Forgotten

Forgotten

Isaiah 49:14-16 (NIV) But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

Has God forgotten His Promise to you? Does it seem delayed so discouragement is the company you keep? Are you wondering if you missed Him? Somehow wandered off course into the barren wilderness? It happens. It is natural to have human expectations. The Holy Spirit produces good fruit in us that feeds our hungry soul but it takes time to change our appetite. The Water of His Word, that Living Water, will have to make it through the hardness of our heart to finally drench us deep within. Salvation begins the process of restoration and renewal. It takes time for transformation to take over as the Lord prepares us for His Purpose and to receive the Promise. Until then…

Our little grandson has an enormous appetite. He loves to eat. He is enamored by food. He gets plenty on a regular and consistent basis. However, when a bottle is being prepared or the food containers opened while locating a spoon and bib – the guy loses his mind. Either throwing a full-fledged fit or dissolving into tears, one might think that he is on the verge of starvation. He is obviously very healthy and well-cared for yet in his little mind the feeling of hunger is a desire too great to bare. He has never missed a meal. He knows mom and dad will take care of him yet still feels the need to respond to his wait time and discomfort that produces patience. His mama comforts him speaking words of affirmation to him as she hurries to get everything together. She’s a good mother.

God is a good father. He created each us with a specific plan and purpose in mind. A projected life that no one else can live. He promised to provide everything we need to be successful. He persuades us with His Unfailing Love and Kindness while pursuing us with His Goodness. He always comes to our rescue or performs a release at just the right time. Yet there are times when even strong Christians and longtime believers wonder if the Lord has forgotten…

But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” Do you feel like the Lord has forsaken you today? Do you think that he has forgotten you? The enemy wants nothing more than to make you believe this terrible lie of abandonment and isolation. It is simply not true. Could a mother forget the baby at her breast? Oh wow! I cannot even imagine. Before my first child was born, I remember having nightmares that I forgot I was a mother and would leave my child behind. But once I held him in my arms looking at his beautiful face, I knew that I would never forget him and love him forever. I don’t understand people who get so busy and caught up in life that they forget their child is in the car. How is it even possible? Yet they do – most of the victims die due to suffocation. What is so important that you would forget your baby? Your precious child? How could you forget? It happens all the time. Maybe it is just another sign of the times – love has grown cold and sin is rampant. There are wars and rumors of war. This world is on a downward spiral as families disintegrate in the midst of busyness and disregard. It would be easy in the chaos to believe that our existence is insignificant but it’s not.

Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. The Lord is whispering to you and me today reminding us that He has engraved us in the palms of His Hands. We are important to our heavenly Father. The things that He has shared with us and continues to entice us with are going to happen simply because He said so. It is hard to trust anyone when life is filled with broken promises and unfulfilled oaths. When people say one thing and do another. The disregard for human life may seem to reduce us to just another species but it is not true. We have a God who loves us. He sent His Son to die for us. He desires us as His Special Treasure. He has created a Kingdom to be our dwelling place. He even says, “…your walls are ever before me.” My existence has a place in the Kingdom of God and its walls that cannot be filled by another. I am important. I am significant. I am not forgotten and neither are you.

I Samuel 16:7 (NIV) But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Samuel was off to find and anoint the next King of Israel. He went to Jesse’s house as instructed by the Lord. Standing before him were seven likely candidates, but as each one passed by the Lord’s Hand was not upon him. The Lord had already instructed Samuel to look past each man’s appearance for He was looking at their hearts. How is your heart today? What is its condition? Have you allowed bitterness, impatience, fear, doubt or disbelief to harden it? God is always looking for the readiness of our heart and nothing else. The appearance of my heart is God’s Focal Point – therefore it should be my utmost concern.

I Samuel 16:11-13 (NIV) So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.

God had already designated David to be the next King of Israel. He was out tending his father’s sheep as instructed. Doing what he was told to do in an isolated field with only the herd for company. He was alone but not forgotten. When it was time for Samuel to anoint God’s Chosen One, he was called from the very place that he was into the Presence of God and anointed just as God purposed. Hear me today as I speak to myself – just because your life seems ordinary today doesn’t mean that God’s Extraordinary Purpose is not coming for you tomorrow. Work your field. Hold your position. Wait for Him. He is coming.

How do I know this to be true? It is the promise I hold on to fortified by this: God is not a man that He should lie or change His Mind. The Lord told me that He would bless me so He will bless me indeed. (Numbers 23:19-20) He doesn’t withdraw His Gifts or Calling. If He called me to be here than the blessing will find me right where I am. Even if I get discouraged or disappointed and allow doubt, worry or fear to trouble me – God is still faithful to His Word. (Romans 11:29) And finally – the hard part – the purpose and plan that is designed for my life has an appointed time. God will not ever hasten His Process because it is my preference. The Vision will come to pass at the right time – God’s Time. (Habakkuk 2:3) I must learn to wait on the Lord. When I am tired of waiting, I must learn to wait some more.

I have always told my children that if they were to get separated from me to stay right where they are when they discover I am missing. In other words, if you look up and don’t see me – stop moving. If someone tries to take you away or talk to you – yell as loud as possible, “You are not my mom!” The same method should be used as Children of God. If at any point there is a separation rather real or perceived – stay where you are. Don’t make permanent decisions in temporary circumstances. We can chase preference and leave Presence. When the enemy comes offering lies and untruths, tell Him who your Daddy is. He will flee from you. God has not forgotten or forsaken you or me, friend. He is preparing and positioning us to step in the overflow of His Anointing.

I leave you with familiar words from Jeremiah 29. Recited many times yet sometimes we might forget, it was spoken to those in exile. They had a season of waiting yet to be fulfilled – seventy years to be exact. However, the promise remained even in their otherwise compromised state. God has not forgotten you. He has not forsaken you. He hasn’t given up on you either. You can never escape God’s Plan, Promise and Purpose for your life because He is constantly pursuing you. His Plan is to prosper us from the inside out! In the meantime, call to Him. He will come to you. Pray and He will listen. Seek Him wholeheartedly and He will be found!

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

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The Willing

The Willing

Psalm 51:10-12 (ESV) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

How far will you go? What is the promise worth to you? Four years ago, after multiple rounds of chemotherapy to no avail and fighting the insurance company to the end, our son received a bone marrow transplant. After a lengthy battle against cancer of about three years, the nightmare ended and he was finally in remission. Those who endure and survive the process now have a “new” birthday as such a procedure resets the immune system to an infantile state. Looking back, it never occurred to me not to fight the disease or advocate for our son. Giving up was not even a consideration and faith was the only option especially when crossing over to the realm of hope. Going into the transplant, he only had a 2% chance of survival. Without it, 100% change that he would die. Worth it? Absolutely as I look at the young man who has since graduated college and a very bright future. The potential of faith is revealed in obedience. Willingness comes when counting the cost to discover the worth. Our son’s life was priceless. Today, I must also consider the promises yet to be discovered. What does the Lord want to do next? Will I consider it “worth” my time and invest willingness to see it come to pass?

What is the worth of your hope today? When considering hopefulness in our life, it is relative to the perception of its value. The Lord promises that hope placed in Him will never lead us to disappointment yet still it is a struggle to follow Him sometimes. When the process includes endurance, waiting, patience and perseverance that challenge our flesh – heart, mind and body – what is our response? To be willing is to be cheerfully consenting, ready, and inclined. Religion requires obedience but a relationship consists of willingness. Unforced rhythms of giving ourselves willingly to oneness. Are you willing today? As Jesus prayed the night before Calvary, the Lord asked His Disciples to watch and pray. He found them sleeping. It is in that context the Lord reveals that though our spirit may be willing – our flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41) The weakness of our flesh is pride. Pride is the adversary of willingness that may keep us from the renewal, restoration and revival promised in God’s Word. Willingness defined by worth will become the sacrifice that God desires in our life.

Psalm 51:16-17 (ESV) For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

God desires a broken spirit. He longs to find a broken and contrite heart. God doesn’t despise these two things because it is the very thing that produces willingness in us. Obedience can be produced by our own motivation, hard work and discipline. Sacrifice is something that can be offered while self is preserved. When we put our self on the altar of God – it is the broken spirit that is willing. The broken and contrite heart becomes desperate. The Lord is not looking to tear us apart but rather create a beautiful masterpiece of the broken pieces. We must learn to submit our life willingly to Him rather than begrudgingly. To preserve our pride will often exempt us from the place of true sacrifice that honors God in the giving of ourselves – all of us to Him for renewal, restoration and revival. How far will you go to have the life that God has promised? How much of yourself will you give to the process in order to receive the promise? Is it worth it?

2 Kings 5:9-14 (ESV) So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

Naaman was a commander of the army of Syria. A decorated soldier held in high esteem with the king. He was a great man who was highly favored. He was a godly man as indicated by the fact God’s Favor was upon him in the battles that he won. Naaman was a mighty man of valor according to the Word of God. Naaman was a leper. A servant girl told his wife that Naaman should go see the prophet in Samaria to seek healing. So Naaman went to the king who sent a letter to the king of Israel on his behalf. When Naaman came to the Elisha’s home, the prophet did not come to meet him but gave him the instructions to wash in the Jordan River seven times and that he would be healed with skin fully restored. Naaman’s pride almost kept him from his healing. The prophet did not greet him and then sent him to bathe in the filthiest river of them all. It would be his servants that encouraged Naaman to do the very thing that he was told to do willingly. Pride can be quite persuasive. It can dim the light of promise in a shadowy darkness of self-revelation of the ugly truth that God isn’t finished with us yet.

For example, if God is in the process of restoring a relationship. He may impress upon our heart to apologize even when the offense is unintended or not our fault. Instead, it is human nature to try to move on without it because it insults our pride. Our unwillingness will keep us stagnant and soon other relationships begin to fall victim to our stubborn stand. We want more of God but are unwilling to create a void through repentance and forbearance to allow God to heal us and the relationship. We must then determine the value and worth of the relationship in comparison with prideful preservation. True obedience to God begins with a willing heart. Are you willing today?

Isaiah 1:18-19 (ESV) “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land…”

Jesus Christ stepped down from His Throne to give up His Life for me. He took on humility when His Absolute Perfection did not have to do it. To be a true example of Jesus is not in just obedience. It begins with willingness. Who the Son sets free is free indeed. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. God will not force you to do anything. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the only way to gain access to the Father. We can walk through life in full obedience and live a religious existence. Jesus did not come to aid religion but give us the opportunity to live in a relationship. We enter relationships willingly for if it were by force it would not be love. Sometimes we must evaluate the Gospel and all its words using some form of reasoning. It is not complicated but simple. We add the details because it makes us feel important when we “do” certain things. The bottom line is that God is always looking for those who are willing. Obedience is second to willingness. God can work with the willing. He can do miracles with the impossible. He has a Great Plan for you that only requires your “yes”.

Rejection

Rejection

John 12:47-50 (MSG) “If anyone hears what I am saying and doesn’t take it seriously, I don’t reject him. I didn’t come to reject the world; I came to save the world. But you need to know that whoever puts me off, refusing to take in what I’m saying, is willfully choosing rejection. The Word, the Word-made-flesh that I have spoken and that I am, that Word and no other is the last word. I’m not making any of this up on my own. The Father who sent me gave me orders, told me what to say and how to say it. And I know exactly what his command produces: real and eternal life. That’s all I have to say. What the Father told me, I tell you.”

What a different world would we live in if people did not fear rejection? Rejection is the feeling of being refused. Rejection can be delivered from either party. What in the world is Christ saying in this passage? I don’t understand. “If anyone hears what I am saying and doesn’t take it seriously, I don’t reject him.” To the organized religion called church that is a preposterous notion. To hear the Word and not do it most certainly must bear a consequence. Not in the face of grace, it can’t. To allow condemnation of any kind is to reject the idea that His Grace is enough to overcome every weakness. God will never reject the repentant heart that makes its way through the Blood of Jesus Christ. Rejection is not a Kingdom principle but an earthly choice made by mankind to choose something else.

Jesus came to save us. He came to heal us, restore us and revive us again as sons and daughters of God. His Purpose was not to judge the world yet it is the heavy mantle of many to not only judge each other but themselves. There is a difference between judgment and accountability. One is terminal the other can be life giving. Throughout my lifetime, the Lord has placed many in my life who hold me accountable to the Word of God. I have also faced many judges and harsh critics. The purpose behind the pain is the determining factor. Was the point of the lesson to tear down or build up? Jesus came to build a Kingdom but in doing so He had to tear some things down and rebuild them.

John 2:18-22 (MSG)  But the Jews were upset. They asked, “What credentials can you present to justify this?” Jesus answered, “Tear down this Temple and in three days I’ll put it back together.” They were indignant: “It took forty-six years to build this Temple, and you’re going to rebuild it in three days?” But Jesus was talking about his body as the Temple. Later, after he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this. They then put two and two together and believed both what was written in Scripture and what Jesus had said.

The Jews were more than upset – they became downright irate when Jesus said that He could rebuild the Temple it took 46 years to build in three days. Thank you Jesus! That’s exactly what He did. On the Cross, the Jews recounted his words completely ignorant that He was doing just that. He was tearing down religion to make way for a relationship. A love covenant with mankind that could never be destroyed or threatened again. No more condemnation but overflowing grace that could strip down every stronghold and overcome every obstacle between the Father and His Beloved Children. Now God’s Love pursues us. There is no longer rejection but open relationship if we allow it.

So if there is no condemnation in Jesus Christ and no judgment in Him, what about sin? Accountability to the Word of God and reconciliation to Jesus Christ are fulfilled in repentance. Turning from our way to pursue Him. Religion is a change of habit. Repentance is a change of heart. One leads to a good life and a successful church. The other leads to eternal life in the Father’s House. I wonder today if the rejection felt by many is not rejection but a call of repentance. A gentle urging by the Son to come back to the Father and experience His Love. If we experience punishment – it is not of the Father. To experience permission comes when we give up our way to encounter the fullness of the Word and freedom it delivers.

Matthew 7:1-5 (MSG) “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.

After eating with a friend, have they ever told you that you have something in your teeth? Or maybe just gestured it as not to gain attention? How do you feel in that moment? A little embarrassed. Quickly trying to dislodge the speck, leaf or pepper from your pearly whites? You may ask them, “Did I get it?” Did you get mad at them for pointing it out? Of course not! You didn’t want to go around for the rest of the day smiling and conversing with your meal on full display. How much more embarrassing would that have been?

God has placed people in each other’s lives in the Body of Christ to act as iron sharpening iron. We have many acquaintances in life but then there is that one friend the Lord sends to be our accountability partner. If you do not know who that is, then look for them. The point of our partnerships in life is beneficial. The enemy works night and day to destroy godly relationships especially the sharp and pointed ones that enable us to discover God’s Purpose and encourage us to follow His Plan. Relationship is essential for it is the currency of the Kingdom and its greatest commodity. If we do not learn to hold each other accountable, it will become judgment in our life. Those who celebrate us but never convict us to be more of who Christ created us to be will one day become our critic because the relationship is not based on the Love of God but man’s preferences. The fine line between critical people and committed people rests in their convictions. Do they serve a Savior who always accepts and loves regardless of our willingness to follow Him? Or do we have conditional love that doesn’t believe in the God of all grace? Without true repentance there is only religion. We must learn to love and learn together in the Body of Christ without judgment or condemnation but unconditional love and amazing grace.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (MSG) It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, but if there’s no one to help, tough! Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.

Am I really being rejected, condemned or judged? In most cases, yes. It is human nature. The dangerous game of comparison that feeds our pride to keep it alive. However, it is of vital importance in our spiritual life to evaluate those relationships that are rough around the edges to see if God is actually but an ironclad friend to be an accountability partner. Even the caring friend who points out the debris in our smile offers a slight sting at the revelation that our salad is on display for all to see causes a bristled reaction. It is only human nature, but in the end it produces a change. You work to right the problem and so it is with God. The commitment of our Lord at work in us with the help of the Holy Spirit is to engage in a deeper and more intimate relationship with God and then each other. When we feel rejected, we seek isolation. Remove ourselves from the haters, if you will. But maybe they aren’t haters at all but the true lovers of our soul? Food for thought and learning for life straight from the Word. Lord, show me the people who I have rejected that You have placed in my life with purpose. Examine my heart and illuminate any dark seat of judgment my pride has established. Point me in the way of everlasting life to build your Kingdom one person at a time in Jesus Name! Amen!

Proverbs 27:17 (MSG) You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another.

No Further Delays

No Further Delays

2 Peter 3:8-9 (NIV) But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

The product of waiting is patience. Patience is not preset in people and does not come with the package. Patience is derived from met expectation enduring trials, temptation and testing until the promise comes to pass. It is all in the waiting that pressure turns to perseverance and persistence births the potential of our faith. The end work is allow faith to finish its work so maturity and completion in Christ fill our life thereby God’s People lack nothing. (James 1) It’s ironic that in waiting our faith takes us to a place that our natural ability, mindful motivation and willful inclination could never conceive or achieve outside of Christ. The Holy Spirit produces patience in us. He does it with the Word of God that reveals a promise worth having. It will come to pass. The Christ in us is our guarantee that it belongs to us. Do not forget this one thing today, my dear friends: “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day.”

God’s Will for us is everlasting life. He doesn’t want anyone to perish but everyone be raised to the newness of life as His Beloved Child fully restored as the prodigal to his father. He is always waiting and watching. Before creation, the Lord had a plan which contains a future and hope for His People. (Jeremiah 29) He then carefully recorded each day of our life as He formed us and before a single breath was taken. (Psalm 139) He calls us fearfully and wonderfully made. The Lord doesn’t make junk. He is not random in His Productivity. Each detail of our life is filled with potential good that only He can bring forth and work together. Each morning God pours new mercy on our doorstep so we must trip over it to take a single step. (Lamentations 3) The Lord pursues us with unfailing love and goodness each day. (Psalm 23) He gave His One and Only Son to give up His Life so our life could be revived, renewed and restored. (John 3) He came with the invitation “whosoever will come.” He hung the “open” sign – no lines or waiting as the temple veil tore from top to bottom. It is there He waits lovingly and with longsuffering for us to choose Him. To repent. To fall in love with the Lord as He so eloquently and completely demonstrated His Love for us. How great the Father’s Love for us? But it doesn’t stop here…

With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. I have read this verse many times and always equate it to the timeline of God. The absence of natural time lapse given to supernatural advancement. However, today I wonder if is all about the timelessness of the Lord or if there is more. Waiting on something messes with our internal time keeper, expectancy heightens anticipation, and that which is deeply desired seems to take forever to get here. What if the Lord isn’t telling us about heaven’s clock at all but rather describing His Anticipation of our arrival.

We have waiting almost the allotted nine months for our grandson’s arrival, now in the homestretch anticipation is at an all-time high. The doctors have indicated that he is perfect and ready to come. Our daughter’s body is responding to the readiness. Everything is ready. His place in our world is evident. The only thing that is lacking is the baby…our promise. We know he is coming. We just don’t know when. God’s Promise for us is on the way. The only thing left to do is be patient until he comes. Though God is timeless dwelling in the past, present and future, His Love is real. A day is like a thousand years in His Great Love as He waits for our arrival. He paid the price for us. He made the Way, too. His Son, prepared a place for us. The Lord is just waiting on our return.

Proverbs 13:12 (NIV) Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

A delay means to put off to a later time, to defer or postpone. It is to impede the process or progress of something. To hinder completion. What if I were to tell you that there is no delays in the Kingdom? It is unbiblical. A delay means that God changed His Mind or decided to wait to do as He promised. God is not a man who lies or changes His Mind. If He called you blessed, you are blessed! Well, why aren’t my prayers being answered? Who says they aren’t? Why is everything falling apart? It has to be broken to get fixed. Hope in the Lord never ever leads to disappointment. (Romans 5) What if the “delay” is only a “deferment” and fulfillment is coming? God’s promises are “yes” and “amen”. Our response in times of waiting must be “yes” and “amen”.

2 Corinthians 1:20-22 (NIV) For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Our daughter had a couple minor tests run and I accompanied her to the doctor. The tests were run in the labor and delivery area of the hospital. Very pregnant woman coming and going obviously all close to giving birth. Most of them walking in ready to receive their promise and the majority walking out still very pregnant with disappointment frowns on their faces. My grandson will be here in the next few weeks. He could come today or tomorrow or next week or even next month. They have a projected due date but only the Lord knows his actual birthday. He will come when it is his time to arrive and we will rejoice.

You have precious promises hidden inside of you. Some are on the verge of “birthing” and becoming a reality in your life. Pregnant mamas want to see, feel, hold, and cuddle their little ones but no mother would forsake the growth and development process to do it before the baby is ready. To have the baby removed too soon would be a miscarriage or abortion when the infant is not fully developed or capable of surviving outside of the womb without medical intervention. A premature delivery comes with complications.
When it comes to the very end, it becomes even more difficult knowing the promise is ready on the inside just not making its way into the present. What if God is still aligning things on the outside as well?

The deposit in your life placed there by God and sealed by His Spirit will yield its gain when ready. You will receive the blessing of God for your life. He has no intention of backing down, giving up or giving in. He doesn’t grow weak or weary in His Doing or His Waiting for us. We must adopt the same mindset as Christ. The overcoming power of God that raised Jesus from the dead is inside of us. God’s Promise for you cannot go unfulfilled simply because His Word cannot return to the Lord void and must accomplish everything that it set out to do.

Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]. (Hebrews 11:1 Amplified) By grace, I am saved through faith. Faith is described here as the assurance, title deed, and confirmation of the things I hope for that are divinely guaranteed. God has given me many promises – some have arrived and others still high anticipated. What if the whole point is faith? Well, it is. Faith is the evidence beyond reality that comprehends as fact what cannot be discerned naturally. To live supernaturally inclined. To see the promise over your problems. To change our perspective from earthly mindsets to heavenly focus that reminds us the promise did change or go away – it just isn’t here yet. Your promise is not delayed – it is on its way and will arrive at the precise time God ordained it to come. In the meantime, enjoy your wait time in the Presence of God. Always open. Always waiting. Always ready to save, heal, restore and deliver you – His Beloved.

Romans 4:19-21 (NIV) Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

 

The Messenger

The Messenger

Malachi 3:1 (NLT) “Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

I live in a rural county. Our family moved here just over a year ago exchanging city life for a more laid back existence. Living in the county, you give up conveniences like the mall, a variety of restaurants, and other creature comforts on every corner. However, I still work in town and commute five days a week about 45 minutes each way. Some may balk at such a drive, but I actually don’t mind it. It has become a time to meditate, pray and worship the Lord each day. One thing I have noticed is that although this community lacks a variety of options it is not at all lacking in churches. There must a three churches to every square block though I may be exaggerating some. Not to offend anyone, but there are denominational and non-denominational, black and white, large and small, with schools and without, and every other make and model that one might come up with. All serving the same God and relying on the same saving Jesus. So why so many? Why are there so many different churches only half full of worshippers each Sunday?

It’s all about the message. Do we find the message appealing? Do we like the music? Can we live by the rules? Do we like old time religion, full gospel, spirit filled, prosperity preaching, experiences, or gooey grace? There is one true God. He has one son, Jesus Christ who sacrificed His Life to pay the debt of sin for all mankind. The Holy Spirit is the partner in the trinity given to humanity for assistance, direction, guidance and growth. Jesus Christ has all power and authority in heaven and earth. He is the only way to God according to the Word of God (well, Jesus is the Word) and no man can restore a right relationship with the Father except through the Son. All these truths more than likely are in the doctrine of your church so why are we so divided?

“Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me.” The Lord spoke through Malachi to His People telling them that a messenger was coming to prepare the way. John the Baptist was considered a messenger as he prefaced the arrival of Jesus and told everyone who would listen that the Lord was on the way. He even baptized Jesus saying, “Look, He is the One!” John did not fit in with the rules and regulations of organized religion even considered a madman by some. The messenger is sent to tell others to prepare for the coming of God. To prepare people to experience the living God. We must carefully consider our messages as we are the messengers of God.

Nicodemus was a Jewish religious leader and Pharisee. One night, he went to Jesus. He saw the signs and wonders of the Lord but considered him only a teacher sent by God. Nicodemus was trying to logically sort out what he saw compared to what he knew about the Messiah. “How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.  Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven.” I wonder how many churches are built on misunderstanding of the message. So it becomes our mission to create a “religion” to justify our “relationship” with the Living God. Paul wrote I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. One church, one mind, untied in thought and purpose.

Acts 2:38-41 (NLT) Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation. Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.

Is this the message of the modern day messengers? Are we really preaching this straightforward approach? Jesus said this to Nicodemus – “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.” Sound familiar? God loves you. He loves me. He loves every person who He created which is all of them. The only separation in the church should be those who believe and those who do not. Sin didn’t separate the church – it is what we all have in common creating our need for Christ. Jesus said, “Whosever will (wants to) come.” There is no mandate to change anything before Christ fully and completely accepts us and covers every single inch of us with His Blood. Grace is enough.

Proverbs 15:30 (NIV) Light in the messenger’s eyes bring joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.  

The Light of His Love must burn bright in the eyes of the messengers. Love is God’s Primary Motivation in pursuing us. Unfailing love and goodness that desires us. I tried the “religious” route and failed too many times to count. I read the word. Served in church. Left on mission trips. Witnessed to the lost. Gave up Tuesdays for community visitation. I prayed. I fasted. I did everything the church told me to do and avoided the things it told me not to do. When I failed, church failed me. I am not blaming the church at all for my own faults and failures but what I am saying is that when everything falls apart, or we fall down and experience brokenness – it is not judgment or condemnation that changes us but the unfailing and forgiving Love of Jesus Christ.

Love multiplies. Love binds. Love is patient. Love is kind. It doesn’t not envy. It is not boastful and is without pride. It doesn’t dishonor others. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no records of wrongs just ample amounts of forgiveness. Love does not delight in the faults and failures of others. It rejoices when truth gives way to freedom. It ALWAYS protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. Love never ever fails. In fact, it says from the beginning of I Corinthians 13 that religious attributes are meaningless if love is not our motivation. Love like the Word has clearly outlined here. If I do not have love…I gain nothing. I wonder if our primary motivation in all religious endeavors is to strengthen our relationship with others as we align our life with Jesus Christ. Without love, the Gospel is not good news but just another church bulletin.

Acts 2:42-47 (NIV) They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

The early church did not have a fancy building marked “sanctuary” with loud sound systems, light shows, and huge media screens. They were not in buildings at all. The church resided in people who bound themselves together not by a membership but through a relationship with Jesus Christ that bound them together. The love they experienced with Christ given to others freely holding nothing back. They became united. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Hmm…

All those churches with so many different doctrines and a variety of designs. In our need to appease some of the things that make us comfortable have we somehow forsaken the original design of the church? We can give to the poor and even serve in the community a couple times a year, but is that truly what Christ had in mind? To be an effective messenger of the Gospel, it seems that I must understand the concept through Christ, His Word, and develop His Way of doing things so my life is in alignment with His Idea of the Body of Christ for obvious reasons. I must consider my words, thoughts and actions compared to His Purpose. Love must be found as the foundation of everything I do or say to be likeminded and on the same page as my Lord and Savior.

The Lord loves people. He rejoices with all of heaven when just one is returned to Him. One. I am a messenger. Lord, I ask you today to refine my message and remove everything not representative of You and Your Kingdom. Let my eyes shine forth the Light of Your Love. Thank you Jesus for this opportunity to share the Good News. I ask that it destroy all strongholds in the church until all walls come down and everyone comes together.

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary…pure and holy…tried and true…with thanksgiving…I’ll be a living sanctuary for You. (Sanctuary – The Whole Song)

Returning to Rest


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Psalm 116:5-7 (ESV) Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

The creeping crud got me. The virus I had hoped to escape has overtaken me. It’s only a cold nothing terminal but mighty inconvenient. Coughing and hacking through the night and now sleep deprived crawling into my quiet place, the verse for the day is – “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Oh to find rest! Lord, I need some rest. However, as I begin to read more passages about rest it becomes clear that the Lord provides a place of rest for us. It is a consecrated and holy establishment of deep contentment born of absolute faith that allows us to sit and wait quietly as the wind and waves crash all around us, the storm rages within us or when bad news comes with each knock.

Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV) Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

As a fresh dose of medicine begins to clear the fog in my head, I realize that rest is not a feeling but rather a place where one can live. Our soul has a refuge in which it can rest. Freedom allows us the opportunity to choose busyness or peace. All the rushing about adds not a moment to our life but wastes precious time better spent in the peace of God resting on His Promises and waiting for His Word. God is gracious. He is always right. God is merciful. He doesn’t make salvation or redemption complicated. In fact, it is so simple that many find it hard to accept. Since I can do nothing to earn His Love or deserve His Grace, God does not set us up for failure but simply says, “Come to me.” Where’s the catch? What’s the trick? How do I find rest for my weary soul? Is His Yoke really easy? Is His Burden really light?

It is in our absolute weakness that His Power is manifested in our life. The moment of revelation that despite good intentions and the best of my efforts, I can do absolutely nothing to earn the favor of God that restores a right relationship that I am able to fully embrace the Power of His Love.

Ecclesiastes 2:22-23 (ESV) What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.

Rest is established in the heart. It is the desire for Christ that fulfills the emptiness left void even in earthly success or prosperity. The longing for something more than this life has to offer can only be fulfilled by the Creator of every living thing. So often, it is human nature to divide the cultures of Christianity and normal life. To truly find fulfillment and satisfaction is the integration of our natural life with the supernatural existence offered to us by God. To become one with the culture of Christ. To follow His Example and learn to live in His Presence. Any other way of life is led by vanity or pride. A key characteristic of those whose heart is at rest with Christ is that no matter what the situation or circumstance of life God will keep them in perfect peace including no more sleepless nights.

Isaiah 32:17-18 (ESV) And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.

What a beautiful promise in Isaiah! God has promised His People will abide in peaceful, secure and quiet resting places all because of righteousness. Has your soul forgotten that through Christ you were made right with God? Have you assumed responsibility in your life rather than trusting God with every detail? When our faith and trust is in God through Jesus Christ – righteousness is established. As we learn to live a life of believing God – peace permeates us. His Rest becomes our refuge. It doesn’t mean everything changes but our heart changes. In that moment that the expectation of our life is fully invested in Christ that the desired return is received – love, joy, peace and completion. Are you stressed out? Worried? Weary? Anxious? Overwrought with responsibility? Weighed down by heavy burdens? Are you discouraged? Ready to quit?

“Return, O my soul, to your rest.” God created the heavens and the earth. He has a handwritten plan for each of us that includes a future and hope. He inscribed it before our birth and His Word will not return to Him void concerning us. His Son, Jesus, came to the earth and died for every sin that you and I would ever commit before our existence. It is finished. Righteousness provides a refuge marked “REST” for those who will enter in. Sometimes I must remind my soul to return to the place called rest. Each time I am met by the Presence of God and wrapped in the embrace of a loving Savior who takes my burdens and gives me perfect peace. Lord, let me find rest in You today! Perfect peace in the Love of my Savior! Keep my heart and mind fixed on You and my feet steadfast in the refuge called Rest!

Isaiah 26:3 (ESV) You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Learning to Wait

Learning to Wait

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.

Waiting on the Lord may very well be the most challenging of all spiritual attributes. Developing patience is of the Holy Spirit but is contradictory to our nature. Born in desperation, as sin begins to decay our body, mind and spirit, it is with selfishness that drives our human nature and need to be satisfied. Satisfaction is the product of a life fulfilled by God through salvation. A grace so great in magnitude that it overcomes every sin so that soulful satisfaction is possible again.

Waiting on God is not a long term goal but a daily aspiration. I will see the Lord’s Goodness while I am here in the land of the living. This is my moment by moment plea. I want to learn to wait on God when it comes to every detail of my life. There are times when waiting on the Lord is inevitable. Situations, circumstances and conditions that in our own power there is nothing else to do. Days and seasons of complete human inability that force us into the realm of hope marked “waiting”. However, there are opportunities in each moment of every single day to experience the fullness of God given to those who are willing to wait expectantly rather than work prematurely. There are things that I can do to solve a problem but when I decide to wait on the Lord – it always comes out better than I expected. It is human nature to do what I can before leaning on the Lord, but that is not Kingdom Culture.

The Kingdom is built on a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ for all things. He is the Good Shepherd. He promises to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can think, ask or imagine. How many times do I do something for myself that God intends to do His Best for me? Control is a characteristic of pride. Pride is the desires and drive of the flesh to maintain control of our life and rebels against the Spirit who is always attempting to plant seeds that will bore spiritual fruit in us. It produces busy, hectic and chaotic lives. It makes us fearful, worried, stressed out, exhausted and on the verge of burnout. It is confidence in Christ alone and His Desire to fill our life with His Goodness in the land of the living that allows us to slow down and wait when every fiber in our being is trying to rush ahead.

Psalm 27:4 (NLT) The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.

Priorities are important in realigning our flesh to surrender to the Spirit of God. It means that even when “I can” that I won’t at the leading of God’s Spirit inside of me. The gentle urging and nudging of God that there is something better if I choose patience over pressure and humility over pride. What is the thing I seek most in this life? We can effectively determine our greatest priority by that which gets the best of our time. To live in the House of the Lord all the days of my life is not a declaration of church attendance but rather a desire to live in His Presence. Christ in us as believers. We take Him everywhere we go. He is the breath in the words we speak that produce life or death. Sometimes we make God so religious that it is impossible to acknowledge Him because such rules and regulations make Christianity a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. What if we have made Christ too complicated?

The fruit of the Spirit living inside of us is simple. It is not fancy or exotic but practical for life. He grows love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. All of these things not only benefit us but will be perfect offerings to the world. The Light of the World lives in us and cannot be put out. When we try to be the Light of the World rather than letting Him shine through us – it is not attractive. May need to think on that one a little? The good fruit and characteristics God producing in us through His Spirit are not found naturally occurring in this world.

I am not perfect. I will never be perfect until I am with the Lord. My imperfections are an opportunity for the Power of God to manifest in my life. All of my life has the potential for God’s Power. It all has meaning and purpose. But the enemy presses us to do something now when the Spirit says, “Wait on the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently on the Lord.” The one thing we need more than anything else is confidence in God, His Character, His Son, His Spirit and His Faithfulness. If we could just allow belief to permeate every area of doubt and uncertainty in our life, we would see His Glory fall in our life.

How often do you think about the Lord in any given day? Is He your first thought? Your last one? Do you pray every day? Do you worship Him outside of church? When something good happens, do you give Him praise? When you need help do you say His Name? Do you read your Bible every day? Study it. Meditate on it. What are feeding your spirit man or woman today? Trust me, there is always something going in our mind. We see things, hear things and absorb things even unconsciously. There is always media around us. I am quite certain your smartphone is only an arm’s length away! We have the ability to choose what we allow in and out of mind, soul and body. God’s Spirit produces self-control. We must partner with God’s Spirit to use it to cultivate good habits and proper priorities in our life or miss all the good things God has in store by settling for compromises and substitutions.

Psalm 27:8 (NLT) My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

The place of power for a believer is living in the Presence of God. Not one or two days a week, but consciously making the choice to respond to the still small voice that wakes us, invites us, and constantly calls to us to come. “Come and talk with me.” I break the myth that you can only converse with the Lord in your prayer closet. He is just a whisper away. To develop any relationship requires communication. To thrive requires constant conversation with your beloved. We determine the depth our relationship by our desire to know Him intimately. Is the Lord an acquaintance that you see at church? Jesus is desperate to be our soul mate today. Life partners to the end.

Are you struggling with waiting today? Are there things you are doing for immediate results that really should be entrusted to the Lord? Sometimes when it is really a struggle to do something it is because it is not meant for us to do and the Lord has something better in store for us! The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” (Proverbs 10:22) Wisdom for the waiting found in God’s Word. Impatience will breed many sorrows when we force something that God has not planned and purposed for us or prematurely produce it. To be brave and courageous requires confidence.

Confidence in the Lord comes from knowing Him more and more each day. Knowing Him intimately becomes a relationship of trust and timing as we come to realize what He has for us is always more than we can think, ask or imagine. It is understanding that every blessing of God comes without sorrow. Fear is the spirit that feeds the fear of lack and fuels insecurity in a believer’s heart and mind. The fear of missing something this world has to offer because the Kingdom is not bound by immediate gratification but always produces complete and absolute fulfillment.

I come back to Psalm 27 many times. Especially on those days when I feel compelled to move while I sense in my spirit the need to wait. The enemy offers enticing compromises and quick fixes but the Lord invites me to wait on Him. What He has is a blessing? There is no sorrow or condition attached. He is faithful to the end. Lord, teach me to wait for you in all things. Be the One thing I seek so that all the details of my life fall into Your Capable Hands. Take captive every rebellious thought tempting me to move from this place of Presence. My life is not my own. It is not under my control. Your Goodness is for me right here and right now! I believe in Jesus Name!

Psalm 27:11 (NLT) Teach me how to live, O Lord. Lead me along the right path…

Fugitive Heart

Fugitive Heart

Ephesians 4:1-3 (NKJV) I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

I should have seen it coming. You have to practice what you preach. I have been touting forgiveness to my teenager for a week. So why be surprised when I am faced with a situation that requires forgiving someone who is not sorry. Of course, I would be presented with a large portion of crow. Shocked and dismayed…I know in that moment the enemy chuckled. I have to make a choice. One I do not want to make…will I choose to be angry with this person who has offended me so or will I quickly forgive and move on. As I stumble over my flesh realizing that I am not as far in the race of faith as I once thought, I begin to recite all the scripture I know about forgiveness. It is a command not a suggestion. It is beneficial and crucial yet critical to my pride and fatal to my flesh. How can I just let this go? It is wrong. It is hateful. It is mean spirited. It is judgmental. Tears of frustration fill my eyes as I am sitting on the outside while standing on the inside. I must forgive the person as though my life depends upon it or risk becoming who they are in this moment sitting in the same bitterness, caught up in the past, held captive in hatred, and imprisoned by the wrath so wrapped up in their heart. What do you do when you just can’t get over it?

I am “to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing one another in love.” Oh my goodness, this is so hard sometimes. People are people. We are imperfect yet called by a perfect Savior and flawless God to walk in His Image and live by His Example which is love, mercy and grace in all things towards all people. I would love to fall back on the fact that I am not God or selfless like Jesus but that doesn’t let me off the hook. Jesus lives inside of me. He is my new nature. His Spirit works to nurture, develop, and cultivate good fruit in the barrenness that once possessed me. I want to bear His Fruit. To be a good steward. To be a vessel from which a good harvest overflows…but my heart is angry and emotions all stirred up. I find that the fertile and broken heart is not always void of rocks and hard spots that need my attention. I am called to longsuffering but would like nothing more than to make someone suffer by my harsh words, mad retort, or not so gentle rebuffing. The Spirit of God says, “Let it go!” My flesh says, “Not so fast…” The inner turmoil begins.

Matthew 5:44-45 (NKJV) But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

How low can you go? It’s not a limbo term anymore but a question for my inner person. The one who wants to be like Christ but struggles with human weakness. “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you and do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Love them. I do love them or maybe I should say in this moment of anger that I did. Friends can become enemies quickly in the shadow of hurt, harsh words, betrayal or even a simple misunderstanding. I tell my kids to ignore the offenses of others as I trip over my own tongue today. “Don’t make none and there won’t be none” has been my mantra that now hangs like a heavy mantle around my neck as it tightens into a noose.

2 Corinthians 2:9-11 (NKJV) For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Are you harboring unforgiveness in a fugitive heart today? Caught up in anger that is burning into hatred? Do you feel that an injustice has been done and you deserve retribution? Vengeance is mind says the Lord but is your flesh rallying to take the upper hand? Did you know that the enemy of our soul uses such a weapon to take advantage of us because we are ignorant of his devices? Satan wants to trick you into not forgiving so he can steal something from you today. He wants to get you caught up in words or tangled in lies so he can rob you of the love, joy and peace so heavily invested in you by Christ. Is it working?

“Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive.” It doesn’t matter how wrong the other person was or how right you are, you become an enemy of their soul by choosing unforgiveness over longsuffering. The Light that shines within us grows slightly dimmer until it is snuffed out by our unwillingness to let a trespass go in the same sea of forgetfulness that our sin drifted away on. The Salt of our spirit becomes tasteless and useless when our season brings about hardness in the mine called our heart. I must forgive others simply because I am forgiven. What I bind on the earth is bound in heaven and that which I loose is free to go. (Matthew 18:18) When I shackle someone in their trespass, I am no different than Saul who persecuted Christians and murdered them for their belief. Lord, I must forgive. Teach me to be longsuffering. Help me to remain free and loose others from the expectation I have placed on them.

Matthew 18:21-22 (NKJV) Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”  Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

There may be a more significant meaning to seventy times seven which many commentaries can elaborate on but for this particular instance let’s say it means 490 times. Can you think of anyone you have forgiven that many times consistently without throwing the towel in or walking away? Truly forgiveness but become an infinite quality in our Christian character be reflect the grace of God given to us. But how do we continually forgive other people and not become a human doormat? That’s the fear isn’t it? The idea of losing our identity in the giving of our life to others. Maybe that is exactly what becoming like Christ is all about? Giving up our identity to be a true reflection of who He is and what He has done for us. I know that Jesus has forgiven me more than 490 times and the count is steadily rising. Forgiveness is a commitment to love others more than ourselves. Jesus say that there is no greater love than to lay our life down for a friend. I don’t think that the Lord intended for us to have any enemies but one. The Kingdom is built of men and women bound together in unity and love. The enemy seeks to destroy the Kingdom beginning with the bitter root marked unforgiveness.

Luke 7:46-48 (NKJV) You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

As my heart softens in the Lord today, I am reminded of the woman who entered a room to face the judgmental glares of the Sanhedrin because she wanted to anoint Jesus with oil. Jesus forgave her of her sins and named her an example of one who has been forgiven much. To whom little is forgiven the same loves little. I have been forgiven much and sometimes I forget that when faced with an offense. I choose to be offended or hurt and throw up a wall around my heart. But that only limits me, I have been given unconditional and abounding love and grace by Jesus. I can live in it, walk in it and rejoice because of it even when others do not meet my expectation or hurt me because I have taken my expectation from others and placed it fully in Jesus Christ. Those times when unforgiveness rears its ugly head is only a reminder of how much more I need Him than the day before.

It has been established that it is easier to say, “Arise and walk” then “your sins are forgiven.” Forgiveness crucifies pride and moves us to our rightful position behind Jesus and others. Isn’t that what they say true joy is all about Jesus, others and you? I have to be reminded sometimes that it is not all about me and maybe just maybe if I choose to love rather than convict – it may make a difference in others. I am called to be Light in this dark world. Of course, the enemy will try to put that light out at every given opportunity. I choose today to forgive. I will have to remind myself of this very thing throughout the day when offered bitterness and anger toward the person who hurt me. I must choose love and grace because that is where I live and breathe. I will walk in freedom and work to keep the other person free not by binding them in my judgment or condemnation but continually praying for their blessing and freedom in Christ. Ugh! It’s a hard one. It’s a choice. It is not about me but my commitment to Christ so I will forgive.

Mark 11:24-26 (NKJV) Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

 

Sow Good Seeds

Sow Good Seeds

Mark 4:30-32 (NLT) Jesus said, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.”

Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” While I agree with Mr. Franklin in his statement about discipline, I might be so bold to add that what you do between those hours of rising and then falling into bed are equally important. The hours of each day are expended time which cannot be reclaimed. Some days are filled with productivity and others lived on a whim. What are you doing with your time? The most important commodity of your life is the very thing that cannot be replenished. In order to produce something of worth – the Kingdom of God – we must sow our time wisely along with the right seed to have it prosper into fulfillment rather than regret.

Seedtime and harvest is the simple process of planting and harvesting in life. Sowing and growing are naturally occurring but when used to expand and increase the Kingdom the natural is infused with the supernatural.

I Corinthians 3:6-7 (NLT) I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.

What is God growing in your life today? Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your current condition? Are you prospering or stalling? Consider the seed you are sowing. Going to bed early and getting a good night sleep will definitely improve the quality of your day with ample endorphins. Rising early will allow you to get a head start. However, before attempting to put your seed in the ground – let’s consider what it is that is being sown. It is the telltale of the harvest. Sowing the right seeds each day will produce a good harvest. God wants us to be healthy, wealthy and wise – these are qualities of prosperity in life. Jesus came to give us an abundant life full of satisfaction. We must plant. It must be watered. God will increase it.

2 Corinthians 9:10 (NLT) For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

In Matthew 3, it tells of the farmer who is scattering his seed. The seed is sown in a variety of places. There are many outcomes to the productivity of the seed according to where it falls. The parable is a picture of God’s Word. Each day it is important to sow the Word of God in our life to produce Kingdom results. Not to get too deeply theological, it is the essence of communion with Jesus Christ. His Body was broken for our consumption so that we can live connected to Him like the vine and branches. Abiding in Him. Jesus is the Word of God. We must consume the Word daily to produce the workings within it. The Word of God that falls on a fertile heart will produce the kind of life we long for.

We must make a conscious choice to find time each day to plant God’s Word in our heart. To study, meditate, marinate and digest the Word of God is my personal endeavor in farming His Plan and Purpose for my life that will prosper into a harvest of His Promises. To rise early allows us to do just that apart from the distractions of life. If we can get a jump on the day and determine what God has for us – it will allow us to get good seed in the ground before facing the challenges and responsibilities that come with the sun. I Co

“Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.” (2 Corinthians 9:6) If you have decided to follow Jesus all the way to the Kingdom, sowing the Word of God is essential. The more you sow the more you grow. God’s Word is filled with good things for your life. It is impossible to please God without faith. The Word of God feeds our fail and grows into confident hope in our life producing God’s Goodness wherever it is planted.

Mark 4:26-29(NLT) Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.”

Once seed goes in the ground and watered, God takes over. He is the one who increases our life with good things. He has an inheritance in Heaven released by obedience. The Word of God released in our life, over our homes, in our finances, infusing our ministry, or any other area of life partnered with God – it will experience radical growth. The potential in the seed is not obvious to us but God knows exactly what to do to bring it to full maturity and productivity in our life. Sowing is an act of faith. To put that seed in the ground and leave it requires patience and persistence that require assistance from the Holy Spirit to encourage us and keep us in the waiting. “As soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it.” God has not forgotten or ignored the seed. He is preparing and processing it to produce abundance in our life.

James 5:7 (NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.

The pathway to prosperity is patience in the process. Be patient. The seed you have sown will grow because it is mandated by God. If you sow plentifully, you will reap bountifully. If you are sowing God’s Word, you will harvest supernatural abundance if you are willing to wait for it.

Psalm 63:1 (NLT) O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 (NLT) Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.

Consider the seed being sown in your life today. Where do you spend your time? What are you investing in? The place where seed goes in the ground is the place your harvest will come from. Seedtime and harvest is a natural and supernatural process ordained by God. He promised never to curse the productivity in our life again. But God is Sovereign. He does not lie or change His Mind. He has no double standards. What does that mean? What you sow you will reap. When you plant you will harvest. He does not pick and choose what is planted – you do. I decide the productivity in my life by the sowing I choose to do and the seeds I pick to plant in my life. The natural conditions and circumstances of my life do not impact God’s Potential Growth in me – I do. Will I choose to sow seeds of God’s Word and plant from the measure of faith that I have been allotted or will I let natural conditions dictate the harvest in my field?

Early to bed and early to rise works. When I choose to rise early and seek His Face with a thirsty soul filled with good seed sown from God’s Word, my life begins to change supernaturally as my soul prospers so do I. I cannot explain it but can testify of it. God is good. His Mercy showers my life removing the bad seed giving the good seed room to grow, develop and become the abundance of my life. It’s time to sow some good seed. If you plant it, He will water it, and give increase in your life.

Hebrews 6:7 (NLT) When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. 

 

Fools Rush In

Fools Rush In

2 Peter 3:8-10 (ESV) But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” (Alexander Pope – An Essay on Criticism)

How many times is God’s Timing questioned by His People? Those times of waiting that last just a moment too long. Thinking takes over believing. We begin to criticize the Lord and His Timing or doubt His Perfect Plan. Wondering if it was His Voice or our own careless thought and yearnings that led us to foolishly thinking that God is working all things out just as He promised. Human logical gnaws at the concept of faith. In a moment, the foundation once strong and secure begins to crumble not because God is not faithful but foolishness is eroding our thoughts. God is good. His Way secure. His Thoughts are higher than mine and His Ways to follow. Yet still hope deferred makes the heart sick. (Proverbs 13:12) It is human nature to jump to conclusions and rush results. Fools rush in. Angels know the Lord is doing far greater things than seen so they wait as humble servants before His Throne allowing His Sovereign Nature to take charge. We could learn from the angels created in Heaven who sing of His Glory in His Presence. They are blessed not to have flesh and stubborn hearts that rally for its cause, yet they do not have what we do. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved…

Beloved…

Ephesians 5:1-2 (ESV) Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

I am God’s Beloved. I am a Child of the Living God. He sees me as a “beloved child” not a stepchild or nuisance but beloved. Beloved means greatly loved or dear to heart. It is the Father’s Perception of us through His Son, Jesus Christ. The grace applied is sufficient to cover the ugliness of sin and scars of rebellion so that the only thing God sees is His Beloved. I wonder how this might change our lives for the better. The idea of a loving, doting father who relentlessly pursues us with His Unfailing Love, Goodness and Favor. I wonder if that would give us pause to wait just a little bit longer to receive such an inheritance. To trust Him to do in us what is necessary so what flows through us will not change or move us from His Presence. To allow God to mold and shape us into His Image even when it hurts or requires more patience than allotted.

To walk in His Love…means trusting His Timing. I am reminding myself today that I have sown a lot of seed in good ground. His Word promises that there is a harvest for every seed planted in love and trust. It is the tiny potential that grows into big promises when faith allows it to so. God’s Plan for me contains a future and hope. Both required designated wait times. To rush in would be foolishness because a promised produced too soon is an abortion. It cannot do all it should do or be all that it could have been without God’s Mark of Completion. Christ loves us. Lives in us. Will not ever purpose less for us. It is our own discouragement that pushes us to settle, compromise or accept substitutions. The Lord’s Purpose is a rich and satisfying life marked by abundance. (John 10:10) The thief can only take what is not secured. He has no access to the one who is fully trusting and believing in the Lord walking in His Love, guided by light, shielded in love – those who abide in the Presence of God cannot be moved from success or destiny but only driven to such places.

Romans 8:23-25 (ESV) And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

“…that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness…”

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. The life of the believer is walked out by faith not by sight. Faith is reserved for what we hope for not what we already have. The fulfillment of God’s Purpose for us is that our life of faith will culminate in a forever existence in eternity with Him. Every step and every moment are with divine purpose so He is in no rush or hurry to make us “happy” in the present if it in any way will impact or impede our future hope. The hope of Heaven and eternal life. We must know God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Who will come to Him without reason? No one ever does. It is the moment that there is no control over this life or its random outcomes when the need for Christ arises from our conditions, circumstance or sure death that our lips call out for the One who already calls us “beloved.” He must become our beloved. The Lord is not slow to fulfill His Promise to us. He is waiting on us. God is always working every detail of our life for our good and His Glory. (Romans 8:28) But the reason why is more important than the reality of today…

Romans 8:37-39 (ESV) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is the impressive and unimaginable truth that rules our life. God loves us completely. So much so that He gave the life of His Only Son to not only show His Love but it available to us again. We are more than conquerors so that means we win. We are overcomers. Yet how often would it be easier to settle for something less than full satisfaction because the price of patience seems too high. Or maybe step down from the mountain of sacrifice because it seems too high and daunting. To secure the blessing of the Father handed to us by Abraham that believes not in just an idea or image of God but His Impeccable “I AM” nature that is not only able but willing to do all He promised to do. See God’s Love for us is secure. He calls us beloved. To have all that He has promised requires my complete and abiding trust that I am His Beloved.

Ecclesiastes 3:9-11 (ESV) What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 

The Lord has a plan for His Beloved which includes a promise that He will make everything beautiful in its designated time. He put eternity in our heart and gave us a measure of faith to pursue it. In the meantime, the Lord is pursuing us with Unfailing Love, Goodness and Mercy are pursing us all the days of our life. (Psalm 23:6) His Promise is that I will see His Goodness in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13) He is working every detail of my life for my good and His Glory. (Romans 8:28) The Lord is perfecting that which concerns me. (Psalm 138:8) As I type this today, I do have many concerns in my heart and mind that I must continually sow into the fertile ground of the Word attaching God’s Promises that are resurrection and life. My life is not my own. It belongs to the One who calls me “Beloved”. The things that He promises to do and is doing are not according to my faithfulness or even obedience but according to His Faithfulness. His Unchanging and Unyielding Love that just cannot rush things in order to please us but must take His Time to satisfy us because His Love for me is perfect. I am challenged with impatience just like the next person. There are days when I become discouraged and a bit downhearted. We are human and God knows that. He created us. He does not comfort us with a carefully outlined timeline. God doesn’t tell us all the steps just the next one. He gives us mercy for the days we mess up. Fools may rush in but God doesn’t. He patiently and painstakingly takes His Time waiting for us to step in to the divine purpose, provision and prosperity that He promises. Why? It really is simple. I am His Beloved. Will you trust the beloved to hold your hope tightly even if for only one more day?

Song of Solomon 3:4 (ESV) “…I found him whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go…”

Song of Solomon 6:3 (ESV) I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.