Dig A Little Deeper

Dig a Little Deeper

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

To be strong and immovable.

God has given us victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ. This should be enough to make us fully confident and completely trusting in the Lord. Yet Christians continue to waver in faith when it comes to these things in the Lord. Still striving to convince the heart and mind that God is faithful and the grace given to us by His Son, Jesus is always enough. To be strong and immovable completely committed to the Sovereignty of God and Promise of His Plan. To never be moved by people or problems but persistent in pursuing the Purpose of God in this life. Living in a constant state of striving to please God and thriving in His Presence knowing that NOTHING done for the Lord is ever useless. Lord, teach us to dig a little deeper.

Psalm 92:12-15 (NLT) But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, “The Lord is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in him!”

God doesn’t give his hardest battles to the strongest warriors. We are all warriors. Giant killers. Evil slayers. Christ lives in us. Nothing more and nothing less. I must decrease so that He increases in me. My strength is not my own. I do not live in the afterglow of past wins, but rather in the shadow of the Most High God who gives me daily victory in Jesus Christ. To be so firmly planted in the Presence of God is the place where all His Promises prosper and purpose is revealed. We must believe in order to become invested in the realm of hope rather in the fruitless ventures of everyday life. To be strong and immovable does not come from a self-disciple but is produced by the Holy Spirit who gives us self-control. The godly will flourish like palm trees that weather storms no matter how strong the winds or pounding the rain. The godly will grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon standing the tests of time and seasons of drought. The strength of my life is God. Christ is the foundation of my life that leads to constant fertility of faith to produce exactly what God has promised.

Psalm 89:17 (NLT) You are their glorious strength. It pleases you to make us strong.

God delights in making us strong. Our strength is surrender. To give up our way to live fully invested in the Presence of God. To be rooted and grounded in Christ so that when the wind and rain come and the storms of life turn everything upside down – our faith is immovable. We find our strength in His Presence. His Promise is His Word. Everything in it is about us, for us, and given to us. We must only believe. Not just in word but every single deed done along the way. To delight in His Law and meditating on His Word, we become like trees planted by the riverbank bearing fruit in EVERY season with leaves that NEVER wither and we will prosper in ALL we do. (Psalm 1:1-3)

Colossians 2:6-7 (NLT) And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

To be strong and immovable means digger a little deeper each day. Making room for our roots to grow down into Christ and reach the depths of His Proximity. It is this very structure of grounded trust that keeps us in God’s Strength and Power so it belongs to us. God’s Love is for us. The Lord will never leave us or forsake us. His Seed called faith is in us. His Word belongs to us and resides in us for fulfillment sake. Nothing released by God’s Breath will return to Him without first accomplishing its task. God allows to know and understand His Power through trust and obedience as we continue to pursue Him and His Power manifests in our life. We are not strong. We are not immovable. Christ in us is the foundation of faith that keeps us from moving. His Hope is our anchor that keeps us on track even in the midst of the wind and waves of change. (Hebrews 6:19) As our faith in His Love grows, develops and matures, our soul will prosper. As our soul prospers so will our life in all the good things that the Lord has already promised. Sometimes, we must only dig a little deeper. Lord, help me to grow in Your Love until I am strong and immovable with deep roots of complete confidence in Your Faithfulness and Care.

I Corinthians 16:13-14 (NLT) Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.

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To Be Immovable

To Be Immovable

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

The world is full of distractions. Detours are at just about every turn. Delays drain our patience. Doubt fills the void. Discouragement overshadows confidence. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. The current is swift and is always moving. Yet believers are called to be steadfast and immoveable. Feelings and emotions get the best of us sometimes and pride tells us there is no turning back. How does one become immovable? Is it possible that within our humanness there is enough character to become fully confident and totally trusting of a God who cannot be seen? To walk by faith and not by sight. It is our calling. It is the purpose of all who follow Christ. To find the diligence in discipleship that allows us to submit our life fully and completely until established in our faith and moved by nothing but the Lord. I desire to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, therefore; I must find such a place.

Leaving a party, I was following my husband through the winding roads of an unfamiliar place. A warning light came on indicating the tailgate of my vehicle was not fully closed. I pulled over to secure it and realized that he had continued on his way. He did not see that I had fallen behind. I took out my phone and used the app for directions. It took it a little while for it to load my location due to poor service. I waited. Once it completed the operation, it rerouted my route so I had to turn around. Finally, I was on my way again. I have lived long enough and been lost more than once so I know that the last thing I needed to do was keep driving looking trying to find my way. I had everything I needed to make it to my destination. I have confidence in the little tracking device as it has taken me many places. The hardest part is the waiting. Waiting will always be a part of our process. It is the part where trust is testing and confidence established.

Faith enables us to believe and receive. Trust is the vehicle of faith that takes us to our destination marked abundance. Human logic immediately translates the Favor of God in financial or monetary aspects. Truly the abundance of the heart and soul are love, joy and peace found only in a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. As our soul prospers so will our natural life. Proper order and priority is the key to prosperity. By faith, believers walk in God’s Fullness beginning with the Fruit of His Spirit. Love, joy and peace are only the beginning of all God has for us. He continues with “forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” These are the key ingredients of a steadfast and immovable life in Christ. Each one nourishing a part of our mind, soul and body otherwise left to the deterioration of sin and ignorance. That’s right…ignorance. God clearly defines ignorance as a killer. (Hosea 4:6) To serve the Lord properly is to know His Word and apply it to our life effectively.

Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Confidence in God’s Word, His Power, His Authority and His Goodness will promote faithfulness. It must become a priority in our life that overcomes pride, selfishness and even busyness. To serve the Lord with persistence and diligence even when the way is unclear, uncertain, or even impossible. How do we remain unwavering, steadfast and immovable in the Lord despite hardship, hurt feelings, and overwhelming circumstances? It is a state of constant giving. To give ourselves fully to the Lord means bit by bit and piece by piece of our life is surrendering and submitted to God and His Word until all of us is fully invested in all of Him. The same verse, I Corinthians 15:58 in the New King James Versions calls brothers and sisters “beloved”. I am the one who Christ calls beloved. Like a groom to his soon-to-be bride whispered in the intimate embrace full of expectant exhilaration of the future that is at hand. I wonder how our effort and determination might change if our mind could fully conceive the capacity of God’s Love for us and His Commitment to our fulfillment as His Beloved.

I Peter 3:8-9 (NIV) But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

I Peter 3:14 (NKJV) Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless…

In the popular worship song, How He Loves, my favorite verse and constant reminder is that “We are His Portion and He is our Prize, drawn to redemption by the grace in His Eyes, if grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking. And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss, and my heart turns violently inside of my chest. I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that He loves us.” The greatest hindrance in our life as a believer is doubt and disbelief. To know Christ and His Love any other way than fully is an injustice of His Grace. The Grace of God leads to righteousness through Jesus Christ to the fulfillment of every individual who fully engages in pursuing His Love completely trusting and fully faithful. Diligence comes when doubt and disbelief are eradicated.

I wonder what might happen if one fully realized the kind of love that Jesus has for us. The kind of fathomless grace offered in finding our way and fully realizing the potential of new life. Marriage always needs a whole lot of love, grace and forgiveness to successfully overcome statistics. Jesus has such grace for us. He wants to live a love story with us. We must accept His Love and grow in the relationship to find the persistence, perseverance and diligence to become steadfast and immovable. Such a realization allows us to put all expectation in the Lord and stop expecting perfection from people. It slays our pride and opens our heart to love freely and generously.

Hebrews 6:17-20 (NKJV) Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.  This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

God is constantly promoting and producing abundance for our life. What is abundance? It means to superabound, have in excess, greatly surpass and excel. The word shows the generosity of God’s Grace giving assurance that faithful use of one’s talents and gifts set the stage for one’s advancement. This is our hope in Him. New life. New creation. New things. New possibilities. However, without hope, we cannot attain such things. Hope is the anchor of our soul that keeps us persistent and patient in the testing, temptation and trials of life. When presented with an alternative, substitution, settlement or counterfeit, it is easily identifiable given our knowledge of His Character and Intentions for us so we are able to endure and remain steadfast and immovable as we await with expectation fulfillment according to His Word. Jesus did not die for us to live status quo or so-so existences. It is our disbelief and doubt that hinder due diligence.

The surety and steadfast of salvation is God’s Word. Jesus came in the flesh to live out God’s Love for us. He left with the promise to return for a bride spotless and blameless. His Grace is enough to fully transform us but it is our weakness that allows us to claim it fully and completely. Those who believe that by grace they are saved through faith and not of themselves must come to this realization to live God’s Revelation for their life.

Psalm 51:10-11 (NKJV) 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.

This is my prayer today. I want a steadfast heart. One that is not easily distracted by the detours and delays in life but fully trusting in God’s Word, His Promise and Purpose for my life. It will require an immovable heart fully trusting Him at His Word. Walking by faith and not by sight. Waiting until He speaks, moves and leads. This is not my natural character and the very thing pride is always trying to stop. Submission to the Lord and living in full surrender will always come at the sacrifice of self. The freedom found is indescribable. The moment persistence is born of patience and one is able to wait out the process and receive the promise will change us forever.

What is stopping you today? Feed it the fruit of God’s Spirit. He gives us everything we need to overcome. In every situation, we win. It is confidence in the hope given to us that allows us to obtain the victory described in God’s Word. Jesus is our champion. We must trust the Lord to do all He has promised and allow Him to be our portion. He is our prize. Grace gives us every opportunity to live a life of fulfillment and abundance by offering the paltry sum of self for the perfection of God. Ask the Lord to give you eagerness in your pursuit of Him today. Eagerness will combine thinking and acting. It will partner planning and producing. It is inception and action that leads to follow through in our natural life for a spiritual fulfillment. To exert ourselves, make every effort, make haste, be zealous and strain every nerve to further the cause of Christ in us, through us and all around us. God is good! I believe that wholeheartedly. Am I willing to invest in it is the question? Are you immovable? Are you steadfast? Do you believe? God is good all the time. He is patient, loving and kind. He will never let us down. The Lord is our hope and salvation. He gives enough grace to overcome every weakness with power. I will be unstoppable when I become immovable because Christ is in me.

Psalm 112:6-8 (NKJV) Surely he will never be shaken; the righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established; he will not be afraid, until he sees his desire upon his enemies.

Finding Refuge

Finding Refuge

Proverbs 14:26 (NKJV) In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge.

The waiting room of God has a sign hanging over the door marked “Refuge.” It is a place of peace and calm even when storms rage all around us. Like watching a torrential downpour from the comfort of our home, tucked under a soft blanket in our comfy clothes, listening to the rain hit the house, and watching the wind whipping through the trees yet somehow comforted and untouched by the sound structure of our house. When I was a child, our family lived in a mobile home. Not like the manufactured homes produced today but more like a tin can with wheels. When a mighty storm with wind and rain rocked the trailer back and forth, I would sleep peacefully knowing my parents where in the other room seemingly unaffected by the bad weather outside. Refuge can be found in our natural circumstances and sometimes in situations and certain people can offer the aid, comfort or escape needed. But what about all the other times when conditions around us threaten the peace within us? Those times when nothing in the natural can give us rest or relief from the storms of life? We have a refuge. We must learn to find Him.

Life is full of changes and uncertainty. Just when everything seems to be coming together, it can suddenly fall apart. The unexpected looms around every corner. Comfort is compromised on a regular basis. Convenience is our goal most often unattained. Could this be God’s subtle way of ushering us from movable circumstances to immovable confidence? Maybe in the storms of life it in our panic it is possible to persuade us to enter His Refuge called Peace? Refuge (machseh) is translated in the Bible as trust. Trusting the Lord is our shelter, refuge, protection, fortress, hope, shelter from the storm. We find the word “refuge” used many times in Psalms. It describes the place of peace and calm in the midst of violent storms and enemy attacks. It is for God’s Children. He offers us refuge. It is up to us to enter in.

Psalm 62:5-8 (NKJV) My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah

My soul, wait silently on God alone, for my expectation is from Him.

To wait on the Lord is the most trust-filled position yet completely contrary to human nature. To stop trying to find a way out, over or through a situation or problem and rest in peaceful hope with the fullness of expectation that God is good, able and willing work it out for us. God’s silence is not His Absence. It is an opportunity to step deeper into the refuge called hope. To experience the comfort called peace. To the God of the Impossible and live in His Presence. Yet, silence makes us uncomfortable. It makes us fidget and squirm. The lack of communication fosters fear in those who do not have fearless confidence in the Lord, His Way and His Word. We must buffet our heart and mind with the essentials of faith so that hope becomes our refuge even in God’s Silence. While the enemy dares us to move, our heart remains steadfast in His Shelter.

I shall not be moved…

The Lord is my salvation. He is my glory. He is my strength. He is my refuge. All these qualities of God are to be made manifest in our life. Salvation being the core value of faith that gives us a place to put all our expectation. He is our Glory because through Christ we are victorious in our Champion who overcame the world. He is the rock so much higher than I but climbing is striving drawing me from my comfort zone into His Presence. To look down from such a place in the natural is riveting but to remain steadfast in such a place is powerful.

Trust in Him at all times…

Easier said than done most of the time, trust is the access point marked “refuge”. We must trust the Lord to find the peace of God even when He is silently working every detail of our life for our good and His Glory. (Romans 8:28) Fear and doubt produce anxiety that keeps us from staying in the refuge of God’s Presence. Faith cannot remain where fear is given a place in our life. The two cannot coexist but are mutually exclusive opposing forces. If we could only learn to trust the Lord with every detail of our life – we would live in the refuge of His Presence where peace passes all understanding. Faith would give way to confident hope rooting and grounding us in His Love. (Ephesians 3:17)

A preacher once gave the illustration of trust being the difference between a potted plant or planted tree. A potted plant is in grave danger when the storm comes. A tree planted with deep roots will fair far better. The potted plant is tossed about in the driving wind and raging storm where the one that is planted will be swayed back and forth but remain steadfast. There are many believers who are like potted plants when it comes to the Lord and His Presence. Running to and fro when the storm comes their position in Christ is compromised by a lack of commitment. However, those who decide to be like a tree planted by the riverbank will prosper in every season because they are planted in the Presence of God. The roots that keep us planted in the Presence God called refuge are called trust. When we trust the Lord, it will create a bond that keeps us latched on to Him tightly making us immovable and unshakeable in the most violent of conditions.

Psalm 46:1 (NKJV) God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

God is a very present help in trouble. What about when I can’t hear Him? Feel Him? See Him? Understand Him? Our inability to perceive the workings of the Lord doesn’t mean that He is absent. We are called to walk by faith not by sight or any other of our natural senses. When given the opportunity to trust the Lord, we choose our position. Will I remain faithful? Will I continue to worship the Lord for Who He is? Will my words be filled with confident praise or constant complaining? Will I believe for one more day? Will I wait for Him to come like He said that He would? Will I give God the time and space to allow His Will to come to pass even if it means forsaking my comfort, convenience and control? God makes all things beautiful in His Timing. We are His Masterpiece yet to be completed.

Trusting God is the only way that fulfillment will come and our expectation be fully met. He is our strong tower that keeps the enemy at bay. (Psalm 61:3) God does not force us to enter refuge but we must make the decision. “I will say to the Lord, ‘He is my refuge…’” (Psalm 91:2) God’s Presence, His Place called Refuge, is “my portion in the land of the living.” (Psalm 142:5) So many times, we try to weather the storms of life because we cannot accept that by grace we are saved through faith” and there is nothing that can be done to earn it, deserve it or preserve it. I must have faith in the Living God. He lives in me…now. He wants to give me refuge now. He wants to be my peace and portion…now. Trust creates the kind of reliance on God that meets our expectation despite our current condition. “But it is good for me to draw near to God;
I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Your works.” (Psalm73:28)

Hebrews 6:17-20 (NKJV) Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.  This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

The only place in the New King James Version of the New Testament that refuge is mentioned is in the Book of Hebrews. The faith book of the Bible tells us that so “we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.” Are you holding on to hope today? Even if it is only by a thread you can use it to pull yourself into the Presence of God. He is our hope. He has made an oath to us. He has given us a plan containing a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11-13) God created us with a measure of faith to seed our life (Romans 12:3) so that confident hope will be produced. We sow God’s Word in our heart and it is cultivated by His Spirit inside of us when we trust Him to do so. (Galatians 5:22-23) God does not lie. He does not change His Mind. (Hebrews 6:18) He does not withdraw His Calling from us. He is always for us working every detail of our life for good. (Romans 8:28) He promises to perfect all that concerns us. (Psalm 138:8) But none of these things will ever come to pass, if we do not learn to trust Him. We must yoke our life to Jesus Christ in order to find the refuge needed to wait out the storm or find protection from the enemy. It is in that place of silence and security that peace passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and there is joy in our salvation (Psalm 51:12). He wraps us in a robe of righteousness. (Isaiah 61:10) Shields us beneath the wings of angels (Psalm 91:4). He will fight for us when our faith allows us to stand down yet steadfast in His Love. Confidently waiting for our portion to refill us, restore us and renew us day by day.

There is no greater refuge than the peace found in the Presence of God. He offers to be our refuge always not just when tough times come or bad things happen. We can live in the Presence of God every day. He will be our refuge. He wants to be our strength. Finding refuge means to simply trust Him with your life. All of it. Withholding nothing and His Presence will fill every nook and cranny. You will prosper as your soul prospers according to His Word. Once you find it, you will never want to leave Him again.

Lamentations 3:25-26 (NKJV) The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Don’t Move

Dont Move

I Corinthians 15:58 (ESV) Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

I went to bed exhausted. Fell fast asleep, slept through the night, yet still woke up tired. My body is ready to jump into the day but my mind is not quite so enthusiastic. My plate is full. May I be so transparent today? I needed to come into His Presence just for me today. My thoughts are filled with too many details to stop the cursor from spinning 24 hours a day. I know God loves me. I am absolutely certain that He is in complete control. He is working every detail of my life for good and His Glory. I know this full well. My faith and trust are in the Lord and His Love for me. His Mighty Hand provides and protects me. His Intent is to prosper me. However, I am a human being just like you. The stone slinging hand of every giant killer needs a rest. The sword wielding arm grows weak. You know the days when it seems like carrying our cross, holding the shield of faith and dragging the sword of the spirit is just too much. Yeah…I think I am there today. Just a little while longer…

Endurance takes time. Endurance takes patience. Endurance drains all of our strength. It brings us to the end of self where the Savior is waiting. The key element of survival in the process is to be “steadfast, immovable and always abounding in the work of the Lord”. We can do this by “knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” Note: It does not say “knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” This would limit the text to what we do to just those things done expressly as an act of direct service to God. No – it says that “in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” Life is full of details. The more it is one’s intent to serve the Lord completely surrendered and submitted to God’s Plan and Purpose the greater the target painted on your back. The enemy doesn’t have anything to take from halfhearted servants or those who choose another way. He attacks God’s Children who seek to do their Father’s Business. He wants to move us from knowing God loves us and waiting for what is coming. He wants to steal, kill and destroy every bit of faith and trust in us in order to stop us from receiving eternal life. I know the cares and worries that fill you because the same are on my plate, too. However, at the end of the day, it is all about the Kingdom. My future. My hope. My forever with the Father who loves me.

I Corinthians 15:58 is a little different in the New Living Translation. It says, “Be strong and immovable.” Such a simple statement can be the greatest challenge a believer may face. To be completely confident means that when chaos interrupts, everything falls apart and all hell breaks loose in our life that God is in control. To believe this enough to remain strong and immovable.  “Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” The enthusiasm and zeal that produces inexpressible joy is not from the outcome but the onset. To know that no matter what the task or undertaking, nothing done for the Lord is ever useless. Do you believe that today? If so, you must not move.

Ephesians 3:14-19 (ESV)  For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

I love the Lord. Don’t you? I have come to the realization that no matter what I cannot walk away from my relationship with Jesus Christ. Trust me when I say it has been tested. It has even made me feel a little bit guilty. To love the Lord more than anyone or anything else challenges our roles as children, spouses, parents, grandparents, even with friends and acquaintances. I remember before this realization thinking it’s just not possible to ever love God more than my husband or children. Climbing the mountain with our son, there came a day when I wasn’t sure if he was going to win his battle with cancer, then what? Would I still love God? Would I still believe that He is good? Would I be convinced of His Love in my loss? I heard a weak whisper from the bottom of my heart and soul rise into soft broken words from my quivering lips say, “Yes.” It didn’t feel good. It wasn’t a celebratory moment. The accuser came to whisper – “You are a terrible wife and horrible mother to forsake your own.” But then His Grace rushed in to remind me that I can truly love through Christ way better than I ever did apart from Him. I am a better wife and mother because I know Him, love Him and trust Him with my life.

“…that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love…”

I have shared before that I was once given a word from a friend. He said the Lord had given him the image of a peg being driven deep into the ground and that peg was me. I thanked him with a chuckle for such encouragement. I didn’t really think much of it until later. It was a word from the Lord for my life. I must be rooted and grounded in God’s Love. My heart must be broken from hard ground to soft fertile soil for His Love to get inside and give me the new heart that is promised. His Spirit comes in to tend to God’s Planting and strengthen us from the inside out. This wonderful power is a product of grace. When our weakness is evident, His Grace can produce His Power in our life. It begins inside of us. To change our heart and mind until we know, understand and believe His Love for us is real and immovable so hope is established by faith in such a way. This is not anything I do but what Christ wants to do in me and you “according to the riches in glory.” See God has something for us far greater than this ordinary life. Mundane is not in His Vocabulary only “magnificent”. The Lord is ready to do the miraculous. Your natural life is not representative of the supernatural life coming once you are fully invested, rooted and grounded in His Love. This is where a believer becomes steadfast and immovable.

that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

I am convinced that there is always more. Jesus came to give us an abundant life marked by satisfaction. Are you satisfied today? Me either. Are you content to point of continual thanksgiving? Nope, me either. Are you living in God’s Abundance – physically, spiritually, financially and completely? Funny…me either. There is more. God’s Love is endless, limitless and always abounding. Our faith is small. It takes time to grow it and develop it. Endurance is required. It is always in the waiting that God’s Love is most evident. In our complete desperation for Him that keeps us from giving up or giving in even when we are weary of well doing, tired of pressing on and ready to just stop. God’s Grace is enough for you to stop but you cannot move from the foundation of faith that is His Love for us. Why? Because Jesus able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” Nothing is wasted. Nothing is useless. So what do I do when I cannot do anything at all?

Colossians 1:9-12 (ESV)  And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 

“Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” Your life is productive even in the waiting. The process called endurance can bear much fruit. Colossians 1 gives us some very practical steps to walking through tough seasons defined by waiting on God. We are to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. Hold your head up confidently. The Lord is working every detail of your life for good and His Glory. You are not defeated. You win. You are victorious. God is moving us from grace to grace and glory to glory planting seeds of righteousness that are blooming into every promise that He made. You must wait. Like a good farmer, sowing seeds faithfully knowing that God is going to increase them. Successful farmers plant in all seasons not always in favorable conditions. They have faith in the process. They believe if they plant that they will harvest. We must do the same. I will never be worthy of the unconditional love and grace that I have received so I must walk by faith in the Lord and His Love and Grace rather than my worthiness. I live for Him because Jesus is worthy of my best. I live to please God. It doesn’t mean I get it all right or never make a mistake. Lord, knows I still sin despite my best effort not to. When the Lord looks into my heart, He must see good intentions and conscious effort to please Him. He knows I am incapable but am I willing to try? Bear fruit in every work…not just church work. To live out His Love in season and out of season in every societal setting. To live as a Child of God who loves like my Father does. Increasing in godly knowledge by planting God’s Word in my heart, allowing His Spirit to water it and waiting for it to grow into all He says it would be. To be thankful in all things for all things. To be strengthened by His Grace while my pride lay slowly dying. To allow His Power to work through me rather than always wrestling for control. To endure and be patient in the waiting joyfully. God qualifies us for this wonderful abundance in life that comes by His Faithfulness not our ability to be faithful. We just have to remain steadfast and immovable in His Love to attain it. It is His Work in us – I don’t work for it. I wait for Him.

Mark 14:3-6 (ESV) And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.

Jesus is close to the brokenhearted. He was fellowshipping with Simon the leper. The woman who came with the alabaster flask did not have a very good reputation. The flask was all she had. It represented her total worth. Her future was in that bottle. Her past filled it. But in the present, she just had to worship Jesus. She wasn’t worried about tomorrow. When she came in and anointed Jesus – the others were offended. The worth of its contents wasted on the ground would have been a huge benefit to the poor. Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.” She was not moved by public opinion or she never would have come to the house of a leper or the Presence of Jesus in her sinful condition. If she had evaluated her offering by the way she had procured it, she would have turned away in shame. She was not moved by the many faces who knew her intimately or even had taken advantage of her, it didn’t matter anymore. All that mattered to her was Jesus. She had to worship Him. She had to give her all. So she did.

I wonder if in the midst of our doing, serving and trying that we miss the fact that it is really the place of waiting that allows us to see that worship is the key. It is not what tomorrow holds but our faithfulness in just worshipping Him today for who He is. Jesus didn’t do anything for the woman with the alabaster box other than accept her worship and she was made complete. He didn’t change her or require anything of her but accepted her offering with complete satisfaction. Immediately Jesus became her Savior, Provider and Protector warding off even those closest to Him including their indignation. What seemed like a careless and thoughtless act to others drew her closest to His Heart. If this is all there is to life will Jesus be enough for you? If there is more to come will you forget this moment walking into your promise? The Lord is securing us to be rooted and grounded in His Love so that nothing will ever move us from this place. Don’t move. Don’t allow the enemy to goad you from the place of waiting and watching. The Lord is working. You must only wait. Worship Him in the waiting and do not be moved from Him but move closer than ever before.

Acts 17:28 (ESV) …For “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’”

Whoa

Whoa

Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

 

Be still. Know that I am God. What if we could grab hold of these two statements and carry them with us throughout the day, applying them to any and all situations. What would be the result? I have decided that it would be peace. Rest. Calmness. Steadfastness. We would become immovable if we would simply decide to be still knowing that He is God. If you are like me, no matter how calm and tranquil the morning begins in the hours before dawn when the kids and animals are still sleeping, as soon as the day gets going it is off to the races. In the course of each day, hundreds of choices must be made small and large. We are given so many options it is not wonder our heart beats wildly and mind reels in chaotic thought. The enemy thrives in such an emotional environment. If you can picture an adolescent antelope grazing in a plain who is unaware of the pending danger. Inexperienced and young, it has never heard the quiet before the attack. It doesn’t realize all of the mature animals are watching and waiting because they know danger approaches. Before it can catch a breath, the race for its life begins as the stealth lion knows that if he can separate the young one from the herd that he will quickly overtake him. So he waits for that moment when the antelope is not paying attention, or maybe just naïve and unaware to lunge after him. The enemy in our life comes after God’s People the very same way. He watches and waits for an opportunity. He creates many distractions to lure us away. If he can catch us alone, off guard, not paying attention – he will surely overtake us. It happens all the time.

 

We are to be steadfast and immovable in the Lord. To be still and know that He is our God. It is not a play on words but complete and total mindset that forces us to act upon it. It is our only hope of peace in this crazy world that we live in. I want to be still. To be still is to remain in place, at rest and motionless. It means to be free from turbulence or commotion. To be peaceful and undisturbed. No anxiety. No worries. No cares. Just abiding faith and confident trust in the Power of God’s Love to sustain us. There are times when an overactive mind will expose a weakness in our faith that must be swiftly dealt with. As if watching the attack of prey on film, if we could just say, “Whoa!” Stopping the live action long enough to help the inexperienced animal have just one more day. As he runs fueled by adrenaline and fear, we watch feeling helpless and afraid knowing that any moment he will make a wrong turn, trip and fall or run into a dead end losing his life. Today I am telling my heart to whoa, my mind to cease its reeling as well. I must be still. I must know that He is God. I will do it but not on my own.

 

Mark 4:38-40 (NIV)

Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

 

Jesus was sleeping in the stern of the boat as it rocked wildly in the midst of a powerful storm. He was unaffected but not unaware. Jesus knew that He had all power and authority over the elements of nature. He was fully at rest and fully in power all at the same time unlike his disciples whose fear finally overtook their faith so they asked Jesus to intervene. But look what they say to the Lord. They do not ask Him to calm the wind and waves but question his love and care for them. “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown? Notice also the Lord got up and rebuked the wind and waves not his followers. Instead asking them two things. “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

 

Jesus knows our heart and mind. He sees our limitations. He has given us His Spirit to overcome these weaknesses so we are empowered to be steadfast. It is the trials and challenges of this life posed in natural troubles and hardship that force us to examine our faith and prove its authenticity. This is not for God’s Benefit. It is not punishment but discipline as the Lord teaches us the insufficiencies of our faith to offer more grace until we are complete lacking no good thing. The problem is that at the first sign of trouble – most of us abandon ship. We would rather swim through the storm which implies some variation of human control then call on Jesus to calm the wind and waves, waiting for Him to do it, and not moving until He does. Guilty! I am so guilty of this sometimes and I detest this quality in me. What is the driving force in your life today? Is it the wind and waves? Is it the storm? Or is it faith in God and His Word?

 

Psalm 37:7-9 (NIV)

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

 

Be still before the Lord. Wait patiently for Him. I almost laugh out loud every time I read this. People say do not pray for patience. Well, if your desire is to follow Christ wholeheartedly – His Spirit will work to produce patience in you whether you pray for it or not. (Galatians 5:2) He will toil the rocky, hard ground of our heart until fertile soil is found, and then the Spirit works that place until patience rise up. Hope cannot be seen or obtained naturally so of course, it will require patience.

 

Stillness would be less difficult if we didn’t have to deal with people all the time. Living with blinders on is not an option, if we want to serve others we must be observant and aware. It all comes to down to patience. Discipline. Commitment. Obedience. We must be willing to trust the Lord and wait on Him if the whole world passes us by. We will catch up. Those who endure until the end will be saved. Patience is produced in waiting.

 

Psalm 130:5-6 (NIV)

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.

 

I have to chuckle as I write about waiting today. It is the bane of my existence. The Lord makes me wait constantly and on purpose. It is a difficult process that will yield powerful results but it is painful. I remember as a child into my teenage years, my sweet grandmother telling me all the time that I was not patient. “Lori, you must learn to be patient.” Well Gram, I am finally getting there as I near the big 5-0. I can now do those things that she once told me required patience. Patience is a process. We are not born with them but rather a selfish need for immediate gratification.

 

Today I am reminded that I must wait for the Lord with my “whole being”. Body, mind and spirit must live in agreement with God’s Word and in cooperation with His Holy Spirit in order to wait as the watchmen for the morning. They will not leave their post until the sun rises. They keep their eyes fixed on the horizon waiting for the sun, while watching for the enemy. We will only wait and watch expectantly if we believe wholeheartedly that the Lord will come to us. (Psalm 5:3) Lord, create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit that will wait until You come. (Psalm 51:10)

 

I Peter 5:8-11 (NIV)

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

 

I know what you are thinking right now. I must be strong. I must stand tall. I must fight the enemy so that he will flee. I often have the same thoughts, too. But this is not the case at all for believers. We must just be still and wait on the Lord because He fights for us. (Exodus 14:13-14) Too many times we fight battles that are already won because our faith is not large enough to consider a Savior who is always victorious. Our mind will not accept a priceless battle or effortless war. We do not battle with flesh and blood but principalities and darkness. We are saved because through the Love and Blood of Jesus Christ we live in the undeserved privilege of righteousness again. No weapon formed against us will prosper. The righteous will not be shaken by fear for they trust in their Refuge and Strength – not in themselves. (Psalm 112:6-8) Though the whole earth shakes, we are bound securely by God’s Love and therefore untouchable if we remain there. (Isaiah 54:10) God will not allow the righteous to be shaken or removed from His Love, His Presence or His Body. (Psalm 55:22) If it happens, we bear responsibility. It is a lack of trust. A lack of faith. A lack of confidence in the Lord and His Ability to keep and care for us that leads us from His Presence to pursue lesser things. Jesus wants to make us strong, firm and steadfast again. I want to be strong, firm and steadfast, too.

 

Hebrews 12:26-29 (NIV)

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

 

What if this shaking and shifting that is causing us to examine our faith and recommit our trust to Jesus is not really the enemy rattling our cages, but the Lord once more shaking the earth? What if it is not a test but final preparations for His Return? Too many times we give the enemy way more credit than he deserves by assuming he has some power and authority over us. He doesn’t. The God of Peace will crush satan. (Romans 16:20) For a believer to have strong faith and confident hope produced by learning to patiently, steadfastly, and persistently wait on the Lord until His Word comes to pass – they will live in the Peace of God forever. God’s Peace is like no other. It is not logical but always faithful. It is not something the world will ever understand because it is not of this world. You will not find it in this temporary place called earth but it is transferred from God’s Kingdom and imparted supernaturally to His People.

 

John 14:26-27 (NIV)

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

 

When Jesus ascended to Heaven, He left a gift behind for me. It is called the Holy Spirit. He is my Advocate. He knows my weakness of heart and mind working to resolve it each day so faith and hope may abound in my life and peace right along with it. On those days when I think about giving up or quitting, He encourages me. On the days that I become prideful, He instructs me. On the days I choose my way, He guides me back to God’s Way. Jesus gave me peace. It is up to me to maintain it in my life. I am the protector of my own peace. I must feed it the Word of God. (John 16:33) I must be obedient. (Romans 8:6) Jesus is my peace. As long as I strive to live and abide in His Love, I will have perfect peace. (Ephesians 2:13-17) Peace is accomplished by remaining still and steadfast trusting, believing and obeying the Lord and taking God at His Word. Our feelings and emotions don’t really matter for they are changing all the time. Jesus gives us victory if we are willing to wait for it. Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always giving ourselves to the Work of the Lord. This is a place of peace. This is where I learn to be still. This is when I will know that He is God. (I Corinthians 15:57-58)

 

Philippians 4:6-9 (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

 

Like wild horses, we must learn to rein in our rebellious thoughts and wayward thinking. We are to be anxious for nothing. Tell the truth. You are worried about something, aren’t you? You are concerned. Lets’ be real. There is something compromising your peace today. I am right there with you but it doesn’t have to be that way. Don’t tell me you are a worrier because I know that you are really a warrior of Christ. One thing that I have learned over the last five decades of life, waiting is inevitable. Patience and persistence pays off. When you apply it to faith and confident hope, it will become the anchor for our soul that keeps us from drifting or wavering from His Promises. (Hebrews 6:18-20) The enemy is working hard to shake your faith and confidence in the Lord. We must pay attention. The Peace of God always seems a bit crazy and insane because we cannot understand it. We know where it comes from but when it overtakes us – the impact is crazy. The Lord has given me peace. In the stillness of waiting on the Lord, there may be many storms and attacks but if I strive to remain faithful in all things His Peace will soon overtake me. I have been given the opportunity of righteousness or right-standing with God if I choose to live in it. It is this profound privilege that affords us to be still and know that He is God. He is Good. He is relentless working on our behalf to make good from every detail of our life. His Love is unfailing. His Goodness is constantly pursuing me. I must only wait and watch for it to catch up. Whoa today my fellow believer! Stop trying to make things happen and let God be God again. Don’t buck the waiting but embrace it as fulfillment comes to you. Patience always pays off greater dividends than our investment. Be still today in all things. Have faith. God is with us. He is for us. He will never let the righteous be shaken much less fall.

 

Psalm 112:6-8 (NIV)

Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.

 

To Stay – A Devotion

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT)

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”

 

Another storm, really Lord? Another drought, again? Does your soul cry out to God today at the circumstances of life wondering how much longer can one make it without giving in? There are many storms in life as well as seasons of prolonged drought. You, my friend, as a Child of the Living God were not created to pass by these times. God has not made alternative routes to go over or around avoiding such treacherous situations. No with deep roots have you been created to withstand all of life’s ups and downs while flourishing like a tree by a riverbank. Trees do not come in from the storm but simply endure them. The tree with deep roots will stand strong and even benefit in the midst of torrential rain while those who are shallow will be swiftly carried away. Storms are tests that will determine if your faith is grounded in a firm foundation or it will reveal any dangerous insufficiencies that may linger under the surface. God is helping you to determine the level of hope and confidence that you have established in the Source. The challenge you are facing is not without reward for those who withstand the challenge and remain strong – there is blessing.

 

Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

 

Valid faith worthy of withstanding every test in life even death is found in righteousness alone. We may have days that we feel strong and courageous. That is, until the weather calls for storms then suddenly the world feels so big and we feel so small. Helpless in the wind and rain, we cry out to the Lord to take out of such fretful circumstances and take us out of the storm. But God created you for this life that you live including every difficulty and opposition that one will face. He did not create you to run from battle to stand strong in the midst of fierce fighting knowing that victory belongs to the righteous who remain in the Presence of God. Yes you will mourn. Yes you will faint. But you will find joy, peace and gladness at the end of the rainbow (promise) that comes when the sun or Son shines again. You were made with everything you need to stand tall in this storm and even grow from the experience. But you must remain in the midst of the uncertainty knowing that God is with you working on your behalf. He is your strength. He has given you every single thing you will need physically, emotionally and spiritually to win this battle if you will choose to stay!

 

Psalm 1:1-3 (NLT)

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.  But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.

 

You can’t say that we were not warned. Jesus said that there would be days like this. (John 16:33) Here on earth there will be many trials and sorrows, the Lord told us so. But He also was very straightforward in letting us know that we can have peace in every situation because Jesus has overcome all of it. How does one prepare for the storms of life? Here’s a hint, it begins long before there is a forecast of rain. Deep roots are established by a tree planted in Living Water that is bearing fruit. It is not enough to call yourself a “Christian” and attend the local church every Sunday. It requires good positioning from the beginning on good soil. The best foundation for faith is the Word of God. It is the whole truth and nothing but the truth making it rich with knowledge and promises that will anchor one’s hope in the Lord from this day forward. Strong roots make what’s going on above the ground inconsequential. Limbs may break and leaves may fall but the tree remains. The Word of God establishes faith in a firm foundation that is far out of the reach of the circumstances of life. You know what you know and that settles it. Nothing – not wind, rain, or other people can move the one who is rooted and grounded in the Word of God. So send the rain. Send the storm and those who have chosen good ground will stay!

 

Matthew 13:20-21 (NLT)

The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.

 

Storms rage all around the outside but for many people there is inner turmoil as well. With hardened hearts the message comes and they receive it but there is no place to plant it. Roots cannot grow in a stone cold heart. You will not be safe in the circumstances of life if the inside of your soul is wavering and weak. The Spirit of the Living God is looking for something to latch into. He knows the Truth, but until you are fully convinced enough to allow God to break your heart once or twice and restore it for righteousness sake, the storms of life will take you out every single time. There is no foundation. The Spirit and the Word make a connection that is unbreakable. The more Word you pack into your life the less room there is for you! Flesh is weak and cannot survive tragedy but your soul can! When the Spirit of God has His Truth to work with in your life a firm foundation is established that cannot be swayed by convincing flesh. Before you know it, the roots of your heart will be so intertwined with the Father’s Love for you that you cannot be bothered with what the world says and its perception of events because you are wrapped up in the strong bonds of God’s Love for you. Who would leave such a place? No one. You will hold tight to such knowledge no matter what you are facing because it is better than life. Make it a point to establish deep roots in the Word of God by studying and praying His Word every single day. Memorize the verses that break your heart and the ones that rebuild you into the new creation you are called to be. You will be an Oak of Righteousness not by your power but by His Spirit able to stay when most people run.

 

Colossians 1:21-23 (NKJV)

And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

 

In the midst of the storm, it is often hard to see clearly. As water pounds from the Heavens, it beats off the debris from the tallest tree and clears the dirt from the ground and sidewalks below. While the rain keeps coming, it is hard to see the benefit but when the sky clears and the sun comes out it is evident that things are different. Your flesh is obviously a big part of your life and sometimes wicked ways, thoughts or actions go by undetected flying under the radar of life as we try to remain rooted and grounded in the Love of God. But when the Holy Spirit hits a rock or barrier, He will call for the rain to melt away the imperfections in our foundation. He is preparing you for the day your faith will carry you from death to life. There is no room for insufficiencies in one’s faith at this time so the Lord takes care of it in our natural life. When facing a barrage of problems and opposition in life while crying out to God, we often cannot see the benefit in the midst of a trial but that does not mean that God is not recreating His Precious Child and enacting His Perfect Plan. Your only requirement in this spiritual battle for your soul is to stay! Stand against the devil and He will flee! There is no need to fight for Jesus has overcome the world including every single problem that you will ever face. Plant your feet in the Truth. Grab the Shield of Faith and stand tall. The Breastplate of Righteousness will be intact if you do waver from God’s Truth. The Helmet of Salvation will guard your mind with peace no matter what others say or do. You are rooted and grounded by faith so bring on that storm, God wants to bless you and He begins by clearing away anything and everything that may have come between you!

 

Psalm 65:9-11 (NLT)

You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile. The river of God has plenty of water; it provides a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so.You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops.You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.

 

God is watering your soul today. The trial you are facing is Living Water in disguise. He has decided that you are worthwhile rich and fertile ground for His Seeds of Hope so God is “melting the clods and leveling the ridges” in your life so that the rain will make it to your heart! Abundant crops come after the earth is softened by the rain and you will live in abundance when you choose to stand in the midst of a storm. Living Water is flooding your heart and life preparing you for a “bountiful harvest” even though it seems everything is just being washed away. Don’t abandon the process but be willing to receive the priceless overflow from Heaven that God is sending in abundance to water your soul! In John 4:10, Jesus spoke of “living water”. He said, “If you only knew the gift God has for you…” God has many promises waiting for the faithful and righteous ones who remain in His Presence no matter what life hurls at them. Do you know the gift God has for you? Salvation is only the tip of the iceberg of blessing God has reserved for you. If you knew all the gifts God has waiting for you, I think instead of saying, “Why me?” many people would be crying out, “Send the rain!” God is hoping you will decide to become rooted and grounded in His Amazing Love so He can send the rain of Living Water He has reserved to cover your life, clear away all barriers between the two of you and pour His Spirit fresh and new throughout your entire life, watering you from the inside out! Stay awhile and ask the Lord to send the rain even if it comes in a storm – you are ready! God made sure of it! It’s time to stay!

 

Ephesians 3:17-19 (NLT)

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

 

To stay in the Love of God and remain in His Presence throughout life’s storms will make you a mighty oak of righteousness with deep roots forever nurtured by Living Water. Jesus Christ wants to make His Home in your heart. His Word planted there will grow into a wonderfully sound relationship with roots that are established in a firm foundation of faith. It will give you the power to understand the capacity of God’s Love and recognize it in every situation and circumstance in life. It truly is the only way to EXPERIENCE the Love of God. God’s Love will complete you giving you a full life from creation to Eternity rather than birth to death. It all begins by planting yourself and remaining there no matter what constantly working on the foundation of faith that began when you said, “Yes” to Jesus Christ! You will be ready for the wind. You will not be afraid. You will listen for thunder. You will stand strong in the storm. Soon you will say, “Lord send the rain and I will stay!”

Don’t Move – A Devotion

I Corinthians 15:56-58 (NLT)

For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

What happens when the pressure of life becomes more than one can bear? Like water boiling becomes bubbles giving way to a vapor rising above the tumultuous churning of the combustion below, there are times when life just doesn’t make any sense. These are the times that even the most steadfast Christian feels the heat and becomes antsy. The feeling to move this way or that overtakes our desire to remain strong and steadfast in the Lord as we look to alleviate the pressures of life. God created the law to lead His People to a life of Fullness in His Glorious Power. Man could not take the stress associated with self-denial and consecration so we chose rebellion and have continued in these footsteps for generations. The law gave power to sin because in our weakness and inability to continuously do right in the Eyes of God, we kept falling and moving outside of the lines of His Will and His Way separating us from God altogether. Jesus Christ came to our rescue, grabbing our lives back from death’s door and removing the power of sin over the life of mankind. His Grace became sufficient for our insufficiencies yet daily people still struggle to live in righteousness and be where God is. It is in the midst of such pressures, we feel the need to move even when God is still. Rather than choosing to be strong and immovable, the stresses of life pull us from our foundation of faith casting our souls into doubt. We must decide if we will fight to maintain our faith or forfeit our position to doubt. If only in that moment, we would decide to take a moment to stop, look and listen for God rather than being subject to the situations and circumstances of our life. What do you do when you have no idea what to do next? Stand strong, serve God and wait until your hope is fulfilled. Sounds like a tall order for the weak and broken, yet in our desperation God is able to do wonders with an ordinary life. We have exceeded our personal power and now must fully rely on His Strength. Maybe that was what the Lord intended all along? When our perseverance results in simply standing on His Word, it can produce Eternal results through unshakable faithfulness in the midst of the storm. I want to be immovable even when I feel like running from the pressures of this world. When the stress is overwhelming, anything that will free my mind seems better than where I am. But God says, “Don’t move!” Will I obey?

Luke 8:23-25 (NLT)

As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?”

As the storm rallied against the small vessel, Jesus slept peacefully in its bow. The disciples panicked finally waking Jesus proclaiming the end, “We’re going to drown!” Jesus calmed the storm and then asked the disciples, “Where is your faith?” As if looking for something tangible that had been lost, the Lord inquires. Did they leave it behind on the shore? Was it all used up? The many teachings of the previous days about growing faith now abandoned in the midst of difficulty. How often we like the disciples lose our faith footing when trials bear down upon us and we look for help. There are times when it feels as though the Lord is asleep and unaware of the pressures of life that are overcoming His People. We become convinced that somehow we have become subject to the Law again and that surely we will perish if God does not perform a miracle. But the truth is we are all given a measure of faith to carry us through the darkest night, it is deep within our soul waiting to be activated by a life of trust in our Savior. He is never asleep. He knows the end from the beginning. Every moment of your life is important to God and is vital in establishing a loving, trusting relationship with you, His Child. But we must hold still and allow His Fullness to fill us to overflowing even in the times when testing is making room for more. When we feel like jumping or running ahead are clearly the times Jesus is asking, “Where is your faith?” Don’t move. Your Redeemer is coming once our faith rises to meet Him.

I Corinthians 16:13-14 (NLT)

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous.Be strong. And do everything with love.

Resist the urge to change course during uncertainty. For indecisiveness is not of God, but of the author of confusion who wants you to act contradictory to the Word of God and will actually use your knowledge of God but lack of wisdom against you. Wisdom is applied knowledge. We must actively apply the knowledge of God to our life until it produces Godly Wisdom in our choices. Wisdom is essential to effectively being on guard. It is the foundation of faith required to be courageous and strong despite satan’s deceptions. When pressure comes, we just want off the hot seat. But that may not be God’s Choice, it just sounds good when it is you. Every decision we make in the midst of the craziness of life must be measured against the Word of God and bound by the Love of God. So no matter how intense the circumstances of your life or how uncertain the future, resist the urge to stray and don’t move to the left or right but stay firmly planted in the Presence of God. You will win! You will prosper if you don’t move!

Soul Prosperity – A Devotion

Genesis 49:22-26 (NLT)

“Joseph is the foal of a wild donkey, the foal of a wild donkey at a spring—one of the wild donkeys on the ridge. Archers attacked him savagely; they shot at him and harassed him. But his bow remained taut and his arms were strengthened by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, by the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel. May the God of your father help you; May the Almighty bless you with the blessings of the heavens above, and blessings of the watery depths below, and blessings of the breasts and womb. May the blessings of your father surpass the blessings of the ancient mountains, reaching to the heights of the eternal hills. May these blessings rest on the head of Joseph, who is a prince among his brothers.”

Where are you standing today? Look around and what is it that you see? Are you high on the mountaintop of life overlooking a world full of options? Or are you trying to see the light in the darkest depth of the valley surrounded by insurmountable barriers too high to climb? Maybe you are moving at such a pace that the scenery has been a blur for a very long time and you really have no idea where you are and what is next? No matter what the actual scenery is everyone has a different vantage point of life. It is really not your proximity in life but your perspective that will drive you from Glory to Glory. The Kingdom of God cannot be seen in its entirety from the earth. But it can be experienced by those who Love God through a prospering soul! The problem is life is consuming. There are so many things coming at you that are visible making it almost impossible to remain focused on the unseen. The pressures placed on your shoulders in life bear a weight so significant it often blocks the view of Eternity. The enemy can take his best shot and though we may feel the momentary sting of our humanity, it can never affect our destiny in Jesus Christ. Venture with me to the mountaintop and closer to the vantage point of God. There are days when only your hope in Jesus can take you there. If only for a moment, we can see things through His Eyes and come to understand that the trials in life do not define us. In fact, once positioned in the righteousness of God nothing can harm us. God’s blessing will overtake us and carry us through hardship to His Kingdom forever.

The life of Joseph is marked by circumstance after circumstance. In spite of it all, his soul prospered. As a young man, he was filled with prophetic dreams from God. But the world did not embrace what faith had revealed to Joseph. He encountered many unexpected stops on his way to destiny. The muddy walls of the pit his brothers threw him in probably could not be seen through the tears of his broken heart. Shattered by rejection and betrayal, Joseph was forced to rely only on the Love of God. Sold into slavery, Joseph lost his dignity and freedom in an instant. Joseph had no choice but to seek freedom in his soul. In Potiphar’s house, Joseph found favor only to once again be devastated by a lie. Thrust into prison, his momentary glimpse of partial freedom replaced by defeat all over again. How much more could one person take? Maybe you have been asking yourself the same question. The favor of the Lord remained on Joseph and once again his master found him to be quite capable and responsible. Joseph had favor with the warden. Even in the “prisons” of life, you can succeed. Your soul can prosper in the filth of a prison. God never left Joseph’s side. He will not leave yours. It was God’s Master Plan in action that allowed Joseph to be put in these situations. Joseph was being refined and though his location changed multiple times, Joseph’s faith remained true to God’s promise and his soul was fed. When the cupbearer and baker of the king, his new “friends” forgot him Joseph did not waver. Joseph still gave God his best. As Joseph was brought before the king, I am sure he wondered what the day would bring after so many disappointments. Anyone would, right? Still, he gave his very best. This day, Joseph was made the ruler of Egypt. He would be reunited with his family. God did not forget one promise that He ever made to Joseph…and neither did Joseph.

Successful believers of unwavering faith require an eternal perspective to succeed. You have nothing to lose by giving your heart and life completely to God. In fact, you have everything to gain. Circumstances turn into victory and disappointment into destiny for those who place all their faith and trust in the Lord. Your vantage point is unimportant. Your perception of God’s Proximity is imperative. “His bow remained taut and his arms were strengthened.” Great responsibility comes with the Promises of God. God dreams of BIG THINGS for you. Your finite thinking must be completely reconditioned to rely on God’s power to take you to such places and bear such awesome responsibility.  Your faith must be immovable, yet flexible only to the repositioning of your Father. Trials will create such faith. It is gained through obedience regardless of what you can see. God wants everything to be perfect. He is creating an avenue of blessing that confounds the enemy and will completely overwhelm you. If you could only see what your Father is doing behind the scenes, maybe then you would embrace your surroundings and choose to do your very best right where you are. There is favor where you are when you rely on God’s strength and are not moved by your circumstances. Your soul can prosper until the rest of your life catches up.

Psalm 30:4-6 (NLT)

Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. When I was prosperous, I said, “Nothing can stop me now!”

Speak the words – “Nothing can stop me now!” This outward expression of faith can create an inward transformation. The circumstances of life may or may not change depending on God’s Plan for your life! Your soul can prosper regardless of your situation. Weeping is temporary for joy will always follow those who remain faithful to the promises of God. Stand strong today. Do not give up. Nurture prosperity from the inside out. Things don’t change lives – Jesus does. May a deep well of joy spring up in your life today and carry you through whatever you are facing!