Humble Prayers

Humble Prayers

2 Chronicles 7:13-15 (NLT) At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place.

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16) It is not the earnestness of our prayers that move the heart of God. There I said it. I believe in the power of prayer. I have seen mighty miracles as a result of God’s People uniting to pray purposefully. I have seen God answer prayers over and over again. I understand that the Word of God instructs us to “keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.” (Matthew 7:7) It goes on to tell us to keep seeking and knocking. I have read it and I am encouraged by it. But it is still not God’s Motivation.

God is motivated by righteous people. No one is righteous – not even one. (Romans 3:10) The only pathway to righteousness is because of faith in God who forgives sinners. (Romans 4:5) Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is our gateway to God. (John 14:6) Righteousness is right standing with God. The only way that this is fully accomplished is by His Grace. His Grace that is enough for me to enter the heavenly realm and speak to the Father with bold confidence. However, sometimes religion gives us the false thought that there is more to righteousness than a relationship through repentance. It tells us that there is some act or action that makes us worthy of God’s Full and Constant Attention. The only way a person becomes righteous is through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways.

Righteousness always requires repentance. Always. I was reading the story of Manasseh in 2 Chronicles 33. The account of a boy who became king at the tender age of 12. Manasseh led the people of Judah and Jerusalem to do more evil than the surrounding pagan nations. He even set up idols in the temple constructed by Solomon dedicated to God. The Lord spoke to Manasseh and the people warning them but the ignored Him. Manasseh was taken prisoner. He was led away by a ring placed in his nose by the Assyrians bound in heavy chains. While in deep distress, Manasseh sought the Lord his God and sincerely humbled himself before God. When he prayed the Lord listened and was moved by his request. This man had thumbed his nose at the Lord completely. He had gone so far as to practice sorcery, divination, and witchcraft consulting with psychics and mediums. Yet when Manasseh truly repented and accepted God’s Mercy in all humility it moved the Lord. He was brought back to Jerusalem and given his kingdom. He realized that God was God alone and tore down all the shrines built to honor other gods. His deeds recorded in The Book of the Kings of Israel even though every sinful deed and record of unfaithfulness is equally chronicled in The Book of the Seers right down to the location of every shrine and Asherah pole constructed with every idol placed there. God honors humble prayers.

And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.”  Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.  (Daniel 10:11-12)  Daniel prayed humble prayers. The Lord sent an angel to him to tell Daniel that he was precious to God and a command had been released in the Heavenlies to honor his humble request. I wonder today if the prayers of the righteous go unanswered because the key component of humility has been left out.

The word humble or “kana” means to bring low and into subjection. It is not exalting one’s power but fully accepting God’s Grace as enough. It is the meekness that accepts God’s Will and remains faithful to His Way even when things are not going as planned or expected. If my people will humble themselves and pray…to give up our way and fully accept His Way is to have a humble heart. Humility before the Lord also known as meekness is to be overly submissive to Him. It means to comply with all the Lord requires which is to repent and seek His Face. The answer to every prayer is found in the person of Jesus Christ who gives us access to the Father.

If you are frustrated today by unanswered prayers, consider spending some time with the Father. Examine your heart. Consider your thoughts. Filter your mind. Sometimes we lose sight of what truly is the most important aspect of our Christian life to fight battles that we are not called to fight and to wage war against people rather than standing against the enemy. We must become one people with one purpose – one heart and one mind – full of God’s Love, living in His Favor and fruitful in every way to advance His Kingdom. These are the people who know who they are in Christ and stand confidently in times of trouble. Together. I must submit and surrender my life including every prayer to God not because I am right but through the righteousness offered by the Cross. It really doesn’t matter if I am right – when I am called to be the Light!

I want to partner with you today. I ask the Lord to grant you the desires of your heart in accordance with His Perfect Will. I find it encouraging that despite all of his faults and failures, the Lord still saw fit to rescue Manasseh and restore his kingdom out of His Love, Grace and Mercy. Because of Jesus Christ, even though I have a list of faults and failures just like him that the grace and goodness God has given me is more than enough to establish His Power for His Glory in my life. He is a good God. He is an even greater Father. His Love for us is based solely on His Perception of us not our perception of ourselves – surely someone should clap. As I pray today, I lay down everything that somehow managed to take precedence above the Father. I will not be led away by the enemy’s lies today or held in bondage by unconfessed sin. I don’t want to live in exile from the Lord but am taking the time to pray humble prayers. Thank you Lord for reminding me today that you alone are my righteousness!

Romans 3:22 (NLT) We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

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Teach Me

Teach Me

Psalm 143:10-11 (NKJV) Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness. Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake!

“True humility is staying teachable regardless of how much you already know.” Author Unknown

A humble heart is a teachable heart. The importance of knowledge and understanding is clearly evident throughout the Word of God. Teach me to do Your Will. This should be the cry of a believer every single day. Why? Simply put – You are My God and Your Spirit is good. To believe these two statements is the mandate of remaining changeable in the Presence of God. God does not lie. He doesn’t change His Mind. His Word cannot and will not return to Him void. If it hasn’t happened, you just haven’t waited long enough. If He said it, God meant it. His Sovereignty is complete and unshakeable. He will not move so it is up to us to be moved. The Lord does not change so the process is all on us to be changed into His Image.

Isaiah 48:17 (NKJV) Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.”

Life is full of choices. I made the decision to turn off my alarm and get out of bed this morning. It begins the moment our eyes open continuing throughout the day. Each one has a ripple effect in our life. The current of our life is experience as our choices become consequences – good or bad. The ebb and flow of society is fate. I do not swim in the same stream. I believe that God has a prescribed plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11) with a future and hope. I believe that all my days were recorded before I was born. (Psalm 139:16) I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died for my sins and was resurrected on the third day. I also believe that He ascended to sit at the Right Hand of God and will return one day. Until then, I believe that He released His Spirit to live in me as my helper and teacher in life. This is what I believe…how about you? If you answered affirmatively, then the next question is – am I teachable? That’s right. If my life is not my own and contrary to the societal portrayal of normalcy, then I must consider the source of my knowledge, understanding and wisdom. It must be from the Lord. I must humble my life to remain teachable day by day, moment by moment and breath by breath if my desired destination is to live a prospering life in the Presence of God.

Psalm 25:4-5 (NKJV) Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.

Lately, I have felt pressure to move. It is not of the Lord because wherever He sends me – I go fully equipped even into unknown areas and uncharted territory. I have felt the need to wait, watch and pray. However, people are impatient. The enemy antagonizes the waiting believer goading them to move, jump or escape the “horrendous” state of immobility and powerlessness while God does exactly what He promised to do. Seeking the Lord today, I questioned my current state of waiting. I asked the Lord to show me if I missed Him. Did I turn off course? Did I not hear Him correctly? He offered me these verses and thoughts. I desire God’s Way above my own. I want Him to show me His Ways, teach me His Paths, and lead my life in all Truth. It is the desire of my heart and the promise of the God of our salvation. He will lead everyone who is willing to follow.

Lead me in Your Truth and teach me. Since accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and later giving Him my life as Lord, I have had many experiences in trusting and believing Him to fruition. I have waiting through some mighty storms and crawled through the remains of a heart broken into a million pieces. His Faithfulness has never failed me. His Love and Kindness pursues me. His Favor shines on my life. This is my experience. But wait there is more… there is always more with the Lord. He promises to do greater than we can ask, think or even imagine if we would only trust Him with our life. (Ephesians 3:20) A commitment to Christ including living life as a follower and disciple means becoming a life-long learner. To be teachable. To desire to know His Truth by which we are all set free. Sometimes pride will get in the way of our teachability. Enough is enough is usually the cry of the hardened heart. Overburdened by waiting on a God it does not trust and Savior who is clearly never coming on their behalf. Lord, I ask you today to break off every hard part in my heart today. To give me clean hands (external) and a pure heart (internal) to receive your Word by faith and wait until it comes to pass. Give me expedient and willingness obedience to live by faith not by sight. Teach me, Lord. Keep me soft and pliant as clay in the potter’s hand. Mold me. Shape me. Create in me a clean heart and steadfast spirit willing to wait on You in all things. You are my God. Your Spirit is Good.

To have God’s Way requires God’s Word. It is not enough to read it passively but to plant it productively in our life. The seed is the Word of God sown in a soft and fertile heart ready to cultivate all the desirable first fruits produced by the Holy Spirit. This is the way of revival in the human heart that will overflow into our communities. Humble people who love and trust the Lord enough to learn His Ways and walk in them. The kind of people willing to wait for Him and watch for Him confidently until He comes. These are the same people who will shine brightly as the Light of His Love in the darkness of the world. Those who quietly and confidently seek the Lord in all things and love everyone until He comes.

“The engine of change is a teachable spirit.” Author Unknown

“In His Hands, we find solace. In His Heart, we find rest. In His Time, we find meaning. In His Eyes, we are blessed.” Beth Moore

Psalm 1:1-3 (NKJV) Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

Always Perfect

perfect-always

Psalm 27:4-6 (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. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music.

Last night, I had the profound privilege of attending an open-air concert called the Night of Joy. Hosted by Walt Disney World, sitting in an open stadium, hundreds of people created a scene out of Heaven worshipping the Lord together. This is indeed a privilege that not many people around the world are given. We are fortunate in American that even though people reject, refuse and retaliate against God and the Name of Jesus that we still have the opportunity to praise Him publically.

One of the artist was Chris Tomlin who is probably one of the greatest praise and worship leaders of all time. He sang, “Good, Good Father” along with the “church” in attendance last night. The verse “You are perfect in all of your ways” was repeated over and over again. I always stop to wonder in the midst of that song, if we truly know what we are telling the Lord. Such a confession means “God, I trust You”. No matter what I may be going through, the impossible thing that I am facing, the overwhelming hurt I am trying to overcome – God, I believe that YOU are perfect in all of your ways. The statement is true. It is valid. It cannot be accepted with some trials and troubles along the way. It must be confirmed and written in our heart by His Word. We must rely on His Spirit to help us understand a God who is perfect and how that impacts our life.

In the midst of doing life today, can we just stop and meditate on the Lord’s Perfection? Rather than just singing along with a song, or reiterating church rhetoric, can we think about what we believe for just a minute? Do you believe that God is perfect in all of His Ways? Do I believe it? God’s Perfection is not complex. It is incomprehensible to humans who have never experienced such. It seems cruel and unbending. God is relentless. He does not lie or change His Mind. While at times this does seem harsh, the Truth is it is our security. It means that there is nothing I can do to separate myself from the Love of God. It is confirmation that no matter how far I run or deep into darkness that I wander – His Love will find me.

Matthew 5:48 (NLT) But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Human inability to be perfect creates an immediate trust issue among people. We put our expectation in others who fall short of such a thing, then label God with the human qualities others have shown us. We cannot believe in a perfect God because we try to make the Lord like other people. Who is like you Lord in all the earth? Matchless love and beauty, endless worth. Nothing in this world can satisfy. Jesus, You’re the cup that won’t run dry. If only we could experience the perfection of God for just a moment…maybe then we would understand God’s Perfection is His Love.

You are to be perfect. I do not believe that the Lord would set a standard that people could not attain. If He calls us to perfection, it is totally possible. We must know the perfection of God. His Perfection is Love. Love covers a multitude of sin. Love is His Grace. His Grace is enough for me. It allows me to say that He is perfect in all of His Ways even when I am uncomfortable and inconvenienced by the process because I know His Perfection is filling me and His Process just makes more room.

Matthew 19:20-22 (NLT) “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?” Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Perfection is found in following Jesus because He is Perfection. As we do what He did, say what He said, and love like He loved, perfection is not far from us as it once was. The problem is not with His Process but His People. If rather than trying to wrap our head around being perfect, we would allow our heart to get wrapped up in His Perfect Love – our life would be perfect. Satisfaction and contentment are found in Jesus. Too often – it’s those “things” or “possessions” that keep us from the “perfect” life because we will not give them up to go where Jesus goes. This is not about the tangible or the acts of kindness or even Christian service. It is to surrender all that we are and ever hope to be to the Plan of God to be filled completely with His Love. The Light that drives all darkness away.

John 17:22-24 (NLT)  “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!

Jesus prayed for us to have “perfect unity”. There was a glimpse of that in the crowded statement as men, women, young and old worshipped the Name of Jesus together. Suddenly the lines were erased defining denomination, organization and congregations. For a moment, it was like Heaven. I believe Jesus came in our midst because for a second or two we were in perfect unity. It was all about Jesus and not about us. Jesus prayed for this on His Way to the Cross. Just hours before every sin of every person was heaped upon Him, Jesus prayed for us that we could experience the Glory of perfect unity with the Father, Son and His Church. This is perfection. To God it begins and ends with His Love.

Philippians 3:12-15 (NLT) I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.  Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you.

What if today moving forward everyone agreed that God is perfect in all of His Ways? Would it tear down the walls built by people to create a “perfect” church? It might. Saul achieved great things for God before he became Paul. He did not persecute the Christians as a criminal but because of his convictions as a devote Jew who loved God the Father with all of his heart. Jesus showed Saul a better way, gave him a new name, and made him a new creation. Could it be we all need an experience with Jesus to forget the past? Past religion, convictions, denominations and the like to ask the Lord to show us His Perfection once again. To fill us with His Love all over again so we can see the renovations needed in the church and connect the Body of Christ. What if when we disagree, we would believe God is perfect in all His Ways and able to make it known to us rather than causing more separation than we are currently experiencing now. I wonder…

Psalm 27:11-14 (NLT) Teach me how to live, O Lord. Lead me along the right path, for my enemies are waiting for me. Do not let me fall into their hands. For they accuse me of things I’ve never done; with every breath they threaten me with violence. 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.

Lord, help our unbelief today. Help us understand Your Perfection and makes us perfect as you are perfect. What? You do believe that He is perfect in all of His Ways? Is the evidence visible in your life? Do you praise Him in the storm? Do you trust Him in all things never experiencing worry, stress or anxiety? Do you follow His Word to the letter? Do you go where He calls you? Do you say “yes” to Him every time? Do you surrender to His Leading? Do you submit to His Will? See if we really believe that God is perfect in all of His Ways – we would not hesitate in faith anymore. Thank you Lord for the stirring and conviction in my heart today. I must not only say that You are perfect in all Your Ways but must believe it with my heart and live it with my life.

Colossians 3:13-15 (NLT) Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

21 Days

21 Days

Hebrews 10:19-22 (NLT) And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

Who doesn’t like new? The new car smell is exciting until the payment book arrives in the mail. The new way is good until it becomes mundane. The televisions entertains with new offers and billions of dollars poured into advertising to grab public attention to come shop for more. New is only for a moment if you think about it. Once attained, that “thing” that was new quickly becomes old. A new thing often comes with a cost. A new way comes only with change. If you think about it for a moment, we want new things and new ways but seldom consider the cost or change that must come with it.

Jesus opened a new and life-giving way. It requires a cost and change to attain it. He paid the price for our sin with His Blood. He changed our worship to become about surrender rather than sacrifice. Sin no longer cost us our life but grace welcomes surrender. Are you walking in the new and life-giving way? Do you feel confident that you can have all that God promised in His Word to those He calls His Children? Can you go into the Presence of God with a sincere heart fully trusting Him? We can boldly enter Heaven’s Most Holy Place which is the Throne Room of our Most High God with Jesus seated at His Right Hand. As a born-again believer covered in the Blood of Jesus and walking in His Grace, I can come to the Father with every request fully trusting that He will hear my cries and answer my call…but do I do it? Will I walk in the new and life-giving way today? Or every day? Are you tired of a mundane life? Does it seem like it is the same stuff and situations all the time? Are you stuck in a rut?

Luke 14:26-30 (NLT) “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’

When I was much younger, I judged my parents severely. Married and divorced at a young age with two small children and just barely adults themselves, I didn’t realize how harshly that I had judged them. I wanted to be the perfect wife and perfect mother, but found it be impossible myself. In a similar situation and making many of the same mistakes, it wasn’t until I came to Jesus and finally gave Him my life completely that I could finally see. Nobody’s perfect. The grace afforded me, I must give to others. Though it is human nature to try to trust other people fully, they are going to let you down. We must put our trust in Jesus and discard all the other expectations of others.

I remember when our son was diagnosed with cancer and my dad was coming to see his grandson in the hospital. I had been in the throes of caregiver long enough to dry up my tears, trust the Lord and continue to march on. But when my dad let me know that he was coming, my heart quaked a little. He is my dad. I needed to hug my father and hear him say that it would be okay. When he called to say that he was in the lobby, I rushed down to see him. I looked all around for my dad ready to run to him. What I found was a broken man with his head buried in his arms sobbing. He was overwhelmed with sadness for his grandson. I sat down, put my arm around him and began to encourage him. Though he is my father, in that moment, for that season, I had to trust the Lord to quiet my heart, soothe my soul and be my portion.

Love and hate are opposites. I don’t think Jesus was implying that we should hate our parents, family or friends to take up our cross and follow Him. If we are not willing to give up everything we love including our own life to follow Jesus then, for us, the price is too high. The new, life-giving way promised to us comes through discipleship and following Jesus which means that our trust and expectation can no longer be in those around us but to the One who lives inside of us. It will cost you everything to follow Jesus. Have you counted the cost? It means that we must love, forgive, and say farewell to many other “things” including people choosing to love the Lord more than anyone else in our life. It relieves people of our expectation as we yoke our whole life to Jesus and carry the cross laid upon us by His Love.

2 Corinthians 3:9-12 (NLT) If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever! Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold.

The new way of life given to us by Jesus is called freedom. No longer condemned by our sin because of His Grace, we can live a glorious life again despite human imperfection. The problem is that most people expect the Lord to meet us where we are rather than running to where He is. Our life must change to accept the new way of living that we have been offered. If the Lord forces us to live in the new way, it is no longer freedom but becomes bondage all over again. The devil cannot make you do anything you do not want to do. The Holy Spirit will not make you do anything that you do not want to do. You are free to live however you choose. So when we don’t like the way things are going – it is up to us to choose a new way.

We are offered overwhelming glory as we take up our cross and follow Christ. To expect a new way of life doing all the same things is ridiculous. To do the same thing and expect different results is called insanity. People do it every day. We must become confident that the new way is worth having so we will walk in it. If we do, we will become bold in our confidence. Confidence in the Lord will change our life for the better because confident people will choose to follow God. Counting the cost ahead of time and deciding – it’s going to be worth it. It is going to be worth it all.

2 Timothy 1:9-10 (NLT) For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.

We are ordained by God and granted access by Jesus to live a holy life. Not a religious existence but a life of holiness. Why? Holiness connects us with the Lord by reliance on His Grace alone. Righteousness allows us to become holy again. Our life should reflect the grace given to us in every way. By submitting to the authority of Jesus as Lord and surrendering our heart to Him as Savior, it is possible to enter the Highway of Holiness and live there successfully. Outside of Jesus – it is all just religious and pious acts of false worship.

“Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14) A holy life is one defined by discipleship. It is no longer about what I want or how I feel but trusting the Lord to meet those needs and desires while I demonstrate the new way with my life. A holy life is not a perfect life. It is not a sinless one either. A holy life is to dedicate and devote our life to serving the Lord. It is to strive to be godly like our Father in Heaven and accepting His Grace when we fall short. To have a spiritually pure quality. This is achieved by the washing of God’s Word that releases the impurities of our heart, mind and soul by changing the way we think so our attitude and actions follow suit. (Romans 12:2) It is life in the Spirit of God using His Guidance and Instruction to walk in God’s Ways. (Romans 7:5-6)

2 Corinthians 4:1 (NLT) Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. 

2 Corinthians 4:6-9 (NLT) For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 

God has given us a new way. Are we walking in it? When He decided to light the way for us, God gave His Son, Jesus. Jesus put the same light in us so now we are the light of the world likened to a city on a hill. Is your light so shining before men that the love of God is revealed and men praise Him for it? Until you and I become confident in the investment that God has made in us including our mind, soul and body choosing to live true to it, we will not experience the glorious life promised those who do. Are you willing to count the cost and take up your cross to follow Jesus? Are you willing to change from your way to His Way?

Scientifically, it is believed that it takes 21 days to change a habit. To retrain our mind to do something new on a regular basis. A habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become involuntary. Could it be that if we decided to do things His Way for 21 days, it would become independent of our will and we could live in God’s Will? I wonder what 21 consistent days of getting up early to read God’s Word and pray might do? How about not watching that television show that feeds our flesh but not our spirit? Whatever that “thing” is hindering you from a closer walk with God. What if it was left undone for just 21 days…would it make a difference? I believe it would. If not, you can surely go right back to life as usual. If the supernatural is what you are after though, it is the beginning of faith and freedom forever. We must count the cost. We must become confident in our belief. We must change our ways to see the Glory of God in our life.

Psalm 119:57-60 (NLT) Lord, you are mine! I promise to obey your words! With all my heart I want your blessings. Be merciful as you promised. I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow your laws. I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands.

Clean House

Clean House

Psalm 19:12-14 (NLT) How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Our family will be moving in a day or so after months of anticipation. For weeks, I have been purging this house going through every nook and cranny deciding what will stay and what will go. We have so much stuff. We are blessed. Now in the final countdown before closing, we are preparing for the walkthrough. As our belongings are packed in a trailer and furniture prepared for the moving truck, I am appalled at the dust and dirt that I have found hidden beneath things that have not moved in years. I clean my house faithfully once a week on Thursdays and require each person to pick up after themselves so how in the world did it get so gross. Dust in the closets. Debris under counters and in cabinets. And could someone please tell me what dripped down the wall of the pantry before I touch it. Crawling along the floor wiping down baseboards, I notice that though they looked pristine and white from a distance on closer inspection not so much. When the new owner walks through, I want this house to shine. I want her to fall in love with it like she did when she first laid eyes on it and decided quickly to have it. I do not want her to regret her purchase or be ashamed it is her home.

We are God’s House. His Holy Spirit lives in us. He is our Helper and Constant Companion. The Spirit of God in mean has the ability and desire to do more in me than I can ask or think but many times I do not allow the Spirit freedom to do these things restricted by sin in my life. I read the Word of God every day. I pray every day, too. I faithfully attend church and serve there as well. I try to live according to the Word of God and His Spirit, but sin still finds its way in my life despite my best attempt at godliness and holy living. I just cannot help it. It is my nature. When the Holy Spirit inspects our heart and mind, what does He find? See I don’t think we consider our holy inhabitation enough to realize that God sees everything. He knows every thought before we think it, every action before we do it and every word before we seek it. He sees our intentions. He knows our follow through. So as I continue to clean my house and prepare for our move, I am looking inside my heart today, too.

God hates sin. He cannot come anywhere near a sin-filled person or His Goodness would consume them so it is with great compassion and persistent patience that He waits for us. What is waiting for? The Lord God is waiting for His People to be overcome with love for Him that causes them to daily examine their body, mind and spirit for sin and remove it simply because they want to be close to Him for the sake of love. Love empowers us to overcome sin because it creates a greater desire in us to please our beloved. To live for God in obedience without love leads to devastation because to walk with God requires grace. Lots of it. Obedience is self-motivated. Obedience in love is different. It causes us to desire the One we love more than those things we do, want or see. Obedience to God in life will produce His Blessings. But falling in love with the Lord will satisfy the soul.

Psalm 51:9-11 (NLT) Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.

Create in me a clean heart, Lord. Renew a right spirit. The removal of sin allows us to move closer to God. It is the only that stands between us and His Glory. Our churches are not in revival because of sin. Our community is not redeemed because of sin. We cannot come to the Lord and seek Him wholeheartedly entertaining sin in our life. I am not the Holy Spirit. I cannot decide for you the parameters of right and wrong for you. God’s Word tells us what we ought to do. Freedom allows us to do it without the guilt and shame of sin keeping us from God’s Best. His Spirit leads us from everlasting to everlasting by faith. But if we refuse to get rid of, to the bottom of and deal with all the sin in our life – revival will not come. It is with a steadfast and loyal heart that is determined not to let anything come between it and God that we begin to see Heaven come to earth and revival sweep our churches to save, deliver and heal the land.

How can I know the sin lurking in my heart? As not to compound or complicate the issue – I will be straightforward. Read the Bible and pray. Meditate on the Word of God – chew it up and digest it fully. Pray. Pray. Pray some more. Prayer is communication with God. Partner with the Holy Spirit so that you are familiar with the nudge or red flag that signals danger ahead. This will become a mirror for your soul that allows you to see beyond acceptable to godliness.

Cleanse me from hidden faults. In Hosea, it tells us that God’s People die from a lack of knowledge. There are things in your life right now that seem fine to you but soon will be considered unworthy of God’s Beloved. Ask the Lord to cleanse you from hidden faults today. Those things you do but do not know they are sin.

Keep your servant from deliberate sins! You and I both know that there are things in our life that would be considered deliberate sin. Attitudes and actions contrary to the Word of God allowed to remain in our life. We like to think of it as human weakness which would work but greater is He who lives in me than he that is in the world. Yes, His Grace is enough. It will cover every deliberate sin carried to the cross. Deliberate sin will keep you from God’s Best every time. It will ruin relationships. It will detour divine destiny. It will never be okay in God’s Eyes. Consider this – what if each time we sin it meant one more blow of the hammer into the nail’s that pierced His Hands and Feet? What if it was one more bloody stripe across His Back? Or maybe it meant another handful of hair ripped from His Beard? What if that one deliberate seemingly harmless sin produced another agonizing torment to our Savior? Truth is…it did. Those little white lies don’t seem so small. The hot tempered explosion more than just a blowup. The things done in secret now have been brought into the Light.

Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. With that in mind, please know and understand that every hidden and deliberate sin allowed to remain unchecked will lead to our downfall. It will soon plummet us into great sin. Sin will control your life if not dealt with severely. We must decide each day to crucify our flesh to make way for His Spirit to show us the Way into the Presence of God and live there. Sin will always be a part of our life. However, I can reduce the impact of sin on my life but refusing to allow it to remain once discovered.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Peace with God is created by agreement with God, His Word and His Spirit through His Son, Jesus. My mouth and my heart must agree. This forms my attitude and actions. My heart wants to please the one it loves. Proverbs 20:10 says that God hates double standards. You cannot live for self and Jesus. You cannot love evil and do that which is good. You cannot live in the Light of His Love while dabbling in darkness for long. We must be at peace with God, sealed in His Spirit and covered by the Blood of Jesus to move from death to life. If Jesus were to do a walkthrough of your heart today, what would He find? I am asking myself that today as I want only what He wants for me. I want His Kingdom to come to earth and do not want to be the one who stops it for those who are around me. Sin stops the Move of God. I don’t want to stop the next great Move of God, do you?

2 Corinthians 7:1 (NLT) Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.

God has filled our life with promises. “If you will, I will” over and over again. Why do we get so mad when we don’t so He doesn’t then? To have the Will of God including every benefit and blessing promised to me in the Word of God – I can only achieve such a life by living God’s Way. Sin forces us to compromise for less than God’s Best every single time. Sin restricts our prosperity. It limits our ability to love. As I prepare for the final walkthrough, I hope the new buyer sees a home rather than a house. I wonder what might happen if we prepared our heart for the Holy Spirit to walk through each day? What if I purposed to make the Lord feel welcome in my heart and make it His Home? What are the possibilities? Limitless! Let us cleanse ourselves of everything that might keep God’s Spirit living, breathing and moving through us today. It’s time to clean house.

2 Timothy 2:21 (NLT) If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.

Enduring Freedom

Enduring Freedom

John 8:32-36 (NLT) And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.

Well, after a long weekend of celebrating Independence Day including fireworks and festivities, it is back to the grind. The weekend was not anything extraordinary for our household. Preparations for the upcoming move kept us busy. While many of our family, friends, coworkers and acquaintances flooded our timelines and social media with pictures of their celebration of our country which allows us great freedoms. How did you exercise your freedom this weekend? Some will wake up with terrible headaches and certain ailments from overindulgences. Why would I even mention such a thing? Today is the morning after. It is the call to reckoning for a weekend spent. For some they will dread putting their feet on the floor to return to reality – what is your reality? Desperate for change a temporary escape leads back the bondage of drudgery. We live in a free country so why do so many people live in confinement. Confinement of purpose, bound by debt, consumed by consumerism, and all other society norms that drag us deeper and deeper into despair. How can we celebrate something that we do not live in? We are a free country. We are free people in Christ. Where is our liberty? Today. The morning after such a celebration before you step back into the rat race called normal life to pursue the elusive “American Dream”, may I remind you that there is a better way?

“And you will now the truth, and the truth will set you free.” There were some people who ventured to church this Sunday and maybe got a taste of the freedom Christ offers called grace. When they left the building, the enemy came and demanded their freedom from them by heaping guilt, shame and regret back on their shoulders which to those who don’t know or understand the full capacity of God’s Grace, Mercy and Love will responsibly take back on. We must learn to live in enduring freedom. Freedom founded in Christ and not available to the enemy. Jesus came to give us a rich and satisfying life that the enemy cannot touch. He opens the Gateway of Grace which allows us to come to Him freely and unrestrained by sin to enjoy the life that God planned for us. (John 10:9-10)

How does one remain free in the Grace of God through Jesus Christ? Freedom comes instantaneously in Jesus Christ but requires a relationship of consistency to maintain it. The Power and Authority of Christ as our Lord allows us to remain steadfast in His Grace and Love each day. Those who believe it will receive. We must know and understand the pathway to freedom and seek to maintain it each day. The grace given to me by accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior and seeking to make Him my Lord allows me open access to His Kingdom because His Grace is enough for me to walk boldly and confidently in His Presence and have the life and promises predestined for me before sin became a problem. The more I seek to maintain this freedom in my life the greater the potential of fulfillment I will find.

Ephesians 1:5-8 (NLT) God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.  

We are the sons and daughters of God. He adopted us because He wanted to and it brought Him great pleasure. He purchased our freedom with the Blood of His Son in rich loving kindness and grace. His Plan was never to make us slaves forced to do His Will and live a life of indebtedness, but rather God’s Desire for us was freedom to live according to His Will and achieve the highest standard of living called His Perfect Will. If God’s Will required perfect people, He would never have extended grace to us to fulfill it. It is His Grace given through Jesus that creates perfect unity and complete removal of all sin for the purpose of fulfillment in God.

Colossians 2:6-10 (NLT) And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

Acceptance of Christ is a cure all for sin. His Blood washes your sin as far as the east is from the west. BUT… I decide if His Grace is enough to maintain my freedom. Freedom from what? Sin. Guilt. Shame. Regret. Returning to the darkness. I believe that as a whole the Body of Christ must step up their discipleship game because men and women are falling away every day because of our folly in this area. We count heads at the altar but fail to accept them into the fold. We herd them into groups and programs but fail to meet them one-on-one get to know them beyond Sunday or the occasional Wednesday. We must continue to follow Jesus to have enduring freedom. As we follow, we should be leading, too.

“God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.” (I Corinthians 1:30) The root of our connection to Christ is our relationship with Him. The deeper our bond to Jesus Christ and greater our love for Him, the less likely we become to fall into temptation or sin. His Word is the knowledge that becomes wisdom pointing out traps and snares along the way as His Experience and His Spirit become our guide. The lesser things in life become unappealing once we taste and see that the Lord is good. Christ is the ruler and authority over every other power that exists. Our partnership and union with Him allows us to live with power and authority in life. No longer searching for satisfaction, we live in constant hope and faithful commitment to Jesus knowing His Grace is enough to set us free and our relationship with Him keeps us that way.

How do I know that my roots are grounded in Christ? Easy. A tree is identified by its fruit. (Matthew 12:33) You will grow what you sow. Sow the Word faithfully and obediently in the Spirit and you will reap the Fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 classifies this produce as – love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. All these things are beneficial to us and those around us. Allowing the Spirit of God to work in us and through us will give us greater and greater freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17) as we surrender our life piece by piece to His Holy Inhabitation and Constant Cultivation as He completes His Work in us.

James 1:21-25 (NLT) So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

Here is the social challenge with spiritual freedom – not every Christian believer has the same mindset. Religion muddies the water of our relationships because no one is in agreement. There are different set of rules and doctrine in each House of God. Young converts have no concept of Truth beyond what we teach them. If they do not see a clear picture of Jesus in our attitudes and actions, they will fall back on the world for acceptance. Nobody has it all together. No one gets it all right. We are imperfect people filled with a perfect God. He will make His Way out of those who successfully surrender their all to Jesus. It means not conforming to this world but allowing Christ to transform us from the inside out. Maybe…just maybe…if each believer reading this today took the time to concentrate on the Word, allowing the Spirit to produce a little more fruit, and focused on the Way, the Truth and the Life rather than comparing their spiritual productivity or lack thereof to others, maybe we would get somewhere in setting captives free.

“If you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.” (I Corinthians 10:12) The enemy is crafty and will use the Truth against those who do not fully believe it. For those who do not humble themselves before the Lord, the enemy uses pride to keep them believing they are good people who serve a good God. The same will starve from a lack of spiritual fruit. Without the grace of God humbly bestowed on us by Christ and accepted the same way – our freedom is compromised each day. Every day you will be tempted. It doesn’t matter how strong we think that we are in the Lord, there is daily temptation. What is the temptation? Sin. Anything in our life contrary to God’s Word, Will and Way is sin. We must strive to get rid of all “filth” in our life. Stinking thinking comes in all forms. To truly know who we are in Jesus Christ requires constant inspection of our heart and soul compared to His Word and guided by His Spirit. His Grace is enough for me. It is by His Grace that I have been set free. To live in that grace is enduring freedom.

2 Timothy 2:11-13 (NLT) This is a trustworthy saying: If we die with him, we will also live with him. If we endure hardship, we will reign with him. If we deny him, he will deny us. If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.

What good is freedom if we cannot maintain it? Every captive desires to be free but some have forgotten how to live outside of confinement. Unless they learn to live freely, they will seek captivity again. Convicts who spend many years in penitentiaries have a difficult time assuming a normal life. Countries freed from dictatorship seek new leaders because they cannot live without it. Without a constant abiding relationship in Jesus Christ through His Word and Spirit, we will all do the same. Falling back into the darkness, stumbling over temptations, and letting go of His Grace that will always be more than enough to maintain their freedom. Are you free today? Is the freedom you found in Jesus Christ enduring?

“Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:12-13) We live in this world. Sin is rampant. Love is cold. Even the church is experience the chaotic and chilly conditions. The great thing about God’s Grace is that we receive new mercy each day (Lamentations 3:22-23) so if we have forfeited our freedom in some way, it is easily reclaimed. Failure is only fatal if we never seek freedom in Christ again. The Word of God promises that those who endure to the end will be saved. Enduring freedom comes to those who abide in Jesus Christ. Grace is the gateway to God’s Goodness. Jesus is the Gate. He has unlocked it but will you go through it. Freedom cannot be forced but merely accepted. Take time to evaluate the Fruit of God’s Spirit in your life today. Examine your heart for dark closed up spaces. Plant God’s Word in there today. Thrust open your thinking to the Light of His Love considering its possibilities and choosing Him first.

Psalm34:4-10 (NLT) I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

Too Good To Be True

girl with raised hands and broken chains

vector silhouette of a girl with raised hands and broken chains

Romans 8:1-2 (NLT) So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. I wonder if as believers how many truly believe that there is absolutely no condemnation in Jesus Christ. Not a single condition, restrictive trait, limiting situation, or modifying circumstance in our life that might keep us from complete satisfaction and total fulfillment by God. Is it possible to really live without condemnation? After all according to the Word of God, it takes a just one sin to banish us from forever with God. How can one who is guilty be completely set free? There is a price to pay. A penalty that must be fulfilled. Jesus paid the debt owed for our sin in full yet people continue to put conditions on themselves never intended from that moment on.

John 3 tell us that God loved us so much that He sent Jesus not to judge the world but to save it. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. The judgment on our life is reversed through salvation. Jesus didn’t have to come to point out the problem or imposed penalty. God is Sovereign and it was already done. He came to give us an option. A chance to be free. An invitation for adoption. God’s Light came into the world. All who those who decided they loved the Light more than darkness are given the opportunity to live as Children of God.

Yada. Yada. Yada. Third grade Sunday school teachers have taught this for years. What’s new? Well, those who belong to Christ Jesus are no longer condemned so why do we live with such conditions? Afraid to live for the Lord because we cannot seem to avoid judgment and condemnation even if self-imposed. The current condition or circumstance of your life is not what is limiting you. It is our inability to believe in the Life-Giving Power of God invested by His Spirit in each of us that keeps doors shut, chains on and prevents us from living in the freedom given to us by Jesus.

Romans 8:15-17 (NLT)  So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

There is a popular worship song called No Longer Slaves that applies to this situation. Many times “believers” do not utilize God’s Power because the same are merely Christians who have transitioned to true believers just God thinkers. We can recite scripture meticulously but until it becomes seed in our heart that bears fruit of faith, it is not worth more than the paper it was written on. I believe the powerlessness of the Body of Christ goes all the way back to our initial experience with Jesus Christ. If we could accept the terms and conditions of salvation as unconditional love and limitless grace that makes us Children of the Living Breathing God, things in our life might begin to change.

There are many sons and daughters in the penal system who are the children of strong Christians. Is it their parent’s fault that they are subject to such conditions? No, it is a choice. They made a bad decision and must now suffer the consequences. Grace took care of my consequences. I must live under the dispensation of grace, however; to experience a change in my conditions. Do you really think a guest at the local penitentiary would remain locked up and silent if they could prove their innocence? Of course not. They would be telling everyone who they came in contact with and demanding examination of the evidence. Why aren’t true believers doing the same? Could it be that God’s Love just seems too good to be true? Is it easier to give the Lord an out rather than wait for His Word and Will to come to pass?

Romans 8:26-28 (NLT)  And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

We are taught from a very young age that if it seems too good to be true then it probably is. This mindset is ingrained right along with the fact that with God all things are possible. How do we fix our thoughts to accept God’s Will, Way and Word which contradicts the watchfulness, wariness, and wondering of human intelligence? Life experiences make us cautious, distrustful and disbelieving with all the tragedy, hurt and devastation. No one is really willing to put all their trust and hope in the Lord because they just don’t believe Him. If we believed that Jesus Christ was capable of everything, why would more people serve Him? Why wouldn’t we race to our prayer closet before the doctor, banker, lender, and other people?

“And we know…” Do I really know? Know what? “That God causes EVERYTHING to work together for (my) good…if I truly believed this with my whole heart and invested my entire life miracles would happen. I would live in complete contentment and full satisfaction just as Jesus promised. I just have to believe. It is a process. It can be a tough one because His Power works best in our weakness. Weakness is not a worldly attribute. It is a Kingdom condition that moves me out of the way and allows my faith in God to take over. I must know that God is working for me. I must believe that I am His Child. I cannot do this until I cut the strings tied to my salvation by the world’s ridicule and the church’s religion to allow my relationship to God through Jesus Christ to take over. This is the point when radical change allows the impossible to be possible in my life.

Romans 8:37-39 (NLT) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Despite the condition, circumstances and situations in our life, no matter what they are, we have been given overwhelming victory through Jesus Christ BECAUSE He loves us. Unconditional love is the premise of receivership in the Kingdom of God. If I cannot accept God’s Unconditional, Perfect Love for me, I cannot become His Child. I cannot live in His Kingdom. I cannot have a relationship with the Father without coming through His Son. Grace is not free. Jesus paid the price in full. To accept condemnation that imposes conditions on my salvation, freedom or blessing is to testify with my life that the Blood of Jesus did not satisfy my debt and His Grace is not enough for me. I have overwhelming victory available to me but must fully accept the Love of God to have it.

In Mark 5:24-29, there was a woman with a medical condition. She had an issue, if you will. She sought out professional help, peer intervention and exhausting every effort to find a natural solution, she became desperate. She discovered a tiny seed of faith in her heart one day that moved her to find the Lord. She pushed through the crowd who according to the Law must shun her due to her condition labeling her unclean. She didn’t care what they said about her, how they looked at her or even that they probably moved away as she pressed through. She was on a mission. She wanted to discover God’s Power. She was intent on finding the truth about His Love. When she finally made it to Jesus reaching out just enough to touch the hem of His Garment, she was completely healed and made whole. We live like this woman daily accepting conditions and circumstances contrary to God’s Will because we cannot accept the fact that His Love for us is complete in Christ and not ourselves.

There is another account in I Samuel 11:1-11 about conditions. King Nahash of Ammon led an assault against the town of Jabesh. The citizens asked the king to make a treaty with them and that they would become his servants. He agreed with one condition. He required the right eye of every single person who wished to enter a treaty with him. They offered their life and freedom. The enemy demanded more. The people asked for seven days and if no one came to save them that they would do as he asked. Thankfully Saul came along and the Spirit of the Lord fell powerfully upon him and the people would be saved. The enemy will always offer us conditions that are contrary to God’s Word and His Will. When we give Jesus our life, he will never demand us to suffer or sacrifice for His Glory. The only suffering undergone is to crucify our flesh daily to rid our life of sin that keeps us from victory, fulfillment and abundance. We don’t sin because we love Jesus and accept His Unconditional Love. It is the least that we can do. Yet, we give into worthless conditions because of a lie. May the Holy Spirit come powerfully on us today to remind us that we are no longer slaves to sin but Children of the Living God who have the power to overcome and be victorious in all things. Nothing can separate us from God’s Love anymore. Now if we could only begin to believe that it’s true!

Mark 5:32-34 (NLT)  But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”

I can see the Blood Flow of Christ required to cover my sin. I am ashamed and embarrassed that His Death was because of me. I cannot live in shame, regret and guilt and reach the fulfillment of God. To do so would be a tragedy that in His Sacrifice, I fail to receive the gift of Unconditional Love and Overwhelming Grace that I have been given. I can only take full advantage of it if I choose to believe it. The Power of the Cross erased condemnation that wrote death across my forehead. Now God’s Name is there and I must live as His Child.

I am no longer a slave to anything that I do not allow to captivate or put me in bondage. His Spirit is my freedom in all things especially those conditions that do not belong in me or on my life. It is by faith alone that I accept the terms and conditions of my salvation and there is nothing I can do to make it so. It is my privilege as a Child of the Most High God to walk through life in His Power and Presence just because of Jesus. There is nothing I can do to earn it, deserve it or make it happen just to believe. God’s Love is not too good to be true. It is absolutely for me. I choose to live in it, walk it and believe it in Jesus Name.

John 1:12-13 (NLT) But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

Little By Little

Little By Little

Psalm 8:3-6 (NLT) When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place—what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority—

Just over a year ago, our family adopted a new member. A teacup chihuahua whose name is Izzy. She is four pounds of ferocity. Bold and vivacious bounding through life in a tiny body with mighty heart. Not the cowering timid creature who came to our house looking for love and security. Upon arrival, it was clear our newest addition had issues. She would attack her food bowl not eating but inhaling the contents as if it were her last meal. She would draw back if approached too quickly. Izzy did not trust us. She clearly had not had consistent care. The vet was ecstatic to learn that she had found a new home. It was clear that we had some work to do with her.

Izzy had an accident just before coming to live with us. One of her paws is scarred. The previous owner indicated that it was a burn of some kind. The vet could not tell me the specifics but indicated that she had been attacked. To put her appendages into perspective, her paw is no bigger than the pad of your finger. In an attempt to give her a doggy pedicure aka trim her nails, Izzy bit me. Not hard, she held my hand in her mouth fighting to get all her paws safely under her body. This was the first indication of any aggression in her. We had an immediate come-to-Jesus about the error of her ways. I put away the clippers and for about a week just took every advantage to touch her paws no matter how bad she fought me. To do nothing more than to touch them, hold them and gently rub them. We would continue this for weeks on end until finally I was able to trim her nails even though she was quite reluctant. As I sit her today, Izzy is sleeping in my lap as she does many mornings during this time. As I read and study, I realize that I am touching her outstretched paws without any hesitation from the comatose dog in my lap. Izzy trusts me. It took time. It could not be forced. With simple steps, I was able to lead her to faith in her new owner.

Why this talk about a dog? Human beings do not compare to mere animals. People are created in the Image of God and made just a little lower than Him. It says so in His Word. The thoughts of the Lord are consumed by His People. He desires our love, faith, trust and devotion. However, sin has tainted love and many are lost in the darkness of this world looking for it. It is human nature to trust no one and take care of ourselves. We learn this behavior through unmet expectation and failed relationships along the way. God has crowned us with glory and honor that most people have not yet assumed simply because of doubt, disbelief and distrust. He longs to give us charge over everything but we must know who we are and who He is before authority and dominion can operate in us and through us. How do we get there from here? Moment by moment. Step by step. Little by little.

Matthew 13:31-33 (NLT) Here is another illustration Jesus used: “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.” Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”

Small seeds grow into big trees. A little yeast will permeate every part of the dough. God is looking for big things but relishes small beginnings. Too many times, impatience aborts God’s Growth process in us because we cannot see the forest for the trees. There is a bigger picture and much larger plan underway in your life than the simple daily tasks performed. Each day holds a hidden treasure that is accomplished by faith. The kind of faith that causes a farmer to plant a seed and wait for it to grow. We must constantly be cultivating faith by allow God’s Seed or His Word to be pressed into the fertile soil of a heart turned over to the Lord. As long as the earth remains there will be seedtime and harvest. No matter how bad things seem to get, God is always in control. As long as you are willing to plant, you will harvest because that is what His Word tells us. However, you cannot reap what you have not sown.

Faith is our investment. When we take the things of this world turning our life over to God as residents of His Kingdom, supernatural change takes over that is not always evident in the natural right away. But it makes sense because when a farmer plants a seed, he cannot see what is going on underground as the seed begins to grow. Faith is nothing more than a farmer picking up a handful of seed, believing it will grow so he plants it on his property. No, he doesn’t walk away but tends the tiny plants that surface and cares for them as they grow. When those seeds die, grow and reach full maturity, they will produce the desired fruit. Faith works the very same way. We plant God’s Word in our heart by faith. We wait for it to grow in us until it manifests in fruit coming out of our life.

Proverbs 16:8-9 (NLT) Better to have little, with godliness, than to be rich and dishonest. We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

People plan but the Lord determines our steps. We want to take a leap of faith but the Word of God tells us to walk by faith. (2 Corinthians 5:7) What’s the difference? Well, if we always leap valuable steps may be missed that are the very details that God promised to work out for our good and His Glory. (Romans 8:28) We like dramatic and climatic finishes but the Lord warns against despising small beginnings (Zechariah 4:10) Our life of faith is to be lived step by step. Moment by moment. Little by little. The Lord operates in full satisfaction and completion while our very human flesh cries out for immediate gratification, comfort and compromise.

Peter’s first step of faith is found in Matthew 14 when he stepped out of the boat to meet Jesus on the sea. It lasted a few steps and down he went. Throughout the account of his life, Peter had many mishaps on his way to fulfillment. One might even call them failures. He just kept walking it out. When Peter decided to return to his old life, he was tired and weary. Jesus was gone or so he thought. In his final moments, Peter failed the Lord and Jesus knew it. His love for the Lord hidden inside a broken man. When Jesus arrived on the beach, Peter no longer needed an invitation to come to the Lord – no the man jumped in the water swimming all the way to shore. (John 21) This is cultivated faith in action. Every step of his walk conditioned Peter to fulfill his calling of the rock on which the church would be built.

Luke 16:10-12 (NLT) “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?

Faith is a practical application of God’s Word to our life as a daily exercise. We must track our steps of faith just as one might use a Fitbit to count their natural footsteps each day. Consciousness of God comes with knowledge of God. Mark 4:24-26 tells us that the more we listen the more we will hear. In I Kings 18:43-45, Elijah sends his servant to look for the rain cloud more than seven times. Would the rain have come anyway? Yes. Obedience allowed the man of God’s servant to be part of a miracle. By what? Faith. Just before that in I Kings 17, Elijah asks the woman preparing her final meal for her and her son for bread to eat. He knew her intentions and that she was set in her way. But he asked her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first.” The Lord knows us. He sees our heart. He meets us right where we are waiting for us to come to Him. What did God do? In her faithfulness, He provided an abundant supply of the very thing she lacked. Step by step. Moment by moment. Little by little. The giving of our life and faith to the Lord are met with His Abundance.

Revelation 3:8-12 (NLT) “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me. Look, I will force those who belong to Satan’s synagogue—those liars who say they are Jews but are not—to come and bow down at your feet. They will acknowledge that you are the ones I love. Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God, and they will be citizens in the city of my God—the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God. And I will also write on them my new name.

In the message to the church in Philadelphia, it says “you have little strength, but you obeyed my word and did not deny me.” In our weakness, He becomes our strength. This is faith. This is trust. This is God’s Deepest Longing and Greatest Desire for our life. In that moment when our strength fails, bodies grow weak, and human thoughts overwhelmed, this is the precise moment that Jesus becomes all that we want and need. One must be emptied to be filled with His Grace which is the one thing that allows faith to be active in our life. The power of perseverance is to be positioned in the Kingdom of God. A place of residency that allows us to reclaim Christ’s Power and Authority binding things on the earth and releasing Heaven in the form of God’s Will and Way. The Lord tells these people that He knows what they are doing and it has opened a door that no one can close. He will do the same for you. He will do the same for me. This is not a one-time acquisition or perseverance would not be indicated. This is a lifelong pursuit without beginning or end. It’s funny that these are the words spoken over the Church of Philadelphia known as brotherly love.

Philippians 4:11-13 (NLT) Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 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.

In the movie a few good men, Tom Cruise cross examines Jack Nicholson. Jack Nicholson says, “You want answers?” Then Tom Cruise says, “I think I am entitled to them!” Nicholson says again, “You want answers?” to which Cruise replies, “I want the truth!” Then comes the famous movie line, “You can’t handle the truth!” I believe this applies to the Goodness of God’s Grace in our life. If He poured out His Love on us in one quick toss, I am afraid that it would be so overwhelming that it might consume us entirely. If the Truth was revealed about our life and God’s Love, it would be very difficult to move from our current position. We would not want to go through those things that allow weakness so we can obtain His Strength. Avoiding the process and thereby aborting the process of growth, development and maturity that is the Work of God in us and how we cultivate His Word. So the Lord works in us little by little.

God is good. He is consumed with love and compassion for His Children. He cannot lie or change His Mind. All great qualities. His Love for us is made complete and unconditional in Jesus Christ who meets our need and becomes our strength in all things. Our faith invested in the Kingdom of God is complete surrender of our way, our will and our wants to His Will, His Way and His Plan. The Plan of God for me incorporates a series of steps from here to Eternity. I navigate them with faith because they are not always visible and clear. The important thing is that I remain committed and continue to obediently follow Jesus. Step by step. Moment by moment. Little by little until my life, my body, my mind, my spirit, and my soul are fully invested in His Kingdom alone.

Psalm 37:16-19 (NLT) It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich. For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the Lord takes care of the godly. Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever. They will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough.

Word for the Weary

Word for the Weary

Isaiah 40:28-31 (NKJV) Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

 

Are you weary today? Tired? Exhausted? Are you physically or mentally overworked, overtired or overwrought? Are you fatigued and pained by the pressures of life? The life of a believer is called the good fight of faith which reason. It is a battle to remain standing against the assault of the enemy. It’s early. I was up late. I am so tired that tears are involuntarily falling down my face. Yawn after yawn arise without warning. I was tempted to hit snooze on the alarm and get a few more minutes of sleep but experience tells me that God gives me more in thirty minutes than a well-earned nap ever will so I sit down behind the glare of the monitor and open my journal to a clean new page. All I can think to write is “weary”. Just weary. Lord, do you have a word for the weary ones today. Those who live in your Love by faith holding tightly to confident hope yet feel the strain their heart nevertheless. Surely there is a promise or two for those of us who refuse to let go thought struggling to hang on.

 

This is not about giving up on the Lord, walking away or choosing to backslide or wander. This is about holding on to the promise that God made you until it comes to pass. It is waiting well past our understanding with a mustard seed size of faith to a hope that overwhelms us and seems too unrealistic to expect or undertake. Yet something inside of refuses to quit. Will you meet me in this place Lord? Or is this just part of the test? When I pass it, then will you come to renew and restore me like you promised? When will the weary find rest and replenishment?

 

Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Hold on? Those who wait on the Lord SHALL (plan to, intend to, expect to) renew their strength. Is it always up to the Lord to give us new strength? Do we as human beings inhabited by the Holy Spirit have the ability to produce renewal from the inside out? If so, then how? Why must we wait on the Lord? What does patience have to do with anything if Christ lives in me? Good question.

 

Matthew 9:35-37 (NKJV) Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.

 

Jesus was moved with compassion for them because they were weary and scattered. Note – He healed every sickness and disease so this was not physical illnesses and imperfection. There were multitudes of weary people. I wonder if the weariness that Jesus saw was that of the people looking for the Messiah living in the valley of decision who were waiting for something or someone but couldn’t see that He was right there standing in front of them so they were scattered. The harvest is plenty. The laborers are few. Many people walk into church one way and leave just like they came. We must have compassion like Jesus and become mission minded. I can meet the physical needs of others simply by sharing what I have. It doesn’t require faith or trust just a change of heart. We can tell others how to walk in righteousness or we can take them by the hand and escort them to Jesus. Either way their walk does not impact my ability to seek and trust God on my own. Weariness is exhaustion produced by hard work. When we give our all to follow Jesus and seek His Presence in our life, even when the reward is not clearly evident or seems impossible, yet we continue to wait on the Lord it can and will produce weariness in our heart, mind, soul and body…with good reason.

 

James 1:2-4 (NKJV) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

 

Who celebrates hard times and trials in life? Not me. But it is totally possible to have joy and find praise in our heart during the rough spots and overwhelming trials that occur in our life. We must dig in even when our legs are shaky along with our hearts. Even when my hands struggle to find strength to worship the Lord, I must find a way to do it anyway. My faith is strong but my body weak. My heart beats for the Lord, but my weary soul is not rejoicing. I must find my praise in this position more so than the rest. This is the birthplace of patience. The very thing that I need to be complete lacking nothing. Why? Why press on? Why dig deeper? What’s the point of wearing myself out for a promise that is whispered and the glimmer hope that I have found? By your patience possess your souls.” (Luke 21:19)

 

Romans 15:5-6 (NKJV)  Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

We serve the God of Patience. He will grant us comfort if we decide to be like Him. As we grow in patience, there will be more grace in our life. When we cannot see His Way or find His Footsteps, His Grace meets us and takes hold of us pulling us closer to Him. Our pursuit in the Lord is to develop a lifelong relationship with the God of Love. Not only that, we are to be patient like Christ. (2 Thessalonians 3:5)

 

Hebrews 6:11-12 (NKJV) And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

 

Do you desire the promises of God to come to pass in your life? Patience is a requirement although it makes us weary. Attached to the full assurance of hop that what we desire will come to pass in the end, we decide to hang on. We must be very, very careful not to become sluggish or weary in doing good. (Galatians 6:8-10) As believers who desire God’s Will and Perfect Plan, we must have our heart and mind set yielding to the Holy Spirit for His Holy Inhabitation and commit to mold and shape us into who we were called and created to be.

 

2 Samuel 17:1-3 (NKJV) Moreover Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Now let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue David tonight. I will come upon him while he is weary and weak, and make him afraid. And all the people who are with him will flee, and I will strike only the king. Then I will bring back all the people to you. When all return except the man whom you seek, all the people will be at peace.”

 

Ahithophel had a good plan. David had an even Greater God. Knowing that his army could not overtake David and his mighty men in hand-to-hand combat, he devised a plan to overtake them when they were weak and weary. Friend, the enemy has a target on your back as a born-again believer who is striving to live in His Love and produce His Patience. He is coming for you! Weariness produces weakness and vulnerability that the enemy is keenly tuned into especially if you are always griping and complaining about it. The Lord protected David and his men from the attack. Esau gave up his birthright and inheritance for one meal. He grew weak and weary and when he smelled the good food desiring natural satisfaction and immediate gratification – he forfeited his future. (Genesis 25:29-34; Hebrews 12:16-17)

 

Galatians 6:8-10 (NKJV)  For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

 

Let us not grow weary while doing good for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Are you disheartened today? Fighting the good fight, but it seems to be falling short? I am right there with you. One of David’s mighty men was a warrior named Eleazar. (II Samuel 23:9-10) Going to battle, he had the Israelite army with him. Once engaged, they retreated but Elezar arose and attacked the Philistine giants until his hand was weary and his hand stuck to the sword. The Lord brought him victory. Why? He did not give up. He did not give in. He became weary and kept swinging. Do not put down your sword. Do not drop that shield of faith. Do not leave behind the belt of truth or breastplate called righteousness. You have been called to fight of your faith so do it.

 

Jacob wrestled with an angel. The angel struck his hip when Jacob’s persistent nature refused to let go. Why would the Lord do such a thing? Jacob wanted the blessing so He refused to let go. The Lord wanted to fill his life with grace.

 

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NKJV) Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

Weariness produces weakness. God’s Power works best in my complete and utter inability. When I cannot do another thing, speak another word or even attempt to wait any longer. I am filled with the sufficiency of God’s Grace. Patience leads to possession of our soul. We must learn to wait on the Lord even when we are weary. To embrace our weaknesses as the birthplace of faith that allows our soul to prosper in God’s Grace. Stop beating yourself up because you are weak or weary but understand that you are positioned for His Grace and Glory to rise up from within you. We have a measure of faith that we are born with. When that seed begins to grow, other things must give way. Things like impatience and agitation, etc. Jacob’s persistence paid off but it came at a price physically. Oh how I understand this all too well. That thing that broke you is a blessing in disguise because when you finally were empty – God was able to fill you up again.

 

I Timothy 6:11-112 (NKJV) But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

 

Keeping swinging that sword today, no matter how tired you have become. If you are weak and weary allow the Lord to fill you with His Grace and Love by yielding it to him fully. We must pursue godliness, faith, love, PATIENCE, and gentleness in every endeavor. We cannot and must not give up in the good fight of faith but consistently and persistent fight harder for new levels and depths of God’s Grace, Love and Mercy. We must hold tight to the eternity with full assurance that God will do exactly as He promised accepting the Grace of God through Jesus Christ more and more. To say, I can’t but God can rather than grumbling and complaining all the time is important. I am weary today. There are some things that I just do not understand. Nevertheless, the Lord has promised to satiate (my) weary soul and replenish (my) sorrowful soul as well. To admit weakness allows the sufficiency of God’s Grace to restore us right where we are if nothing immediately changes. Our soul is safe and secure in the Lord. Breathe deep today. Talk to the Lord. Stir up the Holy Spirit to produce those fruits that nourish our soul and satisfies our thirst for more of Him. Do not give up when you are tired. Do not give in when you are weary. Press on in the Name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

 

Philippians 3:12-14 (NKJV) Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Mind Over Matter

Mind Over Matter

Romans 8:5-6 (NLT) Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

 

Our mind is a powerful weapon. Like any other piece of ammunition, the knowledge and experience of the user makes all the difference in the world. A loaded gun in the hand of a toddler is dangerous but in the capable grasp of its owner, it becomes protection. Humanity has been given higher intelligence than any other God-created creature. We are made in the image and likeness of our Father. (Genesis 1:27) The battle for one’s mind is ongoing as our flesh demands control from the Holy Spirit each day. Jesus Christ has made this a free choice. We decide who wins the battlefield of the mind each and every day. Paul talks about the battle for our mind candidly in Romans 7:21-25 which are some of the most liberating and challenging ideas. He also gives the final answer – Jesus Christ is the one who can help us overcome our sinful nature and stinking thinking. We all want to remain right with God, but how do I do it in such an influential world?

 

I have more faith in God today than ever before. I know more about God, too. I study and pray every day and yet I still find way to sin or disobey the Lord. Some days, I forget. Other days when I am tired of waiting, I pitch temper tantrums and argue with the Lord. My sinful nature is always hostile to the Lord but I have absolute control over it. My helper, the Holy Spirit, will deal harshly with my flesh and mind to allow Christ to rule my life with peace and power. I must have mind over matter.

 

Mind over matter means intellectual powers overriding threats, difficulties or problems. (McGraw-Hill) It is the belief that thought is stronger than physical things. Willpower can overcome physical obstacles. Virgil in the Aeneid wrote “mens agitat molem” which means mind moves matter. The power of the human mind is without question but there is a missing link hidden in this idiom. Mind over matter in a natural state is powerless. However, when we decide to have the mind of Christ – intellectual becomes supernatural. When we decide to work on self-control by yielding to cultivation by God’s Spirit – we produce the fruit of the Spirit called self-control. (Galatians 5:23) Jesus said, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Moving from impossible to possible begins by giving not just our heart but our mind to the Lord for a total transformation from self-control to Spirit-control. This is how we move from death to life in the natural.

 

Romans 12:1-2 (NLT) And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

 

Picture a swordfight playing in your mind, our hero swinging his sword valiantly as the enemy retreats. Victory seems sure until the villain seems to draw from an inner strength to make a quick comeback. Caught off guard, the good guy stumbles a bit falling to the ground sword still in hand. The weapon of the enemy seems ready to deal a deathblow. But wait, our hero surges to his feet gripping his sword tighter than before and engages the enemy again stronger and faster than before. Imagine this going on and one replaying over and over. This is the battle going on in our mind every single day. The enemy wants to penetrate our thoughts. He finds ways to catch us off guard. He wants us to stumble and fall. His whole purpose is to steal, kill and destroy God’s People. (John 10:10) Our hero, Jesus came to give us a rich and satisfying life. He has overcome the world (John 16:33) so that when we allow Him to transform our thinking, invade our thoughts and take over our mind nothing is impossible and we have total victory. Our mind is the Mind of Christ now we have power and authority over all things in Jesus Name.

 

Of course, we desire to be a living sacrifice. However, our humanity finds way to pull us from the altar and thrust us back into the world. If only in our mind which is more than enough to cause us to wonder if God’s Word is true, want things other than God’s Best, worry that produces fear, and eventually wander from His Love. We must be conscious of this every single day and strive to remain in Jesus Christ. We must allow God to transform us into a new person which happens when we allow Him to change the way that we think. It is not an overnight transformation, or a quick sensation, but as the Lord changes our heart, influences our mind, and waits for our actions to follow suit. You will never know how to serve God effectively and live in Him completely until we love Him with our body, soul AND mind.

 

Psalm 63:6-8 (NLT) I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.

 

We do not control the thoughts that pop into our head. We do have complete control over those that we allow to remain there. We must deal harshly with any and every idea or notion contrary to God and His Word. Satan works day and night to blind the minds of people. (2 Corinthians 4:4) It is the mainstay of his attack. He cannot touch you, harm you, kill you or destroy you unless he can convince you to walk away from God and that His Love is not real or you are somehow exempt or undeserving. He is luring you from the safety of God’s Presence to isolate you and annihilate you. If he can convince you God is not for you, you will walk away from the Lord and right into his shackles just as the enemy planned.

 

What do you spend your time thinking about? What do you fixate on? What is the basis of your meditation? In Psalm 63, David was focused on pursuing the Lord. Verses one through five talk about it explicitly. You are my God. My soul thirsts for you. My whole body longs for you. I have seen you and gazed on your power and glory, God I want to see You again. Your Unfailing Love God is better than life. I will praise you Lord. You satisfy me God. All these things were circling in his head. Oh, that and the fact that people were plotting to kill him. Rather than pleading with God for his life, David praised the Lord and rejoiced in Him completely calling his enemies what? Liars. When we believe God over the enemy, our mind is able to overcome every matter. David’s Mind was wrapped around the Lord. The matter of his enemy became nothing more than a bag of lies. Your circumstances do not change God’s Plan and Purpose for your life. You will win. You will overcome. You will have peace that passes all understanding and inexpressible joy – if and only if – your mind is set on Christ by faith and your thoughts are wrapped up in the One who is our hope.

 

Philippians 4:6-9 (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.

 

The first order of business in a made up mind and moving the matter blocking your blessing and peace is the gray matter between our ears. We are thinking machines. When my husband is unusually quiet, I may ask him what he is thinking about. He ALWAYS says, “Nothing, I can do that you know” which means one of two things. A) He doesn’t want to tell me, or B) It is so small and insignificant that he feels it is not worth sharing. I am his wife and love him with all of my heart so I want to know everything about him even his innermost thoughts. How much more Jesus loves us and wants to know what we are thinking.

 

God’s Peace is for those who choose to trust Him in all things. When we immediately turn all that matters in our life into His Hands, it is then that we have peace but without trust there is no such thing. In Jeremiah 7:8-11, God calls out the people regarding their lifestyle. His message to them is don’t succumb to foolish thinking. Oh how far we have fallen, see the people were living any way they wanted to except when trouble came they would run into the temple seeking safety in the Lord. Now we don’t live that way, of course, not. Tiptoeing away from conviction into confirmation, God knows what you are thinking. He knows the contents of your consciousness ever single breathing moment of the day. When we stress and worry all the time, He sees our fear. Doubt exposes our disbelief. Sin is as black as muddy hands wiped on a clean, white shirt. I cannot fool God into thinking I have it all together. He sees right through me.

 

So how do I fix my thoughts on all these things indicated in Philippians 4, God’s Word is knowledge and power to circulate the right things in our heart and mind and roost out those things hidden there not of God. You cannot think about God’s Word and mediate on it if you do not read it. (Psalm 119:97-98) Find a promise for your life and think about it every single day. (Psalm 119:147-149) This works great when you have a desire or need an answer. When the enemy comes after your blessing, you have a sword to use in your defense. (Hebrews 4:12) Wise people think before they act consulting the Lord for His Way. (Proverbs 13:16) The godly think before they speak. (Proverbs 15:28) Wise people consider death and eternal life more than living this life. (Ecclesiastes 7:4) Continuously thinking about God’s Word, His Way, His Promises and everything there is to know and love about the Lord we serve will allow His Spirit to continuously transform our mind and renew our thinking.

 

Ephesians 3:19-20 (NLT) May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

 

When we allow the Holy Spirit to transform our thoughts and renew our mind, it moves self out of the way to allow trust to grow a strong connection to Christ. When this happens our flesh loses control of our mind, will and emotions allowing the Holy Spirit to take over which produces life and peace. Life produces new fruit in our life. Peace moves us closer to God. Now through His Mighty Power at work in us, He is able to accomplish “more than we might ask or think.” Have my thoughts barricaded my blessing? Is my mind controlling my actions? I must cast down any thought, idea or notion that is contrary to God to free the Holy Spirit to finish the good work that He has begun in my life. This is not a one and done. This is a daily battle of mind over matter.

 

Colossians 2:7-9 (NLT) Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.

 

Can I be honest and completely transparent today? The enemy set me up this week. He laid a trap and I walked right into it. I lost it. My mind and thoughts shut me down and bound me up so quickly like an unseen anaconda apprehending unsuspecting prey and equally as suffocating. I know the promise that God made me. I don’t know how or when He will do it. What I do know is that He is faithful and trustworthy to do exactly what He says that He will do. I share this to say that we all succumb to the pitfall of stinking thinking sometimes but it does not have to be fatal.

 

Empty philosophies seem full of truth. Twisted truth is a lie altogether. To the ignorant and unsuspecting it is a well-laid trap that will cause a quick fall. It is a molehill that becomes a mighty mountain between us and God. We can overcome. We have the power and authority of Jesus Christ to do so. However, the lie becomes a prison and doubt holds the unlocked door closed. We cannot escape our overwhelming thoughts. We cannot breakthrough the barricade of doubt. We hold the door to freedom shut out of fear because even the smallest lie of the enemy holds an ounce of truth or familiarity. The only way to stop the cycle of bondage is to know the truth and allow it to set you free. You must mediate on it. Think about it. Doing it over and over, day and night, until your first response is God’s Word and every lie exposed by truth so you will be truly free to enjoy the life and peace given by Jesus Christ.

 

Colossians 3:1-3 (NLT) Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.

 

Set your sights on the realities of Heaven today. I challenge you (and me) to meditate on God’s Word, compare every situation and circumstance to what God has to say about our life, and refute every lie the enemy cast at us. In the Name of Jesus, I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal every lie of the enemy circulating in your life today keeping you from the freedom, life and peace that God promised to those who have the Mind of Christ. Lord, I ask that in your love each person reading this will have peace that passes understanding and inexpressible joy like you promised in your Word. Let us hold tightly to the hope we have and the promise you gave us without wavering in weak faith or releasing it to doubt and indecision. Let us think of ways to motivate each other to know and love you more. Thank you Lord for strengthening my mind and renewing my thoughts today. Let the Mind of Christ rule and reign over every matter today and every other day until Heaven is my home.

 

Hebrews 10:23-25 (NLT) Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.