Life Unveiled

Life Unveiled

Matthew 27:50-52 (NLT) Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead.

It was a game-changing, plot-twisting, and script-flipping moment in the history of humanity. Some would later come to realize the true potential of the moment Jesus released His Spirit that day on the Cross while many would go back to life as usual. On the Day of Pentecost, the same Spirit that reached out and tore the veil in the Temple from top to bottom would come and have His Way in us. Do those words make you a bit uncomfortable? Does intimacy sound like a forbidden word in your Christian conversation? The Holy Inhabitation of Jesus Christ in us and the consummation of His Covenant with us is conceived in just one place – beyond the veil in His Presence. I believe I just might write a book one day to try to express the impact of God’s Presence, His Perfect Peace that defies logic and understanding and His Inexpressible Joy that finds has made His Way to me in the most difficult times. I cannot help tell you again, if but for a moment I could take apart my broken heart and show you the Light that lives there. You would never be the same. You would be changed. You would know in an instant that anything good in my life is the Jesus Christ inside of me. One experience. One encounter and your life can never be the same. For generations, many would desire God but fear of sin and death would keep them just outside the curtain. The High Priest would come and go on their behalf. Where is the hope in a covenant that does not offer life? Where is the potential of a relationship with a man in the middle? It is hard enough to stay married in a partnership of two. Could you imagine if you had to go through a third party to settle disagreements or to apologize? It is difficulty to create intimacy in a crowd. Jesus wanted more. He wanted us. He provided a way for us to step into His Presence and live in a place of constant unity with Him. In return, Jesus came to live in us.

I am a logical person. Things must make sense for me to believe they are true. Until the details add up and the bottom line is balanced, the jury remains out. I am not a person who lives in blind trust. Serving a God who I cannot see, being filled with a Spirit who I cannot touch and to live as part of a Kingdom that I cannot yet enter used to be challenging. Truly, reading God’s Word was a bust for me – I would fall fast asleep. The Holy Spirit was a silent partner locked away in a box. I knew He was in me but had no idea what to do with Him other than respond to the gentle nudges offered from time to time. Prayer. Not the conversation that I expected, but then again the Lord couldn’t get a word in edgewise in the midst of my endless banter. I read a book called “Beyond the Veil” which introduced me to this place called Presence, but I will be darned if I could find my way in despite the “OPEN” sign hanging on the door. Intrigued by the thought and determined in my heart to find this place, I decided to do whatever it took to find my way there.

Exodus 26:31-34 (NLT) “For the inside of the Tabernacle, make a special curtain of finely woven linen. Decorate it with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and with skillfully embroidered cherubim. Hang this curtain on gold hooks attached to four posts of acacia wood. Overlay the posts with gold, and set them in four silver bases. Hang the inner curtain from clasps, and put the Ark of the Covenant in the room behind it. This curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. Then put the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—on top of the Ark of the Covenant inside the Most Holy Place.

2 Chronicles 3:14 (NLT) Across the entrance of the Most Holy Place he hung a curtain made of fine linen, decorated with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and embroidered with figures of cherubim.

In both the Tabernacle and the Temple, the curtain was hung across the Most Holy Place. This was where the Ark of the Covenant that held the Presence of God – God-In-A-Box. Why was God in the box? The repayment of our sin had not been made. God’s Goodness and Glory would consume any human with sin if released to dwell among the people. Only those who truly lived holy and righteous lives could enter – Moses and the men who were consecrated to be high priests and serve the Lord there. Anyone else would die according to the sin within them. Yikes. The high priests mediated God’s Relationship with humanity going back and forth between them.

When Jesus died on the Cross, the veil was torn from top to bottom. God accepted His Payment for our sin and grace was fully dispensed. His Spirit was not free to come and go spreading life wherever He flowed. Life. Continuously death-overpowering and defeat-overwhelming life. Glorious life. Abundant life. Life everlasting. Life of increase. Life-giving harvest. Life. I think you get the point. Death was defeated. The grave overcome. Life was released and the covenant between God and His People complete. No need for a middle man our Mediator now Jesus Christ.

Exodus 34:34-35 (NLT) But whenever he went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with the Lord, he would remove the veil until he came out again. Then he would give the people whatever instructions the Lord had given him, and the people of Israel would see the radiant glow of his face. So he would put the veil over his face until he returned to speak with the Lord.

I love this part, I really do! When Moses would go into the Tent of Meeting to speak with the Lord…stop right here for just a second. Moses didn’t go into the Tent of Meeting to “pray” like some people do. You know…you go on and on to God about your problems, troubles, needs, wants, and desires. No, Moses had a relationship with God. When he entered the Presence of God it was with the intent to “speak with the Lord.” I wonder if this is the limitation on our prayer life. We do all the talking with no intent to hear the Voice of God. Let me just leave that right there and keep going.

When Moses left the Tent of Meeting after conversing with the Lord in His Presence, the radiance of God’s Glory on his countenance was visible. You could literally see him glowing. This completely freaked people out for lack of better words. They didn’t understand it. Could not conceive it. Feared God. Feared the man of God. So, Moses put a veil over his face until he entered God’s Presence again. Do we do the same thing? I mean really. Do you live from God experience to experience? Did you know that thanks to Jesus Christ that you can live IN THE PRESENCE every single day?

2 Corinthians 3:7-11 (NLT) The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!

Spoiler Alert! I am about to flood you with 2 Corinthians 3. Why is our life not radiating God’s Glory? If our life as believers shined in a tangible way as Moses face did just from basking in the Presence of God – our words might mean more. Infused with life our message begins to make a difference. Confidence in our covenant with God begins by our willingness and desire to seek His Presence. I pass by businesses all the time with “OPEN” signs and even “WELCOME” signs but I do not go inside. Churches open their doors with free admission and come-as-you-are invitations yet many seats remain empty and altars unused. Why? Where is the radiance of God? If this new way given to us in Jesus Christ is that much better, why isn’t our life any better? If He offers new life, new creations, new anything at all then why are we living the same old way?

2 Corinthians 3:12-15 (NLT) Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.

The new way gives us such confidence that we can be very bold. Does it? Are you confident today? Confident in what? Confident in God’s Love, His Goodness, and His Faithfulness. See becoming truly confident in this hope that is given to us will make faith rise up out of us as a tangible substance in our life. This confidence never leads to disappointment as it is the hope that anchors our soul. These are just words on a page to some but that can all change with an encounter with the Lord today. Not in a church full of people, sobbing and wailing at an altar but simply grabbing a cup of coffee, opening God’s Word, and sitting in His Presence. Yes, turn off all the noise, put away the cellphone, and lock the door. This is His Time. It is an intimate experience for those who decide the Lord is worth having. To strip off the veil requires confidence. It will require trust. Giving our heart, mind, body, soul, time, talent and treasure to Jesus Christ is an offering not a requirement. The decision to do so produces a relationship that has nothing to do with religion or ritual. It is personal. It is private. It is perfection.

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (NLT) But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

The Spirit of the Lord gives us freedom. As believers, we choose the depth of our intimacy with the Lord. It is not a requirement to live in His Presence or shine with His Glory. He gives us the opportunity. I write insurance policies for a living. I do not sell them but help develop the contracts. The insurance business is regulated by the state government. If an insurer wants to change anything in the contract, it must be reviewed and approved by the Department of Insurance. After beginning this new adventure, I realized there was more to my homeowners insurance than I realized so I pulled out the contract and read all the provisions again. What if we are missing important benefits of our new covenant? What if there are blessings and promises that belong to me that I am not taking full advantage of? I have the Word of God but it doesn’t always make sense or seem real. I have the Holy Spirit, too. However, what might happen if I pursued Presence?

What if I stepped through the veil now torn in two and decided to spend quality time with Jesus rather than random stolen or leftover moments from my day? What if I gave a consistent offering of my life? What are the possibilities? Nothing would be possible if you believed enough to try it. You cannot reflect a Glory you have not experienced. Like a solar light must soak in the sun to give light in the dark, I cannot effectively reflect a Light that has not saturated my life. How can I love others without His Love? How can I live for Him without knowing Him? How can I share a message that I have not heard or do not believe? I can’t. God is offering us a place in His Presence again today. New mercy will open the door again tomorrow, but wait to do tomorrow what could be done today. The Lord, His Spirit, will make us into the new creation as He makes us more like Him. We will have all the Fruit of His Spirit. We will have a rich and satisfying life here in the land of the living just like He said. It all begins with the decision to live a life unveiled and step into His Presence.

Psalm 16:11 (NLT) You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

Just Turnaround

Just Turnaround

Galatians 6:14-16 (NLT) As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.

In a Bible Study, the speaker said, “Cancer is a cell unwilling to change.” I tucked it in the back of my mind for a bit. The recent news of cancer scares, chemotherapy appointments, “pink nightmares” and another diagnosis have me contemplating cancer and change. Our son has scans next month that will determine if the cells in his body remain in check. I believe the bone marrow transplant and Hand of God upon him are doing their job but my heart grieves for all who have awakened in this nightmare, living the bad dream or trying to make sense in the aftermath. The last couple of weeks have been overwhelming. It seems that ever since our son’s journey ended, I have been struggling to decide what a “normal” life looks like or if there is such a thing. Something happened during that time. Something inside me changed forever and now I am learning to live in it. To survive the ordeal of a horrific and traumatic illness threatening the life of one of my children, I had to fully step into Christ. My whole being – body, mind, spirit and every single piece of my crushed heart had to be surrendered to find my next breath.

The perspective of my life has changed. My goals and aspirations are much different. Just like you, I see my future one way and when life takes a turn it causes stress and worry to fill my mind. As the pressures of life began to weigh me down, I started to complain and resist in an outward display. Challenged to find a solution or quit my job, I went to the Lord. You know what He told me? I had to change. God doesn’t see our life and all the problems. He sees my potential. The purpose for which He created me and the plan designed specifically for my life. It is not dependent on the variables around me but it all works together for my good. If I can keep my eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of faith and remain yoked to Him – life and power belong to me. His Grace is always enough. I have to change…no one else and nothing else but me.

John 3:30 (NLT) He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.

A quick and simple lessen about cancer from a novice perspective. Cancer is just another cell in the body. The problem is it doesn’t come pre-programmed with the life sustaining power to change. It is rogue. Rogue means no longer obedient, belonging or accepted and hence uncontrollable. It becomes a renegade. If you think about it, cancer never wins. For death is to kill its own source of life. It is suicidal in its mission. For if medicine doesn’t stop it or the Hand of God does not immediately heal it – it kills itself by ending the life of its human source. Cancer is basically a disease of uncontrolled cell division. Cells come with regulators that are overridden in a cancer cell. It does not have the safe limits built in that tell it how to grow and develop normally in the human body. Cancer cells make their own rules and growth factors. They are stuck in the “on” position. They ignore the innate signals from the body designed for healthy growth and development. How many times do I allow my flesh to override the Spirit? The Lord is working in me to make me a new creation and produce new life yet in my impatience and unwillingness to change cause a delay in my development. What if the lack of progress towards fulfillment of my purpose is me?

Repentance is turning back to God. It is not a mandate for change. I can do nothing to make my life better. Repentance leads to salvation which is an act of submission. It is to surrender every “cell” of my body and fiber of my being to the redemptive, restoring, renewing and renovating Power of Christ. To allow Him to improve my standard of living to God’s Glorious and Life-Giving Standard. I can do nothing apart from Christ. But in Christ, I have everything I need to grow, develop and mature my purpose. The only parts of my life that will not be renewed, restored and revived are those unwilling to change. The process of transformation is change. Not a change I can produce, but the One the Lord will if I give every part of my life to Him.

Romans 8:1-2 (NLT) So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 

At one point in our son’s fight against cancer, the doctors discussed his participation in a clinical trial for immunotherapy. Essentially they take some cells from a patient with active cancer and teach the immune system to fight back. We didn’t enter the trial but instead he was approved for a bone marrow transplant which took some of his cells after chemo-blasting as much cancer out of his system as possible and storing them for later use. He entered the hospital and for weeks they killed every cell they could without killing him and then reintroduced the clean cells to take over. They did and our son is alive today despite only having a 2% chance of survival. He is a living, breathing miracle. Though he celebrates victory day by day, there are still challenges in his post-cancer life. A review of systems provides a lengthy list of side effects from the disease and treatment alike. He requires medications and monitoring of certain health conditions. He is still dependent on his medical team which leads me to this point – you will always need Jesus. In fact, the more you grow, the more you will come to know that He is Your Life Source.

Sin will take over in the absence of Christ. Rogue behaviors will surface from our past. Flesh will rise up to overtake us in weakness. Our mind will play tricks on us as the enemy tries to convince us that God is not good, or He has forgotten a single promise. The enemy wants you to believe that the Grace of God is not enough. The truth is friend it is more than enough to make it through each day triumphantly even in the midst of trial or tragedy. We must only be willing to repent (turnaround)to face the Lord and allow Him to live, move and breathe in us. There is no condemnation in Christ. Someone needs to hear that today and understand. God sees sin as cancer. He has the cure. Just turn around and let His Unfailing Love and Goodness overtake you – this is when death becomes life, potential results in purpose, and you will experience Him from glory to glory.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NLT) Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Jesus didn’t come to save the world. He came to save us. You. Me. Everyone. To think that He came to save the world would be like Christ draining the ocean to keep our feet planted on the ground. No. Faith is not needed in such a case. It is when water is all around us and still our heart beckons us to come. Jesus says, “My grace is all you need…today.” No matter what you are facing or how good the day may seem – we all need His Grace and Mercy to continue the transformation process that all believers are undergoing. We much know that His Power works its absolute in our weakness. Why else would the prideful be warned of a fall? It is in that moment when Christ is enough that our life is immediately changed for the better and life released in the midst of such a declaration. This is the Gospel of our life. To let Christ have His Way in every area. It is not a choice attributable to anything that I can say or do but in the choice to let Him have His Way and fill every space and void in my life. Sometimes it is releasing my expectation to fully embrace His Promises which are always more than I can think or ask. Is it possible to take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and troubles – yes it is. The power to change lives within us. Christ is enough. I just have to believe it to receive it. To believe it means that each and every day – I must repent (turnaround) and embrace the Christ in me and the life He is producing.

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (NLT) So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

I made a startling realization this week. Okay, I am not going to lie I come to this every time. When I am stressed, anxious, worried, and overwhelmed – I begin to release the pressure by taking it out on those around me. I find myself complaining and grumbling. I become exhausted and given to tears. Time and time again…I hear the Lord whisper – “Hey, My Grace is still enough for you.” I turnaround and find Him right there where He always was with a Handful of Goodness and Heart full of love that the Lord is ready to lavish on me. I only have to turnaround from doing things my way and holding to my expectations to receive it. Jesus always gives me joy and peace that is indescribable without fail. I want to be a new creation. I want the new life I am promised. I am all too human just the same. When I find my life overwhelming, it is then that I realize I am the one who got turned around. I am the one doing it my way according to my will. The overwhelming feeling inside me is desperation mixed with unmet expectation that reminds me – Christ is all I need and He lives in me.

Stop evaluating your life according to those around you. Your Purpose and Plan are designed specifically and exclusively for you. This is not a competition. God has no favorites. Everyone has the potential and promise to be a Child of the Living God by accepting Jesus Christ. Everyone. You have the opportunity to put your old life of shame, regret, lack and discontentment behind and fully embrace the new life Christ died for you to have including full freedom and soul prosperity that somehow makes its way into our life as increase. What if all you have to do is stop doing it your way and let Christ have His Way? Could it be you are trying too hard rather than depending fully on Jesus? The Lord stands right behind you. He is ready, willing and able to change your life beginning with you. Will you just turnaround?

Psalm 23 (NLT) The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Just Breathe

Just Breathe

Job 33:4 (NLT) For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Here is a thoughtful nugget for today – breathe in, breathe out. Congratulations! You just successfully accomplished something in life. You perpetuated it by simply inspiring and expiring a single breath. Now do it again! Two triumphs in one day…now keep doing it throughout the rest of today. Completely overwhelmed by work, church and life, I sat working on surprises for Mother’s Day for church. After working the second late night, swinging by the grocery store to restock, taking care of our little puppy, nursing our adult fur baby whose tummy is not well, cooking dinner and settling in to prepare for Sunday. I could feel the pressure closing in on me. Tired. Exhausted. Brain not fully functioning. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes as my heart pounded in my chest. Another rough day. There have been more than a few lately. More challenges than usual – but that’s just life right? Having gone through much worse and surviving, I still feel might heart yearning to thrive again. The Lord rushed in to comfort me during my unspoken prayer. His Words clear, calm and focused to me – just breathe.

Too often in the name of busyness – it is human nature to breathe shallowing. To keep running from this task to that one using all of our body, mind and spirit to create a better life and meet human expectation. Burn out comes. The wall is hit hard forcing all the breath from our body. Our humanity a heavy weight that burdens us rather than becoming the blessing we are promised. It is certainly not of God. He doesn’t tell us to “do” it all. In fact, He doesn’t need us to do a thing. I exist for God’s Pleasure. He gives me purpose that promotes prosperity by His Grace not because I deserve it. Just like our children do not earn the house they live in, the food they eat, the money I give them or the clothing that overflows from drawers, closets and the laundry hamper – I give it all to them simply because I love them and want to care for them. But I am not the Lord, and I do grow weak and weary. Thankfully, He does not.

Acts 17:22-28 (NLT) So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.  “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”

The Unknown God. Do you know the Lord? I have been married to my husband for almost two decades. He is my best friend. I know him better than any other person in this life. To know him comes from spending almost every single day with him consecutively for more than 18 years. It has meant giving up my way to follow him on many occasions. It requires forgiveness time and time again. It is to put him above other people. To love him. Seek him out. Serve him with love. Day by day getting to know him more. Have I applied the same desire and drive in getting to know the Lord? His Word is the Way, Truth and Life. See if you really know the “unknown” God who Paul speaks of – you can breathe easy.

God doesn’t need us to do anything. He desires us. He wants us. He sent His Son to die for our sins so that there is an opportunity to live in a relationship with Him. That’s it. All the other religious rules and regulations are not of God. Grace has them covered. What will allow the greatest success in our Christian walk and “living for the Lord” is not in our personal ability or dedication to righteousness but one’s ability to slip into the Robe of Righteousness and return home as the prodigal son or daughter. The Father/Child relationship is what the Lord desires. Our family depends on one another. Though from time to time there is rivalry amongst them, let someone come against them or there be a proposed threat – the circle the wagons quickly prepared to fight. There are many days that I forget this truth. The part about God not needing me to do any particular thing or that my success or failure as His Child is not hinged on my performance. God loves me for me. He formed me in my mother’s womb writing a perfect plan and purpose for my life including enough grace to get me through it. He is always for me. He gives me new mercy each morning and is just waiting to for me to breathe Him in deeply. To allow His Presence and His Spirit to work in me and through me giving me peace and inexpressible joy as I do the unthinkable, unimaginable, and absolutely infinitely more than I ever considered possible. There is more to life than this. It is found in Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. I just need to remember to keep breathing. It is in Him I live, move and exist. This is all part of inspiration and expiration the breath called life.

Daniel 10:16-18 (NLT) Then the one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing in front of me, “I am filled with anguish because of the vision I have seen, my lord, and I am very weak. How can someone like me, your servant, talk to you, my lord? My strength is gone, and I can hardly breathe.” Then the one who looked like a man touched me again, and I felt my strength returning.

The breath that keeps me breathing is the same air breathed into Adam. It has continued to bear fruit called life from generation to generation. Just as God’s Word will not return void, neither will His First Breath that brought humanity to life. The perpetuation of life will continue until Jesus comes. It is an awesome thought to think that the very mouth that formed the words that created all that we know is continuing its purpose in me today. If I am breathing – I am alive. I have human breath that is given to accomplish natural respiration. However, I have been given the spirit of Jesus Christ when He released His Last Breath on the Cross and saying, “It is finished.” Do you remember what happened next? The veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom. Nothing could ever separate me from God again. His Spirit (His Breath) did not stop there but resurrection power brought the dead back to life. His Breath cannot help but produce life in and around us.

Daniel was filled with anguish, overwhelmed by sorrow, and very weak. He was so weary in fact that he said, “How can someone like me, your servant, talk to you, my Lord?” He had seen a vision that drained his faith and overtook his hope so quickly that Daniel was drowning in sorrow unable to catch his breath. “My strength is gone, and I can hardly breathe.” Whether you are overcome by physical, emotional or spiritual exhaustion, weakness, weariness or just plain empty – the Lord has what you need today. His Voice is reminding you just breathe in and let it out. Breathe me in – let fear out. Breathe me in – let broken pieces fall where they will. Breathe me in – let worry go. Breathe me in – fall on me in your weakness. Breathe me in – become one with me, yoke your life to me, become one with me. The Lord is offering you His Whole Life – every fiber of who He is and what He is able to do in a single breath. Will you just breathe today? Will your declaration be as Daniel’s when he said, “I felt my strength returning.”

Psalm 33:4-9 (NLT) For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does. He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth. The Lord merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born. He assigned the sea its boundaries and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs. Let the whole world fear the Lord, and let everyone stand in awe of him. For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command.

So…

Psalm 104:30 (NLT) When you give them your breath, life is created, and you renew the face of the earth.

And finally…

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Wholeheartedly

wholeheartedly

Jeremiah 29:13 (NLT) If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

How do I give all the pieces of my heart to Jesus? Wholehearted is to be done, enacted, given with total sincerity, enthusiasm and commitment. It means that I am fully and completely committed to that which my heart is given. What is that exactly? I instructed in God’s Word in Deuteronomy and confirmed by Jesus that “I must love the Lord (my) God with all (my) heart, all (my) soul, and all (my) mind.” This is called the first and greatest commandment. In Jeremiah, it is the established way of attaining God’s Plan for our life with the future and hope that comes with it. I wonder sometimes if in our plight to perfect a way easily followed that this is overlooked in the modern day church. Righteousness becomes rightness. My righteousness is found in Christ alone but there is some sense of natural security that is assumed by doing what is right. This misconception is nothing more than a lie of the enemy meant to deceive God’s People. Our sole pursuit in life must be to love God wholeheartedly for that is how to find Him.

Deuteronomy 11:18-19 (NLT) “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”

Our pursuit of God and His Righteousness begins with the Word of God. Jesus is the Word made into flesh to dwell among us. To know, understand and begin to comprehend God’s Love demonstrated in Jesus Christ is to study, meditate and pray the Word of God in our life. God speaks to His People through His Word. It is a foreign language that must be learned and committed to memory. It must be incorporated in everyday life. We must study to show ourselves approved. Ready to share the Gospel in season and out of season. The Word brings wisdom that is more valuable than precious gems or the purest gold. Jesus is the Bread of Life that feeds and nourishes our spirit so the Holy Spirit can cultivate His Fruit in us. We must commit wholeheartedly to the words of God and Jesus Christ. The Word of God is life. It takes all the pieces of our heart no matter how broken, binding them altogether with the promise that everything is going according to His Plan.

Joshua 24:14-15 (NLT) “So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

God has not and will not ever force anyone to serve Him. He does not need servants to attend Him or workers to do His Business. God desires our love. The Spirit of the Lord set us free allowing us to choose who we will serve rather than keeping us captive to sin. He offers us a plan with a future and hope to live and not die. It is a personal choice. We must choose carefully. Amaziah I is noted in 2 Chronicles 25 as one who did what is right in the Lord’s eyes, but did not do it wholeheartedly. Hezekiah is later noted in 2 Chronicles 31 as one who also pleased the Lord but he did it wholeheartedly. The Lord is looking for those who do not just seek to please Him for His Goodness but desire His Glory wholeheartedly. God fills our life with good things because He loves us. The rains falls on the wicked and the righteous because God is good. When I do what is right in His Sight, I will experience more and more of His Blessings because they are already provided for me. It is simply a matter of positioning myself in the right place at the right time doing the right thing as His Word and His Way indicates. But that is not enough for me…not anymore.

To do what God desires will benefit our life. It will expose hidden blessings just because we are honoring Him with our attitude and actions. I want more than that. I want the full and complete standard of Jesus Christ that creates unity of faith and knowledge. (Ephesians 4:13) I don’t want anything left out of the Glorious Standard of Living that sin was kept from me. I can have it now because Christ lives in me. But if I do not have a relationship with Jesus, I cannot be a Child of God. Doing what He wants just makes me a slave to God rather than sin. (Romans 6:16-18) When I decide that I love God wholeheartedly is when I begin to experience the truest freedom that is to become a Child of God.

Jeremiah 32:39-41 (NLT) They will be my people, and I will be their God. And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me. I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land.

God desires a relationship with you today. One that you have not every experienced before and that your flesh rallies against daily. To give up this life in pursuit of forever seems like a risky investment. What if I am wrong? What if there is not a God? What if God is not as good? What if Jesus is not real? I cannot convince you of the existence of God or the vastness of goodness or fathomless depths of His Love. You will have to experience them for yourselves. What I do know is this? No one can convince me otherwise. If I die, I will not be disappointed. My hope in Jesus Christ is secure. But for argument’s sake, what if I am wrong and there is nothing after this life? Well, I can honestly say that loving God and serving Him has only benefited and blessed my life in inexplicable and inconceivable ways. If God were only a myth, it would still have been worth giving my life to Him. I want more. I want to love God with ALL of my heart, ALL of my soul and ALL of my mind. Daily I must make it my passionate pursuit to love Him with more of me. God desires an everlasting covenant. He wants to be one with us. We avail ourselves when we seek the Lord wholeheartedly.

Philippians 2:1-2 (NLT) Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

Lord, if I have withheld pieces of my heart, my soul or my mind from you – I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal these areas so I can give more of me to You, God! We have been given an opportunity to enter into the greatest love story ever written. To experience a love so great that the boundaries will never be seen. To experience the Glory of God so overwhelming that it melts us in His Presence. What if for a moment – we stopping working so hard and try worshipping the Lord more? Taking time to enter His Presence, sit at His Feet, listen to His Words and hear His Heart. God desires a relationship with us. He wants you. He longs for me to be with Him forever. What if I am trying to impress God with my actions and all He really wants is my heart? My time. My talent. My treasure mean nothing outside of His Power at work in me. Nothing I can ever accomplish on the earth in my power will ever outshine the work of Jesus on the Cross. God simply wants to raise my standard of living so that I can live in His Glorious Standard as any good parent would do. His Love is completely overwhelming but so very simplistic. For God so loved me that He gave His Only Son that I might be saved. There is nothing I can do, say or be to cap that kind of love. All I can give is all that I am for all that He is.

What if God only desired our true love? What if He really is not impressed by what we do for Him but how we love Him? I believe that if we came back to our first love as it tells us in Revelation that becoming the church that the Lord called and created us to be would not be quite so complicated. As believers if we would choose to love God wholeheartedly, there would be a shift in the dynamics of the organization and institution so that it would become the living, breathing and healthy Body of Christ again. No longer would there be politics or personal agendas leaking into the walls of the church but the Power of God called His Glory would emanate from it pouring out into our communities, our country and around the world. The same message would be spoken. It would be all about love. Agreement wholeheartedly would produce a sound message that the world would hear clearly. God is love. God is in love with you! My life is worth nothing until the Love of God overtakes every part it so that I can effectively communicate God’s Love to a lost and dying people in a cold, dark world. Lord, I give you my heart, my soul and my mind. Make it whole according to Your Word, Your Will and Your Way today so that I can give it back to You!

2 Corinthians 4:6-7 (NLT)  For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

Ezekiel 36:26(NLT) And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.

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

The Undoing

Onion.

Romans 8:1-2 (NLT) So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

I seldom use onions in recipes but when I do I handle them with care. Peeling off the paper-like covering, to reveal the pearly white surface releases the distinct odor of the onion. However, once you cut into it – the onion fights back as oils are released into the air that irritate our eyes producing seemingly endless tears. A trick to eliminate the tears is to cut the onion under running water. This causes the oils to be rinsed away and keep them from reaching the tear duct. Fancy trick I learned from my grandmother. You can learn a lot from grown folks. You can learn a lot about life in Christ from an onion, too.

Salvation is only the beginning of discovering our newfound freedom in Christ. Redemption is to take full advantage of the gift given to us by the Grace of God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Christianity and the pursuit of Christ also will produce many tears in our life. As the Lord peels back the layers of sin, shame, regret, guilt and stinking thinking, the aroma and stench of death leaving us to make room for new life, new hope, and new freedom causes tears to be released. Our life is going to produce an aroma of some kind. Will it be a fragrant sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving while claiming God’s Gift or will it be the continued stench of rotting flesh taking over again? It really is up to you and me what kind of life that is produced after coming to Jesus inviting Him to be our Savior. It is in His Lordship that a whole new existence is possible free from the chains, bondage and slavery of this life to claim freedom.

John 8:36 (NLT) So if the Son set you free – you are truly free.

Do you feel free today? Are you singing a freedom song? There is no condemnation in Jesus Christ so who the Son sets free is free indeed. The word condemnation means to pronounce guilt. It is an unfavorable or adverse judgment. It means to pronounce unfit for use or service. To force. It is to declare incurable. None of these qualities exist in the character of Christ concerning you. He is intent on freeing you from every thought, suspicion or notion that you are bound, hindered or restricted in any way, shape or form. He says that you are free…completely free…totally free. You are free to win. Free to live. Free to prosper. Free to grow. Free to love. You have absolute and complete freedom in Jesus Christ. You own Him nothing. He gave you everything. So why the long face and heavy heart today?

Christians do not experience freedom because they cannot accept the free gift of God’s Grace completely. There must be a catch. So like a prisoner who has been imprisoned far too long, the door is unlocked but they will not reach out their weary, tired, oppressed and fearful arm to open it and walk out. Jesus has set you free today. Free from sin, worry, despair, self-loathing, religion, and more You are free indeed to do as you please with this new life you have been given. What will you use your freedom for today?

Life is like an onion covered in many layers. I am like an onion who as I have grown older in life taken on many layers that do not necessarily belong to me in Jesus Christ. I wear them proudly and hold them tightly. When the Lord comes to make something beautiful out of my life, I refuse to let go of the known to take a faithful chance on the future. What lies just beneath the surface of me that He is trying to get to? We do not like brokenness and fear the cut of pruning. It produces many tears in our life. But I know a trick that I want to share with you (again) that my grandmother shared with me…you gotta run it under the water!

Romans 8:26-30 (NLT) And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

The Holy Spirit is our partner when it comes to attaining the freedom offered in Jesus Christ. We need His Help. This is way too complex and comprehensive for my finite thinking and limitations of the human mind. I need His Wisdom and Guidance to wash over me and renew me as I endure the process of change from death to new life. As the Word cuts to the core of my heart, pruning out sin, eradicating the flesh that keeps me from growing, it is His Spirit that washes my wounds, heals my heart, nourishes my soul and nurtures my growth. The Holy Spirit is water the water that keeps me in those times when I don’t feel free or try to shut myself up captive in fear, doubt and worry again.

The Holy Spirit takes God’s Word and waters me with it. My family is not too big on raw onions. So often when I cook, I use the dried minced onions from the spice aisle instead. This is very convenient but not as flavorful. It lends some of the taste to a recipe but not the full flavor of a freshly cut onion. Now if you take a raw onion and cook it, something changes. The flavor changes and becomes sweeter as the texture softens. This takes longer than just grabbing an onion and cutting it up. We give food time to cook but refuse to give any credence to God’s Timing and Preparation when it comes to us. The onion is only one ingredient in the recipe. Brokenness is only a part of the process. With patience and time, the onion is going to work with all the other flavors to produce a delicious dinner.

God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His Purpose. His Purpose. His Recipe. His Design. This means that you are only seeing a small part of a huge picture. You are in a single step of a perfect process. Do not judge your future or forever by the tough situation, hard time or heart break you are going through right now. It is part of a beautiful masterpiece that the Lord has designed your life to be. “But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had the veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His Glorious Image.” (2 Cor. 3:16-18)

Colossians 3:10-14 (NLT) Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

There is no condemnation in Jesus Christ. Any part of our life lived in bondage is not of God or His Son or His Spirit. Sin doesn’t condemn us anymore. Sin happens so repentance is given so grace may be applied. Those who love the Lord will try not to sin. Love is the best motivator for repentance. Change comes more easily surrounded in purpose. It is my passion and pursuit to live in the Kingdom of God. I live in Florida. If I get in my car intent on traveling to Canada, I must go north. If I go south, I will fall into the ocean. If I go east or west the same thing will happen. My vehicle is faith. Faith is the title deed to hope that is the Kingdom of God. I must head in that direction if it is my chosen destination. With that being said, religion often adds extra layers of “things” I must do and rules to follow. My relationship with Jesus Christ is not dependent on religion or anything or anyone else. My relationship is intimate and personal. I am committed to Jesus Christ so I strive to be close to Him. To come closer means certain layers of my life have to go. Those things can hurt and produce many tears but it is full assumption of my freedom to undergo the transformation. Beauty is pain. I believe it. Letting go of how life defines me to grab hold of my destiny.

True freedom is to fully assume your new nature. To be renewed body, mind and spirit to become like Christ. It doesn’t matter what religion you belong to because it is all about our relationship with Jesus that matters. God chose to love me. It is my privilege to remove the layers of life and take on the splendor of His Kingdom. To be clothed in tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. To form strong bonds and build relationships with my brothers and sisters. To forgive and off the grace that I have so generously been given. To love and love some more. The freedom that I have is found in His Love. As I discover just how “wide, long, high and deep” His Love really is, it is then that I am able to see just how free I really am.

It is hard to remember in the midst of hurt, hardship and trials that our life is part of something bigger than what we see, know and experience every day. It is also difficult to fully understand and therefore accept that God’s Love is completely unconditional and His Grace never ending. It is with this in mind that I am reminded today I am free. I have been freed from sin, shame, guilt, and every other kind of bondage that exists in the world today. I am a soul set free in the One I love. I am destined to be part of something much bigger. To fulfill my position will be my complete undoing as God peels back the layers that keep me from fulfillment and becoming exactly who He created me to be. Brokenness will come. Tears will fall. It will be my undoing. But it will be worth it – it will be worth it all!

Ephesians 3:17-19 (NLT) Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

A New Thing

a-new-thing

Titus 3:4-7 (NLT) But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.

The past few weeks I have discovered chalk paint. To be completely honest, it has become somewhat of an obsession taking over my life. I love to make old things new again. My first project was an old antique dresser. It was a minimal investment to insure if I ruined it that I would not fret. Staining the top to bring out the original wood grain and textured, the old chest could be seen. I proceeded to coat and cover the rest of the piece with linen white chalk paint and it became my masterpiece. So now every old piece of furniture that I am considering getting rid of undergoes a fresh transformation thanks to the newly discovered painting product and the fact I discovered a wide selection of colors at the local Wal-Mart. I love taking something someone is ready to throw out and giving it new life. Making it into something new and useful. God did that for me, you know. Took a little girl lost, gave her a new life, new purpose, a beautiful family and wonderful future. It didn’t always look like it but as I trust the Lord with a little bit here and a little more there – faith is growing into something more beautiful than anything I could think or ask for.

No, this is not a tutorial on chalk painting or the merits of it. But one more thing about the paint that I find quite impressive and then I will move on. It covers everything. One coat makes such a difference. If you distress it by rubbing off edges or added some texture, it looks even better. The Blood of Jesus covers it all. My past is hidden behind the pristine righteousness left behind once our sins our covered in His Bright Red Blood. I wonder if we could see ourselves as God sees us after grace is applied, if we would understand that our future is way better than our past. Would we give up the old things taking the place of the new things that the Lord is ready to do in us, through us and around us? Would we trust Him in the application of transformation just a little more and know that in that moment His Grace is enough to catapult us into a prosperous future? What if we took a chance on a new thing rather than clinging to old things that are comfortable? The unknown Plan of God is way better than our present reality – we just need a little faith in the product of our salvation and confidence in the Promises of God.

Isaiah 48:6-8 (NLT) You have heard my predictions and seen them fulfilled, but you refuse to admit it. Now I will tell you new things, secrets you have not yet heard. They are brand new, not things from the past. So you cannot say, ‘We knew that all the time!’ “Yes, I will tell you of things that are entirely new, things you never heard of before. For I know so well what traitors you are. You have been rebels from birth.

It took me months to muster the courage to paint a piece of furniture. I was afraid that I would mess it up. Yet secretly I kept looking at the work of others thinking I could do it. I had no confidence in myself. I had no knowledge and therefore doubted my ability to do so. Here is the thing. I wonder how many things that the Lord whispers to us to encourage us and empower us to do something new that are suppressed based on our old life, old ways and old person. What is He whispering in your ear today? What is that new thing that sounds impossible? Overwhelming? The Lord inspires us to do new things because we are a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17) He sees us as a new person even if we don’t. He sees the purpose in us not the conditions around us. He makes all things new beginning with you. It takes time for us to be transformed into the new creation but the most important thing is that no matter how long it takes – we are transformed. (Galatians 6:15) Also of great importance to note is that God knows people are rebels from birth so He provided grace and new mercy each day. No excuses. Today is the day of new things…

Isaiah 43:18-21 (NLT) “But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. The wild animals in the fields will thank me, the jackals and owls, too, for giving them water in the desert. Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland so my chosen people can be refreshed. I have made Israel for myself, and they will someday honor me before the whole world.

I used to think that all the “new things” the Lord wanted to do in my life was new like the world perceives it. Out with the old in with the new. God is the Creator of all things. He created you with a plan and purpose that sin tried to kill and the enemy tried to steal. But God. He provided everything we needed from the beginning right down to documenting every minute of our journey and recording it in time, that lead to our success and not failure. So what does that mean? Your life is just as it should be. When we discover the Love of God and accept Jesus Christ as Savior – the sin that once killed every good thing in our life and darkness that prohibited our growth potential is gone. The decision to make Jesus our Lord and follow Him causes the new things He promised to come to pass. He takes our life, this life exactly where we live and prospers us here. He turns wastelands to waterfalls. He makes a pathway through our wilderness. Our commitment to Christ is what brings forth the new thing. Our willingness to follow leads us to prosperity.

Romans 4:16-17 (NLT) So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.

Faith is all that is needed to have a new life. Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Do you believe in that God, too? Abraham believed enough to sacrifice his only son that he waited almost 100 years to meet. What are you willing to sacrifice? Your time? Your comfort? Your trust? Your feelings? Your rights? Your past? Your anything? The Lord has been whispering to you a new thing. He is always leading us to new life. Are you listening? Are you trusting? Do you believe that He can actually do something with all those broken pieces not fit for anything? Why not hand it over? Why not just give God a chance? Faith trusts God when we cannot see what is coming or a way out. It is the thing that says keep going when the impossible rises up. New things come to those who trust the Lord enough to stop looking back and take one step…just one step forward. Is that you? Are you ready for something new? Go for it. He is waiting on you!

Mark 8:34-36 (NLT) Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.  And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?

21 Days

21 Days

Hebrews 10:19-22 (NLT) And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

Who doesn’t like new? The new car smell is exciting until the payment book arrives in the mail. The new way is good until it becomes mundane. The televisions entertains with new offers and billions of dollars poured into advertising to grab public attention to come shop for more. New is only for a moment if you think about it. Once attained, that “thing” that was new quickly becomes old. A new thing often comes with a cost. A new way comes only with change. If you think about it for a moment, we want new things and new ways but seldom consider the cost or change that must come with it.

Jesus opened a new and life-giving way. It requires a cost and change to attain it. He paid the price for our sin with His Blood. He changed our worship to become about surrender rather than sacrifice. Sin no longer cost us our life but grace welcomes surrender. Are you walking in the new and life-giving way? Do you feel confident that you can have all that God promised in His Word to those He calls His Children? Can you go into the Presence of God with a sincere heart fully trusting Him? We can boldly enter Heaven’s Most Holy Place which is the Throne Room of our Most High God with Jesus seated at His Right Hand. As a born-again believer covered in the Blood of Jesus and walking in His Grace, I can come to the Father with every request fully trusting that He will hear my cries and answer my call…but do I do it? Will I walk in the new and life-giving way today? Or every day? Are you tired of a mundane life? Does it seem like it is the same stuff and situations all the time? Are you stuck in a rut?

Luke 14:26-30 (NLT) “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’

When I was much younger, I judged my parents severely. Married and divorced at a young age with two small children and just barely adults themselves, I didn’t realize how harshly that I had judged them. I wanted to be the perfect wife and perfect mother, but found it be impossible myself. In a similar situation and making many of the same mistakes, it wasn’t until I came to Jesus and finally gave Him my life completely that I could finally see. Nobody’s perfect. The grace afforded me, I must give to others. Though it is human nature to try to trust other people fully, they are going to let you down. We must put our trust in Jesus and discard all the other expectations of others.

I remember when our son was diagnosed with cancer and my dad was coming to see his grandson in the hospital. I had been in the throes of caregiver long enough to dry up my tears, trust the Lord and continue to march on. But when my dad let me know that he was coming, my heart quaked a little. He is my dad. I needed to hug my father and hear him say that it would be okay. When he called to say that he was in the lobby, I rushed down to see him. I looked all around for my dad ready to run to him. What I found was a broken man with his head buried in his arms sobbing. He was overwhelmed with sadness for his grandson. I sat down, put my arm around him and began to encourage him. Though he is my father, in that moment, for that season, I had to trust the Lord to quiet my heart, soothe my soul and be my portion.

Love and hate are opposites. I don’t think Jesus was implying that we should hate our parents, family or friends to take up our cross and follow Him. If we are not willing to give up everything we love including our own life to follow Jesus then, for us, the price is too high. The new, life-giving way promised to us comes through discipleship and following Jesus which means that our trust and expectation can no longer be in those around us but to the One who lives inside of us. It will cost you everything to follow Jesus. Have you counted the cost? It means that we must love, forgive, and say farewell to many other “things” including people choosing to love the Lord more than anyone else in our life. It relieves people of our expectation as we yoke our whole life to Jesus and carry the cross laid upon us by His Love.

2 Corinthians 3:9-12 (NLT) If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever! Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold.

The new way of life given to us by Jesus is called freedom. No longer condemned by our sin because of His Grace, we can live a glorious life again despite human imperfection. The problem is that most people expect the Lord to meet us where we are rather than running to where He is. Our life must change to accept the new way of living that we have been offered. If the Lord forces us to live in the new way, it is no longer freedom but becomes bondage all over again. The devil cannot make you do anything you do not want to do. The Holy Spirit will not make you do anything that you do not want to do. You are free to live however you choose. So when we don’t like the way things are going – it is up to us to choose a new way.

We are offered overwhelming glory as we take up our cross and follow Christ. To expect a new way of life doing all the same things is ridiculous. To do the same thing and expect different results is called insanity. People do it every day. We must become confident that the new way is worth having so we will walk in it. If we do, we will become bold in our confidence. Confidence in the Lord will change our life for the better because confident people will choose to follow God. Counting the cost ahead of time and deciding – it’s going to be worth it. It is going to be worth it all.

2 Timothy 1:9-10 (NLT) For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.

We are ordained by God and granted access by Jesus to live a holy life. Not a religious existence but a life of holiness. Why? Holiness connects us with the Lord by reliance on His Grace alone. Righteousness allows us to become holy again. Our life should reflect the grace given to us in every way. By submitting to the authority of Jesus as Lord and surrendering our heart to Him as Savior, it is possible to enter the Highway of Holiness and live there successfully. Outside of Jesus – it is all just religious and pious acts of false worship.

“Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14) A holy life is one defined by discipleship. It is no longer about what I want or how I feel but trusting the Lord to meet those needs and desires while I demonstrate the new way with my life. A holy life is not a perfect life. It is not a sinless one either. A holy life is to dedicate and devote our life to serving the Lord. It is to strive to be godly like our Father in Heaven and accepting His Grace when we fall short. To have a spiritually pure quality. This is achieved by the washing of God’s Word that releases the impurities of our heart, mind and soul by changing the way we think so our attitude and actions follow suit. (Romans 12:2) It is life in the Spirit of God using His Guidance and Instruction to walk in God’s Ways. (Romans 7:5-6)

2 Corinthians 4:1 (NLT) Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. 

2 Corinthians 4:6-9 (NLT) For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 

God has given us a new way. Are we walking in it? When He decided to light the way for us, God gave His Son, Jesus. Jesus put the same light in us so now we are the light of the world likened to a city on a hill. Is your light so shining before men that the love of God is revealed and men praise Him for it? Until you and I become confident in the investment that God has made in us including our mind, soul and body choosing to live true to it, we will not experience the glorious life promised those who do. Are you willing to count the cost and take up your cross to follow Jesus? Are you willing to change from your way to His Way?

Scientifically, it is believed that it takes 21 days to change a habit. To retrain our mind to do something new on a regular basis. A habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become involuntary. Could it be that if we decided to do things His Way for 21 days, it would become independent of our will and we could live in God’s Will? I wonder what 21 consistent days of getting up early to read God’s Word and pray might do? How about not watching that television show that feeds our flesh but not our spirit? Whatever that “thing” is hindering you from a closer walk with God. What if it was left undone for just 21 days…would it make a difference? I believe it would. If not, you can surely go right back to life as usual. If the supernatural is what you are after though, it is the beginning of faith and freedom forever. We must count the cost. We must become confident in our belief. We must change our ways to see the Glory of God in our life.

Psalm 119:57-60 (NLT) Lord, you are mine! I promise to obey your words! With all my heart I want your blessings. Be merciful as you promised. I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow your laws. I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands.

All Things New

All Things New

Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV) “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

The Lord is doing a new thing. Each day waking up to a body filled with breath is a sign that there is more to life than what was experienced yesterday yet to be fulfilled. Even on those days that seem ordinary, plain or repetitive, there is the possibility for something new to happen and change to occur. Change is uncomfortable. A life of faith is difficult for our flesh that is suspect of all things based on life’s experiences. It’s hard to trust a God who cannot be reached with any of the five human senses. But every day there is the possibility of new life, new love, new purpose, new things and becoming a new creation in spite of ourselves.

When the idea of moving began to circle in our minds as the Holy Spirit nudged our hearts, my husband made the comment “wouldn’t it be great if we could pick up our house here and move it to there.” I have to laugh because God loves my husband. When he expresses a desire, the Lord always finds a way to grant it to this humble man who would do anything for his family. We bought a house in the next county that is the same floorplan as the old one. Crazy, I know. There are some subtle differences between the old house and new. Changes that I would have made in the other are already made. Our new house needs some love and attention which we are glad to give. It would be easy to try to make this house just like the old one since the structure is the same but it seems that in every room something has turned out a little bit different.

We are called to be a new creation in Jesus Christ. To be a new creation requires uncomfortable change. Moving was not fun. It was exhausting and overwhelming. The enemy definitely tried to deter us from following God’s Plan and I would be a liar to say that I did not try to give up about three times in the process. It was the Holy Spirit reminding me that God wanted to do a new thing and in fact was doing it that kept me fighting the good fight of faith. What about you? Are you determined to be transformed into a new creation today? Do you want what God wants and predestined for your life? Isaiah tells us that to do so, “forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”

The Lord is doing a new thing. Our life from salvation to redemption is marked by perpetual change. We decide what change will look like in our life. It is called freedom. God has created us and called us to become righteous and walk in His Glory until we meet Him face-to-face. But if we choose not to take advantage of His Love, Mercy and Grace by becoming reconciled to Christ – it will not happen. New life is a choice lived every day.

Isaiah 42:6-9 (NIV) “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.”

Isaiah 42 begins with a description of Jesus. Jesus Christ is the foundation of the new covenant and call to righteousness that allows us to have a new life. In verse 9, the Lord declares “new things” to come. We have a purpose. (Psalm 139:13-18) There is a plan in place with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) We are called to righteousness. God’s Grace given to us in the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus allows its dispensation. We are granted freedom to choose to love and live for the Lord or go our separate way. Covenant is partnership. It is relational. We cannot have a new covenant with Jesus and maintain our old partnership and bondage to sin. The two are not conducive to one another. The Lord allows us to choose who we will serve. The only catch is that unlike the world that allows compromise, the Lord requires commitment. New life is in the New Covenant. New things come to those who commit their way to Christ.

2 Corinthians 3:6-10 (NIV) He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory.

Does the Glory of God shine in your life? Are you prospering body, mind and spirit? Physically, mentally, spiritually and financially? Not only do we live in a new covenant with the Lord, but we are called to be ministers of the new covenant. How glorious is your life? Does your countenance reflect a change that has penetrated your heart, changed your mind and renewed your spirit? If not, it can! Righteousness allows the Glory of God greater than Moses ever knew to be expressed in our life. What is righteousness? Right standing with God. The ability to come into the Presence of God again through the grace provided by Jesus Christ. To pursue righteousness is our willingness to obey God and submit our life to the Lord so that we can be reconciled to Jesus every day.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

We have this natural inclination that coming to Christ should cause a drastic and immediate change in our condition and circumstances. When everything is not immediate, the enemy rushes in to tell us that God is not real. His Love is conditional. His Grace runs out. His Mercy does not come each day. The new creation has come. Creation is a process. It took the God of the Universe seven days to create the world we know. If we look at 2 Peter 3:8, maybe it will change our perspective on creation just a bit. It says that God created the earth in six days and rested on the seventh. Well according to this scripture, “with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” Humanity impatiently puts a timeline on the work of God in their life when His Idea of time is much different. God knows the plans that He has for us and is in no hurry to rush the process for our convenience but rather will wait until it is complete lacking no good thing.

What is the process of becoming a new creation? Does it magically happen? Do I have to do anything? According to 2 Corinthians 5:18-21, we must reconcile our life to Christ. Every single layer of our existence submitting to His Lordship and surrendered to His Love. It is a commitment to righteousness that allows nothing to come between us and Jesus. It is a swift consumption of the new mercy that He provides every new day. (Lamentations 3:20-26) How can I a wrecked human being full of imperfect traits and flawed character ever be one with Jesus Christ? His Grace is enough for me.

Ezekiel 36:25-30 (NIV) I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.  I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you. I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” In our submission and surrender to the Lord, we are given His Grace and Mercy. The sacrifice that Jesus Christ made allows us to have God’s Glory in our life but will never force us to reach out and take it. The Lord will give you a new heart in exchange for the hard one. He will give you a new spirit but you must be willing to crucify your flesh. It is not a matter of can God but will you today?

The blessings of God are predetermined for our life. It is simply our willingness to follow Jesus and do what His Word says that gives us access to the prosperity preordained for us. The blessing of a new heart and new spirit is a new life. You will become a new creation. It doesn’t mean that every condition or circumstance in your life will change. You were born with a purpose. God ordered your life to fulfill that same purpose. Your potential did not hinge of salvation but is released by it. God loved you when He made you. He had big plans for you in your mother’s womb. He loves us first. By reconciling our life to Christ, we open ever door and window to the contents of Heaven so it will pour out on our life in His Glory as God always intended but sin stopped up.

Luke 5:36-39 (NIV) He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”

Although we live in a house that looks just like our old one, it is different. The floorplan is flipped. I find that when I go to open the refrigerator, I am actually walking into the pantry. I will reach for light switches that are not in the same place anymore. When we come to Jesus Christ, He makes His Home in our life. He prepares us for the new thing that He is doing in us. We want the Glory of God to fill our life, but first our life must be prepared to receive it. We tend to search for the Lord yet try to maintain our old way of life. New life and new levels in the Lord will always require movement on our part. Our human condition requires a process to be fully redeemed. We cannot contain all that the Lord is doing in us and through us from the start. If we want new wine, we need new wineskin.

The process of change that God provides is transformation. It is the daily submission of us to His Plan, His Purpose, and His Process that releases the Glory of God in our life. If the Lord were to fill us right now with all His Love, Grace and Goodness for us – it would completely consume us. We would burst on the inside. The Lord will not force His Affections or it would not be love at all. Love cannot be forced it must grow. Jesus renews us day by day so more and more of His Glory can fill us and be expressed from our life. He changes us. He lives in us.

Do you want a new life? Do you desire to become a new creation? Do you need a change of heart or renewed spirit today? It has already been decreed over your life, you must simply learn to walk in it. It requires leaving the past behind including religion, tradition, guilt, shame and every other thing that links us to the past. Sin must also be left in the sea of forgetfulness washed in His Blood. We must move closer to God and learn to live in His Love. It is a process because His Love is greater than anything that a human being has ever experienced. When the Lord prospers our life, no part is left untouched. As our soul prospers, it produces a fruitful life. The wilderness always has a way. The wastelands have hidden waterfalls. The Lord will lead you to them if you are committed wholeheartedly in pursuing Him. Nowhere in the Word of God do I find solace that pursuing Jesus and living for the Lord is easy but I can testify that it is always worth it.

Revelation 21:3-5 (NIV) And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

New Life New Day

New Life New Day

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (NLT) So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Today is a brand new day. It is the beginning of your new life in Christ all over again. How do I know? His Mercy was fresh this morning delivered to your doorstep, bedside, pillow. When you open your eyes drawing one more breath and another heartbeat, opportunity was waiting to meet you and escort you through this day. Most of the time, we hit the alarm, roll over pulling the covers over our head rather than greeting the new day that the Lord give us. Caught up in evaluating our life from a human point of view, we miss the fact that the impossible became possible when Jesus Christ became our Lord and Savior. You belong to Jesus Christ. You are becoming a new person simply by allowing Him to rule and reign in your life each day. The old life is gone. Our sins are washed as far as the east is from the west. A new life has begun. Are you taking advantage of the gift of life?

It’s that “human point of view” thing that messes us up. Heavily reliant on our five senses, the transition from walking by sight to living by faith feels more like a blind leap rather than a carefully decided step. Just because I cannot see something does not mean it does not exist or has not been there since before my life began. There are many wonders of the world that I have read about and seen through pictures that I know are there yet have never had the pleasure of visiting or seeing with my own eyes yet I believe. It doesn’t matter how yesterday ended or this morning began the potential for a new life exists in each moment for those who know Jesus. The very ones who believe without seeing Him.

Lamentations 3:22-24 (NLT) The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”

The faithfulness of the Lord does not end. He does not tire of our insistence on rebellion which is any time our way supersedes His Way. His Love for us is not limited by our inability to remain faithful to our First Love all the time. His Mercy comes fresh each morning and is there for our use. If we could only comprehend how rich His Mercy and Abundant His Grace really is, I wonder if then we could begin to live, breathe and thrive in the Blessings of God given to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. To live healed, whole, delivered and fulfilled – we would experience life as God planned it rather than remaining victims of fate.

To enter each day with the understanding and valid belief that the Lord IS my Inheritance! He is worthy of my love and devotion. I can trust Him with my life. He is able to do more than I can ask or think with all that I surrender to Him. His Love for me never ends. His Mercy for me is ceaseless. His Faithfulness is great. All of this is mine. It is given to me as a gift. I cannot earn it. I will never deserve it. Yet, I can live in it each day.

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.

Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. This world will try to convince you that there are many things worth investing your life in. Time is the most valuable commodity that a human being has because it is irreplaceable. You cannot make time. You cannot buy more time beyond that which is allotted. Once a moment passes, it cannot be regained. So what is the one thing we waste the most of…time. When we see life through our natural eyes it is limited to the “seventy or so” years declared in God’s Word. We know that some live to a ripe old age, while others are cut short in their prime or not given a chance to live at all. The value of human life is diminishing in society today. We give ourselves away to many worthless things. Yet Jesus came to give us a rich, satisfying life. He offers us abundance just for the asking. Why don’t we ask? Why don’t we seek first the Kingdom of God? Is Jesus our hobby? Is He a routine? Or is Jesus Christ our life. Those who choose to make Him their life surrendering all of their time, talent and treasure to His Love will experience new life in each new day.

Such a life is not dependent of situations but surrender. My life in my hands was a mess. When I gave it all to Jesus, He began molding and shaping it into a life worth living. What about you? Are you filled with joy today? Or does facing another day seem like too much to handle? Are you living a new life in Christ or dying in the debts of your past? See we come to Jesus calling on His Name but it is in the acceptance of His Gift opening it, using it and apply it to our life that new life begins. Stuck in a rut…lost in the past…Jesus is calling you to come into the Light of His Love and live for today in the Promise of Forever.

Real life is hidden in Christ. If we do not abide “in” Jesus Christ, new life will remain elusive because sin will prevail in us. Each day an inner war is waged. We must meet each morning with mercy and decide not to give up but press in to the Lord more than ever before. The enemy is after your hope today. If he can render you hopeless, he will steal your very soul. See without hope – our life is empty and filled with a void that nothing can fulfill. Each morning hope comes calling inviting us to join it for the day. Will you choose life today?

I Corinthians 4:16-17 (NLT) That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

Some things do not change. For example, we are alive in Christ yet our bodies are still dying. The difference is that our spirit is being renewed every single day. Though our circumstances don’t look like they are changing, our soul is prospering and it will make it into the lives of those who choose to endure to the end. Are you thinking about giving up? The pressure that seems overwhelming is a breakthrough on the way. The urge to push is the promise you are pregnant with about to emerge. The uprising inside challenging you to move is purpose getting ready to come forth. If you give up, it will die inside. Renewal is a process. It is not overnight. Those who decide to stick it out will have everything God’s Word says that they can have and do all it says that they will do! Jesus promises that it will be worth it…it will be worth it all.

Ecclesiastes 11:6-7 (NLT) Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both. Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning.

Each day is a gift that not everyone can afford. Living for today, this day and not every other day is hard sometimes. I think there is valuable truth in the simplicity of Solomon’s words. Plant your seed in the morning. I know that this could be anything that sown in our life. Consider the possibilities if before we planted anything else, we put God’s Word (His Seed) in our heart. Keep busy all afternoon. We live in society that is very busy and rushing around all the time. We have an occupation that is often not considered. We are ministers of the New Covenant. It is not one that requires serving in every available office at church. You do not have to give all your money to charity and live an impoverished life. You really do not have to do anything at all other than accept the Gift of God that is eternal life. Service to God is not in what we do but to become a living sacrifice. Jesus put only one priority on our life. To love one another. It is the first fruit of the Holy Spirit and evidence of proper planting and cultivation of God’s Word in our heart and mind. Love others… all others. Tomorrow is not a promise just a gift.

Romans 6:12-14 (NLT) Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.

I am a skin cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma at 26 years of age. I am an advocate of sun screen in copious amounts. Yet even in my greatest effort to apply evenly and thoroughly over my body, I always seem to miss certain places. At the end of the day, my failure to cover certain places is evident by streaks of red here and there. I beat myself up continuously over it. I know better. I know the danger. I know the risk. Yet I still sit on the beach for hours ignoring the sun shining brightly. Soothing my skin with aloe, I make the decision to make better choices. Do a better job protecting my skin. Limit my sun exposure. Setting goals and making a commitment to do good next time.

I am a sin survivor. I gave my heart and life to Jesus more than fifteen years ago. I am an advocate of grace who needs it in copious amounts. I still sin and fall short of God’s Glorious Standard every day. So I take the mercy that He gives me applying it in liberal amounts. But if I stop there and keep diving back into sin and making bad choices, what is my intent? There is no need to beat myself up. Once His Grace is applied it is enough, the real power comes when I decide not to do those things that cause me harm anymore. As I choose to break down every barrier between me and coming boldly before the Throne of Grace. Sin does not control me. I have God’s Spirit living inside of me with the promise of new life. Will I choose new life today?

Psalm 118:24-28 (NLT) This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Please, Lord, please save us. Please, Lord, please give us success. Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God, shining upon us. Take the sacrifice and bind it with cords on the altar. You are my God, and I will praise you! You are my God, and I will exalt you!

Each day as a believer, we make a public profession of faith not in word but deed. What does my life say about my new life in Jesus Christ? Is it worth having? Is it worth keeping? Is it worth pursuing? This is the day the Lord has made and everything I need to prosper and succeed has been hidden inside of it. Like the wonderful gift that it is, I must take the time to unwrap it and discover the blessings that God has given me. His Mercy is new each morning but I must accept it for the Lord will never force His Love and Goodness on us. The sun is coming up. The Son is shining on us. Will today be the day that you bask in His Love and live a New Life? I sure hope so because I fully intend to! Get up! Grab His Mercy! Declare His Love! Above all else, never give up!

Psalm 96:1-3 (NLT) Sing a new song to the Lord!     Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Sing to the Lord; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.

We Worship

Woman in Wheat Field With Arms Outstretched

Acts 2:1-4 (NIV) When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

 

Today churches around the world will celebrate Pentecost Sunday, a Christian festival on the fifth Sunday after Easter, commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles. In Jewish community, they will also have a celebration called the Feast of Weeks which is a commemoration of the giving of the Torah which is the culmination of the Jewish Law given on Mount Sinai. The Torah also known as Pentateuch is considered to be God’s Truth, His Instruction and Law. It is a verbal noun from “horah” meaning He taught or He showed. It is contained in the first five books of the Bible and the basis of study in synagogues today. This will end our history lesson on the significance of today.

 

What does Pentecost mean to believers today? The day of Pentecost coincides with the Feast of Weeks with good reason. The Word of God is completed by the appearance, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This marks the fulfillment of God’s Word that originally ended in death by our ability to live apart from sin, but now gives us life and life more abundantly. It changed our celebration. First God told us how to achieve righteousness pointing out our weaknesses and inability to live such a life to produce a need for faith and hope. When Jesus came and died on the Cross, now even though we could not live up to God’s Standard, by His Grace and Mercy, we became sons and daughters of God. The celebration of God’s Word, Instruction and Truth did not end when the name changed from Feast of Weeks to Pentecost but rather marked the day of radical fulfillment for those who believe.

 

John 4:23-24 (NIV) Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

 

Jesus told the woman at the well, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship in Spirit and in Truth. This is the kind of worship that the Father seeks. The Word is Truth. The Truth is that I fall short of the Glory of God. Game over. The existence and impartation of the Holy Spirit allows me to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior and make Him my Lord. I am filled with His Spirit which identifies me as a child of God. It changes my genetic code or DNA. No longer am I destined to die as a result of my sinful heritage and ancestor Adam, but I identify with Christ by His Spirit.

 

This holy inhabitation of the Holy Spirit in no way nullifies the truth that is the Word of God. Every single thing in the Word of God applies to my life. Sin is still sin. Grace does not exempt me from following God’s Instruction to the best of my ability and live obedient to Christ. Grace satisfies the penalty of death every time my intention is to live for Christ as a believer yet seem to fall short due to my fickle heart and unsettled mind. God gives me mercy each day to continue my pursuit of Jesus Christ. The Word of God means death to me apart from Jesus. It is rules and regulations that I personally cannot live up to except when the Holy Spirit comes to empower my life. We cannot live on bread alone but need every Word that comes from God’s Mouth. The Spirit takes the Bread of Life and works it to nourish and strengthen our soul. We need the Word to worship God. We most definitely need His Spirit, too.

 

John 14:16-18 (NIV) And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

 

Jesus had to die for my sins. He had to descend to the grave to take back my life. He had to ascend to the Father in His Perfection to sit at the Right Hand of God and assume full power and authority over the enemy who seeks to destroy my life. (Acts 2:22-24) But Jesus could not and would not leave us abandoned or alone. He handed us the Keys to the Kingdom so we could access His Presence and loose those things that He promised us by grace that empowers us. Yet there had to be more. He gave us the very essence of His Being – the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Truth lives in us. This Spirit is the One who changed us from fatherless orphans to Children of the King. We are never alone or forsaken and can be confident in this once filled with His Spirit.

 

Paul explains in Acts 2:14-21 the outpouring they had experienced as the fulfillment of Joel 2:28-32. God said that in the last day I will pour out my Spirit on all people. They will prophesy. The will see visions. They will dream dreams. I will show them wonders. It is the impartation of God’s Spirit in us that allows us to link our life to an unseen Kingdom and hopeful God who is not realistic but totally received by faith. We need the Holy Spirit to stay connected to Christ until we meet Him in Heaven or He comes back to earth.

 

John 16:12-15 (NIV) “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

 

Faith is illogical. Hope seems illusive. The comprehensive nature of God whose ways are not our ways and thinking so much higher than human perception makes the Holy Spirit completely necessary to be our guide and translator in life. Human knowledge, understanding and wisdom can never grasp a grace so endless or love unfailing yet it exists in the person of Jesus Christ. We must have the Mind of Christ to understand the process ongoing in our life as we apply the Truth and it blossoms into blessings. The prosperity of God’s Promises is dependent on the cultivation of God’s Spirit in us who produces the spiritual fruit that causes us to be recognized as His Children. Like produces like.

 

Ephesians 1:13-14 (NIV) And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

 

Many babies are born each day into this world. Each one containing a soul desired by the God who created them. However, not every parent decides to love and care for their child. Not every mom and dad seeks a better life for their child or creates an inheritance for them. Then there are the ones who love their child the moment they lay eyes on them and find it unbearable to watch them grow, develop and mature flying from the nest. God is a Good Father who desires an inheritance for every single one of His Children. It is hidden in heaven for you with everything you need to live up to God’s Standard. You have the ability to experience God’s Goodness now in the land of the living. The Holy Spirit is evidence that this promise is a reality for your life. If you believe the Word of God and allow the Lord to fill you with the Holy Spirit – it empowers you to receive the Kingdom of Heaven in everyday life and from everlasting to everlasting. Complete fulfillment just because God has invested His Power into our life. It is a cause for celebration for those who believe. Do you?

 

2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 (NIV) But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as first fruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letters. 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.

 

We are to worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth. I just don’t think that Jesus could make it any simpler than to state it so plainly and directly. Yet, many struggle with the person of the Holy Spirit. This comes at a great price. The Truth leads to death in the absence of God’s Spirit who identifies us as Children of God. If a tree bears no fruit, the Bible shows it is cursed time and time again. On the day of the first celebration of Pentecost, more than 3,000 believers were born again. (Acts 2:36-41) How could we ignore such a relevant fact? Every interpretation of the Word of God agrees.

 

We are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. He gives life to my dry, dead bones. He is the very breath that revives my soul and seals it until the Day of Redemption. My ability or willingness to believe in the Holy Spirit and allow Him to assist me in life is totally and completely up to me. He is a gentleman. After all, He is the very essence and presence of Jesus Christ. To live in intimacy and communion with the Spirit of the Living God is at my total discretion. He pursues me relentlessly through life. He is a doting suitor who brings all the blessings of God for me in His Hands. I have the ability to have complete fulfillment in my life and every detail turned for my good. Will I worship in Spirit and in Truth today? Well, I guess that is up to me…and you.

 

When I choose to allow God’s Spirit to live in me, He produces spiritual fruit. These are evidence that we are God’s First Fruits. It is how God’s Sanctifying Work is accomplished in our life. What is sanctification? It is to the Holy Spirit who makes us holy and set apart. Set apart from sin completely past, present and future to live in God’s Glory. He purifies our soul continuously challenging us to rid our life of lesser things beginning with sin then moving on to substitutions and compromise. I love this part the best, the Holy Spirit makes our life productive of and conducive to every spiritual blessing. We have been given a new life. Don’t you just love Jesus? His Love and Care for you and me is complete lacking no good thing. Let us honor His Love by worshipping in Spirit and Truth today as we celebrate the arrival of complete fulfillment. Thank you Lord for your Spirit today that makes the Word of God complete in our life.

 

I John 5:5-6 (NIV) Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.