Returning to Rest


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Psalm 116:5-7 (ESV) Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

The creeping crud got me. The virus I had hoped to escape has overtaken me. It’s only a cold nothing terminal but mighty inconvenient. Coughing and hacking through the night and now sleep deprived crawling into my quiet place, the verse for the day is – “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Oh to find rest! Lord, I need some rest. However, as I begin to read more passages about rest it becomes clear that the Lord provides a place of rest for us. It is a consecrated and holy establishment of deep contentment born of absolute faith that allows us to sit and wait quietly as the wind and waves crash all around us, the storm rages within us or when bad news comes with each knock.

Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV) Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

As a fresh dose of medicine begins to clear the fog in my head, I realize that rest is not a feeling but rather a place where one can live. Our soul has a refuge in which it can rest. Freedom allows us the opportunity to choose busyness or peace. All the rushing about adds not a moment to our life but wastes precious time better spent in the peace of God resting on His Promises and waiting for His Word. God is gracious. He is always right. God is merciful. He doesn’t make salvation or redemption complicated. In fact, it is so simple that many find it hard to accept. Since I can do nothing to earn His Love or deserve His Grace, God does not set us up for failure but simply says, “Come to me.” Where’s the catch? What’s the trick? How do I find rest for my weary soul? Is His Yoke really easy? Is His Burden really light?

It is in our absolute weakness that His Power is manifested in our life. The moment of revelation that despite good intentions and the best of my efforts, I can do absolutely nothing to earn the favor of God that restores a right relationship that I am able to fully embrace the Power of His Love.

Ecclesiastes 2:22-23 (ESV) What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.

Rest is established in the heart. It is the desire for Christ that fulfills the emptiness left void even in earthly success or prosperity. The longing for something more than this life has to offer can only be fulfilled by the Creator of every living thing. So often, it is human nature to divide the cultures of Christianity and normal life. To truly find fulfillment and satisfaction is the integration of our natural life with the supernatural existence offered to us by God. To become one with the culture of Christ. To follow His Example and learn to live in His Presence. Any other way of life is led by vanity or pride. A key characteristic of those whose heart is at rest with Christ is that no matter what the situation or circumstance of life God will keep them in perfect peace including no more sleepless nights.

Isaiah 32:17-18 (ESV) And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.

What a beautiful promise in Isaiah! God has promised His People will abide in peaceful, secure and quiet resting places all because of righteousness. Has your soul forgotten that through Christ you were made right with God? Have you assumed responsibility in your life rather than trusting God with every detail? When our faith and trust is in God through Jesus Christ – righteousness is established. As we learn to live a life of believing God – peace permeates us. His Rest becomes our refuge. It doesn’t mean everything changes but our heart changes. In that moment that the expectation of our life is fully invested in Christ that the desired return is received – love, joy, peace and completion. Are you stressed out? Worried? Weary? Anxious? Overwrought with responsibility? Weighed down by heavy burdens? Are you discouraged? Ready to quit?

“Return, O my soul, to your rest.” God created the heavens and the earth. He has a handwritten plan for each of us that includes a future and hope. He inscribed it before our birth and His Word will not return to Him void concerning us. His Son, Jesus, came to the earth and died for every sin that you and I would ever commit before our existence. It is finished. Righteousness provides a refuge marked “REST” for those who will enter in. Sometimes I must remind my soul to return to the place called rest. Each time I am met by the Presence of God and wrapped in the embrace of a loving Savior who takes my burdens and gives me perfect peace. Lord, let me find rest in You today! Perfect peace in the Love of my Savior! Keep my heart and mind fixed on You and my feet steadfast in the refuge called Rest!

Isaiah 26:3 (ESV) You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

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Peaceful Partner

Peaceful Partner

John 14:26-27 (NIV)  But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Oh the Peace of God, I wouldn’t trade it for anything this world has to offer. Those precious moments when something clicks and I remember to give my cares and worries mixed with all those heavy burdens to the Lord. We have been given a partner, advocate, and indwelling Presence of the Living God to go with us. Wherever I choose to allow my feet to wander today, the Lord is with me. Sometimes I do not feel Him, acknowledge Him or even remember this precious gift that I have been given. So today if it is one of those days for you – let this be your reminder – you have a life partner who is with you even to the ends of the earth.

Luke 4:1 (NIV) Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness…

There is a common misconception that salvation is perfection which is simply not true. The moment of repentance is the turning and embarking on an incredible life journey of transformation. To become something new just like Jesus promised requires change. It means losing control sometimes. It is uncomfortable as our dead dreams become handfuls of hope. The Presence of God in us does not necessarily change the footsteps of our life but definitely gives them hope in the outcome.

Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit. As a matter of fact, immediately after being filled with the Spirit – the same Spirit led Him into the wilderness to fast and pray for 40 days and nights. Just as he always does, the enemy would come to tempt Jesus in his humanity. Jesus answered the enemy of his soul with the Word of God – the Truth called to his remembrance by none other than the Holy Spirit. How do I know that? John 14:26 tells us that is exactly what the Spirit does. He teaches us and reminds us of everything Jesus said to us. He then guides us to opportunities of obedience that lead to great blessing for Children of God.

Romans 5:1-5 (NIV) Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Spiritual acceptance by the Lord and steps to maturity are all facilitated by God’s Spirit living in you and me. He is our guarantee that God has heard our heart cry out in true repentance and has responded with His Spirit. The Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of Adoption that gives us a new name. He establishes our peace with God through Jesus Christ. Now at peace with God, though our circumstances and conditions may not change radically, our choices and consequences begin to change as we decide to avoid sin and seek the Savior day by day. Not only on the good days, but in our sufferings the Holy Spirit takes seeds of faith planting into the crevices of our broken heart. He cultivates love, joy, peace and more in the hearts of those who remain broken before the Lord. I wonder today with a new insight and perspective of usefulness of this partnership that maybe we might capitalize on the commitment Christ made to us when He invested His Spirit in us. The Spirit of God produces intimacy with God that is only possible by living at peace with Him.

Titus 3:4-7 (NIV)  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

I wonder what would happen if we believed that God has partnered with us in such an intimate and radical way. To give us the very essence of His Identity in order to teach us and remind us that as love grows cold and sin more rampant to have confidence in the unconditional love and overwhelming grace of a good, good Father. A Father so recklessly in love with us that He would send His Perfect and Undefiled Spirit to live in such a sin-ridden state of a human. See if we could understand the value, worth and potential of the Spirit of God enough to acknowledge Him, accept His Guidance, and affirm Him as He does us our life would suddenly and dramatically prosper in the Fruit of His Spirit. Peace would define our existence even in the most violent storm. Love would prevail as we fully accept the grace given to us as more than enough.

The Spirit washes us as a newborn baby is tenderly and gently cleaned and then He renews us from the inside out. He sees our broken heart and heals it. He sees our unmet expectation and redirects it to the One who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than ask, think or imagine. He would lead us from confident to wide open spaces full of opportunities. The Spirit encourages us to release lesser things to embrace fulfillment as only God could give it. When our faith in God and partnership with His Spirit begin to flourish – our natural life will follow suit.

Jude 1:20-21 (NIV) But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Christians have made the Spirit so spooky and unrealistic with crazy claims and even crazier behaviors. My experience with the Holy Spirit is a little different. Growing up as a Christian different religions gave the Spirit of God varying and differing personalities, qualities and characteristics. I had to become acquainted with His Spirit on my own. Intimacy is not a public event but a private matter. If you do not have a partnership with God’s Spirit, I encourage you to form one. To seek an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit that is personal. I have discovered the most valuable asset that keeps me from wandering and that is peace. When things are going great, I know God is good and live in peace. When everything is falling apart, I still know God is good and can remain in the same restful peace. Peace is the defining of God’s Spirit as He teaches us to remain constant in our faith and confident in our hope personally and individually. We can form opinions about certain people based on the account and perception of others but it is only in a real relationship or encounter that we experience who they really are and who they will be to me. With this in mind, ask the Lord to reveal Himself through His Spirit to you today. The Lord told the woman at the well that true worshippers must do so in Spirit and Truth. Don’t miss the opportunity to be a true worshipper of the Living God. Discover the life-giving, life-changing and love-altering purpose of partnering with the Living, Breathing Spirit of God – the Christ in you.

There’s nothing worth more that could ever come close no thing can compare You’re our living hope
Your presence, Lord… I’ve tasted and seen of the sweetest of loves where my heart becomes free and my shame is undone, Your presence, Lord… Holy Spirit, You are welcome here, come flood this place and fill the atmosphere, Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for to be overcome by Your presence, Lord…

The Doorkeepers

Doorkeepers

John 10:9-10 (NKJV) I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

It’s the end of summer. Almost time for the kids to head back to school, praise the Lord! My power bill welcomes the relief. It has been steadily climbing. Partly due to the television, lights, and ceiling fans constantly burning up precious kilowatts. However, I could not figure out why it was higher than normal. We have had children in school for more than 20 years now. Down to just two girls at home, I was a bit perplexed. Did I mention that we also acquired a new family member in the form of a fur baby? She is in the midst of housebreaking. She also must be defective because she has a hole in her lip that causes her to slop water all over the place. What does this have to do with my power bill? Well, when our girls take the dog out or to the porch for water, they were leaving the backdoor open. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. The point is that our air conditioner has been servicing the entire neighborhood. Ugh! How many times have I asked, pleaded and even shouted – “Shut the door!” Can anyone else relate? It’s like money flying out the backdoor and floating in the sky.

An open door is an access point. It allows things to come in and go out like the air conditioning of our house. We decide what gains access or is shut out. With heavy locks and deadbolts to keep those unwanted to enter for our protection. I am terrible at locking doors by the way. I am learning to be more diligent about what I allow to have access in my life. It is important that believers become doorkeepers who are diligent, determined and disciplined when it comes to granting access to our life. Jesus declared Himself to be the door! Anyone who enters by me will be saved. He offers freedom to those who enter salvation through Him. He is the Way, Truth and Life who gives us access to the Father. The door that He offers also is the way to have life more abundantly. The threshold is two-fold. Not only does it grant us access but it gives Jesus access to our natural life.

Matthew 16:19 (NKJV) “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Faith is the key that opens the door to Heaven for us. Faith in Jesus Christ (who is the door) opens all of God’s Kingdom to the believer. I can have keys to many places, but if I don’t use them keys are useless. Faith in action creates an access point to the Father through Jesus His Son. We must enter into the place it provides called Presence to have the abundant life that is offered. Jesus has given us the Keys to the Kingdom. What are we doing with them today?

Revelation 3:20 (NKJV) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

The first door to be opened is the one to our heart. Jesus is gently knocking and asking for entrance to us. He promises that if I just open the door that He will come in and live with me. The intimacy of relationship cannot be established with barriers between us. We must give the Lord access to our heart, mind, body and soul. He does not change. He will change us. When the Lord enters – He brings with Him things like Resurrection Power and Life. He is a very attentive lover who always brings good things to His Beloved. His Spirit produces good and lasting fruit that provides fullness of life and true satisfaction. He gives us the knowledge and wisdom. His Favor is full of opportunity and new life that does more than we can think or ask. All this because we chose to open the door and let His Unconditional Love and Overwhelming Grace flood our life. We could stop here but there is so much more to our life with Christ and in Him…why would we?

Revelation 4:1 (NKJV) After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”

There is a whole lot of life to live in the dash between the dates on the birth certificate to the one on our death certificate. To live in abundance, favor, and victory requires a new perspective. To expand our perception of life from the natural to the supernatural. The Lord wants us to “come up” higher and see our life and ourselves as He does. To fully embrace the new thing that He is doing and become the new creation that is promised. I cannot live in the fulfillment of God in the midst of human logic and rationalization. I need the Spirit and Truth to produce new understanding that becomes knowledge to apply as wisdom. The kind of Truth that steps out of fear, worry, anxiety and insecurity to walk by faith and total trust that produces confidence in the hope I have in Jesus Christ.

Psalm 78:23-24 (NKJV) Yet He had commanded the clouds above, and opened the doors of heaven, had rained down manna on them to eat, and given them of the bread of heaven.

When the doors to Heaven open, something is released. Always. It is by faith that a foundation of expectation is built beneath us. It keeps us focused on the door with expectancy. To believe that there is something behind the door that I need keeps me every before it. Expectancy in God turns our timid knocking praying and hoping that He will answer into a mighty pounding on it knowing the One behind it is faithful and true. Do you believe that Jesus has something behind the door? Is there something in the Presence of God you need? Are you willing to come boldly before His Throne and beat on that door until it opens? Urgency produces expectancy that becomes boldness. How important is the thing you are trusting and believing the Lord for? Is it your health or maybe deliverance? Is it for a loved one? Anything wanted, needed or desired by us according to His Perfect Plan and Divine Fulfillment is behind that door and when we knock He has promised to open it :– something will come rushing out when He does open it so in the meantime…

Proverbs 8:34-35 (NKJV) “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord…”

Thank goodness the Spirit of the Lord produces patience and longsuffering in us because it certainly did not come with this package. We will watch at His Gates and wait at the door when what is behind it is worth having. When Jesus becomes that which is desired most, our willingness to wait is expanded. Whoever finds Jesus finds life and obtains the favor of God. I want eternal life. Isn’t that the whole point? Sometimes we forget when impatience overtakes us and the enemy offers immediate gratification in the form of substitution. I want life AND God’s Favor. The Favor of God will work in our life now. I cannot have His Favor outside of a relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the vine and I am a branch unable to produce anything good outside of our connection. Opening the door to my heart and inviting Him will be my salvation. But God doesn’t want to stop with just saving us but He has a plan and purpose to prosper us, to make us successful, and give us abundance in life to fuel generosity and give even more credibility to the Goodness of God, His Grace and for His Glory.

Psalm 84:10-11 (NKJV) For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Are you a doorkeeper in the House of God? The Presence of God is available to all of us thanks to His Son, Jesus Christ. The temporary trials and momentary problems of today do not block us from the Kingdom and its power. We have been given the keys to the Kingdom. Am I using them today? Shaking those keys at the enemy does nothing but make a lot of noise? The devil is not afraid of the keys but that you will use them to open the door to Heaven. It is the job of the doorkeeper to open the door. To use the key marked faith and open the door of Presence is to allow all of God’s Grace, Goodness and Glory to permeate our life. He becomes our sun and shield as His Presence surrounds us, provides for us, empowers us and protects us. He is the Light that leads to all wisdom and truth so we are not tangled in lies or trapped in walls of untruth. He wants to give us more grace and more glory every day. He will withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly in His Presence. We have the keys. He has already told us in His Word that He will come in. The real question is not whether He is faithful but will I be faith full? When God opens the door to Presence will I step in? His Presence is unsettling and produces change. It makes us uncomfortable. It is often inconvenient. It requires us to relinquish control. Am I willing to live undone in the Presence of God? Yes, I am. There is something I want that is found only in His Presence. I must make the conscious choice to live ever before the door to Heaven knocking and when He opens the door – I must be willing to rush in.

John 10:1-4 (NKJV) “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.  But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.

Total Access

Total Access

Hebrews 4:15-16 (MSG) Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.

My key ring has many keys on it. My car key is obvious with the controls to the lock and alarm system. I use it to open the doors and turn the ignition. There is a key to the front door of our house and one to the new office building. I am pretty sure that there is also one to the old office. I think another is to my mother-in-law’s house and there may even be one to my parent’s home as well. There are a number of silver and gold keys that I have no idea what they go to but I am afraid to take off the key chain just in case I figure out what they might go to. Our pastor has tried to give me a key to the church. I know where a key is hidden for a friend’s place. Keys represent access. They are a responsibility. The keys in my purse represent places that I am allowed to enter. When I left my last job, I returned a heavy ring of keys to all the buildings on campus. I no longer have access as an employee. The keys in our hand may change with transitions in life but there is another set of keys that are eternally in our hand for our use.

Matthew 16:19 (MSG) “And that’s not all. You will have complete and free access to God’s kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heaven. A yes on earth is yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven.”

Peter made a simple declaration. “You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus asked the disciples to tell Him who they thought He was. Who am I to you? Not the others, or the crowd, or the religious leaders. It was a personal question that would lead to a revelation so powerful that it changed everything for Peter. He stepped into his destiny by simply stating who Jesus was to him that day. He would be the rock on which the new church was built. Do you believe today that Jesus is the Christ, Messiah, Son of the Living God who gave up His Life for your sins so you have decided to love Him, trust Him and believe in Him? Is He your Savior? Are you striving to make King Jesus the Lord of your life? Well according to the Word of God, you and I now have “complete and free access to God’s Kingdom.” But that’s not all…we have been given “keys to open any and every door without barriers between heaven and earth or vice versa. A yes on earth is a yes in heaven and a no on earth is a no in heaven. Power and authority belong to us on the key ring pressed into our hand with the simple statement – You are Jesus. You are the Christ. Messiah. Son of the Living God. You belong to me Jesus.

There are two forms of the word “access”. Access comes in the form of a noun and verb. Access is the ability, right or permission to approach, enter, speak with or use. We are given access to God the Father, His Presence, His Spirit, His Kingdom, His Power, His Resources, His Wisdom, His Favor and His Glory just to name a few benefits. God is totally accessible to us through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Access as a verb means TO make contact with or gain access to; to be able to reach, approach or enter. There are many believes today who have access but do not take the opportunity TO access God and all that goes with knowing the Father and becoming His Child.

My children are beginning to exit the nest. Three are adults who are out adulting. One is a senior in high school who is beginning to see the scenery outside the protection and provision of her parents so she is stretching her wings preparing to fly. We have but one baby left who has a few more years before her time will come. No matter how old they get – my kids will always have access to my home. They can raid my refrigerator. Use what they need. Stay as long as they want to. They are my children. I love them. I always have and always will. God loves us even more than we love our own kids. He calls us His Children and provides us access. We must be willing TO access His Presence.

Ephesians 2:16-18 (MSG) Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.

We have “equal access” to the Father. God doesn’t have favorites. There are just some who are willing to access and others who are not bold enough to do so. I love how this translation describes the Cross as a place of embrace. It was where the Father grabs the prodigal child covers us in His Robe called Righteousness and puts the ring on our finger showing all that I am His Child. It is also where we gain equal access. Christ came to hand us the keys to the Kingdom. To offer every blessing and benefit hidden in the Presence of God for His Children.

Have you ever been to a shopping club before? The kind of establishment where you must have a membership to take advantage of low prices and great bargains. If you are a guest, you can look but cannot buy anything. You can see what is available but cannot take advantage of it until you become a member. There are a few days a year when they open their store to the public who can come make purchases without a membership in order to attract new members. But if you are a card carrying member, you are free to make your selections, purchase them and take them home. It is all according to your level of access. There are some people who approach the Presence of God as outsiders. Just want to take a look around but not make the commitment to become a member and have what they desire. There are others who come to church every once in a while, slide some spare change in the offering plate, try to be a good person, volunteer and experience blessings here and there but still do not come into the full abundance offered. But then there are those bold folks who dare to believe they have equal access and step into His Presence boldly and confidently. They have faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and believe. Through Christ, they come boldly and receive bountifully more than can be thought, asked or imagined. (Ephesians 3:20) I want that kind of access. Full membership in the Kingdom of God is living by faith and in Christ. As demonstrated by Peter, it is not doing all the right things, making all the best choices or never messing up – it is in the personal relationship with Jesus. That’s really all that is needed to have all God has promised.

Romans 5:1-2 (MSG) By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

By faith in Jesus Christ, we have open access to God’s Grace and Glory. We can stand tall and shout His Praise with confidence. Faith is the access point into all God has for us. Our potential, purpose and prosperity is all right there in the Presence of God waiting for us to come boldly and receive it. There is nothing for me to do open that door – Jesus holds it open for me. Jesus made the way for me to live in the Kingdom with our Father, God. He did it all. All I must do is enter in to gain access to everything I need, want and desire by the Father’s Design. My inheritance is in that place. In Revelation 3, it tells me that Jesus is “opening doors no one can lock and locking doors no one can open.” It goes on to offer encouragement for those who have been struggling and striving. “I see what you’ve done. Now see what I’ve done. I’ve opened a door before you that no one can slam shut. You don’t have much strength, I know that; you used what you had to keep my Word. You didn’t deny me when times were rough.” When the doors in our life seem too heavy or are hopelessly locked, it is easy to become discouraged. Doubt that access to God is open to us. But the Lord reminds us here that He opens and locks the doors in our life. He also acknowledges our human capacity and understands our weaknesses. Therefore, He does it. He is doing it. He is working out all the details of our life for our good and His Glory. He will open the right door when it is ready. During those long seasons of waiting before a locked door, remember that we always have open access to His Presence. In fact, I am beginning to think that the waiting is an intermission to get just a little closer, do a little deeper and embrace the Lord in such a way.

Ephesians 3:11-13 (MSG) All this is proceeding along lines planned all along by God and then executed in Christ Jesus. When we trust in him, we’re free to say whatever needs to be said, bold to go wherever we need to go. So don’t let my present trouble on your behalf get you down. Be proud!

Ephesians 3:11-12 (ESV)  This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

Boldness is without hesitation or fearfulness. It is daring courage. To be forward and forthcoming. Bold people live beyond the usual limits of conventional thought or action. They do what most people only imagine. Boldness is the product of confidence. Confidence in Christ produces boldness that changes our right to access into the act of accessing the Kingdom and all God planned and prepared for us as His Children. We can come boldly because of Christ, but most be confident in the person of Christ to gain access. God’s Whole Purpose in sending His Son is to become accessible to us. He desired us. He wants to be close to us. He wants to live where He is all of the time. He misses us when we stray. Welcomes us when we return. God’s Word tells us who He is, who we are, and builds our confidence with knowledge. The Holy Spirit takes these tidbits of truth and weaves them into wisdom. Wisdom becomes confident in the hope we have in Jesus and becomes bold. So when the enemy offers a lie, it can be recognized and refused. When the details of our life do not add up, we do not need to be discouraged but encouraged to come boldly before God and say, “What’s up?” God planned the pathway called access and has given us the boldness to enter in. The Holy Spirit ripped the veil in the temple from top to bottom opening a doorway no one can shut. His Grace is enough to give us fearless, confident and bold access to the Father expecting and believing every detail of His Word to be the reality of faith in my life.

Hebrews 4:16 (NLT) 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.

When was the last time you took advantage of your total access with God? Have you been in His Presence lately? Have you entered the doors that He has opened? Oh wow…that’s a tricky question. See God offers us opportunities every day. He has given us the Keys to His Kingdom. Faith is required to access all that belongs to us in Jesus Christ. It means when the Lord opens the door – we must walk through it. Walking by faith and not by sight having bold confidence in God’s Word, Will and Way enough to come boldly. It is my experience that the doors God opens are not always the ones I expected and seldom lead to where I thought we were going…it is always way better than I can think, ask or imagine. But in the transition on the threshold – I find that sometimes I hesitate. Not today…today I will come boldly.

Ephesians 3:12 (NLT) Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.

Time to Shine

Time to Shine

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

Mama always used to say, “Be careful what you wish for…” I completely agree. Our words hold power and should be released thoughtfully and completely filtered despite my fourteen-year-old who insists that people need to know the truth. I concur. People do need to know the truth. Who am I to give it to them? Do I really know the truth about life, love and happiness? Contentment, peace or joy? I used to tell people that I wished I could break open my heart and let people see the real Jesus who lives inside. Who He is? The Living God who I have experienced. They would have to love Him, too. Well, as I sit here this morning, I still hope that I can share Jesus with others. Tell them of His Love, Goodness and Faithfulness in a believable and acceptable way. However, I can feel the little sting of those words running through the broken pieces of my heart. The hard places of pride and stubbornness now rubble in the Hands of God as He gently and lovingly molds and shapes them into the kind of heart He desires. The tiny shelter where His Glory resides. Did I ask the Lord to break my heart? No, I just invited Jesus into it. Just like old wineskins will burst when filled with new wine, my heart in its previous condition could not contain the fullness that the Lord had for me. He had to make room for His Presence to fill me. I have to be broken for it to come spilling out.

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

We have the Light of His Love shining inside our hearts. The Presence of God, His Spirit lives in us. He came by invitation but is He truly an honored guest. A question for another day, I guess. I think that the error in our way as believers is the through that the holy inhabitation of God in us is another layer to the armor in our life when it is not like that at all. Yes, we have the full armor of God available to us but it requires leaving the old armor behind. Who can stand in fight in such a condition? The Great Power of God living in us must find its way out of us for the Glory of God to ignite a revival that will wrap around the world.

Exodus 34:29-32 (NLT) When Moses came down Mount Sinai carrying the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, he wasn’t aware that his face had become radiant because he had spoken to the Lord. So when Aaron and the people of Israel saw the radiance of Moses’ face, they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called out to them and asked Aaron and all the leaders of the community to come over, and he talked with them. Then all the people of Israel approached him, and Moses gave them all the instructions the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai.

One person. Moses. Though His Children were all around Mount Sinai, only one person dared go into the Presence of God. Moses remained their fasting and communing with the Lord for forty days and nights. When he came down, in his arms were the Ten Commandments, and on his face was a tangible radiance so bright that the people were afraid. In Exodus 40, these tablets were placed in the Ark of the Covenant and hidden behind a heavy curtain or veil in the Tabernacle. No one could come in contact with the Ark except the high priest after undergoing proper repentance and cleansing. The Ark of the Covenant represented the embodiment of God’s Presence among the people. The atonement cover or mercy seat – God’s Throne. (2 Samuel 6:2) God’s Presence was above it. (Leviticus 16:2) If a person approached the Ark, it was entrance into God’s Presence. Sin is consumed in the Presence of God so those who attempted entrance without proper remission of sin would die. Sin prohibits life. (Psalm 5:4-6) In Numbers 11:16-17, it tells us that God administered His Spirit to people individually according to His Will and Purpose for them. It all started with one person. Moses was the only one willing to go into God’s Presence and he came out changed.

Matthew 27:50-53 (NLT) Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.

I promise this history lesson is almost over. It is vitally important in our understanding and utilization of God’s Power and Presence in us. When Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River, God identified Him as His Son and placed His Spirit in Him. The Spirit descended from Heaven as a dove. Now the Son of God is crucified as a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. He is an acceptable sacrifice and so now God releases His Presence (His Spirit) to all mankind. The first thing the Spirit does is rip the curtain from top to bottom so that God’s Presence is available to us all. The Spirit didn’t stop there but then began breathing life into all the dead. Resurrection power released in a moment that immediately perpetuated life.

Acts 2:1-4 (NLT) On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

Here we go! Wee! This is where the Pentecostals start shouting, Baptists are cringing and Catholics are like “what in the world”. For just a few moments, take your doctrine in one hand and the nametag of your church in the other – put them aside. Just listen… The Holy Spirit is absolutely essential. He is the identifier of those who believe. He is the guarantee of all God’s Promises. You cannot experience Christ and not encounter the Holy Spirit. However, it does not mean that every person will manifest these gifts the same way nor does it mean that we have to. Religion demands the context of doctrine not God. The Presence of God is not some performance or show. It is not defined by certain procedures. Jesus did away with every condition. His Grace is enough to access God’s Presence without my ability to do a single thing.

Now then…moving on.

Acts 2:42-47 (NLT) All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

In Acts 2:1, “on the day of Pentecost, all the believers were meeting together in one place. Hmm… Believers meeting together in one place. What did they believe? They believed in Jesus Christ. (period) Agreement. Unity. Harmony. Nothing is more pleasing to the Lord. These believers had been through the ringer. They were hiding because the “church” wanted to kill the idea of a risen Savior and missed Messiah by murdering the people. They were praying for their very lives. God’s Presence with all the Power and Majesty of Heaven descended on that place. It doesn’t matter if you believe in the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in tongues or any other spiritual gift. Do you believe in Jesus Christ?

Now that everyone here is looking at Jesus Christ. In His Presence, the first manifestation of His Spirit is to love each other. Care for one another. Create a community of communion with God and each other. (period) Signs and wonders are birthed in this connection of believes as they agree and meet together in “one place”. Speaking in tongues is for our own gratification. It is a prayer language. I do very much believe in it but I do not believe that you have to speak in tongues to be saved or live in the Presence of God. What I do believe is that the Glory of God available to us in His Presence has been put behind a curtain and covered in clothes because we fail the first test – to love others like Jesus loves us.

We can share the Gospel, preach the Word of God, and even demonstrate every gift eluded to in the Bible, but the absence of love. Self-sacrificing and pride-killing kind of love that puts everyone else before our need to have, do, or be right. We all have the Presence of the Living God inside of us. He is waiting to be pressed down, shaken together and run over every blessing that He has in store for us. However, if we choose not to let God break our heart enough to love others and care for each as a community of believers – the Word will fall on deaf ears like water on a rock.

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

The very first fruit of the Holy Spirit is love. (Galatians 5:22) We do not have the privilege of defining what love really is – it is clearly stated in God’s Word. I Corinthians 13:4-7 tells us all the qualities of true love. Patient, kind, no jealous, boastful or proud, giving and forgiving. It never loses faith or hope. It does not give up. It endures all circumstances. It goes so far as to comment in verse 8 that “prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever.” Jesus told us that there is no greater love than to lay our life down for another. (John 15:13) I wonder if the Glory of God is not producing revival because the church does not know how to love? I am concerned that His Presence is somehow stifled by our routine and religion hindered by a lack of real relationships among believers including me…

If the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever! The only thing that lasts forever according to God is His Love. Love remains when all else fails. It is the glue that holds together the believers as one to make the body of Christ who will be His Bride. To cry out for revival is to ask God to show us how to love. Love will break your heart every time. It will crush rebellious spirits as two become one. With the new covenant, there should be boldness and confidence that is not demonstrated in most churches today. (Verse 8) If the Word is not watered down, it is hidden behind a wall of religious values and doctrine that no one really can endure. Grace removed the sin that kept me from Jesus. Who am I to place a condition on a love so freely given? Who am I to condemn others when Jesus refused to do it? Who am I to withhold my life from anyone else when it is no longer mine at all? Who am I? I am a Child of God. I am filled with His Spirt. His Spirit is the very essence of resurrection power and life that will spark the next revival. The same spirit that lives in me as a believer lives in you. We all must be broken of our prideful, stubborn and selfish ways to let His Glory escape from us and become the radiance in our life that attracts others.

Let me ask you something. Are you frustrated in your walk with the Lord today? Are you disappointed because your ordinary life is not the extraordinary promise you thought He would make it? Has the monotony of your walk and the mundane existence got you thinking that there has to be more to life than this? Friend, sin stole the glorious standard of living from us but Jesus gave it back and more. He promises us a rich and satisfying life. Love produces that life. Plain and simple. The kind of love that builds up community and bonds together people. Religion points out differences. Relationships overcome them. God’s Glory is available to all of us. In fact, it dwells within us. It radiates from our life in our ability to love unconditionally. It’s time to remove the veil and let the Love of God shine through us again. Busting through doubt, fear and insecurity to put our life out there like a city on a hill again. You were meant to be the Light. It begins with love and ends the same way. Let God out of the box today. Take the next step in putting yourself out there. Stop hiding behind the curtain. There is nothing there anymore. His Spirit is alive and well in you! It’s our time to shine! For His Glory…

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

 

 

What Is Revival?

what-is-revival

Psalm 85: 4-7 (NLT) Now restore us again, O God of our salvation. Put aside your anger against us once more. Will you be angry with us always? Will you prolong your wrath to all generations? Won’t you revive us again, so your people can rejoice in you? Show us your unfailing love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.

Driving home from church last night, my husband and I began talking about the coming New Year. In the midst of our conversation, it turned to revival. The cry of the church seems to be revival. Everyone is preaching it. People are praying for it. The united cry of the church is for God to send revival to us now. But my husband asked a question that cranked the motor of my brain, when he simply inquired…”what is revival?” It is obviously noted in history as Great Movements of God in churches and communities with many names associated with it. However, if we as a church corporately have finally joined our voices in one accord, it would seem that it is important to know what we are asking for so that it will be recognized when it comes. So I ask you today the same question for careful consideration, what is revival?

Going straight to the Word for an accurate description as the only credible source, I find only this passage and one other in the Old Testament that refers to the revival of God’s People. This leads me to believe that revival is a manmade term. It is not actually an “event” to be planned and executed but an experience that carries over somehow. God of our salvation. The cry for revival is an invitation for God to restore us. It is a personal plea for the God of the Universe to come down and touch me. Me, first which will ignite passion to overflow into my family and church. As the Light of His Love spreads among us, it builds momentum. The momentum of the church is unity. Unity is selfless harmony that burns away flesh and pride to expose our heart and mind to more of God’s Spirit than ever before. Let us not be confused. To experience true revival requires true repentance and complete forfeiture of self to be fully consumed by the Lord for His Service and Use in a collective community called the Body of Christ.

Put aside your anger from us once more? Have I drifted? Has the church strayed? Yes and yes. God has put the spark of desire in us for revival BECAUSE He wants grace to cover our fickle heart and wandering mind to be one with Him again. Revival is to desire the Presence of the Living God to come down in our midst. To save, heal and deliver everyone who dares to come near. However, if I think that revival will come to change other but not to do the same for me, I am merely delusional. Revival begins in me and overflows from me. I cannot offer what I have not experienced. I cannot introduce anyone to someone I have not encountered and become acquainted with myself. My message is less than convincing until it radically changes my life.

Won’t you revive us again, so your people can rejoice in You? I have attended many churches over the course of my lifetime. I have met many believers, professing Christians, pastors, teachers and leaders. I have served many positions in the church enough to see the business in the building. However, I have rarely experienced such great moves of God that I can recount them to you now. I have experienced the Lord personally but corporately I have not seen the Glory of God called revival in our midst. Why? We cry out for something but not make any attempt to find it within ourselves. People need Jesus. But if I do realize my own desperation and depth of longing for my Savior, Messiah and Lord – I will never be able to meet the need of another by offering them something I do not know. So many starts and stops, makes it apparent that we are missing something along the way.

The woman at the well had a personal experience with Jesus Christ so radical that she had to run back and tell everyone. (John 4) Come and see this man that told me everything… She forgot her guilt and shame including all those things that had isolated her and kept her from the company of others. She didn’t have time for pride, guilt and regret to hold her bondage any longer. No, they had to come and see. There was no other alternative than to come to the well with her to taste and see. When was the last time, your experience with Jesus Christ moved you to push, pull and drag people to church? How many times do you miss meeting together with other believers because there is something, anything more important to do? The want, need and desire for revival from the Lord must begin in each one of us to become the next great move of God. Going into the New Year doing the same thing but expecting different results is deemed insanity. You know the routine. The New Year comes and the church calls for a corporate fast. Everyone becomes focused on new menus, renewed prayers, shaking off the old, and embracing the new. Then by February, it is the same old thing all over again. If I truly want revival, I must decide that in the coming year that I will let God restore, renew and revive me first. I must submit my life including my mind, will and emotions to Jesus Christ to change me from the inside out. Revival did not come this year or the year before despite my cries and pleas. I do not believe that it is because of God’s Timing but the condition of God’s People that has kept it elusive for this long.

Ezra 9:7-9 (NKJV Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been very guilty, and for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plunder, and to humiliation, as it is this day. And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage. For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.

“And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant of escape, to give us a peg in His Holy Place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage.” Pride has driven the church back into bondage. Preaching for profit has cluttered our storehouses with lesser things. The modern day church is big business. Don’t get mad at me. I am not judging preachers who live in million dollar mansions. Things are not the problem. Purpose and drive are what is missing. Passion for Jesus turned into passion for other things. Pride of life that has caused us to deviate from building God’s Kingdom to prosper in this world. God is showing us grace. He is positioning our heart for a radical change from idolatry and worldly pursuits to a passion and drive for Jesus Christ that forces a choice to make a decision that is really not that difficult in the Presence of One’s Savior.

Revival is the remnant’s escape. Revival is the doorway that leads from self to selflessness. It is the moment that all I want is Jesus Christ. It is when He truly becomes all that I need to live, breathe and thrive in this lifetime. It is such a radical connection with the Lord that it creates an opening between heaven and earth that when two or more are gathered in the same spirit – His Glory overtakes them all. This is revival. We are not ready. Yet from our bondage and captivity – the church cries out for Him. “To give us a peg in His Holy Place” – I need to study this some more. Many years ago, someone spoke a word over me that God was driving me into the ground like a peg or stake. This passage made it come to my mind again. What if the next great move of God is not random or released on a whim? What if revival is not what we thought it might be but something more overpowering and overwhelming than we have every experienced? What if it changes my lifelong pursuits? What if it takes up too much of my time? What if it means being at church more than I care to? What if? What if revival is not about others but God releasing me first?

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

Do I really want revival? Do I want God to restore and revive me which will always roost me from my comfort and convenience right into fiery refinement? Do I want His Glory to fill my life completely? Revival is for the remnant for a reason. Small pockets of people throughout the history of time who dared be pegs driven into His Presence. Refusing to move until He comes near to them. Those who, like Jacob, will wrestle with God until the new man (or woman) and new life emerges. It took a lot for me to forsake myself. I am not the same person with the same beliefs that I had five years ago. The price paid for such revelation is one I would not have paid knowingly or willingly. Everyone talks a good talk. However, when it is our life to be laid on the line everything changes…trust me. When it is time to totally trust the Lord for survival or even your next breath, this is the moment of truth and when only a remnant remains.

The Lord used my husband in a mighty way last night. I am blessed to be partnered with a godly man. I cannot shake the question now. “What is revival?” From now until the New Year comes, I am going to continue to ask this question of God and dig into His Word until I find that one thing I am not doing or surrendering that will allow His Glory to fill me and overflow from my life into my home into my church and into my community. I cannot participate in a move of God until I am moved by God. To cry out for revival is noble, but God knows our heart. He knows who is not serious enough to give their all. No one knows your heart but you. We can all put on our game face when need be, but who is willing to be driven in the ground like a peg to seek and stay in His Presence until His Glory comes. To be uncomfortable. To be inconvenienced. To wait, tarry and stay right here until He comes.

According to man’s interpretation, the dictionary defines revival as restoration to life, consciousness, vigor or strength. It is to restore to use, acceptability and currency (or worth). It is an awakening of interest in and care for matters of religion. God is ready to breathe life back into the Body of Christ which is gasping for air. He longs to restore the joy of salvation so that our hearts and minds will be one with the Lord and passion will produce a persistent pursuit of God and His Ways. Revival will not be the result around us until it is the change in us. If at the end of 2017, I am the same as I am right now, again I have failed. If there is no change in the atmosphere around me as God moves closer and His Glory fills the space around me, He did not fail – I did. There is a reason that revival only comes to the remnant. It is not a manmade feeling or controlled spiritual encounter, revival is to allow God to completely overtake us body, mind and spirit and then letting Him flow out of us to change the surrounding environment. Revival is not an elevated position but a prone posture as pride and self are sacrificed to make room for more of Jesus. It is not fashionable but definitely favorable.

Psalm 85:10-13 (NLT) Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed! Truth springs up from the earth, and righteousness smiles down from heaven. Yes, the Lord pours down his blessings. Our land will yield its bountiful harvest. Righteousness goes as a herald before him, preparing the way for his steps.

Many have seen the movie or at least heard the clip of Jack Nicholson yelling to the crowded courtroom, “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth.” Maybe just maybe this is what the Lord is whispering to us today. When His Unfailing Love and truth meet together righteousness and peace kiss and truth springs up from the careful consummation. Intimacy with the Father through the Son is at the complete forsaking of self. We must give up our way, wants, whims and wanderings to find our way into His Presence. A total commitment of mind, soul and body is required for God’s Fulfillment to begin restoration, renewal and revival to take place. All that we hold precious and dear in this life is at stake to be burned up with God’s Passion for us and ignite our heart with the Light of His Unfailing Love to be the torch for others. This is when the windows of Heaven will open allowing His Blessings to finally reach us not the meager provision experienced now but an outpouring like never before. Our land will yield a bountiful harvest of souls set free if believers and Christians would just do their part now. Righteousness is the herald before Him. Jesus is coming back. We are not ready. Revival must come. It must begin in me. What is revival? I am not completely sure right now. I intend to find out. I don’t want to waste another year doing the same things hoping for something new and different to emerge. Lord, take this time to start a fire in me.

Psalm 119:37-40 (NLT) Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you. Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good. I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness.

Stay Present

stay-present

Psalm 68:3-4 (NLT) But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy. Sing praises to God and to his name! Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds. His name is the Lord—rejoice in his presence!

Not too long ago, I purchased an oversized lounging hoodie with the words “Stay Present” on the front. I bought it because it was soft and flowy ready to put on with some yoga pants and do nothing kind of shirt. The words on the front “Stay Present” caught my attention and moved in my spirit a little so with the deeply discounted sales tag, I threw it in the buggy and kept shopping. As I rummage through the closet looking for something to wear on occasion I stop and read the shirt time and time again. It’s as if there is a message for me there that I am not grasping yet I know it means something. Am I not present for my people including my family and friends? Lord, have I lost touch with reality. Have I missed something along the way? Or does it speak of a time to come when a new season of life will begin and I will be busy again…too busy and need to be reminded to stop, look and listen? Maybe I am reading too much into a clearance rack message that means nothing at all…I don’t think so.

I have a tendency to take on too much, make numerous commitments, overestimate the time allotted and not to say, “No.” I am learning that not doing is just as important as doing sometimes. In a season of being rushed, overwhelmed and definitely overcommitted, I wonder if the garnet shirt yelling at me to “Stay Present” is a reminder of some sort. A mantra to be adopted. How do I stay present when life is busy? When it is hard? When the unexpected hits? When I am overwhelmed? How do not become moved by my conditions, circumstances or problems? The Lord has provided a place for us in His Presence. It allows us to stay present in this life yet maintain our faith, confident hope, inexpressible joy and be constantly renewed by His Grace that gives sufficient power and strength to overcome and live victoriously. It is not about an actual place that we can go to, but one that may exist inside the human soul. It is internal yet infinite.

Rejoice in His Presence. To live in the presence of God is to know who I am in Jesus Christ. It is acquired by knowledge that is turned to wisdom through experience as a believer when an encounter with God every day is a top priority in our life. He is not at church or in a building. God lives and breathes in us. It is to become present with the Presence of God in us that changes everything. No longer do the things of this life and problems that come with it matter to us, because suddenly greater is He that is in us than he who is in this world. We must stay present in His Presence – no matter what comes our way.

Exodus 33:16-19 (NLT) How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.” The Lord replied to Moses, “I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.” Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.” The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.

I have heard many accounts of people who were raised in denominations and churches that did not understand or teach about the Presence of God who after one church service IN the Presence of God could not explain what or how they felt other than to say, “It was God!” Tears flowing something happens inside of them that their consciousness cannot comprehend yet their heart knows it is the Lord. The Presence of God changes everything when our perception of God meets the Person of God.

Moses had been given a tall and impossible order. In his conversation with God, he is looking for something credible to offer those who might contradict him along the way. He asked the Lord for His Presence. Why? “For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.” His personal revelation was prophetic in nature. When Jesus died, He said, “It is finished.” He then released His Spirit to inhabit the heart of every man and woman who accepts Him as Savior and calls Him their Lord. His Presence lives inside of us. It IS the very thing that sets us apart from everyone else. It will be the deciding factor on Judgment Day. Will the Lord know me? Yes, if I stay present today.

What is it about God’s Presence that is so desirable? Well, first it is the very thing that makes us His Children. If that is not enough, it is characterized by His Goodness. It is His Mercy and Compassionate Love for us surrounding us, changing us from the inside out and completing us. It makes something out of nothing. It makes all the impossibilities possible. It releases growth power to our personal potential hidden in us since creation. It is our confident hope that is the light that guides through darkness and leads us through the valleys of life. His Presence truly is the only thing we have that is tangible enough to feel, hear, touch, see, breathe and live within. His Presence is possible because of His Grace and as I submit my life to His Wonder Working Power it overtakes me day by day until it is where I choose to exist.

Psalm 15:1-2 (NLT) Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.

The Presence of God does not fill a building or sanctuary. The Presence of God does not exist outside of human context. If the Spirit of God moves in a building, it is because the Presence of God came with some of the people. When Jesus released His Spirit, people became the Temple of God rather than buildings. Christ lives in you. He lives in me. If God is not sweeping through our congregation, it is time for soul searching on the part of each member. We all have a part in the next Great Move of God that I believe is coming. We must welcome the Presence of God in our heart and mind allowing God to prosper our soul. We stay present in His Presence if revival is to come.

Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking truth from sincere hearts. Well that is certainly not me on any given day, how about you? I do not and cannot and will not live a sinless life no matter how desperately I may desire to. How can I live in the Presence of God in such a deplorable state? True repentance. Every single day I must live to turn my life over to the Lord and give Him all the real estate of my heart. Just as I am. His Grace is enough for me. It must be my desire to love the Lord and to live in His Presence. With an intentional heart, that is intent on knowing God despite my sinful and terrible condition.

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

When I am not experiencing the benefit or blessing of a promise that I find in God’s Word, I retrace the scripture before the promise to see what the steps of acquisition may be. To acquire the Presence of God in my life, there are some simple steps. First, I must accept Jesus Christ as my Savior. (Psalm 16:1) He becomes my refuge the moment I repent and call on His Name. Now, like many other people, I could stop there and invest my whole life in only knowing the Power of His Grace and its sufficiency in my weakness. But God provided more for me than just salvation, Jesus offers to be my Lord. Some people do not ever get beyond Savior to call Him Lord.

“I said to the Lord, “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.” (Psalm 16:2) When a person moves from acceptance of salvation to acknowledging Jesus as Lord there is a shift in the dynamics of our life. It is the process of redemption that leads to completion in Christ. Full satisfaction is found in the holy inhabitation of the Holy Spirit as Jesus takes over our life and carries our burdens, heals our body, and leads us from everlasting to everlasting. It is in His Presence that everything changes. To repent yet not redeem the potential of God for our life is like holding the winning lottery ticket worth millions or more but never going to the lottery office to claim our prize. It may be worth a fortune but the paper it is on is only representative of its potential. Wasted potential is unfortunate when God has promised the Kingdom to you today.

And so begins the adventure through acceptance and acknowledgment, our lives are lived in pursuit of His Presence. If God is there, I am going. If He is here, I am staying. If He turns, I am turning. To live in step with Jesus every step of the way, I will go where He goes. Life with the Lord is an adventure. There is never a dull moment. We will still be hard pressed. There will be days like that. Bad things will happen to good people. Life is still not fair. We do not need fair because now we are favored. To transition our life from what we see, feel and touch in this life, to experience what we know and Who we know makes all the difference in the world. We must pursue the Presence of God and stay present at all costs.

Ephesians 3:11-12 (NLT) This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.

I have been given the profound privilege of entering the Presence of Almighty God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Not cowering but with boldness and confidence, I can enter the Presence of God each day. What better way to honor the sacrifice of His Only Son, then to accept His Invitation to come closer. To move deeper. To live in His Presence day by day.

Colossians 1:21-23 (NLT) This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.

I know what you are thinking, I feel the same way too sometimes. I know me. I know every fault and failure. I remember my shortcomings. The times I was disobedient. The thoughts that sometimes overtake me. Let me assure you as the Holy Spirit must insure me. It is not about me. It is all about Christ crucified and honoring His Gift with my life. No matter how messed up I am or how many times I mess up, God desires my presence in His Presence. He loves me because compassion is His Character. His Grace is enough for me to be washed white and admitted entrance to the refuge of His Love. My selfish consideration that there is anything I have done to keep from accessing His Presence is my own lack of faith because His Grace is enough for me and every sin that I have committed or am yet to commit.

You must believe that God’s Presence is for you today. Come to the Lord and lay every burden and sin at His Feet. Step into His Presence with the boldness and confidence that comes from faith that chooses to trust the Lord rather than anyone else’s report. The Presence of God in you is absolutely essential to the next Great Move of God in the church. Will you stay present in His Presence today? The world needs you to be there. You cannot lead where you have not been. You cannot share something you do not have. You cannot share a Gospel that is not in you.

Hebrews 10:21-23 (NLT)  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.

Possibility of Peace

possibility-of-peace

Isaiah 26:1-4 (NLT) In that day, everyone in the land of Judah will sing this song: our city is strong! We are surrounded by the walls of God’s salvation. Open the gates to all who are righteous; allow the faithful to enter. You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.

Perfect peace. Is it possible to live in complete and total peace? Can we live unaffected or impacted by life with all of its up and downs? Disappointments? Tragedy? Or even death? Peace is a mind that is free from annoyance, distraction, anxiety or an obsession. Peace is also the state of non-warring conditions usually regarding nations or countries. It is freedom from strife and dissension. Our mind wars with our spirit to invalidate any and all belief in God through Jesus Christ. To surrender our life to the Lord is to submit our flesh to crucifixion so naturally there is a will to survive called pride. Peace is found in our ability to unite our life with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Though peace and rest are available to every believer, all of the time. It is one’s ability to step into that “kind” of relationship that determines the outcome. You will keep in “perfect peace” all who trust in You. All whose thoughts are fixed on You. Trust in the Lord always. Let’s look at the last statement on more time. Trust in the Lord always. Trust IN the Lord…always.

We must learn to trust “in” the Lord always. Verses 1-2 are “In that day, everyone in the land of Judah will sing this song: Our city is strong! We are surrounded by the walls of God’s salvation. Open the gates to all who are righteous; allow the faithful to enter.” Allow the faithful to enter. We enter into faith. I cannot stay right where I am and walk by faith. I must step out of the boat and walk to Jesus on a continual basis to test the parameters of what I believe. It is “in” Christ that we find faith. We must enter in. To have the Peace of God – we must learn to live at peace with God. Out of darkness. Apart from sin. To consistently submit to His Will and stop pursing our own will. Still want perfect peace?

Matthew 6:9-13 (NLT) Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.

Peace with God is a process of trust. Peace has no worries. To pray the Lord’s Prayer each day and mean it without adding a long list of the things that we want God to do or how we want Him to do it. Peace with God is to completely rely on His Word and His Way for our life. You good with that all day…every day? Yeah, me either. Life is a faith process. Trusting the Lord for the things that we cannot see and do not control are easy because we can’t do anything anyway. It is when we have a choice that we are challenged to continue to love and trust Him.

Matthew 14:28-32 (NLT) Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.

Peter called to the Lord, “If it’s really you…” Peter was exercising his newfound faith a little. Jesus said, “Yes, come.” So Peter went over the side of the boat. But then life happened, it always does. Natural circumstances exhaust our faith quickly. Distractions open the door to doubt. Fear sucks us under. We cry out to Jesus who catches us every time. Let me something out there today. Peter’s life and purpose was never ever compromised. His inability to believe this time did not change the outcome of his life. Is it you, Lord? Yes. Tell me to come. Yes, come. What happened? He did not believe. He did trust the Word of the Living God as much as the surrounding conditions. So he cried out to the Lord again…”Save me, Lord.” Could it be that part of process takes time and it is our inability to trust, believe and endure that keeps us from finishing the course? Yep.

Matthew 6:25-27 (NLT) “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

Jesus told us later in Matthew 6 “not to worry about everyday life.” Do you ever worry? Yeah, me too. When I am worrying – it is that exact moment that I am not trusting the Lord. Every time I worry, stress or become anxious about something in my life – I step out of the Peace of God. Jesus provides us rest for every moment but I choose to live “in” peace that passes understanding or I chose not to. It is my daily and personal choice.

Do you worry about food? Do you stress over schedule? Do you get anxious about finances? Do you know that you are “far more valuable Him than” any other creation? If we could just grab hold of God’s Perfection? His Sovereignty? His Plan? His Will? If we could just trust the Lord with our whole life, we would live in His Peace. Peace is a place traveled in our pursuit of God and His Presence. We cannot take our worries, cares, stresses, distractions and anxiousness to that place. We must remain completely and totally trusting Him to have such peace.

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

Perfect peace is found in total trust. Peace is only possible in the absence of worry. Peace is produced by faith in Jesus Christ alone. Peace is to believe God at His Word. Peace is not an external reaction, but internal response to who God is and all that He promises. Peace is found in Jesus. Peace is the Presence of God. We are able to enter God’s Presence, because of Christ and our faith in Him. We must have faith to have perfect peace. God has peace for us that exceeds anything we can understand. It guards our heart and mind as we live “in” Him. Thank you Lord for the possibility of perfect peace!

Proverbs 14:30 (NLT) A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body…

Cloudy Days

Cloudy Dadys

I Kings 18:41-45 (NKJV) Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.” So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.” Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’” Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel. 

As I begin to share my heart today, I do so realizing to some this is going to sound crazy and farfetched. Perhaps, I look too intently to see My God in all things. The Word of God tells us that is how He planned it to be that all of creation would be evidence of His Glory. Everything created through His Son, Jesus for all mankind to see and know Him. It seems as of late that I have become quite sensitive to rain. The gathering of storm clouds on hot summer afternoons is nothing new. In fact, it is an annual occurrence for as many years as I can remember. Yet for some unknown reason when the clouds rise up a sense of awe and worship begins to collective in heart and soul. A need to cry out to the Lord, sing His Praise and invite His Presence closer. It can be in the car or even looking out the window at work. It doesn’t stop there. As the rain begins to fall so do the tears, not in sadness or depression as some feel in gloomy weather, but simply because I am overwhelmed by God’s Love in a tangible way. The rain makes me feel like He is falling all around me and saturating my life with His Presence and all those things that He gives in such a place. This is the natural workings around me.

I could stop right here and turn this thing around with a feel good story of some sort or relate the Lord to some personal experience or tangible object like this blog often does but not today. God is taking us deeper. He is stretching us farther. Out of ordinary circumstances and mediocre lives – see His Glory is coming. No, wait it is already here all around us. Today – Jesus wants to show us His Glory. I got a call this week from a friend from church. We do not speak on a daily basis. I knew when her name came up on the caller ID that something was up. We chatted for a few and then she said, “You are gonna think I am crazy…” I love it when fellow believers preface a conversation with those words because my faith makes me feel that way so many times. When the Lord does something or says something in or around me that is just too incredible for mere human beings to comprehend or accept. I promised that I would not so she told me her story.

I prayed for her daughter in church while she faithfully served in the nursery. We have a live feed so the serving saints of God can be a part of the service. As I lingered with her child, she felt her heart pressed to join us. As she opened the door to the sanctuary, she was met with a rushing wind and felt something heavy sweep over her. She look up and “saw” a cloud circling the top of the building. Quickly looking around to see if anyone could see what she could, it was clear she was the only one. She met us at the altar. I guess at some point I reached for her hand and she shared that she felt God’s Power rush through her. She knew what she was experiencing was of the Lord but could not comprehend if it what she saw was as real as what she felt. The Presence of God is real. It is real and thick in the atmosphere. It just so happened at that moment a group of people invited Heaven to come to earth. The same group of believers have been pressing God and praying for His Revival. Desiring the latter day rain, it is coming in the Cloud called Presence. Are we ready?

Elijah was a man of faith. His faith was real. It is was tangible. He believed God at His Word. So much so that Elijah based his attitude and actions on it not reliant on natural conditions or physical circumstances. When it was time for the drought to end and rain to come, Elijah saw it in the spirit. Prayed for it as a person. Instructed others to prepare for its arrival. Jesus is coming back. He is coming in the clouds. Are we surrounded by the very clouds that precipitate His Arrival? Can we see the rain coming? Can we hear His Approach? Are we prepared for the latter rain and outpouring that will come just before He gets here? If not, we definitely should be.

Revelation 1:4-8 (NKJV) Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

This is not about religion or the way of worship that you choose to practice in a building built by man and filled by people each week. It is not about the doctrine you have determined to be your way or the religious commitment to your church. This is about Jesus. The One who took on the form of a human being, lived a perfectly sinless life to be my example, who walked a way that I am to follow, loved unconditionally and died brutally for me. It is about the stone that rolled away just three days later revealing a stunning victory. It depicts a Savior not weak or wavering, but resolute in purpose who obtained my freedom and gave it back to me. That is what it is about. He is coming back. He is coming for me. Am I ready? Is my head in the clouds? My heart must be there, too.

The psalmist tell us that the Lord clouds surround the Lord. (Psalm 97:1-6) We know this to be true in watching the plight of the Israelites whose fear and faithlessness would not allow them to walk straight into their promise but would require years of wandering to find their way to God. All who left Egypt died in the wilderness but the ones born in freedom were the ones who claimed victory inhabiting the Promise of God. Exodus 40 says that the cloud accompanied God’s People throughout “all their journeys”. Before us, the cloud lights the path for the righteous. Behind us, it blocks the enemy’s advances in a covering of darkness.

This isn’t Old Testament fodder. Daniel saw the Lord in a cloud too. (Daniel 7:13-14) Ezekiel said, “Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.” (Ezekiel 1:28) Is it possible that my friend saw the Glory of the Lord in our place of worship? Can it be that the Lord came in close enough for human eyes to see Him there? Have we seen so many clouds for so long that we lose sight of them? Not me. Not anymore.

The Lord is moving in closer. It sounds cliché as a Christian to say that Jesus is coming back. We have been threatening it for years. But what I am discovering is that as I see the Glory of the Lord drawing nearing as His Presence becomes more frequently tangible around me in the spirit that Jesus IS coming back! For now, we must open our eyes and see He is coming in closer than before. Am I a crazy Christian? You be the judge. Have I lost touch with reality? Yes, I believe that I have. I want the IMPOSSIBLE to be possible which only happens in the Presence of God. I want revival. Not just a service, but the kind of encounter with the Lord that sets captives totally free, delivering people from addiction, miraculously healing the sick and even raising the dead. I believe it can happen. I see a cloud. Though maybe not the overpowering reality that is coming, it is a revelation that shakes my awareness and causes me to examine my life.

Exodus 14:15-16 (NKJV) And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

The Egyptians agreed to let God’s People go…for the moment. The Israelites leave captivity being led by a cloud during the day and pillar of fire at night. Now God did not lead them straight to the Promised Land but because the Philistines (or opposition) laid between the people and their promise they would take a detour. Fear will lengthen our journey until faith arrives. Well, lo and behold the Red Sea is before them and the Egyptians who came to their senses are pursing them. The people who are faint in heart are complaining to Moses. He answers them with a powerful message of faithful encouragement to stand and God will deliver them.

But in reality Moses was crying out to the Lord because he wasn’t sure how to get out of this one. They were stuck between a rock and a hard place. The Lord tells Moses “why do you cry to Me?” Tell them to go forward. To step out in faith. Put your money where your mouth is Moses. The most power part of this story comes next – “Lift up your rod and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it.” I wonder if Moses had a meltdown right there. I mean he was not Charlton Heston in real life. There would not be fifty takes until he got it right. If the sea did not split wide open, they were goners. I would lie if I said that I don’t freak out over faith sometimes when God tells me one thing but everything in the natural makes it seem impossible. Well, we all know that the sea did open up to allow the Children of God through and become a watery grave for their enemies. Praise God!

Is the Lord asking you and me the same thing today? Why are you crying out to me? The same power that brought Jesus back from the dead now lives in me. It lives in you as a born again believer. It is like a cloud filled with rain about to burst. Moses was aware of God’s Presence in the clouds. He acknowledged Him and God kept bringing Him closer and closer to the cloud until He was in the cloud and moving deeper in God’s Presence. The rest of his life would be in the wilderness following the cloud. We have been given an opportunity to step into the cloud and live in His Presence experiencing His Glory. How do we get there from here?

Joel 2:1-3 (NKJV) Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the Lord is coming, for it is at hand: A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness, Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, the like of whom has never been; Nor will there ever be any such after them, even for many successive generations. A fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns; the land is like the Garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; surely nothing shall escape them.

We usually skip down in Joel 2 to the part about the Lord pouring out His Spirit again in the last days. The clouds are stirring. The Glory of God and His Presence is circling the earth ready to do just that pour out His Spirit on us again. He has chosen His Army. Look in the mirror, friend it is you. He is in those clouds. They are filled with latter day rain. It is the day of the Lord. The remnant army has assembled with the faithful few willing to forsake religion and tradition striking out after God. With militant and committed obedience they are the Lord’s Army not an organized religion but those in radical relationships with Jesus Christ who will follow them without counting the cost but desperate to be with Him.

With this great uprising comes a need for heart ripping repentance dissecting who we think God is and deciding who we know Him to be. Revival requires a wholehearted passionate pursuit of Jesus with disregard for the world. It is fasting, weeping, mourning, repenting and repeating over and over again. It is time for us to put our money where our mouth is. The same power that brought Jesus back to life lives in us. Are we exercising its power? Are we executing godly authority on the earth? Refusing to live with conditions like poverty, sickness and disappointment – we look to the clouds and see Him coming. God is about to restore His People. It is coming in the latter day rain. His Abundance is attainable in His Presence. It is there for the asking. It is reachable. Are you reaching?

Joel 2:28-29 (NKJV) “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”

The Lord wants to pour out His Spirit on all mankind. It is sprinkling in our midst. I see the droplets surfacing in many churches and in the midst of believers going after the Lord. The tiny cloud is getting bigger and bigger. Thunder and lightning announce His Approach. The earth is literally quaking under the pressure of His Perfection. This is not an exclusive call but a widespread offering. God’s Love is for you. His Grace is enough to overcome everything you think the Lord is holding against you. Religion does not dictate rules and regulations that is called doctrine to create order in their purpose and program. What about our relationship to God through Jesus Christ? This is the only way to answer the call. When we repent, Jesus offers us His Spirit. His Father wants to adopt us and saturate us in His Love. He wants to take us where He is. The rain is coming but it is the clouds that announce its arrival. The King is coming in those clouds.

Proverbs 16:15 (NKJV) In the light of the king’s face is life, And his favor is like a cloud of the latter rain.

Everything that I need is found in the Presence of God. His Favor is all I really need to live a prosperous life soul, mind and body. I didn’t wake up and believe it. I had to wander through a whole lot of wildernesses, live through several droughts, and fall into more pits then I care to recall. I have discovered that in the Presence of God there is an overwhelming love and grace like I have never known before.

So you think all this is kind of crazy, to see a swirling cloud in a closed up building or to feel electric power shoot through you in prayer. I know I used to feel the exact same way…crazy Christians. Until I was broken beyond repair, had sinned beyond saving, and wandered too far to come home. When I repented turning to find Him, Jesus was right there. He is with you. He is in every cloud you see. His Favor is each tiny droplet of rain covered in enough grace to get to the heart of things. Do not be afraid. Jesus is not coming to get you. He is coming for you.

When it rains, there is usually thunder and lightning that comes with it. People are afraid of the water in the rain but the storm-like conditions surrounding it. God is in control. This world is not out of control just spiraling toward destruction. Our Savior is coming to take us home. He is in those clouds that seem so foreboding. We have nothing to fear. We just need enough faith to see the cloud coming.

Matthew 26:64 (NKJV) Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Like A Child

Like A Child

Matthew 18:2-5 (NLT) He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”

Naturally, since today is Father’s Day, my mind is on the Father. Of course, my earthly dad comes to mind. I am thankful to have one who loves Jesus. But this morning, for these moments before life gets busy all over again, I have the opportunity to sit in the Presence of My Heavenly Father and bask in His Love. He is a Good Father. I know we sing that the Lord is good. We tell others that He is, too. But do we really know and understand the Goodness and Greatness of Grace and the privilege that we have to know God personally and intimately.

When I was very young my parents divorced and I lived with my mom. On the weekends, I would go to my grandparent’s house. It was my favorite place on earth. In the back of their home was a whitewashed garage, on one side was my granddad’s ice cream truck. Yes, after he “retired, my grandpa drove up and down the beach selling ice cream. I was a lucky kid. On the other side, there was a makeshift apartment made to help their only son through a rough spot. My dad wasn’t always there when we visited. I would sneak back to the little room that he stayed in and sit in the middle of his bed smelling his pillow. I just wanted to be with my dad. I wanted to feel his presence. The sad story of divorce has a happy ending as my dad found a wonderful bonus mom for me. They have been together the majority of my life.

This story is shared to talk about presence. Presence is all that there is to connect with our Heavenly Father for now as we live this life in preparation to be with Him forever. Faith binds us to hope so we know what we are after. Prayer is how we communicate with God. His Spirit helps us to see through the darkness and walk in the Light of His Love. But the thing that we desire above all things is to be with our Father and to live in His Presence. As a human child, I longed to spend time with my natural father. How much more as a Child of God do I long to be with Him! If you enter this place called Presence just one time, you will only want to find it more and more.

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” What does this mean? Should we shirk the responsibilities of life and live in a church building somewhere? Do we give up our jobs to carry a cross around the world and back? Do we stop caring for ourselves waiting for others to do it for us? No. Children represent total trust and dependency. We are to love, trust, and honor God as our Father.

Ephesians 6:1-3 (NIV) Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

God set forth certain principles for children. They are to obey their parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor your mother and father which is the first commandment with a promise. So that it may go well with you. Obedience, honor and respect for our parents is a commandment by God. I know as a parent that I am not always worthy of such things in my imperfection nevertheless the Lord still requires it of my children. In exchange for obedience regardless of my behavior, my children are blessed with a promise.

Obedience is essential for maintaining parental relationships. However, there are many rebellious people in the world. Parents don’t always set forth good examples. We have countless kids in our church whose parents drop them off at the door. These children have outgrown their parents spiritually but the Lord still requires them to respect them. Colossians 3:20 goes one step further saying, “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” Like a child, obedience is essential in establishing a place in God’s Presence as His Child.

Rebellion causes dissension in any relationship. Two parties cannot walk together going their own way. Jesus invites us to accept His Yoke of salvation. His Invitation is simple. Are you weary? Burdened? I will give you rest. My Yoke is easy. Partnering our life with Christ allows us access into the Presence of God. We must remain in the Lord to walk into the innermost chamber of God’s Presence. This cannot be accomplished our way. There is only One Way. His Name is Jesus. Any other attempt would be an act of rebellion because it is contrary to God’s Way? The road is narrow. Repentance is turning our life back to the Lord. It is maybe better explained turning our life “over” to the Lord. This is the act of obedience that brings back to a child-like state of total dependency and trust in the Lord.

I Peter 2:2-3 (NIV) Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Hebrews 5:12-14 (NIV) In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

In Proverbs 23:24 it says that “the father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.” Challenged to enter the Kingdom as children does not exempt us from spiritual maturity. Immaturity does not honor our father. It means that he failed at his task to train us up the way that we should go naturally and spiritually. Some may even use it as an excuse, well God knows my heart. Bless your little heart, He does! He knows the plan and purpose put there because He wrote every single word. The Lord knows your potential because He already provided everything you need to fulfill it. He also gave you His Spirit so there would be an answer to every question, calm in the storm, certainty in the selection and motivation to move in the right direction. You are fully equipped lacking no good thing. He is a good father remember, He gave His All just for you.

Honoring our father’s instruction, teaching and guidance increases our knowledge. Once applied to our life, it becomes wisdom. It feeds and nourishes our soul. It is in such a process that we grow. Let’s face it. Our parents always become a whole lot smarter as we mature. So it is with our Heavenly Father as He is able to work all the details of our life into the Goodness that is promised. (Romans 8:28) This cannot happen outside of respect, obedience, dependency and trust like a child.

Matthew 7:8-11 (NIV) For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 

When I was a little girl, I pursued my father’s presence. He was not with me at that time. I did not really know how to reach him as a little kid. But now I know exactly where he is and how to get in touch with him. I also have learned to pursue my Heavenly Father’s Presence. In fact, in coming to know God more has improved my relationship with my natural dad. Why? My expectation is met in God through His Son, Jesus Christ. His Spirit fills every void and lack in my life. This enables my earthly relationships to be filled with love, grace and mercy because I am complete in Christ. No longer needing or wanting anything less than God’s Best allows me to give love and acceptance effortlessly to others. I depend on God for everything I need.

When my children come home, they do not have to knock on the door but enter boldly. Most of the time, they go look in the fridge even when they are not hungry. They have a relationship with us. They know that they are always welcome. They know we love to see them. They call us when they need us. They call us just to talk. We are bound together by love. This is exactly the relationship that God desires. He wants to be our Father. (Jeremiah 3:19) He longs for His Children. It is time to give up our wandering, prodigal ways and answer the call. Even when that call requires change, discomfort or challenges us, we must pursue Him at all costs. Why? He is a Good Father. He loves us. His Kingdom holds treasures of inheritance for His Children and He invites us to come boldly like a child.

I John 3:1-2 (NIV) See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.