To Be Perfect

To Be Perfect

Philippians 3:12-14 (NKJV)

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

 

Is perfection even possible? Paul said, “not that I have already attained or am already perfected”, so is there a subtle implication in his words that by pressing toward the mark and laying hold of Christ our life will somehow become perfect? What is perfection anyway? Perfection is defined as the highest degree of proficiency, skill or excellence. It is the “perfect” example of something. The word “perfect” means conforming absolutely to the description of definition. Excellent and complete. Exactly fitting. Entirely without any flaws, defects or shortcomings. I am human being filled with everything that makes me just the opposite of perfect so what’s the point? How can I ever be perfected when every fiber of my being and character are contrary to it? Perfect comes from the Latin word “perfectio” which means a finishing. Over time, we have defined perfect but the root of it all is finishing. This means that perfection is not how we start but found in our finishing. Our growth and development that leads to completion is the very thing that perfects us. If we can change our perspective on perfection, perhaps people will stop compromising and accepting substitutions and choose to be perfect.

 

Forgetting those things which are behind me can be such a challenge. Seldom do I dwell on my past successes, but rather all the times I gave up, fell short or thoroughly messed up. The enemy gladly shoves the memories of all my faults and failures into my face inviting me to question God’s Perfect Grace. To be perfect as God has promised and desires us to be requires reaching forward to those things given by faith and confident hope. These are the impossibles made possible for those who believe. Do you believe? This is the foundational question that must be answered to attain a perfected life.

 

James 1:4-8 (NKJV)

But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

 

Perfection is finishing. It is not how we begin, but those who endure until the end of this process of growth and development in Christ. The Lord wants to make us perfect and complete, lacking nothing. It will require wisdom which when we take what we know and apply it to our life. Otherwise, it is misplaced zeal. Hosea warns that His People perish from a lack of knowledge. Ignorant Christianity will never get us into Heaven. It is the heart and mind bent on perfection willing to do whatever it takes to make it to the end that will be saved. Faith is a life without fear and doubt producing full confidence and contentment in God and His Ways beginning with Jesus who is the Only Way to the Father. No one comes to the Father but by me. Do not be deceived for a double-minded man (or woman) is unstable in all of their ways.

 

Matthew 5:48 (NKJV) Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

 

Jesus said that we would be perfect. We would be finished. Made complete. Whole lacking nothing. Yet, in all things I am imperfect. The first thing I must do is accept that fact that I am nothing apart from Christ and can do nothing outside of our relationship that is worthwhile or beneficial for my future. There are a couple of things required to achieve perfection.

 

Genesis 6:5-9 (NKJV)

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.

 

Grace releases God’s Power of Perfection in our life. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. But as we read further, it says that he was a just man, perfect in “his generations” and that he walked with God. Everyone requires the Grace of God. No one is exempt. It is the daily overflow of God’s Grace that allows us to move deeper in righteousness and closer to the Lord. Noah found favor with God not because he was perfect but because he desired a relationship with God the Father and worked to maintain it. His Works did not define that process but God’s Grace given to Noah. Noah and his family would be the only generation to survive the total demolish of the earth. Would our pursuit of God save our family from destruction? Does my life exemplify the grace and goodness that I have been delivered?

 

Psalm 18:30-32 (NKJV)

As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.

 

God is perfect in all of His Ways. He will not change any of His Ways or that makes Him indecisive and changeable which invalidates His Perfection. He got it right the first time. Man mistakes God’s Grace for a change of heart. God is not emotional. He is Sovereign. He loved us and chose us from the very beginning. He established the Way for us before we were born into sin. He knew us and loves us because He created us. You don’t have to believe the Word of God to make it any more valid or true. The Truth stands alone. In an ever-changing world with compromised morals, mixed feelings, gray areas and convoluted ideas of grace, we must take God’s Word as the whole and absolute truth making it the foundation of our thoughts and filling our hearts with its knowledge to be wise when it comes to Christ. Perfection is impossible outside of the Lord.

 

God is My Strength and Power. Do you agree today? Think about it before you answer because the next mind-blowing revelation might rock you as it did me. To truly believe that God is perfect requires two things – weakness and surrender. You will never give God everything when your life is perfect. It is in the devastating revelation that you are weak and helpless that surrender is accomplished. It is in THAT moment when perfection becomes possible in our life.

 

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NKJV)

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My Strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

Weakness acquires His Strength. We cannot become strong in the Lord until we discover our own human weakness. We want to do what is right but cannot. We desire perfection but fall short. It is right here in this place of giving up and giving in that His Perfecting Power is manifested in our life.

 

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV)

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

 

God’s Power requires full surrender of our life to God’s Plan and accepting His Grace. Grace is the key to perfection. We must accept God’s Strength and Power in order to allow our heart and mind to change according to His Will and Way. We can do nothing apart from the free gift of God. We must learn to walk in His Way.

 

Psalm 19:7-11 (NKJV)

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward.

 

The truth behind grace is the absolute solidity of God’s Word as true. Do you believe God’s Word? It must be the unadulterated truth of our life to move past the opening stages of the gift of grace to the perfecting qualities of faith in God. We must grow, develop and mature in our relationship with Jesus Christ in the dispensation of His Grace to become who God created us to be. Life does not get easier, just more purposeful. It does not turn down the heat of fiery trials just keeps us safe and gives them meaning. It is the conversion of our heart and soul in becoming a living sacrifice that allows us to be transformed and perfected according to His Word. (Romans 12:1-2) It does not change the past but our future.

 

Matthew 19:20-22 (NKJV)

The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

 

In this parable, the dilemma faced in the pursuit of perfection is revealed. Heartbreakingly true, it happens every day. The young man was raised in religion and performed quite well. But when Jesus reached inside his heart to expose his weakness, the young man could not let it go. He could not become weak for the Lord giving up the security and comfort of his wealth. He could not give Jesus his weakness which was his love of position and power. So he took his perfect worldly life and went his way rather than answering the call of Jesus to follow me. What is keeping you from perfection today? I know with vivid clarity the areas keeping me. The things I choose to build my own strength rather allowing the Lord to be my strength. The areas of weakness I hide from the risk of exposure that would allow Him to make me strong. God invites me to have perfection. I was created to be perfect but chose iniquity. (Ezekiel 28:15) If I make a commitment to perfection (Psalm 101:2), He promises to perfect all concerns me. (Psalm 138:8) He will keep me in perfect peace if I set my mind on Him. (Isaiah 26:2-4) God has given us so many promises as a result of the perfection that He gives us by His Grace. (I Corinthians 7:1) If only we would consider the opportunities of grace rather the opposition of our flesh to following His Way, what would happen? We might just be perfected.

 

Ephesians 4:12-16 (NKJV)

For the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;  that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,  but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

 

To be perfect is the fulfillment of God’s Grace in our life. To take the gift we have been given, open it and apply it to our life. This is a direct result of one’s decision to accept our weakness and desire His Strength, while we surrender our life to accept His Power of Transformation and the conversion of our soul from death to life. Christ was perfected in the third day. Not on the Cross but in His Resurrection from the tomb. This is how God’s Power works in us. The same power that brought Jesus out of the grave is the same power in us that allows us to be perfected in Christ. (Luke 13:32; Hebrews 5:8-9) We have a purpose that grace accomplishes. His Strength and Power allows us to be finished, made complete and lacking nothing. God is not finished with you yet…He is just beginning. In giving our life to Him, walking His Way and choosing to take Him at His Word, we are promised to be perfect! His Love makes us perfect!

 

Colossians 3:14 (NKJV) But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

Advertisements

Forgetting the Past

Forgetting the Past

Philippians 3:13-14 (TLB)

No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us.

 

The past is quite haunting for me. Today is the four year anniversary of our son’s diagnosis, it is a difficult day. Our son is healed. He has been in remission for over a year now which is a miracle in the medical community. Yes, we celebrate his life every day as we do our other four children. I am blessed. However, I would not be honest if I did not admit with total transparency that the healing from this awful ordeal is only beginning in this mother’s heart. The danger has past and now one must deal with the aftermath of shattered expectation. In the midst of the fight, there is not time to deal with the emotional traumas of the fight. You must keep your eyes and heart centered on Jesus and at full attention. Now in the quiet rest and thoughtful peace given by the Lord, the wounds of this battle are evident in my spirit, heart and soul. This is not how I expected our life to be.

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead is my daily goal and aspiration. I do not want to live in fear of the next test or trial that may come. The truth is that this one took everything I had leaving me in total weakness. The Lord is good. He is with me. He knows my feeble heart and loves me just the same. I am not a warrior. I am a weakling who has come to fully rely on God’s Love, Grace and Mercy to get through each day. The problem that I face is just what this verse implies. Forgetting the past. I cannot forget. I am afraid to forget. I do not know what lies ahead, but feel the need to watch over my shoulder just in case it is coming back. This is not God-thing but a-me problem I am desperate to fix. I want to fix my eyes on what’s ahead with eager expectation for total fulfillment from the Lord just as He promised. He is patient. He is loving. He is kind. He waits for me as I grope and feel my way to Him. I concur that I am not all I should be and in many ways feel I have farther to go. But today, I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.

Luke 9:60-62 (TLB)

Jesus replied, “Let those without eternal life concern themselves with things like that. Your duty is to come and preach the coming of the Kingdom of God to all the world.” Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will come, but first let me ask permission of those at home.” But Jesus told him, “Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

This same verse in the New Living Translation Bible says, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” I understood this implicitly when the only thing in my past was my old life and sinful disposition. You cannot move ahead with God when you want or desire the way things used to be. I completely get that… but what about when you fought the battle and won only to discover you are not the same person who you once were? I am not the same. I thought I would be after this whole ordeal ended. It has ended. But I am not the same. There was no normal life to return to.

This verse has a new perspective and different meaning now than ever before. I barely survived (in my own mind) last time will I be ready for the next big test. When my faith is tested will it be enough. Will the anchor of trust be enough to secure my confident hope? I have to believe at the end of each day. I believe God in all things. I cannot be distracted with yesterday and still prepare for tomorrow. Ignorance would be bliss. But I want to be blessed which requires wisdom and desire to turn around and face the future rather than dwelling in (or on) the past.

Genesis 19:23-26 (TLB)

Lot reached the village just as the sun was rising over the horizon. Then the Lord rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation. But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt.

 

We really don’t know a great deal about Lot’s wife. Surely she was there when the men from the city came for the messengers of God and Lot offered them her daughters. She must have seen the same depravity in the city that her husband did speaking of it in private conversations together as married couples do. I can only imagine she prayed for her family’s safety living in that place. When the angels carried them away, clearly she had to know it was the Hand of God. The Lord told them not to look back. She did. She became a pillar of salt. Did she look back to see what the Lord was doing? Did she secretly cheer Him on in her heart? Did she long for her home and comfort zone? No one really knows yet many will speculate. I know this. God told them not to look back and she did. Was it bitterness that turned her into a pillar of salt? Bitterness that after loving and serving God in the midst of the ungodly – she would lose everything and have to start again? When bad things happen to good people, it is unthinkable. When bad things happen to God’s People, we still have hope. But hope is never found in the past, it resides in the future. We must endure to the end for it all to be revealed. Once we have it, there is no need for faith to hope for it. When God moves us to the future, we must stop looking at the past. Even if it is not with longing, but fear of its return.

Ephesians 2:4-8 (TLB)

But God is so rich in mercy; he loved us so much that even though we were spiritually dead and doomed by our sins, he gave us back our lives again when he raised Christ from the dead—only by his undeserved favor have we ever been saved— and lifted us up from the grave into glory along with Christ, where we sit with him in the heavenly realms—all because of what Christ Jesus did. And now God can always point to us as examples of how very, very rich his kindness is, as shown in all he has done for us through Jesus Christ. Because of his kindness, you have been saved through trusting Christ. And even trusting is not of yourselves; it too is a gift from God.

When I read this today, I was thinking yeah, yeah I have seen this a hundred times before. Yeah, that was until I read verse 8 yet again with new eyes and a new heart. “And even trusting is not of yourselves; but a gift from God.” What? We come to the Lord attempting to trust Him and have faith in Him, but it is through our living life that true trust is established as God deposits it in our life so we came believe. Those who endure to the end will be saved. Those who trust to the end will be saved. It is when I can no longer trust myself that I can totally trust in God.

Ecclesiastes 3:14-15 (TLB)

And I know this, that whatever God does is final—nothing can be added or taken from it; God’s purpose in this is that man should fear the all-powerful God. Whatever is has been long ago; and whatever is going to be has been before; God brings to pass again what was in the distant past and disappeared.

Oh, this is where it gets good. I change my mind like our youngest child changes her outfits each day, but the Lord never changes. He is not a man. He does not lie or change His Mind. Once He releases His Word in my life, it cannot and will not return void. He is God. He was then and He is now. (Isaiah 44:7-8) So even when I stop striving for His Best due to lack of trust or fear, the Lord is still doing His Part to make it a reality in my life. Thank you Jesus! It means that He is giving me the opportunity to trust Him more so I will believe which always leads to receiving.

Romans 4:16-18 (TLB)

So God’s blessings are given to us by faith, as a free gift; we are certain to get them whether or not we follow Jewish customs if we have faith like Abraham’s, for Abraham is the father of us all when it comes to these matters of faith. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say that God made Abraham the father of many nations. God will accept all people in every nation who trust God as Abraham did. And this promise is from God himself, who makes the dead live again and speaks of future events with as much certainty as though they were already past. So, when God told Abraham that he would give him a son who would have many descendants and become a great nation, Abraham believed God even though such a promise just couldn’t come to pass!

If you are struggling with the past today, even those things that clearly God has moved on your behalf, don’t beat yourself up. He is working in you. The demolition of self is part of the process when God changes us. Heals us. Delivers us. Revives us. Restores us with more faith and trust than ever before. We have but one mission today and that is to look straight ahead. If our past has a place in our future, the Lord will make it so. Don’t worry! Stop stressing that you are not good enough or faithful enough for Him. He is the One who is working in you today. You are not a spiritual failure in weakness but an open vessel to receive more faith, hope and trust so you can believe in the God who does impossible things. God didn’t create us to be spiritual superheroes but super surrendered to His Love which makes all things possible if we can believe it enough to stay in it. The Lord knows the price you paid to make it this far and He provides for tomorrow just like He did then. The Lord is with you today. He goes before you and behind you with His Hand of Blessing on your head. (Psalm 139:5) Together we will keep striving to forget the past and look forward to the hope we have found in Him!

Philippians 1:19-21 (TLB)

I am going to keep on being glad, for I know that as you pray for me, and as the Holy Spirit helps me, this is all going to turn out for my good. For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that will cause me to be ashamed of myself but that I will always be ready to speak out boldly for Christ while I am going through all these trials here, just as I have in the past; and that I will always be an honor to Christ, whether I live or whether I must die. For to me, living means opportunities for Christ, and dying—well, that’s better yet!

Out with the Old

Out with the Old

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (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! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

 

What a difference a day makes. When the new day arrives, the old seems so small…most of the time. It’s when we get stuck in a series of days or season that never ends that we forget the “new things” God is doing because we are just trying to get through this time…this hurt…this season. It is fall…no I am not jumping around but fall is a relevant time in the series of seasons. The window is open and the leaves are falling like rain. Fall is when we harvest. Leading into winter when the barren land dies to rejuvenate when spring comes around and rolls into summer. The problem is that we don’t see seasons of life as they link together to form productivity and cultivate certain things in our life but too often focus on the things of each one that are difficult. Each leave falling represents a place for a new one to grow from a bud, to a blossom into fruit. But rather than focusing on this chain of events, we become focused on planting in the spring, enduring the heat of the summer, raking the leaves in fall and shoveling snow through the winter. Right now with pumpkin latte, pumpkin bread and just about every other pumpkin thing mankind can market, we are focused on winter. Excited about the change in seasons, boots, sweaters, bonfires and Christmas… until it gets here and then we want beaches, flip flops, vacation and sunshine because we are overwhelmed by the holiday stress, being stuck in the house and mounds of laundry produced by layers of clothing. The key to living a full life in Christ is becoming focused on the new thing that He is doing in us rather than the circumstances and consequences of change around us.

To create something new, something must die. To become a new creation, it means that we must die to our old life stepping into that “new thing” that the Lord is doing. This is not as easy as one might think considering people like to be comfortable. We want change but do not embrace it. We must never give up on what the Lord has promised us or the process by which He changes us. To become committed to enduring such change, we must be aware of the season we are in and the fruit it is producing. I am just as guilty as everyone else who asks for more and cries out in the overflow. His Ways are not like ours. They are so much higher as God sees things from His Perspective which is not daily but forever. I remember when my babies were small and still nursing. There were certain times like when driving the car or maneuvering through the grocery store when they might have to wait a few extra minutes to be fed. Now I knew how long it had been since their last feeding and how long it would take me to finish each task, but to my children a mere 15 minutes was forever and they would wail as if starving to death. And so it is with the Lord who knows exactly down to the minute how long this process will take. We scream and cry for release but He is focused on completion. He knows just how long it will take and gives us the grace to make it through even though we might think it is killing us. It is. It is burning up our flesh to make room for our faith. It is increasing our endurance which will produce strength of character. God uses every season of life to produce something in those who choose to surrender each season to Him and embrace the change that He is evoking in our life.

Yesterday they surgically removed the port from our son. What a glorious day! It is finished. The Lord true to His Word has healed and delivered our precious son from cancer. Physically – he looks amazing. You couldn’t wipe the smile off of his face. He is embracing the life of a college student once again. He is alive, well and prospering after four years of pain, suffering and physical attacks. It is a new season for all of us as we turn from the past and look to the future. The doctor asked if we would like to keep the port, I said, “No, I think we got our money’s worth!” with a laugh. Our son said, “No, I don’t need it anymore!” Out with the old. But then the doctor said, “You know 95% of our patients want to keep it.” What? Why? Who wants to remember all the pain and suffering? A lot of people live in the past every single day and it impacts their future negatively. I was very close to doing the very same thing.

2 Timothy 1:5-7 (NLT)

I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

 

My usual routine in returning from Gainesville is to collapse on the couch. It is exhausting for some reason to spend the day at the hospital and then travel two hours home even though you essentially do nothing more than sit around waiting most of the time. However, my kids had a youth night at church that I promised if I made it home in time that I would take them. God always has jokes. I arrived home just in time to switch cars and head to the church. It was worship night. It seemed appropriate to worship God especially on this night. We made it. Praise God we made it to the finish line. It was not a triumphant arrival but a quiet approach. There were no crowds cheering just a family who endured and overcame somehow managing to survive a horrible ordeal even prospering in it. The enemy tried to take our son but instead God gave us another one in our son-in-law. We have not suffered in the midst of this other than in our hearts and minds when all around us the Lord has provided everything we need and then some. We even made new friends along the way. God is so good!

Anyway, in the midst of the amazing Presence of God last night, the praise team began to sing the song, “I Won’t Go Back” by William Mcdowell. The chorus goes like this: So we say… I won’t go back, can’t go back, to the way it used to be… before your presence came and changed me… say I won’t… I won’t go back… I can’t go back, to the way it used to be… before your presence came and changed me!” That’s when it hit me. In this season, I have been changed for the better. The enemy wants me to focus on the hardship endured rather than the change that has been produced in us. He wants me to live in those moments and times of devastation like the one when we thought our son was clear only to find out less than 24 hours that he had relapsed worse than ever before. The doctors were scared. Fear hit me so hard I fell to my knees. See I had let my guard down and dared to rejoice in his healing and the enemy caught me unaware. I literally fell to my knees when the doctor told me which I had never done before. I couldn’t breathe as if fear had thrown a blanket over me and was slowly suffocating me. That must have been the moment that I decided not to thrive but survive. I realized in worship that I have been a slave to the spirit of fear for a very long time. Out with the old. Fear wants to remind us the difficult of the past to prepare for the future. The Lord is doing a new thing in each new season. Fear is not welcome there. We must get rid of the fear that wants to linger from our past to fully embrace the Love of God that changes moment by moment, day by day and season by season.

2 Corinthians 5:13-17 (NLT)

If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. 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!

Before you discredit this word as not for you because you or your child or your family has not gone through a life or death situation, this applies to every man and woman who is born again. If you have lived to the age of accountability, I am quite certain you have experienced seasons of life and indeed have a past of some sort. Whether or not you inflicted the pain in your life or it was at the hands of another, doesn’t really matter? The Lord wants to heal your mind, soul and body today. He wants to cut away the old scar tissue that binds your heart from receiving more of His Love to create a soft, pliable heart that is ready to be filled to overflowing. You cannot compare your life to others. You cannot decide that God’s Love is not for you based on how you live or what you are doing. God requires one thing from us. All of us just as we are. We cannot do a single thing to make our relationship with God right again, Jesus did it all. We can only accept the precious gift we have been given. It is a brand new life. It is not something that happens overnight but through season. If we will learn to release the past and fear associated with it to fully embrace the changes that God is making in us and through us, we will become the new creation that He promised we could be… in Christ alone. We make the decision to leave the past behind. God will not rip anything from our hands but simply offers us something better. Our trials and hardship can have meaning and purpose when we keep our hearts and minds focused on Jesus holding tight to the hope we have in Him, remembering His Promises and living by faith alone. Fear has no place in you today. His Perfect Love is driving it out. So out with the old and welcome your new life in Him again and again with each new season!

Isaiah 43:18-19 (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.

Old Photographs

Old Photographs

Ephesians 2:4-7 (AMP)

But God, being [so very] rich in mercy, because of His great and wonderful love with which He loved us, even when we were [spiritually] dead and separated from Him because of our sins, He made us [spiritually] alive together with Christ (for by His grace—His undeserved favor and mercy—you have been saved from God’s judgment). And He raised us up together with Him [when we believed], and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, [because we are] in Christ Jesus, [and He did this] so that in the ages to come He might [clearly] show the immeasurable and unsurpassed riches of His grace in [His] kindness toward us in Christ Jesus [by providing for our redemption].

 

Everyone has an idea of what life is supposed to be like. We grow up with an image in our head of what we will be or what we will do with future plans that are never to go through hard times, be brokenhearted or suffer in any way. That is never part of the plan but somehow seems to find us. My troubles may not be like yours. Though our lives may be similar everyone chooses a path so the outcomes of this adventure called life may be very, very different.

Cleaning out my closet a while back, I found boxes and boxes of old picture albums, as well as loose photographs that had not found a home. A box of old black and white ones yellowed with age sat amongst them as well. Looking through all of them now took me back through the past which sometimes for me is very difficult. I do not particularly care to go there while my children are fascinated and full of questions. Being far from perfect, I would rather keep them in a box then have to explain the events of each day. In the midst of the pile of amassed photos was one of the three older children in Christmas clothes, our oldest son has a ridiculously huge smile on his face which only I know was hysterical laughter after a barrage of tears. He didn’t want to get his picture taken with his siblings. He didn’t care for his role as big brother. My younger son who was the quiet, calm and complacent of the three had decided that he didn’t want his picture taken at all and kept trying to climb off the table in the studio. Finally our daughter as precious as she looks didn’t want to be put down that day and wouldn’t cooperate either. It is the perfect picture but the events of the day so traumatic, I relive them every time I look at it. My life was not the image that I portrayed in the picture. Perhaps the kids were just acting out real life. My marriage was crumbling and the carefully constructed façade meant to fool the world was about to completely fall apart. When I arrived at the car after attempting to preview the “perfect” pictures, I fell apart. My youngest wanted out of her exquisite but very uncomfortable dress so badly I ripped it helping her out. My boys were strapped in their car seats crying as I yelled over them. Mommy meltdown at its best.  I sat in my minivan and sobbed for what seemed like forever. The picture is beautiful but my life was a mess.

Everyone has a past who has lived more than a day. Each moment is made special and what we do with it is part of the freedom given to us by God. Whether saved or not, you have been given the liberty to live each day as you see fit whether in the Light of His Love or remaining in the darkness of this world. God loves us. He wants our love. Love does not force its affection on another but waits for them to come. This is where God’s Rich Mercy comes in to play in our everyday life. It says that in Jesus Christ we are made alive in Him and seated with Him in the Heavenly Places. Sometimes I forget that grace allows my mess to become a message so to speak. I am not the person in those pictures anymore. It takes a Christ-Angled view to look to the future even when sometimes I fall back into memories of days gone by. The enemy would like nothing more for me to live there and forfeit the future that my True Love has given me. He wants me to remember who I was rather than who I am becoming day by day. I am not defined by my failures. It is by faith I discover who I really am. You cannot see that in a picture. God sees it in our heart.

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (AMP)

So from now on we regard no one from a human point of view [according to worldly standards and values]. Though we have known Christ from a human point of view, now we no longer know Him in this way. Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].

 

One might think that once you are saved, there will be no more regret or past life to hold on to. But our human nature keeps a tight grip on the past because it has no future. There is no place for my sinful woman in the new creation that Christ is making. New things are coming with each brand new day that will require a sacrifice of self to hold on to. Do you want a new life? I do.

This week I will once again make the journey to Gainesville, Florida. Walking the familiar halls of Shands Hospital, it’s a love/hate relationship. I have not been there in more than a year. Our son attends college there which allowed him to continue his education while battling cancer. Definitely a blessing all the way, as his young life was not totally interrupted. The people in that place have cared for our son with love and compassion beyond their professional responsibility. We have made so many friends both on staff and also along in the fight. I cannot help but be reminded of the last four years in this journey back. I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to remember. Our son came home last weekend for a visit. His body has recovered miraculously from five rounds of intense chemotherapy, maximum dose radiation, a bone marrow transplant, not to mention countless biopsies and other procedures. There are still some battle scars that haunt me. I have many pictures that I have posted along the way from the first night to the other night right before he went back home. I want to put it all together to mark the journey of faith and hope to a miracle. I do. I hate to look at them. I hate to remember. I don’t ever want to go back. I want to pretend like it never happened. Where is the testimony in that? What potential lies in forgetting all the details of the past?  The potential of our pain in the past is to glorify God in the future. He will heal us. He will deliver us. He will restore us. He will renew us. We must only trust Him and keep our eyes on Jesus so in the not-so-distant future we can point to Jesus and say, “Look what the Lord has done!” Remember, God doesn’t save our tears for nothing!

How do we in our mere human design move from death to life without any trauma? How do we sacrifice our old nature to secure the new one without pain along the way? You don’t. What we have to hold on to in each memory is the revelation that God did what He promised. As I look back over time, and it has taken a long time, I am beginning to see the Hand of God moving in my rebellion. The Lord promises to make good out of every detail of our life when we step into His Great Love and choose to live there. (Romans 8:28) In such a place, we surrender the circumstances and consequences of sin to the miraculous overtures of grace that take even the tiniest thing and make it right. This takes time. It is built from our past. We are not supposed to live there as we have been elevated to a new position with our Lord – Jesus Christ. But how will we ever see what the Lord is doing if we are unwilling to overcome the potential embarrassment or potential pain to see Him working in every detail of our life. Our past has a purpose. Every single moment that we breathe has the potential to bring Glory to the Living God even those in old photographs we don’t want to relive or even see.

Hebrews 12:11-13 (AMP)

For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems sad and painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness [right standing with God and a lifestyle and attitude that seeks conformity to God’s will and purpose]. So then, strengthen hands that are weak and knees that tremble.

 Cut through and make smooth, straight paths for your feet [that are safe and go in the right direction], so that the leg which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather may be healed.

 

The trick is not reliving the past but looking back to see the future. We can use our past in the future as long as we do not return to it. I do not fear cancer. I do not worry about our son’s scans anymore. I mean really…what is the worst thing that anyone can say? I’m sorry but it’s cancer? Seriously, been there, done that and have seen the Hand of God miraculously and completed save, heal and deliver our son. No, the sacrifice of the life I had designed in my head was laid on the altar to be burned. I thought the past was over. All the bad things were gone. Human expectation can cause us to build and construct expectation based on what we think our life will be like and what we think we should do. It’s human nature. When our world comes tumbling down around us, it is a traumatic event. God knows that. He gave His Son to give us a brand new life because the old one was leading nowhere. We were dying day by day. We still die every day… in our flesh. As it is burned away, our human being is challenged to survive in the midst of vast destruction as we are completely undone in Jesus Christ to be remade into the person who God created us to be in the first place. It is worth it. But that doesn’t mean it is without pain and brokenness along the way. God’s love for us as a Father will not allow us to continue to live a substandard life if we are crying out for something more. He must help us. He is our Father. His Love is always reaching for us.

If a broken bone does not heal properly, doctors will break the bone surgically and reset it for better results. It is probably safe to say that the first time the bone was fractured that it was through a traumatic event. The pain was excruciating. Someone had to go find help to fix the problem. But when the doctor decided to make it better, it was a different experience altogether. The patient was asleep for the entire procedure or at least numbed up really well to feel no pain. They were in a clean and sterile environment with nurses catering to their needs in the process. The only thing that may not have been different was the fear associated with the procedure. I think one of the biggest tragedies in the church today is the lack of discipleship. Many Christians are led to believe that following Christ detours us from the pains of life and everything will be hunky dory all day long. Who wants to hear that there will still be problems, pain and struggles in life? I do. If those are the things required to produce a stronger connection to Jesus Christ so be it. I have an unfair advantage that I long to share with others. It is okay to be broken – you will be made new. It is okay to reach the end of your faith because God wants to give you more and stronger faith than ever before. No one has it all together despite their best effort to make you think so. We cannot be concerned about others like that. We are called to a life of loving others not comparing our life to theirs. I wish I could learn this lesson. I am still trying. God is renewing me day by day. He has done so much, but how much more that there is to accomplish in me. Layer by layer, God peels back each piece of my life like a chef opens an onion. There will be tears but in the end God is creating a masterpiece.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (AMP)

For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].

 

In the kitchen on the edge of a sink, I have a sponge that I use to do dishes or wipe down the counter. When I bought it, it was completely dried and shriveled up in a package. When I put it in water, it absorbed the water and the appearance changed. Over time, I have used it countless times. Over time, I will come into the room and smell a foul odor. Inevitably, it is the little yellow sponge on the counter so I throw it in the dishwasher. See if I do not properly wring out all of the water, it will spoil inside the sponge. I am God’s Sponge. He fills me each day with the express purpose that I empty it out on others. He refills me. When something gets inside that is hindering me, it stinks to the Lord so He in essence wrings me out again. He doesn’t do it because He doesn’t love me. In fact, it is just the opposite. I am no good to myself or anyone else with hidden sin in my life. Those things that represent unbelief or rebellion against God’s Way must go so I can have and be everything His Word has promised. My past is directly linked to my future or it would not have existed. I am being transformed day by day. God uses our yesterday to bless our tomorrow no matter how difficult it was or how little we want to think about it. His Way is perfect. His Desire is to give us a future and hope that involves every single detail of our life resulting in something good and praiseworthy. Are we holding back those old photographs from God’s Attention? I want the life that Jesus died for me to have all of it including every blessing. I want to honor the Lord by giving Him my life to make what He desires including my past, present and future. There are very few perfect pictures in my life. I live in the moment rather than trying to document each one. Lord, show me how to use my past for potential in the future. I want others to see that You are good!

Isaiah 43:18-19 (AMP)

“Do not remember the former things, or ponder the things of the past. “Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert…”

Am I Looking Back?

Am I Looking Back

Luke 9:61-62 (NLT)

Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

Have you ever been driving on the Interstate and encounter an accident? Ever notice that right before the unfortunate event and immediately following – there are fender benders? This usually causes a complete standstill along the way. First the primary crash occurs, those approaching do not notice that traffic is slowing or even stopped because they are looking behind them or distracted by something in their vehicle and now they are in a bind. Those who go past the accident are still looking at the carnage and not at the road ahead which is filled with merging and moving traffic – so now they run into someone else. In the South, we call this rubbernecking. But in the Bible, it calls us “not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

Oh I know this sounds harsh, but please hear me out. I heard a testimony of a sweet woman who just so happens to be a family member after attending a church camp with her youth group that she oversees. This camp was not for adults but let’s face it God does not discriminate and will bless anyone who will come into His Presence and speak to anyone who dares to listen for His Voice. As family, I know the last year of her life as she does mine. The Lord told her that her time of mourning was over. In a very short time, she lost her mother and her father. She cared for her father relentlessly and tirelessly until the very end. His illness continued for months requiring round-the-clock care. If you have ever been the caregiver of a loved one, then you know the toll that this takes. It has been a year since his passing but what she never realized was the depth of her mourning. That is, until the Lord revealed it to her and took it from her filling her with more of His Love in that moment. I can totally relate to her. I have heard the Lord speak this to my own heart very recently and her sharing gave me perspective.

When we are fighting for our faith in this battle called life – we can get turned around. We approach it and go through it. On the other side, it is human nature to keep our eyes on it. The enemy wants us to keep looking back. He was to lock us in the fear, pain and hurt of our past because if he can trick us into staying in such a position – we will miss the purpose and potential of our life even though it is not intentional. Grief and mourning are a part of life whether we actually lose someone we love or it is when life just doesn’t turn out like we expected. There is purpose in every situation of our life but we must strive never to remain in that moment but move on with His Glory.

Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)

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

 

What got you turned around? Three years of fighting cancer with our son and then a year of holding my breath to see if remission was real changed my perspective. My faith was intact but my focus somehow got turned around. The Lord has ever so lovingly and gently but oh so firmly placed His Hands on my face and turned me back to Him. God knows our hurts. He wants to heal them. He catches our tears in a bottle carefully recording our sorrows. (Psalm 56:8) The Lord promises in Revelation 21:4 that when He returns that there will be no more suffering, pain, sorrow or tears. He gives us beauty for the ashes of sacrifice. He gives us a joyous blessing in the midst of our pain. He produces praise from within us when we have no words to speak. In all of it, God is securing our righteousness with each bit of faith we muster to say, “I trust you!” There is purpose and meaning in our journey through life even in the darkest valleys – God is producing a “refreshing spring” and in the midst of the storm, the rain carries “joyous blessings” as He makes us stronger and stronger along the way. (Psalm 84:6-7) Sin causes suffering, sickness and disease. But God has promised that He will make good of every detail in our life. (Romans 8:28) He promises to turn our mourning into dancing and clothe us in joy! (Psalm 30:11) There is purpose in what you are going through today. There is meaning in this process of exchanging all that we are to have all that He is. These troubles and trials are momentary. We must remember that.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NLT)

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! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

 

This life is temporary. What you are going through is momentary! It won’t last forever. Faith, hope and love are the only things that are eternal. (I Corinthians 13:13) The things that we go through they seem so enormous and everlasting are not. They will end. Those who remain faithful will experience the Glory of God as He pours more of His Goodness into their life. Those who endure to the end (faith intact) will be saved. Each trouble is nothing more than a tug-o-war match with the enemy for every blessing that God has in store for us. The Lord would not have allowed him to test you in such a way if you were not up to the fight. We must fix our eyes on what cannot be seen and hold tight to the reality that is confident hope. It was this about this time a few years back that the doctors “decided” we had entered the “Realm of Hope”. I laughed when she said it, so glad that we had finally made it. The place where the impossible becomes possible as there is no reasonable explanation other than miraculous. I know they think I had lost my mind and maybe in that moment I had a little. I was so wrapped up in the Lord that I could not see the veiled threat of death in her discussion only the possibility of life. So I wonder how I got turned around in the midst of such resounding faith in God, it can happen to anyone. When life doesn’t turn out how we expected and we are thrust from our comfort zone to the great unknown.

 

Isaiah 43:18-19 (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?

 

God is always doing something new in our life to move us from the present into the full potential of faith fulfilled in the future. We must keep moving and stop looking at that which is to the left or right. As we keep moving, if we do not look ahead to the new things that the Lord is doing we will get caught up in the past. The Lord is reminding us to forget the past and step into the future today. Let go of mourning, regret, and sadness to take hold of the Goodness and Glory in that lies ahead. If you planted seeds of righteousness along the way and watered them with tears, the harvest is in the future.

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.”

 

God has secret things that He wants to share with you. There are new things that He desires to do in you and through you. This is not a message for those who have not made a commitment to Christ or have a desire to serve Him. This is a shout out to all the wounded warriors who are still looking back at what just happened. Those who are trying to make sense of it all. Those who are trying to find that “normal” life that is lost in the wreckage. Those who don’t know if they have the strength for the next battle. Those who want to see the enemy coming this time trying to eliminate the element of surprise. God is telling “us” to just turnaround. I am doing this new thing. I am making good on all my promises and fulfilling your heart’s desire. You won the good fight of faith making it over the mountain and through the valley. Not by might or power but by My Spirit. God is telling us today that there is more to life than this if you will just focus on ME today instead for the carnage and collateral damage of yesterday’s fight. I am making all things new says the Lord. I am doing new things that are too extraordinary for you to even think to ask for! Will you just forget the past and look at ME, again!

Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)

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

 

It’s a brand new day. A step in the right direction. When I woke up this morning, new mercy was at my disposal. I have utilized it asking the Lord to forgive me for getting turned around. Thank you Lord for righting my way…again. As believers, we will never reach perfection. It is impossible. We were tainted from the start. What we reach for is Jesus as we look to God to show us what He has in store for us. The world is full of distractions and the enemy will use every single one that he can to steal, kill or destroy us. But those who strive to keep their eyes on Jesus will have a rich and satisfying life. (John 10:10) Don’t beat yourself up if you just realized you are all turned around. I say, “Welcome to the club!” What you do from this point on is what counts? Can you, will you, or how will you turn yourself around? We do so by “forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God through Christ Jesus is calling us!”

Proverbs 4:25-27 (NLT)

Look straight ahead and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.

 

Hebrews 12:2 (NLT)

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

 

Philippians 4:8 (NLT)

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Choose Life

Choose Life

2 Corinthians 5:7 (NLT)

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

My old life is gone. My life has begun! What does that mean exactly? So much for the hocus pocus of what I thought a new life in Christ might be as reality hits home once again. As I embark on a new path in life and new future, it is without inherent risks and a bit of trepidation. It is time to make a change. Why is change so difficult? Why does it seem so clear in the beginning and very close but then seems to become complicated and time consuming? The Lord has promised that when we become His People choosing to believe by faith that we immediately become a new person thus ending our old life and beginning a brand new one. Yay! Right? Well, I don’t know about that.

In November, our daughter married her best friend ending a long year of struggles regarding her brother’s health to a new season and new son for our family – YAY! Four months later, they followed God to New Hampshire to serve in an up and coming ministry in the mission fields of America. Well, that is not exactly how I expected things to turn out. It was hard to load my baby on a moving truck with all of her earthly possessions while trying to smile and wave as she left. For the record, I didn’t. I bawled my eyes out. Even as believers, our new life takes twists and turns sometimes (most times) that are unexpected. So what if I don’t want my new life in Christ? What if it is too hard? Too far? Too much? Not what I expected?

We all have a new life in Jesus Christ waiting for us. The choice to live it or not belongs to us. Jesus isn’t going to force you and I to follow Him. He doesn’t want forced love but a heartfelt affection and desire for Him. If our heart is not in our commitment to Christ, but it is simply another obligation – the Lord is not interested. We serve those we love naturally. Love is a commitment. There is not much commitment in the world today. No one really takes a chance on true love anymore. Casual encounters lead to endless soul ties that bind up the human heart making it unable to secure real love due to its bondage to so many other things. The Lord is inviting you and I today to cut our ties to everything we thought we wanted, needed and desired to step out in His Love and try this new life thing.

Romans 4:16-18 (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. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”

 

When I came to Christ almost sixteen years ago, it was a familiar path. I was saved when I was eleven years old. I wanted Jesus and could feel His Presence in me that moment. But I didn’t accept my new life at that point. When I was fifteen years old, I went to a church retreat and gave my heart back to Christ again. This time I made it through high school into college before I wandered off again. Every time I visited a church in the midst of my rebellion, I wanted desperately to give my bound up heart back to the Lord but somehow failed miserably when I left the building. When my husband and I married, we decided that we needed God to be our partner in our marriage to make it work so we both gave our lives back to Jesus in the midst of getting married and blending our family. We both came with pasts. We brought a lot of baggage. Jesus has sorted it all out. Healed our wounds and made us soul mates in His Love. He is our partner in this gig. We would not have made it without the Lord with us and more importantly in us. We have a new life together that is our testimony to Christ’s Love.

What made the difference for me? Faith made the difference. All those times I came to Christ, I came telling the Lord what I would do so He could do what He promised. The problem is that I can do nothing apart from Jesus Christ. It took all those failed attempts to see that He is the God who makes something out of nothing. I had to be emptied to be full. My new life was hidden under my expectations, my attempts, and my way. I had to fail miserably to discover how much I truly needed Jesus in my life. Now His Presence is non-negotiable. He’s coming with me wherever I go. He is the Authority so whatever He says goes. I wait on His Word to come to pass. When there is no reason for hope, God always shows up and shows off which gives us confidence. Getting past what man can do to what God will do and having enough faith in Him to wait for it will change our life forever. This is where regrettable becomes unforgettable.

Romans 5:17-19 (NLT)
For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.

 

There are many times when sharing with others that they don’t think I can relate based on where I am right now. The truth is that what others see in my life right now is Jesus. I have been in the same place that you are right now. Sadly, there are very few ways that I have not sinned against the Lord. Jesus is the difference in my life. Self-condemnation had me bound up too. How could the Lord use me after all the ways I hurt Him? Why do I deserve God’s Best? How can I expect the Lord to bless me in my weakness? What if I am not willing to give up everything? In Jesus Name, I break the chain of self-condemnation that may be holding you back with this one simple truth from the mouth of God…there is no condemnation in Christ. He didn’t come to condemn the world – sin did the job. Jesus came that so Him we might be saved. Everyone has already messed up. It is not Christ’s nature to condemn so if you hear that voice it is not of God and must be rejected by faith. Christ paid the price for you to be made righteous or in right-standing again. Step in it. Own it. Live it. This is your brand new life. Jesus died for you to have it but He is not going to force you to receive it. You make the choice to step into righteousness and make the impossible possible by faith in Him alone.

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.

 

Sin is like cancer. There are many forms and many ways to get it. It is an evolving disease that seems to change with each new innovative treatment. Without treatment and resolution, you will die from cancer. I believe sin works the very same way. Sin can hide in us and go unnoticed while it does its damage. They cannot even estimate how long our son’s tumor was hiding inside the back of his throat undetected. They think it was years. The whole time it was in there it attached to the tissue working its way through to his C1 vertebrae and began to eat away at it. He had no pain from the silent attack in his body until it was Stage 3-4 cancer and more than half of his C1 vertebrae destroyed. We must pay attention to the sin that is in our life. It attacks two ways – while it in it separates us from God. When we choose to walk away – it attacks our heart with condemnation and regret for the things we have done. We must give our complete life to God through Jesus Christ to live in His Presence protected from sin. We must evaluate our life as an instrument which is one functioning entity. It must all be committed to Christ by faith to have a new life and purpose found only in the Lord. The Lord cannot produce this new life in us if we are not completely committed because we will be in constant conflict with ourselves. You decide today if you choose life or death. It is completely up to you. When you choose life it is a commitment that changes our attitudes and actions completely as we choose a higher standard of living apart from sin. We find freedom in God’s Grace to try even if we fail we know His Mercy is new each morning. You have a new life. It is up to you if you choose to live it. Are you all in? Are you willing to make the change even if it means letting something go to be completely committed?

2 Corinthians 3:8-9 (NLT)

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!

 

As a believer, we should expect more out of this life. We should expect God’s Glory and Goodness to become our new standard of living. His Word will come to pass in a life that is full of faith and confidence. Those are the people who are sick and tired of allowing sin to keep them from satisfaction and peace. Keeping our eyes on Jesus and knowing that He died so we could have a new life should be our motivation to have that new life for ourselves. The Holy Spirit is inside of you ready to complete the good work that Jesus began when you said, “Yes” to Him the day you first believed.  This is your life. You own it. Jesus gave it to you to live and decide if you wanted more or less out of it. If you want this new way to be yours, then it is up to you to claim it and live for it. There must be a change. It’s a new way. It’s a brand new direction. Not many will choose to endure the struggles and hardship that comes when battling our self, but those who do will find overwhelming life that is bubbling over in the abundance of God’s Love, Grace, Goodness and Glory. You can have it all. You can have it now. You just can’t have sin and satisfaction. But let’s face it, if life was so great before Jesus then why did we feel so compelled to come to Him? Yeah, I didn’t think so. I know my old life. I want to forget most of it. Choose to change. Choose to really live. Give up what fills your life for what will satisfy your soul – it will be worth it. Nothing is wasted in Jesus Christ. It’s all up to you. What are you going to do? Choose well. Choose life.

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 Chri

End of a Chapter – A Devotion

End of a Chapter

Psalm 139:16-18 (NLT)

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

I love to read. I used to get lost in books. Now it seems like I don’t even have the time to glance at a magazine or even skim through the mail. Like trying to read a book on the beach, all the pages are caught up in the wind flipping fast and out of control. Just to settle down for a moment would be nice, but that does not seem to be the order of the day. Making a quick run to the grocery store, lost in my thoughts, I heard a verse in an old 80’s song. Yes, the 80’s were great. Though I cannot remember the artist or even the title, it said that a new beginning means something has to end. The Lord has been churning and burning in my heart lately. I know that change is coming. But if you will note, the changes in our life over the last three years have not been welcoming. In fact, cancer turned all whole existence upside down. Now in the stillness of clear scans and good bloodwork, dare I hope that this awful time is finally over? Could it be that the Lord is beginning to work out all the details for good just as He promised? Why this sudden inclination to make radical changes in my life? Those who have a relationship with Jesus Christ and understand how the Spirit of God works know that when God begins to stir on the inside of us, we will not be satisfied or at peace until He has His Way. With just two precious babies (ages 11 and 14) with birthdays just around the corner, I feel that my nest has been ruthlessly shaken. My favorite purpose in life is to be a mom. Not just a mother, but a mom who loves and nurtures her children into confident and conscious adults who love Jesus. Is that was is causing this rumbly in my tummy that is rattling my brain, shaking my senses and stirring in my spirit? It is the end of the chapter, perhaps the end of this book. It is time to move on. Lord, how I struggle with that…

Every day of my life was prerecorded by the Lord. He wrote down every moment according to His Plan and Purpose for my life long before I was even born. His Thoughts for me are precious. I strive to believe that but my own inability to fully obey and tendency to sin allows the enemy to plant seeds of worry and doubt that land lock my feet when He is calling me out upon the water. When God presses me to step out in faith, Jesus promises to catch me if I fall and His Spirit persisting on the inside of me, I have to move. Yet in my hesitation, I am reminded of so many promises that the Lord has given me along the way. God’s Love for me is overwhelming. The Gift of Life given to me by Jesus is incomprehensible. I must step out in faith to have all the things that the Lord has promised because frankly my human brain will never be able to wrap itself around a Creator who is always doing more than I could even think to ask for.

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 turn from your selfish ways, 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?  

Running into the local convenience store, I pass a man with a handful of lottery tickets. Grabbing what I need, I head to the checkout counter and the same man has returned to the store. He is at the counter with all of his scratch off tickets. As he goes through the stack, he hands the woman several winning tickets and she begins to cash them out. For a split second, I feel some envy rising up in my heart. Why is this man who clearly does not have much in this life and is recklessly squandering what is probably his kid’s grocery money on lottery tickets and cigarettes so lucky? The Holy Spirit is quick to hush my judgmental attitude. Then I hear the Lord ask me, “Did you play the lottery today?” Well no, I didn’t. “Then how can you be mad you didn’t win?” Ouch! No, the Lord was not telling me to play the lottery. The point is that if I choose not to use my faith in God to step out of my comfort zone, then how can I get mad when others are blessed and prospering but I am not?

If you want to follow Christ, you are going to have to get moving. He is not sitting on the sidelines but perpetually moving us closer to God where the Glorious Standard of Life that sin kept us from is ours for the asking. We must turn from our selfish ways, take up our cross and follow Jesus! When we call ourselves Christians but do not follow Christ that makes us imposters and liars because to be a true Christian means to follow Jesus. We must give up our old life to have the new life that we have been promised. Here’s a hint – there are times this will make us uncomfortable and upend our existence completely. It is not punishment but prosperity. Something has to die to give way to new life like a seed planted deep in fertile ground. Faith never leaves us where we were but takes us to the place God planned for us. If you think about faith as a tiny seed, it must be buried deep into the darkness of the earth. It will be pressed by the soil being plummeted on top of it and squeezed by its cramped conditions. It will die to itself feeling abandoned and alone but something is definitely happening down there. One day the seedling will break the surface as its roots go deep into the foundation of the world, it is growing. It will produce leaves then bud blossoms that will turn into fruit. Everything is according to God’s Plan even when we cannot see what He is doing. If we trust the Lord enough to die to our self, He will raise the standard of our life forever.

Ezekiel 17:22-24 (NLT)

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take a branch from the top of a tall cedar, and I will plant it on the top of Israel’s highest mountain. It will become a majestic cedar, sending forth its branches and producing seed. Birds of every sort will nest in it, finding shelter in the shade of its branches. And all the trees will know that it is I, the Lord, who cuts the tall tree down and makes the short tree grow tall. It is I who makes the green tree wither and gives the dead tree new life. I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do what I said!”

 

Not sure if I ever read this verse before or if today the Lord decided to spotlight it for me, but this is a picture of what God is doing to change our life forever. Whatever our existence here on the earth, He can and will make it better. I believe the tallest branch are those who truly desire to live in the Presence of God and make it as far as they can on their own but keep reaching. He breaks them free of this ordinary life and plants them in His Presence. Suddenly, they prosper like never before growing new branches and producing many seeds. Seeds come from fruit (just saying). “And all the trees will know that it is I, the Lord, who cuts the tall tree down and makes the short tree grow tall…” He gives the dead tree new life. It is by faith that I discover new life. (Romans 1:17) God has promised to give me new life. (2 Corinthians 5:17) The question is am I willing to let go of this life that I am in complete control of and totally comfortable in that is better than I deserve and more than I asked for so that He can make me grow again. Will I subject my life to the painstaking process of prosperity once again or have I decided to settle for less than God’s Best?

I have seen the Lord work mighty miracles in our life. Not anything that can be called chance, but things that have made the people around us believe in God because nothing else can explain such an event. I know that God is real. I know the Love of Jesus Christ. He has saved me, healed me, delivered and set me free. There is no question in my mind that God is able to do more than I can think to ask for. This does not exempt me from wondering sometimes when things do not turn out as I expected them to. (Luke 7:20-23) John the Baptist had some questions in prison just before he was beheaded for following Jesus. It is not uncommon to wonder but we must keep our feet from wandering during that time. I must learn to live like Abraham who even when he could not see what God was doing or how the Promise of God would come true, he still believed. When his body grew old and it became humanly impossible, God gave Abraham a child and he became the father of many nations. I have to act by faith when nothing adds up in the natural. I must still believe that God is the one who can make something out of nothing and bring the dead back to life. It does not matter what I see but is all about what I know by faith! (Romans 4:16-17) This is confident hope born of deep roots in the Love and Knowledge of God that opens new chapters of life and prosperity for those who choose to believe. I want to be that person today. I have the Spirit of God in me who is intent my full acceptance of new life. I must learn to follow His Spirit when nothing else seems to make sense. (2 Corinthians 3:6)

Jeremiah 31:11-13 (NLT)

For the Lord has redeemed Israel from those too strong for them. They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem. They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts—the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil, and the healthy flocks and herds.
Their life will be like a watered garden, and all their sorrows will be gone. The young women will dance for joy, and the men—old and young—will join in the celebration. I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.

 

I wonder if this new chapter that is beginning in my life is the part of our story when God produces “abundant crops” from all the seeds of faith planted on this journey of the last three years. Is this the time when all of our sorrow are gone? Will we dance with joy through this season? Will it be the time our mourning is turned to joy? Will He exchange every sorrow for rejoicing? Well, I guess that really is up to me. Will I keep hanging on this life as I know it, or will I step out on faith to explore a new horizon? The beginning of something new means that something has to end. What if it is the ending of something that I love? I am redeemed. My old life held many things that I do not want in my life that will creep back in if I choose to remain there. Those who choose to allow the Lord to redeem their life will experience restoration, renewal and revival. I desperately want all those things. This chapter has left me dry and thirsty for more living water and less stagnancy. I am hungry for more of Him but must not be afraid to taste and see that the Lord is even better than I thought. His Goodness never runs out. His Mercy is fresh every morning. Grace ushers me to a new chapter giving me time to let go of the last. His Love is overwhelming almost too good to be true. God is calling me home. Day by day and hour by hour and moment by moment – He is drawing me close to His Side. It is in this place that only faith can take me I find that He is good…all the time…God is good. His Plan for me is perfection. In my undoing, He completes me.

2 Corinthians 3:8-9 (NLT)

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!

 

I really don’t know where this is going or where I will end up when God is done? I would invite you to come along but you have your own journey. Our expectancy should be the same – the Holy Spirit is giving us a brand new life. It will be better than we imagined. We should expect this from God every time a new beginning comes forcing us to leave our old life behind. I will tell you about it when I get there. Wherever we are going leads us closer to Him where God’s Glory will overtake us. I love that place in the Presence of God where joy and peace become our partners and the worries of life are far gone. Today, I say goodbye to the last chapter and by faith embrace the new…whatever it is … I am onboard Jesus if it leads me closer to You!

I Peter 1:23 (NLT)

For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.

Forget the Past? – A Devotion

Image

 

Philippians 3:12-14(NLT)

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

 

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead… I am trying and even clicking my ruby red slippers together as I say it. Surely red represents the Blood of Jesus Christ who in His Great Love, Endless Mercy and Overwhelming Grace can catapult me far from those things that should be left behind. But when I open my eyes, there are things in my past that still come knocking at the most inconvenient times. As if the enemy comes to the front door knocking loudly, as I open it he sneers “look who’s coming to dinner.” My onward press to possess the perfect life that Jesus Christ purchased and secured for me is compromised in that moment as anger and frustration rise up. Why? Why now? Why this? I’ll tell you why! Jesus Christ is working diligently to separate you from your past while securing all the good things from your past in the future. He is the Beginning and the End. He is the Alpha and Omega. There are some good things in your past that made it to your future so naturally the enemy offers other things as well. It is up to us as Children of God to carefully discern what the Lord is ushering into the future and the things that the enemy is trying to get us to allow back in. This can be a difficult process. I have three children that were born into my first marriage when turned out to be a total disaster apart from those little miracles who have all grown and developed into fine adults. I welcomed our sons eighteenth birthday and our daughter’s adoption as milestones because it allowed me to finally completely sever the ties to this person and fully step into our future without him. If only it were that easy, when our son was diagnosed with cancer it forced me to face my past once again while I tried to secure hope from the Lord for the future. For more than two years, he has been a thorn in my flesh for many reasons. I will not share them here because the enemy will think he pulled one over on me but he didn’t. How does one completely separate their past from their future? That’s a great question but you probably will not like the answer. You cannot and will not ever fully separate your past from your future in the Lord. It is just not possible.

 

Romans 8:24-28 (NLT)

We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hopefor it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) 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 believersin harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work togetherfor the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

 

The day that a person invites Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior, they are given the Gift of God which is Eternal Life. It is a gift to be opened and used called Hope. Maybe you have heard of it although do not fully understand how to use it. Hope is for the future. It is the new and perfect life that is in our future so far that it is not able to be seen yet we live knowing that it is there. We look forward to it. The Lord has given us His Spirit to develop our faith so our hope will become secure as we learn to trust Him more. I know that we would all like God to be like “I Dream of Genie” sometimes with a nod of the head every detail and circumstance in our life changing in an instant. Or perhaps like “Bewitched” with just a wiggle of the nose, the chaos of life is immediately changed and called to order. Sadly these television shows are long gone with only occasional reruns and the magic moments gone just as quickly. We all hope that when we open our eyes from prayer that God like a Giant Easter Bunny has left us with what we desired most, trinkets and treats but that is not the God we serve. He is not some magical or mysterious being who lives to constant change our situation to provide greater comfort and complacency. No, it clearly states that we know that God causes EVERYTHING to work together for the good of those who love God are called according to His Purpose. Hang on…if the Lord is working in us and through us to cause EVERYTHING to work together for good than this must not only be for today and tomorrow but most certainly includes our past. But what if there nothing good in my past. Oh I assure that there is!

 

Romans 8:29-30 (NLT)

For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstbornamong 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.

 

God knew His People in advance. He chose us to become His Sons and Daughters. Being chosen and called, He provided right standing so we can live in close proximity with God. Sin separated us from the Lord but grace ushered us right back in to His Presence. God’s Glory is the Light of His Amazing Love which allows us to look back over the details of our past and see the many times that God intervened and got His Goodness to us despite our rebellious state. But that is not enough for the Lord, He now strives to make EVERY detail of our life work together to expose His Great Love that has belonged to us from the very beginning.

 

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NLT)

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

 

You were born with a plan and purpose. The Plan of God concerning you is good containing a future and hope. Every moment of your life was recorded before you were born. Every single second and each breath was prerecorded by the Lord. (Psalm 139:16) It is a good plan. It has a future and hope which includes even your past before you turned back to Jesus Christ. This is the past and it is part of our future. Our part in this process is not returning to the past but allowing God to perfect our past allowing what is good and hopeful into the future. It is impossible to pretend your past does not exist and walk in the Glory of God because your past is part of the plan for your future. It is up to you what you do with it. Bury it and forget the hidden treasures you might find there. Return to it and give up your future hope. Or you can allow the Lord to perfect all that concerns you. (Psalm 138:8) God’s Mercy was available in our past although we chose not to accept it at that time. Now it goes back uniting our plan and purpose in the Lord no matter where we came from to benefit us where we are going.

 

Ecclesiastes 1:10-11 (NLT)

Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.

 

Your brand new life in Jesus Christ is nothing new but a complete transformation that takes your existing life and aligns it with His Plan and Purpose for your life. We are changed in the way we think as we fully accept the Word, Will and Way of God for our life and then pursue the Lord more and more each day. This is how we live to be transformed to the Perfect Will of God for our life rather than accepting the sloppy seconds that this world is offering. Every day of our life is significant to God and every person in it even those we do not care for or do not like anymore. We are called to love our enemies. (Ouch) I struggle with this even today. It is so hard to love the unlovable but it is exactly what we are called to do in this pursuit of righteousness as God transforms our past into something useful and beneficial in our life. Your new life is actually produced as the Holy Spirit renews us from the inside out. It is not a physical change but an emotional, mental and spiritual transformation as we allow the Lord full access to our heart to break us and remake us into who He created us to be in the first place.

 

Ecclesiastes 5:19-20 (NLT)

And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.

 

It is a good thing to receive wealth from God. God does not see wealth the same way that human beings identify it. Wealth has nothing to do with money. Wealth to the Lord is wisdom. When we take what we know about God’s Character and Love and apply it to the way we live and think, then we produce wisdom and God thinks it more precious than rubies and gold. The more that we know about God and His Great Unfailing Love for us the greater the parameters of our whole than we can incorporate and use to live in His Glory. God’s Glory is not like a flashlight pointed only in one direction but covers the whole earth like the sun. Only the part of the earth that is turned away from the sun doesn’t get the light. The Light of His Amazing Love is overwhelming and all encompassing – past, present and future. It is evident in all things and everywhere including our past. This is true wealth to know the Love of God! Good health allows us to enjoy it as the Lord renews, restores and redeems our life. Good health is prosperity. As our soul prospers – so will we. The seeds planted in the past predict the harvest of our future but before you begin cursing everything that you did in the past, ask the Lord to bless the seeds of faith that are hidden there. It only takes a mustard seed of faith to produce a harvest in God’s Kingdom. So all those times you cried out to the Lord but failed to make a successful connection still pushed a tiny mustard-seed of faith in the ground. Now that you have discovered His Grace, Mercy and Love – God will grow that seed into a harvest. Even though it was planted in the past, God will allow you to harvest it today if you will simply acknowledge it. Those who discover the Love of God and its vast parameters are able to embrace the entirety of their life and see God in it. Rather than brooding over the past, such people wait on the Lord to perfect that which concerns them and work every detail for their good according to His Great Love.

 

Romans 8:31-34(NLT)

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

 

As I look at the details of my life today and stare into the future, it brings me great peace despite the constant battle that we have been engaged in. I know that the enemy is stirring up every single thing that he can think of to distract me from what the Lord is doing in our life. I get that. Jesus Christ died for me. He rose again with my future and hope in His Hand. He sits at the right side of God pleading for us. When the past comes knocking on your door, let faith open it. Allow the good things that God preordained to come into your life but slam the door in the face of guilt and regret. Your sins are forgiven. Covered by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ and driven as far as the east is from the west. You have no regrets only unfulfilled purpose and potential waiting to be discovered and prospered in every area of your life. The people in your past are not your enemies – the devil is. He will use every unyielded heart to cause you distress, worry and harm…if you allow him to. Jesus Christ is the same – yesterday, today and forever which means He will not change His Mind about you even when bad things come up. It is all covered by the Blood. Leave it there, embrace the abundance of your life past, present and future. Guard your heart when the enemy comes knocking. Hold tight to God’s Promises that His Unfailing Love is making good on each one. Wait on the Lord holding tight to the Shield of Faith you have been given to deflect all the enemy’s fiery darts. I used to be embarrassed to run into people who knew me before I fell in love with Jesus so I would avoid them. Until I ran into someone one day who said there is something so different about you and I was able to share the Love of Jesus Christ with them. Now I don’t try to hide but just wait for it to happen. As God reveals things in our past that we are uncomfortable with, it is an opportunity to deal with that thing or even person head on. Prayer plays a huge part in softening anger, removing bitterness and learning to love the unlovable. Sometimes the only way we can love those people in our past is to let the Love of God grow deeper in our own heart, change our mind and transform us. There is no guarantee that they will ever change, but God promises to transform us and renew our mind. Now we can enjoy life and stop brooding in the past! Praise God!

 

Romans 8:35-39 (NLT)

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Wouldn’t you know that all along God was leading us into His Love? That is what the life that we live is all about discovering the Love of Jesus and learning to love like Him. Nothing can ever separate you from the Love of Jesus – not the past, the present or the future. This comprises the Plan of God for your life and no detail has been left out or ignored – it just takes a little time to get it all worked out. Your job is to stand firm in faith and learn to love and trust Him more. Overwhelming victory belongs to those who are convinced that God loves them enough to accept their new life in Christ allowing Him to use our past even in the future.

 

Revelation 21:5-7 (NLT)

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.