the perfect Lover of the less than lovable. I must be completely convinced that there is nothing that can ever separate me from God’s Love in order to live in love with Jesus Christ. To accept God’s Unconditional Love is to admit my weakness and live in His Grace. Pride dies in this place. Human expectation is exchanged for Godly Expectation. Ordinary becomes extraordinary. Natural turns into the supernatural.

I John 4:9-10 (NLT)  God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

I John 4:15-16 (NLT) All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.

I encourage you…no challenge you to read I John 4 today. The love of God is the birthplace of confidence and trust in the Lord. It cannot be skipped or overlooked. It must be undertaken above all things. I cannot become who God has planned and purposed me to be outside of His Unfailing and Unconditional Love. I must be completely confident in the sufficiency of grace at the forsaking of self in order to have all that God has ordained and planned for my life. I must live in His Perfect Love and allow His Love to perfect me. God’s Idea of Perfect is to be completely overtaken by His Love until His Love overflows from us. It requires an honest and forthright examination of our heart, mind and soul for true transparency. It means allowing the Holy Spirit to tear down strongholds built by fear and doubt to protect us with the Sword of His Spirit – the Word of God. Until we understand and believe in God’s Love for us – we can never effectively express it to others. God loves you. He wants to bless your time together. He wants to fill you to overflowing with good things. He will perfect love in us when we choose to put our trust in Him.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT) For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

Why Am I Surprised

why-am-i-surprised

Luke 12:24-26 (NLT) Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

As I have shared before, we have two little fur babies in our family. One of the Chihuahuas is thirteen and the other just turned three. Both are rescue puppies. Families took them not realizing the responsibility and now they live with us. Each morning when I get up before I do anything else, I feed them and take them outside. Once outside due to their small size, I watch over them as birds of prey have shown interest in them before. I am their provider and protector. I have not forgotten to feed them or care for them a single day. Yet every morning when I head to the kitchen, they are elated. Exuberant beyond what should be over less than a cup of food between the two and the tiny treat when they come in from outside. They seem so surprised that I do this every day. Today as I did the same thing that I do every day, three ravens circled overhead. I was pretty sure that I heard their call but looked to sky to be certain there was no danger. As the sunshine covered my face and I felt its warmth, I had to shield my eyes from its intensity and brightness. That’s when it hit me, God does for me every single day what I do for his smallest creatures. Do I greet Him as they greet me with enthusiasm and awe in each moment? Am I surprised in His Excellent Caregiving? Do I find it unexpectedly even though it is promised every single day? Do I worry? Do I fret?

God promises to provide for us and supply all of our needs. He has already told us that His Plan is for our good and that He will take every detail of our life working it out for this purpose. His Glory is reserved for us and is reflected by faith that is confident enough in His Love to trust Him. Trust is expressed in peace. Our peace is found in the Lord. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. God desires to sustain us in life. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! Why am I so surprised that God is good and when He remains faithful? That’s right – God desires to prosper you and overload you with every good gift Heaven has to over as He throws open the windows of His Dwelling Place allowing it to overflow and flood the life ready and willing to receive. You are dearly loved. Highly favored. Greatly desired. God is caring for you even when you feel lost, alone, disappointed and afraid. Our perspective in life never changes our position in God’s Hand and Heart.

Luke 12:27-31 (NLT)  “Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.

Seek first the Kingdom of God above all else. He will give you everything you need. Do you believe that today? No, do you really, really believe it. I think sometimes people are quick to make confessions that have no place in their heart but have been engrained in their head. In our head, it is simply a reaction. When it comes from our heart, it is a response.

Are you a worrier? I used to be a chronic stress monkey. Having a houseful of children and a handful of a husband, I decided from day one it was my “job” to perform miracles giving them a perfect life. I was to provide for them physically, emotionally and spiritually. I was to protect them with my life. I was to “do” everything that I could to fulfill every need, want, desire and dream every expressed. I was to be the constant encourager and motivator. Lead facilitator. I could go on but I think every mom gets the picture and even some dads. (Wink!) Personal performance pressure that even seeps into our church life sometimes but let’s not even go their today. The list is long enough already. The reality of this who sordid mess of details is that all of the “me” stuff I was trying to do did not express my belief in the Lord but rather was emanating my unbelief. Lord, help my unbelief so that I may believe. Be careful what you pray for friend…God is always faithful.

When our son was diagnosed with cancer, I was floored. Yet still able to get up and “manage” our life accordingly. I was able to work remotely from the hospital and care center. I could run household affairs via internet, cellphone and my little command center. It was all running smoothly and order quickly restored … the first time. But then there was a second time… okay I still managed to get myself up, dust myself off and keep going. And then there was relapse number three less than three months later and without warning we entered the “realm of hope” and now everybody was scrambling a bit unsure of our son’s future anymore. The call came that cancer had spread throughout his entire body. Well, that is when my whole well-constructed life and perfectly planned lifestyle feel completely apart. If you can imagine a fragile vase in all of it brilliant perfection be slammed by a giant hand on your driveway as hard as possible, yep friends that was my very prideful and fully self-consumed heart. There was no going back. I could not put the pieces back together again. Normal would become something completely new. My perspective on life completely changed during the long trial and battle for our son’s life. I realized I have absolutely no control over my life. I cannot give my husband or kids a perfect life. It was that moment or series of moments in time when my quest for God became a passionate pursuit. I had to find Him. I had to find shelter “beneath His Altar” like the sparrow. (Psalm 84:3) When I let out my breath in desperation, His Breath could finally fill me and His Spirit take over. Now I depend solely on the Lord…He is my expectation. He is my confidence. He is the one who I trust! This is how His Grace becomes our strength. Not in our ability to keep it all together, and do things for ourselves but when the reality finally hits us that Jesus is all we need. It took a lot for me to get there. Pride stood in the way. Past hurts kept me prisoner. If no one else would do it (even the Lord) then I would just do it myself. When I got to the end of me, thankfully my Lord was there waiting to help and do everything that He promised.

Luke 12:32 (NLT) “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

The Father wants to give His Kingdom to you. Nothing would make Him happier. Like the father of the prodigal son, the Lord is just patiently with great longing anticipating your return. The moment that you will turn from worry, stress, anxiety, doing and not doing to find Him right there waiting for you. In exchange, His Spirit will fill your life with good fruit like love, joy and peace just to name a few. These things will nourish your heart and soul. It will change your mind, thoughts and perspective on life. It gives God “great happiness” to give you the Kingdom. He gave what was most precious so that you and I would have the opportunity to be righteous again and benefit from every blessing the Kingdom has to offer. He never changed His Mind or stopped loving you. He has been waiting for you with great anticipation and expectation.

The other day our old dog got left outside accidentally alone for more than ten minutes. In the fenced back yard with the back door to our porch open, he was safe but he panicked. Somehow he made his way out of the yard and was wandering down the road when I found him. Why? He was afraid that he could not get in the house where we were so he started looking for another way. He was impatient when he barked and we didn’t immediately respond and open the door. He has cataracts so his vision is not clear. He is very old and feeble so had he encountered any form of opposition from even the smallest creature – he is too weak to fight or even run away. All he had to do was sit on the nice rug by the back door in the enclosed porch on a picture perfect day with great weather and rest until we got around to letting him back in. But no. He began to worry. He became impatient. He started to stress. He got anxious. Y’all better not be judging my dog who has a brain the size of a walnut and an IQ to match when we do EXACTLY the same thing day after day after day. When God doesn’t do it our way or fast enough – we wander. Our thoughts wander and then our feet will follow. So what should we begin doing instead…

Philippians 4:6-10(NLT) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

I hear those engines idling high out there. I know the holiday season begins next week. In fact, I just realized it on Wednesday myself. Managed to work all day, grab some paint to refinish a dresser and visit two grocery stores to complete the shopping for one meal that seems to cost a fortune AND STILL forget a couple things. I get it. It is go mode because right after that is the Christmas rush, push and ugh. Stress overload in three, two, one…NO! Not today. Not this year. Not this season. Don’t worry about anything. We must command our mind to stop worrying it will not happen on its own. Dig into the Word and find your peace to make it through a season that promotes pressure and performance not required by our Father to possess the Kingdom.

Tell God what you need. Thank Him for all He has done. Yes, done. It is done. It is finished to quote Jesus. Nothing in this world, life or holiday season is worth relinquishing the peace that the lord offers our heart. His Peace will guard our hearts and minds how? As you live in Christ Jesus just like the sparrow and tiny birds that dwell at His Altar so can you? Faith is the seed the size of a mustard seed meant to grow into a tree that what? “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”

Let the Peace of God reign in your heart and home this holiday season. Each morning when I get up, those two little fur babies jump and bark overjoyed by my arrival to do just what I promised nothing more or less. Two scoops of food and trip to the yard where I carefully watch over and protect them. It is what I promised to do for them when I adopted them and became their master. God does the same for me and you. How do we greet Him each morning? Do we acknowledge Him at all? Has fear overtaken our faith? Has doubt stolen our trust? God is still providing. He is always pursuing us with His Unfailing Love and Goodness. He is always working on our behalf. Do we even notice? Or are we still trying to “do” it all ourselves? Lord, forgive me for all the days that I have taken your loving kindness, provision, protection, blessing and prosperity for granted. Today will not be that day!

Romans 16:20 (NLT) The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Wait and See

Wait and See

Isaiah 64:4 (NIV) Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

 

Waiting is not my favorite past time. When people make us wait past a specified time, it is easy to become annoyed. As one plagued with chronic time challenges, I have struggled for years with arriving on time much less waiting for another. If you are the person who others tell to arrive fifteen to thirty minutes beforehand just so they will not have to wait on you again, you may have the same problem. I set the clocks around me ahead so I will get out on time. I am convinced it is an undocumented handicap. My dad feels differently. He challenged me as a young person to overcome my perpetual tardiness by understanding that when I choose not to arrive on time, I am telling the person who is waiting on me that I do not value their time as much as my own. Whoa! It was a stark revelation to me that I still remember and have shared with our children. I still run about five minutes behind consistently and since I am married to a man who wants to be five minute early therefore I am still trying to get my act together. The flip side of the coin is that I do not like to wait. I make others wait but when it comes to me, the sooner the better. Lord, fix me please. My shallow heart that sees time as a capsule that I live in rather than the Eternity that you have created.

 

I am playing the waiting game again. Vastly annoyed, I have fussed at the Lord, begged Him, pleaded with Him and agonized that He would please move on my behalf. Nothing. Nada. I am still waiting on that thing which He promised. I have even questioned the validity of that promise even though I know that I know the Lord made it to me. My faith is being tested. Hope challenged Will I stay or will I go? There is nothing keeping me from wandering off, running ahead, or stubbornly pushing the issue until I do it my way rather than waiting on His Way. But then in the quiet hours of morning, rather than chastising my impatience or punishing my indiscretion, the Lord leans down and whispers in my ear, “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides (me), who acts on behalf of those who wait for (me).”

 

I Samuel 13:7-14 (NIV) Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.  “What have you done?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”

 

There are things to remember when waiting on the Lord that must not be forgotten. We have been given a purpose and many precious promises that the enemy would like to steal, kill and destroy. It is up to us to remain secure in the Lord’s Presence waiting for His Arrival in all things or forfeit the victory and give up the territory that we have already been given through Christ Jesus.

 

1) Fear and doubt ALWAYS lead to impatience. When Saul saw the men scattering in fear, he stopped waiting for Samuel’s arrival. Impatience rises up from fear and doubt. These are qualities of disbelief that limit one’s ability to receive God’s Best in their life. If you want more of God, if you are calling out for revival, if you desire Jesus Christ to be an active partner in life, one must be diligent in uprooting disbelief and filling it with more faith. Worry and stress are symptomatic of fear. Fear is fueled by doubt and defined as “false evidence appearing real.” The only way to combat a lie is with the Truth. The enemy is quite stealth at taking God’s Word and twisting it with ignorance. A lack of knowledge causes people to be destroyed. (Hosea 4:6) The enemy prowls around like a roaring lion. But just like at the zoo, if we are obedient in following the directions posted on the wall keeping cages and fences between us and this predator – we will successfully make it out alive and safely to our home.

 

2) Impatience always leads to indiscretion. The word indiscretion that one is lacking in a few key areas of determination that lead us to greater faith in God. Indiscretion is a lack of good judgment. We do not always think in terms of eternity and are quickly shifted to reality because we can see it, touch it, feel it and taste it. We must familiarize ourselves with the senses that recognize the Kingdom so when we enter the realm of the impossible we have the faith to stick it out. Indiscretion leads to a lack of prudence or common sense. Pressure can push us from what we know and understand about God to that which gives immediate relief or resolution. Finally, indiscretion is a lack of circumspection or observation that causes us to act without caution or with blatant disregard for what we know is true. Impatience leads to all these things that forfeit the purpose and promises of God given to those who are obedient.

 

3) Indiscretion leads to disobedience. There is an old proverb that says “a rolling stone gathers no moss.” People who are constantly moving with no roots in one place or another, avoid responsibilities and care. They also lack growth and development. They are what they are and will be no more. When we choose impatience rather than waiting on the Lord, there will be indiscretions that lead to disobedience.  Saul began to fear and therefore doubt Samuel’s arrival. Saul became impatient as the few soldiers that he had left began to scatter. Rather than continuing to wait, Saul took matters into his own hands and performed priestly duties which clearly and completely violated God’s Law. What happened next?

 

4) Disobedience disconnects us from God’s Plan. Saul could have ruled and reigned over Israel for all time. But the moment that Saul chose his plan, another ruler was chosen for God’s People. David who qualified as a man after God’s Heart. Obedience is a choice. It is not always an easy choice. In fact, most of the time, it is the most challenging and difficult one to make in the influential and sinful world we live in. It means that there will be many times we wait and watch for the Lord is seeming isolation. The Lord gives us a promise. We hear it. We receive it. We believe it. Life happens. We begin to pick it apart. Doubt creates divots that soon fill with fear. Eroding our character and weakening ones reserve, we begin to wonder if it is true or somehow we have lost sight of reality. Friends, faith doesn’t make sense. It is illogical. It will not meet the requirement of reality. But just wait and see… His Promise is not delayed but being performed to perfection. Thankfully we have something that Saul did not. We have the Grace of God and freedom in Jesus to come running back when we wander off or even wonder off. He celebrates our return. Reestablishing our righteousness and holding us close. He is a good, good Father to those who He has called as His Children.

 

Habakkuk 2:1-3 (NIV) I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.

 

It is really hard as a parent to say, “No” sometimes. Not when it comes to our child’s safety or wellbeing but those desires in their heart that we long to fulfill. I am not a push-over parent. We have really great kids who have not been hard to manage, overly disobedient or rebellious to date. It makes me want to bless them all the more. Though I love them and always want to bless them, I also know that I must teach them about responsibilities, faithfulness, and obedience, too. When I am not with them, they must make good choices. I know that God is molding and shaping me the very same way. His aspirations and goals for my life are so much greater than I can even think to ask for. In the waiting, when fear and doubt begin to take over, and it seems like I am a fool – it is the promise of His Great Love and even Greater Grace that digs up those words, that promise, and holds them tightly as I ascend the watchtower again.

 

I must wait on the Lord. I have to see what He will do next because honestly everything that He has done for me has been perfect. I lack no good thing. I know He is coming. He always does. It is not a matter of if, just when. So as I sit here today on this watchtower of waiting, guarding my faith, my strength is renewed by His Grace that somehow always finds me in my weakness. I am watching. I am waiting on the Lord. Will you wait and see with me?

 

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

Soul Decay

Soul Decay

Matthew 14:28-32 (NLT)

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.

Like a hundred years ago when I was a teenager, my mom took me to the dentist for a cleaning and checkup. At the visit, there was a new thing out called “sealants” that he encouraged her to try on my teeth. It would seal each tooth and prevent decay by creating a barrier between my pearly whites and food particles and the cavity creeps (Schoolhouse Rock). Over the years, I would continue sporadic dental visits and as an adult quite infrequently. The truth is that I am terrified of the dentist. Please don’t tell my kids since I am fanatical about their visits. Don’t remind my husband or he will make me go. Anyway – following one of my pregnancies I noticed a cavity had formed in one of my back teeth. Forced into the chair that I loathed, I settled back for a filling. (Dang kids!) When the dentist x-rayed my teeth, he noticed that the sealants on my teeth had cracked over time trapping the “cavity creeps” in my mouth so rather than a single cavity – there were several in my lower and upper molars. The protection in my mouth left uncared for so many years became a perpetrator harboring tiny fugitives that attacked my teeth relentlessly. It took two more visits to the dreaded dentist to fill them all and again seal and protect my teeth. I will admit that regular examinations would have prevented this problem. Proper dental care would have kept me from having to endure so many procedures, but I was afraid. I still am. Oh me of little faith…

One would think that as a disciple, one would have unimaginable faith simply because of all the many miracles witnessed following Jesus Christ. Well, obviously this is not the case when we read accounts like the one of Jesus and Peter walking on the water. He walks a short distance until the wind and waves catch his attention and down he goes. Back to my dental dilemma. I had a visit scheduled for the week that our son began cancer treatment for the first time. It was a perfect excuse to cancel my next dental visit and not reschedule. It was more than four years ago and he has been in remission over a year, I still haven’t made another appointment. Fear takes over any place that we allow doubt to thrive and grow. Why do we struggle so with faith and trust in Jesus? Especially if we have witnessed miraculous outcomes or His Word coming to pass, yet still when He calls us out for more faith – we flail in the water over and over again. So what does Jesus do…He keeps calling us out on the water. But just to set the record straight, we asked to come out there in the first place. People try the Lord every day with the thought and question, “Lord, is it really you?”

Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

 

Faith will never be visible. It will always be a quality in people that is personal and individual. No one knows the true capacity of my faith except the Lord. I think I have faith until I ask the Lord to us me or change me so He tests me at my own invitation. Down, I go. Sometimes quick and sometimes slow, my faith runs out and I know the areas of my life where it is not sufficient to secure the hope I have in Him. I must be confident in the hope I have to use my faith to obtain it. Faith is the decision to trust the Lord for the unseen or that which defies all five human senses. It is not socially acceptable. It makes us look like fools to the rest of the world. To many, it is a sign of weakness. But it’s not…

Mark 11:22-24 (NLT)

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.

 

Jesus told the disciples to have faith in God. In doing so, they would be able to pray for anything and by believing it would be received. We are told the same thing today yet where are the mountain-moving miracles that we are asking for. Where is the change? Why are so few people experiencing the benefits promised by having faith in God? Do I really need to say it? I guess I do. We still are too busy trying to find out “Lord, is it really you?” Right before his death, John the Baptist sent his disciples to ask Jesus the very same question. He was at the edge of his faith – it was running out. Faith answers the question, “Lord, is it really you?” Faith is a process. It is the process of acquisition by which we overtake fear and take another step closer into confident hope that is not moved by winds and waves but only the Word of God. Peter said, “Lord, if it’s really you tell me to come…” Jesus said, “Yes, come.” Genuine and complete faith would have allowed Peter to walk with Jesus indefinitely. However, when his faith ran out and fear took over – he began to sink. But that was not the end of the test, it was just one of many that the Lord would use to stretch this man’s faith from here to eternity.

John 14:6-9 (NLT)

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?

I have no excuse. I can go to the dentist anytime. I have a great insurance plan that pays for two cleanings and exams a year. It also pays a good portion of any procedures that may be needed. I have a great dentist who understands “white coat syndrome”. When I go to the dentist, I am ushered back to a room immediately. He does everything in his power to calm my fears and help me overcome this foolishness in my head. If an additional procedure is needed, he does not schedule multiple visits but tries to accomplish it in as few as possible so I will come. The last time he had to do some dental work, he numbed me so much my right eye drooped and I could barely hold it open, but praise God, I didn’t feel a thing. I have no excuse not to go. Yet, I still refuse to schedule another visit. What’s wrong with me?

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father, except through me.” Faith is the only requirement for salvation. Faith will change how we live, what we say and the things we do if it is flourishing in our life. When met with fear, faith says keep going. However, if we stop moving because of fear – it will soon take over. I have only been talking about going to the dentist with you – yet my heart is beating so fast and hard I can hear it in my ears. The enemy doesn’t have to wreak havoc in our life – he just has to make us think he might. Fear is a faith destroyer. See faith fills every void in our life completely. It is the knowledge and belief that Jesus is all that we need. However, if fear is allowed to exist – it will eventually stop in our tracks and we will not continue to follow Jesus Christ even though He is the Way to the Father. Fear is distracting. Fear amplifies every other voice over the Lord. Fear pushes back the Holy Spirit. Fear is solely dependent on you. It will create soul decay if not dealt with daily.

I can brush my teeth multiple times every day which I do. I can floss probably not as much as I should but I do. Avoiding foods that are not good for my teeth and the like, I can do everything in my power to maintain good oral hygiene. But to have the best care and prevent tooth decay, I need the dentist to do his work in my life. I can “do” all the right things, but I will always need Jesus to maintain my faith, strengthen my confidence and overtake fear in my life. Every day… all day or there is a risk that my soul will begin to decay.

Luke 24:36-42 (NLT)

And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost! “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.”  As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet. Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he ate it as they watched.

Let me set the scene for you: Jesus has been crucified. He was buried. Now the tomb was empty. The disciples are now in hiding fearing for their very lives. Some are saying that the Lord is resurrected, others just want to make it home alive. Suddenly, Jesus is standing before them. Not a ghost-like imagine, but Jesus in full body form. Just like he was in the days preceding his death, but now with nail-scarred hands and feet. Everyone in the room, for lack of better words, freaked out. Now on many occasions, I have dreamt of my grandmother who is with the Lord. In these dreams, I walk through her house looking for her sometimes we sit and talk as my heart longs for her again. But now if my grandma walked in the house and sat down at my table, yeah I would be completely weirded out, too. Just saying. That’s the kind of crazy the Lord’s Appearance created even though it is exactly as He said. Welcome to our life.

Even on the days that Jesus does exactly as He promised or we experience miracles in our life, it doesn’t take long for us to reach our faith limit and experience fear. It happens to the best of them. It is the same thing experienced by Elijah who one day stood in complete faith in God on Mount Carmel ultimately killing almost 1,000 false prophets to hiding in a cave on Mount Sinai. We are to have faith that moves mountains but it is described a single mustard seed. It doesn’t take much but we must have it to overcome fear and live by faith.

As the disciples and followers of Jesus stood in speechless shock, I love what the Lord does. He doesn’t berate them. He doesn’t fuss at them for not believing. He says, “Hey, do you have anything to eat?” Jesus had jokes. No really, He knew their hearts. He knew they needed more time with Him to understand and take one more step to deeper faith in Him so He hung out with them. Shared a meal. Passed the time. Jesus loves us. He knows our heart. He understands our fear struggles and provides all the faith we need to overcome them all. He is patient, loving and kind giving us all the grace and mercy needed to overcome our faults and failures in the process of securing faith and dispelling fear from our life. We must simply come to Him.

Hebrews 3:13-14 (NLT)

You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.

I know to some people my fear of the dentist may seem dumb and unfounded. To others, they completely understand. We all have fears, faults and failures. The crevices of unbelief that trap our fears like harboring a fugitive until they take over. We must constantly walk with Jesus allowing Him to work faith through all of our life. If we submit our life to the Lord, He will do the rest. Just as it is a challenge for me to sit in the reclining chair opening wide and submitting to the invasion in my mouth, every man and woman knows the struggles in their own heart. To completely surrender to the Lord’s Word, Will and Way is an awesome task and daily endeavor. It means examining our heart in the Light of His Love and coming out of the dark. It is to admit areas of weakness daily giving them over so He can become our strength. It is to repent in each moment of the sin we so easily succumb to with the real and humble intent not to do it again. I want Jesus. In the end, I want Him to know me. I want to live in His Kingdom forever. I must closely monitor my soul. Revive it when weariness takes over with the washing of His Word. Revive it when fear come calling with bits and pieces of new faith. Restoration is a process brought about by His Great Love, it is not without its difficulties. It sometimes is a struggle but never ever a waste of time. Overcoming any and all disbelief is a lifelong endeavor. It will always be worth it.

3 John 2 (NKJV)

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.