Chasing Victory

Chasing Victory

I John 5:4-5 (AMP) For everyone born of God is victorious and overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has conquered and overcome the world—our [continuing, persistent] faith [in Jesus the Son of God]. Who is the one who is victorious and overcomes the world? It is the one who believes and recognizes the fact that Jesus is the Son of God.

Yesterday. Oh my goodness! Where to begin and yet not bore you or even overwhelm you with the details. The only reason that I even dare to share it is to encourage someone who may be facing the same. His voice broke through the darkness like a huge hand shaking me violently from sleep, “Honey, it’s 6:30!” How can that be possible? I set the alarm. No, I didn’t. I must have forgotten. We got in late. Our routine not the same. Ugh! No Jesus for me this morning, or so I thought. Running through the paces of what had to be done over what my heart desired to do, I bypassed the study to grab the dog and wake up the girls. My poor little had quite a shaking the day before while tubing on the river. Her head slammed into the water and the pressure made her earache. Now her body was sore from the impact, no worse for wear but exhausted from a long weekend without much sleep. Work has been crazy. Do I stay home with her? Is she okay? What should I do? Why is this so hard? She gets up and begins to get ready so I do the same. My husband and I run over each other in our morning routine which is usually hours apart. I am struggling with my attitude. I have so much to do lingering from last week into today. It seems no matter how much I mark off the list more keeps piling up. Running around in a flurry, I remember that I need to change the sheets in the guest room. The laundry is piling up, too. I grab some frozen chicken for dinner and head for the shower. I have to leave in less than an hour. I promise the Lord that we will talk on the way to work. The long commute is good for quiet time with Jesus unless work meets you in the car with your office manager. My mind is racing and my heart is sinking. Lord, help me today. This day is going to be a booger. I feel it inside me. I hate days like this. “Lord, I need you!”

Arriving to work and reviewing the que, all the projects due that loom over my head present as a little black rain cloud. “God, I need you!” I grab the Bible out of my purse. Surely, there is a word for me somewhere in this little blue book. I read Ezekiel the first chapter. Let me summarize. God calls Ezekiel to bring a Word to the Children of Israel – a strong retort to stubborn people who will not listen. Okay, thanks Holy Spirit that is encouraging…no seriously I get what you are saying but I need to hear that you will rush in to help me today, calm my racing heart, ease my anxious mind, and still this chaotic day. Leaving around six, two hours later than the norm. I am so tired and drained as I crawl to the car. My brain is mush for lack of better terms. My job is not physically strenuous at all, but mentally it is brutal. Holding the steering wheel tight in my hands, I whisper, “God, I need you!” I call my husband to let him know I am late. Hinting at fast food, his disappointment clear, I decide to cook even though it’s getting dark. Let’s not forget that the taxes are due. I have to submit them tonight. The to-do list for tomorrow may not leave room so prudence says, “Now!” While dinner is cooking, I slide into my desk chair. The place where I seek Him, but now just keep doing. The sheets in the guest room still calling – in between dinner and taxes – I strip it and put them in the washer. The timer sounds from the oven and I rally the troops. Sitting around our table, I look at their faces missing the ones who are not there. Thankfulness floods my heart. I made it. We made it. I begin to think about the things that have gone right today. All the small victories won. All the challenges overcome. I am thankful. So I ask each one to share just one thing no matter how big or small they are thankful for, too. The tension breaks as our family meal begins… Lord, thank you for being so much greater than me.

Everyone born of God IS victorious and overcomes the world. It says, “Everyone.” There are no exceptions. If Christ lives in me, I am enough. If He lives in you, you are more than enough to overcome every challenge and temptation that comes your way. It is our continuing and persistent faith in Jesus that gives us victory every day. My strength is no match for the enemy. However, His Grace is enough. It is sufficient. It is exposed when my weakness leads me to the Cross and I exchange my inability for all of His Possibilities. We become victorious and overcome by believing in the Power of Jesus Christ and its potential in us. I didn’t do the things I normally do including spend a significant time in my study and prayer room. Discipline puts me in this place daily so that on those days when life comes hard and pressures are overwhelming – the Christ in me is enough. I believe not because I everyone is in my favor but on the simple and active belief that all things are working together for my good because Jesus Christ is alive and well inside me.

What does it mean to overcome? Jesus overcame the world. It would be a good idea to know what He did. Overcome means get the better of in a struggle. To conquer or defeat something. It means to prevail over or persist in one’s effort. It is to overwhelm or overpower the mind, will and emotions to hold on to our faith. It means to gain victory. Victory is just on the other side of overcoming. We must overpower that which is fighting against us to live in the constant state of winning that Christ promises. How do we overcome? We must fight for our faith despite the constant conflict with our flesh and relentless adversity by the enemy.

John 16:33 (AMP) I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]

Jesus was honest. He did not sugarcoat the truth about life in this world. It’s going to be hard. Difficulties will rise up. Challenges will be faced. Temptations will greet us at every turn. It is not going to be an easy journey, just a worthwhile one. You will have “tribulation, distress and suffering” BUT be courageous, confident, undaunted and filled with joy. There is joy in Jesus Christ. What I failed to mention in my dissertation about yesterday is there was laughter. There were friends who encouraged me. Keep running! You’ll catch up. Jesus overcame the world. God is greater than my feelings. Many of the things, I give a high priority are not as important as I think compared to the more than I can think, imagine or ask (Ephesians 3:20) that the Lord is doing in me and through me at the very same time.

My conquest is accomplished. My victory abiding. I love these words so much today. They give validity to my hope that I hold so dearly and tightly to my chest. As if to let my beating heart, help revive it in tough times. Yet, I know that my hope is established by faith and not anything that I can do. I cannot boast of the breakthrough today. The kind of accomplishment that allows us to lay down and sleep in perfect peace even in the midst of crushing pressure and countless deadlines. Jesus keeps telling us these things, encouraging us to believe, empowering us to hang on because He is building, shaping and molding our heart to live in victory rather than chasing it all the time. He is filling us with more of His Spirit and the inexpressible joy that is evident in perfect peace. God is with us. He lives in us. We are victorious.

I John 4:4 (AMP) Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind]. 

It’s funny that these words of encouragement are sandwiched between warnings about false teaching. When I missed my quiet time in the Word this morning and did not go into my prayer closet, but conversed with the Lord on the go. I was tempted to take an invisible bat and beat myself in the head. I have to do this – I always do this – the Lord has instructed me to do this. No, He has simply asked me to follow Him wholeheartedly. All the “to do” things are of my own design. I believe that the enemy works on both sides. The world places a high demand on our time and attention. Sometimes the people in church can do the same thing. We must be faithful to the fellowship. We must “serve” the Lord and “do” the right things. Is this really the Voice of the Lord? Because His Word says that the “blessing of the Lord brings true riches and He adds no sorrow for it.” There was no more important place I went or task performed yesterday than to sit down with my family at the dinner table and join hands to pray. To speak our thankfulness to Jesus because no matter how difficult it was – we made it. Overcoming the world’s pressures and gaining victory over the enemy’s attack – our family sat together in the Presence of the Lord, filled with His Spirit, covered with grace and shared a meal together. We made it. It was in the moment of perfect peace that victory is secure. The knowing that God is with us – Immanuel and stopping because nothing is chasing us but His Unfailing Love and Goodness. It will find us if our heart and mind are set on Him.

I Corinthians 15:57-58 (AMP) But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [as conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose].

Can I just encourage you a little today? You are victorious. You don’t have to chase victory or try to overcome. The Victor and Overcomer already lives in you. By trusting and believing that He is enough and continually pushing every care, worry, need or burden over to Him, it builds our faith into confident hope so on days when all hell breaks loose, nothing goes right, and everything seems to be falling apart – His Chaotic Love sweeps us up and envelopes us in perfect peace. The kind that our heart, mind, will and emotions can rest in even when our body is on the go. Life will continue to be full of temptation, pressure and responsibility. Jesus didn’t promise to take these challenges away but that in each one – His People overcome. Victory belongs to us if we choose to claim it, step in it and live in each day.

Psalm 117:2 (AMP) For His lovingkindness prevails over us [and we triumph and overcome through Him], and the truth of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)

 

Plumb Line

small-beginnings

Zechariah 4:10 (NLT) Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”

Today is the first day of February. How are those goals and aspirations for the New Year going? Are you still eating right? Going to the gym? Saving money? Continuing your quest to read the Bible through this year? In evaluating your progress, how’s it going? Did all those good intentions become healthy habits? My daughter recently posted on social media that February would be a New Year’s do-over. All those things she wanted to start but didn’t would again be attempted. When our big plans do not immediately manifest as part of the big picture, it is human nature to be discouraged. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12) It is hard sometimes to embrace the process that makes our purpose possible. When the wait seems to long, obstacles too big and journey feels pointless – most people will give up, move on or just forget that spark started in their heart. Dreams are layered in distractions. Visions clouded by reality. Though people despise small beginnings, the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.

The Lord rejoices to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand. I had to look up a plumb line because I wasn’t really sure the use of the tool. A plumb line is a string or rope with a weight on the end of it used to see if something is perfectly vertical. The plumb line is a test to see if something is straight or to find the depth of water. The plumb line in hand makes God happy. It signifies the beginning of progress in a believer. There was nothing more than a foundation but the plan was in place.

Let’s talk about Zerubbabel for a moment. Zerubbabel was the head of the tribe of Judah – God’s Praise team. Judah means praise. Zerubbabel had purpose and potential in his birthright as he was in the lineage of David and Jesus Christ. The Lord called Judah from Babylon to return to Jerusalem. He placed it in Zerubbabel’s heart to rebuild the temple. He laid successfully laid the foundation before met with opposition. It would be 16 long years before construction could resume. In those years of delay, the people became distracted and began rebuilding their homes. The Hand of God upon them – these were not ordinary dwelling places but opulent abodes just as the Lord had promised. In the second year of Darius, something happened.

According to Smith’s Bible Dictionary, “But in the second year of Darius, light dawned upon the darkness of the colony from Babylon. In that year –it was the most memorable event in Zerubbabel’s life –the spirit of prophecy suddenly blazed up with a most brilliant light among the returned captives. Their words fell like sparks upon tinder. In a moment Zerubbabel roused from his apathy, threw his whole strength into the work.” Apathy is an absence or suppression of passion, emotion or excitement. It is a lack of interest in or concern for the that others find moving or exciting. Have we become apathetic? The thought of revival was great but the process to arduous and long. Revival is not a church event but a life event. Our heart once on fire for the Promises of God settled on provision alone. We need the spark of passion that consumes apathy to fall on us again. The Spirit of Prophecy. The Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit. Lord, we need passion for our purpose today.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NLT) For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 

God has predesigned us with purpose. He put eternity in our heart from the very beginning. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) The plan of God comes with a future and hope always for our good. Faith believes in God’s Promise and desires His Plan. Trust becomes the plumb line in our hand. It is the test of a vertical life in alignment with God and His Purpose. God rejoices when we pick it up and waits for us to become wholehearted in our effort to find Him. Why is alignment so important? Why must our life line up with God’s Plan in order to achieve His Purpose? Simple. His Power accomplishes His Purpose. His Power achieves His Plan. His Power is waiting to come to His People to restore and revive us again. Not just a church service, or great move of God in the four walls of a temple, but for His Glory and Power to fill the earth again.

Joel 2:12-13 (NLT) That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time.
Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.

God is ready to pour out His Spirit on His People again. The only requirement is true repentance. Oh, we put on a good show. We do good things. We attempt the right attitude and actions. However, until we nail our personal passion to the Cross and allow passion for His House, His Kingdom and His Purpose to consume us again. It can only happen when the plumb line is set. Our desire must be for the Lord and our hearts fully exposed to His Love, Grace and His Spirit again. My heart is the tinder for God’s Spark to become a flame. Do you remember when you first fell in love with Jesus? You were passionate and committed about surrendering your life to Him. What happened? Have you left your first love? There is always enough grace and mercy to come back. You can never wander or fall too far that the Lord will not pick you up and restore you.

Joel 2:23-26 (NLT) Rejoice, you people of Jerusalem! Rejoice in the Lord your God! For the rain he sends demonstrates his faithfulness. Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as the rains of spring. The threshing floors will again be piled high with grain, and the presses will overflow with new wine and olive oil. The Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. It was I who sent this great destroying army against you. Once again you will have all the food you want, and you will praise the Lord your God, who does these miracles for you. Never again will my people be disgraced.

Restoration is preparation. When the tribe of Judah returned from exile, they were homeless. There was not a local grocery store to buy food or Motel 6 to house them. What if God laid the foundation as a place to return to when they were ready for fulfillment? The small beginning may have been a marker for you to return to after the Lord restored you. Restoration provides the resource from which our purpose is supplied. Zerubbabel laid the foundation for the temple. It would not be rebuilt for 16 years. When he did begin to build, he was ready for the battles that would come in completing it. Do not become discouraged during the waiting period instituted by the Lord because He is preparing you. Embrace it. Engage in it. Become excited about it. Not because you see it coming to pass before your eyes but by faith that God is working every detail out for your good and His Glory even when it seems like nothing is happening at all.

Joel 2:28-29 (NLT) “Then, after doing all those things, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams and your young men will see visions. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on servants—men and women alike.”

Get ready! It’s coming. God is absolutely ready to pour out His Spirit again. Are you ready? Have you become distracted? Are you discouraged? Is your hope deferred and heart sick today? In Acts 2, the ministry that began with just twelve men and Jesus Christ increased to over 3,000 people in an instant. The Spirit was poured on them striking a fiery flame in the tender hearts of the people. I believe that many of those people were the ones that spent three years following Jesus Christ. Listening to His Teaching and witnessing His Miracles – the three years of ministry yielded that much fruit in one minute. God is ready to set our hearts on fire if we have set our plumb line in our hand. Do we want a vertical life? Do we want God’s Purpose? If our heart and desire is set on Him through true repentance and rejoicing in the period called restoration, this is when revival comes. When new life begins and completion complete.

His Spirit is the essence of eternal life. We are born of human passion. The Holy Spirit rebirths us with spiritual passion. (John 1:12-13) The Spirit of God ends human apathy and gives way to praise. He ignites our heart with a passionate faith that is unwilling to give up or give in when the process is too long, pain too deep or plan not coming together as we see fit. Faith is the hand that reaches out when our body fails us. Hope is the mindset that there is more to life than this if I can just hold on for one more minute. Grace is the power needed when our weakness is evident. God has supplied everything to fulfill our purpose. If only we would believe it enough to build the foundation of faith and keep the plumb line of willing obedience in our hands at all times.

2 Timothy 1:5-7 (NLT) I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

I had this dream many years ago to become a writer. I shared it with the single’s minister of our church and various people along the way. However, when I wandered from the Lord – I decided that the dream was dead. After returning to the Lord, my husband and I were taking a meal to a pastor and his wife who had just welcomed a new baby. Sitting in his living room, he began to prophecy over my life speaking those dead dreams to life. He had no way to know any of the things he voiced other than he felt the Holy Spirit was telling him these things. My husband did not even know about these small beginnings of desire in me. I left that visit in shock and awe. No plausible explanation except that the Lord had used this man to speak life to the dead dream inside me. No, I didn’t go home and write a book. Five years later, I began to write this daily blog never making the connection. This year, I am writing my first book to God be the Glory. To put time in to perspective for you, more than 30 years of waiting, wandering, and preparing.

God put eternity in your heart. He gave you a purpose. You know what your dream looks like. You know the description of your calling. You know in vivid detail the vision that you see. But life is not without distractions. The enemy is eager to offer discouragement. Time is daunting when waiting on an unseen God. I remind you today – yes you – as the Lord has reminded me. You have a spiritual gift. God gave it to you when He called you His Own Child, Special Possession and Masterpiece. Now it is time for you and I to fan the flames of His Spirit to revive the passion is us to achieve the purpose planned for us long ago. God didn’t give you the spirit of fear so refuse to accept it. Instead allow your faith to make a vertical connection with the Lord so that when His Spirit is poured out it will run down that string like oil directly into your heart. God is faithful. He promises those who make the connection – power, love and self-discipline to achieve every good thing and every God thing He has predestined you and I to do to satisfy and prosper our soul then overflow into our life. The best is yet to come. Do not despise small beginnings. Embrace them along with the plumb line in your hand. The Lord is coming. He is ready to pour out His Spirit again. Are you ready?

2 Corinthians 8:10-12 (NLT)  Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have.

Trust Him More

Young woman reaching hand towards sun

Romans 15:13 (NLT) I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Well, the itch is not satisfied therefore I must continue to scratch beneath the surface of this thing called revival and consider the source. I want revival to come to me, my family, my church and my community. It is my heartfelt desire that in the year 2017 that there is an undeniable move of God within me and the atmosphere around me that it draws people to Him while pulling me closer to Jesus than ever before. I want to know it is God in our midst. I want to experience Jesus face-to-face. I long for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that moves past what I am comfortable with completely overtaking my life. Otherwise, what is the point of praying for revival if we don’t really want it?

God is our source of hope. He will completely fill us with joy and peace. How? When? What is the prerequisite for such an experience? Trust. We must trust the Lord with all of our life and expectation. I do. I hear you…I always think I do until He shows me where I don’t. Cleopatra lived on the river called the Nile and many Christians live by one called Denial. Trusting God is not a church concept by a lifetime commitment. Everything in the asset column of God, every single promise, all the blessings, and every single Word that He has given you is contingent on one thing – will you trust Him? Will I? I have heard the audible voice of the Living God ask me this question. My first response to Him was “of course, I do” followed by “this is not about that.” It was the night I beat down the door of His Throne Room in the middle of the night. Death had approached our son and I wanted no demanded that God answer this threat. I am His Child. He is my Father. What would He say or do to stop this assault against my child? He asked, “Do you trust me”? What if your trust in God became a matter of life or death? It is.

Romans 8:23-25 (NLT) And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

For those who are willing to be completely honest today, do you “groan” for a “foretaste of future glory”? Do we long to be “released from sin and suffering”? Do we wait with “eager hope for the day when God gives us full rights as His Adopted Children”? God gave us hope when we were saved. Hope is not seen but desired. Do you desire hope today? Or is it the immediate gratification of better things and an easier life today that one longs for? See in many cases, like many children wait for Santa to come this week, we also wait for God to act the same way towards us. With complete disregard for how we live, it is the Gifts from His Hands rather than Glory pouring out of His Heart that is so greatly longed for and desired. We want a better life now and seldom consider forever.

Hope is validated by trust. Do you trust the Lord today? How do I know? Do you worry often, stress a lot, or feel anxious all the time? This is a manifestation of fear that grabs hold of our heart choking out any hope it can find there. The enemy is not after you as a person. He wants to rob your soul of salvation, dousing your faith with fear and causing doubt to douse any fulfillment once possible. Church becomes monotonous not because our pastor is boring, the music is weak or attendance is poor. No church becomes monotonous when I lost sight of my mission.

Romans 6:17-19 (NLT) God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. 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.

God’s Promise to pour out His Spirit again has not waned because our faith, hope and love may be compromised. God does not lie. He doesn’t change His Mind. Every day in every possible way He is looking for an opening for His Glory to fill the Temple (you and me) once again. So if it is not the Lord, it must be us…it is me. God has given me a promise and His Oath. What about me? I must have enough confidence in my source of hope that I am willing to trust Him beyond my comfort and convenience. Hope is the strong and trustworthy anchor that will keep me securely in His Presence and allow His Glory to fill my life again. Hope opens the curtain to the deepest sanctuary of Heaven into the Presence of God. I cannot venture there and remain the same. It demands a complete sacrifice of self, sin and suffering to get there. I must see myself through the eyes of Christ refusing to turn back but constantly pressing in until I am changed. Why? Because God does not change. His Love is relentless. It is perfect. It doesn’t settle for less than His Best…ever even when I want to save myself with compromise.

Romans 5:1-5 (NLT) Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Some may say that Google is god of the internet. It offers just about every convenience and service imaginable to manage our life and files appropriately. Recently, a friend recommended the Google photo application. You can back up precious pictures and videos to manage the limited storage on your cellphone. I tried it. It is pretty awesome. Each night every photo I have taken that day is whisked into a file in the Cloud somewhere and easily retrieved if I want it. I delete the ones that are safe and secure in Google. All but one. The day of our son’s bone marrow transplant – the entire medical team sang “Happy Birthday” to him in honor of his rebirth. I will not delete it just in case the application fails.

I have a God who has promised to give me eternal life in exchange for my ultimate failure. Sin can give way to Glory if I will release it. I wonder if there may be certain things that I do not trust the Lord with. Things I hold on to because I am just not 100% sold that God has everything under control. This is not blasphemy. This is honesty. If we do not evaluation our spiritual condition beginning with our ability to trust God with our whole life, we run the risk of missing the Lord altogether. Jesus invited those who are weary and overburdened to come to Him – giving up all of our worries, cares and concerns in exchange for rest. We pray but let go of nothing. We ask for things that we are not willing to look for. We cry out with closed hearts and clenched hands.

Therefore…since we have been made right in God’s Sight by faith…what is faith? Faith demonstrates the reality and validity of what we hope for. It is evidence that I completely believe in the unseen enough to trust God with not only my spiritual life but also my natural life. Why don’t I trust God with everything? Why don’t you? Life is hard. Each day is filled with godly choices, good choices and bad choices – too many choices. One wrong choice does not condemn you but it may cause consequences. After all, sowing and reaping are foundational laws of our earthly existence as well as spiritual well-being.

Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We all agree. We love the fast pass. When Christ’s Undeserved Privilege and His Favor move us to the front of the line or arrives in the form of an unexpected blessing BUT what if it comes as a test or trial. Many tap out at this point. We don’t want to rejoice in problems or trials but want God to wave His Hand to make them disappear. We don’t want to develop endurance because it requires patience and is rather exhausting. Most of us can’t even commit to the gym and 30 minutes of cardio likewise unwilling to endure discomfort or inconvenience. Endurance develops strength of character. God knows me. If His Grace is enough for me, why do I need character? There is more to life than this. There is more to this than our emotional state and all our feelings combined. Salvation is our hope of stepping out of this life into forever. Trust is the conduit of not having to wait to experience the Glory of God but allowing it to fill our life now.

Psalm 27:13-14 (NLT) Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

When we walk with the Lord in the Light of His Word, What Glory He sheds on our way; while we do His Good Will, He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey. Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. I love this old hymn. Sadly, most days, it is our heart’s motivation to obey God but not to trust Him. It is when I try to do all the right things to experience His Glory that I end up falling short. His Glory is mine because of His Grace. His Grace is not only sufficient but absolutely a must to experience the Glory of God in my life. Well, all I can do when it comes to God’s Grace is to trust Him. My obedience is only worthy of anything as a direct result of trust. I must examine my heart today for trust. I can do a lot of things for the Lord but it means nothing if I do not believe and trust that His Grace is enough for me.

I must be confident that I will see the Lord’s Goodness while I am in the land of the living. If I live every day for forever, but do not believe that His Kingdom will come and His Will done on the earth – I have missed my calling altogether. Faith and trust in God is not for when I die but for today, tomorrow and every other day between here and eternity. God has ordered my steps to enter His Presence. Most of us will not, cannot and refuse to trust the Lord until He is the only way out of our present situation. When God is all there is left, He becomes our sufficiency. Restoration and revival cannot enter a restricted area of our life. Our free will does not allow it. It is only in our complete trust and surrender to Christ that anything I offer in the form of obedience is acceptable.

Waiting on the Lord demonstrates the longevity of our trust in Him. Have you given up on God’s Glory in your life? Like Christmas morning that never comes or gifts that don’t satisfy, are you resigned to the fact that this is life? Life is hard. There is no goodness here for me. God will not, cannot, or may not satisfy me so I am just going to have to do it myself. Those who put their trust in the Lord including the investment of their whole life will have a hope that will not lead to disappointment. That’s what we are afraid of…being disappointed. What if we are wrong? Well, to have confidence in Jesus means to trust Him. The Lord can only enter those areas of our heart, mind, body, soul and life yielded to Him. Careful inspection will probably reveal that the areas struggled most in are those held tightly to our chest. Are you praying for revival today? Me, too. Revival begins with trusting hearts willing to venture closer, deeper and farther into the Presence of God and releasing all those other things that have kept us from going there. You will not give up your life until you are convinced that there is more to life than this. Do not be surprised by disappointment or dissatisfaction but consider it a blessing as the Lord shows us the closed doors keeping His Glory from filling us and the church today. As we continually discipline ourselves to surrender these things and scoop up the new mercy each day to feed our developing hope soon confidence will fill every void of our life while we wait for Him. He is coming! We just have to be ready. Lord, teach me to trust you more and more until all of my life is yours. I want to be restored and renewed from the inside out. God, show me Your Glory in every possible way. We want revival, Jesus. Let it start with me.

Romans 12:12 (NLT) Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

 

 

 

Restore Me Lord

restore-me-lord

Psalm 51:10-12 (NIV) Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

“There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.” – Eldridge Cleaver

It has been a long and exhausting week. My mom had open heart surgery a couple of weeks ago. Our state was deluged in rain and wind by a hurricane. After working for a week, I came to help care for her and assist my parents during the recovery process. My routine is disrupted. My schedule out of order. I am not really sure what day it is or what it will hold. A trip to the radiologist confirmed that my sweet mama had the beginnings of pneumonia. I had the best of intentions and expected to work but this task had taken more time and nights are long when your patient cannot sleep. The couch is comfortable but I am a little older than before. In the midst of exhaustion and concern for my ailing parent, my daughter called crushed by a friend. It was just too much. I called one parent and then another attempting to put out the fire before it turned into a firestorm. It didn’t work. Falling asleep last night after turning off an embarrassing debate with two candidates clearly not fit to be our country’s next president, far from home, missing my family, concerned for my people, staring in the dark – I just began to talk to Jesus. Our time has been limited. I have tried multiple times. We get brief and quick conversations but hardly the hours that are usually set aside of us. I believe there are seasons when that happens. It is during those times that we live on what His Word for yesterday was because He never lies or changes His Mind. So what He told me yesterday I can trust for today and build on for tomorrow! Thank you Lord for being constant.

One thing I know in the midst of all the chaos. God is constant. He is the One who I can fully trust and lean on when all hell breaks loose as the conditions around me currently indicate. When I opened my eyes this morning ready to meet the day, I heard my heart say, “Restore me, Lord.” I need restoration. I need to be refilled. So many details have added to this emptiness as my life has been poured out over the last few weeks. This is a test. I know that it is only a test. One thing I have learned if I do not what to do, where to go or how to do something it usually is a call to wait and watch for the Lord. So here I am. I am shifting my weight from foot to foot because the faith that we stand on as believers is not always a wide base. What do you do when nothing adds up? In the world – it is time to refigure and regroup. In the realm of hope, it is time to ask for renewal and restoration. This is not the process that we have made it. It is not opening our hands asking God to pour in us just as we are. It is surrendering ourselves to be restored, renewed and recreated by the Lord. Something has to be given in order to receive. We must make room for the Lord. New wine will never be given to old wineskins.

Eldridge Cleaver is a controversial figure who offered infinite wisdom. “There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.” If the common goal of Christianity is to share the Good News of God’s Love and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ – it will never be about me. It was always be about others. Every attitude and action must be given to changing hearts and minds so they are able to experience the Love of God. There is no neutrality in the world. I am certain that he did not mean this as I hear it today, but I believe that there is no neutrality in this world. God designed the world we live in definitively. There are those who love Him and many who don’t. There are those who serve the Lord – and those who don’t. The Kingdom of God is clearly defined with no median. You are for Him or against Him. We are love. Or we are not.

This idea leads to the next part of this vital revelation…” You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.” Am I part of the solution? Or am I part of the problem? I have previously misquoted this a bit but the concept is the same. When I decide that there is nothing I can do to provide a solution, then I am immediately part of the problem. Change is absolutely essential to problem solving. To do the same thing over and over expecting a change is labeled insanity. We have been faced with a situation with one of our children. Searching for a solution, communicating with all involved, even choosing not to explain or defend ourselves in the midst of lies and accusations – it only got worse. We removed ourselves from the situation. This eliminated a part of the problem so hopefully there will be a solution now.

Create in me a clean heart. Renew a steadfast spirit within me. Restoration begins with me. It begins by emptying my heart before the Lord and carefully examining the contents. It means taking out those things that clutter the space reserved for Jesus. Repentance is a daily process. It is an unavoidable me thing. God is not going to take my sin but will gladly wash away anything given freely. Do not cast me from your Presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. I need Jesus all the time. Every single day. He must be the lead in all things concerning me and my life. He is my existence. Restore to me the joy of “YOUR” salvation. Wait a minute. I thought this was about me… My joy is contingent on my salvation. The grace I have is from Jesus – I get new mercy from the Lord every day when I make my heart, mind and soul available. And finally, grant me a willing spirit. I must be willing to allow the Lord to restore me and put my expectation in Him alone. So here I sit asking the Lord to restore me…

I Peter 5:8-11(NIV) Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lord is ready to restore you. He longs to renew us day by day. During times like this when our life is chaotic and things out of sort. We must come to the Lord as an active participant. To be restored means letting go of that which burdens us. Restoration is only possible through release. I must let go of my sin so my heart is soft. I must let go of my pride and stubbornness so I will be humble and steadfast. I must position myself in His Presence and push through each prayer. I think what is interesting is that it says, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation…” We have salvation through our relationship with Jesus Christ. However, it is the joy that is often missing because it is overshadowed by sin and mess that builds up. My joy is and always will be Jesus. I lose my joy when I expect it from any other source than my salvation. My willingness to walk by faith not by sight and trust the Lord makes all the difference. We have joy provided in our salvation. It is up to us to surrender all for Him to fill us with it.

Romans 15:13 (NIV) May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Blessed and Broken

Blessed and Broken

Matthew 26:26-28 (NLT) As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.” And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.

I know that sometimes in our walk with Jesus Christ, it is hard to understand the point of trials and troubles along the way. Striving to do the right thing, one might stumble or even fall wondering what just happened. There is never a dull moment when following the Lord. Faith is not for the faint at heart but a thrill seeker lifestyle with many twists and turns. In the midst of good intentions, when faced with adversity or uncertainty it is human nature to ask “why me”? It is also natural to assume that it is the direct result of something we may have done or maybe even not done that causes the issue in our life. Are you feeling discouraged today? Is disappointment knocking on the door to your heart? Is the pressure becoming too overwhelming so you are considering giving up?

We are blessed to be broken. I know it doesn’t sound pleasant. Raise your hand if you want to be first. Yeah, me either. In Psalm 23, David writes, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life…” Hardly sounds glamorous, to walk through dark valleys and sit with our enemies yet David points out the fact that God’s Goodness and Unfailing Love is in constant pursuit of His People all the days of our life.

Ephesians 1:3-5 (NLT) All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

Jesus took some bread and blessed it. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms once united to Christ. We have always been blessed but sin barred us from accessing the hidden promises of God detailed just for us before time began. The Word of God says that “before He made the world”, God loved us and chose us to be His Children with that He prescribed an inheritance for us all to be adopted as His Children through faith in Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:3-4 (NLT) By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

Not only do we have every spiritual blessing and an inheritance from God, but by His Divine Power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. Why do Christians live in lack? Prosperity is a soul condition not a worldly blessing. Prosperity is growth that begins in our soul and produces a harvest in the natural. 3 John 1:2 says, “Just as your soul prospers.” God is not concerned about your natural life for He has already supplied all our needs. He is focused on the resurrection of our soul once dead to sin. Your blessing is just on the other side of brokenness. Few will ever choose to be broken by the Lord but some will submit and surrender in the process such are the Children of God who produce spiritual fruit that brings prosperity from the inside of our heart and soul to the outer most limits of our life. Brokenness takes our flesh out of the way so every spiritual blessing will reach us. It allows us to live a God-like life. Sin took God’s Standard of Living from us. (Romans 3:23) But the Lord will restore it for those who allow themselves to be broken so they can be blessed.

John 6:35 (NLT) Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

John 10:10 (NLT) The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

John 14:25-27 (NLT) I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.” Though the disciples were with Jesus every single day, they still could not comprehend what was about to happen. Jesus blessed the bread and then He broke it into pieces giving it to each one to eat. This was representation of what was ahead. Jesus was on His Way to the Cross. He knew it. They didn’t. Jesus was about to satisfy the debt that kept all mankind from the spiritual blessings God promised since before the world was made. He was about to release divine power to ordinary people who could now live God-like lives again restoring the lost standard of living in the Glory of God. Jesus is the Bread of Life. He must be received in our body to change our heart and mind restoring righteousness with God. He promises to give us a rich and satisfying life. His Spirit will come to live in us. With the Gift of His Spirit comes peace with God. Peace that will guard our heart and mind until Christ returns.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NLT) It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.

The Holy Spirit is an absolute necessity for our spiritual success. God’s Word alone is not enough. His Spirit alone is not enough. The Lord told the woman at the well that true worshippers do so in Spirit and in Truth. The Word is God’s Seed planted in our heart. His Spirit is the harvester. Have you ever seen the planting and harvesting process in the natural? The ground is tilled and broken to be ready to receive the seed. The seed is covered and pressed deep into the darkness of the ground. The farmer must wait and wait some more yet in faith continue to water and fertile tending the barren looking field. He must nurture the tiny fruitless sprouts as they emerge from the ground even in his uncertainty if they will produce. When the crop is ready, giant blades cut down the plant that once was cared for meticulously so that it can be used for the farmer’s own good. God promised that seedtime and harvest would be continual in life. This includes our spiritual life, too.

2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (NLT) We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

We are blessed with the Love of God. We are blessed by the Gift of Grace given to us by Jesus so that we can access His Love by entering right standing with our Father once again. Why is brokenness necessary? Why must we be like fragile clay jars containing great treasure? One might think it best to be fortresses instead? Perhaps if we go back to the Cross, when Jesus’ body was broken for us, we can see the point of brokenness that leads to blessing.

When Jesus released His Spirit, brokenness began. The temple veil ripped topped to bottom completely in half. There was an earthquake and rocks were literally split in two. Tombs were opened. People were raised from the dead. (Matthew 27:50-52) The Holy Spirit facilitates brokenness in our life to allow us to experience the life Christ died for us to have. His Spirit was then breathed by Jesus into our body. Now the sacrifice desired by God is a broken spirit. He will not reject a broken and repentant heart. (Psalm 51:17)

Why would I want to be broken? Look again at what happened the very moment that the Holy Spirit was released. We are granted immediate and open access to God the Father. We can now come boldly before His Throne. The obstacles and barriers in our life begin to crumble like rocks in the power of a mighty earthquake. Finally, death gave way to life. Blessing is released in our brokenness before the Lord. Submission to His Sovereignty. Surrender to His Love. It is in these places that our soul prosper and so will our life.

Psalm 34:18-20 (NLT) The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken!

Brokenness requires faith and trust in the Lord to allow ourselves to become vulnerable and weak before Him. Yet He has already given us His Spirit as a holy inhabitation to facilitate spiritual growth and cultivation. This is not a fleshly pursuit that is evidenced in what we do, but rather the moment that we realize apart from the Lord that we can nothing at all. The Lord promises to be close to the brokenhearted because He can be. Our broken spirit allows the Holy Spirit to take over. A repentant heart accepts God’s Way as the best way so the controversy and inner conflict ends right then and there. We are already blessed, now we must be broken to release it in our life. As our soul prospers, so do we.

The righteous person faces many troubles. It says so in God’s Word. Why are we so surprised when we receive bad news? Didn’t Jesus tell us that things were going to get rough? I do believe the Word of God says that the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence. (Matthew 11:12) We overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony. What are you saying about your life today? We are overcomers in Christ. In our weakness, His Power makes us strong. We are blessed to be broken. As we live and learn the significance of brokenness, it is then we experience supernatural blessing in us and around us. As disciples, the next step is that in our brokenness that we are able to now give our life away, too. You are blessed, friend. To access that blessing, we will be broken.

Psalm 71:19-22(NLT) Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens. You have done such wonderful things. Who can compare with you, O God? You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again. Then I will praise you with music on the harp, because you are faithful to your promises, O my God. I will sing praises to you with a lyre, O Holy One of Israel.

Dying Dreams and Dead Queens

Dying Dreams and Dead Queens

Proverbs 24:13-14(NKJV) My son, eat honey because it is good, and the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste; So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul; If you have found it, there is a prospect, and your hope will not be cut off.

 

I have friends who are beekeepers. They have several hives hidden out in a bee yard. The hives are not doing well. The queens currently ruling the hives are not doing their job. The queen is the most important bee in the entire colony. She lays the eggs. She determines the overall health and productivity of the colony as well. She influences how hygienic her daughters are toward mites and disease. The queen is the real beekeeper in the organization. A queen only lives a few years. Over time her productivity decreases. It is time to re-queen the hives in order to repopulate the hives with a new generation of good bees that will do what they are created to do.

 

The process is a bit violent in my opinion. My friends found new queens that are being shipped to them. Now that the new queens are coming, something must be done about the old ones. To put two queens in one hive would start a war and only one would survive. So they must remove the existing queen. If she were just removed, the bees would look for her. Their loyalty is fierce and unrelenting. So the beekeeper pops off her head, and drops her to the bottom of the bee box. Why? Why so violent? Why so barbaric? I asked if the bees swarm or try to defend their queen. They do not. The moment she dies, the queen releases a scent in the air that tells her colony she is dead. The bees immediately flock to the dead queen. They stop everything just to take care of her. I find that fascinating. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. (Proverbs 13:12) When things don’t turn out the way we planned or how we have decided they will be in our devastation, how many times do we also run to the dead thing and try to revive it? We do not think about what may be coming next or the fact it may have not been producing that which God planned and purposed in our life, because we “want” it. We can visualize it. We can touch it. We are familiar with it. We are comfortable in it. The Lord has something more but we have become completely overwhelmed with what has been taken.

 

When the new queen arrives, she comes in a little box with a candy plug. If the new queen were released directly into the hive, the bees would likely “ball” her leading to swift and immediate death. So she is introduced slowly, the bees must eat through the candy plug to get to the new queen. This process takes a couple of days and by the time they reach her she is accepted. With the demise of the old queen, the bees desire a queen but their zeal might destroy that which they long for so a process is created to acclimate the new queen and prepare her throng. We have longings and desires. There are things that the Lord has promised and we wait for them to come. Could it be that this process of waiting is much like the bees? So we will not rush in killing the dream or overtaking the promise without proper timing which aborts the purpose altogether. We have been given hope in the Lord. How does it work? Where do I find it? What do I with it?

 

Knowledge and wisdom are often discounted in the midst of sheer enthusiasm and overwhelming zeal. We lose ourselves in the elation and excitement of the prospect, anticipation, expectation of that thing we can now visualize and see. We feel its closeness and have a need to overtake it. Control it. Produce it. Make it happen in our life. But sometimes… most of the time… the Lord makes us wait. There is a prospect. God has a plan for us that includes a future and hope. We must be ever so careful that we do not become like the bees who serve a dead queen. The Lord is good and He aids in this process – it’s called waiting. Waiting stretches us and teaches us in the midst of an ordinary life to serve an extraordinary God who does more than we could even think to ask for.

 

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NKJV) “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”

 

Blessed is the man who trusts the Lord. Do you trust the Lord? If so, you understand that He gives and takes away. He has placed Eternity in our heart, yet there is still a time for everything under the sun. Good or bad. Happy or sad. There are seasons of life designed to plant us in the Love of God and grow our wisdom so that we can be productive in every season of life. Just as beehives must be re-queened on a regular basis, we must be pruned by the Lord to increase our productivity in life. We cry out for growth and prosperity not desiring the process but end result. The Lord desires to plant you in His Presence burying your roots in Living Water so no matter what you are going through – you do more than survive but learn how to thrive. God’s Standard of Living is much greater than our comfort zone and complacency allows so He allows us to become uncomfortable and unsettled so we are forced to move.

 

Jeremiah 17:9-10 (NKJV) “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.”

 

Soul searching starts and heart testing begins when things do not turn out as one expected. Before that moment, most people do not think past that very moment or what they are doing. This morning as the sun comes up there are hives filled with hopeless bees. Their queen is dead. They cannot survive without a queen. Desperation is born of lost expectation and they are beginning to think of ways to live and not die. What happened when things didn’t turn out the way that you planned? What happens when the Lord doesn’t do it your way? What happens if your dream dies? Our heart is deceitful. No, it really is. Sometimes we think we are serving the Lord, but somehow get tied up in what we are doing rather than remaining committed to what He is doing in our life. We lose sight of forever getting caught up in today, this moment, this time and this season.

 

God is a good father who will not let His Children fall into harm’s way. He searches our heart for insufficiencies. He tests are minds for anything less than trust. He inspects the fruit of our life and allows what is necessary to produce the kind of fruit that He desires. The Fruit of His Spirit that nourishes and satisfies our soul. The kind that feeds our desire until completely satisfied. Just because you and I are willing to settle for less than God’s Best doesn’t mean that He will do the same. Praise the Lord!

 

Jeremiah 29:10-13 (NKJV) For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

 

Most of us know the verse, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Or maybe you have heard it like this, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” How exciting! God has big plans for us. He is giving us a future and a hope. Both of these words imply waiting yet we ignore that tiny part, at least I do sometimes. When I think of all the times, I started and abruptly stopped waiting on the Lord, it makes me ill. I did so in ignorance and omission. I picked out the parts of God’s Word that I liked and left the rest on the plate. There is a problem with this mentality. You cannot have God’s Plan without going about His Way, according to His Word, and doing His Will. You can’t make God’s Way happen in your own life but it is accomplished by placing your whole life in Jesus Christ.

 

Look at verse 10 which proceeds the Plan of God for your life, it says, “AFTER SEVENTY YEARS ARE COMPLETED…” The Lord promised to visit the people and DO His Good Word to them after seven decades. Talk about waiting on the Lord. This is the problem. We want God’s Prosperity, His Future and His Hope but no one is willing to wait for it. I used to be the most impatient overbearing person who you have ever met. There was a right way and a wrong way. Lord, help those who did not understand and conform to my ideology of what those two ways looked like. I didn’t look at people just purpose. How do I get from point A to point B. Then, cancer paid a visit to our life. Talk about waiting. I had to wait on the diagnosis, the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, appointments, tests, treatments, results, approvals, and more. I had to wait on remission for three long and tedious years. I had to watch our son fight a battle that I could do nothing but pray and hope in the Lord that His Word would come to pass. With a tissue in one hand and my Word from the Lord in the other, I spent countless days waiting for His Word to come to pass. Now if this had been something superficial or small, I would have continued in my cycle of abandoning those things that took patience and perseverance to obtain but this time what I valued most was at risk. The price of failure was too high. I wasn’t going to leave because God took too long or didn’t do it as I planned. No this would be a fight to the finish.

 

The second part of this verse, right after God makes us His Promise, He delineates His Plan. There are not a series of steps for me to tread upon or hoops for me to jump through. No, He tells me that I can have His Promise if I do only one thing – “you will call on me, go and pray to me, and you will seek me Me and find Me when you search for Me with all of your heart.” The pursuit of God’s Purpose and Plan is all dependent on my passion for the Lord. Do I want Jesus above all things? See those bees would kill their promise of new life if she was released to them directly. Their allegiance was to the dead queen. It is in the process of waiting that their attention is redirected to the new thing that is happening in their life. Sometimes we get caught up in the things that God does for us and pursuing the promise more than the Promiser. So we must wait.

 

Romans 5:1-5 (NKJV) Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

 

Romans 5:1-5 can be broken into three pieces for consumption sake. The first is “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” Let’s stop here for just a minute. God’s Plan and Purpose for our life is predetermined. God does not lie or change His Mind. He wrote the entire plan of your life so it is prerecorded. We only must make peace with God through the remission and repentance from sin to follow Jesus to have it. There really is nothing else to do above and beyond that because Jesus did something for us that we cannot do for ourselves. No matter how hard you “work” for the Lord or how long you “serve” Jesus Christ, it does not influence the future and hope that you have been given. It is already there.

 

“Not only so, but…” Please understand that God’s Goodness involves a process. The process has a purpose so don’t give in to the thought of abandoning the discomfort or desperation of such moments. We boast in the times of trial and testing that the Lord is our refuge and strength. He is our hope, but do we really mean it. It is by our “sufferings” in this life that we discover the contents of our heart and whether our faith is sure and hope confident. Peace with God produces certain pressure in the world around us. This world is at odds with the Lord for He is its Judge and Destroyer. It is in our discomfort that we discover perseverance, character, and confident hope. As we wait even when the world says, “Let it go.” We watch as the watchman waits for dawn. It is times like this that we are being changed, renewed, revived and restored. It’s hard to wait. We do not like to suffer. We hate inconvenience and complain about discomfort.

 

Finally, “and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s Love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” It is the moment that the Lord finally reveals His Plan and His Purpose and we step into the future to see that He works all things together for us that we decide it was worth it all. You will never know true satisfaction until you can say, “Look what the Lord has done” and mean it. This comes through suffering, discomfort, brokenness and constant undoing as the Lord shapes and molds us to fill us with His Glory.

 

Lamentations 3:21-24 (NKJV) “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

 

I know what you are thinking…how did she know that I was just about to give up? How did she see that my faith is tired and expectations unmet? How could she even know that my dream lay slowly dying? Friend, I had no idea. I only know my own heart and the things I struggle with myself. There are days that I want to give in. There are days that I have given up just to have the Lord pick me up, dust me off, and set me on my way again. I have made it to the end of the race of faith and been disappointed that it was not like I thought it would be or how I determined I might finish. See it is our human nature to take the Word of the Lord and try to make it our own. Yes, we are to own it but it is never our choice of fulfillment or the outcomes in our life would be uncertain. God has a plan for you and for me. It includes a future and hope. I have been allow it through my relationship with Jesus Christ. I accept it by surrendering my life (all of it) to doing God’s Will, God’s Way and according to His Word every single day. Peace with God opens His Right Hand releasing every pleasure in it. On those days that I am not the Child that I should be, He has already provided the mercy that I need to overcome my doubt and fear. The Lord is all I want and all that I need to live a rich and satisfying life. I must tell my heart that sometimes. I must remind my soul. I must sing and not be silent of His Goodness until all of me hears it and is glad. Those poor bees think their life is over today. They are struggling to do “something” about their situation. What they don’t know is that joy is coming in the morning? If it is coming for them friend, how much more for you and me?

 

Hebrews 16:17-19 (NKJV) Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

 

Shake It Off

Shake It Off

Acts 16:25-28 (NLT)

Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”

 

I must admit I have been fighting off discouragement. I think as believers, we must be real with people. To act like our new life in Christ is without challenges is to boast a lie. We still face trials, tests and even tragedy sometimes. The point of our salvation is to become a new creation. There is a whole lot of flesh and baggage to be discarded along the way. Can I get an “amen”? So with that in mind, please do not judge me in my actions. This morning I woke up to a dark and cloudy day which only allowed my mood and attitude to be persuaded to be the same. I kissed my husband, took out the dog and plopped in the chair at my desk. As the computer was loading, I began looking at Facebook on my charging IPad. First world “probs” as the kids might say. Twice on my timeline I found these words, “God has perfect timing, never early, never late, it takes a little patience but it’s worth the wait.” I get tired of waiting, don’t you? Watching, wondering and waiting for the Lord’s Promises to manifest in our life. I know His Word is true. He has proven to me over and over again that He is a good God and gracious Father, yet I still think sometimes that He takes too long. When the computer finally came to life, I went to the Bible that I use for study and typed the words “shake it off” in the search bar. Surely there would be nothing. Maybe there was a hint of sarcasm in my approach.

 

Well friend, God’s got jokes. Even when I am not happy with His Timing or my current placement, the Lord somehow manages to get through to me. The Lord doesn’t deserve my bad attitude or even my tapping foot. The great thing about Him is that He is so loving that He provides plenty of mercy and lots of grace so when I do grow tired of waiting or impatient in the process, I have what I need to hang on and not give up. It’s all God. He is an everlasting God. The Creator of everything. He does not grow tired or weary and with His Unfathomable Understanding and Unconditional Love allows us these moments to catch our breath and shake off those things keeping us from His Very Best.

 

Paul and Silas were in prison. They had been beaten, battered, and bruised. Their response was to worship God in the midnight hour – praying, singing and praising God! I have never been in jail. In fact, I do everything in my power to avoid such an experience. They were in this situation not for criminal acts but because of their faith. We are not far off in the society in which we live. In the midst of it all, there was a massive earthquake. Now before we get to the good part, think about it. It was an earthquake. The prison was shaken to its very foundation. This was no joke. The doors flew open and the chains of every prisoner fell off. Why did the Lord go to such lengths rather than just skipping to the part where doors opened and chains fell off? See this our problem as believers – we see our situation, experience the pressure of change, and feel the heat of our trial but He is an everlasting God. This is not permanent. Our condition is temporary. It is small in the grand design of God’s Purpose and Plan for us. We have faith in us that could move a mountain yet sometimes in the midnight hour – we have trouble believing for the smallest thing. One other note about this story, our life is a living, breathing testament to God, His Love, Grace and Goodness for all mankind. It would take something of epic proportions to make this more than a coincidence.

 

Psalm 62:1-2 (NLT)

I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.

 

There is that nagging word again “wait”. My victory comes from Him. He “alone” is my rock and my salvation and my fortress where I will never be shaken. Never is a definitive word. Standing on my faith firmly in the Presence of the Living God – I never be shaken. I must put my faith in the Almighty God and leave it there despite my contradictory nature that wants fast answers and immediate gratification. Why? Because God is doing more than I could think or ask. (Ephesians 3:20) I know this to be true. He has done this over and over yet I still do not like to wait. But in my wait time – there is promise much bigger than my current need, want or desire. It is forever. I must be firmly established by faith in Jesus Christ. I must trust the Lord to secure victory in my life. What happens when my faith is tested? What happens when my timeline challenged? What happens when I am shaken naturally? See these yield important facts that can be applied to my life successfully if I pay attention.

 

Psalm 33:10-12 (NLT)

The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes. But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken. What joy for the nation whose God is the Lord, whose people he has chosen as his inheritance.

 

God’s Plan is not challenged or change by our expectation. His Plan and Purpose for our life is predetermined as we are predestined. The mitigating factor is our ability to have faith and trust the perfection of His Plan by faith and wait for it. Obedience is crucial to fulfillment but disobedience does not change God’s Intentional Outcome for our life. It was long time in years gone by that if you stepped out of God’s Perfect Will that you could never go back. You would never attain God’s Best. If this were true, why would Jesus have died to provide grace to God’s People? If we could never live in total agreement with the Lord and obtain right standing then what would be the point? It just doesn’t make sense. The Lord’s Plan for our life is firmly established with a future and hope for all who choose to seek Him wholeheartedly. (Jeremiah 29:11-13) Note: it says nothing about being perfect just giving God your whole heart.

 

Genesis 27:38-40 (NLT)

Esau pleaded, “But do you have only one blessing? Oh my father, bless me, too!” Then Esau broke down and wept. Finally, his father, Isaac, said to him, “You will live away from the richness of the earth, and away from the dew of the heaven above. You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother. But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck.”

 

Hebrews 12:15-17 (NLT)

Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.

Poor Esau. First, he sold his birthright to his brother because he was hungry. Then when he went to gather the meat for his father’s final meal, his brother stole his father’s blessing. Things just went from bad to worse for him. I am not sure why Esau’s life turned out the way it did. No one knows the contents of the heart except its owner and Creator. But I have found something useful in his story as I am struggling with impatience and dissatisfaction today. As his father scrambled to bless his son, he said these words, “But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck” (talking about Jacob). The enemy wants to yoke me in bitterness today. He wants to immerse me in pity. He wants to trip me with discouragement and depression. If he can strip me of my joy, silence my praise, he will thwart my victory. He will cause me to be shaken rather than me shaking off the yokes that he desires to kill my faith and bring death to my dreams. He cannot stop God’s Plan for my life. But his lies can stop me if I am shaken off the firm foundation of faith I have in Jesus Christ.

 

Bitterness comes in many forms and fashions. Each one a yoke on our back or tiny hook in our flesh that keep us from standing on the Word of God by faith until it comes to pass. He whispers maybe that’s not what God said, or not what He meant. Why does he “always” make you suffer these times of waiting? God has forgotten you. He doesn’t care about you. Every single one a lie yet the flesh wants to hold on to it as a means of escape. Our flesh must die for new life to come about. If we abandon God’s Word, His Will or His Way, our flesh gets to live another day but our soul is slowing dying.

 

I Samuel 4:5-7 (NLT)

When all the Israelites saw the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord coming into the camp, their shout of joy was so loud it made the ground shake! “What’s going on?” the Philistines asked. “What’s all the shouting about in the Hebrew camp?” When they were told it was because the Ark of the Lord had arrived, they panicked. “The gods have come into their camp!” they cried. “This is a disaster! We have never had to face anything like this before!

 

The Presence of the Lord used to be in the Ark of the Covenant. It represented the fact that God was with them. When the Presence of the Lord came into the Israelites camp, they began to shout. Not just any shout, but the kind of praise and declaration that made the ground shake. What might happen if we announced the Lord’s Presence the same way? We have no excuse. Greater is He who lives in me than he that is in the world. The Presence of God moved from a box carried outside to all of mankind in the form of God’s Spirit alive and well inside of us. We can shout right where we are, no matter what we are going through, even if we are waiting for God’s Hand to become evident in His Next Move. We do not have to wait but can begin to praise Him right now.

 

What happened next is pivotal to us as believers? When they shouted, the ground shook AND the enemy (the Philistines) panicked. The Lord was with them. They did not know what to do. Fear overtook them. What do you think the enemy will do if we begin to declare God’s Promise for our life? If we shout AMEN to God’s Word, Will and Way for our life? It we sing praises to the Lord in the middle of our situation or covered by circumstance, the enemy will flee. This is the resistance believers are missing today. We must resist the temptation to agree with the enemy and celebrate the Presence of the Lord even while we wait. In the pressing together and shaking down, we give God sacrificial praise because we are about to run over. (Luke 6:38) The secret was whispered by Isaac into Esau’s ear that day, “But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck.” The enemy wants to rope you in, but Jesus is ready to bust you out!

 

Psalm 16:5-8 (NLT)

Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance! I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

 

My daughter and I were riding home from a restaurant last night discussing the promise on which we wait. She said, “Mom, are you sure you heard from God?” Without hesitation, I says, “Yes!” I needed to hear that and am quite convinced it was the Holy Spirit that motivated her to ask. I know the Voice of God. He has spoken to me before. I have had to wait before, too. I know that He promises good things to me. I know that I will see the Goodness of God in the land of the living. I know that He is my inheritance and holds a cup of blessing over my life. I know all these things yet still must shake off the lie of the enemy and the chains of bondage that come with each lie. The Lord guards all that is mine. I must guard my heart and build up my faith. All of God’s Promises are fulfilled with a resounding “Yes” and “Amen” in Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:20) Sometimes I forget that and need a reminder. Maybe just maybe this is why my life is shaken sometimes even if ever so slightly so the insufficiencies in my faith and trust are revealed for even bigger things. So today, I shake off fear, doubt, anxiety and impatience in Jesus Name. I will respond to waiting with love, joy, peace, praise and thanksgiving with the help of my Helper, the Holy Spirit. Today, I will wait and shake off anything that tells me not to any longer. The doors are opening. The chains are falling off. I am free again.

 

Hebrews 12:26-27 (NLT)

When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.

The Persecuted – A Devotion

The Persecuted

Psalm 37:5-6 (NLT)
Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

 

The word persecute has two meanings. The first is to pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment especially because of religious, political or any other belief or social grouping. The second meaning is to annoy, trouble or harass persistently. I dare say that as believers that we will most certainly fall under one category or the other if we are truly living what we believe. A life of faith will draw the attention of not only people but the enemy who makes it his full time job to seek those who he can steal from, kill or destroy. With this in mind, we speak words of faith calling for the justice of God and His Word to come to pass in our life, but sometimes forget that this draws the attention of the enemy of our soul more than ever. As you strive to commit everything you do to the Lord and trust Him – He will most definitely help you to overcome in every situation. But we must remember such a lifestyle will draw enemy fire in our life. Are you in such a situation? No matter how hard to try to live for God, do the right thing, speak life, turn from evil to do good, and be a shining example for Christ, it seems like life gets harder and harder as the attacks of the adversary through people, circumstances and trouble become more and more persistent in your life. Welcome to a life of persecution. We were warned by the Lord. But He is not one to abandon us or leave us powerless without a defense. Our faith can help us overcome the annoying, troubling and persist harassing of the enemy. In fact, we must learn what to do when we are persecuted to not fall into the valley of pride to fight our own battle but rather learn to wait for the Lord. He promises to make my innocence radiate like the dawn and the justice of my cause to shine like the noonday.

The most difficult battles to fight our way through or even “faith” it through are those that just don’t make any sense. Unfair is one thing but illogical is quite another. When you follow all the rules, do the right thing, and live in integrity – yet are still called out as a liar, cheat, dishonest, or worse. Is there purpose in times like these when the only one who seems to see through it all is Jesus? He knows our heart. If you have done the right thing, He knows and this promise is for you. Let’s say you messed up along the way, it is still okay as repentance quickly lines our heart back up with the Lord. He will never let the righteous fall even if they stumbled a bit stepping back in. What’s the point of it all? Well, the enemy wants to take you out because your light in the midst of oppression shines brighter. Jesus came to give us abundant life. When we are humbled by the hardships of life, He blesses us even more.

Matthew 5:11-12 (NLT)

“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

 

The enemy knows our greatest weakness. He is merciless and will use it against God’s Children each and every time. We must take our weakness and insufficiencies surrendering them to Jesus Christ. Why? God blesses us in that moment of the giving of our life by fortifying our faith with confident hope. We can see past today into forever and determine how it will weigh upon it. God promises to bless those who mocked and persecuted. If people lie about you or try all sorts of evil things against you than you will be blessed. How do I know that this applies to me? Are you following Christ? As a believer, you can expect the enemy’s attacks against your life on a personal level. He is trying to convince you that the Blood of Jesus is not powerful enough to overcome in every situation so you will abandon this notion of faith and trust in God to return to doubt and unbelief. To worry and become anxious in fear removes our faith from the Lord and gives the enemy the power to defeat us in life. We should be happy when trying times come because it is yet another opportunity to shine for Christ.

I am presently in the middle of an all-out war in the workplace. I have done the right thing. The policies have been adhered to. There is no doubt in my mind that my co-workers and myself have done nothing wrong. We are the only ones trained in our field who truly understand the job that we do. Yet, we have been falsely accused and unfairly judged by a group of individuals locked in a political battle. I was called in by my administrators and shown the report that will soon be posted publicly. It indicates wrong doing on my part and singles me out by position and title. Despite supplying a plethora of information documenting the truth, the auditors do not want to report the truth. They want to destroy their purported enemy. I am simply collateral damage. I cannot leave my job. It is not time. I must stand in the midst of false accusations, continued harassment and ongoing attacks with only the Lord by my side. My coworkers are helpless. My superiors are stuck. But why me? I have asked the Lord repeatedly. It is senseless. Could it be that the Lord has already turned this around for my own good? It may not be today or even tomorrow. The “truth” may never make front page news but be buried in the end. Faith is not just for the majors in our life like sickness and disease, it is a way of life. Such conditions remind me that I don’t need Jesus sometimes, I need the Lord ALL the time.

Psalm 37:18-19 (NLT)

Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever. They will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough.

 

We are in this world but not of it. It does not matter if I gain the whole world only to lose my soul. To sever ties with my dependence on this world, its people, and its prosperity sometimes requires persecution. Such times reveal our dependency issues and those things other than God that we are connected to. I say this with complete honesty and humility transparently before you. I work for the Lord. But sometimes I forget to look to Him for my blessing. “Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent and they will receive an inheritance that will last forever.” But like a popular gameshow, I must choose the blessing that I am after. Will I chose the short term blessing of personal gratification and the applause of others? Or will I decide to let the Lord decide the measure of my return? Ooh, how we all struggle in this area whether we admit it or not. I am taking the persecution against me personally. I am weighing it heavily professionally. But ultimately if the prosperity of God is my goal, I have to let it go. I have to decide that His Promise is what I am after rather than prideful fulfillment.

You will not be disgraced by these people. They cannot take your life but create an avenue for the Lord to change you for the better. Will you allow it? Those who choose to believe no matter how difficult and hard things get that you are blessed will do more than survive but will thrive to the Glory of God. The situation creates attention and others begin to look at us in either pity, compassion, or sometimes pride and arrogance. Either way, this persecution you are going through will certainly get others looking at you while living under the spotlight. We are called to be the Light of the World. See the connection. This time of trouble brings you out of obscurity and gives us the opportunity to be a beacon on a hill for others to see the Glory of God because He loves us so and flock to it. This, of course, depends on how we endure such times of testing. Will it bring honor to the Lord, or dishonor His Sacrifice and disarm His Power in your life? It is completely up to us what we choose to make of this bitter time and bad situation. Just think of Job, he probably never would have lived a life of significance outside of his hardship. He remained faithful to God through it all. He was blessed double for his trouble and remains an encouragement to others through all generations.

Psalm 37:23-25 (NLT)

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.

Persecution is the pressure point that pushes the Light of His Love in our heart out for public display. We can evaluate the contents of our heart by what comes out of our mouth during the test. If we truly believe that it is the Lord who orders our steps and that He delights in every detail of our life, then we know that Romans 8:28 is true and a work in progress in our life. The Lord is turning every detail for our good even this one. I have stumbled in this situation as it has made me angry. I feel violated. There doesn’t seem to be any justice and the wicked appear to be gaining ground. But the Lord has promised that He will never leave me. He is holding my hand so that I will not fall in this time of testing. The Lord will not abandon me or leave me to my own resources but instead I will prosper under pressure. Commitment of our entire life to Jesus plants seeds of righteousness that are sometimes (often) watered by our tears. When the pressure of persecution is applied to our life, it causes them to begin to sprout into blessing because we refuse to leave the field.

2 Samuel 23:11-12 (NLT)

Next in rank was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. One time the Philistines gathered at Lehi and attacked the Israelites in a field full of lentils. The Israelite army fled, but Shammah held his ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.

 

One of David’s mightiest warriors was a man named Shammah. Have you heard of him? Yeah, me either until our pastor introduced him about a month ago in a message. Shammah was locked in a battle with the Philistines (the giants) in the middle of a lentil field. The Israelite army fled but Shammah held his position until the battle was over. The Lord brought Him great victory. Will you stand your ground today? In the midst of a battle is when true character and commitment is revealed. You must decide if what you after is worth fighting for. My faith is worth fighting for. I will endure persecution to be the Light that shines in the darkness for others to see. Rather than focusing on the enemy, I must focus on me. Building my faith by reading, studying and meditating on His Word rather than then accusations of the enemy. I must commit my entire life – body, mind and spirit to the Lord and make sure to keep that connection intact even if it means sacrificing every ounce of my pride. (It will!) Unless the Lord tells me to move, I must hold my position of faith and confident hope until He comes. He will make my life shine out the Light of His Love in this situation if I just hang on until He works out every detail for my good.

Psalm 37:34-37 (NLT)

Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you by giving you the land. You will see the wicked destroyed. I have seen wicked and ruthless people flourishing like a tree in its native soil. But when I looked again, they were gone! Though I searched for them, I could not find them! Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.

I want what God has planned for my life. I want the future and hope that is promised those who seek Him wholeheartedly. (Jeremiah 29:11-13) If you feel the same way, I encourage you to read Psalm 37 today. It puts your life and those who come against you in their proper place. You have only one enemy. Be sure that he maintains his identity in your life and pray for those who he is using mercilessly to come against you. This is vitally important as it will open the gateway of blessing as it did for Job. This too shall pass. I will say it again. This too shall pass. That which has come against you may seem endless and overwhelming but it will end because Jesus has overcome every problem we have. Choose the fruit of His Spirit over any root of bitterness that is trying to creep into your life and suffocate your heart. Those who come against you are under attack as well. The enemy you face is always the same. Let the Lord give you wisdom and understanding so you will know what do next time. Stop talking about it and pray about it. Worthless talk and endless chatter fill the enemy with new ideas and ways to get inside your head. We reveal our position in careless words. Speak the Word of God over your life. Trust the Lord. Stop fighting for your cause and invest your energy in faith in God. He is faithful. He is good! He loves you! You may be the persecuted today but if you will just hold on it will produce prosperity tomorrow!

Psalm 37:1-4 (NLT)

Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither. Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.