Life Without Limitation

Life without Limitation

Ephesians 3:20-21 (AMP) Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.

When the New Year rolled around this year, it was not met with the same enthusiasm that it usually is for me. I love the calendar roll of fresh pages with new days filled with opportunity and potential. There would be no resolutions. I didn’t join the gym. This is not the norm for me. It immediately caused a gut check. We did not do the Daniel Fast. Oh my goodness, I can hear the huge intake of breath of those who engage it religiously since it became a “thing” in the church. The one thing I did do was put Ephesians 3:20 on the “wallpaper” of my phone so every time I pick it up – it illuminates before me. It must be the Holy Spirit who picked the verse because I have no idea why or how it became the verse for 2017 – but it is.

I will try to say this as gently as possible and it is a truth that many church folks have a really difficult time understanding or even agreeing with but when our relationship becomes traditional, routine driven, and a habit it is in danger of becoming religious versus relational. My relationship with Jesus Christ is not regulated or ruled by the things that I do or do not do but completely and 100% reliant on His Grace and my ability to accept His Love and Mercy each day. Nothing I do is worthy of all that He has done for me. However, what I have finally decided in this third month of the year is that my life has been limited. There are some areas of my existence that I have not fully committed and entrusted to Jesus Christ. Oh please, don’t judge me or decide that I have some big secret. We all have hidden areas and secret places of limitation in our heart and mind when it comes to the love and power of Jesus Christ for our life. Otherwise, every church including every member would be experiencing resurrection power, miracles, signs and wonders in every facet of their life. There is always more of Him for the part of me that is willing to bow down and give Jesus His Rightful Place.

Bear with me today, as I believe this Word is for me. I hope that as I share it transparently it will illuminate an area of limitation in your life so that the Love of God will bust through it and an outpouring of His Power will manifest in your new life in Christ. I think sometimes we expect our life in Christ to be like a bottle of carbonated soda. Sometimes it is, we get shaken up real good and explode for the moment but then the next day life is flat and tasteless. God has given us living water to flow through us. Have you ever shaken up a water bottle? Yep, nothing. It doesn’t get all worked up and shoot out of the bottle everywhere. It also doesn’t make a mess either. Water is consistently pure. It is always the same. You can only adjust the temperature but other than that it is committed to consistency. Maybe that is what this year is doing in me, removing some of the emotion and enthusiastic zeal to be replaced by a supernatural and miraculous life of confident hope that leads to consistent superabundance in my life. Lord, be it unto me.

To elaborate:

Ephesians 3:14-19 (AMP) For this reason [grasping the greatness of this plan by which Jews and Gentiles are joined together in Christ] I bow my knees [in reverence] before the Father [of our Lord Jesus Christ], from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name [God—the first and ultimate Father]. May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality], so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love, be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love]; and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself].

My daughters and I were discussing an upcoming youth challenge posed by their youth pastor. They will be instructed regarding sharing their testimony and then given the opportunity to do so at the local Wal-Mart. My girls do not know a life outside of church or belief in Jesus Christ. They were born in church, taken to church, drug to church and now go to church their whole life. One of them confided that she doesn’t remember a time of not knowing Jesus – praise God. My heart as a mother is full. However, when it comes to sharing her life with others. What will she tell them? She has little to no experience to compare her new life to her old life to. She has been saved and baptized. It is all that she knows. Jesus Christ is a reality not a revelation to her. Our youngest daughter concurred that she knows she asked Jesus to be her Savior and Lord on my birthday when she was very young. She knows what it means to be saved. She understands the Holy Spirit but giving such a message to someone who has experienced something completely different seems to be impossible to them. All three of our girls have been challenged when engaging with others who have lived a different life with very different experiences.

Let’s flip the script for a moment, I have experienced life from a different perspective. I know what lost looks like. I have traveled the wilderness. I have made countless mistakes that were once regrets until redeemed by the Love and Grace of Jesus Christ was fully accepted. I have had the opportunity to share my experience with many people and it is easy. I have experienced Jesus Christ and His Power in my life so I know it is real and valid. The more that we experience the Love of God fully consummated in our life by faith and confident hope that produces supernatural and extraordinary details the easier it is to share this Gospel and be a light to the world. This is and always will be part of our purpose and calling in this world to share a real God and relevant Jesus to the lost and dying in darkness.

I must experience God at every level and Christ completely through me to be a relevant and accurate witness. To be the kind of Christian who is ready in season and out of season to share the Message of God’s Great Love. My relationship with Jesus Christ must be real. It cannot be a routine that I follow or rules that I adhere to. It must be a transparent open book that all can read and understand. It is a love story. It is a miraculous account of a limited life that became filled with unlimited power. My life must live it out to make it a best-seller sought after by others on display for all to see.

For this reason [grasping the greatness of this plan by which Jews and Gentiles are joined together in Christ] I bow my knees [in reverence] before the Father [of our Lord Jesus Christ],” The purpose for my existence and the reason I am alive is to be a Child of God. To come back to the Father by Way of Jesus Christ and take my place in God’s Family once again. His Grace is more than sufficient for me. How many times though have I ignored the Grace of God thinking that the Lord was calling me to be the strong one? Do be the good person? To be a God-Like Christian rather than a godly woman transmitting God’s Love, Grace and Mercy as it filters through me. See I can pretend like I have it all together, like there are no cares in my world. I can attempt to make it look like I make no mistakes and live a holier-than-thou life. The reality is I am a broken person who Jesus sparked a love affair with and the more I love and trust Him – the more I find that the Light of His Love is revealed through the cracked parts of my life rather than in any religious act I have participated in. God doesn’t need me but I must have Him. For this reason…grasping the greatness of His Plan. (Ephesians 3:14)

It is simple. Really simple. Jeremiah 29:1-13 is the description of this plan, however; the one that makes the difference is this – “The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8) The beginning of an unlimited life starts with three basic steps – “Repentance. Restoration. Revival.” How did I get that from this verse? I must repent and live in love with Jesus. My love for Him alone will produce the right results. Restoration is the family reunion that causes the Love that Jesus gives me, to be reciprocated in life with others who I do not judge but choose to embrace for mercy’s sake. Finally, revival for those who choose to walk with God is to become His Children and establish our birthright again. We have a new life. It is in us and flows from us. Everywhere we walk in step with the Father has the potential of resurrection life. I am only limited by unwillingness to humble my life and follow the Lord.

Where do you walk? Following Jesus is to allow the Greater that is in you to have priority over the less that tends to drive us. Our daughters don’t know a life outside of Jesus Christ because Christ has been in their life always. What if we made it a point to include Jesus in every facet of our life? If every step had purpose and every work of the hand committed to the Lord, I am not talking about selfless martyrdom but to say, “Jesus come with me to work. Lord, have your way in my commute.” Holy Spirit fill the walls of our home. God put your hand on our bank account.” It is in Him we live, move, breathe and exist according to the Word of God. (Acts 17:28) Or do we? Have you ever said, “It is what it is”? What about calling those things into existence that are in Heaven for now? How about “it’s just who I am”? Where is the new creation? The limitations on my life are self-imposed. I have resurrection life and power inside of me applicable to every single step that I take in this life all the way to eternity. I must learn to walk like Enoch who disappeared in the Presence of the Lord.

From whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name [God—the first and ultimate Father]. Having earthly fathers who may or may not have participated in our life creates a false perception of fatherhood when it comes to our Heavenly Father. We place human expectations on a flawless Father based on the unmet expectations of flawed fathers. I have a great dad. He is a good father yet he still makes mistakes and is imperfect. I trust him yet I trust God more. I love and honor my earthly father but I relentlessly pursue right-standing with God my Father. It is absolutely imperative that we come to know, understand, believe and ultimately choose to trust the perfection of God our Father. He is awesomely wonderful. His Love is absolutely without condition. He is wonderful! He is awesome! God is everything our natural father’s wanted to be and even strive to become – God is all that and more. To access Him by Way of Jesus Christ and live in His Presence is absolute proof of belief. Faith must be evidenced by trust. Do you trust God today? Do you really trust Him? If you do, then your life will become supernatural. You will not experience fear, worry, care, anxiety or doubt when it comes to any and all lifetime situations. His Power will be manifested in you. If you do fear, worry, feel anxious or doubt, hang on…there is more.

“May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality], so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love, be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love]…” Grace is defined as God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. God is ready to grant you the riches of His Glory. It is not to His Glory that His Children eat from the scraps beneath the table but sit and share meals with Him. To commune with Him. Stop it. Don’t think about communion with a tiny juice cup and sliver of a horrible tasting wafer. No, God wants to prepare a table in the presence of your enemies and demonstrate the extravagance of His Great Love. We are too busy fighting defeated foes than celebrating His Victory. God wants to live your life with you. He wants His Power to manifest His Presence in EVERY SINGLE AREA, EVERY SINGLE DAY WITHOUT A SINGLE EXCEPTION. All caps. Yes, I am shouting at you. Every area of our life should be according to His Riches in Glory. From the inside out, as our soul prospers our health, finances, influence and favor will, too. Where we sow the Word in our life, we will reap every blessing, promise and benefit it contains. The problem is not in God’s Capacity to love and care for us but in our ability to comprehend His Love. It is unlimited. Unlimited means not limited, unrestricted, and unconfined. It is boundless, infinite and vast. God’s love is unlimited and without qualification, exception and unconditional. God loves you period. The only way to perceive the boundaries (or lack there of) of God’s Love is to attempt to find them. The more I engage in grounding and rooting my faith in the Love of God demonstrated in Jesus Christ the less I will worry about the problems, situations, conditions and inconveniences of this life highly anticipating what God will do as He works good out of every detail. (Romans 8:28) God is perfecting all that concerns His Children. (Psalm 138:8) When I yoke my life to Christ and He goes where I go and I go where He goes, it will always challenge me to go deeper in God’s Presence and push the boundaries of His Love.

And [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself].” God’s Love increases the capacity of my life. If I choose to engage in this love affair with Jesus “practically” through personal experience suddenly the God of my ancestors becomes My Lord, My God. We have not because we ask not. We do not believe that God’s Love is for us. The miracles of old are relevant. God’s Word is not logical outside of faith. But with faith all things impossible are now probable. The God of after life must be the God of our natural life, too. The Goodness of God is for the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13) His Unfailing Love, His Mercy when I mess up and Goodness pursues me when? All the days of my life… (Psalm 23:6) All these words found in the Word are empowered by faith in the Word wrapped in flesh – Jesus Christ. They leap to life off the pages when faith is applied. Confident hope releases resurrection power now rather than reserving it for later. Rather than the mentality of “Jesus if you had been here” – we live because Jesus is here with us and in us. I am challenged to release all limitation in my life today by applying God’s Word by faith and believing God at His Word for EVERY area of my life not just those defined by desperation or hinting of death. To make God’s Word the reality that I experience every single day in every single way. This will be the fuel that sets the Light of my life from a small candle flickering in the wind to an all-consuming fire that drives darkness away. I am called to be the Light of the World. It’s time to light this baby up.

The Fullness of God. What does it look like? Is your life extraordinary? Have you experienced moves and waves of God unexplainable naturally but supernaturally defined? If not, you will. If you decide that God’s Love is definitely for you. If you desire it enough to pursue it, yoking your life to Jesus Christ. You will find His Plan, His Purpose and yes, even His Prosperity in every single element of your life. He is a Good Father. Do not sell your birthright for a single meal like Esau. Esau had a vast inheritance. He gave it all up to satisfy a hunger that was temporary. Hear me today as God is speaking to me, I believe He is saying it to you, “Stop settling.” Just because you don’t deserve the current blessings and benefits of God already proven in your life. Just because it is hard to believe God would do more and more when you realize you cannot stop doing what you do – choose to believe anyway. God is ready to do more than you can think or ask, dream or desire – all you must do is choose to accept His Love. (Period.) When I married my husband, there were things that immediately changed. I desired no one else. I pursued no one else. I wanted only to be His Wife forever. Over the years, there are things that we both have changed and grown in to maintain our relationship, He has never forced me to but I choose to because I love him. I want to be his wife. I want a strong marriage that lasts until death do us part. It is by choice. Love is a choice. To choose Jesus as our Savior and make Him Lord is a love choice. It is not by force. With this in mind, Jesus is not going to force you to live in His Presence or take everything He offers you as a part of your partnership. You have to want it, accept it, apply it and desire it, too. We have hidden potential, purpose and promise that only God can bring to pass. My life is unlimited unless I impose limits marked by disbelief, doubt and other desires.

Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.

So back to my verse for 2017, I believe for me that the Lord is pressing me to start believing practically for the superabundance in all areas of my life not just the impossible ones. I know that God is a healer. I know that He gives us the desires of our heart. I have experienced God in so many ways that my life is far more blessed than I ever thought possible. I cannot stop here and have the fullness of God intended for my life. I must continue to press the boundaries of my belief and label each step with purpose as I walk through life until I disappear and all people see is the Christ in me. The life of Enoch is the life for me. When God’s Glory surrounds us completely and all people see when they see us is Light. Light of Love too amazing to not engage in. To complete to not step into. To real to ever forget. Life without limitation. This is the life for me.

Acts 17:26-28 (AMP) And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands and territories. This was so that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grasp for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and exist [that is, in Him we actually have our being], as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’

To All the Strong Ones

Silhouette of a Boy Showing Arm Muscles Strength

Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT) Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Well I did it! I made it over a major obstacle yesterday. One I have not cleared in years. It was not the current squat challenge I embarked on in February. I can finally walk and not resemble a toddler on new legs. Yes, I downed the gallon of water. I am absolutely floating. Missing caffeine a little (a lot) but the 9:00 PM bedtime does wonders for that if only my kids would keep it down. It has been a date circled on the calendar in ominous red for about three months. I finally made it to the dentist. (Insert applause.) I am not scared of many things. In fact, the only two things that come to mind are snakes and the dreaded dentist. If I were the first woman created, there would not have been incident in the garden because when the snake came slithering up to me – I would have been long gone. When the dentist called back in December to yet again schedule an appointment after five long years and my youngest calling me a hypocrite (I make them go religiously) – I agreed to a date and time.

Call it my kryptonite if you will but when it comes to the dentist, my heart races. My mouth goes dry. I literally break into a sweat driving over. I have to force myself to take a seat and wait. The dentist has a little sticker on my chart that indicates I have “white coat” syndrome. I share all this to set the scene yesterday in vivid detail. I walked into the Presence of God and prayed for peace and calm over my restless emotions and reactive body. Created a prayer circle of family and friends. I want to overcome this debilitating feeling that is straight from the enemy. It started years ago. We did not go to the dentist regularly as kids. After multiple pregnancies back to back my teeth needed some desperate attention. I scheduled an appointment. The cleaning and consultation went fine. The fillings were another story. Ever since then, I have avoided the dentists at all costs. However, I hate fear. It reminds me that I lack faith and trust in that area even something as simple as the dentist hence this long-winded story to get to my point.

When I arrived yesterday, the office was backed up. Because of my “little problem” they usually whisk me back before I change my mind. They apologized greatly. I canceled my last appointment because it was our son’s first week of treatment after his cancer diagnosis. They all wanted to ask so I quickly shared his miraculous story. My heart slowed down a bit as I could tell of my Father’s Love and Care for our kid. It opened the door of conversation with my new hygienist. She is a Christian, too. So while she worked in my mouth, she shared bits and pieces of her family and faith. She told me the story of her husband’s adoption, and as she shared it came to her mother-in-law’s faith. In the middle of the story, I heard the words that have changed everything time and time again in my walk with Jesus. “Do you trust Me?” I immediately relaxed in the chair. I do trust Jesus. Sometimes, I forget that fear doesn’t mean I lack faith. Weakness is only a lack of human strength but in no way nullifies the Power of God at work in me but rather facilitates a full-takeover. When I doubt, God always offers me a change to believe again. It usually comes in the form of the question – “do you trust Me?”

“Have you never heard? Have you never understood?” Opportunities to trust the Lord come wrapped in packages labeled fear, weakness, and ignorance. Fear allows us to experience faith when turning to the Father for refuge and security. Weakness gives us the place for God’s Power to work fully in our life. Ignorance demands knowledge to be resolved creating a hunger for the Word of God. Each one of these challenges show us that the Lord is the everlasting God. Ready, willing and able to turn doubt and insecurity into instant belief. He never grows weak or weary ready to tackle these things that compromise righteousness. No one can measure the depths of His Great Understanding that creates pathways to appointments that give us the chance to trust Him. Your footsteps are ordered by the Lord, therefore He knows exactly where you are headed. He has already gone before you. He comes in behind you, too. Psalm 23 is the perfect example of the reality of our walk with God. It is not the absence of opposition but the promise that while walking with Him there is nothing to fear and everything to gain according to His Word.

Philippians 4:12-13 (NLT)  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. 

It is human pride that tells us to be strong. The truth is grace only is operational in our inability. It is weakness that allows the Lord to infuse our life with His Power – otherwise they work in direct opposition. Trust is the catalyst for God’s Power to be in full effect. Do you trust the Lord today? It is impossible to tell until it is no longer possible for you to produce the desired outcome. Challenges, tests and trials are absolutely necessary to allow us the opportunity to trust the Lord and receive all His Power offers in our life. His Promises arise from the ashes of pride when His Power fully consumes my doubt and fear. Do you believe God’s Grace is enough? Is it sufficient? Paul begged God to take the “thorn from his flesh” three times. However, in the end, he determined that God’s Grace was made perfect in his complete weakness so Paul gave God the opportunity to be His Strength. (2 Corinthians 12)

This is evident in Paul’s many letters of encouragement to the church. This once powerful, strong arm of religion was reduced to a prisoner for the Love of Jesus Christ. All his human strength drained and refilled with the Goodness and Grace of God’s Unfailing Love. This became Paul’s provision and source of strength independent of his current condition or circumstances. Christ was enough. He is enough. We must step down or fall down in order to see that God’s Power in us is greater than anything mustered in my personal strength or ability. This comes at the end of me. This is the point when I am on my knees crawling to the finish line of faith.

Proverbs 3:5-8 (NLT) Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.

I don’t understand all the details of my life. I have a list created for the moment I meet the Lord of all the things in my life that just don’t add up. I am quite certain that when that day comes most will be resolved as I continue to see each one turn for my good and His Glory. It just takes some time. To trust in the Lord with all my heart includes those unresolved matters. Do not depend on your own understanding. Can I expound on this a bit? My understanding is based on my five senses and wrapped up in my emotions. It is a self-based, pride-driven operation. My perspective is based on what I can see around me not what is in the future. I was created by God to be a masterpiece. I cannot judge the finished product by what my life looks like today. His Plan is perfect with a future and hope that is impossible to comprehend in my current state. I cannot see the forest for the trees some days, but the Lord has a drone’s eye view taking in the whole picture all of the time. If I make choices based on the here and now, I compromise my future with delays and distractions. I must learn to put my trust in the Lord solely by faith. I must learn to live and walk by faith and not my current perception of life as I see it, know it or think it is.

Psalm 18:28-36 (NLT) In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall. God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.

“In Your Strength Lord” is the secret to our success as believers. God is giving us daily opportunities to trust Him that challenge the weak areas of our faith. It may not feel like an opportunity but rather just another test, trial or temptation. If you seek the Lord in this thing, His Question is always the same – “Do you trust Me?” I have seen great and mighty miracles as a result of my weak attempts to trust the Lord. At the end of such challenges, I discover that the mustard seed of faith hidden in my heart grows a tiny bit more only to reveal more and more of my life yet surrendered to the Power of God. I am not the strong one in my life. I may appear strong person to the watching world and dependency put in that quality. However, the truth is that I am weak and He is strong. The very thing that allows me to walk with others shoulder to shoulder and share their burdens is not me. It is the Christ in me. I have yoked my life to Jesus Christ. So when I am given the opportunity to do life with other people even the messy parts, He is able to be demonstrate His Strength in my weakness so I can be a light to them. The only good thing about me is the Lord. The only hope I have to offer you is Jesus Christ. I can introduce you to the One who knew me and still thought I was to die for. But do not think for a moment, I am the strong one. I gave that up to have His Power work in me.

Proverbs 24:10 (NLT) If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.

These simple words of truth will set someone free today. Brokenness makes us usable to God. Outside of failure and fear, it is impossible to know the depths of God’s Unfailing Love and Unfathomable Grace. To accept these two precious promises, one must come to the end of self completely. Otherwise, we get in the way. Every time. Our pride will never accept weakness as an option. Therefore, we must humble ourselves before the Lord which is totally contradictory to human nature or modern culture. If you fail under pressure, then you know your strength is too small. You are not supposed to be the strong one. You are supposed to experience weakness in order to full take on the Power of God. It will consume you. It will not force you. But the moment you are on your knees unable to take another step with your arm outstretched to Jesus, He will ask you just one question, “Do you trust Me?” When you have tried everything and are at a complete loss at the end of all understanding, and cry out to Him with your last whisper – the Lord will respond the same way – “Do you trust Me?” It is the moment you say, “Yes” even if it takes all the strength you have left and beyond your understanding but wholehearted that He makes all things possible simply because you believe.

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” What if the very thing keeping us from experiencing the Power of God is our natural strength? Could it be our inability to surrender control and let go that is keeping us from experiencing the Promises of God? What if the thing keeping you do is your hands gripping the ground rather than raised in praise to the Lover of Your Soul in surrender? The stronger you are the longer it takes to experience the Power of God because you can outlast most. However, you will one day come to a place when you cannot withstand the pressure. You will not be able to make it through. You will run out of options. Things will be deemed impossible. It is in that moment of opportunity that the Lord will whisper to you – “Do you trust me?” What will be your response?

Faith will dictate your answer. Hope will determine your decision. Why not begin the process of release today with some of the burdens you have been carrying? What about those cares and concerns you are juggling? How about just taking your whole life and all its contents before the Lord and asking Him to examine it? To show you the areas that need more faith. Here’s a hint – they are labeled fears. Doubt must be drowned in belief. Ignorance filled with knowledge becomes wisdom. Lies are undone by the Truth. It is in the complete surrender of control and power over our own life that allows His Strength to work perfectly through us. When I am weak, I become strong.

Psalm 121 (NLT) I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

 

Time to Activate

time-to-activate

2 Corinthians 1:20-22 (NLT) For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. 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 email was tempting. The newest IPhone at a great price. It was so enticing that I opened it surely too good to be true. It all checked out. Up to this point, I had not been able to decide on a Christmas gift up to this point. I consulted my technology team (hence my daughters) who approved and encouraged me to act. I have an extremely difficult time doing things for myself. It is easy to gift good gifts to my family and friends. However, I do not like doing for me. I didn’t act right away but thought it best to sleep on it. The next morning, I got another email – “Hey, did you leave something in your cart?” After way too much deliberation and too much time thinking about a dumb cellphone made the decision and pushed the button.

A couple days later, I received the brand new shiny rose gold phone. Much larger than my old one, I carefully put it back in the box to await the protective case I had also ordered to arrive. Boxing it up carefully, I put it on my dresser. Another couple of days passed by and the case arrived, I put it in the box with my new gift. The box is still sitting on my dresser. I have not activated the new device even though everything I need to do so is right there. What’s wrong with me? I can psychoanalyze this all day long. I do not feel worthy of something so awesome. I do not want to take the time to go through the steps. I am afraid that I might be disappointed if I run into trouble.

God has given me many promises for my life. Promises that are not currently active in my life. Jesus Christ made every single gift and promise available to me through His Grace. When He died on the Cross, Jesus said, “It is finished.” When I finished wrapping all the gifts, it is with great satisfaction that I look at the tree with all its treasures for our family. The blessings of God evident in our life in a snapshot. I wonder if Jesus from His Place next to God looks at us wondering why we do not open and activate all the gifts given to us directly when He finished His Work on the Cross. What if on Christmas morning our children did not rush out of bed to open their gifts? What if they didn’t like them or chose not to use them? How would you feel? I would feel like I was taken for granted and my hard work wasted. Wouldn’t you? Does the Lord?

James 1:16-18 (NLT) So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

I love Christmas but my favorite is New Years. The chance to start over with a brand new year, make new commitments, to start fresh and all the hope attached to change. I love it. About mid-December each year, I begin to look past the coming holiday to the New Year. It is with such a mindset I do not look to make resolutions but seek divine revelation from the Lord. I want more of Him this year. I want to see the Promises laid on my heart so long ago come to pass. With this in mind and spoken in my prayer time a lot right now, the Lord laid the word “activate” on my heart today.

To activate means to make active or cause to function. In physics, it means to excite. Chemistry uses the word to refer to the hastening of a process or to make it begin to work. For those in the military, it is to be stationed or placed in position. All these things speak to me today for the coming year. Are there gifts and promises in my life that are simply not activated? Yes and amen. Jesus is yelling, shouting and jumping up and down (in a dignified godly manner, of course). He is cheering me on! Saying – “just do it”, “go for it” and “what are you waiting for.” See so many times we don’t see the potential of God’s Promise around us because we are too busy looking at ourselves with every flaw and imperfection listing all the reasons why it cannot and will not come to pass. What if the only thing keep you from fully achieving God’s Purpose for your life is that you simply refuse to activate the Gift within you? It is not only possible, but highly probable.

Why? Why me? Why now? What makes me so special that God would give me such good and perfect gifts? We are His Prized Possession. It really doesn’t matter how one perceives self but how we respond to God’s evaluation of us. Our faith is not in our personal ability or attributes but the Living God who is in us making all things possible. We are our biggest critics. No one beats us with a bigger bat. No one can inspect us any closer than we examine ourselves. What does all of this do? Lower our expectation. Raising fear and doubt. My worth is not based on my physical, mental or natural ability but solely on Jesus Christ inside of me. The gift of salvation activates every other gift in us when Jesus becomes our Savior and Lord. There is no other reason than I am a Child of God.

2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NLT) 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.

Activating this phone has opened a whole new revelation in my life. In preparation, I realized that my old phone with all its contacts and photos has not been backed up since April of this year. So I plugged it into the computer and downloaded all the new software. I just got a message in order to fully activate the new information that I must restart my computer. I pushed the “not now” button. The minute I did, I could feel the Holy Spirit tug on my heart. How many times do I put off time with God? Doing what He says? Seeking His Direction? How many gifts are left unopened in my life while I settle for lesser more comfortable things? Change is not comfortable or convenient but completely necessary to move the past into the future.

As I prepare for the New Year, my word for the coming year is “activate”. It is my goal to look within my heart for all the hidden things that I am holding on to which need to be surrendered by faith to have the hope that is reserved for me. God has blessed my life already so much that I feel unworthy and undeserving but that does not change the fact that He has blessings and promises yet to be filled. I must “fan into flames the spiritual gift God” has given me. All of them. Not just the ones that I am comfortably in control of but also those that take me out of my comfort zone with bold confidence that He who has promised is able. God did not give me a “spirit of fear and timidity” so if it exists in my life it is not of God but a ploy of the enemy in a vain attempt to keep me from assuming my position. Finally, Jesus gave me the Holy Spirit to be my helper. It is the Spirit of God within me that activates “power, love and self-discipline.” I must acknowledge His Spirit and depend on Him fully to step boldly into God’s Gifts and Promises all ready for me. It is up to me if 2017 will be just like 2016 or if I will activate all that God has for me. Will I function according to His Word and His Will? Will I be excited about the Lord? Will I hasten the process and allow the Lord to work in me through complete submission and full surrender? Finally will I take my position in the Kingdom of God and live like His Child? It is up to me. It is time to activate.

2 Peter 3:8-9 (NLT) But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 

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.

 

 

 

Why Am I Surprised

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the Eye of the Storm

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Proverbs 10:25 (NLT) When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation.

My family thrives on impeccable timing so it was no surprise that my mother’s open heart surgery would coincide with a Category 4 hurricane bearing down on the coast. All went well during the procedure, however; now in the recovery process the hospital is on lockdown. No one comes in or goes out until the danger is gone. My dad and elderly great aunt are hunkered down at home. I am across the state with nothing but a gentle breeze and, of course, unprecedented news coverage to remind me that there is a storm raging. Some folks have decided to ride it out either relying on faith or fate – they will not evacuate despite repeated attempts by local authorities to move them inland. One report quoted a woman referring to the storm as “it was just their turn.” I don’t believe that storms, trials and troubles are a matter of our number coming up or some random drawing like the lottery. I believe that there is purpose and meaning in every moment of our life waiting to be discovered by faith.

“When the storms of life come…” We will encounter inclement weather in life naturally and supernaturally. Times when it just seems there is no relief from the pounding pressure of life. It is just how it goes. Take heart! God is in complete control. His Sovereign Power has not and will not be yielded to another. Our ability to trust the Lord is the only challenge faced in the midst of such times. When the wind swirls around us, the waves kick up in the sea, and the storm clouds gather overhead with booming thunder and crashing lightning threatening our resolve. Where will we run to? Have we found refuge? The natural choices made during a disaster determine our physical safety. How do we protect our heart and mind spiritually to endure such times.

Luke 6:46-49 (NLT)  “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote in The Rainy Day, “Be still, sad heart, and cease repining; Behind the clouds is the sun still shining; Thy fate is the common fate of all, Into each life some rain must fall, Some days must be dark and dreary.” Into each life some rain must fall. We all experience stormy seasons when our life is turned upside down and it just won’t stop raining. Storms test the foundation of our life and the soundness of the structure in which refuge is sought. I believe that there is meaning and purpose in every hardship and trial of life attributed to this purpose.

“But the godly have a lasting foundation…” Through testing and trials – it seems I have had the “opportunity” to transition my life to a foundation of faith. When it seemed like the storm would surely overtake me and I would drown in my sorrow, it was the foundation called faith that became my only hope. I cannot help but wonder if that is what the “good” that God causes everything to work together for when we are called according to His Purpose. (Romans 8:28) My mother discovered that her aortic valve was 100% blocked just over one week ago. Her aortic valve nonfunctioning. BUT GOD…had provided a tiny vessel to bypass the blockage until it was discovered and to prevent damage to her heart in its insufficiency. Call it coincidence, but I know it was the Lord. At the same time, my mother and father’s small group have been doing a Bible study on trusting God. Coincidence, I don’t think so. Now comes the test. My mom went into her surgery totally trusting the Lord as evidenced by the lack of somberness going in. In fact, my family laughed on the verge of tears right up until she was wheeled back. So far so good, right? Surgery went off without a hitch. Seven hours later, she was in recovery doing well. Praise the Lord! My sister and I spent the night with her. The foundation seems pretty sound. She was in excellent spirits the second day, concerned mostly about the storm coming inland. It is all good so far. Last night, mom hit a wall. She is tired of this whole ordeal. I really cannot blame her. It takes the wind, rain and waves to wash away and remove everything that does not require faith from our life to get to the foundation. Storms of life do that. It is the foundation of faith that keeps us anchored when it seems like we might be going under. This is how we endure. This will be the very thing that allows us to come to the Lord with boldness and confidence no matter what life throws at us.

Matthew 8:23-27 (NLT) Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”

We must not take for granted our faith in life. Like storm supplies, they must be inventoried and tested regularly before the storm comes. Faith is essential to please God. Without faith, it is impossible to do so. (Hebrews 11:6) Yet, we try to do so all the time. We substitute service, religion and lip service for genuine faith that refuses to budge until the storm is over and we are safely on the other side. Instead, in the midst of opposition or adverse conditions, most will panic and try to do something naturally when there is only a supernatural solution – it is called faith. It must be the one true foundation of our life in every situation.

The disciples were with Jesus. The storm was wreaking havoc all around, yet Jesus was asleep. The men panicked and woke the Lord up questioning His Care and Concern for them in the midst of the storm. “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Their lack of faith in the Lord was immediately exposed. Though they walked with Him, talked with Him, witnessed every single miracle, and had intimate relationships with Jesus Christ the man, they still did not have faith in Him. Imagine our struggle to have such confidence when it is our mission to “walk by faith and not by sight.”(2 Corinthians 5:7)  We must trust the Lord though we cannot see, feel and touch Him but believe Him just because we know Him. (John 20:29)

Psalm107:28-30 (NLT) “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor!

Driving home in the midst of the evacuation made what usually is a straight shot home, a pilgrimage of sorts. The line of cars, trucks and rvs were endless. People were on the side of the road eating packed lunches and walking their dogs. I was headed home while they were leaving the comforts of theirs wondering if there would be anything left to come home to. My agitation at the delay quickly dissolved remembering just weeks ago, we were the ones in the eye of the storm as it caused massive destruction, power outages, and the link in my own community. I took the time to pray. My heart quickly turned to my mother. Though I cannot do anything to help her physically and she is in excellent medical care, I cannot help but miss her and feel the need to comfort her. I must trust the Lord to heal her body, comfort her soul and encourage her in this process. She told Him that she trusted Him and I must trust the Lord, too.

My first thought this morning was has the storm hit the coast yet. The second was I wonder how mom is. Each day is a test to decide if we will live on a foundation of faith or flounder in worry, fear and doubt. I do trust the Lord. I stand on that decision today knowing that into every life a little rain will fall and sometimes it will come in the form of mighty storms that strip us of all resolve requiring complete trust in the Lord. He is our anchor. Those who fix their heart on the Lord cannot and will not be moved. He is our calm. He creates stillness when others are panicked. Lord, thank you for being a firm foundation. Lord, please protect all those who are in the storm’s path today. Give them comfort and peace in these trying times. Reveal yourself to them so they will find the firm foundation called faith so that hope will be the anchor for their souls.

Hebrews 6:18-19 (NLT) So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. 

Releasing Our Burdens

Releasing Our Burdens

Psalm 37:3-6 (AMP) Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass. And He will make your uprightness and right standing with God go forth as the light, and your justice and right as [the shining sun of] the noonday.

A long time ago, I read this passage in Psalm 37 in the Amplified version and it has stuck in my head for years. Particularly the part in verse 5, “Commit your way to the Lord (roll and repose each care of your load to Him). This is important. It helps the Type A personality people to understand that fervent frenzy for organized, scheduled, and perfect lives is not our downfall. I can hear all the “Martha” girls whispering a quiet “amen”.  I believe that the Lord allows our plans to be interrupted, the way to become blocked, obstacles to appear, and strength to evaporate otherwise how would we ever find the time to trust Him?

Today as I sit at my desk in the quiet of the morning, every moment creates an ache or pain in my body. For the past week or so, I have been preparing for our move in the next month. Cleaning out every space occupied by our “stuff”, eliminating clutter, and trying to get things ready – my mind is still racing but my body is not keeping up. I am clearly not as young as I used to be or in the physical condition that I was a couple years ago. Yet, when I get an idea, plan or purpose and set my mind to it, there is not going back. What if our life in Christ was the same? Once we decided to know Him and pursue Him with the same aggressive attack that causes us to chase our dreams and realize goals. What if?

Those people who survive on compartmentalized lives such as myself will understand how our life is organized in boxes. In the living room that once was a lovely sitting area is now filled with furniture that is for sale or not in use right now along with many of the larger wall decorations now removed and ready for the move. The dining room is not fit for a meal but has carefully stacked boxes of gram’s precious china and a packing station on the buffet. The back porch where our family would gather for meals during summer nights out by the pool now contains the contents of the attic. Sifted through and repacked, it is ready for transport. The family room is empty other than the furniture and television. Everything has been moved in preparation for departure. When that day comes a truck will pull into the driveway and all the contents of our life will be packed into it. Everything in one place. Hmmm… What if we did that with our life in Christ as well…

What if we were willing to take everything we owned, all that we are, every worry, care and burden along with all our responsibilities and placed it all in His Hands… what might happen? So we come back to the definition of “roll and repose”. You and I both know if completely honest that we have yet to achieve full dependency on the Lord and on most days there is little evidence that some trust Him at all. We make compartments in our life and distribute our life accordingly. One marked family. One marked work. One marked church. If we are lucky, there might even be a tiny one marked as “self”. We divvy our life up in such a way that we can deal with it. Yet the Lord invites us to trust Him in all things. To hand over every worry, care and burden into His Most Capable Hands, but our lack of faith won’t allow it and tainted trust prohibits it. If I don’t do it myself, no one else will. The great thing about the Lord is that He knows us. He knows us better than anyone else so when He invites to live in covenant and make the commitment to live for Him that He is more than willing to allow us to “roll and repose” our life. What does this mean?

Though at times, it is possible to dump a load in God’s Hands by succumbing to the weight and gravity of our problem, the Lord desires us to trust Him in all things. My son came by the other night to help me unload a desk from the car. It was a heavy piece of furniture. I warned him as he began to slide it out to be ready. He agreed but I knew he didn’t really believe me. When the weight of the furniture finally began to bear down on him, his expression changed. He felt the heaviness of the burden. So he began to shift the weight around until he could manage it. I had to do the same. The shift of weight distribution is the same concept expressed in “roll and repose”. As the heaviness of life sinks in, we may roll a care or two over to Jesus. We rest for a moment to see if the adjustment helped and then perhaps decide to change positions some more. The Lord knows that our flesh and human nature will not allow us to release every weight or burden instantaneously, but encourages us in these verse to try a little at a time.

Psalm 55:22 (AMP) Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail).

 

Giving our burden to the Lord means releasing the weight of it. The weight is called worry, stress and anxiety. These are the rest robbers of life. These three things will suck life right out of us if not managed properly. The only way to end these deal breakers and dream crushers is to trust the Lord. We trust Jesus using the faith placed in our heart by God during creation. It comes with the package but is usually hidden under the load of life packed on top of it.

Ecclesiastes 3:9-11 (AMP) What profit remains for the worker from his toil? I have seen the painful labor and exertion and miserable business which God has given to the sons of men with which to exercise and busy themselves. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

Repentance is a continual process. This has nothing to do with the debate of once-saved-always-saved but by definition to repent is to turn. I must repent day by day and often moment to moment in order to remain aligned with Jesus in order to follow Him. Each day is a test to trust Him just a little more and discover just a bit more faith in Him. You can work as hard as you want doing good things even God things, but our relationship with Jesus must be the heart of each matter. Our life cannot have several doctrines and agendas according to where we are and what we are doing. Often people have commitments to family, work and church with a long list of do’s and don’ts that bog us down and overshadow our purpose in life.

Can you stop for a moment and say this with me? “God makes everything beautiful in its time.” Who created time, mastered it, and mapped it out? God. Who better to make it happen? No one. Do you believe that God is making something beautiful out of all the broken pieces of your life today? Brokenness is essential to rebuilding and remodeling our life to His Standard as brutal as it can be. He promises to make good of every detail of our life. (Romans 8:28) We must love Him. We must trust Him. God “planted” eternity in our heart. Yet for some reason people think that if the Lord doesn’t do a quick work that He is not real, not here, or not interested in us. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Lord is preparing our heart to be fertile and helping fix our mind so that Eternity will blossom into faith, hope and love. Such a work allows God’s Spirit to produce every promised spiritual fruit in our life that will satisfy our soul.

Matthew 11:28-30 (AMP) Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.

The offer by Jesus still stands…”Come to Me… and I will cause you to rest.” Several years ago, a young woman was hired to fill a position in the office I supervised. The position that she was given highly specialized and according to her resume, she appeared unqualified. At the time, I was a stress monster as not only was I managing three different departments but I was doing this job since the person who did it was abruptly fired. It was handling more than a million dollars of federal aid. Working for the government, when a department or branch closes other areas absorb the staff with the mindset that each person is a voter. At that time, I would work ten or twelve hour days, come home and continue to work at night. I still had a family to care for, chores to do, and the usual responsibilities most people have. I was so stressed that my body was reacting with constant indigestion and chronic bouts with hives. It was terrible but I was successfully getting the job done…right?

Well, then cancer happened to our family. Take the normal, well-organized, highly efficient, and carefully constructed juggling act called an average life and smash it into a million pieces on the ground. I tried for a long time to put it back together the way that it was but the pieces did not fit. The young lady and I both ended up leaving our positions at the school to take new ones. Recently our company needed some contract work done, so we hired her as she turned out to be an excellent, well-skilled employee and one of my closest, dearest friends. It is funny to hear her recount the transformation that occurred before her watching eyes of frenzied, stress monkey to the person I am now. I don’t even really know and understand the peace that I have in life other than to say, “Jesus.”

Jesus wants to take the burden of your life in exchange for a rich, satisfying one. We just don’t want to relinquish control of it. When we cannot bear the load any longer, we bring it to Jesus. Why not try something new? We can daily exchange the pieces if we want to. I can give Him one burden, three worries and twelve cares today and His Response will always be more than I can ask or think of. The Lord desires for us to live in peace and rest trusting Him for everything and with everything that comes with life in general. What am I withholding? It is the very thing that is stealing my joy and taking my peace.

I John 5:1-5 (AMP) Everyone who believes (adheres to, trusts, and relies on the fact) that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah) is a born-again child of God; and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of Him (His offspring). By this we come to know (recognize and understand) that we love the children of God: when we love God and obey His commands (orders, charges) [when we keep His ordinances and are mindful of His precepts and His teaching]. For the [true] love of God is this: that we do His commands [keep His ordinances and are mindful of His precepts and teaching]. And these orders of His are not irksome (burdensome, oppressive, or grievous). For whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith. Who is it that is victorious over [that conquers] the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on that fact]?

When our son was declared in remission, I came back and tried to regain a normal life. The life that I had before he became sick and I was gone all the time. Before the shock of my life shook me to the core of my soul, I wanted “that” life. When the worry lines were not so evident, and naivety about the brevity of life allowed me to life without regard. I thought that is what I wanted again. The Lord refused to let me have it. He wanted better for me. Jesus died for us to have a victorious, overcoming, powerful and peaceful life. He offers to take our worries, cares and burdens if we will only let it go for the easy yoke of salvation and life in His Presence. He has provided everything we need by His Divine Power for us to live a godly life and god-like existence but we are not always convinced. Holding tightly to meaningless things, and insisting on doing it our way – there are times when stress, worry and anxiety take over. We are overburdened and become crushed beneath the weight. It doesn’t have to be this way.

We can come to Jesus each day. Giving Him a little more real estate in our heart and head. By by turning one more burden over to Him, the Lord will gladly except that detail and make good out of it. Running out of strength? His Grace is enough and will carry you through. Don’t you love Jesus! A Savior so perfect that even in our rebellion and disobedience seeks to ease our burden and carry our load. See that’s what it is when we decide to take responsibilities of bits and pieces of our life refusing to submit all our life and surrender all our heart to the Lord. Any part of our life, mind, soul and body not giving to Christ remains subject to the enemy. Think about that for a moment.

Whatever we fail to trust the Lord with becomes the enemy’s target. Your faith repulses the devil so he will use the un-surrendered area in us to gain access to the once secure areas of our life. Once inside, he looks for those things that he can destroy in us especially faith, hope and love. He does it with doubt, worry, fear, stress and anxiety that will seep into the areas of growth killing our seed before it is able to grow. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. We must allow Christ to take over every facet of our life to lead us to victory. You have victory today in every area of your life given to the Lord. Start small and you will finish big. You will win. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to “strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight)” in our life. Pick one or two or all of them, and give your burden to Jesus.

There is an old hymn called Count Your Blessings. I wonder what happens if we change the lyrics just a bit to Release Your Burden…

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Release your burdens, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Release your burdens, name them one by one, Release your burdens, see what God hath done!
Release your burdens, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Release your burdens, every doubt will fly, and you will keep singing as the days go by.

My apologies to Mr. Johnston Oatman, Jr. who wrote this old hymn. Please forgive me for taking such liberties with this God-inspired work. Perhaps, maybe just maybe though, if we released our burdens than we would realize our blessing and begin to count them one by one instead. Just a thought…

I Peter 5:6-8 (AMP)  Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.

Healthy Fear

Healthy Fear

Psalm 112:6-8 (NIV) Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.

 

Didn’t see it coming. Like a near miss in speeding traffic, the conversation turned from minor illness or virus to the something that I loathe. Our daughter has been battling a common virus that many of our friends and family have been experiencing. Sore throat, weakness and congestion for a few days. For her, it was lingering and even getting worse. So I scheduled her a doctor’s appointment just to make sure in her compromised immunity, she had not caught a secondary illness. After years of practically living at the oncologist and camped in the hospital waiting room, I was completely relaxed. We have prayed for her sickness to leave and for a full recovery. I do believe that God created doctors, nurses and medicine for times just like this. After a careful examination of my pitiful teenager, the doctor sat down and announced that she would be tested for “mono”. My heart stopped for a moment. My stomach lurched to my throat. I couldn’t breathe. I could feel the color fading from my face as a bead of sweat popped up on my brow. My reaction caught the practitioner off guard so I explained. The Epstein-Barre virus that causes mononucleosis is the virus that was present in our son’s cancer cells and the culprit that threatened his life. Fear had seized me in an instant. I was off-guard and it knocked me to my knees. Though I stumbled, I did not fall. But for the rest of the day, it was a fight to secure my fickle heart that wanted to waver from faith to fear. I had to keep my thoughts in check which were trying to produce an outcome that was not the Will of God. It took every bit of self-control not to overreact but rest in the Peace of God. One thing that the enemy did not count on when he produced those words attempting to hand me fear was that I now have a healthy fear much greater and stronger than any bad report or threat against my life. I fear God alone.

 

“Healthy fear is when you have such a deep respect for the Power of God, you become keenly aware of your total dependence on Him.” (Living Water Ministries) Healthy fear produces positive results in our life and brings us peace. Fear of any other kind creates a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil or pain. It doesn’t have to be real or valid even if it is only imagined it can have the same devastating effects. Fear is sometimes explained as “false evidence appearing real.” The enemy uses lies to dissuade us from trusting the Lord completely. He takes the Word of God twisting it, adding to it, or questioning its truth and validity. Without total and complete faith in God, we will fall repeatedly to the enemy’s attempts to bind us in unhealthy fear rather than thriving by faith in reverent awe of our powerful God.

 

Proverbs 19:23 (NIV) The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

 

Fear of the Lord is also called reverential awe. Reverential means characterized by reverence or respect. Awe means overwhelming adoration or admiration. Hardly the same as the kind of fear most people live in every single day. Perfect love casts out all fear. (I John 4:18) Faith in God is exemplified by trust. As our faith grows, we learn to depend on the Lord more and more for the outcomes in life. First with the little things, growing to more important matters. That is, unless your entire world carefully constructed by control comes crashing down shattering like glass on a concrete floor. Well, then you have to decide whether or not to rebuild on faith or continue the folly that there is no need for God or Jesus and you can still manage on our own. When the doctor said, “Mono” my natural inclination was to be afraid…very afraid. However, the Holy Spirit rose up within me. I know better now.

 

Hebrews 11 is considered the “Faith” chapter of the Bible. It is the Hall of Fame of men and women who dared to trust the Lord and overcome fear with faith. Over and over again, these people did just that without receiving the Promise because Jesus came afterwards. Faith in the Lord is the only way to get rid of unhealthy fear and replace it with healthy fear. The kind of belief that no matter what the report of the enemy is that God is still in complete authority and has absolute control over our life. Is that you today? Do you believe? Is your fear healthy or unhealthy?

 

Psalm 23 (NIV) The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 

The principle of trust described by David in Psalm 23 is that of a shepherd caring for sheep. Jesus also referenced the same in John 10:11-18 when He said, “I am the good shepherd.” Looking at this passage, we discover some of the fears overcome by faith. The first and probably most prevalent is the fear of lack. When the Lord is our shepherd, we lack nothing. Jesus sent the disciples out with nothing. Upon their return, He asked, “Did you lack anything?” They replied, “Nothing.” Through His Divine Power, the Lord supplies everything we need to live a godly life. (2 Peter 1:3) We must only know the good shepherd and follow Him.

 

There are more areas of fear covered in Psalm 23 including emotions like worry and stress. The Lord leads us to lie down in green pastures and beside still water where He refreshes our soul rather than wringing us and hanging us out to dry. Stress and worry are evidence of fear and a lack of faith that keeps us on the run rather than peacefully resting in the Lord. If you trust the Lord enough to follow Him then you will always be on the right path. He works the details of our life out for good. (Romans 8:28) He knows the way of hope and faith allows us to follow Him on our way there no matter how rough the road or rocky the terrain because we trust the Lord above all others. We fear our enemies. Yet they are powerless against our God who prepares a table for us to dine in their midst. Clearly the Lord is not concerned with the roaring lion spewing out lies and neither should you. Finally, we must believe and live in confidence that His Goodness and Unfailing Love are always pursuing us and pushing us to greater things by faith. Do you trust the Lord today? Is He your Shepherd? He will lead you from fear to faith if you will trust Him today.

 

Psalm 27:1-5; 13-14 (NIV)

The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.

 

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

 

Who do you fear today? What do you fear? Faith boasts to be fearless but without testing how do we know for sure that our confidence in the Lord is real and credible. When things are good, we don’t press to know the Lord quite like we do when tested. Hard times require us to pull out the iron and sharpen our sword. Abraham waited for his promise and God gave him Isaac. The test came when God required his son to be returned. Abraham did not hesitate and God knew that Abraham’s fear and reverence were greater than the gift that he had been given. The Lord said to Abraham, his friend, Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:11-13) Reading this today, I am asking myself this important question. Am I withholding anything from the Lord? See that which we hold back is the very thing that we do not trust Him with. It is subject to plunder by the enemy. When the enemy catches us in his snare of uncertainty and we become fearful, it causes division. (Genesis 32:6-8) Division causes us to give up an unnecessary sacrifice. Christ operates in completion. The enemy offers compromise. We have complete certainty that God’s Word will come to pass in our life but we are too afraid to wait on Him. Fear keeps us at a distance from God. We need to live in His Presence. We do not live in the Presence of God because we do not trust Him. (Exodus 20:18-19) All these are the characteristics of fear that forces a wedge between us and our God. When we decide by faith to trust Him and not be moved by fear, we begin to see that He really is all-powerful and supreme just like His Word indicated. We have nothing to fear.

 

Deuteronomy 1:28-36 describes the process of fear and its price. The men who went as scouts to into the Promised Land brought back doubt and fear spreading it among the people. Moses reminded the people of what the Lord had spoken to them including that they had victory over every enemy they encountered. They still chose not to trust the Lord cowering in fear. This generation of people who overcame all odds to make it to the very edge of the Promised Land would never cross over into it. The barrier – fear. The consequence – they did not trust the Lord. A lack of trust will always produce fear that causes rebellion and will keep you from your promise.

 

The enemy asked God, “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan asked God this very thing. (Job 1:8-12) He told the Lord that the hedge around Job and the blessing in his life kept him faithful to God. The Lord allowed the enemy to take everything. Job remained faithful to God. So the enemy went back again requesting “skin for skin”. (Job 2:2-6) God allowed the enemy to afflict the body of Job but did not allow him to take his life. What happened? Job remained faithful to God. If our faith in God is not tested, how do we know that it is genuine? When tested, any insufficiency will rise up so we can see it and deal with it. Why is this important? I do not serve God for a better life but eternal life.

 

I John 4:17-19 (NIV) This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.

 

I have decided that the enemy has no idea how we will respond to his random attacks against us or why would he continue to do so when it reinforces faith, teaches us to trust, and produces blessings in our life that would not be possible if we have not been tested. Yes, I stumbled for a moment yesterday. It was like a punch in the gut to hear the very mention of the illness I loathe so much. Through the three-year trial called cancer, something changed in me. I discovered that no matter how hard I try to control the outcomes in my life, there are still many things impossible outside of God. We fear so many things in life whether willing to admit it or not. My children are my world or at least they used to be. The potential loss of just one of them left me completely undone and need of my Savior more than ever before. He saved our son. He healed him. He did everything that He promised me. In the process, Jesus changed me. My dependence of the Lord made a shift. When my dependence on the world, my abilities, other people, and overall good became threatened – there was only one place to turn. Now, I find that I live in that place. When fear comes, I slam the door and shut the window or it will destroy the foundation built at such a high price. Fear always leads to doubt that becomes discouragement that will destroy our faith in God if allowed.

 

We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12-13) We can only overcome fear that is faced. If we are not challenged by it, we cannot have victory over it. Do not be afraid of the test but prepare for it by trusting God a little more today. When the enemy tries to lie to you thrusting fear, stress, worry or doubt in front of you – just turn the other way and take hold of Jesus just a little more. The Lord is working in us today to remove all doubt and disbelief until we have nothing but healthy fear that will complete us. It is such fear that allows us to live fearless and free in the Presence of God in Jesus Name. Amen.

 

2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NIV) For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Wait and See

Wait and See

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

But God…

But God

Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world. We do. We don’t mean to, but we do. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. As believers, we must think about our faith in God, relationship to Jesus Christ, His Word and practical application of what we believe on a daily basis. Christianity is faithful and habitual. As we begin the transformation process of salvation, our participation is surrender. It is take bits and pieces of our existence and daily turn them over obediently to God. His Spirit reveals the areas of our life which are withheld and it is our job to turn them over in repentance. I may have lost some of you here, but that’s okay. You will want to be a living sacrifice by the end of this, I am convinced.

 

“But” be transformed is a pivotal statement in the key verse today. This world can empower your life or it can kill your purpose in a single statement. It happens all the time. I have seen it in Sunday school, church, board meetings, and Bible studies. In this social groups of believers who claim to have faith, a lack of faith is revealed in their conversation. “I am trusting the Lord, “but” the reality is…” “I know that healing is possible, “but” the doctor says…” “The Lord has laid it on my heart to do (blah) “but” the budget…” “I want to serve the Lord, “but”…”

 

“But” is a conjunction. The danger of this word comes with its explanation. The definition of “but” is on the contrary, yet, except that, unless, otherwise and other negating words. To use the word “but” after a statement of faith negates it. In other words, when you profess to believe in Jesus and add “but” to it, you have nullified the declaration entirely. The word after “but” holds all the power. Do not be offended by this but be aware of it instead. Offense is the enemy’s way of shutting us off and isolating us. It keeps us from using knowledge to our benefit and keeps us from understanding the Power that God has given us. I know, I know – “but” we live in a real world. Okay, I get that so do I. “but” – greater is He who is in me than he that is in the world.

 

Proverbs 18:20-21 (NIV)

From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

 

Luke 6:45 (NIV)

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

 

Our words hold power. We don’t have to try or even mean them for damage to be done. The tongue gives life or administers death each day. The word “but” is important. We must carefully listen to the order of our sentences to determine the condition of our heart and level of faith operated in. If God, Jesus or Lord come before the word “but” when used we have a problem.

 

Sitting in a Sunday school class, the attendees were sharing special prayer requests and the needs of others. As one might expect, there were many who asked for prayer for ailing family and friends. As we bowed our head to pray, the speaker said, “And God if it is Your Will to heal these folks…” I almost came out of my chair right there save my husband sitting right next to me. Of course, it is God’s Will to save, heal, deliver and restore us. Why would He have allowed His Son to be tortured and die for anything less? I opened my eyes and looked around the room and everyone was praying earnestly. Their intentions were good but they did not understand. We must know what we believe. We must examine the contents of our heart. We must allow Jesus to transform us day by day especially until our heart and mind agree. From the abundance of our heart, the mouth speaks. Healing is most certainly the Will of God – He says so in His Word. God holds all power and authority in our life. Jesus is Lord of our life when He comes after all “buts”.

 

Matthew 19:26 (NIV)

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

 

Looking back in the Old Testament, there are many references to “but God” in the accounts of men like Noah, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph just to name a few. When life was less than favorable, the passage generally ends “but” God or “but” the Lord was with them, or “but” they found favor with God. These men faced many challenges. In the end, it was the “but God” was with them that changed everything.

 

Mark 9:22-24 (NIV)

“It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

 

All things are possible to those who believe. I know many believers who I consider to be strong Christians who still have unbelief. I still have unbelief in me at times. Everything is possible for one who believes. The more we believe the less impossible life becomes. “If you can…” Jesus didn’t like that statement very much. “If you can…” he responded to the man with a quick correction. The man said, “I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.” Even the smallest amount of disbelief is a faith ender, miracle spoiler, blessing robber, and dream killer. We must check our declaration to determine the driving force of our life. This may help us understand why Heaven has not made it to earth yet, healings aren’t happening and deliverance is dead. The impossible is only possible when we believe.

 

Romans 8:8-10 (NIV)

Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.

 

“But” if Christ is in you, then you have been made righteous. Many times but is our excuse for trying to help God our or establish some kind of work in our life. Righteousness is in Christ alone. Our connection to Him is established in desperation and never co-dependency. Nothing we can ever do for Christ will be worthy of what He has done for us and is now trying to do through us. The realm of flesh separates us from the realm of hope. God’s Spirit works inside us to cultivate more faith of the little that we have and produce spiritual fruit to satisfy our soul and promote generosity and sharing of that fruit with others. We do not produce increase in our life. We may plant or water but it is always God who gives us increase. (I Corinthians 3:6-7) God is trying to grow us today and move us from the barren unproductive state of God, we must change “but” to “but God” again.

 

I Corinthians 3:10-11 (NIV)

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

 

“For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” (Hebrews 3:4) Humility can be crushing sometimes and I find that every time I enter a transformation phase in my life that the subject is addressed. Everything I am. Everything I can do. Every word I speak must be devoted to the supremacy of Christ in my life for faith to fill my life. When I take precedence or situations become priorities or my words are not petitions to God but complaints to man, I rob myself of the blessing of righteous obedience. Friend, the Lord can do it without you. You are not a martyr in your labor but simply took the burden from Christ. Our competence is completely from Christ alone. (2 Corinthians 3:5) Apart from Him, we can do nothing of worth or value for us or the Kingdom of God. (John 15:5) It is in Christ alone. It’s humbling to think that all my hard work is in vain when it is not attributed to Christ, wrapped in love, and surrendered to Him. I am nothing without Him.

 

I Corinthians 2:11-13 (NIV)

For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

 

The third relapse of cancer in our son was the worst of all. It had spread from his neck throughout his entire torso. His scan was an array of dots throughout his body. The doctors had declared us in the realm of hope now because to them the reality was that cancer was winning. After the third round of chemo, they were going to scan his body to see if the treatment was helping. It came with a warning. Do not be discouraged if the cancer is still there. The only thing we want to see is that it is no longer spreading. Something rose up in me, it had to be God. I was really struggling by now with the continued relapses in the natural but I asked anyway, “What if it’s gone?” Patting me on the shoulder and then putting her arm around me, the doctor tried to let me down gently and after some pressing, she said, “It’s impossible!” My heart began beating wildly in my chest, my spirit long dampened by bad reports and the Holy Ghost began stirring in me. Could it be? Was it true? Was something about to happen? When she called me three days, yes, three days later, it was to a doctor laughing hysterically. The scan was clear and the cancer gone.

 

The reality was that our son would relapse again and again. The Truth is that he is alive and well today in total remission to the Glory of God. God works in the impossible. When we dare challenge the lines of reality with God’s Word backed by just a little faith, impossible things happen. Revival will break out when continue to push the line of the impossibilities with conversations that are declarations of faith rather than empowering fear and doubt. We must work day by day to wrap our head around God’s Supremacy and Power allowing His Spirit to convince our heart until our mouth cannot give credit, power or authority to anyone or anything else without immediately realizing the mistake. God wants the impossible to be labeled possible and probable in our life. it begins with me. I must examine every single word that I speak, comparing it to the Word of God and making sure that God always comes after my “buts”. Titus 1:15-16 talks about those who claim to know God but remain impure and corrupted. I don’t want to be someone who has to tell others that I believe in God because my life does not display the Truth. I want them to know without asking. Your situation does not dictate one’s faith and circumstances hold no power over us. No matter if the bondage faced is real or perceived, the truth remains unchained and moving in our life. (2 Timothy 2:8-10) Isaiah realized that he was unclean. The angel touched his lips with a coal from the altar. He was cleansed and renewed immediately to do the work of God.

 

Titus 3:3-6 (NIV)

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior…”

 

Jesus said, “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” I believe this includes powerless conversation when we allow something or someone else to have more power than God in our life. I trust God “but”… I believe in Jesus “but”. All those times when we profess faith “but” nullify it with fear and futility. We are all guilt of it. When we add all the reasons that make it impossible to trust the Lord, this should be lead to immediate conviction so that we can surrender our thoughts and mind back to Christ. Do our words relay foolishness, disobedience, deception, bondage, malice, envy, hatred or do we constantly express confidence, love, affirmation and allegiance to Christ which frees us of worldly expectation so we can love more, give more and serve more in the Kingdom of God.

 

If someone hurts me, then comes to issue an apology, it is all good until they use the word “but”. I’m sorry “but”…is a lie. For example, I’m sorry “but” I was having a bad day. I’m sorry “but” you made me whatever. Repentance does not come with an excuse. There is no need for “but” when it comes to our life of faith. The only time “but” is effective is when it is “but God.” We all need to be washed by His Blood on a daily basis. We all could use the coal on our lips each day. There is no shame in accepting His Mercy given to us. The greatest sin of all is to know His Great Love and refuse to receive it. We must strive in all things to be like Jesus. We are successful when we surrender everything to Jesus. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Listen to your words each day to see if faith is holding power or fear has taken over. Now do something about it. The words that are spoken after “but” nullify everything spoken before. The subject of our “but” is the one that holds power in our life. Who is that today?

 

Philippians 4:5-7 (NIV)

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.