More Grace

More Grace

I Timothy 1:14-15 (NIV) The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

I wasn’t going to do this. I had already decided that my quiet time would be my own today. Not to be shared in the transparency of my need for God’s Grace today. I have over committed…again. My perfectionism is overriding peace within me. I have to-do list with to-do list. Heart racing to meet the expectation of many especially myself – I am begging the Lord Jesus for more grace today. I need grace. Grace wrecks perfectionism. It destroys arrogance in the moment that I realize I can’t do it all. Only one person that gets caught up in tasks who doesn’t always realize my mistake until at the edge of breakdown.

God gives grace to us in abundance. In this passage, it says that He gives grace in abundance along with faith and love as though secondary. Many that’s the problem, we try to have faith and love outside of God’s Grace. We have faith that can move mountains but cannot even step over a tiny offense. There is love for others but no love for our self. I am the world’s worst sinner who needs every bit of God’s Grace to make through one day let alone to eternity one day. Yet as many others just like me – sometimes I get the order wrong. I live by faith. Try to love. Work to produce godly fruit only attainable in my utter weakness as a part of grace. A seed placed in the ground does not do anything other than become what it is purposed and called to be. The potential of a seed is on the inside and must work its way out. The death of one form to give way to new glory. The acceptance of God’s Grace completely gives way to the life of faith and living in the Love of Jesus. Lord, I need more grace today.

Romans11:5-6 (NIV) So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

I am chosen by God’s Grace. There is nothing I can do to earn it. I will never deserve it. I cannot work to make myself worth. I am not able to transform my life. Grace is given as a gift. It can only be accepted by a fully engaged love relationship or covenant with Jesus Christ. We are vulnerable. Faith gives us the capacity to believe that a perfect God could love imperfect people. Grace is no longer grace if religion takes over with all its dos and don’ts. Yet the enemy willingly offers excuses to the logic of such by inferring that God’s Grace is limited when the Truth is that God’s Grace is enough.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

His Grace is enough for me. It is sufficient for you. His Power is made perfect in weakness. Our pride hates the idea of surrender and submission to the Lord but grace demands it. We must use our faith in its primary state to stand on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Not because we can do anything but because He did it all. When we are weak, we seek grace. The good news for us today is that it is always available and brings power to our life.

In Ephesians 4, it tells us the God’s Grace is apportioned for us. The word “apportioned” means that the Lord has already designated all the grace that I need for this life. He has distributed proportionally to me. It belongs to me. I must do nothing more than relinquish my weakness and claim His Strength which is administered by grace. His Grace is enough because it is already assigned to me. When Christ said, “It is finished” on the Cross that included the proper portion of grace needed to save me and initiate the faith needed to achieve my purpose, overcome life’s problems, receive full provision and live in prosperity. I have all the grace I need – I must only ask for it.

Romans 5:20-21 (NIV) The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Law had a purpose. It showed humanity that it was flawed. The sin obvious in each trespass and the penalty far more than anyone could bar. Jesus Christ came with a sin solution. Grace. Where sin abounded, grace abounded more. The power of Grace is not defined by one’s capacity to ever overcome sin. It is defined as the only thing that can break sin’s debt off our life. It doesn’t matter how well we clean up or if we change every bad habit to make better choices. Religious behavior will never take the place of righteousness which can only be achieved by God’s Grace through faith in Jesus Christ. What does that mean? It doesn’t matter how hard I work – my efforts cannot produce perfection. It doesn’t matter how well I do – sin will always be an issue. It doesn’t matter how strong of a Christian I become – His Grace will only work by concession. I must give up my need to be perfect and desire to be good in order to fully accept the kind of grace that grows strong faith producing complete confidence in the Love of God. It is my acceptance of every weakness, fault, failure, mistake and shortcoming and giving it over to the Lord that His Strength and Power become my own.

Galatians 2:21 (NIV) I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

When my need to do something overshadows my need to allow Christ to complete His Work in me – I have set aside the Grace of God to maintain my pride and position. Righteousness is the place I want to be living in the Presence of God forever. It means I must set aside self on a daily if not momentary basis to fully embrace what Christ is doing inside of me. The revelation of weakness must come for the sufficiency of Christ to be received. I cannot be the person who has it all together and still be becoming the masterpiece of God’s Design. It is in the messy surrender and submission of my life piece by piece that the fullness of grace is obtained. Christ didn’t die for nothing. He died for me. His Grace is enough.

Jesus, I recognize that You are the only good and perfect gift in me. You have given your life to free me from the bondage of performance and perfection. I receive it in my weakness today.  Forgive me for trying to take the throne and ask you for more grace! I want it all! I need it today! We have nothing if first we do not accept Your Grace!

James 4:6 (NIV) But He gives us more grace…

John 1:16-17 (NIV) Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 

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Ignore the Roar

Ignore the Roar

I Peter 5:6-9 (ESV) Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

There is an adversary prowling the earth seeking someone to devour. The word “devour” means to consume destructively, recklessly or wantonly. It is to engulf or swallow up. To absorb or engross wholly. The enemy of our soul seeks someone to devour. How does one resist the devourer? Those who remain subject to God and His Word that humble themselves under His Mighty Hand will be lifted up…at the proper time. Does it seem like you never have enough time? Or do you live from paycheck to paycheck? What are you lacking? We are people who are predestined to live in abundance. Jesus Christ came to give us a rich and satisfying life. The Lord promises to do exceedingly abundantly more we ask or think…according to His Power at work in us.

The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. We have a good Shepherd who carefully watches the flock called the righteous. I am called righteous in right standing with God based on the salvation of Jesus Christ who opened a gate for me. To enter the Presence of God and live in peaceful surrender to the Living God. Humility is essential to the righteous remaining in the shelter and refuge of God. The roar of the lion is loud. When I was a teenager, I went to Africa on a missionary venture. Lying in bed at night, an occasional roar of a lion could be heard in the darkness. At first it was a bit frightening, however; I was safe in a compound with whitewashed walls and members of the Maasai tribe patrolled the perimeter to keep those inside safe. The lions roar was just a reminder of the dangers lurking outside the walls of the camp. Lord, help us to see that the roar of the lion that produces fear, anxiety and stress is but a veiled threat to those who live in the sanctuary of trust and peace that you provide.

Malachi 3:10-12 (ESV) Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.

“And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.” (Matthew 13) The Lord gives seed to the sower. You are a sower. You plant in your life every day. You decide the productivity of your life based on the quality and quantity of your investment. The potential in us is based on the Kingdom as we have been given eternity in our heart. A promise that EVERYTHING will be made beautiful in its own time. A gift of faith that is the beginning of great fruitfulness in our life. There is a thief who wants to steal, kill and destroy the hope that is given to us in the productivity of our seed. Jesus came to grow it in us and for us.

The seed of God’s Word must be pressed deep into a soft and fertile heart to grow into anything of worth in our life. Malachi 3 talks about the tithe. The tithe of our life is our time, talent and treasure. All should be considered in our giving to God. Our covenant relationship with the Father gives us the opportunity to reap Kingdom benefits and blessings in all three areas according to our level of faith and trust in Him. To partner with the Lord requires an investment. We must give to receive these things. Our position in life must be Presence. Our posture must be humility. It is under the Mighty Hand of God that we find the prosperity longed for. This is an act of submission and surrender to the Lord that gives our time, talent and treasure to Him – we must decide that God deserves our first fruits of each not what is remaining.

The promise of partnership with God is that He will rebuke the devourer. To rebuke means express sharp, stern disapproval. It also means to reprove or reprimand. The original meaning of rebuke means to beat back or hack down. The Lord will call off the devourer by His Word. We have God’s Word that He will deal with the devourer if we choose to trust Him more. When we move our life and all its resources from doubt and fear to live in full dependence on the Lord and trusting Him – the enemy can roar but he cannot move within the borders of faith and trust. He can only hurl lies and threats over the fence but they are quickly rebuked by God’s Word now active in our heart and mind. When Jesus was in the wilderness, the enemy came to him. Jesus did not argue with the devil or complain about the situation. His answer to every temptation was simple. He told the enemy what God said. The Word is Jesus and He lives in us now. His Word is the potential for our life. Do you know what God says about you? Do you know what the blessings and benefits of the Kingdom are for you? Do you believe it? When we decide to trust the Lord fully with our time, talent and treasure enough to give Him the most choice portion, the devourer must move back as he is beaten down by God’s Word. Jesus makes intercession for us with the Father and defends us by the Word.

Proverbs 21:20-21 (ESV) Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it. Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.

Remember the widow who cried to Elisha, her husband was dead. (2 Kings 4) He was a man of God and servant of the Lord. The woman feared the creditor was coming to take her sons. Elisha asked her, “Tell me; what have you in the house?” Her response, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” Oil represents anointing. Christ lives in us. The Anointed One has chosen to inhabit our heart. With faith, nothing is impossible. Faith cannot stay in our heart but must be sown in trust. What if you already have what is needed to prosper and live in the abundance of God but it is just hidden in your “house”? You have the Word of God and the faith that moves mountains but cower in fear over simple provisions of life. You have the Peace of God that passes understanding but remain in fear, worry and anxiety over the roar of the lion. The woman changed her situation when she became a vessel. Her abundance of oil in the small flask did not run out until she stopped providing a place for it to flow.

Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness and honor. Ignore the roar! Give no credence to the lion today. Jesus has rebuked the devourer. Do not let him in. He cannot touch anything resting inside the Shelter and Refuge of God’s Presence. When we plant all our expectation in Jesus Christ by faith it will be fruitful in its proper time. The Lord has promised that there is a season for EVERYTHING. He tells us that EVERYTHING will be made beautiful in its time. No seed planted today bears fruit tomorrow. There is a process and most certainly a wait time. But in the meantime, the Lord promises to the rebuke the devourer in all things given to Him.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Sacred Structure

Sacred Structure

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (MSG) You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred—and you, remember, are the temple.

Did you know that the most important structure in your life is not what you make of opportunities but rather who you become in the process? You are the Temple of God’s Spirit. Christ lives inside of you. You are the dwelling place of divine purpose, promise and possibility. You! It is so important in our pursuit of prosperity that it is understood that nothing will grow outside of the faith in us until our soul prospers. My youngest loves junk food. She is a snacker who would eat cookies, candies and sweets all day and night forgoing real food of any nutritional value. It is my responsibility as her parent to guide, instruct and help her to make good choices in this area for health and wellness. If I allow her to eat what she wants without providing what she needs, she will not grow, develop and mature into a healthy adult. We live in a day and age of indulgence with our kids. Few set proper boundaries choosing to be a friend rather than a parent. However, when children round the corner into adulthood without any form of training – the results can be devastating. My little sweet tooth recently had to get a filling. She is learning the consequence of her cravings. Lord, teach us to do the same.

The sacred structure of our life is not external but rather eternal. All the promises, blessings and benefits of God are wrapped in His Goodness. He will never give us anything that would harm us even if that very thing is harmless in itself. Miracles happen in the impossible. Who wants impossible situations in their life? Persistence comes from pressure. Who is ready to be pressed? Endurance comes in the waiting and none of us have time for that. Yet, in His Divine Supremacy, God knows exactly what our life must look like in order for us to discover the potential and purpose of that which He entrusted in our heart before our first breath. He knows exactly what it will take for us to engage in the process that will produce it. It usually comes at the end of our self. When our weakness is all that is left, and we seek out the new strength, power and ability only discovered in His Grace that is always enough and more than sufficient. How many times do we build our Babel and wonder why it is crashing down around us? You are God’s Most Sacred Structure too high a price was paid for you to live a broken or worthless life.

2 Chronicles 7:11-16 (MSG) Solomon completed building The Temple of God and the royal palace—the projects he had set his heart on doing. Everything was done—success! Satisfaction! God appeared to Solomon that very night and said, “I accept your prayer; yes, I have chosen this place as a temple for sacrifice, a house of worship. If I ever shut off the supply of rain from the skies or order the locusts to eat the crops or send a plague on my people, and my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health. From now on I’m alert day and night to the prayers offered at this place. Believe me, I’ve chosen and sanctified this Temple that you have built: My Name is stamped on it forever; my eyes are on it and my heart in it always.

Solomon built the Temple of God. His project complete the Children of Israel dedicated the structure to the Lord. It was a time of celebration. Success. Satisfaction. God appeared to Solomon. Alone in the darkness of night, the God of his father, David, now sought out the son. David was a man after God’s heart. Would Solomon do the same? He whispered to His Beloved, “I accept your prayer. Yes, I have chosen this place as a temple for sacrifice and a house of worship.” But now the Lord gets to the heart of the matter, the man who was king.

If I ever shut off the supply of rain from the skies or order the locusts to eat the crops or send a plague on my people, and my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health.

There are many good things that we do “for” the Lord. Pray. Study His Word. Try to live right. Repent. Serve. Give. Share the Gospel. Worth efforts in building the Kingdom of God. But at the end of the day, God is more interested in the sacred structure of our heart rather than what we build, accumulate or achieve in life. The city on the hill and salt of the earth that is referred to is that which is built on one foundation who is Christ alone and mined from the depths of the human heart called love. Sometimes our endeavors consume us and it is easy to lose sight of righteousness in rightness. The Lord desires a relationship with us. It is not a performance but a passion deep within to find eternity by faith and have confident hope that His Love never fails. So when the things we build begin to crumble and fall, it will reveal the firm foundation of a sound sacred structure in a prospering soul. There is no greater faith demonstrated than those who believe when the unthinkable and impossible occur in life. Those who continue to live by faith when the future seems to hold nothing. Those who decide that if all there is at the end of life is Jesus – He is still all you need or want.

I Peter 2:4-8 (MSG) Welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honor. Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God. The Scriptures provide precedent: Look! I’m setting a stone in Zion, a cornerstone in the place of honor. Whoever trusts in this stone as a foundation will never have cause to regret it. To you who trust him, he’s a Stone to be proud of, but to those who refuse to trust him, the stone the workmen threw out is now the chief foundation stone. For the untrusting it’s… a stone to trip over, a boulder blocking the way. They trip and fall because they refuse to obey, just as predicted.

Jesus Christ is the cornerstone. Our life has a plan. It is the construction of a confident hope that is mortared by faith and trust in the foundation of Christ already set forth. I believe that as we begin to follow Jesus and experience early success – it is easy to become complacent. To lose the enthusiastic zeal that accompanies new love and softens the pursuit. To rest on the laurels of past victories, and stop pursing the greater things that God has in store for those who love and trust Him. When pride prevails, it will take the place of humble grace that empowers ordinary people to live extraordinary lives. Complacency is established in comfort, convenience and control. When any one or all three are compromised, it is a shaking that often causes one to seek the Lord. To cry out and call His Name again. Funny how God works! You are the most sacred structure to the Lord. He chose you to give His Spirit. To consummate covenant with a Holy Inhabitation that will impact our life in miraculous ways when given the time and space to cultivate the good fruit that feeds and nourishes our heart and soul. Sometimes God will “gut” our life to begin a renovation or restoration to the masterpiece that He had planned before time. To give us the new life as a new creation promised long ago. Do you trust Him today? Do you believe? What kind of life are you after? To live in blessed buildings or become a sacred structure? It is up to you! If at the end of your life, you have nothing to show for your hard work but you have a heart full of Jesus – You have it all!

Psalm 27:7-8 (NLT) Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

True Humility

True humility

Proverbs 22:4 (NLT) True humility and fear of the Lord lead to riches, honor, and long life.

Biting into a piece of leftover steak, the pain was searing and sharp taking my breath away. Trying not to cry out in pain, I sat for a minute to get my wits about me. Though not so intense, it was still radiating through my jaw. When I could produce a lucid thought, it came to me that my princess tooth in need of a crown had probably cracked. I have a molar that is in need of attention. It is all the way in the back with several fillings. The dentist advised me that I should get a crown as it was beginning to breakdown from years of use. I have a phobia about going to the dentist. I have been working to overcome it for most of my life. However, last night I would have run to the chair for some relief.

Like most people, I opted to seek the advice of the Internet for some immediate pain relief. After a few moments, I confirmed that it more than likely was a crack that exposed the nerve. With throbbing pain, I stopped my investigation took several anti-inflammatories before I got the brilliant idea to put some pain-relieving gel on it. Digging through my mom bag, I found a tube. I put it all over the tooth. Big mistake! Huge error! Once the medicine penetrated the tooth to the nerve, it set my entire jaw on fire. It was probably the most excruciating pain I have ever experienced. I laid my hands on my face and prayed. Pleaded with the Lord to take the pain away with tears streaming down my face. As it began to subside, I continued to read the different medical and dental sites. I need to go to the dentist. I need to pay the large co-pay. I need a crown. Ugh!

Our lesson for Wednesday night Bible study was about pride. Our need for humility in our pursuit of the Lord. Nothing will bring us to our knees like pain – physical, mental, emotion and even spiritual. The brokenness that gets to the heart of the matter will never build our pride but tear all self-confidence to make room for confident hope. Humility is evidence of a realization of who God is and His Sovereignty that allows His Spirit to produce change in us. Humility is painful because one must crucify flesh in order to give it room in our life. For years, I have prided myself on how I deal with illness and pain. I have given birth without medication. Powered through illness. However, last night, I could not even breathe with the intensity of the pain when the crack in my tooth hit the nerve and then when I tried to self-medicate. Lord, thank you for the object lesson but OUCH!

Romans 3:22-24 (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. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

True humility requires true repentance. The riches of God are accessed by salvation. Sin drug us down from a glorious standard of living that Christ came to fully restore. True repentance is not a one-time instance but daily occurrence. Reconciling our natural life to the supernatural existence God has for His Children. It can only be obtained by allowing the Lord to work in us and complete the work that He began. We must change because God does not change. We must be humble because God is Sovereign and no one will ever bring Him down from His Throne. He is All-Knowing, All-Powerful, and everywhere at the same time. God is the Great I Am. To be one with the Lord means that I must decrease and allow Christ to increase filling every void in my brokenness. The Truth that tears down any religious posture is that one sin nailed Jesus to the Cross and His Blood covers all sin. Grace is enough. It is always sufficiency to bring us into right-standing with God. It requires one thing – true repentance.

James 4:5-10 (NLT) Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

True humility requires true surrender. I must lay down my life in order to assume a robe of righteousness. In order to have the Grace of God, I must give my life away to Him. His Power is manifested in my weakness. When I cannot do it anymore so I give it over to Him. I have put off getting the dental work needed for my ailing tooth for a variety of reasons. I am afraid. I do not want to pay the price. I have tried to ignore it. After the episode last night, I need to make a choice. Will I overcome my fear? Will I pay the price? Will I give it the attention needed? I believe that as we cry out to the Lord for more of Him. To see His Glory. To have more of His Grace. We ask Him to increase our faith. But when the trial, trouble, or trauma comes that exposes areas of pride and weakness – it is met with confusion and a lack of understanding. God must expose everything in us that is contrary to His Word, Will and Way so that we can humble our life and surrender that area to Him for His Careful and Complete Intervention. To posture our life prostrate before the Lord as a living sacrifice allows Him to work through us and align our life with His Goodness for His Glory which will life us to a place of honor in His Presence.

Psalm 91:14-16 (NLT) The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

True humility requires true love. Do you love God? Do you love Jesus Christ? Do you love others? Do you love yourself? There is no greater love than to lay down our life for another. Perfect love casts out all fear. Love is the most powerful force. God is love. Everything He does comes from the orifice of love because it is His Identity. He promises to rescue those who love Him. He will protect those who trust Him. Trust is characteristic of love. True love is given all away. When they call – those who love and trust Him – He will always answer them in the midst of their trouble. He promises to honor them and give them long life.

Daniel cried out to the Lord and the Lord sent an angel to him. “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 10:12) Daniel loved God even in his captivity. He petitioned the Lord for understanding and he humbled himself before God. God confided that his request had been heard in heaven and an answer given. Our life must be reconciled to God because God will not change His Mind or His Way. Daniel aligned his life with God’s Word despite his situation. He humbled himself before the Lord and He answered Daniel directly. Could pride be hindering the answer to our prayers? Could our unwillingness to give our life up to secure a place in His Kingdom be our problem? Has conviction struck a nerve in you requiring immediate action? Will fear stop you? Pride hinder you? Is the cost of self too high? Will you accept God’s Grace as the power of change for your life? Will you love Him wholeheartedly?

Micah 6:8 (NLT) No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

Human pride complicates the simplicity of salvation with radical religion. It puts rules and regulations on the Grace of God that are not His Requirements at all. In the movie, The Lorax, a man bottled air and sold it to unsuspecting people. How often free grace is offered with a price rather than generously spread around the church with love. What if salvation really is for the asking? What if grace is sufficient for all sin? What if God’s Mercy gives us second chances every single day? What if He really will complete the good work in us without our assistance? What if His Spirit can change our character and make us fruitful from the inside out? What if our body and life will prosper with our soul? Have I overcomplicated the process to foster my pride? The Lord has told us what is good. It is simple. What does He require of you? To do what is right. To love mercy. To walk humbly with Him. Pride will fight to preserve its right to do what it wants. To serve self first. To go its own way. It is up to us to give up our right to be right and claim righteousness over rightness. It is our goal to live in love with God and all mankind. It is our privilege to walk humbly WITH the Lord until we meet Him face-to-face.

Psalm 25:8-10 (NLT) The Lord is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way. The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.

Too Important

Too Important

Galatians 6:1-3 (NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

If another is overcome, gently and humbly help the person back on the right patch. Be careful not to fall into the same trap. Share each other’s burdens. Obey the Law of Christ in this way. If you think you are too important to help…am I too important to help another? What is it that keeps me from reaching out to or aiding another believer or any other living breathing thing? Who is considered collateral damage in the battle for the Kingdom? No one. According to Jesus, all of Heaven rejoices when the one who is lost returns. So I wonder today, if the trap in which I have fallen is that of becoming too important?

We all fall in the category of “too” something at any giving time. Too busy, too tired, too stressed, too overwhelmed, too broken and, yes, even too important to do the work of Christ on a daily basis. The enemy has a plethora of excuses that he introduces as valid to use to explain our lack of obedience to Christ. They all may be true but not necessary. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed and given the same number of hours in any given day. From that point forward, we make the choice of how to spend that time and invest ourselves in this thing called life. I love to hear someone tell me about how busy they are or hard they work. I have been guilty of boasting the same. The truth is the investment of our time is only as good as the seed sown in the space of it.

Maybe time is not the issue you are facing, but trouble. Sick of all the trials and troubles in our life – people build a wall around their heart and make the conscious choice to disengage. Enough is enough. People are not perfect and when expectation is given to them – they will fail. Everyone does. It is not a lack of wanting to be faithful and true, but simply the sad condition of a fickle heart and wayward thinking that keeps us from always doing the right thing. Paul summed it up in Romans 7 – we want to do what is right but inevitable do what is wrong. Thank you God for your unconditional love, overpowering grace, and endless mercy that allows me to try again each day despite yesterday’s shortcomings or total failures.

Galatians 6:4-5 (NLT) Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.

I am responsible for my own conduct. Talk about straightforward. Pay careful attention to my own work in life, the Kingdom and relationships and then I will find satisfaction. Comparison is a joy killer. Not only that it paints over the picture God has painted in our heart and mind for fulfillment with some kind of replica of life that is not for us and we are not prepared or predestined to live. Comparison creates an image of a standard that is not God’s Standard for my life. If I allow the world to influence my standard of living, I miss the blessing that comes when I align my life and choices with God and His Word. Comparison kills contentment allowing jealousy to take over and kill any satisfaction that faith is growing in me. It chokes it out with a root called bitterness that excuses my lack of attention or commitment to faithfulness as I begin to build something that I was never intended to live in a place I was not supposed to be. The grass is always greener on the other side, if I keep my eyes on other people’s grass it will kill my own.

Galatians 6:7-8 (NLT) Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

Because Christ has given us absolute and total freedom, I choose how to live and the seeds sown in my life each day. Am I sowing willingness? Obedience? Faithfulness? The Fruit of the Spirit is known to be:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When these are the seeds sown in our life according to God’s Word, they are the fruitful reproduction within us. What are you “too” important to do today? It just may the stronghold limiting you from achieving your maximum potential.  If something is needed, are you willing to do it to the glory of God? Or is it subjected to your pride first? As pastors, ministers, leaders, teachers, and true believers, there is not task beneath us. If our church sidewalk needs to be swept, we do it. If a toilet needs to be cleaned, we do it. If it means forgiving for the umpteenth time, we do it. If it means offering love and kindness rather than taking offense so be it. No matter what the task or responsibility if we are not willing to do it – then it is not good enough for our brother or sister to do. I wonder what might happen if we humbled ourselves to Christ rather than striving for some higher position. What if we were willing to sweat for the Kingdom? What if we decided to get dirty to build it? What if we would humble ourselves in all things? I believe this is the kind of brokenness that gives way to true stewardship in Christ. It is not what we are willing to give that is an acceptable offering, but rather when we will give our all for the Kingdom of God no matter how messy, uncomfortable or chaotic it may be just to because we love Jesus Christ.

Galatians 6:9-10 (NLT) So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

Are you tired of doing the right thing? Are you sick of always trying to be good? Are your ready to give up? When dealing with life and people, sometimes these feelings rise up within us. God is greater than our feelings. Pride must go down for His Glory to rise up through our humility. “Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone.” This transcends to every part of our life from our family to friends to fellow church members to acquaintances to complete strangers all the way to our enemies. Ugh! That’s a lot of good on days when I don’t feel like it.

Matthew 19:29-30 (NLT) And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.

I don’t always make good choices. I do not always keep my flesh and feelings under the tight rein of the Holy Spirit. There are many times I do the absolute opposite. The world sets a standard for comparison that never has a finish line. Just when you think you arrive, the destination changes and so do the expectations. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. His Standard of Living does not change. It is a life of humility. It is to forsake being the greatest so that others can see the Light of His Loving shining from within. When we are too important to share the love of Jesus no matter who they are, what they do or how they treat us – we miss the mark completely. Our standard is to love God and love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. The long list of excuses marked “too” begin with a feeling of self-importance that allows pride to live in us. Pride will always take God’s Place in our heart and mind. It will keep us from the blessing that comes with knowing Christ and eternal life. God show me the areas of my life today where I feel “too” important and help me to eliminate them by sowing new seeds from Your Spirit today.

Galatians 2:20 (NLT) My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Humble Calling

Humble Calling

Ephesians 5:21 (NIV) Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Submission is a commandment of God given out of reverence for Christ. An act of humility far from human nature and often misunderstood. It is important to not ignore the call of God on our life to submit, but to fully embrace it and learn to live by it. Submit to one another. The world might tell us that it is a weakness. However, according to scripture, it is a powerful alignment with God and His Word. To submit means to give over or yield to the power or authority of another. The Greek word “hypotasso” gives in more in depth meaning to the believer. It means “under God’s arrangement” or to place in alignment with His Plan and Purpose. Our life lived in alignment with the Lord allows Heaven to come to earth. It is the gateway by which Kingdom outcomes are possible over human impossibilities.

“Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” The same connotation of the Greek word is used in I Peter 2:18 that is used in Ephesians 5:21. Submission is not necessarily to those who are worthy but in all situations of authority. If you are subject to a person who is given authority over your life, submission is the choice made to remain subject to and under the power of the person. Notice that the position in I Peter is to the “slave” not the “servant”. A slave is under the authority of the master and must be subject to them. However, we are servants of the Living God by choice. Submission is a choice. It is the humble giving our life to Jesus Christ. To reverence Him in every interaction.

Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV) Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

It is important to read God’s Word in context. Follow God’s Example as dearly loved children. God’s example to us is Jesus Christ. The Word made flesh to demonstrate a plan incomprehensible and illogical outside of faith. A King who put down His Crown to come to die for His People. To make a way for those who rebelled against it in the first place. To restore right standing and release the Spirit of adoption to us. Jesus submitted to God’s Authority out of love for us. We submit to authority out of love and reverence for Christ. To walk in love, one must submit their life to others. It is the only way. To give up our life as “a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Submission is to take our divinely ordered place in a relationship. You cannot force submission it is an offering and sacrifice of our life that can only be made by the individual. Joseph understood the importance of submission. When taking captive by the Midianites, sold to Potiphar, falsely accused, sent to jail, forgotten for years and even in the house of Pharaoh – at any time Joseph could have rebelled against the unjustness of his treatment and difficult circumstances but instead he humbled himself before the Lord. In each position, Joseph served God by serving others. When his brothers came before him, he forgave them. He did not withhold anything from them but wept in joy at seeing them again. The same ones who threw him in a pit to die. Forgiveness is a form of submission. It is also a requirement of God.

Romans 13:1-5 (NIV) Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

The authorities that exist have been established by God. The last election for the President of the United States was downright nasty. I have many friends who are no longer friends on social media because of the ugliness and riotous rants being posted. It doesn’t matter who you voted for. The day after the election the person in power is God’s Elected Authority. Now before you decide to shut me off, leave the page, or sent me an outrageous opinion, I believe that all presidents are divinely appointed. I believe that once in office as a citizen of the United States and a believing Child of the Living God it is my duty to submit and pray for them. My faith, trust and hope is fully invested in the Lord so it really doesn’t matter who God places in authority over me as long as I remain in alignment and full submission to God and the authority who He has chosen for His Purpose. I must remain in submission to remain in alignment with God. I know this is hard to grasp but let me set forth some ideas.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 – God has a predesigned plan for my life that includes a future and hope. If I seek Him wholeheartedly, I will have every single promise and spiritual blessing ordained for my life. My hope and future are not dependent on the authority and power in this life but my willingness to live a submitted life in accordance with God’s Word, Will and Way.

Romans 8:38-39 – Nothing can separate me from the Love of God. I live in service to the Living God. My full expectation is that the Love of God will overpower any injustice or insecurity that I experience. In other words, God is in control of my life including the authorities over me. God changed the heart of Pharaoh to let His People go – I serve the same God.

Romans 8:28 – If I believe that God works all things together for my good because I love Him, it includes every power and authority that governs my life in the natural. Submission to God is to live under His Arrangement. At no point in time do I believe that God every set down His Authority or Sovereignty but rather has ordered every single moment of life for my good and His Glory.

When submitting our life to the Lord, it becomes our service to submit to all authority and power placed over our life rather chosen or prescribed. To end this debate scripturally, “whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted.”

Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV) Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

”Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10) I encourage you to read the story of Joseph. His journey is a wonderful example of humility. It is to choose forgiveness over bitterness. We are not to do anything out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Pride tells us otherwise. We have a right to our opinion. However, as Children of God it is His Truth that is the seed of all prosperity in our life. To grow, develop and mature into the masterpiece He calls us to be requires submission like clay in the potter’s hands.

I Peter 5:5-7 (NIV) In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Humble yourselves under God’s Mighty Hand…that He may lift you up in due time. God has promised to make all things beautiful in His Time. We cannot fathom God’s Work from beginning to end so we must trust Him. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Eternity is in our heart. It is our purpose and destination. It is accepted through humility beginning with His Grace. It is lived in humility by loving Jesus and others more than ourselves. Rather than fighting authoritative power it is our humble calling to submit to all authority AND be like Jesus Christ. Submission is reverencing Christ and His Selfless Sacrifice. Am I better than Jesus? Do I have the right to rebel? No, it is my privilege in Christ to submit to mankind in this life in order to live in alignment with eternity. I am given the opportunity every day to live reverently for the Lord by humbly serving and submitting my life to others. This is the life each of us is called to live in Christ. It is to put all my expectation in the Lord and cast all my cares with it. Trusting the Lord will always require submission. There cannot be two masters in our life. We serve the Lord by serving others.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Simply Repent

Girl Praying With Hands On Bible

I John 1:9 (NKJV) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

During worship on Sunday morning with lifted hands our congregation sang together, “Holy Spirit you are welcome here…” In the midst of mixed melody as voices melded together inviting the Lord to join us, I heard the whisper of the man standing behind me. I promise I was not ease dropping and I definitely was pressing into the Presence of God all around us. Yet, his words caught my attention and immediate my heart was shattered in that moment. He simply said, “Jesus, forgive me of my sins.” It was soft and intimate. Like one might whisper to a loved one in an embrace. The intent of his heart rolling of his lips in the sweetest apology that I know melted God’s Heart. It made me ask myself when was the last time that I came to the Lord and chose simply to repent?

This verse brings back memories of a scripture memorization challenge in high school. More years ago than I care to count, we were given packets of cards to memorize just one verse per week. This would be the card on top. The significance only now sinking in after many decades. Our life in Jesus Christ begins and ends in simple repentance. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us. He does it all. Not only does He accept our apology but unlike in the realm of humanity – the Lord chooses to restore our righteousness or right standing on the spot without anything else from us. True repentance opens the door to righteousness. To humble myself before the Lord and to say, I have sinned and I am sorry opens the door to prosperity in the life of a believer. Obedience does not change the heart or mind of God toward us. It is repentance that does that. If I could have done anything to save myself from sin, then salvation may have been something altogether different. But the truth is that apart from Jesus Christ, I am nothing. I have no future. I cannot produce anything good in my life including salvation. It is the single most important step of faith that secures future hope for all mankind.

Luke 18:9-14 (NKJV) Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The Pharisee

Romans 3:23-25 (NKJV) For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed…

We all have sinned and fallen short of God’s Glory. God has justified us freely by His Grace through the redemption offered by Jesus Christ. God accepted His Blood sacrifice as enough to repay every single sin ever committed past, present and future. By way of the Cross, those who humble themselves before the Lord and repent will receive God’s Glory in their life. Note it does not give a list of demands or expectations other than we come with open hearts to receive the Lord. The Pharisee came to the temple to pray. He came to repay an obligation. His routine ritual defined by religion. He prayed loudly so everyone could hear him. He used comparison to prove his ceremonial worthiness. He was prideful. He was arrogant. This man left the temple the same way that he arrived. Full of self. Full of sin.

The Tax Collector

Micah 6:8 (NKJV) He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

James 4:10 (NKJV) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

The tax collector came to the same temple to pray in the exact same condition as the Pharisee. Obedience will never take the place of repentance. It implies that salvation can be earned which is not true. It is offered and received by the humble. Those who are willing to come before the Lord and confess their sins from an honest and forthright heart. The Pharisee compared his life to the other people who came to pray and worship God. Comparison will always keep us from the Cross. My calling is to walk humbly with my God. I cannot do that trying to be like or be better than anyone else. I must keep my eyes on Jesus Christ and keep the way clear. He is close to the brokenhearted. Those who fully expose their heart to the Lord cannot do so without repentance. A relationship defined by love cannot stand to have anything barring access to the other. When we hurt someone we love, we should apologize. To fully restore the relationship there must be some kind of repentance.

What does it mean to repent? The word comes from Latin origin meaning repentir or “to regret” and poenitire to “make sorry”. The Old French definition means to feel such regret for sins as produces an amendment of life. The origin of the words regret and repent are connected. One should produce the other. According to Dictionary.com, repent means to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one’s life for the better. To repent means to ask God’s Forgiveness through Jesus Christ and turn from that thing which brought you there. I cannot live a successful life with God is I am not consciously aware of the sin that separates us and take the time to simply repent. Romans 3:23-25 makes it clear that 1) We have all sinned and need God’s Forgiveness; 2) None of us can afford to repay the debt associated with our sin so we need Jesus; 3) the only way salvation can be received is to accept it and obtain it freely; and 4) There is nothing I can do to repay Jesus for one ounce of His Blood so I must live in humble acquisition of His Grace. This is an act of humility. There is nothing I can do to save myself. My life is no longer my own.

Proverbs 28:13 (NKJV) He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.

The person who covers his sins will not prosper. There is a subtle truth in this statement that pride and self-preservation would like for us to overlook. The enemy will continually offer substitutions for true repentance and water down grace if possible by offering excuses for our indiscretions. The worst one of all is comparison. The truth is my first sin was the only sin needed to condemn my life to certain death. It required every single ounce of Jesus’ blood in repayment. God did that for me. Jesus died for me. There are many empty altars in the House of God with rooms full of Pharisees trying to pretend that sin is not their problem any longer. The few who do choose to live at the foot of the Cross are afraid of judgement by the religious order of the day and quietly whisper to God from their seats. I wonder what would happen if we all chose to simply repent before the Lord as the tax collector did that day. To say to the Lord, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!”

2 Chronicles 7:14-15 (NKJV)  if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.

Could it be that the church is going about this revival thing all wrong? What if the Lord is listening and waiting for a people to humble themselves, pray and seek His Face willing to turn from their sin and simply repent. The Word of God says that He will hear from heaven, forgive us and heal our land. We must humble our heart before the Lord at every opportunity. True love is defined by forgiveness. Constant grace for each other as offered by the Lord to us. We must learn to live in love with Jesus. We do this by living a truly repentant life that is not afraid to humble our life at the foot of the Cross. To kneel at the local altar in our churches. To say, “I am a sinner who needs God’s Grace.” The confession of an obedient servant touched my heart yesterday. His apology was soft, honest and sincere. His words laced with love, awe and admiration. They broke my heart for my Savior all over again and within a few short minutes, I was doing the same. It was freeing. I felt a peace flood over me. Worries and cares melted off of me. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. Our willingness to expose all of our life including our shortcomings and sin to the life-giving and life-changing Power of the Living God will never take anything from us we do not want or force anything upon us. It will break every chain holding back God’s Blessing and Prosperity in our life. It is my earnest and heartfelt intent to start each day from this place. To simply repent and walk humbly with my God.

Psalm 26:4 (NKJV) Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my mind and my heart.

Psalm 51:9-12 (NKJV) Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

 

Live Shamelessly – A Devotion

Live Shamelessly

Isaiah 61:6-7 (NLT)

You will be called priests of the Lord, ministers of our God. You will feed on the treasures of the nations and boast in their riches. Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.

 

Faith is our ticket to freedom. It is the call to a limitless life of constantly investing our life into the Lord and His Plan yielding a high return rate from righteousness. The seeds of righteousness planted by people grow into prosperity. Many times we have no idea what will come of the good things that we offer by faith into His Kingdom, but the Lord knows exactly what to do with our tiny faith growing it into confident hope. The devil hates the freedom given to those who call on the Name of the Lord. He is powerless to stop you from receiving it, taking it and using it to open ever door that he has locked us away in. Fear is the biggest barrier in our life. What are you afraid of? What keeps you from committing more and more of your life to God’s Kingdom? What is keeping you from living above shame and dishonor? Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. The beginning of this chapter boasts of the Spirit of the Lord. He promises that we are set free by His Love and given all the benefits forfeited with our birthright to sin. We need do nothing but accept it and learn to walk in it. That’s it. But to do so we must learn to live shamelessly.

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.

 

I am overwhelmed. Stop right there and you have probably summed up the problem with most Christians. God’s Love is overwhelming. It just seems too good to be true. How could anyone love us when they know EVERYTHING we do and think in the course of a day? How many times have we fallen? The enemy whispers as he points out every misdeed and mistake. He compiles his case against us. When we entertain his lies, we begin to draw a line in the sand of our life. As our foot drags slowly alone, it becomes a barrier to our blessing called disbelief. Jesus clothed us in salvation covering every mistake we have and every will make. Sin has been cast into the sea of forgetfulness never again to be called forth against us unless we fish it back out. The Lord drapes His Righteousness over our life and calls us Sons and Daughters of God. Shame rejects such garments as too good for us refusing to accept the Grace and Glory of God it places a limitation on our faith called fear and doubt. It stops the process of prosperity immediately and indefinitely.

God has been planting seeds of prosperity in our life long ago. Even though we were not living for Him, His Promise to provide continued to cultivate in every good gesture and feeble attempt to discover God and His Love. Our journey to the Cross was not in vain. Our sin did not keep His Goodness from reaching us. When we decide to accept His Righteousness shamelessly, prosperity begins. You were well on your way to cultivation before you ever took a step in the right direction. I know this because His Word says 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.” (Romans 8:28) Not a moment of our life is wasted when give them to the Lord even those that were a disgrace. He makes beauty from the ashes of such sacrifices when we decide that His Blood is enough to cover every sin, His Righteousness adequate to release us from shame, and His Prosperity overwhelms as His Glory and Grace become fully operational setting us free from shame and dishonor.

Shame is a painful emotion resulting from the awareness of having done something dishonorable. Dishonor is to be disgraced or failing or refusing to pay a debt. When we decide that the Blood of Jesus is not enough to cover our sin, we fall into disgrace and dishonor separating us from Christ by doubt and fear. We must learn to live shameless and honorable lives to have all the God has promised. Such a lifestyle promotes willingness to “pay” or “apply” the Blood of Jesus and all its power to our life.

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.”

 

The most difficult transition for most Christians is to truly believe the potential and power of His Love and its availability in our life. We are our own worst critics. As the Lord begins to prosper our life, one might think that we change our mind. But as we discover just how good God is and that these are His Primary Intentions in our life to restore honor, glory and distinction filling us with all of His Faith, Hope and Love – it is overwhelming. Truly unimaginable that in my current state that God would still love me like He does despite my constant trips, falls and failures in my Christian walk. We are God’s Chosen people. Royal priests who are God’s Favorite Possession. He wants others to see His Goodness overflowing in our life. We have an identity now. We are sinners, saved by grace turned into the Sons and Daughters of God living a brand new life. What is keeping you from the blessings of God today? Shame is quickly dealt with at the Cross as long as pride does not keep us from getting there.

Hebrews 12:2 (NLT)

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

 

Because of the joy waiting for Him, Jesus endured the Cross disregarding its shame. Jesus did not have to go to the Cross. He had done nothing to send Him there. He chose to go to the Cross so that we could be saved. The other day I was leaving the grocery store. It was after work so the parking lot abuzz with people in a hurry to grab a few items and head home. As I was pushing my overloaded cart, a woman in an obvious hurry almost hit me. I grumbled under my breath but made my way around her car and her obvious anger that I was in her way. As she reached the end of the aisle, she did not stop just glanced back and forth before coasting through. A large SUV who had the right of way was turning in and the woman almost hit her. She laid on the horn and both ladies opened the window. As I continued to load the groceries into the car, their heated argument had now stopped all traffic. The woman in the wrong yells “You saw that I was turning, why didn’t you stop?” The other replied, “I had the right of way why did you continue to turn?” Neither could move unless someone gave in, and everyone else was at an impasse until the smaller car finally backed up to allow the SUV to come through. As the SUV passed, her little fish clearly evident in her back window. I wonder how many times in the course of the day that we limit our potential to experience the Goodness of God in our life due to pride. Jesus did not have to go to the Cross and be shamed like that for any other reason than He loves us. Sometimes we must swallow our pride and make our way to the Cross. It means that we may have to endure things in this world the way Jesus would so that we can make it to the joy on the other side. We are to live shamelessly. This is not a prideful position but a humble act of carrying our life to the Cross not only when we mess up but when we are right and still must endure injustice.

Psalm 34:4-6 (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.

As we abandon shame in our life surrendering it fully to the Cross, Jesus repays us with His Glory and Grace. Now we do not need the world to meet our needs, satisfy our soul, or do a single thing – we just need Jesus. To give up shame means that we believe that His Journey to the Cross allows us to live in freedom from fear and doubt. All we have to do is ask the Lord to take our shame and He will – if we are willing to let go of it. In our walk with Christ there will be times when we must swallow our pride to release our shame. God already knows the whole story – He is just waiting to see who you entrust the details to. It is without shame that we are able to fully accept and process faith in our life. The kind of faith that produces righteousness making us friends with God. (Romans 1:16-17) It is the Power of God at work in me that makes me unashamed of the Gospel because I know that it is for me and works for me and in me. Faith makes us right with God no matter what we do or do not do. It changes our position in life so that His Righteousness prospers every seed of faith planted into a beautiful harvest even those that were ugly going into the ground.

Psalm 119:37-40 (NLT)

Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you. Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good. I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness.

 

Our past sins and failures cannot limit our Promises and Potential in the Lord. Your life can and will prosper again by faith and faith alone. You can do nothing to add or subtract from God’s Plan for your life. What He is asking is will you participate? We must learn to turn our eyes from the worthless things that cause us to fear that the Lord cannot or will not do what He promised. Those things that the enemy keeps handing us to produce shame. We must see ourselves through the reflection of the Love of God demonstrated by Jesus on the Cross. He loved us then and He loves us now. It doesn’t really matter what we did. What matters is that we put it in the Blood of Christ and release it. As we begin to wash our life in the Water of His Word, we will change our mind about a Sovereign Unseen God and see Him as a Doting and Loving Father intent on giving His Children only the best. We will step into that role and learn to live in the everlasting joy that it will produce. Live shamelessly. Nothing is wasted for those who do!

I John 2:27-29 (NLT)

But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ. And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame. Since we know that Christ is righteous, we also know that all who do what is right are God’s children.

Take Your Position – A Devotion

Take Your Position2 Chronicles 20:16-18 (NLT)

Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel.  But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low with his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping the Lord.

 

People fight through life every single day in the dog-eat-dog world in which we live. Survival of the fittest requires taking what is yours because no one is going to give it to you. So we live in a defensive mode holding tightly to what we have while desperately reaching for something more with one eye on where we are going and one on those who surround us. We live in a hula hoop known as our personal zone daring anyone to cross up with a heart that is jaded and hard living in constant fear of losing what we have and never living up to our full potential. Worry and anxiety keep our mind racing with fear constantly building a stronghold around our faith. Where is God? How can I find the Lord’s help? I am fighting for my life and one’s I love dearly. Where will my help come from? I want to do what is right but am afraid to let it all go. What if God won’t take it? What if the grace of Jesus isn’t enough? How can anyone believe the words relayed through King Jehoshaphat that day, “Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you…do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow for the Lord is with you! What if for just one day believers dropped all the pretenses and stopped separating religion from life and decided to live in a faithful relationship with the Lord choosing righteousness over rightness and wisdom over wealth? What if those who call themselves Christians would simultaneously become humble according to God’s Word and WAIT standing still and WATCH for the Lord’s Victory? Would it come?

 

Philippians 2:5-11 (NLT)

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God,he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.Instead, he gave up his divine privilegeshe took the humble position of a slaveand was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

It comes down to deciding just who we think we are in Jesus Christ. Believers are called to have the same attitude that Jesus Christ. Even though He was God, Jesus did not think it necessary to cling to His Position but freely gave up His Divine Privileges to take a humble position as servant of all mankind. He came in human form and lived in obedience to God even to the Cross. Then God elevated Jesus to the Highest Honor giving Him the Name above all other names. One day every man and woman will confess Jesus Christ is Lord. Everybody includes those who do not believe, caught unaware and those who profess to be Christians at the expense of others. Believers must have the same attitude of Jesus Christ. They must follow the Lord and take the position of servant in this life including giving up some divine privileges. But many times we do not come to the Lord with pure intentions. We are not after salvation but the wealth and treasure stored in Heaven when compared to the things of this world. We are not after wisdom that leads to true godliness, obedience and love. We just want the inheritance and want it now. You can keep the suffering, humiliation and persecution. Jesus took care of that, right? Salvation is no good unless it results in faith that enables us to cross from life to death. True repentance breaks the human heart and releases one’s attachment to things of this world to take hold of all that God has promised which is not about stuff. God will bless you with things but not until things have their proper place. They must not mean more than Jesus does. If you spend all your time working for things and praying for more, you will never take the position necessary to receive all the Promises of God. God’s Promise is that when we face judgment our penalty will be paid and we can live forever with Jesus. Our position in live indicates success or failure on that day. To live for earthly success will lead to eternal failure. Jesus Christ gave His Life away. Will you take His Position?

 

Zephaniah 2:2-3 (NLT)

Gather before judgment begins, before your time to repent is blown away like chaff. Act now, before the fierce fury of the Lord falls and the terrible day of the Lord’s anger begins. Seek the Lord, all who are humble, and follow his commands. Seek to do what is right and to live humbly. Perhaps even yet the Lord will protect you—protect you from his anger on that day of destruction.

 

It is time to take a position of righteousness and humility more seriously among believers. Somehow the church has forgotten the intensity of God’s Judgment in the midst of convoluted grace. We think that grace may have somehow toned down the rage of our God against sin yet His Anger still blazes against it. The “fiery fury of the Lord” will fall on that terrible day and the carefully constructed gray area of compromise leaving only good and evil. The middle-of-the-road that was built by the church to connect with the world will result in countless souls being lost who thought they were saved by grace. False teaching and watered-down gospels will be revealed in the screams of lost souls descending to hell. It is time to seek to do what is right and to live humbly. (Matthew 23:11) The sense of entitlement overwhelming society and the church must be exposed and dealt with in a timely fashion. Jesus is coming back. Hell is real and hot. Judgment is still a reality in the midst of His Unfailing Love and Grace. Society wants what they have coming to them. They have no idea. The church wants His Kingdom to come quickly, but are we really ready to encounter God like that? I think not or His Glory would fill His Temples already! What is your position? Are you ready to meet the Lord? Humility is a requirement. Are we there yet?

 

Deuteronomy 8:2-3 (NLT)

Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

 

God will lead you through a wilderness or two to show you just how much you need him. He will allow storms to come so the wind and rain can wash away those things keep you from being ready for His Return. God is not punishing you and He is certainly not ignoring you. He is preparing you for Judgment day so you will receive His Inheritance. The Lord has provided everything you need to make it to that day complete lacking nothing. But if you keep fighting for the things of this world both tangible and intangible, you will miss God’s Very Best which is to come. Those who humble their lives to serve Jesus Christ today will have many blessings between here and Eternity. God rescues the humble. (Psalm 18:27) God leads the humble in always doing what is right. (Psalm 25:8-9) So the humble will not lose their way trying to do things their way which always results in the wrong direction. God works it all out and releases His Joy for the humble servant. (Psalm 69:32) Joy will be endless and limitless for those who surrender their life to Jesus. (Isaiah 29:19) God’s Presence accompanies the humble and He is with you wherever you go. (Psalm 138:6) The humble servant of the Lord is ALWAYS victorious! (Psalm 149:4) With Jesus, you will win every time and right on time! Humility has an inheritance. (Matthew 5:5) If you want it, you must take your position, stand still and watch for it just like King Jehoshaphat and his people.

 

I Corinthians 15:24-26 (NLT)

After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death.

 

Faith demands a forever decision today. We cannot live any way that we choose all the days of our life and choose Jesus on the Day of Judgment. Those who live for this world and the things in it will be considered an enemy of the Cross. Only those who live in humility with a broken and repentant heart will survive coming face-to-face with God. Are you ready?

 

Ephesians 4:1-6 (NLT)

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.

 

It is time for believers to take the position they have been called to in Jesus Christ. The church should no longer be a tongue-in-cheek organization of people who come together singing praises to God and tearing one another apart as fair game in the world. Only true repentance with a broken heart and contrite spirit will produce a faithful servant willing to take a position of humility because only such a person really understands who they are in Jesus Christ. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain by giving our life away. This world has nothing for us. Now is the time to call on the Name of the Lord in real repentance. (Joel 2:12) A truly repentant heart fasts, weeps and mourns its addiction to sin. It does not simply smear it with “grace” and jump right back into it. God desires the sacrificial life of a person granted freedom and chooses to serve the Lord with their life. (Psalm 51:16-17) It would take most of us our entire life to live each day in accordance with the first six verses of Ephesians let along every other Word from the Mouth of God! God is looking for those who will repent and take their position of humility in the Body of Christ remaining steadfast until victory comes! Humble is derived from a word that means “on the ground”. There is definitely no room for pride and arrogance when you are face down in a pit. Just ask Joseph. However, the days after he was rescued from the pit would allow Joseph to save his entire family! Jesus is doing the same work in you if you will only take the position of repentance and live in humility as exampled by Christ and ordained by God while you are empowered by His Spirit!

 

I Peter 3:8-9 (NLT)

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.

 

If all of the Body of Christ would humble themselves before the Lord and prepare to meet Him face-to-face, the church would come to life again as the Resurrection Power of God moved through it once again. Revival would break out. Restoration would happen again! Repentance would be real! It all begins with you. Will you take your position in the Body of Christ? Are you willing to forfeit being right for righteousness? Are you willing to give your life away to live forever? You have an inheritance reserved just for you. Your life is not big enough to contain it until you let faith enlarge the borders of your heart and widen the territory of your understanding to be like Jesus Christ! Those who do will have God’s Very Best! You will live forever! Humble your life before the Lord and HE will lift you up!

 

I Peter 5:6-7 (NLT)

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Know Humility – A Devotion

2 Corinthians 6:1-3 (NLT)

As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation. We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry.

 

Today is the Day of Salvation! Salvation is God’s Favor. It is the day He listens for your voice and answers your call. It is not a moment in time but the beginning of forever and works itself out not in a moment but in the series of time called life. How could one possibly believe that salvation is an experience limited to one prayer with our Creator without anything to follow? The Grace of God is His Merciful Kindness that God exerts His Holy Influence on souls and turns them to Christ. I don’t know about you but God is continually turning my heart back to Jesus. His Grace is sufficient which is awesome because it is needed every day. Salvation is a gracious welcome and acceptance into the Kingdom of God. It is not a time of rest but rather when we begin our ministry in a lost and dying world. We are God’s Partners. Such a calling cannot be ignored. We are to live a life that is always pointing to Jesus causing no one to stumble because of us. This is where many Christians and Disciples of Christ will crash and burn. The Day of Salvation is at hand. Not just for those who are lost and dying, but also those who are saved and sanctified. Purification is a process. It is how God works out one’s salvation while using His Holy Influence demonstrated in another (ministry) to call others from the darkness into His Glorious Light. Such a ministry requires humility. Accepting the Salvation of God through His Son, Jesus, it does not stop there, but unfolds into a beautiful relationship between the Father and His Children remaining in partnership with God serving others. Humility is to be conscious of one’s failings. The humble are unpretentious exalting Jesus Christ only. Humility is not being other’s doormat but living a life that opens the Door of Salvation for others. It releases us from desiring human acceptance and accolades knowing full well who we are in Jesus Christ. As a Child of God, we serve with conviction to satisfy our Father demonstrating His Love through our attitudes and actions. Identifying with God allows us to release the notion that we need to prove to the world who we are and create a name here on earth knowing our name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life is enough. Humility allows one to live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us and no one will find fault in our ministry. To know God and serve Him – it is up to God’s Children to discover true humility and live under God’s Holy Influence.

Romans 3:22-24 (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. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

 

Humility demands a constant reminder that we have all fallen short of God’s Glorious Standard. Salvation cannot change the details of one’s past. Salvation can change the consequences of wrongdoing. Jesus Christ applies the Grace of God in our life. However, pride will attempt to exalt believers who forget sometimes just how they made it out of the darkness. God does not want you to dwell on the past. You are a new creation. However, humility reminds us that it was nothing that we did to arrive in God’s Kingdom and that Jesus did it all. We were just fortunate enough to receive the Gift that was offered. We called on the Lord and He saved us. Nothing we could do would ever change our situation or the outcome (death) of our life due to the sin penalty. Therefore, we have nothing to boast about except the Lord Jesus Christ. According to God’s Word, “we all fall short.” It is the undeserved kindness of God the Father that changed your situation. Discipline comes from the Father and those fortunate enough to acquire Knowledge of God that is turned to wisdom. It is humbling when we return to the Cross and remember that Jesus paid it all. This life we live is only possible in partnership with God. No matter how much we serve, how hard we work or all the “right” in our life – the only righteousness found in our life is from Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, as a believer, I have no right to judge another only to love them as Jesus loves me.

Galatians 6:13-15 (NLT)

As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross,my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.

 

Humility cannot boast about anything except the Cross of Jesus. The Law was impossible for humanity to fulfill so God sent Jesus Christ to satisfy the mandate and penalty of the Law. Religiosity tells people that by living according to these rules and regulations that somehow man can exalt self in some way. It is impossible. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The Law was satisfied by the Lord alone. Devotion and dedication to God come from a heart overflowing with Love for the Father and Son that continuously. A checklist lifestyle that insinuates the necessity to fulfill the Law of God is a lie. The only thing worth boasting about is the Love of God demonstrated through Jesus Christ and trying to Love just like Jesus. We pass from death to life through the Blood of Jesus. Anything else is a farce or vain attempt to steal God’s Glory through religion. Humility points to Jesus. It tells the story of His Mercy and Grace taking none of the credit. Our song should not be “I Did It My Way” but rather “Look What the Lord Has Done.”

Colossians 3:12-14 (NLT)

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 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.

 

Humility binds us together in harmony. Pride and arrogance will tear relationships apart. God chose you to be the holy people he loves. Again, there was nothing we could do to achieve such a status. God picked us to be on His Team and didn’t leave us on the fence not because we were the best player with perfect stats but because God operates with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Humanity has long tested these qualities in the Lord only to see God respond the same way every single time. God made allowance for our faults in Jesus Christ. Forgiveness pardons us from the penalty of sin. Humility requires forgiveness of God’s People as well. It doesn’t matter what another person does to us, it is to be forgiven. Forgiveness is not about the other person. It is all about what God has done for you. You cannot be offended and expect God not to be by your sin and the many ways we fall short of His Glory each day. Humility allows us to forgive others freely without holding a grudge but moving past what they have done to who they are. Just like you, God loves them. God desires them. They are your brother or sister in Jesus Christ. With compassion one’s heart should long for their salvation rather condemning them through unforgiveness. Unforgiveness is like a prison that holds the life of another in balance as well as your own. You cannot abandon your post. You must guard the cell of your heart when it does not trust God to do it for you. Humble people seek to maintain relationships rather than destroy them. With a hard gulp, I read these words over and over as I look at the unforgiveness harbored in my very human heart.

Matthew 5:5-6 (NLT)

God blesses those who are humble for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice for they will be satisfied.

 

The humble have a massive inheritance. God’s Children are marked by meek existences. A meek life is one that gentle, calm, yielding and submissive. Pride does not like the word “submissive” and rallies against it every day. By yielding to God, a believer demonstrates total trust and faith in the Father to meet their every need. It is a bold statement in a surrendered position. By letting go of our pride, we can accept all that God is offering us through the Salvation of His Son, Jesus. I cannot be given an inheritance until I am identified as a legitimate member of the family. There is nothing I can do to procure God’s Riches for they came at Christ’s Expense, but I can be identified as a Child of God releasing His Wealth into my life. The very next verse says, “God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice.” Rightstanding with God is acquired through justice. When Jesus satisfied the penalty of sin, then God’s People could be righteous once more. In such a place is satisfaction even though it is a granted position and not one that is personally achievable. Freedom comes in humility. It allows us to live under the supernatural favor of our Father in Heaven and escape the bondage of this world with all its obligations. By surrendering one’s heart and life to God and living as a new creation, we can experience the Inheritance of God firsthand and be partakers of God’s Favor!

I Peter 3:13-16 (NLT)

Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way.Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.

 

The humble are rewarded in Heaven. God promises to reward you for doing good, but the world is not always a fan of those who choose godliness and live such a life. There will be times when God’s People feel taken for granted and overlooked. You are a foreigner in the land. Hebrews 11:13 reminds us that there are days when the Kingdom of God seems like a faraway land which we are homesick for as we look ahead at the Promise. Children of the Light no longer belong in the darkness and sin of this world making it a difficult place to survive requiring daily grace and mercy to make it through to God’s Promises. It is imperative for God’s People to look for a heavenly world and not an earthly one. Matthew 11:12 reminds us that violence is nothing new to the Kingdom of God. Good and evil will be in opposition until this place is no more. The deeper in the Presence of God one chooses to go the stronger the opposition of the enemy in a vain attempt to pull all God’s People out of the Light plunging them back into darkness. It is a battle that rages. It is unseen in the natural but totally experienced in the spiritual realm. It requires violent defense in return. God’s People cannot win this battle by might and power but by the Spirit of God. (Zechariah 4:6) Humility keeps us in the Presence of God as the battle wars around us. We are rewarded for valiant effort. Do not look to others for your prize, they have nothing to offer. Vain glory and foolish pride do nothing but exalt self. Exalt the Name of the Lord today and raise a banner of love over your life. You must fight to remain faithful. Be territorial about God’s Truth and Promises for your life. Never give up or give in the enemy’s assault. Remain humble before the Lord and He will be your strength.

Matthew 20:26-28 (NLT)

“But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The mother of James and John both disciples of Jesus had a simple request. She asked the Lord to favor her two sons placing them in seats of honor the Kingdom of God, one to the right and the other to the left. This woman clearly did not understand the price her boys would have to pay for such an honor though impossible to say the least. Yet many times Christians put a hierarchy in Heaven that does not exist. Jesus Christ was God in human form. He was the Word made flesh who humbled himself to die for mankind. He suffered brutally willingly. He went to the Cross knowing the pain and punishment that must be endured. He served all the way to Golgotha. To lead others to Jesus Christ is achieved through humbling loving and serving others and seldom any other way. We “lead” others to Jesus by service. How can we serve people we offend by pride? Is it possible to serve an enemy with a loving heart? It is completely possible for those who choose to know and understand humility making it a lifestyle rather than polite conversation.  Humility is surrendering our old life to be a new creation. It requires a new thought process that is Kingdom-based and found only in God’s Word as it is a mystery to this world. Do you want to be first in the Kingdom of God? If so, you must remain last here on earth pushing others into the Presence of God by “tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” You must live in a constant state of forgiveness abandoning offense, bitterness and strife. No longer worried about self-promotion or personal recognition, your life becomes a Banner of the Love of God in action every day! You are a Child of God. This world has nothing to offer. Humbly accept the sponsorship of God in your life today and live in the freedom of one surrendered to the Most High God!

Psalm 69:32 (NLT)

The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.