Expose the Lie

expose the lie

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NIV)  For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

We have divine power to demolish strongholds. We can demolish every argument and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. We don’t do it on social media, in great debates, laced with human opinion. Yes, I said it. Like throwing stones over a wall, it is easier to point on the failed logic of another than face our own walls and abatements head-on. The war to be one is in our own mind. We cannot convince another person of God’s Love, Grace and Mercy until first finding Him faithful for ourselves. All the times that I have read these verses, I guess I missed the part about me. It begins in me. It begins by trusting God enough to live by the Truth and expose every lie keeping me from a closer relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

The natural definition of stronghold is a well-fortified place. The Spirit-Filled Bible commentary says this: “Strongholds are first established in the mind: that is why we are to take every thought captive. Behind a stronghold is a lie – a place of personal bondage where God’s Word has been subjugated to         (under the complete control of or subject to or conquered by) any unscriptural idea or personally confused belief that is held to be true. Behind every lie is a fear, behind every fear is an idol. Idols are established wherever there exists a failure to truss tin the provisions of God that are ours through Jesus Christ.” I have been chewing on this for a while. We do not fight for victory but from a place of victory.

John 8:44 (NIV) You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

According to John 1:14, Jesus is the Word of God who arrived in flesh to dwell with us. We have seen the Glory of God in His Son full of grace and truth. However, the Word of God that is truth is constantly challenged by the father of lies who is always sowing seeds of doubt in the form of lies. Lies upon lies that seem logical and plausible compared to current conditions in life. It is up to us as believers to discern the Truth from lies. Easier said than done when the enemy knows God’s Word and uses it against us. Lack of knowledge can bring about death in the heart of a believer. Eve heard God speak directly. However, when the enemy challenged the truth with a lie – she decided to take the lie to have the immediate gratification of fruit that it offered. Thankfully – we have the example of Jesus who when led to the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted – effectively used the Word of God to dismiss every lie the enemy offered Him. It is important to evaluate our belief in life and decide “who told you that”? God asked Adam and Eve the very same question after sin entered the garden that day.

I John 1:5-7 (NIV) This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

When our youngest child was about four or five, she asked if Santa Claus was a real person. She wanted to know if he really went to every house bring gifts on Christmas Eve. If you knew our child, you would know she thrives on truth. She basks in knowledge. Google is her best friend when she needs information fast. I said to her, “You know that once you know the truth you cannot continue to believe a lie.” Her response, “I knew he wasn’t real.” How many times do we know the truth but do not want to live by it. In her case, she was afraid to reveal her disbelief because someone had told her that she wouldn’t get gifts anymore. How many times do we do the very same thing? How often do we live in disappointment rather than taking a chance on hope? How often do we build walls to house our insecurity than to walk fearlessly from victory to victory? As we rode in the car a little while longer, I was concerned that she might not believe in the reality of Jesus Christ if Santa wasn’t real so I asked her, “You know that Jesus is real right?” She said, “Oh yes, I know HE is real!” What a relief!

Truth is elusive in the natural. Before you balk, when was the last time you used a picture on social media without a filter or didn’t take it 20 times before choosing one to post? I am not judging anyone I promise. I use filters all the time in more ways than one. However, to live in the Light of God’s Love requires complete honesty. His Light makes us transparent before Him. We claim to live in the Light but often have secret lives lived in secret places unbeknownst even to ourselves. God sees right through it. Nothing is hidden from Him. We must strive to live honest and open lives before the Lord to give credibility to our faith and fortify our hope.

Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

The Word of God cuts through every lie. It exposes the Truth about us and works it in us. It penetrates to divide our soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It sheds glorious light in the darkest places. We are all subject to such a process that compares our thoughts, ideas and believes to the Word of God challenging every mindset not found there. This is how we change our expectation from the natural to supernatural. If you knew what the Word of God said about your life and believed that it truly belonged to you – it would change your heart and mind!

God’s Word is seed in our life. It is grows into fruitful abundance.  As our soul prospers so does our life. Are you sowing God’s Word in the open recesses of your heart today? Are you allowing the Light of His Love to penetrate the carefully constructed walls housing insecurity and fear that His Word is not for you, maybe that He could not possibly love you or that your sin is too heinous to forgive? All lies. Every single one of them. Even religion and traditions handed down through generations become watered down truth and potential lies. (Mark 7:9-14) There is no way to know our true identity in Jesus Christ outside of God’s Word. Our spirit is empowered by it. The Holy Spirit uses it as a weapon to defend our growing faith and blossoming potential.

Romans 1:20-21(NIV)  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Romans 1:25 (NIV) They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

The Word of God is the logic of faith. You will never know what you believe as a Christian outside of God’s Word and its application. You will never know the blessings and promises that belong to you if you do not seek them out and decide to have them. God makes Himself fully available to us. We must simply know who and what we are looking for so when a lie presents itself it is easily identified by the Truth living in us.

In our office, there is a picture of a deer. It is elementary sketching in pencil. The owner of the company tells the story of his mother’s love for yard and estate sales. She came across this picture and bought it for a couple dollars. What the original owner did not know is that this was an original sketch by artist, Salvador Dali. A valuable piece of art sitting with other common household items and junk people were just trying to get rid of. I wonder how many times that God has things intended for our life yet we exchange the process of truth for the immediate gratification offered in the lie? More than I care to know and enough that I intend to change…

God calls you His Masterpiece. God doesn’t make junk. The process of God begins with changing our mind and accepting a new identity as Child of the Living God. The father of lies is no longer in charge of parenting you. You have a Good Father who sees your great potential. He promises to work every detail of your life into that good for His Glory. What if the very thing holding you back is a stronghold in your mind seeded by the enemy long ago marked for eradication by God in order to prosper your life? We must allow God to change our mind through His Word before we can change the world for Him. Lord, expose every lie I have allowed to live in me and shed Your Light Glorious Light upon it. In Jesus Name…AMEN!

Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV) Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

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Left Unfinished

Left Unifinished

I Corinthians 3:5-7 (NLT) After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.

For a few months now, I have been refinishing a table. It was thrown away like garbage, posted on line as a “curb side” alert. In my heart, I saw a new project piece and immediately thought of someone I knew who could use a gift. She was going through some difficulties in life and I felt the Lord impressing on my heart to bless her. It usually doesn’t take me this long to work on the furniture I find, but this process has been revealing. It seems that every time I begin to work on the table it turns out to be more of a task than before. Just sanding out all the marks and blemishes on the tabletop took days. It had been well-used to the point of abuse. The person who I have been repurposing the table for has been going through her own troubled time of transition. I know that for the last couple of years, the Lord put her in my path for encouragement, instruction and guidance through rough passages. However, just like the table, I have discovered that sometimes God doesn’t always make our work as believers a walk in the park.

I set out this weekend to finally finish the table so it can make its way to her house. I applied stain to the sanded top. I love this step in the process. To see the wood soak in the new color and watch a piece come to life. Well, not this time. The stain revealed some more imperfections that would require additional sanding and retracing some steps. After many attempts to get it just right, I walked away and began working on an old chair for our guest room. It is almost done. The painting went perfectly. The sanding a piece of cake. Recovering the seat was simple and I had enough leftover fabric to match the antique footstool. I stained the back of the chair reluctantly but it was perfect on the first try. Why is the chair taking a couple hours but this table just won’t seem to cooperate? Why isn’t the person who I have been supporting and believing God to renew and restore leaving unfinished? Why is she moving on? Why doesn’t she get it? God, have I let you down? Did I not do enough, say enough, or believe enough for the seed of Your Word to produce much fruit? Sometimes in life, God leaves work unfinished.

I planted. Oh boy, did I sow some seed in this situation. But the one day, the gate to the field closed. No more seed could penetrate the hard ground. The wishy washy rain of uncertainty seemed to wash many of them away. The leaves sprouting up looked like it might bear much fruit but alas it was all just a cover. Apollos, are you watering? There are many times that work is left unfinished but will not be undone. We must not stop planting just because we do not see God’s Increase. I think of all the people who sowed good seed in my life that was watered by others. Confirmed by more than one, just now revealing blossoms of fruit yet to come. I understand the process of growth takes time and many seasons. Sometimes, I must be reminded that God gives all increase. Human nature wants the satisfaction of seeing the harvest but with the Lord trust is obedience that continues to plant and water in the absence of harvest.

Ephesians 1:22-23 (NLT) God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.

It is safe to say that my elbow will never meet my nose naturally. I cannot touch my nose with my elbow. Yet they are valuable and important parts of the same body. The cells in my nose have the same DNA as the ones in my elbow. The same brain makes them all work together. The blood that nourishes my nose is the same flow that reaches my elbow. Sometimes it is important to remember that the same body must remain connected even if they cannot reach the other. My hand and knee can reach my elbow even though my nose cannot. However, my nose doesn’t abandon my body or the elbow cease to move because of its lack of proximity. Just because the person you have invested time, energy and maybe even resources into does not necessarily “get it” or leaves our life an unfinished work doesn’t mean you were not faithful or seeds unfruitful. God evaluates our faithfulness to Him. Our dedication to love and be loved. Our commitment to Christ to become complete lacking no good thing. He doesn’t expect us to plant, water and grow. He expects us to be faithful, hopeful and loving. I am an unfinished work just like my friend. I must never forget who the One is that makes us full and complete – His Name is Jesus.

I Corinthians 13:11-13 (NLT) When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

I must be completely honest. Lately I have just wanted to drag the table I am working on out to the trash. As my frustration grew with the person, I suddenly abhorred the process of giving the gift. I know I am a terrible person. I didn’t do it. I have been rubbing, painting, sanding and staining just the same. It is hard to remember all the Christ has done for us once leaving the past behind. All the people who deposited His Love and Truth labeled the Gospel in our life. Sharing the Gospel is our privilege. The purpose of the Gospel is to love. I can give sound instruction. I can stand right by your side. I can encourage you when you are down. I can even hold you when you cry. However, if someone decides to chase after something else. Wander off into the wilderness. Or even just turn and walk way – it doesn’t end there. I am must still love them and pray for them just the same. I have done my part to plant good seed. I have tried my best to be the Light. Now I must wait and watch for the Lord to give His Blessing and Increase – in His Time according to His Plan. Lord, teach me to see that every seed comes from You. The Word I use for water to a dry and thirsty soul – it is You, Jesus. I cannot take ownership of the process that you created and divinely instituted. I am called to love. Let me love every unfinished work in my life with the unconditional and faithful love that deposits new mercy and overflowing goodness in my life each day.

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

It looks like the table I have worked on so long will be finished today. God’s Word in my heart is to let it go. He is working all things together for this young woman as He promises to do for me as well. (Romans 8:28) This trust without borders things extends pretty far in our Christian walk as we sow seeds in every area of our life. When we choose to sow good seed in people, it is never wasted. There will be an Apollos down the road to water or maybe many more. The principle to hold on to, have faith in and find glory in is that God ALWAYS gives the increase. His Word will not return to Him void so if that is what you are sowing there will always be harvest down the road. Good seed will find its way through a furrowed, fertile heart so sometimes it is necessary to stumble or even fall to break a hard heart. Sometimes it takes a little darkness to find the Light of His Love. It is our union with Christ that gives us anything worthwhile to give. Sometimes I lose sight of the One who is doing the work focusing too much on what I am doing. My work is nothing without Jesus Christ.

Colossians 2:1-3(NLT) I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally. I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” These are the words in Revelation to the church of Laodicea. Paul “agonized” for these believers who were becoming lackadaisical about their ministry and calling to Christ. Lukewarm is the term used. As believers, it is our job to sow generously into the lives of other people. We are called to love them even when the work of God in them is not meeting our growth expectation. I am a planter. I am a waterer. From time to time, I am even a harvester. However, in all things – God is the increaser. Christ is the completer. I am only his servant. Nothing good can come from my life outside of Jesus Christ. God’s Power works through the more I am humbled by His Grace. People will pass through our life like seed falling through a farmer’s hand. It is up to me to plant the ones that need planting, water the thirsty and in all things trust the Lord for increase. Human nature would be to be weary in well doing when I do not see the outcome. To become tired of investing my time in people who just don’t seem to get it. To allow unmet expectation dissuade me from my purpose. Not today!

My prayer for all people who cross my path is this: “I want them to be encouraged and kit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.” I want them to discover “all the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge” that allow us to be complete lacking nothing in life. The Lord promises to perfect all that concerns me in Psalm 138:8. Today I entrust You, Lord with every unfinished work in my life. If it is in me, Lord I give myself back to You today for increase. Examine my life. Clean me up. Restore me. Lead me to the abundance and fulfillment hidden in my life. If the unfinished work is in others, forgive me for my bad attitude – Lord of the Harvest – increase their faith, hope and love today.

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

Just Look Up

Just Look Up

Psalm 121 (NLT) I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.  The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

Not too long ago, there was a viral video of a woman walking in the mall with her eyes fixed intently on her cellphone. As she continued on her way, obviously engrossed in a text conversation, she failed to see the fountain in her path and falls into it. Plunging into the water, she quickly jumps up and looks around to see if anyone noticed and heads on her way. I will admit that I have done the same thing minus the embarrassing fall. The phone flashes a notification so you glance at it drifting into the other lane. You get a text message at work that becomes a full-blown conversation. When I finally upgraded to a “smart” phone, I did a lot of dumb things with it. One of the most freeing came when I found that I got to choose the notifications in my settings. As I turned all of them off to only the most essential, I found that my phone was no longer a distraction. Only important text messages and relevant alerts now divert my attention from the task at hand. I can finally look up from my phone because it no longer has my full attention.

With proverbial hands raised, I ask before you begin to tell me all the reasons why your phone is essential. I know you use it for work. I know it keeps you in constant contact with your children. I get it. I am in the same boat. However, our cellphones can become our focus quite easily and we all know it. How many times are they on restaurant tables or worse both parties at the table paying no attention to each other but the brightly lit device in their hand? Guilty. This is not about cellphones. It can be anything that diverts our attention from what is important to what is the most enthralling. See every detail of my life is under God’s Complete Control when I give my heart and life to Jesus. He becomes my Shepherd. My life is now yoked to Him. He cares for me. Provides for me. Protects me. Leads me. Guides me. It would only seem prudent for me to look up and keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, right? Right…

Every single human being alive today has 24 hours in a day. We are free to choose how to invest those hours in our life. Busyness is our choice. We choose to go fast or slow. We decide what will consume the hours, minutes and seconds of our life. Who will you give it to today? Will it be fully invested in Christ allowing Him to make perfect use of it? Or will you decide to do it yourself…again? I am just as guilty as anyone else of letting other things take advantage of the time that God has given me in a day. However, when I hear myself say, “I am too busy” for this or that – it has become a red flag that I am no longer using my time wisely. God doesn’t create business. The Lord promises rest. Busyness is the product of disbelief, doubt, worry and fear or else that thing you are doing does not make you too busy but completely satisfied. Hold on for a moment…I have to fully digest that.

So back to the woman walking in the mall completely distracted and walking without looking, what would have happened if she was walking down a busy street and walked into traffic? Her slight tumble could have turned into a tragedy. I wonder if sometimes the Lord allows us to stumble a bit to avoid a complete fall. To challenge us to look up and see what He is doing rather than trying to do it all ourselves. Ouch! It is human nature to try to control our life rather than to relinquish it to the Lord. Jesus is still on the Throne. We just stray from it sometimes because of a lack of complete and absolute faith in His Love and/or Faithfulness. God can do it. But until it is our full understanding that the Lord will do ALL He promised in just the right time and wait for Him – well we will run around like chickens with our head cut off trying to reproduce God’s Way in our timing which always results in tired, worn out, frustrated Christians. Have you stumbled? Did you fall? Are you frustrated? Thinking about throwing the towel in? Well, just look up.

Proverbs 4:25-27 (NLT) Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.

The past is not a suitable future for God’s Children. Anything in our past worth having in our future will be placed there by the Lord. We do not have to look back or go back. It is just as dangerous as keeping our eyes down. We must look straight ahead. Fix our eyes on what lies before you. Distractions are the most dangerous strategy because life is paved with good intentions. Nobody who is of sound mind sets out to fall, fail or live a less than satisfied life. No the enemy starts throwing in substitutions and compromises that seem like suitable shortcuts and legitimate routes to God’s Best. When God already told us exactly what to do – keep our eyes on Jesus who is the Author and Finisher of Faith. Who better to show us the way to all He has for us then the One who gave it to us?

Matthew 6:22-23 (NLT) “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!”

I am not going to lie to you. I love the filters on some of the social media applications. They hide the lines marking my age and smooth out my wrinkles. Some will even add some extra touches to my makeup making the girl in the picture much better in appearance then the one in real life… or so I think. The new image is sent out for all to see but what really matters is not in one’s appearance but in the intent and motives of my heart. Is my heart completely in line with the Lord? Does it beat in rhythm to Jesus Christ? My eyes give light to the place where my heart and soul are hidden. I must be extremely careful to filter the light that I allow into my being. Some things may seem good and harmless but eat away at my heart and soul. Faith is my potential. It is pivotal to my purpose. To think that anything is more important that Jesus Christ will erode the foundation laid carefully in my heart and quickly overshadow my soul until nothing can grow and mature into the harvest that I am promised.

Two quick examples would be Abraham and Jacob. When Abraham made it to the mountain fully prepared to sacrifice his only son to the Lord as God required, the Lord told him to “look up”. What did he see? A ram caught in a thicket. God provided for him in that moment. (Genesis 22) It would have been missed and his son forever lost if he had not obeyed the Lord’s Directive. The other is Jacob who after years of serving Laban realized the treachery of his uncle. He had tricked Jacob into marrying Leah requiring another stint of service for his true love, Rachel. He complies and marries both women and the Lord blesses him with many children. The unfair treatment weighs heavy on his heart, but the Lord says “look up” from your pity party. What does he see? The Lord had made him quite wealthy showing him great favor through his years of captive service. (Genesis 31) What if your situation currently is not what you think? What if your head is hanging low like Abraham? Or you are looking at everyone else and your situation like Jacob? What if you just need to look up to see your help is right before you? The Lord never left you. He has provided for you, protected you and now is persuading you to look up and see He is right there!

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 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.

Jesus is our champion. He makes us feel like winners. He gives us victory. Opening the door called Triumph to those who are willing to walk through it. I will never “see” these things if I fail to change my perspective in life. The perception of my heart most productive is faith. Jesus is the Author and Finisher of it. He is my champion who gives me the opportunity to live in victory each day. Do I look to win? Or just get by? Am I after God’s Best or willing to settle for a substitute? God has promised me many things. Jesus Christ offers me a rich and satisfying life. What has my attention holds the keys to my future? I want Jesus to be my future. I must look up today from all the things that are demanding my attention. I must control the timeclock of my life and parcel it out as the Lord leads me. This is my life. I choose to spend it wisely on seeking the One who pursues me with Unfailing Love and Overwhelming Goodness. The only thing required of me is to look up and fix my eyes on Jesus. What if the Lord is doing just as He promised? What if everything is coming together but just don’t notice? What if our busyness is robbing us of rest and stealing our joy that His Love and Mercy are providing every day? What if all we need to do is look up? Turn your eyes upon Jesus today. Let the Light of His Glory and Grace fill you with new hope and peace. Let His Love fill you and illuminate His Presence so you will know with confidence that it is well with my soul!

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

Overwhelm Me

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Isaiah 61:10 (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.

Life can be overwhelming. Circumstances, conditions and even change can overcome our mind, run rampant through our emotions, and stir up anxious thoughts and feelings. I would rather face an issue in my body then to deal with my mind. Sickness in our body, in my opinion, is much easier to overcome than weakness in our mind holding us captive in our mind, will or emotions. Physical ailments are one thing, but mental impairment is twice as debilitating. Our spirit, mind and body must work together in our pursuit of Christ and all that He promises, but it is our flesh that fights for its life. It is our will that refuses submission and clings to stubbornness. There will always be things that overwhelm us in this life. We choose who holds us captive. Will I live in bondage to negative thinking and limited vision or will I be captivated in the inconceivable yet always perceivable love of God? Lord, overwhelm me with Your Love today!

2 Corinthians 4:7-8(NLT) We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.

The pressures of life are inevitable. There will always be something attempting to weigh you down, block your path, pull you back or divert you altogether. The enemy is relentlessly and ruthlessly attempting to quench that tiny fire burning inside you. He wants to make sure that it does not become a bright and shining light representing God’s Love, Goodness and Faithfulness that will lead others from the dark and dying places in the world. He is after that seed of faith. If he can just pluck it out of you or maybe overcome the Word in you with the weeds of problems, troubles or trials – you will stop this foolishness called faith, hope and love.

The word “overwhelm” means to load, heap, treat or address with an overpowering or excess of anything. The word itself is not negative. How one responds to it determines the meaning? How do you respond to pressure in life? Do you press in? Do you give in? There will always be pressure. There will always be something that is trying to overwhelm you. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed! We have the freedom to choose that which overwhelms us today! Will it be the great load of temporary things that threaten us in this moment or will it be God’s Faithful and Abiding Love that is greater than death and the grave? Will it be the sufficiency of His Amazing Grace that empowers me when I am weak and flailing? There will always be a “master” in our life. Jesus gives us the right called freedom to choose who it will be. I choose the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! How about you?

Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT) I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Generally, it is not the problem that brings the pressure but our perception of the problem. Have you ever looked in the side mirror of the car? There are words written on it that warn us – “OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR.” We look back rather than looking ahead. Our focus should be on the future but the past is bearing down on us. It seems like the enemy is hot on our heels. Out of breath. Losing hope. Wondering if today is the day. Will I fall? Will I fail? Oh Lord, I am so overwhelmed! The Lord says to us today, “Look again!”

Psalm 23:4-6 (NLT) Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

What if that “thing” you think is after you is really the Lord? Is it Him who is the one pursuing you and positioning you for an outpouring of His Goodness and Unfailing Love? When I was in fifth grade, I had an unwanted suitor. He would taunt me at the bus stop at school every afternoon. Rocking back and forth poised on his bike. He would push me to run away threatening me with the most heinous and horrendous threat – a kiss. I didn’t want to kiss him. I didn’t want him to kiss me. He would chase me around in circles until a teacher came along or the bus arrived. One kiss – it was harmless but to an unsuspecting child an unwanted advance. Fast forward forty years to now, I will chase my husband around or let him catch me just to steal a quick kiss. It is all about perception. It is all about possibility. What if the seemingly impossible situation is just a divine set up for the Lord to catch us and keep us just a little closer? After all, His People are His Bride. His Heart longs to connect with us. His Spirit to remain intimately acquainted with our soul. Jesus is pursuing you and me with His Goodness and Unfailing Love.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NLT) We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 

We are human. I wish for just a moment even the strongest Christian would be transparent enough to admit this is true. Everyone sins and falls short of God’s Glorious Standard every single day. The message of the Gospel is not good news that sin is completely extracted from us making us flawlessly perfection but that in our absolute and complete imperfection that His Grace is enough to cover me in His Love. We must use God’s Mightiest Weapons to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and destroy all the false arguments arising between humans. All humans. All people. God desires every single one who He created. Jesus died for them just like you and me. The Spirit of the Lord full of His Faithfulness, Goodness and Unfailing Love is after them equally. We must destroy every prideful obstacle IN US until our complete and total focus is on Jesus Christ. We must capture the religious and rebellious thoughts that give us some kind of superiority. The truth is that I fail in my attempts to be faithful every day, but God never fails at being faithful. In fact, He overwhelms me with His Love and Commitment to me even when I fall, fail or quit.

No matter how hard I try, I will mess something up today when it comes to my good fight of faith. (Romans 7) I will find myself off shadowboxing rather than doing what I know to do and resting in the Peace that God has offered me. Like a toy – wound too tightly – bumping into the wall with wheels still spinning but getting nowhere at all, I will get distracted and caught up in temporary troubles or momentary weakness. I am human. So are you? The true character of Christ is His Love. The identity of God is He is love. Love is the challenge that I am given. To accept His Love and then distribute it throughout the world. This is a far cry from religion, but a genuine invitation to a real relationship with the Living God. Obedience to Christ is not in one’s ability not to sin. It is in my ability to love the Lord and His People. It is that simple even though we make it so hard. It begins with allowing God to overwhelm the strongholds in our mind. Releasing us from every fear, doubt and insecurity and drowning us in His Love. This is what allows us to become real light in this world. The kind of light that attracts others to Jesus rather than driving them farther apart.

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

Despite all these things, every situation, problem, people, trial or circumstance, overwhelming victory belongs to me. I win. No matter what the weapon is I am victorious. I believe it. Do you? The Power of God is made available to me by His Grace. His Love provides all the grace that I need to endure this life. He has made us more than conquerors. If I find my place in Christ, I will never now the agony of defeat again. I will always have the opportunity for the impossible to be made possible in my life. It is all according to what I believe, and my ability to hold on to that hope.

There is absolutely nothing in heaven or on earth that can or will every separate me from the Love of God. Nothing. No sin. No shame. No regret. Nothing in my past. Nothing in the present. Nothing in the future. Even if I wander off or wonder more, God is still pursuing me with His Unfailing, Unconditional Love. So today if a care or concern begins to overwhelm you, overwhelm it instead. Tell it what the Word of God says about. Remind the enemy who your Daddy is. Take captive every single thought that is contradictory to God’s Word and hold it subject to His Promises. Praise, praise and praise some more. Protect that little light inside you until it burns passionately. Fan the flames until the whole world can see it burning again. The Spirit of the Living God lives in you and me, too. Every detail in our life works for our good and His Glory according to His Plan that is unfolding. We must only wait and watch because God will make it happen for those who believe. Let your mind be totally overcome and your heart fully apprehended by the Love of God today. Nothing can ever separate us from Him or snatch us from the folds of His Mighty Hand. His Love is overwhelming. Lord, wash over me today and overwhelm again with Your Amazing Love.

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

Life in the Light

life-in-the-light

Psalm 84:10-12 (NLT) A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.

According to The American Heritage Science Dictionary, “our living language” is photosynthesis. Almost all life on earth depends on food made by organisms that can perform photosynthesis. These organisms make carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water using light energy from the sun. The energy is captured from different wavelengths of light once absorbed facilitate the process. As a plant reacts to the light, it will use the energy to break down water molecules into oxygen, hydrogen and electrons. This is called cellular respiration. Cellular respiration refers to the metabolic reactions that produce energy. All living creatures must have successful cellular respiration to live. Our blood operates on a similar system.

Although never much of a science fan, I managed retain the process called photosynthesis maybe to use in this reference. Thinking about this process, I wondered if people needed the light in similar fashion as plants, algae and bacteria, etc. Sure enough, science adds humans to the list as well. Plants produce the oxygen used in human respiration. Vitamin D from the sun is needed to absorb calcium for healthy bones. Light allows us to see as it reflects in our eyes. It allows us to differentiate color. Scientists now believe without life there would be no you. Not to mention if there were no sun, the earth would be very cold and uninhabitable. If we do not agree on another point, it is safe to say that everyone concurs that human beings need sunlight to survive.

Genesis 1:1-4 (NLT) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.  Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness.

The creation of light was the first recorded words of God, “Let there be light.” There was light. The first miracle recording if you will but nevertheless important even if was only God and His Spirit that witnessed it. God spoke and something happened. Light is important to all growth naturally and spiritually in life. God also thought it important to separate light and darkness. He called the light “good”. There is a clear line drawn in the Word of God between darkness and light. It bears noting. It is worth remembering. As we sow and reap in life, the light is important. It is necessary to grow things in our life. It is essential and the one thing that science and theology agree on. Not necessarily where light originate but that it is vital to growth and survival.

The Lord God is our sun. When a seed is planted into fertile soil and then nurtured, it dies to former state and begins to grow upward. What is it looking for? Light. Even potatoes that grow under the ground, produce leaves above the ground to absorb the sunlight and facilitate photosynthesis. What about seeds sown in the human heart? Do we need the Light to survive? Of course, we do. Light is representative of Jesus Christ. To sow naturally, sun produces a process of cellular respiration that repeats itself. It releases energy or growth potential in every cell of the organism using it to perpetuate life. In spiritual sowing, the Son is the Light vital to producing a new life and making us the new creations that He promised. As we die to self, the Light of His Love becomes our life source.

John 3:19-21 (NLT) And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

Judgment, ultimately life or death, is determined by this one thing. God’s Light came into the world. His Name is Jesus Christ. People loved the darkness more than the Light. Those who do what is right come to the Light so others can see that they are doing what God wants. Well, there you have it. No splitting hairs or gray areas, just two distinctive choices. Do I live in the Light of God’s Love? Do I prefer darkness and sin? No one can achieve a sinless state. Grace is sufficient for the removal of sin and recreation of our life in Christ. There is no possible way to earn the Gift of Eternal Life. We must choose to live in the Presence of God and the Person of Jesus Christ.

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

The seed planted in our heart is salvation. The saving knowledge of Jesus Christ that starts a process deep under the thick layers of our hard heart breaking new ground. The Holy Spirit waters the Word in our heart enabling it grow within in us. As the Word of God grows roots, it seeks the Light more and more. Faith is convinced that the Light that cannot be seen is worth having so it pushes through the touch spots, dry seasons, and hopeless situations to find more of His Light. The Light is the Presence of God. In order to grow deep roots in Jesus Christ, it must be our full motivation in life.

A plant in a pot is limited to the size of its container. The roots cannot grow beyond the barrier of the pot. It is subject to those who move it around. Others must water it, or give it access to sunlight. If forgotten in the cold, it becomes subject to the natural elements. However, a plant in the ground can grow according to its conditions. The roots are deeper and more secure. It can change according to the seasons. The rain will water it. The sun shines on it. It will grow under the right conditions far larger and stronger than the plant limited to a pot.

You are a new creation. When you decided to love the Light more than darkness, you planted yourself in Jesus Christ. This is not salvation. Salvation is the seed of change. It must be planted in the person of Jesus Christ to have unlimited potential including a future and hope. This is the decision to call Jesus our Lord. No longer calling on Him to come to us, our life is committed to allowing our roots to grow down in Him. To let our lives be built on Him. Our faith will grow as the Truth rises up within us. Christ is the fullness of God available to us when we are committed to life in His Presence. This is not a religious practice, but to pursue a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Psalm 37:5-7 (NLT) Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.

I am completed by my union with Jesus Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. My union with Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, is essential to spiritual productivity in my life. I must believe that He is the head over every ruler, authority and power. Faith releases trust just as photosynthesis releases oxygen. A plant takes carbon dioxide, the waste of human respiration, using it to produce oxygen which is vital to the survival of all living things. Every cell of a plant must be committed to this process for it to survive. Every cell of the human body must participate in respiration to live. However, our body is still born dying. It is spiritual resuscitation that produces future and hope that delivers us from the natural to become supernatural. It requires commitment to be still in the Presence of the Lord rather than running back and forth into and out of the darkness. We must wait patiently while God through Jesus Christ with the help of the Holy Spirit grows spiritual fruit within us. If a farmer continually plants seeds, digs them up and replants them somewhere else because they failed to grow overnight, he will never have a harvest. To reap requires waiting, watching and believing. Are you willing to wait? It is a must in all growth processes even with God.

John 1:1-5 (NLT) In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

Still not convinced? Many believe that the sufficiency of grace allows them to conduct business as usual, but are quickly discouraged when their life does not yield the fruit and favor of God’s Word. You reap what you sow. Sowing God’s Word in our heart without seeking to live in His Presence is to commit robbery. It defies the very law of sowing and reaping. You are planting seeds of faith without a desire or taste for spiritual fruit. We can thank the prosperity gospel and its false teachers for this problem in the church.

Let’s go back to the beginning, in Genesis God, His Spirit and His Word existed. In John 1, they are clearly defined. The Word existed in Genesis 1. The Word was with God, part of God, and in God. God created everything through His Word. The Word gave life to everything. “His” life brought light to everyone. “His” now the word is personified and no longer just a noun. It has taken on a form. The Light shines in the darkness.

John 1:10-14 (NLT) He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

The Word is Jesus Christ. His Presence is all that is needed to become complete lacking no good thing in our life. He was from the beginning. He is the One through which everything and will be in the End. Our life begins and ends in Christ alone. If we do not understand the importance of light in our life and choose to live in it, we choose darkness. Church participation is not required but it enhances our knowledge and allows us to share the Light of His Love with others. Grace is sufficient. Like photosynthesis, every dead thing in our life submitted to Christ and nailed to the Cross will be exchanged for something better even our good. Every detail is subject to change in the Presence of God basking in the Light of His Love. We are free to choose our dwelling place. The Presence of God requires faith, trust, commitment and new mercy every day. Those who choose such a life and devote themselves to living in His Presence will experience God’s Glory.

Ephesians 5:8-14 (NLT) For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.  It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

Galatians 6:7 tells us,Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.” This is not meant to be a threat but it is a biblical Truth to be considered. Every day our life is filled with seeds that are planted for the next day, next year, or coming season. We must carefully consider the seeds sown in our life each day. The Light of His Love in us will cause all seeds to grow because it was ordained by God. The Word never ever contradicts itself. Choices are seeds planted today that yield consequences tomorrow. The end of consequence is to plant and harvest better choices. God will make good every detail of our life but will never interrupt the process of sowing and reaping in our life. It is important to plant the Word in our heart each day, to ask for His Spirit to show us any way that is offensive to God or contradictory to His Plan and act accordingly. Presence is only available by faith through the Grace of Jesus Christ. If I am not “in” Christ, I cannot make my way into the Presence of God. I need the Light of His Love and I desire His Glory to fill my life therefore I must leave darkness behind and do my very best to avoid sin out of love and respect for my Lord, Jesus Christ.

Jesus went to the Cross bearing the weight of our sin and shame. He took the stripes required for our healing. He has all power and authority over death and the grace. The Light of His Love shines for all who choose to enter. It is only in His Presence that change is possible. We choose each day what and where we plant the seeds of potential for our life. If faith is our choice it will always require planting without seeing the product but believing and trusting it will come. This is the hope that anchors our soul like giant roots holding us in the Presence of God until His Power reaches us. No plant can live without sunlight. No person can live without the Light of His Love.

Revelation 22:1-5 (NLT) Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.

Merry and Bright

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Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT) “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”

The holiday crush is on. Busyness and rushing around is inevitable. Planning and preparation in full swing. My daughter and I went to a store yesterday to pick out some new Christmas decorations. The place was a wreck. Deep discounts created a feeding frenzy with garland, ornaments and ribbon everywhere – kind of made me think of Santa’s Workshop on December 26th. You could not navigate the buggy through the place. Shameful. One more stop on the way home to another home store was much nicer. This store was dimly lit. The aroma of cinnamon and apples wafting through the air. No hurry just people strolling and browsing. When the clerk asked one group of ladies if she could assist them, they replied, “We just stopped because it was so pretty and inviting when we drove by and saw the warm lights.” Hmmm. Made me think…

People put a great deal of effort and money into Christmas. Creating the perfect holiday is really what they are after with memories to match. The stress and pressure of perfection robs of us the joy of Christmas so often. The need to perform and produce mounds of gifts causes great anxiety. Schedules overfilled and routine completely shattered, it is easy to become overwhelmed. In all our busyness, even as Christians who insist on “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays”, I wonder if in all the form and fashion – our light goes out. The Christmas pageant and production with all its extravagance means nothing if it does not project the Light of God’s Love to all those who come searching sitting in the crowd. We need the Light. We are carriers of His Light. We must learn to make this Christmas merry and bright or miss it altogether.

2 Corinthians 4:3-6 (NLT) If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

Jesus tells me, in Matthew 5, that I am the Light of the world. See it. “You are the Light of the world.” Got it. Or do I truly understand the origin or importance of the Light that God has given me along with His Grace. I must know the Light to appreciate what I have and effectively express it to other people The Gospel is no good without the light. It becomes do as I say not as I do which we all know never works on people. Just saying.

We are first introduced to light in Genesis 1 the first few moments of existence that we are privy to thanks to God’s Word. The earth was formless and empty. It was covered in darkness over deep waters. The Spirit of God (Jesus) hovered over the water. The God said, “Let there be light.” There was light and the light was good. Jesus illuminated the world at God’s Command. God was pleased.

Moving into the New Testament, God has sent His Son to redeem His People. At the baptism of Jesus, the skies opened and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove so people could see that this indeed was God’s Son… the Messiah. (Matthew 3) Anyone who spent any time in church can usually recite John 3:16, “For God so loved the world: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” Woo Hoo! We are saved. We win. My life will be perfect because my Savior has come…but wait there is more. Jesus did not come to judge us but that we may be saved through Him. Okay, I get that commence celebration again. No wait…keep reading there is more.

John 3:18-21 (NLT) “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.

Jesus is the reason for the season. I am sure every believer concurs with this familiar sentiment. However, there is a house in our neighborhood with a sign in their yard with this slogan on it. Nothing more. Nothing less. There is no Christmas tree by the window. Not a string of lights on a limb. The porch light of the house is off and all the blinds closed. No light just a yard sign stuck in the ground. Now I do not know the situation or the traditions of the family who live there and I am certainly not challenging anyone’s convictions, but here is what I am saying: We are the Light of the world. Have we our lights go out? God’s Light came into the world. His Name is Jesus. He did not come to judge or to condemn but make a Way to the Father. He did that and then put the Light that lives in Him in us to light the way for others. The merry message of this season is not “turn or burn” but come and see what the Lord has done for me.

Can we keep it simple? My mission in this life is to be light. Jesus illuminated unconditional love and never ending grace for those who flock to the Light. Is my light even shining? Is it the Light of His Love? Our “good deeds” should relay the Truth of God’s Love who was present in the beginning and filled this world with light. The One who came down as a baby born in a manager to bring hope to the hopeless and ignite the Light of God’s Love in our hearts. Jesus was quite frank when He said, “I am the Light of the world.” (John 8:12) He told us that we are the light of the world as His Followers. When Jesus was transformed during his transfiguration, He was covered in bright light. Our flesh covers a light that attracts others to God’s Love. Can we take a moment to get us out of the way so the Light makes its way to the darkness?

There is no question that a momentary experience with Christ can change everything. Just ask Paul who as Saul encountered a bright light from Heaven. When he asked who was speaking, the voice said, “Jesus.” Do not every downplay the power of the Light that lives in you but strive to let it emanate from your life. Perfect Christmas’s should be merry and bright. The Light of His Love is the brightest light of all.

2 Corinthians 4:7 (NLT) We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

Our family missed out on adopting a family for Christmas this year. When the opportunity to take some children who had not received anything came about – I was ecstatic that God allowed us to participate. I love to give. It is my favorite part of Christmas though this has not always been my favorite time of year. I struggled with Christmas for many years for many reasons. Not the meaning of Christmas, of course not. Some may be able to relate, as a child it was a power struggle between parents. A stressful time of having Christmas and dinner at one house and then at noon doing it all again which to a child of divorce only exemplifies the painful stress of loving two parents who don’t love each other. So when my own children were born, I became militant about staying at home for Christmas. I became overwrought with doing all the “things” and making all the “traditions” to make it like a Christmas card. I hated decorating our house, putting up the tree, planning the menus, organizing events and all the parts of making it a successful holiday season. The only part I truly enjoyed was giving. Can you relate?

For some Christmas only makes the loneliness and depression they live in more prominent. Others become anxious in their inability to meet the expectations of others. I could go on and on. Yet a whole lot of people pretend it is the most wonderful time of the year when deep down inside they are only enduring its passage.

The light given to us is placed in fragile clay jars. God knows what we are made of for He is after all our Creator. He put the Light of His Love into broken vessels so it could make its way into a waiting and watching world. The same place that is filled with darkness and death. You are the Light of His Love. I am the Light of His Love. We are the Light of the World. What if for a moment our mission became uniting as one light and making this season merry and bright together. Admitting that our flaws and weaknesses are real but sharing the Message of Love and Grace that has been given.

John 12:35-36 (NLT) Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.”

Do you trust in the Light of His Love today? Do you trust it enough to let Him change your holiday tradition into a Christmas Experience? Tear up the list. Stop fussing over the tree. It doesn’t matter if there is one light or a whole strand out on the house. He says, “Come to me all who weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest.” Jesus wants to ignite a spark in your heart today so that we can have a merry and bright Christmas. It doesn’t matter if the Christmas play is not perfect. Truthfully it is all the mistakes and miscues that keep it real. What would happen if rather than trying to make Christmas perfect, we focused on the One who perfected it? Jesus is the reason for this season. He is the only one who really matters. What difference does it make if we create the perfect Christmas but do not experience the Living Light that is within us trying to make His Way out of us so others will come to know our Savior, too?

Like our neighbor with the simple statement posted in their yard, what good is the Truth without the Light that comes with it. I can tell people that God loves them. I can even tell them all the ways that He has blessed me. But until I become like the Light and immerse my words in the Light of love and good deeds, the words continue to fall on cold, untrusting hearts. The Light of His Love is the warmth that melts hard hearts and attracts weary souls. We must walk in the Light even when it makes us a little uncomfortable. Through us, Jesus will make this season merry and bright for those who we choose to share the Light of His Love with and in the process will change our hearts and minds, too. Lord, make my light shine before others so they will experience the Light of Your Love today, too.

John 8:12 (NLT) Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

Always Light

always-light

John 8:12 (NLT) Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

We all need a little sunshine in our life. No really, according to scientific and medical studies the human body needs the sun. It is vital to the production of vitamin D in the body. However, over the last several years with the sudden awareness of skin cancer the question is raised do we need the light or not? We do. In fact, the proper production of vitamin D is a cancer-fighter. It prevents the overproduction of cells that form certain slow-growing tumors. It is essential in the development of strong bones. A whopping 90% of our vitamin D comes from light in this world.

Light is also necessary to promote good mental health as well. Light is the very thing that keeps us in sync with the earth around us. Our biologic clock thrives on it. This is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hormone control center of the brain in the hypothalamus. When light enters our eye, it activates the control center and reduces the melatonin produced so we wake up. It also releases a variety of body functions including other hormones as well as affecting body temperature. God created us to live in sync with the light. It also impacts our emotional well-being as in the long, dark winter when depression and melancholy is notably higher. How do we keep the proper amount of light in our life?

Jesus said if you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness because you will have the light that leads to life. Funny, how God does things sometimes isn’t it? We need sunlight to live a healthy life body, mind and spirit. We need Jesus, the Light of the world, to thrive in our body, mind and spirit. The Word of God once again reminding us that all of creation points to God and His Son. There is always light. We do not always seek to walk in it. This is true naturally and spiritually.

John 1:6-12 (NLT)  God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.

The Light of God’s Love is for everyone. God shines His Light on all mankind. He sends rain to the just and unjust. The message of the Gospel is for everyone but not everyone will choose it for themselves. Jesus is the One who is true light. This world is full of artificial light fueled by false prophets, false teachers, and full of religious doctrine. Light is not a complex endeavor. The sun rises each day. We have the opportunity to pursue it or hide from it. He gives us new mercy each day to do away with the darkness and step into the Light of His Love completely. Will we do it? Well not that is up to you? To believe and accept the Light of God’s Love, His Son Jesus, gives us the right to become the Children of God.

 

John 3:18-21 (NLT) “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

 

May I be so bold as to simplify the Gospel for you today? God sent His One and Only Son, Jesus to save a dying people. He sent Him clothed in Light. The people had one task in this endeavor. Will I choose the Light? Or remain in the dark? Why oh why do we make our choice in God so complex? God offers us light or darkness. Blessing or cursing. Life or death. It is not about anything or anyone else in this world. Family, friends, coworkers or brothers and sisters in God do not matter. It is the moment when you awaken and the sun (Son) is shining on your face. It is that second that you decide to live to know Him today. To trust Him for the next 24 hours. To soak Jesus in body, mind and spirit. To avoid sin so that no darkness may come close to that Light. Do you love the Light of God today that shines in your every moment? If I do not experience the Light of His Love in every single second of my existence, it is not because Jesus is not shining on me but rather those times that I chose the darkness instead. This is the only time that judgment comes close to me.

So often church becomes a circus filled with smoke and mirrors, elaborate productions, and trick pony shows. God doesn’t want all that. Jesus is the Light of the world. Just as the sun would be sorely missed, do we miss Him from our homes and churches? Have I become comfortable in the dark and stopped pursuing the Light? I was sitting in a youth service a few months back. The sanctuary lights were very low. It is how the young people seem to like them. A mighty saint of God leaned over and said, “Why are the lights off?” I didn’t think much about it. But now I wonder…has the church begun to let the darkness into our sanctuaries again? Do we lower the lights because others are comfortable in the dark? Have we stopped sharing the message of One True Light because it might expose the darkness hidden within? Why not live openly in the Light again? Lord, show us the places that I have drifted into darkness? Shine the Light of Your Love on my life, in my home, at my job and in my church chasing away any and all darkness that may be hidden there. I want the Light of Your Love always and forever to shine in my life, on me, for me, and through me until it shines forth from me as you intended.

John 12:35-36 (NLT) Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.”

Whatever time of day it is for you right now is the perfect time to reconnect with the Light of this world? To look into the corners and crevices of the heart and mind to remove any darkness that may be hidden there. Here’s a hint: light always overcomes darkness. Don’t believe me. Walk into a dark room and turn on the light. See darkness flees from the light. Get in that prayer closet and invite the Lord to permeate your life with His Light again. Open the door to your heart and window of your mind to let His Light shine inside of you. It will change your perspective completely. Guilt, shame, and remorse cannot live in the Light of His Love. Fear, doubt, insecurities and depression are washed away when bathed in His Light.

When we learn to trust God’s Love enough to walk in it every single day, our natural life will be changed for the better. Our spiritual life will begin to grow. We will one day live in His Light forever. We do not have forever. This world will one day pass away and the sun will go with it. Only Jesus the Light of the World will shine forever. Our message to the world must shine from us rather than becoming simply lip service…“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-15) This little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.

Revelation 21:22-24 (NLT)  I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory.

Ready to Move

Ready to Move

John 15:9-11 (NKJV)

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My Love. If you keep My Commandments, you will abide in My Love, just as I have kept My Father’s Commandments and abide in His Love. These things I have spoken to you, that My Joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

 

We are moving. The house is not for sale yet. A new location not secured. I know in my heart that the Lord is moving our family to a new place, new season, and new thing. I trust the Lord. Even though nothing is certain yet, I can feel the stirring of change in my heart and the need for fulfillment. It has happened before. When it was time to leave my career with the school system, before another offer had been presented or a new position found, I began cleaning out my office. In my heart, I felt the tiny hooks of responsibility give way to sweet release. God prepares us to move. He knows our hearts. The Lord understands our need for comfort and security. Yet, to live in the Presence of God will always require trust. Faith is what we know about the Lord and not what we see. Hope is fostered and matured by faith but if you can visualize it naturally – there is no need to hope for it. Hope is the confidence and full assurance that God’s Word is true and active in our life. It motivates us to respond to His Word rather than the events around us.

 

If you were to take a long hard look at our circumstances, life is pretty good. We both have short commutes to work. Our house is exactly what we dreamed of and prayed for. It has grown larger with each bird that has flown from the nest. It is comfortable. It is ours. We know how to live here. We know the schedule and routine. Waste collection on Monday. Yard trash every other Thursday. Mailman just after lunch and Fed Ex all the time. We have lived here more than ten years. Why move? The Lord has laid it on our heart. He is preparing and pressing us for change. Our commutes will double. Everything will be new. It will require change. Showing our house which means keeping it ready at all times on high alert. Not a challenge? I have two teenage daughters make a bedroom and bathroom look like the aftermath of Armageddon shortly after awakening each day. Not to mention, two little dogs who believe that run things and will yap incessantly at the slightest sound or movement. Yet, in all of this a soft, gentle whisper says, “It’s time to go!”

 

Abide. Yes, this is the word for the day. I am a lover of His Presence. The Peace and Joy that prevail in our home is born of His Spirit. I give God all the glory and honor for this family and its means of survival. We have done more than that here. Learning to thrive. It is time to go with God. Move with His Calling. Following His Lead. Stepping out of comfort to “where His Name abides”. Hold right here. To abide means remain, continue and stay. To dwell. To continue in a particular condition, attitude and relationship. To wait. To accept without opposition or question. To submit to. To comply. Abiding in the Lord is obedience. It is to offer our lives to Jesus even when we must move with the Lord and go where He goes.

 

John 14:1-3 (NKJV)

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

Jesus went to prepare a place of us. The place prepared is called righteousness. It is the foundation of faith that allows us to believe AND receive the Lord’s Promises. Grace is not a provisionary endorsement that adds to our love covenant with God but the attachment. We can abide in God’s Love because Jesus handed us the keys to the kingdom. In doing so, when we walk by faith and not by sight using those keys of spiritual power and authority, it is possible to open the impossible making it a reality in our life today. I have seen the impossible happen. I know that miracles still happen. I believe more in what I cannot see than anything I can see. This perspective is only possible when we abide in His Love. Live in it. Dwell there. But right standing with God has a requirement – the absence of sin, obedience and submission of our life to His Kingdom. Grace didn’t change that. It just made it a beneficial and prosperous position again.

 

When I began to study the Word of God today – I searched for passages with the word “abide” in them. I came across four passages in Deuteronomy with the words “where His Name abides”. It caught my attention. I find that in our relationship with the Lord from the beginning it is evident that there is only one way. We can try to change it or map out a new direction for holiness but there is already a Highway to Holiness. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father (God) except by the Son (Jesus). It is plain. We make it complicated and gray. Before Jesus died on the Cross for our sins, the Holy Spirit could not inhabit us. Sin would not allow it. It was in the perfect sacrifice of Jesus and the application of His Grace that now we have His Spirit. I am getting ahead of myself.

 

Back to the Old Testament, two things are mentioned to gain entrance to the place where “His Name abides”. Deuteronomy 12:10-11; 14:22-25; 16:5-8; and 26:1-3 – all discuss what to bring to the place where His Name abides. It all about offerings and obedience. If tithing and offerings offend you – please do not read these passages. The new-age, modern-day, spoon-fed religion requires nothing of us to rob the coffers and pillage the vaults of Heaven. We can plunder His Kingdom with no regard for His Beauty, Sovereignty or Righteousness. Wiping our feet on the white robes of righteousness to gain entrance in, stepping over the Blood not to offend, and avoiding the Cross as it is barbaric at best, there is a lie being mass produced that there is no requirement in taking up our Cross to follow Jesus. In fact, don’t worry about the Cross just come as you are, stay where you are, and do as you like. Well…it’s simply not true. God is not concerned with your money or your mess. The Lord desires our heart. He wants to prosper our soul. He has prepared a place for us where His Name abides. To enter this place will always require the Bloody Cross and repentance of sin. It will mean turning our life over to the Lord and trusting Him. We have been given the opportunity to live in the Presence of God and all things are possible in this place. Will we move our life to achieve it? You cannot move the lines of righteousness, change the rules of holiness and avoid obedience to prosper in the Lord. You must move your life into His Presence.

 

John 8:34-36 (NKJV)

 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

 

John 14:15-17 (NKJV)

 If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

 

It is time to move. I know it in my heart even though at times, I am still trying to wrap my head around it. The Holy Spirit is pressing and prodding me to step out in faith and live in the freedom offered in full obedience. That’s right, my obedience to God increases my boundaries and enlarges my borders as I step fully into the Light of His Love by faith in Him alone. I am not a slave in the House of God but a child of the Living God. Sin binds and restricts my life apart from Him. Each act of right standing and obedience to My Father yields dramatic, life-changing results. The Holy Spirit helps me find God’s Way and accompanies me when I move into it.

 

My husband asked me last night if I am sure. It will take me almost an hour to get to work. I am time-challenged as it is. No comments necessary, please. At first, I groaned on the inside because I am willing to admit promptness is a weakness. Our grown daughter who is married and living in another state does not embrace the notion of change. She calls this “her house” even though she has made another home. I understand that and it pulls at my mama heartstrings to take that from her. But our home is not this building, it is the place in us that Jesus lives and has changed so that together we have a home. Home is where the heart is. We plan on taking that with us and just leaving the shell that once housed our home behind. Jesus is in each one of us. He is what binds this family together with all our faults and imperfections into something cherished and beautiful. We must go where He leads to maintain this lifestyle in which we thrive.

 

John 12:45-47 (NKJV)

And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.  And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.

 

The Love of Jesus is a beacon. The Light of His Love draws us closer. Those who desire to live in the Light will leave darkness behind. But please understand that forced love is not love at all. Jesus invites us to abide, dwell and live in His Presence. He will never make us. He did not come to judge or condemn us so He doesn’t punish those who choose not to obey or offer their life to His Holy Inhabitation. He just continues to pursue them with His Grace, Mercy and Love. Consequences are produced by sin and cannot be changed or dismissed without repayment. His Grace is sufficient in our surrendered weakness. Otherwise, we are rejecting a new life with new outcomes in His Goodness, not because He is withholding, but simply because we chose something else.

 

With this in mind, what is the Lord telling you to do today? Are you avoiding it? Or fully embracing it by faith? Faith will always include the unseen, illogical and totally impossible. Hope is formed on these things. Trust is required to go deeper with God. To live fully and completely in His Presence demands obedience, needs offerings and requires obedience. Not out of obligation but respect. God will not lower His Standards for you. He only wants you to have His Very Best. The “fear” or to “respect” the Lord giving Him proper placement leads to life and full satisfaction. (Proverbs 19:23) It will always give us fulfillment. It will be a challenge. It will always be worth it.

 

Psalm 91:1-2 (NKJV)

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

 

I love Psalm 91. I also love Psalm 15. They both are all about living and abiding in the Presence of God. To know the depths of His Love and reside there changes our life. We are on the move to the place where His Name abides. When we prayed about getting a new car, yes, we prayed about getting a new car. I knew that when it was time that I would know immediately. The Holy Spirit would confirm it and we would know. Sure enough after months of searching, wandering car lots, doing research, an ad popped up for a shiny, new-to-me, Honda Pilot. When I saw it, I knew immediately that it was my car. There was not a doubt in my mind. We went to the dealership who told us another person had already begun the process of purchasing the car, but that we could essentially buy it out from under them. I knew God was giving me this car and I didn’t have to do anything underhanded or manipulative to have it. The next morning they called to let us know the time on the offer had expired and after multiple attempts to contact them it was clear the other party was no longer interested. The night before we had cleaned and prepared our old vehicle to trade in – by faith. The next day on the way to the dealership, the Suburban who had been so faithful and reliable became demon possessed and we almost didn’t make it there. I prayed all the way.

 

I share this to say that the Lord will give us His Word and show us what to do. We step out on faith to do it. It seems in that moment that natural circumstances start to rise up and all hell breaks loose around us. Of course, it does. The enemy does not want us to abide in God’s Love, experience His Goodness, or dwell in His Presence. This is where our heart becomes secure in Who He is not what He does. To experience the Power of His Presence and fulfillment of abiding in Christ, will change us forever. We will begin to take steps of faith that don’t make any sense but our need to move closer to our Lord makes it a lifetime pursuit. We cannot live apart from our Lord and Savior anymore. Obedience becomes faithfulness. Offerings become surrender. The “things” we once thought were so important become vessels to serve Him more. All those things we strive for, all those things we want to do, all those places we desire to go is all culminated in our need for fulfillment, longing for peace and desire for joy. These are found in His Presence. We can have all these “things” added to us when we desire His Kingdom, His Presence more than any “thing” else. (Matthew 6:33) We are moving. Not to a place, but rather deeper and closer to our Lord. It is obedience that takes us there. The offering of our life secures our place.

 

What has the Lord laid on your heart today? Where are you going? Are you ready to move?

 

Psalm 61:1-4 (NKJV)

Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your Tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your Wings.

King Jesus

King Jesus

Colossians 1:15-17 (NIV)

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 

King Jesus. We call Him Lord Jesus, but not King Jesus. Listening to a worship song called “Spirit Break Out” it says, “King Jesus You’re the Name we’re lifting high, Your Glory shaking up the earth and skies, revival we want to see Your Kingdom here, we want to see Your Kingdom here.” My mind grabbed hold of “King Jesus”. I mulled over it. I whispered it. It began to move from my thoughts to careful meditation as I continued to contemplate Jesus as our King. I have envisioned Him as a baby in a manger so fragile and small with the world set against Him from the start. I picture Him walking through the earth teaching, healing and delivering those who came in contact with our Lord. All the while, He was interrogated, plotted against and destined to die. How could anyone ever hurt such an innocent, well-doing man? Of course, there is the torture and abuse of the Cross as my Savior laid down His Life for me. All the blood from the beatings and the heavy burden of sin on His Shoulders yet when just one more came to Him hanging next to Jesus, He invited Him home. All the images are vivid and clear, but what about the one that labels Him King of kings. What if believers added this image to the many of their Savior and Lord calling Him, King Jesus? What would happen?

Jesus is the image of God. He is the firstborn of all creation makes Him the One who inherits. All things have been created “through” Him giving Him power over them. All things were created for Him which means that we belong to Him. He is before all things. He holds everything together. King Jesus presides over every throne, power, ruler or authority.” Stop and think about that for a minute. When we accept Jesus as our Savior and decide to make Him our Lord, we submit our life to King Jesus. This is not a powerless, helpless position but rather taking our human imperfection and weakness, surrendering it to Christ and in exchange, we have all of His Power and Authority. Still don’t get it…you will.

Revelation 17:13-14 (NIV)

They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.

The end gives us the picture of Jesus as King of kings. The enemy has one purpose to steal, kill and destroy God’s Kingdom. Every soul that he can overtake and cause to fall is his victory bringing him overwhelming joy. He relentlessly pursue those who will be the “called, chosen and faithful followers” roaring and seeking who he can cause to waver, give up and quit. Note: The Word of God says they “will give their power and authority to the beast.” Who will? Every single living, breathing human being that can be persuaded to. To good news is that the Lamb wins. He is triumphant in all things and will overpower the enemy and with Him will be “his called, chosen and faithful followers.” Those who do not give the power and authority of their life over to the enemy but delivers it into the Hands of King Jesus and leaves it there. We must live in allegiance to our King. (Romans 6:16-18)

We are living in the end times. I not suggested it to be so, I am telling you so. As the news lines up with prophecy and the Book of Revelation, one must choose a side and pick their battle. This is not a “turn-or-burn” message but a simple and straightforward statement. You have to pick a side. You are with King Jesus or you are not. There is not gray area. The lines of mediocrity drawn by modern ministry and radical religion are the pit where many will fall into a clever trap set by an enemy. You love the Light or live in darkness. (John 3:19-21) The verdict is in. You love Jesus or you don’t. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. Philippians 2:9-11 makes it plain. “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Jesus is our King. He has power and authority over all of creation so at some point, everyone will kneel before Him and confess that He is Lord. We decide beforehand if we are with Him or against Him.

I Corinthians 15:23-28 (NIV)

But each in turn: Christ, the first fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.  For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

 

I believe that Jesus is King of kings. I believe that the earth shakes and rumbles at the close proximity of our Lord. The last great push and revival are coming to make way for His Return. Many people I know are feeling a sense of urgency to step into the power and authority of Jesus Christ. We don’t live in it anymore but we can. Looking at the life of Jesus offers a clear potential of the power in us. Jesus did not struggle with “rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm.” (Ephesians 6:12) Not at all, when Jesus told a demon to come out of its victim, it came out. (Luke 4:35-36) Everyone who came into the Presence of Jesus Christ was healed, cured, and delivered of every infirmity and weakness. (Luke 6:17-19) We have been given the same power. (Luke 10:18-20) Where is that power being manifested in the Body of Christ today? Why is the church powerless over sin, darkness, demons, and disease? Perhaps, they have not fully accepted or perceived the picture of King Jesus! What is Jesus waiting for? Why doesn’t He just come back and take care of it?

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) The Lord is waiting on us. He is giving us time to pick a side and live there. He is sending His Grace, Mercy and Love in abundance so that His called and chosen will become faithful followers. What must I do to be that kind of follower? How can I experience God’s Power and Authority released in my everyday life? Jesus must become our King.

2 Corinthians 4:6-7 (NIV)

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (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.

We are fragile beings so whatever we have inside us and what we believe has a tendency to A out no matter how we try to hide it. There is purpose in us to live for the Glory of God. To shine as a beacon in the darkness of this world. It was never intended to be a weak and defenseless position. However, our abhorrence of the words “surrender” and “submission”. Jesus modeled these two things when as King of kings and Lord of lords, He knelt and washed the feet of His Disciples. (John 13:3-8) We are forsaking defeat, disappointment, disease and discouragement to become more than conquerors. (Romans 8:37) This is what we give up, surrender, and submit to Jesus. Under the Grace of God, we have power and overcome every obstacle in life. The authority that makes demons flee and darkness hide. However, a lack of submission and surrender to Christ obstructs the Power of God in us to make its way into the world around us. If only we could grab hold of the image of King Jesus. His Power and Authority provides a solution to every problem we have. Every barrier breaks at His Word. Strongholds tremble and fall beneath the Hand of God coming in defense of His Children. We are Children of the King. He will not let any weapon formed against us prosper. To have such power manifested on our behalf to the Glory of God requires leaving the darkness behind and surrendering our life at the Feet of Jesus.

Acts 4:32-35 (NIV)

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

The early church of believers understood who Jesus was and exercised His Power and Authority as God’s Grace was so powerfully at work in them. God’s Power and Authority is not to make our life easier. In fact, makes us a prime target of the enemy. However, the more of our life given to King Jesus the greater the overflow of His Power in our life. It means that no matter how impossible our situation or circumstances become that our faith in King Jesus and His Power and Authority make all things possible because we believe. To live what we believe means that we give our all for the Kingdom of God in service to our soon and coming King no matter how much or little we have. Giving our hearts for His Glory to become one in faith and purpose that the Kingdom will grow. There are so many in the valley of indecision. They do not know Who Jesus is or the power available in His Service. Do you?

Ephesians 3:16-21 (NIV)

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

My prayer for you today is that you will get just a glimpse of King Jesus. His Power and Authority is available to all who venture into His Presence. It is a lifestyle for those who choose to remain there. So many promises wrapped in His Unfailing Love and Great Grace entrusted to weak human beings is more than I can bare. God loves us so much that He gave His Son so that His Power could live in us and permeate through us to a dark and dying world. I want to be one of those called, chosen and faithful followers on the day that Lamb overcomes the enemy completely and finally. To do so, I must believe now that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. Bigger and stronger than any force coming against my life. I must place Him on the throne of my heart and fight my flesh to keep Him there. Then and only then will the last great revival come and the Power of God pour out over the Body of Christ again. The last great harvest begins with you and me deciding to live submitted and surrendered to King Jesus.

Jude 1:20-25 (NIV)

But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

 

Burning Inside

Burning Inside

Matthew 5:13-16 (NLT)

 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

I know better. I knew better when I did it from the first bite to the last. Actually I was in a moral dilemma before I went to the store and bought them that this may not be such a good idea. I already had been eating foods that did not agree with me throughout the day, but now to pile some chicken wings on top. I ate a salad with them hoping it would count even enjoying a piece of Hawaiian bread that I am quite certain is baked in Heaven thinking it would absorb some of the grease. Yeah, I knew better. I could feel my stomach begin to churn before I even left the table. Heading straight for the Tums, I ate three. Surely that would take care of it as I cleaned the kitchen. No, not so fast. I ate three more. I lost count after that as the churning to burning. My stomach was so hot I could feel it through my shirt (or at least I thought I could). I drank copious amounts of water hoping to put out the inferno raging inside my gut. The whole time thinking you knew better. Why do something so dumb? My sweet husband realizing my pain and listening to my groaning offered to go grab another antacid, but first I decided to get a medical opinion. I “googled” burning pain in stomach to see what the “experts” had to say. I found the answer.

Heading to the kitchen, rummaging through the cabinet, I found some baking soda. According to the Internet, a half of a teaspoon mixed in 4 ounces of water should stop the burning inside. Made sense since I learned in Home Economics in seventh grade to use it to put out a grease fire in the kitchen. Quickly mixing it in a small glass, I downed it like a cowboy taking a shot before a gunfight and waited. Glory Hallelujah! It worked! As the pain began to subside, I noticed a strong salty taste in my mouth. As my belly bubbled and popped, I read the ingredients on the box – “sodium bicarbonate”. Drained from the whole ordeal, firefighting is no joke. I went to bed. When I woke up, the same salty taste was in my mouth. So then I had to take it to Jesus, and find out what was up.

We are the salt of the earth. This does not mean that we are perfect but in the process of becoming so. This means that even when we know how to act or what to say that sometimes we do what we want to do anyway knowing it is not the best thing for us. Those who choose to be the salt of the earth or light on a hill must do something to right the wrong in their way or suffer the consequences. Not God’s Consequences, He is also ready to give us His Grace providing New Mercy each day for His Wandering Children. Consequences are the natural outcomes in life. I know that I am sensitive to grease laden, deep fried food. A few years back, I completely changed what I ate in order to stop taking antacids on an ongoing basis. Many nights sitting up to sleep because it felt like I was having a heart attack cured my need to overindulge in foods that clearly no longer agree with me. Young people enjoy those ironclad tummies while they still work. We cannot continue to do the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Loving and serving God is not and will never be an excuse to sin or not use good judgment. Preaching to me this morning…as I sit with a smoldering gut reminding me that I knew better and did it anyway.

Romans 7:21-25 (NLT)

I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

Working out one’s salvation is a daily process lived moment by moment. We are free to choose how we live and what we pursue. God will never force us to chase after righteousness. Jesus simply gave us the keys to open the door to the Kingdom of God. We must decide that it is indeed what we want and make the commitment to go after it. God will not make you give up sin to embrace His Goodness. I will continue to sin for the rest of my life. I will make mistakes along the way. Yet, I must still work daily to serve and satisfy my Savior and Lord if I love Him. Before you bustle in your seat or beg to disagree, just think of everything you do in a single day to gain the affection, affirmation and acceptance of other people. Why would it be appropriate to do less for the One who died to save your soul and give you forever? Just saying.

I love God’s Word with all my heart. It has led me to victory over and over again. The fight that we face is not a battle against the adversary but a war raging in our very soul. Our humanity does not want to die to self and take on Christ’s Identity. The power of the human mind is to convince us to do our own thing, live our own way, and say what we think rather than to submit our mind, will and emotions to the Holy Spirit for careful cultivation. The Holy Spirit produces certain fruits in our life – the last one listed is “self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23) but maybe that should be listed first as it would allow all the other fruits to flourish.

I Corinthians 10:23 (NLT)

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial.

 

I am allowed to do anything. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed! (John 8:36) Free indeed means that you have not given up one form of “slavery” for another. When we make Jesus the Lord of our life, it is an act of submission and surrender by choice. If you want all the benefits offered by salvation and through deliverance from sin and darkness, you must live in the Light of His Love. Why do we think logically about life but fail to see God’s Way differently? Like we can do anything, yet still expect better outcomes. For example, if I have a headache and there is ibuprofen in the cabinet, why wouldn’t I take a couple for relief? They are not illegal or toxic. Should I pray? Yes, of course. But if God has already given you a solution, why not try that first? Come on – don’t act like you don’t understand. We all do. God’s Way is not like our own. It is often uncomfortable and requires an effort to make the changes to necessary to have His Best according to His Word. We pray for the Lord to do things that His Word already tells us how to achieve because we do not want to do what He says in the first place. God is not a man. He does not lie or change His Mind. He doesn’t give trophies to everyone who shows up or participates. He gives it to the winners who overcome sin by TRYING to do what the Word of God says and relying on His Spirit for help. God is looking at our hearts today. He is looking for champions of faith who no matter how many times they have tried to follow Jesus but stumbled, fell down or wandered off course still try to love and serve Him every day. Your plight will be different than mine and everyone else you come in contact with. What matters is that you give your all to Jesus even when it’s hard or requires a little self-control. You cannot continue to do the same thing and expect different results even the world calls that insanity.

Proverbs 20:25 (NLT)

Don’t trap yourself by making a rash promise to God and only later counting the cost.

 

Our daughter, who recently married and moved away, and I were recently talking about healthy eating. They eat out quite a bit with their busy schedule. She expressed her objection to the fact that to eat healthy costs more than the “Dollar Menu” at McDonalds. It’s hard to make better choices when the unhealthy ones are way more economical on a fixed budget. This is true in our walk with Jesus Christ. To make better choices will cost us something rather resources, relationships or routines – there must be a change for better outcomes. It may be uncomfortable. We may not like it but if we want God’s Very Best it is going to happen.

James 3:11-13 (NLT)

Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring. If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.

Not too long ago, one of my girls started calling the other one “salty”. I finally asked her what she meant. “Salty” is an urban reference to someone who is “agitated or bitter” toward someone else. Don’t you love how the enemy will take something and twist it like that? The word “salty” if used in direct correlation in the Word of God would mean just the opposite. We use the “salt” of God’s Word and His Spirit to purify our mind, soul and body. It is that which neutralizes all bitterness and strife within us. We cannot draw fresh water from a salty spring, but if we are overcome by sin the only solution is to add a little salt. It certainly cured the burning inside my stomach last night. Today the message is clear in my mind and soul as well. The Lord wants to settle some things inside me today that have nothing to do with the physical issues in my life but everything to do with some spiritual issues in my heart. He is reminding me that I am the salt of the earth and light on a hill.  I must keep my salt salty and my light bright to successfully complete my mission on earth and be welcomed into forever. I hear you, Lord. I am offered wisdom in the Word of God. It is up to me to use it. I am afforded the secrets of the Kingdom whispered to me by His Spirit. I must listen. I prove that I love the Lord by how I live, what I do, how I act and the words I speak. I must be mindful of this to overcome myself and be an overcomer in the heated battle raging deep inside of me. I must stay salty. I must tend my light. Thank you God for your Love and Grace today! Thank you that they let me learn from my mistakes! Thank you for the freedom to choose a different path and live in Your Love forever!

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NLT)

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.