Power of Agreement

Power of Agreement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Philippians 2:1-2 (NKJV) Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

How many churches have you attended in your lifetime? Can you count the number of places you have attended? I posted something on social media. A friend liked the post. Another friend inquired how the person knew me. We had attended church together many years ago. I have had this happen more than a few times. I do it myself. I have a high school friend who teaches another friend’s children. The Body of Christ is to be just that a living, breathing, working, communicating complete unit. It seems like just when a ministry is growing and strengthening into a fully functioning body something happens and it falls apart. It is time to out the enemy and his assault against unity to become the Body of Christ – a strong source to be reckoned with in the world today.

After years of tearing apart Christians, how ironic that Paul would give the rest of his life after coming to Jesus Christ to rebuild the ruins of wreckage left behind. In an almost pleading fashion, He says, “If there is any consolation (comfort, solace) in Christ…if there is any comfort in His Love…if there is any fellowship in His Spirit…if there is any affection or mercy for one another…fulfill my joy…do it for me if no one else…be like-minded…have the same love…be of one accord…be of one mind.” (paraphrased) The tone reminds me of trying to deal with our teenagers. We teach, instruct, discipline, and finally exasperated in effort plead with them.

It’s funny how families work together. Dysfunction is a key trait in families. Our children fuss, fight, pick and disagree on just about everything UNTIL someone dares mess with a sibling. Suddenly there is complete agreement that that person is about to get hurt as they rally together. The church isn’t much different. Rather than walking in love and commitment together, it only happens in the midst of opposition or tragedy. God desires unity in the Body of Christ. He purposed it for us. Jesus even prayed for us to be one. The Holy Spirit identifies us as one family. How do we overcome the natural sense of family to become one as God’s Family? To stop fussing and fighting all the time and begin to function as Christ intended. It may be harder than you think.

Genesis 11:4-6 (NKJV) And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. 

After the flood, Noah and his family replenished the people of the earth. The whole earth had one language and one speech. Unity. They decided to build a tower all the way to heaven. “Let us make a name for ourselves. Lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” Self-preservation and pride decided to make a “name” for itself. The Lord came down to see the city and tower. Immediately, He interrupted the building of such idolatry by confusing their language and ability to communicate ending the unity and stopping their downfall. I wonder sometimes if church communities built on the wrong foundation fall apart for the same reason. False prophets who create a community built on foundations other than faith in God’s Word and an introduction to Jesus Christ.

The point of opportunity in this passage and promise rising from another’s misguidance is that when people become one “nothing they propose will be withheld from them”. The power of agreement works naturally and spiritually. Natural agreement produces favorable results in the world. Supernatural agreement builds a Kingdom. It creates a living, breathing body that will become the Bride who Christ is coming for. We have a long way to go!

Acts 2:42-47 (NKJV) And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

The early church set the precedent of fellowship. Thinking of fellowship today, I smell fried chicken and a desert table piled high on a special day at church. In the South, there is homecoming or maybe it’s a “Friends and Family Day” to invite or entice new members. This is not the concept set forth in the New Testament. The church broke bread together and prayed together daily. Every day. Not Sunday’s and Wednesdays. Not small groups. Not via texting. No, every single day. The word “fellowship” or koinonia means sharing, unity, close association, partnership, participation, a society or contributory help. Every member was a valuable asset to the group. They sold all their possessions and goods dividing up the proceeds evenly among everyone and giving to those in need. They lived in one accord. The early followers who were baptized by the Holy Spirit literally devoted their whole life to unity with God and each other.

John 17:20-21 (NKJV)  “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

This was the prayer of Jesus Christ for all of us just before going to the Cross. He desired that those who will believe in Him through the message of the disciples and apostles “that they all may be one” like Jesus and God are one. To abide in love and fellowship together in one accord. One heart. One mind. One body. How are we doing?

Ephesians 4:1-6 (NKJV) I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

I wonder if the Lord allows confusion and discord to set in to the church so it doesn’t become built of pride and self-preservation. Is it possible that it is the heart of His People causing the issue and not the enemy to blame? Pride is a human trait overcome by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit produces the spiritual fruit that feeds our soul. As our soul prospers, it overflows those same gifts and characteristics into our natural life. We must live lowly and gently lives. Patient. Bearing one another with love. Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit who binds us together in peace. There is one body. There is one Spirit. In 2016, there were estimated to be over 300,000 Christian churches in America. Where is the impact and influence of such mass numbers?

We have been called together in one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is above all and through all and in us all. We must work on the Body before we take on the world. What is lacking?

Philippians 2:3-5 (NKJV) Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.

It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about us united with Christ in full fellowship together according to His Spirit. It is not about building new buildings and erecting new walls – physically, structurally, emotionally, congregationally, or corporately. It is about tearing down every barrier between us and God and everyone else. God doesn’t desire one person over another. Our God doesn’t have favorites. He loves us all. His Love is for us all. His Kingdom has a place for us all. His Body has a function specifically for us and no one else. We cannot fulfill our purpose without the other members of the Body no more than my hand can function apart from my arm if detached from my body. We must learn to live in fellowship. We must figure out how it all works. We must strive to live in harmony and unity with all mankind. It is the Will of God for us and the Way to the Father’s Heart. It is to achieve the Mind of Christ.

John 13:34-35 (NLT) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

 

 

Gaining Perspective

gaining perspective

Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT)  And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Perspective is relative to position. The vantage point dictates vision. For example, if there are many witness to a car accident, each person may have a different account of the cause based on their placement in relation to the event. As believers called to walk by faith and not by sight, it is our personal challenge to gain perspective according to the Word of God in order to see our life as God plans it and not according to random events. We must fix our thoughts and align them with God’s Perspective and leave behind our human viewpoint. Faith is only logical when perceived from such a position. God’s Word details our life. Without it, there is no possible way to perceive a future outside of our current condition or circumstances.

Fix your thoughts on these things – what is true, honorable (respect or upright), right, pure, lovely, and admirable (excellent). What sounds like optimism to the world is so much more when faith produces hope in our life. To change our perspective from death to life means moving from a temporary being to an eternal creation. Desperation becomes determination when our eye is on the prize. Confidence overtakes our insecurity when Jesus becomes our Champion. Faith without the word is not faith at all. Jesus who is the Word is the basis of faith that produces forever in our life. To change the natural into supernatural requires a new vantage point for living.

Hebrews 12:2 (NLT) We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

The evidence of God’s Goodness and His Glory are all around us. However, distractions easily overtake discipline for those who have no concept of faithful reality. Christ is with us. He lives in us. To see Him is to align our heart and mind with the Lord and prosper soulfully in life. God’s Grace gives us access to His Love and Peace. Believing does not make our life easier. We remain in this world but are no longer of it. However, it takes time to change our heart and mind and become confident and disciplined in our Christian walk.

Grace is enough to do it. Grace is made perfect in our weakness when God’s Powerful Peaceful Persuasion take over and His Love comforts us while His Timing beautifies the brokenness in life. There must be brokenness to receive the fullness of His Power. I must give up my way to have His Way. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus. He is the Champion who “initiates” and “perfects” our faith. Initiates means that Jesus is the beginning of faith. He is Alpha. He introduces us to the knowledge of faith. It is up to us to turn it into wisdom by putting into practice what the Word of God tells us. He sets faith into motion. He also “perfects” our faith which means conforming to an absolute standard. The proposed standard is God’s Glorious Standard which is exceedingly abundantly more than we could think, ask or imagine. God is good and His Way is perfect. Jesus leads us into a place of excellence according to the future and hope prescribed by God for you and me. It is the time between what Jesus initiates until He fully perfects it that we must put in some effort. The renewing of our heart and mind is essential in gaining a new perspective of the purpose and plan the Lord has mapped out that will never lead to disappointment but always the fulfillment of hope.

“Keeping our eyes on” or “looking” as used in other translations in the Hebrew means to look away from to see. Life happens in living color. Eternal life is achieved not by sight but fully relying on the Living God who is within us. Our natural inclination is to follow our vision in the natural but faith requires staying focused on Jesus Christ who is yet to be seen. We must give Jesus undivided attention in our life to successfully find Him by investing our wholehearted effort in seeing life from His Perspective and not our current position.

Proverbs 4:25 (NLT) Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.

The enemy uses distractions to keep us from focusing on Jesus. Daily diversions that are meant to keep us from fixing our eyes on what lies before us and becoming consumed with life happening all around us. It takes extreme discipline to keep our eyes from being diverted by the enemy’s tactics. He uses lies. He offers us fear in place of faith. As passionate as the Lord is to see us victorious in life all the way to the everlasting, the same passion is the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy God’s People. Discipline overcomes distraction. It requires our full attention and daily motivation to keep our eyes on Jesus.

Isaiah 26:3 (NLT) You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Our first grandbaby is on the way! We could not be more overjoyed about the little person who is currently residing in mama. I cannot see the baby, but I still love them. I cannot wait to hold and love the baby. I have great joy each day while sharing this experience with our daughter. We talk about the baby. Shop for the baby. Listen to its heartbeat. There are plans to celebrate the day we find out the gender, showers to celebrate the arrival, and even a developing birth plan. Our daughter is reading, studying and talking to other moms about important decisions that will need to be made. All this for a person who is taller than an inch and really doesn’t even look human yet. The promise is real and developing.

What about God’s Promises for you and me? God gives us a future and hope that comes with the package. Just as by faith I fully anticipate the safe arrival of our first grand, we must highly anticipate and expect God’s Promises. Prepare for them. Not just by our conversation, but how we live our life. It is the active changing of our heart and mind to fully accept and believe that His Promises are a reality in our life that will change us from the inside out to fully perceive the reality of faith in our life. Just as I know that I will get a call one day or night to come to the hospital and our little one will become a tangible and touchable blessing in our life – we must meet God’s Promises with the same expectancy.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you…” Sitting by our son while he received chemotherapy, I remember watching him sleep. The pumps were coursing pure poison through his veins to kill cancer. His hair long gone. His fair skin so pale from all the treatment. Yet as he slept, he looked so peaceful. Other than his physical appearance, the peace in his countenance and the position of his body was at complete and total rest. I couldn’t help but think of God’s Perfect Peace.

The realm of hope offered to us as believers make this the reality of our life if we choose to live there. The exercise of faith achieved through the trial and testing of having a child on the verge of death completely changed my perspective on life and peace. The moment of realization that all my trying to be the perfect parent can still end in such a situation stripped me of the concept of control. We do not control our life. God has a plan. It is a good one. It is filled with purpose and promises that far outweigh our ability. When our eyes are focused on Jesus and He is our Champion our lives become confident in His Ability. It focuses on everything that He did for us on the Cross and keeps us in peace until it becomes the reality in our life. We must guard our hearts and keep them fixed on Jesus to have these things. To live in the reality of God’s Love and His Constant Care is up to us. We must desire to be where He is enough to look away from ordinary life and focus on the Extraordinary God. This is the place of peace that gives way to waiting and patience until God completes the work within us. The Peace of God (shalom) emphasizes its greatness and perfection. You cannot express it to someone. They must experience it to know it is real.

2 Corinthians 4:18(NLT) So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Life happens. The details are not in our control. There are many variables. God is working every detail for our good and His Glory. In the meantime, we must stop focusing on temporary problems and fix our heart, mind and eyes on Jesus Christ. I believe in practical faith. Sometimes religion makes it hard to see the simplicity of a real relationship with Jesus Christ. Study the Word of God every day. Mediate on it. Memorize it. Force your mind to accept the reality of faith. The continual sowing of God’s Word will begin to produce the Fruit of His Spirit in us. Love, joy, peace, and the rest of the vital sustenance that feeds our faith not fear. Pray. Talk to the Lord. Listen for His Response. God still talks to people. We must listen for the still small voice. Get into a quiet place every day and share your thoughts, fears and hopes with the One who loves you most. The Lord will not shout over all the noise in your life. He waits for us to enter His Presence. Turn off the noise. Be aware of what you watch and listen to. The things that feed your mind can poison your soul. Fellowship with other believers and like-minded people. Praise God. If you have a long commute to work, listen to your favorite preacher or crank up some good worship music. To worship God is not an event in our life it is how we live it. Those who do will gain a new perspective as faith turns to confident hope and daily expectation. You will find peace that passes understanding. Freedom allows us to choose our vantage point in life – Jesus I choose You!

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.

Thief Among Us

Open Window

John 10:10 (NLT) The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

There is a thief among us. He tried to climb through the window of my mind this morning and steal the joy rising with the morning sun. He tried the handle to my heart hoping to get his foot in the door. Little lies spread all around like almost unnoticeable traps carefully laid to ensnare my foot or cause me to stumble. His pursuit is relentless. He wants all that is mine. Not for himself because he cannot have it. Jesus has given me a rich and satisfying life. The enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy every good thing that God has for me. It is his purpose. It is the onslaught in each moment of every single day that there is breath in my body. Jesus has overcome the world. I have the same power that rose Him from the dead living in me. He is becoming greater as I become less yet in the moments of attack – my thoughts can be misled, deceived and even easily overtaken no matter how far I walk this journey called faith.

I am not generally given to worry. Stress is not something I easily take on. I would not classify my thoughts as anxious. My nature is contrary to such think. I relish in optimism. I believe that when the thief finds his way into my life that it is a bit more difficult to fight back because it is not a battle that I fight every day.

Psalm 127:1-2 (NLT) Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.
Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.

From time to time, a door may be found unlocked in the morning or the garage door left open the night before and my husband is most unhappy. He is concerned that our carelessness could have allowed an intruder to easily enter and put our family at risk. I, on the other hand, possess a very different perspective on life. I thank God for His Protection and move on. I believe that while both mindsets have strengths and weaknesses that is more prudent to check doors and windows routinely to make sure each one is secure. Many years ago arriving home after a long day, I noticed the door leading from the garage inside the house was cracked open. I did not think too much about it because our little dog sometimes would push on it looking for us and if not closed tightly it would do the same. The children went on high alert immediately. I scoffed at their concern and began give them instructions for the afternoon. Well once inside, it was clear that things were not okay. Thieves had come and helped themselves to valuable contents inside the home and now our children were fearful that they were not safe inside their own house anymore. We must secure not only the doors and windows of our home for safety and security but we must close tightly the entrance to our heart and mind as well.

We become busy and distracted with life and soon the cares and worries of life become burdens to us. Dependency on Christ gives way to insecurity and soon the weight of the world falls squarely on our shoulders. How we feel overtakes what we know and overwhelming fear, worry, stress and anxiety hold us captive. God did not give us the spirit of fear but how many times do we simply take it? The Lord has given us the ability to pursue potential and passion in our natural life. However, it is to remain secure in the Kingdom that gives our potential purpose that is able to become a rich and satisfying life.  

Luke 12:32-34 (NLT) “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

It gives God happiness and exceeding pleasure to give me the Kingdom. He wants to give it to you, too. The Lord promises that He will “accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” That is a lot by anyone’s standard. He wants to restore the glorious standard of living that sin and the enemy stole from us. Jesus is giving us back our birthright. It says, “So don’t be afraid…” As believers – there is an opportunity to give up this life and secure the Kingdom. Not just futuristically but practically – even today. It begins with peace of mind. The kind of peace offered in Isaiah 26:3 – perfect peace. The Holy Spirit is our helper who teaches us and instructs us. (John 14:26-27) He takes God’s Word and inscribes its meaning for us on our heart until all that we know is the Love of God and Grace of Jesus Christ which will change how we think about life in general. Do you believe that Jesus Christ overcame the world? (John 16:33) Do you believe that He has given you the Keys to the Kingdom for your security and use? Faith is the first step to perfect peace. It is the gateway to a secure place in life where confident hope leads to complete trust lacking no good thing. With met expectations taking the place of those unmet by other people, it is the freedom to pursue God wholeheartedly without divided interest.

Luke 12:25-26 (NLT) Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

Worry, stress, fear and anxiety are all byproducts of insecurity. I know I don’t like to hear that word any more than you do but it is true. When I worry about a situation or stress over life, it is an immediate red flag or alarm that the thief is attempting to break in. The most precious commodity given in life is time. You cannot replicate or reproduce it. Once a single second is gone, it is gone forever never to be reclaimed. Worry cannot add a moment to our life but rather wastes it completely.

The cares of life – food, shelter and clothing are all covered for the creature by their Creator. Yet, we think that it is up to us to do something when He already did it all. We worry about the minutest details of life especially what we do not have so much that sometimes it keeps us from seeing clearly all things that we do have. To worry, stress and fear over our well-being is characteristic of limited faith. Faith that only goes so far in need of conditioning. The enemy is always willing to offer a lie for the Truth. It is tempting to take it. However, then with his foot in the door, he will quickly fill our heart and mind with countless fears and many worries in an attempt to steal our peace, kill our faith, and destroy our life. Faith must lead to confidence in God’s Ability and Willingness to do infinitely more than we can think or ask. However, doubt tells us that God’s Promises are not good enough and it is up to us to add to it.

Hebrews 12:15-17 (NLT) Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.

The enemy pounced on my thoughts last night, continued in my dreams and I awoke fighting fear and worry this morning. I am willing to admit my humanness. Are you? There are days when faith carries us and other days it is a fight just to keep it. Faith must overcome insecurity every single day. People are at an extreme disadvantage because I have nothing to offer God to reciprocate His Love and Generosity of Grace in my life. Nothing. In fact, before the day is over, I will most certainly fail Him several times. I have no reason other than faith and trust to believe that I am somehow worthy of limitless and unconditional love that leads me from victory to victory and glory to glory. Jesus is the only reason I have any kind of real purpose and potential in my life. With that being said, I cannot help but wonder if it is not always the thief stealing from us but sometimes us. Do we give up our birthright for a single meal as Esau did? In Genesis 25, Esau was “starving” so he offered his brother, Jacob who was an excellent cook, his birthright for one meal. One might think Esau was either really hungry or Jacob an even better cook than described or could it be that Esau did not value his birthright? I know…stung my heart a little (or a lot) to think that rather than the enemy stealing what God has given me that it might just be my own doubt and insecurity giving it away. Leaving the door to my heart open and the windows to my mind unsecure, allowing the enemy to come into my life and steal what God has so graciously given me or promised to come.

In Genesis 27, Isaac is nearing death and giving his final blessing to his children. Esau wept bitterly before him as it is clear Jacob has received the blessing. Jacob duped him again. Or did he? Finally, Isaac, shares these words with his devastated child, “You will live away from the richness of the earth, and away from the dew of the heaven above. You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother. But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck.” Read that last sentence again with me…”But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck.” What if it is me? I have been given a birthright. I am a Child of the Living God. I have Christ living in me. He overcame the world. Could it be my own doubt and insecurity causing the limitation of faith and prosperity in my life because I do not believe or understand the value and worth of my birthright so I give it away?

We give ourselves to worrying about people. (Matthew 7:2-4) We stress out about our position in life. (I Corinthians 7:20-22) Fret about what might or might now happen. (I Peter 3:13-15) We allow bitterness to take the place of forgiveness. Our heart is driven with desire for more and a hunger for this world rather than satisfaction and contentment in Christ. Crying out for His Word, Will and Way in our life – we leave the doors and windows of our heart and mind open so the moment God pours it in the enemy quickly snatches it out. I am asking the Lord today to “search my heart – point out anything that offends Him – and to lead me to the everlasting – not temporary and worthless. (Psalm 139:23-24)

Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

The Lord has created and called us to live peace-filled and satisfied lives. If that is not reminiscent of your life today, it doesn’t mean it cannot be. It is up to you and I to take hold of our birthright as Children of God, secure it with faith, fasten it like an anchor called confident hope to our life and decide to trust the Lord each day. Trust is a choice. Faith is an investment in the Kingdom of God not useful in this life. If you can do it, you don’t need faith to have it. We must decide the new life in Christ is worth having and invest our whole being in becoming the new creation that He promised. We must secure the door to our heart and fasten the windows of our mind to ensure that every thought and motivation are subject to the Gate Keeper, our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. (John 10) There is nothing left for Jesus to do. The rest is up to you and me. Will we choose to let the thief in or shut him out of our life for good? There is a thief among us. He wants to stop us. Our faith is his death and defeat. Jesus has given us the victory now it is up to walk in it confidently and consciously each day. Securing our life with more faith and confidence in God than ever before so every stronghold of insecurity is smashed by it. True freedom in Jesus Christ produces a rich and satisfied life that begins in our heart and mind. It is called peace. Peace leads to everlasting life and hope that will never cause us disappointment.

Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT) And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Planting Peace

planting-peace

Matthew 5:9 (NLT) God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the Children of God.

When my children were all little, there was never a moment’s peace in our life. It seemed they came with only two speeds fast and asleep. There were days collapsing exhausted in the bed when I thought if only I could have a second to myself. Cooking, cleaning, picking up, dropping off, refereeing, homework, and all the other duties in the job description of wife and mother left me complete worn out. This morning the house is quiet. My husband is on a well-deserved and much needed hunting trip with the guys. The three oldest off adulting and creating their own lives in the big world. One daughter house sitting who will soon graduate and do the same. I have one baby in the nest who is not a baby anymore sleeping in a mound of covers with our fur baby. It is that moment I longed for years ago, well at least the quiet anyway.

Just as I was not certain of what I longed for then, I find that peace comes in different forms and fashions. To truly be at peace is not a condition or situation in life. I can work to promote peace and get myself in big messes sometimes especially when it comes to people. Peace is a place found in God. It is the Presence of God permeating our life. It becomes our protection when life doesn’t go as planned or is exactly like it should be but does not yield the satisfaction one expected. There are many people with seemingly perfect lives that never know the contentment and completion of perfect peace.

Proverbs 3:5-8 (NLT) Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.

How important is peace? Is it relevant in our life or just a gift that some are given? To truly trust the Lord with all our heard produces a harvest of peace in our life. Faith is not blind and one must never be satisfied until it becomes confident. Confident faith is the belief that the Presence of God in our life, our life in Christ and the inhabitation of His Spirit is all that we need to be victorious in any and all situations. Those who “endure” will be saved. It is a fight of mind and matter being crucified with Christ and a retraining of all senses to rely on the unseen reality of God’s Purpose, Plan and Protection over every other influence and power in our life. It is not a one-time fix but constant process of submitting more and more of our life to the Lord each day. Peace is the evidence that faith is working in our life.

Peace depends on God’s Understanding. His Wisdom over my whims, wants and wanderings. Not so easy when the enemy is beating on the door and world crashing down all around you. Peace is found in the Presence of God. It cannot be fully understood with human logic but is achieved fully by faith. It requires a change of heart and mind that leads our feet in new directions. Once it is found, it will bring healing to our souls. Revive us. Restore us. Renew us day by day no matter what our current circumstance or living condition.

James 3:17-18 (NLT) But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

Faith becomes logical the more God’s Word is planted in us. The Way of God is contradictory to this world. Peace cannot be found in an ordinary life but the pursuit of a supernatural existence in Jesus Christ. It means believing God’s Word not the lie of the enemy for your life. How can you tell the difference? Planting seeds of peace in our life begins by putting good seed in the fertile soil of our heart. How can you know God and not know His Word? Jesus is the Word of God made flesh to demonstrate His Great Love and provide the Way for us to return to Him.

How can I get there from here if I do not take measures to find to track Him down? I know that California is on the West Coast and I live on the East Coast. I know that if I head west that I will make it to the other side of the country but will I make it to California without clear directions? Or what I want to go specifically to Sacramento? Or maybe I know someone there who lives at 123 Main Street? If I am looking for the Presence of God and more specifically the Peace of God, I must seek directions to my destination just as I would when traveling the country.

Psalm 85:8-9 (NLT) I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for he speaks peace to his faithful people. But let them not return to their foolish ways. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, so our land will be filled with his glory.

God is speaking. Some are listening. Others do not like what they hear so choose not to listen. Even more do not recognize His Voice and cannot discern the Truth from a lie. Busyness causes a deafness in the midst of more pressing matters that will eventually cause us not to hear Him anymore. Or maybe He just becomes just another voice in our head demanding more than can be given in the limited amount of time left after other priorities take over. Nevertheless… God is speaking to us more importantly to YOU each day. What is He saying? The Lord is calling you closer. He asks Your Heart to come near. He hears you crying out for help and calling for relief but because you will not listen and respond – there is nothing the Lord can do but wait.

God speaks to people every single day. You can hear Him when your ears and heart are open and tuned in. Remember Elijah driven to the cave on the mountain by the lie of the enemy hissed by a woman scorned? It was after the calamities of life that the prophet heard the still, small voice. God wants to save you today. He wants to clean you up. He wants to fix your broken heart and heal every wound. His Spirit wants to help you, guide you and teach you to live in the peacefulness of His Presence every single day. Are you listening?

John 14:26-27 (NLT) “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him? But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ. As a believer, you have the mind of Jesus Christ. The potential of full confidence in the Father because you are one with Him again through the Son. Jesus has left us with His Spirit so we can know His Thoughts concerning us and His Will for us. I have the gifts of peace of mind and peace of heart. I must take control of my thinking in order to take captive those things that are contradictory to God’s Will, Way and Word for my life. I must do that because I am fully equipped to do so according to these verses. Like Moses standing in front of the Red Sea, with the Children of Israel whining and the Egyptians closing in – God told his man to stop crying out to me and do what I have instructed you to do. He has given us everything needed to overcome doubt, fear and anxiety. It is called faith. Faith fortified by His Word, His Spirit and His Mindset. The rest is up to us. Faith means believing when you cannot see a thing. Trusting when there is nothing left to hold on to but the aforementioned faith and riding this thing called life out to the end.

Psalm 119:164-165 (NLT) I will praise you seven times a day because all your regulations are just. Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble.

Do you praise God seven times a day? When I read this verse, I immediately began to evaluate my life and the confession I make each day. Do I praise God daily just because of Who He is? Do I thank Him when I am not getting my way? Do I praise when I am waiting? Do I praise Him when everyone is watching? Do I praise Him when no one is looking? Do I praise Him without music or someone to lead me to this place? Do I praise Him in the mornings (even though I am not a morning person)? Do I praise at bedtime (even in complete exhaustion and to do list left undone)? Do I praise the Lord when things are good? Can I still manage to praise Him when they are not so good? Can I praise God when nothing in my life measures up to His Standard of Living? Praise is essential to peace. It is the confession of faith over our life that releases our expectation from the natural and grabs hold of the supernatural. Praise is evidence that something inside of us is willing and able to grab hold of the Promise and possibly hang on until the end. Praise plants seeds of peace that yields harvests of abundance in our life. It is an expression of pure faith and trust in the Lord to perfect all the concerns us. When there is nothing else praiseworthy to think of this world, just think about the Gift of Life that Jesus has given us so that there is more to life than this.

Ephesians 4:2-4 (NLT) Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

Perfect peace cannot exist in the presence of pride. Humility and gentleness promotes peace in our life. First with God and then with everyone else. You cannot be at peace with the living God and in constant discord and strife in all other relationships. Submission is not a fashionable word but it is absolutely essential in maintaining peace in our life. What about me? Who is going to take care of me? Total trust means submitting our life to others knowing that God has us in all things. This is not to say that you should be subjected to abuse of any kind but that when it comes to having your way – you will give it up to maintain peace and love in your relationships. It means giving up being right all the time to be righteous.

I have shared many, many times about my friend who taught me about submission. After a long rant about my dissatisfaction with my husband’s attitude and actions, she said, “You must submit.” It made me mad enough to spit. I was offended that she would say such a thing to me. I was ruled by pride and stubbornness that would take years to work on and God is still working on now. But I tried it in my marriage and am happy to report it worked. When two people come together – to walk together one must give in and give up their way. In any relationship this is absolutely necessary. It is not anyone else’s responsibility to satisfy my life. It is not their job to be my perfect partner, friend or whatever role they play in my life. Jesus is my soul mate. He is the One who promises to give me a rich and satisfying life. When I “submit” my way, it is full acceptance of His Way. It is not giving in to another person. It is not losing and certainly not giving up anything of worth. Submission says Lord I trust you more than anyone or anything else to satisfy my soul. We are one body, one spirit and given one hope. Let’s keep our faith in Him and submit our way to His Way – peace is the promise received if I do!

Philippians 4:6-9 (NLT) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Plant seeds of peace in your life today. Examine every area to find those places in your heart not at peace. Pray about each one specifically and ask the Lord to give you peace. Jesus did not come to bring peace to the world. He gave it to you and me directly. Our peace will never be understood or acknowledged in the natural. It is a God-given gift. It is a seed of faith that if you plant it in every situation will see its fruit in no time.

God keeps in perfect peace all who trust you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3) I have experienced this kind of peace. It came at the price of self and in a place of complete brokenness. I could not do it my way anymore. My human strength was completely gone. All I could do was trust the Lord so I did. That’s when I felt it, knew it, and believed it. Now I desire it more than anything. Are you willing to sow seeds of peace in your life today? What if it costs you pride? What if is at the price of being right? What if it means giving up your way? What if it does not yield immediate results or gratification? What seed does? Will it be worth it? Absolutely. When His Perfect Peace overtakes you – it will be worth it all to have a satisfied soul.

Colossians 3:14-15 (NLT) Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

What Am I Thinking?

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Romans 12:1-2 (NIV) Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

It is human nature to have lapses in judgment. Making mistakes is an unavoidable part of life. It is how we learn, grow, develop and mature or at least that’s how I think it is supposed to work. Falls are not failures but opportunities to get up. Failure is futile if one gives up and does not try again. It doesn’t matter how far we have fallen, the Lord is always there to help us up. Bad choices become learning curves when wisdom is acquired. I told one of my children who was soundly beating themselves up over a mistake that it is only wasted if wisdom is not obtained. Trials, temptations, and trouble are all lessons in life. Knowledge discovered in the midst of such things give way to a foundation of truth that can be maintained.

To offer our bodies as “living sacrifices” is not about physical obedience or cleaning up our life. To be holy and pleasing God begins with a change of heart and transformation of our mind. I can come to the altar seeking repentance day after day, but when the Lord looks into my heart it is the thought process called intent that He is after. Grace is sufficient only when it releases the Power of God in our life. If we remain in bondage due to ignorance, what is the point? No really why follow Christ if my life is no better and we are getting nowhere?

Wisdom enables us “to test and approve what God’s will is – His Good, Pleasing and Perfect Will. Knowledge is good but wisdom is better. To know what to do and not do it is futility. To know the Truth and let it set us free is beneficial. Freedom allows us to do anything, but not all things are beneficial. How do we discern?

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NIV) 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.

There is very real war waged for our thoughts each day. The enemy does not always have to come at us with a bold-faced lie. For the believer, He usually comes at us with twisted truth. The Word of God is turned askew just a bit. Though many are familiar with what think God’s Word says, few take the time to dig in deeper and know it. How much time do you spend in the Word of God each week? The Word of God is a two-edged sword that rightly divides the truth from all the lies that the enemy offers God’s People in exchange for His Precious Truth. (Hebrews 4:12)

No one can know the thoughts of God which are so much higher than our own (Isaiah 55:8) without knowing the Spirit of God. (I Corinthians 2:11) I was a Christian for many years in a denomination heavy in the Truth of God but that ignored His Spirit. I knew the Bible but it didn’t make any sense and I was powerless to do what it says. The biggest stronghold and obstacle in the life of any believer is ignorance. The Lord says that His People will perish when they lack it. Drawn into discouragement, despair, disagreement and dissension by slight deviations of truth their hearts and minds get lost in darkness.

We must use the divine power of God to demolish such strongholds. We must end the arguments and pretension that sets itself up against God. We must take captive every thought in our mind to be obedient to Jesus Christ. We must be ready to punish every act of disobedience. If our mind refuses to forgive, we must seek grace. If pride overtakes us, we must humble ourselves. When prejudice raises its ugly head, we must chop it off at the neck. What is prejudice? Prejudice is an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge thought or reason. We prejudge many things in life based on the knowledge base of our mind. We must change our mind and allow the Lord to renew our thoughts to see the world properly and act obediently.

Ephesians 4:17-21 (NIV)  So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.

We must no longer give in to futility of thinking. The knowledge of God is His Word and the wisdom of God is His Way. We must make it a point to search the scriptures, meditate on it allowing it to marinate our mind so that it will become our way of life. It is the very thing that indoctrinates us into the Kingdom. It is a new language called love. It is a new way called humility. It is a new life called redemption. We cannot allow ourselves to be compromised by futile and worthless thoughts. We must take the Word of God and seal our hearts with it. When the enemy comes with temptation, it will be easily identified by the heart and mind immersed in Truth, Knowledge and Wisdom of God. But that’s not all…

We must have a relationship with God to know His Intentions. A text message can be read a thousand different ways and given the same amount of emotion. Misunderstandings arise from communication that lacks relationship. We are to relate to one another, exhorting each other and bonding together to become the Body of Christ.

I Corinthians 14:18-20 (NIV) I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue. Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.

How effective is the Gospel of Christ if it is not communicated? Can we truly expect a revival in our midst if the church cannot convey “five intelligible words to instruct others”? When I read this today, I felt convicted. It the message of our life is not “intelligible” can there be any impact? We speak Christianese and others cannot relate. They cannot see the value in our “sacrifice” because the words of our mouth and meditation of our heart do not agree. We cannot communicate the Gospel without wisdom. We must know what we believe and experience the loving transformation of a renewed mind for others to truly understand what it means to be loved by God. When we speak one thing and live another – our words are invalidated.

Philippians 4:6-9 (NIV) Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

What are you thinking? Our thoughts are born of the knowledge in our mind. What we think is influenced by what we know. If our thoughts are anxious about anything, given to things not of God or even simply unforgiving – there is room for improvement. Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but the renewing of our mind begins now and is not over until we meet Jesus face-to-face. Be careful if you think you have arrived or know more than the next guy, because a fall is just around the corner. Our minds are assaulted by the lie of the enemy day by day. God’s New Mercy allows us to surrender our heart and mind daily to His Transformation process called Grace. As we begin to change our mind, know the Truth and allow wisdom to take over – it is to our benefit and the Gospel will become clear.

2 Peter 3:1-3 (NIV) Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles. Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.

 

Finding My Soul

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Psalm 63:1 (NLT) O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.

My soul thirsts for you. Thirsts implies more than a basic need or indulgent want but an urgency far more complex than natural sustenance. How do I feed my soul? A part of my being unseen and untouched by human senses. My dad called yesterday. After running some tests, the cardiologist has concluded that my mom’s heart is not functioning as it should. She will have a heart catheterization on Monday to evaluate her aortic valve. I remember when my grandad was diagnosed many years ago with complete heart blockage undergoing a quadruple bypass. The doctor warned us that whenever the heart is operated on it can cause changes in emotions. It’s crazy because the heart is just a muscle. Yet, there must be something in there that is different from animals and the like or why would an invasive operation release such a flood.

According to the American Heart Association, emotional upheaval is common after heart surgery, heart attack or stroke. Survivors can feel a variety of emotions all at one time including fear, loneliness, depression, anger and heightened sensitization. Those not given to emotionalism are suddenly tearful. Could it be that there really is truth to a broken heart? I am certain that there is. Could it be that hidden beneath its obvious need and necessity to keep us breathing hides our soul? My soul thirsts for you, Lord.

Deuteronomy 6:4-6 (NLT) “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.”

We are to love the Lord three ways. We love Him with all of our heart which I believe is our mind, will and emotions. We love Him with our strength which is our physical being or our body. We are to love God with all our soul. What is that? I believe that is our forever love. The commitment that reaches past this life into forever. It is foreign to us. Could it be that it is hidden in our heart? Could it be that is why our heart must be broken to discover real love and our soul hidden within? When our heart is broken – we seek the Lord. When our body is sick – we seek the Lord. Our soul needs Jesus just as much as our heart and body. In fact, dare I say, even more because it is our soul that crosses from this life to eternity. The Lord uses our natural means of heart, mind and body to give way to prosper our soul in this life so that when all else fails it endures to the end reaching eternity.

Psalm 84:1-2 (NLT) How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God.

Would we ever discover the vast depths of God’s Love for us outside of physical and emotional hardship? I don’t know if it’s possible. Only when death becomes a possibility and the next day uncertain do we reach beyond this life to feel for something more. Faith maintains itself in the comfort of a rocking boat until the storm comes. Only then do we test it decide maybe it’s time to step out of our comfort zone and test the water. Trusting God is easy when nothing of true value is at stake. But when there is a need for sacrifice, it’s time to pick up the knife, wood for the fire and head to the mountain of sacrifice praying that the Lord will meet you there with a ram in the thicket. My heart loves God. My body loves Him, too. I strive to show the Lord my love for Him in the natural. However, without a prospering soul – I will miss the mark. So my heart must be broken and my body limited. God’s Presence will never be a place arrived at by pride, self-preservation and the strong. It is reserved for those who decide He is life.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT) Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Could it be? Is it possible? People try to draw God into their natural circumstances and change the condition of this life when all along the secret is to find rest in our souls. Confidence that no matter what we face today that our forever is secure. Complete trust that the God in us is greater than anything we face around us. Jesus invites us to come to Him when we are weary and carry heavy burdens and He will give us rest. Are you still tired despite a relationship with the Lord? Do you still get overwhelmed with life? Are you weary of well-doing because there do not seem to be results? Maybe just maybe – we forgot to read the next verse.

“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your…souls.” Jesus wants to teach us to have confidence in His Strength found in His Grace so that when our heart, mind and body are challenged in the natural that we can find supernatural peace in a satisfied soul. This world is not going to change for the better. I must be made better. I cannot do it so my own natural ability and strength are not important. I cannot figure it all out so therefore what good is my mind. My heart is fickle and wavering most days so it cannot be the guide for my life. It is my soul secure in Jesus Christ that will allow me to endure to the end and find rest even on the most uncertain days of this life.

Matthew 16:25-26 (NLT) If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?

I have tried to hang on to this life. There are days that I have invested way more in this life then I should have. The only thing of worth on this planet is the human soul. Every human soul that ever was created is important to God. Love is our primary objective though it is human nature to make it about other things. I tried to hang on to our son’s life during his battle with cancer. I did. But somewhere around the third relapse, I realized that I could not make him live. I could not sustain his life. The reality of life and death played out before me. It is humbling to realize that no matter how strong you are today all that can change in an instant. The ordeal of three years broke my heart completely. I never expected to find peace in the midst of our life being turned upside down and radically shaken. Could it be that was the moment I discovered my soul? Is that why the human heart experiences new feelings and emotions when it is afflicted? Our soul is the only thing we have to completely connect with the Lord. We must pay attention to it. Feed it God’s Word. Allow His Spirit to prosper it. We must be ever conscious and aware that our body may pass away. Our flesh will fail. Our soul can prosper from now into forever.

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NLT) For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

We make worshipping the Lord so many things. Jesus wants us to find rest, confidence, completeness in Him alone. He promises rest to our souls. The Word of God is alive and powerful. It cuts between the soul and spirit. Could this mean that we need God’s Word to discern between what we feel and what we know? My soul thrives on the knowledge of God’s Saving Power and Amazing Grace demonstrated in His Son, Jesus. It is the center of my soul’s reality and the place where I can find true rest. However, people can get caught up in emotionalism. We must feel something for it to be real. We must touch it to be genuine. We must walk by faith and not by sight. Only our soul can truly know and understand this precept. It is how it moves, lives and breathes.

When Jesus came to the disciples eight days after His Resurrection, He went to Thomas. Thomas had to place his fingers in the nail-scarred hands of His Lord to believe. Jesus said, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” Our soul believes without seeing Jesus. In the natural, we look for signs and wonders. In our heart, we seek His Consolation. But it is within the human soul that we find confidence that allows us to rest in His Presence until He comes.

Hebrews 6:18-19 (NLT) So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

Lord Jesus, hope is the anchor for my soul today. Do not let me drift. Do not let me be shaken by a trembling heart on the verge of breaking but welcome brokenness if that is what it takes to prosper my soul. Jesus, don’t let me become discouraged if I am fighting a physical battle especially if it makes me let go of this life to hang on to You. I want your promise. I depend on your oath. I rely on the fact that you do not change. It is where I find rest today. You are my confidence in all things Jesus. Today Lord make my soul prosper no matter what it takes as I find my way to You!

3 John 2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

Take Heart

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2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV) Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since that is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I am a creature of habit. Driven by routine and scheduling that once was required to manage our large family that has not subsided as our nest is emptied. The recent weather that impacted our community has somehow managed to saturate my life in chaos. Our family is blessed. The storm did not destroy our property. We were without power for only a few days. Internet service is still not restored. The kids have been out of school. I have not been able to work for about a week. Our Sunday worship service was cancelled. I am really not sure what day of the week it is. The inconvenience has been minimal but even the smallest interruption in our lives can distract us from our purpose. The “light and momentary” troubles are magnified by our unwillingness to be uncomfortable and out of control. Oh my, that hit a nerve. Could it be that my frustration is not in the events of the past several days, but rather the revelation that reverberates through this life disruption that I am not in control?

To fix our eyes on the unseen rather than the things we can see sounds so noble and righteous but reality reminds us that is really much harder than one might think. How do we not look at the “light and momentary” or not-so light and momentary troubles that impact our life? How do I keep my eyes completely fixed on the unseen reality of faith and keep my heart trusting God in every situation? To do so can feel like driving a car on our way to a destination and then suddenly throwing up our hands and closing our eyes asking the Lord to get us there. Oh how I know that Jesus hopes that one day this will be the case, not so much in the natural, but definitely spiritually. The day when the circumstances and conditions of our natural life no longer effect our ability to believe and see the Kingdom of God continuing our journey to reach it.

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

I love Jesus so much! He did not mix His Words or deceive us by omitting important details along the way. He said, “In this world, you will have trouble.” It just doesn’t get any plainer than that. You will have trials. You will have temptations. You will have trouble. BUT…oh the “buts”. BUT TAKE HEART! I have overcome the world. Victory belongs to me today as long as I do not get wrapped up in civilian affairs. Take heart! Jesus is giving us the heart to know what pleases Him, to do what is called for, and to overcome in every situation. He says, “Take heart!” Here it is. Take it.

Okay, I hear you. It’s all fun and games until the trouble comes. Trouble calls for realism. You are absolutely right. Do not stick your head in the sand like an ostrich at the first sign of trouble. Put your head in the Word of God that delineates your victory. It says clearly that in our weakness, His Grace is sufficient. It also tells me that greater is He who lives in me than he that is in the world. Now I could go on and on with these power verses but to those who choose residency in “reality” they are no good. These are promises for those who walk by faith and not by sight.

2 Corinthians 5:6-9 (NIV) Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.

Faith is not really worth a whole lot to us until faith becomes a reality. Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1) When what I see begins to overshadow what I believe, it moves me from momentary and temporary thinking to disappointment and discouragement based on doubt and disbelief. We must always be confident that God’s Word and His Will are fully operational in our everyday life to transition from ordinary life to extraordinary supernatural living for the Kingdom of God and not the these trials and troubles. The things in life that compromise our comfort, inconvenience us by disrupting our routine, ail our bodies, and disrupt our soul are all the stirrings of God allowed to keep us from digging into reality and remaining faithful until the end.

Every day it is important to “live by faith, not by sight.” This is a conditioning of the mind, soul and body to believe the Word of God. To trust the Will of God. To walk in the Way of God. It is to live for the Kingdom even when it is not evident in what we see but is the basis of what we know to be true in our life. I must live by faith in every situation. When our choices are based on the reality around us rather than the God in us – we have momentarily forgotten where our true residency resides.

Psalm 84:5-7 (NIV) Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rain also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.

Have the “momentary and light” trials, troubles or temptations of life drawn you from faith to fear? Has the burden of life moved you from eternal thinking to internal disappointment or discouragement? The Lord says to “take heart” today. You are a Child of God. You are a resident of the Kingdom of God with a place in Heaven. Live like it today by choosing faith over the facts you are presented. Release the controls and let Jesus have His Way and Will in your life. It is time to stop calling yourself a realist who believes only in what you see rather than knowing what you believe. To walk by sight and not by faith limits our life to the conditions around us and consequences of choice rather than fathomless grace. It is in human weakness that we gain all of Christ’s Strength – it is that moment when His Grace is enough.

God’s Will for your life and mine is that we live from “strength to strength”. Strength is found in the Grace of God subject to our faith, trust and surrender to Jesus Christ. He is our Strength. The Lord told us that when trouble comes that we can take heart. There is a credit card commercial that says, “What’s in your wallet?” Perhaps, Jesus is asking what’s in your heart? Our heart is where are treasure is kept. Adversity reveals its contents under pressure or when tested by fire. The attitude and actions that are the aroma of our life during times of hardship indicate the content of our sacrifice. A heart that does not believe will quickly resort to human tactics and survival methods based on worldly experience rather than a godly one.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.” (Psalm 28:7) Sometimes we just need a little reminder. When my children were small and in need of my instruction or encouragement. I would often get down on their level and kneel down on the floor. I would then ask them to look at me. Sometimes, they would turn around quickly because they knew once I got their attention they could go back to what they were doing. I would not continue until they were looking at my face. I wonder if the Lord is like that with us. Does Jesus stand in front of us while we are looking back at the troubles and trials of life? Does He say our name until we finally turn around again? Is my unwillingness or inability to walk by faith and not by sight limiting the potential, outcomes and victory in life?

More than one time the Lord has asked me in an audible yet still small voice, do you trust me? It seems like these are the moments that I realize I have let my eyes wander from Him to my circumstances. I always say, “Yes Lord, I trust you!” However, from that point on it is up to me if I will make faith my reality and take heart or remain in disbelief, doubt and discouragement. See Jesus already won the victory. He already handed me the Keys to His Kingdom. He gave me a measure of faith to work with and a map to guide the way during this journey called life. I am equipped with everything I need to fulfill my purpose and enough grace for every time I mess up along the way. It is up to me whether I choose to make faith my reality or not.

The psalmist shared it like this in Psalm 73:23-26. “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take in into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Take heart! Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. He resides in you making you a resident of His Kingdom forever. His Kingdom is powerful and strong. It will prevail when everything we can see today is gone. Our body is literally dying from the moment we are born. Our soul will live forever. We must concentrate and focus on making our soul strong and take heart making our faith a reality every day. We are victorious overcomers who hide a “temporary residents” in this world. So, take heart!

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NIV) May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His Grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

Overcoming the Lie

Overcoming the Lie

I John 3:19-22 (NIV) This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.

 

Our mind is a powerful weapon against us sometimes. I know that there are times when a tiny thought becomes a raging fear in an instant if I allow it to remain free roaming in my imagination. Little molehills grow instantly into giant mountains simply because I did not apprehend it the moment I noticed it. Our mind represents our flesh and lives in enmity against God. It wants to do what gratifies and satisfies the natural man with little to no interest in the spiritual being that the Lord is creating with us day by day. Why? To grow spiritually means dying naturally day by day as our flesh is crucified with Christ. There are many full churches yet few prospering souls today. Going to church does not make you a Christian…or maybe it does as far as social circles go. Attending a regular worship service does not make you a worshipper. Quoting scripture does not make you a believer. Serving in the church body does not make you a servant unless love saturates your cause. We are to become followers of Jesus. We are to act like Him, talk like Him and think like Him. People act like Christians even speaking Christianese. However, to truly be like Jesus means thinking like Him or our intentions are all wrong.

 

What we think becomes what we know? What we know is turned into understanding? Understanding becomes wisdom. This fuels our thoughts and ideas in like which become our motivation. But if the original intent is all wrong, though progression is perceived purpose is lost. Jeremiah 17:10 says, “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” You can fool other people but you cannot fool the Lord. He knows our heart. He sees our thoughts. Those who lack faith and confident hope are quickly discovered as nothing is hidden from the Lord. We must call to order our thoughts, emotions and feelings. Surrendering our life to Christ begins with our intent. If we seek to know Jesus, we must overcome the conflicted emotions within us.

 

The New Living Translation says it like this, “Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.” Have you ever felt like God doesn’t notice or care about our feelings? Like he is uncaring or uncompassionate about the struggles in our heart and mind? God is greater than our feelings. The biggest deterrent for a believer is fear. When we are afraid, there are many factors that are destructive to our faith in that one word that describes most of our emotional makeup. To be afraid means any of the following: feeling fear, filled with apprehension (opposite of expectation), feeling regret, unhappiness, feeling reluctance, unwillingness, and distaste. We are afraid of the unknown for if we would seek to know God and develop a relationship with Jesus Christ, we were never be afraid again. Fear is a feeling. It is an emotional response to the lie of the enemy. It is natural since our flesh is slowing dying giving way to a new life, new confidence in our hope and learning to respond in faith. It is uncomfortable. It is not easy but oh so worth it when we decide that God is definitely greater than our feelings.

 

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.

 

I love how Paul laid it all out for us. Our mind is at war with God’s Will for our life. It does not and will not submit to God’s Law willingly hence creating hostility in us. We are conflicted. If there is the slightest spark of desire to know the Lord, stinking thinking tries to convince us that God doesn’t love us, cannot overcome our sin, and will not change our life because of what we have done. It all began with a lie. Just a subtle twist on God’s Word, and sin brought humanity crashing down. We are not so different from our ancestors, Adam and Eve. Easily convinced to switch truth for a lie, confidence into compromise, and certainty for substitution, it always begins with a lie. The enemy is really convincing. If he can confuse us, it is just enough to convince us that maybe just maybe grace is not enough and weakness cannot be overcome.

 

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.

 

I am only human. We are human. BUT, we do not wage war as humans do. We must win the battle in our mind so that our heart is free to pursue the Lord completely. What is God’s Mighty weapons? Where can I find that thing that will knock down the strongholds of human reasoning? What has the power to destroy false arguments? What can destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God? It is the Word of God. It is like a two-edge sword carefully cutting away the lies that have bound us to expose the Truth that frees us. (Hebrews 4:12) God’s Word is like the lamp on the surgeon’s head that allows us to see inside the deepest cavity of our mind removing the cancerous thought or idea eating away at our faith, killing our dreams and crushing our hope. (Psalm 119:105) Every thought or idea that is contrary to God’s Word, His Will or His Way is rebellious. Anything that is contradictive the nature and character of Christ is ungodly. How can we capture that which we are not aware of?

 

Have you ever been duped or tricked by another person? Has someone fooled you? It makes you feel really gullible. You should have known better but you fall for it every time. My husband is a jokester. He is always teasing somebody and he is really good at it. The man is very convincing so that even when I tell myself not to believe him, I do and he gets me every time. He has effectively created a new generation that act just like him. The problem is that now when he is serious, I tend not to believe him. I am afraid that he is joking with me.

 

I Peter 5:8-9 (NLT) Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

 

In Job 1, the enemy came before the Lord and He asked satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on?” He prowls around like a roaring lion. He is looking for the person who believes his lie. He wants the one who cowers to his roar. Is that you today? Is the enemy whispering fearful thoughts into your mind? Is he telling you things that are contrary to God’s Word but ignorance keeps you from discerning it? You can overcome ignorance with knowledge. A persistent pursuit of knowledge soon becomes understanding. Understanding applied to life is wisdom. Wisdom leads to better choices and confident thinking. The thoughts permitted to exist and remain in our heart and mind dictation the outcome of our life. Those who choose to study God’s Word and saturate their mind and mediate on it, will have a base of knowledge that overcomes the lie for good. Hosea 4:6 warns that people are destroyed because they do not know me. God sent His Word to you. Jesus died so that God’s Word would come to pass in our life. We must believe it wholeheartedly. This begins with a made up mind.

 

2 Timothy 2:15-16 (AMP) Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth. 

 

During those times that I have been tested by trial, I find that when I come boldly to the Throne of God it is usually recanting everything that His Word has promised that is not what I am experiencing. Our youngest daughter was supernaturally and miraculously healed of asthma. After weeks of begging and pleading with the Lord and our fiftieth visit to the doctor, enough was enough. I let God have it. What did I do? I told Him everything His Word had to say about healing and faith. I cannot even remember my tirade but I would like to think the Lord saw it as boldness and confidence in His Word rather than an oversized temper tantrum. Essentially, I asked Jesus if He would allow such an intrusion in the life of His Child. Well evidently not, because since that moment – there has not been a single episode of the disease without a single wheeze or rattle.

 

Without studying God’s Word diligently and thoroughly, we will never fully take advantage of the rights of our salvation. Ignorance will steal from us those things that God has already provided for those who love Him and seek Him wholeheartedly. What if the greatest desire of your heart is simply undiscovered? The Word of God feeds the Spirit of God in me. When we stop the stinking thinking our mind is starved. We know the Truth and hence we are set free. Are you free today? Or in bondage to fear and emotional overload? The Keys to the Kingdom unlocked that door. To come to Jesus and not know His Word is to stand behind a closed door thinking it is locked when all you had to do was push not pull. Obedience is found in God’s Word. Encouragement is provided by the Lord. Those who decide to make God’s Word a mainstay will remain steadfast in the Presence of God both now and forevermore.

 

I Corinthians 14:33 (NKJV) For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

 

Hebrews 12:1-2(NKJV) Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

Are you confused today? Not sure what to do next? Uncertain of the future? Don’t even know what to pray anymore? Let me encourage you…no let me challenge you…get into the Word of God spending significant time there. The enemy will always give you a plausible excuse to not read God’s Word, study it or pray over it. He doesn’t want you to understand the depth and capacity of God’s Love for you. He wants you to feel that grace is limited rather than limitless. He wants you to see your faults and failures rather than the future and hope that the Lord has already provided you.

 

God is the God of Peace. Jesus is the Author and Finisher of Faith. Who better to look to for guidance? Who else could better explain the Word to our heart and mind than the very spirit of Jesus Christ – the Holy Spirit? We have been given everything we need to live a life of godliness. We can have everything God’s Word tells us is ours. We can do everything that it tells us we can do. We can live in the impossible realm called hope that changes our circumstances and resolves every situation. But you cannot go where you do not know exists? You cannot have that which remains hidden. A lie ends where truth is discovered. Once the Truth resonates inside of us the lies of the enemy are revealed one by one. He cannot trick us as easily. We know what to look for so the trap does not ensnare us.

 

I Corinthians 2:13-16 (NIV) This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

 

Your mind can work with the Word of God or it can work against the Spirit of God. It all depends how you manage your thoughts. We study many things. Okay, maybe it would be more appropriate we “Google” many things. You-Tube will provide millions of “how-to” videos on just about anything that you want to know how to do. Yesterday I was trying to figure out the percentage of increase. I have been out of school about three decades so I needed a refresher. How about the little gem called “Wiki-How”? The website didn’t just tell me how to do it but showed me every step of the way. When Jesus left us to sit at the Right Hand of God, He did not leave us alone. He gave us the Holy Spirit. We have the Mind of Christ.

 

Just because we have something doesn’t always mean that we use it. We bought our leather couch about twelve (12) years ago. It came with a special care kit that I stuck in the hall closet with all the other cleaning supplies. Last year, our daughter managed to get dark brown hair dye all over the couch. Ugh! I wiped up as much as I could but since our sofa is light tan – it left a horrible stain. Finally, I remembered the kit hidden high on the shelf. Inside was this little stick that looked like a glue stick labeled stain remover. As I began to rub the stick over the stain, remarkably it disappeared. I dare to say that if you came to the house that you would not even be able to tell where it once was located. This is the same with the Mind of Christ that we are given. Unless we exercise faith and hope in pursuing and utilizing this new way of thinking, it will have no impact on my life. To say I believe is one thing, but until it is reflected in the way that I think, speak and live – I am more than likely still holding on to a lie or two.

 

God is so good. His Love unfailing and unchanging. His Grace more than enough to cover our deepest darkest secret. It is tough to believe in God so perfect while I am so imperfect. Unworthiness is hard to overcome without knowing and understanding the character of God and nature of Jesus Christ. His Spirit will work His Word into our heart and mind as a shield. It will protect us from believing the ever so convincing lie of the enemy. God’s Word is a light that reveals the truth. When we know the Truth, we will not fall for a lie again. It is important that we take the Word of God, study it, dissect it, marinate over it, meditate on it, and continually dive in it day after day after day. We must know the Truth to remain free from every lie! The only thing the enemy has to use against you are lies. Be encouraged today that no weapon formed against us will prosper! We have the mind of Christ. God’s Word breaks every barrier to our freedom, removes ever boundary to our blessing, and allows us to be confident that we will see the Goodness of God in the land of the living. (Psalm27:13)

 

John 8:32 (NLT) “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 

Mind Over Matter

Mind Over Matter

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Philippians 4:6-9 (NLT) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

To Be Willing

To Be Willing

Isaiah 1:18-20 (NKJV)

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword”; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

 

Faith is illogical to the human mind. To be completely honest, I have heard the conversations in my head when I take a step of faith and venture beyond the now, seen or even slightly reasonable. The human mind and will always grapples with the Reality of God because if He is real, it will mean the end of self. The authenticity and relevance of God in our life is not based on what we believe but who He is. Whether one chooses to believe in the Lord, put trust in Him or even chase after Him does not change who He is or what He will do in our life. Our actions do not in any way influence His Goodness, Grace or Judgment toward us. Grace is the application of the Blood of Jesus Christ to our life enabling us to enter in to a relationship with God willingly. We must be willing.

 

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Salvation is none negotiable. It is available only one way. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life – no one can come to the Father except through the Blood of Jesus. Note: the Blood of Jesus. He died for you. You cannot ignore the sacrifice made for us and still experience the fulfillment of God in your life. There are many who do not talk about the Cross or bother with the Blood who will be sadly mistaken when they meet Him face-to-face. We must be ready to fully accept the grounds of redemption offered by the nail-scarred Hands of our Savior. But how?

 

The great thing about God is that He never leaves us hanging. He always has a Word that is relevant and true for us. “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.” There only two choices for believers today. One is either willing and obedient or rebellious. Take out a giant pink eraser to eliminate the gray area and middle-of-the-road because it is a lie of the enemy that somehow implies that the Lord will accept sin of any kind. God hates sin. He hates all sin. If He calls it sin in His Word, He abhors it. There is no such thing as permissible sin. Grace did not provide any clause to God’s Word that indicates that He is okay with those things in our life that are directly in contempt or conflict with His Law. Sin never became acceptable to God. My heart longs today to shake the cages of congregations who remain in bondage to sin and darkness because the pulpit they sit in front cares more about their bank account and popularity then the people the Lord has given them to serve. It is not a popular message but He is a perfect God. Jealous for our love and affection. He desires us in His Presence and has already provided an inheritance of provision, blessing and abundance for those who are willing to choose obedience. Are you willing today?

 

Matthew 26:40-41 (NKJV)

Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

 

In the hours proceeding the Cross, Jesus asked His Disciples to watch and pray. They fell asleep. He kept coming back to find them sleeping. It is important to read what Jesus tells Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?” Here it is: “Watch and pray, lest YOU enter into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.” Jesus wasn’t asking them to watch and pray for His Own Wellbeing. The Lord was ready and willing to fulfill God’s Plan. He was intent on the Cross. In these final hours, He was concerned for us. He was concerned for Peter.

 

The spirit is willing. We have been given the Holy Spirit as our constant companion. He is always willing. However, we are made of flesh that is usually unwilling to be inconvenienced, uncomfortable or sacrificial in any way. Concerned with the here and now, our humanness does not want to venture beyond that because the price is self. We must be willing to become uncomfortable. We must be willing to be inconvenienced. We must be willing.

 

James 3:16-18 (NKJV)

For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

 

Salvation is available through repentance. Repentance turns from sin to accept God’s Grace. There is a 180 degree turn to be made from our way to God’s Way. We must be willing because God does not use His Spirit to physically drag people to Him. We must be willing to go. Willingness is to cheerfully consenting and ready. It means to make a personal choice. Willingness produces eager compliance to the Word, Will and Way of God. When we repent and turn to Jesus, it is only step one. It is entrance to the process of redemption. To say, “Yes!” to Jesus is to say, “No!” to sin because you are willing to do whatever it takes to know Him more.

 

To be willing is to submit my will and fully accept God’s Will for us. Our will is our personal “I am”. It is our disposition and drive in life. It produces our passion. To be willing to surrender our own will or “I am” and accept God’s Will and His “I AM” moves us from the possible to impossible realm of His Presence.

 

Luke 13:34-35 (NKJV)

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”

 

Need I remind you today that you are His Beloved? His Love for each of us proven in His Death and Beautiful Resurrection when He handed us the Keys to His Kingdom. We must be willing to walk in and remain there. Jesus wants to gather us all together. Yet we continue to divide and conquer imploding from within under the heaviness of unwillingness to come to Jesus even after we are saved.

 

John 5:39-40 (NKJV)

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

Willingness is the key to obedience. Obedience allows us to live in partnership with Jesus, filled with His Spirit, as one of God’s Beloved and Precious Children. A lack of willingness and obedience does not change His Position. God loves us no matter what. Jesus longs for us to draw near and come closer. His Spirit waits within us to find a way out. In 2 Corinthians 8, the church of Macedonia is applauded for its abundance in affliction, liberality in deep poverty, and the fact that they were “freely willing” beyond their natural ability. Times were tough. They were tested. They remained willing. How about you? Are you being tried today or even tested? Or maybe you like your comfort zone and are unwilling to leave it to take up your cross and follow Christ? Well, there is a message in His Word for those today that are unwilling.

 

And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.” (2 Corinthians 8: 10-12)  It is time to become willing again. The first act of willingness is salvation. It is not the end of willingness but just the beginning as we turn our life over to the Lord. The moment we become unwilling to do the Will of God – we become disobedient. The Lord is encouraging us today to leave our comfort zone. To move out of complacency to a place of willing obedience again. When we give our free will to Jesus look what is promised…”it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.”

 

Willingness avails God’s Hand to us. The contents always there but unwillingness blinds us to it. For example, the Children of Israel left Egypt in a rush. They were slaves there yet when asked for offerings to build the Tabernacle, the gifts came pouring out of their tents. Exiles hoarding opulence and wealth. (Exodus 35:29) How is that possible? They had an abundance because in Exodus 36:6-7 Moses gives a commandment for them to stop giving because they had given too much. Is it possible that we have all we need to live and prosper in the Abundance of God but because we are unwilling it remains hidden in our life? Yep.

 

Philippians 4:8-9 (NKJV)

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

 

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord. We must stop rationalizing sin. We can no longer live the lie that grace allows us to live in sin and darkness reaping God’s Rewards. It is just not true. God blesses our obedience not by producing it on demand. Everything we need for life and godliness has already been provided for in our life, we find it through willing obedience to the Lord born of our love for Him. The more I obey God the more I discover His Goodness and Grace hidden in my life. Thankfully none of this is dependent on my ability to perform but I must only submit my will to God’s Will letting my “I am” die and become taken over by the Great I AM.

 

We must think about our faith daily. It is the submission of our mind, will and emotions fully accepting by faith and confident hope in the life that He has prepared for us, the purpose for which we are created and the divine potential locked within a hard heart and tossed about in our wavering. When I decide to become rooted and grounded in His Love, I do so by turning from all sin and darkness to pursue the Lord completely, fully and most of all willingly. We must think about our belief in God immersing ourselves in His Truth, relying on His Spirit and daily crucifying the ugliness of flesh that controls our strong will. It is only then we will be truly free to enjoy the benefits of His Kingdom forever.

 

Psalm 51:10-13 (NKJV)

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your Presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your Salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your Ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.