Can You Feel It?

Can You Feel It

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

It happened in the middle of the local superstore. Holiday shoppers scurrying all around. A cart full of supplies for the ladies Christmas party. The checklist of details in my head somehow got tangled up in my brain. Completely turned upside down with every other to-do list it began sucking me into the vortex of too much to do and too little time. My heart began racing . My head pounding. Stress, anxiety and pressure met together and staged their attack and it worked. I left the cart and walked out the door.

Can you feel it? The pressure, stress and anxiety waged against the human heart and mind during this busy season. The Light shining in our heart somehow grows dim under the shadow of human expectation and high demands. It doesn’t have to be the world. It can even be the church often found to be a shelter of peace and place of rest. I have openly shared my own struggles with the holiday season in an attempt to help others overcome the enemy’s plight to steal the love, joy and peace out of Christmas. To somehow overshadow the hope that arrived when Jesus made His Arrival.

“We are pressed on every side by troubles…” The first step to overcoming the burden of our heart is to find the source of the pressure. Trouble comes in all shapes and sizes. It is no respecter of persons. The uninvited guest overstaying their welcome – it begins to take over our thoughts and feelings. Like a thief in the night, it comes unexpectedly and takes others belongings. There is a promise in the pressure. We will not be crushed. When we are perplexed, there is a limit before reaching despair. Though hunted down by a ruthless enemy, we are never abandoned or forsaken by God. No matter how many times knocked down, we cannot be destroyed. It is through suffering, our life begins to resemble that of Jesus. What is your response to pressure? Walk away? Tap out? Shut down? Melt down?

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

Reading this today, I can’t help but thing “no kidding”. What if this is not a slight or cut down but a simple observation? God’s Word is instruction. It is not uncommon for Christians to think that every bit of opposition and adversity that creates pressure in our life is from the enemy of our soul. I believe God uses the very thing the enemy has tried to break us for His Glory. What if the pressure is not from the external force but the internal God who lives in us? What if it is the Holy Spirit pressing out the doubt, uncertainty and insecurity found in hidden unbelief in the deepest darkest recesses of our heart? To fail under pressure often reveals parts of our being reliant on an insufficient source.

Mark 9:23-24 (NLT) “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

The father brought his son to Jesus. Filled with an evil spirit, he was constantly tortured. Convulsions that through him violently to the ground. Foaming at the mouth and grinding his teeth. It even tried to kill the boy by throwing him in water and fire. The father was desperate so he came to Jesus. The disciples tried to cast out the demon but could not. So the father came to the Lord sharing his plight. He said to the Lord, “Have mercy on us and help us…if you can.”

“If you can…” Words fatal to our faith and evidence of unbelief. Driven to the edge of despair, the contents of the father’s heart poured out before the Lord. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” Do you believe today? The father was honest in his response to Jesus. “I do believe but help me overcome my unbelief?” This is the product of pressure. Pressure forces what is in our heart out of it. It allows us to carefully inspect the contents. Careful examination often reveals the fears, doubts and insecurities hidden within so that we can give them to Jesus so He WILL DO what He has already promised to do!

Psalm 119:143 (NLT) As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands.

Pressure is applied by expectation. Expectation in any other source than Jesus Christ has the possibility of being unmet. God’s Word tells us exactly what is given to us by the Lord and what is not. It is a light for our path and compass for our soul. It reveals the traps and pitfalls set for us by the enemy. Jesus gives us examples time and time again of ways to overcome fear with faith and triumph over trouble by simply believing. We need the Word of God for faith to become logical and for practical application in our life. The Word was made flesh. Jesus is the Word of God. There is no way to know Him without knowing the Word. There is no way to reach the Father without Jesus. Faith is seeded by the Word and then watered by it as it grows, develops and matures in our life. A seed undergoes tremendous pressure to be transformed into its true potential as do God’s People.

Matthew 9:17 (NLT) “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”

Are you pressed today? What if the pressure is coming from the inside and not the outside? What if the Holy Spirit is working in you and through you so that God’s Goodness and Glory will be manifested in your life? Pressure requires change. Our old life, old ways, and old habits must be revealed to be removed. As God begins to change us from the inside out and do that new work inside of us – it produces pressure. Those who choose to stay the same will burst under pressure – give up, go back and quit the process of redemption, restoration and renewal that the Lord has begun. Those who allow the Lord to transform them from the inside out will see new life, new hope, and all things become new because they believed.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NLT) Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.

Can you feel it? God is pressing us today. He wants to give us new life. To make us into a new creation. There are some things that must go and seeds to be planted in its place. Generosity in our life begins within our heart. We must not give in response to pressure but rather willingly. God will do exactly what His Word says for those who believe. He is doing for those who do not believe but because their faith is in other things – they do not see results. Pressure, stress, worry and burdens are part of life. What we do when trouble comes dictates the outcome. I can choose to retain them in fear and doubt caused by unbelief or I can surrender them all to Jesus Christ.

Faith is an action not just a word. It means taking my life and sowing it as seed into the Kingdom. When pressure comes don’t blame the enemy but seek the Lord. Failing under pressure means our strength is not coming from God but either self or some other unworthy source. You are a Child of the King. Live like it. Let Him show you who you are and what He has for you in His Word. Talk to Him and listen for His Whispers to you. Your life has purpose and it is glorious. Lord, let us be vessels that do not give into pressure but give way to Your Spirit – In Jesus Name!

John 16:33 (NLT) “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

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Learning to Wait

Learning to Wait

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Cleansing and Call

The Cleansing and Call

Isaiah 6:6-8 (NLT) Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.” Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.”

Everyone reading these words today are called by God. There is an express purpose which will lead to absolute fulfillment for those who answer this beckoning of God within them. The purpose you have is cultivated by faith. Faith that believes in its unseen reality and fruitfulness. What is your calling? You may think you know what it is based on the terms and conditions of natural life. However, there is a whispering of the Lord to each human heart to come closer. It is the urgency within us reminding us that there has to be more to life than this. God’s Call requires a cleansing. Righteousness is only attained and maintained by the Grace of God flowing through us. The Blood of Jesus Christ makes our offering of affection for the Living God acceptable gaining us access to His Presence. Many will hear the call of God but refuse to allow His Spirit to remove every barrier and purpose between themselves and full satisfaction. To choose something less than God’s Plan for our life in no way lessens it’s worth or potential but simply is our decision to settle for something less.

Psalm 24:3-6 (NLT) Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their savior. Such people may seek you and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob.

Before Isaiah could answer God’s Call, he had to first enter His Presence. It was in this place of worship that the prophet encountered the Living God. The moment that one is in the Presence of the Lord there is absolutely no way to maintain our pride or prejudice. God is perfect. His Presence presses us to release sin in order to move a little closer to His Perfection. It is in this atmosphere of melting flesh that our spirit rises to answer the call. It is through the cleansing process that God prepares us.

Only those whose hands and hearts are pure… Jesus had only twelve close companions. Yet even in the close knit community of a handful of chosen men, one still managed to betray the Lord. Human nature is depraved and innately in opposition and rebellion against God and His Spirit who lives inside believers. The Presence of God offers a glimpse inside as full transparency reveals just how sinfully corrupt people really are and creates a desire to change. So often normal life and church culture are varying positions with certain acceptable behaviors, attitudes and actions based on one’s environment not their inner evolution of death to life. To integrate our personality into one being completed in Jesus Christ requires a right relationship that is constantly maintained and the focal point of life and aspiration.

There are daily requirements not set by God as a religious routine but the necessary steps to maintain a right relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ, His Son. Studying the Word of God. Meditating on it. Doing what it tells us. Prayer. Fasting. Cultivating the Fruit of His Spirit. Using our faith to move mountains. Telling others about Him. However, none of these will ever produce fulfillment apart from true and constant repentance. Removing the barrier of sin, shame and regret are essential to come boldly before His Throne.

I Peter 2:9-10 (NLT) But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.  “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”

For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn. (Romans 11:29) There is no expiration date on the promises and purpose of God for your life. The only limit on your potential is placed there by you. Dead dream are buried in doubt, but faith can bring them back to life again. Isaiah was changed in the Presence of God and answered the call on his life. If you read a little further in Chapter 6 you find that the message of the messenger was not a bright and cheerful exhortation but a stern warning from God of the consequence of sin and rebellion. Thank you God for grace today!

One encounter with the Living God will change you. It allows you to experience the freedom associated with your identity. How often we forget that we are sons and daughters of the most high God living far beneath the standard that He has given us. If only we believed…referring back to the disciples it is also noted that though they walked and talked with the Messiah daily some still did not believe. It is a conscious decision to answer God’s Call. It requires clean hands and a pure heart. These are not available by any other means but through Christ and His Resurrection Power inside of us. We must remove every barrier and release what is held in our hands to receive the consciousness of our calling and carry it out.

Psalm 51:9-13 (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. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you.

One must never forget the importance and relevance of daily repentance. To continually examine our heart and ask the Lord for His Cleansing Power all over again. It keeps us close to Him. It revitalizes His Spirit and keeps the fire of passion burning within us. A loyal spirit can be challenging when the adversary continually feeds our flesh lies and substitutions. It would be easy to settle for a good life. The moment of salvation begins a process of fruitful production in every life as a form of sowing and reaping in a fertile heart. However, there are times when we allow sloppiness and busyness to keep us from the Presence of God. God is perfect. His Plan is perfect. I am not. It requires a constant process of purification to find full satisfaction.

When our daughter was very young, I noticed some developmental milestones were off. Not significantly, but enough for me to know something was wrong. Her pediatrician decided she may have some form of cerebral palsy. For ten months, they poked, prodded, scanned and tested her. There was nothing to suggest any form of disease, illness or infirmity. We were given a referral to a Neurological Specialist at a teaching hospital. The doctor came in and immediately noted that she looked “pretty good to me”. I would not define this as a stellar moment in my walk with the Lord because I lost it. I reprimanded him harshly for his flippant remark. All those months of watching her struggle in therapy, and the continual noting of muscular spasticity and pain that no one was aware of had taken its toll. He quickly examined her and left the room with hands full of all the medical records I had brought to him. Upon his return, he apologized. He told us that he saw horrible cases each day so she looked great in comparison. Then he said, “But if it was my little girl, I would not be satisfied either.”

Today as I consider the call of God on my life and the process by which it is obtained, I have reflected on that visit. We would be willing to forego the process just to accept the mediocre improvement gained by simply coming to Christ. But God is a good father. He will not allow us to settle for less than His Best. He will pursue us relentlessly with His Unfailing Love and Goodness hoping to captivate us by it one day. He will stop at nothing to lead us to a life of full satisfaction and complete fulfillment. He gave us a purpose, provided a plan, fills our life with everything needed to achieve it and then waits for us to come. I wouldn’t settle for the life my daughter was living if there was a better way. How much more God our Father feels about you and me!

Lord, create in me a clean heart today yet again. Renew a right and loyal spirit in me that pursues You. Remove every sin that I have ignored, entertained or may not be aware of. Thank you for the Blood of Jesus that covers me. I ask you Lord to show me your better way today and give me the willingness to go after it. In all things and all ways Lord – send me! I answer Your Call with a resounding, “Yes!”

2 Peter 1:5-8 (NLT) In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Most Powerful Resource

Most Powerful Resource

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

Christ in us is the most powerful resource possessed by the believer. As the year winds down, I am challenged by the things not yet completed. Those dreams and visions of God placed in our heart to attract our faith and become the prosperity that He promised from the start. I know that God prerecorded a plan for my life marked by salvation. I am absolutely certain that the blessings He promised are for me. According to Psalm 139, I am fearfully (thoughtfully) and wonderfully (perfectly) made by the Lord. I have potential. In Jeremiah 29, He promised that the packaging of my life comes with a future and hope. I have not yet fully discovered all that it entails. As chapter 29 continues it instructs me to seek the Lord wholeheartedly and it will be mine. Over my lifetime, I have made many mistakes but in 2 Corinthians12 it tells me that His Grace is all I need to overcome the penalty of sin. All my mistakes can never amount to a blockage or barrier from what the Lord has for me because His Love is always pursuing me even in my wandering (Psalm 23). God promises that nothing can separate me from His Love and that He is working every detail of my life for my good. I have so many promises packed in my life. Now to learn how to get them out…

2 Kings 4:1-7 (NLT) One day the widow of a member of the group of prophets came to Elisha and cried out, “My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the Lord. But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.” “What can I do to help you?” Elisha asked. “Tell me, what do you have in the house?” “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,” she replied. And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.” So she did as she was told. Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another. Soon every container was full to the brim! “Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons. “There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing. When she told the man of God what had happened, he said to her, “Now sell the olive oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on what is left over.”

I love the story of the widow woman with her little jar of oil. The story is an inspiration that I return to quite often. Again today, I feel like it holds God’s Hidden Secrets for me and I must squeeze the last bit of oil from flask to jar. There is meaning here for those who long to be satisfied. Unmet expectation finds new inspiration in her plight. The prophet only offered perspective with a hint on instruction. The woman put her faith in his words and obeyed. She reached fulfillment not by a miracle but in her method. Lord, help us learn from this woman who thought she had lost it all but instead found new hope.

Her Situation – Shattered Dreams

The woman is the widow of the prophet Obadiah. He is now dead and the creditors have come to claim unpaid debts or threaten to take her children. The life she once knew is now gone. She is in a desperate situation. Desperation is often born of unmet expectation and shattered dreams. The moment the life built by our human expectation gives way to desperation. When life is not what it seems and the harsh reality of it comes crashing down around us. Where is God? Why has He abandoned me? I thought He loved me, cared for me, and was with me. She went to Elisha. She was looking for some answers. She cried out the details of her distress, desolation, and desperation to the prophet. My husband is dead. I am in debt. They are coming to take my children who are all I have left. The “new normal” produced by such situations will be the transition point from destination to destiny.

Our life in Christ can produce unrealistic expectations limited by experience. We build our own vision or dream according to what we can do or produce ourselves when God has so much more in store for us. The woman had depended on her husband and maybe even built her life around serving Obadiah as he served the Lord. Wives are to submit to their husbands. They must submit to Christ first and then the man God has given them. Sometimes these orders can shift unintentionally putting faith that belongs to the Lord into a human being. Now the man is gone so she turns to the Lord. Trial, temptation and tragedy have a way of turning us back to our first love whether we are willing to admit it or not.

The enemy continually threatens the life of a believer with lies. Lies that build strongholds around us. Notice the woman said that the creditors “threatened” to come take her children. The only thing the enemy can take from you is what you willingly give to him. Think about that for a moment. What have you allowed the enemy to apprehend with a lie? You can’t do this. You cannot have this. You are not good enough. Your life is never going to get any better. I cannot change. I am too old. Too this or too that. Too broken. Too broke. Whatever the lie the enemy has threatened you with today can be overcome by the Truth! The Truth of your life is the Word of God. It never grows stale and does not have an expiration date. The door to the cell you may be living in is not locked for who the Son sets free is free indeed.

Her Solution – What Do You Have In Your House?

The prophet asked the widow, “Tell me, what do you have in your house?” I am quite sure she did not find his question amusing. She may have sighed in exasperation. Was Elisha not listening? Did he not hear her story? Did he not understand her plight? The word “house” can be translated into family, clan, building or home. It can also be translated to the word “temple”. “Tell me, what do you have in your temple?” Now this changes everything for the modern day believer who hears this story in its proper translation.

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?” (I Corinthians 6) The woman did not have resources in her home but in her temple she had more than enough. We are the temple of God’s Holy Spirit who takes our faith to produce more than enough in our life. The things our hands can hold, feel and touch in the natural become abundant and resourceful when our faith is in God’s Spirit. We are anointed with the Spirit of the Living God. He produces good fruit in us that will prosper our life once our soul is properly prospering. Her desperation turned her to God. She planted her faith in God and the resources she needed in the natural came pouring out in abundance. Enough to fill the jars she collected. Do you have a flask of oil in you untapped?

The anointing of God within us can do nothing around us until it completes its work in us. She had lived a life of faith with her husband. More than likely, her faith was in her husband and according to his faith. Now the Lord is asking her what is in her “temple”, she discovered faith. How do I know? She was obedient.

Her Salvation – “So She Did As She Was Told.” 

What if the limitation on our life is self-imposed? What if everything we need to prosper is in us? What if the Spirit of God is just waiting for faithful obedience? We want God to do it our way, in our time and according to our will most of the time. But what happens when He does it His Way, in His Timing and according to His Will. Do we obey the Lord or trek off on our own merry way? When met with seasons of hardship, it is our nature to turn to the Lord for answers, explanations, gripes and even complaints. God’s Plan for us is unchangeable. Once He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing, the Lord does not take it back. He cannot lie or change His Mind. He does not withdraw His Call on our life because our faith is lacking or obedience waning. He waits on us. When unmet expectation comes or dreams are shattered, He is usually who we run to. When we do, the Lord comes close to the brokenhearted and fills us with new life. New inspiration of His Spirit and revelation for success.

When she told the man of God what had happened, he said to her, “Now sell the olive oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on what is left over.” The woman put faith in God and He provided all that she needed and more. I wonder today if there is something in my temple that I put on a shelf for another day. Is it the very thing I must pour out to receive full satisfaction and live a life of fulfillment? Obedience is essential for our faith to become that which we hope for. If we are unwilling, then we will remain unfulfilled? God’s Word for our life is true. It is activated by faith in God’s Word, Will and Way. We must be willing to be faithful in hard times and drought to see the abundance of God that leads to absolute fulfillment.

2 Corinthians 1:19-22 (NLT)  For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says. For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.  It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.

The woman had a jar of oil. She poured it out as instructed and it filled more jars than she gathered. Abundance. God wants to fill your life with abundance today. Have you left the cap on your flask? We hold on to what we have out of fear. Doubt tells us if we empty ourselves there will be nothing left for the future. This is not the mindset of God’s People. We must change our mind. Taking our confidence and putting it fully in Christ which may mean gathering all the jars of expectation spread out among lesser things. God’s Anointing of His Spirit in us is a guarantee to prosper, but the Spirit must be poured out to every area of our life. His Promises are always “yes” and “amen”. It is our fear, doubt and security that mark them “maybe” or “probably not”. What’s in your house today? What fills your temple? What is the truth that governs the economy of your life? The principle of sowing and reaping is facilitated by obedience in the life of every believer. It is also a governing principle in our natural life. If you release it, God will increase it. Lord, increase our life. Give us the faith to release it so You can increase it. Holy Spirit align us with the Father and encourage us to have faith.

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

 

Overwhelmed to Overcomer

A close-up shot of a broken chain

Romans 8:37-38 (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.

Overwhelmingly victorious – that’s us in Christ. Do you feel victorious today? Are you overwhelmed? Or are you an overcomer? Are you convinced? Convinced you are sinking fast? Or convinced the Lord will lift you up? Tis the season for the overwhelmed to experience the greatest of difficulties. Carefully laid traps along the way to snare our emotions, feelings and even suffocate us with exhaustion. It is time to stop defending our depression and disappointment and take a step over to the offense. We have the power to be overcomers in life. Not just in the big things, but in every detail. The Lord gives victory over our worries and cares to those who believe.

Neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s Love. The scripture seems like such a wide curve. We go from death to life straight to worries, cares, and feelings. We must overcome fear to circumvent doubt. Doubt can only exist where faith ceases to exist. If you have fears, cares, worries, burdens and stress today – you are not alone. The winter months are considered the most depressing time of the whole year. Add the holiday lists and enormous expectations put on each other and people are easily overwhelmed during a season of great celebration. The birth of Jesus changed everything. If we could only convince ourselves of that, maybe this season would be filled with overcomers not the overwhelmed.

Expectation adds weight. I expect that chair I am sitting in this morning to bear my weight. I have put my faith and trust in the cheap desk chair to hold me and not fold to the floor under the burden. During the holidays, expectations run high. Human expectation is put on one another. Impossible demands on our time. Suddenly our faith in God is displaced and put on the shoulders of ordinary men and women to make everyone’s dreams come true. Demands turn to debt in all shapes and sizes. What do you expect this holiday season? Who do you have you give your full expectation? If our full expectation is not on Jesus Christ, then the substance of our faith has been compromised. Given to a lesser thing that is not able to render full satisfaction and the abundant life promised by the Lord. What is the substance of your faith today? Or should I say, “Who?”

John 16:33 (NLT) “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Many times, people decide only to take “big” things to a Big God. Yet, He is interested in every facet of our life. Every day, moment, second and breath – the Lord is with us turning the details into good things for us. (Romans 8:28) Our inability to give every burden, care and worry to the Lord is a detriment to us. He will perfect all that concerns us (Psalm 138:8) – our only responsibility is to trust Him more. The Lord was quite transparent – here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. I think sometimes we forget that part and jump over the “but” to “I have overcome the world.” You are an overcomer and there will be many opportunities to exercise our faith in the realm of impossibilities called trials and sorrows. You cannot find peace until you understand uncertainty. You cannot have faith until you overcome doubt. Trusting God requires believing Him at His Word.

Psalm 112:6-9 (NLT) Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor.

Who? Those who fear (respect) the Lord and delight in obeying His Commands. “Such people will not be overcome by evil…) Yes, to be overcome by evil can be sin. What if it also means the lie of the enemy that leads to anxiety and fear, too? What if the Lord is warning us here of the carefully laid trap of feelings and emotions. The Word says that God is greater than our feelings. Please God take hold of my emotions, wrap them in Your Word today so that I may do Your Will at all times. The rules and regulations of the Bible are for the religious. The instructions in God’s Word are for His Children and those who live in a loving relationship with Him.

Psalm 119:133 says, “Guide my steps with your word so I will not be overcome by evil.” Feed your soul today. Give the Spirit of God something to nourish your spirit man. Fill your mouth with praise. Empty your hands long enough to lift your hands in worship. The relationship you have with Jesus Christ is not a religion it is the role of beloved. He wants to help you carry the load called life. He will take your burdens and turn them into blessings. We must only believe. Funny, that we plaster this word all over the place during the holidays but seldom take the time to truly live it accordingly.

“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:23-24) Before getting overwhelmed in the days and demands ahead, take a moment to ask the Lord to help overcome unbelief. Jesus Christ overcame the world. (Period) There is nothing you will face today that can defeat you. There is nothing you do today that is not marked by success. God already promised to supply your need and released every spiritual blessing in your life so be generous. Confidence is born of trust. You will never be confident in someone or something left untried. Test the Lord. Try Him at His Word. Believe. He can handle it.

I Corinthians 15:57-58 (NLT) But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

The Will of God for you is to overcome fear, stress, worry and doubt today. The Lord desires nothing more than to move you from overwhelmed to be an overcomer. To overcome means to overpower and overwhelm that which is trying to do the same to you. It means to succeed in dealing with a problem or difficulty. It means to be immovable. We must fortify our faith by investing trust as seeds of success in our everyday life. The roots of a tree do not stop growing until faced with a limitation. I have trees in pots that hardly grow because they have reached the limit set by the container. My yard is filled with trees of all kinds. The roots have been growing for years without limit as the treetops tower high in the sky. How big is your God today? Have you placed a limit on His Power by limiting the space of your heart? He wants to make you strong and immovable ready to thrive and prosper in this life. We have victory over sin, death and the grave so what is there to lose. We have been given His Promise that He has overcome the world for us so we do not ever have to be overwhelmed again! God even goes so far as to promise that we can enthusiastically work for Him and nothing we do will ever be in vain. We will always be successful.

Success in Jesus is prosperity of our soul that works its way into our life. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Take a deep cleansing breath. Breathe out every worry, care and fear you have been holding on to. Breathe in His Spirit. Whisper His Promises. Let the Lord love on you today. He will never ever let you down. The Lord is with you always even to the ends of the earth. We just have to get to the end of self and trust Him more.

Isaiah 61:10-11 (NLT) I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels. The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world. Everyone will praise him! His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring, with plants springing up everywhere.

My Holiday List

My Holiday List

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

It’s funny how things work. I was visiting a local discount store the other day entering through the Lawn and Garden Department through the automatic doors into a winter wonderland. How did that happen so quickly? It’s not even Thanksgiving yet. Surveying the Christmas trees and contemplating going back to a fake tree, it hit me. The holidays were here and I was fighting the blues or on the verge of depression. My poor children will attest that I am not very festive during such times. I have had to fight my entire life to find peace during this time. It begins as a mad rush to meet the expectations of so many and time which already seems short so exhausted. As I walked through the Christmas décor as if to challenge my emotions to rise up but nothing. I celebrated my small victory. It would be short-lived. Talking with another ministry leader in our church and our pastor, she began detailing my responsibilities during the holidays. Decorate the church, provide food for a fellowship, host a women’s meeting, and my mind checked out somewhere after that. Suddenly all those emotions came flooding back, I no longer wanted to decorate even our tree, celebrate the season or engage in the holiday rush. I just wanted to disappear and see everyone in January.

Now I could dig into the vast depths of such an emotional shutdown and bore you with details, I love to celebrate the Lord’s Birth. I love to worship Him during this miraculous and wonderful season of hope. But truly we all have our ghosts of Christmas past, just as Ebenezer has heralded. I don’t really care to share these things but rather offer a light given to me from the Word of God today. The Word is the weapon of our Spirit to kill the lie of the enemy, to subdue and take captive rebellious thoughts, and to overcome the bondage of expectations other than those God has for us. His Spirit takes them and uses them to combat our troublesome flesh that longs for control but uses it against us.

I read I Thessalonians 5:18 yesterday and then again today. The overture of emotions and fight for my peace is keeping me locked in this selection of scriptures. I sense that maybe they might be useful for you as well. Setting out to sermonize my symptoms, I found that many people actually suffer from seasonal affective disorder or seasonal depression largely from unrealistic expectations, financial pressure, and excessive commitments. Add in to the mix – that there is less sunlight which is known to change human behavior. With less sunlight, people are prone to eat more and sleep more. With such insight – I give you my new holiday list.

This year my holiday goals are simple. I will rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances. I will know and do the Will of God for me which are these three things. End of list. I am challenging myself not to make a list this year and give up control of all the details. I release myself from unrealistic expectations because the Greater is He who lives in me does not make me a super human. He is the Greatest Thing about Christmas. I must keep my focus clearly set on Him. It is His Birthday that we celebrate. He brought hope to a dying people of new life, rebirth, renewal and full restoration. This is God’s Will for me. I am challenged to do His Will this holiday season as I strive to the rest of the year with greater success.

I Thessalonians 5:19-22 (NIV) Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.

The Holy Spirit is our helper. The Lord gave Him to us because of our weakness. To plant seeds of faith deep into the crevices of even the most broken of hearts to grow and prosper our soul according to His Will. God’s Plan for our life does not change or stop because one chooses to disengage. The Lord is always working in us to fulfill His Work in us. I am quite sure it grieves His Spirit when the enemy is able to convince us otherwise.

In a season meant for fellowship and celebration, he pulls out an arsenal of lies, confusion and discord to wreak havoc on God’s People as we celebrate our Savior the annihilator of sin. When Jesus arrived, the enemy was put on notice. When He made it through this life as a sinless man to sacrifice His Life on the Cross, death and the grave were rendered ineffective. Those who believe in Jesus Christ have nothing to lose and everything to gain. During a time when many people go to church for the first, one and only time of the year, what better way to hinder God’s Work than to plague his people with fear, anxiety, stress, depression, and dim the Light of God’s Love that is love, joy, peace and absolute freedom.

We must strive to hold what is good and reject every kind of evil especially that which plays on our mind, will and emotions. It is a personal choice to rejoice always. It is personal commitment to pray continually. It is an absolute necessity to be thankful in all circumstances for that is the Will of God for us.

I Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NIV) May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

In Luke 2:14 the angels declared, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His Favor rests.” God’s Favor belongs to us. He gave it to us. He also has given us peace. Peace that can silence the demands of the world and give us absolute rest during the busiest most overwhelming season of the year. The secret is found these verses today. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless in the coming of Christ. Sometimes “blame” comes hidden in the expectations of others that we try to carry rather than fully entrusting our spirit, soul and body to Christ. It is the lie that if we do not meet the expectations of those around us to “their” full satisfaction that we somehow have “failed the Lord. God’s Will for my life is listed clearly to rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances. I do not read anywhere that it is to make everyone else happy and content but to receive and live in the full satisfaction and contentment of Christ. The Lord is faithful. Our faithfulness in Jesus Christ gives us good fruit to satisfy others much more than a “perfect” holiday that is simply not possible.

John 14:27 (NIV) Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

I offer you the same gift that I am challenging myself to hold tight to this holiday season. The Peace of God has been given to us. It is His Gift upon his departure so that we can live completely resting on the faithfulness of God and His Promises through Jesus Christ – His Gift to us. Do not let the enemy have your joy. Do not give up your prayer time which is communication with the One who loves us the most and expects the least. Be thankful even when challenged with discontentment, dissatisfaction and unmet expectations that this world will readily offer throughout the next month. Gratitude will always change your attitude. The enemy wants to steal away this season of celebration of our Savior’s Birth. He wants to make you doubt the Hope found in His Arrival. Don’t let him. Use the Spirit of the Lord within you to rally against such thoughts and unfruitful considerations. Greater is He that is in you! You are an overcomer even when it is self that is the adversary. My prayer for us today is this:

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

Peaceful Partner

Peaceful Partner

John 14:26-27 (NIV)  But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Oh the Peace of God, I wouldn’t trade it for anything this world has to offer. Those precious moments when something clicks and I remember to give my cares and worries mixed with all those heavy burdens to the Lord. We have been given a partner, advocate, and indwelling Presence of the Living God to go with us. Wherever I choose to allow my feet to wander today, the Lord is with me. Sometimes I do not feel Him, acknowledge Him or even remember this precious gift that I have been given. So today if it is one of those days for you – let this be your reminder – you have a life partner who is with you even to the ends of the earth.

Luke 4:1 (NIV) Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness…

There is a common misconception that salvation is perfection which is simply not true. The moment of repentance is the turning and embarking on an incredible life journey of transformation. To become something new just like Jesus promised requires change. It means losing control sometimes. It is uncomfortable as our dead dreams become handfuls of hope. The Presence of God in us does not necessarily change the footsteps of our life but definitely gives them hope in the outcome.

Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit. As a matter of fact, immediately after being filled with the Spirit – the same Spirit led Him into the wilderness to fast and pray for 40 days and nights. Just as he always does, the enemy would come to tempt Jesus in his humanity. Jesus answered the enemy of his soul with the Word of God – the Truth called to his remembrance by none other than the Holy Spirit. How do I know that? John 14:26 tells us that is exactly what the Spirit does. He teaches us and reminds us of everything Jesus said to us. He then guides us to opportunities of obedience that lead to great blessing for Children of God.

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

Spiritual acceptance by the Lord and steps to maturity are all facilitated by God’s Spirit living in you and me. He is our guarantee that God has heard our heart cry out in true repentance and has responded with His Spirit. The Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of Adoption that gives us a new name. He establishes our peace with God through Jesus Christ. Now at peace with God, though our circumstances and conditions may not change radically, our choices and consequences begin to change as we decide to avoid sin and seek the Savior day by day. Not only on the good days, but in our sufferings the Holy Spirit takes seeds of faith planting into the crevices of our broken heart. He cultivates love, joy, peace and more in the hearts of those who remain broken before the Lord. I wonder today with a new insight and perspective of usefulness of this partnership that maybe we might capitalize on the commitment Christ made to us when He invested His Spirit in us. The Spirit of God produces intimacy with God that is only possible by living at peace with Him.

Titus 3:4-7 (NIV)  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

I wonder what would happen if we believed that God has partnered with us in such an intimate and radical way. To give us the very essence of His Identity in order to teach us and remind us that as love grows cold and sin more rampant to have confidence in the unconditional love and overwhelming grace of a good, good Father. A Father so recklessly in love with us that He would send His Perfect and Undefiled Spirit to live in such a sin-ridden state of a human. See if we could understand the value, worth and potential of the Spirit of God enough to acknowledge Him, accept His Guidance, and affirm Him as He does us our life would suddenly and dramatically prosper in the Fruit of His Spirit. Peace would define our existence even in the most violent storm. Love would prevail as we fully accept the grace given to us as more than enough.

The Spirit washes us as a newborn baby is tenderly and gently cleaned and then He renews us from the inside out. He sees our broken heart and heals it. He sees our unmet expectation and redirects it to the One who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than ask, think or imagine. He would lead us from confident to wide open spaces full of opportunities. The Spirit encourages us to release lesser things to embrace fulfillment as only God could give it. When our faith in God and partnership with His Spirit begin to flourish – our natural life will follow suit.

Jude 1:20-21 (NIV) But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Christians have made the Spirit so spooky and unrealistic with crazy claims and even crazier behaviors. My experience with the Holy Spirit is a little different. Growing up as a Christian different religions gave the Spirit of God varying and differing personalities, qualities and characteristics. I had to become acquainted with His Spirit on my own. Intimacy is not a public event but a private matter. If you do not have a partnership with God’s Spirit, I encourage you to form one. To seek an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit that is personal. I have discovered the most valuable asset that keeps me from wandering and that is peace. When things are going great, I know God is good and live in peace. When everything is falling apart, I still know God is good and can remain in the same restful peace. Peace is the defining of God’s Spirit as He teaches us to remain constant in our faith and confident in our hope personally and individually. We can form opinions about certain people based on the account and perception of others but it is only in a real relationship or encounter that we experience who they really are and who they will be to me. With this in mind, ask the Lord to reveal Himself through His Spirit to you today. The Lord told the woman at the well that true worshippers must do so in Spirit and Truth. Don’t miss the opportunity to be a true worshipper of the Living God. Discover the life-giving, life-changing and love-altering purpose of partnering with the Living, Breathing Spirit of God – the Christ in you.

There’s nothing worth more that could ever come close no thing can compare You’re our living hope
Your presence, Lord… I’ve tasted and seen of the sweetest of loves where my heart becomes free and my shame is undone, Your presence, Lord… Holy Spirit, You are welcome here, come flood this place and fill the atmosphere, Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for to be overcome by Your presence, Lord…

When Mountains Move

When Mountains Move

Psalm 46:1-3 (NIV) God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountain fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

“The mountains quake with their surging…” I wonder what our response might be to the moving of the mountain beneath us when the Lord starts to break apart the foundation of doubt that once was our security as pride kept us in complete control. The smallest step in faith will produce a profound rumble in the ground beneath our feet. Faith is not logical. It is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of the unseen which makes it intangible. In fact, sometimes the smallest movement of faith in our life produces an avalanche of circumstances as the enemy fights to keep us from attempting another. Fear is a fortress with an unlocked door. It binds us in the dreadful expectation of something that may not ever be a reality. Faith produces a refuge in the Presence of God that endures the moving of our mountain as the earth gives way to eternity.

It seems as though the more I desire to live by faith the more uncertain life becomes. God is an ever-present help in trouble because His Spirit lives in us. The reality of God’s Love shines from those who encounter it, engage it and somehow endure to the end. It is up to me to fan the flames of His Spirit and keep the light shining brightly even on the darkest days. I must feed my faith the Word of God to continually nourish and strengthen it. I must water it with the Word to keep it supple and growing. I must protect my seed of faith from the things that want to choke it and kill it such as fear, anxiety, stress, worry and cares. Life is hard. There is no question that everyone faces difficulties in life. The outcome is determined by our response to adversity. Do I run for cover or run to my refuge. God is with us. He is working for us. He will never let us down. He must be the place of comfort and rest when the mountain starts moving.

Psalm 46:4-7 (NIV) There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Faith displaces fear in our life but doesn’t stop the world from turning. The world is headed for destruction. There are wars and rumors of war just as the Lord predicted when He was with us. Just because you have faith doesn’t change the current conditions or natural consequences in the world, it changes us. It conditions our soul, mind and body to respond to God’s Word and His Faithfulness rather than reacting to the situations faced on any given day. I didn’t realize until today that the words, “God is within her, she will not fail” were actually words of encouragement tucked in the Bible. I needed some encouragement today. If God lives in you, you will not fail. It’s true. If we could only believe that His Word is true and relevant in our life – we just might wait to see what happens.

Haggai 2:6-9 (NIV)  “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

Why shake things up? I believe that the shaking is to keep us from settling. Comfort and complacency produce a sense of control that is contradictory to allowing God’s Spirit to work in us and through us. God is determined to give us His Very Best. He doesn’t cut corners or compromise. We must press and push to stay in the Presence of God even in the midst of violent storms or shifting sands. In Luke 6:38, it talks about being “pressed down, shaken together and running over.” The giving of our life in full surrender to faith produces this kind of movement in our life. It is not a bad thing. It reveals the true wealth of our life. We have the opportunity to become refined and purified as gold.

Psalm 46:8-11 (NIV) Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Is the ground beneath you moving? Are the winds of change blowing like a hurricane through your life? Do you feel unstable? Could it be that your faith is producing some movement in the mountain of doubt you have been climbing? Faith moves mountains even in the smallest form. The changes and conditions that seem to be threatening you might be the very things moving you from complacency to confidence and producing the hope from the ashes of unmet expectation. You cannot expect to be transformed and not moved. It would be contradictory. Stagnancy is not a Kingdom condition as His Spirit flows through our life. Changing us and the outcomes of each trial. The Lord is moving us into a refuge of faith that produces confident hope that in the midst of shaking all around us – it produces a stillness just knowing that He is God. He is Good. His Love for us is unending and unconditional. He will stop at nothing to show you how much He desires you. If the mountain is moving today, do not let it move you. Keep the faith. Remain committed to confident hope. Hold on to Him with both hands. The Lord is for you. You will not fail!

Psalm 62:8 (NIV) Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

Desire & Destination

Desire and Destination

I Corinthians 12:31 (NIV) Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.

Our desire will lead to a destination. Desire defines our drive, dictates our dedication and decides our destination every single time. Desire is not an opinion but an inner force of combined thoughts that become our attitude and actions. Desire is a strong feeling. A feeling of wanting something or wishing for something to happen. God has a desire. His Desire has a face. It is your face and mine. God desires people. To create an everlasting Kingdom of those He loved first and still loves the most.

“Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.” (Plato) Our attitude and actions first formed deep within us are motivated and mastered by sin. Our flesh knows no other way until introduced to the better more excellent way. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. It is by way of Jesus that humanity is reconciled to God through His Grace that is always enough. To know the Way is not enough – even demons know the Name of Jesus and tremble at it. However, to the Way and decide to follow Him is a new thing altogether. Our destination is decided by our desire. Desire dictates our drive. Desire is the motivation for dedication. When we desire anything other than Christ, it leads to dissatisfaction.

Ecclesiastes 2:9-11 (NIV)  I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

The Lord loved Solomon. In I Kings 3, King Solomon was faithful to the Lord God and so God offered Him anything. Solomon chose wisdom and a discerning heart. I wonder how the same person who was so invested in serving God would come to such a place as Ecclesiastes 2. At this point in his life, “everything was meaningless.” His desire and drive made him successful. He denied himself nothing that his eyes could see. Maybe if he had heard Paul’s warning that all things are permissible not all things are beneficial. When he surveyed his success, all that his hard work had achieved – he found it all meaningless. He had gained the world and lost his soul. Anytime that our life prospers without soulful participation – life becomes meaningless. The purpose and plan of God that leads to fulfillment cannot be achieved apart from Him.

Mark 4:18-20 (NIV)  Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

Overcoming doubt in our life is accomplished by faith. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Seeds of faith planted by the Word have various results. Seeds sown among the thorns hear the word and maybe even believe it but quickly the “worries of life”, “deceitfulness of wealth” and “desires for other things” literally choke the word and it does not bear the fruit it was intended to. This was King Solomon’s dilemma. God was true to His Word and gave the king exactly what he asked for. However, his human desires overtook his desire for the Lord and well we see what happened in Ecclesiastes 2. It happens to us all. God blesses us and then our desire overtakes our desire for the Living God and well you know the rest of the story. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. (Romans 7:17-19)

Romans 8:5-6 (NIV)  Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

We must master our desires and place them fully into Christ. The mountain you are facing marked doubt will not move until the very thing you desire is Jesus Christ. Why would God move a mountain if the everlasting was not waiting on the other side. The Lord has placed His Spirit in us to cultivate the fruit that leads to everlasting life and hope that never disappoints. Are we using these gifts for righteousness sake or do we simply desire the Hand of God? Are we after His Heart in the process? The things of this world will pass away. Our life in Christ is eternal. It is the admission point of eternity. Jesus died to give us access to His Kingdom. His Father will not give us the things that might block our entrance. His Grace is enough to endure our wrath of unmet expectation. “Desire increases when fulfillment is postponed.” Maybe the mountain is not moving because secretly you desire something different than Christ? Is it possible to know the Lord but not desire Him? Absolutely.

The Spirit of the Living God will lead you to life and peace. Feeding our flesh starves our soul. Feeding our soul, likewise, starves the flesh. The Fruit of God’s Spirit changes our appetite for the things of this life as eternal life becomes a reality. Suddenly, all the things we wanted, needed and desire change to one thing – Jesus Christ. As our soul prospers, so will we.

Psalm 145:13-16 (NIV) Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

Your desire to change must be greater than your desire to stay the same. (Unknown) Are you satisfied with your life today? Are you struggling with unmet expectation? King Solomon had it all according to earthly success yet found life to be meaningless. How many of the rich and famous who appear to have it all end their life due to depression, discouragement and distress that the world could not see for the notoriety of fame and influence of wealth? Life outside of Christ is preset and predetermined. Sin produces death. Our life in Christ must become more than just knowing His Name but we must desire the Lord. He desires a relationship with us. His Hand opens with His Heart. His Hand will not open outside of an established relationship or risk losing us forever. His Desire is for us so He will do nothing to keep us from Him even if that means withholding what we ask of Him.

C.S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” You were born to be part of an everlasting kingdom yet arrived in a temporary world. The Lord is trustworthy and true. He created you with purpose. You have a handwritten plan prerecorded for your good. The only investment you make in your future is faith. Faith in God’s Love. Faith in God’s Son. Faith in God’s Grace. Faith in God’s Promises. It is all about living a life of faith that overcomes doubt in every area of our life. This is when the mountain will move and be cast in the sea. The very moment our heart’s desire is for the Lord and Him alone. God will then open His Hand and satisfy our desire.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (NIV) With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ

Mighty Warrior

Mighty Warrior

I Corinthians 15:57 (NIV) But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Do you feel victorious today? Like a mighty warrior, who celebrates the spoils of overcoming winning, do you live a confident life in Jesus Christ? God has given us celebratory victory in Jesus Christ, His Son. The ability to engage, encounter and execute His Power and Authority on the earth until He returns or we are giving the opportunity to go to Him. I do not believe that the church fully understands the concept of habitual freedom that comes from a new life in Christ that overcomes the world. Cowering in corners and compromising confinement in the lie of the enemy that this is how it will always be and there is just not enough power in the Blood. Did I get your attention? Did that rile something within you that I would dare insult the Blood of Jesus Christ as to insinuate a loss of power or potential? There is power in the Blood of Jesus Christ to break every chain and stronghold in your life. However, it is up to each one of us to commit our confidence to it. To believe that there is power in the Blood is exemplified when we live according to the authority of Jesus Christ and exercise it here on earth.

I Corinthians 15:58 (NIV) Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Why do Christians struggle with complacency and compromise in life? It’s simple. We lack confidence in Jesus Christ. If we believed that God has given us victory in His Son, Jesus, don’t you think we would chase after it wholeheartedly? My family has attended many college football games in our hometown. The passion displayed by the other sports fans and fervency of their desire to win is displayed first in their commitment to attend the games, tailgating, participating in all the fight songs, cheering on the offensive line, coaching the defense, yelling at the coaches and even taunting the other team. Standing on their feet to the final seconds tick off the clock, screaming wildly for the win and completely devastated by loss. Do we have the same commitment to victory in Christ? Our team has won a lot and currently is experiencing the worse season I can remember yet still fans spend inordinate and endless amounts of effort and expense just to stand behind their favorite team. How does our enthusiasm for such things compare to our commitment to Christ and the victory promised by God to us? “Let nothing move you.”

Always give yourselves fully to the workplace, hobbies, and people…wait no it says…always give yourselves full to the work of the Lord, because YOU KNOW that your labor is not in vain. Our commitment to Jesus Christ is based solely on our ability to trust and believe He has won the victory over death and the grave. If our Savior and Lord was willing to suffer and die on the Cross to save, heal and deliver us – why in the world would He leave us helpless and defenseless on the earth? He wouldn’t. He didn’t. You are a mighty warrior.

2 Samuel 23:8 (NIV) These are the names of David’s mighty warriors…

David had thirty-seven mighty men who fought by his side. Three of these men were his leaders. Josheb-Basshebeth, Eleazar and Shammah who were his elite companions. I believe that there is a lesson to be learned from these warriors.

2 Samuel 23:8 (NIV) Josheb-Basshebeth, a Tahkemonite, was chief of the Three; he raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter.

The chief of these three was Josheb-Basshebeth who demonstrated the prize of endurance. He raised his spear against 800 men and killed them all in one encounter. How many times do we give up in the middle of battle? Abandoning God’s Promise of victory and settling for less than complete overcoming in any situation. Jesus said that the one who endures to the end will be saved. Maybe we do not have victory simply because we do not fight through the encounter but at some point look for an escape or make our own way. I believe that the Lord has promised to give us victory and complete satisfaction in every situation. Perhaps endurance is the missing essential?

2 Samuel 23:9-10 (NIV) Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite. As one of the three mighty warriors, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered at Pas Dammim for battle. Then the Israelites retreated, but Eleazar stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead.

Eleazar was with David when he was being taunted by the enemy. The enemy was ready for battle and so was Eleazar. When the rest of the army retreated, he stood his ground. Eleazare persevered though his hand grew tired and froze to his sword. The Lord brought Him great victory that day. What do you do when others abandon the cause? Do you press in and persevere? Holding tightly to God’s Word and fighting for the promise? When everyone chooses their own way do you press and persevere to do it His Way? Eleazar did not abandon his earthly lord and His Heavenly Lord handed victory right into his hand and the spoils of victory as well.

2 Samuel 23:11-12 (NIV) Next to him was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel’s troops fled from them. But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory.

Shammah stood on his promise. He would not abandon his harvest (lentils) to the enemy. The enemy in our life comes to steal, kill and destroy. God has promised us an abundant harvest. A promise and purpose of fulfillment worth having (Jeremiah 29) and a future worth fighting for. Will you defend your promise today? Will you stand and fight on the foundation of faith with the sword of the Spirit and confidence in God’s Word? He has given us victory and along with winning every other harvest and prize that is promised to those who remain faithful. Do you believe today that overwhelming victory belongs to you? A gift from God through His Son Christ? You are a mighty warrior. Strong and courageous. Ready for battle. The Son of the Living God lives in you and has achieved full authority over death and the grave making you unstoppable. So what’s stopping you today?

I John 5:3-5 (NIV)  In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Faith in God is demonstrated through obedience and service to His Son, Jesus Christ. To believe that He is worthy of our allegiance is to serve Him. In 2 Samuel 23, it also tells the story of the three mighty warriors risking life and limb just to give David a drink from a well in Bethlehem. The only thing standing between them and fulfilling the desire of their leader was an army of giants. The three men left the protection of the garrison to get the cup of water. They broke enemy lines just to bring David a single cup of water. Father, forgive us for all the times we give you less than our very best.

Love for the Lord is keeping His Commands which to those who truly have affection for Him do not find burdensome. It is in this obedience and commitment to Christ that we overcome the world. Is your faith worth fighting for? It absolutely is. Faith pleases God. In fact without it, you cannot please God in any other effort. Victory for the believer is total faith and confident trust in the hope we are given. Faith is worth fighting for. The harvest of fulfillment only feeds our confidence and strengthens our arm to praise Him during the battle and keeps our knees from becoming weak in prayer and fasting. Why abandon the promises of God so easily? We fall for the lie of the enemy because it is easily rationalized by our flesh allowing us to maintain our pride. To be a mighty warrior and secure the victory I have been given requires endurance, perseverance and faithfulness. To have overcoming power active and effective in my life is to become immersed in His Grace and live there. Less of me and more of Him. It is not the life for everyone yet the Lord includes everyone in the call to victory. Whosoever will let them come! He wants to help you live a victorious overcoming life. Do you trust Him today? Enough to fight for your faith. Endure through tough times. Persevere when abandoned. Defend the harvest the Lord has promised. Those who do will become mighty warriors.

John 16:33 (NIV) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”