Pathway to Purpose

Pathway to Purpose

Ephesians 1:7-10 (NIV) In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

There is more to our purpose in Jesus Christ than just to be saved. The fulfillment of Christ is to make us complete lacking nothing. It is a process of sowing seeds of His Word in us, allowing His Spirit to cultivate them, and God will grow them into full satisfaction. Can I ask you a question today? Are you satisfied? Before you answer, think of your needs, wants and desires. If there is a single one, then the answer is “no” I am not satisfied with my life. Settling is not a characteristic of satisfaction and complaining is not born of contentment. Just enough is not good enough when it comes to God’s Standard of Living which is defined by more than enough. Beginning with our soul, the Fruit born of the Spirit is the first fruit of fulfillment. When there is enough love, joy, and peace in our life to be characteristic of our nature overflowing in all conditions and circumstances, it is then that we are finally on track to fulfillment. Until then, fulfillment is only a figment of our imagination. God is able to exceedingly abundantly more than we can think, ask or even imagine. How do I find my way to fulfillment? What will it take to achieve purpose in my life?

Romans 11:22-24 (NIV) Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

The desirability of salvation is without question. Of course, we desire for Jesus to be our Savior. It is a win for us without any investment. I can do nothing to save myself. The kindness of God in the Gift of His Son is ours for the asking. There is another component to Christ called Lordship. To make Jesus the Lord of my life is cause for my flesh to offer up resistance. Why? My flesh must die for Christ to assume His Place as Lord of my life. This is a huge chunk of meat right out of the Word of God that many struggle to understand as they strive to achieve purpose beyond just being saved. It’s not easy.

Consider therefore the kindness (salvation) and sternness (sovereignty) of God. Do you ever think that there has to be more to life than this? Not eternity or forever, but right here, right now. I do. I believe that there are three qualities that must become part of our character in order to achieve God’s Purpose in our life. To reach fulfillment there must be perseverance, persistence and patience. Not exactly the fuzzy, feel-good fodder peddled in the modern day church. If your purpose in life is to endure to the end and enter the Kingdom than it is important to know and understand God’s Word and His Way in order to fulfill His Will which is that none should die but find eternal life.

Perseverance

Hebrews 12:1 (NIV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…

Perseverance is continued steady belief and efforts, withstanding discouragement or difficulty with persistence. It will take effort on our part to continually sow God’s Word in our heart and protect it and nurture it while it grows into fulfillment, purpose and full productivity in our life. We must become acutely aware of sin in our life because it is the very thing that trips us along the way, entangling us in lies, and binding us in things that will keep us from the finish line if allowed to remain. God is Sovereign. Grace didn’t change His Character but is a product of His Steadfast and Unconditional Love which does not change either. God has provided all of the grace needed to step out of sin and live on purpose that leads to completion in Christ. It is up to us to decide to put effort into the process or settle for something less or accept a substitution. The race of faith is a clearly marked pathway which requires perseverance.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4) The testing of our faith produces perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that we will be complete, mature and fulfilled lacking nothing. We want the end result therefore we cannot forgo the process of completion. When facing trials, it is important to stop focusing on the temporary and keep our eyes fixed on the promise. The Word of God for our life does not change. Your situation will throughout your entire life as God molds you, moves you and motivates you to fulfillment.

Persistence

Romans 2:6-7 (NIV) God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

Persistence is to continue steadfastly and firmly in purpose with a course of action especially in spite of opposition and discouragement. You still keep pressing and pushing on the boundaries and barriers between you and God’s Purpose which leads to fulfillment. Believing in God’s Word for your life in the process of persistence. You must know what God says about you, who He tells you that you are, what He has commissioned you to do, and what He is doing in you. You must be full of faith and confidence in the Word of God and the person of Jesus Christ. You must rely on His Spirit to take God’s Word which is the logic of faith and make it the wisdom of your life.

Bless her heart! I love the persistent widow in Luke 18. She knew what belonged to her and would not be stopped until she received it. She came to him time and time again, “Grant me justice against my adversary!” Over and over again until she finally wore the poor man down. He didn’t fear God and was not moved by any other motivation than to stop this woman from bothering him day after day. In fact, it eludes to the fact that he thought she might be a little crazy. God grants us justice against our adversary. Jesus is our champion who gives us the victory. If we believed that God would be our justice, and Jesus really was our champion, we would be more persistent for the prize rather than settling for sloppy seconds or immediate gratification of settlement. If we believed, we would persist. Lord, help me to stop settling for anything less and teach me to persist in all areas of my life!

Patience

Colossians 1:8-12 (NIV) For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

“You must be patient.” I loved my grandmother. She was a godly woman who led me to the Lord. If she said these words to me once, she spoke them a thousand times. I was born impatient. Perhaps, if honest, we all are not born with a propensity to wait graciously for anything. We want it quick and in a hurry. Some say, “Don’t pray for patience” while others encourage it. Can I let you in on a little secret? The Holy Spirit is already working on producing the fruit of longsuffering in us. It doesn’t matter if you pray for it or not, it is already a work in process inside of you. Great endurance and patience are absolutely essential to fulfillment. God makes everything beautiful in His Time… not ours. The Gospel is a story of great patience demonstrated by Jesus Christ. In I Timothy 1, Paul attributes his salvation to the immense patience of Jesus Christ as he calls himself the worst sinner. We all could make the same confession. We must endure to the end to be saved according to Jesus – that is going to take some time. In fact, it is going to take your whole life. Diligence will require tremendous patience as God works every detail of our life to fulfillment and completion. (Romans 8:28) (Hebrews 6:11-12)

“A person’s wisdom yields patience.” (Proverbs 19:11) The Word of God is seed for our life. It must be planted. It must be given time to take root and grow. No farmer gets an immediate harvest from a seed the very next day. He must wait. He must be patient. God’s Word is harvested into wisdom when applied to our life. It increases our ability and willingness to wait on the Lord once we have tasted His Goodness and experienced His Glory.

2 Corinthians 8:10-12 (NIV) And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.

Perseverance, persistence, and patience do not produce new things in our life. They produce the Promise, Purpose and Prosperity of God already given to us according to His Plan including our future and hope in Him. Let that sink in for a moment. If it already exists, we cannot produce it. Therefore, these three qualities are not a requirement but a privilege. It is up to us if we are willing to engage in the Plan of God called purpose or if we are good with the life currently lived. Why settle for less than full satisfaction? Because it is easy, fast and affordable – I guess. God is not going to force anyone into the process but offers us potential to encourage us to try. God already has given us an inheritance now we must take the initiative to be His Sons and Daughters. We are free to choose the life to live. Will I live with eager willingness that leads to fulfillment? Or am I okay for today? The choice is mine. I choose my level of commitment. I decide if I will persevere, persist and be patient until the end. It’s my life. I choose to live on purpose today. How about you?

I Corinthians 9:25-27 (NIV) Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Birthday Thoughts

Birthday cupcake against a blue background

Proverbs 16:31-33 (NLT) Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life. Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city. We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.

Happy Birthday to me. Today marks my fifty-first year of life. I say it, but cannot truly feel it. Age is really just a number. It has never really impacted me like some of my friends. But the idea of fifty-one has made me slow down a bit and take a look at the scenery. I am pretty sure my nose-to-the-grindstone, press-thru-the-pain, and get-the-job-done attitude has caused the last decade of my existence to pass by in a blur. In our ladies Bible study, we talked about our lifetime estimated in the Word to be about seventy years. Seems like a long time and maybe even endless to a teenager, but I took that number and broke it down into days. If I live exactly 70 years, it means that I was born with 25,500 days of which I currently have about 6,935 days left as of today. To some it may be an instance of glass half empty, but to me it is a glass full of possibility. I am not worried so much about my life running out as it ending without fulfilling my purpose.

Gray hair may be a crown of glory for some but as long as my hairdresser will schedule another appointment – not on my head. However, in the Word of God, it is called our crown of glory just the same. I have gray hair carefully hidden under hair dye but that doesn’t keep them from popping up from time to time. Proverbs says – it is gained by a godly life. Perhaps the point is that if we make it in life long enough to have gray hair that it is an accomplishment. Mine mark years of survival. It is representative of a life given to pursuing the Lord and missing Him a lot. It shows that there is grace to overcome our mistakes and misgivings. It marks me as one who should have something more to give for it is the crown of glory that should be woven with wisdom and good common sense that has led me through impatience and impetuousness to the place I am now. The truth about my place in life is that it is usually a crossroad. The place where many decide to dig in or give up on their dreams and inspirations. Is it folly to think that at this age dreams really do come true? Is it possible that we have buried seed meant for planting in the barren field of hopelessness marked with the sign called unmet expectation? It happens all the time. We left life get ahold of our perception and make it into a harsh reality absent of faith, hope and even trust until believing in what we see overshadows the truth of what we know to be true.

“Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.” The final fruit of the Spirit is self-control. Perhaps patience and self-control are not possible in our youth because endurance and perseverance are necessary to find them. Seeds don’t grow overnight. You may be full of potential that just hasn’t been given enough time to grow, develop and mature into the purpose that God intended it to be. Too often, like the fig tree, it is human nature to cover up a lack of fruit with a plethora of leaves and foliage. Hiding behind a well-constructed façade, no one is as they seem. But God knows…He sees inside of our heart. He knows our deepest desire and while we try to bury it, get over it and move on. The Lord whispers wait a minute. It is part of my plan. Hold on. Don’t be so impatient. You have to live a little more life in order to produce the harvest. Waiting is not a bad thing. It is part of God’s Timing and vital to His Process. If you compare the older me to the younger version, it is clear that I have developed patience. They came at a high price – through difficulty, lack of control, waiting and more waiting and helplessness. I am finally beginning to see small hints of patience in my character. Praise God – it only took five decades to achieve. Self-control. It has been a tough one. I have always been a great starter but horrible finisher. I lacked the self-control to remain engaged when the “woo-hoo” wore off and the process grew tiring. There is the ever so slight but definitely noticeable change in my character to hang on, wait for it, and stay put. All this is to the Glory of God. None of this is human nature, but godly influence. It didn’t come through personal victory but daily defeat. As I sit here this morning, I finally see His Glorious Plan coming together. Though the pieces are definitely spread apart, His Hand is carefully aligning them into a beautiful picture that I am excited to see even in my fifties.

Proverbs 16:1-4 (NLT) We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer. People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives. Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. The Lord has made everything for his own purposes…

The Lord has blessed our family. I spent Saturday with our youngest daughter. She is the only one who is still bound to us as she will not drive for a couple more years. Her oldest sister lives in New Hampshire and will arrive today for a visit. Her middle sister has a full agenda and a flourishing social life. So, it was just the two of us for a day of birthday shopping. As we wandered from store to store, she became very agitated with my lack of ability to share something I wanted that was not practical. It is your birthday, she told me. It is a big deal! My husband and I had more humble beginnings. I will admit that we have spoiled our children with love and things. They do not know the difficult times that shaped both of our childhoods. They only know the security and structure of family. I am so very thankful for that. However, walking with her, I feel a nudge inside. The Lord is pressing for my attention to this thing called dreams and desire.

We make our plans. BUT the Lord gives the right answer. When I was a little girl, I decided that I would be a professional mom with just two kids. I wasn’t interested in being a stay-at-home mom much less have a handful of children. Well, when the first one came, I knew my purpose. It was to be a mom. I wanted it more than anything else. I ended up with not two babies, but five of them. There were many times in my life that my priorities set a regulatory standard for my life which has fallen apart. I had good intentions but the Lord was moving in my heart. He has a much higher standard of living for us than we could ever plan or execute. Truth is most days – we don’t believe it any more. Fairytales and fantasies are for children and fools. Reality is adulting. Day dreaming is for the lazy. However, sitting here at fifty, I hear the Lord whispering why not believe? Why not go for it? Why not think my love is extravagant? My power limitless again. Why not?

Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. The Lord has made everything for his own purposes. Is it possible that at my age, I am only beginning to see the harvest of years of planting and sowing in life and people? Could it be that there has been unseen purpose and greater potential in the ordinary steps of my life leading to an extraordinary finish? The Word of God tells us to commit our actions to the Lord AND they WILL succeed. What have you done for Jesus over the last days, months or years of your life? Do you know that there is purpose in each footstep to be discovered? The Lord determines our steps according to His Plan. (Proverbs 16:9) Those dreams and desires in our heart are a product of the eternity and faith hidden there. To bring them to fruition. In Proverbs 16:20 is the promise that those who listen to instruction will prosper and those who trust the Lord will be joyful. Prosperity and joy are found in fulfillment as the Lord brings to completion the work that He began in you before you were born.

Joel 2:28-29 (NLT) “Then, after doing all those things, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on servants—men and women alike.

When our son was diagnosed with cancer, I handled it better than I thought it would. I began slinging the Word of God like a sword at it and held up my shield of faith against it. Fighting the good fight, I never considered it would take many years to accomplish. God gave me His Word that our son would live and not die. I had no idea it would be a seed that took many years to grow. This summer marks remission times three years. However, after the battle was over, I found myself dry, empty and done. How could it be? How is it possible? Victory is not always easy that’s why defeat can be so agonizing. Laying it all on the field means that if winning doesn’t happen you have nothing left to fall back on. After three long years of fighting to keep the faith and finish the course, the reality was that my life would never be “normal” again. It would not be as I had expected. The reality of life’s brevity and uncertainly loomed over me like a tiny black raincloud. The numbness in my limbs from fighting traveled to my heart. Some days, I felt like it was barely beating. I had finally come to the end of myself. It was not pretty. She was no longer in control of her life, family and destiny. For those of us who have control issues, pride barriers and any other type of fear or insecurity – this is not a fun place. It is a realization that demands a choice. It requires a change. The only good part is that finally the Lord has the opportunity to lead us to fulfillment. Grace works best in our weakness. His Power takes over when we step out of the way.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) God takes our brokenness and makes it beautiful. When the battle was won, our son declared cancer free. I rejoiced, but it was not as I expected. Three months later, more scans and still clear. I became depressed at my lack of enthusiasm. I felt very guilty because many had not been so fortunate. This would be a turning point in my life forever. I walked around in a daze for about a year. Clueless as to hold to operate outside of my overdriven and constantly controlling personality. These waves of emotions carried me yet I had no idea what to do next. That’s when Joel 2:28-29 was introduced to me in a different way.

Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on servants—men and women alike. What if brokenness and undoing is the point when potential finds its way into purpose? What if it takes reality and life to break our hearts to the point where God can reach the bottom? What if our best days really are hidden in the rest of them following our arrival at the end of self? Is it possible that the dreams and visions promised to the “old men” is really where the potential lies? Could it be possible that the course of my life is exactly as God planned it before I was even born? Yes. Yes. Yes. You are exactly where God planned for you to be. He orders our steps for His Destiny not necessarily our desired destination. He is not transporting you to the Magic Kingdom, but transforming you for His Kingdom. We want a better life, but the Lord is preparing us for eternal life. It takes time. It is a process. It will require years to yield harvest. You will have to wait. You must endure. It requires persistence. You will be remolded and reshaped – broken and more. But you know what? It will be worth it all.

Romans 8:28-30 (NLT) And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

So what if it’s true? What if God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His Purpose for them? It means that every dream I have dreamed should be dug up from its grave and given a careful and thorough examination according to the faith and hope that I have. Possibility is hidden in every detail of my seemingly ordinary life so I must be careful not to dismiss bad days and mess ups as experience but decide if there is something to be gleaned in that moment. A lot of people my age life in regret, shame and guilt over the not-so-productive choices that they “think” they made when the reality is it is all working together for their good! To God’s Glory! What kind of God would He be if He only showed up for emergencies? He is definitely the First Responder to those who call on Him, but why do we put our God, faith, hope and trust in a glass case to be of emergency. He wants to work every detail of our existence with His Power, Potential and Purpose. He’s not holding back…we are.

As I celebrate with my family today, I am thankful for every one of those fifty-one years. Lord, help me to remember all the seed planted and remind me to continue to sow in the coming year. Age is just a number. My potential is not in my days but how I choose to spend them. Time is the only commodity that cannot be bought but you restore all things. You are a miracle working God who will multiply purpose and yield promises in the time offered to You. Whether I have one more day, 6,935 days to seventy or even more than that, may I give them completely and wholeheartedly to You – Jesus. Keep my heart soft and pliant in Your Hands even it means I must stay broken. Keep my eyes on You Jesus – focused on the future never on the past. Keep my ears open to hear Your Voice, value your instruction and apply it daily to my life. God, I truly believe that the best is yet to come. Thank you for life. Thank you for your promises. Thank you for a purpose and plan worth having a lifetime of lessons to see it come to pass. This is not the end of my life – it is only the beginning. I am thankful to report… He’s still working on me… To make me what I ought to be…It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars, the sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars. How loving and patient He must be… He’s still working on me!

Philippians 1:6 (NLT) And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Keep Pounding

Keep Pounding

Proverbs 10:28 (NLT) If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.

I caught a snippet of a sermon from Elevation Church Pastor, Steven Furtick not too long ago about some arrows. It was only a segment of a series. He pointed back to the story in his commentary. I was not familiar with it and jotted down a note in my journal to look it up. But you know how it goes sometimes, time gets away from us, you get busy or head off on another rabbit trail and even the best intention is forgotten. This morning I couldn’t sleep and this story came back to my thoughts. I need to find this person and his arrows. God has something there for me that I am about to miss – propelled me out of bed and into the study. God is good! He knows our heart and its many desires. Even when He offers a nugget of golden Truth and the hidden secret to success that I desire most – but I do not listen – the Lord doesn’t give up but keeps knocking on the door to my heart, whispering in my ear and attempting to get my attention. ”My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” (Psalm 27:8)

2 Kings 13:14-19 (NLT) When Elisha was in his last illness, King Jehoash of Israel visited him and wept over him. “My father! My father! I see the chariots and charioteers of Israel!” he cried. Elisha told him, “Get a bow and some arrows.” And the king did as he was told. Elisha told him, “Put your hand on the bow,” and Elisha laid his own hands on the king’s hands. Then he commanded, “Open that eastern window,” and he opened it. Then he said, “Shoot!” So he shot an arrow. Elisha proclaimed, “This is the Lord’s arrow, an arrow of victory over Aram, for you will completely conquer the Arameans at Aphek.” Then he said, “Now pick up the other arrows and strike them against the ground.” So the king picked them up and struck the ground three times. But the man of God was angry with him. “You should have struck the ground five or six times!” he exclaimed. “Then you would have beaten Aram until it was entirely destroyed. Now you will be victorious only three times.”

The final words of Elisha must be important. King Jehoash is obviously completely devastated at the impending loss of the prophet. He is crushed. His heart knows danger is coming. Perhaps, the loss of Elisha may be perceived as a new vulnerability as he is clearly God’s Man. He told the king to take a bow and arrow and prepare to shoot it. Elisha put his hands over the king’s hands. He then instructed Jehoash to open the eastern window and shoot. He did. Elisha told the king that this was the Lord’s arrow. It announced victory over Aram prophesying that they would completely conquer the Arameans. Elisha then told the king to take the remaining arrows and strike the ground with them. The king picked up the arrows striking the ground just three times. The man of God angered said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times!” “Then you would have beaten Aram until it was entirely destroyed.” The king quit pounding limiting his victory to just three times.

If we fail under pressure our strength is too small. The Power in my life is a direct result of God’s Grace. I lay claim to His Grace by faith and confident hope in the Lord. I demonstrate my faith and confident hope in my attitude and actions in life. It is not the words I speak but the life I live that demonstrates God’s Power in my life. When I am weak, He becomes my strength. I am called to live a life of overwhelming victory. However, this does not mean that I do not play a valuable part in the release of God’s Power and receiving God’s Promises in my life.

Romans 8:35-38 (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.

There is nothing that can ever separate us from Christ’s Love. However, Christ’s Love does not keep trials and troubles from our life. Instead, Jesus gives us overwhelming victory. If all of God’s Children could tap into this Truth and begin pounding again – there would be a mass revival sweeping the land and uniting God’s Church. The enemy is after the Power in us. The Holy Spirit is public enemy number one and the most wanted picture on hell’s wall. Every demon is hell bent on us rejecting God’s Spirit and will not stop relentlessly pursuing us to engage in combat with the God in us. The more you love God and seek Him the greater the challenges you will face. Your faith may be as tiny as a mustard seed, but the power and potential in our faith can destroy every assignment against us. As long as my heart’s desire is to know the Lord and make Him known, I have a big red target painted in red on my back. Every day – it is up to us to plead the Blood of Jesus over us so that red mark will be our salvation.

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

The Love of Christ is too great for me to fully understand. His Purpose and Potential in me is to be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. He is working in me. His Mighty Power is pressing the boundaries marked doubt and disbelief to release new faith and more confident hope in the areas. What is my faith in? The Love of Jesus. Where do I find confident hope? In the Love of Jesus. We must press, push back, be persistent, and persevere to have all that the Lord has promised us in His Love. It is not the promise that must be produced. It is faith and confident trust to get past our limitation and claim overwhelming victory.

Remember the widow woman in 2 Kings 4 who Elisha visited only to find on the verge of giving up? He said, “What do you have in the house?” “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil.” What if the very thing you need is already housed in your life but you just haven’t tapped into it yet? What if the capacity of your faith is just not big enough to contain the outpouring God is ready to release in you, through you or to you? The oil did not stop flowing until the woman ran out of containers. The victory did not stop until King Jehoash stopped pounding. Have I limited God’s Promises in my life because I stopped pounding? Did I give up when my expectations were not met? Did I stop when I when it seemed pointless? Did I quit when I ran out of strength? Is it just taking too long? Lord, I want to keep pounding – please show me the way.

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.

I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. He promised us a rich and satisfying life. Why are we so quick to settle for good enough or just enough? Jesus already told us that the Kingdom of Heaven must be taken by force and that there is a constant war between heaven and earth. (Matthew 11:12) We limit our life when choosing comfort and complacency over constant pressing. God has given us promises and a rich inheritance. He even tell us that it is for the land of the living. When we do not press, there is no release. Religion fancies the arrival of some, but the truth is they still have the same pressures and pitfalls everyone else does some just hide behind the veil. Well, the Holy Spirit tore the veil right down the middle. The Lord has told us that He is working every detail of our life for our good and His Glory. (Romans 8:28) Yes, the very same chapter where He assures us that NOTHING can separate us from His Love. Don’t compare your life to other people. Do not evaluate the grass in your yard to your neighbors. The Lord has made you promises. He has given you purpose. God made a plan for you to have more than you can imagine, think or even ask for. It is time to press. To continue pressing. To never stop pressing for His Perfection in all areas of our life.

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

It is essential for believers to KNOW the Word of God. To read it, study it, meditate on it, and pray it over our life. Why? Truth overtakes the lie every time. The enemy doesn’t use bold faced audacious ridiculous lies. No, his attack is subtle as he gently twists the Truth just enough to get you slightly off course. Once, he has a foot in the door – the real attack begins as the enemy works overtime to refute the Truth and get you all tangled up in words that are not what God said or meant for your life. Doubt and disbelief attach to these lies and they begin to take over our mind. Suddenly, we feel isolated and alone. No longer listening to the still small voice of God’s Spirit, we find ourselves locked in the stronghold of human reasoning. Faith is not logical outside of God’s Word. God’s Word is not productive until planted in our heart. Faith grows from it that develops into confidence so that when the enemy offers a life it is quickly shot down by the Truth. We must become violent in the push back against the enemy’s attack on our mind, will and emotions. We must close every door and lock every window. It is an all-out war just ask Paul who talks about in Romans 7 (again right before Romans 8).

Matthew 7:7-11 (NLT) “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

When our daughters want something and they know that I will say, “No”, they will sneak off to talk to their father. My husband may be a six-foot-one muscular guy who is quiet which is perceived as a daunting and ominous presence to some especially those who would like to date one of his girls, but when it comes to those three – he absolutely melts like a candy bar in a hot car. When they come to me asking where he is, I immediately ask them what they want because I know their intentions. God is a good father. Like my husband, He desires nothing more than to bless His Children. So many times, we don’t come to Him unless things are hopeless and we become desperate. This is not the way to pray.

Persistent prayer is the pounding action that knocks on God’s door and releases heaven on earth. Prayer is communication with God. It doesn’t matter how you pray just talk to Him. The more you converse the more you will have a relationship with His Spirit, who helps us when we don’t know how to pray and will teach us to pray. Our daughter says the blessing over the evening meal. Recently I have challenged her to change up her prayer from the one she has spoken for as long as I can remember. I am encouraging her to do so because her prayer is routine. It is not heartfelt anymore. I am hoping that as she thinks about thanking God for our food – it will change the way she thinks about talking to God about everything. We all fall into ruts and routines. Persistent prayer is asking until you receive. Seeking until you find Him. Knocking until the door opens. We give up too easy on prayer because we are used to pulling up to the drive-thru placing our order, pulling to the first window to pay for it, and picking it up at the second window – it’s called immediate gratification. Here is the problem – God is doing infinitely more than I can even think to ask for, Jesus paid for it because I couldn’t afford it, and He is preparing for me a valuable inheritance not a Happy Meal. We must be persistent in our prayer life to keep pounding.

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

Finally, to keep pounding it is imperative that we persevere. Holding tightly without wavering to the hoe we affirm because God can be trusted to keep His Promise. What is the promise you let go of? There are so many it is different for everyone. The dream that died and seems like it will never be revived. Did you know that after Elisha died and was entombed that a man’s dead body came body when it was thrust in the same grave? When the cold dead body touched the bones of God’s man – he came back to life. Your dream is not dead. God gave you the desires of your heart and will bring it to pass if you would just keep pounding past the pressure, pain and persecution in life. You cannot have the Kingdom of God unless you are willing to exert pressure, push back against the enemy, be persistent in prayer and persevere for your promise. It is worth having but only faith believes it. You must have faith that God is able to do exactly what He said that He would.

We must motivate and encourage each other to keep pounding. We have inside of us God’s Love, His Power, and His Spirit nothing is impossible for those who believe that and live like it. He has blessed the very ground that we walk on so if we plant seeds – we will have a harvest. It is time to expect the seed that is going in the ground around us – if any and what quality. We must sow generously in life to reap abundance. God has promised more than we can think or ask. He even calls us more than conquerors because Christ is in us. We must believe it enough to live like it. Have you stopped pounding? Well there is no time like the present to start again. Press on. Push back. Pray persistently. Persevere. Those who do will live complete and satisfying lives lacking no good thing. Don’t believe me. Try it for yourself. My faith will not produce your blessing. My hope will not lead you to the same destination. I challenge you today. Dig up that one dead dream. Or focus on the one “forgotten” promise. Commit the next 30 days to pounding for it. See what happens…

Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT) Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Life is Hard

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Colossians 1:26-27 (NLT) This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.

Life is hard. It is not fair. There are days when it seems to be unbearable. Are you struggling today? When coming to Christ, there is an expectation of relief, but is it reality. Are you not exchanging one burden for another? Well friend, that depends on you. I decide whether or not to continue to endure pressure in this life or simply give up. It is called a free will. God gave each us the freedom to choose how to live our life and make choices day by day. I do not have to pick goodness. I can leave behind mercy coming back for it later. I can wander as far and long as the winding wilderness I choose and when I call – the Lord immediately answers. This is hard to comprehend and in most cases arguable by many.

Religion often defines the rules of relationship within the Body of Christ called His Church. Well, every medical textbook and journal can outline how the human body is supposed to work and delineate the diseases and disorders that arise, but in the end it is never completely documented. New things crop up every day. Medicine evolves as quickly as church does. We find “new ways” to worship God when really there is only one way to approach Him.

God’s ways are not our ways and His Thoughts are than our own or so it says in the Book of Isaiah. If life is hard, what difference does Jesus make? If there is no real explanation of how to love Him, ways to serve Him or clear-cut directions to the Kingdom of God then how will anyone ever get there? Oh there is definitely instruction and guidance to step in the Glory of God but it is hard. It requires struggle. There is endless pressure. It all produces endurance. The fiery trials of life reveal genuine faith, but as one may recall only three Hebrew boys were brave enough to defy man’s law and step into the hot furnace that day.

The church is crying out for revival. I am praying it will come. The Glory of God manifesting His Presence in corporate worship that spills outside the four walls of a building and washes through the streets of every city until the overflow covers our nation and overflows its borders around the world. Revival is not about you. It is about the Body of Christ coming together to prepare for His Return. We just have the privilege of participation. It is within us the moment Christ is accepted in our heart to be our Lord and Savior. However, life is still hard just the same. Christ lives in me. I have full assurance of His Glory. The secret of centuries died on the cross and came up out of the grave so that you and I could become new creations. Now is that so hard…yes, it is very difficult.

Acts 14:21-22 (NLT) After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.

Paul and Barnabas gave this reminder to early believers while encouraging them to continue in faith. “We must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” Do you agree? Did you come to the Lord under false pretenses with the wrong expectation? Many do. A watered down Gospel preached by false prophets tell of a grace that is wonderful and free allowing us to do what we want to when we want to and how we want to and all gathering together in the end to meet Him face to face. Who doesn’t love free? There is another end to that spectrum called legalism that prescribes long list of dos and don’ts that mean nothing when it comes to our relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus did it all. He paid it all. I can do nothing to earn the Grace gifted to me by the Living God. So that doesn’t make life any easier either. Life is still hard no matter which end of the spectrum our life falls. But wait, then there is the Truth…

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

“When I am weak, then I am strong.” How many times I have read this verse in the course of my life? Sometimes to understand what a scripture really means one must go back and read the course of events prior to it. In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul discusses the trials and hardships that he has endured since meeting Jesus Christ. He is talking about false prophets and teachers. By mid-chapter, he is pretty worked up as one might say in the South. People boasting about all they do for the Lord have sparked a tirade in God’s man. He talks about serving God candidly. He is not boasting but making a point. “I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.” (2 Corinthians 11:23-27) Paul was a high ranking Pharisee who lived in comfort and opulence until he fell in love with Jesus. Once he had given his life to the Lord, he goes on to say now he has a burden for all the churches. He finally concludes that given all that he has done for Christ, he would rather boast about the things that show I am weak. Why? Why would he say such a thing?

For when I am weak, then I am strong. Let me give you a hint that I discovered a couple of years ago, if you can still do it – it’s not weakness. It is when you cannot do it any longer that God takes over. Peter was walking on the water by his faith, when that ran out is when he reached out grasping Jesus’ Hand for help. In Mark 6:47-52, the disciples are on a boat in a terrible storm. They are not praying but in a full panic. When Jesus comes walking on the water, they do not even recognize him. This is right after he fed five thousand with a little boy’s lunch but now it is about them. They are facing a struggle. It’s their very lives that are in danger. It just got personal and they do not even see that it is the Lord. Hmmm… Could it be that it was in this moment that these men came to the end of themselves?

“He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them…” (Mark 6:48) Did you catch that? Jesus intended to go past them. Why? The disciples had the Word of God in them and knew Jesus. They were in serious trouble. They were rowing hard. They were struggling. Why would their friend just walk right by? Because they had the power in them to calm the storm and regain control of their vessel, but they did not believe. They got in the way. Fear. Pride Doubt. There are so many things that deprive us of faith every single day. When we come to the end of our own strength, we do what these men did. They cried out to Jesus. Is life too hard to bear right now? Are you working hard and getting nowhere? Struggling just to keep your head above water? Holding all the broken pieces together hoping your heart will beat again? Are you close to giving up? Are you tired and weary? Have you called on His Name?

2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (NLT) We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

In Mark 14, there is an account of a woman who came in with expensive perfume in an alabaster jar. She broke it open and poured it out over the head of Jesus. She broke the beautiful vessel containing her life’s worth. She gave her all to Jesus. What do you hold precious in life? It could people…possessions or even pride. It is required. All is required for His Glory to come out of us. We have been given a light that shines in our heart. The pain and pressure of life makes personal strength wane as the structure of our life begins to shake precariously. Life is hard. It is rough sometimes. It is purposefully that way as God answers our call for revival and begins to move closer as He is called. We cannot remain the same. My strength has to go so that I am weak and submitted before Him. This pressure brings forth purpose. The pain causes brokenness. The hunt causes desperation. When we are knocked down, we extend our hand while calling His Name. It is through suffering that the meaningless things blocking the out powering of God that we desire are removed. Suddenly, His Great Power will pour from our heart into our life. We must give our all. Most people aren’t ready for that because it makes life too hard.

God’s Grace is enough for me. It is when His Power works best in my life. He is doing a new thing that sometimes caught in old ways and old things we miss. (2 Corinthians 3:13-15) Tradition robs us of future glory basking in afterglow instead of the light glorious light that brings new life. We will never see the Glory of God by keeping the Law. (Romans 9:30-32) The Glory of God called revival will only come in the sufficiency of God’s Grace when each person accepts humility and weakness to be strong in the Lord. We all have hidden thorns designed to burst our pride and keep us humbly walking with God. Some of us are just too afraid to expose them and accept His Grace alone to cover them. I don’t want to be the one show stops revival from coming to my church, community and the world. I am weak. I need God’s Strength every single day. Life is hard but His Grace is enough for me.

Luke 5:1-7 (NLT) One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.

Peter and the others had a bad day of fishing. As they were cleaning their nets, Jesus asked Peter to take him on the water to speak to the people so he did. Fish weren’t biting anyway. Afterwards, Jesus told him to go deeper and let down his net. He told the Lord listen we worked hard all night and came back empty handed. “But if you say so…” Let’s retrace what just happened. Peter was working his everyday job in everyday life. Jesus came walking by and asked to use his vessel. Peter obliged. Jesus then instructed Peter to go fishing again. Peter had a choice. He chose to obey the Lord at His Word. What happened? Their nets were so full of fish that they began to tear! I wonder how many times we hear the Word, but do not believe it enough to do it. How often does Jesus whisper a thought or idea to implement and we decide it is not worthy of our attention? Been there done that. Life is hard and too often so are our hearts.

2 Corinthians 6:3-6 (NLT) We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love.

What is your heart’s desire today? Do you want to be a true minister of God sharing the Gospel, building His Kingdom, and releasing revival? Life is hard. The pressure will not let up especially if this is your purpose. We must live so that no one will find fault in our ministry – there goes pride. I have seen pride kill so many congregations. God begins to move. Pressure builds. People refuse to submit. Passion dies. God’s Presence moves to where He is welcomed and given His Proper Place. We must learn patience. Persistence. Pursuit. Pride must go in the Mighty Name of Jesus. We prove ourselves as God’s People by living in love, preserving purity, gaining understanding, learning to be patient (Lord help me please), being kind to all mankind, allowing the Holy Spirit to shape, mold, change and even break our heart when needed, and by our sincere love. Love has grown cold even in our churches. Lord, teach us to love all people. Desire them above ourselves and minister to them selflessly. Life is hard. I am weak. Jesus be my Strength today. Your Grace is enough for me.

2 Peter 1:10-11 (NLT) So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Have You Asked?

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John 14:12-14 (NLT) “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!”

My girls are known for strategically asking and making requests from us. They know what is more than likely a yes and then the odds of no for certain things. When it comes to the things that they want, they will be quick to tell you ask dad. He is much easier then mom who is often referred to as the “hammer”. I am commonly referred to as the “hammer” because I am able to say, “No”. My husband has such a soft heart for these kids. Despite the burly guy with the full beard, behind the façade of strength and toughness, there is a giant soft, squishy teddy bear. There are times when they will come straight to me and ask for what they want but when the stakes are high, they try to bypass me making it dad first. He is more likely to say, “Yes!”

Our Father in Heaven wants to bless us. He wants His Goodness to overflow as abundance in our daily life. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the one who allows us access to the Father’s Love and all its benefits. God has always loved us. He is constantly trying to make His Way closer to us bringing heaven to earth to connect with His Children. Do you believe that today? What we believe about God as a Father is often formed by our experience with our natural caregivers. Those who have experienced disappointment in natural parental relationships will extend these traits and characteristics to the Lord. There is a reason why we need the Holy Spirit to renew our thoughts day by day. We need Him to change our mind so that we will approach the Throne of God with confidence and boldness as He has invited us to through Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 4:15-16 (NLT)  This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

I am overcome almost daily by a Savior and Lord who knows my weaknesses yet invites me to continually come boldly into His Presence asking for those I want, need and desire with full confidence that He will open His Hand and grant these pleasures evermore. (Psalm 16:11) The Holy Spirit points us in the right direction so we can walk in the Goodness of God. But sometimes we shrink back from God’s Hand fearful of the consequences of our failure and inability to live the perfect life. Afraid of disappointment – we avoid the Father and His Presence altogether.

Our youngest daughter is not limited by doors or partitions. When she was very young, she learned that she could unlock the door to almost any room in our house with a butter knife. So if someone locked her out, she would go to the kitchen and grab a “key”. She assumed she was welcome and the locked door did not apply to her. One morning while getting ready for church, my husband locked our bedroom door and our bathroom door to avoid interruption during while getting ready. He was just getting out of the shower when the door flew open. I caught it mid swing to close it quickly as our daughter shrieked. Thankfully my husband’s dignity was preserved and our youngest was only startled by my abruptness. As I comforted her in the other room, she asked me why I didn’t tell her that dad was in the shower. I informed her that we had closed and locked not one but two doors which she had opened uninvited and unannounced to which she replied, “I didn’t know you were trying to keep me out.” She is a persistent one. She doesn’t like being separated from us. She doesn’t believe a locked door applies to her even today.

What if we as God’s Precious Children began to believe the same way? What if we decided that God really is a Good Father? What if we believed that He really does want good things for us? Would we ask more? Would we see more? Would we begin to knock? Ephesians 3:12 reminds us today that “because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s Presence.”

Matthew 7:7-8 (NLT) “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

I wonder how many things in life that we have settled for out of fear of asking God to intervene. Maybe afraid that He will not come? Perhaps we do not believe that His Power is available to us? Persistent prayer has given way to comfortable compromise. What if that which we are asking for takes a little too long? Do we stop waiting and move on? Yes, I am sliding my hand up. It is hard to wait on the Lord sometimes…okay a lot of the time. Our circumstances, conditions and crises are real. We feel the pain and frustration in each trial yet must walk by faith not by sight. This is our plight. It is the true test of our faith. Are we willing to hang on to the promise even the pain until Jesus comes? Keep asking. You will receive. Keep seeking and you will find. Keep knocking and the door will open. It sounds so simple. It is caught up in just two verses. It can take a lifetime to understand the true meaning of pursing God and His Promises.

Matthew 17:19-20 (NLT) Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?” “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

Earning the prestigious title of “hammer” in this group of comedians did not come because my children are not blessed or spoiled to say the least. It came because I do not just give them anything on a whim. To whom much is given much is required. I am not just going to hand disobedient and unfaithful children anything, it would be like handing a loaded gun to a toddler. I must teach my kids how to live and responsibility along the way. I must teach them how to live in receiving just as giving.

There are two reasons that we do not ask the Lord for certain things. The first is disbelief. We doubt God will do what we ask Him to do for us. The disciples could not cast out a demon. They were perplexed. Jesus told them the problem, “You do not have faith.” Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Why? Because it is by faith in Jesus Christ alone that we are saved. Without faith, we cannot access the Father. We ask. We knock. We seek. But until we ask by faith. Knock by faith. Seek God by faith. We will continue to be frustrated.

There are also times we do not ask the Lord or even seek Him because we become distracted. We want natural relief when God wants to give us supernatural release. Trials and temptations are a part of our life. They are unavoidable. The Lord knows the plans that He has for you. He has made them good with a future and hope. We are ready to settle for lesser things when the journey takes a turn for the worse. In the depth of the darkness or bottom of the valley, we abandon our promise and run from the pain. We must know what we believe and keep our eyes on Jesus to obtain those things we want, need or desire in life.

Psalm 2:7-8 (NLT) The king proclaims the Lord’s decree: “The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your Father. Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession.”

In Mark 6 is the story of Herodias, the daughter of King Herod Antipas. She danced for her father at his birthday party and he vowed, “I will give you whatever you ask, up to half my kingdom.” Her mother hated John the Baptist who had been imprisoned by the king at her request. When she inquired of her mother what to ask for, she told her to request the head of John the Baptist on a platter. The girl petitioned the king for her mother’s request and it was granted that very day. I wonder if we do not know what to ask for sometimes. We limit our scope of vision to the present. Whatever it is that will give us relief rather than release? We cry out to God in the natural and overlook what He is doing supernaturally in our life.

As if the voices and opinions of others is not enough, the enemy questions God’s Word and His Faithfulness. This is the voice that caused sin to be introduced into the world in the first place. The enemy questioned the woman about the scripture. She fell for it. Will you? Will I? Temptation comes in the form of a question. If we can answer the question with truth, we will make an informed choice. However, since most people to not read, study or know the Word of God, they fall for it all. We can have everything the Word of God says we can have and obtain it exactly as the Lord instructs through His Word and His Spirit. By faith, it is received. We must decide who and what we believe or prayers will remain unanswered.

Matthew 18:18-20 (NLT) “I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven. I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”

To see Heaven come to earth and miracles to happen again requires agreement in the Church. We must decide to have faith in God together that overcomes ever relationship obstacle that has been built. If we can learn to agree, God’s Kingdom will come and touch the earth again. The Lord will live in the midst of our disagreement. He must wait for us to decide to come together and agree. Though we confess with our mouth that despite all our differences that we are united in purpose – we are not. Agreement will permeate relationships and solve those differences in order for the Lord to live among His Followers. My faith in God will impact my relationships. The more I know Him the more I trust Him. The more I trust Him the greater my expectation is in Him removing it from people.

The woman at the well came to satisfy her thirst in the natural and was offered the supernatural. She did not immediately understand exactly what Jesus was offering her because she was caught up in the natural. (John 4:9-14) Jesus broke her hard heart and living water came pouring out of her. How many prayers might be answered if we stopped worrying about what other people thought and decided to ask, seek and knock together wholeheartedly? What if we stopped looking around when offered the opportunity to come and pray at an altar and pressed into His Presence once again? Is your life perfect? Mine is not either. Are you still falling short? Me, too. Do you want the Lord with all your mind, soul and body? You are not going to find Him sitting on pride and self-righteousness but must go through the Son to get to the Father.

My kids will work hard to get to dad when it comes to “good gifts” and even “unreasonable requests”. They know that their daddy wants to bless them. He will do everything in his power to make their dream a reality. What if we have some of that confidence in God our Father? Would it make a difference? Yes, we would continue asking not stopping as long as we have breath. We would keep knocking until our hand or the door falls off one. We would keep seeking until we find Jesus never settling for the lesser things just to know Him more. Have you stopped asking today? Have you stopped knocking? Are you tired of seeking? Do not give up. The Father is waiting to bless you. Continue to walk by faith and not by sight. He will answer. He will open. He will be found. He will grant your requests if you do not give up. Ask one more time, knock again, and take one step deeper by faith. This just might be the day! If you don’t, then you will never know.

John 16:23-24 (NLT) At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.

Little Foxes

Little Foxes

Song of Solomon 2:15 (NIV)

Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.

Catch those foxes, those little foxes that ruin they vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. King Solomon apparently had a pesky problem. In the midst of his love song, he injects this warning. We have had an ongoing war with moles in our yard for quite some time. As they tunnel around our yard, creating havoc in their journey for food. As the mole makes its way around, it wreaks havoc on the ground without a care or concern. Sometimes you can see the damage, other times the turf just gives way when you step on it. It is an ongoing battle like the gopher war in the movie, “Caddyshack”. The damage done by foxes to a vineyard are a little different than that of a mole or gopher. They jump the hedge or dig under the fence. Once inside whether hungry enough to eat the grapes, or digging for the small rodents that live in the vines eating the blooms and fruit – they destroy the roots of the plant eventually killing it so it will never produce again.

Catch those foxes, those little foxes. We are met with unseen challenges each day in our walk with Christ. Waking up to a glorious morning, may not be so glorious when night falls and our head hits the pillow. While Jesus wakes us up showering His People in new mercy, the enemy begins a new assault and agenda on our life. Those who love the Lord enough to begin each day with Him, talk to Him, spend time with Him and love on Jesus will be the first on his list to attack. If you have a prospering relationship with the Lord and spend time communicating with Him in prayer, it is a bit more difficult to find an opening so the enemy comes in the form of “little foxes” rather than sending in “Goliath”. We are giant slayers. Nothing drives us to the feet of Jesus quicker than the “majors” in life so the enemy uses the “minors” to destroy our connection to Christ with simple and subtle distractions that eat away at our bond with Jesus Christ. Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord and whose confidence is in Him. As we become rooted and grounded in His Love, we experience the fullness that is offered in a thriving relationship with Jesus Christ. It fills our life with contentment and satisfaction. (Colossians 2:6-10) The enemy hates these qualities as they are the product of faith in the Lord. As we wrap the basis of our life around salvation repenting of sin, turning from it to pursue God with our life through His Son, we our roots will grow deeper and deeper in His Love by faith and we become unmovable and unshakable by the things experienced in this life as we are Kingdom connected. So the enemy sends in the distractions that become destroyers in our life. We begin to experience cares and worries more than faith and confident hope. We become bitter and unforgiving despite the love, mercy and grace that we have been so freely given. All of a sudden, we begin to wither in a dry and thirsty land as our roots shrink and shrivel. Dang those little foxes that try to spoil our vines tearing at our roots.

Matthew 13:20-23 (NIV)

The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

The Parable of the Sower must be important as Matthew, Mark and Luke felt the need to include it in all three gospels. The seed that grows in us is the Word of God cultivated by faith. It is the hope that we hold on to. The Lord promises seed to the sower so those who set out to harvest in the Kingdom of God will steadily be provided all the promises, potential and power needed to produce. What we do with our seed is vastly important? The seed that falls on rocky ground represents those who receive God’s Word and desire the Lord but all the cares and worries of life to keep it from growing. Doubts and fears overtake it and it dies as the ground becomes a grave. Without a root, it is zeal that lasts for a moment rather than true joy that lasts a lifetime. The seed that falls in the thorns represents bitterness and unforgiveness that burden our heart and pierce through the seeds planted by faith. It is not fruitful as it is choked in the ground. Bitterness takes its thorny flesh wrapping it around our spiritual growth like a python squeezing it to death. Unforgiveness slams the door of God’s Presence to us making prayers bounce off the ceiling as they are pointless. We reject God’s Grace by refusing to forgive others as He has forgiven us. A seed is terminated by such things.

The seed falling on good soil will thrive and flourish producing more than enough for the present day, enough to sow in the future and more than enough to freely share with others. The heart that is wrapped in God’s Love allowing it to live truly repentant, fully surrendered and completely obedient will remain productive yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. You will never out give God.

Luke 10:39-42 (NIV)

She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

How do we deal with the little foxes? What can we do to rid our life of them? There will always be distractions in life. The more persistent our pursuit of Christ-like productivity the more aggressive the attack. The enemy knows the potential of our purpose when it is fulfilled. He will do whatever it takes to steal, kill and destroy God’s People. If he cannot send his giants to do swift works, he releases the little foxes. Mary and Martha both loved Jesus. They were both his friends. Martha became distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. Stop right there. It is called life. We all can be guilty of being too busy. I understand all too well the demands of marriage, family and career along with everything else that comes labeled as unexpected in life. It is not a problem until it begins to prevail over the presence and power of Jesus Christ in our life.

When Martha came to Jesus, she came to Jesus telling Him what He needed to do to fix her problem, ease her burden, and make her happy. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (I Timothy 6:10) The love of anything more than Jesus is a deadly distraction that will kill our roots. To put anything as more powerful than the Lord is lethal to our faith. We do this when we come to the Lord telling Him how to do His Job. We are all guilty of such. Becoming overwhelmed in life and allowing busyness to gnaw at the roots of our faith and confidence in hop, we begin to die on the inside. Coming into His Presence, He gives us fullness of joy, peace that passes understanding mixed with unfailing love and confident hope. We find everything we need in coming to Christ, shout in the midst of our own way and demand Him to do as we bid in our circumstances. Deep roots requires transferring our full expectation from mankind, things and ourselves submitting them to the Hands of Jesus and sitting at His Feet in total trust. Surrendering our will and out ways to Jesus and saying, “Lord let Your Will be done as it is in Heaven.” It’s time to deal with these little foxes tearing up our vineyards and ruining the harvest.

Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV)

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

When Samson took vengeance on the Philistines, he did so by taking finding 300 foxes and tying them together by their tails. He put a torch in each tail and set them loose in the fields of his enemies. They destroyed the entire harvest of the Philistines just running away in fear. (Judges 13:3-6) Did you know that foxes are easily scared off? Unless it is rabid, a fox can be frightened off as they are timid creatures who do not take on a foe or any prey large enough to do harm. Walking with my daughter through the neighborhood, we encountered a fox that ran out of a wooded area next to the sidewalk. When it saw us, it froze in panic and ran away. Greater is He that is in you and me than he who is in the world. We must grab hold of that not only to kill the giants that come at us but especially those little foxes tearing at our roots, nibbling on our branches and uprooting our faith and confidence in Christ. They are not vengeful crusaders but rather tiny forces to be reckoned with. We must inspect our heart day by day to find them and remove them. We must decide to spend the first fruits of our time in the Presence of Jesus surrendering our life and accepting His Will for each new day. How do we do it?

It really is simple. We fortify our hearts with the Good News of God’s Love. We read and study His Word until we receive it and believe it in all things. We ask Christ to dwell in our heart and be its gatekeeper. He is really good at that! By doing everything we can possibly do to experience, encounter and embrace God’s Love through His Son Jesus, we grow deep abiding roots of faith and confident hope that chases away the foxes and stealthy deals with giants, too. I want to experience the full measure of all fullness that God has given me in His Son, Jesus. I must deal with daily distractions to keep my heart pure and ready for His Seed, so His Word will take root in me as I realize my full potential and every promise I have in Him! I must catch the foxes all those little foxes!

I Timothy 6:8-12 (NIV)

But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

 

Stick with It

Sticking with IT

Matthew 26:40-41 (MSG)

When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”

 

Jesus is talking to me this Monday morning. It is like this every Monday morning as I fight my way out of the bed and into His Presence. Don’t get me wrong. I love my time with the Lord each morning. It is essential to me getting through the day. It doesn’t matter what time I go to bed or how much sleep I get, the alarm on Monday must work much harder than any other day of the week to haul my sorry carcass out of the rack. When I read this verse this morning, I had to laugh a little as though the Lord was speaking directly to me. Jesus was getting ready for the Cross. He asked His Disciples to keep watch and pray as He went to the Father for final instructions and the encouragement His Humanity must have needed. When the Lord came back and found them facedown sleeping rather than interceding he said, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert. Be in prayer so ‘you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger.’” How did this go from being about Jesus and become about me?

During our little youth service out in the woods, the pastor spoke about the persistent widow. Her message about remaining faithful to our prayer life. Not giving up on those things that we are praying for in our life, the things that God lays on our heart and mind without relief. The people who keep popping up. The situations that need supernatural solutions. The “things” that do not give us rest. These are the very things that are to be carried to His Presence each day. Not because God doesn’t know what we need or is not working on our behalf, but to remind us of the faith we have in Him and the confident hope that keeps us waiting for His Answer. I will be the first to admit that there are some things I have stopped praying for. Things that need resolution but because there is a lack of change or hint of progress have gotten left behind. I will be the first to admit that I am guilty as charged.

James 1:12-15 (MSG)

Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life. Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.

Prayer is pivotal to our relationship with God. It is a connection to Jesus Christ as we trust Him to make our way straight through this life. We must daily make an effort to keep our bond to the Lord strong and intact to overcome the temptation to give up or give in. How does prayer stop temptation? It doesn’t. We will be tempted. Maybe the things that used to tempt you among the “seven or more deadly sins” no longer challenge you. Perhaps self-control has kicked in and you no longer are pulled in certain rebellious directions. Be alert! Religion has its own ugly temptations that can manifest in the believer. The fight we are in is to remain completely and totally dependent on Jesus Christ which means taking our cares, worries, burdens and problems directly to the Lord in prayer before we try to overcome, solve, fix or eliminate them ourselves. God never ever will try to trip us up but let’s face it so many times we are legends in our own minds and try to take care of the little things ourselves.

“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” (I Corinthians 10:13) There is no test or temptation that comes our way that is new. All we need to remember is that God will never ever let me down. If I can find it in His Word, it can be a reality in my life by faith. Faith puts all my confidence in the Lord removing it from me. My fickle heart and wavering mind needs to be settled once and for all. God’s Word establishes realistic expectations for believers. When we take His Word and mold our prayer life around it – all things go from impossible to possible if we remain on the foundation of faith presented by Jesus Christ. The biggest threat to my blessings and prosperity of my soul are me. My inability to remain faithful. This must be my focus. God is always faithful. I am the one who is constantly tempted to leave the foundation of faith and confident hope that He has given me.

I Peter 5:8-11 (MSG)

Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.

 

Am I alert today? Right now…not so much. Still a little groggy and trying to wake up – but my spirit is soaring right now as I realize I cannot for a single moment stop checking the perimeters of my faith and tugging on the anchor of hope that I have. I must constantly live on high alert. The enemy is seeking those who give up, back down or can be caught off guard. He is checking the doors and windows of each life looking for access. If he can just get a finger or foot inside, watch out for then he can quickly take over. The enemy knows our weakness as evidenced in our complaints and grumblings. The constant murmurings of dissatisfaction, discontentment and overall dislike of our new life in Christ leaves footholds that he will find. Maybe you are thinking that is not your intent when you are telling others about your problems. Well, the enemy was listening. Like posting a vacation of Facebook, it tells the thief of faith and robber of joy exactly where we are week because we have not turned our problem over to the Lord. It is an access point for temptation. He will offer compromises, substitutions or just take you out completely if given the chance. Prayer allows us to carry each and every weakness to the Lord. He gives us His Strength. Stop telling everyone else how bad you have it. Don’t tweet on impulse but praise outwardly that God is working out every detail of your life for good! Pray about it. Stop talking about it.

Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

 

There have been times in my life when I have held tightly to the Word of God. Tried to remain faithful and still prayed God I just don’t understand. I cannot see what you are doing. I cannot feel the release. I am tired of hanging on. Somehow I did though. It is the Holy Spirit. Jesus knows our weaknesses. He bore the brunt of them on the Cross. All the times that we would try to be faithful and fail miserably. He has already paid the price and offered us grace that is sufficient. When I don’t think I wait anymore, I pray. When I am losing confidence, I pray. Even when I have no words, I pray. Just sitting silently in His Presence with the thought, God this is all you. I cannot do anything here. I have tried. So I am just going to sit here until you do something… He always does more than I could think or ask ESPECIALLY when I have tried everything else and come up short. Take a step back from your prayer closet for a moment to a God view of your life. See you cannot see what He is doing or how He is doing it – you have just been promised that He is. It is more than you could “think” or even “ask” for so what makes us think in our weak faith, wavering hope and human weakness that we could ever comprehend it until it is here? I do the same thing. When I cannot see Him, hear Him or feel Him moving and doing what I have asked, I consider not asking anymore. If I can find it in His Word, I just have to wait on it. If He placed the desire in my heart, and confirmed it with His Spirit then it is mine if I will just wait. It will always be better than I perceived if I refuse to compromise or accept a substitution. This will require waiting. Waiting on the Word. Waiting in the Spirit. Waiting until He comes. Prayer keeps me company in the waiting.

I Thessalonians 5:17-18 (MSG)

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

 

Prayer changes my perception from my personal vantage point to God’s Perspective. I find that when I become frustrated and want to give up that in prayer He fills my waiting and watching tank back up. I am guilty of trying to leave the watchtower. To make my own way to relieve the pressure. Or try to leave something behind rather than accept the painfulness of the process. It is my nature as a human being. As I develop strength of character as a Child of God, it will require endless hours of prayer built on one conversation at a time. Tests and trials are required to prove my faith is genuine. I have a helper who will afford grace that is more than enough to help me through each one. God has a plan for me that is filled with hope. I just have to seek Him wholeheartedly to have it – body, mind and spirit. Prayer helps pull everyone together for a huddle. It is a time of conversation that doesn’t always require me facilitating. When I don’t have anything to say, but still dare come – the Lord will speak to me. I am filled with inexpressible joy when He does. Praying all the time is easy when you believe that He is listening and ready to respond. His Word allows me to always be thankful because faith tells me He is working it out and hope keeps me there until He comes. This is the way God wants us to live. Carefree and without a single burden. This is only possible when we pray and take all of our worries and concerns to the Lord. I didn’t want to get up early today. My body begged to stay in bed. But when I get into His Presence and He speaks to me – I am ready for the day. Some days I run to the Lord, others I crawl but as long as I come everything will be better than okay!

Philippians 4:4-7 (MSG)

Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute! Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Rough Side of the Mountain

Rough Side of the Mountain

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NLT)

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

 

Somebody should have told me that being almost 50 came with some restrictions in life? They could have let me know that running, skipping and jumping with the kids was not a good idea. If they had been so kind, I would not have pulled a calf muscle and embarrassed myself as such. I feel so silly. Limping home from church, after a hot shower and killing a bottle of ibuprofen, I fell into bed hoping the Lord would see fit to come and release my poor leg from the trauma I foolishly have subjected it to. But when I woke up no such luck, so hobbling around attempting to feed the dogs and take them out was a task. Our back yard slopes a bit on one side where the dogs usually run to. Our toddler dog must be watched constantly as she tries to eat everything that does not eat her. Reluctantly, I headed down the hill after her. That wasn’t so bad. Yeah, not until I tried to come back up the same hill with an uncooperative leg. Oh my word, the pain. I had three options call out in the darkness to my husband inside the house. That wasn’t going to happen as being laughed at so early in the morning would only make me mad. Obviously staying there was not an option either. The only choice I had was to dig in and press back the pain to get up the rough side of the mountain. Now the mountain was only about two or three foot slope but it was quite difficult to transverse when I put pressure on my left leg. After a few attempts and a quick prayer, I made it to the top.

Obviously, my leg is not seriously injured just suffering a muscle strain but the pain is real. Ever since our son was sick, people who would share their hardships, pain and struggles would often compare it to our plight as insignificant. Friends, pain is pain. Trauma is not subject to levels but cuts through the heart. It doesn’t matter if in the eyes of this world your struggle is enough to balk about. It is your struggle. It is your pain. The Lord wants to help you today. He knows exactly what it will take to get you up and over this, but we must accept His Power to do so. His Power works best in human weakness. The pain in my leg makes me aware of its limitation today. The situation you are facing has drawn a line in your reserve. You now know the place where your faith gets a little shaky and fear threatens. This is not a sign that you have reached the parameters of God’s Love or that the end of His Grace is near. Mercy has not dried up and will still come each morning. No this is the place where impossible becomes possible. It is the end of human limitation as we enter true freedom of faith in Christ. We lose confidence in our own ability so we must reach for more. He is right there waiting. He was to carry you through.

Matthew 17:19-21 (NLT)

 Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?” “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.’”

I want to move mountains with my faith. I don’t want to go over mountains and through valleys but live carefree in the Presence of God. Friend, only one of those things is possible because it takes a lifetime to develop our faith. There will be mountains in life. There will be valleys. The devil does not fight fair and will do whatever it takes to trip us up on the journey to Eternity called life. Life is not fair. Love has grown cold. Evil is all around us. Sin is rampant. I don’t like that anymore than you do. BUT nothing is impossible with God so our circumstances are always subject to change when submitted to the Power of God in Christ the Lord.

I imagine when the disciples could not cast out the demon that they felt pretty stupid in that moment. I mean seriously they were followers of Jesus and had given up their life for Christ. Why was this so challenging? Where was the Power they had been promised? The Power of God is released by faith. Faith is not a natural response but a disciplined choice. They were going through the motions and emotions but failed to receive the Truth. I can use the Name of Jesus any way I want but until I truly believe in the Power of His Name things may be a little rough. Our mind, soul and body must become fully submitted to faith. Conquering the battle of self will allow the Power of God to fill our life. So until we achieve such faith – mountains will rise before us and valleys sink around us. Why? The Lord is desperate to release His Power and everything associated it in our life. The struggle draws us closer to Him. The pain makes us call out His Name. It doesn’t have to be that way but too many times human nature demands it to be so.

Isaiah 54:9-10 (NLT)

“Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth, so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you. For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you.

 

Nothing can ever separate us from the Love of God. (Romans 8:38-39) Furthermore, it is so wide, long, high, and deep that we can never reach the end of it. (Ephesians 3:18-19) His Covenant of Blessing will never be broken because His Love for us is defined as unfailing and unconditional. His Love is better than life. (Psalm 63:3) It is faith in the constancy and consistency of God’s Love that keeps us pushing, pressing and pulling for better days and superior outcomes in life. The more we know Him the more we love Him. The more we seek Him the more we discover that this Love is a reality in our life and driving force of His Blessing. When we choose to align our life with His Love and make Jesus our Savior and Lord, things are going to change because of His Love.

Running up the rough side of the mountain is never easy, sometimes we make it harder than it needs to be with a stubborn heart and disobedient flesh but when we want this covenant of blessing – it is not an option to give up. For example, the last mountain that our family faced called cancer was a formidable foe. Not only effecting our son’s body but the hardship rippled through our family and life. Now do you think for one minute as we climbed to the top seeking victory, healing and wholeness that giving up or quitting was ever an option? Of course not! Our son’s life hung in the balance. We were not willing to go down without a fight. We took the Promise God gave us and held on like a pit bull in a fight. Nothing would stop us even on those days it felt like holding a thread of hope and crawling rather than climbing. The same Power of God that healed our son after five bouts of cancer so that he can celebrate remission by continuing to live God’s Plan for his life is the EXACT same power that lives in you today. God doesn’t save miracles and blessings for the big things. It is available in every single area of our life that we commit to Him.

Romans 5:2-4 (NLT)
Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.

 

Maybe you are thinking today, I don’t feel like I am a place of undeserved privilege today. Well, you are. We have the potential to share God’s Glory as He works in us to do what is pleasing to Him. This isn’t about a list of rules or regulations. It is called faith. Because of our faith… Let’s be real. Sin was not God’s Choice for our life – Adam and Eve made it the People’s Choice. There is pain, struggle and hardship in life that God makes into trials and tests which give each trouble and problem purpose. Through God’s Love and the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, all these things have the potential to be turned around for our good. (Romans 8:28) Endurance is the key. It is looking at that mountain and decided you can go nowhere but up. It is stepping in the valley determined to walk through all by faith that God’s Word is true and that we do live in the undeserved potential of faith, hope and love through Jesus Christ.

Let’s take it one step forward, proverbially please as my leg still hates me. When we are able to rejoice in our hardship going up the rough side of the mountain, now we are getting somewhere. Praise is evidence that our heart sees more than our eyes do and believes. It is the evidence that our faith has turned into confident hope. I can list a thousand things in life that should concern me, but when I consider the Power of God that I have witnessed in our painful trials – it all becomes pointless. I have no need to worry. There is no room for fear. Doubt is a weight that keeps my feet on the ground. These things must be removed for me to have confident hope of my salvation. The most important thing to have in the end is faith. I cannot make into Eternity without out it. Mountains and valleys in life expose our human weakness allowing the Lord to fill it with His Power. My God must be bigger than any mountain and His Love deeper than any valley. He is. He must be that to me. Faith makes it so. When He doesn’t move the mountain it is because He is moving me…from Glory to Glory by His Grace.

Matthew 4:8-11 (NLT)

Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.

 

No one understands the plight of humanity life Jesus. He came to this earth in the form of a man and lived life flawlessly going to the Cross to die for every sin, weakness and infirmity of those He loved enough to die for. He faced all the same testings that we do but did not sin. (Hebrews 4:14-16) When the devil took Jesus to the top of the mountain after fasting in the wilderness for 40 days and nights, he told Jesus worship me and I will give this all to you. Jesus had enough and rebuked the enemy telling him to leave. From that vantage point, many might think that it is God offering them the world but it’s not. Jesus saw past this world to Eternity. He knew what was on the other side of this life and the universe surrounding it. We find this out in the Presence of God. So that when the enemy comes offering us compromise and substitutions, we refuse accepting the struggle, pain and hardship of endurance just to know Him more. Worshipping God is contradictory to societal norm. It is not a socially acceptable choice anymore. There will be troubles, trials and testing associated with living as a disciple of Jesus Christ. We must decide is it what I want. Is living for Jesus for me? Will it be worth it to me? Nothing ventured nothing gained.

Romans 4:16-17 (NLT)

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

You cannot consider a mountain without thinking about Abraham. How long and hard the journey up the mountain must have been with no sacrifice other than his son? Yet by faith, Abraham went. He just kept walking up the rough side of the mountain because His Faith in God was bigger than that mountain. Abraham didn’t know what God was going to do or how He would do it, but He trusted God with His Life, His Promise, His Future, and essentially His Everything. When God’s Promise becomes bigger than our mountains in life and when His Person is greater than any giant we face and when our Persistence decides we won’t stop walking until we step into His Presence despite the pain, suffering, hardship, troubles and trauma of life, we will overcome and step into the Power of our God.

Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and creates new things out of nothing. That’s the God I want to know more and more day by day. I want to invest all of my faith and trust in the Lord and no one else. I want to choose God’s Outcomes over the conveniences and comforts of life. This is a heart decision that becomes a conscious choice. It is the part of our humanity that decides to live differently and expect a change in our life welcoming it when it thrusts us from our comfort zone. I want to live like that even if it means more mountains and valleys in life because I believe in the deepest part of my heart that it is worth it. Following Jesus is always worth it – though seldom a breeze. The more I get it the harder it gets. He is my strength. When I am weak – He is strong. His Grace covers me and carries me into the Presence of God. I need nothing outside of the Love of God to change my life. I must do nothing more than trust Him. Welcome to my mountain – care to join me while I climb!

Psalm 18:30-36 (NLT)

God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.

Healthy Hesitation

Healthy Hesitation

Psalm 5:1-3 (NLT)

O Lord, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you. Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

 

Anticipation. Expectation. These are killer qualities in life. I do not like to wait but these two things produce waiting in my life on a regular basis. My family has a gene of hyperactivity that runs through it making us a jumpy bunch. Moving here and there. Trying this and that. Not really thinking sometimes just rushing in and doing. I am desperately trying to overcome this trait and learn to wait on the Lord in ALL things. Faith is not about testing God. It is the quality in us that believes Him explicitly and in every detail. It is not a test of strength or courage but an act of willingness that the Lord desires. It is total trust that God is taking care of every detail in our life. The only difference between waiting on the Lord and hesitation is the motivation of our heart. It is that moment of indecision when we must decide what we really want in this life. Do we want Jesus? Or do we want what the world has to offer? This choice is reflected even what we may think are the most insignificant details of life.

It’s funny that when it comes to our son’s health, I have trusted God completely from the beginning. No matter what quietly confident that God is in control of his body, mind and spirit. Did I have moments of fear and frustration? Of course it is not every day that your child appears to be on the verge of death or connected to more tubes and wires than you can count. But not once from diagnosis to remission with multiple relapses in between did I ever wonder if God had forsaken us. I share this because I think it is ironic that I struggle more with things in my day to day life than in that moment of life and death. When we have no other option but the Lord it is easy to find our place in His Presence. The world has nothing for us. But what if we learned to live there in every minor detail of our life as well. It would be life changing. It would be miraculous. It would be a prosperous existence beyond our imagination.

I have a decision weighing heavy on my heart. If I told you about it, you would probably brush it off as a life decision not a God decision. But I believe that the Lord wants all my requests to go through Him. I can do a lot of things. But He can do them all better than I ever could. I have received two confirmations from the Lord but still do not feel the “go” I need to know that He is finished in His Preparation of this thing that He is doing. But in my moment of hesitation, I had to pray. I needed to know if this is healthy hesitation or fearful restraint. It is hard to tell sometimes as we attempt to walk by faith and not by sight.

Psalm 37:5-7 (NLT)

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

In parenting, I have learned to focus on the majors and not worry about the minors. I pick and choose my battles more carefully with these younger two than the older ones. My eldest daughter often tells her younger sisters to thank her for breaking us in. We are reminded from the earliest age “not to sweat the small stuff” when in reality God cares about it all. “Commit EVEYRTHING you do to the Lord.” What if before we did a single thing in life, we prayed about it first? I mean right down to buying a cup of coffee on the way to work. What if we ran it all by Jesus before we did it? If we turned every decision that we made over to the Lord and listened for His Voice – our lives would change for the better. Such a commitment to prayer would be a powerhouse for our life. If we decided to live in His Presence and wait for His Peace in every situation – our life would be renewed moment by moment and we wouldn’t have to wait for a miracle. Why? We would live in the supernatural.

Daniel 9:22-23 (NLT)

He explained to me, “Daniel, I have come here to give you insight and understanding. The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God. Listen carefully so that you can understand the meaning of your vision.

 

When we commit our life to Jesus Christ moment by moment, praying every day and many times a day, we put our life in His Presence waiting for His Will and Way to be perfected. I love this verse in Daniel. Daniel was praying. The angel of the Lord came to Him with insight. Oh what insight! “The moment you began praying, a command was given.” Our prayers don’t “make” anything happen. They do not change the heart and mind of God in any way. Our prayers align us with the Will and Way of God opening the door to His Kingdom by faith. We think that we pray to God so He will do what we say. Please God don’t take my advice for my life. But when we decide to have faith that God’s Way is better and His Plan perfect, we begin to live in confident hope which is a place of healthy hesitation as we wait for the Lord. But if we do not know the Word of God and are unfamiliar with His Ways, we live in fear that what God is doing may not meet our expectation or satisfy our heart so we hold back parts of our life to do with as we may.

We are precious to God. It is in the revelation of God’s Profound Love for us that we come willingly and obediently into His Presence laying our life on the altar as to say, “Here Lord it’s yours please do something with it.” He does. Over and over again, it’s called His Glory. We live in His Glory when we commit every single detail our life to His Will and Way.

Romans 4:20-24 (NLT)

Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.

 

Looking back over my life, I can see the times that I waited on the Lord until I thought I could wait no more and then tried to help Him out as it became “apparent” He somehow needed my assistance. (Written with a smirk) Those are the times I jumped the gun and took off when the Lord was telling me to wait on Him. To trust Him. To believe Him. I am in good company. Abraham believed God’s Promise. He never wavered. He, too, tried to help God in the process. Remember Hagar and Ishmael. We can be fully convinced in God’s Power and still mess up the process every now again. So don’t beat yourself up too bad, just put the bat down and stop beating yourself up. As long as there is breath in our body, God is not finished with us yet. We must become committed to waiting on the Lord motivated by our heart and not our head. His Promises are always better than our plan and natural ability to make a better life.

Hebrews 10:20-23 (NLT)

By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.

Our youngest child has the privilege of two parents and four older siblings. There are times she embraces her position in our family and other times she feels the need to remind her brothers and sisters that they are “not the boss of her”. I was the oldest in birth order so I cannot relate to her position. But I can relate to the pressure she feels with everyone voicing their opinion and expectation over your life – it’s called adulthood. Your spouse has expectations. Your children have needs. Your boss gives directives. Just to get home there are signs telling you where to go, lights telling you when to move, and other people to watch out for because it is clear that are not watching out for you. So many considerations along the way that when it is time to make a decision – you just want some peace. After stopping and going from traffic light to light along the way, who hasn’t rushed through a yellow light just because you are tired of stopping and starting? Ready to get somewhere you bend the rules and accelerate through unaware of anything other than a need for some relief and desire to get somewhere.

These are the times of greatest danger to the believer. When the pressures of life cause us to make radical and random decisions without turning them over to Christ. We have the privilege of living in constant communion with Jesus Christ. We are privy to His Wisdom as we are given His Mind. We can have His Way in all things if we so choose. The only thing we must do is “hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm for God can be trusted to keep His Promise.”

2 Corinthians 1:18-20 (NLT)

As surely as God is faithful, our word to you does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says. For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.

 

If the Word of God is true, every single promise that God has for me is already an “amen” so the desire that He places in my heart has merit whatever it may be. God is faithful. I must be faithful, too. His Word says, “Yes” or “No” never maybe. We determine the course of our life by choosing life and death in each moment. I do believe that the God of the Universe cares about every decision that we make. I have three grown children who live independently. I want the very best for them in all things even though we live apart. How much more God feels this way about you and me? Considering the fact that He gave His Only Son Jesus Christ to secure our place in His Presence, it seems to be that everything about our life would be a “big deal” to Him. With such knowledge, I am challenged today to evaluate my waiting from a godly perspective. Am I waiting on the Lord? Or am I hesitating in fear? God knows the desires of my heart. He made the Way for me to have them. If I position myself at the feet of Jesus, I will never be disappointed again even in the most minute detail of my life. That is where I will wait and see what He has for me today and every day as I commit everything to Jesus! Lord, steady and secure me in Your Presence as I wait for You. When I hear you Lord, make me faithful and obedient to Your Word to do Your Will and have Your Way!

James 1:5-7 (NLT)

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

Let’s Finish

Let's Finish

2 Corinthians 8:10-11 (NLT)

Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have.

 

Life is full of starts and finishes. We begin things all the time that never are completed. I am guilty as charged. There are many projects throughout my house that I began with good intentions but have not got around to putting on the finishing touches. A few months ago, I painted our youngest daughter’s room. I purchased gray paint at a discount hoping it would work for her modern tastes but it was too dark so I proceeded to mix it with white until we were certain that it was the perfect shade. Well, not so much. It is still too dark but my stubbornness to use the treasured bargain would not allow me to just go have the paint store mix the shade she liked and bite the bullet to buy it. So I have not finished painting over the medium gray with the lighter one she desires. In an attempt to make it more feminine, I grabbed some cool glitter paint that we applied to an accent wall. Now not only must I repaint the room, but find the time to scrape off the glitter affixed to one wall. I have to finish the task. I want to finish it. I love to paint and change up their rooms. But I am kicking myself because I really have put myself in a predicament because of my stubborn, bargain-hunting nature. So for now, the pictures are off the wall. The desk has no chair. There are many details left undone until summer comes in a couple weeks and I can paint again.

What’s the big deal about my undone project? Well, there really isn’t one other than the fact it is one more thing that I need to buckle down and finish in a long list of needs, wants and desires. God put purpose in the heart of mankind. Eternity is our purpose and is attained in our daily life as we finish those things that are our destiny. Painting is not my purpose in life but making our children happy is one of them. The Word of God says, “It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago.” Paul was talking about giving, but this could relate to just about anything in our life. Our relationship to Jesus Christ is based on love. He first loved us. We love Him now. Love is a commitment. When we love someone, we are to honor that commitment with our life. It is represented in everything we do. God is a completer. Jesus is a finisher. It is our purpose to be one, too.

“Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now.” I am in the process of finishing something that I began more than seven years ago. It has been a long hard process of self-discovery that the Lord has used to mold and shape me as a person. My season in my current position is ending. I know it is God’s Will. It would be easy to just check out and walk away. Eagerness and excitement are in the beginning, but not the long haul. We are anxious to start that new thing finding exhilaration at first that soon becomes monotony. Over the years, the Lord teaches the value of commitment and matures us but when we see the finish line everything changes. Most of the time, people will cut bait and run but I believe that it is more important how we finish than if we ever started in the first place. The Bible says that the one who endures to the end will be saved. Jesus said that so does it mean that we are born to finish our tasks and complete all missions. Friend, I believe that’s exactly what it means.

John 4:34-35 (NLT)

Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.”

 

Okay, maybe I am reading too deeply here or seeing something that is not there but I don’t think so. Jesus said that His Nourishment came from doing the Will of God AND finishing His Work. Got it. I believe that is true. Prosperity on all levels is an inside process that forces its way outside manifesting in our life. Without divine purpose, there is no blessing. Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has plan for our life that is good with a future and hope. All I must do to have it is seek the Lord wholeheartedly. (Jeremiah 29:13) I am not a preacher or missionary so how do I do the Will of God. I do it by seeking the Lord wholeheartedly in EVERYTHING that I do. I honor the Lord by finishing everything that I start because I love Him, trust Him and I am committed to fulfilling His Purpose in my life. Faith and confident hope are evidenced in my willingness and ability to see things through not necessarily knowing the outcome but by trusting the Lord for the harvest.

God will finish every single “work” that He has begun in you. (Philippians 1:6) Every good work that you begin has the potential to be finished by you because it is God’s Will for our life to finish. That is where the prize awaits at the finish line. To all my frustrated friends, what if the only reason that you have not experienced God’s Glory in your life is because you failed to take the last step over the finish line? John 4:35 goes on to say, “You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for the harvest.” Are you getting the picture yet? We get so wrapped up in doing that we fail to see that God has already provided the blessing associated with obedience and calls it a prize. We just have to do the Will of God which is seek Him wholeheartedly. It is provided by His Grace not one’s ability to perform. So do good, do your best for the Lord in all things, and you will receive the prize because it has already been provided.

2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NLT)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.

 

The world does not dictate my outcomes. Do you believe that today? I do. The world does not decide if I am a success or failure. The only thing that matters at the end of each day is that I make it through with my faith in God intact and confident hope. I must remain faithful to the Lord in every task. Why? People are associated with the things that we do in life. God loves people and our mission field is where we work, the places we go and the way what we do impacts other people for the Kingdom of God. We want to be found righteous when we meet Jesus nothing else will get us into Heaven. This requires training.

I Corinthians 9:25-27 (NLT)

All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

 

We must become disciplined when it comes to finishing those things that we start in life. Not just crawling over the finish line, but running the race of faith with a new level of commitment that allows us to finish with the eagerness and excitement that we had in the beginning. I must run with purpose in every step. This is tough when I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders so I must learn when I need to drop a few pounds and release my burden to the Lord.

I have decided that I am going to run/walk my first 5K in October. I have often said that I am not a runner. I want to be a runner but my body and I are at odds. Over the last couple of years, I have been working out and spending a great deal of time on the elliptical at the gym. I am finding that my endurance is better and I am able to run longer distances without passing out. I want to cross the finish line of a 5K race just to prove that I am a runner or at least can run. I must continue to work on my endurance and “train’ I use the term lightly for my real running buddies. It is a personal goal that I believe God is honoring in my heart. I must train my body. I must discipline my heart and mind to get on board to meet this goal. I must live intentionally for that purpose of completing this desire. I am a runner hiding in a walker’s body. I am a finisher who just needs to take one more step. I am complete in the Eyes of Christ so I must see myself that way, too.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NLT) Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.

 

Today, I will turn in my resignation to a job that I love. I know that my season in this workplace is ending and God has opened a new door. I am ready to step through but before I do I must finish the things that I have started here. I will talk to my administration. I will make a list of the tasks that I need to complete before I officially leave my position. I could write a volume of reasons why I am going now but there is no point because the only real valid one is that the Lord released me into my next season. Otherwise, I would have kept pressing on in this one. There are many things that I will not be able to complete as I would like to before I go and that really chafes my pride. As I read the wisdom of Solomon, I embrace it. Finishing is better than starting. I understand. Patience is better than pride. This is probably the hardest thing for us as humans to grasp and execute in our life. The Lord establishes the starts and finishes in our life according to His Plan for us not our own goals and aspirations. He is marking out His Will and Way that is the very best. I must be committed to finishing today the race of faith not my own person satisfaction. I will run the race of faith leaving my pride behind. I want what the Lord has for me which is secure by the position that His Grace has afforded me called righteousness and not anything I am capable of doing. I run for the eternal prize which always means finishing that which we start. So what are we waiting for today, let’s finish!

Acts 20:24 (NLT)
But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.